Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Her Heroine Talks to Cats?!? Jan Scarbrough and HEART TO HEART

Author Jan Scarbrough is my guest today, to tell us about writing her story, Heart to Heart, which is in the Return to Legend boxed set.

***

An animal communicator, sometimes also called a pet psychic, is a person who has the gift and/or the skill to communicate telepathically with all other species. Several years ago, I took a “how to” workshop from a local animal communicator. I was terrible at speaking with pets, but fascinated. Never fear! A writer can do anything she wants simply by becoming that character she creates in a book. So when I chose my heroine for Heart to Heart, I gave her the ability to talk and listen to animals.
And if you think I made up the part about Ms. Addie’s cats, I didn’t. I found it right there on the Internet—a news article about cats receiving $250,000 and a house in a will. Facts, they say, are stranger than fiction.
For this novella, I consulted two books: The Language of Animals by Carol Gurney and The Language of Miracles by Amelia Kinkade. I also received a reading from a local animal communicator, Fredricka Chambers, about my dog. She provided accurate, helpful information, which I acted on and the issues were resolved.
I also suspended my disbelief—which is an essential ingredient for any kind of storytelling.
~*~
Thanks, Jan! It's always a treat to have you here. (And I always love that pic of you riding the horse. Super cool.)
Return to Legend  boxed set is available for pre-order for 99 cents, but the price goes up after release week. Grab yours now!
Mags


Monday, April 13, 2015

Welcoming Spring, Celebrating Earth Day Every Day, and Sharing an Update from Serendipity

This afternoon in the Jewel Box (my studio apartment), we were invaded by the first wasp of the season. Attila is highly entertained by bugs, and as an indoor kitty, seldom has the opportunity to interact with them. Ignorance isn't always bliss...I barely kept him from eating a bumblebee last year! I wonder what the result of that would have been. Don't tell Attila, but I hope the wasp will figure out how to go back outside.

A couple of days ago I made the first sweet tea of the season. I drank a lot of hot tea this winter, but reserve iced tea for hotter weather. It's a simple pleasure. (Note: Attila does not get tea, or any form of caffeine. Yikes.)

We've had a window open and the screen popped in several times. (Which of course is why we now have a wasp.) Now that it's getting so warm outside, the insulation board panels I made in January to keep us cozy are being used in reverse. Instead of inviting the warmth of the sun in as I did during the cold weather, I'm trying to block the hot rays. So the insulation board panels are in the east windows in the morning, etc. We still get to enjoy our view, but not all of it at once.

It might sound complicated, or like a pain, but I enjoyed keeping my electric bill down this winter, and I'm not in a hurry to install the window air conditioner. So far Mother Nature and I are coexisting well, but we haven't had high temperatures yet. I wish I could completely do without the noisy polluting air conditioner, but doubt I'm tough enough for that. I'm basically a weather wimp.

Earth Day is April 22, and I'd like to think I do a decent job of taking care of the earth throughout the year. Not great or outstanding, but decent. I'll admit my vehicle is an SUV, but I've had it for 9 years and put few miles on it.
  • I have Reduced my need for goods and services by simply downsizing my living space, and buying less.
  • I Re-purpose and Re-use. A lot. (And if I can, it's not that tough.)
  • I Recycle. In fact, my giant recycling bin is a re-purposed cardboard box that my air conditioner came in. I had fun making it fit into the decor of the Jewel Box, and I think it's pretty cute.
  • Another "R" that is sometimes left out is Repair. How easy it is to toss something instead of fixing it. Sometimes repair isn't an option, especially when manufacturers build things to be thrown away. But it's always worthwhile to try, right?

News from Serendipity, Indiana:

  • First edits for Emily's Dreams will probably arrive sometime this week. 
  • I'm halfway through writing Christmas Wedding, which will release this fall. 
  • I've updated (in my head) what the seventh book in the Serendipity, Indiana series will be like. More about that later.

Other projects: Yes, there are some, and I'm excited about them. But I can't talk about them yet. Aaack! Maybe soon, though, or at least sometime this summer.

This post is what my mother would have called a mish-mosh. I hope it doesn't give you a headache. It's kind of like looking inside my brain--all mish-mosh, all the time.

What does your piece of the world look like?

Magdalena

~*~

Please look for my romance novels and novellas at your favorite online seller:


Amazon (U.S.)    ~  Amazon (U.K.)

   Barnes & Noble  ~   ibooks   ~   Kobo

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Shanna Hatfield and the Pendleton Petticoat Blog Tour

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Welcome to the

PB TitleBlog Tour!

A celebration of two new sweet historical romances by Shanna Hatfield
women walking

An Interview with the Women of Pendleton Petticoats

Our interview today is with three characters from one of Shanna Hatfield’s historical series. Set in the western town of Pendleton, Oregon, the Pendleton Petticoats series highlights brave, determined women. During the early 1900s, Pendleton was a modern, progressive town, despite its Wild West reputation. In addition to 18 bordellos and 32 saloons, Pendleton offered residents such cultured experiences as an opera house, a French restaurant, and a tearoom. It was the second city in Oregon to have paved streets and boasted a telephone office as well as wonders like indoor plumbing to those who could afford the services. The women in Pendleton Petticoats are from diverse backgrounds but find unity in following their hearts and chasing their dreams. Aundy, Caterina and Ilsa join us today to talk about life in Pendleton.

Welcome to you three lovely ladies. Tell us a little about how you each came to be in Pendleton
Aundy: I came to Pendleton as a mail-order bride for a kindhearted farmer named Erik Erikson. We wed as soon as I stepped off the train, but had a wagon wreck on the way home. Erik died three days later, leaving me, a city girl, his farm and everything he owned.
Caterina: Growing up in New York, I never expected to live so far out west. When a mafia boss decided I would marry him, my family helped me escape and I got off the train here. Aundy was the second person I met and we’ve been friends since.
Ilsa: (Giggles) You forgot to mention the first person you met was your incredibly good-looking deputy sheriff husband, Kade. You literally ran into him when you turned a corner and smacked into his chest when you first arrived in town.
Caterina: (Glaring at Ilsa) So I did. Thank you for sharing that with everyone. Let’s talk about why you came to town.
Ilsa: Because Aundy, she’s my sister, and Garrett, that’s Aundy’s husband, rescued me from our horrid aunt in Chicago and brought me here. I met Caterina's brother, Tony, and fell in love. Our brother, Lars, moved here, too. He married a wonderful girl named Marnie and they started an orphanage.

What does a typical day entail for each of you?
Aundy: Garrett and I live on the place I inherited from Erik. Our day starts early in the morning with chores. I still don’t like gathering the eggs because our rooster is a nasty little fellow, but I enjoy everything else on the farm. My favorite thing is riding my horse with Garrett or sitting on the hill above the pasture watching our sheep. Thanks to our Chinese cook, I don’t have to spend a lot of time in the house.
Caterina: Kade and I live on the outskirts of town with his behemoth dog, Ike. We ride into town together in the morning. He goes to work at the sheriff’s office and I go to my restaurant where I create Italian food that reminds me of my family.
Aundy: She’s an amazing cook. You really should drop by sometime for dinner. Her ravioli is divine. Ilsa: And you have to try one of pastries. In fact, if I don’t stop eating there so often, I’m going to have to let the seams out of my dresses.
Caterina: You could always learn how to cook…
Ilsa: (Shakes her head) I’d rather sew. I have a dress shop just down the street from Caterina’s restaurant. I design and create clothing, primarily for women. I used to sew for the most elite in Chicago’s social circles, but I’m excited to bring high fashion to the women of Pendleton and Umatilla County.

What’s one thing people might not know about your town?
Caterina: It’s growing faster than we can imagine. In the few years I’ve been here, there has been a boom in new businesses and enterprises, like Ilsa’s boutique and my restaurant.
Aundy: There’s also a boom in less savory businesses like those in The Underground.

What’s the Underground? (Caterina and Ilsa both look at Aundy)
Aundy: There are tunnels running beneath a section of town that connects several businesses and provides a place for unsavory characters to quench their thirsts, play cards, and engage the services of… um… (Aundy leans close and whispers) women of ill repute.
Ilsa: Before the city put in the new sidewalk with glass prisms to light the tunnels, men used to stand down there and peek through the grates set in the boardwalk, trying to get a glance up women's skirts. I was so glad when the grates disappeared.

That’s certainly scandalous. Have any of you ever been in the Underground?
Caterina: Gracious, no!
Ilsa: I should say not! It’s no fit place for a lady.
Aundy: Oh, goodness, look at the time. We really should be going. Thank you so much for inviting us here today. We’re so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to connect with your readers.

Thank you for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?
Ilsa: If you enjoy historical fiction, clean romances, or a good western, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in Aundy, Caterina, Ilsa, Marnie, and the soon-to-be-released Lacy.  

PB-Releases




LacyLacy, Book 5 in the Pendleton Petticoats series, will be available for pre-orders April 9. Be among the first to order the long-awaited story of Grant Hill. Talk about losing at love... eligible banker bachelor Grant needs to find the right girl. Those attending the party will also get a first look at the cover! "Will the bonds of love be stronger than the bonds of tradition..."





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Thimbles and Thistles CoverThe second book in the Baker City Brides series releases Thursday, April 9! Thimbles and Thistles takes readers back to Baker City as spring arrives and love is in the air. You can reserve your Kindle copy here: http://amzn.com/B00TCV6BFG Maggie Dalton has no need for a man in her life. Widowed more than ten years, she’s built a successful business and managed quite well on her own in the bustling town of Baker City, Oregon. Aggravated by her inability to block thoughts of the handsome lumber mill owner from her mind, she renews her determination to resist his attempts at friendship. Full of Scottish charm and mischief, Ian MacGregor could claim any available woman in Baker City as his own, except the enchanting dress shop owner who continues to ignore him. Not one to give up on what he wants, Ian vows to win Maggie’s heart or leave the town he’s come to love.


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Aundy Cover It just wouldn't be a party if there wasn't a book available for free! Aundy, Book 1 in the Pendleton Petticoats series, will be available for free Kindle downloads April 9. Make sure you grab your copy! If you've already read it, tell your friends to download it. If you haven't met the characters from Pendleton Petticoats, here's a brief intro: Aundy (Book 1) - One stubborn mail-order bride finds the courage to carry on when she's widowed before ever truly becoming a wife, but opening her heart to love again may be more than she can bear. Caterina (Book 2) - Frantic to escape a man intent on marrying her, Caterina starts a new life in Pendleton, completely unprepared for the passionate feelings stirred by the town's deputy sheriff. Ilsa (Book 3) - Tired of relying on others to guide and protect her, Ilsa finally finds the strength and courage to take control of her life. Unfortunately, her independence drives a wedge between her and the man she's come to love. Marnie (Book 4) - After giving up on her dreams for a future, Marnie finds her hope rekindled by one caring, compassionate man and the orphans who need her.


PB-Party
 

 Dust off your dancing shoes and choose your formal attire for the Petticoat Ball Party on Facebook April 9, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Giveaways and games will make for a splendid event as we celebrate the release of Thimbles and Thistles and the debut of Lacy! The talented and fabulous guest authors joining in the shenanigans include:

10 a.m. - Julie Lence
10:30 - Kathleen Ball
12:30 - Kristin Holt
1 p.m. - Karen Witemeyer
1:30 - Kayla Thomas

Petticoat-Ball-Facebook-Party-Invitation
 


 Invite your friends to the party, and you could win a $25 Amazon Gift card. Go to the Facebook Party Page, click on the "invite" button, invite your friends, then post how many you invited. One randomly drawn person will win, but you get additional entries for every 25 people you invite! Also, ask your friends when they join the party to share that you invited them on the party wall. Each friend who mentions your name, earns you another entry in the contest! The winner will be announced prior to the start of the party April 9! http://tinyurl.com/petticoatball


  PB-Prizes
Prizes 



 To enter the drawing for a $50 American Express gift card, autographed books, digital books, chocolates, and original western artwork, fill out this form. http://tinyurl.com/petticoatballprizes


  PB-Author-Bio

Shanna Hatfield 2A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.

Find Shanna’s books at: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple

Shanna loves to hear from readers! Follow her online:
  ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter

Monday, April 6, 2015

5 interesting things from last week

I see so many interesting articles in a week's time, I wanted to take today's post to share some of them with you. Please let me know, in the comments below, whether you find these helpful. (FYI: some of the articles aren't new, but are new to me, and the ideas are timely.)

1. Katy Regnery's blog post about keeping promises to yourself. I'm always cautious about making promises to anyone unless I know without a doubt that I can fulfill them. Yet I'm rotten at keeping promises to myself. This post will particularly resonate with authors, but "normal" people might enjoy it too. Do you know who Katy's mentor was/is? I have bookmarked this post to read again later too. Thanks, Katy!

2. 8 Countercultural Decisions to Find Financial Freedom, by Josh Becker on the Becoming Minimalist site. I think this is one of the best posts I've seen on this topic. I have shared it with friends on email, tweeted it, and include it here too for anyone who missed that.

3. Brian Gardner and Josh Becker were having a conversation on Twitter about creating uncluttered websites. It was just the nudge I needed, to take the sidebar off this blog. I hope you enjoy a more relaxing experience when you visit now. I still need to work on my books page, because it seems cluttered to me. Do you have thoughts or suggestions? Update, 5-26-2015: I put the sidebar back, due to today's hiatus declaration. It seemed more useful, since I won't be posting weekly, to have the sidebar items easily visible to readers. Thoughts?

4. HarperCollins and Amazon are having words -- about selling words. *Sigh*

5. Michael Embry's post--with photos--about the booksigning in Madison, Indiana on April 4.

Author Shanna Hatfield will be here Tuesday. Please stop by and read her fun and exciting blog.

Magdalena


~*~

Please look for my romance novels and novellas at your favorite online seller:


Amazon (U.S.)    ~  Amazon (U.K.)

   Barnes & Noble  ~   ibooks   ~   Kobo