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Saturday, April 30, 2022


I’m thrilled to introduce y’all to Joe Lonnigan and Katia Stefanski, the hero and heroine of my newest release, THE DEPUTY’S DAMSEL. This story takes us to Austin where Katia is wrongly of accused of murder, and Joe, a deputy, believes she’s innocent. Joe hides Katia, protecting her from being arrested, which is at great cost to himself. He’s risking his livelihood and perhaps his life.

But his actions caused an even stickier problem that was quite interesting and heart wrenching to write.

Joe’s cousin, Conner, happens to be the sheriff. So, not only is Joe deceiving his boss, he’s also lying to a member of his family. The scenes between Conner and Joe were just as fraught with tension as the moments of fear and despair Katia experiences being wrongly accused of murder.

The family elements in my books are strong and add so much depth to the characters. And as I wrote THE DEPUTY’S DAMSEL, I found the characters having some very real, very gut-wrenching conversations. My heart pounded hard through the last ten chapters!

Reading this romance will give you ALL the feels, I promise!


Pike’s Run, Texas, 1887

Katia Stefanski is stunned when she learns her recently deceased step-father has arranged a marriage for her. Even worse, her step-brother intends to honor it. Despite numerous attempts to convince her brother to let her make the choice, she fails. She flees during the party intended to cement her engagement.

Deputy Joe Lonnigan crosses paths with Katia Stefanski and is struck by her beauty and fighting spirit. When he learns she's been accused of the murder of her not-wanted fiancé, he can't believe it. With her step-brother's help, Joe risks everything to keep her hidden and prove her innocence.

But Katia can't let Joe destroy his future. She’s determined to take matters into her own hands, even if it means the noose.


Deputy Lonnigan sat tall in the saddle, his front dark as the moon shone from behind him. He put her in mind of a mysterious night rider, capable of taking what he wanted.

She remembered how strong his chest was, how long his arms. She refrained from gulping and strengthened her resolve. “I’m not going home. I refuse. My friend is just up this road, and I intend to stay with her for a few days.”

A moment of silence passed then the deputy said, “Well, I’m not taking you home. But you are coming with me.”

Confused, she couldn’t think of a reply.

“It’ll be the safest option.” He dismounted.

“Oh!” she gasped and back pedaled. “Don’t you dare,” she warned. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“I’ve got no time to argue.” He advanced on her quickly.

She spun on a heel, preparing to run, but he grabbed her around the waist and lifted her off her feet. She bucked and kicked, dropping her bag in the process.

“Get your hands off me!” she screamed, terror fueling her jabs.

He gave slight grunts then flipped her over his shoulder.

Her breath whooshed out of her, and blood rushed to her head. “Put me down! How dare you!” She pounded her fists on his back.

He bent easily and picked up her bag with his free hand.

Frantic, she hit him harder, squirming against his hold, but his arm was a vise on the back of her legs. Tears gathered. She had no control. No power. She bit her lip to keep from sobbing in frustration and tasted blood.

After putting her bag on the back of the animal, he righted her and dumped her in the saddle. She knew the moon shone enough to reveal the silver tracks of wetness on her face, but she didn’t care. Panting from the exertion of pummeling him, she surged forward to grab the reins. But he was faster and gathered them before she could reach them. He climbed up behind her, just like yesterday, enveloping her in the cage of his arms.

A handkerchief appeared in her line of sight. Her chin wobbled, and she refused to take it.

“Please don’t cry,” he said softly, as he withdrew his offering. “I don’t have time to explain things to you. We’ve got to get off the road.”

She didn’t understand what he meant, but it wouldn’t matter if she asked. The men surrounding her weren’t listening to her anyway. She kept her mouth shut.

He clucked to the horse then kicked him into a gallop.

She tried to pay attention to her surroundings, noting that he passed the lane that led to the Cummings’ farm. They went through a shallow creek then over a rolling meadow until the shadow of a log cabin loomed.

“This belongs to a friend of mine who’s a Ranger. He’s in west Texas fighting cattle rustlers.”

She didn’t care. This man was abducting her. Her heart pounded hard, and her stomach churned with fear. If she couldn’t get away from him on the road, how would she manage to escape him once he had her tied up somewhere?

When they reached the yard, he dismounted first then lifted her at the waist. He kept his arm around her as he led her into the dwelling.

“I’m not gonna tie you up, Miss Stefanski. You’re not my prisoner. I’m trying to help you, so…” He gently disengaged from her. “Don’t run, all right? I’m gonna light a lantern, and then we’ll talk.”

He’d left the door open. The horse was still saddled. She curled her hands into fists as an insane plan developed like a lightning strike. She nodded slowly, not trusting herself to form a verbal reply since she was no good at lying.

As soon as he stepped away, she dashed out into the yard.

“Don’t,” he called.

She clutched the pommel and put her foot in the stirrup, but before she could pull herself up, he circled her waist with an arm and wrenched her back. Using all her strength, she spun and pounded on his shoulders. “Let me go!”

He switched his grip to her wrists, stopping her hits. “Stop. Please, ma’am.”

His hold wasn’t too strong, and she tried to yank away from him, but he tightened his grasp.

“Miss Stefanski, please, I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Then let me go,” she wailed, choking on her fear.

“I can’t, damn it!” he thundered. “You’re wanted for murder.”


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Out of the Rabbit Hole and Into the Garden

...the world very much alive in the bright light and wind, exultant with the fever of spring, the delight of morning... ~Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, 1968

(Lily flowered tulips)

Spring, the great motivator, launched me into action and has me sowing dozens of flowers, sweet peppers, basil, tomato seeds, potting up dahlias (to give them a head start), digging holes for roses and scouring the garden for spots to plant the ten new ones I ordered. I'm adding two varieties of dwarf delphiniums, and salvia, violas, peach colored hollyhocks...I started from seed. More catmint, hardy geraniums, Oriental lilies, clematis, and lavender have gone into the Memorial Garden, or soon will. And the list goes on of roses, bulbs, and plants I've specially ordered or started from seed. I'm also putting in a salad/vegetable garden. It's downsized from before but will still produce plenty of greens and veges. Mixing flowers with vegetables and herbs is a favorite of mine and is good for attracting beneficials to the garden. I'm sprinkling seed around like a flower fairy. 

Yes, I get quite tired, but after a good rest I return to the garden, digging, planting, dividing clumps of asters and phlox and, and. It's truly a magical place, apart from our crazy spring weather that seems bent on wreaking havoc. After several days of ridiculously warm days, we're windswept with a cold bluster and threated wih frost. This is a recurring garden challenge in the Shenandoah Valley in spring.

I've gardened forever, but my endeavors really took off when I decided to create the Memorial Garden after my dad and younger brother, Chad, died. This living memorial is also for my mother-in-law whose garden this was before me and who passed soon after my father. I got really serious about taking care of my plants and went stark rose mad. Once you catch rose madness, there's no return, so take care. I'm now committed to caring for dozens of roses with more on the way. Can you have too many bulbs or roses? Nae. I'm also taken with Oriental lilies...

Stay tuned.

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King...
~Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

AITA: I Don't Know My Neighbor's Name

I asked this question on Twitter earlier this month, and I was fascinated by the responses, so I have to bring it up here.

Quick Info: Reddit has a group or subreddit called Am I The A**hole? It's a place where you can ask a bunch of impartial internet strangers if you are indeed the jerk in the situation.

I Am I the jerk in this situation? I know most of my neighbors by their dog. “Oh that’s Oreo’s mom. Or, there goes Alfredo and his humans! Here comes Zeus and his dad!” I don’t know my neighbors’ names, but I definitely know their pets' names.

So today I saw a neighbor (Buddy’s mom), who I see all the time, and we were chatting about our dogs. As we left she asked if I we could exchange numbers to meet up for coffee and she’s nice so yeah, my dogs don’t care about hers on our walks so sure. Yay a new friend, right? I ask her name. You guys. She was so offended I didn’t know it! But I know her dogs! Please tell me I’m not alone here!

And just for fun, tell me this isn't true! LOL 

And if you're interested in dogs being a big part of your Romance, my upcoming novel Dangerous Past heavily features the heroine's dogs. In fact, her meet cute is because of her dogs! Since it's not out yet, start here with book one in the Fatal Instincts series.

Some Secrets Won't Stay Quiet...

The small town was supposed to be safe...

Kate Landry is tired of running. Thinking she's safe, she settles in the small logging town of Chester, California to manage a cafe. She may be keeping a low profile, but she's hoping to return to a normal life.
When FBI agent Kyle Donovan visits to Chester to stay with a friend, and to recover from his latest case, he never expects to meet sexy barista Kate.

But someone is following Kate...

Kyle worries he brought trouble to her door, while Kate worries her dark past is coming after her.
With danger lurking around every corner, her safe haven isn't as safe as she'd thought. Kate will finally have to trust someone enough to tell him her secrets. Secrets that may just get them killed...

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Bravo, April Bravo!

                                                        by Judy Ann Davis

If the current rains in Central Pennsylvania are any indication, we should have masses of blooms in our flowerbeds like the old catchphrase,  April showers bring May flowers, tells us. I hope the month doesn’t disappoint. This is one of my favorites because it’s the bridge from winter into spring. It’s a fickle month with temperatures from freezing at night into the seventies during the day.

On those balmy days, April allows us to wander outside in search of plants with green buds struggling to peek at the sun and blue skies. If we’re lucky, we maybe will see some blooms. Daffodils are pushing up among the dried leaves, and crocus is bursting into shades of yellow, violet, and white. Weeds and dandelions are vying for space as well. Landscape centers lure us in with their many bushes and plants.

This is also the time I love to sit outside in the sunshine with a cup of coffee listening to the birds and hoping to hear the geese honking their way northward. Cardinals, song sparrows, chickadees, and other feathered friends are returning to the feeders to eat or flit through the naked branches in search of the ideal place to build a nest.

Earth day was April 22nd and Arbor Day is April 29th this year. Both days remind us to respect our land and its resources. There are many ways to protect the planet. Plant a tree. Pick up trash. Build or set out a birdhouse for our feather friends. Use less plastic. Go easy on the paper towels.  Don’t waste water.

The list goes on and on.

Will Rogers reminds us of how important our planet and our lands are. “Buy land. They aren’t making any more of the stuff,” he said. (I think the current real estate market confirms this.)

Yes, April is the month when the earth wakes up and the land comes alive in the northern regions.

Bravo, April. Bravo!

                        Visit my Amazon Author Page for all my books: 


Monday, April 18, 2022

Life's Too Short for White Walls by Liz Flaherty

I apologize for sharing a spotlight with you today (although I hope you buy the book, love it, review it, etc.) I also hope you enter the Rafflecopter at the end. It's my first time for one of them and I'm hoping to get better at it. The book will be out April 20, but it's available for order now.

Joss stopped under the canopy of trees that led back to the campground, opening her car window so she could breathe in the scent of early autumn. It was a hard thing for a person as busy as she’d always been to stare the future in the face with no idea what she was going to do with it. She would give herself time to decide, time to take more deep breaths and get over the feeling of dread that seemed to accompany her everywhere. Although she didn’t have enough money to last forever, it would carry her for a while.

She looked up at the trees, noting that the colors of the leaves were already changing and that the air smelled different—it wasn’t just the day’s lack of humidity. It was, she supposed, the scent of things dying, but she wasn’t going to think of it that way. To her, it was going to be all about starting over. Starting new in this beloved place that still felt like home.

I worry a lot about my stories sounding alike, my heroines being paper-doll-cutouts of each other. I’m afraid I’ve written too many heroes with dimples in their left cheeks. Do I have too many people with crooked grins, one raised eyebrow, or a shrug that somehow defines their personalities?

I hope not, but a few of the things that are the same from book to book are starting over, new beginnings, home, friendships, tenderness. And I’m good with that.

They are there in Life’s Too Short for White Walls, when forty-something Joss Murphy and Ezra McIntire find themselves in the same place, but searching for different things. They know a few things about themselves by now—Joss is determined she will have color wherever she goes and Ez is committed to always being one step ahead of things that are dangerous or hurtful to anyone around him.

There are no white walls on their journey, but danger and emotional landmines make themselves known. And maybe the things they’re searching for aren’t so different. 

: Still reeling from her divorce, Joss Murphy flees to Banjo Bend, Kentucky, where she'd been safe and happy as a child. The family farm is now a campground. Weary and discouraged, she talks owner Ezra McIntire into renting her a not-quite-ready cabin.

With PTSD keeping him company, Ez thrives on the seclusion of the campground. The redhead in Cabin Three adds suggestions to his improvement plans, urging color and vibrancy where there was none.

Neither is looking for love, yet the attraction they share is undeniable. Can the comfort of campfires, hayrides, and sweet kisses bring these two lost souls together?

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Saturday, April 16, 2022

Easter Traditions by @JoanReeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

I love this photo! It brings together 2 of my favorite things: puppies and coloring Easter eggs.

Giveaway Alert: Details at end.

When I was a kid, every Saturday afternoon before Easter Sunday, we gathered in the kitchen to dye Easter eggs.

Back in the day, the Paas Easter Egg Dye kit came with only 5 dye tablets. 

The smell of the vinegar that was added to the cup of boiling water didn't exactly stink, but it made my nose tickle.

Then one year, a little wire "hook" was added to the package. Other improvements were a waxy crayon-type thing used to draw designs on the egg before adding it to the cup of dye. The wax kept dye from adhering to areas where it had been used.

History of Paas Easter Egg Dye

Invented by drug store owner William Townley in Newark, New Jersey, in 1893, Townley figured out how to concentrate dye in a tablet form. He sold the dye tablets for 5 cents each. Customers combined the dye tablet with water and vinegar just as my brothers and I did when we were kids decades later.

By 1901, Mr. Townly employed 7 men and 20 women, and he was well on his way to becoming the largest manufacturer of Easter egg dyes.

Eventually, the company was renamed the Paas Dye Company. The word Paas is derived from Pasen which is Dutch for Easter.

As you can see by the photo on the right, the company is still in business with more elaborate dye kits.

Church on Easter Sunday

Yes, church was the other tradition. We always went with girls wearing their brand new Easter dresses and boys wearing new dress shirts and pants.

Shopping for the Easter dress was a big deal when I was a little girl. Even our moms bought a special dress for Easter Sunday. After church, the big egg hunt was on! I never liked eggs when I was a kid—especially boiled eggs. Needless to say, I never excelled at hunting for the eggs hidden in the back yard.

Did you and your family have special Easter traditions?

Giveaway Alert

April Fool Bride on Amazon is FREE until 11:59pm PDT, Saturday, April 16.

Just drop by Amazon and pick up a free copy.

Is it a marriage of convenience or something more?

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were growing up—until one disastrous night when she acted impetuously.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Or is it something else? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist?

I'll see you next month on the 16th. Until then, happy reading!

 Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend with family and friends.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

What's in a Name by Bea Tifton

I met a woman at church the other day. She was new to my Sunday school class, so I introduced myself.

“Bee? As in Busy Bee?”

“No, B-e-a as in Beatrice.”

“Oh. Bee uh.” Slight emphasis on the “uh” followed by a smile that didn’t meet her eyes and a slight simper.

I couldn’t help but think the rather uncharitable thought, “Right. Because I’m likely to mispronounce my own name when I introduce myself.  Abort! Abort!” as I smiled and turned back around in my seat.

 My nickname is Bea. It might as well be my given name because people have been calling me that for decades now.  I’m amazed at how difficult it is for people. I have to spell it many times, especially for younger people. Sometimes as I say, “Bea. B-e-a,” I get people who try to spell it Bbea. Or pronounce it bae, which is a slang word that wasn’t even in existence when I entered the world. And there’s the understandable, “Bee.” I can deal with that but I must admit that I HATE the “Busy Bee” quips. (People have actually buzzed at me.) Nor will comparing me to Aunt Bee of Mayberry fame endear me to you instantly.

My father has such an unusual name that he has to spell it wherever he goes. As a small child, I thought spelling it was actually part of his name.  

When I was a teacher, I tried to learn the student’s names as soon as I got my class list, and when school started, I made it a point to learn the correct pronunciation, any desired family nicknames, and which name went to which child. Because names are important. They become part of our identity, offering glimpses into our personality. A 45 year old man named “Ricky” suggests a different personality than someone who always goes by the name, “Richard.” In  books, these nuances can be important to establishing characters.

So as you navigate the world, think about the names you hear. Pay attention to what people are called in the books you read and reflect on whether it’s significant to the plot. What about your name? Do you like it? Hate it? Or have to spell it?

 Photo Credits: 

Woman in Blue: RODNAE Productions

Man in Shorts: SHVETS production

Man in Suit: Teddy Joseph

Books: Pixabay



Wednesday, April 6, 2022

I've Got Personality~Sherri Easley


As life happens sometimes, I am overwhelmed.

We are shorthanded at my day job, so I am working 10-12 hours a day (and occasionally more) plus a few hours on the weekend. Besides that, that unicorn I was looking for- my house in the country, turned out to be just as rare and elusive as the mythical one, and now that interest rates have gone back up, I will wait it out.

And when I was gung-ho on buying a house, I put most of my sewing room into storage. Now, I am bringing it back. Well, not exactly…

So, as my mind thinks:

“Oh, my sewing room is mostly empty. Now is a great time to paint it.”

Yes! I will paint it.

“Oh, and after you paint it, that would be a great time to put up those nice wide baseboards.”  

That is true- I will put up wide baseboard.

“Oh, and remember, that was the first flooring you laid, so maybe you should fix some of your shoddy work.”

Shoddy work?

“You know, around the entry to the closet?”

Ha, oh that, you noticed, did you…

So, for the last couple of weeks, I pulled out my power tools and painted my sewing room, fixed my floor and put up the wide base boards. It looks nice. It is going to be a really tight fit, though, to put everything back in that small room. While it was in storage, I bought more, including a new sewing machine.

In my spare time, I am taking a class on Access for work and a writing class, and I am still determined to finish this darn book. I am hoping this class will show me what is missing to give it that extra pizazz.

Does all of this sound crazy to you? This is how my brain is wired. I admit, sometimes, it is exhausting to be me. I am constantly working and thinking and trying to make me and my space better. 

According to my personality assessment, I am an Architect or (INTJ)

Per the personality website:

An Architect is a person with the Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging personality traits. These thoughtful tacticians love perfecting the details of life, applying creativity and rationality to everything they do. Their inner world is often a private, complex one.

It can be lonely at the top. As one of the rarest personality types – and one of the most capable – Architects (INTJs) know this all too well. Rational and quick-witted, Architects pride themselves on their ability to think for themselves, not to mention their uncanny knack for seeing right through phoniness and hypocrisy. But because their minds are never at rest, Architects may struggle to find people who can keep up with their nonstop analysis of everything around them.

Do you ever wonder why you do the things you do, or why you always want to go and visit. while your husband just wants to stay home in his shop?

Take the personality test and see. It is fun and you will find out a lot about yourself and those around you. You may even find out why you can’t stand “you know who”. is free and takes about 10 minutes. Be honest and don’t try to manipulate the test. There are no wrong or right answers—Just 16 personality types and you will fit into to one of them. I would love to hear your results.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

WHEN I GROW UP--- by Caroline Clemmons

When you were six, what did you plan for your future? Is it anything like the reality?

When I was six, I wanted to ride the range with Roy Rogers. I’d have a horse as pretty and as smart as Trigger so I could ride side-by-side with Roy while we rounded up all the rustlers and bank robbers in the West. As I grew up, Roy would magically remain the same age so we could marry. In my six-year-old mind, I thought he was probably really old, like maybe 25.

Roy Rogers 
King of the Cowboys

I was crushed when I learned Roy had long since married Dale Evans. She stole my man! I remained an avid fan of Roy, even if he loved Dale. 

by Dale Evans Rogers

Later, I learned Dale was a lovely woman filled with compassion for others. I read one of her books, Time Out, Ladies!, and used it as a devotional. I read Angel Unaware, but it was too heartbreaking to read a second time. Spoiler alert: I hate when books include a child’s death. Dale wrote many more books, but I  haven't read them. I do own an autobiography of Dale and Roy.

While I was still fascinated by Roy Rogers and cowboys, at age nine I discovered Nancy Drew books. Like many girls, I was hooked and wanted to read each book of the series. I dreamed of becoming Carolyn Keene, not realizing there was no such person. The Secret of the Old Clock was the first Nancy Drew book and is now available in a special 80th anniversary limited edition at a very precious price. I first read this book from the library. Now I own a copy—no, not the limited edition!

The 1st Nancy Drew book

I didn’t get to ride the range with Roy Rogers, but I did become a writer. I don’t write children’s or YA books. I write romance and mystery for anyone who loves the West. And, pardon the plug, I’ve released the first of my latest series, the Zoe Wilder Cozy Mystery Series. Book one is DEATH IN THE PERFECT HOUSE. This is a sweet, lighthearted cozy mystery with humor and romance. I can’t help putting mysteries in my romance novels or romance in my mystery novels. I hope you enjoy the type books I write. DEATH IN THE PERFECT HOUSE is available at

Book One

Book two, DEATH IN A GRAVE YARD, is on preorder for an April 29th release at

Book Two

The books are not Nancy Drew. Zoe Wilder soon has a guy, Caleb McBride, later Sheriff McBossy. In addition, she has a group of quirky friends to entertain you. At least, they entertained me as I wrote about them. If you haven't read book one, what are you waiting for? 

Stay safe and keep reading!