Friday, August 30, 2019

Fearless Women: Grandmother and Granddaughter by Sally Brandle #fearlessfriday


I have a special place in my heart for grandmothers, maybe because I am one. Please welcome my guest, Sally Brandle, who has that same special spot in her heart.

I imitated the grandmother I never met.

My Irish grandmother, Margaret (Maggie) Mary Gallagher, boarded a steamer for New York in 1902 at the age of nineteen. Seventy-six years later, at twenty-one, I moved from rural Michigan to Seattle. Both of us followed brothers to a new life—a fact I realized upon writing this post. Maggie bid goodbye to her Irish sister and parents in Newcastle. I hesitated to vacate Saginaw, knowing my newly divorced mom-my best friend-would reside alone in our empty childhood home. Mom devoted her life to her family and insisted I pursue my dreams. The saving grace was my other brother who visited Mom daily.

And so, I drove 2,200 miles in my yellow Firebird Formula, towing a turquoise utility trailer. An observer may have concluded the circus was coming to town. At times I hovered on a high wire. My Seattle brother encouraged me and remains a part of my life.

My grandmother
Sadly, Maggie’s brother died in a tragic accident a few months after her arrival in her new country. Maggie dealt with a time period of disdain for the Irish, being a pretty single woman in a huge city, and employment as a domestic servant for the wealthy Gould family. I’d recently graduated from college and acclimation to a bigger city and an unexpected teaching job challenged me. I wish I could’ve spoken to her about shared feelings of insecurity, missing friends and family, and her sense of self. She died during the Great Depression, leaving behind a small metal trunk filled with postcards and a diary of her life in 1907. A photo shows we share a love of riding horseback. Piecing together the snippets of her life into a story will be my tribute to an adventurous woman.

The first three heroines in my Emma Springs series leave Seattle for a new life in a picturesque Montana town. Deep down, do I long for the simplicity of my childhood in scenic Michigan? Hmmm. The book I’m editing now features a thirty-nine-year-old heroine with twin sons in their first year of college. I understand her bittersweet emotion each time
Me on Lance
she ends a phone conversation with them after she’s moved to a job she wasn’t trained for in an unwelcome environment. Her hunky, annoyed employer thought he’d hired a man as his welder. I trained for teaching second and third grade special education and ended up in a high school behavior disorders classroom. At the beginning of the year, a few of my students were my age.

Strong women survive and trust their instincts. That’s what I’ve learned to do over the years, and I hope my books encourage others to do the same. The opening book in the series features a woman who is in the right place at the right time. You’ll understand if you dive into The Hitman’s Mistake.

Happy trails,

Haynet (horse enthusiast) Review:

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Reading and #Reviews (Jackson, La Plante, Binchy)

I'm a writer, but I'm also a reader. Each month, I'll share with you what I'm reading and some reviews. My available time to read is limited because I write, but I love to curl up with a book or an eReader at night for the last hour my day.

I tend to read what I write, but not exclusively. My current read was a Romantic Suspense by Alicia Dean entitled Death Notice. I say was because my Kindle died before I finished. I picked up an actual book by Tom Clancy while my Kindle fixes itself...which it isn't doing. As soon as I get a new Kindle, I'll finish Ms. Dean's book. I was really enjoying it!

Here are some of the books I've read recently or in the not too distant past. Maybe you'll discover a new book or author!

False Bottom by James M. Jackson
Crime Suspense
“In this sixth book in the Seamus McCree series, he must find a path through a labyrinth of lies and secrets stemming from his father's death more than forty years earlier and resolve all of Uncle Mike's legacies before the killer can strike again.

This is the first Seamus McCree series book I’ve read. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it. I doubt you need to read the books in order, but I’d like to go back and read book one to be sure. I had the sense I needed to know the family better. I couldn’t “see” the Seamus character clearly. I had trouble understanding what made him tick. I love a good story, but I also require characters with depth that pull me in and make me feel like I know them. All and all, the story was involved and intriguing.

Widows by Lynda La Plante
Crime Suspense
“Facing life alone, they turned to crime together. Dolly Rawlins, Linda Pirelli and Shirley Miller are left devastated when their husbands are killed in a security van heist that goes disastrously wrong.”

Criminal’s wives turn to crime. Dolly is the leader as was her husband. She’s rich and smart and not too young. She discovers his playbook and decides to continue his work. The only thing that made me hang in on this book past the fourth chapter was the characters. This book was written for the purpose of turning it into a film. It read that way to me. I didn’t find it written particularly well. But Ms. La Plante did weave a complicated tale, and it turns out with a bit of a surprise twist here and there. The characters were so vivid, I had to follow their paths to the end.

Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy
“When a new highway threatens to bypass the town of Rossmore and cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer. But young Father Flynn is most concerned with the fate of St. Ann’s Well, which is set at the edge of the woods and slated for destruction. People have been coming to St. Ann’s for generations to share their dreams and fears, and speak their prayers. Some believe it to be a place of true spiritual power, demanding protection; others think it’s a mere magnet for superstitions, easily sacrificed.”

I am never disappointed with a Maeve Binchy book. Her tales of seemingly ordinary people absolutely enthrall me. There doesn’t need to be murder or hair-raising suspense that pushes your level of believability. Her characters are enticing, her settings beautiful. Always a great read.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The #Villains We Love to Hate by Alice Renaud #fantasy


Please welcome Alice Renaud who loves villains as much as I do...

Villains! Don’t you love them? A good villain really spices up a story, gives the heroes someone to fight against, and drives the plot forward. Who can forget the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel, or Cruella de Vil and her Dalmatian coat? If you looked at her and murmured, “Oooh, I’d like a coat like that,” congratulations! You had an eye for fashion, as well as, possibly, psychopathic tendencies. But maybe that was just me.

As we grow up, we gravitate towards more complex villains. For me, the best villains are the ones that hold the possibility of redemption. The villains that might, just might, become your friend, unite with you against a common enemy, or even save your life! And also, the funny ones. We all love a villain who makes us laugh.

So here are my top 5 favourite villains. Who would make your list? Let me know in the comments!

Darth Vader. The ultimate villain, dark, powerful, mysterious – and he redeems himself through his amazing sacrifice to save his son.

Loki, in The Avengers films. He’s bad! He’s good! He’s funny! He’s played by Tom Hiddleston! What more do you want?

Snape in the Harry Potter saga. He’s a baddie who was really a goodie all along! A tragic, romantic hero, played in the films by the great, late, Alan Rickman.

Any pirate, real or imaginary. Who hasn’t dreamt of being whisked away by a dashing baddie, cutlass in hand? If he looks like Johnny Depp in his prime, all the better!

Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer in Killing Eve. The best female baddie ever, the perfect psychopath, and yes, she’s as funny as hell, and just as inhuman.

In my book A Merman’s Choice, the villain is Rhys Regor, leader of the Regor Merman Clan. He hates humans, and is determined to stop the hero, Yann, from hooking up with the delicious Alex – because Alex is human. But Rhys softens up eventually, when he becomes a grandfather. It does take him two books, though!

Meet him and my heroes in A Merman’s Choice, buy here:

Mermen are forbidden from marrying humans. When Yann falls in love with Alex, he faces the most difficult choice of his life. A hot and tender forbidden love story between a shape shifting merman and a young woman, set in a mysterious island off the coast of Wales.

Bio: Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she's a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and lovelorn witches.

Contact links:

Monday, August 19, 2019

Waterfront Memories #RomanticSuspense #Series by Claudia Shelton


Please join me in welcoming Claudia Shelton to Discover...
Writing the opening to Dangerous Lies was a wonderful memory revisit. A few years back I vacationed on Sanibel Island, which also means I spent time on Captiva, plus a day trip to Ft. Myers. Staying in a waterfront condo meant an endless view of the Gulf of Mexico, thick mangroves along the paths to the beautiful beaches and the sound of waves tumbling end over end before rushing in to shore. Those experiences helped me write the first few chapters.
But if you read Dangerous Lies, you'll find the hero and heroine end up in a totally different area of Florida which meant researching via the internet. In fact, I saw some gorgeous views and marinas and beachfront houses that reached into the millions. And since this story is fiction and I'm the one writing the story, I was able to take parts I wanted from different locations and make the location exactly what this romantic suspense adventure needed.
I think I hear Sanibel/Captiva calling me again! 
Dangerous Lies Blurb:
To ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Granger, responsibility isn’t just a word. It’s his Code of Honor. But when assigned to protect Coercion Ten’s latest target, she challenges his authority, defies his rules, and wreaks havoc on his personal willpower. Fighting for her isn’t a problem. Giving his life for her isn’t a problem. Forgetting their world-stopping kiss? Definite problem. And if he can’t concentrate solely on keeping her safe, it may cost them both their lives.
Journalist Liz Walkert’s missing father sent her a cryptic message that she was in danger. What he didn’t tell her was why. Unbeknownst to Liz, her family has been in Witness Protection all her life. Mitch may be her bodyguard, but his protection comes close to being control, the one thing she has none of in his presence. After a kidnap attempt and a narrow escape from attacking CT forces, they both realize they’re going to need to focus on the mission and fight their attraction if they have any hope of surviving.
Each book in the Shades of Leverage series is STANDALONE:
* Slater's Revenge
* Dangerous Lies
Dangerous Lies Excerpt:
Racing out of his bedroom, he crouched low, hugging the wall as tightly as he clutched his gun. Should he alert Liz? Set up his perimeter at her door? No. Right now, he had a clear lead on the intruder. Other movement might put him on the defense.
Slowly, he inched down the stairs. Heard muffled footsteps. Saw a flash of light turned on. He inched farther down. Darkness flashed as the switch was evidently thrown off, leaving only the kitchen's nightlight casting a slight glow.
The footsteps headed toward him. A loud pop cut through the air.
Mitch jumped the railing. Landed, rolled twice, stood, and aimed his weapon. "Stay right where—"
Liz's terrified expression greeted his aim as she sucked in a panicked breath. Caught in the glow of the night-light, she scrunched her arms against her sides, shielding her chest by holding her hands in front of her, one of which held a chocolate milk.
"Wha-what are you doing?" Her shaky voice matched the tremble of her body.
"I heard a sound. Thought it might be CT."
She flipped on the overhead light, which illuminated her hair dripping wet. Her oversized sleep shirt skimmed more than halfway up her thighs. "Do I look like CT?"
Redundant question. No need for an answer. He was the one who needed answers. And, to keep his eyes on her face. "What was the loud pop I heard?"
Liz bent and retrieved a bag from the floor. "I dropped my cookies."

Dangerous Lies (Shades of Leverage Book 2)
Buy Now:  Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple Books

About the Author
Award-winning author Claudia Shelton could write her name before the first day of school, but now she writes romantic suspense, thrillers and contemporary romance. In addition, she presents workshops for readers and authors. Her debut novel, Risk of a Lifetime, released to 5-star reviews, reached Amazon's Best Sellers Romance Series Top 100 and was named one of eBooks Galore top reads for 2014. She is also a two-time nominated Daphne Du Maurier (Unpublished) finalist for excellence in mystery. Claudia is the author of the Shades of Leverage action-adventure romantic suspense series.

On a personal note, Claudia considers herself a traveler, music lover and water person. A cool drink while listening to the splash of waves is always nice—so is a mug of hot chocolate in the falling snow. Her main priority is spending time with family, friends and her two sweet, conniving rescue dogs.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

#Wicked Goes Straight to #Sexy by Sandra Dailey #romance


Please welcome Sandra Dailey today. Have fun with wicked! And don't miss out on her $.99 special.

Hi Brenda! Thanks for having me on your terrific blog. It’s so comfy. And, I’ve been looking forward to being here on Wicked Wednesday.

Wicked (wik’id) adj. 1. Evil or morally bad; sinful. 2. Playfully mischievous. 3. Harmful; dangerous: wicked roads. 4. Unpleasant; foul: a wicked odor. 5. Slang. Wonderful; great; masterful.

I love the word wicked. It can be used in so many ways. It can be used to describe so many things. Where does my romance writer mind go when I think of the word wicked? It goes straight to sexy. That first spark of sexual awareness which unexpectedly hits you in the gut, or somewhere, and builds to a raging inferno. I guess that would make it a combination of 2, 5 and maybe a tiny bit of 1. At last, that’s the direction my mind takes.
After publishing my first book, The Chief’s Proposal, one scene was continually brought up by my readers. I was surprised. This wasn’t the sexiest scene in the book, but it seemed to make an impact. After seven years, people still bring it up to me.
I’ll set up the scene and you can judge for yourself.

Young school teacher, Ginny has entered into a marriage of convenience with Brett, a small-town sheriff. The only thing they know about each other is that they have nothing in common. Before they even talk about consummating the marriage, Brett is shot in the shoulder in the line of duty. This is the first time Ginny catches a look at Brett when he’s, so-to-speak, out of uniform.

Ginny woke on Monday morning, Labor Day, to the sounds of Bear barking, doors thumping, and Brett cursing. She stumbled into the hall and tried to decide which way to go first; across to the bathroom, to the left where Bear waited to be let out, or to the right where Brett seemed to be having a temper tantrum, or as it was better known in the south, a tizzy fit.
“Both of you just shut up!” she yelled. It was time they realized she wasn’t a morning person. To Ginny’s satisfaction, the house suddenly fell silent. She felt all powerful.
First, Ginny did a quick step to the back door to let Bear out. If she ended up having to clean up a mess, she’d rather it be her own. Once her own most urgent needs were met, she tapped on Brett’s bedroom door. She felt much better and spoke in a sweeter and quieter tone.
“May I come in?”
“I don’t know,” Brett snapped, “do you plan to turn the knob or just kick the door down?”
“You’re safe with me.” Or maybe not. When she opened the door, she caught her breath in a gasp. Brett stood in the center of the room. The only things he was wearing were his arm sling and a pair of black boxer briefs. The tight, stretchy garment dipped low in the front due to the nice way he filled them out. She honestly tried to look him in the eye, but on her way up, her attention was caught by the expanse of dark smooth skin over washboard abs and a wide strong chest. The man was Playgirl centerfold ready.
Brett cleared his throat. “A little help here, please? I can’t get my britches on one-handed.”
Ginny was confused until she saw the uniform pants in his right hand. He needed help dressing and she couldn’t think of who to call. Suddenly it hit her. She was his wife. He expected her to help. Would this fall into the category of for better, or for worse? And what was he doing with his uniform anyway? He’d left the hospital less than twelve hours ago.
“Why are you out of bed?”
“I got lonely,” Brett smirked. “Are you volunteering to keep me company in there? I’d be glad to crawl back in, in exchange for some serious body heat. Who knows,” he winked, “it could be mutually satisfying.”

By the way – The Chief’s Proposal is on sale through the month of August for only 99cents – just in case you’d like to read the rest of the story. It’s still my favorite.

Ginny Dearing has finally realized her goal of teaching, but finding a position is proving impossible. After exhausting all possibilities, an Internet ad is her only hope. In a small town hundreds of miles away there is a job with one huge string attached...a husband. 

Burned by love once, Brett Silverfeather finds his bachelor life more than satisfying. He's facing re-election for sheriff, but this time the voters are looking for a family man. Brett finds himself pursuing a marriage he doesn't want.

Ginny and Brett are opposite in every way, but opposites do attract. Can Brett protect his heart as well as he does his town? Can Ginny hide a secret past that could possibly destroy her future?

Buy links:

Have you ever written a scene that people still talk about? Was it wicked?

About me:
Storytelling has always been my favorite way to pass time. I've often been told I should write a book. Finally, I did. It was so much fun: I felt I must write more, so I have.

Look me up:

Thursday, August 8, 2019

In the Book...Inspiration #Free #Audiobooks

How about a FREE AUDIOBOOK? Read on...

My fiction is character driven. When I begin a new novel, my favorite thing to do is the character study for the stars of my story. My first books relied heavily on people close to me as inspiration for my characters. Even now, there are bits and pieces of people I know in every book.

A secret admirer, a redheaded stalker, and an eccentric millionaire have thrown Sandra Holiday on a dangerous path.

The three main characters in the first book I published, released nine years ago last May, Sleeping with the Lights On, were right out of my life. The story is fictional, for the most part anyway. A few small incidents are close to true, but those are my secrets.
Real-life inspiration for Carson.

After two failed marriages and countless relationships, Sandra Holiday thinks she’s met the man to end her years of less than perfect choices; choices that not only derailed her travel-related career plans but also left her single and broke. 

Carson Holiday, a Las Vegas country crooner with swoon-inducing good looks, spent his adult life pursuing a recording contract and love, never holding on to either. After eighteen years, he drops back into Sandra’s life, reigniting an attraction he can’t deny.

When Carson reappears, Sandra must choose again.  Only this time, nothing’s as it seems.  A secret admirer, a redheaded stalker, and an eccentric millionaire throw her on a dangerous path, with Carson her only truth. 

As life confronts her with yet another turning point, will her decisions find her eternally sleeping with the lights on – or will she finally discover a way to turn them off?

Sleeping with the Lights on is available in eBook, print, and audio.

The audio is narrated by Lily Dubuque. She does a fantastic job of bringing my characters to life.


If you like audiobooks, I have review codes for FREE. I'll send you a code for a FREE AUDIOBOOK in exchange for a review. Hit me up before they're all gone. I have a limited supply. You can email me at

Monday, August 5, 2019

Gift from a Muse by Barbara White Daille #Romance #MuseMonday #series


Barbara is a welcomed guest here on Discover... Enjoy her Muse Monday offering.

Thank you to Brenda for inviting me back for Muse Monday.

Sometimes my muse will give me a gift I don’t see coming—a great story twist, a fabulous bit of dialogue, a setting that feels like home to me and to my readers. A while back, one of those gifts came in the form of a character.

A seventy-something, matchmaking grandpa.

In the first book in the Hitching Post Hotel series, Jed Garland just wanted to see his three granddaughters married and settled down. He’s done that and more. And this time, Jed has a little help in the matchmaking business, thanks to a three-year-old boy determined to find a new mommy.

I’ll be honest with you. Writing is by far the most difficult job I’ve ever done, and the gifts don’t show up nearly as often as I like. Yet, the anticipation of finding out what surprise my muse will come up with next makes every day feel like Christmas morning!

Excerpt from The Rancher’s Family:

Cara heard what might have distracted Wes. The sound of shoes slapping against floorboards. Very small shoes, judging by the noises now growing louder and closer.

A moment later, Mark burst into the room waving a sheet of construction paper. “Daddy, I finished my picture!”

He caught sight of her and came to a screeching halt. Eyes wide, he sucked in a deep breath. The paper slipped from his hand and fell, shushing to a stop on the hardwood floor. “Hello! Are you my new mommy?”

Book Blurb:

“Are you my new mommy?”

She certainly hopes so…

After a devastating loss, Cara Leonetti’s dreams of a husband and children are on hold. But Cowboy Creek’s local matchmaker thinks otherwise! And Cara finds herself unexpectedly entangled in the day-to-day family chaos of widower Wes Daniels and his two small children. She’s falling hard, but the strong, silent rancher doesn’t trust in love. Can Cara put her own fears aside and show Wes that they’re stronger together?

Buy Links:

About Barbara:
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate.  Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:

Find Barbara and her books:

Friday, August 2, 2019

What's the Worst That Can Happen? by Luanna Stewart #fearless #FridayThoughts #romance


Always a fun guest to have, Luanna Stewart has a humorous, fearless post. Have fun!

I’m one of those people who gets an idea to try a thing and thinks ‘what’s the worse that could happen?’, but then doesn’t worry about the potential disaster because I really want to try the thing.

Many (many) moons ago, I dropped out of college to work as a nanny in England. The earth didn’t leave orbit, nor did I become homeless and forced to wander the moors calling for Heathcliff. (Actually, that sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it?) But nor did I marry the Duke of York – he never returned my calls.

Then I left college again (see a pattern here?) and moved to Baltimore with my then-boyfriend. We lived in a slightly scary neighbourhood (police helicopters were forever shining their searchlights in our back yard) but I survived, have a few great stories to tell, and am still married (34 years) to that boyfriend.

Since then I’ve had lots of ideas, some have been successes (how hard can it be to write a book?) and others have been ‘oh well, better luck next time’ experiences. But I’m always willing and/or eager to try.

We recently built our dream retirement home. Well, ‘we’ didn’t do any of the actual building, the construction crew did all the hard work. DH and I merely supervised and made decisions. (Though there were times I’d have preferred to pound nails than decide where to put the freaking electrical outlets – grrrr.) But we left a few things unfinished because I had the idea we’d work on those things ourselves. Save a few pennies in labour costs and try something new. It would be fun!

Now, there are a few things I have no desire to try, and they involve heights. Step onto a 60th-floor balcony? I’d rather not, thanks. Bungee jump? No, thank you! Skydive? Are you insane?!? Shingle a roof? Uh…

One of the undone projects was building a garden shed. As you may know, a shed is useless without a roof, and a roof needs to be covered in some way to protect it from the elements. Up here in northern climes, we need a roof that’ll survive lots of heavy snow.

On the shed!
And so up the ladder I went.

That’s me without my face blacked out. With me are my daughter-in-love and my long-suffering DH who goes along with most of my great ideas. Son1 took the photo.

As I ascended the ladder I thought about ‘what’s the worse that could happen’. Death was a possibility. The shed is only one story tall but I don’t think that matters if one lands on one’s head. A broken bone would be more likely, or a big BIG bruise.

Luckily no one was injured in the making of this shed – apart from a few skinned knuckles. I perfected my hammering skills, though. And we get to say we built that shed. Proudly, because it’s a nice shed. And we have lots of stories to tell.

My first deck
I’ve never built a sun deck before either so we did that next.

And since we were successful with the garden shed, we’re now tackling the
Chicken coop to come
chicken coop.

Another roofing job is in my future. This roof will be closer to the ground, thank goodness. I really don’t like heights.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever tried? Are you a fellow ‘what’s the worse that could happen’ thinker?

Be sure to sign up to my newsletter, Dispatches from Gooseberry Cottage, where I share my latest book news, tantalizing recipes, and photos of all my great ideas.

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. She spends her days writing spicy romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and historical romance. When not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious. She lives in Nova Scotia with her patient husband and two spoiled cats.

New release: Love Proof

Unemployed photojournalist Raynor Elliot stops at a bakery near the famous Deerbourne Inn. Not only does he get a lead on a job but the bakery’s owner is that awkward kid he knew in high school, only now she has fabulous curves and an irreverent sense of humor. The cozy bakery, with its aroma of sugar, vanilla and spice, has more to offer than tasty cookies.

Fiona MacLeod has been plagued for years by the need to make amends for telling The Big Lie. When the lie’s victim strolls into her bakery with his icy blue stare and killer charm, she feels like she’s standing too close to a hot oven.

Between running her bakery and frosting cupcakes for the Mad River Garden Party, she's pretty sure she's falling in love with this infuriating, sexy man. Can Fiona dredge up the courage to confess, face the consequences, and hope for forgiveness?