Friday, March 29, 2013


Readers, ever have one of those weeks when everything goes wrong? I made a big goof earlier this month. I was supposed to have posted an interview with author Josi Kilpack for her BAKED ALASKA blog tour. Unfortunately, cyberspace ate the interview. At least, it disappeared.  To attempt to make up this misfortune, I have the interview here today.

Trumpets, please! Since I can’t be certain whether cyberspace or my computer was to blame, I’m offering an e-copy of Josi’s book, BAKED ALASKA, to one person who comments on this blog.  

Now, here’s the interview:

Josi S Kilpack, Author

Caroline:  Readers love knowing more about authors whose books they read. Tell us something about your growing up.

Josi: I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am the third of nine kids, my dad was a teacher and my mom stayed home. We had a huge garden, which I hated, and canned everything, which I also hated. Our family was five girls at the top and then four boys, so I had two sisters just older and two more just younger. It was . . . intense. There was always something to do, someone to play with and someone to pick on. We were a wild crazy bunch and I thought books were about the worst thing in the world. I avoided them like the plague until 7th grade when the switch was flipped and I became a reader. That is a day that changed my life.
I grew up, graduated from high-school, went to college for a year and then married my cute husband. We have gone on to have four kids, ages 18-11 and after many years of counting the days until they were gone, I’m not panicking at the realization that they really are leaving. I’m trying to soak up everything I can in hopes of having as few regrets as possible.

Caroline: I loved having my children at home with us, but they do need to go out on their own eventually, don’t they? Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Josi: This is a hard one for me because it’s changed so much over the years. There was a time when I loved Romance and it was all I would read, now I am very selective of Romance. I love suspense but find a lot of Thrillers to be too gory or crass for me, so I am selective about that too. I’m not a big fan of Fantasy, yet I loved Harry Potter and Fablehaven. I tend to read a little bit of everything when I find an author I like, I read everything they’ve written. My current favorites are Lief Enger, Sue Grafton, and Kate Morton.

Caroline: I like those types of mysteries, too. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Josi: I relax by taking a nap, or crocheting, or playing a hand held Tetris game. At least, that’s what I’m doing this month. Next month I might be cleaning out closets or running or maybe fixing up my chicken coop. I am a busy person, I like having things to do and love the sense of accomplishment when a task is finished. I write to escape basic chores and then to basic chores to escape writing. I like a clean house, lunch with friends, and watching movies.

Caroline: Taking a nap sounds great right now. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Josi: “Use your talents, for use is why they were made. What is a Sundial in the Shade?” by Benjamin Franklin.

Caroline: That’s one of his I hadn’t heard, but I love it.

Joai: It took me awhile to believe I had any talents, and then even longer to really embrace it and see what it could do for my life. Since then I have become passionate about the topic of growing our gifts into talents and really getting the most out of them. This quote sums that up for me because if we insist in not exploring our talents, they will not be of use to us just as a sundial is nothing more than a statue if it isn’t brought into the sunlight.

Caroline: How long have you been writing?

Josi: I started my first book when I was on bed rest with my son. He just turned 14, so I’ve been writing for nearly fifteen years. My first book was published in 2000.

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

Josi: I need quiet and I need clean, which is why I don’t get much writing done at home. It’s too easy for me to abandon the writing when it gets hard in favor or some chore that will make me feel better. I do most of my writing at an office my husband and I own and run a business out of. I am good to write alone, but I often write with friends. We get together a couple of times a week at my office and work on our projects. It’s wonderful! We can brainstorm with each other, take a break to talk about life, but we all understand that we need the time to be effective and we get a lot of things done.

Caroline: That sounds like a great arrangement. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Josi: Panzer. Oh how I hate it! I have tried and tried to plot, and I do a great deal of it through the course of writing when I get stuck, but I have not yet figured out how to plot out the story before I begin writing it. I guess I shouldn’t complain, since it works for me, but it stresses me out a great deal. I’m always certain that plotters have it easier than I do.

Caroline: I firmly believe writing is never easy, but plotting makes it easier for me. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Josi: All the time. It’s amazing the character I can grow out of a woman I see at the mall, or the conflict I can create from overhearing someone’s cell phone conversation. It inevitably morphs into something very different than the original inspiration, but I feel like I am sucking up ideas everywhere I go.

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

Josi: I don’t get to write every day and I currently have no daily goals. I just write when I can and hope and pray that I’m being diligent enough that I don’t end up in panic mode. That said, the last three books I’ve written have all being on hyper-panic mode. The one I’m working on now is actually going well so I’m hoping to avoid the worst of it.

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

Josi: I hope my readers have a really good time reading my books. If they get a fresh perspective on a specific element of the book, it’s even better, but I consider myself an entertainer, not a motivational speaker, or educator. I’m here to tell a good story that takes them away for a little while and, hopefully, inspires a yummy meal or two J

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

Josi: I haven’t put much thought into that. I am writing with such tight deadlines that I haven’t had much time to develop what comes next. We are planning 12 books in the Sadie series, and then a cumulative cookbook after the series is done. I’m excited to see how the rest of the series turns out. After that, I’m just not sure. I guess we’ll all see.

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

Josi: I am working on “Rocky Road,” book 10 in the Sadie Hoffmiller series. It takes place in St. George, Utah and involves a missing person case. It’s been fun to write about a place I’m somewhat familiar with and it’s coming together nicely. I also just finished edits on “Shannon” which is my second volume in the Newport Ladies Bookclub Series I’ve written with Julie Wright, Annette Lyon, and Heather Moore. Both projects have been really fun.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Josi: Learn your craft. Attend conferences. Learn your craft. Find a critique group. Learn your craft. Meet other writers. Learn your craft. Write. Learn your craft. Read. Learn your craft. Revise. Learn your craft. Don’t give up. Learn your craft. Don’t get cocky. Learn your craft.

Caroline: Very good advice. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Josi: I was a really lousy cook when I got married. I thought I was good and that I knew how to cook, but quickly learned that though I made a mean chocolate chip cookie, my actually cooking skills were abysmal. Luckily, my husband was easy to please and I was stubborn. I look back and shake my head at the amount of Hamburger Helper I cooked up . . . every single night. I’ve come a long way.

Caroline: What is something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Josi: I don’t read culinary mysteries. I’ve tried a few, but they were either boring, dumb, or talked about gourmet food that made ME feel dumb. I didn’t write Lemon Tart with the expectation of including recipes, that came later, and I have yet to find a culinary mystery I liked enough to read to the end.

Caroline: I’ve read a few I like. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?

Josi: It is a series but it’s considered a stand alone series which means you can read the books out of order without being confused or having the plots of the other books given away. That said, if you can start at the beginning, you’ll get the full benefit of the character growth that takes place along the course of the series, but it isn’t essential.

Caroline: I try to write my series books that way too. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

Josi: Here’s the blurb for BAKED ALASKA:

An Alaskan cruise is the setting for amateur detective Sadie Hoffmillers latest adventure. Sadie plans to spend time relaxing with her two grown children, Breanna and Shawn, and her boyfriend, Pete, while enjoying the luxury and cuisine of an elegant cruise ship and helping to plan her daughters upcoming wedding. But even as the crew prepares to leave port, Sadie has suspicions about the voyage ahead and the relationship between her normally easygoing son and a mysterious female passenger he obviously knows but refuses to discuss. When the woman is discovered unconscious during the second night at sea, Sadies apprehension escalates. Over the last few years, Sadie has developed an extreme dislike for secrets and it would seem her son is keeping one from her. *Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadies Virtual Test Kitchen. *Josi’s culinary mysteries have become favorites with members of Goodreads and other book networking sites. *Readers guide available online.

Caroline: How about an excerpt?

Josi: Here’s one from Chapter 5:

Sadie ate another crepe and turned her worry from Pete’s opinions of her actions, to Breanna’s conflicts with the wedding. She couldn’t believe that Liam’s mother would take things over this extent. Carriages? Eight thousand dollars in flowers? Did the woman not know Breanna at all? Had she no respect for Sadie’s position as mother of the bride?

When those thoughts got too heavy, she ate yet another crepe and worried about Shawn again. Finally, about the time she felt ready to explode from both crepes and worry, the three of them made their way out of the dining room and Shawn said he was going to check out one of the clubs. Sadie stiffened. “You go to clubs?”

“Mom, I’m twenty-three.”

“What does being twenty-three have to do with going to clubs? I was twenty-three once and I never went to clubs. Breanna didn’t go to clubs when she was twenty-three.” Shawn had been away at college for four years—he had walked with his graduating class just last month, but had two online classes he needed to finish up this summer in order to complete his degree in criminal justice. During these years that he’d been so many states away, she always pictured him studying when she worried where he was or what he might be doing at any given time. Could he be one of those college kids that went to frat parties and locked their friends in the trunk of their car as a joke? Oh, she certainly hoped not. She’d been locked in the trunk of a car before and it was horrid.

 “Pete, maybe you can explain it to her,” Shawn said as they exited the dining room.

Pete draped his arm over Sadie’s shoulder and gave Shawn a nod. “I’ve got your back.” They both made a fist they then tapped them together. What on earth was that all about?

Sadie turned her head to look at Pete. “You’re supporting this kind of behavior?”

Pete steered her toward the open deck, away from Shawn. “We talked about this,” he reminded her as the doors whooshed open. He guided her across the open deck toward the stairs leading to Deck Thirteen Forward; where they’d gone last night. The ever-determined hot-tubbers were there again, basking in the steaming water and occasionally running across the deck to jump into the swimming pool. She’d worn better pants tonight and didn’t feel so chilled by the dropping temperatures, but could not imagine wearing a swim suit, let alone getting wet. On the port side of the hot tubs, someone seemed to be asleep on a deck chair and Sadie shook her head. Weren’t they cold? It had to be close to forty degrees tonight.

“I can’t believe he goes to clubs,” Sadie said when they reached the top of the stairs. They had the deck to themselves again. She waited until Pete looked at her and narrowed her eyes. “And I can’t believe you’re supporting him in that.”

“You’re going to let Shawn be a grown-up, remember?”

Caroline: That made me smile. How can readers learn more about you?

Josi: Find me at

Find BAKED ALASKA on Amazon here

Thanks, Josi, and continued success with your books.

Readers, don’t forget to include your email with your comment to be entered for a free e-copy of Josi’s book, BAKED ALASKA.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Today, I’m so pleased to welcome author Velda Brotherton to A Writer’s Life. To welcome Velda and readers and as a part of the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop, I’ll be giving away an e-book of Velda’s latest release, WILDA’S OUTLAW. Talk about a great series, Velda has come up with one that appeals to me. And I suspect the series contains many fairy tales redone with an Old West Victorian flare. Here's Velda to tell us about the background for her first book in the Victorians series, WILDA'S OUTLAW.

The Victorians' Long Road to the American West

By Velda Brotherton

What Englishman George Grant expected to find in Western Kansas when he arrived in Hays City in 1872 was health-giving air. That's what he'd been told. Luckily for the land salesman, it had rained that spring and the endless prairie grasses were tall and green. What Grant breathed when he stepped from the train he later described as champagne air, dry, rarified and invigorating. Since I was raised in Kansas, I'd say he was lucky it wasn't a hot wind swirling dust.

The atmosphere in Kansas may have been pure, dry and exhilarating, but what Grant didn't expect was one of the wildest towns in the West. Its lawbreakers had thoroughly defeated the great Wild Bill Hickok, who as marshal of Hays City had shot up a bunch of soldiers from the Seventh Cavalry stationed at nearby Fort Hays. As a result Hickok was run out of town, leaving it pretty much lawless. Street shootings were a daily event. Calamity Jane was a regular visitor. She could swear, shoot and hold her liquor with the best of men. She was genial and immoral and well liked, and never failed to start trouble the minute she showed up. She enjoyed hurrahing, firing off wild shots and tearing up any saloon unfortunate enough to catch her attention. The infamous Buffalo Bill Cody killed buffalo and peddled the meat from door to door.

Into this atmosphere the ambitious George Grant and his companion and private secretary, a young man by the name of Mr. Edwards, arrived with high hopes of building a new town along the Southern Pacific Railroad. And he had something in mind for making himself a tidy sum of money in the process. The government had given the railroad 20 miles of land along its right-of-way, and the land was for sale. In theory the more towns the railroad served, the more money there was to make.

Grant immediately saw the potential. Though 50 years of age, he was a dignified and vigorous man who carried his six-foot frame gracefully. His head of white hair and full, neatly trimmed beard gave him the appearance of someone of great importance. It was easy for him to sell anything to anyone.

His intent? To form a colony of Englishmen for those young men in England who could not make a living in their own country. Because England was overcrowded with no land available, young men had little future there. Also there were those second and third sons of royalty who could not inherit the family fortune because it all went to the first born son. Their allowances, as we'd call them today, gave them only enough to exist in England. In America they would be able to buy land and to live well. Here they became known as remittance men.

Grant decided to name the colony the Victoria Colony, for the queen. And those who bought land there would continue to keep their English traditions. There would be no going West for these young men. In theory, the families would carry their country to America with them.

The first emigrants set sail aboard the steamship Alabama on April 1, 1873, from the harbor at Glasgow. Mr. Grant and his first colony of Scots and English settlers arrived at Victoria in 1874. In the group were 38 men, women and children and several head of Black and Red Aberdeen Angus Bulls, some sheep, and all supplies that would be needed upon their arrival. The Bulls were later placed on Grant's ranch and used to cross breed the long horn cattle from the area. Victoria became the birth place of the Aberdeen Breed in America, and Grant was credited with creating the breed.

Had the Victorians chosen to homestead, too many rules would apply. Leaving America and going abroad for long visits wouldn't have been allowed and they would have been required to become American citizens. And then there was that British pride. It went against the grain to aggrandize the Yankees. The young men were encouraged to go out and make money, then return to England to spend it. It was believed they would all become rich men at the expense of the Americans.

In this rugged western wilderness, trains ran irregularly and rarely at night for fear of Indian attack. Beyond Hays City the prairies stretched flat and smooth, and empty of human habitation, becoming one with the distant blue sky. On the creek banks, tall crimson grasses waved. Sunflowers grew along the railroad tracks. Antelope and buffalo grazed on the short green grass. Prairie dog towns churned up the earth. Only an occasional barely-livable dugout could be found in a hillside or in the creek banks, rusted stovepipes sticking out of the earth, the only sign they were there.

Lady Godey's Victorian Fashions for 1874
Imagine being kidnapped dressed like this!
Put her on a horse? Well, for a while.
In the first of the series WILDA’S OUTLAW, The Victorians, Wilda and Rowena Duncan and their cousin Tyra arrive a year later. Lured to America by Lord Blair Prescott, who chose Wilda for his bride and promised to care for the other two girls, all orphans. He promised to build a castle for his bride. After a year-long trip by ship, boat, stagecoach and train, the young ladies disembark in Victoria. They are weary, hot and frightened of what might come next, for their train had been robbed by outlaws only a short time before their arrival. This is Wilda's first encounter with the handsome, green-eyed outlaw, Calder Raines. A man she will soon cajole into kidnapping her to save her from the unkind and embittered Lord Prescott.

About the author

Velda Brotherton, Author
Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements.  She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability  to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books.

Thanks to Velda for sharing her story with us today. I love the idea of a series of books in which the main characters are Victorians from the UK who've come to the Wild West. WILDA'S OUTLAW sounds like a book I have to read as soon as possible, so I’ll be toddling off to load it onto my kindle now. I hope you’ll do the same.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 25, 2013


Most of us grew up hearing fairy tales, and many romance books are those same tales retold. HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME is a modern day Cinderella story with a happily-ever-after ending that (I hope) will leave you sighing and wishing for the next in the Sweet Springs series. Those next two books in the series will be released in 2014

Welcome to the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop sponsored by IAmAReaderNotAWriter, The Book Rat, and A Backwards Story. To celebrate the blog hop, I'm giving away two print copies US or e-books International of HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, a sweet modern Cinderella with the requisite fairy tale ending that come after problems even a fairy godmother never dreamed. 

HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is a sweet contemporary set in West Texas near where I grew up. My uncle and cousins were farmers who also sometimes raised cattle. Can’t keep all your eggs in one basket, right? My husband had several uncles who were ranchers and farmers, and some of his cousins still farm.  Although we live in a rural area now, both Hero and I grew up in the “big city” of Lubbock.

Cowboy in a fall roundup on a West Texas ranch

To raise money to build their new house, my father-in-law raised cotton on a field at the edge of town and my husband had to help. Hero remembers clearing hundreds of tumbleweeds from the land and burning them. Needless to say, he hates tumbleweeds! After several years, the family had saved enough cash to buy a lot and build on it, with my father-in-law as contractor and doing some of the work himself. Once they’d saved enough to build, that was the end of their cotton farming. My husband was truly grateful. When he came in dirty and tired from working in the field, his mom would tell him that if he didn’t go to college, he’d be doing work like that forever. He didn’t know what his degree would be in, but he knew then that he was going to college so he’d never have to farm again. He did, and now years later, here we are living on a small acreage so he can raise fruit trees and a vegetables in a large garden. Life certainly plays tricks on us, doesn’t it?

Tumbleweed rolling with the wind

Here’s a video about tumbleweeds even my husband can’t hate.

About the time my future husband was burning tumbleweeds and “chopping cotton” (as hoeing weeds is called), my family moved to Lubbock so Dad could buy cotton. My dad picked out our house at the same edge of town as where my future husband lived. (Thank you, Dad!) We were so pleased to have our own new home. Dad had built houses when we lived in California when I was small, but the house he was building for us always ended up sold because he and mother couldn’t turn down a tidy profit. Anyway, we were happy to finally own one similar--though not nearly as well built--to those he had built in California. Our first year in Lubbock, cotton plants came up in our flowerbeds because the housing development was carved from a cotton farm. 
West Texas cotton field ready to harvest
You can see that a book about that area might be close to my heart. I hope you'll let me share the story with you.
Courtney Madison has battled poverty her entire twenty-five years but is determined to make a safe and happy home for her teen-aged brother after the recent death of their mom. Her mom’s illness left Courtney with a mountain of hospital bills, her formerly sweet brother Jimmy is now cutting class and hanging with a rough crowd, and she’s just learned she’s being downsized in two weeks. Hanging on by the threads of a fraying rope, she learns she’s inherited two million dollars from a kind elderly man she befriended when he was in the hospital across the hall from her mom. She thinks her inheritance in West Texas is the answer to all her prayers--but Courtney learns that while money improves her life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. This modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine.
Rancher/entrepreneur Derek Corrigan has incredible instincts for flourishing in the business world. With women, not so much. In fact, his friends bemoan he’s King Midas where money is concerned, but his judgment of women is pathetic--evidenced by his late wife and now the flamboyant woman he’s been escorting of late. As far as Derek is concerned, all he wants is to be a good dad to his children Warren, aged 8, and Meg, aged 5. Derek suspects the worst of his new neighbor and vows to fight his attraction for her. The only way he can protect his children and himself is to keep his private life very private. Besides, he knows what women do to him--they always leave and take chunks of his heart with them. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination and is cured. Isn't he?

Here’s an excerpt from this modern day Cinderella story. The set up is that hero Derek Corrigan arranged for his best friend Rusty to be heroine Courtney Madison’s date for a neighborhood potluck the previous Friday. Derek would have asked Courtney himself, but he’d already made a date with an old friend, Janelle, before he learned of the party. Things didn’t go well at the social event, and now it’s Monday morning.


After wrestling with himself all weekend, Derek had come to apologize to Courtney. The two of them
had to keep working together for the better part of year. Somehow she’d found out he’d set her up with
Rusty and misunderstood. She left a message with Rosa that she’d arranged for the repair of his truck
and that Jimmy would be working off the cost of repairs. Didn’t even ask to speak to him.

He figured she was still mad, but he didn’t see why. What was so all-fired wrong with setting her
up with a nice guy like Rusty? He’d just tried to help her get acquainted. Where’s the crime
in that?

At church yesterday, she’d evaded him or looked right through him. That wasn’t even Christian. And just when he was getting used to having her to talk to. Of course, for Rusty she’d been all sugar and cream. Derek smiled in spite of himself. She’d made Janelle spitting mad with that little imitation act. He’d never seen anyone get the best of Janelle, but Courtney had. Everyone got it, and laughed. Except Janelle.
Oh, no. Janelle didn’t laugh at herself. She’d sulked the rest of the evening. He vowed never, but never, to ask Janelle anywhere again.

In Courtney’s house the next day, Derek grabbed a cup of coffee as he passed through the kitchen. Courtney was in the living room consulting with two painters. He stopped dead in his tracks. What the hell did she need with painters? Hadn’t this house been plenty good enough for Maggie and for Sam just as it was? Sure it had, and plenty good enough for him too. Why did Courtney have to go changing things?

When she saw him standing in the kitchen doorway, she paused. “Joe and Juan helped me get our trucks to Buddy’s garage. Buddy will call you when yours is repaired.” She stared, eyebrow lifted. “Did we have an appointment about something else today?"

An appointment? In his own house? He kept forgetting it wasn’t his house anymore. The house wasn’t Sam’s either. A pang of sorrow stabbed his heart and sliced downward. This had been his place with Sam and Maggie—the place they’d built especially for him. That was then; this was now. The whole place was hers and she could make any changes she chose. He had no say in anything she did with the house and farm. Instead, he was now the interloper in her house.

He exhaled. “No, but I’d like a word with you when you have a minute. I’ll just wait in Sam’s, um, your study.”

Ten minutes later she came in and he’d swear the room’s temperature dropped twenty degrees. She closed the door softly behind her. Man, but he had the distinct feeling she’d have preferred to slam it—and hard.

The second the door clicked shut, she launched into him. “Derek Corrigan, I realize you think I’m an incompetent social pariah. However, do not ever, ever take it upon yourself to find dates for me. No matter how nice the man might be. Do I make myself clear?”

Her quick breaths recalled the way she’d looked with only the sheet covering her breasts. Admiring her fire, he wished she wouldn’t direct it at him. Oh, hell. How had she found out about that? Rusty never would have told her.

He threw up his arms. “I thought it would be nice for you to have an escort since you don’t know anyone here yet. Okay? What’s so wrong with that?”

“For your information, I had a date the weekend before the party.”

He froze, and blood drained from his body. Who had she been out with? He’d bet it was that creep Lance Thompson. Damn the man. “I was only trying to help.”

She shook a finger in his face. “You should have asked me first. Do you have any idea how humiliated I was to learn Rusty didn’t ask me on his own? I had to hear from Janelle that I was a charity case.”

Damn, damn, damn. His fingers clenched and he wanted to punch the wall. He should have guessed Janelle was the culprit.

Courtney turned and paced. “And to think I fell for that fake visit to Rusty’s where he just happened to have fresh coffee and a cake from his mother. Oh, brother, I guess you both got a laugh out of that.”

“No, we did not laugh. Hey, you needed to meet him, right? And once he met you he said he would have asked you anyway, so what's the difference?”

When she opened her mouth and stepped toward him, he tried again before she could launch another  attack. “Look, Janelle shouldn’t have told you, but you shouldn’t have made her cry, either.”

“Humph.” Courtney narrowed her eyes. “Puhleeze, me make that woman cry? Give me a break. That woman hasn’t cried since she got her first training bra.” She paced the office as if she were being paid by the step.

Man, Courtney had one smart mouth on her when her anger took over. “She cried because you called her a piranha after she tried so hard to make you feel welcome to the community.”

She stopped pacing again. “Your girlfriend certainly made no effort to welcome me. In fact, she did everything within her power to make me feel unwanted.”

Hell, how had he come to be defending Janelle? “She’s not my anything., she’s just gone through a rough divorce.” He suddenly remembered that this was Janelle’s third divorce, but Courtney didn’t need to know that. “Neither of us wants to remarry. She likes to have a presentable escort when a twosome is called for—“

“Please spare me.” She held up a hand. “I’m not interested in the sordid details of your sexual liaisons.”

“They’re not sex…” He swallowed hard. “Not liaisons of any kind, just two people going out with no strings attached. Okay?”

Courtney faced him and jammed fists on her hips. “If you believe that woman is not interested in marriage, and to you, then what I heard was right.”

Anger raced through him. How he hated gossip. He’d been hurt too deeply by rumors, first as a child about his parents’ lifestyle and poverty, and later by his wife’s escapades. No, he’d never speak a word of gossip himself. How he’d like to shut Courtney up now by kissing her senseless instead of waging this stupid argument.

“Oh yeah?” He took a deep breath and glared. “What did you hear?”

She stepped toward him and leaned into his face. “That where making money is concerned, you’re King Midas, but where women are concerned, you really are dumb as dirt.”

“Who says?” He clamped his jaw tight. Damned if he’d apologize now. He’d bet Elaine made that wisecrack. She’d been mad at him ever since grade school when he’d called her a chipmunk. “Was it Elaine?”

“Everyone who knows you says it.” She stamped her foot. “Do you hear me? Everyone!”

“Yeah, well at least Janelle is nicer than that creep Lance Thompson. I suppose you plan to keep seeing him?” He didn’t trust that man and couldn’t understand why she didn’t see through Lance’s fake so-called charm.

“As a matter of fact, I am. He’s an interesting date.”

The ring of the telephone forestalled her next comment. She gave him another of her molten glares before she picked up the receiver. “Hello.” She staggered backward to a chair. Her eyes widened as color drained from her face. “I’ll be there right away.”

He stepped forward. “What’s happened? Who’s hurt?”

With shaking hands, she leaped up and grabbed her purse and keys. “Jimmy’s been in a fight at school.”

Purchase Information

HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is available in print and e-book from The Wild Rose Press at and at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online stores. I hope you’ll give it a read and let me know what you think. 
And if you're interested in winning a free copy of HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, please remember to
leave your email.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Today we welcome award winning author 
and another of his great books.
If you like suspense, you can't miss this one!

January Justice (The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs #1)


Release Date: November 29th, 2012.

Genre: Murder Mystery.

Formats Available for Purchase: Paperback, Kindle, PDF

    The book is PG 13. Very little sex and nothing explicit in any way. There is some violence but again nothing graphic: gun shots, etc…


Reeling from his wife’s unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood’s rich and famous.

Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It’s an open question whether they’re patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn’t much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest.
Now there’s another murder on Cutter’s Mind.
His own.


I was looking forward to reading this book especially when I discovered the author was returning to the mystery thriller genre. No one can weave a story, create real live characters and make someone enjoy the English language as much as Athol Dickson can. From page one I was hooked. The story was intense and deep. The plot was complex but I never felt lost. We stayed right with the main character Malcolm Cutter as he deals with his wife's death, re-cooperates from a near death experience and tries to get his life back together while undergoing a deep international plot to clear a terrorist organization of wrong-doing.
Never before in a book have I ever become so well-acquainted with a person who was never in the book but only mentioned in a past tense. It could only have been pulled off by an author that understands human nature and how we think deep inside.
- Steve Taylor-


Chapter 48:
One of the strangest things about the city was the sudden way it disappeared around the edges. One minute you were down on Sunset Boulevard surrounded by glass and concrete, and the next thing you knew you were up on Mulholland Drive, alone in the rough country. From a high window or a rooftop almost anywhere in Los Angeles you could see the mountains, and there was always something ravenous up there looking down.
I was up among the hungry creatures, standing at the edge of a cliff, with Hollywood and Santa Monica far below me in the distance. One step forward and I would be in midair. I was looking down and wondering if Haley had considered how suddenly you could go from city to wilderness. Then I wondered if it was a distinction without a difference, if the city might be the wilderness and the wilderness the city, and maybe Los Angeles’s edges seemed to disappear so suddenly because there really was no separation between sidewalks and mountain paths, buildings and boulders. Up in the mountains or down in the city, either way the carnivores were in control.
I imagined Haley, out of her mind, running full speed off the cliff. I wondered what it had been like, that final second or two before she hit. Had she realized what was happening? Did she recognize the city lights below for what they were, or did she really think she was flying toward the stars? And did she think of me?
Stepping closer to the edge, I slid the toes of my shoes into the air. I looked down two hundred feet, toward the spot where she had broken on the rocks. I stood one inch from eternity and tried to imagine life without her. I could not summon up a single reason why I shouldn’t take that final step, except for one. I thought about the kind of animal who would drive someone to do what my wife had done. Predators like that were everywhere. I should know. I had trained for half my life to be one of them. I was hungry, looking down on the city. If I was going to live, the hunger would have to be enough, for now. But I would sink my teeth into him, sooner or later. I would do that for Haley, and for myself, and then maybe it would be my turn to see if I could fly.
I stepped back from the edge. – Chapter 1
I paused to look at Simon and Teru, wishing there were some way to avoid it. I said, “The village we went back to on that second day was Laui Kalay.”
Neither of them reacted at first.
Then Teru said, “Oh no.”
Simon rose and carried his teacup to a sink. I watched as he carefully washed out the cup with a soapy cloth. He rinsed the cup, then placed it on a wooden rack beside the sink. When that was done, he didn’t return to the table. He stood still, looking down into the sink.
Teru said, “You were there? When they cut off all those fingers and knocked out all those teeth? You were really there?”
I said, “The court-martial found me guilty.”
“But I remember that video like it was yesterday. That marine with the knife, chopping off the corpses’ fingers for their rings. The others breaking out dead people’s teeth for gold. All those marines cracking jokes. They must have showed it a thousand times on television.” Teru looked at me. “You weren’t in it.”
Still staring down into the sink, Simon said, “If memory serves, the sergeant in command was convicted of filming the unpleasantness with his cell phone, so of course he was not shown in the video.”
“Holy mother of God,” said Teru. “You’re that guy?” – Chapter 8
Olivia screamed again, and a vision overwhelmed my thoughts. Suddenly, instead of the shack with its glowing window, I saw Haley’s face contorted with terror in the darkness up above, Haley screaming at a mirror on the wall in her trailer, Haley screaming that she saw Satan, Haley screaming out for Jesus as she slammed her fists against the mirror, breaking it, bloodying her hands and yet slamming on and on. I heard the screams and saw Haley in her final moments and knew that what I saw wasn’t a madman’s fantasy but was instead my true and final memory of our last moments together.
I shook my head. I wiped rain from my eyes. I told myself to think of what was noble, good, and true. The vision faded, but the screams remained. I had to stop the screams this time. I started up the trail, and with my first step out into the open, a strange sense of peace descended. This was what I had been created to do. This was who I was and who I would continue to be in whatever time was left to me without Haley. It wasn’t about a death wish. On the contrary, life at last had regained meaning, even if the end of life was imminent. Climbing that path, knowing bullets might slam into me at any instant, I was happy for the first time since I lost my wife. I still had a purpose, after all. I was useful. It felt like I was going home. 

The Award Winning Author

A master of profound suspense.

Athol Dickson's mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol's They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.

Critics have favorably compared Athol's work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher's Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O'Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California.

Find more about Athol Dickson at:


Tour Schedule 
First Part of the tour:
March 18: Black Lion Tour Blog: Introduction.
March 19: Cheryl's Book Nook: Guest Post.
March 20: Tina's Book Reviews: Guest Post.
                 Lindsay's Scribblings: Guest Post.
March 22: A Writer's Life: Caroline Clemmons: Guest Post
March 23: 
Laurie's Non Paranormal thoughts and Reviews: Interview.
March 24: 
Makayla's Book Reviews: Guest Post
March 26: I know that Book: Interview
March 27: My Devotional Thoughts: Review.
March 28: MK McClintock Blog: Interview
Second Part of the tour: 
April 3: Deal Sharing Aunt: Review.
April 4: 
Libby's Library: Review.
April 6Books, Books the Magical Fruit: Guest Post.
April 7: Kimberly Lewis Blog: Guest Post.
April 9: Marketing Cafe': Guest Post
April 12: Pure Jonel Blog: Review and Guest Post.
April 14: BK Walker Books Etc.: Interview
April 15Bookworm Babblings: Review.
April 16: Bunny Reviews: Guest Post.
April 17: Black Lion Tours Blog: Wrap- Up.