Monday, April 29, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - April 29

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.

Hard to believe that the end of April is here. We are heading into the busiest month of the year for us filled with two birthdays, three wedding anniversaries, a concert and a dance show, prom, graduation, and the end of school. Both my girls will be done with school by May 31. What the heck will they do with that extra month off?

As far as reading goes, it's been slow. I was sick and I've been working like a dog. I managed to finish these three books.

I've got several to review, including:

If I can control myself and not request any other books for review, I might even be able to choose what I want to read when we go on vacation. 

How is your TBR pile looking? Does vacation time mean catching up for you or do you bring books you want to read without the need to review them? What is a good book you've read lately? 

Book Review: Phoenix by Jessica Goody

A moving collection of transformation poems can be found in Phoenix by Jessica Goody.

The beautiful cover of Phoenix opens up to dozens of poems in a variety of styles that capture the resilience of the human spirit. Though a variety of subject matter is covered--nature, animals, emotions, special places and people--they are all connected by the theme of transformation.

What I most enjoyed about the Phoenix collection was the author's unique word choices. The writing is deep and emotional, and then you come across an unexpected use of a word that fits perfectly but you may not have thought of in that particular way before. It gives you a real moment to let the poem linger in your mind a while.

Goody is new to me, but I am sure I'll be wanting to read more from her soon.

Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: CW Books (March 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1625493061
ISBN-13: 978-1625493064

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Book Spotlight: The Company Files: The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan (Giveaway)

Whether it’s Hollywood or DC, life and death, success or failure hinge on saying a name.

The right name.

When Charlie Loew is found murdered in a seedy flophouse with a cryptic list inside the dead script-fixer’s handkerchief, Jack Marshall sends Walker undercover as a screenwriter at a major studio and Leslie as a secretary to Dr. Phillip Ernest, shrink to the stars. J. Edgar Hoover has his own list. Blacklisted writers and studio politics. Ruthless gangsters and Chief Parker’s LAPD. Paranoia, suspicions, and divided loyalties begin to blur when the House Un-American Activities Committee insists that everyone play the naming game.


He suggested drinks Friday night at the Cocoanut Grove, with dinner afterwards. The weekend wasn’t quite on the

horizon but the doctor’s voice insinuated he had intentions.

The Cocoanut Grove club was part of the Ambassador; and like most places in Los Angeles it took forever to get

from the curb to the front door of the hotel. Then there was the nightclub. The hotel, like a Henry James preamble,

sat at the far end of a very long cultivated sentence of twenty-four acres off Wilshire Boulevard. The logic was

deceptive but calculated, its geometric lawns and trained trees were way out in front like a mirage of color schemes,

the designs descended from gardeners who created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It was here Bacchantes of

another day and age descended from the Hollywood Hills or from elsewhere in the desert to have their Award

ceremonies, sexed-up affairs on hearths of Italian stone, their celebrity tantrums, complete with champagne glasses

dashed against tiled floors while the fountain’s water out front pulsed the rhythm of time’s cruel cadence.

The Cocoanut Grove was dedicated to nocturnal decadence. Palm trees were imported inside, stuffed monkeys sat

on top of them, their choreographed arms groping the leafy foliage and their glass eyes forever gazing at a ceiling

painted midnight blue with unmoving stars. Here the desert people came to dance and forget their troubles and

mingle with matinée royalty. Here they dined and here they listened to music beneath Moorish arches and tried to

forget the Crusades and the inconvenience of Christ on the cross. On a grand night they might see ghosts or the

gauzy image of Pola Negri walking her pet cheetah on a long leash through the garden.

7pm and early, Leslie saw Ernest at the bar in tailored silk pants and a patterned jacket, white shirt, and no tie. She

might’ve walked fast across the floor to surprise him, but she enjoyed every set of male eyes (and some female ones,

too) on her in a strapless cocktail dress made of plush black velvet and layers of cream tulle. Leslie didn’t believe in

makeup. Simple pink lipstick sufficed. In her small purse she carried cash and a .22 caliber pistol, a gift with a red

Croix de Lorraine on the white grip enamel. Neither the gun nor the caliber punched like a .45 automatic, but at

close range the .22 was feminine and lethal.

“You’re early, Dr. Ernest.”

“Please call me Phillip, or Phil. A drink?”

“What are you having?”


Brandy and crème de menthe. Upper-crust choice of either flyboys or college men. She motioned the bartender

over with her gloved hand. He ambled over, a big man in a tuxedo. He offered his clientele cool stoicism while he

made their drinks or dried glassware. He listened, or pretended to. His hand on the counter and the forward tilt at

the shoulders signaled he was eager to take her order.

“An Old Fashioned, please.”

The barkeep smiled when he set down her short tumbler not far from her date’s Stinger. He put in the sugar cube

and doused it with Angostura bitters, added water halfway up the sugar cube before he dropped ice cubes and added

a shot and half of rye whiskey. He hitched a maraschino cherry on the back of an orange wedge.

The jazz musicians in the background burned through a slow number of horns and muted drums. He moved near

her and she smiled. She could smell his cologne. Not bad. Not overpowering. She wore no perfume. Leslie learned

perfume always lingered in the air, or on fabric. It left a trace, a damning signature. Phillip pushed the cocktail to her

on a napkin

“Quite the drink you have there.”

“I can handle it.” Let him think I’m easy prey. “So, Phillip, what do you suggest for dinner?”

“Place up in the Hills, exotic and with a spectacular view of the city if you don’t mind Asian food.”

“I’ll give it a go. That’s what the weekend is for.”

“You’re full of surprises, Maggie. Didn’t figure you for the living type.”

He realized his awkward turn of phrase. She saved him from embarrassment. “As opposed to the alternative?” she

asked. “Don’t worry, I know what you meant. You don’t do so bad yourself.” Awe and flattery always chipped a man

down. “It can’t be easy listening to people’s problems all week. Shows character.”

“Nothing too challenging or anything I can’t handle.”

“You’re saying you don’t feel challenged?” she asked.

“Not at all. My patients are motivated, which is crucial to the therapeutic process, and I enjoy guiding them to

recovery so they can live meaningful, productive lives.”

“Say, ever had a client you couldn’t help? Someone you couldn’t fix.”

“I’ve had my share of difficult cases, but I try to persuade them to see the destructive consequences to their

choices,” he said, between sips of his minty drink.

Leslie drank a small sip of hers. “I never hear frustration in your notes. You’re always clinical, very professional. I

daresay you sound confident. Self-assured.”

“You haven’t seen all my cases, Maggie.”

“Really?” she asked, letting him see her take a hefty gulp drink from her glass, turned so he saw more flesh. He

responded with another sip of his toothpaste drink.

“I’ve had two, maybe three intractable cases. All men. One with inordinate guilt, the other one, a thief, and the last

one was a deviant. The thief and deviant I thought I could cure, but not the guilty one. All three men kept company

with people who exacerbated their conditions.”

The doctor explained all of this as he paced his drinking until he emptied his glass. Leslie left a wee bit of drink in

her glass. There was an uptick to the drums and the soft shudder of cymbals. A piano added light sprays of laughter

from the high keys. Smoke floated over the crowd.

“I’m no clinician, Phillip, but I’m clueless as to what constitutes deviant behavior. As for criminal urges, I’d suggest

an avoidance strategy. Not much I can say about regret. I’ve always thought guilt was a useless emotion.”

“I wish it were so simple, Maggie.”

“It is. The human mind confuses childhood with the responsibilities of adulthood.”

The perplexed expression on his face arrived on time. “That sounds familiar,” he said.

“It should, Phillip. I quoted you.”

Quoting him had worked. He smiled, his shoulders rounded and he leaned forward and intent, relaxed. She savored

that small victory more than the cherry clinging to the orange wedge on her glass.

“Shall we go eat?” she asked and deliberately misplaced her foot as she stepped off the metal chair. He caught her

arm in time. She released that little laugh all women practiced for embarrassing moments. He left a generous bill to

cover the drinks, as the drum kicked the air with a one-two beat and a crash of cymbals.

Ernest drove the roads above Hollywood Boulevard to the restaurant. High up in the hills and under a half moon,

The Mountain Palace rested on a hilltop like a shogun’s castle carved out of teak and cedar. There was a pagoda, too.

An architect plotted, a landscaper tilled the California hill into an enigmatic kōan with trees, shrubs, numerous

gardens, and waterfalls. Koi fish meandered through ponds. The only thing missing was the plucking sound of the

koto asking for rain.

Excerpt used with permission by author and publisher, Gabriel Valjan and Winter Goose Publishing (May, 2019)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Gabriel Valjan is the author of two series, The Roma Series and The Company Files, available from Winter Goose Publishing. His short stories have appeared in Level Best anthologies and other publications. Twice shortlisted for the Fish Prize in Ireland, once for the Bridport Prize in England, and an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest, he is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime National, a local member of Sisters in Crime New England, and an attendee of Bouchercon, Crime Bake, and Malice Domestic conferences.

Catch Up With Gabriel On:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gabriel Valjan. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 22, 2019 and runs through June 24, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway: The Ambitious Barrister and the Maid by Marianna Green

If you like your historical romance on the steamy side, then The Ambitious Barrister and the Maid by Marianna Green might be what you're looking for.

Having lost everything, Sarah-Ann must find work to support herself and her brother Jim. She ends up as a junior housemaid for an ambitious barrister named Alfred Grand.

Though her work is tough under the critical eye of Mrs. Carr, she catches Mr. Grand's eye. Sarah-Ann and Alfred enter into a practical arrangement where he pays her to be his mistress while he searches for a rich widow to marry and save his house from financial ruin. It's not long, however, before they develop deeper feelings for one another. So, when Alfred begins suffering from a mysterious illness, Sarah-Ann is eager to investigate.

The Ambitious Barrister and the Maid is a quick and easy read. It's the typical formula of two people getting together for a physical relationship, but then falling in love. It's a popular theme in romance, and it's always interesting to see each author's take on it. Especially in the beginning, there is a lot of bedroom time, but it does lessen up some as Alfred's mysterious illness evolves.

At fewer than 100 pages, there's not a ton of room for plot development, which is probably why the mystery was a bit lacking for me. I would have liked to see a couple more twists and turns before the culprit and reason came to light. My preference also would have been to end the story once Sarah-Ann and Alfred settled the status of their relationship instead of wrapping up all the character's lives at the end and giving the reader a glimpse into the future. Dragging it on weakened what was a satisfying ending.

That said, this was a fun read and I'm glad to have indulged myself in this steamy historical novella.


The man’s eye fell on me. I would have liked to think that he was wholly moved by pity at the sight of the tears welling in the eyes of the scrawny creature that I then was. There was indeed a spark of sympathy in his, but also some calculation.

That might seem to be a long word for a housemaid, but I had been educated to be a young lady.

Mr Grand was a man who thought ahead. He saw something in me that interested him. It wouldn’t do for now, for though sixteen, I had much filling out to do. He was ready to wait, just as he was prepared to wait for the right chance to further his career. He was a man who saw potentials closed to those with a less penetrating gaze. In pursuing his goals, he was patient.

“She will do very well, Mrs Carr,” he gave that cold smile he sometimes used. “That solves your little problem. Now, as to mine –”

The housekeeper was indignant enough to do what servants, even the higher ones, should never do. She cut him off, which was bad enough, and then she contradicted him. “Hardly, Sir. I have no time to train her, and -”

He drew back. She could not have done more to ensure I got the post. He looked down his well shaped nose at her and cut her off in turn. “I just hired the girl, Mrs. Carr. That makes an end to the matter. See about her box and the rest.”

Later on, I was willing to bet, he would see about my box himself.

Marianna Green will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via 
rafflecopter during the tour.

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I received a free copy of this book from the author through Goddess Fish Promotions. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pre-order Now: Wyoming Baby Blessing by Jill Kemerer

She’s pregnant on his doorstep…

Saddle up for this Wyoming Cowboys novel

When his childhood friend Kit McAllistor shows up, widowed and pregnant, rancher Wade Croft offers her a place to stay…but he can’t offer her his heart. As old feelings begin to surface, past tragedies force Wade to ignore them. But on the brink of losing his ranch, will he also risk losing the woman he’s beginning to love…or can he cowboy up in time?

Series: Wyoming Cowboys (Book 4)
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired; Original edition (April 16, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1335479155
ISBN-13: 978-1335479150

Pre-order from:

Barnes and Noble
Google Play

Monday, April 15, 2019

Book Blast and Giveaway: Dukes by the Dozen Novella Collection

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC.

What's better than a dashing duke? A dozen of them! In this case, a baker's dozen--thirteen of your favorite historical romance authors have come together to bring you more than a dozen tantalizing novellas, with one per month, for a year's worth of never-before-released romances.

Duke in Winter by Alyssa Alexander

February - The Difference One Duke Makes by Elizabeth Essex

March - Discovering the Duke by Madeline Martin

April - The Duke and the April Flowers by Grace Burrowes

May - Love Letters from a Duke by Gina Conkle

June - Her Perfect Duke by Ella Quinn

July - How to Ditch a Duke by May McGoldrick

August - To Tempt A Highland Duke by Bronwen Evans

September - Duke in Search of a Duchess by Jennifer Ashley

October - Dear Duke by Anna Harrington

November - Must Love Duke by Heather Snow

December - The Mistletoe Duke by Sabrina York

January - Dueling with the Duke by Eileen Dreyer

Read an Excerpt

from Dueling with the Duke

by Eileen Dreyer


She had a face that was completely forgettable. At least that was the way Jamie had described her. A girl you might overlook if you weren’t careful, which Jamie had said would be a shame.

Jamie had been correct. If Adam had simply seen Jamie’s wife sitting at a desk, he would have walked right by. It was when she moved that she began to make an impression. She had a compelling grace, especially for a small woman. He would have expected her to, well, bounce like a small bird on a fence. She glided as if books rested on her head.

Of course, he thought almost smiling. A marquess’s daughter. She had undoubtedly balanced a goodly number of books on her head.

“How can I help you, Your Grace?” she asked, setting her glasses down on a table and rising to her feet. “I don’t believe we’ve met?”

“To my eternal regret,” he said, “we have not met before now. I should have begun at the beginning. I am Adam Marrick, Mrs. Grace. Jamie’s cousin.”

And there it was, he thought. The reason Jamie had fallen in love with Georgina Wyndham in the first place. That smile. Wide, bright, warm, all-encompassing, as if she embraced not just him but the world. Before he knew it, Adam was smiling back.

“He loved you very much,” he said.

Her eyes glittered with welling tears, but that smile held. “I know,” she whispered. “I loved him dearly. I am so very glad to finally meet you. He spoke of you as well, of course. You were quite his hero. Hussars, wasn’t it?”

“It was.”

She invited him to sit, where they enjoyed a bit of society over tea.

“Lully,” he blurted out, appalled at his own clumsiness. “I’m really here for her.”

His words were met with a rather stark silence. “Pardon?”

He nodded, setting down his saucer. “I am actually here to bring her some news.”

Again Georgie tilted her head. “Lully is four, Your Grace. What news could you have to give her?”

This wasn’t going the way he’d planned. He should have believed Jamie from the start. Maybe his reaction to Georgie wouldn’t have knocked him so off-center.

“I need to take her to Scotland.”

“I beg your pardon?”

He tried briefly closing his eyes. “She is needed there.”

She was staring at him as if he’d begun to bark like a dog. “In Scotland.” Suddenly she was getting to her feet. “Are you feeling perfectly well, Your Grace?” she asked. “I can call for the local physician. He is old, but….”

He should have known this would be her reaction. “No,” he said, There was no avoiding it. He had to get to his feet as well. “No,” he said, grabbing his cane and hoisting himself up, his knee protesting like an unoiled hinge. “I am not ill. I was coming to see you anyway. I promise. Not only because I wanted to meet the woman who had stolen Jamie’s heart, but because I made a promise to him.”

“That is lovely.” Her voice didn’t sound like it. “But not to the point.”

He nodded and took another breath. “There is news,” he repeated. “Jamie’s mother has died.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

She neither sounded nor looked like she meant it. Having known Jamie’s mother well, he couldn’t really blame her. “If we could sit...”

Giving him a chagrined nod, she sat after him. “How can that concern us?” she asked. “Jamie’s family made certain we knew we were not welcome.”

“Well, since Jamie is…gone, it means that Lully has inherited. I need to take her with me to accept.”

Adam didn’t think you could see fire in the color green. He certainly could now.

“Inherited? Inherited what? Jamie was disowned.”

“You cannot disown a title, Mrs. Grace.”

“A what?”

“She is no longer simply a little girl,” he said as gently as he could. “She’s a duchess.”

She seemed to glide up to her feet, rising to her full height, which suddenly seemed not so insignificant. Following to his own feet, Adam wondered suddenly how anyone could possibly think she was forgettable. She was Boedica, Titania, Maeve. He had the oddest feeling she was looking down at him, instead of standing at his shoulder.

And then she closed the conversation.


About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling, award-winning author Eileen Dreyer has published 40 novels and 10 short stories under her name and that of her evil twin, Kathleen Korbel in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery and medical forensic suspense. A proud member of RWA's Hall of FAME, she also has numerous awards from RT BookLovers and an Anthony nomination for mystery. She is now focusing on what she calls historic romantic adventure in her DRAKE'S RAKES series. A native of St. Louis, she still lives there with her family. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.







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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Apr 15

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.

Maybe this week's meme should be called What Are You Not Reading? I've been busy, so not as many baths going on. Quick showers are okay, but they definitely mean no real reading going on. I've also been feeling a bit tired lately.

I'm still reading my Bible daily. We are in 1 Samuel right now. We will finish that book this week. I'm also continuing with the Lenten devotional.

I still have the same ones to tackle for reviews.

I also added this new one the list.

Not sure when I'll get to it, but I bought this one with an Amazon credit.

That's it from me. Hope you'll share your reading. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Coming in May!: Banished from Memory by Mary Sheeran

It’s 1960. Sixteen-year-old Dianna Fletcher has been accustomed to the bright lights of Hollywood all her life-but now they are casting shadows on her family’s past and on her own future.

Dianna fears she is losing her talent and failing to live up to her family’s legacy. When she does land a part, she finds an unexpected enemy in brilliant actor and womanizer, Bill Royce, who not only attacks her confidence but holds a deep grudge against her family. Dianna comes to believe Bill’s resentment is related to her suspicion that her parents harbor a secret linked to the blacklist. But even as their friendship grows despite their misgivings about each other, Bill will not confess what he knows.

As Dianna struggles with her career in a rapidly changing industry, she urges Bill to share his dark past with her, only to discover secrets that could destroy her family’s prestige and power.

Banished From Memory highlights the conflicted relationship between two legacies of the blacklist, the sunset of classic Hollywood, the challenges and gifts of acting, and a determination on the part of one generation to exhume the truth of another’s. But at what cost?


When he had held her as if she were a floating bit of driftwood and he was drowning. When he had kissed her with a hunger that roused her own. When his hands had caressed her face like the gentle wings of a butterfly. When she had wanted to cry out to him except the lines she wanted to say were not in the script, and by habit and discipline, she said the words of the script as the camera three inches away recorded her exultant face, as the microphone picked up her memorized words written by a marvelous writer and carried them to the sound mixers, as the first and second assistant directors and wardrobe and makeup and script supervisor and cinematographer and who knows who else stood close to watch what was lit ever so cleverly by the DP and as Fred Sybuck kept having different ideas about how she should react, bouncing off her own acting, her own inner thoughts. And she wanted to yell, I know! Or was it Lily who knew? In their last love scene, Bill gave her such a look of longing and desperation that it shook her. Was it real? Acting? Did she want to know?
The wrap party was held on the set, and Bill just gave her a light peck on her cheek. They would never work together again. 
At home, she found a letter. 

Dear Dianna, I hope you trust me. I lived with Bill for half a year, on and off. I know that he is charming, often thoughtful, and seemingly wonderful. I saw you with Bill in his car, and I felt I should write you. You are working in a movie together, and I know how that can be. And you’re so young. Bill experiences dark moments, times of pure rage, and while he never struck me, he did push me away a few times, and I mean push, so I was on the floor or hitting furniture. He was always apologetic. Sometimes, if I may say so, these dark moments extend to his love making. Please don’t be angry with me for caring about you. I miss him, and I admire him, but it was good to leave him. - Sandi

Dianna walked down the beach. Bill was sitting on his deck, reading. She climbed up the steps. He stood up.
“Go home.” 
She’d experienced his moods. She had also experienced his intelligence, his brilliance, and his humor. She felt some deep connection with him. Didn’t he feel one for her? 
As Lily had done, she rested her head on his shoulder. His arms went around her. She sank against his hard chest and closed her eyes. He didn’t push her away. She felt sweet pleasure, soft touches, caresses of her hair, light kisses, and she felt his anger dissipate. 
“Now will you go home?” he asked, quietly. 
“I want to be with you,” she said.

-From Banished From Memory by Mary Sheeran © 2019

MARY SHEERAN has acted in plays, sung in operas, and created and performed recitals and cabaret shows, all in New York City. She is the author of two novels, Who Have the Power (2006), an exploration of cultural conflict, feminism, and Native American history, and Quest of the Sleeping Princess (2012), set in the midst of George Balanchine’s ballets. She has written theater and dance reviews for show business trade publications and for the blog Life Upon the Sacred Stage. Mary lives in the Bronx, where in conjunction with earning a Master of Divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary, she can also be found giving sermons in Manhattan churches.

Follow Mary on Goodreads.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Interview with A. S. Fenichel, Author of A Lady's Virtue

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Forever Brides series, the Everton Domestic Society series, and more. With several books currently contracted, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the Southern Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, puttering in her garden and spoiling her fussy cat.

Website Link:
Twitter Link:
Facebook Link:

Click below to sign up for her newsletter!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Hi, I’m A.S. Fenichel. Real name: Andrea Sue.

I’m married to a wonderful man and currently have one fur baby, an eleven-year-old cat named Molly Cat.

I write Regency historical romance with strong female characters who find many ways of being empowered in a time when that was difficult to do. My hero’s will touch your heart in ways you cannot yet imagine when they show you what they’re willing to risk for true love.

Where did you grow up?

I was born on Long Island, New York and grew up in New Jersey. I’ve also lived in the Netherlands and East Texas. Now, I call Southern Missouri home. We just built a home in the Ozarks and it’s fabulous. You can follow me on Instagram for a peek.

When did you begin writing?

I started writing in my early twenties, though I had lived with stories in my head all my life. It never occurred to me to write them down before then.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Currently, I’m a full time writer. I write during the day. Usually two to three hours in the morning and a couple more in the afternoon depending on deadlines and editing responsibilities.

What is this book about?

A Lady’s Virtue is about Sylvia Dowder and Anthony Braighton. Sylvia has been jilted after a very long courtship and engagement. Unable to tolerate the disappointment of her family, she joins the Everton Domestic Society as their resident party planner.

Anthony has recently been raised to the title of Earl of Grafton. He was raised in America and never coveted a title. His mother and aunt want him to marry. He hires an Everton Lady to prove to them he doesn’t need a wife.

What inspired you to write it?

It started a long time ago. When I was thirty-five my first husband died suddenly. After, I wanted to write about that kind of loss, but just couldn’t do it. Finally, last year I wrote and published A Lady’s Honor about Markus losing his wife, Emma and finding love again with Phoebe, the Everton Lady assigned to save him from himself.

Once the Everton Domestic Society was created, I had all these fabulous women who needed their stories told. A Lady’s Virtue is the third book in the series, but all of the books can be read as stand alone.                                                            

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Not really. I have a group of writer friends who I can ask to beta read my books. There are enough of us that one or two are usually available to help out before the books goes to my editor at Kensington Publishing.

Who is your favorite author?

Living? It’s a toss up between Mary Jo Putney, Eloisa James and Jude Devereaux
Dead? Jane Austen

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I am represented by Bookends Literary Agency.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Oh Lord! Bumpy does not even cover it. It took me seventeen years of rejection before I was published. Three years later my publisher went out of business. Thankfully, I found another publisher, and I’m still with them.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

A Lady’s Virtue is available at most vendors:

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Join a writer’s group. Other Authors are very generous and you’ll need their support. This is a tough business.

What is up next for you?

A Lady’s Past is the forth and final book in the Everton Domestic Society series and will be available November 192019. Diana is a brilliant scientist being chased by French spies when Jacques finds her alone in the snow. I think you’ll love them and the book.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you so much for having me here today. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of A Lady’s Virtue.

Monday, April 8, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Apr 8

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's a rainy Monday here in Western Massachusetts. I had hoped to have time to plant the early spring plants in my garden this weekend, but life had other plans. It will be raining today and tomorrow, so it looks like Wednesday morning is my next best shot.

Honestly, not much going on in my reading world. I've been sticking with my daily Bible reading and this devotional, but other than that I haven't cracked open a book in days. The spring real estate market is in full swing, but it doesn't leave a lot of time for reading.

I've got to tackle these ones over the next couple of months.

What are you reading? Have your reading habits changed now that spring is here?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Interview with Rachel Marie Martin, Author of The Brave Art of Motherhood

Rachel Marie Martin believes in the power of the human spirit to overcome, to thrive and to find deep joy and because of that she pours out her heart via these platforms: she is the writer behind the site, partner of, co-host of the Amplify Podcast, and a featured writer for The Huffington Post. Her top blog post, "Why Being a Mom is Enough" has surpassed 1.9 million Facebook likes and she has had her articles translated into over 25 languages. Her site reaches millions of visitors and has a robust, engaged Facebook community. Her articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, iVillage, The Today Show, Star Tribune, iVillage, Stuff New Zealand, PopSugar, Parents, What to Expect, Mamalode, NBC Parents, Dr. Greene, and many more. Her first book, "The Brave Art of Motherhood", published by Penguin Random House, was released on October 9, 2018.

She speaks worldwide about a variety of empowering topics ranging from motherhood to social media marketing to website strategy to writing to creating an authentic community. She believes in living each day intentionally and loves working with others to cultivate a vision, realize their potential and see their dreams become a reality.



Where did you grow up?

We are from St. Michael, a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. We moved to Nashville just over two years ago. My folks were church planters, among other things, and are retired now. My extended family still lives in Minnesota, but have grown to love having family in the South to visit during the long winters. The lack of snow been quite a change for the kids, but they have acclimated and look forward to school getting cancelled for the tiniest of reasons.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve always been drawn to computers. I have a memory of my dad purchasing a TI99 desktop computer and teaching me to code. Fast forward to college years and the AOL floppy disk to Yahoo! Groups to the start of blogging. The internet has always been a place for me to connect and became a vessel for my thoughts and words. As stated above, I started writing Finding Joy just about ten years ago. In the beginning, it was a bit of a hobby, but as time went on and it began to grow I gradually made the pivot from hobby to career. And honestly, for the last six years, this has been my full time job for myself, my partner Dan, as well as several others who are part of our team.

What is this book about?

Your heart matters and it’s easy to forget yourself in the middle of motherhood and think that “I’ll take care of myself” tomorrow. But life is short and there is no greater gift to yourself, your family and your friends when you are brave and fight for your heart, purpose and happiness again.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

Well, I think it’s similar in the fact that most motherhood books embrace how much motherhood matters. I can’t think of one book that would ever negate that universal truth. I would say that it differs in the way that it’s not about motherhood as in making a better pot roast or organizing, but is rather about your own heart in the midst of motherhood. It’s a reminder of strength and bravery and is the friend in the motherhood ring with you believing in all you can do and showing you what you have already done.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

You are a given a choice every day - wait to live fully or dare to live fully - and when you decided that every single day is a gift the decision to fight for that day becomes easy.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

All the usual places of course (ie. Amazon, Barnes&Noble, BAM, Target, Kindle, Audible) and I have autographed copies and special bundles at

What is up next for you?

Finding Joy is a full-time job and I’m grateful that it’s my life. I will continue writing and continue developing programs that motivate and inspire. I’m hopeful to also continue to speak, to write another book when the opportunity presents, and to start a podcast.

Monday, April 1, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - April 1

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 April Fools' Day! Are you playing tricks on anyone? I'm pretty gullible, so I'm usually a target. Here is a great episode of Spongebob Squarepants to celebrate the day.

In my reading world, I polished off two books last week.

I went ahead and started this book.

I am also keeping up with this devotional.

I picked up this one as additional book to review.

Then I need to polish off these.

What have you been reading? Anything good you would like to share?