Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guest Author Margie Church

Please help me welcome guest author Margie Church, whose novel THE POET’S WIFE is being released today by Tirgearr Publishing.

The Poet's Wife by Margie Church - 200 (2)

Lily Holliway's life is shattered when her husband, Gabe, is killed in Afghanistan. A new job and dear friends aren't enough to ease her yearnings for the love she clings to.

Gabe feels her grief so strongly that his spirit cannot leave the confines of this world. He can't rest in peace until he's sure Lily is going to be okay. In desperation, he reaches out to her using his special gift.

Finding the mysterious haiku makes Lily question her grip on reality. When she sees Gabe face-to-face, can she believe her eyes?

Lily must trust the only man she's ever loved to help her begin again.

I hope you're intrigued enough to read this amazing story. One commenter will win a copy of The Poet's Wife by telling me about their close encounter of the paranormal kind.

Read it now at Tirgearr Publishing, Amazon, (US, UK, and Canada), and Smashwords.

* * *

Here’s an excerpt from THE POET’S WIFE:

In his spirit state, Gabe heard and watched the entire scene between his wife and Jana. He stood behind Lily while she said goodbye to Jana. He walked out of the building to the car with Lily. The wind caught a wisp of her hair, and he wished he could tuck it behind her ear. He used to love stroking Lily's soft, wavy tresses.

Not yet. She wasn't ready to know he was close by, trying to help her cope. Hell, he was trying to cope, too. God had given Gabe a chance to help Lily, and himself, but it was all in the timing. Gabe wouldn't get long. The Shepherd of Souls had been very clear about that.

Lily drove out of the parking lot, but instead of taking her usual direct route to the base exits, she drove through the grounds.

In his spirit form, Gabe followed her.

She slowed down near one of the park benches.

We met there. Gabe recalled seeing Lily with her brown-bag lunch when he'd gone jogging on the historic base. She'd caught his eye immediately. Her long, graceful limbs and full lips captivated him. When she smiled, the sun seemed to dim. Her charming demeanor wiped out all his defenses.

She'd shaded her eyes to speak to him. "I've never seen you before."

"I was in Seattle for training, but I'm stationed here. Are you visiting your husband?"

She'd giggled this wonderful, heart-warming sound, and her face turned the loveliest shade of pink. Gabe knew in that moment, he was pretty much a goner.

"No, I'm not married. I started working at the commissary last week."

"Well, if you have lunch in the park, I'll be seeing you. I jog through here almost every day."

Gabe didn't usually take that route, but he was darn glad he had that day, and every day afterward. Lily had waited for him, sometimes bringing along an extra bottle of water or a piece of fruit for him. They'd talk for a little while, then he'd finish his run, although his mind was never on physical fitness after he saw Lilianna Carston.

Now Gabe sat on that same bench, remembering the delight in her eyes when he'd asked her to dinner the first time. They became almost inseparable. They thought they'd have a lifetime together.

He turned toward her car and saw the strain on her face.

He watched her shoulders rise and fall in a deep sigh before she drove away from the curb.

Gabe didn't get off the bench and follow her. Being dead wasn't exactly halos and fluffy clouds for him.

* * *

Margie Church 5

Margie shares with us the inspiration behind THE POET’S WIFE:

I've thought long and hard about where such an emotional story could come from. Thankfully, I've not been widowed but years ago, my father was violently taken from me. I think anyone who's experienced a sudden loss, recognizes the turmoil it creates. You have a million questions that can't always be answered, and you wish you could have been there in that last instant of life to sooth their journey into the afterlife. I think I was able to tie those emotions to those of being a parent and the sometimes horrible realization your child could die.

So, I had these ideas about not wanting to let go of the one who has died, and the pain survivors must endure. That became the angst Gabe and Lily felt. They were in their early 30s, and married for about six years. Although Gabe had a dangerous job in the military police, Lily and Gabe didn't let that control their future. They had plans to start a family – to have their happily ever after. In an instant, that was taken from both of them.

The Poet's Wife is a ghost story. Gabe is never alive in this book but his spirit is very present. Lots of times, we get the notion that spirits soar into some sort of bliss after death, and spend eternity with a smile on their face. I'd like that to be true, but I really don't believe it. He's as devastated by what happened as Lily is. It's so bad that his spirit can't leave the confines of earthly existence. God grants him the opportunity to help Lily rebuild her life and, in turn, sever his ties to humanity. Don't expect a religion lesson; The Poet's Wife is about two people coping with their grief and finding new ways to be happy.

My friendship with J. Andrew Lockhart led me to choose his poetry as a gentle way for Gabe to reach out to Lily. I found a kinship with Andrew because his own tragedies and together, we really understood the story and the characters. We hope you'll enjoy it. It's also a great gift for the reader on your holiday list that doesn't enjoy foul language or erotic love scenes.

* * *

Thanks for being my guest today, Margie. Best of luck with THE POET’S WIFE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Charlene Raddon’s Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Today I have something special to share with you. Author Charlene Raddon is about to reveal the new cover for her soon-to-be-released book, TAMING JENNA, simultaneously on multiple blogs. A little about the book:


Deserted by her father at the tender age of seven, Jenna Leigh-Whittington had taught herself to ride, shoot, brawl…and steer clear of the opposite sex. But now, in a lonely Utah canyon, the Pinkerton agent has drawn her gun on a rugged stranger—only to discover that, far from the dangerous outlaw she’d been tracking, he is Branch McCauley, hired gun…and the most irresistible rascal ever to tempt and torment a woman!


If there’s one thing McCauley trusts less than a female, it’s a female who packs a six-gun. But what a woman! Vowing to bring the sensuous hellcat to heel, McCauley has no inkling that their passionate battle of wills has just begun. Taming Jenna will be the most seductive—and satisfying—job he’s ever taken on.

* * *

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Here’s an excerpt to tease you a little further:

Jenna scowled as she studied the man by the flickering glare of his campfire. He had the right build and appeared close to thirty, Mendoza's age. But something didn't fit.

The Denver police chief had described her quarry as a spoiled aristocrat, too busy wooing Lady Luck and every other female to be much of a train robber, let alone a killer. But the rogue in front of Jenna looked too lean and hard to be spoiled, too wary and aloof to be a ladies' man.

To Jenna he seemed the perfect gunslinger: cold, tough, and ready to spring. Like a big yellow cougar perched on a ledge. Or a rattler, tightly coiled. Either way, his bite would be deadly.

In spite of the cool night breeze, sweat oozed from her pores. She couldn't forget that lightning draw. Why had she come here? How had she expected to take an outlaw Pinkerton's other agents had failed to bring in? No, she refused to think that way. She was every bit as capable as any man to capture Mendoza. She had to believe that, the same way she had to do what she'd set out to do. Only one question remained: Was this Mendoza or not?

"Who are you, mister?"

"Who am I? Hell, who are you? "

Blast! Did no male exist in this empty wilderness who wasn't so taken with himself that he couldn't cooperate for a change?

She took a calming breath. A body could catch more flies with honey than vinegar, old Charley Long Bow used to say. Jenna figured flies might fancy the hairy creature facing her, so she decided to try being friendly. "Listen, I smelled your coffee and hoped you might spare a cup, is all. You can understand me being a mite leery of walking into a stranger's camp without knowing who I'm hooking up with."

Firelight glinted on the man's straight white teeth as his whiskers parted in a cold smile. "Don't recall inviting company, but I'll play your game. Name's Branch McCauley. Now it's your turn."

His smile unnerved her. It held no humor, only a lethal sort of grimness that cannoned her stomach into her throat and made her wish she'd wired William Pinkerton for instructions instead of going off half-cocked this way. "I'm Jim...Jim White," she lied.

"All right, Jim, how about some honesty? You come here looking for me?"

"I'm not looking for anyone named Branch McCauley. If that's who you are, you've nothing to worry about."

The wide, innocent eyes McCauley studied held honesty. He relaxed. "In that glad to pour you some coffee." He reached for the battered graniteware pot. His visitor's next words froze him in a half-stoop: "I'd feel more welcome if you'd set aside your gun first."

Cool as Montana sleet, McCauley straightened, hand poised above his holster. "Reckon you would. Wouldn't do much for my sense of well-being, though."

So much for trying to be friendly, Jenna thought. What now? She clenched her knees together to still their shaking and swallowed the fear knotted in her throat.

"Look." McCauley shifted his weight to one leg. "Why don't you put your gun away and have a sit? Could be I might know something about the hombre you're hunting.

Hombre. Sounded Spanish. Like Mendoza. It must be him. She had to get his gun away from him. Surprise seemed the best means. She squeezed the trigger of the .44 Starr. The bullet kicked dirt onto the man's scuffed boots. He jumped and let out a yelp as though she'd set his feet afire.

"Dammit, kid, going up against me won't get you anything but a six-foot hole in the ground."

"Shut up and toss over your gun or I'll turn them boots into sieves. 'Course, my sights might be a bit off." She raised the muzzle toward his groin.

"You made your point," he growled as he unbuckled his gun belt and tossed it over.

Instead of the fancy weapon she had expected a gunslinger to own, an ordinary, six-gun lay at her feet. No ivory handle or engraved barrel. Only an ordinary .44 Peacemaker, crafted and worn for one reason—to kill. The thought did funny things to her innards.

"All right," she said, getting back to business. "You aren't going to like this, mister, but I don't know any other way to be sure who you are. Drop them trousers to your ankles."

"Do what?"

* * *

Here’s Charlene’s bio:

Char portrait 2009smer(3)Charlene Raddon began her fiction career in the third grade when she announced in Show & Tell that a baby sister she never had was killed by a black widow spider. She often penned stories featuring mistreated young girls whose mother accused of crimes her sister had actually committed. Her first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when she woke up from a vivid dream that compelled her to drag out a portable typewriter and begin writing. She’s been at it ever since. An early love for romance novels and the Wild West led her to choose the historical romance genre but she also writes contemporary romance. At present, she has five books published in paperback by Kensington Books (one under the pseudonym Rachel Summers), and four eBooks published by Tirgearr Publishing.

Charlene’s awards include: RWA Golden Heart Finalist, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nomination, Affair de Coeur Magazine Reader/Writer Poll for Best Historical of the Year. Her books have won or place in several contests.

Currently, Charlene is working on her next release.

* * *

And now, without further ado, here is the cover for TAMING JENNA:

Taming Jenna by Charlene Raddon - 500

Gorgeous, isn’t it? Check out this fun book trailer: 

For all of you who have persevered this far, here are the details of Charlene’s giveaway:

Charlene will be  holding a drawing for a $30 amazon gift card for all those viewers who visit each participant's blog and leave a comment with contact info. She will be awarding three copies of her new book to randomly chosen participants.

Here’s the list of blog participants:

Thanks for being here for the cover reveal for TAMING JENNA. Check it out; you won’t be sorry!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How Many Licks?

Can’t resist sharing this!

You're About to Get Sucker Punched

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Couldn’t resist sharing this:

Not really Your Shade

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shape and Sharpen Your Fiction: Effective Revision

I used Grammarly, the online proofreader, to proofread this post, because it shortens the time you need to spend revising your prose.

While we’re on the topic of revision, I’d like to share with you this article I wrote for NovelAdvice in 1997. Hope it’s helpful!
* * *
There's nothing quite like the pride and feeling of accomplishment you get when you type the words, "The End" on the last page of your manuscript. But once the euphoria passes, it's time to buckle down and turn that wonderful, creative project into something salable.
When you're writing a first draft, you're using your "left brain" to draw on all your creative powers. Once your story is completed, let it sit for a while before you look at it again. This will give you the necessary distance from the material and allow you time to switch hats from 'creator' to 'editor.'
Return to your material with a fresh perspective, and go over it with a critical eye. Reading it aloud may help; you may also wish to solicit comments and suggestions from one or two trusted friends. Remember, though, that the ultimate responsibility for the manuscript is yours--don't take any suggestions unless you're sure they are sound.
The first thing to consider is your opening. This may be the most important part of your story; often, the first few paragraphs are all you have to "hook" the reader. Your opening must draw the reader's attention by introducing the main character and the main conflict. The reader should identify with the main character, and want to know more about the conflict and how it will be resolved.  Rework your opening as many times as necessary to get it just right.
Think about your overall story. There must be movement, progression; the main character should change for the better or learn an important lesson by the end. Check your character descriptions and interactions to make sure it's clear what the reader is to think of each character, what the characters want, and what they care about. Be honest with yourself--do you, as a reader, care about the outcome of the story?
Be sure the climax you hint at in your opening actually comes about by the end of the story. Don't write a story with a big buildup that leads to a minor, disappointing climax. Tie up all your loose ends--don't drop unexplained hints or leave dangling story lines.
Include everything in the story that your reader needs to know. Remember, the reader doesn't have access to your in-depth knowledge of the characters and story--he only knows what you tell him. Don't leave too much to the reader's imagination.
Check your tone. Is it consistent throughout the story? If you start with a comic tone, then switch to tragic, it will seem as if two different people are doing the writing. If you begin in present tense, don't switch to past in mid-stream. Use active rather than passive verbs. Consistency is also important in point of view. Don't switch from first to third person, or from third person limited to third person omniscient.
Make sure your most important scenes are fully fleshed out. They should usually be written in an action mode, concentrating on dialogue and activity, with very little description or exposition.
Look at your pacing. Does the story move too slowly, or too quickly? When you re-read it, do you find yourself skipping over sections? If you find a section that doesn't contribute to the whole, cut it out ruthlessly, no matter how beautifully written it is. Have you included too much information, or too little? Does the story end in the right place? The reader should be satisfied with the ending--it should be logical, tie up all the loose ends, and flow directly from the story events.
Is your story organized properly? One way to check this is to write a list of the major events in your story on index cards, with one event per card. Place them on the table or floor in the order in which they occur in your story. Then try rearranging them. Is there another sequence that makes more sense?
Check your transitions. For instance, if you have a flashback scene, is it clear to the reader that you are moving back in time? Transitions must be smooth, yet also unmistakable.
When you're finished checking the creative aspects, check the technical ones as well. Use the dictionary, if necessary, to make sure your words are spelled properly. Don't rely on your computer's "spell check" feature--it can't tell the difference between "heel" and "heal," but it will make a big difference in your story! Make sure you've used complete sentences and that your punctuation is correct. Look for repeated words--if you find you've used the word "finicky" twice in one paragraph, get out your thesaurus and find a replacement for one of them. Check your dialogue tags--make sure they're clear and unobtrusive.
After you've checked everything, let the story sit again for a few days, then go through the entire process once more. When you're satisfied with the story as it stands, congratulate yourself for a job well done--and then send it out!
c. 1997 Elizabeth Delisi

Friday, August 02, 2013

What is the Universe Telling Me?

I try not to complain, especially in public. Really, I do.But this past few months or a year have me wondering what message the universe is trying to send me.

First, you need to remember that I have Parkinson’s disease, so everything below is on top of that.

I had a breast cancer scare. My yearly mammogram showed…something. So I went through needle and surgical biopsies, and luckily it was not cancer. Phew. But it was frightening.

I had to have a tooth pulled. It had already had a root canal, where one root was punctured by the dental instrument since the root was crooked. So a few years later when it began to bother me again, the best option was to pull it.

Two days later, I had (planned) shoulder surgery on my rotator cuff to “clean it up” and, hopefully, get rid of the pain I’d been experiencing for at least a year.

Didn’t feel well after the surgery. I was tired to the point of lethargy, my stomach was a pit of acid, my skin seemed yellow, and my abdomen felt…somehow, wrong.

Went to the doctor. She said I was severely dehydrated, so I had to drink a nasty salty solution and then keep drinking clear liquids. Also, my stomach “might be trying to give me an ulcer,” so an additional acid-blocker was added to my medications. And, blood work showed my liver enzymes were a bit off, so I was tested for Hepatitis A, B and C. Luckily, they were all negative.

Felt better for a couple of weeks, then began to feel ill again. Same symptoms for the most part, with an added day of vomiting. Oy. The nurse on call felt it was the stomach flu, and told me to see the doctor if I weren’t improving 24 hours later. I waited a couple of days, wasn’t better, so went to the doctor.

He examined me, said “I think it’s your gall bladder, so I’m sending you by ambulance to the ER.” I’m sure my jaw dropped a mile. Before I knew what was going on, I was having my first ambulance ride (too sick to look around and take mental notes for future books) and ended up in the ER. They were very nice, gave me some tests and pain medication.

Pretty soon, along came a surgeon who said my gall bladder was badly infected and he’d take it out the next morning. He probably would have to do the traditional long incision as it was too badly infected for the less invasive surgery. I was stunned; all I could do was say, “Okay.”

They took me to a private room and…that’s where my memory gets unreliable. The pain med they gave me was VERY strong, and made me hallucinate. So while I’m sure my hospital room wasn’t a cabana on the beach, and the man bending over me was my husband, not Dr. House…I don’t know what really went on.

My hubby stayed with me 24/7 for the 6 days I was in the hospital. Bless him. He was definitely my hero. He also stayed with me at home for the first 3 days, until I was ready to go it alone. He deserves a Nobel Prize.

So now as I recover from all of the above, I wonder what’s coming next. Oh please, oh please, make it a long period of good health! I swear, I’ve learned my lesson. (Whatever it was.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Promote Your Book/Promote Mine Blog Hop

The purpose of this blog hop is to promote Charlene Raddon’s latest release, THE SCENT OF ROSES, as well as the work of each of the participating bloggers. Be sure to read to the end of this page so you don’t miss out on the grand prize. Also be certain you visit each blog and comment to qualify for the individual giveaways, and the big prize.

Char portrait 2009smer

Charlene Raddon has been writing historical romance novels for over thirty years. Her work has won several awards and much well-deserved praise. Here is what she has to say about her newest release.

Any day when a new book is released is exciting for the author. I’m thrilled to announce that my eBook, THE SCENT OF ROSES, is now available.

THE SCENT OF ROSES is a sequel to my last eBook, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, but stands alone and does not need to be read in order to be enjoyed. Whip Kincaid, from THE SCENT OF ROSES, is the half-brother of Buck Maddux from TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. Whip also has a twin, Cale, whom readers met in Buck’s story, which gives me an excuse to write a third book for this series.

The Scent of Roses by Charlene Raddon - 200

The added touch of paranormal elements made THE SCENT OF ROSES a fun story to write. Who doesn’t enjoy haunted houses with hidden passageways? When I first moved to Utah, I lived in this house. No, there weren’t any secret passageways, but in every other way, my description of the old house is accurate. The third new element in this book is the subject of polygamy.

Rosalyn Delaney came to Whisky Ridge, Arizona expecting to receive aid from her estranged husband, Josiah Bullock, in escaping the crazed leader of a polygamist cult determined to have her. She’s broke and has nowhere else to go. But Josiah is dead, murdered the very evening of her arrival. The town is in an uproar, searching for the suspected killer, Josiah’s business partner, Whip Kincaid. Rosalyn also learns that Josiah had taken a second wife.

Whip is innocent but to prove that, he needs to stay out of jail. He hides in secret passageways in the old house he and Josiah shared. Smythely, the elderly butler who came with the house, is the only other person aware of the passageways. Lurking between spider-webbed walls and using the abundance of peepholes provided allows Whip to keep up with what’s going on. Sneaking out at night allows him to investigate. He’s particularly interested in Rosalyn Delaney, and for more than one reason. Besides being attracted to her, he’s sure she knows something about the murder.

But does she? Is she safe at Rose House? Will she be safe from Whip Kincade?

I hope you enjoyed this peek into THE SCENT OF ROSES. Find it here, at

* * * * *

At this point, I’d like to introduce you to my latest release, THE MIDNIGHT ZONE. Here’s the blurb:

Midnight Zone by Elizbabeth Delisi - 500

When Cassie buys an antique compact, little does she know it can foretell the future--her future. Marjorie, a Florida girl unwillingly transplanted to Vermont, learns there's more to fear from the alien snowfall than just the cold. Neil Dallas's jagged descent from rock and roll singer to drug-addicted has-been is unstoppable . . . or is it?

Travel deep into unknown territory, where life and death are not as they seem; where you have to be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. These stories will take you beyond the realm of the solid and real, into the deepest, darkest corner of your imagination. Don't forget to bring your flashlight . . .

For more information or to purchase your copy, visit Tirgearr Publishing.

Everyone who posts a comment here, and leaves an e-mail address, is entered in a contest to win a free copy of THE MIDNIGHT ZONE. So, let me know what you think!


Here is the list of participating blogs. Thanks for dropping by, and best of luck in the contests!

May 31,  giveaway

May 31

June 1 - Official blog tour for Kat Flannery (not part of PUB/PM blog hop)

June 2,   giveaway

June 3     giveaway  

June 4          giveaway

June 5 giveaway

June 7,  giveaway

June 8, /    giveaway

June 9,  giveaway

June 10

June 11,  giveaway

June 12, giveaway

June 14  giveaway

June 15   giveaway

June 16, www.katerobbinsauthor.comgiveaway

June 17  giveaway

June 18    giveaway

June 19,   giveaway 

June 21  giveaway

June 22,   giveaway

June 23, giveaway

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How I Became A Writer

Check out my latest guest blog post about my road to becoming a writer, at the fabulous blog, “A Date With A Book.” 

If it intrigues you, please visit my website:

My publisher’s website: 

And my other publisher’s website:

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Midnight Zone

Available now: my speculative short fiction collection, THE MIDNIGHT ZONE. It’s published by Tirgearr Publishing.

Midnight Zone by Elizbabeth Delisi - 500

When Cassie buys an antique compact, little does she know it can foretell the future--her future. Marjorie, a Florida girl unwillingly transplanted to Vermont, learns there's more to fear from the alien snowfall than just the cold. Neil Dallas's jagged descent from rock and roll singer to drug-addicted has-been is unstoppable . . . or is it?

Travel deep into unknown territory, where life and death are not as they seem; where you have to be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. These stories will take you beyond the realm of the solid and real, into the deepest, darkest corner of your imagination. Don't forget to bring your flashlight . . .

THE MIDNIGHT ZONE is available in multiple e-formats. Something for everyone! For more information and to purchase your copy, please visit Tirgearr Publishing .

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Gripes, 4/22/13

Since the Boston bombing, my “gripes” are mainly too big to be fixed. The other gripes seem silly and inconsequential in comparison. But life must go on, and I do think focusing on the normal rhythm of life helps you through the bad times. So here’s today’s gripes, as crazy as they are.

My granddaughter is here and doing some cross stitch. Somehow, she lost her needle. We’ve looked everywhere and can’t find it. Bets on who will find it a week from now when walking around in her bare feet?

I looked through all my sewing and knitting things for another needle, but the sewing ones are too small and the knitting ones too big. She settled for one that’s only a little too big.

It’s a lovely, spring-like day outside…from inside the house. Outside, it’s in the 40s and pretty nippy. I guess I’m just impatient, but this winter was so bad, I’m ready to jump into late spring. At least.

Something in my grandson’s video games appeals to the parakeet, and he’s chirping his little head off. And making me crazy.

What little things are nagging you today?

Monday, April 15, 2013


I am horrified at the explosions in Boston. When will the violence end? How can anyone who calls him/herself human cause such pain and grief?

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Happies, 4/12/13

Haven’t done Friday Happies in a while. I guess I fell off the wagon. Smile But I’m baaa-ack!

Today I’m most happy to have a safe, warm and dry house, because it’s sleeting outside, covering everything with a coating of ice. Here’s the porch roof, which normally is black:


I’m very happy I don’t have to go out!

There’s been a lot of bad weather across the Midwest especially. What’s your weather like? What do you do when you have to stay in?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

New Cover Art

I’ve just gotten the cover art for my short story collection, THE MIDNIGHT ZONE, due out April 25 from Tirgearr Publishing. What do you think?


Midnight Zone by Elizbabeth Delisi - 500

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Funnies For A Sunday

Should Have Gotten her Number




Sign seen on local business:


“Apparently the groundhog lied.”


You think?



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guest Author Cathy Mansell

Please help me welcome author Cathy Mansell, who’s here to tell us a little about her new release, SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of her book, so be sure to post your comments!

Shadow Across The Liffey by Cathy Mansell - 200


Set in 60’s Ireland, life is hard for widow Oona Quinn, grief-stricken by the tragic deaths of her husband and five-year-old daughter. Struggling to survive, she meets charismatic Jack Walsh at the Shipping Office.

Vinnie Kelly, her son's biological father, just out of jail, sets out to destroy Oona and all she holds dear. Haunted by her past, she has to fight for her future and the safety of her son, Sean. But Vinnie has revenge on his mind . . .


The sun had just come out, and McNally cursed the task ahead of him. The child’s death had touched him deeply. At the station, he had seen tears in grown men’s eyes. This was, by far, the hardest thing he had ever had to do.

He parked the car outside the house with the shiny green door and well-maintained garden, and walked slowly up the path. He hesitated. From inside he heard laughter and music, and it pained him to be the bearer of such shocking news. A lump formed in his throat. He removed his hat and held it in front of him, before knocking on the door.

‘Mrs Quinn?’

Oona stared at the uniformed man on her doorstep. ‘That... that’s me.’ She clutched the door. ‘Has, has something happened?’

‘I’m Sergeant McNally. There’s been an accident. May I come in?’

Connie joined her in the hall, the smile slipping from her face.

‘Are you a relative?’ he asked.

‘We’re sisters. What is it?’

He thought Oona was going to faint but her sister’s hand guided her towards the living room. A moment later, the two women sat on the sofa clutching hands.

‘May I sit down?’

Oona nodded. She was trembling. McNally could see a glimmer of hope in her big brown eyes.

‘I’m afraid your husband’s been in a serious accident, Mrs Quinn.’ He saw all her fears encapsulated in that one terrible moment as he delivered the news.

‘Please, tell me he’s not dead.’

He swallowed, barely able to answer, and then he nodded.

‘No. No. Please don’t tell me that. Dear God! Eamon can’t be dead. You’ve made some mistake. Are... are you... sure it’s my husband?’

‘We found his driving license.’ He gripped his hat. How could he tell her about the little girl?

‘My little girl! What about Jacqueline?’ she cried out. ‘Where is she? She’ll be frightened. I must go to her.’

‘I’m afraid there was nothing we could do, Mrs Quinn. It all happened so fast.’

‘God! No! Not my little girl! Not Jacqueline!’ She was shaking hysterically. ‘Connie! Tell him; tell the Sergeant he’s got it wrong. Please, Connie.’

‘They’re not, not both of them,’ Connie pleaded, her face distraught.

‘Everything that could possibly be done was done at the scene. A drunk driver coming off the boat caused the crash. He’s dead, too. I’m afraid I was a witness. I’ve spoken to a number of other eye witnesses who saw the white van veering erratically before hitting your husband’s car.’ He swallowed again. ‘There was nothing your husband could have done, Mrs Quinn. I’m so sorry. If it’s any consolation at all, they were both killed instantly.’

‘God Almighty! No! No!’ Oona rocked back and forth. Her breath was coming in huge spasmodic lurches as if her chest was about to explode. He had seen people grieving before, but to lose a child... He wished this was all a dream and that he hadn’t been a witness. He sat with his head bowed, turning his hat round and round in his hands.

Oona stood up, shaking uncontrollably. Before he could do anything, she collapsed onto the floor.



(Photo courtesy Kevin Ryan)

Cathy is an experienced writer of romantic fiction. Her early work was competition short stories and articles published in national magazines. She was Editor in Chief of the Leicestershire Anthology, ‘Taking Off’, a book promoted and supported by the Arts Council UK.

In recent times, Cathy has turned to writing full-length novels that are set in Ireland/England and America in the 1950s/60s. Her debut novel, SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY, is published with Tirgearr Publishing and weaves her affinity with Dublin and Leicester.

Having lived her childhood years in Ireland, all of her work has that touch of authenticity. They depict the lifestyle and hardship of Irish families in those days, with the passions and emotions of her characters, who are wound up in intricate criminal plots, mixed with illegitimacy and the desperate and tragic loneliness of widowhood, contrasting with the happiness when love comes calling once more.

Readers of Cathy’s novels are transported to a distant time, with page-turning tension, having tears and laughter in equal measure.

All of this is borne out of Cathy’s own early experience of widowhood, alongside the trials of bringing up a family as a lone parent in the 70’s. In addition, finding love again with Dennis, her husband and most ardent supporter.

Nowadays, Cathy lives in rural Leicestershire where she writes daily in her ‘Loft Study’ overlooking fields and trees.


Cathy is giving away a copy of SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment here. Good luck!

Thanks to Cathy for being my guest today.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Guest Author Sheri McGathy

Please help me welcome author and cover artist Sheri McGathy! She’s answering a few questions today. Hope you’ll enjoy reading her answers, and checking out her books and cover art.


1) Tell us a little about yourself, Sheri, and what inspired you to become a writer.

Sheri said: At one time, I think I knew the answer to this, but time has a way of fading some memories or in this case, reasons. I can say for certain that I have always loved storytelling. I use to sit for hours and tell my dog stories. He was a very good listener. One summer during my teens and friend and I pretty much wiled the months away with me telling a very long epic story, her listening. She would chime in from time to time and offer plot suggestions and I would weave them in. Our parents thought we were crazy since all they ever saw was the two of us sitting around talking. But it was one of the best summers of my life. It helped me realize that I could story tell every bit as well (in my mind) as my uncles and other family members. Once I actually started writing, it was in story poem. Epic poems, mainly fantasy. My very first novel actually was written as a poem first.

2) Tell us about your latest work.

I don't have anything new published aside from a chapter in The Complete Guide to Writing the Paranormal Novel published by Dragon Moon Press. My chapter is a very quick overall of Faeries titled: Fae, Fey, Faery, Fairy-A Quick Glance into the Abyss. What I have been doing recently is cover art creation. I love doing the covers. As to my latest work, it is a Enchanted Grove fantasy tentatively titled HOLE IN THE SKY. I'm about a quarter into it. Did I tell you I am a slow writer? It takes me a while to get the magic just so and weave everything together. If I didn't have another job, I suspect I could write quite quickly. I actually think HOLE is going to be one of my better attempts. At least I feel so at this time.

3) If you were casting the movie version of your work, who would you choose for the leading roles?

For Hole: I don't know. There are five siblings in the story, each equally as important as the other, ages from 6 to 21. Plus several support characters. So I just don't know yet. Many authors I know actually use pictures of actors to help them visualize their characters. I don't seem to need that. This sort of fishtails into question six, but I tend to daydream my characters for what seems forever before I ever start writing. By the time I do start typing, they are my best friends.

4) Tell us about a hidden talent you have that most people don't know about?

I don't think I have a hidden talent. I'm pretty much "What you see is what you get." I can snap my toes, does that count? LOL

5) What's your favorite comfort food?

Hamburgers and fries. I can live without the fries, but a hamburger is my first choice when I am in need of comfort. Or anytime.

6) Are you an outliner or do you write by the seat of your pants?

As stated above, I think I might be a little of both. I don't outline but I daydream the characters, the world, the magic, long before I ever start writing. I usually always know where I am starting, what I want to happen, the lessons each character must learn and how I want it to end. But, everything else is a pure fly into the mist type of writing. That's my term for a pantser.

7) What's your favorite season and why?

Fall. I love fall. Where I live now, we really don't get a long fall, but when I was a kid in Ohio, you got a chance to really experience the season. I love the smell of fallen leaves, the musty earth smells, and I even like the rain. I can still recall the smell of leaves burning and the autumn breezes, cool sometimes chilly, but always invigorating.

8) If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

Don't know. Maybe I'd be an amateur archeologist or perhaps a Graphic Designer. Beats me.

9) Tell us about anyone famous you've met.

I think I live a sheltered life. I've touched the Monkey Mobile, while it was parked outside a radio station; I have seen David Cassidy once, and sometimes I stumble into meeting people that others consider quite famous but dummy me had no clue who I was speaking to. Such is my life J

10) What's your favorite non-writing-related website?

Well, not really my favorite, but I seem to always be on Facebook wasting time! I actually don't have any real favorites. I like history, and anything paranormal, aliens, ufos, etc. And science. I'll read almost any website that sparks my interest!

About Sheri L. McGathy

“Born in the Buckeye state, I was uprooted in 1971 and replanted amongst sunflowers, tornadoes, and college football. It’s a good life.”

During the weekdays, Sheri is a Graphic Arts Coordinator/Copy Editor in prepress. In the evenings and weekends, she's a writer…or she tries to be. She also expresses her artistic side by crafting cover art for both e-books and paperbacks.

Her work includes short stories and/or novellas in various anthologies:


OMNIBUS – A Collection of Fantasy Stories

TRESPASSING TIME – Ghost Stories from the Prairie (Sheri has also released her four stories from this collection. See Ghostly Tales)





PROMISES with The Gift

Her novels include:





The Complete Guide to Writing the Paranormal Novel - My chapter: Fae, Fey, Faery, Fairy-A Quick Glance into the Abyss

Please visit Sheri's site:


Thanks for guesting, Sheri!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Author Charlene Raddon Discusses Pioneer Homes

Please help me welcome my guest, author Charlene Raddon, who will tell us everything we’ve wanted to know about pioneer sod homes. Read all the way through to find out about her special giveaway.
Homes of the Pioneers
sod house
Sod House
Dugout, 1850-1920 — Dugout dwellings were, of course, partially subterranean, dug either into level ground--up to approximately six feet deep--or, more commonly, into a hillside, preferably south-facing, to capture sun in the winter. Floor dimensions of 12’x 12’ were common. A wall of log, earth, stone, or sometimes brick was sometimes built above ground around the perimeter, high enough to provide adequate head room. The roof might be flat, sloped, or a have a shallow-pitched gable. The roof consisted of flat boards or heavy wood poles spaced evenly as rafters. Willows or other saplings were placed between poles and covered with straw or bundles of brush. A thick layer of dirt made the final layer. Such a roof did little good in heavy rain, and often caved in, especially if livestock was allowed to roam freely on top of the roof.
single-cell house
Single-Cell House
Single-Cell, 1847-1910—A single-cell house is a single square or rectangle unit not subdivided into rooms. It may be one, one and a half, or two stories tall, and is sometimes called the “square cabin” or “hall house,” an English form found in all sections of the United States.
Double-Cell, 1847-90 — The double-cell house has two square or roughly square units arranged axially, one, one and a half, or two stories tall, usually with a façade having two front doors and either two or four symmetrical windows. Chimneys were at the gable ends or in the center of the house.
Hall-Parlor, 1847-1910 —The hall-parlor house consists of a single square room (the hall) with a smaller room serving as the best room (parlor) attached to the side. Though one room deep, there may be one, one and a half, or two floors. The internal plan is always asymmetrical, but a characteristic three-or five-bay symmetrical façade masks the imbalance. Chimneys stood either internally or at the gable ends.
Central-pass-dwellilng (1)
Central Passage House
Central Passage, 1847-1900—A central-passage house is a modification of the hall-parlor type, with a passage or hallway (usually containing a staircase) between two square or roughly square rooms. One, one-and-a-half, and two-story examples of the house have been recorded, and both three-and five-bay forms are common (bays are window or door openings). From the outside, the placement of internal chimneys flanking the central hall identifies it as this type of house.
Pair House, 1853-90— The pair house has a distinctive three-room-wide floor plan. It differs from the central-passage type by the central room being more than a passageway. Usually it is either the kitchen or the living room. This one also was built with one, one and a half and two stories, with either gable-end or internal chimneys. The paired internal chimneys (more widely spaced than central-passage chimneys) identify it as a pair house. Usually has three or five bays.
Double Pile, 1847-80— The double-pile house was two rooms deep, a regional modification of the Georgian detached house (which has two rooms on either side of a long central passage.) Other double-pile forms extend the hall parlor, pair house, and double-cell types one unit to the rear.
Side Passage/Entry Hall, 1847-1920— This house has a square or rectangular plan with an entrance passage on one side of the main floor, giving the house a distinctive asymmetrical appearance. The side-passage house is one and a half or two stories and was used in styles ranging from the Greek Revival to the Prairie School. The side-passage form originated as an 18th-century variant of the Georgian detached house—two rooms on either side of a central passage.
Saltbox, 1847-70— The saltbox is defined mainly by its roof shape rather than its plan. This house has a two-story front section and a one-story extension, or outshut, to the rear. The entire house is covered by a long sloping roof, with a continuous, unbroken roofline, giving it the shape of an old-fashioned salt storage box.
Temple Form, 1847-75—The temple-form house has its entrance in the narrower side of the house, usually under the gable end of the roof. These houses may multiple storied, and may use different floor plans, including the double-cell and side-passage. There may be wings on one or both sides. By 1850, several new types, such as the cross-wing and cruciform, were becoming important new forms.
Cross Wing, 1880-1910— The cross-wing house consists of two wings placed at right angles so the floor plan resembles a “T” or an “L.” The stairway is often situated in the side wing. Usually one and a half stories tall, although some are two stories. Smaller one-story examples were often called simply “T-cottages.
Shotgun House, 1875-1910— The shotgun house is narrow, one story tall, one room wide, and two or more rooms deep.  The narrow gable end faces the street and typically contains a single entryway and window.  Each room is placed behind the other in single file, with no hallway.  The roof ridge is perpendicular to the street.
Char portrait 2009smer
Charlene Raddon
I hope you found this blog informative and useful. Please leave a comment and your contact information for a chance to win my soon-to-be released e-book, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, in which the heroine lives in a dugout she dug herself with a broken shovel after her home was washed away in a flash flood. January 24 was the release date for this book.

Find Charlene at
Find her books at,,, and other e-book stores.
Thank you, Charlene! Readers, do leave a comment and your contact info to be entered  into a drawing for a copy of Charlene’s latest book, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, and a $5 gift certificate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

What, you may ask, is a blog hop? It’s a way that readers can discover new authors they may not see in their local bookstore. You’ll get information about me, what I’m working on now, and FATAL FORTUNE, the first book in my Lottie Baldwin mystery series, of which reviewer Nikki Andrews wrote, “Fatal Fortune is an engrossing read, replete with the intricate web of small-town connections and an understanding of what drives people to extreme actions. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.” Also see links below to other authors you might like to check out.

In this particular hop, I will answer ten questions about my current book and work in progress, as well as some insights into the writing process, from characters and inspiration to plotting and other decisions. I hope you enjoy it! Leave a comment to share your thoughts and questions.

I’d like to thank fellow authors Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton for tagging me to participate. Here’s a little information about them and their books.

Sisters Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton have co-authored more than 40 novels and currently write three mystery series. The sisters, who live in Kansas, are drawn to out of the way places.  Inspired by the rugged mountains of Wyoming and Colorado, they find the lonely, high country region a perfect setting for their novels.

WHISPERS OF THE STONES is the newest entry in the High Country series.  They also write the archaeological Ardis Cole series and the Pre-Columbian mystery series. They have traveled to exotic places to create background for these series.

WHISPERS OF THE STONES: Sheriff Jeff McQuede finds 'Bartering Bill' Garr murdered at his rural antique store. Only one item is missing -- a rare artifact believed to be the Pedro Mummy. First discovered in a cave in Wyoming, the Pedro Mummy was reported missing in the 1950s. Dr. Seth Talbot, newly arrived in town, has put out a fifteen-thousand-dollar reward for any information on the mummy, hoping that modern technology will prove his theory that a tiny race of people actually existed: one the Shoshones call the Nimerigar, or Little People.  As he investigates, McQuede finds himself is drawn into an elaborate hoax that threatens his career and places him in grave danger.

The blog for Vickie and Loretta is “Writing Tips and Fiction” at

Here are my answers to the ten questions I told you about:

1: What is the title of your book? My book is called FATAL FORTUNE, the first in the Lottie Baldwin mystery series.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? I saw a news item about a psychic who helped the police find missing children. I wondered what would happen if a psychic lived in a place where her special talents were scorned. Would she go after the criminal herself?

3: What genre does your book come under? I’d call it a cozy mystery with paranormal overtones.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie

Lottie would be played by a young Joan Blondell. She looks the part, and would be a perfect fit for sassy, independent Lottie.


Harlan would be played by a young Robert Redford. He’s got a great sense of humor, and has no trouble being strong when it counts.


5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? When Lottie Baldwin’s best friend’s husband disappears, Lottie uses her tarot cards to find him, despite the danger.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher,
or represented by an agency? FATAL FORTUNE is published by Tirgearr Publishing, a small independent publisher.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I worked on it, off and on, for a couple of years.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I like to think Lottie is unique, but she feels like a cross between Katherine Hepburn in “Bringing Up Baby” and Jane Seymour in “Live and Let Die.”

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? I became interested in the tarot, and after buying a deck of tarot cards and learning a bit about them, I thought it would be fun to write a character with psychic talents, who uses the cards to solve mysteries.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? FATAL FORTUNE is set in a fictitious small town in North Dakota, a state that’s not over-used in fiction.

To check out FATAL FORTUNE for yourself, click here:

Here is some info on another terrific author you’ll definitely want to read.

Vonda Sinclair’s favorite indulgent pastime is exploring Scotland, from Edinburgh to the untamed and windblown north coast. She also enjoys creating hot, Highland heroes and spirited lasses to drive them mad. She is a past Golden Heart finalist and Laurie award winner. She lives with her amazing and supportive husband in the mountains of North Carolina where she is no doubt creating another Scottish story.

Vonda is working on her upcoming release, My Daring Highlander. Her last release was My Brave Highlander: A man long believed dead, Dirk MacKay returns home to a den of murderous conspirators in Durness, Scotland. Along the icy trail north, he rescues Lady Isobel MacKenzie from a snowstorm. He would never steal the neighboring chief's bride, would he? The tantalizing lady fires up his passions, testing his willpower and honor at every turn, even as some of his own clansmen plot his downfall.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Happy reading!