Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Triple #Wicked and #Sexy #Romance


I'm more than excited about the wicked characters I have in my soon to be released The Deep Well of Love and Murder, book five (and the final book) in my Love and Murder Series. Wicked men this time, but they don't totally steal the show. There's plenty of sexy romance.

But back to bad guys. Do you think imperfect humans can accidentally fall into a life that marks them as villains? In this final book of the series, there are three villains who are totally different from each other. Were they doomed from birth or just unlucky in life and made the wrong choices? Every interesting villain isn't totally bad. They have to have some redeeming qualities to be believable and interesting.

Clark Katz first appeared in book one, The Art of Love and Murder. He was married to Laura Katz. He was also a lazy, cheating husband who toyed with thievery. Spoiled by his mother and grandmother, he turned out to be a worthless adult. Now, several years later, in The Deep Well of Love and Murder, he's Laura's ex and a paroled criminal. He's dangerous and causes Laura a world of hurt. How far will he go to get Laura back?

Clark ripped the tape, and the skin around her mouth burned. When he leaned close, their noses nearly touching, she pulled her head back, escaping the worst of his hot, stale breath. This wasn’t the Clark she’d met so many years ago. That young man had always smelled of the watermelon candy he loved.

Villain number two is Charles Farley. He's a rather pathetic man. As a gambling addict with a big debt to some unsavory characters, he's looking to make a quick buck. When he joins forces with my number one villain, he does the unspeakable. Spoiled by his mother and at odds with his father, he still acts like the rotten child he was even though he's past forty. How far will he go to get the money to pay off his debt?

“You promised me a bonus.” Farley squinched his face like a grade school brat. “Up front.”

“I promised you a small commission prior to full funding for the project, if you managed to get him to sign on the dotted line.” He wanted to take the clueless idiot and shake him by the shoulders.

Farley downed the rest of the whiskey and peeked into the glass as if more would appear.
“What’s the last between you and your father?”

“I slugged him.” He slid his gaze to Brad, a glassy look in his eyes. “I slugged my old man.” He flopped on the end of the bed, his chin practically touching his chest, the empty glass falling from his hand.

Brad’s mouth fell open, and he gawked at the whiny bastard. His old man had twenty-five years on him, and probably had thirty pounds and more muscle than his son ever had. The old rancher could’ve knocked the shit out of his kid.

“How did that work out for you, Charles?”

And last, but certainly not least, is Brad Markham the too slick city developer from Las Vegas, Nevada. He's really in over his head with a mob financial backer. There are ranchers who stand in his way. His wife has left him and his partner is close to a breakdown. How much can his weak character take? What will he do to save his marriage, his project, and his financial status?

Brad’s hands trembled. The air in the room thinned. Deflecting blame on Charles or not, he suspected the detective still had suspicions about his involvement. What the hell was he going to do? The whole deal fell solidly on his shoulders, with no one—no one—on his side.

His wife wouldn’t support him. Charles was a bumbling fool only interested in his own gain. His partner could do nothing but complain. Manzetti threatened. Investors were pulling up stakes.

Now a damned, small town, idiot detective was sniffing at him. This had to stop. This deal had to come together.

If it didn’t, nothing else mattered.

Yes, there are villains, but as always, this Love and Murder book has plenty of sexy romance, too! I hope I've wet your appetite for some wicked fun. I'll be announcing the release date soon...I hope!

Meanwhile, here's a teaser for the book and the full length video to come.

And if you haven't yet read the first four books in the series, you can find them as well as all of my books, on my Amazon Page. Click HERE

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Story Behind the Story . . . A Train Ride to #Heartbreak By Donna Schlachter


Please welcome Donna to Discover Yourself. If you'd like to be in the drawing for a free print edition of Mail Order Brides (US only), please leave a comment!

The idea for this story came from a love of a movie and a friend with a great story to share. 
The movie was “The Fugitive”, both the original series pilot and the more recent remake. I loved the idea of a train ride leading to a second chance. 
My friend had recently taken a train ride from Denver to San Francisco, and she shared several delightful stories. I wondered if a train ride might be like a cruise in that it would provide an insulated environment where the travelers might do something they’d never done before. If so, this was perfect fodder for a romance, much like the old TV show, “The Love Boat”. 
And then I saw “Murder on the Orient Express”, and as a lover of anything Agatha Christie, decided to incorporate a few of the details in my story. 
The result? A chance meeting, two characters with integrity, and a way for God to reach both of them. 
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free print (US only) copy of Mail-Order Brides Collection.

1895, Train to California
John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love. 
October 1895
Mary Johannson has scars on her body that can’t compare with the scars on her heart. She is alone in the world, with no family, no prospects, and no home. 
John Stewart is at his wit’s end. His wife of three years died in childbirth, leaving him with a toddler and an infant, both girls. Theirs was the love of fairy tales, and while he has no illusions about finding another like her, his children need a mother. 
Though separated by thousands of miles, they commit to a mail-order marriage. But on their journey to Heartbreak, they meet another and realize the life they’d planned would be a lie. Can they find their way back from the precipice and into the love of God and each other, or are they destined to keep their word and deny their heart? 

About Donna:
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid author who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a local critique group, and teaches writing classes and courses. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management. Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!
Other Books: Amazon: and Smashwords:
Excerpt: (when John and Mary first meet)
John handed his bag to the porter, an older, stooped Negro, who nodded and smiled, thanking him for riding with him. John held back the sharp retort itching on the end of his tongue for release. It wasn’t the old man’s fault he had to change trains. 
He climbed the three steps and hesitated. Left or right? With no assigned seating, the only question was which car would be quieter. He’d had his fill of crying kids and snoring men. 
He glanced through the door of the car on his left. A woman reading a magazine, and two men playing cards. On the right, a woman with three children who ran up and down the aisle. 
Left it was. 
Inside this car, he sat in the second row. The woman was to his right, and the card players were behind him. He propped his feet on the seat facing him, crossed his legs at the ankles, tipped his hat over his face, and closed his eyes. With any luck, he’d have a good long rest before the conductor woke him for dinner. 
But while his body screamed for sleep, his mind wouldn’t settle. He worried about his daughters. He fretted over how Martin was handling things on the ranch. Sure, he was experienced. Sure, he’d managed things before when John was preoccupied with Sophia’s illness. 
He’d always been there in case Martin had a question. Now he was hundreds if not thousands of miles away. What if a cow went into a breach labor? What if a steer broke through the fence again and ended up in the mire? What if— 
He snapped his head up. He could “what if” himself to death. John drew a deep breath and settled his chin on his chest. No matter how bad things got in Heartbreak, there wasn’t one thing he could do about it. He might as well relax. 
Pages rustled beside him, and he glanced at the woman reading the magazine. Pink tinged her cheeks, and her mouth formed a tiny “o” as though she was reading something pleasing. He couldn’t make out the cover of the magazine from this angle, but he doubted it was a Sears catalogue. She was much too engrossed in it. 
The irony of the situation didn’t escape him. Here he was, caught up in worrying about what was happening in the real world—his real world—beyond the confines of this train, and there was this young woman purposely losing herself in the make-believe world of her reading material.

Friday, March 16, 2018

BACK IN THE SADDLE … LITERALLY #horse #ride by Holly Bargo


Please read on for a most heartwarming, yet totally fearless, horsey tale by my guest, Holly Bargo.

Anyone who knows me in the least knows that horses occupy a huge part of my life. From that first, impromptu ride when I was three years old, the four-legged beasties have populated my dreams and desires. With a loan from my mother and the understanding that I would not only pay back the loan, but also would cover all horse-related expenses from then on, I bought my first horse at the tender age of 15. So was she.

That first horse taught me a lot, initially that she was in charge, not I. We began our relationship with her throwing me against a stall wall when I attempted to pick up her foot. During our first ride, she bolted. Very quickly, I learned that I had a whole lot to learn. We eventually grew to trust each other and I thought I could ride anything.

Fast forward nearly 20 years and two children later to living on my own hobby farm. That first horse had long since crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I had a 10-year old, green broke gelding returned for the second time from training. With my toddler son watching, I tacked the horse up, longed him, hopped in the saddle, and … ate dirt. Even though I wore an ASTM-approved safety helmet, I still sustained a concussion, bone-deep bruising, and nasty abrasions.

I never rode that horse again. The very idea of riding terrified me.

But I remembered when riding was fun. When I enjoyed it. When the horse and I moved in synchrony with each other, a summer breeze in our faces. I wanted that simple and profound joy and peace again.

So, I went back to the drawing board and took riding lessons. The instructor understood my fear and understood that I needed to get beyond it. She pushed me: walk, trot, and, yes, damn it, canter.
I looked for another horse, something older, something settled, something easy. I saw an advertisement for a 19-year old Morgan mare. Since reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books as a little girl, I’d wanted a Morgan. I scheduled an appointment, drove out to see the horse, and fell in love with a pretty face. A friend with a truck and trailer hauled the lovely Lady Anastasia to the trainer’s. I begged the trainer to ride her first and work out the quirks and kinks.
After doing so a couple of times, she said to me, “You don’t pick the easy ones, do you?”

Back to the basics again. My knees shook. My stomach churned. I forced myself to get into the saddle. We walked. Eventually we trotted. When it came time to canter weeks later, my heart pounded with terror as Stasia launched into a canter. I wrestled my all too energetic, 19-year old horse to a halt and damn near cried I was so scared.

I took lessons for a few more months. That so-called settled and easy horse wasn’t: “hell on wheels” was a better term. Ounce by hard won ounce, I regained my courage now tempered with healthy respect and the reminder of my mortality. Stasia didn’t give me anything; she made me earn every drop of confidence and skill.

The lovely Lady Anastasia turned 33 years old in February. She looks amazing for being above-ground, bright-eyed and energetic. Last fall, I broke her out of retirement for the second time. She still has energy to spare. She still isn’t one of the easy ones. But we understand each other. And, as difficult and quirky as this old mare is, I’m once again confident in the saddle.

This bodes well for the next horse.

About Holly Bargo

Holly Bargo is a pseudonym that originated as the registered name of—you guessed it—a horse. She lives on a hobby farm in southwest Ohio with her family and a menagerie of animals. Holly has published 18 books with the 19th, Daughter of the Deepwood, due for release on March 31.

To find all of Holly's books, visit her Amazon page. Click Here

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Enter now for your chance to win! 
March 13-31
Readers of romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers, I have a giveaway just for you! Enter now and you could take home a Kindle Fire HD8, Kindle Fire 7, or Amazon gift card. Have you been eager to get your hands on that new suspense bestseller? Win one of 4 ebook prize packs also among the list of prizes and you can tell us which books to buy to feed your reading habit: suspense, mystery, thriller. CLICK HERE TO ENTER THIS FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY

Plus, shop our book fair for some heart-pounding reads from our talented group of sponsoring authors writing in your favorite genres. CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK FAIR

It's a dynamite event you don't want to miss!

This Giveaway is Sponsored by
Alex Gordon • Amanda Uhl • Angela Sanders • Ava Bradley • Brenda Whiteside • BV Lawson • CB Samet • Colleen Mooney • Dara Carr • DiAnn Mills • Donna R. Mercer • Ellen Byron • Ethan Jones • Eva Winters • Fiona Quinn • Greta Boris • Inge-Lise Goss • J. L. Lora • Jacqueline Diamond • JC Andrijeski • Jennifer St. Giles • Judith Lucci • Julie Mulhern • K A Servian • Kris Michaels • Kristy Tate • Mimi Barbour  • Monique Singleton • Naomi Bellina • P. Creeden • PJ Fiala • RM Alexander • Sahara Roberts • Stacey Joy Netzel • Stephanie Queen • Stephany Tullis • Tamara Ferguson • Tamra Lassiter • Taylor Marsh • Tee Smith

Monday, March 12, 2018

Read the Ending Before the Beginning by Linda O'Connor


Please welcome Linda O'Connor talking about my favorite subject...characters.

When I sit down to write a novel, I try to give my characters one or two quirky character traits to make them more interesting, more fun to read about, and hopefully, more relatable to the reader. In Between the Pipes, the heroine, Dr. Sarah Jain, gets together with her friends for movie nights. Sarah doesn’t mind watching suspenseful movies – because she reads the spoiler alerts and knows the ending before the movie starts!
She gets that from me. :D
I love knowing how a movie or book ends. Some people would be dismayed at the prospect but not me. If I know the ending, I can relax and be entertained. One time, I flipped to the back of a novel and read the ending. Imagine my surprise when the story didn’t turn out the way I’d thought it would – because I’d unknowingly read the sneak peek of the next novel instead of the ending of the one I’d been reading. Foiled! Haha.
I’m very good at keeping it a secret and not spoiling it for anyone else, but I do love spoiler alerts!
How about you? Do you prefer to know how a story ends before you start watching it or reading it? 
Between the Pipes (In the Game Hockey Romance, Book 1) 
Sarah Jain is a family doctor in a hockey-crazy town. She hates hockey. She hasn’t gone anywhere near a rink in years, until her friend, the team doctor, calls in a favour. Mike Wallace is the starting goalie for the Clarington Quakes, the local professional hockey team. He’s not about to let an injury slow him down or a rookie doctor call the shots. 
Sarah and Mike don’t respect each other’s jobs. When they have to work together, sparks fly and ice melts. Can they play a game they both can win? 
Love on the ice doesn’t always go smoothly. 
She’d love any excuse to spend time with him. It’d be so easy to say yes. But going for coffee together veered into the realm of personal. If she could keep their relationship professional, it wouldn’t be a problem, but she was already attracted to him. Much as she wanted to say yes, her conscience said no. First, he was a patient, and second, how could she think about getting involved with a hockey player? Passion for hockey was the last thing they’d ever share. As tempting as it was, she needed to give this one a miss.
“I’m sorry. Unfortunately, I can’t.”
“You sure?” He smiled slowly. “I could spring for a jelly donut.”
She laughed. He didn’t have to sweeten the invitation. He was eye-candy enough. “Tempting, but…”
“Too much sugar? How ’bout an apple fritter? Sounds a little healthier.”
It really was too bad. “Ah well, I was going to go for a bike ride.” That was good. Sounded athletic…she had plans. Nothing personal.
“On your own?”
She nodded reluctantly.
“You know, I have the day off. I could come along and prove that my ribs are okay. If I can cycle, then I can play.”
His eyes looked so hopeful. She felt awful, but she needed to dissuade him. “I don’t go very fast.” Sarah winced silently. He potentially had a rib fracture. He needed slow.
“I don’t mind.”
“It might rain.” She scowled at the beautiful blue skies, without a trace of clouds.
Mike laughed. “I don’t mind getting wet. Why don’t I grab a picnic lunch, and we can meet at the South Lock parking lot in an hour? We can cycle along the river, break for lunch, and come back. How does that sound?”
Perfect, she thought glumly. For a bad idea, it sounded perfect.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Would My Physician Coworkers Become Judgy McJudgersons? by Jan O'Hara


Please join me in welcoming Jan O'Hara with a most fearless post! And leave a comment for a chance at her eBook...
In thinking of a topic for this post, I remembered a time when I was still working as a family doctor and when I made a call which had the potential to threaten my livelihood, my coworkers’ impression of me, and the future of a clinic.
While that may sound pretty dire, I can’t qualify it as fearless action because it felt like a calling I couldn’t refuse.
My story begins during what appeared to be a routine departmental meeting.
We had a guest lecturer in—Dr. Ronna Jevne, a Ph.D. psychologist armed with statistics and research. While the scent of stale coffee permeated the room, she talked to us about the importance of hope. The bottom line? As a profession, we were doing a lousy job of communicating realistic hope to our patients, and that meant they paid a huge price. If you doubt that, consider the placebo effect, which is nothing more than people getting better because they believe they have the means to get better. Depending upon the study, it routinely runs about 5%, meaning that one in twenty people get better solely because of the power of hope.
Anyway, as Dr. Jevne spoke, I had goosebumps chasing up and down my skin, and after, though I’m generally a quiet introvert, I had to speak with her. When we were alone, I blurted out something like this: “The reason doctors can’t give hope to patients is that we have so little of our own.”
For some context, I had just returned to work after taking medical leave for burnout. But as I settled into the traces and looked around my clinic, I could see I was in better mental shape than many of my colleagues. They were as exhausted as I had been, the difference being that they weren’t admitting the depths of their suffering.
Fortunately, Dr. Jevne understood what I was saying. And as that conversion spun into further encounters, we began to dream of big things.
Was there a way, we wondered, to teach medical doctors how to get in touch with their own hope? To learn a system of hope cultivation? Would they then pass that hope on to their patients in a contagion of positivity? What if we didn’t restrict the reeducation to doctors but involved all the staff in a particular clinic? Would that strengthen the effect?
To our surprise, when we took our vision to the department chair, and then to the hospital administrator, they seemed equally excited about the possibilities. They helped garner resources. (To this day, I wonder if their openness was because the hospital had been founded by an order of religious nuns so that the link between spiritual wellbeing and health had already been validated.)
This is where I confess, though, that in the midst of our preliminary success, I developed selfish concerns.
By even talking about this stuff, would I risk the good opinion of the other doctors in my clinic? While I had been getting excited during Dr. Jevne’s talk, that hadn’t been true of everyone. I hadn’t missed their polite silence, even the rolled eyes. A few colleagues already saw me as weak because of my medical leave. Would this mark me as someone who couldn’t cut it in “regular” medicine, and therefore someone who cultivated woo-woo solutions?
But as I said above, it didn’t feel like I had a choice, so onward we marched.
In the end, what were the results? 
We began with a clinic-wide workshop and finally met one another at an extraordinarily personal level. (Imagine facing your coworker and asking, “If hope were a color, what color would it be, and why?” Then imagine responding in kind. Not typical water cooler conversation, is it?)
We learned about specific hope-strengtheners and hope-detractors, and how to change what we did in the exam room.
We decided to remodel our clinic so our physical space would reinforce the message of hope. This meant different paint, quotations on the wall, personalized artwork, and a financial cost. But once again, the hospital administration came through with funding, and when they saw the results, they took the model to other locations in the hospital, then other hospitals in the network.
The patients loved the outcome. In our refurbished, kinder space we had deeper conversations about things that truly mattered to their health.
As for my fears about being written off by my skeptical colleagues, for the most part they were unrealized. We had the support of the majority and the hospital board, so the people who might have become hostile simply remained quiet non-contributors.
In writing all the above—and thank you, Brenda, for the opportunity to revisit a lovely period in my life—I realize how many emotions I borrowed from this experience while writing my latest release.
In Cold and Hottie, the heroine learns she is being sent on a corporate retreat that will be run by a psychologist. (Reportedly an aggressive one, rather than the brilliant ones who helped us.)
She understands that she’s about to become more visible to her employer and coworkers while playing these “games”, and that there’s a real possibility they’ll decide she is weird.
She also has history with her boss, so she knows she could be handing him further reason to get rid of her.
On top of everything, she has to worry about wearing a bathing suit in front of her colleagues.
Have you had an office socialization experience that was awkward, and potentially affected your employability? To be entered in a drawing for an e-book copy of Cold and Hottie, leave a brief comment below. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about the book and me, here are the deets. 
Blurb for Cold and Hottie: 
She's being sent to Jamaica for a team-building exercise. It will be led by a crazed psychologist, and the man she done wrong...who is now her boss. Oops.

A decade ago, in a messy breakup with the only man she has ever loved, Olivia Prosser behaved badly. Since, she has lived with the consequences.

Then bad news comes in rapid succession: the company she works for has been purchased; her ex, Finn, is her new employer; and she'll be reconnecting with him during a mandatory retreat in Jamaica. Five days filled with forced emotional intimacy and corporate-speak, not to mention memories better left in the past.

A white knight's armor will rust in salt water.

For years, Finn Wakefield has known who to blame for his breakup with Liv. Then new information comes to light. Liv might be innocent, and the party who framed her might be lodged within Finn's company, continuing their acts of sabotage.

But Liv shows no interest in righting the wrongs of the past. Is that for ominous reasons or because she is over Finn? Either way, for the sake of his company, Finn must push for the truth – even if the cost is a twice-broken heart.

Cold and Hottie was previously published as part of the Tropical Tryst box set, which became a #1 international bestselling ebook anthology (Aug. 1/17). See why readers call it "...a delicious page-turner set in an exotic setting.

Sales links:
Barnes & Noble:
Author Bio and Connect Links
A former family physician and academic, Jan O’Hara left the world of medicine behind to follow her dream of becoming a writer. These days she confines her healing tendencies to paper—after making her characters undergo a period of delicious torture, naturally. She writes love stories (and biographies) that move from wackadoodle to heartfelt in six seconds flat.
Jan lives in Alberta, Canada and is a columnist for the popular blog Writer Unboxed.
Join Jan's mailing list for updates on her forthcoming books, exclusive content, and access to reader giveaways, including a free recipe book coming out next week