Friday, September 30, 2016

Dragon Knight’s Ring by Mary Morgan - Review

What a delightfully entertaining read. I was hooked from the first chapter.  Thought, I have to admit, I read the series out of order and have yet to read the first two book.  However, I had no trouble following the story and enjoying the adventure of the Dragon’s Knights. 

In Dragon Knight’s Right, death destroyed  Adam and Meggie’s  love. But can a  trio of Fenian warriors roll back time to reunite two lost souls? This phrase caught my attention and after reading Dragon’s Knight Shield, I decided to try another magical Scottish Historical.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Crusader, Adam MacFhearguis is on one last quest to the standing stones in Scotland where he seeks to bury the past. A silent prayer sends him to an unknown future and to his beloved Meggie.

Margaret MacKay lives a life in the future without the memories of her past—her death. When Adam arrives at her door, she is confused and wary. When a truth is revealed, can she trust the man to unlock the chains from her mind and heart?  I’m not telling.

Will love free the bonds to unite the two lovers who were doomed centuries ago? Or will evil finally claim victory over the Dragon Knights? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.  Which I highly recommend!

Time travel and magic woven into this story was intriguing and kept the story moving. I love to fall into a book and enjoy the adventure with the characters. The vivid descriptions took you away from the everyday into a long ago realm of magic, battles of good vs evil and love, of course. The characters had me rooting for their lost love and holding my breath as the villain wove his evil spell. It was hard to put the book down. After I read the last page and closed the book with a sign, I was sad to see the adventure end. The tales of the Dragon Knight’s are winners in my book! 

Reviewer: Tena Stetler

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The scene made me laugh, The Marshal's Pursuit

I was deep in the midst of writing a scary scene in a scary story when a funny scene from a western romance made a grand ta-da in my head. Appalled at my laughter, my imperiled characters gaped at me. My poor monster wilted.

On my mind’s stage, I saw Marshal Garrett Kincaid flat on his back in the dirt, wondering what just happened. From his stunned expression, I knew having a horse throw him was not something to which he was accustomed.

His eyes closed against falling dust. When he opened them, I saw Penny Wills leaning over him. She is beautiful and irate, and furious at the marshal for allowing the outlaw to escape. She’s completely oblivious to the fact that the villain got away because she shot her gun, which spooked the marshal’s horse, which in turn sent Garrett into a hard fall.

I laughed at the scene as it replayed in my mind from different angles. I figured I’d write a page or two, just to get it out of my head. After all, I had an eager monster, terrified potential victims, and brave pursuers all awaiting the return of my attention. But the pages turned into chapters, and the chapters turned into my first published book, thank you very much Wild Rose Press.

I’ve fallen into another historical romance. This one takes place in London in the year 1812. When it is finished, I promise you, my dear, scary monster, we’ll once again go stalking.
The Marshal’s Pursuit by Micki Miller, release date-11-09-16
Facebook fan page @mickimillerwriter
Twitter @millermwriter

On pre-order at Amazon

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A woman of Spirit by Kate Loveday - Available today

An epic love story that spans the decades
Cheated of her birthright Kitty must struggle to forge a new life in a new land.

Rufe stared at her hand as Kitty passed him a cup of tea. There on her finger was a ring with a large, shiny, very new looking diamond flashing. He grasped her wrist as she leaned back.
‘What's this?’ he asked harshly. ‘Does it mean what I think it means?’
‘It means William Barron and I are engaged to be married.’
He glowered at her. ‘You little fool. He's not the man for you. He'll never make you happy, he'll bore you silly within a month.’
There was no way Kitty would admit this was her secret fear. ‘I don't know what right you think you have, to tell me what I should do.’
‘Only the right that I can see you're making a terrible mistake. Why didn't you give yourself time to get over your brother's death? Time to settle in to life in Sydney and to meet a few people and get a feel for life here before rushing headlong into this disastrous relationship?’
‘It's none of you business.’ Kitty jerked her wrist. ‘And let go of me, you're hurting me.’
He let her wrist go and sat back, breathing heavily. ‘You fool, you little fool.’ his tone was scathing. ‘You'll shrivel up and waste away, married to a milk-sop like Barron. Are you going back to England with him?’
‘No.’ She spoke defiantly. ‘He's bought a logging business in Bulahdelah. He's up there now overseeing the building of extra rooms on the house and we'll be going there to live as soon as we're married.’
He glared at her, amazement on his face. ‘You're going to bury yourself in Bulahdelah? That's even worse.’ He raised his voice. ‘He'll turn you into a meek little country mouse, with only his welfare to worry about and church on Sunday to brighten your days. A fine future to look forward to.’
Kitty swallowed, longing not to believe him. ‘I believe Bulahdelah is a pleasant village, and Stroud is nearby. There'll be plenty of social life, you're just trying to alarm me.’
‘You'll find out, but it'll be too late then.’ Kitty heard the bitterness in his voice. ‘I hope you love your future husband because he's going to be almost your only company.’
‘I don't believe you.’
‘Are you going to be happy spending all your time with him? Can you tell me you love him?’
Kitty tightened her lips. ‘It's none of your business.’
‘Of course you don't love him. You don't need him, Kitty, you need a real man, one who'll make you feel alive. One you'll be able to have some fun with, who'll show you how good life can be.’
‘How is it that you know what I need?’
‘I can tell.’ He jumped to his feet and pulled her from her seat. His arms went around her. ‘You need someone to show you what love and passion are all about. Someone to make you feel alive. Someone who can kiss you – like this.’
He bent his head and kissed her, hard, passionately, until she felt she had no breath left in her body. Her heart beat a wild tattoo and she felt a fire rising inside her, setting her blood pounding.
When he raised his head he kept her pressed to him. ‘I'll bet Barron has never kissed you like that. You're made for love, Kitty. You don't know it yet, and you'll never find out married to that clumsy oaf. You don't love him. Change your mind, before it's too late.’
‘I…can't,’ she whispered.
‘Of course you can.’
She shook her head weakly. ‘No, I can’t. I ... I have my reasons.’
Rufe dropped his arms and pushed her away. He glared at her, his mouth set in a straight line. ‘Then on your own head be it.’ he rasped. ‘I can only offer my hopes for your future happiness. You need all the good wishes you can get. Please tell your mother I'm sorry I missed her. I won't wait.’ He turned on his heel, anger in every line of his body.
As he stormed from the room Kitty stood motionless, her heart still beating madly. She moved to the window and watched him ride away, urging his horse to a gallop. Her insides suddenly turned to an empty hollow, making her feel as if she had lost something, something she had never even known she had. What hope had she of ever regaining it?

Available Today!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Interview with Elspeth Margaret MacKay after Chapter Four

As a writing exercise, I interviewed my main character in the second novel, “THEIR HIGHLAND HOPE”.

This story is the life of Margaret MacKay…up until her tragic death, that is. Events in the story – The Battle of Culloden, The Appin Murders, the theft of the fortune from the ship The Bonnie Prince Charlie, as well as the family and birth and death of our heroine Maggie MacKay are real. The connection of these events to all my Cameron and MacKay kin are also real.

These are our family stories.

My fictional romance starts with Maggie’s death in 1762 and how she “drops” into Lord Brodie Cameron’s life. These two become soulmates who work together at something most of us do not get…a second chance in life.


I am sitting with Maggie, watching her fidget. She picks at her nails and then twirls her hair around and through her fingers.

What is on your mind, Maggie?

I’m stressed. So very stressed. (She sighs, then pauses so long in thought that I think she forgets that I’m sitting directly across from her. I drop my pen to capture her attention again.)

My family took a strong position in my country’s civil war. Father was the chieftain, leading his clan to many battles. Even my cousin was an infamous general. Now, I come to find that everything they believed in and lived for may be a ruse. His last wish was for me to protect the things he believed were important. I do not want father’s life allegiance to be in vain, but I am conflicted.

So, what can you do about that now?

I need to regroup…you know…glean all of the facts myself to decide what is the correct path for me.

What if that should go against your father’s last wishes?
I must have a better understanding why he felt as he did.

It seems that you are hesitant. Are you holding back at all?

Somewhat. I met Brodie Cameron, and he is putting a kink in everything.

How so?

Brodie makes me question what I thought I knew; however, his views are strictly one sided. It is this way or the highway – uncompromising, you see? His entire family is like this. It is not that I am blind to the reasons that he says and does things, but I am sure he does not have all of the answers either. He sees things only through his eyes, as do I.

Do you see your relationship with Brodie as a war?

Not as a war, but perhaps a battle. I know I can be annoying to him – even doing some things on purpose. But, he is exasperating - so danged hard-headed. I know that it is a little childish, but it gives me pleasure to frustrate him. (She stiffles a slight giggle here)

Why does it give you pleasure?

I don’t know, really. If I say anything, he will say the opposite. If I want to go left, he says to go right. If I like a certain food, he will say it is bad for me. If I say the moon is yellow, it is orange. When I support a cause, he says I am misguided.

Is that bad?

Like I said…he doesn’t have all the answers either. I’m sure of it. He was not there. I was.

Do you like this Brodie Cameron?

Ummm…I am not sure yet. He seems nice, and runs a small local business, so that is a plus. However, I do not know him well enough to trust all of his intentions. (I notice her moving her foot in a half circle around her chair.) One thing for certain, between us women? He is incredibly handsome and I find myself becoming giddy around him.

Are you afraid that your own life will be in vain if your beliefs are wrong?

Yes! My family history has been recorded for hundreds, if not thousands of years. My life was short and unaccounted for. I am already in vain. Being in control of my own life will allow me to make any needed changes. I do not know why, but I have been given a second chance at life…I do not want to mess it up.

Do you have any secrets…something that you would like me to know about you that you haven’t shared with anyone?

I have been alone for so long – mentally and physically. As a consequence, I have had to fend for myself and see to my own safety. But secretly, it would be nice to have somebody to lean on when I am not strong…somebody that I can depend on to see life as I do and act on my behalf.

On a much smaller note, I am slightly envious of the way his entire family gets along. I spent much of my youth alone, so having a family like his both scares me and thrills me. Families can be very influential. Again…father’s undoing.

Secretly, I want to be loved for who I am (she smiles here) ...once I figure that one out.
  FB @BiokmstWrites
 Twitter: Biokmst

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Need a quick blog or newsletter idea? Like searching for that special fishing hole in your favorite stream or lake, a well of inspiration can often be hard to locate…or even bone dry when you need to snag an idea.

HOLIDAY INSIGHTS, an internet site listing historic ordinary and bizarre holidays OR alternate Days to Celebrate, is a good resource. For instance, I learned that Star Trek debuted on TV in September 1966. Good for any relatable Trekie or Sci-Fi trivia warehoused in the mind?

People who love…or hate…Ketchup might compose a blog after learning the record for drinking Ketchup belongs to Dustin Phillips, an American who—on Sept. 22, 1999—famously sipped a 14 oz. bottle of it through a quarter inch straw in just 33 seconds. There’s a competition for that? Holy french fries! Doesn’t everyone have a good Ketchup story?

Memorable brain-jog-blogs that nailed me were special days for September 5 and 6: “Be Late for Something Day” and “Fight Procrastination Day.” I took the hint and decided to finally stow the Easter decorations on my fireplace mantel, then planned to write a blog about how I put things off—someday. Sept. 6th was also “Read a Book Day.” Fudging a little, I may have qualified for that one because hat was the day I completed—and sent back to my editor—the preliminary edits suggested for my new novel. I can read a book a day, but track-change-editing your own book will slow you down, even if you’ve read the book six times.

Lucky September 13 had three choices in a theme stream: “Defy Superstition Day, Fortune Cookie Day and Positive Thinking Day.” Fortune Cookies reminded me of candy conversation hearts—and the sweet series of Wild Rose Press stories—all titled for candy heart inscriptions. “Hot Stuff” was my submission about a crime, a cop, and a klutz! The only superstition I give cred to involves black cats and Halloween. (Keep those cats safe indoors!) “Positive Thinking Day” forged a new mantra of hope. I will have prints of my new novel for the holidays.

“Wife Appreciation Day” on Sept, 18 was an easy post on hubby’s calendar, though I think he’s got that down pat. I appreciate him more than ever as writing often drives me into an alternate time zone where I even need reminders to eat. “Wife Appreciation Day” also reminded me to appreciate all the wonderful reviews for my debut novel, “The Accidental Wife.” I always have a special day when someone reads my book, then clicks for a review on

September 19 was “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” Funny, this brought to mind a little scene from the newest novel:
Without using his hands, he snapped the bacon like a fish to bait and chewed thoughtfully. “Aye, but I’ll take my porridge straight, if you don’t mind.”
“Aye Aye,” Scout chimed in from his high chair, banging on his empty bowl with a spoon. “More,” he said, licking the last of the oatmeal from his chubby fingers.
We both chuckled at the mimic while I dished out more oatmeal. “Let me guess. You’ve been reading Goldilocks and his pirate books again…aye?”
Mitch sucked his lips into a straight line. “Oh aye, but Goldilocks?”
“She ate the bear’s porridge, and wanted more.”
“Cheeky little lass.”

September 23rd was designated as “Dog in Politics Day.” Lots of blog ideas there, even if you don’t own a dog. However, courage to write about political convictions could be dicey this fall, unless some unbiased doggie humor can be extracted from the unreality show that will end in an election.

My favorite alternate day to celebrate is destined to become a favorite for any blogger. A whole 24 hours on September 28th for “Ask a Stupid Question Day!” Are we ever too old to learn something stupid?

Finally, September 29th is “Confucius Day.” Lots of red meat here if you look up his quotes! I love the line quoted in the Pear/book picture, though I never credited it to Confucius. Research is such fun! And only a little trolling can net a basket of great ideas for blogging and newsletters.

Cj Fosdick,


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writer blogs SOAPS

I am an avid reader of Soap Opera Digest and I contribute often to the Sound Off section. It's satisfying to have that forum to vent about my soap concerns, but the lag time between hitting send on the email and seeing it in print is frustrating. So I decided to use this forum instead.

I'm the author of three novels: Young Adult novels CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE PSYCHIC (TWRP) and GENIUS SUMMER, and a New Adult/Contemporary Romance CERTAINLY SENSIBLE (TWRP). They're all available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I've got a follow-up novel to CONFESSIONS coming out later this year with The Wild Rose Press, TEENAGE PSYCHIC ON CAMPUS. Yes, my POV character has grown up a little and is now in college.

Writing/editing novels takes a lot of time, and people tell me blogging does, too. So to save valuable time, I'd like to get straight to what I think is important: DAYTIME SOAPS!!! Yes, that's right, I'm a huge fan of both "Bold and the Beautiful" and "General Hospital." I've been watching GH since the Luke and Laura days, or actually a little before, but I didn't start watching BB until after "All My Children" was cancelled. I needed something to occupy my lunch hour in that time slot, but I didn't want to invest in another hour-long soap. I followed Jacob Young from AMC on a Friday to B&B on a Monday, and promptly got hooked.

So here's what's bugging me today: Steffy on B&B. She used to be one of my favorite characters, but lately I'd like to smack her. Is this a grown, married woman who is President of a major corporation? Because she's acting like a spoiled teenager. I get that she's got a hate on for Quinn, but when Steffy moved out on her husband (Quinn's son, Wyatt) and blamed Quinn, that's when I got angry at Mrs. Spencer. No, Steffy, no one is forcing you to jeopardize your marriage, and constantly saying "it's your fault" is the hallmark of adolescents. Her husband Wyatt is behaving a lot more responsibly, trying to save his marriage. When Quinn enlisted Ivy's help to distract Liam (Wyatt's brother/Steffy's true love), I had to agree with Quinn. Steffy is a married woman and has no business sharing intimate moments with another man.

Happy soap viewing!
Pamela Woods-Jackson

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Playing Favorites

One question I'm often asked by readers is, "Who was your favorite character to write?" Now, I don't like to play favorites. Most of the time I'll answer I love all my characters the same. While this is true, I will admit I'm most entertained by those characters providing comic relief in my stories. What can I say? I crack myself up.

In my upcoming release, Vessel of Power, the role of comic relief goes to Rune, the hero's best friend and cousin. The hero, Prince Destin, is intense, driven, and serious. So is the heroine, Lia. They needed the counterweight of humor, which the irreverent, smart-ass Rune provides with style. My favorite scenes are when Rune is bantering with the hero, heroine, or both, driving them nutty with his mercurial wit and sideways charm.

In my humble opinion, humor is a necessary element in any dramatic story line. Not only does it provide a break from intense action or darker emotional scenes, but humor can also be a way to view the story/characters in a different light, giving the reader new insights. In Vessel of Power, Rune gives his fellow characters and the reader an amusing new angle on the action and the motivations of those around him.

To learn more about Rune and the rest of the cast of characters from fantasy romance Vessel of Power, watch for this release on The Wild Rose Press ( and Amazon ( October 7th, 2016.

Michelle O'Leary
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Monday, September 19, 2016

The Origin of Silver War Badges

During World War I all good Englishmen were expected to contribute to the war effort. For most men, this meant enlistment in the military services. Many men were taken in
, served and then were discharged. Reasons varied from ignonimous to dishonorable to honourable to heroic. Regardless of how they left, upon exit they received a Silver War Badge to be worn on the lapel of their civilian clothing. The back of each war badge listed a Roman Numeral corresponding to reason for discharge. Originally this badge was to denote their willingess to serve. Later, it acted as a protection from fierce young ladies.

In the early 20th Century, courage was the mark of a respectable man. During WWI, if an apparently able-bodied man looked as if he had not attempted military service, he was branded a coward. Groups of young women would go around handing white feathers to men who appeared to be shirking their duty to King and Country.

If a young lady attempted to hand a white feather to a man and he pointed to his Silver War Badge, the shame then fell upon the young lady.

In The White Feather, or Hero James Cowper attempts to enlist, but is turned down as "unsuitable for service". Because of this, he is awarded a Silver War Badge for his willingness to serve... not that it does him much good. If anything, it brings him more trouble.

Heidi Wessman Kneale
Author of The White Feather

Friday, September 09, 2016

BULAHDELAH - A woman of Spirit by Kate Loveday

It’s the name of a town. A small rural Australian town, with a big history. 
Ask anyone about it and, unless they live nearby, or drive up the Pacific Highway regularly, it’s an even bet they’ve never even heard of it.
So much for fame!
When I first moved into the area I had no intention of using it as a setting for a story, or of writing a historical novel—let alone a series of them. All my previous writing was contemporary, but I’ve always loved history, so when a friendly acquaintance offered to loan me a book containing the letters of an early woman settler to her sisters, and describing her life there, I accepted it gladly. Rachel Henning, being quite well-to-do, had a very pleasant life here, and her anecdotes made me interested to learn more of the early days of this picturesque town. I started my search with the local Historical Society, and they made available to me all their records and photos of earlier times.

Located 145 miles north of Sydney, Bulahdelah sits on the banks of the Myall River, at the base of a great mountain, which, I learned, the aboriginal people named "Boolah Dillah", meaning the Great Rock, long before the white man came.
In the early days it was a significant timber cutting area, and gold and diamonds in the surrounding areas lured adventurous fortune-seekers.
There wasn’t much to Bulahdelah back then—a dusty High street, a general store, and the Plough Inn, a convivial gathering place--and not much else.

Learning about earlier days here made me realize life was hard for many people then, and made me wonder if all the women led as pleasant a life as Rachel Henning, and how life was for all women back in the nineteenth century.
And what I learned shocked me, for women were considered to be physically, emotionally and intellectually inferior to men. She was a second rate citizen. Not just in Bulahdelah, but everywhere.

The law in the era stated that when a woman married, all her assets became her husband’s property. And the law gave him the right to force her to obey him in every area of her life. This meant she was totally dependent on him for everything, both financially and emotionally. When she married all her property became her husband's on the day of their marriage, so she became virtually his chattel, to treat as he wished. No matter how badly he chose to treat her, she had no redress.

And that’s where the idea for my book ‘A Woman of Spirit’ was born. It’s about a young woman who rebels against the standards of the day, and the problems she meets when she decides to live her life outside the normal rules for women of the day.
Life, and love, was not easy for her.
And what better setting for this story than beautiful Bulahdelah.

Today Bulahdelah is a thriving country town of about fifteen hundred inhabitants. Timber cutting is finished, but it’s a popular tourist destination, known for boating on the river and lakes, fishing and scenic bush walks. It’s not known for a bright night life, but it has great eateries, and the Plough Inn is still there.
And the town is filled with friendly people .Who love reading stories that have immortalized their town in print.

In the town I’m known as ‘The Author’, and when I take coffee in my favourite coffee house, the Myalla Magic, I’m warmly greeted, and I’m often asked about their favourite character. ‘How’s Kitty?’ they ask. To them she is very real! And they ask about my next book, all agog to read the next episode in the Redwoods series.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Those darned dangling modifiers by Dee Gatrell

When I sold my novel a year ago, I was told it could take a year for it to be out. Really? No way.

Here it is a year later and I'm finally about to get my release date.

I have sold many stories to the confession magazines, one to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and various newspapers and magazines. I figured writing a book couldn't be much harder.

Wrong. Things the editor wrote to me: You have too many dangling modifiers. Really? Better google that one. Or, you need to watch out for filter words. Hmm. Better read about that, too.

The good thing about The Wild Rose Press is they have meetings on Tuesday evenings (online) and from that I learned lot. I also made new friends.

I don't have my release date yet, but should have it soon. Poor Myrtle Sue and Presley, my mother and daughter in my dysfunctional family book, had to learn to do things like threw an arm in the air, scrunch their face, or touch someone, have thoughts I hadn't thought about, and much more. I'm sure both my characters shook their heads many times wondering if this writer was ever going to get things correct so they could move on with their lives.

Myrtle Sue's dead husband finally quit talking to her now that she found a replacement for him.

Presley's abusive husband got ate by a gator while in one of his drunken stupors.

Sonja learned her mother would not quit her job and stay home with her baby.

And even her sometimes dim-witted son found love.

Hazel, the mother-in-law from hell, finally got placed in a home, the same one Zack's father is in.

Oh yes, Zack, the man Myrtle Sue met at church after Hazel whacked his father with her cane, turned out to be a really nice guy, one she decided could psychoanalyze

her entire family.

I hope you'll join Myrtle Sue and her family for a good homemade Southern meal once the book is out. Some of those recipes can be found in the back.

Dee Gatrell

(um, yes, we all have dysfunctional families that give us things to write about.)

Sweet Sunset Releasing in Dec 2016
Coming to Pre-order this October at all major online retailers

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Tesa Devlyn interviews artist January Atkinson

Happy Summer! This month, I have the distinct honor of interviewing the talented artist and photographer, January Atkinson!

January and I go way back and I’ve always admired her artistry in everything from charcoal to acrylic paints, but when we reconnected recently, I’ve learned she is now also using photography as artistic expression. Of course her photos are superb.
Welcome, January!

Thank you! It was such a wonderful surprise hearing from you again.
In talking about your photography, what initially drew you to taking photos on a more professional level?

I’m certainly not a professional – it’s just something I really like to do - though I will admit that I’m something of a fanatic about it. I take 500 to 1000 pictures almost every day and have for the last 4 or 5 years. Photography did start as sort of a job. While working, I took photos of "stuff". The project evolved into focusing mostly on wildlife photos or anything I happen to run across on any particular day--flowers -- bugs -- my dogs - etc.

Do you still draw and/or paint on a regular basis?

Yes and no. I mainly use watercolor now, but I no longer do it just for my own entertainment. I pretty much work on commission. I paint live subjects-- people and animals, or work off photos and sometimes from the photos of the people who hire me. I still really love the process - I just don’t have the time to create my own paintings "just for fun"

Years ago, you drew a fantasy type picture on a large white piece of cardboard of your son and my youngest daughter as small children. I loved it! As I recall, they were sitting on a crescent moon?

I remember that. I used to draw the two of them frequently as they were around all the time. Do you remember the time that they followed my baby goats up onto the roof of my two-story house? Man - they scared me to death.
Fantasy type pictures are still my favorite and occasionally, I still get to do them. I also create them in Photo Shop using pictures I’ve taken...FUN!

What are you goals with your photography? Do you plan to promote and expand your business?

I *LOVE* taking pictures and it would be "way cool" if I could make more money at it - but I’m not much of a promoter - and there are so many great photographers out there that are better than I am ...soooooooo......... I think it’s basically just my relaxation.
Please share what kinds of paintings you’ve done lately and the medium used?

The last painting was in watercolor using a photo a couple took while in Italy. I’ve done quite a few dog portraits recently too. Also some Buffalo, Mountain Goats and a few fantasy pictures. They were all in watercolor. I’ve done a couple of murals that were in acrylic.
January, I’d love to post some of your work on my author Facebook page, would you be open to sharing your work—if you copyright protect them first of course?

I’ve attached a few—please pick the ones you’d like to post! photos posted at Tesa's blog on

Thank you, January for taking the time to appear on my blog. It’s so nice to catch up and share your talents with the readers and writers out there!

Please visit my blog for the August post on Food--The Choices We make! Another one of my favorite subjects.

Tesa Devlyn

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Who is Melinda James? A Character Interview

I've been posting and tweeting and facebooking about Melinda James. I'm getting emails from people--some I know, others I don't--asking who is Melinda James? To answer that question, I've brought Melinda James here today. She will answer the question and give you some enlightening information about why you should get to know her. In my opinion--I am her creator--she's an enigma. Yes, even to me.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Melinda James:

QueenWriter (QW): Melinda, I've been asked by several people who you are. Can you please tell everyone?

Melinda James (MJ): I was created by Starr Gardinier. I'm simply a fictional character.

QW: There must be more you can tell your readers.

MJ: There's a lot I can tell you. Okay, I'll give you a glimpse into my life. That should more than explain why I've been breathed into existence.

As you know, my name is Melinda James. My childhood growing up was pretty typical. That is, until I reached my teenage years. That's when everything started going downhill. I know some of the first things some thought about are typical teenage problems: zits, too fat, other kids making fun, bullies. God, how I wish that's all it was.

My problems started and ended with death. Not mine, mind you, but some people very close to me. It's a wonder I didn't end up in an insane asylum. Oh wait...I did. Well, to put it simply, death made me crazy. At least, that's what everyone thought. Was I crazy? Am I still crazy?

QW: Are you?

MJ: Crazy? No. At least, my best friends Beth and Trent say I'm not. Even Felicity sees how normal I am. Then again, Dr. Leever might argue with those assumptions.

Anyway, to tell you who I really am, we have to go back in time to when I was thirteen....


I tried to tell them it was going to happen, but nobody would listen. They all said I was just having bad dreams, or that I was crazy.

It started at my father’s funeral. It’s been so long since it first began, about eight years ago. Sometimes though, it seems like yesterday. My father was there. No, I don’t mean just in the casket. He was there. He talked to me, begged me to tell Mom that we all needed to run and hide. He said we were all in danger.
I asked him why he didn’t tell Mom himself. He said he tried, but she wasn’t listening. I heard him fine. But I didn’t believe him. Why would we be in danger? We can’t just up and leave. My friends are all here in Beaumont. When I told him that, he said it was important, that it was a matter of life and death. He seemed so worried, but I was so confused, I blew him off.

I guess when it first happened I didn’t pay any heed to his warning. We went on with our lives. Mom was grief stricken, my brother Kyle was in his own world playing videos and I was trying to shut my father out of my mind. Was I going crazy? What was wrong with me? Dad was dead, but I could still see and hear him.

If I tell you the story, will you believe me?

QW: Wait. So you're saying your father was dead and he talked to you from the grave?

MJ: From the grave, from wherever. He called it the "Other Side."

QW: Have you been to this "Other Side?"

MJ: Now, you're jumping the gun. I'll answer and say yes, but it's Trent who will tell you that story later on. Starr created him, too and you'll read about him in "The Other Side: Trent's Story." It would be an injustice to Trent to try and explain him to you. Talk about an enigma. I'm like an open book, pun intended, whereas Trent...well, let's just say, Starr really crossed to the "Other Side" to create him.

QW; Is there anything else you can tell us?

MJ: I would love to, but I can't. Starr would be very upset if I told you everything. Just read "The Other Side: Melinda's Story" and you'll have your answers.

QW: Thank you for joining us today, Melinda. It was nice speaking with you.

If you want to know even more about Melinda James, click on any of the links below:

Barnes & Noble:
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Starting September 2, 2016, and for two weeks, you can read Melinda’s Story for 99 CENTS!

Stay tuned for an in-depth interview with Trent Miller.



Monday, September 05, 2016

The Perfect Setting by Katherine McDermott

My Setting - Lovely Paris
I had no idea when I chose Paris as the setting for my suspense romance Hiding that I would be watching in horror as terrorists attacked that lovely, romantic city three months after the book’s release. While it is true that the City of Light has struggled many times in the past from the French Revolution to WWI and II, Paris has built a world reputation on the appreciation of beauty. Her painters, her sculptors, her ballet, and her opera house have brought grace and culture to the world.
One of my favorite musicals is Les Mis, and in some ways my novel Hiding has similarities: an obsessive admirer who drags the heroine into the underworld of the catacombs and a brave hero who is willing to risk his life to save her. But there are differences too. Victor Hugo’s heroine, Christine, is known for her lovely voice while my heroine, Teresa, is known for her talent with a paintbrush.
Throughout the story there are descriptions of the Rodin Museum, the paintings of the Impressionists, and a visit to Monet’s home in Giverny where his enchanting paintings of the water lilies were created. The Eiffel Tower with its glowing lights is a symbol of hope and freedom – freedom that Teresa is so desperately seeking as she leaves an abusive boyfriend behind in America and tries to start a new life. Unfortunately, he tracks her down and seeks revenge that endangers not only Teresa but her new found friends.
To see Paris now in mourning on the news as I write this, saddens me for when I was there, it seemed carefree, romantic, and lovely. By day a free-spirited crowd of rollerblades traveled the streets as artists sold their paintings along the boulevard, and by night, couples danced outside the cafes along the Seine.

Katherine McDermott, author of Hiding
Crimson Rose

Saturday, September 03, 2016

A Cat's Tale by Linda Nightingale

Fate took a hand when I was looking to adopt a cat. I’d had one bad experience with a Maine Coon who was too destructive and unfriendly to keep, and the agency was a pain to deal with. They were far too demanding, insisting that I buy a really expensive flea treatment for an indoor cat. I returned him and did a search on the internet for a Ragdoll. Leonocio popped up in a search. He was a really big and fat cat looking over a woman’s shoulder. I fell in love, immediately phoning the agency, Mutts & Meows, in Katy, TX. I had a cat carrier, but since I had recently fallen from a mounting block while at a horse riding lesson, I couldn’t carry a cat the size of Leonocio. My friend had to accompany me and carry him from PetsMart to the car, then from the car to my condo, quite a long walk from the parking lot.

He settled in right away. His fur was rough, and he still gobbles his food as if he’ll never be fed again. But he was beautiful with blue eyes and multi-colored long fur. I changed his name to Spencer, quickly learning his new name. Not long after, I sold the condo and bought a house. He quickly adjusted—well, he was never not at home.

Spencer had his own story. Somehow, he had fallen into the hands of the local animal shelter. I wonder how. The head of the shelter called Mutts & Meows and told them “this cat is far too beautiful to be destroyed”.

Today, he is thriving and still quite as fat. He has really large paws and is naturally a large cat—as I think most Ragdolls are. And I now know what he is. He’s a blue point Ragdoll. I found a female cat on the internet who looked exactly like Spencer. She had been a breeder, which meant that she was an excellent example of the breed. I considered adopting her, but alas one cat is enough to love and care for. He’s a happy cat and is very clever. When he wants a treat, he stretches one leg high (like a horse in a Spanish Walk) and looks at me with those beautiful blue eyes.
Spencer’s story has a happy ending. Best $75 I ever spent. He owns this house in which I merely reside.

Spencer sleeps beside me while I write. He wanted me to tell you that he approves of the latest book, Morgan D'Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody, though he insists that I spend far too much time at the keyboard not petting him.

Cats, you gotta' love them!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Daily Scribe, Drafting, and a Writer’s Process by Brenda Moguez

Before joining the inner sanctum of the writer's circle, my knowledge on the ritualistic nature of writing equaled my expertise in building a flux capacitor for a DeLorean time machine.

Now, I know more. About writing, not time travel.

Writing occurs sitting on the bed with the MacBook warming the tops of my thighs. The desk—home to my favorite writing reference books—and a straight-backed chair, collect dust. Two bookshelves house the remaining collection of dictionaries and other books on craft. For late night writing and a glass of wine, I sit in an oversized chair with my feet atop the matching ottoman. But most of my writing happens elsewhere.

The day job takes me away from the sanctuary of my room. Working outside of my comfort zone pushed me to adapt. Thus, I write where I am. Scribing can happen during the morning commute, between meetings, on a city bench, on my lunch hour, on the plane, or in the hotel. Portability is the key to my output, but it’s not optimal. If my train pulls into the station mid-sentence, it’s left unfinished until I return to it. There’s good and bad to mobile versatility.

I escaped the clutches of routine, but defining my writing process took me on an Eat, Pray, and Love, transcendental but agonizingly long journey.

Shopping for a writing technique is a lot like looking for a new pair of jeans. You carry twenty pairs into a dressing room. One after another you slip the jeans over your hips. Too small. You try again. Too tight. Again. Too long. And again. Too much Spandex. Defeated, you blame yourself. What’s wrong with me, why can I find anything to fit? Sound familiar? I tried on several established writing methods, read books and blog posts on craft, made notes. The techniques I slipped on were robust and worked for the creators of the process, but they didn’t fit my creative style perfectly.

I attended workshops and classes, met fellow writers. Several had successfully defined their approach, others, like me, were still searching. Which technique should I use? Went unanswered. Nothing I tried worked. Overloaded with information, none helpful, my frustration and uncertainty mounted. No way I tried fit me just so.

I gave up and went back to filling blank pages with words. At one hundred thousand forty-seven words, in third person limited, I finished the first draft of my novel. Eight or nine rewrites later Nothing Is Lost In Loving, ninety-five thousand words, first person, present, hit the wire.

The second novel came with less struggle, but my pursuit of a simple, repeatable process remained out of reach. Desperate for a semi-methodical approach to follow when I started my third book I decided to cobbled together three disparate techniques, each tailored to work for me. It’s a hybrid, a plus-size style that slides smoothly over my hips. It works (worked).

I start by plotting out the story using Aeon Timeline, which is an intuitive tool that allows me to create and edit on the fly. After, I use screenwriting techniques to flush out the story’s details, which requires more brain power and long walks. Finally, I am ready to fast draft the novel a la NaNoWriMo. Two months later, I have one hundred thousand words, give or take. It’s Brenda’s How to Write a Draft in Two Months.

I recently finished the second edit of my latest novel, From LA to London. Lesson learned: my fast drafting technique needs tweaking. Every day I learn something new about writing. It’s an organic process.

Nothing is ever lost in learning unless it keeps the writer from the act of writing.

Brenda Moguez