Strong Women!

I’m the brunette in red, my mom (white hair) is next to me, her mother on the end. The others are three of my five daughters.

I know, it was just Fathers Day, but I was reared by a single mother.,,in the 60s!
My mother divorced in 1962, tried a stepfather for us, then when that ended horribly, decided she’d do it by herself. Now, that might not sound like such a big thing, but fifty years ago, it was.
First off, just being a divorced woman was a horrible stigma as was being in a family without a father. I swear, there were many kids whose mothers wouldn’t let me play with them because my mother wasn’t married. Divorced woman automatically meant ‘loose’ or ‘slutty’ woman to some folks.
And what a challenge! Even if there had been welfare (and there might have been), we weren’t on it. My mother groomed dogs, cleaned hotel rooms, did whatever she could to scrape together enough so we had food and a safe place to live. Eventually, she got a job as an accounting clerk. She and a young man had identical job titles and responsibilities, but he made twice as much money. When she asked her boss about it, he said a man was the head of the family and needed it. She reminded him that the co-worker wasn’t even married and that she had four kids! “Well, he could have them one day…”
I can’t remember what she did at that point. She couldn’t leave until she had another job, so she probably sucked it down. I know she did wind up changing employers down the road. Still, she always made less than men.
All four of us turned out fine, too. Even though my youngest brother was physically and mentally handicapped, he graduated from high school. Other brother served in the Army and Reserves and went to college on the GI Bill, graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Older sister married well and, after ten years of working and going to school part time while rearing two high-achieving children, also earned a bachelor’s degree. No trouble with the law for any of us or our kids, either!
Well, I didn’t graduate from college, but I did manage to get USA Today Bestselling Author status a couple times and establish a successful business, starting out with nothing but chutzpah and tenacity…and a great role model.
Not bad for kids of a divorced woman. Correction. A strong woman!
Do strong woman stories inspire you? Check out Invincible – Strong and Fearless box set. Inspiring stories for women (and men) of all ages.

 

Are You a Gambler? #Inspiration #amwriting #mgtab

Once a Gambler…

I have a confession to make- I love gambling on the horse races. I blame it on my grandma’s cousins, Betty and Mike. They introduced me to the thrill of racing as a young girl and I’ve been hooked ever since!

There’s just something about those beautiful, high-spirited animals prancing onto the track and lining up at the gate that makes my heart go pitty-pat 🙂

Nowadays, I get my enjoyment from watching the races on TV- with the Triple Crown as the best.

From Wikipedia

In the United States, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky DerbyPreakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races are now run annually in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Crown_of_Thoroughbred_Racing_(United_States)

Last year, in 2018, I was lucky enough to watch Justify take the crown!

Justify is only the second horse to win the American Triple Crown with an undefeated record, following Seattle Slew. Justify is descended from Seattle SlewSecretariatCount FleetWar AdmiralOmaha, and Gallant Fox, all of whom also won the American Triple Crown. He is also a descendant of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. Of the 13 American Triple Crown winners, Justify is the first who did not race as a two-year-old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justify_(horse)

Is it any wonder I love the sport?

I decided to write a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby and added a twist by setting it in the 50’s.

Here’s a short excerpt from The Lady Said No

Gus followed the stiff-necked manservant to the door of the den, though his emotions were tugging him back to Rebecca like a starved man to a banquet.

He couldn’t believe how beautiful she’d become. She’d always been pretty, but now there was an added maturity to her features that suited her face. The tomboy figure he fondly remembered had become hills and valleys he ached to explore. They’d been best friends, then lovers, then enemies. It’d been his fault, that was the worst of it. He’d let his drive for a career ruin the only good thing in his life. He could tell himself he’d done his part. After getting his degree and returning to Bourbonville he had tried to find her. But she was right, he hadn’t tried hard enough.

Their relationship had already been floundering; it had seemed easier to let it die a natural death. He regretted that now. One glimpse of her had brought back all the old feelings. Memories of happier times.

Ernest reached for the door knob and was stopped by the officer on guard.

“Sorry, only trained personnel are allowed.”

Ernest glared at him. “I’ve worked in this household for years; I believe I am trained.”

The sergeant exchanged a helpless glance with Gus. “I’m sorry, sir. Those are the rules.”

Gus stepped between the two men before a full-scale war broke out. “It’s okay, sergeant.” He flipped open his badge. “I’m Detective Grant. The…” He waved a hand toward the butler.

Ernest lowered his brows. “Manservant.”

Gus nodded. “Manservant, was just showing me the way to the crime scene.”

The officer checked his badge, then reached back to open the door. The stench of death was immediate, a toxic mix of human waste impossible to forget. Gus turned his head to draw one last clean breath and met Rebecca’s anxious gaze.

That look gave him pause.

Why was she worried? Just how well did Rebecca know the owner of Balmoral?

“Coming, Detective?” The sergeant’s voice interrupted his musings. Gus shrugged off his misgivings and followed the man into the room, sliding past the grim-faced Ernest.

Nancy knelt by the victim, her hands covered with white gloves and booties on her feet. She glanced up when he walked in and pointed at his shoes. Gus dug through his coat pockets until he found his booties, put them on, nodded to the sergeant, and made his way over to her side.

“It’s a bad one,” she said, turning attention to her preliminary findings. “Single shot to the temple, through and through. Near as I can tell, time of death was sometime between midnight and three a.m., no sign of defensive wounds.” She stopped and gazed at him with world-weary eyes. “Who would do this, Augustus?”

Gus observed the brain matter splattered on the leather tufted chair and rich, red Aubusson carpet and his stomach churned. His first thought was crime of passion. There had been some effort made to set the scene up as a suicide. The gun rested in the victim’s open hand, finger wrapped around the trigger. A cut crystal tumbler lay on its side nearby, a stain wetting the carpet. Gus touched the wet spot and sniffed, rubbing the tips of his fingers—bourbon. The good kind. Not something a man bent on ending his own life would let go to waste.

“I’m not sure, Nancy, but I do know the brass will be all over this one, so take your time, okay? We don’t want to miss anything.”

She huffed out an indignant breath. “You telling me how to do my job, now?”

He held up a hand to halt her blistering tongue. “The Jorgensons are big news, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t they have a horse in the Derby this year?”

The sergeant, who had remained by the door, and watched their exchange with interest, piped up. “Forever Humble. Lots of money riding on that colt.” His face became animated. “You ever see him race, Detective? He’s some kind of fast. Likes to run the outside track. Gives me a heart attack every time.”

Gus smiled. “You a betting man…?”

“Fish, sir. Everyone calls me Fish.”

Nancy chuckled and the young man’s neck turned brick red.

“I’m not a gambler, no sir, but I admit I like to spend a Saturday now and then down at the track. It’s some exciting. You ever been, Mr. Grant?”

Gus shook his head. “No, can’t say as I have. Not that fond of horses, though I guess that’s the wrong thing to say in this house.” He admired the landscape watercolor on the wall, rolling hills with a herd of wild horses barreling straight at him, eyes crazy and manes flying as though they were about to burst the confines of paint and canvas.

“Augustus, there’s something you need to see.” Nancy’s voice was muffled as she stretched, shapely butt in the air, to reach something under the leather chair. She grunted and tugged until a bronze sculpture came into view. When she stood it on the carpet, he saw it was about twelve inches in height, a warrior on a horse, raised arm carrying a spear.

“There’s blood and hair fragments,” she said, turning it carefully to inspect the evidence. “I can’t be sure until I get it to the lab, but this looks like a match to our vic.”

Well, that explained why there were no defensive wounds. The poor sop probably didn’t know what hit him. Gus looked around until he found the suspiciously empty spot on the desk. He gave a wide berth to the corpse, conscious of Nancy’s critical gaze. The desk was one of those massive claw-foot affairs, mahogany maybe, rich and elegant instead of simply functional. He pulled a linen handkerchief out of his pocket and checked the drawers. An assortment of papers greeted him, some on household expenses, most on Jorgenson’s passion—thoroughbreds. Nothing that looked like a cause for murder.

Gus was about to replace the documents when a slip of yellowed paper lodged in the back of the drawer caught his eye. He reached in, using the hankie, and retrieved the handwritten note.

Do what I told you to do, or the truth will destroy you

The threat inherent on the scrap of paper chilled his blood. There was trouble brewing in the Jorgenson household, and Gus was afraid Rebecca was somehow involved.

This story is part of the upcoming boxset, Unforgettable Power- Love and Intrigue, releasing May 5th!

Seven suspenseful page-turners will captivate you with breathtaking stories and intriguing characters you’ll find positively unputdownable! If you enjoy heart-stopping, engaging novels, then you must read UNFORGETTABLE POWER – Love and Intrigue.

Pre-order your copy today!

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International- http://books2read.com/UnforgettablePower

Recommend on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/unforgettable-power-love-and-intrigue-by-mimi-barbour-and-jacquie-biggar

If you haven’t already, be sure to enter our monthly giveaway. We’re giving away gift cards and books!


Happy – cough – New Year! Load your eReader and snuggle in. #mgtab

I was going to write a peppy post to celebrate 2019, something that started off with something like, Hey, we’re two weeks into our New Year, how’s it going? Fabulously, I hope!

And then I was going to share some of the dreams I’m dreaming for the next twelve months, some of the goals I’m aspiring to, some of hopes that I have (because I am one of those people—the list-making, journal-filling, overthinking types. ?)—but then I got sick.

No sympathy needed, as it was just a bad cold and I’m well on the mend now. However, it did remind me that sometimes, yes, you want to cheer and yell, “Go me!” and make copious plans on piles of bright colored sticky notes—but other times you want to burrow into the couch, wrapped in blankets, your well-stocked eReader on your lap, a furry friend snuggled close, and a mug of soup or tea in hand. ‘Tis definitely the season for that!

And on that note, especially since we’re going into a weekend, I thought I’d help you load your digital bookshelves, so you’ll be prepared for some lovely “shut in” nights—though hopefully without sniffles or a bad cough. ?

Read all the books? Challenge acceptedHere we go! As most of you know we Author’s Billboard authors have a treasure trove of box sets under our belts—with memes and themes and romance tropes to fit any mood. The wonderful Suzanne Jenkins has put them all in one place for your perusing and buying pleasure. They’re a great way to discover new-to-you authors and genres—but also just to stockpile the types of stories you already know you love. Have fun!

 

 

If you’re craving immersion in a whole new cozy world and longing for the fun of a connected series, I’d be honored if you give my just-released River’s Sigh B & B Vol. 1 – 4 collection a try. It contains the first 4 novels in the series (which are all full-length, standalone novels with HEAs) and offers all the fun of revisiting old characters you love (or hate, LOL) while you fall in love with new ones.

Amazon ~ iBooks ~ Nook ~ Kobo ~ Google 

 

Last but not least, for any of you kindred resolution-making, goal-oriented spirits who, while perhaps sympathizing that I was sick, were simultaneously disappointed that I didn’t share goals or resolutions in this post or provide an inspiring, motivating call-to-action, One to Keep will be right up your alley. Sophie always has lots of goals, too, and she’s especially full of determination and resolve this year, so much so that she has a special holiday planned to celebrate her newest resolution. A holiday for one, thank you very much.

 

 

Okay . . . that should keep you busy for a while. (I hope you stocked up on tea and easy snacks too!)

Wishing you a lovely, book-filled, germ-free weekend,

? Ev

Until next time . . .

River's Sigh B & B box set. Stay cozy!

UNFORGETTABLE VALENTINE, 6-Book Bundle #99cents

Unforgettable ValentineTo honor the happy lovers celebrating Valentine’s Day everywhere, six New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors have joined together to offer this beautiful collection of holiday romance stories. From full-length books to novellas, they all have one thing in common—a thrilling happily-ever-after that will make your heart beat faster. Every story in this collection is… UNFORGETTABLE! Don’t miss UNFORGETTABLE VALENTINE, 6-Book Bundle for 99 cents (also available for Kindle Unlimited).

SECOND CHANCE VALENTINE, Donna Fasano, USA Today bestselling author: Forced to face an old flame, can Josie keep her cool or will things heat up in the kitchen?

WEDDING SURPRISE, Mona Risk, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: On Valentine Day, during her bridal shower, Claire meets her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend. Can this day bring the worst or best wedding surprise?

HOTSHOT COWBOY, Mimi Barbour, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: Alone and stranded, can she trust the cowboy who put her in this position?

BLOSSOMS BY THE SEA, Traci Hall, USA Today bestselling author: He’s used to getting whatever he wants, but this time, he’s met a woman who offers something money can’t buy and makes him rethink what is really important in life.

THIRTY-DAY FIANCÉ, Leanne Banks, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: Bombarded with unwanted attention when he is proclaimed the Bachelor of the Year, Nick Nolan asks his childhood friend to be his temporary, pretend fiancée. But what happens when a safe arrangement turns passionate: can Nick and Olivia break their 30-day deal in a trade for forever?

CHAMPAGNE FOR TWO, Patrice Wilton, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: Christine is the feisty owner of an upscale dating service, content to find love for her clients, yet unwilling to take a chance on love herself. Hunky Derek is the man who almost got away!

What readers are saying about Unforgettable Valentine:

“…great collection of highly enjoyable stories!”

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Find Unforgettable Valentine:

Kindle Worldwide

Find other $0.99 Bundles in the The Unforgettables Series:

Unforgettable Romances

Unforgettable Heroes

Unforgettable Christmas