Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Revolution Comes to an End

 In January, the final book in my Revolutionary Women series will be released and the series will come to an end. A British Governess in America has been proofed, a cover produced, and it's nearly ready for its debut. We had to change the gown my governess wears on the cover, but it was essential she look like a working governess and not Cinderella at the ball. Took some doing to get it right, and my thanks go out to Prairie Rose for their willingness to work with me on it. Here's the cover; 

With all the turmoil of the latest election in America, it's given me great pleasure to be visiting our founding fathers in the midst of this chaos, and to see that their vision had a solid foundation but may need some tweaking. Just as we changed the amount of time needed to install a new head of government when the advent of a speedier form of getting the word out to the country was developed (remember the telegraph?), so should we now be taking a hard look at our way of handling elections. I loved rubbing imaginary shoulders with the Sons of Liberty and experiencing life in our earliest times. They had no way of knowing the type of America we would have now, but they gave us a solid foundation. All we have to do now is keep it.

But the series, as will all good things, must come to an end, and it's time to carve out another era to live in for the next little while. What that will be is still up in the air, but it'll be fun, regardless. 

I heard someone say the other day that 2020 will be used as a measurement for a bad time for years to come. Someone can say they had a bad day or week, and the other will say Was it a 2020 kind of day or week, or just the usual? Regardless of how you spin it, we're all glad to kick the year to the curb and move into 2021. Happy New Year, and happy new beginnings.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Time To Reflect

Family traditions come into play big time, this time of year. In my family, Christmas was never a big production like it is for so many. We never cut down a tree and brought it indoors. We had one of those silver things with a light that spun around, tinting it red or blue.

We never had much money for presents, so our gifts were meager. I remember having a day after the holiday when we got to take our favorite gift to school, and I was always embarrassed by what I had to choose from. Not too much to be excited about. So, instead of celebrating Christmas, we make a big deal of Thanksgiving. A time to eat all you want, spend the day in the kitchen with each other, and telling stories about how hard it was to find a turkey at the grocers in July when we celebrated Thanksgiving in the past, etc. Since my siblings are spread from the east coast to the west coast, we tend to put on the whole lavish food frenzy whenever three or more of us are in the same place at the same time. Rarely does our Thanksgiving happen in November. But the sentiment is the same. 

My best friend's family is a polar opposite when it comes to celebrating Christmas. They pull out all the stops, and I have a lot of fun celebrating along with them. But this year is different, and it's not wise for them to get together. I tried to convince them that the day didn't matter as much as the people you were with, and they could hold off on celebrating until we have the vaccine. But such sacrilege did not go over so well with them. Family traditions are not something to fool around with. 

I usually take December to reflect on the past year. Like most of us, I won't be sorry to close the book on 2020. Hopefully, the next chapter will be filled with love, laughter, and the ability to hug my siblings again. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

How Much Is Too Much?

 I've taken many courses over the years and had many mentors try to explain the fine points of writing romance. Every writer knows you must keep the reader interested and turning the pages by way of plot points and amping up the conflict. But how much is too much? 

I'm in the process of plotting out a new story. I've been told I write older heroines well, so I'm focusing on that. Not a geriatric heroine, but someone in their mid-to late 40s, maybe. And with age comes baggage. In this case, she's a wealthy Southern woman who is running from a public humiliation by her no-good hubby. Maybe there's a college-age child involved. Don't know yet. What else? Maybe give her a calling, one she put on hold to help her husband climb the political ladder? Hmmm. 

And then there's my hero. He's a former pro football player, but not your typical sports-romance kind of guy. He's a field goal kicker, the kind of guy no one remembers unless he misses the shot. Field goal kickers don't make as much as the marquee quarterbacks or receivers, don't get to revel in the glory of the wins, unless the game comes down to the wire and they kick the winning points. So, he's an obscure player who quits playing when he finds out his wife has turned to drugs for solace while he's on the road, and thereby endangers their darling little girl. Too much? How about if he returns home so his mother can help raise his child and begins a new career? And in his spare time, he serves as a mentor to his old high school football team? What if he gets a call from another pro team in desperate need of a kicker? So many threads...

Am I stacking the deck too high? Will I be able to get my h/h to the finish line without dropping a story line? Will I be able to get them to a happy ever after? Time will tell if I can do this. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The Pause That Refreshes

Many years ago, Coca-Cola developed that slogan for its signature drink, encouraging people to take time out of their busy lives and enjoy a Coke. When you consider the year we've all been through, as we get to the end of the calendar, it's a good time to follow the advice of the marketing experts and take time to pause and become refreshed.
In that vein, I'm going to take the month of December to pause my daily routine and refresh myself. Reflect on the year to come and where I'd like my journey to take me in the next twelve months. Think about new ideas for stories and see if any of the ideas grab me by the throat and make it impossible to sleep because the characters are yelling at me to write their story. Or not. Maybe it's time to hang up the pen.

I may need more than one bottle of Coke.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Turkey Coma

Like so many Americans, Thursday was a solitary holiday. It wasn't that unusual for me, since my family has for years not adhered strictly to the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving. Rather, we celebrated whenever three or more of us could manage to get together, since we live all over the map. But for some reason, I decided to make this Thanksgiving, on the same day as the rest of the country, traditional and special. I bought only a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. My mashed potatoes were from a pouch, and my stuffing was a side dish instead of being stuffed inside a bird carcass. But, in the end, my plate of food looked very familiar.
So, for the next several days, I'll be dining on turkey. Mary and I are attempting to not waste any of it, but we are spending our afternoons in a turkey coma. In between our naps, we've both found ways to keep busy. I've got a new idea for a story and Mary's got a whole new stash of toys to play with, so we're both content. What are you up to these days?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Giving Thanks

This year, it's very hard to find things to be thankful for. Like most, I won't be able to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving. I'll be alone, sharing my turkey breast with Mary, my dog. And then, after we each come out of our turkey coma, we'll take a walk along the golf course.
My family has always held Thanksgiving whenever three or more of us can gather together, so in the past, our Thanksgiving dinners have taken place in March, or July, or whenever. The day didn't matter so much as the people who were sitting at the table. It seems like most of the world now has to do the same. It will be fine, I assure you, having been there before. Count your blessings, hold your loved ones if you safely can do so, and have a great Thanksgiving. The turkeys will thank you that they can live a bit longer.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

There's Nothing Like a Cowboy

When I moved back to my home state of Ohio many years ago, I was surprised to repeatedly hear about the Western Reserve. Maybe it was because my interest in history had been piqued, but in all my Ohio history classes in high school, I couldn't remember hearing about it before. Maybe it was because I was living in the Cleveland area and when I grew up there, Cleveland was far away. Whatever the reason, it finally sank in that, at one time, Ohio was considered the western edge of the country. Cowboys didn't come until later. But when they did, the cowboy became the stuff of legend. I remember being riveted by those early television shows like The Lone Ranger and Bonanza. Later came the delightful tales of Brisco County, Jr. I loved them all. My first rejection letter came from the Bonanza show, where I submitted a screenplay at age 12. So, of course, when I began writing as an adult, I was drawn to the cowboy genre. Fast forward a couple of years, and one of my cowboy books, Gambling on Forever, is now part of a boxed set of six full-length cowboy books. And the most wonderful part of this collection of novels is they all have one thing in common--they feature a cowboy. Oh, and the price. Only 99 cents for all six.
Go ahead. Feed your fantasy of being swept away by a hard-loving cowboy. We all deserve a bit of indulgence, after going through an election, and dealing with Covid for eight months. Happy Trails to you! Here's the link:

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Taking A Breath

Every now and again, I am reminded that the world is watching we folks in the US. My freelance journey has recently taken me across the pond to the UK. I turned in a storyline to my employer there and told him if he gave me the go-ahead for the job, I could stop obsessing over the election. His response was to begin talking about how riveted the UK was to our election, and wanted my opinion on all of it. My work was shoved aside in favor of politics.
So, I decided, with the entire world watching, to take a breath this weekend. Free myself from my daily work schedule, take a walk, spend some time on my swing in the backyard with my little dog, Mary, at my side, read a book that is not my own. The work will still be there on Monday. Have a safe weekend, everyone.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Election Season

 Unless you've been living under a rock (which many of us here in the States wish we could do), you already know the significance of what's about to happen in America next Tuesday. We are all exercising our civic duty and voting for president and down-ballot races. As an author of American historical fiction, I am especially invested in this process that our forefathers fought so hard for. So, on the very first day of early in-person voting, I stood in line for over two hours. Here I am, at the back of the pack, waiting to get in the door of the building to the far left of the picture: 

I chose to vote in person, even in the face of a pandemic, because I live in a swing state, and mail-in ballots are going to be contested. And, even though I have faith in our electoral process, I didn't want my vote to be questioned in any way. I wanted my vote to be one of the first counted, as did a lot of other people, as you can readily see. And judging from the early turnout, both mail-in and in-person early voting in every state in this country, a lot of other people also want their voices heard. I can't help but think Sam Adams and the other Sons of Liberty, would be proud of us.  

Sam Adams

So, as we collectively hold our breaths and await the outcome, we can do so knowing we've made our voices heard. It may take weeks for the final outcome to be verified, and I hope that whichever way the outcome happens, we can be peaceful and civil about things and show the world our founding fathers had a great idea and it's been worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. If you haven't already done so, get out and vote on Tuesday. Pack your snacks and a bottle of water, take a book (may I recommend of my Revolutionary Women books to inspire you?) and wait your turn, regardless of how long it takes. Your country is counting on you. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Have You Ever Been Jealous of Your Book Heroines?

Jealousy is a human emotion that we've all experienced in some form or fashion during our lives. It can happen in love, in job promotions, in athletics. It's frequently used in novels to advance the plot, or to show the bad from the good. 

This question is for the readers and authors out there. Have you ever immersed yourself so completely in a story line that you became jealous of the life of the hero or heroine? Has their life been so ideal, so exciting, so filled with love, that you wish you could change places with your character? 

I'm having those feelings today. I recently finished the last book in my Revolutionary Women trilogy. The founding of America was an exciting time, and the Sons of Liberty were the original bad boys. A friend of mine said if they were around today, they'd be gun-toting tattooed men dressed in black leather and riding big motorcycles. I have to admit, the image made my heart flutter. All the women in my stories have become immersed in the Revolution and their men were each a member of the Sons of Liberty, and it's made me jealous. 

Maybe it's because of the times we're all living in. Or maybe it's because my year-long immersion in the Revolutionary War era has made me acutely aware of our nation's government and struggles. I have become more politically active this cycle than ever before. I've written letters to my local newspaper, to my congressmen and senators, I've attended rallies and participated in a political protest. I stood in line for two hours on the first day of early voting to assure that my voice would be heard. I am a member of the Lincoln Project. I encouraged people who have never voted that they needed to register this time around. But did I do enough? Would Sam Adams and Benjamin Edes look kindly on my deeds, or would they still paint a big "T" on my door to signify I am a member of the opposition?

Maybe I need to write another Revolutionary War book. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Going In Another Direction

 As most of you know, I had to go car shopping again, due to a disastrous encounter with a semi-truck. I've owned a Jeep for decades, so of course, I went to my comfort zone when looking for a replacement to my Renegade. 

What happened next surprised me. 

I checked out the used and new Jeeps on the lot and nothing spoke to me. I was extremely frustrated, but my salesman was not. He asked me to expand my horizons and to trust him, both of which I am usually loathe to do. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and told him to surprise me. Here's the result: 

Yes, it's an adorable Mini Cooper! 

After years of driving a silver car, the color of this one is called "Coffee." And it's the farthest thing from a Jeep. I've gone sporty instead of utilitarian. 

Maybe it's time to do the same with my writing. I turned in the last book in my Revolutionary Women trilogy, which will be released in January. When my publisher asked me what was next, I had no answer. Which translates to--it's a perfect time to stretch my creativity into something new. 

As Rachel Maddow says, "Watch this space." 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

What's In a Name?

 Like most authors, I spend a considerable amount of time thinking up names for my characters. In fact, the main character in my most recent book, A British Courtesan in America goes through several names in an attempt to mask her identity. Coming up with suitable names is one of the most fun parts of starting any story. 

But how about names when it comes to a car? I've never been the kind of person who assigns a pet name for my cars. I let the manufacturers do that. But my cars do seem to have an identity. When I was in my 20s and about to buy my first-ever car, I wanted to get a Jeep, which I viewed as a quintessential American car. My mother said I should get something a bit less masculine than a Wrangler and steered me to a Toyota. 

Years later, it came time to buy a new car, and I did what I always wanted. I bought a Jeep. Not a Wrangler, but a Liberty. It spoke volumes to me, and not just about how liberating it was to finally buy the make of car I'd always wanted. It was rugged, reliable, and strong, just as its name implied. I was sorry to have to get rid of it after thirteen years of service. 

I bought a newer and smaller Jeep this time. A Renegade. A friend of mine told me it was descriptive of my personality. I'd eschewed joining a sorority in college in favor of belonging to the Students for a Democratic Society. I write about the Sons of Liberty in my Revolutionary Women series, the bad boys of the Revolution. So a Renegade seems to have fit. However, unfortunately even a Renegade loses when it's hit by a semi-truck. 

So, I'm once again in the market for a new-to-me vehicle. The one that's caught my eye this time is a Patriot. Seems fitting, in these perilous political times. I'll let you know. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Karma Or Plot Twist?

 I try not to mix politics with my authorly correspondence, but the events of this week are the stuff of a good suspense novel and too good to pass up. The professional political correspondents are calling the influx of Covid among the Republican loyalists as karma, but we novelists are calling it a plot twist. 

A plot twist, by definition, is an "unexpected development in a novel." In politics, it's called an "October Surprise." However you define it doesn't really matter. It's what comes next that is intriguing. 

My author friends and I have spent the last few days coming up with all kinds of "what comes next scenarios." So far, we have about four different ways this could go. I'd love for all the Tom Clancy or James Patterson aficionados to weigh in and give me your ideas. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A British Courtesan in America

Lately, I've been obsessed with the Revolutionary War, which brings what's happening in the United States today into sharp focus. Reading about the monumental struggles young America faced, trying to wrest control from a monarch puts the tenuous grasp on democracy we hold today into sharp focus. I began this journey when I realized I loved the time period in the world's history, but I didn't love writing about Regency England. Instead, I'm importing my heroines from England, saving them, one at a time, from a life of rules and decorum, and plunking them into early America, where they come into their own. The second book in the series is A British Courtesan in America. Here's a sneak peek of the cover: 

And here's a bit from the book: 

 Anjanette’s body finally unclenched after six weeks aboard ship. She took a long, cleansing breath as the last of the first-class passengers departed the ship. It would soon be her turn to leave. She’d kept a low profile during the entire voyage and successfully traversed the Atlantic without her identity being uncovered. Her dresses, though well made, were modest and serviceable. She kept her hair in a chignon with no adornments. If anything, she had become a chameleon, imitating the other second-class passengers to better blend in. 

She gathered her possessions and placed them back into her satchel. She fingered her favorite necklace, the last piece of jewelry her final benefactor, Atticus Wexford, had given her. 

“Thank you, darling, for giving me the gift of my freedom.” She wiped the tears from her cheeks and took a deep breath. Atticus had given her far more than a necklace. He had given her the ability to reset her life. To begin anew. They’d been making plans to leave England behind, just as soon as he completed his final mission for the government. Neither ever imagined his final mission would be his last, ever. Fortunately, he had revised his will, leaving her his entire fortune. She wiped her final tears away.

She packed away the necklace along with her old identity. Anjanette Shelby, the most coveted courtesan in all of London, was no more. Liberty Wexford was about to disembark and live out the rest of her days in colonial America. Suddenly, the cabin was too confining, the ship was too small. She needed to breathe in the free air of America. 

The ship steward stood next to the ramp, ticking the names of the passengers off the manifest. He glanced at her and smiled. “Miss Shelby, I didn’t see much of you during the voyage. Did you fare well, or were you suffering from seasickness?” 

She returned his smile. This steward had been kind to her during her trip. “Some, at the beginning of the voyage, but I had a lot of reading to do. Thank you for asking, James.”


“Well, you’re free to go. Enjoy your stay in Boston, Miss Shelby.” 

Free to go. 

She glanced at the steward. “Can you recommend some accommodations?”

“Yes, there’s a really nice hotel, The Hartford, just up the street a few blocks.” He motioned to the cobblestoned street leading away from the busy dock. “I can arrange to have your trunks delivered there.” 

“That would be wonderful. Thank you.” This young man had done his best to assure she had a good trip. She poked her fingers into her reticule and brought forth some bills, which she handed to him. His smile grew even larger.

He called after her. “Goodbye, Miss Shelby.” 

She glanced back at him and waved as she whispered, “It’s no longer Miss Shelby. I’m Liberty Wexford now.” 

Her steps were light as she touched the cobblestones, although it took her a few minutes to adjust to being on land again. Were it not for the spectacle she would cause, she’d fall to her knees and kiss the street. Even though the cobblestoned streets and the buildings hugging the sides of the road gave the appearance of any of a number of cities in England, this was America. She had a clean slate here. She straightened her hat, shifted her bag from one hand to the other, and set off for the hotel the steward had suggested. After she found lodging, she’d find a job. 

Boston should look out. Libby Wexford just landed. 

The book should be available for pre-orders sometime this week. I hope your appetite has been whetted and you'll place A British Courtesan in America on the top of your TBR pile.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Keeping Going

My recent health issues have had the residual effect of not being able to concentrate on one thing for long before the next shiny object catches my attention. For most people, this would be a real problem, but for a writer, that means I can float from one project to the next without remorse. 

At the risk of sounding like a politician, I am enjoying this phase of my recovery. I had been kicking around an idea for a big book that incorporates the lives of many generations of a family. The idea itself was a bit overpowering, but if I only work on it for fifteen minutes at a time, it doesn't seem so enormous. Combined with my freelance work, and promoting my Revolutionary Women books, I'm finding this new approach to working refreshing. We'll see how long it lasts. 

Here's a sneak peek at the cover for my next book in the Revolutionary Women series. I really enjoyed writing Libby's story. Hope you enjoy it too. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Racing Hearts

 As a romance writer, my books contain descriptions of racing hearts, broken hearts, etc. In the course of my lifetime I've had my heart broken a time or two, but it never raced. Until now. 

I spent two days in the hospital this week. Rapid heart beat and high blood pressure were causing me to get very dizzy. After a myriad of tests, I am pleased to report all my internal parts are in good shape, but I need medication to keep my pressure under control. 

One of the meds I had prescribed was for a medication that would coat my stomach to make the pills easier to digest. I woke up yesterday morning with chills, nausea, vomiting and the dreaded diarrhea. I read the info sheet from the drugs I got and the stomach coating one was responsible for all of my discomfort. The on-call doctor agreed with me to stop taking that one, so I did, and I'm much better now. But this will be a short post this week, so I can head to bed. 

Hope you're all coping well during this pandemic and the wall-to-wall political ads. I'm trying to not watch so much news, in order to keep my BP under control. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Evolution of a Cover



If you spend any time on Amazon scrolling through the millions of available books, you know the value of a good cover. A great design can catch your attention and stop the scrolling for a minute so you can study the cover and read the blurb. The cover is what pumps the brakes and the blurb is what convinces you to buy. These are the two most important parts of any book. Because you need to make someone push the button to buy your book before they can delve into it. And if a reader passes you by, they'll never get to enjoy the story you've worked so hard on. 

There are so many things to take into account when creating a cover. I spend hours culling through stock images, looking for just the right person or couple. One of my good friends has a pet peeve with hair color on the covers. It has to match the description of the characters or she throws the book across the room. So, I'm very conscious of hair color when I'm picking out my models. After all, PhotoShop can work wonders, but if you have a heroine with wispy hair, it's almost impossible to change the hair. My publisher and I decided recently that the blonde model on the cover of A British Heiress in America (at right) could not be changed to a brunette, so I had to change the hair color in the book. 

As an example of a changing cover design, I offer up one of my favorite books of all time–Blame It On The Brontes. This was a challenging book to write, since it told an over-arcing story from the viewpoint of the three sisters involved. Three separate stories from three points of view telling one story. Up until I wrote this story, I'd only written historical, so this contemporary was a real change of pace. However, my first cover attempt looked more historical than contemporary, and confused my faithful readers. 

So, after hearing complaints that this didn't give the right image, I asked for the cover to be changed. Since my three ladies had totally distinct personalities, I thought three pairs of shoes that would mirror their striking differences would be perfect. It didn't exactly work out like I had anticipated and my publisher turned a deaf ear to my complaints about cover 2. Better but not quite what I envisioned. 

I wasn't able to get the cover I'd always thought this book needed until I got the rights back from the publisher and was able to buy the exact look I'd envisioned. Here's the final version of this cover. 

Which version is your favorite? Would any of these covers make you stop and read the blurb? And better yet, make you buy the book? 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Knowing When to Pull the Plug

 I had a conversation with a writer friend a few nights ago. She's struggling with a manuscript she's working on and we got to reminiscing about those manuscripts we've written and then shoved under the bed, never to see the light of day. Sometimes you know within the first couple chapters that this was a bad idea, or sometimes it's the same story that you have written six ways to Sunday but it's never quite good enough. Regardless of when it happens, there's always a point in the story when a writer stops and says to herself, "Do I go on with this or not?" 

I've been putting off writing my latest story idea, too. The premise is there, and I love the idea. I just don't know if I'm going to be able to pull it off. If I pull the plug before doing little more than starting, I'll never know. I can keep ignoring it, but every morning, it's there, on my desktop, a fairly empty file folder, waiting for me to do something with it or throw it under the bed. Next week, I promise, I'll get back on it...

I am reminded of when I was little and I had a bad dream, which I swear to this day was real. My hand had fallen over the side of the bed in my sleep, and someone underneath the bed was trying to pull me out of my bed and underneath with them.

I fought like hell, and for years afterward could not walk to the side of the bed and crawl in. No, I had to take a leap from across the room and land on the mattress. It's taken me years to not be afraid of what's under the bed. Except now I know there can't be any bad folks under there, just bad ideas.

How about you? What's under your bed?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

On To The Next Thing

 Two things happened this past week that have affected my daily routine. For the better, I hope. 

First, I finished the last book in my Revolutionary War trilogy and sent it off to my publisher. So I won't be hanging around with the Sons of Liberty every morning now and raising hell. Kind of sad, since the  Sons of Liberty appeal to my rebellious nature.

Second, the company I've been freelancing with for the past year or so has been affected by COVID and has cancelled some of their not-so-profitable lines. Unfortunately, my articles are part of that not-so-profitable part of their service, so once we writers work through what's left, that's it. I'd been expecting this to happen, since the articles I'm writing are advertising for various services, none of which are being utilized during a pandemic. Still, when the word finally came down, I had to take a deep breath and try to figure out what to do next. The articles were not hard to write, but they were time-consuming, even though they did provide a nice income stream.

So, what have I come up with?

Well, first, I have a big story idea, and knowing it's a big idea, I figure it'll take a year or more to write. So, I'll work on that while I promote my Rev War series. Maybe I can even use some of my research on the Sons of Liberty in part of the new venture. We'll see. 

Second, I'm still ghostwriting a series for my new friend from the UK. I don't know how much more he'll want from me, though, so I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. I need to find another income stream. 

I've got a couple places to look for work this week, butI'm open to any ideas. 

Will keep you informed...

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Passing of Time

 I was watching one of those insipid game shows the other day. I'm sure you know the one I'm talking about. Everyone wears a t-shirt with something written on it, hoping they'll get noticed by the producers and get plucked from the audience and get up on stage so they can win prizes. A woman had a shirt showing the years going from 49 to 50. When the emcee asked if it was her birthday, she said it would be sometime this year. She was obviously going to celebrate this milestone event all year long. I applauded her, since I'm a big fan of birthdays. Or rather, birthday celebrations. 

Since I've gotten to a certain age, beyond where the woman on the game show happened to be, I've started celebrating my birthday the entire month of May. And I encourage all my friends to celebrate for the whole month of their birth. My best friend has a birthday this month. Even though she stubbornly holds onto the belief that only one day of the month is special, I've tried the last couple of years to soften her up. I start by sending a card at the beginning of the month. Then, about a week prior to the actual day, I send a second. The third one is sent in the package with her presents. And, if I can get to the card store in time, I end the month with one final card. 

Did I ever mention I used to work for both Hallmark and American Greetings? I love cards. 

So, how about you? How do you celebrate your birthday? Just the one day? The month? The entire year? Or do you ignore it altogether? 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Satisfying Cravings

So far, I've managed to avoid the COVID Ten, those extra pounds that some folks put on during their enforced isolation. I've worked very hard to remove excess baggage on my person during the first half of the year, and don't want to slide the other way. But then, I discovered Peanut Butter Sundae ice cream. Thankfully, it's only a seasonal flavor, so it will be gone from the store shelves soon. But for a peanut butter fan like myself, it's the only ice cream flavor that makes sense.

I get cravings in my writing life, too. always wanted to write a story about mail order brides, but never quite got it going until I discovered ghost writing. I'm now in the process of putting together my fifth novella about a mail order bride. It's satisfying my craving to write in this genre without all the money and hassle that comes with producing it under my own name. My satisfaction comes in the form of payment up front for my work. 

I just put the finishing touches on the final book in the Revolutionary War trilogy, so I am wondering where to go next with my work. Shall I dip my toe again into Contemporary, which is still so popular? Is there a way to combine my love of history with a Contemporary story line? How about a female history professor who unearths something startling when she decides to explore her ancestry? It could be fun. I'll have to give it some more thought. 

I get cravings in my reading, too. You would think, with this enforced isolation, I'd be ahead of my goal of reading 50 books this year, but I can't seem to lose myself in a book. I pick them up, read a couple chapters, and put them back down. I'm craving a series where I can totally immerse myself and not have to worry about the state of our union. So far, though, no luck. 

What are you reading these days? Recommendations, please.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

It Could Be Worse

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Not only can I escape the current situation we Americans find ourselves in by losing myself in a book, I also have the ability to write my own books and can create my own worlds. 

It may seem like a great idea to leave this current situation behind and run back in time, there are some things that need to be considered first. When I write my historical books, I tend to spend very little time talking about how people performed the basic functions of bathing, going to the bathroom, catching or growing their food, Although they were basic necessities, they aren't glamorous, and they have no place in a feel-good romance. 

I was reminded of that fact the other day, in conversation with a friend who had just finished reading my latest book, A British Heiress in America. The heroine, Pippa, has a penchant for cheroots, thin, dainty cigars. While in today's world, a woman smoking tobacco is commonplace, in the late 1700s, it was never done, so she has to pilfer her cheroots anywhere she can. 

My friend asked how Pippa could have possibly gotten away with it without anyone noticing, since the cigar smell is pungent and tends to cling to one's body and clothing. Her comment then led to a discussion about all the other odors emanating from a person's body during this era and how the scent of a good cheroot might be welcome since it would mask all the others. 

So, when this world we're currently living in gets you down, think about all the good things it offers.
Count your blessings. 
 And flush the toilet. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Have Some Pie

In my youth, my older sister and I were responsible for preparing the family dinners. She usually did the main cooking and I made the desserts. I enjoyed baking, but my skills, as a ten-year-old, were pretty basic. I made cookies and tapioca pudding, that type of baking.

So, I realized I needed help when my writing and my story lines took me to pioneer baking. I'm working on two manuscripts simultaneously, and both of them involved baking pies, of which I know nothing. It was time to call in the big guns. One of my writing buddies is a pie-maker extraordinaire. She shows off her pie-making capabilities on her Facebook page, and I drool over them. Unfortunately, she lives on the other side of the continent, so I've not been able to taste any of her creations, but when I needed some assistance in my fictional pie-baking, she was there for me.

Together, we created a strawberry pie for my hero to enjoy while the heroine was convincing him to let her stay on the farm and help out. After all, the way to a man's heart, and all that...

Hopefully, the hero will realize the heroine is more than a pretty pie. Thank you, Micah, for all the help.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

We're All In This Together

I don't know about you, but I've been hearing from my family and friends on a regular basis these days. If it's done nothing else good, at least the Corona Virus has brought my family closer. We have weekly phone call check-ins now, to make certain everyone is still safe and healthy. And my friends, who are the family I've chosen, not the one I was born into, all check in several times a week, so we can stay abreast of each other and our emotions as we roll along through this crisis.

This past week, I heard from my 85-year-old uncle in Ohio. The last time we talked was months ago. 

So, silver lining to this madness. I'll take it. 

In times such as we're currently living through, it's family and friends that can get you to the other side. I feel a circling of the wagons taking place in America. Stay safe and wear your mask. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Bring On The Heat

It's summer in the south...need I say more?

It you're addicted to the HGTV show HomeTown, like so many of my friends are, you know how hot southern summers can be. Poor Ben can't get through a day without his shirt being soaking wet from his sweat within minutes.

But I'm talking here about another kind of heat. Here's part of a review from my latest book, A British Heiress in America:

 In some of Becky Lower's hottest writing to date, we see a British stowaway make her way to Boston in the heart of upheaval.

My best friend had an aunt named Dot who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years before she passed on. She was well into her 80s when we met, but she got a kick out of knowing an actual author and insisted on reading my books. Her only complaint about them was the sex part was boring and I should learn some new tricks. After reading this book, my friend said Aunt Dot would have been pleased. 

This is the start of a trilogy about three English ladies who, for differing reasons, reach the shores of America during the Revolutionary War. Book One sets the tone for the rest of the series, and if this one is considered hot, the rest of them should be as well. Especially the second one, which is entitled A British Courtesan in America. 

So, I've been spending this week, which is the hottest week of the year so far here in North Carolina, amping up the heat in my second book. Even in the A/C, it's getting hot in here. 

Any recommendations on how to cool off? 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Giving Thanks

I know–it's not Thanksgiving.

But it is Independence Day Weekend. It's time to give thanks for being raised in this country. When I was a kid, living in the country, we just had sparklers for fireworks. It wasn't until I moved to Washington, DC, while in my 20s, that I saw real fireworks. The show during the celebration of our nation's 200th anniversary, in 1976, has never been duplicated, at least in my mind.

This year, it's not safe to gather for a big fireworks display, so my dog, Mary, and I are staying home and hunkering down. We'll stay safe and count our blessings. Mary's thankful for the new FreshPet Chicken bits I bought for her, since she no longer is interested in dry food. I'm thankful I can work from home and only wander out to the grocery and the dump. I'm thankful to my loyal fans who have been waiting for two years for the Revolutionary Women series to be published. I hope the wait was worthwhile. I love each of my spunky heroines. They would have contributed to the cause of freedom, for sure.

We are facing new challenges to that freedom today. As Ben Franklin said about the type of government we had, so long ago. "It's a Republic, if you can keep it."

We are trying, Ben.

I'm thankful that my voice counts, as small as it is. I can peacefully protest, even though that's been called into question lately. I will wear my mask in public, not question the choices of others, and cast my vote in November. That's my right and for that, I'm thankful. 

Happy Independence Day Weekend, everyone!