Wanted: One Home Office


Once again, it’s time for the Marketing for Romance Writers yearlong blog hop. For  week 47, the writing prompt is:

My Writing Space

Oh boy! Talk about a sore subject with me, this would be it. For any of you who have followed my blog for some time,  you may recall a couple of my posts about an office. Here are a couple: Personal Space, Space Revisions, and The Countdown Has Begun. In the last one, I shared my color scheme for my office area.

The best-laid plans. . . alas, I still don’t have an office.

I spent hours cleaning out the area in the basement that would become my office.

This is the space in the basement that I cleared out. The first photo is from the file cabinet to the outer wall, the second one is from the point just behind the child’s rocker. 

 

 

 

I moved everything off of the bookshelf,  had the entire area cleared out, floors mopped, spider webs vacuumed. Then my husband filled the area with items from auctions for resale. What was supposed to be a small area from the deep freeze to the table against the wall ended up filling the entire area.

As you can see from my rough sketch plan, the area where the table is behind a wall of backed storage shelves was supposed to be for sorting, cleaning, repairing, and tagging items for resale and repurposing. I was not a happy camper. Still not, in regards to my office. By the way,  that’s 1200 square feet of space in the basement. You’d think a small area for an office wouldn’t be such a deal.

I don’t understand why every single time that I ask for or prepare an area for me to have my own space to work it becomes a battle. I still have my color scheme and decor picked out for the office space, but it won’t be in this house.

This is my color scheme. Beachy/coastal with Bermuda blue, dark blue accents, tan/beige (sand) walls with black accents and flooring that resembles the weathered wood of a pier.

We plan to move closer to where my husband is employed and one of the few demands that I am going to make is my own office.  I don’t care if it’s the smallest room in the house I WILL have an office.

Currently,  my writing area consists of one end of our kitchen table and my papers and notebooks are stacked on a small side table that is against the wall.   It is a mess! I need to go through my stack and refile things,  discard other things, sort the  tax info from my notes and all of that other filing stuff that needs to happen.

I do have an office for my job as an MLO. It doesn’t have any internet connection and is strictly for meeting with clients and closings.

It has purple sparkly walls! Not a purple fan myself, but I’m making the best of it. Apparently, the business that was there before me was a massage therapist.

The purple drapes over the door have been replaced with white sheer curtains, and soon to be thicker white drapes as the weather is cooler and it gets cold by that door!  My desk sits by the two outlets, along with a two drawer file cabinet. I’ve added a bit of decor as well as the obligatory licenses and documents that have to be displayed. I did take some photos with my desk in place, but the images didn’t turn out very well.

So, when I am desperate for no distractions,  I can take my laptop or notebooks to my office for some peace and quiet. Most of the time though, I write from our kitchen table.

One of these days I am going to knock your socks off and share images from a bonafide home office suitable for an author.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s that the hubs still thinks this is a glorified ego trip and expensive hobby – his words. Maybe that’s the underlying issue of why I can’t seem to get my own office space. I don’t know,  but it’s going to change. There aren’t many demands that I ever make but I’m about to make two –  my own office space and a main floor laundry area. Unless my office is in the basement, then the basement laundry area is acceptable. If that is how it turns out,  the office will be finished before we move in. PERIOD.

I’ve waited patiently. I’ve been not as patient.  It’s to the point that we’re about to rumble and I always win – partly because I don’t play fair. I fight to win and I will fight for my own office.

There better be offerings for appeasement left near my writing area now that I’ve been reminded of how long it has been since I worked so hard to clear out that area only to have it snatched away from me. Not a happy camper here. Not at all.

I’m sure the other authors in this blog hop aren’t as sensitive about their offices. They probably have offices! Go check their offices out and share some design tips since I have more time to plan my decor.  Look out Pinterest, here I come!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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Bragging Rights! #MFRW


Once again, it’s time for the Marketing for Romance Writers yearlong blog hop. For  week 46, the writing prompt is:

Let Me Brag For A Minute

 

 

Wow! Who would have thought that for me, a talker, this would be so difficult? I may have to go have another cup of coffee to think. Or maybe two.


Upon reading the prompt my immediate thought is  – I have nothing to brag about – period.  But that’s not true! Each of us has a story to tell, each of us has accomplishments.  I am more comfortable bragging about my friends and fellow authors than I am tooting my own horn, which is probably one reason my sales aren’t better!

But, this week’s prompt. . .  is it too late to back out?????  Yeah??  OK, FINE!  Let’s get this over with.

Ellie’s Top 5 Bragging Rights:

  1. Way back in my younger days. . . . *jump into the way back machine* . . . I earned a scholarship to attend Southeast Missouri State University. It covered everything except the housing, which at that time wasn’t nearly as expensive as now, that my daughter is attending there.  I went on to complete my degree even though I lost my scholarship.  I had to maintain a 3.5 gpa, and after the first year, my gpa was 3.47.  Nevertheless,  I won a scholarship!
  2. Have been married to the same man for 32 years!  It hasn’t been smooth sailing. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs, good times bad times, better and worse, sickness and health, . . . it was touchy for a while there but we made it through together. In this day and age, 20 years is a victory. 30 years is rare! I count this as a victory! We’re not perfect, we’re just two people who decide at the end of the day that the surplus column is greater than the deficit!
  3. I have published 3 books.  I know,  in the grand scheme of things that isn’t many but the fact that I have completed – and published 3 tells me that there is hope for the other 18 files on my computer. Several are completed but need editing. Some need revision, some need just a tweak here or there, . . . yes, I tend to be one of those who is hesitant to cut the cord because I worry that the world at large will not appreciate my babies.
  4. I am an excellent cook! Do you think I got this extra insulation by being a lousy cook? Seriously! It would probably be better for my and my family’s waistlines if I were one of those women who can’t even boil water. I can cook just about anything. I’ve mastered Italian foods – lasagna, mostaccioli, pasta marinara, pasta con Pesce,  fettuccini alfredo, and numerous other dishes including Capresi salad. I’ve mastered a few variations of Chinese foods – egg drop soup is so incredibly simple, I don’t know how anyone could get it wrong. Fried rice – it’s like jambalaya only Chinese. A couple favorites are General Tso’s chicken, chicken and vegetable, beef broccoli, and orange chicken. I’ve mastered some cajun cuisine – jambalaya, of course, red beans and rice, shrimp et tu fe, and gumbo. I’ve mastered good ol’ American homestyle – chicken and dumplings – have been requested at many family gatherings,  beef stew,  roast chicken dinner, pot roast. My family’s favorites are Tex Mex – enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, burritos, and tamales along with refried beans, and pico de gallo.   Then, of course, is my pie making abilities. The only pie I haven’t tackled is pecan pie because my husband makes it and it’s always excellent. Unfortunately,  I can no longer have sugar so my baking has dwindled down to experimenting with sugar-free recipes. On an up note,  I made a carrot cake for a recent gathering that was sugar-free and had 5 requests for the recipe! The only thing I haven’t mastered, and I feel that it’s because I get impatient is fried chicken! LOL
  5. My first book Red Wine & Roses was nominated for several awards. I was nominated for best cover, best contemporary romance, debut author, and debut romance author. I didn’t win,  but it was cool to be nominated. I was in the  top five for the final round of nominations, so I think that was pretty cool.
  6. BONUS:  I am claiming bragging rights for beating breast cancer!  I’m still here, still kicking, still writing, and getting stronger every day! I thank God every day that I wake up and have a renewed sense of what’s important in my life. I’m sorry that it took something like this to get my full attention,  but it has and I am learning to make myself a priority, which I haven’t done for a long time.

What bragging rights do you have?  What thing are you most proud of? Several things? Let’s hear what yours are!

 

Have a great one and write on my friends,  write on.

Meet the author – Char Webster


My guest today is Char Webster. First, my apologies for not connecting at Penned Con and secondly thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

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

Southern New Jersey, is where I was raised in a very suburban town and neighborhood. I was always active, loving to ride my bike everywhere and for hours. The TV was never an interest and it still isn’t. There are so many shows that I have heard about but have never seen. (I am maybe the only person alive who has never watched Seinfeld.)

My day job (Marketing and Strategic Planning) is very demanding, but I like it. I get to work on all kinds of different projects and every day is something different.

I spend as much time as I can with my adorable niece, Briella, who is 18 months old. She has discovered a love for shoes and I have completely indulged that because her Aunt Char LOVES shoes too! It’s one of my favorite things to shop for.

I’m really close with my family and I’m thankful that most of us live in the same area. Holidays are usually at my house and I wouldn’t change that. I love the happy chaos.

Family is very important to me. This past year, I was made acutely aware of what is important. What genre do you write?

YA/NA Paranormal (Urban Fantasy) Romantic Suspense

What genre do you read? Which do you read the most?

I love paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, mythology, and sci-fi. Lately, I have been hooked on shifter books and vampires.

Who are your favorite authors – can include Indy authors.

Traditionally Published Authors I Love: JK Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Rick Riordan, Matthew Reilly and James Rollins (I could go on)

Indie Authors I LOVE: Ednah Walters, Melissa Haag, Teresa Gabelman, Erica Stevens, St Bende, Jaymin Eve, Cameo Renea, Alyssa Rose Ivy, Quinn Loftis, Breda K Davies, and so many more. There is not enough room here!

My oldest daughter absolutely adores Rick Riordan and Quinn Loftis! What do you value most in a friend?

Loyalty and a great sense of humor. Both are really important.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I have always had so many different stories in my head and it’s just now that I am writing about some of them. My mom used to tell us incredible stories she would make up before we went to bed and I always looked forward to hearing about the next adventure the three little girls would go on.

I did that for my girls as well. I started off reading books to them,  then we moved to me making up stories. I remember one about a snake in a pillowcase that they asked me to repeat multiple times. Tell us a little about your latest book.

I am writing the fourth and final book in the Gifted Series. These books focus on a group of people who have special powers or abilities. The main character, Kate, grew up away from that society, not having any idea of her origins. She helps a couple of kids from foster care and they literally drag her into a world of kidnapping, danger, and evil.

Are you a pantser or plotter, or a plontser?

I have no idea what this is.

LOL. I guess I wasn’t too clear on my made-up words.  A pantser is an author who writes by the seat of their pants.  A plotter is someone who outlines their story whether it is a basic rough outline – beginning, middle end, or nine plot points or a detailed outline with subsets. A plontser is a combination of the two.  What’s next for you?

After the final book in the gifted Series is completed. I have an idea for two different series. The first will be about elemental magic users that are disappearing and the second is about shapeshifters. I can’t wait to start them both.

Oh, those sound amazing! I love those type of stories. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Playing with my niece, shopping with my mom and sisters, trying out new restaurants and hanging out with my friends.

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

I sit on my couch with a tall glass of iced tea next to me and my laptop on my crisscrossed legs with the TV tuned to a music channel (usually country). Once in a while, I will have a Hallmark Channel movie on. I love romantic comedies.

What is your ideal getaway vacation?

I love finding new places to explore. There is always something cool to do and to see just about everywhere I go. I am not very good with sitting still, so I don’t last very long on the beach.

Do you ever use real people as a basis for your characters?

All the time. No one person is an exact character, but everyone around me has contributed to a character trait. My sister Kelly is a Guidance Counselor which is the job of my main character, Kate. Kelly is also an amazing listener and gives great advice, so I wrote those traits for Kate. My sister, Chrisie, was an English Professor when I started the series, so Kate’s best friend, Cindy, teaches English. Cindy talks very fast, is really strong and doesn’t realize it, and is tall and willowy, which are all things that remind me of Chrisie. I’ve borrowed lots of traits from the guy in my life for my characters, Nick, Robert, Jason, and Ryan.

What is your favorite food?

This is a tough one for me because I LOVE food. French Fries, Pizza, and bagels (especially breakfast sandwiches) are a few of my favorites. I really love breakfast too. That is my favorite meal of the day.

Do you snack while you write or is food off limits in the office area?

I usually don’t snack because once I start writing, I get in a groove and I don’t want to mess with that.

If I give you a story prompt,  could you write a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less?

YES! That sounds like fun!

Awesome! PM me on Facebook and I will give you a prompt for my flash fiction challenge for December/January!

Char Webster is the best-selling author of young adult/new adult paranormal/urban fantasy romantic suspense books that create a world where people can escape reality for a little while.

Reading and getting lost in a story have always been Char Webster’s favorite things to do. She has also had a love for writing, which led her to her daytime career in public relations and marketing. After years of writing for others, Char decided to write something for herself.

Char Webster loves living in South Jersey because she feels like it is in the center of everything.

Social Media Links

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/CharWebsterAuthor

Facebook group:   www.facebook.com/groups/GiftedSociety

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/JustaGirlinSJ

Instagram:   www.instagram.com/char.webster

Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/CharWebsterAuthor

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/Char-Webster/e/B017GPYNN6

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/char-webster

Experiments, A Gifted Series Prequel

(short story)

Amazon: http://goo.gl/WpqUhF

B&N: http://goo.gl/PQQCcK

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/IPwifb.l

Kobo: http://goo.gl/PnSXdF

The Gifted Society, a race of people with special abilities, lives among humans. They have survived for thousands of years by hiding their special powers from the world.

Now, someone is trying to manipulate human DNA to create the gene mutation that triggers these abilities. Nick, Robert, Jason and Ryan, newly graduated from the Gifted Society’s Elite Academy, are tasked with stopping whoever is behind these experiments.

Will the guys succeed with their first assignment? Will they be able to stop the experiments? Discover the beginnings of the Gift Series in this prequel novelette.

Discovery, Book One of the Gifted Series

#Romance  *  #Suspense  *  #Mystery  *  #Intrigue

Buy Now for Free!

Amazon: https://goo.gl/NEvb5F

Barnes & Noble: https://goo.gl/uOdgXW

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/discovery-43

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/9nI6-.l

Hunted by evil.

Hidden from birth.

Knowing nothing of her powerful origins, twenty-three-year-old Kate Sutton believes her life is perfectly normal and is looking forward to a quiet relaxing summer.

Her life dramatically changes when she’s asked to help three troubled kids in the foster care system. Strange things begin to happen, and Kate discovers that her foster kids are not quite who she had thought and that neither is she.

Suddenly, Kate is thrust into a world where people have powers and she and the kids are being stalked. Now, she must learn who she really is and keep the kids safe before it’s too late.

A hot guy keeps showing up everywhere she goes, but is he there to help her or turn her and the kids over to the ones searching for them?

Discover the danger of being Gifted. #GiftedSeries * #Free

#Romance * #Suspense * #Mystery * #Paranormal

Blurb:

Hunted by evil. Hidden from birth. Knowing nothing of her powerful origins, Kate believes she’s ordinary, but her life dramatically changes when she helps three troubled kids. Suddenly, Kate is thrust into a world where people have powers and she and the kids are being stalked. With the help of a mysterious guy she doesn’t know if she can trust, Kate must uncover her past to keep everyone safe. Discover the dangers of being Gifted.

 

Exploration, Book Two of the Gifted Series

#Romance  *  #Suspense  *  #Mystery  *  #Intrigue

On Kindle Unlimited Until Dec 24, 2017

Amazon: https://goo.gl/KlhRcm

What does it mean to be Gifted? And just how dangerous can it be?

When Nick took off to track down a kidnapper and killer, he left Kate alone to deal with her new life. Thrown into a world she knew nothing about, Kate must piece together information from the past and discover her role in the events that have begun to unfold.

Will history repeat itself? Will Kate be able to protect the kids and herself from the forces who want to use them to unlock a power that could destroy everything?

Transformation, Book Three of the Gifted Series

Power is shifting. Control of the Gifted Society is in jeopardy. Will Kate and her friends be ready?

Kate Sutton has learned that being Gifted is extremely dangerous. New revelations put her life at even greater risk. People are after Kate for her abilities and will stop at nothing to control or destroy her.

Nick, Robert, Jason, and Ryan are trying to figure out all of the different players and what each of them is after. Will they discover the truth before it’s too late to help Kate?

#Romance  *  #Suspense  *  #Mystery  *  #Intrigue

On Kindle Unlimited Until Dec 24, 2017

Amazon: http://goo.gl/nNrmrZ

Stubborn Souls, A Runes Universe Novella

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2onXYd5

Valkyrie Aria was sure of three things: she is one of the best soul reapers there is, she gets cranky when her assignments take her too far from the beach, and she hates Damian with a fiery passion that will last throughout time.

Grimnir Damian has done some stupid things in his long life, but the worst by far was leaving his soul mate, Aria, at the altar all those years ago. Six hundred years later, they can’t be within a mile of each other or sparks will fly, and not the good kind.

Now, the man responsible for making Damian walk out on their marriage has escaped from an Asgardian prison, and the Valkyrie Council is forcing Aria and Damian to team up to capture him.

Can they put their differences aside long enough to save the nine realms?

Part of Ednah Walters’ Runes Universe

Mini Description:

Aria and Damian have hated each other for centuries. Can they put their differences aside long enough to work together to save the nine realms?

Acceptance: Book Four of the Gifted Series

Coming Winter 2017-18

An ancient, evil family line is seeking to restore their powers that had been taken away thousands of years ago to protect the world. Kate Sutton and her adopted kids are caught in the middle.

Will she take her place with the Gifted Society and accept her destiny or will she cause the destruction of them all?

Find out in the conclusion of the Gifted Series.

 

Those should keep you busy for a while! I am very curious to read Stubborn Souls myself! In fact, I’m going to go get me a copy now!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Meet the Author: Candace Carrabus


I got the chance at Penned Con 2017 to interview the lovely Candace Carrabus to talk about her latest book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candace was in the same group as I was for an authorgraph card, the prize being a basket of books from each of the authors participating. What better prize for book lovers, right? It was a such a joy to speak with Candace! At the awards ceremony, we sat near each other and had the opportunity to talk a little more. I’m looking forward to seeing her at Penned again, and perhaps some other signing events. Since I got sidetracked during our interview, and didn’t actually let Candace talk about her book as much,  here’s a bit more information for your pleasure.

Run Out, Dream Horse Mystery #2

by Candace Carrabus

Viola Parker might be one of the best show-jumper riders around, but her attitude just landed her out of work. Again. Now, all that’s between her and a surprise trust fund is keeping a job for one full year by the time she’s 30. But between the ghost horse visiting Vi’s dreams and the dead bodies piling up, the question isn’t whether she can keep her mouth shut long enough to earn a reference, but whether she’ll live long enough to get it.

Blurb:

Keeping a job for one year shouldn’t be so hard…

Vi’s sworn off whipped cream, her favorite bra is strung on a tomato plant, and ghost horse Wastrel has galloped back into her nights. When her estranged parents land on the farm’s doorstep with suitcases full of nothing, tempers flare and secrets emerge. Fearing her boss/lover, Malcolm will lose his patience, Vi does her best to keep her grandfather out of the gun safe and her dog out of his garden. Curbing a lifetime of anger to endure her parents’ mystifying visit is the least of her problems. A furtive stranger is stalking them, and he’ll stop at nothing to execute his long-awaited revenge.

Vi can barely resist the urge to RUN OUT.

Will she survive a scorching summer of tomatoes, tango, and terror?

Witty, crisp dialogue and plenty of twists and turns will keep you guessing right to the very end of this thrilling and emotional sequel to On the Buckle.

Released September 8th

 

Buy Links:

Books2Read – https://www.books2read.com/u/mqpvrv

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0757328GQ

 

Excerpt:

Certain men should be required to wear a sports bra when riding.

That’s what I was thinking as I boosted an overweight guy onto Fawn, a stout quarter horse mare who could carry him without straining anything. Although she did let out a little grunt of protest when he plopped onto the saddle. His parts bounced recklessly. And by parts, I mean man boobs. Moobs.

I’d read a recent study that said riders could throw their horse’s balance out of whack if they didn’t wear the right undergarments.

I couldn’t unsee the moobs, but I could ignore them as I mounted my horse—correct undergarments in place—and set off for the relative cool of the woods. Here it was, late August in Missouri and there was no sign of the heat letting up or rain coming down.

Unfortunately, there was no sign Winterlight Farm would discontinue public riding anytime soon, either.

BONUS Excerpt:

It was when I stepped down into the aisle that a loud boom ricocheted through the barn. Horses in the field jumped, lifted their heads and looked toward the house. Zoe came through the tack room door.

“Was that—”

“I think—”

The sound had been both familiar and foreign. But my brain was catching up fast.

Again, a crack bent the air, sending a tremor through me. A couple of the horses bucked and took off.

“Shit,” I said, starting to run. “Those are gunshots.”

I ran. Ran like the devil himself had a bead on me.

Which someone had, once, not long ago, someone evil. But that time, I’d been on a horse. A very fast horse.

Oh god oh god oh god.

Again, I found myself running straight at my fear instead of disappearing in my preferred direction—away.

Wishing I had four legs, I forced more power into the two, sprinted up the driveway, pounded across the porch, and tore the screen door off one hinge getting inside.

Needed to breathe. Not picture the images rushing my brain.

No one in the front room.

Sliding down the slick old hardwood of the hallway on the soles of my riding boots, I careened into the kitchen.

There, my parents sat at the table, each reading a section of the days-old local weekly paper. My father wore glasses.

No blood.

Had they killed Giacomo and stashed the body? If so, they were mighty quick.

Author Bio:

Candace Carrabus is a multi-published author of fantasy, contemporary mystery, and metaphysical fiction. Most of her stories feature women of a certain age <cough> because, well, women of a certain age like to have adventures, too, right?

She’s written stories and ridden horses–simultaneously–for as long as she can remember. Now, she shares a farm in Missouri with her husband and daughter, two dogs, three cats, two feisty goats, a gentle alpaca, and a guard llama. Her horse wasn’t interested in sharing his pasture with those critters, so he lives at a horse farm.

Not surprisingly, Candace’s stories are often infused with the mystery and spirituality horses have brought to her life. Come along for the ride!

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCandaceCarrabus/

Twitter – @CandaceCarrabus

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/authorcandace/

Website – http://candacecarrabus.com

 

OTHER BOOKS BY Candace Carrabus:

On the Buckle, Dream Horse Mystery #1

Raver, The Horsecaller: Book One

The Roar of Smoke, A Book of the Meldborn (Horsecaller YA spinoff)

The Man, The Dog, His Owner & Her Lover

The Good Horse, The Bad Man & The Ugly Woman

 

Please leave a comment to show Candace your love and support! I am going to get my copy of this book now because I love a good mystery!  Thank you for being my guest today Candace and I hope to see you again soon.
Write on my friends, write on!

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.

2014-09-24 11.24.36

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.

2014-09-24 11.22.33

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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 www.megdendler.com 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
Facebook

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

Twitter:

 

Pinterest:

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/megdendler/

Books:

“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.

WINTER:

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.

SPRING:

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.

SUMMER:

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.

FALL:

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!

 

 

 

 

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!