Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: Trials of Passion

Trials of Passion: Crimes Committed in the Name of Love and MadnessTrials of Passion: Crimes Committed in the Name of Love and Madness by Lisa Appignanesi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victorian-era spinster Christiana Edmonds was extremely unhappy that her letters weren’t returned by her doctor, Charles Beard. Of course he loved her and would leave his wife, but Beard never did. He simply told Christiana to stop writing. Things stalemated until a rash of poisonings—which resulted in the death of a four-year-old boy—exposed Christiana’s plans to hide her attempted murder of Mrs. Beard by broadcasting handmade poisoned chocolate creams throughout the community. Alas, her handwriting on repeated requests for strychnine and cyanide from the local chemist’s gave her away. She pleaded not guilty and stated Dr. Beard had besmirched her honor, but the “Borgia of Brighton” was sentenced to life in an asylum—not to death by hanging. Her lawyer and the “alienists”—what we’d call today psychologists—had argued that Christiana’s unrequited love had induced a madness that had driven her to this desperate act.

Trials of Passion takes a tantalizing look into landmark cases in the U.K., France and the U.S. during the later-half of the 19th and into the early years of the 20th century that set the standards we recognize today for the legal defense of temporary insanity. Appignanesi shows how these crimes and their trials demonstrate changing gender roles in Western society. The belle époque’s attitude was that women (and some men) were “hysterics” or mentally feeble and suggestible to commit these crimes, but in actuality, these criminals were simply crying out for justice that their culture didn’t address. The poor and downtrodden committed crimes of passion to right wrongs perpetrated on them by the powerful and wealthy who had left them without honor. However, even millionaires such as American Harry Thaw used this psychological defense to justify his shooting of architect Stanford White because White had raped the beautiful model Evelyn Nesbit, who later became Thaw’s wife, when she was but a teenager. Murder had become a “cure for insanity”.

Trials of Passion is a fascinating read for those interested in history, psychology, and the legal profession and how these disciplines came together to create the feminist movement and modern ethics.

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Writers--share your thoughts at The Bernie Blog

I've taken on yet another position--I'm now the editor at The Bernie Blog. Check it out here:


We now have a "How to Submit" page. Please read it and consider sending us a piece. Here's the submissions link:

Thank you. We're looking forward to hearing from you.

To all the Canadians--I hope you had a good Canada Day yesterday. To all the Americans--have a great Fourth of July holiday weekend! To everyone--be safe and enjoy your summer (or winter)!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Good Ol' Boys & Days of Summer--My Sexy Saturday excerpt

Welcome to this week’s My Sexy Saturday blog hop. The theme is "A Good Ole Sexy Time" and it's about…well…normal people. You know, the boys next door, the good ole boys, the boys of summer and everything in between. There is nothing more sexy than a man at the beach or getting done with his chores or doing his best at any task. 

Just because a guy seems "normal" doesn't mean he can't in reality be an extremely wealthy businessman who's considered the ultimate catch according to all the celebrity magazines. When Ronnie (short for Veronica) meets Dave Darden for the first time, she doesn't realize that he's actually the owner of a chain of discount stores. He doesn't come across as a man in a suit who's afraid of getting his hands dirty. Oh, no, he's the exact opposite! And here she thought moving away from the big city to open her own arts-and-crafts shop in the Ozark country was going to keep her away from wealthy, handsome men...

Country Boy, City Girl

Veronica "Ronnie" Hawthorn has found peace at last in the Missouri Ozarks town of Green Springs, excited at the prospect of running her own arts-and-crafts store in an old farm house. But when city girl Ronnie "falls" into her handsome neighbor's arms, she is surprised to discover that country boy Dave Darden is one of the most eligible bachelors in America.

"Readers will not be disappointed...You will be rewarded with a down home love story that will long be remembered."--Bridges Magazine

An excerpt from Country Boy, City Girl...
It feels good to be up to my elbows in mud again.

Ronnie sighed. Self-imposed pressure faded away as the rhythmic thump, thump, thump of the clay hitting the table surface over and over again lulled her into a blissful state of relaxation. The overwhelming strain she had endured these last ten months was forgotten as she vigorously kneaded the firm white clay in her small, yet capable, hands.

"Small hands, big heart," her mother had told her time and time again. Mama's heart had been big, too, but not strong enough to survive her last heart attack. How Ronnie wished Mama could have live long enough to see Natalie born.

Now was not a time for regrets. The stiffness in Ronnie's shoulders, the small pain at the base of her neck which usually signaled a tension headache coming on, simply vanished as she and the clay became one. A woman alone starting a new business venture, Ronnie felt every bit as malleable as her chosen medium.

Her full, rosy lips came together in a hum as she worked the clay ball over and over until the last of the air pockets were worked out. She rolled it over one last time, then unceremoniously plopped it onto the center of the wheel. She adjusted her work apron and sat down on the low stool, tucking a few stray blue-black hairs behind her ears before wetting her fingers in the jar of slip. A moan of pleasure sprang forth from deep within her as she sank her thumbs into the clay's cool center, gently nudging and pulling it to form the sides of the bowl.

Today was the first day of her new business and she wanted to always remember it as a happy one. The pitch of her humming soon matched the whine of the electric potter's wheel, tuning out troubling doubts and painful memories. The dusty, earthen aroma of the clay transported her thoughts back in time. She could almost pretend she was still in art school, long before she met Jim, fell in love, got married, had Natalie and buried her desire to become an artisan under a "soccer mom" facade. The Green Springs Arts and Crafts Gallery opened a new chapter in life for both her and Nat. Ronnie made a silent vow--this story would have a happy ending.

The haunted-house creaking of the back screen door instantly alerted her to another's presence. A little girl's giggle gave her would-be assailant away.

She grinned. Silly, Nat! She's sneaking up on Mommy to play "Guess who?" It was nothing short of miraculous. In the few short days since they had moved from the city to Green Springs, Natalie had left the sadness of her father's recent death behind and rediscovered her childhood. Ronnie couldn't wait to spring a surprise of her own on her playful six year old daughter.

Ronnie bent further over her work, pretending not to hear Natalie's approaching footsteps as they were heralded by the squeak of the old farmhouse's pine floorboards. Squeak, squeak, squeak. . . She stifled a laugh and kept her eyes focused on the clay, her reflexes readied for her own response. She sprang into action the instant a tickle of warm breath brushed against the back of her neck.

"Got ya!" Ronnie cried, spinning around on her stool, grabbing her attacker by the collar and planting the biggest, wettest, sloppiest kiss she could manage.


A jolt of electricity raced from her lips and traveled along the nerve highways of her body, awakening places inside she had believed were dead and buried along with Jim. Her eyes instantly flew open. 

Surprise! These lips didn't belong to her daughter!

Stunned, Ronnie pushed with all her might against the stranger's wide shoulders but found herself held fast in his powerful embrace. She began to pound against him with her fists but her actions only caused him to crush her womanly curves closer to his muscular chest. His tongue entered her slightly parted portal and enticed an immediate response from within her, frightening in its intensity. Her mind was spinning so fast that she toppled off the stool and landed like a bag of clay into the newcomer's formidable arms.

It seemed an eternity before the stranger lifted his lips from hers, releasing her from his daring grasp. Ronnie melted onto the floor, her power even to protest this despicable interloper's brazen behavior vanquished.

"If this is how you greet all your male customers. . . then I'll lay odds this place turns a profit its first month..."

Country Boy, City Girl is  available from Mojocastle Press, Amazon, ARe and wherever fine ebooks are sold!


Please sign up for my monthly e-newsletter (fill out the form on the right sidebar). This month I'll be giving out links to FREE e-reads and other ideas for summer reads. Enjoy!

Have a great My Sexy Saturday blog hop!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Special Moments That Inspire Love--Read My Sexy Saturday Excerpt

Welcome to another edition of My Sexy Saturday. This week's theme is "My Sexy Love" and is about those special moments that inspire romance. Well, for every couple in the universe there's going to be the one unique special moment that sparked their love for each other, isn't there? Think of all the zillions of possibilities! That's what makes the romance genre so much fun to read and write. ;)

Love wasn't even part of their game plans, so how did single mom Cassie and out-of-work Mike know they were destined for each other? What special moment inspired them to reach out and take a chance on love? Find out in this short excerpt from The Fixer-Uppers.

The Fixer-Uppers

"An exceptional writer with a flair for humor." --Romance Reviews Today

Can a single mom find happiness on a blind date--or at least dinner with a male who can cut up his own food? Cassie and Mike believe they're "in like" not "in love." But when down-on-his-luck Mike is evicted, Cassie takes him into her home. Mike starts fixing everything from window screens to her two boys' broken hearts. Will Cassie let him fix hers?

Excerpt set up: Mike tries to stop Cassie from going on a date with another man. He finds her ironing her dress for the evening and does his best to convince her to stay home--with him.

Cassie felt warm all over. The room seemed to be swaying beneath her feet. She coughed to clear her suddenly dry throat.  “Yeah, it’s a nice robe.” The room began to spin as she breathed in deeply the masculine scent of him. “I don’t wear it around much since it has the tendency to slide off me at the most inconvenient times.” 

Mike’s lips lightly brushed against her earlobe. “Show me,” he whispered.

Cassie’s knees turned to liquid. She knew she had to get a grip on herself, turn the conversation around somehow. . . But she couldn’t. A moment later the acrid smell of burning cloth brought her back to reality.  “Mike?”
He nuzzled her earlobe again. “Hmm, yes?”

She opened one eye slowly. “I think we’ve ruined my dress.”

“I’ll get you a new one.” He took the iron from her and yanked the plug from the wall.

“What’ll I wear tonight then?” she moaned.

 He put the iron down and slowly turned her to face him.  “Remember? I like what you’ve got on now.” Pulling her closer, he gently kissed her lips. 

Find out more about Cassie and Mike's special moments in The Fixer-Uppers, available from Devine Destinies Books, Amazon, All Romance eBooks and wherever fine ebooks are sold!
 Have a great My Sexy Saturday blog hop!


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