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Miscalculated  Risks, by Maria Riegger
MISCALCULATED RISKS by Maria Riegger
Outspoken and abrasive, law student Isabel enjoys arguing with just about everyone, including her friends. It’s 2010, and her strained relationship with her mother, less-than-stellar job prospects and frustrations with the conformist political culture of Washington, DC have left her resentful and unfulfilled. Only her sisters and a few good friends are able to keep her semi-grounded. When she meets a new fellow student who dares to challenge her, she is intrigued but skeptical. While Isabel is risk-averse where her feelings are concerned, she is also becoming increasingly curious. She’s afraid to get close, because being vulnerable always lead to being hurt, doesn’t it?
Neshoto Junction
Neshoto Junction Homicide, by Gail Baugniet
Within hours, Insurance Investigator Pepper Bibeau’s planned fishing trip turns deadly. Her head is already spinning over a marriage proposal from Homicide Detective Rick Janus, father of her 14-year-old son. A last-minute assignment to investigate questionable medical claims on preteen sisters adds to the tension. Before she can relax, someone sends her tumbling into a storm-swollen river, a crude attempt to conceal a dead body. With a young girl’s life at stake, she must uncover an unlikely connection between an abandoned rifle and a litany of environmental complaints. Unearthing a killer may depend on Pepper’s unbridled curiosity, and her ability to stay alive.
 Another Day in Paradise, by Laurie Hanan

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Dog nappings have doubled on O`ahu over the past year. Brazen thefts of beloved pets from their homes have the community on edge. A beautiful, mysterious Chinese actress is distraught when her Pomeranian is stolen. Mail carrier Louise Golden finds the missing pooch, only to learn the actress is suddenly gone, with her belongings. Dogs are disappearing. Street people are being abducted by aliens—or so claims Louise’s homeless friend, Frankie. Clues point in different directions. Nothing adds up. A masked man appears out of nowhere and warns Louise to mind her own business. What did he mean? Everyone is a suspect: her boyfriend who tells stories for a living, the ex lover who once betrayed her, the acting coach skilled in the art of deception, the shameless stalker in the yellow Tweety Bird van. At the polo field, tempers flare. Someone’s bound to get hurt. Things heat up for Louise, as well, when a sexy Brazilian polo player befriends her. Is he truly a friend, or a rake intent on seducing vulnerable women? Can Louise even trust her own spiritual awakening to help her find a path to understanding—or is she faking it and running blindly to a dead end? What will she do when she comes face to face with her greatest fears?

Judge vs. nuts
Judge v. Nuts, by Una Tiers
Fiona Gavelle expected fame, fortune and glory after law school. However she finds herself working in a dead end, dusty law office where she does more secretarial than lawyer work.
One snowy Chicago night, she learns she was fired from her miserable job and when her miserable husband doesn’t support her plight, she walks out.
However, after attending the funeral of a man she only met once, her luck turns. She gets new office space, and is taken in by her favorite Aunt. She struggles to prove the practice of law does not include car chases or running down the alley at midnight.
Join Fiona to see where she leads you.

TILL DEATH DID US PART A Beautiful, Brutal Story of Suffering and Redemption

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 I know the line about ‘suffering and redemption’ sounds cliché  and I apologize. This true story is anything but cliché.

If you dare to read this book (FREE TODAY!) you’ll want to keep a box of tissues beside you throughout. My tears began as I read the first lines of the acknowledgements and didn’t stop till well after I reached the final page. This story is personal for me. Shir was a very good friend of mine, and my Israeli husband’s during the time she lived in Hawaii. I’ll never forget the day Shir first brought Derrick to our house. Imagine a hoard of Israelis running down the stairs, and surrounding this 18-year-old soldier in the parking lot with singing, belly dancing, and trilling. Derrick seemed to wonder what he was getting himself into. This initiation made him “one of us” and from that day on we’ve been in love with Derrick. Shir and Derrick lived down the road from us during her pregnancy and we first saw Mia in the hospital right after she was born. To say Shir, Derrick, and Mia are close to my heart is an understatement.

It was a sad day when the Green family left Hawaii for their new home in Alaska, but we kept in close contact. Shir e-mail photos of Mia as she grew, and spoke often with my husband by phone in their native Hebrew. Shir’s cancer diagnosis came to us as a shock. It was sadder still, because they now lived so far away. She went into remission, and we rejoiced. Then a few years later we got the devastating news that her cancer had metastasized throughout her body. She was terminal. We learned something of her struggles, as told to my husband by Shir. We saw Shir twice in the months before her death when she, Derrick, and Mia returned to Hawaii for visits. On those visits we smiled and laughed a lot and didn’t speak of cancer or death. But I knew Shir had to be going through unfathomable suffering, things I’d never begin to understand. Not to mention what her husband and daughter must be experiencing, watching their wife and mother fight for life, and finally lose the struggle.

So when Derrick’s book came out, I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle and started reading it. I knew it would be painful for me, but I wanted to know every aspect of what my friend suffered. Little did I suspect the type of things Derrick would reveal. The details shocked me to the core. And I know this was not Derrick’s intention. He did not write the book for shock value. He wrote it in the hopes it will help others who are struggling to do their best in the impossible position of caregiver for a cancer patient. Even if you are not a caregiver or a cancer patient, you will learn much from Derrick’s narrative. As few people could, Derrick lays bare the onslaught of raw emotion he experienced as his loving marriage went bad, then he and his (soon-to-be-ex) wife were blindsided by the most devastating diagnosis imaginable. Along with his heart wrenching story, he shares the profound shards of wisdom that arose in him as he was tried in a crucible of fire. A beautiful and brutal story of human suffering and redemption.

A Westie Named Sage

If you’ve read any of my Louise Golden mysteries, then you’re already familiar with the blind Westie, Sage, who appears throughout the series. At the very end of Almost Paradise, Louise’s ten-year-old neighbor Emmeline finds an unkempt Westie in the street. Unable to locate the owner, Emmeline keeps the dog. After seeing the knowing look in the little terrier’s eyes, Louise comments that she looks like a sage. The name sticks.

By the start of my second bIMG_1239ook, How Far is Heaven, Louise has adopted Sage. Though Louise didn’t realize there was a problem with Sage’s vision, a vet tells her Sage has been blind from birth. In spite of this “handicap,” Sage sees more than most people do. Sage remains Louise’s faithful companion throughout the series.

It’s no coincidence that I chose a Westie for this important role in my series, nor is it a coincidence that her name is Sage. I am also the owner of a very wise Westie, whose name is also Sage.

In the original draft of Almost Paradise, Emmeline finds a Shis Tzu, and Louise calls him Punkin as an endearment. He seems to like the name, and continues to be called Pumpkin. But before I finished the final draft of that manuscript, tragedy struck our family. On the eve of my 50th birthday, our beloved dog, Daisey Grace, met with a horrible accident. My kids and I were devastated, none of us more than my daughter, who was twelve at the time. Daisey had been a gift for her tenth birthday. For two weeks my daughter wouldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t stop crying. I had to have her excused from school. I was equally broken, but had to keep functioning for my kids’ sake.

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I set out on a desperate mission to find a suitable replacement for Daisey, who had been a perfect fit for our family. Throughout my search, in the back of my mind I kept remembering a women I’d met who trained Westies to be service dogs. Like me, the woman was in a wheelchair. She extolled the virtues of Westies as service dogs. One big plus, she said, is they are small enough to carry, if necessary. I love animals and was determined to find a rescue dog. But after weeks on waiting list with local rescue groups, while my daughter declined, I bought a Westie pup from a breeder. I had a feeling our family would learn a lot from this little pup with the wise, knowing demeanor. I called her Sage. Sage brought love to our family and helped our broken hearts begin to heal.

And I changed the ending of Almost Paradise. Pumpkin the Shih Tzu became Sage the Westie.

When she was six months old, Sage began her service dog training with an organization called C.H.E.W.Y. Westies are known for their stubbornness as well as their intelligence, and Sage has Westitide in spades. She did learn to pick up things I dropped, and bring me certain items when I asked for them. But just as often, she made a game of it, running out the doggie door to hide the things I wanted her to retrieve. More than anything, over the past eight years, Sage has become my best friend and closest companion. I have no regretsDSCN1548 and couldn’t imagine life without her.

No, my Sage is not blind like the Westie in my books. But through my friendship with Westie owners, I’ve gotten to know several Westies who are blind. I am so impressed by the way these resilient little dogs manage without sight. Maybe the most impressive of these is Louie the Super Westie, who has his own Facebook fan page. Louie who was born blind to a breeder, was  rescued as a pup by one of my Facebook friends. When Louie points his eyes at you, you’d swear he’s looking right at you. He even manages to run around obstacles as though he senses them. It was in his honor I decided to make the Westie in my books blind as well.

It was around the time we got Sage that I joined Facebook. With no idea how to get my foot in door of social media, I joined several Westie groups on Facebook. Thanks to the many wonderful Westie owners I met online, some of who are involved in Westie rescue, I have learned an incredible amount about puppy mills, animal abuse, dog rescue, and more. I forged strong friendships among Westie owners. I now contribute to Westie rescue groups and have donated my royalties to them.

I thank God for bringing Sage into my life, and opening my eyes to the wonderful world of Westies.

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