Monday, January 21, 2019

New Release and Free Webinar: The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Hi everyone! Today's an exciting day because I've been helping Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers keep a BIG secret: what the next book in their thesaurus series will be.

It might seem strange for an author to not tell their readers about the book they plan to release...unless your names are Becca and Angela. They are known for writing books on showing, not telling, and couldn't pass up a chance to do just that by waiting for the cover reveal, which is today!

So without further ado, I give you...

You might have heard of The Emotion Thesaurus before, or even have a copy. The original released in 2012 and quickly became the go-to guide on expressing character emotion. The book's lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 unique emotions made brainstorming character expressions and reactions so much easier.

In this second edition, the authors have added 55 entries, bringing the total to 130 emotions.

That's not all, either. This book is almost double in size with lots of new content. You can find a full write up for it HERE and a list of all the entries (plus some samples!) HERE.

Plus, this book is available for preorder! You can find it right now on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and Indiebound.

One last thing I wanted to mention...

Angela & Becca are giving away a free webinar recording of one of their popular workshops on Emotion, so head over if this is an area of struggle for you. It might really help!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Jan 21

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Today we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. If you are looking for ways you can serve your community, check out the MLK Day of Service website.

Leading up to today, we had our first major storm of the winter. No church and no work, since the mixture of snow and sleet made the roads a bit treacherous. I made cornbread and white bread to go with the turkey chili I made on Saturday, so that supper would be easy because I was finally taking down the Christmas decorations. All that is left is the upstairs Christmas tree and the lights off the family room tree. Then things will be back to boring and normal around here.

I'm in the middle of the latest book by Jerome Charyn.

I also started this book since my review is coming up soon.

Next up is this one.

After that, I hope to tackle the rest of my first book and this great autobiography.

What is going on in your reading world?

Book Blast and Giveaway: Immortal Girl5 by Griffin Stark

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Griffin Stark will be awarding a copy of the book (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The year is 1095, Normandy, France. Five year old Skylar runs away into the woods to escape nuns who are convinced her inexplicable seizures are the work of satan. She survives after being adopted by wolves, when two mysterious strangers appear and reveal Skylar’s destiny to her. Skylar is the first of the Immortal Girls, destined to save humanity from itself.

Immortal Girl5 (January 22, 2019) follows Skylar, Rachel, Caitlin, Beth, and Bethany, five immortal sisters who, over the course of a thousand years, attempt to learn the purpose of their own existence while hunting down the worst criminals this world has ever seen. They’ve faced the likes of Jack the Ripper and the Nazis, but as a new enemy arises to threaten the sisters’ survival they’ll soon learn that immortality doesn’t mean forever.


“Wait! Now look, please, just let me explain!” he begged her, while shielding himself from the next imminent attack. Even if he’d had the desire to fight back—which he certainly did not—Luke wasn’t sure how easy it would be. After all, she’d survived more than a thousand years from what he’d been told. For being that old, this girl looked beyond amazing, with her blonde hair that fell into curls at the ends, angelic looks, and a flawless, pale complexion that held two stormy blue eyes of unusual intensity. Skylar seemed to accept Luke’s sincerity, at least for the moment, and slowly put her fist down by her side.

Watch the Immortal Girl5 book trailer on YouTube

Purchase a copy at Amazon!

GRIFFIN STARK is an American author who proudly lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Even as a young child, Griffin had an active imagination. As an author of young adult fiction, he has harnessed his creativity to tell memorable stories filled with important life lessons.

Griffin served as a combat medic in The United States Air Force and later founded THE SHEEPDOG MOVEMENT to join in the fight against bullying of teens worldwide.

Visit to learn more about Griffin and his YA fantasy novel, Immortal Girl5.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Shelf Control - Jan 16

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…
Have fun!

I honestly don't recall this Kindle freebie, but doesn't it have a pretty cover?


Angie Hunter left Hart's Crossing to go to college and never looked back. Working for a big city newspaper, she built a name for herself as an outstanding reporter. When Angie's widowed mother needs care following hip surgery, Angie is more than ready to hire a nurse rather than spend time in that antiquated little town. But when she is passed over for a promotion at the paper, an angry Angie heads home.

Little does she know that this homecoming is the start of some important, life-changing events. As she struggles to reconcile with her mother, Angie discovers that perhaps home is where the heart is after all.

DATE BOUGHT: 1/19/12 - Another one that has been on the device a long time. It had a different cover back then. I like this new one much better.

WHY I BOUGHT IT: I love stories about people who have left their little towns far behind and then are drawn--or pulled--back for some reason and realize how wonderful home really is.

Do you enjoy these types of stories?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Sometimes we have to take a step outside our comfort zone and read least favorite genres, new genres, or new authors. This week's Top Ten Tuesday is dedicated to new authors.

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Have you read anything by these authors? What authors were new to you in 2018? 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Guest Blogger: Avery Daniels, Author of Spiked

Julienne, a poisoned Private Investigator with her business card on his body, an MI5 agent taking a liking to her, and her heart on the line.

Julienne needs only three things: successfully pull off a last minute wedding relocated to her resort, work out things with her stubborn ex- boyfriend, and solve the murder of a private investigator found with her business card on his dead body. The wedding she can handle, but it comes with a flirtatious brother of the bride from Britain who manages to give Mason the idea she has moved on, and the dead PI was playing with fire before he was poisoned leaving a myriad of suspects. Two suspects are part of a scandal waiting to explode and nobody wants to be in the middle of the fallout.

Can Julienne wade through the various suspects while coordinating the wedding and dealing with a handsome amorous guest before her rival on the local paper exposes her connection and thus damages her and the resort's reputation? Will she and Mason find their way to each other?

Thoughts on Poisons Popularity in Mysteries

In my third Resort to Murder Mystery, Spiked, I delve into poison as a murder weapon. Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime, used poison as a weapon for over thirty murder victims in her novels. She used Strychnine in “The Mysterious Affair at Styles.” Cyanide was employed most often by Christie and appears in “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side,” “And Then There Were None,” “A Pocketful of Rye,” and “Sparkling Cyanide.” Arsenic was used in “4:50 From Paddington.” Christie also used thallium, taxine, coniine, bacillus anthracis, phosphorus, monkshood, belladonna, physostigmine, morphine, and even basic sleeping pills.

That isn’t even touching on the poisonous plants and flowers we often find in our gardens. Besides Poinsettias, there are a number of common plants and flowers that are deadly to animals and humans. This makes it convenient as a murder weapon besides adding an ominous edge to the everyday sight of such lovely flowers as Larkspur, Morning Glory, Lily of the Valley, Daffodil, Azalea, Hydrangea, and Oleander – all of which are toxic to animals and to some degree to people.

As murder weapons go, poison is for the cunning murderer. In my case I needed a weapon that would throw a timeline completely out the window. What better method than poison which allowed the deadly dose to be administered and then the killer secures an alibi for the actual time of death? Besides there being a wedding my main character is coordinating, with a plethora of flowers everywhere.

But there is the saying that I allow to be repeated in the book that women tend to use poison. What I found was that isn’t entirely or all together true today. Historically poisoning was pretty common and that fact caused kings to employ “tasters” to eat samples of their food to ensure it was safe for the ruler to consume. Even the Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death by hemlock for heresy. The Borgia family of the Middle Ages was notorious arsenic poisoners.

But today, men and women, statistically speaking, use guns primarily for murder. Poison is actually used in one-half of one percent of murders. In a Washington Post article that goes into the weapons that men and women use to kill, they state that women are only seven times more likely to use poison than men even with the overall low occurrences.

So why is it so popular in murder mysteries if not that popular in modern life? Because we often take for granted our food and drink (typically the method to slip a toxic dose) and poison throws tension into the rest of the book as people eye their own meals. Plus the timeline becomes sketchy for pinpointing a killer. And, it is often convenient to acquire without drawing attention, such as purchasing rat poison at a hardware store or picking some lovely plants from your garden, making it ideal for a mystery novel.

Pick up a copy of Spiked at...

Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Jan 14

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

It is Monday again. Time passes so quickly as you get older. It's been a bit of a tough week around here. We lost a neighbor and friend suddenly and unexpectedly. She was my age, which might be part of why it seems so hard for me to wrap my head around. It doesn't quite seem possible or real yet.

As such, I didn't get as much reading done as planned. I also seem to have overbooked myself for reviews this month. Is that always fun? Thankfully, I finished the first book I had to read early.

Duffy Brown never disappoints, so I knew this would be a great read. I also loved the larger font that was used for this one, which made it easy on the eyes too.

Then I started this one.

I also need to squeeze in these two.

Then finally this one for the month. No idea how this is all happening, but I'll figure it out. 

I'm also still trying to spend time with my first book of the year.

What are you reading right now? Did you finish your first book of the year yet?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Book Spotlight: The Military Wife by Laura Trentham

A young widow embraces a second chance at life when she reconnects with those who understand the sacrifices made by American soldiers and their families in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s The Military Wife.

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husband, Noah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children underfoot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.
In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?


Chapter 1 

Present Day

Winters in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were temperamental. The sunshine and a temperate southerly breeze that started a day could turn into biting, salt-tinged snow flurries by afternoon. But one thing Harper Lee Wilcox could count on was that winter along the Outer Banks was quiet.
The bustle and hum and weekly rotation of tourists that marked the summer months settled into a winter melancholy that Harper enjoyed. Well, perhaps not enjoyed in the traditional sense . . . more like she enjoyed surrendering to the melancholy. In fact, her mother may have accused her of wallowing in it once or twice or a hundred times.
In the winter, she didn’t have to smile and pretend her life was great. Not that it was bad. Lots of people had it worse. Much worse. In fact, parts of her life were fabulous. Almost five, her son was happy and healthy and smart. Her mother’s strength and support were unwavering and had bolstered her through the worst time of her life. Her friends were amazing.
That was the real issue. In the craziness of the summer season, she forgot to be sad. Her husband, Noah, had been gone five years; the same amount of time they’d been married. Soon the years separating them would outnumber the years they’d been together. The thought was sobering and only intensified the need to keep a sacred place in her heart waiting and empty. Her secret memorial.
She parked the sensible sedan Noah had bought her soon after they married under her childhood home. Even though they were inland, the stilts were a common architectural feature up and down the Outer Banks.
Juggling her laptop and purse, Harper pushed open the front door and stacked her things to the side. “I’m home!”
A little body careened down the steps and crashed into her legs. She returned the ferocious hug. Her pregnancy was the only thing that had kept her going those first weeks after she’d opened her front door to the Navy chaplain.
“How was preschool? Did you like the pasta salad I packed for your lunch?”
“It made me toot and everyone laughed, even the girls. Can you pack it for me again tomorrow?”
“Ben! You shouldn’t want to toot.” Laughter ruined the admonishing tone she was going for.
As Harper’s mom said time and again, the kid was a hoot and a half. He might have Harper’s brown wavy hair, but he had Noah’s spirit and mannerisms and humor. Ben approached everything with an optimism Harper had lost or perhaps had never been gifted with from the start. He was a blessing Harper sometimes wondered if she deserved.
“Where’s Yaya?” She ruffled his unruly hair.
Of course, her mom had picked an unconventional name. “Grandmother” was too old-fashioned and pedestrian. Since she’d retired from the library, she had cast off any semblance of normalcy and embraced an inner spirit that was a throwback to 1960s bra burners and Woodstock.
“Upstairs painting.” Ben slipped his hand into Harper’s and tugged her toward the kitchen. Bright red and orange and blue paint smeared the back of his hand and arm like a rainbow. At least, her mom had put him in old clothes. “Yaya gave me my own canvas and let me paint whatever I wanted.”
“And what did you paint?” Harper prayed it wasn’t a nude study, which was the homework assignment from her mom’s community college class.
“I drew Daddy in heaven. I used all the colors.” The matter-of-factness of his tone clawed at her heart.
No child should have to grow up only knowing their father through pictures and stories. Her own father had been absent because of divorce and disinterest. He’d sent his court-ordered child support payments regularly until she turned eighteen but rarely visited or shown any curiosity about her. It had hurt until teenaged resentment scarred over the wound.
Noah would have made a great dad. The best. That he never got the chance piled more regrets and what-ifs onto her winter inspired melancholy.
“I’m sure he would have loved your painting.” Luckily, Ben didn’t notice her choked-up reply.
He went to the cabinet, pulled out white bread and crunchy peanut butter, and proceeded to make two sandwiches. It was their afternoon routine. Someday he would outgrow it. Outgrow her and become a man like his daddy.
She poured him a glass of milk, and they ate their sandwiches, talking about how the rest of his day went—outside of his epic toots. His world was small and safe and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.
Her mom breezed into the kitchen, her still-thick but graying brown hair twisted into a messy bun, a thin paintbrush holding it in place. Slim and attractive, she wore paint-splattered jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt that read: I make AARP look good. Harper pinched her lips together to stifle a grin.
“How’s your assignment coming along?” Harper asked.
“I’m having a hard time with proportions. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure my man’s you-know-what shouldn’t hang down to his kneecaps.”
Harper shot a glance toward Ben, who had moved to the floor of the den to play with LEGOs. As crazy as her mom drove her, she was and would always be Harper’s rock. The irony wasn’t lost on her. As hard as she’d worked to get out of Kitty Hawk and out of her mother’s reach when she was young, she’d never regretted coming home.
“It’s been a while for me, too, but that’s not how I remember them, either.”
“A pity for us both.” Her mother pulled a jar of olives out of the fridge and proceeded to make martinis—shaken, not stirred. She raised her eyebrows, and Harper answered the unspoken question with a nod. Her mom poured and plopped an extra olive in Harper’s. “How was work?”
Harper handled bookkeeping and taxes for a number of local businesses, but a good number closed up shop in the winter. “Routine. Quiet.”
“Exactly like your life.”
Harper sputtered on her first sip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I hate seeing you mope around all winter.” Her mom poked at the olive in her drink with a toothpick and looked toward Ben, dropping her voice. “He’s been gone five years, sweetheart, and you haven’t gone on so much as a date.”
“That’s not true. I went to lunch with Whit a few weeks ago.”
“He was trying to sell you life insurance. Doesn’t count.”
Harper huffed and covered her discomfort by taking another sip. “What about you? You never date.”
 “True, but your father ruined me on relationships. I have trust issues. You and Noah, on the other hand, seemed to get along fine. Or am I wrong?”
“You’re not.” Another sip of the martini grew the tingly warmth in her stomach. Their marriage hadn’t been completely without conflict, but what relationship was? As she looked back on their fights, they seemed juvenile and unimportant. It was easier to remember the good times. And there were so many to choose from.
She touched the empty finger on her left hand. The ring occupied her jewelry box and had for three years. But, occasionally, her finger would ache with phantom pains as if it were missing a vital organ.
“You’re young. Find another good man. Or forget the man, just find something you’re passionate about.”
“I’m happy right where I am.” Harper hammered up her defenses as if preparing for a hurricane.
“Don’t mistake comfort for happiness. You’re comfortable here. Too comfortable. But you’re not happy.”
 “God, Mom, why are you Dr. Phil–ing me all of sudden? Are you wanting me and Ben to move out or something?” Her voice sailed high and Ben looked over at them, his eyes wide, clutching his LEGO robot so tightly its head fell off.
“You and Ben are welcome to stay and take care of me in my old age.” Her mom shifted toward the den. “You hear that, honey? I want you to stay forever.”
Ben gave them an eye-crinkling smile that reminded her so much of Noah her insides squirmed, and she killed the rest of her drink. She was so careful not to show how lonely she sometimes felt in front of Ben.
“Harper.” Her mom’s chiding tone reminded her so much of her own childhood, she glanced up instinctively. Her mom took her hand, and her hazel eyes matched the ones that stared back at Harper in the mirror. “You’re marking time in Kitty Hawk. Find something that excites you again. Don’t let Ben—or Noah— be your excuse.”

Harper looked to her son. His chubby fingers fit the small LEGO pieces together turning the robot into a house. She had built her life brick by brick adding pieces and colors, expanding, taking pride, until one horrible day she’d stopped. Maybe her mom was right. Was it time to build something new?

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina. Visit Laura online at

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Happy Tuesday. We are tackling a fun subject this week. The most anticipated releases for the first half of 2019. I have to admit I don't follow these lists. As a book lover, I should. As a busy mom, real estate agent and writer, I don't. Here's what I found online that is of interest to me.

This is a must have. Even if it's the only book I buy all year--which we know it won't be--I must buy this one. I loved this comic strip.

These next two are already on pre-order. The first one sounds fascinating and anything with a Little House on the Prairie tie-in is automatically on my list. Wendy's book doesn't really qualify since it won't be out until August, but I can't wait for it.

I haven't read any of this author's work, but everyone I know raves about it. This needs to go on the list even though the release date is June. If I don't list it now, I'll forget about it.

This next one sounds amazing. It's the first in a series, so count me in. 

Here's another author I haven't read, but I have seen her at a conference and this book sounds amazing.

Dystopian fiction is so not my go-to genre, but I like it every once in a while. This one sounds interesting.

This would be another new to me author. This book sounds too funny to pass up.

This book on goals is right up my alley.

I saw this final one on a bunch of blogs recently and really want to read it.

What are some books you're eagerly anticipating for early 2019? Do any of my books appear on your list?

Monday, January 7, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Jan 7

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend. I took a rare time off so we could bring the kids to NYC. It was warmer than usual, so that made it an even nicer trip.

Over the weekend, I began reading the third book in Duffy Brown's Cycle Path Mysteries series, Tadem Demise. I haven't read the previous two books in the series, but it is set on Mackinac Island--which I would love to see one day--and is just as fun as her Consignment Shop Mysteries series that I've been reading since the very first book.

The first book I cracked open this year is one that I have been dying to read, but it will have to be read in between all my review commitments. Everything about this book captured me from the second I heard about it. It even opens with a passage from a chapter in Anne of Green Gables. 

These are the next two I must read this month. They are both by authors I already enjoy, so I have high hopes for them.

I also started this memoir that I am totally fascinated with.

When I make it through all these, I already know what's up next because I promised to read these ones.

That should keep me busy for a while. How about you? What are you reading? What's up next on your list?