Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beverley Oakley and DEVIL'S RUN

Today I'm welcoming Australian historical romance writer Beverley Oakley to my blog. Ms. Oakley is truly a citizen of the world, having lived in so many different places. She's giving away an Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. But don't skip over our interesting interview. Please welcome Beverley Oakley!

Devil's Run  Scandalous Miss Brightwells series
By Beverley Oakley

Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here


A rigged horse race - and a marriage offer riding on the outcome. When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?

George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.
Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.

But when the handsome and charming Rufus Patmore buys a horse from her betrothed, George Bramley, whose household her son visits from the foundling home, her heart is captured and the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.

**This is book 3 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells series, though it can be read as a stand-alone.


Chapter One
“And there’s nothing else you’d like, my dear? No?” Straightening after receiving a polite rebuff, George Bramley found it an effort to keep the syrup in his tone. His bride-to-be had not even looked at him as she’d declined the piece of marchpane he’d been certain would win him at least a smile.
Hovering at her side, he weighed up the advantages of a gentle rebuke, then decided against it. Until yesterday, he’d thought her quiet demeanour suggested a charmingly pliant nature. Now he was not so sure. In fact, suddenly, he was not sure of anything.
“A glass of lemonade, perhaps, my angel? Or a gentle stroll?”
“I would prefer to be left alone.” Miss Montrose waved a languid hand in his general direction, while she continued to gaze at the still lake beside which their picnic party had situated itself.
The languid arm-wave had not even been accompanied by a demure thank you as subtle acknowledgement of her gratitude that not only had Mr Bramley, heir to a viscountcy, stepped in to rescue Miss Eliza Montrose from impoverishment, he was prepared to treat her publicly as if she were as fine a catch as he could have made.
A soft titter brought his head round sharply, but the ladies behind him, bent over the latest Ackerman’s Repository, appeared occupied with their own gossip as they lounged on cushions beneath the canopy that had been erected to protect them from the sun.
Awkwardly, he looked for occupation as he continued to eye his intended with a mixture of irritation and desire—both lustful desire, and the desire to put her in her place.
The idea of the latter made him harden. She was beautiful, this quiet, apparently retiring, young woman who said so little, but whose eyes spoke such volumes. The afternoon sun glinted on her honey-gold hair and imbued her porcelain skin with a warm glow. The skin that he could see, at any rate.
He pushed back his shoulders. On their wedding night in six weeks, when he’d at last take possession of her, he’d rip that modesty to shreds. The skin she was so at pains to hide would be his, not only to see, but to caress and taste. When she was his wife, the beautiful, distant Miss Eliza Montrose would no longer get away with paying George Bramley so little attention. No, he’d have her screaming and writhing at his command. He would make her like the things he did to her; or at least, show him she did if she enjoyed harmony as much as she appeared to. None of this languid reclining like a half-drugged princess in his presence. He’d keep her on her toes, ready to leap to his bidding at the sound of his footstep. She’d learn to be grateful.
Feeling ignored and superfluous, he turned to his uncle’s detestable wife, Lady Quamby, and said with a smile, “Perhaps you and Miss Montrose would like to accompany me to the turret. Since you appear to have enjoyed this new novel, Northanger Abbey, so much, you might be interested to know there is an excellent view of the ruined monastery not far from here.”
He was just priding himself on being so attuned to the feminine inclination for pleasure, when Lady Quamby half turned and sent him a desultory smile. “Oh, I think Miss Eliza looks perfectly comfortable, and Fanny and I are having such a lovely little coze.” As if imitating Miss Montrose, she waved a languid hand in his general direction. “Why don’t you take Mr Patmore off to see it? The two of you can tell us all about it when you return.”
The fact that Miss Montrose didn’t deign to even speak for herself, much less glance in his direction, sent the blood surging to Bramley’s brain. By God, when he was married to Eliza Montrose, the limpid look of love so lacking now would be pasted onto her face every time he crossed her line of vision. She’d soon learn what was good for her.
He inclined his head, hiding his fury, and was on the point of leaving when Lady Quamby’s sister, Fanny —for he’d be damned if he’d accord the little strumpet the title of Lady Fenton—leapt up from her chair. She’d been poring over the latest fashions, but now she smiled brightly up at him.
“I’ll come with you, Cousin George. We’ll have an excellent view of the  children learning to row from the battlements. I told Nanny Brown she could take them in the two boats if they’d been good.”
Bramley stared down her liveliness. In fact, he was about to give up the idea of going up to the battlements altogether when his other guest, Rufus Patmore, suddenly rose and joined Fanny’s side with a late and unexpected show of enthusiasm.
“Capital idea!” declared Rufus.
George flashed them both a dispassionate look. He'd chosen to invite his betrothed, Miss Montrose—whose chaperone was currently tucked up in the green bed chamber nursing a head cold—to be his guest at his uncle’s estate, Quamby House, after receiving intelligence that Ladies Quamby and Fenton would be safely in London with their husbands and children. Instead, the brazen Brightwell sisters—as they’d infamously been called when he’d first made their acquaintance—had altered their plans, and were now in dogged attendance, reminding him as they always had, of some awful tenacious climbing plant, determined to find a foothold wherever they could in order to rise in the world.
Rufus, a last-minute addition and acquaintance from his club, Boodles, was here because he’d just purchased a horse from Bramley the night before. Now, Rufus was gazing at Lady Fenton, with the same dewy-eyed fondness George was used to seeing reflected in the eye of his uncle, the Earl of Quamby, who called the Brightwell sisters his precious rose-buds. To George, they were common dandelions! And now they had overridden Quamby House, the rambling Queen Anne manor house and estate that would have passed to George the moment his uncle quit this mortal coil, were it not for the snotty-nosed infant Lady Quamby had borne far too early in her marriage to George's uncle.
George shook his head. He’d changed his mind. Only, there was Rufus striding across the lawn, skirting the lake with Fanny at his side, and George didn’t want to be seen as petulant for having offered the suggestion in the first place. Or have his snubbed and ignored status so much on parade, since the two remaining ladies—Miss Montrose and Lady Quamby—had their heads bent together in deep discussion, with no apparent interest in seeking his company.
By God, he thought, clenching his fists as he set off after them at a brisk trot, they'd all rue the day they showed George Bramley so little respect.

Where did you get the idea for your new novel, Devil’s Run? 

Hi Jana, thank you for having me!

I got the idea for Devil’s Run after I’d introduced a character on the first page of the previous book, Rogue’s Kiss (which is Book 2 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series), where the heroine’s carriage knocks over a young woman who’s running away with her illegitimate child whom she doesn’t want to give up to the Foundling Home. This girl, Eliza, isn’t mentioned beyond that – though the child is chosen for a naming ceremony in that book – but I thought I’d pick up the story seven years later when Eliza discovers her child (due to it’s tiny sixth finger) is a regular in the household of a very horrible man who wants to marry her, and this provides the motivation for her to say yes. Only, matters get complicated when she falls in love with a visitor to the estate who’s come to buy a race horse from Eliza’s horrible betrothed.

Why did you choose this genre?

I’ve always loved historicals and as I’ve been reading social histories and the Classics (late 18th C and 19thC), since I was twelve, I have a thorough canvas on which to lay the plot idea. That means I don’t have to spend ages researching the time period, only particular aspects that are pertinent to the story.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I can’t decide if I’m a morning person or a night person. I go through stages where my habit is to be up at 5.30am or 6am every day for months, getting my work done, but then I switch to being a night-owl. What is most important, though, is that I get 7 to 8 hours sleep a night. I time it so I can have 8 hours, but usually wake after 7, and then I’ll brainstorm my Goal, Motivation, Conflicts for the various characters.

I think that comes from being a pilot’s wife for 20+ years, so I’m not used to routine. When my gorgeous husband is around, I’ll spend time watching movies and cooking and being with him, but when he’s away for 4 or 5 days at a time, I’ll write for many hours in the morning and evening. (I’m really missing him during such a cold Melbourne winter, as he’s away for 7 weeks in Singapore doing his Airbus endorsement.)

What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book?

I want them to come away feeling the things that are mentioned in my favourite reviews: multilayered plots with unexpected twists and turns, and multi-dimensional characters, some of whom readers love, and others they hate, (or love to hate). So I’d hope that Devil’s Run lives up to that.

Also, having written so many books, I’ve found that I appeal mostly to readers who are not looking for a conventional Regency romance and who aren’t upset when certain conventions aren’t adhered to, since I find that my characters can do some pretty heavy scheming to achieve their desired outcome. So I do try and make it clear what my readers can expect so I don’t get some who are disappointed because they were expecting everyone to be worthy and lovely with a perfect HEA.
I love writing series where the first few books can be read as stand-alones; so there’s often a Happy-For-Now which becomes a HEA in the next book since it gives me a chance to have an even more multilayered plot arching over a number of books. That said, in Devil’s Run, all the events are resolved in Eliza and Rufus’s story.

It was really fun to write, too, because it carries on from the first in the series (Rake’s Honour, which is permafree) where two beautiful match-making sisters, who’ve made rags-to-riches marriages, love to orchestrate the love affairs of the deserving couples around them. At first they don’t like my heroine, Eliza, who has just become betrothed to their awful cousin, George Bramley, and who seems cold and distant. But when she rescues their children from drowning, they decide they have to do whatever it takes to stop her marrying awful George and so they find her a really lovely alternative in noble, honourable, kind and gorgeous Rufus Patmore. The problem is that Eliza has decided she needs to marry George because she’s learned that her long-lost illegitimate son is a regular playmate of the children in George’s household.

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

Two years ago we moved into a house, which people describe as looking like Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. It’s opposite a rambling, Gothic 19th century insane asylum and the view from my writing space is very inspirational. So is my writing space, itself, which I also use to make historical costumes. One of my favourites is a 1780s polonaise with panniers, while my most recent is a tudor gown and Anne Boleyn ‘French Hood’ I made for my daughter, as she wanted a Tudor Feast for her 16th birthday. I’m about to get started on Regency gowns for all three of us so we can attend the Jane Austen festival next year, in style. I’ll also start posting pictures of my creations (and their inspiration) on my Beverley Oakley FB page, including drone footage panning over the asylum, so if there are any interested costumers out there, stay tuned.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it? Does it help you with your writing?

I do contracts during the year, so the pattern these days is, perhaps, a 3 or four-month contract with a month or two off, in between. They’re all writing related, so that must help. Mostly, they’re in communications, or as a content writer, sometimes in government, or in education. I’m not fond of routine, so change and contrasts suit me well. During my 20+ years as a pilot’s wife we’ve lived in Solomon Islands, Japan, Namibia, Botswana, Norway, Canada (where I worked on contracts around the world as an airborne geophysical survey operator) and now we’re in Australia which, with two children, makes life more settled for them. 

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?

I’ve become far more patient, resilient and accepting. After years of following my husband round the world, we settled in Australia and bought a house. Unfortunately, he broke his back two weeks before I gave birth to our youngest, so I had a toddler, a husband in a world of pain (all his vertebrae were sheared off when he fell off a ladder while we were renovating), and who couldn’t fly, and our eldest was – at that stage – often in her own little world before we discovered it was Aspbergers. (She’s 16, now, and hugely into science and Literature and today, really, passionate about certain causes and very clever, and she relates well, socially, but back then it was hard.)

So, today, in 2017, with my husband now well, and back flying (after pulverizing his wrist two-and-a-half years in a motorbike accident which had him once again in rehabilitation having multiple operations, and unable to work until last month) life’s fantastic yet I’m always prepared for something else dramatic to rock our foundations.

Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish? What do you like best about your pet?

We have the most gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback called Mombo (named after the safari camp in Botswana where my husband and I met). He has the sweetest nature and I feel sure he’d defend me to the death if he could only work out who the bad guys were.

Thanks so much for having me, Jana.

My pleasure, Beverley!

~*~*~*~*~*~ Author Info: 
Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances starring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

Friday, August 11, 2017

#AuthorInterview with C.J. Fosdick

Cj Fosdick, a fellow Wild Rose Press author, is my guest today. Cj's "Accidental Series" is all about time-travel, one of my favorite tropes. The first book in the series, The Accidental Wife, is on sale for .99 cents until August 31. Please welcome Cj Fosdick!

Where did you get the idea for your novel?

Ideas for my own multi genre American family saga were popping like popcorn in a microwave as I read Diana Gabaldon’s fantastic Outlander series (over a year). Diana herself inspired me when I met her at a HNS Writer Conference in Florida four summers ago.

Why did you choose this genre?

For me, reading a good historical romance or mystery is “armchair time-travel” at its best. Time-travel has built-in suspense, drama and a unique opportunity to compare eras. Add a mysterious family legacy, diverse charismatic characters, mistaken identity and a breathtaking romance and you have a recipe for The Accidental Wife set in Wyoming.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book you’d like to share?

There were several odd coincidences that made me feel writing this book was karma!  As I sorted old photos of my stepmother after she died last year, I found black and white photos of her and my late father on a honeymoon trip out West. They posed at old Ft. Laramie in front of the 1870 Burt house, which played a key role in my novel. My stepmom loved my book, but never mentioned she was actually at Ft. Laramie in 1954.

Did you always want to be a writer?

After winning a Western Union writing contest at age 12, my avocation was set. I blew the $5 prize on candy dots to share with friends and loved the celebrity. Passion to write was etched in stone when I became feature editor of my H.S. newspaper and wrote a teen column for small newspapers in Milwaukee.

Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers?

There’s a network of social media at your fingertips today: Articles, blogs, webinars, reader and writer groups on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, etc. Plan for half your time to be absorbed with marketing. A website and FB following is as essential as good navigation skills on social media. I learned a lot about the publishing climate and pitching my work at Writer Conferences. I also joined groups like RWA, Women Writing the West and the Historical Novel Society to network and cover my genre interests. The conferences and the RWA magazine also offer contests which can benefit you with honest assessments of your talent, and if you place or win you can add that to your resume and bio. A critique group of writers can also help shape editing skills and toughen thin skin. Use spell check, research every fact and setting and edit your writing even before you invest in a good editor. Motivation and Persistence equals Discovery!

When were you first published and how did that happen? Was it a long or short journey? 

For decades, I managed to produce only short stories and articles. Time to write a novel was always elusive. Some of my stories won awards, however, and at a Women Writing the West Writer Conference in Kansas City 4 years ago, I placed in their Laura contest. The judge encouraged me to turn the story into a novel and my future publisher was in the audience. She encouraged me to send that potential novel to her. I didn’t waste any time and less than a year later I was contracted by Wildrose Press for “The Accidental Wife.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both, but more pantser than plotter, I think. My characters have input and sometimes they take me down a pathway I didn’t plot.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

Besides a page-turning read, I hope my readers learn that love is timeless, and no obstacle is impossible if your heart and soul are open to the challenge. I love to add suspense with unexpected twists and turns and enough social awareness and diversity to tease thought after the last page is read.

What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I hate eggs; never eat them. Though I also have a fear of heights, I climbed a waterfall in Jamaica and bent backwards over a sheer drop to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

What’s your favorite time management tip?

My new Amazon Echo is helping out with quick research questions. “When were chocolate chips invented?” When the answer was needed for scenes in The Accidental Wife, it took more time to check with Google and Wikipedia than simply asking Alexa--who also plays my favorite music while I write.

What’s your least favorite thing about being a writer?

I love everything  except   MARKETING—which gobbles up WRITING time!

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I’ve lived in Rochester, MN for most of my life, but I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. For 30 plus years I wrote and published stories and articles until my debut novel was published in 2015. I celebrated that inevitable milestone by getting a red Rav 4 with a vanity license plate that reads “Novel CJ.”

If writing is your first passion, what is your second?

Animals. We raised or trained 19 horses (including 2 wild mustangs) and have had 12 dogs and cats, many of them rescues. I gave riding lessons for 15 years, but sadly gave up riding for writing full time. With an empty barn now, I’ve resorted to feeding deer, turkeys, birds, and other wildlife just outside my writing room.

If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be?

TV and email are bittersweet necessities. My inbox grows daily!

What are your hobbies away from the computer?


What do you like best about your hero from The Accidental Wife?

Mitch is a half breed who grew up well-educated in two worlds. He is tall, athletic, and charming, with mesmerizing green eyes that reflect his emotion. He’s also a great father and can easily match wits with the heroine, yet uniquely vulnerable to his place in life and love.

What do you like best about your heroine from The Accidental Wife?  

Jessica comes from a line of strong, independent women that began with her infamous great great grandmother and the legacy she found back in 1875. She is smart, practical and curious, but also vulnerable to relationships since she was orphaned and later betrayed in a bet. Her wit and smart mouth serves her well. She also looks like her famous ancestor…and me on better days.

How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters?

Important to me! I often choose names of my characters based on the first or last name of friends or family. In the Ireland part of book two in the Accidental Series, I used a book of Irish names. I spend days mulling over how the names sound and how they go with the characters. My long time historian connection to Ft. Laramie was Sandy Lowry. She became a character in both books--named Stella Lowry. Sandy laughed at that, as her mother-in-law was named Stella Lowry. The physical characteristics of my characters also match people I know…or favorite actors and actresses.

Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

The Accidental Heiress is set in Ireland with main characters who played minor roles in Book 2, The Accidental Stranger. The plot involves an Irish scandal that turned women into slaves for centuries and is still being litigated today in Ireland. As in all my books, I love adding an appetizer of social justice to the meat of the plot.

What’s your tagline? Why did you choose it?

“Lost in time, found by love.”  This applies to both hero and heroine in both novels, as they were vulnerable to time and circumstances that was altered by the healing power of love.

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

The Accidental Wife was the mainstream series debut but all the Accidentals can stand alone, unless your curiosity is peaked. Characters in both books will appear throughout the series, but minor characters from Book 2 will be elevated to major roles in Book 3—The Accidental Heiress.

Is there anything we haven’t covered here that you’d like to tell readers?

The Accidental Wife is a Golden Quill finalist and was a Top Ten P & E Winner for Best Romance and Best Author in 2015. This is the first time the eBook has gone on sale for .99. The Accidental Stranger is the sequel published this year.

How can readers reach you online?

Email: Falorac@gmail.com
Website:   http://cjfosdick.com
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/cjfosdickauthor

Blurb for The Accidental Wife:

Self-determined Jessica Brewster is wary of any emotional relationship after being betrayed in a bet. When the beloved grandmother who raised her dies, she inherits a mysterious teacup which transports her back to 1886 in old Fort Laramie, switching places with her look-alike great-great grandmother--wife to her ancestor's magnetic first husband and mother to his charming nine-year-old daughter.

Can she pull off the charade and find a way back, or will conscience and her twenty-first century "slips" expose her identity?  As true love--and a gypsy--derail her plans, her ancestor's brother shows up with his own dark secret. Is her future in the past? Her decision could save her legacy...and her life!


He rose from the chair like an old man and touched my face with both hands, feathering his fingers lightly across my forehead, into the wells of my eyes, over my nose and cheekbones, like a blind man needing to know who stood before him. I tried not to stiffen at his touch, willing myself not to blink, not to release the fresh tears that had begun to pool. He collared my throat with his long fingers and ran a thumb over my lips. “I want my wife back. Come back to me, Mitawin,” he whispered.

The word on the teacup; the hallmark of my deceit. Our eyes locked, and I felt my throat closing and my knees begin to quiver. For a few seconds his grip tightened around my throat, and I clamped my eyes shut with a fleeting thought. Yes, take my breath...end this tormenting deception.

Buy Links for The Accidental Wife:

Cj Fosdick Amazon   http://amazon.com/author/cjfosdick
Cj Fosdick Wild Rose Press   http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/1256_cj-fosdick

Cj Fosdick Barnes & Noble  http://bit.ly/1QcHLOq

Author Bio for C.J. Fosdick:

Born and raised in Packerland, Cj moved west to the medical mecca in Rochester, MN where her writing career bloomed with published award-winning stories and articles to her novel series inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Rescued horses, dogs, cats, children and one patient husband have motivated the heart of Cj’s craft. Though living on a country hilltop haven for decades, she has ventured down on occasion to climb a Jamaican waterfall, float in the Dead Sea, kiss the Blarney Stone and research settings for her next novel.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ann Everett and CHIRP #newadult

I'm pleased to have Ann Everett back at Journeys with Jana for a return visit. Did you know August is National Read a Romance month? I have to confess I didn't, though for me, every month is read a romance month. Ann gives us a brief history of this national event, and tells us about her newest release, CHIRP, published by Amazon Kindle Press. Welcome, Ann!

August is National Read a Romance month, so I thought I’d do a bit of research about how the romance novel has evolved.

According to Wikipedia, Mass Market romance really took off after WWI. Category romances in the 1930’s, and in the USA modern romance genre fiction was born in 1972, with Avon's publication of Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower; it was the first of the modern "bodice ripper" romance novels.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_novel 24/50

Over the years, many genres of romance have developed. One of the latest is New Adult Romance, which rose in popularity in 2012 due to many self-published books.

My latest romance, Chirp, falls into that category, which means the characters are in their twenties. Having been named a Kindle Scout Winner, Chirp is published by Amazon Kindle Press.

A woman hiding from her future…

Heiress to the largest steel company in America, twenty-year-old, socially awkward Blaze Bledsoe hides out at Dessie Bishop’s farm. For the last three years, Blaze has eluded one investigator after another, but just when she thinks she’s safe, a PI closes in. Her luck is about to run out in more ways than one.

A man running from his past…

Rance Keller, a tough, hard-living ex-con, fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, arrives to claim the house his grandmother left him. Finding a strange girl living there, his plans for a solitary life take a turn. Her lack of modesty, no filter, and word of the day fetish baffles him, but those big green eyes and sweet mouth have him losing sleep.

Welcome to Bluebird, Texas

Where two damaged people with secrets, discover trust can lead to passion.

Excerpt from Chirp

Blaze reached room three and referred to the next list: Blue eye shadow. Black mascara. Mauve lip gloss. Enhance beauty mark at corner of mouth.

Only thirty-nine years old, Ginny Elliott had met her demise when her biker boyfriend failed to negotiate a turn. Thank goodness she’d worn a helmet. Camouflaging a mangled face presented a challenge. Being tossed ten feet into the air before landing on the hard pavement had proved too much for the rest of her bones.

Ginny was dressed in a leather jacket and low-cut tank, her voluptuous breasts swelling over the top. Nothing like formaldehyde to pump up a woman’s upper thorax. Blaze tugged at her own T-shirt, conscious of the small boobs she’d been blessed with. Removing the pencil from behind her ear, she scratched out part of the note and made changes.

Proper shading and contouring made women appear pounds lighter and years younger. Once Blaze had finished, Ginny looked like a Harley Harlot. Blaze always regretted the client couldn’t witness the magic. She jotted another message, tucked it into Motorcycle Momma’s pocket, and zipped it.
“When you get to heaven, give this to Larkin Montgomery. You’ll recognize her because we look alike.” With only a few pictures for comparison, she wasn’t sure about that. The older she got, the less she remembered about her mother.

With her supplies back in place, Blaze peeked into the hallway. The coast appeared clear. No Cameron waiting to walk her out. Maybe she’d finally been rude enough for him to get the message.
Outside, a sharp February breeze cut at her face, but spring hid right around the corner. Almost time to break up the garden spot. Even though she liked living alone, she missed Dessie. The sweet woman had left the place to her only grandson, but Blaze would never meet him.

Since he was serving a fifteen-year prison sentence. She’d be long gone by the time he showed up.


Rance stepped outside and followed the aroma of bacon to Bubba’s Diner. Just what he needed after going heels to Jesus all night. He removed his last cigarette and tossed the package into the blue trash barrel at the corner of the building. Really should give up the bad habit, and he would. Later.

It occurred to him, last night’s tag-team event with the BFFs, had fulfilled his goal—fifty-two women in fifty-two weeks. No more pressure. With an early start and few stops, he could make it to Bluebird in one day. Grab a quick breakfast. Crank up the Harley. Hit the road. Couldn’t wait to see the place again. Enjoy the seclusion and relax in his grandmother’s old claw-foot tub. That’s what he loved about the little country town.

Everything remained the same. Never any surprises.


Ann Everett's bio:

Award winning and Amazon Best-Selling author, Ann Everett embraces her small town upbringing and thinks Texans are some of the funniest people on earth. When speaking at conferences and to writing groups, businesses, book clubs, and non-profit organizations, she incorporates her unique brand of wit, making her programs on marketing, self-publishing, and the benefits of laughter, informative and fun.

A top reviewer on thenextbigwriter.com, she lives on a small lake in Northeast Texas where she writes, bakes, and fights her addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper.

Ten things you won’t know about Ann by reading her bio:

  • She’s married to her high school sweetheart.
  • She loves shopping at thrift stores.
  • She doesn’t remember her first kiss. 
  • She hates talking on the telephone.
  • A really sharp pencil makes her happy.
  • She secretly wants to get a tattoo. 
  • She thinks everyone should own a pair of cowboy boots.
  • She’s thankful wrinkles aren’t painful.
  • She sucks at math. 

Social Media Links:

Facebook     https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnEverett/
Twitter     http://www.twitter.com/TalkinTwang
Website       http://www.anneverett.com
Pinterest   http://www.pinterest.com/loacl/

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Character Interview with Peggy Jaeger

Happy Tuesday! Today fellow Wild Rose Press author Peggy Jaeger joins me with one of my favorite things - a character interview! I love getting to know a character. This prolific writer recently had two new releases, and we get a peek at PASSION'S PALETTE. And here's an interview with a character from that book, who sounds like she's embarking on her own romance! Please welcome Peggy Jaeger.

Serena MacQuire’s Agent, Delilah Bloom, is 34, rich, successful, and content with her life. All that changes, though, when she comes to visit Serena in Carvan and is introduced to the family veterinarian and friend, David Stapleton. I sat down with her yesterday to catch up with Delilah and get the scoop on the love lives of her and her friend.

Peggy: Delilah, what prompted this visit to the MacQuire family home? As Serena is fond of saying, you never venture north of 86th street in Manhattan if you can avoid it.

Delilah: ( shakes her head and her chin-length blonde hair swishes around her  cheeks.) I know, I know. I never leave the city. But since I was the one who got Serena the hospital mural commission, and knowing how exhausted she’s been lately, I just wanted to make sure the task wasn’t too much for her to undertake.

Peggy: And how did she seem to you when you arrived?

Delilah: Excited. Which I’ll admit, made me happy. And the little she’s done already on the mural is amazing. That girl was put on this earth to paint.

Peggy: I agree. I understand you met a friend of the family today.

Delilah: ( leans back in the chair and uncrosses her legs, then recrosses them. She looks a little…nervous.) Yes, well. That was certainly a surprise. I mean, Serena has told me many stories about Dr. Stapleton, but she neglected go mention a few things. A few important things.

Peggy: Oh? Like what?

Delilah: Well, for one he’s drop dead gorgeous and built like a tank. Who knew they made country animal doctors like that? I’m surprised the man hasn’t been featured in a calendar titled Hunks who Heal! I would have moved years ago if I had an inkling. And he’s so charming. Genuinely so, not like the men I’m used to being around.

Peggy: Yes, Serena says you hobnob with the grandsons of robber barons and the wolves of Wall Street.

Delilah: Most of them I’ve known since the cradle. And they haven’t improved with maturity. ( she laughs and rolls her eyes.) But David is different from every other man I’ve known, a fact that is wildly appealing all on its own.

Peggy: Have you met his partner, Seamus Cleary, yet?

Delilah: (Smiles like a cat who just had a snack of delicious mouse) yes, I did. And I can tell you he was quite smitten with Serena. So much so he couldn’t keep up with the conversation going on around him. He’s interested in her and I think the feeling is mutual. Although Serena won’t admit it.

Peggy: Why not?

Delilah: (with a sigh) Still brooding, I’d imagine. And being cautious. Once your heart is shattered, it’s difficult to open it up to being hurt again. Serena’s been wary of men and relationships since her first love. I won’t bore you with the details, but she’s kept that loving part of herself locked away. I think Seamus Cleary may just have the key, though, to unlocking that door. And I’m sticking close to her to see that it happens.

Peggy: I get the feeling that’s not the only reason you’re staying close.

Delilah: true. This…thing with David has me all discombobulated. I’ve never been in love, you know. Never found a man who makes me feel so cherished before like David does. I want to let it play out, see what develops between us. Keeping an eye on Serena and her budding romance is an added perk.

Peggy: Well, I can’t wait to see what happens with you all.

Delilah: (Laughing) Stay tuned. I’m sure it will be interesting.

PASSION’S PALETTE available from the Wild Rose Press, releases on 8.4.17.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2te3VQq
Wild Rose Press: http://amzn.to/2te3VQq


Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivalled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he's looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?


Their gazes met and Seamus registered the silent “O” of surprise on her mouth.

"I'm sorry I startled you," he said, drawn to her as an errant moth would be to a ghost of moonlight. "Addie told me you were out here."

Serena reached over to her sketchpad, open at her feet, and closed it with a flick of her toe. He was rewarded with a lengthy view of thigh as she stretched.


"Doodling, mostly. I wanted to do some preliminary sketches for a commission I have."

"Mind if I sit?" he asked, and without waiting for an answer, did.

When he reached for the pad and said, "May I?" she shot her bare foot on top of it.

"Sorry." Serena reached over and grabbed the book. When it was safely tucked behind her back, braced against the tree, she added, "I'm a little schizoid where my work is concerned. I don’t let people see it when it’s in the planning or beginning stages."

He looked across at her, lifted one brow slightly, then glanced around. "This is nice," he said. "Quiet. Peaceful."


A fist of pure desire punched him in the stomach, the muscles contracting in response to the challenge in her eyes.

"Was there something you needed to see me about?"

He considered her again, before replying. For someone so young she could act as regally as the most aged dowager.

And she was young; much younger than he was. It wouldn't do to start anything with her. Besides, she was a client. He had to keep it professional.

But dammit, those eyes speared right through him, impaling him with their beauty, and were hard to ignore. As was the gentle swell and shift of her breasts with each breath beneath her barely modest halter top. And her legs, well, just forget about those. Legs like that were destined to be his downfall.

Author Bio:

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children's book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader's Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Social Media Links:

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mmj122687/

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Karen C. Whalen's Embarrassing Moment

Karen C. Whalen shares an embarrassing moment today (I love embarrassing moments!) Fortunately, she was able to turn something embarrassing into a funny scene in her soon to be released cozy mystery, NO GRATER EVIL, Book 3 in her Dinner Club Murder Mystery series. Tell us your story Karen!

The most embarrassing moments make for the best scenes in books. Readers love the scene and can relate to it, and thus love the character.

Oh my God, you have to hear what happened to me! 

 Haven’t we all said that? Not once, but many times, as we feel the need to retell our embarrassing moments to our friends. Why does one feel the need to retell it? Because we have a chance to rewrite our story, tweak it, make it funnier and not so horribly uncomfortable, to gain empathy, and best of all, to get a laugh. Retelling the story as if it happened to someone else, a character in our books, is even better.

Deciding which is my most embarrassing moment is hard since I have many. I’m one of those folks who stumble through a series of socially awkward moments that make up the sum total of my life…probably why I’m a writer, an occupation for loners. But, okay, I can come up with one pretty good example that I wrote into the third book in my dinner club murder mystery series, No Grater Evil, to be released this fall.

This is my embarrassing moment: I was driving my friend Sunny through Breckenridge, Colorado looking for a place to park so we could go shopping while our husbands golfed. We both spotted a parking lot on the other side of a wooden bridge. I turned onto the bridge. To be fair, and pass the blame, Sunny said, sure, try that, as she clutched the dashboard with white knuckles. The narrow bridge did not feel very sturdy, and on the other side was a wide sidewalk rather than a road. So, I turned the car down the sidewalk and kept going. A man in a chef’s hat ran out from the back of a building on the other side of the walkway with his arms flailing, yelling “Stop!” He explained that we were on a pedestrian/bike path (duh, of course we were) about to drive into the wedding he was catering. Sunny and I both peered to the end of the walkway and saw chairs set up and lots of activity. I thought about driving around the chairs because it was impossible to turn around on the narrow bike path.

Why couldn’t there have been a sign, like this one?

But there was no such sign.

Near tears, I asked him what to do. Another man appeared and one stood in the front of my car and one at the back as they directed me through a 3-point turn around that ended up being about 20 points of reverse and forward. I should mention that the bridge went over the swift running Blue River and that my rear tires were dangerously close to the river bank. And that I was driving my husband’s car, a long, very long, looong vehicle, and that I’m used to my cute little, little as in short, Ford Fiesta. (In the lime squeeze color, that my husband calls lime slime, but it’s so cute! And short). Half way through the turnaround I asked the chef if he would take the driver’s seat and turn the car around for me, but he assured me I could do it. I did. But I did not want to drive back over that pedestrian bridge. So I drove with my friend Sunny (we’re still friends, by the way) in the other direction until we came to a heavy metal barricade. We both jumped out of the car, with superhuman strength moved the barricade out of the way, and drove into the parking lot. (This is reminiscent of the scene in the movie Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold drives out from under the semi-truck into the parking lot of the Christmas tree lot like it was all planned to happen that way.)

All-righty, then. Is that a great story, or what? I swear it really did happen exactly that way and it fit perfectly into the book, which even has a character that is a chef!

This is the scene in the book. I changed the location to Estes Park. Please note that Olivia has been arrested for murder and is out on bail while Jane tries to solve the crime.


“Turn here and go over that bridge.” Olivia waved her manicured hand out the window.

Jane braked the car. “The bridge looks too narrow.”

“There’s a parking lot over there on the other side of the trees. Go ahead.” Olivia clutched the dashboard, craning her neck to see past the end of the bridge. Jane turned the car onto the wooden structure, barely fitting between the railings. As the wheels passed over the wooden slats, they heard a clickety clackety, as if each board was popping up like piano keys during a glissando. Once across, they found themselves on narrow pavement.

“This must be a one-way road. There’s not enough room for two cars,” pointed out Olivia.

“But there’s no sign that says ‘one-way.’ I don’t have a good feeling about this.” Jane rested her hands on the steering wheel wondering where she could turn around.

“Keep going. We can park over there.” Olivia motioned to the left through the sparse woods. A parking lot abutted the back sides of several buildings. But how to get over there?

A man ran out of the trees, yelling and flapping his arms over his head. “Stop! Stop! You can’t go this way.” He was wearing a white, double breasted shirt and white toque. Jane stomped on the brakes and rolled down her window. “Everett.”

“Jane?” Her former boyfriend skidded up to her car, almost bouncing off the door. “What in the world are you doing here?” His mouth fell open as his question hung in the air.

“We’re in Estes for the weekend. What are you doing here?”

“I mean, what are you doing driving on this bike path?”

“We’re just heading to the parking lot over there.” Jane twitched her thumb in the direction of the trees. “What’re you doing? I thought you worked in Vail.”

“I’m catering the wedding you are about to drive into.”

“What did you say?” Jane widened her eyes. “What bike path?”

“This bike path you’re on.”

She peered down the paved path to where the cement curved and a woman wearing a long, white gown and veil stood with her groom in front of rows of ribbon-bedecked chairs. A photographer was capturing the happy couple on film. Jane’s eyes darted over to Olivia who shrugged her shoulders. Her voice came out shaky and halting. “What should I do? I can’t turn around here.”

“Return the way you came in.”

“I’m afraid to go back over the bridge.” Jane gripped the sides of her head and pinched her eyes shut.
 Olivia pointed through the windshield. “If you drive up to the curve in the path, there’s space to turn around.”

“You can’t do that. They’re taking the wedding pictures. You have to back up.” Everett’s small blue eyes flashed.

Jane jerked the car into gear, but only pressed her foot lightly on the gas pedal to move the car forward. Everett walked with big strides alongside the car, as Jane carefully maneuvered to the curve. He positioned himself at the tail end of the car as she attempted a three-point turn around. He held up his hands to give directions, and she inched the car first forward then backward, to swing in the other direction. As soon as she had the vehicle pointed the opposite way, she said, “It was nice seeing you again, Everett,” then screeched out of there.

Instead of returning over the bridge built to carry people only, she continued down the pedestrian path until they came to a metal chain barrier blocking the way. On the other side of the barrier was their destination, the store parking lot.

Olivia, who had been silent this whole time, asked, “What now?”

Jane risked a backward glance over her shoulder to see Everett and the bride watching them. The woman’s fist was raised in the air, and her mouth was formed into a snarl. “Come with me.” Jane leaped out, leaving the car door yawning open, and Olivia did the same. They sprinted over to the barrier. Jane, taking one end with Olivia at the other, dragged the heavy metal structure to the side of the path out of the way. They both hurtled to the car to speed over to the parking lot. Jane drove to a close spot right next to the store entrance, and they beat a quick path inside. She breathed a shaky sigh of relief. “I wonder if we’ll get in trouble for driving over the bridge.”

“What are they going to do, arrest me?” Olivia put her hand on Jane’s arm and sagged against her. Out of her mouth came, “Hee hee ha ha HA HA!”


You can see how the story wrote itself. Maybe that’s why authors include embarrassing moments in their books. They are easy to write. I’m not sure I’m completely recovered from that experience, but if I made a reader chuckle, and I made my word count for the day, than it was worth it.


Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane's dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man—a gourmet chef—enters her life. But, things turn sour when, on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends—or maybe even her old ones—might be a murderer?


Karen C. Whalen is the author of the Dinner Club Murder Mystery series. She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado. Karen has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and participates in a local writing group, the Louisville Writers Workshop.  In addition to hosting dinner club events (although, murder was not involved), Karen loves to hike and bike ride under the robin-egg blue skies of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.


FB: https://www.facebook.com/whalenkarenc
Twitter: @whalenkc
Website: http://www.karencwhalen.com/


First book in the series, Everything Bundt the Truth




Second book in the series, Not According to Flan




Friday, July 28, 2017

Dee Gatrell's SWEET SUNSET

Dee Gatrell visits today with a fun interview that offers a peek into her life and her writing process. Her newest release, SWEET SUNSET, is a later-in-life romance between a psychologist and a woman with too much going on in her life. Please welcome Dee Gatrell!

Why did you choose this genre?

I like to read many genres, but I noticed over the years that I do not do well with he said/she said books. I always have more people in my stories. Probably because I have always been surrounded by aunt, uncles, cousins, and now my four children and 12 grandchildren.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes. As a child I wrote a lot of things, like fan letters to my favorite cowboys, letters to pen pals, family and friends. I loved getting mail. No email back then. In high school I wrote skits for the pep rallies. And in my senior year my English teacher loved the story I wrote with my weird sense of humor.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book you’d like to share?

Many, but I have to say one of my favorite scenes was when the three women took the mothers and Myrtle Sue’s Mother-in-law to lunch, it was fun to write. June was the mother of friends who we went to lunch with once. She was a Southern lady who said to me: My neighbor Wanda had me come to her jewelry party, all that cheap stuff. Why you know, those Yankees don’t stay up North. And I knew I wanted to use June in a book, even as a minor character. She passed away at 93 a few years ago. Also used something from my friend’s mother.  One of my daughter’s was in an abusive marriage. I had to change a lot of things, but did get to kill him off.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read SWEET SUNSET?

I want them to read about characters they like, I want them to be able to laugh, and I hope they enjoy the recipes I put into the book.

Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers?

Yes, never give up. Join writing groups, send your writing to friends who will love it even if it isn’t the best at the time. I wrote for newspapers and magazines for years, but was never able to sell a novel until I retired from working. But hey, I’m older than dirt, but finally did it!

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?

I have lived a long time, come from a large family with all sorts of personalities, lived in several states, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma and Florida. I learned something new each place I have lived. If you watch and listen to people, you can pick up ideas for your characters. Is she clumsy? (I am). Does he have flirty eyes? Is she shy? Does she have hobbies? Does she belly dance? Do they like to garden? Does she have a crazy aunt she adores? Stop and look around.  You can pick up many ideas.

Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish? What do you like best about your pet? 

Yes, at the present time we have three dogs. Zeus is almost 13 years old, Icarus is 12 and Ellie, our rescue dog is 5 years old. Dogs give you unconditional love. It’s hard when they get old. You know they won’t be with you forever. They get sick just like we do and we need to be there for them. We had a cat once. He was adorable. One night when my husband was working (military) the cat kept jumping on me. Something it never did before. Seems he was warning me that the gas stove was putting out fumes. Thankfully, hubby came home from work and threw his cigarette down before walking into the house. We had two kids that had a bedroom near the kitchen. Hubby smelled it and went in and fixed the odor. Then a week later, a neighbor’s dog caught our cat and killed it.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it? Does it help you with your writing?

I’m retired from the college where I worked for many years as an educational advisor. Yes, I did get ideas listening to students. I also wrote for the confession magazines and various newspapers while working there.

What do you like best about your hero from SWEET SUNSET?

Zack is compassionate. In spite of Myrtle Sue’s crazy family, he loves all of them. He’s a psychologist, and as Myrtle Sue says, he could practice on all of them. (I could use him with my family too!)

What do you like best about your heroine from SWEET SUNSET?

Myrtle Sue has a lot to put up with, a dead husband who talks to her in her sleep, an unmarried pregnant daughter, another daughter who is in an abusive marriage, a son who doesn’t want to grow up and a mother-in-law with dementia who moved in with her. But in spite of it all, she loves them and helps however she can. She also learns to quit being an enabler.

I love the name Myrtle Sue. How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?

Long ago, in the early stages of AOL, a bunch of published and unpublished writers started a crazy fictional place to live we called Happy Acres. My name there was Myrtle Sue. My friend, Martha Hicks, (AKA Gladys Luween), was my next-door neighbor. We are still friends and call one another by those names. As for the others in Sweet Sunset, my editor made me change a lot of names. She said I had too many that started with M and other letters. I was running out of names to call Zack, and finally said Zack, no other names with Z. Then I realized the dog’s name was Zeus. I figured folks would figure out the difference between the two. I say I didn’t use anyone I know, but my husband says I know who that really is. So perhaps I did have a few people I know, strictly accidental, right?

How can readers reach you or find you online?

I’m on Face Book. I have an author page https://www.facebook.com/Dee-Gatrell-Author-1835656376706280/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/deegat41
Email: gatrelldee@gmail.com

We all need to laugh at times. I hope I always give readers a chuckle.

You made me chuckle with this interview, Dee! Thanks for being here. 


Myrtle Sue Henderson, widowed, didn’t count on her mother-in-law moving in with her when her husband passed over. But Myrtle Sue’s loopy in-law troubles aren’t her only family baggage—she’s ailed with three adult children who use her like she’s a pair of Depends. With a daughter and two grandchildren attempting to escape an abusive husband, a second unmarried daughter who is pregnant with twins, and a son who refuses to grow up, she’s at her wits end.

Myrtle Sue didn’t figure she’d ever meet another man she’d care for, until she went to church to get away from her troubles, only to find more when her mother-in-law causes chaos and hits an elderly man with her cane and helps herself to money out of the collection plate. That’s how she meets Zack. She figures once he meets her dysfunctional family, he’ll run as fast as he can—away from them.


Sonja’s eyes widened, and she grinned.

I thanked God Adam was blind to Hazel’s faults. “Thank you, Adam. You have no idea how happy I am that you’ll be here for Hazel.” And I really meant what I said.

Hazel walked into the kitchen and glanced around. “Who’s here? Oh my goodness! It’s my son Harold. How are you, honey?” She bent over and kissed Adam’s cheek. “And why don’t you ever visit your mommy, you naughty boy?”

I rolled my eyes and waved toward Adam. “Hazel, Harold’s been dead for twenty years. This is Adam, Sonja’s friend from the hospital. Remember? He’s a nurse, and he stays with you while I work.” I should’ve added whatever we paid him was worth every penny. He really was good to her.

“Oh, yes, Adam, dear.” She frowned at me. “Why can’t you be kind like Adam, Myrtle Sue? You’ve always been so mean to me.”

Sonja grinned. “Hi, Nana. How are you?”

“I’m fine.” She took a seat and grabbed a muffin. “Who are you? Are you Violet’s daughter?”

Sonja narrowed her eyes at her grandmother. “Nana! I’m Sonja, your granddaughter. Myrtle Sue and Don’s daughter.”

“Of course.” She laughed and pointed at her head. “You know how it is when you get old. Someday your mother will be just like me.”

Shuddering, I mumbled, “God forbid.”

“I hope you made roast beef for Father,” Hazel said.

“Yes, of course, and I made garlic rolls,” I lied, and then whispered, “Sonja, want some garlic tied around your neck?”


Hazel pointed at the stove. “Good. And remember, he likes carrots and noodles around his roast beef.”

Adam stood and smiled. “Well, I’ve got to go now. I’ll see you on Monday, Nana.”

“Okay, honey.” She reached into her pocket. “Here’s a dollar. Get yourself something to eat. You’re rather skinny, you know.”

“Thanks,” he said, kissing her cheek.

I walked him to the door.

He handed me the money. “I’ve tried giving her the money back, but she gets mad. You take it.”

I brushed away his hand. “No, Adam. You keep the money. Whatever you get, you deserve. You’re very good with Hazel. Good luck with your new friend.”

Five minutes after Adam left, my son, Terry, arrived.

Terry kissed my cheek. “What’s to eat, Ma?”

I hugged him. “Muffins.” Terry wasn’t pretty like Adam. Instead, he had a rugged look, more like a cowboy. He had those fabulous blue eyes but not the long lashes. His nose showed signs of his youthful fist fights, and his dimples added to his charm. I can’t tell you how many girls called the house for him in his teen years. And yet at the age of twenty-three, he still hadn’t found a special woman.

He grabbed a chair and sat. “Muffins? Don’t you have any real food?”

Buy Link:


Author Bio:

Dee Gatrell grew up in OH. She and her cousins entertained themselves by making up stories, dressing up in costumes and charging the neighborhood kids a few cents to come watch their plays. Her writing changed over the years. After marrying her husband Larry, they moved around the country, first when he was in the Air Force, next his civilian jobs required moving, too.

They have four children. Being away from family and listening to the kids running rampant, she would write letters to her relatives. She had a lot of aunts, uncles, cousins and various friends. This is her way to relieve stress. They found her amusing. She wasn’t trying to be funny, she was trying to stay sane.

The first time they relocated to Florida, her husband suggested she might want to go to college. Was he kidding? All she knew about was diapers, children, cleaning, laundry and cooking. She picked up the phone and called the local community college. The person on the phone encouraged her to take a writing class. From there she just kept attending until she finally, ten years later, received her BA from the University of Florida. She wrote for various newspapers over the years, and also worked as an educational advisor for Seminole State College before retiring.

Dee’s first novel, Sweet Sunset, was released in December 2016. She refers to the book as her dysfunctional family novel. She is now working on two more novels, one is an inspirational romance, the other another woman’s fiction.

Dee lives in Florida with her husband, Larry, four grown children, and a slew of grandkids. You can contact her on FaceBook or email her at gatrelldee@gmail.com.