Wednesday Writers–Forever Lately by Linore Rose Burkhard


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Today’s Wednesday Writer guest blogger is Linore Rose Burkhard. She’ll be talking about her multi-award-winning, sweet and clean Historical Romance/Time Travel Forever Lately. Welcome Linore!

Thanks, Catherine.

I wanted to write a Regency time travel for years. When I saw the movie “Kate and Leopold” with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman I thought, Oh no! Someone used my idea! But I needn’t have worried. Leopold was a Victorian gentleman, not from the Regency, first of all, and secondly, though I enjoyed the flick, I kept thinking it missed so many opportunities for humor. (Having written a screenplay since then, I realize now why it missed so many; tight scripts just don’t have room for all the scenes that could be fun.) When I wrote my story, however, not only was it fundamentally different and unique, but I was able to include the humorous scenes that had been floating in my head for eons. This makes the book a lot of fun–particularly when the Regency hero shows up in the present day. On a side note, I started the book years ago and then dropped it, mostly because I wanted to write it as a Christian romance like my other Regencies. But I kept running into roadblocks. And Christian publishers weren’t interested in time travel. Finally I realized I had to let God out of MY box and write the story He was giving me, not the one I thought He should give me. After that, it came together remarkably easily, and I think in a very fun way. Due to reader interest in a sequel, I’m now brainstorming that book.


“A writer of historical fiction travels back in time—and into the world of her characters. An enjoyable and dramatic era-spanning love story.”

1816, England
Julian St. John needs a wife. An oath to a deceased guardian must be kept. Miss Clarissa Andrews, a vexatious beauty, has dangled after him all season but he has no intention of choosing such a she-devil.

Maine, Present Day
Author Claire Channing is desperate to write a bestseller to save her failing career.  She thinks she’s writing St. Johnʼs story. But when she discovers an old prayer shawl and finds herself in his Regency world, she falls in love with him, a man she thought she invented! But Miss Andrews is also real—and she’d rather see Julian dead than in another womanʼs arms!
Claire must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love beat the limits of time itself?


“Allow me to congratulate you, Julian, on the excellent handling of your horse,” Clarissa purred. “I am infinitely relieved you have kept yourself in one piece, you must know. I should have been utterly cast down had you been harmed.”

He wished he could tell her to go to the devil, to plague him with her incessant fooleries, but he was too much a gentleman—by God, he would be a gentleman. So he said only, “You could have got someone killed.”

“Yes, you,” she agreed calmly, ignoring the steely blue glint of his eyes. “But here you are, as handsome and alive as ever.” She gave him a sweet smile, reminding him of what he found so vexatious in her. She had an innocent smile, delectable lips, but behind it all a black heart.

“Oh, come, Julian, you give me too much credit. No one was anything near being killed. You know it was naught but a lark, only a lark!”

“Only a lark?” His voice dripped ice. “Your coach came directly at me, and if I had been any less a rider, I’d have broken my neck. My horse might have died as well.”

She was thoughtful a moment. “We were not supposed to drive quite so close to you, I own. And why do you insist upon riding such an immense animal? We should have fared the worst, not you; only it did not work out the way I planned.” She spoke with barely a moment’s stopping. “And I warrant you would have come to rescue me in a moment if Margaret had not spoilt everything.” She pouted at him from within the reaches of a richly beribboned bonnet. “I was perfectly prepared to swoon for your benefit. You would have come to my aid, would you not?” She looked at him hopefully, but he made no answer. He directed his next words to the opposite wall of the coach.

“Are you all right, Miss Margaret?” He couldn’t see Miss Andrews’s younger sister, but a sniffle came from the darkness.

“I—I think so. Thank you, sir.”

“Margaret’s perfectly well!” Miss Andrews cried, moving forward so her ample bosom, half revealed in the formal dress of evening wear, was not only plainly in sight, but she blocked any possible view behind her. St. John looked away, refusing to admire her.

Other men did admire her, for she could have made any wall in the kingdom proud with her portrait. She had dark, lustrous hair, an ovaline face with a well-delineated nose, and dark, long-lashed eyes. She also had slim ankles and small feet, which he knew from attending many a ball or rout in town. But St. John could not admire Miss Andrews’s face or slim ankles, for her brazen impudence gave him a disgust of her.

In the past he would have taken advantage of her, welcomed her when she teased him with her alluring countenance and everything beneath it. At times he wanted nothing more than to take hold of her and…He forced his mind to concentrate only on her irksome behaviour. Tonight’s escapade, what she called a ‘mere lark,’ was the latest in a string of vexatious attempts by her to gain his attention. And it was merely a hoax, another of her tricks, to put him in her path.

©2020 Linore Rose Burkard



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About the Author

Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, Forever, Lately is her first Regency time travel novel. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.


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Tasty Tuesdays–Cooking with Jules Montgomery by Jodie Wolfe


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 My character, Jules Montgomery tries to cook this recipe from The Improved Housewife or Book of Recipts with Engravings for Marketing and Carving by Mrs. A. L. Webster. It’s an actual book that was published in 1851. Unfortunately for Jules, her soup doesn’t turn out the way it should since she tends to improvise.


Black, or Beef Soup Receipt

For soup the shank of beef is the best joint. Cold beef steak, and cold roast beef bones, make good soup. Boil the shank, in sufficient water to cover it, about five hours. Thirty minutes before putting the soup on the table, take out the meat, thicken the broth with scorched flour mixed with cold water; season it with pepper, salt, mace, and cloves; a little walnut or tomato catsup improves it. Add sweet herbs, or herb spirit, if liked. Some boil onions in the soup; but as they are offensive to many people, it is best to boil and serve them up by themselves. Make force meat balls of part of the beef and a little fat salt pork, chopped very fine, seasoned with salt, pepper, mace, and cloves, and boil them fifteen minutes in the soup.

Here’s a sneak peek at the scene in Taming Julia:

Taming the wild out of Jules is going to take longer than I’d anticipated. Drew seized his glass and guzzled the water, ignoring the dribbles down his chin. Tears streaked his cheeks.

“It’s terrible!” Jules wouldn’t look him in the eye.

What had she put into the stew to make it burn his mouth and throat all the way to his stomach? He couldn’t lie and tell her he liked the atrocious meal she’d prepared.

“I’m a lousy cook.” Jules’s eyes blinked rapidly.

Oh, no. Not tears. “I didn’t—” Drew wiped his sweating forehead.

“You would’ve been better off…” Jules turned her head away.

“If what?

The unfinished sentence hung between them.

Jules shoved her chair from the table and made a dash for the outhouse. When she returned, her pale face concerned him. He pulled her into his arms and held her while she sobbed.

“I don’t understand.” Her body shook.

In one swooping motion Drew lifted and carried her to the sofa. He sat with her snuggled on his lap, rubbing his fingers along her backbone. A waft of the outdoors tinged her clothes, tickling his nostrils.

“What ingredients did you add?”

Her lip quivered. “It was ‘sposed to be beef soup. The recipe in the book from yer ma said to add pepper, salt, cloves, and mace. I weren’t sure what mace was, and we didn’t have no cloves.”

“So what did you add instead?”

He put his finger under her chin and tilted her head so he could see her beautiful, tear-filled eyes.

“I figured since we didn’t have the cloves and mace I’d use somethin’ called cayenne instead. I can’t rightly recall the rest of its name.”

“Cayenne pepper?”

“Yes, that’s it. I put in two heapin’ spoonfuls. Do you think it’s how I ruined it?”

Drew coughed. No wonder his eyes hadn’t stopped watering since the first bite. “Haven’t you ever had cayenne pepper? I hear they use it often in Texas dishes. It’s very spicy.”

“No, we didn’t usually have spices along the trail. Salt, if anything. Is that why it tastes so awful?”

“It probably has a lot to do with it.” He smiled and tucked a tendril of hair behind her ear, surprised by its softness.


Have you ever had recipes that haven’t turned out the way you planned?


Taming Julia

by Jodie Wolfe

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

Purchase Links for Taming Julia Amazon


About the Author:

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at


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Musings from a Writer’s Brain-Spam, Scams and Other Stupid Stuff by Catherine Castle


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Spam, and I don’t mean the kind in a can, is a pain in the pattootie. I actually like canned Spam, the canned meat that fed an army during WWII. I know, I can hear you all saying, “Eeww!” But I’d rather eat Spam’s canned meat than have to deal with the spammy scams that come over our telephone lines.

We’ve all experienced it. Those annoying phone calls that pop up all day long from spoofed numbers with the first three numbers of your cell phone, home phone, the numbers from your neighborhood, or from 1-800 and 1-900 numbers. I live in a relatively small community and I don’t know a lot of people in the area, so when I get a call from an unknown number sporting the local exchange, I know it’s phone spam.

On a good day, I might get one or two on the land line, and as many on my cell. On bad days I can receive six to twelve, sometimes one every hour from the same numbers. Thank goodness for our home phone system that allows us to program different rings into the numbers for family, friends and service people who regularly come to the house, and the computer automated voice that tells us the numbers. The latter stuff we just let ring.

Although, there have been a few unexpected calls that we’ve inadvertently picked up. For example, there was the day that our own home phone called us. The hubby was downstairs working in the basement and I was deep into writing a new chapter for the book we’re working on. The phone rang and announced his name. I briefly wondered why my husband was calling me on the land line, not his cell, from the basement.

Not thinking, I picked up the receiver and said, “Hello?”

Immediately, the thickly accented voice on the other end began rattling off a scammy spiel.   I hung up. Had I been thinking clearly I would have realized that my land line can’t call itself. I know, because I’ve tried to do so before. A couple of days later, the scam repeated itself. That’s what they do when they get an answer. They keep calling back. I wasn’t in another zone, so I ignored the call.

Even if we don’t pick up the phone, we have robocalls that leave partial messages on the voice mail system. The partial messages are a result of the robocalls starting to speak as soon as the phone is answered. They talk through the answering machines message.

The newest robocall I’ve been getting is from a Mandarin speaking person who rattles off a bunch of words that mean absolutely nothing to me. Apparently, according to my local news resources, Chinese scammers are trying to reach illegal Chinese immigrants and scare them into sending money to keep them from being deported back to China.

Another call I get a lot of say “There is a $299 charge to your account for computer service. If you want to continue service, press one. If you want to cancel press nine.”

Another variation of this scam is the $2000 charge to your account. “If you did not make this charge, call to cancel it.” Yeah, right. I’m not falling for that one because all our cards have purchase alerts on them. Which, I highly recommend if you can do this. It’s caught false charges ranging from $.99 to $9,000.

Then there are the scams that say “…company shutting down. We can’t provide services due to changes in U.S department. To get refund for subscription please call “such and such” number. Within an hour I got three of this same message from a local and two different 1-800 numbers. I don’t know what company is shutting down, because the message started late, nor do I know to what U.S department the message refers. And, as Rhett Butler so succinctly said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d….”

The Social Security number scam had been making the rounds, too. Supposedly, my number has been used in Southern Texas. Before they stopped, I received about six of these partial recorded calls from multiple numbers, in thickly accented, broken English. Our credit information is locked down, and we have an ID Theft notification service, so I know this was a scam. I highly recommend if you haven’t locked down your credit information with the big three companies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian do so NOW. I’ve heard reports on the news about people who didn’t do so when the hack hit, and now they’re dealing with ID theft and credit issues from hackers using their stolen information. Lock down your children’s ID information, too. They now have Social Security numbers assigned from birth, and there have been reported incidents on the news where a child’s ID was stolen.

But the scariest call of all had to be the first scam call I ever received, which came on my cell phone. I was working in the garden and by the time I got my gloves off, clicked the phone on, and held the phone to my ear, I heard a partial message from Officer Heather Gray, from IRS, telling me that I owed back taxes and if I didn’t call back the number they left right away, they would send an officer to my home to arrest me.

Talk about heart pounding! That initial message sent my blood pressure soaring. I hadn’t caught the number. Who carries pen and paper into the garden when they work? I knew we had paid our taxes, and even had received our refund, so the IRS calling me made no sense. Still, I called my husband and relayed the message to him. He told me to calm down. We weren’t in arrears. Our taxes were paid. The IRS didn’t have my cell number. We had never given it to them. In fact, at that time the only people who had our cell were family and close friends. I wasn’t giving it out even to my doctors.

“It’s a scam,” he said. “IRS will not call you on the phone. They do it all through the mail.”

Later that day, I searched the internet for tax scams and found a boat load of information about Officer Heather Gray. Now, after fielding hundreds of spam calls, I shrug them off, or if one piques my interest I google it.

Unfortunately, there are others who must not shrug off these calls or research them, because the calls keep coming. Someone, somewhere, is stealing from unsuspecting people, who don’t know any better, by scaring them sending them money.

My tiny list of telephone spam doesn’t begin to touch the hundreds of scams out there. If scammers can think of a way to cash in on your fear and unfamiliarity with their profession, they will. A quick internet search on telephone scams will bring up a list that will keep you busy researching for hours.

Bottom line, people: Please, don’t send money to strange people who call you. Don’t make Paypal payments to them. Don’t send them gift cards. Don’t wire them money, even if they say a family member is stranded or jailed or anything thing else. And don’t give out any information to ANYONE on the telephone when they call.

If you answer the phone and someone says you owe them money and the company happens to be one that you deal with, hang up. Then YOU call a number that you know is a reputable one. Your paper bills have numbers to reach the proper customer services. The numbers on the back of your credit cards will get you to the real customer service. Be very careful if you look the number up on the internet. Scammers often make their numbers look like the legitimate number you’re searching for.

Never, never, never engage the unknown persons who call you and demand money. Never, never, never give them Social Security, Medicare, bank or saving numbers, other personal information, or even your address. They may have your address, name, and even the last four digits of your Social Security number, but don’t let that fool you. Anyone with a bit of internet surfing knowledge can find out stuff about you. But that doesn’t mean they are legitimate.

Even better, invest in a phone answering system that allows you to block, identify, and sort your family, friends and service numbers by special rings. If you’re not sure about a call, ask a family member or trusted friend to advise you. Let any number you don’t know go to voice mail. If you miss a call, the people who matter will call back or leave a message. After a while, you’ll get used to letting the phone ring. And trust me, Office Heather Gray will not appear at your door to arrest you.


While you’re enjoying your new-found free time (since you’re ignoring all those robocalls) why not pick up a copy of Catherine’s award-winning romantic comedy with a touch of drama A Groom for Mama? Here’s a quick peek at the blurb. If you like the book go to Barnes and Noble or Amazon and pick up a copy or read the sample.

A Groom for Mama

By Catherine Castle

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.


About the Author:

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog


Musings from a Writer’s Brain–Hoarding and the Underlying Issues by Eris Field


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by Eris Field

Image by Deedee86 from Pixabay

Hoarding is a clinical disorder that affects 5% of the population. It tends to start when the person is 12 to 13 years old, often after a loss—death of a loved one, parents’ divorce, or losing cherished possessions in a fire, flood, or hurricane. It has a genetic component. That is it tends to run in families. It also has a neurobiological basis. It has been found that there are abnormalities of certain brain structures (areas of the brain). These brain structures are involved in decision making, attention, organization, and regulation of emotions. Their impairment of functioning is evidenced in emotional responses, thinking, and behaviors that are different from people who do not have a hoarding disorder.

In addition to their compulsive hoarding disorder, 25% of people will have co-existing illnesses such as depression and anxiety. In addition, people with hoarding disorder often experience problems with planning ahead, making decisions, and having an unrealistic desire for everything to be perfect.

Symptoms of hoarding include:
• Experiencing severe anxiety over the thought of discarding possessions because the saved items give them a sense of security
• Buying or saving things that are unnecessary, worthless, or useless
• Accumulating huge amounts of objects that have little or no value such as old magazines, telephone books, clothing, shoes, hats, bottles, boxes, and empty food containers
• Having numerous animals such as cats that they cannot care for
• Inability to organize space for items—hoarded items take over space needed for activities of normal living

The effects of hoarding can be severe and often affect family relationships, work, health, and everyday life activities such as cooking, shopping, sports, and having friends, children or grandchildren visit.

Hoarding disorder often results in:
• Crowded, dangerous (risk of fires or falls), and unsanitary living conditions including the presence of vermin and mold that may endanger the person’s health
• Loss of a cooking space, eating area, and living room, bedroom, halls, closets, basement, garage, porches, and yard due to accumulations of hoarded items
• Loneliness
• Family conflicts and isolation from loved ones
• Inability to perform work as expected
• Financial problems related to compulsive purchasing of unneeded objects or the care of an accumulation of a large number of pets
• Legal problems such as threats of eviction.

What you can do to help:
• Encourage them to seek professional help
• Suggest self-help groups such as Clutterers Anonymous
• After treatment, help them with their belongings if they ask for help. Remember that many feel great anxiety if anyone touches their things
• Remember that hoarding is an illness like other illnesses such as diabetes or kidney disease,
• Don’t remove things without their permission
• Don’t expect perfection or constancy

My novel, The Gift of Love, is a story of hoarding and the perils of the disorder. I hope it helps you understand the problem so many people must face.

Laurel, a 26-year-old slightly impulsive pediatric nurse learned her survival skills through early years in foster care. Her life dream is to provide a home for six abandoned children. But, before she can do anything about the dream, she must sell the huge old house her adoptive parents left her. She must sell it before she falls even deeper into debt. To put it on the market, requires tackling the escalating compulsive hoarding of her reclusive half-sister who lives with her. Paper of all kinds is filling the rooms and hallways of the house. She has tried reasoning, nagging, and threatening. Now in desperation, she borrows from her Union’s Retirement Fund to go to a conference on the latest treatments for Compulsive Hoarding.

Andrew, a 39-year-old psychiatrist, is never impulsive. A reticent, somewhat austere man, he limits his interactions with people to his work. His life is strictly planned and modelled on the life of his grandfather who was one of hundreds of orphaned boys raised by Father Baker. Despite the scorn of his father, an entrepreneurial plastic surgeon, he prefers to practice psychiatry in the underserved communities of Buffalo, New York. Being handed Jamie, the mute two-year-old grandson of his father’s second wife, as he is about to leave for the conference where he has agreed to fill in for a colleague is definitely not part of his life plan.

When they first meet, a series of unfortunate events cause Laurel to view Andrew as arrogant, rude, but disturbingly attractive and Andrew to view Laurel as a dangerous distraction to be avoided. Faced with a crisis, they are forced to work together, but will they be able to put aside their protective armor and trust each other enough to let love in?

Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As a seventeen year old student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met a Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and forced population exchanges. After they married and moved to Buffalo, Eris worked as a nurse at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—a wonderful rewarding but never to be repeated experience.

Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, Eris’s interests include: Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders; Eradicating Honor Killings, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about Turkey, Cyprus, and Kurdistan.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Wednesday Writers–The Targeted Pawn by Sally Brandle


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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is one of my favorite suspense authors, Sally Brandle. She’ll be sharing an excerpt from her newest book, The Targeted Pawn, and talking about a research aspect that she feels made a big difference in her books. Welcome, Sally!

Asking for Help Garners Wonderful Contacts

by Sally Brandle


Engaging sensitivity readers prior to publishing helps writers craft authentic books. In The Targeted Pawn, my hero’s grandmother asked him to protect their ancestral Blackfeet cemetery, on land adjacent to his ranch. To ensure the accuracy of several scenes, I sought guidance from an acquaintance belonging to The Blackfeet Nation and Thomas Smittle, from the Oglala Lakota tribe. I’m fortunate that a horse owner at my barn put me in touch with Tom, who’s offered a wealth of information. He participated in the program depicted in The Mustang (2019), and then portrayed a lead character in the film. It’s a powerful picture worth viewing by adults, and a win/win for inmates and wild horses. Along with corrections on terminology, Tom provided insight into the teasing banter between him and his friends, which enriched my character, Rane Calderon. I strive for realistic portrayals and am thankful to my ‘herd.’


The Targeted Pawn

by Sally Brandle

Threats forced her to flee Seattle. Honor binds him to Montana. A second chance at love tethers them together.

Elon Hardy’s romance skills are rusty after a loveless marriage ends, but upon meeting hunky rancher, Rane Calderon, sparks blaze hotter than her welding torch. To support her collegiate sons, she’s determined to acquiesce to the bullheaded, female-phobic boss until her divorce finalizes from her deceitful husband.

A woman Rane trusted ruined his life, and at forty, he won’t be fooled again. Blisteringly mad he’s hired a female bearing a man’s name, he fights attraction for the curvy, determined brunette while thwarting efforts to build a private prison atop his Blackfeet ancestors’ burial ground.

Can Elon and Rane realize love doesn’t have a “best used before date”? If you enjoy smoldering romance, mercenary villains, and rescued animals, you’ll love escaping again to Emma Springs, Montana.



Fired before she started? No, the Bull Boss couldn’t do that to her. Elon gripped the underside of the table edge, willing him to give her a trial run. One stinking opportunity to prove she wasn’t as worthless as Tim maintained. She bit her lip. There wasn’t enough cash to return to Seattle. “I drove here in good faith. Give me a chance, Mr. Calderon.”

Rane took in a deep breath, then let it out slowly. “You did me a favor helping my bull, so I’ll do the same.” He folded her letter and rested his fist on it. “Wasn’t expecting to accommodate a woman.” His glance flicked outside and back to her. “There’s an unused bedroom and attached bath down that hall.” His face softened for a split second before he flipped his thumb over his shoulder. “You may bunk in my grandma’s room. She didn’t handle stairs either.”

She’d handle him all right. Her fingers relaxed. “Sounds ideal. You have an MIG welder?”

He glanced around the kitchen, as if noticing the mess for the first time. “Yup. Welding can wait until tomorrow. Start by feeding the men at five o’clock. Plenty of grub in the storeroom through the door by the sink.”

“I’ll fix a hearty meal.” She palmed her locket. “I don’t have a cell phone. May I call my sons to tell them I arrived?”

“House phone’s on my desk in the far corner of the living room. No incoming calls after ten at night, Montana time. Anything else?”

“When do you cut checks?”

“On the fourth and the twenty-eighth.” He rifled through the stack and pulled out a photocopied timesheet. “Normally the men hand in hours three days earlier. I can take yours that morning.”

“Thank you. I can work through the weekend to catch you up.”

“Good. Other questions?”

Angel needed an advocate. “Just tell me where to park my car and oh…I, ah, have a dog.”

“Your car’s ok where it’s parked. Didn’t realize you brought a guest,” he said, in a voice turned soft as suede.

The calm before the storm? “Hadn’t planned to adopt a pet. A jerk tossed her from a truck on the highway an hour ago.” She clenched her fist. “I won’t abandon Angel. That’s what I named her.”

His boots scraped the floor as he pulled them in. He rose to his full height. “Angel can bunk inside, or I’ll find her a temporary doghouse.”

“I won’t let her bother you.”

“Dogs never do. If she needs kibbles, ask for Fred. He’ll find someone headed to town.”

The man did have a heart. For the first time today, she smiled. “Thank you. I’ll find something to feed her tonight,” Elon said.

Rane leaned over her, close enough to show dark stubble on his perfectly sculpted jaw. The guy’s black lashes appeared thick as paint brushes. His eyes glowed a deep shade of russet.

Flutters swirled in her belly. She blinked several times and leaned back.

With one fist braced on the papers, his chest stiffened into a shield. “Animals I trust, Ms. Hardy. Women are another story. A month’s trial, then we’ll talk.” He straightened and walked out, leaving a trail of spice-scented annoyance.

The front door slammed shut. Elon flinched.

So much for the misconception of a kindly old rancher. Nope. Her fortyish boss possessed the ability to morph into a hardened commander with one scowl from his squint-eyed, condemning looks.

She fingered the buttons on her blouse. How gracious of him to give her a month’s trial run. The divorce might take a year.

Rescuing Angel had helped win him over. They both needed a home until she got the settlement check, and she’d use the pup’s plight again if necessary. She removed a crusty saucepot from the sink. Stacking dirty fry pans cleared a space under the faucet to scour a water bowl for her dog.

Stagnant air surrounded her. “Uggh.” The place needed an open window and a stiff breeze. A metal ring hung from the middle of the lowered roller shade. Tugging it sent the blind snapping upward. She shoved open the pane of grimy glass on a window that faced her car. Dust particles danced in the filtered sunlight. Outside, the men gathered in the corral around the bull.

She collected Rane’s papers, crossed into the living room, and dropped them onto a desk capable of seating six. Angel would think she’d been abandoned again, but first she’d phone her boys.

Brandon didn’t have late classes. She punched in his number and smiled to hear his voice. “Hi. Hoped to catch you. Made it to the beautiful ranch. Cowboys and cattle.”

“Glad to hear, Mom. Beats deadbeat dads.”

She couldn’t agree more but wasn’t going to bad-mouth Tim. “Did Jeremy tell you the cost of his book?”

“I think he said two-fifty for a stupid, newly minted, print-only book. I’ll look for a part time job online tonight.”

The shameful practice of overcharging for a college book hadn’t ceased. “I’ll send him the money next week. I’d prefer you concentrate fully on schoolwork.”

“Okay. I’ll tell him. Thanks for leaving the freezer full.”

“You’re welcome. Tuesday’s my first payday. It won’t be a windfall, but we’ll manage. I’m sorry about the divorce drama.”

“We’re all better off without Dr. Deceitful judging our every move. We think he’s gone off the deep end.”

“Let’s not jump to conclusions. I’ll open a bank account tomorrow so I can transfer money to you, okay?”

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Please be careful. Did you smash your phone?”

Her eyes teared from pride of their protective instincts and sadness at the reason. “I did. You boys mean the world to me. I’ll be back in Seattle soon. Love you.”

“Back at you.”

Her stalwart Brandon sounded worried. The handset wobbled into the cradle. “Damn you, Tim,” she whispered.

Want to read more?

You can find Targeted Pawn at Amazon:

About the Author:

Multi-award winning author, Sally Brandle, weaves slow-burning, clean romance into edgy suspense, motivating readers to trust their instincts. Growing up as a tomboy alongside brothers prepared her to work in a male-centric industry, raise sons, and create action packed stories featuring capable women. She thrives on creating unintentional heroines who conquer their vulnerabilities and partner with heroes to outwit cunning villains.


Social Media:

Website: http://

Sally’s Blog link:




Tasty Tuesdays–Meat Salad from Tina Griffith


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from Tina Griffith

Meat Salad is a European dish that I have grew up with and still enjoy to this very day. Throughout the years, I’ve learned to make it even more special. Now it’s my own recipe and I take it to almost every event my family has. Of course, there are no left-overs, and people have always asked me for the recipe and today I give it to you.

It’s not difficult to make and is a delicious bouquet of flavors in your mouth. It can be made in any quantity you wish. Simply scale the ingredients up or down to fit your need. Shall we begin?

5 packages of your favorite lunch meat such as: black forest ham, Lyoner sausage, beer sausage, roast beef, mortadella
1 jar garlic pickles, cut off both tips
3 dashes paprika
Miracle Whip (it’s mayo on steroids) to taste
Rye bread

Dice lunch meat and pickles into same-size pieces. Place into a glass bowl, because steel or aluminum seem to alter the taste.

Add paprika and 3 to 4 large tablespoons of Miracle Whip to the mixture.

Do not add salt and/or pepper, because the meat has enough salt already.

Mix together so every piece of meat is covered. Chill 1 hour. Serve on a slice of soft, rye bread.


About the Author:

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

You can find Tina’s Book on her Amazon Author Page

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Musings from a Writer’s Brain–Writing is Like Laundry by Karin Beery


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Writing is Like Laundry … by Karin Beery

image courtesy of pixabay

Do you remember the TV show Castle? Author Rick Castle followed detective Kate Beckett around to find inspiration for a new novel. Once he was inspired, he wrote the book, submitted it, and presto! He’s done.

Sort of.

Most people think that’s how authors write and live their lives: write a book and get it published. That’s a massive over simplification. I’ve found that writing a book is more like doing laundry—there are certain steps you need to follow, you’re often working with more than one load at a time, and you repeat the process endlessly. Here’s what I mean:

  1. Sort the laundry: plan your story. Writing your manuscript isn’t even the first step! First you need to organize everything, like sorting your whites and colors. You have to figure out your characters, the plot, the setting. Lots of loads.
  2. Start washing: now you can write your story. Take all of your information and put it into a captivating manuscript.
  3. Dry: edit. (They forgot to show that step on Castle.) Self-edit. Peer edit. Hire an editor. There are many ways to clean up your manuscript.
  4. Put away clothes: submit your story.
  5. Repeat #2 and #3: has anyone ever done just one load of laundry? Has any writer ever only worked on one story at a time? Not likely. You may have put some clothes away (i.e. submitted one story), but there’s more laundry to go (i.e. more stories to write).

This process continues until the laundry basket (your creativity) is empty. Then, six hours later, it’s full again, and you start the process all over again.

Steps #1-5 are, of course, the perfect scenario. There are always unexpected issues that pop up though:

  • Stains (scenes or characters that leave a bad impression)
  • Holes (plot holes; characterization holes)
  • Frayed hems (conclusions that just don’t work)

You never know when one of these issues will pop up, but you always have to decide—fix it or throw it away? Never easy to do with your favorite yoga pants or your favorite secondary character.

Like any chore, writing can become monotonous if you let it, so I don’t let it! I make sure to break up my writing projects by working with other people, reading, or walking away completely to let my brain reset (while I do a load of actual laundry).

I suppose someday I could run out of ideas, but I hope the creative side of my brain will keep filling up like my laundry basket.


While you’re waiting for your laundry to dry—the real stuff, not the book laundry—check out Karin’s book Practically Married

Practically Married

By Karin Beery

Ashley moves to a new town to marry her fiancé. Instead, she buries him.

Ashley Johnson moves to northern Michigan to finally meet her fiancé face-to-face, but she arrives in time to go to his funeral. With no home back in Ohio, she decides to stay in what would have been their house, except his cousin Russ lives there too, and Russ has never heard of Ashley. To complicate matters, her fiancé accidentally willed her the family farmhouse. Eager to please everyone and desperate to disappoint no one, she proposes a marriage of convenience that could solve her and Russ’s problems, if they can get past her aunt, his sisters, and an ex-girlfriend.



Ashley turned back to the open refrigerator while she listened to Rob’s footsteps fade away. Cheese, meat, bread, more cheese. She handed everything to Russ. Unlike his paperwork, there was no way he could lose the food between her hands and the kitchen counter.

But what if Russ couldn’t find the deed? What if they weren’t good roommates? Could she get enough work in the next year to save up a down payment on a house? Panic squeezed her lungs. Ignoring the leftover veggie tray and fruit salad, she grabbed the gelatin and set it on the island.

Russ handed her some meat that he’d smashed between bread. “Looks like we can add the farm to our list of things to figure out.” He threw together another sandwich then stood beside her, both of them leaning against the counter, munching away. Russ tore through his food, staring at the floor. Ashley bit into her sandwich, but it gummed up in her mouth. She tossed it on the counter and grabbed the bowl of green, jiggly comfort instead.

Russ opened a drawer in the island. “Spoon?”

“Thank you.” She took the largest spoon and scooped out a mound of lime gelatin and whipped cream. “You know, as crazy as it’s been since I got here, none of this should surprise me. Tom used to do this to me all the time. He’d start talking about something that he forgot to tell me about, then get mad that I couldn’t follow the conversation. It shouldn’t surprise me that he forgot to tell you about me.”

“You should have been his business partner.” Russ crunched into a pickle. “We always had stuff showing up at the farm without explanation. You’re the first bride, though.”


About the Author:

Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. In her free time, she enjoys watching University of Michigan football and action-adventure movies with her husband and fur babies.


Wednesday Writers–Blackflies and Blueberries by Sharon Ledwith


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Sharon Ledwith is my Wednesday Writers guest today. She’s sharing her newest YA paranormal teen psychic mystery Blackflies and Blueberries–book 2 in the Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series.

Welcome, Sharon


The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter,Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Tasty Tuesdays–Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Popper from Gina Briganti


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Gina is in my virtual kitchen today to share a clean, healthy dessert. Welcome, Gina!

Thanks, Catherine.
Are you expecting twigs covered in carob? I won’t say I haven’t had yummy carob desserts, but I have serious chocolate on my mind.
Do you think you aren’t allowed to have chocolate pecan cheesecake? Not. True. You can have these. They’re also gluten-free.
One way you stay in balance while eating this treat is that they are decadent and you likely will not eat more than two.

Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Popper
½ cup organic cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. organic unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. organic raw pecans, ground, and another tbsp. for sprinkling on top

Mix all but the final tablespoon of pecans together (by hand works fine) in a mixing bowl until the cream cheese and cocoa powder are smooth and creamy.

Put the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Sprinkle your hands with water, then shape ½ tbsp. of the mixture at a time into balls.

Garnish with the ground pecans you held in reserve.

Keep refrigerated until party time.

Easy, creamy, deep chocolate flavor. That’s what I call holistic!

Here’s a peek into my fantasy romance where dreams and psychic connections become reality. This is the first book in the series. I hope you enjoy it.

Single mom Dana Carapelli wakes up in a parallel world called the Dreaming for the first time the night before she meets a handsome rancher. Soon after she wakes into the Dreaming again and finds that she is on his ranch. He knows all about the Dreaming because he wakes up there every time he falls asleep. When he tests their telepathy link she passes, plunging her into a psychic link with him. He admits that he has been promised a perfect partner for him and his teenage son, but doesn’t know if it’s her. Family and friends caution her to take it slow and that’s without her telling them what she knows will make them sound crazy. Joe is everything her dead husband wasn’t. What if it’s her turn to be happy? What if it’s real?

Start the journey into this fantasy romance today!

Amazon Buy Links

Gina Briganti is an RWA member who writes fantasy and sci-fi romance in north Texas.

She also writes holistic health non-fiction because real life can be magic, too. Her credentials in holistic health include certification as a Reiki Master Practitioner and teacher, certification as a nutrition consultant, and a degree in holistic nutrition.

When she’s not writing, eating delicious healthy food, reading (follow her on Goodreads to see the massive variety she finds appealing) or making videos, she is spending time with family and friends. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.

Visit her website and blog for book trailers, newsletter sign up, for exclusives and announcements that are shared only in her newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Gina’s Amazon Author Page, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Musings from a Writer’s Brain–World Book Day by Catherine Castle


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It’s World Book Day today and I thought I’d celebrate with a writing cartoon I drew.

While the Merriam Webster dictionary defines a book as “a set of printed sheets of paper that are held together inside a cover, a long written work” the writing of stories started way before that definition came into play.

Writing and literature have been in our world since the 4th t to the 7th millennium B.C. Granted the works weren’t on paper as we know it today. Word of mouth, or oral history kept stories alive. Additionally, stories were told on mediums such as a rock wall, clay tablets, papyrus, fabric, and even gold. We know this because some of these ancient works are preserved around the world in various museums.

Today’s literature has come a long way from the days of when cuneiform writing on clay tablets and cave writing produced by sharp stones jabbing stick figures pictures into a rock wall told a story. I hope you’ll enjoy my lighthearted cartoon depicting the progression of stories.


Now that you know some new things about the history of books and writing, why not enjoy a multi-award-winning book by Catherine? Her inspirational romantic suspense The Nun and the Narc will not only keep you on the edge of your seat, but you’ll find it funny and inspiring. Not her words, but what her readers say. It’s available in paperback and ebook, and much easier to read than a heavy golden-paged tome. It’s also available without going to a museum and it won’t cost you a fortune to buy.


The Nun and the Narc

By Catherine Castle


Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.



About the Author:


Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.