Terrible at Keeping Secrets

I don’t really have a BIG secret. However, this one is important to me (and hopefully, you!).

Last year, I decided on two new writing projects. Oh my, how the work tied me in knots. I was still working on my third romantic comedy mystery.  I’ve plowed through and turned it in. I’m working on those edits now.

In July, I gathered three short stories into a collection entitled Sommerville days. All of my stories take place in Sommerville. Or the characters reside in Sommerville. I updated and fixed, had a great cover made–voila! I’m thrilled those are available.

Then I started working on Sommerville holidays. Over the years, I’ve written many Christmas/holiday stories. I went back to the cover designer and we worked on this:

Sommerville Holidays Ebook Cover 1600x2400

Here’s a bit about the stories:

Hopes and wishes and holiday kisses…Sommerville holidays.

Holiday Disaster: Days before Christmas, a librarian experiences plumbing issues and a Mr. Maintenance Man who isn’t nearly as jolly as Santa Claus.

The Littlest Angel: Two people. One ornament for the tree. Can a twosome find common ground and discover the true meaning of Christmas?

Holiday Handbag Extravaganza: Christmas Countdown is on! A hunk-a-licious customer pesters a boutique owner to locate a vintage handbag for his mother. Too bad the wedge between them is his sister, the meanest girl in town.

THREE WEEKS TO GO! Stay tuned here, on Amazon, or at my website  for

Sommerville holidays-live!

Crash, Bang!

author 100 x 100   I love computers. I’m betting you do too.

I hate computer “problems.” I’m betting you do too.

Last year, my 1 ½ year old laptop—a first for me—crashed. Like I turned it on, and nothing happened crash. I panicked. My books! My stories! My life!!!

computer-smile[1]
I had a warranty on this laptop. I don’t buy warranties and a nice tech man put a new solid-state hard drive in. I sent the old hard drive off to have material retrieved (which, by the way, cost more to have done than the actual computer). Soon I was back in business.
But in the back of my head was “when is this going to happen again?”
Last week, my computer program was corrupted. I had everything saved, all was wiped, and restored. I had to spend several hours again to bring it up to speed.
Again, my brain went to the dark side— “when is this going to happen again?”
One week later, my laptop wasn’t running well. I determined to have the security software company run its scans. I’d paid for this premium service after the crash and could use as much as I wanted. Fortunately, what they found was no big deal (except in my head) and no virus had attacked it.
I’m still having thoughts of “when is this going to happen again?”
I don’t like living like that. Maybe that’s normal for laptop people. I’m not sure. I don’t watch movies, TV stuff, or do games. I write and buy handbags. So why me?
After a huge discussion with Handsome, I decided to buy a new laptop, but what kind?
question mark black So, I’m appealing to you and your computer knowledge…what kind of laptop do you like?

 

Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi

No problems here! Just lots and lots of laughs and happy every afters! “Some had me laughing out loud and others had me saying…awww. Quick little stories and a great way to escape from the stress of the day and just sit back and enjoy. Each story shows how two people meet. Sunshine, humor and heart all rolled into one enjoyable book.”

Find yours at:

Amazon    Amazon print Nook Other vendors

 

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.

Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi

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.

Find yours at: Vendor

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?

Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi

 

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:

 

Amazon ebook     Amazon PB    B&N     Other Vendors

 

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Writing vs. Life

Do you set goals? For your job? For writing? For health?

Goals

Well, I have done that for many years. In the past I wrote about strategies to help with goal setting and carrying out the actions to meet those goals for this blog.

Those of you have publishers get your writing goals set by them. Those of us who are Indie Published, set our own goals. Or maybe you don’t. 😊 I’ve always had a date I was shooting for when I planned to release a book. (I pretty much need to have a deadline on almost anything I want to be sure to do—otherwise it just doesn’t get done.)

For the last several years I’ve published one book a year. Not nearly as many as some of you. Perhaps not as often as my readers would like either, but that schedule has worked for me. The goal for 2018 was to release Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL. I started writing it last year, but really struggled with the story.

Lone Star Love 200x300

Then I put it away to write the short story, “the Colonel & Her Major” for my writing chapter’s anthology in honor of our 35th Anniversary. Now it was only a 3500-word short story, but I’d never written a short story before. I discovered it had to be a romance and not a romantic suspense, which I write, because I couldn’t work the suspense into the limited words. So besides never writing a short story before, I’d never written a story with only romance before. So, it took a lot longer than you’d think for such a short piece. I just barely made the deadline. But I did make that deadline. 😊

Anyway, all of that pushed the book into the beginning of this year. The story is set in Wichita Falls, TX, where my husband and I went to college and where we have family living. One of our visits in the spring helped me with the setting. I plugged away until I now have about 35 thousand words. I know. Nothing on a 70-80 K book.

Then we got into the situation where we were selling our 75-year-old church building and buying a new (to us) one. Bob was the lead lawyer on this project and it’s almost complete. We are Presbyterians, and we operate from committees. We have a Session that’s the governing board, on which I sit, and then lots of committees. Well, I’ve taken on the role of the chair of the Relocation Central Commission. We have six committees working on various aspects of the move. It will take a lot of time, but it’s such important work, and I have the skills to do this job. Not everyone does.

IMG_5437 Current church, built for 1500 membership. Like so many main-line churches, our numbers have dropped to about 400.

That is not to say I’m doing this on my own. We have an awesome group on the central commission and people jumped at the chance to serve on the six committees. But I’ve taught meeting leading and chaired or been president of lots of different groups and organizations over the years. This process started several year ago when out of the blue a development company approached us saying they wanted to buy the building. Thus, began five years of wandering in the desert so to speak as deal after deal fell through. At any rate we’re a go now and have about three to four months of intensive work to make the move happen.

IMG_7683 Inside of new facility, a bit of a fixer-upper. 🙂

I gave myself permission to move the deadline for the release of ACT OF SURVIVAL from early fall to late December to even maybe early next year. I write best when I have big chunks of time to dig in. That just didn’t seem like it would happen over the next several months. I will eventually finish writing this book, get it edited, formatted and released. But likely it won’t be in 2018.

The three books in the series are:

IMG_6903

Have you ever had to push your deadlines? How do you feel about doing that? What kinds of things made you push the deadline? As a reader, how important is seeing a book from your favorite author yearly or more often? Love to hear from you.

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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.
Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi

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