Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Welcome to Best Seller For A Day! 

This is a win/win for readers. The book featured (at left) and the companion bargains mentioned below are on sale for 99 cents all week at Amazon. If you follow the entry rules below, you may win a Kindle. Didn't I say it was a good deal?

Amber Scott's SOUL SEARCH is the featured book here today. 
Three years ago, one horrific night changed his life forever. And now the wolf soul that was invoked to save him is taking over his body, day by day.

Can he master his animal instincts in time to discover who is stealing children's souls before the delicate balance we all depend upon is shattered?

Or will he reject the one woman who can help heal his body and his soul?

Kelli McCracken's blurb for WHAT THE HEART WANTS is:

Do dreams foretell the future? Are there soul connections that go deeper than love?
He can sense her emotions at any place and time. Their bond is powerful but a mystery. One thing he does know: She's plagued his dreams for months. Maybe even longer.

Being involved with a celebrity is the last things she imagined...or wanted.

Can she forget the pain from the past? Can he let go of his fears?

Gayle Ann Williams' book TSUNAMI BLUE is one of the five featured books this week.
Vicki Keire's book GIFTS OF THE BLOOD: ANGELS, BOOK 1 is featured this week.
Carolyn McCray's book FATED is one of this week's featured books for 99 cents at Amazon.

This November, it’s your turn to grab SOUL SEARCH for the incredibly low price of 99 cents and see for yourself why it makes readers sigh with appreciation.

Just purchase SOUL SEARCH at the promotional price, send a friend who you know would love finding a fun, fast-paced read at an awesome price, and grab the 3 Bonus Buys that are the perfect companion reads to this supernatural suspense

That’s right!

By helping us drive SOUL SEARCH by Amber Scott to the top of the Kindle Lists on November 30th, YOU can win, too!

Because Amber is giving away a brand new Kindle!
Simply purchase SOUL SEARCH on November 30th, then head to the website url given above and fill out the entry form (located at the top of the right hand column).

You will only need to enter your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code.

And tah-dah! You just gained 5 entries to win a Kindle!

Anyone who buys one or more of these books can enter the draw to win a Kindle. 

Vicki Keire, Carolyn McCray, Gayle Ann Williams and Kelli McCracken's each has a book available this week on Amazon for 99 purchase price for the bonus buys rebated. To do this, the purchaser simply goes to the Bestseller for a Day website at: and fills out the form found on the right hand side. If you have a look at the form in advance you can see the info to fill in. You must enter the confirmation code for SOUL SEARCH and enter the first 5 words from a paragraph in the other books. To stress again – the possibility of 5 books and a Kindle for 99 cents! It's a great deal!

Please return on Friday (through Sunday) for a visit with my friend Tanya Hanson, an award winning inspirational author who loves cowboys and the West as much as I do. Maybe more--she and her husband joined a modern day wagon train one summer and she wrote a fiction book from that experience. Hmm, I prefer air-conditioning and modern plumbing, so I'll just read and write about cowboys from my desk chair. Not really true, I live in cowboy country, so I meet them anytime I venture out.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Before I launch into my post for today, the winners of the last day of our Black Friday Mini-Blog Hop are Irene and Sue. Congratulations, ladies. Thanks to both of you for leaving your comment.
Just last week I came across the large old red White Swan storage tin my mom always used to keep her candy fresh, separating layers with waxed paper. She would make batch after batch of divinity fudge and chocolate fudge to give to my brother's family and mine, with little packages of divinity for her granddaughters. Once the White Swan can was filled, she had old Collin Street Bakery (of Corsicana, Texas) fruitcake tins she used.

My mom was not that great a cook overall, but she made truly wonderful pies and candies! Her family-famous divinity fudge is more than I can master. I have no idea what I do wrong, but it never tastes as good as hers did. She usually lightly colored half the divinity with red food coloring so it was pale pink. When I was a small girl, I was always certain the pink tasted better than the plain white. When we lived in California, Mother used walnuts, but switched back to pecans in Texas.

I also make my Aunt Elizabeth’s Million Dollar Fudge. I’ll share both recipes with you, as well as tell you about a wonderful recipe book free from The Wild Rose Press.

                        AUNT ELIZABETH'S
                 MILLION DOLLAR FUDGE

Aunt Elizabeth added the nuts
to the fudge, but this looks yummy!

4 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 large can evaporated milk (12 1/2 oz)
1-12oz. package chocolate chips
1 jar marshmallow crème
Nuts chopped

1. Pour chocolate chips and marshmallow creme into a large bowl. (My aunt used a crockery bowl)

2. Boil sugar, butter, milk together for 7 minutes after first bubbles come, or until soft ball stage is reached. Take it off stove and pour syrup over chocolate chips and marshmallow creme.

3. Stir until chocolate is dissolved. Add nuts if desired. Beat until cool and creamy. Pour onto a buttered pan.

4. Cool and cut. Keep with waxed paper between layers and store in airtight container until served.

This candy is suitable for vegetarians provided you insure the marshmallow creme does not contain animal products as marshmallows do.

Divinity Fudge (photo
but this looks
just like my mom's divinity)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whie Karo syrup
2 large egg whites, beaten stiff
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Adam's Best vanilla
1/8 tspn. cream of tartar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Food coloring optional

Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside. Cook sugar, Karo, water, salt and cream of tartar until it forms a hard ball in cold water. Pour over stiffly beaten egg whites. Add vanilla, nuts, and coloring if desired. Beat and pour into a lightly buttered bowl to harden. When cool, cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.

The Wild Rose Press has a gift for all readers who love to cook at to download the pdf cookbook...OR just click on the image in the upper right sidebar to be taken to the download page. Due to my daughter's hospitalization, I missed the deadline for this year's book, but included in the 2011 edition are delicious-sounding recipes by some of my favorite authors. Yum!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Have you been shopping in the crowds the past few days? I'm waiting until this coming week to venture forth. Maybe walking into stores won't be as hectic then as on Black Friday! Of course, I do most of my gift buying online. So much easier...I can shop in my jammies anytime day or night and the items come right to my door. No fuss, no craziness. Most important for me, no impulse buys! And keeping my spending under control keeps Mr. Claus kissing Mrs. Claus, always a good thing.

This is the last day of our Black Friday Weekend Mini-Blog Hop. Although some group members are not putting up a new post today, the giveaways continue. A free book, yay!

Saturday’s winners of a pdf of THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE are Mitzi, Mary, and Calisa. Congratulations, ladies. I’ll email you with your free download.

Today, I’m giving away two copies of OUT OF THE BLUE, my paranormal (time travel and clairvoyance) romantic suspense. Just comment to be entered in the drawing. This is my husband’s favorite of my books. The heroine in OUT OF THE BLUE is an Irish woman from 1845 who’s accused of cursing the potato crops of her rural community, a place too isolated for the residents to realize the potato blight is nationwide. A troublemaker with a grudge against her family leads a mob who burn her cottage and try to capture her. She escapes, but there’s nowhere to run except for the cliff. As she leaps off, she prays to Saints Brigid and Brendan to deliver her...and they do...into our time.

In addition to suspense, the displacement of time travel, murder, and corruption, there's also humor. One of my favorite characters is the hero's mom, Blossom Hunter. She's sort of a throw-back to the hippies and met Brendan's father at a commune turned cooperative farm. Although the one Blossom lived on was in California, they're still around here in Texas. Another favorite character is Mildred, who helps Deirdre. Well, just read the book.

Possum Kingdom Lake
with a view of
Hell's Gate cliffs
OUT OF THE BLUE is set not far from where I live in North Central Texas. The lake--yes, Possum Kingdom Lake is a real place--is in a low mountain range known as the Palo Pinto Mountains. To anyone from Colorado, for example, they probably look like hills. To someone like me who grew up on the West Texas plains, they look like mountains. And they are a genuine mountain range, named by the Comanche for the brilliant colors of the small oak trees in fall. I love driving through these mountains/hills any time, but especially in spring and fall.


The lake was named because trappers used to catch possums for the fur trade. Apparently there were even more around then--and there are still plenty now. They are pretty pesky creatures but harmless. They can squeeze through the tiniest openings--like around our the seal at the bottom of our garage door. Woodcutters  cut cedar from the cedar brakes for fence posts and firewood, and still do. Some pioneers even built homes from the cedar.
Smokehouse left and cabin (room)
right. Photo from PAINTED POLE:
Barbara Belding Gibson
On a local history tour, my family visited the Belding-Gibson Ranch where, when Henry Belding settled on the land in 1859, he did so in an abandoned one-room cabin. The owners included the original cedar log cabin in their home. Yes, they incorporated the cabin of about eight by ten feet and made it into a bathroom. The smokehouse and cool room are also part of the home and the former dog run between them and the log cabin is now a rear entry. Very ingenious people are the Beldings and Gibsons.

Texas grassfire
I’m so glad they preserved the buildings and still use them. They were almost lost this spring and summer in the grassfires that swept through the area.

Comanche Indians
Possum Kingdom Lake is beautiful and is a popular sports area as well as being ringed with homes, condos, and rental units such as the imaginary one in which the hero's mom lives. Across the lake from the Boy Scout Camp is Hell’s Gate, a large cliff so called because trappers who stole from the Comanche were killed there. The trappers had taken the Comanches’ furs, then got the Comanche drunk and sneaked away with the furs and the payment for them. The head thief said “the Indians would see him at Hell’s gates before they got their furs back.” Famous last words--literally. Who would be stupid enough to cheat the Comanche in their own territory? Talk about too stupid to live!

But on to OUT OF THE BLUE.

Deirdre Dougherty after
she's adjusted to modern
life in Texas
A desperate flight from a dangerous man plunges Deirdre Dougherty off a cliff---and into the future. Swept through a time portal 165 years beyond the life she knew in rural 1845 Ireland, Deirdre plops into a lake in North Central Texas. The brooding man from her precognizant visions rescues her but demands answers she cannot supply. Deirdre knows only that he is in danger, and the source has a familiar vibe.

Brendan Hunter in
front of his townhouse
before the explosion.
Oh, but I shouldn't give
away the entire book.
Police Detective Brendan Hunter wants answers. Who shot him and killed his partner? Why? And why does Deirdre know details only he and his late partner knew? The beautiful psycho’s story has to be a colossal fabrication. He wants her gone before he becomes even more fascinated with her. Together they must solve the riddle of Deirdre’s displacement, battle a drug scandal, murders, and stay one step ahead of the enemy—without knowing friend from foe.

And here’s an excerpt:
The set up is that Deirdre warned Brendan not to be out after dark and he pooh-poohed her warning.

Clouds scudded across the sliver of moon and created an inky night. A radio newscaster warned of a severe storm’s approach. The only downside about staying at the lake was the drive home. He had to admit he wouldn’t mind living at the lake permanently though. The peace it offered made the trip worthwhile.

Nights like this reminded him of the disadvantages. Winding roads, no center stripe, no streetlights. A stiff breeze tugged at the car. Brendan swerved around a fallen tree limb.

Thank goodness for halogen headlights.

As he passed a side road, a dark SUV the size of a small tank turned in behind him. He hadn’t known anyone lived up that road, but lots of new folks were moving in. Perhaps someone had built up on that hill. The other vehicle’s headlights grew closer.

He glanced in the rear view mirror again. “Damned fool. Get off my tail and go around.”

Finally, the SUV drew alongside him to pass. Instead of pulling ahead, it swerved into his front fender.

“What the hell?” Brendan blasted his car’s horn.

In answer, the SUV bumped him again, harder this time.

Thunder boomed overhead. Rain began to fall and the pavement turned slick as ice. He recalled Deirdre’s warning and Frank’s. This was it then, whoever drove the SUV intended to drive him off the road.

They approached a sharp curve. Brendan fought to defend his car against the larger vehicle’s attack. His mid-size sedan had no chance against the huge SUV. Metal screeched against metal. He lost control and his car plunged down the embankment and rolled.

When the car stopped, he hung suspended upside down. Deflated airbags dangled like spent balloons. Unfastening the seat belt, Brendan dropped to his overturned car’s headliner.

He touched the lump on his head and found sticky moisture. Blood. His head ached like a sonofabitch and he needed to sit down, but he didn’t dare delay inside the car. The strong odor of gasoline surrounded him and he feared an explosion.

He had to get out, and fast!

It hadn’t been road rage that sent the other vehicle into his. Was this wreck another warning or had someone intended his death? Either way, he had to escape.

All the doors were too damaged to open. Using his jacket as a buffer against the few shards remaining in the passenger door’s window, he slithered out the side away from the road in case anyone above watched. Keeping low, he raced behind a group of cedars.

While he looked toward the road, he crouched motionless and listened. After what must have been only seconds, a flash of lightning illuminated a shadowy figure standing where Brendan’s car had barreled off the pavement.

Someone checking to see I don’t make it out.

No sooner had the idea occurred to him than he heard the soft pop of a silenced gun. The ping of a bullet struck his car mere nanoseconds before the car exploded in flames. Above the roar of his burning sedan, a car door slammed and the SUV drove away.

Damn good thing he couldn’t get the door open in case the interior lights had still worked. He’d have been a spotlighted target. Easy pickings.

He’d faced down armed men. Taken hundreds of risks in the line of duty. But he’d never before been the objective of an unknown assassin—not unless he could prove the drive-by shooting of him and Larry was an assassination.

Sparks from the fire showered the area, igniting smaller fires in the undergrowth. With any luck, the storm would prevent the fire’s spread. Moving further away from the roaring blaze, he grabbed his cell phone and dialed 9-1-1. Then, he waited in the rain.

For another excerpt, scroll down to my November 18th blog post.
OUT OF THE BLUE received a 5 Siren Stone review from Nikki at Siren Reviews
“I always enjoy a good time travel story, and Out of the Blue is a beautifully written story.

The extraordinary characters, descriptive setting and fast paced action/suspense made this a delightful, enjoyable read. The in-depth POV from the hero and heroine gave me a great insight on their emotions. This is the type of book that pulls you in and you just don't want to end, but leaves you with satisfied smile after the last page is read. A perfect mixture of witty dialogue, sensual love scenes, and the happily-ever-after ending, Caroline Clemmons pens a timeless tale that I could re-read over and over again and never tire of it!”

And speaking of Christmas shopping, (hint, hint)OUT OF THE BLUE is available in print and e-download from The Wild Rose Press at and from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Digi-Books, and other online stores.
Our Black Friday Mini-Blog Hop participants are Isabel Roman, Nicole McCaffery, and Susan Macatee. Their links are below, and even though the links are hard to read, they do work. Nothing I've tried makes the links show up, so bear with me. Please visit each one of these remarkable authors and leave a comment for them. They have giveaways too. And check out the team blog of for tidbits of history and new releases from the members, with an occasional guest author. Yes, we write the Victorian era, but mostly in American settings.

Isabel Roman

Nicole McCaffrey

Susan Macatee

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Did you venture out yesterday among the Black Friday shoppers? Most of my shopping is done online. Still, I went a little nuts and, instead of one name, I  chose four readers to receive SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME: Ann, Sue, Desi, and Patsy. I’ll email you ladies with your download of this book and hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks for commenting!

THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE is my giveaway for today’s post in our Black Friday Blog Mini-Hop. This is my all-time favorite book cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? The artist was able to duplicate the Irish Traveler’s wagon in the lower right corner that the heroine's family would have used. She also found a fabulous model with green eyes and a red scarf. The fact that the red scarf in the story does not have coins is not relevant when you consider the striking cover. THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE is available in print and e-download from The Wild Rose Press and other online stores.

Mayan Ranch Trail Ride
I love driving through the Texas Hill Country where this THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE is set. Years ago, my family and I stayed at the Hicks family’s Mayan Guest Ranch near Bandera. Our daughters and I loved our visit and found the experience unforgettable. My husband...mmm, not so much. As usual, he was a good sport. After all, we’d already been fishing, his favorite portion of the vacation. That's when I fell in love with the area, and why I chose this setting for my western historical romance set in 1885.

Each time I’ve driven through Central Texas, I’ve loved the scenery. (Even though my sinuses hate the cedar. Ahhhchooo!) Often referred to as the "Swiss Alps of Texas," this is primarily ranching country, but with some great apple orchards. Bandera calls itself the "Cowboy Capital of the World." Works for me, but I imagine there are similar claims all over the West.

Lost Maples in spring
An especially pretty area is the Lost Maples State Natural Area. Maple trees aren’t native to Texas except in this one area--hence the term “Lost Maples.” It's as if the trees wandered away from New England and dug in their roots to stay. I’m so grateful this area is protected for visitors and wildlife.

Lost Maples in fall
Years ago, Lost Maples was a bandit’s trail, a route for thieves to drive their rustled horses down to South Texas and Mexico, and a trail well known by Native Americans. Now, an almost cathedral-like aura hovers over the valley. The little streams hurry along the rocky creek beds.
Golden-cheeked warbler
found in Lost Maples
Birds chatter from the trees, but there is little other sound. With high cliff walls on each side, the result is almost mystical. Imagine traveling through there in the 1800's, when you wouldn't know whether good or bad lay around the bend. That’s why I had rustlers drive my hero’s horses to Lost Maples with dire results.

How about a blurb:

Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas, but she agrees to wed the handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. A fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Tom Williams.

Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything—even when her wild, eccentric family drives crazy.

How about an excerpt:

Here’s an excerpt during the celebration for Dallas’ forced wedding as he sits with his new mother-in-law, Aoiffe O’Neill, while his new wife dances with other young women.

Dallas raised his gaze where Aoife directed. Four girls danced, but only one drew his attention. Shoulders straight and feet flying, Cenora met his glance, then broke away from the other dancers to perform only a few yards from him.

Catcalls sounded nearby. She ignored them but gave a toss of her head. Her hair had come unbound, and her act sent her fiery hair awhirl. Light from the blazing campfire cast an aura-like radiance around her. Lantern glow overhead reflected her eyes sparked with merriment, challenge, and something mysterious he couldn’t name.

No longer the delicate china doll, her wild beauty called to him, mesmerized him. He visualized her brilliant tresses spread across a pillow, her milky skin bared only for him. His body responded, and savage desire shot through him. Surprised at the depth of his reaction, he wondered if her performance in bed would parallel the unbridled nature of her dance.

Good Lord, could this glorious woman truly be his wife? And if so, heaven help him, what on earth was he to do with her?

Any reviews?

Reviews for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE have been great. Here’s an excerpt from Night Owl Reviews, a Top Pick review:

Dialogs are fantastic as the O’Neill family still speaks as if they are still in Ireland. The wording is such that you can hear the brogue. Even better are the blessings and toasts that are shared as well as customs and superstitions. What starts as a clash of cultures becomes a fantastic story. Just when you thought a happily ever after was just around the corner, another corner appears. What should have been a simple, sweet love story developed into a complex family affair...I want more! Fantastic historical set in cowboy country.

The buy link for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE is If you haven't read this book, I hope you'll give it a try.

 Our Black Friday Mini-blog Hop continues through Sunday evening, so please visit the other three authors participating--Isabel Roman, Nicole McCaffery, and Susan Macatee--and return here tomorrow. Click on each name below to be taken to that author's website:

Isabel Roman

Nicole McCaffery

Susan Macatee

If you haven’t already discovered them yourself, each of these authors is a wonderful multi- published writer worthy of your reading time.  Yes, they're my friends, but I am being honest when I recommend their books to you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


A few friends and I are hosting a BLACK FRIDAY (AND SATURDAY AND SUNDAY) BLOG HOP and book giveaway to get readers in a festive mood and offer relief from shopping. So, kick back and relax with your favorite beverage while you read about a book. My book, but then you knew I'd throw in my books somehow, didn't you? But here's great news for Black Friday from The Wild Rose Press from their garden of books:

Here's my post and giveaway:

My mom, Lena Mae
Phifer Johnson - can
your tell her eyes twinkle?
Authors get ideas from many sources. For this one, I wanted to write a short book in which I used my mom’s name. She was such a fan of my writing (and of me), and I visualized the happy surprise on her face when she saw her name in print. I couldn’t use her name for a heroine and then write a sex scene. Really, I just couldn’t! So I gave her name to the heroine’s mom. The heroine is named Elizabeth Margaret after my mom’s sister. However, I call her Beth in the book and my aunt was never called by that nickname. Still, I knew my mom would like my using both hers and her sister’s names. Unfortunately, my mom passed away before I finished the book. I had to put it away for several years. One day, I decided to finish it--I’m sure she knows and is smiling down on me from heaven, her eyes twinkling with humor.

SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is a western romance set in 1885, and includes suspense. Available from The Wild Rose Press and other online stores, it's in e-download only. The setting is the fictional town of Winton Crossing in Central Texas near Medina and Bandera.


After fleeing an abusive husband six years ago, Beth Jeffers wants nothing more than to protect her son Davey and to help her mother operate a boarding house. The women in her family have had no luck with men, and she has no intention of letting any man influence her son. Not even Matt Petrov, no matter how much her lonely heart urges otherwise.

Federal Marshall Matt Petrov, also known as Lone Wolf Peters, fell in love with Beth the first time he saw her. Then she was another man’s wife, so he kept his longing a secret but he’s saved his love for her these six horrific years. Now, the lovely widow and he have crossed paths again. This time, he intends to risk all for a chance at happiness. First he must rescue his distant kinsman from an assassin’s clutches. Will Matt succeed before his kin is killed? And will his secrets shatter the love he and Beth share?


The man who ran Oslo’s Livery Stable narrowed his eyes and looked Matt Petrov up and down. He jabbed a thumb to point across the road. “That there’s the place.”

Riding in from Austin, Matt had entered the small town of Winton Crossing from the east, but it hadn’t taken long to reach this end and the last businesses on the dusty main street. He looked across the road at the large two-story building that appeared to hover on a hill overlooking the Medina River.

The stableman spat a stream of tobacco juice. “Miz Phifer and her daughter are mighty particular about who they rents rooms to.”

Matt knew he looked trail-dirty, but time counted and he’d ridden hard. He flipped the man the coins to pay for his horse’s care. “Thanks.”

Carrying his rifle and saddlebags, Matt strode quickly toward the house. From this angle, it resembled a giant two-story box with smaller one-story boxes at each end. Late morning sun highlighted the building’s peeling paint. In the shade of the long front porch, a child played with a yellow cat.

On Matt’s ride by he’d missed a small sign hung near the door, Phifer’s Boarding House. He opened the squeaking gate and the boy looked up. The kid appeared to be about five and seeing him tore at old scabs in Matt’s heart.

Cuddling the cat, the lad hopped up. “The boarders what are here are all taking a nap. You gonna rent a room?”

“Maybe.” Matt paused on his way to the door. “You live here?”

“My grandma owns this place. Mama and I live here and help out. This here’s Tiger and my name’s Davey.” The boy stroked the purring animal’s head then looked toward the house and lowered his voice. “You better be careful, mister. Mama and Grandma been spring cleaning and they told me to stay right here out of the way until they said different.”

Matt suppressed his smile. “That so? Thanks for the warning, Davey.”

He opened the screen door and stepped inside. The small foyer led to a large parlor. A counter at the far end blocked off another doorway. The furniture appeared well worn but every wood surface gleamed, which accounted for the smell of beeswax. Vases of freshly cut flowers brightened the room’s drab colors and contributed their own aromas of roses and honeysuckle.

Grunts and groans came from the room behind the counter. Matt set his gear on the floor and leaned against the barrier to peer into the next area, which looked to be an office. Two women wrestled with a small floor safe. The safe appeared to be winning.

He leaned over the counter. “Need some help?”

Both women jumped, but only one turned around.

The frazzled older woman, the one Matt figured owned the place, appeared to be in her fifties. Silver threaded through the brown hair piled on her head. She was dressed in gray with a long white apron smudged with dust. Her brown eyes twinkled when she smiled at him.

“Would you? The men who delivered this thing set it in the wrong place. We decided to move it where it belongs. Land sakes, for all our struggles we’ve not made much progress.” Five feet of scratch marks on the floor showed the trail of their limited success.

He stepped around the counter into the small office. “Where you want it?”

She pointed at a place against the far wall. “There, if you can move the thing.”

The tall younger woman kept her head lowered and all he saw was her shapely backside while she tugged at the corner of her navy skirt caught under one leg of the safe.

“Let me.” He tilted the safe to free the fabric, then pushed the unwieldy block of metal into place.

“Oh, finally.” She shook out her skirt and bent to brush at the stain marring the hem. “Thank you—“ When she straightened and looked up at him, she fell silent and paled as if she’d seen a ghost.

Hell, he figured she had. A phantom from her past.

Here's a 5 star review for SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME from Vicky at Sizzling Hot Reviews:

Sometimes, the past can haunt us too much! "Just get over it" is easy to say, but much harder to do. Both Beth and Matt have real issues to overcome in Save Your Heart for Me. They both are special people and are worth the necessary effort to deal with any problems each has so they can be together.

Six years ago Beth Jeffers fled her abusive husband. Now, she wants nothing more than to protect her son Davey and help her mother operate a boarding house. The women in her family have no luck with men, and she has no intention of letting any man mar her son's life. Not even Matt Petrov, no matter how much her heart urges otherwise.

Federal Marshall Matt Petrov fell in love with Beth the first time he saw her. She was another man's wife, so he kept his longing to himself. But when he and the lovely widow cross paths again, he intends to seize his chance at happiness.

Beth made one very big mistake years ago. She fell for the charms of a man and married too quickly only to learn the hard way everything was lies. Turned out Lionel Jeffers had married her for her 'nest egg' thinking she had more money. The abuse, both physical and mental, started even before he gambled away what little money she had. When she ended up pregnant a few months later, he sent her away, not wanting a 'brat' around. She is still ashamed over this while being glad her son has never been exposed to the abuse. She helps her mother run the local boarding house and raises her son much as she was raised: an absentee father with the town gossiping about the mother and never knowing if the drunken father is going to show up. So she holds herself to the highest standards, giving the busybodies nothing to talk about (not that that stops them).

Matt Petrov is haunted by his own past. At one time, he had a small ranch but married a (semi) rich girl more suited to city life. His wife never adjusted to ranch life and when she got pregnant wanted to return to town. He didn't see the need and she, and the baby, died when the baby came early. He has never forgiven himself. This is why he was a gambler and drunk when he knew Beth and her husband six years ago. (Later) Beth's husband framed Matt for his own counterfeiting and the judge happened to be Matt's dead wife's father. Still blaming Matt for her death, this judge accepted any evidence to send Matt to prison, but let him use a different name to spare everyone's families. Between how poor a husband he was and that he has been in prison, he doesn't feel like he deserves to be around decent people. He helps, does good in general, as a Federal Marshall, but doesn't stay in one place long.

That is why Matt is in Winton Crossing. His friend, Ivan, has sent for him after being shot while trying to claim the land/ranch the king of his country (Bayergrovenia) gave him. But Matt was also sent undercover in his Marshall capacity it see what is going on at this ranch that has so many solider-like men at it. When Matt arrives in town, Ivan is missing. And Beth, the woman he still pines for but feels he can't have, is running the boardinghouse where his friend has been staying.

Matt figures that the people at the ranch have Ivan. But he will have to find a way to save him before they kill him. And fight his attraction to Beth. When the boardinghouse is broken into, Matt moves into Ivan's old room to keep an eye on things and make sure everyone is safe. But this puts Beth and Matt too close together...

Will Matt be able to save Ivan? Will Beth be able to get over her issues with her drunken father and abusive husband to see how great Matt is? Will Matt be able to forgive himself his past to offer Beth a future?

Save Your Heart for Me is unexpectedly good. The abusive husband has left a strong impression, yet we don't have to deal with ugly flashbacks. Matt has always longed for Beth, yet doesn't feel good enough for her. It is nice to have the guy be the one with angst for a change, and you can really feel it here. He is not 100% blameless; after all he did drown his guilt in drink for a few years. That he ended up framed for a crime and in prison is a hard way to learn any lesson. And there is no doubt he has become a hero. Beth has had it hard. Given the facts above, she sounds bitter, but really she is more scared than anything. Scared for her son, scared that her husband will come back, and worried about the future. She is not afraid of hard work and doesn't blame her mother for her childhood issues (gossip or her father). And she is doing an amazing job with her son on her own. The surprising thing is that these two are not bitter after everything that has happened to them. In fact they still have a sweetness to them, not obvious but it still comes across. And together, they just make me want to go 'ahhh' and smile.

Save Your Heart for Me is a good western historical (not really cowboys this time). The 'adventure' aspect is light (so it doesn't take away from the character story) but still very entertaining. Caroline Clemmons has written rich characters with issues we can relate to even today. With a full cast of supporting characters adding detail and humor, I was pulled in and didn't want to put Save Your Heart for Me down until finished.

I'm giving away a copy of this book today to one person who comments. I'll give away a different book tomorrow and Sunday, so please return and comment on those days. In the meantime, buy SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME from:

The Wild Rose Press  Remember to use the code at the top for 30% off on Black Friday!

Here are the other authors participating in the BLACK FRIDAY BLOG HOP:

Nicole McCaffery 

Susan Macatee
Isabel Roman

With only four of us, I guess this is a mini-hop, but all the easier for readers. Please return here tomorrow for another book giveaway.
Thanks for stopping by!


Although Thanksgiving is only a holiday in the United States, no matter where you live, consider those things in your life for which you are grateful and give thanks today!

Tomorrow, please return for a Black Friday Giveaway and Blog Mini-hop from myself and three friends. Giveaways are good, right? In the meantime, enjoy your day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Catherine "Cat" Larose is the oldest of seven children raised in a large Irish/Italian family – Catholic. Her parents were considered a “mixed marriage” back in the 50s, with family roots originating in Co. Mayo on her dad’s side and Naples on her mom’s side. She calls herself one part hot blooded Latin and one part wild eyed Celt.

She grew up in a close knit Italian neighborhood — think "Moonstruck" but in Cleveland, Ohio. When she was a little girl, her Italian grandmother said to her, “All you need is a place to hang your hat.” Cat has been a gypsy ever since — studying, living, working all over the place. Currently, she lives in Montreal, Canada.

She sells color for a living. What does that mean? The best way to describe it is when you go to a home improvement store and you choose a paint color – those little color chips, Cat's company produces those. It's a color sample, but with a very high degree of color accuracy. Her company produces them for the automotive industry, cosmetics and architectural coatings. It’s a very specialized business. She has the Bermuda Triangle of sales territories with customers in Scandinavia, Western and Southern Europe, and South Africa. Cat says, "It’s the perfect job for a gypsy like me." Her blog is
Now, here's Cat's post:

              FIVE THINGS TO SEE OR
                  DO IN A NEW PLACE
By Catherine Larose
I often find myself in new places for business and because I’m in and out of a city quite quickly, I don’t always have much time to spare. However, when I do get some downtime, whether I’m traveling for work or pleasure, I always do a bit of research before I set out to explore. I like to arrive in a place that I know a little something about, and I’m not talking about its tourist attractions. I’m talking about its soul, its character(s) and its culture.

There’s nothing more thrilling than the flash of recognition you get when you see or visit a place that has some significance for you because you’ve read about it in a novel or seen it in a movie. There is a familiarity that arises from knowing a place’s “back story”. If you have that, you’re no longer visiting a stranger; you’re visiting a friend.

Let me give you a few examples of books and movies that can help you learn the back-story of specific places as well things you can do when you get there to enhance your experience.


Barcelona – THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, by Carlo Ruiz Zafón. The novel includes hand drawn maps that trace the characters’ steps through plot twists and turns so you can follow in their footsteps.

India – A SUITABLE BOY, by Vikram Seth. This sweeping epic does a great job of breaking down the early formative politics of the country. Reading it will give you a better appreciation and understanding of today’s India.

Montreal – Forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs sets many of her thrillers in Montreal. I sometimes half expect to bump into her character, Temperance Brennan in one of the many settings she describes.


Rome – "Roman Holiday." Follow Audrey Hepburn as she hops on the back of a Vespa with Gregory Peck to see the sights in Rome. Fall in love with both the city and the guy.

Paris / France – "French Kiss." Follow Megan Ryan and Kevin Kline from Paris and Province to the Cote d’Azur in this delightful little comedy.

New York – "When Harry Met Sally." For me this is the best way to live vicariously in New York.

Having read a book or seen a movie about a place gives significance to the sights in the places you visit. It makes the experience that much richer. But you can also enhance your experience once you are there. Here are five fun things you can do.

1) Take a class in a “native” subject. Take tango lessons in Buenos Aires, cooking classes in Bologna and an Ikebana class in Tokyo.

2) Attend a cultural event. Attend the local symphony, a dance performance or a concert given by local talent in a club or a restaurant.

3) Take a tour. It’s a quick way to get an overview of a place, after which you can pick and choose your favorite spots to go back to and savor on your own.

4) Treat yourself. Travel can be stressful process at the best of times: standing in long check-in lines, losing your luggage or just getting oriented. Book a massage, facial, or a wash and blow dry at a local hair salon. It lends an air of “normalcy” to a place, and it makes you feel better no matter what situation you’re facing.

5) Sample the local cuisine. Always make it a point to try one local dish, whether it’s pizza in Naples, poutine in Montreal or antelope in Africa.

Finally as a way to relive the experience once you return home, bring back a music CD of an artist or group that you heard while visiting a place. If the music isn’t live, but piped in through a sound system in restaurant or played on the radio in a taxi, go ahead and ask the waiter or taxi driver about the singer or group. They are happy to tell you about the music to promote their country’s talent.

Once home, you can become an armchair traveler and let the music transport you back in time and place to experience those magical moments again and again.


And now, my review of Cat's book,

One evening in Paris, Cat
sees her life in beige
Cat has written a memoir in short, effervescent chapters. She begins married to the perfect man with a perfect life...almost. He's too perfect, and expects everything and everyone to his control. One day in Paris, Cat sees her life in the sepia (or beige) tones it has become and decides to add splashes of color to her existence. She does, and she shows others how to do the same. No, she's not recommending we divorce our spouses, but merely that we add vibrancy and color to our lives. Whether we're painting our bedroom, traveling to the other side of the world, or just rethinking and improving our situation, Cat shows us how to create joy, live with gusto, and make the most of life's every minute. ANY COLOR BUT BEIGE is a mostly joyful (sometimes sad) book that will bring pleasure to readers. The buy link at Amazon is:
And if go to her blog "Cafe Girl Chronicles" with your proof of purchase, she will mail you six color palette bookmarks. (Her blog url is given above.)

To view Cat's video trailer for ANY COLOR BUT BEIGE, go here

Thanks for reading! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!