Where Are You Vacationing This Year?

As a kid, my family went on vacations. I remember swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and picking up sea shells, especially sand dollars. One year, we drove to Louisiana and dropped off my grandmother at her brother’s for a visit. We continued on to Alabama where we visited the USS Alabama, a WW2 battleship my dad served on. We moved on the Pensacola and played in the white sand.

Another year, we packed for two weeks and drove to California, stopping in New Mexico and Fresno, California so Dad could visit relatives. We went to the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest, saw the cousin’s vineyard, took a trip to Disneyland!, and drove up Highway One to San Francisco.grand canyon

Handsome and  have taken the boys to visit family, and on cruises to Hawaii, Alaska with a stop in Vancouver, Sea World in San Antonio, and not long ago, a Rhine River cruise. Frequently, we visit Colorado.

asteriks 2

Since I’ve begun writing, when I travel, I journal about where I am, what I did, and how I felt. All of this makes good material for my writing. For example, when Handsome and I went to the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs for our anniversary, I spied an event sign and my brain when hello???!!! That inspiration and something someone said ignited, propelled me to write Man Theory. Here’s a fun excerpt.

For work, we’d traveled to Colorado Springs to attend a workshop on web design innovations. After check-in, I’d joined him at the bridge crossing  lake to decide about lunch before the meetings commenced.

My six-one geek wearing rimless glasses, leaned against the railing, and stared into the sparkling blue waters of the high mountain lake. The feathered fowl paddled by.

Have his feelings changed? I asked in disbelief, “R-really? A theory…about love?”


Can you spot in the excerpt what I saw one day?asteriks 2
Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi

Find Man Theory in Just Desserts…and Other Stories at:

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Writing For Both Joy and Catharsis

Writing is a uniquely individual pursuit. 

Each writer has her own pace, her own style, and her own way of telling her stories.

But the main reason most writers start to write is because of two reasons; either it provides her with great joy or for an opportunity for catharsis and release.

My own writing has been an example of both.

When I first began to write, it was about the fun of stringing pretty sentences together.

It was all about flowery language and lots of descriptive words. 

It took me a while to learn the importance of getting to the point of the story, but once I did I was surprised by the detour my writing took.

My writing went from lots of description that dragged out too long, to a face-paced and deeply emotional plot line. 

My plots were dark, too.


And looking back at my first novel, I realize I had some real darkness inside my soul I was attempting to exorcise. 

A funny thing happened, though.

When I tried to write a sequel, which I had fully planned to do, I just couldn’t get into it.

I hit roadblock after roadblock.

I couldn’t figure out why. 

Then, just for fun, I began another story.

And it flowed out of me like a swift river.

No more struggling.

No more writer’s block.

My first novel took ten full years to come to fruition, but my second story, a Christmas novella, took a mere five months.

My first novel was dark, gritty and intense, full of serious subjects like abuse, loss, and victimization.

My novella, though, was much lighter.

It was still a thriller, but there was a lot more fun involved.

Sure, there was intrigue and a death-defying escape, but there was also some really fun sex scenes.

While my first book was all about catharsis and the release of pent-up emotion, for my second I was back to the joy.

Then, I changed things up again and went into writing short nonfiction personal development eBooks meant to help my coaching clients.

But no matter what I write, I’ve discovered that as long as I write what I NEED to – whether it’s to purge negativity or just for the pure joy of it – I’ve never had to deal with writer’s block again.

Have you been struggling with writer’s block?

Check out Jeannie’s eBook on the subject.

WIMJ Write your way to joy

Jeannie’s romantic thrillers and other eBooks can be found here. 

Jeannie also has a personal development podcast you can listen to for free: Create Your Empowered Self podcast 

New Podcast Pic

Or if you’re really struggling and would like more one-on-one assistance, Jeannie is also an NLP Certified Creative Empowerment Coach taking on new clients. Check out her coaching page for more info. 

Get EMPOWERED coaching

Thanks so much for reading! For more cool reading and writing stuff, please like and follow our Sisterhood of Suspense Facebook page! 

We appreciate you stopping by!

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about MURDER #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about MURDER for an lovely start to the week.

She’d never seen anyone murdered before. It was worse than television. Way worse.

Jacquie Biggar

He, Quin and Kevin were witnesses to the delay in patient care that killed their patient. Even more serious was Wolfe’s attempt to murder him.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

Jason wondered if talking about her husband’s murder had brought on this faint. She’d been there, witnessed it.

Claire Gem

“I want to know why you’re stalling the investigation into Sarah McHenry’s murder.

Joanne Guidoccio

She called it murderous wastefulness. Hated that a flower’s lifespan was so drastically shortened by cutting it and sticking it in a vase.

Kathryn Jane

Jake’s jaw dropped when he walked into JC’s Pawn Shop. The guy called Joe—turned out to be Joe Wagner, Shanna’s father. He’d aged since Shanna’s murder.

Marian Lanouette

She wasn’t sure of his motives and how much she could trust him. After all, her brother was still on a short list of murder suspects in the Sterling case.

S.A. Taylor 
Shutter (work-in-progress)

What would they think? I mean, who has two family members murdered?” Her attempt at gallows humor fell flat.

Marsha West

Although a sniper had taken the final shot, Rafe’s strike had been fatal. Escalus, like all men, deserved to have his murderer named.

 Sharon Wray

Smiling to myself, I watched Jake’s crazy exterminator antics. Usually, most girls avoided killing the critters, not manly he-men.

Vicki Batman














Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about LOVE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about LOVE for an lovely start to the week.

“I have a theory about love.” Ethan’s statement knocked me from the proverbial mountain top. Eyeing him, I clapped my hand across my mouth to stifle a giggle.

Vicki Batman

He was here. She could feel his presence, a warm blanket wrapping her in a cocoon of safety and love.

Jacquie Biggar

I saw the young man I was the day I left the reservation – angry, confused, alone; feeling betrayed by those who should have protected me – those who should have loved me.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

This part of the business is my pet project. I love Victorian jewelry, and it’s what women were wearing in 19th Century America.

Claire Gem

Cassandra was very much in love with Jake, and Jake—well, I didn’t think he felt quite the same way.

Joanne Guidoccio

What was wrong with him? How could one woman make him this crazy? Days ago, he’d realized he loved her.

Marian Lanouette

Their life wasn’t picture perfect, but their love had smoothed out any kinks encountered along the way.

S.A. Taylor 
Follow Me (work-in-progress)

“I haven’t loved Franklin for a long time, Brett, but he’s Bailey’s father, and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him. Bailey would be hurt.”

Marsha West

Thank God Rafe’s mother had died before he betrayed everyone he loved.

 Sharon Wray














10 Interesting Facts About Parry Sound

By Joanne Guidoccio

Having grown up in what is often called the “Other Ontario,” I thought it was time to let cozy mystery readers discover the beauty and tranquility of the North. Or maybe not so tranquil. Seven murders have already taken place in the first three books of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series!

Books 1 and 2—A Season for Killing Blondes and Too Many Women in the Room—are based in Sudbury.

Book 3, A Different Kind of Reunion, is based in Parry Sound. Today, I’m providing ten interesting (and not so well-known) facts about this picturesque town on the eastern shores of Georgian Bay.

1. Located 160 km (100 miles) south of Sudbury and 225 km (140 miles) north of Toronto, Parry Sound epitomizes the best of small town life and summer fun. A winter population of 6,500 grows to 35,000 during cottage season.

2. Discovered by Captain Henry Bayfield in the 19th century, the town was named in honor of the Arctic explorer Sir William Edward Parry.

3. During the early part of the 20th century, Tom Thomson and the other members of the Group of Seven painted many of their scenic artworks in this area

4.Parry Sound is part of the 30,000 Islands region, the world’s largest freshwater archipelago.

5. Home to more than 100 “at-risk” species of plants and animals, Parry Sound houses the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, a globally-important region designated by UNESCO in 2004. GBBR is a non-profit organization that works with dozens of community partners to provide environmental education through conservation, and to create vibrant and sustainable communities.

6. Hikers and campers can visit one or more of the seven provincial parks in the region: Grundy Lake, Sturgeon Bay, Massasauga, Killarney, Killbear, Oastler and Six Mile Lake.

7. A boater’s paradise, Parry Sound can be explored via sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and motorized pleasure crafts. Or you could book a tour on the Island Queen Cruise.

8. Operating from May to October from the downtown waterfront, Georgian Bay Airways offers a bird’s eye view of the area’s remarkable ecosystems.

9. If visiting during the summer, consider taking part in the Festival of the Sound, one of the Top 100 Festivals in Ontario. In its 39th season, this festival of chamber and classical music runs from mid-July to mid-August each year. During the rest of the year, performances of all types (pop, rock, folk, blues, jazz, country) are presented.

10. Former Boston Bruin defenceman Bobby Orr is Parry Sound’s most famous citizen. An interactive hockey museum, aptly named the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, can be found in the Charles W. Stockey Center for the Performing Arts. Exhibits include Orr’s NHL rings, trophies and awards, and a pictorial history of his career.


Blurb- a different kind of reunion

While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.

Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.

Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?


“Gilda, could you drop by tomorrow?” Constable Mulligan said, his voice cracking. “I’d like to wrap up this investigation as soon as possible. Give her parents some closure.”

Did he think he could wrap it up in a day? And what on earth could I contribute to the investigation? It didn’t make any sense at all. “Uh…I’m sorry. I’m having trouble with all of this. I don’t know—”

He cleared his throat. “We could meet for lunch at Trapper’s Choice Restaurant. They have fresh pickerel on Fridays.”

“I have clients scheduled for appointments all afternoon.” Or most of the afternoon. I liked to close the ReCareering office early on Friday afternoons.

“You’re still working?” he asked, surprise overtaking his previous gruffness. “I didn’t think you’d need to…I mean, you should be okay…”

He knew about my lottery win. Not surprising, since the lottery people had plastered my name and face everywhere when I won nineteen million dollars in Lotto 649. A quick Google search would have revealed my four-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.

Tempted to end the conversation, I realized I couldn’t turn my back on Sarah or any of the others who might still be in danger. I mentally scanned my calendar. I had a two o’clock appointment and would be free to leave around three. I calculated the distance and figured I could drive to Parry Sound in ninety minutes or so. I added an extra hour and shared my plans.

“Great! You’ll have a couple of hours before the séance.”

“What séance?” Were Friday night séances a regular occurrence in Parry Sound? And why would someone like Constable Mulligan, who didn’t sound like a touchy-feely type of guy, attend one?

Buy Links 

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (United States) | The Wild Rose Press


Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.



Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic HOPE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the topic HOPE for an awesome start to the week.

That’s what happens when a sniper kills the pilot and hits the tail rotor. Hopefully the whole thing wouldn’t drain fuel, build up vapor, and ignite.

 Sharon Wray

“I hope your plan works, brainchild.” “Trust me. I’m the master at matchmaking.”

Vicki Batman

She nudged him, hoping against hope he’d wake up, jump to his feet, and take over getting them out of here in his usual bossy, sarcastic way, but it was no go. He didn’t even flinch.

Jacquie Biggar

He doesn’t understand everything that drives him but he guards his feelings like the Hope Diamond.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

I heard about his hopes for the future and how much he loved and cherished his son Dougie.

Joanne Guidoccio

“Okay.” She squeezed the strap of her bag tighter and followed him out of the office. She just hoped that one word, that one decision, didn’t come back as another epic fail.

S.A. Taylor 
Shutter (work-in-progress)














Writing vs. Life

Do you set goals? For your job? For writing? For health?


Well, I have done that for many years. In the past I wrote about strategies to help with goal setting and carrying out the actions to meet those goals for this blog.

Those of you have publishers get your writing goals set by them. Those of us who are Indie Published, set our own goals. Or maybe you don’t. 😊 I’ve always had a date I was shooting for when I planned to release a book. (I pretty much need to have a deadline on almost anything I want to be sure to do—otherwise it just doesn’t get done.)

For the last several years I’ve published one book a year. Not nearly as many as some of you. Perhaps not as often as my readers would like either, but that schedule has worked for me. The goal for 2018 was to release Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL. I started writing it last year, but really struggled with the story.

Lone Star Love 200x300

Then I put it away to write the short story, “the Colonel & Her Major” for my writing chapter’s anthology in honor of our 35th Anniversary. Now it was only a 3500-word short story, but I’d never written a short story before. I discovered it had to be a romance and not a romantic suspense, which I write, because I couldn’t work the suspense into the limited words. So besides never writing a short story before, I’d never written a story with only romance before. So, it took a lot longer than you’d think for such a short piece. I just barely made the deadline. But I did make that deadline. 😊

Anyway, all of that pushed the book into the beginning of this year. The story is set in Wichita Falls, TX, where my husband and I went to college and where we have family living. One of our visits in the spring helped me with the setting. I plugged away until I now have about 35 thousand words. I know. Nothing on a 70-80 K book.

Then we got into the situation where we were selling our 75-year-old church building and buying a new (to us) one. Bob was the lead lawyer on this project and it’s almost complete. We are Presbyterians, and we operate from committees. We have a Session that’s the governing board, on which I sit, and then lots of committees. Well, I’ve taken on the role of the chair of the Relocation Central Commission. We have six committees working on various aspects of the move. It will take a lot of time, but it’s such important work, and I have the skills to do this job. Not everyone does.

IMG_5437 Current church, built for 1500 membership. Like so many main-line churches, our numbers have dropped to about 400.

That is not to say I’m doing this on my own. We have an awesome group on the central commission and people jumped at the chance to serve on the six committees. But I’ve taught meeting leading and chaired or been president of lots of different groups and organizations over the years. This process started several year ago when out of the blue a development company approached us saying they wanted to buy the building. Thus, began five years of wandering in the desert so to speak as deal after deal fell through. At any rate we’re a go now and have about three to four months of intensive work to make the move happen.

IMG_7683 Inside of new facility, a bit of a fixer-upper. 🙂

I gave myself permission to move the deadline for the release of ACT OF SURVIVAL from early fall to late December to even maybe early next year. I write best when I have big chunks of time to dig in. That just didn’t seem like it would happen over the next several months. I will eventually finish writing this book, get it edited, formatted and released. But likely it won’t be in 2018.

The three books in the series are:


Have you ever had to push your deadlines? How do you feel about doing that? What kinds of things made you push the deadline? As a reader, how important is seeing a book from your favorite author yearly or more often? Love to hear from you.

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites.
https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog
http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest


Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic PLAN #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the topic PLAN for a great start to the week.

“I thought he’d have some reasonable explanation and a plan to return the money. He totally stunned me when he didn’t accept responsibility.”

Marsha West

“Stealing the map and rescuing the girl,” Pete said. “It’s a doomed plan with no chance of working.”

 Sharon Wray

So civilized. Anyone listening would never guess they’d once made plans to marry and have six kids together.

Jacquie Biggar

There’s nothing simple about the wedding her family is planning. I suggested we elope to Vegas and be married by an Elvis impersonator.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

But I was not the woman he’d known six months ago. I was stronger now, had learned to deal with the hand life dealt me, and had a solid plan for my future.

Claire Gem

To this day, any mention of rabbits conjures up visions of the younger Mrs. Maddalone, who lured Lorenzo and derailed all future plans.

Joanne Guidoccio

It wasn’t like he could plan his future, or even his next move while two teams were tracking the small plane carrying the mystery substance.

Kathryn Jane

Angelo walked into Phil’s office. “Here’s the plan I came up with to get rid of Stack.”

Phil took the file Angelo handed him, studied it. After a few minutes, he looked up. “This is good. I like it a lot. This way there’ll be no body in Wilkesbury or here. I don’t want anyone looking at us.”

Marian Lanouette

Part of him wanted to be suited up in his SWAT team gear, ready to stand in line with these men and women. The other half loved the thrill of putting a plan into motion, directing others to execute it, and then celebrating the team effort.

S.A. Taylor 
Shutter (work-in-progress))














Astrology, Life Changes and Author Newsletters

My cousin likes to follow astrology. I believe there’s something to that but to truly understand astrology seems quite overwhelming … much like my life lately. The latest astrology report said the alignment of the planets were bringing a time of change and disruption. On that I would have to agree as I wind down a consulting job I’ve had for twenty years. As a Taurus, I don’t like huge surprises or forced changes in my life. I appreciate a degree of organization and certainty. On the other hand, I have to appreciate the old adage, “when one door closes, another opens.” I’ve had two consulting jobs come through LinkedIn recently and discussions are opening about helping a Caribbean medical school with disaster planning. (I could live with that). I regret having little time for writing, but I’ll get there. Besides work, there’s taking care of dogs, chickens, planting vegetables and pulling weeds. I guess life eventually finds its own balance.

On a separate note, a promised newsletter for this group has keep slipping through my fingers and I feel quite guilty about that. I’ve subscribed to several authors newsletters to get an idea of what the content is, how they’re formatted, what things I like, dislike, etc. It’s been rather interesting. Here’s some things I’ve noticed:

  • I don’t need to see three e-mails a day from the same author with almost identical content.
  • Plain text is boring.
  • Short and sweet is good. One author has huge covers and so much content that if I printed it out it would be about twenty pages. Most people aren’t going to bother to find their way to the bottom for the freebie.
  • I enjoy a newsletter with something new to report. I see a lot of redundancy.
  • A clever subject line is good. That determines if I’m going to open it.
  • Although I enjoy hearing things about the author’s life, several pages of health issues, pet photos and “what kids did today” can become annoying.
  • Speaking of annoying – many seem to call their readers by cutsie little names. I can deal with Sunshine, Gorgeous, Angel, Beautiful, Lovely, and Historical Honeys but I’m not sure about Bees, Sweetie (most of them could be my grandchildren) and Goddess. Sorry, but Vixen, Stoner and Smut Queen is a little over the top.
  • Lastly, I read all kinds of romance and I’m hardly a prude, but a newsletter filled with sexual innuendo may not be appreciated by everyone.

A nice example of a newsletter comes from our own Claire Gem. It has her logo followed by the topic  which is “5 Great Ways to Find Your Next Great Read”. Then there’s a nice photo of books in a field. This is followed by a neatly formatted discussion of the topic. The only thing that’s a surprise is that there’s nothing about her books. Anyway, kudos to Claire.


Well, I’d love to chat more but I have chickens to feed and weeds to pull. Oh, BTW, here’s my books. I’d love it if you’d tell me what you think.

Partners, Odyssey of the Phoenix http://amzn.to/2dqqSb9
Partners, Challenge of the Phoenix http://amzn.to/2ewyFUN
Partners, Sacrifice of the Phoenix http://amzn.to/2l1IcXN
Partners, Transformation of the Phoenix – ready for publication
Partners, Heart of the Phoenix – in process




Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic TAKE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the topic TAKE for a great start to the week.

It was important to keep up the tough cookie persona, not the underlying ball of insecurities she felt at the inability to take care of her brother or keep her personal life afloat.

S.A. Taylor 
Shutter (work-in-progress)

“No, he didn’t take anything. He gave me a message. A message for you.”

Marsha West

It’d been so long since they’d danced. She’d forgotten how he’d take the lead so she could close her eyes and float through the muggy air tinged with Cajun spices.

 Sharon Wray

“Ready to get this party started?” he whispered, and an insistent part of his body prayed she agreed. “We should take this inside.”

Jacquie Biggar

AJ, I don’t want to change who you are. I would never stifle your spirit, take your independence, or hamper your freedom.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

Well back then, a lady might take locks of hair from her deceased parents, husband, or other family member and have them woven into a remembrance piece.”

Claire Gem

“It’ll take about seven months to recover from what she has,” Maria said, winking at all of us.

Joanne Guidoccio

“We need to discuss this at length in our own war room before we take off.”

Kathryn Jane

“I guess I wanted to hurt you as much as you hurt me. But you too went for mine. If we hadn’t run into each other, would you have called?” Jake locked his eyes onto hers as he tried to gauge her answer.

“I was working myself up to it.”

“What a coy answer. And how long was it going to take?”

Marian Lanouette