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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Cora Lee's Wager by Kara O'Neal

CORA LEE’S WAGER is finally here! Book 3 in the GAMBLERS & GUNSLINGERS series was quite a surprise. I had no idea the book would go in the direction it did, and I must say, it was quite exciting.

Cora Lee suffers through the death of her entire family in a yellow fever epidemic. Then her wealthy and formidable grandmother refuses to take her in. She becomes the ward of Frederick Tucker, who is also the father of four rowdy boys.

Cora becomes a member of the Tucker family quickly, and ends up falling for the oldest boy, Graham. And he falls for her.

But before they can go forward with their future, Cora is sent away. She ends up in an orphanage, and eventually becomes…

The “Angel of the Acre”. Hell’s Half Acre, that is.

She’s the gambler in this romance. Which was interesting, to say the least. A spot at her table is coveted, but her hero, the man she’s always loved despite the pain he’s caused her, is pretty straight-laced. And when he comes to find her, at the behest of her wealthy grandmother, Cora’s mettle is tested on many levels.

I adored writing Cora. I loved giving her and Graham their happy ending. They have to defeat more than one foe to have the future they’ve always wanted, but Graham is determined and won’t let anything stand in their way. Including Cora’s own fears.

It’s a beautiful story about second chances and the power of love. Happy reading!

Gamblers & Gunslingers
Historical Romance
Book 3

Cora Lee Walsh. The Angel of the Acre—Hell’s Half Acre—never intended to be a professional gambler. But her wealthy grandmother hadn’t wanted her, and, at fifteen, she was abandoned by the Tucker family who’d taken her in as their ward. She had no other choice than to make vice her life. Now, the eldest son of the Tucker family is on her doorstep, asking for an audience.

Graham Tucker loved Cora to distraction, and when she ran away, it destroyed him. Twelve years later, he’s been ordered by Iona Evans, Cora’s grandmother, to bring Cora back to Houston. He’d rather chew glass. But Iona owns half his business, and she’s willing to sell her shares to him if he’s successful. Graham takes the deal.

When Cora and Graham meet again, they both fight old feelings. And Graham finds himself across the betting table from her, making a wager he can’t afford to lose.

But more threatens the pair, and Cora finds herself needing Graham. Can she trust him? The young man who’d abandoned her? Or will she find herself a victim…again?


Cora rocked lightly as birds twittered and flitted about. A fox trotted across her yard, and she smiled at the creature. Its red coat contrasted with the green of the short grass and the orange of the Indian paintbrushes that grew in patches.

This heavenly spot, ironically so close to hell on Earth, couldn’t be duplicated anywhere else. It was one of the reasons why she’d stayed and hadn’t sold the house after Butler had died.

She let out a sigh, sank deeper into the rocker, opened her book and just enjoyed the morning. A half-hour had passed when she felt a presence to her right. She turned her head, and her breath flew up into her throat.


He stood on the dirt lane that went by the side of her home, his hands in his pockets, a guarded expression on his face. Their past stretched between them.

In a second, every morning she’d ever spent with him flashed before her eyes. They’d both loved the dawn. Those quiet hours before the world started. And they’d shared them together in his father’s library or on the porch just beyond the French doors.

And he must’ve decided to take a chance and see if she still woke with the sunrise.

She managed to drag in a breath but couldn’t move. She needed to get inside, hide herself from the pain he caused her. But her feet wouldn’t listen.

With a tight jaw, he took a few steps, and now he was in her yard, but still on the fringes.

He didn’t want to get close to her, either.


They’d sent her away, hadn’t they? She shouldn’t be surprised he didn’t want to see her.

So why was he subjecting them to this torture?

“Good morning,” he rumbled.

Her stomach clenched at the sound of his voice. It was deeper than she remembered.

“I need to speak with you,” he continued. He removed his hat, revealing his dark brown hair that fell attractively over his forehead.

The suit he wore helped cut him into a powerful figure. She was certain he was capable. Intelligent. Probably took care of things efficiently and to his satisfaction, regardless of whom he hurt.

He was a man now. And she thrilled at the sight of him.

Panic gripped her, and she squared her shoulders instantly, needing to get away from him, or she might beg him to explain what she’d done wrong. “I doubt we have anything to say to each other.” She twisted her lips into a sardonic smile. “You’re not someone with whom I choose to associate any longer.”

Oh, praise the Lord! She’d found the Angel of the Acre, and she would use her to block her desperation for this man.

He flinched and stiffened. “Look,” he growled, “I’ve got important business with you, and—”

“I can’t imagine why.” She shrugged. “There’s nothing you have that I could want, and I’m not interested in learning why you disagree.”

He curled his hands into fists, crushing the brim of his hat. “Maybe not, but you could at least hear me out.”

She laughed as if she hadn’t a care or concern for him. “I don’t think so. I only do business over a poker table.”

Disgust flashed in his eyes.

Good. Perhaps he would leave her alone now.

“So I’ve learned,” he spat. “Gambling is an abomination.”

She smirked. “And one I adore. There’s nothing like discovering your opponent’s weaknesses and taking him for everything he has.”

She’d never willingly done that. Or she hoped she hadn’t. She couldn’t control a man’s behavior or choices.

Graham let out a noise of disgust. “Fools. All of you.”

She shrugged. “At least we’re having a good time.”

Something shone in his eyes that she couldn’t name, but she didn’t want to look too deeply anyway. She needed to get him to leave. “Your errand is more foolish than any wager I could make,” she told him. “Best be on your way and find someone else to have your discussion with.”

He glared at her for a few silent moments. “Are you telling me that you truly only conduct business at a poker table?”

She grinned. “It’s no fun otherwise.”

With a frustrated exhale, he shoved his fingers through his hair.

Her heart flipped at its mussed state. My God. He’s gorgeous.

When he faced her again, she schooled her features back into a careless mask.

“Fine,” he ground out. “I’d like to enter tonight’s game.”

She laughed. “You can’t be serious?”

“If that’s the only way I can speak to you, then it’s what I’ll do.”


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Crones by Bea Tifton

 I always heard that through age comes wisdom. I concede that I do know more than I used to know about bad vs. good decisions. But I still do make inadvertent bad decisions. The older I get, the less I care about what other people say or think about me, but I do still care.  And if I get inside my own head about their opinions too much, I can drive myself crazy. I’m well away from being a crone, but why in our society do people think of this ancient woman, wearing black, back bent almost double, with gnarled, arthritic hands? Even the word “crone” can be used as a pejorative.  The etymology of the word is quite insulting, indeed. It originated in the 14th century and basically meant “A disagreeable woman.” Hmmm. Disagreeable, or comfortable in her own skin, filled with knowledge, and independence?

The crone of cultural folklore is a great woman indeed. The crone was defined as a symbol of wisdom, a woman who has lived a life composed of love and hate, sorrow and joy, and has come through it all with a dignity and strength of spirit that only time and a life well lived can achieve.


Wow.  I hope that I can make it to crone someday. Crones were the matriarchs, the seers, the healers. 

So as you go through your life and you become a "woman of a certain age" ( whatever that means), celebrate being older and wiser.  After all, we crones must stick together. 

 Picture Credits

Crone: Katja from Pixabay

Crone: Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Woman with Crystal Ball: Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Aged Cheerful Women in Elegant Outfits Together: Anna Shuets from Pexels

I'm filling in for Beth Trissel.

Friday, August 26, 2022

When Words Turn On You by Laura Hunsaker

 Moist, and other words.

Words are beautiful. You can have a bunch of words and turn them into a lush and descriptive sentence. You can evoke a scent, a memory, an entire world with words alone! They can turn you on...

And they can turn on you...

I noticed the other day I had no other word to use at work than moist. Mmooiiiisstttt. I swear this word has texture and heft.

One coworker cringed,and the other said she doesn't get why everyone hates that word? It got me to thinking, I don’t really know either? Are there more words like moist that we don’t like? Is anything worse than moist? My teenagers tell me moist is the cringiest word. So I did what any well-adjusted adult would do. I asked Twitter.

These are all answers I got that were mentioned by two or more people:












The number one word is so gross I won't actually post it, and it did actually have several mentions.

I noticed most of the words people don't like either have to do with being wet (heh moist), or both sound gross, and mean something gross (phlegm).

So share with me your cringeworthy words. Do you agree/disagree with the list I so scientifically compiled through my Twitter ;)

And I absolutely promise, I don't use the word moist at all in my books!

Check them out here on my website

Mackenzie Stewart is in Scotland for a much-needed vacation. During the castle tour, Mackenzie becomes completely enamored with a painting of one of the previous lairds. Two gentlemen come up behind her and, begging her pardon, they kidnap her, dragging her through time.

The men are sorcerers attempting to end a feud that has plagued their lands for years. Their patron has begun to dabble in the black arts, and between his irrational thirst for power, and his dark secret, the sorcerers are frightened. They believe Mackenzie can break the Stewart curse. They try to convince her to play along with their crazy scheme: marriage to the evil John Campbell.

Before Mackenzie can protest, her carriage is halted and the door thrown open. For a split-second she is arrested by the same beautiful piercing blue eyes that belonged in an oil painting.

Mackenzie then finds herself the victim of a second kidnapping...

Her new captor, however, does nothing but tempt her body and her temper. Believing her to in fact be the betrothed of his mortal enemy the Campbell, Connor MacRae originally sets out to capture his enemy’s betrothed. He never thought he would be so attracted to her that he’d want to keep her.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


 by Judy Ann Davis

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, 
and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time. 
                                                                                                     ~Sylvia Plath 
Here she come comes…August and her last days of summer. I don’t know how those days flew by so fast. My husband saw some sumac changing to red on one of his many jaunts around the area. For many, myself included, it’s one of the harbingers of fall.
And who doesn’t think summer is sliding to an end when our local Clearfield County Fair gets underway? If you are anywhere in the vicinity of the fairgrounds during fair week, you can smell its presence. The sweet smell of cotton candy and waffles dunked in sugar wafts in the air with the flavored smoke of hamburgers, hotdogs, beef, and hot sausage cooking on burners under the concession stands. Anyone who owns land near the fairgrounds have lawns and driveways that look like parking lots. Children gather in groups to lose their money on games of chance or to ride any fast moving mechanical apparatus that swings its riders high into the air and twirls them around and around.

Speaking of lawns in Central Pennsylvania, they are morphing into shades of light brown—which means less mowing, less gasoline consumed, and less work. Scott is not heartbroken over this occurrence, even though he agrees a thunder storm once in a while is a welcome relief from the heat we’ve been having. 
August is the month of reaping what we sow. Tomato plants, scattered around in my flowerbeds, are dressed in bunches of still green tomatoes. But if you’re lucky, you can find a handful of small red cherry ones to whet your appetite or to use for a treat on your salad. Why do the flavor of fresh juicy tomatoes from the garden taste better than any you can buy at a store?
This year, we tried a bucket garden again, concentrating on spices. We now have parsley, lemon thyme, rosemary, sage, mint, along with two buckets of marigolds and a bucket of lettuce. I also have chives in a bed and a container of basil on our patio. What get used the most? Ironically, it’s the chives that come up each year without fuss or coaxing. 
For some odd reason, instead of writing, my wandering mind and body heads off to do other chores that need my attention. I think it’s called procrastination. It’s one of my many talents. Do you have an activity or special summer chore you put off despite the nagging of a little voice inside your head? 
I’m always curious to hear how others enjoy the end of the summer season. Drop me a line in the comment section below. And, let’s enjoy August as summertime in all her sunny glory abdicates and autumn splendor ascends the throne next. 
                              VISIT MY AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE FOR ALL MY BOOKS 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Ride Home by Liz Flaherty

One of the first articles I ever sold as a new writer was an article on the value of the ride home from work. I don't remember the title of the article or the examples used in it, but I do remember how important that 28 miles was in so many different areas of my life. Just lately, as I began doing battle with the last 10,000 words of my work-in-progress, I was reminded about the ride home. 

Summer of Sorrow and Dance is not a book that has come easily--although not very many of them do, do they?--and I'm so ready for it to be done. There's another one on the back burner whose flame is brighter, hotter, and looks like more fun. 

It used to be that 10K words was a week or so...maybe 10 days if the words were being argumentative or sticking in the keyboard's throat. It's not that way anymore, and I know I've got some time to put into Dinah's story before she's ready to finish telling it to me. But sometimes 10,000 words might as well be 100,000. They are just stuck. The black moment is meh, such a light gray it doesn't even show up on the planning wall. The plot point I want in Chapter Twelve should have been foreshadowed in Chapter Three and Chapter Seven, the conflict is laughable, and I have twice as many characters as I should. 

This is not a repeat blog post, by the way; however, I do still whine about the same things as I crawl through the last few chapters of every book. I also use the words I hate this book! complete with the exclamation point numerous times. I wonder whatever made me think I could be a writer. I must have been insane.

It's not true. I love the book. I love Dinah and Zach and the five children they have between them. I love Fallen Soldier, Pennsylvania, and Cooper Lake, which forms its edge before you get to the mountain road. I love that Captain Jason Benteen, a Vietnam vet, shows up in each of the three books in the Second Chances series.

Last night, as I drove home from a writers' group meeting, I thought about the last 10,000 words and about Dinah and Zach, seeing them my mind's eye. I thought about how they've come to know each other, how one of them will sense the other's pain and the other is reluctant to accept help. I thought about the grief one of them is suffering and suffered it myself. 

What a gift to a writer the ride home is. While I didn't get home with the whole last 10K planned out, I filled in some gaps, found an aha moment or two, and darkened the gray of that culminating moment up a bit. I figured out how to tie up a few strings while leaving a few others fluttering a bit. Just in case I want to go back to Fallen Soldier sometime. I'll give that some thought later, on another ride home. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Down by the Seaside by Bea Tifton

Ahhhh, summer. Countless memes on social media with photos of beautiful beaches saying, “This is where I want to be.”  I haven’t been to the ocean in decades. You see, I have a love/hate relationship with the ocean. In theory, it sounds like a good idea, but the reality has often been somewhat different.

When I was a little girl, my parents took my sister and me for a lovely picnic on the beach when we were on vacation. We stopped by a fast food place and got meals for everyone. I was sitting alone at a picnic table enjoying my French fries when a flock of hungry seagulls descended on me. I was terrified, but I kept a tight grasp on my food. My father, seeing what was happening, yelled, “Throw the French fries away! Let go of the French fries! “Well, I wasn’t about to do that. Those were my French fries. He ran frantically up the beach until he reached me, then, in a single superhero move, scooped me up while throwing my French fries high in the air and running away from the hungry hoard.

A few years later, we were at the beach, and despite having sunscreen, somehow we all got burned. And I mean burned. Second degree burns. Our skin was an angry, fiery red color. We had to put cotton balls under our bra straps before we could stand to wear them. That was one vacation where I was relieved when we packed up and headed for home.

When I was in college, my roommate and I wanted to go to the seashore for spring break. We didn’t want to have that kind of spring break; we just wanted to go somewhere on the cheap. My roommate’s grandmother had a cottage near the ocean, and she was going out of town, so we could use it for free. Wonderful. We were so excited. When we got to the cottage, we were a little surprised at how far it was from the restaurants, etc., but we had a car so we could manage. It was pretty remote, too. And not actually right on the beach as we’d envisioned, but it was free. When we arrived, we threw our stuff down and struck out in search of a good restaurant. We found a good, reasonably priced one and arrived back at the cottage full of good food and anticipation. We were ready for a great vacation, so we sat on the couch to chat until time to go to bed. We hadn’t been sitting for very long when we both began scratching. And scratching. And scratching. What was happening? What were those painful little zaps on our arms and legs? Sand fleas. The whole place was riddled with sand fleas. 

The next morning it was pouring. And the wind was up, whipping against the tiny cottage. We didn’t have a TV and this was before everyone had a cell phone in their hands, so we were oblivious. That evening, we headed out to find a restaurant,  which is where we learned that a hurricane was about to strike and some people were evacuating. We looked at each other, scratched our heads, and went back to the cottage to pack. So much for spring break at the beach.

Sometimes, I think it would be nice to go to New England leaf peeping, lighthouse touring, and whale watching.  But if I ever go, I’m taking sunscreen, flea repellant, and my cell phone, and I’m definitely not eating French fries on the beach.


Photo Credits:
RODNAE Productions: Sea Shells and Starfish on the Beach Sand
Julia Kuzenkov: Flock of Flying Gulls Above Beach Sand
Kelly Due DeConnick: Sunburn
Erik McClean: Small Wooden Cabin on Grassy Seashore in Daylight
U.S. Navy: Hurricane Dennis Batters Palm Trees
Shreyas Sane: A Lighthouse Near the Sea
DWIDO: A Forest in Autumn
Silvana Palacios: Black and White Whale Jumping in Water


Friday, August 5, 2022

Hold My Beer: Story of Alewives and Witches ~ Sherri Easley

 These long, unbearably hot and dry summer days are draining my energy and making me long for cooler damper weather. I constantly look at the weather app to see if there is any rain soon, just to be disappointed.

So, I came across an article a while back on a news site called “Weird History” that made me think of fall, so here goes:

Per the Article:

In medieval times, the job of feeding the family was “women’s work,” and beer was a central part of the peasant diet since it was consumed instead of potentially tainted water. Inevitably, nearly every medieval woman knew how to brew beer.

This was a fermented ale from grains with a low alcohol content, which their families drank daily. Most medieval families downed multiple gallons of beer each week, so women sometimes sold extra beer to neighbors who didn’t have the time to make their own, even inviting people into their homes, which served as an informal tavern.

These entrepreneurial women who made their living brewing and selling beer from their homes were called “alewives.”

These alewives spent hours stirring bubbling cauldrons, while wearing their tall, pointy hats, which were popular in this era, to make them stand out in the marketplace, so customers could identify them.

Alewives promoted their business by placing a broomstick outside their door. The broomstick, also known as an ale stake, signaled that the latest batch of beer was ready for customers.

These women understood herbs and plants they used in their concoctions and often had cats running amuck to take care of those pesky mice in their grain.

Men who saw alewives as temptresses, swindlers, and deceivers could easily imagine a witch's brew boiling in their cauldrons and by the 16th century, men grew suspicious of female brewers, who had their own income source. One community banned young women from selling beer. In others, the tools of female brewers became the symbols of witchcraft.

Churches painted with images of alewives in hell with demons cemented the association between female brewers and demonic magic.

According to the Catholic Church, alehouses were dens of sin that seduced men into gluttony and lust.

The witch trials were only one part of a larger movement to promote stricter morals and eliminate disorder and targeted independent women, and in Europe, that included women who made a living selling beer.

So… the conclusion? Our modern image of a witch likely came from alewives. 

Am I the only person who did not know this?

Mother Louse was an Oxfordshire alewife in the 17th century. But today, she looks more like a witch than a brewer. That’s because the pointy hat, cauldron, and black cat we associate with witches today were all used by alewives. 

Clyde the Camel attends the Jacquie Rogers readers' event!


 Much Ado About Hearts of Owyhee
with guest star Clyde the Camel

Life is always changing and our family has had a lot of big changes in the last few years, that's for sure.  But one thing that has been a constant for the last six years is my readers' event, Much Ado About Silver City.  Well, this year even that changed.  We moved the event from Silver City to my home town, Homedale, Idaho.  I was skeptical but to be honest, I just couldn't fathom getting people to Silver City with all the competing events--farmers markets, rodeos, craft shows, county fairs, and the like.

So...when you bash into a 50-ton boulder, turn left.  Yep, that's what I did.    I called around and finally landed the venue, the Homedale Senior Center.  It's a really nice facility complete with a kitchen and a stage.  Holy moly!  So onward and forward we go. 😃

A view of the stage end of the room.  We were able to perform
on an actual stage and it was heavenly!  I'm in the top center, and 
Diane Garland is left of me.  Mercedes Christesen is on the far left (in purple).

Three other authors came and signed books.

Paty Jager had a really nice display, as usual.

Authors Mary Vine and Robyn Page

We had wonderful music from the olden days courtesy of Matt Paxton, and in this photo, Andy Martin joined in, too.

Matt Paxton on the left, Andy Martin on the right.

Of course, you can't have a party without a camel!

From the left: Kim Garland, Clyde the Camel, Sassy the Donkey, and moi.

You don't often see a camel in Homedale, Idaho.  He was a such an oddity that there was a traffic jam on Main Street--a four-car backup.  They're still talking about it.

And of course we had the World's Worst Melodrama.  This year, it was an Old West version of Romeo and Juliet, renamed Raphael and Julianne.  The script, while stealing directly from Wild Bill Shakespeare, had terrible jokes and only rhymed when convenient.  The actors kept losing their places, and the director seemed to have an issue with focus since she was greeting newcomers and in general admiring her fine script.  We all know Wild Bill was spinning in his grave.

Left to right:
Tresa Hiatt, Andy Martin, Saki Herod, Diane Garland, Kim Garland

We had a really good time and I never could've pulled this off without Diane Garland, who set up the room; Kim Garland, head cheerleader and pack mule; Mercedes Christesen, charity auction volunteer; Tresa Hiatt, dressmaker; and Mr R, Friar Lawrence and pack mule.  Thank you!

Back: Kim Garland
Front: Jacquie Rogers, Diane Garland

Diane and Kim came all the way from Ohio, which was quite an honor considering it was their 34th wedding anniversary.  
Congratulations, Diane and Kim!

We'll do it all again next year, the 3rd weekend in July, July 15, 2023.  Mark it on your calendar and see you then.
Until next month, Happy Reading!

If you're on TikTok, friend me!  My handle is @jacquierogersbooks.  
You can get videos of Honey Beaulieu and Sassy's latest updates there.  And goofy videos of her scribe.  Heck, we even do a few cooking videos.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


By Caroline Clemmons

How embarrassing to be so late. I have a good excuse, but you know what Mary Poppins said: “Never give an excuse.” Anyway…

We live in an older home, built in 1950. To Beth Trissel, this sounds new, as she is fortunate to have her family (as in many generations) home nearby. Those of you who live in an older home realize the many issues that come with it.

I love this house! I enjoy living here. I enjoy it more when the plumbing works properly.

We don't want to go here!

We are currently battling years of tree roots and pipe deterioration. We have a plumber coming today. With any luck, he will do some roto-rooting to clear out the roots and be on his way.

I recall when my sister in Southern California had a similar problem. Rather than jackhammer the floor, they rerouted the pipes through the ceiling and walls. Southern California—they didn’t have to worry about the pipes freezing.

Making life easier.

Last year, we had to have what we call “the mole people” come to our home with a slab foundation. There is an amazing machine which excavates a square just large enough for a thin plumber (more likely his very junior helper) to crawl in. The excavation sounds like a giant mole is underfoot. The young man detached the old pipe, attached the new one, and backed out. 

But, that has to be the world’s worst job! 

Then, the same machine moved the dirt back in place. No jackhammer required! Technological advances are not just in electronics, thank goodness.

Have a great day.