Sunday, September 13, 2020

5 STARS for Catamaran Crossing by Douglas Carl Fricke


   The allure of the sea has always called to humankind, and Douglas Carl Fricke certainly answered that call. 

   Fricke has written a wonderful firsthand accounting of his catamaran crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The spirit of adventure, the camaraderie of the crew, and the bravery shown by all onboard would have made Thor Heyerdahl smile. I soon learned that facing down the ocean in a small craft, with no land in sight, takes a special kind of person.

   The writing style and pacing kept the story flowing even when more in-depth sailing information was addressed. And the author’s gift for describing his world with but a few well-chosen words, made the people and places around him come alive. I especially enjoyed reading about the first mate, Joni. Adept in the galley or at the helm, she kept their bellies full regardless of the rolling waves or what was available in the larder. 

   This nonfiction read is set in 1986 with the mention of songs, books, and the social culture of the 70’s and 80’s nicely sprinkled in around the sailing lingo. I also found the historical references, and the chapter quotes of interest.

   If you’d like to learn what sailing is really like, you’re sure to enjoy this adventure of the high seas. 

Catamaran Crossing is available at...



Barnes & Noble 

An image posted by the author.

Doug has been a family historian for years and has published genealogical works covering two of his European ancestral families.

Recently, he has ventured into sharing some of his most daring sailing adventures through storytelling. He has sailed in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the Aegean, the Gulf of Mexico and across the mid-Atlantic. He has a collection of passport visas from over forty foreign countries while traveling for pleasure, for the military, and for corporate America as a software engineer.

Monday, August 31, 2020

His Candy Christmas A Redford Falls Story ~ Book 1

    Welcome to Redford Falls 
A wonderful town
filled with delightful characters,
 and captivating stories 
created by Darlene Fredette. 

You can visit there, and fall in love through these four sweetly romantic, tug-at-your-heartstrings books.        

Today we get a peek at 
                            His Candy Christmas 
                       Available August 31, 2020

    Who knew returning home would contain a cool nip in the air, irresistible chocolate, and a Santa suit?
   It’s going to take more than a few pieces of chocolate to fill this Scrooge’s heart with Christmas cheer. Luckily Candy has a whole shop full.
   Candice Cane is not proud of the way she acted after her last encounter with Jackson Frost. Sure revenge was fun, but now Jackson is angry and looking for answers, and standing on the welcome mat in her chocolate shop. Now he's after some revenge of his own.
   Jackson returned to his small hometown for one reason and one reason only. So, he's not sure how he ended up in a Santa suit in the middle of a chocolate shop, at the behest of its beautiful owner, instead of high-tailing it back to the city as fast as he can.

   She tapped the pen against her chin. Yes, this plan could work.
   “Why the hesitation? I thought you’d be just as eager to end our marriage.”
   Not just yet. Candy had a problem and Jackson was her solution. “You need a divorce, I need a Santa.”
   “What?” He raised an eyebrow.
     She flashed a sinister smile and winked, pointing to the clothing bag hanging from a hook on the wall. A Santa hat peeked from the open zipper. 
   “Give me your best ho ho ho.”
    “ way!” Jackson stepped back, colliding with the wall. “If you think I’m going to dress up as Santa, you’re out of your mind!”
    “No Santa, no divorce.” Candy flicked the pen through the air and it clattered onto the table.

                  Read my 5 STAR review for 
                   His Candy Christmas click here

 Google Play
                Questions for the Author:

What is the farthest you have traveled from your home? 
   In 1992, for our honeymoon, my husband and I traveled through Maine, New Hampshire, and Boston. Then in 1994 we went back to Boston to see The Rolling Stones in concert. 
   That sounds like a wonderful honeymoon, and an anniversary with the Rolling Stones sounds amazing!
  What music do you enjoy, and do you listen while writing? 
  I like lots of music - oldies, rock, and country. I have the radio on in the morning, but I rarely hear it while writing.
   Well we know you like the Rolling Stones:) I find music great for inspiration, but like you I rarely listen while writing. 
  Other than family or a religious figure, name one person (dead or alive) with whom you would like to spend the day.
   Carol Burnett (the best comedic actress ever).
   Oh my gosh I love your answer. Humor can often be a saving grace. 

                        Join me in September 
               for our next visit to Redford Falls 
             and the release of Kissed by Winter

  Darlene resides on the Atlantic Coast of Canada where the summers are too short and the winters are too long. An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to develop the many stories coming to life in her head. She writes contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When not working on her next book, she can be found with her husband, her daughter, and her yellow Labrador. Darlene’s favourite pastime is taking summer day-trips to the Valley to soak in the small-town feel.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Trapper's Moon 5 STARS from Readers' Favorite

      Author Gini Rifkin’s Trapper's Moon takes you back to America around 1840, a time when the British tried keeping control by law and order; some used it to their advantage when it suited their purposes. 
    Kade is making what will become his final journey after emptying the winter traps, taking furs to the trading post with his partner, Tucket, the man who took him under his wing as a boy and raised him. The aim is to return down from the mountains at the end of the bitter winter and earn enough to keep them until the next season.

     Their journey is filled with danger and trouble from the start, having to defend themselves from men of the Hudson Bay Company whose instructions are to eliminate all independent trappers by any means possible. This band has a captive Indian girl called Blind Deer, who is injured during the scuffle. These three now have their lives linked and become dependent on each other’s differing strengths and talents for survival. Revealing details from their pasts add further drama to the story.
    Trapper's Moon is an exciting read with action, drama, and deepening love, leaving you wanting an ending that both delivers the characters a happy future and ensures justice is meted out the lawless. 
    Gini Rifkin uses easy to follow language, with no fancy terms needing explanation while reading, making this a delightful story. There is a glossary of

terms at the end. You’re gently drawn into the lives of each character, painting in your mind a picture of events, both good and bad. Whilst you are focused on the current event, you’re also still thinking about what may be happening elsewhere. 
    The author has taken great care to develop this story in a logical order and make it believable, considering the time frame and the events throughout the pages. Anyone new to this genre will be pleasantly surprised. An excellent, well thought out and planned book, giving you a chance to look back at this not too distant history.
       Reviewed by Bernadette Diane Anderson for Readers' Favorite

Thursday, August 27, 2020

You could win 66 E-Books

                      The Dragon and The Rose 
                 will be included in the give away. 
                    Runs August 25 – 31, 2020.
       Winner will be drawn on September 7, 2020.
     He was the Dragon of Normandy. She was the Rose of Flanders. They met in the North of England and together they changed the course of hearts and history.
     Sir Branoc Valtaigne, ordered to Northumbria by King William II, fights to keep peace along the Scottish border. He is a formidable battle-tested warrior, but as he honors his vows to God, king, and country, a young woman’s smile proves to be his undoing.
     Martanzia Verheire, tricked into standing as good faith hostage for Flanders, seeks freedom from castle Bamburgh and love from Sir Branoc. As she clings to the Celtic dragon statue given to her by her mother, she leads them all to the brink of an era where true magic will be gone forever but where dreams can still come true.

  The sound of people, as they congregated for today’s event, drifted upward. 
   Still brooding and angry, Branoc stepped to the tower window to observe the guests below. Like a swirling sea of color, they ebbed and flowed across the courtyard. They chattered and laughed their gaiety profane in contrast to the anguish that surrounded his soul.  
    Hands clenched in frustration, he ground his fists against the rough edge of the window casement. The pain transformed his thoughts from despair to determination. 
   There was no time to remedy his plight. The ritual would begin shortly, and he dare not arrive late. He would be among the first to pledge himself to King William II, even as his father had pledged his loyalty to King William I.  
  Standing tall, he turned his back to the window slit. His lot had been cast, if not by his own hand then certainly by that of Fate. And now, as before, he was left to gather together the crumbling pieces of his life. Now, as before, he was left to carry out in personal tragedy the promises uttered by others in good faith. 
    “Damn your eyes, Rathgar,” he swore. “A dark knight you have made me, and a dark knight I shall be. From now until Destiny decrees otherwise, I will wear the shade of doom and retribution that you have chosen for me.” 
   Crossing the room he touched the rim of the shield, and studied in more detail the fearsome image depicted upon the painted hide. He did not believe in the existence of dragons, yet he felt an odd sympathy for the hoary worm; a mythical beast both feared and admired. An invincible creature who’s memory survived only in the hearts of men and the minds of children. Sad to be only an illusion. 
   Or perhaps we were all mere illusions. Reflections of what we could be, or what we hoped to be. Truth and illusion. Opposite sides of the same coin. And ’twas the toss of that coin that determined a man’s future. 
   Grabbing up the somber attire, he dressed with pride and care, while visions of Rathgar still dogged his thoughts. “Before this game is through, old friend, you shall know the fury of the beast you have created, and you shall tremble before his might. I will champion this day,” Branoc vowed, “and conquer all of my tomorrows. 
   “Neither God nor man shall deliver unto this earth a dragon more formidable than the one known as Valtaigne.”
The North Sea, July, 1100 A.D.
   A monstrous wave tossed the tiny ship about with disinterested ease, and the windblown sea-spray added another layer of freezing mist to all that it touched. 
   With a hand pale as death, Martanzia Verheire drew her sodden cloak closer about her shivering body. Now she was cold as well as afraid. 
   Another breaker of grotesque proportions swept the listing craft upward, and for one breathless moment, the boat clung to the frothy crest. Then the unseen pelagic hand relinquished its grip, and the floundering craft careened downward at a riotous angle.
   Clawing at the slippery surface, Martanzia fought to remain seated on the heaving deck. Her senses reeled and her stomach rebelled. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that sailing from Flanders to England would be such a dreadful ordeal.
   Lightning fractured the sky, and thunder spilled through the cracks left behind. The rain could wait no longer. It poured down from above, blurring the dismal panorama, creating a perfect backdrop for the fiery images that blistered and burned in the back of her brain. She could still see Uncle Malbourne, smiling smugly and waving good-bye. ’Twas because of his trickery that she was here. 
    Anger boiled anew, sparring in her belly with the nausea already well entrenched there. She clutched at her stomach, and hunkered down lower on the deck of the small ship. Thoughts of Uncle only made her feel worse.
   Another great paw of water tore at the boat. The craft nearly up-ended, flinging Martanzia backward.       She slammed against the rough-hewn framework. Pain exploded in her shoulder and speared down her arm. A whimper escaped her lips, and a new and horrifying idea surfaced in her mind and gasped for breath. Would it aid Uncle Malbourne’s purpose if she died in the crossing? He was capable of murder...
   She seized the knotted hemp that hung from the wooden hull, and braced her body against the strut. She must survive, if for no other reason than to spite him. Besides, she reasoned, even Uncle could not control the weather, and therefore he could not be assured of her demise at sea. If he had wanted her dead, he would have devised a method more certain of success.
    But why allow her to live, and cart her off to an English nunnery? Surely, it was more than simply a punishment for her refusal to marry the odious Rathgar Relentes. 
   Only time would reveal at what amusement Uncle played, and only then would she know her part in the game. One thing was most assuredly clear, he did not rescue her from Rathgar’s clutches out of pity, yet to be rescued at all must be considered a boon. 
   One day at a time, she reminded herself. That was how she would survive. There was no point in worrying about the future when none might exist.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Magnar Release Day Celebration with Mary Morgan

    The Wolves of Clan Sutherland are coming! 
Another wonderful series to sweep you away to a time long ago... you may wish you could stay there forever!

   Known as the Barbarian, Magnar MacAlpin is a fierce ruler for those under his command. As leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, his loyalty and obedience lies with Scotland. However, the king’s last demand is not something Magnar will tolerate.
   After Elspeth Gunn’s brother the Chieftain of Castle Steinn is murdered, she flees with her nephew, and finds safety amongst a band of men who are rumored to be part wolf. When the king forces her to wed a heathen Northman, she fears losing her heart and soul not only to the man, but the beast as well.
   In order to restore peace to a shattered clan, Magnar and Elspeth travel a treacherous path that challenges their beliefs. When evil seeks to destroy ancient traditions, will Magnar be compelled to restrain his wolf or allow him free to protect those he loves?

  Standing abruptly, Elspeth glanced around the table.     She wanted to shout at them all. Did they not understand how exhausted they were? From the moment they arrived at Lord Sutherland’s castle, they were ushered into the great hall to await the king. No food given. Only wine served. Bright red splotches covered her nephew’s cheeks.
   Moving away from the table, she went to her nephew and placed a firm hand on his shoulder. “My king. If you would be so kind, I shall see Erik to his chamber.”
   King William smiled. “Do not fret, Lady Elspeth. There was not much wine in his cup. I deemed it best to acknowledge his new position as chieftain with a small amount.”
   Relief coursed through her, and she gave him her best smile. “Then with your consent, may I fetch him some food from the kitchens?”
   The king rose from his chair. “Lord Sutherland has prepared chambers for you both.”
   “Chambers in the south tower?” asked Magnar, taking a hold of her elbow.
   Lord Sutherland gave him a slight nod.
   Startled once again by the man’s silent movements, Elspeth remained mute, trying to control the warring emotions from the man’s touch. The heat of his fingers seared into her gown and onto her skin.
   Giving the king a small smile, she permitted Magnar to usher her out of the great hall. Erik kept a steady pace with their movements as he continued to entertain their overly bold guide with yet another tale of how they escaped their home.
Her steps slowed as the torchlight danced off the giant tapestry hanging on the wall near the stairs. The eyes of a white wolf bore into Elspeth as she drew near. Though only the head of the animal was represented within the woven threads, she half expected the wolf to jump out at her.
Elite Guards. Wolves. King William.
   Elspeth returned her attention to the man holding her in his grip. “I heard my brother once mention the elite guards for the king. He spoke with reverence and with fear. They are loyal to the king but had one leader—one who all of Scotland should fear because of his magic.”
  The man’s eyes darkened and a smile tipped the corners of his mouth. “Your brother was wise in his account.”
  Elspeth’s heart pounded fiercely within her chest. “You are the leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland.”

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble
Amazon Ca
Amazon UK
Amazon AU

About the Author: 
Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Connect with Mary at these places: 
Amazon Author

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Iron Heat win 66 E books at N. N. Light

                            Iron Heart 
                     a 5 STAR read included in 
                      the N.N. Light give away. 
                    Runs August 25 – 31, 2020.
       Winner will be drawn on September 7, 2020.
    England: circa. 879 A.D.
    With the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet, Faran Kilbraun travels far from home in search of the sword and shield of his ancestors. Protecting the ancient relics was his responsibility. Now, to regain his honor, he must recover the stolen artifacts and battle a life-long enemy.  
    Following the accidental death of her cruel husband, Leanora Wrenn is wrongly accused of his murder. Forced into exile, a small north shore island becomes her lonely refuge—exoneration her only hope. 
     When Faran discovers Leanora's remote sanctuary, both their lives are changed forever. Comrades-in-arms, they fight side by side for their chance at redemption and love. 

Chapter One
The Farne Islands, September 879 A.D.

    They had stolen his past. And he was about to lose his future.
    Faran wrestled for control of the steerboard. He had never fought harder, not even at the shieldwall. Yet, try as he might to guide his small ship to safety, the storm howling down from the north thwarted his every move.
    Deadly rocks ringed the shore—looming dangerously close. He hazarded a glance at his three stalwart companions. Heads down, they strained at the oars, and while their loyalty and courage nourished his soul, he knew in his heart their attempt was futile.
    Who had conjured this pernicious maelstrom?
   Only moments ago, the sky had been blue and the sea calm. This raging tempest, wielded by a merciless hand, threatened to destroy his ship, his companions, and his hope for redemption.
    The gods had forsaken him yet once again.
    Exhausted, Faran lay prone upon the cold wet shore, his head turned to one side, the sand grating against his cheek. He groaned and willed himself to turn over, but muscle and sinew refused to follow where his mind desperately tried to lead.
   Resigned to immobility, he studied the area within his scope of vision. Where were his hearthmates? Did they live? Were they nearby, possibly in need of his help? These thoughts pounded through his brain even as the surf pounded the craggy coastline.
    A piece of flotsam washed up on the beach, and an inquisitive gull swooped down to inspect this treasure newly relinquished from the sea. The runes etched upon the smooth wooden surface were familiar to him—the board had once been part of his sailing vessel. But his ship had gone down—along with his good intentions.
      He closed his eyes and recalled the rasping sound of wood scraping rock. A mountainous wave had swallowed his ship, and he had been catapulted body and soul into the sea. Then along with the other aquatic grist, the ocean had chewed him up well and good, only to regurgitate him upon the shore like an unsavory bit of shell.
     At the memory of the underwater horror, his eyes snapped opened, and he sucked in a lungful of air. Surely the gods had made a mistake. He was Tyne Faran Kilbraun, the Iron Heart. Seventh son of the man who ruled the Storm Geats, seventh son of the woman who belonged to the tribe of the Wulfingas. He was keeper of the Word and protector of the sacred relics. Were these facts of no consequence to the deities who ruled the heavens and the earth?
    Faran, the Iron Heart. It was a name that set one’s mind to wondering. Did he pride himself on disallowing any woman to touch his cold hard heart? Did he woo ladies into love trysts with promises of treasure and pleasure only to tragically desert them?

     For certes he was unlike anyone Leanora had ever known. He approached life fearlessly, as if he dared anyone to cross his path, his mood, or the territory he called his own. And his generous mouth was an unbidden fascination. It could accommodate a childlike smile, tempering all the fierceness he worked so hard to portray. Or it could accommodate a reassuring smile, making her believe everything in her troubled world would be all right.

     He was handsome to be sure—with a rock hard body, thoughts of which occupied her mind much too often. And his mind was also intriguing. Developed equal to his form, it was a quality she truly admired in him. Knowledge could be a powerful weapon, and Faran appeared well armed.

      To her benefit, he seemed preoccupied with the present and not with prying into her past. Nor did he threaten to rule her future. He treated her differently, he treated her like...a friend. The idea stunned her. Life had never afforded her the opportunity to know or cherish another person in such a manner. Another new experience.

      Then a spark of yearning for more than mere friendship flickered inside of her. You can never trust a man, she chastised, you can only believe in yourself. Unyielding logic cooled this ember of need, but not before it claimed the barren part of her never before touched by warmth or light.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Tequila anyone? This Parry's Agave plant took sixteen years to bloom

The Berthoud Conservation Gardens has a special plant blooming this month, the Parry's Agave. 
Each flowering plant has a giant stalk up to 20 feet tall, with 20 to 30 side branches. Each side branch produces hundreds of flowers. 

The flowers are reddish in bud and bright yellow when open. 

Beyond the obvious unique beauty, agaves grow in an interesting way. 

Often called century plants, agaves live many years before flowering, after which they die :( 

     This succulent (not really a cacti) has been a source of human food and beverage for at least 9,000 years. 
 When an agave’s central bud is removed, the cavity fills with fluid. This nutritious juice is called aguamiel (honey water). When aguamiel is allowed to ferment it becomes an alcoholic beverage called pulque and when pulque is distilled it becomes mescal. Tequila is a high quality mescal produced only from the blue agave plant and grown only in limited regions of Mexico.
                                    Great Design Plant: Parry's Agave
Agave Roasting Tutorial | Agave Heritage Festival
Sugars concentrate in the core of an agave just before flowering. If the leaves are trimmed away, the core can be baked or roasted. Native Americans of many Southwestern tribes pit-roasted agaves in an elaborate process that took three or four days of cooking!
              Mezcal Basics | Mezcales de Leyenda
    The sweet meat is said to have a flavor of sweet potato, molasses, and pineapple, but is quite fibrous. Chunks of roasted agave were chewed and the tough fibers discarded. Roasted agave could also be pounded into cakes and dried for later use.
Agave leaves have strong fibers good for many uses. Sisal fiber derived from Agave sisalana is grown worldwide and used for inexpensive twine, rope, paper, fabric, filters, mattresses, and carpets.

"Hey, Waiter. What's that worm doing in my drink? And please don't say the backstroke."
                  Mezcal con gusano
In the 1950's, when a mezcal maker discovered a moth larvae in a batch of his liquor, he decided the stowaway improved its taste. Since then, he started adding “worms” to all his bottles as a marketing strategy.
The larva is usually either a red worm or a maguey worm. The red worm is typically considered tastier.
    Read an Adventurous Historical Westerns while sipping your tequila.  Available in paperback, e-book, and audio. 
                  Visit My Western Blog Page
                           Visit me at Amazon
                        Audio books at
                              See you around. 


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Huge Giveaway. Amazon, Barnes and Noble Gift Cards

                 Celebrate Audio Book Month        
                           41 Audio Books
                               32 Authors 

         Saddle up for Adventure and Romance. 

Click here and scroll down to rafflecopter link
You could win....
Win $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Win $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Win $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Win $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Win $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
                             A Cowboy's Fate                                                      Available now in Audio                       
                      Narrated by Richard L. Walton               

Colorado 1888      
    Kicked out of England for offending the Royal Family, Britania Rule heads for Leadville, in the Colorado backcountry. Passing herself off as a highborn lady, she pursues her dream of opening a parlor of spiritual enlightenment. 
     Cody James, her guide, thinks he must be half-crazy to hire-out to a female. But his luck at the gaming tables has run dry, and she’s his meal-ticket out of town. Betrayed by the only woman he ever loved, and shot and left for dead by a man he once called friend, Cody declares himself a loner. 
   Traveling side by side, they deny their desire for one another, but the Tarot cards say otherwise—and their hot night of passion confirms the prediction. Will love be waiting at the end of the trail? Or could Cody’s past destroy their future? 
Buy Now 
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