Halloween Happiness: 2018

halloweenI love Halloween. It’s my father’s birthday and the day after mine.

Not only does the day mark my entry into the world – and thus a very good excuse to eat copious amounts of dark chocolate cake with butter-silk chocolate frosting – it’s just plain fun.

thCMHF3NUAPumpkin carving is fun.

Dressing in my favorite witch’s hat is fun.IMG_7175[1]

Giving away my favorite candy is fun.thBXE8EHN0

It’s also a great entry into what for us CELTS is the dark half of the year. SAMHAIN (sow-wen) is the Celtic New Year.

For me this means more time thinking, dreaming and writing.

What are your favorite Halloween traditions?

If you’re a teller of tales, what are you working on?

untitledHappy Halloween and many Samhain Blessings to you all,

Leigh

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You’re Never Too Old for Halloween

My kids love dressing up for Halloween. I must admit that I do too, especially when Halloween falls on a weekday and people come to the office (my day job) dressed up in all sorts of elaborate and imaginative costumes. There are many great ready-made costumes available, but I find it a fun and satisfying challenge to put together a costume from scratch (and pay a lot less for it).

This year’s costume has been months in the making. Back in the spring, I came home after a haircut and my daughter told me I looked like a certain character from one of the TV shows she watches. (Hint: I have bobbed brown hair and glasses.) So I decided right then that I should dress as this character for Halloween. image3

Every time I went to Value Village over the spring and summer, I searched for the required pieces to the costume. I first found the red shoes ($6.50) and then the red pleated skirt ($10). It took some time to find the perfect orange turtleneck sweater, and I was thrilled when I finally spotted it among the fall arrivals in September ($4). It’s surprisingly difficult to find orange knee socks, but they had some at Party Mart in their Halloween section ($6). Add a large magnifying glass (borrowed from the kids), and I’m all done.

Can you guess who I’ll be for Halloween?

How about you?

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Let Your Characters Write Their Story

You’ve heard authors say, “My characters were resisting me” or “My characters ran away with the story.” Some writers complain about that. I call it magic when the characters talk to me and tell me their love story.

When I set out to write In My Dreams, all I had was that snippet from the song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas–if only in my dreams. It is my favorite Christmas song and brings me to tears every time. In my mind, that song says all there is to say about wartime and a soldier’s yearning to be home with his family and his friends. I can not imagine anything sadder than being away from home for the holidays, doing the same old, same old, as every other day in the service or on the battlefield, wishing you could be home for the holidays.

So, when I sat down to start the story, Juan Montoya was a soldier, halfway around the world in a jungle, fighting warlords and guerrillas, dreaming of Christmas and song, and home. And since this was a friends-to-lovers story, I had Jessie Ortega back home in Lake Willowbee, being a nurse at the local hospital. And…no matter how many times I tried to start with Chapter 1, it just wasn’t happening. Until…Jessie announced she was a soldier, fighting in Africa and Juan was a physical therapist back home, working with wounded vets.

Like finding the missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the story came together. Juan and Jessie told me of their childhood friendship, how they had been there for each other through everything, until their friendship broke, and they hadn’t spoken to each other in years. Even with the years between them, at her lowest moment, Jessie’s first thoughts are of Juan.

In My Dreams is a story of the power of wishes and being careful what you use them on. It will be in the Christmas Wishes on Main Street boxed set with the other Authors of Main Street.

Do you believe wishes can come true?


Jill James, romance writer

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Judging a book by its cover

Have you ever rejected a book because of its cover? Or bought it on the strength of the cover alone?

Does it bother you when the cover doesn’t tell you much about the story, or when the details on the cover don’t match the story in some way?

I mostly self publish, and I have the skills to use a graphics program, so I often make my own covers. Or I have a friend who is a real designer, and she makes them for me, to my specifications. My covers reflect my tastes. Except for the latest, which reflects the tastes and practices of the publisher. I have a book coming out with Scarsdale Publishing later this month, and they’ve just sent me the cover.

I’ve put some of my own in the gallery above — six published and three unpublished books. The top three were made for stories I’ve written for the Authors of Main Street: Beached for Summer Romance and A Family Christmas for Christmas Babies on Main Street. You’ll see Abbie’s Wish in the Authors of Main Street box set this November. The others are some of my historicals. 

And here’s House of Thorns, the one Scarsdale made.

I love the colours. And I really like that they got her small and him big (that works for my story). But it’s a departure. I have to admit it is a departure!

What do you look for in a cover? And how much does the cover attract you to or repel you from the book?

(And if you want to know more about House of Thorns, take a look at my book page.)

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Halloween Stories

Witch Ways copy (1)

For just a few days, my Kindle Scout-winning novel Witch Ways is FREE. Of all my characters, I feel the most kinship with Evie. (Even though whether or not I’m a witch is debatable.) If you have a favorite book that you consider a Halloween story, please leave a buy link in the comments. Here’s the blurb for Witch Ways.

Everyday, each of us must decide whether or not to be a witch. For Evelynn Marston, that decision is becoming increasingly difficult.
Evie didn’t mean to burn down the science room. A little anger, some flames, and an expulsion later, Evie finds herself destined to spend the rest of her high school years at Despaign Academy—named for Connecticut’s last convicted witch. Despite its shadowy past, Despaign has the same cliques as other schools, and Evie struggles to fit in and to be noticed by the handsome and mysterious Dylan Fox—that is, until she casts her first spell. But even in a magical place, evil lurks. When Evie’s neighbor, Laurie Silver, turns up dead, Evie must rely on all her newfound powers and friends to find the truth. But bringing a killer to justice may require stronger magic and true love, the kind that can’t be found in a potion.

You can pick up your copy of Witch Ways here

Witch Ways is included in this box set:81ehvkHaYfL._SY300_

At just just $2.99 for eleven full length books, this is a screaming deal.

Escape into a collection of eleven magical worlds from NY TimesUSA Today, and national bestselling authors! Witches and wizards roam the pages, along with psychics, fae, vampires, shifters, and more. This boxed set weaves a spell that will enchant you from the very first page! You can get your copy here.

 

 

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Once Upon a Vet School… This Time in New Zealand!

Hi all!

Can’t wait for the release of our 2018 Christmas Boxed Set! I think you’ll love it!

And I think you’ll like my contribution. It’s set in New Zealand. Yep, same heroine, different country. 🙂

Oh, and quite a few people have asked me, of this SEMI-autobiographical series, which parts are real and which are made-up?

As I tell them, sorry, that’s going to remain my secret. 🙂

We’re having a little jump, like from # to #10.  Trust me, it’ll be better this way. 🙂  Though each story is designed to be read independently, it’ll be fun when it’s a complete series.

The plan is to make the series applicable to readers of the heroine’s age. That means, as horse crazy Lena first hears she needs good grades to get into veterinary school as a seven-year-old, Book One will be written for readers of that age group, ie: young readers. And so on. 🙂

So young, and ever-older  readers can relate to the stories as Lena grows with them.

So it’s your turn, readers:  what do you think of the idea of having reader-age-linked stories in the same series?

My story for the upcoming  boxed set: 

Lena loves her new adopted country of New Zealand, its horses and dairy stock, her veterinary workmates and her boss… but her luck with men is, shall we say, not ideal. She’d love a ‘good Kiwi bloke’, but they’re proving as elusive as their nocturnal namesake.

Nigel’s staying away from females, unless they’re cows, horses, or his mother. After his first marriage went off the rails, or the road, anyway, he just plain won’t be responsible for anyone else’s life… but Lena’s a bit of a different kettle of fish… or is she?

Sparks fly when they meet for the first time—the first official time, anyway. Not the time they conversed over the dirty instruments after she’d just survived an afternoon of malodorous veterinary treatments. They seem to be made for each other… but then Nigel remembers when they first met. And the questions start. Can they get past their past to see to the future they both want so badly?

And there’s more!

Jude Knighton, one of our authors, mentioned the Bluestocking Belles’ box set a few weeks ago, and I talked about it but couldn’t talk about it because we hadn’t had our cover reveal party yet!

SO HERE IT IS!  Follow Your Star Home.

Somewhere Like Home:

From the Highlands to Waterloo—can love prevail over fate?

1813, Scottish Highlands

When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and off down the road to build a life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety during the clearance of their village at Sofia’s expense, leaving her to the lusts of the laird’s son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

Meet my hero and heroine!

 

Follow Your Star Home is available for preorder now right here!

 

And once again, I ask:  what do you think of the idea of having reader-age-linked stories in the same series?

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Take good care, and happy reading!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

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Silent Journey

It seems I’ve been very busy writing. I have, except I’m extra slow. I need to make the font as large as possible. The good news is that my upcoming eye doctor appointment might be when my doctors decide if I can have glasses. I’m hoping that means I’ll see something in sharp focus because everything is a little blurry.

So while I’ve been hiding from social media, because it’s too darn difficult to see things on the Internet. Lots of things have been going on without me. My book Silent Journey is now a galley and available for those who love to write reviews. It’s a galley and not the finished product. I’m waiting for someone to send me a photo for the cover. (I think that means someone wants clean off his desk first.)

Netgalley is a spot on net where publishers pre-release their books for the purpose of getting reviews. It’s totally free to the readers. I’d love my readers to grab a copy of my book, read it, and write an honest review.

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book

Okay, so what’s the book about?

Being deaf!

It would impossible to really describe the Deaf World. That’s because I can hear and I rely on my hearing just as I’ve relied on my eyesight. Go without it? No thanks. But the book peeks into the life of young Deaf man and the hearing woman who fell in love with him. Yes, there’s a love story in there but the real story is their lives and that is the emphasis of the book. It’s really a contemporary mainstream novel with a happy ending. (Because I hate sad endings!)

Alex attends a regular university, and is getting his degree in Architecture. He’s always been deaf, and he has a long linage of deaf relatives. He has to face a world that isn’t always very nice to people who are different.

Savannah might have fallen for his looks, but she’s discovering that being with Alex is darn tough, especially when she barely knows American Sign Language (ASL). Even her mother is against her relationship. She has no idea how the Deaf manage. Her questions are numerous.

As Alex emerges from the silent world, Savannah must enter it if she wants to be with him. The journey for both is arduous.

Here’s an unedited snippet of Alex and Savannah with Alex’s newborn nephew.

Silent Journey

Alex took Savannah to Gwen’s house. Dustin was there waiting on Gwen as though she were an invalid, and she was making it known that she could stand and walk around without any help.

Alex laughed at them, but he couldn’t wait for the baby to wake up so that he could hold the tiny bundle. And when the baby began to stir, he looked at his sister, who nodded. Scooping the newborn into one arm, he gently caressed the baby with a delicate touch. Beautiful little boy. He signed to the newborn, “Wake up, sleepyhead.”

Gwen came to Alex and peered at her son. Then she began to sign to the newborn. “Meet your Uncle Alex.”

“I think he’s still too sleepy to pay attention.” Alex watched the baby put his little fists to his mouth. Alex held the baby’s fist and put it to the tiny lips. Like this.

The baby squinted his eyes and opened his mouth.

Gwen removed the baby from her brother’s arm. She sat in a large overly stuffed chair and pulled the blanket over her shoulder.

Alex turned to Savannah. “Sorry, I was going to give him to you, but I think he was protesting.”

Savannah grinned and signed, “We say he has good lungs. That was one loud protest.” Her smile dissolved into a perplexed look. “But why are you signing to the baby? The baby certainly can’t understand sign language.”

Alex shook his head. “Think about that. If this baby had hearing, would you use your words?”

“Of course.”

“Do you think newborns understand those words or do they learn them?”

Savannah wrinkled her brow. “I guess they learn them. The words in the beginning are nothing more than comforting sounds.”

“And deaf babies will find comfort in our words.”

Savannah nodded. “And if Little Dustin had hearing, you would still sign to him.”

Alex nodded. “He would need to learn both languages. But little Dustin needs to learn both anyway. He will learn to read your lips.”

Alex went to where Savannah was and sat beside her. “He is Deaf. He will grow up bilingual. Do hearing children grow up bilingual?”

Savannah wrinkled her brow. “Some do. When the parents speak more than one language. Or they grow up with whatever language their parents use in the home, and they learn English once they are old enough to play with other children.”

“Our children are the same. They learn our touch and our words. They see our expression.”

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking along those lines.”

“He will complain, smile, and do everything a hearing child does except hear. He doesn’t need to hear. He only needs to be loved.”

Gwen brought the baby to Savannah and she willingly took him. Watching Savannah with the newborn told of her love for children. Total serenity crossed her face. She rocked the baby in her arms as she caressed him with her fingers.

Alex wasn’t certain what Savannah was saying to the baby, but she snuggled the newborn and spoke as if the baby could hear. Teach him, Savannah, as my mother taught me to read lips. Alex’s heart swelled with joy. One day you will hold our baby in your arms. Until then, we get to play with and spoil this one.

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