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Monthly Archives: October 2020

 A native New Yorker, Andrea Downing divides her time between the canyons of city streets and the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. Her background in publishing and English Language teaching has transferred into fiction writing, and her love of horses, ranches, rodeo, and anything else western, is reflected in her award-winning western romances. She has twice been a finalist for the RONE Awards, winner of the Favorite Hero along with several Honorable Mentions in the Maple Leaf Awards, and winner of the Golden Quill for best novella for Dearest Darling . She currently resides on the East End of Long Island.

2020 Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: I’m Dr. Sydney Cantrell, and I’m featured in Andrea Downing’s book, Shot Through the Heart. The rancher I’ve been associated with, Shiloh Coltrane, has taken to calling me ‘Syd,’ which is fine as a term of endearment, but I do prefer others to keep in mind that I have studied the same as a man, been examined for my knowledge in medical school the same as any man, and am therefore entitled to the same respect as any other doctor.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: I grew up in Philadelphia.  My parents are quite well-to-do, but they did not approve of my having a profession and I am therefore no longer in touch with them.  I do think my mother may have continued to write to me but she is very much under the thumb of my father, sadly, so I no longer hear from her either.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: It is the turn of the 20th Century in Wyoming. I do return to Philadelphia briefly, however.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: As a young woman, I fell under the spell of a professor/doctor and his wife, who was also a doctor.  They were guests in my parents’ home.  They inspired me to study medicine as well, something of which my father did not approve.  I was also enamoured of the professor so when his wife passed away, well…I think I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.  I went on to Wyoming to start my medical career while the professor was in his year of mourning, but things didn’t work out quite the way either of us envisaged.

I guess Andrea has found my life interesting enough to write about it.  After all, there are very few women doctors these days, sadly, and for someone with a background such as mine to pick herself up and move from Pennsylvania to Wyoming to work on an Indian reservation and in a small town is highly unusual.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: I have several goals I believe.  First and foremost, I wish to be accepted as their doctor in this new community in which I live in Wyoming, not just by the saloon girls or the army laundresses but by everyone, men and women alike.  Secondly, I need to sort out my feelings for rancher Shiloh Coltrane but also, I feel I need to stop him from his foolhardy and dangerous mission of seeking out his sister and nephew’s killers—this is something for the law, for a sheriff or a marshal.  I know he has been a hired gun in the past, but I want him to put those days behind him and be the rancher he wants to be.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: I think I’ve let on here that I am engaged to one man and in love with another, so that is one conflict.  Another is how do I make myself accepted as a doctor in this small community?  And finally, how do I save Shiloh Coltrane from himself, from getting killed by going on a fool’s errand when it is really someone else’s job to find these dangerous men?

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: No, I have no plan other than being the woman and doctor I am, and trying to make Shiloh see the right thing he should do.  Other than that, I must let life play out as it will and take each step as it comes.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?                                                            

Dr. Sydney Cantrell: Not really, but thank you for asking.  I think your readers must read the book to find out anything more about me, but thank you very much for having me here today and for taking the time to interview me.  It has been greatly appreciated.

Blurb for For Shot Through the Heart:

Gunslinger Shiloh Coltrane has returned home to work the family’s Wyoming ranch, only to find there’s still violence ahead. His sister and nephew have been murdered, and the killers are at large.

Dr. Sydney Cantrell has come west to start her medical practice, aiming to treat the people of a small town. As she tries to help and heal, she finds disapproval and cruelty the payment in kind.

When the two meet, it’s an attraction of opposites. As Shiloh seeks revenge, Sydney seeks to do what’s right. Each wants a new life, but will trouble or love find them first?

Excerpt from Shot Through the Heart:

She crouched behind him, unable to stop the thought her patient’s physique was a prime example of why a female shouldn’t be a doctor, according to her last professor. Oh, yes—we wouldn’t be able to treat men without thinking of marriage. Ha! She shook her head to banish the thought, now supplanted by admiration for the curve of his buttocks, and stood up. Put on her professional tone. Looked into eyes the color of a storm-brewing sky and felt a rush of desire to run her hands though the shaggy blond hair.

Never. Never ever.

She breathed out, pulled herself back to the moment.

“You’re covered in glass.”

“What else is new?”

“Are you in pain?”

“Some. It can wait. Not enough to concern me.”

“You’re going to have to take off your pants and lie on your stomach so I can examine you.”

He didn’t take his eyes off her as he said, “Well then you’re going to have to help. My hands….” He held out his hands, palms up, for her to see.

She realized he was right but resented her own huff of annoyance as he lifted his arms away from his sides. She reached for the buckle on his gun belt first, her irritation with his smirk making her proceed faster than she might have, with less care.

He grimaced.

  “Did that hurt?”

“’Course it dang well hurt. I’ve got glass—”

“I can see you’re covered in glass, Mr.?” It suddenly struck her she’d been so stunned by her patient, she hadn’t even got his name.

“Coltrane. Shiloh Coltrane.”

She pulled herself together once more as she stood, disconcerted, her gaze avoiding his. “Perhaps you’d like to see the barber? This is something he can—”

“If I wanted a shave, I’d see the barber. What I want is…what I want is to get this dang glass out of my skin, my hands particularly. And the piece that’s sticking me in the…the…behind.”

“There are bits in your face as well.” She reached for his belt without another word and undid it, hanging the gun belt on the chair before reaching for his pants belt and pulling it free. That, too, landed on the chair.

“I know I’ve got bits in my face. Let’s just deal first with the hands and …and behind.”

“All right,” she said. “I’m not going to take your pants off for you. Let me see your hands.”

Once more, Shiloh held out both hands, palms up.

Flustered, she blurted, “Sit down.” She went to her bag and searched for the carbolic, gave it a shake before putting some on a cloth and wiped a pair of tweezers. She pulled a tin basin out of the bag as well. She pivoted back to him to find him still standing. “Sorry I forgot. You can’t sit, can you?”

“Not really. Am I causing you problems?”


Buy Links for Shot Through the Heart :

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By Design by [Beverley Bateman]

Nurse Evie Dalton succumbs to the temptation of a lot of money and a chance to work with the attractive Dr. Adam Marsden. She accepts a position at an isolated hospital. On arrival she finds an onsite animal farm attached to the hospital and mysterious limos arriving in the dark. There are screams in the night. People disappear and turn up dead. There’s no way to leave the hospital and area once you start work there and no communication outside the small town. 


Dr. Adam Marsden left his past behind. Now he thinks has it all; a great job, money, and a chance to buy his own hospital. But he hadn't counted on Evie Dalton breaking through his tough emotionless shell. Now, because of him, she’s at risk and might be the next victim. Depending on his decisions, they could both be running for their lives. 

Chapter One

What the hell have I got myself into?

Evie Dalton pulled the soft green cotton uniform top over her head. She’d arrived in Preston last night, excited about her new job; looking forward to meeting new people, learning new things.

By the time she had reached Ophidian, the stark white hospital in the isolated northern woods of California, concern had replaced excitement. Besides the remoteness, her less than altruistic motive had her rethinking the decision as well.

In the room, classical music played quietly in the background. She’d tried to find the switch to turn if off last night, but there didn’t seem to be one; different stations but no off switch. She’d have to ask someone how you turned the bloody thing off before it drove her crazy.

She checked her blonde hair in the mirror, pushing it back behind her ears to make it look neater.

It had been almost two years since she’d been home. Suddenly she had an overwhelming desire to be there right now, close to her mother and father, and brothers. Jiggs, the family terrier would be racing around her, wanting Evie to pet her. That’s where she wanted to be, home, where she would be safe and loved, not in this desolate place.

Everything inside her screamed get out. She’d never really made a mistake before, not a big one. This felt like the big one. But then she’d never made a decision based purely on money before, either. She’d been raised in a small mid-west town where money hadn’t been an important part of her life.

Evie paused to stare out the only window of the tiny suite she would be calling home for the next six months, according to her contract. In front of her stood the sparkling white building where she would be working.

The architecture reminded her of something from the thirties or early forties that she’d seen on an episode of Poirot one time, not a hospital. It was squarish with kind of rounded corners, smaller than most hospitals and a brilliant white.

She could see a one-story wing up front and a two-story wing out the back that angled about forty-five degrees off from the front wing.

Last night when she had arrived it had looked like a white monolith. Today it just looked cold, sterile, and remote. A shiver climbed down her spine. She pulled her arms tightly around herself. Something didn’t feel right. She shook her head, turned from the window, and grabbed her white cardigan off the chair.

She’d never even heard of Preston, California before Dr. Marsden had told her about it. It took four different maps before she even found it. Now she would be living and working several miles outside of Preston in the bloody wilderness.

God, she was an idiot. On the positive side, there had to be a positive side. Maybe she’d learn something from the experience. She had never felt loneliness before but after only a few hours here she felt she was beginning to experience it.

Her supervisor at the crisis center where Evie volunteered had said Evie needed to learn compassion and understanding. Maybe working in this place, she might develop a better understanding of others. Her own feelings were likely going to go through some sort of metamorphosis here. Good had to come out of it somehow. Right?


She squared her shoulders. She’d make it work. Evie pulled on the cardigan, did a quick check of her room, locked the door and headed downstairs.

As a breast cancer survivor (three times) this month hold a special place for me. Almost everyone knows someone who has, or has had , breast cancer, or maybe it’s you and you’re a survivor. Do you “Run for the Cure?” Do you donate to Breast Cancer this month? No, I’m not hustling for donations, but I through more research more and more people survive. I’ve known several people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Many years ago, they didn’t survive Now diagnosis, treatment and prognosis has improved thanks to research.

Two of my three diagnosis were discovered by a mammogram. (The other one was a feeling I had and told my family doctor, and he ordered a mammogram, so I guess all three were). I know there are pros and cons about mammograms. Pros- They do save lives. They are estimated to reduce cancer deaths by 15%. Cons – Some people will undergo treatment for no reason, because the identified cancer would never have grown. Women may experience psychological distress, anxiety and uncertainty for years because of an inaccurate result. This comes from a report at And some cancers are too aggressive and virulent to control, no matter how early they are picked-up.

Obviously, I recommend mammograms, at least women should be doing a monthly self breast check for any lumps or changes. Always remember to check the lymph nodes in the armpit. If you do have a mammogram and it shows abnormalities, they may do an ultrasound. Doctors may also use the ultrasound to do a fine wire biopsy of the area and send it to the lab for testing.  

There are several other types of biopsies that may be done. If the results show cancer cells, treatment is usually surgery. It may be a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. And may also include radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.

I found my recent experience rather amusing. (After two previous experiences you don’t get as concerned) I had my routine mammogram. Something showed up. I had an ultrasound. Not sure what it was so a fine needle biopsy was booked. I had the biopsy and the doctor at the time said it didn’t really look like cancer. It was very small. But if it was cancer, he said they had probably removed it all int the tissue sample. The lab said it was cancer and they booked a lumpectomy. The doctor did the lumpectomy and sent it off to the lab. It came back no sign of cancer. My doctor is most upset. Had she missed the spot? Was it somewhere else? I explained that they had probably got it with the biopsy. I don’t think she thought that was possible. People are still unsure and confused about this. I gather this is not common. 😊

If you have a comment or story to share, I’d love to hear it.

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Born and raised in New Orleans Julie Ann Dupré senses things other people don’t. She’s living in New York when she’s told her mother has been killed in an attempted robbery, which is odd because Perrine didn’t have anything valuable to steal. Julie Ann comes home to find the truth and discovers there’s a family secret, hidden for years. She searches to find the real reason for her mother’s death. Now someone is trying to kill her. Will her psychic senses, a little dog and a detective keep her safe?


Detective Connor O’Reilly, a native of New Orleans and comes from a family of police. He’s an honest cop but realizes there is corruption in the division. He meets Julie Ann at her mother’s house and is immediately attracted to her. After telling her about the attempted robbery he checks into the case and finds no one is investigating the death. Julie Ann deserves the truth and he wants to know what really happened. He starts a thorough investigation. He’s warned off the case and then he receives a death threat.


Julie Ann and Connor work together to unravel the real reason behind Perrine Dupré’s murder, Julie Ann’s mysterious past, and why people want her dead, while developing their challenging relationship. Can they both survive? And what about their relationship?

Buy links:

Available Now on Amazon



Perrine Dupré hurried down the street. Dark New Orleans clouds hovered overhead. Thunder rolled through the skies. Large drops of late May rain pelted the streets of the French Quarter. It sounded like hail as the fat drops bounced off the pavement behind Perrine. The ozone mixed with the scent of magnolia and the smell of shrimp and fish cooking in the area.

The older African American woman struggled against the wind. It whipped her umbrella inside out. She clutched it tightly so not to lose it. Rain clouded her eyes. She stumbled up the three steps to her front door. Juggling her parcels, umbrella and the key Perrine jabbed it in the direction of the lock. Finally, the key found the opening and turned.

Her daughter was coming home for a visit. Perrine’s pulse increased and a smile sneaked out.

Perrine loved her New Orleans. She hated to travel, but two years ago she’d gone to New York to see Julie Ann and her new business. It was a mass of busy airports and crowded flights, but she’d enjoyed seeing New York and staying in her daughter’s apartment. Her daughter had showed off her interior design business, introduced to a few of her friends and dragged Perrine to some of the typical tourist activities. Julie Ann been getting her interior design business established then and had trouble finding time to leave it and come home. Recently she’d taken on a partner and now had a little more time. Tomorrow Julie Ann would be home in New Orleans and Perrine could give her a big hug. Thunder rumbled across the sky, sounding like pins crashing in a bowling alley.

Perrine turned the doorknob and froze.

A vision flashed in front of her. Her shoulders sagged. Her visions didn’t lie. She wasn’t going to see Julie Ann after all. And she'd miss their regular telephone call tonight, too.

She wasn’t prepared to die. A single tear shimmered down her cheek. Her heart pounded. She clutched her parcels to her chest. Why now? Lightning flashed. Thunder crashed.

He waited for her to come inside.

The vision showed her crumpled on the ground in front of the house. She’d run, but obviously she wasn’t going to get far. Even if her vision was wrong and she managed to escape tonight, they would kill her eventually. And after tonight Julie Ann would be home and she could be in danger. 

Big Halloween Multi-Author Book and Swag Giveaway On #Writmodage:
Shifters, Monsters, And Other Thrills!

Enter for a chance to win Death Southern Style

 Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. She has been writing since childhood and continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant. Until about ten years ago, she never dreamed she would publish romantic suspense and contemporary young adult fiction. Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She enjoys reading, jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy. R ead more about Addison on her website , Tirgearr Publishing , Amazon , and BookBub . Connect with Addison on Inst agram , Twitter , Facebook , and YouTube .

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Addison: Contemporary romantic suspense is what I know and enjoy. It’s what I live—with lots more thrill, twists and turns than everyday life. DARK ENERGY and BECKER CIRCLE are contemporary romantic suspense with a young heroine. I also write young adult contemporary, with two likely releasing in 2021.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Addison :My i nfluence came from within. While growing up, no one encouraged me to think big. To dream. My destiny was to go work, get married, have kids, then retire. Me? I don’t think so. About ten years ago when I took a mini work sabbatical, I realized I could do lots more than live the expected life. The extra time motivated me to clean out boxes I had lugged with me for many moves. In one was the diary I wrote when I lived in England as a teen. The diary contents sparked the idea for the first novel I ever wrote. I signed a publishing contract for that book in March, and it should be released in 2021. I didn’t tell a soul until I had 30,000 words written. That’s when I realized I could finish a novel. I was very selective about who I told so no one could discourage me.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Addison : I immerse myself in the book’s setting. BECKER CIRCLE and DARK ENERGY take place in the bar scene. I often wrote sitting at bars around the U.S. and talking to bartenders and patrons for inspiration.

Beverley: What inspires you as an author?

Addison : Life experiences are huge inspirations for me. I wrote these books during a stage in my life when I was single, going out a lot, and meeting some of the most unique people on the planet.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person’ and why?

Addison : Diana, Princess of Wales has been a role model since I was a young teen. I lived in England during her fairytale engagement and wedding. I saw her wedding dress and had a couple of Diana sightings. What inspires me most is how she wasn’t afraid to buck tradition to stay true to herself. It took tremendous strength for her to show her sincerity and kind heart, which touched so many directly and indirectly. Her spirit will live on forever in so many ways.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Addison : During this unforgettable 2020, I’d treat myself to every day at-home things—take a longer jog, try a new recipe, longer play sessions with Lucy, and binge-watch a new series. As the world begins to open up again, I would indulge my passions—take a day-trip to see a friend, stroll around an outdoor craft festival, watch live music, catch up with friends over a cocktail, and do all of these with John, the love of my life.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Addison : There are many projects in progress. The next will be a young adult contemporary fiction that I hope my publisher will release in 2021. Stripped of her Olympic gold, figure skating career, and even her identity, Docia must disprove the vicious adoption scandal threatening to end far more than her dreams. The speculative romantic thriller I’m writing now explores how mainstream use of artificial intelligence will affect relationships. It’s terrifying to write. You’ll never look at your Alexa or Siri the same again.

Blurb for Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle):

  Cybercrime doesn’t talk. It creeps in and destroys lives right under Gillian’s nose when a cryptojacking scheme lands her boss, Pinkie, in jail. Gillian had just started over with a new career, boyfriend, and confidence after escaping a vicious murder investigation that shattered her ability to trust. Then Pinkie’s arrest leaves her struggling to run his two bars while also unraveling the conspiracy.

  Gillian will not let her mentor and friend go down for something he didn’t do. Neither will Jon, the most talented musician on the bar’s stage and the perfect boyfriend…until his good fortune sends her reeling. Gillian forces herself to trust the cops, people who hurt her, and known criminals. Will it be enough to free Pinkie and save her life?  

Excerpt from Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle) – Chapter Six:

I rest my forehead on the window and breathe to gather what little nerve remains. People stroll the sidewalk like tonight’s a regular Saturday night. Cars drive past like nothing has changed. The neon that traces the perimeter of the high rise across the street cycles through a rainbow of colors. Inside, the crowd hum creeps back. A shaker and clanking bottles sound from the bar.

I’m sure this is a little misunderstanding. Pinkie will be back tomorrow . Thoughts race through my head. They’re only words, not answers. Certainly, they’ve made a mistake and arrested the wrong person. What do I do right now? Face this head on?

Ignore it? Tell patrons, “thanks for being part of the Pinkie’s Too grand opening. The band starts shortly, so order another round and enjoy!”

What’s Pinkie’s Too without Pinkie? The answer is entirely up to me to figure out.

Buy links for Dark Energy

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Amazon Canada , Amazon Australia , Smashwords , Apple Books , Kobo , and B&N Nook . Author proceeds go to Staff Meal to help provide meals and other aid to restaurant workers in need during the pandemic.

Judi has had stories in her head as far back as she can remember. However, being lazy (her friends like to point out that she’s efficient), and being a legal assistant, she knew she could never complete a manuscript if she had to write it on a typewriter. Then, along came word processors, and those magic cut and paste and delete icons. There was no stopping her after that. Within a few weeks of her first job with a computer, she started her first story, a house-beautiful, vogue thing about lawyers. Needless to say, it will never be published — but she honed her description skills on that project, so nothing is ever wasted.              Judi has recently relocated to New Mexico and is living in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains at the southern end of the Rockies.   No more Februarys in Maine for her. She lives with two dogs, a Yorkie, Mishka, and a MinPin, Gizmo, –who lives up to his name. Both have acclimated easily, although Gizmo does miss eating snow in the winter. Despite their small size, they rule the house.

First of all, I want to thank Beverly for inviting me to her blog.

I thought I’d share about a favorite character.  Well, really, I have two.  My first favorite character is Aerial Bonné .   She first appeared in her daughter’s book, Ghost of a Chance, where her daughter, Wynter Storm, is denying she has any psychic abilities.  Then Aerial comes to visit over the holidays, and begins to take over the book.  I had to sit down and have a chat with her, promising I would write her story, but this was her daughter’s story.

Ghost of a Chance – Chances Are … Book 1:   A logical engineer, a psychic in denial and a mischievous little boy ghost equal a recipe for trouble.  Available from Amazon Kindle and KU:   Link to Trailer: CoPNH0&t=1s

Excerpt from Ghost of a Chance

Late that afternoon, Trace climbed the stairs to his study. At the moment it was a work in progress. A sheet of plywood, confiscated from the site, resting across two filing cabinets, imitated a desk. A bookcase created from more boards and cement blocks housed engineering books. He’d ask Wynter to work on this room next. Before the living room.

He set a bottle of beer on the end table and settled into an overstuffed chair in one corner of the room. He’d catch up on professional reading before looking over a batch of blueprints to get a head start on work the next day.

The sun had set, and dark filled the corners of the room. He reached over and touched on the lamp. Suddenly, a chill wafted across his arms. He got up to check the window. Perhaps Gertrude had opened it a crack to air out the room and forgotten to close it.

The window was securely latched.

He returned to his chair, settled himself, opened the journal he wanted to read, and the light shut off. “Must’ve bumped it when I turned the page,” he muttered. He touched it back on . He read a paragraph, grabbed his beer and took a sip. The light went off again. Guess I hit it on accident, he decided. That was the only logical explanation. He turned it on once more and continued reading. Five minutes passed and it shut off again.

“What the devil,” he muttered. He hadn’t moved. He touched it on for the third time. In no more than a minute or two, it turned off. Grinding his teeth in frustration, he touched it on. It went off.

He got up, unplugged and plugged in the lamp, and turned it on. It immediately went off again. Was there an echo of childish laughter? He dismissed it. Sara was gone, spending the night with his mother. Had to be kids down the block, playing outside. 

Then came Aerial’s story that I promised her, Taking a Chance.   While her daughter is on her honeymoon, Aerial stays in Hidden Falls to run Wynter’s shop and take care of her pre-teen granddaughter.   And starts hanging out with a local detective, Frank O’Malley, and spends time with her new BFF, Betty.   Come to find out, Betty’s daughter was kidnapped years ago when she was two.

Taking a Chance – Chances Are … Book :  A psychic, a skeptical cop, a cold-case kidnapping and a hard-core conspiracy-theory lover.  Who will take a chance?  Available from Amazon Kindle and KU:   Link to Trailer:

   And now we come to my second favorite character, Guy Beadie, who shows up in Taking a Chance, and there isn’t a conspiracy theory he doesn’t love.   Which is why I find him fascinating.   He’s based on a date I had, where the guy talked about chem trails (which I had never heard of at that time) and discussed in detail seeing a bank blocked off with tape that he drove by to meet with me and how they were conspiring to keep people away.   So, the husband of a friend of mine is a police officer.   I immediately called her and discovered that there had been a bank robbery at that exact location.   I was fascinated by him, but clearly my responses were not enthusiastic enough.   I would have gone out with him again for research purposes, but he said bye and that was it.   However, Guy thanks him.  

Excerpt from Taking a Chance

“I know you’re off-duty, but do you mind if I ask you a possible work-related question.”

Frank was thankful for the change of topic. “Another missing music box?” he asked with a smile, remembering the first time they’d met. She had insisted the police department be called about Sara’s missing music box.

“No, this time it’s about a missing girl.”

His smile faded at the solemn expression on her face. “What about it?”

“I had the oddest dream last night.”

He folded his arms across his chest. “Oh?”

Aerial waved her hand dismissively.  “Never mind. Probably just my overactive imagination. I won’t bother you with it.”

“It’s no bother.”

“No, it’s nothing. Just a silly dream.”

“Are you sure? I’m a good listener.”

She shook her head.

“You’ve probably watched one too many reruns of Without a Trace .”

She stared at him a minute as if she intended to say something, then closed her mouth firmly. “You’re probably right.”

Son of a gun. He’d obviously said something wrong. “Look, I’m sorry for teasing you. I do want to hear what you have to say.”

“It’s okay. I know. It was a crazy question.”

Her reluctance to say anything more tweaked Frank’s interest. What had stopped her? No matter the situation, he always wanted to pull the loose thread to see what unraveled. She’d given him an opening, and he decided that was a good excuse to see her again. “How about we go out to dinner? I can check around, and we can talk about this more.”

She hesitated a moment, just long enough for him to realize he really wanted her to say yes. “I’d like that. When are you thinking?”

“How about Saturday?”

“That will work. I’ll ask Betty if she can watch Jenny. My granddaughter,” she added in response to his raised eyebrow.

“Great.” What a doofus. Couldn’t he come up with something better to say? He couldn’t believe how tongue-tied he was around her. Good thing he wasn’t in the dating market. And he hadn’t just asked her for a date. He merely wanted to satisfy his curiosity about her.

“I’ll let you know for certain. I’m sure we will see each other at the Bean.”

Looked like she’d learned the locals’ nickname for the coffee shop. “Looking forward to it.” Frank turned, grinning like a detective who’d just closed a cold case. It had been a long time since he’d met a woman who intrigued him as much as Aerial. Sure, she was attractive, even if she might appear to be a little offbeat. After all, she was from the land of flakes and nuts. But he suspected there were deeper layers. And he definitely wanted to investigate them.

As he exited the door, he nearly bumped into a guy loitering outside. Frank quickly assessed him. Middle-aged, mussed hair, rumpled clothes, refusing to meet his gaze. Might mean something — or nothing at all. The guy didn’t smell like a homeless person. Likely just lived on his own. Probably not a threat. But he didn’t look like the usual kind of customer Frank expected to see at The Herbal Emporium. He’d keep an eye out for the guy, see if he showed up here again.

You can find Judi at:

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You can watch trailers for her books at  

Our topic for this month is ‘What is your favorite book(s) of all time in your favorite genre(s)?’What a challenge. I sat and stared at the computer screen thinking about the question and all the books I’ve read. How do you pick just one, or even two? Of all time – that’s a lot of books. If I remember the book, and still have it, does that make it my favorite?

Okay, I’m going to cheat. My favorites from many years ago are Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Surfacing by Margaret Attwood and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I think these books are all considered literary fiction. They are books I’ve read and re-read over time. They are still on my bookshelf. They are books that are well-written, and I think all of them are about searching. Searching to find themselves and improve, to reach their goal. 

There are obstacles, peers laugh at them and they continue to fight to reach their goal. They always encouraged me to keep trying and improve. And even now, I keep trying to improve and continue learning.

These days my favorite genre is romantic suspense. It’s still really hard to choose a book or even two in that genre. So, I’m going to pick an author or two. They are my favorites. Their books are well-written with great plots and characters that pull me in and keep me turning pages through the night. Karen Rose weaves fascinating, dark, on the edge stories. Loreth Anne White develops great characters that pull you in. Her books are set in Canada and you can visualize the settings. And the plot hooks you and reels you in as the story progresses. I love their books and always look forward to the new release. These books are also on my bookshelf.  

Not sure I stuck to the topic. I look forward to seeing how other authors wrote about this topic.

Anne Stenhouse    http:// Skye Taylor Diane Bator Connie Vines Dr. Bob Rich Fiona McGier Victoria Chatham Helena Fairfax Rhobin L Courtright

K.A. Raines is a U.S. Navy veteran who lives in Longview, TX with her children and who has a passion for reading, writing, red wine, and good food. Her love for science fiction, the paranormal, and romance bleed into her writing.

Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Derrick: I’m Derrick. Derrick Caine.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Derrick: I was born n’bred in Louisiana. When my mama died I was forced to moved into my daddy’s shithole trailer.  Made my mama’s place seem like a palace, but I ain’t one to complain.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Derrick: Not too far from now. Let’s hope for humanity’s sake it doesn’t happen, and it’s all just some effed-up dream I’m havin’.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Derrick: Ain’t much to tell. Or, not much I’m willin’ to say. Had a crappy childhood. Would prob’ly be dead if it weren’t for my cousin, Mike, who did me the favor of ending my old man. Even still, I managed to land my ass in jail more ‘an once. But she saved me. My daughter. My Celia. And I couldn’t save her from the Seekers once the world ended.

Beats me why anyone would write about someone as jacked up as me. Why anyone could give a man a taste of happiness just to take it away.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Derrick: My goal is to protect the people I love, including Keira, the woman I’ve loved since I was just a boy, and to take out as many of the Seekers as I can along the way. Also, I gotta learn the Trade’s Rendezvous point. To do this, I gotta pretend to be one of ‘em.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Derrick: Mostly, protectin’ Keira from ‘erself. Woman is damn stubborn an’ underestimates the danger she’s in. ‘Course, she’d just scoff and say she’s capable of protectin’ herself. Guess it’s probably my problem, then, which leads to my internal conflicts. I never got over Celia’s death and the abuse I faced as a child, and I prob’ly never will.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Derrick: Plan? Nah, I’m wingin’ it. Discovered that tryin’ ta control Keira will likely lead to castration, and I like my balls where they are, thank you very much. Any rate, we make a better team when we’re workin’ with each other than against each other.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Derrick: Just that I’m gonna git those bastards. Just ‘cause the world’s ended don’t mean the bad guys win.

Blurb for The Infiltrator:

A virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.

Excerpt for The Infiltrator:

“What happened to you?” she breathed. “Who did you lose?” She knew she was pushing him, that she should stop before she went too far, but it felt like observing a train wreck, watching from a distance as the engine rushed ahead at full steam, and, even foreseeing the impending disaster on the tracks, being powerless to stop it. “You risk your life tryin’ to save women and children. Who was she? Your wife?” She didn’t even know why she cared. She didn’t want to care. Derrick Caine was a virtual stranger to her, yet she knew she was already in way too deep.

He growled suddenly, a low, guttural sound that jarred her out of her trance when she rather unexpectedly found her space invaded by him for the third time in the past several minutes. Yet the charge in the air had shifted subtly; he no longer seemed angry, exactly, but there was something decidedly predatory in his eyes.

“You want from me?” His voice in her ear was a dangerous rumble that elicited chills up her spine and ignited a fire that bloomed hotly in her womb, a delicious contrast. Quite suddenly, all she wanted was to relieve the dull throb between her legs that his voice and presence evoked; she wanted him so badly that she physically couldn’t endure not to have him soon.

You . Just you. “I could ask the same of you,” she settled for, and she couldn’t stop the tremor in her voice. She was overwhelmed by him—by his nearness, by the heat emanating from his body, drawing her in. She tentatively raised a trembling hand, reaching up to touch a raised scar on his chest, just above his left pectoral. His chest continued to visibly rise and fall, and he was breathing hard through his nose in an obvious effort to calm himself, fists clenched in tight balls at his sides. His breathing hitched when she barely touched him, a feather-light caress, her fingertips just skimming the jagged edge of his scar. She had known all along that he was in pain. So much unbearable pain—yet he would never admit it to anyone, least of all her.

Buy Link The Infiltrator:

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Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?



Buy links:


“Until then you could use a watchdog. She may be small, but she looks like she’s doing a good job. Why Marie L.?”

“I don’t know. It just seemed to fit.”

“I see. That wouldn’t be short for Marie Laveau would it?”


“You believe in voodoo?”

“Yes. Why? Do you have a problem with it? It’s not evil like people believe. It’s a religion.”

“So, I’ve heard.”

“You sound doubtful?”

“I’ve heard about the spells and the voodoo dolls.”

Julie slipped her hand inside her pocket and fingered the protection ball Ava had given her.

“That’s for the tourists. The spells are supposed to be used for good only. If someone uses them for evil, it comes back on them. And if you’ve done your research you know Perrine was a High Priestess in the voodoo temple until she retired.”

“Yes, I did find that. She wasn’t at the time she died.”

“No, she’d retired. Priestess Ava took over, but Perrine still attended the voodoo church.”

“I see, and you don’t think that had anything to do with her death?”


“What about the voodoo doll?”

“It’s New Orleans. You can buy one of those at any of the shops in the French Quarter. Tourists love them. I’m guessing whoever bought it thought they might scare me into running back to New York. Or maybe the murderer wanted the death to look like it might be tied to voodoo to throw people off the real reason, whatever that is. But it does show it likely wasn’t anyone in the neighborhood and definitely not someone who actually knows anything about voodoo.”

“I’ll take your word on that for now.”

If Connor didn’t want to know about voodoo that was fine with her. It was another challenge to any kind of a relationship between them.


J.L. Regen’s book was inspired by a real-life story of lovers who  join hearts against many odds. She lives in the New York metropolitan area, is a published photojournalist, has short suspense stories online, and has taught English as a Second Language to students around the globe. This is her first contemporary romance. She has also published three nonfiction books and is crafting a psychological suspense.

Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Margo: Margo Simmons

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Margo: I grew up in Upper Manhattan

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Margo: It is contemporary

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Margo: I live with my mother, whom I love very much and my stepfather who is verbally abusive to both of us. My story is not finished. I want to teach and travel and meet someone who I can love and who loves me. I know it sounds old fashioned, but I want the forever kind of love.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Margo: My goal is to get a place of my own, find my niche in the teaching world, and have a personal life

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Margo: I face a mean stepfather who is using me and my mother as a meal ticket and the love of my life, Edward, can’t let go of the memories of his first wife who died of cancer. 

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Margo: To resolve my problem, I need to take a job to find my own place and seek counseling with Edward.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Margo: I cry at the site of an animal in a shelter, I love lavender perfume, I want to be a better photographer, and have a child of my own someday. I’m sentimental. A rose or a card for a special occasion means a lot to me.

BOOK BLURB for Secret Desires:

Nothing in Margo Simmons’s life comes easy. She can’t claim

the inheritance on a condo apartment her uncle has left to her until she is gainfully employed in a job for a year. She meets the man of her dreams but anguishes over a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife. With great difficulty, she becomes the guardian to a recently orphaned child she had been tutoring.  

Margo evolves from an insecure, newbie elementary teacher into a woman determined to fulfill the secret desires locked in her heart. My story speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.

Buy Links for Secret Desires: Barnes and Noble regen/1125516296?ean=9780998409900  

and Amazon Regen-ebook/dp/B01N137HX5/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=jl+regen&qid=1600047753&s=books&sr=1-1