Friday, November 30, 2012


After several years of living life in the fast lane, bestselling novelist Marny Ottwiler vows to take control of the chaos that has invaded her everyday existence. This proves to be easier said than done. Over the next year she rides a roller coaster of experiences that are chronicled in hilarious detail. Follow along as she navigates through fame, family, friendships, and the writing of her next blockbuster series of books. Oh yeah, and the choice she has to make between two loves.


One copy of the book and a $5 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour.


Caroline: Where did you grow up?

Bridget:  I grew up in the Berkeley side of Oakland Calif., the 4th of 5 kids born in 6 years! Although I was never a super jock, I was a bit of a tomboy, trying to keep up with my brother who was only a year older. He was the only boy and stuck right in the middle of all us girls.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Bridget: This is strange for a writer, but I am not an avid reader. I was, and still am of course, dyslexic and letters have a tendency to move around when I read. It takes extraordinary concentration, so a book really has to interest me to keep me reading. That said, I really enjoyed “Mr. Maybe” by Jane Green and have read several of her other books. I also really enjoyed Ann Rice’s “The Witching Hour”, but more often than not I read autobiographies.

Caroline: Everyone in my husband’s family, including our daughters, has dyslexia. I guess they’ve learned to compensate, because they read avidly. My husband’s uncles didn’t read much, though.  What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Bridget: The best is snuggling with my girls, watching a sitcom. I also like to draw, but really when I think about it, just getting to write something as fun as Marny Ottwiler is incredibly recharging.

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

Bridget: The one that always comes to mind is, “Isn’t fun the best thing to have?” as said by Dudley Moore in the original Arthur movie.

Caroline: My youngest daughter and I frequently quote the “Oh, you’re only a hedge” when we trip or bump into something. Loved the movie. How long have you been writing?

Bridget: My earliest real memory is of being eight years old and writing antiwar poems. While my mom was concerned that I was depressed, I was just thrilled that I had gotten across a feeling of despair.

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

Bridget: I’m usually sitting on my bed, pecking away on my laptop. I love music and have it playing almost all of the time, but I am not one of those people who can ignore conversations, so I could never write in a coffee shop etc.

Caroline: Me, either. I’d be listening in case a choice piece of dialogue or character study was nearby. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Bridget: Total panzer and I love it. I never know what is going to happen next but I can’t wait to find out.

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

Bridget: Not usually, but in a future release, “IF BY CHANCE”, the opening scene is based on a Christmas spent with my sister and her husband, so they became the inspiration for the aunt and uncle in the book.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Bridget: I get really cranky if I don’t get to write every day. It doesn’t have to be a set number of words, but unless I am in a serious crisis I will be writing.

Caroline: Life just doesn’t feel quite right unless we can write, does it? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Bridget: Entertainment, an occasional laugh (or many more with this book) and characters that are real and relatable.

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

Bridget: I have tons of plans! I have written a musical with the very talented Laura Hall (best known for her piano skills on “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”), and I want to see it produced and enjoyed by the masses. I have several more novels both completed and in the works and I would love to see my books turned into films. Lastly, I have several ideas for TV series.

Caroline: A musical? I’m impressed. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Bridget: All of the above!

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Bridget: If you have a book that you know is good and ready to be published, then just go for it. Traditional publishing takes years, and for some people that’s fine, but I don’t have the patience for it.

Caroline: My sentiments exactly. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Bridget: I’m left-handed and proud of it!

Caroline: Oh, my, left-handed and dyslexic. What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Bridget: I don’t drive. It goes back to that whole dyslexia thing.

Caroline: In Texas where everything is spread out and public transportation is iffy, one has to drive or stay home. So, I drive hundreds of miles a month. Is your book a series? Family saga, other?

Bridget: All of my books have a strong emphasis on family. The only series I have is IF BY CHANCE. I have completed the first book, am almost done with the second and I’m certain there will be a third.

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

Bridget: This will confuse you until you read the book but I learned where the saying “have a field day” came from. It’ dates all the way back to the 1700s.

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

Bridget: Only that I hope they enjoy Marny as much as I do!


“Salacious novelist Marny Ottwiler has checked herself into the spectacular Meadow House Retreat, best known for its celebrity clientele and exclusive acreage in the mountains above the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. Sources close to the beautiful, yet flighty Ms. Ottwiler insist she is simply researching her next book and does not suffer the chemical dependency that has been rumored, nor has she had a breakdown due to her recent affair with up-and-comer Kyle MacDonald, which appears to have ended her short-lived marriage to the ruggedly good looking action hero, Andrew Morris. As you may recall, she has also been linked to numerous other heartthrobs, most notably British rock star Malcolm. No word yet as to when we can expect her next bestseller, but it promises to be a doozy!”

Malcolm put down the paper and looked at me, raising his brow while trying to conceal his amusement. He was dressed in torn jeans and a t-shirt he must have outgrown by the time he was twelve. His hair was its usual carefully disheveled mess, falling dangerously close to his eyes and over his collar. He was tan from his recent vacation on his private island in the Caribbean, and his green eyes were piercingly clear.

 I shrugged. “I have a good publicist.”

“Who, not that hideous little gnat of a Nazi, Karla with a “K?”

“Exactly,” I smiled.

He moved closer, dropping the paper next to me on the unmade bed, where I was sitting in little more than a tissue thin t-shirt and my most comfortable, although admittedly disgusting, sweats. It wasn’t just that they were old and spaghetti stained, but also I had been wearing them every day for the past three weeks. My normally honey-colored and highlighted hair hung limply around my face, roots exposed, and I had been crying before his arrival, so no doubt my lids were rimmed in puffy redness. Still, as he sat next to me and put his arm around my shoulder, he had the courtesy to tell me I looked beautiful as always.

“You are such a liar,” I smiled.

“Well, yes, clearly. In all honesty you look perfectly wretched, but one can only handle so much truth when in as delicate a state as you are.”

“Thanks for sheltering me.”

“My pleasure.”

“Is it?”

“Who wouldn’t want to spend their day comforting a damsel in distress, housed in some luxury mental institution for the wealthy and spoiled? Especially when the aforementioned damsel is as lovely as you. Would it be out of the question that you might one day soon burn this ensemble?” he asked, motioning towards my clothes.

“I’m trying to blend in with the other depressed, drug addicted, self -mutilating, over indulged inhabitants. It’s all a part of my research.”

“One does have to admire your dedication,” he smirked.

It was at that moment that my roommate, Deany, entered the room, and upon seeing Malcolm, immediately began hyperventilating.

“You’ve met before?” I teased, getting up to close the door before she alerted the powers-that-be to the fact that I had a boy in my room, as that was a big ‘no-no’ here.

“I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure,” Malcolm smiled, offering his hand.

Deany waved her hands and let out a little shriek as I handed her a brown paper bag, and suggested she breathe into it. She did so, never taking her eyes off the rock star in the room. The rock star who returned his attention to me, asking how long I’d be here “researching”.

“I’m hopeful that I can finish up quickly,” I told him.

“Do you need anything while you’re here?” he asked.

“Some vodka would be nice.”

“Ahh, yes, I remember you have a fondness for that, don’t you?”

I wanted to ask him why he was here, but I knew he wouldn’t be capable of giving an honest answer. A common thread I was coming to learn, among all of the men in my life. Instead, he stood up and said he should be going. He walked over to the window, pushed it open, blew me a kiss, and then jumped down to the grass below. Deany passed out.

In an effort to give full disclosure, I must admit that it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility that I may have developed a slight dependency to certain inebriants. A breakdown over the likes of either Kyle McDonald, or one Andrew Morris however, is sheer madness, and grounds for a lawsuit. Kyle is a nineteen year old pretty boy, who couldn’t act his way out of a bag, and Andrew, well, the jury is still out. Suffice to say, I never would have spent more than ten minutes with Kyle, had Andrew not been so gaga over his leading lady in “Rescue at Midnight”.

My thought process at the moment is like this. All of that is in the past, and what I must deal with now is a book that is long overdue. Tabitha, my editor, is calling me hourly requesting new pages. Pages I have led her to believe I have, but which, in fact, are all blank. Merely a white lie, right? I have the paper. Here’s the thing, though, the book is half - finished, and yet I’ve somehow managed to delete it. Now of course Tabitha has the first eight chapters, but do I want to admit that not only have I lost it, but I can’t remember any of it because I was less than sober when I wrote it? No, I do not. Do I wish to start the whole thing over again? No, I do not. Do I have a clue as to what I am going to do next? I’m thinking about a nap. “When in doubt, run away”. That has become my new motto. I learned it from Malcolm. You might recall he’s just jumped out a window. Not the first time, nor will it be the last time that he does so.

THE SALACIOUS MARNY OTTWILER is available in Print and E-book here:



Author Bridget Straub

Bridget Straub is an author, artist and mom who has been writing for as long as she can remember. When she’s not blogging at she is painting or spending time with her family.THE SALACIOUS MARNY OTTWILER is Ms. Straub’s third novel. Also available, ON A HOT AUGUST AFTERNOON and SEARCHING FOR MY WAND.

Find out more about Bridget Straub here:

Website Link:  

Twitter: @bridgetstraub



Nov 19 - Black Lion Tour Blog/Introduction
Nov 21 - Books, Books, the Magical Fruit/interview
Nov 23 - Laurie''s Non-Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews/Interview
Nov 26 - Melissa's Midnight Musings/Guest Post
Nov 29 - MK McClintock Blog/Guest Post
Nov 30 - Caroline Clemmons Blog/Interview
Dec 5 - Romance Meets Life/ Top Ten List
Dec 9  - A Novel Idea Live/Live Interview Airs 1:00 PM MST
Dec 10 - A Novel Idea Live/Guest Post
Dec 11 - The Bunny's Review/Top Ten List
Dec 13 - My Devotional Thoughts/Guest Post and Review
Dec 14 - Black Lion Tour Blog/Wrap Up

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Me, very embarrassed

I am supposed to have a blog today on "The Next Big Thing," but I must postpone. Most sincere apologies to my friend, author Susan Macatee, who tagged me with this opportunity.

Once again, life interfered in a big way. I’ll share "The Next Big Thing" on December 3rd.

In the meantime, you can find Susan at her excellent blog,


Writers use universal truths to create stories that entertain. True, most of our stories hold moral lessons. We champion the good in men and women, and punish the shallow and senseless.  Not that the lessons can be obvious. Nope, we hope to sneak them in when readers are concentrating on the plot. ☺

While I try to vary plots with each book, my books tend to have several common themes: redemption, good defeats evil, love overcomes obstacles, and characters achieve personal fulfillment. But I don’t want readers to dwell on them, other than to sigh with relief when love conquers all, the broken heart is healed, the hardened heart cracks and welcomes love, characters achieve fulfillment, and those obstacles blocking characters’ happiness have been defeated. What I desire is that readers fall in love with my characters and think of them as real people, as they are in my mind, and want to read my next book. Nothing makes an author happier.

One of my most popular books, THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE, dealt with good triumphing over evil. Often evil doers believe themselves above the law and unconquerable. In my books, those people are always caught...eventually. I wish that were always true in life, but it sometimes happens. Let’s go with that, shall we?


THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE is about a marriage of convenience that blossoms into a true love match. The idea for the book came from a tiny kernel in the form of a story my grandmother once told me about a girl in her hometown who quit school because of all the rumors and teasing she was forced to endure. Although my grandmother didn’t know what happened to the girl, I wanted the poor girl’s story to end well. Each of us deserves happily ever after, right?

If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you know there are no secrets. Sometimes a person with evil in his heart forgets that fact and does terrible things to conceal a fact everyone already knows.

Texas Rancher Drake Kincaid
back from his cattle drive


Wanted: one completely improper bride.

Even if Drake Kincaid had placed such an advertisement in every paper in the country, he couldn’t have found a better candidate than Pearl Parker...which is fine with him. His parents’ will stipulates only that he marry by his thirtieth birthday to retain his Texas ranch, not that he marry well. He vows that on his trip east to buy horses, he will find the most unsuitable woman possible, marry her, and leave her in town with his grandfather. And no one--including Drake’s grandfather, the man determined to hold him to the ridiculous provision--could possibly think tall, bossy Pearl with her ragtag siblings and questionable “cousin” Belle will make a good wife. He's angry when he sees how beautiful she is without her shabby disguise. And then he realizes a generous soul shines from her startling eyes.

Pearl Parker

Pearl Parker has raised her two half-siblings, Sarah and Storm. She conceals her beauty with a drab disguise as she sells her baked goods in town and uses her herbal healing skills to call on the ailing. Until recently, Pearl was able to protect and care for her family. Now vandalism and rumor threaten and have her eager to escape from their tiny Tennessee village and she's not certain how long the declining sheriff can protect her family. When Drake Kincaid proposes and agrees to take her siblings with them to Texas, she accepts. She falls in love with the handsome rancher, but refuses to let anyone push her around or aside.

Their life together may not have started with hearts and flowers, but Drake and Pearl will soon learn that real love--with a breathtaking dose of passion--will make their marriage a true romance.


Set up: Drake and Storm have returned from a cattle drive where they sold Drake's cattle as well as the herds of several elderly ranchers. When he arrives at the home of his grandfather, her learns that Pearl isn't there and that she moved to the ranch. He didn't stop to hear the rest of his aunt's explanation before he bolted for his ranch:

On the road, he slowed his horse and tried to think. Storm had been right, Pearl apparently got fed up with Lily. Why hadn't he seen it?

Maybe he should have made different arrangements for her before the cattle drive. Damn, it looked like a man could depend on his wife waiting for him. All she had to do was just bide her time. How hard could that be?

When the ranch house came into view, he slowed even more. It looked different.

Storm saw it too. "Things been fixed up some."

Drake noted the gate now hung straight, bright flowers bordered the walk and porch. A bushy fern stood on the porch near the rocker he liked to use of a summer evening. He dropped the reins over the hitching post and bounded up the steps. The door opened before he could reach it.

"Señor Drake, how wonderful you are home.” Maria beamed her cheerful smile at him. "Señora Pearl will be so happy."

Inside the front door, Drake stopped in his tracks. Three people sat on a bench in the foyer, a bench that hadn't been there when he left. As he entered, they stood and nodded their heads in respect.

The eldest, a man he recognized as Vicente's father, spoke. "Welcome home, Señor Jefe, Chief. Your trip went well?"

"Yes, very well. Vicente brings our remuda and men back. He and the rest of the men will be home soon.” Feeling as if he overlooked an important factor here, he asked, "Is there something I can do for you?"

The three shook their heads in unison. "No, Señor Jefe. We wait for La Curandera."

Maria hastened forward. "Señora Pearl has helped so many with her medicines. People come from all over the county to see her. She lets them wait here until she can see them."

Storm said, "She likes to help people. Pearl's real good with her healing."

Close to snapping, Drake spoke slowly and clearly, "Maria, where is my wife?"

Surprise showed on the housekeeper's face. "Why, she is still in town at her restaurant, of course."

Hoping he hid his own surprise, he said, "I see.” But he certainly did not see. Not at all. What restaurant?

Still beaming at him, Maria continued, "At this time she's serving lunch to her customers. You can find her there, but she usually comes home about four with Señorita Sarah. Shall I find lunch for you and Señor Storm?"

"Yes, please.” Storm said.

"No.” Gesturing to his brother-in-law, he said, "You go ahead, Storm."

"Señor Storm, my Carlotta will find food for you if you will go into the kitchen. Or, you could come with us to see the changes in your home. Come, let me show you the many things Señora Pearl has done for you.”

Maria tugged at his arm, leading him on a tour of his own home with Storm trailing along. "You see how she has used the pieces stored by your family to make this place welcome you. She has worked very hard.”

He took in the rugs on the floor, the additions to the furnishings. He noticed little things like the placement of serving pieces on the buffet that used to sit in his mother's dining room--until she hired that fancy decorator.
Drake had always liked that old furniture better than the ornate stuff the decorator ordered from all over the world. He wandered through the house taking in the changes as Maria chattered on and on reciting Pearl's virtues.

In the door way of his study, he stopped dead in his tracks. The old rocking chair made from cattle horns stood waiting beside his desk. Though wood comprised the rockers and supported the thickly padded seat and back, a craftsman had used matched pairs of horns to form the legs, arms, splats, and a decorative fan across the top.

Maria smiled and patted his arm. "Ah, I knew that would please you."

"I thought Mother had it burned.” Although he and his father loved that chair and laughed about the eccentricity of it, his mother had called it an abomination and refused to have it in her house.

Maria adopted her inscrutable mask. "It is possible Miguel misunderstood her. He stored it in a barn with other old furniture and covered it with heavy cloth to protect it." She shook her head. "Then, it seems, he forgot about it. But Señora Pearl found it. Oh, she laughed and laughed when she saw it."

"She--she laughed?"

"Oh, sí, yes. She said it was perfect for a rancher's home. I told her how you used to sit in it when your feet were barely long enough to touch the floor, how you would laugh at your longhorn chair.”

Damn. Who would have figured her laughing? Just like he and his father had. Who could understand the woman?

Storm sat in the chair and gave a push to start it rocking. The boy had a silly grin on his face. With a shake of his head to clear his brain, Drake turned and left the room.


THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE is Book One of the Kincaids, and is available in Print or e-book from Amazon at

Smashwords in e-book at

Nook at

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Title: Wisteria
Author: Bisi Leyton
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication:  Aug 2012
Number of pages: 275
Cover Artist: Olivia Smith

Wisteria by Bisi Leyton:

Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

Praise for Wisteria:

“I love the buildup of this story, getting to know the characters and watching their connection grow. I had no idea which way the story was headed and I was kept in suspense right up to the very end! It has plenty of action and a fascinating plot and I can’t wait to see what Bisi Leyton has for us next!!” 

“There are a lot of great things in this book, so much more than zombies and a struggle for survival. At it’s base core it is about star-crossed lovers, literally and the supporting characters roles… Ms. Leyton brings to Wisteria a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, dystopic world with a twist to the paranormal romance angle!”

“The book was full of nonstop action from the beginning until the end, and I did not put it down until I had finished it. I loved the book.” 


As she walked back to the ridge of the roof, Bach’s heart went with her. Someone had tried to hurt her. Tried to damage what belonged to him, and who he belonged to.
He started to feel dizzy from the volumes of strangle weed planted in the front of her house.
“Thank you so much for coming and for the guitar. It’s perfect.” She gave it back to him.
“No, it is yours, Wisteria.” He refused to take it. “Do you not like it?”
“No, I love it. It’s so beautiful.”
“Then keep it.” He kissed her neck. Knowing—hoping—his touch would soothe her pain, but he hadn’t come here to comfort her.
“Bach.” She used her instrument as a shield as she moved away from him. “It’s a bad idea. You won’t understand.”
“You are right. I do not get why you would refuse something you apparently love,” he whispered while rubbing her forearms and taking in her scent.
“If I accept your kindness, then I’ll have to face the consequences. I don’t know if I can face those.”
“You cannot face accepting my kindness, or is it accepting me that you cannot face?”
“Tell me that you do not feel the same,” he whispered. “That the moment you first saw me that I did not get inside your head. Tell me that you do not think about me all of the time when we are not together?”
The dark-eyed girl did not answer.
Wishing he could will her to speak, he pressed her against his chest. Briefly, he noticed a black spot at the base of her neck, where he had kissed her, and then it was gone. “Okay, Wisteria. Then tell me that you want me to leave, and that you do not care if you never ever see me again.” He felt like someone else was speaking for him, once again. The questions became pointless as he found himself still planting kisses along her neck and the sides of her face.
“I can’t tell you that, Bach,” she replied softly, her voice breaking. “Because it’s not true.” She wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly.
Desperately wanting to kiss her luscious-looking lips, he leaned into her.
Wisteria reached up to him, tugging his head down as she stood on the very tips of her toes, seemingly just as eager to taste his lips.
“Wisteria, I cannot.” He broke away before it happened. “I do not want this.”
* * * * *
Wrapping her arms around herself, she moved away from him. Once again, humiliated and feeling foolish. “Goodnight, Bach!” She strode angrily to the side of the roof in order to climb down.
He grabbed her and held her back
The guy came here just to tease her, yet again! Didn’t he know he was hurting her? Didn’t he care? “I’m tired of all this nonsense. I’m actually tired and need some sleep. I’m done with this. All of this!” She should’ve left the roof when she saw him appear. “Let go, so I can go.”
“Wisteria, it is not that.” Exhaling heavily, he released her. “My people could kill you if they knew I wanted you.”
This wasn’t at all what she’d expected him to say. “What?”
“I am in love with you. I do not know why, but I am. And it is selfish, because I just want you for myself.” Sadness filled his eyes as he spoke.
“Why would they do that to me?”
“Because you are human and because we see humans as Terran, or dirt people.”
“And you believe that too? So why are you here, living among us, if we’re so disgusting?”
“You are not disgusting. You are beautiful.” Rubbing his temples, he seemed troubled and bewildered. “I came to Terra as a rite of passage. To be considered a man, to take a journey and experience the wild.”
“The wild?”
“I chose Terra, or Earth, because I came here as a child. Your people treated me so badly in the past. When I learned about the Nero disease, I wanted to see your world.” He paused. “You were right when you said there was something wrong with me.”
“Bach, it cannot be that bad.” Stepping up to him, she stroked her fingers along his biceps.
The sweet motion made him smile at her, but he still looked distressed.
“Like about Garfield, you let him live with you. And now you’re here with me.”
“You are not like the rest.”
“Neither are you. You’re not so cold and cruel like Enric or patronizing like Felip. They think they’re better than us. You just hate people because you’re a jerk, Bach.”
“Ha.” Bach laughed. “A jerk?”
“You’re a big jerk.” As the final word rolled from her lips, he kissed her.
She was stunned for a second. His lips tasted like a strange, tantalizing spice.
He squeezed her against his larger frame and rested his right hand on the small of her back.
She fidgeted, unsure about what to do with her hands. She tried to kiss him back, but she struggled because she was so short.

FIRST GIVEAWAY: $100 Amazon Gift Card through December 5th
SECOND GIVEAWAY For a Kindle Fire on Bisi's blog until November 30th

Kindle Fire Giveaway Details:
Bisi is currently running a Kindle Fire giveaway on her blog until November 30, 2012
To enter - Visit Bisi's Blog

Author Bisi Leyton:
Bisi Leyton was born in East London in 1978. She grew up in London, Nigeria and the States, listening to the stories life and love from aunts, cousins and big sisters.
She lives in London, but has worked around Europe including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic. She has a fondness for reading graphic novels.

Friday, November 23, 2012


By Nicole McCaffrey

Thanks so much for having me today, CarolIne!

This new release is kind of exciting for me—in the past I’ve written contemporary and historical romance, but I’ve never combined the two!

I’ve always loved the idea of writing a time travel story, but I knew if I ever made the attempt, I’d want a slightly different spin on it. Instead of sending a modern day woman back to be romanced by a man with 19th century manners and morals (dreamy sigh) I wondered what would happen if I sent a 21st century guy—accustomed to the looser morals of today’s society—back in time and introduced him to a 19th century woman. My passion for the Civil War often leads me to that era for story settings, and I knew I’d want to incorporate that into the story. But that’s as far as I ever got.  The idea seemed destined to gather dust in the back of my imagination since I never could figure out where my characters would meet…or how.

Photo by Andrea Hill, iStock

Then one evening as I drove by an abandoned Greek Revival style house that I often drive past, I had one of those “eureka!” moments.

My hero would buy an abandoned old house with every intention of tearing it down.  He soon learns it was once the home of a famed Civil War spy, and on inspection of the home, he steps into one of the upstairs bedrooms and encounters her.  But is she real--or a ghost?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free pdf of this story! 

Below is the blurb for THIS MOMENT IN TIME:

Not even captivity can sway Southern widow Josette Beaumont from spying for the Confederacy. Under the nose of the Union army, she willingly risks her life to pass information to her sources. Until a stranger appears in her bedroom one day with a cryptic message: stop spying or you'll die. She has no reason to believe his warnings about the future, but his company is the only solace in her long days of imprisonment and his friendship quickly comes to mean so much more. If only she could make the sacrifice he asks of her...
To hell with history, real estate mogul Jamie D'Alessandro has no intention of saving the historic mansion he's purchased, even if it is the home of a famous Confederate spy. But when he steps into an upstairs bedroom of the old house, time suddenly shifts, bringing him face to face with a very beautiful and irate Southern lady. Against his will he's drawn into her cause--to save the Confederacy. But Jamie has a cause of his own. According to his research the lady spy has only days to live. Should he change history to save the woman he loves--or sacrifice life in his own century to be with her for This Moment in Time?

A brief Excerpt of THIS MOMENT IN TIME

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it:

The flash light glinted off the top of a framed painting. Jamie lowered the beam, illuminating the portrait. A woman with dark hair and smoldering dark eyes. A modest hint—downright puritan by today’s standards—of pale bosom peeked over the ruffled bodice of a white dress. Somehow that hint of creamy flesh seemed more forbidden—sexier — than any modern woman he’d ever seen. There was something prim and ladylike about her that made it feel wrong to stare at her like that. Was this the famous spy? Her name escaped him, but he made a mental note to learn more about her.

A loud thump from the second floor caught his attention. His heart leaped to his throat, and for a moment, he felt like a scared kid in a haunted house. He shook his head, chuckling at himself. The house had been locked up tight since the renovation team had come through to inspect it, there was no one around. Probably a rodent or critter had gotten inside. Still, he had no intention of spending the night listening to the scratching and thumping of a wild animal.

He shone the flashlight ahead of him until he found the winding, elegant staircase that led to the second floor. Common sense warned him not to trust the stairs; the old house was full of wood rot. But curiosity got the better of him and he tested the first step before putting his full weight on it, and the next, and the next. Fully expecting to go through the boards and land on his ass, he continued the same tenuous journey until he reached the second floor.

Amazed he’d actually made it, he gave a quick glance behind him, then began to move around the second story. Shining the light upward, he saw the staircase continued to a third floor, but wasn’t about to push his luck any further.

He paused, waiting until he heard the scratching again. With the beam of light at his feet to illuminate the floor, he took slow, cautious steps, following the sound. As he drew closer he paused, wondering if he should have brought something for protection. What if the creature was rabid?

Stepping fully into the room where he’d heard the noises, he paused to appreciate the huge windows that overlooked the valley. They didn’t make houses like this anymore, and while he had nothing but the utmost appreciation for the trappings of modern society, he had to admit, there was something about the way they built things a couple of centuries ago. They didn’t need high tech gadgets and expensive fabrics to scream wealth and elegance. It was right here in the architecture.

Forgetting himself for a moment, he stepped across the room. The loud groan of a floorboard caused him to freeze, wondering if the floor could support him. The banging now came from behind him. Heart suddenly pounding, he whirled. A door—to a closet, perhaps?— rattled insistently. He swallowed. He’d never believed in ghosts, had laughed off any notion that they existed. So what the hell was this?

As he stood there, a cold draft of air swirled about his feet. Wasn’t it supposed to get really cold when a ghost appeared? No, no, he wouldn’t allow his imagination to take him there. Dammit, he was James D’Alessandro III; he’d never allowed anyone or anything to intimidate him. It would take more than an abandoned old house to spook him.

On silent feet, he crossed the room to the door, mentally counting—one, two… three. He yanked it open. His breath left him in a relieved exhale. Nothing stood behind it. The cold breeze continued, whistling through a broken window. The branch of a tree had long since grown inside and as the wind blew, it scratched against the wall. A gust must have blown the door shut; that was probably the bang he’d heard from downstairs.

He took another deep breath to help slow his heart rate. While he was out gathering tools tomorrow, he’d have to get something to put over the window. He’d never get any rest with that door thumping all night long, and the air blowing inside would only make the house colder.

Chuckling at his own ridiculous fear, he started to turn. A voice—not the howling of the wind this time— and the sudden sensation of warmth at his back stilled him.

“Honestly, Sebastian, he can’t keep me locked up here much longer. I’ll go mad.”

A woman? She sounded calm, perhaps a little angry.

“Drat it, now I’ve lost count.” A heavy sigh followed. “The last I remember was twenty strokes, I’ll have to start over from there.”

Heart back in his throat, he turned just enough to glance over his shoulder. The first thing to greet him were the windows—the very same windows he’d admired moments ago. Only they were now adorned with white lace. To the left, a warm fire crackled in the fireplace, casting a golden glow across the gleaming hardwood floor. And directly in front of him, a dark gray cat lay sprawled across an ornate four poster bed, calmly grooming itself. It paused, tongue in mid stroke and stared up at him with curious green eyes.
“Twenty one. Twenty two. Twenty…”

Swallowing, he forced his gaze from the cat to the source of the voice. A woman sat at a vanity, tugging a brush through long, dark hair. In the mirror, he watched as her gaze moved from her reflection. To him. She let out a gasp. The brush fell from her hand. She whirled on her seat to face him.
“Wh—who are you?”

She could see him!

About Nicole McCaffrey

If it’s possible to be born a writer, then I certainly was.  I’d probably have started sooner if there had been pen and paper available in the womb! But for as long as I can remember, I have heard voices in my head.  Fortunately for me, they’re all characters—begging me to tell their stories.

I’ve been married to Peter, my best friend, for fifteen years, and am a work-at-home mom with two busy boys ages ten and twelve.  When I’m not working, writing, or buried nose-deep in a research book, chances are I’m baking, taking long walks with my beloved border collie mix or just kicking back and hanging with my guys.

Please visit my website or my blog

THIS MOMENT IN TIME is available:
The Wild Rose Press
Barnes & Noble

Thanks for sharing today, Nicole!

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a PDF download of THIS MOMENT IN TIME.

While you're here, don't forget to sign up for Caroline's Occasional Newsletter at the white square on the sidebar to be entered in my December 15th drawing for a Kindle Fire 3G!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


For What Are You Thankful?

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thanksgiving heralds my favorite season--Christmas. I look forward all year to Christmas and buying gifts (most of which I do online). But I don’t want the upcoming Christmas holiday to wipe out the importance of Thanksgiving. Most of us have a great deal for which we can give thanks. First, I'm s-o-o grateful I'm not a turkey. Facetiousness aside, Hurricane Sandy and other recent disasters have emphasized how temporary are our physical possessions. We love our tangible comforts, but there is way more to life than "things."

A reminder of our blessings are the Four Freedom series painted by the late Norman Rockwell. He remains one of my favorite illustrators.

I have a loving family. Okay, I admit we are eccentric, but within socially acceptable range (mostly). My Hero husband is truly my soul mate for whom I give thanks to God several times daily. Our daughters are loving individuals who have tried their best in all their endeavors.

Freedom From Want

Each of us can worship wherever he or she wishes. There is no state religion, religion is not forbidden. We are privileged to live in a country that guarantees that freedom, thanks to Thomas Jefferson's foresight. The United States is primarily a Judeo-Christian country, but all religions are welcome.

Freedom of Religion

Each of us can get an education. Even those unable to attend college can continue their education through reading books without limitations. Yay, reading! No one tells us what we can or can't read. Well, if you're a kid, your parents can curtail your reading subjects, but there are plenty of kid-friendly books in all genres. Adults also have wide choices.

Freedom of Speech

We recently had an election in which mud was slung in all directions. Yet, in all of that, I am thankful that we can vote our choice as we choose. There is no need to argue, because our vote speaks for us. Now we can all move forward and--please--get along! Aren’t we lucky to have the freedoms we have?

What would we do without our computers, air-conditioners, heaters, appliances, electricity, iPhones, e-readers, and more? Who could have imagined they would become so important to us, but I am grateful for all my gadgets and appliances, aren't you?

The weather this time of year is glorious here in North Central Texas. Contrary to some opinions, we do have color changes, and this year the leaves are especially colorful.

I am able to write the books I love and publish them when and where I choose. I love the power that gives me. Not riches, but I am doing something I love and am actually earning money from my endeavor. And I am grateful readers are buying my books.

Freedom From Fear

That’s not all for which I’m thankful. How could I list everything here? One major area of gratitude is for YOU, Dear Reader. Thank you for reading my blog, my books, and showing up. I appreciate each of you more than you can ever know!

Whether you go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house or eat dinner alone in front of your television, may your day be happy. Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

If you have wondered about the history of Thanksgiving, please read the posts at Sweethearts of the West and Cowboy Kisses

Remember the Kindle Fire 3G giveaway on December 15th to one subscriber to my occasional  newsletter. If you haven't already done so, you can sign up for my occasional newsletter on the sidebar at the right where you see a large white square with some of my book covers fanned out inside.

Stop back by on Friday-Sunday for a visit with my friend, Nicole McCaffrey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Paintings from Royalty Free Google.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Please welcome Julie Lence to the blog today. Julie, I’m happy you can join me today so readers can learn more about you and your latest book, DEBRA’S BANDIT. Julie is giving away two copies of DEBRA'S BANDIT to two commenters on this tour. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment if you want to be included in the drawing.

Caroline: Tell us something about yourself:

Julie: I'm from Schenectady, New York, home to General Electronics. I have two brothers and one sister, all younger than me. They still reside in Schenectady, while I live in Colorado. I am married to my wonderful husband of 28 years, Stan. We have one son, who is currently in the eighth grade.
General Electric plant in Schenectady, New York

Stan and I grew up in the same town and went to high school together. We married two years after graduation, and I accompanied him on his twenty-year career with the U.S. Air Force. While in school, I wasn't a bookworm or a jock. I took business and accounting courses. My favorite was shorthand. By the time I graduated, I was up to 130 words per minute. I did enjoy reading and writing, as long as I could pick the topics I wanted to write about.

When Stan and I married, we had one car, so I didn't work for a few months. (He needed it to get back and forth to the base.) During that time, I read a lot. Mostly Jackie Collins. A few years later, a friend introduced me to the world of romance, and I was instantly hooked. Johanna Lindsey was a favorite and still is. I loved her westerns and her family saga featuring the Malorys. (James Malory is still my favorite hero.) Then came Judith McNaught. Her flawless writing voice inspired me to try my own hand at penning a novel. My husband was very supportive of my decision. He still is, always going that extra mile to help when I have computer issues.

When I began writing, I didn't give up my day job. I wrote at night and on the weekends, honing the craft for several years. I did take a few years off from writing when my son was born, and when we retired to Colorado, I jumped right back in, joining a writing and critique group. Today, I'm a stay-at-home mom enjoying a career writing western historical romance and taking care of my family.        

Caroline: Writing while working outside the home is tough, especially with a family. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Julie: My favorite genre is western historical romance. I love cowboys and horses and have since I watched my first John Wayne movie way back when. My favorite authors are Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsey and Linda L. Miller. Each time one of these ladies has a new book on the shelf, I'm right there scarfing it up and devouring their words.

Caroline: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Julie: I like to read, though when I'm working on a story, I don't read as much. I enjoy watching television; NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles are my favorite shows. And I'm all for taking a nap. Shopping used to be a favorite pastime, but anymore I hate the mall. Usually, if I need something from the store, I'll have the hubby make a quick stop on his way home from work. Talking to Mom on the phone always relaxes me, and I enjoy an afternoon drive through the mountains. Here in Colorado we have some beautiful scenery, and plenty of small towns to explore.

Pike's Peak from the Garden of the Gods, Colorado
Caroline: I love driving through Colorado’s beautiful scenery. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Julie: Live and Let Live. I think everyone should be treated equal and not teased or ridiculed for being different.

Caroline: I agree. How long have you been writing?

Julie: Oh gosh, I guess I started back in '91 or '92. I began writing contemporary romance, ditched those two stories and switched to western historical romance, because I read somewhere a person should write what she loves or knows. As I mentioned, I love horses and cowboys, and ranches and anything to do with the wild west, and I love family sagas. "Dallas" used to be my favorite television show, so taking inspiration from Ms. Lindsey and Ms. McNaught, I created my Weston family series and spent years learning the craft and honing those novels until I finally found a publisher back in 2007.

Caroline: I love family sagas, too. Tell us about where and how you write.

Julie: I prefer the comfort and quiet of my home office, working on my desktop. I hate typing on a laptop, as I make too many mistakes. I used to be able to work with the music playing or the family home, but now those are distractions. I was either singing along to a song, listening to the news or straining my ear to hear what the hubby and kiddo are doing and not getting much writing done. Now that I have a quiet room, the only exception is summer. If my son has a friend over and is occupied, then I can write.

Caroline: I like classical music, then I’m not tempted to sing along. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Julie: Both, but mostly a panzer. I world build and define a character's looks, mannerisms and background on paper, and I'll write up goals and motivation, maybe a brief description of what I want to happen in the story, but somewhere along the way, that description changes. The characters take over and do or say things I never imagined they would and I'm off in a whole new direction. There are a few instances where I've been stuck and can't see my way clear through the next few chapters, so then I'll outline backwards, to the point of where I am stuck. I find if I place a character in a room or a situation far ahead of where I'm currently at, it's easier to work backward to figure out how they got there than it is to work forward to place them there.

Caroline: I think you’re what’s called a plotzer. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Julie: Not too much. I may draw on personal experience, as far as how I felt during a particular situation, or liken a character to someone I know, but that's about it. The only 'real' person I used in a story, and he was mentioned and never on scene, was Apache War Chief Mangas Coloradas. I read about him in a western magazine and thought he was such an interesting man that I had to have him mentioned somewhere in a story. He appeared in LADY LUCK, the second book in the Weston Family Series.

Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, circa 1880

I do, however, research areas I'm not familiar with and historic facts. For instance, in the Revolving Point, TX series, the hero of the first book starts out in prison. I wanted the prison to be close to the fictional town of Revolving Point, so I went on the internet and found the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  There wasn't much description as to the inside of the prison back in the 1800's, but I was able to incorporate the bell tower into the story and use its nickname--The Walls--throughout all 3 books.    

Caroline: I love that you’re so thorough. Do you set daily writing goals? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Julie: I set weekly writing goals, hoping to have written 3 scenes by week's end, which translates to 1 ½ chapters for me. I don't do page or word counts. I structure my week to write Monday-Wednesday, with Thursday for tying up loose ends and posting a bi-monthly blog. Friday is chores and the weekend is for family, though sometimes I do work on the weekend. I usually write in the mornings. That's is when I think better and have a good focus on the story. If I'm on a good roll, I'll write in the afternoon until it's time to pick up my son from school.  

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Julie: A sense of right vs. wrong, good conquers evil, love triumphs all, and two souls that are meant to be together will be together.

Caroline: Me, too. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Julie: I'd like to go back to my Weston family and sister Rachael. At the beginning of the series, Rachael ran away and no one knows why or where she ended up. I'd like to find out her reasons for running away, what her life has been like and if she has a need to return home and mend fences. After that, I don't know.

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

Julie: A short story that I hope to have out in time for Christmas. The working title is: A WESTON WEDDING and features Tess Weston about to marry James Landry. James had to go to Denver two days before the wedding and is now delayed getting back home. I can't tell you the rest--it's still a work in progress.

Caroline: Oh, readers will love a Christmas wedding. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Julie: Never give up and write every day, even if it's just a short paragraph. And believe in yourself, because the longer you write, the stronger your voice will become and one day, your dream of seeing your work published will come true. It happened for me, because I wouldn't allow myself to give up.

Caroline: What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Julie: I'm a neat freak. I'll spend hours organizing closets, kitchen drawers and the basement and still not be satisfied when I'm done. The house has to be clean or I'm thrown out of sync for the day. The only exceptions are the pillows on the couch or when I'm sick.

Caroline: Please come to my house and organize to your heart's content. What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Julie: I swim naked--Not! I write about heroes and heroines rushing into danger to save the day or a loved one, but in reality, I'm not a risk-taker. I'm about as boring as it gets.

Caroline: That’s why we write--we can live vicariously through our characters. I believe you said your book is a series.

DEBRA’S BANDIT is the third book in the Revolving Point, Texas series. This series is not a family saga, though there are recurring characters throughout the books. It's more about outlaws turning on the right side of the law and helping a town rebuild after a fire nearly destroyed it and keeping the rabble rousers who left because of the fire from returning. The townsfolk who remained after the fire want to live in a peaceful, respectable town, and my heroes are there to ensure that.  

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

Julie: I'd have to go back to my original research for the first book and the prison in Huntsville, Texas. During the Civil War, the prisoners seeded cotton to be turned into clothes, blankets, etc, and I found a working prison to be fascinating. I also liked the nickname of The Walls. It was catchy and something I could envision as part of my heroes vocabulary.  

Caroline: I love the book's cover. Can you give us a blurb about DEBRA'S BANDIT?

Julie: Here's the blurb:
Forced to flee his home in Chicago, Gage Cantrell shed his greenhorn ways and joined an outlaw band. He’s spent the last six years dodging bullets and a Pinkerton determined to bring him to justice. Now that Gage has settled for a spell in Revolving Point, Texas, hoping to win the heart of the woman he loves, his past is about to catch up to him. Trouble is, Debra doesn’t know about Chicago. If she’ll forgive his cowardice on that fateful night, he’ll finally know peace. That is if he can thwart the Pinkerton and send him packing—for good.

Raised in the St. Louis orphanage, Debra Moore has known more hard times than good. Riding with her brother and Gage as they raided the west brought about a longing for a real home, and for Gage to return her love. She’s found a comfortable haven in Revolving Point and wants Gage to cease to his bandit ways and put down roots with her. But Gage has never been the settling type, and lately he’s been more secretive than usual. Something’s bothering him. She’s going to find out what that something is and convince him there’s more to life than the tomfoolery of outrunning a posse.

Rio Grande on the Texas border with Mexico
Caroline: Since I'm a Texan, I love that your books take place here. How about an excerpt?

Julie: Here's one:

"You make it a habit of assessing other men?" Gage demanded.

"What? No! He—Ow!" Tears welled in Debra's eyes and she dropped something into the water.

"What is it?" He crowded close to her.

"I cut my hand on a knife," she cried.

"Let me see." He gently gripped her wrist and drew her hand toward him, seeing blood and soap suds trickle down her right palm. "It's a flesh wound."

Wordlessly, he grabbed a towel from the drawer beside him and wrapped the cloth around her hand. He reached into the cabinet above him and took out a bottle of whiskey, removed the towel and poured a good amount of the rye over the cut. Rifling through the cabinet, he found a piece of linen and wrapped it around her palm, tying the ends off in a knot. “Keep the bandage on so the wound doesn’t fester.”

Debra looked up at him. Tears swam in her copper eyes. Two fat drops spilled from the corner of her eye.

He watched them trickle down her skin to her delicate jaw before returning his gaze to her watery eyes. Past the rest of the tears she tried to hold at bay he saw something else. A longing not to be ignored, to be loved by him as a man loves a woman.

Something inside him shifted, the roots that had been planted long ago digging in deeper. He leaned toward her, telling himself he was only going to ease her discomfort…

Caroline: Intriguing excerpt. Where can readers find your books?


Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Julie: Here are my links:
Website Link:

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

Julie: Yes, I enjoy meeting fans of the romance genre. Stop by my FB page and introduce yourself and let's talk romance. Thank you, Caroline, for having me. It's been a pleasure stopping by your site and visiting with your fans.

Thank you, Julie. And here are the remaining stops in Julie's tour:
Nov 21 - Cait Lavender, Cowgirl Writer/review
Nov 23 - The Bunny's Review/interview
Nov 27 - Promiscuous Diva/interview
Nov 27 (2nd stop)- Journey with Books/author and book spotlights
Nov 29 - Reviews by Molly/review
Nov 30 - Black Lion Tour Blog/wrap-up

Remember to leave your email with your comment to be included in the drawing for two copies of Julie's book, DEBRA'S BANDIT.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 16, 2012


3rd International Food Bank Food Drive Challenge
By Diana Cosby

Diana Cosby, Author

It's the holidays again, an emotion-filled time where it seems there are not enough hours in each day to fit everything in, not to mention dealing with the struggling economy.  But, in this time of financial challenges, I ask each of you to please consider one more stop on your crazy to do list, that of making a donation to a local food bank.  Your donation can be a dollar, a can of corn, whatever you can give.  Anything you can offer to those with nothing is a gift they didn't have.

I volunteer for Habitat For Humanity, and something amazing happens when you allow a person a flicker of hope, that somehow, incredibly, even a stranger understands that at times life shoves us on a road we never asked for.

In 2010 in addition to my personal donation to my local food bank, I decided to start a Food Bank Challenge.  Except, it wonderfully got out of hand.  Once I posted The Food Bank Challenge on my Facebook page and my Facebook fan page, people from across the U.S. began donating to their local food banks.  Then, my Facebook pages received posts of donations from Canada — the Food Bank Challenge went international!  In 2011, donations for the International Food Bank Food Challenge were made in the USA, Canada, Australia, & Indonesia.  And you know what, this is truly a blessing.  In this venture, we all win.  Gifts from the heart do that, they fill you, remind you there is good in the world, and that you can make a positive as profound difference in others lives.

How it works:  Starting on the 1st of November, when you donate to a local food bank, post on my Facebook page or Facebook Fan page, (, beneath the daily International Food Bank Challenge post, add your donation along with your name and contact information.  On December 5th I will use to draw from all of the names I received of people who donated. The winner will receive an autographed set of the MacGruder brother series to date; HIS CAPTIVE, HIS WOMAN, HIS CONQUEST, and HIS DESTINY.  Also, a copy of the BORN TO BITE, a Highland vampire anthology featuring Hannah Howell, Erica Ridley, and myself.   I will sign the set, and then send them priority to whoever you want to make a personal holiday present.

***For this blog:  If you post on this blog that you donated to a local food bank and contact info, you’ll be entered in the drawing.

2012 International Food Bank Challenge – Goal:  1000 donations.

Diana and a male model prove
reading is sexy. Ah, the up side
of being a romance author!

I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season.  May your every dream come true!

Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.
International Best-Selling Author of the MacGruder Brothers series
Highland vampire anthology

Thanks for stopping by!