Today I’m doing a blog swap with Author Lisa Ricard Claro. So sit back, relax, ,and lets learn a little about Lisa and her work.

BIO: Lisa Ricard Claro is an award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee with published articles and stories spanning multiple media. She resides in Georgia with her husband of more than three decades and counting, is mother to three (a ruggedly handsome son and two stunningly beautiful daughters—Lisa might be a little biased), and dreams of one day living at the beach. Seriously dreams of it. As in, she’s already decorating her dream beach house. In addition to an array of sand dollars and seashells, she keeps a framed sign hanging in her office: Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses Welcome Here. While Lisa is a fan of storytelling in all genres, Romance is her favorite because she believes everyone deserves love, acceptance, and a happily-ever-after.

Tell us about yourself.

Well, first, I’d like to thank you, Sherry, for doing this blog swap with me. I’m so happy to be here today—and thanks for your appearance today over at my blog, Writing in the Buff!

 I’m a wife of 35 years, mom to three grown kids, and companion to two dogs and two cats. I live in a suburb of Atlanta, and though I grew up in New England, I do love the South—so much so, that my novel, Love Built to Last, takes place in North Georgia in the fictional mountain town of Bright Hills. I write contemporary hometown romance, and there is a rescued dog and/or cat in every book. Sometimes the rescue is part of the plot (Pirate the dog in Love Built to Last), and sometimes the dog/cat has been in their forever home for years (Pavarotti the cat in Love to Win). I believe you can tell a lot about people—even the fictional ones—by how they treat animals. When I’m not writing, I’m either hanging out with my family and friends, or reading. I also do volunteer work for the Georgia SPCA.

What are you reading now?

I just finished Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann. Before that I read Unwritten by Charles Martin, and up next is Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell. I’ll read anything and everything. Romance is my favorite, of course.

 Tell us about your current series.

 Love Built to Last is the first book in the Fireflies series. It began as an award-winning short story, and I always knew it was perfect for a full-length novel. It’s the story of Maddie, who can’t let go of her dead husband, Jack. She’s certain he still advises her on everything, including Caleb, the hunky carpenter who is remodeling her kitchen. Caleb is a single dad and a widower, and while he and Maddie have their widowhood in common, their coping process has been quite different. She’s afraid of letting go of Jack, and Caleb fears that embracing a new life might hurt his son. Add matchmaking families, a three-legged dog, and then a disaster thrown into the mix, and Maddie and Caleb have to earn their HEA…maybe with a little help from Jack.

 What is your next project and when will it be released?

 Love to Believe is the second book in the Fireflies series. I don’t have a firm release date from my publisher yet, but the expectation is December 2015 or January 2016. The third book in the series, Love to Win, is supposed to release around April or May 2016.

 Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

 Caleb Walker is an architect turned carpenter. He loves his work, but his favorite job is that of father to his five-year-old son. One of his greatest strengths is that he knows who he is, and he’s comfortable in his own skin. He’s a family man at his core, and he knows this. One of his weaknesses is that he’s so focused on protecting his son from emotional hurt that he’s afraid of new relationships. He’s built an insular world for himself and his son, and letting new people in is hard for him to do.

 Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

 Maddie Kinkaid is a kindergarten teacher who lost her husband, Jack, when the vehicle he was driving was struck by a drunk driver. Maddie is convinced Jack continues to give her advice. One of Maddie’s strengths is her capacity for empathy and understanding, and her acceptance of others. As a kindergarten teacher, she adores children and has an innate understanding of how to relate to them. One of her weaknesses is her inability to let go of the past. She’s not certain of whom she is without Jack, and she’s in no great hurry to figure it out. This, of course, is at the heart of her journey.

What’s next for you?

 Well, Love Built to Last released in June, so I’m still working hard to get the word out about it. I’ve done a couple of radio interviews, I’ll be doing a lot of blog hopping over the next couple of months, and participating in author book signing events. Anyone out there who lives near the Snellville, Georgia Barnes & Noble, please come out to the author event on September 12th—I’d love to meet you! The upcoming releases of Love to Believe and Love to Win will keep me busy, as well, and I’m working on the first book in a brand new series. There’s a lot going on right now, and I’m happy to be so busy.

Where can readers find you?

 My website is www.LisaRicardClaro.com. Visit me at that address and you’ll find excerpts from all three books, as well as my blog, Writing in the Buff, where I post three times a week—Monday is Pawsitive Pondering, which features quotes by dogs and cats, Wednesday I render the Naked Truth, and anything goes, and Friday is Observations From the Tub, where I post about those what-the-?? things that pop up in the news and in life. I keep it fun, and always respond to comments by readers. Come on by!

 Where can readers find your books? Print/eBook?

Love Built to Last is available in both print and eBook versions. Links are below!

Thanks again for participating in this blog swap with me, Sherry. I hope your readers will link over to my blog so they can see what you’ve offered for today’s Naked Truth. Click here for the link   And I look forward to engaging people here, so if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll leave a comment!

Excerpt from Love Built to Last:

 “Whoa, there, fella.” Cal pulled back. The gray beast dropped to a sit and thumped his tail. The errant tongue hung sideways from his smiling doggy mouth.

“Meet Pirate, very aptly named by TJ. We found this poor guy hunkered down in the alley outside Caravicci’s and decided he needed rescuing.” She handed Cal a frosty glass of sweet tea, urged Pirate off the porch to do his business, and took her place on the steps next to Cal. Pirate obliged and trotted off to sniff at the edge of the woods, making it his mission to pee on every bit of flora in sight.

“Huh. In this light he looks like he’s missing a leg.”

“That’s because he is. Dr. McManus said he was born that way, so he doesn’t know the difference. And he has conjunctivitis in his left eye, but it looks a lot better now that it’s been cleaned up and he’s getting medicine for it.”

Cal looked from Pirate to Maddie. “You’ve had a busy day.”

She laughed. “We had a great day. Pizza and video games at Caravicci’s, a dog rescue, a visit to the vet, a very exciting tee-ball game—which we won, by the way—and macaroni and cheese, and brownie sundaes at the Kinkaids’. We arrived back here around eight. TJ took a bath, played with Pirate, and crashed on the couch. All in all, a very pleasant Saturday.”

“You made it fun for TJ, and easy for me. Thank you.”

She smiled, engaging not only her splendid mouth, but those eyes that never quite lost their sadness. They glowed now in the meager light. For that moment, the perpetual grief that held her in thrall gave way to something else.

Luminous. It was the only word that came to his mind to describe her.

He knew the moment his heart opened. The rush cascaded into him, over him, and snatched his breath.

He took her face in his hands before the moment passed, before he talked himself out of it with all the stupid excuses he’d labeled as reasons and repeated like a mantra for the last week. Dante’s words floated back to him: With the right woman, a second’s long enough.

And beneath the callused pads of his thumbs, the skin of her cheeks warmed and grew pink with his touch. The pulse at the base of her throat whirred like a hummingbird’s wings. He paused, gave her the chance to pull away, half expected her to. Instead, like a miracle, she leaned toward him, the barest fraction of an inch. His gaze dropped to her mouth, spellbound, when her lips parted.

Buy Links: for Love Built to Last:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Black Opal Books  |  Kobo  |  AllRomace

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