Wednesday, January 31, 2018


I’m excited to announce that DANIEL McCLINTOCK is now available for preorder and will be released on Valentine’s Day. Preorder your copy now at

Valentine Contest
Beginning February 1 through 14, any comment you leave on this blog will count as an entry for the contest regardless of the post. I’ll be giving away a box of swag that will include, of course, a box of chocolates. What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate?

In McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, Daniel was left paralyzed from the waist down. His book, DANIEL McCLINTOCK, opens two years later.

The blurb:
A compassionate woman…
Clara Van Hoosan entered training when she finished school at sixteen. Now, at twenty-two, she is one of the best heilgymnast in the new field of mechanotherapy, the precursor to modern physical therapy. When her supervisor receives a request for someone to travel to Texas in America and help a patient, Clara is pleased to accept. On her arrival in McClintock Falls, she is surprised that the patient she thought would be a teenage boy is a very handsome man her age.
A desperate man…
Two years ago Daniel McClintock was paralyzed from the waist down. He is deeply discouraged and wonders if he is bound to live his life an invalid. Each week he becomes more depressed although not idle. He keeps books for the ranch and paints landscapes with sales donated to the church. The local doctor learns of a new type of treatment developed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Daniel can’t go there, so his family writes for a therapist trained in the new treatment to come to them.
A surprise arrives…
Everyone is expecting a man when Clara Van Hoosan arrives. As she and Daniel work together, they become attracted. She believes his is the normal attachment a patient feels toward a therapist and will fade once he’s healed. She tries to hide her feelings for him. Daniel knows she’s The One if only he can convince her to remain in McClintock Falls when a lucrative job offer arrives.

The Excerpt:
“You’re not serious!” Daniel’s glare chilled Clara as he assessed her head to toe and back up. “You said a man was arriving. You think I’m going to work with this… woman?”
He looked away and made a dismissive wave with his hand. “Forget it and get her out of here.”
Kathryn offered Clara a helpless expression then left the room.
Clara stepped forward, forcing herself to assume her professional demeanor. She had faced this reaction before, but this was so much more important. As much as she longed to help anyone in his position, this man also represented her chance to establish herself in America.
“Daniel, I am here to help you learn to walk again. I have a contract and have moved into the room next door, so you might as well get used to having me here.”
His blue eyes were glacial. “I. Said. Get. Out.”
As if he hadn’t spoken, she continued, “I have completed courses in teaching, nursing, and mechanotherapy and have helped dozens of people like you recover the use of their limbs. One of your workers has gone to the rail depot to claim my trunks. Inside two of them I have equipment which I will assemble here in your room.”
He threw a book at her but it landed at her feet. “I am not letting you near me.”
She picked up the book, glanced at the title. “Hmm, Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I have wanted to read this. Thank you.” She laid it on the washstand.
“Give me my damned book.”
She smiled but didn’t return the tome. “But, you gave it to me.”
“You know very well I didn’t.” Using his arms and hands, he pushed up higher on his pillows. “You deliberately mislead us by using your initials instead of your first name.”
She widened her eyes and blinked at him. “Oh? I believe it is customary to use initials in business correspondence.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t give me that innocent expression. You knew we thought you were a man—which is what you intended. I’m not having a woman working on me.”
Clara tapped a finger against her cheek. “I was under the impression your mother has been working with you to insure your leg muscles do not deteriorate. You were not adverse to her and she is a woman.”
“That’s different.”
“She faces prejudice because she is a woman healer so I would think you, as her son who is aware of this, would be more tolerant of other women healers.”
“What she does is entirely different than what you supposedly do.”
“Not so. Each of us does our best to help people. In spite of your low opinion of me, I am going to be helping you for some time. I will be in early tomorrow to help you get ready for the day. After breakfast, I will begin assembling my equipment. You will find it fascinating. For now, good evening.” She picked up the book and carried it with her.
He yelled after her, “Bring me back my damned book!”
She smiled to herself as she walked to her room. She thought she had come out best in that round. Tomorrow would begin round two.

I hope you’ll preorder DANIEL McCLINTOCK. I love the way a preordered book pops into my Kindle the day of release—like magic. 

Monday, January 29, 2018


Friends, if this seems familiar, it's because I erroneously posted it on the wrong date earlier. This is the correct date.

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 1
Amy Metz
Cozy Mystery

253 pages


What inspired you to write the first book in the series?

Family history. My father’s uncle was murdered in 1935, and I grew up hearing the stories about him. It always made me sad that his murder was never solved, so I solved it fictionally. Also, I wrote the first book at a time when I needed to laugh, which is why I made it a humorous mystery.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

I didn’t come up with them, they came up to me, sat down, and started talking. It probably began when I first visited the real Goose Pimple Junction (Virginia) in 1985. The name stuck with me, and when I thought about writing the first book, I knew which town I wanted it to be set in. With a town like Goose Pimple Junction, the residents needed to be a little . . . colorful. They’ve been talking to me ever since.

Where did you come up with the names in the books?

I think names are hugely important. Some of the names come to me instantly, but I also keep a running list of interesting names, and when I’m stuck I refer to it. The South is full of nicknames, family names, two-word names–the possibilities are endless. And it’s so much fun to find the right name for a character.

What do you enjoy most about writing this series?

I love having the characters in my head. They are a fun bunch of people who make me laugh. Through them, I get to do and say things I would love to do and say in real life but never would. I also love “living” in Goose Pimple Junction. It’s an idyllic little community with whacky residents who are fun to know. I also like exacting revenge on people who anger me in real life.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

I originally titled it simply Goose Pimple Junction. Some of the readers in an online critique group I belonged to at the time said it needed more, so I added Murder & Mayhem. I wish I had known how many other books begin with Murder & Mayhem in their title, but I think it aptly describes what the book is about.

Who designed your book covers?

I am blessed to have found four fantastic artists for my covers. I commissioned Karen Mathison Schmidt ( to do the front and back covers of book 1, and I think she perfectly captured the GPJ in my head.

For book 2, I was searching for Southern homes online and found a painting that looked like the house in my mind where the main character lived. John Charles Gibbs ( agreed to sell me the rights to use it for the cover, and he even added a chalk outline in the yard and a pumpkin on the porch to match what was happening in the book.

For book 3, I found a painting of a Basset Hound that was exactly like the Ezzie in my head, the Basset that’s in all the books. I thought using a dog on the cover for a play on words (Short & Tall Tales/tails) would be fun, and Anne Rackley Berenbrok
( sold me the rights to use it.

And for book 4, I can’t remember how I found it, but I was searching online for something and came across "Emerico" Imre Tóth’s ( “Rainy Day” picture. It was perfect for what I was writing in the book, and he sold me the rights to use it.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

First, I’d take Louetta to lunch at Slick & Junebug’s Diner and then I’d spend the afternoon cooking with Louetta. After dinner, I’d go to her bookstore and while away the night reading and perusing through books.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
They’re all figments of my imagination, although some may have some characteristics of people I know. Only the biker character, “Tank,” in book 1 is an actual person–at least physically. We were on vacation, and I was sitting in the car at a rest stop when this biker dude walked right past me. He was so unique and off the wall, I knew he was one of my characters. I guess there are a few others who have been based on real people–people who have made me mad, so I exacted fictional revenge and killed them off.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

They definitely hijack the story. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought I knew where the story was going, only to be corrected by the characters.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

I find the best way to convince someone to read a book is by word of mouth. So out of the mouth of a few reviewers, here are some reasons you should read the GPJ series:

“To say I enjoyed Ms. Metz work would be an understatement, I relished it, adored it, want to marry it. The writing was exceptional, easy to follow, highly entertaining, and extremely clever. It was not only funny, but intelligent and suspenseful.”

“…transported to a small southern town filled with southern hospitality, charm and characters…”

“Some creative characters that you completely fall in love with.”

“Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction is a characterization clinic!”

"A good old-fashioned mystery, a great romance, a fun book and it will leave you with a smile on your face."

“Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is charming, fun, well-written, and loaded with delicious personality . . . ”

“Intricacy, humor and word play continue Amy Metz's signature style in this second of her Goose Pimple series. Memorable characters, some new, some familiar, run riot through town creating chaos, disaster and hilarity. This book contains many "Listen to this" moments and two very well written mysteries. Nothing is hidden, the clues are right out there. Enjoy, and be careful drinking while you read. You could be snorting soda out your nose.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?
I have written parts of two other books. One is a thriller about a serial killer in Alabama, and the other is a chick lit book set in South Carolina. I work on them periodically, but haven’t finished them yet. I also have a manuscript written about my mother’s ordeal with dementia. It’s actually the reason I started writing. I needed to vent about what was happening, and writing about it was a great outlet.

Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple
Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old
murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern
speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright,
and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle. 

bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of
the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the
truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a
new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready. 

EXCERPT Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction

Chapter 1
We've Howdied But We Ain't Shook Yet

May 2010
“You are dumber ‘n a soup sandwich, Earl.”

“Oh yeah? Well, you’re a hole in search of a doughnut, Clive.”

Tess Tremaine walked into Slick & Junebug’s Diner, past the two gentlemen arguing at the counter, and slid into one of the red vinyl booths. The old men were arguing good-naturedly, and she imagined they were probably lifelong friends, passing the time of day.

Tess smiled as she looked around the diner. She was happy with her decision to move to this friendly town. Everyone greeted her cheerfully and went out of their way to be nice. It was a pretty place to live, too. Every street in the small town was lined with decades-old trees in front of old, well kept homes full of character, just like the citizens. She was confident she’d made the right choice. This was a good place to heal from her divorce and start a new life.

A raised voice at the counter brought Tess out of her thoughts. One of the old men spoke loud enough for the whole diner to hear.

“If I had a dog as ugly as you, I’d shave his butt and make him walk backwards,” he said, jabbing his index finger at the other man.

A waitress appeared at the table. Tess hadn’t seen a beehive hairdo in person until she saw this waitress. With her pink uniform dress and white apron, she looked like she jumped out of a page from the sixties. Her name tag said “Willa Jean.”

“Don’t mind those two old coots.” Willa Jean hitched her head in their direction. “They’re about as dumb as a box a hair, but they’re gentle souls underneath. Their problem is one of ‘em’s always trying to one-up the other.”

She got her pad and pencil out of her front apron pocket, ready to take Tess's order, but she stopped and cocked her head, staring hard at Tess, and smacking her gum.

"Anybody ever tell you, you look like Princess Di? I just loved her, didn’t you?” She bent her head slightly to the side to look at Tess’s legs under the table. "'Cept you look a might shorter 'n Di was. How tall are you?"

"Five-five." Tess couldn’t help smiling at the compliment.

"Yep. What we have here is a mini Diana. And your hair color is a reddish-blond instead of a blonde-blonde like my girl Di. Other 'n that, honey, you could be her clone."

"Thank you. You just earned a big tip." Tess’s smile lit up her face.

The waitress winked at Tess. “What can I gitcha?”

“I think I’ll just have a Coke and a ham sandwich, please.”

“Anything on that? Wanna run it through the garden?”

“Run it through the...” Tess’s brow furrowed.

“Yeah, you know...lettuce, tomato, and onion. The works.”

“Oh! Just mustard, please.”

Willa Jean nodded and hollered the order to the cook as she went
towards the kitchen. “Walkin’ in! A Co’Cola and Noah’s boy on bread with Mississippi mud.”

Tess smiled and looked around the diner. The front counter was lined with cake plates full of pies covered in meringue piled six inches high, cakes three and four layers tall, and two-inch thick brownies. Six chrome stools with red leather seats sat under the counter. The walls were packed with framed snapshots from as far back as the fifties. From the looks of it, they started taking pictures when poodle skirts were popular and never stopped. They were running out of wall space. The top half of the big picture window was covered with a “Henry Clay Price For Governor” banner. Tess spotted similar signs throughout the restaurant, and she’d noticed the waitress was wearing a campaign button.

The diner was only half full with about twenty people at various tables and booths. A few tables away, a mother was having trouble with her child. Tess heard the mother say, “I’m fixing to show you what a whooping is all about!” When the little boy whined some more the mother added, “I mean it son, right now, I’d just as soon whoop you as hug you.” She looked up to see Tess watching them and said, “I’ll swan—raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken.”

Tess laughed. “I know what you mean. But you just wait. In ten years time, you’ll be wishing he were five again. The time goes by so fast.”
"How many you got?”

"Just one. My son's twenty-five now, but it doesn't seem possible."

"You married?” the woman asked boldly.

"Divorced," Tess answered.

“Here’s your Co’cola, hon,” Willa Jean said. “It’ll be just a minute more on the sandwich. You visiting or are you new in town?” She propped a hand on her waist.

“Brand new as of a week ago. I've been unpacking boxes for days. I guess you could say this is my debut in Goose Pimple Junction.”

“Well, all Southern Belles have to have a debut. And we're mighty glad to have you, sugar. Lessee...did you buy the old Hobb house on Walnut?”

“My house is on Walnut, but I believe the previous owner’s name was York.”

“Yep, that’s the one I’m thinking of. Houses ‘roundcheer are known for the families that lived in them the longest. Them Hobbs had the house for over seventy years, up until old Maye Hobb Carter died a few years back. It was her late husband's family home and then hers, even when she remarried. She was a sweet old soul, bless her heart. We all hated to lose her, but it was her time. She had a hard life, and I reckon she was ready to meet her maker. Her daughter still lives in town, but she and an older sister are all that’s left of the Hobbs ‘round here. Mmm-mmm—the things that family went through.”

“Willa!” the cook behind the counter yelled. “Order up!”

“Hold your pants on, Slick,” she yelled and then turned to Tess. “Be right back.” Willa hurried off to get the order and came bustling back with Tess’s sandwich. “It was nice talking with you, hon. I’ll leave you to eat in peace. Holler if you need anything else.”

A few minutes later the door to the diner opened, and almost every head turned to see who came in. Tess noticed everybody, except for her, raised a hand up in greeting, and a few said, “Hidee, Jackson.” The man’s eyes caught Tess’s and held them a little longer than normal. He sat down at the counter with his back to her and ordered iced tea. Willa waited on him, and Tess heard her say, “You don’t need ta be any sweeter than ya already are, Jackson. I’ma give you unsweetened tea.” She leaned across the counter looking up at him adoringly.

“Don’t you dare Willa Jean or I will take my bidness elsewhere!” he said with a big smile.

Big flirt, Tess thought.

He was a good-looking man who looked to be in his early to mid-fifties, Tess guessed, but she wasn’t in the market. Being newly divorced, the last thing she needed was to get involved with another man.

As far as I'm concerned, they're all Martians and are to be avoided at all cost. Men Are From Mars, And Women Are From Venus wasn’t a best seller for nothing, she thought.

The door to the diner opened and a middle-aged man of medium height, dressed in a conservative suit and tie stuck his head in. “Vote for Henry Clay Price for governor, folks,” he said, with a wide politician’s smile.

“You know it, Henry Clay. You’re our man. We’re proud as punch to have you running,” Willa Jean said.

Other than the smile, Henry Clay didn’t look like a politician. He had thinning auburn hair that was almost brown, and he wore round wire-rimmed eyeglasses on a round face. He reminded Tess a little of an absentminded professor.

“You gonna let out all the bought air?” Slick grumped, and Henry Clay waved and closed the door, then ambled on down the sidewalk.

Tess finished eating and walked to the counter to pay her bill. Willa gave her change and said, “Nice meeting you, hon. Don’t be a stranger, now!”

As she closed the door she heard one of the men at the counter tell the other, “You're so slow, it would take you two hours to watch 60 minutes!”

“I love this town," she whispered to herself.

Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 2

299 pages

Pimple Junction is just recovering from a kidnapping and a murder,
its first major crimes in years, when trouble begins anew. Life is
turned upside down in the quirky little southern town with the
arrival of several shifty hooligans: A philandering husband intent on
getting his wife back, another murderer loose in town, a stalker
intent on frightening Martha Maye, and a thief who’s stealing the
town blind of their pumpkins, pies, and peace. Together, they’re
scaring the living daylights out of the residents and keeping the new
police chief busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic.
Suddenly, he has his hands full trying to apprehend a killer, stop a
stalker, and fight his feelings for the damsel in distress.

Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 3

127 pages

is not your average Southern town. With a hint of mystery and a lot
of laughs, you'll catch a glimpse of everyday life in Goose Pimple
Junction in this short story compilation. Five short stories, one
novella, and three recipes will give you more of the unique charm of
Goose Pimple Junction, make you laugh, and have your mouth watering.
If you want a feel-good read, you've come to the right place. Grab
some sweet tea and escape to Goose Pimple Junction.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 4

246 pages

Southern belle Caledonia Culpepper and hit woman in training Wynona
Baxter come up against crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenage
hoodlum . . . it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you
look in Goose Pimple Junction. When their paths cross, they prove
there isn't a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama
always said there'd be days like this . . .

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She
is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not
writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Pinterest, Amy can usually
be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass
of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky and
loves a good Southern phrase.

the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Friday, January 26, 2018


River Queen Rose
In Old California #1

Shirley Kennedy

The ramshackle River Queen Hotel is home to vagabonds, gamblers, and
heathens—and now, to new widow Rose Peterson. The rundown Gold Rush
establishment is the only thing her late husband, Emmet, left her.
Despite its raucous saloon and ladies of the evening, Rose can see
the hotel’s potential. Her late husband’s family claim that
sheltered Rose isn’t capable of running the Sacramento inn herself.
But she is determined to make a new life for herself and her young
daughter, even if it means flying in the face of custom and
propriety. She feels as if she hasn’t a friend in the world.

Except, perhaps, one. Decatur “Deke” Fleming, a tall, lanky Australian
who once served as Emmet’s farmhand. Pride prevents Deke from
revealing his moneyed past; conscience keeps him from confessing his
feelings for the still grieving widow. But when Rose is tempted by
wealthy civic leader and hotel owner Mason Talbot, Deke may be the
only person who can save her—and the one man capable of reviving
her bruised and battered heart . . .

Shirley Kennedy was born and
raised in Fresno, California. In her early career as an author,
Shirley wrote traditional Regency romances, one for Ballantine, the
rest for Signet. Later on, she branched into other genres. She lives
in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her older daughter, Dianne, and Brutus and
Sparky, her two editorial assistants who love to nap in the sunshine
next to her computer while she works on her next book.

Enchanting Ophelia

The Muses’ Salon Series #3.5

Rachael Miles

Nothing is more romantic than being a newlywed during the holidays! And
nothing is more festive than making Christmas plans with one’s
beloved. But as Lady Ophelia is about to discover, even the best laid
plans can go awry. And as she knows very well, when it comes to
matters of the heart, that is sometimes the greatest gift of all.
True love, after all, can be full of surprises . . .

Fans of Jo Beverly and Mary Jo Putney as well as all readers who value
Regency-set romances that are expertly grounded in the era’s
history will be delighted to discover the latest in Miles’
impeccably researched and beautifully crafted Muses’ Salon series!”
Rachael Miles’ knowledge of the time period she writes about adds a depth
of authenticity that enriches every page.” --Jodi Thomas, New
York Times 
bestselling author

Rachael Miles has always loved a
good romance, especially one with a bit of suspense and preferably a
ghost. She is also a professor of book history and nineteenth-century
literature whose students frequently find themselves reading the
novels of Ann Radcliffe and other gothic tales. Rachael lives in her
home state of Texas with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs,
and an ancient cat.

Forbidden Desire
Pirate’s Prize #3
Tina Donahue

In paradise, the only limits to passion lie in your imagination…

After a life filled with hardship, landing on a lush tropical isle is
heaven on earth for mariner Heath Garrison. And it comes complete
with two angels who bring out the very devil in him. Identical twins
Netta and Aimee are guileless and seductive, living and loving
without jealousy. Days of longing, nights of carnal bliss make
choosing one over the other seem impossible, but hungering for both
sisters is taboo.
Aimee and Netta’s devotion to each other helped them survive the vicious
pirates who overran their home. Will a virile Englishman come between
them now? When their enemies return, determined to vanquish the
islanders for good, Heath races to save them along with his
countrymen. But survival will bring a choice—between the life Heath
has known, and a love that changes all their destinies…

Tina Donahue is an Amazon and
international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal,
contemporary, and historical romance for traditional publishers and
Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times and
numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic
novels (
Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked
) were Readers' Choice Award winners. Another three of her 

erotic novels (Adored; Deep, Dark, Delicious; Lush Velvet Nights)
were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition.
, her erotic romance, was chosen Book of the Year 2010 

(erotic category) at the French review site, Blue Moon reviews. 
The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books
was to created specifically for her erotic romance 
Lush Velvet Nights. 

Deep, Dark, Delicious received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion 
competition. Take Me Away captured second place in the 
NEC-RWA contest. And The Yearning was honored with an
Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. She’s
featured in the 2012 
Novel and Writer’s Market. Before penning
romances, she worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Women’s Fiction
Date Published:  May 2017

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

On Sale for $1.99 for a Limited Time!!

SAVING MADELINE is unusual, heart-wrenching and humorous. In the beginning, Roxy, a spunky, young actor arrives in Hollywood to follow her dream and escape from her mean-spirited family. When she finds herself coexisting in a cramped Los Angeles apartment with a wounded warrior and her German shepherd, tensions run high. And then her mother moves in—so much for escaping.

Along comes the well-connected acting coach, James Jonathan Jarvis, and Roxy’s big break in showbiz: a part in a reality TV show with a wilderness survival theme. But a week before rehearsals begin, her mother disappears. Roxy’s search leads her close to Montana where she and Madeline become trapped in a real life-and-death situation.

Though bombarded with daily challenges, the women laugh at their frequent calamities, and Roxy’s Hollywood misadventures buffer the troubling glimpses into the world of a woman whose memory is fading.


A short excerpt from the section

Guests Come Knocking

In Saving Madeline

Then Roxy contemplated doing something she’d sworn she would never, ever do. Don’t do it. Do Not Do This! Her palms sweated, her stomached rolled, then taking a deep breath, she did it. She opened the Help Wanted section of a regular newspaper and searched for an ordinary, though flexible, part-time job—just like normal, non-showbiz people did. To her surprise, she spotted two possibilities right away. One involved helping first-year college students revise and edit their failing work from the required course, Writing 101. Piece of cake. She could do that in her sleep. The other required someone capable of assisting a high school aged male with his guitar playing and songwriting.

“Ah, ha!” she declared. Now that was a tasty piece of cake. She wanted that job. Without any hesitation, Roxy made the call, which resulted in an on-the-spot phone interview with a pleasant, friendly woman.

“There is just one more question I must ask,” the woman said after they’d spoken a while. “And I’d like to offer my apology in advance for asking it.”

Roxy waited, curious.

“My son has a thing for starlets, and starlets seem to have a thing for him. Do you consider yourself a starlet?”

Not certain of the meaning or motive of her question, Roxy replied, “What’s a starlet?”

Genuine, hearty laughter traveled across the phone line, followed by, “Perfect. You’re perfect. When can you start?”

* * *

“Hi. You must be Liam,” she said. “Come on in. Can I get you something to drink before we get started?”

“Thanks, man. A beer would be great.”

He was a good-looking young man with short dark hair and eyes to match. She figured he was kidding about the beer because he definitely wasn’t old enough to drink. He was still in high school. So she smiled and played along.

“One beer coming up—right after I check your ID.”

He shot her a look of annoyance. “Are you messing with me?”

“No, but I thought you were joking. You weren’t?”

“Hell, no. Come on. Everybody drinks beer.”

“Well, I don’t.”

“Not a problem. Wine, whiskey—I’m not picky.”

The content of this first conversation with her arrogant new student was unbelievable. Was this typical behavior for an L.A. teen, or was she just being a mid-western geek?

She brought him a can of soda and asked him to play something. He didn’t react. She nudged, needing to make this small job a continuing reality. “How long have you been playing guitar?”

He shrugged, reluctant to answer her simple question, so she asked again.

He sipped his soda, looking both bored and annoyed. It was as if he didn’t want to be there, but then with a tilt of his head and one eyebrow slightly raised, he tossed out an answer. “Since I was a kid.”

In her estimation, he still was a kid, albeit an alcohol drinking kid. When he finally freed the Martin guitar from its case and played a few bars, Roxy was blown away. As badly as she needed the cash, she let him know that she wasn’t the right person to advance his guitar playing ability. Between the two of them, he was by far the better musician. His musical talent was amazing.

“That’s okay,” he assured her. “I’m more interested in breaking into show business than I am in upping my guitar skills.”

For now, Roxy kept her thoughts to herself. She could relate to his dream, but she wasn’t the person to help him with that, either. She had no connections, no ‘ins’ when it came to breaking the showbiz code.

She crossed her arms and tilted her head. “So you’re here expecting me to help you break into show business via your songwriting ability?”

“Not exactly.” He gave her a lopsided smile. She gave him a confused frown. “I’m here because my parents are trying to keep me out of trouble. They’ve lined up a bunch of activities to keep me busy. You’re just one of them.” An amused expression flashed across his face. “Hey, since I am here, what do you think of this?” He played a new riff on his guitar. “Are you any good with lyrics? Help me come up with some words to go with that.”

His unique musical style intrigued Roxy. She dug out a notebook and pencil and settled on the floor in front of him. The words and music came together with surprising ease. Or so it seemed. They both agreed they were on to something great and had the beginnings of a real song.

With their first session over, Roxy asked, “Same time next week?”

Placing a few folded bills into her palm, he shrugged. “Sure.”

After her student had managed to shove the ill-fitting door closed, she stood in her living room with her ears ringing from the sudden silence. After spending time creating and playing music with Liam, the apartment felt empty, lonely.  She didn’t like that feeling, but she did like the fact that she held $30 cash in her hand. Cash she had earned.

Expecting to see a twenty and a ten, she sat and stared at the money. The two faces staring back at her belonged to neither Alexander Hamilton nor Andrew Jackson. She stood face-to-face with Ulysses S. Grant times two. One hundred dollars. Was this a mistake? Should she be elated or concerned? Until Roxy learned the truth, she’d consider the extra $70 to be a gift, a bonus for a job well done.

# # #

About the Author

Cricket Rohman grew up in Estes Park, Colorado and spent her formative years among deer, coyotes and beautiful blue columbine. Today she is a full-time author writing women’s fiction and mysteries about the cowboys, lovers, teachers, dogs, the great outdoors—even Alzheimer’s. And, so far, there is a dog in every one of her novels.

Book 1 FOREVER ISLAND and Book 2 WINTER’S BLUSH of The Fantasy Maker series, romance novellas, were released November 2017.

The romantic western, COLORADO TAKEDOWN, is scheduled for release early summer of 2018.

Prior to writing, Cricket's career path included the following adventures: actor, singer, audio/video producer, classroom teacher, school principal, and U of A assistant professor.

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