Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author who also enjoys reading across genres. On this page you'll meet a great group of writers and get an insider's view into their lives and books. I hope you enjoy this special peek and find new and exciting reads.
Who – A native New Yorker now a relocated-to-the-Southwest romance-writing retired minister. I came across a saying which I’ve framed: do more of what makes you happy. That’s writing. I write in three romance subgenres: as Anna Taylor I write Christian inspirational, as Anna M. Taylor I write gothic and as Michal Scott I write erotic (mainly historical). I’ve had nine works published since I debuted with Through A Glass Darkly, my first Christian inspirational in 2008. Last year I dove into the self-publishing waters with my Haunted Harlem novella series. This year I’ve participated in Falling Hard, my second Passionate Ink anthology and Cowboys, my third Delilah Devlin Boy’s Behaving Badly anthology.
Interests – While I have many I must confess currently my number one can be summed up by this line from Shakespeare: “If music be the food of love play on.” I love music. Growing up in NYC, two of my favorite libraries were the Donnell Music library on 53rd Street and the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. Back then I could take out LPs and music scores to my adolescent’s heart’s delight: original Broadway cast albums, vintage recordings by conductors like Leopold Stokowski and Arturo Toscanni, performances of rarely heard works like Duke Ellington’s Black Brown and Beige. These days I use my Twitter and Facebook accounts more to share this interest than even to promote my writing.
Network – I’ve been writing romance seriously since I joined Romance Writers of America in 2003. Since then I’ve been a member on and off in eight of their chapters. The latest writing organization I’ve begun participating with is Romance Slam Jam. Started in 1995 in Dallas Texas “to demonstrate the power, passion and pain of black love.” It’s where I’ve been becoming acquainted with scores of African-American writers, podcasters, bloggers and readers.
Desk – Since moving to the Southwest I’ve replaced my lap on the way to work whether on the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica Queens or the Transport of New Jersey bus to Paterson NJ with a copper patio table in warm weather and my lap again in my bedroom with the heater on when it’s cold.
Outrageous: I have a VHS tape library of every episode of Sex in the City, quite a feat considering I only started watching it when it went into syndication. It’s neat comparing the edited versions aired on commercial broadcast TV with the unexpurgated versions I’m able to watch on Amazon Prime and in my iTunes library. I was a huge X-Files fan and have every episode of its nine seasons recorded in my VHS library as well. Writing X-Files fanfic is what revived my love of writing.
Window – My window on the world is my patio. Every morning and afternoon I can watch birds on the feeders. My backyard has also become a safe haven for recurring friends like Brownie the rabbit, Grayboy the squirrel (who feels comfortable enough to spread out on the patio after getting his fill of the Wildlife food I sprinkle on the ground), and an occasional road runner.
A Little In Love With Death (Haunted Harlem Book 2)
Anna M. Taylor
For the last hour Sankofa Lawford blinked through a haze of tears at her mother’s stricken face. She held the glassy-eyed woman’s hand and tried repeatedly to get her attention. No gesture stilled the older woman’s incessant rocking. No words penetrated her intonation of the same awful phrase.
“Them that tell don’t know and them that know don’t tell.
Them that tell don’t know and them that know don’t tell.”
Wanda Lawford suddenly stopped rocking and stared in Sankofa’s direction.
A bright glint of glee shone in Wanda’s gaze. Hope struggled for a foothold in Sankofa’s heart then slipped as a death head’s grin contorted her mother’s once beautiful features. With a grip made strong from madness, she pulled her daughter’s hand to her chest and leaned in so her lips pressed against Sankofa’s ears.
“A word to the wise is sufficient. Have you been wise?”
Her hissed warning parodied whispered confidences mother and daughter had shared in the past. Sankofa kissed away a tear from her mother’s cheek.
“Yes, Mama.” She swallowed the lie with a smile. “I’ve been wise.”
Wanda Lawford cupped her daughter’s face and smiled too.
“Good. He shouldn’t have gotten you then, but if you’re wise, he won’t get you now.”
Sankofa took a deep breath and controlled her sadness despite the wobble of her lips.
“Rest now, Mama. Rest. Okay?”
Wanda released Sankofa’s hand only to grip her own and begin rocking again, begin repeating again.
“Them that tell don’t know and them that know don’t tell.”
Them that tell don’t know and them that know don’t tell.”
Sankofa groped her way toward the door, willed her halting feet toward the sanity of the hospital corridor. She pressed a hand against her chest and leaned backed against a wall.
Sad-faced flower-carrying visitors brightened frowns into smiles before entering the rooms of their loved ones. Nurses’ aides delivered lunch on rattling carts. A call for Dr. Li to come to the nurses’ station sang through the air. The tang of Lysol assaulted her from the room across from her mother’s where orderlies cleaned up behind a happy return home or a sadder departure to the morgue. She lifted a silent prayer of thanks for these small handholds on normalcy.
“Jesus, have mercy. ”
Anna M. Taylor website: https://annamtaylor.webs.com
Anna M. Taylor Amazon Author Page - https://amzn.to/355nKv0
Anna M. Taylor FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/annamtaylorAuthor
Who - History, especially the 1800s of western United States, has always held a draw for me. Regency England with their women encircled by social restrictions juxtaposed with the American west where woman had to be as strong and independent as a man to survive. These are the women I write about.
Since my first published work in December 2019, I have completed the Sweetwater Series and gone on to several novels both in historical western romance and Regency romance. So far, I am enjoying the writing enormously. My recent book, #15, In From the Cold will be released on September 13, 2021.
Interests vary widely but tend to be more sedate rather than sports or activities. I have loved learning new things which often takes me on hour-long reading sessions on the internet. One thing leading me to another such as the Russian foods I learned about. I used them in several novels afterwards including the special wedding bread ceremony. I collect recipe books and old recipe cards so that fits in with another hobby. I often use mealtimes and women talking in the kitchen preparing meals when telling my stories.
Network - Two of my daughters have been my supporters and Beta readers since I began. They read for the entertainment value and characterizations. Pick out any inconsistencies or question a motive. I am a student of people and often can hear multiple conversations if I’m in a crowd. I have always ‘people watched’ and studied psychology. Especially how the mind grows and matures. The differences between male and females in brain usage.
I had the same song going through my mind for years. I later heard things like that referred to as a ‘ear worm’. It was I Did It My Way by Frank Sinatra. Not that I loved the lyrics or the music – it simply never left me. Regrets, I have a few but then again too few to mention…
Desk - As far as research for my writing – I may or may not do anything. As I wrote previously, I love to get new information of anything that catches my attention. Sometimes I use it right then, but most often I store it away and it pops up when a storyline needs it to. I’m a pantser which means my stories are written as they ‘come’ to me. My characters, many times as a couple, introduce themselves and tell me their story. I write down as much as I can as quickly as I can – like a stenographer on steroids. Where we are, how they are dressed, their manners and demeanors. Many times something I’ve read about becomes part of the story. I do need to check on historical accuracies as far as laws of the times and things like that since I most often write historical romances. I love the internet for that.
Outrageous talent - I can roll my tongue and bend it backwards to stroke my tonsils…interesting party game. I can also take-off my bra without removing my top, but at my age it isn’t very exciting any more. LOL.
What I like and love - I always have room for a hot fudge sundae. Yummm. Now I want one and I don’t have the fixings. I purposely don’t keep the topping on hand due to this type of thing.
As a child, I loved playing all sorts of card games. I met some kids who came up to the lake where I grew-up and taught me Canasta. I couldn’t get enough – we would play from dawn to dusk. I’d get my housework done (we all had chores) and go to their screened-in back porch. Now I play Hand and Foot – 7 decks of cards and similar game skills needed - with my daughter and her husband. We play for hours several days in a row when we can get together.
Some Character insights - The names for my characters are of their own choosing. I don’t mind having a name re-used. After all there were six other Susans in my graduating class of 100 total. Some chose Sue or Susie – I stuck with the name on my birth certificate. I pretty much allow my characters to do the same.
The most difficult scene I ever wrote was when the heroine died. Granted she was in her late 80s maybe even 90s; but I found it difficult to say goodbye. Even now I am tearing -up over her demise. She had her HEA and loving husband for years (he died a year before her and she missed him); but it is always difficult to know they are gone. I much prefer to leave them as they are just learning about life and how it will play-out for them.
A Peek Inside
In From the Cold
Steamy but not erotic.
Matthew left his family ranch to make it on his own. Alaska seemed far enough away from his brother’s wife to heal his broken heart.
A Peek at what others are saying
From Wild Women Reviews: In From the Cold 9/13/21
Recently, we had the privilege to meet Luke Foster from Susan Payne’s An Unexpected Wife. Luke, a hard-working Nebraska rancher with a slew of younger brothers to ride herd on, rescues the town librarian Lorelei from desperate straits and thereby forges a deep and everlasting future for himself, the woman he comes to love, and starting a new branch of the Foster family tree.
One of those ‘branches’ was Luke’s younger brother Matthew who, after one look at Lorelei, knew he needed to make a life for himself—and that Nebraska was not the place to do it. Hence, we found Matthew traveling to Alaska in the historical romance, In From the Cold, written by Susan Payne, and released by the Wild Rose Press.
A Peek Further
I am Susan Leigh Furlong, a retired first and fourth grade teacher, a published author and playwright, and a practicing grandmother, living in a small town in Ohio. Since I last visited on “Peek Through the Window,” I have endured continuing Covid-19 restrictions and been vaccinated. Then I spent forty-one days in the hospital at my husband’s side, and now rejoice at his slow but steady recovery here at home. On April 29 he had emergency quadruple bypass surgery, followed by an infection in his leg where they harvested the vein for the bypasses. The massive complications from the infection were terrifying, but with intense medical treatments he fought back and made it home, a weakened but determined man with a wife who now knows more about nursing than she ever dreamed she would. We are grateful to be working toward a “new normal.”
On a brighter note, our granddaughter started her sophomore year at college in computer engineering, our son was promoted to Senior Engineer, and my third book, Keeper of My Dreams, launched on September 6, 2021 with The Wild Rose Press.
Important reasons I write:
I write because I have to – my sanity depends on it. For as long as I can remember, characters and stories floated around in my head, and I had to work them out, first every night in bed before I fell asleep, and later when I could finally write them down. I wrote, directed, and starred in my first play when I was nine years old, inspired by Japanese kimonos sent to us from a friend.
Even when I was a full time teacher, wife, and mother, I spent most of my free time writing down stories and books. Some of my favorites are the ones I wrote every year for my granddaughter about the adventures of Princess Allison in the Kingdom of Furlong. It took years before I had the courage to see if I could get anything of these writings officially published.
While I am thrilled to see my words in print – Sometimes I reread those words and wonder who wrote them! – my greatest joy comes from bringing the characters to life and dropping them in whatever setting I find. If, for some reason, I take a break from writing, the stories haunt my dreams as night, and I have trouble sleeping. I have to write!
New ideas – Where do you get them?
“People watching” is one of my sources for ideas. I love to imagine what kind of life each person I see has. I also check out pictures of people on calendars and do the same thing. Sometimes a face just hits me as someone I need to write about.
Another source of ideas comes from doing historical research. I may sound like a real nerd, but I don’t care. I love to look through old books, collections, and newspapers. How people lived fascinates me. My allergies flair up – lots of coughing and sneezing – with these old papers, but the Internet has been a tremendous help for that.
I find so many unbelievable things that really happened. Child kings were held prisoner by their guardians, wars were fought over queens who refused to marry at age four, and the Chinese thought gunpowder was a life-extending elixir until it blew up their houses! Also George Washington had an elaborate spy network that was so secret no one knew about it until it was uncovered in this century.
You can’t make this stuff up, but you can write about it!
Doubts you’ve struggled with as an author
Sometimes a feeling comes over me that all this work I’ve put into my stories has been a waste of my time. Who do I think I am that I call myself a writer? Does anyone want to read my words? Has the time and money it takes to promote a book been pointless? Should I spend more time in reality instead of in the lives of characters I create?
Recently I experienced a period of time when I absolutely could not write. I sat at the computer and no words came or the ones that did were few and meaningless. It was a terrible time, and I can understand why so many famous writers turned to alcohol to dull the heartache. I realize now that the stress of my husband’s illness and hospitalization traumatized me, and I accepted that with time, I would get my muse back. And I have.
Overcoming those doubts
For me the answer to overcoming doubts comes when I remember if I let my doubts stop me, I would miss every minute of the process of creation so much! Every book I have ever read since I learned to read made me ask “How did they do that?” How did that character or that setting come into being? How did the words and sentences go together to create a specific emotion in me? I want to find out those things in every book I read, every play or movie I see, and every story I hear. Once I figured out that I could put words on paper to create a situation or a story or a world that I could “live in” for a while, I was hooked on the process.
No one goes through life without doubts, but the joy of having found my calling, first in my teaching career - I truly love to work with children, and every morning I woke up and the first thing on my mind was what do I get to do today with my students? Now in my writing career, I wake up and think about what do I get to write/create today? That banishes my doubts.
What’s outside your main character’s window?
Leena Cullane Adair in Keeper of My Dreams has come to the city of Stirling in Scotland from her family estate in the southern Highlands. The calm quiet of a country estate is replaced by the unfamiliar bustle of a city, and Leena is overwhelmed.
Outside her window of the inn where she and her brothers are staying is a muddy, rut-filled road with a disgusting, smelly garbage trench running right down the middle. She must cross it to reach the mercer’s shop, but the many people, horses, and wagons dart around her in a confusing dance, and when a gaggle of geese causes her to fall, she is rescued from the mud by the handsome gunsmith, Reid Haliburton. Reid’s shop is also across the road from the inn where Leena is staying, and she spends her nights looking out the window toward his shop in hopes of catching a glimpse of him while he works.
Toward the end of Leena’s story, she and Reid’s oldest son are held prisoners on a pirate ship heading up the coast of Scotland. From the small porthole on the starboard side all she can see is endless ocean. She wonders if her memories of Reid will last for her lifetime or will they vanish with every wave of the water?
Keeper of My Dreams
Susan Leigh Furlong
Gunpowder and love, both explosive.
A gun can kill. A heart can save.
A Peek Inside
Reid Haliburton, a skilled gunsmith, wants to control who uses his revolutionary handgun until a vicious pirate decides the gun will be his. The price of refusing is Reid’s life and those of his three young sons. Reid’s only chance to save his sons is to send them away and face the pirate’s wrath alone.
Leena Cullane Adair is stunned to find three lads hiding in her cart, and, although she only met their father a week ago, he holds her heart and her dreams, and she will do whatever it takes to keep him and his sons alive.
A Further Peek
Susan Leigh Furlong was born in the middle of a blinding spring snowstorm at the University of Michigan, which forced her mother to walk across campus in the snow to the hospital while in labor. Susan doesn’t remember any of this auspicious beginning, but it always makes for a good story! As a child she moved across the country six times to various big cities before the age of fourteen because of her father’s career in women’s ready-to-wear clothing. At college she met and married her love, and moved to his small hometown in southern Ohio, and you couldn’t get her out of there with a crowbar! She taught first grade and fourth grade and raised her children who did not have to change schools even once. Creating stories started early in life—as is typical of most writers—even before she could actually write. Then came handwritten pages stuffed in her underwear drawer, followed by stories created on a manual typewriter. Her first computer—a Commodore 64—was replaced by a series of computers and laptops, which her husband promised she could never fill up the storage space, but she always did. At age 32 she performed in her first community theater play—Guys and Dolls—where she quickly realized that she wanted to play ALL the parts, which is exactly what a writer does. She writes and/or directs church-related plays and sketches and also performs and sings with a music and drama ministry, LightReaders.
Her love of history led her to write two plays about her now hometown, presented in reader’s theater style by local citizens, followed by two non-fiction books about the local history published by Arcadia Publishing. She loves to do the research even though old books and documents make her cough and sneeze! Susan first discovered romance novels when she won a copy of Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux at the local bookstore. She reads all varieties of books, but historical romance is forever her first choice.
Steadfast Will I Be and By Promise Made were published by The Wild Rose Press in 2019 and 2020 respectively. By Promise Made won the NEST – National Excellence in Story Telling – for Historical Romance for 2021. Her third book – Keeper of My Dreams – a continuation of the Cullane family adventures - was released on September 6, 2021.
It's okay to stare
Who- I’m a multi-genre writer and a weekly blogger where I share short blogs to make readers think and create memes from favorite quotes and photos. Once upon a time, I was a schoolteacher, a church pianist, a church services interpreter for the deaf, and a former mayor’s wife. I’m an Air Force daughter and Army wife. I’ve served as a Department of Army Civilian. Those experiences led to my four-book military romance series PROMISES. I’m married to a preacher’s son and have a preacher son, which explains where I get my ideas for the Fitzpatrick Family series about eight preacher kids who each find true love.
Interests besides writing- Jigsaw puzzles and gardening are my passions when I’m not writing. Puttering around in the dirt helps get the creative juices going when I’m having writer’s block. Puzzles are my weapon of choice when I have a plotting problem to tackle.
Network- I’m blessed to have a supportive husband and a fantastic writer’s group that meets weekly via Zoom. Since the pandemic, our meetings are online. Hubby’s always available to discuss a story or read for me.
Desk- I recently abandoned my traditional desk in the upstairs office to claim the dining room table. Who says an architect’s room labels on a blueprint are set in stone? Not me, and that’s how our dining room table became my desk and the room my office. I’m glad. There’s so much more room to spread out on a table that seats eight. Plus, I’m closer to the kitchen for those energy snacks.
Outrageous talent- It’s not a talent exactly, more of a habit that friends and family say is a bit obsessive. I swim every day. May through September I swim outside, and October through April move indoors to a sports medicine gym. I use the term swim very loosely. My stroke looks more like a frog doggy paddling.
Window- Our yard is a certified wildlife habitat. I’m always assured of seeing wild creatures out my windows and doors. Oodles of birds, butterflies, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, and deer come to visit. It’s easier than you might think to become a certified habitat. Check here. www.nwf.org/CertifiedWildlifeHabitat
These are pictures of what I see from my window.
When Love Trusts
Book 4 in The Fitzpatrick Family Series
From the author- Sweet romance like Hallmark-
Growing up together in a small Texas town, Josh Fitzpatrick and Mara Burke always had each other’s backs. A relationship built on love and trust… until it wasn’t.
Now, an Army sniper home on medical leave, Josh’s wounds go deeper than the shrapnel dug from his thigh. Nightmares torment him. He feels responsible for a senseless tragedy and the death of fellow soldiers. While his body recovers, he wrestles with guilt and waits for disciplinary action.
Mara’s a single mom and administrator at a home for boys, still hiding the terrible secret that created the ten-year chasm between them.
When the boy’s home needs volunteers after a fire, Josh steps in. Sparks from their youth soon ignite a new passion, but will sharing their secrets be enough to overcome the pain and hurt between them?
AMAZON (US): https://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Trusts-Fitzpatrick-Family-ebook/dp/B09GL1R5RP/
Learn more about Judythe on her website www.judythemorgan.com
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