6.22.2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Here it is halfway through another year, and I wonder where the months went and what have I accomplished so far this year. It’s been a busy year already. I knew it would be. The first four and a half months were spent doing tax returns for other people. I barely got mine filed on time. As an accountant, I find the thing I like doing least is my own accounting. I hate reconciling my bank account, and I detest doing my own taxes. I can do that for other people, but mine seems to languish. Truthfully, I haven’t reconciled my bank account in months. That’s really bad since I’ll roll my eyes when one of my clients does the same thing.

When I started thinking about all the stuff I’d have to take care of this year, I panicked. Will I have any time to do something fun?

After reflecting on everything I have to get done this year, my head starts to hurt. I need some down time, I tell myself. With a heavy sigh, my mind turns toward a few of my favorite things. (Thank you very much Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music.)

SO here it is. A list of a few of my favorite things (not necessarily in any kind of order):

1.     Tex-Mex food – I could seriously eat Tex-Mex three times a day. Here is a picture of my favorite cheese enchilada recipe. 

You can find the recipe in  my original post about it here.

6.07.2015

Sunday Snippet - 06.07.15 Shaw's Landing

This week's snippet comes from my upcoming paranormal romantic suspense release, Shaw's Landing, the fourth book in the Haunted Hearts Series.



Here's the book's description:

Tired of keeping secrets that could get her killed…

As long as Courtney lived with Jared Crenshaw, she was able to keep his secrets and stay alive, but now that he’s dead, what she knows could get her killed. Hiding from the good guys can be just as dangerous as running from the bad guys.

Protected by a man who seems too good to be true…

Just when she thinks she has nowhere left to run, an investigator with the Arkansas State Police helps her find a new place to hide. Shaw Bennett seems to be everything Jared wasn’t, but can she trust him? He is, after all, just another cop.

Her life threatened by the father she never knew…

Shaw’s Landing seems a great place to disappear for a while until the night terrors begin. Are the visions she sees her imagination, the product of her increasing fear, or something more sinister? Has the curse of Haskins blood followed her?

Can the promise of love overcome the ghosts of the past at Shaw’s Landing?

Here's the Snippet:


Courtney Crenshaw’s eyes popped open when the squeak of rusty hinges woke her from a restless sleep. She rolled off her makeshift bed, scrambled to find a place to hide, and managed to wedge into a tight recess in the wall. Across the dimly lit room, Lucy Kimbrough backed through the door to the tunnel.

To Courtney’s horror, Lucy was dragging a body. A limp body.

A thin red line sliced across Caroline Grayson’s throat and splotches of crimson decorated Lucy’s shirt. Caroline’s long blonde hair dragged the ground, picking up debris from the dirty floor. When Lucy shifted her weight, Caroline’s head flopped to the other side, and it seemed her glassy eyes stared straight at Courtney.

A scream lodged in her throat and stuck there. Witnessing Lucy doing something insanely criminal was the worst place in the whole world to be. If Lucy caught her watching, Courtney was a dead woman. Actually, she might be a dead woman anyway. Courtney was probably the only person in Hill County that could link Lucy to Jared Crenshaw’s murder and now it appeared Lucy had murdered Caroline Grayson as well.

Courtney froze, barely inhaling shallow gulps of oxygen. The heavy air in the underground room made it difficult to breathe even when she wasn’t freaking out and afraid for her life. She glanced toward the door and calculated her chances of making a break for it without Lucy catching her. No, Courtney had to wait her out and hide in the shadows. Thankfully, Lucy seemed oblivious to anything except dragging Caroline. If Courtney waited long enough, maybe Lucy would leave and never know she had been there.

She pressed her hand to her chest and tried hard not to move even one twitch. Across the semi-dark room, Lucy popped a latch and a door swung open. Courtney had only been on the other side of the door once. Behind it was a set of stairs that by-passed the first floor and climbed two flights to the second floor of Victoria House. A system of hidden passageways began at the top of the stairs. Someone who knew how to navigate them could watch undetected whatever was going on in any bedroom of the house.

Alfred Hamilton had obviously built the house in such a way that he could spy on his guests. Courtney had heard stories all her life about the Baron of Hill County. He had been the crime boss of his day and had controlled liquor distribution and gambling in northern Arkansas during the days of prohibition, and someone had hated him enough to kill him in his sleep. The story went that he and his wife were murdered in the 1920’s. Some said his ghost haunted the halls of Victoria House. Some said his wife haunted her bedroom. Others claimed that Victoria Hamilton strolls along the edge of Lake Jefferson looking for a lover that never appears.

Courtney shivered when she considered all the ghost stories she’d heard about the house over the years, then wrapped her arms around her middle, and rubbed her skin where chill bumps had formed.

Across the room, Lucy tugged Caroline toward the open doorway to the enclosed stairwell. Dragging Caroline’s body upstairs seemed like a lot of hard work. Wouldn’t it have been easier to dig a hole and drop her into the ground somewhere in the unfinished portion of the basement or to dig a shallow grave out in the brushy woods that covered most of the grounds around the house?

Lucy stopped, jerked once, and turned to scan the basement room as if she’d sensed another presence. Courtney wedged further into the recess in the wall. Her hiding spot was too small for her to fit comfortably. Actually, it was a thin crawlspace between two walls that hadn’t been sealed off properly rather than an intentional recess in the wall. If she tilted her head at just the right angle, she could observe what Lucy was doing and possibly go unnoticed.

She swatted at the back of her head as if something was messing with her hair, but no one was in the room with her except Courtney and the dead woman. Lucy’s actions weren’t making much sense, but then, she often acted psycho.

Lucy dropped Caroline’s feet and knelt beside her. “We’re almost there, Caroline. You wanna sleep in Victoria Hamilton’s bed, don’t you?” Lucy leaned closer to the dead woman, her lips near Caroline’s ear, which seemed kind of ridiculous since Lucy wasn’t whispering. “How much you wanna bet that Tori Downing has done it with your husband in that big ole bed?” Lucy let loose vicious cackles that could have brought a corpse back from the dead.

But Caroline was good and dead. The woman wasn’t going to resurrect.

“I didn’t do this for them, you know. I did this for Josh. It’s my gift to him.” The woman shook her head at Caroline as if outdone with a misbehaving child. “You should have never come back to town. Everyone tries to take him away, but he belongs to me.”

It was sick enough the woman was having a one-sided conversation with a corpse, but she was also saying stuff about Josh that wasn’t true. Josh would never belong to Lucy. Josh didn’t belong to anyone.

Lucy hooked her arms around Caroline’s ankles, rose to her feet, and began dragging the dead weight behind her again. “When I’m done here, I have one more thing I need to do.” Lucy huffed as she and Caroline disappeared through the door.

The clunk clunk of Caroline’s head hitting each tread of the stairs as Lucy made her way higher and higher caused every one of Courtney’s taut nerves to jump. She moved to the open door and listened.

Lucy’s deranged voice filtered down to her from the landing above. “I’m gonna find Josh, and I’m gonna make him tell Courtney the truth.”

What truth? Josh had never lied to her. Not about anything that mattered.


I hope you enjoyed this snippet of Shaw's Landing. The book will be released mid-July and available for pre-sale soon. Sign up for my newsletter to find out when the book goes on pre-sale. The subscription form is at the top left corner of this blog.

While you're waiting, please check out my other books available on :





5.31.2015

Sunday Snippet 05.31.15 - Ashley Ridge

Today's excerpt comes from Ashley Ridge, the third book in my best-selling paranormal romantic suspense Haunted Hearts series.


About the book:


Trapped in an affair with a blackmailer...

After Ashley Rivers is involved in a hit and run accident, she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to move on, but the tragedy ruins her friendship with the two people most important to her. To fill the void, she falls into a psychologically abusive relationship with a sociopath.

Estranged from the man she has always loved...

Giving up her place in the North Arkansas Paranormal Society isn’t easy for Ashley. She longs to go back to the old ghost hunting days with her partners, Josh and Gray, but the hurt Josh inflicted on her is hard to forget. Distancing herself from him is even harder.

Entangled in a dark web of murder and revenge...

When a mysterious death on Ashley Ridge stirs up old haunting rumors, Lead Crime Scene Investigator with the Hill County Sheriff’s Office, Josh McCord, pulls Ashley into the investigation. Investigating the haunting draws Josh and Ashley together, but Josh fears Ashley will crush his heart again.

Can two wounded hearts repair the damage done by the past and find love on Ashley Ridge?

The digital version of Ashley Ridge is always priced at $2.99. Here's the excerpt:


The desire to get back up the tunnel to Terrance’s cabin and get far, far away from the prison she’d found inside the mountain twanged on every one of Ashley’s nerves until her whole system was practically pinging with urgency. A panic attack was only one more heartbeat away, one more breath, one more gulp of heavy air. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. The oppressive claustrophobia of being under tons of earth tore at her mind.

She finally made it all the way across the underground room and reached the entrance to the tunnel. Her heart pounded harder as she stared into darkness. Out of the pitch black, a shadow moved toward her. The shadow took shape, an amorphous blob of dark that was blacker than the darkness surrounding it. The figure shot past her, brushing her as it passed. A scream should have erupted but it stuck in her throat.

Deep in her soul, a warning echoed, almost as if someone had whispered to her heart instead of in her ear. Run, little girl.
She remained immobile, remembering the words that had terrified her long ago. Words that often woke her in the night, sweating and shaking from a nightmare. How had her worst fears followed her there?

She flicked her flashlight on and began a panicked rush through the tunnel. Coming down, she hadn’t realized what a steep downhill slope the tunnel had. Her calf muscles ached from the slant as she trudged higher and higher up the path. She skidded to a halt when a loud bang echoed the passage from above her. Another black form rushed passed her. Once. Twice. Three times it bumped her. You’d better run now.

She gasped and released her grip on the flashlight. It hit the ground with a hard clunk and switched off. She bent and reached for it, but it wasn’t at her feet. Clink clink clink echoed through the tunnel as the flashlight rolled further and further away down the path she had just traveled. She backtracked a few feet and dropped to the dirt, patting the floor with her hands, desperately searching for the light.

In the dark, her fingers found debris that felt like bones and skin and hair. Surely, that was just her imagination working her into a frenzy. If anything like that had been in the passage when she first traversed it, she would have noticed.

Ashley used the slimy walls to push up into a standing position. She closed her eyes and counted to ten. Sucked in several heavy breaths of air. Shook out her arms and legs to relieve some pent up nervous energy. She reached out and pressed her palm against goo on the rock surface. Her overactive brain imagined buckets of blood cascading down the tunnel walls.

Her mind kept conjuring intensely sick and horrid scenes from the last five episodes of Criminal Minds she’d watched. Why? She hadn’t really seen anything in the underground room so terrible that it should freak her out. No blood. No guts. No chain saws or meat cleavers. Just a makeshift bed and a fenced in area with a gate and a lock. Nothing really to incite this kind of terror. Surely, there was an explanation for what she’d found. Some other reason besides the possibility that Terrance was a psychopathic pervert who kidnapped women and held them captive for days or months, feeding them little bits of dried bread and an ounce or two of tepid water. And the feeling that something was harassing her by bumping into her? Just her imagination.

She forced herself to stop her hysterical thinking and logically consider her situation. There was a way out. It was above her. She just had to keep from going crazy before she could get to the exit. With some intense effort, she slowed her breathing and concentrated on doing what she needed to do. With the toe of her shoe, she searched the floor for the wayward flashlight. Finally, after several minutes of frustration, she gave up. No telling how far the stupid thing had rolled. She had no choice but to ascend to the surface in the dark. Rather than stare blindly ahead of her, she closed her eyes, braced on the wall beside her, and took a few tentative steps forward. The approach seemed to work, so she kept moving.

When Ashley had gone a few feet, she became more confident in her ability to travel the tunnel, find the stairs, and get away. With a renewed burst of adrenaline, she moved faster up the tunnel and banged her head on a protruding rock. Pain stabbed through her already aching head. She pressed her hand to forehead. Nothing liquid, so probably no bleeding, but she was going to have a nice bruise. Maybe even a bump.

With even more determination, she began again and kept going until she tripped and fell onto the bottom tread of the stairs. The pain in her knees hurt like crap, but she smiled to herself. She was doing it. She was rescuing herself. She didn’t need Gray or Josh or anyone else to come get her.

It took awhile, climbing steadily but very carefully upward, before she made it to a flat area that she believed was the top of the stairs. She relaxed a bit and flexed her cramped fingers. How long had she been clenching her fists? She’d bet there were little half moon grooves in the palm of her hand from where her fingernails had dug into her flesh.

Ashley laughed when she first glimpsed a small sliver of light glowing beneath the door to freedom. Relief bubbled up inside her. She pressed her hands against the wood and shoved, but the door met resistance. She pushed harder. The door only budged a few centimeters, if that much. She banged on the wood. Pressing her hands on either side of the narrow landing to balance and keep from falling backward down the stairs, she managed to slide into a squat so that she could study the slit of light at the bottom of the door. Tightly wedged underneath was the tip end of the crowbar.

She fell back on her butt and tilted toward the stairs, caught herself before she tumbled, and propped her hands on the sludgy floor behind her. Panic hit her full force again. Her knees began to shake. Sweat popped out on her forehead. A sharp pain cramped her side.

Her mind swirled at the implications of the tool wedged under the door. Had the crowbar fallen and wedged beneath the door…or had someone stuck it there to trap her underground?




Ashley Ridge is the third book in my Haunted Hearts series.


Please check out my published works at:




You might also enjoy my free short story, Ghost In the Garden, available here:





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