Tag Archives: Melange Books

Calling all ARC reviewers and BETA readers!

Taken by Surprise Cover - Final w 5 star emblem - Front Only5star-flat-web

Do you love reading romantic suspense, contemporary or paranormal romance books? Do you want to get your hands on books before the general readership? If so, I’d love to add you to my ARC and/or BETA team. Please contact me if you are interested in being a BETA reader or if you are interested in reading and reviewing advance reader copies in exchange for an honest review. I release about two stories per year. In case you need some convincing, check out these accolades:

Reader email: I finished your book last night and am hoping you are working on your next one.   You definitely have the talent for writing.  I am a huge fan of Debbie Macomber and Susan Mallery and you seem to have that same flare/style of writing.


Covert ExposureI loved this book. It was a quick, enjoyable, sexy read. Ms. Clarizio knows how to build romance so that it’s not just meaningless sex inserted into a story. You can feel the attraction between the Detective Spinelli and the Red haired beauty, Shannon O’Hara. – Jewel Walker

Missing the Crown JewelsI enjoyed how the characters developed along with the plot. I like the mystery and being able to try and figure out who the bad guy is. I especially enjoyed the goid, decent men in the story who will protect and love and cherish the female! Really enjoyed the book! – LaRae G

Family ForeverJust adored this book! Your heartstrings are tugged on both sides.  – Carolyn P.

Plan InterruptedI finished this book yesterday, and I’m still thinking about the characters today. Other reviewers have summarized the story, so I’ll point out that I absolutely loved the way Valerie portrayed Joe’s character and his tenderness as a father. Her ability to reflect the emotions of all her characters is excellent, and I couldn’t believe how many times I was moved to tears while reading the book. The story certainly isn’t typical, and I thoroughly enjoyed Plan Interrupted. Keep up the good work, Valerie. I’m a fan! – Maddie Cochere



Write Your First Draft Fast and Finish Your Book Now! with Valerie Clarizio and Virginia McCullough

How many times have you enthusiastically picked up that partially completed manuscript only to find yourself tossing it aside in frustration a short time later? Rest assured, you are not alone!

Do you want to break that cycle?

If so, join us on October 14th at 2:00 PM for a workshop designed to break through the “start-stop” cycles and increase productivity—and the pleasure of writing! We’ll explore tools and techniques known to drive productivity and give you the results you want, including:

  • First draft in a month
  • Book-in-a-Week
  • 100 Words for 100 Days, (also known as 1 X 100)
  • The 10-Minute Solution
  • Breaking Through the “Approach-Avoidance Syndrome”
  • Accountability Back-up

You’ll also leave with tips for carving out time to write, no matter what, and have a plan to finally finish your book and be ready to publish.

About 80% of adults want to want to write a book, but only about 2% of that group actually do it. We’ve designed this workshop to help you become one of the 2%, and if you’re already there, increase your productivity and enjoy the process more, too.

Pick up. Put down. Start. Stop. Focus in. Fade out. Too many authors get trapped in these cycles — starting with an enthusiastic beginning only to put the project aside. The cycling trap can last not just for weeks or months, but for years. Learn how to break through the cycling trap and increase productivity — and the pleasure of writing! You’ll learn tools and techniques to drive productivity and give you the results you want. You’ll also leave with tips for carving out time to write, now matter what, and have a plan to finish your book and be ready to publish.

Two hours of class time will be followed by a wine-and-cheese social hour. Did I mention wine and cheese? This class is co-sponsored with Door County Library and is presented free.  Did I mention FREE?

Join us on October 14 @ 2:00 pm5:00 pm at the Margaret Lockwood Gallery located at 7 S 2nd Avenue in Sturgeon Bay: https://www.margaretlockwoodgallery.com/

For more information, call 920.868.1457. Thank you Write On Door County for putting this event together!


McCullough VirginiaAward-winning author Virginia McCullough started her career writing magazine articles about women’s issues, children’s literature, and sailing. She has co-authored and ghostwritten more than 100 nonfiction books for doctors, therapists, and professional speakers. With two grown children, Virginia has lived in many places in the United States and the Virgin Islands and now makes her home in Green Bay. Three of her five novels are set in Wisconsin, including Greta’s Grace which is set in Door County.

Clarizio Photo (1)

    • Valerie Clarizio lives in romantic Door County Wisconsin with her husband and two spoiled cats. She’s an outdoors enthusiast, of which her favorite activity is hiking in national parks. While out on the trails, she has plenty of time to conjure up irresistible characters and unique storylines for her next romantic suspense or sweet contemporary romance novel. She is the author of Unforeseen Obsessions, Taken by Surprise, Plan Interrupted, Family Forever, and the Nick Spinelli Mystery Series.




SALE! Covert Exposure, a Nick Spinelli Mystery is on sale for a limited time for just $.99!

Yes, you heard correctly, my publisher has reduced the price of Covert Exposure to just $.99 for a limited time so nab your copy now!



Detective Spinelli’s life is tossed sideways when he is reassigned from the Homicide division to assist in the Child Services division of the Social Services Department for the holiday season. From the beginning, Spinelli and Caseworker Shannon O’Hara generate their own kind of fireworks, causing more than the normal workplace stress. They both have their own philosophies for dealing with the clientele. However, the forces of nature have their own plan for Spinelli and Shannon.

Shannon moonlights as Santa Claus’ little helper at the mall, and when Santa and an elf turn up dead Shannon appears to be next on the killer’s list. Spinelli is placed back on homicide and goes undercover as Santa to help capture the killer. He catches a great deal of grief along the way but will he capture the heart of his little Santa’s helper as well?


Booklover – I adore the characters. Nick is a sweetheart, has a smile to die for, and a soft spot for Shannon. His sense of humor is off the charts, even when he’s in trouble with his boss. If he weren’t so good at his job, she’d probably fire him for insubordination. Shannon has a tough job and a soft heart. She knows there are children that absolutely need to be removed from their parents’ care for one reason or another, but it breaks her heart when she has to.

Bookmaven623 – I really enjoyed this book. Spinelli was a fantastically fun character. It wasn’t just Spinelli though. The story was a great story that unfortunately we could possibly find in the newspaper. That aspect alone gave this story a level of realism. With the realism, the fun characters and the spicy love story between Shannon and Spinelli join together for a great book. I am so glad this is only the first book in the series because I can’t wait to read the next book. I definitely enjoyed the book, the characters and the story. Valerie Clarizio did a phenomenal job and she has found a fan in me.

Buy Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo

Lone man armed with a pistol, robber


FROZEN – New Release – Romance Anthology



Just for fun I asked each author to describe their hero and heroine with one word – The results are in and can be seen below each story blurb:

The Ice Hotel Wedding Test by Charmaine Pauls  – Jess and Derrick have been together for twelve years. When Jess finally gives Derrick an ultimatum, tie the knot or set her free, he proposes a bizarre test to decide their destiny.

Hero Derrick: Stubborn

Heroine Jess: Caring

Love Thaws a Frozen Heart by Valerie J. Clarizio  – Casey is hell bent on getting Noah to sign divorce papers. Hiding out at his camp, Noah is hell bent on not signing. Procuring a snowmobile, Casey sets out in a blinding snowstorm to find him. After crashing, she is near death when Noah finds her. Will a few cabin-bound days cause either of them to change their mind?

Hero Noah: Patient

Heroine Casey: Clueless

Lord of Ice by April Marcom  – Jack Frost gave his heart to Lilly the day she was born, making her the perfect leverage for a fire spirit whose heart is set on becoming Lord of Ice.

Hero Jack: Immortal

Heroine Lilly: Winter-obsessed

Frozen Moments by Nancy Pennick (‘A Waiting For Dusk’ story) – Drew keeps proposing. Kate keeps saying no. It’s their little game. Can the holiday season change that? Kate has lost her best friend, and Drew does his best to cheer her up in this delightful story of love and memories.

Hero Drew: Romantic

Heroine Kate: Determined

Frozen In Time by Christina Kirby – Lizbeth travels the world as a freelance photographer and answers to no one. After her last relationship, that’s exactly how she wants her life to be, easy and all her own. Jonas is staying at his family’s cabin while he deals with the loss of a fellow fallen solider. He wants nothing more than to be left alone and to avoid Christmas. Neither plan on spending Christmas with a stranger or finding the person who’s exactly what each other needs.

Hero Jonas: Reserved

Heroine: Lizbeth: Adventurous

Frozen With Possibilities by Rhonda Brutt  – A resort on the shores of Lake Superior in the middle of December was not exactly what Tiffany had in mind for a mid-winter vacation. But when she agreed to accompany her progressive grandmother on this frozen trip, she discovered that life is filled with possibilities, if you only go after them.

Hero Chad: Hard-working

Heroine Tiffany: Shy

Frozen Heart Thawing by Nicole Angeleen – In the depths of winter, Thomas Everett grudgingly meets his betrothed, Nila Sarvani, the daughter of a powerful sheikh. The passion they share takes them both by surprise, but the ruthlessness of American business threatens to tear them apart. Nila must decide if her dreams can be realized if she allows herself to fall in love.

Hero Thomas: Headstrong

Heroine Nila: Determined

Frozen Dreams by Elena Kane – In a world surrounded by snow and magic, Cara finds herself grossly out of place. Ridiculed by all, she lives her life in terror from perpetual bullies until she runs into a stranger in town. Ben is everything she always wanted, but never expected. Better yet, he sees past her differences. Could Ben be her dream come true?

Hero Ben: Caring

Heroine Cara: Different

Her Frozen Heart by Tara Fox Hall  – Alaric has always loved the winter season, second only to his love of spells and sorcery. When his beautiful neighbor Cassandra reveals she’s a natural witch, he’s instantly smitten, even as he despairs of attracting her interest. Is there hope for a magical couple who thrive in different seasons?

Hero Alaric: Courageous

Heroine Cassandra: Mysterious

The Thawing of Holly’s Heart by Marilyn Gardiner  – What happens when a single mother meets an old friend and, despite the conviction that she will never again open her heart to another man, finds herself falling in love?

Hero Will: Successful

Heroine Holly: Courageous

Falling On Ice by Bess Kingsley – After the horrible year ice sculptor Sam McLeod has had, falling off a ladder at Nationals into the arms of her nemesis is the absolute last thing she needs. Or is it?

Hero Jake: Gracious

Heroine Sam: Tough

CONTEST – For a chance to win an ecopy of Frozen, comment below this post, describing your ideal hero and/or heroine with just one word.

Frozen Bios

Nicole Angeleen is a writer from Shawnee, Kansas. When she is not writing, she spends her time reading on the beach, traveling, and being a rabid and obsessive sports fan.

Rhoda Brutt – Rhonda lives in the Minneapolis metropolitan area and enjoys swimming, concerts, and making up excuses to get out of cooking!

Valerie Clarizio – I grew up in the north woods in a house full of brothers. I can hunt, fish, and survive in the great outdoors with the best of them.

Marilyn Gardiner – Marilyn has published in many newspapers and magazines, taught a creative writing class, tutored adults learning to read, and volunteered in the public school system. Her book shelf holds eleven published novels, and two more not yet published.

Tara Fox Hall – Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

Elena Kane – A country girl living each day to the fullest; creating characters that touch the heart and stick with you.

Bess Kingsley – Bess Kingsley is a contemporary romance writer living in North Carolina

Christina Kirby – A stay at home mom who loves books and traveling, though with two small kids the love of books is more convenient.

April Marcom – April Marcom is a teacher, author, and mother of three who enjoys the slow, peaceful life of the countryside.

Charmaine Pauls – South African born Charmaine Pauls is a gypsy at heart who loves to look at the world through the lens of her camera. Before taking up writing full time, the novelist worked in public relations, advertising, journalism and marketing. She resides in Chile with her husband and children.

Nancy Pennick – After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. She loves to travel, garden and have a good cup of tea nearby.

Buy Links:

Satin Romance: http://www.satinromance.com/authors/anth/2014/frozen.html

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/486761

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OR2AGLK

Happy Release Day!

FROZEN is a romance anthology featuring eleven authors and stories of different romance genres!

Included in the anthology is a contemporary romance story by yours truly – LOVE THAWS A FROZEN HEART

Blurb: Casey is hell bent on getting Noah to sign divorce papers. Hiding out at his camp, Noah is hell bent on not signing. Procuring a snowmobile, Casey sets out in a blinding snowstorm to find him. After crashing, she is near death when Noah finds her. Will a few cabin-bound days cause either of them to change their mind?

Review Crew Call-Out! I’ve got a couple digital copies of “Frozen” – If you’d like to receive a copy in exchange for giving an honest online review during the next two weeks, please comment below and I’ll draw names from the commenters!


What comes first, plot or characters?


I’m often asked what comes first, plot or characters – My answer tends to vary. When it came to Nick Spinelli, Covert Exposure and Craving Vengeance, I had a very clear picture of Spinelli both physically and emotionally. He was too good looking and too together, so I felt the need to mess up his life a bit, only I hadn’t a clue as to how to make that happen until my fingers hit the keyboard.

When it came to Alex Polecheck and Peter DeBaker, Unforeseen Obsessions, their story was pretty much plotted all the way through.

As for Jack Ricco and Clare Ulster, Taken by Surprise, I knew where I wanted to start the story and finish it, but the middle was a mystery to me each and every day.

Now, for the new series I recently started, I dreamt up Dylan, seriously, I dreamt about him, and I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with him yet, but I do know it will involve a lot of chaos for a while. He’s going to have to work for anything he wants.

There you have it!


New Release – Bait Shop Blues – Nancy Pirri

Release and Giveaway:

BaitShopBlues copy 2


2-$15 Amazon Gift Cards

2-Ebook Copies of Bait Shop Blues

Click the link below to enter the contest!


Bait Shop Blues by Nancy Pirri

Finding love shouldn’t be so hard…

What does a successful businesswoman born and bred in Chicago want with half-ownership of a quaint bait shop in northern Minnesota, willed to her by her grandfather? And how will the reclusive half-owner of the shop convince the woman to sell out her half to him? For Cassandra Thompson, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike who’s recently been dumped by her second fiancé in two years, it could mean a well-needed change in life. For Leif Halverson, a handsome man of Ojibwa extraction, and co-owner of the shop, it could mean disaster—like falling in love. Leif is far from happy about this city woman invading his territory so he challenges her to a wilderness survival contest where the winner takes all.

Buy Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/432153

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K5KS4I0

Satin Romance: http://www.satinromance.com/authors/nancypirri/bsb.html


“You know, I was surprised to hear Roy had a granddaughter. He’d told me often during the past fifteen years he had no family.” He raised his brow. “Makes me wonder why you suddenly appeared out of nowhere.”

Cassandra frowned. “The private investigator he’d hired had learned about the car accident that had taken my parents’ lives. After that he managed to track me down. Didn’t Grandpa tell you he’d been searching for us?”

“Yeah, he did.” He gave a short irritable laugh. “About two days before he died.”

“Oh! I’m sorry. You must have been surprised,” she murmured. She tried to imagine how she’d feel if someone had butted into her business, Pretty Woman Cosmetics. She’d be furious.

“Not just surprised, but stunned. Roy then told me he’d had a falling out with his only son years ago.”

“Unfortunately, that’s true. I was three years old at the time.”

“Roy was real torn up when he heard about your father’s death.”

She sighed. “I imagine he was, seeing as my grandfather and father hadn’t spoken to each other in years. He said it was the saddest day of his life, and he’d forever regret they hadn’t mended their fences. I wish I’d had the opportunity to see Grandfather before he passed away. I was so young when my parents took me away from here that I’ve no memories of him.”

As she peered out the window, the beauty of the vivid green treetops caught her interest, but then she shuddered at the grayish-colored water. After awhile she sank back in her seat and grimaced, identifying the pungent odors in the plane. Leather, gasoline and the distinct odor of fish blended together, yet each scent was distinct.

She was uncomfortably conscious of his maleness. Virile and confident, but without being macho and overbearing would aptly describe him—the little she knew of him. Yet, her awareness of him as a very attractive man was starting to bother her. He was just another handsome man. She’d dated plenty of good-looking guys and had learned her lesson well. She bit her lip thoughtfully, gauging her attraction to him and decided, in the end, she must be experiencing some sort of chemical imbalance.


About the Author

Nancy Schumacher is the owner-publisher of Melange Books, LLC, writing under the pseudonyms, Nancy Pirri and Natasha Perry. Nancy started writing eighteen years ago while raising four children. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is also one of the founders of the Minnesota RWA chapter, Northern Lights Writers (NLW).

Nancy’s debut historical romance, THE MACAULAY BRIDE, set in late 19th century Scotland, was published in 2003. The debut book received several contest wins and received a TOP PICK award from Romantic Times Book Club publication in Oct. 2004. BAIT SHOP BLUES is her second full-length novel. She has written five full-length novels, and many stories included in anthologies with Melange Books, LLC.

 nancy copy


Get in Touch With Nancy:





Congrats, Nancy, on your new release!




Writing in Pajamas!

Last night before we climbed into bed I told my dear husband that I had no intention of leaving the house or even changing out of my pajamas on Saturday (next day).  Furthermore, I was going to allocate the entire day to writing. I’m not sure he believed me at the time but here I sit in my recliner, still in my pajamas at 6:45 p.m., now typing this post.  I wrote 3,500 words today on the third novella of my Nick Spinelli mystery series; a writing day long overdue.

I’m attributing today’s writing success to my lucky writing pajamas.  Now, I suppose you’d like to know more about the pajamas.  Well, I got them about a year ago from my quirky sister-in-law.  She gave them to me as a present when my first book released, and she told me they would bring me luck.  Like I said, she’s a bit quirky.  Now, a year later, I can honestly tell you that every time I need a good writing day I slip into these pajamas and Voilà. As I sit here, I can’t seem to help but to wonder why I don’t wear these pajamas more often, or perhaps even to the day job, considering they’re so lucky and all.  Wouldn’t that be funny if I showed up to the day job wearing flannel cheetah pattern pajamas?

I fought the urge to post a picture of myself wearing the pajamas, for proof, but can’t help but at least post the picture below so you have some idea of what I’m talking about.


Well, I guess that’s it for now.  It’s time to crack open a bottle of wine and watch a movie.

Feel free to post any quirky things that contribute to your successful writing days.

It’s Official!

Cookies for Santa, my romantic suspense novella, has been officially re-released this week as Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery, the first novella in the series.  Craving Vengeance, A Nick Spinelli Mystery, the second in the series, is scheduled for release by Melange Books in October.

Covert Exposure takes place during the Christmas holiday season and Craving Vengeance takes place on Valentine’s Day.  Hmm, think you can guess which holiday will pop in in novella three which is currently about 30% complete?

Anyhow, here’s the cover of the new re-release:


Currently, Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery can be purchased through my publisher’s website:  http://www.melange-books.com/authors/valeriejclarizio/covertexposure.html

***Coming soon to Amazon***

Six Sentence Sunday, December 2, 2012, #sixsunday

Here’s the fourth snippet from my current WIP, the sequel to Cookies for Santa.  In this scene, Spinelli and the other Detectives are waiting for the pathologist report on their victim.


“Spinelli, why don’t you go over there and sweet talk Bethany into putting a rush on this case?” Marsh urged as a cocky smile covered his face.

Spinelli scowled at Marsh. He was probably the last person Bethany, the pathologist, wanted to see. He’d only gone out with her a couple of times but evidently she thought much more of the short relationship than he had. Now every time he had to deal with her she was colder to him than the mortuary cold chambers.


Want to play Six Sentence Sunday?  See this site for more information: http://www.sixsunday.com