Tag Archives: Fiction

Author Colleen Connally and Her New Mystery Suspense Novel!

fragmentedstandardI’m glad to have Colleen here to share the inspiration behind Fragmented, the kick off to her new mystery series.


A few years ago between my historical suspense romances, I sat down and wrote a contemporary murder mystery. Writing a contemporary mystery story wasn’t a giant leap for me. In my historical romances, there has always been a mystery behind my stories. I have never written a simple romance.

The challenge for me with Fragmented was coming back into the present. When you write, you submerge yourself into that world. One would think it would be easier to write a contemporary story than a historical, but for me, I’m an old soul. A contemporary mystery presented itself with its own obstacles, but I look at a mystery like a puzzle. I love puzzles.

When I decided to start this series, Boston’s Crimes of Passion, I went back to my Fragmented manuscript. It needed revising. I tweaked the story and the characters until I was satisfied. I believe you will find Fragmented has everything you want in a thriller—action, danger, and mystery.

Intense beautiful womanBlurb:

The first in the Boston’s Crimes of Passion Series! A pulse-pounding thriller! Ms Connally’s first murder mystery delivers! Suspenseful…shocking…a psychological thriller— leaving readers on the edge of their seat.  Cameron Quinn is caught in a web of deceit. Protecting her brother from being framed from a murder places Cameron in untold danger. When the real killer diverts his attention to her, she has nowhere to turn, especially not to the man who she shared one unforgettable night… who now is trying to put her brother in prison. A “must read” for any suspense lover!

She would do anything to protect her family…

Cameron Quinn watched her father fall into a world of despair after being falsely accused of causing her mother’s death. Now, her brother is a suspect in a crime she knows he’s not capable of committing. She’ll risk everything to save her brother from the same fate as her father, even destroying evidence that implicates him in a series of murders.

He would do anything to win a case…

ADA Darren Kennedy is known as ‘the bulldog.’ He doesn’t lose. When a killer emerges on the streets of Boston, he’s dead-set on putting that killer behind bars…along with anyone that stands in his way.

A killer would do anything to get his heart’s desire…

Cameron soon discovers that the police aren’t the only ones who suspect her of covering for her brother. The murderer is still out there and he isn’t happy his plans have been disrupted. Now, the twisted psychopath has turned his attention towards Cameron and will stop at nothing until he has her in his control.~

beautiful red rose on blackSounds great! For buy links and to connect with the author check out:

Fragmented at Amazon: http://goo.gl/LCHOcW

At Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/5OY20y

At Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/gqcVMZ

Connect with Colleen Connally

Website- Jerri Hines, Romance Author  http://jerrihines.org/

Colleen Connally Blog: http://colleenconnally.blogspot.com/

Twitter- Colleen Connally   @colleen.connally

October Workshop–Herbal Lore and Medicinal Plants in the British Isles–Beth Trissel

herb gardenCome one! Come all! I’m leading this workshop for Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, but it’s also open to the public. For more info and to register visit the link. The workshop runs through October and will be interesting and informative. Although the focus of the herbs are those used historically in the British Isles, if someone has a question about Native American plants, I can help out there too. Be an active participant or a lurker, just don’t nibble on the hemlock while hiding behind the trees. The material can be saved for later perusal. Lively interaction does make the class more fun, however.

English country garden flowers and herbsRegarding homework assignments, (assuming you’re a writer) this isn’t mandatory, but I suggest at some time during the workshop you incorporate one or more of herbs into a scene you’ve written and post it for feedback in the broader group, or email it to me privately and I’ll tell you if I think the herb choice and use seems appropriate. I will post some examples from my own novels. My role is to offer information, inspiration, and kicks and giggles.

The Vital Importance of the Storytellers–Beth Trissel

“I come from a family of great readers and storytellers.” Katherine Dunn

So do I, and I’ve given much thought to the inestimable value of the storytellers, both in the family and those with a far broader reach. In each generation, the storytellers remind us who we are, where we’re going, and most importantly to me, where we came from. The keepers of the story pass on that knowledge, those family accounts, the history. Someone must keep the stories alive, lest we forget. I am blessed to come from a family with a rich wealth of genealogy and lines traced back as far as Geoffrey Chaucer, and farther. I know who I am and where I came from and hold it as a sacred trust to pass that on. In this crazy world, it’s more important than ever to remember. So I tell my children, my grandchildren, my nieces…and reach out to the world through my writing. I am one of the storytellers.

“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
Peter Handke

My Writing Journey and A Nugget of Wisdom–Beth Trissel

Why be a writer? Because you’re burning up with stories and ideas you just have to get down on paper (virtual paper these days) or you’ll go mad–probably are a bit crazy anyway. I have this theory about writers, those who are on medication and those who should be. I am, but wasn’t for years. Not until my breakdown right in the middle of Chapter Two of my upcoming release, Kira Daughter of the Moon. Took me years to finish that novel. *Note, it’s also essential to love chocolate and coffee, or in my case, Earl Grey tea. Writers function on caffeine. Avoid the whiskey.

In the beginning (about age twenty) I drew a picture of a clock with a dissatisfied face and angrily named it a ‘watch-gog’ because I felt that’s all I was doing, watching others live their dreams, and yearned to throw myself into a creative venture. But what?  All my family members were artistic and Lord knows I’d tried. Painting and drawing eluded me. I was no hawk-eyed photographer. I’d made some swell collages, but that didn’t seem enough. My arts and crafts weren’t as expertly done as others. Though, I must say, those tuna fish cans I decorated with Christmas scenes were charming.

Yes, I loved to write, since I could hold a crayon, and poured myself into poetry and short stories. Was there something more?  For the next twenty years I crafted pieces about rural life and gradually gained the seed of confidence to give myself permission to attempt those historical romance novels I so loved to read.  At long last, I’d begun. Could it be, was I actually a writer, and how would I know when I’d ‘arrived?’

Mountains loomed before me, and still do, with every new book. Publication, of course, was the ultimate pinnacle of success, but I discovered contests–some quite prestigious. If I excelled in those, not only might it pave the way toward my giddy goal but would lend me the credibility I hungered for. Certain I was ready for the initial launch, I entered my first RWA® Chapter Contest. While awaiting the results, I planned my acceptance speech for the awards banquet.  Whether they even had one or not, I don’t recall, but clearly remember sitting in utter bemusement holding those first score sheets. “You broke every rule,” wrote an equally bemused judge.

Rules???  Was Charles Dickens guided by rules, and what of Jane Austen? *Note to self, you are not Dickens or Austen, nor do you live in their time period. But that same judge tossed me a lifeline, “You have talent,” she said, “apparent in your beautiful descriptions.”

This at least was a place to begin. And so I did. With each step forward, there was always someone along the way to lend yet more constructive criticism which I balked at, but eventually accepted and grew from. Along with those beneficial guides were individuals who continually smacked me down. Most of them were called agents and editors. But I got back up, brushed myself off, and onward ho I went.  I cherished the good rejection letters, a personal note containing a high-five along with the inevitable ‘but.’ But, your work doesn’t—fill in the blank.

Yes, indeed, I’ve had hundreds of rejections over the years. To cheer myself up, I’d throw mini rejection parties (weekly) attended mostly by myself and the dogs. We jigged around the kitchen to lively Celtic music. Well, at least I did. They tolerated being leapt over in my spritely steps. Being on Riverdance was another dream, but I digress. (Often)

Back in the snail mail days, my dear hubby handed me my mail referring to these inevitable replies as my ‘Dear John’ letters. To gain the fortitude needed to open these dreaded missives, I inked the initials C. D. H. on the outside of my SASE which stood for Courage Dear Heart, a reference to my beloved Aslan from the Narnia Chronicles by CS Lewis. Later, I found it easier to be rejected by email, though not a lot. 

Eventually, after about ten years, I landed an excellent agent and thought this is it–I’ve arrived in the Promised Land! But no, not even she could sell my work to traditional NY publishing houses, no matter how much she extolled it or how many awards I’d garnered. They didn’t want stories set in early America.  Not sexy, not kewl.  Since when?

So my agent and I amicably parted ways and I spotted a new ship on the horizon, an untraditional publisher,  fast–gaining recognition, The Wild Rose Press. Right off, I was smitten by the name and their rose garden theme. Next to writing, my passion is gardening.  At the top of their homepage is a rose that looks very much like my favorite variety by English breeder David Austen called Abraham Darby. It was a sign unto me. I was forever seeking signs…must be my superstitious Scots-Irish forebears.  It’s also Biblical…

Many years and awards later, I have multiple books out with The Wild Rose, more releases coming this fall, and several self-pubbed titles. My best-selling novel, American historical romance, Red Bird’s Song, is the first book I ever wrote, oft rewrote, and the one mentioned above in that contest where I broke all the rules. 

I’ve learned so much in my journey, it’s difficult to know where to begin when offering advice to aspiring authors. One nugget I’ll share is to be specific in your word choices. Don’t ‘move’ across the room when you can stomp or tip-toe. Rather than a vague choice like ‘object,’ how about a dusty heap of bones? Anything that gives a clear visual will grab the reader far better than iffy imagery. Appeal to all five senses–make that six, and don’t neglect the deep sense a character possesses of what has been, is now, and may be.  Take care not to overuse words, expressions, descriptions, or words ending in ‘ly.’ No doubt you’ve heard this countless times, but ‘show don’t tell’ is vital. Keep any telling to relevant snippets interspersed with action and dialogue.

Most of all, write what you love and persevere. Learn from those helpful guides along the way. Keep on going like a sled dog in a blinding snow storm.  For years, that’s what I compared myself to. Remember,“You are not finished when you lose, you are finished when you quit.”

Did I ever threaten to quit?  Many times. And then I’d ask myself, what are you gonna do now.  Write, of course.  It’s what I do.

*Image above of me writing with some of the grandbabies beside me. Pic of my favorite rose taken by daughter Elise. The rest of the images are royalty free.

Author Lilly Gayle Writes Victorian Romance Laced With Danger!

I’m pleased to have my friend and fellow author Lilly Gayle here today. Welcome Lilly!  The Victorian Time period is one I’ve always found intriguing and I’ve lived in old homes from that era, so this setting appeals to me.  Your new story sounds great and is in my TBR pile.  I’ve  purchased it so I know it’s there. 🙂

I see you’re sharing insights about plot pitfalls, ever valuable to consider both as a seasoned author and one just venturing down this long and twisted road where indeed many a pitfall awaits us.

Take it away, Lilly!

Lilly: A plot is the events that make up a story, how those events relate to the main characters, and the sequence in which the events occur.

Subplots are plots or events that occur within the main plot that can alter the events or the characters and their decisions. Subplots allow for expansion of the novel and make it easier for the author to add plot twists or unexpected events. But too many subplots water down the main plot to the point where the reader no longer knows whose story it is or even what the story is about. (*Something I have to watch for).

A novel usually has subplots and twists, but if the subplot begins to overshadow the real plot then it tends to bog down the story—the same for too many antagonists or protagonist.  Adding too many subplots and characters makes it harder to tie up the loose ends—and every subplot must be resolved. (*So true)

I’m basically a pantster, but even those less meticulous writers need to know the plot of their story before they begin. (This is something I forgot while writing my current WIP.) But utilizing a basic plot outline to map out my story got me back on track. I hope others find this basic plot outline as useful as I did.

Prologue (optional)—no more than two or three pages

  • Short setup that introduces characters or events necessary to the plot
  • Usually starts with action or useful dialogue that provides backstory without backstory dumping
  • Establishes a past or history of events that “predate” the novel

The Exposition or Beginning—no more than 30 pages or 3 chapters.

  • Introduces the main characters
  • Shows basic goals and motivation of main characters
  • Reveals a challenge, possibly internal conflicts

Conflict or Rising Action

  • Introduces main external conflict
  • All major characters are known-protagonists are established
  • The protagonist understands his/her goals and begins to work toward accomplishing those goals but smaller problems emerge (subplots.)
  • Progress is made toward the smaller problems
  • Tension or complications arise or increase between the main characters (personal conflict)
  • A big event occurs

Middle (Revelation)

  • The part of the story most likely to drag if the writer isn’t careful
  • Main characters decide upon a course of action for solving the main conflict
  • Protagonists learn about others; primarily about his or her self
  • Events lead up to a  crisis


  • All seems lost
  • Conflict/problem seems insurmountable
  • Worst moments in story

Climax (Showdown)

  • The turning point of the story.
  • Question are asked, accusations are made, and decisions are reached.
  • The protagonist and the antagonist go against one another either directly or indirectly but there is no clear winner.

Falling Action.

  • New insights for characters
  • Sometimes a false resolution is reached
  • Short section, fast paced but everything is headed toward a final resolution


  • Final confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist
  • Loose ends are tied up
  • In romance, this is where the happily ever after is revealed.
  • In a love story, this is where the great sacrifice is made.

Epilogue (Dawn)—Optional but must have an Epilogue if there is a Prologue

  • Last page or two
  • Happily ever after… but…
  • Leaves a question or two, without undoing the story
  • Great for books with planned sequels~
All Excellent Points!  Thanks so much for sharing that helpful information.  
And now for the blurb from Lilly’s recent release,

When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.

Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.~


“This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”

Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”

He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened toChad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”

Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.

“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.

Oh my!

“I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.

“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.

A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.

“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.

He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”

“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.

“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.~

For more on Author Lilly Gayle visit:




The Secret Life of Bees, errrr, Writers

Ever noticed that when writers are portrayed in movies they tend to come across as, well, nuts?  The examples are endless.  Take Nim’s Island, the author in this film is so agoraphobic/germaphobic she can’t open the door to get her mail, runs through bottles of handsanitizer, and only eats a certain kind of soup—not certain which phobia that is.   She also carries on vivid conversations with her only companion who happens to be the main character in her novels.  *Gerard Butler, so certainly tempting, but throw in  delusional schizophrenia.  And then there’s Stranger Than Fiction where the novelist, another ‘eccentric’ to put it mildly, has Godlike power over her bedeviled character who ultimately arrives on her doorstep begging for his life.  She plans to kill him in her novel.  And the list goes on.

I suppose there’s some justification for this crazy writer theme, as there’s a fine line between creativity and insanity.   And it’s not lost on me that this portrayal is coming to us via the scriptwriters, although they’re mostly making fun of novelists.   But it’s my thinking that most people simply do not understand the mindset of writers.  For example, on chat loops, Twitter, workshops…we blithely inquire of  each other which would be the best way to kill someone in a given situation or time period.

When I taught my herbal lore class last fall I received numerous queries as to which poisonous herb to use for the desired effect, depending on how fast or slowly an author wished their character to succumb–yes, yes, we’re speaking of characters–and in what form to deliver the fatal elixir, mixed with food or other medication…and should they disguise the bitter taste or will the unsuspecting victim just knock it back as is?

Writers can be quite morbid at times, but all in pursuit of our craft.   How to better persuade readers that the story is REAL, because to us it is.

The other day on Twitter I noted a tweet from, I assumed, a writer asking what was the most romantic way for a young man to propose to his girlfriend and  make it really special.  My first thought was, are they writing a contemporary or historical, so I shot back, “What century are we in?”

The answer from the probably puzzled groom to be was, “The 21st, I hope.”

“Ah, a modern setting,” I said to self while wondering at the ‘I hope.’  I mean surely they knew what time period their story was in.  But I persevered.  Being primarily an historical author, I simply pointed out that in many of the romantic comedies I’ve seen there’s a tendency for the proposal/I love you confession to come via a microphone or shouted in front of a crowd, like in a football arena.

The tweeted answer was, “Yes, I see what you mean but she’s not a sports fan.”

No biggie, I thought.  Most anywhere people gather will do. An Irish pub, fountain in the center of a town square, airplane terminal, or best of all breaking into the adored one’s  wedding to someone else just in the nick of time.

Not helpful in this situation, I might add.  Once I realized I was advising  an actual proposal, I chuckled heartily and left him to it. The last I saw a proposal at Disneyland was faring the best.

Among random tweets from writers I noted this week:  “Gonna watch Winnie the Pooh with the kids and then finish my demon novel.”   Anyone see the irony in that?   But it’s typical.   All of this has led me to my conclusion that writers have their own language–a secret life–which most do not understand.

I’ve gotta go figure out how to handle that ghost/exorcism without making it TOO paranormal.   In my latest historical, of course.  ~

The Talented Maeve Greyson Is My Guest~

I’m delighted to have Maeve with me.  She’s a lovely, gracious lady and has made it to an impressive level in the Kensington Brava / RT Book Reviews Writing with the Stars contest.  I’ll let Maeve tell us a little about her intriguing entry, her recent release, and herself. Take it away, Maeve~

Not every first meeting is love at first sight…

I admit it. I love a good spat between the hero and heroine. I’ve always heard there’s a fine line between love and hate and I adore romances that push the limit. I know you’ve read them. The hero picks at the heroine until she snaps –or vice versa. They explode into a heated tirade and end up in each other’s arms.  I often wonder if this is some sort of throwback to the days when little boys pestered little girls until they ran home in tears?  It seems like the MORE the little boy likes the girl…the more he aggravates her. Come to think of it, I married just such a pestering “little boy”.  But THAT’s another blog. 😉

Beth was kind enough to invite me to her lovely blog to talk about my paranormal romance, ETERNITY’S MARK.  I’m so excited that my story has made it to the final round of the Kensington Brava / RT Book Reviews Writing with the Stars contest.  I wanted to share a “never before shared” excerpt. So, I decided Taggart and Hannah’s first meet would be a lovely taste. Hannah’s irritated that she’s been interrupted from a very emotional day to meet some stranger in the town’s small café. This excerpt gives you a bit of  a hint at the sparring about to ensue.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into ETERNITY’S MARK and if you’re so inclined to help me bring home the win, I’ve included the voting link below:

Voting link:


Taggart and Hannah meet:

The bell on the wire hanging above the door jangled.  Taggart knew it was her before he raised his eyes; he sensed it by the way the skin tingled at the base of his neck.  Her energy tickled a shiver up his spine.  The sacred guardian’s aura flooded the room and he was her protector.  He would’ve known she entered his presence even if he had been blind.

Taggart hid his grin behind the white ceramic mug he clasped between his hands.  The collective jaws of the Guild of Barac’Nairn would’ve hit the floor had they been sitting at Taggart’s side.  Hannah MacPherson, the blessed guardian, was not what they would’ve expected.  Taggart chuckled into the depths of his cup.  As far as he was concerned, the fiery lass beamed the definition of pure delight itself.

The tiny, young woman ordained to be guardian of the sacred Draecna sported a ratty St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball cap pulled low over snapping green eyes.  Her auburn ponytail exploded through the tattered hole in the back.  The tangled mass of curls tumbled down her back as though a windstorm had tossed her into the cafe.  Grass and mud stained the ragged knees of her jeans.  Her well-worn tee shirt clung to her curves like tissue wrapped around a tempting gift.  Taggart sat down his coffee, stretching back in his chair unable to resist chuckling again.  He’d never seen a woman don such boots.   Steel-toed work boots laced tight about her tiny ankles.  She plodded across the room like a heavy construction worker.

He held his breath to keep from laughing aloud as she stalked her way over to the counter.  He could tell by the way the woman stomped, she prepared to unleash the hounds of hell if any dared cross her path.  Such a fierce small package, she reminded him of the territorial wood nymphs of Glenoc Mur.  She’d barely reach the middle of his chest, yet she stood coiled so tight, the woman stood ready to explode.

The longer Taggart studied her, the more his amusement faded.  True, Hannah MacPherson brewed for a fight.  Taggart shifted in his seat as the realization hit; he stood centered in her crosshairs.  Taggart peered closer.  She also suffered; her face revealed a great deal of emotional pain.    Her wound simmered deep.  Hannah MacPherson might be small but her heart swelled with sorrow.

Taggart sucked in a slow breath, struggling against an uncomfortable stirring deep within his chest.  His precious guardian had been deeply hurt; she fluttered as a wounded bird.  Taggart watched as Hannah’s head turned with eyes narrowed when Millie whispered and pointed in his direction.  He unfolded his frame and stood beside the table as Hannah whirled and barreled his way.

“Mr. de Gaelson?  I believe you wanted to see me?  I’m Hannah MacPherson.”  Hannah stuck out her hand as though daring him to take it and fixed Taggart with a green-eyed glare.

Taggart closed his hand around Hannah’s cold, stiff grasp and held it as he leveled with her gaze.  “Please, call me Taggart.”

“What can I do for you, Taggart?”  Hannah clipped the words with a jerk of her hand, rubbing her fingers as though his touch disturbed her.  She shot Millie a brooding glare, her glance sliding back to Taggart as if blaming Millie for his presence.

Taggart bit back a smile.  The woman wasn’t going to make his life easy.  He read the wariness in Hannah’s eyes and the way she’d withdrawn from his touch.  Good.  She should be wary.  It would increase her lifespan and make protecting her somewhat easier, albeit getting close to her and winning her trust could prove even more of a challenge.  Taggart nodded toward the table while he motioned for Millie.  “Would ye like some coffee while we talk?”

“Not really, thanks.”  Hannah sent Millie scuttling back around the counter with a single shake of her head.  “I don’t mean to sound rude, Mr. de Gaelson­­−”

“Taggart, Ms. MacPherson.  Please.  I asked ye to call me, Taggart, remember?”  Taggart cleared his throat.  God’s teeth, the stubborn woman insisted on doing things her own way.  Lucky for her, they were on this side of the threshold.  If they were in Erastaed, he wouldha sifted them to someplace quiet and spelled her.  He’d seal her lips and open her ears so she’d have no choice but to hear his words.  By Isla’s golden beard, she had to see she needed protection.  ‘Twas time she faced her destiny.

About Maeve:

Maeve Greyson writes paranormal romances from her cozy little home in western Kentucky.  Tucked away in the middle of nowhere, her stories spark with magic and love, where anything might happen to get to that happily ever after.

Her writing partner, Jasper –the rat terrier/Chihuahua mix, critiques all her work.  Under his sharp eye and the endless support of her husband of over thirty-one years, she snuggles back in their secluded wood and pours her daydreams into the keyboard.

Her debut novel, BEYOND A HIGHLAND WHISPER, just became available from The Wild Rose Press and she recently contracted THE HIGHLANDER’S FURY with them as well.

Maeve’s Links:

Website: http://www.maevegreyson.com/
Blog: http://maevegreyson.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maeve.greyson OR http://www.facebook.com/maeve.greyson#!/maeve.greyson.page
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/maevegreyson
The Wild Rose Press: http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=maeve+greyson

The Wizard’s Wife

Today, the very talented author Toni Sweeney is my guest.  We are fellow Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers, where I’ve gotten to know Toni, who amazes me with her imagination.  Weave your spell, my lady.

Once upon a time long, long ago in a dimension far, far away, there was a world called Ais Linn, where a people called the Ailiff Fae lived, a people blessed with the gift of Power. Ais Linn was a wonderful place, where leprechauns lived side by side with elves and sprites, and unicorns roamed the mountains, where they were safe from the hunters who sought them for their magical horns.  In the Damhain Garrai, that dark forest covering a good portion of the kingdom and separating the two halves, werewolves prowled.  The Aifliff Fae discovered secret openings, portals leading into another plane, to a planet called Earth.  The fae moved between this world and their own…

And they found Earth fair an’ the people likewise, if somewhat naïve in their beliefs.  They thought the fae magical and the fae let them think it, because it was mostly true.

Of the two rulers of Ais Linn, one family was the Tiarnas d’Geal Tina, the Lords of White Fire, and their opposite number was the Tiarnas d’Doit Tina, the Lords of Dark Fire. The Lords of White Fair were tall and fair, red-haired and green-eyed. Their wings like those of the dragonfly’s wings with the colors of the Monarch, and from them was chosen the wizard who would be their Champion, the son of Prince Padraig who ruled half of Ais Linn.  The Dark Lords were also tall and handsome but black-haired and crimson-eyed, their wings iron-gray and blood-red, and their wizard was as wicked as Padraig’s son was good.  Then it came about the Lord of White Fire learned the Lord of Dark Fire was planning to invade Earth and bring his evil there, that one day an astronomical event would occur, the Harmonic Convergence, when White Fire magic would be at its weakest, and no one would be able to stop him…

So he sent his Champion to live among the people and guard them, but the Champion of White Fire was young, and the women of Earth were comely, and the lad found ’twas true what he’d been warned, that mortal maids were drawn to the Fae like butterflies to honey, so he fell in love with a young maiden and lost his heart and would make her his bride despite his lord father’s warning.  And the Lord of White Fire was wroth because he knew nothing good ever came when a Fae loves a mortal…

…that’s the setting for Wizard’s Wife. A faery wizard is forced to choose between his wife and unborn child and keeping the oath he made to protect the Earth.  If he makes the wrong decision, he loses everything; either way, something precious will be lost forever, but will it be his own happiness or that of every person on the Earth?

Cross the Portal into Ais Linn, where Unicorns roam and werewolves prowl, where a faery wizard struggles to protect the Earth from the Lord of Dark Fire…and a brave young woman follows her husband into danger, into a dimension where she’s the only mortal in a land of magical beings…

Where she’s the Wizard’s Wife.

It’s a contemporary fairy tale, with unicorns and leprechauns, wizards and knights, feisty damsels and daring feats of magic, blending with Celtic legends for a read I hope everyone will enjoy.~

Sounds fascinating, Toni.  And I love your pics and trailer.

Wizard’s Wife was released January 15 by Class Act Books.  For a look at Chapter One, go to:  http://www.classactbooks.com/The-Wizards-Wife-Trade-by-Toni-V-Sweeney_p_269.html

More information on Toni may be found on her website:  http://www.tonivsweeney.com/

Announcing Winner of Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My Love!

Thanks to all of you who entered my contest for murder mystery/ghost story romance novel, Somewhere My Love.  I appreciated your kind comments and wish I could award a digital download to everyone, but that would get rather pricey.  Yes, we authors have to buy them too after we’ve used up our freebies. 🙂

The winner is Michelle.  Congrats!

For those of you who missed it, here’s the trailer.

Excerpts From Native American Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song

Each of my stories is my favorite when I’m writing it, but there’s something special about Red Bird’s Song.  Maybe because many of the events depicted in the story and the inspiration behind it are true.  Red Bird’s Song is based on events that happened to my early American Scots-Irish ancestors in the Virginia colonial frontier. The novel began as historical fiction with a strong romantic element but evolved into a historical romance, painstakingly researched and pulsing with emotion. The romance between Wicomechee and Charity throbs with tension, tenderness, passion and angst.

A bonus for readers, at the end of the book is the account of this Shawnee warrior I discovered in distant branches of the family tree.

Yes, Wicomechee really lived and he comes vividly to life along with the others characters in this adventurous romance with a strong The Last of the Mohicans flavor.

Blurb: Taken captive by a war party wasn’t how Charity Edmonson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.  As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.


Charity swiped angrily at a tear.
She’d run away, if she had anyone to run to.
It wasn’t right they were all dead.

On impulse, she jumped to the ground. “I’ll go anyway,” she muttered. “Eat nuts and berries and live in the woods.”

“Will you go alone?” a low voice asked.

Sucking in her breath, she whirled around. Less than twenty feet away, grasping his musket, stood a tall young brave.  Stripes of red and black paint blurred his striking features.  His dark brown eyes riveted her in place. This warrior was like no other and the most savagely handsome man she’d ever seen.

God help her.  She should flee now, but could only stare, open-mouthed.

She swept her disbelieving gaze over the loose black hair brushing an open buckskin vest that revealed his bronzed chest and shoulders molded into contours of muscle. An elkskin breechclout left a great deal of his hard thighs exposed.  Despite the dread hammering in her chest, a fiery blush burned her cheeks. But it was the sheathed knife hanging on his left side and the lethal tomahawk slung on his right that snapped Charity from her near-trance.

In a rush of memories, she recalled the stories of her father’s death under the scalping knife and neighbors who’d suffered the same violent fate.

No Indians had been spotted in their settlement since the Shawnee grew hostile and war had erupted nine years ago, but the warfare had ended.  Hadn’t it?

Clenching ice-cold fingers, she dug her nails into her palms. “What in God’s name are you doing here?” she forced past the dry lump in her throat.

“Watching you.”



He slid the musket over his shoulder by a woven
strap. A faint smile curved his lips. “You wish to go
live among the trees? Come with me.”

Instinctively, Charity shied back.

The warrior closed the distance between them and
extended a corded arm circled with twin bands of
silver. His voice went from butter to grit. “Now.”

Musket shots cracked above the rapid water.
War whoops rang through the trees. Charity
scrambled back with a shriek.

He lunged at her. Jerked fully to life, she flung
the basket at his chest and spun around. Catching
up her skirts, she raced over the uneven ground
along the river.

She had only the hair of a head start, but by heaven she could run. Hadn’t her brother, Craig, said as much?

Clinging to his praise, she tore through grass
heavy with seed heads. The slap of her shoes and
swish of her petticoats sounded alongside the rapid
water.  She sensed but didn’t hear the warrior’s
stealthy pursuit.  Dodging rocks masked by the haze,
she hurtled across downed branches, risking a nasty
fall. But what did that matter with the hound of hell
snapping at her heels?

Faster! Heart pounding in her ears, she leapt over a moss-encrusted log and stumbled. Grabbing a bent sapling for support, she righted herself and sprang away through a blur of color. Her chest thudded. She could scarcely get her breath and shot a glance over her shoulder.

Lord, no! Her pursuer’s glove-like moccasins had the advantage over her square-toed shoes, as did his
ground-covering strides. He rapidly narrowed the gap between them. God save her or she’d be killed and scalped like her father.

Summoning every ounce of speed, she spurted
ahead, sides heaving, pain stabbing her chest. She
flew around a bend in the river and stopped short. A
prickly tangle of burdock and brambles blocked the
path. She looked wildly around. No way through.
Shooting to the side, she clamored up the bank.

Down she went, sliding over loose stones,
lurching forward with outstretched hands and
scraping her palms. She ignored the sting and
scrambled up to pelt through tall grass and spikes of
mullein. If she hid among the stand of cedars just
ahead, he might not find—-too late.   He’d come.


A scream ripped from Charity’s throat.  She grabbed up a stout stick and spun around.  Shaking the loose mane from her eyes, she brandished her makeshift weapon. “Stay back!”

He arched one black brow. “You think to strike me with that?”

Before she heaved another ragged breath, he snatched it away. “What now?” he challenged.

She lunged, pushing against his rock-hard chest—like trying to dislodge an anvil. She dug in her heels and struggled to knock him off balance and down the slope. Not a prudent move. She’d unwittingly placed herself in his hands.

He snapped unyielding arms around her. “I have you.”

She twisted, shrieking, in his steely grasp, kicking at his rooted legs and grinding her feet into the earth. The fragrance of spearmint charged the air. How ironic to die surrounded by such sweet scent.

Gripping her tightly, he forced her down to the leafy ground in a press of hard muscle and heated skin. His gleaming black hair spilled over her face as he pinned her thrashing arms. “Stop fighting me.”

“I’ll fight to the end!”

He straddled her and stilled her pummeling legs. “For your life? Have I tomahawk or knife in my hand?”

She gaped up at him, her breath rasping in her throat. Whether he spoke in bemusement or annoyance, she couldn’t tell from his controlled expression, but the weapons remained at his side. And he wouldn’t waste gunpowder and a lead ball on her when he could so easily kill her with a single blow.

“You’ll let me live?” she gulped in short bursts.

“Did I not say you will come with me?”

She searched his eyes for signs of malice and saw none, only a keen watchfulness. Her stomach churned as he clasped her wrists with one hand and reached toward his waist.

A spasm shuddered through her. Had he only been tormenting her? Was he—even now—drawing his knife?

She squeezed her eyes shut, moaning, against the cruel blade. But no fatal kiss of steel met her throat. Instead, firm, warm fingers lightly stroked her cheek.

“I have no wish to do you harm. You are my captive.”

She opened her eyes in breathless tension. There it was again, that piercing gaze. If she hadn’t already been winded, one glance from him would have robbed her of air. She inhaled his scent, both intimidating and strangely compelling.

Her panting eased. “What will you do?” she asked hoarsely.

“Slow you. You run like peshikthe, the deer.”

Native American Romance Novel RED BIRD’S SONG is available in digital download & print fromThe Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.

*Royalty free images. My mother, Pat Churchman took the nature shots and the image of the old family musket.