Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why the HEA in Romance is a misnomer by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

Recently I was interviewed for the podcast Blood, Sweat and Words by the lovely Jo-Ann Carson, a newcomer to podcasting, as am I.

Jo-Ann wanted me to talk about Sex on the Page and we discussed writing sex and changes in the romance industry since I launched my career.  To listen to Sex on the Page click here

We talked about what makes a hero sexy and that led me to pondering the romantic notion of the Happy Ever After ending in most romance novels.

I think we've been calling where we leave our characters at the end of our books by the wrong name.

Romance heroines and heroes struggle through whatever muck we throw at them, gathering their strength along the way so they end up happy together.

And then we call it The End. We've given them their HEA.

But we haven't. What we've done is given them their launch into a bright, loving future.

We've given a heroine a man she can count on, a man with staying power. A man maybe our readers could want, too.

Making our readers sigh at the end of our books is a goal...but it isn't the end for our characters. They live inside our readers' hearts and for them (and us) they've been launched into their lives together. Our readers will know these characters will face whatever comes in life, good and bad, because they have staying power, and, hopefully, shared humor and values and desire.

So, while I doubt this little blog post will change an entire industry's thinking on the HEA...maybe it will make some people realized that with books, nothing really ends and that maybe we should change the way we think of The End.

Maybe we should call The End, The Launch.

Or can you come up with something more romancey?

To read my most recent book with a happy launch, Diamond at Heart:  Amazon Exclusive

Friday, October 12, 2018

Reflections of a Book Signing

You may know that Gems in the Attic bloggers were once published by the Kensington Precious Gems line. The small, inexpensive paperbacks were exclusively sold at Walmart. So back in the day, when we wanted to do a book signing, we had to go to Walmart. Now, if you’ve ever been to the store, you’ll know that customers have many things on their minds, not necessarily books.

On June 20, 1998, Kim Whalen (aka Maddie James) and I participated in a book signing at a local Walmart. The next day I received this email from Kim.

“Thought I would share these tidbits from Jan’s and my booksigning yesterday. Jan, I’m paraphrasing, of course, and taking a little literary license.J

Jan: “Do you read romance?”
Walmart customer looks longingly at hubby of 50+ years. “I have all the romance I need.”

Jan: “Do you read romance?”
Walmart customer: “Oh no.”
Jan: “Would you be interested in a Kentucky book?”
Walmart customer: “Kentucky? Oh my, no. I’m from out of state. My sister reads these things though.” Glances overtly at cover, moves a little closer.
Jan: “Maybe she’d like this one?”
Walmart customer takes another step toward book, looks intently at it, quickly steps back: “No, don’t think so. Good luck.” Hurriedly steps away.

Small boy Walmart customer: “Look Mom, Grandma Olley books!”
Kim: “Does Grandma Olley read romance?”
Small boy Walmart customer rolls eyes. Entire family rolls eyes. Old lady follows up rear of entourage.
Kim, thinking this is Grandma Olley: “Do you read romance?”
Old lady: “My heaven’s no!”
Family exits in haste.

Walmart customer with two small children walks slowly by.
Jan: “Do you read romance?”
Customer: “Oh my, I read them all the time! My daughter and I trade back and forth.” Customer hesitantly steps forward.
Jan: “Maybe you’d like this one. It’s set in Kentucky.”

Customer eagerly approaches: “Oh, yes!”
Jan: “It’s a great buy. Only $2.00.”
Jan signs.
Customer clutches book to chest. “Oh, I’m so excited! My daughter won’t get this one.” Walks off with huge smile on her face.

Kim’s son: “Mom! Mom! I got an autographed picture of the Bud Girls!”
Kim: “Let me see that.”
Toni, Anderson rep: “Gee, they are almost scary looking.”
Kim: Heck, this one has wrinkles! She’s as old as me!”
Bill, Jan’s significant other: “Wrinkles? She has a face?”

Jan’s friend from Ohio who has just had 14 of Jan’s books signed for friends: “Oh, and I want one of Kim’s books, too. Will you sign one?”
Kim: “Sure, be glad to. Now who is this to?”
Jan’s friend: “Make it to Mary and Don.”
Kim begins to sign.
Don to wife, embarrassed: “Why do you always do that? It really doesn’t have to be to me, too.”
Kim signs to Mary and Don.

Jan to friend: “Wanna see what my editor did? What she added in here? I want to you to know I didn’t write this!”
Friend: “Which sentence?”
Jan: “This sentence.”
Friend reads.
Jan: “I had the heroine taking off his boxer shorts. I didn’t write that.”
Bill: “Jan, you are bad.”

Bill to Jan’s friends, hitching up pants and puffing up chest: “You know where Jan’s inspiration comes from, don’t you?”
Jan grins.

Jan’s friend, referring to child next to her: “This is the child who loves horse books.”
Jan, matter-of-factly, glancing at pre-pubescent child: “Tell her not to read Chapter Eleven.”
Jan signs.

Walmart customer picks up Kim’s book: “Are you the author?”
Kim: “Yes.”
Customer reads name on book: “Wait! I have one of your books!”
Kim clutches chest. “You do?”
Customer: “Yes, one of my friends gave it to me the other day. Kim Whalen. Yes! That’s the name. I haven’t read it yet. Now, which book is it?” She studies both covers and reads back blurb. “Yes, it’s this one! My friend said it was the best book!”
Kim, puffing out her chest: “Well, gee…tell your friend thanks!”
Customer: “I want the other one!”
Kim signs, grinning from ear to ear.

Twenty years later, my first Precious Gems book exists as an ebook. To sell to Precious Gems, I cut out 30,000 words and a mystery suspense element. I’ve put those elements back into Kentucky Flame and self-published it.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Once upon a time only a small percentage of the population could read and books were considered a luxury item, costly and difficult to produce. 

Welcome the Victoria era.  Thanks to a rise in literacy and weekly serialized stories cheaply printed in periodicals, the general public was able to read fiction for pleasure.  Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, published in 1836, was widely considered to have established the appeal of this serialized form of literature.  Writers who wrote fast became hugely successful, breaking down much longer stories into small weekly serials, devoured by their fans.

Fast forward to the World Wide Web, which revived the serial format on-line and is changing the way we read and write.  No longer do readers have to wait a year for the latest release by (insert favorite author’s name here).   No longer are authors at the mercy of publishers’ contracts and release schedules.

In order to feed the reading public’s voracious appetite authors are writing in series format, and those who can are releasing a new book once or twice a month, allowing readers to binge-read like never before.

Bonus!  With on-line purchase of books delivered electronically in seconds to their devices, readers no longer need to visit a bookstore or library to feed their habit.  Double Bonus!  For a small amount monthly, readers may take out a membership on Amazon and read as many books as they can.

As an author trying to give my readers what they want, I am in the midst of writing my first-ever series.  Sure, I’ve spun off an interesting secondary character a few times into their own book, but writing an entire series is a new beast.  I’m finding it a challenge (albeit a good one) after many years of writing stand-alone romances.  Not only does each book have its own story arc, the series overall requires a larger story arc to be woven through each book and wrapped up tidily at the end of the series.   And for the reader who comes in halfway through the series, it’s helpful if each book can be read alone and enjoyed on its own merits. 

I’m excited to finish the series and let you know how it turned out.

As a reader, do you prefer series or stand-alone books?
As an author, which do you prefer to write?

Join Kathleen’s reading group and receive a free novella.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Release @lcrandallwriter

New Release!

Bounty hunter Payson Silver stands on the top of the tallest building in her city and sees
proof below in the cries for help, the theft underway, and fighting in progress that darkness is growing. Locating skips, lost people, and objects is only one of her jobs. Born an Aeon, a direct descendant of evolved people of Atlantis, Payson came into the world knowing her purpose in life – to balance dark energies with light and prevent the world from going deeply into darkness, starting with the City of Auralia. Alongside the love of her life, Braden Powers, and other fellow Aeons, she uses her psychometric ability and special skills to defeat the mission of Dark Aspects, or DAs as she calls them, from turning the city into darkness. Her greatest weapon against the darkness is her ability to send the energy of light and love into the world. Her greatest obstacle to saving the world is fellow Aeon turned DA, Diane Butler, and her own resistance to her mission.

Braden too battles a lack of commitment to the Aeons’ mission, and the reminder that he lost control of his mind-control ability once with dire consequences. While he understands the importance of his work, it is only head-deep, not within his heart.

As bounty hunter and police officer, Payson and Braden counter darkness by enforcing justice and protecting residents from those who harm others and commit crimes. But when Diane’s dark jealousy drives her to block Braden’s mind to his real life and create a new one for him, Payson can’t stop her. To lose her love is devastating and she knows she has only ten days to bring him back to the light.

Dark forces are powerful, and Payson and Braden battle to save each other and their precious relationship, while the fate of the world lies in balance. The battle for good goes on under the radar of humanity, but the outcome will mean the difference of a thriving planet or the slow death of all that is.

Learn more about Touch Me on my website or on Amazon and other retailers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fall is in the air by Karen Kelley

There's just something about Fall that I love better than any other season. I think it's the aroma of pumpkin spice, the cooler temperatures, and the upcoming holidays. You can feel the change in the air. Then I look around and decide I need change in my home. I love the farmhouse look. I've decided to change my curtains from boring light brown to red and cream check. As soon as my daughter comes back from San Diego we'll go shopping. She's the best at interior decorating.

 Now, Karl and I are still in the RV and still loving it, but I have limited space, which is one of the drawbacks of being a full time RVer. Sometimes I think I want more room, but then I start cleaning and I think, maybe not. LOL. That doesn't mean I don't need change.

 We're enjoying being back in Texas. Since Karl is still recuperating, I'm getting a lot of writing done. I'll have two brand new books coming out in the next few weeks. I love writing and reading romantic comedy. These two were fun to write. You can keep up with my new releases by joining my newsletter group at and grab a free copy of Anything You Can Do.

 Have a great day!
 Karen Kelley

Can a pinky swear with his little sister keep Alex from temptation?
Kagen wants Alex as soon as she sees him, so is it fate that throws them together for a week in his little sister’s apartment while she’s on her honeymoon? When Kagen discovers Alex did something foolish and promised little sister he wouldn’t touch her best friend, the wager is on to see how long he can resist her charms.
The pinky swear has always been a sacred promise between Alex and his little sister, but Kagen’s seduction is pushing playboy Alex to the edge. He begins to wonder if the pinky swear was even legit since no spit was involved. Would that be considered a loophole?
When Kagen offers up a wager, Alex knows anything she can do, he can to better, but he doesn’t count on exactly how far the lady will go.
Get your copy of this steamy romantic comedy today that will have you laughing one minute and fanning yourself the next.

Monday, October 8, 2018

It's party time!!!!, it's not my day...I'm just sneaking in here to remind you that 2018's Christmas Town stories are going to be out tomorrow! Come on over and join the Facebook hop for some giveaways and conversation...


If you'll go to Heartwarming Christmas Town's  home page, you'll find the following message. Or, I think--you can just go for here. We hope you visit us all!

*****#12DaysofHeartwarmingChristmas Hop Reporting Page*****
1 Carousel. 1 Wedding. 1 Christmas. 12 Happily Ever Afters!
The hopping starts NOW! Tomorrow, Christmas Town's 2018 stories are officially on sale, but we're getting the celebration started early with our 12-author hop!
This is where you come once you've visited ALL 12 authors' pages and entered to win the fabulous prizes they're offering. Reporting "done" in the comments enters you to win one of 12 $10 Amazon Gift Cards. Winners of the gift cards will be announced ONLY in our November issue of our newsletter.
Below you'll find links to each author's page, in case you get lost along the way. You can also find links on
You can start anywhere on the list...just make sure you make a full circle. 
Visit for links to all of this year's books and their buy links! Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and get a #Free copy of the prequel novella, A CHRISTMAS CAROUSEL PROPOSAL.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Diamond at Heart (a sample) by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

Your Amazon Store

A cold case...
A hot ex-boss...
And a stalker...
They say diamonds are a girl's best friend. Tawny James is about to find out how wrong that old saying is...

Diamond at Heart is now available. It released as an Amazon Exclusive on Tuesday, October 2.

I don't often post samples here, but since this has some romantic suspense elements, I thought readers may want to see the tone I bring to this story.

Today, Seattle WA
The phone call Stack Hamilton never expected to get came at four forty p.m. on Saturday. Tawny James. Hallelujah.
He tried like hell to keep up with what she said, but images of Tawny flashed into his mind. He saw her legs, breasts, incredible hips, all smooth and lush with those dimples just below the small of her back where her ass filled out her bikini bottom.
Which was exactly what she expected would happen. Which was why she’d quit working for him in the first place.
He pulled his head back from where it wanted to go and shoved it back into the conversation. Something she said raised every one of his protective instincts. She was in danger and he’d been doing the teenage fantasy thing about her body. He was such a shit. And she knew it. “A stalker?” he asked. “You’re sure?”
“Some creep’s just gone through my laundry at the Wash ‘n’ Suds, Stack. What would you call it if it isn’t stalking?”
“Sick? Perverted?” Stalking, why hadn’t he thought of that? This guy was probably another ex-boss who lo—wanted to get her into bed.
“Me, too, except this is the last straw. This guy’s been in my house.”
“What? When?” And the all-important question, “Where?” He jotted her address, but he memorized it as she spoke. Each syllable stood emblazoned in his skull.
“I’ll come get you,” he said, “and bring you here. If he’s watching, he’ll see you’ve reached out for help.”

“Once he gets a load of your size that may be enough to make him back off.” She chuckled, low and breathless in that husky way she had that made him think of her....(in here is where I want to keep it PG)—pull it back, Stack. Now.

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada! Which to me makes more sense than only being a month from Christmas like our neighbours to the south. We have far more time to gear up for the next big holiday. So for my Canadian friends and readers...enjoy the turkey, the stuffing, the friends and family and safe travels! 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Free Holiday Ebooks Today by @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

I'm out of the office for the next couple of weeks, but I wanted to give y'all a couple of free ebooks today.

My friends and I of the Love, Christmas 2: Holiday Movies You Love have created 2 free ebooks for readers.

A Little Background

First, let me give you a little background about the free books and the collections they promote.

In 2016, we published Love, Christmas 1: Songs of the Heart. This 20-book collection has never stopped selling from then until now.

Love, Christmas 1 is still available for $2.99.

When it was published, all the stories were brand-new-- never before published. Each book in the collection bears the title of a favorite Christmas song.

We held a contest where entrants were asked to name their favorite Christmas song. The first entrant to name the holiday song one of the authors had named as a favorite won the honor of having that author's book dedicated to the entrant.

The collection was so popular with readers that we decided this year to create another holiday romance collection.

Besides Songs, What Else Do We Love About the Holidays

Movies, of course. Everything from the classic It's a Wonderful Life to Love to Love, Actually and everything in between.

So we decided to create Love, Christmas 2 and have another contest.

This contest asked entrants to name their favorite holiday movie. The first to select the name an author had chosen won the dedication to the author's book.

If the movie the author picked wasn't named by the entrants, then a random drawing was held to select a winner to receive a dedication.

Love, Christmas 2 has even more books for readers to love: 26 all new holiday romances. That's right, 26 ebooks for only 99 cents.

Free Ebooks to Promote Love, Christmas 2

Here comes the free part. We made a Sampler Book of all the first chapters in Love, Christmas 2. That way you can try each book in advance.

(In the case of my book in the collection, Brianna's Season for Miracles, the first chapter was written before I actually wrote the book so the first chapter in the actual book is a bit different.)

Here's the link to Book Bites 11 from Amazon. This Love, Christmas 2 Sampler Book is free at other retailers too.

But Wait There's More

To make this collection even more special, we created Favorite Holiday Recipes.

This Cookbook from the authors of Love, Christmas 2, is also free. I hope you'll love it.

In each of the 26 ebooks, a recipe is mentioned. From Appetizers to Desserts, those recipes are collected in Favorite Holiday Recipes.

The recipe I contributed was an appetizer, Ham and Cheese Cups. That appetizer is mentioned in Brianna's Season for Miracles.

Edited by Rebecca York, this free cookbook is one you'll love, and it's available now.


Joan ReevesKeeping Romance Alive…One Sexy Book at a Time—is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All of her stories have the same premise: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband. They divide their time between a book-cluttered home in Houston and a quiet house at the foot of the Texas Hill Country where they sit on the porch at night, look up at the star-studded sky, and listen to the coyotes howl.

Visit Joan online at any of these locations: Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan's Website.

Be the first to know about Giveaways, Bargains, and New Books, sign up for Joan's Mailing List.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

FLY ME TO THE MOON? by Hannah Rowan

Elon Musk is offering trips to the moon in his SpaceX program and has just signed his first traveler.

In the meantime, I just answered a survey asking if I’d go to the moon now that private citizens may have the option to take the trip.  And if so, what would I take with me?

Just pretend I didn’t have to cough up the estimated $58 million Musk is allegedly going to charge, or the $100 to $200 million the Russians expect to charge for the same trip, at a cost of $200 million for a solo traveler and $100 million each for a twosome.

I still have questions.

If I remember correctly, astronauts had to undergo rigorous physical training before embarking on various journeys into space.  They also ate meals reminiscent of baby food.
Under those circumstances, a trip to the moon might make a good kick-off to a weight loss plan.

I’m always up for travelling, but I’m not sure I’d enjoy three or four days strapped into a seat, even if it might be more comfortable than the accommodations in today’s economy seats on commercial airlines.

Assuming I agreed to the journey, what would I pack?  I imagine I wouldn’t have much choice of wardrobe, but I’d have to take my tablet loaded with enough reading material to last me most of a week.  I suppose I’d have to forego a nice hot cup of tea, and maybe give up chocolate for the duration.

Would they actually allow passengers to get out of the spacecraft to frolic on the surface of the moon?  If so, I’d want to make sure I had a fully charged phone or camera to get some good pictures.  And since I generally bring home seashells or pretty rocks from whatever vacation destination I visit, I’d have to bring along some containers to stash my moon rocks.

Overall, I’d be willing to endure some discomfort to experience what would undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and I’d hope I didn’t get caught up in some disaster like I’ve seen in a few movies.

Would you be willing to take the trip?  And what would you bring?

Monday, October 1, 2018

How to Design a Fictional Town or City by Connie Vines

Why would a writer design a fictional town or city?

Many writers use actual towns and cities in their fiction, but there are some writers who opt to create their own towns and cities. Stephen King is known for the fictional Maine towns he creates in his fiction. There are various reasons a writer might choose to create a fictional town or city rather than use a real location. The primary reason may be because the content of the story might not be flattering, and the writer, out of respect for the real communities, may create a fictional location to set the story. Fictional settings also require less research. If you're writing about a real place, readers familiar with that town or city will be critical of details that aren't exactly right. Creating a fictional town or city allows you a wider range of flexibility.

So, how does a writer create a fictional town or city that will convince readers they are visiting a real place?

The first step is obvious.  Find a name for your town or city. Come up with a name that sounds like the name of a town or city. Check maps to ensure the town doesn't exist in the state where you will set the story. If it does, your readers will assume you're writing about the actual town. You can use the name of a real town, just locate the town in a state other than where it exists. Consider names for your fictional setting that are similar in sound or spelling to real places.

I created Running Springs, Montana in my first Rodeo Romance in this manner.  Running Springs is a city in the mountains of southern California.  I placed my town in the Bitter Route Valley of Montana.  The larger towns were towns I visited so those details were familiar to anyone living Missoula.

Draw a map of your town or city. It doesn't have to be detailed, but a map will help you write about your town or city as if it's real. You will know what happens if you head east on Main Street or west on Third Avenue. You will know where your residential sections are, where the dangerous part of town is and what businesses are in town. These are details that will help you bring your fictional setting to life for your readers. 

Populate your fictional town with people that give the town character. Create the types of businesses you'd expect to find in a town of the same size and in the same part of the country as your fictional town. If your town is in a state like Wyoming or Montana, chances are good there will be a farm supply store, if not in your town, then at least a nearby town.

Base your fictional town or city on real places to help you gain your bearings and structure, but avoid using specific landmarks that will give away your model town or city. If a landmark is important to the plot of the story, create a similar fictional landmark.

Locate your fictional town or city near a recognizable real-life city to help give your readers an anchor that will make your fictional town or city seem more real to them. In my Fun & Sassy Fantasy Series my anchor cities are in southern California.  Each city is easily recognizable to my readers.
Sensory details are a must.  What flowers grow on the hillsides of the Montana mountains in the spring?  What does a tack and saddle shop smell like?  The sound of cowboy boots clicking on a weather-beaten stair case?  What does a belting hail storm feel like?

Don’t forget the regional foods and everyday expressions. 

Does you heroine reach for a can of soda, coke, or pop?  Sweetened or unsweetened ice tea?

Details count. 

After all your fictional town is a living element in your story.  Your fictional town has played a part in defining your hero or you heroine.

If the author is very skillful the reader will feel as if she/he has visited this fictional town, or believes this town is a real town. . .somewhere.

What is your take on fictional cities?

Happy Reading,

Here's a regional dish from the south (the setting for my current work in progress).

Cheese Grits

I had Quaker 5-minute Grits in my cupboard.  I found the result the same as if I had used the long-cooking grits.

For a South Carolina regional lunch dish, add steamed shrimp and freshly grilled bacon pieces.


Ready to get into the Halloween Spirit? (Universal Book Buy Link)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Touch Me Releases @lcrandallwriter

I'm excited to introduce Touch Me to the world. It's a little different and fits multiple subcategories of romance--fantasy, paranormal, romantic suspense--so I made a deliberate decision to indie publish it and subsequent books in the series. I've self-pubbed several shorts and novellas, but this is my first indie published novel. It's exhilarating!

Here is the book blurb:

Bounty hunter Payson Silver stands on the top of the tallest building in her city and sees proof below in the cries for help, the theft underway, and fighting in progress that darkness is growing. Locating skips, lost people, and objects is only one of her jobs. Born an Aeon, a direct descendant of evolved people of Atlantis, Payson came into the world knowing her purpose in life – to balance dark energies with light and prevent the world from going deeply into darkness, starting with the City of Auralia. Alongside the love of her life, Braden Powers, and other fellow Aeons, she uses her psychometric ability and special skills to defeat the mission of Dark Aspects, or DAs as she calls them, from turning the city into darkness. Her greatest weapon against the darkness is her ability to send the energy of light and love into the world. Her greatest obstacle to saving the world is fellow Aeon turned DA, Diane Butler, and her own resistance to her mission.

Braden too battles a lack of commitment to the Aeons’ mission, and the reminder that he lost control of his mind-control ability once with dire consequences. While he understands the importance of his work, it is only head-deep, not within his heart.

As bounty hunter and police officer, Payson and Braden counter darkness by enforcing justice and protecting residents from those who harm others and commit crimes. But when Diane’s dark jealousy drives her to block Braden’s mind to his real life and create a new one for him, Payson can’t stop her. To lose her love is devastating and she knows she has only ten days to bring him back to the light.

Dark forces are powerful, and Payson and Braden battle to save each other and their precious relationship, while the fate of the world lies in balance. The battle for good goes on under the radar of humanity, but the outcome will mean the difference of a thriving planet or the slow death of all that is. They face difficult choices to save their love, save their souls, and save the world from succumbing to the Dark Side.

Here's an excerpt:

There’s a reason why a female bounty hunter should never bring her boyfriend on a case.

He’s apt to go all knight-in-shining-armor.
Payson shook her head. He wasn’t going to win this one. “No, Braden, you’re not going with me. I need you to stay here in the car.”
Braden frowned. “I’m a cop, a detective. I detect stuff. I can help you find what you’re looking for, and watch your back in case the perps show up.”
She ran her hand over his cheek, and savored the butterflies that leaped to life in her stomach. “No. I’m in charge. This is my case. Me, bounty hunter, you, stay-in-car. I can take care of myself. You know that.”
He slanted her a smile and his gold-specked hazel eyes sparkled. “I do know. But—”
“There are no buts. As a recovery agent, I can do things you can’t. I want you for backup and to drive my car, but do more than that and you’d be putting your job and mine at risk.” He couldn’t argue, really. They had agreed years ago they would keep their work separate from their relationship. It was the professional thing to do.
A warm, late afternoon summer breeze wafted through the open window in her silver Volt, lifting locks of his dark wavy hair. The grove of trees situated just off the country road gave them cover. Shade from the maple and oak tree branches cooled the interior of her car just enough to keep from sweltering. Payson watched Braden consider her argument and waited for the moment he’d see her point.
The clients, Mr. and Mrs. Blaine, who had hired her to find their stolen restored 1941 Willys coupe, had given up hope of ever finding it. The Willys held sentimental value to them because a great-great grandfather had discovered it rusted and littered with dried leaves and brought it back to its shiny glory. Beyond the family heirloom aspect, the car’s value of nearly $100,000 was a college education and part of a retirement fund. Its theft disrupted the family’s hopes and dreams, and was exactly the kind of activity DAs would do just for kicks.
But she’d found it. She’d used her ability to connect with the vehicle when the owners had given her documents and photos. Her research and that connection had led her here.
“You’re right.”
There it was. She knew Braden would come around. “Thanks. I know that, but I’m glad you see it my way.”
“That’s what I love about you. You’re so humble.” He moved closer into a quick kiss. His lips firm against hers pushed her already racing pulse.

Find Touch Me, Dark Sides Book One,  on Amazon and other retailers. Check out more of my books on my website, where you can sign up for my newsletter and receive two free books.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

With layers on @Liz Flaherty #GemsinAttic

I love fall, don't you? It's the season of layers, and if your body's thermometer and barometric pressure are as screwed up as mine are, you need layers in a serious way! 😄

There, that first paragraph showed what I intended to write about--fall (or autumn, if you like that better)--but like any other writer, I got led astray by a word.


It was a word that became important to me when the Disney movie of Pollyanna came out when I was a kid. I can't begin to explain it, but I wanted a cake like Pollyanna's for my birthday, with three big layers. It wasn't something I expected to happen, but my mom's friend Marjorie made me one. I don't remember anything else about that birthday--the fact that someone cared enough about me to give me what I wanted instead of what she thought I needed is memory enough.

Also when I was a kid, sweater sets were popular. You know, the ones with the cardigan layered over the shell or the short-sleeved pullover. I wanted a set so bad and never got one. Which explains why every time they come back into style--or even if they don't--I always have a few matching sweater sets. I'm pretty sure I look like a stereotypical librarian every time I put them on, but that's okay--I like librarians.

Growing up is all about layering. You are changed and made bigger and more mature by everything you experience. By physical growth, education, hurt, happiness. Everything adds to the person you started out to be. You're not a first-grader anymore, but she's still in there. She still remembers who made her that cake and how much she wanted that sweater set. As an adult, you're a product of all those layers. If even one is taken away, you are a different person. Woody Harrelson said, "A grownup is a child with layers on."

That's how we build characters in books, isn't it? Not that we ever call them characters. To us, they are people, well developed and well loved. They become that when we add up how they look, how they think, how they act, and things that made them the way they are. When the experiences within the book are added, we have to remember to keep the essential person the same--the little girl (or boy) who was the first layer.

This is what makes characterization fun--both to write and to read. And just as layers make fall into a comfortable and cozy season, they make books into things that may not necessarily change lives for the better, but will give readers cozy and comfortable afternoons.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

I Love My Gramps An #ALS Fundraiser @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

My lovely cousin married a wonderful man many years ago. I first met Neil when I was only eighteen and visiting the newlyweds. They’d moved all the way from Ontario Canada to a large, beautiful island on the West Coast. We had a fun-filled family time and I’ll never forget his happy grin and warm welcome.

Years past and eventually, I too moved to the same island off the coast.  We brought our children and at our “Welcome to the Island” dinner, Neil quipped that I didn’t need to take photos, ( I was snapping them like a crazed tourist) because “you live here now.” I wasn’t just visiting like the previous time. Neil was slyly funny and you had to pay attention to get his humour.

Fast forward to our daughter’s wedding. All the cousins attended, along with their mother, (my favourite Auntie). Neil’s PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis) had been slowly changing his speech; he was less steady when he walked, but his humour still shone and we had a wonderful family time. Shortly after, Neil learned that his condition had changed to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It’s a devastating diagnosis and for the record, his is the second death from ALS of a person I know. I believe it’s far more common than we think. Maybe it isn’t one of the Big Three: Cancer, Heart or Diabetes…but it’s common enough that I’m willing to bet most people know someone or a relative of someone with ALS.

Neil’s daughter, one of the many I call “My Young Cousins” wrote this book to help her children and others understand what was happening to their Gramps. The picture that made me tear up was the one that shows Neil’s guitar on its stand, cobwebs clinging like reminders of what had once been.

Profits from this book are going to The ALS Society of BC.

Maybe you have someone with children who need help to understand this dreadful thief, this disease that steals loved ones away.  I hope that this book will help.

And Neil, thanks for the memories, the love, the laughter, and the music.

About the Author: Deana is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, and teacher to a room full of active kindergarten students. She has always enjoyed reading and writing, and wanted to find a way to help her children – and others – who are living with the challenges of ALS, find a way to make sense of what’s going on. The creation of this book has been a long journey, but good things are worth waiting for, right Dad?

About the Illustrator: Shannon Budau is an artist by hobby. She met Deana at their church three years ago. Shannon teaches piano professionally and both of Deana’s girls are students of hers. So grateful for his opportunity, Shannon wishes the very best for Deana and her family. She knows this book will do a wonderful job of teaching kids about ALS.

For more information about ALS please go to or in the US:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cover Reveal for Diamond at Heart @BonnieEdwards #gemsinattic

To Pre-Order for your Kindle
Coming October 2: Diamond at Heart Book 2 in my Diamond Series.

Okay, before I say one more thing: isn't this cover gorgeous?
Someone’s watching her…

…and Tawny James is sick of it.  The only person who’ll believe and help her is her ex-boss, the last man on earth she wants to see again. She’d walked out on the most fun job she’d ever had because in a fit of jealousy she’d revealed her embarrassing, secret, crush.

Private security consultant Stack Hamilton gets the call he’s wanted for months from ex-employee Tawny James. But it isn’t the “sorry I ran out on you” call he’s hoped for. Instead, the beauty who hides her assets under the ugliest clothes he’s ever seen is scared and needs his help. There’s nothing Stack won’t do for the woman he misses. Every. Single. Day.

They soon discover that Tawny’s current problem is connected to a mob murder from the past. Obsession and possessive violence can ruin generations of women and the James family has had more than its share.

Tawny is determined not to make the same mistakes her mother and grandmother made.

If she can keep her hands off Stack Hamilton she might get through this stalking episode with her heart intact.

Stack will do anything to keep Tawny safe. Everything but let her go again.

A much shorter version of this book was previously released as To Die For in the Breathless collection. 

Diamond at Heart has a little suspense, a lot of steam and one sexy hero! Stack got his name when he played college football because he "stacked 'em up." I have never explained his name before...but I knew it was right the moment I thought of it.

And Tawny...Tawny's spent her life hiding herself. With her family's history with men, it's no wonder she wants to be wanted for more than what's under her ugly clothes.

But there are secrets to be exposed...and she and Stack must learn them all...

I had real fun writing and then rewriting this book. It's about 12,000 words longer than the original and it felt great to stretch and roll and play with the emotions in the story.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Finding Your Writing Groove

With the end of summer and everyone returning to a more normal schedule, you’d think there would be more time to write. Not necessarily so when you consider school prep, after-school activities, errands that still require running. And, for the writer who works outside the home office, it can be even more hectic. As pesky as those family members were to have around all summer, fitting writing into a busy fall schedule can be just as daunting.

Here are few simple suggestions that can apply both to the writer and to the busy, working mom.

Make Lists. Whether it’s first thing in the morning before anyone else is out of bed or last thing the night before, prepare a list of the things you need to do the next day. Whether work related or writing related, a list of tasks gives you a starting point for everything you need to accomplish within a given time period. Keeping yourself organized is key to finding the time to write. As well, there’s an added benefit in the satisfaction of ticking something off the list once it’s completed. Accomplishing even a few small tasks can keep you motivated to move onto the next.

Celebrate those Small Achievements. Set smaller, more easily attainable goals that can be completed throughout the day. Then, once that goal is attained, reward yourself. Maybe with nothing more than an extra cup of coffee, a short walk, a few minutes to read. Just be careful to balance the celebrating with the actual work.

Stick to the Easy Stuff. A long list of tasks can be overwhelming. Unless there are specific time requirements, begin with the smaller tasks first. Clearing off half the list will not only encourage further completion, but also will help prepare you for the bigger tasks that still lie ahead.

Mix Things Up. Don’t follow the same routine every day. Boredom is a killer of accomplishment. If your usual routine calls for writing in the morning and errands in the afternoon, change it up. Reverse the order. Run those errands and then return to your computer with yet another task removed from the dreaded list. Mix up your writing habits as well. If there’s a task you ordinarily put off, e.g., the dreaded blurb, do that first. The rest will seem easy.

Group Work. Whether it’s a writing critique group, or the assistance of your family, don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking you have to do everything yourself. Ask for help if necessary. When the task of making the evening meal comes up, don’t assume you have to do all the cooking. One of the things I enjoy most is cooking and yet I welcome the help of others even if it’s something as simple as prepping a salad. It’s the same with writing. Brainstorming with others can lift the burden of a difficult scene and cut your writing time in half.

Evening Recap. It’s always nice to sit back with an evening cup of tea, put your feet up and review those lists. Rejoice in what you accomplished, reconfigure what didn’t work out so well. Gear down. Don’t go to bed thinking about the chapter you didn’t finish or the blurb you didn’t write. Or the load of laundry that’s still sitting in the hamper. Instead, occupy your mind with something that will relax you. Play a word game, read a few chapters of someone else’s book, watch something totally frivolous on television.

Sometimes the best way to improve productivity is to think less about being productive.
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It’s time for me to check “blog column” off my list and get back to my current work-in-progress. For those of you who might be looking for a quick read for that gear-down time, may I recommend...

Cold Creek, Colorado Territory
July, 1856

Katy Anderson has experienced more heartache than most know in a lifetime. Given to a man old enough to be her father, she has spent the past six years secluded from everyone except for her three young children. Her husband's untimely death brings relief that ... finally ... she and her children are free.

When Sheriff Mitch Logan arrives at the Anderson homestead, he is moved by her sad circumstances and vows to right the wrongs done to Katy. Mitch has always shied away from marriage due to his dangerous profession, yet he quickly changes his mind when Katy comes into his life, and into his heart.

Despite her best intentions to keep the handsome sheriff at arm's length, Katy can't help but admire his honesty, and his kindness. All too quickly, she finds her resolve weakening as Mitch convinces her to trust again.

Just 99¢ on Amazon!

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Until next month, stay happy, stay healthy, stay well read! Oh...and stay organized!

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