Books · Contests · Excerpt · Scrapbooking · West Virginia · Writing

Embellished to Death Excerpt

In five weeks, Embellished to Death, the third book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series will be released September 23. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. In this book, I take Faith out of Eden to Morgantown, WV for a weekend crop retreat, and also introduce some new people into her life. I’ll admit it was a struggle working with a new setting, and not allowing some of the wonderful secondary characters to take over. I feel in love with one of them and had to keep telling the character it wasn’t their story. Here’s a snippet of Embellished to Death.

EMBELLISHED front under 2mbExcerpt:

 “We’re here for the scrapbooking convention,” I said. “I’m Faith, one of the vendors for the weekend. Scrap This.”

 “I’m Ellie. And this is Pauline.” She motioned toward the other woman. “We’re the embossers. We’re waiting for the doors to open.”

 “I’m going to find the manager to let us in. One of the organizers broke down this morning so they’re running late.”

 “Ladies, I was wondering if you’d mind giving up your spot for a moment.” Steve lounged very attractively against the side of the truck. The women looked over my shoulder, plastered smiles on their faces, and thrust out their chests. “I have to unload this beast.”

 His body was braced against the passenger door. Ever so casual and sexy. The sun gleamed off his shaved head and the sunglasses covering his eyes. His muscular arms were crossed across his equally muscular chest. The stance tightened the bright red t-shirt with white swirly letters encouraging croppers to Scrap This, and showed off the fact there was no body fat anywhere on the man’s stomach.

 Not too many men, hot or otherwise, showed up at cropping events. Usually the only men “attending” were ones keeping nursing babies in rooms, or trying to entertain toddlers in meltdown mode while mom scrapped. When they made an appearance in the crop room, their frantic gazes scattered around the room in a desperate search for the mother of their children.

 Ellie batted her eyes at him. “We’d love to, but there’s no way we can lug our machines across the parking lot.”

 “How about I unload it and place it by the door?” Steve smiled at her.

 Pauline and Ellie looked down at the sidewalk and then at each other. Ellie bit her lip and raised her eyebrows. Pauline shook her head no.

 “After we unload, I’ll have Steve help you get your items from your van.” I hoped I made an offer they couldn’t refuse. “He can use our handcart to transport your embossing machine.”

Pauline grinned and pointed over my shoulder. She fluffed her hair around her shoulders and sent a welcoming beam of a smile toward Bob. “If you can get him to help too, you have a deal. We have our cropping totes that also need brought in.”

Bob had parked in front of the hotel portion of the resort and motioned for me to come over. Sadly for Pauline, her plan to catch Bob’s eye wouldn’t work as Steve was more his type.

“Sure. He’ll help,” I said.

Pauline high-fived her friend. “I’ll move ours. You can move the tote gal’s van.”

Ellie dangled a set of keys. “She left her keys in case her vehicle needed to be moved. Considerate girl.”

I made a mental note to show my appreciation by buying something from the tote gal. I jogged toward Bob, cutting through the parking lot as I didn’t want to misjudge a jump over one of the dividers separating one parking lot from the other. Hopefully, whatever favor he wanted was a large enough request, he wouldn’t be annoyed at me for filling up his dance card.

A woman screamed.

An engine hummed. I paused and turned. A beige car bore down on me. My breath locked in my throat. I felt like a deer during hunting season, did I feint left or right to get out of the way? Strong arms wrapped around my waist and made the decision for me. My rescuer met the hard asphalt and I came in contact with his muscled body. The car whizzed right past us, the breeze it created pushing my hair off my face.

The man’s grip relaxed from around me.

Feet pounded toward us.

“Are you two okay?” Bob’s voice came from the vicinity of the hotel.

I eased off my rescuer to get a look at who risked life and limb to get me out of the way. Steve. Not a surprise. Placing a hand on his chest, I leaned down to kiss my knight. I froze.

His eyes were closed. He wasn’t moving.

Embellished giveawayGiveaway: To celebrate the release of Embellished to Death, I’m having a giveaway for a signed copy of the ARC and also a Scrapbooks Made Me Do It t-shirt. To enter, sign up to receive my quarterly newsletter. The link to join is at the top of my website and also on my author Facebook page.

Books · Contests · Craft · Holiday

Annual Holiday Reading Search

In a few short days, it’ll be the start (the start for me anyway) of the holiday season. Turkey. Present shopping. Putting up the Christmas tree. Present shopping. House decorating. Present shopping. Cookie baking. Putting a limit on the present shopping. Along with all that fun, comes my favorite and most anticipated activities of the year. Holiday entertainment. From Thanksgiving day until January 6, I indulge in Christmas music, Christmas movies, and reading holiday themed books.

My favorite topics for holiday books are rekindled romances, the loner finding those who want to make him or her a part of their family, and the ones centered around ‘holiday drama’. I like my holiday angst to be have a light and humorous tone. I don’t mind some heavy hitting issues, but nothing too heart-breaking. If I’m going to cry at the holiday, I want it to because my heart was touched by kindness and generosity. During the rest of the year, give me the heavy themes, the life-altering, heart-wrenching books but from the week of Thanksgiving through January 6, I want ‘holiday drama’. It’s a weird quirk of mine.

‘Holiday Drama’ books are based on those perplexing and aggravating issues which only come up around the happiest time of the year–the time of joy, love, and getting together with family members. The angst over not being invited…or being invited…to ‘the’ cookie exchange party of the year, deciding to pare down the holiday spending and activities only to be confronting by those not agreeing with your choice, or the holiday planner/baker/shopper/decorator having enough and going on strike. Throw in the neighborhood war of banning blow up yard decorations, greedy shopper buying the entire stock of the hot item to sell for a fortune on an auction site and there’s enough drama to last the whole season long.

Because of our cruise vacation last week (AMAZING trip, I’ll share pics and stories later), I’m gathering my holiday reading a little later than usual. Fortunately, a wonderful friend sent me a suggestion and I’d love to get some more. I have a few favorites…Orphaned Hearts was added to my favorite list lat year… and am always on the search to add to my collection.

To grow my collection, I’d love to hear what holiday books you love reading.


Books · Contests · Heroine Interviews · Writing

SRP Heroine Interview: Nira Larsen from Warrior Prince: Book One in the Drift Lords Series

Welcome to The Self-Rescue Princess! Today I’m chatting with Nira Larsen from the book Warrior Prince: Book One in the Drift Lord Series.

Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

I don’t have much time to talk, so this will have to be brief. The world is on the brink of disaster. I’m on the run from the cops and the FBI, not to mention ugly brutes from another dimension. The Trolleks have invaded our planet and are taking over people’s minds, so be careful. You can’t trust anyone.

I’ve teamed up with the Drift Lords, warriors from space, who’ve come to Earth to beat back the enemy soldiers. As I’m a specialist in Norse mythology, I have to warn you that Ragnarok—the end of times—is coming again. Prophecy calls for the six sons of Thor and the six daughters of Odin to unite and chant an ancient verse. Supposedly, this will repel the invaders, but first we have to find the rune. I’m one of these six women who possess special powers. With so many forces allied against us, it won’t be easy to succeed. We can use your help!

What made you want your story to be told?

I’ve been searching for my true identity ever since I learned I was adopted. But I’m afraid of what I might discover. The old caveat holds true: Be careful what you wish for. I fear there’s darkness in my soul, and I might not like what I find.

What led you to make the changes you did in your life?

I’m going to confess something now, so don’t think ill of me. I killed someone, but it was self-defense. Zohar and I were being attacked. Zohar is leader of the Drift Lords, and we’d fallen into an ambush. I was down, and Zohar had lost his weapon. I grabbed his gun off the ground and shot one of the thugs. I’m finding new strength within myself that I hadn’t known existed, but necessity and survival instincts have brought it out. That’s not the only incident where I’ve used force, either. The next time it happened, I didn’t need a weapon.

In your life, what has empowered you?

Caring for my loved ones is what motivates me. When Grace, my mentor and family friend, was abducted by Trolleks, I vowed to bring her safely home. That’s what led me to join Zohar’s team. And I have to protect my two younger sisters. They rely on me since our mother died.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I can be too solitary in my pursuits and have to learn to put aside my own needs for the benefit of the greater good. In a similar manner, I can be very determined when I want to accomplish something.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess means to you.

You can’t rely on anyone else to accomplish your tasks or save you from trouble. Develop the means to solve your own problems. Having a network of friends and colleagues can help, but the only person you can truly count on is yourself. Being strong means setting goals, moving forward to achieve them, and learning how to seek help when you fumble. In that case, get up and keep going. You’re responsible for your own life. Look at how I had to go after Grace when Zohar begged off, citing his own mission objectives. If it weren’t for me, she’d still be stuck as a slave in a Trollek village. I didn’t wait around for someone else to save her; I did it myself.

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Get an education, become financially independent, and then look for a relationship if you want one. You should be able to stand on your own two feet to gain self-confidence and to be able to manage life alone.

Favorite quote.

“Knowledge is power.” Even if you have special abilities, if you don’t know how to use them, you cannot wield them effectively.

If your story had a theme song, what would it be?

The theme from the Lord of the Rings films. My story is also a quest to fight evil and has elves, dwarfs, trolls, and other creatures.

Will you be continuing your journey in written form?

Warrior Rogue is coming next. That book is already in the pipeline. The third title in the Drift Lords series is Warrior Lord. I’ll show up in those stories as I continue to search for the other five women in the prophecy and then as we face a greater peril together.

Is there anyone in your life (friend, family member) who will be sharing their life?

Paz Hadar is a Drift Lord and communications officer for the team. He has his own story in Warrior Rogue. You’ll learn how he meets his mate and achieves his objectives in this second installment. Now I’d like to ask the audience a question: Do you like spin-off stories in a series?


All commenters during Nancy’s blog tour will be entered into a drawing for a Warrior Prince tee shirt and magnet and a pdf copy of Warrior Prince. Go to for a complete schedule of her tour stops.


Warrior Prince: Book One in the Drift Lords Series by Nancy J. Cohen

When mythologist and Florida resident Nira Larsen accepts a job as tour guide for a mysterious stranger, she’s drawn into a nightmare reality where ancient myths come alive and legendary evils seek to destroy her. To survive, she must awaken her dormant powers, but the only person who can help is the man whose touch inflames her passion.

After a dimensional rift in the Bermuda Triangle cracks open and an ancient enemy invades Earth, Zohar—leader of the galactic warriors known as the Drift Lords—summons his troops. He doesn’t count on a redheaded spitfire getting in his way and capturing his heart. Nira has the power to defeat the enemy and to enslave Zohar’s soul. Can he trust her enough to accomplish his mission, or will she lure him to his doom?

View the Book Trailer:

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Contests · Quilting

The Winner is…

The beautiful esleeve will be leaving here and heading to Bridget Howard. Congrats! I hope her Kindle is excited about its new outfit, and also the new book that can be read on it.

Thank you to everyone for coming by and celebrating my new release, not only to those that entered the giveaway but all those readers that just wanted to come over and take a look.

Now, I must go and sew and see if I can make my Kindle (okay Kindles, I don’t want one of them to think the other is my favorite) a new outfit. It will be a learning experience for me, but what else does a self-rescue princess do but take on new challenges. If it doesn’t turn out the way I’d like, I know I can get a beautifully made one from Personal Bags by Patricia.

Ohh…I wonder if there is Angry Birds fabric. Dragon would love to wear an Angry Birds outfit.


Books · Contests · Excerpt · Writing

New Outfit for Your eReader and a new ebook – Giveaway

To celebrate the new book in the New Beginnings Series, I’m doing a giveaway not only for the newest title, Led Astray, but also a new beginning –look–for your eReader with a sleeve handcrafted by Personal Bags by Patricia. Please see the photos below of my Kindle keyboard (Chris1) and Kindle Fire (also known in my house as Dragon) modeling the beautiful sleeve which is made from a lovely romantic fabric of pinks, creams and blues.

Romantic sleeve for ereader:            







My models in action:

Chris1 (I know a very original name)




















And now, a little modeling from Led Astray:

“Now, Pastor, I wouldn’t make such a hasty decision.” Mr. Kline pulled out another card and reached around Riley to place it on the desk. “Talk to the members of your church.”

“I know their feelings on destroying the beauty God created.” Riley picked up the card and started to tear it in half.

Mr. Kline gripped his wrist and squeezed, stopping Riley from completing the tearing motion. “Jobs are scarce in this community. There aren’t many other companies wanting to bring other employment opportunities to this backwoods place.”

Naomi gasped. Riley motioned for her to stay behind him.

“Pastor Coole, is something wrong?” A woman’s soft voice drifted from the doorway.

Riley turned, and his breath caught in his throat. The heart-shaped face of an angel appeared through the slight opening. Lips lined in pink stood out from a smooth complexion. She stepped into the office and a questioning expression filled the sweet, young face as large green eyes focused on him and blinked. Once. Twice.

Thomas Kline’s attention also turned toward the young woman, and the man raked a leer over her body. Riley clenched his fists. The young woman flipped strands of her unnatural colored hair, a hue resembling a brand new rising sunset, over her shoulders. Curls surrounded her neck and cascaded down her back, a cloak of multitude colors.

“Now who do we have here, Pastor.” Kline stepped toward the woman. “You sure do like to have an array of woman about.”

“And you like to ignore the word ‘no.'” The woman strode forward, confident and menacing, the angel persona vanishing.

Kline took one long step forward and stood face-to-face with the spitfire. “What makes any of this your business?”

“From what I know, I was asked to be here, and you weren’t.”

Kline reached for the woman’s arms. “I’m advising you to leave.”

She jerked away. “Or what?”

Riley stepped between them, confusion revving his heart rate and causing his thoughts to swirl. Who was this woman, and why did she show up now? This wasn’t a lost soul who stumbled onto the church and sought directions. This woman intended to be here, meant to wage war with Kline. Why?

How to enter: To enter to win the eReader sleeve and a copy of Led Astray in your preferred ebook format, please leave a comment along with your email. I’m all for readers leaving any comment they’d wish, but the Kindles would like to know with of them looks better, Chris1 or Dragon. The last day for entering will be May 17 and the winner announced May 18.

Books · Contests · Writing

Celebrating Romance Isn’t Just for February


February is usually known as the month for romance but that is no longer the case as The Romance Reviews is celebrating their 1st Anniversary Party this month. All during The Romance Reviews will be having author chats, games and prizes at their Anniversary Party Room. (link provided)

 Over 300 authors, including me, will be participating in this event. In taking a look at the author list, I see that pretty much every sub-genre and heat level of romance is represented. Something for every reader.

If you have time, stop by and register to attend. Week 1 of the event starts today March 1, 12:00 am EST and ends March 7, 11:59pm EST. Winners for Week 1 will be announced on March 8. If you’d like to see a list of the weekly and major monthly prizes offered, please go to the Contest Prize List page. (link provided)


Books · Contests · How To · Reviews

SRP Non-Fiction Review: Debt-Free Forever by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

This year, I’ve decided to add in one non-fiction (self-help or how to) review a month. With celebrating the Self-Rescuing Princess type, I decided this year to read at least one non-fiction book a month so I can either improve my skills in an area or learn a new one. For February, I decided to tackle finances.

Now on to the review:

Debt-Free Forever is a finance book written in a style that sounds like a knowledgable friend employing the tough-love approach to getting you back on track money wise. Since my husband and I have been working on going and staying debt free, we’ve taken a few classes (Dave Ramsey, Ron Blue) on personal finances. And, I’ve also been reading different approaches to personal finances as books just seem to speak to me better.

Most ideas and suggestions are pretty standard and found across the board in classes and books, but occasionally I’ll find a new tidbit. Sometimes it’s not quite what was said more like the way it’s said that grabs my attention and makes a big impression. I sit back and take notice. One tip was to actually save the money ‘saved’ by using coupons or when I find the item I intended to purchase is on sale. It does make me wonder why I never really considered doing that before. I really save the money when I put it in our saving account and not just spend that amount on something else. Usually something else I don’t even really need at the time. Those good deals aren’t such good deals if the only reason for the purchase is to get the large percentage off (like clothes and book purchases).

What I really liked about the book, was that while it encouraged people to become debt-free and be responsible for their choices, it didn’t produce a lot of guilt or shame. I was proud of the changes we had made, confident in the direction we were heading, and had a few new ways to keep us on the right road.

Books · Contests · Writing

Lost Then Found Giveaway to Celebrate 1st Year

To celebrate my 1 year anniversary with Desert Breeze Publishing, I’m hosting a giveaway of Lost Then Found, the book that inspired the name of my blog.  Leave a comment to enter for a chance to win When I was first trying to get my inspirational romantic suspense published, I ran into a little issue with my heroine. I started to reconsider how I wrote heroines, until a friend gave me the best advice. Her words of wisdom was I should create my characters the way they were in my heart and then find a publisher that published those types of story. I talked about my journey into writing romantic suspense in my first blog post.

January 5, 2011 was when I received an email from Gail Delaney saying she’d like to offer a contract not only on the first book in the New Beginnings Series, Lost Then Found, but also for the rest of the series– a total of 5 books. Led Astray, book 2, is off for editing and scheduled for release May 1, 2012. Today, I’m working on book three, Safe and Sound, in the New Beginning Series. It’s amazing.

Since I’m writing Book 3, I decided to giveaway 3 books to celebrate: 1 PDF copy, 1 Kindle Copy (I’ll gift directly from Amazon), 1 Nook copy (I’ll gift directly from Barnes and Noble). To enter, leave a comment on this post with your email address and let me know which copy you’d like to win. Please feel free to share this giveaway. Entries will be accepted until Monday, January 9 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be notified no later than January 11 (adding a couple of days in case  internet issues happen due to winter weather). 

Blurb: Skip-tracer Renee Stratford-Knight’s life is becoming stable again. Eighteen months prior, the murder of her sister and the soon-to-follow collapse of her marriage left her reeling. She made it through those dark days with the help of family, embracing faith and starting her own skip-tracing business, New Beginnings, which specializes in relocating abused women. Now, her ex-husband — and former business partner — Jonas Knight shows up asking about her most vulnerable client.

Jonas knows his ex-wife helped embezzler Gina Howard elude the authorities and plans to bring the young woman to justice. When Renee is threatened, Jonas grows suspicious of his client’s reason for finding his niece. In order to uncover the secrets their clients hold, Jonas and Renee must struggle through distrust and the pain of their pasts to work together to save the life of a teenage girl — and their own.


Renee locked the apartment up tight and took the stairs. Gripping the rail, she plodded down the steps, each step draining energy. The eventual battle with Jonas weighed down her spirit. She didn’t want to relive the painful moments of her life.

She stepped onto the ground floor, tugged open the door leading to the back parking lot and walked outside. A cold breeze played along her skin, drifting against her unprotected neck. The impulsive summer haircut she chose that winter over the hairdresser’s recommendations no longer symbolized independence to her but teenage rebellion.

She tugged up the small collar of her leather coat. “Showed him, didn’t I.”

Hands clapped. Renee halted under the dim lights of the outside doors. Her heart rate accelerated as she looked around the darkening area. Parked in the lot were three cars and a van. She swallowed hard and stared at the windows of the van, trying to make out any figures. Placing her hand into her front pocket, she pressed her thumb onto the keypad of her cell phone. She sent out a heads-up message to her brother.

Jonas stepped into the light, a sarcastic smile stretching across his face. Better to face a known enemy than an unknown one. She typed another message to her brother. False read. Lord, let that work to keep Alex at home rather than charging to the rescue.

“Your skills at deception have gotten better.” Jonas loomed over her.

“I learned from the best.” Regret tugged at her conscience as the words left her mouth. She pushed it away. If she allowed Jonas to get the upper hand, then she offered an opportunity for his words to steal away her confidence.

She tilted her head back and locked onto his storm-cloud gray eyes, standing in place even though her neck muscles ached. She promised herself not to ever allow a man to make her feel powerless. The streetlights allowed her to see her reflection in his eyes. As he studied her face, his gaze softened. He reached out, fingers lingering by her cheek.

The air between them crackled. A shiver raced through Renee and she fought the instinct to lean those few inches toward his touch. They were divorced. They no longer meant anything to each other. She drew back but not before awareness crept into his gaze. He knew. He sensed it.

Time to end the silent duel, and leave. Now. She held in a frustrated sigh as she asked the question Jonas silently demanded. “What do you want?”

“Gina Howard’s location.”

Contests · West Virginia · Writing

Having a little confidence …

Confidence. So many times confidence gets confused with arrogance that we decided not to take a chance on a dream. At times, we believe that pursing our dream that means we’re thinking a little more highly of our abilities and talents than we should, especially when it comes to writing. We’re afraid to believe that our words are good enough for others to read. To submit to contests. To agents. To publishers.

Have faith in yourself today. No regrets. Take the next step … whether it is joining a critique group, entering a contest, sending out a query, submitting your book. Whatever your dream is … your goal … give yourself the chance to try.

Now, a little plug for a writing organization near and dear to my heart … the West Virginia Writer’s Inc. Since 1982, the organization has sponsored a writing contest to help encourage and recognize writers of all ages. The WV Writers Annual Writing contest is accepting entries from January 2 – March 15, 2011, with a late entry period of March 16 -31. To enter, you must be either a resident of West Virginia or a current member of West Virginia Writers, Inc. There is also the New Mountain Voices contest for students in elementary through high school.

More details can be found at: