New Reviews

And the non-fiction saga continues:

The Sleep Workbook by Renata Alexandre – 5 Sparklers – a great book on overcoming insomnia

Positive Thinking: A 52-Week Journal by Katherine Flannery – 5 Sparklers – prompts and ideas on becoming more positive

The Daily Meditation book of Healing by Worthy Stokes – 3 Sparklers – A year’s worth of daily readings

Easy Chinese Cookbook by Chris Toy – 4 Sparklers – Restaurant favorites you can make at home

21-Day Arthritis Diet Plan by Ana Reisdorf – 4 Sparklers – follows the Mediterranean diet with good menues

Sugar Detox in 10 Days by Pam Rocca – 5 Sparklers – A how-to book on cutting down on sugar in your diet

The 30-Minute Gluten-Free Cookbook by Jan Withington – 3 Sparklers – good recipes, not a lot of information on going GF

Complete Dehydrator Cookbook by Carole Cancler – 5 Sparklers – really good book on preserving your own food through drying


Guest Author: Barbara Bettis

For This Knight Only

ForThisKnightOnly_w13072_750Barbara Bettis

Thanks for having me here today, Vicky. I’m sharing an excerpt from For This Knight Only. That’s Roark and Alyss’s story, one I had great fun writing. Sir Roark is such a ‘guy’! He expects Lady Alyss to be docile—and thankful he’s come along to marry her so she won’t have to take care of everything after her brother’s death. Of course, he’s in for a surprise!

The book is celebrating its birthday, and as in any birthday party, there is a gift. One name will be drawn from commenters to receive an e-book of their choice.


He’ll do anything for land, even marry her; she’ll do anything for her people, except marry him.  If only either had a choice.  It’s a marriage only love can save.

Sir Roark will do anything to gain land, even beguile an unwilling lady into marriage. He knows she’s much better off with a man to take control of her besieged castle, to say nothing of her desirable person. But it isn’t long before he discovers that, although her eyes sparkle like sunlight on sea waves, her stubbornness alone could have defeated Saladin.

Lady Alyss is determined to hold her family’s castle, protect her people, and preserve her freedom— until her brother’s dying wish binds her to a stranger. Still, she’ll allow no rugged, over-confident, appealing knight to usurp her authority, even if she must wed him. Especially since he thinks a lady’s duties begin and end with directing servants. Alyss has a few surprises for her new all-too-tempting lord.

But when a common enemy threatens everything, Roark and Alyss face a startling revelation. Without love, neither land nor freedom matters.

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What would it take to persuade her to marry him? A sudden pain burst between his legs, and he gasped, eyes blurry. The little hell-cat kneed him. Even though chain mail deflected some of the impact, he used every bit of his willpower to remain standing.

Apparently persuasion took more than a kiss.

He drew a steadying breath. “You don’t understand, my lady. You will be my wife before the sun sets. It was your brother’s dying wish. It was my pledge to a comrade.”

By God, he’d begun to believe it himself.

Alyss met him toe to toe. “This morning I had never seen you, and by tonight, you think I will marry you?”

Her head tilted back and she glared into his eyes. “Were you, perhaps, wounded in the head during a fight? Have you lost your senses as well as your hearing? How do you propose to force me to the altar?

With your army?”

With an exaggerated look around, she nodded at Alain. “Ah, yes. There it is. Impressive to be sure.”

Turning from Roark, she said, “Sir Baldwin, see that these two knights are outside

the gates by sundown. Call every man in the garrison to help, if need be. I want them gone.”

Head high as if confident her word would be enforced immediately, she strode to the stairway.

Frowning, Sir Baldwin started forward. Roark lifted a hand to halt him. He glanced at Alain, then back to Alyss. “One moment, my lady. Hear me out.”

She continued to walk, but everyone in the hall had no trouble hearing her. “Unless you intend to apologize, you can say nothing that will interest me.”

Roark had known this would not be easy, but he had expected the female to at least listen to reason.

An obedient, well-behaved lady is how Sir Godfrey described her. An excellent housekeeper, but helpless to defend herself if her menfolk were all dead. Obedient, well-behaved. Helpless.

That Lady Alyss wasn’t this Lady Alyss.


Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. Through careers as a newspaper reporter and editor, then a college journalism and English professor, she’s retained her fascination with history. Give her a research book and a pot of tea, and she’s happy for hours. But what really makes her smile is working on a new story. Now retired, she lives in Missouri where she edits for others and spins tales of heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.

Find Barb Here:

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New Reviews

Big Non-fiction rush on books this week:

Simple Superfood Soups by Pamela Ellgen (5 Sparklers)

100 Large-Print Crossword Puzzles by Chris King (5 Sparklers)

Only the Hardest Puzzles by Willa Chen (4 Sparklers)

Cultivating Calm: An Anxiety Journal by Brandi Matz (4 Sparklers)

Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory (5 Sparklers)

Guest Author: Liz Flaherty

EVPju9mU8AApS2pI don’t remember where I was the first time I heard the term “women’s fiction,” but I do know that it stopped me in my tracks. I thought at first that it was superfluous, that romance was women’s fiction. It was, after all, the only genre written by women, about women, and for women. Well, for the most part.

But then someone said, “No, it’s the woman’s journey.” Oh. The person didn’t, as I recall, add dummy to the end of the sentence, but it was implied. And deserved.

It—women’s fiction—is my favorite thing in reading. And writing. Long before someone gave it its own name, it was what I wanted. I grew up reading about Trixie Belden and Sue Barton. Jim Wheeler and Bill Barry were important parts of their journeys, but they were never the only parts that mattered. I love romance and always have, but even in those books, my heart is intent on the woman’s own story. I want a Happily-Ever-After…of course, I do, because that’s what I want for all of us, but I don’t want all the scars removed in the process. It’s the scars, you know, that tell the story.

My own romances have women’s fiction leanings in them, some that editors have pushed back the other way and some that they just sighed and waved me on. My favorites in my own work are the ones where they just waved me on.

TheGirlsofTonsilLake_w8044_300Only once have I crossed the line entirely and written a book that wouldn’t fit comfortably on romance shelves—even if my writer’s heart is in the women’s fiction section. In The Girls of Tonsil Lake, even though Andie, Vin, Jean, and Suzanne all love the men in their lives, they are formed by many things beyond those loves. They are 51, have been friends since they were five, and they share secrets and support and lifetimes full of tears and laughter.

It’s on sale now, for 99 cents for the digital copy. I hope you buy it and like it. I hope the Girls become your friends just as they became mine.


Four women whose differences only deepen the friendship forged in a needy childhood…

They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed—except their friendship. Through weddings and divorces, births and deaths, one terrible secret has kept them close despite all the anger, betrayal, and pain.

Now, forty years later, facing illness, divorce, career challenges, and even addiction, the women come together once again for a bittersweet month on an island in Maine. Staring down old age, they must consider the choices life is offering them now and face the pain of what happened long ago.

Secrets are revealed and truths uncovered, but will their time together cement their lifelong friendship—or drive them apart forever?


“It’s changed so much,” said Suzanne, peering through the passenger window of Jean’s front seat. “Of course, I don’t think I’ve seen it in the daytime since Rosie’s funeral.” She looked pale and had been extraordinarily quiet on the way to the lake.

I truly hoped we weren’t making a mistake.

“I was here a couple of years ago,” said Andie, glancing over her shoulder. “I came up to punish myself for something, thinking if I did that the biopsy would be benign as my reward. I couldn’t believe how it looked.” With a grin, she added, “Or that God didn’t fall for my trick.”

“Let’s stop and see Rosie on the way in, shall we?” said Jean.

She pulled between the wrought iron gates of the tiny cemetery that sat at the edge of Hendersons’ woods. We used to pass it going to Sunday school and we always made Andie walk on the inside because she was fearless.

It wasn’t hard to remember where Rosie’s grave was. Although the church membership hadn’t denied her access to consecrated ground, they’d made sure she was at the back, close to the barrels where the mowing crew threw the old flower arrangements.

But we’d taken care of her as well as we could over the years. Her stone was large and shiny, both of which she would have appreciated, with a rose etched artfully in the center above the name Rose Hart Bennett. A small white picket fence surrounded the site, and even in Indiana’s blustery winters, greenery filled the urn that sat on one end of the tombstone’s base. It held a small Christmas tree now, bristling with little suet-and-birdseed bells tied on with red velvet bows.

We took turns taking care of it, and the kids said the grave always looked best during Suzanne’s years. But over time, others had joined us in looking after Rosie. Flowers besides those we ordered often filled the urn; the fence was painted annually and at one point had been replaced without our knowledge; someone had built an enclosure around the barrels. It was nothing more than four panels of privacy fencing, but it was painted white and looked a hell of a lot better than other people’s dead flowers.

“Who’s doing it?” Andie had asked Scott Parrish, the minister who used to pick us up in his Plymouth for services if it was raining. He’d been young then, and Jean had had a terrible crush on him.

“I don’t know,” he answered Andie, and added carefully. “Your aunt had many…admirers.”

We didn’t speak when we reached the site, just stood with our arms wrapped around ourselves against the cold, and grieved again.

“Maybe a bench,” said Suzanne finally. She breathed in and out, very deep.

So did the rest of us, in unison. None of us wanted to blubber over Rosie now. Enough time had passed that we should be laughing gently at the good memories she’d given us, not weeping over her loss.

“Good idea,” said Andie. “I’d like to sit and talk to her sometimes.” She raised her head as though startled. “Good God, did I just say that? I swear, Rosie, I’ve just been around Jean too long.” Her voice was a thin and shaky sketch of pain.

Jean put one arm around Andie. “I’ve done my best, Rosie, but she still swears in inappropriate places and blames me for everything.”

“And complains.” Suzanne stepped to Andie’s other side. “What was it you used to say to us, Rosie? Oh, yeah, ‘you’d complain if you were hung with a new rope.’ She’s got that part down.”

“Nah.” I stood next to Suzanne. “You’d be proud of her, Rosie. You’d be proud of all of us. The last two years haven’t been so great, but we’re still here and we’re doing all right.” I laid my hand flat on the rose on the stone, feeling the indentation of the etching on my palm. “We miss you.”

“We think so much about what we didn’t have,” said Suzanne. “My mother being crazy, my father only stopping in long enough to get a little, take the money, and move on. Your parents being like they were and Andie not having any. But we all had Rosie. We were better off than we knew.”

“She saved our lives,” said Jean.

“She definitely did that.” Andie looked over at the lake, choppy and gray under the clouds, with ice starting around its edges. “I wonder if they ever found the gun.”

 Buy links:


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Liz 2019Bio & links:

Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in North Central Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…40 years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

She’d love to hear from you at or please come and see her at:


New Reviews

Two new reviews today:

“Light the way Home” by Elizabeth Andrews – a wonderful quick read you’ll find under “Romance”

“The Finders” by Jeffrey B. Burton – a thriller mystery under mytsteries

Guest Author: J.L. Delozier

ConMeOnce_w14048_ibBack cover blurb:

When Frank Lambda, a bumbling superhero wannabe, witnesses a mob hit gone wrong, he ends up running for his life. Enter the mysterious Keira, whose secret academy claims to turn wannabes like Frank into real heroes. Frank knows a con when he sees one. But desperate for an escape, he joins three other recruits for training in Las Vegas. Against the backdrop of a thousand spandex-clad cosplayers Keira’s true agenda—a multimillion-dollar heist from her mobster brother—is exposed. With their lives and a fortune at stake, Frank and his team of diverse misfits fight to become the heroes they always wanted to be.   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon  Goodreads


Barnes & Noble:

Bookshop (indie author online bookstore)


Google Play:


Author bio:

headshotJ.L. Delozier has practiced rural and disaster medicine for 25 years. For inspiration, she turns to science that exists on the edge of reality—bizarre medical anomalies, new genetic discoveries, and anything that seems too weird to be true. She’s published three thrillers, the first of which was nominated for a “Best First Novel” award by the International Thriller Writers organization. Her short fiction has appeared in the British crime anthology, Noirville: Tales from the Dark Side, in NoirCon’s official journal, Retreats from Oblivion, and in Thriller Magazine.

Her first sci-fi short story won the “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” prize of the Roswell Award and appeared in Artemis Journal. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three rescue cats. See more at

Guest author: Elizabeth Andrews

light the waySingle dad Nate Baxter has his hands full with his son and his haunted lighthouse. He doesn’t have time to spend with a woman…especially one who won’t stick around, like his ex-wife. But Lucie Russo’s not like other women Nate’s met. She’s sweet and sexy, and his mouth waters every time he’s around her. Will a family emergency cause him to break his relationship rules? And if he does, will his heart be broken too? This story is part of the Common Elements Romance Project, over 70 stories with just five things in common: a lightning storm, lost keys, a haunted house (really haunted or rumored to be), a stack of thick books, and a person named Max. Everything else is up to the individual authors.


Author Bio:

ElizabethElizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read. She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart. As an adult, her book habit continues. She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms. Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own. Thanks to a fifth-grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels. Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.

Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and–though she loves horror–romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression. There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.

Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of more than twenty years and visiting her two young adult sons nearby. When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers, and vegetables that requires occasional attention.

You can also visit her at for more information.


Guest Author: Joe Cosentino

FoundAtLastcoverFinding Armando, Found At Last book two

by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press

cover by Paul Richmond

I was thrilled when so many readers told me they fell in love with Theo and Jamison as the young men fell in love with each other in Finding Giorgio (Found At Last Book 1). In that novella, Theo Stratis, an unlucky in love young accountant, registers at his upstate New York LGBTQ Center to visit an elderly gay person. Theo is matched with Nolan Downes who lives in a local nursing home, where Theo meets gorgeous Jamison Radames, a medical director, who is visiting the same nursing home. Theo and Jamison embark on an exciting adventure to find Giorgio, the love taken away from Nolan by his and Giorgio’s homophobic parents. As Paul Richmond, Associate Art Director at Dreamspinner Press, had done with many of my other books, he created a cover that perfectly highlighted this romantic and deeply emotional novella. On the cover is the old photograph Theo received from Nolan—the picture of young Nolan and Giorgio—embedded in Theo’s contemporary Hudson Valley, New York. It perfectly sets the tone for these special characters and this unique, emotional story.

When the readers begged for more of Theo and Jamison, I wrote Finding Armando, Found At Last book two, where Theo and Jamison now own the Poconos Resort they’ve renamed Nolan Giorgios. The resort manager, gray fox Asher Hillel, pines away for the lost love of his life, Armando Caro, who was taken away from him during the military’s vicious Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era. So it’s Theo and Jamison again to the rescue in their next adventure to reunite Armando and his first love from the Navy, Armando. After completing the novel, laughing and crying all the way, I couldn’t imagine how Paul could top his cover for Finding Giorgio, but he did! The cover for Finding Armando perfectly captures the love and devotion between Asher and Armando in their youth as surrounded by the Poconos Resort of the present. Thanks, Paul!

And there’s more good news. Dreamspinner Press is also releasing a paperback anthology of the two Found At Last stories combining both beautiful covers!

I know you will be swept away by Finding Armando. I love to hear from readers! Please share your reading experience with me at:

Giveaway: What do you think about the cover for Finding Armando? Post a comment. The one that tickles our heart strings the most will win a Dreamspinner Press backlist e-copy by Joe Cosentino of your choice!