Tiny Houses — Boom or Bust?

I was in the other room last night and I heard my husband’s voice across the house. “What a nightmare!” I was expecting him to have news from a friend in Virginia or DC who got over two feet of snow, or some bizarre Internet video. No, he was watching Tiny House Hunters on HGTV.

Now keep in mind that we are not a small family. I am short, but I’m not small by any definition. My husband is 6’4″ and also is not small. Our kids are not small. At 14 my son is already over 5’9″. We could not even imagine. My daughter at almost-13 is 5’3″ and still getting taller.

I don’t get the tiny house phenomenon. Yes, I understand downsizing if you’ve retired, and I even understand the high cost of living in Manhattan where people pay a premium for ridiculously small apartments. There is something to be said for decluttering and not keeping things that you are no longer attached to. These shows go far beyond that. They are insane.

Why would you want to permanently live somewhere that you have to roll the bed under another section of the room when you get up because you literally have nowhere to walk? Why would you want to cram two adults and a small toddler in a living space no bigger than 300 feet? When you already have a house and you are established? grown-ups need their privacy, especially if they have small kids. There need to be boundaries in any healthy relationship.

We got sucked in and watched three different shows, and we couldn’t look away. It was like getting trapped in a Hoarders marathon. Why would these people voluntarily do this? In each one I saw, the wives were pushing it, and the husbands looked like they had been caught in a trap and couldn’t figure out how to extricate themselves.

On the road near where I live, I found a tiny house. The owner should put it up for sale and make a bundle. Any takers? I guess it could also be considered a fixer-upper.

What do you think? Are tiny houses a gimmick, or are they here to stay?

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Recipe Time — Apple Crisp

New feature: Monday Munchies!  (Recipes, meal ideas, munchies, and all around good food!) Whoo hoo!!!

It’s that time of year again, when apples are plentiful. I am absolutely in love with an apple called the Mutso, or the crispin. You can find out more about the Mutsu here.

We haven’t seen these apples in the grocery stores, but every fall we drive to an orchard about an hour from our house in Hendersonville, North Carolina and we buy a half-bushel of Mutsu apples.

I would describe the Mutsu as sweet, tart, and crisp. It’s not as sour as a granny smith apple, but not as mushy like a red delicious.

This year, we weren’t sure when we would go. One weekend we planned to make the drive, but the orchard’s Facebook page said they did not have any Mutsu in stock but they expected more that week. the second weekend we were planning to go, we thought about passing because it was raining, but we checked their Facebook page again. With the orchard urging  that they had very few Mutsu and they wouldn’t last through October, we decided to go ahead.

The trip was worth it. I still love the Mutsu.  Last night I made an apple crisp. It was quick and easy. Here’s the recipe:Apple crisp

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter, melted

3 cups apples (2 large or 3 small), peeled, cored, and chopped

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray non-stick spray on an 8 x 8 pan.Combine everything except apples and place half of the mixture in pan. Spread apples on top. Top with the remainder of the topping.

Bake 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown.

Now, as you will notice, my topping looks a little bit dry. I used margarine and mixed it in without melting it, so I didn’t think it spread as well. Don’t make my mistake. Whether you use butter or margarine, melt it.

Having said that, the apple crisp was a big hit for three out of four at my house, and the fourth doesn’t much care for fruit. I consider that a win.

 

What’s in a Blurb? Meet Carol – She knows!

I recently ran across Carol Ann Eastman, who writes as Angelisa Stone, on a Facebook group for authors, and it turns out she offers a blurb-writing service. Since I have struggled with writing catchy blurbs, I decided to give her a try.

Before I reveal the results of her magic (and I DO mean magic), Carol Ann, tell me how you got started offering this service for writers.

Fellow author, Christine Zolendz and I quickly became “author besties.”  We actually wrote a laugh-your-ass-off chick-lit book together.  It’s basically Thelma & Louise meets Bridesmaids.  It’s called #TripleX.  If you are annoyed by your husband, want to throttle your kids, and puke a little in your mouth when you see your naked body in the mirror as you chomp down on M&Ms, then #TripleX is the humorous story for you.

But anyway, while we spent the year working on the book together, Christine discovered that BLURBS were my forte.  She basically FORCED me into doing this.  She got my name out there in her writing groups and then BAM!  My email starts filling up with people who want help with their blurbs.  I am THRILLED and totally indebted to my lifelong writing friend, Christine Zolendz.

What elements do you focus on to create the perfect blurb? 

I actually think:  “What would make me want to read this book?”  I search for the hook that would drag a nonreader into wanting to read it.

Carol Ann markets herself under the moniker the Blurb Bitch, but she wasn’t bitchy at all. She was very professional and easy to work with. She gave me a sample and I liked it so much that I asked her to do all FOUR of my books.

Carol Ann is also a writer under several pen names. Why did you choose to go with separate pen names, and what would you tell readers who are interested in finding you? Where should they start? 

I am going to try to tell this story as quickly as I can in easy, bullet points!

  • I wrote an erotic, raunchy, vulgar novel, SCHOOLED as Deena Bright.  It is hot!
  • I was a high school teacher. It was about a high school teacher sleeping with TWO male students–who were   OUT OF COLLEGE.
  • My school district fired me.  SO TRUE.  Look it up!
  • I hired a BADASS federal attorney and got my job back.  THE FIRST AMENDMENT ROCKS!
  • I still wanted to write, but “Deena Bright” was sick of the yucky publicity.
  • I became Angelisa Stone.  (Such a sexy name!) I wrote three books as Angelisa.
  • I also wrote a book as me, Carol Eastman, about my mom dying of Cancer.  Total tear-jerker.
  • Then, I quit my stupid teaching job after they started screwing with my schedule and all kinds of other bull crap.
  • So Deena came back. Angelisa still lives on.  And Carol is who I love being!

If anyone is interested in reading my books or chatting with me, then all of my names have Facebook accounts.  If anyone is interested in getting some blurbs rewritten, then check out my website:  www.blurbbitch.com2556555

Thank you Lily for this opportunity.  It really means a lot to me.

Now, let me say that I have re-written the blurb for my first book, No Strings Attached, at least twenty times, and published at least five versions. This book was a lot of things to me, and it was rewritten so much, it was hard for me to summarize it. In fact, the summary that I gave Carol was very very long…

Here was my last attempt, we’ll call it BC, or before Carol…

A steamy story of a woman torn between duty and desire, truth and betrayal— After a summer fling in Vegas, now Fox Thornton and Laura Todd must work together. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t add up, and all signs point to embezzlement. Fox vows to bring the thief to justice, but Laura is his main suspect. Can he follow his heart while making sure that justice is served?

And this is what she gave me…

There’s a fine line between truth and deception.

When Laura Todd discovers that her new boss is Fox Thornton, the sexy, blue-eyed man that she wowed in Las Vegas, she realizes that there’s more at stake than a “no strings attached” fling. After all, strings can weave a tangled web of deceit and betrayal. Fox knows how crafty and clever Laura is, but he was hired to find out why her company is losing money. He can’t deny that all evidence points to Laura. Fox’s reputation as a fixer is on the line, and he vows to find the truth–even if it means taking down the one woman he’s wanted all along.

I fell in love all over again! So, authors, if you’re struggling, get in touch with Carol. I mean it. She’s a gem, and she’s reasonable.

Summer Fire and Heat Lightning

Today I’d like to welcome Joan Reeves to my Writer Wednesday feature. She’s a writer that I have come to know in the past few months, and I’ve read several of her books. I haven’t read this one yet, but I will as soon as it comes out.

 

Summer Fire & Evocative Titles

by Joan Reeves

In the beginning when an author starts a book, perhaps the most important words she, or he, writes is the title. A title, those few words, can either leap onto the page or be dragged kicking and screaming from the author’s brain.

In today’s publishing world where thousands of titles are published weekly, selecting a title can often be a chore. The author wants a title that (1) says what the book is about (2) makes the reader want to get that book (3) sets a mood or tone (4) is unforgettable (5) never gets dated and a whole host of other attributes.

How do you get a title that “sings,” in other words, it rolls off the tongue and sounds good and makes the reader sit up and take notice? Oh, and it shouldn’t already be attached to another book. That last is hard to do in today’s world when so many books are being published.

 

Titles That Worked

Why do you think these titles worked so well?

Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke

Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson and the other books in his trilogy.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

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Why I Chose Heat Lightning

Here in Texas we have really hot, steamy summers. If you’re in the country, it’s not uncommon to see heat lightning at night. Heat lightning is what they call flashes of lightning on the horizon that aren’t accompanied by thunder. This happens because the lightning occurs very far away and the sound dissipates before it reaches the observer.

Long ago when I heard the term, heat lightning for this phenomenon, it stuck with me. I thought THAT would be a great title for a book.

In Heat Lightning, desire flashes–quickly, silently–between Tessa and her husband David whom she does not remember.

 

Summer Fire Authors & Their Titles

Heat Lightning is part of the Summer Fire: Love When It’s Hot Contemporary Romance Collection. Here are the other titles and authors. After reading the title and short description, do you think the title represents the story? More importantly, does it make you want to read the book?

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Gennita Low, author of Sizzle. “Sizzling passion and flying bullets.”

Stacey Mosteller, author of Just One Summer. “Good girl meets bad boy in Just One Summer.”

R.J. Lewis, author of Sinful. “She’s straight and narrow; he’s sinfully rebellious.”

Kym Grosso, author of Solstice Burn. “Love and erotic temptation in the tropics.”

Victoria Danann, author of A Season in Gemini. “A breath of fresh romance–normal and paranormal.”

L. Wilder, author of Summer Storm. “Can their love survive the storm?”

Linda Barlow, author of My Mile-High Mistake. “Can she resist his temptation at 35,000 feet?”

Teresa Gabelman, author of Rodeo Romance. “Summer + Cowboys = Sexy Fun.”

Cat Miller, author of Sun Burnt. “Sophisticated city girl’s wild ride with a cowboy.”

Mimi Barbour, author of Big Girls Don’t Cry. “Why cry when no one is listening?”

Helen Scott Taylor, author of Irish Kisses. “Second chance at love in an enchanting Irish castle.”

Clarissa Wild, author of Killer. “Bitterness turns into an obsession; a stalker is born.”

Patrice Wilton, author of A Man for Hire. “She hired him for a weekend, not to find love.”

Nicole Blanchard, author of Anchor. “Guaranteed to get you wet!”

Victoria James, author of Sweet Surrender. “He wanted the sweetest surrender.”

Mona Risk, author of Husband for a Week. “Never fall in love with a fake husband.”

Lorhainne Eckhart, author of His Promise. “A love they thought would last forever.”

Danielle Jamie, author of Tan Lines and Salty Kisses. “Second chance romance sure to steam up your Ereader.”

Joan Reeves, author of Heat Lightning. “Secrets, lies, passion. Secrets can kill.”

Brandy L Rivers, author of Summer Rhythm. “Doug never could resist Chloe. Is she back for good?”

Terri Marie, author of Someone Exactly Like You. “The chase is on!”

 

Add Summer Fire to Your Library

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Dv2jy3

Apple: http://bit.ly/1CVOgih

B&N: http://bit.ly/18d9QY0

KOBO: http://bit.ly/19QsJAD

Giveaway

Leave a comment with your email address and be entered in a random drawing for a free copy of Summer Fire: Love When It’s Hot Contemporary Romance Collection. Giveaway is open until May 23 midnight. Winner will be chosen on May 24 by Random Name Picker and notified by email as well as in the Comments section of this post on Lily’s Blog. (Note that the comment feature will take the email but wont’ display it — I’ll have it on the back end so it won’t be visible to spammers — Lily)

 

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Bio Note:

Joan Reeves, whose book in Summer Fire is Heat Lightning, is a bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Available as ebooks and audiobooks, her romance novels all have the same underlying theme: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily ever after with her husband in the Lone Star State. Sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s free email list for readers: http://eepurl.com/Yk61n.

Writer Wednesday – Romantic Suspense Author K.L. Docter

Can you believe we are at the end of the year? This is my last Writer Wednesday this year. Over Christmas, I’m working on revamping the whole website, so next time you visit I’ll have a facelift.

I’m welcoming K.L. Docter to my blog today, a romantic suspense writer extraordinaire. She put the suspense in romantic suspense. I told her if it weren’t for the sultry love scenes, she could crossbrand into the thriller category, easy.

Today we are talking about Killing Secrets, the first book in the Thorne’s Thorns series.

The Blurb:

Some secrets are better left dead.

Rachel James’ ex-husband is released from prison determined to reclaim her and her little girl — the child is his key to controlling the James fortune. Frightened, Rachel flees to Denver with the child who hasn’t uttered a word since her daddy went to prison.

Contractor Patrick Thorne wants nothing to do with another of his parents’ charity cases. He failed his own wife so abysmally she took her own life as well as his unborn son’s. After two years, it’s time to concentrate on the bid he’s won and the saboteur trying to destroy his construction firm.

There is no room for trust in either of their hearts. But trust is all that will untangle the secrets that dominate their lives, free a little girl of her silent prison, and save them all from a serial killer who stands too close.

(A Thorne’s Thorns Novel)

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It’s difficult to tell a writer’s style from a blurb, so here’s a brief excerpt:

Excerpt from Killing Secrets

© Copyright 2014 – K.L. Docter

 

Denver, Colorado.

At the first crack of gunfire, Rachel dove headfirst into the garden she was weeding. Listening for the second report she expected to follow, she prayed Amanda stayed at Patrick Thorne’s house where she’d gone an hour ago to play with her new friend, Suze.

Gasping for air, she inhaled the rich, spicy scent of freshly turned soil and crushed nasturtiums instead. Dirt and grit bit into her cheek and the bare flesh exposed by her cutoffs and T-shirt. The mid-afternoon sun beat hot against her shoulders and legs, and all she could do was lie there and watch a fat bumblebee dip into a russet blossom three inches from her nose.

Had she run almost nine hundred miles only to die like this, grubbing alone in the dirt like a spineless worm?

A surge of anger gave her impetus to lift her head. She peeked over the flimsy wall of twelve-inch annuals between her and the street. A second gunshot rang out, belched in a cloud of black smoke from an ancient Volkswagen bus that disappeared around the corner.

Backfire?

She groaned, more relieved than embarrassed by her overreaction. Her chin dropped. Taking several deep draughts of the thin Colorado air, she worked to calm the pound of her heart against her ribcage. Her efforts made her head swim. A minute later she was able to push herself out of the three-foot section of garden she’d mown down.

Her nerves had been on edge since she fled Dallas on Friday, five days ago. If she weren’t so overwrought it would have occurred to her Greg would never stand at a distance and take potshots at her. No. Greg liked to look into her eyes when he meted out his punishments.

An icy shiver skimmed her skin. Each day that passed without his appearance should have reassured her she’d made the right decision to accept Katy’s arrangements with the Thornes. As long as Greg didn’t track her and Amanda to Denver, they were safe.

Problem is she hadn’t felt safe since Amanda was born and she discovered what kind of man she’d married. Now she couldn’t pluck enough weeds from Evelyn Thorne’s gardens by day to tear the anxiety from her heart at night. Her growing sense of trepidation kept her awake long after the morning stars dimmed above the mile-high city’s cloudless skies.

How could the justice system simply hand Greg a “get out of jail free” card?  She’d always known the man had connections in high places, but how had he arranged for the evidence in his case—evidence she’d risked everything to provide—to disappear before he even went to trial?  If he’d accomplished that feat while behind bars, how in the world was she and Amanda going to stay out of his clutches?

She felt like there were giant bull’s-eyes painted on their backs, that it was only a matter of time before Greg tracked them down. During their marriage the man would spend weeks, even months, laying meticulous groundwork for one of his cons. He’d had six months to plan dozens of new punishments for his betrayer.

“‘Til death us do part, darlin’.”

His words echoed over the expanse of time and distance, ringing a fresh peal of dread in Rachel’s breast. With one hand, she brushed clumps of soil off her tangerine T-shirt and whispered a small prayer. Please don’t let him find us!

**

Karen has a style that’s easy to read, with realistic dialogue and fast-paced action. This isn’t a quick mystery, coming in at over 300 pages. She is a master at weaving multiple story lines together and keeping you guessing until the very end. If you need something to keep you company these long winter nights, this is the book. You can grab it on Amazon for the steal price of $3.99, or read it as one of your Prime or Kindle Unlimited selections.  Purchase it here: Killing Secrets (Thorne’s Thorns Book 1)

 

Bio

K.L. Docter writes two different kinds of romance novels….KLDocter Pic

Romantic Suspense w/a K.L. Docter: Women hunted by killers…men who’d die to protect them.

Contemporary Romance w/a Karen Docter: Romance…With a Kick!

K.L.’s romantic suspense novels are filled with romance, although the dangers the hero and heroine face are intense, usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one or both of their lives before they can fall in love.

Her contemporaries (written as Karen Docter) are cute & spicy romances. She loves writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don’t allow for a relationship just so she can throw them in each other’s path…with a tickle and a smile.

K.L./Karen’s an award winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division.

When she’s not saving her characters from death and destruction or helping them fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening & cooking. If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better!

To find out more about all of Karen’s books, check in with her online at http://www.Karendocter.com.

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Before you go, if you haven’t grabbed it yet, my second novel (Under His Protection) is on sale at all major retailers for $2.99.  Grab it quickly, because it won’t stay at this price long! All the links can be found here: Under His Protection.

Give Karen/K.L. a shout-out in the comments to make her feel welcome, and sign up for my newsletter before you go. I shoot for monthly, but it’s been less than that lately. Each month I reach ten new subscribers, I’m giving away a Starbucks giftcard.

(Click Here to sign up for newsletter)

More about Winter Tales

A Holiday Anthology (Volume Two)

A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales

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Please join us in reading this fantastically diverse FREE collection of stories to warm
your heart while you wait for the kids, the oven to buzz, on a
15-minute break from work, or when you just need to hide for ten minutes
from everyone! Every story is PG,but a few have a hint of zing.

The calendar on the wall says 2014 but the holidays are a magical time where anything is possible when it comes to romance. Prepare to travel through snow or to a tropical setting with a little dash of fantasy sprinkled in to make your holiday reading enjoyable. This heart-warming collection of all new, very short stories is our way of saying happy holidays to you.

 

FRANKIE’S WISH by Jennifer Garcia

“Every night, as my daddy taught me, I kneeled by my bed and said my prayers. But tonight, I wanted to ask for something.
“Now I lay me down to sleep… I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Oh, please bring me a mommy. Amen”

THE GIFT OF TIME by Rose Anderson

“Rose is a multi-published, award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
Possessing an active imagination, she writes everything from children’s stories to historical non-fiction.”

FRANKIE’S WISH by Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer believes in writing love stories that connect families and touch hearts. Her first novel, My Mr. Manny, was released August 2013 and her first novella, In My Mother’s Footsteps, was released July 2013.

A KISS AT MIDNIGHT by Lily Bishop

Lily Bishop lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and has published two books in the City Lights series, No Strings Attached and Under His Protection. She is working on the third book now.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Dee Ann Palmer

In every age the heart loves, and Dee Ann Palmer’s romances reflect those eras in fantasy, historic, contemporary and futuristic tales. The award winning Palmer is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and belongs to the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime.

MARJA’S VICTORY By Barb Caffrey

Barb Caffrey is a writer, editor, book reviewer and musician from the Midwest. She is the author of the humorous urban fantasy/romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and is the co-author of the Adventures of Joey Maverick series (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey).

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS by Beverley Bateman

Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author of several books who loves traveling, good wine and a mystery. She lives with her husband and two Shiba Inu dogs among vineyards and orchards set in lake country and surrounded by mountains – beaches, swimming and skiing.

GINGERBREAD DREAMS by Victoria Adams

Victoria Adams is a romance writer, dividing her writing between contemporary romance and New Adult contemporary romance. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and kitten, Licorice. She likes to study Raqs Sharqi (Egyptian belly dance), garden, and bake.

CHE GELIDA MANINA by M. S. Spencer

Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine. Ms. Spencer has published nine romantic suspense novels.

ROMANCE VALLEY by Kaye Spencer

Native Coloradoan Kaye Spencer writes romances from her basement hovel in a small, rural town in the far southeastern corner of Colorado—no mountains in sight—just prairie dogs, buffalo grass, and glorious prairie sunsets. While drawn to cowboys and the Old West, all genres are within her story-crafting realm. Retired from a long career in public education that included teaching through a community college outreach program, Kaye is enjoying being a full-time writer and spoiler of grandchildren. Kaye is also afflicted with ACD—Accumulative Cat Disorder—with no cure in sight.

THE CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT by Janis Susan May

Janis Susan May is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works and non-fiction as J.S.M. Patterson.
Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.

TROPICAL CHRISTMAS by Gemma Juliana

GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.

A KISS AND A PROMISE by Lyndi Lamont

Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.

A COWBOY’S HOLIDAY by E. Ayers

E. Ayers is a multi-published and best-selling author of western and contemporary romances. Her books are never too sweet or too hot. She writes down the middle.

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It is available for FREE at smashwords-icon1

will be available at Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

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Last year’s anthology is also available at

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and

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New FREE Holiday Anthology

I am featured in a FREE holiday anthology of short stories —
A Holiday Anthology Volume 2 A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales

If you are familiar with my books, you may remember Deena from the first book. She was one of Bonnie’s Assistant Chefs, and she was dating Lee at the time.

In the second book, we learn that Deena has moved to Las Vegas and she and Lee have broken up. But what happened to Deena? This little 1,500 short story gives us an idea.

The anthology is currently free on the website Smashwords, and will be free on the Nook and iTunes soon. At Smashwords, you can download an epub, an Adobe file, or read online, all for free.

You can find the anthology here… https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498109

The stories range from sweet to Spicy Hot, with mine somewhere in the middle. Check it out, and you may find some new authors you want to explore.

The Appeal of Indie Publishing

If you’re wondering why anyone would go to the trouble to self-publish (and by trouble I mean finding cover designers, hiring an editor, doing all the marketing, and paying for all of the above out of pocket) here’s one of the most cogent and best explanations I’ve seen. Brava!

Books I Read in January 2014

I’ve been meaning to do these monthly posts, but the months have gotten away from me. So here is January and expect February soon.

January was a light reading month for me. I finally picked up Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I had never read, and it’s a big one, coming in at 896 pages according to its Amazon page. Then I stuck my toe into serial fiction, but that didn’t quite go as well.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon –

Have you ever had a book that too many people told you it was good, so you refuse to read it because you didn’t think it could be THAT good? That’s how I felt about Outlander. I look time travel romance, but the book description put me off. How could you have two love interests? I failed to realize that Outlander started a whole sub-genre.

Time travel is a familiar trope, and reading one is usually like settling into a favorite sweater. This book pushes the romance genre to its edge and back. Women’s rights  have come a long way since 1743, and many books time travel back to this era. However, often when they do, we find that amazingly enough, the male characters have modern sensibilities when it comes to women. This book doesn’t do that.

Time travel, whether through a magic stone, potion, or an existing portal,  is always complicated, but the trope usually goes like this: a young woman, not well established in life, travels back in time, falls in love, and stays with her new life. But what if she is leaving behind a life she was happy with? What if she happened to be already married and happy with her husband? If she falls in love with another man while she is in the past, is it adultery? Very few authors have the guts to go there. Diana Gabaldon went there. Well done. I don’ t think I gave too much away here, but if you haven’t read it yet, do it. Although I think I’m the last person who reads time-travel romance who hasn’t read this one. You can find an Amazon buy link in my store.

 

Yesterday’s Gone, Season One, by Sean Platt, David Wright – I hate to admit that I did not finish this one. The book was billed as similar to LOST, which it may be, but I couldn’t get far enough to tell.

The thing about LOST (which people who say their thing is like LOST forgets) is that the island started out fairly normal. Sure, we saw a polar bear, and there were some strange things, but nothing that could be defined as paranormal or alien happened until after season one. By the time the weird stuff really started, generally viewers cared about the characters and stuck around. I didn’t care about any of these characters.

This book tries to be similar to The Stand, Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic book, which has multiple groups all over the country that eventually come together. The authors may eventually get these groups together, but I couldn’t stay with it long enough to tell. There were too many different character groups, and I couldn’t remember which was which. The writing itself was well-edited and there weren’t any issues there, but the jumping around between different threads was too much for me.

On to February. Book count for the year: 1.5

I’m going by the purchases on my Kindle for my official count for the year.

Writing update: I m sending Under His Protection to my editor a chapter at a time, and I’ve send ten chapters so far. I’m still hoping for a May release date. No Strings Attached is now available on the Nook, Kobo, and the iTunes bookstore if you don’t do Kindle.