Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Case of the Wicked Tattooed Author by Fiona McGier


You are in for a treat, Readers. My guest, Fiona McGier, had me laughing three sentences into her post. Enjoy this delightfully Wicked Wednesday read.

Wicked Wednesday. What does that mean to me? I've been told I'm a wicked woman because I've got a lot of tattoos--12, to be exact--counting the ones that got worked on twice as 2 each. I've been getting ink done since the late 70's, when the only females who got them were hookers and Cher (then married to Gregg Allman, a multi-inked man, who sang to her, "I'm no angel.") Mom ran into the bathroom and swore in Polish for a while when I first showed it to her. Dad said, "Oh great! Now when we find your decapitated corpse in the gutter, we'll be able to identify you." Sigh. I was an English major taking honors classes to become a high school teacher. I don't know how that translates to dead in a gutter, but you know the way parents can be. My husband got his first of two, on his 40th birthday. I threw him a huge surprise party. When his mom saw it, she turned to me, saying, "This is all your fault, right?" I pretended to wipe at a tear in my eye, and hugged her, thanking her. When she asked what I was doing, I explained, "Do you know how long it's been since any woman told me I was bad for her son? You make me feel young again!" Everyone, including her, laughed.  Now that our 4 kids are adults, only the 2nd one has 2 tattoos himself. He got his first one when still in college (carrying on the family tradition!) I went with him and he went to my guy, so I got a small one in solidarity with him--a real mom/boy bonding thing. LOL! But my oldest son asked me after my last one, "Are you done mutilating yourself yet, Mom?" Some people just don't understand. Some think they're wicked. I think they're a fun way to show the world what is important to me--which is my family. 
I also love dark chocolate with a fervor I usually reserve for sex. So when I discovered Diana's Banana Bites, which are slices of banana coated in luscious dark chocolate, then frozen, I realized my dreams had come true! No longer do I have to feel wicked guilty about eating a dessert. Bananas supply needed potassium, right? So they're good for me. YUM!
In my latest book, Learning to Love, Elena needs to escape from the hell her life has become, on the dying planet Earth. Single young, hopefully fertile females are not allowed to board the starliners that travel between planets. But she saves money in cash-chits, and offers bribes, including to the young man who books her passage on the starliner. She offers him a variation of sex that as an unmarried man, would be illegal if they were to be discovered--in the prologue! But the first chapter details how the passengers are put into suspended animation for the 10 years of travel they'll be doing, to get to Mesa Verde, one of the first planets to be colonized years ago. And from then on, Elena is a model of decency, hoping that no one could follow her, so she'll be safe. So was she wicked? Or was she just doing whatever she had to do? That's the way I look at it. And if eating the native plants from her new home planet will turn her skin green? She doesn't care--it's a small price to pay for safety and sanity.

Elena, an English teacher, ran away from her life on the dying planet Earth, to accept a job on Mesa Verde. Dakota, in her first class, knew she was the woman for him. She rebuffs him because she has a secret. Can Dakota convince her to accept his love? And can he help her stay on the planet when an earther with a grudge pursues her?:

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Blog and Website: http://www.fionamcgier.com 1st 20% of my books free!Free Download: Prescription For Love

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A Birthday with the Gift of Murder #cozymystery

My sister and I enjoy a chocolate martini twice a year, once in the spring for her birthday and again in the fall for my birthday at the Hasayampa Inn in Prescott, Arizona in the saloon called the Peacock Room. This tradition is what led to the cozy mystery series I’m writing with co-author Joyce Proell. 

Candy,Cigarettes, and Murder released in March. 

Book two, Reading, Writing, and Murder is set to release in September.

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?


Before the waitress could open her mouth, Shaw bit into her. “What is the sauce on this chicken supposed to be?”

“You ordered the Southwest Chicken in Chipotle Cream.”

“I’m quite aware of what I ordered, young woman. What’s your name?”

“Karen, sir.”

“Karen what?”

“G-Gonzalez. Karen Gonzalez.”

“Well, Ms. Gonzalez, instead of telling me something I already know, why don’t you tell me what a chipotle cream should taste like?”

Is that Nic coming from the Azul?
The young woman’s bottom lip trembled, and her eyes sparkled with unshed tears.
“Do you know?”
Nic braced her hands on the table, ready to spring to the hounded girl’s rescue. “What a jerk.”
“I don’t know how he can complain.” Her sister spoke around a mouthful. “It’s what I ordered, and the sauce is delicious.”

“Sit back and eat. No need for you to make a scene.” She swallowed and feathered fingers in the air. “We’ll have a word with the manager on how well Karen responded and leave her a good tip. That’s a better way to seek justice for her than disrupting everyone’s meals.”

Two tables over, Karen’s shoulders hunched and her chin dipped before the haughty restaurant critic. “Could I get you something else, sir?”

“If I’d wanted something else, I would’ve ordered it.” The veins in his temples bulged. “Get me the chef. Now!”

“Yes, sir.” The server hustled out of the dining room.

“I hope the head chef is the type to light fireworks rather than bend over backwards for the ass.” One glance at Em told her she didn’t feel the same.

Her sister released a sigh. “This is supposed to be a quiet dinner in the ambience of a fine hotel. The start of a relaxing weekend.”

“Good grief, Em. You don’t get this kind of entertainment without paying for it. This is like dinner theater.” She shoveled in a healthy bite of mushrooms and beef, giving an appreciative hum to accompany her chewing.

The double doors of the kitchen flew open. Out came a stocky man dressed in a double-breasted white jacket with gold buttons, black slacks, and a burgundy ascot at his throat. If the outfit didn’t clue the restaurant patrons as to his profession, the poufy chef’s hat hanging to one side would. Like a charging bulldog, he tore a path directly to Shaw, clasped one hand in another in front of him, and nodded his head. “I’m Head Chef Grayson Payne. What seems to be the problem?”

Em could be resting on the stairs.

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Monday, May 22, 2023

The Origin of Lafayette Falls by Patricia Preston #BillionaireRomace


Patricia's muse guided her to some home town comfort. Please welcome my guest today on Discover...

Having grown up in a small town, I wanted to recapture the friendliness and familiarity that small towns evoke, especially the pretty historical downtown areas and court squares. 

My parents grew up in Tennessee and it’s like a second home to me. The area was always my first choice for a setting because I’m familiar with it. Nashville is surrounded by higher terrain known as the Highland Rim. Bordered by the Tennessee River, the area has many small rivers, rocky creeks and waterfalls. The beautiful rolling hills are bordered by the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. The northern part of the Natchez Trace travels through this part of the state and provides a gorgeous drive in the fall. The fictional town is about 60 miles southeast of Nashville 

 I’ve visited many of the small towns in that area. Those towns provided a lot of inspiration for the historical Lafayette Falls downtown area. Like most towns, it has expanded beyond downtown over the decades. I wanted Lafayette Falls to be large enough to have shopping centers, a variety of business, restaurants, schools, and a modern medical center. Plus, it is home to some amazing characters and their romantic stories.


After a summer fling six years ago, Marla and Carson went their separate ways. Yet Carson Blackwell still has feelings for Marla. Desperate to rid himself of his infatuation, he offers Marla a deal she can't refuse. In exchange for a week in Hawaii as his "pretend girlfriend," the billionaire promises a generous yearly donation to Marla's community clinic in Lafayette Falls. Will he finally free himself of unrequited love?  

Dr. Marla Grant must navigate a high-stakes game of love and deception when she agrees to be Carson's fake girlfriend. As old passions resurface and the past returns to haunt her, she fears what will happen if Carson finds out he's the unsuspecting father of her little girl. Will she make it back home to Lafayette Falls unscathed? Or will one week in paradise destroy her regardless? 

One Week in Your Arms is a 75 k word mainstream romance. Heat level: warm.

On sale for 99¢ at most ebook retailers.

Complete list of retailers and library lenders


With the envelope open, she peeped inside to see one folded sheet of stationery.

After six years, what could he possibly have to say?

She pictured him standing beside a black truck in the drive of Mayfair Place, a turn-of-the-century estate belonging to his grandmother. It was time to say goodbye to the only man who had ever swept her off her feet.

The wind made a mess of Carson’s unruly dark hair. His blue eyes were hidden by a pair of mirrored lens aviators, and his alpha-male physique tested the seams of his polo shirt. “If I’m ever back in town, I’ll look you up,” he promised as their casual affair came to a predestined end.

For three weeks, they had been together, and finally, the time had come for them to go their separate ways. She had known this moment was inevitable, but she hadn’t realized it would be so difficult. She told herself the feeling would pass.

She forced a bright smile of goodwill. After all, they weren’t parting in anger, or in love, for that matter. And it was unlikely that she would ever see him again. 

Author Bio: 

Award-winning author, Patricia Preston, enjoys writing swoonworthy mainstream romances with charming heroines and irresistible heroes. All her books, regardless of the subgenre, are traditional romances featuring an emotional and compelling romantic journey. The books have captivating characters, romantic settings, and fun, feel-good moments that will leave the reader smiling. The series books can be read as stand-alone romances. Many of her interests and favorites are often reflected in her books. She loves old homes, romantic décor, antiques, flea markets, history, music, graphic art, and cooking. 


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Jealous Villains and the Good Guys by Susan Leigh Furlong


Enjoy my guest's great take on finding the perfect villain for Discover... Wicked Wednesday. Thanks for this, Susan Leigh Furlong!

Nothing is more wicked than a villain who has it out for the hero. Storms and hungry animals are all vile, but there’s nothing like a good villain. Sort of like a car wreck. You know it’s appalling, but you can’t look away!

Villains come in all shapes and sizes, and so many stories cry out for a bad guy (or gal) to cause trouble because if everything were easy for the hero, the book would double as a sleep aid. There are many ways to go about finding your wicked villain. Here are mine.

I needed to create a worthy bad guy, one who if he were the hero, and not so nasty, could be admired. It took a lot of thought and tweaks, but I finally found Simon Duffy for my Revolutionary War novel, DESPERATE HOPE.

Colonel Simon Duffy is part of the British occupation force in New York City in 1778. His mission is to test the loyalty of the locals and expose any of George Washington’s spies, which include my hero, Gavin Cullane, and my heroine, Tansy Carter.

My first question was how did Duffy become the way he is? What is his backstory? Duffy is on the wrong side of good and evil for many reasons, but feeling sorry for him is out of the question. He’s still the bad guy.

Gavin’s first meeting with Simon Duffy on the prison ship exposes the truth about Duffy’s background. 

The captain introduced Gavin to a skinny forty-year-old officer with a sharp nose and buck teeth named Simon Duffy who would be his handler on shore. Colonel Duffy stood next to the ship captain’s desk with arms akimbo and his nose in the air and bragged about being highly educated. However, Gavin, who’d been raised as a servant among the truly high-born, recognized the signs of his low beginnings by the frequent rubbing of his sweaty hands down his sleeves.

“What do you know about spying?” Duffy asked him in a scratchy, raw voice.

“I can learn,” said Gavin.

“I am certain you can, but we British have been doing it for a thousand years, so you cannot outsmart us.” Duffy sniffed. 

When we learn why Duffy chose Gavin to be a double agent for the British, we know there’s nothing but trouble ahead for our hero.

 “You made a good choice with this one,” said Duffy to the captain a few days later. “He is clever enough to be useful, but not so clever as to avoid the trap we will set for him. At the right time, this Gavin Cullane will deliver to us something that will change the course of this war in our favor, after which we will hang him. If, on the other hand, he does nothing of value for us, we will still hang him.” Duffy gave a throaty laugh. 

Later, at a fancy party held by Loyalist sympathizers, Duffy confronts our hero. Duffy seems to be offering advice, but in reality he’s bragging, something he can’t resist doing. 

Instead of taking his next shot, Duffy tossed his cue on the billiard table and moved over to a small wooden table where the men sat to play chess or cribbage. “Enough billiards. Sit down. Have a whiskey?” He pointed to the decanter and the drink glasses. “I’ve already had a drink or two, but who’s counting?”

“No, thank you,” said Gavin.

Duffy downed the whiskey left in his glass in one gulp.

Gavin concentrated on relaxing his shoulders and his face as he took a seat across from Duffy, trying to appear unconcerned while facing the man who could send him back to the prison ship or hang him.

Crossing his arms over his chest, Duffy leaned back in his chair. “Duncan tells me you were a servant in this house.”

Gavin nodded.

“You’ve moved up in the world from lowly servant to invited guest, but you still don’t feel like you belong here, do you? Remember, it’s all an act, a game. Did I tell you where I came from? A hovel next to the river, but I decided I wanted out and up, and here I am. It’s all an act. Nobody can tell where you were born if you watch, learn, and play the game, and I’ve learned it well.”

He flicked his hand as if to dismiss all the wealth and class of the Duncan house. 

Duffy’s low character deepens when we learn how Duffy uses people as stepping stones to his goals, fatal stepping stones. When my heroine, Tansy Carter, visits Colonel Duffy, trying to falsely convince him she can send a spy message that will lead to the defeat of the colonists, his arrogant demeanor makes her skin crawl, but she must be careful. He is dangerous. 

Duffy’s tongue peeked out of his mouth as he licked his lower lip. “Cullane has so little to offer a woman such as yourself. I could do so much more for you, give you a position in society and its accompanying wealth. Sadly, I find myself without a wife, and I do so enjoy having a woman at my side.”

He didn’t mention what Tansy already knew from the gossip that raged through a population with little else to take their minds off the war. Duffy’s first wife had given him the prestige to secure a commission in the army and then disappeared without a trace while his second wife had left him with a fortune and then was found floating in the river. All investigations led to naught. 

Villains need to be clever and competent, a match for the hero. Otherwise, the suspense is lost, and there goes the reason to keep reading.

Gavin and Tansy, disguised as a bumbling farmer and his wife, board a ferry to escape out of British held New York City to the Continental held territory in New Jersey. Duffy boards the same ferry. 

Simon Duffy held his back stiff and resisted the urge to turn around and glare at the farmer and his wife seated in the back of the ferry. He recognized the pair as Gavin Cullane and Tansy Carter, despite their ridiculous disguises, which he had to admit might have fooled him, but he knew her from her voice. He would never forget that voice. Her almost musical lilt and pitch from the few minutes in his office haunted him, especially at night.

That day her tremulous fingers had given her away as terrified, despite the control she tried to present as she stood in front of him. Still, she held herself aloof, valiantly trying to appear confident, and her false attitude of arrogance aroused him. He loved a woman who challenged him, a woman he needed to conquer and force to submit to his will. Tansy Carter was such a woman, and he wanted to see her writhing beneath him, begging him to stop.

Gavin Cullane, on the other hand, had the cause of colonial freedom, and it made him weak. Duffy’s ambition had nothing to do with any cause except to get himself on a pinnacle above everyone else. He curled his lip, thinking about how far he’d come from his wretched beginnings, but he had so much farther to go. If he could become king, he would, but since that wasn’t possible, he’d settle for being a four-star general, the highest rank in the British army, and nothing less.

The two disguised bumpkins in the back of the ferry would make that happen for him. He licked his lips thinking about the glory he’d get from the capture of the two Continental spies who had made it possible for him to misguide Washington about the saltpeter supply. He was so close he could almost taste it! 

Duffy relentlessly chases and harasses Gavin and Tansy. He imprisons Tansy’s teenage nephew, beats information out of a local preacher, burns down the house of a patriot family, and eventually captures Gavin and Tansy. His plans for both of them are heinous until Duffy meets his own unfortunate end, as all good villains must, at the hands of the hero, making it hard to feel anything but victory for his defeat. 

Simon Duffy, his gut torn by the knife, moved from one British encampment to another over the next six months. Along the way, a sympathetic country doctor treated his wound, but could do no better than to leave him with a jagged stitched-together stomach, unable to eat a proper meal, and in constant pain.

Duffy eventually found British troops east of Philadelphia near Monmouth County, New Jersey, as the soldiers marched in retreat after their defeat by Continental troops at the Monmouth Creek battle.

Demanding to be taken to British General Clinton, Duffy prepared himself to receive accolades for escaping from dangerous patriot spies, only to find chains being locked around his wrists and himself under arrest for his role in the saltpeter fiasco. He marched the rest of the way toward the coast where he was imprisoned until the end of the war when any record of him disappeared. 

There are a lot of characteristics of a great villain, and each is unique to the narrative, but my favorite necessary trait is that he is jealous of the hero. Deep in his subconscious, he wishes he could be the hero and the fact that he is not is his strongest motive to do wrong. 

The best bad guy can bring out the best in the hero!


Also available at

Susan Leigh Furlong always wanted to be a teacher. She always made up stories as a child. Her first officially published work was an article written for a children’s magazine entitled “The Dumbest Kid in School.” Historical Romance is Susan's favorite type of book. A bookstore is her favorite place in the whole world.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Reading and Reviews (Fuller and White)

I'm an author, 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. 

The Mockingbird Drive by A. C. Fuller 

Five people are dead at a small Las Vegas newspaper...
The police and the media are running with the "official story"...
But Alex Vane is after the truth.

Alex Vane was once a top investigative journalist. Now he peddles celebrity gossip and clickbait listicles, watching from a distance as his wife moves on with her life - without him. But Alex's past catches up to him when he learns that an old source, James Stacy, has been killed in a random mass shooting.

James left Alex one last scoop: a 50-year-old hard drive that may contain a secret worth killing for...and the name of the one person who can help him access the data. That person is Quinn Rivers, a paranoid and reclusive computer expert who believes the CIA is tracking her every move. And she may be right.

When Alex shows up at her door with the hard drive, armed operatives are right behind him. Now Alex and Quinn are on the run. There is no one to trust, nowhere to hide, and nothing but the hard drive to prove that James Stacy's death wasn't random at all. 


First off, I found this book entertaining. I think Mr. Fuller does a great job with character portrayal. The story is very “now” with lots of terminology and techy stuff so that part was lost on me here and there, but I was able to catch up and get the gist of it. If you don’t believe in the dark world behind government and the movers and shakers, then you might have trouble suspending belief enough to enjoy this read. I didn’t have ANY trouble with that. I like a hero who isn’t all good and has faults. I would definitely read another book with Alex Vane as the main character.



Cause for Elimination by Marla A. White 

Reclaiming her life after a devastating riding accident, equestrian Emily Conners’ world shatters again when she discovers her friend and boss lying in a stall with a smashed skull. Now jobless and with a handsome cop underfoot investigating the case, she's torn between wanting the killer found and keeping her own secrets safe.

Detective Justin Butler always gets his killer, but this victim has a stampede of enemies and few leads to go on. Stonewalled by the tight-knit equestrian world, he looks to Emily for help, but she’s strangely reluctant. Is she hiding something, or is she afraid of their growing attraction?

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.


I bought this book because it is about the horse world. One of my all-time favorite authors is Dick Francis. But Francis wrote about racing not the equestrian world. That’s okay. I like horses and learned a little about this other horsey world. The main gist of the story is about a murder within that community and the detective who is trying to solve the crime with the aid of a pill-popping equestrian, Emily, who he’s falling in love with. At first, I puzzled over the heroine and her addiction. Ms. White was brave in writing such a flawed protagonist. But I must say she handled the touchy subject well. There were times I wanted to slap Emily upside the head, and maybe that shows I got into her character. I enjoyed the characters Dearg and Lottie as well. 


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Toasting Murder with a Chocolate Martini

My sister and I enjoy a chocolate martini twice a year, once in the spring for her birthday and again in the fall for my birthday at the Hasayampa Inn in Prescott, Arizona in the saloon called the Peacock Room. This tradition is what led to the cozy mystery series I’m writing with co-author Joyce Proell. Candy,Cigarettes, and Murder released in March. Book two, Reading, Writing, and Murder is set to release in September.

Our fictional Chocolate Martini Sisters are Emma (Em) Banefield and Nicole (Nic) Earp. They find a lot more murder and mayhem at the Dulce Inn in our fictional town of Wyatt, Arizona than my sister and I find in the Peacock Room!

Nic is the younger sister and prone to jumping to conclusions when she and Em are following the clues to catch the murderer. Em is an analytical sleuth, more cautious than Nic. Both sisters are keen observers and love to people-watch. Nic is a freelance travel writer and ex-teacher, carefree and arty in her style. She loves hats. Em’s style

is non-fussy and monochromatic. She’s an aspiring mystery author and although retired, she still advises on psychiatric/social cases.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share some never-before-seen excerpts and photos of the inspiration behind this really fun to read series.

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

Penelope giggled. “I have a reasonably good memory for faces and names, but yours in particular stuck with me. Our town, Wyatt, is named for another Earp who gave the Dulce Inn a reputation back in the day.”

“Ah, yes. I can’t claim any relation, although my second husband, my ex, swears he’s a descendant of the famous Earp brothers.”

“Wow. How fun.”

She snickered. If the clerk knew Rodney, she wouldn’t use the word fun. “So, what’s with all the activity and art today?”

“This weekend is the first ever art festival held at the town square. Art Fair on the Square.” She gestured toward the door. “There are lots of artists staying here, so the inn decided to capitalize on the event and have an art competition. We’re asking guests to vote on the art displayed in our lobby. There’ll be a dinner and dance Saturday night to announce the winner.”

“Super.” Nic hadn’t danced in a few years. She’d probably have trouble getting Em to a dinner and dance. In fact, she’d guess her sister sat at the bar right now, bemoaning the busy atmosphere of the inn this weekend. Too hectic, she’d complain. A lively change might do her good though. Em had done well getting over the death of her husband, but a little step outside of her comfort zone wouldn’t hurt.

“I love your hat.” Penelope’s bubbly voice drew her from her musings.

She slipped the twisted seagrass gambler’s hat from her head. “Thanks.” The band in a floral mono-toned green, matched the jungle print of her skirt. Quite by accident.

The front desk clerk tilted her chin. “I can’t pull off wearing—”

“These are to be displayed among the contest art pieces,” a boorish man interjected.  His elbow bumped Nic as he shoved a triptych of three interconnecting drawings across the reception counter. Penelope jerked her fingers away to avoid having them smashed by the frames. “See it gets taken care of immediately.” As if expecting his directive would be carried out without question, he spun on his heel, cutting away so fast the air lifted the thinning silver and golden-brown hair atop his head.

“I hope all the artists aren’t as rude to you as that ass.” Not only rude, but the cruel glint in his hazel eyes when he scoped Penelope’s face gave off bad vibrations. And she trusted the vibes she sensed in people. This was not a nice man.



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Monday, May 8, 2023

A Road to Getting Published by Lynn Griffin #WWII #publish


I love stories of how a writer gets her book out into the world. You'll enjoy Lynn Griffin's post today.

They say your childhood shapes your life, but you choose which path you take.  

Pinch me now. I am a traditionally published author! It’s amazing I can say I am a published author. 

The thing is I have perpetual imposters syndrome, and therefore I’ve never had the confidence to submit my work. That was until one day, when a new friend, who turned out to be an editor in our critiquing group, suggested I should get my story out there before ‘I popped my clogs.’ Yes, she was that blunt! But she had a point. It became the push I needed. 

I have always written around the full-time paid job. My work took me to places that I never dreamed. I met people that were remarkable, honest, vulnerable, and wonderful. They shared their stories. They made me laugh in the face of adversity, and their stories brought tears to my eyes as they spoke of their love and devotion. Each of those wonderful people were survivors. They were my inspiration. They are my hero’s. 

My latest novels Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox and its sequel The Twenty-One-Year Contract are standalones and based around WW11 which leads to 1960s. 

So, back to how publication all came about. When the invisible big bad wolf came knocking on everyone’s door in 2020, I was living and writing in Spain. When we returned to the UK my imaginary friends continued to keep me awake. Yammering away. Still telling me their stories.  Telling me what to write, what to say, and how important they were. I had to listen, after all, who am I to argue? Because my ‘little friends’ had so much to say, this particular book ended up being humongous! It weighed in way over 180,000 words. Of course, I knew I wouldn’t get away with that, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. 

Then the search for the perfect publisher began. This may sound obvious, but often writers fall into the pothole by not submitting to publishers that:

Are open to submissions.

And equally important, those who published work that fitted with my genre. 

Three months later, after ensuring the final product was polished, shiny and everything in between, I was offered a contract! I’m still stunned. 

Though it wasn’t as simple as that as you can well imagine.  The 180,000 words needed some cutting back which was hard, but necessary and became another huge learning curve. Then believe it or not, writing is hard enough, but once you have a contract, the real work begins. 

I put my fingers on the keyboard, listened to my editor and went for it. 

To my delight it resulted in my debut, Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox being born, followed by The Twenty-One-Year Contract. 

Of course, there is more to this than I can share right here, but all I’m saying is if I can do it, and you are a writer with the dream, do it now. Try before it’s too late!  

One last word, or two: If you are a reader, or writer, thank you so much for taking the time to read my books. The reviews have been wonderful. They are important to any author, but I can’t thank you enough. I am still humbled, and always will be. All writers are encouraged to read, and I am naturally an avid reader. I don’t restrict myself to one genre, just check out my reviews on Goodreads or Ben Shepard and you will see for yourself.

Only a simple shoebox, but with life-changing secrets…


Fourteen-year-old Kathleen Gray— talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family. Suddenly, they are gone, she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her. Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.