First Love #MFRW

Welcome to week 42 of the 52-week MFRW blog hop – My First Love. Wow – do you realize there are only ten -TEN weeks left in the year??? Holy moly where did the time go?

My first love . . . hmmm. Does that mean the first man I fell in love with?  That would be my husband of 32 years, and we dated for 6 years before that.

Does it mean my first love as in God and Jesus? That should be all of our first loves, but I don’t really think that is what it is referring to in this blog hop. Although, if you are writing Christian romance for Steeple Hill, then I guess that would be a suitable topic.

OR does it mean my first love in reading? Sometimes I get confused as to what the intent was for these prompts, like the week about the open door, yeah I totally missed that one!

I need to think over a cup of joe while I sort this out in my head. In the meantime,  you can listen to this:

Alright, coffee consumed and I think I will share about my first love – my hubby. After all, our view about romance and how romance works is filtered through our own perceptions. I will be breaking a rule by sharing this because the hubs doesn’t like for me to talk about him, or us, on the blog.

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I was fifteen years old when I was crushing on this gorgeous hunk. Muscles, oh my! Ripped abs, bulging biceps, but not too bulky. His voice – a deep rich baritone, think Lou Rawls!

His sexy grin sent shivers down my spine before he ever cast a look in my direction. He was the Captain of his football team, I was a band geek. I never thought in a million years he would even look my way and was speechless when he asked me out. Please understand, for me to be speechless is a feat!

He had a full head of thick luscious hair, and back in the 80’s, his hair brushed his shoulders. Our first 3 dates were Friday night – school dance, Saturday night – my school dance, and Sunday – a bowling outing with our youth group from church.

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I was a goner from the first kiss. Man, can he kiss! The kind of toe-curling, knee popping, my insides turn to mush kiss.

This is one of my favorite photos of the hubs, taken long before we were married. He had been working on his car – a 64 Chevy Impala SS, you can see he’s inside the engine compartment and had been laying on the ground beneath the car.  He wasn’t too thrilled with my photography, but I just love this shot!

But, you know . . . true love is more than the physical relationship. We connected. We talked. We shared common interests while maintaining individual interests. He still loves sports, I don’t. I still love the creative crafty stuff, he is meh.

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We’ve had our share of ups and downs, highs and lows. This year has been a lot of lows, but through it all, he’s been my rock. I don’t know that I could have made it through all this cancer stuff if he hadn’t been my biggest supporter, encourager, hand holder, chauffeur, and above all, my best friend.  He was willing to shave his head with me for support!

He puts up with all of my quirks. I’ve put on a lot of weight since we first began dating and he’s rarely complained. If anything, he encourages me to be healthy and regularly tells me I can do it!

True love goes so far beyond the physical attraction, it’s difficult to put into words for the younger crowd. When you find someone who loves you and wants to be with you even though they know your flaws, your hang-ups, and every one of your bad habits. . . . that is true love and worth hanging onto.

This is the kind of love that inspires me to write love stories,  to write romance. This is what inspires me to face the next day when I’m tired of being a pincushion, tired of Dr’s offices, and tired of facing yet another change caused by cancer.

We aren’t wealthy financially by any means, but when I count my blessings,  I feel I am the richest woman alive to have found my Mister Right!

Sure, he has flaws. He’s human after all but they are easily overlooked when looking at the big picture. The big picture for me is a life full of happy memories,  two beautiful children, a loving home, and my best friend to grow old with!

I’m curious to see what the other authors have done with this prompt, so let’s go check them out.

Write on my friends, write on!






Weekend Writing Warriors

Behold – I do a new thing.

What can I say, my ADD got the better of me and I  jumped into another thing. Give me a break, ok? It’s been a crap year! I need more fun things in my life!

So, I joined this group, Weekend Writing Warriors.


It’s simple and fun. Sign up on the linky list with your name, blog url, and email address on Mondays, 8:00 AM EST. Each week, the list remains open until Saturday, 11:59 PM. Then on Sunday, post 8 sentences from a current writing project, published or unpublished. Visit other participants and offer opinions, critiques, support. Writers hanging out with writers, a good time with a great group of people.
8 sentences –  I can manage that, can’t I?  That sounded like a challenge and I was off!
YEs, it’s late in the year but what the heck! Maybe this will turn into a regular thing.  I ‘ve been thinking I should share more snippets anyway.

I gave myself a quick mental talk about facing reality and to stop being a hopeless dreamer as I took several deep breaths. One step into the doorway, all I could see was the curtain pulled around the hospital bed. Two steps, the end of the bed with feet visible beneath a white cotton blanket with the blue hospital name on it. Three steps and I was at the side of the bed, afraid to look down and recognize the woman in the bed as my mother. Tara was on the other side, her head down on the edge of the bed, holding a frail bluish hand.

My eyes welled with tears.


My body wracked with sobs as I lifted the other cold lifeless hand to my cheek. Tara lifted her head slowly; looking up at me with such a forlorn and lost expression, it broke my heart even more. I ran around the bed to her, lifting her from her chair as we sobbed together.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Roxy Sings the Blues.
That wasn’t so hard! Just a note, but Roxy is going to be on a countdown deal from October 18 through the 25th! Be sure to get your copy!
Write on my friends, write on!

Sparks of Genius #MFRW

Welcome to week 41 of the 52-week MFRW blog hop – My Blogging Inspiration.

Wow, what a loaded question. Where do I get my inspirations? The short answer, everywhere.

The more complicated answer: I have tried to work themes around different days, for example I’ve set aside Fridays for this blog hop. I tend towards Motivational Mondays, have posted Teasers on Tuesdays, Woman Wednesday where I have hosted many female authors, Thinking Thursday and Fun Fridays. Ironically when I tried to channel my ideas into specific ideas, my  creative juices came to a screeching halt.

Then there are the time issues,  like when I was undergoing treatment, the days I am still sruggling to function, the myriad of appointments, and other life demands.  I have  good intentions to blog daily,  but lately I’ve been doing good to post twice a week. By the way,  I sat at the computer for well over an hour with several stops and starts, erase, delete, type over for last week’s prompt.  My mind just wasn’t  in it. I couldn’t think of a single book quote to save my life and it wasn’t until it was time to log off and start on dinner that my friend Cathy suggested I google it. DOH!

Anyway, back to my inspirations. . . everything.  A post on Facebook,  something on the news, something  I saw while driving,  or most often that ‘spark of genius’ that pops into my head. LOL

I wish I could say that it was some deep thinking, brilliant thought process,  but most often it’s just what pops in at the moment.  Yes, on occasion my thoughts run deep but I don’t often share those, because I like to keep it light and fresh and those deep thoughts can be intense.

I enjoy blogging. probably more than I like writing books because they are short pithy posts, and I get them out of my system quickly.  Books take a loooooooonngg time and my ADD fights me every time. That and the perfectionist in me thinks  it has to be absolutely perfect before I release it to the world.  Meanwhile, I have twelve books completed and sitting in the files waiting for final edits. I am working on the next one, I’ve done final edits geting it in shape to send to my beta readers.

I may start sharing snippets again from that one, now that I have been in a good groove with my writing. Plus, looking forward to NANO next month to work on a new novella that ties into the universe of Faere Warrior.

One of the reasons I like to interview other authors is because I get inspired with their enthusiasm. Then I can write for a while longer. Selfish I know.

Comment below and let me know which of the topics you enjoy hearing about! Here are some other authors in the blog hop – be sure to check them out as well!

Write on my friends, write on!





Interview with Jolele Buccheit

My guest today is Jolene Buccheit. I wasn’t able to connect with Jolene at Penned, except just a few times in passing. I’m telling you, it was a madhouse – but in a good way!

Tell me a little bit about yourself and where you are from.

My name is Jolene Buchheit, pronounced like Boo-Kite. Born, raised, and currently living in Iowa. My passion outside of reading and writing books is working with teenagers, which I do at one of the local high schools. My favorite color is royal blue, like my hair and my two favorite sports’ teams: Chicago Cubs and Kentucky Wildcats. I do not like long walks on the beach because it hurts my feet, but I love the sound of the ocean. Also, is it just me or does the sea have healing powers? Yeah, I thought so.

 Yes! YES, absolutely Yes, the sea has healing powers!  We got to go on vacation to the gulf the week prior to Penned, I was looking forward to it since April, when I thought I might never see the ocean again.  Yeah, I know, overactive imagination. What genre do you write?

All of my currently published material is young adult. The Charmed Trials series is Greek-mythology inspired urban fantasy. I also have a standalone that is young adult contemporary. However, I have several works in progress that are adult women’s fiction which might be classified as fantasy and romantic comedy contemporary.

Those sound fascinating, I am going to add those to my toberead list! I love stories about mythology. What genre do you read? Which do you read the most?

I read all fictional genres. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of romantic comedies and sports romances as I’m working on a combination of the two.

Who are your favorite authors –  can include Independent authors?

I read everything by my friend Emily Cyr, she makes me laugh and swoon. I love Meghan Quinn and Quinn Loftis, who crack me up as well. Jennifer L. Armentrout is my writing hero. Her books are exactly the kind of stories I love to read and aspire to write. Others I won’t miss include: Cassie Clare, Wendy Higgins, A. D. Ryan, Komali da Silva, and Angie Thomas.

This one isn’t writing related necessarily,  but I think it tells more about who you are. What do you value most in a friend?

Dependability. I don’t mean showing up on time, I mean being there emotionally. I love checking in with my best friends every day and when they have something hard to face, lending my support. I value the friends in my life who do the same.

I will have to agree with that. Having recently gone through some tough times, I found out who is dependable, who really cares, and who is a friend collector that doesn’t really care.  Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I work in a high school with teenagers all around me. For my young adult books, the authenticity of the teens’ interactions is because I witness it every day. For my adult books, the things my coworkers and friends talk about spark ideas for “what if” situations in my more mature writing. I don’t know if I am surrounded by funnier people in general or if my humor filter works stronger to help me find the most hilarious way of telling a story. But, oh, how I love to laugh and hear others laugh as well.

Tell us a little about your latest book.

Right now, I am working on a romantic comedy about a clumsy girl who is accidentally tripped at a hockey game and ends up spilling beer all over the guy in front of her, who turns out to be an unbelievably attractive man who handles it far too well for the circumstances.   

Are you a pantser or plotter, or a plontser?

Pantser. I usually write with a loose idea of how the story goes, but nobody would call it a plot. Working on a co-written project has helped me see why plotters do it their way, but I still prefer for the story to be developed in a more organic way.

What’s next for you?

I’ve completed an adult fantasy novel with two of my best friends. That’s being considered by an agent at the moment, so hopefully that will be my next release. For my solo projects, book three in the Charmed Trials series should be out in the spring.

12.What is your work area like? (desk or work at table or on sofa, tidy or untidy, OCD organized, chaos, perfectly decorated, a niche carved out in a closet, etc.)

As I type, I am half reclined on my couch with Oaty (our dog) lying on my feet and Monte (one of our cats) upset with me because I won’t let him on my lap. The glare is real, y’all.

What is your ideal getaway vacation?

Beach, sun, and books with the husband by my side to remind me to eat and help me apply sunscreen. Plus, he’s my favorite friend and not hard to look at. XOXO *cues* “Awww.”

 I knew it would be something beachy! What is your favorite food?

Not gonna lie here and say it’s a spinach salad with mandarin oranges and sunflower seeds, though I do eat that several times a week for lunch. It’s pizza, okay? Papa John’s pizza to be specific, with beef, mushrooms, and pineapple. Don’t at me. LOL

What food do you dislike?

Oh man, I love food. You know what I don’t like too much of in my food, onions. I don’t hate them, but I hate when people use it in such a way that it hijacks the taste of anything else instead of simply adding flavor. However, I will order Hardee’s onion rings every time I go there. So who knows what’s going on with my taste buds??

IKR? It seemingly doesn’t make sense but I agree. I don’t like onion in a lot of things, but on occasion I do enjoy onion rings. Seriously, sometimes onions make me absolutely ill and it’s a gamble when I opt to get an order. If I give you a story prompt, could you write a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less? Probably, as long as there wasn’t a time limit.

Great! Then I am going to PM you with a story prompt and give you a date for a future post.  In December and January I plan to share some flash fiction pieces.

Thank you for being such a wonderful guest Jolene! Check out her book below, be sure to follow her links!

Trial by Charm


Seventeen-year-old Julia Wright doesn’t understand her friends’ obsession with boys. She’s never even had a crush, and proudly maintains her composure no matter who is in her presence. In fact, the hotter a guy is to her friends, the more annoying he seems to Julia. When she is blackmailed into being the manager of the men’s swim team, she finds herself face to face with the worst of them all.
Team Captain Vander Thelxinoe is the typical self-assured jock, with a not-so-typical ability to change people’s minds at will. It’s a talent he uses often to get what he wants—only his charms don’t work on Julia. Now he’s anxious to figure out why, and the closer he tries to get, the more desperate she is to stay away—especially when he somehow awakens a side of her she never knew existed.
Their unexpected friendship puts Julia in the middle of a quest she doesn’t quite understand. As her familiar world begins to unravel around her, Julia must partner with the one person who knows how to push her buttons—and in doing so, discovers the unbelievable truth about who she really is.
Can Julia and Vander survive the trial set before them, or will they fall to a more terrifying fate?


I study his profile. His chiseled jaw and dark, floppy hair are like something out of a magazine advertisement. His eyes, too—they aren’t dark to match his hair, like mine—they are parts of green and blue, much like the painting of the sea in the other room.

“Who painted that piece above the couch in there?”

He shrugs, not answering me in any concrete way. Then he shifts his weight from one foot to the other and his awkwardness makes it clear to me.

“You did it, didn’t you? You’re a painter.”

He shrugs again. I hop down from my stool to go take another look at the painting. The artist must have signed it, and I will get my answer that way.

I go down the hall, past the bathroom, the stairs, and the front door until I’m standing in the parlor, looking at Vander, who is blocking the painting from my view. He must have gone through the dining room next to the kitchen to end up in here before me. He’s staring at me and chewing on his lip while flexing and balling his hands. He’s more nervous than I have ever seen him—not before a swim meet, not in class when he didn’t know an answer, not when he told me how he felt in the bathroom a little bit ago.

This is where his heart lies, in this painting of this island.

I try to look around him, and he leans over.

“Don’t.” He is stern, but gentle. He clears his throat. “Please don’t touch it. You will want to, but don’t.”

He’s right. I do want to touch it; I want to climb inside of it. I’m seeing it, and somehow it’s seeing me, and it’s making me feel pulled apart. I want to dive into the waters, to swim to that far-off land, and I also want to turn the boat around and sail as far and as quickly as I can in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the light from the sun is dimming, laughing at me for thinking I can have any control here.

I want in!

Vander grabs both of my arms, which are currently outstretched toward the painting. My knees are on the seat of the couch, and I don’t even remember moving forward. His voice startles me. “You can’t.”

I blink hard and turn to look him fully in the face. “I can’t what?”

“You can’t go there, and you can’t go away from there. It’s just a painting.” Was I talking out loud, or can he read my mind? How does he know what I was thinking? I let him lead me through the dining room, back into the kitchen, where the timer is going off. I shake my head to let loose the feelings that painting stirred in me.

“It’s more than that, and you know it. How?” I don’t even have to finish the sentence. He knows exactly what I’m asking.


Author Bio:

At work, Jolene spends her days in high school classrooms and hallways harvesting material for her Young Adult novels. She is always willing to discuss vital issues like which is the best peanut butter to buy or whether Katniss should have ended up with Gale or Peeta. Personally, she is committed to helping teenagers become independent adults and helping them find a way to focus on the positive especially when life gets hard. At home, Jolene loves to cuddle with her husband, two kids, three cats, and a dog—sometimes all at once—while reading Young Adult books or repeatedly watching movies based on them.


Barnes & Noble:…/1123544097…

Social Media Links:






Thank you Jolene for sharing with my readers today! Go check out her books! Leave Jolene a comment below.
What do you guys think,  does the flash fiction share sound appealing? I’ve done them before and thought they went over well. A bit of free reading!
Write on my friends, write on!

Meet the author: George Sirois

I first met George online about six years ago. I don’t even remember how we crossed each other’s paths,  but we’ve been Facebook friends ever since.  I read his first book Excelsior , which was very good! I later discovered that he was a fellow St. Louisan.

This year at Penned Con was the first time we had met in person!

You may have to turn the volume up!

From Parts Unknown











Author Bio:

George Sirois has yearned to be a storyteller all his life, no matter the medium. That drive first led him to drawing his own characters while in grade school, and then – when his skills never advanced beyond the most primitive sketches – writing about them in various short stories and screenplays – before moving on to novels such as “Excelsior,” its sequel “Ever Upward: Part Two in The Excelsior Journey,” and the five-part serial “From Parts Unknown.” He is currently at work plotting “Greater Glory: Part Three in The Excelsior Journey,” and he has several other stories in the pipeline that fit into his “science-fiction for the young adult reader” niche.

While evolving as a writer, including an eight-year-long stint writing weekly movie news reports and opinion columns for the successful pop culture website, George has also been evolving as a voice talent. He caught the acting bug at only four years old while performing in a short play in Poughkeepsie, NY. Two years later, he had his first taste of voiceover work, when he narrated a short story for his former preschool teacher, as well as several storybooks for his cousin who was recovering from cancer surgery. He went on to study Theatre in Godwin High School in Richmond, Virginia, and earn his BA in Theatre Arts (studying acting and writing) from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.

George, his wife, and their two dogs now happily call St. Louis, Missouri their home. In his spare time, George is an avid cinephile, a collector of film scores, and a lifelong fan of the New York Giants. He enjoys West Coast Swing dancing and teaches beginner classes for the St. Louis Rebels West Coast Swing Dance Club ( He is a regular contributor to Write Pack Radio ( and was named President of the Missouri Writers Guild in May 2017.

Be sure to check out his books and if you need your book narrated, drop him a line.

Leave a comment for George below!  Thank you, George, for being such a wonderful guest and it was great to finally meet you in person!

Write on my friends, write on!

Meet the author: Rachel Jones

 My guest today is Rachel  Jones, a romance author. I got to meet Rachel at Penned Con 2017,  her table was directly across the aisle from me. Such a pleasant, lovely woman!  I am just now starting on this book, but so far I love it!  I’m not a super fast reader, but I’m on chapter 5 since this past weekend.



A broken ballerina repaired by the love of a trauma surgeon.



Jillian Russell, a promising prima ballerina, suffers the loss of her dance career. Redirecting her life, she opens the North Carolina Ballet Company.

Trauma surgeon, Alan Armstrong relocates to Charlotte, North Carolina for a fresh start. A supporter of the arts, Alan finds himself on the board of Jillian’s ballet company.

It is not long before they are romantically drawn to one another. When Alan discovers Jillian has been misdiagnosed, he tells her she must decide between their love and a performance career in ballet.



Jillian lingered behind, thinking about her students. This was the best group of seven-year-olds she had taught since opening the school. She enjoyed teaching all ages but this group was the highlight of her week. Sighing, she wondered if maybe it had something to do with the fact Lily would have been seven this year. Brushing the thought away, she moved to the piano and focused her attention on arranging the music for the dance company’s rehearsal the next night.

Her school of ballet was impressive but her dance company was her crowning glory. Expanding her lungs to their fullest she exhaled, feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment. The North Carolina Ballet Company, now in its fifth year of existence, continued to experience growing pains and would for several years to come. As they grew in number they also grew in depth and dimension, becoming a cohesive group of artists excited to tell many stories through dance.  Their progress was measured by the reputation they enjoyed for offering professional performances to the surrounding communities.

“You have a good looking group of ballerinas, Jilly,” remarked David as he crossed the studio floor, followed by Alan.

The familiar voice brought a smile to her face. She had met David soon after moving to Charlotte when she was searching for a financial advisor. They had spent a lot of time together working on the financial end of setting up her school. When she took the plunge a year later, with David’s encouragement, and started the North Carolina Ballet Company, he was her biggest fan. Feeling she could trust him with her life, she was grateful he had accepted her invitation to be a part of the company’s initial board of directors.

Turning around at the sound of the tenor voice her eyes darted from her friend to the familiar form standing beside him. Her smile disappeared.

“You!” Jillian took a step back. “What are you doing here?”

“What’s wrong?” David’s gaze bounced back and forth between his friends. “Do you two know each other?”

Her eyes remained fixed on the doctor as if she were seeing him for the first time. He was tall, about six feet she estimated, with thick brown hair and he had the most gorgeous, deep-set brown eyes. It was like looking into pools of chocolate and she was finding it hard not to stare.  She shifted her gaze to her friend.  “I recall seeing him at the hospital, after the explosion.”

“Oh, come on, Ms. Russell. I performed the surgery on your shoulder and I was your doctor for two days—until you fired me. And all you have to say is, ‘I recall seeing you’?”

“If memory serves it was a day and a half. And I’d prefer not talking about anything having to do with the explosion if you don’t mind.”

“I see. Well, I hope your recovery is going well.”

“Yes, it is thank you.”


Buy Links:


Book Trailer:


Author Bio:

Award-winning author Rachel Jones is a Labor & Delivery RN by night and a writer by day. Her love of reading romance novels prompted her at age fifty-seven to write her first contemporary romance manuscript. She loves composing stories about strong women and sweet romance. Her books reflect her love of the performing arts. Her twenty-eight-year career in healthcare has influenced the threads of medical drama woven into her storylines.

When she’s not working or writing, Rachel loves traveling, sewing and making music. She lives in Kennesaw, Georgia her husband of thirty-nine years. They have three grown children and one spoiled Labrador retriever. Rachel is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Georgia Writers Association, Heart of Dixie Romance Writers, and is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America.

Social Media:

Please leave a comment for Rachel!
Thank you, Rachel, for being such a lovely guest. Be sure to check out her links and get your copy of this heartwarming book!
Write on my friends, write on!

Meet the author: Meg Welch Dendler

Greetings! Last year during Penned Con I did a few impromptu interviews with fellow authors. It was such a big hit that many authors signed up this year. Sadly, between not feeling great and a  tighter schedule, I didn’t manage to catch everyone in person.  However, most of the authors have agreed to an online interview to make up for it.

Penned Con 2017 was an amazing time! I made assumptions based on last year, which I should not have.  For one,  my name is a little better known now and I had a lot more traffic to my table –  YAY! For another thing, between the residual effects of cancer treatment and a tighter schedule overall at Penned, it was harder to connect with other authors.  I was able to catch up with a few. I didn’t even get a chance to peruse other author tables!  That part I didn’t like. The hubby was happy though, I didn’t break the bank buying books this time.  I have a meager selection of books that I purchased and traded for.

My guest today is one of those authors I was looking forward to chatting with because she resides in a town in Arkansas that holds special meaning to my family and me. Please give a warm welcome to  Meg Welch Dendler!

Tell me a little bit about yourself and where you are from.

I was born in Houston, but my family soon moved to Champaign, Illinois. From there we spent over 20 years in the Detroit, Michigan, area, where I was married and had two daughters. My family moved back to Houston in 2008 and then we came to Arkansas in 2012. I was a preschool, elementary, and middle-school teacher for many years and am certified in Arkansas, though I’m officially retired as a teacher. I’ve been writing for many, many years, and I loved doing interview pieces and movie reviews. Along with my writing, I work as an editor for Pen-L Publishing and for other indie authors. Just a couple of weeks ago, we moved to Springdale, Arkansas, with our four cats and dog, Max.

  1. I’ll have to pick your brain on that aspect, how to juggle the editing and writing.  It seems if I get enough editing jobs to cover the costs for publishing books, then I don’t have the time I’d like to publish the books! We may have to skype over coffee! What genre do you write?

I have written for magazines and websites for over 20 years and done non-fiction and informational writing and interviews, but nearly all of my published books—the Cats in the Mirror series and two companion dog books, along with the new “Bianca” series—are for middle-grade readers. “At the Corner of Magnetic and Main” is a women’s fiction novel, but I’m afraid it gets lost in the shuffle at book events. That makes me sad because I really love that book. I’m currently working on two more books in the alien rescue cat series, a second book in the new “Bianca” series, and a memoir of our time running a guesthouse in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. For me, it’s more about the story. I follow it where it goes and figure out what audience it is for, but I do have a love for writing for kids.

  1. That is so cool!  It’s amazing how similar our paths have been.  I used to write an opinion column and have written several personal experience pieces as well as humor for magazines. I for one would love to read “At the Corner of Magnetic and Main”! What genre do you read? Which do you read the most?

I read all kinds of books, both indie and big best-sellers. I try to read some award winners every year and the ones that everyone is talking about (or making movies of), but I also read other kidlit writers and love to support indie authors who take their publishing seriously. Connecting with them on Facebook and at live events helps me to learn about their books and goals. Currently, I am reading the Outlander series. This is an epic task to take on! Each book is massive and fantastic and amazing. I tend to take a break between them with something lighter. The library is my friend! Overall, I’m also a big fan of Anne McCaffrey, Sharon Creech, and now Liane Moriarty. “Big Little Lies” kept me up way past my bedtime, and I’d already watched the mini-series and knew how it all turned out. Amazing writing. That’s what I look for the most. It helps me be a better writer, though admittedly sometimes makes me wonder why I bother at all when such fabulousness is already out there.

  1. OMG! My Soul Sister!  I loved, loved, LOVED Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Yes, they are massive.  I’ve read every one!  Also a big fan of Anne McCaffrey!  And in answer to that last statement – because the world needs the stories that are inside of YOU! Are you a pantser or plotter, or a plontser?

I guess I’ll have to go with plonster. I usually know that A, F, J, L, Q, and Z are going to happen when I really sit down to write a book or story, but I don’t know how one will lead to the other. I definitely don’t have it all planned out from A-Z before I start. What I normally do is write the parts I know, then I fill in the rest. Things will morph and change along the way, you have to allow for that, but Z (the end of the book) usually stays the same.

  1. That’s kind of how I do it, kind of.  I’ve tried my hand at pantsing – NANOWRIMO 2011 and ended up with an unfinished book of 130K. Won NANO, but didn’t finish the book.  So I went back to work on it,  ended up somewhere near 250K, and decided that this should be a series.  BTW this is my Dragon series,  The NANO book was Kiss of the Dragon and will eventually come up again on the todo list. OVer the years,  I’ve gone over to the other ditch and back to somewhere between the ditches.  What is your work area like? (desk or work at table or on sofa, tidy or untidy, OCD organized, chaos, perfectly decorated, a niche carved out in a closet, etc.)

I work at my desktop computer at my grandfather’s wood desk. It is very old and massive and antique and has all these nifty pull-out shelves and cool things they used to design desks with. It is tidy-ish. There are usually piles and folders and such, but I know what it all is. I’m big on slips of paper that I make notes on and tuck into manila folders. I collect small Disney plush toys, and there are over 100 of them watching me work. Since we just moved, my office is currently a mess of boxes and clutter. It is about half the size of what I had before, but I like the cozy feel. My Disney friends are getting anxious about being in attic mode and want me to get things together quickly. My husband thinks it is weird that I want my back to the window since my old office was in a basement with no window at all, but I know I’ll just be distracted if I can see the neighbors or birds and such. I need a blank wall in front of me. No music. No distraction. I could never write in a public space like I know other writers love to do. The cats and dog are happy to sleep scattered around the office and not disrupt much, so they are allowed to hang out. I edit in the same space, so I’m there several hours a day. You have to make that area one that makes you happy and comfortable. You need to want to be there.

  1. I am envying your office and the description of the antique desk requires a photo. Do you ever use real people as a basis for your characters?

Absolutely and unabashedly. My cat/dog books are full of my own family and pets, though as it has evolved I have added fictional characters as well. I’m even in there. “At the Corner of Magnetic and Main” is 99% fiction, but some of the characters were inspired by real people in the real town and I own up to it. That is going to get trickier as I work on the guesthouse memoir because a lot of it is not flattering to the people involved. I’m still working through how I’ll handle that. Sounds like a task for NaNoWriMo this year. Just start getting those words down and see what comes of it.

  1. OOH! Sounds like the memoir piece could be a scandalous tell all! Reminiscent of ‘Murder She Wrote!’ Do you snack while you write or is food off limits in the office area?

When I really need to pound things out for a deadline, either writing or editing, I do use little treats to keep me going. M&Ms are great for that. Reward yourself with one every 15 minutes or X amount of words. Whatever the goal is. Sometimes I’ll work through lunch, so there’s that. Otherwise, no food. Some hot tea or a glass of water is about it. Maybe a Coke if I need bolstering around 3:00 pm. I can’t stand coffee (gasp, I know), so I have to figure out alternatives for the writer life. M&Ms work well, but they are hard on what little waistline I have. Mostly, no food in the office area.

  1. I  won’t hold it against you for not liking coffee. I have all sorts of friends and believe it or not, some of them don’t drink coffee. So I guess my invite above should be to skype over a Coke, not coffee! What’s next for you?

The next few months are mostly focused on the release of my next book, “Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess,” on December 1. This book is very special to me since it started out as a picture book in 5th grade. It has gone round and round and taken different forms over the years. Picture books have changed a great deal in the last decade and it became clear that Bianca had more to say as a middle-grade novel than in picture book format. After extensive rewrites, I love how it all developed. For the last several months, my writing critique group has gone over every page of it, five pages at a time, and I’m so grateful for that resource. Even though I hire an editor, she mostly just does line edits for me. Having a critique group of honest (HONEST!) beta readers is invaluable. I’m kicking it up a notch with this one and doing the full pre-release gauntlet of Kirkus and magazine reviews and the whole nine yards. New England Children’s Book Review was very generous with their kind words and listed “Bianca” as a favorite, and Kirkus used lovely phrases like “spry and charming” and praised my “exquisitely characterized animals,” so I am over the moon so far. I still have to figure out formatting a hardcover version with Ingram Spark, a whole new enterprise, and start setting up reviewers and bloggers. That should keep me more than busy.

Well, anytime you need a blogger to promote,  give me a holler! I work for books! Thank you for taking time to answer my questions today and I may have questions for you about middle-grade books!

Be sure to check out Meg’s books below and follow the links!

Meg Welch Dendler
Best-Selling and Award-Winning Author of the Cats in the Mirror Series:
  • Why Kimba Saved The World
  • Vacation Hiro
  • Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge
  • Slinky Steps Out
  • and the companion books
  • Max’s Wild Night
  • Dottie’s Daring Day
  • From Serenity Mountain Publishing
Pen-L Publishing
Author Bio:
“Meg Dendler has considered herself a writer since she won a picture book contest in 5th grade and entertained her classmates with ongoing sequels for the rest of the year. Beginning serious work as a freelancer in the ’90s while teaching elementary and middle school, Meg has over one hundred articles in print, including interviews with Kirk Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. She has won contests with her short stories and poetry, along with multiple international awards for her best-selling “Cats in the Mirror” alien rescue cat children’s book series. Meg is an editor with Pen-L Publishing and also does editing work for independent and self-publishing authors.

Meg and her family (including four cats and her dog, Max) live in Arkansas. Visit her at for more information about upcoming books and events and all of Meg’s social media links. You can also follow Kimba on Facebook and Twitter.”

Member of Cat Writers’ Association, SCBWI, and the Ozark Writers League

Links for Meg Welch Dendler:

Web site: Megdendler

Blog:  megdendler

Newsletter Sign Up: megdendler newsletter

Facebook: MegDendlerAuthor & KimbaBabyCat  (Kimba fan page)

Goodreads: Meg Welch Dendler

Amazon Author Page: Meg Dendler

LinkedIn: Meg Dendler






“Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess” (pre-order link)


“At the Corner of Magnetic and Main”

Please leave a comment to show Meg your love! Thank you for being my guest today.
Write on my friends, write on!

It Was the Best of Times #MFRW

Welcome to week 38 of the 52-week MFRW blog hop – The Best of Each Season.

From a romance author’s perspective, there are a few things that can be a plus to each season.

IF we go into the way back machine, back to when I got married, not quite as far back as the stone age. . . it was the thing to be a June bride.

I can see why brides choose each season and weddings aren’t just on Saturdays anymore. For the same reasons,  I can see why an author would choose a certain season to convey a mood or feeling throughout their book.


A chill in the air, frost on the window, those wonderful fur muffs, snow,  horse drawn sleighs or carriages, and blazing fires in a fireplace are all perks to even the harshest winter days.  I read a romance book that was essentially the couple being stuck in a cabin together for a few days after an avalanche.


Fresh flowers,  bright green grass, lilacs, budding trees, warming temperatures –  I have been to beautiful weddings that took place in a botanical garden, surrounded by blossoms.  There is nothing quite like the smell just after a rain, with new grass and a light breeze.


Less clothes! Swimming, beaches, swimwear – the perfect setting for a tropical romance, or stranded on an island together. Notice they are never on a northern island with Inuits?  Because that isn’t sexy! Stranded on a tropical island with shreds of what were your clothes, stripped down to bra and panties and maybe the shreds of a skirt, seeking shelter together in your make shift hut made out of banana leaves. . . I can picture this one now.


Oh, the gorgeous colors of fall. My god daughter was married in September, with beautiful fall colors.

In my book Roxy Sings the Blues,  things come to a climax during the fall. I used to love hiking and plan to get back to it as I drop more weight. Roxy has an accident on a hiking trail that changes everything. If you close your eyes, you can almost smell the crisp crackling falling leaves after a  cold rain. This is the perfect time for mulled cider, that pumpkin spice cappuccino, and fresh apple pie! Food, after all,  is an aphrodisiac.

What appeals to you about each season?

Write on my friends, write on!





Chill Out!

This post deals with the third factor that we can have control over to improve our odds of not having cancer or having a recurrence.

There are four areas. They are:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

Today my focus is on stress management.

I am all ears.  I seriously need to learn how to handle stress. Many of the times I get sick it was stress induced.  I  tend to stuff it down until things are so volatile I explode emotionally.


There are numerous things that you can do to relax and unwind. I’m going to share with you the ones suggested to me, and the ones I have found to help reduce stress.

Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and  a daily devotional were at the top of lists of suggestions. My attemps at yoga were not stress reducing.  The instructor was good,  the moves weren’t  beyond a normal person’s range,  but with a back injury, any pressure on the lower spine caused pain and all floor moves were a strain. I am interested in trying Tai Chi. I have asked at our local YMCA if they offer it,  if not I may look it up on Youtube.

I have a daily devotional, and I journal in my bullet journal.  I find that by writing down my thoughts in my bujo,  I tend to write it down, and not vent to others.  This seems to be somewhat calming because as I write it out, I can often think of how to resolve or  see that I need to shake it off.

Exercise in various forms can be a huge stress releiver. The swim classes that I have been taking are relaxing to me. Walking on a treadmill is not relaxing,  but  going for a walk at the park is very relaxing. OK, maybe not while I am huffing up that little hill on the backside,  but when I am finished and have walked the distance,  there is a satisfaction of accomplishment and a soothing effect on the entire body.  When I was exercising regularly a few years ago,  I would use the elliptical and I participated in a kickboxing class. I really enjoyed the kickboxing,  but then they dropped it.  I didn’t feel like the elliptical was helping in stress reduction, although it was helping me to achieve better cardiovascular fitness so in effect it really was helping to reduce my stress!

A healthy nutritious diet can also reduce stress whereas a high junkfood diet can contribute to additional stress in your body.

Adult coloring books. There is something very gratifying about coloring in those little spaces! My husband bought me a couple different types of coloring books, and I recently purchased a coloring book planner.  My attention lately has been fully devoted to the planner.  If I’m not jotting my to do list, and scheduling apointments, I’m coloring in the margins. The only time this isn’t relaxing is when my eyes are strained, and it becomes aggravating and can actually lead to a headache.

A glass of wine. Red wine has  many benefits,  one of which is to relax you. My oncologist stated that a glass of red wine, three times a week would be  beneficial for my health and well being. Three glasses, not three bottles.

Some  people find fishing relaxing and a way to cope with stress. Others  will paint furniture or landscapes. I am going to try my hand at the rock painting, and leave them around our area. I’ll take a picture of them once I go find some flat river rocks.

Even with all of these options,   I  have a hard time with stress management. I tend to be one of those people who wears their heart on their sleeve and take things to heart. I get wound up when things don’t go as planned, which is most of the time. I get upset when others don’t do their part. I worry about my kids,  where they are what they are doing, whether they are safe. I worry about the cancer –  what if it comes back, what if it spreads next  time,  what if my girls end up with it, what if . . . and then I am so wound up that even the bottle of wine doesn’t help.

My sister’s solution is Xanax.  I don’t have a prescription to Xanax, but I am wondering  how in the world I am going to manage this emotional rollercoaster that I have been on ever since being diagnosed. The medications only contribute more, causing my emotions to be heightened.

While you are reading this, I will be practicing my favorite form of relaxation: toes in the sand.

What do you do to unwind? How do you manage the daily stress? The emotional stress? What form of stress releif do you practice?

I will do everything within my power to never have to go through this again, including changing my lifestyle completely.

Write on my friends, write on.


Keys to the Kingdom #MFRW


Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 37- Five Ways to Win My Heart

Hmmm, at first  I thought –  what would it take to win my heart, but then I remembered a few weeks back, the ‘open/shut door’ fiasco. I think I’ll address both!

Hello, everyone! Glad you could stop by!  I know I’ve missed the last couple of prompts, but I have good reasons. No, really I do!  Doctors appointments and making final revisions on Roxy!

Five Ways to Win My Heart

  1. Bring me coffee – My husband follows a very strict Christian regime with the coffee, following Biblical instruction – He Brews.  Not only does he brew the coffee,  but on the weekends he brings me my first cup, made just like I like it! He scores some serious man points here!
  2. HE Gets Me – Understand me, get my jokes, my sense of humor, sarcasm, understand my point of view. It’s not even necessary to agree with me, just  GET me.  My husband gets me.  He laughs at my corny jokes,  he gets my quirky humor, and sometimes off-color humor as well.  He gets it when I am upset, although often he wants to fix it even though I just need him to listen and understand why I am upset.  More man points!
  3. Pens – Every year for Christmas Santa’s helper AKA Hubster sneaks a few pens or a lot of pens into my stocking or in a box beneath the tree. This past year, he gave me a giant box of gel pens to use for my adult coloring books. My favorite uni-ball pens find their way into my stocking.  He brings home novelty pens from salesmen at work. It’s amazing how many interesting pens salesmen use in the IT world! My name is Ellie, and I have a pen habit. Supplying my habit is a fast track to winning my heart! Exponential man points!
  4. Notice my weight loss – OK, this one is tricky. Living with a person that you see day in and day out,  it’s often difficult to notice subtle changes. A quick way to a fight comes from comments that I need to START losing weight. I go from zero to ballistic in .03 seconds. Seriously, I have been denying myself so many things, have given up many other things, have changed my diet drastically, have been exercising a little more each week, I know I still have a long way to go, but DANG IT –  lie if you have to, acknowledge something.  My skin looks clearer and not ashen, my shirts fit better, my shorts have been baggy –  but those are things that I tend to be the only one to notice.  Some day, he will notice.  It will probably be after someone else comments,  but eventually . . . I hope.  No points in a long, long time.
  5. Enjoy being with me – It doesn’t matter what we do or if we are doing nothing. Someone who wants to spend time with me earns instant points. In our cyber age,  it’s rare to still have freinds that will spend real life time with you.  Face to face time, where you can actually engage in a relationship.  It’s one thing to be freinds it’s another to want to spend time with an individual.  The fact that the hubster chooses to spend his time with me completely wins my heart!

How a Romance Author Wins My Heart

  1. Beleivable characters –  I need a heroine that I can relate to. I need to connect to her, put myself in her shoes.  The hero has to be  relatable as well.  I don’t get into those billionaire books.  The likelihood of some uber rich guy coming into my middle class American world is  beyond my suspension of disbelief.
  2. Nasty villain – Give me an antagonist I can hate, which also causes me to root for the heroine that much more.  He doesn’t have to be nasty in the sense of vile or perverse,  but nasty as in mean and ruthless. The kind of person that makes you hope they get their come-uppance.
  3. Action – Action draws the reader forward, narrative can bog down the story. I want a story that will  keep me turning the pages. I’ve read enough romance books to know the formulaic approach, and if the author can surprise me, I will read them again!
  4. Cliffhanger –  there needs to be at least one low point that leaves you hanging,  makes you wonder if the heroine will make it or ever achieve their happily ever after.  This is romance of course,  so  we know the author isn’t going to kill the Main character, but when an author makes you wonder if they are bucking the system, it’s very gratifying.
  5. The Denoument – when all the ends are tidied up at the end and you are not left wondering,  but what happened to that guy that was in the hospital on life support? What happened to her dog? On page 145 her dog was lost after the tornado,  then on page 187 she searches the animal shelter,  then   she gets the happily ever after  with the hero, but the dog is forgotten. Did she give up on the dog? Did someone adopt the dog?  I know,  it seems like a petty thing,  but things like this,  the author used a certain trope or character to fill space, and tell the story from point D to E, and by the conclusion at K, there is never another mention of it. This is one of those things where I would say tell me not show me.  Because if the author is trying to show that she was heartbroken, then distracted by the guy, then that makes her seem a crappy pet owner and it maight be best if she never have another pet. Do you get what I am saying? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the pet. I’ve seen it with a neighbor,  a coworker, where it is just assumed that since they don’t matter to the final outcomoe of the story,  they aren’t mentioned again.
What about you? What does it take to win your heart in person or in a book? Share your thoughts below.

Here  are the links for other authors in this blog hop sharing  their five points.



















Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually, when I get to it.

Write on my friends, write on!