#SnippetSunday #8Sunday - 09.29.13


Each Sunday, fellow writers on the Facebook page, Snippet Sunday, share excerpts from their work on their blogs. To read more follow this link


This week's snippet comes from Deceptions of the Heart. Click on cover for purchase link.

Here's the set up...

Rhonda has just come back from a lunch meeting with Anson's daughter Marnie. After their hostile encounter, she is even more confused about Jennifer and the antagonism toward her from everyone in her life. Once she is back at the Cristobal's house, she confronts the housekeeper, Sudha, hoping to gain more information.

Here's the eight...

Sudha’s dark head was bent over her work as she chopped a variety of brightly-colored peppers. A plate of meat cut into cubes, raw and seeping blood, sat at her elbow. A steamer of rice stood ready on the counter.

“What are you cooking?” I asked.

    The blade drew across wood and then empty air. Her chest rose and fell before she set the knife on the cutting board, turning toward me. “Do not startle me with a knife in my hands. That is very dangerous.” She smiled, but there was no light in her eyes—only a mysterious smoldering fire, dark and foreboding.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from Deceptions of the Heart. Here is what one reviewer had to say about the book...

This is indeed a quick and refreshing read. Such complexities and intrigues are uncommon in most Mystery books. I also like that it is a psychological novel with a lot of mind games leading to unraveling the mystery (think a little bit of Gone Girl by Flynn). I’m surprised this book isn’t getting the popularity it deserves. I commend Moncrief’s plotting skills in this novel. If you enjoy thriller and mystery, you would thoroughly love this book – I found this book gripping, utterly suspenseful, intriguing and exhilarating. Vera at http://verasreadingblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/de

Deceptions of the Heart can be purchased at this Amazon link. Check out my other books on Amazon.


Should you listen to your heart?

Deceptions of the Heart is now only 99¢

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Listen to your heart,” or maybe someone has suggested, “Follow your heart?” How many times has the heroine in the tear-jerker romance been asked, “What does your heart tell you?” Well what if the heart beating in your chest once belonged to someone else? Is it still a good idea to follow your heart?

There is a theory called cellular memory transfer that suggests human cells contain information about personality, preference, and personal history, details about the essence of a human being. Most of the evidence for these phenomena comes from the anecdotes of heart transplant recipients.

Here is one story that I found particularly fascinating. As reported by Paul Pearsall in his book, The Heart’s code: tapping the wisdom and power of our heart energy, published by Broadway Books in 1999.

“An eight year-old girl, who received the heart of a murdered ten year-old girl, began having recurring vivid nightmares about the murder. Her mother arranged a consultation with a psychiatrist who after several sessions concluded that she was witnessing actual physical incidents. They decided to call the police who used the detailed descriptions of the murder (the time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he wore, what the little girl he killed had said to him) given by the little girl to find and convict the man in question.” Source

Most accounts of cellular memory transfer aren’t as extreme. Usually transplant patients adopt the donor’s habits or feel their emotions. They like what the donor liked. Cut their hair the same way. Marry someone with the same name. They develop hobbies and interests similar to the donor—care about things the donor cared about.

I love asking “what if” questions. What if the concept was taken to the extreme? What if a recipient changed so much the person’s entire personality was altered?

In the 1991 film Body Parts, a criminal psychologist loses his arm in a car crash and becomes one of three patients to have their missing limbs replaced by those belonging toan executed serial killers. Well, you can imagine what direction the plot line went from there.

The inspiration for my book, Deceptions of the Heart, came from asking the same type of “what if” question. What if someone woke up one morning in another person’s body? What if a woman received not only a new heart, but also all the memories and the personality of the donor? What if the transfer was so complete the woman didn’t know anything about the woman whose body she inhabited?

Here’s an excerpt from the book at the moment Rhonda realizes she’s not inside her own skin.

Hysteria insinuated its warped fingers into the convoluted whorls and ridges of my psyche. Tears welled in the corners of my eyes, but I swiped them away. I clawed at the flimsy lingerie that threatened to slip from my shoulders as if it was eating my skin, pulled the top over my head and threw the offending garment on the floor, leaving my upper body exposed. My eyes traveled down my torso. A rough trail dissected the middle of my chest, right between the ribs. I stared at the oddity, fascinated, horrified, and perplexed. My nail traced the scar. The surgery was months, maybe years, old.

I ripped through the room until I found a huge walk-in closet full of women’s clothing. Row upon row of shoes were arranged neatly on the floor, handbags lined the top shelf. The Fendi I’d been gazing at for weeks lay toward the back of the stack as if it were yesterday’s toy. My shaky hand snatched open the nearest drawer filled with every accessory imaginable. I slammed the drawer shut.

I borrowed a matching shirt and skirt. With another woman’s clothes on my back, I dared to look into the full-length mirror. I tensed. Someone was in the closet with me. I touched my cheek. She touched hers. I blinked, she blinked. The face reflected back at me wasn’t mine, yet there I stood, facing the mirror, gazing at my own reflection.

I stuffed my hand in my mouth and dropped to the floor. Every hard thing I’d endured in the past few months came barreling out of my tear ducts, cascading down my cheeks, falling onto someone else’s expensive couture. I rubbed the unwanted moisture away with the flat of my hand, then closed my eyes and forced them open again. Nothing changed in the interim.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of Deceptions of the Heart. The book is available from


#ThursYumYum - Beef Enchiladas with Spicy Chile Sauce

Okay, I gotta say Mexican is my favorite food in the world. I could eat it three times a day if it weren't for the calories and how badly it would affect my blood sugar. Since I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, I've had to cut back on how often and how much of my favorite food I eat.

When I was in Colorado a few years ago, I ordered enchiladas that were covered with a spicy red chile sauce from a wonderful Durango restaurant called Francisco's. I enjoyed my experience so much that I had one of my characters in my upcoming release Purgatory order enchiladas from Francisco's. Poor Chris had the same reaction I did. She grabbed her water and gulped down an ounce or two to put out the fire from the sauce. Then she enjoyed the remainder of her meal!

View of Durango looking toward the train station. If you looked the other direction, you would see the block where Francisco's is located. Photo (c) Denise Moncrief 2004

I don't have Francisco's recipe for those enchiladas and I doubt they would give it to me just because I asked. However, I have found a wonderful recipe for beef enchiladas with a spicy red chile sauce that I enjoy. I found this recipe years ago and don't quite remember where I found it. I've tweaked it to my taste over the years. I hope you enjoy it! 

For the chile sauce

olive oil
1/4 of a finely chopped large onion
4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground oregano
4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 C chunky salsa
1 6 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 C beef broth

For the meat filling

1 lb ground lean ground beef
3/4 of a finely chopped large onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp each chili powder and cumin
1/2 C of the chile sauce from above (enough to make meat mixture moist but not soggy)
1/2 C beef broth
1/2 C shredded Mexican blend cheese

For rolling the enchiladas

cooking spray
8 six inch tortillas (I prefer flour rather than corn)
Mexican blend cheese (I usually use the remainder of a 2 C bag)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Prepare the chile sauce first. Saute the onion on medium heat in the olive oil until onion is softened. Add the garlic and stir over low heat about 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce listed above, stirring until the sauce is smooth.

3. Prepare the meat mixture next. Brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and cumin. Add the 1/2 C chile sauce. Add a little of the beef broth at a time until you can see how moist the mixture is going to be. I don't like my mix to be too soupy. Add the 1/2 C cheese. Now your enchiladas are ready to roll.

4. Heat skillet to medium heat. Spray tortillas front and back with cooking spray to warm. Remove the tortilla from the skillet and place 1/8 of the beef mixture on the tortilla. Add cheese to taste. I like lots of cheese in my enchiladas. Roll the enchilada and place in a glass backing dish that has already been coated with cooking spray. Repeat the process for the remaining 7 tortillas shells. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining chile sauce.

5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.

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Craving beef enchiladas with spicy red chili sauce? Click here


So do you want to know more about Chris and why she was eating at Francisco's. Well... you'll have to read the book to find out! Here's a blurb to whet your appetite!

All Chris Smith has left of her past are a jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and flashbacks—bits of memory—smells, sounds, fleeting feelings. Her life is in limbo, a living purgatory, until she meets Steve West, whose construction company is revamping the ski lifts at Purgatory just north of Durango, Colorado. When Brian Parker, the LaPlata County Sheriff, confronts Steve about his overt attention to Chris, Steve claims that Chris is Carol, his kidnapped and still missing wife.

As the story unravels, Chris’s past materializes from her shadowy memories to terrorize her in the form of her stepbrother Cory Powell. Cory holds her captive, believing that her twin sister Carol double-crossed him. Who married Steve? Chris or Carol? Did Chris steal Carol’s identity? Is she involved in kidnapping and murder? Are repressed memories of past crimes the source of her mental distress? Flashes of memory crash her psyche, one painful recollection stacked upon another. Now, her life depends on allowing Cory to believe that she is Carol while they search the wilderness north of Purgatory for the missing ransom money.


Purgatory is book #2 in my Colorado series. Hope you enjoyed the snippet. Chris' story is set for release in early 2014. In the meantime, check out my other published stories.


#NewRelease #Debut #Review - Dangled Carat - Hilary Grossman

What does a woman do when her man is perfect in every way...except he has a little problem with commitment?

In this relatable, lighthearted, and playful memoir, Hilary reminisces about her life before Marc—from the insecure and awkward teenage years she spent in a back brace and dealing with the loss of her father, to her early relationships and, finally, to the day she met Marc and realized that she really wanted to see him again. Through their first date—even though Hilary was technically seeing someone else at the time—and the ease of their early time together until Marc first decided that they were moving too quickly, up until that fateful New Year’s Eve, Hilary shares the details of their relationship and how Marc’s inability to commit led her to find an inner strength and confidence she didn’t know she possessed.

For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home.

A link to the book's purchase page on Amazon can be found by clicking this link or by clicking on the book's cover above.

Disclosure: The author gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My take:

Hilary has an easy, flowing writing style that made reading her story a real pleasure. I often found myself smiling, laughing, crying, and getting mad right along with her. By the end of the book, I was rooting for this couple to make the marriage commitment (even though I was well aware of the ending). Marc seems like a wonderful man and Hilary seems like a very patient woman. Their story is real, not the figment of a novelist's imagination, which makes the telling even more priceless. Hilary adds such detail to every scene that I feel as if I'm right in the middle of their lives. A very brave and public way to express her love for Marc.

When she's not writing, Hilary Grossman is also the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and lives on Long Island.

In connection with the release of her debut book, Hilary is sponsoring a Giveaway. To one lucky winner she will be giving away one signed copy of dangled carat, one CD (when you believe) by Sandi Rose, and a $25 gift certificate to Victoria Secret.

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#WeWriWa #8Sunday #SnippetSunday 09.08.13

It's a Sunday thing...

Each Sunday, Weekend Writing Warriors hosts a fun new blog hop. If you would like to participate, link to the list at http://www.wewriwa.com/ and post eight sentences from a published or unpublished work to your blog on Sunday. Follow the same link on Sunday to read excerpts from other authors.


Each Sunday, fellow writers on the Facebook page, Snippet Sunday, share excerpts from their work on their blogs. To read more follow this link, https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnippetSunday/461163367303186.

This week's eight comes from my recently released romantic suspense novel, The End. Here's the set up... Ellie's husband, Tab, a part-time writer, part-time cabbie, has been dead almost a year.

I’d put the idea of reading his final words aside, but then I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to read what he left behind.

When I opened the file, I expected to read something sentimental and just a little cheesy, something with a made-for-television happy ending. I expected to cry like a baby when I read his final words. Tab was the most dramatic man I’d ever met.

Instead, I became engrossed in a thriller that read so real I wondered if he had written a true story. All the plot needed was a realistic ending.

And the end came to me in the middle of the night.

Here's the blurb...

Sometimes the end is only the beginning...

Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.

Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.

Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.


I hope you enjoyed the eight and the blurb. The End is only 2.99, that's less than the cost of a gallon of gasoline. Less than a gallon of milk. Click on the book cover above for the purchase link.


#CoverReveal #TWRP- Alone No More - Terri Rochenski

Alone No More
Novella / Historical Romance
Avail Format: ebook
'Official' Release Date: December 18, 2013
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


Dismissed from her job as a scullery maid and cast aside by her lover, pregnant Cara Morland has no choice but to return to her father’s farm. While lies of widowhood keep her from disgrace, Cara is faced with a local landowner’s unwanted attentions. Without the social status to do much more than avoid the vile man, she loses hope of ever finding happiness.

A friendship based on mutual loneliness blossoms between Cara and James Elliot, a young farm hand hired by her father. He offers his protection, and one shared kiss reveals his heart, but propriety and her feigned grieving period hinders what they both desire.

When Cara’s stalker learns the truth of her circumstances, he gives her an ultimatum—submit to his possession or he’ll ruin her second chance at love with James.

Alone No More is available for early release with Amazon for only $1.99.  

Terri's bio:

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.

Terri can be found at the following sites:

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