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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Blackhorse Road by Merida Johns - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hello, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Merida Johns and her new book, “Blackhorse Road”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Merida and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

Blackhorse Road

by Merida Johns


GENRE: Women’s Fiction, Romance



It’s the turbulent mid-1960s, and Luci, an eighteen-year-old Southern California girl, is on the quest for self-determination and new beginnings. Three powerful forces influence her values: the grit of her Irish great-grandmother, Lucinda McCormick; the philosophy of choice of her father, Sam; and the 1960s ideals of equity and altruism. But potent foes thwart Luci at every turn. Her budding romance with a handsome United States Air Force Academy cadet sets the stage for conflict and deception that last for two decades. When Luci discovers how her autonomy and love affair were hijacked, she struggles with anger and bitterness. But from a surprising source, she finds a forgiveness path that restores her well-being and hope and, in the end, faith in herself.



Check out what readers are saying about Merida’s new book, “Blackhorse Road” below:

“Under another hand, Blackhorse Road could all too easily have been a singular romance. Johns provides more as she follows Luci down the rabbit hole and out the other side of life experience, bringing readers into a world where . . . transgression changes everything and challenges carefully-constructed foundations of belief and values. As Luci lets go of her lifesavers and navigates obstacles to happiness, her story becomes a vivid portrait of hope and self-examination which ultimately moves into unexpected territory. Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road's ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way.”

~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review



The cranky engine revved as the driver shifted gears, and the military bus crawled forward exiting the air force base. Along a narrow and dark roadway, the vehicle increased its speed and left the MPs at the gate standing immobile and mute in the glow of the rising moon. Drifting through the open windows, the Southern California desert air blew like pixie dust across the faces of the thirty young women headed home from the street dance. A few hours ago, they were preening and adjusting their bouffant hairdos, reapplying creamy pink lipstick, and placing the last twirls of mascara on their eyelashes to prepare for a street dance with cadets from the elite Air Force Academy. Then, the atmosphere buzzed with gossip, chatter, laughter, and anticipation. Now, the glimmering night sky created the perfect backdrop that lulled each into a contented silence to fantasize about the handsome men they had met.

“This is the beginning of my story about love and betrayal and a journey toward empathy, compassion, and forgiveness. It is also a story of choice—my choice to be inspired by the resilience of a great-grandmother, the values of a father, and the wisdom of a spouse. But in the end, it is a story of how a letter of gratitude . . . reminded me to open my heart to love and kindness.”



Writing This Book Has Taught Me About the Power of Forgiveness

From my life coaching background, I’m a huge proponent of knowing and understanding how to leverage your strengths for a more fulfilled life.

On an assessment that I took called Values in Action (VIA), my most developed strength turns out to be bravery—speaking up for what is right even if there is opposition and acting on convictions. So that is super!   On the flip side, though, my most underdeveloped strength turns out to be forgiveness—forgiving those who do wrong, giving people a second chance.  Oh, not so good!  It’s not that I don’t ever forgive people; it is just that forgiveness is not my “go-to” strength.

In writing Blackhorse Road, I had to decide on what would be the protagonist’s black moment—the point in the story where all seems lost.  Would it be betrayal, abandonment, shame, loss of love or hope, the fallout with a loved one, or despair over a wrong choice?  Luci’s black moment is a combination of betrayal, loss of hope, and loss of love.  But I asked myself, What forces her up?  What gives her the grit to carry on?  What is that one factor that helps Luci overcome her black moment? What allows Luci to transform?

Luci’s transformation comes through finding the path to forgiveness.  To authentically write about Luci’s transformation from anger, despair, and self-doubt to a person who could open her heart to love and kindness, I had to follow the forgiveness path, too.  I had to dig deep into my own reflection and the research that tells us what forgiveness is and what it is not, and how forgiveness is essential to keeping us whole, happy, and fulfilled.

Luci begins to think about forgiveness by asking herself: “How can people be resilient and healthy if they are unforgiving and hold on to anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge that trigger stress?

However, Luci knows that deciding to forgive and saying that she forgives is not enough. To understand forgiveness, Luci must move to a deep level to eliminate her rage and animosity. As Luci walked down the forgiveness path, I learned from her that forgiveness is not about excusing or reconciling.  Rather, it is about freeing yourself from resentment, anger, bitterness, and the desire for retribution.  I hope that Luci’s journey to fulfillment and transformation is as enlightening for my readers as it was for me.



For three decades, I was a university professor who taught classes and wrote textbooks on “nerdy” subjects centering on computer systems in healthcare.

But a decade ago, informed by my experience in a male-dominated area, I started my practice as a leadership coach to help women break the glass ceiling and fulfill their leadership and economic potential. Consequently, during the past ten years, I transitioned from writing textbooks to motivational books on creating environments where people flourish through better leadership.

About a year ago, I was on a conference call discussing concepts of what makes a fulfilling life with fellow life coaches.  Bang! Like a thunderclap, I had an insight. What would it be like to help people understand the concepts of a flourishing life in a story instead of through a motivational book or text? After all, I thought, storytelling has been the most compelling form of communication for thousands of years. As far as I could recall, none of the great prophets fed up learning objectives and multiple-choice questions to their followers.  No!  They got their message across through stories.

Motivational books and textbooks give frameworks, theories, and ideas, but they don’t immerse us in the human experience. They don’t show us how others face challenges, embrace their passions, overcome sorrow, celebrate achievement, quash self-doubts, develop positive emotions and relationships, handle betrayal, or act on aspirations.

Storytelling ignites our imagination and emotion.  We experience being part of the story rather than being served up a platter of facts, exercises, and information.

This eye-opener was enough for me to take on the challenge of novel writing.  My passion is to help people catapult beyond concepts and theories and jump into the wonderment of imagination in designing a flourishing life for themselves.  Storytelling does this best.

Happily, as a fiction writer, I have jettisoned learning objectives and test questions.  Ah…the freedom makes me feel as light as a balloon on a summer breeze.











The Book Shop Author Page:


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Amazon Kindle eBook:


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Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook:


Barnes and Noble Paperback:


The Book Depository Paperback:


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IndieBound Paperback:


Kobo eBook:




Merida will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Merida ~ Good morning! Welcome back! It is so great to have you here again! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! :)

    1. Thanks so much for hosting me. I just loved your question because forgiveness is at the heart of the story of Blackhorse Road. Happy Holidays to you and all of your followers.

  2. Thanks, Rita for commenting. Authors love to get good feedback. The cover elements all have a special significance in the story. Hope that you enjoy.

  3. This sounds like a very good book.

  4. I enjoyed reading the excerpt and how writing the book taught you the power of forgiveness! Sounds like a great book to read! Thanks for sharing!