Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs featuring Books by Sandy Carlson #MFRWauthor #Fantasy #Mackinac Island

1. War Unicorn: The Ring by S. L. Carlson

Aldric is content working in his family’s apple orchard—or as content as a fourteen-year-old-boy can be doing chores and dreaming up new magic—when he digs up an antique ring and releases a rude spell-bound unicorn. She claims she belongs to the king, but after her long imprisonment, she can’t tell Aldric which king that might be. Aldric promises to take her to the capital, and suddenly a simple three-day trip becomes an adventure.

War is building on his country’s borders, and even with the help of Aldric’s new friend Iggy, and Gwen, the general’s daughter, it’s going to take all the military sword training, courage, and magic Aldric has to find the unicorn’s rightful king. Promises will be made, the bonds of family and friendship will be tested, with a war which changes everything.

Can an apple farmer and one rude war unicorn save the country from the approaching enemy?


2. The Powder Horn of Mackinac Island by Sandy Carlson

Arianna’s family bought a souvenir shop on Mackinac Island, where no motor vehicles are permitted. They thought it a perfect place to become rich-rich-rich for a special surgery procedure for Arianna’s paraplegic brother, Luc, and safe enough for him to have mobile freedom.

When Arianna and Luc discover they can travel back in time to 1793, they meet an ancestor and return to their time to search for the treasure marked on their engraved antique family powder horn. But plans change when Luc finds he can walk there—in the past—and is reluctant to return to the present. Arianna must choose between the treasure and her brother.



Just how many homes and friends does a kid have to lose in twelve years? Driven from his neighborhood during the Chicago fire of 1871, Adrian and his parents move to the Michigan wilderness where his father lands a job at the sawmill. The town is called Singapore - as if a name could make a tiny pit of a town into a great seaport.

Only his best friend, big R.T., keeps Adrian level, even though R.T. does have that habit of speaking in animal dialects.

Just as Adrian starts to feel Singapore is his home, he discovers the moving sand dunes along the Lake Michigan shore are slowly burying his town. He tries to stop it, but how can he fight both man and nature?

TOWN Print:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday's Guest Sandy Carlson - Who She Was Before #MFRWauthor #Fantasy #Unicorns

   What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence  your writing?

Before I was a writer, I was first a storyteller. I wasn't much of a reader as a kid because I liked making up things and to be able to see the reactions of my "audience" (i.e., siblings, cousins, friends), and adjust my story to their emotional reactions. I didn't start actual writing down of stories until my early teens.

If, however, you meant what real-life job(s) I had to support my love of storytelling-writing, it was varied through the years, but mostly, I was a school teacher. Did teaching influence my writing? (Ooh, the true stories I could tell, but dare not.) Did those other dozen part-time jobs influence my writing? (Can you sense my head nodding a vigorous yes?) The fact of continually working with and alongside of people certainly influences my writing, no matter what the actual job, especially for plot and character. 

2.  Are you genre specific or general? Why? I  don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc.  There are many subgenres of the above. 

It's funny how I've always wanted to focus on writing for kids from the get-go, but it's my adult NF or humor articles, especially pre-blogging days, which were readily published. I've since published several historical fiction books for kids (reader ages 8-12), and now have been focusing on sharing my love of fantasy (reader age 10-14, through adult). Oh. And then there's that memoir I've been working on, which didn't at all start out as a memoir but seems to have developed into just that.

Short answer: General
Little longer short answer (by the hours spent and stories plotted): Fantasy for older kids

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres? 

I didn't really start reading like crazy (i.e., for pleasure) until I was an adult. My all-time favorite authors are C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Their fantasy-adventure tales and well-developed characters have definitely influenced me, but so has a zillion hours spent outdoors, gardening, hiking, encountering many an animal in the wild, and then reading about them later.

4. What's your latest release? 

War Unicorn: The Ring was published October, 2017 by Books We Love Publishing

5. What are you working on now? 

I'm doing a series following War Unicorn. I'm now on my third book in the series. There are other stories sitting in pots on the back burners of my large cast iron writing stove, which sometimes get things tossed in (ideas, characters, plots) and then turned up to simmer...or not. There is also that memoirs thing.

6. Where can we find you? 
You can find my social media links and more at
Yes, the S in S. L. Carlson stands for Sandy. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday's Third Scene - Romancing The Nurse #MFRWAuthor #Contemporary romance #medicine

Blake turned his head to hide a grin. So Ms. Prim and Professional was human after all. The stain of color that darkened her brown skin pleased him. She seemed every bit as aware of him as he was of her.

Maybe he should tell her he had no intention of leaving Hudson View, but he wanted to see if he could break through her stiff exterior. Ms. Ginny Barr was one fine woman. He inhaled her subtle perfume. In the past, he'd met and dated beautiful women and had appreciated them the way any man would. His intense and potent reaction to Ginny Barr surprised him.

He frowned. Some vague memory of having seen her before arose. No way, he thought. If he'd met her, he would have pursued the acquaintance. He planned to do just that, but not today. Her wariness intrigued him; her coldness presented a challenge.

After they returned to the nurses' station, he smiled. "Thanks for the tour. I'm looking forward to our next meeting."

Frost gathered in her eyes. She walked away. Instead of leaving, he leaned against the counter and watched the sway of her hips. Once she vanished, he headed to the elevators. Before going to the office and a meeting with his father's partners, he wanted to stop in Coronary Care.

Four days ago, the call from Mrs. Connor, the family's housekeeper, had accelerated his plans to leave the university. Though he would have welcomed another year as part of a prestigious team, his father's heart attack had made Blake realize he and his father needed each other.

Blake had been an infant when the Marshalls had adopted him. He'd grown up in a white home. As for his birth parents, he'd never asked questions or entertained curiosity about them. His adoptive parents had given him love, security and education. Unlike so many adopted children, he had never rebelled.

Not like Susan, and she hadn't had adoption as an excuse. From infancy, his blonde, green-eyed sister had fought every rule and restriction. When their mother died, Blake had been in his last year of medical school and too involved in building his career to have time for Susan. She'd chosen the wrong friends and the wrong activities. Three years ago, she'd become a runaway and a year later had died. For months, Blake's guilt had been a hot flame. Even now, the remains lay like embers waiting to flare again.

He paused outside the door of the cardiac unit and calmed his emotions. His father had never blamed anyone but himself for not being there for Susan, and Charles Marshall had understood Blake's need to immerse himself in surgery.

After pushing the door open, he strode past the desk and stopped in the doorway of his father's room. How old and drawn he looked, Blake thought. Funny how he'd always imagined his father as ageless.

Charles Marshall opened his eyes. "I thought you'd be in surgery. I had a knee on this morning's schedule."

"Greg suggested I take today to look things over and settle in." Blake recalled the hint of anger in

Greg's voice when he heard Blake's plans to remain in Hudson View. "Tomorrow, there's a knee replacement and a hip pinning. I'll scrub on them."

"What do you think of the ortho unit?"

"She's nice."

Charles Marshall laughed and the patina of age vanished from his face. "The unit, not the coordinator."

"It works." Blake stared at the wall. What had that woman done to him?

The older man leaned back against the pillows. "Speaking of Ginny Barr. Didn't I tell you she was the best thing to happen at Hudson View for ages?"

"She seems to be in control of the unit." The blatant admiration in his father's voice alarmed Blake. Just what was going on?

"Is that all you're going to say. Ginny's bright and she's gutsy. She's risen through the ranks and has a number of projects in the works for improving patient care. Since I'm knocked out of action, I hope you'll lend her your support." He winked. "She's a lovely woman."

A protest rose in Blake's thoughts. Then he saw the grin on his father's face. Blake shook his head. There was no way he would let his father play matchmaker. He could handle the situation on his own. For some reason, the prim Ms. Barr didn't like him, but she offered a challenge he couldn't resist.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday Hooking The Doctor's Dilemma #MFRWBookHooks #MFRWAuthor #Medical romance

The Doctor's Dilemma

Today, I'm joining other MFRW Authors for #MFRWBookHooks with The doctor's Dilemma a sweet romance.
Find the other authors and their books here

Take one doctor who’s made a career of temporary positions and avoiding commitment. Add a nurse who dreams of security and a settled life. Stir in infant twins bequeathed to him by his dead foster sister. Pour them into a small Texas town that wants the doctor to stay. 

To Dr. Neal McKay, it’s a prescription for a dilemma.

Streams of people eddied around Nora Harte, the pile of luggage and the double stroller. She scanned the faces of the crowd. A babble of voices filled the air. In an impatient rhythm, she tapped her foot against the floor.
Where is he?
Since Thursdays were almost a universal doctor’s day off, the trip had been scheduled for today. He knew the flight number and the time of arrival. The plane had been on schedule.
She groaned. The simple baby run had become anything but easy.
The loudspeaker crackled. “Would passenger Nora Harte pick up one of the courtesy phones?”
When the words blared a second time, with a start, Nora realized the message was for her. Yeah, right. She stared at the three suitcases, one diaper bag and the pair of car seats. She would need the arms of an octopus to fulfill the request.
What had kept Dr. McKay from the meet?
One of the twins puckered his mouth and added his screams to the cacophony in the baggage claim area of the Dallas airport. Nora crouched and stroked the baby’s cheek. “It’s only a minor delay. We’ll be out of here soon.” At least, she hoped they would.
The strident voice issued the command again. “How?’ she asked. The logistics of the move defeated her. She couldn’t abandon the babies or the luggage to search for a phone. She’d been deputized to deliver Molly and Todd Jamison to their guardian and she took this duty seriously.
The sight of a man in a gray uniform pushing an empty luggage cart solved the problem. “Sky cap, over here.” She used the voice that had parted crowds on busy New York City sidewalks. The one she hadn’t used since she’d moved upstate.
“Take these bags and the infants.”
“Don’t load babies on the cart, ma’am.”

“Sorry. I know that. I meant the infant seats. I have to answer the phone.”

Buy Mark

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - More on In the Beginning of the Story #MFRWauthor #amwriting #openings

 Here's more on beginning your story. Remember, the reader wants to be entertained and there are some questions you should address in the beginning.

Where are you? The reader needs to have a sense of where the story is taking place and this is fairly easy to establish with some words. The city sidewalks burned hot enough to fry an egg. This gives you a sense of where the characters are and even the season of the year. Through out the opening scene bits of the scenery, the time and the place can be woven in.

Who are you? This is the character who in this opening scene is focusing on. The reader needs to get a sense of this person. So let's continue with the above The City sidewalks burned hot enough to fry an egg. Sally Stevens danced along trying to take as few steps as she could. The cracked soles of her shoes couldn't take much more of this. Now we have a person to focus on,

What's happening? This element needs to be shown as well. So let's put this in the opening. The city sidewalks burned hot enough to fry eggs. Sally Stevens danced along trying to take as few steps as she could. The crackes soles of her shoes couldn't carry her much further. Her breath came in rapid pants. She had to reach her aunt's house before her father caught her.

So now we have something to interest the reader to continue to read on. The opening here gives the reader information but also raises questions.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Meandering On Monday With Janet Lane Walters #MFRWAuthor #Poem #Snow

Meander 1 - Poem - Birthday

A Year has passed since yesterday
And yet, I feel no change.
There is no sense of wisdom grown
Or age upon my brow.
No sudden burst of maturity
Has come into my soul.
The calendar has lost a leaf.
Another year is gone.
Wisdom is an accumulatiom
Of living daily moments.
And age is but a matter
Of spirit growing cold.

Meander 2 - Snow 0 We are having the first snow of the season. So far, the roads are just wet and not covering with white but they promise the snow will continue through the afternoon. I hope they are wrong. Tomorrow I want the roads to be clear so I can see my grandchildren in the Nutcracker.

Meander 3 - Writing - The story continues to go well. I'm blocking in Chapter 9 and found some things I needed to alter. Won't know if the alterations will change the beginning until I reach the end. The Leo/Aquarius Connection is a good story.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday's Book - Romancing the Nurse #MFRWAuthor #Medical romance #multi-cultural romance

Romancing The Nurse

Ginny’s new job as patient care coordinator at a suburban hospital is a dream come true. She can raise her daughter and young niece away from the city. 

The older orthopedic surgeon who recruited her helps make the move easier. His stroke brings his son, another surgeon home to take over his father’s practice. Unfortunately, Ginny remembers him from an evening encounter at the city hospital where she worked. They had words. He also remembers that night. 

They clash but beneath the anger, there is an attraction. Blake wants her in his bed and attempts to romance her. Then he discovers he wants her forever and must eat a lot of crow.

My Places:


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs feature Books By Joan Hall Hovey #MFRWauthor #Suspense #Murders

And Then He was Gone ~

Julie Raynes’ husband has been missing for six months. Devastated and confused, she refuses to believe that he would leave her voluntarily, though her best friend thinks differently.  However, her Aunt Alice, a psychic, tells her Adam has been murdered, and when she reveals how she knows this, any hope that Adam is still alive, dissipates.  
The police are also beginning to believe that Adam Raynes was murdered. And Julie is their prime suspect.  Her life in ruins, Julie vows to hunt down whoever is responsible for Adam’s murder and make them pay for their crime.
In the meantime, David Gray, a young man who was pulled from a lake by a fisherman when he was 9 years old, wakens from a coma after nearly two decades. Unknown to Julie, Adam and David share a dark connection, a darkness that threatens to devour both of them, in a terrifying race with death.

The Deepest Dark   ~
Following the deaths of her husband, Corey, and ten year old daughter Ellie in a traffic accident,  author Abby Miller sinks ever deeper into depression. She contemplates suicide as a way to be with them, and to end her unrelenting pain.
In a last desperate effort to find peace, she drives to Loon Lake where they last vacationed together, wanting to believe they will be waiting for her there.  At least in spirit.  Barring that, the pills Doctor Gregory gave her to help her sleep, are in her purse.

The cabin at Loon Lake was her and Corey’s secret hideaway, and not even Abby’s sister, Karen, to whom she is close, knows where it is.
But someone else does.  He is one of three men who have escaped from Pennington prison.  They are dangerous predators who will stop at nothing to get what they want - and to keep from going back to prison.   Having already committed atrocious crimes, they have nothing to lose.
Unknowingly, Abby is on a collision course with evil itself. And the decision of whether to live or die will soon be wrenched from her hands.  

And Then He was Gone ~

Julie Raynes’ husband has been missing for six months. Devastated and confused, she refuses to believe that he would leave her voluntarily, though her best friend thinks differently.  However, her Aunt Alice, a psychic, tells her Adam has been murdered, and when she reveals how she knows this, any hope that Adam is still alive, dissipates.  
The police are also beginning to believe that Adam Raynes was murdered. And Julie is their prime suspect.  Her life in ruins, Julie vows to hunt down whoever is responsible for Adam’s murder and make them pay for their crime.
In the meantime, David Gray, a young man who was pulled from a lake by a fisherman when he was 9 years old, wakens from a coma after nearly two decades. Unknown to Julie, Adam and David share a dark connection, a darkness that threatens to devour both of them, in a terrifying race with death.

The Abduction of Mary Rose ~

Imagine discovering everything you believe about yourself to be a lie. And that the truth could stir a killer from his lair.

Following the death of the woman she believed to be her mother, 28-year-old Naomi Waters learns from a malicious aunt that she is not only adopted, but the product of a brutal rape that left her birth mother, Mary Rose Francis, a teenager of Micmac ancestry, in a coma for 8 months.

Dealing with a sense of betrayal and loss, but with new purpose in her life, Naomi vows to track down Mary Rose's attackers and bring them to justice. She places her story in the local paper, asking for information from residents who might remember something of the case that has been cold for nearly three decades.

She is about to lose hope that her efforts will bear fruit, when she gets an anonymous phone call. Naomi has attracted the attention of one who remembers the case well.

But someone else has also read the article in the paper. The man whose DNA she carries.

And he has Naomi in his sights.

Joan Hall Hovey’s Books also available at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and most online bookstores.

Other books by Joan Hall Hovey:
Night Corridor
Chill Waters
Nowhere to Hide
Listen to the Shadows

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday's Guest - Joan Hall Hovey #MFRWauthor #Suspense #What she Was Before

 What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?

I have an employment history that would give most employers nightmares.  As a young girl I worked as a waitress, hulled strawberries one summer, clerked in a number of uptown stories, graded eggs and eventually becoming a legal secretary, all the time striving to be a writer. The jobs provided a paycheck and writing in the evenings kept the dream alive.  Nothing is lost on the writer, and every job I ever had I’ve pretty much woven into my books in one way or another, through my characters.  For example, in my very first book Listen to the Shadows, Katie, the main character, owns a small cafĂ©.  Our life experiences and our responses to them are all grist for the writer’s mill.

2.                 2  Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above. 

     My psychological suspense novels often overlap with mystery, paranormal and sometimes there’s a thread of romance woven through.  I don’t choose the type of book I write, but more it chooses me.  I’m drawn to explore the dark side of the human psyche.  

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres? 

Yes, I’ve always been a big fan of suspense novels.  Among my favorite novelists are Charlotte Bronte, Edgar Allan Poe, Phyllis Whitney, Ruth Rendell, Mary Higgins Clark and Stephen King.  There are many more.

4. What's your latest release? 

And Then he was Gone

5. What are you working on now? 

I’m working on a screenplay adapted from my novel The Deepest Dark.  

6. Where can we find you? 

" Joan Hall Hovey knows suspense. She keeps it simmering in every scene she writes and knows just the right moments to turn up the heat and bring it all to a boil. She also knows character, creating richly layered people to populate her books, sometimes with no more than a single sentence stocked with perfectly chosen descriptive words or phrases. THE DEEPEST DARK is a terrific suspense novel.” James Hankins, Author of BROTHERS AND BONES and SHADY CROSS

Review quotes:
oubt that much is more frightening than being alone and away from anyone that might help when you

“…visceral fear is at the heart of The Deepest Dark…Mrs. Hovey is a genius at suspense…`  Lelia Taylor, Buried Under Books

"…Ms. Hovey's talent in creating characters is so real, you feel their emotions and their fears. You want to yell at them to warn of the danger . . . and you do! Your shouts fall on deaf ears . . . and you cry! The best suspense writer I've ever read!
Beth Anderson, Author of Raven Talks back

"...Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King come to mind, but JOAN HALL HOVEY is in a Class by herself!…"
J.D. Michael Phelps, Author of My Fugitive, David Janssen

"…CANADIAN MISTRESS OF SUSPENSE…The author has a remarkable ability to turn up the heat on the suspense… great characterizations and dialogue…" James Anderson, author of Deadl

“…what a great story! Couldn't put it down… An exciting and suspenseful  ending wraps up this incredible novel.” Lynn Demsky: Book Reporter

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday's third Scene _ Seducing the Baker #MFRWauthor #romance contemporary #Bakery

Jules sat in the Jeep until the remnants of his past vanished. Why had he given into the urge to drive past the group home? Not one of his better ideas and certainly not part of his weekend plans. He reviewed the steps. There was a contract to be signed. Failure would taste bitter. Coming to grips with the betrayal of his trust wasn’t part of his plans for today either. Hard work and trusting few people had given him all he’d lost and more.
Sometimes he wondered what had happened to the people who had invested with his father’s Ponze scheme. Why had people thrown money into investments seeming too good to be real? Had they been greedy or fools?
He’d been torn from a comfortable life. Shame oozed from hidden places. Why did tingles of guilt smear his life? He’d been a teenager and hadn’t done anything wrong. Shame had driven his parents to death and he’d ended up in that place.
He gulped deep breaths of air and rubbed his hands in an attempt to warm them. The action failed to heat the past he feared would remain eternally chilled.
Cut the crap. Can’t go back. Forward is the only direction.
He’d come to the Hudson River village for two reasons. Business and a meet and greet. He wasn’t here to think of what could never be. Gnawing old bones impeded progress.
Jules slid from the Jeep. He dragged the briefcase from the passenger’s seat. With quick steps he dashed across the street and paused to study the bakery shop window. Sweet and Spicy Cupcakes. Above the ‘sweet’ a bee buzzed and above ‘spicy’ a red pepper hovered. He opened the door. Myriad scents swirled in the air. Spices, chocolate, coffee. The aromas of baking. For a moment he drowned in the delicious aromas.
The blonde behind the counter filled a box with an assortment of cupcakes for a customer. A second woman held a similar box. Moments later money changed hands and the middle-aged women filed to the door. Jules stepped aside and held the door.
One of the ladies turned. “Bonnie, are you sure you’ll have my order ready on Christmas Eve?”
“On file and can be picked up between nine AM and seven PM. We’re staying open an hour later that day.”
Jules stomach growled reminding him he hadn’t eaten lunch. The aromas swirling in the air tempted. Perhaps a taste of the wares before he engaged in business made sense and would give him a way to push for the magazine feature. He strode to the glass covered cases and read the names of the flavors. How could he choose when they all looked great?
The blonde turned from the register. “Can I help you?”
“Coffee and I don’t know which one to choose. They’re all tempting. Do you have a recommendation?”
She tapped the counter. “I do. Cinnamon Bun is my favorite. If you want something designed for the season, there’s Candy Cane, Ginger House or Winter Snow.”
Jules studied the offerings. “The cinnamon and the snow.” He paid and carried his selections to a table near the window. After filling a cup with coffee he sipped. The beverage was smooth and rich with no bitter aftertaste. He needed to learn where the shop purchased the beans.
At the table he bit into the cinnamon cupcake. The spice mellowed by the icing told him why Allie wanted to feature the shop. After finishing the first cupcake he tasted the second. A blast of wintergreen hit his palate. “Brilliant. Brings the surprise of a sudden snow storm to mind.”
The clerk grinned. “I agree.”
“Why did you turn down the chance for a feature in Good Eatin’?”
The woman’s mouth gaped. “She never told me. Not that I’m a partner or anything.”
He frowned. “So you’re not the owner.”
“Just the clerk. I’ll yell at the boss. How could she turn down the offer? That mag is rad cool.”
Jules raised his coffee cup. He had an ally. Time to find a way to use her enthusiasm. He listened to her chatter about her boss’ plan. A five year goal. Slow growth. Quality products. He waited for the clerk to run down.
“Where is the owner? I must speak to her.”
The blonde leaned on the counter. “She’s busy creating a new cupcake.”
“Is she here or at home?”
“In the back.” She pointed to a door behind the counter. “I’ll let her know you’re here but if she’s working you’ll have to wait.”
She stepped from the counter. The bell above the door chimed.
The arrival of several customers distracted the clerk. Jules couldn’t wait. He made a snap decision. On Monday morning he intended to have the signed contract delivered to Allie.
“You can’t go back there.”
Ignoring the young woman’s shout he slipped around the end of the display case and opened the door. Heat, a touch of vanilla and a jolt of rum and lemon hit him. The aromas gathered in a collage of scent.
The baker stood beside a marble topped table. She wore a long apron tied at her slender waist. Temptation to discover if his hands could span her waist nearly caused him to forget why he’d come into this room. A white hairnet covered hair as dark as his. Would her face match the delectable rear view? She held a plastic bag and swirled icing on a cupcake. The door closed with a loud snap.
Without turning she held out one of the confections. “Try this one and let me know if I’ve mastered the flavor.”
Jules accepted. The voice belonged to the woman of his brief phone conversations. During those moments he’d conjured a face to match the throaty voice. The image belonged to the only girl who had turned him down.
What if? Such an occurrence would be beyond belief. Still the thought stirred his desire.
Cool it, dude.
Jules bit into the cupcake. Rum and lemon, spices and small bits of fruit blended into perfection.
“What do you think?”
The question pulled him from a haze of tastes and desire. What about me licking this icing from your breasts? Had he said that aloud?
“Well?” She turned.
He nearly dropped the rest of the cupcake. Her face belonged to his memories of the star of his teenage fantasies. Alarms clanged. Trouble. He drew a deep breath. This time he intended to succeed.
“Actually the flavor’s great. Fruitcake but light. The spices, fruit and icing blend perfectly.”

Chapter Two

A frown creased Grace’s forehead. Did she know this man? Something resonated in her memories but no name bobbed to the surface. He resembled the faceless man of her fantasies. The hair, short and styles instead of long and shaggy. Was he someone she’d seen on TV, except she watched cooking shows, not sports, prime time or movies?
“How did you get in here?”
“By the door.”
His crooked grin brought a name closer to the surface. Did he look like someone she should know? “Why did Bonnie let you come into the kitchen?”
“The arrival of a flock of customers derailed her.”
Grace sucked in a breath. Who was he? He was too young and too well-dressed to be one of the men her mother had dragged home years ago. “Do you really think the cupcake is good?”
“I do.” He finished the last bite and crumpled the paper. With a flick of his wrist he tossed the small wad into the trash bin across the room. “You’ve achieved a miracle. Edible fruitcake.”
His smooth words spread over her skin like a swatch of velvet. Whoever he was he talked about the treat like a man who knew food. Was he a rival? Had he come to steal her recipes? He certainly hadn’t appeared to ask for a job. Not when he wore what looked like custom-made clothes.
“What will you call this one?”
Grace stepped back. The cold marble of the worktable edge pressed against her back. “Fruitcake.”
“Not like any I’ve ever tasted.” He grinned. “I hate holiday parties where the hostess pushed dark dense stuff she’d ordered by mail or baked.”
Grace laughed. “I’ve eaten some of that kind. This was my sixteenth try to make an edible one.”
He stepped closer. “Persistence pays. You’ve created a light cake with the traditional flavors and the right amount of fruit. The touch of rum in the frosting is perfect.” He raked his fingers messing his perfectly stylish dark hair. “Is it legal?”
“Just a flavor essence.” Definitely the competition. Warmth shone in his deep brown eyes. When he stepped in her direction she grasped the pastry bag. “Who are you?”
“Don’t you remember me? I’ve never forgotten you.”
The dimple in his left cheek made her want to touch. Seduction filled his voice. A whiff of evergreen beneath the aroma of the bakers reached her. He oozed the kind of danger she had to time to allow in her life. The suggestive gleam in his eyes raised a need to run. Only, she was trapped.
He placed his hand on her arm. Though the touch was light she felt as though his fingers branded her. “Think back, Grace.”
“I’ve never seen you before.”
“Sure you have.”
“I sure remember you. Years a go I made a play and you turned me down. When I said you would be sorry, you said I would be the one to regret.”
With warp speed her thoughts flew to the fence between the group homes. Was he really? He looked so different from the boy she’d known. The features of the face in her thoughts matured and became the man crowding her space.
“Jules Grayson, what are you doing here?”
“Representing Good Eatin’. Since you refused to sign the contract for a future feature article I thought the personal touch might work. I didn’t realize who you were until you turned.”
A smile broke her somber mood. “Most of my communication was with Allie Blakefield.”
“You and I spoke twice but the moment I mentioned the magazine you hung up. Just listen to my spiel. I’m sure I’ll do a better job of making the case than I did years ago.”
Though knowing he didn’t plan to steal her recipes her instincts remained on high alert. Her thoughts raced from what had been to what ifs. Not a good place to be.
“I sent the proposal back unsigned. The feature doesn’t fit with my plans for growing the business. A year from now or maybe two I might take a chance. I’ve seen too many in this field move to fast and fail.”
His eyes narrowed. “You didn’t read the proposal carefully. All expenses are covered by Good Eatin’ and you’ll be paid for the recipes the magazine prints.”
“That’s not why. You’ve seen my entire staff. I’m baker, decorator, bookkeeper and sometimes salesperson.” She scowled. “I’m even the cleaning crew with Bonnie’s help.”
A buzzer sounded. “Move. I need to pull the pans.” She pulled on gloves and went to the oven. One by one she transferred the trays from the oven to the cooling rack.
“Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg,” he said. “What are they?”
“Add a touch of vanilla and you have Pumpkin Pie.”
He inhaled. “I could be tempted to try every flavor.”
“Think of the calories.”
He arched a brow. “I can think of ways to work them off.”
Grace removed the last tray from the oven. She had no intention of asking how. “Since you’ve come for that reason why don’t you leave? I’ll give you a box of today’s favorites. Share them with your significant other.”
“There’s no one.”
She returned to the work table and assembled the dry ingredients for another batch. She placed flour and a sack of chocolate powder with the eggs and butter. “You should leave.”
She pulled cayenne and powered jalapenos from the spice shelf along with vanilla beans. “I’m making Chocolate Fire and I don’t want a cleaning bill for your light gray jacket and trousers.” He had definitely succeeded in the ten years since he’d left the group home.
“We need to talk about the offer.” He crossed his arms.
Grace slid past him for the baking powder, salt and milk. “I know the opportunity would be great. I’m just not ready to take the risk.”
“Your cupcakes impressed Allie Blakefield. That’s hard to do. Besides restaurants Good Eatin’ features small establishments producing good food. Have dinner with me and we can discuss the pros and cons.”
Again his temperature-raising grin appeared. “I can’t. We’re open until nine tonight. Then there’s clean up, planning for tomorrow and a run to the bank.”
“What time do you close tomorrow?”
“At six.”
“I’ll be by then. We’ll go to dinner. You choose the place.” He closed the distance between them. His lips brushed hers. “Years ago you said no. I was a fool and crude. Won’t happen again.”
Grace froze. Her knees locked and kept her upright. His whispered words and hot breath swirled over her. She felt as if she’d been sucked into a whirlpool with no escape. He’d been trouble as a teenager. As an adult he’d become dangerous.

* * *

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday Hooking The Wizards of Fyre #MFRWBookHooks #MFRWAuthor #Fantasy romance #fyrestones #dragons # wizards

Wizards of Fyre (Island of Fyre Book 3)

This is the third book of a trilogy. Excerpt is PG but the book is spicy.  Join me with a group of authors blog-hopping to show you our books. Visit here to find all.

Lorana, sold by her father to the slavers, resides in the harem in the citadel of the wizards. Her desire is to escape before she is given as a reward to one of the two wizard trainees who are competing for a spot on the council. She knows how to brew a cordial from firethorn berries and a poison from the thorns. When Arton, one of the young men is poisoned by the thorns she must care for him. She feels an attraction to him but she must escape. One night she hears the voice of a dragon. She thought the wizards had destroyed all the dragons on this side of the mountains. When the wizards leave to collect men to sell to the slavers, she takes the opportunity to escape with few supplies and a determination to reach the dragon.

Arton is a fledgling wizard and is about to be tested for the council. His mentor has died. His mentor wasn’t his father. The wizard purchased Arton from the slavers years ago. The present chief wizard would like to thwart Arton’s quest because he wants his son and trainee to join the council. Arton and his rival are evenly matched. The escape of Lorana becomes a quest. Which of the young wizards returns her to the citadel will win the competition and gain her as a reward. Cregan the rival decides to search on the desert. Arton chooses the hills. Because of Lorana’s care of him when he was poisoned he is attracted to her and he still craves a seat on the council.

Can Arton find Lorana first and will he make her a prisoner or allow her to remain free?


High gray stone walls surrounded the citadel. The ones around the hareem courtyard where the women spent most of their days were lower. A chill rippled along her spine causing Lorana raised her head to appraise the danger. She glanced at the grilled gate separating the women’s area from the outer courtyard. A burly man leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. Lust radiated from his stare. Moments alter an austere figure joined the first man. Mecador, chief wizard’s sly smile added to her discomfort.
Lorana’s hands clenched. She vowed to find an escape before the day she was destined as a reward for one to the two young men competing for the vacant spot on the wizard’s council.
She had made the same promise since the day her father had sold her to the wizards of Fyre. For four years she had hoped for a way to escape these evil men. She couldn’t wait much longer. Last evening Hag Mother had told her the two senior fledglings would soon fight for the vacant council seat.
A third man entered the outer court and stood at a distance from the staring pair. For some reason the tall trainee failed to cause her as much alarm. From the gossip among the women the husky man had the favor of Mecador. No matter. She had no desire to remain as a prisoner to be owned by a wizard and used as the man willed.
Lorana’s hands clenched. Resentment churned her gut. She hated her position in life. Not forever, she vowed and walked to the work area.
She poured several cups of dried fyrethorn berries into a mortar. She slid the pestle over the surface crushing the berries to a powder to be added to the bubbling cauldron over the first fire. The result would be a cordial.
The acrid aroma of brewing fyrethorn poison rose from a kettle in a spiraling stream. Lorana hated working with the death-bringing liquid. The wizards sold the poison and the cordial to the slavers for supplies. They also sold captured desert clansmen. Her hands tightened on the pestle and grounded the berries to dust.
She added the powder to a simmering pot and stirred. A hand with long slender fingers grasped her shoulder. She stiffened. The chief wizard turned her to face him. The stirring stick clattered on the stones. Her eyes met the cruel cold gaze of Mecador, often called Supreme.
“I’m pleased to see you hard at work. You always seem to be busy not like these other creatures.” He indicated the women seated in clusters in the courtyard.
She kept her gaze steady. “Keeping busy makes the days pass.”
He chuckled. “See that you remember your place.”
His oily voice made her want to look away. She dare not. To do so would court punishment something she had avoided since her first year here. “I do what I’m told.”
His smile raised her to near panic. He stroked her face with a finger. She fought to control her racing emotions. Fear galloped like a runaway burden beast. This man savored fear. She hoped to hide the revulsion she felt.
“So my dear, I hope you’ve made enough poison. The traders find it useful during their travels. If the jugs fetch prime goods I’ll bring you a special gift.” His hand touched her chest.
Lorana willed herself not to flinch. “There are pour jugs of poison. The fifth is cooking. There will be three of the cordials.”
“Not enough. We need six of the poison and four cordials. If you can’t fulfill our needs you will be beaten.” He pointed to a woman tied to the cross. “Like her.”
“There are sufficient berries for the cordial but more thorns are needed. They should be picked before they fall for they have more potency and fewer are needed to make the poison.” She stared into his eyes. “I could leave the hareem and gather them.”
His eyes hardened. “The tangle is no place for any woman, especially one soon to be claimed.” His gaze caressed her body. “You’ll be a tasty morsel. The young wizards who are competing for a seat on the council will be glad to become your master. Which one do you prefer?”
She wanted to say she had no desire for either man. “The choice isn’t mine to make.” His laughter reminded her of the cry of a carrion crow, the huge black birds she’d seen at home hovering over dead animals.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - More on Where to Begin #MFRWauthor #Amwriting #Beginnings

Remember, the first paragraph is what leads the reader to move to the second. So how do you make this bit so intriguing they can't resist reading on?

It's a matter of presentation.
You can make this opening unique. I started a book with She was the first woman to turn him down. Starts matters buzzing doesn't it?

There is also something unexpected. One of my books starts with the villain hiding in a cemetery across the street from the hospital. I didn't realize that this was both unique and unexpected until I had an editor remark that she never heard of a cemetery across the street from a hospital. Well, the burial groud was and is still there.

Show a deviation from the routine. Most mornings, John ate a hearty breakfast. Not this morning. Once again the curiosity if raised and the reader wonders why this has happened.

Show a change is about to take place. Suppose you're writing a story where a flood, a storm, something like this is about to change the lives of the characters. The dark clouds rolled across the sky like a giant run unfolding sending chills along Mary's spine.

Or begin with a lot of detail about a mundane object. I began a book when a heroine in the high meadow making a wreath of wild flowers that were known for their healing properties. Immediately this raises questions.

So that opening paragraph is the rope for the reader to catch and be drawn into the story.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poem #Writing

Meander 1  Poem - A Child and Death

We took hr to the funeral home
This little child of four
To see her friend before he left
And was gone forevermore.

With hesitation we entered
Not knowing what she'd say.
She slowly approached the coffin
In which her good friend lay.

She stood there for a few moments
And they she turned aside
Went to his wife and took her hand.
"I'm sorry that he died."

He looks asleep, he doesn't hurt
He did when we played games.
But he's not there. He's gone away
He doesn't look the same.

She walked again to the coffin
To take another look
She touched his hand - a gentle caress
And then walked to the door.

Meander 2 - The Last Rose of Summer - I have this ugly rose bush. It's really not a bush just sort of straggly shoots. The leaves are few even in lush summer. But roses bloom from May and through the summer. This year, my ugly rose bush outdid itself for there is a dying rose as November becomes December.

Meander 3 - Writing. The new book is going well and the rough draft is gaining words as I type in each chapter as I finish writing them. I'm up to Chapter seven out of twelve. Of course there's a lot to do before I reach the point of becoming il if I read through and correct one more time.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday's Book - Seducing The Baker #MFRWauthor #romance contemporary #cupcakes

Seducing the Baker (At First Sight)

She was the only girl to turn him down. What will happen when business and a wedding bring them together again.

Jules Grayson was a player as a teen and that hasn’t changed. Business and a friend’s wedding join to bring him to the place where his life had imploded and where his trust issues began. A Ponzi scheme and a suicide forced him into a group home he hated. For ten years he has avoided returning. 

Grace Sutton is faced with a dilemma added to by the appearance of Jules in her Sweet and Spicy Cupcake bakery. Years ago she turned Jules down but she had a crush. His appearance erodes the vow she made years ago. Men had used her mother and led the woman into drugs and alcohol. Grace vowed to forego relationships with men until she could support herself. Though the bakery is making money, she doesn’t feel secure. When Jules arrives with a contract for a magazine feature, she is conflicted and attracted.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs featuring Books by Anni Fife #MFRWauthor "Romantic Suspense #Alpha heroes

LUKE’S REDEMPTION (King Security Book 1)
A 2017 RONE Award Finalist for Steamy Contemporary


Red-hot sex. Searing betrayal. A passionate and elusive love…

Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart, and the only leverage she has against her father. She’s left with no choice but to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.

Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he's in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It's a promise he can't keep.

When Katya's past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.

EXCERPT (When Katya first meets Luke, he is operating undercover as Michael.)

I snuggled deeper into the cosy bedding, lazy and heavy-limbed. Shifting slightly, warmth spread through me as the slight stickiness between my legs brought with it delicious memories of the night before. I never dreamed that I could be so wanton, so wildly desperate for one man’s touch.
And boy, did he touch! His potency evident in every aching muscle in my body.
Mmmm. Heat flickered as his musky scent infused my senses.
I loved his voice. Especially when he said my name, so deep, rich like dark molasses.
I forced my lids open. And drowned in sensual, male beauty. “Hi,” I purred. And it was a purr. I sounded like a sated cat. Inching a hand out from under the covers, I reached up, hungry to stroke his rough morning stubble.
He reared back as if stung.
My hand hovered midair as he lowered himself to a chair that was pulled up close to the bedside.
How did that chair get thereWas he watching me sleep?
Sluggish, I looked at the window. The curtains were drawn together but didn’t quite meet. Faint light trickled in. It was barely morning. I looked back at Michael and cold started to seep in. Shit. He was fully clothed, he was even wearing his jacket. Only his hair looked out of place. He obviously couldn’t find the cord that I’d enthusiastically pulled from it like a wild woman, and now it hung loose to his shoulders. Bed-hair. Do men get bed-hair?
He was still. Hands clasped together, elbows resting on his knees. Here, but not here. Only his eyes flickered as they roamed intensely over my face. Such wickedly, beautiful eyes. After he came inside me they had turned an inky-blue, almost black.
Now, they were deep shards of navy. And they sent ice cascading through me.
I was still naked and he was fully clothed. I jerked upright and pulled the covers to my chin. My stomach quivered, only it wasn’t in a sexy way.

PRAISE for Luke’s Redemption
"Ms. Fife's writing is breathtaking." - Harlie's Books
"Anni Fife's Luke's Redemption smolders across the pages." - Tomb Tender Book Blog
"Luke's Redemption has Alpha males in spades! ... fans of this genre will not be disappointed." - InDtale Magazine
"It's not easy writing good, sexy scenes yet Anni Fife nails it." - Liz Gavin's Book Blog
"Anni Fife has scored a homerun." - Read Your Writes Blog

Anni says
If you haven’t read Luke’s Redemption (King Security Book 1) now’s your opportunity. Starting today – December 1 –
Luke’s Redemption is on a 99c Sale. Limited time only so be quick!

GRAY’S PROMISE (King Security Book 2)


A jealousy that destroys everything in its path…a love that refuses to die.

Zoey Morgan seems to have it all as a successful surgeon in Boston. However, perfection lies only on the surface. Plagued by nightmares and amnesia from a tragedy that ripped her family from her fourteen years ago, she finds the courage to reach out to the only man who can make her feel safe. She’s buried the memory of their love, but her heart—and her body—responds to the ex-marine in ways that are all too familiar.

Grayson “Gray” Walker’s heart shattered when Zoey chose another man over him. Since then, he’s built an impenetrable wall around his emotions. But from the moment she implodes back into his life, her vulnerability breaches his defenses. His skills as an elite member of the King Security team cannot shield him from the devastation of learning he might have left Zoey high and dry when she needed him most. Now, Gray must navigate the tripwire of helping her heal while protecting himself from being hurt again.

As the embers of their potent love reignite, an old threat awakens, leading to greater danger than ever before.


The porch door was open, letting a soft breeze move through the cottage. I breathed in the dewy dampness, and a faint pain echoed near my heart. If I closed my eyes, I could almost hear Mama chattering to my dad in the kitchen. She always got up early to make breakfast. The memories were buried but when they surfaced, they were mine to treasure. I drank my coffee and washed down the last of my cinnamon roll. And with it, gently nudged the memory away.
The breeze gusted and I brushed away a curl of hair fluttering in my face. Gray was cracking eggs now and a wave of lust crept over me. His easy—and mostly naked—confidence in the kitchen was weirdly heady. An image of his face when he came last night slipped into my mind. The dampness in the air transferred to my skin and I shivered, goose bumps prickling up my arms. Jeez. He was so sexy. Even more than I could have ever imagined. Rubbing at my goosies, I peeked at him through my lashes. A vague heaviness fluttered in my tummy. He was confident and seductive as hell, but he was also holding back. He might have had reason last night, but I wasn’t going to let him get away with it for long. Gray’s running days were coming to an end. Soon.
“Butterfly.” His sexy growl demanded my attention. He was sipping coffee, his electric gaze focused on me. “You wearing panties?”

ENTER Gray's Promise Pre-Release Giveaway! 

You can be a lucky winner of one of two free ebook copies of this brand new release. Giveaway ends December 8. Good luck!

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