Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Weekend Writing Warriors, and guests whenever they drop in.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Escape to Africa Anthology with @Alicia_Dean_

My friend, Alicia Dean, is back with an exciting new release. I'm looking forward to reading this anthology because I know most of the authors. It will also introduce me to some new authors. A win-win situation. Here's Alicia.

Thank you, Diane, for inviting me to share my latest release on your blog. I always enjoy visiting you!

I was honored when I was invited to participate in the Escape to Africa anthology. This group of authors has written a few previous anthologies, and one of their authors couldn’t participate in this one, so Lynn Crain invited me. I had no idea what I’d write about, especially since the setting was Africa, a place that’s as foreign to me as…well…Africa! J But, I was glad I said yes. I learned a lot, I became enamored with the Serengeti and acquainted with some very kind and supportive authors. And…I wrote a story, which is always a plus. I’m not sure if it’s a good story. In the words of a reviewer on another of my books: (this is an actual review, the entire review)…

This is a book. I read it from front to back, so I guess that makes it a good book?”

So, I can say, “This is a short story, I wrote it from front to back, so I guess that makes it a good short story?” J

Hope you enjoy!

Escape to Africa Anthology ~ 6 stories by 6 Authors for ONLY 99 cents!!

Take a trip to fascinating, breathtaking, beautiful Africa, without ever leaving your home! These stories will send you on a journey filled with danger, love, and excitement. Travel from Casablanca to Morocco, across the plains of the Serengeti, to the ruins of Carthage, from the desert of Algeria, to the shores of Tripoli. Six international romance authors share spellbinding love stories told across time.

Dangerous Liaison - Historical Romance by Denyse Bridger
In late 1942, Casablanca, liaisons can be deadly, especially those that involve intelligence the Germans are willing to kill for...

A Pirate’s Lady – Time Travel Romance - Lynn Crain
Amanda Hoskip, a Time Travel Bureau agent, is intent on discovering who is tampering with time. But when she’s captured, she must pretend to be the wife of fellow agent and rescuer, Trevor Haines, which seems impossible because he thinks she’s failed her mission.

Dying to Love You - Contemporary Romance with Paranormal Elements by Alicia Dean 
To avoid purgatory, unloving and unlovable Autumn Baines is sent to the Serengeti where she must perform a selfless deed and find someone to fall in love with her. What she didn't count on was falling in love herself, or that her selfless deed could save a life, but sentence Autumn to eternal damnation.

Treasured Times - Romantic Suspense - Gemma Juliana
Nerissa Noir is a woman with many secrets. Leon Rizzo intends to figure them out, without revealing his own. From the shops of the exotic souk in Tunis to the ancient ruins of Carthage and beyond, deadly mysteries must be solved before time unravels… can they trust each other?

The Ravine of the Wild Woman - Historical Romance by Marie Laval
Algeria, North Africa, 1865.
Lenora Sharp is Azerwal's perfect woman. Brave, determined and unconventional, she is also related to the man who stole his name, his childhood and his identity - the very man and he has vowed to destroy, even if it takes him all the way to hell. Will love get in the way of revenge, or will Azerwal lose his soul before he loses his heart?

An Object of Desire - Romantic Suspense by Jenny Twist
Two students on holiday in Morocco discover that two sinister looking characters are following them. They meet an attractive man who offers to take them to their next destination.  All seems well until one of the girls disappears.

Purchase here: Amazon

Find excerpts and more here: World Romance Authors

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lazy Summer Morning

Good morning! How is your summer going? Mine is crazy. And I'm loving it. But I'm barely keeping up with my blogs. Last week, I missed my date on Paranormal Romantics. Fortunately for me, yesterday was open and I posted about an idea I got on a road trip

I've also missed several Mondays here. Sorry about that. I did manage to keep up with the Weekend Writing Warriors. It's been fun sharing snippets from THE PROTECTOR (An Outer Rim Novel). Once a book is published, I don't usually read it again--since I'd probably read it a hundred times (slight exaggeration) already. So rereading it for snippets to use brings back my initial joy when writing the story. You can scroll down to see yesterday's snippet.

My Arizona family arrived just before July 4th, in time to celebrate the holiday watching fireworks from our back deck. I think our neighbors compete to see who has the best, loudest, longest displays. This year, they even obeyed the township's rule about ending by 11 pm. Amazing.

Our household has swollen from two adults to four plus a toddler, a Great Dane, and a Lab. The family will stay with us until they find a house here. Fortunately for them, their Arizona house sold and they both have jobs. Daughter in law continues her job from home and Son continues with his restaurant company. Toddler Girl plays with us. This has been a lot of fun. She's gotten so comfortable with us. She easily picks up my phone to look at pictures and play a couple of toddler-type games I loaded. I'm a sucker for learning games. I can't wait until she's old enough for the story-telling game I did with her cousins. (My StoryMaker from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh) If you have young children (or grandchildren) this is a fabulous program. I type their words, they choose the images to add. Each time, I'm amazed at their imaginations.

The dogs are not as rambunctious as we expected, but having two large dogs in a confined space is challenging. Unfortunately, we don't have a fence around our yard so they don't get a chance to run around unless Son and DIL take them to a nearby dog park. Keeping them off the furniture is a bit of an issue. Not that our furniture is that good or expensive. Sharing the couch with a 150-pound animal who doesn't need to jump up (he just sits back) can be confining.

Going to the beach, blueberry picking, visiting the farmers' market give them lots to do. And summer wouldn't be summer without a visit to Captain Sundae's.

This is an adjustment for all of us. Everybody needs/wants their own space. I'd resigned myself that my writing would go on the back burner. Who wants to write when a two-year-old wants to sit on your lap? Or wants to go outside and draw on the driveway with chalk? Even better, our other two grandchildren (7 & 10) spent Saturday night here. The toddler was so happy to see them. They indulged her a lot. The three of them even slept in the same room. And I do mean sleep. The fact that the older two had spent a week at summer camp and were exhausted might have had something to do with it.

In January, I had no idea how much my life would change. As I've learned in the past, change depends on attitude. Some people resent it, fight it. And are miserable. I like to think I can go with the flow, smiling and enjoying a new phase in my life. 

I hope you have a great summer making wonderful memories.

If you're a writer, do you know about the Best Banter Contest? My writing chapter is sponsoring a contest where you can showcase your witty dialogue. Clicking on the big yellow button on the right will take you to the contest page. Good luck.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

#WeWriWa THE PROTECTOR: The Hero Arrives #sfr

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors where authors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

Last week, I shared my tale of woe regarding my laptop. It got worse. Fortunately, the Geek Squad retrieved all my files. Whew! Unfortunately, the computer kept up a series of problems. After taking it back two more times, the GS guy said it would cost more to fix than buying a new computer. Yikes! Not in my budget. My own Geek guy offered to open the unit. Couldn't make it worse, I thought. Hubs got it open, and it stayed open. Whew, whew!! Knocking wood that I can limp on until I sell more books to pay for a new laptop. That ought to be in about 2020.

I'm sharing another new snippet from my sci-fi romance The Protector. Last week, Rissa's bartender rescued her from the slavers. I'm skipping ahead a bit. Rissa and her friends are rescuing the children from the slave ship berthed in the spaceport. Finally, we meet the hero, Dillan. He was awakened by the noise and someone bumping into his ship.

Dillan Rusteran jerked upright in the large bed aboard his Volpian Caravel, and it took a moment to orient himself. After three tendays in space, he found it strange for his transport to be stationary. He listened intently for a repeat of what had startled him out of a deep sleep. He knew every normal sound of his ship . . . and that wasn’t one of them.
Staying to the left of the viewport, he peered out, and what he saw explained the bump that had awakened him. Hooded thieves were breaking into the hold of a cargo transport.
Using his wrist comm, he called the traffic controller, “Ropergor, call Security, someone’s breaking into the cargo hauler in the next berth.”
After a long pause, the traffic controller answered, “Thank you, sir, I’m on it.”
Something in Ropergor’s voice didn’t sound right. During the six years since Dillan had been in Astron Colony, he’d learned a lot about body language and voice inflections—necessary tools for an executive in his father’s business—Ropergor was frightened.
Though the thieves had been careless in bumping against his ship, he was certain the six he saw would make off with his neighbor’s cargo before Security arrived.
That didn’t bother him as much as the fear that his ship might be their next target.

Apologies for the creative punctuation, which was done to keep within the sentence limit.

Who knew rescuing two girls from traffickers would bring down a world of hurt?

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from returning. Mining heir Dillan Rusteran has loved her for years. Little do they know that by rescuing more children they're tangling with a galactic trafficking ring.

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords ~ B&N ~ iTunes


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Toxic Diamonds by Liza O'Connor Blog Tour @Liza0Connor

I'm happy to have Liza O'Connor back as a guest. As I've mentioned before, I love her books, from her science fiction romances to her historical romantic suspense. I found this series last year and thoroughly enjoyed the main characters Xavier and Vic. Toxic Diamonds is the eighth book in the series. While it's always more interesting to read books in order, I haven't caught up with all of them yet, but I had no trouble reading this as a standalone. Without further ado, here's the lowdown on Toxic Diamonds

Tubs tells a childhood story about himself: whenever his father was drunk, he’d try to drown Tubs by sticking his head in a bucket of water. Only Tubs could hold his breath for twenty minutes. Fortunately, his drunken father would lose interest and wander off for another drink long before twenty minutes were up.
So, can a person really hold their breath for twenty minutes? Certainly not everyone, but, some can. The current record is 24 minutes and 3 seconds.

Everyone is called in to assist: Jacko, his wife Alice, their son, Pete, Samson, the Crime Lord, David and Claire, Tubs and his wife, Sara, the boys: Cannon and Ham, plus the bloodhound, Arroo.
The Wasp who escaped punishment for her attempts to murder her bigamist husband’s first wife last year is back. Vic discovers love letters between Ben, their terrible secretary and the Wasp. Worse yet, he shared Xavier’s financial advice with the Wasp, making her and her husband very wealthy.
With Stone missing, and Barns and Meyers stretched to their limits, Vic decides it’s time to train more of the Scotland Yard officers in intuitive and deductive reasoning. While only half the class makes it through her two-day course, everyone is pleased with her results.
Be warned, Vic’s sister, Claire, is becoming more difficult than ever. Gregory thinks she is going mad.

“Xavier! I think he snuck out and might be in the basement with the dead guy. Whatever this smell is could be killing him as we speak.”

Without waiting, she and Tubs took off. Gregory yelled for them to wait, but no one listened. In fact, Dr. Connors followed them.

When they got to the basement door, wet putty laid in strips at the bottom of the steps. Seeing the doctor behind Vic, Tubs focused on the doctor. “The door’s been open, so Xavier is probably inside. I can hold my breath a long time. Let me bring him upstairs. Otherwise, I’ll probably have to rescue both of you as well.”

Vic paused, but Dr. Connors just grabbed her arm and pulled her upstairs. The moment they closed the basement door, her heart wrenched. “What can knock a person out so quickly?”

“I’m not certain. But chemists have discovered several gases, some of which can be deadly.”

“Such as?”

“Such as the gases that form from the sewer lines. That’s why the toilets should have a kink to hold water. It prevents the foul gases from entering into the bathroom and possibly killing the residents in their sleep.”

Vic began to pace. “Why has Tubs not returned?”

“Let me go down and see,” Dr. Connors suggested. “We cannot risk you.”

“Like you aren’t vital as well?” she yelled. She then ran to the door and opened it just as Tubs climbed up the steep stairs with Xavier hanging over his shoulder.

When he reached the first floor he handed an unconscious Xavier to Dr. Connors, took a deep breath and returned downstairs.

“Tubs, come back!”

Book 8
Free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Need to catch up?
Book 1
Book 2
Book 2.5
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6
Book 7

All Xavier & Vic books are Free with Amazon Unlimited

Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved nicely. But all those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love — A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?
The Mesmerist The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
Well Kept Secrets — The problems with secrets is that they always come to light, no matter how you wish to silence them.
Pack of Trouble — Changes are a part of life, but these changes almost kill Vic.
The Darkest Days — Muddled cases make Vic very grumpy.
The CrimeLords’ War — Vic is almost killed twice as she tries to prevent a CrimeLords’ War, stop a female Russian spy, and locate Xavier.
Toxic Diamonds The Queen’s Diamonds have been stolen, Director Stone of Scotland Yard is missing, and there is a toxic gas that may kill hundreds of Londoners. 

Investigate these sites:

Saturday, July 8, 2017

#WeWriWa THE PROTECTOR: Rescued! #sfr

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors where authors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

This has been a great week that ended poorly. Our Arizona family (Son, DIL, Toddler Girl, a Great Dane, and a Lab) moved in with us until they can find a house. That was the great part. Love playing with the 2-y.o. The dogs are fairly well behaved, considering we have no fence. On Thursday, my laptop failed to open, and it still won't. What a crappy way to end the week. It's now at Best Buy where I hope they can fix it, and more importantly, can retrieve my documents. Yes, I'm one of those people who preached backing up your work but failed to do so. The Geek Squad guy assured me he could retrieve my docs. I hope he can.

In light of that, I'm trying to share the next snippet from my sci-if romance THE PROTECTOR, using my iPad and an old computer along with a sporadic internet connection. When it rains . . .

Last week, the bad guys got the drop on Rissa who (with her friends) was at spaceport to rescue kidnapped  children. Her bartender Kiran is in the wings. (BTW, I did read your comments last week. Sorry for not commenting on each one. As I said, crazy week.) This picks up where we left off last week when the captain threatened to throw her out the airlock.

     His laugh sent frissons of fear shooting through Rissa. When the shorter male started forward, his eyes widened. The removal of the metal from her neck and the sound of a body hitting the floor told her Kiran had been right to cover her back. He zapped the two in front of her, and they crumpled to the floor next to the sleeping boys.
     She glanced over her shoulder and saw a bundle of blue fur lay in a tangle of arms and legs--the captain of the traffickers' ship was the obnoxious Indigian from the tavern.
     "Next time, don't go rushing into danger," Kiran said, "my heart can't take it."
     Heat burned in Rissa's cheeks--she knew he was right. She'd been foolish to rush out like that, but she'd been so afraid the traffickers would get away, taking not just Sophira's baby but the boys with them.
     "Sorry," she said, "let's get them tied up and out of sight."

As always, apologies for the creative punctuation, which was done to keep within the sentence limit.

Who knew rescuing two girls from traffickers would bring down a world of hurt?

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from returning. Mining heir Dillan Rusteran has loved her for years. Little do they know that by rescuing more children they're tangling with a galactic trafficking ring.

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords ~ B&N ~ iTunes

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Meet Author Jean Davis

Jean Davis is the force behind the Holland (Michigan) Area Writers. I met her online a couple of  years ago then face-to-face when we did a signing (one she set up) during the Tulip Time Festival. What a dynamo!

Jean has a new release that I'm happy to share with you.

The General of the Unlata Kai has decreed that the time of her people is over. Jane’s race of god-like beings has caused enough chaos, leaving floundering hybrid races and war-ravaged planets throughout the universe. Kaldara, their home, is about to fulfill her wishes. When the planet goes, it will take her and the last of the Unlata Kai with it.

Logan Klevo sets out with the crew of the Maxim on a mission to warn the leaders of Kaldara of their imminent demise. Their announcement triggers a violent battle between gods. One of them holds knowledge that could restore the Maxim to its full strength. The possibility of a defense against the ruthless army of Matouk that destroyed Logan’s homeworld fills him with something he’s been missing, hope.

Abducting an angry and suicidal god might not be a wise choice, but if the god of war can learn to love they both might discover a future worth living for.


Logan watched in horror as the king left the side of the queen and erupted into a towering being of light.

And then that’s all there was, heat and light. He shielded his face with his arms. Huddling against the wall, he blinked rapidly and waited for the ringing in his ears to subside while he got his bearings.

Beside him, Colonel Rice swore. “What the hell was that?”

Logan had no answers. He could only attest to witnessing the woman he’d seen when they’d entered the massive chamber cover herself in the same golden suit of armor they’d spoken with. Then she grew taller, brighter, glorious. Though his mind reeled with what he’d seen and he was only half certain this wasn’t another one of his nightmares, he hazarded a glance to where the king and queen had been.

The two beings of light exchanged blows of massive proportions. Bombs of energy exploded against their bodies. He couldn’t fathom how either remained standing.

“I’m pretty sure the queen exploded,” he said, knowing how absurd that sounded but having no other explanation.

Everyone else in the room had gone to their knees when the king had stood. The uniformed men that they had followed back here, now had their arms outstretched and their faces plastered to the floor.

While beings of light danced in his vision and bombs exploded against his eardrums, he achieved a single glimpse of clarity. Everyone who had been near the throne was blackened. Dead. Bile rose in this throat.

A thunderous clamor claimed his attention. He tore his gaze from the bodies to see the being of white light, what had been the king, sprawled among the remains of the thrones. He dimmed and then was nothing more than a battered and bloody man. His crown lay at the bottom of the stairs.

A shimmering sheet flowed from the General to hover over him and Rice. The ground beneath them rocked and the walls shook. The ceiling above began to crumble.

The colonel didn’t move. He found he couldn’t move either. He wasn’t easily scared, but he had no idea what was going on here and safety anywhere on this planet was questionable.

Without taking his eyes off the General, he said, “We’ve overstayed. The planet is going to go with us on it.”

“Maybe.” The colonel also stared at the giant golden glowing figure.

Debris thundered down on the sheet above them. A shield of some sort.

Logan prayed their ship wasn’t being crushed where they’d left it with the rest of their team inside. Then he wondered if he should hope that they’d left. He and Rice might not make it back. The shield didn’t look able to stretch that far. In fact, it didn’t even go as far as the archway.

A giant explosion struck the General. For a moment he was blinded again. Another blast of scorching air blew past them, though it seemed the shield protected them somewhat as the heat wasn’t near as intense as the first time.

“Holy shit,” muttered Rice.

The King was gone. Only a large scorch mark on the floor where his body had been. The General lay sprawled on steps, her feet just below the thrones. Her armor missing the golden glow and blackened. Blood dripped down the steps from the seam at her neck where her head was suspended over the edge of one of the stairs. She lay on her back as if she’d been blown over, unable to catch herself.

She was still moving. Slowly, but twitching enough to indicate she wasn’t as bad off as the rest.

“We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Agreed.” Yet, Rice crept forward instead of back the way they’d come.

Following behind, they checked the bodies of the others as they went. All of them had burnt to death. Pain on his own arms registered. He glanced down to find them blistered. Rice’s face and neck was red. He guessed his was too by the tightness that hit him now that the shock had worn off. His clothes were singed.

“Good thing we weren’t any closer,” Rice said, working his way toward the armored woman.

Logan rushed up the stairs. He knelt beside the General, who seemed to have returned to her original size. She weakly pushed him away but said nothing beyond a faint moan.

“Let me help you.”

She pushed at him again. He tugged on the helmet, trying to free her head so he could better assess the damage.

The voice that came from the blackened metal face was a ghost of the powerful voice that she’d used earlier, barely a whisper. “Leave me.”

He pushed her hand aside and felt up the back of the armor, searching for a lever or latch of any sort. There was nothing there but blood. He wiped his hands on his pants. “How do you get this thing off?”

 “You don’t.” Her voice grew slightly stronger. “Now go, I can’t hold the shield much longer.”

Rice crouched down beside them. “You’re coming with us.”

Author Bio:
Jean Davis lives in West Michigan. When not ruining lives from the comfort of her writing chair, she can be found playing in her garden, enjoying a glass of wine, or lost a good book. Her novels include The Last GodSahmara, and A Broken Race. Her short fiction has appeared in Theian JournalBards and Sages Quarterly, Acidic Fiction, Tales of The Talisman, The First Line, Allegory, Isotropic Fiction, Liquid Imagination, Brewed Awakenings II Anthology, and The 3288 Review.

Follow her writing adventures at www.jeanddavis.blogspot.com

Special offer

In celebration of the release of The Last God, Jean is offering her fantasy novel, Sahmara for .99 for a limited time.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Insecure Writers Support Group: No Post

Life is crazy right now. My Arizona family has moved in with us. As much as I love you all and your support, I won't be able to visit. I'll see you next month.

Happy Writing!

Happy Birthday, America & Canada

This weekend (all four days) we celebrate the birthdays of two great nations.

I grew up in a Detroit suburb, so Canada was a short drive over the Ambassador Bridge. My mother-in-law went for the china, figurines, and wine glasses (gifts for us). My sister went to the casino. Hubs and I went for the musicals and plays in Stratford. My father-in-law was born and raised in London, Ontario. My great-grandfather was born near St. Catherine's (close to Niagara Falls). The best place to watch the fireworks on the Detroit River was in Dieppe Park in Windsor.

Saturday, July 1st was Canada's 150th birthday. Today, we celebrate America's 241st. We won our independence after a bloody war. Canada became a dominion within the British Empire by vote. 

Though part of my family came from Canada to the U.S., the majority came from several European countries, They came here for various reasons--religious freedom, economics, social. They all wanted a better life for themselves and their children. They (and we, the children of children) got that better life here. Most of our ancestors met with intolerance (Irish/Polish/German, etc. need not apply). Yet, they stayed and became part of that great melting pot. They heeded Emma Lazarus' words on the Statue of Liberty: 

“Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I am so proud of my ancestors for making a better life for me and my children by coming to America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.