Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get Lost in Marsha West's Vermont Escape

Only Jill Barlow’s grown children remain. Her husband and father, caught in his fight to keep casino gambling out of Texas, are murdered. She’ll do whatever it takes to ensure her kids’ safety. Jill flees from the gambling syndicate that will kill again for the damning evidence she possesses.

Excerpt: Vermont Escape

Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.

The package she received days after her dad was murdered. One month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare.

Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head? She didn’t stay to find out. She ran.

She’d pushed herself on a four-day trip from Texas to Vermont. Emotionally and physically exhausted, all she wanted to do was unpack her pajamas and climb into bed. Habit required she clean and moisturize her face. Habit provided comfort when life was chaotic. Habit could get her through the worst. Or not.

In the Woodstock Inn suite, her hand trembled when she removed the package and dropped it onto the bed where it lay on the white coverlet like a scorpion.

Hands propped on her knees, she leaned over, drew in needed oxygen. A minute passed, and then she straightened. “Okay, open this. Every time you’ve come across the thing, you implode, morphing into a quivering mass of mush.

VERMONT ESCAPE is available now at:  Barnes & Noble   Amazon   MuseItUp

Meet Marsha R. West: Marsha is a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and threatre arts teacher. She writes romantic suspense where experience is required. Her heroes and heroines, struggling with life and loss, are surprised to discover second chances at love.

Marsha, who loves to travel, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren. She admits to being at the beck and call of two dogs, who run her home. She’s currently editing her latest work in progress.

Jillian: How often to you get lost in a story?
Marsha: Not nearly as often as before I became a writer when I’d read one to two books a week. That’s while I was teaching and looking after my mother. Now I read during TV commercials in the evening. Not the most satisfying way for sure. Going on vacation is fun because, besides the enjoyment of the new location, I get longer chunks of time to read.

Jillian: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Marsha: I read Dana Girls Mysteries when I was in elementary school, just inhaled them. It was like Nancy Drew but with twin girls. As an only child, I liked reading about the sisters. Probably the book that made the most impression on me was GONE WITH THE WIND. One night in eighth grade, I stayed up to the wee hours to finish it and then sobbed uncontrollably at the ending. LOL Set me up to always want a Happily Ever After.

Rocky coastline in Maine.
Jillian: What sound or noise do you love?
Marsha: I love the sound of the ocean waves. We go to sleep every night listening to those sounds on a CD. Now my preference is to be somewhere with the windows open and going to sleep listening to the real thing.

Jillian: What was the first story you remember writing?
Marsha: In 8th grade I wrote a play set during the Civil War and based on a real person, a Confederate hero nick-named the Gray Ghost. I don’t remember much about it, but there was danger and romance. (Always romance and danger. Never one without the other. )
Even when I began writing the first book, I wrote the first scene in the form of a play. I finished the scene and thought, “Hmmm. This doesn’t look much like a novel.” 145,000 words later, I stopped. It’s that book of my heart that keeps the dust bunnies company under the bed.

Jillian: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
Marsha: Two things. One is that my stories have heroes and heroines who are older. So far, they are 40-55. They may have grown or teenage kids and most have older parents. Real love isn’t restricted to young people. The second thing I’d like fans to know that I hope they enjoy the story of Jill and Jerrod, and that I’d love to hear from them.

Jillian: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Marsha: When I began writing, I didn’t understand craft or the business. I just thought I’d write the book and “poof” someone would love my story and publish it. Even in this day of indie-publishing and with the abundance of small e-presses, this is a tough business.  VERMONT ESCAPE is my first published book. I came very close to quitting a couple of years ago when I was president of my local RWA chapter. Despite finalling in a couple of contests, I’d hit a number of walls, and I began to think maybe this wasn’t going to happen for me. When I first saw the book in my publisher’s bookstore, at B & N, and Amazon, it was like the Fourth of July with all the fireworks going off! I’m proud I stuck with the process. I’m proud I was willing to do the work to learn the lessons I needed. It took me longer than some to get published and less time than others. It’s a journey. I’m glad I’ve gotten to this point in that journey and look forward to what else I have to learn on my travels to the next stop along the way.

Jillian: What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?
Marsha: I’d make the sky turquoise, because it’s my favorite color. Makes me feel good.

Jillian: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Marsha: I’m not sure it’s the most interesting quirk, but it drives my family nuts. I talk out loud. To myself. Whether anyone else is around or not.  Quite a few years ago, I trained to get certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Some of you may be familiar with the personality inventory. I learned that my preference is to process information out loud. What I say at the beginning is not as important as what I say at the end as I work my way through a problem situation. It’s made for interesting confusions with my DH and the kids before I and they realized I do this.

How to Contact Marsha:

Website: for Thoughts on Thursday and Tuesday Author Chats 
Twitter: @marsha.r.west  

Marsha's got a question for commenters: After years of wearing suits and heels, I’ve found my favorite clothes to wear now are jeans, a t-shirt, and sandals. What clothes are you most comfortable in?

Marsha is giving away two small lavender sachets to two lucky commenters. In Vermont Escape, the heroine, Jill, buys a crystal store that has the same lovely scent! If you wish to be included in the drawing for the sachet, please leave your e-mail contact information along with your comment. And good luck!

***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America  addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Gjillian said...

Welcome to GLIAS, Marsha!

My daily uniform is workout sweats or a black tee w/jeans! I know, so feminine and beee-uuuti-ful...NOT. But oh so comfy writing attire!

Congrats on your latest release! Jillian

Lara Lacombe said...

Good to see you on here, Marsha! Congrats on your new release! :)

Marsha said...

Hey, Jillian and the rest of the GLIAS family. I'm so pleased to visit your blog. Jillian, I never (and I mean never) used to wear jeans! Isn't it funny how our lives can change?

Marsha said...

Hey, Lara. Thanks for stopping and commenting. "New release." What a nice ring that has!

Clover Autrey said...

So glad to have you visit GLIAS Marsha! And your book is out! It's finally finally out! Squee!!!

May said...


For home, it's yoga pants and loose top. For outside, it's a comfy and loose sun dress when the weather allows!

Stephanie said...

My favorite outfit is Cruel Girl jeans and a T-shirt. Not too fancy, but it adapts to most situations. Congrats on your release.

Jackie P said...

Congrats on Vermont Escape, Marsha!! I'm in my favorite "house clothes" as we speak... Sweat pants and sweat shirt. I'm cold natured so I add a pair of fuzzy socks to the mix. I know, I know... It may be 97 degrees outside but it's cold inside to me everywhere!!!

Jerrie Alexander said...

Speaking of yoga pants, that what I'm wearing! And a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt! I'm excited for you and wish you many sales with your new release.

Angi Morgan said...

BEEN waiting for this story a very long time, Marsha. SO glad it's happening for you! CONGRATULATIONS on your debut!.

(who's still in her "lucky Tweety" PJs while I'm working on this book)

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Marsha! Love that you've joined us today on Get Lost in a Story to talk about your book. You talk out loud? I would have never guessed :) Wishing you huge sales for Vermont Escape! .

Sheniqua Waters said...


Congratulations on your achievement! You deserve great success!

Peace and Love,

Sheniqua Waters

Marsha said...

Hey, Clover. Yes, the chillbumps come anytime I pull up Amazon or B & N, and there I am. WhooHoo! Hard to believe, but there it is and the internet wouldn't lie, would it?!!! :)

Marsha said...

Hey, Stephanie. And you're so nice. I'd never guess that about you and the jeans. LOL Yes, that is one of the good things about jeans (as long as they're not my one pair of mom-jeans!)change what you have on your feet and the top and you can go almost anywhere. Thanks for the congrats and for stopping, Stephanie.

Marsha said...

Aren't you sweet to stop, Jackie! Thanks for the good wishes. Sweatshirt today? LOL You are your mother's daughter! And actually that's a really good thing. :)

Marsha said...

You guys in your yoga pants. Not enough hold for me! LOL Love me my stretch jeans. But as long as you're comfy.
Thanks for your good wishes and for stopping and commenting.

Marsha said...

Hey, Angi. You and me both, girl! Thanks for the good wishes and for stopping. It's been nice to share this with so many.
"lucky" tweety pants, huh?
I get it. I've worn, almost perpetually since I got them a pair of earrings I found on a trip to Vermont. I'd say lucky. Yes indeedy!

Marsha said...

Made me laugh, Donnell. Did you "overhear" me at Rom Con? LOL It doesn't seem to matter if folks are around.
Appreciate your good wishes. Your first book, The Past Came Hunting was an inspiration to me to keep going because you had multiple POVs. Of course, it's an extremely well-written book, which I've read twice. Thanks for having me today. Y'all have a great thing going here. :)

Marsha said...

Ah, Sheniqua. Thanks for stopping by and for the good wishes. I certainly need them.

Brenda Gayle said...

Hi Marsha, I am so looking forward to reading your book. I especially like older heroines ;) Best of luck.

lovindanger said...

Great post. You are truly an inspiration:determination melding with creativity. Thanks for sharing an excerpt and a slice of your life.

Molly Cannon said...


I love that you have older heroes and heroines! And I'm so excited that your book is out now. This is a very exciting time! Oh, and I tend to write in my pjs.

Marsha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marsha said...

Hey, Brenda. I hope you like VE. If you read it, I'd love to hear what you think. You know how important that feedback is. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Marsha said...

Ah, Jo-Ann, thanks for stopping by. Always glad to see you. I need to copy your comments to pull out when I'm feeling down. You'll make it, too!

Marsha said...

Hey, Molly. I figure the baby boom generation has to be in my favor, don'tcha'know. :) Thanks for sharing in the joy of this first book's debut and for stopping and commenting.

Donna E said...

If it's not jeans, I'm at least in pants (or maybe shorts-jean of course). A nice easy top, t-shirt, or something loose is my preference; but sandals don't work well on me so it's either tennis shoes or a pair of slip-in flats. I don't even wear heels on Sunday, although I do wear a dress or skirt/top outfit.

Looking forward to reading your debut novel. I think it's great you're writing about more mature folks.


Marsha said...

Hey, Donna. Well, you're better than me. I haven't worn a dress/skirt to church in probably 5 or 6 years. Nice slacks and top with a jacket when it cools off. We've come a long way from the years of heels, hats, and gloves. LOL I was young, but I did do that. And too many years of wearing those high heels to teach in, keep me in comfy shoes. Thank goodness they don't have to look quite as awful as they used to. :)
I hope you enjoy Vermont Escape, Donna, and whether you do or not, please let me know. Everything I've written so far has and H & H over 40. One is 55! There's some feisty in that old girl, so I hope I can get it published, too. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

Marsha said...

Hey, Jillian and other GLIAS folks. Thanks so much for hosting me today. I've had a really fun time.

Leona~Author said...

Hi Marsha,

Since I use a power wheelchair, I only wear skirts and tops. My dresser drawers are bulging from my daughters constantly buying me clothes.

I read Vermont Escape the same day I bought it. It was so good, I hated to see it end. I'll do a review for you, but I am a wee bit behind at writing reviews.

My eyes are better now, but the eye specialist told me today I still need the steroid eye drops for a couple more months, and the Minocycline pill every day for the next two years. He wasn't kidding when he said the eyelid infection was hard to clear up.

By the way, the link for JQ Rose blog did not work for me.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Ah, Marsha, I'm so honored. Thank you! Can't wait to read Vermont Escape. You rock! Thanks for being with us today.

bn100 said...


bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Gjillian said...

Congratulations to Donna E: donna(dot)durnell(at)sbcglobal(dot)net and bn100: bn100candg at hotmail dot com, you have both won a lavender sachet from Marsha West!

I will forward your e-mail addresses to Marsha and you should be hearing from her shortly!

Marsha said...

Hey, Leona. Thanks for reading my book. I so appreciate hearing your words. Wow! Any time you're up to doing a review is great, but hey, knowing you liked it means so much to me. Yes, I was having trouble with the links this week. I was at JQ's place on Thursday. You're so thoughtful to try to come by and thanks for stopping here and commenting.
My mom had glaucoma, and so I get the eye drops and eye issues. Sorry to hear it will take so long, but good there's light at the end of the tunnel. (cliche alert, but it's so apt. ) LOL

Marsha said...

Even in August? :) You don't live in Texas then. We've started a long string of over 100 days. The only good thing about this, is it's August and we didn't start this in June like the last two years. Thanks for stopping by.

Marsha said...

Congrats to our winners! I'm emailing you this afternoon. :) I hope you enjoy the scent as much as I do and as much as Jill in VERMONT ESCAPE. :)