Valentine’s Day Contest and Blog Hop

Welcome to my little cyber home!

It’s Valentine’s week!!! To celebrate, a few of my author friends and I are having a cyber party! Since Valentine’s Day is all about romance and love, we invite you to share your favorite love stories, movies, or true experiences. Please post, because we’d all love to hear!


Plus, we are having a little blog hop contest. If you play along, you’ll have a chance to win this great gift basket! (Approximate value is $50.)



Marie Higgins: Download of Crazy for You and $5 GC to Amazon


Amy Durham: Download of Dusk and $5GC (your choice Kindle and Nook)


Mary Martinez: Download of Honky Tonk and $5 GC to Starbucks


Sheri McGathy: Signed Print book of Elfen Gold (Please note the paper copy only applies to within the USA. If you live outside of the United States, you will receive a PDF copy of Elfen Gold in your e-mail.)


Judy Baker: Download of Better She Die and a $5 GC to Amazon




How can you win? You need to answer the five questions listed below. Each question has a link where the answer can be found. E-mail your answers to one of the five participating authors. Deadline is midnight 2/14/14. Winner will be announced along with all of the answers on all blogs on 2/15/14. Good luck.



1. What does Nerys do to free herself from Gerard’s grasp? Find answer here.

2. Mary’s wedding wasn’t your typical wedding, where was it? Find answer here.

3. What is Eli’s father’s name and where is he at? Find answer here.

4. Where did Amy and her husband get engaged? Find answer here.

5. In the Silver Sage Creek series, Sam Coulson, the Comanche half-breed, had an Indian name. What is it? Find answer here.



Thank you for participating. We look forward to your stories and comments. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Sheri L. McGathy, Marie Higgins, Mary Martinez, Amy Durham and Judy Baker




And now, an excerpt from Within the Shadow of Stone


~ And She Shall Be Named Shroud ~


The mist pooled at Bree’s feet, each step causing it to swirl in small eddies about her ankles. Its touch was gentle, a cool caress across her skin.


Sun Orb sat low in the sky while the silent hush of twilight hung over the land. Hazy streams of fading sunlight trickled down through the mist and cast the circle in dusky shades of gray. Soon, Moon Orb would claim the night sky to mark the passage of another day.


A warm breeze played over her skin and brushed the edges of her hair from her face. She closed her eyes and listened to its soft whisper. Within its voice, she thought she heard the teasing echo of a piper’s tune. She paused, her breath held, willing the song to life, if only within her mind. She began to hum. The notes swept through the circle to fill the silence with its haunting melody. The song called to her—invited her to join with it, to come and dance within its magic. Keeping her eyes sealed lest she awake from the dream and spoil the enchantment, she swayed to the rhythm of the pipe.


The song was an ancient one. The Legend of the Stone. She hadn’t heard it since she was a child. It had been a part of the Spirit Dance, sung on the day a Shroud gave her pledge to the stones and wed her chosen.


“A day I will never have.” Bree sighed. Her gaze sought the Spirit Stones standing like silent sentinels along the circle’s edge. Their presence a mocking reminder of what she could have been.


The music grew stronger, its voice calling her away from the past and back to the present. She straightened her shoulders. “Yet, I can still dance.”


Holding her arms before her, she stepped sideways, then back. Pointing her toe, she tapped it on the ground twice, then skipped forward while swinging her arms upward until her hands met. She clapped once, then turned back the way she’d come.


She dipped forward, the action sweeping her hair over her shoulder to form a silken curtain about her face. Stepping sideways, she skipped around the altar and reached toward one of the stones.


Bree paused with her arm stretched before her. The act—such a simple gesture—held great meaning to her. She recalled how, toward the end of the Spirit Dance, the men led the women forward, threading a path in and out amongst the towering megaliths, each woman caressing the rough sides as they swept past.


“And she shall be named Shroud.” Bree dropped her hand to her side.


She pushed her heavy locks aside and leaned her head back, letting her hair cascade downward. Lifting her arms, she clasped her hands above her head and pirouetted, her hair twirling out behind her as she spun across the circle.


When she reached the circle’s edge, she bowed low and waved one arm in front of her in a slow, graceful motion. As she rose, she balanced her arms out before her to spin one final time, coming to rest with her hands crossed over her chest.


“Joined, they shall be as one,” she whispered. “And her touch shall set them free.”

The music echoed through the circle, yet she no longer had the heart to continue the dance. Biting on her lower lip, she folded her arms beneath her breasts and stared down at the swirling mist as it wrapped itself about her legs.


If only things had been different, she found herself wishing. If only….


Bree closed her eyes. A single tear escaped through her sealed eyelids. There is only one I would have chosen, and he is beyond my choice.


The feather-light brush of fingertips caressed her cheek to wipe her tear away before tracing a path along her throat.


“‘Tis never too late to dream,” a voice whispered near her ear.


She opened her eyes.


Nathan held out his hand. “Come.”


She placed her hand in his and smiled as they skipped forward four steps. He paused. Stepping before her, he trailed his fingers across her waist while he danced around her. Then, gathering her in his arms, his long stride guided them across the circle, keeping their pace in time to the phantom piper’s tune.


Nathan led her along the circle’s edge, their steps weaving in and out amongst the silent stones. Bree reached out and caressed one, the rough surface scraping against her fingertips, as they swept past.


Moon Orb loomed overhead, its pale rays filtering through gaps in the mist to cocoon them in a shell of soft light. Fog hung low to the ground. The ethereal vapor rolled back in billowy waves as they glided through.Moisture laced the air, its dewy touch causing their skin to glisten in the moonlight.


An errant wind swept through the circle to snatch up the piper’s tune and carry it away. A mournful wail announced its departure and cast the circle in sorrow.


Nathan moved away from the stones and back within the circle. Pressing his hand against her back, he drew her close and slowed his steps. Laying his cheek against hers, he continued to twirl them in slow, lazy turns around the altar long after the music had faded and left them wrapped in silence.


They came to rest at the circle’s center. Nathan cradled her within his arms, his chin resting upon her head. Bree sighed and laid her cheek against his chest, comforted by the steady beat of his heart. The faint smell of heather tickled her nose, its scent a reminder of the springtime of her youth and of a world where dreams held promise.

“You have named me true, even if only in my mind,” she whispered against his chest. “And I have chosen you.”


He placed his finger beneath her chin and coaxed her to look up. Without taking his stare from hers, he bent down and brushed his lips across hers. “Joined, we shall be as one.”


Then, like the music, he too faded, leaving her alone.