Something new!

author 100 x 100     Well, lots of somethings new around here.

First and foremost: a baby girl will be added to my family. We’re so excited to welcome her. My #1son is about to jump out of his skin.

Second: a new book released–Sommerville days. Many of you know my love for stories with fun and sassy heroines. I’ve collected three together and wrapped them in an awesome cover. Here you go:

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Don’t you want to find a hammock under a shade tree with a tall cool drink (like almond tea) and a great book? Here’s a bit about Sommerville days:

Love blossoms in the small town of Sommerville in these heartwarming tales, filled with fun and forever possibilities.

Store Wars: The competition is heating up when Janie’s old flame returns to town and is running his family’s store. Could following dreams break her heart?

Raving Beauty: What if the love of your life was in front of you all along?

San Diego or Bust: When a young woman plans a romantic getaway with her boyfriend, disaster strikes—is her Mr. Right the right Mr. Right?

(My sister told me the end of “Raving Beauty” made her cry. I had never heard this about my work before because I write funny. And there are funny things inside, too.)

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And lastly: Handsome and I will be on vacation. I can’t wait. The heat is pretty strong after our rainy and cool Spring. Hopefully, we can dodge some of those oppressive days.

Happy Summer!

asteriks 2

Almond Tea-Mix together:   3 tablespoons instant iced tea powder
1/4 cup white sugar     2 cups boiling water    Add 1 (12 oz.) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate     1 tablespoon vanilla extract    1 tablespoon almond extract    Add 4 cups of cold water. Stir and pour over ice. Totally addictive.

 

 

 

Blooming Like Crazy!

Spring began in my neighborhood in February, starting with the flowering quince. When we moved in this house over twenty years ago, I had no idea the large bush in the front bed was a flowering quince. Then Winter came and the shrub turned to sticks. But when Spring came, gorgeous salmon-colored flowers appeared along with the tiniest bees.

hbw quince close up

Sure, we can get a cold snap and the blossoms turn an ugly brown. However, most of the time, they last. It is truly a pleasure to sit at my desk which overlooks the front yard and see the signs of Spring appear.

Then more exciting things happen. Like the grass slowly but surely sprouts green. The red oak leaves press forward and in a gentle Spring breeze, wave gently.

Behind my garage is a small bed which leads to the backyard. After we renovated, I planted antique roses. The middle one had devil thorns and never thrived. The other two flanking it produce tiny flowers–one white and one is yellow. Several of the flowers  Rose yellow

Years ago, Handsome and I cruised the Rhine River. I was taken with the different flowers I saw there. When I returned home and showed off my pictures, I realized most were of flowers.

Flowers give me pleasure. They are soft, beautiful colors, sometimes scented. A bit of beauty, like the one I found in a sidewalk crack, in unexpected places.

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Maybe the stories in Just Desserts and other stories are beautiful or beautifully written; however, I like to think they’re fun, too. And life needs fun.

Love blossoms in the small town of Sommerville in these heartwarming, “cute meet” tales, filled with fun and forever possibilities.

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The Great Outdoors

 

…is the view right outside my office window. Why is that important?

 

My desk where I play What if??? is adjacent to a large window, and when stuck, I take a look outside. Invariably, I’m inspired by the massive red oak trees in my front yard, the leaves changing from dark green to red orange and back. Or the large variety of cars streaming past my house, some speeding more than others.  Occasionally, the emergency vehicles with blaring sirens race to help someone. I spy colorful blooms in the flower beds which tell of Spring’s arrival and make me happy. quince 2

 

So why is The Great Outdoors important?

 

Many times, I’ve incorporated the scenery I see outside my window in my writing because being able to describe those things makes my work more authentic. And hopefully, a reader will be so engrossed, he/she is transported into the world I created and imagining him/herself where the action is. What the characters look like. What the weather is like. What people wear. What cars they drive. And et cetera.

 

Right now,  spring is creeping in. I can see the lacey white blossoms of the Bradford pear trees have pushed out. My quince with flowers in shades of salmon have already bloomed, leaving only the late stragglers, and tiny tiny bees buzzing from blossom to blossom searching for pollen. The grass is dry chaff. The gloomy gray sky makes me want to curl on the comfy sofa with a good book and my favorite beverage and snack. snoopy reading

asteriks 2

 

Near my home are restaurants and shops I frequent. In the Hattie Cooks mysteries, I have incorporated  a family-owned Italian restaurant similar to the one Handsome and I have frequented. The interior oozes Italian – the faux finished walls from which hang pictures of the Italian countryside, the Frank Sinatra-Tony Bennett-Dean Martin tunes, the ambiance created by the low lights—all perfect for Detective Allan Wellborn to seduce Hattie in Temporarily Out Of Luck. Here’s a sample:

 

Hunger overruled anger. I folded my hand around his and walked with him to our favorite Italian restaurant. He held the glass entry door wide and let me pass through first. My senses were overpowered by the greatest scents ever—spicy garlic, sweet tomato, yeasty bread, and sharp onions.

 

I loved Mama & Papas Italian Restaurant, a place my parents had brought Tracey and me to since elementary school. The same Tuscan prints decorated the golden faux-finished walls. The same Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra tunes oozed from the sound system. I breathed in deeply then looked at Allan, feeling gratitude. “Nirvana.”

 

               The corners of his eyes crinkled. “Forgiven?”

 

What’s outside your window?

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Have you read very short stories? In very shorts, description is cut to the bare minimum, one choice word or two, to convey the really important things we need to know.  Find out in Just Desserts…and other stories:

 

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The Big Switch

I began my writing career with my first humorous romantic mystery, Temporarily Employed. I wrote and wrote on it, adding and editing over several weeks before I told friends and eventually, Handsome. Handsome was floored.

I worked on that book for a long time, like maybe three years. We weren’t agreeing any more and the editors and agents were passing on it even though it placed in a writing contest.

My friend in my local RWA chapter and I agreed to begin critiquing each other’s work. She kicked off our relationship by introducing me to very short stories. As I read them, a rhythm began in my head and I determined I could write my own story and did!
I was obsessed and churned out story after story after story, eventually culminating with thirty-two short stories. Some are little, like 1,000 words. Some reach over 15,000 words.
Over the years, I put out three little collections. Now, I’ve combined the little collections plus two new very shorts into a new anthology, Just Desserts.
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Here’s a bit: Love blossoms in the small town of Sommerville in these heart-warming and very short and sweet tales, filled with fun and forever possibilities. Included are:
Bug Stuff ~ An accountant unites with his co-worker to exterminate a pesky adversary.
Just Desserts ~ A political dinner gone disastrous brings together a reluctant attendee and her handsome seat-mate.
With This Ring ~ When a wife forgets the all-important little black dress, the evening turns into something utterly unforgettable.
Good Girls Finish First ~ When men friends are challenged to fix breakfast if they lose a race, one woman leads the pack and discovers finishing first can lead to romance.
Ouch ~ Who knew a yoga class would be so dangerous…and romantic?
Man Theory ~ When a geeky co-worker espouses his theory on love, a friend risks her heart.
Tommy and the Teacher ~ A young boy steals from the school’s book fair causing interesting possibilities to arise.
Absolutely Positively Lost ~ Helping a map-challenged young man find his way is truly serendipitous.
The Little Birdie Who ~ A new town, a new friend, a new beginning. Who would have thought a little bird could bring two people together?
Check Her Out ~ It’s a sticky situation, especially between a store manager and Auntie Caren when her nephew must pay for the gum he stole.
This Is Not Working ~ One of those days at a new job when nothing is going right, and then the boss steps in.

Other writers have said to me, “I can’t write short.” I just laugh because I have a hard time writing long. I have lots of ideas for short stories and can write them a lot faster than a book. And I love my books!

Interested in quick reads? Preorder Just Desserts at: Amazon   Nook