Flotsam & Jetsam

What set Ellie off anyway? A thought intruded. No, couldn’t be. He checked her profile. Nah. But his mouth formed a hopeful smile, and he leaned back, humming his favorite tune. Flotsam & Jetsam

The dashing Frenchman or the handsome handyman? Who will she choose? For the Love of a Spy

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Secret Cravings Fall Release Party Coming Up

Don't forget to stop by Facebook on August 29 for the grand, fabulous, not-to-be-missed Secret Cravings Fall Release Party--showcasing all the new releases from the best romance publisher in the business, Secret Cravings, from June through August.

Here is the event link. 

Make sure you check in at 7:30 to 8 p.m. EST. I'll be talking about my new release, a mystery romance set on the coast of Maine, The Penhallow Train Incident. I'll also be giving away a copy of my romantic suspense adventure Whirlwind Romance.
The party starts at 10 am CST and goes all day!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Vikki Vaught and Lady Overton--Historical Romance at Its Best

Welcome, Vikki. Won’t you tell us about your new release, Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey? By the way, I love the cover!

Thank you, M.S. Spencer, for having me on your blog. I’m very exciting about my new release, Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey. This is the first book in my Honorable Rogue series. This story is set in early 19th-century England and America, and I loved delving into a bit of American history for my novel. I’d like to discuss some of the fascinating research I did for my book.

I originally set this story in 1809, but after further research I discovered Thomas Jefferson convinced the U.S. Congress to pass the Embargo Act of 1807, which stopped foreign trade. While Jefferson did not want to involve the U.S. in the conflict between France and England, he needed to put financial sanctions in place that could possibly hurt these countries economically. This act devastated the U.S. economy. American ships literally remained in port rotting in the harbors. Illegal trade became the only means of getting goods from foreign shores. Many of the items needed by Americans were brought in through Canada and prices sky-rocketed.

Here is some background history that led up to the embargo. Britain and France resumed their war in 1803, causing relations to become strained between any countries deciding to remain neutral. In 1806, France passed a law against trading with neutral countries, and since America did not take sides in the conflict between the two countries, the French began plundering U.S. ships. In 1807, Britain passed a bill prohibiting trade between France and neutral countries. The British began waylaying American vessels and demanded that the ships pull into their ports before they were allowed to trade with other countries.

 The British also started boarding American vessels and began seizing sailors they deemed were deserters from the Royal British Navy. This infuriated the U.S. and thousands of American sailors were unlawfully impressed into the British Navy, leaving destitute families behind.

During the last sixteen days of Jefferson’s presidency, a bill was passed replacing the Embargo Act with the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809. While this act opened up trade again, it did not allow trade with Britain. Since my story has my heroine fleeing England on an American vessel, I needed to move it to a different year, prior to the escalating issues between the two countries. Since 1802 was the only year that England and France were not at war for more than twenty years, I decided to place my story in that year.

This was by no means the only research I did for Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey, but was certainly the most important. While this is a novel of fiction, I wanted to ensure that the happenings within the story were possible.

I hope you’ll enjoy the romance between Alex and Anissa as much as I enjoyed writing their love story. Happy reading!

When her son’s life is threatened, Anissa, Marchioness of Overton, seeks refuge by sailing to America with him. Before the ship reaches the high seas, sparks fly between her and Captain Alex Hawks. Although the young widow may be lonely, and afraid, she cannot risk the diversion a romantic entanglement could bring, no matter how much she wants to lose herself in the captain’s embrace.  
The captain vows to protect the young Lord Overton, but can offer no assurance that the marchioness will leave his ship with her virtue intact. Alex is drawn to Anissa’s beauty and courage, as a hummingbird is to the nectar of a flower. How long can he fight a losing battle before he surrenders and makes her his own? 
Will Alex be able to keep this remarkable woman and her child safe? Will his passion for Anissa be enough or will their differences keep them apart?

Excerpt (G):
She cuddled her sleeping child close as she scanned the overcrowded common area. Her insides churned as she wove her way through the crowded tables, the chairs filled with dirty, unsavory-looking men. The strong smell of sweat mingled with ale threatened to turn her stomach and had her breathing through her mouth.
Anissa approached the man the stable boy had described. “Sir, are you Captain Hawks?”
He turned around, and in a drawling voice, he answered, “Well, darlin’, that’s my name.” He swept his tri-corn hat from his head, stood and bowed. “Captain Alex Hawks, at your service. What can I do for you?”
Anissa gazed up into the blackest eyes she had ever seen and wanted to fall into them. Mesmerized, she blinked as a shiver ran across her shoulders. This was not the time to notice this man’s eyes, no matter how compelling they were. Now was the time to use her charms to convince him to take her on his ship.
“My name is—” she quickly searched for a name, not wanting to give him her identity, “—Mrs. Carlson. I would like to pay for passage on your ship. I understand you are leaving for America this morning.” Then, thinking of a city she had heard of in America, she added, “I need to go to Boston, where some of my family lives. Would you be able to help me?”
Captain Hawks gave her an appraising stare, which unnerved her. This man was intimidating, to say the least. “I’m not going to Boston. And, I don’t normally take on passengers. I’m headed to Baltimore, and it’s a far piece from Boston, darlin’.”
“Please take me. I have to leave for America as soon as possible.” Anissa had to convince him to allow her passage. “And as far as your destination is concerned, I’m sure once I am in America, I shall be able to travel to Boston from there.”
“Darlin’, do you even know where Baltimore is and how far it is from Boston?”
Anissa wished he would quit calling her darling. It was quite presumptuous of him, and she did not appreciate it at all. Of course, she did not want to anger him, so she kept her feelings to herself. “Well, no, not really. How far is it?”
“It’s over four hundred miles,” Captain Hawks explained, as if he were speaking to a child, which further irritated her, tugging at her frazzled nerves. “You would be better served if you found a passenger ship going there. I have an associate who should be arriving in a few days, and his ship is going to Boston. He also takes passengers. I’m sure he would be happy to take you on board.”
Oh, dear, why did I say Boston? Please, Lord, let me convince him to take me.
Every hour brought her closer to the chance of discovery. She could not afford to wait for another ship. She needed to get as far away from Lord Howard as possible, immediately.
“Captain, I do not have a few days to wait. My uncle is dreadfully ill. He may only have a few months to live, so I need to leave right away. Please allow me to travel on your ship.” She looked up at him, willing a few tears into her eyes, praying to gain his sympathy.
Captain Hawks sighed and rolled his obsidian eyes toward the ceiling. “I know I’m going to regret this. All right, darlin’, if it’s that important, I’ll take you. I hope you realize how uncomfortable this voyage will be for you and the child. The cabin you will be in barely has room to turn around in. Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider?”
“We shall be fine, regardless of the conditions.”
He shook his head, sending her heart to the floor.
Oh, Lord, please don’t let him change his mind.
What shall I do if he has?

Buy Links:
Vikki Vaught
About the Author:

Vikki Vaught started her writing career when a story invaded her mind and would not leave.
Over the last few years, she has written more than a half dozen historical romances and is presently working on her next. Her new release, Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey, published by Secret Cravings Publishing, is the first book in her Honorable Rogue series.

Vikki loves a "Happily Ever After", and she writes them in her stories. While romance is the central theme of all her books, she includes some significant historical event or place in all her novels.

For the last decade, Vikki has lived in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with her beloved husband, Jim, who is the most tolerant man in the world for putting up with her when she is in a writing frenzy. When she is not writing or working her day job, you’ll find her curled up in a comfortable chair reading her Kindle, lost in a good book with a cup of coffee at her side.

Author Links:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Innocence Released! Holly Jody Gill's New Romance

Quick! Come read about Holly Jody Gill's new romance, Innocence.

★☆★☆ Quote: ‘Don’t make promises you cannot keep!’★☆★☆

Calvin Edwards, has everything he could dream about, perfect lifestyle, running the family real-estate company back in London. He takes a holiday up North to visit his parents, only when out walking on his parents land, he finds a young pregnant woman attempting to take her life. Calvin wishes to help, becoming a friend through her troubles, only fears he’s out of his depth, let alone discovers his past comes back to life, sending his life crashing.

Kacey is pregnant and her life is out of control, with nowhere left to go. She descends on her mum for one last chance for help, only the door is slammed in her face. At her wits end, alone, scared and helpless until Calvin comes along. He becomes a dear friend giving her kindness. Only what she’d pushed to the back of her mind through selfish pain, is back. Her past has come back to life!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tooting My Horn

Just wanted to pass on the news that several of my books are best-sellers at Secret Cravings Publishing! In MYSTERIES,Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, is a cool #2, while Losers Keepers keeps #5 warm and Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine sticks #7. Artful Dodging is also on the ROMANTIC SUSPENSE and MAINSTREAM ROMANCE best-seller lists at SCP. As for Lapses of Memory, it's also a best seller in Mainstream Romance.

 See all my books at Secret Cravings and other fine on-line book stores. Except for the Penhallow Train Incident, they are all available in both ebook and print-on-demand.*

*Print-on-demand means you order the book through the store and it is sent directly to your address.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Zelda has not left the building

And two more...

Reflections on a Treefrog 

I am moving beyond
The empty road
Looking to the empty sky
On either side are palms
The sidewalk stretches white and cold
Black lines segmenting my world
Into possible yards.

He is no longer part of the calculation
He is not part of the rhythm of my walk
Or my song
Only a one-note waltz
Interrupting the song of sorrow
Or Mozart
As I pass a familiar landmark

But soon after
After a tear or two
I am caught up in issues I can’t control
Or problems I can solve
I emerge into the world
I now inhabit
Without him

And the dream of something warmer cools.


The Empty Wind

Listen, hear that?
What, Zelda?
The wind. It's sighing.
I cock an ear.
Sounds more like whistling.

No. It's the sad wind, the forlorn wind
The wind of dying dreams.
It sighs for never loves.

What rubbish. What are 'never loves' anyway?

You don't know? They're the people who
Long to love and never find it who
Pray for love, wish on stars for love, look into each face that passes
Thinking, "He's the one."
The one who wakes up each morning believing that today will be the day when
He'll meet her
Their eyes will lock and he will whisper, "She's the one."
They never give up.

Well, that's just stupid. At some point isn't it better to move on?
Fashion your own life?
Make your own way?

Zelda stubbed her cigar out. "Tell me something.
What's the first thing you think about when you wake?

Okay, the weather.

Tommy brings a fresh drink to Zelda. She tosses it in my lap.
Used to this treatment, I mop it up and order another.
A pregnant silence ensues.  I know
From experience
That Zelda cannot stand pregnant silences. I wait.
"Liar." She spits it out unwillingly.
"Yes. I think of him."
She leans forward, cheeks tense,
Chin wobbly.
"Him? Who?"

"Him who isn't afraid. Him whose eyes light up when challenged.
Who has a story to match every story, but remembers
All mine. The man with a mind that never sleeps
Except with me.

Zelda sips her martini.
The wind whips the curtains into dust devils.
Far out in the bay a water spout rises, rips the clouds apart,
and falls back exhausted into the deep.

Finally she says
Never love.
I know, Zelda. I know.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Mason's Mark's Memorial is Now a National Landmark!

Those of you who have read the Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, will be happy to hear that the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, the setting for the Mason's Mark, has just been granted status as a national landmark. So if you're in the Washington DC area, be sure to visit it!


The George Washington Masonic Memorial, stands 331 feet tall atop Shuter’s Hill in Alexandria, Virginia. The original lodge, of which our first President was Charter Mason, burned down in 1871, and it would be 61 years before the present Temple was completed.  Nine stories include not only exhibits of both Masonic lodges and appendant bodies such as the Shriners, but also a museum dedicated to George Washington. The ninth floor opens onto an observation platform, from which visitors can view all of Alexandria to the Potomac.  The rooms get gradually smaller as you go up the levels, and the elevators that begin 61 feet apart on the first floor are only four and a half feet apart by the time you reach the ninth level. So, in the tiny space housing a replica of Solomon's throne room on the ninth floor,  it would be difficult to hide a body. Or a murderer.

Here's the story:

In both the best and worst first day at work ever,  docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial falls apart when she discovers a dead body. Together with Detective Ernest Angle, she's drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons. Also cloaked in mystery is her new love Gideon Bliss.  A George Washington expert, he haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she'll fall in love with him only to learn he's a thief or even a murderer.

Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten Ernest, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including which black ops agent to trust,  whether our first president strayed, and if she and Gideon will ever be together.