Friday, September 27, 2019

To Judge or Not To Judge by Debra H. Goldstein #fearlessfriday


Please welcome Debra H. Goldstein, wait...Judge Fearless Friday. Giving up, what seems to me, a fascinating job of being a judge to follow her dream really is fearless.

Judges learn many things in “Judge” school – how to dress (black robe), keep a straight face no matter what lawyers or witnesses say, apply applicable law to the facts of a case, and avoid any appearance of impropriety. Because of my training, I deliberately kept my two careers separate when I began writing fiction.

Consequently, I didn’t make a big deal of the publication of my IPPY winning academic mystery, Maze in Blue, or mention to anyone in the office when I sold my second book, Should Have Played Poker. I thought I could easily balance my passion for writing and my lifetime judicial appointment. It didn’t take long for my win-win plan to be tested.

I was sitting on the bench, in my black robe, about to end a hearing with my usual, “Is there anything more?” The attorney in front of me, who’d been trained to answer “No, your honor,” did exactly what he was supposed to do. Unfortunately, his client interrupted him: “Your honor, there’s one more thing.”

When I paused to let the attorney get his client under control, he raised his hands in absolute surrender. I struggled to keep a straight face while asking his client what he wanted to tell me.

“I just want you to know, your honor, no matter how you rule, I’m going to buy your book.”

Although I kept it together on the bench, I went home that night knowing I had to make a big decision –continue in my safe and secure job or throw it away to follow my passion. Although I couldn’t predict how a writing career would turn out, I knew if I stayed healthy for twenty to thirty years, there was time to follow a dream. Then again, on the other side, the last two judges to retire after very satisfactory careers were eighty-eight and eighty-six, respectively. 

Passion won. I took the leap. As a writer, I may never achieve the financial security of my judgeship, but four published books, including Two Bites Too Many, the recently released second book in Kensington’s ongoing Sarah Blair cozy series, and thirty plus short stories later, I’m having a ball.
                                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (One Taste Too Many, Two Bites Too Many). She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place, have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Debra serves on the national boards of SinC and MWA, and is president of SEMWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter. Find out more about Debra at .

Two Bites Too Many – Barnes and Noble -

Monday, September 23, 2019

Finding Euphoria by C. Becker #adoption #drugs


Today's guest post is by C. Becker. She's tackled a heavy subject. It's a tug on your heart subject. Read on!

Adoption is one of the main topics found in Finding Euphoria, the first story in the suspense Euphoria trilogy.  Hailey Langley endured the hardest decision any woman would want to face. At seventeen years old, she became pregnant after she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. She put her child up for adoption. Her strong will allows her to pull through the adversities. Keeping the sadness and guilt bottled up inside, she creates a new life, but never forgets. lists there are around 135,000 children adopted in the U.S. each year. Of these adoptions, 15 percent (over 20,000) are from American woman voluntarily putting their babies up for adoption. The individual reason for one’s decision varies, but what is important is the emotional heartache the woman feels afterwards. I’m thankful for those mothers who can find comfort in support groups, friends, and family members. No one should grieve alone over the choice of adoption.

I’ve known several women who have adopted children as babies and witnessed the love for the child. I’ve personally met even fewer mothers who have put their babies up for adoption.  Maybe it’s because the pain is too great to talk about, or they fear others will judge them. I can only imagine the sadness and grief one carries. Each birth mother wants their child to live a happy life, surrounded by love and support of the new adoptive family.

My novel incorporates the birth mother’s sadness and guilt through Hailey. The pain hidden deep in her heart from putting her child up for adoption surfaces when the adoptive father seeks her out and begs her to help save her first-born son after the now teenage child falls into a coma from using a new street drug.  Finding Euphoria is much more than finding the drug Euphoria—it’s a woman’s road to forgiveness and finding peace and joy in her life again.

Book blurb:
Hailey Langley refuses to be a victim and has moved on from her traumatic past. But her marriage problems worsen when a deadly illicit drug threatens to draw her into the life she left behind.
Mark Langley has allowed his job to interfere with his marriage, but he never suspected the secrets in Hailey's past might hold the key to solving both of his current investigations.
Together, they must unravel the mystery of the drug called Euphoria and find a way to save not only their marriage, but countless lives, before it's too late.

Buy links:

PG Excerpt:
He turned the bottle around in his hand and set it on the end table. “Don’t put me in this position. You know what would happen. Grace is his mother. She’s the one who needs to stay with him.”
Regret tugged at her heart. “I wouldn’t take any time away from her.”
Parker groaned. “Just you being there would make her feel uncomfortable.”
“You know why.”
“But I’ve stayed away for seventeen years,” she whispered.
“That was the adoption arrangement.”
She bit her lip. “I can’t stay away any longer.”
“You agreed to those terms in the contract. You terminated all parental rights.” Parker stood and paced to the kitchen.
“But it’s not fair!” She put down her water and began wringing her hands.
Straightening his arms, he leaned against the bar. “Hailey, please don’t start. I know how you feel…”
“You couldn’t possibly know how I feel. I need to see him.” She fought to control the bitterness in her voice.
She rose, knocking over the water bottle. “He’s my son!”
“Not anymore, he isn’t.”
The rebuke stung. “He’ll always be my son!”
“When you gave him up, you promised to keep your distance.”
“I have.”
The reminder lanced her heart. “You’re being unfair. He’s dying.”
He slammed his fist on the bar. “Don’t say that. He can’t die.” Parker pushed himself up and stomped near the window, raising his hands to rest on top of his head as he faced the curtain.
A muscle twitched in her hand. Her knees buckled. She sat on the edge of the couch, wringing her hands. “I was young. I couldn’t give Justin the life he deserved. I’m not asking to take him back. I only want to see him.”
Rubbing his jaw, he walked back to the couch and sat. The hard lines on his face softened. “The adoption papers were clear. No contact.” He placed his hands on top of hers and stilled them. “If the decision was mine, I would allow it, but Grace would lose it if she found out you’re Justin’s biological mother.”
Her hands squeezed into tight fists. The urge was unbearable. “I wouldn’t tell her.”
Parker ran a hand through his hair. “Argh! Don’t you understand? She’d take one look at your face and know the truth. Don’t forget, you’re the one who wanted us to protect him.”
She stood. “Well, you did a hell of a fine job, didn’t you? You divorced Grace and deserted him. Parenting takes sacrifice, Parker. You were too busy changing careers, and now he’s messed up with drugs. How did that protect him?”
Standing, he reached for her.
“No. You stay away from me.” She extended her hands and backed up a step. “Justin’s dying! Dying, Parker! And I don’t know him…You won’t let me see my own son.”
He wrapped his arms around her.
She pushed him, pummeling her fists against his chest with all her strength.
He silently took his beating.

Website address:
Social media profile links (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc):

A short author bio:
A native of western Pennsylvania, C. Becker earned a B.S. degree in Medical Technology and MT (ASCP) certification. She has worked in clinical settings analyzing body fluids and testing drugs of abuse. As an author, C. Becker has published multiple stories in various genres.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tiramisù: A Dessert with a #Wicked Past By Joanne Guidoccio #recipe #WickedWednesday


It's always a pleasure to have Joanne guest on Discover... And it's a wickedly yummy spot today.

Several myths and legends surround this delectable dessert that has become a staple in Italian (and many non-Italian) restaurants worldwide.

Here’s my favorite legend…

In the late nineteenth century, the competition among the bordellos in Venice was extremely fierce. Hoping to attract more customers, one bordello offered espresso coffee as a complimentary beverage. Other bordellos followed suit.

As the competition escalated, so did the treats. Savoiardi Cookies (similar to lady fingers) and sweet liqueurs were added as further enticements. An enterprising Madam decided to combine all these ingredients—espresso coffee, savoiardi cookies, sweet liqueurs—with eggs and Mascarpone cheese.

The resulting confection was called Tiramisù (tih-ruh-mee-SOO) which means “Pick Me Up” in Italian. The patrons appreciated this energy booster that fortified them after their sexual encounters.

In one version of this story, the courtesans also treated themselves to Tiramisù between their amorous encounters. Another version suggests that the courtesans were not given this expensive treat.

If you’ve never tasted Tiramisù, imagine a light-mocha-flavored-whipped-cream concoction on lady finger pastries soaked in strong espresso coffee with a tantalizing hint of amaretto liqueur.

Here’s a tried-and-true recipe from my mother’s kitchen:


1 package lady fingers
250 ml Nutriwhip Lite
250 g Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese (*)
2 cups of cold, sweetened espresso coffee
½ cup amaretto liqueur
1 semi-sweet chocolate, grated

1.      Beat cream cheese using the electric mixer.
2.      In a separate bowl, whip the Nutriwhip Lite.
3.      In another bowl, combine the coffee and the amaretto.
4.      Combine cheese and Nutriwhip together.
5.      Cut the lady fingers in half, lengthwise.
6.      Place one layer at the bottom of a 9" x 13" rectangular pan.
7.      Sprinkle enough of the coffee/amaretto mixture to cover the lady fingers.
8.      Spread the cheese/Nutriwhip mixture on the lady fingers.
9.      Continue layering. The top layer must be the cheese mixture.
10.  Cover with grated chocolate.
11.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.

*Feel free to substitute Mascarpone cheese.

You can find Tiramisù and seven other dessert recipes in A Season for Killing Blondes, Book 1 in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series.

Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

***On sale for 99 cents – September 13 to September 27***
Buy Links

A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Conquering Fear by Caroline Warfield #FearlessFriday #romance


Please welcome Caroline Warfield to Fearless Friday. She's conquering fear today.

Fear is a part of life—there are risks all around us. Courage is feeling fear and getting on with it anyway. That’s a lesson I learned early.

Life is a risk. Getting married is a huge risk. Having children isn’t as much of a risk medically as it was for women a hundred years ago, but it is still a huge risk financially and emotionally. In the professional realm, taking a job is a risk; quitting one is an even bigger one.

I once worked in a public library. Some libraries have happy staffs that function as a family. That one was a dysfunctional mess with a manipulative power-driven director, whose techniques were so subtle they took me two years to fully face and realize. When I did, I quit. I had worked hard to finish my professional masters while raising children. That job was my first professional position. And I quit. It was a risk.

I didn’t throw myself on my sword in the directors’ office the day she kicked the rug out from under
me in a particularly punitive manner. I was tempted, but I didn’t. I found a job first. The one I found quickly was part-time, clerical, and not what I went to school for, but it was close to home. I didn’t have to work two nights a week and every other weekend.

It turned out to be the best career move I ever made. It turned out to be an environment where, if you had a good idea, you could do it. I thought I was hired to write abstracts about technology products for disabled children. In the end I created a searchable database from the ground up, set up a searchable front end, and (this was pre-WWW times) gave it dial access. I learned to manage it remotely from home, and I wrote technical documentation for it. Unfortunately it was a federally funded project and eventually funding was pulled. At that point I had a professional resume that took me many places I couldn’t have imagined in library school. Was the risk worth it? Oh yes.

I’ve realized lately that risk-taking is a factor in every story I write. Sooner or later both hero and heroine have to leap into the unknown and take a chance. My newest release, Christmas Hope is no exception. It takes place during World War I, and duty demands that the hero, a Canadian soldier, lead men into the face of German guns. Loving the heroine, a French widow with a tiny son, terrifies him as well, though he’d never admit it. He can’t protect her in those terrible times, and every time he manages to see her, he isn’t sure he can come back. But she reminds him of life beyond the mire of war and gives him hope.

Award winning author of historical romance often set in the 19th Century, Caroline Warfield reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the world. Christmas Hope is a departure, but as in all her books, she nudges characters to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart, because love is worth the risk.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tips and Myths #ThursdayThoughts #MythBusters

That's my mom!

My mother had a thing about hair. She had, actually at 88 still has, beautiful hair. But she doesn't want hair anywhere near her kitchen or food. If she finds a hair in her food, she gags. Growing up, we weren't allowed anywhere near the kitchen with a comb or brush. One time, when we were on an airplane, the lady next to her pulled out a hairbrush and took to brushing her long tresses. I thought Mom was going to have the flight attendant throw the lady off the plane. What is the root of my mother's fear of swallowing hair? Have no idea, but I Googled to learn if her fear has merit. I learned than if we ingest too much hair it can lead to a hairball (trichobezoars) forming in our stomach which is not only painful but can have other bad consequences. Hair is made of a protein called keratin which humans can't break down. And even if we don't swallow enough to form a ball, bacteria can catch a ride on a hair and that bacteria could make you sick. Moms know best! 

Do we really see ourselves like others see us? Why not? I don't have the answer. Sorry. Poor self-
Really big hair
image leads to all sorts of problems like anorexia and low-self esteem. I think over inflated image can lead to
narcissism. I know for sure not seeing oneself clearly can lead to future embarrassment. What was I thinking when I was eight months pregnant with bright blue eye shadow and a long red checked dress that looked like an Italian table cloth? Or how about the REALLY big hair and bright red lipstick?

Open the drain after washing dishes and the last of the soap bubbles won't go down? If you run cold water instead of hot, they'll disappear down the drain faster. Yeah, I don't know, but I do it anyway. 

To reduce your allergy attacks, leave your shoes outside the door, wipe off pets before they enter the house, and take a shower to rinse off that pesky pollen before bedtime.

Sugar is linked to heart disease. White carbs (white bread, white rice, and white pasta) are broken down in your body just like sugar. Whole grains are a better choice.

I've suffered from a bad back for three decades. I have two tips for you. For prevention, do squats daily. Be sure you put the weight on your heels and come up fully between each one. I do a routine that includes wide leg squats, one legged squats, reaching forward squats, and narrow stance squats. This routine was my savior when one doctor wanted to do surgery, and I refused. As long as I'm faithful and don't lift heavy stuff, I stay relatively pain free. When I don't follow my own advice and feel the twinge of a backache impending, I take two ibuprofen and three hours later take two acetaminophen. That will usually do the trick, but for bad cases, I repeat again. But see a doctor before you follow my regimen. Could be you have some ailment different than what I have.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Inspiration from a Premonition by Cyndie Zahner #paranormal #premonition


Please welcome Cyndie Zahner to Muse Monday with an inspiration that will give you chills.

Project Dream is fiction but was inspired by real life.

I have had several paranormal experiences throughout my life. For years, I thought I was crazy. Then I had a premonition of 9/11 two months before the Twin Towers fell.

I kept notes about the vision on a work calendar. My notes were vague at best. I didn’t know what building was going to fall. I didn’t know what would cause it to collapse. I wasn’t even sure it was in New York State, let alone New York City.  I only felt like the building existed somewhere in northeastern America by a body of water, maybe a Great Lake. I couldn’t decipher with any accuracy the true capacity of what was about to happen.

For years after, I questioned why I had such a premonition. It hadn’t helped anyone.

Yet, I began thinking. What if it had? What if someone with a keener sixth sense than me—and I know there are many people with psychic abilities—had been able to prevent a death?

Ten-year-old Izzy Jimenez does just that in the opening of Project Dream. The scene is based on another vision I had while saying prayers in a small chapel in my hometown.
Many years ago, a new friend asked if I would like to visit a side chapel of a Catholic church. In Project Dream, that chapel is in San Diego, but in real life, that little sanctuary is in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The chapel struck me as lovely. I knelt beside my friend and immediately began praying. I don’t recall who I prayed for, probably one or all three of my kids. Regardless, there I was—I like to say I was minding my own business praying—when I had this swooshing feeling like an angel came down out of the ceiling. I’ve had these experiences before and often ignored them, blaming everything on my wild imagination. This time, however, the woman, white spirit, ghost, whatever you would like to call her, was relentless. She wouldn’t leave.

She said, quite clearly, “My daughter doesn’t believe in this sort of thing.” She chuckled, told me she wanted her daughter to know she loved her, and just before she left, she opened her arms and showed me roses.

The dream seemed so real that I was quite shook up. When we were leaving, my friend asked what was wrong.

I said, “You are going to think I’m crazy, but I think the mother of one of those women in that chapel appeared to me.”

Of course, she looked at me like I was nuts. But still shook, I described the things I heard the woman express, and my friend became quiet.

“What was the woman’s name?” she asked.

I told her I’d seen lots of spirits but I never seemed to get their names right. They usually only gave me feelings or showed me signs. Then I remembered, and said, “oh wait, the woman’s name might have been Rose.”

My friend was quiet for a long time. I was sure she thought I’d lost my mind. The silence was piercing. Finally, she spoke. “My mother’s name was Rose.”

And from that true-life experience, I conjured up the entire first chapter of Project Dream. 

What happened to the kids in Area-51?

In 2002, the CIA removed teens from detention centers and placed them in a National Security Test Program called Project Dream. Children selected had two characteristics: physical superiority and a sixth sense.
When the awkward, destitute Izzy Jimenez is caught stealing clothes, authorities enroll her for two reasons: Izzy swims like a fish—and she sees angels.
Terrified and alone for the first time in her life, Izzy finds herself in a military school set deep in the belly of a desolate Nevada desert within Area 51. There, she attends classes and learns to perfect her clairvoyance, hoping authorities will allow her to go home. But when she and other students master remote viewing and produce results that stun White House officials, additional children are recruited, and Izzy’s hope of going home dwindles.
Not until the beautiful and popular Rachel Callahan arrives and befriends Izzy does her life become bearable.
Project Dream is a coming-of-age story of teenagers thrown into the most unusual circumstances. Each struggle to survive their time in the desert with the goal of getting out and going home, but—
Can any of them really go home?  

Interview Link:
Book Circle Online interview:                 
Social Media links:
                Book Gorilla 
Buy Links:


CJ Zahner writes fictional thriller novels. Two of her books, Dream Wide Awake and Project Dream, include paranormal elements inspired by her real-life premonitions.

In 2001, two months before the Twin Towers fell, Zahner began having vague weekly visions of first, approaching a city from a plane’s view and, second, being inside a collapsing building. The visions continued until the September 11th fatal disaster. Throughout her life, Zahner had other premonitions, but not until this premonition did she consider her visions had merit.

Although her 9/11 premonition was indistinct and helped no one, it did inspire her to ask: could someone with a sixth sense develop the ability to prophesize future events and protect people? With that, her Dream Series was born. Now she uses past real-life premonitions she’s experienced as the basis for scenes in her novels. 

When the woman neared, Izzy turned. “Hello.”
“Hello.” The woman nodded and walked by.
Izzy closed her eyes and scratched her forehead. If only she had been born with a flowing tongue like Belo said of Enrique.
“Ma’am.” She couldn’t open her eyes when she heard the lady turn. “Did your mother die?”
Oh, that sounded horrible. Why had she asked such a thing? She wasn’t even sure the white spirit was her mother.
“Of lung cancer?” Izzy opened her eyes. “She smoked, right?”
The lady stared but didn’t say a word.
“She says you shouldn’t go to New York City.”
The lady’s face wrinkled. “What?” She sounded cross.
“I’m sorry. It’s—well.” Izzy scratched her nose. She might be breaking into hives. “I saw this lady by you and she kept slashing the letters NYC like you shouldn’t go there and she wouldn’t stop, so I thought I better tell you. She kept doing it over and over and, well, I know she doesn’t want you to go to New York City.”
The woman took a step toward Izzy. The wrinkles melted from her face. “I do have a trip scheduled to New York. Next week. For a conference.”
Goosebumps crawled over Izzy’s skin. Whenever people, real human beings, confirmed what the white people told her, chills spread through her.
The lady stood still, waiting for Izzy to say more.
Izzy scratched and the lady stared.
“What was her name?”
“My mother. What was my mother’s name?”
The woman appeared hopeful. She held her breath, waiting. But Izzy didn’t know the woman’s name. She had difficulty hearing the white people. Usually, they simply gave signs.
Yes, signs.
“Oh.” Izzy held a finger up. She remembered the sign. “Rose? Is your mother’s name Rose?”
The chapel door opened behind Izzy, and she heard her mother’s voice. “Izzy, what are you doing?”
“Nothing, Mama.” Izzy sidled down the hall toward her mother.
“I hope she wasn’t bothering you.”
The woman said nothing. She stared at the two of them, a perplexed expression tainting her face. After a time, she left the building without saying more.
“Izzy,” Mama barked. “What were you talking to that woman about?”
“I only said hello to her, Mama.”
Her mother gazed at her skeptically. “Remember what Belo said. Don’t talk to anyone.”
“I didn’t, Mama. I promise.”
“Go collect your things. Your brother called. It’s time to pick him up.”
Izzy hurried back into the chapel and grabbed her coat, missal, and satchel. She smiled and waved goodbye to Jean as she exited.
Eight days later, the World Trade Centers collapsed. Izzy prayed the woman from the chapel had not been inside. She watched for her in church on Sunday and at the chapel during the week when she and Mama went to pray for the people who had died, but Izzy didn’t see the woman.
Three weeks after September 11th, Izzy and her mother visited the chapel on a Sunday evening once again. The lady was sitting in the pew next to the woman named Jean. When Izzy walked in, she heard the lady say, “That’s her. That’s the girl.”
“That’s Isabelle Jimenez,” Jean said.
The woman stood and rushed toward Izzy. Jean followed.
“Mrs. Jimenez?” The lady glanced at Izzy’s mother.
“Mrs. Jimenez, your daughter saved my life.”
Izzy’s mother made her spend the next two Saturday afternoons praying in church. But it was too late. Saving that woman’s life would prove Belo right.
They would come for her.