December 2014


PEGASUS #Excerpt by Marilyn Holdsworth @M_Holdsworth #MustRead #Women #Contemporary

Posted on Friday, December 26, 2014

from the novel PEGASUS by Marilyn Holdsworth

Hannah slowed Pegasus to a walk as they entered the gate of the ranch's old training track at the far end of the paddock. Once inside the ring, Pegasus pawed the dirt eagerly, flicked his ears forward looking down the long stretch toward the first turn.

“Think you’ve seen somethin’ like this before, fella? I just bet you have.” She leaned forward to smooth his arched neck, tightened her grip on the rope and wound her fingers more firmly into his mane. “Okay boy. Let’s see what you remember.” Hannah crouched low on the horse, speaking softly as he pawed and pranced impatiently. Then suddenly she dug her heels sharply into his sides. “Go,” she yelled. “Go boy, go.” Her heels pummeled him and she slapped the rope against his neck.
Pegasus responded instantly, lunging beneath her into a full gallop, he bolted down the track. 

Thundering toward the first turn, he hugged the rail, his powerful stride lengthening as he rocketed on toward the backstretch. Hannah held on, hair streaming in the wind , her chanting words, “Go, boy go,” drown out by his pounding hooves. She clung to his neck , girl and horse melded into one as they streaked around the course.

 She caught a blurred glimpse of two figures standing by the rail as she flashed past. And when at last Pegasus slowed and she was finally able to pull him up, she saw Win vault over the fence. He reached her just in time to catch her as she slid to the ground.

“My God, Hannah, you could have been killed. What the hell did you think you were doing?  It’s a wonder you weren’t thrown and trampled. And Pegasus, you could have lamed him,” Win seethed.

You can read more about Pegasus at:

As a novelist, I draw on many real life experiences to provide background for my books. After completing studies in Literature and History at Occidental College, I became a staff writer on a travel magazine, and throughout my career I have traveled extensively all over the world. Because I love horses, I owned and trained them. I support horse rescue and wild mustang preservation. Based on my experience with horses and my research on abuse issues, I wrote Pegasus.

As a descendant of James Monroe, I did extensive research at the James Monroe Museum in Virginia about him and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. I also visited their home, Ashlawn/Highland in Albemarle County. This resulted in my novel, The Beautiful American. Making Wishes, was based partly on my experiences as creator, owner and operator of a greeting card company.

Making Wishes

Elloree Prince is an attractive, creative young woman who marries a wealthy businessman, Tom Randall. After courting his bride with unrelenting determination, Tom moves her into old-moneyed Oak View, where generations of Randalls have lived for years. Outwardly, Elloree appears to settle into raising their two sons within Oak View's stifling social structure, but inwardly, she yearns for her artistic work. 

An unexpected phone call from Mark Williams, her former employer, offers her the career opportunity of a lifetime, and she must make a choice. She is torn between her devotion to her sons and her love for her work. Her decision to return to Wishes, Inc. brings dramatic life changes to her and the people she loves.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Women's fiction
Rating – PG-13


"Abby Long is thrilled when she offers the winning bid for an antique desk at an auction. With its intricately inlaid woods and elegant style, the desk is perfect for Abby; it is the gift she promised herself to finally celebrate her thriving antique business. She has no idea that the antique desk holds a secret that will lead her on a fascinating, life-changing journey back in time.
When Abby discovers a hidden diary stuffed inside a secret compartment in the desk, she can hardly wait to read the spidery, faded script. As she carefully turns the tattered pages, she reads the captivating story of two remarkable women from opposite backgrounds who somehow manage to form an unforgettable bond against the backdrop of a fledgling America struggling to find its place in the world. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of James Monroe, and Jasmine, a young slave girl, develop an extraordinary relationship as they are united by pivotal historic events, political intrigues, and personal tragedies.
 From a bucolic Virginia plantation to the bloodied, starving streets of post-revolutionary Paris, this powerful tale follows the lives of two courageous women from the past as they quietly influence—and inspire—a woman of today’s world."

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical fiction
Rating – G


Widowed at thirty, Hannah Bradley is a successful journalist focusing on animal abuse issues. An accidental meeting introduces her to lawyer, Winston Caughfield III. Drawn to Hannah’s gentle beauty and fierce commitment to her work, Win joins her in a fight to save wild mustangs from slaughter. Together they rescue a badly injured horse with a mysterious background. Hannah’s search to discover the animal’s true identity leads them into a web of black marketeering and international intrigue. 
Action packed with crisp colorful dialogue the story propels the reader to a race against time conclusion. Marilyn Holdsworth delivers a gripping tale of mystery, adventure and romance guaranteed to hold the interest and capture the heart. She brings true-life characters together with real-life issues to create a fast-paced irresistible story.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Contemporary fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Marilyn Holdsworth on Facebook & Twitter


Amy Lewis on Her Life Story & a Quiet Girl's Courage @AmyLewisAuthor #AmReading #Memoir

Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Integration: Inviting all parts of yourself to the dinner table

I am a chameleon; I’ve known for a long time. I sit across from someone, even a stranger, and within 60 seconds I can unconsciously read them and magically transform myself into what they want/expect/need me to be. This can make dating a nightmare when the day comes that they realize I am not that person. But otherwise, I don’t see this quality of mine as a problem. It’s allowed me to have a wide range of life experiences that have added flavor, texture and profound wisdom to my life. I no longer get confused about who I am, nor do I feel victim to my experiences. In a mystical way, I know I am none of these things and at the same time all of them. Being so open with my identity has led me down a lot of different winding paths – some open and expansive, some muddy and full of holes and some complete dead ends. I have been an athlete, a mental patient, a porn producer, a scholar, a self-mutilator, an abused wife, an actress, a widow, a divorcee and a single mom; I’ve made enough money to put me in the 1% club at times, and I’ve also lived in poverty.

Inside It’s taken me a long while, but I’ve gotten to a place where I don’t judge my past or the more socially unacceptable experiences I’ve had.  But I feared others would judge me, so I did a lot of hiding publically, keeping too many secrets, separating my life and friends into compartments. Social media became a bitch; I needed too many profiles to encompass my whole life, so I rarely participated. The truth, of course, was no one really cared; I wasn’t a celebrity and most people were probably too caught up in their own self-contained dramas. Still, it takes courage for quiet girls like me to say to all of your contacts – this is who I am. This has been my life. Having just published a memoir I am very in touch with the courage it takes to share your story that at times may be raw and puzzling to those you know.

Ultimately people will think what they think, the only judgments that matter are my own.  And I’ve had a lot of judgments about myself, about the dark moments of my life. I’m learning to let those go. It takes a lot of time. I want to sit at a giant dining table and feast with all parts of me – the parts that look so gorgeous and the parts that look desperate, ugly and afraid. All parts of me are invited to this luscious, colorful feast that I call my life.


Diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder, Amy struggled with depression and an addiction to sharp objects. Even hospitalization didn't help to heal her destructive tendencies. It took a tumultuous relationship with a man named Truth to bring her back from the depths of her own self-made hell.Amy's marriage to dark, intriguing Truth was both passionate and stormy. She was a fair-skinned southern girl from New Orleans. He was a charming black man with tribal tattoos, piercings, and a mysterious past. They made an unlikely pair, but something clicked. During their early marriage, they pulled themselves out of abject poverty into wealth and financial security practically overnight. Then things began to fall apart.

 Passionate and protective, Truth also proved violent and abusive. Amy’s own self-destructive tendencies created a powerful symmetry. His sudden death left Amy with an intense and warring set of emotions: grief for the loss of the man she loved, relief she was no longer a target for his aggression.

Conflicted and grieving, Amy found herself at a spiritual and emotional crossroads, only to receive help from an unlikely source: Truth himself. Feeling his otherworldly presence in her dreams, Amy seeks help from a famous medium.

Her spiritual encounters change Amy forever. Through Truth, she learns her soul is eternal and indestructible, a knowledge that gives Amy the courage to pursue her own dreams and transform herself both physically and emotionally. Her supernatural encounters help Amy resolve the internal anger and self-destructive tendencies standing between her and happiness, culminating in a sense of spiritual fulfillment she never dreamed possible.

An amazing true story, What Freedom Smells Like is told with courage, honesty, and a devilishly dark sense of humor.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Amy Lewis through Twitter


Kirsten Mortensen on on Enjoying Classic #Literature @KirstenWriter #AmReading #AmWriting

Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014

In the Mood: What Book Do You Want to Read Right Now?
By Kirsten Mortensen

Oh, how I envy people who know exactly what kind of book they like to read!

Because if you asked me what books I like, I’m not sure how I’d answer.

The problem is, my “taste” changes from day to day—even hour to hour—depending on all kinds of factors. The mood I’m in. What books I’ve been discussing lately with my friends. How my day went, even!

Because I’m a writer, I read some books out of curiosity. Although I enjoyed science fiction when I was in high school, for example, I didn’t touch it at all for many years. Now I’ve met some sci-fi fans and I’ve become curious about the genre. I’m reading a sci-fi book now by the novelist Sarah Hoyt, and I’ve picked up some classic sci-fi titles for my TBR pile. I love how it’s expanded my reading world!

Another type of book I enjoy is classic literature, but I have to be in just the right frame of mind to tackle it. So often, classics are denser and longer than genre or “poplit” books. I think of it like the difference between stopping at taco stand and booking a reservation at a 5-star restaurant. Both meals can be fun and satisfying, but one demands a bit more of a commitment. The next classic I plan to read: Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas.

Sometimes all I want is to escape. You know that feeling? I want to read something that just takes me away from day-to-day life—something that gives me a rest from the hassles of paying the bills, getting over a head cold, or whatever other little problems are bothering me at the time. For this, the prescription is a fast-paced, plot-driven book. When Elmore Leonard passed away, for example, I bought a couple of his novels, and wow, I enjoyed them. Fun, fast-paced, and often laugh-out-loud humorous. Perfect escapist books!

A related feeling I have, sometimes, is the desire to become aware of the reality of the non-physical or spiritual dimensions of life. I satisfy this by reading non-fiction books on spiritual topics or first-person accounts of spiritual experiences. I recently read a book by Mason Winfield on supernatural phenomenon in Upstate New York, and I loved how it made me slow down and think about the impressions the past leaves on the present.

I find reading non-fiction to be very settling, so I gravitate toward books about history as a way to feel calm.

So how about you? Do you look for different kinds of books depending on your mood?


A woman's worst nightmare

Drugged by something...that makes her think she's fallen in love.

All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.

But now her father is dead.

And if she wants to inherit her father's fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California
for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar
chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well.

Keep RMB on track, and she'll be rich. Grow it, and she'll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.

Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?

He's RMB's head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he's smitten.
Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley's father. He can see the man's better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley's father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.

Donavon has demons of his own.
He's reeling from a heartbreak that's taking far too long to heal. But he's captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty. It's chemistry. They're right for each other. But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell. Gerad's spell.

A web of evil.

Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley's father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he's in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn't want Haley to know.

And he must control her. Any way he can.

Romantic suspense for your Kindle

Will Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
Will the two of them uncover Gerad's plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
And even if they do – can they stop it?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Romantic suspense
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kirsten Mortensen through Facebook Twitter