Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Writer's To Do List

What am I reading now?  The Lost Heiress (Roseanna M. White)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  My favorite part of this story is that it is set in the early 1900s. The story is intriguing and the period engaging. Enjoy!

Blurb:
Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. When her friend Justin uncovers the fact that she is possibly a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother's death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook's life is threatened do they draw close--but will their loyalty come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother?

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that their friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

And then for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession--and those who can save her still aren't sure who to trust.

Writer's To Do List

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pumpkin Delish!

What am I reading now?  Second Chance Ranch (Liz Isaacson, aka Elana Johnson)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  This is a sweet contemporary romance with a western flare. I completely loved the characters, the setting, their families...loved it all!

Here's the gist:
After his deployment, injured and discharged Major Squire Ackerman returns to Three Rivers Ranch, anxious to prove himself capable of running the cattle operation so his parents can retire. Things would be easier if the ranch wasn’t missing 1.6 million dollars, which forces Squire to hire Kelly, the girl who rejected his high school prom invitation, as his accountant. 

She’s back in town with her four-year-old son, living in her parent’s basement until she can get her life back together. With fresh ink on her divorce papers and open gashes on her heart, she’s not ready for much beyond her new job on the ranch. 

Squire wants to forgive Kelly for ignoring him a decade ago. He’d like to provide the stable life she needs, but with old wounds opening and a ranch on the brink of financial collapse, it will take patience and faith to make their second chance possible.

Delish Pumpkin Dessert

Bottom Crust
2 c flour
2 cubes melted butter
1 c chopped pecans

Mix together and press into the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes (dry crust but not browning) and cool completely.

1st Layer
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened whipped cream

Spread evenly over crust.

2nd Layer
2 c milk
3 small packages sugar-free white chocolate or cheese cake pudding mix
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Beat together and smooth over 1st layer.

3rd Layer
3 c whipped cream
1/2 c sugar

Combine and spread over 2nd layer. Top with extra chopped pecan.

Chill dessert for 2-3 hours and serve.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What's Your Genre?


What am I reading now?  Too many to post one at a time! So here's a catch up post. I've read about half of these and the others are on my To Read Soon list

And what do I think so far? I admit it--I'm a genre junkie! My book-love shamelessly wanders most of the aisles of a library.
In case you're looking for your next reading fix, I have a few recommendations (which are all on bargain prices right now) for you to check out in these genres...

Contemporary Romance
Romantic Adventure
Time Travel
Chick Lit
Western Romance
Medieval Romance
Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
and even a couple for Kids thrown in for your reading pleasure.

 Check out all these books!


Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley 

Regular Price: $3.99
SALE Price: $.99 

Purchase Imperfect Love

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She’s passionate about her career as a middle school English teacher, she adores her handsome, hard-working husband, and with a baby finally on the way, her perfect life is within her grasp.

But then a devastating test result changes everything.

Forced to choose between her baby and her husband, Lauren makes the only decision she can live with, and she returns to her small hometown in hopes of rebuilding her shattered life.

Ethan Campbell is a gifted photographer who travels the world and has no desire to settle down. When his mother dies, he must go home to settle her estate. Then it’s back to exciting adventures across the globe.

When Lauren crosses paths with Ethan, her teenage crush, old feelings resurface—feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will Lauren have the courage to trust again or will she spend her life alone? Imperfect Love is a story about sacrifice, healing, second chances, and discovering that although love isn’t always perfect, sometimes it’s the imperfect love that’s the sweetest of all.



A Change of Plans by Donna K. Weaver

Regular Price: $3.99
SALE Price: $.99


Purchase A Change of Plans
Audiobook  (If you own the eBook, the audiobook is only $1.99)

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old Colorado high school teacher wants is to forget that her dead fiancĂ© was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a vacation diversion; what fate provides is Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and its temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship—on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. But Lyn’s painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions in American Samoa. However, paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped. Lyn’s fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.



Salem Witch Haunt by Theresa Sneed

Regular Price: $4.99
SALE Price: $2.99

Purchase Salem Witch Haunt

When she finds herself thrust back in time, 17 year old Bess Martin, a senior at Danvers High, sets out on a mission to save her 11th great-grandmother from the gallows-tree. With a near-perfect knowledge of the historical events about to unfold, Bess knows the untimely fate of many. 

The problem is that Bess has inherited her grandmother’s sharp tongue—a tongue that caused her grandmother to be tried and hanged as a witch in Salem Village, 1692. 

Can Bess stop the hangings and change the course of history, or will she share her grandmother’s fate? 



Lost Without You by Annette Lyon

Regular price: $2.99
SALE Price: $0.99

For months, Christopher Morris has been Brooke's idea of the perfect man—attractive, charming, and fun to be around. But lately he's begun acting strangely, becoming possessive, controlling, and moody. Brooke feels she has no choice but to break up with him, but Christopher doesn't take it well. He drives her wildly back home and gets into a car accident. 

That's when Brooke first meets police officer Greg Stevens. After she keeps meeting him—at the worst possible times—they begin dating. Greg confesses he's a widower and that Brooke is the first woman he has so much as looked at in years. 

But as Brooke agonizes over whether Greg will ever be able to truly love her, Christopher makes a dangerous return into her life, deciding that if he can't have her, no one can.




Newbie by Jo Noelle
Regular Price: $3.99
SALE Price: $.99
The housing market is crashing, and Sophie’s life is crashing with it. At twenty-four, her successful real estate career evaporates. She’s broke, can’t find a job, or pay her bills, leaving Sophie wondering how her successful lifestyle became so fragile.
At the urging of her roommate, Sophie accepts a job in her fallback career—teaching six-year-olds. She hopes it’s temporary. After all, how long can a tanking economy last anyway? The best part of the new job is Liam, another employee at Rio Grande Elementary. The worst part of the new job is, well, teaching.
Sophie has a surprise real estate closing from a contract she wrote months ago, leading her to a niche in the real estate market and to a new partner, Kevin. Sophie must choose between Liam or Kevin and between a lucrative career or recess duty.



The Man from Shenandoah by Marsha Ward

Regular Price: $2.99
SALE Price: $.99

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on BN
Purchase on Kobo
Purchase on iTunes


When young cavalryman Carl Owen returns from the Civil War, he finds the family farm destroyed, his favorite brother dead, food scarce, and his father planning to leave the Shenandoah Valley to start a cattle operation in Colorado Territory.
But Pa does a bit more: he also chooses a suitable mate for both Carl and his younger brother, James.
With no one else in mind, Carl is agreeable to marrying the delightfully flirtatious Ida Hilbrands somewhere along the trail, but James is devastated. Ellen Bates isn't the girl he loves and must leave behind.
Making their way across the vast continent, the Owen family and their friends battle a prairie fire, internal strife, a band of vicious outlaws, and the land itself to try to achieve their goals, but before that can happen, the two brothers are fighting over the hand of one girl—and only one of them can win!


Dangerous Favor by Joyce DiPastena

Regular Price: $3.99
SALE Price: $.99



Mathilde needs a champion.


Her father has been accused of stealing from the king, an allegation that has reduced her family to poverty. She has one chance to find and marry a man who can help her prove her father's innocence. Lord Therri, heir to a rich barony, has the wealth and connections Mathilde needs to delve into the mysteries of her father's past. Furthermore, Therri embodies all her romantic dreams.

Etienne, the younger son of a disgraced family, has neither wealth nor connections, but is smitten with Mathilde at a glance. She finds the knight intriguing, but believes he is only out to seduce her. While she seeks for a way to win Therri's attention, Etienne tricks her into granting him her favor, an embroidered white ribbon, for a tournament, setting in motion a dangerous chain reaction of events. 

Can Etienne save Mathilde from a nightmare from her past and prove himself the true hero of her dreams?


With No Regrets (Book Two) by Julie N. Ford

Regular Price: $4.99
SALE Price: $.99

Purchase:

Living With No Regrets Is Harder Than It Seems

Finley isn’t exactly sure when her life began to feel unfamiliar. She suspects the transformation started long before she caught her husband and fellow garden club member doing the white-trash-two-step on her new Bernhardt sofa. Now free from the shackles of a loveless marriage, and with her children off to college, she’s finally able to go searching for the missing pieces of her heart.

Finley’s best friend, Cathyanne, is already working hard to ensure that Finley finds true love this time around. But when Finley is unwittingly tossed into the arms of two men—their sexy trainer and her neighbor, a popular country star—Cathyanne fears finding the right guy will be more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

For Finley, building a new life feels as impossible as flying a paper airplane to the moon. But maybe, just maybe, with the right help, she will find her whole heart—even if it’s in the very last place she thinks to look.


This Very Moment by Rachel Ann Nunes

Regular Price: 4.99
SALE Price: $.99 


A Compelling Story of Heartbreaking Loss, Inspiring Faith, and a Newfound Love Strong Enough to Heal All Wounds.

Bill Dubrey is a sought-after plastic surgeon for LA’s prestigious and wealthy, and an equally sought-after bachelor. On the surface it appears he has it all—money, respect, and fame. Yet behind his aloof exterior lurks a tragic past that prevents him from finding lasting happiness.

All that changes on the day Kylee Stewart reenters his life. She alone knows Bill’s secret agony, and she is determined to help him face his past. During the years they’ve been apart, Kylee’s own life has been far from easy, but unlike Bill, she has turned to God in her need, finding a faith to which she desperately clings.

The tentative friendship they begin has Bill rethinking his stark future, yet he keeps his heart in check—afraid to commit, afraid to lose again. During Kylee’s darkest moment, when she needs him most, will he be there for her? 



Shooting Stars by Philip Carroll

Regular Price: $3.99
SALE Price: FREE Sept 15- 19


Chuck McWilliams is fourteen years old and had just started high school in Washington State when his father lost his job and moved them to the hot, dry, valley of Central California. Starting his freshman year six weeks after the rest of the students, Chuck is insecure about finding his way, making new friends and overcoming bullying from members of the cross country team. 

When he is invited to the Homecoming Dance by a strange girl in his English class, Kelsey Llewellyn, he can't think of any reason to say no. Later that day Dahlia Chand, an attractive girl on the cross country team, asks him to the dance, he wonders if he has made a mistake. 

How a secretive student, Doug Le Roux, avoids the notice of the rest of the students, yet stands out so clearly to Chuck makes him wonder if something extraordinary is going on at this high school. 

Chuck will become entwined in an ages old battle with werewolves, vampires and elves that most of humankind is unaware of in their midst. Remarkably, he will find the most enchanting magic comes from romance.



Ideal High by Valerie Ipson

Regular Price: $4.99
SALE Price: $1.99


There’s no way I’m taking Blake’s place as president of the student body. As soon as the memorial for him and six of our friends is over, I’m resigning as VP. Really.

Except people say the fire was no accident. (I say it’s way too easy to blame someone who’s dead.)

When I read the writing on the wall, literally, the bathroom wall, I know what it means. To get to the truth I have to come out from under my paisley comforter.

But, seriously, what stage of grief says I have to be the one to fix what’s wrong at Ideal High? Maybe I’m the one who’s broken.



First Love Second Chance by Lindzee Armstrong

Regular Price: $.99
SALE Price: FREE


When wedding planner Keslee gets asked on a date by her long-lost high school crush, Bryce, everything should be perfect. But Bryce mistakes Keslee for her deceased twin sister, Jadyn. And Keslee doesn’t correct him. Talk about awkward. To make matters worse, she learns they’ll be seeing a lot more of each other because Bryce is the marketing director at the venue where Keslee’s new client has chosen to get married. Keslee knows the charade can’t last much longer, and fears she’ll lose Bryce forever when she tells him the truth.


Emerine's Nightmare by Anna del C. Dye

Price: $2.99


What would you do if one night, life as you know it changes and you are left alone in despair? That is how Emerine’s nightmare starts and now all he does is run.

His family lived at the edge of the forest until dark shadows killed them all. Now they want him, and so does a magic tree. He has never seen dark shadows or enchanted trees before. Emerine has to get to the heart of Red Forest, to the fairy people. Only then he will be safe. Safe? He has never heard of fairies before and once he gets there what?

We have a fantastic line-up of great books that are on SALE! Everyone loves a sale, right?

Cassandra Jones by Tamara Hart Heiner

Regular Price: $3.99
SALE Price: FREE Sept 16-17


What's special about Cassandra? Absolutely nothing. She's as ordinary as any other fifth grader. And yet her ordinary life is riddled with hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking mishaps as she guides herself through the world of pre-teens on the brink of adulthood. 

Cassandra Jones is the new girl at school. She's been uprooted from her beloved state of Texas and relocated to the hillbilly Ozarks of Springdale, Arkansas. She wonders if she will like her teacher or if she will have any friends. She can only hope school won't be harder than it was back home. 

She doesn't expect to have two close friends, and even worse, two friends that don't like each other. As she tries to make a spot for herself, will she keep her friendships intact? 


Felicity A Sparrow's Tale by Loralee Evans

Regular Price: $2.99
SALE Price: $.99

Purchase Felicity A Sparrow's Tale

Tales of adventure and danger have thrilled Felicity since Augustus, her ivory-billed woodpecker friend, taught her to read as a little nestling. She adores the tales of heroes and heroines who forge ahead in spite of all odds, and who always seem to succeed no matter what. More than anything, Felicity wants to be brave and selfless like them. 

But adventures are in short supply, especially for someone who’s just an ordinary sparrow. 


Until the day an unexpected visitor shows up at her tree with an unusual request…

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Crafting Great First Lines!

What am I reading now?  Sweet & Sassy Anthology: Castle Collection (Cindy M. Hogan, Jo Noelle, Donna K. Weaver, Paige Timothy, Kaye P. Clark)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? 417 pages of sweet romances and a bit of mystery! The pre-order price is just $0.99, and it will pop into your ebook library on the 18th. You'll love it! Here's the blurb:


This second volume in the Sweet & Sassy Anthology series, Castle Collection, has five sweet romances with action, ghosts, danger, and intrigue.

Dangerous Truth by Cindy M. Hogan
Olivia loves everything about Belgium. So far, her humanitarian trip has gone perfectly--that is, until she sees a picture of a man she thinks is her father in the newspaper. The father who abandoned her family nine years ago without a word.
 She tries to forget she ever saw his photo. He's forgotten about her, after all. But soon it's apparent that she can't leave without knowing what happened.
 Armed with years of hurt and the help of a gorgeous French photographer, she decides to confront him and his secrets once and for all.
 Unfortunately, her father seems determined to keep those secrets hidden. . . and Olivia is one of them.

All By My Selfie by Jo Noelle
While on vacation at McLeod Castle in Scotland, Gwen Mackenzie has nightly dreams of an ancient warrior bound by a curse. During the day, she sees Niall, nicknamed #ScottishBoyfriend. Oh, and can that man rock a kilt! As she gets to know him, she realizes that Niall is the warrior from her dreams, cursed to live as a ghost for the past five hundred years, to see life around him but never sense any of it—except Gwen.

A Savage Ghost by Donna K. Weaver
Lia Savage reluctantly puts her dream of opening a dessert boutique on hold to help her dad remodel a castle he’s inherited in Washington State. Soon, a specter targets her younger sister.
Lia enlists the help of Coop Montgomery, the head gardener and her former crush. As they search together for a way to rid the castle of its ghost, the romance she used to dream about with him kindles. But Lia’s gentle giant means to stay in Washington while she’s determined to return to California. She must find the courage to face both the ghost and her future.
With Coop. Or without him.

The Ghost of Dunlow Manor by Paige Timothy
Bestselling author Alexis St. John needs an escape, and Nate, her personal assistant, thinks that a trip to a real castle in England will be just the thing. What neither of them planned on, though, was to encounter an actual ghost.
Lady Catherine Dunlow hates the idea of sharing her castle with tourists and does everything she can to chase them out, much to the amusement of her roguish suitor. But when her two newest guests stumble upon a mystery surrounding her death, she decides to let them stay.
With an eternal fate in the balance, Nate and Alexis must move quickly to bring the killer to light before Catherine is trapped forever.

Rose of Sherwood by Kaye P. Clark

Lady Rosamund, Baroness of Ravenswood Manor, is a destitute widow, imprisoned in Nottingham Castle. When the prince declares she must marry the ruthless man who had seized Ravenswood, she escapes with the help of a band of outlaws to Sherwood Forest. Her first love, a battle-worn knight, promises to help her find safety at a convent. Confused and afraid, her heart yearns for love. But are the risks too high?


What Makes Great First Lines?
In these examples, I was looking at the tension between contrasting images and the use of hyperbole to create reader interest. What do you think? Could you use some of these examples to rewrite your own first lines to have more of a cliff-hanger quality?


“It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.” 
Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.”
– The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater

“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if you only dared. And deep down, you know it too, and that’s what scares you the most.”
Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas 

“Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.”
– The Kiss of Deception, by Mary. E. Pearson

“One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.” 
Gone, by Michael Grant

“It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy—that guy right over there—that’s him.The him.”
– Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.” 
Paper Towns, by John Green

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
Divergent, by Veronica Roth

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbit

“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

“The universe is bigger than anything that can fit into your mind.”
Love Letters to the Dead, Ava Dellaira

“The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World. I’m sixteen now, so you can imagine that’s left me with quite a few days of major suckage.”
Going Bovine, by Libba Bray

“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”
– Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

“The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.” 
Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

“The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.” 
The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan