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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Recollections from holidays past

by

Emma Lane

Thanksgiving is family, food, and thankfulness. It’s when you have this homing urge to join your people over a huge roasted turkey. When you were ten you punched your cousin in the nose for some remark he made. When you were eighteen, you were bored and wishing to be somewhere else, but mom made you stay. When you were twenty-eight, you were setting up the children’s table. And so it goes right down to Grandpa who at 90 announced he didn’t need to watch his cholesterol any more and reached for the butter dish. (I loved it when he did that.)

Our turkey is carved in the kitchen, makes it easier for serving. But when the grandchildren were young, they always expected that rooster to make an appearance at Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition as such. They are grown-ups now, but they still search the china cabinet for the collection of salt ‘n pepper shakers, each person has his/her favorite set. Our dining room table is custom made wide at the bottom to seat two people comfortably. As a result, I have no matching pad. Straw oversized placemats do an admirable job of protecting the wood surface from the heated dishes. I use a table cloth, but still enjoy the colorful cloth placemats to echo the vibrant Fall colors. With the addition of fruit cups, water glasses, and matching candles, the table arrangement is complete, waiting only for the train of hot dishes and the blessing before the feast is begun.

Turkey for everyone! White for the kids and dark meat for my hubby and me. They have always been convenient preferences. We reserve baked ham for Christmas dinner. Lima beans (butter beans) for my son, green bean casserole for my daughter. Each person has a favorite. I love yellow squash while my hubby adores sweet potato soufflé. My daughter makes all the pies, usually pumpkin and apple. The grands like the fruit cups that are sometimes surrounded by red Jell-O and sometimes by whipped cream. Dressing?? We make a raison (Crasins substitute) and walnut type topped by a couple of baked chicken parts. The recipe changes almost every time. There is a fresh veggie plate with tomatoes, celery, carrots, and sliced zucchini for nibbling. Other dishes may be added each year.

Once I had an idea to bake a mid-sized (huge) Hubbard squash and stuff it with a mixture of squash, onion with a touch of maple syrup topped with scrambled southern style sausage. It was so tasty, but a bear to get to the table. I dropped it from the menu. What memories does your family love each Thanksgiving get together?

Happy Thankful Day to you and yours from my home to yours.

Emma

How about a glimpse into my new Cozy Mystery, MURDER AT THE LOOKOUT while you recover from your Thanksgiving feast?

When is it not fun to be a blond?

What happens when a blond beauty hits town like a tornado stirring up memories and causing turmoil? Detective Kevin Fowler and his wife, the former Beverly Hampton, owner of the local newspaper, are settling into blissful married life. Although Beverly is sanguine over the demand on Kevin’s time by the good people of Hubbard, she is more than dubious when his duties include the escort of a drop-dead gorgeous female from his past.

There is some concern over the persistent vandalism of residential mailboxes, but an infamous arsonist has decided peaceful but dull Hubbard would make a great place from which to operate. He brazenly locates down the block from the detective and his wife.

What bait and tackle shop in the village has a dual purpose? Kevin ponders why two goons have invaded town shooting at and attempting to kidnap and murder three women. A state patrolman, aptly nick named Rooster, teases Fowler at the riotous scene of a traffic accident where the press, not the police, wins the day.

Another mystery and adventure with a satisfying ending unfolds in peaceful Hubbard, New York, small-town Americana, where Detective Kevin Fowler keeps an ever-vigilant watch.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

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Friday Features’

Guest shares

8 Reasons to Listen to Audiobooks

by

Leigh Goff

My publisher, Parliament House, encouraged me to turn my Southern Gothic Horror book Koush Hollow into an audiobook. Before I made that commitment, I decided to investigate the benefits of audiobooks. And was I surprised! Here are just some of the things I learned that you may find interesting:

  • Something new. Some people prefer listening rather than reading text and the increasing popularity of audiobooks proves that. According to Goodereader.com, audiobook sales increased by 16 percent in 2019 and generated over $1.2 billion in revenue. That same year, e-books only made $983 million.
  • You can listen to a book on your phone, iPad, computer, at the beach, or at a family get together you want to escape from. It’s easier than ever to download a book thanks to Audible, and it’s tough to lose one when it’s on your phone. Bonus, no more physical bookmarks or reading glasses needed! Just pick up where you left off listening.
  • Huge Variety. In 2020, more than 71 thousand audiobooks were published in the U.S. The number has increased 39 percent year over year since 2007. There are currently more than 25 audiobook publishers, and according to Forcreators.com, the most popular genres in audiobooks are autobiography/memoir, mystery, thriller, fantasy, and science fiction. Almost anything you want to read is ready for downloading.
  • Pro-Multitasking. According to Goodereader.com, over half of UK audiobook listeners say they don’t have time to sit and read a physical book. Audiobooks allow you to listen while you walk your dog, clean your room, get a load of laundry done, workout on the elliptical, or prep dinner.
  • Popular. One in three book buyers has listened to an audiobook in the past year and if you’re in a book club, you can have all of those book titles downloaded into one place to make it easier than ever to listen anytime, anywhere. They’re so popular, the big publishers like Audible and Harper Collins are investing in more studios and narrators to speed up production.
  • Mood Elevator. Listening to an audiobook before bed is similar to meditation because it keeps unnecessary thoughts from creeping into your mind. Studies show that it’s a more immersive and intimate experience that can also help you fall asleep.
  • Vocabulary Helper. When you listen to audiobooks, you learn how to pronounce difficult words and learn their meaning through the context of the dialogue. You may not be able to guess the spelling of the word, but your curiosity could lead you to investigate further.
  • Koush Hollow. Horror/Fantasy/Southern Gothic. This is a brand-new audiobook release from The Parliament House Press, and it offers an original story that’s a great choice for all readers. It’s a chilling, yet hopeful tale of one girl’s resistance to an elite world of wealth and class and her brave questioning of the strange happenings around her. The talented Erin Seidel gives voice to an eclectic cast of characters and her narration captures the youthful, idealistic character of Jenna as she is transformed from a disillusioned girl to one who honors her convictions and truths at all costs in a riveting story set in the mystical bayous of New Orleans. Available on Audible, Amazon, and iBooks.

For your listening pleasure, enjoy a sweet cocktail from New Orleans that pairs perfectly with the audio version of Koush Hollow.

BEST-EVER HURRICANE from Delish

2 oz. light rum

3 oz. dark rum

6 oz. passion fruit juice

6 oz. orange juice

2 tbsp. grenadine

Ice

2 Orange slices

2 maraschino cherries

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine rums, passion fruit juice, orange juice, and grenadine.

Pour over iced-filled glasses.

Garnish each glass with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Find the original recipe at Delish.

Here’s a brief intro to my new audiobook. Click the audible link below to hear more.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother. As the 16-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow: How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing? As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

BUY LINKS

Audible

Amazon

Apple

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features

We talk about

Gardening is like writing

by

C.D. Hersh

The warm days this week enabled us to take a stroll through the yard, another put-our-butts-in-the-writing chair avoidance tactic. We found a slew of winter weeds scattered throughout the landscape. Some tiny-leafed, prostrate thing has taken over a portion of the easement making it the greenest it has been in years. Buckhorn plantain spills out between the path stepping stones. Flat rosettes of chickweed carpet the stone gully in the backyard, and henbit, with its scalloped leaves and purple stems, juts out of the grass—or at least what passes for grass in the lawn.

We’re letting the unidentified weed taking over the easement and the lawn. It’s green, low growing, and doesn’t look like it would need much mowing. But after an afternoon of surfing weed identification web sites (another avoidance tactic), we’ve come to the conclusion that we might have to dig out this patch of weeds and eradicate it every other spot we find. You see, if we’ve identified it correctly, we’re harboring shot weed, also known as hairy bittercress. Oh, it looks innocent enough, but when it sets seeds the slightest touch will send hundreds of seeds shooting out in a three foot radius across the lawn into flowerbeds and pathways looking spots to hide and root.

Fighting weeds in the garden is a full time task. It starts in early spring with digging out winter weeds like plantain, chickweed, and henbit from the paths and flower beds. By the time we get those eradicated the dandelions rear their yellow heads. After that it’s pigweed and purslane and nutsedge and Canadian thistles and Jimson weed and ground ivy and goose grass. Spring and summer progress marked by an army of weeds marching through the garden. We hoe and pull and mulch and spray, and they just keep coming. The only thing that keeps them under control is persistent daily effort—and maybe a hard, hard freeze.

Like the cycle of weeds in the garden, writers face different challenges along every stage of our careers. As soon as we think we have a handle on our craft and profession something new springs up and surprises us. The beginning writer’s weeds might be learning the basics of the craft or finding that story idea or dealing with writer’s block. For some it’s getting to the end of the book, or figuring out what to do with the sagging middle. For the more skilled, unpublished writers the weeds that need pulling could be social networking, getting an agent, or getting published. Whatever the weeds in your writer yard there’s one universal truth—they will always be there. Our job is to figure the best way to control them.

We’re not a beginning writers. We know how to write. That has been reinforced with a number of contest placements. We have a good grasp of the skills and have been published. We know our stories and the characters. We even have books waiting in the wings to be written. But we still have writing weeds to pull—BIG ones.

    We haven’t finished our series—yet.
    We want to write in several genres, which presents branding problem and sometimes an identity crisis.
    While we have some social networking and internet connections there isn’t a large following wanting our books—one of the biggest weeds for a lot of writers.
    Currently, we spend more time blogging than writing the books.

Gertrude Jekyll, one of the most important British landscape designers and writers, once said, “There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight. It cannot always be done easily; many things worth doing are not done easily; but there is no place under natural conditions that cannot be graced with an adornment of suitable vegetation.”

Gertrude’s advice applies not only to the garden, and all those weedy patches, but to writing as well. The road to success isn’t easy, but we can accomplish it. We can transform those bare, ugly pages into something overflowing with suitable vegetation (the best words and story we can make). When we finally reach that goal it’s worth the work. So, pull those weeds out of your writing garden and create something beautiful!

We’re going to try this year to get rid of our biggest weed and finish our next book.

What are the writing weeds that are stopping you from creating your masterpiece? Do you have a plan to pull them out?

While you figure out what weeds to attack here’s an excerpt from the first book in our series.

Blurb for—The Promised One

ThePromisedOne2In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

EXCERPT:

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

Amazon buy links for all the books of the series:
The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)

Links for our other books are on our book page or under the menu at the top of the post.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Sports casting and word meanings.

by

Anne Montgomery

In a perfect world, sportscasters would get long leisurely looks at the highlights they use in their live broadcasts. They’d get to rehearse a few times, using their own verbiage to describe a sweet double play or a long touchdown run.

But in the real world, there are times when sportscasters don’t get to view the video prior to a broadcast. Imagine trying to look pleasant, sound authoritative and knowledgeable, and having to describe a previously-unseen set of highlights, while someone is yelling in your ear. Now, try to do it when the highlights are poorly written.

At ESPN, there was a group of workers called PAs: production assistants who spent almost all their time observing games and picking plays for SportsCenter broadcasts. I’m sure to rabid sports fans the gig sounds like having one foot in heaven. A PA would be assigned a game, they’d sit back, watch, and pick three or four highlights. All they had to do was get the plays edited and write a script explaining what was happening in the shots they chose. A final score would then be added. That was it.

Generally, the PAs would appear at the anchor’s newsroom desk before the show and hand over their version of the script. I would always go view the video, make my own additions to the copy, and thank the PA. Beautiful.

However, sometimes there were late games that were still in progress during the SportsCenter broadcast. It was one of these contests and a subsequent set of highlights I received that got me into a bit of a pickle.

One evening, a sheet of game highlights was slipped onto my desk just as the crimson camera light blinked on. I smiled and read the intro. Then, as the video rolled, I eyed the script with my left eye and focused on my desk monitor with my right. (Not really, but it sort of feels that way.) And there it was, a screaming line drive hit into the first row seats, beaning a spectator squarely on the noggin. I read the script and immediately knew there’d been a mistake. The copy read that the fan had been hit by a foul tip. I knew this was impossible, but the next play quickly appeared and I had no time to right the wrong.

It wouldn’t be until the postmortem – the meeting that followed each show, a time during which errors were discussed by everyone involved in the broadcast – that I would get the chance to point out the obvious problem.

“Rich,” I said to the PA, who like all of his ilk was just out of college, sans any previous TV experience, and while they were sometimes treated like slave labor, were willing to do almost anything to get into the business. “Here,” I said, pushing the highlight sheet across the conference table. “Look at the first play.”

“The one where the guy gets hit with the foul tip?” He asked without looking at the page.

“That’s the one.” I smiled. “You don’t want to do that again.”

“Do what?” Rich squinted.

PAs lived in fear of making a mistake, knowing there was a long list of kids who’d do anything to get into ESPN. They worked without contracts for so little pay three or four of them often rented tiny apartments together, and they could be terminated without cause. Still, they lined up in droves to work at the network.

“It wasn’t a foul tip that hit the guy, Rich. It was a foul ball.”

“What’s the difference? The producer asked, palms up.

I looked around the table, finding it odd that no one else seemed to understand. “A foul ball is one that goes out of the playing area in foul territory. It’s a dead ball. Nothing can happen on the field. A foul tip, however, is a ball that generally goes directly from the bat to the catcher’s glove and is legally caught. A foul tip is always a strike and, unlike a foul ball, can result in strike three.”

“So?” Rich said defensively.

“A foul tip is a live ball.” I paused, waiting to see the light bulbs go off in the brains of my SportsCenter peers, but they just stared at me. “If there are runners on base, they can steal at their own risk,” I went on. “That makes it impossible for a fan to be hit with a foul tip. It was a foul ball.”

“It’s the same thing,” Rich insisted.

“No, it’s not.”

“Why do you care?” The PA said, sounding petulant now. “No one else does.”

I looked around the room. None of the other members of the crew had chimed in. Generally, in these meetings, everyone had an opinion and no one was timid about sharing.

“I care, Rich. I’m an umpire. And there are people out there who know that. It embarrasses me to make that kind of mistake.”

Rich’s face turned bright red. “You’re just being a picky bitch!” Then he got up and left the room.

The next day, I was called into my boss’s office. He had been apprised of my comments and insisted that I apologize to Rich.

“But he was wrong,” I said. “I never raised my voice or got defensive. I simply explained that he’d made a mistake.”

My boss was unswayed. That the young PA called me a bitch did not seem to matter. I was forced to apologize.

And all these years later, it still rankles.

Here’s a little from my latest women’s fiction book. I hope you enjoy it.

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Amazon Buy Links

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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Friday Features Fourth of July

Flag 3

As tomorrow is the celebration of the birth of our country we thought it appropriate we take a break from Flag 1featuring books and authors and feature our nation. There have been many who have made it great, sung songs and written about what it means. But one of the most moving we have heard is the story told by Red Skelton of his school master and the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

The following are a few more patriotic videos you might like.

Fireworks 1

Patriotic Video Slide Show

John Wayne “America – Why I Love Her”

A patriotic slide show set to Celine Dion’s version of ‘God Bless America’

Lee Greenwood- God Bless the U.S.A. lyrics

Going Home – Fallen Soldier Bagpipe Tribute Flag 2

In The Arms Of An Angel-American Soldiers Tribute

My Name is America by Todd Allen Herendeen- The Official Patriotic Anthem

Angel Flight (Radio Tower Remix) – w/ Lyrics

Trace Adkins’ “Arlington” USA Military Tribute

Fireworks 3Marine’s final salute

The history of Taps told by John Wayne.

Brooks & Dunn – Only In America

Kate Smith Sings God Bless America, 1930s

 

Celebrate the fourth and enjoy your day.

Fireworks 4

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

fantasy settings

by

Jaycee Jarvis

One of my favorite things about writing fantastical settings is the excuse to research anything that strikes me as a cool world building detail. I’m a bit of a world building magpie, in that I’ll collect cool factoids or interesting discoveries to incorporate in my writing. I’m a natural history hobbyist, and always amazed by the rich natural world around us. Of course, I also sometimes need to seek sensory details to bring a fictional world to life.

For example, there is a bridge in Secret Courtship connecting two settlements on opposite sides of a river. While the bridge only appears in a few scenes, I wanted to understand what such a structure would look and feel like, particularly in my low tech setting. It was quite fun to go down the research rabbit hole, looking up various ancient techniques for crossing rivers. I was lucky enough to be in Washington DC last summer and visit an exhibit about the Inka empire in the National Museum of the American Indian. The Inkas built ingenious woven grass suspension bridges over vast chasms in the Andes. The museum had a life-sized partial bridge on display with a full explanation of the process of making it, along with stunning photos of the completed bridges from different time periods. I was enchanted, and knew I’d found the perfect inspiration for the bridge in Trimble. I modified the manuscript to add a few rich details, and was thrilled with the result.

Getting the setting just right is very satisfying to me as an author, and I hope my readers enjoy it too. To be totally immersed in the land of Destin, check out my recent release, Secret Courtship.

Blurb:
Devoted to the Goddess of the Future, an elegant beauty is blessed–or cursed–with near-perfect foresight.

Han-Mystic Ophelia d’Marana lives a rich life as the strongest seer in the bustling tropical town of Trimble, but still she feels alone. She aches for a family with every beat of her heart. She would take comfort from a prophesy predicting the birth of her child, except the foreseen father is Han-Builder Ulric.

The rude, crude earthworker has no place in her pious life, and has never seen her as a woman worthy of a tumble, until a passionate night proves him susceptible to her beauty. Emboldened, Ophelia hopes to share her destiny with him. But Ulric can’t risk his heart, not again. Instead, they enter into a loveless arrangement to beget a child, each keeping painful secrets close.

When Ophelia’s most ominous prophesy comes to pass, the uneasy lovers overcome their differences to work together against a mysterious plague threatening the city. As their passion burns hot, Ophelia finds she has more in common with Ulric than she ever dreamed. She’s in danger of losing her heart to a man in love with a ghost . . .

If she doesn’t become a ghost herself first.

 

Excerpt

Ulric slowed as they approached their home. Only a lonely meal warmed by the house charmaid waited for him inside.

Fighting the melancholy dragging at his feet, he scratched the top of Racon’s head. In return Racon bumped his skull against Ulric’s hip, a happy sound in his throat. A spark of warmth lightened Ulric’s heart. At least with his waccat at his side, he was never truly alone.

A shadow moved behind the stained-glass window on the ground floor. Ulric frowned. He expected Gracie, the charmaid, to be resting in the heat of the day. Curious, he took the three steps into the house in one stride, Racon trailing behind him.

“Ophelia.” A tightness in his chest relaxed. He wouldn’t be alone after all.

Han-Mystic Ophelia had trained to become a Hand the same season as Ulric. She and Ulric’s roommates, along with Han-Bursar Quintin, had formed a tight-knit group of year-mates. Ulric often felt on the outskirts of their comradery, tolerated more than understood, yet he welcomed even their backhanded affection.

Ophelia looked up at the sound of her name. Radiant as always, her blue sari covered her hair and drifted over her shoulder. The embroidered fabric glimmered in the light from the window. With her grace and elegance, she brought to mind the Goddess she served.

“You’re home,” she said, relief clear in her voice. Her gold and white waccat Felice rose and padded over to sniff his fingers. “How is Racon?”

“Racon?” As pleased as he was to see his year-mate, he suddenly realized the oddity of her presence. On Maranasday, Ophelia had a duty to cast fore-tellings at the temple scrying pool from dawn to dusk. How had she managed to escape? “Why are you here?”

“The Goddess sent me.” She stood and gestured at his waccat. “For Racon.”

Apprehension shivered down Ulric’s spine. There was no reason for Marana, the Goddess of Water, to take an interest in his waccat.

“Racon’s fine,” he said, refusing to believe otherwise. “You want to eat?”

A frown marred her perfect features. “I’m not here to dine with you.”

He grunted and headed to the courtyard at the back of the house. He was hungry even if she wasn’t.

Ophelia sighed, somehow managing to make the tiny sound more exasperated and condescending than any scold.

Bio:


Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018.

Where to find Jaycee:
Amazon
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Bookbub

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

her unruly book September’s Song

by

Ryan Jo Summers

September’s Song was a problem child from the very start. The inspiration for this book came from a photo (aren’t many stories rooted in a picture? Mine tend to be.) A friend had emailed me a series of loosely connected pictures many years ago. There was one photo, showing the back view of a young boy offering a Styrofoam box to a man huddled against the cold. It appeared the man might be a homeless vet, and he seemed genuinely puzzled why the boy was offering him the box. For reasons unknown, that photo resonated with me and I buried it in the back of my mind.

My hobby is word find puzzles. Years later I was working a puzzle themed Sinatra songs. There was one called “September Song”. I remembered the photo of the boy and man and inspiration struck. The very rough bones of the story came to be, and I modified the name of the story to be “September’s Song”.

My research led me down so many rabbit holes, and much of what I learned I never used. I had about three original ideas of where I wanted the story to go, what it should be. The characters would have not none of it. I would sit down to write, and it was like opening a gift each time; and never knowing what to expect.

My plotter personality of writing went out the window. I followed no outline. I wrote, usually without having a clue where I was going. I ended up in so many corners. I was almost through writing the story before I even knew what genre to call it! Characters came and went, without much input from me. The one character I fell in love with—besides the hero!—was Father Patrick. Everyone needs a Father Patrick in their life!

It took about three years to finish the story that defied me at every stage. US Review of Books gave it a Silver Seal of Recommendation, InD’tale Magazine gave it a 4 ½ out of 5-star review and it was a finalist for the RONE award.

Like the problem child who frustrated their parents and end up graduating Valedictorian, I could not be prouder of how “September’s Song” turned out. I decided to self-publish it on my 48th birthday as a present to myself.

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ metaphysical

Blurb:

Ivey London was told her military husband died on a mission overseas. She buried him as a war hero and tried to move on with her life by raising their young son, dealing with her vengeful brother, and coping with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Five years go by and one day she learns of a secret underground chamber were special soldiers are imprisoned to recover. Further, one amnesiac soldier managed to escape. When her son begins to display unusual behaviors, she goes to investigate. All evidence points to finding her late husband. If it is him, back from the dead, Ivey refuses to give him up again.

Keegan London awoke in a hospital cell with no memories. Fleeing, he finds himself in a strange, unknown world, with no one to turn to. Until he finds a friendly Priest who runs a homeless shelter and he stumbles across the woman who claims to be his wife. While she can fill some gaps in his lost memories, she cannot explain his curious abilities. Pursued by someone determined to get him back, Keegan has few options but to trust the woman who makes his heart fire like a cannon. Ivey has dibs on him, but first they have to uncover who—and what–Keegan really is before they can recover what they had.

Excerpt

“No, that’s okay. I can do this by myself.” She spun around, blinking. Picking up the paring knife again, she began peeling. She gasped as his arms gently encircled her waist and his breath fanned her bare neck. His lips nuzzled her ear and she closed her eyes. His hand took the knife from her fingers and she leaned into his touch.

“Keegan,” his name came out in a throaty rumble as her eyes slid closed.

“I don’t know what we used to do, Ivey, but I can tell you miss it bad. I’m willing to try and be your husband again, if you’ll help me.”

Hot tears stung her eyes. She swallowed hard. “So many times you said I was unforgettable. I…I guess–.”

The comment died unfinished, and his fingers reached down and caressed her back. Electric jolts shivered along her spine.

“Don’t push me away, Ivey. Let me be in each part of your life.”

Her breath hitched. This should be easy. Just tell him how they used to cook, what his favorite foods were, what they shared, how they made wonderful love. And miraculously all his memories will reappear. Except it hadn’t worked yet.

From the distant reaches of her mind, Ivey heard the phone ringing. Before she could pull herself away from the counter, it stopped. Assuming Jory answered it, the whole episode passed from her mind. Right now, Keegan took all her focus.

His fingertips trailed lazily up and down her back, igniting tiny fires in their wake.

“Keegan….I….” Words failed her. Heart beating frantically like a wild bird locked in a cage, her mind surrendered.

He gently turned her around, cupping her chin and tilting her up. Drawing a husky breath, he lowered his lips to hers, winding his fingers in the tangle of her hair. Her arms moved to encircle his waist, slipping under his shirt to feel the raised scars and corded muscles. A guttural moan escaped her.

Finally, having lost all concept of time, she pulled apart. Noble, he would not go further with a woman he did not remember making love to. She might respect his intention and restraint, but the unmet need was also killing her. Pulling in a shaky breath, she ended the kiss, stepping away and picking up the paring knife again.

She ran her tongue over her lips, more to steady herself, and rested one hand on the counter for balance. “I can work on this if you want to go see what Jory and Mom are doing.”

Keegan stiffened, hesitated and studied her. For a chilling moment, she hoped he ignored her request and lifted her bodily to carry her away to the bedroom. Then a darkness entered his eyes, a sadness that cut into her chest.

“Yes. Of course.” Spinning, he exited, leaving her alone with the ghosts of what had been.

Damn, damn, damn.

Buy Links (paperback and ebook)

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Ryan Jo Summers writes romances that blur the lines of subgenres. She mixes contemporary with time travel, Christian, suspense, sweet, and paranormal like blending a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Her non-fiction works have appeared in numerous trade journals and magazines including ‘WNC Woman Magazine’, ‘Critter Magazine’, ‘Journey Devotions’, and ‘Vet Tech Journal’. She is a regular contributing author for the ‘Asheville Pet Gazette’.

Her hobbies include baking, crafts, gardening, enjoying nature, and chess/mah-jongg/word-find puzzles. She pet sits/dog walks when she’s not busy writing and she fosters homeless pets for area animal rescues.

She lives in a century-old cottage in North Carolina with her own menagerie of rescued pets and way too many houseplants. “September’s Song” is her second self-published work, the first one being the chronicles of the first two years with her adopted PTSD rescue collie.

Where to find Ryan Jo:

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

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Amazon

Bookbub

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

her book Tricia’s Dream

by

Ana Morgan

Tricia’s Dream

After the death of her beloved grandmother, Trisha Kane is ready to cut all ties to her small hometown. The last person she wants to see is her ex-high school sweetheart. As soon as she readies Nana’s house for sale, she’ll return to New York City and pursue her photography career.</P.

Dalton West knows his chances of winning Trisha back are slim. He foolishly broke her heart seven years ago because he felt anchored in rural Nebraska, and she dreamt of traveling the world as a professional photographer.

A cryptic final-wish sticky note from her matchmaking grandmother sets Trisha and Dalton on a collision course. Trisha has three days to submit a winning photograph to a prestigious contest that will catapult her career, but she needs Dalton’s help.

This is his chance. Can he convince her he’s changed?

Tricia’s Dream will be published June 19 in the Feisty Heroines Romance Collection of Shorts. Over 30+ pulse-racing shorts to capture your heart with USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Award-winning authors in the mix.

Paranormal, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Historical Romance that will whet your appetite with titillating, heart-pounding tales you’ll want to read again then beg for more. Fall in love with your next book crush!

Preorder now for $0.99

Find Ana here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter @anamorganana

Bookbub anamorgan19501

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Friday Features’

Guest shares about the

Final book in the Taming the Dragon series

by

Tami Lund

Four years ago, dragon shifter Sofia had an affair with a gargoyle. The next morning, he disappeared—and abandoned an infant on her doorstep.

Now he’s back, and Sofia is afraid he wants to claim the child she’s been raising as her own.

Griffin isn’t back because he wants the child. What Sofia doesn’t know is that the kid isn’t even his. He’s back because his boss told him to protect her and the baby. A task he doesn’t think he’s capable of doing.

Unfortunately, the more time he spends with Sofia and her adopted daughter Penelope, the less he wants to leave.

And the more danger he’s putting them in.

 

Excerpt:

At the end of the block, he turned the corner, then clamped his teeth onto the straps of his duffle and summoned the magic. He directed his body not to turn to stone but to the leathery, winged creature that would allow him to fly across the lawns until he dropped with an almost soundless thud into her backyard.

Quiet as a cat, he stalked around the outside of the house until he figured out which window belonged to the sleeping child, and then he shifted into his stone form and stood watch, as gargoyles had for century upon century.

Good thing gargoyles needed little sleep, because the babe did indeed wake at 6:00 a.m.

As soon as he heard the first snuffle and yawn, the soft sound of blankets being kicked away, he shifted into human form, snagged his bag, and used his magic to unlock the kitchen door and slip inside.

He waylaid the child as she was about to head into Sofia’s bedroom. She looked up at him, unblinking blue eyes gone wide. Her red hair was tousled, her nightgown wrinkled, and she clutched a stuffed purple dragon in her arm.

Cute.

He lifted a finger to his lips and then motioned for her to walk down the hallway, away from the bedrooms.

She shook her head.

“We don’t want to wake your, er…” What did she call Sofia? He had no idea.

“You aren’t supposed to be in my house,” the little girl said.

“Do you know who I am?” Was that even possible? She’d been three months old when he left her here.

She shook her head again. “That’s why you aren’t supposed to be here.”

“It’s okay. I’m your, er, Sofia’s friend.”

“Sofia is my mommy.”

Okay, one question answered. “And I’m your mommy’s friend.”

She shook her head yet again. “Mommy doesn’t have friends.”

Release date: 6/2/2020

Buy links:

Amazon ASIN: B086WRVK4Q

iBooks

Nook

Kobo

Bookfunnel (universal) link.

Tami Lund writes paranormal and contemporary romance. And drinks wine. And wins awards. And loves her dog, possibly more than the rest of her family. (Just kidding… or not.)
There’s probably a new release coming soon. Check out her website to find out when.

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Friday Features

A new book

Wyrd’s End

by

Carol Browne

WYRD’S END, Book III in The Elwardain Chronicles series written by gifted epic fantasy author Carol Browne, is now live! The books in this trilogy are packed with action and adventure. Be sure to get your copies today!

Determined to spare Godwin the violent death shown to her in dreams, Elgiva uses the portal to cross over into his dimension.

Meanwhile, members of Godwin’s tribe seek sanctuary at the settlement. What has caused them to flee for their lives?

Disguises must be lifted and secrets revealed and wyrd will unfold as it should.

But time is running out…

For it is winter and the darkness is coming;

A darkness with teeth and claws.

BUY LINKS

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction but has also taken a plunge into non-fiction with Being Krystyna. This story of a Holocaust survivor has been well received.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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