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Showing posts from January, 2015

Home is Where the Heart Is - Isn't It?

Lately I’ve been thinking about what defines a home.    Not a house, but a home. You see my husband and I have just moved into a new (old) home. We purchased a single-level house we can grow old in and hopefully remain in our house for a long time. Surprisingly I’ve discovered a growing fondness for the grab bars in the bathrooms—who knew what joy a grab bar could give? Unfortunately, the house needs remodeling. The previous owners had a penchant for wallpaper on the ceilings. What is up with that? Here’s a picture of the garden growing on my new kitchen ceiling.    Eeeeck. So my husband and I are currently surrounded by our “stuff” hidden in boxes and piled high in the dining room. Our furniture is packed into the living room, all to make room for remodeling. For some reason, this house does not yet feel like home. Why? Is it because I am surrounded by someone else’s taste in decorating? Is it because my beloved Danish Modern items are hidden away? Or is i


By Michele Summers These past nine months in particular have taught me how lucky and fortunate I am to come from a large family. Yes, they can be overly involved in my life, my kids’ lives, my kids’ friends’ lives, my neighbors’ lives…you get the idea. But when the chips are down…you want that hurricane force heading straight for you and picking up the pieces. I have six sisters (and two sister-in-laws) who have all helped me and my family this past year while I’ve battled a rare autoimmune disease. And each brought their own time and talents to the table in different ways. My oldest sister: The Brainiac researched my disease on my behalf, kept me informed and talked me off the ledge. And since she doesn’t live near me, had meals ordered and delivered to my home. My second oldest: The Bossy Control Freak took over in her usual fashion and got me in front of doctors and specialists I would’ve otherwise never seen. She also grocery shopped and delivered food which is

Tackling My TBR Pile by Terri L. Austin

If you’re like me—and you know you are, minxes—you eschew New Year’s resolutions. It’s too much pressure. Trying to cram half a dozen new habits into my schedule at one time is daunting. But right before the holidays, as I was cleaning my office, I realized I was going to have to buy yet another bookshelf to house all of my unread books. My husband suggested that I simply have too many. And like every bibliophile, I snort laughed. In his face . Too many books? There’s no such thing. Then he suggested that before buying a new book I should read at least one book that I already own. That seemed a bit extreme, but the truth is I’m running out of room. And before you ask, yes, I have an e-reader. Its shelves are virtually overflowing, as well. So I finally broke down and made a New Year’s resolution—my first in years. Read more. That’s it. A challenge I’ll happily accept. I even came up with a genre list based on my TBR pile. It goes a little something like this:  Januar

I Want to Be Entertained

I've always been a reader. I'm partial to romance, but I like all genres, mostly. Horror, fantasy, thriller, mystery. Even the occasional biography, though I haven't read one of those in years. I have my own "library" at home, what I call my keeper shelves. And lately I've been rereading old goodies. In particular, sexy romances in contemporary and futuristic settings, oddly enough. I like contemporary romance. Heck, I write in all the genres, but my McCauley Brothers series for Sourcebooks was contemporary. Unfortunately, I can't find any good contemporary romance movies . I'll take any movie, but I really like the ones that have a nice romance thrown in to boot. Now, take John Wick . Not a romance, I know. It was a thriller, adventure, gun-fu (as the directors often referred to it) assassin revenge flick. I LOVED it. And you know why? Not just because Keanu Reeves was in it, or because there was so much bad-assery in the flick. But because the m

Time to Cozy Up

Well, winter’s in full swing. As I’m writing today, there’s snow falling in some parts of the country and icy rain in others, with the thermometer dipping into single digits. Even if it’s not cold where you are, the days are shorter, the leaves are gone from the deciduous trees. It’s time to find ways to be cozy.  The impulse must be as ancient as the human species. A fire in the hearth is so comforting, I imagine, because there was a time when crackling flames, and a good stack of firewood, meant survival. They let you relax while the wind howled outside the cave, hut, farmhouse. Fire lit the long nights and discouraged hungry predators for so many millennia of our history. I miss having a fireplace where I live now. But I still find plenty of ways to be cozy. My recipe? Brew up a pot of good English tea, add a cookie or two,   curl up under a fluffy blanket, or a thick comforter on the bed, and break out a good book. Maybe it’s a new author, maybe a familiar comfort rea

Reading Trends

by Susanna Ives I have a “thing” for the nineteenth century. I can’t explain it except that maybe there is something to those former life theories. I read books written in the 1800’s, and adore the art and the history of that age. I’ve filled my Pinterest pages with all things nineteenth century.  It’s rather weird, I admit. However, I recently noted an interesting non-1800’s reading trend. Months ago, I downloaded a bargain book about a woman who becomes a spy for the Allied Powers titled The Time in Between and promptly forgot about.   Then a few weeks ago, I became irritated with the book I was reading, closed it, and thumbed through my Nook library. There was that bargain book waiting.   I opened to the first page and gave it a half-hearted try. Four hundred pages and forty eight hours later, I’m on the edge of my seat and completely hooked into the lives of the book’s characters and their world.   I thought about some of my favorite books The English Patient, Shini

Creativity and the Flow of Writing

The latest novel in my Broadswords and Ballroom series for Casablanca is due in a week, so thoughts of writing flow and creativity have been at the forefront of my mind. One of the things I love most about being a writer is the same thing I love about being a reader, namely, being swept away into another world. I love to get to know my characters as they interact on the page, as a scene I thought would be a simple moment in the park, for example, turns out to be a pivotal moment when a Highland girl with a claymore and an unsuspecting earl meet. It is always fun to watch scenes unwind themselves in the theatre of my mind as I write, but it is especially fun now that I am writing comedy, because the freedom of comedy allows my characters to step out of their norms in ways that shock me a little, and often shock the calm English characters who watch them do it. The flow of a scene, whether comedy or drama, comes at its own pace when I sit down to write. I have a word count to make eac

Valentine’s Day...Already? by Jade Lee

Valentine’s Day...Already?  by Jade Lee Don’t panic. It’s still January. That means Valentine’s day is still a month away by my count. It’s not true, but if I try to think in terms of actual days and weeks, my brain might freeze up. Can’t have that, right? But let’s slide right into the quiz. Guess what I find most annoying about February 14. A. That the decorations go up in stores before I’ve even taken down my Christmas decorations. Or Halloween decorations. B. I’m on my post-Christmas diet and suddenly I’m flooded with emails about chocolate hearts. C. I’m supposed to think of something romantic to do with my husband. Last year’s winner: we said to each other, “It’s Valentine’s day. Happy Valentine’s day.” We’re so romantic...not D. As a romance novelist, Valentine’s Day is a great promotional opportunity. So not only do I have to be romantic with my husband, I need to think of something awesome to do in public. E. Absolutely nothing. I love this day! Answer


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