A Little Bit About Publishing Contracts

I thought this very information post from talented Deborah A. Cooke should be spread far and wide. Contracts are always a sensitive issue to be signed with both eyes open. Read what Deborah says and be glad someone is out there watching your back!

Deborah Cooke & Her Books

I was asked recently by a new author to have a peek at a contract offered to her and thought that a general post about pitfalls might be welcome. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve read, rejected and signed a lot of publishing contracts. I’ve made some mistakes and learned from them. I’ve also learned from some generous people who are very experienced in publishing contract law.

Many authors actively express their dislike of contracts. While contracts are not the most riveting reads, I like them – they document the expectations of each party in the relationship. Sometimes you learn things about your proposed partner in a contract. Contracts also specify how the relationship will end and what happens in pretty much all eventualities. They’re maps, in a way, and I love maps.

The first and foremost thing you need to do is actually read the contract. Yes. Read…

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Husband and wife team write a winner! Just released HIGHLAND CROWN, pen name May McGoldrick. Do you like your Scottish reads with bullets flying, daggers swishing, simple men who are bigger than life and don’t know it? Where heroine is not only a doctor of days where women weren’t, but driven to protect the weak and injured even though it puts her life in peril? I say, enjoy! Loved it!

Highland Crown_cover (1)


Scottish pride, persuasion, and passion—this is Highland romance at its breathtaking best.

Inverness, 1820

Perched on the North Sea, this port town—by turns legendary and mythological—is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella Drummond

A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery—and fury—in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh

Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself …until Isabella saved his life—and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?

My Review: Isabella Drummond is an unusual combination of strength and intelligence, caught up in the machinations of politics.

Circumstances and luck, along with people who want justice for those caught, have given Isabella safehaven with Jean, an old wizened brusque woman. I enjoyed the character building the author did for this secondary character. At first, she’s concerned for her own skin, regrets helping her nephew by providing a hiding place for Isabella. But soon her priorities change as the story flies off the page.

The old woman is part of a community which lives off what the sea coughs up.

One night a ship carrying weapons for the rebels in Scotland crashes against the rocks. Villagers are eager to grab what they can, killing the survivors of the shipwreck. Cinaed, captain of the ship is almost killed by a bullet, but miraculously, he makes it to shore.  As the villagers scan the shore for wreckage and survivors, Isabella takes it upon herself to try to save them man.  Just one more body for the old woman to hide in her wee cottage.

She hauls him to the cottage under cover of darkness with the help of the old woman Her actions of compassionate as a doctor to heal puts both herself and the old woman at peril. Even when Cinaed is close to death he’s concerned for the women. He’s a man of fine qualities. His actions go beyond his physical capacities, yet, his will makes him a survivor. The journey these three take together is one filled with honor, justice and determination to save each other and do what is right. To live they must escape the cottage…

You won’t be disappointed in this adventurous, fast-paced, character-driven story. From the first chapter you are hooked through the events and kind of people who make this story zip along. The best and worst of man is portrayed. Cinaed truly finds himself in the Highlands among family which surprise him.

May McGoldrick PhotoABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Authors Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick (writing as May McGoldrick) weave emotionally satisfying tales of love and danger. Under the names of May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey, these authors have written more than thirty novels and works of nonfiction. Nikoo, an engineer, also conducts frequent workshops on writing and publishing and serves as a Resident Author.

Jim holds a Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance literature and teaches English in northwestern Connecticut. They are the authors of Much ado about Highlanders, Taming the Highlander, and Tempest in the Highlands.


Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250314987

Author website: https://www.maymcgoldrick.com/
Author Twitter: @MayMcGoldrick

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MayMcGoldrick/

SMP Romance Twitter: @SMPRomance or @heroesnhearts

SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/


If you aren’t intrigued enough to read this delightful story, catch a scene below:

Cinaed looked up into a woman’s face. Fine black eye- brows arched over brown eyes that were focused on his chest. Thick dark hair was pulled back in a braid and pinned up at the back of her head. Intent on what she was doing, she was unaware that he was awake.

Her brow was furrowed, and lines of concentration framed the corners of her mouth. The grey travel dress she wore was plain and practical. She was not old, but not young either. Not fat, not thin. From where he lay, he guessed she was neither tall nor short. She was beautiful, but not in the flashy way of the women who generally greeted sailors in the port towns. Nor was she like the eyelash-fluttering lasses in Halifax who never stopped trying to get his attention after a Sunday service. He didn’t bother to assess the pleasant symmetry of her face, however. The “brook no nonsense” expression warned that she wasn’t one to care what others thought of her looks, anyway.

But who was she?

The last clear memory he had was seeing a flash from the shore. The next moment his chest had been punched with what felt like a fiery poker. Everything after that floated in a jumbled haze. He recalled being in the water, trying to swim toward some distant shore. Or was he struggling to reach the longboat again?

Cinaed didn’t know what part of his body hurt more, the fearsome pounding in his head or the burning piece of that poker still lodged in his chest.

“Where am I?” he demanded. “Who the deuce are you?”

Startled, she sat up straight, pulling away and scowl- ing down at him. In one blood-covered hand, she held a needle and thread. In the other, a surgeon’s knife that she now pointed directly at his throat.

“Try to choke me again and I’ll kill you.” “Choke you? For the love of God, woman!”

His ship. The reef. The explosion. He closed his eyes for a moment and tried to clear away the fog. Everything he’d been through struck him like a broad- side.

The Highland Crown was gone. He’d detonated the powder himself. Where were his men? He’d climbed into the last longboat. They’d been fired at from the beach. He’d been shot.

Cinaed grabbed the knife-wielding wrist before she could pull it away. “Where are my men?”

An ancient woman in Highland garb slid into his line of sight behind the younger one. She was making sure he saw the cudgel she had over one shoulder.

“This one is worth less than auld fish bait, mistress,” she taunted. The crone was ready and obviously eager to use that club. “And thankless, too, I’m bound. I was right when I said ye should never have saved him.”

Should never have saved him. He released the wrist, and the hand retreated. But the dark-haired woman didn’t move away. As if nothing had happened, she dropped the knife on the cot, out of his reach. The brown eyes again focused on his chest, and she put her needle back to work.

He winced but kept his hands off the woman.

By all rights, he should be dead. A musket ball had cut him down and knocked him into the water. He should in- deed be finished. Someone on shore had tried to kill him.

But he was alive, and apparently he owed his life to this one. Gratitude flowed through him.

“Want me to give him another knock in the head?” the old witch asked.

“Last stitch. Let me finish,” she said in a voice lacking the heavier burr of the northern accent. “You can kill him when I’m done.”

A sense of humor, Cinaed thought. At least, he hoped she was joking. She tied off the knot, cut the thread, and straightened her back, inspecting her handiwork. He lifted his head to see what kind of quilt pattern she’d made of him. A puckered line of flesh, topped by a row of neat stitches, now adorned the area just below his collarbone. He’d been sewn up by surgeons before, and they’d never done such a fine job of it. He started to sit up to thank her.

That was a grave mistake. For an instant, he thought the old woman had used her cudgel, after all. When he pushed himself up, his brain exploded, and he had no doubt it was now oozing out of his ears and eye sockets. The taste of bilge water bubbled up in his throat.

“A bucket,” he groaned desperately.

The woman was surprisingly strong. She rolled him and held a bucket as his stomach emptied. She’d been ex- pecting this, it appeared. However horrible he was feeling before, it was worse now as the room twisted and rocked and spun. Long stretches of dry heaves wracked his body. “Blood I can deal with,” the old woman grouched from somewhere in the grey haze filling the room. He heaved again. “By all the saints!”

“I’ll clean up later. Don’t worry about any of this. Go sit by the fire, Jean. You’ve had a long night.”

Cinaed felt a wet cloth swab the back of his neck and his face.

Jean mumbled something unintelligible about “weak- bellied” and “not to be trusted” and “a misery.” When he hazarded a glance at her, she was glaring at him like some demon guarding the gates of hell.

“Does my nephew know that yer a doctor?” she asked, not taking her eyes off of him as she snatched up the knife and handed it to the younger woman.

A doctor! He lifted his head to look at her again. She was definitely a woman. And a fine-looking one, at that. He was still breathing, and she’d done an excellent job on whatever damage had been done to his chest by the bullet. But the possibility of any trained physician, or even a surgeon, being here in this remote corner of the High- lands was so implausible. Male or female.

“John knows.”

“But ye say yer not a midwife,” Jean persisted, a note of disbelief evident in her tone. “And not just a surgeon, in spite of all them fine, shiny instruments in that bag of yers.”

“I trained as a physician at a university. But I’m finding that my abilities as a surgeon have more practical uses wherever I go.”

University trained. Cinaed stole another look at her. She had an air of confidence in the way she spoke and acted that convinced him that she was telling the truth. And for the first time since the Highland Crown struck that reef, he wondered if his good fortune was still holding, if only by thread. Lady Luck, apparently, had sent him Airmid, his own goddess of healing.

Long-forgotten words, chanted over some injury, came back to him from childhood. Bone to bone. Vein to vein. Skin to skin. Blood to blood. Sinew to sinew. Marrow to marrow. Flesh to flesh . . .

From the floor, she retrieved a bowl containing bloody cloths. A musket ball lay nestled like a robin’s egg on the soaked rags. By the devil, he thought, his admiration nearly overflowing. She’d not only stitched him together, she’d dug the bullet out of him.

The deuce! He’d never seen anyone like her. Frankly, he didn’t care if she came from the moon to practice medicine here. He owed his life to her.



Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, New Book Release, Romance, Suspense | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Review: THE PURSUITS OF LORD KIT CAVANAUGH by Stephanie Laurens ~ a Victorian frolic with a demure, yet fierce when angered heroine and a Lord who woos her using kid gloves! Plot is propelled forward by engaging dialogue complex characters in a setting of mystery and suspense.


Title: The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh The Cavanaughs, Book 2
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Published by: MIRA; Original edition
Publication Date: April 30, 2019


Publisher’s Summary:

Bold and clever, THE CAVANAUGHS are unlike any other family in early Victorian England. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens continues to explore the enthralling world of these dynamic siblings in the eagerly anticipated second volume in her captivating series.

A Gentleman of Means

One of the most eligible bachelors in London, Lord Christopher “Kit” Cavanaugh has discovered his true path and it doesn’t include the expected society marriage. Kit is all business and has chosen the bustling port of Bristol to launch his passion—Cavanaugh Yachts.

A Woman of Character

Miss Sylvia Buckleberry’s passion is her school for impoverished children. When a new business venture forces the school out of its building, she must act quickly. But confronting Kit Cavanaugh is a daunting task made even more difficult by their first and only previous meeting, when, believing she’d never see him again, she’d treated him dismissively. Still, Sylvia is determined to be persuasive.

An Unstoppable Duo

But it quickly becomes clear there are others who want the school—and Cavanaugh Yachts—closed. Working side by side, Kit and Sylvia fight to secure her school and to expose the blackguard trying to sabotage his business. Yet an even more dastardly villain lurks, one who threatens the future both discover they now hold dear.

My Review:

Kit, the hero, is the not the typical character which plays out between the pages of a novel. He hides who he is, masquerading as a rake for many years. It was his way of protecting himself from the machinations of his mother. After his mother dies, he is free to become the man he wants to be.

He is quite an admiral character, when he sets out to be his own man, starting a business of yacht building. He is able to procure an old warehouse which hadn’t been used for years. With astuteness, he and his old friend from school days pull a team together of experienced and seasoned workers who had lost their jobs as businesses moved out of the town. Kit’s dream, unfortunately, dashes another’s—Miss Sylvia Buckleberry’s.

Miss Sylvia Buckleberry realizes she is ‘on the shelf’. She is not one to let that stop her in being an active person in society. She decides to move out of London to a small town which can use her help. She starts a school for boys, particularly, those boys whose fathers have lost their jobs with little means to live. She’s given an old warehouse without rent for a place to teach, close to the boys’ homes. She has made great headway in the town—her school teaches 17 boys, employing two teachers and an old woman as their assistant. When the warehouse is taken from her, she no longer has the church’s support to teach the boys if she can’t procure another place to teach.

Sylvia met Lord Cavanaugh the previous month when her close friend married. They were paired together as part of the wedding party. Knowing his lordship’s reputation, she made sure to freeze every sentence uttered to him, even when her senses were mesmerized by his handsome physique. Lord Cavanaugh, in turn, thought she was a cold fish and even though he liked what he saw, she didn’t interest him.

Ousted out of the warehouse, she is frustrated and angry, and decides to confront the demon who did this to her—the rake who cares only for himself. Her anger, passionate appeal and beauty quite undo Kit. Getting off on the wrong foot has made it hard for Sylvia to see a different man than she imaged. He surprises her with his proposal to sponsor her school.

Kit surprises himself. He finds he enjoys helping people and when he can do a good turn for the folk of the town, he does.

I’ve got to love the way he handles Sylvia with kid gloves. She’s a clergy’s daughter, and must be wooed gently, not his usual method of enticing a woman, but then, Sylvia is not just a woman to him. He quickly becomes protective of her. Something or someone is afoot to destroy property. Who are they after? What are they trying to damage?

Author Laurens writes an entertaining story of mystery and suspense supported by spirited characters willing to fight for what they want or believe to be true.

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Victorian Romance | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Cyndi Lord, author and writing instructor continues discussion of POV. Are you learning as much as I am?

Cyndi LordCyndi Lord is a bestselling author, editor-in-chief, and has traditionally published six novels. She has spoken to writers in events across the USA, and teaches writing classes.


Eileen: Thanks, Cyndi for joining us again to continue our study of POV. I’m sure the readers have enjoyed the last posting focusing on the concept of Point of View (POV) and how a writer stays in it.

Today, we’re talking more the nitty-gritty of types of POV. I’d like to explore some of the terminology I’ve encountered while reading about crafting novels using different POV.

See the source imageFirst-Person POV—one person
First-Person POV—two different narrators (alternate chapters)
Third-Person POV—one person
Third-Person POV—multiple narrator
Omniscient POV—sees and knows all

Some of these I understand fairly well. Most of the books I read use multiple third-person. Would you like to comment on the list I’ve made? Perhaps give it more clarity?

Cyndi: Sure. First Person is writing from the POV of one person in first person use of I and me. ‘You’re right.” I stared at him hoping for a shocked reply.

Two different narrators is accomplished as first person, one person at a time.

Third person is like a window peeper except the POV is one character and instead of using first person pronouns, you use she said, he said, and report the POV character by name, she/he, or her/him.

Eileen: How do you decide which POV to use in your story? Why favor one character’s POV over another? Are there certain criteria you use to decide whose POV should be used?See the source image

Cyndi: I decide to use the character whose story is being told. The POV character, for me, is who is most important to the story. If it is vital to the story to understand the depth of the character of another actor in the scenes, then I switch off to that character’s POV in another chapter. We always say, “you don’t know what another person is really thinking.” Not true. I can make them the POV character and show my readers what they are thinking. An author must be careful with this tactic as not to destroy a good script flip or unpredictable scene by revealing too much of the other character.

 Eileen: Please tell us what objective mode (remote POV) and subjective mode (close POV) mean? How and why does a writer use these tools? How are they connected to the above list?

Cyndi: Objective POV is observation like third person. This mode does not allow the reader to identify with the emotions of a character. The removed style leaves the reader to fill in the blanks. This style can be used in stories to create thought provocative works rather than creating three scenes with final having a conclusion.

Subjective mode creates a POV character with all their senses, thoughts, emotions revealed to the reader in a way promoting identifying with the character. Each is connected to the list in multiple ways depending on the author’s ability to maintain consistency.

Eileen: What does close third-person mean?

Cyndi: This means the window peeper reveals only the POV character’s thoughts and feelings, while reporting actions and dialogue only of the other characters.

Eileen: I read lots of books written in third person. Some use one narrator and others use multiple. What advantages are there for a writer when writing third person multiple points of view versus third person with one POV?

Cyndi: I think this is an informative style much like the results of a social experiment or interviews with jurors after the verdict. The style demonstrates how different people see things, think, and feel about the same evidence or issues.

Eileen: If a writer uses multiple third-person POV, when can he shift to another narrator without confusing the reader?

Cyndi: A new character’s POV can be introduced after a clear break symbol in a chapter or chapter. What’s most important is to have an opening sentence allowing the reader to know POV has changed. The senses of the new POV character should be revealed. Something like: a cold breeze raised goosebumps on Mark’s arms.

Eileen: In any of your published stories is the POV any other than the protagonist/s?

Cyndi: Yes. In The Plain Series, and Sandra Derringer Chronicles, book three, I change to other characters’ POV.

Eileen: What does omniscient POV mean? I think that is the most difficult for me to identify. Have you used it?

Cyndi: My kneejerk answer is, ‘omniscient POV means the author has not developed the craft of writing.’ Omniscient writing is easy because the author reveals the thoughts, feelings, and actions of every character. Everything is usually predictable, no twist can happen effectively unless an unknown actor happens by, and the reader cannot identify with the POV character because none exists.

Eileen: Can a writer mix omniscient POV (all knowing entity who knows all the characters) with other points of view?

Cyndi: They can, but what is the point? Omniscient reveals everything about everyone anyway.

Eileen: When a story is told in first person, it is written in the POV of the person telling it. Have you written a story where your POV in first person, and also use POV in third-person for another character? Or is that something a writer shouldn’t do?

Cyndi: I have written in first person, but not mixed third person or third person close in the same novel. I feel this would be confusing to the reader.

Eileen: How does writing in first person change the character of a story?

Cyndi: First person offers all of the POV character to the readers to relate to and get in the head of. Moreover, the reader is transported through the scenes inside the character.

Eileen: How can writing in first person affect the suspense and tension of a story?

Cyndi: The reader feels what the POV character feels—love, trepidation, anger, hurt feelings, happiness, fear, joy, sorrow, anxiety, and relief.

Eileen: Are there limitations to a story when it is told in first person?

Cyndi: Yes. The character cannot know what is going to happen (futuristic writing) and can never know what another character is thinking of feeling.

Eileen: How can writing in first person (the narrator’s point of view) make the story more interesting?

Cyndi: It is more interesting to be in the head and share the emotions of a character than to be told by another.

Eileen: I read about a first-person narrator who is unreliable in what he sees and thinks, maybe not even rooted in a sane world. Have you tried this approach to writing your protagonist?

31568534Cyndi: You may recall Loretta from They Call Me Avenged. Her mental illness made her believe or think she was being kind and obedient to God, while she was incapable of maintaining any level of civility with other people.

Eileen: Do you have any suggestions for our readers about learning POV?

Cyndi: Read the article I wrote for this interview.

Eileen:  I really appreciate you joining us today.  Readers, if you haven’t had a chance to read Cyndi’s novels, you much.  I, particularly, liked the Sandra Derringer Chronicles. They are unique, quick-paced, and sometimes scared me silly! See below the images of the series I’m talking about.

Cyndi:  It was a pleasure being here.  If the readers have questions, be sure to ask them in the comment section below.





Posted in Guest Authors, Interviewing authors, Novel Development, On Becoming a Writer | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Review: LAWFULLY OURS by Jo Grafford ~ Do you like your reads with emotional themes and interesting plots? Join Jo Grafford as she shares her tale.

I first started reading Jo Grafford with her Lost Colony Series.  I adored that series.  Her writing style and characters are authentic, pulling me into their world of emotion, suspense and tragedy.  I highly recommend her books.

lawfully ours

Title: Lawfully Ours   A U.S. Marshal Lawkeeper Romance
Author: Jo Grafford
Genre: Historical Romance, Western
Setting: 1882, Texas
Page: 134
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B07PZ54X63


Publisher’s Summary:

U.S. Marshal Jack Holiday is on a special mission to track and apprehend the notorious Billy Bob Flint from his two-year Robin Hood-style crime spree. More legend than man to the local miners and ranchers, he steals cattle from the rich and herds them straight to the shabby barnyards of the poor.

Catherine Rose Southerland is working hard to overcome her tragic past and earn a living as a seamstress. But when Jack rides into her Texas hometown brandishing an arrest warrant for Flint, she realizes the new life she’s built for herself may come crumbling around her ears at any moment.

Torn between old loyalties and her unexpected attraction to Jack, Catherine Rose struggles to keep her ties to Flint a secret. Will their growing feelings for each other be strong enough to overcome the truth when it is finally revealed, or will it tear them apart forever?

Review:  There are some men who go beyond what we nowadays think or expect out of our employees. They temper their work with fairness and justice.

This is a story about a marshal who encounters unreasonable prejudice.  It’s also about good people, downtrodden, because those with more men, more guns, more so-called law were the victors.

The Marshal is a loner, would love to just settle down, but never attracted to women he meets while moving from town to town, keeping the law.  In Liberty Springs, the marshal’s heart is snagged by a seamstress who isn’t all that she appears to be, her tongue laced with half-truths. She, along with the town, is protecting a man Jack Holiday was sent to put behind bars. Why?  He is determined to find out.  One thing about the marshal, he can’t abide lies.

The seamstress is kind, witty, and beautiful.  What is not to like about Catherine Rose? She is also attracted to the marshal. But she knows he’s her enemy because he is after Billy.  Billy is her life.  They share a treacherous past and almost lost their lives as their parents did when the Texans attacked their home. She would protect Billy with her life. But will she have to?

Billy Flint is also a man I could admire.  Much like the Marshal, he bends the rules, aids the poor. He is a man of character with a past of tragedy.  Even though the Texas Indian Wars are over, hurt and hard feelings continue to riddle the hearts of men.  Billy does what he can to revenge the killing of his parents, who not just lost their lives, but their property and land–rightfully belonging to Billy and his sister. He has the town’s gratitude and loyalty.  

Secondary character, but no less striking is Molly Monroe, a woman who has also suffered.  Her crime?  She’s black.  Catherine and Molly work the seamstress shop together and are good friends.  Molly is very eloquent and is sweet on Billy.  But what’s the point?  She knows she can never have him.

The arm of the law is long and not always right.  This western is a prime example.  Author Grafford writes a story where characters suffer for what they are, not what they do.  The story is more a novella, however, the author paints a rugged west of hardship and generosity I enjoyed very much.

Jo GraffordNew Release Email List — http://www.JoGrafford.com
Cuppa Jo Readers Group — https://www.facebook.com/groups/CuppaJoReaders/

Mail Order Brides Rescue Series
Hot-Tempered Hannah
Cold-Feet Callie
Fiery Felicity
Misunderstood Meg — coming April, 2019

Whispers In Wyoming
(a multi-author series)
His Wish, Her Command
His Dream, Her Love — coming June, 2019

The Lawkeepers
(a multi-author series)
Lawfully Ours
Lawfully Loyal —coming September, 2019

Ornamental Match Maker Series
(a multi-author series)
Angel Cookie Christmas
Star Studded Christmas
Stolen Heart Valentine

Her Billionaire Series
Her Billionaire Boss
Her Billionaire Bodyguard — coming soon!

Lost Colony Series
Breaking Ties – FREE
Trail of Crosses
Into the Mainland
Higher Tides — coming soon!



Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Novella, Western Romance | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cyndi Lord joins Booktalk with Eileen discussing the novel-crafting element Point of View (POV)

woman-writing-a-bookBefore I turn this blog over to Cyndi Lord, let me share something about my writing journey.

One day early 2014, I completed my first novel’s manuscript through the NaNoWriMo challenge.  I wrote furiously, finished the story and necessary number of words.  Delighted I was but knew it was riddled with zillions of flaws I wasn’t even aware of.  I was a reader, an avid one at that, not a writer.  I had always wanted to write a novel, but as many of you experience, life just gets in the way. 

If it isn’t a demanding job putting you on edge, even holding down a couple of jobs, or little ones scampering around the house, to dealing with health issues—all taking the front seat, how is a want-to-be writer to write?

I refuse to make more excuses, yes, that’s what they are.  Why couldn’t I read less, for example, stay up No-more-Excuses-Picture-quotea little longer than the rest of the household or get up an hour earlier?  It’s a matter of learning how to carve out time, taking your writing off the want-to-do list and putting it on the have-to-do list.

Now, I fall asleep at night thinking about the next scene, tweaking the previous scene.  I’m making progress. I have so much more to learn!

Where are you in your journey?  I would love to hear from you.

Today, Cyndi Lord joins us with an article she wrote on the novel element Point of View (POV)—the focus of my month’s study.  I hope you benefit from this article.


Writing in Point of View

Cyndi LordBy Cyndi Lord, Bestselling author

Stay in POV; these words fill a writer with anxiety and feelings of failure. They thought they were staying in point-of-view. Many books about the style of writing and articles indicating a knowledge of how the dilemma is solved between the pages leave us more confused. I’m willing to share the secret with you here. Just like showing and not telling, you, the author, have to shut up. Yes, I told you to shut up. Why? You are not in the story. You are not the POV character, and everything you know has nothing to do with what the POV character knows.

Let me give you an example of a real problem in stories. The POV character sees a woman for the first time and knows nothing about her. Author knows everything. Author has developed the new character. Author writes background and motivation of the new character to inform the reader. The reader jumped out of the head of the POV character because the author butted into the story like a pesky child, got in the face of the reader, and shouted, “I know stuff,” while waving both hands above their headg. Authors writing information to a scene they alone have in their character development notes is intrusive and unnecessary.

Imagine you have placed a specialized camera on the forehead of your POV character and through their sight will shoot a silent movie. Wait. This camera is specialized and hooked up to the POV character’s senses. The sight, hearing, taste, ability to feel, smell, and think will all be reported through the camera. From your first sentences to the end of the POV of that character’s scene, nothing, and I mean nothing not coming from that camera can be written. Why? Because you are writing in POV of that character. Add all the senses you can. Put the reader in the POV character’s body and leave them there. Imagine it is our POV character Brenda, who sees the new character for the first time. Let’s build a scene that gives Author’s information from Brenda.

Plush carpeting encased Brenda’s high heels when she followed a hostess into the dining area.  Forks and knives of other patrons tapped against china over the rumble of quiet conversations. Roasting meat, spices, and hints of expensive wine filled the air with inviting aromas. She licked her lips and strawberry lip balm caressed her tongue. The hostess smiled a gestured to an overstuffed chair upholstered in diamond tuck, cream material. The table for two was covered with a rose-colored lace tablecloth. Less than a foot away, a woman in her early twenties sat alone at the next table. Her silk gown was outdated and the overlay sagged and showed piling on the bodice. Brenda smiled, nodded, and took her seat.

 Note; I have set the scene. Everything is from Brenda’s senses. What she will learn about the other woman will happen during dinner when they strike up a conversation. Let’s say they become friends or client and attorney, wherever the first encounter takes them, nothing can be learned about the other woman or anyone else except through Brenda. Author can never report anything another character thinks, feels, smells, tastes, sees, or thinks. Brenda can see and hear another person. Imagine a scene where a waiter pours boiling water into a cup sitting on a table in front of a man. A little boy runs into the waiter and the stream of water moves over the seated man’s lap. Brenda “sees” what happens, “sees” the man’s facial expression, “hears” him scream, and can “think” (in italics) how much that must hurt. Brenda cannot report through her senses what the man or the waiter feel.

Keep the specialized camera going all the time. Your novel can be better than a movie because this camera gives you the ability to use all the senses of your POV character to keep the reader engrossed.  

Posted in Guest Authors, Interviewing authors, Novel Development, On Becoming a Writer | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Interview with Mystery Novelist Margot Kinberg: Elements of Crafting Stories–Character-Building, Dialogue, Point of View

I’ve been quiet for a while. (whispering) Working on my first chapter of the book I haven’t titled yet.  But more on that in my next post.  

Today, please welcome Margot Kinberg! Margot Kinberg

Margot Kinberg’s Bio:

Margot Kinberg is a mystery novelist (she writes the Joel Williams series) and Associate Professor. She has written four Joel Williams novels (Publish or Perish, B – Very Flat, Past Tense, and Downfall). She is also the editor of the charity anthology In a Word: Murder.  

Margot: Thanks very much for hosting me, Eileen! It’s a real privilege to be here.

Eileen:  Thank you!  I’m excited to hear your opinions on various questions I’ve posed-some on character building, others on dialogue.  You’ll also be sharing some thoughts on telling a story, how to figure out the best point of view and when. Let’s begin. 

Do you follow a plan how to develop characters?

Margot: I don’t have a set plan – that is, not an outline. But I do ask myself questions about characters as I write them. I write crime fiction; so, in my stories, there’s at least one murder, and at least one victim. I start with that person. For instance, in B-Very Flat, the victim is a promising university student – a violin virtuosa. Once I worked out that she would be the victim, I thought about what she would be like. What might she care about? How might she respond to the world? Who might be her friends and family? And then, of course, who might want to kill her? As I worked on those questions, her personality started to develop.

Eileen: How do you figure out what your characters look like?  Is it important to know where they live, when they live, what educational level they have? If so, at what point in the novel development does this become important?  

Margot: I think it is important to imagine what a character looks like. Appearance can give a lot of information about a character, and having it in mind helps the writer to show-not-tell about the character. And there are times when it does matter a lot where a character lives, what that character’s educational background is, and so on. The reason is that all of those factors (appearance, background, economic situation, and many more factors) impact personality. Those things make us who we are. If a character is to be credible and interesting, that character has to be consistent, and that includes all of those factors.

32831154For instance, in Past Tense, book 3 of my Joel Williams series, one of my characters heads up a university Women’s Studies program. I thought about what she looked like (she’s of medium height with a straight dark bob). But mostly, I thought about the sort of person she is. Her background (a university education, a more working-class upbringing, a trauma in her past, and a few other things) have led her to be a feminist, so it made sense she’d lead up the Women’s Studies program. Her home (not far from the university) fits in with her character, too, and all of these factors combine (I hope) to give readers a sense of who this person is.

Eileen: Do you develop one character at a time?  That is, you know what type of character you have as your main protagonist and develop the others to build conflict and arc tension?

Margot: I don’t really develop just one character at a time, to be honest. I do start B-Very Flat (Joel William, #2)with the victim in my story (as I say, I write crime fiction). But as I think about the people that person knows, I develop those characters as the story unfolds. For instance, B-Very Flat, book 2 of my Joel Williams series,  follows the victim as she goes about her life. In that context, we meet the other characters with whom she interacts, and we get to know all of them as the story goes on. They don’t develop one at a time, if I can put it that way.

Eileen: In your process, does the backstory and character conflict support the story, or do you create the story to support the backstory and character conflicts?

Margot: For me (and other authors likely do this in other ways), backstory and character conflicts are integrally woven into the story. They support each other. It’s a bit like the nature/nurture debate, as I see it. The best story lines include characters and their backstories and conflicts. At the same time, the best-developed characters appear in stories that have solid and clear plots. I do like to tell stories, but those stories aren’t interesting without interesting characters. That’s probably not a direct and clear answer to your question, but it reflects my process.

Eileen:  Please use one of the series you’ve already written. Where do you get your inspiration for characters? 

Margot: The Joel Williams series takes place mostly in an academic setting. Williams is a former police detective-turned-professor, so he lives and works in a university community. I’ve spent almost my entire adult life on university campuses, first as a student, and then as an educator. So I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people who spend time on campuses (students, colleagues, administrators, custodians, staff people, and lots more). Those people have been quite an inspiration to me.7210029

That said, I do not use specific, real people as characters in my stories. My characters are completely fictional. I do tap my 38581329experience at different university settings, and what I know about the sorts of people in those settings, though. For instance, there are certain things that a university dean does (at least in US higher education). One of them is to administer a school’s budget. Another is appoint faculty to different special projects. I tapped some of what I know about the work of a dean for Downfall, in which a dean makes an appearance and is involved in a sub-plot of the story.

Eileen: How do you choose the voice of a character?

Margot: I start with the character’s background (gender identification, economic situation, age, and so on). Then, I work out the way that character would likely speak. I think it’s critical to match voice to character, so as to make that character more believable. To put it another way, the voice of the characters fall out naturally (or, I hope they do) from their particular lives and circumstances.

Eileen: Why is dialogue so important in a good story?

Margot: Oh, dialogue is essential! It’s the way in which characters share information with each other. Yes, there’s modern electronic communication, such as texting, email and so on. But we primarily show what we’re like through the way we speak with others. So, it’s important that the author pay attention to the way two characters interact.

What this means (at least for me) is that dialogue offers the author a way to show-not-tell a lot. Dialogue lets an author show what the relationship is between two characters. It also lets the author provide information like clues (for mysteries and other crime fiction), backstory information, and more.

Eileen: How do you get across the tone used in dialogue since tone many times makes all the difference in the meaning?

Margot: Tone really does make a difference. Very often, for instance, tone can let someone know whether a comment’s meant as a joke or not. And it can be tricky to convey tone in a way that doesn’t slow a story down. But there are ways to do it. I try to use verbs, and sometimes descriptions (such as having a character raise an eyebrow or use a certain facial expression) to convey tone. Here’s an example from Past Tense. In this scene, two police officers, Donna Crandall and Ron Zuniga, have been called to a construction site, because workers there discovered some old bones:

‘‘I can’t say we have a whole lot of crazy stuff going on here, really. But even we get it from time to time.’ [Crandall]

‘So it seems,’ Zuniga cracked. Crandall gave him a sidelong fake glare and then they both focused their thoughts as they approached the construction workers.’

In that case, I wanted to show that Zuniga’s comment is intended as a joke. He’s not shocked, and he’s not being sarcastic or rude. That’s why I chose the verb ‘cracked,’ and why I chose the words, ‘sideling fake glare.’  To put all of this another way, I convey tone by embedding dialogue in contexts that clarify the tone.

Eileen: How do you let the reader know your characters sound different?

Margot: To me, that all has to do with the way characters use language. And that’s a product of characters’ backgrounds, education levels, personalities, and other factors. I try to make my characters’ voices distinctive through choice of word, sentence structure, and the like. For instance, here are two characters from Downfall having a conversation. One is a university educator doing getting some background for a research study. The other is the mother of a student who died two years before the novel takes place. The educator has found out about the death, and wanted to talk to the student’s mother about it:

“I understand. I appreciate that you took the time to talk to me. I wonder,’ Carr decided to take a risk, ‘whether you’d be willing to meet with our team again?’

After a long pause, she said, ‘I got my job, I got my kids, I don’t have time to go somewhere and meet with somebody. And I met with enough people already about Curtis. No need me saying nothing else.’’

To me, it’s important to convey subtle differences in speech patterns without stereotyping or using clichés.

Eileen: Do your characters swear?

Margot: Some do, and some don’t. My main protagonist occasionally swears, but he doesn’t use the foulest words out there. The other characters I’ve created are all different, so they use profanity differently. Like other use of language, I think swearing (or not) has to do with personality, background, and a lot of different factors. So, the author can use it (if desired) to show what a character is like.

Eileen: How is your character’s personality reflected in dialogue?

Margot: That’s an interesting question. Dialogue is certainly an effective way to show what a character is like (timid, bossy, extroverted, eager to please, immature, etc..). At the same time, it’s important (to me, at least) not to use clichés or contrivances. Even a timid person, for instance, doesn’t always stammer. Even the bossy type sometimes says, ‘please,’ and ‘thank you.’ But there are ways to share those nuances of character. Here’s an example of what I did in Downfall. This character is an executive at a for-profit alternative education program. In this scene, he’s leading three researchers (of whom my protagonist/sleuth is one) on a tour of one of the program’s schools:

‘“The kids who come here really do well,’ Mark responded, “and the data we’ve been keeping show that they succeed, too. They do well at our Mayfair and Point Breeze center, too, not just at this one.’

This character happens to be ‘corporate-minded,’ although he’s not ruthlessly profit-driven. So, he uses ‘buzz words’ and certain phrases, and whenever he can, he promotes the program. And when the researchers press him a bit about the death of a student, he admits that it happened, but his focus is much more on image and the program’s public relations than it is on the actual humans involved.

Eileen: How do you keep your dialogue from feeling stilted or contrived? 

Margot: As I see it, the most important thing to do when creating dialogue is to make it natural. Dialogue ought to have the rhythm and cadence that real speech does. And it ought to reflect the way real people talk to each other.

Because of that, I think the best way to keep dialogue sounding natural is to pay close attention to the way real people speak. I don’t mean what people say on TV shows or films (that’s usually scripted, anyway), but in real life. I pay attention to speech patterns when I’m in a meeting, or shopping, or out to dinner, or…  I’ve found that the more observant I am of the way people interact, the more realistic my dialogue often is.

Eileen: How do you decide which POV to use in your story?  Why favor one character’s POV over another? Are there certain criteria you use to decide whose POV should be used?

Margot: For me, the key to choosing POV is what serves the story best. For example, a story that depends on the unreliable narrator might be best served by using first person. That way, the author can manipulate the reader, disguise other characters’ motives, and so on. On the other hand, when it’s a whodunit, the author might want third person POV, so as to show what different characters are thinking and doing. That’s what I’ve done in my novels.

That said, though, three are advantages to keeping the focus on one character’s POV as opposed to others. For instance, it makes sense to keep the focus on the protagonist’s POV, whether it’s first or third person. That allows the reader to get to know the protagonist, and to be caught up in the story as the protagonist is.

Eileen: What does close third person mean?

Margot: Close third person follows one character, but in third person. There are many, many novels written that way, and there are good reasons to do so. Close third person means that the story is about one character’s experiences, relationships, and so on, so there’s plenty of opportunity for character development. There’s also the opportunity, in stories like whodunits, for the author to lead the reader up the ‘garden path’ if the character is misled by the villain, for instance.

One disadvantage of close third person is that it doesn’t necessarily allow for quite as much character development among the other characters. That’s because they only appear as the main characters sees and interacts with them. This can be a bit restrictive if it’s not handled well.

Eileen: I read lots of books written in third person.  Some use one narrator and others use multiple. What advantages are there for a writer when writing third person multiple points of view versus third person with one POV?

Margot: I find there are a lot of advantages in writing in third person with multiple POVs. That’s the way I write my novels. The main reason I do so is to give the reader a wider perspective on the story. I write murder mysteries, so that’s the main plot point of my work. Writing with multiple POVs (third person) allows me to share the way the murder and its investigation impact all of the characters. It also lets me set up certain characters as suspects. 

Another advantage of using multiple third person POVs is that it allows for including sub-plots. It’s not absolutely necessary, of course, but it is easier (at least for me) to create sub-plots if readers are following the point of view of more than one character.

Eileen: If a writer uses multiple third-person POV, when can he shift to another narrator without confusing the reader?

Margot: That’s an important question. Readers want, and deserve, to know whose point of view is being shared at any one time, and abrupt shifts in POV can be distracting. Writers who want to shift POV can do it effectively in a few ways.

One way is by chapter. Chapters are natural ‘break points,’ and it can be effective to devote different chapters to different POVs. I’ve read more than one author’s work where that was done successfully.

Another way to shift POV is by scenes. That’s what I do. For example, in Downfall, I include scenes where telephone conversations take place. I begin with one character’s POV as that person makes the telephone call. Then, in the next scene, after the call is completed, I move to another character (usually the other person involved in the conversation).  I’d also add that, for writers who do this, it’s important to make it very clear whose POV is being shared. Using names helps (e.g. ‘John put his telephone back in his pocket. He was glad the call had only lasted five minutes, so he could still make his next meeting.’)

Eileen: In any of your published stories is the POV any other than the protagonist/s?

Margot: That’s the way I do all of my stories. The protagonist in my series is a former police detective who’s now a professor of criminal justice. But his point of view (I use third person) isn’t at all the only point of view I share in my work. I also share the points of view of people he interacts with, suspects, and sometimes just witnesses.

For me, sharing multiple points of view allows the reader the chance to get a broader view of the story as it develops. It’s also helpful in building conflict and tension. I also use multiple POVs to all for some sub-plots in my work – things that my protagonist wouldn’t necessarily know.

Eileen: Are there limitations to a story when it is told in first person?

Margot: There are some limitations. For one thing, it’s harder to share information with readers. If the protagonist doesn’t know something, then the reader can’t know it. It’s also more challenging to do character development with other characters. If they don’t show sides of themselves to the protagonist (or the protagonist doesn’t find out those sides), then readers don’t learn about those other characters as fully as they do when those characters’ POVs are shared.

That said, first person POV can give a real sense of immediacy to a story. Some people argue that it can also invite the reader into the story. That’s what happens, for instance, when someone you know tells you about something that’s happened. You follow along with the storyteller.

Eileen:  You have really covered lots of information in this interview.  I’m also pleased your writing is in crime fiction.  By the way, your books covers are fabulous.  Most definitely, the Joel Williams series intrigues me.

Margot: Thanks again for hosting me, Eileen!


Find Margot’s books here:
Publish or Perish
B-Very Flat
Past Tense
In a Word: Murder

Posted in Interviewing authors, Mystery, Novel Development, On Becoming a Writer | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Just Released: Amy Jarecki’s Book 2 THE DUKE’S UNTAMED DESIRE from the Devilish Dukes Series ~ review follows


Title:  The Duke’s Untamed Desire Devilish Dukes, Book 2
Author: Amy Jarecki
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Story Setting: England, 1818
Pages: 267
Published Date: April 2, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC


Publisher’s Summary:

He’s the most notorious rake in London…
Though he uses the reputation to his advantage, the exotic Duke of Evesham is misunderstood and mysterious. He sidles around societal rules, especially when it comes to pursuing a wife. Though when he sets his sights on Lady Georgiana, the rules find a way of bending on their own accord.

She has no intention of courting anyone…
The consummate bluestocking is in London for one thing—to find a financier for her late husband’s fire engine. And after six years away from the ton, Georgiana realizes social codes of conduct are different for widows—especially for ladies who catch the attention of the Duke of Evesham—the one man from whom the lady harbors a ghastly secret.

But fate has a way of making opposites attract…
And when this pair unite, the sparks between them are hotter than blue fire. But will Lady Georgiana’s secrets lead to their demise? Or can the devilish duke find it in his heart to forgive the woman who has claimed his mind, body, and soul?


My Review:

One thing author Amy Jarecki is sure to make happen in her stories, is make me laugh–no matter the genre.  Her characters have a sense of humor and/or find themselves in funny circumstances. This read is highly entertaining, leaving you chuckling from time to time.

This story is no different.  Both protagonists, Lady Georgina and Duke of Evesham, are well matched–they just don’t know it. Georgina comes from a privileged, titled family.  Georgina had loved her husband. He was killed by an accident while working on his steam-powered pumper. Georgina, being a bit of a bluestocking, finished the pumper not getting any financial help from her parents, leaving her living sparsely in a small cottage. 

She comes to London to ‘sell’ the concept of such a machine and hopefully sell her demonstration model. In the process of demonstrating its capabilities, her pumper didn’t have enough manpower.  The water was let loose on the duke–hundreds of gallons of water with a force which should lay low any man. It was a laughable moment for the reader, one which has Georgina cringing, and the duke over furious!

Fortuitously, the Duke doesn’t recognize Georgina when he meets her later and she prays he does not.  Her romantic fling would be dead in its tracks.

The duke doesn’t have a privileged past.  He is a bastard and only recognized as his father’s son when his father was on his deathbed.  Under his duke façade, exists a man of compassionate for the poor, particularly women and children, a bit of a philanthropic. He has played the duke for four years and is rather bored with his life and the women he meets—beds them, appreciating their beauty, but little else. His reputation precedes him. Along the way, he has gained the reputation of a rake.

Something about Georgina interests him. Meeting her on a social level he saw her different from others—which had him coming back to the trough, so to speak, multiple times.

Georgina, curious by nature, possessing a passionate side, decides to have a fling with the duke during a house party her mother and father host for her birthday.  If you know anything about house parties during the Regency period, they were meant for one thing–to encourage men and women to mingle and get to know each other. The Baroness, Georgina’s mother is busy matchmaking.  She sees the duke well suited to her daughter.  The Duke agrees, but Georgina would like her independence as a businesswoman and loves the new adventure between the sheets! There are a few sizzling scenes where the duke is overwhelmed by her lusty vigor and can’t believe his good fortune. 

The plot moves along quickly.  Not all works out the way the duke thought it would or thinks it should.  He loses his temper when he finds he’s been lied to and makes big assumptions about everything else.  Georgina is only too glad the duke reveals his true character before it was too late.


Posted in Book Reviews, Historical Romance, New Book Release, Regency Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Create a Fascinating Cast of Characters – From the Writers in the Storm Blog — Author Don Massenzio

by Angela Ackerman Let me ask a question: how much time do you spend crafting a character for your novel, say a protagonist? Ten hours? Twenty? Fifty or more? Whatever you answered, I bet we all agree that characters require a lot of work. Who they are in the story, what they want and need, […]

via How To Create a Fascinating Cast of Characters – From the Writers in the Storm Blog — Author Don Massenzio

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Delightful series! One which will charm your socks right off your feet! Just released: THE GOODBYE CAFE by Mariah Stewart



The Hudson Sisters series, Book 3

On sale March 26, 2019
Trade Paperback • Price: $16.00 • ISBN: 9781501145124
eBook • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501145162


The Hudson Sisters Series:
The Last Chance Matinee The Last Chance Matinee: A Book Club Recommendation! (The Hudson Sisters Series 1)
The Sugarhouse Blues (The Hudson Sisters Series Book 2)The Sugarhouse Blues 

The Goodbye Cafe The Goodbye Café (The Hudson Sisters Series Book 3)


California girl Allie Hudson Monroe can’t wait for the day when the renovations on the Sugarhouse Theater are complete so she can finally collect the inheritance from her father and leave Pennsylvania. After all, her life and her fourteen-year-old daughter are in Los Angeles.

But Allie’s divorce left her tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, so to keep up on payments for her house and her daughter’s private school tuition, Allie packed up and flew out east. But fate has a curve-ball or two to toss in Allie’s direction—she just doesn’t know it yet.

She hadn’t anticipated how her life would change after reuniting with her estranged sister, Des, or meeting her previously unknown half-sister, Cara. And she’d certainly never expected to find small-town living charming. But the biggest surprise was that her long-forgotten artistry would save the day when the theater’s renovation fund dried up.

With opening day upon the sisters, Allie’s free to go. But for the first time in her life, she feels like the woman she was always meant to be. Will she return to the West Coast and resume her previous life, or will the love of “this amazing, endearing family of women” (Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author) be enough to draw her back to the place where the Hudson roots grow so deep?


My Review:

This series is charming in its small-town setting and the simpler life people live. I’ve been onboard for the complete series and highly recommend it.  The three sisters have to refurbish an inherited theatre, The Sugarhouse, part of the inheritance left by their father.  All three sisters had to live in Hidden Falls and complete this task to inherit what he left for them.  All, with various reasons, could use the money.  They received so much more in their six months in Hidden Falls.  Book one and two are the stories of Des and Cara, Allie’s sisters.

This is Allie’s story.  She is the sister who was most flawed and unhappiest.  Her multiple fears, based on her insecurities and the events life dishes out to her, lead her to drink heavily – an addiction which destroyed her mother and her mother’s marriage.  When the opportunity to gain some financial stability comes along, she grabs it. Her father didn’t leave much of a dent in Allie’s life—he seldom was around the home front, escaping from his wife.

I loved how much Allie grew in these six months.  From a rather bitter woman insecure on so many fronts, with fear of not able to be a part of her daughter’s life, to a woman with a softer side, humorous, and vivid, capable to stand on her own feet, and who begins acknowledging her own talents. She was no longer needful of her snobbish friends back in L.A.  She finds a relationship of immeasurable value with her siblings and her aunt.  But will this keep her in Hidden Falls?  Her daughter must return to L.A., to her private school.  Allie will do anything for her daughter.  Is her daughter enough for her?

Nikki, Allie’s daughter, has virtually been taken from Allie, circumstances Nikki’s father provides.  When Nikki goes to visit her mother in Hidden Falls, she discovers she enjoys so much of what the town provides.  She discovers real friends with more than clothes and boys on their minds, meets two aunts and a great-aunt who all adore her, and generally provides the reader the energy only an innocent young, sharp-witted teenager displays.

Three local men get involved in the sisters’s lives.  Allie’s included.  But will time run out for this budding relationship to mature enough before Allie returns back to L.A.?

Author Stewart not only builds a small town where I wish I could live, she allows us into the hearts of these three sisters, Nikki, and their aunt, Barney.  Barney is a little mysterious with her nieces, a bit of an artist in providing what her nieces need, lending more entertaining and emotion to the read. The characters will charm your socks off! Thematic and highly entertaining.


MariahStewartAUPhotoAbout the author

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.


Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, New Book Release, New Book Release Tour, Romance | Tagged , , | Leave a comment