Monday, July 31, 2017

Creating a Villain by Joan Leotta


Please welcome my guest, Joan Leotta who has a most interesting post. I'm hooked! Read on.

My friend Julia told me the story of how she and her husband met and married in the mid 1950s. Her tale of going toWashington, DC to marry her then-fiancé, John started it all. He met her train and when she put her foot on the top of the set of metal steps leading from her car to the platform, he reached up and swept her around and down onto the platform. Once her feet touched the ground he pulled her close and sealed her arrival greeting with a kiss. That story and an interest in history grew into a book on WWII in Wilmington, NC which became book one of my Legacy of Honor Quartet.

 So, I had the romance, but what about the rest of the story? World War II work posters always talked about loose lips, the possibility of spies trying to sabotage war work, so it was a natural for me to create a villain who was a spy. My spy was a Nazi. I gave him the very ordinary name of Herbert and characteristics that were ordinary as well. He was a lonely sort of guy, whose goal was to sabotage the key elements of the shipyard—the part developing secret equipment—which is where Giulia worked (of course!). The ins and outs of defeating the spy's efforts are what give the plot its action elements and of course, are one more way I bring Giulia and John closer together. 

I did a lot of research using original resources—newspapers, magazines, records of people who lived through the era. The book is sprinkled with details about life in Wilmington, NC during WWII. Some of my favorite are descriptions of the dances at the USO center, now known as the Hannah Block Center. 

There were spies on the east coast, but nothing has ever been disclosed about any activity in the Wilmington shipyard. There are records of a U-boat attempting to land on the NC coast, a bomb and more, but up the coast from Wilmington. I merely moved the entire activity down the coast so the action could be a part of my story. 

The book is about 35,000 words, a novella. All of this came from a simple conversation that started my imagination rolling. I kept it powered with interviews from folks who lived through the various eras, research in libraries and the simple question, "What if?" 

Here is a small excerpt from Giulia Goes to War, the first book in the Legacy of Honor quartet. This section is from one of the chapters dealing with Giulia's work in the shipyard.

"Giulia had just shown the guard at the door her pass and was entering the Quonset hut when the boom shook the ground. The sound started her ears ringing and sent a flash of heat and light throughout the area. The young guard who had just cleared Giulia to enter the room, pushed her inside and threw himself on top of her. She heard him gasp as a piece of wooden plank implanted itself in his arm. 

She could hardly hear now because of the ringing in her ears, but she thought she heard John calling to her as though from very far away. "Giulia! Giulia!"  It was John! He grabbed her and the guard and pulled them inside the Quonset hut. Before John could assess the situation he heard the shipyard’s alarms wailing.

Giulia's immediate supervisor appeared in the hallway where they were all huddled a few seconds later. "Everyone all right here?" 

Check out my FB page, Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer

Please Take a Look at my Blog, Recipes for Success,

Giulia goes to War

Desert Breeze Publishing Volume I in the Legacy of Honor series

ISBN-10: 161252639X

ISBN-13: 978-1612526393

Buy link to Giulia

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The In-Between Years (special edition)

A few years back, we retired from the day jobs. You followed our farm experiment here on Tortuga Thursdays for three years, but we sold the farm. We traded in the little RV for a bigger one, but we aren’t ready to hit the road fulltime. What comes next? We’re not sure. 

These days, FDW fishes when the weather permits or reads (2-3 books a week), and I write my novels of discovery, suspense, and human relationships. We don’t want to go far from our young granddaughter or my elderly mother for too long, so the next BIG adventure will come when the time is right. For now, the adventures will be small, short, common, drastic, or ecstatic. My outlook has always been that we lead a charmed life. We’ve been where we needed to be, when we’ve needed to be, with what we’ve needed. As a result, I’m changing the drift of my Thursday blog again. 

It's all about transition these days. I hope you’ll check in every other week. These are The In-between Years…

Friday, July 28, 2017

I Delivered My Nephew by Linda O' Connor


Can you imagine delivering your own nephew? Linda did. Read on!

I’d have to say the scariest thing I’ve ever done was … deliver my nephew. At the time, I was an intern in my final year of medical training, and I’d had a few deliveries under my belt. But, you know, when you’re the aunt, in the delivery room for moral support, and the obstetrician is running a little late, and the baby is in a rush to make an appearance, all the warnings about what could go wrong, how you’d never forgive yourself if something went horribly awry, if you made a mistake … well, they just vanish like a popped balloon, and you step up to the plate. Now, apparently I commented that it was a tad messy and it’d be a shame to ruin my shoes, but frankly, I don’t remember that part. Heart racing, sweaty brow, nausea in the pit of my stomach – that I remember. But when that slippery, little, adorable bundle slid into my waiting hands, the terror was replaced with joy.

Today, that little baby is a kind, witty, wonderful adult, and for that, I’m taking credit. After all, they say it’s all in the delivery. :D 

I’ve replaced delivering babies with working at an Urgent Care Centre, but the most fun I have is writing romantic comedies. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Tropical Tryst Boxed Set. It features 25 brand new sexy romances set in hot and tropical settings. Escape with us for only 99 cents. It’s available for pre-order now and will be released Aug. 1. Can’t wait to share Perfectly Skeptical, a Perfectly Series novella, with you! 

About Perfectly Skeptical (Perfectly Series novella)

Dr. Brianna Scott looked forward to sleeping away her staycation, until a windfall meant an upgrade to palm trees, an ocean view . . . and the sexy Dr. Matt Gaelen. She’ll have fun, but can a holiday fling really turn into a soul mate for life? Doubtful. 

Matt has no radar for sniffing out gold-diggers and protecting his heart. Except Brianna is more turned off than turned on by his wealth. What are his chances of getting her to overlook it? Dubious at best. 

Improbable and iffy – the typical path to love. 

Buy links:


Barnes and Noble:


Google Play:

Linda loves to connect with readers ~





Visit for special pre-order giveaways and join the Tropical Tryst Facebook page ( for updates and a chance to win Tropical Tryst swag!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wicked, Wickedly, and Wickedness of All Kinds


Lots of wicked going on today. Did some outside work and it’s Wicked Hot here in Arizona. In fact, it’s been a Wicked Hot summer so far. 

I should be working on my back-cover blurb for my next release, The Deep Well of Love and Murder, book five in the series, but I’m Wickedly Avoiding it. I’ve completed the first draft, sent it off to my critique partners, and they’ve responded. The Wickedly Avoiding part is my stalling looking at their suggestions and finishing it up. You can guess, blurbs are not my favorite writing task. Condensing the entire book to 150 enticing words is Wick-Hard. 

Want to help me achieve a little more wicked? I also need a tagline. Now here’s the wicked part…cheating with a bit of help from you. The object of a tagline is also to entice, to give a reader just enough about the story that they can’t resist reading more. 

Here’s what I have for my rough drafts: 

A vengeful ex-husband isn’t the only obstacle to happiness for Laura Katz and Randy Silva…a high stake, bloody fight for his land puts them at risk. 

A vengeful ex-husband isn’t the only obstacle for Laura Katz and Randy Silva…a high stake, bloody fight for his land threatens not only their happiness, but their survival. 

Do either of these appeal to you? Any suggestions?

Don’t forget to hop over to The Romance Studio for their Heatwave Party. There are some Wicked Good prizes to be had! Click on the graphic at the top of the page.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pawn of Fate by Janet Frances Gibbs

Let me introduce you to a new book and a new author today on MUSE MONDAY


Emma Baden is swept into the dangerous world of radical union organizers in the silk mill town of Union Hill in 1911.  She is drawn to the charismatic socialist leader, Frederick Mossler,  who charms her into becoming a speaker for his cause.    An evening rally suddenly turns violent but Emma is rescued from the panicked mob by Max Keppel, the handsome heir to the town’s largest mill.   Their attraction is immediate, yet he is married and considered the enemy.   Their relationship survives her destructive marriage and the fall of the unions as well as the disintegration of his marriage to spoiled heiress, Lavinia.  Eventually Emma achieves her goal of owning her own embroidery business and lingerie line.  Though she finds success, Emma knows she was always just a pawn of fate. 

Pawn of Fate excerpt 

            As they reached the main road, a car swerved to avoid hitting them. She recognized the Keppel coat of arms, but it was not Max in the back seat; it was a small woman. Emma stared as it drove away. 

Frederick pulled her closer. “Is that what you want?” 

Emma tossed her hair. “No, of course not. It’s just interesting to see how the owners live, isn’t it?” 

Frederick smiled. “They have so much, and yet their workers have so little. One day it will all be equal. Keppel better enjoy his life while he can.” 

He turned back toward the harbor. “Look at that dock over there. See that ship? It’s the Mauretania, one of the biggest ships afloat, over thirty-one thousand tons. Her sister ship, the Lusitania, just broke the transatlantic record from Ireland to New York.” 

Emma strained to see what he was talking about. “How do you know so much about it?” 

“Ever since I came to America in steerage, I’ve always dreamed of returning to Germany in a great ship like that.” He stopped, embarrassed. 

Emma couldn’t help herself; she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. He returned her kiss, and Emma felt her knees go weak. He was right about Max Keppel. She meant nothing to him. He was never going to mean anything to her or the union. He was only protecting his mill. 

About the Author

Janet Gibbs has researched and written extensively on women’s history.  She researched and wrote three biographies for the book, Past and Promise,  Notable New Jersey Women, published by Syracuse University Press, 1997.   Her 2010 dissertation was a critical biography of Zona Gale, Literary Comet. 

Her historical romance, Pawn of Fate, is an ebook and paperback currently appearing on,Barnes & and Itunes.   Her first historical romance, So Much More, was published in September 2016 and is also available.  

She has written non-fiction which has appeared in several newspapers including The New York Times.   She was awarded a grant from the AAUW to complete her novel and was asked to read her poetry at the Princeton Arts Center.   

Born in England she now resides in Northern New Jersey where she continues to write novels about strong women with minds of their own.    Janet Gibbs can be reached at –

Available on, B& and Itunes.-Mainstream Historical, rated PG13. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dirty, Hot...

Got your attention, huh? Dirty and hot describes the Ranch right now, so it's not the best place to be.

The current mess
We rent a spot year round on the Ranch for the RV. If we don't, we'd lose it, and it's where we like to be in the winter. It's going to be even better, once our spot is expanded. The owners of the Lazy
JR Ranch decided to not rent the spot located next to us anymore in order to make our spot larger. We're thrilled with the new space, but not with the mess. We thought the electric would be moved and the cement poured while we were doing a two week jaunt to Prescott and Wickenburg. Came back to check and were greeted with a mess. My guess is, it will be another month before I can move the bird feeder and bath, and plant some greenery.

FDW w/ Sadi in the valley
It's a stretch to call this the RV Life right now. I just may have to rename, yet again, this Thursday blog. For several reasons, the RV won't get off the Ranch this summer. Instead, we're taking local trips in the car without the boat. Prescott, Wickenburg, and the Mogollon Rim have been destinations
Swimming lesson in the valley
of late.

Once in a while we might venture onto the highway in the truck with the boat in tow. The thing about summer in Arizona is it's almost too hot to fish, in the daytime anyway. If FDW does feel like doing some evening fishing, we'll venture back to the Ranch, and he'll go to Apache or Roosevelt Lake in the evening.

With FDW in Prescott
So, it's time to head for Laughlin for a few days. Laughlin is
My artsy shot of Sadi and Daddy dancing
badass hot this time of year, but the casinos and rooms are chilled. And since we have free rooms coming for the rest of the summer, we'll be staying there off and on.

By the way, I'll be here and there for some book signings over the next few weeks. Check out my web site for the locations.  And I'll be at some events on line too. There are prizes to be won at these on line events. Christmas in July is a great one. My day is the 10th, but there are opportunities every day. July 12 to the 16 is a Heatwave Party, and again, lots of prizes to win. Hope you stop by. The links are above and to your right as you read this. Just click on the pictures. Stay cool!

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Weird Little Secret


Mason look alike
Ever so often, a character from one of my stories will come to mind. They won't appear in the exact context of the book. For instance, I just finished writing a book and haven't started the next one. That led me to thinking about Phoebe, from Southwest of Love and Murder, who is a murder mystery writer. She's still living on the ranch with Mason and her son Sky. I actually wondered what she might be writing right now.

My brother just got back from an Alaskan cruise, which led me to wonder about
My backyard in Minnesota
Sandra Holiday from Sleeping with the Lights On. Last time I heard from her, she worked as a tourist guide at a lodge in Alaska. We might've had a cup of coffee in my backyard in Minnesota before she left for the frozen tundra.

Harte's lodge
August, from A Legacy of Love and Murder, married an Austrian Inspector who bore a striking resemblance to James Bond, the Sean Connery version. I imagine she's learned to ski and sold her art studio in Tucson. Maybe she visited my Austrian friend at his lodge in the Alps.

Yep, my characters are like friends, living far enough away that I don't get in on their daily life since they solved the murder, calmed the suspense, and went on with their lives. I miss them at times just like you miss distant friends.

When you read my books, I hope you are totally wrapped up in my characters' lives. But my guess is, when you reach "the end", the story really does come to an end for you. Not so, for me.

Call me weird, but what I create, lives on. I miss them and hope the story I set in motion, the one they revealed as I wrote, continues to be the happily ever after life they deserve. And may the villains stay where the villains were condemned to when last we met. (although the truth is I thoroughly enjoyed knowing them too!)