Friday, February 28, 2014


Today, please welcome English friend Rachel Brimble. Rachel is an amazing woman who writes wonderful books in multiple genres.

Rachel and her husband at
Cherhill Manor in July 2013

Caroline: Tell us something about growing up and your life now.

Rachel: I have been married to my fabulous Mr. B for nearly 16 years and we have two teenage daughters. I grew up in the famous maritime city of Bristol and lived there until Mr. B and I moved to a small market town in 2001. I am lucky enough to live just a short thirty-minute drive from the beautiful, historical city of Bath which is just THE best place to visit and why I chose to set my Victorian novels there.

As for your bookworm or jock question….most definitely a bookworm. I considered my librarian one of my friends growing up. It’s a miracle how little teasing I had at school––I have loved books my whole life and still have to pinch myself that I am now a published author.

Caroline: Lucky you. I remember being on a hill and looking down at the sunlight shining on the city of Bath. What a beautiful city. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Rachel: My favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis and Robyn Carr for contemporary romance and Philippa Gregory, Jean Fullerton and Jean Plaidy for historical novels. Romance is my favorite genre whether that be mainstream, romantic suspense or historical. I also love to read a lot of non-fiction and biographies about past British monarchs. Can’t get enough of Britain’s vast royal history!

Caroline: I am an anglophile and so admire Queen Elizabeth. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Rachel: Knitting in front of the TV – I watch far too much TV and more often than not have loads stacked up waiting for me. My favorite shows are US crime dramas like Rizzoli & Isles, Castle and CSI as well as UK period dramas like Downton Abbey, Ripper Street and Mr. Selfridge. Fabulous!

Caroline: I watch several of those shows, but am not familiar with Ripper Street. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Rachel: “Set it up the way you want it to be.” Iyanla Vanzant

Caroline: How long have you been writing?

Rachel: I started writing when my youngest daughter started school full time in 2005. I am proud to say every book and novella I have written has been published. The Wild Rose Press published the first book in 2007 and now I write contemporary novels for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington.

The dream to keep writing for the rest of my life – it is what I love most in the world. When I haven’t written for a couple of days, I turn savage!

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

Rachel: I need complete silence to write and my favorite place is on the sofa with the laptop and my black Lab snoring beside me. In the rare warm, summer days we have here in the UK, I always take advantage and take the laptop outside and write under the parasol. Bliss!

Caroline: I prefer my desktop PC to my laptop. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

Rachel: I’m a combination of the two – I start each book browsing the internet for pics of my hero and heroine and then I write a two or three page synopsis and character sketches. After that, I write the first draft without looking back. The hard work comes in the second and third drafts! I usually hit a block around the 40,000 word mark but have learned to write through it because things usually come good in the end. The one thing I am certain of is this writing business never gets any easier, lol!

Caroline: So, true. In fact, I think it gets harder as we try to discover new twists and plots to stay fresh. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Rachel: As I said earlier, Bath is the main inspiration for my Victorian romances and I fully intend to keep writing books set in this beautiful and fascinating city. As for my contemporary romances, I have used several real-life events in my own life as inspiration. The most recent with my second Harlequin Superromance, FOR A MAN LIKE HIM, I used the real life and terrifying experience of my family and I being rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof during the 2010 French floods. The opening chapters are almost an hour-by-hour account of what happened.

Caroline: I remember when I learned about your terrifying experiences in that flood. You shared the experience with readers on my blog. Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Rachel: Every day I appreciate that I get to write full-time around the kids and husband – I treat my writing like a job and work every weekday from 8.30 – 3.30pm with a dog walk in between. Once the kids are home, it’s usually running around or grabbing moments on the laptop before dinner. After dinner, I might allow myself an hour before shutting down at 7pm – after that it’s family time.

Caroline: An admirable schedule. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Rachel: Satisfaction/belief in true love – I write for the romantic inside me as well as my readers. I think it’s vital an author believes in what they are writing if they have any chance of a reader coming along with them for the journey. The ultimate hope is someone picking up one of my books and enjoying it so much they look for my backlist. I love it when that happens for me with other authors…not so much the case as far as my husband’s concerned!

Caroline: I love reading a good book and learning the author has a long backlist, don’t you? What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Rachel: Writing is all I want to do for the rest of my life so the goal is to get better and better at my craft – and in turn, hopefully earn enough money that I can support myself and children. The best thing about having a successful writing career is surely the option to write anywhere. A cruise liner, a café in Florence, a beach in the Bahamas....yep, I most definitely have long-term plans ;)

Caroline: I like the way you think. ☺Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Rachel: Right now I am working on the third novel in my series with eKensington. All my historicals novels are set in Bath or the surrounding towns and villages. The first two books (THE SEDUCTION OF EMILY and THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA) mainly take part in the city itself, but this third book will mostly be played out in a real village outside Bath called Biddestone.

The heroine, Monica, is a secondary character in THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA but as I was writing the book, I knew she deserved her own story. Luckily, my editor suggested it first so I knew we were on the same wavelength J

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Rachel: Write! It really is as simple as that – you will never get a book published unless you finish one, first and foremost. I also recommend enrolling in as many online courses as you can afford. The Romance Writers of America chapters offer varied courses on dialogue, plotting, point of view etc. They certainly helped me when I was starting out.

The final, and most important, piece of advice – allow yourself to write a ‘crappy’ first draft!

Caroline: Good advice all around. What is a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Rachel: I haven’t had my hair cut professionally since my wedding day, almost 16 years ago! LOL!

My hair is so curly I can get away with my husband (and now my eldest daughter) giving it a trim with the kitchen scissors as and when I need it.

Caroline: How lucky, and your hair looks lovely in your photos. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

Rachel: Here’s the blurb for THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA:

Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…

Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?

Caroline: How about an excerpt?

Rachel: Certainly, here it is:

What was she doing inside Adam Lacey’s house, sitting upright and rigid upon a settee she could never afford? Laura crossed and re-crossed her ankles as she glanced around his drawing room. His home was masculine, bare of trinket or flower, but compared to her and Bette’s place, it screamed of achievement. He’d left her to go upstairs and change out of his wet clothes. She glanced at the wall clock. The ten minutes she’d been alone could’ve been an hour.
She needed to leave. Get out of there.
Standing, she stepped toward the door just as it swung open and Adam entered. Her breath caught. The man was ridiculously handsome. His dark blond hair was darker than usual, after his unplanned swim, and his face scrubbed clean. Her gaze drifted, of its own accord, to the smattering of chest hair just visible at the vee of his open-necked shirt. The man was unfairly relaxed. Laura inhaled. Handsome—stupidly, stupidly handsome.
He halted, his smile dissolving. “You’re leaving?”
He moved to touch her, seemed to think better of it and dropped his hand to his side. Their eyes locked and silence descended. Her heart beat fast with the knowledge she would’ve given the world to stay there. Eye to eye; toe to toe with a man who fascinated and intrigued her.
She stepped back. It was too dangerous. The atmosphere between them too potent. Her attraction to him kicked and punched at her heart. It was strong enough to make her want to kiss him, touch him and bring that dazzling smile to the surface over and over. For little more than another breath, she would risk everything to run her fingers over his biceps and up to the plane of his wide shoulders…
Laura blinked as her mouth drained dry. What had she been thinking by coming here? She hadn’t been thinking. In that moment when he asked her to accompany him back to his home––nothing but desire had whipped through her. Nothing but interest had leapt in her veins and obliterated her common sense. The fervor and lust in his eyes bespoke of a man who clearly had an agenda entirely different to hers.
Laura blinked and looked past him to the door. “I have a friend. She’s sick. She needs me and the medicine I bought before I came upon you at the park.” She brushed past him, through the door and into the hallway. “I shouldn’t have come here. I’m sorry.”
“Laura, wait.”
Ignoring him, she hurried toward the closed front door. She had to get out of there. If she looked at him again, she’d falter. Her rationale already hung on a hair’s breadth. His footsteps sounded at lightning speed behind her and when she clasped the door handle, his hand closed over hers. She stared at their joined hands and her body heated.
“Laura. Please. I need to talk to you.”
Swallowing hard, she forced herself to meet his gaze. His dark brown eyes shone with a pleading she hadn’t expected. How was she supposed to refuse? He was the first man in forever to make her heart pick up speed and flourish her hope for something more. She slowly pulled her hand from beneath his.

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Rachel: At these urls:

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

Rachel: As well as THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA, the next installment of my Harlequin Superromance series is released March 4th, yay! WHAT BELONGS TO HER is available for pre-order right now.

Caroline: Wonderful, Rachel. Thank you so much for sharing with readers today. Best wishes for continued success in your career.

Readers, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Today’s post is part of a chain blog. No, nothing like a chain letter. Jacquie Rogers tagged me and today is my turn. She is the author of one of my favorite ever series, the Hearts of Owhee series--or as I call them, the Much Ado series. The first is MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS. Jacquie lives in Seattle now, but she grew up in Owyhee County, Idaho, and that’s where she sets her wonderful, funny, western historical romances. She comes from a long line of no-holds-barred storytellers. Even better,she’s a writer, and writers do tend to get carried away. Her parents actually owned a dairy farm in Owyhee County, Idaho, near Homedale and she grew up milking cows, breaking ice on the calves' water troughs and checking the bottoms of my shoes before entering the house. She says she doesn’t miss the frigid Idaho winters, but she does recall those soulful calf eyes with fondness. Nowadays, the only soulful eyes she sees are those of her husband when he pokes his head in her office for the tenth time and asks me when she’s going to fix dinner.

Those early farm days gave her a solid grounding in Real Life and provided endless fodder for her stories. Back then, she was a member of the Homedale Rod & Gun Club, Stateline Grange, and Sage Creek 4-H. She showed livestock, was the county fair queen, and garnered the title of girl's champion in the small bore rifle competition. (Now there's a scary combination!) She rode her horses to hell and back, with special emphasis on riding into the sunset while harmonica music played in the background.
For her complete bio, filled with her special brand of humor, go to 

Oh, but wait until you’ve read this post and commented on it, please!

Jacquie said I have to answer the questions below, so here goes:

What am I working on?

My current work is GABE KINCAID, book four in the Kincaid series. Gabe is a second or third cousin of the other main characters of the series. His grandfather and Judge Kincaid are brothers and Gabe came from Austin to Kincaid Falls to work in the Judge’s law office. But even in the Southwest, we hold to the Southern tradition of treating distant cousins almost like siblings, so Gabe is close to the Kincaid Springs branch of the Kincaid family.  The heroine is Kathryn “Katie” Elizabeth Worthington, posing as a circus fortune teller to escape the influential men who killed her grandfather back in Savannah and want to make sure she doesn’t live to tell what she saw. In the meantime, she’s up to her ears in new trouble and must rely on Gabe and the Kincaids to help her.  

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Wow, this is a hard question. Each author, in my opinion, has a distinct voice and style that creates a particular difference from other writers. When I follow authors, it’s because of that voice. Other than that, all of my historical romance novels include murder and/or mayhem. They’re romances with mystery. The only exception is the novella HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, which is a wedding comedy of errors, written because my editor at the time wanted an historic wedding resembling “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” I don’t like that show, but I do like HAPPY IS THE BRIDE.

Why do I write what I write?

I write the type books I enjoy reading. Well, I enjoy other type such as Regency and World War II settings, but I haven’t written one of those—yet. I believe my love of western history began because my dad used to tell stories of his family after they came from Georgia to Texas in 1876. I loved those stories and never tired of hearing them. When you place your ancestors in historical settings, the history comes alive. That’s what happened for me. I absorbed a lot of Texas history for the last quarter of the 19th century. That led me to research more and more. Now I feel comfortable writing about that era, but I’m still learning new things about that time. My first historical romance was THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE.

How does my writing process work?

First, I see an inciting incident in my head as if I were watching a movie. A lot of writers have this experience, by the way, so don’t call the men in white coats yet. The part I see shows the main characters, but it’s not always the first of the book. Sometimes, it gets moved as far as chapter three, but it’s always near the front. I use names from the time period in which the story is set, sometimes ancestral names so I can be certain they were around at the time. For instance, Cenora Rose from THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE and Parmelia Bailey from LONG WAY HOME are family names. Writing a book takes me about three or months—unless life interferes. For my last two books, life played havoc with my schedule. I do plot my works, but also allow myself to deviate from my plot if my muse takes over and wants to include something new. The plot is like a roadmap, and I can take side trips but come back to the main highway. I write full time, from six to twelve hours a day. Unfortunately, that time includes marketing, which steals a lot of writing time. But I want readers to buy my books, so the marketing is necessary. I would write even if no one bought my books, but I’d much rather readers read my books and enjoy them. And leave reviews on Amazon. Reviews are important to an author.

Jacquie instructed me to find three authors to follow me with posts next week.
      Mary Alice Adair writes historical romance with Cherokee and English characters, PASSION'S VISION is the first of her Passion series. Mary used to be one of my critique partners, but she and her husband moved from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the Cherokee area of Eastern Oklahoma. She has researched the Cherokee in colonial times and has become an authority on their lifestyle. For her research, she used a book written by her husband’s ancestor, James Adair, which is the definitive work of the time. Her blog is at

         Carra Copelin writes contemporary romance with suspense elements. She and her husband live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. She is writing the Code series, the first of which is CODE OF HONOR. Carra is one of my critique partners who keeps me on the writing path. She also researches her books with care for detail. She’s President of the Yellow Rose Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Find her at

           Anna Jeffrey writes contemporary romance and steamy women’s fiction. Anna also is half the team of the Dixie Cash books. Yes, she is fun to talk to, much like the Dixie Cash books are to read. But her Anna Jeffrey books are great reads. Her latest is THE TYCOON, the steamy first of her Sons of Texas series. Her West Texas series and Idaho series are not to be missed. Find her at

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 24, 2014


This post is late going up because my computer attacked itself. Actually, a virus attacked, and it took a while for my sweet Hero to evict the evil virus. Usually, I schedule a post days ahead. Wouldn’t you know the time I’m down to the wire, the computer gets sick? I simply cannot understand why people think it’s fun to attach a virus to some unsuspecting person’s email. Good heavens, people, get a life!

Many of you know that, for the most part, I grew up in West Texas in and near Lubbock. My family moved there from Southern California when I was seven. The area is an arid, oftentimes dusty place, but a good place to live. My family were blue collar and lived on the wrong side of the tracks. All my friends were from similar households, so I had no clue we were poor. Why would I? My parents made certain I had everything I needed and most of the things I wanted. And after all, we gave to the Salvation Army to help the poor. Yes, I was naïve, but happy.

Lubbock, Texas known as
The Hub of the Plains

Growing up in West Texas imprints that locale into your blood. It’s called “the Land of the Tall Sky” and carries with it a certain freedom. When I lived in Florida, for instance, I always felt the sky was too close to the ground. Silly perhaps, but I am not the only one who has had this experience.

In the Land Of The Tall Sky,
you can see miles and miles
of nothing but miles and miles

Another thing I like about the area around Lubbock is that you can see miles and miles. Unless you are in a ravine or canyon, like Yellowhouse Canyon, the land is flat with few trees. When I talked with my editor in NY about being able to see a mile away, she doubted me. But it’s true. We were discussing my heroine in HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME and her being able to see the home of a friend.

One thing I don't like about West Texas is a sand or dust storm. Yikes! For asthmatics like my family, you can't get your breath. It's as if grit has replaced all the oxygen. There's a dust storm in HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME and in THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP. They happen, and they are chokers.

HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME rights have reverted to me now and it has a new cover. My Hero is currently uploading it to Amazon. Ramona Lockwood, of Covers by Ramona, designed the new cover. No, there are no mountains in the Lubbock area. There is a playa in the book, though. I love the colors of this cover.

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

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?

This is the first of three books planned for the Texas Home series. In HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, Derek Corrigan has been searching for his sister and mother for years. In the second book, FINDING MY TEXAS HOME, Derek Corrigan’s sister finds him—and meets Derek’s best friend, Rusty McCullough. The third book is RETURN TO MY TEXAS HOME and features Rusty’s sister Elaine McCullough and the return of her high school secret crush, Chance Stewart.

HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME will be available for purchase from Amazon in a couple of days. If you haven’t read it, please give this sweet contemporary romance a try.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 21, 2014


The Prayer, a Love Story
by Jacqueline von Zwehl


Do you Believe in Miracles?

Do you Believe in Eternal Love?

Do you Believe in Answered Prayers?


THE PRAYER, A LOVE STORY is the inspirational true story of one woman who discovers the secret to living a life filled with miracles, unconditional love and answered prayers.

The journey begins with a divine promise, continues with unforeseen life challenges, and eventually leads to Jerusalem. Inside the Old City, a prayer will unlock the key to a life of miracles. This journey is proof heaven is real and its gifts are available to you now. Whether you have stopped believing in God or not, God believes in you.

The journey holds a promise for everyone. No matter how much darkness exists in your life, it cannot diminish the flicker of even the tiniest light. That light will lead you to your destiny and it will change your life forever.

One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.



As soon as I got in the car, I almost changed my mind. I was exhausted. It had been a long week and, quite frankly, I was not in the mood for a party. Still, I had to go. I’d just say hello to Todd and leave early, I decided. I fumbled around in the dim light, looking for the directions. I had gone to Fort Lauderdale only a handful of times, and I still wasn’t sure how to get downtown.

Todd and I had known each other for years. He was the friend from Long Island who had organized the dismal raft-up that made me decide to leave New York. He was one of the most sociable and fun people you’d ever meet. Once you get on his email list, you’re a friend for life. That’s how he is. Todd was one of the last people I said goodbye to when I moved to Boca.

The previous Tuesday night, he had called. In his classic, larger-than-life style, he said he knew a guy who had a house in Fort Lauderdale, and he and a big group of friends from Long Island were flying down to stay there for the upcoming boat show. They were throwing a huge party on Saturday night, and I just had to be there.

I was not in the mood even early in the week. I was working long hours at the time, and I was men-tally drained. I also didn’t look forward to partying with a bunch of single guys from Long Island. If it had been anyone else but Todd, I would have politely declined, but we hadn’t seen each other in over a year and a half.

Reluctantly, I accepted, but I added one little white lie. I told Todd I had a boyfriend. The last thing I wanted was for any guy at this party to think I was single. I did not want to get hit on by any out-of-state guys on vacation. I’d just make a quick appearance and get home early, I told myself.

I pulled up to the house a little after dark. It was a spectacular, newly constructed mansion on the inter-coastal in the Las Olas Isles of Fort Lauderdale. The home was impressive and stately, surrounded by stunning landscaping tall palm trees and a gated entrance. Although the house was huge, it looked quite warm and inviting, as well.

Suddenly, something odd hit me. There didn’t seem to be a party. In fact, hardly any cars were parked on the street. I double checked the address and checked the number on the gate. Yes, it was the right house. Was I too early?

Flashbacks of the cancelled raft-up went through my mind. The last time I got an invitation from Todd for a supposedly huge event, it turned out to be a small disaster. I swore that if Todd had invited me to this house and there was no party, he was going to owe me big time.

As I started toward the gate, my doubts took over. What was I doing there? I couldn’t hear any music. I considered turning around and getting back in my car, but just then, someone on a Harley parked next to my car. He spotted me right away and made his way towards me. I thought I would look foolish if I turned around and got back in my car.

The tall man from the Harley approached.“Hi, I’m Joe.”

“Hi, Joe, I’m Jackie.”

“Hey, Jackie. So, how do you know Chris?”

“I don’t know Chris. My friend Todd invited me.”

“Oh. I have no idea who Todd is.”

I was starting to feel a bit awkward, but there was no turning back by then, so Joe and I walked in together. From a grand center hall foyer, we stepped down into a sunken living room accented by a vaulted ceiling and twenty-foot floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The first thing I noticed was the angel above the fireplace. It was a stunning, hand-carved, six-foot-tall wooden angel with a four-foot wingspan. I stood there staring at it, mesmerized. He was  beautiful. For a moment, I completely forgot where I was or how I got there.

I began to notice my surroundings. This was not the house of a bachelor, as I had assumed. It was definitely a family home. Family photos were everywhere, adults and children covering every wall and counter. In the foyer, an ornate antique Bible and a pile of rosaries graced a coffee table. Crosses and religious pictures adorned every wall. I could see that this home had been decorated by a mother, a woman of faith. It was a gracious and welcoming home.

The moment we walked in, Joe had left my side and slipped through the sliding glass doors leading to the back deck. Obviously, he’d been there before and knew the house well. I’m not sure how long I stood there, taking in my surroundings.

I quickly realized there was, in fact, no party. I was standing in a stranger’s home, completely  alone. No crowds, no music, and definitely no party. Once again, I contemplated discreetly leaving. Then I heard a voice that seemed to be addressing me.

“Hey, there. I’m Carlos. How do you know Chris?” I followed the voice and walked through a breakfast room to get within view of whoever was talking to me. The voice had come from the kitchen. A casually dressed guy was seated at the island, enjoying his dinner, and I guess he had noticed me standing by myself in the living room. I probably looked ridiculous just standing there, staring at the angel.

“Hi, Carlos. I’m Jackie. I don’t know Chris. I was invited by my friend Todd.”

“Who the hell is Todd?” Carlos blurted out.

At that point, I definitely felt like I had just crashed someone’s home. What was I doing there? Nothing about this made any sense. Why had Todd invited me to that house? Why had he told me there would be a party there that night? Why  didn’t  anyone  there know who he was?

I needed to leave, and by then I didn’t care whether anyone saw me walk out the front door with no explanation. However, as I made my way back through the breakfast room and across the living room, I was intercepted.

A dark-haired man in blue swim trunks barreled through the sliding glass doors into the living room. He didn’t have a shirt on, just a towel wrapped around his shoulders. He was soaking wet, obviously just out of the pool. Oh my goodness, but he was cute! He was also half-naked and smiling at me—and that smile was melting me.

Full of excitement and exuberance, he put his hand out to shake mine and announced,“Hi, I’m Chris.”

Amazon Paperback

Amazon Kindle

Jacqueline von Zwehl

Jacqueline von Zwehl, is a faith-based relationship expert. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging singles on the path to finding their soul mates. She has appeared on Nite Line, The Harvest Show, EWTN, TCT TV, Victory TV, CatholicTV, Telecare, Changing Lives, CatholicLife, That's the Spirit, The Church, The Cardinal and You, NPR, and more. Jacqueline lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband Christopher, their two daughters and dog. The Prayer, A Love Story is her debut book.

Read Jacqueline's Blog at


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Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Check Cynthia Woolf's new book:

Redeemed by a Rebel 
(Book 1 in "Destiny in Deadwood Series")

Release Date: January 30, 2014                  
Genre: historical western (set in 1876 Deadwood, Dakota Territory.)                                             
Formats to buy: Kindle and Paperback 


Be part of this international giveaway and enter to win a $25 Amazon GC

See the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!

Keep an eye on Cynthia's tour for REDEEMED BY A REBEL, which started on February 17th.

Don't miss the interviews, guest posts, top 10 lists, amazing reviews and the super giveaway with a $100 Amazon GC prize.

Guest Post
By Cynthia Woolf

The first time the HBO series DEADWOOD was on, I didn’t want to watch it. I heard all the bad language and thought, this is not for me. Then my husband got the series on DVD through Netflix. I ended up watching an episode with him and was hooked, bad language and all.

Deadwood series on Netflix

I found the time fascinating. The drama was gritty and real. The period of our history, the time of the cowboy and the gold miners depicted in the series, was not an easy one. It was hard and dirty and the people who lived during that time were hardy. They had to be survivors and work to make a living and to well, survive.

I decided since I write historical western romance that it would be a good period and place for me to write about. My husband, my editor and I drove from Denver to Deadwood. It is a town that survives through gambling now but they still have a lot of history to be seen. There are a couple of museums, the grave yard and lots of old buildings. They put on a show several times a day depicting the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok.

Stage Coach at the museum in Deadwood

We had a great time and I picked up several books on the history of Deadwood and its inhabitants in 1876, the time my book is set. I was amazed to find that the series is quite accurate and some of the characters are real. Al Swearengen, Seth Bullock, Sol Starr, Calamity Jane and of course, Wild Bill Hickok were real people. The places, the Grand Hotel, the Gem Theater and the Bella Union were real places.

I hope you enjoy my little foray into Deadwood and the gold mining that went on in 1876 Deadwood. I also recommend the HBO series. As a matter of fact, I ended up liking it so much that we bought the DVD set.


Jake Anderson killed a man defending his fiancée from a brutal attack, but lost her and his freedom in the process.  Now he's on the run, hunted by one of her murderers and tormented by the need for vengeance.

Becky Finnegan will do anything to escape her drunken father's fists, including slave away at their mine.  Her only hope is to strike gold and make a new life for herself somewhere far, far away from Deadwood.  But then Jake arrives and does the unthinkable...forces her to feel, to hope...and to love.

Jake would give his life to protect Becky, but all he can offer her is a broken heart, a criminal's life, and a past haunted by failure.  How can he save her when he's already lost himself?  When the devil catches up to him, will he destroy everything, or can the beautiful rebel redeem Jake's lost soul?




February 1876

The man was dead. Deader than a doornail in a rotted-out door. Lily Sutter was not going to like this. She supposed she should call her the Widow Sutter now.

Becky looked at John Sutter’s body, splayed across the rocks like the annual  sacrifice to some unknown god. She should probably try and wrangle his body onto the back of her mule, but didn’t really think she could manage the task alone. She heaved a sigh. Time to check and see if Billy was home or if she would have to collect him from The Gem. She hadn’t given him enough gold for the Bella Union.

She’d lied to him once again, only given him part of their gold. If she gave him all the gold, like he wanted, nothing would be left to buy food or the pans and other equipment she needed to work their claim. And then there’d be no gold for him to go drown his sorrows. Sorrows that were her fault, according to him, for having killed her Ma getting born. And then he’d beat her and she wouldn’t be able to work so there’d be no gold and the cycle would start again. Better to lie to him.

Resigned, she grabbed the mule’s bridle. Buster snorted at the small jerk she gave the gear as she started walking downstream along the narrow path that followed the creek. She’d made this path, going back and forth to their claim on a daily basis. After collecting Billy from the Gem, after he’d spent another night of drowning his sorrows. Better there than at their campsite where he’d just complain and then beat her for the hell of it.

She and her father, Billy, originally came from the coal mines of West Virginia. But that was so long ago and there’d been many, many stops along the way. Every time she hoped this might be the place, the one they could put down roots. But it never was. Billy leached the good will from the townsfolk until there was none left and they had to move on. She’d gotten lucky with her education. One of the ladies she worked for took pity on her and taught her to read, write and talk so she was able to get better jobs as time went on.

As for Billy, the fresh air was good for him, made him feel better but him feeling better was a two-edged sword. He felt better so, rather than working the claim, he took their gold and spent it on booze and whores at the Gem in Deadwood. He was smart enough to know he got more booze and whores for his money at the Gem than the Bella Union where they were classier but much more expensive. He was at the Gem so often she had to go and collect him about three nights a week. He’d get so drunk he couldn’t find his way out of the saloon much less back to their claim.

She’d get Dan Dority to load Billy on the mule and then, when they got back to camp, she’d untie him and let him slip to the ground. She used to try holding him up, to slow his fall, but too many times, she’d ended up trapped beneath him until she could shove his heavy body off her. And him, totally ignorant of the whole situation, blissfully sleeping off the effects of his alcohol fueled stupor.

There’d been just as many times she left him at the Gem and let them deal with his sorry ass. Now since she needed to tell someone about Sutter, she figured she’d go ahead and get Billy, too.
Becky got on the mule and headed back to Deadwood. She went to the Gem but rather than collecting her father, she told Dan about Sutter.

“I’ll see his body gets taken care of.  In the meantime you get your father and get out. I keep telling you, this ain’t no place for a girl like you to be seen.”

“Oh, I don’t know, Dan,” said Al Swearengen, owner of the Gem and procurer of flesh. “We could give her a job that’s a lot easier than working that claim.” 

He leaned on the hand rail of the second floor walkway looking dapper in his black three piece pinstriped suit. He wore no tie and his shirt was open at the collar. Becky craned her neck to look upward at him. “Not today, Mr. Swearengen, but I’ll be sure and keep your offer in mind.”

Swearengen laughed. A great rumble from deep in his chest. “You do that. Dan, help load Billy on to her mule.”  He turned away and went back into his office. “See you tomorrow, Becky.” he called over his shoulder.

She nodded, then looked at the fancy women lounging around the room in varying states of undress and silently agreed with Dan. She should get out. She didn’t understand how they could do what they did. She’d rather work day and night in the creek than let a man touch her in that way.

The Author, Cynthia Woolf:

Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.

Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.
Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.

She worked her way through college and went to work full time straight after graduation and there was little time to write. Then in 1990 she and two friends started a round robin writing a story about pirates. She found that she missed the writing and kept on with other stories. In 1992 she joined Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. Unfortunately, the loss of her job demanded she not renew her memberships and her writing stagnated for many years.

In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she'd attend. One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker. Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter's table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing. She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn't looked back.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she's made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.

Find more about her at: 

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