Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I'm an introvert.

I know. People who have known me for a long time might not agree, but I ask you, think about when we first met. Was I standoffish? Shy? Would you characterize me as bitchy?

I've heard them all and even from close friends. And I don't mind. This is something I struggle with everyday. Because as an author, I need to put myself out there and....*gasps*...socialize. I tend to avoid events because of fear of being left out or standing against the wall drinking all alone, which is just sad.

What makes this really hard is my husband, is not. He's Mr. Social. Mr. Knows-Everybody. Mr. Hey I-Won't-Forget-Your-Name. Always with a handshake and a smile.

And he is constantly asking me if I said hello to someone when I mention seeing them at a store. Usually, I say no. I can't help it. My fear of being rejected is enough to force me to look away and pretend I don't see them. I don't mean to be rude and have on many occasions overcame my fear and put myself out there and will always get a friendly hello.

So this morning, Christmas Eve, I went to my least favorite store to grab a few last minute food items for the next morning. And like usual I see someone I know. I've actually spoken to this person and I know he recognizes me because he does that double look thing. I build up courage and think I can at least offer a smile and hello and step out of my shell. For the holidays.

As our carts get closer to each other, we share a few more glances in each others' way and I'm going to do it. I am strong. I am brave. And just as our carts are close enough to tough each other, I say, "Hello" and smile.

And he looks down, obviously avoiding me!

Well, I came home and gave my husband an earful. The one time, I put myself out there and WHAM the door is slammed in my face.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Giveaway!

Yesterday, a local radio station asked their listeners to share their most cherished holiday gift. For me, I have two. One, my husband proposed on Christmas Eve, ultimately leading to the best family ever! And two, 3 years ago he had made for me and my oldest daughter (my only at the time) a three stone necklace. Each stone represented the birthstones of my daughter, mine and my grandmother, who I lost earlier that year. On both occasions, I cried because not only did he give me jewelry, but he gave me something I can have and wear forever. I can keep the women of my life close to my heart! (Luckily my newest daughter has the same birthstone as my oldest daughter!!)

So, now for the giveaway. I will pick two winners. One on my blog and one on Facebook. Share with me your most cherished gift by Monday, 12 noon CST, and I'll draw one name, randomly, from each and you can either have an e-book or print copy of My Brother's Wedding. 
Okay, now open those hears, grab some tissue and start sharing! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Time to Get Deep

Call it the holiday spirit or call it the crazy ramblings of a sleep deprived mom. But lately, I can't help but be extra thankful for my family...especially what my youngest has brought to my life in the past 2 years.

My husband and I dated a bit in high school and reconnected before I went off to college...where he attended. And our lives became one instantly. It was like we balanced each other' 'quirks and we shared something deeper than a relationship...we were friends.

So like most stories, we married a year after graduating college and started our family that same year. Sure, we were young, but it all was a natural progression. Three years later, kid number two came and life was complete. My husband provided for us, allowing me to work part-time and be a mom to our kids.

Kids grow and our family was doing okay but I have to admit, something I haven't to anyone, I always wondered what our life would be like with a third kid. I joked that if I wanted to stay home full time I should get pregnant. Ha! Ha! You have to understand, that I never even planned on one kid before we were married. I had a bad childhood and didn't think I could provide for another based on my own experience. And even after kid one, who I love more than anything, I was done. Then two and my son is my precious baby boy who will always hold his mother's heart.

At 34, I wondered what else I needed in my life. My kids were older and we fell into a routine of not having to monitor them but provide and love them. Except, I felt I needed more.

I didn't plan it. Hell, I didn't even think it was medically possible to have another kid but shortly after the first of the year in 2012, I was in fact pregnant.

It was a long, tough pregnancy but this sweet baby girl is my world. I think she saved me from feeling incomplete. I don't want you to think that I was bored and needed a playmate. That couldn't be farther from the truth. My writing career was just getting off the ground, I worked part-time for my publisher learning the biz and I was still dealing with the grief of losing the most important woman in my life, my grandmother. And my full-time job was causing me grief.

And still, my life is a runaway train barreling through each day only to fall into bed and catch a few winks before the morning. There are days when I want to hide from my little girl because she's driving me insane.

But her unconditional love for me burns the back of my eyes and sticks in my throat.

Maybe one day, when she's a temperamental teenager who thinks everybody hates her, she'll read this and know just how much mommy loves her.

Grab someone you love today and give them a little extra love. It is the season!

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Fav Reads of 2014

Can you believe the year is almost over? Tim flew but I made sure to have fun and hunker down with several good books. With e-readers, I burn right through books. Instant gratification!

I didn't read very many new releases because those reads are saved for my fave authors in various genres but I will sum up my year:

I love the entire Ruin series by Rachel Van Dyken. Her writing is great and not like many NA, there is sexy but not so descriptive that I need a shower after reading. And the first book hooks you!

Who doesn't love rock stars? This series was great and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book.

I could gush all day about my love of this author and this book! I need more from her!

Clever, funny and super cute!

Love this author and would read her grocery list if she'd let me! This series is wonderful. Engaging, beautiful and so full of love. Must read!

These are just a few of my favorites from 2014. What were yours? Any recommendations?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Gifts 2014: Ideas and Suggestions

I love this time of year. Sure, I probably gain like 10 pounds from all the cookies and ridge the edge of credit card debt (I kid!) but I love presents and the closeness this time of year can bring.

But the love can get hidden behind the stress of finding the perfect gifts. And I strive to be a gift perfectionist. So I'm always on the look-out for some great ideas and my friend Beth Merrell shared a great group of products with me that will delight that make-up loving lady (or man) in your life.

I present you with Younique:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about these:

Now, I haven't had the pleasure of trying these wonderful items, but as a woman, who is getting older and finding her lashes are not as full as they once were (I don't seem to have that problem with my stomach), I like these results.

If you're a user, I'd love to hear what you think. But if you're in need of more information, check out Beth's website.

Have a gift idea to share? Do it! I'll have more as the weeks progress.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

50% off Black Friday TMP Bookstore sale!

Visit the TMP Bookstore today through December 1st to save 50% off you entire purchase. Enter code BLACK50 at checkout. 

Might I made a few suggestions....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#1 Get Organized

I think as a mother of 3, this is constantly on my to-do list. Throw in editing part-time, marketing coordinator part-time and author, and my need to get my act together multiplies.

And I'm constantly asked how I do it all. And some how, it all gets done, but never with my sanity in tact!

My boss, who is also an author and runs a publishing company, shared her new schedule ideas and I felt like the light bulb finally clicked on.

She shared that she devotes 3 long days to her company, often working into the wee hours of the night and allowing a little overflow if needed. Then she uses the 4 other days to play catch-up to her author life. Whether that is promo or writing. And if you're a published writer, you know that social media, blogging and ads eat up a lot of your delegated author time. But also, as a writer, when you're creative juices are flowing, often when you've locked yourself in a room, you need to attack when you can and allotting 4 days to do so is brilliant. And have a life, too!

In sharing her wisdom, I've created a plan of my own. While I don't have a business to run, I do have a house to manage and 3 kids, with one still at home. For 3 days, I will work 4 hours each on my marketing responsibilities and leave the other 4 days to my personal author business and sprinkle in editing work among the 7 days.

And to help me keep and stay organized, I've purchased (an early Christmas gift!) a Life Planner. If you're interested, follow this link:

How do you manage your time? Inquiring minds are wondering!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ice Princess is on sale!

Just in time for the holidays, Ice Princess is only #99cents!

My pretty little baby, my first born, is all polished up and ready for your e-reader and for only #99cents, how can you pass that up!

Here are a few links for some of our favorite e-book retailers!

Barnes&Noble         Amazon        iBooks         Smashwords  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Just keep swimming...

2014 proved to be the year I would not participate in NaNoWrimo and I'm saddened. Kids, work and the fact the month of November is almost over did not provide the motivation. So instead of killing myself, because those late nights are not pretty, I gave in before it started.

But to my fellow writers and NaNoers, I raise my glass to you. You can do this. Sure, the word count seems unreasonable but there are others, many others, out there who have written in your shoes, or fingers, and have succeeded. You can do it!

And when the dust settles, you'll have a manuscript ready for edits!

Good luck!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Reviews: Subjection Lesson 2

One of my most least favorite words is reviews. In particular, book reviews! Oy! And I handle the review submissions for TMP and my reasoning isn't because I hate my job. I love it.

The reason for my disdain is because no matter what, book reviews are subjective. Plain and simple. Have you ever read the disclaimer about fair or impartial reviews. Great! I honestly believe that the reviewer follows this rule but their taste does not always match mine. And while they might love one aspect but they could hate another and I may feel the opposite.

If you are a new writer or have a book out or about to, please, please, please, remember that book reviews are subjective. The review is entitled to their opinion when it concerns your work. Never engage them. Some industry folks, including reviewers, say stay away. The review isn't for the author, its for the readers.

And the sad thing is many book sales or rankings are dependent on book reviews. But who actually pays attention to them. Do you make all your reading decisions based on reviews? Do you read them for every details or do you pay attention the over star rating? What sites do you refer to build up your TBR list?

Personally, I don't base my reading choices on reviews. I might scan the star rating and I occassionally will read one but I go on word-of-mouth or stick with my favorite authors. Heck, I've been known to do just a genre search and pick out a new author.

I read a wonderful blog post by Katie McGarry where she discusses reviews and the recent incident involving an author who stalked and contacted the reviewer. If you get a chance, click on the link and read her post. It is fantastic. Truthful. Honest.

And I completely agree.

Do you have a review story? As an author, did you thank the reviewer or stay away?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back in the Slush Pile Again: Subjection Lesson 1

You know how when you have a bad day, everything else seems to go wrong. Your hot water ran out and then you found a hole in your sock and then it started to rain and water seeped into your shoes, making your bare toe chilly. Or your baby spit up on you as you were walking out the door and ran around the entire day with smudged sour milk on your clothes and the smell was enough to make you vomit.

I kind of had a day like that last week. I re-entered the world of agents and non-TMP presses. And I wasn't a fool. I knew doing this would set me up for rejection. Sure, I have 6 books under my belt and an Amazon Best Selling boxed set but I know this business. It is subjective.

And I prepared myself for rejections, even repeating the mantra, every "No brings me closer to a Yes". But that small part of myself dreamed. Hoped. And pretended what my life would be like or how I'd react if I received a Yes. Hey, I'm a writer. We're supposed to pretend!

I'm not sure I could prepare myself for 4 rejections in one day. Is there a club? A special hand-shake? Club jackets? Because how else do you explain 4 rejections in 1 day! Wow! Now, you add that to the additional 2 rejections already marked on this project. Sure, 6 spread out over the course of a few months, I could handle.

If you're not a writer, you may not understand this but I literally went to my basement, which is really nice, and cried. Not throw myself down on the floor tantrum, just silent tears where you imagine your life without writing. Where I ran through all the reasons to quit. Where every failure you've had comes crashing down.

But if you are a writer, you know what I did next.

After I dried my face. I picked myself up and became more determined to not let this one step get me down. Instead of burying myself in a pity hole, I dusted away the carnage and felt...inspired. Because as a writer, we heal ourselves with writing. We can deal with the death of a loved one in our writing. We can overcome the fear of failing through our writing. We share our love of life in our writing. And that is exactly what I'm doing.

I can't imagine how easy life is for an agent or a publisher. They are overwhelmed with countless pitches and they, the agent or pub house may have a particular project in mind. I know, that's not fair and we aren't mind readers. But that is the way the business is and once you realize that, you will be a stronger person.

Submissions are subjective. You're writing might be superb and the story fantastic, but if it isn't what they are looking for, then they will pass. It is that simple and as a writer, you need to add this knowledge to your armor.

Are you in the slush? Have any tips on submissions? Share. We like sharing!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cassandra Page Presents: Isla's Inheritance

If you haven't seen me blather on about this young lady, then you are missing out. She is fantastic with a capital FAN! Lurve her and thrilled she is a fellow TMPer with me writing YA's, taking names and numbers! (Did that even make sense???)

So, she's a newbie author and she has a new book *drum roll*...

I mean look at this cover! Isn't it just gorgeous! 

Book & Author Details:

Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page
(Isla’s Inheritance #1)
Publication date: October 9th 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own. She must discover the truth — before it’s too late.
Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween party séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact the spirit of her mother. But the séance receives a chilling reply.
Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.


Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

Author links:

Okay, if you didn't fall in love with the cover, then you surely did with the author! I mean look at her. I'm sure all the mates are falling over for this chic in The Outback (and I don't mean the steak restaurant!)

And to make things even more interesting, she's giving away a prize! *swoons*


Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

  • A $50 gift card at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
My final words! Get this book! Here's my review on Goodreads

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mysti Parker, author of The Roche Motel

It isn't often I can share my blog space with a non-TMP author but I'm thrilled to introduce you to a FB friend of mine, Mysti Parker! *round of applause*

 After her husband ditches her for a blonde actress wannabe, Jane Seymour needs a job that pays the rent. The struggling Roche Hotel needs a miracle. With the former owner’s wife butting her nose into the renovations and new owners who are in way over their heads, Jane may be the answer to their prayers. Sure, she can handle The Roche Hotel’s quirky staff. But, can this skittish divorcee keep it all together when handsome Henry the Donut Guy makes his first delivery? This collection of serial fiction stories is a Tudorific romantic comedy that will leave you laughing out loud and hungry for more.
CLICK HERE to pre-order for just $0.99!

Fun, games, Tudor trivia, and a chance to win a hotel themed prize basket!!

Excerpt from Episode 2:

By 3:00 AM, I finally learn enough Sasquatch language from Jerry to muddle through the audits until all the figures add up. He wanders off somewhere to do whatever it is he does. I dust things that don’t need dusting and clean the leaves on the silk plants in the lobby until 5:00 AM, when Jerry unlocks the front doors. I go back to sit at the office desk with a cup of coffee, resting my head in one hand. Surely someone would soon wake up to check out or ask for toothpaste or even a stick of gum for all I care.
My eyelids feel so heavy...
I’m startled awake and bump my coffee with my elbow. A brown pool of cold Folgers and congealed half-n-half flows across the audit sheets. “Crap.”
The man at the front desk laughs. “Sorry to startle you.”
“It’s fine,” I say, not bothering to look at him because I’m searching for paper towels instead. Finding none, I grab my sweater from the back of the chair and blot the papers.
“Need some tissues?” he asks.
“No, I’m fine.” Embarrassed for being such a klutz in front of a guest, I keep my head down and drag my sleepy self to the front desk. Finally, I look up and am met with a stunningly handsome smile. “Oh, how can I help you?”
“Where’s Jerry?” He holds up a small paper bag. There’s a stack of white boxes beside him.
“I don’t know. Would you like me to page him?”
“No need. I’ll just leave these here. Custard-filled. He loves those.”
I notice his shirt, embroidered with Hermann’s Bakery in a simple script font on the right pocket. His hair is a dusty brown and has that trendy bed-head look which I usually consider lazy, but on him, it’s rather adorable. He’s clean-shaven and reasonably tall.
His eyes crinkle when he smiles again. “I’m Henry. You new here?”
“Yes, it’s my first night.” I point to the temporary name tag with my name written in black sharpie. “I’m Jane.”
“Nice to meet you. They call me the ‘Donut Guy’.”
He offers his hand, and I take it. His grip is warm and strong, and jump-starts a few sleepy neurons. Henry. And Jane Seymour. The third wife of Henry VIII, as legend says, was reportedly the love of his life. Why does my mind have to venture there, of all places? I’m not ready to heal my broken heart over Nick with Henry the Donut Guy, no matter how Tudorific our names are.
I let go of his hand and take the paper bag. “I’ll be sure to give these to Jerry.”
“Would you like one?”
“I probably shouldn’t…” My stomach rumbles in disagreement.
“They’re complimentary. The hotel orders more than enough, trust me.”
“Oh, then I’ll take a donut with chocolate icing if you have one.”
“Sure do.”
He opens one of the boxes and holds it within my reach. I pick up a donut and take a bite. Still warm and melt-in-your-mouth good.
“Mmm, this is delicious.”
Henry closes the box and takes a tissue from the Kleenex dispenser beside the wall. Why hadn’t I noticed those before I sacrificed my poor sweater? He reaches across the front desk and wipes the corner of my mouth. Warmth crawls up my cheeks.
            “You had a little icing there,” he says with that knee-weakening smile.

Mysti Parker is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series. Her other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, Christmas Lites II, The Darwin Murders, Tasteful Murders and EveryDayFiction.
Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University's seven week online course, F2K. She finished her first historical romance this spring and has one children’s book (Quentin’s Problem) soon to be published, with one more waiting for illustrations, and many more stewing in her head.

When she's not writing fiction, Mysti works as a freelance editor and copywriter. She also reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder's Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Author links
Visit my webpage: (in construction)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Author 1: JC Wardon in Enchanted Lovers

Release Date: October 7, 2014 
Category: Romance > Paranormal Length: Seven full-length novels, Boxed Set 
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press ISBN: 978-1-62237-340-6 
Retail Price: $5.99 Ebook Price: $0.99 (Special Promotional Price)  

Rayne broke free of the tangle of cars and sped-up to head toward the highway and home. Tears formed from both the pain in her skull and the realization that she was forever trapped by genetics that had finally exposed her to the world, and, not unexpectedly, ended what she’d hoped was a promising relationship.
She wanted to scream out her anger and frustration. She wanted to crash into something and shatter it to smithereens. After years of extreme caution, one persistent child ghost succeeded in making her break the first and most important rule her family lived by. She had failed to keep the secret that safeguarded them all. And she had to hurry home to let them know before they heard about it from someone else or saw it on the news.
The exit ramp leading to the highway was as congested as it always was this time of day, so Rayne ignored that route and kept on driving, ending up in the lower income side of the city few tourists ever saw. Los Angeles, the city of Angels, was not so angelic here.
Disreputable business establishments gave way to weathered homes with shabby yards, some with garbage littering streets and lawns, and many with rusting cars sitting atop concrete blocks. It wasn’t a part of the city she knew well. She kept on driving and continued wiping at her nose until the leather seat on the other side of the console filled with bloody tissues.
Rayne kept her speed down and her eyes on the residential road as she reached for another tissue, only to feel the box was empty. She pinched her nose with her finger and thumb, and was nearly gasping for breath as she glanced over to see if there was a used one that wasn’t too saturated. When she looked back up, her breath hitched as an image jumped in front of the car.
Slamming on the breaks flung the used tissues, the empty box, and her purse from the passenger seat onto the floorboard. Her heart beating wildly, Rayne stared at the large ghost before her as its glittering essence mingling with the heat vapors radiating from the hood of her car. Panic turned to anger and finally to despair as she recognized the pesky ghost who made a habit of harassing her.

About JC:
JC Wardon is the author of the Mystic Waters Books, published through Turquoise Morning Press. As a lover of the paranormal romance, the psychological thriller, and the suspense of dangerous plots, all woven into one, JC creates stories that will curl your toes, and make your heart pound.

Her Cavanaugh Sisters Trilogy kicks off a thirteen-book series rollercoaster ride that will leave you captivated. Whether you’re titillated, tantalized, breathlessly horrified, or shocked to the core, JC’s books always conclude with a sneak peek into the next breathtaking trip.

As of this writing, seven of the thirteen Cavanaugh Series Books are in publication, with the remainder to come out over the next year. Though the trilogy: Mystic Thunder, Touch of Lightning, and Tempest’s Embrace novels must be read in order and in their entirety, to solve the two major quests the characters are burdened with, as well as set up the complicated foundation for the future Cavanaugh series novels, the remaining books can stand alone. However, each subsequent book’s characters build from the ones that came before. (They are a family, after all!)

Due to the time constraints of meeting publication deadlines, JC does not currently have a blog, but you can check out all her current and upcoming releases at: where you are free to comment on your reading experience, or even ask questions.

or tweet her at: @jc_wardon

or drop by her FaceBook Author page (and feel free to “Like”):

“I would say that J.C. Wardon is a shining new star in the paranormal genre.” Debra Taylor, The Romance Reviews

“Wardon has crafted a page-turner with the first of the Cavanaugh Sisters Trilogy.” Karen Sweeny-Justice, RT Book Reviews

Giveaway Time:

Enter to Win $25 Amazon Gift card and 7 Print Books. Click this link to enter. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I know, you're probably thinking I spelled that wrong but I didn't. I swear! I know there is a show called SYTYCD, but I'm not talking about shaking your money maker. I'm talking about writing! Harlequin Romance is hosting a So You Think You Can Write contest and I've made the leap and entered my newest project, Dorm Room Goodies.

In fact, I've entered the Slush Pile again with this beauty!

But enough about me, let's talk writing, romance and Harlequin. Even if you've lived under a rock your entire life, at one point, you had to have heard of the H word. I mean, they are the Big Thing when it comes to kisses, sex, hand holding and all the good stuff in the sheets. Or against a tree! Heck, even my mystery lovin' grandmother had a copy or two with the familiar logo.

This is a great concept and I'm glad to participate. Heck, even making that jump is a big deal for me. I'm a bit of shy girl (no seriously) and putting myself out there makes me nervous. For the past 3 years, I've had the security of TMP when I submit new works where they have graciously opened their arms to me and my writing.

Anywho! If you are a writer, there is still some time to enter your submission. Check out the SYTYCW website to enter.

If you want to sneak a lookie-lou at Dorm Room Goodies, click the link.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thank you!

As you might have seen, I'm part of two awesome boxed sets. It is an honor to be among this group of authors and I'm thankful everyday for being included.

Sweet but Sexy spent a lot of time in the Top 100 on Amazon, but Small Town Charm has hit it big! #1 for at least 3 days and we are slowly eating away at that Mystery slot! I can not even BEGIN to describe how I'm feeling. Is this a joke? Am I dreaming? And who let this little writer in on this? 

So, since I'm pretty sure this is real *pinches self* I am saying a big THANK YOU to our readers! We have a wonderful, unique collection and so far, the reviews are great! Even my little old YA got 4 Stars! 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

8 Small Town Charm Authors

Welcome to Honey Creek, Ohio!

Take a walk around town, where there is only one stoplight, one gas station, one grocery story, many churches and one lake. But, oh man, what a lake.
Honey Creek Lake is where a lot of the magic and drama happens in the sweet, little town. Maybe take a dip in our man-made waters. Walk along the edge and watch the boaters zip by sending waves a water to lap the shores. Have a lazy day, cast out a line and wait for the fish to bite. Or maybe, grab the hand of your loved one and step inside our new gazebo. Slip under our famous Weeping Willow and steel a kiss from your sweetie. Every corner of our lake holds a story. When you’re there, create your own.
Head five miles back into town from the lake, stop by our White Cottage Restaurant, and have a slice of strawberry pie, although I’m partial to the lemon meringue. The pie display case and red-topped tables only add to the incredible yummies filling every plate. Catch 22 Pizza sets off the perfect Italian mood with soft lighting and scents of garlic, warm bread and spicy sauce. Grab a slice or an entire pizza pie. Is doesn’t matter because after one bite, you’ll be back for more.
If you’re only here for a short while, maybe plan a trip back during our summer months. We host a Strawberry Festival with music and booths full of berry fare. July plays host to a Fourth of July celebration with a parade and fireworks at the lake. Rent a cabin and stay awhile. You’re sure to find whatever you’re looking for in our charming town and rural county.
Honey Creek sets the stage for a sweet Young Adult novella, Ice Princess. In it, Mya wants to shake things up in her small town. But once she’s given what she wants, will she change her mind and crave for normalcy.

Here’s an excerpt from Ice Princess, Honey Creek Royalty Book 1:
“Okay. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A farmer and a pig….”
“Stop,” I yelled without looking up.
“I already told you that one?”
“No, but any joke starting with a farmer and pig can’t be good.” I rolled over on the large towel we’d spread across the sand. It was the last day of summer vacation, and Michael and I agreed to spend the day together doing nothing but enjoying the sun. Living in Ohio, we weren’t sure how many more days we had left. Soon the leaves would fall showing off snow-covered cornfields.
“Can you toss me a Dr. Pepper?”
“Sure.” Without looking, I reached into the small red Igloo cooler we brought and produced a cold dripping can. I knew it was for him since I preferred bottled water to soda. Not Michael. The kid lived on caffeine and sugar. Which made the lack of fat on his body hard to explain. Not that I’d ever noticed. Michael Graves was my best friend. And nothing more.
“So, you ready for tomorrow?”
“Sure, I guess,” I answered. “How’s it any different than the last three years at Fayette County High? Really, we’ve known the same people and gone to school with them for the past twelve years. We all know who we’re gonna eat lunch with or who we’re gonna sit with at opening assembly. Boring.” I wasn’t a pessimist or a Debbie Downer, but Honey Creek needed some excitement and I didn’t think our senior year would prove to be any different unless something unusual happened.
“Ok. So why don’t we spice it up a bit.”
“Like what?”
“Let’s start a nasty rumor or sit at a different table at lunch.”
“Ooh, Michael, you’re so scandalous! Have I been rubbing off on you?”
“Hardly. I think the most daring thing you’ve ever done was streak across my yard when we were five because you’d heard wearing your bathing suit gave you tan lines. Even though you had no idea what tan lines were, I might add,” he said with a smirk. The afternoon sun danced across his blonde moppy hair, intensifying his golden highlights. He sat next to me in a short beach chair staring out at the water. Everyone we knew was out enjoying the last weekend of August. All of the rental cottages were empty from the few Honey Creek vacationers that came to visit the lake. It was a manmade watering hole, but that didn’t take away from the fun had there. Boats skidded across the water pulling skiers or tubers in their wake. The sand was dressed with towels and blankets full of half-clothed bodies soaking up the sun like Michael and me.
“So word around town is there’s a new kid coming to school.”

4 Star LASR Review: Great Read!
It is a wonderfully emotional short story with just the right balance of sweetness and sadness. I recommend it to anyone who relishes a charming story of love and friendship.”

"The emotional scenes in the hospital and day of funeral are great - I know I cried when I reviewed initially, and I cried again in both read throughs this week - I'm such a sap :-)" -Wendy on GoodReads

Mya Newman never minded the routine or quiet that came with living in Honey Creek, Ohio. For her senior year, she craves something exciting to happen instead of it melting into a cookie cutter routine like the previous years.

When a new girl, Audrey Moore, moves to town, Mya finds herself caught in a triangle. She discovers hidden feelings for her best friend, Michael Graves, but he seems to have eyes for the new girl.

After Mya's father becomes ill and eventually passes, she turns to her best friend, Michael. He never leaves her side, but she wonders if he'd rather be elsewhere. With fear of rejection and loss of friendship, Mya decides she can't confess her recently discovered feelings.

When Michael and Mya share a dance at the Winter Formal, does she open her heart to him? Or does she shy away, forever longing to be the princess who finds her prince?

Thank you for having me *wink wink*. Small Town Charm, Love & Mystery is available wherever e-books are sold.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

8 Small Town Charm Authors

Cozy mystery writer, Judy Alter, joins me in our Small Town Charm, Love & Mystery boxed set. Welcome Judy, author of Murder at the Blue Plate Cafe!
Coming from Chicago, where I’d been raised, I thought I’d met small towns when I moved to Kirksville, Missouri (pop. 1960s about 12,000). But I didn’t really know about small towns until the late 1970s when I started visiting Ben Wheeler and Edom in East Texas. My good friends, Charlie and Reva Ogilvie, had a guest ranch outside Ben Wheeler, and we ate at The Shed in Edom frequently.
Ben Wheeler bothered me. It was then almost a ghost town, with boarded up store fronts, though I understand it’s had a renaissance, thanks to the man who bought Arc Ridge Ranch from the Ogilvies. It was like many small towns I had driven through: it needed a coat of paint. We went once to a dilapidated roller skating rink (my kids loved it) and more often than I liked to a dismal grocery store, since boarded up, where I trusted neither the cleanliness nor the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer units. Don’t even talk about the freshness of the vegetables. For real grocery shopping, we went to Brookshires in Canton, but I guess that’s a feature of small-town life—going to the nearest good-sized town for a lot of things.
Edom, on the other hand, delighted me. We went several years to the annual craft fair, and other times we wandered the main street which featured craft shops—pottery, leather workers, jewelry makers, and a wonderful women’s clothing store. I was amazed that the main street, a state highway, had neither stoplight nor stop sign. You took your chances and you ran like hell.
The best thing in Edom to my family was The Shed.
I suppose The Shed isn’t much different from lots of small-town cafés with chicken-fried steak, fried catfish, glorious meringue pies (Charlie told me it was all air so no calories, and  I reminded him about the pudding bottom), and huge breakfasts. The thing I loved most was that everyone knew Charlie and Reva and greeted them happily. We basked in a small afterglow of fame because we were their guests.
That café and that town became so firmly embedded in my mind that they formed the setting for my mystery series, Blue Plate Café Mysteries. I changed the town name to Wheeler, but no one from that part of the state will be fooled, and I was careful to note that the murders there were from my imagination and reflected in no way on Edom or its residents. But the fictional counterpart of The Shed is central to the story.
A friend who grew up in Granbury, Texas wrote me, “You nailed small-town life.” It was the biggest compliment I could have gotten.       

"Judy Alter, as she did in her other books, creates a comfortable atmosphere for her new Blue Plate Mystery series. Alter serves up a delicious whodunit by stirring up a healthy serving of suspense and a splash of romance, then bakes them to downhome perfection. Add an appealing protagonist, and you have Murder at the Blue Plate Café. Highly recommended".—Polly Iyer

About Murder at the Blue Plate Café

When twin sisters Kate and Donna inherit their grandmother’s restaurant, the Blue Plate Cafe, in Wheeler, Texas, there’s immediate conflict. Donna wants to sell and use her money to establish a B&B; Kate wants to keep the cafe. Thirty-two-year-old Kate leaves a Dallas career as a paralegal and a married lover to move back to Wheeler and run the café, while Donna plans her B&B and complicates her life by having an affair with her sole investor. Kate soon learns that Wheeler is not the idyllic small town she thought it was fourteen years ago. The mayor, a woman, is power-mad and listens to no one, and the chief of police, newly come from Dallas, doesn’t understand small-town ways. Kate is suspicious of Gram’s sudden death, “keeling over in the mashed potatoes,” as Donna described it, and she learns that’s not at all what happened. When the mayor of Wheeler becomes seriously ill after eating food from the café, delivered by Donna’s husband, Kate is even more suspicious. Then Donna’s investor is shot, and Donna is arrested. Kate must defend her sister and solve the murders to keep her business open, but even Kate begins to wonder about the sister she has a love-hate relationship with. Gram guides Kate through it all, though Kate’s never quite sure she’s hearing Gram—and sometimes Gram’s guidance is really off the wall.

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home and Deception in Strange Places.  With the Blue Plate Mystery series, Murder at the Blue Plate Café and Murder at the Tremont House, she moved from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.
Before turning her attention to mystery, Judy wrote fiction and nonfiction, mostly about women of the American West, for adults and young-adult readers. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame at the Fort Worth Public Library.