Friday, August 16, 2019

Straight Browsing from the Library: Loved by the Beast by Anya Summers

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anya Summers will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Anna has plans for her life. This fall, she will be heading off to medical school, well on her way to becoming a doctor. But first, she and her besties head to Ireland to celebrate.

Nowhere did her future plans even include serious dating, let alone becoming mated to a man who can turn into a freaking beast with wings. Nor did she reckon with being sucked through a portal onto another planet while on her way home from a great night out.

Yet from the very first time her new mate touches her, Anna wonders if this could be the real deal – as in: the big L. The only problem is, her mate says his kind do not love; they protect, they pleasure, and they provide. Can Anna really kiss goodbye to all her plans for the future, and agree to spend the rest of her existence without love?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy paranormal romance, while the third in the Alcyran Chronicles series, can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.


D’Vorak launched himself off the rooftop, took to the air, and sniffed the wind. He soared like a ghostly specter, blending in with the night. On the streets below, the people never glanced up as he glided above. Perhaps that was why they didn’t know their world was dying. They were too involved with what was right in front of them to view the larger picture.

Working with Rhiannon was risky. He understood the perils of trusting the Clovis wench. However, she had promised that if he succeeded in this task, she would sever his people’s ties with the Clovis. That must happen before the truth of the Gūla was discovered—the truth they had kept hidden, the weapons they had forged.

All he had to do was find the three women and take them to his planet. Three particular women whom Rhiannon indicated were descended from the original line of Clovis. Earth had been the home world for the Clovis before they discovered the wormhole to Destruna, another realm, another world where they weren’t persecuted and fled this one. The ancient lore of the Gūla described the first arrival of the Clovis on Destruna. At that time, the tribes had been primitive, living in thatch huts. It was the Clovis who taught them to build, to write, to read.

It was during that time, the true wealth of the Gūla was discovered. Warlords seized the mines filled with lunar crystals. When put together, they glowed, and were a power source unlike anything else on Destruna.

And from that power source they had created weapons capable of bringing down a Dráo, and protecting their realm. But the weapons created were too potent if they fell into the wrong hands. He shuddered at the thought of the Clovis with them. Queen Mona was already a power hungry wench with immense resources; she didn’t need more at her disposal.

His nose caught a whiff of sweetness on the breeze. The potency and flavor reminded him of dragonsbane wine. Being surrounded by the foreign stench, his beast wanted to roll around in the familiar scent.


Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. ( A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Amazon Author Page:

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Anya Summers!

Dungeon Fantasy Club Series

Her Highland Master, Book 1
To Master and Defend, Book 2
Two Doms for Kara, Book 3
His Driven Domme, Book 4
Her Country Master, Book 5
Love Me, Master Me, Book 6
Submit To Me, Book 7
Her Wired Dom, Book 8

Pleasure Island Series

Her Master & Commander, Book 1 Island-Book-ebook/dp/B06Y5SVVB9/
Her Music Masters, Book 2
Their Shy Submissive, Book 3
Her Lawful Master, Book 4
Her Rockstar Dom, Book 5
Duets & Dominance, Book 6
Her Undercover Dom, Book 7
Ménage In Paradise, Book 8
Her Rodeo Masters, Book 9

Cuffs & Spurs Series

His Scandalous Love
His Unexpected Love
His Wicked Love
His Untamed Love
His Tempting Love
His Seductive Love
His Secret Love
His Cherished Love

The Alcyran Chronicles

Taken by the Beast
Claimed by the Beast
Loved by the Beast


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Straight Browsing from the Library: One of Two by S.R. Cronin

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. S.R. Cronin will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC and a kindle copy of another book from the 46. Ascending collection (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Telepathy creates as many problems as it solves, as everyone in the secret organization x0 would admit. When new member Lola discovers another group of telepaths with a totally different approach, those problems multiply at the speed of thought.

Soon, Lola’s family and friends are in danger. Lucky for her, she’s not your average budding psychic. Each person she is close to has a special gift of their own. That’s good, because it’s going to take every power they possess to stop these others from tearing apart x0.


Gabriel decided to bring the monad Ezra from Tel Aviv because he’d once been in an interrogation unit in the army. For the second man, he considered several before picking Chidi, the Nigerian. Chidi’s mental abilities were immense, and even when Chidi smiled he looked scary to most people. Gabriel was betting few things would terrify an old man from Texas more than being at the mercy of an angry Nigerian.

Unfortunately, once the three boarded Warren’s jet, it became apparent this particular Nigerian objected to the mission.

“I’m an educated gentleman, and was raised to respect the elderly. I do not to try to force information out of old men.”

“You don’t have to do anything but stand there and look pissed,” Gabriel said. “We’ll do the rest.”

Ezra was chuckling. “Don’t worry. I used to be so good at this, and no one knew why, not even me. I just got ideas about what was the truth. After a while, they let me run with what they called ‘my instincts.’ Once I started picking at secrets I had no way of knowing, the captive would break like glass.” He gave Chidi a friendly punch on the arm. “No violence needed.”

Gabriel hated to derail this good cheer, but he reminded Ezra about the psychic wall surrounding the old man. “Your point is good, though. We need him to believe he has no hope. We’ll have to find other ways to do it.”

“I don’t understand why we can’t ignore these people. They seem simpleminded and harmless, with no ambition other than to stay hidden,” Chidi said. “In my country, we have enough trouble. We don’t go looking for more.”

“Warren calls the shots.” Ezra shrugged. “He wants us to be the only organization of telepaths in the world. I say we thank him and eliminate the competition.”


Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.

She published her first science fiction short story and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next tale. When it finally came, it declared to her it had to be a whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.

The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down. He explained that, in a fit of practicality, she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was she found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying. The bad news was the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.

Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.

Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was the book informed her it had grown into a six book collection. Sherrie decided she better start writing before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.


46 Ascending -
Face Painting for World Peace -
Fire Dancing for Fun and Profit -
Treasure Hunting for a Good Time -
Leaving the Nest to Touch the Sky -
Touching the Sky to Save the World -

Email me at


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Road to Reality by Dianne Burnett

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Get ready to laugh. Get ready to cry. Get ready for a whirlwind of an adventure. Settle in for a powerful, poignant story of inner strength and courage-and get a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the making of Survivor, the world's most popular reality show.

Spinning their mutual love of exotic adventure into gold, Dianne Burnett and her former husband, TV producer Mark Burnett, co-created Eco-Challenge, an expedition-length racing event televised on Discovery Channel that catapulted them into the arena of reality TV and set the stage for Survivor-a modern-day Robinson Crusoe with a million-dollar prize. But Dianne and Mark's fairytale marriage did not survive their Hollywood success . . . she found herself left behind, her contributions unrecognized. She lost her partner in life and began to lose her identity. In that experience, she found an opportunity to grow.

A fascinating, fast-paced, heart-warming "page-turner," The Road to Reality takes readers on a roller-coaster ride-complete with a zesty romance, as well as the ups and downs of going for your dreams-while it imparts the lessons learned as Dianne discovers what really matters in life is something beyond fortune and fame.


“Di, imagine us rafting down those,” Mark said, pointing at the foaming, churning waters as the helicopter suddenly dipped lower. I looked down at the rushing Colorado river tipped with whitecaps. No, thanks. Just flying around in a helicopter was plenty daring for me. I pulled baby James tighter, and resumed my silent chanting of The Lords Prayer, my typical pastime when in whirlybirds.

“And over there,” Mark said, pointing to looming cliffs, “they’ll repel 1,000 feet down feet down the sheer faces.” I imagined sliding down a rope that stretched the length of the Empire State Building and shuddered. It was the spring of 1994, and James and I had flown to Utah to be with Mark on the latest phase of planning for our first Eco-Challenge already being billed as “the toughest adventure race in the world.”


Dianne Burnett is an author, producer, and actor of stage and screen. She is also a philanthropist and entrepreneur. Dianne and her ex-husband, Mark Burnett, joined their creative forces to invent Eco-Challenge, the impetus for Survivor, which kickstarted America’s reality-television show craze and went on to become the longest-running and most lucrative reality TV series of all time.

Following the success of Survivor, Dianne produced and acted in the stage play Beyond Therapy at the Santa Monica Playhouse, served as Executive Producer of the indie film Jam (which won Best Narrative Feature at the Santa Fe Film Festival), and acted in Everybody Loves Raymond. In memory of her mother, Joan, who lost her battle with esophageal cancer in 2010, Dianne formed Joan Valentine—A Foundation for Natural Cures, a nonprofit organization that serves as a resource for those seeking alternatives to traditional medicine.

She also recently launched a multimedia platform and social network: called, it explores alternative views on everything from relationships to health. Formerly of New York, Dianne now lives in Malibu, California, with her family.

Buy Link:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Straight Chatting from the Library: A.B. Michael

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A.B. Michael will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


If You Really Want to Be a Writer, Here are Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Do It

A dear friend has expressed more than once that she’d love to write a book. She loves mysteries and I’m pretty sure she thinks, “Hey, I could write one of those.”

She’s not alone; there are countless readers who no doubt feel they’d be pretty good at writing a book. You may be one of them. I know that several years ago, I was one of them, too.

So, how do you get from thinking about writing to actually doing it? Here’s a checklist guaranteed to put you on that path:

1) Decide, in your gut, that now is the time to achieve your goal. Put affirmations up everywhere in your house and/or at work as reminders of what you are going to accomplish. Suggested mantras: “I can do this,” “I am a writer,” or “I am going to complete my novel.”

2) Read, read, read the kinds of books (or short fiction) that you think you’d like to write. Take notes if you’re so inclined, but at a minimum, ask yourself why a particular story or novel works or doesn’t work.

3) Keep a notebook (or your phone) handy where you can write down ideas that come to you (and they will start coming to you) about an interesting character or series of events, or a theme, as in “I wonder what it would be like to be a kid with a loving mother whose husbands (and therefore the kid’s step-fathers) keep mysteriously dying.”

4) Buy books on writing technique, second-hand if you need to, and read them. I have a gazillion of them and refer to them often.

5) Research writing blogs online and follow those experts who make sense to you. Joanna Penn is a good one.

6) Ease yourself into writing for others by taking a writing class or workshop, perhaps at your local library, or as part of a Community Education program. If you live near a community college, maybe you can enroll in one there. Or, how about online? There are lots of writing courses available, such as Dean Wesley Smith’s online courses. I have attended a couple of his in-person workshops; he knows what he’s talking about.

7) Connect with someone (possibly in the class) who has the same goals you do or find a friend to whom you can feel accountable. When you’re first starting, it’s a matter of incorporating the act of researching/writing/editing into your daily life; you’re creating a new habit. Like dieting or exercising or giving up smoking, you have to forge new behaviors and you have to be accountable to someone while you do it.

8) Create a realistic schedule for your work, even if the goal is just to finish a short project. If a novel seems too daunting, then start with a short story. Don’t over-promise yourself; if life gets in the way and you can’t deliver, the temptation to quit will be too great. Remember, you are building a new mindset, which takes time, and you don’t want to sabotage it.

9) Begin with baby steps: maybe just a few hundred words a day. Don’t think about the completed novel or even a finished short story because it will seem like an impossible task (I assure you it isn’t, but you’ll still feel overwhelmed). If you don’t yet know what you want to write, look at any notes you might have made about an interesting character and start typing as you picture that person. For example, I just read an article about a man who lost the fingers on one hand and had a few of his toes transferred to his hand so that he would have some digits to work with. Strange but true. Ask yourself, who would find themselves in such a predicament? How did the accident happen? What’s the man like? How did he come to the decision to sacrifice his toes so that he could have fingers? The details of the news story aren’t super important because you’re writing fiction—you can make up any story you want about this person. Like, maybe it’s a woman instead. Ooooh, maybe she’s a ballet dancer or a pianist. You get the picture. Writing is like using a group of muscles; the more you exercise them, the better they’ll perform for you. I guarantee that if you keep creating little scenarios like the toe-fingered man, you’ll start coming up with all sorts of ideas that are good enough to turn into readable fiction.

10) Keep at it, little by little. You’ll be amazed at what you can produce over time. Once your story has come together, either in novel or short story form, put it away, take a little break from writing (but not too long), then start writing something else.

11) After a few weeks or more, pull your first project out and look at it dispassionately if you can; did you really mean to write some of the stuff you wrote? Probably not. Get rid of what’s not working. Don’t necessarily throw it away – it may come in handy in another story. Add to the story if you need to and take notes about which aspects of the story are hard for you (plot? characterization? dialogue? description?). Pull out your reference books and read up on the aspects you feel you need help with.

12) When you’ve got your finished project the way you like it, or as good as you think you can make it, show it to someone who cares about you enough to be honest, but kind. It doesn’t have to be the person you’re holding yourself accountable to, but it could be. A fellow writer would be good, since they know what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism—you need it, just like every writer who’s ever written needs it. And yes, I’m talking about best-selling authors, too!

13) Keep refining your work until you tell yourself one of three things:

** I want to see about getting an agent and having this published traditionally.
** I want to publish it myself.
** I want to put it in a drawer to “season” some more and start on something else.

14) If you’ve picked option one or two, you have a whole new learning curve ahead of you. If you’ve picked option three, just go back and repeat the steps that got you to this point. But don’t throw away your work; no matter what you think, it has value—if only as something you look back on fondly after you’ve become one of those best-selling authors yourself!

15) Pat yourself on the back for achieving your goal of becoming a writer. You’ll either be hooked (like I am) or you’ll decide it’s not something you’re interested in pursuing after all—but at least you’ll know you could do it if you wanted to.


Award-winning jewelry designer Regina Firestone is proud to exhibit her famous grandmother’s multi-million dollar “bauble” collection at the grand re-opening of The Grove Center for American Art, known among the locals as “Sinner’s Grove.”

The fact that she’s considering modeling the jewels in the nude like her grandmother did infuriates photographer Walker Banks, a co-owner of The Grove who’s in charge of the exhibit. Neither is willing to admit the real reason for the sparks between them.

Their argument takes a back seat when Reggie discovers that one of the most compelling pieces in the collection is not at all what it seems. Tracking down the truth will take the couple into the dark heart of a quest that’s lasted more than a century, one in which destroying human lives—including Reggie’s and Walker’s—means nothing in the pursuit of a twisted sense of justice.

The Jade Hunters is Book Three of Michaels’ contemporary series, “Sinner’s Grove Suspense.” The series follows the descendants of characters introduced in Michaels’ historical fiction series, “The Golden City.”


“The Phone Call”

“With what you went through today, are you okay now with getting the authorities to step in on this? Nothing is worth getting hurt over.” Walker gently tipped her chin up. “Nothing.”

She took a breath, knowing he was only trying to emphasize a point, but feeling that pull all the same. Professional. Keep it professional. “I suppose you’re right—”

At that moment the satchel she’d dropped on the dining room table began to buzz.

“That’s probably my Aunt Beth. She’s been trying to reach me off and on today, but she’s a talker, and I just don’t have the energy, so I haven’t returned the call.”

Walker dropped his hand but didn’t move. “Best to check,” he said.

She leaned over him to pull the phone out. “Oh, it’s my cousin Ava,” she said. “Let me get it.”

It took less than a minute for Reggie to feel the earth drop underneath her.

“Oh my God,” she cried.

“What?” Walker touched her again. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t believe it. No, it can’t be. Are you sure?”

On the other end of the line, Ava didn’t sugar coat it. “They found him stabbed to death in the Tenderloin along with some call girl, Chandra somebody. Just thought you ought to know.”

“Th ... thanks. I’ll get back to you.” Stunned, Reggie ended the call.

“For God’s sake, tell me what happened,” Walker demanded.

“It’s Uncle Allen,” she said, tears beginning to fall. “He’s been murdered.”


A native of California, A.B. Michaels holds masters’ degrees in history (UCLA) and broadcasting (San Francisco State University). After working for many years as a promotional writer and editor, she turned to writing fiction, which is the hardest thing she's ever done besides raise two boys. She lives with her husband and two spoiled dogs in in Boise, Idaho, where she is often distracted by kayaking, playing bocce, and trying to hit a golf ball more than fifty yards. Reading and travel figure into the mix, leading her to hope that sometime soon, someone invents a 25+ hour day. Her historical fiction series, “The Golden City,” explores America’s Gilded Age and its effect on characters, both actual and fictional, while her contemporary series, “Sinner’s Grove Suspense,” follows descendants of The Golden City as they navigate today’s equally treacherous waters. She is currently expanding both series.

Facebook Page:
Facebook (Profile):
Barnes & Noble/Nook:
Google Play:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 12, 2019

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Persistence of Memory: Deja Vu by Karen Janowsky

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karen Janowsky will be awarding a digital copy of the entire Persistence of Memory trilogy: Deja vu, All Our Yesterdays, and The Beginning of Always, in epub or mobi, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


When superheroes fall in love, anything can happen.

Daniel Hecht doesn’t belong in this century. Catapulted into the present from 1943, he’s out of place and out of touch. Still, he was the American war hero called “Lionheart” and his heroism has followed him into the modern world. He now leads an underground group of superpowered misfits, but the misfit he keeps turning to is Nina Asher.

Nina has a vast knowledge of history, yet no idea who she is or where she’s from. She has become the target of dangerous creatures that have appeared all over the world. As she and Daniel work to decipher an ancient, cryptic myth, they experience flashbacks to things that never could have happened. They are falling in love, but there’s something they’re sure they need to remember, and it’s keeping them apart.

The key to saving the world may begin with the act of remembering.




‘It was foretold that when the Great Darkness descended, a Champion from Heaven and a Champion from Earth, would rise to combat such evil.’
— From the files of the World Intelligence

Security Endeavor, The Legend of Ishtar

July 11, 2011, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.


He stood at the bottom of the stairs and noticed a small sofa blocking the path to his apartment. He put his hands on his hips, let his shoulders slump, and his head dropped toward his chest as he shook it. Straightening and backing up from the first step, he ran toward the sofa and jumped. His left leg twisted between cushions, sinking into the deep crease where the seat and back met. Pressing his palms flat on the floor to balance his weight, he tried to dislodge himself, but ended up taking an awkward lunge. Letting out a deep sigh, he surveyed the mess he had made

“Sorry about that,” said a voice.

Daniel twisted in the direction of the voice. A young woman stood at the threshold of the building’s only first-floor apartment. From this angle, he couldn’t see her face right away. She was wearing light purple sneakers and torn-up jeans that hugged the bottom half of her hips. Her darker purple t-shirt, damp down the center, skimmed her narrow waist, emphasizing the roundness of her breasts.

She said something else, but his brain had gone momentarily numb. He looked up and stared at what seemed like Helen of Troy, come to life. She was stunning. Her eyes were large, with long eyelashes. Her nose was small and straight, and her mouth was full, evenly proportioned, and dark pink. Her black hair was pulled back in a long ponytail. The remote, artistic part of Daniel’s brain, which he’d thought long-buried, lit up. His long-abandoned sketchbook sprung to mind momentarily. He refocused.


Karen Janowsky has been fascinated by ancient mythology since childhood. She has loved superheroes since the first time she saw the Super Friends on television in 1970’s. Because flying an invisible jet was never a viable career option, and because running around in a cape, swimsuit, and bright red boots is not socially acceptable for adults, she teaches yoga and writing at the College of Southern Maryland. Her stories and poems have been featured in several anthologies and literary magazines since 1991. She received her master’s degree in English from Florida State University.

Author website:

Where to Buy:

Barnes and Noble:
Apple iBooks:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Angel and the SEAL by Petie McCarty

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Petie McCarty will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour as well as 3 ebook copies of No Cowboys No Angels, Book 2 in the series. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


The Angel and the SEAL . . . a cozy mystery with romantic suspense from the Mystery Angel Romances series. An angel hidden in every book waiting for you to figure out who . . .

Navy SEAL Sean MacKay's teammate is murdered after stealing a deadly nerve-gas formula from Syrian terrorists. Naval Intelligence believes MacKay's teammate was a traitor and shipped the stolen formula to his sister in the states for safekeeping. MacKay is given orders to find the sister before the terrorists do and to retrieve the stolen formula at all costs.

Foreclosure looms for Cory Rigatero as she fights to keep her rustic resort near Mt. St. Helens afloat after her brother deserted her to join the SEAL Teams. Cory's whole world dives into a tailspin when Sean MacKay shows up at her resort with the news of her brother's death and the wild suspicion her brother may have sent her traitorous classified documents. No way will Cory trust MacKay -- the man who once seduced her and then vanished into the night without a trace.


Cory hesitated so long, Mac wondered if she would tell the truth or fabricate some tale. He knew the Bel Tesoro legend like the back of his hand, having heard the tale numerous times during the years of his friendship with Blue. Usually when Blue got good and drunk—and homesick for his little sister.

Blue thought the sun rose and set just for Cory and had always claimed the worst part of the Black Ops work they did wasn’t the danger but leaving his sister behind. He had felt forced to cast her out of his life for her own safety and settled for a half-dozen covert trips back to town to check on her. Mac had always come along and regretted the trip afterward, for he could never get the little spitfire out of his mind.

She stared at him briefly as she slowed for an approaching curve. His heart thudded out a couple fast beats. Had she recognized him? She returned her gaze to the road, and he blew out a silent sigh of relief.

He decided to prod. “So what about the beautiful treasure? If it wasn’t the lake . . .”

He watched her shoulders go back, and she took a deep breath.

Here we go.

“Great-Grandpa Brock expanded to ten cabins with the extra business from his friends, Benny and Salvatore, but they didn’t come back for a while due to run-ins with the law back in New York.”

“What sort of run-ins?” he dutifully asked.

Cory smiled then, and Mac felt a wave a relief, knowing she trusted him with the truth. She knew he could have dug up the legend from anyone in town, but it meant more coming from her.

“By that time, Salvatore had changed his name to Charles Luciano—Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano—and Benjamin went by the nickname of Bugsy. Meyer was always Meyer.”

He hoped the appropriate amount of shock showed in his expression. “You can’t be serious. You mean Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano, and Meyer Lansky?”

“Exactly the same.”

He gave a low whistle.

“Guests wanted to rent Lucky Luciano’s cabin even back then.”

“But that doesn’t explain the treasure.”

She slid him a sultry sideways glance and maneuvered more switchbacks. “Patience, Mac. I’m telling this story.”

He put his head back and hooted with laughter. The smart remark was pure Cory. The sexy glance was not.

“So tell it already.”

“Lucky and Bugsy had become too powerful for their mob boss Joe Masseria, and they rigged his assassination, so they could steal his rackets. Lucky stole everything in Masseria’s safe and hid the stash from their rival boss Maranzano. Legend has it that Lucky put the stash in a trunk and brought it here on vacation shortly after the assassination to keep it safe.”

“And people think the trunk is buried at Bel Tesoro?” Mac scoffed.


Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World—"The Most Magical Place on Earth"—where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her "day" job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.

Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband and an opinionated Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in No Angels for Christmas.

Buy Link:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Straight Chatting from the Library: Jane Renshaw

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jane Renshaw will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


How to Make Your Characters Believable

What’s the worst thing anyone could say about my book? Probably ‘The characters are two-dimensional’ or ‘I didn’t believe in the characters.’ The people in my stories are real to me and it’s important that they’re real to readers too. Who wants to spend time with an unconvincing cardboard cut-out of a character?

Here are five tips for making characters seem like real, living, breathing people.

1. Steal from real life! Think about the people you know well. How do they speak? How do they behave? When you know someone well, you have a special insight into how their mind works. I’m not suggesting you base whole characters on your nearest and dearest, but bits and pieces you pick up from them can be very useful. I had a boyfriend once who got his own way by behaving as if something had already been agreed when it hadn’t – for example, if he wanted to go to a particular classical music concert and I wasn’t too keen, he would leave it a few days and then say, ‘Shall I get seats in the stalls or the circle?’ and I’d say which I preferred, and only when it was too late would I wonder, ‘Hmm, did I actually agree to go in the first place?!’ Hector in The Sweetest Poison has this rather unappealing trait!

2. Go for the particular rather than the generic. I really did have an elderly downstairs neighbour who complained about ‘you young people and your soft-soled shoes.’ (She felt we were preventing her from keeping track of our movements...) I gave Helen’s neighbour in Edinburgh this line and I think it makes this character seem particular in her oddity, and therefore more real.

3. Don’t make anyone 100% good. As well as being unbelievable, that’s just plain boring. (I don’t think the opposite applies, though; there’s a character in The Sweetest Poison – I won’t say which one – who is basically a psycho with no redeeming features, but my agent told me not to be concerned about this. A psycho is a psycho is a psycho!)

4. In real life, we learn about the people we meet gradually, as small details about their past come to light. It should be the same with characters in a story. Little references to things that happened in the past make a character seem real, but avoid an ‘info dump’ – inserting a big chunk of backstory as a quick and easy way of telling the reader about a character’s past. This is contrived and unconvincing.

5. Finally, the best source of material for making a character believable is the one person you know inside out: yourself! The emotions you feel, the thoughts you have, the things you do – you have the ultimate insider’s view of it all and (you are a writer, after all!) the imagination to apply it to people very different from yourself. Ask yourself ‘If I were that person, how would I feel, what would I say, what would I do if...?’

Most importantly, enjoy building your characters and getting inside their heads. It’s one of the best parts of being a writer, I think – being able to ‘be’ anyone at all.


When life has cast you in the role of victim, how do you find the strength to fight back?

When she was eight years old, Helen Clack was bullied so mercilessly that she was driven to a desperate act. Now she is being targeted once more, but this time her tormentor’s identity is shrouded in doubt.

When her life starts to disintegrate, she flees home to the wilds of north-east Scotland, and to the one man she knows can help her – Hector Forbes, the dubiously charismatic Laird of Pitfourie, with whom she has been hopelessly in love ever since those hellish days in the school playground, when he was her protector, her rescuer, her eleven-year-old hero.

But is Hector really someone she can trust?

And can anyone protect her from the terrible secret she’s keeping?


And then into her misery had come the letter.

The first letter he’d ever written her, with her name, ‘Helen Clack’, and her address in his neat sloping writing. Inside, a single sheet of writing paper. And his words, telling her how sorry he was about Dad, how much he’d liked him, that he wished he could have been at the funeral. That he hoped she was all right. That it was something, that Dad hadn’t had to suffer through a long illness, that his death had been so sudden, at home at the Parks rather than in an anonymous hospital ward.

And then the words that she’d never forget as long as she lived: I’ve been thinking a lot about you –’

Well, you and your mother. But still.

She’d carried the letter around for days. Suzanne had found her staring at it, and snatched it away and read it, and then perched on the kitchen table and said, ‘So. Have you replied?’

And when Helen had said she hadn’t, Suzanne had offered to help.

‘They don’t think like us. They don’t spend – how many days have you been mooning over this? – six days analysing and pulling apart and putting back together every little thing we say. You have to treat them like they’re simpler forms of life. Stimulus–response.’

‘Hector’s not a “simpler form of life”. That’s the whole problem.’


Having discovered early in her 'career' that she didn't have what it takes to be a scientist, Jane Renshaw shuffled sideways into scientific and medical editing, which has the big advantage that she can do it while watching Bargain Hunt! Jane writes what she loves to read – series of novels in which the reader can immerse herself, which let her get to know an engaging, interesting and/or terrifying cast of characters slowly, in the same way you get to know people in real life. Ideally, the drama should be played out in a gorgeous setting, and the cast should include at least one dangerously charismatic, witty, outrageous protagonist with whom the reader can fall in love. A bit of murder and mayhem in the mix never hurts either... Hence the Pitfourie Series. link: link:


a Rafflecopter giveaway