Saturday, April 10, 2021

Books by Kim McMahill are featured today as Saturday's Blurbs #MFRWAuthor #Danger #Fear #Madness #Risky research


Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share a bit about my Risky Research Series. Book 1, is A Does of Danger, book 2 is A Taste of Tragedy, book 3 is A Foundation of Fear, and book 4 is A Measure of Madness, which has just been released. I also have a perma-free prequel novelette, A Formidable Foe, and a perma-free micro-read, Midnight in Montana, to accompany the series. Here’s a bit more about the first, third and fourth novels in the Series


A DOSE OF DANGER (First in the Risky Research Series)

When researcher Grace Talbot and her team discover a possible solution for weight loss, they are targeted by a group dedicated to controlling a diet product industry worth billions. Her unsanctioned testing methods bring tragedy to the family ranch and the attention of the local sheriff’s deputy. With her colleagues either dead, missing, or on the run she soon realizes she must trust the deputy with her life, but can she trust him with her heart?


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A FOUNDATION OF FEAR (Third in the series)

FBI Special Agent Devyn Nash is obsessed with taking down Coterie, a deadly group out to control the multi-billion-dollar diet product industry. The FBI’s plan to expose Coterie places Devyn’s best friend and her partner’s fianc√© in the crosshairs of this ruthless organization. Can Devyn protect her friend and bring the coldblooded killers to justice before they strike again while distracted by injury, a sexist bully, and a long-distance relationship with a handsome Wyoming sheriff?


Lobbyist and Coterie assassin Sofia Wilks wants nothing more than to regain control of her life. Sofia knows Agent Nash is nipping at her heels, but the FBI agent isn’t the worst of her fears. She is drawn to a man who has the power to destroy her.


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A MEASURE OF MADNESS (Fourth in the series)

FBI agent Devyn Nash's pursuit of a deadly organization heats up in this fourth installment of the Risky Research series.

The FBI locates the mastermind behind Coterie, but attempts to bring him in result in a shootout that sends Coterie’s members scrambling for cover. When Devyn’s partner is left fighting for his life in a Puerto Rican hospital, she becomes more determined than ever to bring them to justice.

Devyn’s decision to ignore her orders and pursue the head of Coterie to Brazil puts her job and her relationship with Sheriff Gage Harris in jeopardy, but she is unwilling to allow those responsible for so much death to live out their lives in paradise

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Join Kim McMahill as she talka about being a Panster or a Plotter #MFRWAuthor #Plotter #Panster #Plot #Characters


1. Are you a panster or a plotter or perhaps a bit of both? I’m definitely a bit of both. If the plot is exceptionally complex, I will plot. For example, in Shrouded in Secrets, I outlined most of the chapters, had a cork board with character profiles and other pertinent information, and used a map with pushpins and yarn to find geographic intersections. For the Risky Research Series as a whole, I predetermined how many books in the series, the title of each book, and which piece of the diet and nutrition industry would be highlighted in each novel. But the scenes and stories that I have the most fun writing are those where I can just sit down at the keyboard and let the characters and action inspire me to write off the cuff.


2. Which comes first - characters or plot for you? It varies. In Big Horn Storm, I had to have a cowboy named Deuce, and I wrote the story for him. In the Risky Research Series and several other novels, I had an idea for the stories and created the characters to pull off the action, adventure, and suspense.


3. What are you working on now? Is this a book in a current series or something totally new? I just released the fourth novel in the Risky Research Series, A Measure of Madness, and I’m currently working on the fifth and final installment, A Recipe for Revenge.


4. Do you have some kind of object or place that figures in most of your books? I use gems a lot, hospitals and caves. The Risky Research Series is all about the diet product, nutrition, and fitness industries and the science supporting those. However, most of my novels are more action/adventure based and I love remote unforgiving natural environments which adds an additional obstacle that the characters must overcome for success and a happily-ever-after ending.


5. Do you write everyday or just when the spirit hits? I can’t force creative writing. I just have to feel it. I do generally spend time everyday on various marketing projects like writing and programming blogs, and putting content on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but novel writing comes more in spurts.


6. Where can we find you?



Facebook Page:


Goodreads author page:

Amazon Author Page:



7. Who are your favorite authors? What about a book you’ve enjoyed? I have read every book in Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt series. I don’t know if his son will continue with that series or not since Mr. Cussler’s passing, so I’ve started reading his other work. I also love James Rollins and Dan Brown. The element all these authors have in common is great adventures, amazing locations, and a gift for creating suspense.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Thursday's Opening Scene features Murder and Bitter Tea #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Murder #Tea #Cozy mystery


The sun of the early April day shone in a cloudless sky. Yesterday’s rain had left the ground moist and easy for digging. Daffodils and tulips added color to the scene and delight to my spirits. I knelt beside one of the mint patches and loosened the soil around the emerging shoots. Soon the numerous varieties would be high and provide leaves for drying and blending into teas. This year, I planned to use green tea as a base in some of the blends.

I pulled weeds, then sank back to admire my work. My Maine Coon cat lay beside the gardening mat. With a boneless movement, Robespierre stretched. I sighed with envy and wished I had his supple spine. He ambled toward the car pulling into the driveway.

Jenna Taylor, one of my first floor tenants, slid from the red hatchback and waved. “Hi, Mrs. Miller.”

I rose and gathered my tools. “How was class?”

She grinned. “Thanks for your help on the Psych paper. Got an A.”

“I’m proud of you.”

Her hazel eyes filled with sadness. “You’re the only one.” She took the basket and carried it to the porch of my “Painted Lady.”

The Victorian house I’d lived in since my dead husband and I had settled in this Hudson Valley village had been converted into two apartments. I chose the second floor with its view of the river and rented the first. A week after my return from Santa Fe, I’d acquired Jenna and her friend as tenants. The young women were students at the local college, Jenna in Nursing and Louise in Business.

I paused at the foot of the steps. “Why don’t you call your grandmother? I’m sure she’d be glad to see you and as proud of your accomplishments as I am.”

She shook her head. “And bring my problems with my uncle on her head? He hated my mother. After my dad died, Mom asked him for help and he refused.” Tears glittered in her eyes. “You should have heard the things he accused me of after my cousin’s death. I’m better off staying away from family.”

I touched her hand. “The accident was five years ago. Surely he’s over the loss by now.”

She combed her fingers through her short honey blonde hair. “He never forgives or forgets.” She handed me the basket. “Have to change for work. See you tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” I echoed and followed her inside. Robespierre trailed me upstairs. There, I spilled a little food in his dish. He thinks he should be fed every time he returns from outside. I always indulge him by adding a few dry tidbits.

I put the kettle on. I hurt for Jenna. She’d seen more tragedy in twenty-three years than anyone should bear. Her father’s death, her mother’s alcoholism and series of abusive relationships. Orphaned at fourteen, she’d gone to live with her grandmother. Three years later, there’d been the accident and her cousin had died. For some reason I hadn’t learned until recently, Jenna had become a runaway.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Murder and Mint Tea #MFRWHooks #BWLAuthor #Cozy mystery #Maine coon cat #Murder #Mint Tea

The authors at #MFRWHooks here  have some great excerpts for you to read. Mine is from the first book of the series and is available at $1.49 permanently


 Katherine is a retired nurse and a retired church organist. The small Hudson River village where she lives in her Victorian “Painted Lady” makes her the neighborhood matriarch. Along with her Maine Coon Cat Robespierre, she guards friends and families.

When amoral Rachel moves into the first floor apartment of Katherine’s house, trouble erupts. The murder weapon is one she recognizes and makes her fear for her friends and family. Finding the killer becomes her goal.

Editorial Review
Murder and Mint Tea is a gem in its genre, combining the voice of a classic American whodunit with that of a traditional British detective novel. Murder She Wrote meets Miss Marple in a beautifully crafted tale that makes the reader want to reach into the pages and dispense justice to the villainess themselves. ~ Writer Gail Roughton
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2019
Verified Purchase
Yes, the book unfolds slowly, exactly as you can imagine such events happening. A glamorous young divorced woman and her children, boy and girl, move into a friendly, safe, pleasant neighborhood and rent the downstairs of a lovely old house. Pretty quickly, the landlady, a retired nurse with deep roots in her community, learns that her renters, foisted off on her by a trusted friend of her son, are trouble. Not the daughter, who both brother and mother treat as a live-in slave, but the boy, who is malicious and aggressive. Bit by bit, Mrs. Miller realizes that she has not one but two sociopaths living downstairs, because the mother proves to be a toxic personality. Plenty of creepy crawlies as you read, and piece by piece the true crime aspects of this "it could happen here" story unfolds. What I liked best about the book were the well-observed and true to life characters as well as the unsettling description of the unraveling of what has been a nearly idyllic neighborhood. I also loved the fact that Mrs. Miller is a mature woman and that her wisdom and her insights do have impact upon setting the world to rights again.

Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2018
Verified Purchase
Mrs. Katherine Miller spends her days enjoying her friends and family and she's anxious for a new tenant in her downstairs apartment. Her son, Andrew, has found a woman with two children who will sign a year's lease.
The woman, Rachel, turns out to be loud, obnoxious, neglectful of her children, and seductive to any man in her vicinity.
Katherine worries about the woman's abused daughter and takes Susie under her wing.
This is more a slice of life story than a mystery. The murder happens nearly at the end of the novel, and the perpetrator surprised me.
I enjoyed the different characters in the neighborhood and Katherine is kind and good-hearted. She should have been more assertive with nasty Rachel. The woman threatened her several times, and Katherine should have reported her to the authorities for that and the obvious child abuse, which might have gotten Rachel evicted.
Of course, that would have ruined the ending. A good read for a rainy day.


     As usual I woke around sin, showered and dressed for my walk.  The ache in my leg told me rain was on the way.  Robespierre met me in the kitchen and butted my leg until I cleaned his bowl and fed him.  At six thirty, fortified with a cup of mint tea, I lifted my cane, glanced at the cloud-darkened sky and left the apartment.

     On the porch I stared at the sky.  Would I complete the walk before it rained?  I glanced at the roses at the end of the porch.  A scrap of white fluttered.  Curiosity sent me across the porch.

     I reached for the ragged scrap of cloth and gasped.  When I looked over the railing acid rose in my throat.  I swallowed several times.  Rachel’s body sprawled among the bushes.  Her arms and legs curved awkwardly.  I hurried down the steps and around the porch.  Even if I hadn’t been a nurse I would have recognized death.

     On the ground several feet from her body I saw the knife.  The blood on the blade seemed duller than the splotch of red on the bodice of her white dress.  I bent to study the knife.  The distinctive ivory bands on the black handle identified it as one of the knives Bob and Sarah had given as gifts last Christmas.

     A rush of thoughts arose and threatened to engulf me.  I heard voices crying for Rachel’s death.

     “Someday you’ll end up dead and there’ll be too many suspects for an arrest.”

     “I wait for her.  I have the knife.”

     “You’ll be sorry, sorry, sorry.”

     “I hate her.  I wish she was dead.”

     “How about the Orient Express method?”

     What should I do?  The voices of my friends and loved ones brought my protective instincts to play.  The possibility someone I knew had ended Rachel’s life was strong.  Once again I saw Tim slice the air with the knife.  The day the Rodgers had moved in I had placed one of the knives on the tray of food.  Neither had been returned.  With a sudden thought I knew even Susie could have wielded the knife.

     I pulled a tissue from my pocket and wrapped it around the knife.  After grasping the tissue I turned my back on Rachel, crossed the lawn and walked to the river.

     I sat on the bench and stared at the tissue wrapped knife.  Rachel was dead.  Even in death she retained the power to destroy.  Without the knife could the police prove a case against anyone?  I walked down the steps to the shore.  With a wide swing I hurled the knife and watched the white tissue and its burden vanish.

     After washing my hands I waved them dry.  A misting rain began.  She’s dead.  Maybe there will be peace.  I turned and began the walk home.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - Exposition - All That Research #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Exposition #Research

 I don't think I've ever written a book whether contemporary, historical based or fantasy without doing a little research. Sometimes I do a lot. Then when I'm writing how tempted I am to put in everything I've learned during this research. This usually comes in big gulps of exposition. While some of the information will interest me this gush of material will broee the reader and that's nothing we want to do.

I create worlds in various times but I've learned to keep the material to the minimum. I have several books set in an alternate Egypt. When setting up the series, I read a lot of books I have on the subject and ended up with a small note book. I could have spent pages building the world but I didn't. I tried to keep the blocks of exposition to a few scattered bits that brought I hope clarity to the story. Weaving this into the action was difficult but it can be done.

Also I write fantasy and this is a different kind of research. You need to look at the culture you're designing. If you're writing more than one book in this fantasy world, you can put pieces of what youhave designed into one book and more in a second. 

So keeping the exposition to a minimum and enough to give the reader the flavor of the world or culture you're building can be hard but it can also be a challenge. Who wants to read pages of prose and research in a story. I know I don't.

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Monday, April 5, 2021

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Reading #Writing #Thoughts

 Meander 1 -- Reading _ A bit of varied reading last week. Finn by Michael Geraghty - what a great take on motorcycle gang stories. You can go home again but only if you're willing to face both the bad times and the good. The Seven-Foot Cupid by Edward Hoornaert - a touch of science fiction and a lot of humor in this romance. Dare to Tease by Carly Phillips friend and great author. Enjoyed the emotion as usual/ FinallyOrigin of Pietas - by Kayelle Allen - Science fiction again but with an emotional kick and a good story about the friendship between a super man and a human. All good reads.

Meander 2 - Thoughts - Phone calls and emails - Today we keep in touch several ways one by phone and two by emails. I learned two things. Some phone calls are great and some bring youdown. This is a bad time for all of us but dwelling on the negative is such a downer. I try not to do this. Happens though. Also try not to get into politics when speaking to people but that also happens. That can make me a bit steamed but I try to ignore and try to present the facts that I have researched. Emails are a cleaner way to go most of the time. The one thing I try not to do is fire off one in response to something another person has said. Usually works. Especially since I have learned over the years not to take things like the panning of one of my books seriously. There are times when I review goes up I would like to reply to, especially when they post something clearly showing they haven't read the book. But sending emails to congratulate someone or send good wished is fun to do.

Meander 3 - Writing - Am on the last and final draft of Haunted Dreams and re-writing a lot of scenes. It's the typing that takes forever so that is keeping me pinned to the computer. I always re-type the final draft since I've put in so many changes I want to make sure what I've added or subtracted dowsn't halt the flow. I should finish by the end of the month and that will be ahead of schedule.

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday's Book Murder and Bitter Tea #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #cozy mystery #Hudson Valley #Nursing home


Katherine’s newest tenant is estranged from her family and is the granddaughter of one of Katherine’s friends. When her friend falls and fractures her hip, the elderly woman is taken to Hudson House nursing home, an exclusive house.

Katherine’s friend becomes concerned about several recent and unexpected deaths. When she dies Katherine’s curiosity and suspicions send her undercover as a nurse. Soon she’s deeply involved.

Can she learn who is behind the scheme to end the lives of wealthy patients without becoming a victim?

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Saturday's Blurbs feature Books by Joanie MacNeil #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Scotland #Australia #Contemporary romance



Latest release


Contemporary romance set in Scotland

A Traditional Affair–Honorable Men–The Scots: Galen


Will Kate, a modern and determined young woman, resist the temptation to accept Galen’s proposal of marriage?


Within the imposing halls of historic Carabrae, Scotland, Australian Kate Fielding finds herself caught in an unusual love triangle.


The outspoken young woman who stirs both his demons and his passions intrigues traditional Scot, Galen MacBain. Marriage to Kate would provide him with an heir and a father for her child.


Kate cannot accept Galen’s convenient proposal. Though her baby would inherit the wealthy MacBain estate, her marriage to Galen would be for the wrong reasons. In their push and pull search for love, trust and family values, will this modern and determined young woman resist the temptation to accept Galen's proposal of marriage?


Sapphire Kisses–contemporary romance


Alexandra Jordan doesn’t expect the challenge ahead of her when she agrees to spend the summer as a research assistant for acclaimed author, David Meredith, who is losing his sight.


David feels threatened by her presence in his home, his sanctuary, and the only place he can be independent. Determined to prove he doesn’t need help, he demands Alex leave. Hired to fill the position as his assistant, she persists in staying on. Once he accepts Alex isn’t like other women, her beguiling ways soon intrigue him…until he discovers her secret.


The Trouble with Natalie–contemporary romance


Natalie Harrigan knows men are trouble, and having a man in her life is not on her agenda. She'd rather focus on her appointment as CEO of the new Training Advisory Council. Success as the best CEO ever is her number one priority.


Luke DeMarco, appointed as Director of the same Council, is her young brother’s best friend. Luke has always loved Natalie from the moment he first set eyes on her at eight years old. Now, twenty years later, she’s more woman than ever, and Luke’s not too worried about the twelve years difference in their ages. He believes gentle wooing will convince his new boss, Natalie, that age is no barrier to love. Will she allow him to move from their boardroom to her bedroom?

Friday, April 2, 2021

Friday Joanie MacNeil is visiting and talking about Panster or Plotter #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Scotland #Australia #Office romance

 Hi Janet, thank you for having me on your blog today.


Panster or Plotter


Day 1


1.    Are you a panster or a plotter or perhaps a bit of both?

A bit of both. While knowing how I want my story to end, I seem to take the longest and hardest path to get there. In my computer files, there are at least two or three manuscripts, unfinished, because I’ve lost my way.


I’ve downloaded Plotter to help keep me on track for future projects. However, I haven’t played with it yet. I’m looking forward to the challenge of giving it a go for my next project: one of the unfinished manuscripts.


2.    Which comes first - characters or plot for you?

It depends on the story. I had a couple of characters/ideas in mind for two books, and combined them into one story–Desperate and Dateless.


A few chapters into Sweet Temptations I lost my way, though knew how I wanted the characters’ journey to end. I wrote the closing chapters and that pulled me through the story. It’s a tricky way to write a romance. It’s important to ensure the developing relationship and emotions are in the right order.


3.    What are you working on now? Is this a book in a current series or something totally new?


My March release, A Traditional Affair–Honorable Men–The Scots: Galen, is a contemporary romance set near Loch Ness, Scotland, and is the first book in my Honorable Men series.


I’m working through revisions for Book 2, A Sense of Duty–Honorable Men–The Scots: Regan. This book is due for release in July this year, and is set in Braemar, Scotland.


4.    Do you have some kind of object or place that figures in most of your books? I use gems a lot, hospitals and caves.


Coastal settings in and around the Sapphire Coast, south of Sydney, provided background for Sapphire Kisses, Loving Nick…Again, and Sweet Temptations. I’ve used the same setting for one of my unfinished manuscripts.


For No Boundaries and The Trouble with Natalie, I drew on my experience as an executive assistant for a backdrop to these office romances.


Visits to Scotland many years ago provided ideal settings for my two Scottish novels.


5.    Do you write every day or just when the spirit hits?


My goal is to write on a regular basis. When I reach a momentum on the project I’m working on, I try to keep that energy going. Commitments on my time can get in the way and zap my get-up-and-go. I don’t always maintain the writing habit every day.


Late last year, I completed two online writing courses through RWAustralia. The courses triggered two projects: the first, a short story, which I’ve wanted to write for two or more years. When the time is right I’ll revisit, and may consider turning it into a novella.


For the second course, I worked on the first five pages of an incomplete novel and that’s in my ‘must finish’ pile for later in the year. The feedback I received contributed to my enthusiasm for the story again.


I believe success with writing a particular story depends on timing. I’ve set aside a few stories, and returned to them much later with fresh ideas, which, previously, I’d never considered.



6.    Where can we find you?


7. Who are your favorite authors? What about a book you’ve enjoyed?

I enjoy listening to audio books, as my eyes are too tired at night to focus on the screen or print books. Of course, there’s always the risk of falling asleep no matter how good the book is. But I can rewind the next night!


I’ve finished three more books in the Icelandic series by Ragnar J√≥nasson. The descriptions took me back to my visit to Iceland in 2017. I’d love to visit there again.


I’m enjoying Outback Dreams, a contemporary romance by Australian Author, Rachael Johns. I’d like to listen to more of her novels set in Outback Australia. She brings both characters and setting to life.


I have several stories to listen to, including Bridgerton: The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn, plus other authors who are new to me. I did find the Bridgerton series on Netflix very entertaining.


Two on my list to download at some stage are:

Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites and a Barbara Erskine novel–I can’t decide which one yet. I’ve read most of hers, but not for a long time. Two or three are particular favorites: Lady of Hay, Midnight is a Lonely Place and The Warrior Princess.


Of course, I have several novels in my Kindle to read! The list never ends!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Thursday's Opening Scene from Murder and Tainted Tea #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Mystery #Santa Fe


This year the Christmas season held little joy for me. There were a few brief moments of pleasure that vanished all too soon. Seeing a small child’s delight in the twinkling tree lights. Selecting gifts for my family, friends and neighbors. Watching my granddaughter perform the role of Clara in a local production of the Nutcracker. Those times did little to halt my feelings of regret and grief.

On Christmas Eve, I sat with my family in a pew in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and huddled in my coat. The chill I felt had nothing to do with the voices of the choir raised in joyful celebration, or in the message of hope and peace contained in the sermon and the liturgy. My feelings were caused by things I had and had not done.

Though we sat several rows in front of the place where death had stained the stones of the floor, my awareness of past events nearly drove me to leave. Remembering last month’s Evensong and the death of the choir master brought frost-filled memories and stirred my guilt. For my covetousness had brought him here, and I’d been the one to discover the body.

Your fault. Your fault. Those words had circled in my thoughts for weeks.

As the candles were lit at midnight, I prayed my role in Roger Brandon’s death would fade and I could forgive myself. I also knew my decision to welcome the New Year in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my dear friend, Lars Claybourne, was mete and right. Thoughts of the trip had become my golden dream.

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