Monday, August 29, 2022

#CharacterInterview and #NewRelease Strong Enough by Jana Richards


Please welcome Jana Richards, author, and Damon Greyson, hero, to Muse Monday on Discover... We love character interviews. You're going to want to buy the book and learn more. Okay, take it away Jana and Damon. 

Jana Richards: Why did you move to Masonville?

Damon Greyson: My sister was already here, and after my grandfather died and left a large three-story building in Masonville to me in his will, I wanted to turn it into something useful. It’s going to become a retreat for veterans with PTSD, a place of healing. I teamed up with my sister Blair and her new husband Garrett, who himself is a veteran. On the farm that Granddad left to Blair, we will incorporate equine therapy for the vets. They have four rescue horses now and my hope is that the retreat allows Blair to rescue more horses in the future, something she’s passionate about.

But mostly it’s about family. Now that my brother Ben and his family live here in Masonville too, I want to stay close. I steered clear of the idea of family for a long time, but now I realize I need my siblings. 

JR: What did you think of Charlotte Saunders when you met her again for the first time in years?

DG: I thought she was beautiful, just like she was as a teenager when I had a huge crush on her. Maybe even more beautiful. But she’s changed. 

JR: What do you mean?

DG: Charlotte is still kind and funny, but she’s far more cautious now, and less outgoing than she used to be. She seems…less than she used to be. It concerns me. 

JR: Why does it concern you?

DG: Because when we were kids, Charlotte was so vivacious. She was up for any adventure and ready to take on the world. The woman I see now is far more subdued and anxious. She was going to travel the globe with Doctors Without Borders and make a difference in people’s lives. I’m sure she still makes a difference in people’s lives in her job as a nurse, but she never left her hometown. I know people change. They grow up and mature. But I have a gut feeling something happened to Charlotte to make that change. 

JR: What do you think that was?

DG: I don’t think Charlotte would want me to speculate publicly about that. 

JR: All right, fair enough. What about you? You say you had a huge crush on her as a teenager. Did you ever tell her how you felt about her?

DG: Hell, no. Charlotte was way out of my league. I was so shy and awkward and filled with shame back then that I could barely speak to her. I was happy she simply talked to me. Charlotte was always kind to me. She tried to draw me into conversations and included me in activities when I would have hidden away. And she defended me. Aside from my grandparents, no one had ever defended me before. 

JR: Why do you say you were filled with shame?

DG: I’ve been open for several years about being sexually abused as a child. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I could speak about it. When I was a teenager, I felt so different, so isolated from other kids my age. When I finally stepped forward and got some help, I was shocked at the number of survivors there are out there. I went through a lot of therapy to get to where I am today. 

JR: What do you want your relationship with Charlotte to be now that you’re both adults?

DG: (Damon hesitates before speaking.) I would like to be friends. I hope someday she’ll be able to confide in me. 

JR: Is that all you want from Charlotte? Friendship?

DG: If that’s all she has to give me, it will have to be enough. (He stands up.) Are we finished? I’ve got things to do. 

JR: Sure. We’re done for now. Maybe we can talk later?

DG: (Walks away.) Maybe. 

JR: (Watches Damon walk away.) I doubt I’ll get him to talk much more about Charlotte. 

STRONG ENOUGH, book 4 in the Masonville Small Town Romance Series

Now Available! 


Blair stepped outside, leaving Charlotte and Damon alone in the kitchen. Charlotte looked everywhere but at him, appearing ill at ease. He was sure their kiss last night was the cause of her discomfort.

“How are you this morning, Charlotte?”

She shrugged. “I could use more coffee, but other than that, I’m good.”

“We’ll take a coffee break later.” He set his box on the table and moved closer to her, keeping his voice low. “I don’t regret our kiss last night for a minute, but I don’t want you to be uncomfortable around me, okay? I won’t say anything. It’s no one’s business but ours.”

She gave a slight nod. “Okay.”

“I would never hurt you, Charlotte.” His fingers itched to touch her, but he sensed it would be exactly the wrong thing to do right now.

For the first time, Charlotte lifted her eyes to his and met his gaze directly. Again, the image of the skittish colt came to mind. Last night, in a moment of high emotion, she’d let down her guard, and he’d experienced the passion that lay just under the surface of her control. He wanted that again, he realized. Again and again.

“How do you know I won’t hurt you?” she whispered.

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Author Bio:

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal.

In her life away from writing, Jana is a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at 

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Friday, August 19, 2022

Starting Over is Fearless by Shirley Goldberg


I never did the online dating thing, but I can see where that would be a fearless adventure...especially later in life. Enjoy my guest, Shirley Goldberg's fearless endeavors.

Thanks so much, Brenda, for inviting me to participate in Fearless Fridays. I can assure everyone reading that I never felt fearless when I embarked on starting over.

My decision to start over after my divorce meant moving 8,000 miles to go back to school later in life. Since my marriage hadn’t been a happy one in many years, I also wanted to move on in the man department and decided to try a dating site.

Online dating was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. While dating, I kept a diary, scribbling notes in the ladies’ room sometimes during dates, sometimes in the car after a date. Eventually, this became my novel Middle Ageish.

My heroine, Sunny Chanel, moves from Paris, France to New Haven, CT, goes back to school, and online dates. She scribbles notes in the ladies’ room too, after her dates.

Turning my online dating experience into fiction, well, that caused my chest to squeeze in not a good way.

Part of the need to write a fictionalized account of my experience came from reading
other books where online dating was misrepresented. Women met the love of their lives on the first date. Or the men were caricatures, asking dumb questions or appearing in weird outfits or running out without paying for their coffee. 

I have to give my friends credit for their patience while I was writing the book. I tended to talk about my characters as if we met for Friday night happy hour and had dinner together. My real friends started looking at me funny.

“When will this book be finished?” one friend asked around the one-year mark.  By this time, they were familiar with the main character, Sunny, who was deep into online dating. Over happy hour appetizers and wine, they’d pepper me for answers. “How much is autobiographical?” “Was that a true story about the 300-pound man Sunny dated?” “Did you really go on six meets in one week?”

Sure, there’s a bit of me in Middle Ageish, because turning experience into a belly laugh is much more fun––and work––than humans should have. And I was having the time of my life, pumping my checkered past for “copy” as Nora Ephron (or was it her mother?) called everything that was story material.

Starting over is a real thing. It resonates with happily married women because they have no idea about how tough online dating can be. And they’re fascinated and glad they aren’t dating. Divorced women, on the other hand, are often intimated by the pitfalls and stories they’ve heard.

Got questions? I’ve got a website chock full of tips and suggestions for anyone starting over. There are articles for men, too, such as how to entice a woman to email him back, written with Peter, a friend of mine who’s been around the dating block a few times.

Thinking about venturing out there? When it comes to online dating, remember that nothing counts until you meet. Emailing and zooming aren’t dating, but they’re a good start.

You’re never too old to start new. 

Check out my website, read an excerpt of Middle Ageish, and get a free romantic short story: 

Grab Middle Ageish at your favorite book vendor:


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Wickedly Funny by Penny Goetjen #WickedWednesday


Wickedly funny characters are the best kind of wicked. Penny Goetjen has written just such a character.

Some characters drive the plot forward or create tension in the story. Others provide comedic relief for the tension that’s created. The latter is the role of Millie, mother of protagonist Victoria Sands, in The Woman Underwater. And she’s a Wickedly Funny character.

Torn between hanging onto the hope her husband is still alive, after his disappearance seven years earlier, and the desire to move on with her life, Victoria is caught in an undertow of unanswered questions, submerged in a watery vortex—one that no one can predict how it will play out.  

Exhibiting early signs of dementia, Millie is unpredictable at best and agonizingly energy-zapping at her worst. But in all her quirkiness there’s an amusing—often entertaining—side of her. 

For Millie, there’s nothing that a good strong cup of tea can’t fix, but there are times when a good belt of bourbon is in order—neat with an aromatic cigar.   

She pulls together one-of-kind outfits, often with an exaggerated animal print, snug leggings and oversized fake pearls in the mix, while Victoria wishes she would dress more appropriately—like the time she visited her grandson’s private boarding school. Upon her arrival, however, her grandson gushed over her outfit, only encouraging her outlandish style. 

A casual conversation might go something like this after Millie enters the kitchen with a life preserver strapped to her torso, carrying a couple of paint cans: 

Victoria: Mom, what’s on your agenda today? [She learned early on not to say anything like: “What are you doing?” so as not to put Millie on the defensive.] 

Millie: Why? Does the life preserver throw you off? 

Victoria: Well, I have to admit I’m... 

Millie: Nervous? Unsettled? Panicking? 

Victoria: Yeah, one of the above. 

Millie: Don’t be, honey. I just thought it would be fun to wear. Haven’t had a reason to for a while. 

Victoria: [She isn’t going to point out she still didn’t have one.] So how about the paint? 

Millie: The paint? 

Victoria: [Opening the oven door to toss in a couple trays of cupcakes] Yeah, you’ve got a can of paint in each hand. 

Millie: Oh! I forgot about those. Look at that. 

Victoria: [Waiting for her mother to continue but when she doesn’t, adds] And? 

Millie: Yeah, I don’t know. I must have had a good reason, but I can’t think of it now. I found them in the garage. Oh well. I’ll put them back. Maybe it’ll come to me. [She heads out of the kitchen but in the opposite direction of the garage.] 

Victoria: [Contemplates following her but then remembers to set the timer on the oven.] 

Millie: [Popping her head back into the kitchen.] We could paint the driveway. 

Victoria: [Nearing spraining her neck to catch her mother’s expression.] Paint the driveway? 

Millie: Yeah. I’ve found a couple of pretty colors here. [She raises the cans for Victoria to see.] I think there might be a few more we could use too. Just think of it. You could have the only driveway in the neighborhood that’s actually pretty. We could paint flowers and make it look like a garden.

Victoria: But Mom, that paint won’t wash off. How about using chalk? 

Millie: That’s the whole point. With paint, it will last. 

Victoria: [Struggling for the right words.] I…like the driveway the way it is. 

Millie: [Scrunching up her face like a two-year-old before a tantrum.] But I don’t. [Her face brightens.] I think there’s some black paint in the garage. If you don’t like it when I’m finished, you can just paint over it. [With that, she disappears through the door to the garage with Victoria at her heels.] 

Book blurb:

In the seven years since Victoria’s husband disappeared, no witnesses have stepped forward and no credible evidence has been collected—not even his car. He simply vanished from behind the stone walls of a private boarding school where he taught—the same school their son now attends. But someone has to know what happened. And that someone may be closer to Victoria than she realizes.  



National award-winning writer Penny Goetjen is the author of six mystery and suspense novels, her latest The Woman Underwater released 7.26.22. A self-proclaimed eccentric known for writing late into the night by the allure of flickering candlelight, she often weaves a subtle, unexpected paranormal twist into her stories. When her husband is asked how he feels about his wife doing in innocent people with the written word, he answers with a wink, “I sleep with one eye open.” 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

#FreeBook Limited Time #Review #NewRelease


Curse of Wolf Falls (The MacKenzie Chronicles Book 3) is currently on preorder, and you can grab a copy for free if you’re willing to post a review on Goodreads, Bookbub, and Amazon. This is a time-limited offer because once it releases worldwide on September 5, the offer disappears. 

There are two sites that have those copies for you: 

Story Origins: 

Book Funnel: 

Please be sure you can read and review within a couple of weeks before you choose to grab a copy. These sites are for the serious readers who agree to review. 

And if you don’t think you can jump on that offer, then jump on this one: The eBook is on sale, preorder special, until September 5th. You can get a deal now! And the book will appear on your reader September 5th so you can read at your leisure. I’d still love a review whenever you can get to it. 

Preorder sale price here:

Secrets can protect what the truth will destroy.  

Elidor MacKenzie has a gift she can't return—the ability to absorb the joy, pain, and suffering of others. She's spent her life running from what she considers her curse. Now, her best friend is dead, and she alone holds the key to an archaeological discovery that could destroy a culture. With newfound inner peace, Elidor has returned home to make amends and guard the secret revelation. But greed-driven scavengers have followed her. Once again, the energies of Joshua will stir the hurricane, with her at the deadly center.  

Jules never got over Elidor. Twenty years and a famous journalism career later, he's back in Joshua—and so is his first love. If his heart can stand the torture, he'll risk reviving their relationship. But saving Elidor from herself and the secret she won't give up may be the death of them both.  

With Jules by her side, Elidor is determined to outrun the scavengers, guard the secret, and renew their love. But fate is coming after her, and there's nowhere the couple can hide.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Coffee...the New Zen Activity by Terry Newman #romance


Oh my gosh! Today's guest, Terry Newman, and I are on the same coffee wavelength. And her book sounds like a great read. Have fun, Readers...

Coffee. It’s more than just a morning pick-me-up. Perhaps that’s why it always plays a role in my books. In my latest work, Heartquake, my main character owns a coffee shop and as you might expect quite a few scenes take place there.

While my love of coffee originated with my need to stay up all night studying in college, it evolved over the years. Few activities in life make me happier than sitting down with a good cup of coffee and a dear friend.

I’ve recently discovered this just isn’t one of my quirks. No, psychology now explains there are three positive benefits to carving out time to meet a friend for some coffee.

That cup of joe can actually improve your social relationships, according to an article in Psychology Today. Its caffeine content provides you a light stimulant while you’re chatting with your bestie. This results in a boost in your memory and nudges you to linger and talk.

Just the pleasure of a good cup of coffee with a friend increases your level of endorphins, those infamous feel-better hormones. And according to psychologists, this sense of wellbeing allows us to kick back and actually relax. And that opens us to appreciate the friendship.

Finally, and this is my favorite benefit, sharing a cup of coffee and conversation provides us with the opportunity “to be fully present.” Psychologists explain a coffee date contributes to our “cognitive and emotional reserve.” And that not only strengthens us, but it offers the opportunity of “genuine happiness,” found in the small details of life.

Sharing a cup of coffee, it turns out, is a Zen activity. Who knew?

Now that we know its remarkable “perks” we really should “stop and smell the coffee” more often.


Coffee shop owner, Charlee Lightheart, views corporations with contempt. She believes her father died at the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. When she's approached to run for city council on an anti-fracking platform, she's reluctant. She's not sure this movement is her cause.

Billionaire Riley Brockton has given up on love. Then he walks into Charlee's shop. All he wanted was coffee and muffins. From that first electrifying touch, he knows he needs more. He withholds one piece of vital information: he's a lionshifter.

A rogue reporter sets out to reveal the one secret that can destroy the anti-fracking movement and the couple's relationship. Can their love survive the truth and public exposure? 


His hands seemed more like paws. Not destructive mauling paws of a feral beast, but the large loving ones of an animal dedicated to protecting those he loved. She feared if he kept his hand on hers too long, she would start to think about love at first sight again. Yet she didn’t move it.

When he did remove his hand from hers, she felt an immediate and crushing disconnect. She fell back to earth and experienced the gripping weight and limitation of the force of gravity. Did an astronaut experience this remorse and loss of freedom when he re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and found himself bound by gravity?

“I apologize,” he said, as he shook his head slightly. “I think I’ve overstepped my bounds. That’s not at all what I intended to happen. That was uncharacteristic of me.”

“Don’t be,” she said. She couldn’t take her gaze from his eyes.

“Pardon me?”

“Don’t be sorry.”

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