• Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers

Marc Weston here. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an actor. I once used to keep a low profile until I met my wife, Liz Graham. Things sort of changed then, so here I am. Great to be with you all and I’m especially pleased to introduce Liz Martinson. Liz came to writing late in life and has had the happiest childhood and married life ever. I talked to her about this and she thinks growing up and living in the countryside has fuelled her sense of adventure, and love and knowledge of the countryside, all of which feature in her books. When she met her husband, she reckons her SAS course began and was compounded by having twin sons who both turned out to be as adventurous as their parents! Liz used to teach and finished her career working with special needs children. She’s done a creative writing course with Lancaster University, too. Loves cats, photography, reading, being outdoors, exploring, and… wait for it… triking.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My last book was a complete change for me as I normally write a sort of soap opera romance set in modern times, but this one was historical, set in 1876, in rural Yorkshire. We have a Duke who has already suffered an unhappy marriage, made worse by the fact it had been engineered by his wife, father and step-mother, to avoid scandal… but I’m not going to explain what that was all about! The Duke has just returned home after a long absence and intends to keep a mistress, a low profile, and run his estates, but his step-mama hasn’t finished with him yet and arranged a house party where he meets the heroine. She is independent and most definitely does not want marriage. This is because she will lose her money and her freedom and even worse, her long-held and very unladylike ambition to be a horse breeder. How The Unexpected Alliance works out is something you must wait for in great anticipation! It’s in submission now so keep your fingers crossed for me. If it’s not accepted, I think I’ll publish it independently.

  • What do you like best about the main character in your latest and greatest WIP from above?

I like her because she doesn’t want to marry for status, title, money or anything else and because she wishes to retain her independence.
I like him because he’s light-hearted but concerned about the people he has responsibility for, and isn’t a conventional man.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

The main side character is the stepmother and as the story progresses, you discover she’s not a very pleasant lady and has a deep regard for propriety and position, which cause harm. In the end, as all bad step-mamas do, she receives just punishment.
On the other hand, the heroine’s parents are down-to-earth and sensible, her aunt and uncle caring and careful of the heroine’s well-being, her cousin, while somewhat thoughtless, is a good friend.  The maid, elevated to the position of lady’s maid, is an endearing mix of the wide-eyed country mouse and determined to serve retainer.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

That’s a difficult one to answer. I’m not a great planner of any of my novels. I think I came up with a hero and heroine who were against marriage and went from there. I often find my characters will dictate to me, even when I start the day’s writing with different intentions. I love it when that happens!

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Answered in the previous question I think. I come up with an idea and start writing and see where I go. I maybe have a couple of things I want including, and I certainly keep note son hair and eye colours, ages and such like,  but I’m the sort of writer who writes by the seat of their pants – otherwise known as a pantster

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

    Go away and do something else. Usually a walk or a bike ride. Sometimes simply reading a good book. Sooner or later my subconscious will push something to the top so it gets picked up by the conscious mind. If it was a block in the book I’m writing, I’ll then continue with whatever has surfaced. If I hadn’t started anything, whatever comes into my mind gets considered, tossed around a bit, and then usually that’s enough and I’m off.
  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

I’m afraid not. I like to be on my desktop, with a mug of water to hand, and some sugar-free sweets to occasionally suck. I used to enjoy music but not anymore.
But no lining up of sharpened pencils, or setting things out in a certain way.

  • What is your writing snack?

A cup of green tea and a rich tea biscuit mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and evening. Sugar-free sweets and water the rest of the time.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read. We don’t have a television and I was brought up a reader by addicted-to-reading parents who have passed it on to me. I also like to go for trike rides. I used to walk for miles but I no longer can, so my beloved trike, known as The Beast, has saved my sanity.
I talk to my husband, fuss our two cats, listen to music, take landscape photos ad go line dancing once a week.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

They all have merits! But I like temps between 16 and 22C, no wind or a gentle breeze, and sunshine best so I maybe prefer a UK spring, summer, and maybe a little bit into autumn. If autumn and winter are still, cold and frosty they can be beautiful months as well.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I read romance, and generally love it if it’s not a high steam level, billionaires, or sheiks! I also read a lot of psychological thrillers too.

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

I want to make people happy when they read my books.

  • What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I used to listen to Springsteen, Bryan Adams, and Bon Jovi. Then I moved on to classical. Now I prefer silence but if editing, I might have some classical piano music on very quietly in the background


What was your biggest failure that you turned into a success? In life, or in writing?

In life, I wasn’t a great one for school and had been accepted by teacher training college unconditionally, so I ended up leaving a grammar school with terrible A-level results. And then I turned down the chance of a fourth year at college to gain my BEd in favour of going with my then boyfriend to where he’d got his first job. My personal tutor basically told me I was a fool and it would never last.
I’m still with him fifty years later, and now have a Master’s degree as well!

In writing, I don’t think that’s happened. There’s stuff I’ve put to one side and then something gets accepted and I’m surprised. Worth keeping everything, even writing you maybe see as a failure.

Twitter: @lizmartinson3
FB author page:
Website: (but will soon be changed to



Meet the author anna michael

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

So this lady acts like she’s the boss, but absolutely nobody bosses me around, except my kid. And that’s mostly because I like to win and I like to be able to give that to my little girl. But if Anna thinks she’s in charge of anything that I do, she really needs to reconsider. Look, she has enough on her hands with two little kids, a rescue dog, and her idiot cat. She doesn’t need to be in charge of anybody else, especially the hot guys she’s imagining.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My next book, Big Boss, is scheduled to release on October 13th. It’s an age gap workplace romance featuring a former rockstar billionaire who is definitely going to fall in love with his assistant.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I like that my heroine is learning to embrace her differences and live her most authentic life. The way she shows her boss how to embrace who he is has a significant impact on their friendship and love story.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

The heroes of this series are a group of billionaire best friends who play poker together. You’ll meet the hero of the next book in this one, but he’s in a rough place and not at his best, so be gentle with him until he gets his own book.

How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

I loved Lyssa Kay Adams’ Bromance Book Club series, and wanted to write about a group of guy best friends who take care of each other even though they are all different types of men. In the first book, the hero was a single dad athlete, and in this book, he’s a former bad boy rockstar who’s trying to overcome the ghosts of his past reputation.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Panic, procrastination, and lots of caffeine/DoorDash delivery.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

Work on a different book. When I’ve been stuck in this one (book 2), I’ve been working on book 4 (I can’t WAIT for the last book in this series).

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

I do like to leave home during the last pre-deadline push and stay up all night and eat weird snacks.

  • What is your writing snack?

I like salty snacks like Veggie Straws or cheddar popcorn. I’m also really into energy drinks when I’m working hard.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m a mom and a lawyer, so I’m usually running my kids to different places or at the courthouse for my day job.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn is the best. I like the change of colors with the leaves and cooler temperatures, bonfires and s’mores, and my favorite holiday (Halloween).

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I read almost entirely romance (mostly contemporary and mostly queer/sapphic) and YA fantasy. I love happily ever afters and make believe, and I have loved both of these my entire life, so it’s not a surprise that these are still my two favorite things to read.

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

My author tagline is “escaping reality one page at a time” and this is what I always want to give my readers. I know regular life can be difficult and even depressing, and if I can give you a break for a few hours or a day, then I’m grateful to be able to do that.

  • What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I make playlists for my books, but usually, I just listen to brainFM or Endel (programs that play sounds/music that is supposed to optimize brain activity for work and creativity) when I’m writing. I can’t listen to lyrics or it messes up how the book sounds in my brain.


What was your biggest failure that you turned into a success?

Last year, I truly struggled with depression, and it was extremely difficult to get back to writing. I was so sad all the time that it was hard to go to a place where people could be happy and fall in love, and I was honestly worried that I couldn’t do it. So I started small by taking care of my health first, and that helped me to get through finishing a manuscript. My last release was my best yet and has more reviews than any of my other books.

For all those writers who are struggling. I wanted to let you know that I believe in you. YOU CAN DO IT.




I just wanted to share this with you, I hope you enjoy it.

Cowboy’s Secondhand Heart Chapter 3

Lisa grabbed her coat close around her. It was a cold day for October, and the drizzle made it miserable. Today, Joseph and Lisa were going to paint the inside of the two-bedroom cottage about a mile down the road from the big ranch house so she could move into it. The house was beautiful, with a big yard, and it was October, but you could see the outlines of flower beds that Lisa was certain in spring would be beautiful.

When she went inside, she found Joseph in the kitchen painting it a sunny yellow color. She could smell coffee over the smell of the paint.

“Mmm, it smells good in here. Do you have another cup? … I can’t thank you enough for helping me, Joseph. It really means a lot. The place looks terrific.”

“No problem. There is a cup over there. Are you ready to get in here?” He didn’t wait for an answer but went on, “Well, everything is up to code. Mom and Dad redid the plumbing and electricity. You’ll have new appliances once we get the painting done. It’ll be like getting a new house. You’re even getting new floors.”

“It’s the best. I don’t understand why they would do this. I mean, I’m not one of their children, yet your mom treats me like I’m one of the other girls. It’s kinda nice. After I graduated, my mom and dad moved to Tucson, so I don’t get to see them very often.”

“Are you gonna stand there and talk, or are you gonna get busy and get this place painted?”

            Lisa took one more sip of coffee and grabbed a roller, a paintbrush, and a can of eggshell-colored paint, and went to the bedroom. She shook the can, opened it, poured it into the roller pan, and began to cut in the corners of the room. Soon she was rolling and giving it a second coat.

Joseph came in and looked at her face smudged with paint and thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He picked up the paint rag and started wiping her face with the cloth. The electricity between the two was unmistakable. Joseph dropped the paint rag and grabbed Lisa by the shoulders so tightly it almost hurt. He pulled her close to him. Their faces were so close Lisa could feel his breath on her lips and almost taste the remnants of his coffee. Then suddenly, there were voices in the kitchen. It was Sarah and James. They had brought lunch. Joseph turned and went out the front door of the house, slamming the door and avoiding his parents, leaving Lisa to explain.

I’m not about to explain what I can’t explain to anyone, and I don’t want to share this with anyone but Joseph.

Lisa took a deep breath and went to greet Sarah and James.

“What do you think?” Lisa asked as she stood in the middle of the bright, buttery, sunny kitchen.

Sarah knew something had happened and asked, “Are you okay? You look upset. Is there anything I can do?”

James scolded his wife and said, “Leave her alone, will ya. Give her some privacy.”

“No, I’m fine. It’s just the paint fumes.”

“Well, of course. Let’s open this window and get some fresh air in here. How much painting is left to do?” Sarah wanted to know. “Where did Joseph go?”

“He headed to the hardware store to get some stuff to help us clean ourselves up.”

            James ended that conversation with a harumph.


 Chloe was having a sleepover at her friend Christine’s house. Joseph was free to be unusually self-indulgent, and that’s what he was. He went to the Niwot Tavern, grabbed himself a table, and settled in. He wasn’t going anywhere until he felt better or felt nothing at all. He ordered beer and shots of whiskey and waited for the numb to fall over him.

What was that? Why did I do that? Was I just about to kiss her? I haven’t kissed anyone but Jennifer since I met Jennifer in college. I can’t be this man. I can’t be this dad.

Just then, Heather, one of the local girls, came up to him, “What the hell are you doing down here in town, Joey? Are you slumming?” she asked. Heather was a petite blonde with big long hair and short shorts. She wore cowboy boots and a tight T-shirt rolled up and tied in a knot at the back.

            Joseph doesn’t answer her question, “Can I buy you a drink, Heather? How the hell have you been? It’s been a long, long time.”

Heather said, “Well now, that’s downright friendly of you.”

            Heather and Joseph sat at the table drinking until it was closing time, then Heather said, “We could go back to my place if you want.”

“I really should go home, but I’m tired of my mother pulling my strings. So let’s go to your house.”

Joseph was a little taken aback when they pulled up to a motor home parked next to where Heather’s parents lived. Joseph remembered a cheerleader disappearing from high school, but it was never proven that Heather had anything to do with that. Joseph was still drunk, however, and didn’t realize the danger he was in. He followed Heather up the stairs into the Coachman Catalina Summit. He watched his step and ducked his head—it was quite the feat getting inside and not hitting his head. The place smelled of hairspray and plastic.

“What can I get you to drink?” Heather asked. She did not want this party to stop.

“Do you have any Jack Daniels? That’s what I like, but I’ll take anything.”

“Great. I’ve got some beer in the fridge. Do you wanna grab a couple, and I’ll change into something more comfortable.”

Heather went to the back of the camper, and when she appeared again, she was wearing a short red silk robe with a dragon painted on the back, and that’s all. Joseph could see her various piercings and the tattoos on her thigh and stomach.

It was when he noticed the pierced labium that he felt he was in over his head and needed to go home. “Heather, I can’t be here. I don’t want to be here. I still love my wife.”

“You don’t still love your wife. It’s been years since she died. I’m just not good enough for you.”

“Look Heather, you caught me at a bad time. I was hurting and wanted to hurt someone else, and you don’t deserve to be used that way. … Goodbye, Heather.”

“If you think this is over, you’re wrong.”

With that, Joseph headed straight for his truck, the barn, and Jasper, counting his blessings.


The next night after dinner, Julia suggested a game of Cornhole, “Let’s play after Mom and Dad have gone to bed. We’ll play out in the barn, so we don’t disturb anyone. It’s Friday night, and I am so bored I can’t stand it. I need to howl at the moon.”

“Two things, Julia. I have never played cornhole before—never even heard of it, and I get weirdly competitive. I can’t help myself.”

“Do you remember the game Toss Across? It’s kinda like that, only different. We’ll teach you how to play.”

“Okay. I’ll stay up and play with you.” Lisa said, leaning forward in excitement at being asked by Julia to do something.

“What about you, Joseph? You look like a guy that needs to let loose.”

“Look, I am not a guy that needs to let loose. Just because tomorrow is Saturday does not mean that I don’t have a shitload of work to do. We have pregnant cows that are going to calf any day now.” Joseph ran a brush through Chloe’s hair.

Lisa was embarrassed she had assumed that a Friday night was a good night to get a little loose for everyone. “I didn’t mean to offend you, Joseph. I just thought everyone went a little crazy on Friday nights.”

“Oh, come on. Please, brother Joey. I do stuff for you all the time.”

“Fine. I’ll meet you out in the barn after Chloe falls asleep. Who is bringing the refreshments?”

“I’ll send Stephen. Any requests?”

            “Jack and Bud.”          

            This is my chance to get to know Joseph better and to show him that I am just a regular person. Not that I care one way or the other.

            The four headed to the barn for a game of Cornhole.

            Julia gets the bucket out with the Cornhole bags, “Let’s play girls against guys.”

            “That’s fine, Julia. But I want to play with you at some point tonight,” Stephen said, and then he blushed. “You know what I mean.”

            Lisa wanted to get a little teasing in. “Yes, Stephen, we do know exactly what you mean.”          This caused Stephen to turn bright red and turn his face away from the three. Lisa worried for a moment that she may have gone too far.

            Joseph poured drinks for everyone—shots of Jack Daniels—and then he opened bottles of beer for each of them.

            These guys make drinking into a sport, at least sometimes. I hope I can keep up without getting sick.

            Lisa did what everyone else did. She chugged her shot and took a drink of her beer.

            Joseph took the bags and handed a set to Lisa, “Ladies first.”

            Lisa threw first, and then Stephen. Next Julia and Joseph. In the end, the girls won the round, and the boys needed to drink a shot. The boys won the next round.

            Lisa pitched her bags. “Julia, will you teach me how to ride?”

            “I’m honored that you asked. Sure, we can do something after school.” Julia pitched and missed. Her bags slid off the board.

            “Come on, Julia. You gotta do better. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow with a headache.”

            Joseph and Stephen pitched their bags, and it was Julia’s turn again “You guys are going down. I hate losing and losing getting drunk. No way.”

            “How were things on the ranch today, Joseph?” Lisa pitched her first bag.

            “They were fine, but we have a young calf with a bacterial infection over in the other barn. We had the vet out to give it antibiotics. Now, all we can do is watch and see if it takes. How were things at the school?”

            “They were okay; we had one little kid I think may be on the autism spectrum. I am going to suggest to his parents that we have him tested.” Lisa pitched her last bag.


            There was a terrible ruckus out in the cow pen. Joseph, Julia, and Stephen looked at each other and knew immediately what it was. Lisa was out of the loop.

            “Have you ever seen a baby calf be born?” Joseph grabbed Lisa’s hand and pulled her through the horse barn out into the cool night air and into the calving shed. There were lots of cows and newborn calves. The four walked along until they came to the cow that was in labor. Joseph put his hand on the cow’s stomach.

            “This calf is breech. … We need to help her. Stephen, grab some rope. You know where we keep it. Julia, your arm is long and slender. We are gonna have you put the rope around the calf’s hoof. Just tie the end in a loop, like this.” He demonstrated. “Now you reach in, Julia.”

            “I know how it’s done. I just don’t know why you think I need to do it. Have you ever seen the size of an erect bull?” Julia grabbed the rope from Stephen and got down on the ground and put her hand up the butt of the cow.

            “Do you got it, Julia? Do you have the calf’s feet?” Joseph was almost screaming at her.

            “Yeah, I’ve got it.” Julia was down on her knees.

            “Okay, Stephen. Let’s show these ladies how it’s done.” The two men sat down in the dirt and pulled the calf out. First, the back legs appeared, then then a little body, and finally a little head. The calf lay on the ground next to Joseph for a second and didn’t move.

            Julia said, “Damn it. I put my arm in a cow, and the calf dies.”

            Joseph grabbed the calf and gave it CPR of sorts. He held its mouth closed and blew into its nose as hard as he could. The calf started to move. Joseph stood up and grabbed the calf around the middle and helped the calf stand up.

            Julia sniffed her arm, “I am never gonna get this smell off.”

            The calf started to nurse, and Joseph clapped his hands together. He picked Lisa up around the waist and twirled her around. “Now you know why being on the ranch is so special. If you didn’t know before.”

            The four didn’t go back to the Cornhole game. They just sat in the barn and watched the baby nurse like it was the first time they had ever seen anything like it. It was the first time for Lisa.


Lisa grabbed the last of her boxes out of storage at the Thomson Family Ranch and moved them to the cottage down the road, then waited for Adam and Joseph to bring over her furniture.

I wonder if Joseph and I will have another one of those moments today. Another embrace. Another chance to hold each other. What was that all about? I want to know. I want to look at it. I want to dissect it and do it again, only better. But what did it mean? Was there a deeper meaning behind it? What kind of feelings did Joseph have for me? … Here they come.

“Hey guys, thanks for helping me out. I’m glad you came too, Chloe.”

“Hi, Miss Lisa. Daddy said I should come, that there might be a job that I could do.”

“Hey, it’s not a problem,” Adam said. Adam was young, with dark, curly hair poking out from under a John Deer hat, which set off his blue eyes. It made him look younger than he was.

“Where do you want this stuff?” Joseph asked.

“I thought I’d put the couch in front of the window right here. And the chair over between the dining room and the living room doorway.”

The couch was a light gray color and had big puffy pillows on it. The chair was yellow, with an abstract pillow that went on it.

“I don’t have a dining room set, so I was thinking I’d set it up as a library—get some Ikea bookshelves or get an Ikea dining room set, I don’t know. What do you guys think? Do you have any opinions, Joseph? Adam, what do you think? While I decide, we can go ahead and set the bed up in the bedroom. When we’re finished, I thought we could go into town for a beer and a sandwich at the tavern.”

“Ok, we can watch the game there,” Adam said.

They worked at a fever’s pace to get everything done in time so they could go to town and watch the Broncos game.

Lisa and Chloe started in the kitchen, unboxing and unwrapping all her dishes so they could be washed and put away. The two guys carried in all the furniture and boxes and put everything in the correct rooms, and then they put the bed frame together.

“I’m finished in the kitchen and the living room. Adam, I need some picture-hanging hardware stuff. Could you go to the hardware store and get that for me?” Lisa asked.

Adam cheerfully agreed to go. “Any excuse to go into town, and I’m all over it.”

“Chloe, would you go with him and make sure he comes right back?”

Chloe was very excited to be going with Uncle Adam and to be having some real grown-up responsibility.

“Well, I appreciate it very much. I forgot to get the hanging kit when I was there yesterday.”

The two left for town, and so Lisa successfully maneuvered the situation so she could talk to Joseph about that embrace last weekend and his current attitude toward her.

“Joseph, what happened last week? What was that all about?” Lisa asked as she lay across the bare mattress in her new bedroom. Joseph was putting together her makeup table. He stopped and looked at her in horror.

“Look. I do not ever want to talk about those few seconds ever.”

“I want to understand why you did it. I think I deserve at least that.”

“Are you really that naïve? Or are you that stupid?”

“I don’t know. I have never felt that way before. I have never had a man touch me like that. Your feelings—explain what’s going on.”

“I can’t get you out of my mind, and I can’t do anything about it. I’m still in love with my dead wife, and I have a daughter that I am very protective of.”

“Not that it matters, because I couldn’t do anything about it either. I can’t date a student’s parent. It would be unethical. But more to your situation—I would never try and replace your dead wife. I think the more you love, the more room you have for love. … Exactly what do you think I would do to Chloe, who I have already gotten quite close to?”

“Well, Lisa. It’s a good thing neither one of us has to worry about it,” Joseph said, hoping that would put an end to the whole conversation.

“Why did you grab me like that and hold me and look into my eyes with such intensity that I thought you could see right into my soul? Why did you get me so wrapped up? It does matter to me that you did it.”

“I was tired, and I just lost my self-control.”

“You need self-control to keep your hands off me? That’s hard to believe. In fact, I don’t believe it at all. We were about to kiss. That’s what we were about to do. …”

 Joseph grabbed Lisa by the shoulders again and looked into her in the eyes with that same intensity. “Lisa, you’re incredibly beautiful in your innocence. That makes you beautiful. You’re strong. That makes you beautiful. And you’re accomplished. That makes you beautiful. You are just incredibly sexy. I could also say it’s your auburn hair or your gorgeous green eyes, but it’s more than that. I think you’re sexy the way you are with Chloe, and then in an instant, you’re making Pop-Pop laugh. You are so special. But neither one of us can do anything about it. That’s that.”

“No, I can’t do anything about it. You can do something about it. You just choose not to.”

“It doesn’t make any difference. You can’t do anything about it if I choose.”

“You’re only my student’s father for another seven months.”

“This is a small town, and word is going to travel fast if we get caught, and we will get caught.”

“Let’s think about it. I have more to lose than you do. … What would we do about Chloe? It doesn’t feel right to keep a secret like this from her.”

“I don’t know if I have the courage for this.”

“We’ll tell everyone we’re just friends. That way we can see if we like each other enough to take it to the next level.”


Adam and Chloe arrived with the picture-hanging hardware. With the bedroom all set up, all that needed to be done was that the sheets and blankets needed to be put on the bed and the house would be livable.

“Someone said something about sandwiches at the tavern so we can watch the Broncos game for a while. I’m starving,” Joseph said.

“We’d better get your dad some food, don’t you think Chloe? Should we make him wait while I make the bed, or should we just go?” Lisa said teasingly.

“Let’s go. I’m hungry. I want wings.”

Everyone loaded into the pickup truck and headed for the Niwot Tavern. It was very busy, so they had to wait for a table in the bar. Adam and Joseph each had a beer, and Lisa and Chloe had Cokes.

They had just settled into their seats and gotten their drinks when a little blonde who was very drunk came over to the table, “You’ve got some balls coming back here and bringing your family. You don’t think I’m gonna tell them where you were the other night—after you helped that school teacher paint her house. That’s right, little girl, your daddy was fucking me. Or rather, fucking me over. You see, he came to my place to do the deed, and then Mr. High and Mighty decided he was too good for me and left me there with two open cans of beer,” Heather spoke in a slurred montage.

The manager came over and apologized, “Someone get her outa here. … Heather, you can’t come back here to drink anymore.”

Lisa looked shocked but didn’t say anything.

Chloe said, “Is that where you went when we couldn’t find you after you painted Miss Lisa’s house? What is fucked?”

Adam said, “Man who Heather WOW! You must have been drunk. I won’t tell Dad. Chloe, you don’t tell anyone either, okay? This needs to be a secret.”

Joseph just sat there in total disbelief. “Man, I’m really embarrassed I’m sorry you just witnessed that tirade. Hey, Chloe let’s not mention it at the house, okay?”

“I’ll get him something a little stronger to drink,” Lisa suggested, as she left for the bar. When she came back, she was clutching a Shirley Temple and three shots of Jack Daniels.

“Word at the bar is she’s not through with you. You got her thrown out of the bar where she likes to drink. Now you’ve made an enemy,” Lisa said.

“Oh, everyone in this bar saw. By the time we get home, Mom and Dad are gonna know what happened,” Joseph buried his head in his hands. “At least she won’t be able to do another one of these surprises.”

The food came, and everyone ate and enjoyed themselves as much as they could. Chloe chattered away about Halloween, which was coming up, and Joseph and Lisa sat quietly listening to her exuberance. Adam was totally into the game. Finally, the food was gone, the game was over, and it was time to go home.

Joseph drove with Lisa sitting next to him and Chloe and Adam in the back seat. I have to talk to her again. I have to know what she thinks? How does she feel now that she knows about Heather? I have to explain Heather and my mother’s matchmaking. I’m not sure that Lisa will understand, but I have to try.

Lisa said, “I always hate the first night by myself in a new place. All the strange noises that you have to get used to.” She was hoping that Joseph might pick up on her hint and come by and keep her company.

When Lisa got out of the truck, she reminded Joseph that he was on the Harvest Festival committee and they had a meeting tomorrow after school.


Success! You're on the list.

Twelve Signs Writing is Your Vocation

Writing is a sacred calling that pulls at your soul. Writing is a way of life. Isac Asimov said that writing was simply thinking through his fingers. Writing it pulls at me in the morning. It whispers my name long before the first light. It is in these hours that I know my vocation is to be a writer. Not a suffering writer but a joyful writer thankful that I have found a vocation in my life before I was too old to do anything about it. How do you know if you have the vocation check these out and see how many of them fit you?

  1. Daydreamers, writers are often daydreamers on an epic scale. It’s that exercise of the imagination that is important. So do you daydream?
  2. Was writing a childhood passion. Many times writers began their writing careers as children. I began my writing career by dictating my story to my aunt who wrote the story down for me I then illustrated it and we glued it together with flour and water paste. I was 4.
  3. Reading is a forever hobby. I didn’t learn to read I’m a reader. I read as much as my eyes will let me and then I listen to audiobooks. Reading is a way to learn new words and see how someone else puts them together. It gives you a chance to stretch your imagination.
  4. No writing glory no problem. If this is your vocation you aren’t in it for the money, or the fame, or the accolades. You do it because you have to write.
  5. Do you can’t stop writing once you start, or if you can’t stop writing journals because you have too many to choose from. You finish one journal and you get another one right away, so you don’t skip a day?
  6. Do you have a story you can’t help but tell and you have ten stories to tell writing may be your vocation?
  7. Do you believe Virginia Woolf when she said you need five hundred dollars and a room of your own to write so you’ve been making your own writing space since you were seven and now you’re twenty-five and you have a good job that lets you write after work regularly? You’ve planned your life around your writing.
  8. Do you hear a word and can figure out the meaning from the context, but you want to know the exact meaning, and if you find the exact right word to use while writing you consider that a good day. Then you might have writing as your sacred calling?
  9. Do you enjoy a good game of Monopoly, but go gaga over a game of Scrabble?
  10. Do you make time for writing even with a hectic schedule, and when you write do you lose track of time?

These are the signs that make you a kindred spirit with Jane Austin, Shakespeare, and Stephen King. The answer yes to these questions means that you have a vocation as a writer. God bless you it means that you are willing to make sacrifices to write. To write poems, and short stories, screenplays, and novels you are a writer you write blogs and you write magazine articles. You write in journals and notebooks and on the backs of napkins. Congratulations you are among the rare but don’t write for the adulation write for the joy of it.

If you liked this content please don’t hesitate to join my newsletter and receive monthly content and right now you’ll receive a short novella also.



10 Things you didn’t know about The cowboy’s secondhand heart

The story of Joseph and Lisa is out now and available to purchase on The

Joseph and Lisa both had lives before they met each other here are ten things you didn’t know about them.

  1. Joseph’s wife Jennifer died in childbirth the doctors couldn’t stop the bleeding after she delivered Chloe and Jennifer bled to death. They had been married for 3 years when they go pregnant with Chloe and were overjoyed.
  2. Joseph takes a long time to make up his mind about things. One of his favorite places to think is the lake on their property. He goes there often to swim or just look at the waves. It helps settle his mind
  3. Lisa lived in Westminster, a Suburb of Denver before she moved to Hygiene. She could have just as easily stayed in Westminster and been a commuter, but she wanted to be part of the community she was working.
  4. Joseph works the ranch like it is his own because one day he will inherit the entire ranch and buy his brothers and sisters out or he can split it with them. based on a majority vote.
  5. The boys love herding the cows moving them from pasture to pasture to make sure they get the best grass. Joseph uses that time to bond with his father. Lisa is determined to send Chloe to herd the cows next year. She wants Chloe to know that girls can do anything boys can do and have that bonding experience with her father.
  6. Joseph is the oldest and is protective of his younger brothers and sisters, especially his sisters. Sometimes it comes across the wrong way. It can look like Joseph is only concerned about the reputation of the ranch and not his sister’s best interest. That can cause a real problem.
  7. Lisa is no push over she can hold her own against the town bully and come out just fine. But is a little timid around Joseph’s sisters. She was able to bond with Julia over shopping at Christmas when the two girls were able to strike a deal with a jeweler to get Sarah a particularly beautiful squash blossom necklace. They had a problem to overcome when Julia met and fell in love with Bret.
  8. Joseph can become a hardass when it comes to the ranch and his family he won’t even let his family come between what’s best for the ranch. He will always choose the ranch and even if it hurts the family the ranch and its survival is what matters most.
  9. Some say that Lisa came into Joseph’s life to explain Joseph and what he meant to say. Others say that Lisa came into Joseph’s life to make him softer and more understanding, more human.
  10. Lisa and Joseph are both head over heels in love with each other. It took Joseph a long time to get there. Lisa knew it from the moment she bumped his head and he explained that he was giving up the football game to come to back to school night.

Lisa and Joseph have had many adventures falling in love, is just one.

Get a Skill Bump Take a Writer’s Workshop

first appeared August 16, 2021, Blog

It all started when I was doing some research for a blog post. I discovered that my local library had free online teacher-led courses that I’d be interested in. The classes that I’m going to take include writing classes that are structured like workshops. The first class that I’m taking and it starts this week is Romance Writing and then Later there is one on Creative Writing. Each class is 8 weeks, and I expect this first class will improve my pacing and imagery. If you’ve never been to a writers’ workshop you may wonder what exactly a writers’ workshop is? A writers’ workshop is a method of teaching writing whose goal is to create a lifelong writer. It’s based on four principles according to the all-knowing Wikipedia. Students will write about their own lives, they will use consistent writing processes, they will work in authentic ways, and they will develop as independent writers. So, that’s what a workshop is now this is what it can do for  you:

  • Learning literary theory
  • Writing can be learned even if the skills are lacking
  • Meeting people with common interests
  • Reading develops your creativity
  • Learning from experienced writers
  • Testing  your limits
  • Having the pleasure of writing
  • Establishing a routine
  • It helps to overcome deadlines

These are a list of the positives of taking a workshop or writing class but there are also cons and you need to be prepared for those negative aspects as well. Developing a little bit of a thick skin helps.

  • Some people will never understand what you’re writing about
  • Some people will want you to change your entire piece
  • You have to read some really bad pieces of work and try to see the potential
  • Sometimes you have to follow writing prompts
  • When the teacher tells you to change something
  • Writing can be subjective
  • Your work can be considered abstract

There is both good and bad in everything and if you are prepared to accept constructive criticism and ignore the subjective criticism by saying, ‘thank you for your advice.’ You may be ready to attend a writing workshop.



New Release





10 tips to boost your creativity

originally posted August 18, 2021

Are you a creative person? Are you able to come up with creative solutions to problems? These are important questions to ask yourself. Because being creative according to psychologists is one marker for a fulfilled life. If the answer is no here are ten tricks to boost your creative stamina.

1. Go for a walk

2. Reward yourself for creative thinking

3. Create some psychological distance

4. Seek out creative experiences

5. Create restrictions

6. Daydream

7. Re-conceptualize the problem

8. Get emotional

9. Surround yourself with blue

10. Meditate

Implementing these things is a great way of working the creativity muscle. Using your creativity muscle when you’re not in need of it can put you where you need it to be when it’s do or die time.

Thinking of your creativity as a muscle to keep toned is helpful.




Success! You're on the list.



  1. Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

“Chief, I have a file I wanted to talk to you about,” Emily said as she stepped into his office. He motioned for her to take a seat. “This file is on Ashlea Thompson. She is an author from Alabama. It says here she has two degrees and she works for a telecommunications company. She has a husband and two dogs. She has written two novels and has a third one coming out soon,” Emily continued scanning the folder, “She collects houseplants.”  The chief looked thoughtful, “You think she is worth looking into?” Emily smiled,” Yes, I do.”

  1. Without giving us spoilers, introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

When a dead body shows up in the small town of Everton, it is way more than the police department can handle. The city reaches out to the FBI and Emily Creighton is put on the case. The sister city to Salem is full of magic and intrigue and there is no telling what is about to happen.  Is she ready to be the lead detective for the first time since she joined the FBI?

  1. What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

She is a lot like me. She keeps lists and plans things, but ultimately wings it in the end, LOL. She strives to do her very best and get the job done no matter what is thrown at her.

  1. Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

In my second novel’ “Make You Love Me,” one of the side character’s name is Sara Raines. She was probably my favorite character in that book. She is sort of the type of person I want to be. She is kind and compassionate as well as dedicated to her job. 

  1. How did you come up with your idea for the above story?  

Every now and then I like to read books from the supernatural genre. I thought to myself, it would be cool to write something about witchcraft and incorporate crime and thriller into it. I bounced the idea off my husband. He thought it was brilliant so off I went.

  1. What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Honestly, I didn’t have any type of plan. Usually, before I start writing, I write down all the characters, the basic story and then start writing. Oftentimes I start writing before I even develop characters.

  1. How do you handle writer’s block?  

I suffered from writer’s block back in January. It was terrible. I read a few books from my pile and crocheted a blanket. Anything to keep my hands busy. I spent time thinking about how I wanted my novel to play out.

  1. Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

I like to clean. It helps me think. I go over scenes in my head while I am scrubbing the tub.

  1. What is your writing snack?

Grapes. Give me all the grapes.

  1. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work a lot. Also, I usually read when I am not writing. I like to spend time with my husband and two dogs.

  1. What is your favorite season and why?

Fall. 100% Everything is so pretty. I am not built for the heat either. I love when it gets cool and I can open the door and let the crisp fresh air in.

  1. What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

Thrillers. I love trying to solve the murders along with the characters. I love the ones where you have no idea what is happening and by the time you are done with the book you are in shock.

  1. Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

Yes. “Creating worlds for people to live a thousand lives from their own.”

  1. What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

When I am writing I am usually in the living room sitting on the couch while my husband watches TV, so it’s whatever he is watching. Mostly it’s sports or podcasts on YouTube.


What was your biggest failure that you turned into a success?

My first marriage was a failure. A big one. After a while, I found the man I was supposed to be with. I took all the lessons I learned from the first time and it has made me a better person and wife.





  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

    That would be Giselle from The Sapphire Oath.
  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My current work in progress is an exciting spin on the Van Helsing vampire stories. Here is the blurb for you to read.

Perfect for fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals. A Modern Van Helsing retelling.

Sometimes family secrets should stay buried…

Hayley Van Helsing, a twenty something vampire hunter, has always known her destiny was to become the leader of the Van Helsing dynasty, a clan made of supernatural hunters but she has always wondered if her life was meant for a different path, wishing for a normal human mundane life.

That is until she meets Darius, a tall dark mysterious man with piercing blue eyes, in a graveyard one night and unbeknown to her, he’s not just your average guy.

And he’s about to take her on an adventure that will make her question everything.

GRAVEYARD SHIFT is the thrilling first instalment in a steamy upper NA paranormal vampire romance series. If you like enemies-to-lovers, reverse harem, touch her and die, a tough female heroine, and a sexy morally grey antihero, this book is for you. 

Get ready for a fresh take on vampires, werewolves, and witches by one-clicking today!

*This book is part of a series and ends in a cliff-hanger. Best suited for ages 16+ due to sexual situations.

My WIP will be going through a rapid release starting in October 2022.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I can answer this in both ways.

Giselle, the main character from The Sapphire Oath has always been a character that has followed me for years, I started writing her story at age 15 and continued later into my adult life. She’s headstrong, witty, loyal, and will die for the ones she loves. She’s everything I would have liked to have read in a story growing up. She tries to fight for what’s right but must deal with trauma from her childhood and battle her own demons while fighting bad guys.

Hayley Helsing, she is the main character of my WIP and is so much fun to write. She’s humorous, protective, and sometimes inviting to newbies. She can make her own choices and tries to learn from her mistakes. She understands her weaknesses, her stubbornness, and her unwillingness to forgive (most of the time). She is driven mostly by her heart and that can sometimes influence her decisions and can ultimately cause her issues later.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP.

I can’t really say much about side characters in The Sapphire Oath series as it will give away too much, but I can for my WIP.

Jackson Gates, he’s the side character and Hayley’s best friend. He’s a witch from an amazing English dynasty bloodline and is so fun to write! He fell in love with a human but sadly that guy was lost during a battle and Jackson has now vowed to never love again, of course, that might change in the series. He’s very protective over Hayley as if she were his own flesh and blood. He’s not just spell smart but also science smart. He acts as the peacekeeper within the clan and tries to keep Hayley grounded as best as he can.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

The Sapphire Oath started off as a girl who witnessed her mother’s death at the hands of her father and it went from there, almost feels like a dream when I talk about where the idea came from.

Graveyard Shift, I have always written vampires. During my teens I was on a few vampire roleplay forums and absolutely loved every second of it and has a teen obsessed with Buffy, Angel, Anne Rice novels, and later Twilight and The Vampire Diaries (the books), I thought it was time I put pen to paper and write about my own vampire hunter heroine. A lot of the story has been influenced by those old roleplay forum days as some names and side stories I wrote back when I was a teen.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

I am rapid releasing this WIP as I am expecting my second child around December, so I’d like to have at least book 1 and 2 out before that time. So, I am currently writing back-to-back. The Sapphire Oath book 2 isn’t due out until March/April 2023.

  • How do you handle writers block?

  • I like to go for walks, listen to playlists either on Spotify or YouTube. I bounce ideas off my partner and or read a favourite book. I try to also push through writer’s block, if it appears I will take a day or two off and then try and get back on that horse, sometimes just writing from word prompts or pushing through the story and then going back later to fix any mistakes, errors or rewrite.
  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

I always write on a full stomach as it helps me consternate. I will put on a playlist which helps influence the story and have a nice hot cup of tea next to me. All those things help.

  • What is your writing snack?

Biscuits or chocolates or something sweet.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I am also a wedding photographer, so if I’m not writing I’m normally shooting or editing a wedding. Spending time with family, friends or planning my wedding.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn(fall), I love the colours, the crisp mornings, the cooler air, the changing of the trees and Halloween. It just feels cozier to me.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

Fantasy, romance and paranormal. They are my go to and I don’t think I’m ever going to change that.

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

A writer’s mission statement? I have never really thought of one. I write for me and that one reader, I have never worried about numbers of book sales or money earned, I just enjoy telling stories and even if it is only ever read by a handful of people, I am happy with that.

  • What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I listen to a lot of different genres in general, but I find certain songs help for certain scenes and certain characters. I like instrumental music, romance songs, and slow reverb songs.


What was your biggest failure that you turned into a success?

I haven’t really figured that out. Success is measured differently to me to how it is measured by others. My success is usually to do with my own family life, being able to grow a person is a success to me, finding the man of my dreams and knowing I will become his wife soon is a success. Having my first published novel do well is a success to me. I measure my success in the moments and how it feels, failures aren’t anything as you always find a way to get back up, dust yourself off and try again.


  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

I live in this woman’s head, so our thoughts are very similar. Good thing we both have a similar sense of humor. Introducing multi-award-winning author Abigail Owen. Abigail writes YA/NA fantasy romance and adult paranormal romance. She loves plots that move hot and fast, feisty heroines with sass, heroes with heart, a dash of snark, and oodles of HEAs!

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

The Liar’s Crown is my debut YA/NA fantasy romance which releases on August 30th! I have many series out in paranormal romance, but this is my first in this subgenre and I loved writing it so much. When a twin who is her royal sister’s body double is kidnapped by a man made of shadow, she has to fight for her life. But not everything is what it seems, and she finds herself pretending to be the princess she isn’t and trying to figure out how to get home.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

Meren is a strong, spunky heroine who, like all of us, doubts herself, her decisions, her worth, and everything else. But she does it with panache and a lot of snark. Meren makes me laugh with the things she comes up with, but mostly I feel for her. After all, she’s a secret twin whose only purpose in life is to be a body double and sacrifice herself for her royal twin sister. When she’s stolen by a man made of shadow, her life…changes.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Most of this story is about Meren, the main character, and the man who kidnaps her. A Shadowraith, Reven is not what he seems at first. The problem is, he may be even more dangerous to her than the king she knows has been after her family for generations.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

This series started when I stumbled across a lesser-known fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson where a man sheds his shadow which becomes self-aware and eventually takes on a life of its own, taking over the original man’s life and wealth and eventually killing him. I thought, well…there’s my hero and my villain.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

I set up the entire backstory for the villain first, which included an entire mythology for the place where it’s set. That’s unusual. With paranormal romance I let my world building work itself in organically as I go along. But for fantasy, with an entirely new world, this worked well for me. After that though, it was business as usual. I write every day and usually a fairly consistent amount of words each day. I do that until it’s done, and then I edit, and edit, and edit. J

  • How do you handle writers block?

This is only something I’ve dealt with in the past year or so. I find my routine helps. The fact that I work every single day. Even if I don’t get many words, it’s still more words than I had the day before. But writer’s block requires a lot of self-love and grace-giving.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

I do my first writing in the morning by going on a walk (or walking at my treadmill desk) and dictating. It gets all things moving in more ways than one and feels extra productive because I’m starting my day with words and exercise.

  • What is your writing snack?

Deserts. Coke. Pringles. Fruit. I’m a “snack while thinking” and a “boredom snacker” type so I snack…a lot.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m a mom of two teenagers. They basically are my life. Between all their activities, school, and acting as their chauffeur, any time not spent writing is usually doing something around that. However, I am also now hugely into K-Dramas. It’s an obsession. So any downtime I get, you’ll find me watching one of those.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Spring. I live in Texas and the weather isn’t the kindest. Most of the year it’s too hot to do much. But in the spring when everything turns green and the wildflowers bloom and the weather is beautiful, I love that best!

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

Fantasy and romance are my two favorite genres by far, so my favorite is when they are combined either in fantasy romance or paranormal romance. I love anything that allows magic to exist! All the things that the imagination can come up with. I also love anything that has an HEA (happily ever after). This world is tough enough, I don’t need to read the sad, dramatic, non happy stories out there. I need a guarantee that everything will turn out happy in the end. (At least for the main characters.)

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

Not really. LOL. I’d have to think long and hard what my mission is. To me writing is an escape as much if not more than reading. I hope that I’m giving other readers wonderful worlds and characters to escape with!

  • What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

When I write I can’t listen to anything that will distract me from the words I’m trying to form. So these days it tends to be a lot of KPOP because I don’t understand the words. I can just enjoy the music without it pulling my attention from what I’m creating.


What was your biggest failure that you turned into a success?

I feel like the only answer here for me is being a mother. I fail at some aspect of motherhood every single day. Every. Single. Day. But my kids know and feel they are loved. They get everything from us that they need not only to survive but to thrive. I worry about them every day and do everything in my power to help them as they grow into adulthood, which is just around the corner. It’s an ongoing mission, but even with all the daily failures, my children (alongside my marriage) are the only success I care about in this life.