Thursday, October 19, 2017

Reading, Shaun Cassidy, and Steve #MFRW Authors #42

What was my 1st love?  Since I'm not sure which 1st love we're supposed to mention, either hobby-wise, Romantic Interest, or Celebrity Crush, I'll cover all three.

Since you've been reading my posts for the past 42 weeks, you know by now I fell in love with the written word as soon as my mom read me Cinderella.  At the tender age of 11, I discovered how to write down these stories in my head.

"That's Rock-n-Roll"
Okay, to be fair, Shaun Cassidy and Donny Osmund occurred at about the same time.  I soooo wanted to be on the Donny and Marie Show as an ice skater, and maybe he'd 'discover' my *cough* singing ability and let me sing with him.

I rarily missed an episode of The Hardy Boys, and when Shaun Cassidy began

*side note*  Both were actually replaced in my heart about the 4th time I saw Star Wars.  Harrison Ford (Han Solo if you've been living under a rock the past 40 years) swept me off my feet (I wish!!) when I realized he was MUCH better looking than Mark Hamill!  (Sorry Luke....)

First Kiss:
I met Steve when we were 10 and 11, through our parents.  When Steve's parents spent six months in Colorado on sabbatical, I began writing letters to him and his twin brother.  My family joined them for two weeks of camping and driving all over Colorado, so we were spent two solid weeks of togetherness, even sleeping in the same tent a few times!  By the 3rd day, we were 'officially going together', holding hands whenever no one was looking, and he held open doors, unfolded napkins, and in general, treated me like a queen (I was 12, he was 11).  At the end of our vacation,  I left for home counting down the weeks until Steve's family would return.

We held an 'unpacking party' for them a month later, and right before we were to leave, Steve called me to his room, and after we shooed his brother and my sister out, he came over and kissed me on the cheek.  I kissed him back, then was starry-eyed all the way home!

We only saw each other once a week, or twice if our parents got together, and this 'relationship' lasted four more years, until we realized our hormones were now 'raging' for other people, lol!  Still, we remained good friends, and I even attended his wedding in 1991.

What was YOUR first love, be it hobby, opposite sex, or otherwise?

To see others', go here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Why Do I Blog? #MFRW Authors #41

Heartfelt apologies for being late with this post; it took me two days to 'recover' from my busy weekend, then children's illnesses have kept me busy.  We even forgot to set out our trash can this morning!  Now, I can feel my own body is trying to fight off something....ugh.

The short, simple answer is LIFE.  Somewhere, there is a news article, or a national uproar that I simply can't keep my fingers quiet about.  I've been inspired to blog about my outrage against parental warnings against Classic Sesame Street episodes ("May be harmful to your child"...give me a break!), Idiots In The News (aka Stupid Criminals or just stupidity in general), or even recent issues such as disrespecting our flag and my rage against finding affordable health care.

My Writer Life
I love drawing ideas from other blogs, and blog hops.  I used to long to become a member of Oh Get A Grip or The Writer's Evolution blog groups, and for a while was following their weekly topics.  I did manage to become a member of TWE, only to have everyone else get tired and stop posting.

Back in 2011-2013 I managed to hop on the 'submit-edit-release-promo-submit-edit-release-promo' merry-go-round (aka Book of the Month Club as I call it), where just about every month I was releasing a new title.  This was exhausting, and something I don't intend to ever do again.

Not to mention the 50 lbs I managed to pack on during that time, due to being chained to my laptop!  Note to self:  Next time I wind up with a publisher who wants to release books every other month, say NO!

Other Posts:
Some are witty, some are author interviews, some accidentally cause the Blog Mob to rise up against me.  Some are silly things my kids have done.

So you see, inspiration can be found EVERYWHERE.  If you're stumped for a topic, turn on the local news, read the paper, listen to the radio.  Or find your favorite author's blog and scroll through his/her posts until you find a head-scratching moment or think. 'Yeah!  That's a good idea!"

To see where other authors draw their inspirations from, go here.

Forgot to mention:  Found out Teacher's Pet should be releasing by either later today or by the end of next week!  So excited about this news!!!!  Next up is the reboot of The Anderson Chronicles, coming soon to Stardust/Erotes Press!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"Frankly Miss Scarlet, I Don't Give A Damn." #MFRW Authors #40

The title of today's post came to me the instant I saw this week's topic.  I won't be surprised if it pops up on everyone's post today!

Other memorable lines:

"I'm horny and pressed for time...." (Teacher's Pet, me-shameless self promo, lol!)

"Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring....what happens to Aaron?  Everything!"  (see last week's post)

"That's no moon..." (Star Wars)

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  (Great Expectations *Correction:*  Tale of Two Cities  Thank you Ed!)

"I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen."  (Little Women)

“Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.” (Little Women, the scene which resonated with me when I began putting pen to paper!)

"True friends are always together in spirit."  (Anne of Green Gables)

"Life is worth living as long as there's laughter in it."  (Anne of Green Gables)

"A person's a person, no matter how small."  (Horton Hears A Who)

“When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get should do what I do! Just tell yourself, Duckie, you're really quite lucky!  Some people are much more...oh, ever so much more...oh, muchly much-much moreunlucky than you!” (Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?)

"Papa, Papa, I went to town!  Inside, outside, upside down!"  (Inside Outside Upside Down)

"Marvin K Mooney, will you please go now!"  (Title of book)

"I like a swift breeze 'round my privates."  (Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire-this one always makes us laugh!)

Yes, I confess; I had to google some of these!  Sat down and aside from the 1st two, my mind was blank!

Gah....can you believe this week #40????  Only twelve more weeks in this year! I'm not reeeeaaddddeeeeeeeeee.....

Want to see what other bloggers came up with for this topic?  Click here. 

I'm off to Louisville, Ky to the Imaginarium Convention this weekend!  I will be taking the computer, and might check in Saturday night.  If not, then I'll be back either Monday or Tuesday.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 28, 2017


I've got to admit, this week's topic stumped me.  Normally, as soon as I type the topic into a blank post on Thursday, an idea sparks and I write it down, then polish it before I add it to the linky list a week later.  But here it is already Thursday, and thankfully inspiration hit last night.

Duh, doesn't have to be something witty by another author!  Go to your Bible!

So here it is, the words I truly try to live by:

"Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You."
                                                                                                         -The Golden Rule

Professionally, my favorite is this gem:

"Don't get it RIGHT, get it WRITTEN."

What about you?
To see what other pearls of wisdom other authors are sharing, click here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Year (or Day!) of Seasons

"Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring....what happens to Aaron?  EVERYTHING!"
This was one of my favorite books as a kid, about Aaron the Alligator and all the problems he had every season:)

I live in Indiana and sometimes we can get all four seasons in the same day, or at least maybe two per day!  What I like about each season is short and sweet.

As a full-time Mom, I had a love/hate relationship with summer.  When the kids were little and we lived in an apartment, the kids and I spent a great deal of time at the pool, or taking them to the park.  As they grew older, though, my summers were spent shuttling them from activity to activity.

Boy was I happy when school began!

My spouse also worked in the summertime, so I was also in single-mom mode most of the time.

School was in session, and I had my 'me' time back.  When we moved to the country, this was the time of year I enjoyed getting outside and working in the back yard, picking up sticks and clearing the brush, since our back yard consisted of 6 acres of woods!

Now, my favorite part is attending the Fall Festivals.

The only good part of winter is Christmas and my birthday.  As I've gotten older, I. HATE. Snow.  Last year, I loved it; we got a dusting.  My ideal winter?  A light snow Christmas Eve or day, then gone by the 26th.

My favorite flowers are tulips, and I was thrilled to discover our new house had them in the flower boxes out in front!

When the spouse was working, I also loved the fact the phone would ring and he would return to work:)

What about you?  What's your favorite season?
Click here to see more.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Winning My Heart #MFRW Authors #37

What Five Things Can A Person Do To Win My Heart?

I'm going to cheat, and answer this two ways.

As An Author:
1)  "Feed Me, Seymore!".  A guy once told me on a date that I was the only girl who'd actually eaten her meal on the 1st date.  Uuuummmm, yeah, this gal likes her food.  I don't buy into the whole notion of not wanting the guy to see what I look like while eating; hell, I think taking a guy to a Greek restaurant is an excellent 1st date!  If he can't handle the way I eat a gyro, then there's no point in pursuing this any further.

2)  Respect My Need For Space.  Every once in a while, I get the urge to write non-stop.  If you're gonna nag me about my computer use, forget it.

3)  Share My Taste In Music or Humor, Or At Least Don't Ridicule Me:  I have quirky tastes, and if I'm in the mood to watch Rocky Horror Picture Show or Spinal Tap, either thrill me by getting the references if I tell you I like my speakers on 11, or ask 'is that an armadillo in your trousers?'  

"You know, dozens of people spontaneously combust every day; it's just not widely talked about."

"That'll do, pig."

"You gotta jump to your left...."

"You murdered my father; preepare to die!" (Yes, I purposefully misspelled 'prepare'.  If you get it, kudos to you!)

*clears throat*  Moving on......

4) Buy me books.  Or Amazon/B&N gift cards.  Build me shelves for my print books.

5)  Offer to clean the kitchen, or at least help with clean up, if I've cooked you a nice meal!  Or even better, cook for me:)  And have a sing-a-long to make the chore go faster.....

As A Mom:
1) Same As #1 Above.  You can never go wrong with food, lol!

2)  Take a GENUINE Interest In My Kids and In Me:   My kids and I come as a package deal.  If you don't like my kids, then take a hike.

3)  Same As #3 Above:   Case in point:  Last night, my husband handed me his cup and asked me to 'ice me, baby.'  My oldest son and I looked at each other and started rapping... "Alright stop.  Collaborate and listen...Ice is back with a brand new ambition..."  Needless to say, he was not exactly amused....

Nor was my dad back in 1983, when my sister and I decided to sing while coming home from somewhere with our parents.  My dad asked us to sing something quieter, like Rock of Ages.  My sis and I looked at each other and started in.  "Rise up, gather round, rock this place to the ground..."

Again, my father was not amused, but Mom laughed!

Have you picked up on my sense of humor yet?

4)  Same as #4 Above:  You can never go wrong with books!

5)  Same as #5 Above.  Or at least be willing to either take me out, order pizza, or bring home Arby's for lunch if I'm deep into my aliens' lives!  If I've been writing all day, the last thing I want to do is cook!

See?  I'm fairly easy to please.  Not high-maintenance at all.  Oh and as a bonus, go with me to a few events and actually act INTERESTED?  Or if you're not after the 1st one, still go with me and go off and do your own thing before picking me up?  We can talk about both events!

To see the way to other authors' hearts, click here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Time Management, Kenzie-Style #MFRW Authors #36

First of all, what do you think of my shiny new cover?  When Freya's Bower folded last year, I received my rights back.  I was having trouble paying for Kira's edits, Kira's cover art, AND paying my FB cover artist to remove the FB logo, so something had to wait.  Then earlier this summer, I learned that Hydra Publications planned to create a romance spin-off, so I sent off my 2nd official 'baby', after updating it to present day.  I'd written it back in 2007, before Smart Phones and Social Media.  For anyone who's already read the old version, I hope you will consider checking out the minor changes I've made to this wonderful story.  (Old cover can still be seen to the right)

Now, back to the topic at hand:  How do I manage my writing time?

Short answer:  Not very well.

It used to be easy:  Send spouse off to work, wake children and take them to school, check email (took longer to boot up the computer and get online than it did to read my mail!), put on the music, and write.

But now....I've had days when all I've done is bounce back and forth between emails, chat loops, and Facebook!  Not to mention blogging.  That used to eat up a good hour, more if I felt the need to comment on all of them!

Plus, the spouse is now retired, and you're probably tired of hearing about the two abandoned houses we acquired along with our new house.  You get it; I need about six more hours in the day to get everything done.

So when do I write?  In the afternoon, after the chores and errands are complete.  I've actually made a schedule of what days to set aside for working on the houses, and what days I need to stay put.  Of course, the Muse can be fickle; last week I wrote 3K over the course of 2 days.

This may change, once NaNoWriMo gets here, and IF we get a hard winter.  Yup....shut me in the house with several inches of snow and ice outside, and Kenzie becomes a hermit, with her computer and Kindle for entertainment!

Unless the spouse 'insists' we brave the cold and go out to lunch, lol!

What's that?  You want the blurb to Teacher's Pet?  Enjoy:)

 What happens when you discover the man you had mind-blowing sex with three months ago is your son's teacher? Tammy Saunders is horrified when she realizes the man who set her heart racing is her son's favorite teacher. With one bad relationship behind her, will she trust her heart again, or will she continue to deny her feminine side?
And is this particular teacher popular only with his students? Kevin has made some bad choices in his life, but sleeping with not only one, but now two, of his students' mothers, has got to be the worst mistake he ever made. Especially when he realizes he's lost his heart to one of them...

Coming later this month from Erotes Press:)

For better tips on managing time, click here. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Habitual Offender....#MFRW Authors #35

*checks watch*

How much time do we have for this?  LOL....

Again, I'm not sure if this pertains to writing or life, so I'll do both.

*Looks around*
The one bad habit I'm *allowed* to keep is biting my fingernails.

There.  I said it.

Can I also keep my 1/2 shot of vodka in a cup of Kool-Aid while fixing dinner habit?

The one I'm diligently working on is breaking my carb addiction.  My favorite go-to lunch if we're home is pasta with pesto.  I think this may have contributed to my testiness with my older granddaughter at the beginning of this month.  It's hard to battle your cravings and a headstrong teenager in the same week, lol.

I also have a bad habit of unintentionally 'offending' some of my friends.  This is when our views on FB over Current Events don't exactly match up.  It usually goes like this:

I see post after post which I don't agree with, so I keep scrolling.

Later that evening, I find a mild one which lines up with my personal opinion and share it.  This is usually around midnight, but it could even happen in the middle of the day.  I log off and go about my business.

I log back in an hour or so later to find I've managed to 'offend' the majority of my friends, who then feel it is their obligation to take me to task.  My 'friend count' either drops or the thread is so out of control I feel compelled to delete it.

I then bite my tongue until the 'hot button' issue settles down and my FB feed returns to *normal*.

Sometimes this happens on my blog also, as the Great Christmas Lyric Scandal of 2007 showed me.

Okay, enough about that.

*flexes fingers*

Now, as to my writing.....I used to have the following bad habits:
-Adverbs (before I learned they were a no-no)
-Head Hopping (this before I knew the *rules* had changed....hey, I learned from the best!)
-Using certain words over and over....and then replacing them with more tired ones...(that, which, so, as, now, when...also beginning a sentence with 'And' or 'But'.)

Now my bad habit is procrastination.
-Short, to the point sex scenes (but is that really a bad thing?  LOL!)
-Using the same name over and over (Last check, I had 4 'Brians'....thankfully, one of them told me his name was 'Zachary Brian', so he became 'Zach'.)
-Not using enough description or using too many nicknames.  In one of my latest short story effort, I used complicated names and in some instances, shortened them.  I confused at least two beta readers who don't read that genre.....but the ones who DO read it had no issue!  So????)

If you ask my crit partners, they could probably point out more....

Want to know others' bad habits?  Click here.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Taking Notes....#MFRW Authors #34

 Open or Closed Doors?

I'm an open-door person.  Having been raised in an easy-going household, I like having the doors open on mild days; if there's only family around and I'm in a hurry, I will leave the bathroom door open when I do my, er, business.  I hate to sleep with the bedroom door closed.

The only times my bedroom door is closed is when I'm either getting dressed after a shower or need privacy.

*needle-scratch*  Oh wait, you mean in my books?  The bedroom scenes?

In that case, the bedroom door is wide open, and I'm standing beside the bed, taking notes on what my characters are doing between the sheets, or even on top of them.  (LOL!)

At least, that's how it was when I first began writing sex scenes.  Now, while sometimes every action is described, I will tend to leave some things to the imagination.  For example, once my characters have been to bed, I don't think it's necessary to describe every sexual act unless they try something new, or it's been a while since they've taken their time.

Truthfully, when I first began reading romances, I devoured every bedroom scene.  But now, I tend to skip over them and read more of the plot.  Does that shock you?  Maybe I'm simply burned out on sex scenes, having been pretty much immersed in them the past seven years.

I went through this issue once before, then purchased Anny Cook's Daffodil (currently unavailable, but if you have an old copy or know someone who owns it, I highly recommend it!  Esp her Phantom's Rest!) and read every single word.  Maybe I need to do so again?

To see what others have to say on this topic, click here.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Karaoke, Anyone? #MFRW Authors #33

If you're a FB friend, or regular reader of my other blog, you know I have a bi-weekly habit.

I'm a closet-rocker who has been hurting the ears singing karaoke for the past six years.  I get to unleash my inner rock chick and inflict my voice belt out Bon Jovi, Journey, Styx, and the occasional Foreigner songs, as well as going through the song list alphabetically.  On Saturday nights, I'm up to the 'N' titles.  On Thursday nights, well, I'm going backward, so in the past year I've gone from Z-W.  I also see if my Thursday night KJ has songs that my Saturday guy doesn't.  So for fun, here's my songs for the coming week:

No More Tears-Donna Summer/Barbra Streisand
No No No Song-Ringo Starr
No One Is To Blame-Howard Jones
No One Like You-Scorpions

When The Children Cry-White Lion
Leave A Light On-Belinda Carlisle
When The Going Gets Tough-Billy Ocean
Invincible-Pat Benetar (redeeming song)

I also took up needlepoint last year, and find it very relaxing.  I discovered a love of embroidery and cross-stitch when I was ten, as well as spool-knitting (my great-grandmother tried in vain to teach me how to needle-knit!  I did fine at her house, but as soon as I got home, I'd completely mess it up.).  I now have about six or eight yards of spooled yarn that will 'one day' be turned into a rug.  Every once in a while I'll come across that bag and work on it some more.

My kids finally got me interested in this online app, and so far I've binge-watched Star Trek DS9; Frasier, Coach, and am now on Season 7 of Criminal Minds.  I'm also on Season 1 of Friends, when I get tired of all the brutality of CM.

I'll admit, my reading time has greatly suffered in the past seven years.  My granddaughter has discovered the joys of the Kindle, so I have to hide mine when it's not in use.  I do tend to read more when I take various family members for doctor appointments and on the weekends when the granddaughter is at her dad's.  Right now, my 'unwinding' at night consists of NetFlix or my daily Solitaire Challenge.

So what do YOU do to recharge the creative batteries?
Find out more here. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"Magic 8 Ball, Please Tell Me...." #MFRW Authors #32

*shaking vigorously*

Where do I hope to be in ten years' time?
-Family-wise, my kids will be 35, 33, and 23; granddaughters will be 26 and 15; grandson 25.  My oldest will be teaching at the junior high level and on his way to getting his Masters of Education, if he hasn't already.  He may or may not be married with children of his own.  Daughter will have a steady job and a place of her own; my baby either be in college or working somewhere.  Granddaughter Alex will be in high school; Granddaughter Ariel will be pursuing her Culinary Arts career.  Grandson will most likely be in the Army or Marines.

-Parents will be in their 80s, if still alive.  Spousal unit will be 73.

-House-wise, with having the house finally to ourselves, all my possessions will be out of boxes and the house arranged the way I want it.  The other two houses will have been demolished and a nice yard in their place.

-Both dogs will probably be gone.  Pit Bull Dexter is already 6, and shepherd mix Cheyenne is nearly 8. 

-Career-wise, I want to be at the level where I am PAID to attend conferences, or at least have the means to attend the ones I want.  All current unfinished WIPS will be published.

Of course, if we go to war with NK in the coming months, I hope I'm one of the ones who are killed instantly.  I do not want to suffer any radiation poisoning.  I keep praying that another solution to this threat, as well as the terrorism threat, can be found soon.

I also dearly hope that the health care issue has been resolved, and I'll finally have GOOD medical insurance!

Magic 8 Ball, please tell me
What kind of future do you see?

"Future Cloudy.  Check back later."

What do you see in YOUR future?

Click here for more. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Aunt Mommy/Aunt Grandma #MFRW Authors #31

"The Good Ole Days" (before I was pubbed):
The year was 2000.  My youngest child was off to 1st grade, since Kindergarten was half day 'back then' and since I had a tendency to lose track of time while on the computer, I did other chores while keeping an eye on the clock.

So when she was off to school all day, I would happily get them off to school, watch the news until 9am, them turn on the radio, check my email, then get down to writing until both kids arrived home at 3:30.  Or I'd stop at 2:30 and go pick them up.  Homework and dinner would follow.

Fast-forward seventeen years:  I have 21 books published, plus five that need re-pubbed; three children (a caboose arrived in 2004), and three grandchildren (only 1 biological).  My two adult children are working and one is even going back to college later this month; my oldest granddaughter decided this summer to live with us and go to school down here; my baby is in 7th grade, and the youngest granddaughter enters full-day kindergarten.

In other words....I get my LIFE back!

But no more all day writing stints.  Oh no.  Now I have to check in with social media; manage 3 email accounts; check in with chat loops (I really only keep up with 2 instead of 17); manage 2 blogs; and do my daily FlyLady housecleaning. 

All before lunch.

Depending on Grumpy Claus's plans, I'll either run errands with him (which sometimes includes lunch!) or stay home and either attempt to write, or dive into 'decluttering' mode and work on either of the two houses we're cleaning out, or sort through the storage unit.  As previously mentioned, I'm also waiting on him to install some electrical outlets downstairs so I can set up my stereo and home office.

After dinner, I freely admit I'm a TV addict.  I have many shows that I love to watch, and depending on what days, sometimes mine end up on the DVR.  If I get too behind, then some of my daylight hours are spent watching them, or even late at night.  On the weekends, I enjoy getting up early to do this also.  I'm also binge-watching Criminal Minds on NetFlix, so at least 2 hours a day is wasted  spent lying on my bed....

So while I would love to lead you to believe I write from 9am-3 again, it's just not possible.

Maybe when all my kids are grown and that 'empty nest' is finally here??????

Come back in 2030.  I'll let you know.

Want to know other authors' schedules?  Find out here.

Again, this weekend I'm promoting my books (and a brand-new author's 1st book!) at our local Watermelon Festival tonight and tomorrow.  I'll check in either Sunday or Monday!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

So Many Choices! #MFRW Authors #30

 Paperback, E-book, or Audio?
Can I just say 'yes'?

I  grew up with print books.  I was also the kid who lugged them everywhere, so if I got a spare moment, I could read.

Storing them is another matter.  By now you've figured out that I married 'Grumpy Claus'....the man may resemble Santa, but he's actually his grouchy younger brother.  The only time I've had my entire print library on shelves was from 1997-2006.  He griped because I even had shelves under his train table.  I thought it was okay, because he only used the top part! was still invading 'his' space.

I've become more selective of the ones I hold onto; if I didn't like one, it gets donated.  I'm currently turning the basement into my home office, and dream of the day all my favorites are back on shelves, not shoved in boxes in my storage unit.  Our previous house had no room for my babies.

I do like to buy print copies of the wonderful authors I've met over the years, so I'm not entirely converted to the next category, lol!

My Kindle would have been perfect for me as a teen!  Mom used to complain about the tote bag full of reading material when we went on vacations.  Not only by car, but we would also spend 3 weeks in Florida every summer.  What can I say?  I like to read by the pool or at the beach when I'm not in the water.  There's also the plane ride....the trip from the airport....rainy days....during the car ride to Disney or to visit my get the picture.  Then I could have carried my entire library with me in the palm of my hand....and she wouldn't have had to shell out $3-5 every other day (I'm exaggerating!) for fresh reading material when I ran out.

When Grumpy Claus was working, I bought about 12 books a month.  Since he retired, I'm lucky if I get to buy one every month.  My wish list on Amazon is over 20 pages.  At last count on Goodreads, it stood at 250 books and more added each month.  Yeah, I need to win a lottery......

I will admit, I've only listened to two audio books.  The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe held us spellbound back in the early 2000s, and I think we flipped the disc over maybe 10 times before we resumed listening to music.

Dad was listening to The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, and I found my attention wandering when I rode with him. So maybe it was the subject matter?

I've not tried to listen to any of my friends' audio books, but maybe if my eyesight gets worse, then I'll have to resort to getting an Audible account.

What's your opinion?  What is your choice?
Find out more here.

Again, I'm out of town this weekend.  I'll be volunteering my time at the Indies In Indy conference, so if you're near Carmel, In and want to stop by, I'll be at the Silent Auction table:)  I'll probably catch up with everyone else's post on Sunday or Monday!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Picnics and Sparklers and Roman Candles, Oh My! #MFRW Authors #29

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday.  Why?  Because it fell right after my birthday, then New Year's was a week later.  Three weeks of cake, presents, food, and parties.  Who wouldn't love that?

But then I married and had kids.

Since I married a man who didn't have my parents' income, the month of December soon became a headache.  We simply couldn't afford to spend a great deal on presents for our family, let alone my extended family!  He had grown up with only buying for his parents, a sister, and her two kids.  I had to buy for 3 grandmothers, one grandfather, two aunts, a cousin and her two children, my parents, and my sister.  Thankfully, my dad's side of the family decided to draw names, so I only had to buy for whomever name I drew.  Then later, we decided to only buy for the kids.  But this still seemed 'too much' for my grumpy spouse.

As my kids grew older, the toys got more expensive, and soon we were adding school parties and teacher gifts to the budget.  As a result, no matter how much I bought in advance, December always snuck up on me, and I soon began wishing we could simply skip it altogether.

That's why now the 4th of July is my favorite holiday.  We don't have to go anywhere; we can buy hot dogs and Johnsonville Brats and cook on the grill.  Watch the parade at 6pm, then find 'our spot' to watch the fireworks.  Eat ice cream.

No stress!

So what about you?  What's YOUR favorite holiday?

Want to know what others think?  Click here. 

Heart-felt apologies.....last week, I had to take a bus to Chicago with my mom, in order to help her catch her (very early!) morning flight out of O'Hare on Sat.  She's spent the last week with my sister in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  Today, I'm taking the bus back to O'Hare, to help her get to the motel so we can return to Lafayette tomorrow.  I also have a class reunion tomorrow night, so I probably won't get around to commenting until Sunday or Monday again.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Need Advice? Read My Books....or Not.... #MFRW Authors #28

Sometimes when you write by the seat of your pants, weird things happen.  For instance, when I wrote Teacher's Pet, I was dealing with two characters who'd found each other, and a jealous woman who used to date Kevin.  How to extend this story into full-length?  Melanie decided to slap Kevin with a sexual harassment suit.

*needle scratch*

Wait, what?  I'd never dealt with anything like that before.  I had to stop and research it.  Best of all, how was Tammy going to deal with it?  Would she stand by her man or would she see it for what it was, a scorned woman doing everything in her power to destroy a good teacher?

This could have gone very differently, but I chose to show how common sense and loyalty can bring people together in a crisis, not tear them apart.

I used a life lesson in Appetite For Desire, ripped from my own experience as a server at a country club.  One of my favorite kids was a shy, introverted young lady, and not popular with her peers.  However, a mild show of favoritism managed to turn the other girls' attitudes into a more favorable opinion, plus gave her a confidence boost.  I often wonder if that act made any difference in her life as she entered her junior high years.

In my sci-fi series, I tackled the issue of homelessness, rebellious siblings, and mistaken identity.

If you really want some Life Lessons, my alter ego deals with everything from alcoholism to eating disorders to emotional abuse, as well as relationship dynamics such as age difference, long-distance relationships, and even IR.  You can find everything on her page of our collective website here.

Do you like reading romance with a subtle life lesson in it?
Do others work them into their stories?  Find out here.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rocky Mountain High #MFRW Authors #27

The most beautiful place I've been....recently (is 2013 considered recent, ha ha?)
Estes Park, Co

Here is the view from Chipmunk Mountain.  You can see Lake Estes in the center.

Estes Park to the left....

Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, Alluvial Fan.  Family pic.  (Yes, I married Santa Claus, lol!  Or one of the members of ZZ Top....)

Be honest.  Is there anything more majestic than a herd of elk on top of Trail Ridge Road?

I'm also a beach gal, but since none of my Florida pics are on digital, you'll just have to use your imagination.

Sandy white beach, blue water, the sound of a gentle breeze, the smell of salt water, sand, and sea life.  Ironic, since I can't stand seafood, unless it's crab or lobster.

How about you?  What's the most beautiful place on earth you've visited?  I've never left North America, so enlighten me.  I'll add it to my bucket list.

Want to see more beautiful places?  Click here.  See you next week! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Just Creative or Am I Schitzophrenic? #MFRW Authors #26

I've had a love of stories since I can remember.  I loved being read to, and was thrilled when I learned to read myself.  But somewhere about the 2nd or 3rd grade, something interesting happened:  I'd read a book or watch a movie, and would continue the story line with my Barbies or want to act it out.

Which, you might think is brilliant.  BUT....I didn't know how to communicate the ideas in my head, and would get mad at whoever was playing with me for going 'off script', which was weird, since there was NO SCRIPT!  (For more on this, go here)

When the concept of Creative Writing was introduced to me in the 5th grade, I was THRILLED!  Finally, all those story lines and characters in my head could be written down on paper!!

From the 5th grade through HS, I wrote fairy tales, essays, my own ending to Star Wars, poetry....anything that popped into my head during English class assignments, or even if they popped into my head after school.  Then I hit college.

In Jr high and in HS, I'd devoured the teen romance books, and even branched into Harlequin and the few romance books and adult fiction that my mom let me read.  But there was no dedicated series for college, unless you count the 50's series by Anne Emery and even a few by Rosamund Du Jardin which, by the 80's, was a bit outdated.  My prom dresses had puffy sleeves and looked like ball gowns, not layers of tulle!  Sleeveless?  Shudder...I didn't have enough 'on top' to hold it up!  But I digress.....

After going on a blind date, I decided to write the book I wanted to read.....and my alter ego's Arbor University series was born.  I was 'born' Feb 20, 2008, when more adult situations were being written by our collective brain, and the 12 year olds where reading AU didn't need exposed to more adult situations.

So back to Why I Write....I just gave you the long answer.  The short answer is, my head would explode if I didn't get these characters out of my head!  Yeah, if an outsider eavesdropped on a group of writers talking about their characters, he/she would wonder why these people aren't on medication or in a padded cell.

Truth is, the stories we write keep us out of that padded cell!

If you want to see why other authors do the things they do, click here:)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Dusty Bookshelves #MFRW Authors #25

What are my favorite books to read?
Since I'm involved in VBS (Vacation Bible School-does that shock you?  LMAO!), this post will have to be short, since I stupidly volunteered to create the 1st newsletter!  I've been photographer, Snack Lady, and Keeper of Wayward whistles/name tags/Golden Ticket7s.   And in some instances, that pest who's always got her camera trained to capture every spontaneous moment....

So, in no particular order, the books which, no matter how often I read them, never get old.

1)  James Michenor's Hawaii
2)  Little Women
3)  Dana Fuller Ross's Wagons West series (though Colorado and California have similar plots)
4)  Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts
5)  Born Trilogy by NR
6)  Access Denied by Jacqueline Roth
7)  Brotherly Bonds by Brynn Paulin
8)  Woman of Substance series
9)  Winds of War/War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
10) The Dutchess by Jude Deveraux
11) Separate Beds by Lavyrle Spencer
12) Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4)

What are yours?  What about others?  Go here

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pasta....Steak....Chicken....How Can I Choose? #MFRW Authors #24

If I Could Eat ONE Last Meal?

Pasta, how I love thee.....let me count the ways.....

*needle scratch*

Filet Mignon, how I love thee.....

*needle scratch*

Grilled chicken, how I-

Okay, okay, we get the point!  Just pick one already!

But it's sooooo hard!

Yes, I know.  But the topic is-

Screw the topic!  I want Filet Mignon with a side of Grilled Chicken in Pasta with Pesto sauce.  And Broccoli with Hollandaise sauce.  And cheesecake for dessert.  Or chocolate cake.  No, make that blackberry pie.

*writing on pad*  So you want for dessert a blackberry pie with a slice of cheesecake and chocolate cake?

Yes.  Or yellow cake with chocolate icing.  It's my last meal, so I'm going out with a full stomach.

That's putting it mildly.

So what about you?  What would YOUR last meal look like?

To see others, go here.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reality vs Ideal #MFRW Authors #23

Ten years ago this fall, when my kids were all in school, I was pounding out close to 1000 words per day.

Three years ago this month, I had turned over baby-sitting duties to my oldest granddaughter, so I could write Best of Both Worlds and turn it into my editor by July 1st.  Yes, I managed it.

During Word Wars on Twitter, where several friends and I devote 45 minute word sprints to encourage each other to get our books written, I was managing anywhere from 300-700 word counts....IF the words were flowing, I wasn't hearing "Grandma/Mo-om!", or distracted by conversations on Facebook.

Two years ago, I was trying to homeschool my youngest child, rid my house of a bed bug and lice infestation (thanks to the granddaughter's biological father), and write three books.  Only two were written; my child did manage to finish the 4th and 5th grades, and while we got rid of the lice, we still find a bed bug or two.  Bottom line is, they're under control.

So yes, my IDEAL word count would be that 1500-2000 per day.

What's my REALITY, though?
-We took possession of two abandoned houses and are in the middle of sorting, selling, donating, etc, the contents of both houses.

-My older grandkids are here for the summer

-We moved to our new house in December and I'm still cleaning out a storage unit.

-My youngest granddaughter is now five, and wants to spend more time outside in our larger yard.

-The only writing I seem to accomplish these days are two weekly blog posts, my morning FB updates, and the 300 words I can crank out at my weekly writer's meeting.

But hey, I've been here before, back in 2011.  Two short years later, I could barely write fast enough as the characters dictated their woes.

So do they really matter?  Only if you're on deadline.  I found out in 2007 that I have MAJOR perfectionistic tendencies.  If I've told someone of a goal, I'll sacrifice everything to attain it.  (I've eased up, somewhat....that's why I still have a book that's now 2 years overdue!)

It all depends on what goals you've set for yourself and how hard you're willing to work toward those goals.

Or if you're like me these days and LIFE has smacked you upside the head.

To see what other authors have to say on this subject, go here .

****If the topic was how many words are in a book, then my short stories run 4500-6000; my longest book is 54K; my 'comfort zone' is 30-40K.  Sorry if I've misunderstood the topic.*******

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Changes In Reading Habits #MFRW Authors #22

Ten years ago, if someone would have asked me what my biggest pet peeve in a book was, I'd have said, "Dry writing; reading older books with lots of description; not enough dialogue."

Now, I notice head-hopping.

Purple Prose.

Spelling/punctuation errors (specifically, those exclamation marks!!!).

Thanks to a Certain Trilogy, there are words I can't stand, as well as someone writing in 1st person-Present tense.

Granted, my old Steele, Roberts, Michaels (Judith, not my own, lol!), and other books I devoured from 1980-2006 are still in storage, so it will probably be several months until I get around to rereading them (I'm hoping to unearth them this fall!).  It will be interesting to see if I can keep my editing hat 'off' while I read them.

What do other authors take issue with in books? Go here to find out:)

So How Was The Race?
Spectacular!  It was routine until lap 54 when Scott Dixon and Jay Howard tangled, sending Dixon's car flying into the infield fence and nearly taking out a cameraman.  I'm amazed Dixon only ended up with an injury to an ankle!  They stopped the race to repair the fence (1st time I'd seen a red flag that wasn't weather-related), and the other amazing thing was this was the 1st year the line to the women's restroom was SHORTER than the men's.

And yes, I was thrilled when Takuma Sato won:)  The only thing I wasn't happy about was, Rookie of the Year went to the rookie who finished 29th, rather than the one who finished 3rd.  What a break in tradition!

Again, forgive me because I'm traveling home this weekend.  I should be able to check in on Saturday!  I didn't realize how tired I'd be last Monday; I read everyone's posts, but just didn't have the energy to sign in and comment.  Guess being stuck in traffic for 2 hours really takes a toll on a person.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Well, Hello There! Mind If I Drop In?" #MFRW Authors #21

'Childhood Memory' many, which one to choose?
-Going To Florida to see grandparents and Disney World (Click here)
-Bribing my dad to take me to see Star Wars 28 times the year it came out (I'll recap it next month on my other blog)
-Practicing my flirting skills on two older boys I met on the beach in Florida (July 1979)
-Spending two weeks in Colorado with friends, and ending up with my 1st official boyfriend (June 1978)
-Getting my 1st kiss (on the cheek!) at age 12 (August 1978)

But the one I'll share happened the summer I was fourteen.

We'd gone to Cyprus Gardens in Florida, and enjoyed seeing the water-skiing show.  However, during the finale of the show, something went horribly, horribly wrong.

After the Pyramid skiers completed their pyramid and skied past us, the guy in the hang glider suddenly hovered above us in the main viewing section.  Thinking it was part of the act, we waved and smiled at him....then suddenly he and the glider entered the stands and crashed a few seats above us.  We ducked, then my mom, a registered nurse, jumped up to help those who were injured.  No one was seriously hurt; simply scrapes and bruises, but it was definitely a memorable end to that show!

Two hours later, we returned to see how the show was supposed to end, and this time the boat with the hang glider went the OTHER way around the lake.  The only hiccup at that show was the 'barefoot water skier' didn't have his feet properly placed, and the gag was ruined.  We'd seen that bit already (the real one was skiing around the back side of the lake), but anyone new to the show didn't get a fair shot of the humor.

We also toured the Ringling Brothers Museum in Sarasota that year, though I longed to visit Circus World.

Want to read about other authors childhood memories?  Go here.

I'm heading up to Indianapolis for the 101st running of the Indy 500 on Sunday, plus setting up at the opening day of our local Farmer's Market on Saturday, before driving north.  I'll catch up on everyone's blogs on Monday:)  Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book vs Movie #MFRW Authors #20

What are my favorite movie versions of books?

-Gone With The Wind (I actually saw this before I read the book!)

-Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (I was prepared to sleep through it, then LAUGHED during the entire movie!  THEN decided to read the books)

-The Devil Wears Prada (bought the book in an airport kiosk during a layover and was thrilled when it was made into a movie!)

-The Notebook (if I want a good cry, all I have to do is watch it.  Same with Toy Story 3.)

That's all I can come up with at the moment.

Which ones I can't stand?
-My Sister's Keeper (it changed the ending.  I was NOT happy!)

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  (they couldn't keep in all of  the good parts of the book.  IMHO, of course....)

To see more lists, go here.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Writer's Guide To Creating A Hero-Revised #MFRW Authors #19

First of all, a confession:  I have shamelessly stolen my own post from 2009 on this topic, but have updated it slightly:)  

Physical Requirements:
-6 feet tall or more
-Expressive eyes; color not important
-Kissable lips
-Broad shoulders
-Light sprinkling of chest hair (or none)
-Lean muscles; no Mr. Universe wannabees
-8-10" cock (or at least have a 'massive' erection)

Character/Personality Traits:
-Must be flawed, either by past hurt or misunderstanding/lapse in judgement
-Kind, but staunch defender of values
-Willing to do Whatever It Takes to keep chosen female in his life
-Carry a never-ending supply of condoms
-Must be a committment-phobe before meeting said female (in some books, anyway!)
-Occupation: Doesn't matter.
-Oh yeah; must be SINGLE! Don't want any cheaters here...then he gets downgraded to the 'slimy ex-prick' status.

Sprinkle in hair color, eye color, a chance encounter with female, and heart-stopping, instant connection, along with mind-blowing sex and you've accomplished your goal: An erotic romance hero.

Some authors build their stories around heroes with money, be it any high-powered career. Others go for Public Service. Some go for the blue collar man. They all have the above characteristics and fall head over heels in love with the woman (or man!) of their choice. Yes, M/M is hot right now, as is M/M/F or M/F/M. 

Some heroes are wolf/bear/dragon shifters; others vampires.  Right now, I happen to be writing aliens, fairies, and ghosts.  But they all pretty much follow the same above formula. 

So what works for you?  Or would you add anything else to this list?  

To see other authors' ideas on The Ideal Hero, click here.

If you happen to be in the Evansville area next Monday, stop by B&N on Green River Rd and say hi to myself and the rest of the River City Writers, plus grab a copy of Crossroads and have it signed by all of us:)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Laughter Is The Best Medicine #MFRW Authors #18

Welcome back!  I apologize in being lax about commenting on others posts; I attended an event last week and spent Friday and Saturday in La Grange, KY.  It turned out to be a non-event, due to severe storms hitting the area, but I did meet one fan, who, it turned out, had read Class Reunion!  And I didn't even have to bribe  coerce pitch it to her beforehand:)

I then left on Sunday and am spending the week with my parents.  The downside is limited internet, since my dad and I vy for bandwidth.  I've been uploading videos (which have been taking 3-4 hours) and Dad was concerned about the slow internet, so he shut off the modem this morning, while I was the process of uploading another one!  Yeah, Dad didn't understand how 2 computers being used at the same time would slow it down...

But I digress.  This week's topic is laughter.  What sends me into peals of laughter?  I'll give you a hint:

That's right, my granddaughter Alexandria.  She's 4 years old and has a huge imagination:)  

I also find the comic strips Bloom County and Baby Blues hilarious!

What are some things which make you laugh?  Go here to find out others. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Travel Bug....I Haz It! #MFRW Authors #17

Yikes!  Friday managed to sneak up on me!  Since I'm getting ready to travel to an event, I'll keep this short and sweet.

Where would I like to visit?

1)  Italy.  I love the food and want to see Rome.

2)  France.  Again, I love the food and want to see the art museums.

3)  Greece.  I love mythology and want to see the ancient ruins.

4)  Branson, Mo.  Guess I'm dating myself if I say I want to see the Osmond Brothers perform?  Plus I saw a commercial with an amusement park....yeah, I'm still a kid at heart, which leads me to the final one....

5) Disney World.  I want to spend an entire day at each park, then have the luxury of going back to watch the shows and enjoy the nightlife.  Tried to do this in 2004, but when you travel with a 3 mo/old and teenagers, as well as aging parents, let's just say a) June was NOT the month to go and b) I should have left the kids at the motel with their grandparents and gone by myself, lol!

Where do YOU want to visit?  To see others' dream spots, go here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Livin' The Life #MFRW Authors #16

Cue Fiddler on the Roof...."If I were a rich (wo)man...."

If money was no object, what would I be doing?  Really, one of two things:

1) Domestic Engineer who had the means to bring in a cleaning lady once a month, in order to tackle those icky housework chores like cleaning the bathtub/shower and DEEP cleaning the house. 
     -Attend multiple conventions every year
     -Pay for cover art/edits w/o the payment plan
     -Have plenty of promo to hand out
     -Pay for advertising w/o batting an eye.

2)  Own my own bookstore/Cafe and NOT have to worry about the town supporting it or not.  My store would be right down town, and host events every other month or so.
     -I could employ someone to make soup and sandwiches for lunch, and maybe even open up for breakfast.  Once a month, be open for dinner.
     -Host author signings
     -During NaNo, be a sponsored write-in spot.
     -Host 'Open Mic' Night.
     -Every month, spotlight a new Indie author.

In short, have enough money that I didn't have to worry about every penny.  My income would replace what I spend....which really isn't that extravagant.  I mean, I generally spend $500/month on food; $40/month on e-books, $100/year (okay, maybe $200!) on print books; and maybe $300/year on clothes.  Last year I spent over $1000 on promotion/venue costs/inventory.

Is it too much to ask that my income exceed my needs?

I'll admit; I've got 'champagne tastes on a beer budget'....but I've learned to somewhat curb that as I've gotten older.

What are YOUR dreams?

To see what other authors dream of, go here. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Social Media Hangouts #MFRW Authors #15

Yikes!  You want to know where I can be found in cyberspace besides here and my shared website?

I have to be honest; I'm a little anti-social on social media.

I know, an oxymoron....but it's true.  I usually let my alter-ego do all the 'chatting'.  Oh sure, I post my buy links or even links to this blog, but really, Blogger is about the only place where I can

Facebook:  I have an author page, Author Kenzie Michaels.  But if you want to see pictures of the 'real me', look for Molly Daniels.

Twitter:  The only thing I really ever post here is my weekly karaoke progress.  So if you look at my twitter feed, it's filled with (song title)...nailed it or ugh...never sing this again!  You'll also find some retweets from others who have mentioned me.  Once in a blue moon I'll actually post my hourly word counts.  Yeah, I really don't 'get' twitter just yet, or how to engage in conversations.  As you can tell, once I get started, I'm pretty 'chatty', so limiting me to 140 characters is pure torture.....

Instagram:  I discovered the camera app on my phone is malfunctioning, so the only way I can take photos that can be accessed is to use Instagram.  Which sucks, because I used to use my phone to record my karaoke songs.  Looks as if I'm back to the trusty digital camera which cuts off my head.  Unless I can find something to sit it on.

Chat Loops:  Does anyone really hang out on them anymore?  (ducks head)  I used to love Novel Sisterhood and Romance Books 4 Us, but I prefer Facebook now....I still get the digests from all 14 loops, but the only ones I actively READ anymore are RB4U and MFRW (how I found out about this awesome weekly blog hop, lol!).

I have a Pinterest account, but have only used it once; I also have a Google Plus account, but haven't accessed it in years.  My kids love SmapChat.

GoodReads:  My books are listed, but again, Molly does the chatting, and does share info about my books as well as hers.  I usually only pop in once or twice a day to update my reading progress, and to answer the Q of the Day on one of the groups.  I'll pop in more often if the conversation is more interesting, or if I'm procrastinating!

What's That?  You Want The Link To Molly's Blog?  
It can be found to the right under 'Favorite Links'.

Go HERE if you want to check out where others hang out.  Maybe they're more social than me.

Friday, April 7, 2017

"Have I Got An Idea For You!" #MFRWauthors #14

I've already told you the story behind Kira's Slice of Pizza, so by now you should realize I find inspiration in the weirdest places!

All She Ever Wanted:  I was cooking dinner at the stove when all of a sudden I heard 'Don't get your knickers in a twist; this is only temporary...' and then I had two characters bickering.  I had to shut off dinner and go write it down.  Four days later, the book was finished.

Class Reunion:  From a fan:  Hey Kenzie, I really want to know more about this Brian Vellinger character....Six months later, I attended two reunions and when two classmates discovered they share a birthday....this story was born.

Off The Clock:  I began attending my 1st writer's group, and after a couple of meetings, an anthology idea was tossed around.  I came up with the first two chapters, presented them the next week, only to be told they were thinking of another setting.  Cara and Austin wouldn't leave me alone, and then the anthology idea went nowhere, so I 'stole' the title and then Austin hijacked Class Reunion....suddenly I had a trilogy!

Teacher's Pet:  I was challenged by friends to bump up my heat level, so I remembered the reaction I had toward my son's history teacher, and well, the rest is history....

Wild At Heart:  News blurb about prison reform is heard on the radio.  Suddenly 'Steve' is in my head telling me, "That's me.  I'm trying to convince the town I've changed after my prison term...write my story!"  I happened to be driving at the time, so a month later I was able to finally sit down and write it.  Wasn't exactly the story 'Steve' had in mind, but I love it!

Appetite For Desire:  I'd been watching Food Network.  I also used my own country club waitress experience plus tossed in some fantasy:)

The Chosen series:  Everything was going fine.  Tricia and Brock had met, they spent the night together...all was going well until Brock suddenly told her 'I'm not from Earth'.  I quit writing it for an entire decade!  Then when I dusted it off and kept going, it spawned four more books.

If you're wondering about that Confessions Over Cold Eggs I mentioned last week, well, here's an excerpt:

“I’m sorry. I thought I could present my argument less emotionally. Just forget I said anything.”
“No, let’s simply salvage what’s left of our breakfast, then I won’t bother you again. Maybe I can stall the decision a little while longer, at least until I graduate next year. Then I’ll have my nursing certificate and can join a hospital in another town, where no one knows me or my background, and I can find another karaoke bar.” Ainsley put a bite of food in her mouth, then grimaced. “Ugh. This is cold.” She looked up at him again.
Gary felt laughter bubbling up, and saw the smile spreading across her face. “Guess we should have eaten before talking about your troubles?” He chuckled.
“Confessions over cold eggs.” Putting her hands over her mouth, she giggled. “This is my treat, so shall we start over?”
He shook his head. “No, they’ll just microwave our plates. Tell you what, let’s go back to the bar and I’ll ask Rachelle to whip us up two shredded beef tacos. They should be about to close down the bar for the night, and she won’t mind. She’s done it before for others.” Gary signaled for the server and scooped up both tickets. “No, I’ve got this,” he said when Ainsley protested. “Besides, I think you just helped me with something I’ve been struggling with.” He slid out of the booth and paid the cashier, then turned back to the stunned girl. “Let’s go.”

For other authors' story inspirations, click here.

Or here, the other one.  (This week, it's this one.  I know; confusing.  If I knew how to do the code, I'd step up to volunteer to coordinate this.)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I'm A Naive Nellie....#MFRWauthors #13

Last week was greatest strength....this week it's weakness.

I think I'm too trusting....

Plus, I have a sincere weakness for sweets, in particular at the moment, blackberry pie/cobbler.

Peanut Butter Twix bars.

Reeses Cups.

Whatchamacallits (yes, it's a deeeeelicious candy bar!).

Singing.  I will break out in song when the mood hits, or someone around me reminds me of a song lyric.

Drives.  My kids.  CRAZY!  (Hey, just doin' m'job!)

That's all I got at the moment.  I've been spending this week out in the yard, cleaning up leaves and pine needles.  Older grandkids return home on Saturday.....Miss Drama Queen has matured into a lovely babysitter for the 4-y/o granddaughter, so gotten a LOT accomplished!

In the mood for some general fiction stories?  My alter-ego's had her 11th book released this past week (eep, she's catching up to me!  I need to write RiKar's story pdq, lol!), anther anthology she was invited to contribute to.  Go check it out here; it's also in print.

Her stories are Family Secrets and Confessions Over Cold Eggs (remember our Title Topic?  Yeah....figure out that second title, lmao!)

Click here for more posts.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Faith, Compassion, Forgiveness....#MFRWauthors #12

What's my greatest strength?

I'm about to break a sacred rule.

You see, I attend a Women's Conference at church every year, and we're not supposed to divulge secrets.  But since this one's about me, I'll share it anyway.

I was raised in a Christ-oriented family, and thanks to some childhood bullying and anxiety issues, I clung to my faith, since I'd been taught about a loving God.  I pictured Him with gray hair and wrinkles, and a very loving manner, much like my own grandpa.  I didn't feel accepted by kids at school, but I was close to several friends whom I only saw once or twice a week.  Plus, I had Father God whom I could talk to any time of day or night:)

So yes, I have a deep faith in a Higher Power.....which may seem strange to romance writers.  Stranger still, I have many friends who don't believe, or are of other faiths.

My childhood issues gave me a unique compassion for others, and I've also been told I'm way too forgiving at times.

But that's how I was raised....and since I was an 'ugly duckling' who has blossomed into some sort of swan, it allowed me to develop my imagination, since I was a voracious reader.

I am loyal to a fault; I can be your greatest fan if I love your books; I can champion the underdog.

Hope:  I've never given up hope that one day I'd be published.  This has allowed me to be flexible, since at 1st I wanted to be published by age 20 and be a guest on Love Boat, and have that shipboard romance with either Doc or Gopher, but alas, it went off the air when I was 13 or 14!  Nevertheless, when it didn't happen at 30, I was thrilled when it finally happened before I hit 40!  Even then, I struggled with marketing, but through trial and error I've attained some small successes:)  The worst thing anyone can say to me?

"Why don't you give up on that writing thing?  You're not making any money!  Go get a 'real job'."

Ummmm....Yeah, I don't make a huge sum of money, but I would much rather be doing something I love than spend a lot of time and energy doing something I despise.

If those aren't strengths, then apparently I've misunderstood the topic.

For more, or even better posts, go here.

Or here.   You might get all the links on this one; there was some confusion at the beginning of the week!

Friday, March 17, 2017

How My Brain Works....#MFRWauthors #11

Welcome back!  This week's topic is 'What is your writing process?'

Answer:  I really don't know.

I've written books in a month, involving several hours' worth of pounding the keyboard and snarling at any interruption.

I've written books which have taken years, yanking every word from my brain, much like a toddler in the throes of a colossal temper tantrum.

Then there was last Wednesday......

I was working on a new short story, and being under an intense deadline (long story short, I thought my original story was accepted, but discovered two weeks before publication, they were asking me to revise it!  Thankfully, publication has been delayed another week...okay, that wasn't so short,,,,are you getting ANY sense of my thought process yet?  LOL!), I was rather stressing out about the way the new story was going.  I sat down to watch Jeopardy, when one of the clues sparked an idea.  As soon as the commercial break began, I jumped up and went to the computer and wrote.....then back to watch more Jeopardy.

Then Survivor began.  I'm a die-hard lover of this show, so, you guessed it....every commercial break I was back at the computer, pounding out the words and relying on my mother to yell, "It's back on!"  This went on for the next two hours.

Let me stop a minute and mention the fact we'd ordered Chinese for dinner.  I had fully intended to get another plate of Mu-Shu Pork while watching the premier of this season's Survivor.  With the brainstorm, this didn't happen!

After Survivor, I went back to the computer and finally finished that damn story ninety minutes later.  Then returned to the kitchen to find my dear mother had carefully packed up my food and placed it into the refrigerator!  So at eleven-thirty at night, I finally finished my meal, and watched an old Perry Mason episode with my mommy.

Mom asked how the story was coming along, so I told her I'd finally finished it.  She smiled at me and said, "It's so amazing how your brain works!"

I'm interested in seeing if the other authors on this hop share this, or are there those who actually plot, outline, and write, as we were taught in school, or if we're all pantsers?  When I write longer books, I like to have a sense of where the story is taking me, but occasionally it's nice when the characters simply hijack your brain and all you can do is hang on for the ride!

Normally at this time, I'd provide a link to the others on this hop, but no such link appears to keep checking back HERE. 

EDITED:  There's a new post with links:  Go Here. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Inquiring MInds Want To Know.... #MFRWauthors #10

My top seven guilty pleasures?  *ahem*  In no particular order......

1)  Big Brother.  I've tried to stay away from this show, I really have.

2)  Pedicures and dying my hair blue:  I never thought I'd enjoy having red/green/purple/pink toenails, or even having streaks of blue in my hair!

3)  Binge-watching Classic TV on DVD:  I found Laverne and Shirley, What's Happening, Hill Street Blues, and Gilligan's Island.  I also own a few seasons of Mary Tyler Moore!

4)  Potato skins, bagal bites, and stuffed mushrooms.  'Nuff said.....or even playing Trivia at BW3....

5)  Binge-watching Law and Order.

6)  Going on vacation or even having a staycation, when the family leaves ME at home by myself:)

7)  Unleashing my inner rock star at karaoke:)  There's just something relaxing about getting up and belting out a Bon Jovi hit....or having other singers request that you sing with them:)

Bonus:  I also love to go out to eat.  I don't mind cooking, when I'm in the mood to do so, but it's so nice to only have lunch or breakfast dishes in the sink!

What's YOUR guilty pleasure?  Want more?  Go here. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Words I Detest #MFRWauthors

This may sound strange, coming from someone who writes erotic romance, but there are several words I don't like to use, and certainly would NOT have them come out of my mouth!

Words I've Written, But Sparingly:
-basically anything with a derogatory context for race, women, private parts, or people in general.  I have written a few, but only if I end up with a character who uses them.

I'm also not a fan of certain euphemisms; I once saw a post full of weird ones that I can't even recall them now, unless it is meant to be funny, as in the case of Spinal Tap:

"My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo; I'd like to sink her with my pink torpedo..."

"My love gun's loaded and she's in my sight; big game's waiting there inside her tights...."

"Sex farm woman don't you see my silo risin' high...high....high..."

Words I Hope To Only Use Once Per Book:
This is only because of a Certain Book Which Shall Not Be Named, because they are in nearly every damn paragraph on every damn page!

Word I've Said In Anger, But Not All The Time:
Unless I'm seeing red from anger, this word usually does not come out of my mouth, even when it's in a song.  When She Hates Me by Puddle of Mud came out several years back, I realized I was singing every word, and even inserting it when the radio didn't!  Plus, it was creeping into every day language more and more, so I decided to purge it from my vocabulary.

Until I started reading and writing erotic romance.

Yes, there are some of my books where it is prolificly used....but I will say 'freaking' or even 'frickin' instead.

Unless, of course, you have me so mad I slip up!

What words make YOU cringe?  To find out more, go here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

What's In A Title? #MFRWauthors

Speaking of catchy titles, let me get this out of the way first:

My 10th book (tenth!  Can you believe it?), Kira's Slice of Pizza, released yesterday:)  So far, only the Kindle version is available, but the print format should be ready to go live soon.  I'm waiting on a cover, ha ha!

Leaving TriJupe to escape scandal after the death of her Bond Mate, KiRah exiles herself on Earth and takes refuge in an abandoned house to paint and mourn her loss. But when a stranger brings upheaval to her new life, will KiRah discover it’s possible to love again?

Duffy Switzer never thought he'd be interested in an artist. Kira's quiet demeaner proves refreshing after a string of self-centered women, and having someone who makes no demands leads him to believe he's found the perfect woman. But as he's drawn deeper into Kira's life, he learns she is no ordinary human. When the truth is revealed, will he turn his back on her?

Get your copy here!  

Okay.  Now that's out of the way, you may be wondering, Kenzie, what the hell is up with that title?

Great question.  Let me explain:)

Sometimes a title will come to me before I begin writing (Teacher's Pet, Class Reunion, Off The Clock).  Others I don't have a clue what to call the little bundle of joy I've just written (All She Ever Wanted, Wild At Heart).  It may be a phrase, it may simply be an idea.  It may even be a collaborative event.

The Great Title Search of 2014:
Heart's Last Chance began it's working title form as Star Crossed Lovers.  The book was in final edits and I was even about to have a cover when I realized I hated that title.  Okay, in all fairness, I googled that title and was appalled at how many other books popped up! new sci-fi baby was about to get stuck in oblivion.

So I rallied my editor, publisher, and trusted friends, and we spent four days tossing new titles out before we settled on Heart's Last Chance:)

But we wanna hear about KIRA'S TITLE!!!
Okay, okay.  You know when you go to a gathering of old friends who know what you do for a living, and alcohol is involved?  I discovered my BFF from high school had not only READ Class Reunion, he'd told a few of his buddies,  Who then chose to take me to task about 'Brian Vellinger'.  Yes, I combined my BFF's 1st name and his male BFF's (whom I'd had a MAJOR crush on as a sophomore!) last name.

It was supposed to strictly be a placeholder name, to be changed when publication loomed.  But I forgot to change it.

So the following exchange took place June 20, 2014:
MS (words a little slurred):  What's with the Brian Vellinger character?  How come you didn't use me or Duffy?

KM:  It was supposed to have been changed, but I forgot to.

MS:  I insist you put a character named Duffy Switzer into your next book, and call it Slice of Pizza!

(Collective group laughs)

Kenzie thinks, Oh boy....what am I going to do with this?

I chewed on that character and title all weekend.  Heart's Last Chance had been submitted, and I was in the process of writing NiKoh's story.  Two months later, after HLC's aforementioned Great Title Search, little KiRah, the youngest member of my alien family, decided to shove her older brother out of my head and came up with the perfect way to tie that weird title into her story.  

"And Kenzie, use my name, in order to give a hint."

Brilliant, Kira.  I love it!

So nope, not going to tell you how it all ties together.  You'll just have to read the book and let me know if you think it's as clever as I do:)

How do others come up with witty titles?  Go here and find out! 

******Contest Closed*****   Congrats to Melissa Keir! Oh, and if you'd like to win a free copy of Kira's Slice of Pizza, or if you've never read any of my work and want to start with #1, Heart's Last Chance, leave me a comment with your contact info:)  I'll draw a winner next week.

Bonus Question:  Can you name any of KiRah's siblings?  I mentioned one in this long-winded post, ha ha!