Tuesday, December 31, 2013



Powerful Magic is Afoot …
Millicent Pantere has lived her entire life in the notorious London Underground. She cares nothing for the problems of the crown or the intrigues of society. But the ladies of the realm are acting strangely, and Millicent is coerced into tracking down the rumors of a mysterious man—a magic man who comes in the night and disappears at dawn.

And So the Hunt Begins…
Millicent's search leads her to one of Merlin's legendary relics and the seductive knight whose fate is bound up with it. Centuries ago, Sir Gareth Solimere made the mistake of seducing the wrong woman, and he has been trapped ever since by a diabolical curse. He's looking for the one who can break the enchantment—but in this world, there is no love without betrayal...

Kathryne Kennedy is a critically acclaimed, bestselling, award-winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Glendale, Arizona. For more information and ongoing contests, please visit www.kathrynekennedy.com.

To Purchase Everlasting Enchantment:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Author Spotlight on Cara Marsi


When a young woman hires her hometown’s former bad boy to be her pretend fiancé for the holidays, she finds she can’t wrap up her feelings as easily as a Christmas gift. 

New York jewelry designer Graceann Palmer has two days to find a fiancé to bring home to Pennsylvania for the holidays so her matchmaking mama will quit fixing her up with jerks. The Falcon, a motorcycle-riding, leather-clad former high school crush, helped her out once before. Maybe he'll do it again.
Jake Falco, man of many mysteries, is back in town on a mission—one the people of Spirit Lake most likely won't appreciate. When Graceann presents him with her crazy scheme, it gives him something he's always wanted—a chance to get to know Graceann. It also gives him the perfect opportunity to add fuel to his project of revenge. 
But as Jake and Graceann grow closer, their engagement-of-convenience begins to feel like the real deal—until Jake’s secrets are revealed. 
Can a relationship that began with lies and secrets bloom like a rare Christmas rose into happily-ever-after?

(This sensuous romance is like a Hallmark Christmas movie with some intense love scenes.) 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Introducing Barbara White Daille

It is my pleasure to introduce Barbara White Daille and her new book.

Rancher at Risk - January 2014
A Fresh Start
After the loss of his family in a tragic accident, Ryan Malloy has been given one last chance to change his life. His boss sends him to Flagman's Folly, New Mexico, to run his ranch, but unfortunately, Ryan's troubled attitude lands him in hot water with the locals, especially the ranch's manager, Lianne Ward.
Deaf since birth, Lianne has never let her disability define who she is. But, she's yet to meet a man who treats her as an equal. Ryan seems different…that is, when they're not butting heads over the ranch's new school for disadvantaged boys.

Forced to work together, Lianne and Ryan discover an unexpected attraction beneath their quarreling. But will Ryan's painful past drive them apart…permanently?

You can learn more about Barbara at her website:

Court Me, Cowboy - reissued in e-book format - Oct 15th!
The Rodeo Man's Daughter - Book Buyers Best finalist
The next Flagman's Folly book - Rancher at Risk - January 2014

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Desert Dreams Conference - Early Bird Sign-up Gets a Great Deal!

Sign-up is going on right now for the Desert Rose Conference. You can get a discounted price if you sign up before December 31st. 

Desert Dreams 2014 Writers Conference, Turn your dreams to reality

I'm also honored to be speaking at the conference this year. I'll be talking about author platforms: Do you have one? How to get one and what is one? We'll be going over platforms for the current market. From web sites, and blogs to social media  and everything in between.

More info on Desert Rose's Conference is listed below or you can click here. Hope to see you there!

Carol Webb/H.D. Thomson

April 4-6, 2014
Tempe Mission Palms Resort
Tempe, Arizona
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Christie Craig: Keynote
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Sylvia Day
  • Award-winning Author and speaker Mary Buckham
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Allison Brennan
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Karin Tabke
  • And many more

This national bi-annual conference gives writers a chance to ready their manuscripts and pitch to sell them to big-name editors and agents. New York Times bestselling authors Christie Craig, Sylvia Day and Mary Buckham are just a few of the speakers who will keep the 200+ attendees’ creative juices flowing.

Powerhouse agents and editors—including editors and senior editors from Grand Central Publishing, Random House, Decadent Publishing and Boroughs Publishing, as well as agents from The Kristin Nelson Literary Agency, The Nancy Yost Literary Agency and The Bradford Literary Agency—will be on hand to give advice and present workshops. Agents and editors visiting the conference actively seek the high caliber of talent found among those who come to Desert Dreams.

Desert Dreams also offers a book signing open to the public on Saturday, April 5th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Mission Palms Ballroom. To sign up early and pay the reduced price, just click on the Online Registration tab at the left side of the page. Member price is currently only $180, so sign up now, before the rates go up. Desert Dreams Writers’ Conference provides authors of all skill levels – from beginner to multi-published – with the tools necessary to take their writing to the next level. Session included general writing, career development, genre-specific, agent/publisher spotlights, as well as an agent/editor panel. Check out our roster of acquired editors and agents along with our keynote speakers and workshops. Did you miss the 2012, 2010, or 2008 conferences? Order workshop conference CDs and MP3s.

A Terrific Conference Coming Up

Time Out For Writers ANWA's 22nd Conference will be held at the Mesa Hilton from February 20 through February 22. Attendees can participate in a query/pitch workshop, attend two full days of classes with industry professionals, enter our "BOB" contest (Beginning of Book) and win fabulous prizes, and pitch their work to both national and local agents and editors. 
Jon Samuel Lewis   
Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing or Both?
  One major retail chain shuttered over 900 stores. Another announced an average of 20 closures per year for the next decade. And while total trade sales dipped 5% in Q1 of 2013, overall digital sales were up 3% to capture 27% of all trade sales. Add to that renegade authors like J.A. Konrath, Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking and others selling hundreds of thousands of copies without going through a publisher and you have a recipe for hyper change. Self-published authors no longer need to wear a scarlet letter but major publishers are here to stay as well. So how do you pick between traditional publishing, self-publishing? Or does it need to be an either/or? The truth might surprise you.

Book Marketing 101
With shrinking revenue, the publishing industry can't afford to promote all authors the same way. In fact, there are rumors that traditional publishers are looking to sign authors with large social media fan bases because those fans represent potential buyers. That means it doesn't matter if you publish traditionally or if you self-publish, the success of your marketing campaign falls squarely on your shoulders. Should you hire a PR agency? Line up your own book tour? What about Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms? This session will show you how to outperform your competition no matter their budget, and all for a fraction of the cost. 

Jon Samuel Lewis is an American writer best known for the acclaimed Grey Griffins series published by Scholastic's Orchard Books. After selling nearly a million copies in the original trilogy, Lewis and his writing partner, Derek Benz teamed with Little Brown to publish the Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He is also the author of CHAOS Novels, a young adult urban science fiction series published by Thomas Nelson and has written for DC Comics. Lewis is also a marketing executive and content strategist who works with Fortune 500 companies on their digital marketing strategies.
Arizona Educator Licensing

"Time Out for Writers" offers Professional Development hours for Arizona Educator Licensing. Receive up to 17 Professional Developmental hours that can be applied toward the renewal of your Arizona Educator's License!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday
February 20-22, 2014
Hilton Phoenix/East Mesa
1011 West Holmes Avenue
Mesa,  Arizona   85210-4923 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Power of Positive Lingerie -
Mary Tate Engels, Boomer on the Web

Sometimes symbols or the mystique of something can influence our thoughts or behavior. The best storytellers seem to incorporate something that could possibly-maybe-perhaps become a reality in the world of the story. That's the beauty of fiction. Anything can happen, if you believe.

Recently at a U of A basketball game, a young woman sang the Star Spangled Banner acapella. Usually, we just listen to the band or group or whoever is singing this routine tune. But this woman's voice was so clear and beautiful that about half-way through, the crowd started singing with her. Spontaneously. From mystique (those of us who can't sing in tune) to reality. We all sang.

Research has shown that the photo of an old-fashioned light bulb makes us think of bright ideas or something new and creative. From image to action.

When I was in Ireland, I fell in love with the handmade Irish lace, so much so that I wanted to put it in a book. The local Irish shops set the reality stage for me – it's a hard sell.  These days, nobody is buying doilies, no matter how intricate and beautiful. One shop was putting snippets of the actual antique lace in note cards as décor. They weren't flying off the shelf, either.

But what if. . . (cue light bulb) I gave the lace some significance, a myth of magic going back generations? And what if... my characters put this beautiful magical lace on lingerie? And what if that affected people's lives? And so, the power of Amazing Lace took over. Claire, in Claire's Embrace, believed in the power because it originated from her long-deceased mother's hands. Claire's daughter, Brianna, was too modern to believe, until it happened in Secret Embrace. In Embraceable You the townsfolk of Haven's Point were quite doubtful until something magical happened - online. And that impossible-to-sell lace went viral!

Never underestimate the Power of Positive Lingerie - and a good old-fashioned topless style show!

What do you believe? Do you have a favorite shirt, religious symbol, or something special that someone gave you? Maybe from one who is no longer in your life? Or an item that your great-grandmother valued? Something that gives inspiration or encouragement or even… power. What takes you from mystique to reality?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Craft

If you are looking for a fun, quick craft idea, try these candy cane reindeer. I give them to kids and place on top of gifts. You can find colorful pom poms, wiggly eyes, and pipe cleaners at most craft stores. Hot glue the pom pom and eyes into place. Next, fold a pipe cleaner in half, twist it onto the candy cane, and then roll the ends around a pencil. Finally, hot glue the pipe cleaner into place.

Making a craft helps add to the holiday cheer. Afterwards, you can relax with a cup of hot cocoa and a great book.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, December 13, 2013

Spotlighting: RT Reviewers' Choice Nominee Dawn Atkins

Click Here to Buy
I opened my copy of Romantic Times a short time ago and saw that my friend Dawn Atkins was up for a Reviewers' Choice Award. That was so cool and I immediately invited her to be my December spotlight guest.

Welcome, Dawn, and tell us a little about your award nominated Superomance . . . 

I’m thrilled to be a guest on Cheaper Than Therapy to talk about how thrilled I was to have my 2013 Harlequin SuperRomance BACK WHERE SHE BELONGS nominated by Romantic Times Book Club for a Reviewer’s Choice Award. The honor is especially sweet because, after publishing 30-some books, I can say that—so far—this was the most difficult book I’ve ever written.

It tells the story of a woman returning to the small town named after her family, which she escaped after high school, to investigate the car accident that killed her father and put her sister in a coma, aided—and occasionally opposed--by her high school flame.

Why was this book so tough? The plot flummoxed me, for one, because it involved technical issues I had to research like crazy—electric cars, batteries, factory functions, brain injuries, recovering from a coma, car accident reconstruction, and on and on. On top of that, the characters remained murky to me far too long. I have to say that by the time I finished the extra revisions on the book, I was sorry to say farewell to Tara and Dylan, who’d become as dear to me as family (well, not quite, but you get the idea….
Dawn Atkins
There is always a burning fear when I write a book that I’ve chosen too difficult a path for the story and the people in it, that I’ve stretched beyond my capacity to convey their journey in a compelling, satisfying and believable way. When it works out, when I reach that satisfying conclusion, the elation is worth every sweated-out word, especially when readers tell me how much the story meant to them. That’s why I do what I do. By the way, the book is still available as an ebook. You can nab it via my website, www.dawnatkins.com or for your Kindle, iPad or Nook.

Sharing this with you has motivated to get back to my next book—A COP IN HER HEART for SuperRomance, about a female cop from a cop family who must investigate the murder of her roommate, shot with Julie’s gun. Sound complicated? Believe me, it is. Here I go again with the agony and the ecstasy of writing it.

Thanks again for allowing me to visit!

Your are so welcome, Dawn, and it was inspiring to read about your process. Not enough writers share this information openly these days and I know readers are very interested in the insider details. So thanks for your generosity. There's probably some aspiring writer out there struggling with their characters' challenging path that will be encouraged by reading how you overcame your challenges.
Till later,

Via email:  dawn@dawnatkins.com
Website: http://www.dawnatkins.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DawnAtkinsAuthor
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dawnatkins 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Knowing When to Say Enough

I'll be the first to admit it—I'm a bit of a research junkie. I love knowledge. I love knowing things. So when I recently decided to start writing a new series of romances set during World War I, I basically started drooling. All those books. And I could buy them all.  Ahem, my husband says I cannot buy them all. Just the ones I need.

But how do you know what you need to know?

Some folks would have a general idea going into researching an era. This would be the, um, sane approach. Yet how do you know what you need to know? There are the obvious—clothes, landscape, house design and layout, transportation, and ranks of nobility.

And these are great starting places.

Yet, to bring the time period alive, you need the little details that remain elusive in facts. That's why I love diaries and books that include letters and personal accounts. For Ghost of a Chance, I had this one fact about buttons. Buttons. We take them for granted, but my poor Victorian heroine had to snip off the buttons of one skirt and sew it on another skirt/blouse to wear the next morning. Buttons. That one act said so much about how little money she had and her self respect.

So I'm constantly searching for those little details to add a realistic layer to my books—something so humanizing that I won't ever forget my characters.

Still I have a hard time deciding when I've researched enough. Which to be frank will probably never happen. I have 50 more books to go (hey, there's lots of books that are out of copywrite and are available for free—which is my kind of crack). I'm pretty sure, I'm pursuing a PhD in the World War I era, but I think it's safe for me to start writing the series.

Especially since I've started arguing with the books I've been reading about facts they've left out:D

Happy researching, er, writing. Yeah, writing.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Author Spotlight: Erin Kellison, by Caris Roane

Hi, Everyone!  Today, I'm spotlighting fellow paranormal romance author, Erin Kellison. 


Erin Kellison is the author of the dark fantasy romance Shadow, Shadow Touch, and Shadow Kissed series. Stories have always been a central part of Erin's life. She attempted her first book in sixth grade, a dark fantasy adventure, and she still has those early hand-written chapters. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Language and Literature and went on for a masters in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. When she had children, nothing scared her anymore, so her focus shifted to writing fiction.

  • Has had an ongoing science fiction epic in her head since childhood
  • Is scared of the dark
  • Storyboards scenes already written, but not what is to come
  • Seventh of eight kids (lucky seven! must mean something)
  • Wanted to be the Empress in The Neverending Story so she could wear the pearl on her forehead
  • Decorates to the nines at Christmas
  • Is still waiting for super powers to kick in
  • Would be villain if ever written into a book

Her Latest Book:  SOUL KISSED!!!

While the world slumbers in Shadow, a fatal plague has swept through magekind. No one is immune to its ravages, and now that her father is dead, Cari Dolan must wield the fearful magic of her House to save innocent lives. 

At the mage Council's bidding, dangerous outsider Mason Stray joins forces with Cari to hunt down the fiend responsible. But can he trust the daughter of wealth and privilege, especially when his own son is at risk? 

The princess will always welcome to her bed the warrior, even if one must pay the ultimate price...

I hope you enjoyed this quick look at the fabulous Erin Kellison and her Shadow Kissed Series!  

To learn more about Erin:   CLICK HERE!!!

Happy Holidays, everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Fiction Writers Lifesaver: Scene Progress List

by Connie Flynn     
Every time I write a book, the experience is different. I'm always trying to find a structure to rely on for all time. One that gets me primed to write a rousing start that grabs my reader by the collar and glues the nose to the page. (OK, that was a bit manic but you know what I mean.) What's more. I want a structure that guarantees each chapter I write will have the same zip as the opener.

Delusional, that's what I am, but I have come up with a few systems that actually work most of the time. One of my favorites is the scene progress list.

This is something you compose after you're done writing for the day. As you may have guessed, It's a running list of the scenes  you write. This is not the same as an outline or list of scenes you are planning to write--which we all know are valuable--but a record of what you have already written. You will probably compile and maintain this list on the computer, but you might also want to print it out periodically so you can make notes on it as you're moving through your book.

These are the elements an effective scene list must include:
  • Identify the point of view character.
  • The beginning & ending page numbers of the scene.
  • Identify the scene goal (both yours as the writer and the character's)
  • Make note of the progress toward the goal.
  • Record other major character's in the scene.
  • Identify the character's state of mind at the end of the scene (story movement).
These are elements you may want to add:
  • Whether the scene is an action scene or whether it's summary.
  • What the character is wearing.
  • Location.
  • Complications that might arise from scene event.
  • Loose ends that must be tied up later.
  • How you, the author, feel about the scene.
Include anything else you think is important, but keep it short. There’s no need to include all items in every entry. Just use the key events..  Don’t make the notes elaborate or worry about writing the entries well. They are just for your use as a quick reference guide to where you've been.

This list will be used in several ways, the most obvious one is that you’ll no longer have to thumb through your entire manuscript in search of small but important details that have slipped your mind.

When you reach the revision part of your novel, a quick tour through your list will immediately alert you to repetitive scenes and to scenes you didn't feel good about from the beginning.  You'll be reminded that Carolyn left her sweater at Mark's and it must be mentioned later. Notes of unfinished character goals and on character/reader concerns will help you stay focused on what's important to get on the page. And one of the most helpful notes is the one on how you feel about the scene. It not only  helps you gain confidence in your instincts about your daily writing quality, it lets you relax while you write ther first draft, confident you won't forget that those weak scenes need revising.

And, worth mentioning for sure, is that the list gives you a record of what you've accomplished. Your novel is a long project and it's easy to forget where you've been when you take a look at how far you still have to go. Reviewing your past progress can give you a much needed reward that lets you push through a sloggy part of your book.

I have other tools. The pre-list, for instance, where you list what things you will include in your scene just before you write it and the notebook, where you keep all your research and story doodles. But the scene list is enough for one day.

What about you?  Do you follow some structures or rituals that ease your journey?  Would other writers benefit by knowing them? If so, I invite you to share.

In the meantime, remember we live in interesting times.  Till later,

Click Here to Buy

Boxed Set Includes Two Full-Length Novels: 

SHADOW OF THE WOLF:   A grieving shaman drags the fallen werewolf queen back to face judgment for the murder of his wife, then finds he's lost his taste for vengeance. But she's again brought danger to his village. Where the queen goes, werewolves follow . . . and someone's blood will spill. (Sequel to Shadow on the Moon.)

THE FIRE OPAL: A Cajun woman, destined to be the Guardian of the Fire Opal, returns to the treacherous swamps she ran from as a teenager to reclaim the stolen gem and defeat the dark entity that will use it to spread destruction throughout the world.

PLUS, a bonus 6000 word short suspense story: OLD BONES:  All she wants is to remodel her home, but a Chicago psychologist's courage and determination is put to the test when bones from the past are discovered on her property. Soon she is racing for her life against an unknown assailant through one of the most famous museums in the world. 

 Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/ConnieFlynnAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieFlynn
Email: connieflynn@yahoo.com
Website: http://connieflynn.com

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Win a beautiful moonstone necklace in Kathryne Kennedy's new release contest!

I have recently posted a new contest to my website. I am also holding a private contest alongside this one for my newsletter subscribers...so if you haven't signed up yet, now is the time! Good luck!

The brand-new fourth book in the Relics of Merlin series is coming to
bookstores in December, and I'm having several contests until then to
celebrate! The relic in Everlasting Enchantment is a moonstone, and I found
some lovely pieces shipped directly from exotic locations, the jewelry
constructed by local artisans through a program run by National Geographic.
For this contest, we have a glowing moonstone
hand-crafted necklace! See
below for a photo and description of this magical prize.

This contest is all about spreading the word of the brand-new book in the
series. Just post the
BLURB (or photo of cover) shown below, on any and
all of your social websites. Facebook, Twitter (Yes, you may tweet about it
more than once to enter several times), Myspace, Your own blog, etc. Then
just send an email with EE CONTEST in the subject line, along with the link
to your post in the body of your email to: Kathryne@KathryneKennedy.com.
For those who don't have social
media, just mention the book to a friend, and send me an email about it!

in bookstores December 2013!

 Are you one of my newsletter subscribers? Please check your in-box for
November's newsletter for details on my private contest for subscribers,
where you can win one of six autographed ARC's of Everlasting

A winner will be randomly chosen using RANDOM.ORG. Your information will be kept
confidential. Contest ends
January 31, 2013. Winner will be notified via email provided. If
winner does not respond within seven business days, a new winner will be chosen. We are
not responsible for any misdirection of email. Rules are subject to change for any reason
without prior notification. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to
enter.  No prize substitution permitted. Odds of winning are determined by number of
entrants. This contest is subject to all country, federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
You accept all terms and conditions by entering into the contest.


Sunday, November 24, 2013


On my way to the theater, I felt confident that when I watched Delivery Man it would be a fun comedy with a main character who grows as a person. Leaving the theater, I was glad I hadn't been disappointed. After watching several Vince Vaughn comedies, I feel I know his brand. I find comfort in knowing I won't be wasting my hard-earned money choosing one of his films.

Authors often complain about publishers wanting to brand their books. They feel their creative energy is stifled when they are placed into a mold. I understand that feeling. I published a short story, a fractured fairy-tale, that is far different than my usual mysteries; but I understand how consumers feel too. When they purchase an author's book, they want to know they won't be disappointed. Fans return to Nora Roberts time and time again because they know they are buying a well-written romance with a happy ending earned through trial and tribulation. The settings and characters may change, but the major elements of a romance are still there.

Authors need to decide for themselves if they want to brand their work. If not, how will they handle writing various types of books? Some authors use different pseudonyms for each genre they write and some place various tabs on their websites categorizing their work. Will book blurbs be enough to inform the consumer of what they are purchasing?

It's something to think about.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, November 22, 2013

Author Spotlight on Lois Winston

Decoupage Can Be Deadly
ISBN: 9781940795003


Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors are steaming mad when minutes before the opening of a consumer show, they discover half their booth usurped by Bling!, their publisher’s newest magazine. CEO Alfred Gruenwald is sporting new arm candy—rapper-turned-entrepreneur and Bling! executive editor, the first-name-only Philomena. During the consumer show, Gruenwald’s wife serves Philomena with an alienation of affection lawsuit, but Philomena doesn’t live long enough to make an appearance in court. She’s found dead days later, stuffed in the shipping case that held Anastasia’s decoupage crafts. When Gruenwald makes cash-strapped Anastasia an offer she can’t refuse, she wonders, does he really want to find Philomena’s killer or is he harboring a hidden agenda?

Lois Winston straddles two worlds. She's an award-winning author of romance, romantic suspense, humorous women's 
fiction, and mystery under her own name and as Emma Carlyle. She's also an award-winning designer of needlework and crafts projects for magazines, craft book publishers, and craft kit manufacturers. Like Anastasia, the protagonist in her ANASTASIA POLLACK CRAFTING MYSTERIES series, Lois worked for several years as a crafts editor. A graduate of the prestigious Tyler School of Art, she often draws on her art and design background for much of the source material in her fiction. She lives with her husband a stone's throw from Manhattan (assuming you can throw a stone across the Hudson River.)


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Authors Sign Up Ends Next Week for Hot Autumn Nights Blog Hop

Sexy athletic body
I am happy to announce I am co-hosting a blog hop with Caris Roane and Bella Media Management. It's a great way to get noticed on the Internet and also discover new authors you've never heard of.

The Grand Prize so far is for a $70 Barnes & Noble or Amazon Gift Card, (winners choice).

The hop is from November 29th to December 2nd but sign up ends 5 days from today.

If you are unfamiliar with what a blog hop is, it is a linky list that is shared on multiple blogs. When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the exact same list appears on each blog.

Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list. The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides. Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog to blog seeing the same list of links to follow.

Blog hops are a great way to find new readers and other authors with the same interests as you.

This hop is geared toward the romance genre.

This hop is limited to the first 100 entrants.

For more information you can visit HD Thomson's blog hop page.

Hope to see you on the hop!! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On the Line – say Whaaa?
Mary Tate Engels, Boomer on the line

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
** Gandhi

If you, or your kids, have seen the movie The Interns, you know that these two Loveable Losers (really cute guys) try to get a job at a monumental company in the Web World. From the visuals, this is the greatest, most creative company in the world and our Lovable Losers really, really want to work there. This becomes their goal - the Dream Job.

The other interns are brilliant but flawed nerds who know the Internet language and everything about computers, but lack self-confidence. Our overly-confident heroes are not of the Web World and one of them continues to utter the infamous, inane statement, "... On the line... "

Everybody scoffs and says, "It's online stupid!"

Of course, he repeats "On the line…" numerous times and that becomes the movie's humorous catch phrase.

Now, that's about when I started watching because the story isn't about getting a job or fixing our hunky heroes' lives or even the magnificent and best company in the world to work for. It's about… DREAMS!

Find your dreams. Follow your dreams. Don't lose sight of your dreams!

Disclaimer: this isn't my kind of movie, but I was trapped inside a plane for hours on my return from France and this was a time-filler. However, I found a silver lining in it. Writers are weird like that – we see the world as it relates to our writing or how we can use it.

The Lovable Losers even quote from one of my favorite movies, Flashdance, where the heroine clings to a nearly impossible dream, but doesn't give up. In The Interns, our heroes encourage their colleagues to make it happen through teamwork, positive attitudes and high expectations. Yay – my kind of language.

My favorite quote from Flashdance: "If you lose your dream, you die."

I think dreams are so important in our lives that most of my books are about following dreams, losing dreams, finding new dreams, and pursuing dreams of happiness and love.

In Embraceable You, not only has the heroine lost her dreams and her love, but most of the townsfolk have lost their hopes and dreams, too. However, connections to the Internet, teamwork, positive attitudes and high expectations enable them to become winners with hopes for the future. Embraceable You is online at Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Embraceable-Irish-Hearts-Series-ebook/dp/B00CCH4ORO/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1371570406&sr=1-2&keywords=Embraceable+You;
See how my characters work together to achieve success on the line.

And most importantly, follow your own dreams, wherever they may lead.

Happy Holidays,
   Mary Tate

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fun on Facebook

Coming up with a post every week is not always easy. When pondering what I should write this week, I remembered my sister-in-law "tagged" me on Facebook. She wrote 11 facts about herself and I was assigned 12. I decided I might as well kill two birds with one stone. (Who came up with that horrible saying?)

The key here is to come up with 12 facts everyone doesn't already know about me. Here we go....

1. I dated my husband in college. We broke up and reunited 30 years later on Facebook.
2. My grandmother's great-grandfather was a Cherokee born on The Trail of Tears.
3. I am a distant cousin to actors Patrick Swayzee, William Holden, and Tom Hulce.
4. After a year of working with Janelle, we discovered we are distant cousins.
5. I sat in the pilot's seat of an F-16 fighter jet when I was 19. I had danced with the pilot the night before,
    who strangely enough turned out to be a friend of my father.
6. When my daughter was four, I finally told her Republican father that I named her after Jacqueline
7. I published a romantic suspense novel and a short fractured fairy tale with a small press. My agent is
    shopping my mystery series.
8. I sat across the table from Debbie Macomber at a small gathering for dinner. Her book was turned into
    the mini-series Cedar Cove.
9. I mingled with Diana Gabledon at a mixer after she returned from her world book tour.
10. I broke a board with my foot in Karate class when I was about 30.
11. I broke my nose kickboxing the same year.
12. I was talked into being the emcee at a professional kickboxing/boxing match. "In the red corner..." I
      broke so many rules I thought they were going to drag me away from the mic.

Your assignment, if you are on Facebook, is to write 13 facts about yourself.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, November 15, 2013

Introducing Morgan Kearns

It is my pleasure to introduce our Friday Spotlight Author, Morgan Kearns. Her book is Out Of Left Field. (Deadlines and Diamonds #3)

Back Cover Text:

Strike One
Xavier is a jerk with a capital A.S.S. and he offers no apologies. If a woman is willing to give, he’ll gladly take, walking away without a backward glance. He’s not looking for commitment and the only diamond he’s interested in has three bases and a home plate.

Strike Two
Dr. Frances Holden knows all about fixing broken bones and taming arrogant athletes. As the Team Doctor for the Las Vegas Rockets she deals with stubborn ballplayers every day. But nobody is more stubborn than Left Fielder Matthias Xavier, III.

Strike Three
When a shoulder injury takes Xavier out of the game, it’s Frankie’s job to get him back on the diamond. His rehab turns out to be more than either of them bargained for, and when she promises to help him face his scarred past, neither of them are prepared for the fireworks that come Out of Left Field and threaten to scorch them both.

You can read more about Morgan and her books on the net.

Twitter: @MorganKearns
Pinterest: @MorganKearnsCom

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Spooky Tale from the Queen Mary

Last month, my husband and I traveled to Long Beach California to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. In one of those bucket list things, we did something we always wanted to do, which was stay on the Queen Mary.

And yes, we wanted ghosts.

Although our flight was delayed out of Sky Harbor, we arrived early for our check-in time. The concierge was very accommodating and because I had spilled the secret when making our reservation that this was to celebrate our anniversary, they wished us well to boot. They gave us the room that was available and we dropped off our luggage in our amazingly beautiful stateroom. We signed up for the Queen Mary package which included a behind the scenes look at the ship, the ghost tour, the WWII days and the self guided tour.

After scheduling everything for that day (as we boarded another ship to sail for Hawaii for 15 days the next day), we went to the tea room for, what else, tea. Heaven, pure tastebud heaven. And African Solistice is my new favorite tea.

We toured the gleaming art deco ship, marveled at the exquisite craftsmanship just about everywhere and learned the very real hazards of renaming a ship. After taking the red shuttle into Long Beach we returned exhausted and decided to go to bed at the very late hour of  8PM.

Hey, it was dark out.

So, in we spooned cradled between snowy white linen under a down comforter.

Just as we were drifting off, there came a tap-tap-tap on the port hole.

Um, did I mention that we were between 6-7 stories up, no balcony, no nothing except 3 more stories up on the sun deck.

My husband and I looked at each other. Probably just a bird, right? Right?



Hubby got up, opened the window. The outside of one was wet. The outside of its twin was bone dry. Hmm. Must be birds. Back in bed, hugging a little tighter.




Right. Birds. I checked. Not a featherhead to be seen. Birds. sneaky buggers. Back in bed. I don't care. I'm going to sleep. silence. Just as I was drifting off, it started again. On the fringes of my mind I wondered if it could have been some kind of morris code. SOS-dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot.

About 130 AM I woke to the hum and vibration of engines. Every engine has a different feel to it and this was a deep, growly feel coming from below decks. I didn't think much of it until I realized the ship technically doesn't have any engines.

So what was humming and thrumming?

Um, okay. After hubby confirmed he didn't hear anything, I snuggled a little closer and decided to ignore it.

The next afternoon while waiting to board our ship to Hawaii, I met a woman who stayed on the Queen Mary over night in the Queen Mary suite. She reported her findings to the front desk and added her experience to the log.

They have a log?

She then asked our room number. When I told her, she said "Oh, yeah, that was in there. A lot."

O-kay then. Having time to kill, I then had a lightbulb moment and hubby and I reviewed photos of our room.

I'm taking that green orb for dust. You can take it for what you want.

If you are ever in Long Beach and have a few hundred dollars to spare, spend the night on the ship. She has class, grace and beauty beyond description. And while a tour is nice, staying on her is not just a trip back in time but a window to luxury, art and a connection to history.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creating the Fictitious Town

Kim Watters here. I love Dynamite Creek, Arizona. Too bad it doesn’t really exist outside of my books. But if it did exist, it would be a really cool town. Why? Because Dynamite Creek springs from that creative space in my brain and anything I want to happen there—well just happens. While Dynamite Creek is based on the city of Prescott, Arizona and located close to Flagstaff, some of the buildings, shops, events, and people don’t exist. That’s the beauty of making up your own town. Need a candle shop on the square like in my book Home Sweet Home? Then plop one smack dab in the center of one of your blocks. Need a hobby shop like in my latest release A Season of Love? Put one in there, too. Need various festivals at certain times of the year for a fun thing for your hero and heroine to do? Go ahead and have as many as you want. Opportunities are endless and I love the freedom of all the choices I can make without the constraints of using a real town. 

So, how do you create a fictitious town? 

First identify what type of town you want. Big? Medium? Small? Keep in mind that your town is going to be another character in your book, so choose wisely. This is especially important if you write more than one book in this town. 

Then choose your name. Make sure your name matches the mood of your book. Since I write contemporary Christian fiction, I would not want to choose a name that could convey a mystery, suspense or horror. I chose Dynamite Creek for a few reasons. One Arizona has a lot of mines and I wanted to capture that feel. I also live relatively close to Dynamite Road in Phoenix, which I think is an interesting choice for a name. And lastly, my general practitioner’s office is called Dynamite Creek Medical Center. I always thought would be a cool name for a small town, so when I was trying to decide on a new book for Love Inspired, I actually built the story around the name. 

Next create a history for your town. Go crazy. Be creative. Every town has a history but think about how much fun it is to create your own. Who founded it? Why was it founded? What are some of the local characters that made the town what it is today? Even if these things don’t come out in your finished novel, it’s always good to have them in the back of your mind while you’re writing. Plus you never know when you might need that information. 

Add details. What type of buildings are there? Businesses? People? Schools? Streets? Plants and trees? Weather? The list could go on and on. It’s your town add or subtract things as needed. If something’s not working, take it out. If you need a certain business, add it in. For A Season of Love, I needed a Christmas Shop on one of the main streets in town. Viola. I plopped it down across from the Courthouse in the square. 

And lastly, add flavor. What’s unique or different about this town? Is there something the town is known for? Did something happen that makes it notable? 

As for the process, think layering. You don’t have to have everything all at once. Start with the basis and then layer more information on to flesh it out. Real towns weren’t built in a day so don’t expect your fictitious one to be either. I’m currently working on my third book based in Dynamite Creek, and I continue to discover new and unique things to add to my town on an almost daily basis.
Another important thing is to be organized, especially if you are going to keep writing stories in this town. Draw maps. Create charts of businesses, characters, festivals and etc. I use excel spreadsheets to keep everything straight. I use reoccurring characters and businesses from one book to another, so keeping them straight is a must, plus, it creates less of a brain drain when I want to add another character into my current work in process. Why not add someone I’ve used before? I already know a little bit about them. 

One of the drawbacks to creating your own town is you can’t visit it or google it to see what it’s like. So I found it is easier to have a real town in mind to base it on, but then let my creativity take over. Since Dynamite Creek is based on Prescott, I usually make an annual trip up north to get the flavor of the town again and also check for any changes that might have happened. Plus I really like Prescott, so doing that type of research isn’t really a chore but a fun weekend away from the heat of the Valley in the summertime.

So for you writers out there, do you prefer using real towns or making them up? 

For you readers out there, what is your preference? 
Until next time,