My Books!

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Not Tortured At All

 “How do you feel about the “tortured artist” stereotype, as often applied to writers/authors?”

Maybe I’m a shallow person, but I’ve never really felt tortured by my writing. I enjoyed every moment of it. I live in a small town, and all of the people I know have been very nice about my writing. I don’t even have a lot of troll reviews. I didn’t make a national bestseller list, but that’s okay. I wrote for my own pleasure. It was only a bonus that lots of people liked my work.

I wonder if some of those tortured writers, poets, and artists had put so much of themselves into their work that it eventually caused them to have emotional or mental problems. I write romance, which I don’t think is anything like Ernest Hemingway, for example. 

Some of the tortured people weren’t too highly regarded until after their death. That might have made a difference in the way they viewed life. And truly, I think some of the people just happened to be mentally unstable people with much talent.

I’ve known one tortured writer personally. This person’s angst was of her own making. I won’t say what happened, but things were bad for a while. 

So that’s the short version of the subject. I wish every artist could enjoy a nice experience as they go through life, but I doubt that will ever be the case. Have you ever known a tortured writer or artist? If so, what did you think was the problem with him/her?

Monday, October 30, 2023

Dragon Song


by Shirley McCoy




GENRE:  Paranormal Romance






Dragons rule the world. Princess Morgan Talbot of Esterhaven knows one rules her. Rownar, the most powerful dragon of all, forced a magical bond with her at a tender age. He intends to corrupt her soul, then consume her body. Now of age, Morgan knows she must take back her life and defeat Rownar, and all his kind. Connor O'Malley is the greatest dragon slayer alive. He spends one memorable night with Morgan, never thinking to see her again. Until he does. He is deeply shaken to learn the woman he fell for is a princess and determined to conquer Rownar herself. When Connor offers to train her, Morgan reluctantly accepts. Now an epic battle will begin, for a princess's life, her soul, her kingdom, and the world.





As they cautiously navigated through the hoard, Morgan detected a slight glow in her peripheral vision. It flared up, then subsided. As they stepped forward, she discerned it again, and this time she whipped around quickly enough to see a small magical symbol etched in the floor behind them light up, then dim. 


“Oh no,” she murmured. 


“What’s wrong?” Connor demanded in a sharp tone.


She paced further and showed him. “I think if Meglos doesn’t already know we are here, he will soon.”


As if on cue, deep within the cave, the sound of an almighty clang of metal meeting metal filled their ears. Then came a roar, the kind which could only be made by a dragon. 


Morgan knew her eyes must be wide as saucers, but she couldn’t seem to help it or move at all, in fact. Horror rooted her to the spot, unable even to speak, much less move.


Connor was not so afflicted. “Run!” 


When she didn’t twitch so much as an eyelash, he yelled, “Run, Morgan!”


The volume of his words, his manner, and most of all, the use of her name, snapped her out of her panicked shock at last. She went from utter stillness to moving faster than she ever had in her life.


The dragon, shrieking and breathing fire all the while, flew after them.






AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Shirley McCoy grew up in Baton Rouge, LA and started writing at an early age. Always talkative, when she was eleven she began to put her thoughts on paper, writing stories inspired by some of her favorite writers, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Madeline L'Engle. As she grew older, she developed a love of romance and in 2009 she decided to try her hand at paranormal romance. The result was The Smoke and the Flame and its sequel, The Wind and the Fire. The Smoke and the Flame is the first novel she has ever completed, although she has written several unpublished screenplays.


Shirley graduated from Nicholls State University where she majored in History and minored in English. Since graduating (she doesn't like to think about how long ago that was) she has worked at some of the best libraries in the Baton Rouge area. She makes her home there and enjoys spending time with family members that live in town as well as with those that live out of town. She also loves seeing movies, reading, and going to the park with her niece in her free time.


Amazon Author Page:









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Thursday, October 26, 2023

High Point


High Point

by Susan Zoe Bella




GENRE:   Contemporary Romance






It’s only rock and roll but I hate it. Groupies, parties, a cheating ex, and a dark night spawned a wake-up call. I’d shifted my focus to work and avoiding social media. Singing lead for a famous band had become nothing more than a steppingstone to my true dream of racing Pro Motocross. I hadn’t dated in years. Then ‘she’ showed up and everything in me longed to be with her. I was stoked she’d agreed to join me at High Point Raceway for the weekend, even if it meant putting up with Mack. Better still, Mia wasn’t a groupie, not even close. She wasn’t even a fan of our music. If love at first sight had a name, it would be Mia Fringe and I had to make her mine. ~ Jett

I’d seen him in passing over the years. He was the neighbor of my best friend. But we’d never officially been introduced until the night Mackie badgered me into meeting him after attending his band’s concert. I tried not to look awestruck, stunned that someone this gorgeous had been within my scope for years but had not caught my attention. He had success written all over him. Girls like me didn’t end up with guys like him. Recently unemployed, still living on the family farm, and recovering from a nervous breakdown, I was a mess. But Jett saw something in me that nobody else ever had…worth. ~ Mia

Action, drama, and chaos kick off right from the start at High Point Raceway when Mackie has second thoughts about playing matchmaker between Mia and Jett. However, when the week of bliss comes to an end, Mia is heartbroken and confused as to why Jett doesn’t keep his promise. She accepts a job as a reporter three thousand miles away to escape the pain.
Ten years later, Mia and Jett cross paths in the most startling way. She’s about to discover the truth of what really happened so long ago. Will she be able to trust Jett again when he pleads for a second chance? Can love and forgiveness conquer a decade of hurt? It all goes down in the dirt during the last race of the season.






A shadow of disappointment prowled through my mind. He’d slammed on the brakes. I could’ve taken it as rejection. But he was no fool. He was bound to uncover the truth before giving too much of himself.


“We forgot to bring lunch,” I pointed out as we entered the cave.


“Oh yeah. I had other things on my mind. Maybe we’ll find some berries.”


“In May?” I giggled. “For that matter, why not root around in logs for honeycombs.”


He laughed. “We could do that.” Then he dipped his brows in a comical expression and said in a deep voice, “I’ll fight off the bears for you, my love.”


Love? He dropped the L-word? I stared at him. Was it a slip? Or a mere casual expression? After all, Europeans used it very casually. My thoughts went into overdrive. I hated when that happened.


“Let’s explore. Maybe the natives left behind some jerky,” he teased with a grin.


“The eternal optimist,” I countered. “I love it.”


We wandered deeper into the cave between moss-covered slate walls. Water trickled down the sides. The cave smelled musty. Something skittered across the rocky floor. I screamed and leaped sideways. 


“There are creepy crawlies in here!”


“I saw that,” he said. “No worries. They’re more afraid of us than we are of them.”


“Uh…speak for yourself.” I shrieked again. “Jett!” I had jumped onto a ledge a foot above ground and clung to the wall. “I’m not this much country. Can we go please?”


“Okay, doll.” He smiled apologetically. “There’s nothing to see in here anyway. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”


Something sticky brushed my face. I swatted frantically but seemingly had entangled myself in a web. The more panicked I became the worse things got. My flailing arms gathered more webbing. I slipped off the ledge in all my thrashing about and tumbled to the ground, scraping my arms and legs on the way down.


“Mia!” He caught my arms. “Stop. Baby, stop moving!”


“Oh no…” I whimpered. “What is it?”


“Nothing,” he replied calmly but apprehension snuck into his voice. “Just stay very, very still, doll.”


“Omigosh,” I cried.


He snapped a twig from a branch sticking out of the wall and in my peripheral vision his arm moved painstakingly slowly. I held my breath and didn’t dare twitch. A couple of agonizing minutes later, he tossed the stick aside then swept me into his arms.


“We should get the hell out of here,” he muttered.


I clung to him. “What was it?”


“You don’t wanna know.”


“Ew. Ew. Did it bite me? Am I okay?”


“Sshh, you’re safe now. It never touched your skin. It saw all that beautiful blonde hair and thought, hm, a perfect place to spell out the word radiant.”


“Omigosh. It was one of those…I can’t even say it. Ew. Ew. Get me out of here.”


He broke into a run with me in his arms. I didn’t take a full breath until we exited the cave.


“I need another bath.” I continued frenetically brushing my arms and head, still in panic mode. 


We made our way back to the waterhole and I didn’t hesitate to strip down and dive in. I submerged myself, scrubbing my face and hair furiously. He dove in with me. When I finally calmed down, convinced I’d rid myself of anything that’d hitched a ride, I relaxed and casually swam around.


“Seems I’ve discovered your one fear,” he said upon swimming over to me. “You don’t like bugs.”


“No. I don’t. Especially the kind that makes webs.” I shivered at the thought.


“I’m really sorry.” He began to laugh. “I had no idea. I don’t mean to laugh. Honest. I’m not mocking you. But you were a sight back there.”


“Ha-ha.” I scowled. “Why’d you sound so urgent when telling me to stop moving?”


“I didn’t want it to bite you. Those things typically aren’t aggressive unless they feel threatened. And you, my dear, were definitely in a frenzy.”


“Now I’m cold, hungry, and freaked out. I’m never going into a cave again.”

A Word With the Author

1.Did you always want to be an author? 

~ No. I wanted to be a rock star or an actress. 

When I was a young girl, I made up skits and would perform for anyone who would watch. I dragged my next-door neighbor friend into each one. We ended up performing a number from Grease for her church. When I turned eighteen, my sister introduced me to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I landed the role of Janet in the show at the King’s Court Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. I loved it! Every weekend I’d drive all the way from home to downtown Oakland to perform on Friday and Saturday nights.My supervisor even let me leave work early on those nights so I could get to Oakland in time to get into costume. It was harmless fun. I wasn’t doing anything bad, but my mom made me quit. I got very depressed after that because I’d made a lot of wonderful friends within the cast. Our cast was so good that we were invited to do the Time Warp at Club Heaven in downtown Pittsburgh and the TV show 60 Minutes filmed us! All my friends at work were tuned into the TV that day when it aired. My one fleeting moment of fame. Quitting the show was devastating but my parents were not the type of people to mess with. I’d have to admit, becoming an author was purely accidental. I wrote when I was depressed to put myself into better worlds. I never dreamed of becoming an author. It’s not a glamorous ambition. It’s just something I do. I started writing in grade school out of boredom. My teachers all through school loved my work and in high school wanted to publish it. I was too shy, though, to let them. It didn’t take long for me to discover that writing carried me away from reality. Stuck on a farm with a minimal social life and working harder than any child should, writing became my escape. My stories got longer and more involved. I began to get lost in them. I had an innate ability to play out fantasies in my mind where I could visualize every detail. So I simply wrote what I saw. And that’s what I do. I write what I see. Once a story (or fantasy) comes to me, I simply describe what’s going on in my mind. I have sort of a photographic brain. It’s a strange experience. One of the quirky things about my writing that people close to me know about is how many of the things I write come true. Family members did not like seeing themselves portrayed in my books and my writing has made me plenty of enemies and incurred a lot of wrath. I can’t predict anything. I’m not clairvoyant. It’s just a freaky thing with my books. My fiancĂ© is always amazed when he sees things from my books manifest. He is the only one who embraces my freaky nature. On the upside, that girl I dragged into skits as a child went on to become a performer and Miss Butler County. She was a geeky little country girl when I met her. We both were. She blossomed into a celebrity and me, well, I’m still a nobody writing my dreams into novels.  

2.Tell us about the publication of your first book. 

~ My first novel was The Satellite contracted with WingsPress. The book received the Golden Wings award upon its debut release and became the first installment of the Night Brigade series which features five full-length novels. They made the bestseller list on Fictionwise back in 2008 and 2009. In December of 2006, I took to writing again after a string of crushing experiences that emotionally flattened me. The first book got scrapped but the very last chapter created a character by the name of Booker Savage. He breathed new life into my writing and Night Brigade was born. I finally decided to publish my first novel. Booker was supposed to be a bit player, come in, help kidnap the girl then leave but he stole my heart and ended up as my strongest muse…until now. Booker had many years in the spotlight, but a new muse has stolen my heart as my writing evolved.

3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in? 

~ I don’t really have one. I read a lot less than I did before I began writing full-time. My favorite author before I started writing my own novels was Janelle Taylor.

4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst? 

~ The best part is losing myself in the stories I create, and when the characters come to life! My mind is energized, and I feel so much better overall physically and mentally. Writing is a pressure valve for me that releases pent-up stress and all the feelings I struggle to process. 

The worst part is not having a story in the works. I feel lost and depressed. My OCD brain needs somewhere to channel thoughts. And I suppose another downside is putting myself out there for others to pick apart. I’ve received some very cruel reviews. And I’ve received awesome reviews. It’s a tough business. It’s not what I dreamed of doing but it’s what I do to entertain myself and I hope that my books do the same for those who read them. We all need a break from reality.

5.What are you working on now? 

~ I have several story ideas and titles in my folder. The covers of what I have planned are on my website. I started my Shook Coda series, but it’s not coming together yet. I’d really love to write Awestruck because the cover is gorgeous. Another story I’d like to dive into is one about a drug lord’s son…my Heart and Soul series. I recently finished a sixteen-book series for a publisher under a different pen name, so I’m a bit tapped out at the moment, waiting for that next inspiration to grab me. My eightieth novel is finished, edited, and set for release in March under my other name. Most of my eighty books are retired because they were too dark or erotic. I no longer want to write those types of books. My new works, including High Point, are plot-driven tender romances with drama, a bit of humor at times, light suspense, and plenty of action. I’m a fool for a good romance. I’ve gone back to writing the way I used to before I plummeted down the rabbit hole into darkness. I thank the good Lord for His grace during that time and for lifting me out of that pit. One thing you won’t find in my books is pregnancy tropes, kids, or sagging middles. I don’t like to read boring books, so I don’t write them either. What you can expect in my novels is plenty of action, heart-wrenching and heartwarming romance, and happy endings. Oh, and tons of shocking twists! I love writing the unexpected. I write out of the box and don’t follow trends, which probably is why I’m not popular because when I wrote vampires, I actually had a following. Imagine that! But I believe in being true to oneself. I swam against the tide to write High Point. And thus far, of the eighty novels I’ve published, High Point is my favorite! No matter how many times I read it, I never tire of it. I hope you’ll give it a try đŸ˜Š





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


"I am a fan of happily ever after. My novels are too!"


Susan Zoe enjoys creating contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and romantic suspense stories with a gritty flair. Her stories are her own, and she typically writes outside the box. She’s always been a leader not a follower. Writing is her mental filter and how she processes the world around her, a fictional place where she can control the outcome at her comfort level with justice and happy endings. Her imagination is her greatest strength as it carries her away from daily stress.


As a survivor of hardship and chronic disease, she takes one day at a time and treasures the simple things in life. Susan Zoe is a Christian, loves animals, and practices being kind and generous every day. When not immersed in new stories, she enjoys watching movies, Motocross and Supercross, playing Yahtzee with her fiancĂ©, and hanging out with her loyal 24/7 companion and trained service dog. She’s not a fan of sitcoms as they don’t offer enough mental stimulation. Losing herself in an intense story gives her brain the workout it needs to manage OCD, anxiety, depression, and stress.


Her achievements thus far include The Golden Wings Award for her debut novel The Satellite, the UK Nobel Pin and Editor’s Choice Award for her poem The Lonely Man, numerous 5 Star Reviews from Fallen Angels Reviews, Coffee Time Romance, InD’tale Magazine, Goodreads and more for current and retired novels. She was also a RONE Awards Finalist in 2017.


She loves to hear from readers and chat!


In her words, “Writing is the only time I’m truly free.” She’s happiest when her intriguing characters come to life and steal her away into their worlds where anything is possible.









Barnes & Noble/Print and eBook:









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The Pumpkin Butter Mystery

The Pumpkin Butter Murder

by Meg Benjamin




GENRE: Cozy Mystery 






Their gourmet dinner turned deadly. And now the murderer is after her. Roxy Constantine is looking for a way to spend her winter down time. Her true love Nate Robicheaux has a suggestion: she can serve as his sous chef when he prepares a dinner party for possible investors. But when several guests become ill and the hostess herself dies after eating their food, Roxy and Nate could be in deep trouble. Now they need to find out what really happened, and who wanted their hostess dead, before their culinary reputations go down in flames and the murderer turns his attention to Roxy herself.





I had almost reached the point where the hall turned toward the gym when a hand fastened onto my shoulder from behind. And the next thing I knew, I was slammed up against the lockers.


For a moment, I was so shocked I didn’t respond. The person who’d pushed me seemed to be wearing a hoodie pulled up over his head and something across his face. I didn’t recognize him. 


As soon as I got over my shock, I blurted, “What the hell are you doing?” as I tried to pull away. I pushed hard against his chest, but I was off balance. 


And then his hands moved quickly from my shoulders to my throat. 


That, of course, got all my attention. Thank God, my flash of terror expressed itself as a need to fight with everything I could. I grabbed at his hands, trying to pry them loose as they tightened. I was having a hard time breathing, but by then adrenaline had kicked in.


I kicked out at him, trying to aim at his crotch as I dug my fingernails into his hands to force him to let go. I heard him curse, and then he let go long enough to slap me hard across my face. I saw stars, but I didn’t stop. I turned my head enough to bite down on the thumb near my face. 


“Bitch,” he growled and slapped me again, but at last one of my feet connected with his knee.


He stepped away then, fumbling in his pocket, and I staggered away from him toward the gym, trying to run. My legs weren’t working the way they should, and I was coughing from the pressure he’d put on my throat. He grabbed hold of one of my feet, pulling me to my knees. I looked back and saw something flash in his hand. And I knew I couldn’t let him drag me into the darkness.


I yelled  “Help” as loud as I could, yanking my foot free and scrambling toward the turn in the hall. I kept yelling, trying to get to my feet, to get away, to find someone. My voice was hoarse and my throat felt raw, but I made as much noise as possible.


“Roxy?” someone said.


I looked up and saw Susa standing at the turn in the hall, staring down at me.


“Get help,” I yelled or tried to. My throat felt ragged and my yells were more like croaks. “Call the cops. He’s trying to kill me.”


“Who?” Susa asked.


I turned, but the man in the hoodie was gone. Footsteps echoed down the hall, but it was too late to go after him.


Not that I had any intention of doing that.






AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of romance. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box and Brewing Love trilogies are set in the Colorado Rockies (all are available from Entangled Publishing and from Meg’s indie line). Her new cozy mystery series, Luscious Delights from Wild Rose Press, concerns a jam-making sleuth based in the mythical small town of Shavano, Colorado. Along with contemporary romance, Meg is also the author of the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix and the Folk trilogy from Soul Mate. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England  Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers. 


Meg’s Web site is

You can follow her on Facebook (, Pinterest (,Instagram (meg_benjamin) and Twitter ( 

Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at


The buy links for The Pumpkin Butter Murder are:










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Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Phate's Mate: The Thelli Logs (Intergalactic Dating Agency)


Phate's Mate: The Thelli Logs 

(Intergalactic Dating Agency)

by A.M. Griffin




GENRE: Sci-fi Romance






The Peacekeeper. When his shy neighbor knocked on his apartment door, Phate’s mission to stay off the humans’ radar until the rescue team arrived changed in a blink of an eye. He not only wants to tell this delectable human about alien existence, but he also wants to take her back to Thelli with him.


Getting to know her was proving difficult when his new mission involves joining a dating app in an effort to see if humans are compatible enough to join the Intergalactic Dating Agency.


The Workaholic. Tasha worked hard building her small business on Main Street and didn’t have time for distractions. With a fire-cracker best friend and three new mysterious neighbors, Tasha was finding herself thinking of something other than her boutique for a change. But fate? Fate has a way of intervening, and she finds out the hard way that she can’t run or hide from her feelings, especially when distraction as fine as Phate lives right next door.






“Tell me exactly why you did that?” With his arms crossed, Solgre braced himself against the bathroom door, watching Kien as he tried to smooth the curls in his hair back. 


Even from his seat on the ridiculously small armchair, Phate could tell that it wasn’t working. The abundance of water in the atmosphere was doing something strange to the texture of their hair. What use to be short and smooth, was now too long and too wavy.


“Why did I do what, exactly?” Kien asked. “Invite human women to our apartment to cure the boredom that’s been plaguing us since crash landing on this awful, backward planet?”


Phate sighed and leaned back in his chair. “He has a point, Solgre. We’ve been stuck on this planet for four of their Earth months and stuck inside this apartment since we acquired it, only leaving for essentials. Since we couldn’t send the distress beacon via a jump, we don’t know how long it will take for it to reach Thelli.


“We might as well make the best of this situation and meet the locals. At least, we’ll be able to tell the others how first contact went.”



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


A. M. Griffin is a mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies. 


Where you can find me:




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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Beyond the Book: Review


Faye Taylor grew up in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing, though she’s afraid of the animals herself. She stays in the background, balancing the cost of feed against the horses’ earnings (or lack thereof) and couldn’t handicap a race to save her life. It’s provided her with a home, albeit not the most stable one, and a steady supply of non-relationships — just the kind she likes.

Now she’s trying to get over the jockey she made the mistake of falling for, she’s losing her biggest client, and possibly her best friend — and the Thoroughbred farm she and her brother inherited isn’t having a stellar year. The racing world that’s given her the life she’s come to know is looking even less stable than usual.

When the opportunity to take over a local cafĂ© presents itself, Faye sees a chance to start something new. Then along comes Will Callaghan, a complete outsider to the racing game. He’s both too tall and too nice — but he’ll make a fine reset button for the disaster that is currently her life. While she clues him into her strange world, he starts breaking off pieces of the shield she’s created to protect herself from her past.

Faye is sure she can keep Will where she wants him. She’ll enjoy his part-time band, his part-time cat, and his baking skills might come in handy at the cafĂ©. She’s not looking to get attached. But all the little things are starting to add up into something more.

♥ Bonus — includes recipes for Butter Tarts and Butter Tart Squares, because that kind of Canadian goodness needs to be shared. ♥

My Review:

Things I liked:

1.The cover is cute.

2.The book seems well written.

3. Supporting characters add some depth to the story.

Things I didn’t like

1.The heroine.

I know that Faye had a lot of trauma in her life.She lost most of her family in a tragic accident that wounded her deeply and affected her subsequent behavior. At the book’s opening she is heart broken because she’d let a jockey get past her defenses and started to care for him. Then her best friend stole him away from her. Faye decided that she had been right to have only light, superficial romances in her life. She finds a lot of them too. When she goes to the track she decides which jockey will be her one or two night stand. Then she chooses another man. I’m sorry but her behavior isn’t pleasing to me, and I really don’t like her. By the end of the book we see evidence that her attitudes are changing as she is falling for another man. By looking at the good reviews on the book some people had no trouble with her behavior so maybe they saw something in Faye that I missed.

What about you? Would you read a book without liking either the hero or heroine?