Monday, May 30, 2022

A Room In Blake's Folly by J. Arlene Culiner



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A Room in Blake's Folly

by J. Arlene Culiner

Genre: Western Historical & Contemporary Romance Saga  

If only the walls could speak…
In one hundred and fifty years, Blake’s Folly, a silver boomtown notorious for its brothels, scarlet ladies, silver barons, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town. Although the old Mizpah Saloon is still in business, its upper floor is sheathed in dust. But in a room at a long corridor's end, an adventurer, a beautiful dance girl, and a rejected wife were once caught in a love triangle, and their secret has touched three generations.

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“You a widow?”

“No.” She could hear the tightness in her voice and feel the tension in her shoulders.

His eyes glinted. “A runaway wife.”

“Not that either.” Did she have to say more? She didn’t. But since people were bound to be asking that same question over and over, she might as well get used to it, even though the answer was only partially true. Even though it could never express what her life had been like up until now. “I left of my own accord, but with my husband’s full agreement. He’ll be looking into getting a divorce.”

“And your children?”

Ah, there it was. The big question, the one thing everyone would be curious about. “No children. I’ve never had any.”

He said nothing. Had he heard the note of anger in her voice? She’d done her best to sound neutral, but neutrality wasn’t an easy note to hit. How vividly she remembered the first time she’d caught sight of her future husband, Sam Graham, waiting with a little knot of men by a shanty train station in the middle of nowhere. He and the others had been eager to grab a sight of their brides-to-be, women lured west by the promise of marriage, land, and a home. How had the other women fared? Had they been as discouraged as she at the sight of the vast lonely wasteland, the emptiness, the bleached-out colors, and the coarse men who would be their lifetime partners? Men honed by the elements, a hard life. And rough alcohol.

Westley Cranston stood, walked in her direction—no, walk wasn’t the word she could use. He sauntered, a slow, elegant saunter. A man sure of himself, of his power to seduce. Yes, that was why she’d felt so wary yesterday. He stopped when he was standing beside her. Smiled. No, there was nothing seductive in his smile. She’d been wrong. What had she been imagining? That she was still the young attractive woman she’d been years ago? What a fool she was.

He touched the top of the piano with a gesture that was almost a caress. “Don’t worry. You’ll do well. The boys you’ll be playing with are good musicians, nice guys, too. They play at all the dances in town, and they’ll teach you the sort of pieces folks out here are used to hearing.”

“Thank you.”

His eyebrows rose. “For what?”

“For being so kind.”

“Kind?” He guffawed. “It’s not kindness. I’m fighting for survival. High time we got a good piano player in this place. Bob, before he let that stray bullet hit him, knew how to slap at the keys, all right, but he didn’t know the first thing about keeping time. I’ll bet pretty well all the customers were happy to see him taken out of the running.” Grinning, he moved away in that casual easy way of his, headed toward the front

door. Then stopped, looked back, his eyes twinkling. “But they couldn’t do that, not legally, anyway. One of the rules here in town forbids shooting pistols in a barroom.”

She grinned back at him. “Sounds like a pretty good rule to me. And what are the other rules, if you don’t mind me asking. If there are any others, that is…”

“Sure there are. Need plenty of rules in boomtowns, especially after payday. The other ones are, you can’t insult a woman, you can’t ride a pony or horse on the wooden sidewalks, and you can’t ride them inside this establishment or any other business in town.” He was chuckling again when he turned the lock, stepped out into the street, and disappeared.

Hattie remained seated at the piano. Her anguish had totally vanished. Amazing, how he had put her at ease. He hadn’t judged her, hadn’t looked at her with disgust when she’d told him some of her story, hadn’t condemned her for feeling unsure about her piano playing. She wondered why she’d felt so mistrustful. He had behaved like a perfect gentleman—and a friend.

Then another thought struck her. What had he been doing here in the Mizpah so early in the morning? Had he slept here? Obviously he had. Hadn’t he just let himself out? And that meant he had probably spent the night with one of the ladies upstairs. That he was a client.

Disappointment washed over her. She couldn’t condemn him—men had needs, desires. Why was she so saddened by the thought?

Writer, storyteller, photographer, and social critical artist, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

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Friday, May 27, 2022


 By Caroline Clemmons

One of the interesting things an author can do is become part of a multi-author project (MAP). I’ve done this numerous times in series like Widows of Wildcat Ridge, the Pinkertons, several mail-order bride series, and Deborah Holland’s Kindle World (which became my Loving A Rancher series when Amazon deleted Kindle World). Now, I’m a member of the Love Train series. I continue to do my own books, too, of course.

Being part of a MAP does two things. First, the author gets to work with new authors or becomes better acquainted with others with whom she or he has worked previously. Second, the fans of each author in the series are introduced to each author and, hopefully, each author acquire new readers. Each book in the MAP is a stand-alone story, but must stay in the parameters set by the series creator. A private group on Facebook is set up so that authors can exchange ideas and insure that the authors haven’t come up with the same plot.

The Love Train series was conceived by Charlene Raddon with Pam Crooks’ help. As mentioned previously, Charlene did the cover for each book as Silver Sage Cover Designs. Working with Charlene and Pam is always a joy! Everything is organized from the start. Each of the books is sweet, a historical western romance.

Henry, the matchmaker

As I mentioned last week, there are two continuing characters in the Love Train series. Henry Manners is the friendly conductor of the Union Pacific 1216. He’s widowed, is around sixty, and loves to play matchmaker to passengers. Willie is the baggage handler. He’s muscular, with rust-colored hair that usually falls on his forehead. Although he is an orphan of around forty, he has the mentality of a child. He has no real home other than the baggage car. His main companion is a small dog he adopted, Scruffy. Even though dogs are against the rules, Henry doesn’t have the heart to forbid Willie his beloved companion. I learned the mane of the train is the number on the engine.

Willie's adorable dog, Scruffy


The Love Train books are released on the first and the fifteenth of each month. Here are the books:

Books in the Love Train Series


Book 1  ~ Pam Crooks ~ April 1


Book 2  ~ Shanna Hatfield ~ April 15


Book 3  ~ Margaret Tanner ~ May 1

Lula Mae

Book 4  ~ Charlene Raddon ~ May 15


Book 5  ~ Caroline Clemmons ~ June 1


Book 6  ~ Heather Blanton ~ June 15


Book 7  ~ Kit Morgan ~ July 1


Book 8  ~ Jo-Ann Roberts ~ July 15


Book 9 ~ Winnie Griggs ~ August 1


Book 10  ~ Linda Broday ~ August 15


The Love Train Series contains several of my favorite authors. I hope you’ll read each book in the series. The ten books can be found on the Love Train Series page on Amazon:

Thank you, Heroes and Heroines!


I can’t sign off without mentioning all those who serve or have served to defend our country, two minister to the wounded, and to care for their families. Thank you for your service! Thank you for putting your life on hold and on the line so that we can enjoy our freedom. You are heroes!

In the meantime, keep reading and stay safe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Overture by Claire Davon



Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post.


Lyrical Interludes Book 2

by Claire Davon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Ally Wilson should have been a slam dunk for VP until transplanted marketing executive Dirk Roberts takes what's rightfully hers. A dubious reputation dogs Dirk, and her boss wants her to keep an eye on him. One look from Dirk's searing sensual gaze and her world shifts.

Dirk never intended to be in Los Angeles, but a shattered reputation forced him to take desperate measures. He wants to repair his name and get out of the sprawling city. Ally's haunting curves and undeniable appeal won't change that, much as he yearns for her.

Their coming together is inevitable, as is the waiting disaster if their relationship becomes known. Can two damaged souls find happiness—or will their pasts destroy them?

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Roscoe’s House of Chicken N’ Waffles was a restaurant on Gower Street in the heart of Hollywood, just north of Sunset. The needle on top of the Capitol Records building could be glimpsed through buildings in the distance. The Sunset Gower studios with their art deco lettering were just down the street. The Hollywood Hills loomed behind them, if a person faced north. 

The restaurant itself had a simple, brown-painted front and a sign with a picture of a dancing chicken overhead. Haphazard graffiti marred some of the storefronts, and trash bounced along the edges of the street. Muted winter sunshine cast a golden glow across the streets and buildings. 

Roscoe’s boasted down-home Southern fare, consisting of fried chicken with sides such as grits, macaroni and cheese, as well as their famous waffles. The restaurant was crowded at lunchtime with an eclectic mix of clientele, from tourists to local businesspeople. 

The restaurant was a study in two separate parts. One was the original side, and one was a larger addition. The older side was cozy with a raised step after they entered. Plain brown tables and wooden chairs with curving open backs were wedged close. 

The table that Dirk and Ally sat at was next to a wall with slanted, dark wood paneling. Artwork and photos were strewn across the walls. 

Dirk had to adjust his legs so they were splayed out on either side of Ally when they were seated. He was like an adult on a kid-sized bike. 

The smell of fried chicken mixed with less identifiable odors permeated the air. “It’s probably not authentic,” she said, “but I hope you like it.” It shouldn’t matter, yet it did. Damn it. 

He rewarded her with a smile that sent a bolt of sensation through her spine. 

“I am sure I will. Thank you. Fried chicken and grits are just what a Southern boy needs to feel at home.” 

He opened his mouth to say something to her, then went so still he could have been carved of stone. Following his gaze, she saw a man a few years older than Dirk, with the same slightly weathered skin of outdoor living. A brown Stetson was on his head, with jeans and a denim shirt completing the outfit. The glare he was giving Dirk was so malevolent she shivered. He was standing with a group by a curio cabinet studded with Roscoe’s souvenirs at the front of the restaurant. One of the people she recognized as Ryder Bingham, an artist whose album had recently been certified platinum. 

She turned back to Dirk. His lips had flattened to a thin line, and harsh grooves cut next to his eyes and down his face before they disappeared under the goatee. 

“Heard you landed at Shatter Sound,” the shorter man said, his arms folded and his face in profile to Ally. He was a short man, maybe her height at best, with thick brown hair shot with gray and a close-cropped beard. He also had a drawl that was different somehow than Dirk’s but clearly Southern. “Should have done the smart thing and stayed away.” The dim light from the window touched his shoulders, matching the sliver that landed across Dirk’s chest. 

“You should know, Marlon,” Dirk said, his voice cold, body rigid, his hands clasping and unclasping on the table. “I never did learn my lessons easy.” He focused on her. “Marlon works at Earthy Cry Records. Marlon, Alanna Wilson.” 

“Ma’am.” Marlon lifted his hat. “You’re at his new the label. Watch this boy like a hawk, or he’ll take you too.” 

**Don't miss the first standalone book in the series!**


Lyrical Interludes Book 1

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Claire can’t remember a time when writing wasn’t part of her life. Growing up, she used to write stories with her friends. As a teenager she started out reading fantasy and science fiction, but her diet quickly changed to romance and happily-ever-after’s. A native of Massachusetts and cold weather, she left all that behind to move to the sun and fun of California, but has always lived no more than twenty miles from the ocean.

In college she studied acting with a minor in creative writing. In hindsight she should have flipped course studies. Before she was published, she sold books on eBay and discovered some of her favorite authors by sampling the goods, which was the perfect solution. Claire has many book-irons in the fire, most notably her urban fantasy series, The Elementals’ Challenge series, but writes contemporary and shifter romances as well as.

While she’s not a movie mogul or actor, she does work in the film industry with her office firmly situated in the 90210 district of Hollywood. Prone to break out into song, she is quick on feet and just as quick with snappy dialogue. In addition to writing she does animal rescue, reads, and goes to movies. She loves to hear from fans, so feel free to drop her a line.

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Monday, May 23, 2022

The Mayor's Baby Surprise by Anna J. Stewart



Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post.

The Mayor's Baby Surprise

Butterfly Harbor Stories Book 12

by Anna J. Stewart

Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance 

Could a surprise baby

Lead to a forever family?

Ineffective, shortsighted and self-centered—that’s what top family lawyer Leah Ellis thinks of Gil Hamilton. And that’s why she’s vying for his position as mayor of Butterfly Harbor. But when a six-month-old baby is left on Gil’s doorstep, he turns to her for help. Gil’s dedication to baby Eli shows Leah she was wrong about her rival. But can he win her vote for a future together?

USA TODAY Bestselling Author

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A geek at heart, USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes "refreshingly unique, quietly humorous, and profoundly moving romance." (RT Book Reviews) Her books include The Butterfly Harbor series for Harlequin Heartwarming, along with the Blackwell continuity series. She also writes the Honor Bound series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and has written in the ongoing Colton family saga. As her first love is paranormal romance, she's published a number of novellas, including the Tome Wardens trilogy collection. EXPOSED, her first book of The Circle of the Red Lily romantic suspense series with CAEZIK Romance will be released in November of 2022. Readers can get a taste for what's to come with her Nemesis Files Trilogy (light romantic suspense), available on audio through Scribd.

NYTimes bestselling author Brenda Novak says "The talented Anna J Stewart delivers every time!"

Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Jason Momoa addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates two devious cats named Sherlock and Rosie.

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Friday, May 20, 2022


By Caroline Clemmons

In the past, I’ve worked with Charlene Raddon and Pam Crooks on several multi-author projects (MAPs). Each experience has been pleasant and rewarding. They definitely know how to  organize and execute a MAP series. That’s why, when I had the opportunity to sign up for a slot on the Love Train Series, I quickly accepted. Now I’m pleased to announce that Charlene Raddon’s book, LULA MAE, Book 4 of the Love Train Series, became available on May 15th.

Charlene is one of my favorite people. I enjoy reading her books as well as working with her. Each of her books has a unique plot. In addition to being an author, she is the creator at Silver Sage Cover Designs. She designed each of the covers for the Love Train Series books. In the books, either the heroine or hero or both have a secret.

Here’s the description for LULA MAE:

Lula Mae Rivers must get to Cheyenne, Wyoming to get her niece, but a robbery left her broke. Dressed as a boy who calls herself Lou, she stows away in the baggage car of a train headed that way.

Unluckily, she's discovered. U.S. Marshal Gannon Calloway lets Lou stay aboard. He's expecting a robbery and, and an expert with a whip, Lou can help. Then Gannon learns that a killer he put in prison has escaped and is headed to Cheyenne seeking to kill a female witness he blames for his conviction.

What will Gannon do when he finds out the boy Lou is a beautiful woman, and the witness the convict wants dead? Can they work together to catch him?

And maybe learn along the way that love can come despite one's best intentions?

The buy link is  LULA MAE is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

Each book in the series is stand alone. There are two continuing secondary characters:

Henry Manning is the conductor on the Union Pacific 1216. Henry is a cheerful, kind widower who loves to play matchmaker with the passengers he meets. He’s around 60, with white hair and a beard. You’ll see Henry’s picture on each of the Love Train covers.

Willie is the baggage handler who lives in the baggage car. He’s an orphan of around 40 who is a large, healthy man with the mind of a child. Willie is also cheerful and friendly. He has a dog named Scruffy, even though he’s not supposed to have one in the baggage car.

Don’t forget that on June 1st, my Love Train Series Book 5, SAMANTHA, will be released. You can preorder it at

Have you missed any of the series? Pam Crooks introduced the series with an outstanding book, CHRISTIANA. Check out that book and others on the Love Train Series Page

Keep reading and stay safe! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Catch Me If You Can by Carole Brown

By Carole Brown



The big cat sat on the oversized rock, ears pointed toward the sky, every muscle taut, every sense at the ready. 


“S-s-shut up and f-f-forget it. You've s-seen nothing and know nothing. I won't warn you again. G-g-got it?” 


The cat's head swiveled, his ears twitching as if catching the hint of threat in the whisper. A soft hiss slid from his open mouth and reinforced the overtone of evil pressing in upon the scene. Within hours, lies and dark secrets are slithering all over the campground. 


Coaxed into finding the animal killer at Jamieson's Outfitters, Tara Layne, with her sidekick, Boet, is welcomed by a threatening whisper and the unfriendly eyes of a rugged and devastatingly handsome manager. Wesley Clarke, both interesting and frustrating, holds an attraction for Tara that is both primitive and exasperating.  


Intermingled with her search, Tara deals with her own heartbreaking buried secrets. When a strange old Native American probes into the recesses of her heart, he encourages her to face her bitter feelings.  


As Tara closes in on her search, she finds herself—and Boet—the target of someone who's determined to outrun and outsmart her. Someone determined not to get caught. 


His theme:   

Fun as fast as you can, you can't catch me. 

The question:  

Can Tara run fast enough to catch this real live Gingerbread boy  

before he decides to get rid of her and Boet?  


Buy Link:   Amazon 




As he finished, his attention zeroed in on Tara. In slow motion, he popped whatever he’d been fiddling with, into his mouth. An instant later, he excused himself. His strides were purposeful as he headed toward her.  


Tara’s pulse quickened in unexpected excitement. An aura of the primitive, wild and dangerous, surrounded him, and Tara felt her spirit leap in answer. She sucked in her breath. Her throat closed.  


Stark dislike radiated from dark blue eyes that were the best feature on his craggy face. Why would she evoke that kind of emotion from someone she’d never seen before? The shock sent her nerves quivering in response.  


The need to control the situation, to halt whatever he would say, nudged her subconscious. Tara thrust out her hand in a blind rush. “I’m Tara Layne. Brian sent me.”  


The man never so much as flicked a glance at her extended hand. His gaze remained on her eyes.  


This is what a butterfly pinned to a collector’s board feels like. Tara visualized the man as a scientist with thick glasses, bent over his vast specimens, wild white hair on end. She shifted, a nervous ripple of laughter coursing through her veins.  


“I know who you are. Just want you to know from the beginning I’m against your being here. It’s a waste of money.”  


The man topped her by at least six or eight inches. He hadn’t looked this tall standing across the yard.  


She frowned and tilted her head. She hated the disadvantage of looking up at an opponent. Her grandfather had always told her the best action was knowing you were right before proceeding. She raised her chin a trifle more. “You think you can solve these incidents on your own?”  


“If we can’t, the agent can.”  


Tara narrowed her eyes. Why did she get the feeling he was being deliberately perverse? “But Brian…”  


“Brian never accepts advice. When a pretty girl is involved, he’s blind as a mole.”  


“That’s too bad, Mr…?” Tara swallowed the retort she wanted to make.  


“Wesley Clarke, manager.”  


“You’ve had six weeks to discover who’s behind these ghastly killings, and yet you know nothing. I assume Brian must have wanted someone with a little more experience in detecting to help him out here.”  


Rattlebones. What a pompous speech. But then, perverse people had that effect on her British ancestry. Tara bit the inside of her jaw.  


“Done any cases like this? The wilderness is not always a friendly place.” His eyes narrowed. He folded his arms across his chest.  


“I can handle it.” Tara hoped her color didn’t betray her. There was no way she would confess her earlier panic to this stern know-it-all. “Is my cabin ready?”  


His only answer was a quick nod.  


“I’d like to see where the bear was killed and the other scenes where the killings occurred.”  


“You won’t find much where the swan was found, or the antelope. It’s been too long. As far as the bear…” He shrugged. “It’s a big animal. Sometimes other animals leave them alone; some times not.”  


“I understand. But I like to walk around the area where a killing took place.” He didn’t need to know about her acute sense at the scenes of death. Or about Boet’s instincts. “Can you escort me, or do you want someone else to?”  


“I’ll do it. Give me an hour.”  


“Fine.” Tara turned away and then swung back. “Oh, and over the next few days, I’ll want to talk with all your employees and volunteers. Can you arrange that?”  


Wesley paused, the hesitation and desire to refuse, blatant in his eyes and manner. Then, with notable reluctance, he gave a gruff nod.  


“Brian said he had two guides.” Tara flicked a glance back at Wesley. He stared around the office grounds, fingers combing his sun-streaked hair. Her gaze lingered on that windtossed hair…She jerked her eyes away and forced her thoughts back to the case. Everything looked normal. Everyone looked busy. Was this man, this tough, good-looking manager, the killer? Was he the one whispering threats?  


“Philip Jordon.” He nodded at Blond Giant. “He’s a senior at our local Montana University branch. Studies business and forestry. Jill Longhorn’s not formally trained but well experienced. Knowledgeable of the area. Grew up here.”  


Tara nodded and started again for the office building.  


“I did my homework, you know. You’ve never handled a case in the high country before.” The words followed her and nipped at her heels. She was getting a little tired of being reminded of her inexperience. “You’ll only be a complication.”  


The overpowering sense of danger hovered again, a cloying presence. Tara turned to face him. His unflinching eyes challenged her, daring her to reply, but what could she say to make him accept her?  


Nothing. He wasn’t about to change his mind right now. Maybe never. So be it. She would tread easy for now. After all, she had no personal antagonism against him. Tara softened her voice. “Maybe. Maybe not. I’m here just the same. I’ll be glad for your help if you’ll give it.”  


Wesley scowled, but said nothing.  




She moved on. Familiar prickles rose on the back of her neck, but she refused to rub at them. Someone stared at her. Was it Wesley watching her walk to the office? Tara climbed the steps, gripped the doorknob, but stood there, resisting the temptation to turn around. If it was Wesley, she didn’t want him to know she suspected he was watching. So forget him. Forget his dislike of my presence here. Forget  

Wesley Clarke and his reason for studying her. Just open the door and walk in. Remember Lot’s wife.  


With the slowness of a land turtle, Tara glanced over her shoulder. The shivers escalated their climb up her spine. A nervous smile widened her mouth. Wesley stood where she’d left him, a perfect specimen of a casual western guide. Only he wasn’t emitting friendly and inviting vibes. Those unwelcoming eyes, hard and calculating, grilled her again. 




Author Bio: 


Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of thirteen, best selling, award-winniing books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. She has found that the traveling and ministering has served her well in writing her novels. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?  



Amazon Author Page: