Friday, November 30, 2018

Guess What by Karen Kelley


Lots of news! The Southern series is now in Kindle Unlimited. Also, I have new, fun covers for The Nerak series and I also put them in Kindle Unlimited. I should have the new covers on my website soon, but if you want to see them you can check them out on Amazon.
 
 
The second book in my Flocked series, Flocked Up!  is now available! I hope you enjoy  my newest romantic comedy. Here's a little bit of it:
 

Chapter 1

Mia
“No. Oh hell no. This isn’t happening.” I stood at the bathroom sink and stared at the stick with the very bright plus sign glaring back at me. I closed my eyes as tightly as I could, then opened them and looked at it once more in case it might have changed in the last two seconds.
 It hadn’t.
I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. I didn’t look pregnant. A little pale with a tinge of green, but that was just from shock, right?
I probably had looked at it wrong. I slowly lowered my gaze—sneaking up on it.  Nope, there it was, practically glowing. Plus, plus PLUS sign! Like neon lights on Broadway.
Wait a minute. Did a plus sign even mean it was positive? Maybe I read the directions wrong. I dug the box out of the trash. Oh Lord, please, please, please don’t let me be pregnant.
As I read the words on the box, my heart began to sink. I picked up the stick again and looked at the sign. My legs grew weak. I held on to the edge of the sink and sat on the lid of the toilet with a hard plop.
“Go away,” I told the plus sign. I began to shake it like I used to shake my magic eight ball when I was a teenager. ‘Will Johnny ask me to the dance?’ I would turn over the magic black ball and see my answer. If I asked it enough times, it would respond, ‘it is certain.’
But after shaking the hell out of the stick, it still registered a plus sign. Stupid pregnancy test.
“Hi, Mia,” Chloe, my best friend and roomie, said. “What are you doing sitting in the bathroom?”
I slowly raised my head. My bottom lip quivered.
“What’s the matter, honey?” She stepped inside the bathroom, her gaze moving to what I was holding. She stumbled to a stop. “Oh my God. Tell me that’s not a pregnancy test.” Her gaze raised to my face.
“I could tell you it’s not a pregnancy test, but I would be lying.” I sucked in a sob. “It’s positive,” I wailed. I was not going to cry. I wasn’t the type of person who fell apart.
The first tears slid down my cheeks, quickly followed by a flood. And I didn’t have an Ark. I was quickly drowning in my sorrow.
She grabbed some toilet paper and shoved it into my hand before she helped me to my feet. I put the stick on the counter before blotting my eyes and blowing my nose.
Chloe led me out of the bathroom and to the living room sofa, then she ordered me to sit. Chester immediately jumped on the sofa with me. I pulled my little ragamuffin, mix-breed dog onto my lap and hugged him close.
“You’re always preaching to me about being careful,” Chloe began. “How the hell did this happen?”
I tilted my head and looked at her.
“Not that part. I know how that happened. What I want to know is how you could have unprotected sex. Who’s the father?”
“I don’t know,” I mumbled.
“Huh?”
I cleared my throat. “I don’t exactly know,” I repeated.
“You had unprotected sex with more than one guy? Were you drunk?”
I frowned. “No I wasn’t drunk… Okay, maybe I was a little tipsy, but I wasn’t drunk, drunk. And it was only one guy. I don’t actually know him that well, except his name. It was his stupid cat’s fault.”
Chloe pinched her nose between her thumb and forefinger, closing her eyes. I had a feeling she was mentally counting to ten.
“Had you been smoking weed or something?” she finally asked.
“You know the only time I smoked weed it made me feel horrible. I haven’t done it since.”
She sat down beside me. “I think you’d better start from the beginning.”
“I don’t want to.”
She raised her eyebrows.
When Chloe raised both eyebrows, you knew you were in trouble. There would be no getting around not telling her.
I expelled a deep sigh of resignation. “Okay, I’ll tell you what happened.” I leaned back against the sofa cushions. I might as well get comfortable if I was going to have to relive that whole horrible night. “It was back in March. The night of Mr. Bridge’s birthday party.”
She nodded. “I remember. I loaned you my little black dress. It looked perfect with your black heels. Okay, go on.”
I closed my eyes and thought back to that night…
 
This book is also available in Kindle Unlimited. I love the cover (see below).
 
Okay, I'm taking off a couple of days to do a little shopping and baking before I dive into Ryder and Samantha's story in the Unleashed series.
Best,
Karen Kelley
 
www.authorkarenkelley.com



 Read for free in KU                                                                                Read for free in KU
or Purchase Now                                                                                      or Purchase Now

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"...a sad sort of clanking..." @LizFlaherty #GemsinAttic

What fun it is seeing all the activity on this blog these days! It makes me feel happy and proud and satisfied even after 20 years or so to be part of the Precious Gems group of authors, especially the ones who stepped forward to participate in this endeavor. I have loved seeing where everyone is and what they're doing. I've loved talking about what I'm doing.

But we all reach times when we have to make choices and set priorities, so it's time for me to step away from the Attic. I didn't expect to be sad about this, but I am. I keep thinking of that song from Sound of Music, hence the title to this post. Thanks to everyone who's been so helpful and supportive, particularly Joan Reeves and Maddie James, who've done all the heavy lifting involved.

Thank you, too, to Kensington Publishing and Hilary Sares. All these years later, I still think putting an end to Precious Gems was a mistake, but I'm glad the imprint was there to give some of us--me, for instance--our first "published author" credit.

We stepped into the holiday season this week. I hope it was a great Thanksgiving and that everyone who visits the Attic enjoys the rest of the season.

I'll leave you as we often do, with a reminder of, Hey, here's my latest book. The Dark Horse is a Christmas story and one of my favorites ever.

In THE DARK HORSE, widowed Chloe Brewton has made a life for herself in Christmas Town, Maine, teaching literature and being the drama coach at the high school. Although she’d loved her husband and their life in the army, she doesn’t really want to start over with someone else, but when she meets Major Row Welcome, in Christmas Town to spend the holiday month with relatives and decide about his future, she feels stirrings of old wishes for happily-ever-after. The attraction is mutual, although the last thing Row wants is to try marriage again, plus he’s about as interested in having a family as…well, he isn’t. But then there’s Connor Michaud and his three younger siblings. Oh, no. What now in Christmas Town?


B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dark-horse-liz-flaherty/1129076892;jsessionid=1CE2CA50E0E4DCB22BB44C041510E26D.prodny_store01-atgap05?ean=2940162061731


So long, and thanks again. Happy writing.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I can't cut hair by Karen Kelley


     I’ve had people come up and I could tell they were nervous about meeting me. I never could understand how they could put me up on a pedestal just because I’m a writer.

     I was doing a book signing once and one girl drove quite a distance just to get an autographed book, and then she almost didn’t approach me. I kept seeing her walking around the bookstore, clutching a couple of books, and every time we made eye contact, she’d look away.

     When I noticed they were my books, I left the table and walked up to her. I smiled and asked if she would like me to autograph her books. We began to talk and I think we had a good time.

     I was raised in small towns most of my life. The kind where everyone knows you. It always shocked me to realize some people think I’m special because I can string a few words together, make a sentence, then have it published into a book.

     Well, I can’t cut hair. I think hairdressers are pretty darn special. When the kids were little and they saw me with a pair of scissors---they hid. I’ll never understand how I could start on one side of their forehead at one length, then be off by an inch on the other side. And don’t even try to straighten it up!

     I think waitresses are special. They can take an order and then remember who ordered what when they bring the food out. Then there are the trays they balance on one hand. Nope, that would never happen if I was carrying it. Someone would get food dumped in their lap.

     Accountants are special. If I tried to figure all that math, I swear my eyes would cross.

     Editors are special---lol!!! I think the ones I’ve had just shake their head when they edit my work.

     I’m just someone who sits at her laptop and writes whatever comes to mind. If you see me somewhere, wave or say hi. You’ll always get a wave and a hi right back. 
Click here to read in KU or order now.         

Bringing Joy into Your Life by Connie Vines


Let’s face it Life can be very challenging.  The Holidays are often stressful. 

California (where I live) has been beset with wildfires throughout the state this year. 

The Holidays a time to experience joy, give thanks, and look forward to a new year.  Sometimes, it isn’t easy to shove our problems aside.

Still, it is important that we bring joy into our life.

I’d like to share tips I’ve learned from life, personal observation, and from friends who help those in need.

·        Let yourself dream ~ Bringing joy into your life begins with the hope that you will feel it. Spend some time imagining what joy would feel like, how you would experience it, and how it would rock your world. Your brain looks for proof of what you tell it. Begin telling it about joy and it will begin looking for it.

·        Give yourself permission ~ It’s very easy to put off the experience of joy. Your world is busy, your mind may be cluttered; there are a ton of things to do. That’s all true. It’s also true that the longer you deny yourself joy the longer it will be before you feel it. Practice giving yourself permission to have it now.

·        Get a puppy ~ Sorry cat lovers, puppies hold the title for most joyful pet! With their infinite energy, constant exploration and playful spirit puppies can tap into that part of you that just likes to have fun, which makes them the perfect conduit to joy.

·        Do something creative ~ Expressing your vision and who you are feels good. Whether you like to write, paint, sing, crochet, cook or any other activity that conjures something out of thin air, can access a well of pleasure in who you are and make you feel incredible delight.

·        Do something you used to love as a child ~ Your core personality develops by the time you’re seven. The things that brought you delight back then can still bring you joy today. As an adult you may have lost touch with them. Think back to what used to bring you happiness at the age of five, or eight or ten.

·        Challenge yourself physically! ~ You feel pleasure keenly in your body. Moving it, caring for it, using it in strong and empowering ways forges a deep connection within your very soul. Find some physical activity that challenges you to use your full body for a sustained period of time (under doctor’s direction—no marathons for a devoted couch-potato.

·        Open yourself emotionally ~ Connecting with others can be the source of enormous pleasure. The trick is connecting with the right people, the kind who experience joy themselves.

·        Do something incredibly helpful for someone else ~ One of the most joyful actions you can take is to make someone else feel joy. Bringing pleasure to another and witnessing their joy can have a wonderful boomerang effect on you.

·        Look around your wondrous world. Notice the colors of the flowers, the sky and the trees. Listen to the sounds of traffic, crickets, and people laughing.


Where am I finding my joy this holiday season? 

Always, time with my family.  My husband, sons, grandchildren, extended family members and friends. And, as you probably guessed, my 4-legged companion 😊.






I love to bake and share my creative meals with family, friends, and co-workers.  Breakfast casseroles cooked overnight in my crock pot, cookies, gingerbread, and more!

Here’s a simple recipe that can be frozen to enjoy next month, or given as gifts.




This Snickerdoodle Bread is so delicious and easy (no yeast involved)! It's filled with cinnamon chips and topped with cinnamon and sugar!
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 mini loaves

INGREDIENTS
·         2 1/2 cups flour
·         2 tsp baking powder
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         2 tsp cinnamon
·         1 cup butter softened
·         2 cups sugar
·         3 eggs
·         1 tsp almond extract *
·         3/4 cup sour cream
·         1 package Hershey's Cinnamon Chips
·         3 tbsp sugar
·         3 tsp cinnamon
INSTRUCTIONS
1.     Cream butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
2.     Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well.
3.     Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients and mix until all combined.
4.     Add cinnamon chips and stir into batter. Set aside.
5.     Spoon batter into 4 mini loaf pans until about ⅔ full.
6.     Mix 3 T. sugar and 3 t. cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the batter in each loaf pan.
7.     Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.
* I prefer almond extract instead of the traditional vanilla extract. *

If desired, create a powdered sugar glaze with almond extract and sliced almonds to finish up the top of the loaf.

Wishing you all the Joy life has in store for you and yours, 

Connie






Monday, November 26, 2018

Organization - a thing to be grateful for. @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

This post sits in a sea of "What I'm grateful for" posts from my American writing sisters here on Gems In The Attic.

My Thanksgiving was last month. (But that's another post - my previous one, in fact)

Aside from this wonderful, warm holiday full of family and food, I am grateful for this beautiful book:

This is the Polestar Business Agenda for 2019. Even the simple cover screams all business. On the inside covers we find flaps where receipts can be stored.

The interior has all the things you'd expect: a monthly calendar that's pretty straightforward. But on the other side we have three sections on the page called: Goals & Objectives, To Do This Month, and the one on the bottom makes me happiest. That section is titled New Projects/Ideas. Seeing that prompt reminds me to jot down projects I want to continue with: Like creating boxed sets from my trilogies or getting ebooks into print on demand.

For a writer who struggles with marketing, promotion, newsletters, blogging, and actually, you know, writing books, these pages are gold.

The weekly pages have other gems to help me stay organized. These columns are titled: Meetings, Deadlines & Appts. / Daily work / Personal. Here is where I track my word count for the day, my promos, and there are also sections for correspondence and a To Do List for the week.

I went to some lengths to find this Polestar agenda this year because last year, I waited too long and made do with their Family Calendar - another fine product, but not aimed at business. And writing is a business.

I ended up shooting the company an email about where to purchase their calendars in my town. I got a response...went to a local bookstore and had to get a clerk to get on her hands and knees to search their stock. I was so thrilled when she gained her feet again with my book in her hand! I immediately called my writing pal over to see it. Naturally, she bought one, too.

I can honestly say I'm giddy at the idea of opening up this book and filling it with hopes, dreams, projects and completed work. 

Here is the first quote of the day from my new agenda, fitting, I think:

Most of the time, beauty lies in the simplest of things. - Winna Effendi, NOVELIST (1986 -)

The 2019 Polestar Business Agenda - truly a beautifully simple thing.

So, what to take away from this bizarre blog post? Writers love stationery, pens, planners and anything else to make our lives easier.

And we don't need or want a twelve step program to end our addiction.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Recycling my second Precious Gems by Jan Scarbrough #Gemsinattic


Back in the day, I sold my first book to Kensington for their Precious Gems line. It was a book I’d worked on for a few years, revised, cut out words, and submitted. After that sale, I wrote another book, hoping to sell it to Precious Gems. That book is now Kentucky Groom.

The Kensington editor named it Best Intentions. It was a good choice. My hero had the heroine’s best intentions at heart.

Revised, re-edited, and republished, Kentucky Groom fits perfectly in my Bluegrass Reunion Series where most of the heroines are single moms. The stories are set in Kentucky, and horses have a part in the plot.

The book is better now after some clean-up. Let’s face it, I write better than I did back in the day. For a short time, the ebook is only 99 cents at most ebook retailers.

Rakuten kobo: http://bit.ly/2R93GyK



The Story:

For Jay Preston, being a young computer genius working in his family’s business empire isn’t enough. The software he created may have made him a millionaire, but it hasn’t made him happy. Seeking simple honesty in his life, he takes a temporary job in a place that made him happy in his youth, grooming American Saddlebred horses near Louisville, Kentucky. Then a beautiful woman from his past walks back into his life.

Life isn’t easy for the widowed Carrie Mercer. Raising her daughter alone, she’s struggling to make ends meet while paying for her daughter’s horse. She can’t possibly be falling for the handsome new groom at her daughter’s stable. He’s too young for her, isn’t he? Although he may be a true gentleman, there’s something secretive about him.

Then tragedy strikes, endangering Carrie’s daughter. Carrie married once before for her daughter’s sake. Is she willing to risk her heart a second time when Jay offers a tantalizing proposition? Jay’s always wanted to be loved for himself, not his millions, but the shy widow and her little daughter need him. Can a marriage of convenience prove that a California millionaire can be the perfect Kentucky groom?



Saturday, November 24, 2018

There's a Word for Everything by @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

Wow. Words!
Mark Twain said, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

Yes, there's a word for everything and using the specific word for something can make all the difference in what you're trying to describe—whether that's in conversation or in writing a book.

Here are a few words you may not know, but you may find some of them to be the perfect word at some point.

Albertopolis: a group of museums and cultural institutions in South Kensington in London, named after Prince Albert.

Aspergillum: implement used for sprinkling holy water in religious ceremonies.

Benthos: the flora and fauna on the bottom of a sea or lake.

Blatherskite: a person who talks at great length without making much sense.

Cereology: the study or investigation of crop circles.

Croze: a groove at the end of a cask or barrel in which the head is fixed for execution.

Deglutition: the action or process of swallowing.

Entomophagy: the eating of insects, especially by people.

Famulus: an assistant or attendant, especially one working for a magician or scholar.

Incunabula: books printed before 1501.

Mudlark: a person who scavenges in riverside mud at low tide for anything of value.

Nacarat: a bright orange-red color.

Ogdoad: a group or set of eight.

Paraph: a flourish after a signature.

Rubricate: to add elaborate capital letters (typically red ones) or other decorations to a manuscript.

Screenager: a person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for using computers and the Internet.

Tartle: a word the Scots have for that panicky hesitation you get when introducing someone whose name you can't remember.

Thalassic: relating to the sea.

Ulu: a short-handled knife with a broad crescent-shaped blade, used by Inuit women.

Vagarious: erratic and unpredictable in behavior or direction.

Wittol: a man who knows of and tolerates his wife's infidelity.

Zoolatry: the worship of animals.

For Your Consideration

Sabrina Snow knew she was going to get herself killed if she didn’t get help. Someone was after her, and he wasn't going to stop.

She ran to the only man she trusted...the only man who had the skills to save her. Too bad Navy SEAL John Galloway hated her.

But she owed him the truth. What if she were killed? John needed to know where to look. If he'd hated her before, what would he feel once he learned the depth of her deception?

DEAD HEAT, only on Amazon, is on sale for only 99 cents until Thursday, Nov. 29.

Review: "Everything’s moving at a dead heat in this story, running full-tilt from the first page. The opening yanks you right in, hurtling you down twists and turns... Joan Reeves delivers the scenes so well that you live it with the characters, finding yourself running for all you’re worth, to coming to a dead stop, caught in the throes of the memory of desire." ~ NetGalley


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