Friday, December 15, 2023

Surviving Tragedy by Susan Leigh Furlong


Please welcome Susan Leigh Furlong to Discover... For Fearless Friday, her post on surviving tragedy shows us there're all kinds of ways to be fearless when dealing with a traumatic event.

All traumatic events, be it sudden onset like a car crash or long-term like overcoming the death of a loved one, will cause the brain to enter one of three modes: Fight, Flight, or Freeze. A survivor has no control over which one the brain falls into or when it will happen.

In Fight mode all the body’s “super powers” are heightened, taking the form of anger, rage, or the physical strength as in fighting off an attacker. In Flight mode the body wants to flee as in physically running away or mentally hiding as in withdrawal from normal activities. Freeze mode renders a person almost unable to function, unable to make decisions, to live in a “fog,” ignoring people and places around them. All of these types of reactions are typical and normal in the aftermath of a catastrophe.

Our brains stay in these modes until it perceives that it has found “safety,” which can happen fairly quickly or can take years. And each person’s survival/recovery takes a different and individual path. (So if anyone tells you to “Just get over it!” get that person out of your recovery!)

Recovery or finding peace for your brain, can take many different avenues. The first is accepting support from friends, family, a therapist, or an established group of people who’ve been through what you have. Sometimes you may have to reject “help” from people and places that aren’t right for you, and it is your decision, not theirs.

          Join in activities that you enjoy or have enjoyed in the past. You may not think it will help, but at least it is a start. Take up art, drawing, singing, participating in a community theater, either on stage or in the background. Join a movement or exercise class. Try aerobics or yoga, maybe swimming or even working out with tapes at home by yourself. Take walks to nowhere in particular, but in a place you feel safe.  Walk with a friend who agrees to not say a word, if that’s what you need. Go to lunch and agree to only talk about the sunshine or the clouds, depending on the weather!  Is meditation your thing? Give it a try.

          Journalling is an excellent way to write down your feelings, your anger, or your fear and then close the cover and leave all those rotten emotions inside. Put a lock on the journal if need be. No one else is to look at it. Put it in a lock box and get a trusted friend to promise to destroy the whole box if anything happens.

Make sure if you choose a therapist, you get one who works for you. If you don’t connect in a way that makes you comfortable, get another counselor, and get another after that if you have to. This is your therapy!

          I will say one thing about medication. Under a doctor’s care and direct supervision, prescribed medication can relieve the hard work your brain and emotions are doing. Do it carefully and never on your own!

          Sometimes it will feel like you can’t work at healing yourself another minute longer. Then don’t! Take a break, walk away, read a book, dig in the garden, whatever you need to rest. Sleep may be difficult during this time and for a long time after, but check up on relaxation techniques before bedtime. Some work, some don’t. As in all the above, find which works for you, but don’t stop trying until you do.

          In case you think I’m talking through my hat, I will tell you that I have experienced severe trauma in my life, a damaging childhood, losing a child, and losing my belief. Each time my first reaction was to flee from the world coupled with raging anger, but I eventually learned to choose another path because living with the trauma never works. I chose one-on-one talk therapy, journalling, and the dramatic arts, performing, singing, and writing. Writing my books comforts me in ways I cannot explain.

You cannot bury the trauma. You have to actively work it away slowly. Choose any method you want. If one doesn’t bring relief after a few weeks, try another. If after a period of time your brain decides to reactivate its fear, flight or freeze, go back to a pattern that worked in the past. Never give up.

You are in charge and you need to choose the path, or several, that are right for you. The issue is that you take an active role in whatever way you pull through.

You will survive! I don’t even know you, but I have faith in you!

(Incidentally, in Forgiven Never Forgotten, my heroine, Joneta, reacts by freezing, going through her life in a fog, while my hero, Rory, fights with everything he’s got. In 1692 none of the above techniques were known or available, but as a writer, I made certain my characters survived together to their own HEA!) 

Book Blurb -        

Rory Campbell, falsely accused of participating in the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe killings, is sentenced to hang as a sacrificial lamb while the real agents of the slaughter escape blame. He risks everything to convince the love of his life, Joneta MacDonald, of the truth. He can never forget how completely she owns his heart.

Joneta MacDonald watches helplessly as her family is murdered by the king’s men, but forgiving Rory for his seeming participation is harder than she imagined. What must she endure besides the clan’s hatred? With the overwhelming odds against them, she clings to her love for a man labelled a traitor.         


Robert (Rory’s alias) abandoned all thoughts of good manners and patience as he forced his way through the crowd toward the leather factory at the end of the street. The livery needed new reins and harnesses, and he was determined to get a good price. Most people cursed him when he gave them a shove as he went by, but it didn’t stop him. The horses and carriages were another matter, and he just had to wait until they passed.

He paused outside a dressmaker’s shop to admire several colorful bolts of cloth and three dresses displayed in the window. He wished he had someone to buy for. He was drawn to a dark blue material with yellow specks scattered throughout, thinking it would suit Joneta, but here in Glasgow he knew no one who would use the cloth, and it would stay that way for the rest of his lonely life.

Someone, giving him a sharp jolt to his back, knocked him out of his reverie. His feet tangled, and he only stayed upright by steadying himself against the window of the dress shop, his arms splayed to the sides.

Then he saw it.

Directly across the street, a head of auburn hair moved in the opposite direction. Sunlight sparkled over the blond streaks throughout the braids.


He’d seen flashes of hair like hers before, and it always gave him a shock in the pit of his stomach. Each time, after he realized it wasn’t her, he felt sick, lonely, and cursed to never see her again, never to hold her or say the words that stayed on his heart day and night. Even though he knew each time it couldn’t be her, he always hoped it might be.

He had started toward the leather shop again when the auburn head of hair stepped up into the doorway of the ribbon shop across the road to let other people pass her. She faced toward the street now, and he got a good look at her.


He called her. “Joneta! Joneta!”

She looked the other way, obviously unable to hear him above the din of the passing shoppers.

He pushed himself onto the street just as the noisy wheels of a horse-drawn wagon passed in front of him, blocking his way. He pounded the side of the wagon in frustration. “Joneta!”

When he got a clear view of her again, she stepped out of the doorway and moved down the street away from him.

In a fury, he called to her again as he elbowed people out of the way, not caring if they fell into the muddy street. He screamed, “Joneta!”

Her head turned. She scanned the crowd.

He fought harder against the flow of people.


This time she caught her name on the wind. She saw him. Their eyes met. “Rory! Rory!”

She stepped into the mass of people on her side of the street, reaching for him and calling his name over and over. “Rory!” But the crowd moved her away from him. She grabbed the arm of a nearby man, who shook her off, and she stumbled into a woman with several packages under her arm. The packages fell. Joneta helped her pick them up, but by the time she got steady on her feet again, he was gone. She had to get to him. She fought harder, but it was useless. The people were too many, and she lost him. 

Forgiven Never Forgotten will be officially released on 12/20/2023 – Until then it can be pre-ordered.

Buy Links

Books are available on my website - Https://


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Susan Leigh Furlong knew she had a special connection with words since she was a child. When she was 9 years old, she wrote and directed her first play for the neighborhood children.

 Her love for history fuels her resilience against the sneezes and coughs that old books give her as she delves into research for unique historical events to inspire her historical fiction romance novels. Susan captures her readers’ imagination with a highly enthralling style, chronological events, and smoothly flowing narratives that keep one’s eyes glued on her novels from the first page to the last. 

Her first three books published by The Wild Rose Press center on a family living in the Scottish Highlands in the sixteenth century. Her most recent novel takes place during the American Revolution, the same family but across the pond.  A fifth book takes the reader back to Scotland. She also has two non-fiction books filled with over 200 photographs and tales about her home town. 

When she is not researching and creating her stories, she writes, directs, and performs with a music and drama group.

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Monday, December 11, 2023

Islands of Inspiration by Patricia McAlexander

Please welcome my guest, Patricia, to Discover... for a Muse Monday of Inspiration.

The “Golden Isle” of the title was inspired by the fourteen barrier islands off the coast of Georgia, which are sometimes referred to as “the golden isles.” (Now four of them are specifically promoted by the name: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island.) The term originated in the 1700’s with early explorers of the coast who hoped to find glittering treasure in them. They were disappointed in that respect, but the term remains, perhaps because of the color of the island beaches in sun or the stretches of marsh grasses in winter. While my novel is set on an imaginary golden isle, I was specifically inspired by a visit to Tybee Island with its sandy beaches, sea shells, gorgeous sunrises—and from a boat, a view of dolphins escorting us and a sunset, the sky stained pink and the moon rising. 


The golden isles are often described as serene and peaceful. The protagonist of my novel, a victim of a sexual attack still suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, has avoided professional help, but hopes her summer on such an island will restore her mental health. In some ways the island goes beyond those expectations, but she also finds dangers there. On the golden isles there are no black, craggy rocks as depicted on the cover of the novel, but I liked the cover, because for me, the rocks symbolize those dangers.



Ever since a traumatic experience as a college freshman four years earlier, Clare Matthews has had an aversion to men. But when she goes to spend the summer on one of Georgia's Golden Isles as a companion for her cousin Sally, she finds herself drawn to Jon, a handsome young security guard who works on the family estate. When the feeling seems mutual, she hopes she has at last been healed. Then signs of his possible involvement in a dangerous criminal activity crop up, and Clare must make a decision that will affect the rest of her life.


Reaching the island, she turned on her GPS and keyed in her uncle’s address. The system’s confident female voice guided her over circuitous roads until she reached a wide concrete drive blocked with closed wrought iron gates. The GPS told her, “You have reached your destination.” She didn’t remember those gates. They were like those at the entrances to exclusive communities. Then, seeing the sign Sanderson Estates, she realized that this was such a community—the one her uncle had established since her last visit.

She pulled up to the gates and stopped. A tall, well-built, very tan young man in a white Oxford shirt and jeans—a security guard—came out of a small brick building beside the drive. Clean shaven, with dark curls cropped short and strong, even features, he reminded her of the statue pictured on the cover of her high school Latin textbook. She lowered her window, and he looked in at her, examining her with direct gray eyes. He held a clipboard and had a gun tucked into his belt.

Her hands grew cold. “I’m Clare Matthews, Sally Sanderson’s cousin. They know I’m coming.”

He looked at the clipboard, unsmiling. “You have some identification, Miss?”



I grew up in Johnstown, New York, an historic town near the Mohawk Valley, where my parents were both public school teachers. I earned a BA from the University of New York at Albany, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison—all in English. Now retired from the faculty of the University of Georgia, I’ve published three contemporary romantic suspense novels—Stranger in the Storm, Shadows of Doubt, and The Student in Classroom 6, with this fourth, The Last Golden Isle, to be released TODAY, December 11, 2023, the date of this blog post. My short story “Falling,” which came in second in the Atlanta, Georgia, Writers Club’s 2021 Terry Kay Prize for Fiction, was published in the Fall 2022 issue of the online journal Knot ( ).  I live in Athens, Georgia with my husband Hubert, also a retired UGA professor.






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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Wicked Scene on Wicked Wednesday by Lawrence E. Rothstein


Today's guest on Discover... for Wicked Wednesday is Lawrence E. Rothstein. He's sharing a wicked scene from his book, Venetian Bind.

Scene: At the Venice casino. Su has copied some pictures from the Casino security videos and is confronting some of the suspects who are also at the Casino that night. Korb is in the card room playing high-stakes bridge. There are several wicked characters here: The leader and enforcer of an Italian neo-fascist organization and a woman who was an intelligence officer for Serbian paramilitaries in the Bosnian war. Of course, our heroine, Kelan Su is wickedly clever and tough. Her boss, the corpulent Marko Korb, normally a brilliant, armchair detective, succumbs to a very wicked impulse.

Chekova stood up. “I’ve looked at your pictures. I think we’re done here.”

“I’ll have to ask your new friends about them,” said Su also rising. 

“Suit yourself, honey. But be careful. They’re not as tolerant as I am,” said Chekova.

Su watched Chekova leave the bar and followed her out. Chekova headed straight toward Porello who had been waiting nearby. She whispered a few words to him and nodded her head in Su’s direction.

Su strode directly toward Porello just as he looked toward her with a heated glare. “Signor Porello, I have some photos to show you and some questions,” said Su evenly.

“Screw you!” said Porello with a deadly grimace.

“I think you’d be smarter to answer my questions rather than those of the police,” said Su.

“I don’t give a damn what you think --- and the police, phah,” Porello spat out with a derisive chortle.

“Oh, I think we can take care of your police protection. You should check out my pictures. I hear Pakulić really added to your fascist scum’s string of failures,” said Su with a broad smile.

It was too much for Porello. He lunged at her.

Screams and the rising and falling reverberation of voices signaled a commotion outside in the ballroom. Korb was shuffling the cards expertly, riffling them between his pudgy hands. He slapped the cards down with a crack and laboriously pushed himself up from the table. He moved surprisingly quickly in a gimpy waddle toward the door of the card room. He was sure that whatever was happening, Su was in the middle of it.

Not to worry, he thought. Su could more than take care of herself. She was skilled in martial arts and trained with a variety of weapons. She was his protection after all. He also had confidence in her discretion.

He opened the door to the ballroom and scanned the milling throng of gamblers. Su, at over six feet and in her red dress, was easy to spot. She was standing over a large, shaved-headed man sprawled on his back. Her dress was ripped and her hair, which had been pinned up high, had come down. She was poised ready to strike again. Korb nodded to himself as he approached Su. He was about to ask her what had happened when another man stepped out of the crowd toward them. He had a narrow, weaselly, pockmarked face that was contorted into a grimace of intense hatred.

“You fat meddling fool,” the man hissed. “You and your drag queen Chink whore better get out of Venice or you’re dead.”

Korb was not fazed by threats or insults, but he felt his face flush and sweat break out on his forehead. When the man suddenly turned to Su and spat in her face, Korb lost control. With his teeth bared and ears ringing, he stepped up to the cur and dealt him a tremendous backhand clout to the side of the head. The whop of the blow was audible to the entire noisy crowd which seemed to exhale in shocked unison. Without a sound, the man sank to his knees and then crumpled face down on the floor.

As the heat of the moment began to cool, Korb was surprised to find that, rather than embarrassment over losing his composure, he was light-headed with elation. Su was looking at him with her eyes wide and her mouth gaping. She shook her head once and slowly a small smile dawned on her face. She moved to Korb’s side, put her arm through his, and began to lead him toward the lobby. The murmuring crowd parted before them.

From: Venetian Bind soon to appear from The Wild Rose Press

Venetian Bind has many wicked good gourmet dishes mentioned. Pictured are three of the Venetian
dishes from the book that I and my family made on October 29 and which will be posted on my website. 

Venetian Bind, introduces Marko Korb, a fat, egotistical, and brilliant detective and his associate, Kelan Su, a Chinese-American woman former Chicago police officer, licensed attorney, and martial arts expert.  Korb, a Bosnian Jew, in the U.S. for the past 20 years and renowned for his investigative
work, arrives in Venice to investigate the murder of Stefan Pakulić a former Serbian paramilitary leader and accused war criminal.  The daughter of a Bosnian expat who had rescued Korb from Pakulić’s clutches during the war is a suspect in the killing. Korb is torn between finding the murderer and his sympathy for the Serbian’s killer -- the Venetian bind.

The investigation leads to Pakulić’s connection with Italian neo-fascists planning a terrorist action in Venice. It takes Korb’s genius and the intrepid sleuthing of Su to find the murderer, forestall the terrorist action, and protect the daughter of Korb’s rescuer. 

If you like cerebral, intellectual detectives like Nero Wolfe or Hercule Poirot, you’ll love the brilliant, obese and sedentary Marko Korb. If you are a fan of the energetic and intrepid V.I. Warshawski, Carlotta Carlyle, Archie Goodwin, Perry Mason or Kinsey Milhone, you will find a home with Kelan Su in the Tri-Star Investigation series.

Lawrence Rothstein



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Monday, December 4, 2023

Family...the Good, the Bad, and There For You by Ella Braeme


Please welcome my guest today on Discover... for Muse Monday, Ella Braeme. Tell us about your new book, Ella.

There are good families and bad ones. And then there are those that somehow do not work, although every member tries their best. Something is off and nobody knows how to fix things.

In my novella Butting Heads with Her Mountain Man I confront Grace with her well-meaning, but ill-advised family. They want to help her, but whatever they do—they make things worse.

One of my beta-readers was outraged that Grace did not cut ties with her family. But that’s not how family works. You can’t choose them, you’ve got to live with them. Just because they are obnoxious you can’t just leave, too strong are the emotional ties that connect us. 

I suppose we all know of times when our family did something nice for us and it did not please us. Like the time I came back to my room to find the furniture re-arranged to allow for more natural light. Just I didn’t want any light where my bed was, I wanted it all at my desk. Or the time my grandpa fixed my bike. He repaired the brake just fine—with duct tape. Now my bike was safe again, but ugly. So very ugly. Or the time I groomed my daughters dog. It was the first time ever I did anything like that, and let’s just say it’s a good thing that the puppy’s fur grew back.

So if you can relate to things like these, you might enjoy following Grace moving back to her home town.

Butting Heads with Her Mountain Man is a heartwarming, small-town romance novella with a heroine who's determined to make her dreams come true, a grumpy mountain man who’s doing his best to keep her at arm’s length, and a nettlesome audience of townspeople buzzing with Christmas cheer, or in Lyle’s case: Christmas scowling. Light steam, HEA, no cheating, standalone.

Could this grinch with his dark scowl be the light of my life?


I need to start afresh in my small hometown. While I am happy to be back in the mountains, the efforts of my hapless family to help me settle in lead to me running zig-zag to avoid further disasters. Being scrutinized by the townsfolk doesn’t help either. Still, I set to work to establish my own accounting business with all the determination that I can muster. 

I count myself lucky when I get my first client—only to find out he is as grumpy as they get—and yet, I can't deny the pull I feel towards him. 


I hate Christmas. And it shows. So I need help keeping my Christmas tree farm afloat. The accountant turns out to be an opinionated lover of all things holiday. Still, I can't help but feel a spark of attraction for her. An attraction that I have no intention of owning up to.


When I wake up the next morning, I find myself in Lyle’s embrace. This mountain man is a hugger! I snuggle even closer, as I want as much skin-on-skin as I can ever have.

A beam of sunlight casts a splendid shine on Lyle, and I cannot resist touching him. My fingers caress his temple and his cheek. Just as they touch the very corner of his mouth, Lyle turns his head a little and kisses my thumb. My body goes soft in a wave of bliss.

Lyle cranks an eye open and squints at the bright light. “Morning, princess.” His voice is way deeper than usual. Maybe he feels that heavy bliss, too?

Buy link

Author Bio

Ella writes sweet'n'steamy romances that are meant to provide short vacations from your everyday life. She loves to read, mostly romances, of course, and to putter around in her backyard, forever trying to turn it into a blooming garden. She’s got a dog who is helping greatly with all the garden work by supervising everything Ella does and—for the most part—not digging up her flowers.

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Friday, December 1, 2023

Smashing the Glass Ceiling #FearlessFriday by Susie Black


Please welcome Susie Black back to Discover... Her Fearless Friday tale is for sure fearless, and I'm happy to say successful. It's a great story, so read on! And be sure to read to the end where the link to a free swimwear fit guide is just for you.

My maternal grandmother had two favorite expressions: Man plans and God laughs, and nothing turns out the way you think it will. She believed things happen for a reason, even if we don’t always understand why. She warned me to be careful what I wished for since I might get it. That sometimes God punishes us by granting us our wishes, and other times God saves us by not granting them. And that God helps those who help themselves. As I’d come to learn, my wise nana had the secret of life down pat. 

At the end of my college freshman year, my dad, a ladies' apparel sales rep, got a huge opportunity and moved my family from Los Angeles to Miami. Relocating from hip LA to “God’s waiting room” failed to excite me, and I chose not to go. 

Three years later, armed with my journalism degree and a blind idealism only the young can sustain, I dreamed of being a writer, but fate had other plans. A family crisis threw me into an improbable situation. During an Atlanta trade show, my dad needed to leave to attend to the crisis and reached out to me to take over the trade show in his place. I pointed out the obvious to my dad…that the only experience I had with ladies’ apparel is that I wore it. Nonetheless, this was my father…so how could I turn him down? Of course, I couldn’t. 

After only an hour of apparel sales lessons, my dad left me to run the tradeshow for three days. Miraculously, I wrote a huge number of orders and my dad offered me a job as a sub rep. Graduate school wasn’t appealing, so I accepted my dad’s offer. 

Baptism by fire got me into the rag biz. My life veered off in a completely different direction than I intended, and it would never be the same. Despite not knowing a soul there, I moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta. After a week of training, I became a manufacturer’s sales representative and traveled a territory comprised of four states in the deep south. 

While the majority of people were friendly, nothing could have prepared this California kid for the culture shock of living in Dixie. Completely foreign social mores- including anti-Semitism and countless acts of racial discrimination- different cuisine, and a stifling hot and humid climate I never got used to made it seem as though I had moved to another country, and not just another state. 

Schlepping six canvass garment bags filled with heavy samples in and out of numerous stores everyday…it was a tough way to make a buck, and I earned every plug nickel with my sweat, tears, and aching back. 

As a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated industry, I had to prove myself every day. When I started my apparel sales career, no other woman did what I did in the deep southern states. Depending upon who you spoke with, I was either famous or infamous-but one thing was certain: I was the talk of the garment industry. No one-except my mentor father and me- thought I’d last a season. 

Grit and stubborn perseverance to prove them all wrong kept me going, no matter how daunting the
challenge. And prove them wrong I did- and succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I took a sledgehammer to every glass ceiling I encountered and smashed it to smithereens. And the bonus? I opened many doors for the next generation of women executives to succeed in male-dominated industries.

But if it wasn’t for my nana urging me to “Keep a journal. Get all your experiences down on paper. Maybe this is the reason you’re in the rag biz. This must be the story you’re destined to write,” I doubt if I ever would have leveraged my successful ladies’ apparel sales career into a writing gig. 

It was my daily journal entries chronicling the interesting, quirky, and often challenging characters I encountered and the crazy situations I got myself into and out of that gave me the stories I’d ultimately write and thanks to Nana, my life completed the destiny of its circle.

Link for Swimwear Fit Guide

Susie's latest great book released November 15.  CLICK HERE

Holly Schlivnik dreams of being a writer, but fate has other plans. A family crisis throws her into an improbable situation and her life will never be the same. Determined to make her own luck when things don’t happen the way she plans, the irrepressible young woman takes a sledgehammer to the glass ceiling and shatters it to smithereens. The wise-cracking, irreverent transplanted Californian goes on a raucous, rollicking rollercoaster ride of hysterical adventures as a ladies' apparel sales rep traveling in the deep South and finds herself along the way.

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 Holly Swimsuit 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: