Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The End

Taking a cue from a fellow author, I'm sharing my thoughts about a big change in my publishing life. As you may know, I owe my entire career to Turquoise Morning Press. Back in 2011, they took a chance on me and offered me a contract for Ice Princess. A novella based in Honey Creek, Ohio. That little book lead me to add 3 more to that same line creating my Honey Creek Royalty YA series. All because a few women believed in me and my story.

Last week, I learned that Turquoise Morning Press is closing their doors and returning all rights to my books to me. Shocked. Sad. Angry. Confused. These are just a few of the emotions rolling through me since I heard the news.

Shortly after my first contract, I was offered part-time employment as the Marketing Coordinator, followed shortly by Senior YA Acquisitions Editor. Both jobs I loved and took very seriously. I've read some amazing submissions and made lasting connections.

What do I do now? Well, I asked myself that same question and fortunately, I asked fellow authors. I have an opportunity to test my hand at self publishing and I even have a fully edited story I can either publish or try to sell to other places. Tweeks are needed on my Honey Creek stories, since the publisher owns the name of the town, but otherwise, I'm starting to see a very small light winking at me at the far, far end of a tunnel.

Not only was TMP my publisher, but I met some of the best authors, who are now my closest friends. I learned more than my fair share of information about publishing and I grew to love that company. Tears were shed, expletives were yelled, but I think, in the end, we'll all come out strong and confident.

Good luck to my fellow TMPers. I will always wish for your success and pray when you are in pain. Keep in touch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: The Wedding Rescue by Megan Kelly

The Wedding Rescue was a delightfully sweet and funny read. As soon as we learn about the slightly irritated attraction Jack Walker has for his soon-to-be sister-in-law, Lexi, I was curious to find out how the entire story was going to play out, especially with Jack in-lust for her sister, Grace. Did I mention Grace and Lexi are twins!

Megan Kelly did a wonderful job of making a kind of unreal situation work out and be completely manageable leaving me utterly satisfied with my HEA. I also greatly appreciated that she didn’t make it where everybody was fooled by the rouse, especially the father. And the crazy uncle was great. I can’t get enough of a story that adds a little humor with a crabby relative because we all have them. I love snark in my books! A+!

The Wedding Rescue isn’t just a sweet romance. No! There is an element of mystery/suspense mixed in. Nicely done amping up the creep factor. From the first chapters, you can see the love Lexi has for Jack’s daughter and I think that element added a realness to the book. Often kids are involved and keeping it true to human nature is always a plus in my book. I am curious to find out if Ms. Kelly will have a spin-off book involving the cousin and brother. I’d be the first in line to read that as well.

The Wedding Rescue is nice mix of a yummy rancher, sweet intentions and funny circumstances.


Barnes and Noble
Create Space (print copy)


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Conference Confessions

For the past couple of months, you may have seen tons of talk about writing conferences for just professionals and readers. In fact, I just came back from a multi-media event in Kentucky. While the names change, the concepts are the same. Bringing like-minded individuals together for the love of writing or reading, or in the case of the one this weekend, music, gaming and short films.

If you are planning to attend a conference this year or next, there are a few steps I recommend taking before you pull into the parking lot where you'll call home for a few days.

1. Know the address.
This may seem like a no-brainer but you'd be surprised how easy this little bit of information can get away from you. Plug that address into MapQuest and make sure you have print copies as well as electronic. I had two GPS going and I still got turned around, heading in the wrong direction. My print copies? In the back of my van! 

2. Schedule your schedule.
A few weeks prior to your departure, sit down and figure out what panels you're on, what panels you want to watch and when you can sell your books. And then schedule in down time. You need to eat, rest and recoup so you're at your best because these events are long hours with little breaks. 

And one thing I've learned while attending these things is to try and bring a friend or find someone that will work with you. For example, if an expo hall will be open for 10 hours to sell books, you can't sit there all day alone, especially if you need to speak on panels. Join forces with another author or bring an assistant, or heck, a spouse. This will allow you to take those breaks and fully enjoy the event.

3. Make connections.
I'm an introvert so stepping into a room full of unfamiliar faces throws me into a mini stroke. But, about five years ago, I pushed past my fears, bought an event ticket, reserved a room and drove 5+ hours to a reader/writer event. Did this increase my chances of getting a contract? No because the publisher there had already decided to offer me my first contract but I made lasting connections with bloggers, authors and other industry people. Folks I still work with today.

4. Smile.
Again, this might seem simple, but you'd be surprised how differently a little teeth showing can make things. Sure, you may be scared out of your mind, but they  might be, too. I met a really nice author at this last one and I think we shared a common personality trait. We were both shy but we connected, traded books and agreed to share reviews. 

Conferences can be fun and relaxing as long as you take care to be prepared. If you've attended an event, please share your experience. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My First Time a MORWA meeting! (a little romance writer humor)

I attended my first MORWA meeting this weekend and I'm thrilled to see that seal broken. Okay, that's the last one, I swear!

First off, I want to stress how wonderfully nice everyone was. I walked in feeling like the new kid in school and instead of wetting my pants (never happened), they gave me a name tag, paired me up with another author and included me in every discussion. 

But it wasn't braiding hair and holding hands (actually, we did none of this unless I missed it. Did I miss it??? Buehler. Buehler). They got down to business and offered an informative presentation with Barbara Samuel, who discussed "strong" female characters.

Throughout all of this, I learned a few tips that all newbie meeting attendees should remember.

1. Be on time! 
Here was our schedule:  
9:30am - Coffee Talk - Amanda Heger on Query Letters and Everything Else (this topic changes each month)
10:00am - 11:00am MORWA business meeting
11:00am - 12:00pm Barbara Samuel program part 1
12:00pm - 12:45pm (approx) Lunch
12:50pm - 1:50pm Barbara Samuel program part 2
2:00pm - Booksigning

These ladies don't mess around. I was a little bummed that my schedule wasn't open enough to be there at 9:30 but I'll get 'em next time.

2. Buy that raffle ticket early.
During the short break between the business meeting and the program, they sell raffle tickets for prizes! And if you don't buy them early, you'll miss out! I learned the hard way and was busy meeting new people.

3. Dress for the camera.
Can't make a meeting because you're stuck at  home because of the flood. No worries. You can join the rest of this group via GoToMeeting. You may be able to lay around in your undies while attending (I wouldn't recommend) but us attending better wear something...anything. Lucky for me, I didn't come in my sweats!

4. Come to share.
There's a part of the meeting called Grins and Groans where the authors share their good and bad news. Got a book signing? Grin! Was rejected by a press? Groan. Either way, these authors are right there with you cheering you along. 

And that's the best aspect of this group. Encouragement. Writing is hard and the road to publication is bumping but with a good group for support, you can do it.

If you were at the meeting, thank you for being their for my first time! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Amazing Cassandra Page

If I lived in Australia, I know this lady and I would be besties, although, she'd be the cool friend. Honest! But even with the miles between us, that doesn't hurt our blossoming friendship. She's funny, clever and always with a Dr. Who catch line (some I get, others I don't!) And that accent. Get's me every time! (I totally read her emails with an accent.)
Welcome YA author, Cassandra Page. I asked her a few questions and she answered!
Coffee or tea?
It’s a tough call. It’s almost winter here; the weather is certainly acting that way, and when it’s cold, I drink more cups of tea a day than coffee. Tea is my comfort drink on a cold evening.
BUT I struggle to start the day without coffee, although I limit myself to two cups a day so I don’t get the jitters.
Or maybe three.
Never more than four!
If you could have lunch (not dinner; that's personal!) with any one writer, alive, who would it be?
This is also a really hard question to answer. I’d like to say Stephen King, but I’d be so intimated I wouldn’t even be able to talk. I’d just sit there and tremble, and probably spill pasta sauce all over myself. So instead I’ll name another fabulously successful author: JK Rowling. She seems lovely, and I like to imagine that we could bond over the fact she was a single mother when she wrote Harry Potter, since I wrote my first novel, Isla’s Inheritance, after my divorce.
Paper and pen or computer with mouse?
Computer and mouse. I do use a pen and paper when I get stuck, to write down plot notes and for the occasional change of scene—some days the idea of sitting in the study again is off-putting. But I do the vast majority of my writing on the computer. I’m a touch-typer, which means it’s much faster. I also tend to edit as I go, first while doing the initial drafting and then again when I sit down for the next writing session a few days later.
Coke or Pepsi (your answer may determine our friendship)?
Um. Well, the answer is Coke. Specifically Coke Zero, because I don’t need the fifty bajillion teaspoons of sugar in the full-strength version, and Diet Coke is too frothy and saccharine for me.
Are we still friends? O.O
Yes, I'm a Coke kind of a girl, although, I drink the Diet. Maybe I'll give Zero a chance! -Jen
I watch a lot of nature shows and they are always talking about how dangerous it is to live in Australia. Tell us, do you constantly battle poisonous spiders and snakes all day? Are kangaroos wanting to pick fights? Do you have a monkey problem?
Not constantly. They’re more a background presence. Well, except for the monkeys—we don’t have those. This week my son brought home a book from the school library talking about poisonous Australian arachnids. We read it last night and it was both reassuring and a little worrying. It turns out of the two fatal Australian spiders, we only get one where I live. (We get a bunch of others that will make you have a bad day if they bite you, but only one deadly one.)
Of course, the other fatal spider lives in Sydney, which is only a few hours drive away. And I found a baby Eastern Brown snake in my back yard a few weeks ago. Fortunately a bird had already killed it, because even the babies are deadly…
As far as kangaroos go, the worst I’ve seen one do is scratch its chest aggressively at me. They are more of a peril on the road, because they tend to hop in front of cars and cause accidents, especially in winter.
Cake or pie?
This is a complicated answer, because in Australia pie is usually a savoury, meat-filled dish. It’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, because I wouldn’t have cake for lunch (usually) or a meat pie for dessert (ever).
But if I assume you mean American desert-style pie, then I’d choose pie. Unless the cake was cheesecake. Then I’d have to think about it.
Yeah, I’m sitting on the fence on this one!
Ideal vacation spot anywhere in the world?
Somewhere by a beach. I live in Canberra, which is in a series of valleys in the highlands, so the nearest beach is about a two-hour drive from here. I miss it. I just find the feeling of sand under my toes and the sound of the waves the most relaxing thing in the world.
I’ve never been to a tropical island, but my friends just got back from a holiday at a five-star resort in Fiji, and the photos look amazing. So if I could go anywhere in the world, I’d probably go there!
Print or ebook?
Usually print. I’m an old-fashioned girl. I do read ebooks in instances where the print book would be too expensive to get hold of, such as books published through Createspace. (Amazon doesn’t offer free shipping to Australia and, once you add the cost of postage, a POD book from them is prohibitively expensive.)
I know this isn’t what you asked, but I’ve really started getting into audiobooks over the past six months as well. I spend about 40 minutes in traffic on the average workday, and being able to “read” in the car is great! It’s also far less stressful than listening to the news.
If you weren't a writer, what other profession do you think you'd be?
In my day job I’m an editor. I review technical reports for a government department. It’s not exactly riveting in terms of the content, but I get a kick out of tightening sentences and streamlining a message. So I’d probably still be an editor. It’d be fascinating to edit fiction, though; if I could pick an editing job, I’d work on novels.
The other thing I really enjoy is playing in Photoshop. If I couldn’t write or edit, I’d design book covers.
Favorite genre to read?
Urban fantasy: vampires and werewolves and fae, oh my! I used to really dig fantasy, but these days I don’t seem to have the attention span for an epic tale of heroism and bravery. I’ve always loved urban fantasy (back from before I knew what it was called), and it’s definitely my favourite … although I have been flirting with a bit of contemporary from time to time too.
Favorite genre to write?
Urban fantasy (surprise)! The four novels I’ve completed are all urban fantasy, including the three that have been released by Turquoise Morning Press, and a fourth I’m looking at self-publishing later in the year as a hybrid author experiment. I’m currently working on my first non-urban fantasy, a historical fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece. Writing something not set in the current day—or at least a variation on the current day—has been a challenge, but I’m really enjoying it.
Yahtzee or Scrabble?
Scrabble. I don’t think I’ve played Yahtzee in my life!
On the playground, what was your favorite thing to play on?
The swings. I loved seeing how high I could go, looking at the clouds and imagining that I could fly. But my primary school didn’t have swings, so there I loved playing on the old wooden fort, pretending it was a pirate ship or a castle.
Captain America or Thor?
Thor, for a few different reasons. Captain America doesn’t resonate with me because, well, I’m not American. (He is nice eye candy, though.) And since Thor is played by an Australian these days, I feel a certain patriotic obligation towards him.
He’s also nice eye candy too. ;)

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 — despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge. 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?

All three books in her ISLA'S INHERITANCE young adult trilogy are now available.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writing Wednesday Welcomes Constance Phillips

Welcome Constance! Instead of the same old interview questions, let's change it up and ask the questions we are all dying to know the answers to.

Let's begin!
Snow or Sun?  Definitely Sun. I’m a warm weather gal.

What is the one food that you could not live without? Pasta

Ketchup or mustard? Since I have a real aversion to Ketchup, it has to be mustard. (Yeah, my kids think I’m crazy too.)

Ideal vacation? Anywhere warm, preferably a beach.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to pass the time? Reading or watching movies. It’s all about the story with me.

Out of all The Avengers, who is your favorite? Tough one, but I’m going to go with Iron Man.

Reality TV shows? Or fictional drama? I have a thing for the Reality shows that air on Discovery, History, TLC, etc. I’m a huge Deadliest Catch fan.

Favorite subject in school?  Loved English (Obviously) for the creative writing. I also had a World History teacher who made that subject very fun.

Guilty pleasure? 80s pop music.

Burgers and fries or filet and escargot? Burgers and fries.

Constance is mine kind of lady! You had me at 80s pop music!

Now, for the business. Constance writes wonderful romance stories full of compassion and her latest, All That's Unrealized is no different.

It’s what the doctor ordered for Rhonda Gables, owner of three successful boutiques: four weeks of rest between winning this season’s Retail Project and claiming her prize. Rhonda must decide if being a TV reality show star is worth leaving behind her loved ones, including the increasingly 6 appealing Trevor Collins.

In a month, fashion mogul and reality TV judge Conrad Ryse, of The Retail Project fame, has promised to take Rhonda Gables under his wing and invest in her fledgling career. That’s her grand prize after a winning season on his show. Too bad exhaustion has sent Rhonda out of her city apartment, away from her three successful boutiques, and into her cousin’s guest room for a month of recuperation in her hometown.

She’s on the cusp of everything she’s ever wanted, but what will it cost? Doctor’s orders be damned, she balks at first. But soon Rhonda is both delighted and disconcerted by the attentions of her friend-maybe-lover, Trevor Collins, and the contentment she is surrounded by back home. She must realize all she’s willing to compromise and what her heart truly desires.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Longest Ride review

Let me start out by saying that I'm a Nicholas Sparks fan. I have been since The Notebook (duh!) and while many find his stuff predictable and soft, those are the things I look to and enjoy. I know there will be a HEA but the journey is the best part. I fall head-over-heels for the heros and want to throw darts at the bad guy. And I always end up crying at some point.

Last year, I bought The Longest Yard, realizing I hadn't read one of his books in awhile. But after twenty or so pages, I put it down, shocked that I wasn't as engrossed as usual. Then I saw the previews for the movie and became determined to finish the book. I owed it to myself and NS to finish.

(Cover from GoodReads)

So I did, and while there was a HEA I wasn't as pleased with the entire book. I did read the acknowledgement and understand, while reading, that much research and feeling went into this book. Even making me wonder if when writing, was the author going through his own personal stuff and reflecting.

I couldn't get a good read on Luke, finding his speech a little staggered and short but not in the "I'm a tough guy and I don't speak much". At times, the romance or relationship between Luke and Sophia felt awkward and uncomfortable.

I did enjoy most of Ira and Ruth's story even though I skimmed some of the internal monologue. You truly felt that he was a guy completely in love with the woman and reading his last letter did make me cry a little.

A few years back, a writer friend shared with me that she gets so frustrated with typos in published books and at the time, I never really paid attention. Maybe its because I hadn't grown as a writer, but now I do notice but I usually don't comment. And I could be mistaken, but parts of this felt head hoppy and I was a little taken back on what POV the chapter was focusing on. And why were Ira's chapters in 1st person (for the most part) and the others no?

All in all, I give this a 3 stars because while I didn't love it, I did enjoy certain parts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Over My Shoulder by Wendi Zwaduk

I want to thank Jennifer for having me on the blog today. It’s always fun to hang out with one of my favorite people. I love working with her and hope we continue to do so for a long, long time.
(ditto, babe!)

I titled this post Over My Shoulder for a reason. I recently wrote a New Adult series, the Complicated series for Resplendence Publishing. New Adult, if you don’t know what it is, is a category of books featuring new to adulthood characters. Millenials. First real romance, first stab at life on their own, the ache of the real world imposing on their realities...stuff like that. All of my stories in this series are hot stories. Okay, they’re erotic. Great for readers, not so great when the kid is visiting and reading over my shoulder.

( attribution: By Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

For the pictures in this post, I intentionally chose images of people I don’t know rather than my own kid. Why? I’m funny that way and a tad overprotective.

( attribution: By Irving Rusinow, Photographer (NARA record: 5307166) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

But this was about the tot, as I refer to him, reading over my shoulder.  Here’s the story. I’m writing away, typing at a furious pace because the story is flowing. It’s going great! Lots of word count, lots of typing...then I hear a noise. Now I’m in the middle of a hot scene. I won’t get into details, but yeah, it was steamy. The noise is back. What the heck...? I didn’t see anyone coming when I turned around. Focus on my work? Keep looking? It’s only the tot and me at the house.
That’s when I heard giggling.
Aw crap. I’ve not only been spotted, but I’ve been caught.
“Mom, what does that word mean?” Tot trots into the room and plops onto the couch beside me. “Huh?”
I forgot to mention I’m a tad unorthodox in my writing venue. I’m not a coffee house writer or a book store writer. I sit on the couch and listen to white noise from the television. Yeah, I’m accessible that way, too.
“Uh... which word?” I asked him.
“That one.” He points to a word for men’s reproductive organs. You’ve probably guessed which word.
Now, I could’ve said, it’s none of your business or shoo. I could’ve chewed him out for showing up right when things were getting good in the story. What did I do? I said, “it’s a word for man bits. It’s not one I want you to repeat, but you’ve got one.”
He laughed, rolled his eyes, then wandered away to play video games. I thought I was out of the woods. Cool. I can start the story back up and keep going.
That’s when I found out he’d trotted upstairs and informed DH. “Mom said this word.”
I hadn’t actually. I thought I’d been pretty eloquent considering. What response did I get? “Don’t write that stuff when he’s awake...”
I’ve been writing erotic stories for the last six years. This was the first time I got into trouble, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m not worried about what happened. He’s a kid and asks questions. I’m betting he stunned DH with his revelation that he’d read over my shoulder.
Have you ever gotten into a situation like mine? How’d you handle it? I’d love to know. J
Here’s a little bit about that book I was working on, Stealing Home. Check it out. It might be your next favorite read.

Stealing Home by Wendi Zwaduk
Book 3 in the Complicated Series
M/F, New Adult Romance, Contemporary
From Resplendence Publishing

The last person she expected to fall for her just might be the one she’s been looking for all along.

Bliss McMahon isn’t looking for love. She’s got a degree to complete and a life she wants to live. Besides, love isn’t looking for her. The last and only time she’d tried dating, the whole situation had ended in disaster. Being twenty-one and never going beyond second base doesn’t exactly endear her to the guys, but the one guy she never expected to notice her has. Will she give him a shot or run the other way?

Evan Phillips has a way with the ladies. He can charm them just as easily as he hits homeruns, but this ballplayer has a problem. He won’t be able to pass art history without help. Enter Bliss. Sure, he’s dated her roommate, and yes, Bliss can’t stand him, but he’s not about to back down from the challenge of getting her help. She’s spunky, out of his league and just who he wants. Can the ballplayer convince Bliss he’s up for more than one inning or will she forfeit before the game begins?

He’s ready to steal home in order to win the woman of his dreams.

Warning: Contains a dangerous combination of fragile new love, bone-deep angst and desperate rivalry that will consume you with throbbing, out-of-control passion.

And here’s a little bit about Wendi:
I’ve always dreamt of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line.  I love playing with words and letting the characters run wild.

NASCAR, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, animals and second chance romance  all feature prominently in my books.  I also write under the pen name of Megan Slayer. I’m published with Totally Bound, Resplendence Publishing, Changeling Press, Liquid Silver Books, Turquoise Morning Press, Decadent Publishing and Ellora’s Cave. Come join me for this fantastic journey!  

If you like my work, tell your friends and email me. I love hearing from readers!
Email: theauthorwendizwaduk (AT) gmail (DOT) com
Wordpress blog:
Fan page:

Newsletter sign up: 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dark Love Boxed Set **SALE**


Sometimes love is perfume and chocolates. Sometimes it’s cuffs and control. The five novels in the DARK LOVE: Nothing Grey About It boxed set, explore the darkest kind of love – Domination and submission. From cowboys to quarterbacks, demon hunters to Gothic romance, experience the DARK side of LOVE.

Available at these retailers and more:
Inline image 1

IBOOKS image 2

B&N image 3

KOBO image 4

*Please feel free to share!*

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing Outside the Box by Linda Rettstatt

Renting To Own – Writing Outside the Box

Somewhere along the way in this writing gig, I heard the directive: Write what you know. Not being one to adhere to rules and directives but, rather, finding it much more fun to go against that flow, I like to push the boundaries. Never more so than when I wrote Renting To Own. The story is that of twenty-three year old Lily Champion who became a single mother at the age of nineteen. Her mother died when Lily was seven and she and her brother were raised (loosely translated) by her father who turned to alcohol to stave off his grief. Lily had to grow up faster than others her age and pretty much on her own. There is nothing thus far in Lily’s story that matches my own life experience. Well, with the exception of two things: I know about loss and I know about the struggle to claim one’s own life. But certainly not with a child in tow.

I started this book the way I start many stories—with a title that can provide a metaphor for something else in the story. I love metaphor. Perhaps that goes back to my days of working as a psychotherapist and using metaphor as a way to help clients gain clarity about their lives. In any case, Renting To Own relates to the house Lily is finally able to obtain on a rent-to-own basis and that is symbolic of her struggle to create a stable life for herself and Chelsea. It also refers to the way Lily has lived her life, as if she doesn’t quite own it, but has to work to own it.

When you write outside of that box of ‘what you know,’ how do you know you got it right? When readers say, “You nailed the whole single-parent thing.” “Lily’s story gave me hope that I’ll have the same strength and wisdom when my baby’s born in two months. I’ll be on my own, too.” “I could have sworn you were writing about me and my son.”

I was fortunate to have friends who have ‘been there’ in Lily’s shoes and who agreed to read sections of the book and give me feedback. What I learned was that, basically, when you are a single parent, your child is also your permanent appendage. He or she goes where you go. He or she is always the first consideration when faced with a decision. This is, to some extent true when there are two parents, I realize. But Lily can’t make plans to do anything without first considering Chelsea. Parenting is an awesome task. Single-parenting doubly so.

Since romance is a very strong sub-plot to Renting To Own, I had to ask what a woman in this position would look for in a guy. After all, she and Chelsea are a packaged deal. Lily meets both Rick and Beau. As her relationship with each man progresses, she has to consider which man is right for her and for her daughter. (You’ll have to read the book to see who wins her heart and why.)

I fell in love with the characters in this story. I hope you will, too.

Blurb:  Renting To Own not only describes Lily Champion’s rental arrangement, it describes her life. But Lily’s learned that sometimes when the ground shifts beneath you, it moves you to where you need to be.

Linda Rettstatt is an award-winning author who discovered her passion for writing after years of working in the human services field. When she’s not writing, Linda loves travel, nature photography, and figuring out what makes people tick. Her fantasy is to win the lottery, buy an old Victorian home on the eastern shore and open a writer’s retreat. While she waits for that fantasy to materialize, she continues to live and work in NW Mississippi and to write under the constant observation of her tuxedo cat, Binky.
Facebook page: Linda Rettstatt, Writing for Women
Twitter: @linda_rettstatt

Book links:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Diabetic Troubles

First, let me say, I know other people have things worse than me, especially children suffering from Type I. I know this but I also know others out there are like me. Type II and stuck trying to figure out what works. Or doing what they think is good only to check your blood sugar and realizing your number is still high.

Totally sucks.

If you are doing all the right things, then consult your doctor first. Maybe your meds need to change. But if your sort of doing the right things, or you did, but fell off the wagon (that dark Valentine and Easter candy).

I'm hear to offer some encouragement and tips that might help you get back into the swing of things because I, too, need a boost. We went on vacation last week and my numbers have not been great since.

1. Exercise. If you were on a plan and fell off, get back on it. If you need to start out slow, try a 15-20 minute walk everyday and work up to 30 minutes. Exercise helps keep those BSs low.

2. Drink that water. I know this sounds easy but it can be difficult if you don't set you mind to. I suggest starting the day with one of those refillable bottles of cups and keep it handy. Actually, start out in the morning and drink one cup before you start the day. If you're not a fan of plain water, add one of those flavored liquids. They are generally calorie and carb free.

3. Don't start your day with carbs. And yes, I mean fruit. I know, it is good but eat a hard-boiled egg. Or if you must do something with carbs, make sure they are the good ones, but try to avoid the fruit. This was a tip I learned from a dietitian when I was pregnant. Have that fruit during the day.

4. Try a vegetable soup. There are great soups on Pinterest, some are labeled as detox soups, but they are filling and a great way to get those veggies in. Make a huge batch over the weekend, store in mason jars or containers and eat it all week. I've done this 2 different times and really saw some results in both weight loss and carb control.

5. Find a friend to lean on. This is a hard diagnosis and can be a big change to your life and sometimes, you just need a shoulder. I find myself getting sad about this all the time. But if I talk to a friend who helps put things into perspective, I have the courage to keep pushing on. Because this disease will not go away, no matter how much I want it to.

I'm not a doctor or a dietician. I'm a stay-at-home mom and author who is struggling with diabetes. I'm here if you need to leave a comment or a suggestion. I have a board on Pinterest with recipes and ideas.

Good luck.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Finding You trailer

I am over the moon thrilled with how my book trailer turned out. Let me know what you think.

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Not-So Typical Day

A typical weekday looks like this: get up, lay in bed until the last minute, rush out, dress the baby, snag the kids and take them to school. From here I either run to the grocery store, Target, grab a Starbucks, head straight home or take the baby to the park for a walk. If I come back home, I’m usually pulling into the driveway by 7:45 AM.

 This morning, it was raining so while I still did the lazy butt mom thing in bed before I dashed off in the rain, I avoided further outings because of the weather only to find that my day was about to take on a new persona. The Internet and phone kind of personality.

Let me back up by stating that I’m a stay-at-home mom/part-time worker/author. I allow 12-15 hours per week for my part-time gig, 10 hours a week for my editing work and 10 plus hours (depending on deadlines) for my writing. All of these battle with my time as a mom (3 kids: 2, 10 and 13), wife and domestic goddess (I’m trying to get his nickname to stick).

So when I’m finally home, I set up shop in front of my computer, put a movie or 100 in the DVD player and get ‘er done. But today I was sucked into a Twilight Zone. My internet was down and the phone wouldn’t work and for a second, as I clutched my cell phone in my sweaty hand, afraid to release the only lifeline I thought I had, I was about to freak out. Was I stuck at home without any contact with the outside world? If I died, would they find me still holding my cell? Then I looked at the baby and I swear she smirked. She knew I was stuck with her all day and not paying attention to my computer. She could smell the fear and it stank worse than a day old poopie diaper.

But then I woke up and dialed my husband, because duh, my cell phone still worked! Just not the internet on it.

I emailed my boss (once I turned off the wifi on my phone, again, duh) and told her this was a blessing because I was feeling rather scattered lately and maybe this would give me a second to gather my thoughts, plan out my schedule and get those darn bills paid. I was going to cherish this small gift I was given. Turn what I thought was a negative into a positive. End the day feeling good.
And then the most unexpected thing happened. An hour later, my service was restored and all I have to show for it is a rather lengthy text conversation with husband about bills (no sexting here), I tried green tea and honey yogurt (not a fan), baby ate a banana, I created two lists (one for home and one for work) and I wrote this blog post all before I had a chance to brew a cup of coffee.

Phew, I’m exhausted. I think I might crawl back into bed, put on a kid movie and toss the baby in with me and try to grab a few winks before I have to pick the kids back up from school. My domestic goddess body needs a rest!

I mean, look at this kitchen. Doesn't it make you feel sleepy looking at it!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Eat Your Breakfast by Arlene Hittle, author of Breaking All The Rules

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Allyson Cunningham, the heroine of my new romantic comedy, Breaking All the Rules, certainly believes it. Her standard breakfast — Cheerios, strawberries and skim milk — comes up more than once.
You see, Allyson is rather particular and very much rules-oriented. She eats her cereal, fruit and milk every morning before work and has brunch with her friend Nikki at IHOP every Saturday. She only eats red meat once a week and avoids carbs whenever possible. (Can’t tell I was doing Atkins when I drafted this story, can you?) She and hero Donovan Marshall clash over her stubborn insistence on sticking to her food rules.
That’s not their only point of disagreement, of course. Van’s relaxed approach to work — and life in general — rankles Allyson.
At the same time, it intrigues her — as it does me. I’ve always been a bit like Allyson — set in my habits and resistant to change. (Except with food. I love trying new restaurants and dishes I’ve never tried before. Among the strangest: alligator and escargot. I’m more likely to try a new flavor combination than a really weird food.)
My boyfriend is more like Van — always ready for adventure, even if it has “DISASTER” flashing on it in 10-foot-tall neon letters. One time, we took off for Phoenix without a hotel reservation and ended up driving home in a snowstorm because all the hotels were booked — even the $28 a night rat-trap motel. I believe it was both the opening weekend for spring training and NASCAR race weekend. Plus, there was a dart or pool tourney in town. We didn’t stand a chance.
The uncertainty stressed me out, and my headache worsened every time we struck out at a new hotel. I ended up lying down on the backseat to sleep it off. That left the Cali boy to drive up the mountain in the snow, and he ended up pulling off at a truck safety pullout to wait it out. Fun times.
Back to the book: Allyson is desperate to get Donovan to do his job (translating Klingon at the mental health facility she runs) right — the first time — and Van makes it his mission to prove to Ally that some rules, including food rules, are meant to be broken.

Do you follow any specific food rules?

Breaking all the Rules blurb:

Faced with compliance of a ridiculous new Arizona law, by-the-book mental health care facility administrator Allyson Cunningham must find an interpreter who speaks a made-for-TV language. Prime candidate Donovan Marshall has the language skills she so desperately needs, but shows a disturbing disregard for all rules and restrictions. While Allyson struggles to secure another perfect rating for her facility, convince Donovan to conform and control her inappropriate attraction to an employee, Donovan makes it his prime directive to persuade starchy Ally it doesn’t hurt to break a few rules.


About Arlene: Arlene Hittle is a Midwestern transplant who now makes her home in northern Arizona. She has her father to thank for her love of all things sci-fi. He took her to see Star Wars when she was six. She immediately fell in love with R2-D2, C3PO and Luke Skywalker. (Only with the Star Wars re-release in the 90s did she succumb to the bad-boy appeal of Han Solo.) Find her at, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Forgive Mom and Dad day!

I have to say, all of these goofy days, this might be one of my faves (although Pi Day was pretty yummy).

So, kids, on March 18th, you must forgive your mom and dad. Because no matter what, they will always love you and they mean well.

Aw, who am I kidding!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Happy Buzzards' Day

Happy Buzzards' Day! These lovely birds used to circle above, signally to cowboys that something that once was alive is now dead. 

But apparently, Ohio residents look to the skies on March 15th because they feel the birds are a sigh of birth!

Huh, who knew. I think it's kind of weird that a bird who circles dead things is also celebrated on the Ides of March....

Friday, February 27, 2015

OMG! Green Smoothie

I recently read an article listing the top 10 greens that you should be eating. Well, I'm not a rabbit so I thought I'd try to find smoothie recipes to include these ingredients. Besides, one of them, chard, was listed as one to help fight diabetes.


So what does a girl do when she needs a recipe? She does a search on Pinterest! There I found a recipe and I happened to have all the ingredients (shocker!). Here is the original recipe link for the Peanut Butter and Jelly Green Smoothie.

And here are is my version:

1 container of Yoplait Light in vanilla
1 TBSP of chia seeds
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 cup of frozen bananas
1 TBSP of Peanut Butter
Handful of spinach
1/2 cup of skim milk

Blend and enjoy!

Sorry, I'll work on the pictures but I just couldn't stop drinking this. It honestly tastes like a PB&J!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Southern Authors Interview

Want to know a little bit more about me? I'm chatting up Southern Authors today talking about writing and my upcoming release, Finding You.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Happy Monday Book Trailer

I'm super excited to bring my first #NA to life with Finding You, releases March 26th. To get the excitement rolling, I created this trailer. Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Kissing Ted Callahan Review

I was offered an advanced copy for a fair review.

Amy Spalding, you had me at Kissing!

Riley and Reid walk in on their band mates making out, which throws their friendship into a weird place. R & R decide they can have love and sex with each other’s help, so they create a manifesto and share information with each other about dating the opposite sex. What could possibly go wrong?!?

Ms. Spalding’s writing, as per usual, is full of snark which I’m a huge fan. And she does a great job of throwing R & R into awkward situations that make you smile. She effortlessly shows us the relationship between Riley and Reid as they maneuver through dating life.

We only see Reid’s POV via the manifesto while we watch Riley stumble through gaining her crushes attention. All seems innocent until she finds herself not only Kissing Ted Callahan but also two other guys!

Music lovers will thoroughly enjoy this one sitting read while those of us not so in-tune will enjoy the relationships and funny situations. As with all of Ms. Spalding’s books, our characters find their HEA or at least what constitutes as one for teens!

I couldn’t put this book down and only forced myself to stop reading when my kids demanded my attention (how dare they!).

I highly recommend Kissing Ted Callahan and look forward to Ms. Spalding’s 2016 release. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Missed Friend

Several years ago, like 10, I didn't know anybody with cancer. I had friends who had friends or family, but no one I directly knew. Until a few years back and BAM, death from the C-word surrounded me. It felt like every year, someone was sick.

And this is more true now. And again, someone I know has lost their hard fought battle. Today, I'd like to share a few words about my friend Holly Gilliatt.

A few years back, TMP signed a new Women's Fiction author from St. Louis. Of course, when I learned where she was from, I introduced myself. I mean, their wasn't another author from our company anywhere near me. Now, we didn't have sleepovers and braid each other's hair. No, we set out and did authory stuff.

Like book signings.

Holly invited me to do a TV taping for a local information channel to promote 2 signings we agreed to do together. The interview was the first time we'd met and I we hit it off, easily falling into discussions about books, writing and what we thought worked. And let's not forget the joys of motherhood and how we loved our oops kid!

Our first signing, at a local independent bookstore was successful. And I was so thrilled that she asked me. Gosh, I look back at this photo and at the time, Holly only had the one book. Now, she has 3 to her name.

The next signing was at a B&N, as a charity even for my childrens' school. We didn't sell as much, but we had a great time and we included three additional authors. Holly and I learned that we had a knack for planning multi-author events.

In April of 2014, Holly and I worked together again, creating another multi-author event in coordination with World Book Night. There we were, hobnobbing with local celebs and we had the best time.

Little did I know that would be the last time I'd see Holly.

She lost her fight with pancreatic cancer. A hard fight and I couldn't be more humbled or in aww of her. I'm thankful she was my friend. I'm proud I could call her a fellow author.

But I'm equally, if not more, saddened that the world lost a great woman. A loving mom. A woman who was crazy about her husband.

A friend.

Thank you, Holly, for allowing me into your world and I take peace knowing that you are not in pain any longer. You don't have to be strong. You are free to watch over us, make fun of us, and keep us safe. And enjoy all the chocolate you want!