By Reservation Only available on #Audio Don’t miss the #free offer

Quick! Here’s your chance to get my new release for free.


Bt Reservation Only available on #Audio Don’t miss the #free offer

Quick! Here’s your chance to get my new release for free.


Guest Peggy Jaeger present’s Hope’s Dream, Book Two of the Deerbourne Inn Series

Hope’s Dream is Book Two in the Deerbourne Inn Series from The Wild Rose Press. Peggy’s brought a lovely story to life as our hero and heroine explore their feelings while visiting the Vermont countryside.

 Here’s a little more insight to the developing relationship between Hope and Tyler.

“Enough about me,” she said, shaking her head. She speared an asparagus stalk and pointed it at him. “Tell me about you. Aside from the fact where you’re from, I know nothing about you. Out with the details, New York.”

“What would you like to know?” Tyler immediately wished he’d phrased the question differently. He couldn’t take the chance of her recognizing the name of his firm if she asked where he worked. Not yet.

Despite his plan to tell her tonight who he was and why he was in Willow Springs, he continued to keep his identity a secret, craving a few more precious hours of her company instead. Sitting across from Hope, enchanted with the way the tea light on the table bounced little flickers of light off her face and beautiful hair, listening to the sad story of her parents’ accident, and watching an entire series of emotions play across her guileless face and eyes, Tyler wanted to pretend they were simply a couple, out enjoying one another’s company.

The more Hope opened up to him, the happier he felt. From her mother’s behavior, he got the impression Hope didn’t date much and he liked knowing that, liked the thought she was doing something special with him, giving up some of her precious free time to spend it with him.

As she’d related the details of her father’s dismissal from his family, Tyler could feel the anguish and frustration oozing from her on behalf of the man she loved and adored. He hadn’t been told of the attempted payoff to Casey Kildaire. Sloan had to have known since he’d been the family solicitor for decades, yet he hadn’t mentioned it when he’d given Tyler a brief history of the family before he sent him to Vermont. Nor had he related the extent of Casey’s injuries following the crash and the severe financial problems they were still undergoing. He’d simply ordered Tyler to obtain Hope’s signature, nothing more.

He’d pushed her at dinner to answer his question and from the baffled look on her face knew she thought it an odd one. In her mind there was no way she could go back to school and take care of her mother at the same time. He should have told her right then the reason he was in Willow Springs, the subterfuge he’d used to meet her, and handed her the documents he’d brought with him. Tyler fully believed if she knew how easy her life could be with a simple swipe of her name across a legal document, she’d jump at the chance to make their lives better, pay off all their medical bills once and for all, and allow her to get back to fulfilling her dream instead of sublimating it.

“Well, for starters, what do you do?” she asked.

Best to go with the truth at this point. “I’m a lawyer.”

“Surprise, surprise.” She rolled her eyes and gave him the most delightful smirk. “I’d have bet on that without even a thought.”

“What gave me away?”

“The fact you don’t let a question go is one thing.” Her grin turned lopsided, and he got the distinct impression she was flirting with him. “Your penetrating death stare, like you’re grilling a witness on the stand, is another.”

Okay, maybe she wasn’t flirting because that was in no way a compliment.

“Anything else?”

She bent her elbow on the table and cupped her chin into it as she regarded him. “You already told me you’re not a writer, but your word skills are exceptional, so it makes me think you do write stuff. Like briefs, and whatever else they’re called.” She waved her free hand carelessly. “Plus…”

“Plus?” His breath caught when her cheeks colored.

“Well…” She squinched up her nose, her lips pursed at an angle. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was imagining what you looked like in a suit and the first thing that popped into my head was like a lawyer.”

This definitely sounded like flirting, but…

“What do you mean, don’t take it the wrong way?”

“I meant about the imagining part.” The red color in her cheeks blossomed and grew to cover her neck. She shook her head and dropped her gaze. “I shouldn’t have told you that.”

What would she have done if he’d told her he’d had a fantasy-filled night thinking about her in nothing at all?

Buy Links for Hope’s Dream

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And if  you’re looking for me, I’m here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me

By Reservation Only, Book  One  by Barbara Edwards, is an ongoing saga about the people who visit or live at the Inn. the stories vary from contemporary romance to historical romance, a ghost story and a mystery. and thats only the start.

Buy links:

Amazon //WildRose Press // Kobo 

You can connect with Barbara here:

website // Blog // Amazon // Facebook // Google + // Pinterest 

By Reservation Only (Deerbourne Inn) by Barbara Edwards available for pre-order

It’s the grand opening of The Deerbourne Inn! Award-winning Chef Nathan Harte has worked long and hard to restore this historic property in Willow Spring, Vermont. He’s ready to greet his guests with fine cuisine, comfortable rooms, and maybe even a ghost or two. 

He’s escaping the rat-race of the city for a slower more rewarding life, but is he ready to deal with a broken arm, a quirky arsonist, and a long-ago mystery? And what might he find up in the three hundred year old attics? 

Victoria Harte, his sister, has claimed the two cottages for her patients: wounded military suffering from PTSD who need the peace and quiet of the Vermont countryside.

Barbara Edwards

The Deerbourne Inn is in Vermont. a small town near all the area attractions. Do you ski? Fish? Hike? Like Fall foliage? Hunt antiques? There is something for everyone.  


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Holiday Stories are Fun to Write by Barbara Edwards

‘Journey of the Magi’ was my first attempt  at a Holiday story and I found a really enjoyable area of writing. My usual genre is paranormal romance and has a dark edge. After awhile it can be heavy. The lighter love story with cute children and a nice hero gave me a lift I hadn’t know I needed. It was fun to plot the fulfillment of a dream.

Journey of the Magi by Barbara Edwards

Journey of the Magi
by Barbara Edwards

So in this time of the year I noticed many of my fellow authors put out a sweet story. 

My next short for The Wild Rose Press was ‘Late for the Wedding, part of a larger anthology. It was fascinating how a dozen authors took the same idea and wrote such variety. I loved every one of them.

Late for the Wedding (Twelve Brides of Christmas Book 2)
by Barbara Edwards

The next was ‘Dixie’s Gift’ a story inspired by the loyalty and love of my beloved pet. This was another story to lift me from a dark place. My furry friend hd cancer and crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I was so sad I took that emotion and wrote a story about how my pet would have reacted. It warmed a cold place in me and I hope if you read it, you’ll find the same joy at the end.

Dixie’s Gift

Dixie’s Gift
by Barbara Edwards

Dixie’s Gift by Barbara Edwards

Ellen Carter deeply grieves for her husband Dan, but at least she still has Dixie, her beloved Malinois. However, soon Dixie leaves her too. But the faithful dog cannot rest easy in heaven while her mistress is unhappy. Dixie pleads with the Archangel Michael to let her send help, and intercedes for Ellen in the only way she can. But will Ellen get the message, and more importantly, will she accept Dixie’s gift?

Sexy newcomer Michael Burke can barely take enough time from his successful restaurant for a decent night’s sleep, let alone romance. Still, he is intrigued by the beautiful widow and can’t resist entering her shop. Sparks fly, and when Ellen has an accident in a snowstorm, he comes to her rescue. Trapped by a blizzard and aided by Dixie’s Gift, Ellen and Michael find more than shelter–they find love.

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#Cover “By Reservation Only” by Barbara Edwards

Check my new book cover! By Reservation Only will be released soon from The Wild Rose Press.

I’m inviting you to visit the Deerbourne Inn, the setting for the series.. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the cool nights, warm days and glorious autumn colors.  Get acquainted with the new owner, Nathan Harte, an award-winning chef, escaping the rat-race of the city for a slower more rewarding life. His Red Clover Cafe will feature his diverse menu while the Inn’s breakfast menu sparkles.

Walk through the centuries old building and pick a room on the second or third floor. Old fashioned wallpaper, original antiques and crafted items from local artists made each room individual, yet give it flavor.

Ignore the occasional weeping from an empty room or a snip of female laughter unless you’re curious about who haunts the place. 

Victoria Harte, his sister, has claimed the two cottages for her patients: wounded military suffering from PTSD who need the peace and quiet of the Vermont countryside. 

The Deerbourne Inn is in Willow Springs, Vermont, a fictional small town near all the area attractions. Do you ski? Fish? Hike? Like Fall foliage? Hunt antiques? There is something for everyone. 

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Tony-Paul de Vissage

Thanks for being my guest,  Tony-Paul de Vissage. Please tell your readers why you wrote Dark God Descending

It’s a staple of the SyFy Channel and late night horror movies dating back decades…the lost city in the jungle, stumbled upon by a safari of scientists…they take away an object sacred to the inhabitants.  In doing so, they bring a curse upon themselves in particular and Mankind in general as the embodiment of the sacred object brings the wrath of the gods upon the wrongdoers…the hero struggles to save his friends, perhaps return the sacred object to its home…various minor characters are killed before the inevitable happy ending flashes upon the screen.

I wanted my story to be something more, and something different. I made two heroes, one mortal, one not. Tucker, the mortal one, is a graduate student wanting nothing more than to graduate and marry his girl.  Semris, the immortal one, is a curious demon who wants to know what exists outside his jungle kingdom. One gets his wish, the other doesn’t, but both will begin a relationship that will last through many years to come. For the stolen sacred object, I substituted Semris himself. What thing could be more sacred to a people than the object of their worship, their emperor?

Dark God Descending is a vampire story but it’s one, I hope, with an enjoyable twist.  It’s also a story of friendship.

The twist?  Having Semris not be a creature of terror and fear to those he meets but having them see him as a person, someone they like and want to help.  At this point, Semris has no desire to punish anyone or bring down the Mayan gods’ wrath on anybody.  He simply wants to go home. It’s the assistance he receives from humans on that journey home that makes him see how good people can be, while his captors also show him Mankind’s dark side. In our world, Semris learns of love and loss, and his arrival back in his jungle kingdom brings about the punishment of those who kidnapped him, a retribution that is both just and at the same time horribly ironic.

Dark God Descending is the story of two men, separated by thousands of years, thrown together by unbelievable circumstance; it is the story of their friendship and what is involved in accepting what Fate has dealt them.

About the Author:

A writer of French Huguenot extraction, one of Tony-Paul de Vissage’s first movie memories were of being six years old, viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula’s Daughter on television, and being scared sleepless–and that may explain a lifelong interest in vampires.  

He now pays back his very permissive parents by writing about vampires.


All grad student James Tucker Upchurch wanted was to earn summer credit on an archaeological dig to Central America…and to marry his fiancée. All Semris wanted was to escape the monotony of a millennia-old life, and the burdens the son of the Mayan God of Death, have placed upon him.

For five thousand years, the misplaced Dark Lords of Hell have been trapped in ourworld, ruling the Mayan city of Nikte-Uaxac. While civilizations rise and fall, they and their subjects remain unchanged, until Twenty-first Century intruders appear, stealing from them their most precious possession, the Emperor himself…

Tuck never expected to lose his girl to a demon nor to be given immortality, and Semris never thought he’d experience mortal love, but when the current world meets a more ancient one, everything and everyone they know will be changed.



Tuck walked over to the cage. As far as he could tell, Semris hadn’t moved. 

Oh, God, did that last shot kill him? 

When he saw the slow rise and fall of the bare chest, he felt abrupt relief. He also saw the golden amulet, recognizing it as the twin of the one that had started all this unpleasantness in the first place.

The fruit hadn’t been touched, was rapidly darkening, the sweet, overripe smell permeating the cellar, attracting flies. How the Hell had they gotten in here, anyway? Several big bluebottles were buzzing around inside the cell, hovering over the peaches, a couple crawling along the edges of the plate. One was floating in the water glass, wings fluttering and making little splashes.

Tuck knelt and opened the little flap, reaching inside to remove the glass. It happened. so fast he didn’t even realize Semris had moved until he felt the iron grip upon his wrist, saw the fangs drop and the dark head covering his hand.

He screamed as twin razor slashes struck through his wrist…knowing no one could hear, struggled desperately to get away. Frantic, disbelieving thoughts whirling through his mind. 

Oh, God, this is why he didn’t eat the fruit. He’s a vampire! Sweet Jesus, he’s going to kill me! Help someone, help me! Why should they? I didn’t help him.

The pain went away, his arm numb from wrist to fingertips. He knelt on the floor, watching the pale body crouched so near he could have reached out and touched his shoulder…his bare, wingless shoulder. Where did his wings go? What happened to them? All he could do was watch those shoulders heave with the strength of each deep swallow, feeling his life ebb away, and a vague surprise that it didn’t hurt at all.

Eyes rolling up, Tuck gave a little sigh and collapsed against the bars. He was barely conscious as he saw Semris raise his head and release his arm. In spite of being only slightly aware, he felt a stab of surprise as the quiet voice whispered, “Gracias. Gracias por su sangre.”

He’s thanking me? Thanking me for letting him kill me?

With an effort, he made himself withdraw his wounded arm, cradling it against his chest with his other hand. Forcing his eyes open, he stared at his wrist, fighting the wave of blackness floating before his eyes. There was no bloody ripped-away flesh as he’d imagined, only four deep punctures. Two of the five little veins had been pierced, but the wounds were clean and already clotting. Tuck forced himself to take a deep breath, then let it out, and repeated the procedure. 

Keep breathing! Don’t pass out. He might decide to have a second helping.

“I took too much. I am sorry. I was too hungry.”

There was such concern in Semris’ voice that Tuck found himself replying, “That’s all right. I-if I’d known, I… Oh, God, what am I saying?” He fell silent, feeling a bout of hysteria galloping toward him. 

Something was thrust into his hand. One of the peaches. Semris’ hand, between the bars, holding it out to him. 

Aqui. Come. Pronto.”

So he took the peach and bit into it, choking slightly as the rich, sweet juice slid down his throat, but forced himself to keep chewing and swallowing. As the fruit sugar hit his stomach, he began to feel better.

“That was good.” With a sigh, he tossed the peach pit aside. 

Through the bars, hands helped him to his feet. He leaned against the door, hanging onto it to keep his balance as dizziness flooded back. He looked up, meeting Semris’ green eyes, startled at the concern in them.

“Again, I am sorry. It has been so long since I have had the living wine.”

Living wine…what a beautiful way to describe it.  Tuck still felt a little groggy, wondered if he was now under the vampire thrall. He decided to find out. 

“Am I your minion now?”

“Why would you think that?” Semris sounded genuinely puzzled.

“Well, you’ve taken my blood. Generally, when a vampire—”

Vampiro! Donde?” Semris looked around quickly, arms crossing over his throat in a protective gesture.

You.” Tuck answered, feeling he’d made a mistake. “Aren’t you a vampire?”

“Of course not!” The answer was disdainful that Tuck might mistake him for such a vile creature. “I am a Dark Lord. Un demonio.” The pale chin lifted proudly. “Los vampiros are creatures accursed.”

Tuck thought that over. “And you’re not?

“No.” Semris shook his head, the dark hair swinging. “I am not.”

Tuck realized he must be feeling better, to be able to marvel at the absurdity of this conversation.

Dark God Descending is published by Class Act Books and is available from:

Publisher’s website:



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Robb T. White with My Dangerous Women: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Please welcome Robb T. White, the author of   My Dangerous Women:  The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. Why did you write this story?

I can say it was a dozen inspirations rather than a single one because each story in the collection was its own inspiration at some point in my writing past—that is, all the stories either depend on a woman’s narrative point of view or demand the woman be the antagonist—meaning here, be the criminal, the killer, the betrayer, or the deceiver who must scheme her way to some goal, a bad one naturally and one that often results in some husband, boyfriend, or other winding up in jail, on trial, incapacitated, or deader than Julius Caesar by the end of the tale. Frankly, all my crime stories, regardless of male or female characters, fall into two possibilities:  somebody is betraying somebody or someone is getting revenge on someone. I didn’t write Dangerous Women so much as put together what I had already done.  I had the pleasant task of choosing those stories that emphasized women in the roles of betrayer or betrayed—without having to do anything other than choose the order of presentation. I should add, the good fortune to secure the approval of Anita York of Class Act Books. To get at the “why write about them” part, I think dividing these women into three categories will best answer the question.    

Here is the first class, which I’m calling “The Good”:  Regina Frontanetta, a prizefighter and gutsy private eye; Sandy Biggers, a reformed crack whore and thief (my sole saint in the collection); Natalie Sparks, a resilient 17-year-old runaway and paint huffer.  Although their “goodness” is relative to their stories, these female characters all do things that transcend their flaws (I think) or redeem them, which makes them interesting as people.  My second class of women is “The Bad,” and the worst of this group, for me, is Francie of “Criss-Cross, Double-Cross” for she’s not only a spoiled girl who wants the narrator to kill her parents but she’s pure malevolence; two “trophy wives” make the list—namely, one in “Blackmail Is My Business” and the other in “Her Ticket to Heaven,” both for sheer cunning and duplicitous contempt for their husbands, albeit deserved. Martina Brulet from “A Pack of Lies” is another who aspires to be here for the simple reason (s)he doesn’t have to engage in attempted murder for self-preservation because she’s already achieved her goal.  Perhaps the least “ugly” of the pack are the twins Bella and Donna in “The Birthmark” and then because nobody dies from their clever machinations with the gullible narrator. 

The “best” ofThe Ugly” category includes a couple more wives—first, Bobbie, the lap dancer from “My Gypsy Girl from Bluefield” because she plays her loving husband like a fiddle from the git-go and “Diana” from her named story for a similar reason.  The latter character, by the way, was inspired by a true-crime show in which the wife plotted to murder her husband long in advance by getting herself into tip-top physical condition so that she could lift his dead weight right after committing the murder. One I can’t fit into any category above is Dawn from “Dawn Hunting,” although she’s a spree killer unlike the solo murderers of the other stories.  That’s because I like her reason for the mayhem inflicted in her story on her cheating hubby and his smug pals. In sum, I like women, fictionally speaking, who can dish it out as well as men. Maybe that’s a throwback to my horror-film-watching youth in which every female victim in every movie I ever saw always tripped when the bad guy was chasing her. I wanted to write about women who can run with wolves and not trip. 

About the Author:

Under the names Terry White, Robert White, and Robb T. White, Robert White is the author of numerous short stories and hardboiled detective novels.  A lifelong reader of crime fiction, he published his first story in Gary Lovisi’s Hardboiled magazine. Since then, he has published several dozen crime stories, and a collection of mainstre

am stories in 2013. An ebook crime novel, won the New Rivers Electronic Book Competition in 2014.  His collection of crime stories featuring woman narrators and female characters is Dangerous Women:  Stories of Crime, Mystery, and Mayhem, published by Class Act Books in 2017.  

White was born, raised, and continues to live in Ashtabula, Ohio.

More about Robb at:


Weaker sex?  Not hardly!

The female is definitely deadlier than the mail.  Short stories about ladies who can hold their own.


Be careful what you wish for, Regina.

Her mother’s words. Sometimes she could hear her mother’s voice in the house.

The Vindicator piece on Bodycomb’s death was two paragraphs. 

He was found floating in Lake Milton, a popular summer resort area for fisherman seventeen miles east of Austintown just off the Interstate 80 overpass. Shot by a small-caliber weapon in the back of the head. The important information was in the second paragraph: Bodycomb, it noted, was running a dog-fighting network among three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for a loose-knit West Virginia crime family connected to the Pittsburgh LaRizzo family. 

Damn you, Leo. 

She was blowing through caution lights, ignoring the honking of cars, as she beelined for the office on Market.

Like a script from a cheap thriller, he was there, wearing the same clothes and unshaven, big jowls dark with stubble, pong of body odor in the overheated single room.

“You promised me full disclosure, total honesty,” she said.

She threw the paper across his desk.

“Here it is in case you missed it.”

Be calm, Regina, she told herself. She wasn’t going to lose her temper and a new job in that order.

“I did and I meant it, Baby,” Leo said.

He glanced at the paper sideways and pushed it back to her. He’d obviously read it.

“You asked me—no, you demanded I call somebody. I did,” he said.

He disgusted her with those wagging jowls and big stomach. She noticed his belt was undone and a patch of curly belly hair exposed. 

Probably jerking off in here, the freak.

“I suppose you’ll tell me when the mood strikes.”

“I meant the second case—your next case,” Leo said. “Full disclosure, just like you want.”

Her indignation petered out at the prospect. “So tell me about it,” she said.

Bodycomb was moving in on Donnie Bracca’s territory with his dog-fighting, Leo said.

“He can kill all the dogs he wants in West Virginia,” Leo said. “But Donnie B. controls gambling around here.”

“Donnie Bracca was your real client all the time,” Baby said.

“It’s like this, kid. They don’t blow each other up in cars no more. Gentlemen’s agreements, all nice and polite. But rules have to be followed. Bodycomb went rogue.”

She bit back a retort: You mean, like your own father?

Leo went on, waxing large, a hopeless Mafioso lover, although a real mafia man, a made man, could see Leo couldn’t be trusted. But even the Aryan Brotherhood used outside associates to get things done. Leo could be useful if you couldn’t buy a cop or scare off an investigative reporter snooping in shady politics or business deals.

She didn’t feel bad about Bodycomb’s death. After all, she’d wanted to kill the guy herself.

“Damn it, Leo,” she said. “You should have told me this in the beginning.”Baby moved in the direction Bodycomb’s vehicle had taken. After A couple of hundred yards through meadow grass up to her knees, she stopped and listened. Moving on, she dodged stunted bushes that popped up out of nowhere to snag her clothing. The foliage grew less dense. She found the parallel ruts of the Road Runner’s tracks and kept moving, straining her eyes to see light ahead. If Bodycomb was hiding assets from his soon-to-be ex-wife, he was taking a lot of trouble over it. 

After five minutes of faster walking in the grooves, she heard barking coming from the right. She saw the first glimmer of light in the distance. The terrain was sparse but small slopes refracted the light source so it appeared and disappeared with every rise of the ground. A single dog barking became two, then three and finally a pack. Beneath their howls, men’s voices. 

When she got close enough to make out words, she lay flat on her belly and put the binoculars on a cluster of men beside a ramshackle barn surrounded by cages of dogs in the beds of trucks beside a squared string of light bulbs a dozen feet from the ground. It looked like a crude boxing ring for backyard brawlers. 

Its purpose became clear in the next few minutes. It was a dog-fighting pit.

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Icy Stone Blackstone’s inspiration for Gypsy Charm

Please welcome Icy Snow Blackstone to Barbara Edwards Comments. Tell your readers why you wrote Gypsy Charm.
My inspiration for my novelette Gypsy Charm was my cat Thibault Minuet. I wanted to do a story about a cat but couldn’t figure out how to get started, so I watched my feline domestic companion for clues on how to begin. He wasn’t much help; all he did was lounge around on the window sills, or saunter silently through the house in that languid,
miniature panther stalk, while I talked to him about anything and everything as I went about my work. Somehow, through my “conversations with Thibault,” I realized how Gypsy Charm should begin…with a girl talking to her cat.
I would write a story about this young lady and her cat, a black cat, who was
companionable and lovable, and too human when it came to his mistress. I’d have her talk to him as people do their pets, but he’d understand, really understand, and in his own catly way, be determined to protect his owner from everyone, even herself. Why did he do this? Not because he was simply a loyal pet, though he’s definitely that, but because he’s under a spell and protecting Lisa is part of the way he will free himself.
After that, it was easy. Tomas the cat took on a furry, heroic shape. The gypsy brothers and their grandmother, and Lisa and her roommate began to emerge as real people. It was fun creating these characters and telling the story of Lisa’s adventure with the gypsies. As for the gypsy charm? There are two in the story…the one Mrs. Gray gives Lisa in
payment for her kindness, and the one placed upon Tomas for being such as a smarty cat.
Blurb: Gypsy Charm is the tale of Lisa Carpenter’s encounter with an old gypsy woman,
the giving of a wish charm, and a black cat. Unknown to our heroine, the cat has an
agenda all his own, and unknown to either of them, so does the old gypsy woman.
“These my grandsons. Isaac—” Mrs. Lee nodded at the first one as he
straightened. “—and David.”
David’s movements were so smooth and sleek Lisa was reminded of a leopard
stalking across a jungle glade. A glossy, golden-coated leopard, slinking low to the
ground. That thought sent a quiver through her. He held out a large but well-shaped
hand, saying grudgingly, “H’lo.”
“Hi.” She nodded at Isaac, shook the hand David offered her. He squeezed it a
moment, grip very warm as it tightened gently before he released it. Lisa took a slow,
deep breath. The tips of her fingers tingled. She shook them slightly.
“And…” Mrs. Lee was still talking. “…Tomas.” She looked around. “Where’s
Tomas? Tomasso!”
  • Two pointed ears and a small head covered in short silky fur peeped from under
    the sofa’s valance. A black cat emerged, stretched, and leaped onto the arm of the sofa
    with incredible grace and an inquisitive yowl.
    “This Tomas.” Mrs. Lee waved an introductory hand. “My machka.
    The cat poised itself on the armrest, leaning toward Lisa, gold-green eyes
    regarding her gravely. His right paw came up.
    “Oh, he’s beautiful!” Lisa placed her hand under the cat’s paw. It was soft,
    smooth and as warm as David’s hand had been. It pressed briefly against her fingers,
    claws grazing gently before it withdrew. With a second, softer yowl, Tomas leaped from
    the arm and settled himself in her lap. He blinked and regarded Lisa solemnly.
    “You like cats?” Mrs. Lee asked.
    “I love them,” Lisa assured her. “And this one is so…so…”
    “Ain’t he, though?” David muttered. Lisa wondered if he ever spoke in anything other than a low growl.
    “He likes to think he’s really macho,” Isaac laughed. “A real ladies’ man…uh, cat.” He flicked a finger at the cat’s ears. Tomas dodged, cocking his head to look at Isaac. “Right, Tomasso?”
    “I’d have to agree,” Lisa answered, reaching out and stroking the furry head.
    Tomas pushed against her hand. “He’s a very handsome dude.”
    David smiled and the two brothers looked at each other. They seemed to be
    sharing a private joke, which Tomas didn’t appear to appreciate. Growling softly, he bestowed a surprising glare upon the two.
    Suddenly, they all seemed to be staring at her. Even the cat. Four pairs of eyes riveted on Lisa. Waiting for her to drink her tea.
    Lisa began to feel uneasy. A startling panic twisted in her stomach as she realized she was alone in a van with three strangers, two of whom were very large and muscular and standing between her and the door. And Mrs. Lee— She might be old but that walking stick of hers could be a very deadly weapon.
    Was this a mistake? Undoubtedly. People were always saying she was too
    friendly for her own good.
    All together, they smiled. Tomas purred loudly, claws kneading at her thighs.
    “Well! Since you’re safe and sound now—” Putting down the cup, Lisa set the cat aside and stood up. For a moment, his claws clung to her skirt. Hoping she didn’t sound frightened and certain she failed, she extricated Tomas, grimacing slightly at the single snag his claws made in her new skirt, then shot a pretend glance at her watch as she went on, “Guess I’d better be on my way. I’ve people waiting for me and they’ll be
    Liar. Her housemate wouldn’t be home for another two hours.
    She aimed herself for the door behind the two young men. Neither moved. The twisting inside grew tighter. Lisa stopped.
    “Isaac,” Mrs. Lee called softly, and gestured.
    He took a step forward, raising one arm.
    Lisa stumbled backward, her own raised, preparing to ward off a blow, then
    realized he was holding out his left arm to his grandmother. Around his wrist was a small gold chain with tiny disks dangling from it.
  • “Here.” With a twist of her fingers, Mrs. Lee pulled one disk free. She held it out to Lisa. “You take. For helping me.”
    “I couldn’t—”
    “You take. Otherwise I owe you.” Taking Lisa’s hand, she placed the object on her palm, closing her fingers around it. “Is wish-charm.”
    “Wish-charm? What’s that?” It looked like a small gold coin but the
    inscription… She’d never seen symbols like those before. Are they Romanes?
    “Good for one special wish. Baksheesh. You keep safe. Use carefully. Don’t
    waste on pepperoni pizza!” Mrs. Lee shook her finger and laughed.
    “I won’t.” Lisa laughed, too, her fear disappearing. “I promise.” She studied the charm, feeling a strange gratitude. “It’s beautiful. Thank you, Mrs. Lee.”
    This time when she turned toward the door, Isaac and David moved aside. In a moment, she was outside, down the makeshift steps and at her car. When Lisa climbed into the Civic, and waved, they raised their hands and waved back.
    As the car drove away, however, Mrs. Lee said, “A good girl, but too trusting. She needs protector.”
    “She’s pretty. I like her.” David straightened, adding “For a gaje, I mean.” He and Isaac glanced at each other and then at their Grandmother. “So, Gram, which one of us will it be?”
    She looked at Tomas.
    “Oh, Gram, no.” The protest was half-hearted, as if he knew it was no use to argue.
    The cat was crouching on the sofa. He looked at Mrs. Lee and then at the door through which Lisa had gone, tail twitching angrily. He shook his head as if seconding David’s protest.
    “You heard me,” Mrs. Lee said. Tomas transferred his gaze back to her. He
    didn’t move. “Go!”
    “You heard Gram,” Isaac prompted.
    Tomas stayed there a moment longer, giving a single grrrwl of protest before leaping to the floor. David pushed the door open and Tomas leaped out. Isaac came to stand beside his brother. “Good luck, Bro. I mean it.”
    The cat looked in the direction the car had vanished. After a moment’s hesitation, he threw a strident yowl back at the two men standing in the door before starting down the street with a graceful, long-legged lope.
    They waited until his small figure disappeared around the bend in the road before going back inside.
    “Still don’t see why Tomas gets to have all the fun,” David grumbled.
    “You call that fun?” Issac elbowed his brother in the ribs. “Would you like to change places with him?”
    “What do you think?”
    “I think you’d better shut up.” Isaac pulled the camper door shut and locked it.

    Buy Links:

    Paperback exclusively from the publisher’s website:
    About the Author:
    Icy Snow Blackstone was born in 1802, in northern Georgia where her father, the Reverend John Blackstone, was prominent in local politics. She married a minister, raised seven children, and lived there all her life.
    Two hundred and five years later, her great-great-great-great-granddaughter began using her name as a pseudonym for her romance novels. The present Icy Snow Blackstone (aka author Toni V. Sweeney) lives far from her Southern roots in Lancaster County,
    Nebraska, where she continues to write romances.
    As of 2017, Icy Snow has eleven novels published by Class Act Books. Her
    contemporary romance, Tuesday’s Child, was given the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice award for Best Contemporary Novel of 2014. A SciFi romance,
    Earthman’s Bride and Vietnam-era romance Jericho Road, have also received awards.
    She is also the author of Jericho Road, Bargain with Lucifer, Brother Devil, and Gypsy
    Charm, romances all set in the South, as well as the paranormal romance The Irish
    Lady’s Spanish Lover.
    Learn More about Icy Snow at:

My guest Michael D. Smith author of CommWealth

Please welcome my guest, Michael D. Smith

Why I Wrote CommWealth, by Michael D. Smith

CommWealth sprang from a long, richly detailed dream I had in which the central “I” demonstrates his easy adaptation to a property-less society by demanding electronic gadgets, cars, motorcycles, in fact anything he desires, then hoarding it all in a mansion he’s similarly procured.  He takes the basic premise of this society, the guilt-ridden, involuntary sharing of everything, to its extreme when he asserts the right to claim a former girlfriend as his property.  The dream narrator was oddly both me, yet not me; somehow I had a certain psychological distance from the character who became CommWealth’s arrogant, pathetic anti-hero Allan Larsen.

The dream was so clear that the resulting plot for CommWealth flowed easily, allowing for both farce and for serous reflection on our innate emotional and legal attachment to the tens of thousands of objects we own.  I even researched some books on property rights just to feel more familiar with the subject, though I can’t say they had much effect on the plot, which seemed pre-written from the dream.

Another aspect of the novel I wanted to explore, based on my amateur acting experience in college, was its theatrical setting.  The main characters in the novel form an acting troupe called Forensic Squad which eventually becomes the focal point of a suicidal revolution against CommWealth, the name of the governmental sharing system.  The six major characters act their parts in the novel like an ensemble cast in a movie, where accomplished actors divide the plot between them and no one actor has the lead role.  It was satisfying to shift from one character to the next, giving them equal emphasis and letting each’s motivations unfold on stage.

About the Author:

Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, before moving to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist.  In addition to exhibiting and selling paintings and drawings, he’s completed fifteen novels. 

Smith’s writing in both mainstream and science fiction genres uses humor to investigate psychological themes.  On his blog, he explores art and writing processes, and his web site contains further examples of his writing and art. He is currently Technology Librarian for McKinney Public Library in McKinney, Texas.

CommWealth is his first novel published by Class Act Books.

find out more about Michael at:

Website: ,,

Blog: www.


The CommWealth system, has created a society in which there is no legal claim to any kind of private property. Any object from your house to the clothes you’re wearing can be demanded by anyone, to be enjoyed for thirty days before someone else can request it. As actors in the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe attempt to adapt to this chaos, their breaking of the Four Rules sustaining the system, as several members navigate betrayals, double agents, and murder to find themselves leading a suicidal revolution.


Rule One – You are free to enjoy the chosen object for thirty days. During this period no other person may request it.

Rule Two – The requestor is untouchable for thirty days by the person asked. Attempts at retaliation, such as demanding unusually large quantities from the original requestor after the thirty-day period, carry stiff penalties.

Rule Three – Once you ask somebody for something, you can never ask him or her for anything else again.

Rule Four – You can never ask for the same thing back from the person who got it from you, not even after his or her thirty days of enjoyment.

Allan shivered at the reflection of his black overcoat and his striding legs on the wet sidewalk. Up ahead someone with a DreamPiston Electronics bag opened a shiny red Porsche glistening with thousands of water beads.

“Okay,” Allan said, “I’ll take your car here.”

The mustached little twerp looked up. “Ahhh, crap…”

“C’mon, don’t give me any trouble. Gimme the key.”

“Look, it’s raining. And I just got these MP3 players and the new Fappy tablet—”

“Not my problem. Fork the damn key over.”

“Look, my umbrella’s in the car—can I just get my umbrella so my stuff—”

“Forget it. The umbrella’s part of the car as far as I’m concerned. Anything in the car. Besides, I just lost my umbrella a couple blocks back. I’m soaked.”

“C’mon, I just got this car the other day!”

 “Don’t hand me that. The sticker on the plate says you got it a month and a half ago. You’re overdue, buddy. Now hand me the key.”

“Dammit! Dammit!”

“Got trouble there?” A bright blue City of Linstar police car idled in the rain. “Got a Hoarder there?” a huge officer grinned.

“Uh, no… not at all…” said the twerp. “I just—I just can’t find the key—”

“Yeah, right—you just unlocked the damn car with it,” Allan said, turning to the policeman. “He is giving me a lot of crap about it.”

“C’mon, sir, you know better than that.” The officer’s name tag read BARCLAY.

“Dammit!” the twerp snarled. He separated the Porsche key off his key ring, thrust it at Allan, then spun around and fastened on a man coming down the sidewalk. “Give me that umbrella! Right now!”

“Goddammit…” the man grunted, surrendering his umbrella to the twerp, who grabbed it and hoisted it above his DreamPiston bag.

“We really got the Christmas spirit here, don’t we?” Barclay said.

“Really,” Allan said. “Some people…” He examined the Porsche key in the rain. “Thanks for your help, officer.”

“Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t really necessary. People are basically good, you know. Give ’em time to adjust and all, that’s what I say.”

The twerp leapt into traffic with his new umbrella and his bag, waving his free arm. A little green car skidded to a halt. The twerp ran to the window and pounded on it. “Give me this car! Right now! Damn you!”

“Jesus…” Allan said. “What a bastard!”

Barclay was out of his patrol car in a second, hand on his hand on his holster. “Sir, that’s not the right way to go about it. We need to be respectful. That’s the CommWealth way.”

CommWealth is available at:

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