A BEND IN THE WILLOW by Susan Clayton-Goldner #WomensFiction #FamilySaga @Tirgearr @SusanCGoldner

A Bend in the WillowA Bend in the Willow by Susan Clayton-Goldner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Bend In The Willow is women’s fiction and is the tale of one women with two names and separate lives which ultimately mesh together.

Robin Lee Carter grew up in Willowood Kentucky. Her father was an abusive drunk who suffered post war PTSD and he was violent towards all three of his children.

By the age of seventeen, Robin’s youngest brother had tied after an unattended head injury caused by her father, her mother had died of cancer and Robin had suffered ten years of sexual abuse from her father. One evening he raped her and broke her arm in his drunkenness, then fell asleep in oil covered overalls with a lit cigarette.

Robin fled the scene of the fire which resulted, with money to start a new life and her father’s child in her belly. She tried in vain to contact her older brother for a year after the fire, then gave up.

She gave her baby away and made a new life for herself eventually marrying again and having a new child. But when her son Michael is diagnose with a rare Leukemia she must face the past to see if her family are suitable bone marrow donors.

An emotional tale for both Robin and the people whose lives she had connections with. Her adopted son, like so many children, had many questions and set backs because of his adoption and the hopes he raised of being reunited with his birth mother. Husband Ben who was devastated to find his wife had lied to him about her past. And for Robin’s brother Kyle who went into a burning house believing he needed to rescue his sister and almost losing his own life because of his heroic actions.

My favourite character was Kyle’s daughter Loralee, her angelic childhood reasoning and determination to see the good in people and to want to do her best, bound so many of the other characters together. Add this to several plot points to capture your empathy and compassion, this is a quick, enjoyable read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Willowood, Kentucky 1965 – Robin Lee Carter sets a fire that kills her rapist, then disappears. She reinvents herself and is living a respectable life as Catherine Henry, married to a medical school dean in Tucson, Arizona. In 1985, when their 5-year-old son, Michael, is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, Catherine must return to Willowood, face her family and the 19-year-old son, a product of her rape, she gave up for adoption. She knows her return will lead to a murder charge, but Michael needs a bone marrow transplant. Will she find forgiveness, and is she willing to lose everything, including her life, to save her dying son? 

About the author

Susan Clayton-Goldner

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers’ Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. 

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. 

Goodreads | AmazonUk | AmazonUS

Los Angeles And Back On A Bag Of Crisps #Travel #MondayBlogs

Here at the Amber household we are deep, deep, deep in plans for our next family holiday. It’s a BIG event for us, we haven’t had a family holiday for FOUR years. Long story short we haven’t been able to agree on a destination and other family things have got in the way.

We’re not a family who sits on a sunny beach, if we do find ourselves on a beach we’re the ones digging the monstrous hole with an architectural structure, moats, walls etc. Great for a UK beach, not so good long-haul when our son would prefer to check in a large, durable garden spade (all the better for digging) rather than clothes in a suitcase. Foreign holidays for us tend to be road-trips and our next one we taking on Canada! More about this over the next few weeks.

SO because I’m super excited, I thought over the next few weeks, I’d share a few snippets from some of our past road-trips.

My first ever long-haul was decided by a packet of crisps – I kid you not. Years ago I worked in catering and I found an offer on a pack of crisps for “free” flights on Virgin Atlantic. I remember buying a huge amount of badly flavoured crisps just for the tokens on the packets, enough for two adults. Choosing the destination was easy, I wanted to go as far as I could get for my potato crisp. We picked LA.

Things didn’t start well, we had a puncture on the way to the airport, then we were hauled out of line at Uk security for a thorough bag check and LA had just had a bad earthquake and serious mud slides, but hey, it makes a trip interesting.

I remember being unable to comprehend matching the flight travel time to the difference in the actual time zone upon arrival. Hubby and I (pre- marriage and kids) had few plans, pick up a car, go to Disney, then see what happens. I didn’t realise he was a closet road-tripper.

We travelled around 3000 miles in just two weeks! That trip we flew the Grand Canyon in a six-seater plane. Hubby up the front with the pilot taking great photos, me down the back feeling very green with all the air turbulence. We visited Las Vegas, feeling the pull of the glitz and glam, the heat and wilds of Death Valley, the hydro-electric plant at the Hoover Dam and the amazing Utah arches national park, even going as far as The Four Corners which borders Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

Next Time: Our trip from the Giant Redwoods to San Diego.

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Romancing September author Camelia Miron Skiba (Day 27)

Day 27 of the tour and our guest author today is Camelia Miron Skiba. She’ll be answering questions about her book “Born in Vengeance” then giving her views on writing romance in today’s society over with Stephanie in a few hours time.

Camelia Miron Skina

1) Where is your home town?

I live in Chandler, Arizona, but was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania.

2) How long have you been writing?

Since 2009.

3) Have you always written romance?

I’m a sucker for all things romantic so the answer is yes.

4) “Born in Vengeance” is a historical romance, can you tell us where and when it is set?

BORN IN VENGEANCE is set in old Dacia (the land of Romania today), approximately around 117 A.D.

5) What made you choose this time and setting?

History tells that Roman soldiers combined with Dacian women. I use “combine” on purpose because they didn’t marry them as they were beneath their status as victors, but rather enslaved them. I try not to think much about how the Romans took Dacian women by force, but I do know that, the exact moment when the first child was born out of such a union marked the birth of the Romanian nation. I had to put my own spin on this very historical moment.

6) In the story, Ilias is seeking revenge on the Roman’s, why?

Ilias’ father was King Decebalus, the last Dacian king before the Romans conquered Dacia. Not only does Ilias want to avenge his father’s death, but he wants his land back as well.

7) How did “Love” find Ilias and with whom?

Thirsty for revenge and eager to unshackle his people from Roman oppression, Ilias’ obsession to fulfil his oath has no bounds, even if that means kidnapping Nerva, the beloved daughter of Emperor Traianus, and his biggest enemy. What he doesn’t know is his own heart threatens to betray his conscience. Ironically he finds love in his thirst for vengeance.

8)The story doesn’t end with this book does it, can you drop a few hints about the sequel?

That’s correct. The story ends with a battle but the outcome of it is where the second book starts, BORN IN SIN, which is Zyraxes’ story and his quest for love. In BORN IN VENGEANCE the reader is introduced to Ilias loyal men, five of them, including Zyraxes. Each hero will have his own story and book. BORN IN SIN was released end of May 2013. BORN IN DARKNESS will come out in 2015. I don’t have titles for the rest of the stories but I do have the outlines.

9) Tell us about your other work that has a Romanian theme.

So far all my books have something Romanian, be it characters, places, settings, traditions, culture, etc. I’ve released 4 novels so far (HIDDEN HEART, A WORLD APART, BORN IN VENGEANCE and BORN IN SIN). The general public knows Romania either as the land of Dracula, the place where the world’s famous gymnast Nadia Comaneci was born, or because of Communism, but there is much more to that country. I like to believe that by incorporating my upbringing in my novels I give the readers an opportunity to learn about my beautiful homeland. Guilty – Nadia was pinned to my bedroom wall!

10) What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a contemporary romance (no title yet) set in the States and all characters are Americans (a first in my writing). The novel is a quirky and witty combination between Maid in Manhattan and When Harry met Sally.


Award winning model Lucas Oliver’s face and chiselled abs appear on thousands of romance novels, and he has an ego to match his fame. Meeting someone who doesn’t adore him is rare, but when it happens, he finds himself drawn to the one who refuses to fawn all over him.

A stickler for puritan values, makeup artist Jane Sullivan discovered the hard way that forever doesn’t exist, and letting go opens doors she’d like to keep closed. She’d rather keep her husband’s memory alive than worry about a dating pool full of sharks and piranhas.

The two meet when Jane’s dream of becoming an author suddenly becomes reality, and it’s hate at first sight. Lucas is everything she despises with arrogance to spare, but is there more to him than meets the eye? His confidence and courage are what she desperately wants … even though she won’t admit it. She is everything he thinks he doesn’t deserve. Can Lucas persuade the shy, uncompromising single mom Jane to give him a chance?

Born in VengeanceFind a copy of “Born in Vengeance” at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com


WEBSITE:      LOVE. WTHOUT YOU       http://authorcameliamironskiba.com/

Thank You Cami and Good Luck with the new books and the rest of the Dacian Legends series. Don’t forget Stephanie’s half of the interview over at http://stephanie-hurt.com/  

Romancing September Author Robynn Gabel (Day 5)

It’s Day 5 of The Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today we get to meet Robynn Gabel for a quick interview and then you can catch up with her again with Stephanie when she posts in a few hours over in Georgia, when we will hear about Robynn’s views on writing romance in today’s society.

Robynn Gabel Author

Let’s find out more about Robynn;

1) Where is your home town?

Since I’ve moved a lot during my life, home town has simply been where I’m currently residing which at this time is Lander, WY. But if you were to ask me what I will always think of as the ‘home town’ of my heart, it would have to be Flagstaff, AZ.

2) How long have you been writing?

Is it too cliché to say all of my life? I wrote my first words in lipstick on my mother’s bathroom wall. Though she was impressed that I could spell cat at the age of three, she wasn’t impressed with the medium I chose. I’ve only been able to chase my dream of pursuing a writing career for the last ten years.

3) Have you always written romance?

Again, it depends. Does that count sappy love poems and love letters for my friends in high school? Or all the thousands of little notes I’ve collected since then to make into romance books? Yes, I would say I have always been interested in the struggles of the human race to find true love.

4) “Windswept Hearts” brings Anna from a city life to a cattle ranch, why does she choose this life?

Anna doesn’t want to choose the country life. It is forced upon her through an inheritance from her grandfather. She works at balancing a promise made to her dying mother to keep the ranch in the family while pursuing a career in the city. To further complicate her decision she finds herself falling in love with a country boy. You will have to read the book to see how she finally accomplishes it.

5) Is Anna a strong character or does a life full of “critters” frighten her?

Anna Sanchez is a very strong willed, confident, career lady. Coming from a long line of pioneer roots she knows how to size up a situation and keep a level head even while dealing with anxiety attacks and mountain lions.

6) Anna is forced to hire help on the ranch, what are Steve Johnson’s first impressions of Anna?

Though for Steve it is strictly a job at first, he can’t help admiring her when he discovers her love for fine cars. That admiration is immediately replaced with curiosity about Anna’s desire to get rid of the ranch. Dismay is the next in line when he discovers, after comically falling into her failing septic system, she may know a lot about mechanics, but nothing about handling country living.

7) You’ve placed the setting of this book in a landscape you know well, how did this help you to write the background descriptions?

I would encourage all beginners to write about what you are most familiar with. I was able to concentrate more on plot and the characters relationships because describing the country I live in was very easy. It was also useful in giving me more time to write than doing research.

8) I’ve been to Wyoming once, make me want to return. Tell us 5 aspects of Wyoming that will make me fall in love with it.

Just like the characters in Windswept Hearts, people in Wyoming are more open and trusting. With towns far and few between, (we are the least populated state in the Union) we learn to not only be independent but know the value of a good neighbour and friendship in time of need.

Wyoming still has the flavour of the old West, where a man’s word is taken seriously and family is still valued highly.

Though seemingly desolate with a lot of high plain deserts, if you look closely there is still a wild beauty to be found. Sunsets are spectacular. There is a deep silence that you can relax in. Wildlife is abundant and the sky overhead seems endless. There is a serenity and peace to be found here.

You will learn to be tough and depend on yourself. There isn’t a store or mall on every corner. No traffic jams. There is a slower pace to life in Wyoming. Not so much consumerism as outdoor activities. There are many comfortable small towns that come with an affordable price tag and you don’t have to lock your front door.

If you love winters and all the joys and problems that brings, you will love the snowfall that seems to make our Christmases white!

9) You’ve written some short stories too, are they romances? Where can we find them?

I’m not much of a short story teller, but the few I’ve experimented with (along with some forlorn poetry) including a nightmarish story about spiders, can be found on Bookrix.com, Fanstory.com and Scribophile.

10) Tell us about your next book, do you have an expected publication date?

The next book is the story I’ve wanted to write all my life. Twenty years in the making, “Conquered Hearts” is the first book in a Viking saga. I’ve been fascinated by Viking history since a child. During the research of the era I came up with the idea of a romance which has fuelled my writing since. I wrote “Windswept Hearts” to learn the process of self-publishing and to determine if I could be disciplined enough to do it. Now that I’ve had a practice run, it’s time for the real thing.

Unlike my first book, the characters will be strong, wild, heathen and story events will be rougher. The time period they are in was a harsh time in history and falling in love was a little different. You didn’t always choose a life mate based on love, but many times out of necessity.

Windswept Hearts Book Cover

Find a copy of “Windswept Hearts” at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Robynn, I shall certainly look forward to visiting Wyoming again, Good Luck with the new book.