Saturday, May 25, 2013

New Beginnings

Memorial Day Weekend is said to be the kickoff of the summer season -- and don't those of us in the northern latitudes look forward to it!

The grass is finally green after a long winter, flowers are blooming and hearts are lifted by life renewing itself.

This year, for me personally, Memorial Day Weekend holds both joyous and sad days. On Saturday I'll be attending the wedding of a young man who is very dear to me. God bless him and his new wife with a long, healthy life and a wonderful family.

New beginnings are wonderful, so full of hope and promise.

On Monday I will remember my dear sister who passed away in April. We were very close, and I miss her more than I can say. Most of you, Dear Readers, have experienced this kind of loss, and you, too, will no doubt be setting aside time to remember your lost love ones as well as remembering the brave men and women who died fighting for the USA and the freedom we all enjoy.

My weekend begins on a happy day and closes on a sad one -- from new beginnings to an ending in this life. Yet, with the end of this life comes a new beginning in the next one, one that for our lost loved ones will be filled with unceasing joy.

God bless you with a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. May it be full of good times and good memories.


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author
Fran's Web Page

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Liza's Trouble in "Recruited"

Book Four of the Tender Mysteries Series of Inspirational Historical Romance features Liza Green and Antonio Black. This book will be available in e-book and paperback in early June.

June, 1896: Liza’s accused of stealing fifteen hundred dollars, and Antonio seems to be the only person who can help her out of the mess she’s in--even though she doesn’t exactly trust the handsome private investigator.

Antonio believes Liza is as guilty as the prosecutor says she is, but, having been instantly smitten with the beautiful woman, he wants more than anything to find a way to get her acquitted of the charges against her.

Antonio devises a plan to prove Liza’s innocence by trying to connect the missing money to a ring of pickpockets who have been operating in eastern Nebraska. Despite the fact that he has every intention of running his investigation on his own, Liza, trusting her life to no one but herself, doggedly stays at his side.

Caught up in the adventure of dealing with pickpockets, train robbers and desperados, Liza is swept into romance as well, and, before long, she realizes she’s found something special with Antonio she hadn’t even known she’d been seeking.


Setup: Liza is meeting for the first time with handsome private investigator Antonio Black, hoping to get him to help her find a way out of the trouble she's in.

He took her arm and led her back to her chair. “Please, sit down and tell me everything about the case against you.”

She returned to her seat, and he returned to his.

She gazed at him silently for several moments before she spoke. “I have been working at Hoffman’s All Goods since I was sixteen, slightly more than three years,” she said. “Mr. Hoffman has been a wonderful employer, and, each year, he’s entrusted me with more and more responsibility.”

She realized she was twisting her fingers so she stopped the nervous habit before Mr. Black noticed it.

“Mr. Hoffman generally keeps receipts in his safe, and once every month or two a deposit is made into the store’s bank account.” She paused and took a calming breath. “For the last eight months he’s trusted me to give the books a thorough looking over every six to eight weeks. When I’ve finished my accounting, I take the cash and bank drafts from the safe and make a deposit at the bank.”

“That’s quite a bit of responsibility for a woman as young as you are,” Mr. Black interjected. “You’ve been entrusted with this duty for eight months now?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Has Mr. Hoffman ever pointed out any problem with your work up to now?”

Liza shook her head. “Never.”

He waved his hand toward her. “Please, go on with your story.”

She bit the corner of her mouth and nodded. “A few days ago…” Liza swallowed hard as she recalled the day the money disappeared. “I was tallying up the receipts for the last two months. I reconciled the receipts with the cash and bank drafts, and I prepared everything necessary to make the bank deposit.” A knot formed in her stomach. “I left the store with the fifteen hundred and some odd dollars in the bag the Merchant’s Bank gave us to hold our deposits.” She glanced downward and paused. “I went straight to the bank,” she said, looking at him again, “and when I arrived the money was gone.”

He sat forward. “I beg your pardon?” His brows drew together. “Are you saying the money just disappeared?”

Liza looked down and nodded.

“Miss Green, look at me.”

She did as he commanded.

He leaned back in his chair. “Last year I went to see the performance of a magician named Harry Houdini. That’s the stage name of a man from Appleton, Wisconsin who recently began to entertain people with his amazing abilities.”

Liza scowled at him. “What has your attending a performance of a magician got to do with what we’re discussing?”

“Miss Green,” he said, tracing a line on his desk with his finger, “I don’t think even Houdini could make fifteen hundred dollars disappear from a bank deposit bag.”

She bolted to her feet. “I’ve never heard of Harry Houdini, nor do I care one whit about who the man is or what he does. I tell you, when I opened the bank deposit bag at the Merchant’s Bank there was nothing inside but cutup newspaper instead of the money and bank drafts I’d placed there.”

“Is this the story you’ve been telling the authorities?” he asked as he got to his feet.

“It is,” she replied firmly.

“Whew,” he said, brushing back his neatly-groomed short, curly black hair. “If this is what you intend to use as your defense, you might want to start studying up on Houdini’s techniques because the only way you’re going to get out of the binding situation you’ve gotten yourself into is by knowing some very clever methods of escape.”


Liza finds lots of trouble, and a treasured love, in "Recruited." Look for the paperback at Amazon and the e-book at all major Internet bookstores in early June.

Have another great week!


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author
Fran's Web Page

Monday, May 6, 2013

"The Water's Fine" in "Montana's Magic"

"Montana's Magic" is the sequel to the popular contemporary romance "Montana Matched."

The fun continues in Montana, this time with a much younger couple. Neither C.R. nor Deanna are are looking for love but that doesn't mean it isn't going to sneak up on them anyway.

Had C.R. Whitmore been struck by lightning? Had the polar axes of the earth shifted? Or was it merely the smile of the exquisitely lovely Deanna Worthington that had doused him with the feeling that everything in his world had suddenly changed?

Whatever it was, C.R. needed to set his emotions aside as best he could. He had a secret mission on the Ruskin ranch, and nothing could deter him from reaching his goal.

Deanna had traveled from Peoria to Montana for two reasons: one, she wanted to help her sister Catherine with her new baby, and, two, she wanted to finish writing her Master’s thesis.

Her plans for the summer had seemed simple enough--until she met Cade Robert Whitmore…

Hand in hand walks in the open meadows, horseback riding through pristine wilderness, moonlight swims in secluded waters…

Deanna supposed, when it came to handsome cowboys, it was okay for a girl to change her summer plans, but would it be worth the risk to her career and her heart?


Setup: C.R. is giving Deanna a tour when they end up at his favorite place on the ranch.

“You like to swim, don’t you?” C.R. said enthusiastically.

He’d led her to a quiet lagoon which branched off the river. “I love swimming.” She’d gotten rather warm during their hike--from the exertion of the walk and from being with C.R. A swim in this magnificent pond seemed mighty tempting.

“I had a feeling you would.” He moved quickly to a nearby hollowed-out tree, lying on the ground and retrieved a duffle bag. He opened it up and pulled out a large towel. “I come here every chance I get so I try to keep extra clothes and towels around in case I want to come straight from the range. Nothing makes a person feel more alive than a swim in the river.”

Deanna clapped her hands together. “Oh, what fun! How lucky you are to have a place where you can swim whenever you want.”

“Well,” he said, “it isn’t always easy to fit a swim into my day. I’m usually awful busy with work during the warm months when swimming here is most pleasant.”

“I’m sure you are.” She walked right up to the water and stuck her hand into it. “Is it safe to swim here? The pond looks calm enough, but the river is rushing pretty fast.”

He joined her at the water’s edge. “It’s perfectly safe.”

Deanna stood up and tugged at the large, unbuttoned shirt she’d worn over her tank top and shorts. “Ooh, I’d love to jump right in, but I don’t have a bathing suit with me.”

He took her hand and gave her a naughty grin. “Neither do I.”

She smiled back at him as all sorts of wicked thoughts raced through her mind.

She’d been skinny dipping before, but not since she was eight years old. She’d certainly never gone swimming in the nude with a man.

She pondered her situation a moment longer. Then, without further hesitation, and going completely against her usual cautious nature, she decided, why not?

“C.R.,” she said, taking off her shirt, “I’d love to go swimming with you.”


"Montana's Magic" is available in paperback with "Montana Matched" -- one book, two novels -- at Amazon. The E-Book edition of "Montana's Magic" is available at: Amazon, B&N, I-Books, Sony Bookstore, Kobo Books, and other places on the Internet.

I hope something wonderful touches your life this week.

God bless you, Dear Readers.


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author
Fran's Web Page