Monday, May 13, 2024



IS THAT YOUR MOTHER CALLING? Advice that Echoes Down Through the Ages tracks words of wisdom as well as cautions through the generations--as told to hundreds of people connected to Iowa State University who were born between 1926 and 1984. 

You can find it in hardcover, paperback, and ebook at all major booksellers.


And while you're at it, you might like to take a look at my award-winning historical novel TROPHY GIRL--inspired by my step-father's (Frankie Lies') decades-long racing career.

It's summer 1957, and when fourteen-year-old Sandy Turner goes missing—along with one of her late mother's hidden scrapbooks—Aunt Maggie can think of only one place the girl might be.

Frank Haggard, the race-car driver in those yellowing news clippings, assumes the girl claiming to be his daughter is a fan acting on a dare, until Maggie tracks them down. Memories of his annulled marriage to Maggie's sister flood over him, and the timing couldn't be worse. 

With the first-ever National Championship for stock cars a week away, the last thing he needs is a child-custody battle with Maggie-as determined as she is beautiful. When the car he's planned to pilot is turned over to a younger driver, Frank and Maggie make the riskiest deal of their lives-her savings for a race car, but if Frank wins, he gives up his daughter.

"I am now going to be a racing fan. Before reading this book I had no idea how exciting it could be. The way things were described made me feel like I was there in the stands. While that was fun and exciting it wasn’t the best part of the book, I really enjoyed the relationship between Sandi and her father. Every time I thought I had things figured out it all changed and that was fine. I will be recommending this book." --Kaye & Mike Hurless, Australia

For more info about upcoming publications and giveaways, chat me up at or


BONUS TIP: For blazing adventure, check out Cam Torren's new novel SCORCHED.

corched delivers the full force of the life-and-death decisions, and consequences, that are the daily business of the world of Search and Rescue. Set in the beautiful, but sometimes deadly, mountains of Colorado, a sophisticated game of art theft plays out in an isolated lodge in the middle of a wildfire that traps both the good and bad players on the smoke-blanketed mountain side.

As Eyore would say, "Thanks for noticing' me," and as always, remember to make a nice day for yourself. 



Monday, June 27, 2022

I Thought You Liked Me.

That was Savvy's soft reply when Avery, her older sister, asked to please be left alone to read her dragon book in peace and quiet. 

That made me think maybe I should check in, to see if you've been feeling a little slighted as I've transitioned from the world of blogging to the world of opt-in weekly newsletters.

I've switched over so readers who are enjoying my historic novel TROPHY GIRL can sign up for updates and giveaways. I would love to stay in touch with all my bloggy friends as well, whether you've read the book or not. All you need to do is go to the website and sign up for Marlis' Musings. You can also read more about the novel and even place an order with if you haven't already.

I'll watch for you in my email to see if you've requested a sample chapter or a bookmark, and I would love to learn what you're reading now and why. And remember to make a nice day for yourself.

Cheers,  Marlis

#TrophyGirlNovel #author #Kansascityauthor #novel #fiction #author #mustread #summerreading #bestnewbooks #booksoutin2021 #authorstowatch #debutnovel #racecar #racing #dirttrackracing #readinglist #bookclub #bookaddict #goodreads #booklovers #midwesterner #nostalgia #carracing #racetrack #comingofage #WichitaRacing #81Speedway #HutchinsonFairgrounds #TaftStadium #Kansas #Oklahoma #racinglegend #racingnovels #trophygirls #romance #candidchildhood #comingofage #rsgcommunity #blackrosewriting  #thewriterswarmth #writingcommunity #womensnovels #womensbooks

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


Before I got to borrow my stepdad's Cadillacs, he got me a 55 Chevy to drive. It went 102 mph in a quarter-mile, and carted around a record number of high-energy high-schoolers. My most frequent and reliable passenger was my sister-cousin Carol Dick [Jansen]; we would make endless rounds from her house to a private swimming lake, to the local pizza hangout, friends houses, up and down Douglas Ave in the parade of bored kids driving on cheap gas, out to the horses, and often back to my house in time for my12 o'clock curfew--which was in effect up to the night before my first wedding. Stone Age, don'cha know, decades before cell phones.

And then there were some stops not on the published map--such as the LoBar, where Carol was legally legal for 3.2 beer, and I was "legal" because I folded the left side of my paper driver's license to hide the one on my December birthdate, aging a quick 10 months. And then there was that fateful covert drive to see my boyfriend John Carmichael--from whom I'd been grounded. Heading back home in high spirits along a dark country road, I missed a stop sign and almost collided with the car that had the right-of way--a family with little kids in pjs returning from an ice cream run. They managed to swerve and get stopped on the road while Carol and I skidded 90 degrees into a ditch.

Remember in my last post when I put Dad's Cadillac into the ditch the hubcaps popped off, leaving us frantically searching for a missing fourth? In this new ditch, I'm still gripping the steering wheel but have slid nearly into Carol's lap, and I say, "Quick, get out and check the hubcaps. If they're all there, we're good."

They were in fact all accounted for. Oh, and by the way, nobody was injured. Brief happy dance. What I hadn't accounted for, however, was the smashed in right rear fender that kept the wheel--hubcap and all--from turning. 

Back home, sitting at the kitchen table with my parents, I explained how I'd ended up in a ditch because the stop sign was so hard to see at night and I'd ended up with a bit of a bunged up rear fender that had to be pulled back out before we could drive home. But everyone was fine and the car was sorta fine--so all's well that ends well, ta da! Boom. Mic drop. Deep breath.

"So tell me again," Dad says, with the beginning of that Cheshire Cat grin forming, "about when you got to the nearest house to phone for help." 

I knew that expression well--an invitation to tell the whole truth and nothing but. I was pretty sure there was no way he could have known, but I decided to admit I'd been on the road home from Johnny's house and had phoned him to come rescue us with a chain and crowbar.

Dad nodded and said, "That's pretty much what we figured," and then pointed at the huge mirror hanging on the wall behind me. "You've got oily fingerprints on the back of your white shirt. I didn't think they were from Triple A."

I'm not sure what the moral to this story should be. Any suggestions? Remember to make a nice day.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Cadillac Convertibles & Hubcap Havoc



Sunday, March 6, 2022


I don't want to beat 
"the miracle of a late bloomer finally getting her novel published" 
to death...however (don't you love having one word for every 180-degree turn you'll ever want to make?!?), I recently bought one of those magnifying mirrors with the bright lights around it--very movie-star dressing-roomy--forcause, you know, somebody may want me to give a reading in person or autograph Trophy Girl up close and personal.

Let me tell you, I think anyone over 50 who turns on those lights and sticks his or her actual face in that funhouse-of-a-magnifying mirror and doesn't go screaming from the room deserves a medal for bravery. 

Ye gods, that's a lot to take in, and it's not a fun inventory. For example, when did the boundaries of my lips become debatable? Hard to say whether I should hire a make up wizard or go all out and get a stand-in. 

Rant over. Mirror available at Bed, Bath & Beyond. 😁
If you already have Trophy Girl or plan to order it from Amazon or another book site, may I send you a signed bookmark? And if you haven't read it, may I send you a sample chapter? Y
ou can reach me at with your snail-mail address (I never share these) and put "Bookmark" or "Chapter" in the subject line. 

For more Musings and Mirth, sign up at

If you enjoyed this bit of brain candy, it would be lovely if you shared it with others you think might like to see it. And I'd LOVE to know what you're reading now and how good you think it is on a scale of "love, love, love," "okay, so gonna finish it," or "not making it to the end of this trail." 

Make a nice day!

Marlis Manley (Broadhead)

#trophygirlnovel #author #aging #fadingbeauty #carracing #supermodifieds #NCRA #literary fiction #comingofage #fathersanddaughters #romance

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Franks and My New York Minutes

When I was a teenager, I visited New York City in a convertible with my Mom and step-father Frank Lies--a champion race car driver--and got a long, leisurely look at downtown Manhattan because big trucks kept pulling into intersections on yellow lights. Eventually Dad got out to "go check out what the trouble was," telling Mom to get behind the wheel if the traffic began to move. It did. 

We looked around for him, and as we approached the intersection, there he was, in his short-sleeve print shirt, one hand up blocking the cross traffic, the other guiding our two lanes forward. As we rolled up to him he yelled, "Keep going," and jumped into the back seat. We laughed all the way across Times Square to our hotel. My second favorite memory was seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. Big city, big kicks, pure glamour.

As a college student, when I returned to the East Coast just after Christmas to visit my first father, Frank Manley--also a champion race car driver--and my stepmother Joan, I found the city far less intimidating, but no slower paced (when I got back home, I was pushing past people on elevators until I recalibrated to the more relaxed midwestern pace.) We took a train in from Long Island [lon-gi'-land], and I was old enough to appreciate trekking through museums and art galleries, winding through the amazing Hallmark display of Christmas trees donated/decorated by famous people, and taking a spin through the winter wonderland of Steuben Glass Company's intricate treasures born of sand and fire. I realized a few years later I'd unknowingly been earmarking what was to be my wedding gift. 

But the best moments of that visit came while dining in candle light next to a plate-glass window at Rockefeller Square and watching New York glide by on the famous ice rink. It was like those evenings in Kansas when the wind winds down and the world feels wider and closer for the moments you are content to just be. I'd return to the big city in a New-York minute to relive that experience. And I've heard that the Rockets have been known to perform on ice. What a kick that would be.

I'd love to hear about your New-York-minute experiences as well as favorite Christmas-season memories. Here's hoping this year's holidays are filled with both joy and contentment. <>

#TrophyGirlNovel #Newyork #Christmasmemories #author #Kansascityauthor #

#novel #fiction #author #mustread #summerreading #bestnewbooks #booksoutin2021 #authorstowatch #debutnovel #racecar #racing #dirttrackracing #readinglist #bookclub #bookaddict #goodreads #booklovers #midwesterner #nostalgia #carracing #racetrack #comingofage #WichitaRacing #81Speedway #HutchinsonFairgrounds #TaftStadium #Kansas #Oklahoma #racinglegend #racingnovels #trophygirls #romance #candidchildhood #comingofage

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Dad Number One and His Deutsche-Bonnet Racing Car

A brilliant engineer, my father once tried to explain aerodynamics to me on a cocktail napkin. I wish I’d saved the napkin, because to me every liftoff still seems more magical than mechanical. I feel that way about the amazing life he lived, as well—racing with Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and investigating plane accidents for the Boeing Company both in the states and overseas. 

The limited time we had together between planes was enriched by his sharing his passions. He took me for a couple of racing laps around Seattle International Raceway in his red Dino Ferrari, flew me to visit him in Japan, and got me a guest passage on a delivery EL AL flight with stop-overs in Europe on our way to experiencing the incomparable energy and history of Israel. On the way over, I got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat of the new 747 and switch on lights while cresting the top of the world. And after celebrating our last night in Tel Aviv dancing to a Welsh band until five in the morning, he managed to find me a bed to catch a nap in on the flip-down seats behind the pilot as we flew to London.

Whether piloting his Deutsche-Bonnet to yet another victory or restoring one of only five Abarth Zagatas ever built, his considerable skills earned him the respect of a multitude of like-minded car enthusiasts and drivers and made him friends all over the world. Dad lived a huge life with such enthusiasm and intensity he was a hard act to follow.


  IS THAT YOUR MOTHER CALLING? Advice that Echoes Down Through the Ages tracks words of wisdom as well as cautions through the generations--...