Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Clothes & Characters in the Old West: #NewRelease from Julie Howard

Julie Howard's newest book, THE THREE WIDOWS OF WYLDER, released yesterday, October 18, 2021. Today she's here to talk about what her old west characters are wearing in the book. Thanks for being here, Julie!

Thank you, Jana, for having me on your blog. My latest release, The Three Widows of Wylder, came out this week – a historical fiction about three women with terrible secrets.

The story is set in 1882 and the three main characters are very different in backgrounds and personalities. One way to illustrate their differences is through their attire and even their attitudes toward clothing. At the time, of course, women wore long dresses. Bustles were in style, corsets required, and most people wore hats when in company. Straw hats were in fashion and women decorated their hats with ribbons, feathers and fabrics.

Clara, who lives in Missouri at the start of the novel, is a simple, practical woman. She has five dresses and in her mind, that’s plenty:

She had always considered herself wealthy enough with five dresses— three simple calicos for everyday use, a modest charcoal for church, and an old navy, threadbare at the hem and cuffs, for cleaning the stove or other grimy chores. 

When Clara meets Mary Rose, she encounters a vain, spoiled woman whose identity is caught up in her attire:

Mary Rose fussed among her belongings. Dresses laid out, either to air or loosen wrinkles. Lavender, yellow, crimson, emerald—a constellation of hues overlapping like a spring bouquet. 

Then, of course, there is the very different Emma, an expert horsewoman and crack shot:

Thin face swallowed by cheekbones, wide gray eyes and a hard-set mouth that no longer recalled how to smile. Stained brown pants held up by a braided leather belt, and a blue long- sleeved shirt tucked in tight. A battered cowboy hat, found near a graveyard two months ago, covered her hair. Her pistol holstered on one hip

Simply through their clothing, a picture of their personalities is drawn. These women would have nothing in common in normal times, but there is nothing normal about their lives as the story begins. They must cling together for survival and an uneasy friendship ensues.

Here is more about The Three Widows of Wylder:


Three women on the run.

After the death of her husband, Clara flees a hanging judge and seeks refuge with her brother in Wylder, Wyoming.

With secrets of her own and good reasons to flee, spoiled and vain Mary Rose joins Clara on the trek to Wyoming. Surely a suitable man exists somewhere.

Emma is a mystery. A crack shot and expert horsewoman, her harrowing past seeps out in a steady drip. She’s on the run from something, but what?

After the three women descend on Wylder, a budding romance leads to exposure of their pasts. As disaster looms, will any of them escape?


Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth. 

“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”

The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.

Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”

The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.

“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.

The two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”

As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.

“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”

Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”

About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.

Website: http://juliemhoward.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/juliemhowardauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18116047.Julie_Howard 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Howard/e/B07D6CS4NQ/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/julie-howard?list=author_books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JulieMHoward

Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Widows-Wylder-West-ebook/ 

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-three-widows-of-wylder/id1585169665

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-three-widows-of-wylder-julie-howard/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-three-widows-of-wylder-the-wylder-west-by-julie-howard

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58903448-the-three-widows-of-wylder

Friday, October 15, 2021

Karen Guzman's Blog Tour for ARBORVIEW

 I'm part of Karen Guzman's blog tour today! Make sure to enter her draw at the end of this post. Thanks for being here, Karen!



by Karen Guzman

Genre: Women's Fiction

When the recipe for a new life is bittersweet…

Ellen Cahill's financial future rides on the success of her new pastry shop. A bruising divorce has drained her bank account, along with her spirit. A man enters her life promising love, but Ellen, haunted by the past, questions whether she can pull off this new beginning.

College student Rosa Escamilla has her own culinary dreams—and a difficult mother who's dead set against them. Rosa won't be deterred. She scrapes up the money to enroll at a prestigious culinary school, setting out to prove everyone wrong.

When hidden betrayals by the people they love most surface for both Ellen and Rosa, can they overcome the blows they never saw coming on the road to where they want to go?

That was how she had come to think of herself: a divorced person. She disliked ”divorcee,” which Alice liked to throw about suggestively. The word had the faint stink of misogyny, of finger-pointing, the whisper of failure—more so a woman’s than a man’s. Why was that? Men were simply “divorced,” a neutral proclamation. No cutesy name had been invented to designate their failed-marriage status.

In truth though, if Ellen had failed anyone, she had failed herself. That stinging little insight had come to her in Arborview, lying in dappled sunlight, where she was free to look at things, to test them out, and creep near the truth. The truth was she had fallen like a stone to the earth after all these years, and the voice that she had learned to ignore had only grown louder. God, forgive me. She had abandoned, or at least shelved, herself, long before Zach worked up the courage to do it.

She really should tell Rosa this: Don’t worry about what your mother thinks, or your brother, or anyone else. Choose, or the world will do it for you. That was what the girl needed to hear.

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Karen Guzman is a fiction writer and essayist. Her new novel, Arborview, will be published on September 29 by The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Homing Instincts, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2014. Karen’s short fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and her story collection, Pilgrims, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.

Karen is a regular contributor to the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings Online magazine. She is the recipient of a 2021 writing fellowship at the Collegeville Institute.

You can find Karen’s books on Amazon, and learn more about her work at www.karenguzman.com

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Print Copy of Arborview,

$10 Amazon giftcard

-1 winner each

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Interview with Shiela Stewart!

Today paranormal romance author Shiela Stewart answers some of my interview questions, and I'm excited to get to know her better. We recently discovered we come from the same province in Canada! Thanks for being here today, Shiela! 

Where did you get the idea for your new novel Secrets of the Dead

I’ve always believed in ghosts, having seen quite a few of them. The first time I saw one was when I was 8. I saw my grandmother standing in my parents doorway, which in itself is weird because she couldn’t stand or walk. The next morning my mother found out my grandmother had died during the night. 

I’ve written a few ghosts stories over the years, but Secrets of the Dead is my favorite because I know how C.J. feels when no one believes him that he sees the dead.

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

I’d like the readers to have an open mind to the possibilities of spirits among us who haven’t, or can’t pass on.

How many books do you have under the proverbial bed? Will they ever see the light of day? 

Oh lord. Too many to count. LOL I have a huge box of manuscripts (Yes, real paper copies) in my storage room. There are a few I would like to bring out and put on my computer, but they are so raw it would take me forever to edit them. 

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

I’m Bipolar. I’ve suffered from Depression all of my life but was only diagnosed in my 30s. 

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

I’ve been married for 36 years to a wonderfully supportive man who is more than just my husband. He’s my best friend and biggest fan. We have three grown children, one daughter in law and four wonderful grandkids ages 11, 4,4 and 3. I’m a Canadian living on the prairies and have all my life. I’ve always been a storyteller. As a child, I would make up stories for my cousins and as I got older, I would jot down the ideas for stories that popped into my head. Most of my stories come from dreams or nightmares.  

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?  

Are you ready for this? I have 7 cats. In no particular order. Castiel, Tigger, Gizmo, Meg, Salem, Misty and Cinder. 10 Angelfish. Three glow fish. Six clown loaches. 

Each one of my cats is unique in their own way. Castiel for instance has the nickname as Casshole, because, well. He’s an asshole. He knocks things off of tables, stands, bed tables and anything else he can sit on. He is also deaf. Tigger is my snuggler. He HAS to sleep in my arms. If he can’t, he leans into my face and whines until I open my arms for him. Misty and Cass play fetch. Gizmo plays flop on my feet and shows me his belly to scratch. Meg…we call her a sloth because she’s so lazy. Salem Dances when she wants milk. Cinder purrs so loud it will wake us up. 

What are your hobbies away from the computer? 

I love to crochet blankets, clothing, and recently I’ve been making bunnies and jellyfish. It’s really relaxing and my grandkids love them.

What do you like best about your hero in Secrets of the Dead

C.J. Dowling is funny at times and serious at others. I love his warped sense of humor. Unfortunately, a lot of his comedic moments were taken out of the final version.

What do you like best about your heroine? 

Her determination. She refuses to believe purely on the word of someone. She has to see to believe.

How can readers reach you or find you online? 

I have several places. They can find my books and other info on my Website at www.shielastewart.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiela.stewart 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShielaSue 

Blog: https://shielasbooksnstuff.blogspot.com/ 

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

I recommend Secrets of the Dead because it has everything you could want. Its funny, serious, scary and lots of love. 

Tell us about your next release.

Innocence of the Dead, Bk 2 in The Lost Souls series which is a continuation from Secrets of the Dead. It takes place 20+ years after Secrets about the Hero and Heroine's, (C.J. and Jessica) oldest daughter who has C.J.’s abilities to see spirits. Only thing is, she hates it and has tried everything to ignore them, including running away to become an artist. When her father suffers a heart attack, she comes home and is haunted by the spirit of a little girl who has been murdered. While trying to get information on the child she meets Ethan Montgomery and falls in love with him, despite him being married and going through a divorce. As she digs deeper into the murdered child, she discovers she’s not the only one.

Secrets of the Dead

Lost Souls Series 1

Website: www.shielastewart.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiela.stewart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShielaSue

Apple Books. : https://books.apple.com/us/book/seducing-the-darkness/id1050480128

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shiela-Stewart/e/B002BLN95E%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seducing-the-darkness-shiela-stewart/1014485332?ean=2940152679007

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/secrets-of-the-dead-17

Decadent Publishing:  http://decadentpublishing.com/secrets-of-the-dead/

Author Bio:

Shiela Stewart is a paranormal suspense author with a writing history that stems back to her youth.  Always a dreamer, wondering if her stories would ever reach an audience, she was finally published in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since.  It is rare to find a stand-alone book as she prefers series stories. Her longest running series to date is her Darkness series, which is a vampire romance.

Her joy for scary suspense is evident in each of her books. She has had several accomplishments, including fighting for the top spot in the rankings with author Stephanie Myers, receiving glowing reviews as well as interviews on local television and reviews and interviews in The Romantic Times Magazine. 

When not writing, Shiela spends her time with the love of her life, William, and their children and grandchildren. Her strong affection for animals is evident in the many cats she cares for. 

Her favorite time of the day is at sunset.

Secrets of the Dead 


Jessica Coltrane is a die-hard sceptic who believes that ghosts and paranormal activity are nothing more than a figment of an overactive imagination. That is until she finds herself locked inside a haunted house with the enigmatic paranormal investigator C.J. Dowling.

Born with the ability to see and speak to the dead, C.J. Dowling thought investigating a haunted house would be a job like many others. He’s prepared for anything—except smart and sexy Jessica. 

Working together in close quarters, C.J. and Jessica discover it isn’t only negative tension between the two, but sexual as well. Giving into their desires seemed like a good idea at the time, until they wake and find the spirits thought otherwise. Trapped with the ghost of a child long forgotten, an amorous entity that is threatening Jessica, and a powder keg of a spine-tingling mystery that might just be better left buried.


Something tickled her nose. Using her hand, she tried to swipe it away and felt the brush of hair against her knuckles. Planting her hand, she felt the warm flesh beneath her palm.

Recognition hit and woke her with an angry slap. Eyes shooting open, she sat up quickly and instantly regretted it when the room spun wildly around her. Laying back down, closing her eyes, she waited out the dizziness the hangover caused. Her mind raced to the night before.

The soft ache in her loins reminded her of what she’d done. Carefully opening her eyes, she turned her head to see a naked C.J. beside her.

“Oh, God.” She looked over his naked body, remembering how good it felt having him inside her. She hadn’t been that drunk that she couldn’t remember the event, and lord, what an event it had been. They had literally torn each other’s clothing off. She’d been an animal, which was so not like her.

What did they do now? Would they go on as they had been, sniping at each other, treat this as a one-night fling and move on? In truth, the guy irritated the hell out of her, yet he’d made her feel so incredible the night before. How was she supposed to respond to him now, after sharing something so intimate?

“Dowling,” she spoke quietly. “Dowling.” When he moaned, she slapped his chest. “Dowling!”


“Wake up.”

“I’m awake.” He looked at her with a smile. “Morning.” Then his eyes went wide. “Holy hell.” He bolted upright and jumped to his feet, nearly knocking her over. “Oh, my God.”

“What the hell?” The sofa stood on its end, two sitting chairs slammed up right against it, all pushed against the window. The coffee and end tables stood one on top of the other, in front of the fireplace. 

Carefully, Jessie stood up, waiting out the dizziness. She had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. It looked like a hurricane had blown through. “How…” 

“I need to check my equipment.” He flew off, still nude, and she got one hell of a look at his ass. 

She saw her shirt by the fireplace, straps torn. She couldn’t exactly wear it in its condition. Spotting his shirt hanging over the couch, she grabbed it and put it on. It barely covered her, but would have to do for now.

“This is incredible. The meters went off the scale. The temperature recorded several degrees below freezing at one point. It didn’t last long, though, as it rose exponentially. And we slept through it all. Damn, I have never seen anything like this before. It’s phenomenal.”

“You’re naked, you know?”

“What?” He didn’t even look up.

“You’re naked.” She tossed him his jeans, hitting him square in the face.

Unaffected by it, he grabbed the jeans and slipped into them using his free hand.  It amused her to watch him shimmy into his tight jeans, jumping from one foot to the other. “The cameras!” He rushed to the video equipment as he did up his pants. “Do you know what this means?”

“That you were a busy boy last night.”

He looked at her, confused. “Beg pardon?”

“I don’t know how you managed it all alone, but I give you credit for a job well done.”

“You think I did all of this?”

“No, I know you did all of this. Boy, you’ll do anything to make me a believer.”

His eyes narrowed and his voice dipped an octave. “You think I did all of this just to make you believe there are ghosts here?”


“Fine.” Walking to her, he grabbed her arm and led her to the camera.

“Let go of me.”

“Not until you see this.” Taking her by the shoulders, he turned her to face the monitor attached to one of the cameras. “Watch.” He pressed play.

Folding her arms across her chest, Jessie glared at the screen. He’d recorded them having sex. 

“Oh my God, you taped us making out? How could you?”

“I have my cameras set on timers that begin taping on their own. I didn’t know we were going to go at it like rabbits last night. Watch.”

“You will erase those tapes,” she insisted, then grunted when he turned her face back to the monitor. “What the hell?”

“Keep watching.”

She couldn’t pry her eyes away if she tried. The furniture lifted in the air, spun around wildly before they slammed in front of the fireplace and window. “Oh my god!”

“My sentiments exactly. I need to check the rest of the house.” He left her mesmerized in front of the TV.

Friday, October 8, 2021

TARGET:#NewRelease from Tina Donahue

 Today Tina Donahue's blog tour for her new release TARGET stops at my blog. Be sure to enter Tina's giveaway at the end of the post. Best of luck!



The Valesky Crime Family Book 1

by Tina Donahue

Genre: Dark Mafia Romance

A Russian kingpin wants her dead… the only one who can stop it is the man sent to murder her.

Toni Flores loved her dream job working for a respected US senator until he raped her. She’s determined to bring him to justice, no matter the cost.

For years, Dimitri Valesky, head of a Russian crime family in America, has bought off those in government. Just like the senator responsible for Toni’s assault. When she won’t keep quiet about it and risks Dimitri’s business, he orders his stepson Michael to kill her.

Michael’s a lobbyist not a mafia enforcer. He refuses the insane demand, but Dimitri insists. The power he holds over Michael and his brothers is absolute… or so he believes.

Rather than murder Toni, Michael intends to romance her. Once he convinces her to keep quiet about the Senator, she won’t be a target any longer and Dimitri will back off on the hit. The plan falls apart and now they are dodging mafia enforcers, bullets, and Dimitri’s outrage.

Michael and Toni fight to stay alive and save those dearest to them as they also fall hopelessly in love.

This is book one in the Valesky Crime Family series and has an HEA.

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary dark mafia romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, action, adventure, adult themes, and possible triggers for some readers.


Once outside the capitol, my phone buzzes. The display shows my mother’s picture and name. Worried, I answer. “Mama, are you all right?”

“It’s me,” Dimitri says.

I squeeze the phone, wishing it were his throat. If Mama hadn’t married him… If she hadn’t been desperate about feeding and housing her boys when we were little…

Too late now for regrets. The SOB’s tentacles surround each of us. Unless, or until, I kill him, nothing will change. Before I speak, I make certain to mask my disgust. If I piss him off, he’ll take out his rage on my mother, his nearest and weakest target. “He’s voting your way. This time, he won’t change his mind.”

Khorosho.” Russian for good. “I knew you’d come through for me, Mikhail.”

Only because he has the proverbial gun to my head. There isn’t one thing I don’t detest about Dimitri, including his guttural voice. Despite having lived in the States since he was fifteen, he still has a thick accent.

Wanting to end this as quickly as possible, I lie. “I have another appointment. When I’m through with it, I’ll send you details of what Cyrus and I discussed.”

“That’s not why I’m calling.”

Despite the warmish spring weather, my skin goes clammy. “Is Mama all—”

“She’s fine, and will stay that way, as long you do what you’re told.”

I long to call him every vile thing imaginable but keep my tongue. Something I learned as a kid. His beatings were always worse if I cried or cursed him. If I was silent, that enraged him further, but he wore himself out faster. A win for me.

He clears his throat, but still coughs, thanks to his three-pack a day cigarette habit. Innocent kids get cancer, but not him. What a screwed-up world.

“I have another project for you, Mikhail.”

Damn. “What bill is it this time?”

“Not a bill. A woman. Toni Flores.”

I’m crossing the street when he says the name. My step pauses. Someone from behind bumps into me.

“She’s causing trouble,” Dimitri says. “You need to get rid of her.”


A different person bumps into me. I cross to the other side. “What are you talking about?”

“She’s causing problems for Stowe.”

Lucian Stowe is another senator Dimitri owns. “What kind of problems?”

“She’s been claiming to the police and anyone else she can that he sexually assaulted her. It’s not true, but she won’t stop lying about it and she never shuts her mouth.”

I hurry down the street to a less crowded area. “How do you know she’s lying?”

“Because I said so!”

In Dimitri’s world that makes perfect sense. “That’s no damn proof.”

“Even if she is telling the truth, it doesn’t matter!” He’s shouting louder than I did. “I need Stowe in my pocket! She has to be eliminated! I want you to do it.”

My stomach falls. “No. I don’t do that kind of work. Ever. Especially to a woman who’s—”

“I don’t care what she is or how you found out about her. I want it done. No arguments.”

Before I can speak, he ends the call.

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Tina’s an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes passionate romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, was named a finalist in the EPIC competition, received a Book of the Year award, The Golden Nib Award, awards of merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competitions, and second place in the NEC RWA contests. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

On a less serious note: she’s an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, brakes for Mexican restaurants, and has been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally while wolfing down tostadas. She’s flown a single-engine airplane (freaking scary), rewired an old house using an ‘electricity for dummies’ book, and is horribly shy despite the hot romances she writes.

Website * MeWe * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$15 Amazon 

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