Horses! And More Horses! From a Horse Lover!

From the time I was born, I was in love with horses.  Every Christmas, I’d rush to the window to see if there was a pony tied to a tree.  Sadly, there never was until my parents moved to a small farm near where we’d formerly lived. Then they bought me a black paint gelding I named First Fling. I was thirteen at the time. From that beginning, after I married, I went on to breed Egyptian Arabians and later the magnificent Andalusian horse.  My stallion Bonito was three times National Champion.

I was never a cowgirl, per se, but I liked this picture, and dedicate The Cowboys of Clark’s Folly, an anthology of four Western romances, by MM Mayfield (our MM), MJ Flournoy, Carol Shaughnessey, and c’est moi, to Cowgirls Everywhere!!

So, it was predestined that at some time I would write a book about horses and the people who love them.  I can testify that this love can be one to distraction!  I had never participated in 3-Day Eventing, a very demanding and dangerous sport, but my friend in Florida was an eventer.  If I ran into a problem with the technical information, I called Helen.  She’d walk me through the event. I didn’t ramble off into too much detail because I didn’t want to bore the non-horsey reader. The techniques of the half-pass, the shoulder-in, and the canter pirouette are probably not familiar to most people outside the horse aficionado.

Gambler’s Choice is the name of a jumping class in a horse show. I think that name and the excitement of that race against the clock inspired the book.  In this class, each team (horse and rider) that makes a clean round goes on to the next.  The fences are raised, and again they must beat the best time of other entries.  A sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of experience.

I named the equine star after the class.  Though the book is a romantic suspense, the story is really about two people who love one horse.  Becca is willing to pay any amount for Gambler’s Choice. Austen is not going to sell his best friend for any price. Perhaps, a horse person is the only one who’d understand how dramatic this conflict is.

Gambler’s Choice is Available from The Wild Rose Press or on Amazon —  for horse lovers!

I love this GIF so I’m going to add it yet again in my ramblings about horses.  This, Ladies & Gents, is the majestic Andalusian horse in what appears to be only schooling tack.

Have a wonderful weekend!!



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Welcome Marie Higgins and Her Heroic Rogue Series!

RE-INTRODUCING… Heroic Rogue Series

Marie Higgins

Have you ever read a story and realized that something was off? Well, I have. A series of my stories, in fact. This is my personal favorite series, my favorite twists and turns, and my favorite falling in love scenes…and yet something was missing. These books were in the wrong era!

When I first wrote the Heroic Rogue Series, each book was set in the Colonial era in the US, just before the Revolutionary War. Once I realized I needed to take these stories and put them into England during the Regency era, everything began to take shape. Now my stories fit perfectly!

Heroic Rogue Series – Heroes who fight to protect their country from Napoleon’s controlling hand…and men who won’t give up on the women who have captured their hearts.


“Pretending You’re Mine” – Portraying her twin is the only way Mercedes Maxwell can get close to her sister’s husband to learn his secrets. William Braxton is confused about the sudden change in his wife, and yet, now he’d drawn to her like never before. Can they fall in love with numerous secrets between them?


“After the Loving” – Marcus Thorne / Captain Hawk is determined to capture Napoleon’s spies, even if one is so very lovely and seductive. Isabelle Stanhope gives her heart to her captor, even if she’s forced to marry a man she doesn’t love. Can they fight against fate’s rules?

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“Wonderland by Night” – Nobody must know that Lady Emiline Lucia’s uncle is Napoleon Bonaparte. She must protect herself against those who hate France’s emperor. Gabriel Lawrence hides his identity as a spy. How can he protect them both if a spy against the crown is always one step ahead…and wants Gabe dead?

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“Worth Fighting For” – Lindsay Lennox, youngest daughter of Turkey’s governor, will do anything to meet and kiss a man…even sneak aboard a ship that is sailing to England. Captain Barry Braxton is heading home to take over his dying father’s place, co-partnering with his uncle (William Braxton). Will the lovely stowaway stop his plans?

GIVEAWAY – leave a comment on this blog with your name and email, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive a free book of your choice! (I have 42 to choose from)

Author’s Bio

Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of Christian and sweet romance novels; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. She’s been with a Christian publisher since 2010. Between those and her others, she’s published over 40 heartwarming, on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories and broadened her readership by writing mystery/suspense, humor, time-travel, paranormal, along with her love for historical romances. Her readers have dubbed her “Queen of Tease”, because of all her twists and turns and unexpected endings.

Visit her website / blog to discover more about her –

Find her on Facebook –

And Twitter –

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Two reasons why National Sugar Cookie Day is a Fun Holiday

Today is National Sugar Cookie Day, which works for me. In my house, sugar cookies usually don’t last very long.

Why would sugar cookies have their own special day? Well, because everyone, young and old alike, love sugar cookies!

So what are the two reasons National Sugar Cookie Day is such a fun holiday?

  1. You can satisfy your sweet tooth all day long.
  2. Sugar cookies are easy to make.

Do you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe? Please share 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 live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Send her an email at:

Sign up for her blog and subscribe to her newsletter for a free ebook on her website:

Can’t make it to Ireland this summer? Oh Danny Boy, my sweet contemporary novel, will transport you there. Snag your ebook or paperback copy today!




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Rope a Cowboy for Only $2.99–What a Deal!!

A cowboy is highlighted in the sunset and is looking down.

The Cowboys of Clark’s Folly is now in PRINT! and to celebrate the publisher, Gilded Dragonfly Books, has placed the eBook on sale for only $2.99. Authors MM Mayfield  and MJ Flournoy asked me to join them and Carol Shaughnessy in this anthology of love and romance in Texas.

An excerpt from my story Return to Folly (the hero Ash meets the heroine Trish):

Behind him, Charlie said, “Quarter Horses race, too.”

“Faster than a Thoroughbred in a quarter-mile.” Ash spun on his boot heel. Giving Charlie a thumbs-up.

“Best you remember that.” An average-looking woman of average height stepped to Charlie’s side. She didn’t smile.

Squinting in the sun, Ash sized up a girl about his age. On closer examination, he decided she was striking in a non-fancy way. Dirty blonde hair fell over one big brown eye. An elegant hand stained with hoof polish swiped the silky strands back from a high forehead. The unsmiling mouth was generous and wide. Feed her and clean her up and she’d be a presentable…opponent. The look in her eyes was as unwelcoming as Deanne’s steely gaze.

He snapped a smart salute, mocking her stance. “I’ll do that, ma’am. I’m Ash McGowan. You are?”

“Trish.”  One word. No introduction, more or less bugger off.

Tempted to exercise his unused English accent, he said, “My pleasure, Trish. I presume you work with the horses.”

“Right presumption.”

“Maybe I’ll see you around the stables.” He continued to the rear of the car, dismissing her as curtly as was polite, but smiling inside. What a feisty filly.

“The funeral is day after tomorrow,” Trish said loudly enough to carry. Her native Texan accent appealed to his ears. “Mrs. McGowan waited for you to get here.”

He froze with his hand on the hot trunk. Without turning, with voice like ice he spat, “Thank you for telling me.”

“You didn’t know?”  The incredulous question burst from the gutsy Trish.

Gritting his teeth on the pain, he rammed the key into the lock. “No one told me.” He hoisted his valise and faced a sea of surprised faces. Glaring at Deanne, he halted in front of her and could no longer resist. “Were you going to wait until after the funeral to advise me of the date, Mrs. McGowan?” He added sarcastic emphasis to her supposed title.

At least the woman had the decency to look shocked. “Ash!”

“Dad had my number.” Whether you knew it or not, we talked often. His tense jaw ached. “You could have called.”

She merely glared back at him, a queen confident in her authority.

Ash shot her a thunderous parting glance and stepped around the female hellhound, not respecting her boundaries. Staring straight ahead, he edged through the spectators. He felt their eyes on him, but his path to the door didn’t waver. He’d never been angry enough to kill before. In those few heartbeats staring into her eyes, white-hot fury blazed through him.

As he strode past, Trish’s incredulous accusation echoed in the country stillness. “Mrs. McGowan?”

The girl was brazen to the point of irritation, but she was brave challenging the reigning monarch of Marathon Ranch. Another surge of anger burned his stomach. He planned to bring the intruder’s false reign to an end.

Have a fabulous weekend! The Amazon links for Cowboys are:  Ebook and Print

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A First I’d Prefer To Forget!

One week ago I had a first I’d just as soon forget! For as long as I can remember I have been proud to announce that I still have my original organs. I see doctors only when I must to get prescriptions filled and I only take one regularly. I sleep off the flu! No doctor visit for me.

I’m always the slowest eater in a group. I don’t hurry, because I can’t. Since some foods make me cough, usually dry ones, I avoid most of those! Eating before I tutor doesn’t often happen. Liquid meals work best before I have to teach. My point is that I am a careful eater!

Last week I had prepared fish and spinach and was looking forward to enjoying my tasty dish!  I dug in for two bites! The first made my taste buds happy. The second one made my esophagus close! I’m not talking allergy but stubborn muscles! I could breathe fine. I just couldn’t drink or eat anything. Even saliva stopped at the spot where the fish lodged. Relaxing in my chair didn’t work. Heading to bed to rest didn’t work. NOTHING worked! This event was not the first referenced in the title. A Thanksgiving meal 20 years ago was spoiled by that first hungry bite and the stubborn tube that was supposed to take my food down to my stomach.

I missed helping photograph a wedding because of one bite of cheese and lunch meat. Anything can cause that problem to a lesser degree. It seldom lasts more than a few minutes.

Back to last week. 7 hours after the bite stopped its natural pathway I had tired of having my saliva come back up. So I prepared for a first I hoped wouldn’t happen. I dressed, hoping making the decision to deal the the problem would make it go away. Then I got into my car and drove to the hospital. The problem persisted. Yes I was making my first trip to the emergency room!  At 74 I made my first trip to the emergency room because my esophagus had closed and wouldn’t open. I don’t go to the emergency room! But I did!

That was not my favorite first! When the doctors and nurses told me I shouldn’t have waited, I knew I hadn’t wussed out. The food removal made it better! Time for the procedure to widen my wimpy esophagus!  Meanwhile, slow eater Mary is being slower eater Mary!

And folks say I’m stubborn!

Another first! Recently I edited and then published this anthology or collection!  Check it out if you know someone who likes short reads that make a person feel good or raise low spirits for any reader! Author/121044561311561

Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab








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Happy Fourth of July!

July 4th became a federal holiday in the U.S. in 1870.

Since then, Independence Day has remained an important symbol of patriotism for America, as well as a national holiday.

Because the Fourth of July falls during the summer, many people celebrate with outdoor barbecues and fireworks. Don’t forget to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner, which is the United States national anthem.

My family and I will get together for a barbecue, complete with hamburgs, hot dogs, salt potatoes and maybe a pineapple. LOL!

How will you celebrate the fourth of July? Please leave your comments below.

Have you picked up your copy of Oh Danny Boy? Enjoy the holiday and be transported to Ireland! Happy Reading!


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.

“Like” her Author Facebook page.

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Inspiration from the Garden

‘The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.’ ~Hanna Rion

We enjoyed a splendid June in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia until the past few days. Late June and July are hot and humid. Rains keep passing us by so I’m praying we get some of these storms soon, but not the really bad ones. The battle to survive without succumbing to nature’s harsher side is here.
I’ve prepared the gardens as best I can. The plants we grow are hardy wildflowers, heirlooms, and herbs, with some vegetables and fruits mixed in. Many of the flowers choose their own sites.
Every single day in the garden is different and constantly changing from early spring through late fall. A perpetually altering world, magical in its way. I ordered more seeds from my favorite site and am expanding.
I must have planted another pound of wild flowers this past week. There are many nooks and thistly spots on the farm that could use some magic. Coreopsis, hollyhocks, aster, evening primrose, and larkspur are prominent. I also have a lot of Shirley poppies and other varieties. Poppies are sacred to my people.
‘In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.’ ~Abram L. Urban
I do mightily love seeds, brimming with possibility. What wonders may come…all from a packet of tiny life-bearing seeds. If they grow. I can’t stop planting them to see. Then watching, gleeful when they sprout. And waiting for the blooms, like an Easter egg surprise, because only I know what will be when the majesty unfolds. A wonderful secret to hold and tend, and to share. If it rains, or I must water like a mad woman.
Larkspur and miniature hollyhocks to the left in front of the house. I love the early summer flowers.

‘The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.’ ~George Bernard Shaw

This is very true. The garden is a deeply spiritual place. I find much inspiration there. Also for my stories. Scenes and plots come to me while I’m at work. The only problem is writing them down. I think I’ll remember and sometimes I do.
(Heirloom poppies and Chinese Forget-Me-Nots)
‘It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.’ ~James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane
There is something magical about dawn or dusk in the garden. Both times of day are wonderfully special. Below is a pic I took a few days ago of the back garden at dusk. You can see my lovely hollyhock and the barn up above it.
 (Pale pink heirloom hollyhocks with the barn behind them)
How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence. ~Benjamin Disraeli
Amen. I’m trying to beautify my bit of earth.
(My mini wildflower meadow)
 ‘You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.’ ~Author Unknown
One of our neighbors. Image by Hubby. Garden images by me
For more on my work follow my Amazon Author Page:
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Introducing Author Madison Michael!

I am thrilled to introduce wonderful author Madison Michael.

In her own words:

“I am a total sucker for a sweet romance. Most weekends will find me watching a Hallmark movie or two and then talking about it on my blog.

In fact, I believe in fairy tales, Cinderella stories to be precise. In fact, Cinderella circa 2016 inspired my Beguiling Bachelor series, especially the first book in the series, “Bedazzled”. I love strong, smart women, but I couldn’t resist writing about the billionaire version of Prince Charming. In fact, I created four of them – friends from good families, well-educated, handsome, wildly successful and sexy as hell.

I thought I would introduce you to my most recent entry in the series. “Bedeviled” Introduces us to Alex and Charlotte, two brilliant people who are adept at keeping secrets.. When an accident drives Charlotte into Alex’s welcoming arms, the two begin a balancing act between drawing closer and keeping the other at arm’s length.”


Beguiling Bachelor Series

Book 3


Madison Michael



Charlotte is on the run…

Charlotte Roche escaped dangers lurking in Boston by accepting a job in Chicago. A new name, a new beginning – all built on lies. Thinking she is safe, Charlotte drops her guard and sets her sights on her ruggedly handsome and wildly sexy running partner, Alexander Gaines. Can she advance their relationship from the track to the bedroom and still maintain her charade, or will Alex’s probing questions pierce her carefully rehearsed story?

Alex, with unrevealed secrets of his own, struggles to hold the irresistible Charlotte at arm’s length. But when Charlotte sustains a suspicious injury, Alex seizes the opportunity to cuddle up to the sassy beauty. Does he dare risk his reputation, his fortune, his friends, and his heart?

With exposure imminent, they appeal to their friends for help. Join Alex and Charlotte, along with characters you’ve met and loved in “Bedazzled” and “Beholden”, as they tackle the maze of half-truths and cover-ups threatening the lovers.

How can they build a bond with deceit on both sides? With malevolent forces advancing, is their love Bedeviled?



“You look so beautiful,” he told her in a husky voice. “I have been wanting to do this all night.”

His head lowered to hers, pulling her close against him as he leaned back until all her weight was leaning on his and she had no choice but to twine her arms behind his head or the tree trunk. His lips captured her slowly, softly pressing against hers. One hand rested low, on the curve between her back and her behind. The other came up to tangle in her short hair, holding her head still as he deepened the kiss. His lips demanded response, plundering her mouth with his tongue. He tasted of expensive wine and Alex as his tongue explored the recesses of her mouth, hot and insistent. Her breasts were flattened against his rock-hard chest, her hips tight against his as he held her to him.

When he lifted his head, shadowed by moonlight behind him, Charlotte was unable to read his expression. Unsure and unsteady, she waited, catching her breath. Blood was coursing through her veins, hot and urgent. Her heart was pounding from just one kiss.

“God, I want you,” he rasped, the words torn from him, raw and insistent before he dipped his head to kiss her again. She returned the kiss, opening her lips to his insistent ones, entwining her tongue with his, increasing the pressure against his mouth as she ran her hands up into his hair. She held fast to him, feeling his hand move from her hair to the nape of her neck, down along her bare arms, tracing a pattern there with his fingers. The feel of his hands on her skin was warm, strong and sure. She had longed for his touch and now desired it everywhere.

Alex lifted his head reluctantly. “If we don’t get back in that car now,” he told her, his voice hoarse with longing, “I will not be responsible for my actions.”

He lifted her away from his body, steadied her and then hefted himself away from the tree and wrapped his arm around her shoulders to lead her back to the car.

She felt bereft without the solid warmth of him hard against her. Neither of them said a word until he opened her car door and closed it again, without allowing her inside. Instead, he pushed her gently against it.

“Sorry, I can’t make it home without one more.” Alex took Charlotte’s mouth in a searing kiss that took her breath away, sucking her lower lip into his mouth then sliding his tongue over it and into the moistness of her mouth. He kissed her senseless until she would have happily made love there in the sand, and the world be damned. She wanted this man as she had never wanted anything before.

Charlotte kissed him passionately, running her hands up and down his muscular back as she tightened her hold on him, wanting to get closer, to feel his bare skin, until finally they mutually agreed to some restraint and dragged apart from one another. He kept his fingers touching her lightly until she got in the car and he closed the door behind her.

“Jeez,” he stated with a rough chuckle as he folded himself into the bucket seat, “I hope there are no cops out, cause I am planning to break speed records getting you home.”


You can find “Bedeviled” and all the bachelors on Amazon.

Bio for Madison Michael

Madison Michael traded 28 years in the Fortune 500 tech world for a chance to spend her days with sassy heroines, sexy, rich heroes and nothing but happy endings. Growing up in Chicago, she spent winters cuddled under blankets losing herself in books. She still loves to cuddle under blankets in winter, but now it is with a pen instead. Summers you will find her at art or music festivals, dining with friends or in a nearby park typing away on her laptop.

Madison is the author of three novels in the Beguiling Bachelor series, as well as several short stories. She is a member of Romance Writers of America.

After living in the northeast, southeast and the west, Maddy returned to her Midwest roots. She now lives in Evanston, IL with feline editorial assistants and great views of Chicago’s famous skyline.








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.

Check out her latest sweet contemporary romance novel, Oh Danny Boy, available in paperback and ebook.


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Sha Renee Giveaway

Check out this exciting book and giveaway!


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A sexy Navy pilot. A beautiful Navy instructor. A relationship prohibited by military regulations. Will they end their sizzling romance to protect their careers or keep it a secret… and pray no one finds out?

Forbidden Kisses

When loving the wrong person is a punishable offense.

Forbidden Kisses is available on Amazon:

Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Forbidden Kisses, signed by the author and a Forbidden Kisses coffee mug. 


When Navy pilot, Ethan Parker falls for the woman he met at a coffee shop, he knows she’s the one he’s waited his entire life for. She’s sensual, sassy and smart. What he doesn’t know is she’s also in the Navy, and her enlisted rank means a relationship with her could get him discharged from military service.

While on leave from teaching at a top Naval facility, Layla Matthews tumbles head-over-heels for the sexiest man she’s encountered in a long time. The fact that he can hold an intelligent conversation is an added bonus. Her world is turned upside down when she later discovers he’s a Navy lieutenant. A senior officer. Her new boss. Definitely off-limits.
Continuing their relationship could ruin their military careers. Ending it would break both their hearts. Will they end their sizzling romance or keep it a secret… and pray no one finds out?

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The Author

Sha Renée is a native New Yorker who joined the US Navy right after high school. She now lives in New Jersey where she creates stories on the pages where duty, honor and passion unite.

A true nature lover, Sha enjoys spending time outdoors, usually with a camera in her hands. She’s has a passion for motorcycles and sports cars and is a fan of auto racing, military air shows and The X Games – pretty much any activity with fast wings or wheels.

She hates cooking, loves music and believes every day should include a cup of hot coffee and a glass of chilled wine.




Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Forbidden Kisses, signed by the author and a Forbidden Kisses coffee mug.


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Six Favorite Father’s Day Quotes

Happy Father’s Day! Today I’m sharing six of my favorite Father’s Day quotes:

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
– Jim Valvano

The greatest thing a FATHER can do to his children, is to love their mother.
– Anjaneth Garcia Untalan

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
– Pope John XXIII

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.
– Sigmund Freud

A father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be
– unknown

Dad – Ask him when Mom says no.
– Unknown

Do you have a favorite Father’s Day quote? Please share your comments below.

And, if you haven’t picked up your copy of A Snowy White Christmas, the story of a father who didn’t know he had a daughter, pick up your copy at Kindle Unlimited today!

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.

Follow her on Instagram to see her latest exploits.

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