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#HobbyCareerPassion: Author Barbara Bettis  – Frontier Newspapers & New Release: Last Stop, Wylder / Historical Western #WRPbks #Blog

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Barbara Bettis…

 

 Emily and I Share a Fascination with Newspapers

cheyenne frotn pag 1875 (2)

When I decided to write a story for The Wild Rose Press series Wylder West, the choice of a major plot element was almost a given.

There was no question of what my heroine would do. Work at a newspaper of course. The fictional town of Wylder is set in 1870s Wyoming, some fifteen miles from Cheyenne.

Nearly every frontier town had a newspaper of one kind or another. Daily, weekly, twice-monthly—didn’t matter. Having news and information available to residents was considered almost a necessity. News reports from around the world that could be accessed by newspapers were sent via telegraph, although news organizations like The Associated Press charged a fee and contracted with only one paper per town (at that time).  Formed May 22, 1846 by five New York newspapers, the AP is still in operation.

Back to frontier news—not every paper that came into existence lasted long. In fact, papers had a tendency to pop into existence and then out again fairly regularly. On the other hand, some produced both daily and weekly editions. Editors of course were influential.

In the1870s, real Cheyenne newspapers flourished. It seemed easy to have a weekly paper nearby. And of course, Emily should have a contact there—actually, her brother had just purchased the Wylder Sun a year or so before Emily decided to visit him and give him a hand with the operation.

She was a natural for the job. In Kansas City, where she lived with her parents, she periodically wrote an opinion column for the fledgling Kansas City Star. Of course, she published under her initials and last name so none would know the author was a female.

Respectable females didn’t write political comment that doubled as opinion columns. Respectable females would never allow their names to be used in such a manner. If they wrote at all, it might be a society piece that reflected a women’s place in the home. They all had pen names of some sort.

(You’ve undoubtedly heard the old saying that a lady’s name should appear in newspapers only three times during her life: birth, wedding, and death.)

Emily’s career as a columnist came a few years before the famous Nelly Bly went to work for the Pittsburgh Dispatch and ultimately did a tremendous job of enlarging the role of women in newspaper reporting and writing.

Emily, as my first Western heroine, was rather doomed to become a newspaper lady because that’s what I was every day of my life for twelve years before I went into teaching. And after that, every other summer during my teaching career. (Alternate summers I worked on my doctorate). Throughout the year, as a stringer, I occasionally did stories for the local daily news. I taught newspaper reporting and editing at an area four year college, and I firmly believed—and still do—the  discipline demanded practice in order to keep up with the changes in the industry.

Yes, I am saddened at the demise of many newspapers now that technology makes television and internet news so available. But both have a place in the news business.

The ability of newspapers to do thorough, often lengthy, investigation into topics is one that most electronic organizations don’t duplicate.

Although retired, I still share with Emily a passion for getting accurate, objective, complete reports out to readers.

In Last Stop, Wylder, her passion for newspaper writing is central to her personal story. I hope you enjoy reading, as well, how it plays a part in her romance with Morgan.

 

Last Stop, Wylder, bestA gunman’s word is his bond, and a lady’s heart can shatter.

Blurb:

Gunman Morgan Dodd is headed to a new life in California, where no one knows his name. Or his reputation. Just one last job to raise money for his fresh start—gunhand for a railroad agent in Wyoming. Easy enough. Until he meets the woman who could change everything.

After ending her engagement, Emily Martin longs for independence. She sets out for Wylder, Wyoming, to help her brother with his newspaper. But when she arrives, she finds he’s off investigating a story. Well, then! She’ll simply publish the paper herself until he returns. Emily’s prepared to face challenges, but not the dangerous stranger who ambushes her heart. The same man hired to destroy her livelihood.

When a common enemy threatens, Morgan and Emily must find a way to defeat danger and save their budding love. But a gunman’s word is his bond, and a lady’s trust can shatter.

Excerpt:  

The stranger had winked, cool as you please. Should she be insulted? Angry? Oh! She’d neglected to thank him. Now she was embarrassed.

Her brother had much to explain. And I have a lot to learn. More than she’d imagined.

Tommy unwrapped the reins, unlocked the brake, and the horse clopped forward. “Where to, ma’am?”

She straightened her back, firmed her shoulders, and waved her hand in front of her nose to dispel engine fumes. “The newspaper office, please.”

The reins jerked and the horse stopped. The youth’s face beamed red again.

“That wouldn’t be such a good idea, ma’am.”

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Stop-Wylder-West-ebook/dp/B0B7KH6D86/

B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-stop-wylder-barbara-bettis/1141875393

Me-snapshot

Bio:

Multi-award-winning author Barbara Bettis can’t recall a time she didn’t love adventures of daring heroes and plucky heroines. A retired journalist and college English and journalism teacher, she lives in Missouri where she tries to keep her grandchildren supplied with cookies. When she’s not editing for others, she’s working on her own stories with heroines to die for– and heroes to live for.

Author Links:

Website/Blog – http://www.barbarabettis.com

BookBub – www.bookbub.com/authors/barbara-bettis

Facebook – www.facebook.com/barbarabettisauthor

Twitter – www.twitter.com/barbarabettis

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: Author Gini Rifkin  – Raising Goats & New Release: Break Heart Canyon

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Gini Rifkin…

 

    In my new historical romance, Break Heart Canyon, my heroine is a Scottish immigrant who raises goats in Colorado. While in the process of researching weaving, spinning, and farming during 1878, I began to consider following in my heroine’s footsteps.

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    I have been rescuing farm animals for over 20 years and my first rescue was a three footed angora goat named Precious. When I got her, she was in bad shape, with a heavily matted and tangled coat, blood sucking lice, and the three feet she did have were overgrown.

  Every year I would trim off and keep her mohair. This procedure had to be done by hand as she was terrified of the electric clippers, but those hours were a special time for us as we bonded and listened to the oldies on the radio in the barn.

    I have previously experimented with felting, but that was as far as I got—until recently. This year I decided to take lessons at the yarn shop to learn to spin and weave those bags of mohair. Although sweet Precious is gone, I think of her with heartwarming memories as I card her hair and try to achieve “greatness” at this ancient art.

    The process of weaving being many thousands of years old, think of all the hands that plied the yarn and threw the shuttle to make cloth so vital to everyone from the common man to royalty.

    Working on my rigid heddle loom is going better than spinning on the drop spindle, but both offer hours of relaxation, reflection, and the rewriting of chapters in my head. Now I’m spinning tales along with weaving tea towels. Had it not been for one brave little goat, I would never have thought of making this wonderful hobby a part of my life. 

    In Break Heart Canyon, there are also two lovable donkeys inspired by my two rescues, Jack and Rosie. Burros are incredible animals, thoughtful rather than stubborn, and intelligent with the gift for frequently outsmarting me. Along with the goats, ducks, and cats they have brightened my days and brought wonderful people into my world.

    Wish I could show my heroine, Una MacLaren, the scarf I’m working on now. I’m sure she would agree we are fortunate to be surrounded by animals who keep us grounded, give us joy, and teach us what is most important in our lives. You can meet Una, and the handsome rascal who steals her heart, in Break Heart Canyon.

Excerpt:

With her fiery red hair and apparent love for the land and animals, she seemed the perfect person to live in this secluded vale surrounded by a canyon brimming with tall-tales and legends.

Standing now in her cabin, inhaling the tantalizing aroma of food, and dowsed in the fragrance of the hanging herbs and spices, Ryker believed this woman was capable of casting a spell on him. She needn’t bother, he was already smitten. Yes smitten. Never in his life had that term seemed relevant. The rampage of feelings she stirred in him ran the gambit from wanting to bed her, to wanting to protect her, to wanting to walk away from her as fast as possible.

She was a danger to his way of life. Or maybe his way of life was a danger to his happiness. Una confused him. Made him unsettled. And what a fetching picture she created, one easy to commit to memory and long for at a later date. But he wasn’t fond of wasting time on lonely reflections—he needed to vacate the cabin.

“Anything I can do for you other than get out of your way?”

“More firewood is always appreciated.”

He hurried outside, relieved to have a legitimate reason for performing any activity other than standing and staring at her like a randy schoolboy. Returning with all the split wood he could carry, he deposited the armload by the stove and turned to leave.

“Thank you, Ryker.”

For the first time, she’d called him by his Christian name, and dang he liked the sound of it wrapped in her unpredictable Scottish burr.

“You’re welcome, Una.” His reply came over his shoulder as he left. The jaunty tune she hummed hesitated for a moment. He smiled. Did she like the sound of her name on his lips as well?

https://books2read.com/u/mqExL6  

http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com   

https://amzn.to/2R53KA9

 https://www.facebook.com/people/Gini-Rifkin-Author/100001680213365

Gini Rifkin writes stories of romance and adventure. Her settings include the American West, Medieval & Victorian England, and Contemporary thriller & fantasy. When not reading or writing, she keeps busy spinning goat hair and weaving. She also has the privilege of caring for a menagerie of abandoned animals including ducks, goats, donkeys, and cats. Born in Illinois, when struck by wanderlust, she moved to Colorado and met her husband, Gary. They shared the journey for 30 years, spending vacations canoeing, doing Mountain Man reenacting, and traveling around this great country. Although Gary has passed on, a little bit of him lives on in every hero she creates. Gini considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts.

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Author Amber Daulton – Belle’s Love of Music & New Release: Arresting Benjamin

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Amber Dalton and her heroine, Belle Hamlin…

Female singer with crowd

Hi, readers. I’m Belle Hamlin, the heroine from Amber Daulton’s new romantic suspense novel, Arresting Benjamin. I’m excited to talk about my greatest passion—playing music. It’s also my career, but the money I make from it dumps it into the hobby category. Yep, that’s right. I’m a struggling musician with a dreaded day job at an insurance company that is sucking the life out of me.

I live in Denver, Colorado, but I travel all across the state for a paying gig. I mostly play at bars and clubs, but sometimes I perform covers of classic songs for weddings, birthdays, and funerals. I can’t afford to be picky when it comes to a reputable gig. You’ll often find my best friends—Mia, Chanel, and Shea—running the merchandise table for me at a bar. They’re my biggest supporters. (By the way, have you checked out their oh-so-sexy books yet? You can find them here.)

Anyway, I need my music like I need the air to breathe. My heroes are music legends like Melissa Etheridge, Bruce Springsteen, and Stevie Nicks, so I write both folky and rock ballads. Since I draw inspiration from my own personal experience, most of my songs delve into relationships gone bad. I’ve met a lot of fans at my shows, and I’m honored and humbled every time someone tells me how much they relate to the pain, frustration, and rage I’ve vented into my songs. I write from the heart, but sometimes it’s hard to share my pain and humiliation so openly. It’s worth it, though, if I can make anyone feel better about themselves and let them know they aren’t alone. Music should heal and offer hope, and that’s my goal in writing and playing music.

Since several of my songs lean toward man-bashing and revenge tales, I thought for sure that Benji, my new guy, would run far away once he heard them. Thankfully, he proved me wrong. I gotta say, Benji has made me happy and healed some of my wounds, but that’s put a dent in my angsty creative process. Now, I’m not knocking our relationship or anything, but I’ve written a few sappy love songs lately and they clash with my damn-all-men-to-hell songs. I’m worried I’ll lose fans if I don’t keep up my angry, bad girl rocker persona with lyrics that match, but I write what I feel, and I’m in love. Sue me.

All in all, though, songwriting and performing is who I am. It’s my hobby, career, and passion all wrapped into one. I can’t be anyone other than who I am, and I don’t want to be.

Are you interested in reading about one of my performances? Check out the excerpt below. It’s in Benji’s POV, but I think he did a good job of describing the situation.

Thanks so much for visiting.

PS – Do you want a $25 Amazon gift card? Check out my Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0a0982c528/

Arresting Benjamin

With enemies at every turn, how will they survive with their lives and love intact?

Blurb

A one-night stand, a surprise baby, and a mysterious stalker.

Mechanic Benjamin Starwell can’t stop thinking about Belle Hamlin, the ballsy musician he slept with and skipped out on months earlier. He never meant to get her pregnant, but he’ll do whatever it takes to win back her trust and be a part of his child’s life. His desire for Belle drives him to be a better man, but he’s worn thin with a garage to run and his estranged sister dumping her troubles on him.

Belle’s juggling impending motherhood, her indie rock career, and a stalker who’s determined to see her fail. Even though she’s desperate to get her priorities straight, she pushes aside her past hurt and welcomes Benji back into her bed. She never expects him to slip into her heart.

When the danger escalates, they face the greatest challenge of all—protecting their unborn child.

Excerpt:

Benji’s heart pounded harder as Belle strutted onto the stage from a rear door. Her hips swayed with a ba-dum beat as her hair flapped behind her shoulders. Was there an air vent above her? Dark eye shadow, mascara, and a dark slash of blush on her cheeks deepened her sultry eyes. Her lips swelled like a juicy plum. God, was her lipstick purple? Burgundy, maybe? She bent over, showing off her fine ass, and plugged her acoustic-electric guitar into the amp.

A baby-faced gopher carried a stool and a water bottle to the middle of the platform.

She patted him on the back and stared out at the crowd.

Several men ogled her, despite the baby bump. Their lady friends laughed, but some frowned and slapped the guys’ arms.

Wow. Benji swallowed hard. What he wouldn’t do to unzip her knee-high leather boots, pull down her stockings, and flip up her short pleated skirt? Her red sleeveless blouse emphasized the breasts he couldn’t wait to suckle.

“Hiya, Tempes lovers! How ya doin’? Thanks for coming out in this cold weather.” Her voice echoed through the speakers. The lights lit Belle and the stage in a soft white glow. She strummed the guitar, testing it, as the audience shouted. “I’m Belle Hamlin, and this badass girl is Matilda.” She held up the sunburst-finished instrument. “We’ll rock you for the next hour, so let’s get started.” She ignored the stool, jumping into a song as her fans applauded. Deep, rumbling chords reverberated from the guitar and speakers.

“She’s starting with ‘Stay True’.” Chanel clapped. “It’s my favorite.”

“This is rock-and-roll. She sang folk and singer/songwriter-type stuff the night we met.” He bit his lip as her friends stood and danced in place.

“What did you expect? She’s a solo female artist sandwiched between testosterone-filled rock bands. She has to up her game.” Shea tapped his CD case and flashed a grin. “Give it a whirl later. Belle is a cross between Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks, and Eric Clapton. Her guy issues and social opinions bleed into her songs.”

Wonderful. Guy issues. He had his work cut out for him.

Buy links:

Only .99 cents until October 18, 2022

Universal link – https://books2read.com/arrestingbenjamin/

Amazon – https://amzn.to/3usC6SN

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w?ean=2940186751144

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id6443054336

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arresting-benjamin

Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=JHJ5EAAAQBAJ

About Amber:

Amber Daulton

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

Find out more here: https://linktr.ee/AmberDaulton

Sign up for her exclusive newsletter (free ebook to new subscribers): https://bit.ly/amberdaultonnewsletter

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Author Interview with Terry Segan ~ Spirit in Tow / Paranormal Mystery

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Terry Segan…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I grew up in Commack, NY, which is on Long Island. After nine years in Los Angeles, I finally settled in Las Vegas thirty years ago. Between my husband and I we have three grown daughters, two grandsons, and two grandpuppies. Since we live full time in our RV and travel a lot on weekends, we don’t own pets. The benefit of being in an RV Resort—we get to love on everyone else’s pets.

Where did you get the idea for Spirit in Tow?

I’ve always enjoyed paranormal mysteries, and I combined that with my Long Island roots.

 Why did you choose this genre?

Whenever I’ve tried to write a straight-out mystery, the paranormal side of my brain takes over. I wouldn’t describe it as a hostile takeover, but the voices in my head insist on leading the way. I guess I’ve found my calling. My last book, Precious Treasure, involved a ghost with a mystery. The first one, Photographs in Time, featured a couple who sent women of the present back in time to meet their soulmate in a past decade.

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

I love living full time in our RV. When my husband and I first moved in seven years ago, we both had to downsize our belongings. The more we let go of things, the easier it became to not be a slave to our ‘stuff.’ This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but I find it very liberating. Honestly, I really didn’t need 18 pairs of pumps and a box of rubber Smurfs from the eighties, but I kept my standup mixer. How else could I make gingerbread cookies at Christmas?

Do you collect anything?

Yes, travel memories. When I first met my husband, I told him not to give me stuff but to take me places. Adventures together are so much more valuable to me than things sitting in a drawer or on a shelf.

What was your first job?

Working in a bakery—I discovered almond paste and life on this planet has never been the same for me!

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Spirit in Tow?

It’s okay to laugh at yourself and not always take situations so seriously.

What is your favorite quote?

Not all those who wander are lost.

Your most prized material possession? Why?

A silver ring which belonged to my mother. It had been one of her favorites and, like me, she loved to travel. Whenever I wear it while on a trip, it’s as if she’s traveling along with me.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

They’re very supportive, especially my husband. His goal is to be a chalk outline in one of my novels one day. All I can say is his death will be epic (fictionally speaking, of course)!

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

I’d have to say Murphy. He’s a slimy criminal with poor fashion sense and probably couldn’t spell the word ‘monogamy’ let alone practice it. Me, I’ve caught my limit—it’s one.

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted something to fit with the ghost theme as well as relate to the spirit in this first book of the Marni Legend Series.

Your favorite…

Movie – Shirley Valentine

Music – Classic Rock

Place you’ve visited – Stonehenge

Place you’d like to visit – Australia

TV show from childhood – Dark Shadows

TV show from adulthood – Firefly

Food – Seafood

Sports team – Vegas Golden Knights (hockey)

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? – Board Games, especially Scrabble

Thanks so much for joining me today, Terry…now please tell us about your book…

Can she help a lost soul, jumpstart her love life, and dispatch her nagging mother’s spirit?

Marni Legend is about to publish her thirteenth novel. Gus Zuckerman has been hanging around since his death in nineteen-ninety-five. With her deadline looming and her recently deceased mother refusing to move on, can Marni dispatch both spirits and still have time for romance?

Armed with sarcasm and a warped sense of humor, her innate ability to stumble into awkward situations lands Marni in the midst of a car theft ring. As her circle of friends becomes populated with felons and possible murderers, the lines blur around whom she can trust.

Juggling a hot new beau with one hand and rekindling an old flame with the other, she may need to put on the brakes with one. Should she pick the probable criminal who may know Gus’s fate or play it safe with the sweetheart from her past? She’ll need more than her special abilities and quick wit to navigate the twists and turns of this paranormal mystery.

Excerpt::

The usual cadre of fishermen dotted the docks. If I boldly stepped onto the ship, would they know I didn’t belong? Could one be a sentry in disguise? I sauntered past, trying to catch a glimpse of any crew hanging about. The boat was in complete darkness.

Gus waited on my favorite perch. “It’s about time you showed up. Why aren’t you in all black so nobody can see you? God, you look like an amateur.”

“Perhaps because I am an amateur. I’m not the one with a criminal record.” I sat beside him.

“Who says I got a record? I ain’t never been locked up.”

It never occurred to me he’d never been caught. Maybe I should have consulted him—had he bothered to show up earlier. “This way I blend in with the tourists. If anybody comes, they’ll think nothing of a woman enjoying the fresh air.”

“You got a lot to learn.”

Breaking and Entering 101 wasn’t a class I wanted to take. “Enough about my lack of burglary skills. Go check the boat, and tell me if anybody is aboard.”

“Okay, okay. Stop barking orders.” He disappeared.

I tapped my foot on the wooden dock, concentrating on the staccato noise. It soothed my racing mind as it conjured all the things that could go wrong. My plan had two parts—break in and don’t get caught. Simple, right?

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Tow-Marni-Legend-Book-ebook/dp/B0B372WLF7

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirit-in-tow-terry-segan/1141622246

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/spirit-in-tow

About Terry:

Terry Segan resides in Nevada. The beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul. The stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.

Author Website: https://terrysegan.com/

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerrySegan

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terrysegan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeganTerry

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Terry-Segan/e/B087YQGXMD

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“10 Moments That Changed My Life” by Cara Bertoia ~ New Release: Casino Queen #WRPbks #Blog

Please help me welcome author Cara Bertoia with the moments that changed her life, and her latest release, Casino Queen.  

10 Moments That Changed My Life

When I saw this blog post suggestion, I found it intriguing. Could I distill my life into ten moments that changed my life? I found it quite the challenge and I love challenges.

  1. The first disappointment in my life came at nine years old. My family moved from my beloved Charleston, South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina only a four-hour drive but a world apart. Charleston was a walkable city filled with antebellum mansions, and beaches galore. And Charlotte a suburban ghost town where you never saw a human walking.
  1. In my senior year in college my boyfriend decided he didn’t want to get married. Not sure what to do next I decided to spend my last semester at the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico. I loved it there, and when I got home and he proposed I decided I didn’t want to be married. I wanted to travel.
  1. My first year after college I was teaching school and living in Charlotte. Then one day my father dropped dead of a heart attack while playing tennis. My heart broke because he was the parent I felt the closest to. I joined the sad club that day, but it cut the ties that tethered me to Charlotte.
  1. On a summer break from teaching, I traveled to Lake Tahoe to work as a blackjack dealer. I never returned to teaching and spent the next three years dealing at Caesars Tahoe.
  1. Eventually I moved back east to take a job in hi-tech. A friend from Tahoe passed through town on her way to New Zealand to work for Princess Cruises. An adventure down under sounded like more fun that my job, so I applied to the cruise ships and got a job traveling the world.
  1. After I had been at sea for five years, and getting a bit anxious about my future, my Prince Charming appeared. We both worked on the Star Princess. Three months later Ray jumped ship to leave with me. We married a week later. I discovered that although I had sucked at dating I was great at marriage.

  1. We took jobs at an Indian Casino in Palm Springs, California. It turned out to be the best job of our lives. The tribal chairman was the most charismatic man I had ever met. Native American casinos had just opened in the Coachella Valley with thousands of people from all over the world moving to work there. It resembled a modern-day gold rush.
  1. We contracted to build a house in Palm Springs. Three fourths of the way through our contractor abandoned us. We didn’t know anything about permits, or building, but we finished the house without divorcing. We didn’t even get into a fight. That is when we truly became Team Bertoia.
  1. We sold our property and moved to Florida to be nearer my sisters. We traded a house and a garden for an apartment in a high rise. Unfortunately, a few years later my sister died. But at least I had that time to reconnect with my family.
  1. I loved the casino industry but an underbelly of corruption ran underneath the surface just perfect for a thriller, and I decided I was the perfect person to write it. I embarked on my next career as a novelist. Now, I spend my days looking out at the ocean as I write about my casino years.

Manager Caroline Popov’s job is to clean up the Night Hawk. In the process her list of enemies grows. With her life on the line, can she pull out a win.

Excerpt:

“Why did I transfer you up from Palm Springs to be my Casino Queen?” The charismatic Tribal Chairman John Tovar asked.

“Casino Queen, really? Apparently, you are the only person in America who isn’t watching the show about the seven kingdoms on cable. The queens always get killed in the most horrific ways. They are hanged, beheaded, poisoned, burned alive in an explosion, or have their throat slit,” an exasperated Caroline Popov answered.

“I promise that won’t happen to you.” He gestured for her to take a seat at an empty ‘Mystic Mermaid’ slot machine, then sat across from her. They swiveled their

chairs to face each other. John tried to act serious, but a smile kept pulling at the corner of his eyes. “According to the Mazurie decision, Native American tribes are considered sovereign nations. Therefore as leader of the tribe, I am King of the Shotowa.”

He continued. “Believe me, when I met the Queen of England I was introduced as the leader of the Shotowa nation. Let me be clear, as soon as you drove into this parking lot you entered the nation.” He gestured toward the uniformed officers standing at the door. “We have our own army.”

She decided to play along with the flow of his logic. “You mean security guards.”

“Precisely, trained courtesy of the United States Marine Corps. The tribe issues its own currency, gaming chips made of ceramic clay, stamped with our logo. At the cashiers’ cage, our central bank, those chips can be exchanged for U.S. dollars. Anyone can find food in our three restaurants or the team member dining room for employees. An underground well supplies us with water. We provide hotel rooms for shelter. Any guest who comes to stay with us will find their basic human needs covered by the Shotowa Tribe. Never forget we are a sovereign nation. I am the King, and I anoint you Queen of the Night Hawk.”

 

Buy link(s):

Amazon 

 B&N

 Google Books

Bio: 

Cara Bertoia grew up in a strait-laced Southern family, but she was always fascinated with casinos. In her twenties on a summer hiatus from teaching in North Carolina, she drove to California and became a dealer at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. She discovered that after teaching high school, handling an unruly gambler was a piece of cake. Her mother highly disapproved of her working in a casino, “a place so bad it has ‘sin’ in the middle.”

Eventually, she succumbed to pressure from the family and returned east to take a hi-tech job in Boston. She also began working on her MFA in writing at Emerson. Her goal was to write the first realistic novel about casino life from the perspective of an experienced table games dealer. She is always amazed that normal and sometimes quite intelligent players become absolutely clueless in the casino. They repeat superstitious nonsense and no amount of logic can change their position, maybe her novel will.

While in Boston she was offered the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. Jumping at the chance, she spent the next five years circling the globe. Sometimes life exceeds your dreams. She was awed by the wonders of Venice, the fjords of Norway, and the Northern Lights in St. Petersburg.

Cara returned from ships with a very special souvenir, her Scottish husband Ray. They went to work at the Spa Casino in Palm Springs, and now live in Hollywood, Florida, where she writes about her casino years while wistfully gazing out at the ocean.

I love to connect with my readers. Please send me a picture with Casino Queen. I will post those pictures to my social media.

mailto:carabertoia@yahoo.com

TikTok:  tiktok.com/@carabertoia

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Filed under 10 Moments that Changed My Life, Author Blog Post, New Release

Diana Rubino ~ The One That Got Away ~ #AHAgrp

Please help me welcome today’s guest, author friend Diana Rubino…

About Diana

I write about folks through history who shook things up. My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books: Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance FAKIN’ IT won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, do yoga, devour books, and live the dream on Cape Cod.Visit me at www.dianarubino.com, www.DianaRubinoAuthor.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor

and on Twitter @DianaLRubino

About THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

I’ve been a Civil War and Lincoln buff since I was eight years old. I don’t know what got me started, but it might’ve been a book which I still have titled The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 1, written in 1895. When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher asked us to bring in a book from home, for a show & tell. My mother suggested I bring this Lincoln book, which even in 1966 was in rough shape—yellowed, stiffened strips of Scotch tape barely held the covers to the spine. With the wisdom of an 8-year-old that sadly, all of us outgrow, I demurred:

“This old book? She’ll think we’re poor!”

My mother corrected me: “No, she’ll think we’re rich. Books like this are rare.”

Then she proceeded to tape it up some more. Those tape fragments adhere to the book’s spine and pages to this day. My teacher, Miss Cohen, was duly impressed. I treasure that book, one of many on my “Lincoln shelf” which holds books about our murdered president, his wife Mary, his assassin John Wilkes Booth and his family, the “Mad Booths of Maryland” and the conspirators who faced the gallows or years of hard labor because Booth, their charismatic leader, sucked these poor impressionable souls into his insane plot.

In 2017 I wrote A NECESSARY END, a romance thriller about Booth’s plot to kill President Lincoln, with a touch of the paranormal. My new historical novel, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, features John Surratt, a loyal Southerner embroiled in Booth’s plot. As Booth and his other cohorts meet in the Washington D.C. boarding house of Mary, John’s mother, John begins to struggle with a dilemma that soon tears him apart emotionally: should he avenge the South as a hero, or back out as a coward to avoid an unforgiveable sin?

Mary Surratt was hanged as one of the conspirators, although no one will ever know the degree of her involvement. It was in her house where Booth and his crew met to hatch their plot. Her son John is a footnote to history, but he also was one of Booth’s most trusted followers.

John may have joined Booth out of need for approval and recognition as a war hero, which he never got from his alcoholic father. As Booth’s cohort, he took dangerous risks for his beloved South. But as Booth’s plan to abduct Lincoln changed to assassination, a mystery arises—was John Surratt there in Washington to assist Booth in the murder, or was he in New York? No one knows for sure, as witnesses claim to have seen him in both places. We do know that he agreed to carry out Booth’s order to shoot General Grant, but backed out at the last minute. We will never know why, but this story explores the possibilities—did he have an attack of conscience, of cowardice, or did he just promise to obey Booth, without any intention to carry out the deed?

We witness the inner workings of John Surratt’s mind—and his heart—tormenting him, tearing him apart. His dilemma—whether to carry out this deed for his love of the South, or back out and be branded a coward, but live free from sin—consumed his thoughts, prayers and dreams throughout this part of his life.

He never achieved his wish of being a famous war hero. He’s a rather obscure historical figure. But this isn’t about the failed efforts of a would-be hero; it’s the story of an emotionally torn young man devoted to his beloved country. On one level, avenging the South was a noble deed. But deep down, his fear of God’s wrath prevailed.

We see how a backwoods Maryland boy comes of age during the Civil War, starting out as a courier, and becomes embroiled in one of the most notorious plots in American history. Students and adults will learn the more intricate details of the Booth plots, from the point of view of one of his most faithful followers.

Purchase THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY on Amazon:

Getbook.at/GotAway

 

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Maria Imbalzano ~ Baking May Not Be My Forte, But I Love It! & New Release: Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles #WRPgrp #Blog #AHAgrp

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Maria Imbalzano…

Baking May Not Be My Forte, But I Love It!

 

I’ve always hated to cook, but I love to bake. The reason is simple: I have a sweet-tooth and licking the bowl, beaters, spoon or spatula is far superior than tasting some sauce or chicken and veggie concoction.

Every year during the holidays, my mom, daughters and I bake Christmas cookies. When my mom was in charge, they all came out perfectly. We made butter balls, chocolate walnut, chocolate chip and kiefle (a square of thin pastry dough stuffed with a nut mixture, lekvar or apricot jam). While my mom, who is now 94, still supervises, she doesn’t jump in and help. Unfortunately, my cookies never come out as good as hers did, and after a few years I gave up on the kiefle. My dough was never thin enough and I didn’t have the patience to keep rolling it out after it stuck to the rolling pin or cutting board.

The problem with my baking in general is that I’m a little casual with quantities. My mother, daughters and husband have all commented on my methods of measuring water, flour, sugar etc. and my response to anything that doesn’t come out quite right is “oh well.”

My heroine, Bella, in “Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles” has a little bit of me in her. She’s a lawyer who lost her job in Manhattan and returns home to Princeton over the holidays to regroup. She learns that her parents’ gift shop in town is failing and she comes up with the idea to turn it into a cookie cottage.

Her parents bristle at the idea at first, but realize they may not have a business if they don’t change. In an effort to bolster the new cookie cottage during the holidays, Bella suggests that her father video her and her mom baking—with Bella making all kinds of mistakes. These videos will be posted on TikTok in an effort to reach a broader audience.

In order to write this scene, I researched common mistakes in baking – most of which I make. Who knew there was a proper technique for measuring flour? Apparently, you spoon it into the measuring cup instead of dipping the measuring cup into the flour bag, because no one wants excess flour causing a crumbly cookie. And too much sugar makes cookies brittle. You wouldn’t want others to break their teeth on over-sweetened treats. Not thoroughly creaming the butter and sugar results in flat, dense cookies instead of the more appealing light and fluffy ones. Not chilling the dough when called for means the batter will spread quickly and aggressively once in the oven. Presumably no one wants an aggressive cookie.

And the mortal sin of baking—using liquid measuring cups to measure dry ingredients. Or vice versa. So much to learn. Perhaps Bella and I will take heed. Perhaps not.

But one thing is for sure. “Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles” is a heartwarming holiday romance that will squeeze your heart and make you smile. And it might even make you head to the kitchen to make Christmas cookies.

Maria’s cookies in Santa Plate

Find the recipe here:

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/231745/red-velvet-crinkle-cookies/ 

 

Blurb:

Competitive, work-obsessed Bella Simonetti has just been fired from her high-paying job at a Manhattan law firm. At an all-time low, she returns home and helps her parents at their small-town gift shop, but the business is failing and may not make it past the Christmas holidays.

Successful landscape architect Dean Jackson is like a son to Bella’s parents. But he’s a persistent annoyance to her—he seems to have forgotten his unforgivable blunder thirteen years earlier.

When Bella transforms her parents’ gift shop into a cookie cottage, Dean’s generosity and magnetic smile are hard to resist, and those feelings of unrequited adolescent love come rushing back. But can Bella let go of the past and accept Dean for the man he is today?

 Excerpt:

 “I agree with Dean. Barb’s Gift Cottage has been in Princeton for thirty years. You don’t decide one day to revamp the entire business. Get rid of the old, make way for the new. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Bella bit her tongue before responding, reminding herself to stay cool. “Okay. I’m open to anything. Let’s talk about your ideas to stay afloat.” She sat, poised with her pad in front of her, pen in hand.

Silence.

She looked directly at her dad first, eyebrow arched. “I’m listening.” Then she scanned over to Dean.

Her gaze moved up to his eyes—sea green in the harsh kitchen light but beautiful just the same.

His gaze locked with hers and held her hostage— an unwilling prisoner to his warden. All ire morphed into a swirling eddy of primal lust, and she felt herself disappearing into his aura. She needed to save herself as well as her ego. Fighting the pull, she surfaced, blinking to clear her eyes, inhaling to bring her back to the present.

She disconnected and glanced at her parents. Had they noticed she’d been missing?

The smallest smile quirked Dean’s lips—surely acknowledging her lapse into Dean-land. She reached for the annoyance she’d let slip from her grasp and pulled it back into her arsenal.

Buy links: 

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FYVGDWR

Barnes and Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-velvet-crinkles-and-christmas-sprinkles-maria-imbalzano/1140147130?ean=2940162321644

Apple

https://books.apple.com/us/book/red-velvet-crinkles-and-christmas-sprinkles/id1585527197

 

About Maria:

Maria Imbalzano is a retired matrimonial lawyer who now writes full time. Instead of drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, she now spends her days creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through her contemporary romance novels.

Her novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award. Two of her novellas, “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” and “A Song For Another Day” won first place awards in their categories in the NEST (National Excellence in Story Telling) contest. Both of these novellas were also finalists for the Beverley Award.

Visit Maria at http://www.mariaimbalzano.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/mariaimbalzanoauthor

Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/mariaimbalzano

@mariaimbalzano

Instagram: Mariaimbalzano_author

Blog Link

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com/category/blog/

Website Link

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com

Goodreads Author Page

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276749.Maria_Imbalzano

Book Bub Profile page

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/maria-imbalzano

Mailing List Sign Up form

https://mariaimbalzano.com/sign-up-for-my-newsletter/

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00FG9RI5K

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: Debby Grahl ~ Sundae My Love ~ at Sand Lake, Where Ghosts Bring Two Lovers Back Together ~ #WRPgrp #Blog #AHAgrp

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Debby Grahl…

Sundae My Love – at Sand Lake,

Where Ghosts Bring  Two Lovers Back Together 

 Hi, I’m Samantha Murray, and Sundae My Love is the story of my family’s ice cream business. The Murrays have called Sand Lake, in the Irish Hills of Michigan, home since the nineteen fifties.

After my grandparents retired, I took over the running of the Dairy Delight. Lake-goers have enjoyed our Neapolitan Nectar milk shake for generations, but now Zack Hunter, the love of my life and the man who broke my heart, is back in town and threatens my business.

Hey there, I’m Zack Hunter, and I also grew up on Sand Lake. I left to go to college out west and have returned with a degree in architecture. You see, my grandparents built Frontier Town, a tourist attraction near the lake. The buildings have stood empty for years, and it’s been my dream to restore them and add an old-fashioned ice cream shop. The problem is the land I need to use adjoins the Dairy Delight. I have to confess I messed up pretty badly and hurt Samantha when I left. But I’ve realized my mistake, and I’m home and plan on winning back the woman I love.

When Wild Rose Press requested stories for their Two Scoops or One anthology, I knew my family’s home on Sand Lake was the perfect setting. Even though I’ve changed the characters’ names, the people actually exist. The house, built in the late nineteenth century, is as I describe, including the ghosts. I haven’t seen them, but, along with my cousins, we’ve heard them. Doors slam, floorboards creak, and footsteps go up and down the stairs.

Across the lake on US 12, there’s a drive-up ice cream shop, and down the road the empty buildings of a frontier town still stand. When I was young, my cousins and I would sit in the saloon wearing our western shirts and moccasins drinking root beer. We’d hop on the stagecoach which was always held up by outlaws. 

The Irish Hills is a rural area in southeast Michigan. There’s farm land, a number of lakes, woods of maples and oaks and dogwoods. I now live on Hilton Head Island, SC, but each summer I go home to the lake where I enjoy spending time with all my cousins, going out for ice cream, and reminiscing about growing up in such a beautiful place.

Can ancestral ghosts bring Samantha and Zack back together to fulfill all their dreams?

Sundae My Love Blurb

As manager of the Dairy Delight, Samantha Murray is dismayed to discover her past love is back and plans on building a rival business next door.

Zack Hunter returns to Sand Lake to win back Samantha and fulfill his grandfather’s dreams by restoring Frontier Town, a tourist attraction once owned by his grandparents, and adding an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.

Samantha is heartbroken over Zack’s past betrayal and struggles, conflicted over the love she can’t deny, but resolved to stop his building plans.

Zack is torn between his love for Samantha and his determination to follow through with his grandfather’s legacy.

Convinced the two are desperately in need of help, the family ghosts intervene to bring them together and solve their differences.

Sundae My Love excerpt

In the living room, a female shape materialized. Her     long dress swirled around her ankles, and the heels of  her high button shoes tapped across the hardwood floor. “Good grief, Angus, I wanted you to make them meet on  the lake, not have Zack run Samantha down,” Patricia Murray said with exasperation.

In a Queen Anne style chair, a male form appeared. “Patricia, it wasn’t my fault. Thaddeus was sitting next  to Zack and took control of the wheel.” He removed his pipe from his shirt pocket. Puffs of translucent smoke soon filled the room. “But it worked out.”

Hands on her hips, Patricia glowered. “Worked out! Are you kidding? What should have been a romantic reunion has made Samantha even more upset.” Patricia shook her head. “Samantha and Zack are perfect for  each other. It’s beyond me why that boy broke her heart and now is making matters worse by threatening the  Dairy Delight.” She narrowed her eyes. “You don’t seem too surprised over Zack’s plans. Did you already know about this?”

Angus squirmed in his seat. “Ah, well.”

“You did. Angus Murray, I can see it in your eyes. You’ve known all about this and didn’t tell me. This is why you’ve been gone so much lately. I’ll bet you and Thaddeus have been over there watching every move he’s made.”

“The boy is doing a top-rate job restoring the buildings. I can’t tell you how pleased Thaddeus is. You  know how much that place meant to him.”

“What about Zack’s disregard for Samantha and the  Dairy Delight?”

“Patricia, we’ve watched over our family for three generations. And no matter what problem occurs, they manage to work it out.”

Patricia threw up her arms in exasperation. “Sometimes situations need to be helped along. Samantha is on her way to confront Zack. Go over there and see what happens.”

“You want me to spy on my great-great-granddaughter?”

“Yes. It’s for her own good.”

 “Why don’t you go?”

“Because Thaddeus is your friend, not mine.      Besides, I promised Virginia Bradly I’d visit this afternoon. You know how lonely she gets when her  family is gone.”

Angus sighed, then stood. He placed his pipe in his pocket, adjusted his suspenders, straightened his bow tie, kissed his wife’s cheek, and vanished.

  Amazon Author Page — https://www.amazon.com/Debby-Grahl/e/B00B34HM26

 

Bio:

Debby lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.

Sundae My Love, in the Two Scoops or One anthology from The Wild Rose Press, will be  released June 30. Her other books  are Mountain Blaze, His Magic Touch, Decorated to Death, Rue Toulouse, and The Silver Crescent.

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/debbygrahlauthor?ref=br_rs

 

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#HobbyCareerPassion: “Dance to a Wylder Beat” ~ Author Marilyn Barr ~ Leather Tanning #WRPgrp #Blog #AHAgrp

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Marilyn Barr…

Leather Tanning

Nartan Sagebrush has the most revolting job in Wylder, Wyoming Territory but in 1878, his prospects were limited when he chose to join the setters instead of head to the reservation. As an Arapaho Shamanic apprentice, Nartan grew up enjoying his vision quests in the forest and the freedom to follow the bison as they migrated around the US. However, in 1874, this all changed. The US Government placed his tribe on reservations and banned the teaching of all Shamanic practices. Nartan and his brother, Ikshu, claimed a piece of Wylder and struggled their way to a thriving leather tanning business, sheep flock, and homestead.

Nartan Sagebrush lacked the chemicals used for commercial leather tanning (invented around 1902), so he relied on cow brains and urine to soften the skins. He’s ahead of his time in that he creates a system of vats and frames so three skins are ready for shipping every day even though only two men are working. Every day six skins, staggered three and three, are rotated through vats of urine. When they are pliable the skins are stretched on frames to dry in the sun. This is the worst smelling part. Three skins are dry each morning and ready for tufting (hair removal) and fleshing. Nartan describes the way his new bride, Olive, fleshes leather in Dance to a Wylder Beat:

“The steer’s horn handle of the flesher looks longer than her forearm. I always thought I made the tool too small, but maybe I serendipitously made it for her. Her tiny hand almost fits around it. She kneels before the hide and begins to hammer the center with deft strokes. She has the perfect corner angle to release the fats and flesh from the skin. It rolls into a neat coil using the same gravity that pulls my jaw to the ground.”

 Just when the smell of urine threatens to burn off her nose, Nartan introduces her to the next step in tanning. Braining. Nartan doesn’t have the land for a cattle herd, so he barters lamb chops and steaks to the butcher for cow brains. From the brain, he makes the conditioning liquid which changes rawhide to leather.

“Olive, to her credit, doesn’t flinch when I scoop the sheep’s brain from its skull and add it to the boiling fat. She even holds the scalp back so I can use two hands. It isn’t until we added the half-pound of soap shavings and cedar oil the smell subsided.”

The braining fluid must be massaged into the leather before fluffing which breaking up any hardening parts of the skins. If tanning leather is gross, how does the leather itself smell so good? The secret is in the final step where the leather is smoked. Nartan uses a mixture of spruce and hemlock wood chips in a smoking teepee. Nartan is proud of the finished product and the business he has built around it. However, it will take a special type of woman to appreciate his efforts. Will Olive live in the stench for him? Find out in Dance to a Wylder Beat.

He was uncomfortable in his skin before she crawled under it. Now he burns…

Blurb:

Nartan Sagebrush’s name may mean “to dance” in Arapaho, but he dances in secret. Forced to abandon his Shamanic apprenticeship, he is overwhelmed with homesteader life, and even his spirit guides are at their wit’s end. Nartan takes fate into his own hands. Instead of divine intervention, a wife will help with his responsibilities and in assimilating into the Wylder community. 

Olive Muegge answers Nartan’s “wife wanted” advertisement. Fiercely independent, she has secretly dreamed of a family to call her own. The secret she carries inside makes her an outcast and her wild ways don’t fit the quiet wife Nartan thinks he desires.  

Despite their differences, they are drawn to each other but a mistake may drive them apart.  Will Nartan embrace his Shamanic past to save them both or will he choose to rid himself of Olive forever? 

Excerpt:

When I turn back, the men are wrestling in a cloud of dust. Dead Eyes’ friends hoot like owls while a small crowd gathers around the scene. Being half-drunk, Dead Eyes is two steps slower than Nartan, who is landing punches on both sides. When Dead Eyes slams his gun on the ground in surrender, the dust settles, and I can study my future husband.

Nartan’s muscular body straddles the smaller man while his broad chest billows. His hat has blown off in the scuffle, revealing two thick black braids adorned with feathers. Tendrils of raven-black hair wave around his head. “Quiet wife for a quiet life” my bloomin’ butt. This man is a sweet lick of passion wrapped in a delicious exterior. I think I’m gonna like being Mrs. Sagebrush just fine. I can handle an odd stick as long as he has the countenance of Nartan because I’m not as normal as I appear myself.

Author Bio:

Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual & energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated.

When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.

Social Media Links:

website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Amazon author profile

Goodreads

BookBub

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

Gemini Rising by Bianca Swan ~ #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Bianca Swan…

 

St. Michael’s Mount is a tidal island in Mount’s Bay in Cornwall, U.K. I was lucky enough to visit the Karrak Loos yn Koos,  Cornish for “hoar rock in woodland”, on my honeymoon back before recorded time. Seriously, it was last century. I immediately fell in love with this small island accessible only by a manmade causeway, passable only between mid-tide and low tide. This causeway is made of granite setts. Two types of granite are indigenous on the Mount.  These are a tourmaline muscovile and a biotite muscovite. I’m not a geologist. Wiki, my friends. The island is a civil parish and linked by the causeway to the town of Marazion.

While the National Trust now guarantees the preservation and conservation of the Mount, the St Aubyn family continue to live on and manage the island, as they have done since the middle of the 17th century.

St Aubyn Estates has been part of the West Cornwall landscape. Today, it is a modern, family-owned enterprise spanning 5,000 acres with a diverse portfolio of businesses, including land and property management, tourism and hospitality, building and farming. James and Mary St Levan live on St Michael’s Mount.

In WWII, the Mount was fortified  during the invasion crisis of 1940–41. Three pillboxes can be seen to this day.

I  hope you have enjoyed this quick tour of the island.  If I’d had more space, I’d have gone into the history but I wanted to tie in my book, you see.  The Keep in Gemini Rising, where the twins are raised, and Alain later becomes Lord of the island, was inspired by that long-ago trip to St. Michael’’s Mount. You never know what will stick in your subconscious and surface years later.  I never forgot the Mount.

~*~

Gemini Rising by Bianca Swan was published by Black Lotus Books:

This book is not for the faint of heart. It pushes all the taboos, and because it does Amazon has so far refused to carry it.  It can only be purchased through the publisher’s website. One reviewer said: “Yes, it does push boundaries, but it also holds surprises that make it more than it appears to be and definitely an interesting and entertaining read.”

Science said male/female identical twins were impossible until the Alastair twins were born. Were Alina and Alain genetically encoded or did growing up in an isolated island castle determine they walk the forbidden trails?

Blurb:

The Alastair twins are a scientific impossibility. To parents who’ve tried every way to have a child, their male and female identical twins are a miracle.

Isolated in their island castle, the Alastair twins Alain and Alina turn to each other for friendship and love. But when their love shifts from fraternal to frighteningly deep, they’ll each dance with their lust in their own way.

A dark fantasy of forbidden longings and midnight pledges, spoken only to be broken or kept. How can these phenomenal twins possibly unleash their innermost desires? The answer will shock you.

Excerpt:

Rory rushed him, grabbing his shirtfront, his fist drawn back to strike. Alain raised a defense. The horses snorted, hooves scrambling on cobbles. Aiden Alastair strode into the barn hall, assessing the situation at a glance.

“By all that’s holy!” Father’s hands fisted. “Have you both taken leave of your senses?”

Rory freed Alain with a shove. “I’m rearranging your son’s pretty face. You’ve said yourself that Alain’s too pretty for his own good.” The old, familiar humiliation and pain twisted in Alain, but he squared his shoulders, and with blood on his mouth, faced his father. His brother-in-law’s lips curled in a mocking smile. “I was just trying to help you out, Lord Alastair.” He put hateful emphasis on the title.

Alastair crossed his arms, glaring at his son-in-law. “You’re my daughter’s husband and as such this is your home, but I won’t tolerate fighting beneath my roof.”

Rory hung his head, staring at the cobbles, said nothing. His stiff posture sagged.

Father’s eyes found Alain. His expression altered from angry to hurt. “I would have expected more of you. Did you start this?”

Of course, he’d jumped to the conclusion Alain was to blame. He was always ready to believe the worst of his only son. He could tune them out, suppress his feelings and stoically endure. But not this time. Damage, like love and hate, came in degrees. All his life Alain had suffered at this man’s clumsy hand. He arched an eyebrow.

Rory’s gaze lifted to Alain’s face. He gasped, “Don’t.”

~*~

About Bianca:

Bianca lives in the Lone Star State with her baby grand piano and is very fond of her snazzy convertible whose name is Zippy Z. She enjoys reading, horses, symphony, theater, and writing. She still believes in the power of love—and the power of lust—and enjoys delving into the soul of both the L-Words, bringing to life hot, passionate men and the lucky, passionate women who love them.

You can find Bianca at:

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/bianca.swan.589

Web Site:  https://www.biancaswan.com/

Blog:            https://biancaswanblog.wordpress.com/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4573416.Bianca_Swan

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