Matthew Murphy Reveals His Fave Book, Cat's Cradle

Matthew Murphy reveals his Favorite Book.
As a reader, I have certain books that I love. I read the "chosen ones," as I call my keeper shelf, again and again. So I like to hear about other readers' favorite books.

As an author, I especially like to hear about an author's favorite books--those read several times through the years. I like to know how a book inspires, informs, and/or elevates an author's work.

Today, I'm pleased to welcome Matthew Murphy to SlingWords. Matthew's latest novel, No Man's Land, is about World War I, and the soldiers who lived, fought, and died in the trenches. WWI brought the first chemical weapons into play in the modern era.

About Matthew D. Murphy

Matthew Murphy has been learning, living and writing for several years. His experiences living across America have contributed to interesting worlds he has created in his work.

He is the author of four novels: A Western Fable, Manifest Destiny, The Woods, and, most recently, No Man’s Land.

Matt lives outside Chicago, Illinois, with his wife, two children, and two dogs. You can find Matt online here: Twitter * Facebook * Amazon Author Page * Instagram.

Cat's Cradle: My Favorite Book
by Matthew D. Murphy

After college I worked part time as an on-air producer for an AM talk radio station. Daily, I played back recordings and live satellite broadcasts of rabid political pundits.

Between commercial breaks, when I would be waiting to press play for each ad, I would read.

Once I was reading Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. It was taking me months to work through that book. I loved it. Read it twice, but it is a dense read, and, on my first go-through, it was a slog.

One of the station copywriters caught on to what I was reading. He would stop by and talk to me about the book to gauge how much I liked it. One day he came in with a small paperback and said if I liked Gravity’s Rainbow, I would love this book. It was Welcome to the Monkey House, by Kurt Vonnegut.

Of course he was right. I loved the collection the of bizarre and wonderful short stories. From there I began to devour all of Vonnegut’s books. Through the next year I read and re-read every one the library had. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across his books before. It was like opening my eyes for the first time all over again. I had no idea there were books this perfect for me. Everything was there: sex, aliens, characters so strange that they were too real, and a style that no other writer came close to.

Vonnegut was described as a humorist, though I always thought of him as a humanist. No other of his works fit this word better than Cat’s Cradle.
Image, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons

I came across that book in a used book store. It was thin, with an orange cover, and perfect 1960’s era images of a smiling sun, mushroom cloud, and two hands making the titular tangle of strings.

The edges of the pages were dyed green, giving the cheap pulp paperback the look of classic literature that it deserved. Inside, the pages had the smell of that intoxicating perfume of aged parchment and the written word.

The book was thin. I could slip it into my back pocket and take it anywhere and everywhere. It was the bible of what I thought a perfect book should be. Simple yet complex, stripped of the sin of over-writing and devoid of filler.

After college I had become uninterested in reading for pleasure. Years of reading books in order to discover themes and hidden meanings wore out my desire to crack open another book. Discovering writers like Pynchon and Vonnegut, with their irreverent take on the horrors of humanity saved me.

Cat’s Cradle hit all the right points: black humor, the lunacy behind the bureaucracy of war, made up religions, absurd characters that aren’t absurd, and an epic sweep that flies by in less than 200 pages. The invention and imagination that went into the book blows me away every time I flip through it.

Vonnegut’s words flow off the page in a musical cadence I can only dream of matching. It’s my go-to book. Whenever I am devoid of ideas or blocked while trying to develop a story of my own, I reread for inspiration. During any excruciatingly long wait, if I need to grab something to read, I always take Cat’s Cradle.

Great books are magical!
Once on a flight across country, I put the book into the pouch in the seat back in front of me. After we landed in Denver, we left the plane, and I left the book on board.

The attendant went back to look for the book, but the plane had already been cleared out. I was heartbroken. That special orange covered book had been with me for years. Now it was gone.

I took some solace in the fact that maybe someone else had picked it up and would cherish the story as much as I did. How could they not?

Years later I was at a church sale rummaging through the 25 cent paperbacks, when to my surprise and joy I found not one, but two copies identical to the version I had left on the plane. Of course, I bought them both.

Between moves I lost one, but as I write this, the last copy sits before me. Someday, when they are old enough, I will pass the book onto my kids. Until then I will sit back and once more look for inspiration from within its pages.

Readers, Check Out No Man's Land by Matthew Murphy

As fighting in the trenches of World War I drags on, a pair of American scientists appear at the front with a solution. Unbeknownst to the soldiers in the trenches but planned by the generals at the rear, the Americans have brought a gas that will change the course of the war and bring an end to the bloodshed.

After a bloody charge at the German lines, the British generals order the launch of the special gas that brings their army back from the brink of destruction and sets them about on the unsuspecting German lines.

Add No Man's Land to Your Library

Matt's book is available at: Amazon and Goodreads. Check out his profile and available books at Smashwords.

Takeaway Truth

The weekend is here. Why not pick up a copy of No Man's Land? It's free on Kindle Unlimited and only $1.99 to purchase. Have a great reading weekend!

Thursday3Some: Jade Redemption by Constance Bretes

Jade Redemption by Constance Bretes is in the Thursday3Some Spotlight today.

Meet Constance Bretes

Constance started writing contemporary romance and contemporary romance suspense 15 years ago. After multiple rejections, she landed her first contract which was for Delayed Justice, released in 2014.

Constance lives in Basin, Montana, where three feline furballs own her and her husband, plus, a dog that lives next door who thinks she also lives with the Bretes family.

Constance loves the mountains that surround her home. She also loves basket weaving, jewelry making, and just visiting all the folks in the small community where she lives.

Constance has 7 books published, and a number of others in various stages of editing. Right now, she's working on a new book called Roadside Love, a murder mystery/romance in a small town in Wyoming. Two other books--Elkhorn In The Moonlight and Rocky River Gold, both small town romances--are at the end of their editing days and are now with her critique partners.

Visit Constance Bretes online: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Beachwalk Press. You can also email her at: bretesc at (When you visit her webpage, navigate to News & Things, and enter the monthly Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. Also, join her newsletter mailing list while you're there.)

Thursday3Some Spotlight: Jade Redemption

Q1. When did you write Jade’s Redemption? 

Constance: I wrote Jade’s Redemption after Jarillo Sunset was released. Jade’s Redemption is 1 of 3 books that are interrelated, but also "stand alones."

The hero in Jade’s Redemption is Patrick Carter who is mentioned in Jarillo Sunset, as he is the brother of Vincent Carter, the hero in that book. In Love Songs, Vincent Carter is a member of Jake’s White Sands band.

Q2. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Constance:  It was Patrick’s attitude and behavior toward his family members in Jarillo Sunset that intrigued me, and made me decide to write about him.

Q3. Why do readers buy Jade’s Redemption?

Constance: Jade’s Redemption is a heartbreaking story of one woman’s life marked by a tragedy, and one man’s life journey from an abusive childhood background. These two people come together for a cause, to find two kidnapped babies.

Readers are drawn to stories that involve everyday people, in extraordinary circumstances, and how they find their happy ever after and forever love.

Here is what an Amazon reviewer said: "I was impressed at how the author shows an in-depth knowledge of police procedures and how a police investigation is conducted. The characters were real—I found myself rooting for them and wanting them to overcome their emotional baggage."

Jade’s Redemption by Constance Bretes

He's an overworked police chief, and she's a disgraced cop. Can he rescue her from her own depths of hell without losing his heart to her in the process?

Someone is kidnapping newborn infants and selling them to the highest bidder. Police Chief Patrick Carter has his hands full investigating the case. To complicate matters, he's short on staff.

Jade Harlowe has secrets, ones that she vowed no one would ever know. She used to be a police officer, but when a tragedy occurred—one that everyone held her responsible for—she resigned and moved to another state to start over, accepting a job as a dispatcher for the police, fire, and ambulance departments.

When Patrick discovers Jade's past police experience he offers her a job on the force. He needs help working the kidnapping cases, and Jade previously solved a similar case, so she could be a valuable asset. But will they be able to fight the attraction that's sizzling between them? Something that could be very distracting if they can't control it.

The clock is ticking. They have to find those babies and prevent more from being taken. But a very nosy news reporter may compromise everything if she digs deep enough to uncover Jade's past.

Neither Patrick nor Jade thought they had room for each other in their lives, but working so closely together makes it impossible to deny the chemistry. Can Patrick break through the wall Jade has built up around her, or will her past finally catch up with her and she loses everything once again?

Add Jade's Redemption to Your Library

You'll find this romance novel at Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo.

Takeaway Truth

Need some weekend reading? Try Jade's Redemption!

Take 5 With Jen J. Danna W/A Sara Driscoll

This morning my writing pal Jen J. Danna dropped by for book chat and coffee.

You may know Jen by her other author name Sara Driscoll which she uses to write the popular FBI K-9s Series.

About Jen J. Danna W/A Sara Driscoll

In the real world, Jen J. Danna is a scientist specializing in infectious diseases. She works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university.

However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing. Together with her partner Ann Vanderlaan, they write both the Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries and the FBI K-9s (as Sara Driscoll). Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two daughters.

Find Jen J. Danna | Sara Driscoll Online: Website * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest * Goodreads.

Now, please make Jen J. Danna's alter ego, Sara Driscoll, welcome.

Take 5 With Sara Driscoll

Q1. What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to food and drink?
Jen/Sara: I’m absolutely a salty snack girl. If you offer me the choice of a piece of cake or a bag of potato chips, I’ll go for the chips every time. Salt is definitely my guilty pleasure, but it’s so incredibly not good for one’s health that I don’t indulge very often. But when I do, I really enjoy it!

Q2. What would you change about your career path if you could wave a magic wand?
Jen/Sara: I’d have given myself more patience. Publishing is a long game, and the sooner an author realizes that, the easier his or her life will be. Querying takes time, and so do revisions, submissions, and then the entire traditional publishing process right up to a book’s actual release. In my opinion, it’s worth the wait for a traditional publishing deal and its production, but patience and an understanding of why it can take so long will go a long way in keeping your sanity.

Q3. What's the worst review you ever received?
Jen/Sara: I don’t know that it was the ‘worst’ review (there isn’t one that sticks out in my mind), but this one was destructive simply based on timing. It was a review of the first book we published, at a time when early reviews were really important. This reviewer had bought the book, versus getting it from the library (or she said she never would have bothered to finish it), and said she was ‘disappointed in the story, the storytelling, the cliched characters, and the banal horror show at the end’. At the beginning of your career, when you’re trying to figure out if you can actually do the job, that was painful.

Q4. What did you do, if anything, after reading that review?
Jen/Sara: We all know the golden rule is you never moan and complain in public. But there’s nothing that says you can’t stress eat or complain to your husband and writing partner! ;) Bad reviews are hard on the ego, but as authors, we need to remember that everyone has a right to their opinion, their opinion isn’t wrong, and there is no way to please everyone all the time. So, I reminded myself to continue to write the books I’d like to read, and I haven’t looked back. Our Goodreads averages are all nearly 4.0 or above, so clearly it’s working for the majority of readers.

Q5. Do you listen to music during any of the phases of writing a book? If you do, what kind of music.
Jen/Sara: I listen to music all the time when I write and often have specific playlists for particular books or moods. It all has to be instrumental though, as I find lyrics distracting when I write. Film score music really hits the spot for me and I have a natural bias towards my brothers’ film scores (Mychael and Jeff Danna), as well as Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Alan Silvestri, Mark Isham, Henry and Rupert Gregson-Williams, Howard Shore, Nicolas Hooper and many others.

Before It's Too Late by Sara Driscoll

In this powerful K-9 crime thriller, FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her trusted search-and-rescue Labrador, Hawk, must race against the clock before a diabolical killer strikes again…

Somewhere in the Washington, D.C., area, a woman lies helpless in a box. Beneath the earth. Barely breathing. Buried alive. In Quantico, the FBI receives a coded message from the woman’s abductor. He wants to play a game with them: decipher the clues, find the grave, save the girl. The FBI’s top cryptanalysts crack the code, and Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, scramble to follow a trail of false leads to the scene of the crime. By the time they solve the puzzle, it’s too late. But the killer’s game is far from over . . .

Soon another message arrives. Another victim is taken, and the deadly pattern is repeated—again and again. Each kidnapping triggers another desperate race against time, each with the possibility of another senseless death. That’s when Meg decides to try something drastic. Break the Bureau’s protocol. Bring in her brilliant sister, Cara, a genius at word games, to decipher the kidnapper’s twisted clues. Meg knows she’s risking her career to do it, but she’s determined not to let one more person die under her and Hawk’s watch. If the plan fails, it could bite them in the end. And if it leads to the killer, it could bury them forever . . .

Add Before It's Too Late To Your Library

I can't wait to read this edge-of-the-seat thriller. Add it to your library today. You'll find it at: Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Books-A-Million * Indigo Books * IndieBound.

Takeaway Truth

Want a taut thriller? Then Before It's Too Late is what you want to grab. Get it today.

Need Disposable Email Address?

Why would anyone need a disposable email address?

There are a lot of reasons. I test a lot of website apps, and I've learned that I get a lot of unwanted email from signing up for user accounts.

If I use a disposable email address, I can set up a user account, test the app, and see if I get tons of spam as a result.

If the website proves useful, I can cancel the "test" user account and set up one with my normal email address. Offers Options

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel., a website to which I subscribe, wrote an excellent article a few months ago about the various websites that enable you to create and use a disposable email address.

In Need a Disposable Email Address, they give 6 websites that offer that service and explain what each is best used for.

Do not mistake this for being anonymous online. Anytime you access a website, your IP address is automatically sent to the website (data packet). Read another article published on the same website, Can You Really Be Anonymous Online?.

Takeaway Truth

Free apps are wonderful--especially when they fulfill a specific purpose.

From My Journal: Calm and Refresh

I like Sunday. It's a day to calm the mind and refresh the spirit. Church service always does that for me.

If you're not a church goer, you need to work a little harder to achieve the calming and refreshing. You might try reading something uplifting, listening to music that creates tranquility, watching an inspirational movie, or writing in a journal.

My Journal

I keep a journal. I buy blank books whenever I find some with attractive covers. Sometimes I order a few with my book cover art as the cover. I give these away at Facebook parties, and I always keep one for myself. I also order them from WriteWay, my CafePress shop. Those journals look like the picture below. I use these for book notes, random thoughts, raging thoughts, and quotations.

My Journal from my CafePress Shop
I like to dump all my fears and negativity into a journal--kind of like emptying the cookies cached in your computer. It's a way to clear out the dross every day. I also record interesting tidbits and quotations I read. Some may be funny, some are about writing, and many are inspirational.

Here are a trio of quotations in those 3 categories from my journal. Maybe they will give you a smile, a shot of inspiration, or an attitude adjustment.


It’s important to have a good vocabulary. If I had known the difference between the words antidote and anecdote, one of my good friends would still be living. ~ Comedian John McDowell

A trip is what you take when you can't take any more of what you've been taking. ~ Adeline Ainsworth, travel writer

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone. ~ Bjarne Stroustrup, Professor of Computer Science & Designer of C++ Programming Language


Patience is the writer's ultimate virtue. Checks are always a month late, contracts take forever, and overnight success takes at least ten years. ~ Unknown

Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Why authors write I do not know. As well ask why a hen lays an egg or a cow stands patiently while a farmer burglarizes her. ~ H. L. Mencken


I'm working to change my world, not the world. ~ M. Elizabeth Dick

While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many. ~ Lady Bird Johnson

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Our main business is NOT to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. ~ Thomas Carlyle

Takeaway Truth

Happy Sunday!

Sale Alert: The Wedding Planner's Son by Donna Fasano

Looking for a good book for the weekend? Look no further because Donna Fasano is having a sale on The Wedding Planner's Son. It's only 99cents!

About The Wedding Planner's Son

Jack and Tawny are as different as sea and sky, but the fascination they find in each other’s company can’t be denied. Can they withstand the crazy twists that fate tosses their way?

Tawny McNealy is a driven, high-achiever who fully expects to someday take over and run the family accounting firm. But when an attempt is made to use her as a pawn, Tawny flees to the only place she’s ever felt truly free and happy—the beach.

Jack Barclay spends his summer days creating romantic seaside weddings for lovers. His laid-back attitude has served him well over the years. He feels stressing out about work only causes a person to miss the best parts of life.

Jack and Tawny are as different as sea and sky, but the fascination they find in each other’s company can’t be denied. Can they withstand the crazy twists that fate tosses their way?

The Wedding Planner’s Son is Book 6 of Ocean City Boardwalk Series. Find it at: Kindle * Nook * iBooks * Kobo *

Takeaway Truth

Grab a copy of The Wedding Planner’s Son before the sale ends.

Random Friday: Writer Humor

I thought I'd share a joke aimed at writers. If you know a writer--or worse, if you are a writer--you'll appreciate this.

Today's Laugh

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

The author decided to check out each place first. Descending into the fiery pits, he saw row upon row of writers chained to desks. They worked in steaming heat, and as they worked, they were beat with whips.

"Oh, no," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, the author ascended into heaven, where there were also rows of writers, chained to desks in intolerable heat. As these writers worked, they were also whipped.

"Wait just a darn minute," the writer said. "This place is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," a loud voice said. "Here, your work gets published."

Takeaway Truth

Write hard. Live free.

Fall In Love With New England Romance Reader & Author Conference

Autumn in New England attracts tourists to view the beautiful falling leaves.

Another attraction you may not know about is The Fall in Love With New England, Romance Reader and Author Conference.

(There's been an ad in the left sidebar of the blog for the last couple of months so I hope you've checked it out and taken advantage of what promises to be a wonderful weekend.)

The Romance Reader / Author Conference is being held in Manchester, New Hampshire, on October 13 and 14.

About The Conference

"In the great New England tradition, this new conference is a grassroots endeavor. It's not part of any big organization or magazine, agency or publisher. It's been organized by romance authors who want to have fun with--and spoil--their wonderful readers!

Author Ashlyn Chase established the basics for the conference, but a lot of authors contributed countless hours and ideas to make it, in a word, superb!

So if you want have a weekend of fun, talking about books and hanging out with authors, the Fall in Love With New England, Romance Reader and Author Conference is the place to be! You'll have tons of fun and make new friends too!


To Register As An Author

To Register As A Reader

Cost: For Authors $119.00 | For Readers $89.00
Registration fee includes:

~ A goody bag with schedule and FREE books
~ All workshops and author panels Friday afternoon and Saturday morning
~ Dinner Friday night and luncheon buffet on Saturday (breakfast is included in hotel fee)
~ Author and reader apple social, meet and greet
~ Plenty of interaction with your favorite romance authors
~ Loads of giveaway baskets
~ Yankee toss up Saturday night (Like a yankee swap meets let's make a deal!)
~ Friday evening Halloween costume contest with prizes
~ Readers "trick or treat" Authors' rooms with a bookmark hanging on the door
~ Free and early admission to the booksigning on Saturday afternoon


Rooms are $99+ per night and include breakfast every morning. You must book your own room at the Best Western Plus Executive Court Inn & Conference Center. in Manchester, New Hampshire. Be sure to ask for the conference pricing!

Any questions not answered on the website, email ash @ ashlynchase dot com.

By the way, the weekend of the conference is prime viewing time for the glorious autumn leaves.

Takeaway Truth

For registration and all the details, visit Fall In Love With New England.

Take 5 with JD Corbett

This morning, I'm having coffee with JD Corbett, the author of Leaving Kate.

In case, JD Corbett is new to you, here's a bit about her in her own words.

About JD Corbett

"I've always had a passion for writing! Ever since I was a little kid, I loved to write stories, and even enjoyed my assigned essays in school! (I can hear the sighs and eye rolls!)

Some of my favorite books (beside my secret passion for teen fiction) are light-hearted and witty romances, and I hope that my writing can attest to that! I am a nurse and educator by trade, but am excited that I can now share my creative side.

On a personal note, I live outside of DC with my husband and daughter, who put up with a lot from me!"

Find JD Corbett Online: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon Author Page.

Let's see how JD answers today's 5 questions.

Take 5 With JD Corbett

Q1: What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to books?

Jennifer: I am absolutely obsessed with teen fiction! Some of my favorites are the Clique novels by Lisi Harrison and I LOVE Nicola Yoon! Yes, I am in my 30’s and most of my reading is for tweens/teens…I can finally admit it!

Q2: In your most recent book, who would you cast as the main characters and why?

Jennifer: I have actually put a lot of thought into who I would cast in the role of Eric, and it would definitely be Luke Pell from JoJo’s season of the Bachelorette. I mean, he’s perfect…plus he fits my character to a T, from the southern drawl to his plaid shirts! For Kate’s character, there were a couple people in mind, but

Q3: What would you change about your career path if you could wave a magic wand?

Jennifer: I have been a nurse for 9 ½ years, and love what I do, but if I could wave a wand and place myself anywhere, I’d want to be working at a zoo or reserve with animals. My dream job as a kid was to work with tigers and other big cats. I did volunteer once at a Big Cat Reserve, but left as soon as I noticed the unusual amount of HUGE spiders that were all over the park! Yuck.

Q4: Do you listen to music during any phases of writing a book? If so, what kind?

Jennifer: I absolutely listen to music while writing, and throughout all phases!

It’s funny, because if I’m reading for fun (not my own stuff), I need complete silence, but while writing and editing my stories, I can only focus with music playing.

I listen to all sorts of music, and depending on scenes or characters, the genre changes. For example, I loved listening to Peter Gabriel’s Book of Love while writing more moving scenes between Kate and Eric. But I’ve been known to listen to anything from Rap to Disney songs!

Q5: Any final things you’d like to say to SlingWords readers?

Jennifer: I just want to add how excited I am to be a part of the Reader/Author community!

This is a dream come true, and I hope you enjoy my first book. As a newbie, I welcome all advice! So bring it on!

Leaving Kate by JD Corbett

No big chances, and no big changes. This was Kate’s motto. With her father out of the picture, and a mother who had quit being mom a long time ago, Kate finds herself floating through life under the shelter of her brother and best friend.

Afraid of rocking the boat and having to face the world alone, she makes every effort to keep her circle tight. That is, until she meets Eric, the charming Southern boy from Texas who stands out like a sore thumb in the bustling city of D.C. Eric has suffered much in his past, but, unlike Kate, he has learned to grow from his experiences instead of run from them.

When Eric first arrives in the city, he is a bit out of place. His southern drawl and beat up cowboy boots aren’t exactly a fit for the area. Motivated by the necessity to get the best help possible for his mother, he strives to rise above his tragic past and make the most of his new surroundings.

He already has plans to be a soldier, just like his father, and he will see his commitments through. After meeting Kate, he thought that falling in love was a positive turning point in his life, but instead he was taken for a ride on an emotional roller coaster.

Just when Kate finally begins to let her guard down, letting Eric in, dark events cloud her new sunny attitude towards life and love. After a traumatic incident that shatters her whole world, fears from her past re-surface and she is forced to decide if she is willing to stay open to love, or if the risk is just too great.

A decision needs to be made soon or she will lose everything.

Add Leaving Kate to Your Romance Library

You will find this romance at: Amazon * Apple * B & N * Kobo * Scribd.

Takeaway Truth

Readers, the weekend is upon us. Why not try Leaving Kate, a debut romance novel by JD Corbett?

Sweet Retaliation by Mimi Barbour

My friend Mimi Barbour dropped by to talk about her new series The Mob Tracker.

Book Chat and Coffee

Joan: Tell me about Sweet Retaliation, the first book in your Mob Tracker Series.

Mimi: This book has been a revelation to me. In fact, the whole series has worked its spell.

I’m writing the fourth and final book for the series now, and I’ll admit that it’s been bursts of magic mixed in with a hell of a lot of hard work.

Joan: What do you mean?

Mimi: Every once in a while, an author begins a new story, and as soon as it starts, the character takes over.

This happened to me. I could picture this girl in my mind, a librarian whose personality had to be that of a shy, scared, insecure miss who did nothing when she watches some mob members kill her twin.

After that incident, she needs to change into a person who feels such revulsion for her behavior that nothing matters except that she seeks revenge for the death of her brother.

How can she live with herself if she doesn’t? Right? But how can she - a weak woman who’s never stood up for herself - make it happen?

That’s when the magic starts…

Readers, Sweet Retaliation, Book 1 in this exciting series, is reduced from $3.99 to only 99 cents until the end of the month. Read on for the blurb and a Chapter 1 excerpt and a sneak peek at the sexy covers for the other books in this series!

Sweet Retaliation by Mimi Barbour

Four gang members killed her brother. Now it’s payback!
The thrills never stop…

Cassidy Santino watches a bullet rip the life from her brother and can do nothing to stop the vicious mob murder. Overflowing with rage for revenge, she dreams of making the killers pay.

The problem is changing from a naive, over-protected librarian to a woman who can dwell in the same Vegas nightclub that’s a hangout for the gang members. Her skills as a boxer, learned from years of fun sparring with her brother, help somewhat.

Now if only she can get that sweet fantasy, Detective Trace McGuire, to back off from his protective shadowing so she can put her plans in action.

Detective Trace McGuire’s sick mom is breaking his heart and filling his spare time. He sure as hell doesn’t need another responsibility in his crazy busy world. Weirdly, Cassidy Santino has wormed her way into his head and won’t be shook loose.

Working as a bartender at the Lipstick Club, she’s become invested in the seedy place, and he fears the underworld will eat her alive. Then he sees her fight and wonders if the underworld will survive her!

Excerpt, Sweet Retaliation, Book #1 of The Mob Tracker Series
By Mimi Barbour

Chapter One

What the hell was she doing following her brother, especially at night? Cassidy Santino didn’t do darkness. Not in the slums of a city like Las Vegas when, molasses thick, it threatened and terrified.

Gagging, sweating, she’d reached the end of her backbone. Thoughts of giving up and retreating gobbled up the small amount of bravery still hanging on by a thread, making her hesitate. Then worry for her twin, Raoul, kicked in.

Biting her lip, she eased forward so she could see around the rickety fence into the semi-lit alley behind a big warehouse. A group of men milled about in a circle. Two of them were head-to-head in a heated discussion. Adrenalin kicked in when she saw her brother step out of the circle.

Raoul’s shoulders were hunched in the same way he’d hold himself when their father had intimidated him as a boy. She watched him flinch and start to turn away. Then the man he’d been arguing with let out a bellow, backhanded him across the face and shoved hard. Before she could get her bewildered brain to accept the incident, Raoul went down and the other men crowded in and began kicking him.

No! Stop!

Her mind screamed the words, but her voice didn’t connect. It froze. When she opened her mouth fear struck her mute. Though she tried to release her rage, to force sound past the blockage in her throat, not even a peep escaped. She’d never felt so useless in all her sad, ineffectual years. Forcing her limbs to move, she fell forward onto her knees but couldn’t get her leg muscles to function.
Infuriating seconds ticked by as she watched the men work her brother over like he was a soccer ball, rather than a human being.

God! Please…

Movement, shuffling, a voice called out from another direction. “Police. Stop what you’re doing and back away. Get your hands up. Do it now!”

Thank you, Lord! Confidence arrived with the authorities, and Cassi felt a flood of energy. Springing to her feet, she started forward. Before she went two steps, one of the assailants stepped over to Raoul, extended his arm and a gunshot changed the rest of her life. She heard her twin grunt and saw his body jerk.


Fear vanished under her instinctive urgency to get to Raoul. She ran. To help him, save him, give up her life for him. He was all she had in the world, the only one who mattered.

Blinded by grief, unaware of the loud gunplay going on around her, she fell to her knees next to his lifeless form. Before she had a chance to understand the danger, a man dashed out, swept her to the side and covered her with his own body.

“Keep down.” Rough, his hands hurting, he pushed her head under his chest while she wiggled to get back to Raoul. “Stop it. You’ll get us both killed.” His voice, hard and angry drew her attention. She shook away from his hand and looked at him, trying to explain that the injured man was her brother and he needed help. When their eyes met, the bit of light from the building’s illumination revealed his face.

Deep blue eyes, encircled with a dark outer ring of pure determination, penetrated for an instant, an order clear and visible that only a man in command could produce. Compelled to obey, but overridden by her need to get to Raoul, she kept pushing at him, until she felt him jerk and heard his grunt of pain.

One of those monsters had shot her rescuer. Disbelief overwhelmed and in seconds the relentless fear returned. Imprisoned and helpless, the horror of the moment clawed at her sanity. Surrendering to its magnetic lure, darkness claimed her and she knew no more.

Add Sweet Retaliation to Your Library

You'll find Sweet Retaliation by Mimi Barbour available at: Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iBooks.

Takeaway Truth

Get Sweet Retaliation, and you'll discover why Readers love romance novels by Mimi Barbour.

Need Some Cheer?

How are you this fine Monday? Oh. Not feeling cheerful?

Hmm. Maybe these words of wisdom will perk you up.

Wear something red today. Christian Dior said: "Bright reds-scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson or cherry-are very cheerful and youthful. There is certainly a red for everyone."

Every time you catch yourself thinking a dark, pessimistic thought, say to yourself: "I am hopeful, enthusiastic, and optimistic." It's like Orson Swett Marden once said: "It is the hopeful, buoyant, cheerful attitude of mind that wins. Optimism is a success builder; pessimism an achievement killer."

Feeling old and tired? Try this quotation by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.: "To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old."

Wearing your cranky pants today? Change that attitude by greeting everyone with a smile. Zig Ziglar said: "Send out a cheerful, positive greeting, and most of the time you will get back a cheerful, positive greeting. It's also true that if you send out a negative greeting, you will, in most cases, get back a negative greeting."

Have you noticed that you feel better when you're with cheerful people? Then pass that on. It's like Lydia M. Child said: "You find yourself refreshed in the presence of cheerful people. Why not make an honest effort to confer that pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy."

Finally, from one of my favorite singers, Beverly Sills: "A happy woman is one who has no cares at all; a cheerful woman is one who has cares but doesn't let them get her down."

Takeaway Truth

There's a difference in happy and cheerful. I think if you're cheerful, you have a better chance of growing happiness. Have a golden day!

Saturday Recipe Share: Chicken Napoli

Is there anyone who doesn't like Italian inspired food? It rules in my household.

Today's dish is an easy and delicious entree that you'll love. The best part is that it's a skillet dinner. Get some chicken out of the freezer now so you can make this tonight.

Chicken Napoli


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves, skin removed
  • 1 3/4 cups of chicken broth (that's a 14 oz. can)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • 1 clove fresh garlic finely minced or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes (I use Red Gold. They're wonderful.)
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped, optional
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked medium shell pasta or a similar sized pasta of your choice.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the chicken pieces and saute until browned.
  • Add the broth, oregano, garlic, tomatoes, green pepper, and onion to the skillet.
  • Heat to a boil then stir in the pasta.
  • Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes or until the pasta is done.
Serves 4 to 6.

Takeaway Truth

Have a wonderful weekend.

Today, Kiss Me, Thrill Me Is FREE, FREE, FREE

That's right. Today you can get Kiss Me, Thrill Me, a collection of romance novels designed to thrill the hopeful romantic, FREE--and you don't have to be a Kindle Unlimited subscriber!

Kiss Me, Thrill Me is FREE for everyone!

Kiss Me, Thrill Me: As Only You Can

Kiss me. Thrill me. These words sighed softly in a lover’s embrace were the inspiration for this collection of 7 contemporary romance novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.

Whether you’re looking for the humor of romantic comedy, the sass of chick lit, the adventure of fantasy romance, the thrilling locales of international romance, the poignance of second chance love, forced marriage romance, or medical romance, Kiss Me, Thrill Me has it.

Some of these novels are heartwarming, and some are heart-throbbing.

Some are set in exotic locales like France and the Greek Isles, and some are homegrown in the United States.

Some will make you laugh, and some will make you blink back tears.

All of these emotion-drenched love stories will touch the hopeful romantic in you and make you believe in the magic of love.

Takeaway Truth

Many romance novels are written, but these are some you'll remember. Add Kiss Me, Thrill Me to your Romance Library today.

Busy Day: Here's a Quote Post

Today is a busy day with appointments and with the contractor finishing work. I hope. So I'll be leaving early this morning.

My post today is just a quotation.

I found it in one of my folders of clippings. I laughed when I read it--just as I probably did the first time I read the quote.

Actress Angie Dickinson was one of the hottest sex symbols of the 1950's through 1970's.

Once upon a time, Angie said: I dress for women--I undress for men."

Takeaway Truth

Most women probably think this even if they don't say it.

Birthday Celebration Rafflecopter Giveaway by Angela Ford

I love to escape with a book, and Angela Ford, my guest today, makes that possible for readers with  , a romantic thriller that's free to read on her blog.

Each month in 2017, Angela posts a new chapter of the book on her blog.

About Angela Ford

Bestselling and Award-Winning Author, Angela Ford hit Amazon's Top 50 Authors with her #1 Bestseller in Christmas Holiday Romance.

Her dedication to Cyber Safety gave her an Award of Distinction and sparked the idea for her first book Closure that hit Bestselling Action & Adventure, Women's Fiction, bestseller list.

In between writing mysteries, Angela writes short contemporary romance...sometimes sweet...sometimes spicy...sometimes with a dash of suspense!

Angela loves to connect with her readers. Sign up for her Newsletter to follow new releases, sales, and giveaways.

Visit Angela online at her:
Website * Romantic Escapes * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads and Amazon Author Page.

About Still by Angela Ford

What happens in the park...changes her life, forever.

Still by Angela Ford was a semi-finalist in a screenwriting contest! To celebrate this victory, she decided to share the short mystery suspense with her readers for FREE--with an added bonus to continue the story with a new chapter every month in 2017!


The unsolved murder in the park of Brianna’s sister becomes personal. Homicide has no leads, but Brianna does. Signed into the same chat group her sister used, she lures the killer her way. What she discovers will change her life, forever...

Behind the Story
by Angela Ford

I love crime suspense! My inspiration to write Crime Mystery came from the days spent as a parent volunteer in my kids' school. As School Council Chair, I held annual Cyber Safety Seminars with our local police. We helped educate parents to keep their kids safe online.

My short suspense, Still, was written for a script-writing contest a fellow author had mentioned. Not that I’d ever thought about script-writing, I thought it would be an exciting challenge. Thrilled I made it to the semi-finals, with a great review. I wanted to share the excitement with my readers. My New Year's resolution for 2017! The only one I've ever kept, *LOL*, love my readers!

In January 2017, I uploaded Still to my website blog, Romantic Escapes, with the first chapter to continue the story. I’ve continued every month with a new chapter! I love doing this for my readers. I feel like I’m giving something back for their continued support, reviews, and friendships. It’s not a chore, or a task. I don’t fight for the time to fit it in. It’s just important to me to share with my readers, to say thanks.

We have 4 months left of the year! Which means 4 chapters of twists and turns to find the killer! Readers who have followed Still are attempting to guess Who Dunnit?

Not even I know that. Seriously! I love to be kept in suspense. *LOL* Makes it more fun to write!

Besides finding out who the killer will be, my readers are also trying to guess who Brianna (our heroine) will end up romantically with. Will it be the sexy detective Jeremy (her old boyfriend from college), or her sweet childhood friend, Pete? We all need a dash of romance in a mystery!

Stay tuned. There are many twists coming over the next four months.

Catch up with Still now at my blog, Romantic Escapes. All chapters are available for FREE for your enjoyment.

Watch the video for Still on YouTube.

Angela's Birthday Means a Gift for You!

Angela turns 50 on September 13th! That's today! To celebrate FAB 50, she’s giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Contest runs until midnight September 13th.

Enter today! Just click to enter on Rafflecopter. Or click to enter at Angela's Facebook Event.

Or click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway

Takeaway Truth

Free reads are always great so check out Still . Be sure and click the Giveaway Links and wish Angela a Happy Birthday. You just might win the $50 Amazon Gift Card she's giving away.