Monday, October 25, 2021

Second Chances by Marsha West #SecondChance #Romance #MuseMonday


Everyone loves a second chance, especially in romance. Please welcome my guest Marsha West with her tale of second chances. 

Brenda, thanks so much for having me today.

My stories are all about second chances, and my belief is we all experience those times where things go if not badly, then certainly differently than we’d expected or hoped. You’ve probably had those times in your life. I certainly have. A very short marriage which ended in divorce, causing a real blow to my self-esteem. Losing a school board race I was sure I’d win. Not immediately selling my first book.

I was helped by sorority sisters’ mom to get through the divorce. And I used what I learned to help others in a similar situation. After losing that first run for the school board, I took four years to substitute teach in the district and become even more involved with PTA. And I ran again and was elected.

The rejections for my writing were almost harder to take because that was all me. But I grew a tougher skin. I studied and took classes and attended conferences. And I told myself to keep on keeping on. Those words became my mantra. Along with the philosophy my husband found written on a plaque on one of our trips to Maine. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. And I believe that. Even in the bleakest of times, if we keep on keeping on, we’ll get to a good end. My books reflect that philosophy.

Do you have a philosophy that helps you get through the bad times? If you care to share, I’d love to listen. It’s how we help each other. 

COMPROMISE   Second Chance Romantic Suspense   by Marsha R. West



Widowed, shop keeper, and transplanted Texan Jessica Allen fights to protect the green in Tidbury, New Hampshire with its colorful falls, picturesque Christmases, and sometimes brutal winters. She’s angry to learn developers will use Worley Construction, a company she holds responsible for her husband’s death. When a board of selectmen member is murdered, family and friends encourage Jessica to run for the seat. Will threats force her to compromise her principles?          

Developer Jeff Hudson wants to build a retirement center on the Tidbury Green. Despite Jessica’s opposition, he believes he can convince her of the need for the center and that its place on the green will leave plenty of room for all of the town’s activities. But has he partnered with an unsafe builder? How much money will he lose if he breaks the contract to please Jessica? Will more people have to die to save the green? 


Sheriff Halbert glanced at Jessica. “So this is the second incident with you. First we had the message from the dead squirrel and now an attempted hit and run.”

Jessica shuddered. “Please don’t say it that way.”

“Jessica, how else are we to look at it? We have several witnesses state the SUV aimed right for you and Jeff here.”

“You have any enemies, Jeff? Because I don’t.”

“I’ve made a few people unhappy with me when I won a bid someone else wanted, but none upset enough to want to take me out. Jessica, I’m afraid this is about you.”

“I agree with Jeff, Jessica,” Sheriff Halbert frowned. “Someone is not happy with you.”

“I’m going to sound paranoid, but the only issue coming to mind regards building the retirement center on the green. I have been outspoken against the project especially using Worley Construction.” Her glance landed on Jeff and skittered away.

“Dear God, Jessica. You can’t believe I had anything to do with this.”

She didn’t meet Jeff’s gaze.

“Jessica, in this instance, it looks like Jeff is a victim as well as you.”

“Thanks, Sheriff. Jessica, I’d hate if my project has somehow put your life in danger. That can’t possibly be, can it?” 

BIO: Retired elementary school principal, former school board member, and theatre arts teacher, Marsha R. West writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. She lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband and Charley, a deaf, Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren who live nearby.

Marsha’s four-part series is called The Second Chances Series, also the theme of her nine books. Her Heroines and Heroes are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles.  NEWSLETTER  MRW Press LLC (

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Friday, October 15, 2021

Obsessed by the Past by Maggie Blackbird #FearlessFriday #TimeTravel


Please welcome Maggie Blackbird to Fearless Friday on Discover... Maggie's book will give you a glimpse into fearlessness.

Originally, I had signed up for Muse Monday, but Brenda was booked and asked if I’d consider writing a guest post for Fearless Friday.  I agreed, although there isn’t anything I’ve done in my life that I’d consider fearless LOL.  But it did make me think about the book I’m promoting and the fearlessness Edie Whitecrow exemplifies when she decides to walk through a time portal to make her biggest wish come true—reside with her Anishinaabe ancestors since she’s obsessed with the past and how her Ojibway people once lived. 

Now that is some kind of fearlessness and some kind of faith. Would I stop my car to investigate a corn maze that appeared out of nowhere in a spot I know is barren? Would I jump through a time portal?  Y’know, probably not.  For one, I’m not nineteen anymore, like Edie is in the book.  And two, the thought of not being able to return if something goes haywire is too to bear much since I have my hubby, our fur babies, and my family to consider. 

But I have done fearless things over the years in the name of my job and as an author. Things lil shy ol’ me never would have considered that shaped and molded me into the person I am today. 

Yes, I said shy.  I was painfully, bashfully, extremely shy. So, can you imagine me public speaking to a crowd of one hundred?  I never thought I would. But I have many times because my job at the time required it of me.  That job, working for an aboriginal training and employment organization for fifteen years, demanded a lot out of me, from developing and facilitating workshops to boating across lakes or driving down winding, washboard covered roads for up to two hours to meet with First Nations communities I assisted.  Traveling through snowstorms in my itty-bitty Sunbird in my twenties.  Whatever horrible road conditions you can imagine, I’ve driven through them. 

I always said that job pushed me to the extreme, and I’m grateful for my time working for them. They gave me a chance at a mere twenty-five years old to manage a provincial program, and oversee staff. They took a chance on me to perform duties usually reserved for people in their thirties. Yes, the staff I supervised were always older than me. 

But if not for that job pushing me to the limit and demanding courage and faith, I wouldn’t have made the leap to become a full-time writer.  It takes a certain amount of fearlessness to submit something you worked your butt off to receive a “thanks but no thanks” from agents and publishers.  To receive reviews of “Meh…”  Now, I was going to join the pack of authors who were fearlessly sharing their work with the world and bowing their head at another rejection letter. 

What writers do requires courage.  It’s easy to criticize.  How many times have we walked out of a movie thinking, “That was meh,” or closed a book and thought, “That really wasn’t what I wanted to read.” 

When my time came and I was accepted by eXtasy Books for my first novel Blessed, book one in the Matawapit Family series, I thought to myself, “I’m just a chick from the rez; how did this happen?  What right do I have to join the ranks of awesome romance authors?” 

I may not have hiked Mount Everest, or bungee jumped off a cliff, but that shy little girl who didn’t want to go to kindergarten and hid behind her older cousins on her first day of school, and then hid at the back of the bus, scared of all the new faces and people, achieved a dream she’d hoped for while spending countless evenings in hotel rooms after attending work meetings, quietly writing on her laptop.  She is now a full-time writer.  She is putting her books out there to be judged.  And being judged isn’t easy.  But no matter if it’s a good review or an “it was okay” review, I will keep writing romance novel starring Canada’s Indigenous People because I want to share with the world romance from the rez, written by a gal from the rez.

 Title: Born for This

Series: Maizemerized, Book One

Genre:  Time Travel, Historical and Contemporary Romance with a hint of the paranormal.

Heat Level:  3 Flames 

She’s always been obsessed with her ancestors, and now he’s offering her a chance to live with them…forever.

Second-year university student Edie Whitecrow gobbles up each course on Indigenous studies.  If only she could experience the lives of her Anishinaabe ancestors instead of reading about them.  On her way to a Halloween party decked out as a historical Ojibway maiden, she spies a corn maze in a spot known to be barren.

A scarecrow figure beckons Edie to enter with the enticing offer of making her biggest wish come true.  She jumps at the chance and finds herself in the past, face to face with the man who haunts her dreams—the handsome brave Thunder Bear.  He claims he’s spent twelve years waiting for Gitche Manidoo to send her to him.

Life in the eighteenth century isn’t what Edie romanticized about, though.  When her conscience is tested, she must choose between the modern day or the world of her descendants—where the man she was created for resides.

Coming your way on October 29, 2021 from eXtasy Books.  Pre-order now.


An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most. 

Links:  Web Site | Facebook Page | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Linked In | Amazon Author Page | eXtasy Books Author Page | Newsletter Sign-Up 

eXtasy Books Author Page:

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wickedly Wonderful Acts of Kindness by Jill Piscitello #PayItForward #WickedWednesday


I have a wonderfully wicked guest post for you today. How about wickedly good? Please welcome, Jill Piscitello, and her great ideas.

A finite list of kind acts doesn’t exist.  Below are a few simple ideas to positively impact another person’s life. 

Extracurricular Activities:

Consider sponsoring an extracurricular activity or donating new or used equipment for a student in need.  Countless benefits impact children who participate in after school activities including team building skills, responsibility, and increased self-confidence.  Sports, dance, gymnastics, theater, and music lessons are just a few options that may have a lasting positive impact.

Senior Living:

Do you have a skill or talent to share? Days can be long and monotonous for long term care residents.  Think about the joy you could bring to someone’s day by playing the piano, guitar, and or singing.  Seniors enjoy crafts such as jewelry making, flower arranging, and other activities that inspire creativity.  Trivia and other games are always welcome.

Perhaps you are not comfortable speaking to a group of people.  Entertainment comes in many forms.  Reading material is often limited.  Consider donating used books, magazine subscriptions, or newspaper subscriptions.  My experience has shown that many residents are not using electronic reading devices.  But newspapers are voraciously read and shared.  Many nursing homes show a movie during the week and welcome donated DVDs.  Add a tray of cookies or pastries and turn an ordinary day into something special. 

Beyond the Holiday Toy Drive:

The holidays bring many toy donations to various charities.  Your local Veteran’s Association and Big Brother Big Sister organizations are wonderful places to send gently used clothing.  Consider the list below when thinking outside the box for donations to homeless shelters, etc.  Your help is needed all year—not only during the month of December when toy drives are publicized.

Character Sheets – A child spending his or her first night in a homeless shelter may find some small measure of comfort in a bed with clean sheets depicting a favorite superhero or cartoon character. 

General Bedding – Blankets, plain sheets, pillows, and pillowcases are in high demand. 

Diapers and Wet Wipes – It goes without saying that diapers are expensive.  A mother with limited cash flow may be forced to ration her baby’s diapers.  Imagine the level of discomfort and resulting rashes. 

Hygiene Products

·        Soap

·        Shampoo

·        Razors

·        Shaving Cream

·        Toothbrushes

·        Toothpaste

·        Deodorant

·        Socks

·        Underwear

·        Feminine Products 

New Hats and Mittens – Secondhand clothes in good condition are gladly accepted by most people regardless of their financial situation.  Your child wore that suit once and now it doesn’t fit?  Sure, we’ll take it!  Used hats and mittens?  Not so much.  By the end of a winter season, hats have been sitting on sweaty heads and gloves/mittens are filthy from their travels.  These items are inexpensive and should be donated with tags still attached.

 Additional Suggestions

·        New pajamas

·        Gently used clothing

·        Snack items bought in bulk (such as boxes of granola bars from Costco)

·        Cleaning supplies

·        Monetary donations

·        Volunteer your time 

Thank you, Jill. Now let's hear about your book, Homemakers' Christmas.

A recent error in judgement has deposited Cricket Williams, her daughter, and a son spiking a high fever into a homeless shelter. A touch of Christmas magic is sprinkled upon her family when an eccentric volunteer invites them into her New England farmhouse. Blindsided with the proposition of a contractual living arrangement, Cricket is seized with renewed hope for her future. 

Boris Glynn is in town visiting his grandmother but harbors a secret that will impact her life and the lives of his dearest friends. Complications arise when he is unable to restrain himself from pursuing his grandmother’s beautiful new neighbor. 

As Cricket begins to succumb to Boris’s attention, her new world is shaken by a series of events that have the potential to destroy her plans for a fresh start. 

Buy Links:  Amazon Kindle ~ Amazon Print Nook~  SmashwordsKoboApple IBooks 

Find Jill here on her social media links:

Website ~ Twitter  ~ Facebook ~  Instagram



Monday, October 11, 2021

From Actor to Author by Wendy Rich Stetson #romance #MuseMonday


Hey, readers, this is one of my favorite posts to date. Please take the time to meet my guest Wendy Rich Stetson and read how she wrote that first big book.

In the stifling heat of a Manhattan summer, a fresh-faced, red-haired woman huddled in a garret, awaiting the opportunity that would change her life.  The air was rank, rife with the scents of summer in the city.  Beyond the fire escape was nothing more than a sliver of sky.  She’d fled the tiny town where she grew up, leaving lush fields and rolling green ridges for dirty sidewalks and towering skyscrapers. As the days dragged on, she grew restless, nagged by a feeling that instead of chasing her dreams, she was treading water, barely keeping afloat as a murky eddy of shattered hopes threatened to drag her under…

If my journey to writing a romance novel was, indeed, a romance novel, it might begin something like that.  The time was the early 2000’s, and the place was a sixth-floor studio apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  I’d just finished my Master of Fine Arts in Acting, and I was ready to make my Broadway debut.  Little did I know…that momentous event wouldn’t take place for another ten years.  Every student actor is told repeatedly that the odds of making a living in the theater are slim at best.  Nonetheless, thousands follow their dreams, believing that surely, they will be the exception.  And with lots of hard work and tenacity, many actors do carve out a career in The Biz.  But progress is slow and hard won, and for lots of young artists, the urge to keep creating—to keep telling stories even during dry spells—tugs at our insides until we branch out into other disciplines. 

I remember lounging on the blue and green plaid sofa that sat a mere six inches from my bed and a foot or so from the dining table, watching Oprah Winfrey interview successful romance writers who found purpose and joy weaving heartwarming tales of love.  “I could do that,” I thought, every bit as naïve as I was to think a starring role on Broadway would arrive on my doorstep all wrapped up in shiny paper and tied with a satin bow.  Still, I cracked open a notebook and gave writing a whirl. 

I never set out to write “Amish Romance.” Indeed, in the early oughts, the genre was nowhere near as large and popular as it is today.  Encouraged by those Oprah guests with the often-heard truism to “write what I know,” I came up with a simple premise: what if a girl went back to her hometown in central Pennsylvania and fell in love with an Amish guy?  I dove into my story with the pent-up fervor of a frustrated actress, holing up in coffee shops and teaching myself the art of writing as I went.  Over the course of many months, I researched, brainstormed, and revised, until my heroine finally achieved her happily ever after. 

Hometown sat on my hard drive for decades as my acting career took off.  I performed at theaters around the country and in New York City.  I dipped a toe in commercial acting, film, and television.  I narrated over twenty audiobooks and taught Shakespeare workshops to high school students.  I had a child.  I started running.  I twiddled my thumbs. 

Then one day I thought…hey, what about that book I wrote?  Could now be its time to shine?  As nervous and hopeful as that young performer who first acted on the crazy whim to write, I approached small, romance publishers, hoping the story of a red-haired girl trying to find her place in the world, would, in fact, find its place in the world. 

Much to my delight, it did. Hometown was released August 11, 2021, from The Wild Rose Press.  

Oh, and, Oprah?  Thanks.


When Tessa's big-city plans take the A Train to disaster, she lands in her sleepy hometown, smack in the middle of the most unlikely love triangle ever to hit Pennsylvania's Amish Country.

Hot-shot Dr. Richard Bruce is bound to Green Ridge by loyalty that runs deep. Deeper still is Jonas Rishel's tie to the land and his family's Amish community. Behind the wheel of a 1979 camper van, Tessa idles at a fork in the road. Will she cruise the superhighway to the future? Or take a slow trot to the past and a mysterious society she never dreamed she'd glimpse from the inside?

Buy links:


Barnes and Noble:;jsessionid=41ADA76CCD67CA8C68861A9F8271F2B3.prodny_store01-atgap13?ean=9781509235643


Wendy Rich Stetson is a New York City girl who still considers the Central Pennsylvania countryside to be her home.  She grew up road tripping in a 1979 VW camper van, and she keeps a running list of favorite roadside attractions from coast to coast.  Now an author of sweet, small-town romance, Wendy is no stranger to storytelling.  She’s a Broadway and television actress, an audiobook narrator, and a mom who likes nothing more than collaborating on children’s books with her teenage artist daughter.  Wendy lives in Upper Manhattan with her family of three and rambunctious Maine Coon kitty.  Follow Wendy’s journey at 

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Friday, October 8, 2021

Fearless Hiking by C.B. Clark #FearlessFriday #hiking


Please welcome back C.B. Clark for Fearless Friday. She has trekked where few do. Talk about fearless. The heroine in her book sounds pretty fearless too.

I love hiking. It’s my passion. I’ve explored many trails over all sorts of terrain. I’ve hiked the Inca Trail in Peru, trekked past calving glaciers in Patagonia, slugged across desert sands in Morocco and Jordan, and pushed through humid jungles in Central America. While on a hiking trip in Patagonia, I contracted a bacterial infection from food that affected my joints, causing excruciating pain to the point where I could hardly walk. 

Fortunately, after almost a year, medication has helped me heal and allowed me to get back on the trails. I started by walking the forested trails behind my house and moved on to local mountain paths. This summer, I flew in a small float plane into the beautiful and remote Chilcotin Mountains. I stayed in a rustic log cabin and hiked the surrounding rugged mountain trails. The trails were narrow, rocks and roots often blocked the way, and I had to clamber over waist-high boulders to reach the top of the mountain. The effort was worth it as I was rewarded with stunning views of glacier-covered mountains, clear alpine lakes, and meadows filled with colorful wildflowers. 

In that moment, at that time, standing atop that mountain, there was no pain, only joy. Writing is like hiking. It’s not easy. You take it one step, or one word, at a time, and before you know it, you’ve done it, you’ve completed the manuscript. There’s no better feeling, believe me. 


Athena Cooper’s tragic past drives her to seek solace in a bottle. The addiction threatens her legal career, and she risks spiraling out of control. When her dog engineers a meeting with an all-too-handsome hunk, it’s lust at first sight…until she discovers his identity. 

Businessman Russell Crawford is desperate to find the woman who cheated him out of his inheritance. His shock when she turns out to be the gorgeous red head he had a brief encounter with is only surpassed when she claims his father was a murderer. 

Athena and Russ declare a truce and join forces to investigate the mystery of her parents’ disappearance from an isolated island off the rugged Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Russ promises to be her safe harbor as they uncover long-buried secrets that rock her very foundation. Can she overcome a lifelong distrust and open her heart to love? 


How was it possible? After all these years? The past she’d been running from had found her. The nightmare was back. The envelope fell from her shaking hands. Her legs wobbled as she rose and stumbled out of the living room and down the short hall to the kitchen.

Afternoon sunlight streamed through the window above the sink. The cozy kitchen, with its walls painted a cheerful butter yellow, and the well-scrubbed laminate countertops, gleamed. The steady hum of the refrigerator and ticking of the antique clock on the wall were the only sounds in the silent house. The pungent smell of fried onions and roasted garlic from last night’s homemade spaghetti sauce hung in the air.

The efficient kitchen, with its breakfast nook and view of the tidy, fenced backyard and the rolling, grassy foothills and snow-crested Rocky Mountains beyond, was the reason she’d bought the small rancher. This was her favorite room—the place she sought refuge when life overwhelmed her. How many times had she sat there in the evenings after work, sipping a glass of chilled white wine, watching the birds at the feeder on the back porch, breathing in the sweet smells of flowering Saskatoon bushes, regrouping until she was ready to face the world?

These days, her drink of choice was a cup of herbal tea or unsweetened apple juice. Alcohol was off the table…had been for twenty-one unendurable days.

But today, all bets were off. 

Buy Links:


Barnes & Noble:



Books2Read Universal buy link: 

Author Bio:

Twisted Lies is award-winning author, C.B. Clark’s seventh novel published by The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not busy traveling around the globe or hiking and camping in the wilderness near her home in northern British Columbia, she can be found in front of her laptop plotting the next story. 

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Reading and #Reviews (Overbeck, Coulter)

I'm a writer, but I'm also a reader. Each month, I'll share with you reviews of present and past reads. My available time to read is limited because I write, but I love to curl up with a paperback or an eBook at night for the last hour of my day.

I tend to read what I write, but not exclusively. Besides Romantic Suspense, I read crime and law novels, once in a while a true story, WWII historicals, mysteries, and mainstream character driven books.

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! 

Blood on the Chesapeak by Randy Overbeck

Wilshire, Maryland. A quaint shore town on the Chesapeake, promises Darrell Henshaw a new start in life and a second chance at love.

That is, until he learns the town hides an ugly secret. A thirty-year-old murder in the high school. And a frightening ghost stalking his new office.

Burned by an earlier encounter with the spirit world, Darrell does not want to get involved, but when the desperate ghost hounds him, he concedes.

Assisted by his new love, he follows a trail that leads to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even the Ku Klux Klan.

Then, when two locals who try to help are murdered, Darrell is forced to decide if he is willing to risk his life - and the life of the woman he loves - to expose the killers of a young man he never knew.

Kudos to Mr. Overbeck for tackling a difficult subject like racial prejudice carried to the extreme. The book has a tinge of the supernatural to it which will please many readers. The hero, Darrel Henshaw is such a nice guy and a character you want to root for on his path for justice.


Eleventh Hour by Catherine Coulter

When FBI agent Dane Carver's twin brother, Father Michael Joseph, is brutally murdered in his San Francisco church, husband-and-wife agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich take a personal interest in the investigation. Then Nicola "Nick" Jones, a homeless woman and the only witness to the shooting, is scared out of her mind because she's trying to hide from her own monsters - who are drawing closer and closer.

The chase goes from San Francisco to the Premiere Studios in Los Angeles and its new television hit, a show all about murder.

This book has a lot going for it with twists and turns and characters to like. I had a little trouble with the homeless woman. Her reasons for being homeless didn’t quite rope me in since I thought there might be other ways to achieve her goal. But that aside, I liked the relationship that grows between FBI agent Dane Carver and Nick. Their play off each other was fun. Good characters all the way through.