Relaxed Friday 43

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

~ Scott R. Rezer ~
From my current WIP, The Gambit Queen: Book Three of the Magdalen Cycle (historical fantasy)…
The orange-red globe of the sun sunk toward the horizon. An hour or more of twilight would see the evening give way to a starlit night. Isabella sighed and leaned against the latticed wall of the castle of Tyre, gazing out over the sparkling sea. A breeze met her sigh, stirring into a riot the many fragrances of the rooftop garden. It teased strands of dark hair from her veil, blowing them across her face in an annoying fashion.

~ Jessica Marie Holt ~
An excerpt!
June stared at her. “Henry’s vacuuming?”
“Yes,” said Elena. “Lucia convinced him.”
Lucia smiled, dimples flashing in her cheeks. “I can be very persuasive,” she said. Her accent made her clear voice sound like music.
June turned and walked swiftly to the kitchen entrance, Ellie following close behind. They both peeked out from behind the wall to look for themselves. Henry was, in fact, awkwardly and ineptly pushing the vacuum around the living room.
“If I weren’t seeing it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it,” June murmured.
“Me, neither,” said Ellie. “It’s as strange as me vacuuming my living room. I haven’t done it in decades. Jeffrey never liked my methods. I don’t go in straight, tidy rows, and I always suck up socks and pennies and other things.”
“I know, I was there that day he banned you from using the vacuum. To be fair, he spent a month picking it out, and you broke it when you sucked up that cat toy.”
“I didn’t see it!”
“It was a pole with a rope attached, Ellie. And the rope had at least twenty brightly-colored feathers and a plastic fish at the end of it!”
Ellie sighed sadly. “I know. It was General Meow’s favorite. May he–and the Dirt Devil–rest in peace.”

~ Laurean Brooks ~
An excerpt from Not What He Ordered
Molly pulled a piece of note paper from her reticule and wrote something. “Here’s my address if you want to stay in touch.” Carrie accepted the paper. “Don’t forget to tell Mr. Kramer that Katy backed out of their marriage arrangement.”
“I won’t forget. “It was all Carrie could think of. Strangers made her nervous, especially men. But she’d promised to deliver the message. She slipped the paper into her pocket.
“You can write to tell me how Mr. Kramer took the news. Well, I’d better get in line.”Molly picked up her bags and merged into the exit line with other departing passengers.
“Next stop Abilene!” Prepare to disembark.”
Carrie picked up her valise and melded into the line of passengers.
She scanned the station for a tall, slim, dark-haired man fitting the description of the mysterious Josh Kramer. Two middle-aged men wandered about, their gazes scanning the faces of passengers inside the depot. One man was short and the other paunchy. Neither wore a red bandanna around his neck.
After twenty minutes studying every man who walked through the door, Carrie set her luggage on the floor near a bench and sat down. If the man showed, finding him would be easier after the crowd thinned.
“Excuse me,” a deep voice boomed.
Carrie gazed up into piercing, black eyes The tall cowboy wore a black Stetson over coal-black hair with curls that caressed his ears. His strong jaw suggested a determined spirit. A little lower, a red bandanna circled his neck.
“I’m Josh Kramer. Are you the woman I’m looking for?”
Carrie’s heart raced. If only she were. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. “I…I–” was all she managed.
“Well, what are you waiting for? A ranch doesn’t run itself, Miss Davis. We’d better get going.”
Her tongue came unglued. “But, Mr. Kramer, I’m not–.”
He interrupted. “Is this all the luggage you brought?”
She could only nod. He snatched up her valise and tramped outside before she could find her voice.
Carrie jumped to her feet and hurried after him, catching up as he set her bag in his buckboard. “But, Mister Kramer…I’m not–.”
“Are you ready to go, Miss Davis?”
“Mr. Kramer…I need to tell you something.”
He shook his head. “Whatever it is can wait until we get to the ranch. I’m a busy man. And Aunt Em needs help with the canning. She’s the only reason I agreed to this…arrangement.” Without another word, he scooped Carrie up and plopped her on the buckboard seat. Oh, dear! He really believed she was his mail-order bride.


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Treat. [More info]

Photo by Rita

From the recently released The Haberdasher’s Wife by Scott R. Rezer
He shook his head and cupped her face in his large hands. “I’ve seen men of noble birth act more wretchedly than a common thief, just as I’ve known servants TREAT others with more noble generosity than the highest lord. It is the heart that matters, Josefa, not the record of one’s birth…”


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Reason. [More info]

Photo by Andreas H.

Scott R. Rezer ~
Delusion is the reason I keep on writing… The delusion that I could ever stop! 🙂

~ Laurean Brooks ~
The love of fabricating is the reason I write. The reason I write historical fiction is due to my infatuation with certain TV cowboys from the age of 5 through 14. Cheyenne Bodie was my #1. And those were reruns.


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Soldier. [More info]

Photo by Joan Greenman

Scott R. Rezer ~
From my current WIP, The Gambit Queen (Book Three: The Magdalen Cycle) (Historical Fantasy)…
THE WHITE-CAPPED WAVES of the sea rumbled and crashed upon the shore beside Henri de Troyes, second of the name and Count of Champagne, as he fell to his knees to kiss the wet sand. His hands trembled, his knees felt weak. After weeks at sea, enduring storms and rough seas and bouts of mal de mer, a wave of relief washed over him to finally be ashore once more. He was a soldier not a sailor, and if he never had endure such an experience again, it wouldn’t be too soon. Of course, if he wished to return home to his beloved Champagne, he would have to endure the seas once more; that, or take the longer, more dangerous overland route across Europe. Until then, though, he had sworn to take the cross and see the Holy City won back from the Sarrazins.


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Kind (any kind). [More info]

Photo by Silvia


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Relative. [More info]

Photo by Foto-Rabe

Relaxed Friday 42

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Markus Lehner


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Grandma. [More info]

Photo by Susanne Pälmer

Jessica Marie Holt has published three endearing romantic comedies that so wonderfully fit today’s theme, we decided to feature them right up top. With permission, we’ve included the blurb for the first book of the series, Reluctantly Yours, below so you can get the jest. Books two and three of the series continue the matchmaking shenanigans.
Ellie and June have been neighbors and best friends forever. Together, they’ve weathered it all—marriages, babies, strange wardrobe choices, terrible haircuts, small-town gossip—only to have their friendship come out stronger on the other side.

But now, they’re up against a hurdle unlike any they’ve faced so far.

Unmarried grandchildren.

Tragically—and inexplicably—James, Ellie’s absolute treasure of a grandson, is single. And so is Sarah, June’s unmatched delight of a granddaughter.

But these Grannies aren’t worried. They have an ace up their sleeve.

The Granny Pact.

Yes, these doting grandmas have vowed to engineer the romantic happiness of their grandchildren—by any means necessary.

Unfortunately, James and Sarah are not that easy to convince. And, unbeknownst to the grannies, their two grandkids share a past that will make their job much, much harder—and might even test the limits of their fifty-year friendship.


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Skill. [More info]

Photo by Jon Kline

~ Steven F. Freeman ~
In my “day job” I’m a project manager. Needless to say, I use a “plotter” writing style. Nefarious, the first book of my thriller/mystery series, seems an appropriate fit for the readers of CleanWIP Magazine: no gratuitous violence, minimal swearing (only the softer words a few times), and no sex at all. It features a budding romance. I’ve had several reviews mention that Nefarious, being a clean read, was a nice change of pace.

Scott R. Rezer ~
Yeah, I got nuttin’… I can’t type. I don’t plot. Half the time it feels like I’m just winging it. The closest thing I have to a skill, is more of a gift—the gift of teaching. And it helps because as an historical fiction author, it gives me the ability to relay in story fashion what some might consider boring history in an interesting manner that brings it to life.

~ Margaret Skea ~
The nearest I have to a skill is knowing my limitations and what I should outsource in terms of the steps needed to publish – cover design, editing and formatting, rather than making a mess of them myself.

~ Kim K. O’Hara ~
Let’s see… I have a skill as a teacher, mom, and grandmother to make the kids in my stories come off pretty realistic. I have a skill as a yearbook adviser to edit and format my own books. I have a skill as a researcher to make my historical chapter books (as yet, unpublished) fit well with actual historical events (I found a map of actual roads and distances in 1838, for example).

~ Jessica Marie Holt ~
I started out as a poet, so I’ve always had a skill for lyrical writing that packed the most meaning into the smallest amount of space. Then about thirteen years ago, I became a copywriter. I’ve literally written thousands of product descriptions in very specific formats, with narrow word counts, in compelling language. So I’d say the skill that has helped me as a fiction writer has been balancing lyrical, vivid prose with really concise writing. That lets me layer a lot of meaning into stories, even if they’re shorter. It makes my books feel like a quick read, and gives them a hand-crafted, feel, where every word is very intentionally chosen. On the lighter side, my overall nosiness, wild imagination, and ability to leap headlong to unwarranted conclusions have greatly helped with my ability to write compelling fiction.

~ Laurean Brooks ~
I can’t think of any particular skill besides spelling and grammar that have helped me in the writing/publishing world process– unless it’s the ability to easily make friends. Maybe it’s my goofy sense of humor. I don’t know, but I consider it a blessing to have patient friends who’ve helped or encouraged me when I was at the point of tears and ready to quit. A couple of them helped me put books up on Amazon. Others have volunteered to be beta readers. If I hadn’t had these helpful friends (you know who you are), I would have given up a long time ago. Because honestly, I’m a technical Klutz.


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Support. [More info]

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Scott R. Rezer ~
From my current WIP, The Gambit Queen (Book Three: The Magdalen Cycle) (Historical Fantasy)…
She listened, and grew all the more angry as her mother sat beside her, a tight grip on her arm, while Phillip of Dreaux, the handsome, blond-haired and brilliantly blue-eyed Bishop of Beauvais—a thoroughly nasty and viperous man with the tongue of a serpent—had spun lies and half-truths out of the air to malign Humphrey and their marriage, even to bringing forth false witnesses to testify to his lies. And then, her mother, in a desperate attempt to win dramatic support for her suit from the court, had stood up and told her version of the story. A very biased, distorted view of the truth.

Thanks for Your Support
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Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Employ. [More info]

Photo by Patrice Audet

From the recently released The Haberdasher’s Wife by Scott R. Rezer
“Forgive me, child—Josefa,” she said. “Not exactly the quiet life you expected for a convent, no doubt. I feared this might happen, though. Do not tell any of the sisters, but a messenger arrived late last night with news of a battle south of here at Stockach with a French victory.”
“But that isn’t that far from here.”
“No, it isn’t. These soldiers must be in pursuit of the Austrian army. I pray this is the end of the matter.” She turned her gaze down the long, sunlit cloister and sighed deeply. “You will wait for my return, won’t you? I promised to employ your help with the Scivias texts.”


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Lead. [More info]

Photo by Barrie Taylor

Relaxed Friday 41

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Mammiya

~ Scott R. Rezer ~
From my current WIP, The Gambit Queen (Book Three: The Magdalen Cycle) (Historical Fantasy)…
Humphrey kissed her one last time, lingering with a labored breath, reluctant to leave her, and then fled the tent. She was alone with her thoughts and her guilt. She had betrayed him and their marriage. Deep down inside, she knew she did it because she wanted to keep Humphrey alive, but more, because she wanted to be queen in her sister’s place, a desire she had held onto for many years, ever since Amalric de Lusignan had given her the hope that one day she would, but only for a price—the price of sacrificing her marriage for a crown. She wanted to scream and break something as much as she wanted to collapse in a heap and weep.

Flashback Friday?


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Person. [More info]

Photo by Public Co


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Horse. [More info]

Photo by Helena Lopes

~ Scott R. Rezer ~
From my current WIP, The Gambit Queen…
Humphrey found his horse and mounted up with Thomas’ help. They rode back to regroup with the king, bloodied and worn. Isabella’s ring still hung from its chain around his neck. It bounced against his chest as he rode. He’d forgotten it when the cry for the halt had come. Lifting it to his lips, he kissed it, and concealing it once more inside his hauberk.


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Measure. [More info]

Photo by Morgane Perraud

From the newly-released, The Haberdasher’s Wife by Scott R. Rezer
“I told you my faith is my guiding light, Josefa. It is who I am. But it isn’t something by which I measure the worth of those around me. With all the things I have done in my own life, I am the last person to judge the sins of another, including you.”


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Fry. [More info]

Photo by StockSnap


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Eye. [More info]

Photo by StockSnap

Relaxed Friday 40

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Jörg Vieli


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Sugar. [More info]

Photo by conger design

From the newly-released, The Haberdasher’s Wife by Scott R. Rezer.
He led her to the counter, where she waited; she glanced over the assorted baked goods in the display case while he assembled her order. A few moments later, he returned. The divine scent of the warm cinnamon and sugar wafted up from the package as he fastened it with a length of twine. He leaned over the wooden counter, pretending to brush off some imaginary crumbs with a cloth. “I included a few krapfen for you and your mother. A treat for New Year’s.”
Josefa giggled like a schoolgirl. “You will make us both very fat with your generosity, Herr Trinkaus, if you insist on adding treats to my order every time I come in here.”
“Indulge me, fräulein, and consider it a favor to an old man,” he said, winking. “I have little to delight in beyond seeing the joy it brings you.”


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Game. [More info]

Photo by Karthik Balakrishnan

From the newly-released, The Haberdasher’s Wife by Scott R. Rezer.
Josef leaned down and nuzzled her ear. “Are you up to the challenge, Baroness?” he teased. “I wouldn’t want you to freeze your noble self for something as common as a child’s game.”


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Dessert. [More info]

Photo by RitaE

From the newly-released, The Haberdasher’s Wife by Scott R. Rezer.
He rubbed his meaty hands together and winked at her. “And to you as well, fräulein. Might I interest you in some chocolates, today?”
It was a familiar game. One she often lost. “Not today,” she said, laughing, though she loved the rich chocolates that had made Herr Trinkaus the talk of the city. “Perhaps just a strudel for my mother and me.”


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Kiss. [More info]

Photo by Anja


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Restore. [More info]

Photo by Lisa Johnson

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Happy 4th of July!

A post shared by Hope Toler Dougherty (@hopetolerdougherty) on

Pledge of Allegiance

(a poem by Earl Chinnici)

I pledge allegiance to the ONE
Who created this land we live upon.
We raise a flag and fly it proudly,
not as an idol, but to declare loudly,
“We will worship our LORD without interference
as we await His last trump and reappearance.”

The U.S. was founded by a woman who fled.
For so many freedoms, she saw so many dead.
This land prepared before her by the LORD above,
she claimed many symbols: a cross, a fish, a dove.
She fought many battles and she still fights today.
Her children, beaten daily, sing and laugh and play.

Now, longsuffering, gentleness, and patience keep peace quite a while,
but a hateful, accusing and rebellious people will ruin any leader’s smile.
The dragon accused the brethren day and night before the LORD,
but was cast and bound to the earth by His mighty WORD.
See, Michael and His angels fought; they cast the dragon to the earth,
giving Heaven a peaceful rest, giving us a blight-filled dearth.

The dragon was given some time to further deceive the nations,
as he has deceived so many before us throughout the generations
Satan sacrifices his children and teaches his children to do the same,
but evil is still evil no matter how loudly they otherwise proclaim.
So we raise our swords for battle; it’s time for another inning.
Hard to war with one another, but this war is from the beginning.

Two great documents of reason once spoke out like a lamb.
Devils crept in unseen by many, though foretold by the great I AM.
Two great divisions of old, at odds since Earth’s foundation,
gather their people for battle again dividing nations.
Neither side will waiver and we know only love can win.
Joy and peace… kindness and faith… will raise their flag again.

Connect with the author: Earl Chinnici


Relaxed Friday 39

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by public-photobox


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Freedom. [More info]

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

~ Scott R. Rezer ~
From The Haberdasher’s Wife
She stared up into his bright blue eyes. Nothing had changed. She saw the same, self-interested man she thought she had once loved. “As what, Friedrich?—Your mistress? Or as your wife?”
“As a woman with enough wealth and freedom to enjoy the world on her terms. The Johanna I knew would claim such a thing without question.”
“So, as your mistress, then.


Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Aspire. [More info]

Photo by Makalu (Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand)

~ Scott R. Rezer ~
My aspiration is to write about things I care about or that interest me, not to attract readers. I hope that attraction comes about because people like what I write. I’m not interested in getting rich, though a few sales once in a while are nice! I know that sounds strange in an industry centered around getting published as the end result of all your hard work. After so many years trying to do just that, I finally came to realize that writing is the part I enjoy–not the publishing. Publishing is just a means of sharing what I love.

~ Jessica Marie Holt ~
I aspire to touch readers’ hearts, take them on a fun journey, and, through well-crafted characters, remind them of people they know, and draw them into a story that is new, but feels cozy and familiar.