A Different Kind of Lottery Winner

We don’t hear too many happily-ever-after stories about lottery winners. Often, they are portrayed as impulsive people who manage to squander all their money. And then there are the horror stories about long-lost relatives and friends who appear out of nowhere, asking for handouts. So, it’s not too surprising when lottery winners decide to take physical and emotional distance from their previous lives.

Gilda Greco, the protagonist of A Season for Killing Blondes and Too Many Women in the Room, took a different approach. After graciously accepting her $19 million lottery win, she returned to her hometown of Sudbury, Ontario. Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview Gilda gave prior to finding herself in the middle of another murder investigation.

Continue reading on the Just Romantic Suspense blog.

On Tour with Too Many Women in the Room

Starting today and continuing until the end of June, twenty-eight of my author friends will host me on their blogs. I will be sharing posts, excerpts, and recipes with wonderful companions who have provided support and encouragement on my writing journey.

I’m hoping you’ll visit their blogs and enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway. You could win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Check daily for link updates.

May 28 – Donna Warner
May 29 – Just Romantic Suspense
May 30 – Marian Lanouette
May 31 – Claire Gem
June 1 – Romance Recipes
June 4 – Jen Stwinom
June 5 – Jacquie Biggar
June 5 – Lori Robinett
June 7 – Marilyn Meredith
June 7 – Lois Winston
June 9 – Ryan Jo Summers
June 11 – Lesley Diehl
June 12 – Vicki Batman
June 13 – Marsha West
June 14 – Mrs. N
June 15 – Marni Graff
June 16 – Kathryn Hunter
June 16 – Carly Jordynn
June 19 – Marilyn Levinson
June 19 – Kristina Stanley
June 20 – B.K. Stevens
June 22 – Rachel Sharpe
June 23 – Mysteriastis
June 24 – Ally Shields
June 26 – Judy Penz Sheluk
June 26 – Paty Jaeger
June 28 – Grace Topping
June 30 – Sisterhood of Suspense

10 Characteristics of a Scottish Romance

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Madelyn Hill to the Power of 10 series. Today, Madelyn shares ten characteristics of a Scottish romance and her latest release, Highland Faith.

Here’s Madelyn!

Ahhh, Scotland! Just thinking of Scotland conjures up images of Highlanders, heather, and men in kilts. There seems to be a romanticism affiliated with Scotland that I’m sure if the people of Scotland laugh at our perception.

Here are the TOP 10 Characteristics of Scottish Romances:

1. A man in a kilt! Let’s face it, a kilt is a skirt and you have to have enough self-confidence to pull that off. A true Highlander has a certain swagger—cocksure stride when wearing a kilt. It lends to the romantic view of the story and we get a peek at those muscle-bound legs!

2. Sweeping Romance! While this rings true for other romances, the sweeping romance of a Scottish romance seems to be enhanced by setting and tragic history.

3. Setting! As I mentioned above, Scottish romances have a setting that can be a character in itself. Castles, Keeps, and the Highlands really set the scene and allow for wonderful description and adventures. The untamed landscape allows for many romantic encounters and daring rescues.

4. Romantic! A Scottish Moor or a mysterious castle can lend to the romance of the story. Add the sensual burr of a Scotsman and now we’re talking. A hero who is strong and loyal, but also has a soft heart and would do anything for those he loved.

5. Characters We Fall In Love With! I think everyone has become smitten with Sam Heughan as Jamie in Outlander. The loyalty, sensuality, and humor of his character has made their way into our hearts. Jamie is ready to protect those he loves or die trying. While the story can be intense, there are those humorous snippets or those sensual moments when he woos us out of our corsets!

6. Strong Heroines! A Scottish lass is strong, can wield a weapon, and gives the hero a run for his money. They are loyal, feisty, and ready to fight for what they believe in.

7. Politics! Scottish politics and their tragic history can be an alluring part of a story when used for motivation and conflict. A Scotsman or Scottish lass fighting against the English is a worthy hero indeed.

8. The Accent! Who doesn’t melt when they hear that Scottish burr whispering sweet nothings in your ear? There is just something so damn sexy about a Scottish accent that I wish Siri could be set on Scotsman!

9. The Highlands! I know I’ve mentioned setting a few times, but something as majestic as the Highlands should get a category of their own. Harsh, picturesque and filled with lochs, heather, Highlanders (obviously) the Highlands can be very romantic.

10. Mystery! There is much romanticism about Scotland, but how much is true? Think of Outlander and Braveheart, we have overlooked some of the veracity of these stories and embraced the romance of the characters. And with the Celtic and Druid history of the isle, there is much mystery to make romantic fodder for any novel.


Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.

Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life on the high seas. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.

Now, Lady Faith and Captain Ross seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of land and sea—and angry Highlanders standing between them.



Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

Where to find Madelyn…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page | Pinterest

Spotlight on Death’s Footprint

I’m happy to feature this new release from two Guelph authors.


What’s your life worth? If the price isn’t right….you die.

They call him Dr. Death. Not a surprise. He reminds his philosophy students that we never know when the Grim Reaper will come for us. Before Professor Lucas Stride’s lecture at the Quebec City morgue, he receives a threat. If the extortionist isn’t satisfied with the cash offer, Lucas dies.

Toronto cop, Jordan Blair, arrives for a tryst with private investigator, Darcy Piermont. Sightseeing, fine dining, and blissful hours in Darcy’s bed are on her wish list.

Her plans are derailed after Darcy agrees to try and locate a family friend, missing since the morgue tour with his class. In their search for the professor, Jordan and Darcy uncover a series of crimes that conclude with the reality of — death.

Chapter 6 Excerpt

Tuesday, 3:00 p.m.

Lucas had endured a distinct eau de dog emanating from the carpet in the visiting professors’ apartment at Université Laval. He’d had enough. To celebrate the end of the Death’s Reality summer course, and mark his impending retirement from academia, he checked into the luxurious Fairmont Château Frontenac. He had two full days to relax before the morgue tour. After that, home.

With a contented sigh, he settled into the padded gold and blue-striped easy chair and supported his arthritic knee on the ottoman. He couldn’t put off that knee replacement much longer.

The fifth-floor suite’s old world décor calmed his spirit. He shifted his chair to face the window alcove to watch the cruise ships and barges float along the majestic St. Lawrence River. The bedroom view was equally enchanting, overlooking the chef’s rooftop garden. Tonight, he’d crank open the window and let the scents of lavender and mint help him sleep.

The Rococo wallpaper reminded him of the hotel he and Jolene had stayed in during their trip to France, five years ago, before they knew she was sick. He reached for the tumbler of Revel Stoke Spiced Whiskey.

He inhaled the zesty aroma and savoured the smooth taste of his drink, reflecting back to the day he presented the proposal for this grad course to the department Chair at the University of Waterloo. These days, some department heads were nervous about exposing young minds to unpleasant experiences. To Lucas’s surprise, the Chair approved the proposal and welcomed the short course into the Philosophy Department’s curriculum.

Choosing Université Laval to teach a summer course had given him respite from his empty home in Waterloo, where he half-expected to hear Jolene’s voice calling to him from another room. Despite lecturing others on the stages of grief, he seemed irrevocably stuck in stage 2 — anger.

Enough with the self-pity. Back to work. He put on his glasses and flipped open the folder resting on his knees. Despite his lengthy teaching career, he still felt some apprehension when reading student evaluations. He breezed through fourteen forms, all providing positive comments. One student reported spotting a ghost at the cemetery they visited. Evidently, she considered that incident to be the highlight of the course. The professor shook his head and picked up the final sheet.

One word had been printed across the form in red pen. “SUCKED!!!!”

Lucas laughed out loud and reached for the whiskey bottle. Well, Mr. Jared Kavello, hope you aren’t too disappointed with your failing grade.

Something white slid under the door. He hobbled over and picked up a folded sheet of paper and opened it.

Random letters had been cut from newsprint and pasted on the page. After he read the first line, he supported himself against the wall.




CoUNtRY lOT FOr SaLE ALOnG THe JEaN-LAROSE rIVeR $_________. FIrm. CaLL 555-240-6767 FOr DETAiLs.

Who would do this? Could this be from one of his students? He had used the reference to the Grim Reaper more than once in class. Surely, not even Kavello would stoop this low. Should he warn his son, Greg, and leave the city tonight? Had he ever mentioned where his family lived? There was still Friday’s field trip.

He reached for the phone to call the police. But his fingers froze. No. Corbin’s and Travis’s lives could be jeopardized. He had no choice but to follow the extortionist’s instructions. His head throbbed.

He lay on the couch with a cold, damp washcloth on his forehead in an attempt to ease his headache. The phone clipped to his belt vibrated. He opened an email from his friend, Dorothée Dufresne. Would he meet her at the 1608 Wine and Cheese Bar in the Château at five o’clock? She wanted to introduce him to someone special. Lucas hit the reply key, ready to beg off.

He paused. Dorothée knew he was leaving Québec City in a few days. If he didn’t meet with her and convince her that all was well, she’d hunt him down and pry his secret from him. He accepted her invitation.

His heart raced as he noticed the time. He used his laptop to access the newspaper classified ads department. The English-language Chronicle-Telegraph was a weekly newspaper, publishing Wednesdays. Tomorrow. Twenty minutes until deadline.

How much cash could he access by Friday? With stiff fingers, he provided his credit card information, then typed in the phony ad details. Three minutes to deadline, he entered a figure and hit the Submit button.

Buy Links

Amazon e-book (Canada) | Amazon e-book (U.S.) | Amazon paperback (U.S.)


Donna Warner’s novella, Targeted, published Nov. 2015, is book #1 in the Blair and Piermont crime thriller series. It’s set in the Caribbean on Roatán Island, Honduras. Book #2, Death’s Footprint, published Apr. 2017, takes place in Canada’s historic Québec City. Both Targeted and Death’s Footprint are co-authored with award winning mystery author, Gloria Ferris.

Before joining the fiction writing industry, first as a freelance editor and then as a published author, Donna was communication manager for the Canadian Network of Toxicology Centres. Prior to that, she tutored ESL students; taught college-level education courses for ten years; and founded a registered private vocational school.

A keen cottager, Donna enjoys the challenges of climbing in and out of her kayak without getting dunked and trying to outsmart fish. Home is a country property on the outskirts of Guelph, Ontario. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers of Canada.

Website (Personal) | Website (Business) | Amazon Author Page | Email

Gloria Ferris is the award-winning author of the Cornwall & Redfern mysteries that feature serious crimes and far-from-serious protagonists. Death’s Footprint is her second crime thriller, quick read, co-written with author, Donna Warner.

When not writing, Gloria works on character profiles, researches plotlines, reads everything, and is often heard to mutter, “I wish I’d written that!” She is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada, the International Thriller Writers, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. Gloria returned to her native Guelph, Ontario, after retiring from her job as procedure writer at a nuclear power plant. She spent more than twenty-five years in Kincardine and Port Elgin, small towns which inspire her mysteries.

Website | Amazon Author Page | Email

The Right Opening

Have you ever experienced the tyranny of the blank page?

If you’re nodding in agreement, you are in good company. In fact, I believe every author—from beginner to published—has experienced those feelings of doubt and apprehension, especially at the start of a new manuscript. That’s when the gremlin thoughts are most powerful.

In this post, I will offer several suggestions on how to squash those gremlins and start writing the first page of your next manuscript.

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.

Nuts and Bolts of Writing

L-R Alison Bruce, Donna Warner, Liz Lindsay, Joanne Guidoccio

Yesterday evening, I participated in a lively panel discussion with three other mystery writers at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. We are all published authors and members of Crime Writers of Canada.

We gave mini-presentations on our favorite nuts and bolts of writing—The Right Opening, Character Development, Self-Editing, Building Your Author Brand—and read excerpts from our recent novels. During the Q & A sessions, we delved into a variety of topics, among them short stories, writing and critique groups, conferences, and contests.

Thanks to librarians Andrea Curtis and Deb Quaile for organizing and facilitating this event.

To learn more about Guelph Partners in Crime, visit our websites:

Alison Bruce

Joanne Guidoccio

Liz Lindsay aka Jamie Tremain

Donna Warner