New from Ruth J. Hartman: The Color of Deception

ColorofDeception 200x300When I was researching ideas for a new Regency series, I came across a story about toy panoramas from that era. Apparently, modeled after the sprawling panoramas on the ceilings of various buildings, artists began to make miniature versions of them. The intent was to make them available to children, as small toys they could carry around with them, but they quickly became popular with adults as well. Soon, women were buying the tiny pieces of art to carry around with them in their reticules. Each painting was only a few inches high and wide, and was rolled up on a thin wooden spool. The scenes could be anything the artist wanted to create, such as buildings, animals, nature, or even people. The possibilities were endless!

My story, “Color of Deception” is book one in a series of three. Each book focuses on a different Sullyard sister. Aside from being artists, each sister finds herself embroiled in her very own mystery. Books two and three will be out in the next couple of months.

Here’s the blurb for “Color of Deception”

When artist Kitty Sullyard draws a strange symbol in her toy panorama, she doesn’t expect it to be life threatening. Tossed into a situation she never asked for, she learns the hard way who not to trust.

After Kitty mysteriously disappears, Nathaniel Bexley has only a single clue with which to find her. It’s something only he would know. Will he be able to decipher the secret message she’s hidden in a drawing, or will Kitty be doomed to the hands of her kidnappers?

ruth hBeing an amateur artist myself, I loved discovering the process of how they went about creating their hand-painted panoramas. I can’t imagine creating something so tiny, or how many grueling hours it would have taken just to complete one!

I hope you enjoy book one of the Sullyard Sister Series!

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Colors of Deception on Amazon

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Welcome Best Selling Author Ruth Hartman!

Okay, so today this CRAZY DOG LADY (a/k/a/ me) is hosting my good friend, Ruth Hartman, a self proclaimed… well, how about we let her tell it!

I am a crazy cat lady. I make no excuses for it and in fact wear the honor proudly. Three very spoiled cats, all named after some of my book characters, share a one-hundred-year-old farmhouse with my husband, Garry and me. Max, Roxy and Remmie rule the house, of course, expecting the humans to bow and scrape and see to their every whim.

Which of course, we do.

My very first published story was in “I Love Cats” magazine several years ago. I sent in a memory of the first cat Garry and I shared. His name was Arthur and he resembled a Russian Blue, though I’m sure he was a mutt, considering we got him from the animal shelter.

Arthur lived to be sixteen, but when he was twelve, one day he couldn’t decide if he wanted in the house or out on the patio. He raced back and forth while I held the door open. I thought he’d made up his mind at last and shut the door. But he must have had second thoughts and tried to race back into the kitchen at the last minute. When I saw the fur and blood from his tail all over the floor, I screamed. So did Arthur. Our adventures with the plastic lampshade he had to wear and how drunk he was from the pain meds made up the crux of my little story.

My excitement was so great when I received the magazine in the mail, I could hardly stand it. I was a published writer. Me! Next came a memoir about my struggles with severe OCD. Then a romance. And more romances. I was on a roll. About a year ago, I had my first historical romance published. Once that happened, I knew I’d discovered my niche. Something clicked and I felt I’d finally found my writer’s home.

And every single book I’ve ever written has touted at least one cat. Some contain several. To me, if one of my stories doesn’t have something that’s covered in fur and purrs, it’s not complete. Since my life would be lacking without cats, why should my story characters have to do without? Don’t they deserve to be happy?

A couple of my books even focus on cats. “Better than Catnip” a contemporary romance, takes place in a cat rescue shelter. And “Romance at the Royal Menagerie”, a historical romance, is about a girl whose father works at the Tower of London’s zoo. That story was really fun to write because the heroine gets to play with the BIG cats!

As you can see, my fondness for cats has a way of leaking out into my books. It can’t be helped. Once you reach the professional level of crazy cat lady, there’s no turning back.


Francesca Hartwell adores cats of every kind. Lions, leopards, tigers. And they all love her. Good thing she gets to see them every day, since her father is their caregiver in the Tower of London’s Royal Menagerie. She’d love to find a man with whom she could share her love of animals, but so far, no one has stolen her heart. And there’s the added snag that whoever she marries must not have anything to do with nobility, as her mother had left her and her father for an earl.

John Fairgate has three rules given to him by his uncle. Inherit the title of baron upon his uncle’s death. Give up ornithology. And marry a childhood acquaintance. The first two, John will abide by, but won’t like. But the third, marrying a shrew who makes his skin crawl, he simply cannot do. Meeting Miss Francesca Hartwell at the zoo, however, has given him other ideas for a wife. But she’s not titled or wealthy. How will he be able to convince his uncle that she’s the woman of his heart?



Augustus Sinclair has a broken heart. His betrothed has dropped him for his best friend. Former best friend. When he meets Anne Balfour, though, he questions whether he’d ever really been in love with his fiancé. Some of Anne’s reactions to what he considers everyday activities are puzzling, but that doesn’t stop him from falling head over heels for the first time in his life.

Anne Balfour is amazed to be a guest at the Shrewsbury’s, one of Mayfair’s most well-to-do families — even if the circumstances are less than ideal. Still, she can’t help but get caught up in the excitement of society life. Especially when in the company of Augustus Sinclair. He makes her believe in love and romance, even if she is just the dustman’s daughter.

These and Ruth’s other wonderful adventures are available wherever e-books are sold, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Sweet Saturday Sample

From current work in progress… The Acrobat. If you’ve read The Toymaker, you’ll kTheToymaker 453x680now who Eduard and Elise are…

* * * * * *

Eduard paused in the doorway to the workshop, turned in time to watch as Elise board the Duchess of Greenbriar’s coach. She epitomized elegance as she climbed the step, almost as though she were a lady instead of a governess. He particularly enjoyed watching her when she played lawn games with the children. When she combined her natural grace with all that lively energy…

Before the footman closed the door, she poked her head back outside. Catching his stare, she waved and then ducked back inside.

Heat invaded Eduard’s face like a horde of French soldiers. Bee’s bells, he hated being caught in the act of ogling the woman. But he grinned as the coach drove out of sight — the view had been worth it. Shaking his head, he turned and stepped over the threshold. His young guest sat on one of the work stools, an open book before him on the bench, the stub of a pencil held loosely in his hand as he drew fast, sure lines across the page. Frowning, Eduard leaned closer. The leather-bound book with the gilt-edged pages looked expensive.

And familiar.

“Is that one of your father’s Shakespeare volumes?”

Howard lifted one shoulder and continued to draw.

“Does he know you have it?”

Another shrug.

Irritation began a slow crawl along Eduard’s nerves. “Have your manners deserted you, boy?”

“No, sir,” mumbled Howard, his hand drifting to a stop in mid-sketch, and finally he looked up. He worried at his bottom lip with his teeth. His gaze strayed to the book, but he put the pencil down and waited.

The hollow expression in the boy’s eyes tugged at Eduard. He knew that expression well. It had once stared back at him every time he’d looked in a mirror. “Does the duke know you’ve made off with one of his books and you’re scribbling in it?”

“I’m not—” Howard stiffened, then he seemed to deflate in his seat. “No, sir. That is, he knows I borrow his books, but he doesn’t know I draw in them.”

“Them?” Eduard heaved an exasperated sigh. Obviously, the problem was larger than he’d imagined. If the boy could only understand that his adoptive father would give him anything in the world — even the world itself were it possible. He crossed his arms over his chest. “In exactly how many of your father’s books have you been drawing?”

Howard lowered his head. Though he no longer chewed his lip, his mouth worked as though he fought the need for tears.

Eduard relaxed his stance and laid one hand on the boy’s thin shoulders, speaking in a gentler tone. “He’ll not hold it against you, boy. But what possessed you to ruin your father’s books?”

“I didn’t ruin them!” Howard jumped from the work stool and stood almost eye-to-eye with Eduard. His clear greenish gaze flashed as he closed the book and snatched it up. “I only draw in the blank spaces! Not on the words. You can still read the words!” Breathing heavily, he thrust the book into Eduard’s hands. Then he pushed his way past and ran for the door.

Stunned, Eduard could only watch Howard make his hasty exit. The boy obviously needed a moment or two, some time to recover a bit of composure. Eduard could give him that. Greenbriar Meade wasn’t a place anyone could get lost in for very long.

The book’s leather binding cooled his fingers. Gold letters proclaiming the book to be A Midsummer Night’s Dream graced the cover. One of the duke’s favorite volumes at that. Idly, Eduard lifted the cover and flipped through the pages. Phillip would rather replace a set of priceless books than punish the boy who had already lost his natural parents at a young…


Eduard stopped flipping and began turning the pages one at a time. Howard hadn’t lied. He’d confined his drawings to the margins, the blank spaces at beginnings and endings of chapters. Details seemed to leap off the pages. Jenny, riding on her adoptive papa’s shoulders, baby Reggie sitting astride a stick horse Phillip had made especially for him, Jenny again, this time cradling her peg doll. And a picture of the Duchess of Greenbriar in her curricle. The details had been drawn with exquisite care, down to the fine scratches along the sides, made several months earlier when the carriage had run off the road and into some bushes.

As he closed the book, more pencil markings on the last page caught his eye, and he lifted the back cover again.

Elise stared out at him. Gradually, his mind filtered in other details. The boy had been sketching the fun in the square earlier. A grin tugged Eduard’s mouth upward as he recognized himself on the rope, apples flying through the air in front of him. His gaze slid back to Elise’s likeness. She stared at the performance with rapt attention. The lovely smile curving her lips tugged an answering one from Eduard.


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Sweet Saturday Sample – New Regency in Progress

Well hello! If you’re reading this, you must have survived the holiday and the frenzy in the stores! This week, try a taste of Something Like a Lady, Regency in progress with Kim Bowman.


Annabella held the rosebud to her face and sniffed. The sweet perfume filled her nostrils until she found herself giddy with taking so many deep breaths. Her stomach rumbled and she splayed her fingers across her abdomen until the grinding pain of her hunger passed. Of all her discomforts, she decided the hunger was the worst. But at least she had no horrid rules to follow. None of her mother’s harping and pushing about marriage.

No one to talk to. She sighed.

But now that she had the attention of a maid willing to help her, most of her discomforts were about to vanish. No more horrid lemons, food prepared by the competent kitchen staff. Would Abby serve her meals? Or would that cause her to be missed from other duties? Oh, what did it matter? She was about to be delivered a meal, the first true meal since she’d packed Juliet off to London. What a brilliant stroke of good fortune that the maid had been sent to clean the cottage. Annabella hadn’t known anyone bothered with the decrepit building any more. Apparently it was still cleaned every so often after all.

She glanced up the narrow track. When would Abby return with her food? And some of her own clothing? To eat again and not have to fight the mice for the last crumb of stale bread, surely that would be as close to heaven as she was likely to get before she died.

She lifted the rose again and inhaled deeply. Nearby, a bird sang. Annabella tried to imitate its call but she’d never learned to whistle—no matter how many times Juliet had tried to teach her. So she started humming. The bird trilled a reply and Annabella opened her mouth and sang an upward scale of “ah-ah-ah’s.”

She launched into one of the hymns they often sang in church and began to dance around the yard, but stopped short. That seemed too irreverent. With a sigh, she hummed a bit from a Beethoven piece. Her feet picked their way over the rocks as she hopped and kicked.

Soon she would have food…and her own dresses. She closed her eyes and twirled, imagining the handsomest prince as her dancing partner. Juliet might think it a child’s tale to dream of true love, but Annabella didn’t think that at—

Strong arms caught her in mid-spin and a hand settled at her waist. Annabella’s eyes flew open. She opened her mouth to scream but the dashing stranger grinned and whirled her around then released her.

Annabella stumbled and then scrambled backward, intent on putting distance between her and the stranger.

“What are you doing?” she demanded, placing her hands on her hips. And why must her heart race so?

The stranger had the daring to laugh outright. He aimed a courtly bow in her direction. “I beg your pardon. I saw a lady dancing and in need of a partner and thought to oblige  with my services.”

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Sweet Saturday Sample/Regency Christmas

Hope you’re enjoying November so far. Not much longer until Christmas!


She couldn’t have said what she expected to find in the toy room — a version of her childhood nursery perhaps, or maybe a windowless storage room, shelves loaded with toys.

As soon as Phillip pushed open the door, Ivy knew she was about to enter an enchanted realm. Red and blue and green points of light frolicked across a plank floor as though they were alive. It took only a quick glance to find the source of the colorful delights. A row of stained glass windows collected sunlight from outside and splashed it into the room.

“It’s magic,” she whispered, awestruck.

Toys quite forgotten, Ivy slipped her hand from Phillip’s arm and stepped into the dancing lights. She did a slow pirouette, watching them change around her as she did. Then she walked slowly toward the three peaked gothic-style windows. How old were the panes? The glass had run and thickened in places but the brilliant color remained strong.

The center window, the largest, showed the Holy Virgin holding the Christ child in a loving maternal embrace. Her cheek rested on his forehead, her eyes were closed, her face a study in pure peaceful bliss. Behind her, with one hand on her shoulder, Joseph, the earthly father of the Savior. She swallowed back the emotion choking her throat. The detail in the scene entranced her.

Above, fitted in the point of the window, a trio of angels watched over the family, while heavenly light spilled from around them to fall onto the stable below. The window to the left showed a procession of shepherds walking in from the fields, some with sheep on their shoulders, others with sheep at their feet. The window on the right showed three men of obvious means on a mission.

“The magi,” whispered Ivy. Again, the detail in the picture made up of bits and pieces of colored glass stole her breath.

“Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar,” murmured Phillip, moving to stand next to her. Ivy had nearly forgotten he was in the room.

Her gaze drifted to the wall. Some of the stone had been chiseled away and shaped, likely to fit the stained glass panes in place — quite recently, too. The builder’s mortar set around the windows was freshly set, with no stains or signs of chipping.

“These are old, but they didn’t start out here.” She placed one hand on the stone wall beneath the center window, enjoying the coolness beneath her palm. “Who did this? Who set them into the wall?”

Ivy turned to regard the tall man next to her. For once she didn’t catch him studying her. Instead, he contemplated the light cavorting across the floor. What was giving it the appearance of moving like that?

“These were a gift, a… legacy from the craftsman who taught me. I brought them with me when I came here.” He lifted his gaze and pinned her with it.

“And… the Duke of Greenbriar allowed this?”

Phillip’s lips twitched and then pulled up into a warm smile. “He said not one word to me on the matter.”


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The Toymaker on Sweet Saturday Samples

Part of the upcoming Twelve Dukes of Christmas release from Astraea Press:

“Good morning, dear,” greeted Ivy’s mother from her seat at the breakfast table. Weak sunlight filtered through lace curtains and played on the ivory muslin of Helen’s morning dress. With deliberate movements, she sipped her cup of chocolate, then set the cup back into the saucer with barely a clink and centered her attention on Ivy. “Are you planning to go somewhere?”

“I have a meeting with the vicar today, Mother. To make arrangements for Christmas for some of the local families.” Ivy drew a deep breath. When her mother only stared at her, she continued. “I’m quite certain I mentioned it last night.” Which was more than her mother had done with regard to the mysterious guest for tea.

Helen dabbed her lips with a napkin and pushed back from the table. She touched the lacy mop cap on her head as though to reassure herself the silly thing was still in place. “Oh yes, I remember now. Is it possible to send your regrets to Vicar Wexley?”

Irritation flashed, raising heat in Ivy’s cheeks, but she suppressed a churlish urge. “But, Mother, I told you of my plans last evening in the parlor.”

A soft sigh escaped Helen’s lips. “Yes, yes, I suppose you did. You know how your father was going on so about our trip to Bath. In any case, we’ve a caller arriving this afternoon.”

Quite unbidden, a quiver of apprehension traveled along Ivy’s skin. “Not… er, is Lord Roland paying another call?” Please say no.

Helen tilted her head to the side, a sweet smile pulling at her lips. “Would you like me to arrange for Lord Roland to call again?”

“Oh, no!” Ivy reined in the panic that bounded like stampeding horses through her veins. “That is, I don’t believe that will be necessary. He and I… didn’t find ourselves to have much in common after all.”

“Oh, Ivy.” With a soft sigh, Helen seemed to deflate where she sat. “You two seemed to get on so well at our last dinner party… Every time I glanced up, you had your heads together talking.”

Ivy forced a smile onto her stiff lips. “Yes, well, one of us was speaking at any rate.” And speaking, and speaking, and speaking. “Lord Roland has much to say.” And all about himself.

Helen raised an eyebrow. “You certainly seemed to enjoy the conversation over dinner. I heard you laughing.”

“Really, Mother, I had no idea you were watching me so closely all evening.” Ivy barely managed to avoid squirming under Helen’s current scrutiny. “I was simply being polite to one of our guests.”

Helen sighed and lifted her cup of chocolate from the saucer. “Well, the Earl of Norcross seems like a nice young gentleman. I would be happy to extend another invitation for him to dine with us. Surely you can find something about him you don’t object to.” She set the cup to her lips and sipped.

It didn’t seem like such a difficult request. Or it wouldn’t have been had Ivy’s mind been at all functional. She started to shake her head when a thought occurred to her. “Well, I don’t particularly object to his absence.”

“Ivy!” A frown marred her mother’s face. “That’s incredibly rude.”

The ire Ivy had managed to hold in check suddenly rose to the fore. “For heaven’s sake, Mother! Why can’t you understand that I do not wish to see Lord Roland as a suitor? I don’t wish to see him in any capacity. Gracious, the man’s teeth clicked and clacked like Spanish castanets with every bite of his dinner!”

Helen’s jaw slackened and fell open. She blinked once and then closed her mouth with an audible sharp snap.

Ivy’s feet seemed to sink into the plush Persian rug, as though the floor had just become a bog filled with family responsibility and the pressures of finding a match her parents would approve of.

“Mother…” She softened her voice, all too aware that it now bordered on a wheedling tone that made her sound like a whining child. “I know you worry that I’ll wind up a spinster—”

“Pish. I’m worried about no such thing.” Helen dabbed at her lips with a linen napkin. “I just want to see you secure and… happy.”

Like your sister, Laurel. The words, though unspoken, nonetheless hung between them.

“I am happy, Mama.” Ivy smiled. But it was time to be gently firm.

“Then you—”

“But…” She held up a hand to forestall the inevitable request for her to receive whomever was calling later. “I’ve had this engagement planned with the vicar for a week. He and his wife are assisting me with locating which families need a bit to tide them over through the holidays.” She offered her best wistful sigh. “Perhaps you might offer my apologies to your guest, and I shall visit with her the next time she calls.”

“Oh but—” Helen pressed her lips together. Finally, she shook her head. “Very well. And perhaps you’ll find your business doesn’t take as long as you seem to be anticipating.” She glanced beyond Ivy toward the door as though hoping someone would walk through.

Oh, it would take as long and more if Ivy had any say in the matter. She smiled again. “By the way, whom are you expecting, Mother?”


“Your guest?” Ivy raised an eyebrow. “Who is it?”

“Oh, it’s… the Duke of Greenbriar…” she trailed off in a whisper.

Sudden dizziness fell about Ivy like a cloak and she swayed. Only by clutching the back of the fine oak chair in front of her did she manage to remain standing. So… it had come to that. Her parents must be out of suitors if they were resorting to that one.

She drew a deep breath aware that her smile had just frozen on her lips. “How lovely, Mother. I certainly shall hurry to complete my task so I can return home and greet his grace.”

Helen angled a rather odd look in Ivy’s direction. No time to consider why. Ivy backed from the room. “I’ll, er… I’ll hurry my trip, Mother.”

She left without giving Helen a chance to respond. Surely the devil would be waiting outside the door, ready to carry her off for the lie she’d just told.


Hmmm, Ivy sounds a little too picky, doesn’t she??? If you want to check out my work, find me on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more sweet treats and more samples, return to Sweet Saturday Samples. Have a great week!

Sweet Saturday Samples/Christmas in September

From upcoming Christmas Regency release: The Toymaker

The neat row of dolls regarding him from his work bench reminded Phillip of the debutantes lining the walls at the last ball he’d attended… four, no five years earlier. Of course, those young ladies had been wearing fashionable white or washed-out blush-colored gowns in delicate silks and lace. He stepped back and considered his own line of debutantes, rather liking the bolder colors Monique had used for their dresses — emerald green, apple red, sapphire, amethyst. They looked a bit forlorn, a little like some of the ladies who were never asked for a dance. Maybe he should consider creating a line of men to go with them.

Silly! What young girl would want to play with a doll fashioned like a boy? He shook his head at his momentary flight of fancy and picked up a palm-sized slice of wood, already smoothed with a garnet file. The French finish would take quite some time, since each coat of shellac would need to dry thoroughly before the next could be applied. The rubbing pad of soft gray wool had already been dampened with oil. Phillip picked it up and dipped it into the basin of shellac. Next, with gentle wiping movements, he applied a thin coat of the finish to the block of wood.

As he worked, his mind drifted back a few days… to Madame Duroche’s shop and the lovely but conservative young woman he’d managed to irritate with his choice of color. A smile lifted his lips and a chuckle escaped. Angry as a cat that had been doused with water, that one had been. A deep rose blush had colored her cheeks and her eyes had flashed just before she’d narrowed a blue-eyed glare on him. Phillip suspected only her need to maintain a sense of decorum in the presence of her grandmother had allowed her to hold her tongue.

But he’d been right. Her ire had heightened her color so she had not longer been pale and wraithlike. Such a complexion would wear well with the rich purples of the velvet Monique had offered. He had no idea why apparently she was having a difficult time of it, getting noticed by suitors, but wearing the amethyst would gain her some much deserved attention from young men of noble origins.

His hand slipped, marring the surface of the block of wood he held. Cursing under his breath, Phillip adjusted his hold on the block and drew the cloth pad over the piece of oak until the surface was once again flawless. He set the block onto the wooden rack to dry and picked up the next to repeat the process.

<><><><>A Lot Like a Lady – still 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

<><><>Recently released –
A little contemporary western magic!

<><>Just released –
more of the Conway family…
Semper Fi, Marine Families!



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**Due to unforeseen family circumstances on the part of both Kim Bowman and myself, the sequel to A Lot Like A Lady has been delayed but we ARE hard at work on bringing you Annabella’s story. Please accept our apologies for the wait!

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Sweet Saturday Sneak Peek – The Toymaker…Regency Christmas Story

Just a work in progress at this stage, but to give you an idea of what I hope to have finished in the next week or so:

The Toymaker

About a foot tall, the doll had definitely seen better days. Her tattered dress had slipped off one shoulder, giving a view of a complex joint construction using string that had been run through drilled holes. A bonnet had been tied to the doll’s head but the edges of painted-on hair were easily visible. Probably once a chestnut brown but now chipped and fading, it reminded Angela of Kalie’s hair, especially with the single dark curl falling over the doll’s right eye.

“Her dress looks like Jane Austen’s,” whispered Kalie, fingering the soft muslin.

Angela tilted her head and took a second look at the clothing. The dress did look like it had come from the Regency period. Had the doll been made that long ago or merely dressed to look as though she had been?

“I think she was a Christmas doll.” Kalie slipped a finger beneath the hem of the gown. “Look at this lace around the edges.”

Angela bent to study the clothing. Almond colored lace rimmed the bottom edge, with only a bit of loosening in places. An intricate pattern of dark green holly leaves and red berries had been embroidered into the emerald green cloth just above the lace.

“It does look kind of Christmassy, doesn’t it?”

“That’s a penny wooden doll.” A petite woman with a gazillion wrinkles and snow white hair approached, hobbling slightly and leaning heavily on her cane. “That whole box came over from England probably a hundred years ago. We just picked it up from the James Merrick estate, a family who traced its roots back to seventeenth century England.” She smiled and held out her free hand to Angela. “My name is Caroline Roberts.”

Smiling in return, Angela shook the proprietor’s hand.

“What’s a penny wooden doll?” asked Kalie.

Angela’s lips tugged into a smile. Had her daughter actually forgotten her planned outing to the mall?

“Well, penny wood dolls started out in Germany in about 1810, but they quickly grew popular and then became available in most countries across Europe.” Ms. Roberts had apparently done her homework. Angela herself didn’t know much about wooden dolls but she could imagine such a toy being popular a couple hundred years in the past.

<><><><>Thank you for stopping by! If you like Regencies, A Lot Like a Lady is still on sale for 99 cents on Amazon.

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Sweet Saturday Samples

Great news this week! A Lot Like a Lady hit the number one spot on Amazon for paid Regency books. Kim and I are 100% thrilled! A huge thanks to everyone of our readers who helped put us there. So, for those who asked, the sequel, Something Like a Lady is in the works – a bit delayed due to some health issues in my family. In the meantime, how about just a little bit more from brand new Heartfelt before we move on into preparing for Christmas?


Dan’s feet whispered across the carpet as he crossed the room and joined Trish on the bed. His face didn’t look as drawn, which meant the headache had definitely not left any residual symptoms. He’d seemed to have a good time over dinner with their guests, though every once in a while he’d furrowed his brow as though trying to work something out.

A giggle echoed from across the wall followed by a chorus of shushing.

“That’s a nice sound.” Dan laughed softly. “Jake and I had to have separate bedrooms by the time we got to be their age.”

“Lots of late night giggles?”

“Ha!” He punched his pillow, a smile curving his lips upward. “Hardly. When he was eight and I was eleven, we fought like rabid dogs. He was always bouncing around, jumping off things, pretending he could fly.”

“And you, of course, were completing your homework and then hitting the bed for a solid eight, right?”

Dan laid back and laced his hands behind his head. “Nope! Flashlight and book under the covers. But only if Mom didn’t catch me. Which, with Jake jumping and breaking things, was actually pretty often. So she’d come in, make him lie down and confiscate my flashlight.”

Trish touched the bedside lamp and darkness settled over the room. “Now, I know eventually you came up with a contingency plan. You’re too thorough not to have taken steps. Spare flashlights hidden away?”

“A couple… that is until Jake found them and ran the batteries down.”

Trish pulled the covers over her shoulder and snuggled against Dan’s warmth. She pressed her icy feet along his calf and he yelped but didn’t move away. “What did you do? Just wait for him to go to sleep?”

He sighed and shifted, wrapping his arms around her. “I was nowhere near that smart at eleven. So I usually pounded the crap out of him until the folks broke it up. Then I got in trouble for having one of Dad’s good belt-lights.”

Trish giggled. “So Jake was a little stinker.”

“Jake was a big pain in my—” Dan laughed. “Yeah, he was a stinker.”

He pressed a kiss to her temple but she could feel his emotional retreat. What was it like? To have memories from the time he’d had his sight, and at the same time knowing that the memories from the rest of his life would consist of everything but a visual image?


Other stories in this series can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

Thank You Giveaway!


Kim and I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you who has supported us by purchasing our Regency Romance A Lot Like A Lady. We know you have hundreds of books to choose from, and we are honored that you picked ours.


To really show our gratitude, we’re going to hold an amazing giveaway from now until Sunday night at midnight. And boy, what a giveaway it is! We’re going to have SIX winners!! Yes, you read that right – SIX WINNERS!!

And what are the prizes? Three lucky winners will receive swag packs that will include pens, bookmarks, and…books! The winners will each receive TWO surprise paperbacks by assorted authors. SQUEEEE!

The other three winners will receive swag packs with pens and bookmarks and an e-copy of any book of their choosing available on the Astraea Press website! YIPPPEEE!

There are a couple of ways to enter and you can either enter through me on this blog or through Kim Bowman on hers by clicking HERE (NOTE: We will choose a total of SIX winners from our combined entries):

1. Email your receipt # to me at wordsprite@gmail (dot) com showing you purchased A Lot Like A Lady for two entries in the contest. Leave a comment below that you’ve emailed me so I don’t miss it!

2. Post on a social media site of your choosing that the e-version of A Lot Like A Lady is on sale for $.99 along with either the buy link or the Barnes and Noble buy link. Leave a comment below that you’ve done this to be entered in the contest.

That’s it! Simple and easy and our way of saying a HUGE thank you for supporting us.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!