Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A "Gimme" Book by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

Definition: A gimme is one of those stories that almost writes itself. It falls fully formed into the writer’s mind and from there it’s a form of dictation, with the author transcribing what the mind has produced. A gimme is a rare and precious thing and in my 30 years of writing, I’ve only had one other. (Which turned into my bestselling series, The Tales of Perdition)

This book came to me after:
a)                               Learning that book 2 of my Christmas Collection would not be offered for sale on iBooks and Kobo and 3 other subscription services. After an intercession from author Marie Force Invitation to Christmas was given a second look and deemed to not have inappropriate content. Romance writers are an awesome group.
b)                              The results of the US election caused an uproar everywhere on social media. My head clattered with all the anger and dread and my creativity suffered while I struggled with the news about Invitation to Christmas. I discovered Candy Crush… (but enough about that)
c)                               I  realized that I could best serve my own need to write by writing!

And so within minutes I had my gimme book.

Because Cade Devine and Karyn Beckwith had made appearances in both Invitation to Christmas and Not-So-Blue Christmas I already knew a lot about them.

I knew that between them they had five daughters and were single parents.I knew they lived in different countries.

I knew it would be crazy to try to get these two people together in a Christmas novella, so I had my title: One Crazy Christmas.

Within an hour I knew how I could get five girls to begin to bond with each other and Karyn and Cade.

And so, the clatter in my head has ceased, my thoughts are clear and for once this seat-of-her-pants writer has a plot or at least a series of events that need to happen to sort out One Crazy Christmas.

If you’d like to meet Karyn and Cade to see what I have to work with you can purchase Not-So-Blue Christmas (Book 1) and Invitation to Christmas (Book 2) from these online retailers:

Friday, November 25, 2016

Cheryl Bolen Askes: So Who Still Has a Land Line?

My son and his girlfriend told me today that no one under the age of fifty has a land line for phone service anymore. They’re probably right. I know two of my siblings—both of whom are over 50—have a land line but haven’t answered that phone for many, many years. They only answer their cell phones. I suppose they keep the landline because it’s tied to their internet. I really ought to ask them.

Needless to say, neither of my grown children would consider ever having a land line. My son’s sweet girlfriend narrated a story about a friend’s eight-year-old child. Her parents, being under fifty, have never in the child’s life had a phone for which a cord was attached. However the child, who had taken many cruises with her parents, recognized the old-style phone as something that could be found in their cabins aboard ship. While staying at a hotel recently, the child spied one of those big phones on the bedside table and remarked, “I thought those were only used to call the ship’s captain!”

My, but times change. And so do phones.

A couple of weeks back my friend and I were touring a Houston neighborhood that was established a hundred years ago. One of the newly restored houses retained the old telephone alcove in the hallway. My friend asked, “How did those big, old phones fit on those slender shelves?” I answered that until the early 1950s home phones were those “pole style” like this:
Phone alcove from 1920-1940s
I still remember the thrill of having the option of getting colored phones and getting my own land-line number and shiny new red phone when I was 18. When a guy would ask for my phone number, I’d tell him it was “the hot line.”

This is what I got when I was 18. I had my own number!
And remember how big those first cell phones were? And remember those wall-mounted phones? Who remembers the desirability of getting a long cord so you could walk around while on the phone? I cooked many a dinner while yakking on the phone, courtesy of the long, coiled cord.

On the subject of phones, who still keeps phone books? I used to have a whole cupboard for them, but now I find everything online. The drastic change in phones makes for a lot less worry. Women driving at night know that help’s just a button away if there’s car trouble—or any kind of trouble. And what a comfort it is for parents to know their kids will never be farther than a phone call away.

Progress is good, but one does hate some aspects of, like the demise of the newspaper industry.

To answer my initial question, yes, I still have a land line. I love my iPhone, but as a writer who sits at her desk all day, that desktop phone is still my go-to phone. And it never has to be charged.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

For the Thanksgiving meal this year, one of my sons has requested that I make “my” rolls. The rolls he’s referring to are yeast rolls and they take some time and effort to make. I’m not the world’s best baker, by far, but I am happy to make these rolls for him and the rest of the family. My effort means something to me. It’s one way I can show him how much I love him and the rest of the family. I’m grateful, so grateful, to be in his life.

A theme in my books has been exploring the meaning of family. While we idealize the concept of a biological family, for some of us that pretty picture is not fitting. But we always have the option of making a family that is truly supportive and loving. I’m grateful to be able to gather with my sons and their families at the holiday and find an atmosphere of love, joy, and acceptance.

An attitude of gratefulness is a beautiful and peaceful thing, year-round. It helps us stay present in the moment and enjoy more fully what life offers. The word is two-part, suggesting thankfulness and giving. At Thanksgiving we pause for gratitude, but we also reach out to others in need. Don’t forget this Thanksgiving when you make your list of people in need to pay attention to your individual needs, as well. We tend to leave ourselves off that list, thinking in this rich country we have everything we need, too much, in fact. But it’s not necessarily true. So on Thanksgiving and every day, consider how you are rich, as well as what your heart longs for, whether it’s acceptance or a voice or reading or writing a book that feeds your soul. Discover what you truly need to make your world and the entire world better.

I’m also grateful to have found my passion earlier in my life and to have been able to bring it to life. Blogs like this are a part of my writing life in that this blog and others enable me to share my work and interact with readers and writers. I’m grateful for everyone’s support.

Now to do some of that sharing. I am part of a Christmas anthology, Captured by Christmas, releasing Dec. 5. Here’s the blurb:  

It’s Christmas, and the season of holly, Christmas trees, and goodwill is drifting on air in merry holiday wishes. Romantic suspense and paranormal author Lynn Crandall and contemporary author Lainee Cole present in their own way two stories of love in Captured by Christmas. However it finds you—under a Christmas tree or drifted in snow in a backwoods cabin—the spirit of the season will wrap you in love.

In Snowbound, Lynn Crandall lets readers check in on favorite Fierce Hearts series were-lynx characters Kennedy Mitchell and Asher Monroe as they uncover the identity of the creature scaring the humans in Octavia, a small rural community in northern Michigan. Plans for an intimate getaway and family-style holiday are crumbling as the snow piles higher and Kennedy and Asher find themselves snowbound with a killer outside their door.

In The Mistletoe Effect, Christmas is second-grade teacher Tess McCall’s least favorite holiday, but she’s doing her best not to let it show. Learning he’s a father to seven-year-old Holly makes Alex Randle anxious about the upcoming holidays. When Tess’s class starts reading to shelter dogs, Holly and the antics of shelter dog Mistletoe lead them all to rediscover the magic of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

World Building Tips

One of the most satisfying parts of writing a novel is immersing yourself in another, complete world. Even if it’s this world, the book version of it is chosen and particular, and the best scenes invite us into that world by tapping into all five senses: the clunk of the heat coming on, the warm taste of butter and cinnamon in a bite of French toast, and the smell of wet snow on a woolen mitten can all make the written world super vivid. Unfamiliar worlds need even more careful renderings.
Yet setting details are not enough to build a world. True world building also involves the laws and social rules of the characters. The writer has to create consistency, whether the local expectations relate to speeding, witchcraft, or the behavior of a stepfather when he’s had too much to drink. 
Here are five key things to consider:
1. The physical setting has to be fully realized with vivid sensory details, whether it’s a familiar world or a fantastic one. Light sources, food prep, use of tools, and transportation can all be worth exploring.
2. The setting’s environment should be meaningful, and it’s easier to write a novel where that environment is hostile to some degree. Rain storms, an in-law’s home, Mars, and a police station have very different vibes. 
3. The rules of society need to be clear, both on a large scale, (as with religion, medical systems, or dystopias), and on a small scale when they constrain relationships between key characters. For instance, in my novel Prized, it is illegal for unmarried people to kiss, which naturally leads to problems.
4. Let characters mess with the rules. World building needs to be tied to the plot. In other words, the tension between characters and the setting needs to increase because of something the characters do or because the setting is inherently unjust or dangerous. Once someone messes with the rules, he or she will face consequences, and that’s good.
5. Plan to revise. World building isn’t static. Writers can start with a system that seems promising, but just as we revise to develop characters more deeply and work out kinks in the plot, the world system will need tweaking, too.  

Caragh M. O'Brien is the author of The Vault of Dreamers and other YA novels. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ah ... the Sixties ... I Remember Them Well (Really!)

On November 1st, I celebrated my twentieth anniversary as a published author. And, it all began with a Precious Gem!

The milestone got me thinking about writing and the romance genre in general. Personally, when I write, I flit across genre boundaries with gleeful abandon. I read the same way I write...eclectically. Still, there must be a favorite time period. Right?

Right. And mine would be the vintage historical era from the end of WWII through the turn of the century.

I know people often make jokes about not remembering the 70’s or their college years, but apparently I was boring because I remember it all. I’m especially fond of the 1960s ... as evidenced by the number of books I’ve placed in that particular time frame.

What was so special about the 60s? Everything. But, since I don’t have room to comment on “everything”, here a few of my favorite memories.

1964 – The Year of the Beatle’s North American Invasion

I was fifteen at the time (yes, I’m THAT old), and I remember sneaking out of the house, riding three buses through some of the more questionable areas of Detroit to get to Olympia Stadium (now defunct). What I remember most was that, while I enjoyed what little I could actually hear of the music, I couldn’t understand the fuss. The screaming and fainting didn’t make sense to me. The ride home (three buses, sketchy neighborhoods) was definitely not as exciting as I’d expected it to be. Yet, still, I’d seen my first concert and (blessedly) hadn’t gotten caught! In retrospect, you’d have thought my parents would have noticed I’d been gone for nearly 4 hours!

1966 – The Year the Detroit Red Wings ALMOST Won the Stanley Cup

I worked two jobs all summer long in 1965 to earn enough money for season tickets to the Detroit Red Wing games. Yes, I was a BIG hockey fan! In comparison to today’s sky-high prices, the cost of a season ticket in 1965-66, was $175. And, that was for a seat right behind the visitor’s bench (where we could heckle to our heart’s content). Of course, there were only six teams at the time and they only played 35 home games per season. Still, to a young girl making minimum wage ($1.25/hr), $175 was a lot of money. I remember that final (6th) game very vividly...despite my blurred vision from crying all the way home. Yes, I was a poor loser!

1967 – The Year I Escaped High School

It felt as if it had taken 20 years instead of 12, but I was finally sprung. Little did I know, high school proved to be much easier than the full time work world or the quest for a higher education!

Favorite Music

1960 – Are You Lonesome Tonight (Elvis)
1961- Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (The Shirelles)
1962 – I Can’t Stop Loving You (Elvis)
1963 – (Your Love is Like a) Heat Wave (Martha & the Vandellas)
1964 – Oh, Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)

(Watch for all of the above titles in my upcoming Golden Decade of Rock and Roll novellas. The first five years of the decade (1955-1959) can be found in PlayIt Again (Golden Decade of Rock and Roll, Vol. 1).

As for the rest of the sixties music:

1965 – Yesterday (The Beatles)
1966 – Paperback Writer (The Beatles) – a given, I suppose
1967 – Respect (Aretha Franklin)
1968 – Young Girl (Gary Puckett & the Union Gap)
1969 – Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond)

Back to the Present and Then to the Past

On December 16th, I’ll return to contemporary romance with a naughty little number titled Kilty Pleasures, part of the Real Men Wear Kilts series from The Wild Rose Press’ Wilder catalog.

In October I released two new books. The first was a Halloween-themed novella, Bewitched (The Wild Rose Press) set in 1964 Chicago. I’ve included a nod to the Beatles tour, the Canadians vs Black Hawks battle for the Cup, and even my favorite spooky song, The Monster Mash!

In the October release, I ventured even further back in time with my Egyptian time travel, Eye of the Pharaoh (Soul Mate Publishing), where my hero and heroine will find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt in order to solve a mystery.

Also upcoming, I’ll stay in my beloved 1960s with a February 3rd, 2017 Valentine’s novella, Paging Dr. Cupid. Set in 1967, and a follow-up to 2016’s Candy Heart’s Romance, Only Yours, it will include a number of references to the vintage time period as well as characters from the previous book.

I truly believe that as a writer and reader of romance we can not only step into that relaxing fantasy world of HEAs, but we can go wherever and whenever we want. It's kind of like world and time travel without a passport. I invite you to take that trip with me. You can follow my many eclectic adventures here.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope to see you again next month. Until then, stay healthy, stay happy, stay well read.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Continuing characters. What's your take?

     Do you enjoy book series with continuing characters? Avoid them unless you can start at the beginning? Or are you just indifferent about the subject?
     I've written two romance series, but with a limited number of titles. As a writer, a series of three is my limit. I used to avoid reading long series because I'd get frustrated when the main characters from previous stories were re-introduced, and I couldn't remember their storyline.
     Back in the 90's, I tried a couple of the most famous long-term series, J.D. Robb's IN DEATH by Nora Roberts and STEPHANIE PLUM by Janet Evanovich. Neither of them piqued my interest enough to keep me reading.
    Romantic suspense has always been my favorite genre to read, so a few years ago, I tried the J.D. Robb series again and got hooked. I gobbed up the 40 plus books in less than a year. Now I'm buying the new ones as soon as they're available because the continuing characters intrigue me.
     Over time and with age, my reading tastes have changed. These days, most of the romantic suspense stresses me too much. I'm an obsessive reader who gets deeply involved in a story. I don't know if the entire genre is changing or just my enjoyment of it, but I want lighter reading material.
     So, I decided to give STEPHANIE PLUM another chance, and confess to being a total PLUM junkie now! I've read some of the books, but absolutely love the series in audio format. Lorelei King is an amazing narrator who brings the characters to life for me. I think I love this series and these characters because they're so outrageous, so politically incorrect, and so irreverent even while dealing with the guilt and values that come with a religious upbringing in a closely knit community. Janet Evanovich created a cast of characters that I love revisiting.
     This week, the latest (anxiously awaited) PLUM title,TURBO TWENTY THREE, became available. It's already downloaded to my mp3 player. I don't know how long Janet will continue to write this series, but as long as she writes it, I'll be buying it. (Cover courtesy of Amazon. com)
     Do you have some favorite series? What are they and why do they appeal to you so much?  Feel free to share!

Until next time, take care and keep reading/listening. :-)

Hugs, Becky

MailChimp Contest/News

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More offending passages...Bonnie Edwards

Here I am again, digging through Invitation to Christmas to see what else the automated content scan at iBooks and Kobo finds offensive.  https://books2read.com/Invitation-to-Christmas

I think you can see where this passage is going!

He still wanted her so bad he could taste it. But she held on to the notion that this thing between them would blow out like a candle in a draft. The longer he knew Jordyn the more he understood that candle would always burn.

Family or not. It wasn’t as if they were real step-siblings who’d been raised together.

He hefted his backpack and the takeout bags from their favorite restaurant and headed to the exit that led to the elevator. She knew he was there and his belly tightened in anticipation.

It was time they talked about where this friendship was going, and he hoped it was to bed.

~ ~ ~

Can we say conflict? (discussion with her bff - yes, a heroine for the future)

Jordyn shook her head. “It’s stupid to think about more with him. We’re both too busy, live too far apart and will be related in September.” She couldn’t believe she’d even talked about kids. But it was clear he’d gotten her message. She wanted to settle down, so this was definitely a short-term thing.

“Step-siblings created in adulthood don’t count as siblings. It’s not as if you grew up together. You’re both fully functional adults whose parents just happen to be engaged.”

“Break-ups can be hard on family members. People get attached to their children’s partners and miss them when they’re gone. Except Tom wouldn’t be gone and neither would I. We’d have to see each other at every family event. Tom and I are connected and socializing is unavoidable.”

This happy Christmas novella has been caught in a very wide net by this automated bot. 

It's my newest release and for 99c it's a steal! Don't let this nice little book stay on the naughty list. My hope is to bring enough attention (ie. sales) so that iBooks and Kobo WANT this book on their sites!

Possible? Maybe...with your help. You can buy it here for Kindle, Nook and from Inktera:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The offending passage...by Bonnie Edwards

Yesterday I posted about my new release Invitation to Christmas being banned from sale for iBooks and Kobo and 3 smaller subscription services.

Today, I give you what I think is the first offending passage that their automated content bot found:

Christmas Day - They met for the first time earlier...

Until the wedding announcement they’d been flirting like crazy, but now? “You realize that when they marry, we’ll be—”

“Related?” He cut her off. “Yeah, stepbrother and sister.” He stopped and clasped her by both shoulders. They stood in the shadows between streetlamps so she couldn’t read his expression in the low light. “Before that happens, I want to kiss you. Just to see what we could have had.”

She tilted her face up to his. “I’m curious, too. And confused. Maybe we shouldn’t.”

He leaned back. “Okay.” He nodded as if to reinforce the decision. She hated the idea of not knowing though.

“Oh, to hell with it. We’re not related yet.” And she rose up, tucked her body close to his and kissed him. Shock turned warm as their lips melded in the chill. His arms enfolded her and he tilted his head into the kiss.

Oh. No.

A sexual thrill chased a zippy butterfly of lust down to her low belly. This was not supposed to happen. She leaned in closer for one long moment of honest desire, but then her good sense returned and she pulled back.

“You were not supposed to taste that good,” he muttered. His eyes went sex hot and she forced herself to step away again to catch her breath.

“You were supposed to feel like a brother or a buddy.” Not like a man who wanted her.

The good news is that readers can purchase Invitation to Christmas for Kindle, NOOK and now from the subscription service Inktera. 

For 99c you too can strike a blow against censorship. https://books2read.com/Invitation-to-Christmas

Seriously, though, do you find the above passage offensive? Because I'm having a heck of a hard time with that idea!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Banned book: Invitation to Christmas by Bonnie Edwards

My new Christmas romance, Invitation to Christmas (November 15) has been banned from sale on iBooks, Kobo and 3 smaller subscription services. I’m devastated and distressed. And for a week, I didn’t know what to make of this new problem or how to handle it. Then I remembered that I’ve been writing for publication for decades and a small thing like a rejection had never stopped me before. And it won’t now.

Readers can pre-order Invitation to Christmas for Kindle and Nook for only 99c!


Have at it! And please let me and other readers know what you think of it in a review. i.e. were you offended in any way?

Here’s the blurb:

Christmas brings family together… 
Jordyn Bailey kissed Tom Fontaine last Christmas.  
But their parents are engaged…  
For Jordyn keeping secrets in a family determined to mesh their lives is all kinds of crazy. Secretly sleeping with her soon-to-be stepbrother could get messy because she’s on the baby track while he’s on the party track. 
If they’re careful and keep their attraction under wraps maybe it will burn out and they can be friends.
Now…It’s Christmas again and Tom wants to unwrap everything, including Jordyn. 

From my author’s note on Amazon:

Why has this book been banned? Because censorship is alive and well I suppose...and with automated scanning, my happy little Christmas novella has been caught in a wide net.

My main characters meet one Christmas morning, share an attraction and then learn their parents are engaged. Do they ignore the fact that someday they may be related? Of course not! They talk about it...and therein lies the problem. They use words like step- and related- when they discuss the elephant in the room: how to handle things with the family if this attraction burns out...or flames brighter?

Invitation to Christmas is Book 2 of my Christmas Collection which began when my characters' parents met last year, (Not-So-Blue Christmas) when Miranda Bailey's dog brings two lonely people together for the holiday. Next year, I have plans for their friends to sort out their family situation on the way to their happily ever after, too. Hardly the stuff of banned books, right? 

Still, I'm in damn fine company there...and as my hairdresser said: "Wow! I'd love to have written a banned book!" (and now I love it, too!)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Revisiting 1968 by Jan Scarbrough

“The year 1968 was one of the most discouraging in modern U.S. history. The Vietnam War dragged on. Despite major civil rights bills, many people feared the country was turning ‘increasingly separate and unequal.’ The nation grieved over the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Riots filled city streets.” Courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac © 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
I look back on 1968 in my novella A Groovy Christmas (99 cents for November and December). It and its companion novella Not Quite Christmas (in the same ebook) explores 1969 in the fictitious town of Legend, Tennessee.
Changing times and shifting values impact my characters. They make the best of the situation they were given, struggle, and survive just as we all do, every year and every decade.
Recently, my husband gathered the Christmas letters for over sixteen years and posted them on a family website. It was fun to look back at each letter, a summary of the year gone by. Each year we mentioned changes—graduations, marriages, jobs, and new grand babies. There were tough times—illnesses, deaths, and layoffs. No year was perfect. Reflecting on those years, and the years my parents and grandparents lived, I realize no time is without its challenges. No time is perfect.

As traumatic and dramatic as 2016 has seemed, there’s nothing new about it. We’ve been here before—like in 1968, when the world, to our parents, was falling apart, but to me as a high school senior, it was full of wonder and promise of the future.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

                                  LEST WE FORGET                                 By Kathleen Lawless

Tomorrow marks the day dedicated to pay tribute to all our brave veterans, past and present.  These vets are the true heroes and heroines, many making the ultimate sacrifice so we can live free.  One hundred years ago the First World War raged in Europe affecting everyone, no matter where they lived. 

My grandfather was one of twin boys.  At age 17, their mother wouldn't allow them both enlist so they flipped a coin and off he went, proud to serve his country  With the special telepathy of twins, his brother knew when 'mate' was wounded.  He was one of the first returning vets at barely 18 years of age and no doubt suffering PTSD which no one even knew about in 1915. 

Eventually his twin introduced him to the woman who became my grandmother.  I was 13 when he died following a stayt in Veteran's Hospital, a life cut short by war.  My grandmother was a voracious reader and although my parents liked to read, I credit her for my love of books and storytelling.  I remember lending her Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss, curious for her reaction.  She loved it!  And had a few ribald remarks of her own to add.  She might have been a widow but she was no prude  I only wish she had lived long enough to see my books in print.

Many fellow authors pay tribute to our veterans as heroes and heroines starring in our love stories.  As I pin on my poppy and observe a moment of silent thanks tomorrow, I can only hope and pray that every veteran alive receives the help, the support, the heartfelt gratitude from society for their part in the battle for our rights and freedom.  Thanks to them we are able to write what we want, when we want, in a society with no censorship.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rainy Days by Karen Kelley

After the heat of a Texas summer, rainy days are a nice change. It's like the welcoming of fall. Thanksgiving is around the corner and then, right after that, my favorite holiday, Christmas. Fall/winter means I'll be cooking more. I love the smell of homemade bread, and apple pie. It's lighting candles, a fire in the fireplace (only mine is electric but the ambiance still works for me), hot chocolate (or glass of wine) and curling up on the couch with a good book.

So, what does the changing of seasons mean to you?

My brand new series released in Oct. The Scavenger Hunt series are hot, sexy romances with a touch of humor, about six women who decide to push fate and step out of their comfort zone. They have to draw a card. Each card represents a profession. Now she has to seduce him. What have they gotten themselves in to?

 #1 Roped, #2 Confessions (out later this month), #3 Tempted, #4 Undressed and 5 & 6 are untitled. I'll be releasing one a month. Tempting fate was never this much fun!

Buy Roped Now

Kindle    Nook

Kobo     Apple

I hope everyone has a  safe and happy holiday! I'll be having holiday contests for my newsletter group so I hope you'll check it out. It's free and you can join on my website www.authorkarenkelley.com
Best Wishes,
Karen Kelley

Monday, November 7, 2016

Brain Food for Writers by Connie Vines

It wasn't until I completed this blog post that I realized that my title, well. . .carried an unintended double meaning.

My featured novella this month -- Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow-- is a Zombie story. And today's topic is brain food.  Well, brain food for writers, anyway.

On deadline?

Obsessed with your current story-line?  Forfeiting sleep, exercise, and nutrition to reach the moment you can type the words The End on the final page of your novel?

Here are a list of grazing foods that you can keep on hand.  High in protein, easy prep, and tasty.

Single serve, or 5 ounces of nonfat cottage cheese.  3 grams more protein than a typical serving of Greek yogurt.

Hard boiled egg.  No longer shunned due to claims of too high cholesterol, we can enjoy in moderation. You can boil yourself or purchased peeled and packaged at the market.

Peanut butter.  Scoop your own or purchase in single packets, smear on a banana or apple slices.

Roasted chickpeas ( I love hummus and falafel).  120 calories per serving, 5 gram of protein and fiber. To prep yourself rinse and drained chickpeas in a bowl with olive oil.  Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Oven bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.

Greek yogurt

Turkey roll ups. Nitrate free deli turkey breast with a squirt of mustard, a slice of tomato, and some lettuce.  Add red pepper slices and baby carrots. Roll and store in a plastic container or foil.

Hummus.  Made from chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil, hummus is a healthy mix of protein and fiber. Use it as a dip for carrots, tomatoes, red pepper, and cucumber slices,

100-calorie almond packets.

String cheese.

It is also important to stay hydrated.  I like to brew a pitcher of green tea and combine it with low-cal lemonade, or low-cal juice to lower my coffee intake.

My publisher, BWL, Ltd. is featuring my novels through Kindle Unlimited this month.  Click on my links for free reads and discounts!

Happy Writing & Reading.


Book trailer for Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow

Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow --Kindle Unlimited

Friday, November 4, 2016

Reading habits

by Liz Flaherty

I only have to look in the mirror to see how things have changed over the years. Gravity has taken a terrible toll; my hair color is a day-to-day adventure; even when I'm wearing my thin clothes (which I haven't for a few years), they don't fit the way they used to; the pedicure that used to be a fun luxury is close to being a necessity; I start each day by emptying a slot in a plastic pill case like my grandmother used to use.

The truth is that I don't mind any of that. What I mind is how my reading habits have changed.

I can remember reading at least seven books a week. A trip to Walmart to pick up the month's offerings of Precious Gems and Harlequin Americans would set me up. I would start a book on my lunch hour at work and finish it before I went to bed that night. I read while I cooked, while I folded laundry, in the car while I waited for the kids, and while the family watched television. I read series romance, and sometimes on the weekend, I would read several in one day. If I had an auto-buy, a Muriel Jensen or a Nora Roberts or a Janet Dailey, sometimes I'd read them twice within the week.
There were many days I had to force myself to stop reading so I could write.

But now...now it's different. And even though books are different now, too, I know the habits have changed because I have. Because, for the most part, the 20-something protagonists don't interest me and I can't identify with the 30-something ones (I had a houseful of teenagers in my 30s and had been married since I was 20.) There aren't enough older ones--a subject we've talked about a lot--and I've grown so picky that I meet most of the trends in romance with a heartfelt "meh." I don't finish at least as many books as I do, something else that has changed for me.

I don't have any magic answers here, or Happy Endings to my quandary. I guess I wonder if others are in the same reading boat I am.

All this complaining aside, I'm glad for the holiday stories that abound right now. I've already read a ton of them and have a couple of my own out there (see covers below). Makes me wonder, though, what I'm going to read come January.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Beauty and Gifts

Last night the hubby and I went to see Adele perform.  Listening to her sing - the purity of her voice, her vocal range, the emotional lyrics - felt like receiving a gift from the cosmos.  We stayed until the very, absolute end of the concert, something we rarely due because of traffic.  I'm glad we did because her final song was "Rolling in the Deep."  After she sang it, she unleashed confetti - small scraps of paper with various expressions written on them.  "Thanks for Coming." "Enjoy Life." and such.  It was an experience and well worth the price of admission.  I love concerts and try to go to at least one or two (or more) and year.  I rank this one up as one of the best I've ever seen.

There are authors like that too.  Writers who have such a gift of words, of conveying emotion, that they're an auto-buy.  Barbara O'Neal, Kristin Hannah, Kristan Higgins, are among my personal list. And discovering a new author with such an ability is like receiving an unexpected present from heaven.  Which is why I take recommendations from other authors so seriously.  Sure, we don't all have the same taste, but when someone who is also a writer raves about another author's ability with words or amazing way of telling a story, I will always buy one book to check it out for myself.  That;s how I discovered Sarah Addison Allen.  Another writer told me about her books.  And I fell in love.

Sometimes, as an author, I long to be able to write like so-and-so.  But I write like me and I'm fine with that.  I continually learn to try and better my craft.  That's why emails from readers are so important.  They keep us writers going sometimes.  Getting an email from someone saying how much they loved the book can make my day!

It's November and for the first time in my career as a published author, I have two books out this month.  The first is a Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Runaway Colton.

You can buy it on Amazon here:  https://smile.amazon.com/Runaway-Colton-Coltons-Texas-Whiddon-ebook/dp/B01F1SCYS6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478104931&sr=1-1&keywords=runaway+colton+karen+whiddon

My second book is a two-in-one (two stories in one book) with talented author Addison Fox.  It's a Christmas story set in Las Vegas and was a lot of fun to write.  The book is called A Hunter Under the Mistletoe, and my story is called Heat of a Helios

You can buy this one at Amazon here:  https://smile.amazon.com/Hunter-Under-Mistletoe-Bright-Heat-Helios-ebook/dp/B01EEZKXHG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478105191&sr=1-1&keywords=hunter+under+the+mistletoe

Anyway, that's my shameless promo for this month!  I hope you check out one (or both) of my books!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


In October I attended the New Jersey Romance Writers conference along with over 200 other writers or people connected to writing romance.  And as always, when I walked into the hotel I felt as though I had entered another world.

Yes, a writers’ conference is serious business.  There are a multitude of workshops on every conceivable aspect of writing. There are discussions about the direction of the market and whether e-books are really replacing print and whether bookstores are obsolete.  There are workshops on everything from how to write a love scene to how to build a website.  And all of those things are very useful.

But for me, one of the best parts of the conference is hanging out with other people who hear voices in their heads and who can space out unexpectedly because they’re telling themselves a story about someone they’ve just spoken to for two seconds.

While I was volunteering at the registration desk, two gentlemen dressed in jeans and t-shirts approached our table to ask: “what’s this all about?’  They told us an amazing story about being undercover with the TSA, working a nearby political rally to protect Donald Trump, who was speaking the next day.

Being the polite and lovely women we are, we peppered them with questions about their lives and their jobs.  We even took their picture. A good time was had by all.

But then they walked away, and the real fun began. 

“An undercover TSA agent who announces that he’s undercover? Does the TSA guard candidates?  Wouldn’t that be the Secret Service?”

One woman remarked on the faint odor of alcohol emanating from one of the gentlemen.  Within five minutes we had concocted an entire background for these two guys.  They might have been, at best, roadies working on the sound system for the Trump affair, staying at our hotel, and intrigued by the thought of a bunch of women who write romance, and perhaps looking for a little companionship.   

We analyzed their cover stories, their clothing, their motives, and just about anything else we could think of.

And no one thought what we were doing was odd until one of the women commented that this had to go in a book, which gave us all a good laugh.

Most of the women at that table had never met before, but one of the wonders of being with a group of writers is how comfortable and natural it felt to indulge in such flights of fancy.

So even with the stress of agent/editor appointments, with volunteer jobs required to make the conference run smoothly, with unease over the marketplace, the overall feeling was one of celebration of our shared passion for writing and our celebrations of one another’s accomplishments.

Of course, it also helps to be in a hotel where someone else makes the bed in the morning and where you don’t have to cook!  Fantasy land!

I won’t even comment on how many days it took to set things to rights after returning home from three nights away.  It was worth it to get that infusion of enthusiasm and inspiration from being among my tribe for too short a time.

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