Posted in inspiration, Thoughts, writing inspiration

Women’s History Month

Women Who Behave Rarely Make History

It’s women’s history month and as a lover of history and a woman, I feel that we should be learning more about the great things women have contributed to our history. Truthfully, I feel learning about the great people and events, as well as some of the horrors of history that have effected women, people of color, and native peoples is important to truly understanding our past.

There are so many historical female figures who have been both heroines and villains. Some have been truly good or evil, but others it depends on which side of the tale you are on. In The Great Courses program by Joyce E. Salisbury, Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals: 36 Great Women Before 1400, I discovered women I’d never before heard of and some I had but knew very little about. Have you heard of the Trung sisters of Vietnam who fought the Hun, or the martyr Perpetua? Zenobia and Boudicca are famous for fighting the Romans. Aisha, wife of Muhammad was instrumental in shaping the Muslim religion. Women, sisters, wives, daughters, dancers, queens, and nuns have changed the world around them. Some for the good, developing mathematics, science, and the first novel, others, well, some were conspirators, spies and murders. Women in history, just like modern women, are capable of good and bad things.

As a romance writer I am inspired by these historical women. Like these women who didn’t back down from a challenge, I want my characters to be tough and strong. Maybe because I never felt very tough or strong myself. All through history we find women who went against society, challenged society and even used society’s expectations to make changes. But if you’ve read my books, you know that my female characters are also inspired by women I know. They are the bad girl with the big heart who has survived a difficult life, the woman whom the whole town depends on to get things done, or the good girl who does what she is supposed to do but yearns to be just a little bit bad.

There are people who believe romance books are passe, that they aren’t about feminism. But if you read modern romance, you see that the story isn’t about waiting for the hero or stronger character to come and rescue the heroine or weaker character. It is about finding that one person who brings out the best in you, encourages you to be strong, and is willing to sacrifice to help you achieve your dreams. Anyone who says this isn’t realistic, well, I’m sorry, but I can name several who have found that one person who’ll do whatever they can for their partner to help them achieve their dreams or goals. My own husband has helped me achieve mine.

In Chrome Pink, Rae has always been strong else she would not have survived all the bad things that happened to her. Her friends and her grandfather were her support system but until she met Logan, she didn’t realize her own strength and worth.

Dana and Jenna both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Dana in White Gold is the busiest woman in Leeward but cannot find a man who can keep up with her until Agent Jake Monroe returns to Leeward. Jenna’s strength comes from her sense family and her kind heart. When her estranged husband returns, she can’t send him away.

Tracy is a ballbuster. In Red Steel, we see she is tough and strong, but her attitude hides a vulnerable heart. She’s afraid to trust Billy but can’t deny her desire for him. Together they overcome each other’s weakness to find their strength.

In the Harrell Family Chronicles, Willow and Liz don’t feel strong. They each suffer from their own weakness yet they’ve overcome obstacles and with the love of their husbands discover their strength.

Janie, of Janie’s Secret is a good girl. She hides herself behind that image afraid to allow herself to be wild for fear of what might happen. One of her secrets is her feelings for Chief of Police Mike Mackenzie.

Roxy is the bad sister. In Roxy’s Betrayal, she is a bit more vulnerable than she acts. She comes across as a user but she does bad things in order to help. When she meets Jorge Claudio, she wants to be better.

Maddie and Melodie, sisters in Christmas Inn at Teach’s Island and Trent’s Melody, overcome past hurts to give love a second chance. Maddie is the tougher, older sister who has trust issues. With Cole Harrell, Maddie feels safe enough to be vulnerable. Meanwhile, Melodie is determined to ignore her feelings for Trent but as she learns his vulnerability, she discovers her own strength.

In my historical cozy mystery, half Lakota wild west performer, Winnie Applegate has always had to be strong. Motherless and young, she is vulnerable in her desire to be loved and accepted. When her family is threatened, she leaps to protect them and uncover the mysteries.  

Posted in contest, my books

Giveaway #theleewardfiles

My sister-in-law’s favorite book of mine is White Gold. Perhaps it is because I dedicated the book to her or because many of the readers who know her thought it was written about her. For those of you who do not know my sister-in-law, she is the person you call if you want something done. She has had her own business and worked as many as five jobs at one time and still is willing to volunteer for church, community or charities she believed in, as well as help family and friends. She embodies the character of Dana Windley, the heroine of White Gold.

Dana Windley has just opened her dating club, Cupid’s Zone, a combination computer and face-to-face dating club. She is in charge of the festival fundraiser beauty pageant. When two of her contestants go missing, she discovers they are being prostituted and she is determined to rescue them. With the help of North Carolina SBI agent Jake Monroe and her friends, they uncover a sex trafficking ring operating in their small town. Can they save the girls before they are sold to the highest bidder?

In honor of my sister-in-law I’m doing a special giveaway to celebrate her birthday. To receive a signed copy of White Gold, a hand-crocheted scarf donated by my aunt and tiara, post a photo, meme or GIF and use the hashtag The Leeward Files (#theleewardfiles) on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. If you post a photo of a strong woman who inspires you, I’ll add your name in twice. Let’s flood social media with strong, wonderful women!

The drawing takes place December 7th. Good luck and thank you for helping get the word out about my series.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

On The Corner of Hope and Main

by Beverly Jenkins Narrated by Lynnette Freeman

Citizens of Henry Adams, Kansas are in the midst of a mayoral election. Trent July has been mayor for the past four years since Bernadine Brown purchased the town online and brought about much change for the small, historically black town built by freedmen. They are once again fighting those who would betray their trust and steal their homes and land. In this awesome, Blessings tale, Beverly Jenkins shows us that might does not make right, and often it is the humble and meek who bring about change and who are the true heroes of the day.

I loved this story with it’s mix of older and younger characters. Ms. Jenkins gives us romance, intrigue, suspense, friendship, and inspiration. In Henry Adams we see what a small town could be like if everyone works together for the greater good. She also shows us the mistakes we make as humans, are failings and shortcomings but how we can overcome these to be better and stronger. Her positive female characters with their strength and courage

As I listened to this story, I dreamed of what I could do in my own small town if only I had the money and opportunity. Like Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, I too have a dream of saving my hometown and making it a place where all children, all people live together in harmony.

Ms. Jenkins gives us a map of what it could be like if we could create our town and give its inhabitants safe places to live, share and seek solace. Henry Adams, Kansas is as close to paradise as we on earth can hope for and I’d love to live there.

Posted in Book Review

Review: Breathless

Breathless by Beverly Jenkins

My friend and mentor shared this book with me.

Portia doesn’t wish to risk the freedom she has by marrying a man who treats her like a belonging. Although her aunt and uncle have an amazing relationship, the men her mother entertained where brutes. Portia has no desire to give up the work she enjoys as bookkeeper and manager for one of the largest hotels in the Arizona Territory. She is content with her life, that is, until Kent Randolph comes to visit.

A friend of the family, Kent Randolph is not the same man who worked for her uncle years ago. Life and bad choices have honed him into a man of strength and honor. Not expecting Portia to be all grown up and beautiful, Kent is as surprised as she is over the power of their attraction. Ready to put down roots after living the life of a vagabond cowboy, Kent starts to imagine that life with Portia. Can he convince Portia he is the man for her, that she can continue to do what she loves with his blessing and support?

Portia can’t resist the lure of her attraction for the cowboy, but it is the little things he does that makes her realize he is nothing like the men who frequented their house when she was a child. Though she no longer leaves the room or puts furniture between herself and men, she is still apprehensive about trusting them. Kent proves to be someone she can trust, he also gives her the courage to go forward with her dream.

True romance isn’t needing someone to make you whole but wanting something to make your life more complete. Finding that person who knows what we need and is happy to give it to us or help us get it on our own. The person that puts your needs and desires above their own.

If you love strong characters, historical settings and interesting plots, Beverly Jenkins’ Breathless is a great choice.

Posted in Thoughts

Labels and Genres

Where do my stories fit?

When I first started writing I believed I was a romance writer. In the past ten years, I’ve focused my attention on writing what I call romantic suspense. Defining my stories and finding the right home for them hasn’t been easy. Although the Leeward Files is a series, each book is a little different. Chrome Pink is more women’s fiction, focusing on Rae Lynne’s healing journey to love herself as well as her battle to allow herself to love and be loved. Thus, I called it romance.

Romance, the genre has definitive rules, Chrome Pink breaks nearly all of them. Rae doesn’t meet her romantic hero in the first few pages of the book, and while the romance is an important part of the book, it is not the driving force. So, is it a romance novel?

I’m not sure what category my stories belong, women’s fiction, romantic suspense, suspense thriller with romance, or something else. Chrome Pink stars a strong but flawed female character. It is set in a small, southern town. There is a meet-cute scene. The hero is the heroine’s counter balance, while he is not the reason for her healing, he adds to her reasons to be sober and strong. There is a dark side to the suspense, but the romance is almost sweet, but I can hardly market this book as a sweet, small-town romance, especially not with the language and adult situations. So, how do I categorize this book, this series?

If you have read or are reading Chrome Pink, let me know what you think. Is it romance, suspense, fiction? What label do we put on it?

Posted in Book Review


Rebel: Women Who Dare by Beverly Jenkins, Narrated by Kim Staunton

Women of strength and courage make history, forge nations and make a difference. Ms. Beverly Jenkins is a genius at building characters and setting them in familiar places and times, and showing what true courage looks like.

Reconstruction in New Orleans, or any place in the south, was hardly a romantic time period for people of color. Supposedly free, they still faced the hate and bigotry of being people of color. Still, life did not end, people still loved, lived and survived, to spite the cruelties others inflicted.

Valinda Lacey is representative of the strong, determined young women who came south to teach former slaves. When she meets Drake LeVeq, he brings out that spirit in her she’d tried hard to suppress as a young lady of the time period. Together, this amazing couple will build a better world one generation at a time.

If you love historical romances, strong characters and a blend of family and friends with a New Orleans setting, this is the story you have to read. Fabulous romance and wonderfully picturesque setting.

Posted in Book Review

Christmas Revels IV, another successful anthology

Christmas Revels IV : Four Regency Novellas

by: Anna D. Allen, Hannah Meredith, Kate Parker, and Louisa Cornell

I have been a fan of all the Christmas Revel Anthologies. Each year I am surprised by the excellence these authors exude.

Anna Allen captured my heart with her story, The Sergeant’s Christmas Bride. Ms. Allen managed to give her readers a heroine who was both strong and vulnerable. Elizabeth FitzWalter is a woman of courage and determination and Sergeant Jacob Burrows is the hero she doesn’t realize she needs.

After her brother dies she inherits the title and all the burdens and responsibilities that come with it. Jacob is surprised by her proposal but he is determined to live up to what his friend, Matthew FitzWalter would want him to be.

This couple should not be together and yet, they are a perfect fit. A truly beautiful love story.

I have enjoyed reading Ms. Allen’s stories but I feel this has been her best so far. I can hardly wait to see what she writes next year.


Home For Christmas by Hannah Meredith was a fun story of second chances and hope. Charity Fletcher was doomed to be a spinster dependent upon the largesse of her family until a surprise inheritance gave her the prospect of a different future.

When Colonel Lord Gilbert Narron rented a house in the wilds of Bristol he didn’t expect it to already be occupied. The new owner isn’t willing to give up her independence and he is unwilling to leave this temporary haven.

They manage to find a way to share the old house. While Gil devotes time and money into making the much-needed repairs, Charity searches for clues as to why she was named in a stranger’s will.

Adventure and attraction become too great a temptation. Ms. Meredith has us flipping pages to learn whether they allow themselves to be pulled apart or they give into the desires simmering in the fires of winter.

I’ve been a fan of Hannah Meredith’s for several years and she hasn’t let me down. I look forward to Christmas Revels V and whatever else these ladies write.


I was not surprised that Kate Parker’s novella, A Memorable Christmas Season started with a dead body. I was surprised that she had three romances intertwined in this wonderful holiday story.

Like an onion, we peel off another layer to learn the juicy details of this rich romantic mystery. Young love, first love and undying love are all represented. Susanna Dunley is the Dowager Countess but when her first love, Will Marsden the Earl of Keyminster sees her with a dead man in her parlor, she is once again the young girl who loved him.

Will Marsden has spent years as a spy and now he is a master of the art. He knows Susanna is hiding something but he is still willing to risk it all to save her. The story is revealed with seduction and banter as old friends rediscover each other and learn what has led to the murder of a traitor.

A mother’s love, friendship and the power of true love overcome all the evils to bring hope to a new year. Kate Parker is the master of layering plot and character to lead us through the maze to discover the truth of the story. I am a fan of her mysteries, especially her “Deadly Series”.


Louisa Cornell makes me laugh and makes me cry and keeps me turning pages well after my bedtime in her novella, A Perfectly Unforgettable Christmas. Ms. Cornell weaves mystery and romance with the added twist of a great supporting cast.

Viscount Debenwood, Lucien Rollinsby’s butler, Redford and his dog are only outshined by the little girl, Lily who steals his heart (and mine) and brings her mother, Lady Caroline McAlasdair into his seclusion.

Lily is precocious and unable to stay away from the grumpy viscount nor his little dog, Bonaparte. Like her mother, she is able to see the good man hiding in a haze of alcohol and guilt.

Love heals and Caroline McAlasdair has the Midas touch turning even the worst situation into a chance for happiness and beauty. Without even trying, she and her daughter give Lucien new hope but she too holds a secret and it might be the very one to send him over the edge.

This ensemble of rich characters makes the story come alive. I can hardly wait to see what Louisa Cornell does next. I am a fan, I hope I don’t have to wait a whole year to read another of her fabulous stories.