My Books!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweet Sacrifices

Welcome to the blog, Gloria. Tell us a little bit about you.

I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. I married my high school sweetheart two days after graduation (my parents said I had to graduate first). We have three children and one grandson. I work part-time as a legal assistant.

Nothing like those grandchildren. Has being a writer changed you in any way?

Yes, in some ways it has. It takes some confidence in my “talent” to send my work to publishers and allow others to read it. I am my own worst critic and have never been loaded with confidence, but I guess it has helped me gain some.

Which genre appeals least to you? Why?

I don’t really read anything that doesn’t have a romance involved. Of the romance subgenres, I don’t really like western romances much, and I don’t love “chick lit” type romances. I have no idea why.

I don't like chick lit either. What does your family think about having an author in the family?

They seem to like it. They are much better at pitching my books than I am.

What is your favorite book? That you wrote, I mean.

I like them all for different reasons. I really love my first book, Flowers for Megan, so it is probably my favorite, but a lot of readers like the others better. I know I’ve become a better writer, technically speaking, with each one, so I like the last one, Sweet Sacrifices, best for that reason.

Would you share your links with us?

My website is The publisher for my first three books is www.authorsinkbooks. And the publisher for my latest release, Sweet Sacrifices is

We’d love to read an excerpt from your December release. Don’t forget to add a buy link.

Sweet Sacrifices is already available in print at . The ebook is scheduled to be released on December 17, 2010.

Here’s an excerpt:

“You’ve got to get it together, Kendall,” Luke said when she opened her bedroom door to his knock later that night. “You can’t freeze up every time someone asks you a question about us.”

“I’m sorry, Luke. I’ve never been any good at lying.”

“Then you’d better get good at it, Sweetheart, because you’re going to be lying for a long, long time.”

She went cold at the realization that she had agreed to a never-ending lie. She hadn’t let herself think about how long the lies would continue. Brady would grow up with Luke as his father, and she would go to her grave with the secret she harbored.
If the truth ever came out, Luke would look like a fool, cuckolded by his twin brother and his own wife. The magnitude of what she’d done hit her hard, and she dropped to the edge of the bed.

“You never even thought of that, did you?” Luke asked. “What did you think, Kendall? That this would be a convenient solution to all your woes? Did you think it was a temporary thing?”

“I didn’t really think about it. I mean, I realized it would be a lie, but I didn’t think about it being forever.”

He knelt in front of her, his eyes boring into hers.

“Don’t think I’ll let you leave, Kendall. You’re my wife. I’ve accepted your child as mine. That means, in the eyes of the law, you’re entitled to a part of everything I own if we divorce. So hear this, Sweetheart. If you ever leave me, if you ever even attempt to divorce me, I’ll make damn sure you won’t leave with our son.”

Oh, I like the sound of this one. Good luck with it, Gloria. Come back and see us soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

And The Winner Is

Danielle Thorne, your name came out of the hat, so you win a copy of Return Engagement for the comment you left after you watched my new trailer. I'll send you your copy as soon as you give me your email address. You can email it to me at or leave it here in a comment. Thanks everybody who looked at the trailer.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcome Clare Dargin

Today's special guest is Clare Dargin. Clare is an author of science fiction and science fiction romance books. Her newest work “Speculative Sky” is available from Red Rose Publishing.

Clare, welcome to the blog. As a science fiction fan myself I'm really interested in your book. Can you tell us what inspired you to write Speculative Sky?

Well, ever since I was a child I always wanted to be a writer. It was a dream of mine to be published and to write stories that everyone could enjoy. Speculative Sky was created because I’ve always had a fascination with stories about Extra-Terrestrial Life and S.E.T.I. and I wanted to integrate such a story with a female character as a strong and intelligent lead.

Heard that! I love stories with a strong female character. Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes I do but I am not sure what to call it. When people read my work I want them to feel as if they are right there in the midst of it all. I want them to be able to hear, taste, smell and see the action as if it is happening all around them. I also tend to write tight stories with quick pacing. It's what I like to read and consequently how I write.

That's exactly the kind of stories I like to read. How did you come up with your title?

To be honest I’ve always been attracted and fascinated by the abstract and the symbolic. I wanted the title to be symbolic of what April Mullen, the main character, has to deal with as an Astronomer and all that came with her assignment.

What is Speculative Sky about?

It is about a woman who takes a chance and leaves for an assignment on a science colony far away from Earth. As an astronomer it is her job to monitor the stars at night and to record her findings. Nothing more than that. But when she arrives, she notices that her new home is a bit odd, and that though there is evidence of life out there… they don’t want her to either acknowledge it or do anything about it. She of course finds this troubling.

Oh, I bet I see where that's gonna go. What books have most influenced your life most?

To be honest, in fiction category, it would have to be the old star wars books that came out in the eighties after Return of the Jedi. The expanded universe books taught me more about atmospheric and expanded universe development then any book I know! I read them over and over again and learned about non-human creature development, planetary science fiction and description of space travel and not to mention how to write a cool leading man. I still read them!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Douglas Preston and/or Lincoln Child. They write incredibly compelling books of which I generally can't put down.

What book are you reading now?

To be honest and I am almost finished with “Book of the Dead” with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I'll be going through their back list very soon in order to get caught up.

I haven't read either of those, but I'll check them out. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Last night I was thinking about the Friday House about D. K. Gaston and how it's a compelling story about assassins who have no memory of their being programmed and stuff. I think it's cool. And several books on the military scifi romance front that I have recently heard about. I write in a tiny subgenre so it's nice to see what other authors are doing in it. That way I don't get lonely!

What are your current projects?

Presently I am finishing up the final editing for “Ice and Peace” the sequel to Cold Warriors. As well as having another expanded universe book in the works. Not to mention, two futuristic romances that are completely different from my military fiction.

Sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

The Motown Creative Writers Group-- they helped get on the road to being published. And not to mention the many groups in the Romance community. They really pointed me in the right direction. I'm grateful for that.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes! One day I hope to do it full time.

So do I. It would be nice. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Yeah that's why I have to hurry up and get it out of my hands cause I keep changing it!

LOL. I do that too. It drives editors crazy. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

As a child my father used to encourage it. I used to write stories for my family and give it to them and they would say “Maybe one day you could get this published!” I was like five.... and then when I was in middle school I found out that S. E. Hinton had been published at sixteen-- I became truly determined then.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yea, getting through the first draft!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Just get the first draft down on paper and don't be afraid to make stupid mistakes and have dumb lines on paper cause it's the first draft and you are allowing the characters to come alive. Later on you can fix and micro manage but don't try to do it the first time through cause it will stifle your creativity.

That's exactly what I've said! Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don't give up on being published! Try every avenue! There is a way for you!

That's great advice, Clare, and now it's excerpt time. Please share an excerpt with us.

Excerpt: Speculative Sky

“I’m sure that’s the case but how can I not be excited over this? It’s the find of a lifetime,” she said reveling in the thought of making contact with extra-terrestrial life.

“You don‘t have to try to impress us. Just do you your work and you‘ll be fine.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means you don’t worry about it. There is plenty of research to be done. You could spend your entire lifetime studying the Jugis Star Cluster alone.”

“Haven’t you ever looked up in the sky and wondered if there was anyone else out there?”

“Of course I have. And if anyone back home asks, tell them it’s just us,” he said finishing off his drink.

Clare, thank you so much for coming today. Speculative Sky sounds just wonderful. Readers, think about giving books for the readers on your list. If they like science fiction I think they'd love this one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stacey Has A New Book

Have you met Stacey Kennedy? Stacey has a new book out that she'd love to tell you about, but before we do that, Stacey tell us a little bit about you and your work.

My novels are lighthearted fantasy, heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. My journey as a writer began as a way to keep my brain alive since being a stay at home mom can be a little let’s say―numbing. It was an escape from screaming kids, dirty diapers and plain old mom duty. It started as a hobby, but as the stories progressed it became a passion. Now, I indulge at nap time, especially the juicy bits! Every mom needs a good thrill!

We sure do! LOL. What's An Everlasting Bite about? Share a blurb with us.

Blurb of An Everlasting Bite:

Love is born between strangers, yet built upon a bond soul deep―one Alpha’s vow to protect his mate from looming danger, all the while, mending her soul and stirring her wolfish desires.

A vicious werewolf attack in Plymouth, Minnesota leaves a young woman violated, bitten and now, transformed into werewolf. But Rynn Murphy doesn’t have to face this transformation alone—she has her mate by her side. And the charming Briggs―Beta to the Patriarch, Valor―is eager to ease her into this new life and mend her battered soul.

With only weeks to adjust to her new fur, Rynn, follows Briggs while he assists in locating the daughter of the Montana’s Alpha, who was abducted from her home. But this journey is not without danger. And soon, they discover the ones who have taken this young wolf do not want her found and will stop at nothing to keep her hidden. Or so it may seem, as bodies begin to drop around them, the murderous attempts start to appear more as a hit than a smoke screen—leaving only one question, who is the intended target…

It sounds like fun, Stacey. Where can we find the book?

That link is

Okay, could you give us your links so we can find you on the web?

Website -
Facebook -!/profile.php?id=100000956942180
Goodreads -
Twitter -

Your work has gotten some really good reviews. Would you mind sharing a few of them with us?

Not at all.

RT Book Reviews
“…Kennedy has created a world that readers will want to visit again and again!”

Dawn Crowne
Bitten by Paranormal Romance
“Do you love magic, dominant men, adventure, humor, evil villains and a talking cat? Well here is an excellent book for you to try.” Laurie

Happily Ever After Reviews
The readers will find themselves snickering and crying with the characters. I highly recommend this book. Read it, go get it right away. ” Hunter

Stacey, thanks for coming by and good luck with your book. Come back and see us again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Best Selling Toy Of The Season Excerpt 2

On November 7 I posted part 1 of Chapter 1 in my Christmas novel The Best Selling Toy Of The Season. Today, I'd like to post part 2. If you like the book, it's available at

For a minute Tommy couldn't remember what he wanted.

“Cat got your tongue?” the young woman cheerfully inquired. “You look familiar. Do I know you?”

“I…don’t know, I mean, I don’t think so,” Tommy floundered, mentally kicking himself for allowing a beautiful woman to reduce him to the level of a gauche freshman.

“Well, what do you want? I’m too busy to just stand here and talk. You aren’t trying to pick me up are you? You’re tall, dark, and handsome as they say, but I’ve sworn off men. Every time I get involved with one it turns out bad. Your hair is as black as can be. You don’t dye it, do you?”

“Uh, no, I don’t dye it.”

“You won’t tell me what you want, so I’ll have to guess. You look like you might be an athlete, so I expect you want sporting goods. Follow this red line on the floor, and it’ll take you where you want to go.”

“No,” Tommy replied hastily. “That isn’t it. I want a gag gift.”

“Let me think.”

Tommy waited in silence for a moment or two. “I know just the thing,” she assured him. Follow me.”

She led Tommy to the lingerie department that didn’t please him at all. It embarrassed him to look at underwear with a beautiful woman.

She went down aisle five and selected a box from the shelf. “Here you go. This is a perfect gag gift unless you’re going to a church party. It might be a little over the top for church. Not that I think it’s bad myself, but ministers might. What do you think?”

“I don’t know what it is so it’s hard to have an opinion,” Tommy pointed out.

The girl handed him the box. “It’s a passion meter. You hold the round glass part in your hand, and your body heat causes the red liquid to rise in this little tube. You know; like mercury in a thermometer, but see on the side here? It tells you what kind of lover you are based on how far your body heat makes the liquid rise. Take it
out of the box and try it.”

“I don’t need to do that.”

“Oh, you might as well. Don’t you want to know?”


The woman removed the device from the box and handed it to him. “Wrap your hand around the glass bulb.”

Tommy did as she instructed. Suddenly the liquid boiled and shot
straight to the top of the glass tube.

“Look at you,” the woman laughed. “You measured red hot super

Tommy’s face turned a color very similar to the red liquid, and a
fit of laughter so intense that she had to hold the shelf for support
seized his lovely companion. “You’re awfully shy, aren’t you? I guess you weren’t trying to pick me up after all. Is there anything more that I can show you?”

“No, but thank you for helping me.” Why did she have to laugh at him? No man wanted a beautiful woman to make fun of him.

“Merry Christmas,” she said and bustled away.

Tommy glanced at his watch; he was going to be late. He hurried to the checkout line, and there time stood still. Every register had an enormous line, and it took forever to check out even one customer.

Finally, his turn came. He thankfully paid for his gag gift and joined the throngs of people either going out or coming in. He saw Bill English and lifted his hand to wave goodbye, but he didn’t see the woman in front of him until he plowed into her. Both he and the young woman who had helped him find his gift went sprawling to the
floor. Something in her bag broke with a loud crash when Tommy’s
knee smashed into it.

All the Super Mart employees in the vicinity came running, including Bill English. “Are you guys okay?”

“I’m fine,” Tommy assured him as visions of lawsuits danced in his head. “Ma’am, are you okay?”

To his horror, the young woman burst into tears. “You’ve ruined everything! Teddy and Michael are going to be so disappointed, and I guess they’ll stop believing in Santa Claus, but you don’t care.”

She jerked her bag toward her and held out two broken toys for Tommy to see. “These robots are all that my boys asked for this year. I put them on layaway back in September, and I finished paying for them today. They’re the best selling toy of the season. You can’t find them anywhere, and now you’ve broken mine.”

She shot Tommy a look of bitter enmity. Wiping the tears from her cheeks, she scrambled to her feet and stalked out of the store.

“Be ashamed,” lectured one of the customers. “You ruined her boys’ Christmas.”

“Yeah,” a man in the crowd contributed. “You could at least have offered to pay for it.”

The Super Mart employee nodded their agreement. “Look at the way he’s dressed. He’s got money to burn. He won’t even pay for Nikki’s loss, and it was all his fault.”

The crowd drifted away, and Bill picked up Tommy’s bag and handed it to him. “It was an accident, Tommy. I know you didn’t mean to do it.”

“Who was that woman? I’ll go back to the toy department and buy two more robots to replace the ones I broke. Give me her name and address, and I’ll have them sent to her tonight.”

Bill shook his head. “She told you the truth. Everybody’s sold out of those little robots. You can’t buy them anywhere.”

A look of determination came to rest on Tommy’s face. If Bill had ever seen Tommy in court, he would have recognized it immediately. Many of Tommy’s legal opponents shivered when this expression crossed his face, for as one of them put it, ‘A rottweiller would turn a steak loose quicker than he’d give up when he looks like

“You let me worry about finding the toys. What’s her name and address?”

“Her name is Nikki Lane, and she lives in trailer number five in Higgins Court.”

“Nikki Lane. Isn’t she Dan Wakefield’s cousin?”

“Yeah, she is.”

“I thought so. Dan trains my horse, and he asked me to get her no account boyfriend to pay child support. Did they ever get married?”

Bill laughed shortly. “No, not hardly. He pays Nikki because he knows that he has to, but he doesn’t want anything to do with her or the boys.”

“Why not? Is he blind? She’s drop dead gorgeous.”

“Oh, you should have seen her six months ago. She dyed her hair brassy blonde and frizzed it all over her head, she wore enough makeup for three people, and her clothes made her look like a…well, you know.”

“What happened to her?”

“Her cousin came to visit and gave her a few pointers.”

“Oh. Could you write down the name of the toy for me?”

“Sure, but don’t hold your breath. I don’t think you can find them anywhere.”

Bill took his pen out and found a piece of paper. He scribbled down the name and manufacturer of the robots and handed it to Tommy. “Good luck. Let me know how it turns out.”

“Thanks. I will.”

Tommy took his leave of Bill and hurried outside. The snow fell heavily now, and his car felt icy. He turned on the heater and took out his cell phone. “Hurry up and answer,” he impatiently muttered.

“Hello?” Uh oh. Cherie sounded annoyed.

“Cherie, it’s Tommy.”

“Where are you, Tommy? We’re going to be late, and this is important to me.” Yes, he had ticked her off.

“Well, that’s what I’m calling about. I’m in the middle of a crisis, and I can’t make it tonight.”


“Look, I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you later, but I have something to do that just can’t wait.” He hadn’t lied either. If he could help it, those little boys wouldn’t be disappointed on Christmas morning.

“Oh, all right! I’ll call Mark Masters to escort me. I’m sure that he won’t turn me down.”

“Thanks, Cherie. I appreciate it. I’ve got to go. I’ll see you later.”

He tossed the phone into the console of his car and carefully entered the stream of traffic. It took a little longer than usual to reach home because of the weather, and he sighed in relief as his car came to a halt in the garage. He never had liked driving in the snow.

He wished he hadn’t knocked the woman over, but he felt so thankful to avoid that party. He threw his coat and gag gift onto the sofa as he passed through his living room and immediately seated himself at his computer to start his search for the elusive robots.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome Cate Masters

Hi, Cate. Welcome to my blog. Could you tell the readers a little bit about you and your work?

Thanks so much for having me, Elaine! My writing reflects my reading tastes – eclectic! I love reading any compelling, well-written story, and I love writing them too –contemporary, historical, paranormal/fantasy/speculative, mainstream and erotic, from flash to novel length. I’m really excited this year to have four stories finaling in the 2011 EPIC competition. The Pearl S. Buck Foundation awarded my short story first place this year, too, so I’m also excited about that.

I'd be excited too! That's a fantastic record. Congratulations to you. What are you working on now?

About a dozen stories! I’ve been switching between three recently – a historical, a contemporary fantasy and an urban fantasy.

I like to switch back and forth too. Keeps you from getting bored. What’s the hardest part of writing for you? The easiest?

I have so many story ideas at once, finishing is the greatest challenge, lol. My muse is very impatient, and tosses a little too much inspiration at me sometimes. So ideas are easiest, if somewhat frustrating – I have many notebooks filled with them.

Me too. I bet all authors do. Would you dare to tell us five things that no one would know about you?

I wish I could come up with something interesting, like I used to be a spy! But I’m fairly boring, except for a dark sense of humor. It runs in my family, so I can’t help it, lol. Some might be surprised at the wide range of jobs I’ve worked: deputy press secretary, research assistant, secretary, cashier – it’s all story fodder!

You're right. Story fodder can easily be found in the workplace. Please share your links with us so we can find you on the web. Thanks, I’d love for you to visit my sites:

Web site:


Facebook fan page:


We’d love to read an excerpt from one of your books. Don’t forget to give us a buy link so we can get it.

Surfacing, about a down and out indie rocker and a mermaid, was a really fun book to write. It’s available in ebook and print from Whiskey Creek Press

Here’s the trailer:

Her fingers on the strings, she strummed an awful sound. Frowning, she laughed. “Eww. Ow.” She looked at her fingertips.

“It takes awhile to get used to the strings. See?” He held out his calloused fingers.

She ran a light touch across them, sending a thrill down his spine and through his stomach.

A breeze rippled through her hair. She lifted her face to his, then scanned the stars. “I have to go soon.”

“No.” He pressed toward her, unable to hold back. Still as a rock, her eyes widened, but not with fear. With something like pleasure. Her smile teased. “I’ll come back.”

He reached toward her, let his fingers drift near her arm. “When? I’m off tomorrow, maybe…”

Her gaze followed the movement of his hand. Her full voice softened. “I’m not supposed to come up during daylight.” Her pinkie lifted toward his fingers.

An invitation. His heart thudded against his ribs, expanded his chest to bursting.
He let his fingers hover near hers. When their fingers connected, prickles shot past his callouses and up his arm. “But today—”

Mischief infused her smile. “I said I’m not supposed to. They say it’s dangerous.” She entwined her fingers through his.

Her palm against his ignited the prickles to liquid fire. “But you disagree.” He liked a girl who thought for herself.

She squeezed his hand. “Yes. I like to observe people. Try to learn about them.”

He would love to teach her everything he knew. And she could teach him, too. He inched closer.

“I could come back tomorrow night,” she offered.

His brain screamed for him to make her promise, pledge on her life she would return. She owed him nothing. He owed her everything. “Thanks for saving me today.”

She tilted her head, as if awaiting his kiss. “I couldn’t let an alligator devour such a talented singer.”

It took all he had not to cup her face in his hands, press his mouth against hers. He began to speak, to call her name, then realized he didn’t know it. “What’s your name?”

“Cassiopeia.” She said it as if it were a curse.

“Like the constellation.” Her eyes were a constellation in themselves. “I’m AJ.”

“AJ. What is that for?”

Oh, he wished she hadn’t asked. How he hated his full name. “Andrew James.”

With a half-frown, half-smile, she repeated, “Andrew. Like the saint?”

He grinned. “Lots of people would argue against that.” How did she know about saints?

She lifted the guitar toward him. “Tomorrow night, then. Another lesson.”

“Yes.” Whatever she wanted. He took the guitar from her. She laid her palm against his cheek, and his body went fluid at her warm touch. He let out a long breath.
As if gliding, she moved into the water, and looked back at him once before slipping into the sea.

His legs shot him toward her, stumbling over the rocks. “Hurry back.”

The waves lapped against the rocks, stars glimmered overhead.
Tomorrow night. The wait would be an eternity.

I can't wait to see how this turns out. Thanks for coming and sharing with us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hello, readers. Today's guest blogger is Kathy Otten who's going to talk to us about the US Marshalls in history. Kathy's new book Lost Hearts which is coming out tomorrow at is about a marshall. Kathy, thanks for coming.

You're welcome, Elaine. Thanks for inviting me. In my new historical western novel, Lost Hearts, my hero, Richard Bennick is a U.S. Deputy Marshal for the famous “Hanging Judge,” Isaac Parker. In 1875 when Parker was appointed to the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas, the system was corrupt and Indian Territory overrun with more horse thieves, whiskey peddlers and robbers per square mile than any other place in the United States.

Immediately Parker hired 200 deputies then he reopened investigations, issued arrest warrants for the most notorious criminals, and told his deputies, “Bring them in alive—or dead!”

Through 74,000 square miles of Indian Territory, Parker’s deputies fanned out on the greatest manhunt in history.

They rode in teams of four or five. Each team brought with it extra mules and horses, a prison wagon and a wagon equipped to serve as office, arsenal, and kitchen. The driver of the prison wagon sat on a high spring seat, unarmed to prevent prisoners in the wagon from getting any ideas. Guards were picked up as needed along the way. They rode on horseback; their only duty was to make sure the prisoners did not escape. Sometimes the wagons carried a cook. If he rode in the wagon, he was unarmed. At night he helped serve as camp guard.

While some teams were sent out on special missions most were “…on the scout,” searching for stills, looking for stolen horses, and investigating suspicious people in rough prairie towns. When people saw a “tumbleweed wagon” they drew close to see who the deputies had captured. Sometime the deputies exchanged news, or asked about certain men.

These criminals both hated and feared the deputies. From mountain peaks or knolls, evolved a system of flashing signals and beacon lights, relayed from one knoll to another, warning fugitives miles away of approaching deputies.

At that time the maximum punishment for resisting arrest was only a year in jail. Since the odds of beating the deputy were much higher than beating Judge Parker, a deputy could expect a shoot-out when he served a warrant. If he was lucky he survived with only powder burns or a flesh wound. Neither the deputy’s guard nor cook was under any obligation to help in the capture of criminals, and most didn’t.

Deputies never shot to kill. Every man brought back for trial was worth an arrest fee of $2.00 and deputies received nothing for corpses.

If an outlaw was killed by a deputy marshal, the incident was thoroughly investigated. Judge Parker did not tolerate cold-blooded by outlaw or lawman and a few deputies did serve time in prison for unjust killings.

Because criminals easily changed their names deputies identified their quarry from the descriptions included on the warrant. With each arrest the deputy took possession of the prisoner’s property and issued a receipt. The property was later turned over to the jailer at Fort Smith. The prosecution also needed evidence to convict, and deputies were expected to collect it.

The guards would hold several prisoners in camp, until the deputy served all his warrants and made his arrests. Then he still had transport his prisoners to Fort Smith over distances of 200-300 miles in weather ranging from stifling heat to bitter cold. They traveled by wagon and horseback. Wounded prisoners were permitted to ride in the wagon chained to the side boards; the healthy ones were marched alongside at the point of a gun. With no bridges across the streams and no paths or roads, their progress was slow.

On a routine tour of duty a 4-5 man team averaged a haul of perhaps 20 prisoners. The deputy had to live with these men, often for months, camping under the stars with his Winchester across his knees, watching his prisoners every move while trying to read their thoughts. The sheer number of prisoners could overwhelm the best deputy in an instant if he was careless. Often a whiskey peddler was more dangerous than a murderer. Frequently the deputies were ambushed by criminal gangs which sometimes resulted in the death of the officer and the escape of the prisoners.

In camp the prisoners wore leg irons. Each prison wagon was equipped with a long, heavy chain. At night the prisoners were shackled in pairs, and the shackles passed through a ring in the chain. One end was fastened to a tree, securing the prisoners like fish on a line. If there were no trees, the chain was locked around the rear axle of the wagon.

After he was captured, the first thing a prisoner wanted to do was gamble, but no guard or cook was allowed to gamble with the prisoners for fear they would lose their guns. Instead, prisoners were put to work. They peeled potatoes, chopped firewood and washed the tin ware. If they grumbled they didn’t eat.

To expedite trials in Fort Smith, deputies picked up witnesses at the scene who were often reluctant to make the long trip and even if they came along willingly it wasn’t easy to keep them safe if a gun fight erupted.

When the deputies reached Fort Smith, huge crowds gathered at the docks to gawk as the wagons were ferried across the river then rolled down Garrison Avenue as the deputies and their prisoners entered the gates of the abandoned fort.

The wagons stopped before a two story brick barracks building that served as a court room, jury room, and offices for clerks, attorneys and the United States Marshal. The basement, served as a jail, where guards took over as the new prisoners were marched inside and the main gate close.

But arresting criminals was only part of a deputy’s work. He had to be present throughout the long court trial. Witnesses often failed to report and a deputy had to be ready at a moment’s notice to ride out and bring them in.

If he summoned one without subpoena he was held responsible for the fees. He must have seen the witness by whom he expected to sustain the charge before he was allowed the writ.

This rule was strictly observed by Judge Parker as protection to the citizens from unnecessary arrest, protection to the Government against useless expense, and protection to the deputy marshals whose accounts were disallowed if the prosecution was shown to have been frivolous.

While none of his deputies were angels, Judge Parker had nothing but the highest respect for these men, particularly the 65 men who gave their lives during his term at Fort Smith. “Without these men,” Parker said time and time again, “I could not hold court a single day.”


Trapped in a life of violence and abuse, Johnny Bodine disguises her femininity and dreams of a family who loves her.

Haunted by flashbacks he can't remember, from a war he wants desperately to
forget, U.S. Deputy Marshal Richard Bennick arrives in Indian Territory with warrants for a notorious outlaw and his feisty, irreverent son, Johnny.

As they journey through the dangerous Choctaw Nation, Richard and Johnny must learn to trust each other in order to survive, forming a unique bond of love between outlaw and lawman that can only be broken by Richard's oath to uphold the law, and by the justice of the hangman's noose.


Steady rain woke everyone well before sunrise. Rain ponchos of India rubber were thrown on and plates of cold beans passed around for breakfast.

Miserable without rain gear of her own, Johnny stood at the end of the chuck wagon, beneath an open-sided, water proofed canvas tent, washing the breakfast dishes while the cook packed up the camp.

The tension that had twisted her stomach muscles into a knot when the one-armed deputy rode out last night, eased when she saw him ride up alongside the wagon. Beyond the circle of lantern light, he was nothing more than a black silhouette against a backdrop of dark gray sky. He dismounted, leaving his horse ground tied, then grabbed one of the lanterns hanging from a pole and strode past her on his way to the front of the wagon. It tipped to the left when he climbed inside.

A moment later, the large, burly man who’d been hired to drive the prison wagon, brushed by. “Don’t I get a gun?” he asked from outside the wagon.

“I thought you drove a prison wagon before,” the deputy snapped as his silhouette bent and shifted behind the canvas.
“Sure, I rode a few posses an’ such, but I always had me a weapon.”
There was a slam, hollow and solid, like the lid on a wooden box. The wagon lurched again. The deputy swung his legs over the seat and jumped to the ground.

“The driver for the prison wagon never carries. It’s too dangerous.”
The glow from the lanterns reflected off his black poncho and rain dripped from the brim of his dark hat. The low light deepened the circles which underscored his red rimmed eyes. She doubted the man’s surly mood would improve during the day.

“Come on, Deputy, can’t I even have me a little pig sticker tucked in my boot for comfort?”

“No. You were told no weapons. That’s the rule.”

“Can’t ya bend the rules? That Bodine’s a dangerous man.”

“Look, Hobbs, is it? I don’t bend rules for anyone. Ever. And because Bodine is dangerous is precisely the reason you are not to carry a weapon.”

“I guarantee the only way Bodine will get it is to kill me first.”

“Then he’ll still have it won’t he?”


“No weapons. You don’t like it, get your gear and get the hell out of here.” The deputy swung around and slammed into Johnny. “What do you want?” His broad hand clamped onto her shoulder, then he spun her around, and shoved her toward the back of the prison wagon where Brady had the other prisoners lined up.

Afraid of what might happen if she were trapped with her father and his men all day, Johnny veered off toward the horses and her big paint, Jack.

“Hold it!” Brady yelled. “Where are you going?”

She lifted her manacled hands and pointed toward the horses. The wet sleeves of her duster stuck to the tops of her hands. She’d rather be soaking wet all day than ride one minute in that dry wagon. “To fetch Jack.”

“Sorry kid, everybody’s in the wagon today.”
She stiffened. “I done tolt ya, I ain’t no outlaw.” She hoped her father hadn’t discerned the trace of panic in her voice.

The one-armed deputy moved up and stepped between them. “It doesn’t matter what you claim, kid. We still have a warrant for your arrest.”

Looking beyond the deputy’s shoulder, she saw Brady raise the barrel of his rifle. Her heart pounded and her mouth went dry.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Best Selling Toy Of The Season

Tommy Price is having a bad day. His secretary is mad at him because he won't go out with her cousin, his best friend wants to set him up on a blind date, his father and mother have a woman picked out for him, and when he stops at the local discount store to buy a gag gift to take to a party, the store greeter tells him it's time he got married.

The trouble is, Tommy doesn't want to get married, not since his Susan rejected him and married another man. What will a woman have to do to penetrate Tommy's defenses?

Over the next week or so I'll be posting chapter 1 of my Christmas novel The Best Selling Toy Of the Season. If you like it, you can purchase the book at : or at

Chapter 1

“Hello, Mayor Whitaker. What can I do for you?” Tommy Price cheerfully inquired as his best friend, Ben Whitaker, entered his office. “Have a seat, and I’ll pour us a cup of coffee.” He busied himself at the coffee maker and asked, “How are Jorie and the baby?”


Ben’s huge, goofy smile amused Tommy. Ben was totally besotted with his wife and son. As he handed Ben his coffee a disconcerting idea presented itself. “I hope you and Jorie won’t start trying to find me a wife. Every married person I know eventually wants to match me up with somebody, and that smile you just gave reminded me of the time my secretary tried to fix me up with her cousin.”

“Well,” Ben replied with a weak grin, “as a matter of fact…”

Tommy groaned. “Not you too, Ben!”

Ben laughed. “Buck up. This girl’s pretty anyway. Jorie’s giving a party on the twenty-third, and…”

“I can’t do it. I’m already committed for the twenty third.”

Ben’s eyes narrowed. “Are you sure, counselor?”

“Of course I am. Here. Look at this.” He turned his appointment book around so that Ben could read it and turned to the twenty-third. “See? Right here.”

Tommy had a Palm Pilot to organize his schedule, but he liked seeing everything laid out before him on a neat page. His secretary had no patience with paper and pen. She liked computers and she often took Tommy to task for his old-fashioned ways. She had even made him go to a workshop to learn how to use the Palm Pilot.

“Hmm. I guess you’re off the hook this time, but you do need to get married, Tommy. Having a family is the greatest thing in the world.”

“Yeah, well, if I ever find a woman I can love like you love Jorie I’ll consider it.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing. I can’t imagine what I’d do without Jorie and Sam.” He glanced at his watch and hurriedly rose from his chair. “I’d like to stay and talk, but I’ve got to get home. I haven’t seen Sam all day, and he might have done something that I missed.”

Tommy didn’t protest. He knew that Ben was a family man. “Merry Christmas, Ben. Say hello to Jorie and Sam for me, and tell her I’m sorry about her party.”

“We’ll catch you next time. Merry Christmas, Tommy.”

Tommy stood by the window and watched as Ben got into his car and drove away. The sky had turned a dull, uniform gray, and a few fat snowflakes had begun to fall. It looks Christmasy, Tommy thought. The twinkling lights that the city had strung around town several weeks ago popped on, turning the little town into a Christmas
fairyland. Ben loved Christmas, and he had really outdone himself this year.

Tommy returned to his desk and began to clear it prior to leaving for the day. He too had always loved Christmas, but this year he didn’t have much Christmas spirit. He didn’t know why, but maybe it had something to do with the fact that his mother and father kept hinting that his girlfriend Cherie would make an excellent daughterin-law.

Tommy liked Cherie, but he didn’t want to marry her. In fact, he’d give anything if he hadn’t promised to take her to her office party. It made him feel bad to give her hope for a future between them when there was none.

His secretary, Mattie Burke, breezed into his office and interrupted Tommy’s reverie. “Tommy, you told me to remind you that you have to buy a gag gift to take to the party tonight.”

Tommy sighed. “I don’t know what to get. What do you recommend?”

“Beats me. You know I don’t have a sense of humor.”

Tommy gave up. If Mattie didn’t want to help him, nothing would move her, and he knew he had made her angry when he refused to go out with her cousin, Tia. He wouldn’t say so to Mattie, but Tia was too stuck on herself for him to enjoy her company. “I’llsee you Monday, Mattie. Have a good weekend.”

“You too, Tommy. If you change your mind about my cousin, give me a call.”

Mattie went back to her desk, and Tommy donned his coat, and left for the day. It had started to snow harder now, and the weather report called for several inches accumulation. Maybe I could find a gag gift at Super Mart, he thought, and on impulse he wheeled his car into the discount store’s parking lot.

It took a few minutes to find a place to park, for Christmas arrived in a few days, and the last minute shoppers had clearly panicked when they took note of the date.

Tommy hurried into Super Mart and immediately spied Bill English. At one time he had hoped to be Bill’s son-in-law. He had fallen deeply in love with Bill’s daughter, Susan, but Susan hadn’t felt the same way about him. She had broken up with him and married another man shortly afterward.

Bill worked at Super Mart so he handed Tommy a sale paper. “Merry Christmas, Tommy.”

“Hi, Bill. Merry Christmas. How are Susan and Kurt?”

“Doing great. You need to think about getting married yourself, Tommy.”

Tommy decided to beat a hasty retreat. Why did everybody want him to get married? “I’d better run, Bill. I’ve got a party to go to.”

He waved to Bill and dashed away, grateful for a quick escape. He wandered down the center aisle of the store, but he didn’t see anything that he thought seemed funny. He spotted a woman wearing the orange coat that identified her as Super Mart staff; maybe she could help him. He tapped her on the shoulder. “Excuse me, ma’am.
Could you help me?”

The clerk turned around and Tommy’s breath caught in his throat. He had stumbled across a princess. She had dark, smooth hair, creamy, porcelain skin, indigo blue eyes, full, red lips, and a shape that even the orange coat couldn’t hide.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today's special guest is Claire Ashgrove. Claire and I are both authors with The Wild Rose Press. Claire, welcome to the blog. Tell us a little bit about you.

I’m Claire, a paranormal and contemporary romance author. I’ve been with The Wild Rose Press, writing sexy horse-themed romances for their Champagne line since late 2008. (No, you won’t find cowboys and ranches in my equine worlds.) And I will be debuting a Paranormal series about immortal Knights Templar, arch demons, and descendents of the Nephilim with Tor Books next year.

2.How did you get started with your writing?

I have always written. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t. But the bug to shift hobby into professional pursuit bit in the spring of 2008. Shortly thereafter, I joined three RWA chapters within my area, studied the craft non-stop for the majority of the year, and sold Seduction’s Stakes in December, shortly before Christmas.

3.You're a girl who knows how to get things done! What’s the hardest part of writing for you? The easiest?

The hardest part of writing is not having more hours in the day, or more aptly, not having two of me. I suffer from idea overflow, and have projects planned through late next year. If there were two of me, I could work on two projects at one time and possibly catch up on the ramblings in my head.

Conversely, the easiest part of writing for me is actually putting the words on paper. Along with those planned projects, I have outlines. Detailed outlines. Which makes the process of developing the idea into a full-fledged novel, thoroughly enjoyable and very simple for me.

LOL. My head gets kinda cluttered too. What are you working on now?

As I mentioned, I have a paranormal series releasing next year, which is my first foray into the world of paranormal romance. I’m currently working on the third book in that series. It’s a sweeping saga that uses some speculative fiction twists and historical loopholes. I’ve had a great deal of fun intertwining myth with fact and developing super-sexy knights who are a product of their 12th century roots and forced to eternally battle both the ever-growing darkness of the world and within their souls. Lots of action. Lots of struggle. Lots of passion.

That sounds wonderful. I can't wait to read the first book. As a history teacher I find the Templars fascinating. What’s your favorite genre? Have you considered trying something different?

My favorite genre to write? I don’t really have one, honestly. I write broad-spectrum to prevent boredom from settling in. Contemporaries flow because I don’t have to think hard about the historical terminology that’s heavily incorporated into my paranormals. My paranormals force me to use a different thought process and exercise different portions of my brain. Historicals give me the ability to research – which is one of my greatest pleasures. (As twisted and wrong as that might be.) I like the variety and I like doing different so I don’t get stuck in the “same old same old”.

If the research is for a book I don't mind either. Would you share your links with us please?

My website is: I have a monthly newsletter you can sign up for there, also. You can find me on Facebook under Claire Ashgrove, as well.
I am also an author member of Romance Books R Us, and blog usually on the 9th of each month.

We’d love to read an excerpt from one of your books. Don’t forget to give us a buy link if possible.

My upcoming Contemporary title, A Christmas To Believe In, will release through The Wild Rose Press on November 24th. It is the third book in a trilogy about the three King brothers who return home for Christmas. I worked with fellow authors Alicia Dean and Dyann Love Barr on this project, and once again returned to the world of horses.

When a man's dreams are in ruin,
All he needs is someone to believe...

Struggling Thoroughbred breeder, Clint King, hasn't been home for Christmas in five years. This year, his prize mare's due to foal any day, and in the wake of his father's death, Clint can't stand the idea of returning. Except, Alex is getting married on Christmas Eve, and their mother's put her foot down. With his mare in tow, Clint prepares to meet a sister he's never known, and Alex's unexpected triplets. The one salvation he looks forward to is childhood companion, tomboy Jesse Saurs. Yet when he reunites with Jesse, he uncomfortably discovers she's become all woman.

Jesse has everything she needs -- financial security, a home, and a foster child who's about to become her son. With Ethan's final hearing scheduled just before Christmas, her dreams will come true. When she learns Clint and his brothers are returning, she anticipates a holiday reunion that's sure to entertain Ethan. But on the night of Clint's return, the "brother" she expected leaves her trembling after a hug. Even worse, Ethan makes it clear Clint's not welcome.

Will Christmas destroy hopes and dreams, or will it become the gift they've all been longing for?

“You’d like him, Ethan. He was a lot of fun when we were younger.”

“Uh huh.” Noncommittal, he answered in a flat tone.

Jesse lapsed into silence, sensing she walked a thin line. Still, she couldn’t let the subject rest. There had to be a way to convince Ethan that Clint wasn’t a threat to his stability. Until she achieved that, she couldn’t just let go and let him harbor hate. Clint didn’t deserve it. Cautiously, she ventured, “Horses could be a lot of fun.”

Ethan snorted.

“You might give it a try. Something new and different. It can’t hurt, at any rate. If you don’t like Angel, well, then you’ve at least given it a shot.”

He tossed his controller in front of him, his interest in the game lost. She braced herself for the inevitable, knowing full well, whatever came out of his mouth next would hurt.

“Give it up, would you? I don’t want to know him. I don’t have to like your friends.”

“But Ethan-”

He scooted away like she’d cracked a whip in his face. “Enough! Don’t you get it? I don’t give a fuck about him.”

“Ethan Scott!”

“What? Too crude for you, Jesse?”

She flinched, drew in a deep breath and held it. Jesse. He hadn’t called her by her first name for over a year. Exhaling slowly, she set her controller down and slid off his bed. Though she knew in her heart, too many years of pain drove his emotions, the barb stung. On the same hand, she’d pushed. Ethan couldn’t tolerate pushing. He had to come to things on his own time.

Foregoing the lecture, she crossed to the door. “Goodnight, Ethan.”

He said nothing. Merely picked up his controller and set the options back to one-player.

On a heavy sigh, Jesse left his room.

Inside hers, she clicked on the lamp by her bedside and reclined against her pillows. Tears brimmed in her eyes. She closed them to keep the salty flow at bay and curled her fingers into the sheets. In a thousand years, she never would have imagined that the only man she’d ever truly wanted would be Clint. In his arms, she felt safe. Protected. Undefeatable. He lit her up in ways she had only begun to comprehend, and it seemed as if fate determined to work against her.

If she weren’t careful, she’d lose Ethan. Every agonizing step she’d made would crumble under the weight of his fears. He’d close up, inevitably turn back to the life he’d known before he entered hers, and she couldn’t stomach the thought of where that would lead him. Jail, if he were lucky. Dead, if he wasn’t.

Yet, shouldn’t she be allowed some personal happiness as well? There were so many unwritten rules to parenthood – sacrifice for the children, put all personal goals aside, give up everything to see to their happiness. She’d exchange her life for Ethan’s in a heartbeat, but Clint offered something no child could. Even if it was only temporary, and this giddy feeling that brimmed in her soul would end when he left, he promised fulfillment of a need that ran so deep she couldn’t name it.

A tear slipped between her eyelashes and trickled down her cheek. She sniffled to hold the rest in check. She never should have let him kiss her a second time tonight. The first had been catastrophic enough. The second…

She wouldn’t be satisfied with anything but all of him after that second kiss. Instinct demanded she leap at what lay in front of her. Hang on to it until it burned itself out with his inevitable departure. Logic, on the other hand, warned her that if she did, she’d lose the one thing that mattered most – her son.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Are you tired of the same old Christmas ornaments year after year? If so, would you like to put your name in the hat for a chance to win this lovely Christmas angel? She'd look wonderful on the tree or on a table. I use one on a little side table. To enter just subscribe to my newsletter. Go to my webpage at and scroll down the page to the Yahoo button. Click the Yahoo button yahoo button and follow the directions. The deadline to subscribe is November 14.