The Witching Moon by Loretta Rogers

Welcome to the Katherine Eddinger Smits blog. I’m inspired by interesting and unusual locations and my favorite books include settings so  fascinating that they make the story indelible in my mind. So, I decided to write a series of blogs about books from some of my favorite authors. They were kind enough to answer a series of questions about the settings of their books. The first I would like to share with you is my interview with Loretta Rogers, author of The Witching Moon and 17 other novels.

 The Witching Moon by Loretta Rogers

Book blurb: Sheen O’Reilly considers her gift of second sight a curse. Branded a witch, she wears a rope burn around her neck as a reminder of what happens to people who are considered different. Now settled in a remote homestead where she tends her animals and concocts herbal remedies, she knows “he” is coming but is powerless to stop him. “He” is Guthrie Tanner, who blames himself for the murder of his wife and the kidnapping of his young daughter. After an unsuccessful year of tracking his enemies, he has heard about a witch who lives alone on the prairie. While he doesn’t believe in supernatural nonsense, he is willing to do whatever it takes to find his daughter. What he doesn’t count on is the effect Sheen will have on his heart.

 Please tell readers a little about The Witching Moon.

As a toddler, Sheen O’Reilly, witnessed her mother being burned at the stake as a witch. To save Sheen from the same fates as her mother, Sheen’s father brings her to America. As she develops into her teenage years, her supernatural abilities increase.  Due to superstition and the ignorance of town folk, Sheen and her father are hanged. By happenstance, Sheen is rescued, but tragically her father dies. Considering her gift a curse, she travels to the western territories determined to live a life of solitude and away from civilization…until her empathic powers begin to intrude into her dreams and she is sought out by the hero, Guthrie Tanner.

 What is the setting for the book? Please describe it.

 The Witching Moon begins its journey in 1848 Ireland when the belief in witches and witchcraft was rampant. The story setting moves to Salem, Massachusetts. Although the witch trials took place two hundred years before Sheen and her father settled in Salem, the small villages were rift with superstition and cruel people who exploited those superstitions for personal benefit. Due to this turn of events, the heroine flees to Montana territory, 1868.

 Why did you choose this setting for your story?

Although Ireland wasn’t as rampant with witchcraft as England, Ireland is rich in Celtic history. The Irish believed more in Fairy Doctors than witches. Because the main theme of the story pertains to witchcraft, I moved the setting to Salem, Massachusetts, well-known for its witch trials; and then I chose Montana territory due to its isolation from nearby towns and civilization. Sheen O’Reilly is an empathic fairy doctor. Fairies generally live in caves and came out only at night. Montana is known for its underground caverns, caves, and even hidden strongholds.

Is this a real place, or did you create it for the story?

All settings for The Witching Moon are real places, including the underground caverns, and the hidden stronghold where the antagonist hides and eventually meets his demise.

Have you written other books in this setting, or do you plan to write more in the future?

 Bitter Autumn, a historical romance that I’ve recently submitted to my editor is set in Montana. Montana is rich in Native American history; and Fort Ellis, which is primary to the story and is one of the few surviving frontier forts from the 1800’s.

Is this the start of a series or a standalone?

The Witching Moon is a standalone book.

Anything else you want readers to know about the book?

 The Witching Moon delves into the life of a young woman who was bullied, and almost hanged because she was different and because of the ignorance of people. Sheen deals with guilt and shame, and wants to hide from who she really is. The hero, Guthrie Tanner, also deals with guilt for events that were beyond his control. He must put aside his own prejudices to seek help from someone who is different.

Overcoming adversity and survival is the central theme of The Witching Moon. Perhaps readers will see a little bit of themselves when reading Sheen and Guthrie’s story.

 Thanks so much for sharing about The Witching Moon. Here’s an excerpt:

A hideous mass of blackened, puckered flesh ringed Sheen’s neck. His blood turned cold. Guthrie had witnessed hangings when the Yankees had raided his father’s plantation in South Carolina. He’d seen the gruesome effects of a noose cutting deep into the flesh.

Fury flared in Guthrie’s soul. He lifted the coat from the ground and brushed it free of dirt and leaves, and then draped the garment around Sheen’s shoulders. He tried to hold her close. She drew back.

His gaze met hers. “My God, Sheen. Tell me.”

She gulped the sob building in her throat.

Sheen, breathing hard sank to the ground. She fingered the top button of her coat; closed now to hide the rope burn around her neck. She admonished herself to tell Guthrie the truth about her gift and be done with it.

Her voice quavered. “Are you in a mind to listen without judging me?”

Guthrie eased to the ground. He uncorked the canteen and poured water into the coffee pot, setting it on a flat rock next to the fire. “Tell me all of it, from the beginning. I need to understand who you really are and why anyone would want to put a noose around your neck.”

About Loretta C. Rogers:

Loretta Rogers Author Photo

Loretta is a fourth generation Floridian. She is proud of her Scots-Irish, English, German heritage. Once an avid horsewoman, she trailer trained horses, competed in endurance trials with her pinto mare, as well as rounded up cattle. Loretta was a certified diver and worked with the sheriff’s search and rescue dive teams; she was also a rape-crisis and suicide prevention counselor. Life experiences and the people she met along the way often show up as (fictitious) characters in her stories. She is a bestselling author of eighteen novels. Her books span the globe from the UK to Africa.

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Maggie Mae Gallagher The Fixer Upper


I’m so excited to introduce everyone to a new release, The Fixer Upper, published Sept. 5, by Maggie Mae Gallagher, an author I recently discovered.

 Here’s the blurb:

 Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he’s discovered a journal hidden away by the previous tenant, and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed. The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around – even though she should, because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing – because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

I did a Q & A with Maggie for this post. 

Welcome Maggie Mae Gallagher to the Katherine Eddinger Smits blog. I recently purchased The Fixer Upper for my personal TBR list. Maggie, please tell readers a little about The Fixer Upper.

Thank you so much for having me! The Fixer Upper is the first book in my Echo Springs Series, where you will meet Abby. Now Abby just inherited her Great Aunt’s stately Victorian and she runs away from her life on the east coast, uncertain if the path she is on career wise is still what she wants. Her first night in her aunt’s house, she and Nate Barnes have a rather awkward first meeting where sparks fly.

Is this a real town, or did you create it for the story?

Yeah, before anyone goes searching for the town of Echo Springs, it is a fictional town. I did base it off a mish mash of different Colorado towns that I visited when I lived there. I liked creating the town from the ground up. It definitely gave me tons more freedom in designing Main Street and the businesses in town.

Have you written other books in this setting, or do you plan to write more in the future?

 There will be plenty more books in the Echo Springs Series. I do have a few more contemporary romance series planned after Echo Springs. But it will take a while to get there. I also write contemporary erotic romance under the name, Anya Summers, for those who like lots of spice with their romance.

Is this the start of a series or a standalone?

While The Fixer Upper is the first book in the series, each book in the series is absolutely a standalone. Readers can expect quite a bit more in Echo Springs. I’m putting the finishing touches on the next book in the series, Civil Disobedience, as we speak. Then we will have both Beauty Meets Her Beast and Mooning Over Her Muffins to follow. I don’t have the release dates for them yet, but I always announce release news on my newsletter first, and then it goes out onto social media.

Mooning Over Her Muffins—I love that title! That one will be fantastic, I’m sure.

The Fixer Upper is a contemporary romance, whereas the other books of yours I saw on Amazon are more in the paranormal/fantasy romance subgenre. What made you decide to write a contemporary?

I’ve had this series in my brain for a while now and it just came time that I needed to write it. I love the paranormal/fantasy genre, but this was a contemporary series I needed to do. I will likely do more in the paranormal genre at some point because I do love it.

Anything else you want readers to know about the book?

 Each book in the Echo Springs Series will be a complete standalone, although there is a connective thread: the heroes are all best friends. Nate and Miles grew up together in Echo Springs and went all the way through school together. They went on to college together. It was while they were in college that they met Jacob and Sam. They’re kind of like the Musketeers once D’Artagnan joined the group with an all for one and one for all comradery. I like the aspect of the male friendships and bonds, the willingness to have each other’s backs no matter what. And the town draws them all back together after they each had to go their separate ways.

Thanks so much for sharing about The Fixer Upper. I can’t wait to read it. Here’s an excerpt:

Excerpt from The Fixer Upper

Abby spent the next hour cleaning her new room as best she could for the night. She’d work on the full house and give it a proper cleaning come morning, but she’d spent the better part of the day in her Rover and could feel the onset of fatigue settling in her bones. There was a semimodern bathroom across the hall, with one of those claw-foot tubs she’d take advantage of when she wasn’t dragging her feet and ready to go horizontal for eight hours.

Settled in for the night, she made herself a small picnic of her wine and cheese offerings and added hitting up the local market for all the essentials to her to-do list for the morrow. Her parents would only shake their heads if they could see her in her thermal pajamas, drinking chardonnay directly from the bottle that hadn’t even sported a cork, but a lid that twisted off.

She was toasting her own brilliance when she heard the creak of the front door opening. Grabbing her trusty nine iron, a little gizmo she’d inherited from an ex-boyfriend some years back, Abby cursed at her phone’s low battery.

“Figures,” she muttered under her breath.

She left her room, tiptoeing down the stairs, her movements muffled by her thick socks. She rounded the corner, and a beam of light blinded her.

“Gah!” Screaming, she swung the iron, ready to take on her intruder. All the self-defense classes her parents had scoffed at hadn’t been for naught. Who knew that in a sleepy little mountain town, burglars and vagabonds were a problem? The golf club whizzed over the intruder’s head.

“What the?” a deep baritone barked.

She swung again, determined to fend off whoever the hell thought he could invade her aunt’s place with mischief on his mind. The shadowed outline of a large man loomed behind the beam of light. When he didn’t back off, only kept advancing, her internal panic button hit overdrive. The nine-iron connected with flesh with a thudded whack.

“Ow, fuck, cut it—”

“Get out or I’ll call the police!” she swore, her pulse hammering, her grip on the nine-iron so tight her hand was fusing into a claw formation. She reared back to strike again when his next words halted the forward progression of her swing.

“I am the police.”

She blanched, almost dropping her weapon, but then thought better of it. What if he’d lied to disarm her and then would attack?

Nice try, buddy. She wasn’t falling for it.

“Prove it.” She wasn’t the atypical heroine who idiotically descended into the darkened basement, despite the light mysteriously not working, to investigate the strange noise. She’d studied horror films and knew she was not the dumb bimbo, but the smart woman who survived. His indicating that he was the police was a sub-plot straight out of a B horror film and was precisely the type of thing the killer would say.

She raised the nine-iron into a defensive position as the man moved to her right, flipping on the overhead light while pulling a shiny silver badge from his belt. He held it toward her so that light reflected off the silver star. Blinking as her eyes adjusted, Abby wondered if she was dreaming. Cornflower-blue eyes studied her, dressed in her flannel pink pajama bottoms, tank top, and fluffy purple robe. He was larger than the darkness had suggested, probably a good six-three, and lean. His dark midnight hair fell in curly waves to his jawline, which was covered in dusky stubble. There was a ruggedness to him, indicating that somewhere in his make-up he preferred life outdoors, and it showed. He reminded her of the men gracing the covers of the romance novels she’d hidden from her parents growing up, and still hid from her colleagues.

She’d always had a bit of a thing for men in uniform, but the only defining mark that even suggested he was an officer was his black jacket with an emblem embroidered into the right shoulder. Otherwise, he looked like a mountain man, in a button-up emerald flannel shirt and blue jeans that rode low over his muscular hips.

Then she focused on the badge. Oh, sweet heavens! The badge read: Sheriff, City of Echo Springs. Why did this have all the beginnings of a campy horror flick? Woman goes to the wilderness to find herself, makes acquaintance with the local law enforcement, and then the army of dolls stuffed inside the home come to life, possessed by a demon spawn from hell, to try to kill the heroine.


About Maggie:

Maggie Mae Gallagher

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Please consider signing up for Maggie’s newsletter. Here’s the link: Maggie Mae Gallagher Newsletter Sign-Up

Buy The Fixer Upper here:

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Better Than Potato Chips

Review of Demoness Dreams by Flossie Benton Rogers

If not for the nightmares and episodes of sleep-walking that plague her, Neva Jaxony would have a good life as an artist and art history teacher. However, strange things now happen during the daytime too and she needs to uncover the reasons by learning more about her past. After she was found abandoned as a baby in a church, a kind couple took her in. However, they were killed in a car accident not long afterward, and Neva grew up in the foster system.

Bane Heughar is a warrior for the goddess Helle and he is tasked with the job of watching Neva. If she exhibits tendencies toward evil, he must destroy her. He doesn’t want the job, but you don’t say no to Helle.

When Bane and Neva meet, sparks fly, but Neva suspects Bane is keeping secrets, and her problems are getting worse. Evil omens and strange events catapult her into a preordained fate she’s not prepared to battle.

Demoness Dreams is another exciting book in the Wytchfae Series. Although connected, all the books are unique stories that stand alone. You don’t have to read any of the series to know what’s going on in the others, but I guarantee you will want to. These books are like potato chips—you can’t just devour one. Save the empty calories in the chips and snap up Demoness Dreams instead. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s the link: Demoness Dreams Amazon


Review of Chasing the Dead by Keta Diablo: Five Stars

In 1884 New Mexico, Madrid (Maddie) Arrende, the independent daughter of a wealthy rancher, insists on going with the men to drive the cattle across the river. Although her father warns her to stay home, she refuses to shelter at the hacienda while her ranch hands take the risk. Apache warriors capture her, not because she is a woman, but because they have learned she can talk to a chidn, or spirit. There’s just one problem. Maddie’s mother had the ability to speak to ghosts, but Maddie can’t.

Deacon Bannister has one mission, to rescue his sisters from the Apaches who kidnapped them seven years ago when they attacked his parents. He and his brother Gideon have searched for their sisters everywhere but haven’t found them. Deacon and Maddie fell in love. They planned to marry but he abandoned her at the altar a year ago because he couldn’t allow himself to find happiness while his sisters were in captivity.

Despite Maddie’s engagement to Emmet, a prominent businessman, when Deacon hears of Maddie’s abduction, he goes after her. While her fiancé stays behind to run his business, Deacon tracks the group and finds Maddie, but they seize him in the process.

When Maddie meets Sacheen, a beautiful young woman ostracized from the tribe because the chidn follows her, they team up. First, they free Deacon, then head back to the hacienda.

After Sacheen fights with Gideon, who has followed his brother, and shows up in the middle of the night while Sacheen is on guard, they call an uneasy truce. The four work together to save themselves from the evil ghost intent on making Sacheen his own.

Maddie is my favorite kind of heroine, strong, feisty and smart rather than overly stubborn. She is not a pushover for Deacon, who has hurt her deeply, but she realizes she needs all the help she can get in order to survive.

Deacon is a principled man who sometimes does the wrong thing for noble reasons. I can forgive him his flaws because his heart is in the right place. His lack of perfection makes him realistic and relatable.

Sacheen is fascinating because not only is she the one in the most danger, but she must cope with a totally unfamiliar environment while having to depend on strangers who have been traditional enemies. Her survival depends on figuring out who she can trust and adapting to an alien world with no time to adjust. She does all this with courage and grace and is another capable woman I admired.

Gideon is a minor character in this book, but will no doubt have his own story. I can’t wait to read it.

This novel is intended to be the first in a new series about the Bannister brothers. I hope Ms. Diablo releases the second one soon. I loved the characters, setting and blend of western and paranormal romance. Historical details, a glimpse into Apache and Mexican cultures of the time, and a diverse group of men and women working together as equals makes Chasing the Dead a must read.   Buy from Amazon

Review of Siren’s Call by Debbie Herbert: 5 Stars

Siren’s Call by Debbie Herbert is the superb conclusion to the Dark Seas trilogy about the Bosarges of Bayou La Siryna, Alabama.

Lily Bosarge is the quintessential mermaid. She has the long blonde hair, large blue eyes, luminous skin, and the siren voice which compels men to do her bidding. Although she has dated almost every man around and longs for love, she has never experienced it. As soon as she realizes she can’t return a man’s feelings, she breaks things off, but her long list of conquests has turned the women against her. They are all afraid she will steal their men, sometimes with good reason. Though she doesn’t quite realize or understand the pain she has provoked in others, Lily has caused a lot of damage to couples in the area.

When Lily’s childhood friend, Nashoba Bowman returns, Lily is drawn to him from the moment she sees him. However, he treats her with barely a fraction of the warmth they once felt for one another and seems immune to her siren voice. Lily can’t understand it because he’s the first man ever to be unimpressed by her charms. The more he avoids her, the more she’s hooked.

Nash isn’t unaffected by Lilly, but he’s come back to the bayou for a reason. He has a job to do, and once he’s finished it, he’ll leave. He doesn’t have time for a fling. Women fall too hard and fast for him and get hurt when he moves on. All he wants is to spend time with his elderly grandfather and photograph the local wildlife, but someone has other plans for him, plans that could lead to danger for any woman close to him.

I loved this book, which brought the last of the Bosarge women to her destiny. Siren’s Call had romance, suspense, satisfying growth by Lily and Nash, and the opportunity to enjoy the characters from the first two books, Siren’s Secret and Siren’s Treasure, which feature Shelly Bosarge and Jet Bosarge.

In my opinion, Lily was the hardest of the three to warm up to in the first two books. She acted cold and insensitive to her effect on men and the damage it did to the women whose husbands or boyfriends dumped them to pursue Lily.

Ms. Herbert does a magnificent job of showing Lily’s growth as she develops empathy for others and regrets her past dalliances. Despite her beauty and gifts, Lily is vulnerable. She feels the pain of rejection by the women of the town but won’t let anyone see it. She longs for love but doesn’t think she will ever experience it herself. By keeping the secret of her mermaid nature, she creates distance between herself and Nash, nearly ruining their relationship and putting herself in danger.

Nash is complex and nuanced. He has the looks and magnetism to draw Lily to him, no matter how often he pushes her away. However, he has secrets of his own and shuts down if she tries to get too close.

Lily and Nash must overcome tremendous obstacles, both internal and external, if they are to have a chance at happiness. I don’t want to include any spoilers in this review, so I will only say I teared up at the end of the book. I bet you will too.

Siren’s Treasure by Debbie Herbert is Spellbinding!

In the picturesque, coastal town of Bayou La Siryna, Alabama, a family of shapeshifter mermaids lives unknown among the ordinary townspeople.

Although a full mermaid, Jet Bosarge finds less acceptance among her kind than her cousin, who is a TRAB, a half-human traitor baby. Jet can’t understand why the other merfolk keep their distance from her, but she believes it is related to her looks. Tall, athletic and muscular, with dark eyes and hair, she can outswim most of the mermen at the annual Poseidon games, but no one seems impressed. They are much more enthralled with her elegant sister, who wins the siren song contest every year with her exquisite voice. All Jet longs for is a loving family of her own, but she doubts it will ever happen. Three years ago when Chilean police raided their salvage operation, her human ex-boyfriend betrayed her. He blamed their illegal activities on her and even spilled the secret of her nature. Luckily, no one believed him. Jet jumped overboard and got away, but her ex was arrested. Since then, she hasn’t trusted humans and wouldn’t think of revealing her true self to a dirt dweller.

Landry Fields is an FBI agent, undercover as an IRS auditor, investigating Jet’s ex, who recently received an early release from prison. Landry suspects the guy is plotting criminal activity and he thinks Jet may be involved as well. He contacts Jet in the guise of looking into her finances, but really intends to find out what the ex is up to. Landry had a rough childhood after his father left and his mother had a string of husbands who left behind a number of half-siblings, causing the family to live from hand to mouth. As the oldest, Landry had to look out for all the others. The only good part of his youth was visiting his Mimi in Bayou La Siryna every summer. When she passed away several years ago, he inherited her house. He visits the town whenever work allows. Since his fiancée left him for someone else, he doesn’t believe in loving or trusting anyone. He relies on himself and likes it that way.

When Jet and Landry meet, the attraction between them is instant and electric. However, Jet can’t let Landry find out too much about her business with her ex, or he might figure out it is her mermaid abilities which help her find undersea treasure. She’s also worried about him pressing charges against her for questionable business practices her ex entangled her in. Landry has his own secrets, including his real purpose for coming to town. Both have been burned and are wary.

When Jet’s ex won’t take no for an answer to one last venture and the crime boss behind the project gets tired of waiting for her help,  Jet faces the most dangerous situation of her life. To survive, she must face her greatest fear. As danger mounts, Landry must let down his defenses and open himself to the possibility of love and magic, or he will lose the woman he has come to cherish above his own life.

I was spellbound by Siren’s Treasure. The compelling characters, suspenseful plot and tightly written story hooked me from beginning to end. I read it twice because I enjoyed it so much. This book could be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend readers start with Siren’s Secret, which is the story of Jet’s cousin, Shelly. After Siren’s Secret and Siren’s Treasure, you won’t be able to resist the third book in the series, Siren’s Call. I guarantee it!



Review of Comes a Specter, Ghostland Book II, by Keta Diablo A Thrill Ride Wrapped Around a Sweet Romance 5 Stars

Anya Fleming is a woman haunted by a spirit that raps, howls, screams, gnashes, growls and moves objects. She believes the incredibly powerful entity is the ghost of her abusive husband, Lewis, who hung himself six months previously. However, she is also haunted by other things: her son hasn’t spoken a word since Lewis died, and she hasn’t recovered from the mistake she made ten years ago when she married the man at her father’s insistence.

When her son falls dreadfully ill, Anya knows only one man can help him: Sutter Sky, or Yellow Smoke, as he has called himself since she betrayed him and the white eyes massacred his family. As a half-breed, he was never fully accepted by the white community. After his tragic losses, he has retreated to an isolated cabin and earned his reputation as the best shaman in the territory.

Anya’s desperate need for Sutter’s help, coupled with the decade old secret she has kept from him, combine to make this story a page turner. It’s easy to empathize with this young woman who thought she was doing the right thing when she refused to name the father of her baby and married the man her father picked out for her. Anya is not perfect. She didn’t have the courage to defy society’s conventions when she was younger, and she is terrified of what Sutter will do when he realizes the truth. Yet she loves her son enough to do what she couldn’t for herself—reach out to the man she still loves, but knows will probably reject her.

Sutter is also a well-drawn, three dimensional character, who must deal with his own bitterness and do what is right, even if it hurts.

The ghost has plans of its own. The reality behind the haunting and the atrocities the Zeuzeu commits, are shocking and horrifying.

Comes a Specter is a thrill ride from beginning to end, wrapped around a sweet story of love and redemption that fulfills the promise of the story.