Thursday, December 28, 2017

Looking Ahead To 2018 #MFRW #Authors #52

What do I hope to accomplish next year?  First, let's see if I accomplished last year's goals:

-Publish #4 of The Chosen  Check:)
-Promote the release of Crossroads Anthology Check:)  See below
-Write #5 of The Chosen  Started it; see below
-Write Heart Song  Not even close.  See below
-Do well at all planned events (5 total)  Mixed; see below

So what's with all the 'see below'?  I used my Christmas money to pay for the book cover and editing for #4.  The planned events?  I ran into weather issues, organizers who didn't promote the events, and bad booth placement.  My laptop crashed, along with stress and LIFE issues that prevented me from writing.  My huge 'what-the-hell' moment came in April, when I discovered the story I'd written was deemed 'too dark and violent' for the gentle readers, and would I please rewrite it in seven days?  I went one further and wrote TWO completely different stories in a week's time.

My Goals For 2018:
-Write #5 of The Chosen
-Promote Whispers Anthology
-Limit my craft fairs and set up at only the March event; Author's Fair in April; our Watermelon Fest in August, as well as GenCon (if we get approved); Harvest Fest in Sept; Imaginarium in Oct; and Christmas Show in Nov.  Also only do the free events around town (1st Fridays, and one or two Farmer's Market).
-Finish Heart Song (I did finish Ch. 5 and am well into Ch.6!)
-Set up a few local signings at our coffee shop/brewery.
-Get our Green House torn down, and the Brown House emptied.  I've decided to move my office into the Brown House (provided the spouse approves!).
-Continue participation in the MFRW Blog Challenge 2018.  This year was fun; let's hope it keeps going!

What are YOUR goals for next year?  Want to see what others are planning for next year, click here.

I hope you've all enjoyed this blog challenge; I've certainly enjoyed getting to know my fellow blog hoppers and more books have been added to my growing TBB list.  I'm hoping an amazon gift card arrives in my stocking at my mother's house this weekend!

Happy New Year!!!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dear Newbie Writer.... #MFRW Authors #51

First of all, HOW is it there is only two more weeks of 2017?  It seems to have flown by!  Thankfully, most of my holiday gift-buying is complete, as well as most of the baking.  Now I need to shoo everyone out of the house so I can wrap everything. Thankfully, we're staying home this year, and traveling after Christmas.

Dear Newbie Writer,
***Just realized I misunderstood the topic....if you've already written a book, skip the first few paragraphs****

I applaud your desire to write!  If this is truly what you want to do, then by all means write.  Get your story/poem/memoir down on paper or some form of document.  Don't worry about getting it perfect; this is a 1st draft, so your only priority at the moment is to finish it.  I don't care if it takes a month, a year, or twelve hours....I want you to write 'the end'.

Then what?  You've finished; now take a day or two to celebrate!  Because now the hard part begins.

What?  You thought writing it was hard?  Oh no, my friend....roll up your sleeves, fix yourself a pot of coffee/tea/favorite non-alcoholic beverage and sit back down.  Flex those fingers and dive in again.

Read your document again, or if you're just now typing it up, see if you can fix any errors.  Typos, grammar, punctuation.  Or plot holes.  Does any character suddenly experience an eye color change?  Or forget they're already wearing a coat and put it on twice?  (Yes, it happens!)  After you think you've polished it, save it, email it to yourself, or send it to a trusted friend.

Another hard part is blurb writing, or condensing your story down to 25 or even 50 words.  Believe me, it's tough at times.  Maybe write a synopsis (another 'dirty' word, lol!) 

You want to be published?  Research is next.  Search publishers.  Get on social media and talk with other authors, publishers, editors, etc, to find the right 'fit'.  Want to self-publish?  Awesome!  Have a professional editor comb through your words and let them work their magic.  Don't know an editor?  Get out your favorite book and email the author (if you're not already friends on social media with him/her) to ask about contacting said editor.  Also cover art.  You want a professional cover.  Authors on social media can help with this also.  

After you've done all that, start a blog (if you've not already) and reach out to other bloggers for interviews, guest spots, or seek out Goddess Fish for a book review tour ($35??).  

The day your book goes live, celebrate!  Splash it all over Social Media. Hold a contest on your blog.  Soak in the wonder of your success; you are now a Published Author.

Now even more hard work begins.  You want to reach readers, right?  Find a local craft fair and rent a booth.  Go to Vista Print dot com and order business cards, bookmarks, and any other promotional items.  Order print copies of your work.  Not a huge amount, unless your budget allows for it.  Have fun!  You'll meet readers, people who will express interest in writing, and yes, some people will turn up their nose at your baby.  Do NOT be offended; not everyone will 'automatically' fall in love with your masterpiece.

If that's not your style, then search for author events in your area or price range.  If you're too late for space, volunteer at the event and network with the authors.  Yes, you have to TALK to people.  Make friends; many other published authors are friendly and will invite you to play in their sandbox.  Don't forget to return the favor or pay it forward after you've mentored another newbie.

I know, this seems like a lot.  But do it at your own pace, at your comfort level.  No one is going to force you to publish your work, or even get it written.  Only YOU know can decide how much or how little you want to do.

Why did I decide to pursue publishing?  Because I had several people ask me 'why aren't you published?'  Why did I start writing?  Because I finally found a way to get these characters out of my head.

The best piece of advice someone gave me?  "Don't get it RIGHT, get it WRITTEN'.

Good luck and remember I'm here if you have any questions.  Didn't like what I had to say, then by all means, seek out the others on this blog hop by clicking here. 

Kenzie Michaels

Thursday, December 14, 2017

What Have I Done??? #MFRW Authors #50

Correction:  In case you missed it, my cookie recipe last week had a typo in it.  I use a 10 oz bag of chocolate chips, not 16 oz!

This week's topic is tough.  Before I was published, my main accomplishment was the fact I'd graduated college, had given birth to two amazing children, and despite some rocky times, remained married, even though the 'D' word had come up a few times.

At the beginning of 2003, I was flying high.  My first 'baby' was published, though under a different name.

Another child made his appearance, shocking the hell out of me.  I'd thought my baby days were well behind me, for at least another ten or so years, and they'd be grandchildren!

Here it is, 2017, and what have I accomplished?

Hitting #3 on the ARE Best Seller list in 2009 with All She Ever Wanted

Heart's Last Chance sold 47 copies in one month in 2014, causing me to email our bookkeeper with the 'are you sure that's accurate?' question.....yes, it was!

I've published 10 books under my name, and 7 titles, plus four short stories and a poem under another name, bringing the total to 21, with three more due out next year.

We bought our 2nd house last year, and for an early Christmas present, we used our insurance settlement money as a down payment on a 2017 GMC truck.  Same make and model as the one involved in the wreck at the end of October, only newer.  And with heated seats!  Did I mention it's also in MY name?  LOL!

And yes, we're past the 26.5 year mark, and the 'D' word hasn't risen its ugly head since last summer, when I spent 3 weeks house sitting for my parents, and he was none too happy about it.  He was VERY happy to have me back, though.

So while I can't pin down ONE accomplishment, I think my score card's pretty good:)

Now if I could just make the USA Today's Best Seller list....or actually have my royalties every month support more than just a couple of jello shots every week at karaoke!

To see what other authors view as their Biggest Accomplishments, click here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Holiday Recipe Time! #MFRW Authors #49

First of all, let me give a shout-out to my firstborn, who turns 26 today!  Happy Birthday Kyle!  Love you very much:)

Since this week's topic didn't specify whether it's main course or dessert, I decided to do both.

This is my favorite chicken dish:  Wolfgang Puck Chicken and Rice.

It involves some prep work and sounds complicated, but after making it for several years now, it's not that hard.  I just have to remember to make it on a night when I have lots of time.

Wolfgang Puck Chicken and Rice:
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg crumbled goat cheese
1 T tarragon, chervil, and parsley (I've also used basil, thyme, or rosemary; just depends on what I have in the cabinet!)
2 cups Chardonnay
1 shallot, minced (I've also used onion powder, since the family doesn't like to SEE the onions)
2 cups chicken broth
Salt (optional; I use salted butter, so don't need any more)
4 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick of butter, cut into tiny pieces

2-3 cups of instant rice (depending on family; there's 6 in mine)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine goat cheese and the herbs.  Cut a pocket in each chicken breast and place a spoonful of cheese mixture inside.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with EVOO.

Combine Chardonnay and shallot (or onion powder) in saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the wine has reduced (usually 15 mins).  Stir in chicken broth and continue boiling until liquid has reduced by half, usually 15-20 minutes.

While liquid is reducing, bake the chicken breasts for 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness and size.

After liquid has reduced, add cream and continue to boil until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon lightly (usually 5-7 mins more).  Whisk in the butter in small pieces, making sure each piece is incorporated before adding the next.  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and add in extra cheese mixture.

Cook rice according to directions.

*Note*  My family loves the sauce so much, I've doubled it in the recipe.  If you're only feeding 1-2 people, cut recipe in half, with the exception of the cheese and herbs.

Now, I know You're All Dying For My Cookie Recipe:
It's the easiest one in the world, thanks to my mommy!

1 yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter (softened)
2 eggs
16-oz pkg chocolate chips/M &M/butterscotch chip/PB chip/whatever you want to use

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir cake mix, butter, and eggs together until well mixed.

Add in chips and stir well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls (or scoop) onto baking stone or cookie sheet; bake 11-15 minutes, depending on your oven.

Cool five minutes, then transfer to drying rack or whatever you use.  My family is notorious for eating the first two dozen as soon as they appear; I usually get 3 dozen out of each batch of dough.  I start stocking up on cake mix around October-November, when they go on sale for about a dollar-$1.25 a piece.  White cake mix can be used also; I just happen to prefer the yellow.

To see what other goodies are in this week's hop, click here.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Home Improvement Plans.....#MFRW Authors #48

Technically, this week's topic is Five Things on my Bucket List.
Didn't we cover this in Week #17?

To briefly recap it, click the link above.

Yes, TRAVEL is at the top of my bucket list.  But at the top of my Christmas List?

You guessed it....a new laptop.  I already have a new desk top tower, so as soon as MS Word is installed, I will have a fully functional computer.

I mentioned the houses that came with the one we live in, didn't I?  Item #2 would be to Get Our Green House Emptied and Torn Down.

The only things left inside is some windows, a refrigerator, dishwasher, washer (all non-working), some shelving, a filing cabinet, and a patio table.  Then this house can be torn down.  This is an older picture I found, and you can't see the holes in the roof or the fact the back has completely collapsed.

Item #3:  Our Brown House Used For Storage:

This house will actually stay standing for a while.  We plan to eventually move the contents of our storage unit into it, as soon as we finish getting rid of some exercise equipment, several doors, several rolls of carpet, and the spouse plans to use the flooring found on the upper level for the garage roof.  We can't restore this house; there's evidence it had once caught fire and the previous owner tried to reuse the existing (burnt) ceiling joices.  A no-no.

#4:  Little Things For The Living Space:
My closet is tiny.  I need a shelf above my bed, to hold my clock and hearing aid container.  I want to replace my existing bedside table with a three-drawer tote, so I can store more of my clothing inside.  Currently, they're in a box at the foot of my bed.   Yeah, been here an entire year now, and my clothes are still in a box.

#5:  Outlets In The Basement....And In The Dining Room!
Dining Room:  So we can utilize the other wall.  Currently, there are only two outlets in this room.  One by the kitchen and one by the hallway.  One more outlet would take the pressure off the power strip to my immediate left.

Basement:  I could set up my stereo....move my computer essence, move my writing space downstairs!  Not to mention relocating the chest freezer down there, freeing up more space in the garage!

To see what others have to say, go here.

NaNo Update: Made it over the 10K mark at 10033:)

Then I get to start baking cookies!  Whoo hoo!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

"Technical Difficulties...Please Stand By..." #MFRW Authors #47

Back in 2011, this was my 'prime' writing space, our local bookstore, along with my shiny new laptop:)

However, two weeks ago, it died.  This is all that's left of it.

Have you figured out by now that electronics just don't like me?

Yesterday, a friend of mine brought over this shiny new tower!  My desk top, purchased in 2008 (Vista operating system) was outdated, and throwing fits.  That tower was replaced with a MS 7 OS, and e-machine, so I can at least do my online job, write, and not have to wait ten minutes for pages to load.

I've also written at the kitchen table (at our old house).

With all these techno-challenges, I've been forced to use Google Docs, or even more recently, resort to that tried-and-true method, the notebook and pen.  Then comes the challenge of deciphering my own handwriting.  Never very good, since the invention learning to type availability of home computers, my handwriting has gotten worse  (my 3rd grade teacher has probably already been rolling in her grave for the past twenty years!).

My dream office downstairs still needs outlets, shelving, and other items before I can move my desk downstairs.  Hopefully next year???  Stay tuned!

In the meantime,

                       Happy Thanksgiving!

To see what other authors' writing spaces look like, go here.  And don't forget to shop local on Small Business Saturday!  Stay safe if you venture out tomorrow for Black Friday.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Indy Christmas Gift and Hobby Show #MFRW Authors #46

Again, laptop indeed died, and I'm supposedly getting a temporary laptop to use until our insurance $$ arrives and I can get a new one (hubby was in an auto accident the week before Halloween-no one seriously injured, but the truck was totalled).  So in the meantime, I'm using my very UNRELIABLE desk top, which was purchased new ten years ago, when VISTA was the 'new' Operating Server.

Now....the topic at hand is 'let me brag for a moment'.

Hmmmm.....there's child #1 who has earned his Orange Belt in Tai Kwon Do, and took 2nd place in a tournament a few weeks has lost over 100 lbs on the Keto diet.

Or there's the granddaughter, who spelled out her Uncle's T-shirt....still can't read yet, but is recognizing her letters!

What About Why I Was Absent Last Week??
Or there's the fact that last week, I managed to sell 13 books, three more than last year, PLUS managed to pay for half my booth for next year AND gas up my rental car AND pay for food during the ride home.

That's me on the far right; I completely sold out of Teacher's Pet, Hotel Stories, Best of Both Worlds, and Orion Anthology:)

Now to order more.....sigh.....

What's going on in YOUR life?  Tell me:)

To see other's 'brag moments', go here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

So Many To Choose From! #MFRW Authors #45

How do you pick one date that stands out?  I have six, yes SIX that I absolutely can not pick 'just one'.  I'll keep it brief, though!

April 20, 1991:  The day I found out I was expecting my 1st child.

Dec 8, 1991:  The day Child #1 was born, at 3:41am.  I'd gone into active labor around 7 pm on the 7th.  Start-finish:  8.5 hours.

July 3, 1994:  The day Child #2 was born, after a quick 3 hour trip to the hospital.  We weren't due for three more weeks, but my 'firecracker' decided to arrive early, while we were out of town.  We debated going to the local hospital or trying to make the trip back to Indianapolis, and opted for the latter.  Long story short, an hour after we arrived, Miss Sara made her entrance.  Start-finish:  4 hours.

Feb 29-March 1, 2004:  Child #3 (and final!) arrives.  I was happily watching the Academy Awards when I made a trip to the bathroom at 10 pm and my water broke.  Since this had never happened at home before, plus it had been ten years, I totally panicked.  I did NOT want this child to be a Leap Year Baby, and was praying we'd get to the hospital in time (do you see the pattern I thought we were establishing?), plus I was pissed about missing the rest of the awards.  So when we arrived at the hospital, I demanded my spouse turn on the TV so I find out if Lord of the Rings won Best Picture.  I don't remember anything more until the awards were over, other than telling the nurse the child could NOT be born until after midnight, lol!  I was thrilled to learn I was only dilated at 5, and could get the elusive epidural, which I wasn't able to get with the other two.  Finally, at 3:29 am my 'caboose' was born.  Start-finish:  5.5 hours.  NOT the 2 hours I predicted!

Nov 15, 2008:  The day my first e-book was accepted, with the condition I expand the story.  I was thrilled!

Jan 29, 2009:  The day my 1st contract arrived from Freya's Bower for All She Ever Wanted.

Okay; I'm throwing in a 7th:  May 19, 2009:  The day ASEW went live on amazon:)  My writer's group threw me a release party, complete with cake, and the family took me out to dinner:)

What about you?  What date immediately comes to mind when asked about your 'most memorable'?
For others, go here.

Apologies again; I'm currently up in Indianapolis at the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show.  My laptop died earlier this week, so I've posted this earlier than usual with the help of my son's computer.  I'll check in with everyone on Monday.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Apologies.....#MFRW Authors #44

Forgive me; I had an entire post prepared, but before I could write it, LIFE interfered, and here it is, twelve-thirty Thursday night/early Friday morning and I cannot remember one word of what I was going to write!

Who inspires me?  My mom, other authors.....look to the blog roll to the right.  These ladies encouraged me on this journey ten years ago, and I'm forever grateful to them.

I also admire my daughter.  For someone who never played with dolls, she's turned out to be a darn good mother to my granddaughter!

Now, what the heck blew up this week?  
-A week ago, a woman pulled out in front of my spouse as he was taking the kids to school.  No one was seriously injured, but our truck is now missing the front end.  The insurance adjuster FINALLY has arranged for a rental car for us that we'll be picking up around 9 am.

-Kids.  My teen had a meltdown and managed to get himself suspended from school Tuesday and Wednesday.  He became my House Elf, and complained bitterly, but maybe now he'll remember that getting suspended is no laughing matter around here?  Plus, taking care of a house is Hard Work when all you want to do is play videos and sleep til noon....oh yes, he was grounded from the PS3 and all electronics.

-Granddaughter:  Had an accident twice this week in kindergarten, and the 2nd time, her mommy forgot to send fresh clothes to school.  Did I mention we got this news as soon as her mommy left for work and my oldest left for his afternoon college course?  Poor child had to hang out in the nurse's office for an hour until College Kid returned and we could go rescue her.  Since we now live over a mile away from the school instead of 5 blocks, walking was NOT an option, esp in the rainy weather today!

So apologies; Kenzie's a little stressed out and grumpy today.  

To see who the other authors on this blog hop admire, go here.  Don't forget to come back next week; I'm sure to be in a better mood!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Fur Babies #MFRW Authors #43

Yes, we have a red-nosed Pit Bull:)  This is Dexter, and he's about as vicious as a limp noodle.  Unless he doesn't know you; then he's likely to growl, bark, and ready to defend his pack....but once he sees you're friendly, he will try to crawl into your lap.  He thinks he's a 50 lb lap dog!

We acquired Dex when his former owner could no longer keep him, and asked if he could stay with us 'only for the weekend'.  Four years later, he's part of the family!


This is Cheyenne, our 'German-Rott-Bull-Chow' mix.  Daughter Sara adopted her from the local shelter back in 2010.  This is the best picture I could find of Chey, who is now 8 years old.

Next up is Jelly aka Jealous aka Jelly Bean aka Jellico aka Jellyboo.  We were originally supposed to get two cats, and since Sadie was found first, Miss Jelly earned her name by trying to attract the daughter's attention.  But when it came time to collect both cats after we moved, Miss Sadie was nowhere to be found.  Jelly discovered she enjoys a can of Fancy Feast every morning, and is leery of the granddaughter.  Her litterbox is downstairs, but the only time she really uses it is in bad weather, since she spends the majority of her time in the back yard.

Now For The Pets We've Lost in Recent Years:

Our beloved youngest rescued him from a park back in 2009, and disappeared one snowy February day.  It happened to coincide with a neighbor's 'Stray Cat Round Up' action plan, and since Oreo was never one to pass up free food, we think he was taken to the country and dumped along with the others.  My youngest son grieved for months over the loss of his kitty, and though people thought they've spotted him, we either couldn't find him, or it turned out it wasn't him.  I thought I saw him at the Humane Society, but someone had already adopted him.  If it was him, I hope he's found a good home.

My sweet Roxie.....she was rescued back in 2009, and the first Cocker Spaniel we've ever owned.  Her former owners left her to fend for herself in the back yard and neglected her.  It took us months to get her to understand she would always have food and water, and she lived to the ripe old age of twelve.  She slipped off her chain once and I thought I was going to find her in the middle of the street, but this blind sweetheart managed to find the Doggie Boarding Shelter five blocks away.  Another time we thought we'd lost her, someone found her and placed her in an outside pen of the animal shelter.  Poor Roxie, who also suffered from arthritis, was outside the entire night in 50 degree weather.  We brought her home and warmed her up, but when she later had trouble with her bladder, it was time to let her go.  Dexter and Chey howled as we buried her, and lay on her grave for about an hour.

Last but not least, is our deceased 'Kermit'.  We're not sure how this bullfrog found his way into our basement, but he was an extremely helpful pet, eating the camel crickets and whatever else he could find.  He played tug-of-war with my towel at times (our shower was in the basement) and would sometimes spend his days in the shower area.  When we moved, we scooped him up and wrapped him in towels in a bucket to hibernate, but someone put the lid on slightly too tight, and we think he either froze or starved to death.  Every spring his mating call would entertain us, and he has been missed.

I also use this picture as my FB profile pic when I begin to get too many requests from men, trolling for hook ups.  Usually after about a week, it stops:)

I couldn't find any pictures of our Norwegian Elkhound Shadow, our German Shepherd Keisha, or our Black Lab Lucky. Shad and Keisha passed away in 2007 (Shad of a heart attack and Keisha was put to sleep due to old age), and we had to put Lucky Pup down in 2010 due to bladder issues.  We'd had Shadow since 1996, and the other two since 2000.  Our other four cats were born in 1991, and passed away in 2004, 2005, and 2006, all of natural causes, though Gizmo disappeared into the woods in 1998 and was never seen again.

Want to meet other fur babies?  Click here.

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.