{January 23, 2014}   Eight Years is a Long Time

I’ve already posted this on Facebook, so if you’ve read it, I apologize for the repeat.

Eight years ago, I held my Mama’s hand as she drew her last breath. I was blessed to be able to have the ability to say goodbye, because so few aren’t given that luxury. 

Mama and I had a tumultuous relationship. In my childhood years, she was taken from me because of schizophrenia. At the time, we didn’t understand what was wrong with her, and oh, how I resented her. I felt she didn’t love me and for the longest time, I believed she actually HATED me.

I’m so thankful that in my 20’s, we were able to work through our issues. I had the honor of helping take care of her during her last couple of years, and looking back at our relationship and remembering her, I’ve realized some things.

My mother taught me many things. When she was lucid, she was funny as HELL. She was so smart, and to this day, is one of the best storytellers I know. She gave me my love of horror and science fiction. She taught me the Stray Cat Strut. We watched Doctor Who together (Tom Baker is our favorite). I wish she’d have been able to watch when they started the show back…she saw the trailers for it and was so excited, even if the ‘new’ Doctor was going to wear a leather jacket. I think she’d have liked him.

She was one of the most generous people I know, and she didn’t have much to give, but if you needed it, it was yours.

Mama played Dungeons and Dragons with us. She loved when my friends would come over and we would all game together. She even learned to play video games…Katamari Damacy was the only one she could REALLY play after her strokes because of the controls.

My mother taught me to love EVERYONE. She didn’t discriminate if you believed in a different God or if you were a different race or if you weren’t straight. She just plain didn’t care.

Mama wanted to be a published author, which didn’t happen in her lifetime, but a few REALLY cool things did. She won a NATIONAL poetry award and it was presented by Vincent Price. She even got to shake his hand. She fed Harrison Ford once. He kissed her on the cheek, too. I was SO jealous because I was going to marry Han Solo. He did wave at me when I was getting off the school bus, though, so that was pretty cool.

Mama knew how to play The House of The Rising Sun on acoustic guitar. And she LOVED the Bard Song from Blind Guardian. She had the loveliest soft alto voice you’ve heard, and I WISH I had been gifted with that.

She was an artist. She painted and drew some of the most lovely pieces. She even wrote and illustrated a children’s book with me as the star.
I wish I could show her what I am doing. I think she’d love it, especially the horror and nude pieces. I used to HATE doing artsy crafty things, but now…whenever I create something, I think a piece of her is there.

I miss her so damn much. I never realized how much I would until she was gone. I’m grateful that I was able to be there when she left us. It is a gift to be able to say goodbye, a treasure that should not be taken for granted.

RIP Jeanne Rivers. I love you very much, mama. Thank you for teaching me that even when you were at your sickest, you still loved me.

{January 22, 2014}   COWBOYS MINE by Stacey Espino

Cowboy Mine
COWBOYS MINE by Stacey Espino


Western Menage (MFM) Romance


Releasing January 22nd from Evernight Publishing






Eva Ford lives a sheltered life on her small rural farm. At twenty-two, she feels the need to spread her wings and start her own life, planning a trip to the city to show her prized cows. Colton and North McReed from the next ranch over are determined to make sure she stays out of trouble.

Twin brothers, Colton and North, have always loved little Eva. She’s their rock in life, the one pure thing in their otherwise dark existence. Their abusive father ran out on the family years ago and their mother suffers from a serious addiction. They never look at Eva with desire…until they spend a week alone with her in the city.

Everything changes when Eva and the cowboys realize just how deep their love for each other runs. Once their passion is unleashed, it’s impossible to contain. But can their unorthodox relationship last? Will sex ruin the friendship of a lifetime?





North was ready to brawl. In fact, he craved it like never before. Pain would be preferable to the ache in his heart. Somewhere along the line he began to see Eva as more than the sweet girl next door. Somewhere along the line he’d fallen in love.

What he didn’t understand was Colton’s sudden disinterest. Their feelings for Eva always mirrored each other’s. Half the time when he’d escape to the Ford house, Colton was already there. They’d come on the trip specifically to keep Eva out of trouble, but instead, his twin was turning a blind eye.

They ate dinner in silence. North watched the sky turn from blue to black, every darkening shade bringing his anxiety to a new level. She still wasn’t back. God knows what that cowboy was doing with little Eva. The thought of his filthy hands on her made his blood boil. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could sit still with his imagination running wild.

He was just about to bolt from his seat when the door to the trailer opened. Cool air flooded the interior and the sound of Eva clearing her throat made every live wire inside him suddenly lose power. He exhaled a nervous breath, glad she was at least home safely.

“Told you I’d be back in one piece,” she said as she hung up her cardigan. “There’s no need to go hunting me down. Seriously.”

She started to climb up into the loft.

“Where’s lover boy?” asked North, no humor in his tone.

“His name is Wade, and he just dropped me off, like a perfect gentleman.”

“That why he had his lips all over you?” asked Colton. His brother was just as unimpressed, even though he’d condoned the behavior.

“Hush you!” Eva slipped under the covers.

“You haven’t eaten,” said North.

“Wade bought me dinner.”

He ground his teeth together, stifling a growl. The sound of that man’s name on Eva’s lips made him see red. If he never heard the name again it would be too soon.

They secured the trailer and turned out the lights before joining Eva in the bed. He tossed his shirt and lay down on his back, staring up at the low ceiling. She was already comfortable, obviously not feeling the volatile energy keeping him awake. He kept as far to his side as possible, the cold wall of the trailer chilling his arm. Every time she shifted in the bed, he tensed.

“I’m cold,” she murmured, cuddling closer to him. The heat of her body scorched his bare skin. In a matter of days, everything changed for him. He wasn’t sure when it happened, but he wished he could go back to the way things were. Uncomplicated.

He tried to get away from her but he was trapped in the tight confines of the sleeping area. He held his breath as she ran her palm over his chest, over and over in small circles. Her touch had always been soothing—not so much anymore.

“What’s wrong with you?” she whispered against his neck. His eyes lolled back in his head. Even her fucking breath was sweet.

“Nothing. Go to sleep, Eva.”

“You’re acting weird, North. Is this because of Wade?”

He decided the cowboy was a safer topic than his changing feelings for her. “I don’t trust him.”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t is all.” He rolled to his side and away from her. It didn’t feel right going to sleep on a sour note, but he couldn’t have this discussion now. Mrs. Ford was the one to teach him and Colton not to speak out of passion. It was always best to confront a person with a level head, after cooling off and replaying the events over in your head. He usually didn’t take the advice, but tonight felt like a good time to start.

“Will you two quiet down,” said Colton.

Eva pressed her body against his back. Why had he taken off his shirt? He needed layers between them—many, many layers.

“I know what I’m doing,” she said in a whisper. “You don’t have to worry about me.”

“I’d worry less if you spent more time with Bessie and Ruby than that drifter.”

“He’s not a drifter.”

“Why you defending him?” he asked. “You act like you’re already an item.”

She kissed his shoulder. “I just want you to be happy for me, North.”

“It doesn’t matter what I think.”

“It does. You’re the one who taught me how to rope a calf, and even though it took me weeks to learn, you never got impatient. You protected me when Jameson’s dogs got loose.” She ran her hand delicately down his arm, her fingers lingering over the raised scars on his forearm. “You bought me a corsage when no boy asked me to prom. Remember when the three of us danced in the rain that night? My dress was covered in mud.”

“I remember.”

“Well those are just examples of why I love you so much. It doesn’t feel right doing anything without your blessing.”

He wasn’t sure he could ever give her what she wanted.


I’m thrilled to have  Lynne Cantwell as a guest poster on my blog today.   There’s a giveaway for a dream pillow, so make sure you enter!  Details at the end of the blog post.


Before I started writing my first urban fantasy, I read a number of books in the genre, by several authors. Some of the books could also be classified as paranormal romance, and many of those featured a happily-ever-after ending (known as “HEA” for short). But some didn’t. Sometimes, a series of books would delay the HEA payoff to heighten the tension and make for a more satisfying release when the lovers finally did get together – so while an individual book wrapped up the current storyline, the payoff for the romance storyline didn’t come until several books in. (I’m thinking in particular of C.E. Murphy’s “Walker Papers,” in which Joanne doesn’t come to an understanding with her captain until six books into the nine-book series – and then she immediately leaves for Ireland.)

I come at paranormal romance from a background of reading and writing fantasy, so the lack of an HEA in each and every book doesn’t bother me. Fantasy series have an overall story arc similar to that in a paranormal romance series – that is, each book wraps up its own storyline, but it’s only a stop on the whole hero’s journey. Although the more accurate term for paranormal romance might be “heroine’s journey,” as the protagonist is usually a capable (if not wholly self-confident), magic-wielding and/or shapeshifting woman.

In urban fantasy, the female protagonist is sometimes a lone wolf whose love life isn’t central to the plot at all, except when the lack of one underscores her loneliness (one example being Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye).

So when I wrote The Pipe Woman Chronicles, I didn’t pay much attention to whether each book had an HEA, as long as all was well in the end. Particularly in the second book, Fissured, things end on an uncertain romantic note for Naomi and Joseph.

Now, however, I’ve finished the five books of The Pipe Woman Chronicles and am embarking on Land, Sea, Sky – a trilogy in the same universe. I’m once again calling this series an urban fantasy – Crosswind is set in Washington, D.C., which is pretty darned urban, and plenty of fantastic things happen during the course of the story.

But I’m hesitant to call it a paranormal romance. For one thing, your usual magical creatures – vampires, werewolves, and fae, oh my – are absent. As with The Pipe Woman Chronicles, the only paranormal (or maybe  “extranormal” is a better term) characters in Land, Sea, Sky are gods.

And while the plot of Crosswind includes a romance – spoiler alert! – there’s no HEA at the end of it. All three of the main characters – Tess, Sue, and Darrell – have a fair amount of emotional growing up to do at the beginning of their story. Part of the fun of writing their adventure, for me, is watching them wrestle with their romantic problems and gain maturity in the process. Will that end in an HEA for at least one of them, when I type “the end” on the third book? I’m not sure yet, to be honest. But I will say they each deserve as much happiness as they can get.


Crosswind (Land, Sea, Ski: Book 1)

Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods’ return. As conflict eases around the world, attention — and money — has turned to more humanitarian goals: improving the lives of the First Nations peoples and others who were repressed for thousands of years.

But the former ruling class – the military, religious, and corporate leaders who profited under the old system — are about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring their good times back.

The gods refuse to start a new war against those men, because that would make them no better than Their opponents. Instead, They have drafted three humans to help Them. Together, Tess, Sue and Darrell must find a way past their own flaws to ensure the gods’ peace will not be destroyed.

Amazon ~ Smashwords ~ Goodreads

Genre – Urban Fantasy
Pages – approx 275 (68K words)
Published November 20th – Amazon 

About the Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, “I could do that.” The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book, illustrated by the author, about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master’s degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. In addition, she is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited.



GIVEAWAY is a DREAM PILLOW from the American Indian Museum store + A signed paperback, another signed paperback and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.  Click here to enter via Rafflecopter.

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