Saturday, April 30, 2016


By Annemarie Brear

Thank you so much for having me today. I hope you and your readers enjoy learning a little about my latest release, Where Dragonflies Hover, a contemporary story that also features a WWI story, when Lexi, the main character finds a diary written by a wartime nurse.


Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …

Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it. 

Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.

Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …


The late sunshine enveloped the house in a golden glow. Again, it seemed to call to her, begging for attention. A path on the left of the drive looked inviting as it meandered through a small strand of poplars. Lexi grabbed her keys, locked the car and took off to explore again. She had nothing to rush home to now, and if she got caught for trespassing, then so be it.

The overgrown pathway brought her out on the far side of the grounds near the end of a small lake. She gazed over the water towards the back of the house and noticed a paved terrace area. From there the lawn then sloped down to the water. She’d not been around the back before and fell even more in love with the property. She could imagine the serenity of sipping a cool drink on a hot summer’s day and looking out over the lake.

Lexi stepped out along the bank. A lone duck swam by, its movement serene on the glassy, dark surface. This side of the lake was in shadow from large pine trees, and she stumbled on fallen pinecones hidden in the long grass. On the opposite side of the water were some small buildings, a garage, fruit trees in early blossom, and an overgrown vegetable patch, complete with a broken, rejected-looking scarecrow.

She wandered over to a narrow shed on her left and peered through its sole, dirty window. Unable to make out much in the dimness, she walked around to the front and was surprised when she was able to pull the bolt back on the door. Why didn’t people lock things? A covered rowboat took up most of the space inside. She smiled, seeing herself rowing it on the lake. Growing more excited, Lexi edged around it to peer at the workbenches and the odd assortment of tools and useless things one found in abandoned sheds. It was like treasure hunting in an antique shop. She used to love doing that with her grandfather.

She glanced about and spied a dusty painting leaning against the wall. The scene was of a child and a brown dog. Behind the canvas were more paintings, some framed, some not. Lexi flicked through them. The ones that caught her attention she took out and set aside.

She looked for somewhere to sit and study the paintings. A small tin trunk wedged under a workbench seemed the only offering. Thinking it empty, she went to tug it out, but it remained fast.

Using both hands, she heaved it out and was showered in a puff of dust. Squatting down, she inspected the latch that was held tight with a small lock. ‘Why are you locked?’ she murmured. The shed was open to anyone passing by, yet this ugly little chest had a lock on it. The trunk was nothing special, plain and in parts rusted. No ornament or writing hinted at its use.

Intrigued, she grabbed a hammer from the workbench, but then hesitated. She had no right to open someone else’s property. Lexi closed her eyes momentarily. What was she thinking of breaking into the trunk? What am I doing? Never had she broken the law and here she was guilty of trespassing and breaking and entering! She looked around the rowboat as though expecting someone to jump out and arrest her.

Something inside urged her on. She knew she couldn’t stop now. Sucking in a deep breath, she bent and hit the lock hard. The ringing sound was loud in the quiet serenity of the garden. The metal dented and with another few solid whacks the lock gave.

Shivers of excitement tingled along her skin. Gently, she eased up the lid.


Also available in Apple ibooks, etc.

Annemarie Brear, Author
Australian born Annemarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Currently living in England, her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books, and gardening. She is an author of historical women's fiction, contemporary romance, and several short stories. Also a lover of chocolate, good movies, and her family!

Annemarie on the web:
Twitter @annemariebrear

Friday, April 29, 2016


For many years, Jodi Thomas has been one of my favorite writers—an automatic buy for me. I think I’ve read all of her books since I first read the McClain series many years ago. That was when all her books were western historical.

Her new Ransom Canyon Series began with a historical novella to introduce the series. Now they are all contemporary, but the western atmosphere is definitely there. Her characters are so well drawn that the reader sees them and becomes their friend. For me, I visualize these characters going on about their lives, worry about them.

Jubilee Hamilton has grown up in the shadow of a prettier sister who is favored by her parents. Nothing she ever does is quite as good as Destiny, or so it seems. When she inherits Lone Heart Ranch from the great grandfather only she had time for, Jubilee is happy to have a place to go that is far away from her failure in Washington, D.C. Her family wants her to sell the place, but she is determined to make Lone Heart Ranch her home.

Charley Collins has been disowned by his family. He lacked only one semester graduating with a degree in agriculture management, but he can never save enough to finish his degree. His five-year-old daughter, Lillie, comes first with him. He is determined she’ll grow up secure in the knowledge that her father loves her and will always be around for her. The job offer from Jubilee seems like the answer to a prayer—at least if the crazy woman can make a go of the place.

Thatcher Jones is a smart young man who is failing school because he’s seldom there. His absentee mother is home only between “husbands” and doesn’t appear to notice or care that Thatcher is on his own most of the time. But one lucky day, he becomes part of Lone Heart Ranch. There he finds what he’s been searching for—a family—and discovers he’s far braver than he’d imagined.

Once again Ms Thomas has interwoven stories around new and recurring characters.  The new characters captured my heart immediately. This is my favorite of this series—but then I thought that of the last one. This series just gets better and better. Although the story is tied up nicely, there are loose ends to entice us into the next book. I’m eager to learn if Weathers remains in town and if Lauren sells her book and if Tim completes his and if Sheriff Brigman can remain on the job and...

This book is definitely a five star of five stars! Do yourself a favor and read this book. 

Monday, April 25, 2016


Will independent spirits yield to hearts bound by love?


Although widow Beth Dodd has agreed to wed Val Caldwell, she puts their marriage off until the end of the year. She still desires to have a place of her own that she and her little sister can fall back on should something go wrong in the future. Widowed in California, she has an estate coming to her that is worth far less than her portion from the Ohio farm that her pa sold to her late husband for the express purpose of providing Beth with a husband and a secure place to spend her life and raise a family. That was before her late husband sold out and left her behind so he could return to the mines in the eastern Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Now, she is in the eastern Sierras, but it is land, not gold and silver, she seeks.

Beth Dodd has made a promise to help “Lulu”, a young prostitute at the Blue Feather, keep her baby if she decides to leave the whorehouse and become a respectable woman. But Beth hadn’t counted on the obstacles she and the new mother will face from society in the mining town of Lundy. From the obstinate landlady, Mrs. Ford, to her intractable German boss, Gus Herschel, Beth must fight for the woman she’s promised to help. But Beth Dodd never gives in, and she keeps her word with a stubbornness that Lundy folks are not accustomed to seeing from a woman.

Lulu has a decision to make. Will she give up her baby in order to resume working as a prostitute at the Blue Feather brothel? Or, will she take Beth up on her offer to keep her baby, leave prostitution behind, and work as a cook? And, will the stubborn German cook, Gus Herschel, who owns the chop shop at the back of the Arcade Saloon where Beth works, give in to Beth’s badgering and promises? Knowing Louisa’s past, will he allow Louisa to bring her baby there and work as a cook in spite of the Arcade Saloon’s strictly-enforced policy of “no upstairs girls”?

Gus' kitchen would include these

Once Lulu, now known as the more respectable Louisa Parmley, starts working for Gus in his kitchen, she proves that Beth was right to take a chance on her. She has every intention of making a good life for her new daughter. But can she also hope to find happiness with Gus? And will Gus be able to accept her and baby Sophie Ann as his? Love was never in the cards for Gus, but Louisa dreams of happiness with the stoic man, and Beth is determined to bring them together through HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT.


Lulu pulled her two week-old daughter away from her breast and straightened her nightgown. her eyes never strayed from the face of the little cherub in her arms until she gently placed the baby on her shoulder to pat her back. Yet, instead of the joy that should have filled her heart as she gazed at the child’s sweet face framed by a fine down of golden brown hair, all she felt was a sense of loss.

After losing everyone important to her, she was threatened once again with the loss of the most important person in her life, her baby, Sophie Ann.

As she gazed down at the child now sleeping peacefully in her arms, her mouth occasionally moving in sucking motions as if she continued to nurse, Lulu realized she needed to decide what to do about Sophie Ann. Did the baby’s future belong with her? Or, was it best for her daughter if she heeded Miss Flora’s directive to find a home for the baby so she could resume working by the end of the month?

In spite of the money she would earn, Lulu cringed at the thought of once again subjecting herself to being pawed by men—and more.

Flora had offered to let Albert drive her into Bridgeport during the next week so she could leave the baby on the doorstep of one of the local churches. Flora insisted that someone would find the baby, fall in love with her, and the child would be well taken care of as she grew in her adopted family.

But, Lulu worried, what if no one came for a long time and Sophie Ann grew hungry? What if a pack of feral dogs roaming the streets in search of food found her first? What if she was not found right away and had to spend the night outside and the temperature dropped and she became seriously ill?

Lulu clutched her baby to her chest with enough force that Sophie Ann squeaked out a protest in her sleep. In response, Lulu loosened her grip, but would not let the child out of her arms. No, never. She could not turn her out and let her take her chances. That is what had happened to her, but at least she had been almost fifteen, not a helpless babe slightly over two weeks old.

Lulu’s body involuntary jerked in response to the loud rap on her bedroom door. After checking to be sure the front of her nightgown was securely buttoned, Lulu pulled the edge of her wrapper over the side of her chest that was not covered by her sleeping daughter. Prostitute or not, she maintained her modesty when she was not working.

It was morning, almost time for the girls to wake and stumble down to eat breakfast. Surely it wasn’t an old customer trying to get in to see her.

“Who’s there?”

“It’s Albert, Miss Lulu.”

“Come in.”

Albert, the muscle Miss Flora hired to enforce order in the brothel entered the room holding what appeared to be a small folded bundle of flannel. “Miss Lulu, this is for your baby.”

“Who would bring the baby a gift? Not that many people know me let alone know I have a baby.”

Bewildered, Lulu reached for one edge of the fabric and shook it free of its folds. One side was solid white flannel. The other side had a checkerboard patchwork design of striped blue blocks and red flannel blocks alternating with white flannel blocks. It was a quilt with a thin fabric center instead of heavier cotton filling. It was not the most artfully designed quilt Lulu had ever seen, but the corners of the squares matched up and the stitches that held all the layers together were neat and even.

“It was the midwife. She said no matter what, baby Sophie Ann needs a blanket.”

“The midwife! She brought the baby a blanket?”

Lulu recalled the woman, Jim Dodd’s widow, not much older than she was, who had come to help with the birth of Sophie Ann. That day she had offered to help Lulu get work as a cook so she could keep Sophie Ann but only if Lulu gave up being a prostitute and be the one to walk away from the Blue Feather. Had she said that just to be nice, or had she meant what she said?

 “Oh, Albert! Where is she? I need to talk to her.”

Purchase links for HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Smashwords  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

Zina Abbott, Author

 Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novel, Family Secrets, was published by Fire Star Press. Her novelette, A Christmas Promise, along with the first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart, was published by Prairie Rose Publications. Her novelette, He Is a Good Man, was published in the Lariats, Letters and Lace anthology.

The author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.

Please visit and follow the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Zina Abbott Author Links:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads  |  Google+  |  Twitter 

Friday, April 22, 2016


About twenty years, I met author Anna Jeffrey at an RWA chapter meeting in Fort Worth. With her sister Pam Cumbie, the two make up the romantic comedy/mystery writing team of Dixie Cash. On her own, Anna is a very talented author. (As a friend, she is a hoot and a half.)

Like me, Anna grew up in West Texas. She’s a fifth generation Texan who loves most things western from the customs and culture to the philosophy of life. Most of her family members were farmers and ranchers or worked in the oil fields.

For those of you who have never lived in West Texas, it’s another world. That’s not a criticism, just a fact. Anna and I didn’t grow up in the same town, but the atmosphere was the same. We grew up during the great oil boom, an era filled with “real-life” fictional characters who cry to be written into a story. As well, farms and ranches were a part of the landscape. 

Talented in many areas, Anna painted a scene anyone from West Texas would recognize. Many little crossroads in farming communities had a cotton gin, a cafĂ©/store which sold gasoline, and at least a couple of houses for the gin’s manager and head ginner. By the way, the white in Anna’s painting is not snow, it’s cotton/cotton lint blown from the gin. The stuff drifted for hundreds of yards.

Store/post office of Peacock, Stonewall County, Texas
Anna has worked in various areas from store owner to realtor and author. Thank heavens she has kept writing sexy contemporary romance with an edge as Anna Jeffrey and the romantic comedy/mystery series written with her sister as Dixie Cash. In fact, Anna is a USA Today bestselling author. Her books have won the Write Touch Readers’ Award, the Aspen Gold, the More Than Magic, and the NEC Readers’ Choice awards.

Here’s a painting multi-talented Anna did of her husband’s coat hanging on the door of his mountain cabin in Idaho. The medium is opaque water color.

Coat belonging to Anna's husband George
in his Idaho mountain cabin

Also an Idaho subject is the painting of this old abandoned gold mining dredge. Can’t you just imagine the stories that went on while this was in use?

Gold mining dredge, Idaho
A subject I love is this old barn Anna painted in oils. I love the colors and the contrast of the yellow at the bottom and the green forest behind.

I love old barns and this one appeals to me
After leaving Texas for a while, Anna lived in California, Arizona, Oregon, and Idaho. The latter is the setting for her first books written as herself, the Callister series. These were my first introduction to her writing and I loved each of those books.  Her series set in Texas include the West Texas series, the Strayhorns, Miranda’s Chronicles (erotic), and—if you crave longer books—the Sons of Texas series. I’ve read each one and highly recommend them. You can find out more about her at her Amazon Author Page:

Anna's latest book is as Dixie Cash, a romantic comedy/mystery in the Domestic Equalizer series. The series features Debbie Sue and Edwina, hair stylists whose shop was converted from an old gas station. The duo is zany and inquisitive and know everyone in the community. Due to their success solving crimes, they set up their private detection service called Domestic Equalizers. 


After two divorces, Sandi Walker (Edwina's niece and entrepreneur extraordinaire) is on her own and loving it. As a devout animal lover, she has made a success of the only gourmet pet food bakery in Midland, Texas. She's also a pet foster parent and has fifteen assorted abused and unwanted animals at home. When a golden-colored stray dog with an abundance of personality appears at her door, she can't refuse him and she can't keep from falling in love with him. She names him Waffle and gives him a permanent home.

General Manager of the Flying C Ranch, Nick Conway, has searched for months for his lost dog, Buster. Giving up on ever finding him, he looks for a new dog and finds a puppy at a pet grooming shop.  While he went to the shop to see a puppy, he also encountered a beautiful redheaded woman he can't put out of his mind. Little does he know that she found Buster in an alley and has now claimed him as her own. Sparks fly between Sandi and Nick when he steals Buster and sues her in court for custody. It will take a mouthy parrot, a sitting judge, the matchmaking skills of the Domestic Equalizers and Cupid himself to resolve this conflict.

"Nick…began to unload everything off the tray and set it on the table. Two baskets of hamburgers and fries and a couple of Hogg’s locally-famous fried pies enclosed inside parchment wrappers. They were half the size of a dinner plate.
She stared at the array of food. “That’s a lot of food. I don’t see a small hamburger.”
“A child’s hamburger is the size of a quarter. Not enough to eat. I got you a regular size.”
Controlling jerk. Sandi made a huff of annoyance. “You also got fried pies. What kind?”
“Apricot. The kind my granny used to make when I was a little tyke. Hogg’s uses lard in the crust, just like my granny did. That’s why they taste so good.”
She made a mental groan. “A fried pie made by these people probably has about five thousand calories.”
His brow scrunched into a frown. “You’re not gonna eat a fried pie after I got you one?”
She shook her head. “I am not. I did not ask for a fried pie. You obviously aren’t concerned with your diet, but I try to limit the carbs I eat. I don’t want to have a heart attack before I’m thirty-five and I want to be able to pass through the front door of my shop.”
He scooted the fried pie across the table toward her. “One little fried pie is not gonna give you a heart attack or put twenty pounds on you. Maybe a dose of sugar will put you in a better mood.”

Find YOU CAN HAVE MY HEART BUT DON’T TOUCH MY DOG on Amazon at this link:

Anna Jeffrey/Dixie Cash

Anna's social media links are:

Dixie Cash--Pam Cumbie
and Anna Jeffrey