Archive for March, 2020
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
UPDATE: The winners are…Pansy, Michelle, Colleen, bn100, Jennifer, and Debra!
Here’s hoping you’re all doing well, not going stir-crazy, and that you’re actually taking this stay-at-home stuff seriously! I know it feels like the world is ending, but we can do things to keep connected—aren’t you ecstatic we have things like FaceTime?!
We’ve battened down the hatches. Our only constant concern is my SIL, the cop, bringing the disease into the house. We loaded him with Lysol wipes and hand cleaner. He has his PPE kit. He heads straight to the bathroom after getting home to strip and shower, and his clothes go right into the washing machine. That’s as much as we can do to try to keep the virus out.
My son turned 38 today—my how time flies! Wish I could be with him. I gave him a He-Man blanket. Made his day. That was his hero when he was kid, and he’s a little nostalgic. I had a thing for He-Man, too, but it had more to do with the guy who played him in the movie. Whew! 🙂
Anyways, here’s a game for you! Play and you’ll be entered to win your choice of one of my recent releases. And I’ll pick three winners! Keep safe and have fun! ~DD
Tell me a story!
I bought this little brainstorming tool years ago at some writers’ conference. “Story Cubes” is a brainstorming game. You roll the dice and whatever pictures appear face-up are the ones you use to riff off a story.
Here’s the roll…
Do any of these symbols tell you anything?
You can pick some or use all of them.
Monday, March 30th, 2020
Thanks so much, Delilah, for giving me this chance to connect with your readers!
My Book Nirvana series is set in a bookshop in Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A., a wonderfully quirky college town with a lively arts scene. One of the pleasures of writing fiction is the chance to immerse yourself in “what if?”—for example, what if I lived in this cool town, or in the mountains, or on the beach? What if, instead of being a soldier, a teacher, and then a writer, I’d chosen other careers that tickled my fancy?
I’ve had so much fun exploring my fantasy careers while writing this series. Like most booklovers (maybe all?), I’ve fantasized about running a bookshop, which is what Clara, heroine of Through the Red Door, does for a living. For this first book in the series, I combined all the best bits of my favorite bookshops to create Book Nirvana: colorful artwork on the walls, a coffee shop next door, and a friendly shop cat named Lulu. Okay, no bookshop I’ve visited has an extensive historical erotica collection behind a red door; that’s purely my imagination. The owner of King’s Books in Tacoma, Washington gave me lots of insight into running a bookshop.
In fantasyland, with unlimited time and money, I’d take ALL the art classes and become a multi-media artist. Alas, my time and $$ are limited, but through my characters, I get to explore various art forms.
Laurel, heroine of Runaway Love Story, Book 2 in the series, loves art but believes she has no talent, so she aspires to run an art gallery. During the course of the book, she learns photography and discovers she does indeed have artistic talent. I loved giving her some artistic mentors, especially her 90-year-old great-aunt Maxie, surrogate grandmother to many young artists. In addition to online research, I interviewed professional photographers for this book. Fascinating! An art photographer in Palm Springs, California, told me that, for an aspiring photographer like Laurel, the best camera choice was the current smartphone.
Margot and Elmer, heroine and hero of the upcoming Book 3 in the series, are both young artists: graphic arts for her, ceramic arts for him. In Love, Art, and Other Obstacles, they compete for an art grant that could launch his art career, or hers, but not both. Two young graphics designers generously let me pick their brains for this book, as did the women who run Spun Clay Arts Studio in Tacoma. I even made a pot—okay, with lots of help—which refreshed my memory of the sights, sounds, smells, and squishy textures of a pottery studio.
I’ve loved the hands-on aspect of my research for this series, and hope readers will enjoy the artistic details.
About the Books
Through the Red Door
Letting him inside could be her salvation…or her undoing.
Widow Clara struggles to keep her indie bookshop afloat. Professor Nick comes in search of historical erotica from her famed collection but stays for the lovely bookseller–until a scandal from his past shatters her trust.
Universal book link for Through the Red Door: https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/f5b623fe-5b0d-11ea-9891-7fdb05370a2e
Runaway Love Story
Fierce passion or long-cherished dreams…she can’t hang onto both.
Chasing a big-city art gallery job, Laurel detours to Eugene, Oregon to help her spitfire great aunt into assisted living. While on a run, she’s harassed by a group of teens until a tall, broad-shouldered hottie rescues her by pretending to be her boyfriend–with a kiss that makes her wish it were true. But she’s only passing through.
Their fierce chemistry burns up the sheets—and the couch, the shower, the woods…but falling in love could cost Laurel more than she’s willing to sacrifice. She can’t stay in Eugene, and he can’t leave. His only hope is to convince her those big-city lights have nothing on her inner sparkle.
Universal book link for Runaway Love Story: https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/f1245ec4-5b11-11ea-a19d-5b4dd30bdf4a
Love, Art, and Other Obstacles
Coming this spring from The Wild Rose Press!
She’s a free spirit. He’s a one-woman man.
Rejected by her family for her bisexuality, graphic artist Margot DuPont yearns for a life with no fences, no limits, and no family ties. Between college, work at Book Nirvana, and an art competition, she barely has time for her part-time girlfriend, much less a flirtation with her competitor.
Dumped into the foster system at a young age, ceramics artist Elmer Byrne craves a big, loving family of the heart. His artist family almost fills that need, but something is missing…until Margot. But when he offers his heart, her thorny defenses shatter him.
Thrown together in an art competition that could jump-start one artist’s career, but not both, their irresistible attraction forces them to reconsider the meaning of success.
About the Author
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State, U.S.A. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at www.sadirastone.com.
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Visit Sadira on All the Socials!
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Sadira-Stone/e/B07KWK5FBX
I’d love to hear from you! Please visit me on all the socials.
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Sunday, March 29th, 2020
I’m dragging butt today. We had heavy storms yesterday—no tornados here—however, they kept us inside, which, given the fact we’re eight people stuck together, no end in sight, gets grandma a little persnickety. Yeah, I was grumpy yesterday.
So, I kept to myself. Finished one set of edits. And I found an online FREE abstract art collage class from one of my newly fave abstract artists—Laura Horn. So, if anyone wants a fun class that doesn’t really require you to have a ton of artistic skill—do this one! Here’s the link: Laura Horn website
I found her on Pinterest when I was looking for art I could try to duplicate, because I’m learning and, when you’re learning, you test out different styles, color palettes, mediums, until you find something you really enjoy and make it your own. Kind of like writing, huh?
Have you ever seen my Pinterest page? I have tons of boards. Tons of followers. My interests range from all kinds of arts and crafts things, books, etc. So, if you’re looking for something else to eat up an afternoon (remember, we’re in this for the long haul), head on over and check it out: My Pinterest page
So, have I helped you figure out what to do for a while? No? How about you tell me what new thing you want to try while you’re hiding from the Corona bug!
Current Contest and FREE Reads!
- Stacy McKitrick: How I visited a country without leaving my house… (FREE Read) — Last reminder!
- It’s Tuesday. Just your daily reminder… (Puzzle & FREE Read!) — Pick you your FREE story!!!
- Mellanie Szereto: An Introvert’s Guide to Lockdown (AKA Yay! I Have an Excuse to Stay Home!) (FREE Reads)
- And then there’s the weather… (Puzzle & a Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!!
Saturday, March 28th, 2020
UPDATE: The winner is…Laura!
We’re doing okay here. The kids aren’t going stir-crazy. My dd keeps them working on “projects”—like yardwork, pool prep, etc. Today, they cleaned off the back porch and hung solar lights around the seating area…just in time for a humongous lightning storm!
Yeah, weather’s bad here and getting worse. We’re under a tornado watch, hence today’s puzzle theme. Work it. You’ll enjoy it!
Another thing. We’re reluctant to brave Walmart or the other grocery store in town. We’re going to use the pick-up service, but they are limiting the number of items you can buy. Can you imagine a family of eight being limited to one carton of eggs or one gallon of milk? Yeah, if you could get eggs. We can’t. Also, no hamburger, no rice, no egg noodles, no pasta… Ugh! So, we’re going to get creative this week with what we have in the pantry. I do have a can of spam…
Hope you’re doing okay where you are. I also hope you’re hunkering down. The sooner we flatten this curve, the sooner we can get out and about. Although, it does look as though I’ll be sequestered in my rooms for the next year—past the second wave or until the appearance of a vaccine…
Let me know if you’re experiencing shortages and what you’re doing to entertain yourselves for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! Love you. Take care! ~DD
Friday, March 27th, 2020
Hello there! I’m Mellanie Szereto—author of (currently) 28 romances, baker of bread and pies, gardener of vegetables, hiker of woods, and master of introverting.
Are you going stir-crazy from social distancing yet? So far, I’m not. As a full-time writer who lives in the country, social distancing is a way of life!
Have you taken advantage of the free and 99-cent books while you’re trapped at home? I have quite a few waiting for me as rewards for meeting my writing goals. Books are a wonderful way to escape when you need a break, but even more so when you’re in a forced timeout!
Goals… Having people in my space during writing time for two weeks and counting has required a major adjustment. Indefinite Christmas break—that’s what teach-and-learn-from-home classes have turned into at my house. Hubby (The Professor) and son (The College Student) are now spread across the living room, the family room, and the makeshift upstairs office with two desks, one of which I won’t be using while The Professor is up there. He talks to himself and anyone else in the room as he works. Science nerd. What can you do? This is not the ideal situation for someone who prefers quiet during writing time.
How am I adjusting? The writing hasn’t developed a new routine yet, but I’ve put a book on sale for 99 cents, released a super-steamy romantic suspense short story last week, and set up an automated welcome email to new newsletter subscribers with links to two free short stories—the new one and another that’s also available for sale. (Hint-hint. Find the links below!) I’ve also shared my process for writing series with an author who will be teaching a class on that topic, updated my website, gotten a cover for one of my summer releases (see below!!!), and listened to a podcast that helped me better define the characters of a five-book novella rom-com series I’m working on. It’s forward progress, and that’s what counts!
I have plenty of stories to finish writing over the next few months and enough ideas to last several years, so I just need to work the kinks out of the domestic chaos. You should see my to-write, to finish, to rewrite, to-edit list! It runs the gamut of romance sub-genres and heat levels, from contemporary to historical to paranormal to romantic suspense and warm to hot to super steamy. Because I’ve found myself at the midpoint of my fifties (How did that happen???), I’m drawn to writing older (over 40) characters more and more as well. Oh, and nerds. See mention of The Professor above. 🙂
How about some of my favorite lines from the new release/newsletter freebie, my 99-cent-sale book, my cover-reveal book, and a couple of my works-in-progress?
Mad About You
Jessamine Youngblood (heroine) to herself from Mad About You (new short story) ~ Can I get away with murder on my wedding day?
Jessamine Youngblood is getting married today. Or is she? She’s having second thoughts even before Maddox, her sexy ex-con ex-husband, crashes her wedding-breakup preparations. Trouble follows him when her soon-to-be ex-fiancée makes a surprise visit—one that threatens their reunion and promises far more danger and gunfire than she expects.
Newsletter Amazon Apple B&N Google Kobo
Love Served Hot
Alice Carlton (secondary character at Montgomery Crossing Retirement Village) to Flynn Hastings (hero who is a chef) from Love Served Hot (book 1 of the Love on the Menu series) ~ “There’re sheets to set on fire and a happily-ever-after to wrangle into submission.”
Lilith Montgomery has hired a hot Irish chef whose culinary creations give her foodgasms. Keeping the heat in the kitchen is going to be tough. Falling head over stockpot for his new boss wasn’t part of his plan, but Flynn Hastings finds himself experimenting with a new recipe for love.
First in series! Only 99 cents!
Amazon Apple B&N Google Kobo
Cover Reveal!!! Release date ~ July 15, 2020
Hot Tamale Nights
Carmen Valero (teenage daughter of heroine) to Kyle Morton (hero) from Hot Tamale Nights (book 3 of the Love on the Menu series) ~ “See? You’re my father.”
Entrepreneur Kyle Morton has a keen eye for investments, but pumping capital into an ex-lover’s business generates more conflict than he bargained for—and his longstanding grudge doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Aside from his constant pursuit of the next monetary venture, his motives shift from retribution for her betrayal to admission of his true feelings. The girl who claims to be his daughter further complicates a matter that should’ve been simple revenge.
Her children and Hot Tamale fill the once-empty hole in Isabel Valero’s heart. Or do they? The love of her life challenges that assumption and brings chaos when he invades her restaurant, especially with her ragtag family’s objections to his tendency to take over. Then his business enemies become her enemies and put them all at risk, despite his vow to protect them. Now their future together could burn to the ground again—permanently.
**Sneak peeks at my older woman/younger man novella rom-com series!**
Five women between the ages of 42 and 50 bond over fiction, food, and being single at the weekly meetings of The Homegrown Café Book Club.
Coming this summer to an e-reader near you!
Big Jim Cochon (hero who is a pig farmer) to himself after re-meeting his best friend’s older sister and his lifetime crush, Tate Madison (heroine who owns The Homegrown Café), from Makin’ Bacon (book 1) ~ If you don’t want the woman of your dreams to think you’re a redneck, don’t wear manure-covered work boots, bib overalls, and ragged plaid flannel to introduce yourself. And leave the cruddy John Deere cap in the pickup.
Riley Fenniman (heroine who loves stilettos and the f-word) in a chance meeting with Deacon Jeffries (hero who is her accountant) on the sidewalk after another offer from her cousin’s lawyer to buy part of her farm from The Farmer Takes a Husband (book 2) ~Late October air kissed her bare face, arms, and calves as Riley exited the building, cooling her body temperature if not her irritation. “Fucking menopause.”
“Who pissed you off this time?” Amusement colored the question, the only not-some-shade of-beige part of the man’s entire presence, right down to his hair and personality.
You can find all my books on my website, and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on your favorite social media sites!
Books page: https://www.mellanieszereto.com/books
Wishing all of you a safe lockdown season! Happy Reading!
Thursday, March 26th, 2020
Do you like whiskey? Whether you do or don’t, it’s a drink with a fascinating history. The name comes from the old Irish uisce beatha, which means “water of life.” It was invented by Irish and Scottish monks in the Middle Ages, who used it for medicinal purposes. Now that’s a good excuse for a dram if ever I heard one! St Patrick’s Day was on 17 March, so now seemed a good time to tell you about my favorite drink and how I came to discover it.
I arrived in England from France in 1997, and one of my first jobs was as a finance analyst for a drinks company that owned several brands of Scotch and Irish whiskeys. They sold it, and they loved it. I’ll never forget the time when I was helping one of the directors with his budget figures. When we finished the work, he breathed a sigh and declared, “Ah, time for a break!” I expected him to brew a cup of tea or coffee. Instead, he pulled a book from his bookshelf. Behind it sat a bottle of Scotch. He opened it and drank a good mouthful, then offered it to me. It was 10 am, so I declined politely. There was also the time when we arrived at a company meeting, to be met with six shot glasses of whiskey lined up before every seat. We were to drink the shots, then guess which whiskey was the new one we were launching. I work in the pharmaceutical industry now, nothing this fun happens to me anymore!
Many countries produce whiskey, including Japan and India. It remains the liquor of choice in its old Celtic heartlands of Ireland and Scotland. Wales has also recently started, or rather restarted, to produce whiskey. When I created the world of my award-winning Sea of Love fantasy romance series, it seemed natural that my Welsh shape-shifting mermen would produce and drink whiskey. In the first book of the series, A Merman’s Choice, the merman hero Yann and the heroine Alex are stranded on Yann’s island during a storm. Yann is forced to take Alex to his home, in defiance of the laws of the merfolk. Alex is soaked and frozen. Yann wants to warm her up… what better way than to offer her a glass of his own whiskey? Read on to discover more!
A MERMAN’S CHOICE is the first book in the Sea of Love series, winner in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Buy link: https://books2read.com/u/31xw7a
A Merman’s Choice
For centuries the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands have lived incognito among humans. But one of them, Yann, has developed some bad habits. Like rescuing humans, even when doing so risks revealing his true nature. When he fishes Alex out of the sea, he doesn’t expect her to reappear eight months later, and turn his life upside down by asking him to be her guide. Alex is determined to fulfill a promise to her dying grandmother, by gathering pictures and stories of the Morvanns. But she soon discovers that, on these remote Welsh islands, legends have a habit of becoming true!
Over the course of a few days, Yann and Alex grow close. But some mermen hate humans. Their hostility, and Yann’s secret, threaten to tear the couple apart just as they are discovering that they are soul mates. Can Yann overcome the obstacles in his path and make the right choice?
MUSIC FOR A MERMAN is Book 2 in the Sea of Love series. The books can be read independently. Buy link: https://books2read.com/u/mdG7Bw
Music for a Merman
Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble… especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.
Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Spy on humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Merman Clan. It should be easy. Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his?
Love ‘em and leave ‘em, that was Charlie’s motto. It had served her well until now. But Rob is different… Can she open up her heart to Rob – when a secret buried in her past surfaces and changes her completely?
Excerpt from A Merman’s Choice
An ear-shattering roll of thunder shook the air. Alex flinched. “It’s right above our heads.”
Yann stopped himself from stroking her shoulder to reassure her. “That means it’ll soon go away.”
Not soon enough. How could he pass the time until then? He glanced at the clock on the wall. It was almost midday. Lunch would distract her from the storm and the ocean she’d only just escaped. Perhaps it would distract him from the sight of her, shimmering in the gloomy room like a pearl made of flesh.
He went to the dresser against the wall and picked up a bottle and two glasses. “Would you like a dram of whiskey to warm you up?”
She slid back down the sofa. His ears registered the squeak of leg against leather, and his mind instantly pictured her sprawled on the cushions, her golden hair fanned behind her head, milky thighs open wide. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the maddening image.
Her voice dropped into a seductive purr. “I’m quite warm already, thank you. But I can cope with more heat.”
He poured a glass of the golden liquid and brought it to her.
“Thank you.” She sipped it and made a grimace, which turned into a smile. “Even better than cider.”
Her mouth glowed against her milky skin like a forbidden fruit. He thought of the first summer berries—tart redcurrants, juicy raspberries. Would she taste like them?
They needed food. If he didn’t get lunch down her soon, she’d get drunk. The demon voice in his mind whispered that Alex would be great fun if she lost her inhibitions. He tried to shut the demon out. What could he prepare quickly?
He strode to the trap in the floor by the front door and lifted it. The smell and sound of seawater, sloshing in the dark, rose up.
Alex padded over to investigate. “Oh, wow. You have a whole aquarium down there!”
The corner of her blanket brushed his bare arm, sending another twig to feed the fire that smoldered in his loins.
“That’s how islanders keep their seafood fresh. Why don’t you go and sit at the table, and I’ll open a dozen oysters for you?”
She didn’t need to see the tunnel on the side of the “aquarium”, that led to the lower floor of the house, the level that flooded at high tide and opened onto the sea. The level where a more respectable merman would spend most of his time.
She moved away to the center of the room where the oak table stood. Not far enough. He’d become so attuned to her that every one of her movements seemed to ripple across the space and lap against his body. He grabbed a knife and bucket from the tool shelf, snapped the first oyster open and dropped it in the bucket. Now she was crossing her legs, damn her. Did she know that the woolen fabric was opening, uncovering the ivory skin of her inner thigh? Was she flirting with him, or was it his imagination?
“I love oysters.” Her voice wrapped itself around him like a silk scarf. “Pity we don’t have any champagne to go with them, but this whiskey is just as good.”
Wednesday, March 25th, 2020
Spring is here, which means warmer weather and longer days. It also means the spring movies are here!
I love going to the movies. There’s something special about sitting in a theatre in the dark and watching a movie on the big screen. It’s something I do often and by myself. I’m a big fan of the matinee.
There are so many great movies I’m looking forward to, but here are 5 that top my list for spring.
- Mulan—March 27. This is Disney’s latest animation to live-action movie. It looks incredible.
- No Time to Die—April 10. James Bond is always exciting and a fun ride. I love Daniel Craig as Bond, but I’m curious to see where they’re taking the franchise next.
- Black Widow—May 1. It’s about time Natasha Romanov of Avenger’s fame had her own movie. This should be a kickass good time.
- Fast and Furious 9—May 22. It’s some of the best action you’re going to find.
- Wonder Woman 1984—June. After Mulan and Black Widow, here is another kickass female heroine. I loved the original Wonder Woman movie with Gal Gadot and can’t wait for this one.
And they’re just the beginning. The summer blockbuster season is inching closer. So, grab your popcorn and a drink and join me.
What movies are you looking forward to this spring?
And if books are more your style—but why not do both—then check out Fury Unleashed, the first book in my Forgotten Brotherhood series, just released!
Forgotten Brotherhood, Book One
Maccus Fury, a fallen angel, is trying hard to keep his sanity. Seems being an assassin might be catching up with him. Now, Heaven, or Hell, has sent a beautiful assassin to kill him. Lovely. She’s pretending to seduce him, and he’s okay with that. She’s smart and snarky—but she has no idea what she’s walked into. And he’s more than peeved that they only sent one person. They’re going to need an army if they want him dead.
Morrigan Quill is one of Hell’s bounty hunters. She sold her soul to keep her sister safe, and now she’s working off her contract by catching bad guys and dragging them back to hell. When Lucifer makes her a new offer—that’s definitely too good to be true—she can’t say no. All she has to do is kill a powerful and crazy-hot fallen angel, who will totally kick her ass in battle.
Good thing he won’t see what’s coming next.
About the Author
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
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