Monthly Archives: June 2021
Please welcome Lyndi’s adventurous friend, Susan Payne!
BLURB: Texas Ranger Tanner thought he was on a fool’s mission when the medical examiner he had been sent for turned out to be a female veterinarian. Dr. Henrietta Manville was more than a pretty face and she was all business when it came to being called in by the Rangers to preform medical investigations on questionable deaths. A string of similar so-called suicides among prostitutes had officials seeking more answers. Tanner found there were more surprises in-store for him as he escorted the doctor from one morgue to another following a mysterious killer.
Henrietta felt she had her life all planned out when a handsome Ranger rode into her hometown seeking a medical examiner. It didn’t alter her promise to remain clear of living humans, but she needed to remind herself almost daily of her mission. No involvement. No attachments. No emotions that would break her heart again.
EXCERPT: Tanner touched his glass to Henry’s in a salute and to fend off the man on her other side who finally had built up enough lust to speak with her even though Tanner was in possession. Tanner pulled her out onto the dance floor when the piano began “The Yellow Rose of Texas”.
Again, all eyes seemed to be on Henry, but Tanner had his arm around her, and if he kept moving, he could keep her out of anyone else’s. She may be bait, but she wasn’t supposed to be eaten alive in the process.
He thought, for sure, she would be the same woman who accompanied him all along the trail, but to find this elegant, beautiful woman in his arms was causing him all sorts of physical problems. She was the same yet more. More womanly and more attractive to him. He fought the urge to take her out the swing doors and disappear with her until he could satisfy his other needs she brought to the surface.
He knew he would have to give her up eventually especially since Agape was already here just as they had hoped. He needed to put Henry in the rotter’s reach and then watch like a hawk for any sign he was going to harm her.
Swinging Henry in his arms was rewarding, but he knew their time together was limited. In more ways than one. Soon the Rangers would have their man and Henry would be sent home, miles from him, and if he knew his commanding officer, miles from Tanner’s next assignment.
Henry felt as if she was in heaven. She was a princess and Tanner was her Prince Charming, being held in his arms and danced around the mostly empty dance floor. The faces blurred, but most of the other people were having a good time. She could still hear talking and laughing and the lively piano which was played with gusto if not finesse.
Tanner leaned down and whispered in her ear, “The reverend’s here, in that corner, clean shaven, wearing all black except his shirt, but without the cleric’s collar. He’s been watching you, so I think we have our man. Just have to get him to do something to incriminate himself.”
Then Henry laughed and slapped him lightly on the shoulder as if he had said something naughty to her and that she had enjoyed it. Tanner seemed amazed at her ability to act.
The music turned into a love song as Mel, wearing an evening gown that could have been seen at the opera in New York, sang. Most everyone’s attention was drawn to the piano and the large woman there. Tanner and Henry were under the stairs near the storeroom door when they stopped, and both took a moment to rest.
Henry peered up and met Tanner’s gaze and all sound disappeared, no more singing or laughter or piano notes. The brightly lit room faded and there was only the two of them as they were drawn to one another by some unseen force, like a magnet until his lips covered hers and Henry had her first grown-up kiss.
It only lasted a moment, but when Tanner pulled back and stood straighter the light and noise and piano all returned in an unwanted roar, as if they were dropped into some kind of hole with all these other people.
Henry knew Tanner felt the same way. She was sure of it as she touched her lips in awe.
“Don’t worry, Henry, your make-up is still perfect. I’m sorry. I should have waited to do that,” he apologized.
Staring shyly into his shirt, she said, “I really should make myself more available to the reverend. Lure him into trying something.”
Tanner’s hand tightened a little on her elbow, but then he agreed. “You’re right. I admit I can’t completely monopolize you or this whole night will be for naught. I’ll stay close. Just play with that chain around your neck if you need me and I’ll be at your side before you know.”
Making his way to the bar, Tanner watched covertly as she made her way to the table the preacher occupied.
BIO: A voracious reader her whole life, author Susan Payne loves the written word. When reading wasn’t enough, she decided to allow her mind to take flight and write all the many stories that kept intruding in her life. She blended her love of history and her love of words to create over eighty stories. All historical and centering on couples finding love and a happy ever after together.
Welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Gayle Irwin!
I live in central Wyoming, between Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming/southwestern Montana. Since childhood, national parks and outdoor spaces have played a large role in my life and in my writing. From camping and hiking to nature photography and cross-country skiing, outdoor adventures delight my soul.
I enjoy traveling. Most times those journeys take me to various public lands. A recent trip to Custer State Park in South Dakota (near Mount Rushmore) brought donkeys to my car door, captured baby bison frolicking in greening meadows, and the song of western meadowlarks trilling from fence posts.
I’m blessed to have two nearby outdoor spaces that sparks my creativity. One is a ranch located 75 miles from my home; the property is owned by friends. About three times a year I travel and stay there for an extended period of time. The sage and grass-covered hills, rolling Powder River, and distant Bighorn Mountains provide solace and inspiration. Livestock and wildlife encounters bring smiles, especially in spring when lambs and white-tailed deer fawns appear in pastures. Sandhill cranes often dance and forage in viewing distance, and songbirds chorus the welcomed, warming weather. Crimson sunrises greet me, and golden sunsets beckon sleep. The quiet relaxes me, and my friends’ generosity brings me joy. The modular guesthouse at which I stay possesses large windows from which one gazes upon the nearby fields and woods. I’ve composed many articles, short stories, and book chapters at this scenic and tranquil place.
The other special space where creativity comes alive is found at our remote, mountain cabin. My husband and I own six acres of forest land just a 20-minute drive from our house. Upon the acreage sits a 540 square foot cabin – we bought a tiny house before tiny houses became popular! At 8,000 feet in elevation, the land is difficult to get to during winter, but from May to October, we spend weekends and weeknights at the property. We use solar panels for electricity and bask in the solitude interrupted only by hooting owls, zipping hummingbirds, and the call of foxes and coyotes. My husband constructed a wooden half-acre enclosure for our dogs to roam. He also built a free-standing deck on which to dine, to read, or to write, all of which happen often. Our acreage brings us great peace, and, for me, much creativity.
I weave nature into many of my books, including two children’s books I’ve composed: A Town Dog Named Mary Visits a Ranch and Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest. When I began writing sweet, contemporary, second-chance romance, I wanted to place the stories in areas I know and enjoy, primarily the Yellowstone National Park region. The first book, Rescue Road is set in southwestern Montana; the area near Cody, Wyoming (on the eastern edge of Yellowstone) is the setting for the second book, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch; and my upcoming Christmas novella, titled In the Shadow of Mount Moran, takes place outside of Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyoming. Readers are given a taste of what this unique area known as Yellowstone Country is like through the descriptions, dialogue, and drama in the stories. My primary characters relish the outdoors – just as my husband and I do.
Finding Love at Compassion Ranch released approximately one year ago. The story’s animal sanctuary, Compassion Ranch, is based on a real Wyoming animal sanctuary called Kindness Ranch. This property, located in the eastern part of the state, rescues animals used in research, including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, sheep, and other creatures, providing them solace and security, loyalty and love. Many of the animals go on to be adopted into loving homes while some reside on the large property for the rest of their lives. The work is unique, and sadly, still necessary due to the various industries that still use animals for research projects. People can visit the ranch, stay on the property, volunteer with the animals, and adopt a furry companion. I dedicated Finding Love at Compassion Ranch to the staff and volunteers of Kindness Ranch. Rescue work is not easy, and I admire what the workers do and the mission of the organization. I have visited twice, and I look forward to going again one day, for truly it is an inspiration!
What is your special place for inspiration?
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for children and adults. Her sweet, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rhiann’s Rescue, Rescue Road, My Montana Love, and Finding Love at Compassion Ranch. Gayle volunteers for various dog rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups. Learn more about her and her writing and follow her bi-monthly blog on her website: https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/.
Follow Gayle on Social:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/GayleMIrwin
Pinterest (under Waggin’ Tales): www.pinterest.com/gaylemirwin
Author Website: https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/gayleirwin
Finding Love at Compassion Ranch Book Blurb:
A ranch like no other …
Erin Christiansen is still adjusting to life as a widow. She seeks additional healing by volunteering at Compassion Ranch, a sanctuary for former research animals. Upon arrival at the majestic and unique northwestern Wyoming ranch, she meets Mike, a man she knew in high school, whose compassion for animals and people might be the balm Erin needs.
Retired veterinarian Mike Jacobs is no stranger to loss. Five years after the accidental death of his wife, he now serves as ranch manager of Compassion Ranch. He not only fixes fence and provides tours, but he applies his veterinary skills and his heart for animals to his work. Upon recognizing Erin from high school, he can barely believe his first love will spend a few weeks at the sanctuary.
Can Erin and Mike span the years since they have seen each other or do they, like many of the rescued animals, have wounds that run too deep to trust and love again?
Finding Love at Compassion Ranch Excerpt:
A fire crackled amid the ring of rocks Mike had gathered. As Erin sat next to him, gazing upon the meadow, warmth enveloped her. The horses stood nearby, munching on grass. Shadow lay to her right. The blaze took the chill from the late summer evening, but Mike’s presence, with his arm draped across her shoulder, also warmed her physically and emotionally. The meal and wine filled her stomach as well as her heart and mind. Erin realized she hadn’t felt this relaxed and comfortable in more than a year, since Daniel’s diagnosis. Now, here she was, in a beautiful part of the world amid an animal rescue sanctuary, doing positive work and experiencing the love of a kind, caring man.
Mike’s whisper close to her ear disrupted her thoughts.
She looked at him and then in the direction on which he focused his eyes. A herd of ten elk, cows and calves, captured her attention. Her eyes widened as she inhaled deeply.
“Oh, wow!” she whispered.
Shadow responded either to their voices or to the smell of the animals, for she suddenly sat up.
“Easy, girl,” Mike said in a low, but firm tone. “Stay.”
Erin captured the dog’s leash, affixed to her red collar, in her hand.
“Thanks,” Mike acknowledged, still speaking in a soft voice. “We’re seeing females with their young. The males will start coming out, and they will be bugling soon.”
“What does that mean?” Erin asked in a quiet voice.
“Usually in early September the bulls, male elk, come into what’s known as the rut – the mating season. They make this incredible noise, called a bugle, that announces to other bulls it’s time to fight for females. It’s an amazing sound and an incredible experience to witness.”
“I’d love to see that sometime.”
Mike’s gaze turned to her. “Whenever you want to come back in September, I’ll bring you back up here, and we’ll do just that.”
She smiled and snuggled into his shoulder. After a quick pat to Shadow’s head, Erin returned her gaze to the majestic wild creatures. A contented, soft sigh escaped, and she felt Mike’s embrace tighten around her.
Book Buy Links:
Amazon – Kindle:https://amzn.to/2AM7sLk
Amazon – Print:https://bit.ly/2XhZbq3_CompassionRanchPrint
Barnes & Noble – Nook:https://bit.ly/3gPw3zs
Welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Alice Renaud!!
I write paranormal romance about shifter mermaids and time travelling warlocks and witches. Fantasy is my first love and I still enjoy reading it. I like science fiction too. Some sci-fi stories are heavy on the tech, and can be quite good, but I’ve always preferred the stories that feel more like fantasy. Ray Bradbury and Ursula Le Guin are two of my favourite science fiction authors, and both have written fantasy as well as sci-fi. The barrier between the genres is porous. Science fiction has technology, alien planets and the future, fantasy has magic, imaginary worlds and the past, but one great theme that runs through both genres is the adventure, or quest. The hero or heroine goes on a journey, through a wardrobe, down the rabbit hole, on a spaceship, and finds another world… and usually they find themselves, too.
I’d never thought of writing a sci-fi story. But then during the first lockdown in the UK, in the spring of 2020, I had a curious dream, about a man who goes to another planet and finds a mysterious ancient city. The planet is deadly for humans (yes, definitely a lockdown dream). When I woke up I knew I had to write the dream down. Then my publisher and fellow authors at BVS floated the idea of an anthology of cowboy stories. I made my hero into a space cowboy, and while I was at it, I added some unicorns – because why have boring old cattle when you can have blue space unicorns?
The resulting story, Space Cowboy Blues, is included in the BVS anthology Cowboy Desire, out now in ebook and paperback. I tried to keep some of the dreamlike quality of the tale as it appeared into my mind, especially with the ancient alien city. It was certainly inspired by a picture I saw of sea-glass pebbles piled up in a tower. One of Ray Bradbury’s stories in the Martian Chronicles was also an unconscious influence. In it, settlers from Earth travel to Mars but the red planet turns them into natives without them even realizing.
Josh the space cowboy is certainly an adventurous friend. I hope you will enjoy reading his story and that of the beautiful blue alien Melynas in Cowboy Desire.
Cowboy Desire is an eclectic assortment of short stories. Including contemporary, historical, fantasy, and even outer space romance, Cowboy Desire offers fourteen stunning short stories.
These fourteen authors provide a range of sweet to sexy stories all with a cowboy theme. They feature strong men and women battling the weather and dangerous terrain, here on earth and in outer space.
The collection is as diverse as the authors who wrote them. Here’s a chance to discover new talented authors and the characters they create. Within these pages, there are blends of tender, often moving, thought-provoking and downright sexy stories.
Blurb for Space Cowboy Blues
Josh is a space cowboy. His job? Taming alien species. But on the blue planet Albastra, the beautiful Melynas is more than a match for him. He’d love to get close to her… but everything on Albastra is lethal. Including her…
The ancient city rose before Josh like a fever dream, its beauty undimmed by the passage of time. The smallest houses had seven levels, and many buildings were higher. The curved walls of the storeys made the towers look like piles of sea-glass pebbles… luminous pebbles, for they glowed in the dark, every shade of blue and green with the occasional flash of purple. He let out a sigh. “It’s wonderful. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’ve seen plenty.”
Melynas beamed, obviously delighted by his reaction. “Come, I’ll show you my favorite spots. There’s a lot to see; the city is six thousand years old.”
They ambled through the maze of dusty streets. Blue grass grew between the worn stones that had once been a pavement. As they walked, Melynas pointed out buildings and monuments and explained their history to Josh. She was the perfect guide, as cultured and intelligent as she was gorgeous. He listened, entranced, while the wind blew over the deserted towers. He watched her lovely face, while stars glittered overhead and ancient sculptures gazed at him with jewel-bright eyes. Hers was the kind of beauty that seeps into a man’s soul and stays there for life.
As the evening wore on, he realized that he hadn’t been keeping the required distance from her. In fact, he was walking so close to her that his arm bumped against hers from time to time. But he didn’t care. And she didn’t tell him off… or step away.
Midnight found them in an elegant square. A statue of a hunoowin stood at the center, shimmering like a giant sapphire amid an expanse of grass.
Josh stroked the statue’s nose. “I wonder what makes the stone glow like that.”
Melynas’s expression was wistful. “No one knows. The city was abandoned centuries ago, and we’ve forgotten its secrets. We don’t know how to maintain it anymore. But it’s still here, and still beautiful.”
“Not as beautiful as you.” The words came out of Josh’s mouth without going through his brain first. He swallowed, appalled at his clumsiness. She’d think he was coming on to her, drooling over her, like the dumbass settlers in the Dome.
Melynas laughed. The silvery sound cascaded around them, as if a fountain had burst into life. “You’re such a flatterer.”
He wanted to say that it was only the truth. She was the most precious treasure in this otherworldly city. Her hair fell in glossy emerald waves onto her shoulders. Her short midnight-blue dress left her arms bare. She stood only inches away from him… he only had to move his hand a little to touch her flawless skin.
She gazed at him from under her dark eyelashes. “What are you thinking?”
His mouth grew as dry as the dust on the cobblestones. He couldn’t tell her where his thoughts were wandering… could he? Her perfume wafted towards him, a mix of flowers, ripe fruit and exotic spices. He couldn’t help himself. He had to get closer to her, to inhale this bewitching scent. He took one step forward. Now they were almost touching.
Her gaze caressed him, soft and full of longing. “Josh…” she murmured. His name in her mouth was like a promise. He inclined his head to touch her lips with his… and bumped her nose with his face covering.
She stepped back, shaking her head. “Oh Josh, I’m so sorry. The mask is so thin, for a second I forgot it was there…” The words tumbled out of her, laden with regret.
Acidic frustration burned his chest. “Sod the mask.” He raised his hands to remove it.
She gasped and slapped his wrist, a sharp sting that reverberated into his heart. “What are you thinking?” Her voice hissed across the square like an angry wind. “You will die if you remove your mask, Josh! You will die if I touch you!” She clasped her hands and twisted them. “We can never be together. Never.”
Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in the Sea of Love fantasy romance series, inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second and third books, “Music for a Merman,” and “Mermaids Marry in Green,” are out now. Both the Sea of Love series and Mermaids Marry in Green won their categories in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award 2020. Alice has also contributed short stories for the BVS anthologies “Mystic Desire,” “Desire Me Again,” and “Cowboy Desire,” all available now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!
Social Media Links:
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Renaud/e/B07L52P17B
@BVSBooks First to get freebies! Deals! And latest news! Hot and steamy! Soft and tender! Romance you will love! Become an Insider, sign up to our newsletter. https://blackvelvetseductions.com/?page_id=2472
Cat people tend to find each other.
I have at least two publishers who have cats, who have rescued cats or who cherish all cats. Since I’m a foster/rescuer too, I’ve got to celebrate this.
Terri Branson, publisher at Dragonfly Publishing in Edmond, Oklahoma, is one of these, and she’s recently shared a great pattern for making a cat toy at home. Check this out!
“Scooter is a 20-lb 9-yr-old black Manx. He is a big boy who stretches out nose-to-tip at about 30” and would be longer except for the 3/4 length tail.
He has the bite strength of a wolverine, shreds cardboard boxes like a beaver building a dam, and for all that bulk somehow is as stealthy as a jaguar.
In fact, I keep a glow-in-the-dark collar on him,
so we can see him in the hallway at night.”
Terri’s DIRECTIONS FOR CAT TOY:
1: Make a square about 6-8 inches on each side. Either crochet a granny square or cut a square out of fabric.
2: Get an old sock or handkerchief or a small wad of fabric for the stuffing.
3: Sew the square into the form of a mouse. Start at one corner and fold it in half to make a triangle. Then sew one one side from tip to top, leaving the back open.
4: Insert the stuffing.
5: Grab the open corner at the back and fold it up to meet the edge of that first seam at the top. When you do that, it makes a mouse shape. Sew up that back seam.
6: Use yarn or fabric (but not buttons or anything that can cause choking) to make whiskers and a tail. You can even add a long braid (three strands of regular yarn) to make it flippable.
To get the idea on how to fold it, make a piece of square paper. Fold it in half to make a triangle. Then pull one corner up to meet the two folded bits at the top. Voila! Mouse!
I make these using crocheted granny squares, which I then stuff with an old sock. Then I add yarn whiskers and a tail. Cats like the granny square mice because they can get their claws in them. You’ll like the granny square mice because they are not only 100% safe but also WASHABLE, which is good thing with cat toys.
Terri is also an author, writing paranormal romance and books for both children and adults. Please visit her website here: http://www.terribranson.com/home.html
For more about my personal cat journeys, see this link: https://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/the-trouble-with-cats|
Tell us about your pets==and if you make some toys for yours, please post a pic with them!!