Wednesday, October 31, 2018

I'M NO LONGER ALARMED! by Hannah Rowan

To say that I’m a heavy sleeper would be an understatement.  But for many years I relied on my trusty singing chicken to wake me up.  More or less.

My chicken was just one in a line of alarms arrayed next to my bed, but he was by far the most distinctive, and the noisiest.

(Yes, I know chickens are girls, and roosters are boys, but for some reason I always thought of my chicken as a “he,” but never thought of him as a rooster.

My chicken would loudly and with great enthusiasm greet me with a song in the morning.  “Wah, wah, hey baby wake up, come on and dance with me” he would wail.  His wails drowned out the clock radio and the buzz of my Big Ben alarm.

After half an hour or so, his wails would bring my daughter bursting into my room, where she slammed her fist down on his cute little red comb to stop the serenade.  At times her intrusion would even arouse me from sleep for a few seconds.

My chicken traveled to writers’ conferences with me.  Our most memorable journey was to RWA National in Chicago several years ago.  A friend wanted to have a breakfast for newly published authors the year I sold to Precious Gems, but the only time she could book was 5:30am.  I was ready.  I left two wake up calls, set the TV to alarm, activated the alarm on my clock radio, and finally, set my chicken for 5am.  If I’d had a cell phone at the time, I would have set that, also.

Surely with all that commotion I’d wake up in plenty of time for breakfast.

But alas, the only ones roused by the chicken and his helpers were the people trying to sleep in adjoining rooms, who must have finally called security to complain about the noise while I dreamt on.

Did you know hotel security can get into your hotel room even if you have the chain on the door?

I woke that morning (way past 5am) to the sight of two security guards standing at the foot of my bed asking, “Are you all right, ma’am?”  Nothing like an adrenaline rush to wake a person up in the morning.

I’m sure they must have expected to find a dead body in the room or something, considering the racket coming from my quarters.

At a more recent conference, I snuck back into my room for a quick nap between workshops.  I sort of heard a little noise or something and got up because it was time for the next workshop.  And there was the maid apologizing because she’d knocked and no one answered.

If I’d had my little chicken, perhaps I wouldn’t have had to suffer this indignity a second time, but alas, after thirty-some-odd years of service my chicken just plain wore out.  Oh, I took him to the clock hospital, but the woman there said they don’t make them like that anymore, and there was nothing she could do for my faithful companion.

He now enjoys a place of honor on the cart where I keep my house plants, because I can’t discard my friend after so many years together.

I’m now down to one pitiful clock radio and wake every morning in a panic because I’m afraid I’m going to be late for work.

I do so miss my chicken, who wanted me to wake up and dance every morning, even though that possibility was extremely unlikely.  I have to admire his persistence.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

You’ve probably heard of Dog the Bounty Hunter, a high-profile recovery agent and reality television show star. He looks and sounds as you might expect a bounty hunter reality TV star would. He’s big and gruff.

But the world’s best bounty hunter, Michelle Gomez, is neither. She is unexpected.

Michelle is a diminutive 4-foot-11-inches. But don’t think for one minute that her size is a handicap. She is a ball of fire with a huge heart and love for people. And I am her number one fan.

I happened upon Michelle when I first began research for Touch Me, my newest release. I wanted to make my heroine—an Atlantean descendant— a bounty hunter with special paranormal abilities. Through the character, I wanted to show the connections between individuals, and between objects and the individuals they belong to. I gave my heroine, Payson Silver, psychometric ability so that she could sense the connections and use them to reconnect loved ones with family and important objects to owners. Michelle turned out to be not only a great source of information but an inspiring woman.

A private investigator, bounty hunter, skip tracer, and business owner, Michelle wrote in an email that her most valuable skills are insider her.

“My recipe is intuition and my intellect of gathering information,” she said.

When I interviewed her, I learned she is professional and all business when it comes to her work. But she also came across as caring and insightful. I wondered how she managed working in tough circumstances with criminals and troubled people. Again, she said she relies on her inner strengths.

“I cope by not getting involved more than I need to,” she said. “It's very hard not to but I've learned to bring that wall up quick.”

Michelle is genius at making her work not only serve justice but also make the world a better place by helping others, and her positive attitude shines.

“Most rewarding (in my work) is closure and answers and bringing peace to my clients’ needs and or concerns,” she said. “As for my successful journey getting where I'm at today has been adventurous, and the hard work and late nights not sleeping has paid off. But my journey has just begun.”

Like Michelle, Payson wants to serve people.
Here’s an excerpt from Touch Me:

A tear slipped down Adele’s cheek. “Thank you so much for coming today. I’m never going to give up hope of finding Shana. When I saw the article about you in the newspaper, I was thrilled to read of your success in finding the stolen car for that family. I just had to try to contact you and ask you for help.” The woman perched on the edge of the couch.

Payson smiled. The mention of her recent recovery warmed her heart. “You mean the Willys.” In every recovery, those moments of happy endings were what kept her going.

“Yes, yes. That’s the one.” She slanted her head, her eyes tearing up. “If only you could find Shana.”

Payson’s stomach clenched. “Happy endings are not a guarantee, sadly.” She leaned forward, earnest intention pumping through her body. “But, Mrs. Freeport, I’ll do everything I can to find your daughter. My success rate is very high. I can’t make promises, because that would be unethical. But there’s a reason I’m one of the top recovery agents in the United States and that I have clients from around the world. I’m not telling you that to brag. It’s to assure you my chances are good for finding out what happened to your daughter.”

Adele’s eyes pleaded. “But you will take the case?”

“Yes. I’ll start right away.”

Adele jumped up and wrapped her arms around Payson’s shoulders. “I can’t thank you enough.”

Bursts of impressions played across Payson’s mind. Images of Shana and Adele arguing flitted past, followed by those of mother and daughter walking in a park. The bursts were so real, Payson could feel a spring breeze in the park, hear the angst in the mother-daughter argument. Payson centered herself. Her ability was growing, but now was not the time to go into information it could give her. She had her process and it didn’t begin with loading her brain with Adele’s memories.

“You don’t have to thank me. I’m very interested in finding Shana.”

Adele sat back down. “We should discuss the cost.”

“I don’t charge for missing person cases when it concerns a lost family member.”

“What? How can that be?” Adele’s eyes widened. “This is your work, finding people. You’re a bounty hunter. You charge a fee. I’ve checked your website.”

“Yes, I’m a recovery agent, bounty hunter as you say. I get paid well for locating fugitives, and it funds my true passion, bringing a conclusion to families who have no idea what has happened to their loved ones. That is a kind of pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

“You sound as if you know that pain too.” Adele’s lips tightened. “But I don’t mean to pry.”

Payson’s heart rolled over. It was true. So very true, that she shoved away the memory of crystal blue eyes and glossy dark hair. Pushed away especially the bright warm smile. Braden’s smile that had felt like sunshine on her face. After five days without him, of Braden being “lost” to her, a keen understanding beat inside her of the devastation and heartache of those who live with loss.

Find Touch Me, Book One in Dark Sides series, on Amazon and other popular retailers. Find Michelle Gomez on Facebook and Twitter .

Image Credit: Michelle Gomez @MsSkiptracer 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Random thoughts... @LizFlaherty

Since my day to blog is here...right this minute...actually hours ago and I'm just now getting here, my mind is feeling kind of random, so here we go on a random post.


Good morning! I am in the happiest time of my year. I love fall and its colors and sounds and scents and I love the holidays that are going to be here any minute. I don't decorate much anymore, but I love enjoying other people's. My Harlequin Heartwarming book, Nice to Come Home To, is a fall book. An orchard book. It's one of my favorite covers, one of my favorite stories.

Speaking of favorites, one of the delightful surprises of aging--no, I'm not being facetious, this time--is that I've met so many of my favorite people since 50. Writer Nan Reinhardt is one of my best friends ever. Scott Johnson, who owns an amazing store and coffee shop in Logansport, Indiana called Legacy Outfitters and Black Dog Coffee, is one of my favorite people. Joe DeRozier owns a local bakery and tells the most amazing stories in the most amazing voice. Debby Myers inspires me in how she handles things that are thrown at her on a daily basis. They help on my personal blog and add so much to the quality of its content.

Speaking of books--weren't we?--I downloaded my very first print edition of a book on Amazon. It was easy, which I found to be scary in and of itself, and took hardly any time at all. It was me taking a step into this century and I'm glad to have taken it. I'm in no hurry to take another.

Sandra Day O'Connor has retired from public life because "she has been diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease." I find it unbearably sad that she can have done so much for everyone in general and her gender in particular, yet have her life as she knows it will be stolen by this godforsaken disease.

There was a picture on Facebook today that made me wonder something. If they made a movie of Cary Grant's life, who would play Mr. Grant? I have no ideas, but it you do, please comment on my Facebook page. I'm being atrociously shallow and just thinking about looks here--I hope he can act and has a delicious British accent as well. 

I got my nails done this morning. I never even realized I loved brown...

Have a great week!

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.


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