Monday, March 27, 2017

Authors in Bloom - Blog Hop!

Welcome! I hope you're enjoying the 6th annual blog hop. This is my first year to participate, and I'm excited about it!

I'm a USA Today Bestselling Author of small town romance and women's fiction. I have two series. Please click on the group of covers to learn more about each series.

While you're here, grab two free books. (McClains series)

At the end of the blog hop, each newsletter subscriber will get a Smashwords coupon code for a free copy of Small Town Christmas (Serendipity series)Sign up for the newsletter here.

Now--about Spring, and Blooming...I live in a studio apartment, so when the local farmers' market starts up, I really get jazzed. Here's a photo of some goodies I bought last year. Zucchini, summer squash, strawberries, and the bread lady's fabulous sourdough. Mmmm.

My favorite summer lunch is sauteed veggies. Sometimes I add thinly sliced carrots, and/or broccoli, but here's my favorite:

Summer Vegetable Sautee
Sautee in extra virgin olive oil: Summer (yellow) squash, and zucchini, washed and sliced 1/4 inch thick, and sweet onion--diced. Sprinkle with creole seasoning. Stir occasionally. A few minutes before done, add cashews as desired. (I try not to cook the cashews too long.) Can be served alone, or on a bed of wheat spaghetti.


Do you have a local farmers' market? If so, what are your favorite finds?

Answer that question in the comments, below. You must include your email address in your comment to be eligible for the grand prize at the end of the hop. (The organizers will be checking that everyone visited all the blogs. Plus they need a way to get hold of you, if you win.)

Your comment also puts your name into the hat for a random drawing to win one of my paperbacks. I'll put up a post announcing my winner on April 7th.

Good luck!

Be sure to visit all of the participating blogs, listed below. The tour ends April 5th at 11:59pm EST. The grand prize winners will be posted April 7th, on blog #1 (Dianne Venetta) and #50 (Bloomin Thyme).

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Click here to see the entire blog hop schedule.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Frankly, My Dear: Creating Unforgettable Characters

For all of us writers, today is potentially a very big day! Melinda Curtis's new book, Frankly, My Dear: Creating Unforgettable Characters, is now available.

I was fortunate enough to get an early copy, hoping to help spread the word about this great new reference work. I am so excited about the possibilities this book offers!

(Please Note: There's a lot of information, but it's broken down so as to be easily understood and utilized. In other words, Don't Panic.)

Here's the official blurb:

It doesn't matter if your writing style is planned, spontaneous, or somewhere in between--it's the character and conflict that sells! Character and conflict hooks in studio execs, holds an editor’s attention, and draws in readers, compelling them to turn the page. So what is the secret sauce? How can you hack into believable and compelling characters? By using a tried and true psychological principle adapted for writers by Melinda Curtis, an award-winning, USA Today bestseller of over 35 books and novellas.

In this book, you’ll find the basics of character and conflict, along with a multi-faceted psychological principle that can be used to create characters who need to grow and change. Inside are numerous tips to create and deepen character and conflict from the beginning of your story to the end. You’ll discover hacks to give your characters depth and provide them with behavioral bumpers so they act consistently throughout your story, until they grow and change in an emotionally satisfying finale. As an added bonus, there are over 100 examples from movies and television that illustrate how to use each principle. That means adding this book to your writing toolbox will help you sell to editors and studio execs, and create compelling reads that bring audiences back for more.

On the face of it, that might sound complicated, and even daunting, but Melinda explains clearly, with examples of characters  that, once met, we carry with us forever. (You immediately thought of Rhett and Scarlett when you saw the book title, right?)

I'm examining my works in progress in light of Melinda's information, and you can bet that when planning future books, I'll have Frankly, My Dear close at hand.

I've also added Frankly, My Dear to my website page for writers.

I'd love to have a print copy of this book, to put on my writers' reference shelf. (And that, from Minimalist Me, is a very big deal!)

Many thanks to Melinda for doing the research, and compiling this information for all of us!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Where the Magic Happens

This is the third in my series, inspired by Brian Gardner's No Sidebar post, "50 Simple Things You Need to Hear."

Well, YES.

Maybe that's why I can't pass the stationery aisle without perusing the blank books. I'm trying not to purchase any more, and am slowly using the ones I have. But, oh my goodness, just to look at, and run my hand down, the beautiful, pristine paper. 

All those blank books are waiting for people to write their stories. 

Alice Williams's tale, The Blank Book, began with that premise. What if you wrote a story (ostensibly about a fictional character, but really a thinly disguised version of yourself) and that story began to come true? It was a wild ride for Alice, and for the unsuspecting Robert Diamond, but finally, after the mystery was solved--whew--they had a happy ending. 

White space also, to me, means the exhilaration of opening a fresh, empty word processing document when I'm ready to start working on a new story. 

The possibilities seem endless. I hope to eventually finish all the stories I've begun, as well as the ones that are still nebulous ideas floating in my head, or scribbled onto scraps of paper.

White Space All Around

Five years ago, we were nearing completion of the renovation project my landlords undertook, to create the studio apartment where I now live. My color choices became a running joke between us. As in, if there was paint to be applied, I wanted white. The plain, un-adulterated, cheapest white in the store was, and is, perfect.

Even now, approaching my fifth anniversary in this space, when I climb the stairs and walk into my apartment, a feeling of peace immediately washes over me. 

It's like stepping into a cloud.

I try to keep the space uncluttered--a task that requires daily effort--so the peaceful feeling is maintained. With soft jazz playing, and a cup of coffee nearby, there's no better place to let creativity take over.

White Space on the Calendar

This is a tough one. My time management isn't perfect. I try to write, walk, meditate, see people, eat healthy, and do at least one home care task each day. Sometimes I work ten or twelve hours a day, or more. Having a calendar that isn't full of go here, do this makes my flexible schedule possible, and gives me at least a chance at having a good night's sleep.

White Space for my Online Guests

I recently updated the look of the blog, to make it easier on your eyes, and to keep the focus on whatever article you are here to read. Over time, the look of the page has evolved. I shake my head now, remembering that for a short while, I had two (not just one, but two) sidebars, to showcase my books, and... You know, I can't even recall all the stuff that was in those sidebars. What a nightmare. I love this streamlined look, and hope you do, too. 

I hope the simple, peaceful look gives your eyes and mind a moment's rest.

That's what I have on today's topic. If you have ideas to share, please leave them in the comments.

If you want to read the previous articles in this series, they're here:

I hope you're enjoying these peeks into my minimalist journey. If you want to learn more about my novels, just click on the Serendipity tab or the Legend tab. I'm happy to report that this year's increasingly ambitious writing goals seem possible. WOOT. 


Friday, March 3, 2017

#SweetRomance #FridayReads Guest: Kristin Holt

Union Pacific Station Agent Chadwick Hughes has everything in a state of readiness to welcome his mail order bride…everything but the bride. The woman he’s corresponded with for a year didn’t change her mind or miss her train in Omaha—she never existed. Chadwick’s mortified to discover he’s been swindled by a fraudulent matrimonial agency in Chicago. He needs a lawyer if he’ll ever recover a dime of the fortune he spent on worthless membership fees and the nonexistent bride’s transportation west.

Sophia Sorensen, Attorney at Law, is a spinster on the edge of propriety. The good people of Wyoming Territory are open to a lot of things, including Lady’s Privilege during Leap Years, but some aren’t fond of her day-to-day behavior. Why, the woman rides her bicycle hither and yon, showing her petticoat ruffle and ankles. She might be the least ladylike specimen beneath Wyoming skies, but it’s entertaining to watch her court the U.P. Station Agent, Chadwick Hughes, the most-eligible bachelor in the county.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author, writes Sweet Romances (G- and PG-rated) set in the Victorian American West. While secular in nature, her titles are “Appropriate for All Audiences” and appeal to selective readers and fans of Christian historical romance.
Readers are welcome to contact Kristin on her website ( with questions, feedback, comments, or just to say hello.  Her site offers links to social media, previews of upcoming releases, book lists, an ever-growing cache of articles about all things “Old West”, and more!
Connect with Kristin: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Goodreads

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