Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Virgo's Vice -- Available for Pre-Order!

I am thrilled to announce that the third novel in the Zodiac Series, Virgo's Vice, is available on Amazon for pre-order. The publishing process always seems to take forever!

I'll be guest blogging on Just Contemporary Romance on October 20/21 and I will be doing a giveaway there

Camera operator Lexie King has a good reason to work out of her comfort zone in Allan Dockery's new survival-style reality show in Africa. She is determined to overcome her PTSD and make something of herself, but she has no way of knowing he would be there. The monster who’d caused her distress. 

Now all she wants is to get away—as far away as possible. But how? They're stranded one stop past nowhere in Africa. 

When traumatic events start to happen, she draws comfort from Jake, the producer's chocolate lab, and cowboy contestant Billy Murphy, who makes her laugh at the darkest of times, and heats up more than her heart with his touch . . . 

Here's the book trailer:

Lexie's background story is told in 'Lexie's Story' which is available for free download on the home page of my website with no strings attached.

In the Zodiac Series each primary character belongs to a specific star sign and exhibits the character traits attributed thereto

Here's the Amazon link for pre-ordering Virgo's Vice

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review -- Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter

Rhoda is a very talented author who usually writes sweet and entertaining romantic comedies. This book was written as a tribute to hospice and hospice workers all over the world.

Peter is the perfect husband, the husband we would all cherish. When his wife, Sally is in a coma as a result of a car crash on their wedding day, he visits her faithfully in the hospice, always hoping she might recover consciousness one day.  Perhaps some of his devotion comes from guilt. He was the one driving. But he is also just a really good person who loves his wife.

Sally can hear him, while she lies there in a coma, but she can’t move or communicate. Until he becomes friendly with Grace, who is also a regular visitor to the hospice.

I thought I had a good idea of where the story was going, and then it went in a totally different direction. The title is brilliant, because each one of the three main characters is stuck in some way, and all of them find their own form of release in the end.

This is a beautiful, poignant love story, and a very successful divergence from the author’s usual romantic comedies, and she did a great job of illustrating life in a hospice, as she set out to do.

A little dark; a little sad, but happiness triumphs in the end.

Here's the link to buy it on Amazon

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Interview with Author Susan Whitfield

I haven't featured any new authors for the longest time and I'm thrilled to be able to highlight multiple award-winning author Susan Whitfield. She writes in a variety of genres.

Q -- Welcome, Susan. It's so good to have you here on my blog. Please tell us about your writing – the genre/s, and why you chose it or them.

This is a loaded question, Trish! I started out to write a short story and it turned into a mystery novel, Genesis Beach. I liked the protag so much that I wrote a series about her, a tough North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent.  Since I’ve live in this state all my life, I decided rather than have Logan Hunter stay in one place, I’d move her around the state to showcase not only our beaches but our mountains and all parts in between.  Just North of Luck is set in the mountains, Hell Swamp along Black River where I grew up, Sin Creek along the Cape Fear waterfront in Wilmington, and Sticking Point in Beaufort. I decided to end the series and try on a few more hats.

I wrote a women’s fiction, titled Slightly Cracked and hope to write another novel in this genre. I had a blast writing about these two lifelong friends and their antics.

My brand new Sprig of Broom is historical fiction. I am the lineal descendent of a Knight of the Bath and wanted to write about him since he married King Henry’s daughter Matilda and fathered the long line of Plantagenet kings. He often wore a sprig of broom in his hat, hence the title.

I love to read many genres and I suppose it just seemed natural to try to write multiple genres as well. I’m easily bored so this has added adventure and challenge to my life.

Q -- Wow! I love that. So glad you chose to feature the historic book.

Sprig of Broom is the new book. It can be labeled historical fiction or creative nonfiction. It is a stand-alone. Here’s a synopsis:

Sprig of Broom is a coming-of-age novel about Geoffrey Plantagenet, a count, who at the age of 15 marries King Henry’s daughter, Empress Matilda, and fathers the dynasty of Plantagenet kings. The story begins with the count on his journey to Rouen in Normandy to become a Knight of the Bath. From Rouen, he and the king’s entourage travel to LeMans where Geoffrey is wed to Matilda. And the loathing begins . . .
Sir Geoffrey Plantagenet has much to learn, and over the course of his life’s journey he develops a better understanding of himself, fathers a long line of kings, endures adversaries—especially his own wife—and boldly faces the world of chaos around him.

Q -- Fantastic. Please tell us more about the main character(s).

Back in the 12th century folks were married off to each other with no regard for love or likemindedness. Goeffrey Plantagenet had never seen Matilda until he traveled to Rouen to be knighted and then with the king’s entourage to LeMans Cathedrale for the wedding. Matilda at once loathed Geoffrey because even though he was handsome, he was a mere count and only fifteen years old. She was 26 and had been previously married to the Emperor of Germany. She made his life difficult, indeed.
 Q --   Are you a pantser--you write by the seat of your pants, or a    plotter?

I have on occasion been a pantser but for Sprig of Broom it was crucial to be a plotter because I wanted to be as accurate as possible with the time period, architecture, travel, battles, and historical facts about their marriage and life together. Large gaps in time gave me the space I needed to let my imagination take over but I still wanted the novel to be believable.

Q -- Understandable. Promotion is the hardest part of being a writer. What do you do to promote your stories?

I have a blog at and a web site at I’m also a member of many writers’ groups including,,,

Here's a short excerpt of Sprig of Bloom:

“I will see Henry, my son,” I said sternly. I backed away from her bed and walked into the nursery, where the baby still fretted in a nursemaid’s arms.
“Is he ill?”
“No, my lord. He is a babe being a babe. Lady Matilda has not the patience needed—” She stopped her words and her face reddened. “Oh, I beg your pardon sir!”
I smiled and nodded, understanding at her candor. “No pardon is needed, but I do wish to hold this fussy moppet.”
I gathered the bundle in my arms and the future king quieted and looked at me with bright blue eyes. I walked to the high window’s sun and looked him over. He smiled up at me and if he had not already held my heart, he stole it then.



Award-winning multi-genre author Susan Whitfield is a native of North Carolina, where she sets all of her novels. She is the author of five published mysteries, Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck, Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point.

She also authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook that includes recipes from mystery writers around the country.  All proceeds from this book are donated to cancer research.

Slightly Cracked is her first women’s fiction, set in Wayne County where she lives with her husband. Their two sons live nearby with their families.

Sprig of Broom is her first historical fiction about a medieval ancestor.

Susan’s books are available in print and all ebook formats.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Readers Choice Awards Voting Info

I'm thrilled that my two novels, Backwoods Boogie and Aquarius Addiction qualified for the Readers Choice Awards at The Romance Reviews. 

The nomination phase is now open and I need 50 nominations each for them to move forward. 

You have to sign up or be a member of The Romance Reviews. This could benefit you if you're a reader and like romance, or if you're a writer and want to showcase your romance novels. All votes will be truly appreciated. 

Here are the links:

Thank you SO much. I truly appreciate your help. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stuck on Please Release me by Rhoda Baxter

It's all about being stuck... I'm stuck because I don't have enough time to write all the books stuck in my head just trying to come out. And if I could be stuck somewhere with someone who would it be??? That would depend upon where I was stuck.

Please Release Me

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.
That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.
In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …

Buy it here on Amazon

Rhoda's an incredibly talented romance author, and I'm happy to participate in her blog splash.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Virgo's Vice Cover Reveal

I just received my cover for the next story in my Zodiac Series, Virgo's Vice. As always, Soul Mate Publishing's artists did an amazing job and captured the essence of the story, which is a romantic suspense thriller set in Africa. 

Lexie King can't believe she did this to herself -- she signed up to work as a camera operator in Allan Dockery's new survival type reality show.

She wanted to prove she could break her reliance on anti-anxiety meds, and make something of herself. But she had no way of knowing he would be there. The monster.

Now all she wants is to get away--as far away as possible. But how? They're one stop past nowhere in Africa.

When shocking events start to happen, she draws comfort from Jake, the producer's chocolate lab, and cowboy contestant Billy Murphy, who makes her laugh at the darkest of times, and heats up more than her heart with his touch...

Scheduled for release in October 2015.

Why Dogs Rock

I was on Facebook the other day when I got one of those postings pointing out that ‘dog’ spelled backwards is 'god'. As always, I smiled and wondered where people come up with that kind of stuff, but it got me thinking. Most dog owners love their dogs, think of them as family members, and mourn them when they die. I did some research, found some interesting info, and decided to use it for my post on the Write Room Blog.

Dogs and Protection
A dog’s mantra is to protect and serve, and some dogs will risk death to save their owners from danger, even little pet dogs. This inherent desire has been put to good use for law enforcement purposes. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dobermann Pischers and other breeds that exhibit fearless and potentially aggressive natures are used as canine police officers, trained to attack and apprehend criminals and back up their handlers. Military dogs perform a wealth of different functions including scouting, detecting land mines, detecting explosives, and more, and dog handlers develop a very special bond with their charges. The US military has its own breeding program, and the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School asks regular civilians to foster puppies aged from 6 weeks to 7 months for five months to socialize them. Here’s a link to a program in Texas.

Dogs and Rescue Operations
Dogs are far superior to humans when it comes to search and rescue, and it has been said that one dog can do the job of 30 humans in search and rescue operations. When we think tracking, Bloodhounds are the breed that automatically come to mind, because they are equipped to do the job more effectively.  Their long ears and the folds around their faces are designed to trap and hold onto scents. Specialized tracker dogs are not limited to Bloodhounds, though. All breeds of dogs, including mongrels or mutts have a superior sense of smell when compared with humans, and are often employed to sniff for people who may be trapped under rubble, snow or mud after natural disasters and terror attacks. Cadaver dogs are used to find dead bodies, thereby helping their loved ones to find closure.
Specialized breeds like Newfoundlands are often used for water rescues because of their strength and swimming skills, aided by webbed feet. We’ve probably all heard of St. Bernards and how they were used for centuries by monks in the Alps to find people lost in the snow. The work was hazardous and so many of these dogs died that the breed came close to extinction. Thankfully a breeding program saved them, but they are no longer used for rescues.

Dogs can be trained to sniff just about anything, and they may be used to detect drugs, bombs, stolen money, or murder weapons.
This post would not be complete if I didn't mention the wonderful canines who assisted in finding people after the 9/11 attack in New York. Said to be more than 900 in total numbers, and made up of different breeds, they came from all over the country and worked for anything from 12 to 16 hours at a time in chaotic, dusty, smoky and acrid conditions for around 10 days. Sadly, most of them have passed away now, but they will always be remembered as true heroes.

Dogs and Human Health
Humans with physical disabilities rely on dogs to help them with their everyday tasks. Guide dogs empower the blind and hearing-impaired, and dogs can be trained to check if their owners are going into a diabetic coma or an epileptic seizure, sometimes waking them up every hour through the night. If the dog detects a problem, it is trained to press a button that calls for help.
Therapy dogs have been called ‘professional comforters with fur.’ They are taken to hospitals to visit and interact with sick adults and children, who often show marked improvement in their health just from cuddling a dog and feeling their warm, wriggly bodies and their slobbery doggie ‘kisses.’
Autistic children and mentally challenged children and adults, and soldiers with PTSD gain comfort and healing from interacting with dogs. Dogs are used in prisons as therapy and rehabilitation for prisoners, who take care of them and train them, thus learning responsibility and self-esteem.
This is a link to a true story about an autistic boy and his shelter dog—a case of the rescued dog rescues the human, which happens more often than you might imagine.
Some exceptional dogs have displayed an ability to sniff out cancer. This is now being expounded upon, and dogs are being trained in the early detection of cancer using samples of peoples’ breath saved in a test tube, and displaying an unprecedented  98% success rate. This research has exciting and far reaching possibilities. Dogs are being used to aid in mammograms that are hard to read because of dense breast tissue, and to provide a simple (not to mention painless) screening method of cancer detection. (Ref: InSitu Foundation )

Dogs and Herding
Collies and shepherd dogs of all kinds have an instinctual herding instinct and have been used by shepherds for hundreds of years. Herding dogs can also be quite fierce and protect the animals in their charge against predators. The Great Pyrenees are big, strong dogs that fit into that category. Corgis, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite breed, may look cute, but they were originally bred to herd cattle and other animals.

Dogs and Sport
Dogs have been used for man’s recreational purposes for thousands of years, from beagles, fox-terriers and foxhounds, bred to hunt foxes (tally-ho), to Rhodesian Ridgebacks (where I come from) that were bred to hunt lions, and Karelean Bear Dogs. Modern hunting dogs in the US, mainly hounds, wear tracking collars so their owners can easily follow or locate them in the dense eastern and northern forests.
Pointers find where the quarry is hiding and 'point' it out to their owner, Retrievers fetch birds their owners have shot, often having to swim to complete their mission. Sight hounds—Saluki, Whippets and others were bred for their superior speed and vision.
Apart from hunting, dogs show amazing agility when they compete in sports like Frisbee-catching events, canine agility competitions, dock-diving, herding contests, and more, and  Greyhound and lure racing, which has been taking place for literally hundreds of years.
The Iditarod is one of the most grueling races in the world. Teams of dogs compete to pull sleds some 1,100 miles through snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. Only northern breeds of dogs, primarily Siberian huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are permitted to be used because other breeds have proven to be unable to withstand the harsh weather conditions. The race can take anything between 9 – 15 days, and is one of the toughest of all competitions in the world. When the race starts, a red lantern is lit, and is awarded to the last team to cross the finish line in recognition that the race is not over until everyone is off the trail.

Dogs in History
It would be an impossible task to choose one most famous dog, but there are a few who deserve a special mention.

While dogs belonging to presidents and world leaders may have been given their share of airtime, Lassie, although fictional, must be one of the most recognizable dogs worldwide. Her part was first played in the movie 'Lassie Come Home' by a male Rough Collie named Pal in 1943. Pal was not the first choice because he was a male—he was originally hired to do the stunts. He performed so well in one particular scene that it was decided he would replace the original highly-pedigreed female star.
Rin-Tin-Tin, on the other hand, was a real dog (not fictional), and starred as himself in movies, and has been credited with bringing Warner Brothers out of bankruptcy in the 1920's.
Laika, the first dog in space, was one of three strays picked up on the streets of Moscow.  She had the misfortune to be chosen from the three to orbit the earth in Sputnik 2 in 1957. Technology at that time was limited, and it was not possible to bring the spacecraft back to earth in one piece. It was reported that Laika would eventually run out of oxygen and die an easy death after a few orbits, but sadly, it is speculated that she died soon after takeoff due to overheating. A statue of her stands as a reminder of her sad mission.

Sinbad, a dog of indeterminate breeding, signed his enlistment papers for the US Coast Guard with a paw print, and received his own identification number. He must be one of the most decorated dogs in history, having been awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Then there was Able Seaman Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who was the only dog to be enlisted in the British Royal Navy. He got into trouble for constantly boarding the trains to Cape Town from the naval base near the southern tip of Africa, without a ticket. Sailors were allowed to travel free, so he was enlisted to alleviate the problem. His name was given as 'Just', last name 'Nuisance', and his trade 'bone crusher', while his religious denomination was listed as 'Scrounger.' His statue can be seen in Simonstown, South Africa, and a movie about his life is currently in production.
On a final note, consider this. Simply stroking any pet can decrease levels of stress hormones, regulate breathing, and lower blood pressure, but dogs are the only ones that watch and wait every time we go out, and greet us with a happy dance and a wagging tail when we return. We are currently 'between dogs' in our household—not for long, I hope. It's the first time in my life I haven't had a dog, and I love our cats, but that special welcome is what I miss the most.

Originally posted on The Write Room Blog