Depression and Empathy – the writer connection

The views in this post are solely my own and are in no way a scientific or medical paper. –Jill

Go to any writers group loop, bulletin board, or meeting and you will find a plethora of ailments; mental and physical. I don’t think it is a coincidence that writers suffer from a host of illnesses that I do not find in my non-writer family and friends.

I believe the connection is empathy. The better the writer, the more empathy they contain. Or that could be vice-versa. We don’t just write words. We write people. We write feelings. We have to feel the feelings to write them.

When you read a story with a character who had their heart ripped out, know that the writer got inside that character’s skin. She lived that moment, she felt that moment. She could tell you every nuance of the heart-ripping time.

Belinda pressed her hand to her chest as if it would stop the breaking of her heart. She gasped, the air trapped in her lungs. Gray hovered at the edge of her vision. If she could just hold on for a few more moments it wouldn’t happen. Is she could just turn back time and unhear the words from his lips. He didn’t mean them. He couldn’t mean them. If they didn’t drum in her head until she tried to rip them from her brain. He was leaving her. The thought pinned her in the middle of the room like a statue as the slamming door ripped a picture from the wall and it crashed to the floor. The glass shattered like the jagged edges of her heart. If she moved the pieces would cut through her ribs. She fell to the floor, her knees cracking on the tile. It would be hours before she knew she wasn’t dead, she just wished she were.

Been there, done that, have the T-shirt to prove it.

Empathy is great to write a story, it isn’t so great to wallow in day after day. I cry at Hallmark commercials. I can’t even watch a Hallmark Lifetime movie. To this day, I swear they were produced to rip my heart to shreds. I cry at happy movies. I cry at sad movies. I wear my heart on a sleeve. Sometimes it is so painful to FEEL everything, all the time. I have a friend who wonders where I put them all. That is why I really feel that writers suffer from so much mental anguish and all the ailments that accompany it. We need those emotions to put into our writing. We can’t just turn them off. They are with us, 24/7.

So, next time you are reading a book or watching a movie and the emotion overwhelms you, know that the writer is right there with you, feeling every tear, every laugh, every emotion on the page before you did.

Enjoy the read–tears and all!  Jill James





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I Wrote Ten Thousand Words Today!


Umm…no. I didn’t. Lots of times on Facebook and Twitter, I’ll see posts from authors who crow about how many words they wrote that day. And I’m happy for them. Really. I’m just not one of them. I never will be. Know why? Because my writing routine is very different.

I know writers get tons of advice about just putting dreck on the page and then going back to edit later. If that works for you, and you’re happy to finish a first draft with 200,000 words of dreck that will eventually be cleaned and polished to a 50,000 word manuscript, good for you. Everyone has to find their own process.

Personally, I can’t put dreck on a page and boast about it. I can’t move forward until what I’ve written previously is the best that I can make it. I’ve been known to stall on a chapter for days because one word or sentence is wrong, and I can’t continue the story until I figure out what word or phrase needs to be replaced.

But wait! There’s more. I don’t plot or outline first, either. (Egads. Hide the women and children!) I don’t want to know how my characters are going to get out of that quicksand until I need to pull them out. If I know the answers to all my questions too soon, I get bored, rush to finish the story, and wind up with an unsatisfactory ending. I can’t help it. I can’t keep a secret. Not from my family when it comes to their Christmas gifts, not from my readers when it comes to the Happily-Ever-Afters.

I don’t apologize for not writing 10,000 words in a day because that’s not my process. Here’s a typical writing stint for me:

I write a scene, mostly dialogue. Then I go in and layer that scene. I fix punctuation and spelling errors, double-check my research, add color and scenery and stage direction. Then I do it again, tweaking word choices, tightening my tendency to be too verbose, adding the pertinent info I’ve overlooked. And then, when I think that scene could go into a published work exactly as written, I’m ready to move onto the next scene and do it all over again. 

With a process like this, it’s no wonder I’m thrilled if I write 500 words in a day. The difference between me and the Dreck Writer who writes 10,000 words a day is, when I type The End, it really is The End. I can rest assured that the book needs one quick read-through to focus on story arc and continuity, and that baby is ready to fly. While my counterpart is stuck in revision hell, trying to decide if (s)he really needs to mention the curtains were green right before the house goes up in flames or if (s)he should cut the whole scene because (s)he’s gotta kill a few darlings to meet that word count.

I refuse to feel inadequate because someone’s boasting about writing 10,000 words today, when I’ve stared at the same sentence for a week trying to decide whether to use “cerulean” or “blue.” It’s part of who I am as a writer. And who I am as a writer likes writing the perfect words while having no idea where my characters are going whenever I sit down at that keyboard. Even if I never get to boast that I wrote ten thousand words in one day.

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DUI or Driving Under the Influence

This week is typically the start of the Spring Break for many colleges and schools. And as much as we’d like to think that our kids would never drink and drive… And maybe they aren’t the ones driving! Today, it’s not just alcohol. The drug situation is terrible, but there’s also one more thing, SLEEPINESS! Especially young people tend to function on very little sleep. They think they are invincible! They think they can drive four hours or more when they’ve only had three or four hours of sleep in the last 24-36 hours. Driving tired is just as dangerous!

The number of DUIs is staggering to the non-drinker or occasional drinker who wouldn’t dream of driving under the influence. But ask any first responder and they will tell you just how prevalent it is. And DUI’s happen even with over-the-counter medications or prescription medications. Read those bottles carefully!

Want to know how bad it is? Ask my daughter who spent about 13 years as a   file0001628648623 paramedic. Then she’d come home and tell me. Let’s just say I’m not a blood and guts person. Body fluids make me want to puke! Yet I’d do anything to support those men and women who are often volunteers. The EMTs have a basic to intermediate level of training. Paramedics undergo much more,   and are often the doctors hands in the field!

But when they pull up on an accident and the brains are exposed… Okay, that’s it for me! I don’t want to think about it! Yes, I can tell you all those gory stories that she told me, and I can also tell you about the families that were driving home and hit by a drunk driver. No, I won’t say more because it makes the goriest, scary movies seem like nothing. Why? Because this is real life!

We started a policy with our girls when they were young. Don’t drink and drive. (You may substitute drug for drink.) Don’t get into the car if the driver has been drinking. CALL HOME!  I’d rather climb out of bed and pick someone up, than to cope with them being  scooped into a body bag.  I extended that invitation to their friends.

Oh, there were more than a few times I was called.  Amazingly not by my daughters, but by their friends. I’d hand those kids a pillow and and a blanket. No questions asked. Were they wrong for drinking? Yes. I can’t remember one time that anyone was of age. But I figured they were smart enough to call me and not to get into the car. No lectures. I just picked them up. They knew they screwed up.  The girls went to my daughters’ rooms and the boys had the living room.

Many a time my husband groaned for he had to go to work the next morning. But clock-1he always went with me to bring a car home. Those kids are grown. Not a single one  has ever been in trouble. They’ve become good adults.

Tell your children a million times before they start to venture into the real world. Then stay quiet. They will know they’ve screwed up, but they also need to know that home is a safe haven. Just go get them and bring them home.

Did I have repeat offenders? Not really. Want to know who was the worst? The kids who had been raised in very strict households. The ones whose parents never dreamed their darling child would do anything wrong. On the other hand, those raised in households that didn’t seem to care or had parents that drank and drove had children who followed in the parental footsteps. A few of those teens were scraped off the road, and in the instances that I knew, it was usually drugs or drugs combined with alcohol.

emily-and-cheryl-517As a parent, we walk a fine line. It’s hard to give a teenager freedom to make decisions. Communication is so important, but you can’t wait until they are sixteen or more to talk to them. Talk to them when they are little  and keep talking to them. Don’t just tell them no, tell them why! And don’t make it too abstract.

You think you can drink and drive? You think you can handle the alcohol? Well, so do a lot of people, and you know what, some do get lucky. The rest get scraped up off the road, lose their license, lose their car, lose their shot at a good job because of a poor driving record, or worse they live with the fact that they’ve killed someone. Why? Because they lost control of their car. That’s a 4000 pound weapon in the hands of someone who has been drinking!

Our girls knew we had a zero tolerance level for some things. I’m not saying they didn’t drink, I know of several instances when they attended parties with alcohol, because they told me after the fact. But knowing they could call home, I think helped. They also knew our stance on drinking, drugs, and driving.

We had good kids who for the most part had good friends. My youngest had a few friends who weren’t quite as good. And I wasn’t always called because someone was drinking.  I know several times I picked up my girls’ friends because they were in a quarrel  with a boyfriend and wanted to leave wherever they were. I just picked them up.

Fortunately I never had to cope with a child who abused alcohol or who used drugs. That’s a more serious problem than a teen or young adult who needs a safe ride home.  But I’ve had friends who have lost children because of abuse or use. If that is the problem, seek professional help!

I’m only talking about that occasional misstep. The young people who think they file0001082955047can do it, but they can’t. Or they did without thinking.  They didn’t realize the punch was spiked. They didn’t really know you could get drunk on the hard root beer or lemonade. It’s only a small amount of alcohol. They didn’t feel the first one or the second one. Then it hit them!

It happens. It’s a lesson learned. But don’t make them pay with their lives, the lives of their friends, or the lives of the family down the road. Let’s keep our family members safe! Let’s keep our roads safe. No lectures. Just go get them!

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A New Member on Main Street: Lizzi Tremayne


I’m Lizzi Tremayne, an award-winning author of historical romantic thriller/suspense, veterinary non-fiction and soon, veterinary small town contemporary fiction! I have two novels out now, and two more in the works!

I’m ecstatic to have been asked to join Authors on Main Street, because I feel so at home with the people here, not only the author members, but also those of you who comment on the blogs.

I grew up in the little town of La Honda, in the redwoods of California, but my small town is now Waihi, New Zealand, where I live on my six acre riverside farmlet with my horse, cows, dogs, cats and chickens. This pic was taken on a little island in the middle of the river, only 40 metres from my house!aut-island-paradise-3mb

I’m excited to be writing my first contemporary fiction for our 2017 Christmas Boxed Set—hint..I’m an equine (horse) veterinarian, so it might have something to do with that!

The excerpt below is from THE HILLS OF GOLD UNCHANGING, book 2 of The Long Trails series, released only two weeks ago!  My books are available in digital, paperback (in both standard and large print), and book 1, A LONG TRAIL ROLLING, is also available in three forms of hardcover!


About The Hills of Gold Unchanging:

No one will stand in their way—

                                                and live.


As the Civil War rages, secessionists menace California.

Trying to get back home, Aleksandra and Xavier journey through the mining camps of 1860’s Nevada and California, the Sacramento floods and Old San Francisco to Xavier’s Californio Rancho de las Pulgas.

Embroiled in the Confederate’s fight to drag the new state from the Union and make it their own, can Aleks and Xavier survive? The secessionists mean business.

This is Book Two of The Long Trails Series of historical romantic thriller sagas, following Lizzi’s characters from the wilderness of 1860’s Utah to Colonial New Zealand

Setup for the excerpt:

This is the beginning of the book…

The Excerpt:

June 1860, Echo Canyon, Wasatch Mountains, Utah Territory

His blade glinted in the sunlight as he lunged toward her, but she ducked and spun, her own sword flashing in figure eights while she retreated, and his strike met with only air. He recovered and set himself up for the onslaught he knew would come, coughing as the dust kicked up by their boots thickened.

Blade up, he parried the blows she rained down upon him. He managed to get in one of his own, and retreated for a moment, breathing hard. She stepped back as well, her breasts heaving beneath the thin linen. Blue eyes glittered below brows narrowed with concentration, before her sword returned to action with a vengeance. They circled, dodging and striking in turn. Her skill was far greater, but the girl’s injuries from her last fight, combined with his greater reach and fitness were beginning to tell. A movement tugged at the edge of his vision—he glanced up from her sword to see her hat tumble off. Her hair cascaded down in a tangle to her thighs, and his heart surged.

She’s mine now.

He offered the ghost of a smile as he moved in to disarm her with a passing lunge and struck at her sword arm.

The air left his lungs and he tasted dirt in his mouth as he hit the unforgiving ground face-first. He groaned and rolled over, expecting the worst.

Above him, her laughing visage met his eyes. Her glorious curls, molten gold, fell around his face like a veil as she bent to wipe his face and kiss his lips. She slid the hilt of his sword from his hand.

“All right, halte, hold, you two,” their instructor said, in his heavy Russian accent. “There’s still work to be done, Xavier, but you’ve done well.”

Xavier Argüello took the hand his opponent offered, hopped to his feet and dusted off his clothes.

“Well done, Querido,” said his intended, Aleksandra Lekarski, as she returned his sword.

“Xavier, come here, please,” Vladimir Chabardine said, from the doorway of the cabin, where he was propped up in his sickbed. “You have worked hard. I am impressed, and it is rare that I am compelled to say that. That shashka now belongs to you. Use it in good health.”

Xavier stared at him, then at the Don Cossack saber in his hand, its leather grip smooth with years of use. He was silent for long moments.

“But it’s yours, Vladimir,” he finally said.

“It was one of mine, yes. Now it is yours. Tatiana brought my other two shashkas with her from Russia. One is for Nikolai, when he is ready, and this one is for you. It’s the least I can do, after my part in,” he looked at Aleksandra and grimaced, “your papa’s death.”

She nodded, her face grim, in acknowledgement.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Xavier said, shaking his head at the Russian, as he ran a finger from the tooled embellishment on the pommel through to the rawhide bouton and strip they used for their practice sessions. He slid the protectors off and his new shashka whispered into its scabbard. He turned to face Aleksandra, and bowed to her. “Thank you,” he said, then turned to Vladimir, “and again, to you.”

She returned the bow and smiled at them both.

“You’re not quite done,” Vladimir said. “Xavier, replace the guard.”

“What would you like?” Aleksandra asked.

“One more bout. En garde,” he said, and they prepared.

Prêt.” They nodded.

Allez,” Vladimir snapped, and they began.

Aleksandra feinted, then moved to strike, but Xavier saw a hole in her defense and lunged. She twirled way, with a laugh, then drew back, looking frightened, her body twisted strangely to the right.

Was she injured?

His gaze lifted to her face, but no pain resided there, though her brow was furrowed. What a chance! Her whole left side was unguarded, and he went for the opening.

Before he could alter his course, she unwound and her shashka flashed toward him. For the second time in his life, he froze as he found her blade across his throat.

¿Recuerdas? Remember this?” she said, her eyes merry.

“How could I forget, Querida,” he spoke for her ears alone, “our first meeting?”

Hands clapped behind them and they spun as one, hands on their sword hilts.

“No need fer that, no need fer that,” said a man, mounted on a chestnut horse. Beside the horse walked a black man, tied by the wrists to the rope in the rider’s hands.

“What do you wan—” Xavier began, then clamped his jaw, as his breath came short. Blood pounded in his ears and his face heated. “What can I help you with,” he finally managed, past gritted teeth, as he walked away from the house door, toward their callers.

“Well, hello theah,” the rider said, his Southern accent heavy. “Good fightin’, and fer a girl, too.” He looked sideways at Aleksandra.

“Aleks,” Xavier hissed, as he felt, rather than saw, her bristle beside him. He glanced at her knuckles showing white on the pommel of her saber. He reached out and covered her sword hand with his own and she took a deep breath and stilled.

“We’re yer new neighbors down th’road. Y’all wanna buy a slave? We’ve jus’ done come West ‘n now we’ve done finished buildin’ the house, he’s,” he nodded at the man at the end of his tether, “jus’ ‘noth’r mouth t’feed. Ca’int use ‘im to grow nuthin’ in this rock y’call dirt around heah.” He stopped and looked at the yard and cabin. “Nice place y’all got here.”

Xavier nodded, silent.

The man’s brows narrowed, then he continued. “Well, ah wondered if y’all had a breedin—ah, a woman slave I could trade fer him. The missus wants help in t’house, an’ I could use a little…too.” The glint in his beady eyes turned his grin into a leer.

Xavier closed his eyes and clenched his fists. “This territory may allow slavery, but nobody holds with it around here.”

The Southerner was silent for a moment, then answered with a voice dripping with sarcasm. “Now that’s mahty neighborly of ya. Are y’all some o’them ab’litionists we come West to git away from?”

“As you wish.” Xavier raised a brow at him, then shifted his gaze to the man on foot, staring at the dirt. “I apologize to you, sir, but you’ll have to go home with him again. May you find yourself a better life soon.”

The corners of the slave’s mouth lifted briefly. His eyes flickered up to Xavier’s, brightened, then dulled again as he dropped them to the ground.

“C’mon Jordan,” the rider growled, “we’re not welc’m here, by all accounts.” He jerked his horse around and they retreated the way they’d come.

Xavier stood silent, watching them go, then began to shake. He closed his eyes, willing himself to control the anger, and the deepening darkness. He inhaled sharply. When he opened his eyes, Aleksandra was staring at him.

“Are you all right?” she said, her brow furrowed.

“Yes.” Xavier nodded.

“More Southerners,” Aleksandra scowled as she wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her sleeve, “running from home before the government takes their slaves away?”

“That’ll never happen,” Xavier said, from between clenched jaws. “Too strong, too wealthy—cotton—slaves. Poor beggars down South.” He peered around. “Even here. I can’t believe it.”

“Believe it,” she said. “They’re coming.”

He shook his head. “I just wish we could stop it—the abuse, the owning.”

Aleksandra wrapped her arms around him, held him close until the tremors quieted. She leaned back in his arms and studied his face, then seemed satisfied with what she saw.

“Having you here makes it bearable, I think,” he said, and kissed her.

“I’m so used to you being the strong one…sometimes I forget the demons that still eat at you,” she said.

The Hills of Gold Unchanging

Awards for the series:

With A Long Trail Rolling:

Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings

Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award

Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel

Third place 2015 RWNZ Koru Long Novel section

Finalist 2015 Best Indie Book Award

Hope you love the story! See you soon!





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It’s March!

I hope everyone had as much fun with our romantic excerpts in February as we did. We loved sharing our friends books with all of you.

We’ve also added two new authors to Main Street. Lizzi Tremayne and Magdalena Scott. Please welcome them and be sure to read their posts. We have been an international group with Susan in Canada. But with Lizzi living in New Zealand,  we’re now worldwide and not just North American. 🙂 Main Street is everywhere!

As we transition into spring here, Lizzi is headed into fall.  Either way, it’s a lovely time of year between the extremes. I snapped this pic yesterday evening outside the library where local authors gather twice a month. Yes, those are trees in bloom and daffodils were img_20170228_175222blooming along with several irises. Has it been a bit warm here in the SE corner of Virginia? Yes! Unseasonably! But I won’t complain, as it keeps the heater off and the AC isn’t needed. Yet parts of the North America are still feeling winter’s cold blast.  There’s still plenty of time for this area to feel the cold of winter for we aren’t even close to the last frost date. But for now I’m happy!

We have lots of fun things coming this year. Our Christmas boxed set will be boxed-set-v3bkavailable for a little while longer before it vanishes, but we’re already talking about Christmas 2017. Remember our box is 99c and it’s FREE to read in Kindle Unlimited! It’s our gift to our readers! And it’s available in print!

So March is roaring in with a light breeze here. I’m in edits for an upcoming western historical, and my next contemporary is already dancing in my mind. I’m trying to keep those characters quiet until I finish with my western manuscript. I promise that characters have no manners whatsoever! They’re never quiet when you need them to be. 😦

My backyard began to fill with late winter color when the Lenten Roses began to bloom followed by the February Gold daffodils and the leaves of other spring bulbs have already begun to poke their heads out of the ground. The area that should be grass is blooming in almost solid purple with wild Lamium. That’s what happens when you don’t kill off the broad-leafed weeds in the grass. 🙂  What’s happening outside your window?

Posted in E.'s Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Midday Masquerade


Happy Sunday everyone. I’m happy to be posting an excerpt from Midday Masquerade to celebrate this month of romance. Midday Masquerade, like all my romances, weaves Celtic character and a wee bit of magic into quirky small town romance. Hope you enjoy it.


Primrose Lund walked into the architecture office carrying a stack of misaligned papers in one hand, a determined set to her delicate chin, and an air of purpose that never failed to bring a smile to Lorcan Flynn’s heart. Primrose was a woman of purpose. A woman of definite opinions. A woman who was so filled with depth and color on the inside that she dare not display such extravagance on the outside. Others thought her plain. Lorcan found her captivating and elusive, and he wanted to know every one of her secrets no matter how long it took to reveal her inner peacock.

They say one learns to covet what one sees every day.

Lorcan Flynn didn’t know if that was true in his case. He didn’t see Primrose Lund every day, although he did his best to.

He didn’t need to see her every day to covet her touch or to desire her warm brown eyes shining into his with that combination of shy intelligence and genuine generosity of spirit that ignited him and gave him a measure of peace at the same time.

Lately he’d seen more in her eyes than an interest in books and old maps and pocket watches that kept poor time. Lately he’d caught Primrose looking at him with a sensual intensity that had little to do with the shell of respectability she wore like armor. Lately he’d caught a glimpse of Primrose’s inner hellion. And, he liked what he saw.

He coveted that bit of her with the kind of scorching heat he feared wouldn’t go away until he turned ninety-nine. By then, he hoped, he’d be used to the elemental pull she had on him.

It all started with a mask.

Not a balaclava sort of mask designed for escape and evade. No, this mask was created to reveal inner desires: to entice the wearer to don it freely, and the viewer to be aroused by that secret glimpse into the depths of the wearer’s soul. Lorcan had designed it to evoke the kind of carnal pleasure that started in the psyche and ended in the flesh.

He’d poured his own raw needs into it as he wet, tooled and sculpted the leather. He’d refined his desires as he shaded it, adding layers of luminous paint with smatterings of copper and gold. He’d been thinking of a woman then, but one he saw only in shadow. He felt her rather than saw her, catching only fleeting images in his sleep.

He made the mask for her.

Because he needed to.

In those moments when he was honest with himself, he conceded that he made the mask for himself, because the woman who inspired it didn’t really exist. At least that was what Lorcan thought until the moment Primrose Scott walked into his office, asking him to design a new shop for her. Primrose had placed a hodgepodge set of sketches done in colored pencils on various sized sheets of paper, some that looked more like scraps than actual paper, and made a beeline straight for one mask he created, displayed among a half dozen others on the wall opposite his desk.

“This is lovely,” she’d said staring as if looking at something by Rodin or Da Vinci.

There was no mistaking that Primrose had been focused on his mask, when he’d asked if she’d like to see it closer.

She said, “Oh, yes, please,” in a voice that hit him in his gut, twisting it in a way that tightened every inch of him.

“Go ahead. Take it down. Feel it in your hands. Hold it to your face. That’s the only way to truly judge if it fits you.”

She didn’t hesitate; she took it off the wall and held his mask to her face. Her large chocolate colored eyes gleamed at him from behind molded leather that was created to entrance. It did more than that with Primrose, it transformed her into something approaching a creature of mythical allure.

It was a Green woman mask, crafted with leaf motifs, delicate ferns, twigs, and wispy golden and silver threads adorned with tiny hand-cut crystals that looked like floating drops of dew capturing the light, bending it, sending cascades of prism colors outward with every turn of Primrose’s head. It had a very Celtic flare about it by design. It was fit for a Celtic nature goddess, and Primrose wore it well.

It suited her.

It suited him.

So much so, he’d given it to her with no payment save for her promise to wear it at the Renaissance Faire three times during the summer season.

Lorcan got the feeling that Primrose was not the kind of woman who accepted presents from men she didn’t know, or even from those she did. She struck him as careful and calculated in what she gave and what she took. He didn’t judge that; he respected it.

Yet, she’d looked at him through his mask, and her eyes flared as if somehow he’d challenged her to do something she wasn’t sure she was capable of doing.

Her small chin went up. She squared her shoulders and pushed them down, elongating her neck, as if by doing so she could somehow look down on a man easily seven inches taller than her. She almost did too, albeit from across the room. He’d have smiled if he hadn’t been afraid that would scare her. He’d been told more than once that he looked predatory when he smiled.

She kept the mask on while she walked back to him, posture ramrod straight. She held her hand out for him to shake. “It’s a bargain, Mr. Flynn.”

He shook her hand, a feeling of supreme satisfaction flowing through him. She must have felt it too because she startled at his touch before squeezing with the kind of authority he’d experienced only from men, for whom their handshake was truly their bond.

Then she walked out. Still wearing what was now her mask. Never once mentioning the sketches she splayed on his desk.






She’d struck a bargain with the devil.

An Irish devil with a smile that curled her toes and warmed her from the inside out, making her think of dark, elusive, wonderful things. The kind of things that dreams—dark, sensual and bone-meltingly sweet—were made of. Since the first day she’d seen him in Shute Pond, he’d haunted her, like an itch that no amount of scratching could satisfy.

Lorcan Flynn. His name suited him. Strong. Mysterious. Celtic.

Just like him.

He was everything she let herself dream about when she imagined her ideal lover. Dark hair, tall, with lithe yet sculpted musculature that enticed but didn’t overwhelm, and blue eyes as bright as the sky in June. It wasn’t his physical appeal that made her heart beat faster when he walked into a room. It was the way his eyes warmed when he looked at her, as if she were water to a thirsty man or the finest Scotch whisky to a connoisseur. Every time he looked at her, she felt precious to him.

He made her feel important every time he smiled.

Midday Masquerade is available alone at:

and also as part of my Four Seasons of Romance at:

Posted in Leigh's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Love on the Pony Express Trail

Please welcome

Lizzi Tremayne

Hello everyone!

I love this blog because I come from a real small town…with ONLY a Main Street, a little place in the Santa Cruz Mountains called La Honda, California! I moved halfway across the world to New Zealand…and guess what?  I found another Main Street town!  I now live out of the little Main Street mining town of Waihi, New Zealand, in an even smaller road 10 km out of town…it’s not even a main one. Just a lot of cows.


hills-of-gold-6x9-ebook-coversm-fileThe Main Street in my first novel, A Long Trail Rolling, and at the start of The Hills of Gold Unchanging ( just released last week!), is…well, it’s actually a trail. A wagon trail, and the Pony Express Trail, in the 1860’s in Utah.

The stories in my first fiction series, The Long Trails, are historical romantic thrillers, with plenty of horses and action! I’m a horse vet, so you guessed it, there’s plenty of that in there too!

The scene…

My heroes Aleksandra and Xavier have just met…just after Aleksandra’s life has fallen apart at the seams. She’s just taken offense at something Xavier said, and he’s headed out the door, while she stayed inside to talk with Scotty, the trading post keeper….


Xavier was harnessing Dzień to the wagon when Aleksandra came outside.

‘I can do that,’ she snapped, rushing to the side of the pony, her blue eyes icy and cheeks flushed pink. Xavier smiled at her back as she hurried around to the pony’s other side to finish.

‘I’m sure you can, Querida, but I’m happy to help,’ he said, wrapping a breeching strap around the shaft and buckling it snugly.

‘Thanks,’ she said, tight-lipped, looking away as her hands slid down Dzień’s rump towards the crupper.

‘Any possibility you might tell me just why you went loco on me back there?’ Xavier watched her brows drop as she stared at a strap she’d just buckled too tightly. Her lips tightened further as she readjusted it.

‘I want nothing to do with people who insult my friends.’

Como, what?’ He shook his head and blinked at her.

‘My friends, the Shoshone. The only friends I have left alive, other than Scotty,‘ she said from between clenched teeth, and then slumped, sobbing, against Dzień.

Cautious of her all-too-effective looking sword, Xavier slowly approached her. He slid his arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him, watchful for any fast moves on her part, not caring if her tears soaked his shirt. How long they stayed like this, he neither knew nor cared. Once her sobs quieted, he slipped his fingers under her chin, lifting her face to stare into the watery depths of her blue eyes.

‘Okay now, Querida?’

‘As okay as possible, I guess.’ She dropped her head again. ‘The Shoshone have been family to me, especially since Mama died,’ she murmured into his shirt.

‘Are you sure you won’t stay here? I’ll sleep in the stable, if it would make you happier.’

She closed her eyes and was still.

‘No, it’s okay. I’m sorry, Xavier. I’m upset, but that’s no excuse for my rudeness. Thank you for this.’ She nodded her head at his tear stained chest.

De nada. It is nothing.’ He smiled. ‘May I accompany you to your home, at least?’

‘No, really, I’m fine, thank you again. I’d better go farewell Scotty. It’s getting late.’

‘If you’re sure…’ Xavier shook his head and followed Aleksandra back inside.


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Lizzi Tremayne

Lizzi Tremayne

Lizzi and I met several years ago online and although I’ve never met her in person, we have talked by phone. Lizzi stays busy! She is a veterinarian who specializes in horses, and she’s very active with New Zealand’s Romance Writers. She writes and she rides! So how does she do her research when she lives so far from her childhood home? Lizzi never does anything ordinary. She spent her vacation on horseback, riding the historic trails of our west! Her stories are fast paced and suitable for any horse lover in the house who loves history, a little romance, and a whole lot of intrigue, mixed with action.  There’s a reason why her books win awards.

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