Sunday, December 31, 2017

Moving Pieces

If you read my blog regularly, you'll know I've been trying to sell my home here in Ohio for quite some time. It all began one snowy night a year ago when a young couple came to my door asking if I was interested in selling. Being young and this being their first attempt to buy, they had not a clue what came next. I got them going in the right direction, but the care and maintenance of a house this size overwhelmed them and they moved on.

The house sat on the market for months and occasionally I got a nibble. Then, a few months ago I had an agent come through who was previewing several homes for her out-of-state clients. I never heard back from her, so I had my agent take it off the market and out of MLS. A few days later, the agent knocked on my door, telling me her clients were flying in that weekend specifically to see my house. So I let them come through, and I'm happy to say they bought the home.

So, two times I've had total strangers come to my door to inquire about the house. The beginning and the end. Kismet, I'd say.

Where to go from here is a giant puzzle I'm trying to come to grips with now. I was headed down what I thought was a solid path, but it blew up on me a few days ago. So now I've decided to take my time, rent an apartment for a couple months, get to know my new town and then decide which direction I should head.

Why am I telling you all this? I'm glad you asked.

This whole process of selling and buying is exactly how I write my novels. I always have the beginning and the end figured out before I start putting words on the page. The rest of it is where problems begin to develop. I have a modest outline that I follow with my stories, but sometimes I head off in a different direction and have to rein my story in. When I find myself going in a direction and it's not working, I stop, reassess, think things over and come up with a new plan.

Which is where I'm at now with my life. I am stopping, reassessing, thinking things over and will come up with a new plan.

Each time I begin a new story, I'm filled with excitement and hope. As I move through the first draft, I find myself really beginning to care for my characters and the setting into which I've placed them. Now, with my life, I'm also filled with excitement and hope. A new chapter is unfolding before my very eyes, and I'm eager to see which direction I'm eventually going to head.

I'll be sure to let you all know, once the pieces fall into place.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

It's been a fun couple of weeks showcasing my friends' Christmas stories. I'm sure you'll agree that there's been something for everyone. Thanks to all my author friends for sharing and my hope for each of them is big sales in their stockings in the coming year.

Since I feature my siblings so much in my Sunday blogs, I thought I'd end the year by showing you what we all looked like on Christmas morning, 1955.
I'm the one holding my head. Rather appropriate, I'd say. Pat's got her back to the camera, the twins, Buzz and Sherrie, are the babies, and Cathe's on the couch. It's funny how little we've changed since then. 

Unlike the past Sundays, there will be no promotion of Christmas titles today. It's a time for getting together with family, for creating memories to last a lifetime, for getting new story ideas from your friends and siblings. I hope each of you has a very Merry Christmas. Get out there and enjoy yourselves!

And, oh, if you need a book for your new Kindle, Winning Violet releases tomorrow, Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

My Christmas Present To Myself

You know how the season can be–filled with buying goodies and packing them into the car for the trip to Grandma's house. Well, I'm doing the same thing, only with an entire house.

That's right. I sold my big old house in Ohio, something I've been trying to do for months. Now comes the fun part–throwing out all those things I have no intention of paying to truck to North Carolina and buying a new home for myself. All very exciting, very exhausting, very worrisome. I'm about to be homeless. Me and Mary on the streets together.

Now is not the best time to be promoting a release, but that's exactly what's happening. The wheels never stop, they just slow a bit with all this other activity. Winning Violet, the first book in my new Regency series, releases on Christmas Day.
Here's a bit of a taste:

Everything’s coming up roses for an English miss and an American gentleman in this delightful new series from the author of the Cotillion Ball saga!

After British soldiers killed his wife and child during the War of 1812, Parker Sinclair vowed to never set foot on English soil. But as Thomas Jefferson’s landscaper, one must sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice. The last thing Parker expects to find is an educated English beauty who can teach him so much more than how to plant a magnificent garden.

An expert at cross-pollinating roses, Violet Wilson’s dreams of becoming the first woman recognized by the Royal Horticultural Society are fading because she’s afraid to leave the quiet solitude of her family’s nursery. Distrustful of men after a traumatic encounter, she’s not keen on disrupting her routine to help the American landscaper, but she soon blossoms under his kindness and respect.

As they fall in love, can this shrinking Violet take the risk of leaving behind all she knows for a new life with Parker? Or is he considering a different ending altogether?

If that's piqued your interest and you want to read more, here's an excerpt:

“Now comes the fun part.” Violet picked a small brush from her apron, carefully wiping it free of any lingering pollen. A blush crept into her cheeks as she explained the next step. “I load my brush with pollen from the Scotch rose and brush it over the sticky surface of the pistil. The sticky part is called the stigma.” With a few deft strokes, she brushed a small amount of pollen onto the plant.

Parker observed her carefully. “I should be writing this all down. Although it’s very similar to humans and how they reproduce, so I get the gist of it.” Her cheeks bloomed even pinker, as he suspected they would. Time to change the subject. “Is that all? One time and done?”
The tinge in her cheeks grew deeper, almost a reddish hue. “Oh no. Once is never enough. I have to stroke on the pollen at least three or four times to assure it’s taken hold.”
“I see.” Parker stroked the leaves of the Lady Banks as his mind conjured up images best left alone. 

Want to find out what happens to Parker and Violet? It's being released on Christmas Day and would make a wonderful gift for someone, even yourself. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

There's Still Time To Order Your Christmas Books--Week Six

Are you getting in the holiday spirit yet? Surely, you need a book or two.  To satisfy all our tastes, I've decided for all of November and December, I'll be featuring some of them here. Your choices today are: something for the dog lover in the family,  a historical romance collection, a war hero contemporary, a slightly paranormal Christmas story and a culinary arts temptation. Something for everyone!

Scrooge & the Secret Santa: Book 4 in the Klein's K-9s Service Dogs series
By Marcia James

Police dog trainer, Patton Carter, has nothing but bad memories of holidays spent in foster homes as a child. When a car crash lands him in the hospital and a knee replacement requires rehab, he hires physical therapist, Faith Harmon, to live in his house over the holidays as a combination therapist, caretaker, and dog-sitter.
As a part-time therapy pet teacher, Faith has had run-ins with the Patton at Klein’s K-9s. But the pay he’s offering for the six-week job is too good to pass up. She agrees to move into his house with the stipulation that he won’t continue to disparage the important work of therapy animal handlers and their pets. She never anticipates that their biggest conflict will be Christmas.
Patton soon learns the difference therapy pets can make in the lives of patients like himself. But will he be able to open his heart to love and the spirit of Christmas before he loses Faith?

Christmas Kisses
Various Authors

Take a break from the hectic holiday season and immerse yourself in historical romance with this collection of timeless Christmas Kisses. From USA Today Bestselling and award-winning authors, this set includes stories by Lana Williams, Elizabeth Rose, Emma Prince, Laurel O'Donnell, Barbara Monajem, Hildie McQueen, Amanda McCabe, Anna Markland, Eliza Knight, and Catherine Kean.

A Hero Grinch For Christmas
By Samanthya Wyatt

Dani will not allow The Grinch to hide from Christmas. She will cure Hunter of his nasty mood, even if it kills her. But who will save her from his passionate kisses.

War hero, Hunter Armstrong, has seen enough devastation to last a lifetime. At the end of his latest Army term, he accepted his discharge papers and never looked back. His uncle’s home is tucked away in the majestic mountains, a perfect place for him to hide from Christmas and his own memories. But he can’t hide from the delectable Dani. The last thing he needs is a female in his life. But this one has the face of an angel and eyes you could drown in.

Dani Wimer left the Colorado Mountains and relocated in the bright lights of New York City. Every December she returns to the village of Wyattsville. When a hunky military guy enters her aunt’s shop, he seems lost and angry. His scowl is intimidating, but that doesn’t bother the spunky girl who celebrates the holidays like it’s Christmas every day. She decides to put a smile on his Grinch face and ends up losing her heart in a passionate whirlwind.

Wrapped Up In You
By Erin Bevan 

Princess Jenny Claus has thirty suitors to choose from to take on the role of Santa and her husband, and only three weeks to do it. When an outsider crashes into and destroys the toy factory, her Gala and the prospect of Christmas for children everywhere are ruined.

Logan Moss awakens from his plane crash, suffering from partial amnesia. Surrounded by a world he always considered make believe, he has a hard time accepting his new surroundings. Except for one snow princess who he’s deeply fascinated with. And when Logan realizes she only has three weeks to pick a husband, he begins to feel compelled to be that man. Problem is, he can’t remember if he has a wife.

With Christmas getting closer, Jenny has to make the hardest decision of her life...duty or love.

Believe in My Heart 
by Maria K. Alexander (a Tangled Hearts standalone novella)

This holiday, love is on the menu.
Culinary arts student, Hope Mastriano, is down on her luck. Homeless on Thanksgiving Day, she’s caught trying to break into her cousin’s apartment by her sexy boss and lifelong secret crush.
Since getting dumped seven months ago, head chef Vinnie DiFrancesco has been in a frustrating holding pattern. He returns relaxed from a retreat, but his life is sent into a tailspin when he offers Hope, the event coordinator at his family’s trattoria, temporary housing. 
With the trattoria’s traditional Italian Christmas Eve charity dinner slated to be featured on a local TV segment and things heating up in his apartment, the two must set aside their different visions to make the event a success. When a computer glitch threatens their plans, Hope proposes a risky solution. Vinnie must believe in Hope and his heart in order to secure the future of the restaurant and make it a Christmas to remember.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Do You Want Some More Christmas? Week Five

Are you getting in the holiday spirit yet? Surely, you need a book or two.  To satisfy all our tastes, I've decided for all of November and December, I'll be featuring some of them here. Your choices today are: a YA novel about finding love at Christmas, a Harlequin contemporary, a sweet Regency romance and a historical cowboy romance. Something for everyone!

Poppies For Christmas
By Stacy Keywell

Popular DJ Dexx finds himself positively smitten by the precociously printing Poppy Paris. Too bad she's already taken by an older boy, Declan Davies, a beautiful model with a thriving career, and a perfect family. By a dreamful stroke of chance, Dexx finds himself invited to spend Christmas at the Davies homes by a gorgeous girl, granting him the opportunity to pursue the precious Poppy. But in his quest to win her over, he unlocks a world of imperfection and insecurity, where people are picked on for their disabilities, speech, appearance, and eccentricities. For Poppy and her friends, love trumps labels, and everyone deserves a brave friend to stand by their side. What gifts will Dexx discover this Christmas? Will he ultimately find true love, or will he discover something even greater?ée-Keywell-ebook/dp/B01M3XOC2O/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506268594&sr=1-3&keywords=keywell

Christmas At The Cove

By Rachel Brimble

More family for Christmas? 

Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news. 

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

Amazon US

A Regency Yuletide
By Becky Lower

After a disappointing season in London, Sophie Davenport returns home without a marriage proposal. No sooner does she settle back into her country life than she learns her uncle has arranged for her to marry the local vicar’s son, a respectable and utterly forgettable man. He’s returning home immediately after the Christmas holiday and they will wed. She sets about making this last Christmas with just she and her mother memorable.

Jeremy Wyatt hatches a plan to help his friend Thomas and his love, Emma, escape to Gretna Green and marry before her father comes after them. What he’s really doing is avoiding heading to his parents’ home, where he is the son who is always making the wrong choices. But their carriage becomes hopelessly mired in the mud from the incessant rains so Jeremy sets off to find shelter for them at the first house he comes to.

Sophie welcomes the wet and weary travelers, and her mother agrees to house them temporarily until they can free the carriage. Sophie forms a bond not only with Emma, but with Jeremy. However despite the sparks they ignite in each other, they have to maintain their separate paths.  

But love and mistletoe have a way of upsetting even the best-laid plans.

Silent Signals
 By Linda Carroll-Bradd

After losing half his herd in the Great Blizzard of 1886, rancher Konrad Werner needs to safeguard his cattle. Tomboy Anora Huxley trains the Australian Shepherds and Kelpies that run the family’s sheep herd. Although cattlemen and shepherds are at odds, the pair discovers common interests. A threat is overheard, and Konrad rides out to Anora’s ranch to protect her. The tense situation reveals their true feelings. Will Anora be swayed by family loyalty, or will she listen to her heart that responds to Konrad’s silent signals?