#MFRWhooks ~ A Teaser From The Phoenix Syndrome ~ #MFRWauthor

Celebrating a brand-new cover for THE PHOENIX SYDNROME – A Rock Star Second Chance Romance!

Turning forty, for Lannie Marvin, is rough. Her cheating husband announces he’s leaving her, and at the lab where she works, a crazed mouse brutally bites her. Lannie snaps. She kidnaps her sister-in-law and heads off to chase her newest crush–the drummer of a heavy metal band.

Drummer Tristan Allard holds this benefit concert every year in memory of his late wife. It’s been five years and he’s getting pretty damned lonely. So when the sexually charged Lannie literally plows into him at the backstage reception, Tristan is more than ready to learn more about her–and her long-buried love of musical composition.

They head off for a wild weekend until reality catches them. Tristan is scheduled to return to the UK to audition his latest album. And Lannie learns an elevated libido isn’t the only side effect of the drug the mice were being treated with…

Here’s a sneak peek from the opening chapters of THE PHOENIX SYNDROME:

That’s when I raised my head and got a look at him for the first time. He was tall—really tall, because I’m five-ten and I was eye-level with his pecs. Above a pair of baggy plaid sleep pants he wore a faded U2 tee shirt. All I could think was, Yeah, U2. Jon Schmidt did one of their songs, braiding it in with a Pachelbal. Slowly, my gaze traveled up to his shoulders, then along his square jawline, where dark tendrils of hair clung to the stubble.

Ooh, mama.

That’s when my babble button kicked on again. “Nice shirt. I mean, U2. Good band. Excuse me, please.” I stepped to one side before realizing one step wouldn’t get me around him. His upper body was twice as broad as mine.

Now he was pissing me off. “Um, can I get by please?” I lifted my gaze to his face then. Deep, dark eyes with black lashes so long they looked fake.

But he wasn’t looking at my eyes. The perv was staring at my nipples, which were straining embarrassingly against the flimsy front of my sleep shirt.

“I like your shirt too, ma’am.” He read the words scrolled among scattered notes and treble clefs on my shirt, aloud. “Take Note. Make Music, Not War.” A slow smile spread across his face. “I think we might be kindred spirits.”

There was something about his rich, deep voice that made my insides shiver, though I couldn’t really tell if it was annoyance, fear, or . . . something else. Something much, much more pleasant.

But ma’am? Really?

And this was ridiculous. I was half asleep, half-naked, and had to get out of there fast. So I tipped my chin up and waited until he finally, finally tore his eyes from my tits and met my gaze. “Maybe so, but if you don’t want to be wearing this coffee all over your U2, you’d better get the hell out of my way.”


KU Subscribers can read for Free! Find the book on Amazon HERE.

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Dry Socket

Defined as a condition that occurs after the extraction of an adult tooth, a dry socket can be excruciating. The protective clot that is supposed to form to protect the underlying nerves does not, or becomes dislodged. The result is extreme pain. An exposed nerve, literally.

I’ve been lucky enough never to experience this dental condition. But it perfectly describes what I’m going through right now after having to euthanize my ten-month kitten, Leo. He was diagnosed with the most advanced case of FIP the docs I work with at Tufts Vet School had ever seen. Feline Intestinal Peritonitis. It’s insidious, there’s no vaccine to prevent it, and it’s incurable.

I said goodbye to Leo in my arms at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16th. He was already mostly gone, but I would like to think he heard me tell him how much I loved him. I’d like to think he already knew that.

Now, the aftermath. I come home to my empty office, where Leo mostly hung out. I opened the door the past two mornings saying, “Good morning, Baby.” I look for him, on his usual perches, in the little closet nook, under my desk. He’s not there.

I get ready for bed every night, reaching first for the jar of Gerber’s baby food that was his favorite nighttime treat. He used to trip me scurrying between my feet as I carried the bowl to his lair.

He’s not there to eat it anymore.

My heart is a dry socket. I never thought it could possibly hurt this bad. It does.

My husband and daughter are trying to convince me to get another kitten. Oh, how terrifying that thought is. What if the same thing happens? The odds are relatively high: 1 in 5000 indoor cats die from FIP. Shall I take the chance that I have 4999 chances left to find one I can love for longer than the few short months I had with Leo?

Collateral damage: my writing has evaporated like mist in the morning sun. Leo was my muse. He sat on my lap, chased the cursor on my screen, and if I didn’t pay him enough attention, he patted my cheek with his paw.

What I wouldn’t give to feel that paw on my cheek now. All I have left is the clay paw imprint they were kind enough to make for me. Ironically, it is of his left paw. That was the one he always used to remind me he was there.

Will the dry socket heal on its own? Or will I have to take another chance at opening my heart again, risking devastation? We all know the answer, but that doesn’t make the decision any easier.

Rest in peace, my sweet, sweet boy. If love could cure, you would still be with me. I only shared your life for a few short months, but I couldn’t have loved you any harder.

Heartache in a Fur Coat

Leo, FurBaby Extraordinaire. My Muse

Many of you who know me know about my fur-baby, Leo, whom I was blessed with about six months ago. Instant love. This furry little worm dug his way into my heart and set up housekeeping. We have shared lots of hours cuddling, playing, cherishing.

Three days ago, crisis hit. Leo began acting strange, aloof and unwilling to cuddle. His appetite waned. Then he stopped eating altogether.

My vet saw him yesterday and diagnosed him with an infected liver, possibly also gallbladder and pancreas. Chills ran from the top of my head down. Too much of a coincidence.

Leo lives a very, VERY sheltered life. Indoors, monitored constantly, either in my lap or snuggled in a protected bed in my air-conditioned office.

In February, my husband nearly died of an infected gallbladder. Just this month, his brother fell ill suddenly: infected pancreas, gallbladder, and liver. Unfortunately, Bradley did not survive.

I’d like to blame it on the water, but Bradley lived in Florida, over 1000 miles away. We haven’t been together in over three years.

So what is this? Some weird karma thing? A fluke? Somebody put a curse on me and my family?

I’m going to put it down to some, strange synchronicity that we don’t yet understand. My husband survived his illness (thank God). It’s very sad that his brother did not. I hope and pray my precious fur-baby gets through this crisis.

Reaching out to friends, fans, and family for positive thoughts and prayers. Leo has become my muse. I’m not sure what I would do without him.

Exploring German Culture

One of my favorite tasks in writing a new book is the background research. In my current work-in-progress, TimePeace, my hero is from Germany, freshly immigrated only three years ago. My heroine is an all-American, Boston-born girl of Irish descent. One of the many conflicts between the characters stem from their cultural differences.

In performing my research, I had not only the Internet (which one cannot always trust), but also a sister-in-law who lived in Germany for eight years. She has numerous friends there still and has been my go-to person to fact-check.

Plainly put, I’ve been bugging the hell of her.

Some of the interesting things I’ve learned, though, have been easy to weave into my story to pump up the conflict. Here are only a few:

1. Germans stare. They aren’t big on small talk, but can stare at you unabashedly when they have nothing important to say. To a German’s way of thinking, Americans are too loud and talk too much.

2. Dogs are welcome everywhere, including restaurants. No special assistance-dog permits needed there.

3. Going Dutch is the German way. If you dine out, expect to pay your own way–even on a date.

4. Over-the counter medicine is not readily available in Germany–even aspirin. If you go into an apotheke you must speak with a pharmacist (in German, of course) to secure whatever medication you need. This service comes at no cost.

5. The German word for “guilt” is the same as for “debt” – schuld. Credit cards are not widely accepted, but debit cards are.

These cultural tidbits will help make my hero, Tomas Heissler, not only more interesting for heroine Kim Gallagher, but more challenging as well!

Coming late September: TimePeace.

Visit my website to see more about my books and the latest Haunted Voices novel, ELECTRICITY.

I’ve Been Bitch-Slapped

Yes, it’s true. She didn’t mean it, I’m sure. But multi-published, award-winning author and artist Lisa Shea bitch-slapped me today. In a good way.

I was perusing my fellow New Englander’s website (one of her many) and when these words crossed my vision, I literally rocked back in my chair.

Unfortunately, I cannot locate the link tonight. But what she basically said was (this is NOT a direct quote, I cannot find the link), “If your characters are all Caucasian, middle-class, and heterosexual, you are going to be alienating a huge majority of your readers. I live near Boston, and that world, unless it’s a fantasy one, will definitely include minorities, gays, and the homeless. If not, it’s not realistic. If you don’t depict these in your book, you’re alienating readers.”

Wow. I’ve just been bitch-slapped. She had described the characters (well, most of them) in my books. Not by intention. By ignorance, I guess. I’m one of those Caucasian, middle-class, heterosexuals who, although I hold absolutely no discrimination against other classes, races, sexual orientation…well…ignorance.

That’s my only excuse.

Bad on me.

It’s gonna change. You have my word on it.

Congratulations, Marian Lanouette! Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence Finalist

The Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence is an RWA-sanctioned competition to recognize outstanding achievements in the mystery & suspense genres. This year, my fellow “sister” from the Sisterhood of Suspense, Marian Lanouette, made the finals with her Jake Carrington Thriller, All the Pretty Brides.

Praise for Marian Lanouette’s Jake Carrington Thrillers

“Tense and authentic—a suspenseful page-turner!”

Leo J. Maloney, bestselling author of the Dan Morgan thriller series


“All the Deadly Lies is a rawly rendered thriller that toes the line between feisty and fierce without ever losing its underlying sense of fun.”

Criminal Element

Blurb (back cover)

Homicide detective Jake Carrington has an engagement that can’t wait—with a killer. 
Haunted by the murder of his sister, Lieutenant Jake Carrington struggles to control his personal demons as he stands over the brutalized body of a young woman found dead on the railroad tracks. The victim disappeared on July 6th, the fifth woman in as many years to go missing on that date. The fifth happy bride-to-be. The only one whose body has turned up. 
Soon the killer is sending personal messages to Jake. They refer to an unidentified brother he believes Jake hates as much as he does. With his partner distracted by turmoil at home, Jake is on his own. Drawn deeper and deeper into a murderous family feud, his mission is to find out who the killer’s brother is—and stop him before another innocent woman’s life is cut tragically short. 

You can find All the Pretty Brides HERE for Kindle and in paperback.

Congratulations, Marian! I’m raising a glass to your luck in the final round!

The Stepford Stepmother

For the past forty years, I have been in the somewhat unique (perhaps) position of being a stepmother to several generations of boys. My oldest stepson is only four years younger than I am. There are three more, ranging in age from there…..to, well….let’s put it this way. My youngest stepson was two years old when I married his dad. That was forty years ago.

Talk about a slippery slope. I’ve felt, over the years, that I’ve been walking a tightrope between two high-rise buildings. I could never be the best stepmother–whatever that means–to these boys. The years skidded by, and when their father suffered a life-threatening illness these past few months, of course, I was lax in keeping the family informed.

I have failed. I admit that. But this past weekend on Mother’s Day, I got a message from one of my “other” sons that I hope they carve into my headstone. Here is what he said:

” I don’t know if you realize how I’ve always felt about you. From day one you always treated me as your own, cutting my hair, great Sunday breakfasts, introducing me to great music like Rush ( I will never forget you tickling Susie to the beat of the bells in ” Closer to the heart” ) , & I don’t remember you ever yelling at me. It’s tough being a step parent ( I hate that term ) but I want you to know you were a blue print for me when I got in that role. I love you & enjoy your day :-)”

This from a man who was but a boy when I barged into his life, sweeping his father away from him. I can’t tell you, Todd, how much your words mean to me. And always will.

Yet now, here I am, still making mistakes. Just last night, I stumbled on my own words with my own son. One of my stepsons is expecting a child with his significant other. I couldn’t be happier! But my antiquated, old-school memory didn’t record such things as they are.

“So, they’re getting married? When?”

“No, Mom. They’re having a child together, though. How could you not get this right?”

I didn’t. Sorry. Crucify me. I got it wrong.

“Oh. I get it,” my son said. “It’s not important because he’s not YOUR son.”

No, no, no. How can I ever explain this? How can I ever be exonerated from the guilt?

Life gets crazy sometimes. And complicated. Oh, how complicated.

Their father–ALL of their fathers–has suffered a life-threatening illness recently. Only in the past weeks has it become real to me that I will not be a widow this year.


Family, sons of my beloved, please forgive me my shortcomings. I never meant to make you feel less important. But I can only bear so much and still keep everything straight. I can only be the bearer of so much uncertainty, so much worry, so much pain and not lose my sanity.

I love you all. You may not be of my blood, but you all carry a big part of my heart–the biggest part–within you. I’m sorry if I don’t express the love I feel for you the way I should.

Without that, without family, there’s no point in my living.

#MFRWAuthor – The Home Stretch – Electricity is Nearing Completion! #MFRWhooks

After months–hell, it’s been over a year since I last released a novel–ELECTRICITY is coming down the home stretch. These last 25,000 words have been literally bleeding out of my fingertips onto the keyboard. What a great feeling to have gotten back my author mojo!

Since I still like to take breaks about every 5000 words or so, I’ve gotten busy designing my cover (sneak preview coming soon!), writing my blurb, and searching for the elements of a book trailer. I’m THAT CLOSE.

I’m shooting for a release date of June 8th–that’s my grandson’s birthday, and I always release a book on a special day 🙂

In the meantime, stay tuned for news of a box-set–yes, you heard me right. Haunted Voices Vol. I will be a box set of all three of the previous novels in this series (One related by genre only. They are not sequential and can read in any order). That would be HEARTS UNLOCHED, SPIRITS OF THE HEART, AND CIVIL HEARTS, all together in box set.

Check out all my books on Amazonhttp://www.emotionalcontemporaryromance.com

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