Surprise! It's Patrice Wilton & Traci Hall

Two of my favorite authors are Patrice Wilton and Traci Hall.

Writing together they are the new author known as Traci Wilton. That's right! To my delight, they have joined together to write a charming amateur sleuth mystery series, the Salem B&B Mysteries, under their joint pen name.

Published by Kensington, the first book of their series is Mrs. Morris and the Ghost.

The mystery can be purchased now in either ebook or paperbook editions on pre-release.

The book publishes July 30 so if you get the ebook, it will be sent to you at midnight on the publishing date. If you prefer paperback, buy on pre-release, and it will be mailed to you when it publishes.

About Mrs. Morris and the Ghost

A grieving young widow, Charlene needed a new start—so she bought a historic mansion, sight unseen, and drove from Chicago to New England to start turning it into a bed-and-breakfast.

On her first night in the house, she awakens to find a handsome man with startling blue eyes in her bedroom. Terror turns to utter disbelief when he politely introduces himself as Jack Strathmore—and explains that he used to live here—when he was alive.

He firmly believes that someone pushed him down the stairs three years ago, and he won’t be able to leave until someone figures out who.

If Charlene wants to get her business up and running in time for the Halloween tourist rush, and get this haunting houseguest out of the way, she’ll have to investigate. Though truth be told, this ghost is starting to grow on her.

Takeaway Truth

Looking for something delightfully different? Try Mrs. Morris and the Ghost, a Salem B&B Mystery.

Best Amazon Prime Deals

July 15 and 16 are the summer shopping days I've been waiting for. I'm not the only one either.

Amazon Prime Days feature tons of bargains. I do a lot of my Christmas shopping on Prime Days.

Seriously, Amazon Prime Day brings new meaning to Christmas in July so start shopping and get some super nice gifts at bargain prices.

Here are a few of the items that I think are some of the best bargains.

Since I don't want to spoil the surprises, I won't say which I've bought as gifts.

Read on for some of the most popular items that will make wonderful presents. 

SanDisk 64GB Extreme SDXC UHS-I Card-C10, U3, V30, 4K UHD, SD Card - SDSDXV6-064G-GNCIN only $13.59

The SD Card in my digital camera became corrupted while I was in Colorado on vacation. So this SD card with a larger memory is for me. Luckily, it's a Prime Day special.

Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell in Satin Nickel with Echo Dot 3rd Gen, $69.99 for both

Everyone has seen the commercials on TV where the would-be home burglars are scared away because the homeowner sees on his Ring Doorbell smart phone app what's happening even though he's at the gym.

I know a lot of people with this gadget, and they love it. Get the
Ring Doorbell with the Echo Dot and access to a multitude of Alexa apps. A Prime Day special deal you should seriously think about.

SanDisk 128GB Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive - SDCZ430-128G-G46, $14.99

Only $14.99 to backup 128GB of files. This is also for me. I have thousands of graphic images on my laptop hard drive. I'm buying this to off-load the photos and free up my hard drive.

Plus, I can use this to access the images when using my desktop computer.
Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player, only $14.99

This purchase includes $45 Sling TV credit if you want to try out Sling.

We're already fans of this amazing little gadget. Amazon Fire Stick is perfect for taking your entertainment with you. You can unplug it from your home TV and take it with you when you travel.

Plug it into the TV in the hotel room, login to your Amazon Prime and/or Netflix account, and you have all the viewing you like. I mean, $14.99? You can't beat that!

Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer, $69.95.

Join the pressure cooking generation with this Instant Pot. I gave some of these the last 2 Christmases, and they were big hits with my kids.

Easy to use and there are literally 1000's of recipes online for everything from main dishes to desserts.

Takeaway Truth

Amazon Prime Day is my biggest shopping day of the year! Make it yours and save a bundle.

Entertaining Facts About Colorado

Image by katyveldhorst from Pixabay
Today is another traveling day as we're leaving Colorado for home.

I've logged more hours in a car than I care to think about, but Texas is far into the distance.

We had a great visit with my brother and his wife at their home in the wilderness—over 8,500 feet elevation.

I'm glad to be heading home though. The mountains are a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live where I have to wear a jacket in the summer. *G*

I learned a lot about Colorado, the Centennial State, so I'm sharing them with you! Aren't you lucky?

* The world's largest flat-top mountain is in Grand Mesa.

* Mike the Headless Chicken Day is celebrated in Fruita because L. A. Olsen, a local farmer, cut off Mike's head on September 10, 1945, for a chicken dinner, but Mike didn't die. Indeed, he lived for another 4 years without a head. (Zombie chicken anyone?)
All kinds of facts are useful to writers

* Louis Ballast of Denver is said to have invented the cheeseburger and received a trademark for the name Cheeseburger in 1935.

* The highest paved road in North America is the road to Mt. Evans which exits off I-70 from Idaho Springs and then climbs to an altitude of 14,258 feet above sea level.

* Colorado means "colored red." The red marble called Beulah Red was used in building the Colorado State Capitol. Cutting, polishing, and installing the marble in the Capitol building took 6 years, from 1894 to 1900. Coincidentally, all of the Beulah Red marble in the world went into the building. (Is that true?)

* The United States federal government owns more than 1/3 of the land in Colorado.

* Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in America.

* Inspired by the view from Pike's Peak, Katherine Lee Bates wrote "America the Beautiful."

* Pueblo is the only city in America with four living recipients of the Medal of Honor.

* The 13th step of the state capital building in Denver is exactly 1 mile high above sea level.

* The tallest sand dune in America is in Great Sand Dunes National Monument near Alamosa. The weird 46,000 acres have 700-foot sand peaks created more than a million years ago by ocean water and wind.

* The highest suspension bridge in the world is over the Royal Gorge near Canon City. The Royal Gorge Bridge spans the Arkansas River at a height of 1,053 feet.

* Fort Garland, Colorado's first and oldest military post, was established in 1858 and commanded by the legendary frontiersman Kit Carson.

* On November 8, 1887, John Henry Holliday, better known as Doc Holliday, died from tuberculosis at the Hotel Glenwood in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Takeaway Truth

Travel is educational, isn't it?

Review: Shooter, The Series

Normally, I give positive reviews about movies and TV series I watch.

So I'll try to find something positive to say about Shooter, a USA Network drama series.

Based on the 2007 film of the same name which was based on the Stephen Hunter novel Point of Impact, I'll be kind and say it just didn't come together as a tightly plotted, compelling action thriller.

(Movie Photo By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use,

Shooter, the series, ran for 3 seasons. I understand it was canceled midway through the third season airing. It was recently added to Netflix. Darling Hubby is a Stephen Hunter fan and has read several of the Bob Lee Swagger books. We both liked the taut action thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as Swagger.

I can only say I was surprised it lasted 3 seasons. Ryan Phillippe is a good actor, and the rest of the noteworthy cast were excellent too, but the series just didn't represent the character as created by Hunter and brought to life by Wahlberg in the movie version.

Despite the graphic, it's not a must-watch.
There were so many contrivances to advance the story in the direction they wanted, and the character of Swagger seemed to have no situational awareness at all.

Neither did the FBI agents and Secret Service, etc. Unbelievable how many times characters were shot, ambushed, etc. because they didn't bother to even look around.

In reality, a character like Swagger in real life would be just this side of paranoid. He'd be more like the Swagger portrayed by Wahlberg.

Hubby and I were disappointed that such talented actors were either directed poorly or stuck with a subpar screenplay.

Takeaway Truth

Of course, in the television and movie industry, there are often "so many cooks in the kitchen that it tends to spoil the broth" so to speak.

Maybe it's like a book. Sometimes you put everything into it, but it just doesn't come together.

Beaches and Book Boyfriends July Giveaway

Summer time is beach time. Sun-baked beaches, fun songs played loud, ice cold drinks, coconut-scented tanning oil, and books!

Those books being romance novels with heroes who sweep their lady loves away—and you, the reader too!

A book boyfriend is almost as good as the real thing when hunky, sexy guy between the covers of a book can make you sigh with pleasure, laugh out loud, or shed a tear or two when he finally wins the heroine's heart.

So dab on a little coconut tanning lotion on your pulse points, pull up "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry, and hum along while you read about the great Romance Gems July Giveaway we have planned for you!

Oh, and watch the video, BEACHES and BOOK BOYFRIENDS at the Romance Gems Movie Theater or on YouTube.

You'll find the rules for the giveaway on the Romance Gems Policies page.

The Giveaway is sponsored by these Authors: Bonnie Edwards * Caroline Clemmons * Cheryl Bolen * Connie Vines * Constance Bretes * Elsa Kurt * Hannah Rowan * Jan Scarbrough * Joan Reeves * Judy Hudson * Kara O'Neal * Karen Kelley * Karen Whiddon * Kari Lemor * Kathleen Lawless * Kathryn Hills * Laura Hunsaker * Liz Flaherty * Lucinda Race * Nancy Fraser * Nora LeDuc * Peggy Jaeger * Satin Russell.

July Giveaway ends at 12:01am CDT, July 25, Thursday. To enter, just click Rafflecopter.

Great Prizes

Grand Prize: a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card

Second Prize: a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card

Third Prize: a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Fourth Prize: 2 print books, each autographed and mailed by the author

5th, 6th, 7th Prizes: Ebook bundles

Beach Book Bonanza

What's better than a Beach Book in the summer? Not much, especially when you're talking about these beach books by these bestselling authors! Some are sweet; some are spicy; some are downright sizzling hot! There's definitely something for everyone.

If you love one of the books described below, feel free to go ahead and buy it in case you're not the lucky winner. The buy link for each book is embedded with the title. Happy Beach Book Reading.

Brody: The Montana McKennas by Jan Scarbrough

Jan is giving away an ebook copy of Brody. Follow Jan Scarbrough on BookBub.

Brody: The Montana McKennas (Montana Ranchers Book 2) stars champion bull rider Brody Caldera.

Can the champion bull rider turn his life around and make up for past mistakes?

The Vessel by Nancy Fraser

Nancy is giving away a print copy of The Vessel to a U.S. or Canadian winner, or an Ebook if outside North America. Visit Nancy Fraser at her website.

He’s a career soldier chosen to transport a government protectee to safety. She’s a saucy, sexy alien princess who doesn’t want protection. What could be more dangerous...the possibility of kidnapping by lawless marauders? Or, their own forbidden desires?

Midnight Escape by Constance Bretes

Constance is giving away an ebook copy of Midnight Escape. Visit Constance Bretes at her Website.

Running from the mob, Suzanne Pacheco’s life takes an interesting turn when she meets Commercial fisherman Jax Devereaux. Running out of options, he takes her with him to the one place he thinks she might be safe—the middle of the sea.

Dirty Damsels by Peggy Jaeger

Peggy is giving away a print copy of Dirty Damsels and will mail it to the lucky winner. Follow Peggy Jaeger on BookBub.

The moment I saw Cynderella , I wanted to be her Prince.We ended up spending one night together—a night neither of us will forget. Now, I want more. I need more. I want to spend every night with, her. Problem is, when she finds out who I really am, she’ll never forgive me.

The Ranger's Vow by Kara O'Neal

Kara is giving away an ebook copy of The Ranger's Vow. Follow Kara O'Neal at her Pinterest Page.

Sherry Forrester isn’t interested in finding a husband. However, she does want one night of passion, and only one night, with handsome Texas Ranger Luke Calhoun. Luke needs a diversion and Sherry catches his eye—who wouldn’t want her after stumbling upon her skinny dipping? He accepts her proposition gladly. No entanglements…no problems. It’s perfect…

Mae's Cafe by Elsa Kurt

Elsa is giving away an ebook copy of Mae's Cafe. Follow Elsa Kurt on Amazon.

William is older, wiser, and nothing like any other man I’ve met. The attraction between us is instant. A twenty-six-year-old falling for an older man is exactly the kind of gossip that can stir a lot of drama in Chance. Question is, will our newfound love survive being the talk of the town?

Secret Need by Satin Russell

Satin is giving away an ebook copy of Secret Need. Visit Satin Russell at her Website.

Liz Harper is a confident mechanic who has grown past the days she was bullied in school. Alex Weston is the popular kid returning to his childhood home. When they discover dark secrets lurk in the shadows of their small town, they must learn to rely on each other if they’re going to survive.

Because of Joe by Liz Flaherty

Liz is giving an ebook copy of Because of Joe. Follow Liz Flaherty at her Facebook page.

Tell offered Rags eternal love, children and a seat in his hammock. Even with that kind of devotion, their marriage collapsed in a sea of accusations and disappointment. Years later, they meet again and instant physical attraction and emotional connection blindside them, leading them back to that perfect place. And then there was Joe.

Anora's Pride by Kathleen Lawless

Kathleen is giving away an ebook copy of Anora's Pride. Follow Kathleen Lawless on Twitter.

Fall in Love with Jesse Quantrill, “a hero who steams into every woman’s heart with his bad-boy-turned-hero machismo.” RT reviews.

Wild Card Undercover by Kari Lemor

Kari is giving away an ebook copy of Wild Card Undercover. Follow Kari Lemor on BookBub.

A chance to escape her past. An unexpected shot at love. One wrong move could cost her life and heart. Some gambles are worth the risk.

The Trouble With Love by Joan Reeves

Joan is giving away an ebook copy of The Trouble With Love. Follow Joan on Twitter.

Hotter than a Texas chile pepper! Can small town Deputy Susannah Quinn and FBI Special Agent Hogan, posing undercover as husband and wife, resist the sweet siren call of desire? They have 7 days—and nights—to catch a thief, recover stolen jewels, and avoid falling in love!

Takeaway Truth

Enter the Rafflecopter today and enter often! Good luck and Happy Beach Reading.

Review: Bugs, Slugs & Other Thugs, Controlling Garden Pests Organically

If you're like me, and a lot of other people on the planet, you're concerned about using chemical pesticides and herbicides in your yard.

Last year when I was pulling some books out of my home library to donate, I came across one I hadn't read in years. What a timely coincidence it was since I'd grown very concerned about using chemicals.

Bugs, Slugs & Other Thugs: Controlling Garden Pests Organically by Rhonda Massingham Hart was the answer to my quest to avoid chemicals in the garden.

Published in 1992, 4th printing, by Storey Communications, Inc., I hadn't recommended it before because I didn't think it was available anywhere. To my surprise, I found it listed on Amazon.

I suspect you might be able to find it in used book stores if you're persistent.

The book is 213 pages of how to deal with birds, rodents, bigger wildlife, domestic pets who roam the neighborhood, and the aforementioned bugs, slugs, and other creepy crawlies that like to gnaw on your garden plants. There are also chapters to teach you how to attract beneficial insects and animals too.

Takeaway Truth

Educate yourself about the natural way to garden and control pests. Your health—and that of others—may depend on it.

Texas Road Trip: Amarillo By Morning

We left Texas yesterday. It was a long drive to get out of the Lone Star State.

Our journey began Monday morning just after dawn.

Previously, Darling Hubby had mapped our trip to Colorado. On Sunday, he decided to check for possible road construction so he went to Drive Texas, a website that shows every highway and any construction underway in the entire state.

After checking that absolutely fantastic website, he plotted a new course.

On Monday, we headed north. Our waypoint destination was Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. This was a research trip for me because the stories in my Small Town Texas Romance series are set in that region around Amarillo so I wanted more pictures.

The first book of the series, Last Christmas, takes place in the small town of New Estacado which I modeled after Estacado, a prosperous town that quickly became a ghost town back at the turn of the 20th century.

I've always liked the stark beauty of what many consider barren areas of the state. There's something compelling about the plains, mesquite, cactus, and canyons.
The second book of the series, Brianna's Season for Miracles, takes place in New Estacado and on the fictional Walker Ranch, a large property some miles from town.

Although wealthy, the Walker family ranch couldn't hold a candle to the 65,000 acre-ranch that wealthy oilman, T. Boone Pickens of Amarillo, once owned. (He had it for sale so I suspect it's been sold.)

I'm particularly interested in the Comanche history of the area. (I'm not Comanche—Choctaw and Cherokee instead—but all Native American history interests me. The Comanche called the December full moon, the Evergreen Moon.

Beneath the Evergreen Moon will be Book 3 of the series. I don't have any cover art yet and haven't started writing it. I'm writing Heat Kills, Book 3 of Outlaw Ridge, Texas.

Anyway, Beneath the Evergreen Moon stars Gracie, the small town librarian who appeared in the first two books. The third book is also going to be set in New Estacado, and on another property near the town. Gracie has caught the writing bug from the man Brianna married, and she is especially interested in the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, the girl kidnapped by the Comanches when she was a child.

Cynthia Ann lived on the rolling plains of the East Panhandle and grew up to marry a Comanche chief. By all accounts, she was very happy there.

Her son was the famous Quanah Parker who became a great Comanche chief. The town of Quanah, near Copper Breaks State Park, is named after him.

There's a lot to see in the Panhhandle. You'll find the remains of the stone buildings of Fort Griffin and Fort Richardson. They are state parks as are most of the forts that bordered the frontier, known now as the Texas Forts Trail. There's also Palo Duro Canyon which is the second largest canyon in the U. S. The first, of course, is the Grand Canyon.

Texas Road Trip Playlist

I had created a playlist for our trip. Of course, it's mostly country music which I generally listen to on special occasions, like kicker dance halls, street festivals, and when traveling across Texas.

These are all on Amazon so you can easily sample them. If you're a Prime member, you can set up your own playlist with these. They're perfect if you want to throw a themed Beer and Boots party.
Takeaway Truth

If we'd driven it straight without stopping, it still would have taken more than 8 hours. We made it to Amarillo, not by morning, but by night.