Monday, July 30, 2012


Where would writers be without readers to pour over their words? Banging our heads against our keyboards, that’s where. You have been so kind to buy my books, that now I have a surprise for you. Drum roll, please...Announcing that my western historical romance-mystery BRAZOS BRIDE is FREE today at Amazon Kindle. Yes, that’s right. Zero. Zip. Nada. Gratis. Just for you because you guys are special. Very special.

The FREE link for BRAZOS BRIDE at Amazon Kindle is:

While I’m pounding away on the keyboard, working on the second book in the trilogy, you can be reading BRAZOS BRIDE: Men of Stone Mountain, Book One.

The trilogy is about the three Stone brothers: Micah in BRAZOS BRIDE, book one; Zach in HIGH STAKES BRIDE, book two; Joel in BLUEBONNET BRIDE, book three. There is another link, as I’ve mentioned previously - poison is used in each book. Book one and book two each deal with a different natural poison found in native a Texas plant. The third poison is one that was common in home and garden use in the nineteenth century.  I’ve chosen perfect matches for the Stone brothers. At least, I believe they are perfect. Book one’s heroine is Hope Montoya, a regal Hispanic heiress.  Book two features Mary Alice Price, a kultzy, adorable blonde. Book three’s heroine is another regal woman, a redhead named Verity Dumas. I almost named her Verity Robichaux, but Dumas will be so much faster to type.

Here's the review from NIGHT OWL REVIEWS

Brazos Bride A Night Owl Reviews Book Review Top Pick 4.5 stars | Reviewed by: Barb
I found this book to be very entertaining. I read it in one afternoon because I had to know who was trying to murder Hope, the heroine. Her interaction with Micah and their relationship was the heart of the story. I really got into the story and the characters. The mystery of just who of the many characters were the evil ones kept me reading and turning pages (so to speak) on my Kindle. I was unable to stop reading this book until I finished it. That really says something for the author's plot and cast of characters. I enjoy these types of books, but this one was exceptional. I will be patiently waiting for the stories of Micah's brothers, Zach and Joel. I see the potential for some very good stories following these brothers' lives. Good job in making me want more.
Mar 28, 2012 | B007HS10SY

If you enjoy BRAZOS BRIDE, please leave a favorable review on Amazon to let others know. If you don’t enjoy the book, let me know your reasons at While it’s not possible to please all readers, I do try to write credibly about the Old West and whatever subject I’ve chosen. I spend hours and hours on research, on listening to my critique partners, and on revising and editing. Here’s another favor: please click on LIKE and then scroll down and click on the tags. This sounds silly, but it makes a difference in sales.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 27, 2012


MK McClintock lives in Montana, and her writing brings the state to life for readers. Set in 1882 Scotland and Montana Territory, GALLAGHER’S PRIDE is a book I enjoyed and recommend.

Brenna Cameron is on a quest for answers. She’s come from her home in Scotland to Montana for a confrontation with the grandfather she hadn’t realized existed until her father’s death. From letters she found, she knows Nathan Hunter disowned her mother, Rebecca, but not why. Rebecca was a lovely, gentle person very much in love with Brenna’s father. After her death, there was only Brenna and her father, a comfortably well-off man. But now he’s died and Brenna is alone. Why would Nathan Hunter have ceased any contact with his daughter, never contacted his granddaughter?

As she arrives in Briarwood, Montana Territory, Brenna immediately encounters a rough man, Bradford James. James works for Nathan Hunter, but makes it clear he intends to take liberties with her person. Fortunately, Gabriel and Ethan Gallagher intercede and take her to their ranch, which adjoins Nathan Hunter’s. The Gallagher’s have a running feud with Hunter and Ethan has vowed to get revenge for all the malicious mischief Hunter and his cowboys have executed at the Gallagher family’s expense.

I never give spoilers in my reviews, so you’ll have to read GALLAGHER’S PRIDE to discover the book’s outcome. I will say that the book is filled with adventure and big surprises. I thought the editing was a little rough in that jumping back and forth made it episodic at first, and there were a couple of plot points I would have done differently. All in all, though, it's a very enjoyable read that anyone who likes historical romance or westerns will love. And there are cowboys! Another plus is that this book is suitable for all ages.There is some violence, but actually, it’s less violent than many YA books. I’m looking forward to the entire family saga.

The buy link at Amazon is:

Author MK McClintock

For more information on MK McClintock and her other books, please see her gorgeous site at!home/mainPage or her blog at
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Caryn Miriam-Goldberg, Author

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the Poet Laureate of Kansas, and the author of 14 books, including a novel, The Divorce Girl (Ice Cube Books), a non-fiction book, Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other (Potomac Books); The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community & Coming Home to the Body (Ice Cube Books); the anthologies An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the State Poets Laureate (co-editor, Ice Cube Books) and Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (editor, Woodley Press);  and four collections of poetry. Founder of Transformative Language Arts – a master's program in social and personal transformation through the written, spoken and sung word – at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-writes songs, offers collaborative performances, and leads writing and singing Brave Voice retreats. She blogs at

                                       CARYN ON WRITING DIVORCE GIRL

When I was 14 and just starting my life of writing for hours each day, I read that to be a good writer, you need to open up your awareness and narrate to yourself all you see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Although I tended to do this somewhat obsessively at the time, this advice has served me well because in looking closely at the breathing, sensory world in which we live, I could not only see what was right before my eyes, but what was on the periphery.
Peripheral vision can show us the silver stretched briefly across the fuchsia sunset, the single blue heron crossing back to the wetlands at dusk, the first rising star, and such glimpses are not only gold for a writer but for a human. The universe is full of signs and wonders, and many of them are just on the edges of where we usually look. Such vision serves us well when it comes to the people in our lives who bring with them signs and wonders we would have never imagined if we hadn't opened our sight to see those on the edges.
This is all a lead-in to tell you that I love quirky characters in my fiction, with my coffee, on the road and through the internet. The people who we least expect to matter to us as well as the ones we thought we knew all along and then turn out to show us opulent dimensions -- they are the ones who embody the signs and wonders of being alive.

In writing THE DIVORCE GIRL, I didn't have to look far for such characters. Having based the novel on the framework of what I lived -- growing up in central NJ in the mid-70s, working at the Englishtown Auction, going back and forth to New York City to my dad's store, and hanging out in strip malls -- I met many such surprises disguised as humans. I worked at a clothing boutique with a guy named Eddie, old enough to be my father, but far cooler, and together we would sit in the back room, dissecting my latest love interest gone bad. I sold women's clothing at the auction, right next to 6'8" Ben, who told me stories of the real world. I had teachers who wore long beards, loved Ray Bradbury and Karl Marx, and joked with us about the meaninglessness of the suburbs.
So when I started writing THE DIVORCE GIRL, I knew that more-than-average-eccentric characters weren't be doing guest spots in the narrative, but taking on larger roles. That's because I understood that my main character, Deborah Shapiro, needed to see the world from different vantage points for her art, her survival, and her transition from girl to woman, and who better than these people:
 An ex-wild woman, current denim boutique owner who could hardly believe she ended up, after traveling the world and doing too many drugs, living in 'Jersey and finding the love of her life in an older guy named Uncle Carl.
 A young rabbi hired by a new suburban New Jersey syagogue (after being fire by a New York City synagogue for being too radical) who drank herbal tea (a novelty for the 70s), made his own echinacea, educated teens on the dangers and realities of drugs and sex, and listened to people in need with the intensity of their best beloved.
 A giant named Boy who drove up and down the eastern seaboard buying men's sportswear with slight damages that he could sell at flea markets, in between belting out "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" or "Silhouettes" for his customers.
 A high school wild child from Egypt who was popular for, among other things, breaking the projector of a pro-life group, and whose mother chased her around with a tea pot in one hand, a knife in the other.
It's these and other characters who show Deborah not only the possibility for but the downright necessity of living on her own terms. Their examples -- whether of not taking crap from anyone, going where their heart calls them, navigating their lives by an expansive perspective, or defining for themselves what health, life and art mean -- encourage Deborah to take her own creative risks. Their kindness shows Deborah new ways to make community, and even out of her friends, a family that sees her for who she is.
Most all, their lives help Deborah open up her own peripheral vision. Considering Deborah is an emerging photographer, such insight unlocks the door to her universe for her and shows her how to walk right through.

The Author, Caryn Miriam-Goldberg

THE DIVORCE GIRL will be released July 7, 2012. Here's and early review:

Publishers Weekly Review: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. Ice Cube (Ingram, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (378p) ISBN 978-1-88-816066-6: Kansas Poet Laureate Mirriam-Goldberg (The Sky Begins at Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body) successfully leaps into the fiction world with her debut novel, a moving coming-of-age story 14 years in the making. At 15 years old, New Jerseyan Deborah Shapiro knows about divorce, yet this budding photographer’s conception of how it should play out quickly dissolves when her bellicose father announces he will remain in the house after her parents’ split. Since a photography class assignment to shoot “whatever is most wrong in your life” coincides with the domestic break-up, Deborah documents every nuance of her increasingly bizarre life, including the violent fights between her parents; a flea market where her father and his new girlfriend, Fatima, sell cheap plus-size clothing; and her father’s subsequent marriage to Fatima. As Deborah unsuccessfully seeks a mother figure to help her endure her father’s regular verbal and physical abuses, she finds support from a kindly rabbi, a Jewish youth group, and her photography classmates. Documenting her life through a camera’s lens helps to lessen the pain of her circumstances, as well as propel her down the track toward a career in photography. Deborah’s story unfolds slowly, but the pacing showcases an insecure yet resilient teenager who ultimately emerges as a strong, compassionate adult.

On Friday, I'll post a review of the book GALLAGHER'S PRIDE, by MK McClintock. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 23, 2012


When I was a girl aged from about 11 to 13, going to spend a week with my aunt and uncle who lived south of Lubbock was a vacation. My parents would take me to my uncle’s house on a Sunday, and my uncle would bring me home later in the week. My cousins were older than I was, but I was a daydreamer and made up my own adventures and wasn’t lonely. To me, my aunt and uncle were wealthy. I realize now that they were comfortably well off, but not wealthy.

West Texas Cotton Field near Lubbock
Vacations spot?

Actually, my uncle was a cotton farmer, and lucky enough to have irrigation for his crops. I loved "helping" him check the irrigation. He had an old Jeep and riding in it was fun. He was very tolerant. Since his and my mom's dad died when my mom was six, he was sort of like her substitute dad. He was twelve years older than she was, and she was the youngest sibling and probably pampered and spoiled.

Happy memories inspired me to write HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME in a fictional area near where my aunt and uncle had lived. HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME, is a sweet contemporary romance and is a twist on Cinderella. Here’s the blurb:

Courtney Madison
Courtney Madison has battled poverty her entire twenty-five years but is determined to make a safe and happy home for her teenaged brother after the recent death of their mom. Her mom’s illness left Courtney with a mountain of hospital bills, her formerly sweet brother Jimmy is now cutting class and hanging with a rough crowd, and she’s just learned she’s being downsized in two weeks. Hanging on by the threads of a fraying rope, she learns she’s inherited two million dollars from a kind elderly man she befriended when he was in the hospital across the hall from her mom. She thinks her inheritance in West Texas is the answer to all her prayers--but Courtney learns that while money improves her life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. This modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine.

Derek Corrigan
Rancher/entrepeneur Derek Corrigan has incredible instincts for flourishing in the business world. With women, not so much. In fact, his friends bemoan he’s King Midas where money is concerned, but his judgment of women is pathetic--evidenced by his late wife and now the flamboyant woman he’s been escorting of late. As far as Derek is concerned, all he wants is to be a good dad to his children Warren, aged 8, and Meg, aged 5. Derek suspects the worst of his new neighbor and vows to fight his attraction for her. The only way he can protect his children and himself is to keep his private life very private. Besides, he knows what women do to him--they always leave and take chunks of his heart with them. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination and is cured. Isn't he?

Here’s an excerpt from HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME:

Set up: Derek surprised both he and Courtney when he asked her to the Winter Madness Ball held at the local county club.

They joined the others circling the room and Derek pulled her into his arms. He looked down at her while they twirled to a waltz. His beautiful cobalt eyes held passion and tenderness. She sighed and rested her head on his shoulder.
His arm tightened, snuggling her to him. His lips brushed her hair and she thought he murmured her name. Contentment washed over her, sending her encounter with Janelle far away.
A samba followed. He put both hands on her hips and she rested her hands on his shoulders. They moved as one to the rhythmic beats. Erotic fantasies invaded her mind. Tropical isles, sun drenched beaches, surf gliding gently over their entwined bodies.
In the middle of the next number, a fox trot, Derek guided her to the edge of the ballroom floor and out into the lobby. Gently, he pulled her into a shadowy corner before he pressed his lips to hers. For Courtney, they were alone in the universe.
He pulled her closer and she melted at his touch. She slipped her hands inside his jacket and wound both arms around him to knead his back, oblivious to anyone else in the world.
As he slowly raised his head, she felt herself pulled into those deep blue eyes.
Her senses reeled from his kiss and she struggled to maintain at least a shred of her sanity. “You’re a prominent person here, and this is a public area.”
“You’re right, but I couldn’t wait a second longer to kiss you.” He pulled her head to his chest. “Let me hold you a few moments longer.”
With his arms gently caressing her, she rested against his chest. When at last she raised her head to meet his gaze, he exhaled in resignation and brushed his lips across hers. “I know, I know. We should rejoin the others.”

HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is available from The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook at
and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online stores.

Thanks for reading. On Wednesday, I have a new guest author for you, so please return.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Please help me welcome a new friend, L. B. Shire, to the blog. Let’s get on with her interview
L.B. Shire and equine friend

Caroline: Where did you grow up?

LB: I grew up in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. I was definitely a crazy horse lover/bookworm type. Lucky for me, my husband isn't scared off by the hay in my hair, or horsey things strung about the house. I have one son who I adore. The rest of my family currently includes: three horses, a Kiger mustang, a Belgium/quarter horse cross, and a bs paint, two elderly blue heelers, 12 chickens, one cat, and one goat who thinks he's a two year old.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

LB: I've read almost every genre, but my favorite has always been Western Historical Romance. My favorite author's list goes on and on, but my top three recent would be: Sara Donati, Lauri Robinson, and Linda Lael Miller.

Caroline: Lauri and I are on a team blog, Sweethearts of the West. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

LB: Reading of course, I love to escape into a good book! My hobbies are spending time with family, we love bbq's, riding my horses, reading and of course, writing!

Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

LB: I've been known to have pessimistic qualities, ☺ he he, so I try and live by the quote, "onward and upward!"

Caroline: How long have you been writing?

LB: Honestly, since the moment I learned how to hold a pencil. When I was young, I wrote adventurous horse stories, now I've added cowboys and their love interests into the mix!

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

LB: I write on the couch with my laptop next to my husband, who is usually playing a computer game while the family watches TV! When I'm by myself, I like to write with an old western on the television. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood being my favorites.

Caroline: Love Clint Eastwood movies. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

LB: I have a pad of sticky notes I write down scenes as they come to mind. Then I try to write the story as quickly as possible with little to no editing.(yikes!) Then...I go back and edit, cut and rewrite. I'm trying to teach myself to be more organized and plot things out.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

LB: I haven't yet, I have taken some experiences. My family and I spent days at a time, camping and trekking in the mountains on horseback when I was growing up. This is where my imagination really came into play. I vividly remember my heart racing while I galloped my horse down a deer trail, I was pretending to be a damsel in distress with outlaws on my tail.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals?

LB: I write every day, it keeps me sane. My word count varies, but average I'd say is 500 words.

Caroline: I know what you mean about sanity. We have to let those voices out into a book, don't we? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

LB: Escapism, adventure and entertainment

Caroline: Same reason I read. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

LB: I'd like to expand my genre's in the future. I'm hoping to give YA a whirl, then maybe a contemporary western romance or two. My ultimate story for the future would incorporate my love for horses, horse mythology, and romance. That one's still churning around in my head.

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

LB: Well...I have one more Western Historical Romance I need to polish up this year for submission. Then, as I mentioned earlier, I would like to give YA a try, so I've also started a paranormal YA. I'll see where it takes me.

Caroline: YA is a very popular genre now. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

LB:  I know I sound like a broken record, but write, write, write! It's the only way to learn the craft.

Caroline: A fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

LB: I like to listen to alternative rock, Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots to name a few.

Caroline: Something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

LB: I'm a country girl, but I don't drive a pickup truck. Instead, I have my trusty old Honda accord.  Can't haul hay, but I haul lots of feed in it!

Caroline: Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.

LB: I researched women who could use a gun, Annie Oakley, along with  Cattle Annie and Little Britches to name a few, I found quite interesting. I like my heroines to know their way with a gun.

Caroline: Great cover! Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

LB: Here’s a blurb:

Sara McAllister wants two things in this life: revenge and a new start for the future.

Sara wants revenge. The thought of avenging her family has kept her sane these past years. Now she is so close to reaching her final goal. Joseph Murry, the man who murdered her family, will pay—with his life. She needs only to win the horse race this corrupt politician is sponsoring, finish him, take her winnings, and head west to begin a new life. But someone she never expected to see again has crossed her path, possibly changing the course of her future forever.

Slade hadn't expected to find Sara in Devils Cove—and inside a seedy little saloon, to boot. But here she is, standing before him, stunning as ever. She tells him she is going to win this race and take care of business. Slade recalls her tortured past: a man had murdered her family and left her for dead. He thought he was here to win a race, but instead finds he must protect Sara. For even though they had decided long ago to go their separate ways, the only way she will survive is if he remains by her side.

Caroline: How about an excerpt:

LB: Here’s an excerpt:

"Sara, haven't seen you for a spell," Slade called out to her. He set his bottle of whiskey on the table before him. Her face remained impassive as their eyes met. Life was about to get interesting. Having Sara in Devils Cove was a distraction he hadn't anticipated.

He watched, captivated, while she removed her dusty hat. Her long blonde hair fell in a cascade of waves around her shoulders; this sight alone sent a shot of desire pulsing through his system. My God, it's been a long time. His fingers ached to touch the silky mass.

"Damn." He groaned under his breath. Sara in the same room had set his mind into a jumble. Her luminous green eyes never wavered from his. His focus fell to her mouth, mesmerized while the tip of her tongue swept over her upper lip. Would she remember their time spent together? He could vividly recall every last detail. The woman had bewitched him long ago.

Where can readers find your books?  

How can readers learn more about you?

You can find me at my blog, and Feel free to leave me a comment! I'd love to hear what you think!

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I believe hard work keeps one honest! I've put more hours of hard work than I can count into writing with the hopes to entertain. If you read my book, I hope you'll finish satisfied. Keep Reading and Happy Trails!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Years ago a Kensington editor asked me to write a novella about a topsy turvy wedding set in an historic era. She wanted it modeled after “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” but I don’t like that type humor. To me, it’s not funny when a bride’s dress catches on fire or she falls into her wedding cake. But, money talks, so I tried for MY version of a disastrous, yet funny, wedding.

First, I asked my friends if anything went wrong on their wedding day. Wow, did I get ideas! My husband and I were incredibly lucky and nothing disastrous or humorous happened to us - unless you count being so nervous we practically had to support one another funny. I gathered the ideas I could use, and my friends from the Yellow Rose RWA chapter helped me plot this novella.

Once I started writing HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, I enjoyed the process a great deal. I love the hero and heroine, and came to the secondary characters - except for the bride’s parents. That cold, stuffy, snobby couple deserved one another.

The rights have now reverted back to me and HAPPY IS THE BRIDE now available for only 99 cents. What a great deal! The setting is in a small fictional town near what would be Medina and Bandera, Texas.

Cover shows an historic church near where I live, still
used for weddings. Now it has a historic marker.

Here’s the blurb:

Beth Pendleton is tired of the gossip her three failed engagements--each arranged by her pompous father--have created. She knows she’s not a jinx, an Ice Queen, a snob, or any of the other hurtful labels slapped on her. She takes food to the ill, serves the community in numerous ways, and is active in church. For her twenty-eight years she has tried to please her demanding parents. Neither her mother nor her father has ever had an encouraging word to say to her. Spiteful comments from her only cousin incite Beth to take charge of her fate. She proposes to Mason Whittaker, her lifelong friend and champion.

Mason Whittaker, is a hero after any woman’s heart. Carrying on his father’s ranching tradition, he has strong family ties. Unlike Beth’s critical parents, Mason’s mother and father are loving and kind and he has a close knit extended family. As long as Mason can remember, he’s been in love with Beth. The only time he loses his temper is when he hears someone speak ill of her. But he’s learned to count to ten--or twenty--to curb his anger. He never believed he’d be able to marry her. Her proposal astonished and pleased him. But wait...did she mention love?

Will Mason marry Beth and put an end to the gossip? And what about that silly bet Beth made with cousin Rachel that Beth would be wed by the end of June? What will Mason think if he learns of her impetuous gamble? But Beth’s bet is not the only hazard to their wedding. Murphy’s Law is working overtime as Beth and Mason battle outside forces to create their happily ever after.

Authors love reviews, at least most of the time. One Amazon reviewer said that HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, which I consider a sweet romance, was filled with porn and characters who acted like animals in rut.☻ What?  I was left wondering if she'd read this book or confused it with another? I'll let you decide how pornographic it is from the following excerpt from HAPPY IS THE BRIDE:

Medina River, Texas

Mason took Beth's hand and tucked it in the crook of his arm. "Let's take a stroll by the river."

She looked back at the chapel, knew she should help her mother, and weighed her mother's irritability against her own desire to walk with Mason. He put his hand over hers, and that contact swayed her. Instead of the comfort his touch used to arouse, currents of lightning shot through her.

Why would an engagement make a difference between her and a friend of more than twenty years?

All she knew was that since she'd proposed to Mason, her reaction to him had changed. His presence incited escalating odd sensations, and she had the most scandalous thoughts. She questioned whether he had the same thoughts, and the heat of a blush reached her cheeks.

There hadn't been time for proper courting. He'd called on her, but other than the day she proposed to him, they'd had no time alone. Her parents accompanied her to his home and that of his parents. When he called on her, one of her parents remained in the room. A hasty kiss on the cheek was all he'd given her, but his soulful looks let her know he wanted more.

Her breath hitched, and she struggled to keep her eyes averted for fear he might read her mind. Her mother said a lady never had thoughts of the flesh, yet Beth couldn't stop dwelling on it. Would he be scandalized? Right now she wondered how his lips tasted.

Mason guided her under the back edge of the building between two of the stone columns and pulled her into his arms. "Forgive me, Beth, I can't wait for this any longer."

Strawberry jam.

He tasted sweet as the jam she'd given him last week. She melted against him, and he deepened the kiss. His tongue traced the line of her lips, and she opened to his invasion. She gasped, but his tongue probed against hers and created a pool of warmth low in her abdomen. Her knees threatened to give way, and she clung to him.

Surprised at the giddiness his action evoked, she soon matched his thrusts with her own tongue. Dear heaven, the thoughts that aroused. A pulsing, aching heat built in her private place. Much more of this and she'd burst into flame.

One of his hands caressed her breast, and new tingles shot through her. He broke contact with her lips to murmur between kisses to her neck, "I can hardly wait to view these beauties tonight."

She looked up at him. "V-view them?" She whis-pered, "You mean see, um, see me without clothes on?"

He smiled. "Yes, that's what I mean. Not a stitch on either one of us, just like God made us."

"Is that proper?" Panic seized her. Right now she wanted to give Adam back his rib.

But then Mason moved his hand across her nipple, those tingles changed to jolts of pleasure, and she reconsidered. Maybe this man-woman thing wouldn't be too bad, in spite of what her mother said.

Mason's other hand cupped her bottom and tucked her into him. She sensed a hard bulge pressing against her as he resumed their kiss. It must be his man thing, and she worried at the size of it. How could that fit inside her?

Breathless, she broke the kiss. He pulled her to him and cradled her head against his chest. She slid her arms around his waist and savored his embrace. In spite of her worries about tonight, in his arms she knew peace.

He kissed her temple. "Can't tell you how much I've needed this. I've dreamed of us alone in our own home tonight."

That's when they'd come together. But Mason wouldn't do anything to hurt her. She trusted him.

"I look forward to it, too. We make a fine couple, and we'll have a good life together." She raised her head and asked the question that had worried her since she'd proposed to him.

"Mason, you're not sorry you said yes, are you?" She knew he'd never go back on a promise, but it worried her that he might regret that he'd agreed to wed her.

He brushed his lips against hers in a soft, sweet kiss. "I'm only sorry we've wasted years when we should have been together. We belong with one another."

"I'm relieved you feel that way." She sighed and nuzzled into him. "In spite of all the talk, I'm feeling very lucky right now."

"Not nearly as lucky as me. I've wanted this as long as I can remember."

Thunderstruck, she looked up at him. He wanted her? "Mason, you never said. Why didn't you tell me long ago?"

"I couldn't. You were so all-fired set on pleasing your folks by going to that fancy school up north. Then when you came back, well, I thought you were too fine a lady for the likes of me."

Did Mason think her a snob? The suggestion created a ball of worry hi her. "How could you think such a thing? If—if I gave you that idea from anything I said or did, then I apologize. There's no finer man anywhere than you, Mason."

He pulled her back to his chest, and she heard him exhale, a great whoosh of breath, as if he'd been holding in the air. "I thought you deserved a whole man, someone not hampered by a limp."

She pushed away from him with her hands rested on his chest. "Mason Whittaker, don't ever let me hear you say another word against yourself. I'm real sorry about your leg because I know it pains you, but that doesn't make you less of a man. In fact, you've achieved success in spite of being slowed by it, so that makes you twice the man of anyone else I know."

He pushed a stray curl from her face. "You always championed me. Guess that's one reason why I love you."

He loved her.

She didn't know what to say. Mason Whittaker actually said he loved her. She should answer him. But how? Instead, she clung to him, pressed herself against him, and held on. Dear Lord, and she'd asked him to marry her because of a bet. She should tell him, confess right now. But she knew his temper and his hard-shelled pride. If he found out, that pride of his would drive him away. She couldn't bear another cancelled wedding. More, she couldn't bear losing Mason as her best friend and their future together.

Now she was forced to face the question of whether she loved Mason as a man or just as a friend? She hadn't considered that. She'd been so determined to show her cousin Rachel and stop the laughter and humiliation that she hadn't stopped to consider the consequences for Mason.

How selfish she'd been. The knowledge made her ashamed of her hasty proposal. Then she remembered that when she decided to find her own groom, she hadn't considered anyone but Mason.

Did she love him?

Mrs. Pendleton's shrill voice saved Beth from answering Mason.

"Bethaneeeeee. Where are you?"

"Oh, no, we'd better go around by the wagons. Mother sounds upset with me." She loathed breaking contact with him, but stepped away. "Soon I'll be out of yelling distance, even for her." She laughed, wishing it were funny instead of sad.

Nothing she did would ever please her mother. Heaven knew she'd tried for twenty-eight years. She couldn't remember one time when her mother had a kind word for her, not even one.

Mason grabbed her hand. "Knowing my temper, I can't promise I'll never yell at you, but I give you my word I'll try not to."

"You haven't yelled at me yet And I'll try hard to be the best wife in the world, the kind you deserve."

Mason loved her.

Why hadn't she seen that? He'd always been so thoughtful of her every wish, listened to her secrets, took up for her against anyone who said hurtful things to her.

"One more." He swept her to him in a fervent embrace.

Beth slid her arms around his neck. Who would have dreamed kissing Mason would render her into a melting puddle? But it did, and she wanted to continue for a long time.

She wanted him to touch her breast again. Did that make her wanton? Her mother insisted only harlots enjoyed the things that went on between men and women.

Someone coughed. "Boss?"

Mason and Beth jumped. She knew her face reddened at being caught in Mason's arms.

Rowdy pretended to look away. "Mrs. Pendleton made me come fetch you two back up there right away. She seems all het up, and I reckon you'd better hurry along before she has a spell or something."

"Thanks, tell her we're on our way." Mason took Beth's hand and smiled. "In a few hours, no one can interrupt us."

His words gave Beth hope. They rounded the corner pillar and climbed the slope to the front of the chapel.

At the buckboard, Mason held her hand and looked into her eyes. "Guess Rowdy and me better get this straw spread. I'm expected at my folks later this morning."

Mrs. Pendleton tapped her foot. "Straw's not necessary, but if you've nothing better to do, I suppose it won't hurt."

Rowdy helped Mrs. Pendleton and Beulah climb onto the buckboard. Beulah took the reins, but smiled at Beth and Mason and waited patiently.

Mrs. Pendleton snapped open her parasol. "Bethany, we don't have time to dally all day."

Beth sighed, wishing as she had many times that her mother was a kinder, more patient person. No matter, soon she and Mason would answer only to each other. Mason still held her hand, and she squeezed his fingers before she pulled free. "I have to go."

Mason pecked her on the cheek. "Yeah, I know, but it won't be long until we're wed." He helped her up and stepped back. "See you later."

Beth waved. "In a few hours." She thought ahead to tonight when they'd come together and knew she blushed.

His eyes darkened. Plainly, his feelings matched hers. She recalled his words about seeing her naked and wondered how her body would look to him. Would she disappoint him?

Beth hoped not. All her life she'd disappointed her parents, though she tried hard to please them. She had no intention of disappointing her husband. Would being a good wife be as impossible as being a good daughter?

If you’re intrigued, HAPPY IS THE BRIDE is available for 99 cents from

Smashwords at

and Amazon at

As I mentioned earlier, authors love nice reviews. If you like HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, please leave your favorable review on Smashwords or Amazon or Goodreads. I’ll truly appreciate your effort.

To learn more about my books, please check my website,, where you’ll find a place to subscribe to my newsletters for fun contests, giveaways, new releases, and more.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Hi Caroline, I’m so glad to be visiting your beautiful blog.

There is always a special story behind the official story of a book, or a special reason that leads an author to select a particular setting for her novel.

Why did I set my latest romance novel, SAILING WITH YOU, in the Island of Mykonos, Greece?
Granted it’s a romantic place, an attractive island and a fabulous resort where tourists flock in summer. But then there are so many equally beautiful sites that I’ve visited during my numerous travels. Yet, they didn’t stir a similar yearning in my heart or even talked to my muse. It’s probably the Greek blood running in my veins that makes me love to go to Greece and share its beauty with my readers.

From a book written by my uncle who lived in Canada, I learned that my ancestors dwelt in the Island of Salonika. The father, Yorgho Zanis, was a merchant selling fabrics in the old market area. After his death, his three sons decided to immigrate to America, build their fortune, and come back to their roots as rich men. But after they sailed for two days, one of the brothers became violently ill and had to disembark in the first port where the ship docked. He settled in Alexandria while his brothers continue to New York.

I visited Greece six times over the years and discovered its islands and beaches with renewed pleasure. I knew from the first time that I wanted to set a story there.

Blurb:  Can the pain of the past bring about the happiness of the future?

When Greek billionaire Stefano decides to demolish the dilapidated villa inherited from his grandmother, the American co-owner refuses to sell his shares and sends his attorney—and pretty granddaughter—to contest the demolition. To check out the opposition before he faces her at the hearing, Stefano meets Ashley incognito and convinces her to take a sunset ride on his yacht. Sparks fly and passion sizzles during a memorable night.

In court, Ashley is in for a nasty surprise about her handsome Greek god and Stefano is about to lose the only woman who’s ever touched his heart. Will Stefano be able to convince Ashley he’s not the enemy anymore?

Determined to keep a vigil on the potential threat created by the presence of a stranger in his grandmother’s house—and what a stranger—Stefano raised the binoculars again watching the scenario unfolding on the shore.

The young woman untied her beach wrap and threw it on the back of the lounge chair.

“Lovely.” The word escaped him with a groan as she revealed perfect curves molded by the bikini like a second skin. Stefano blinked, assessing and admiring.

Aphrodite’s hands slid behind her back and remained hidden for a good moment. What was she up to? She turned around. This time he could see her profile and her fingers clasped on the hook of her bikini top.

With impatient twists, he fiddled with his binoculars. Damn it. It was already in perfect focus. Eyes narrowed, Stefano stiffened and zeroed in his attention on the beach.

Her head swiveled right then left. Was she scanning the stretch of sand carpeted with topless sunbathers? Guessing the woman’s intention, he swallowed hard.

Take it off or not take it off? What a dilemma.

She must be a foreigner. Probably a bashful American on her first visit to Greece. No doubt about it. A European beauty wouldn’t have hesitated to remove her bra on a beach where topless was the norm and full bathing suits the exception.

His senses on alert, Stefano stilled, focusing and waiting. Would she shy away from revealing herself or follow the locals’ example?

Her breasts swelled and rose while she seemed to struggle with her thoughts. Her fingers clenched behind her back on the thin strip of material. With a swift gesture, she unhooked the clasp, snatched the bikini top off, and crumpled it in her palm.

Stefano sucked in his breath. Simply gorgeous.


Mona Risk, Author
Mona Risk never thought that hazardous waste analysis would lead her to writing novels! When her Ph.D. and work in chemistry landed her international contracts to refurbish laboratories, she traveled to more than sixty countries on business or vacation. To relax from her hectic schedule, she avidly read romance novels and mentally plotted her own books. Eventually she left a scientific career to share with her readers the many stories brewing in her head. M. Risk likes to set her stories in the fascinating places she visited from exotic Belarus, and historical France, to the beaches of Greece, the monuments of Egypt and the mysterious Islands of Seychelles.

Caroline, thank you for hosting me today.

Friday, July 13, 2012


During the Civil War, no doubt soldiers longed for home the way it existed before the War. Many men lost their home and family members. In my family, a Unionist sympathizing Georgia patriarch had to move his family twice to avoid harassment and threats of physical harm by Southern sympathizers. He also had to serve in the Confederacy due to the threats of a local bully, but my relative was discharged early due to age and injuries and paroled home. At the end of the War, he’d lost his primary home, animals, and furnishings, but his family survived.

In the Civil War, more men died than in any other war in which the United States has been involved. That’s a staggering statistic. Thinking of all the women who lost loved ones, who became spinsters because there simply were not enough men left of marrying age (no wonder they signed up as mail-order brides), and the damaged men who did return is sad. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was called battle fatigue, and thought usually to be temporary, No one knew how to treat severe cases.

Drawing Rations, Andersonville Prison

Prisons on both sides were horrendous. Many who survived lost so much weight they were skeletal. Often they were without coats in freezing weather, some without even shoes. We hate foreign countries who do to our soldiers what our own countrymen did in the Civil War.

Soldiers who were not so fortunate as my family chose several options after the War’s end. Some, like mine, returned home to reclaim as much as they could. Some traveled West, like several members of my family did later to seek a better life. Others became outlaws like the Quantrell or Murrell’s Raiders, using their army training to rampage and wreak destruction. Others formed the Ku Klux Klan, and I’m sad to admit a few of my family were involved in that terrible group over a ten year period.  Ah well, with ancestry, you take what you're issued.

Loosely based on my family’s Wartime experiences, I conceived a novella set near the end of the War. The heroine is Parmelia Bailey, and she has promised the men in her family she will watch over the other women until they return. As the War approaches, she slips through a blockade to rescue her brother’s fiancée Sarah Hardeman and Sarah’s mother and sisters. Unfortunately, Parmelia is caught by Darrrick McDonald, the man with whom she’s been in love most of her life...but he’s returned wearing a Union uniform!

I'm thinking of reworking the cover's fonts.
What do you think?

Here’s the blurb for LONG WAY HOME:

Parmelia Bailey has promised to keep her family safe until the men in her family return from War. That includes bringing her brother’s fiancée, Sarah Hardeman, and Sarah’s mother and sisters to stay at her grandmother’s home in town. Maybe she shouldn’t have stolen back her horses from the Yankees, but she could think of no other way to rescue the Hardeman women.

Darrick McDonald waited four years to return to Witherspoon, Georgia and Parmelia. Who would have dreamed war would bring him back. He had to protect Parmelia from a renegade who’d vowed to make her sorry she’d turned down his proposal. He prayed he wasn’t too late.

Here’s an excerpt from LONG WAY HOME:

At last, she turned into her grandparents’ drive and pulled around to the back. With a huge sigh, she stopped at the carriage house. Surely a week had passed since she caught her horses last night. All she wanted now was to crawl in bed and sleep for days, pretend the war never happened. She couldn’t relax yet, not until the horses were back with those Yankee scoundrels.”

“Sarah, let’s see your mother and sisters inside. After that, Rob and I will deal with the chickens and cow.” Parmelia’s hands shook as she climbed out of the buggy. Fatigue, relief, and fear turned her limbs to jam.

She walked Sarah and her family to the back door where Grammy and Mama took over.

Parmelia returned to the carriage house. “Rob, help me unhitch the horses and put their bridles on so I can take them back.”

“Why don’t I do that.” Darrick McDonald stepped from the shadows. He appeared calm, until she looked at his face.

Parmelia was surprised sparks didn’t shoot from his dark eyes and ignite the entire carriage house. She clutched her throat, hoping a way out of this predicament would come to her. How had he known to come here, to wait for her?

“Darrick, you—you gave me a fright.”

“Did I? Perhaps you have a guilty conscience.” He freed one of the horses.

“When did you come back?” She fought for an idea, but none came to her.

“Late yesterday.” He walked back and forth beside Lady. “Funny thing, you having two horses after the Army confiscated all the livestock in town. Another coincidence, two Army horses went missing overnight.”

“Did they?”

He stopped and gave her a piercing look.

She gave up with a sigh. “I can explain.”

“I’m listening.” His eyes were still dark with anger.

“My brother’s fiancée. You remember Sarah Hardeman? I had to bring her and her family to town. I—I had no way to do that without a team.”

Rob added, “These are our horses anyway. You low down, yellow-bellied Yankees stole them from us.”

Oh, Lord. Leave it to her brother to make things worse.

“Hush, Rob. Give me the bridles. Put the cow in the barn then come help me with these chickens.”

He pouted and handed over the tack. “Oh, all right. I never get to hear anything good.” Rob untied the cow and stomped toward the barn.

“So, you’re a Yankee officer now.”

“Captain.” Darrick crossed his arms. “I’m waiting for an explanation, Parmelia.”

Her temper conquered her good sense, and she stepped toward him. “You’ve got your nerve, coming here wearing that uniform, traitor.”

He stepped forward until they were almost touching. “Call me what you will, but you’re the one who stole two horses in a time of war.”

She refused to retreat. “How can you accuse me of stealing, when you Yankees have taken over our town?”

“Because you did steal them, and you weren’t even clever about it. I followed their tracks to your grandparents’ home. You do realize that with a less sympathetic Colonel, they could lose their home?”

Dear heaven, she hadn’t considered her grandparents if she were caught.

“No!” She took a step backward. “I was going to return them. Rob’s right, they are ours. They know me, so they were eager to come to me.”

He pulled a small, withered apple from his pocket.

Rats, she must have dropped it, one of the few from their store of fruit in the cellar.

Darrick held the apple in front of her nose. “Looks to me as if you coaxed them away.”

She sighed, “Maybe I did, but it was only to use them for a little while. Sarah and her family were in great peril.”

He tossed the apple from one hand to the other, but stared at her face. “Are you crazy? You could have been killed.”

She grabbed the apple from him. “Sarah, her mother, and sisters could have been murdered and their home burned. We barely got away in time as it is.”

“If you had bothered to consult the Colonel, he would have sent soldiers for them. As it turns out, I would have taken my men and gone.”

“Are you crazy? You could have been killed.”

Shocked at the concern in her voice and in her heart, she continued, “Um, I mean, they might not have recognized you and could have shot you. Or, that man that tried to take my horse could have killed you.”

Oh, no, she hadn’t meant to tell that last part.

He grew angrier and grabbed her arms. “What do you mean?

She tried to twist away. “Nothing.”

“Parmelia Bailey, who tried to take your horse?” He turned her to face him.

Refusing to meet his gaze, she stammered, “There, um, there was a man in the woods, a ways north of the Mitchell’s house. He…um, he jumped at me and tried to take Beauty, but Rob and I got away.”

“You are the stubbornest, orneriest woman I’ve ever known. Don’t you realize what could have happened to you?”

“It crossed my mind,” she snapped and raised her face.

“If you were mine, I’d, I’d...”

“Yours? You moved away and left me, remember? And now you’re a Yankee officer.” Lord, she shouldn’t have reminded him she’d loved him. Worse, she still loved him.

She willed tears not to fall. Keep your anger up, don’t let him know how he hurt you.

“You know why I left Witherspoon. You know I had no choice.”

“There’s always a choice.” And she would have chosen to go with him, if only he’d asked, even if she had been only sixteen.

“Like you chose to steal these horses?”

She shrugged away from his grasp. “Steal? Soldiers stole them from us. Do you understand the term borrow? That’s what I did.”

“In times of war, the government has the power to confiscate items from civilians. Do you understand that?”

“Call it what you wish, it’s still stealing when you take what’s not yours and keep it.”

“Maybe we’re only borrowing your horses.”

She thought his mouth twitched to hide a smile. His humor only irked her more.

“Like you Yankees borrowed from the stores in town so we can’t even buy supplies—that is, if we had money. Which we don’t.”

He smiled. “I heard you had plenty of those Confederate dollars.”

“Oh, Yankees make me so mad. Take my horses and leave.” She turned and stomped toward the house.

He called, “Aren’t you going to invite me in to say hello to the family? Maybe you could bake me an apple pie.”

She slammed the kitchen door and leaned against it. His laughter floated around her.

From the front of the house, she heard Mrs. Hardeman complaining and Mamma and Grammy’s soft, soothing answers. She wondered how much of Mrs. Hardeman’s grousing they’d have to endure.

Parmelia Bailey
Parmelia pushed away from the door, and then remembered those dratted chickens. Peeking through the curtains, she saw Darrick leading the horses away. His long, lean body looked good, his walk a confident swagger. Dark brown hair caught the sunlight. Lordy, he was better looking than he had been four years ago when he lived in Witherspoon.

When he’d touched her just now, she’d sizzled. She’d wanted to throw herself in his arms and have him reassure her, kiss her, love her. How could he create these sensations inside her when he’d abandoned her four years ago? When now he sided with their enemies?

She jumped when Sarah came up to her.

“Parmelia, is something wrong?”

“I—I just remembered the chickens is all. I’ll get Rob to help me get them down and into the chicken coop.”

“Nonsense. My sisters and I will do it. You look all worn out. You must have ridden most of the night.”

She shrugged. “I’m all right. We started for your place close to midnight.”

Sarah’s dark eyes sparkled. “Did you really take those horses from the Yankees?”

“Yes, but they’re on their way back to those thieves now. Darrick McDonald was waiting for them in Grammy’s barn.”

“Darrick?” Sarah touched Parmelia’s arm. “Oh, Parmelia. Is he still as handsome?”

She sighed, hating to admit the truth. “More. And taller. He sure fills out his uniform, too, but it’s blue.”

“Oh.” Sarah paused. “But he’s here, and you talked to him. That’s something, isn’t it?”

Before Parmelia had to answer, Rob slammed inside the kitchen. “That old cow’s still upset. Am I supposed to milk her or what?”

“I’ll get the pail for you.” Parmelia retrieved it from the screened in porch. “The stool’s still in the barn.” She clasped her hands. “Fresh milk. Oh, that will be wonderful. We’ve been without it for a month.”

Rob called, “We got to have hay.”

“Maybe she can eat the lawn tomorrow. I’ll try to barter some hay.” But who had any supplies except the Yankees? Sighing, she went back into the kitchen. She simply could not deal with another crisis today.

“I took off my extra clothes, but my hair’s a mess.” Sarah stood at a small mirror over the washstand and smoothed curls of brown hair from her face. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my teachers at Thorndike Academy of Young Women would approve of my appearance.”

Parmelia looked at herself over Sarah’s shoulder, then gasped. What must Darrick have thought of her? She told herself she didn’t care then admitted she did. She’d been so careful about her appearance when he’d called on her years ago. He must think she’d turned into a hoyden. Peering at her rough hands and broken nails, she thought maybe she had. Oh, what did it matter?

Forcing back tears and regrets, she pulled at her men’s britches and curtsied to Sarah. “I don’t think anyone from Mrs. Carrington’s School for Young Ladies would even speak to me.”

They broke into giggles and went in search of Katie and Nancy.

If this tempted you to purchase LONG WAY HOME, it’s available as an ebook from

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and Amazon at

If you read this book and enjoy it, please leave a favorable review on Smashwords or Amazon. I’ll sincerely appreciate your effort!

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Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Everyone loves a sexy cowboy, but there’s not much of a love story if he doesn’t have an interesting woman who can tame the untamable.  Who’s up to the ever-so-pleasant but sometimes rocky task?   Let’s talk about western women. !

Western women weren’t merely transplanted eastern women.  For the most part, women had more rights and were far more “modern” in their thinking.  Wyoming granted women’s suffrage in 1869.  Most of the western states were far ahead of the eastern states when it came to suffrage, property rights, and marital law.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few women who shaped the character of Janelle Kathryn (aka J.K., shortened to Jake) O’Keefe, the heroine in MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS (♥ Hearts of Owyhee ♥ #3).
 And while we're looking at these inspiring women, let me mention that another release, MUCH ADO ABOUT MADAMS, is FREE today on Amazon!

Little Joe Monaghan
Joe Monaghan

A lot of you know the story—Joe Monaghan was a woman who lived as a man in Owyhee County, Idaho Territory, for forty years.  But that’s not what interested me.  What I found intriguing was what she did.  As a member of the “weaker sex,” here’s a list of accomplishments:
 Worked a high-altitude mine, and worked harder than most men.
 Worked odd jobs—carpentry, digging ditches, anything to make a coin
 Bought a small acreage and raised chickens and garden vegetables—enough to sell and provide her with a decent living.
 Hired out as a sheepherder
 Hired out as a cowhand
 Homesteaded
 Earned money as a wrangler and bronc buster
 Performed as Cowboy Joe in Whaylen's Wild West Show: the Greatest Show on Land or Sea (note: Whaylen offered to pay $25 to any man who brought a horse that Joe couldn't ride, and never once did he have to part with his money)
 Built her own ranch and raised cattle
Now does that sound like the “weaker sex” to you?  This is not an easy country to ranch in, either.  Take a look: (be prepared to listen to a motorcycle. )
You can read more about Little Joe Monaghan at Unusual Historicals.

Kitty Wilkins
Kitty Wilkins

Now, we’ll go to a girlie-girl, a very feminine woman who you’d think would be the epitome of Victorian propriety.  She also lived in Owyhee County.  I’m referring to Kitty Wilkins, who, to this day, holds the record for the largest horsetrading deal in North American history.

Did she act like a man? No.  Did she look like a man?  No. The Sioux City Journal of Sioux City, Iowa, described Miss Wilkins as "a tall stately blond, with fluffy, golden hair, large blue eyes that have quite a knack of looking clear through one, regular features and pearly teeth which glisten and sparkle when she smiles, and she has a habit of smiling very frequently. Her lips are red and full, and her mouth and chin denote a certain firmness of manner, no doubt acquired in her peculiar calling."

Yet this woman could wheel and deal with the best of them.  She knew horseflesh better than most men, and she understood the business.  Find out more about Kitty Wilkins at Romancing The West.

Jake O’Keefe

Maureen O'Hara/Jake O'Keefe

So how did Little Joe Monaghan and Kitty Wilkins become Jake O’Keefe?  I guess it just happens when visions mix up in the ether.  Out came a beautiful woman who looks like Maureen O’Hara but is in a man’s world where she has to make do with what she’s got.  And what she has are the skills to make her the best foreman in the territory.  She’s confident, competent, and bold.  She wears clothing appropriate to her job; hence, britches instead of skirts.  I loved the idea of a man having to tame a woman instead of the other way around.

Now who would make the most improbable mate for a woman of this background?  A Boston attorney.  Yep.  So that’s just what I gave her, and it was rather fun watching her work all this out.  Sometimes an author needs to stay out of the way and let the characters tell the story, and believe me, no one gets in Jake’s way.  Well, except for Ben.  Whoo-baby!

Excerpt of MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS (♥ Hearts of Owyhee ♥ #3)
by Jacquie Rogers

[Setup: Ben grew in Owyhee County, Idaho Territory, but his father (who called Ben “Skeeter”) didn’t see where he’d ever amount to anything so he sent Ben to Harvard, where he read the law and became a prominent Boston attorney.  In this scene, Ben has just come home for the first time in thirteen years to settle his deceased father’s estate.]

Ben paid for the sarsaparillas and grasped both mug handles with one hand.  “Nice to see you again,” he said to the clerk.  He strode outside, into the billowing alkali dust kicked up by the wagon passing in front of the store.

A red-headed woman in cowhand’s clothes pulled the horses to a stop.  She handled the reins as well as any man; nevertheless, he planned to drive to the ranch whether she liked it or not.  She jumped down and headed for the trunk, but Ben ran to it first.  Shoving the mugs into her hands, he picked up the trunk and heaved it into the wagon.  He’d be double-damned if he’d let a woman load his trunk for him, even if she was nearly as tall as he.

She saluted him with one mug, drank the entire contents, and wiped her mouth on her sleeve.  “We best be getting to the Bar EL.  They’re expecting us.”

He could hardly wait to see his mother and sister, even if his stomach soured every time he thought about his childhood home.  But he had to take care of the family and ranch now that his father had died.  Worse, he had to contend with Jake O’Keefe because Pa thought his own son too incompetent to hire good people, even after four years at Harvard and nine years of practicing law.

The soda was refreshing and he took his time while the woman waited, not patiently, shifting her weight from left to right, then tossing a few pebbles.

“I think we should reintroduce ourselves.”  He placed the mug on the boardwalk and offered his hand.  “How do you do?  I’m Benjamin Lawrence, visiting from Boston.”

“Janelle Kathryn.”  She grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously.  “I’m surely pleased to meet you.”

He tested his shoulder to see if it still functioned after her hearty handshake.  Then, just to knock her off guard, he took her hand and kissed the back of it with grandiose gallantry.  “My pleasure, Miss Janelle.”
♥ ♥ ♥
Jumpin’ juniper berries!  Jake snatched her scorching hand away from Skeeter’s lips.  His well-placed little smacker burned hotter than a branding iron in August.  Only better, but she sure as shootin’ wouldn’t admit it to a soul.  Ever.  Of course, she had no intention of washing her hand for a month either.  That hot kiss sent goosebumps clean down to her toes.

She sucked in a deep breath and cleared her throat.  “Let’s go.”  She hopped onto the wagon and picked up the reins.

Ben leapt onto the seat and took the reins from her.  “I’ll drive.”

His thigh rubbed hers.  She didn’t know how he could think right if he tingled anything like she did.  But, he probably didn’t.  She inched away from him as the buckboard moved out of town.  She focused on the sagebrush—at least it didn’t knock her plumb senseless.  He was too damned good-looking in a dandified sort of way.  Taller than she was, too, by a few inches.  Few men were.  She stood even with Whip, who, although bent with years of hard work, was taller than the rest of the men.

It ate at her that Skeeter muddled her mind so, and she had no idea what got into her to tell him her real name.  She’d better set him straight.

“Just so’s you know, I ain’t no simpering female.  Folks around here call me Jake.  Jake O’Keefe.  I expect you ought to call me that, too.”
Enjoy the ride!

MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS (♥ Hearts of Owyhee ♥ #3) is available at Amazon.

You can get MUCH ADO ABOUT MADAMS (♥ Hearts of Owyhee ♥ #2) for FREE on Kindle today,

 and MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS (♥ Hearts of Owyhee ♥ #1) is only 99¢.What a deal!

Author Jacquie Rogers

Visit Jacquie at her website,
Facebook ,
Romancing The West,
or her Blog

Thanks to Jacquie, who is one of my favorite authors, for sharing her source of inspiration for her new heroine. Don't you love her book covers? If you haven't read her books, poor you! Start with book #1, MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS, and you won't be able to stop until you've read all three of her Hearts of Owyhee Series. She combines fast pace, humor, surprises, and great characterization for a perfect read.

Thanks for stopping bt!

Monday, July 09, 2012


Author Sylvia McDaniel

Please welcome a long-time friend and fellow author, Sylvia McDaniel. Sylvia and I are members of Dallas Area Romance Authors, where she is President-Elect. Now, here’s Sylvia’s interview:

Caroline:  I feel I know about you, but please give the readers a little peep into your life. Where did you grow up?

Sylvia: I was born in San Angelo, Texas and we moved to Irving, Texas when I was a twelve. The change was quite a culture shock for me. West Texas schools were so much more laid back than the Metroplex school I attended.

I've always been a bookworm. My mother took me to the library when I was in second grade and I felt like a whole new world opened up to me.

Caroline: The library opened wonderful worlds for me, too. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Sylvia: Kathleen Woodwiss is the author that turned me on to historical romance. I loved FLAME AND THE FLOWER, A WOLF AND A DOVE, and SHANNA.  Today, my favorite authors are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Wiggs and Rachel Gibson.  Today, I read more contemporaries and women's fiction than I do historicals, mainly because I burned out on the regency period.

Caroline: I am an eclectic reader. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Sylvia: I love to hike and fish. Yes, I've been into fishing since my Grandfather taught me when I was a little girl.  I don't get to go very often anymore.  There is nothing like being on the lake early in the morning when the water is calm, the air is cool and everything is still.  It's so relaxing that you don't care if the fish bite or not.  Just rocking in the boat is enough to make you forget about the every day stresses of life.

Caroline: I agree sitting in a boat lets all your cares float away. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Sylvia: Not really. Life is always changing. I've learned to accept that people, jobs and things come and go in your life.  Make the best of your time with those people while they're in your life, but always know someday they will be gone.

Caroline: How long have you been writing?

Sylvia: Oh God! Twenty-two years and I still feel like I have so much to learn.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Sylvia: I would prefer to write in Colorado in a log home up in the mountains, but I spend my time in my office. I need quiet. If music or the television is on, I'm either singing to the music or watching the television. I'm easily distracted from the movie I have playing in my head.

Caroline: I always thought Estes Park in summer and Texas in winter. Like you, I write in my office. Although I know the answer to this, I’ll ask for our readers: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Sylvia: Definitely a plotter. I do a storyboard before I start writing the book. I know what needs to happen in each scene, but making that event happen is always a challenge. And things often change along the way. I'm always open to change, but I have to know the ending way in advance.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Sylvia: Years ago I did. But not anymore.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals?

Sylvia: I spend a lot of time plotting. Once the storyboard is done, then I write fast and furious. No one sees the first draft but me. Why? Because I don't need a lot of criticism when I'm trying to get the story down on paper. After I do the first draft, then I start taking chapters to my critique partners. I'm not a fast writer, but I'm hoping in the future, I will get faster when I no longer have a day job.

I spend months editing and revising. On the next two books to be published, I've hired Beta Readers.

Caroline: A day job gets in the way of creating books, doesn’t it? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Sylvia: I want the reader to laugh, to cry and when she puts the book down, say 'I loved that story. When is the next book coming out.'  That's the experience I'm always looking for as a reader.

Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Sylvia: I'm hoping that I can become a full-time writer in January. I will never be the next Nora Roberts. But I hope that my readers will enjoy my books enough to continue to read them and know that my heart and soul goes into every story.

Caroline: I certainly enjoyed each of your books. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Sylvia: Ohhh....I just finished a Christmas book, that I loved. The hero in this book wrapped his arms around my heart and I fell in love with him. (Don't tell my husband.) Colin is such a wounded soul and there are angels and children and a puppy. It's called THE RELUCTANT SANTA and should be available the end of October. Some books just come to an author and this one holds a special place in my heart.  

Caroline: Sounds intriguing. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Sylvia: Finish the book. You can always go back and edit a book, but unless there are words on the page, you don't have a product. When you finish one book, start a second.  Keep writing no matter what anyone says to you. I stopped writing for awhile and I regret that decision. I'm about to start book fifteen and I should never have let the market, critiques etc get me down. Turn off the criticism and write.

Caroline: A fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Sylvia: I use to be my high school’s number one women's tennis player. I went back and forth between being number one and two. I was skinny when I played tennis, but today my knees would scream at me if I tried to play.

Caroline: Something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Sylvia: Thanks to an ankle sprain in New York last year, my doctor recommended that I do Yoga to improve my balance. For the last year I've been taking Yoga. It's been incredible and has helped my body so much.

Caroline: Yoga is wonderful for the body. So is Tai Chi. Tell us about your book series.

Sylvia: The Burnett Brides is a series. There are three books and if I ever get the time, I may write one of the grandkid’s story.  Right now there is just not the time.

Caroline: If only we had time to tell all the stories! Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.

Sylvia: I knew Fort Worth was a wild town back during the cattle drives, but I was shocked to learn just how bad it was for women.  There were so many women who where soiled doves who lived conducted business in a tent. When I thought of soiled doves, I thought of Miss Kitty on “Gunsmoke.” She had a great place. These poor women had nothing. Very, very sad.

Caroline: So true! Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

Sylvia: Eugenia Burnett wants grandchildren and she's determined to find wives for her unruly brood of sons anyway she can.

Caroline: How about an excerpt:

    At the sound of the rapid knock, Tucker glanced up from the paperwork on his desk. Why did the sight of Sarah always cause his heart to give a small leap? She stood in the doorway, her face red, her body taut Something was dreadfully wrong.
     “Can I come in?” Her voice was polite and brisk.
Tucker jumped up from behind the desk and hurried around to greet her. “What’s wrong? You wouldn’t have come if there wasn’t a problem”
     He could see the tension in her body in the way she walked toward him carrying a small tin.
    “What’s in there?” he asked, afraid of the answer.
    “This is what’s the matter,” she said, laying the tin on the desk and pulling off the lid. Then she reached inside a layer of white tissue paper and pulled out his mother’s bridal veil.
    Tucker cringed. “I tried to warn you.”
    Sarah watched him, a frustrated expression on her beautiful face. “I was bluntly honest with her, and she didn’t hear me. She had the gall to ask me to wear the thing when I marry you!”
     Tucker stared at her, thoughts racing through his mind. How could he honor his plan to help Sarah find another man when his own mother was so determined to see him wed to Sarah? And when all he could think of was the chance to kiss her again...

Caroline: Lovely excerpt! Where can readers find your books?


Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Sylvia: Here are some links:
@writerSylvia -- Twitter

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Sylvia: This ebook world is such a new frontier. I'm learning as fast as I can to try to keep up with it, but I'm not a computer guru, just a writer. I hope that you will come along for the ride with me and we both can experience this changing world.

Thanks and I appreciate your having me and everyone stopping by to visit.

 Caroline: Thanks for sharing with us today, Sylvia. I look forward to your October release.

Readers, thanks for stopping by!