Archive for the ‘Guest Bloggers’ Category

Home Secrets by Mary J. Forbes 99 Cents Until March 23rd

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Please welcome my friend and writer extraordinaire, Mary J. Forbes, to the blog! Mary’s Women’s Fiction novel, HOME SECRETS, regularly priced $3.60, is on sale for 99 cents exclusively from Amazon between March 17-23. So make sure to grab a copy. And, if you’re a member of Amazon Prime in the U.S., you can also borrow HOME SECRETS from the Kindle Lending Library for the next couple of months. Either way, you’re in for a great read! By the way, you can read an excerpt of HOME SECRETS on Mary’s website.

From Mary:


Cindy, thank you for inviting me to be a guest on Muse Interrupted! What a delight to give your readers a peek into the writing of my women’s fiction book, HOME SECRETS.

The story intertwines the lives of three friends, Lily, Joy and Sydnie Rose. Yet, each buries a long-standing secret. But before the women can reap forgiveness, redemption and love, each must face her secret square on. So… Can Lily ensure her teenage daughter’s happiness while they live on the edge of poverty? Will Joy knock down the wall of hurt that caused her weight to escalate? And does Sydnie Rose have the strength to fight her austere father and claim her dreams?

As I wove these questions into my story, dug deeper and deeper into the histories of these women, I laughed, smiled—and reached for a tissue. In the end, there was a sense of satisfaction and peace in my heart…and in theirs. And HOME SECRETS, I knew, was the beginning of the Hawkes Landing series. 🙂

About the Story:

She believed in him when no one else did…

A terrible divorce and car wreck scars Lily Wheaton inside and out. Desperate to reclaim normality, she flees to the quiet ambiance of her late grandmother’s birthplace in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. There, Lily believes she has conquered her demons. That is, until her ex-husband demands sole custody of their child. Without funds to battle him in court, Lily will do anything to keep her daughter, even stand up for her landlord and neighbor, Grey Montgomery—a man her ex insists is a criminal. 

After serving time for a drunk-driving fatality sixteen years ago, Grey escaped the censure of Hawkes Landing. Now his mother is dying, and he returns to his childhood home where his sister remains as obstinate as ever, the lack of medical facilities could mark the downfall of his family, and people won’t let him forget the nightmare of his mistakes. Only Lily sees him for the man he is today. But as another tragedy strikes at the heart of Grey’s past, he and Lily must accept a dark truth about their families before discovering that some of life’s toughest choices involve the healing power of forgiveness, love, and the will to go on.

Buy from Amazon

Read Excerpt on Mary’s website

About Mary J. Forbes:


Mary J. Forbes writes stories with an emotional depth that is reflected in each of her characters. Several of her (Harlequin) Silhouette Special Edition books were Waldenbooks bestsellers, and reached BookScan and Amazon’s respective top 100 lists. Mary loves to garden and especially enjoys the color and fragrances of the flowers she plants each spring and summer. The rain of the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her family is often portrayed in her stories. But once the clouds roll away, her heroes and heroines always find their rainbow waiting on the horizon.

Mary loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her at and

Grab Me, Hold Me, Make Me Read Good Books

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

By Diana Duncan

Whenever I start a new book, I always get jittery with anticipation. I’m about to embark on a new adventure. Meet new people. Explore new places, new worlds. I’ve been an avid book junkie since my librarian Grannie started taking me to work with her before I could even walk.

And, okay, yes, I’ll admit it—like any great addiction, tingles shiver up my spine when the first line (or first several lines) instantly grab me and won’t let go.

Opening lines can immediately establish characterization:

“Being dead didn’t make Jack Mercy less of a son of a bitch.” Montana Sky by Nora Roberts.

“Jules Cassidy was nervous. After years of working for the FBI, nervous didn’t happen to Jules very often anymore. At least not in a situation with nary a hostile gunman, armed terrorist, angry insurgent or crazed hostage-taker in sight.” All Through the Night: A Troubleshooter Christmas by Suzanne Brockmann.

“Meeting with a probation officer required a certain look. A jacket and tie. A body-hugging spandex superhero costume beneath his street clothes hadn’t been part of his plan.” As Good As His Word by Susan Gable.

Opening lines can also immediately invoke a mood with the setting:

“There was a storm in him, as black and vicious as that which bullied its way across the sea. It whipped inside his blood, outside in the air, battling within and without as he stood on the rain-slicked rock. The name of his storm was grief.” Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts.

“It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove, that started it. I won’t pretend I saw it straight away as the conventional herald of adventure, the white stag of the fairy tale. But when the big white bird flew suddenly up among the glossy leaves and the lemon flowers, and wheeled over the mountain; I followed it. What else is there to do when such a thing happens on a brilliant April noonday, at the foot of the white mountains of Crete?” The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart – (This book might be my favorite story of all. I’ve read it over and over, probably more than 50 times since I was about 14 years old).

Opening lines can also introduce you to characters who are immediately thrown into interesting, perilous, or funny circumstances:

“A late-night urge for an orange fizzy saved Nixie’s life.” Survivor in Death by J.D. Robb.

“‘Norman bastard!’ Quinn de Trefoid raised a brow at the Saxon knight’s arrogance but remained silent. Inwardly, he cursed his own stupidity for allowing them to capture him, for venturing so far from camp alone.” Knight of the Mist by Jennifer August.

Once upon a time, Minerva Dubbs thought as she stood in the middle of a loud yuppie bar, the world was full of good men. She looked into the handsome face of the man she’d planned on taking to her sister’s wedding and thought, those days are gone.” Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie.

After I dug through my massive piles and shelves of favorite books to research this blog post, I looked at my own manuscripts. The books I’ve written seem to fall mostly into this last category.

“‘Hold it right there, Frat Boy!’ The pissed-off feminine contralto froze Rory Devlin bent over with his Levi-clad arse in the air. One bare foot planted on the lawn, one precariously balanced on the curb, he gripped the rolled newspaper as he cautiously turned his head. A slender brunette dressed in white capris and a tank top the color of lemon meringue pie stalked through dappled June sunshine from the house next door. Radiating the fury of an avenging faerie, dainty raven brows slanted in a glower and golden sparks fired in wide brown eyes.” Deal with the Devil by Diana Duncan.

“Delaney Morgan didn’t find an unconscious naked guy on the beach every afternoon. The wild Oregon Pacific had spilled out shells, driftwood, sand dollars…and at sunset last night, a Celtic pewter and garnet triadic knot pendant she’d hung on a chain as a good luck charm. But a nude man was a first.” Sword of the Raven by Diana Duncan.

What about you? Whether you’re a reader or a writer, or both, you have favorite first lines. What are they and what do they reveal to you about the story? Why do you like them? Please share! (And remember to tell us the book and author).


Leave a comment to enter for your chance to win an ebook of your choice of either DEAL WITH THE DEVIL or SWORD OF THE RAVEN by Diana Duncan. Please note that to be eligible for the draw, you must be capable of receiving an ebook gift from Diana from either B&N (Nook), Amazon Kindle, or Smashwords (which covers mostly all eformats).

If you’re reading this blog through a feed at Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads or another social network, please note that you need to leave your comment at to enter.

The back cover blurbs for DEAL WITH THE DEVIL and SWORD OF THE RAVEN, as well as Diana’s bio, can be found in yesterday’s post. Visit Diana’s website to learn more about her and her books.

Diana Duncan Guest Blogs Tomorrow!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Tomorrow I’ll welcome my first (and probably only) guest blogger for 2011, paranormal romance and romantic comedy author, Diana Duncan. Please join us to celebrate Diana’s transition from traditionally published to Indie author. Diana is blogging about Grab
Me, Hold Me, Make Me Read Good Books and will give away an ebook of the winner’s choice of either DEAL WITH THE DEVIL (romantic comedy) or her latest, the paranormal romance, SWORD OF THE RAVEN. Both books are the first in a planned series and both are currently available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords.

Please note that the winner must be capable of receiving an ebook gift from Diana from either Barnes and Noble (Nook), Amazon Kindle, or Smashwords, which covers several other eformats.

About SWORD OF THE RAVEN (Morrigan’s Legacy – Warriors of the Light, Book 1):

When destiny calls, you don’t hit ignore

Delaney Morgan’s ho-hum life begins to fray around the edges when her cop brother is framed and imprisoned. Determined to exonerate him, she starts poking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Things go from extra-ordinary to extraordinary with her discovery of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Naked washed up on a deserted Oregon beach.

Rowan MacLachlan’s no ordinary man. He’s a semi-Immortal Highlander. A Water Mage, a Supernatural Enforcer…and since the slaughter of his entire family, Chieftain of his Clan. Recently escaped from the clutches of the Sorceress Cearde, he’s drawn to Delaney’s newly awakening Powers. She learns her brother possessed similar Powers, and his “situation” is entangled with the magical forces he tried to shield her from.

Pulled into an epic battle of light and dark…with a kick-ass pair of boots and a Bon Jovi inspired battle cry…Delaney vows to help Rowan avenge his family, and free her brother from the dark forces holding him captive. First, Rowan must teach her to control and wield her new Magic.

When passion flares between mentor and student, so do their Powers. With Delaney’s help, Rowan plans to vanquish the evil bitch who killed his family. Even if it means betraying the woman he’s come to love.

One of them may be required to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Can love really conquer all? Betrayal. Evil. Even death?

Delaney’s about to find out. Because she’s destined to be the Sword of the Raven.

About DEAL WITH THE DEVIL (Devilish Devlins – Book 1): 

When Irish eyes are smilin’…beware! Because trouble—and love—isn’t far behind!

Paradise for software designer Cynthia Wagner means uninterrupted solitude to invent a brilliant video game, and save her job. But renovations on her city apartment force her to seek refuge in a temporary rental in the ‘burbs.

The promised Paradise morphs into Purgatory when she meets her new neighbor, a deliciously tempting Irish rogue sporting a wicked grin and to-die-for body. Worse, the handsome bachelor has noisy, drooly, havoc-creating baggage on his hands for the summer… rambunctious five-year-old twin nephews, a baby niece, and the kids’ yappy dog. Rory Devlin is a dangerous distraction—and he’s hiding a naughty secret.

Jackhammers and contractors would have provided more peace and quiet.

Stuck in the Suburbs of the Damned with Mr. Uncle-Turned-Mom and his wild menagerie, Cynthia struggles to meet her deadline. But she struggles more with her undeniable attraction to her devlish-ous neighbor.

Could it be that what Cynthia has mistaken for hell is actually the heaven she’s been searching for?

About Diana:

When her dreams of becoming a ballerina were quashed by early-onset klutziness, Diana Duncan took up the safer vocation of writing. Her first thrilling masterpiece—written in orange crayon—was titled “Perky the Kitten,” and became an instant bestseller with her grandparents.

Her childhood growing up as a military brat gave her ability to leap into a conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime…and she always discovers a new friend in the process. This gift of gab perfectly equipped her for a career that involves making stuff up.

Di is famous for using seven words when one will do. She wields smart-assery like a samurai sword, and will be the first to volunteer in a catastrophe. Of course, she was probably the one who caused the catastrophe. She’s fiercely loyal to her friends and family…but in the event of the upcoming zombie apocalypse, she won’t hesitate to use them as human shields.

She loves her job as an author, and claims writing is the most fun she’s ever had while wearing her sock monkey pajamas. She also enjoys gardening, cooking, and adopting abandoned curbside furniture to refurbish into treasures.

Diana published six award-winning books with a traditional print publisher before going rogue with Indie publishing.

To learn more about Diana and her books, please visit her website.

Heads-Up! Book Give-Away This Week!

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

I haven’t hosted a guest blogger in nearly a year. That’s a long time, considering I was hosting every 1-4 weeks for a couple of years there. Those who are regular followers of my blog will note that I stopped hosting guests about the time I hurt my shoulder over-painting. That evolved into a rotator cuff injury in the summer of 2011 from which I am just starting to recover. So I thought I wouldn’t host a guest all throughout 2011. However, that changes this week. And probably only for this week, as I need to focus my keyboarding time on various writing projects for myself and Penny.

But a heads-up for this week, book lovers. I’m hosting romantic comedy and paranormal romance Indie author, Diana Duncan, on Tuesday, November 15th.

Be sure to drop by on Tuesday to enter for a chance a download of one of Diana’s two 2011 releases!

How to Write Funny When Your Sense of Humor Sucks

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Today I’m guestblogging on writing humor at the RWA ChickLit Writers blog. You don’t want me to be lonely, do you? You want to hop on over and lap up my knowledge, right?

Just in case not…

You are feeling sleepy. Very, very sleepy.

Your typing fingers are not under your control. No, they are under mine! They will do whatever I say. And I say that your typing fingers will click this link to the ChickLit Writers blog, read and comment on my post.

Then, and only then, will you be able to move on to anything else. Then, and only then, will you find the will to eke out a productive day.

You will have no memory of this conversation.

Next time you see me in person, say, at an RWA conference, you will feel strangely compelled to buy me a drink.


Listen Up!

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

I’m blogging today over on the new group blog 4Writers4Readers about not only my audio book release of HEAD OVER HEELS, but pursuing subsidiary rights (like audio books and foreign editions) on your own and the new opportunities available for authors as technology changes and self-publishing on Kindle, etc. is becoming more common.

Please join me with your thoughts!

A Gift of Thanks This Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

By Diana Cosby

Gifts come in many shapes and sizes, but I believe the most precious ones are those delivered from the heart.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the mayhem of life, particularly during the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, but every day, there are people amidst the chaos who help you, who take time out of their busy lives to make a difference in yours. This year, why not return that gift?

This holiday season, as wrapped gifts exchange hands, I ask you to pause, reflect on those who’ve truly made a difference in your life, and if possible, find a special way to say thank you.  This can be a simple gesture—something like a greeting card, a bouquet of flowers, or a heartfelt poem.  Maybe you could bake someone their favorite cookies?  Or, present them a coupon book filled with everyday chores, which they can tear out and give you to do on those trying days when they really need a helping hand.  The absolute best gift you can offer another person is one given from the heart.  And when special-delivered, without any strings attached, it touches their own.

This Christmas, I’m making gift baskets filled with my favorite homemade things, such as macadamia-butterscotch chip cookies, shortbread, double chocolate-orange-pecan biscotti, Vermont maple syrup, orange-lemon-maple syrup marmalade and more.  With each one, I’m sharing a part of myself with the other person.

What ideas can you think of?  Remember—the more original and inventive, the more fun!  🙂  I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

My gift to you, one of my favorite recipes: Butterfinger Ice-cream Pie!

Snickers Ice-cream Pie

.Oreo pie shell

.½ gallon Snickers ice cream

.Cool whip

.Chocolate fudge ice cream topping

.Caramel ice cream topping

.One Snickers chocolate bar chopped up

Place 1 quart of softened Snickers Ice-cream cream into Oreo pie shell and smooth out flat.  Place ½ inch or slightly more thick layer of cool whip.  Drizzle on the chocolate fudge and caramel ice cream toppings.  Sprinkle with chopped Snickers chocolate bar.  Put plastic top on and freeze.

*I usually make this a couple of days in advance and leave it on a flat shelf in the freeze.  This takes less than 5 minutes to make, and 1/2 gallon will make two pies.  Enjoy!

I sincerely wish everyone health, friendship and happiness this holiday season, a time when the best gift of all is the gift of yourself—that one-of-kind present that can make a difference in the life of another.


Please leave a comment to enter win HIS CONQUEST. If you’re reading this blog through a feed at Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads or another social network, please note that you need to leave your comment at to enter.

The back cover blurb for HIS CONQUEST and Diana’s bio are in yesterday’s post. Visit Diana’s website to learn more about her and her books.

Diana Cosby Guest Blogs Tomorrow!

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Kensington historical romance author Diana Cosby visits the blog tomorrow—my last guest for 2010. I haven’t yet decided if I’m hosting guest bloggers for 2011, so spread the word about Diana’s visit. This might your last (get it while it’s hot!) chance to win a free book from my blog!

Diana’s post is titled, A Gift of Thanks This Holiday Season, and she’s giving away a copy of the third title in her MacGruder brother series, HIS CONQUEST. Please leave a comment in the comment trail of tomorrow’s post to enter. Not in today’s post. Tomorrow’s. 🙂


His Conquest—one part heaven, one part sin.” Award-winning Author – Rebecca Sinclair


Linet Dancort will not be sold. But that’s essentially what her brother intends to do—to trade her like so much chattel to widen his already vast scope of influence. Linet will seize any opportunity to escape her fate—and opportunity comes in the form of a rebel prisoner locked in her brother’s dungeon, predatory and fearsome, and sentenced to hang in the morning.


Seathan MacGruder, Earl of Grey, is not unused to cheating death. But even this legendary Scottish warrior is surprised when a beautiful Englishwoman creeps to his cell and offers him his freedom. What Linet wants in exchange, though—safe passage to the Highlands—is a steep price to pay. For the only thing more dangerous than the journey through embattled Scotland is the desire that smolders between these two fugitives the first time they touch . . .

About Diana:

U.S. Navy Chief Meteorologist/Oceanographer, Diana Cosby began her last tour in the military by re-enlisting on the back of a camel in Tangier, Africa. With 32 moves and an incredible career, she decided to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met over the years. Her years of living in Europe influenced her decision to write in the medieval time frame, hence the MacGruder brothers were born. Diana now lives in Texas and in her spare time volunteers for Habitat For Humanity, Ducks Unlimited and other charities.

“Readers will fall in love with this third MacGruder Brother.” – Romantic Times

“Diana Cosby weaves fabulous tales of Medieval Scottish romance.”  NYT Best-selling Author – Pam Palmer

“Diana Cosby’s writing reminds me of the great Kathleen Woodiwiss!” Author Liz Lipperman, Berkley Prime Crime

Boys and Their Toys

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

By Annette McCleave

The men in my life have always had a thing for toys. Whether it was cars, boats, snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles, or even computers and big screen TVs, you name it, they had it. And wildly enjoyed it.  Something about cranking up the gas, speeding through space, and filling the air with a fine, deep roar truly stirred them.

Not surprising, I guess, that my fictional men tend to be fond of toys, too. My latest hero, Jamie Murdoch, owns a candy apple red Mustang and a black Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle. Being a medieval Scot, serving a rare second 500-year term of indenture with the Goddess of Death, he’s very in tune with his primitive side—and he thrills to the revving of a powerful engine. Both vehicles play a part in the plot of the story, and one of my favourite scenes in the book involves the motorbike and the heroine, Kiyoko Ashida.

I’m not going to say more than that. 🙂

The fascination men have with toys is no doubt tied in part to the measurability such possessions have as status symbols. But we can’t deny there’s also a sense of fun and freedom attached to them as well.

I know several women who get as excited about their status cars as any man, who thrill to the purr of a car engine and the sleek lines of a cigarette boat. But I can think of few who salivate over a snowmobile, a lawn mower, or a band saw. As women continue to further themselves as business people and continue to smash through glass ceilings in the workplace, do you think their interest in toys will grow in tandem? Or do you think the love of toys is fundamentally a guy thing?

Comment for a chance to win a signed Advance Reader Copy of the third Soul Gather novel, SURRENDER TO DARKNESS, out in January of 2011.


If you’re reading this blog through a feed at Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads or another social network, please note that you need to leave your comment at to enter.

The back cover blurb for SURRENDER TO DARKNESS and Annette’s bio are in yesterday’s post. Visit Annette’s website to learn more about her and her books.

Annette McCleave Guest Blogs Tomorrow

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Tomorrow I’ll welcome my second-to-last guest blogger for 2010. Yes, you heard me, only two more opportunities to win free books from talented authors. So please drop by tomorrow and join me in welcoming paranormal romance author Annette McCleave. Annette is blogging about Boys and Their Toys and will give away an autographed ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of SURRENDER TO DARKNESS, the third book in her Soul Gatherer series. SURRENDER TO DARKNESS hits stores in January, 2011.


As an immortal, Jamie Murdoch has spent lifetimes battling demons. But he’s cursed with an inner berserker, and his expertise as a Soul Gatherer is overshadowed by uncontrollable rage. Sent to Japan to investigate a mystical weapon that can destroy demons, Jamie feels out of place in a society that values tranquility and self-control.

Kiyoko Ashida has dedicated her life to fighting evil. Now she’s dying, and her remaining days are linked to a mysterious artifact, which is the only thing keeping her alive. Still, her path is clear—until the day a valiant Soul Gatherer storms into her life and, with one fateful touch, steals her heart.

The Veil is both destroyer and healer, and Jamie knows Kiyoko cannot survive without it. But when the malicious ambitions of a fallen angel target the artifact, he’s torn between fulfilling his duty and saving the life of the woman he loves.

About Annette:

Annette McCleave is the award winning author of the Soul Gatherer series—paranormal romances about immortal Soul Gatherers who battle demons for the souls of the dead. Mother of one, pet owner, and former high tech executive, Annette currently writes for NAL Signet Eclipse.

To learn more about Annette and her books, please visit her website.