Fresh Scandal for You

For those who don’t podcast, my recent bit of flash for R.B. Wood’s Wordcount Podcast (you can still listen here!):

Fresh Scandal

“Why, Carolina Pritchard, those are the prettiest earrings I ever saw!”

Caro rarely found herself at the Piggly Wiggly before nine, but she’d been up since dawn. Cat vomit on her ex-husband’s pillow was surely a metaphor for something, but she wasn’t entirely certain she wanted to examine either the cat or the metaphor too closely.

Following a gag-worthy incident that ended in garbage-bagging Cort’s entire pillow, she’d slipped into compression leggings and her new Asics to run the four miles to the flower shop in the cool dampness of morning. She’d planned to put together some orders in peace before driving up to Charleston to meet a bride to discuss the arrangements.

(And then? Delicious plans for her evening in the city.)

Instead, she’d developed a craving for English muffins with peanut butter – neither of which were available to her in the small employee break room. And so, she found herself face-to-face with Bitsy Cornish at the checkout.

She pasted a sweet, blank smile on her face and resisted the urge to touch the two-carat emerald solitaires in her ears. “Thank you, Mrs. Cornish. Sweet of you to say.”

Bitsy Cornish had played golf with her ex-husband’s late mother for forty years. There was no mistaking the gleam of recognition in her sharp blue eyes. News of this quiet defiance would be halfway to Savannah by cocktail hour. Lantana Bluff had only in recent years forgiven her for stealing Cortney Liddell out from under its daughters’ noses; their divorce was still fresh scandal. Wearing Virginia Liddell’s emeralds to the Piggly Wiggly on a Thursday was high social treason.

“Bradley tells me Posey loves her riding lessons.”

Caro cringed. Bradley Cornish and Cort had been partners in crime from cradle to investment firm, by way of fraternity house, and Brad’s son Jack rode at the same stable their daughter Posey did. She wondered briefly if Brad was also screwing the stable owner in the hayloft during Jack’s lessons.

“She does, Mrs. Cornish.” Caro watched Bitsy unpack her basket onto the belt with a twinge of pity. Elizabeth Parnell Cornish was widowed — meaner than spit, feared throughout the county, and rich enough to have dinner at the club five nights a week, but alone — groceries for one at her age seemed sad no matter how you paid for them.

“Pity you two couldn’t make a go of it after all,” Bitsy clucked, handing a check to the teenaged cashier, who ran it through the printer and showed it to Mrs. Cornish with a deferential gesture. “Bradley and Meredith have always found a way to navigate rough waters.”

Caro’s pity dried up, replaced by a nasty impulse to tell Bitsy just exactly how Brad and Mere navigated things. “You’re right, Mrs. Cornish. Meredith is a delight, though.”

The older woman took her shopping from the bagger and gave Caro an appraising look. “You and Meredith still see one another since the… unpleasantness?” The look on the older woman’s face conveyed her opinion of her daughter-in-law’s friendships with frosty clarity.

“Every chance we get.” Caro smiled and plopped her muffins and Jiffy on the belt. Bitsy marched off with a sniff.

And she loves how I look in nothing but Virginia Liddell’s emeralds, Caro added silently, grinning at Bitsy’s retreating backside.

It’s My Birthday and I’m Giving Away Damselfly Inn to Celebrate!

According to my mother-in-law, I cease to age today. Pretty good deal, I guess. Honestly, I’m not too fussed about staring down 40, (except for maybe those pesky wrinkles around my eyes and smile — turns out I’m a little vain about those). Truthfully, a great many of my friends, the women in my family, and my tribe of authors have rocked or are rocking their 40s pretty hard. I am psched to join their ranks.

Come at me, 40.

Just not until next year 😉

To celebrate this auspicious birthday, Damselfly Inn is free for your Kindles and Kindle apps until Sunday (Which is my dad’s birthday. Family partying!), and there’s a signed paperback to give away as well (just keep reading!).  Tell your friends! Your mothers-in-law! Your dads (if they’re into romances)!

If you want to give me a birthday present, please leave a quick review on Amazon if you like what you read. It’s super easy. Here are some things you might say:

  • Great characters!
  • I want to move to Thornton!
  • Despite the lack of aliens in time-and-space-traveling phone boxes, this was a pretty swell book!
  • Really enjoyed this read!
  • Where can I get the recipe for Kate’s chocolate-cherry cookies?

Easy! What better gift? You guys are fantastic! Now, back to finishing up Sweet Pease, so we can all go back to Thornton.

Damselfly Inn (Bannerwing Books 2015)


The picturesque college town of Thornton, Vermont is the perfect place to open an inn. Or so Nan Grady thinks until a late summer storm drops a tree branch through her roof and local contractor Joss Fuller into her path.

Romance has been the last thing on her career-oriented mind, but Nan can’t deny the attraction between them. Nor can she deny the history between Joss and her most important guest: a sophisticated Manhattan academic.

And then there is the mysterious vandal targeting her home and livelihood.

As summer fades to autumn and Joss becomes a fixture around the Damselfly Inn, Nan navigates the joys and complications of life in her new home town. But when the vandalism becomes increasingly upsetting, threatening Nan and her guests, as well as her budding relationship with Joss, Nan questions her place in the town, at the inn, and in Joss’s heart.

Julie C. Gardner, author of Letters for Scarlet (Velvet Morning Press) calls the romance between Nan and Joss “slow burning and delicious.” Andra Watkins, NYT Bestselling author of Not Without My Father and To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey Of Meriwether Lewis (Word Hermit Press) calls Damselfly Inn “a perfect beach read, a best pick for a vacation or a delicious page-turner to wile away any afternoon.”

FREE ON Amazon!
B&N | Signed Paperbacks

And if you made it all the way to the end? I’m giving away a signed copy of Damselfly Inn!. I’ll inscribe, sign, and mail it off to you or your recipient of choice anywhere in the USA. Just leave a comment here by April 27th, and I’ll pick a random winner using highly advanced techniques which will probably include letting the Not-So-Small Boy draw a name from a hat. Or a Lego bin. We’ve got loads of those.

Second Chances

Happy New Year, friends!

I’m sitting here in my jammies, recovering from the first full week of the new year. Back to a normal work week, back to school drop-offs and pick-ups, back to swim lessons and playdates, back to running, back to not eating cookies for three meals a day, back to writing….

I’m not the only one back to writing this January, by the way. Mandy Dawson’s recently launched author site features her first Christmas serial short story, The Rarest Dish, and Angela Amman returns for her third year with Upon A Midnight Clear. Conclusions abound this month! Look for all three of our stories in ebook form come next Christmas, and feel smug that you read them first.

New years, whenever you mark them, bring on new goals, fresh choices, and that sense of possibility, and this one is no different. Except that it is.

WCP_LogoR.B. Wood, the host and creator of The Word Count Podcast, is living his own second chance — recovering from a near-death medical crisis — but, even so, he’s back in the saddle again with Episode 52. I am exceptionally glad to be able to share this episode with all of you, because it might not have happened.

Come give us a listen!



If you’ve enjoyed any of R.B.’s podcasts, please consider a small donation to his GoFundMe campaign. Medical expenses are no joke, and every contribution counts.