FREE – A novel inspired by the Prince and the Pauper, Pretend Princess, Cordillera Royals Book 1, is free from November 29 – December 3 to celebrate the release on December 1st of Forgotten Princess, Cordillera Royals, Book 3, with Texas resident, Anna Hernandez, wondering how she could be related to the royal family of Cordillera. Forgotten Princess is now available for pre-order.

Shocked at 22 to learn I’m a princess.
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New Book Coming soon and a free book for a limited time.

Forgotten Princess, Book 3 of the Cordillera Royals will be released on December 1st, but you don’t have to wait that long. Pre-ordering at $3.99 should be possible on November 29th. From November 29 to December 3, you can get Pretend Princess, Book 1 of the Cordillera Royals for free.

I don’t look like anyone in my family. Could I have been adopted and no one told me?

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Free Book

Along with the release of my new book, Forgotten Princess, Book Three of the Cordillera Royals, on December 1st, I am making Pretend Princess, Book One, free from November 29th to December 3rd.

What my blood test revealed shocked me.

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A different way to celebrate Halloween

As usual, I set out my straw dolls and filled a bowl with wrapped candy. I live on a busy street, and only one kid, the boy next door, showed up. The next day, my husband and I set out with baggies filled with five packages of four kinds of candy. We knocked on two doors across the street. When the parents showed up, we said, “Trick or Treat,” and held out enough bags for the number of kids. Then we knocked on the door to the south of us and handed out four more baggies. Luckily, that didn’t leave much candy, so we finished off a few samples, leaving only four to eat the next day. Hopefully, that won’t do too much damage to our waistlines.

I am getting ready for the release of Forgotten Princess, the next book in my Cordillera Royals Series. Anna Hernandez grew up as part of a family in Texas and discovers she is related to the royal family of Cordillera. But which royal is she most related to? Luckily, she has been invited to play the piano with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. After that she’ll have a chance to visit the nearby country of Cordillera and find out. Visit Prolific works during November and get a free copy of Pretend Princess, Book One of the Cordillera Royals. Here is the link for The North Texas RWA giveaway:

The princess steps outside with her favorite dancing partner at a royal ball. 

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About My Amazing Author Friend, Marsha West

Hey, Carolyn. Thanks so much for having me today.

I’m a retired elementary school principal, a former school board member, and theatre arts teacher. I write Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. I live in Texas with my supportive lawyer husband and Charley, our deaf, Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier rescue. Our two daughters presented us with three delightful grandchildren all who live nearby.

The theme of my eight books is always second chances. I have a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series. I believe in Happily Ever Afters. My husband picked up a plaque on a trip to Maine that states my philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. The Heroines and Heroes in my books are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles.

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the North Texas local chapter, NTRWA, Texas Authors, which is where Carolyn and I became friends. I blog weekly and have a monthly newsletter. My books can be found on AMAZON, B & N, KOBO, and iTunes. Print books are also at Indie Lector Stores and Amazon. Blurbs for each of my books with buy links can be found on my website  where you can also sign up for  my NEWSLETTER and BLOG. Contact me at , and follow me on  @Marsharwest

I blog monthly on Word By Word Blog.

One of the questions Carolyn sent me was: Have you taken a trip to anywhere that is featured in your books?

The answer is a resounding YES. My first book VERMONT ESCAPE began in Texas, but took place mainly in Vermont, specifically Woodstock. We discovered this charming, quintessential New England town on our first trip to New England. The leaves wore a spectacular colorful garb, the breezes were cool. We even had a light snow. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

In point of fact, all of my books have a location focus, including my most recent, TAINTED.  When I was close to finishing the last book in my 4-part series, ACT OF SURVIVAL, I was moaning and groaning to one of my daughters about not knowing where to go next for my next book. She said, “Mom, you love Red River so much, why don’t you set the next one there?” And so that’s what I did. Red River, NM is a place we went during the summers when our daughters were young. When they were in college, and we realized we’d probably not get to hang out with them a lot longer, we asked them where they’d like to go on a family vacation. They both instantly responded Red River.  And so since they’ve been married and now have kids, we’ve continued to make trips there. Of course, because of Covid, we didn’t get to go this past August, which made working on the book really meaningful to me.

 Here’s the blurb: Socialite and philanthropist Elizabeth Hartman needs to start a new    life after divorcing her husband Gerry Richardson who’s gone to federal prison for money laundering, a crime the Feds suspected her of being involved in. Her mother’s family vacation home in Red River, New Mexico offers just the respite she needs. Or does it? 

One too many deaths sent retired Dallas homicide detective and now Marshall Matt Thornton to Red River to seek a less dangerous place to serve. The New Mexico mountains promised to be that refuge until his high school sweetheart Liz Hartman arrives, bringing with her danger to his town and his heart.

Here are the links:




B & N

Do you like books with a strong location focus? Love to hear from you. Thanks again for hosting me, Carolyn. 

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Ten tips to improve your life now

  1. Cut calories by substituting artificial sweetener for half the sugar in the recipe. Each teaspoon of sugar removed cuts 7 grams and 28 calories. Most recipes taste the same with this alteration. I prefer Sweet’n Low and Stevia for dishes that will be heated. When you bake with Stevia, adding extra baking powder makes a cake rise higher. Instead of 1 tsp., use 1 1/2 tsp. For cold dishes, you could use Sweet’n Low, Stevia, or Equal.
  2. Cut calories and fat by using 1/3 less of butter, margarine, or sour cream called for in the recipe. Most dishes turn out okay by doing this. For cakes, you may want to add an extra egg white to keep the cake from being dry.
  3. For dessert, eat strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. They are all low calorie, and blueberries are good for your health. Two servings taste well with 1 Tbs. sugar and 2 packages of Sweet ‘n Low or Equal and 1 or 2 Tbs. whipped topping. Most varieties of whipped topping only have 25 calories for 2 Tbs.
  4. Cook vegetables in the microwave with water and no salt in a covered Corningware or glass dish. Sometimes, all you have to do with the empty dish is rinse it out. You can go do something else while the vegetable cooks without worrying that it will burn. People can add their own salt at the table.
  5. Choose a margarine without trans fat. I like Imperial because it tastes most like butter.
  6. Take a walk every day. It’s good exercise, and helps your body make vitamin D from the sunshine on your skin.
  7. You can bake or chill many versions of pie in a glass pie pan without using a piecrust. I even made pumpkin pie in the microwave that way. This saves work and calories. If you make your own graham cracker crust, you can skip the sugar.
  8. Use your extra time to do one or more of those tasks you have been putting off. You’ll be proud of yourself after you do it.
  9. Learn something new. That will keep life interesting and challenge your brain, which seems to improve brain health.
  10. Read a non-fiction book that challenges you to think or enlightens you about something. Try a fiction book from an author whose books you haven’t read. If you join Kindle Unlimited for about $10 per month, you can read as much or as little as you like of a book, and the author still gets paid. If you don’t have a Kindle, there is a free app for your phone. My Cordillera Royals series is included in Kindle Unlimited, and book 3, Forgotten Princess will be added soon. Or you can find my latest e-book, Romancing the Vet, on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

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Consider Carefully Before Voting

Do you want dramatic change or do you want to preserve the values of our forefathers?

This will be my one and only venture into political comment. As fiction writer, I have been advised to never comment publicly about politics, but I can’t stay silent, because I’m worried about our country’s future.

Consider each party’s platform, the changes and possible consequences listed below.

The Democrats want to tear everything down and start over. Here are the changes they want and possible consequences.

  1. Defund the police so crime and anarchy will increase substantially.
  2. Establish socialism.
  3. Abolish ICE and don’t close the border. Welcome crowds of workers wanting to take jobs from American citizens at lower wages, which will keep wages in other jobs low. Expect more drugs and criminals.  Stop deporting illegal aliens who have committed felonies as the law states now.
  4. Continue to allow a whole slew of relatives, instead of just the immediate family, to immigrate legally because they have a slight relationship to an American citizen.
  5. Do nothing to discourage American companies from building plants in other countries and eliminating American jobs.
  6. Provide medicare for all citizens and illegal aliens, making taxes rise exponentially and taking away people’s private insurance companies and right to choose their doctors. Taxing the rich, even heavily, will not provide enough money to pay for this. Doctors, now willing to take discounts for Medicare patients, won’t want to have their bills heavily discounted for everyone, making doctors hard to find.
  7. If keeping Obamacare, continue subsidizing private healthcare insurance companies that don’t make money.
  8. Provide college educations for all who want it, making taxes rise exponentially. Taxing the rich, even heavily, will not provide enough money to pay for this. Poor students will waste college resources.
  9. Increase welfare amounts, which will encourage people to stay on welfare instead of getting jobs.
  10. Build low rent apartments in the suburbs.
  11. Increase regulations and taxes on businesses so growth, productivity, and number of jobs will decrease.
  12. Eliminate production of fossil fuels and forbid fracking so the United States will have to depend on other countries for fuel, and jobs in those fields will be lost.
  13.  Work toward banning planes and automobiles because they use fossil fuels.
  14. Invest in green energy companies with poor business operations like Solyndra, which received a 535 million loan guarantee under Obama’s government, but failed to make a profit.
  15. Be friendly to China, which gave us Covid 19, stole intellectual property, took away manufacturing jobs and steel production and required large tariffs.
  16. Allow China to absorb Taiwan.
  17. Encourage abortions by allowing fetuses to be destroyed when viable and babies killed even after birth.

Republicans want to preserve the values of our forefathers. Here are their plans.

  1. Encourage everyone to work hard, use initiative, and develop businesses so people will prosper.
  2. Finish the wall and limit immigration to people who will be good citizens and strengthen ICE to discourage the entry of drugs and criminals in our country.
  3. Continue to deport illegal aliens who have committed felonies – current law.
  4. Encourage cities to have strong police forces to protect people and keep crime down.
  5. Continue to encourage businesses to build plants and keep jobs in this country.
  6. Keep regulations limited, so business will prosper and people will have freedom to direct their own lives.
  7.  Require other countries to pay their fair share on NATO expenses as Trump has done.
  8. Keep Iran from producing nuclear missiles.
  9. Reduce our military presence in other countries to save American lives.
  10. Discourage China from taking over Taiwan.
  11. Find ways to reduce healthcare expenses without dropping healthcare insurance eligibility for pre-existing conditions.
  12. Allow states to make their own abortion regulations.
  13. Make good trade deals that keep tariffs down.


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Fall Treats and a Reminder

Don’t forget, you can receive Romancing the Vet at a bargain price of $.99, pre-order from ibooks (Apple), Kobo, or Barnes & Noble before September 26th. (Universal link)

Plan to attend the Launch Party for Romancing the Vet on Thursday, September 24th, from 5-8 Central Daylight Time. Answer a question or enter a comment for a prize.

Fall Treats

Fall is here, according to the calendar, but in Texas it’s only down to the 70s. Time for hot cocoa and chili. However, my recipe for chili is not true Texas chili because it has beans, but I like the hearty flavor I get when I include beans.

Below are my recipes for chili and hot chocolate – in case you haven’t any packages on hand or want a cup with less calories, but do have baking cocoa on hand.

Low Calorie Hot Chocolate made from scratch


1 tsp. cocoa

6 packages of Sweet ‘n Low

1/2 cup cold water

½ cup 2% milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract or flavoring


Mix cocoa, Sweet ‘n Low and a small amount of water (about ¼ cup) well. Add the rest of the water, and microwave for one minute. Mix in the milk and microwave for another minute. Add ½ tsp. vanilla and stir.

Nutrients for one cup

Calories – 85

Fat – 2.7g

Carbohydrates – 7g. includes 6 g. sugar

Carolyn’s Hearty Chili


1 onion, chopped

1 lb. ground beef (or ½ lb. if calorie conscious)

1 – 15 ounce can Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

1 can Ranch Style Beans

¼ cup catsup

Salt and pepper to taste

One slice of process cheese for each bowl – optional


Brown the ground beef. As soon as there’s enough fat released to fry the onions, add them. When beef is browned and onions look tender, drain the grease, and add tomato sauce, catsup, and beans. Cook until everything is hot. Pour into bowls. Tear cheese into smaller pieces and stir into each bowl. Serves 4.

Nutrients per serving using one pound of ground beef

Calories – 556

Fat – 20 g.

Carbohydrates – 29 g.

Nutrients per serving using ½ pound ground beef

Calories – 412

Fat – 10 g.

Carbohydrates – 29 g.

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A Dangerous Surprise and a Nice Place to Visit

In my next book, Romancing the Vet, my heroine, Amanda, picks up a retired racing greyhound to foster at a vet’s office close to the Mexican border, but something doesn’t seem right with the dog. Unfortunately, when she gets home, the only vet in town is her ex-boyfriend. She takes the greyhound to his office, and Dr. Thomas Whistler discovers drugs sewn inside the dog’s belly. From then on, Amanda, Thomas, and the dog are kept on the run.

I researched this and found out drug dealers smuggle drugs in many puppies that way, and the poor animals often don’t live long. However, some in Columbia were rescued, had the drugs removed, and survived. One grew up to be a good drug sniffer for the police.

Hoping for a relaxing, safe trip, Thomas, takes Amanda to Enchanted Rock, a piece of the earth’s core that has been pushed up above the surface. Made of pink granite, it sometimes expands or contracts at night. After hearing those sounds, area Native Americans called it Enchanted Rock. However, after Thomas and Amanda return to Dallas, they have to dodge the dangerous men again.

To receive Romancing the Vet at a bargain price of $.99, pre-order from ibooks (Apple), Kobo, or Barnes & Noble before September 26th. (Universal link)

Plan to attend the Launch Party for Romancing the Vet on Thursday, September 24th, from 5-8 Central Daylight Time. Answer a question or enter a comment for a prize.


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Cooking with and without the Instant Pot

Like so many of you, I have time on my hands. Instead of doing those odd jobs I keep putting off, I’ve been trying new recipes, most from Taste of Home magazine. Those are recipes from homemakers all over the U.S., often their favorite recipes they have served many times.

I love being able to put stuff in the pot right after lunch and leave it to cook. Sometimes they turn out wonderful, and sometimes I could just as well have cooked them on the stove, like the one with ground beef, onions, Bush’s Baked Beans, and butter beans. Actually, I used frozen peas instead of butter beans because hubby does not care for those. Usually, the meat is done and tender, but the vegetables need to be boiled on the stove to get them done in a hurry. Most of the dishes end up with lots of gravy. I guess I’ll have to buy some rice, which I’ve been trying to avoid on a low-carb diet, to use up all the mushrooms and gravy left over from a chicken dish. Or maybe I will use it in a recipe that calls for chicken broth.

One of my favorite soups is cauliflower soup made in my red copper pot, using 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped, a cup of sliced carrots, a can of corn, a can of evaporated milk, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, 2 cups water and chopped cauliflower. I usually add more regular milk. It makes enough for two people for four lunches. Best of all, the soup has lots of vegetables in it instead of just a few floating around. After eating it, I feel like I actually had a meal.

I have tried three recipes for lime pie, but only liked the Fluffy Key Lime Pie from Taste of Home, which uses:

  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 package (0.3 ounce) sugar-free lime gelatin
  • 2 cartons (6 ounces each) Key lime yogurt
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
  •   1 graham cracker crust (6 ounces)

See or mix lime gelatin with boiling water. Cool a little, then mix in rest of stuff and chill. This would be good with or without the graham cracker crust.

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