Monday, March 27, 2023

Afternoon Tea in Elm Ridge—1851 Style by Ellen Parker (@eparkerwrites) #NewRelease #HistoricalRomance


Enjoy the guest post today with Ellen Parker as she takes us back to the middle of the nineteenth century.

The Deutsch immigrants in New Dreams are on their way to Elm Ridge, Illinois. I hope you enjoy this introduction to furnishings and customs of 1851.


After a flurry of greetings, Mrs. King leads us to the large kitchen at the rear of the house.

“I am so glad you came for tea.” Our hostess smiles.

I remove my shawl and drape it over a chair back. The table, covered with a white cloth, is set for three. The plates are blue-and-white, the cups dainty, and the saucers deep. A lidded sugar bowl and matching cream pitcher are in the center. 

“Please, take a seat. The water is almost at a boil.” Mrs. King adds tea leaves to the pot waiting on the corner cupboard. A moment later, she lifts the teakettle from the stove and adds steaming water. “Do you like cherries?”

“Yes, very much.” Geraldine, my mother-in-law, and I respond almost in unison.

Mrs. King sets the teapot on the table. A moment later, she opens a tin box on one of the deep shelves. “I went to Keil’s Bakery this morning. Do you trade with them?”

“Not often, Geraldine responds.

“I went for rye bread last week. The scents are always so enticing.”

“The baker’s wife called this a Kuchen. She said they make them with several different fruits—apple, plum, and apricot—in addition to cherry.”

“Please, Mrs. King, sit, relax, and enjoy afternoon tea. Tell us how you managed with the language at Keil’s Bakery.


America beckons with opportunity during the 1850’s.


Louisa Mueller, a baker’s daughter, arrives in Elm Ridge, Illinois with determination to learn English and work as a baker. Since the death of her sweetheart a year ago, she pushes aside thoughts of marriage. However, she’s intrigued by a fellow passenger who tells the most interesting stories.


Desperate for a fresh start, a young thief takes the name Hans Hoffmann when a look-alike passenger dies during the trans-Atlantic passage. Vowing to be an honest man in America, Hans discovers temptation wears many disguises. Will the pair be rewarded as they attempt their new dreams in a strange land? 




Hans shook his head. He ignored the stifling air and stepped toward Louisa. “Welcome, Fraulein Mueller. Did you enjoy the lecture?”

Ja. Danke.” She hid her hands in the folds of her skirt.

“May I be bold and ask you a question?” He waited for her slight nod. “Where are you going after we leave the ship in New Orleans?”

“I travel to join my cousin.” She moistened her lips and shifted her gaze to the floor.

Polite conversation is difficult. He searched for proper phrases among the crude remarks common in the cheap taverns he frequented. “I…I would like to become acquainted. May I speak with you again?” 


Raised in a household filled with books, it was only natural that Ellen Parker grew into an avid reader. She turned to writing as a second career and enjoys spinning the type of story which appeals to multiple generations. She encourages her readers to share her work with mother or daughter – or both.

Ellen currently lives in St. Louis. When not guiding characters to “happily ever after” she’s apt to be reading, walking in the neighborhood, or tending her tiny garden. You can find her on the web at and 

Ellen’s website:


Buy links for New Dreams:



Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Wicked Rides by Marla A. White #WickedWednesday


Please welcome Marla A. White to Discover... I love suspenseful horsey tales. A wicked ride. I have my copy! 

Hey Brenda, thanks so much for letting me take over this Wicked Wednesday to talk about the two different wicked rides in “Cause for Elimination”. One is mechanical, the other equestrian, and each is “wicked” in every sense of the word, depending on your perspective. 

The first wicked ride is Ellie May, a classic 1960s mint green and white pickup truck that remains a bone of contention in the divorce between Emily Conners and her ex-husband Nick. To Emily it’s just a way of getting from point A to point B, while Nick loves the truck so much he named it. Which was primarily the reason it was the only thing she asked for in the divorce. 

For Detective Justin Butler, the ride is wicked as in the worst ride he’s ever taken. Only partially restored, the springs from the seat hit him in all the wrong places. Then again, Emily’s driving is so terrifying to the normally stoic cop he forgets about how uncomfortable he is and merely hopes to survive.  

Ellie May is based on a real truck that belonged to someone who worked in the building next to mine for years. I’d stare out the window of my office and, being a horse person who yearned for their own truck and trailer, I fell in love with it. And the growl of the engine was so wicked! She started as a minor part of the story and, like so many characters in my books, demanded more page time of her own. I never knew it belonged to and always wished I’d gone next door to find out more about it. Lesson learned—grab those chances when they come along! 

The other wicked ride in “Cause” is Reese, the off-off the track Thoroughbred owned by Lottie Gray, the unpredictable, mischievous socialite. After the murder of her trainer, she turns to her friend and assistant trainer to take over the ride. And as anyone who rides knows, some days are fabulous while others are disasters.  

As Emily battles back from a life-altering numbers throughout the book, she has several kinds of rides. One is a romantic, fun adventure getting Justin on a horse and one is a disaster at a clinic with hunky eventing legend Dearg McGregor that breaks open the big man’s heart. Eventually, Emily will be challenged to ride past her fears or risk losing it all. 

Reese is more than a little inspired by my former horse, also named Reese. A sweet, giant goofball with a bigger than life personality, I learned so much from my years owning and riding him. Not as much as Emily does, I was nowhere near her level of rider, but every fence we came to he did everything I asked for. Not that we were successful all the time; when I’d ask, “are you sure we want to go over that?” he’d oblige by answering, “I’m cool with not doing it, I’ve got nothing to prove.”  


"Cause for Elimination" is an award-winning suspense/mystery/romance set in the world of equestrian eventing. Emily Conners finds her boss's dead body in their horse training stables and that's only the start of her problems. Detective Justin Butler is brought in to investigate and Emily is worried that in the process of looking for the killer he'll discover the dark secret she's keeping from everyone, even her best friend. As the search for the murderer heats up, their hearts become entangled and their lives at risk, forcing Emily and Justin to work together to find the killer before they strike again. 

As a once and (hopefully) future eventer, the horse world was a large part of my life and I love introducing horse and non-horse people alike to this arena and colorful cast of characters. 


Lost in her own thoughts, Emily flinched when the detective broke the relative silence of the pickup’s cab, having to raise his voice to be heard over the truck’s throaty engine as they roared down the road. “You do realize I’m a cop, right?”

 She glanced over and saw his white-knuckle grip on the passenger door armrest. “That’s the fourth orange light you’ve run,” he fussed, relaxing his hold to make air quotes around the word orange. “Not to mention the speeding,” he added as they charged up the freeway entrance ramp. 

Who knew detectives were such wusses?

 “Oh, come on, even traffic cops tell you it’s okay to go ten miles over the posted speed limit.” 

“You’re going twenty miles over and that’s an urban myth. Besides, I thought all you horse whisperers were the calm, patient type.” 

He shifted in his seat. When Nick refurbished the truck, he hadn’t gotten around to replacing the bench
seat. Unruly springs tended to poke people in rude places. She was used to the rough ride but considering the cop’s car was so cushy it probably had heated seats, she took pity on him and throttled Ellie May back to a gentle purr, reducing the bouncing to a bare minimum. “You want scary, you should ride with a DQ.” 


“Dressage Queen,” she answered. “Talk about brutal. Besides, I told you before, I’m still pretty new to the horse world.” 

“So, Ms. Conners, what made you want to work in a barn?” 

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Is knowing that relevant to your investigation?” 

“I’m just trying to make polite conversation,” he said with a warm smile. 

It had been a long time since she’d had any type of conversation, polite or otherwise. Pam had a way of asking questions as if she cared but ended up using the information against you. And Emily had learned through skilled practice to figure out the answers her various doctors wanted to hear in order to prescribe more painkillers, but that’s not the same as conversation, is it? Maybe she needed to brush up on her social skills, but the wisdom of starting off with a cop seemed shaky at best.






All Author

Marla White – Social Media Links












Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Chocolate Martini Sisters Hit the Road #BookTour #CozyMystery #GiftCard

Book tours are crazy fun. We’ve kicked off another tour with Great Escapes for Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder (Chocolate Martini Sisters Mystery, book 1). You’ll learn lots about this Cozy Mystery that is already getting great reviews AND at the same time be entered in a drawing for a $20 gift card to Amazon. Hit every stop and get yourself entered and in on the fun!

March 15 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 16 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read  – REVIEW

March 16 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – I’m Into Books – AUTHOR GUEST POST

March 18 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Novels Alive – REVIEW – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 21 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT


March 22 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 22 – Literary Gold – REVIEW

March 23 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT


March 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT

March 25 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

March 26 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT

March 27 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

March 28 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST

It’s a birthday weekend with the gift of murder.

When Sisters Emma and Nic check-in at the storied Dulce Inn for a relaxing, birthday weekend, they don’t expect a madhouse of temperamental artists or getting entangled in two murders. Using their love of all-things mystery, and despite a surly detective who stands in their way, can the Chocolate Martini Sisters tackle the caper, unsnarl the web of secrets, lies, and vengeance to catch the killer?

Monday, March 13, 2023

A Nana, a Cozy, and a Muse by Susie Black #CozyMystery

I absolutely love hearing how authors get inspired to write, where their stories are born, and how they bring them to life. You're going to enjoy reading about how my guest, Susie Black, came to write cozy mystery.

My nana the letter writer gave me the tools to write cozy mysteries

If there is an inheritable gene for story-telling, mine came from my mother’s mother. My nana should have been a writer. No one could tell a story like her.

Like many families, once my nana’s siblings grew up and left home, they scattered across the country. Nana knew the importance of keeping her family together no matter how many miles separated them. As the oldest child, Nana was chosen to write letters to family members living far from home. With the same level of dedication as the postman; come rain, sleet, or snow, war or peace, prosperous times or the depths of a national depression, my blind-as-a-bat without her coke bottle-thick glasses nana sat every Monday night at her dining room table and wrote a letter to each of her siblings. Her letters sewed the thread that kept our close-knit tribe connected.

When I was in my sophomore year of college my family moved from Los Angeles to Miami. Despite their valiant attempts to persuade me to join them, I wasn’t interested in relocating to “God’s waiting room,” and remained out west. The good news was that Nana added me to her list of weekly letter-writing recipients. Lonesome for my family, Nana’s weekly letter was an eagerly-anticipated lifeline to my family’s heart and soul. For all of us, that letter was the glue that kept our family bound together no matter how far from home one of us wandered.

The designated town crier, Nana’s letters were more like a newsletter. A date with her friends at the movies? After reading her letter, I was in the seat next to her. She reported who went, what they wore, if they were late or early; where they sat, if they had a snack, what the snack was, editorials on how much the snacks and the movie tickets cost, and every detail of the movie that was so complete, the recipient of her letter could write a decent review based on Nana’s commentary.  If she described what an attendee was wearing, I could close my eyes and picture the outfit perfectly. Her descriptions were so detailed and rich, that if she was describing a meal, I could smell the wafting aroma and taste the food.

Out of sentimentality or maybe a sixth sense that someday I’d need them, I kept every one of those letters. Like Nana, they were strong-willed and hearty; surviving dogs, a child, countless moves, several major earthquakes, and a devastating house fire. I had no formal creative writing training when I decided to leverage my experiences as a successful ladies’ swimwear sales exec into a writing career and pen my first manuscript. I had a story to tell, but no clue how to tell it. I instinctively pulled the carefully wrapped packets of letters out of the storage box and re-read every one of them. I could picture Nana at the dining room table writing the letters. I heard her voice inside my head speaking to me. My long-gone, full-service nana had given me all the tools I needed. I re-packed the letters, started to write, and thanks to Nana, I never stopped. Death by Sample Size, my debut cozy mystery, won two awards. Death by Pins and Needles, book two in my Holly Swimsuit Series has already received rave reviews.  Somewhere in the great beyond, Nana is smiling with her approval.

Who wanted Lissa Charney dead? The list was as long as your arm….but which one actually killed her? The last thing Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected to find when she opened the closet door was nasty competitor Lissa Charney’s battered corpse nailed to the wall. When Holly’s colleague is wrongly arrested for Lissa’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth sticks her nose everywhere it doesn’t belong to sniff out the real killer. Nothing turns out the way she thinks it will as Holly matches wits with a heartless killer hellbent for revenge.

Death by Pins and Needles Excerpt

I’d combed the place from one end to another and found no sign of Lissa. Where the Sam Hill was she? Not in the showroom. Not in her office. Not in the kitchen. Not in the copier room.  In the ladies’ room? Abducted by aliens?  Hiding in a closet? I was out of options and time; so, for giggles and squeaks, I pulled open the doors to the enormous sample closet that stretched across the back wall and peered inside. Good news. I found Lissa Charney. 

A dozen swimsuits picture-framed Lissa’s battered, bloody corpse like a museum exhibit. Ringed with matching black and purplish-blue shiners, her wide-open, sightless eyes stared into space as though surprised by her situation. No kidding. That made two of us. I was no doctor, but you didn’t need a medical degree for this diagnosis. No need to take her pulse. One thing was for sure, Lissa Charney had made her last sales presentation.

Naturally, I burst out laughing. 

Buy Links:


Barnes & Noble:

Book Bub:


Susie Black biography

Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Fashion & Foul Play Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.

She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.

Looking for more? Contact Susie at:



Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Wicked Wonderful Travel by Margot Johnson #romance #travel


Thank you, Brenda, for inviting me to be your guest this Wicked Wednesday. I’m happy to join you for some mid-week fun based on the wicked travel adventures in Let it Simmer and in my own life.

So glad to have you, Margot. What a great idea for a series. Please tell us about it. 

Merilee’s tours are inspired by my love of my home province of Saskatchewan, Canada and the many wickedly wonderful places to visit here. Many people are familiar with Canadian tourist attractions like Banff and Niagara Falls, but here are just a few of the scenic and exciting options you’ll find in Saskatchewan… 

Moose Jaw, SK – a city with a small-town feel, I set my first book, Love Takes Flight, there. Legend has it that Al Capone hid out in tunnels under the city, and it has a great mineral spa for a relaxing soak. 

Waskesiu, SK (Merilee’s latest destination) – This touristy town sits on the shores of a lake in Prince Albert National Park in Northern Saskatchewan. Our family visits every year to breathe the fresh, pine-scented air, hang out at the beach, and watch for wildlife. Elk often cruise the town, and you might see a bear along the road. 

Madge Lake, SK – Another beautiful lake setting in Saskatchewan where our family has started an
annual holiday tradition. A nice beach, golf course, and miniature golf course appeal to all ages.

Eastend, SK – This small town is best known for the nearby discovery of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton nicknamed "Scotty" in 1994. A few years ago, my husband, Rick, and I stayed in a country cottage and had fun exploring the area.

Regina, SK – a city of about 250,000, it’s the capital city of Saskatchewan with many attractions including beautiful Wascana Park and the RCMP Heritage Centre and police training academy.

Have you visited Saskatchewan, Canada? If not, I hope you now have a new destination to add to your travel wish list. What’s a special place near you or a place you love to visit? 

About Let it Simmer, book three in the Merilee Tours series… 

A sensible, mature widow like Susan doesn’t belong on a tour bus seated next to her high school crush. Thirty years later, Phil is as charming and handsome as ever, but she doesn’t need a new partner, especially not a love-’em-and-leave-’em guy.

Happily single, Phil tags along to celebrate his matchmaking mom’s eightieth birthday. She’s embarrassingly persistent, but maybe she’s right he should, finally, settle down with the right woman.

Susan only wants a little family time with her two cousins and a scenic vacation to Northern Saskatchewan…so why does she feel like a fluttery teenage girl? Can Phil spark even more excitement than games, scenery, and wildlife?

Author Biography: 

Margot Johnson writes feel-good stories of dreams, family, and romance.

She is the author of two sweet romance novels, LOVE TAKES FLIGHT and LOVE LEADS THE WAY, and three novellas, LET IT SNOWBALL, LET IT MELT, and LET IT SIMMER. Her characters can't possibly find their happy endings...or can they?

Before turning her focus to the fun writing life, Margot held leadership roles in human resources and communications. Her motto is "Dream big and work hard."

When not writing, she loves to connect with family and friends, volunteer with SK Writers Guild, and walk at least 10,000 steps a day (except when it's minus 40!)

Margot lives in the Canadian prairies with her husband. 

Contact Margot here:


Facebook: MargotJohnsonAuthor

Twitter: @AuthorMargot 

Find Margot’s books here:


Barnes and Noble




Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Welcome the Chocolate Martini Sisters #NewRelease #giveaway #cozymystery


It’s a birthday weekend with the gift of murder.

Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder, the first book in the Chocolate Martini Sisters mysteries is officially out in the world. Kicking off our release is a week long book tour with Silver Dagger Tours and a giveaway.

Recently widowed, Emma Banefield looks forward to a getaway birthday weekend with her free-wheeling sister, Nicole Earp, sipping chocolate martinis at the peaceful, historic Dulce Inn. When a rude stranger, a nasty food critic, and a madhouse of temperamental artists greet them, all hope for a tranquil weekend evaporates faster than dew on a hot desert morning. 

Overlooking the riotous atmosphere is doubly hard after Em discovers the body of a hotel guest, and a second murder affects Nic personally. Now, entrenched in a caper that pits them against a surly detective, they cozy up to a hotel staff hiding dangerous secrets to uncover clues to the killer. 

Using their smarts and love of all-things mystery, will the Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime ahead of the obstinate Chief Detective or find themselves trapped in the middle of a third murder?

You can enter to win at every stop while learning more about the Chocolate Martini Sisters.

Mar 7

kickoff at Silver Dagger Book Tours

Tina Donahue Books - Heat with Heart

Rene's Getaway

Bedazzled By Books

Insane Books

Midnight Book Reader 

Mar 8

A Reader's Book Corner – REVIEW ON PODCAST

Author Kim Knight

Lisa Everyday Reads – GUEST POST 

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

The Sexy Nerd 'Revue'

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read

The Book Dragon 

Mar 9

iris blobel

Manic Scribbler – GUEST POST

Romance - Sweet to Heat

Alana Lorens, author

❧Defining Ways❧

Indie Author Book Reviews – GUEST POST

The Bookshelf Fairy 

Mar 10

Journeys with Jana – GUEST POST

Beyond Romance – GUEST POST


Denise Dekker – GUEST POST

All Things Dark & Dirty

Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin

Twisted Book Ramblings 

Mar 11


The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Naughty Nightie Book Blog

4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼

Books all things paranormal and romance

Inside the Insanity 

Mar 12

Twirling Book Princess – GUEST POST

Book Crazy

A Wonderful World of Words – GUEST POST


Girl with Pen 

Mar 13

I'm Into Books

Birdie Song

Reading Stewardess

Just Me and My Blog Reviews

Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Literary Gold 

Mar 14

Anna del C. Dye official page


Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

Craving Lovely Books

eBook Addicts

Scrupulous Dreams