December 30, 2016

What happened to 2016?

Seriously! I think I blinked my eyes and the calendar flipped right to December.

Maya's Musings started off slowly this year... Still, it ended up being a fabulous year with many, many wonderful guests! I love having guests! It's an amazing opportunity to share great books and talented authors with my readers... and a heart-stopping thrill to connect with some of my favorite authors at the same time.

March featured a cover reveal for Summerita Rhayne's His Christmas Delight.

I had the privilege of interviewing Roxanne St. Claire, in June. She spoke to us about her Barefoot Bay Timeless series.

July featured Madison SevierTara Taylor QuinnJinxie GKaren Rose SmithDevika Fernando, and Ashley Scott for the "My Favorite" series. These fabulous authors shared what favorite song, book, or movie inspires their writing. Not surprising, these ladies were quite creative in their responses...

Some interesting characters visited in August... Dr. Burke Clarke from Tara Taylor Quinn's For Love or Money, Blueford from Tyler Robbins' Heaven's Just a Sin Away, and Boston from Alexis Alvarez's Boston.
In August, I signed a contract for my latest book with Tirgearr Publishing! Stay tuned for a release in February... I am very happy to join the Tirgearr Team - I met some awesome fellow authors there and wanted to introduce them to the Maya's Musings fans - Abbey MacMunn, Kathleen Rowland, Elizabeth Delisi, and Susan Clayton-Goldner all dropped by in October.

November meant Nanowrimo... a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month. I didn't participate this year, but I decided to take the month off–anyway–to do a bit of writing.

Then–before I knew it–it was December. Bye-bye 2016!

Welcome 2017, I hope you will be an awesome writing year!

(And I hope this video plays!)

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

<Contains Christmas spoilers>

Santa Claus never brought me presents when I was a child. I wasn’t “bad” or living in some remote part of the world. My parents told me he didn’t exist. Their actual words were something like, “Santa doesn’t come to our house.” As an adult, when I tell other parents I never had Santa (or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy), they are shocked. In my family, Christmas was celebrated for its religious origins. My parents were anti-commercialism. On Christmas morning, I got presents, but I knew they were from my parents. I don’t fault my parents for their choice, but I do feel like I missed something. My kids have Santa (and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy). It adds a magic to Christmas I had never experienced prior to having children. Plus, it’s a great threat to keep them in line all year long! <wink>

Since I never had family traditions to follow, our kids have the same “Santa” as my husband did when he was a child. Santa brings all the presents (wrapped) and presents don’t get opened before Christmas Day. It’s great my kids have Santa, but it sucks we work so hard to find those gifts they really want (and happen to be the toy of the season) and we don’t get any credit. I know when they look back at their childhood they will know it was us all those years, but <sigh> what about now? In this information age, it’s actually amazing they (at ages 6 and 8) still believe. Especially when the “Santa traditions” vary from family to family.

From one house to another:
  • ·      Santa brings one present for each child.
  • ·      Santa doesn’t wrap the presents.
  • ·      Santa brings socks, underwear, and a tooth brush.
  • ·      Santa doesn’t bring electronics.

When the kids are in school and they talk about Christmas, what do they think about all the contradictions? Aren’t they curious why Santa treats each child differently? Maybe the answer can be found in the simple faith of a child? The belief in magic.

I see now my childhood lacked magic… The grown-up truth about Christmas robbed me of something special. Fantasy re-captures the magic I missed… It’s no wonder I write paranormal!
I love Christmas, I’m not a Scrooge, and I will keep “Santa” for as long as they believe. (And the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.) And the paramount marvel on their faces that special morning means we’ve kept the magic alive for another year.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas (celebrating with whatever traditions you hold) and a healthy and positive 2017.

October 28, 2016

#interview with Susan Clayton-Goldner

I am pleased to introduce Susan Clayton-Goldner who is joining us today on Maya’s Musings.

Q: Tell us something about yourself.
A: I grew up in New Castle, Delaware, one of five children and the only girl. A grenade blew up in my father’s hand during WWII. It was before the birth of 4 of his children, including me, but in many ways that bomb blew up in our lives as well. He was in and out of VA hospitals for years and suffered from what would now be called PTSD. He was often difficult, but had more tenacity than anyone I’ve ever met. Tenacity is a wonderful gift for a writer. My father and his struggles have influenced my writing more than any other person. He never gave up. He was a carpenter by trade and the grenade blew off most of his right hand. It broke nearly every bone in his legs. He was told he’d never walk again. But he did with the help of a brace. And he became a pretty good one-handed carpenter, as well. If he could overcome all of that, I could survive the rejections that come from being a writer.

When I’m not writing, I enjoy making quilts and stained glass windows. There is something similar about the three forms of creativity. All of them tell stories using fabric, glass or words.

Q. How did you get into writing?
A: My father won a portable typewriter in a poker game when I was 6. I taught myself to type on it and started to write stories and a little neighbourhood newspaper. Many years have passed. I never became a poker player, but I did continue to write novels and poetry. In college I majored in creative writing. It is hard for me to remember a time when I was not writing. I often don’t know how I feel about something until I spend time writing about it.

Q. How do you develop your plots and characters?
A: My plots and characters usually come out of a “what if?” question.  Something triggers an idea for the story. I think about it for a while and then begin to ask myself the “what if” question. Sometimes the triggering thought is a concept.  Maybe I want to write about redemption. What if a priest falls in love with a parishioner? What if he tells her he wants to leave the priesthood and marry her? What if, hours later, her little girl finds her dead in her car—an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning? What if it turns out to be murder?

Or in the case of my novel, A Bend In The Willow (scheduled to be released by Tirgearr in January, 2017) a woman murders her abusive father, disappears, changes her name and reinvents herself. What if she is leading a respectable life, married to a medical school dean, when her young son is diagnosed with leukemia? What if she must return to Kentucky, where she is wanted for murder, in order to find relatives who may be a bone marrow match for her son?

Q: What inspires you to write?
A: I’m inspired by what I see around me. By the questions life raises. Sometimes I’m inspired by stories I read in the paper or hear about on the news. Mostly I’m inspired by questions about forgiveness, redemption and love. I often write about characters finding a way back to themselves or to the family they abandoned.

Q: Who is your all-time favorite character (from your books) and why?
A: Catherine Henry, from my book A Bend In the Willow is one of my favourite characters because of her tenacity and the way she reinvented herself after a horrible experience. I admire the fact that she’d give up everything, even her life, in order to save her little boy.

Q: Do you prefer coffee or tea?
A: tea

Q: What’s better than chocolate?
A: Not much. Maybe that feeling a writer gets when she writes, “THE END”.

Q: If you believed in this sort of thing and could channel an artist from the beyond, who would it be and why?
A: I think it would be Van Gogh because he was so off the bell curve and so talented. I’d like to talk with him about the fine line between sanity and insanity—if there is such a thing—and the role art plays. Was it his supposed “insanity” that allowed him to see and create The Starry Night? Would he have changed places with a saner man if it meant losing his amazing creativity?

Q: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: I see myself still writing novels, still finding joy in creating fictional characters, still trying to discover my own truths.

Q: Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there?
A: My advice is to stick with it. Tenacity pays off. I received over 100 rejections letters before I finally got a New York agent. I thought my trials and tribulations were over. She loved the book and was very vocal in her praise. But a few months later, she accepted a salaried job with another agency and let go of her clients who weren’t yet making money for her. I can’t blame her, but it was a huge blow. This was the first time I ever considered quitting, but I couldn’t. I have to write. I was born to write. And if you were, too, don’t let anything or anyone stop you.

Thanks for your time, Susan.

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program. Susan has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest where she received a thousand dollar prize. Susan won the National Writers' Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings.

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more fiction and poetry books than one person could count.


October 21, 2016

#interview with @delisi

I am pleased to introduce Elizabeth Delisi who is joining us today on Maya’s Musings.

Q: Tell us something about yourself.
A: Hi, Maya! Happy to be here. I’m married with three children and three grandchildren. I live in New Hampshire and love it! Reading is one of my favorite pastimes, along with knitting, Tarot, and watching old movies.

Q. How did you get into writing?
A: The first story I wrote was when I was in 1st grade. The teacher had given us a take-home spelling assignment. One little girl wrote a story instead, and the teacher praised her effort. I said I wanted to write a story too, but I was told I couldn’t. Well, I *did* write a story anyway…but I also did my spelling assignment.

Since then, I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether I worked on fiction, poetry, or papers written for various school assignments. I was the only kid in class who, when told to write a paper, said “Yes!” I wrote my first novel—well, about half of a very short novel—when I was in 8th grade. After that, I was completely hooked.

Q. How do you develop your plots and characters?
A: Usually, something I read, watch or hear sparks the basic idea of a plot. Often that includes taking the actual event and using the words, “What if?” That’s a start. Once I have a rough idea of the road the plot might take, the main characters become clear.

For some reason, the plot always comes first with me, the characters appearing second. I do jot things down as they occur to me in a loose outline form, whether it’s a plot point, a question to research, or bits of dialogue. I rely on it as I write, changing or adding to the outline as required.

Q: What inspires you to write?
A: My main inspiration is that I love to read. Reading has been a great pleasure for me throughout my life, and when I write, I am able to give back a little of that pleasure and pass it on to other readers.

Q: Who is your all-time favorite character (from a book) and why?
A: Ooh, tough one. My first instant thought is Scarlett from GONE WITH THE WIND. I do admire her strength and stubbornness. But she’s a little too selfish for me. Kivrin, the heroine in Connie Willis’s book DOOMSDAY BOOK, is brave and never gives up, no matter how bad things become. But in flashing a glance over my bookshelves, I find the person I admire the most is Anne Frank, author of DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL. She displayed the courage and wisdom of a much older person in the face of certain tragedy, and the world is the poorer for her loss.

Q: Do you prefer coffee or tea?
A: Tea if it’s the right flavor of black tea; or coffee drinks with other things mixed in. Like chocolate!

Q: What’s better than chocolate?
A: Um…nothing?

Q: If you believed in this sort of thing and could channel an artist from the beyond, who would it be and why?
A: Another tough one. If you mean artist as in one of the arts, I’d say the person I’d most like to bring back would be my dear friend Lynne, who passed away suddenly of an unexpected blood clot not long ago. She loved to write, and had some success with essays in Chicken Soup and other anthologies. She was working on a middle grade novel, and was so excited about it. I will never stop missing her, and wondering what glorious books the world will now be without.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: The future is always a bit nebulous. But I hope in five years to be still writing, with my husband retired and we’re living in the house we plan to build for our retirement up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Q: Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there?
A: Never give up. Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Try to read critically, to discover how your favorite authors achieve the effects they get. Then put them to use in your own work.

Thanks for your time, Elizabeth.

My pleasure! Thanks for hosting me, Maya.

October 14, 2016

#Romance travel to Lake Arrowhead by @RowlandKathleen

Blurb for Deadly Alliance, romantic suspense

Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.

Chapter One from Deadly Alliance
“You know I love your sportswear designs, right?”
“I’m glad you do.” Amy Kintyre sat opposite a buyer, none other than Kira Radner, at a coffee shop in Lake Arrowhead, California. This sudden opportunity to re-launch her sportswear designs gave rise to the jitters, and Amy clutched her hands under the table.
Kira pressed her face forward, Amy’s sketches drawn on figures in action poses. With the portfolio spread between them, she flipped it sideways to examine the fabric swatches stapled along the sidebar. Their earthy tones blended with the marred wooden table.
Amy stilled the chatty urge.
“You know your presentation is in two weeks.” Kira was giving her the green light with Recreational Sportswear, Incorporated.
“I appreciate this, Kira.” To get her business back on track, she needed blocks of time to sew mockups. Amy inhaled the spicy aroma of the raw cedar wood. The under-construction d├ęcor of wide, timber planks on the walls made her think of her new self.   Crazy how thirty felt like seventeen when embracing life and freeing her artistic side.
“Then I beg you,” Kira said, “please, please, please have your product samples ready. Deadline is the first Monday of November.”
“Got it.” Fear over the tight time frame tasted sour in her throat, but this break called like no other.
Kira leaned forward. “Impressive functionality with the shorts. Who would have thought this pocket holds a Swiss Army Knife!” The buyer’s fingertips traced the pick-stitch hem, made with thread matching the fabric, appearing invisible. “Nice detail.”
Amy’s only mock-up kept their face-to-face meeting running like the hum of the fluorescent lights above.
“Oooo,” Kira said and raised both her eyebrows. “Classic nostalgia with a twist. A pocket knife for hikers!”
“Useful, I think.” The bright light flickered over associates who’d worked together in the past, but Amy didn’t share the difficulty of making the deadline. Her breathing shortened, and panic carved a hole in her chest.
“Gotta bounce,” Kira said. “Get to work.”
“I will.” She pulled out a notebook and jotted down a to-do list ending with the file with various size patterns. After a half-hour of regrouping and rethinking, she stopped tapping her pen. Kira Radner took a chance on her, but to turn this chance into a reality, she needed evenings and weekends to make the deadline.
Last Sunday while pouring over Craigslist classifieds, she’d zeroed in on Finbar Donahue’s bookkeeping ad. After her inquiry, his head accountant sent her a message. She still favored the toe she stubbed after her in-box pinged.
Thanks to what happened, the call from Kira, she needed Finn’s job. Her mind raced to her third interview for his nine-to-five. Tomorrow morning, if all went well, she’d land the regular-hours job, tailor made for her time frame. She ran a hand through her hair, picturing the arrogant know-it-all with a never-ending string of women hanging on his arm.
Handsome wasn’t the word to describe Finn, her late, ex-boyfriend’s partner. She’d been around Finbar Donahue enough to know he looked at his world as if he were the Almighty himself. The former Army Ranger made her way too nervous. She tensed up to such an extent, her voice broke.
Romance wasn’t part of this equation. Her dream to launch herself, stitch by stitch, came down to landing the job. On a mission, her goal was simple. She closed her eyes and prayed tomorrow she’d nail it.
Deadly Alliance buy link:
* * *

How about romantic travel to Lake Arrowhead, California, where Deadly Alliance takes place?  Fall colors mix with evergreens around this pristine mountain lake. Bring a picnic basket and rent a pontoon!

Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts.   Lily’s Pad and the Intervenus Series: A Brand New Address and Betrayal at Crater’s Edge are sweet.  Deadly Alliance and her work-in-progress, Unholy Alliance, are contracted with Tirgearr Publishing and written for adults.

Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors.  While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write.  If you’d enjoy news,  sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter at

October 7, 2016

Book Spotlight - Touched by @abbeymacmunn

Abbey MacMunn
Fantasy Romance
Tirgearr Publishing

Contact links:

Buy links:


When inquisitive antique dealer Cami Wilson learns she’s the revered offspring of an immortal mother and a mortal father, it’s not just her hybrid status that has her all flustered. The title comes with her very own super-sexy guardian.

Jaded immortal Joseph Carlisle has only one thing on his mind; his sworn duty to protect the hybrid from those who wish her harm. Anything else would be complicated. That is until they meet. 
Chemistry sizzles between them but there’s a problem—the hybrid’s curse. Cami’s touch, skin to skin, proves near fatal to her and all immortals, Joseph included.

But the fated lovers discover her curse is the least of their concerns when a friend’s deadly betrayal threatens to tear them apart forever.

Author Bio:
Abbey MacMunn writes paranormal, fantasy and sci fi romance. She lives in Hampshire, UK with her husband and their four children. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
When she’s not writing, she likes to watch films and TV shows – anything from rom-coms to superheroes to science fiction movies.


Cami Wilson shoved her things back into her pockets, including the curious brooch that started this craziness, and walked back into the pub.
Joseph and Daniel sat in a secluded area not far from the blazing fire.
She’d have to be blind not to notice the two brothers were seriously hot. Both had the type of ripped, muscular bodies most women drooled over, evident now they had removed their coats, but Joseph… oh boy, Joseph intrigued her. The wall of reserve he used as a shield and the ‘stay away’ warning in his eyes ought to be enough to make her wary, but there was something about Joseph that excited and frightened her at the same time. The moody attitude, together with the hint of sorrow and loneliness reflected in those amazing, glacier-blue eyes made her curious to know what was going on behind them. What he strived so hard to conceal.
Cami slipped out of her coat and hung it on the back of the chair, aware two sets of eyes watched her every move. Again her appearance bothered her. She’d dressed in tight jeans, a tad snug over her rounded, too-big backside, and a knitted cardigan with a hole in the armpit.
Why did they have to be so ridiculously good looking?
She sat opposite them, aimed for unflustered but suspected her burning cheeks gave her insecurities away.
She glanced at the roaring fire and took her cardigan off, revealing a fitted, short-sleeve blouse which accentuated her slim waist but showed more cleavage than she was comfortable with. Not that she had much of a cleavage. She took a breath. Okay, Cami, stop worrying about what you look like and just come straight out with it.

Shoulders squared, she slapped her palms on the table and fired a round of questions with the tenacity of an interrogator—or at least she intended to sound like one. ‘Who are you? Who is trying to kill me? What do you know about my brooch? And what the hell are immortals and guardians?’