Thursday, October 31, 2013

Truffles' First Halloween: A 100 Word Story

Halloween night, all the trick or treaters had gone home. All evening I had been looking forward to my yearly reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

“Come on Truffles, time for bed!” I called to my beautiful tortoiseshell cat.

Mug of cocoa in hand I crawled under the covers, dimming the light on my bedside table.

Ichabod had just discovered that the cloaked rider’s head was not on his shoulders when I heard it…



Scratch, scratch.

Opening my closet door I discover Truffles had gotten shut in!

“I’m sorry sweetie, were you scared? It’s over now.”


Book Review: Halloween Hijinks by Kathi Daley

Halloween Hijinks (Zoe Donovan Mystery Book 1)

Blurb: Amid a backdrop of zombies on the run and Halloween festivities, animal control officer Zoe Donovan is faced with losing something she loves in order to save someone she loves when she finds a dead body in the basement of a haunted house just two days before Halloween. With the help of her best friends, Levi and Ellie, and her dog Charlie, she delves into a mystery as complex and multilayered as the feelings she develops for her ex-nemesis Zak Zimmerman. Halloween Hijinks is the perfect recipe, combining holiday fun with a touch of humor, a pinch of romance, and a dollop of murder.

My Review: I always feel sorry for people who don't get to experience all four seasons, and reading a book like this reminds me why I love fall so much. It's a regular fall-a-palooza!

I loved the fact that Zoe is an animal control officer with several rescue pets of her own, including dog Charlie, orange tabby Marlow, and black kitty Spade. Her alpine town of Ashton Falls in celebrating their annual Haunted Hamlet, a four-day event featuring a haunted barn, maze, zombie run and pumpkin patch. Football fever is in the air too. Then a call to respond to a howling dog complaint at the haunted Henderson place leads Zoe to find the town rival's football coach dead in the basement.

I found myself completely transported by the small town atmosphere in this book, from the characters to the setting to the yummy, cozy recipes at the end. I'm so excited that the second in the series, The Trouble with Turkeys, is already out, and a Christmas book will soon be out too! I can't wait to spend more time with Zoe, her pets, her friends, and finding out what the future holds for her.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Then & Now: Same Costume, Different Cat

During the fall of 2012 I was browsing the Halloween aisles at Petco when I saw the cutest cat costume ever, featuring a cowboy mouse on a saddle.

I bought it immediately, didn't even wait for a sale as I'm usually known to do. Part of my haste had to do with the fact that just a month before we had received the devastating news of Tara's congestive heart failure and probable cancer. I brought the costume home and that same week took Tara's picture wearing it. It was only mid-September, but truthfully, I didn't think she would still be with me come Halloween. She was a little too big around the middle for me to be able to fasten it properly, but I think she looked absolutely adorable in it.

As many of you know, my brave angel Tara hung in there until July of this year. Now Truffles is in my life and I wanted her to have a chance to wear this precious costume too. As with Tara, I couldn't fasten it around her tummy. Not because she's too big (far from it), she's just totally against sitting still in costume, forcing me to work as fast as possible! Still, I think she looks cute as a button in it.

My two special little cowgirls, then and now.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tiara Trouble Book Tour with Lane Buckman

Making Trouble

Lane Buckman

I always want to know where writers get their characters. Where did Katniss Everdeen come from? Who inspired Elizabeth Bennett? What was the impetus behind Bridget Jones? As I am writing, I am always asking myself the same question because there is very rarely a conscious connection between the person I am writing, and the people inspiring me.

When writing Tiara Trouble, I started with Destinee Faith Miller and then added in the people around her as the story called for it. At first I thought Destinee was a lot like me, though unburdened by education, but as the story progressed I realized we weren’t much alike at all. Destinee is a workhorse, built out of equal parts of ambition, self-discipline, and optimism. She succeeds by sheer will and elbow grease, and when she faces an obstacle, she just powers right through it. 

I am also an ambitious, optimistic workhorse, but I have zero self-discipline (ask the pizza box beside me) and would rather go do something else than struggle against any one thing for too long. Destinee is a true entrepreneur and I really like her. I don’t know exactly where she came from—she’s a lot of the things I admire about many different women. She fascinates me, but it’s Tishelle Tucker I love because Tishelle Tucker is my grandmother.

My grandmother was something else. Grandma was not a cookie baking grandmother. She was a Carlton smoking, Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking, Tabasco-on-rolled-up-bologna eating, cussing, scrapping, wild cat. If she didn’t like you, she would go out of her way to plot your demise. If she did like you, she’d only plot your demise in her down time. If she loved you, she wouldn’t try to ruin your life, only aggravate you to death every now and then.

Grandma delighted me. She was an imp, and since I was on her good side, I got to enjoy the entertainment factor of watching her push buttons and make other people dance. It wasn’t until I was getting married that she really turned on me out of stress and a sudden realization that I was a grown woman, and I was about to go love someone else more than I loved her.

In Tiara Trouble, Tishelle causes a lot of trouble for Destinee, and in every instance I found myself asking, “What would Grandma do?” If Grandma had been a modern, twenty-something, how would she have chosen to take down her big game? How would she react if caught? What strings would she be pulling behind the scenes to get her way? And what would she do if all else failed?

A few months before my wedding, I moved back home to live with Mom and Grandma. My lease was up, and Bryan and I were traditional so rather than moving in together, or me going month-to-month, it made sense for me to go home for 90 days. At least, I thought it did.

Grandma was agitated from the start, and conflicted. She adored Bryan, and flirted with him all the time. She loved his Southern manners, and liked how tall and handsome he was. But, he was taking me away, and that was unforgivable. To bridge the gap between adoring him, and being angry with him, she started aggravating me.

First, it was my wedding invitations. A box of five hundred disappeared. I hunted high, I hunted low. I looked in things, under things, on top of things. After tearing the house apart and putting it back together again, I had to admit I’d lost them, and was forced to buy more. Grandma, who had helped me look for them, was shocked that I would go to the expense of replacing the invitations. A little over two years later, after she had passed away, I found that first box of invitations tucked up under the corner of her bed.

Which is exactly where my shoes must have been when those disappeared. Once again, I tore the house apart looking for my wedding shoes. They were gone. First the invitations, now the shoes, and I was starting to believe I was losing my mind. I was getting ready to go to the store to buy new shoes—and believe me, it was an expense I didn’t need—when Grandma came into the living room holding a box.

She grinned. “Are these your shoes?”

They were and I exclaimed over them, and asked where they had been. She said she’d just found them in the laundry. And that’s when I knew I wasn’t going crazy. I was being driven crazy.

That’s also when I put a lock on my bedroom door because the last thing I needed was for my dress to go missing.

After the shoes (and probably because of the lock), Grandma managed to behave herself until the day of my wedding. That day, she refused to brush her hair, would not put on a clean blouse, and was generally acting a fool. I walked down the aisle to the sight of my uncle holding her shoulder to keep her from clawing at me from her pew, and as I passed, she moaned, “Don’t do this to me. Don’t go!”

It was heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time. When we lined up for family photos, the photographer asked Grandma to smile. She gave her best gremlin face and spat, “This isn’t a smiling situation.” I kissed her, her lips turned up, and the flash popped. She was a terrible little woman, but she was my terrible little woman and I loved her fiercely. I miss her every day, and I am so sorry I didn’t get to share this book with her.

She would have loved Tishelle, too.



Tiara Trouble:
A Destinee Faith Miller Mystery

New Series
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (August 27, 2013)
Paperback: 230 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1939816160
E-Book File Size: 609 KB
What happens when Dynasty meets Honey BooBoo, they have a baby, and that baby is raised by Charlie’s Angels? You get TIARA TROUBLE, a bedazzled cozy mystery full of gritty glitz.
One foreign policy question five years ago sent Destinee Faith Miller’s dreams of being Miss American Universe up in flames and landed her back in her hometown of Phenix City, Alabama, with her tail between her legs. But like the mythological bird that her hometown is misspelled after, she rose from the ashes to create Destinee’s Dolls, a thriving pageant consulting business knee-deep in pink, prints and tulle.
A death at the local level of a national event lands her the job of pageant emcee, and Destinee dares to dream of bigger things—maybe even a reality TV show! But when judges start dropping like flies, she has her hands full keeping herself alive long enough to see those dreams come true. Contending with catfights, car bombs, and the camouflage-colored funeral of a redneck’s dream, Destinee gets a little help from her friends, family, and a pit bull named Clarabelle.
About This Author
Lane Buckman is a former beauty queen from Phenix City, Alabama. Growing up, she wanted to be Miss America, a criminal lawyer, a super model, the President, a Bond girl, a brain surgeon, a journalist, a back-up singer for Duran Duran, and a college professor of Medieval Literature. In order to fulfill those dreams, she became a writer. She lives in Texas with her family, and enjoys every miserably hot second of it.

Her solo debut novel, TIARA TROUBLE, is available from Cozy Cat Press on October 28, 2013, with a sneak peek launch the week prior at the BOSTON BOOK FESTIVAL. TIARA TROUBLE, a light-hearted cozy mystery, marks a departure from Lane’s earlier works in the darker horror/fantasy genre.
The well-received THE ORDER OF THE BLOOD (Black Bed Sheets Books, April 09, 2011), co-authored with Nicole Vlachos, was Lane’s first novel. She has ghost written and consulted on two others.

Follow Lane on Facebook and Twitter, and keep up with her world on her blog.

Purchase Links:
AMAZON              B & N

Cover Reveal: Beauty and the Earl by Jess Michaels

Preorder link

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Desire as essential as breath…deception as fragile as sanity.

The Pleasure Wars, Book 3

Liam, the Earl of Windbury, had everything when he held his secret lover in his arms. Until a feud between their families left her dead, his body broken, and his sister married to his bitterest enemy.

Wracked with guilt, simmering with rage, he’s spent a year in seclusion, seeing no one except a few servants as he does his best to forget the past and patently refuses to think about any kind of future.

When courtesan Violet Milford enters Liam’s lair, she’s on a secret mission to gather information for Liam’s desperate sister, who fears for his sanity, even his life. What she finds is a man scarred inside and out, whose dark, controlling sensuality hides the kind, wounded man within.

Violet awakens a sexual desire more powerful than Liam has ever known, and her stories weave a spell that begins to work its way past his defenses. But when the truth inevitably comes out, it could well destroy the love that is saving them both.

Warning: This book features a sexually experienced woman who will use every trick in her book to save a man from himself.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Interview/Giveaway with Boone Brux, Author of To Catch Her Death

Welcome, Boone! Can you tell us about To Catch Her Death and what inspired the book?
To Catch Her Death is about a widow, mother of three, who accidentally becomes a reaper. And let me tell you, she's not thrilled about it. Especially when she finds out she has to reap people who died in stupid way. She's being grieving since her husband's death so physically she's a little, okay, a lot, out of shape. While she has tries to find her reaper mojo she has to keep it all a secret from everybody except her best friend.

I wanted to write a funny series with an older character, she's 35. Lisa is somebody I can identify with since she's a mom. I think there are a lot of women who will be able to relate to her everyday life. I also wanted to set the book in Alaska because I've lived here for twenty years and there are so many funny stories I've experienced. When I planned the series I did it with the idea of also writing Lisa's daughter's story. It runs tandem with hers. I wanted a series I could read with my kids--a little something for everybody. You'll be able to read only the adult books or only the young adult books, but you can also read them in order and they'll all connect.

Why is the Grim Reaper your favorite paranormal character?
I think having knowledge of the afterlife is intriguing. To be able to help people cross would be a great ability or hell, depending on your view point. My character, Lisa, has both reactions. I'm not sure what how I would handle it, but the possibilities are endless.

Do you have any special Halloween traditions?
Well, I have kids so definitely trick or treating. And we decorate to the hilt. Halloween is my favorite holiday. When I'm not busy with writing projects or appearances, we like to have a Halloween party. Who doesn't love dressing up?

I am endlessly fascinated by life in Alaska. What are some of your favorite/not so favorite things about living there?
The state is gorgeous. I have traveled all over and haven't found an ugly place yet. The landscapes are breathtaking, but can also be dangerous. Alaska s the type of place that you have to go out and get involved in to enjoy. I also love all the sunlight we have in the summer. Though I forget to go to bed in the summer.

The only thing I don't love is how long the winters are. By March I'm ready for warmth an green again. I think I need a winter home in Hawaii.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, they are my constant companion. Oreo, my rescue Springador, never leaves my side. He even accompanies me into the bathroom. I've tried to explain that I'm not in danger there, but he is set on protecting me.

I also have a black cat named Velma Underfoot. Her name explains it all. She's a fierce hunter and a snuggler. She likes to sleep on my chest. I think it's because I'm allergic to cats. She also likes to attack my feet, which I do not appreciate, but I love her just the same.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
My typical day is that there's nothing set in stone. Some days I'm just writing. Some days I do only admin stuff. There are a few sure things, coffee, walking the dog, the fact that at some point in the day I'll get diverted by the latest episode of Castle or Sleepy Hollow.

What are you working on now?
Actually, I'm working on a novella with CJ Ellisson, titled Death Times Two. It pairs Lisa Carron, my reaper, with her vampires from her Vampire Vacation series. It will release on December 16th, in a paranormal bundle just in time for Christmas.

Lisa has to go to the Alaskan Vampire resort and reap the souls that have been killed in CJ's books. My lucky character gets to have a little fling with Asa, a very hot, Vin Diesel looking vamp. It should be loads of fun.

Leave a comment for the chance to win an ebook copy of To Catch Her Death.

To Catch Her Death 
Grim Reality Series
Book One
Boone Brux
Genre: Paranormal Humor
Publisher: Red Hot Publishing
Date of Publication: Oct. 2013
ISBN: e-book – 9781938601118
Print – 9781938601125
Number of pages:250
Word Count: 60K
Cover Artist: Jennifer Meyers & Hot Damn Designs

Book Description:

What do you get when you cross a hockey mom with the grim reaper? Me, Lisa Carron.

If being a depressed, frumpy, widowed mother of three wasn’t bad enough, I just discovered I’m a grim reaper. I know what you’re thinking. Wow, that’s kind of sexy and full of awesomeness. Hardly. Oh, and my clients? Stupid people. Like I don’t get enough of that from the living.

Since Alaska is big and angels of death are few, I’ve been partnered with reaper extraordinaire, Nate Cramer. He’s strong, silent, and way too good looking for my recently widowed state. Oh, and he reaps violent criminals, so that should be interesting.

Forget the danger and the hours of self-analysis it will take for me to find my reaper mojo. My biggest problem? Hiding it all from my overly attentive family and nosy neighbors. Now that’s going to take a miracle.

About the Author:

As a bestselling author, Boone Brux’s books range from high fantasy to humorous paranormal.

A former nanny, Boone has lived all over the world, finally settling in the icy region of Alaska, where she writes full time. Always looking for the next adventure, it’s not unusual to find her traversing the remotest parts of the Alaskan bush. No person or escapade is off limits when it comes to weaving real life experiences into her books or blogs.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review: A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Undertaking

Blurb: Another day.

Another funeral.

Another ghost.

Another average day in the life of young funeral home director, Emma Lee Raines.

After a perilous run-in with a plastic Santa Claus, Emma Lee, co-owner of Eternal Slumber Funeral Home in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, sees the ghost of town gossip Ruthie Sue Payne, who is proving to be a real pain, more so in death than while living. Recently deceased, Ruthie reveals to Emma Lee that her demise wasn't caused by accidentally falling down the steps at the Sleepy Hollow Inn as everyone believes—she was pushed...murdered.

In order for the ghost to cross over—and for Emma Lee to be rid of Ruthie for good—she must find a desperate killer...or risk being haunted forever.

My Review: If you're on the hunt for a fun Halloween read look no further than A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Kappes. It's the first book in a brand new series featuring a fun new cast of characters that will have you howling with laughter.

Set in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, readers are introduced to Emma Lee, who works at the family business, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home. Her life changes when a plastic Santa falls off the icy roof of the local deli and whacks Emma Lee on the head. The first thing she sees upon waking up is a ghost, which the doctor chalks up to "Funeral Trauma". But the "hallucinations" aren't stopping. Now Ruthie the town gossip, believed to have died falling down the stairs at the Sleepy Hollow Inn, shows up at her own wake (wearing her hot pink pajamas and kitty cat slippers) and informs Emma Lee that she was murdered, and needs Emma Lee's help catching her killer. She agrees in order to shut Ruthie up, but it looks like this is only the beginning of Emma Lee being forced to deal with her new found talent!

Emma Lee is a fantastic new character, and Ruthie is an absolute hoot! (I hope we haven't seen the last of her!) I have adored all of Tonya Kappes' series, but I think this is my favorite one yet. Her books are fun, fresh, and fantastic!

Cat's Meow Mailbox #7

Cat's Meow Mailbox is inspired by the great weekly recap book memes (Mailbox Monday, Waiting On Wednesday, It’s Monday! What are you reading? and Sunday Post)

Last week on Mochas, Mysteries and More:
* BlogPaws Adopt A Pet Infographic
* Spotlight: An Amish Country Christmas by Charlotte Hubbard & Naomi King
* Truffles Hates Sea Otters
* #HillsPet Food, Shelter and Love Program & the Disaster Relief Network
* PetSmart Halloween Costume & Toy Review
* Love Saves the Day Paperback Released, Royalties to Benefit Blind Cat Rescue
* The Preacher's Wife Book Tour with Brandi Boddie (& Giveaway)
* Book Review: Cat-Eye Witness (A Klepto Cat Mystery) by Patricia Fry
Infographic: 8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Stress Free This Halloween

Thank you Berkley Prime Crime/Obsidian!
Words with Fiends (Black Cat Bookshop Series #3) Charms and Chocolate Chips (Magical Bakery Series #3) Freezer I'll Shoot Read It and Weep (Library Lover's Mystery Series #4) The Quotient of Murder Fixing to Die: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper The Thrill of the Haunt (Haunted Ghosthouse Series #5)

Thank you Gallery Books!
Death Overdue

The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries  October Fest (Murder-by-Month Series #6) chocolate 


Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean | [Jackson Galaxy, Joel Derfner] A Shot in the Bark: A Dog Park Mystery, Book 1 | [C. A. Newsome] Urn Burial: A Phryne Fisher Mystery | [Kerry Greenwood]

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Infographic: 8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Stress Free this Halloween

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! I asked Mommy to write a blog post about Halloween pet safety because as the holiday gets closer I'm starting to get a little nervous. Mommy says there's nothing to worry about because I will always be an indoor kitty and am perfectly safe, but she has redecorated the house with all kinds of thingies that make strange noises and is having way too much fun putting costumes on me and it's just getting....weird.

Anyways, the nice people at The Uncommon Dog must have been reading our minds because they sent us a cool infographic featuring 8 tips to keep pets safe on Halloween. It's tailored specifically to dogs, but it certainly pertains to us kitties too. One thing that is missing is please, please, please give extra special attention to the black and mostly black kitties in your life...mean people out there believe the silly myths about us and think it's fun to do mean, horrible things. Keep us safe and keep us inside!!!

What are you and your pets doing to get ready for Halloween?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Review: Cat-Eye Witness (A Klepto Cat Mystery) by Patricia Fry

Blurb: Savannah and Aunt Margaret open the old Forster home to the Hammond Cat Alliance for a fundraiser to help rehabilitate the abused horses rescued months earlier from the catnappers. Before the afternoon is over, the collected funds go missing and someone is murdered in an upstairs bedroom.

Suspicion surrounds Iris, a local waitress and Savannah’s new best friend. The only witness to the murder is Rags, Savannah’s cat. With the assistance of a cat psychic and Rags’s good friend, Charlotte (the young girl with Downs), the cat helps to “paw” the killer…but not before an attempt is made on Rags’s life. The case is solved only after Rags comes face-to-face with the killer for the second time.

My Review: The first book in this series, Catnapped, is one of my favorite cat mysteries of the year, but I enjoyed this one even more.

Cat-Eye Witness picks up months after Catnapped left off, with everyone gathered for a fundraiser at Savannah and Margaret's home for the abused horses that had been rescued from the catnappers. Everyone is shocked when the money goes missing and a stranger is found dead in Margaret's bedroom, hit over the head with one of her collectible inkwells. Suspicion immediately falls on Savannah's good friend Iris who was in charge of the funds, and her troubled son Damon. The only witness was Rags, who is left terribly traumatized by the event. Savannah resorts to extreme measures to try to find out what Rags saw, which ends up putting the furry eye witness in grave danger. And once again, his tendency to have sticky paws plays a pivotal role in catching the killer too!

This series has an outstanding cast of characters. In addition to the ones I grew to love in Catnapped (particularly vets Savannah and Michael, Aunt Margaret and her new hubby Max), this second book introduces a detective who ends up developing feelings for his main suspect, a sweet little girl with Downs Syndrome, and a pet psychic. The care of the abused horses renews Savannah's love for horses and riding, which I predict will play a pivotal role as she bonds with a surprise new character introduced to her on her wedding day.

This book is a quick, fun puzzler with a special feline detective that will steal your heart; Truffles and I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the author with the request for a review.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Preacher's Wife Book Tour with Brandi Boddie (& Giveaway)

Researching the Old West

By Brandi Boddie

When you hold a novel in your hands, the chances are good that a lot of research went into it. If it’s a historical novel, then the research for those 300-400 pages is probably twice as long. But does all legitimate research consist of long afternoons at the library or nights spent blinking at the computer’s glare? It certainly doesn’t have to be.

The research for my debut historical romance The Preacher’s Wife started with a genuine interest in the history of the Old West. That time period was filled with so many interesting people and events that shaped the United States.

I remember watching Saturday morning westerns with my grandfather when I was a child. I also have collected a number of books over the years detailing the lives and times of ranchers, cowboys, prairie settlers, townsfolk, saloon girls, and the like. So when I began plotting the story and creating characters, I already had an idea of the environment I was building a world in. Am I saying you have to have a working knowledge of your novel’s time period before you start researching? No, but you should enjoy the setting or at least the chance to learn about it.

My research wasn’t all books and John Wayne movies, though. My initial inspiration to write The Preacher’s Wife occurred shortly after my husband and I moved to Oklahoma four years ago. I learned firsthand how the wind moved across the prairie, how the stark rolling plains and solitude plays upon one’s psyche, etc. I visited historic cattle drive towns and conversed with modern day cowboys. Their methods of ranching have changed, but their values and work ethic certainly have not.

In addition, I attended Native American heritage festivals and learned so much about the Comanche tribe that my heroine Marissa Pierce is descended from. I even got to learn more about the Choctaw heritage in my own family. In general, talking to the citizens who crossed my path allowed me to glimpse the persevering and independent spirit of their ancestors, the early settlers and Native Americans.

After living in Oklahoma, we moved to Colorado. I was also able to visit Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, and other states that share in our country’s Old West history. The years that I lived and visited in these states served to enhance my interest and knowledge of the culture. I like to think that my appreciation reflects in The Preacher’s Wife.

The Preacher’s Wife
Can this small-town girl trade her tarnished past for a respectable life?

During the hot, windy summer of 1870 in the burgeoning prairie town of Assurance, Kansas, Marissa Pierce is fed up with her abusive boss. She longs to start a new life and is growing weary of convincing townsfolk that she is most certainly not a prostitute.

Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man.

Faced with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe’s family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her?

Book Excerpt:

This excerpt takes place shortly after Rowe arrives in Assurance, Kansas. Marissa sees him on her way to deposit the saloon’s earnings in the bank. The town’s gossipy seamstress Linda Walsh stops to have a word with Marissa about the new preacher.
           "That must be our new preacher.” Linda Walsh, the town’s young seamstress, walked up beside Marissa. Always eager for conversation, Linda would speak to anyone who stopped to listen, as Marissa had learned since coming back to Assurance a couple years ago. “We weren’t expecting him for another two weeks. I wonder what made him take off from home so fast.”

            Marissa groaned at the thought of meeting another preacher. Every preacher she came across had turned her away once they discovered her profession.

            She watched the small schooner pull up to the local inn. She recognized the driver Dusty Sterling seated beside the other man. Dusty hopped down and tethered the horses. The man in black stepped onto the dusty curb. His recently polished boots gleamed.
            “Fancy one, he is,” Linda continued. “I hear he comes from a city somewhere in Virginia.”
            “Where did you hear that?”
            “It was in the paper a month ago. Our advertisement for a new preacher was answered from a man back East.”
            Marissa focused again on what was in front of her. The traveler indeed looked foreign to the prairie. Not a hint of travel dust stuck to his long, black frock coat and four-inhand necktie, probably changed into just before departing the train. His gray pants were new and expertly tailored. He removed his hat briefly to wipe his brow, and Marissa saw the dark, wavy hair cropped close to his head.
            “He doesn’t have a wife or children with him. Such a shame.” Linda clucked her tongue. “He’s a handsome fellow, for certain.”
            Marissa agreed with her on that. He must have stood over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a powerful build. The man’s profile was strong and rigid, his square jaw and straight nose a true delight for the eyes. Assurance’s former preacher, Reverend Thomas, did not look like this. “Would having a wife and children make him a better preacher?”
            Linda tossed her a look. “That’s got nothing to do with it. One ought to be settled down at a certain age, wouldn’t you say so? Instead of running wild with the barmen?”
            Marissa absorbed the sting of emotional pain. Anything she said in response would not sway Linda or anyone else’s notion that she was just a beer-serving streetwalker. She put on a polite stoic face. “I’m sure the ladies of this town will clamor for his attention. Will you excuse me, Miss Linda? I should be going.”
            She left the seamstress just as Dusty carried the new preacher’s valises inside the inn. The preacher moved to follow then stopped short, pausing for Marissa to walk past. Marissa saw his blue eyes widen and take in her entire form, from the feathered hat on her head to the dainty-heeled boots on her feet. By his expression she didn’t know whether he admired or disapproved.
            His lips settled into a firm line of what looked to be distaste, and she got her answer.
            The preacher hadn’t been there for an hour and already she drew out his scorn. Marissa returned the stare until her image of him blurred with beckoning tears.
            He jolted from his perusal. His low, straight brows flicked. “Good day to you, ma’am.” He amiably tipped his hat to her.
            She paused, not used to being addressed in that fashion. Kindness was in his greeting, not the sarcasm she normally heard from others. Marissa tilted her head to get a clear look at him. His eyes were friendly, calm deep pools. The rest of his face, with its strong, angular lines, remained cordial.
            “Good day,” she replied, hoarse. Awkwardness seized her person. Marissa hastily continued on her way to the bank.

Brandi Boddie holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a BA in political science from Youngstown State University. Her love of writing and research has led her to work that includes case management for the Office of the Attorney General in Washington DC and teaching assignments for elementary and secondary students. When she is not working on a story, Brandi enjoys hiking, fencing, and swing dancing. Soon to be a Texas resident, she lives with her husband and a cocker spaniel who aspires to be a food critic. Visit Brandi’s blog at

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Love Saves the Day Paperback Released This Week, Royalties to Benefit Blind Cat Rescue

Love Saves the Day

LOVE SAVES THE DAY is out in paperback this week, and author Gwen Cooper is donating 200% of her royalties on first-week sales to Blind Cat Rescue in Homer’s memory. (Every ONE paperback copy you buy this week counts as TWO copies for donation purposes!) You can find it at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Target, Costco, your local independent bookstore (if they don’t have it, ask them to order it!), and online at Pick up your paperback copy of LOVE SAVES THE DAY before Sunday, and give a blind kitty like Homer the gift of LOVE!

Love Saves the Day will easily go down as my favorite book of 2013. (Read my review here.) I read it on my Kindle, have purchased the paperback to give to my mother for Christmas, and am even planning on buying the Audible edition. Three copies, one in each format...that's how much I love this book.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PetSmart Halloween Costume & Toy Review

PetSmart has always been my favorite pet store chain. Just about every week I stop in to replenish Truffles' food and treat supply. I adopted my previous two cats from my local store's adoption center, and support PetSmart Charities whenever I can.

I'm like a kid in a candy store when I walk into a pet store, looking for fun new things my cats just can't live without. My favorite time of year to browse the aisles for new products is Halloween and Christmas. On occasion I've even been known to buy a stuffie for myself, such as Miss Piggy dressed as a witch from their Disney Halloween collection.

When PetSmart contacted us and asked if we would be interested in reviewing a Halloween costume and toy from this year's line we happily agreed. (Me for the costume, Truffles for the toy!) I readily admit I'm a huge fan of cats dressed in costume, and am very pleased by the increasing selection each year in costumes specifically for cats. Unfortunately, none of my cats have ever been thrilled by my attempts to dress them, and in the two short months Truffles has been with me I've discovered that she dislikes dressing up most of all! She's a fairly laid back cat, but definitely prefers going au naturel! I gave it a shot anyways, but made sure her comfort level was the most important thing. (Please remember, pet costumes are fun for photo-ops, not for long term wear, and should always be worn only under supervision.)

The costume they sent me was the cutest little clown headpiece. It was a fitting choice because my little Truffles certainly has her clown-ish qualities at times! It's a single piece containing a hat and collar. I was able to easily fasten the Velcro strap under her chin, but you'll see that she would not allow me to attach the collar around her neck!

Seriouslies, Mommy???

Are you happy???

The second item in the box was a much bigger hit...a feather wand from the Martha Stewart Pets Collection (in purple, of course!) It has feathers, a bell, and the cutest little bat filled with catnip.

This is more like it!!!

Mommy thinks I look like a classy Victorian lady with my feathers!

Thanks for the goodie box, PetSmart! We had fun! Purrs from Truffles!!!

Disclosure: PetSmart provided us with a costume and toy to review, but all opinions in this post are my own (and Truffles'!).