Sarah’s Song on Preorder now!

Click for Kindle Preorder

“To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.”

William Blake

This line (from the book’s dedication) echos throughout the story. I came across it because my daughter’s boyfriend sent it to me. We lost him last year in a car accident, after I had been working on this novel for a while. There were so many parallels that for a bit it was hard to get back to work on the story. In the end, this novel helped me work through things.

This was an emotional project for me but I’m so glad I wrote it – I got to experience music in a new way and explore Sarah and Melody’s friendship. Sarah started out like me: not musically inclined (even though I’m creative in so many other ways). I’ve always wished I was able to sing or play music, so in a way I got to through Sarah in this story.

Order on Amazon Order on Barnes and Noble Order on Apple iBooks

Sarah can suddenly, magically make music. Michael thinks she stole Lauren’s last song.

Sarah Austin never had a musical bone to her body…until suddenly she does. A car accident reveals her boyfriend’s darker side and turns her life upside down. She moves in with her best friend Melody and finds herself turning to music, playing the guitar and writing songs like a pro. Melody’s entire life is about music so she’s ecstatic but also confused, and maybe a bit jealous…although this might be what she needs to launch her own career.

Half a world away, Michael Singer, lead guitarist and singer of Mystic Mist, is mourning the loss of a band member when he sees a video of someone singing Lauren’s last song. How did this American girl steal it? With his band falling apart around him, he decides to take matters into his own hands.

Sarah wants to know where her musical ability came from—and if she has any right to use this talent she didn’t earn. Sarah and Michael both want answers for very different reasons. Neither is prepared for how they’ll feel about each other.

A little zing of attraction hit me, irritating me. I was not getting the hots for a rock star, accent or not. He surly had plenty of fan girls out there, all over the world. I had to keep my face blank because Michael looked up at me.

“So how does it work? Do you know chords and progressions and how to read music?”

I shook my head as he talked. “I can just start playing. Well, I knew how to tune a guitar. And when I play, it’s like I understand more.”

“Come here.” He scooted back and patted the cushion between his legs. Oh, no no no. “I want to show you a few things.”
His words rolled off his tongue, sounding fun and flirty like most of the things he said in that Irish voice.


“Just humor me.” His eyes lit up, his lips doing that lopsided smile. Did it work on everyone?

A little preview….

The Billionaire Who Bought Me

Ch. 1. Just a sleazy fake girlfriend for sale over here

Of course I didn’t want to, but did I have any choice?

I glanced at the text from my friend Jenna that read, “Zoe, are you sure you want to do this?”

She knew I needed a LOT of money to save my sister’s life and get my family out of financial trouble. Jenna was even the one who told me about this site in the first place. It was called Pay to Play and it allowed men to buy video time with women.

At first I was shocked she’d do something like that, but we had both struggled the last couple of years, and Jenna had two small kiddos to think about. She video chatted with men at night after her kids went to bed. She had a waitressing job in the mornings, but it wasn’t cutting it.

I had tried not to judge her. Actually, I was more worried than anything else. Then my little sister got sick. My parents put all their earthy assets into getting her the best care, trying to keep her alive until she could get a heart transplant. She was only fourteen. The stress got to my dad, and ironically, he had a heart attack. Then my grandfather died. We were drowning.

 So, yeah, I asked her about the site.

I needed a way to make money while still having time to be with my family and help them. She showed me the ins and outs of the site, how to avoid things I wouldn’t want to do, and then we noticed the ad.

It was listed under “In person, extended projects” so I shouldn’t have been looking there in the first place. The title read, “Fake GF for a few weeks.”

That didn’t sound that bad. The ad read:

“Looking for female companion, someone with little or no online presence or a high profile job. Not what you think but it pays very well. Six figures. Must be willing to travel, sign NDA, and take on assigned persona. Reply with your photo and current job. ”

I just had to go on a trip with this man? Pretty easy for one hundred thousand dollars. Not what you think. It could be a really old guy who wanted a nurse or a pretty lady by his side. I could be changing diapers or living it up like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Who knew why he was doing this. I didn’t care. And I wouldn’t want to get to know him ‘for reals’—just for the job.

And besides, I could keep Jenna updated on my whereabouts to stay safe, if I actually secured a job like this. Maybe I could also download an app that would track my location and report it to Jenna and my family.

I clicked a link to see more about the man behind the ad. His level said Billionaire, but I wasn’t sure it they had to prove their income level. However, I knew he had enough extra money to pay for this project. That wasn’t a small chunk of change to just hand over.

He hadn’t included a photo or any personal information in the bio section, just a sentence: You won’t need to get to know me, just the character sheets for myself and you.

Hmm. Maybe he liked mystery and the power it gave him. This could be about a power rush, something outrageous that he could do simply because he had the money. Would he be mean?

I sent a text back to Jenna: It’s not always about what we want, is it?

Then I sent another text promising to put safeguards in place. My fingers shook, but I hit ‘reply’ to the ad and wrote:

“My name is Zoe Montgomery and I’m a home health nurse, although I also work a few hours in my family’s bookstore when I can. My last client recently died so I’m awaiting a new assignment. Attached please find my photo. I just joined this site so I’m learning how it all works still. Thank you for your consideration.”

Seriously? It sounded like I was applying for a librarian job, not some fake girlfriend ad.

“It’s just an application, Zoe,” I told myself, questioning if I had the looks and body for a job like this. I was a nurse who liked helping other people, and a bookworm who collected old fairytales. This billionaire would read my response and laugh, unless he wanted a naughty librarian?

But I had to look into every way possible to make money to keep Belina alive.

Every time I doubted if I could do this, a memory flashed in my mind in a series of images. It was almost a year ago now. At first I would see Bel smiling at me, tall oaks behind her with loads of green leaves shading the park.

Belina looks so much like me, just as I look like our mother: the same long dark hair, same long body, same long legs. We all share a wide smile and dark eyes that get shiny with happiness or anger.  

A flash, and the picture changed. Her smile fell. Her face went blank.

Another flash. She looked at me, her expression both blank and full of dread. I could see something was very wrong.

Another flash, her eyes rolled back, showing white.

And then she fell.

I raced to her, checking for breathing and a pulse. I’d been trained in CPR when I worked at the pool as a teenager, and then again in nursing school. Half of me screamed in panic, but that half was inside. On the outside, I went into action with chest compressions and breaths.

An ambulance came with squad cars and the fire truck, a normal response I guess.

Belina’s heart stopped three times that we know of. The doctor at the hospital said I’d saved her life but it wasn’t over. I just helped her fight for another day. We didn’t know that at the time, of course. But now I had a real chance to do something that would matter, that would make a real difference.

I shook myself from the memory, and shook off the acidic fear it always brought. When it happened, I took action. But when the memory comes, it stops me cold.  

My hand hovered over the keyboard. Then, I closed my eyes and tapped a fingernail on the enter key. Message Sent.

Read more:


Barnes & Noble

Apple iBooks


Announcing My Fake Billionaire Boyfriend Trilogy

Soooo…. The Billionaire Who Bought Me is complete on Vella! It feels great to have a new story to share since it’s been a while. It was exciting and fun to write, and super addicting, which helped me write it FAST. (If you read on Vella, here’s the link. You can preview the opening there and then order the ebook on your favorite ebook site.)

It’s a little crazy that I wrote the story so quickly during the holiday season . . . while buying a food truck and getting ready to launch that business . . . so I did have to focus on one Vella story, leaving Sarah’s Song for a little later.

I also realized there’s so much more to tell, way too much for one book so this novel will launch “My Fake Billionaire Boyfriend” Trilogy. So now I’m happily planning the next two books. The big picture is already in my head so it’s all the little plot points that need to crystallize.

I actually have a list of titles I want to work on, but I’m not letting myself get too carried away. One future novel might include a food truck, because driving several states in the snow to get it inspired a few story ideas.

I’m happy I’m starting 2022 with a new release and more to come, and it looks like the year is gearing up to be a big one for my husband and I business-wise. I hope your year is off to a great start too!

The Billionaire Who Bought Me is on Pre-order!

I’m excited to announce The Billionaire Who Bought Me is on pre-order (Kindle, iBooks, B&N, Nook, Smashwords) with a release date of Valentine’s Day! You can still read it on Kindle Vella with tokens, or you can pre-order the Kindle ebook by clicking the cover to visit Amazon.

“Looking for a female companion; not what you think but it pays very well.”

Could I do it? I needed A LOT of money to help my sister stay alive until she could get a heart transplant. Maybe this was the answer.

Zoe Montgomery is intrigued by the ad that promises a lot of money for a few weeks of her time–if she makes it to the end. She’s desperate, but the ad is vague. What will he want from her? His ad mentions travel and “no touching” so what else does he want? She finds the billionaire behind the words just as mysterious and confusing, breaking all her conceived ideas and toying with her emotions. She also discovers the rules in their ruse are made to be broken. Will she make it the full two weeks and get her big payday? And will it be enough money to save her little sister?

*The pre-order page doesn’t have a preview, but you can read the first three chapters for free on Vella here. I’m not sharing story previews here to follow Vella guidelines.

Another new Vella story, The Billionaire Who Bought Me

So I just couldn’t do it…

I couldn’t hold off on sharing this story with you until after finishing Sarah’s Song.

So I want to make both available!

This is my new Billionaire romance on Vella with 4 episodes currently live.

The Billionaire Who Bought Me

“Looking for female companion; not what you think but it pays very well.”

Zoe Montgomery is intrigued by the ad that promises a lot of money for a few weeks of her time. She’s desperate, but the ad is vague. What will he want from her? She finds the billionaire behind the words just as mysterious and confusing, breaking all her conceived ideas and toying with her emotions. Will she make it the full two weeks? And will it be enough money to save her little sister?  


I’m totally loving the Vella platform for writing! I hope you’ll check it out and read some stories – there’s a ton to choose from!

I’ll keep you posted on the new episodes coming out for my novels. And both these stories will become ebooks next year. Take care!

Cover Reveal for Sarah’s Song

Meet Sarah and Michael!

The story is moving along at a fast clip now with Episode 13 going live soon. I’m having fun with one aspect of Vella and that’s naming my chapters, something I have done before.


Sarah Austin never had a musical bone to her body…until suddenly she does. When her life is turned upside down, she finds herself turning to music, playing the guitar and writing songs. Half a world away, Michael Singer, lead guitarist and singer of Mystic Mist, can’t believe he’s hearing his band’s unfinished song from someone else. How did this American girl steal it? They both want answers for very different reasons.


“Let’s go for a walk,” I said, not wanting to stand there gazing up into his eyes under the porch light. The electric energy from singing and playing together lingered, and I needed to move.

Then, I hesitated on the bottom step. He had not been a happy camper when he first saw me, and I still didn’t know what I was getting into here.

He noticed and said, “I promise not to bite your head off.”

Somehow that had come off as flirty, naughty even, but maybe it was just that accent of his. He ducked his head, hiding a small but genuine smile playing on his lips. He knew what he was doing. Something told me I’d just bitten off more than I could chew.

A new story in the works… Similar to Talk to Me

Wow, it’s been a crazy couple of years, in hard ways and a few good ways too. It seems like yesterday that I was thinking about 2021 starting and now 2022 is on the horizon. I began a novel in the beginning of the year but didn’t get to work on it much through spring and summer. I’m happy to say I finally carved out the time and made progress, and the beginning of the story is actually out on Vella, a newish Kindle platform where you can read episodes of stories as they come out.

If you haven’t tried Vella, it sounds like a fun way to read. Authors get to publish episodes (like chapters) and include a note at the end of each. I wish readers could also comment for even more interaction, but maybe that’s coming. (And you can always email me with comments.) Anyhoo, I decided to give it a go for at least this novel. The good news is, a month after the last episodes posts, the entire story can also become a Kindle ebook. So this novel will hit Kindle next year.

The story revolves around music… and loss, healing, friendship, connections, and yes: romance. It’s most similar to my novel Talk to Me if you enjoyed that one, although I’d say this one is more serious. It’s called Sarah’s Song.

Sarah Austin never had a musical bone to her body…until suddenly she does. In the aftermath of tragedy, she finds herself turning to music, playing the guitar and writing songs. Half a world away, Michael Singer, lead guitarist and singer of Mystic Mist, can’t believe he’s hearing Lauren’s song from someone else. Lauren didn’t get to finish her song, so how did this American girl steal it from his band? Two hurting hearts. One unexplainable connection.

Check it out on Vella here. The first 3 episodes are free to read. Right now there’s 5 total episodes and I’m adding more every few days. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

99 Cent Romances for the Holidays!

beverage blur candy candy cane
Merry Christmas! 

Warm greetings and holiday wishes for this Christmas!

The outside of my house is lit up and twinkly…now to add the Christmas tree, hopefully soon!

We don’t have to wait for holiday specials…

My married romance Point Hope is on a holiday special this month for 99 cents, plus you get a $3 credit toward a future ebook purchase. (It’s an Amazon promotion with some restrictions, see the book page for details.)

You can get my other romances at 99 cents too, including:

A Cowboy for Christmas

More Than Memories

Embers of Hope

Check out my Amazon Page to see all of my specials!



candle celebration christmas christmas decoration
May your season by cheery and bright! 

Birds and bees oh my

20180616_152045.jpgI got a bit buried this year, finishing my novel and working on some big yard projects. And, you know, all that life stuff that keeps happening!

Birds and bees… it’s actually bees and chickens in my backyard, but that didn’t sound as catchy. And technically there’s also cute little birds that flutter through the garden. Dragonflies that zoom through the yard. And a very healthy population of ladybugs.

We had lots of ladybugs, attracted by some aphids in our plum tree, and then we decided to buy some for the garden. Thanks to these little hungry bugs, there’s hardly any aphids left.

The good bugs all seem to get along fine. There’s a few paper wasps that hover around, visiting or chewing on the wooden fence. People say wasps are mean but these seem social. One had a tiny hive inside the handle of my shovel. I used the shovel all day before finding it. The hive maker had hovered around without ever stinging or bugging me.

These are my honey bees, “bearding” on the outside of the hive to cool off on a warm, humid day. You can see a few in the air too.


Honey bees are fascinating. They have guards, foragers, nurses, and “undertakers” who clean out the hive. There’s boy bees called drones that lounge around until it’s time to fly out and look for the mating track, where they hope to spot a virgin queen bee. They have huge eyes to assist them, and no stinger because they needed room for, emm, other equipment. That means you can pick them up. I’m not sure what they think about that!

You can actually let just about any honey bee crawl around on your hand and they’ll be friendly. They hang out with me in the garden, sometimes sitting on a plant or crawling around on the ground.

If you find a honey or bumble bee sitting around like it’s tired, it just might be. They work hard! You can give them sugar water in a teaspoon for some extra energy so they can make it back to their hive. They fly up to three miles and spend the day collecting pollen.

We built landscaping boxes and a tiny pond, which has a trickling waterfall. (The photo is before I got the pond clean and full, and the waterfall going.) When it got hot the other day, the bees were landing on it to drink. I made tiny little ponds in the garden for them, but they really liked the water dripping down the rocks.


Oh, here’s my funny chickens. Flower Pot is yellow and the boss lady.


Raptor is the speckled yellow/reddish one. Penguin is black, and in the back you can see Houdini the escape artist. I still don’t know how she gets through the fence from the chicken yard to the patio area. The picture has a glare because I took it through my window by my writing desk. They like to come say hi during the day.

Here’s Flower Pot eyeing a plum. If you’re wondering about her name, my boyfriend’s son Jensen was 6 when he named her, and used his grandma’s suggestion to use a flower name. You gotta love kids!


If you’re wondering if my urban farming is inspiring any story ideas…it is!

I was working on an idea about a woman running a small farm, but I knew it needed more than that. Or she needed more than that, like a big secret she’s desperate to hide and a big present day problem. The plot is in my head, so I plan to start jotting down notes on my camping trip. It’ll be fun when there’s more to the story and I can share!

I did get in some painting this year. This one is 2 by 4 feet, oil on board, and ended up decorating the wall above our coat rack.


The big one was inspired by a smaller one I did on canvas.


I practiced more ocean waves…and have a painting in mind for another board, so hopefully I get to do that one this summer.

In other news, my youngest son Caleb graduated 8th grade! My three kids are all bigger than me, although my 18 year old daughter only has 1/2 an inch to brag about.


My sons are both 5’8″ even though they’re two years apart. I could’a had twins and saved myself a pregnancy!  (Ben, behind them, is 6’3″ and 14 too. His legs are pretty much as tall as all of me…)


I’m excited for this summer. It feels like I’ve done a lot of summer things already…in my backyard! But I’m so happy with how well the garden is doing so far, along with the raspberries, grapes, and plums. There’s so much to learn, and then more to learn, about gardening, landscaping, chickens, and bees, and I love that!

One final photo… Here’s a shot of one of the little bumble bees that liked the flowers out front in May. There were little and big orange-bottom bees that visited the Rhoadies.


Happy adventuring, and reading too of course!




NaNoWriMo – a novel in a month

National November Writing Month… I’ve wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo for several years now, but I’m usually in the middle of a writing project when it starts. If you write year round, it can be trickier to plan a novel and start it on November 1. This year, however, I got an idea on Oct 30, and decided to jump in.

I’m still amazed that I did, but I finished on November 28 with 50,000 words.

What was the biggest thing I learned? It takes passion and excitement about your story to write that much in that short of a time. Because I’m also a freelancer, I had other writing and editing projects too. So my actual word count was around 80,000 for the month.

The second lesson was to use my creative time–I often worked on my novel at nine at night, when I have a really creative hour or two.

As far as my novel writing method, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to other authors, and especially not newer authors. But here goes:

I get an idea out of the blue (which actually means different things in my life suddenly mixing together) and once I see the story line, I start writing. With this story, and some before it, I busted out 10,000 words in the first day in my giddiness over the idea.

So at that point, I usually pause and realize I need some structure. I start putting in headers before my scenes (marked with Header 2 in Word) and open the Navigation Map, which displays an outline to the left of the text. I’ll start jotting down scene ideas too, right in the manuscript, so I have something to jump into when I sit down to write. I like keeping it all together in one file.

I write in a mostly linear way, but if I don’t feel too motivated on a section, I’ll jump to a different part. Then later, when I feel more focused, I go back and figure out why I wasn’t excited about that problem scene–because when it’s working, I love to write.

I haven’t always used this fly-through-the-novel method. When I began writing in grade school, I would create an outline and type it up on my electric typewriter. Then I’d write chapter by chapter, and if I changed the story, I retyped the outline.

Later on, I went through a phase in my twenties where I’d plan my novel, write it, and then go through a long revising stage where I’d rearrange the story and add quite a bit. A few times I even changed entire novels from third to first person and then back to third.

I think it’s all that writing that got me to my present method. But even though I jump right into it, I do have the story and characters clearly in my head. I even start by writing the book blurb. And on that note, here’s the blurb for my NaNoWriMo novel, Covetous:

Two couples are found murdered in their beds. The only link comes from their phone records, leading Detective Hounder to Lucy Marshal.

Lucy and her live-in boyfriend might be next on the hit list. She doesn’t know who she can turn to. If Luke knew the truth about Lucy, he would have more motive than anyone, but does he know? Her best friend Emma is someone connected to this mess—and hiding now. Her other close friend James was still in love with one of the victims…and involved with Lucy without knowing her connection.

She wants to hold onto everyone but can’t control the web she’s weaved around herself. Lucy can’t trust anyone anymore, not herself, and not the stranger leaving messages for her.

You may have noticed… it’s not like my previous novels. This is more of domestic thriller. (Murder mystery psychological thriller–is that a genre?)  I’m currently polishing the story, and adding to it because 50k is a pretty short novel, and then I plan to submit to agents. 

Will I try to write another novel in a month? We’ll see; maybe if I get another awesome story idea… like the sequel for this one.