Self-care. What if…

by Kathryn Jane

Something we all, yep ALL, need to pay attention to no matter what our circumstances, is self-care.

We live in a world brimming with information, watching bad news from around the world, and being exposed to a great deal of negativity minute by minute. In some ways this is good as we can see that in the grand scheme of things, a roof over our heads and food on our tables puts us among the fortunate.

Still, there is pressure. Pressure to be the best we can be at our jobs, and within our families. Employers and family need us, depend on us in every possible way. We can’t let them down. But apparently, we are letting ourselves down.

We stay late at work without extra pay, we stay up long past bedtime doing laundry, and we get up earlier than the rest so we can prep lunches. We eat the burnt toast, the stale crust, and the smallest portion of desert.

We are super-women, and we shine at it.

 

Until.

Until the tank is suddenly empty and we don’t know how it happened.

Until we find ourselves at the wrong place to pick up a kid, in the wrong chat group to vent about our boss, or getting pulled over for speeding through a playground zone—because our thoughts were somewhere else.

Until we’re tossing and turning at three in the morning unable to shut our minds down so we can sleep.

Time for some self care.

Sure, right, okay, but how the heck can we combat the burnout if we can’t give up any of our responsibilities?

Self … care.

Which means?

Many things.

Self-care can be getting a massage once a month, , stopping for an ice-cream, dancing to a favorite song, or taking ten minutes every day to just sit in the garden and do nothing.

Or it can be as simple and silly as a game I started for myself the other day.

What if.

What if a genie popped out of a bottle and granted me one very specific wish which was:

You have up to 3 days to enjoy a single experience as long as it is not about meeting or talking to someone… as part of the wish, you will be granted whatever physical ability you will need.

Here’s a list of ideas I built for myself in about ten minutes.

  • Ride in the Kentucky Derby or the Grand National
  • Go on an African safari
  • Swim with whales
  • Interact with lions or tigers in their natural habitat
  • Attend a Streisand concert
  • Hike Machu Picchu
  • Attend the Edinburgh Tattoo

 

And this is a list I built while trying to guess what my friends would choose:

  • A Broadway show
  • A Paris fashion show
  • Climb Mount Everest
  • A Vegas show
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Pyramids
  • Superbowl
  • Olympics
  • Ski the Alps
  • A French Chateau
  • A Scottish Castle
  • Desert Island
  • Great Barrier Reef

So… how about you? Join in my little self-care game and share what you might choose if my genie granted you the same wish.


Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the briny scent of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

Celebrating a Milestone- Anniversary Edition #amwriting #Romance @jacqbiggar

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Celebrating a Milestone

Five years ago, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and do something about it. You see, I’d recently moved away from home and was lost and lonely.

But, I had a dream.

One I’d carried in the back of my mind for years. I wanted to write a book. Deciding the genre was the easy part. Romance. I was an avid reader of romance novels. They took me to faraway places, fed my spirit and thrilled my heart.

Yep, romance it was.

Okay, now what?

I had a computer that I used for my bookkeeping, but had no idea how to use it as a writing tool. I needed to learn though, my lefty handwriting was atrocious- that wouldn’t work.

I searched online and found RWA® Romance Writers of America, a group of thousands geared toward helping authors better their craft. I also managed to find a local writing group and gathered up the courage to go to one of their meetings where I immediately felt at home. I joined both and began to take classes to learn the art.

It took time (I’m still a work-in-progress) but finally, FINALLY I published my first book in September of 2014.

Pride.

I could barely contain the excitement blooming in my chest to see a book with MY name on it for sale. But then came the realization. People were going to read it. My heart and soul on those pages and they were all out there– I felt sick.

The reviews trickled in, some good, some not so much, but the addiction was born. I loved to write!

This week I’m celebrating that momentous moment by sharing my first book with you- free!

Jan 11-15

Click the picture to go to Amazon

Excerpt

Nick jogged through the early morning streets, Jake trotting by his side, enjoying the peace and quiet before the town woke for the day. Little songbirds greeted him as he passed a cedar hedge on his way to the park. The air was fresh and cool at this hour. He was glad his strength had returned, his breathing even and stride long. It’d been an uphill battle. For a while after the ambush he’d shut down. Closed everyone out. He wished now he’d made it his business to keep in touch with all his old teammates. The faint sounds of a dog’s bark had Nick looking down at Jake, loping alongside. He’d healed up well, and only flinched at sudden loud noises these days. His hip had taken the brunt of the damage. When the explosion had thrown them, Nick worried he’d need to put him down, but he’d pulled through. Tough mutt.

After his run, he would head over to Sara’s and have a look at those files, see what they were looking at here. Nick had a bad feeling that Tommy boy was into some heavy shit. They needed to solve that first, before there could be a chance for him and Sara.

A sudden sharp pain stabbed him behind the eyes, causing him to falter. Jake whined, sensing his distress. Squinting through slit eyes he spotted a nearby bench, and slumped onto the seat. He pushed a shaky hand through his hair, and then using his thumb and middle finger squeezed in towards his nose, relieving the pressure. “It’s okay, boy. I’m fine. Let’s just take a little break, hmm.” The doctor had explained in excruciating detail while he lay in that hospital in Germany, how lucky he was. The explosion had hit him and sent him flying right up against the stone wall of a nearby house. Shrapnel had gouged a deep line on his forehead, right above his old bullet wound. A centimeter farther to the left and it would have been lights out, of the forever kind. Unfortunately, it’d taken his short-term memory away from him. He’d been told it would come back in dribbles, or one big slam––or maybe not ever. Nice. It angered him that he couldn’t break through the fog to discover the truth of what happened to him and his team. There was something there he could feel it.

He supposed he should be grateful he could remember his childhood, though those memories he could have lived without. Years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of his old man had sent him down nothing but a path of trouble during his high school years. Alcohol, substance abuse, vagrancy, you name it he tried it. His motto had been if you’re not living on the edge, you’re just taking up space.

Then he’d met Kendra in one of the few classes he’d decided to show up for and they’d fallen in love. She’d been the only child of lawyer parents, sweet and innocent. The odds had gone against him when they’d had unprotected sex on a hot summer’s night. She’d gotten pregnant. At least he’d done the right thing and proposed. And though her parents of course hated him, they agreed the marriage should take place. Maybe if they’d stopped it, or if he’d just walked away, Kendra and his son would still be alive today.

They’d been too young, and in the end, it tore them apart. He couldn’t even recall what the fight had been about––no doubt his lack of a ‘respectable’ job. He’d been working at a local garage at the time––all he did remember was getting up to answer the door, only to see two uniforms on the other side. Devastated, blaming himself, he spent the next couple of months shit-faced drunk. Coming out of an alcohol-induced daze one day he saw a poster for enlisting in the marines. Not caring much whether he lived or died at that point, he’d signed up. They sent him to Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, where he met Jake. They’d been inseparable ever since.

The searing pressure eased enough for him to open his eyes. Jake sat with his head cocked to the side, his ears laid back in commiseration. Nick nudged him with his knee and gave his sides a good hard rub, Jake groaning his thanks. “Okay, big guy, what do you say to finishing our run?” He’d learned a long time ago that pushing through the pain was often the best medicine.

He had that in common with Sara. She’d gone through both a physical and a mental trauma that would have crushed most. She was doing great, but he bet a violation like that was something from which no woman ever fully recovered.

It humbled him that she had trusted him enough to allow him to make love to her last night. Nick would never hurt a hair on her head, but there was no real way for her to be sure of that. He hoped and prayed no one would ever crush her again, and swore to do everything in his power to make sure of that, starting with Sheridan. If those files contained half of what Sara had intimated they did, he’d need some help. Checking to make sure no one was around, he pulled his cell out of his sweats and made the call.

“Hey, Chief, how are you? It’s Nick, Nickolaus Kelley. Long time, sir, too long. Shit, I’ve missed the team. How’s the whizz kid?” A big grin split his face as he listened to Frank describing Jared’s latest and greatest.

“No kidding, trust Martin to take the term, Land of opportunity, to a whole new level, right?” He laughed. Man, it was good to talk to the chief again. Why did people always let the important ones in their lives fall to the wayside, while they went about the business of life?

He could well believe Jared had almost shut down the strip; the man was scary good with electronics. “I understand that you’re out of the loop these days, sir, but I was hoping I could ask you, and Jared if he’s still with you, for a helping hand. I have a situation here and could really use your input.”

Relief coursed through his veins at the quick response to his plea. “I’ll tell you all about it when you arrive. Tomorrow then, and thanks—Frank.”

go go go STOP!

by Kathryn Jane

Just when I thought I had everything under control…life happened.

I got so sick with the flu that I could barely speak or make the twenty-foot trek to the bathroom alone.

Did I mention I NEVER get sick? Yeah, well, I guess I can’t say that anymore. On day five, I managed a 3 minute shower, and a whole cup of soup (in two sittings).

Sucks.

But here’s the thing,

I was apparently on the list for wakeup calls. Running around as though I was invincible, taking on project after project, putting in eighteen hours at the computer, seven days a week. I thought I was in control… of everything!

Today when the haze of illness began to lift and I was simply sitting still, doing NOTHING, it became very clear. I had been spiraling out of control for several months.

I suppose it began to escalate in September with my conference season. Each one I attended sent me home more energized, more excited, and filled with more ideas.

I was ready to tackle whatever came my way—with the tiny cheerleaders in my head thrusting their scrawny arms skyward to shake their tinsel pompoms and egg me on…

I’ve published three new books since August and have a forth set to publish soon. I’ve painted dozens and dozens of rocks for my fundraising auctions as well as many private commissions, and others just because. Blogs have been written, and several hundred authors guided through my online or in-person workshops.

None of this feels like work, because of the tiny cheerleaders… but…

I sailed past my sixtieth birthday a few years ago, I’m skinny. And apparently, I don’t have unlimited resources.

Microscopic critters somehow gained access to my bloodstream and proved that.

Knocked me down good and hard, and with no extra meat on my bones, not eating for days meant resources got seriously depleted very quickly.

Tuesday morning I called my friend to cancel a riding date, because even though I only had a sore throat, and felt great, I didn’t want to share germs if this was more than an allergy issue.

Four hours later I could barely stand. Six hours later, I was flat on my back wishing I was dead.

I’ll spare you the gorey details but suffice to say, I had the stuffing knocked out of me.

And today, when I looked for the positive, I realized I’d forgotten to allow myself time to relax. Sure there were the lovely rides in the park, and the wonderful visits with the feral cats, but these were worked into very tight time slots which took a great deal of the good away from them.

Another crazy thing that happened on Tuesday morning was a message from my editor. She had a computer melt down, and was going to have trouble making deadline. I responded blithely with, “Don’t worry. The universe must have a plan for this. We’ll just ride it out.”

Ouch, Universe.

Talk about a brick upside the head.

I get it.

My wellbeing is more important than the date a book is ready for release. Yes, some people will be disappointed, and some sales might be missed, but that’s life, right? I could no more work on getting the book up and ready next week than fly right now, so CATS #5 was obviously not meant to be released in print form before Christmas. Got it.

Instead, as soon as I’m able I’ll work on painting the rocks already commissioned, and if the dates get tight, I’ll send them by courier to make sure they reach their destinations on time. With the current state of my health, that’s the best I can do. And I’m good with that. I hope everyone else is too.

While I get back on my feet, I’m going to remember to stop and smell the coffee and enjoy the man in my house who has been such an exceptional caregiver this week.

And I’m going to give myself the gift of time every single day to do absolutely nothing, for an hour or two.

Wish me luck!

For anyone interested in how this pans out, or wanting to know more about me and my books and stuff, here’s a link to my website  kathrynjane.com

Have you lost your mind?

by Kathryn Jane

I keep asking myself this question.

Why?

Because I’ve been told many, many times that a writer should always stick to one genre, yet in the span of just a few months I’m releasing four books, in three different genres.

Why?

Because I write what I want to write. What I feel. I don’t write to the market. That is, I don’t write a book based on how well that particular genre is selling, or because that “subject” is hot right now.

Nope.

Can’t do it.

I have always written for the sheer joy of it, and now, even though I have a following of readers who love my Romantic Suspense series–readers begging for the next book–I still follow my heart and write for the joy.

Somehow, that seems to work, and my readers are happy with my choices, so it’s a win for all of us.

How do I choose what will give me joy?

I don’t choose. Stories show up in my head as an opening scene and simply grow from there. Sometimes the scene is simple, sometimes complex, but they are always interesting.

MISSING, came to me as the simple, crystal clear moment when a mountain climber pops his head up over a ledge and comes face to face with a mamma bear and her two cubs…

 

DIAMONDS TO DIE FOR, began with two people sitting on a bench in front of a barn full of racehorses. It was early evening and all was peaceful, quiet but for the sounds of contented horses chewing hay, rustling about in their straw…

 

CALLISTA GOES COUNTRY began with a funny scene I can’t resist sharing with you.

“Get off!”

Under normal circumstances, Callista Fontaine was mild-mannered, adjusted easily to whatever came her way, frequently laughed at herself, and only once in a blue moon raised her voice.

But normal was gone and her life in the city but a distant memory. Here she sat—at the butt crack of dawn—doing something she had never in a million years dreamed of doing.

Milking a goat.

And the baby goat, which she actually—God help her—delivered into the world only a few days earlier, was dancing a jig on her hunched back while nibbling on the tendrils of hair sticking out from under her hat.

 

CATS: A Heartwarming Collection of Furry Tales, Volume #5  began here:

Rain dripped from the edge of the overhang, barely missing Eddie where he was hunkered down, waiting out the storm.

He didn’t like storms, and really didn’t like being alone while thunder rolled and rain pelted from the sky.

Water was beginning to cover the ground and creep up toward him, making him feel like he would soon be sitting in a puddle.

He should have left when the other cats did.

 

In total, two Romantic Suspense, one Contemporary Romance, and one Collection of Short Stories.

Have I lost my mind?

Nope.

And better still? I have a new opening scene tugging at me, and although I think it will be a mystery, I won’t know for sure until my fingers hit the keys and words become sentences…

Want to check out more books and other stuff I’m doing these days?  (Yes, I’ve just added more author services to my list, and I’m having great fun helping out my fellow writers.) Pop on over to my website: https://kathrynjane.com/

 

 

 

Refusing to get my knickers in a knot!

by Kathryn Jane

Lately I am rushing, scurrying, and barely on the brink of being on time.

Why?  Oh, that answer is simple. Because I’m a procrastinator and tend to overbook myself. So here I am, a day late with my blog post, and this time it is because I’ve been fighting to get my latest book published.

I had a deadline to upload to Amazon. Midnight on Sunday. And when I arrived home from doing a live event, skidded in the door and fired up the computer at 6pm, I got a nasty little message box that informed me I could not upload because the account was locked for pre-order.

What? No!

I still had six hours!

So the messaging began. And all the Kindle Direct Publishing reps who have responded insist that I can now upload, but nope, when I push the appropriate buttons I get this

So…… What to do?  Panic? Scream? Stomp my feet?

Nope.

There is nothing constructive I can do but wait and work with the system. And promote book sales through the other channels. Yes, the book is now live with Apple, Nook, and Kobo, so Yay!

What book you say?

The first book of a fabulous new Shared World project called Copper Mills.

These are novellas by a whole bunch of different authors all writing about the same quaint town in Arizona. Releasing one a week for the next few months, mine, Callista Goes Country, is up first. Second and third are, Only this Tuesday by Melissa Keir, and Finding Her Way, by Deb Julienne.

   

Lisa Huffman is one of the authors in the group and is designing all the amazing covers for us, too!

So.

Getting back to my dilemma.

What about the release date and plans for Callista?

No problem.

The book is up and available live on three sites, APPLE ,  NOOK,  and KOBO, AND still as a preorder at the other. Here’s a little bit about the story you’ll get when you click on one of the links.

Callista Goes Country

Falling in love was not on the agenda.
Advertising executive Callista Fontaine has never backed down from a challenge and isn’t about to give in now. Taking over the operation of a small farm while her sister recovers from a spinal cord injury seems like the right thing to do, until she comes face to face with a dozen or so very smart goats, and a henhouse filled with more attitude than eggs.
Physiotherapist, Kevin Baker prides himself on getting his patients back up and running—literally—and is more than comfortable with being the guy everyone looks to for help. But the woman he most wants to impress doesn’t want or need his assistance and he’s challenged to find a way into her heart.
When a modern day damsel doesn’t need a knight in shining armor… Will love still work if they’re standing shoulder to shoulder? And what kind of magic will it take to keep her from going back to the city?

APPLE | NOOK | KOBO |

preorder AMAZON

 


Author Kathryn Jane writes the kind of stories she loves to read—fast-paced, and crammed full of love, life, laughter, and suspense. To find out more about her eclectic background, kindness projects and her wacky world filled with painting and writing projects slide on over to her website and check out the photos.

Would A Real Man Say That?

by Kathryn Jane

Good question.

I am a woman, and therefore, as enlightened as I like to think I am, I still have a female point of view…which can sometimes be annoyingly skewed.

As a writer, I am often writing in a male point of view and like to think I do a damned good job of it because throughout my life I have worked side by side with many men, and have a decent understanding of how the male mind operates. Or so I thought.

But here’s the thing.

Readers constantly say they love how real, how authentic my male characters are. But are they?  Or do I follow the myth of what women generally believe? Perhaps the men I create are the kind we would like to have in our lives.

The question then becomes, does it matter? Fiction is fiction after all, and creating characters a reader can love and relate to is what matters, right? Right!

But every once in a while I feel a need to validate my hero’s thoughts and actions and that’s when I do the scary thing. I ask a man. A real live, breathing male what he would have done in the same situation. What his thoughts might have been.

Sometimes I get the answer I want. Sometimes I don’t. But I always get something I can add to my understanding of the male mind, and often I get an answer that makes me laugh.

My hubby is my go-to guy for these questions because he’s one of those men who is totally stumped by a female perspective, which means I never get an answer tempered to fit the question.

Just now I did a test, for the fun of the blog.  I asked him what color these scarves were. He said one was blue and the other was red. I see turquoise, and a reddish orange pattern on apricot which creates and overall burnt orange, but his male mind sees only the straightforward, none of the nuance.

Last week I had an important question for him. I came out of my writing cave and leaned on the door jamb. “Question,” I said, and he instantly gave me his attention because although he doesn’t read my books, he’s right into my writing and loves to help.

Me: “The hero has spent months trying to track down the woman he loves and finally finds her far from home, down and out, bone thin, and living on the streets. When he gets her to the safety of a hotel room, will he jump her bones?”  (I asked this because it happened sort of like a celebration in the first draft of the story, but when I was editing it seemed insensitive.)

Hubby: “Is she asking for it or is he?”

Geeze, I hadn’t thought of that. Okay, I roll with it.

Me: “She wants it, but she’s skinny and looking pretty rough. Not attractive at all.”

Hubby: “He won’t say no.”

Me: “If she doesn’t want/ask/push for sex?”

Hubby: “He’ll look after her first. Wait until she does.”

And that, my friends, changed an entire scene in the book, and made it better. Much, much better! I realised that the heroine was going to want sex for validation of their relationship, to feel connected again, and that was yet another flaw in her I could explore.

It also added another facet to Jason’s personality. He was already a nurturing kind of man, but now he became aware of Kate’s need to use sex as…  LOL…  I’ll stop here and just say the title of the book is DIAMONDS TO DIE FOR, and it will be out at the end of September.

 

Meantime, MISSING—Broughton and Alexandra’s story is coming out in less than a month and is available for pre-order now.

Caleb Broughton is a man’s man, and the last thing he needs is a greener-than-grass new partner—especially a woman he’s been avoiding for months. But when a plane suddenly vanishes, nothing else matters.

Grab this exciting sequel to Dance With Me, now!

AMAZON  | APPLE & NOOK

 


Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the smell of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com

 

 

Writing Process- as Individual as a You Are

by Veronica Forand

Quantity over quality. That is the debate. To write a million words or several brilliant words.

In this market, even the top authors who had been getting by with one book a year are feeling the cry of their readers for more. Some writers have mastered the art of writing fast. Their brains are wired to spew words onto the page with relative ease, or they have the discipline to sit their asses in their chairs for long stretches of time and meet their wordcount goals nearly every day. And the results are solid, and in some cases great.

Then there is me.

I can not spew. I obsess, cross-out, obsess some more, and then somewhere in the middle of the night gain inspiration and type three thousand words in one sitting. The next day, instead of forging forward, I obsess over the words I wrote and usually re-write them. My pace on a good week produces two thousand words per day. On bad weeks, about two hundred words. Overall, I need three months to create something I want my name on. For some, that schedule seems fast. For others, I’m driving in the slow lane. It doesn’t matter. That is my method. It may evolve over time, but for now. I’m content with that pace.

Last year, all writing stopped while I dealt with life issues. It left me with four weeks to draft an 80,000 word novel. I did it. I’m a total people pleaser and wouldn’t have missed the deadline for pretty much anything. The result? The worst book I ever wrote. As a thriller writer, logic needs to be immaculate in my books. This book, however, didn’t just defy logic, it mocked it. The result was confusing, and the language was basic, as there was no time to add complexity. Jane didn’t heave open the door, punching a perfect circle into the drywall from the doorknob. Jane opened the door.

The problem was not only that the story lost flavor and heart, but I had stopped enjoying the process when I rushed. I love spending an afternoon playing with words, placing the perfect verb in a sentence or rephrasing something that sounds ordinary and adding something special to it. A unique metaphor or one of those fancy literary devices I can never pronounce.

After a well-deserved rejection by my editor, I tried to fix the book with two rushed rewrites neither of which were much better than the original because again, I didn’t spend time on creativity and art. In fact, writing had become such a chore, that impatience was woven into my words. Readers, however, are adept at knowing when an author writes with heart, and when they aren’t.

My goal is to never create a story that lacks my passion for the story again, even if that means writing a few fewer books. I spent months fixing my story. The same characters are more fully developed and the plot is complex and intriguing. It’s a book I’m proud to send out into the world.

So the moral of the story? Try different methods, but when the story begins to suffer, go back to your own process, no matter how slow or crazy it may seem to others. Stories need heart and whatever your process, never lose that one key ingredient.

 

Veronica Forand … romantic  thrillers to keep you up at night.

 

Blogging- Why all #Writers should be Using this #Free Venue #Writertips #RSsos @jacqbiggar

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To blog or not to blog; I hear this question often. There are many demands on a writer’s time. Most of us have families, day jobs, pets, houses to clean, yards to maintain, the list goes on and on, so how are we supposed to keep up a regular blog as well?

And why should we?

 

 

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I get it, I really do.

But, on the other hand, as authors we want to be recognized, right? There’s no sense (other than personal satisfaction) to waste our precious time writing those stories if we aren’t going to do our best to get noticed.

 

WordPress Now Powers 26% of the Web

The most recent stats are showing that since March 2016, WordPress is actually powering 26.4% of the Web, and it’s on the rise. It is still by far the most used CMS, with 59.4% market share. Also interestingly on a daily basis there are over 500 sites being created on WordPress.

https://managewp.com/blog/statistics-about-wordpress-usage

 

 

As you can see, these numbers are already a couple of years old, but it’s safe to say blogging is a crucial– and often under-utilized– tool in marketing our product.

One of the best things about blogging– it’s free!

Just think, all those users out there, all you need to do is provide them with content.

 

 

In this post, Nicholas Rossis shares a graphic made by Websitebuilder on the phenomenal growth in the blogging world.

18.7 million blogs on WordPress alone! That’s a lot of people and possible eyes on your books. (You have your blog connected to your website with a listing of your books, right?)

 

“But what am I going to say?” you ask.

Well, that’s the beauty of it, your blog, your rules. 🙂

 

 

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The biggest thing is that you’re going to make connections around the world. And if those people like what you have to say, chances are, they’ll check out your books, mention you to their workmates, their friends and family.

See?

All that because you took the time to #blog.

Come on, what are you waiting for? Let’s get connected!

 

Speaking of spreading the word, here’s some shameless self-promotion on two new releases I have coming in the next few weeks. Shares appreciated 🙂

 

 

WTHCoverBiggar

Available 01.30.18

 

What happens when two of Tidal Falls’ most beloved citizens have second thoughts just before they get married?

Jared Martin can’t wait to tie the knot with the woman of his dreams and become a real father to his son, Chris.

Annie Campbell is finally going to marry the man she’s loved for most of her adult life and she couldn’t be more excited–and anxious.

An unforeseen event will test their devotion to each other and bring the entire town in on the action. Will Jared and Annie’s love stand the test, or is their relationship doomed?

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0788BB53H

International: https://books2read.com/WithThisHeart

Add to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37830620-with-this-heart

 

Excerpt

She yanked the door open and then jumped backward with a shriek as a brown and white shape hurtled through the gap and stumbled in the drive.

“Dad, save Bambi,” Chris cried from inside the cab.

“What was that?” Annie whispered, hands clenched to her chest.

Jared was torn between taking her into his arms or checking on the injured animal for his son. A further cry from Chris as he scrambled to get out of the pickup cemented his decision. He sent a quick glance Annie’s way before hurrying to kneel beside the fawn and stop its frantic movements. “Son, bring that blanket with you. His scent is on it now, it may reassure him some.”

“Is he okay?” Chris hopped down from the crew cab, tugging the blanket behind him. “Hi, Mom,” he chirped on his way by, “guess what Jared did? He hit a baby deer.” The last was said with a mix of nervous tension.

Jared looked up in time to see Annie’s scowl turn to concern. He held out his hand for the quilt. “Here, I’ll cover him up and then you keep him still while I call the vet. Deal?”

“Deal,” Chris agreed, plopping onto the grass and startling the fawn. He scrunched his shoulders and shrugged. “Sorry.”

Jared smiled. “Just take it easy around him for the first few days. You have to remember he’s not used to people. This is all very strange for him.” He wrapped the trembling body, careful to avoid the bad leg. “Pet his head like I showed you before and I’ll be right back, okay?”

Chris nodded without looking away from the delicate face of the deer. “Sure, we’re friends already, see?” He proceeded to rub between the fawn’s ears. “He likes me.”

“Well, sure he does. What’s not to like?” Jared rumpled his son’s red hair—so like his mother’s—and rose. After making sure the fawn was content, he turned to Annie. “Sorry we couldn’t call. Reception was bad out there.”

“What if you’d been injured?” Annie sniped under her breath so as not to alert Chris. “I had no idea where you’d gone. Where to search. It was an irresponsible thing to do.” She folded defensive arms across her chest.

“Whoa, where is this coming from?” Jared grasped her forearm and pulled her resisting body to the front of the truck. “Sweetheart, it’s not like I planned on driving home in the dark and clipping a fawn during our first father-son road trip. You’re not being fair.”

“Fair?” she cried. “Chris is my son, Jared. I have the right to know he’s safe.”

Stunned, he released her arm. “Actually, I thought he was our son. What’s going on, Annie?”

She stared up at him with tear-drenched eyes. “Maybe we’re a mistake.” She looked at his dented vehicle, and at Chris caring for the injured deer, before meeting his gaze with a defiant lift of her chin. “I don’t think I can marry you anymore.”

 

JacquieBiggar_ValentineAHeartsandKissesRomance_800

Available 02.13.18

 

Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078QFJH4H

Universal: https://books2read.com/Valentine

Add to TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38088692-valentine

 

Excerpt

Val stepped closer to the crazy woman guarding her virtue with a kitchen utensil. He’d been enjoying the view for the past five minutes as she swayed to the music, her back to him while she worked at his sister’s kitchen sink. Even though she wore the required hair net, he could see she was a fiery redhead, her body slim and compact beneath the wraparound apron. He should have announced himself sooner, but he hadn’t expected to freak her out so badly. Normally, Sam’s kitchen was a hub of activity; he was surprised to find it empty except for the pint-sized warrior.

“You can put down the weapon.” He hid his amusement behind a placating smile. “I’m harmless, though my sister might be tempted to disagree. Is Sam here?”

When the woman stared at him like he was the creature from the black lagoon, Val waved a hand in front of her eyes and grinned at the resultant snap of temper. He was right, she was a feisty one. “Sorry, I’m in a bit of a hurry. Is there a chance I could get you to answer me any time soon?”

She glared at him, threw the rubber spatula unto the counter, and swept the net from her hair, allowing the coiled layers to flow down her back. “You have a bad habit of sneaking up on people,” she snapped, reddened fingers moving to untie her apron.

What was she…?

Oh.

He snapped his fingers and pointed at her. “You. The klutz that destroyed my dinner the other night. What are you doing here? Don’t tell me my sister was foolish enough to hire someone who can’t even hold onto a pot without it becoming a catastrophe.”

Her eyes narrowed and she stared past him to the big block of knives sitting on the stainless-steel countertop. Val hurried to block her view. “Uh, uh, uh, temper, temper. You don’t really want to stab me, just think of the mess.”

 

JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. 

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

You can follow her on at http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar, http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

You can also join her street team on Facebook: Biggar’s Book Buddies

Or her exclusive Review Crew: https://jacqbiggar.com/join-my-review-crew/

And sign up for her newsletter-

http://www.subscribepage.com/jacqbiggar

 

#UpbeatAuthors

by Kathryn Jane

I belong to a Facebook group called #upbeatauthors. It was the brainchild of an author who was feeling (like many of us) overwhelmed by the negativity on social media. Her idea was to have a safe place where we could go to share positive outlooks, and uplifting words.

A whole bunch of us jumped on board of course, and we’ve grown to nearly three hundred members.

What do we do there?

Our leader has posted a theme for every week right up to the end of the year, and on Mondays, we post something positive, related to the theme.

Want to know the coolest thing about this group? In the beginning, many of us struggled a bit to come up with something to write, or share by picture, but as the weeks have gone on, so has the participation, and the ease with which the positivity flows!

Also cool, that when I remember to put my #upbeatauthors post on my own page, it often gets shared around Facebook, so I feel like I’m contributing to making the world a happier place. (Call me Pollyanna if you must, but I’m happy there!)

Here are a few of my favorite posters:

 

Your favorite historical figure

Ways to show the important people in your life that you love them in simple ways

Places you would like to go, and why

How to work smarter


Living in the moment/mindfulness


Turning a negative into a positive


When one door closes, another opens


Ways to be kind to yourself

 

How to deal with busy holiday season

 

Watch for a new #UpbeatAuthors post every Monday on my Facebook page, and see if you can resist the good feeling that comes from a positive heart!


Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the smell of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com


 

Soul destroying questions and equally stunning answers have Dusty digging deeper than she ever thought possible, and when she discovers her Self, in an entirely foreign landscape, she begins anew, more determined than ever to achieve her lifelong dream.

 


The Sisterhood of Suspense's

ENTER HERE

Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

The Intrepid Women Collection (books 1-6) by Kathryn Jane (e-copy edition)

Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar (e-copy edition)

Partners: Odyssey of The Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair (e-copy edition)

Season of Promises by Vicki Batman (e-copy edition)

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall (e-copy edition)

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio (e-copy edition)

Truth Be Told by Marsha R. West (e-copy edition)

$10 Amazon Gift Card donated by Marsha R. West

Workshops For Writers

Hey there, I’m Kathryn Jane, and I have a passion for sharing information with other writers and authors.

How many times have you said, wow, I wish I’d known that going in. Or muttered, isn’t there an easier way to do this? Or, how was I supposed to know this already? Why didn’t somebody tell me? Or, how the heck did I miss that that extra word?  😉 (you caught that, right?)

Sucks, doesn’t it? Been there, done that, bought many T-shirts…

That’s why I started sharing what I’d learned the hard way, by creating online workshops for my fellow writers. Yes, it’s time consuming, and there’s not a great deal of money to be made, but it feels good! (Apparently, I love teaching, who knew?)

I’m constantly updating my lessons with the latest information, and always happy to answer questions. The workshops are also archive friendly for those on deadline without time to actively participate.

Added to that, because the feedback from writers has been quite wonderful, I’ve recently added more workshops to my roster.

Pop over to the workshop page on my website for class details and availability.

1. SELF-EDITING “HOW’D I MISS THAT?”  Embarrassment Prevention
2. SELF-PUBLISHING —  “WHERE THE HECK DO I START?”  An Introduction
3. marketing — BACK COVER COPY “SHOOT ME Now!”
4. marketing — PRESS KITS – BE READY WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
5. research — WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A HORSE SHOWS UP?
6. research — PTSD FOR FICTION WRITERS 
7. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS for you and for your writing

 

Are there other workshops you wish someone would offer?  On what topics? Let me know and maybe I can help! 🙂

Hope you all have a great day, week and month. When I come back to visit in April, I’ll be sharing my brand new Women’s Fiction novel with you, and maybe some pics of my spring garden if Mother Nature cooperates.

Cheers!

Kat.



psst ….. check it out…

the Sisterhood of Suspense Rafflecopter #Giveaway

march-madnessENTER HERE

for your chance at some page-turning reads!