Where Hope Begins ...

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Where Hope Begins definitely starts with a bang that takes the reader on an emotional journey. Savannah is blindsided when her husband leaves her for another woman. The reader is then allowed to peel back the layers of Savannah and Kevin's troubled marriage, journeying with them to happier times and then to the tragedy which unravels their happy home.

It is a wonderful story of hope that shows how brokenness does not have to triumph when life gives us more than we think we can handle. Savannah finds that in 'running away' to her parents’ lake house located in the Berkshires that hope blooms and life takes on a different view.

Watching Savannah and her husband go through the darkest period in their life, fighting for their marriage, and seeing the damage done to their family was heart-wrenching and brought tears to my eyes several times. The difficult themes of infidelity, mental health, and broken relationships were handled well by Ms. West with a satisfactory ending.

Source: I got a copy of this book through Net Galley.

Cover Note: A simple cover but ties in nicely with the gardening and writing that are part of the story. 

Murder at the Marina

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Today, I'm welcoming Ellen Jacobson to this blog and I have the admit Murder at the Marina sounds fun and intriguing, despite the subject matter. So, now for Ellen ... 

Thanks for hosting me on your site today to celebrate the release of my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina. This is the first book in the lighthearted and humorous Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series, featuring a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth.

My own sailing adventures and misadventures inspired me to write this series. My husband and I bought our first sailboat in New Zealand in 2012. After a couple of years cruising in those beautiful waters, we returned to the States and bought a bigger boat which we moved onto in 2015. We've since cruised in Florida and the Bahamas, labored over endless boat projects, and worked to keep our cruising kitty (savings) topped up.

I wanted to reflect my experiences learning to sail, cruising and living aboard a boat, and being part of the boating community in my cozy mysteries. You could say that there's a little bit of me in my main character, Mollie.

I thought I'd share one of the boating tidbits which I wrote about in Murder at the Marinanamely, all of the terminology that sailors use. When Mollie first gets involved in the sailing community, she has to learn all sorts of new words such as “winch” and “starboard.” Then there are the terms like “bow,” which she associates with gift-wrapped presents, but which means something entirely different when it comes to boats.

I can relate to Mollie's frustration—learning to sail is hard enough, having to do it another language is even worse. Why can't sailors just say “right” instead of “starboard” and “left” instead of “port”? It will be interesting to see over the course of the series how Mollie copes with learning about all of the more technical aspects of boat ownership and whether she becomes fluent in “Nauticalese.”

If you'd like to learn more about Mollie and her sailing adventures, you can find details about Murder at the Marina below.


A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

Buy Links

Murder at the Marina—A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1
Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

Author Bio

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and scifi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

You can connect with Ellen on:

The Cynical Sailor Blog - http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/TheCynicalSailor/
Newsletter Sign-up - http://eepurl.com/dpy5sv

IWSG Twitter Pitch & Anthology Contest

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Hey IWSGers! There is so much going on in our world right now. Can you believe it's a new month? Another opportunity to share what's going on in our world and to offer encouragement to those writers whose spirit may be flagging. This month's co-hosts are Nicki ElsonJuneta KeyTamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne.

On July 19, we have the Twitter Pitch Party and you can find the details here. Be sure to hone those pitches for the many agents and publishers who will be watching. You never know if this will be your lucky break.

In a few months, the IWSG Anthology Contest will be open. This time, the genre is young adult romance. Watch out for September 5, which is when the theme will be announced.

Today's optional question is: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

I find that the more books I've published, the less time I have to write. One of the things I believe in is setting aside time to write. It may not be every day, but it is a fixed part of my schedule. I have to admit, I've been slacking off, but ultimately, I want to become disciplined about writing at least 1,000 words each day.

If I sprint for a half hour or just over that, I'll reach that goal. My long-term aim is to finish all the stories I've started writing, plus completing the series I've started. If I keep my discipline and focus, and set-time lines, I'll achieve a major chunk of my goals. They haven't changed much over time, but I do need to stay on course.

What are your goals? How are they different now, than say five years ago?

Bounce Back by Dr. Bridgette Jenkins

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Write Now Literary is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for Bounce Back: Tips for Overcoming Adversity, Life Challenges and Setbacks by Dr. Bridgette Jenkins. The tour will run June 4-29, 2018. Publication Date: May 19, 2018 Genre: Inspirational Non-Fiction
Bounce Back will encourage you to be intentional about facing adversity and challenges while staying positive about your situation. With practicality, wisdom and experience, Dr. Bridgette shares strategies and tips that can be used to help you Bounce Back from any negative life situation. 

After reading this book, and applying the practical Bounce Back tips, you will be able to withstand, recover from and overcome any challenge you might face in life.
Amazon eBook
Amazon Paperback
Introducing Dr. Bridgette Jenkins
Dr. Bridgette is a doctorly prepared registered nurse who specializes in education and community health. She has a heart for nursing students and those struggling to reach their education and career goals. 

She serves as mentor and coach to nurses and nursing students as they matriculate through the nursing profession. She is the owner of Health Education Institute where she teaches lifesaving courses to healthcare providers and the public. 

She also offers a variety of courses to healthcare providers to help them stay current on updates and changes within the healthcare arena. Dr. Bridgette also speaks at churches and community events on various health issues that are prevalent among vulnerable populations. 

She is the CEO/President of the Houston Chapter of Black Nurses Rock, a nonprofit organization committed to changing the lives of the citizens in the Houston area and surrounding communities through service and education. 

Bridgette resides in Houston Texas where she’s actively involved in her church and community. She is a mother to three adult children and a miniature schnauzer named Dallas. She is also MiMi to two adorable grandsons. Connect Socially: Website

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Authors do you need help promoting your book? Click here

Where My Heart Belongs

Monday, June 25, 2018

Today, I am happy to welcome Ann Marie Bryan, who is sharing information on her new book. 

GENRE: Christian Fiction Romance

NEW RELEASE: Where My Heart Belongs


Love guided them to precisely what they needed—each other.

From the moment Tyler Bradshaw first lays eyes on Madison Kanate, it’s a dream come true. She is everything he wants, yet everything he feels he cannot have. He is determined to keep his distance, but he can’t, not with the love she offers him. They become the best of friends. That works flawlessly, until she wants more….

That was seven years ago.

Madison has come a long way since falling apart at any reminder of Tyler. He had left her questioning God’s plan for her life, and uncertain of how to move forward. Eventually, she takes charge of her life, putting memories of Tyler to rest with a successful interior design business, along with many charitable projects. Anything else, especially love, ranks a distant second. 

Tyler and Madison reunite through the shenanigan of Mason, Madison’s twin brother. Tyler wishes he could change the past… but life does not offer do-overs. Even so, he believes God has provided a golden opportunity for him—his last chance to win Madison’s heart. As he begins to open up about his childhood and trailing baggage, Madison realizes that his faith has been built in the face of adversity. 

But Tyler’s childhood holds a secret even he doesn’t know. In the face of a staggering revelation that challenges the fabric of his faith, Tyler drops a bombshell of his own. When Madison tries to walk away, she recognizes that deep down she wants happily-ever-after. With her faith rekindled, she decides to trust God, believing she will not be left to pick up the pieces of her heart all over again. But will Tyler allow himself to heal so he can let Madison in? Will they move beyond the past and build a life together?

Amazon Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C92KD36

Standalone books in the Encounters of the Heart series:

Book 1 - Shades of the Heart (The story of Blake & Gabrielle Montgomery)
Book 2 - Mirrored Hearts: Sealed by Fire (The story of Larry & Rozene Kanate)
Book 3 - A Place For My Heart (The story of Chandler Peynard and Sabrina Benjamin)
Book 4 - Where My Heart Belongs (The story of Tyler Bradshaw and Madison Kanate)

Other books:

Unforgettable, My Love Has Come Along
Truth Awaits You on the Other Side: An Anthology about the Consequences of Sin 
Mirrored Hearts (A Short Story)

EXCERPT – Where My Heart Belongs 

His heart rate kicked up and he raked a hand over his head as uneasy dread shot through his veins. Still, wisdom demanded he move speedily to help, even if the situation would force him to come face-to-face with someone he was unprepared to see. 

“God, help her,” he prayed aloud, before jumping into action. 

He moved swiftly to grab his Jeep keys from the coffee table then rushed through the door. He did not relish the journey that now lay before him. Nor did he wish to confront the one thing that would never let him rest—the one painful remorse that continually aggravated his gut. The one thing in his life he needed to fix—his relationship with the woman he had nicknamed Em. 

Madison Emma Kanate. She was his first love….

Once his soul found her, he loved her.

One look and he was helpless to her pull. She had caught his attention and lingered in his heart ever since. He had endured two years of being near Madison—drowning in her love. She always stirred him. Around her, he constantly felt the flutter of butterfly wings in his stomach. She made him feel things he longed for… things he couldn’t have.

Despite all the love she offered him, he could not bring himself to reach for her. Fear held him bound, propelling him to escape the source of his misery.

At the first opportunity, he had left it all behind.

He ran.

He had run away like a frightened animal.

And he had kept moving. He hadn’t looked back.

But, he couldn’t outrun the memories or the guilt that haunted him.


Ann Marie Bryan is a dedicated, graceful, multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO & Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations. 

A Christian Fiction author, Ann Marie writes to educate, inspire and empower others. She desires to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. Shades of the Heart is the first book in her bestselling, Encounters of the Heart series. Book 2 - Mirrored Hearts: Sealed By Fire was released February 2016. Book 3 - A Place For My Heart, the highly anticipated third installment in the series, was released in March 2017. Book 4 - Where My Heart Belongs was released in April 2018.

Ann Marie's greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord. 


Website: http://www.annmariebryan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorannmariebryan
Facebook Readers’ group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/authorannmariebryan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorabryan
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorabryan
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorabryan
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bOw6sr
Google+: https://plus.google.com/118441643599687205816
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ann-Marie-Bryan/e/B008VTK62O
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448888.Ann_Marie_Bryan

Summer Sensation Giveaway

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Here's what's happening...

Enter to Win $25 Gift Card!

Enter to win a gift card and the latest African American, Interracial, and Multicultural Romance ebooks from the participating authors.
    • J.L. Campbell
    • Taige Crenshaw
    • Leela Lou Dahlin
    • Ja'Nese Dixon
    • McKenna Jeffries
    • Dana Pittman
    • Danyelle Scroggins
    • Dominique White

Enter for a chance to win!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

We've gone through almost half the year already and now it's the time of month for a posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Join us by going here. Post your fears and neurosis (if you have them) and encourage other writers. Captain Alex's  awesome team this month is made up of Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, Tonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

N.B. Next month, because of July 4th holiday in the U.S., we'll post on Tuesday, July 3.

The IWSG has some upcoming events:

Yes, it's time to start thinking about the next anthology. My how the time flies!

Genre: Young adult romance

Theme: This will be revealed on September 5, along with the judges and other details.

Previous anthologies:
Parallels: Felix Was Here
Hero Lost: The Mysteries of Death and Life
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime.

Your short story might be included in the fourth anthology! Be sure to start preparing yourself.

There is also the IWSG Twitter Pitch coming on July 19, so stay tuned for that. 

Optional question this month: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

For me, the story title usually comes to me first. Then, I'll spend a little time thinking about the characters' qualities and find suitable names for them. Each book is different so this doesn't happen the same way every time. What about you? 

30Days30Books - June 1

Friday, June 1, 2018

I have a birthday coming up this month and what better way to celebrate than with books. I'll be doing a little 'surprise something' during this month, so stay tuned for that.

Anyway, Contraband is the book that got the ball rolling for me. Here's an excerpt.  :) I'm sharing the tamest part of the book, but get it while I still have it at a rock-bottom price. Here goes...

Paul grunted when he sat on the bed.

Janine piled the pillows against the headboard and removed his boots. After she helped him lie back, she sat on the bed, facing him.

His time was up.

“We have to talk,” she said.

Unable to move without hurting, Paul felt like a sacrificial animal. “Okay.”

Janine stared him in the eyes and started talking. “I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to be involved with you after what Jonas told me.”

She looked away from him for a few seconds. Inhaling deeply, she met his gaze again. “If you’re selling drugs, I can’t condone that…no matter how I feel about you. I’m here now 
because you were shot in my home, and I feel responsible. But as soon as you’re well, we can go back to our normal lives—before each other.”

Paul reached for her hand. She avoided his touch by getting up and walking to the window, where she turned and faced him.

“I could love you, Paul,” she admitted. “But I just can’t do this.”

He cursed his stubbornness while he stared at the blank television, unable to form the words she needed to hear. When the stillness became unbearable, he spoke. “There are things I need to do before I—” He stopped when Janine shook her head.

“You’ll always have an excuse,” she said.

“It’s not an excuse.”

“Yes, it is. Why do you need to do that?” she asked. “Not that you’ve actually admitted to doing anything. I cannot under—”

“I’ve been thinking about giving it up.”

“Really?” She came back and sat on the edge of the bed.

He rubbed the back of her hand, smiling at her awe-struck expression. “Yes, really.”

She cocked her head. “Can I ask why?”

He took a long time before answering. “For a number of reasons.”

“Which you don’t care to disclose,” she said, sighing.

“That’s right.”

“Okay, I won’t push you, but things are going to be just as I said, unless you quit selling drugs.”
Paul examined her mussed hair and flawless skin. She’d removed her jacket and her undershirt hung outside the waistband of her skirt.

If she was curious about his close study of her body, she didn’t say. Their eyes met and held for an eternity. When she looked away, Paul felt he’d made life-changing promises to her, without uttering one syllable.

She kissed him next to the Band-Aid on his forehead, and left without saying goodbye.

His eyes closed and he drew a shallow breath. He had a heck of a lot of unfinished business to sort out before too much time passed.

Sunday Sample - Grudge

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The mind of a writer is a terrible place! 😛 Read on...if you dare! #romanticsuspense #sundaysample This week I'm sharing an excerpt from Grudge.

Trying to keep an eye on the road, and the other on Corra, Philip dialed Anita's number.

She answered immediately, her dread almost palpable. "Phillip? What happened?"

"What is Corra allergic to?"


"I don't have time to answer questions." He shot a sideways glance at Corra, shaking her with one hand. "Come on, open your eyes."

A second later he barked in the phone. "Anita, stop wasting my time."

"Cashew … she's allergic to Cashew. Where are you taking her?"

"The same hospital she took me to. Can you call Dr. Bernard?"

"Yes, and I'll meet you there."



"Don't tell Mrs. Bingham just yet. I don't want to scare her."

"Okay, but—"

He dropped the phone in his shirt pocket and braked in the 
closest parking spot to the entrance. Racing to the passenger side, he checked Corra's pulse and breathing. Both were fast and faint.

He lifted her out of the car and kicked the door shut, ignoring the way his stomach sank at the heat on her skin and how limp she felt in his arms. Walking just short of breaking into a run, he entered the hospital.

A nurse came around the counter to meet him, motioning to an orderly.

"Food allergy. Cashew."

Phillip laid Corra on the gurney, while the nurse did a rapid assessment and then nodded at the orderly. He raced toward the elevator, with the nurse running alongside the stretcher. Phillip hurried behind them and tried getting into the elevator. The nurse shook her head and pointed to the side. "Next one. Third floor."

Phillip stabbed the button, begging the lift to work faster. When it arrived he shot inside, poking the button for the third floor.


He held the door for Anita, who ran inside buttoning her blouse.
"Where is she?"

He pointed upward.

"How could you let her eat something that can kill her?"

Rubbing the back of his neck, he waited for the doors to open. "I didn't know."

"How can you not know?" she asked, almost running to keep up 
with him as he strode down the corridor.

He shrugged. "If she wanted me to know, she'd have told me. Instead, I almost took her life after trying to save it."

The nurse was in the process of yanking a curtain around a bed with Corra in it. Anita rushed toward Corra, calling her name. Her eyelids fluttered and she opened her eyes.

"Are you family?" the nurse asked.

Anita nodded, wiping away tears.

"You can stay. Sit in that corner. Here comes the doctor."

Phillip backed away, relieved that Corra wasn't dead because of him. He pulled out his phone and scrolled through the call list until he got to the restaurant's number. When he got someone on the line, he rubbed his forehead while pacing the floor.
"May I speak with the manager? I left there a few minutes ago with someone who took ill."

"Sure. Hold one moment."

"Good evening, can I help?"

"Yes, I'm sorry, I left in a hurry with my date who got sick. Can you tell me if there's anything in the Crispy Chilli Beef, the Hoisin Pork or Spicy Shrimp that would cause an allergic reaction? Specifically Cashew."

"Yes, the Spicy Shrimp and the Spicy Cashew Shrimp. It is possible that traces of Cashew could get into the Spicy Shrimp through our utensils."

"Thanks. I'll come and pay for the food at some point."

"Thank you. How is the person?"

"I think she's going to be okay."

"That's good. I guess we'll see you, Mr. … "


"And we can get you at this number?"


Phillip ended the call and stood staring through the glass-and-aluminum window. He'd let today serve as a wake-up call for him. Someone who truly trusted him wouldn't have left him in the dark the way Corra had.

She'd spoken openly about her trust issues, but keeping secrets that left her at risk of dying accidentally was something at a different level.

Phillip didn't want to assess how that made him feel.

If you want to find out more about Corra and Phillip, check them out at lrd.to/grudge

Sunday Sample - Retribution

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Since I'm showing off this oldie, but goodie this weekend, enjoy this sample from Retribution. Xavier has discovered that Justine has hidden his son for six years, so of course, he gets on her case...

He removed his hand from her grip, ignoring the heat seeping into his face. He didn’t need to be reminded of what her touch did to him. “I don’t care how you explain this to your husband. You figure it out.”

“But Milton is…” She sighed. “Why d’you want to do this. Why can’t we just keep things the way they are now? Why d’you have to stir things up?”

A bark of laughter escaped him. Had she lost her mind? “We’re not talking about a pet. This boy is my son, who you chose to hide to suit your purposes.” Reckless with frustration, Xavier spoke before he thought. “Milton obviously couldn’t give you a son, so you soothed his ego with mine.”

She choked on the insult, which in turn shamed him. He felt as if he’d kicked a puppy. He knew better than to say something like that, even if it was the truth. However, he refused to apologize. He didn’t owe her any kindness. If anything, she owed him a whole lot more than an apology.

Justine pulled her handbag off the back of the chair and dropped it in her lap, still glaring at him. “That’s not true!”

“Why else would you pass off my son as your husband’s child?”

“For a quiet and peaceful life!”

She dragged a handful of tissue out of the bag and blew her nose. With watery eyes, she studied him. He stared back at her, refusing to change course. He smiled, but the gesture had nothing to do with amusement. “Milton must be blind or stupid to believe that boy belongs to him. So much for your quiet and peaceful life.”

She hunched over the table, but he continued to punish her. “Maybe it suits you to think Milton is a fool, like the fool you took me for, but he probably knows what you did. You just refuse to acknowledge that he knows.”

She blew into the tissue again and shoved the wadded paper into her handbag. “There’s no need for you to act like this.”

His forehead throbbed and he struggled not to smash his fists on the table. When he was sure the top of his head hadn’t exploded, Xavier spoke again. “Woman, don’t force me to be rude to you. All I’m prepared to do is give you time to think about how you’re going to arrange for me to meet my son.”

Follow their story by going to lrd.to/retribution