Monday, January 30, 2023

Marriage Resurrected by Liz Flaherty #LoveStory #SecondChanceRomance


I love this post by guest, Liz Flaherty, for Muse Monday. A long married life can be quite the inspiration for a book. And having one of  those long marriages, I can relate. Maybe you will too...

We’ve been married for a long time. Make no mistake—I’m glad for that. I still love the guy who sits in the other recliner and can’t imagine a day without him in it. But there are days…oh, yes, there are days. I thought that after the kids were raised, things would be easier. And they were. And then I thought when we retired, life together would be such a piece of cake…so easy. We’d spend all our time together and cultivate mutual interests and we’d travel and…

What was I thinking?

No, it’s not particularly easy, but I love every day of our lives together. We’ve been lucky…yes, and worked hard…so that we’ve never separated from each other. While we’ve had both loud times and silent ones, we’ve been in the same place. We held onto the idea that the next day would be better. Sometimes it took more than one, and we were okay with that, too.

But not everyone makes it all the way through the loud and silent times.

In A Soft Place to Fall, Early and Nash were married for a long time, too. She got pregnant while she was still in high school and they got married when she was 16 and he was 18. They both worked nearly all the time and got Nash through medical school and raised four children. Thirty years after they got married, they’re living in a pretty gated community in Lexington, Kentucky, enjoying grandbabies and freedom from debt and…

And maybe not enjoying anything at all. At least, Nash isn’t.

Divorced and in search of herself, Early moves back to the Ridge in rural Kentucky. She takes care of Nash’s father after he has heart surgery, of her mother when she breaks her ankle, and…finally…of herself, too. As she builds a quilt shop named A Soft Place to Fall, she also creates a life for herself.

But then there’s Nash.

A Soft Place to Fall was first released in 2013. Nine years later, with a few changes, it still feels relevant—even more so to me now because I know just how hard it can be to rebuild from the ground up. I hope you find grace and its path in the story, too.

Blurb: Early McGrath doesn't want freedom from her thirty-year marriage to Nash, but when it's forced upon her, she does the only thing she knows to do - she goes home to the Ridge to reinvent herself.

Only what is someone who's spent her life taking care of other people supposed to do when no one needs her anymore? Even as the threads of her life unravel, she finds new ones - reconnecting with the church of her childhood, building the quilt shop that has been a long-time dream, and forging a new friendship with her former husband.

The definition of freedom changes when it's combined with faith, and through it all perhaps Early and Nash can find a Soft Place to Fall.



Excerpt—just a snippet!

He set down the remote control and pushed himself to his feet. Early walked every day no matter where she was. She used to ask him to go with her, but he’d usually found reasons not to. After his angioplasty, she forced the issue and he went along, treading Canterbury Crossing’s pseudo-cobblestones for the prescribed time. He’d responded to her attempts at conversation in monosyllables until she gave up and they did their three miles in a heavy silence that seemed to seep into and take over the rest of their marriage. Sometimes he’d noticed her lips moving and knew she was praying.

He wished he’d have prayed with her, but he hadn’t. He wished he’d talked to her more, but he hadn’t.

He wished a lot of things.

Bio: USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty started writing in the fourth grade when her Aunt Gladys allowed her to use her portable Royal typewriter. The truth was that her aunt would have let her do anything to get her out of her hair, but the typewriter and the stories it could produce caught on, and Liz never again had a day without a what if… in it.

She and Duane, her husband of at least forever, live in a farmhouse in central Indiana, sharing grown children, spoiled cats, and their grandkids, the Magnificent Seven. (Don’t get her started on them—you’ll be here all day.) To find out more about her, stop by or any of the other places she hangs out by visiting


Friday, January 27, 2023

Taking Fearlessly Bad Advice by Chloe Holiday #romance #FearlessFriday


Have you fearlessly tried something and it really went wrong? Chloe Holiday's new book has a heroine that might find herself in that predicament. Tell us about it, Chloe.

We’ve all seen them: those racy suggestions in magazines or on social media, designed to help transform an insecure or shy girl into a confident, sexy woman. It’s all too easy to fall prey to bad advice—I once turned my skin a streaky orange in high school, trying to achieve an “instant tan” from a bottle. It took a week for my elbows and knees to return to normal!

In my new release, Desire in Deutschland, Birgitte’s been shaken by a relationship that went poorly, yet she’s blown away by Lieutenant Lee Klein, an attractive US military policeman she meets by chance downtown. Nervous about dating, and eager to gain any edge to shore up her confidence, she succumbs to the temptation to try a tactic she read about in a women’s magazine, guaranteed to help an out-of-practice girl exude a seductive vibe.

Harmless, surely, and only a little bit wicked, especially since the man will never even know.

What could possibly go wrong?



Apple Books:

Nook/Barnes & Noble:


Audio: Direct:








Libro FM


Chloe is a military physician-turned-novelist who writes the things she loves to read: steamy, fun stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, smart women and men who aren’t jerks. About friendships, whether it’s close women or a good bromance. She wants all the feels: the thrill of a smoldering gaze or the barest brush of fingertips, the shocked gasp at the underhanded villain, the angst of heartbreak, the joy of reunion, and of course, happily ever after! 

Chloe enjoys delivering a sneak peek into intriguing scenarios, drawing from her background (military personnel, medicine, aviation) as well as other cultures like Greece. A bit of danger always gets her going, so many of her Romances have a suspense subplot.

She hates to read the same old thing, with only the names and places changed, so her goal is to bring folks a fresh, fun, new story every time, with NO CLIFFHANGERS!

More than anything, she wants to craft a rollicking, great story readers can’t put down, one where love prevails in the end, one that will whisk people away from their own tribulations.

Come join her at sign up for her newsletter to download a free copy of Finders, Keepers. 

You can also find her here:




Amazon page:

Monday, January 23, 2023

A Hook or a Dud

There’s an adage in the fiction writing world that the first few lines of a novel are the most important in the book. You’ve got to hook the reader on page one

It's highly unlikely you'd throw away a book you'd bought or delete it from your eReader if the first paragraph doesn't totally knock your socks off. But an author does need to set the tone and keep the reader turning the pages. I have hung in past that first page, but if the magic doesn’t kick in by the third chapter, paid for or not, the book is history.

As an experiment, I pulled some of my favorite books from the shelf. I tested the rule to see how impressive these published, successful authors did with their first couple of lines. See what you think:

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.

Maeve Binchy, Circle of Friends
The kitchen was full of the smells of baking. Benny put down her school bag and went on a tour of

John Sandford, Ocean Prey
Five years earlier, the high school guidance counselor sat Barney Hall down and said, "Barney, you're not college material. Not yet."

Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County
On the morning of August 8, 1965, Robert Kincaid locked the door to his small two-room apartment on the third floor of a rambling house in Bellingham, Washington.

Nora Roberts, Angels Fall
Reece Gilmore smoked through the tough knuckles of Angel's Fist in an overheating Chevy Cavalier.

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury.

Hmmm...A couple might pass the test, but all in all, it’s going to take at least the first page to hook me. A couple of these do rope me in after the first page, but a couple of others took even more reading to make me want to hang in until chapter three.

In the end, I'll keep doing as they say and not as they do. Trying to hook a reader on the first page is a good model to follow.

Here are the first lines of some of my stories. When I separate them away from the rest of the text, it's easy to see which have "oomph" and which do not.

I woke before Wesley that morning, the first morning waking up next to him. I silently yawned, stretching my feet against the cowboy sheets tucked tight at the foot of his bed. 

The throb behind Abigail’s eyes scraped at her temples like chiseled fingernails. She squeezed her lids tight. Was the sheet twisted around her? 

The cheap chenille could have been angel hair as I smoothed the spread over the bed, my mood sunnier than the faded yellow walls of the room. For most of my life, I'd never had my own room. 

Phoebe awakened sudden and breathless. Not slow like when the sheet tangled around her legs or when she needed a trip to the toilet in the gray fog of near-sleep. What noise had she heard that now wasn’t there? 

“Cameron!” Elidor MacKenzie screamed. The excruciating crunch of bones and flesh meeting rock vibrated in her ears. 

Lacy quickened her pace. The footsteps behind her did the same. As fast as her feet touched the bricks, her heart beat twice that speed. If only she could clear the narrow alley, step onto the lit sidewalk…  

Laughter mingled with the jangle of the bell above the door. Magpie MacKenzie glanced over her shoulder from atop the stepping stool where she arranged music boxes on the top shelf of a four-tiered display. 

Maybe not all of my first lines grabbed you so I invite you to try a bit more. You can read the first chapters of all of my books here:




Thursday, January 19, 2023

Writing and Re-Writing a Series #writing #inspiration #RomanticSuspense

At a recent book signing, I was asked where do you begin when writing a series. The truth is, every writer has their own method. My process has drastically changed over the years, mostly due to what I learned from writing my first series. The Love and Murder Series, kicked off in 2016 and was comprised of five books. The end result was good; I’ve received many good reviews and awards. But I had to work harder than needed due to lack of a cohesive system. 

Now, I’m proud to announce the re-release of this series, retitled Wild Horse Peaks. It’s been edited and changed up to polish it. I took book three, A Legacy of Love and Murder, out of the series lineup and made it a standalone sequel to book one. Actually, although it’s a series, you can read each book as a standalone. 

When I wrote the series, I didn’t think ahead far enough. I had to work a little harder to gel the series in the end because I didn’t think ahead. On the other hand, I had a lot of fun letting the characters from book one demand their own stories. 

Book two of Wild Horse Peaks, Southwest of Love and Murder, spotlights a best friend we meet only over the phone in book one. Phoebe is a lusty, strong lady, a mystery writer, and I’m so glad she demanded her own book. The suspense is tight and the romance is fun. 

The Power of Love and Murder, Wild Horse Peaks Book 3, came as a result of a minor character in The Art of Love and Murder. She was introduced as Penny, but the heroine, Lacy, nicknamed her The Black Fairy because of her penchant for all things black in her clothing. She wore fun stuff, too, such as lace gloves and tiaras. Little did I know when we met her in book one that she was living under an assumed name and feared for her life.

Penny was only one inspiration for The Power of Love and Murder. Years ago, my brother told us a story of a miserable night in a cheap hotel when he was broke and trying to get from one job to another. As sorry as that story was, we had to laugh. I knew I’d use it someday in a novel. When you read The Power of Love and Murder, you’ll recognize the scene. 

All the books share characters and setting. It’s a community of twisty plots with plenty of suspense. 

So, where do you begin when writing a series? Decide the kind of series, give some thought to how many books might come out of your ideas, and think ahead. I also keep copious files on each character (everything from eye color to the car they drive), a detailed historical timeline (could even go back a few decades or centuries), location research, event timeline, and any other pertinent files unique to the series. These files have grown over the years, and they are built long before I begin to write the characters’ stories. 



The Art of Love and Murder  February 21, 2023

A woman searching for her past. A sheriff hiding in his present. Their future together threatened by murder.

Southwest of Love and Murder  March 21, 2023

Writing murder mysteries is all in a day's work until an obsessed fan brings Phoebe’s stories to life. 

The Power of Love and Murder  April 25, 2023

Penny’s secrets can ruin the presidential contender who ordered her family’s murder…and mark her as the next hit. 

The Deep Well of Love and Murder  May 23, 2023

A vengeful ex-husband and bloody fight for land threaten a love-struck couple’s happiness. 

A Legacy of Love and Murder, Sequel  May 9, 2023

This  book is free to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter. Subscribe to BNG here.

Inheriting an Austrian Castle is an Alpine fairytale for August, until someone begins targeting the heirs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Black Widow Spells Wicked by Jennifer Ivy Walker


Welcome to Wicked Wednesday. Today my guest, Jennifer Ivy Walker, will share with you some wickedness in her book...and you have to know a character called the Black Widow Queen would be wicked.

The villain in “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven” trilogy is Morag, The Black Widow Queen. She’s a composite of the wicked stepmother from Snow White, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and a seductress who uses her feminine wiles to manipulate and control men. She’s ruthless, relentless, and merciless.

The protagonist, Issylte, the Emerald Princess of Ireland, is the rightful heir to her father’s crown.  Yet, when Morag marries Issylte’s father, she becomes the Queen of Ireland, and Issylte represents the greatest threat to her sovereign power.

 The Black Widow Queen must eliminate the Emerald Princess, and she weaves a deliciously wicked web of evil to entrap her.

Blurb: Hunted by the Black Widow Queen, Issylte--a healer with the verdant magic of the forest--must flee Avalon with the two finest knights in the Celtic realm, both wrongly accused of treason. The trio travels to Bretagne, where Issylte heals a critically injured wolf and obtains fiercely loyal, shapeshifting allies.

In mystical Brocéliande, Issylte becomes a warrior priestess of the Tribe of Dana and otherworldly mate of the Blue Knight of Cornwall, discovering with Tristan a passion that transcends all bounds. When she becomes the Lady of the Mirrored Lake, sworn to defend the sacred waters of the Goddess, Issylte must undertake a perilous quest to discover what priceless object lies hidden in its murky depths.

As a nascent evil emerges in a fetid cave, Issylte and Tristan must face a diabolical trio that threatens their lives, their love, and their kingdoms.

Enchanted. Enflamed. Entwined. Can their passion and power prevail?

Excerpt: The Black Widow Queen

The  dark wizard circled in front of her and retrieved a small flask from his pocket. She searched his gleaming, golden eyes. The eyes of a dragon that smoldered with passion. Liquid fire flowed through her loins.

He handed her the small black stoppered vial. It pulsed with power in her hand.

“What is this?” she gasped with a quick intake of breath. Her heart quivered in her breast.

 “Your future, my Black Widow Queen.” He leaned forward to take the vial, placing it on the table at her side. “The key to the throne of Cornwall.”

Morag locked eyes with her golden dragon. Her mouth went dry.

Voldurk raised her to her feet, a sly grin spreading across his darkly handsome face. His seductive voice slithered into the shell of her ear.


 Her heart fluttered wildly as he planted a lush kiss upon her eager lips. Morag melted into his arms as her legs gave out. Power was a potent aphrodisiac.

He carried her across the room. Stripped off her black garments of mourning. His wicked lips scorching her icy bare skin, the golden dragon laid his queen’s nude, quivering body upon the lavender scented bed.

And engulfed her lovely, lonely loins in the blazing flames of dragonfire.              


Author Bio for Jennifer Ivy Walker 

Enthralled with legends of medieval knights and ladies, dark fairy tales and fantasies about Druids, wizards and magic, Jennifer Ivy Walker always dreamed of becoming a writer. She fell in love with French in junior high school, continuing her study of the language throughout college, eventually becoming a high school teacher and college professor of French.

As a high school teacher, she took her students every year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play she had written, "Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête"--an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of "Tristan et Yseult" and the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.

“The Lady of the Mirrored Lake”—book 2 of “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven” trilogy--is a blend of her love for medieval legends, the romantic French language, and paranormal fantasy. It is a paranormal fantasy adaptation of the medieval legend of "Tristan et Yseult" (Tristan and Isolde), interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldly elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic.

Explore her realm of Medieval French Fantasy. She hopes her novels will enchant you.


Goodreads Author page:






Amazon link:









Monday, January 16, 2023

A Life Long Love Affair By Lisabet Sarai (@LisabetSarai) #Steampunk #Victorian #NewRelease


What a fun Muse Monday I have today with guest Lisabet Sarai. When an author shares how she got here from there, she catches my attention. Read on and enjoy!

I've always felt an affinity for the Victorian period. I was wearing high-necked blouses with cameos, long flowing skirts, and lace-up boots in my teens, long before they were fashionable. With my long hair parted in the middle and pulled back into a bun, I could well have been one of the heroines in the books I loved so much. 

I was also a science geek from my earliest days. I received my first microscope when I was five, and my first chemistry set at seven. I entered every science fair. In seventh grade, I won grand prize on a televised science quiz show. 

So it’s hardly surprising I’ve become a devotee of steam punk. I've been in love with this strange meld of science fiction and Victoriana for as long as I can remember – long before steam punk even had a name.  When I was in high school, I devoured H.G. Wells and H. Rider Haggard, and shared a Sherlock Holmes obsession with my dad. Later, I marveled at Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age and more recently, I discovered Gordon Dahlquist's incredible The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.  

Over the years I’ve written a number of steam punk short stories for anthologies, as well as a full length novel, Rajasthani Moon. All these tales, though, were set in Asia rather than in the British Isles. I think I was afraid I’d make errors that would alienate my UK readers if I tried setting a story in Queen Victoria’s home country. With my series The Toymakers Guild, however, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and produced some English steam punk. I had a lot of help with details from my critique group, but of course I take responsibility for any residual mistakes. 

I just hope readers will find the story so exciting, you won’t notice them! 


How do you train a steampunk sexbot? 

Gillian Smith’s promotion to journeyman proves she’s ready to lead the Toymakers in producing astonishing new erotic artifacts. Creative, brilliant, and debauched, she’ll stretch her capabilities to the limit as she juggles a talent shortage and a pair of jealous rivals. Then there’s the challenge of their latest commission—a life-sized programmable sex doll intended to replace a client’s deceased paramour. 

Normally she would consult the enigmatic Master Toymaker, but he seems preoccupied with his own concerns. Though her lusty crew of sexual renegades can offer technical and carnal assistance, Gillian is ultimately responsible for delivering the promised, near-impossible technology. 

It’s fortunate she’s not one to give up—not even when events threaten the Guild’s very survival. 


The Toymakers drifted back to their stations, aside from Jeremiah and Rafe. The two young men clearly had more to say.

Gillian pre-empted their enquiries. “Rafe, would you like to come to my room tonight? You’d be very welcome.”

Joy lit her lover’s angular features. “Do you seriously need to ask? Just tell me when.”

“Around nine should be good. That will allow us plenty of time.”

She turned to Jeremiah. His expression told her he was struggling to rein in his protests. She flashed him an angelic smile. “Will you come as well, Jeremiah?”

Rafe’s grin fled, but he remained silent.

Jeremiah beamed. “When, lady?”

“The same time, I think.”

“You want – want us both at the same time?” Rafe sputtered. “Together?”

Gillian shrugged. “You’ve already proved you can work together on technical tasks. I’m curious to see how well you cooperate in other domains.”

Find a longer excerpt and a full set of buy links at:

About Lisabet 

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genreparanormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Youll find information and excerpts from all Lisabets books on her website (, along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (, she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. Shes also on Goodreads, BookBub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: