The Lady and the Highwayman- A Goodreads Review

The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a Victorian England, Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school that is ever in need of funding. Already a successful author of silver-fork or literary novels, she turns her hand to penny dreadful novels, assuming the nom de plume of Mr. King. Readers clamber after her novels. Fletcher Walker, a former street urchin, and now, a popular penny dreadful novelist, secretly supports a school for the poorest children while he actively rescues other London street kids. He hopes the newly successful Mr. King will join his secret society of authors working toward social justice; however, he can’t find the man. Instead, he continues to encounter Elizabeth. Together they free a beaten chimney sweep, a couple of girls sold to a brothel, and end up fighting fires, bullyboys, and a sinister crime syndicate.

As the couple faces danger, their romance slowly kindles with witty banter, and genuine respect. Their relationship and their care for others amid the fast pace of events makes this story fun to read. Elizabeth and Fletcher’s penny dreadful tales are sprinkled into the larger tale of their romance. They were interesting yet brief enough not to distract from the main story.

I liked watching Elizabeth and Fletcher’s growing romance even as they willingly hurled themselves into danger for the sake of others. The novel ends with a heartwarming reveal, that for me, added another star to my review.

If you’re looking for a feel-good Victorian romance, The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden fits the bill.

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Happy Memorial Day

For all those in the military and those who have served,

Thank you!


The Darkling Bride-A Goodreads Review

This atmospheric wonderfully gothic tale is really three stories, three separate timelines of fate-twisted love. In the first, a dreamy, well-published author marries a beautiful bipolar, possibly mad woman, who apparently leaps from the Bride tower, a few months after having a child. The author departs never to write again. In the second a charming but flighty American heiress supposedly murders her adoring husband before taking a fatal plunge off the Bride Tower.

In the third tale, the current Viscount Gallagher, Aidan returns to say goodbye to ancestral home his parents were murdered in. His great aunt has hired Carragh Ryan, a bibliophile at lose-ends to catalog the library collection. Together, Carragh and Aidan find a birthday scavenger hunt the American heiress created for her husband. Despite ghostly apparitions, power failures, and a living killer stalking them, they fall in love while they seek to solve the castle’s past crimes.

My only complaint is that there might be a little too much going on in this novel, especially if, like me, the reader is listening to the tale, as each chapter or so features a different time stream. That said the story’s well told, and worth relistening to clarify characters and events.

The Darkling Bride’s got all the mystery, suspense, ancient folklore and sweet romance masters like Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney would have woven in, and the final villain confrontation wraps the three-story lines up nicely.

If you like gothic romances, this is one not to be missed.

Carol Anshaw Talks About Writing

Other Than on Audio Is Free

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Awesome news! The audio version of Other Than is free if you follow this link.

Writing Tip– Point of View–Something to Think About

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I’m studying Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway, specifically her chapter on point of view and Tom Jenks’ quote hit me as something true, something I should strive to do.

 Here it is–in hopes it speaks to you too.  “The use of point of view is to bring the reader into immediate and continuous contact with the heart of the story and sustain him there. Point of view is the proscenium, the transparent window through which the reader views the story” (163).

Burroway, Janet, et al. Writing Fiction: a Guide to Narrative Craft. The University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Every Minute–A Goodreads Review

Every Minute (Music, Love and Other Miseries, #2)

Every Minute by C.J. Burright

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Adara’s brother dies, her world collapses. Barely living, she isolates herself. All she does is work. She struggles to be the awesome Elementary teacher she was before Joey died. Grief is rapidly killing her. Then Garrett, a very handsome, very charismatic, and all-grown-up violin protégé returns to his hometown. He’s rich and successful—at the top of his game, but he’s lonely and looking for purpose. To spread his love of music, he volunteers to run a music enrichment course at the local school where Adara teaches, and, of course, he gets paired with her. He sees the vital, incredible woman inside her grief-stricken shell, and he’s determined to set her free.

He invites her to live again, asking her out, engaging her in conversation, and even trying to keep pace with her when she jogs around the neighborhood. She won’t have it. They may have to team teach music together, but that’s it. She doesn’t want to live—let alone get involved with anyone, yet his gentle kindness intrigues her. Sparks and witty banter fly… and, if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop turning pages to find out what will happen next.

Garrett and Adara are interesting likable characters I couldn’t help rooting for. I wanted to see Adara’s healing and just like Adara, I fell for Garrett.

I highly recommend this story for readers that enjoy fun and heartfelt contemporary romances.

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Every Kiss–Book Spotlight

Hey Readers, This book is awesome. I’m betting you’ll love it as much as I do, and, right now, it’s only 99 cents! Here’s its back cover blurb.

Doesn’t the blurb sound exciting? Here’s an excerpt to check out the author’s voice.


“I have an even better idea.” Ian lowered his voice into a honeyed drawl and his attention again dropped to her lips and stayed there. “We could forgo all bets and mistletoe. No one else is around. You can kiss me now for thirty seconds, a minute, but if you want it to go on longer, we’ll have to retire to your office and shut the door.” His mouth curled into a half-smile. “I promise I won’t tell.”

Gia gasped and lifted a hand to her throat, only half-pretending. “Are you propositioning me, Mr. O’Connor? I’m shocked, not to mention appalled, that you’d go to such sordid lengths to win a bet.”

He eased closer and his heated gaze drifted over her face and along her neck, as if he couldn’t decide where he wanted to start nibbling first. “You have no idea what lengths I’ll go to for you, Ms. Hellman.”

Her breath caught and it had nothing to do with pretending. Her blood raced faster, suddenly too hot, and a tingling invaded her lips, as if he’d already kissed her, hard and hungry, and left her wanting more. Holy crap, the man was a menace. And she couldn’t stop looking at his mouth, couldn’t stop wondering if he could truly deliver on all the decadent, delicious promises in his darkened eyes.

Probably. But she wasn’t willing to lose the bet to find out.

Subtly, as if drawn against her will, she leaned nearer, keeping her attention on his mouth. Even with her four-inch heels, she had to lift her chin to bring her lips closer to his. Gia made her voice soft and sultry. “Mistletoe or not, I won’t be kissing you. Not today, tomorrow or any time on Saturday.” She patted his cheek. “Get used to losing.”

He captured her wrist before she could withdraw her hand, keeping her gently captive. His eyes were blue fire. “I never lose.”

C.J Burright is a native Oregonian and refuses to leave. A member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter, while she has worked for years in a law office, she chooses to avoid writing legal thrillers (for now) and instead invades the world of paranormal romance, fantasy, and contemporary romance. C.J. also has her 4th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and believes a story isn’t complete without at least one fight scene. Her meager spare time is spent working out, refueling with mochas, gardening, gorging on Assassin’s Creed, and rooting on the Seattle Mariners…always with music. She shares life with her husband, daughter, and a devoted cat herd.

You can find C.J. at her website or at Totally Bound Publishing. To stay connected, follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Bookbub, subscribe to her newsletter here and follow her blog here.

Want to Write Compelling Fiction? The Key is in the Details

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Hey, I’m busy with classes and homework, but I want to share another writing tip. Somebody once said that the key to selling a lie is in the details. The same is true in story. It’s the details that will capture your reader will convince her to empathize with the characters and buy into the scene you’ve described.  Okay, so you include details, but what kind of details?

William Strunk Jr., author of The Elements of Style, gives us this advice, “the surest way to arouse and hold the reader’s attention is by being specific, definite and concrete. The greatest writers… are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report details that matter” (30-31).

But how do you know if a detail is specific and concrete? In Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway tells us details that are specific are things we can touch, feel, smell, see or hear. In other words, make sure that the details included in your scenes appeal to the senses (23).

Words Cited

Burroway, Janet, and Elizabeth Stuckey-French. Writing Fiction. Pearson/Longman, 2007.

Strunk, William. The Elements of Style. With Revisions, an Introduction., and a New Chapter on Writing by E.B. White. Macmillan, 1969.