Motel Hell, What Would You Do?

M.J. Flournoy (Melba Moon) and attend a lot of workshops together. For one such workshop there were no reasonably priced rooms near the workshop venue. I went on Priceline to find a room. When I found a good price I booked our room for 2 nights. Many people know that booking anything from Priceline often requires a nonrefundable payment. So. I paid for our room. The motel room wasn’t one with a 5 star rating or even a 4 star. Since it was in a nice town and near the workshop venue we figured we could make it work.

When we checked in and went to our room we found the door lock loose. On the way to grab supper we reported this to the manager. He assured us it would be repaired by  the time we returned. It wasn’t, so we tried to get our money back. After reminding me the deposit I had paid was nonrefundable, the manager let me cancel the second night.

Since we knew there were no available rooms around the area, we propped a chair against the door, used the lock that did work, and slept in our clothes. I’m not done yet!

When we got up after sleeping very little I spotted a hair in the sink too short and black to be mine or Melba’s. We took pictures of that and a stain and short hairs I found on my sheets near the bottom of the bed.  Melba found a stain on her bed, too! Good thing we slept in our clothes!  Showing the photos of the hair to the manager on our way out accomplished almost nothing,  since we had stayed in the room. His explanation that sometimes linens came from the laundry with fuzz, even though they had been through scalding hot washes and hot driers, did nothing to make me feel better!

He did offer us coupons for discounts later, but we chose to post on social media and travel sites instead.

What would you have done?

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Do you want to lose 10 pounds? (by Dave Barry)

Today I’m sharing a chuckle-worthy post by Dave Barry. Enjoy!

“You want to lose ten pounds but you don’t have a personal trainer like the celebrities do? Well, you will just have to rely on willpower. And of course you don’t HAVE any willpower.


If you did, you’d be doing stomach crunches right now, instead of reading this. But there you sit, limp-like, while the millions of fat cells in your thighs mate furiously and give birth to gigantic litters.”

LOL! Hope you enjoyed this fun post. Please share your healthy eating tips in the comments below.


Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband.They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and an old house forever needing renovations.

“Like” her Author Facebook Page.

Love British narrators? Check out my audiobooks:

Seeking Patience

Seeking Catherine

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The Cowboy, an American Original

Cowboys…gotta love ‘em!

Toni V. Sweeney

Fotolia_3270817_M copy-1

He’s an icon…a symbol of America’s Old West…a representation of all that’s wild and free but adhering to a brand of justice as well as a creed all his own.  Representative of the United States perhaps even more than the Minute Men.  After all, it wasn’t George Washington who took his Wild West Show to Europe and dazzled kings and queens.


The cowboy was revered in song and novel even during his own time, and has continued to be so, beginning with Owen Wister’s The Virginian (1902) which is considered the “first great novel of the American Western Literature.”  It’s also where the famous line “When you call me that, smile!” originated. With the adventure of movies and later television, his fame grew.

There were individuals from that era who became famous simply because they were cowboys. Real people now legendary…how many don’t know of Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickock, Wyatt Earp, or Bat Masterson, or from the distaff side…Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane?

One of the first movies made was The Great Train Robbery (1903), considered a milestone in filmmaking because of its innovative camera work.  The westerns that followed are too numerous to mention, from silents into talkies, television, and comic books. A good many novels by Louis L’Amour and Zane Gray were made into folms. Consider Riders of the Purple Sage, Shane, and The Virginian. We all remember that last scene from Shane, don’t we? Then, how about High Noon and 3:10 to Yuma.

For a while, television was dominated by the cowboy with series for both adult and children. The Lone Ranger was present, as was Fury. There were entertaining but juvenile ones such as Cowboy G-Men. Then…once again…there was The Virginian, famous for being the only 90-minute series on television, as well as the fantastic and hilariously satiric episodes of the Adventures of  Brisco County Junior, which sent actor Bruce Campbell rocketing to fame.  There was F Troop and Bonanza, Wagon Train and Laredo and Laramie. Even Disney got into the act with The Ballad of Andy Burnett, Texas John Slaughter, and Elfego Baca.

Of course, there was the most famous of them all, Gunsmoke, considered the first “adult” Western TV series, because it represented a truer accounting of Western life and the hero didn’t always get the girl or ride off into the sunset.  Sometimes the hero actually got gunned down in the street. This landmark almost starred John Wayne as Marshal Dillon, but he opted out of the “small screen” for a newcomer named James Arness.

Matt Dillon and Paladin might’ve been Kings of the Western, riding back-to-back on Saturday nights, but Warner Brothers was the kings of the series.  Almost every night contained a Warner Brothers series in the listings…from 77 Sunset Strip to Hawaiian Eye.  They certainly held the title for most Westerns, too.  There wasn’t a night of the week that one couldn’t see one of Warners’ cowboy heroes on the small screen.

They were:

Cheyenne (1955-1953) – Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie, a cowboy raised by the Cheyennes.

Bronco (1958-1962) Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne, a former Confederate officer from Texas, now a cowboy.

Sugarfoot (1957-1961) – remake of a Will Rogers’ movie, with Will Hutchins as Tom Brewster,  an Easterner who comes to Oklahoma territory and studied law by correspondence. He was called “Sugarfoot” because that designation was even lower than a “tenderfoot.”

Colt .45 (1957-1960) – Wayde Preston as Christopher Colt, as an Old West pistol salesman. In 1959, Donald May took over as Sam Colt, Jr., cousin of Christopher.

Lawman (1958 – 1962)  – John Russell as Marshal Dan Troop and Peter Brown as Deputy Johnny Mackay, in Laramie, Wyoming.

The Alaskans (1959 – 1960) – Roger Moore as Silky Harris and Jeff York as Reno McKee, a pair of Skagway, Alaskan conmen out to scam as many Yukon-bound travelers as they could.

And, of course, those best-loved of all, the Mavericks (1957-1962).

This series consisted of a family of Texas gamblers.  There was Brett Maverick, the original and titular character, his brother Bart, English Cousin Beau, and father “Pappy” and his brother, Uncle Bentley.  During one season when there was a dispute going on between the stars, a new character in the person of another brother, Brent, was introduced but for such a short time, he’s barely remembered now.  The Maverick franchise won fame for its stars and engendered several made for TV movies.

No matter how many series, novels, or movies there are, they all embody one thing…the allegory of the struggle between good and evil in a land where a man could forget his past and start over, but sometimes that past would catch up to him and then he had to make a choice.

The cowboy has become a symbol of a special kind of nobility and freedom. If there is truly a “Noble Savage” then the cowboy could be considered his counterpart.

Toni V. Sweeney generally writes scifi/fantasy but she’s also written her share of  Westerns, all published by Class Act Books:

NEVengeance from Eden-1

NEBRASKA:  Vengeance from Eden


NEBRASKA: Walk the Shadow Trail


The Man from Tipperary


The Cattle Baron’s Kid

The Sunday Man     5.TheSundayMan-1


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Happy Mother’s Day! (and exciting book news)

Mother’s Day is a holiday celebrated annually in more than 150 countries, although it is celebrated on different dates. This day is a tribute to all mothers and motherhood.

The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908. Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis. Anna began a campaign to make Mother’s Day a national holiday, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.



And…in other news…if you haven’t yet nominated OH DANNY BOY for the Kindle Scout program, you can nominate the book at the link below. No purchase necessary. And, if selected, you’ll receive the copy absolute free!  Thank you!

#KindleScout #contemporaryromance




Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband.They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and an old house forever needing renovations.

Subscribe to her Youtube channel

Sign up for her newsletter for a free ebook!


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Favorites Foods, Movies, Books, and Cars

My favorite kid book was The Box Car Children.

Favorite movies— Hmmm I still watch Sweet Home Alabama and almost anything with Reese Witherspoon.

I LOVE Fords and vintage Mustangs.

I am a chocoholic, but I can eat my wright in shrimp and roast beef or pork roast.

Favorite books? The ones I am reading.I don’t read books over and over again. Author/121044561311561

Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab's Mustang

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Introducing USA Today bestselling author, Donna Fasano!

I’m thrilled to host USA Today bestselling author, Donna Fasano, on our blog today!

And … here’s Donna:

I’ve always loved books where a man and a woman are brought together by a child. My newest release, MADE IN PARADISE, is just such a story and one I hope will touch your heart. It’s the second book in A Family Forever, a series of stand-alone, themed romances where couples find love and a forever family after being brought together by little ones.

Here’s more about MADE IN PARADISE:

Made In Paradise
A Secret Made in Paradise…

Her child is alive! For ten years Amber has believed her child was lost to her forever. Then an unexpected inheritance leads the lovely doctor back home… to the man she’s always loved. There she discovers her beloved Jon is a bachelor father, and the little girl he is raising is their daughter!

Jon has vowed to protect and cherish his child, yet he opens their lives to let Amber in. But this dedicated father is no longer the young lover Amber remembers. Can she uncover the tender man she has never forgotten, and convince him to take a chance on their newly formed family, and their own true love?

You can find the eBook in these stores:

US Kindle

UK Kindle





Coming soon in Paperback!

Please welcome Donna to our blog by leaving a comment below.


Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Follow her on Instagram.

Subscribe to her newsletter and receive a free historical romance!

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Cowboys and Indians

Though none of the cowboy stories in our anthology The Cowboys of Clark’s Folly has any Native Americans, Texas was home to hundreds of tribes of American Indians. I’ll only name and discuss a few, living around the location in Texas where our fictional town, Clark’s Folly, would be.


The Apaches dominated almost all of West Texas and ranged over a wide area from Arkansas to Arizona. Two groups of Apaches, the Lipans and the Mescalaros, were of primary importance in Texas. Apaches were among the first Indians to learn to ride horses and lived a nomadic existence following the buffalo.


The Biloxis gave their name to the area around Biloxi, Mississippi, where they first encountered European explorers. They began to migrate westward in the 1760s to avoid white interference. By 1828, a group had settled along the Neches River in present-day Angelina County. The Biloxies became allies of the Cherokees and were caught up in the violence in 1839 that drove the Cherokees out of Texas.


The Cherokees were one of the principal Indian nations of the southeastern United States. Wars, epidemics, and food shortages caused many Cherokees to migrate west to Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas in hopes of preserving their traditional way of life. Those who remained behind in the Southeast were eventually removed forcibly to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in the incident known as the “Trail of Tears.”

Cherokees settled in Texas near the Red River. Pressed further south by American settlement, in 1820 about sixty families under Chief Bowl (Duwali) settled in Rusk County near the Caddos. As Americans settled that area, distrust grew between them and the Cherokees. Hoping to gain a legal title to their land, the Cherokees invested a great deal of energy in cultivating a relationship with Mexico. Hoping to protect this relationship, they remained neutral between Texas and Mexico during the Texas Revolution.


The Comanches dominated a vast area of North, Central, and West Texas. There were at least thirteen active bands of Comanches, with five playing prominent roles in Texas history. These unparalleled horsemen led a nomadic lifestyle following the buffalo. They controlled trade in produce, buffalo products, horses, and captives throughout their domain. In the 1700s, the Comanches made their presence known in Texas by warring with the Apaches and the Spanish. Fearing that they would lose Texas to the Comanches, the Spanish negotiated a peace treaty with them in 1785. When the Spanish were unable to keep their promises in trade goods and gifts, Comanche raiding against the Spanish resumed, with many of the stolen horses being traded to newly arrived Americans.

There is also mention of the Cheyenne and who could forget the Kickapoo Indians?

The Cowboys of Clarks Folly is an anthology of four stories of love and romance in the Lone Star State.  Interestingly enough, three of the authors are from Georiga—MM
Mayfield, MJ Flournoy and Carol Shaughnessy.  I’m a transplanted Texan, originally from South Carolina.  The settings are interesting seen from different views of the landscape of Texas.

Happy Friday from England!


****Leave a comment and you are entered to win an eBook of my horsey book Gambler’s Choice!****

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Readers Riot!

Yellow irises

The last of my irises for Spring 2017!


Georgiana Fields in thought and her hubby up to mischief!


Carol Shaughnessy, ready to sell some books!


Gilded Dragonfly authors set up for the morning in Florence, Alabama! Carol Shaughnessy, Georgiana Fields, Author M J Flournoy,, Nan Monroe, and her other half behind her.  Mary Marvella hides behind the camera!  What a fun weekend!

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Today is National Honesty Day

Today is National Honesty Day. First, here’s a brief history on how this day came about:

Hirsh Goldberg of Maryland started this holiday in the 1990’s because he was writing a book: The Book of Lies: Fibs, Tales, Schemes, Scams, Fakes, and Frauds That Have Changed the Course of History and Affect Our Daily Lives.

His concept for this day was to ask questions without ulterior motives, and expect answers of brutal honesty. In the process, he hoped to heal wounds and create clear communication, thus allowing a better understanding in our relationships. Also remember that being honest begins with being honest with yourself.

How can we celebrate National Honesty Day?

Well, let’s be honest! Use this time to lift burdensome secrets from your shoulders in an honest, forthright fashion. We can also discuss any dishonesty within our workplace, as well as with our family and friends.

Will you be observing National Honesty Day? If so, how? Please share your comments below.

USA Today Bestselling Author Josie Riviera writes Historical, Inspirational and Sweet Romances. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their empty nest with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.
Follow Josie on Instagram.

And, I’m thrilled to announce that Seeking Patience, my Regency Inspirational, is now available as an Audiobook! I hope you love my wonderful narrator’s British accent as much as I do!



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Bride of the Beast by Toni V. Sweeney

I’d never written anything even remotely biblical before, so when I started on Bride of the Beast, I was surprised at the turns it took.

Bride of the Beast is based on the story of the golden idol in the Book of Exodus.

My question was: What exactly happened to those who back-slid or didn’t show enough faith while Moses was in the mountains receiving the Commandments from God?

Some of his people built a golden calf (the goddess Hathor) and worshiped it in an attempt to ensure their safety in case Moses doesn’t return. Malachi ben-Gurion’s people built a golden cat (Bubastis) and ask the goddess to protect them, but only until Moses comes back, then they plan to worship Yahweh again.

It doesn’t turn out that way, however.

Unlike the others, Malachi finds himself and his eldest son punished in a particularly horrible way, and also every leader of his portion of the tribe thereafter, for at every full moon he transforms into a beast, and anyone seeing his face during that time changes, also.

It’s into this kingdom, with a king cursed forever to wear a mask hiding his face from his people, that a young woman descended from the Egyptians comes as a bride. Only one who has selfless love will free the king from becoming a beast, and Michael believes his bride’s love for him can break the curse. Senset herself has doubts. Is she as unselfish as her husband thinks?

Unfortunately, Senset isn’t her husband’s savior and the outcome is what no one expects.

I’ve always liked studying ancient history, so gathering facts was a treat. There was so much to delve into concerning the ancient Egyptians (from whom the AEgysians are descended) and the ancient Hebrews (from whom Michael and his people trace their ancestry).
The AEgysians are descended from a group of Egyptians exiled from their country and settling in the middle of the continent. They called their new home “Aegys” because the god Ra-Horakhty took them under his aegis, his shield, and protected them.

The Habiru are the Hebrews in the story, also descended from an exiled tribe, this one part of the group who built golden idols to worship while Moses was in the mountains receiving the Commandments from God. In the story, Michael tells Senset how his people once ruled her people before being overcome by stronger forces who made them slaves. They were called the Hyksos, the “Shepherd Kings,” thundering into Egypt in their war chariots, from Asia. The Habiru ride horses and that’s one reason the Aegysians consider them “beasts”…because they rode horses instead of using chariots.

Since this story wasn’t to be about ancient Egyptians and Hebrews, per se, but of an off-shoot, I did take some artistic license when using the information I found. Reasoning that a people separated from their main group for generations might justifiably change their ceremonies over the years, I make some of the rituals slightly different from the originals. The AEgysians rulers don’t marry their sisters but take their wives from the countries they conquer, thus making them allies. A ruler has wives and concubines, but has the choice of which woman he marries will become his Prime Wife and thus higher than all the rest.

For my delving into Jewish customs, I was fortunate to find a site called “Judaism 101” which became my primary source. From it, as well as other searches, I learned of marriage rituals, childbirth customs, and coming of age ceremonies, as well as funeral rites.

Writing Bride of the Beast was an enlightening experience. It’s a bit of an unusual take on the Beauty and the Beast story, as well as the werewolf one, and I hope it will be both that and an entertainment for its readers also.

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