Tag Archives: The Indie Spot

One of My Favorites From 2021: Legacy of Danger #BookReview

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Book Blurb:

Elena Dkany inherits her family’s castle in Romania, a land dipped in myths, folklore, and the legendary walking dead. The local proverb serves as warning: “Do not speak badly of the Devil, because you cannot know to whom you will belong.” When she’s attacked by an international assassin, only her deceased husband and her ex-boyfriend’s live presence can protect her on her journey to the mountainous region of Transylvania.

But that’s not the only problem troubling Elena. Who is that boy invading her dreams? And what really happened to a priceless gem-crusted silver cross buried by an earthquake in the fifteenth century? Who’s stalking Elena? Who wants her dead and why?

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

It begins with a subtle, familiar whisper from beyond the grave. Did somebody murder Elena Dkany’s grandmother? If so, who did it? And most importantly, why did they do it?

The voice of her dead grandmother launches Elena on a journey that will take her far away from the life she’s built for herself in Chicago to the ancient land of Romania, a place her people once called home. Here, in a remote village, she inherits her family’s ancestral castle.

But Elena isn’t taking this journey alone. Acting as her escort on this trip is FBI agent Alex Brancusi—who also happens to be Elena’s first love. A young boy haunts the dreams of both Elena and Alex. Who is this child?

Attempts are made on Elena’s life. But who would want her dead? Are they the ones who possibly murdered her grandmother? Why does the ghost who saved her life resemble Elena’s deceased husband?

In Legacy of Danger, author Patricia A. Guthrie has crafted a well-told tale of murder and intrigue. Her skillful style expertly weaves multiple genres into a single, tight narrative that is at once believable and compelling. Romance and murder mingle with the paranormal, and betrayal arrives at the deepest levels. If you enjoy stories that put you on the edge of your seat—and keep you there—this is a book for you.

One of the best books of 2021.

About the Author:

1kcgq8jmvcbght3kqfs5jrjmlc._SX450_Patricia A. Guthrie is the author of romantic suspense, paranormal, mystery novels and short stories. Her current published novels ‘IN THE ARMS OF THE ENEMY’ ‘WATERLILIES OVER MY GRAVE’ and ‘LEGACY OF DANGER’ and her short story ‘WILLED ACCIDENTS HAPPEN’ are available in online bookstores such as Amazon.com. She also has short stories published on Amazon, Skyline Magazine and Affaire Du Coeur and non-fiction articles in the Collie Cassette and the online ‘Nature Journal.’

Guthrie is an accomplished musician: opera singer, church soloist and music teacher. After leaving the opera, Guthrie became a music therapist in a school for children with special needs and then went on to teach music in the Chicago Public School system. She resides in the Chicago area with her cats, Archie and Kitzy Kitty, and her horse, Dixie, who help her write every chance they get. Pat’s an avid animal lover and advocate.

Where to Buy:

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Fun Read: My Review of Girl Wears Those Shoes.

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Book Blurb:

Aspiring young Chinese immigrant Gigi O survives by working as a stripper, but she strives for true success in the U.S. real-estate industry. Navigating this highly competitive business is tough, especially when her only support comes from the deeply flawed man she loves and her old cohorts from the strip club. Issues of betrayal and trust, loyalty and commitment complicate her goals even as one lesbian friend adds new dimensions to her understanding of love versus desire. Then the market crashes and financial turmoil threatens to rob Gigi O of all she has achieved. Can she find new ways to chase her dreams—and still manage to keep her clothes on? Or might she find a better reason to take them off? Girl Wears Those Shoes is a tale of love and power, the story of one woman who wants to make the world her own—if only she can figure out how.

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

Girl Wears Those Shoes tells the story of Gigi O, a young Chinese American woman at a crossroads in her life. She’s barely getting the bills paid while dancing in a strip club. Sure, Gigi may be a popular girl at the club, but she wants more out of life than her current circumstances can afford. Like most humans, she craves love and success and stability. When Gigi enters the world of real estate, her prospects begin to brighten.

Author Jenny Wang has crafted a story that reads like a memoir, even though it is fiction. Her characters offer a variety of personalities and subplots. Romance and lost love share the same spaces in this story set in Houston, Texas. This is Jenny Wang’s first story. It will be interesting to see where she takes these characters, should she choose to write a sequel. A fun read indeed.

About the Author:

Rp2z7B8S_400x400After two decades in the real-estate industry, Jenny Wang has established her brand, “Jenny Wang Houston,” with JWang Properties, a boutique agency with a personal touch, and JWang Media, a custom-video production team for promotion and marketing. An active community booster, Jenny is the past president of the Women’s Council of Realtors, Houston Network. An Ambassador of the Houston Ballet, she holds a lifetime membership in the University of Houston Alumni Association. Author of her debut novel, Girl Wears Those Shoes, Jenny Wang is proud to live her principles even as she pursues her own unique vision.

Where to Buy:

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Last Words of the Famous

Everybody dies at the end. Even the stars—unless you believe in reincarnation, then there’s a potential chance for a sequel. It’s just the way life in this world is set up. In the famous words of Jim Morrison, “No one here gets out alive.” Famous words, sure enough. But those were not his last.

gettyimages-55653323-copyWhat exactly were Morrison’s last uttered words? Well, if his girlfriend Pamela Courson is to be believed, Jim’s final words were, allegedly, “Are you there, Pam? Pam, are you there?” She found him dead in the bathtub a short while later.

Final words, as heard by those who claim to have been there at the end, can be humorous or sad or startling or even eye-opening. They may give comfort to loved ones left behind or pause for thought to fans who never knew the deceased as anything other than a star.

Here is a selection of last words uttered by famous people as they slipped the surly bonds of earth.

gettyimages-515986080James Dean, actor, two-time Oscar nominee, as he drove a silver Porsche Spyder on his way to a race in Salinas, California: “That guy’s gotta stop . . . He’ll see us.” Unfortunately, the guy in question, a 23-year-old student named Donald Turnupseed, did not see the car in time and turned directly into its path. According to Dean’s passenger, mechanic Rolf Wutherich, Dean survived for about twenty minutes following the wreck, screaming in agony.

Legendary actress Joan Crawford left this world an angry and bitter soul. As Crawford’s life drew to its conclusion, her housekeeper began to pray aloud for the woman’s soul. Before breathing her last, Crawford is reported to have snapped, “Dammit . . . Don’t you dare ask God to help me.”

Actor, comedian, and musician Dudley Moore’s final words seem to suggest an experience of sorts. As companion Rena Fruchter held his hand, Moore allegedly said aloud, “I can hear the music all around me.”

Hollywood legend John Wayne spent his last days drifting in and out of consciousness. His daughter, Aissa Wayne, tending a bedside vigil, held his hand and asked if he knew who she was. The Duke responded, saying, “Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.”

In the humorous category, author Oscar Wilde, lying on his deathbed in a fleabag hotel in Paris, is reported to have uttered, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.”

Family members at the bedside of Apple founder Steve Jobs say his dying words were, “Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow.” Simple words, really, for such a momentous occasion.

Frank Sinatra passed away after saying, “I’m losing it.”

American rhythm and blues singer Johnny Ace, while playing with a pistol, utter these final words: “I’ll show you that it won’t shoot.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, passed away at the age of 71 while working in his garden. He turned to his wife and said, “You are wonderful,” then clutched his chest and died.

MV5BMzEyNjQzOTQ5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzY5MjI2._V1_UX178_CR0,0,178,264_AL_Michael Landon, the beloved star of such classic television shows like Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie, passed away in 1991 after a much-publicized battle with cancer. As the end drew near, Landon’s family gathered around the actor’s bed. His son said it was time to move on. Landon said, “You’re right. It’s time. I love you all.”

Percy Grainger, the Australian composer, with his dying breath, told his wife Ella, “You’re the only one I like.”

Ernest Hemingway, before committing suicide with his favorite shotgun, told his wife Mary, “Goodnight, my kitten.” Hemingway took his life in the front foyer of his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

Basketball great “Pistol” Pete Maravich collapsed and died during a pickup game. Moments before his death, Maravich proclaimed, “I feel great.”

Singer/guitarist Bo Diddley died while listening to the song “Walk Around Heaven.” His last word was a simple “Wow.”

Sir Winston Churchill announced, “I’m bored with it all,” before drawing his last breath.

Emily Dickinson, at her moment of death, told those in the room with her, “I must go in, for the fog is rising.”

Author Truman Capote, as he lay dying of liver disease, phlebitis, and multiple drug intoxication, repeated, “Mama— Mama— Mama.”

James Brown, the hardest working man in show business, as his life dwindled down to mere seconds, said, “I’m going away tonight.”

Perhaps the most thought-provoking final word comes from the surgeon Joseph Henry Green. Upon checking his own pulse as he lay upon his death bed, simply said, “Stopped.”

Whether we’re famous or anonymous, we can’t know what our last words in this world might be. That moment may come along while we’re busy preparing for tomorrow. The Bible tells us to never let the sun go down on your anger. Wise words, those. As for my own last words? Whatever they may be, I just hope they convey a message of love, of gratitude, of forgiveness.

Kindness Versus the Truth: Which One Wins?

Just a little observation.

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Kindness versus the truth: Which one wins? It’s a simple enough question—though it may take a heated debate to smooth away all the various rough edges. Some will say you cannot have one without the other. I disagree.

The truth is often brutal in its honesty. If an individual on the receiving end isn’t prepared to hear the unvarnished facts, they will, no doubt, view the messenger as unkind—maybe even evil. This is a prevailing symptom of an all-too-common disease plaguing the world today. And just what is this new plague? It’s the idea that we can no longer offer opinions without some individual on social media becoming offended, hurt, or angered, as if by merely stating an opinion, you have personally attacked another by virtue of their having stumbled upon your tweet or blog or Facebook post.

Okay. Let me explain. On a recent Friday night, I came across a Tweet from an author asking a credible question:

Do you ever feel like the characters are writing the story for you?

Simple enough. And it’s a legitimate inquiry. Many authors tweeted their response. Most of them said, yes, they often feel their characters are writing their stories.

I weighed in with my own opinion. I tweeted:

I am the author, the creator. My characters do not exist without me. They do not have the ability to act independent of me. If they write for me, I am not the author. Those who claim the characters write for them are either short-changing themselves or they aren’t real writers.

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Again, this is simply my opinion in answering the question posed. Well, my opinion earned scorn and derision from a pair of writers who took my words as an attack on them personally. Offended, they were. How dare I “crap” all over another writer’s “process!” Well, no. Claiming your characters are the ones writing your story isn’t a “process.” I do understand the mindset. I get where these people are coming from. You get lost in the creative elements and it feels as if the story is unfolding on its own.

But it isn’t. You, as the writer, are constructing every character, every line of dialogue, building every scene. You did all the leg work in plotting and planning. We all do—regardless of whether we outline our story or write it by the seat of our pants. Even those so-called pantsers usually have some idea where the story will go before they set pen to paper—or tap those keys. When I hear somebody claim the characters are doing the writing, I get the feeling this person might be making it all up as they go along—not a clue as to where it’s going or how they’ll get there.

This brings me back to the title question: Kindness versus truth: Which one wins? You can express kindness in telling an athlete they lack the skills to play organized football, but it’s still going to hurt. You’ve just crushed a dream.

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Over the last two decades, I have watched many seasons of the television show American Idol. The program has been a springboard for some incredibly gifted singers and musicians. We’ve become familiar with their songs, their voices, their names. However, for every Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, there are dozens of individuals who did not make it beyond the audition stage. I recall many alleged singers who were just plain awful. You can find some of those bad auditions on YouTube, should you need a reference point.

Anyway, when the judges dismissed these performers, telling them that they didn’t have what it takes to move on to the next round, many of the rejected contestants responded by hurling angry insults at those who have built successful careers in the music business.

“How dare you say I can’t sing! My mother says I’m as good as Lady Gaga.”

As writers, most of us have cultivated thick skins. We need it in this line of creativity. Our work is ultimately sent out into the world to be read, judged, criticized, and dissected. For all the positive reviews our work may garner, there will be those who view it in a negative light.

They didn’t connect with your protagonist.

They couldn’t follow the plot.

They just didn’t believe the dialogue rang true.

It happens to the best of us.

Now, to my point in this observation. If you’re a writer, don’t take the little things so personally. If a bad review comes your way, read it, search for those criticisms you might use, then move on. Don’t linger. Don’t replay the negative remarks over and over inside your head. The same goes for opinions—especially those shared in a tweet. They really shouldn’t matter to the writer. Opinions are often little more than the observations of others. If you believe your characters are writing your story, then so be it. Who am I to say otherwise? Just write, create, have fun, and the opinions of others be damned.

And work on that thick skin.

If you offer your work to the world, you’re going to need it.

 

Girl Wears Those Shoes Available for Pre-Order!

41s4c7CaCZL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_Aspiring young Chinese immigrant Gigi O survives by working as a stripper, but she strives for true success in the U.S. real-estate industry. Navigating this highly competitive business is tough, especially when her only support comes from the deeply flawed man she loves and her old cohorts from the strip club. Issues of betrayal and trust, loyalty and commitment complicate her goals even as one lesbian friend adds new dimensions to her understanding of love versus desire. Then the market crashes and financial turmoil threatens to rob Gigi O of all she has achieved. Can she find new ways to chase her dreams-and still manage to keep her clothes on? Or might she find a better reason to take them off? Girl Wears Those Shoes is a tale of love and power, the story of one woman who wants to make the world her own-if only she can figure out how.

About the Author:

Rp2z7B8S_400x400After two decades in the real-estate industry, Jenny Wang has established her brand, “Jenny Wang Houston,” with JWang Properties, a boutique agency with a personal touch, and JWang Media, a custom-video production team for promotion and marketing. An active community booster, Jenny is the past president of the Women’s Council of Realtors, Houston Network. An Ambassador of the Houston Ballet, she holds a lifetime membership in the University of Houston Alumni Association. Author of her debut novel, Girl Wears Those Shoes, Jenny Wang is proud to live her principles even as she pursues her own unique vision.

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Where to Buy:

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Listen to Jenny’s Interview:

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My #Review of No Such Luck by @StaciTroilo

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Book Blurb:

Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.

The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

Piper Seidel needs a break in life. After her petulance get her fired from another job, she loses a trusted good luck charm. Convinced life will be an uphill battle from that point on, Piper packs up the car and heads for her childhood home in snowy Pennsylvania.

Here, she reconnects with her father and stepmother, runs into her high school boyfriend, and discovers new feelings for another boy (now grown man) who’d once been her best friend.

The story unfolds with an air of a light romance. There’s a sweetness here that lures the reader into the tale. Troilo’s well-formed characters are believable and likeable. Her dialogue carries a realism that sometimes has readers feeling as if we’re eavesdropping on the conversations of others.

No Such Luck is a romance. And being a novella, it is also a quick read. If you’re into good, solid storytelling, this one is for you.

About the Author:

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Staci Troilo grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor, and now she is a freelance writer and editor.

Staci is a multi-genre author. Her fiction is character-driven, and despite their protests, she loves to put them in all kinds of compromising or dangerous situations.

You can find out more about her on her website stacitroilo.com.

Where to Buy:

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 #NewRelease – Mountain Laurel Christmas #Christmas #ShortStory @JanSikes3

I am honored to host award-winning author Jan Sikes on the Indie Spot today. Jan is a gifted writer and a wonderful storyteller.

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For a young aspiring musician, getting noticed in Nashville is equivalent to us as authors, trying to get readers to find our books.

Andy Roberts arrived in Nashville a starry-eyed teenager. He put his name on the waitlist at the famed Tootsies Orchid Lounge. I wanted to make this the Bluebird Cafe, but since it didn’t open until 1984, and my story is set in the seventies, that didn’t work.

Nevertheless, he finally got his chance.

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Here’s the excerpt:

I have my name on the waitlist for months before a spot ever opens up. It was the biggest chance I’d get.  I showed up every night, hopeful. After all, it was common knowledge that’s where record executives went to discover new talent.

Nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers, when I finally get my fifteen minutes on the microphone, I sing and play my heart out. I never wanted anything as badly as I did that night. Just one person. That’s all it would take.

Corinna South approached me as I wiped down my guitar. My God, she was strikingly gorgeous. Pure confidence radiated from her as she flashed a thousand-watt smile.

“You’re damned good, kid,” she said. “Did you write those songs?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“How about you come to work for me? I’ll show you the ropes.”

I’d stuttered some stupid reply while her attention turned me various shades of red. Holy Hell! Corinna South was talking to me.

***

We often hear of artists who were discovered by playing open-mic nights at the Bluebird Cafe. Garth Brooks is one example. It’s a tough business. Have you ever personally known anyone who tried to break into the music business and either succeeded or failed?

Mountain Laurel Christmas Blurb:

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.

Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.

It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.

It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?

Mountain Laurel Coffee

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PURCHASE LINK:

https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Laurel-Christmas-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B09KJYMVT9/

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Masterful #ShortStories by @MaeClair1

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Book Blurb:

A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.

These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

Things Old and Forgotten is a brilliantly crafted collection of some of the best short stories I’ve been fortunate enough to discover. Author Mae Clair proves she is more than a simple writer of tales. What she possesses is an impressive ability to sculpt scenes and characters that are both vivid and brimming with life.

Clair’s narrative voices reveal their stories in poetic tones. Each tale contains a balanced texture of dark and light embedded within. What you think might happen, often doesn’t. And that’s the genius of so many of these short works.

Remembering Sadie is perhaps my favorite of the collection. This piece tells the story of a man left behind to grieve the loss of a loved one. The twist at the end is a wonderful reminder that love comes from the heart—regardless of the recipient.

Another standout is the dark tone of Desert White. A man attempts to take his own life in the desert, only to be met by a stranger. But is this stranger man or angel? Redemption versus forgiveness in the underlying theme here.

Kin-Slayer runs a close second as my favorite. This one is a bit dark with fantasy, folklore, and dystopian elements. There’s only one way to appease the beastly Leviathan, and that is with three of the choicest First Daughters in a quaint fishing village. But not all is as it seems—especially where Leviathan is concerned.

No matter the genre, Mae Clair excels as a master artist of short fiction. Each story remains with the reader—even after you’ve moved on to the next one. If you’re a fan of fully formed short fiction, Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair is a collection that belongs on your Kindle.    

About the Author: 

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A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections.

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.com

Where to Buy:

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Staci Troilo’s No Such Luck! A #NewRelease

I am excited to host the talented Staci Troilo on The Indie Spot today! She has a new release available! Take it away, Staci . . .

Thanks for having me here today, Beem. Hi, everyone. I am grateful that you’re giving me a few minutes so I can tell you about my new release, No Such Luck. It’s a short and sweet romance just in time for Christmas.

Piper Seidel has run home to her father with her tail between her legs. She’s lost her job, and she feels lost. Compounding her humiliation, she constantly embarrasses herself in front of her high school crush—a man she’d love a second chance to make a first impression on. This excerpt shows Piper’s moment of clarity, when things start going her way and she has the epiphany that will (hopefully) make all the difference.

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She leaned over to hug him. “Good night, Tom.”

“Night.”

After she climbed out of his cab, he sat in the driveway, truck idling. Finally, he rolled down the window. “What are you doing?”

“I was going to watch you drive away.”

“I’m waiting for you to go in the house. It’s the considerate thing to do.”

She chuckled. Touché. “You’re right. Good night.” And with a final wave, she ran to the mudroom door.

But she didn’t go inside. After Tommy left, she headed for her car.

It was time she took her own advice.

Life wasn’t about being cool. It was about being considerate.

No wonder she’d lost her last job. She’d been a raging pain in the butt.

But she could find another job. Pittsburgh had a bunch of online magazines that might need writers. And a great newspaper. If worse came to worse, the small-town local newspaper was an option. The editor tried to convince her to work for him every time he saw her during a visit.

The thing that scared her was that she almost lost the most wonderful thing in her life because she hadn’t been considerate.

Worse, she’d been blind. For years.

Piper had been living in the past for too long. She finally stepped into the present. Hopefully her epiphany wasn’t too late to change her fortune.

I hope you enjoyed that quick sneak peek. No Such Luck, the first installment of the Keystone Couples series, is available now on Amazon.

No Such Luck

Blurb:

Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.

Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.

The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09J31935Z?

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A Romantic Novella

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Book Blurb:

Ella has hit rock bottom. The only thing on her mind is getting home, but her car breaks down five hours away from her destination. She finds herself stuck in the unfamiliar town of Paradise Falls.

Instead of spending hours waiting on car repairs, Ella meets a local who invites her to help with the town’s Harvest Festival. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, she’s able to find joy in her favorite time of the year.

The few hours for car repairs quickly turn into an overnight visit, as Ella continues to enjoy the festivities. Her fondness of the town grows with each passing day, forcing Ella to make a difficult decision. Should she follow her heart or continue the plan she’s always had for her life?

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

Elle is a young journalist who finds herself stranded in a small town just shy of her intended destination. This begins a tug-of-war of sorts for Ella. Her life’s plans begin to lose ground to her growing fondness for Paradise Falls, North Carolina, and the people she meets there. Big city life versus small town hospitality. Which will win out?

The author tells her story with a folksy narration that feels warm and familiar. It embodies family, friendship, and a neighborly ideal that seems to be slipping from our world.

This is the second story I’ve read from Marlena Smith. Her skills as a writer have grown from the first story to this one. I would love to see her build on to this story with these characters. This is a wonderful introduction to an idyllic creation. If you’re a fan of the works of Janette Oke, this story is worth a read.

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About the Author:

Marlena Smith was born in a small town of Alabama, where she continues to live today. When she’s not working at the office, she can be found writing, reading, or blogging. Writing has always been a major part of her life, even since grade school, when she was selected to attend the Young Authors’ Conference in her state.

Although her writing has been public through her blog for several years, she has only recently begun publishing. She has several works in progress including a romance novel, a young adult novella, and several short thrillers.

Where to Buy:

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