When Is Love Not Enough? by Pepper Phillips

Isn’t love grand?  That kiss that makes you forget where you are. The longing to see the person again. Thinking, thinking, thinking of them every second of the day. Wondering if they love you back? The excitement when they touch you.

Then you marry.

Some people continue that love, though it might change over the years.

Others give up. Changing partners like discarded tissues. Leaving a love because they didn’t measure up to the requirements of daily commitment. Couples who didn’t or couldn’t work things out.

In my book, ‘Unconditionally’ Caroline is faced with making a choice when she discovers her husband cheating once again.

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Shouldn’t love be unconditional? Your parents, your spouse, your children, your closest friends? Can we count on them loving us as we love them? Sometimes not and what happens when you discover unconditional love for the first time?

A drama following one woman’s journey to discover if she can accept being loved, with and without conditions.

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“What a wonderful read. I didn’t want it to end.” Liz Lipperman
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“I throughly enjoyed it!! I couldn’t put it down! I found myself to be deeply engrossed in the story. Such tenderness between friends touched my heart. In some areas, I could totally relate to Caroline. I recommend this to anyone!” Zannemarie

On sale now for 99 cents.

Amazon   Apple iBookStore   Nook   Kobo

 

 

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The Power of Prayer

We have often heard friends complain about a distressing event, death of a relative, sickness, loss of a job, or a monetary setback. They often end their stories with a special plea: “Pray for me.”

Supportive friends send their best wishes, promise to pray or share some special ‘vibes’.

We see terrible scenes on TV news and wonder why, and we pray. But the disasters and killings intensify and our prayers are not answered.

I read somewhere that America is a praying country, and the older we get, the more we pray. An impressive 48% of Americans ages 18 through 29 pray every day, the Pew Research Center reports. For the 50 through 59 age group, the number grows to 61%, and the 70-plus crowd is downright pious, checking in on a daily basis.

Prayers are like letters that flutter upward, missive of gratitude or requests for blessings. Some people pray every day, some only on special occasion. For some prayers are like urgent calls of help sent to God. “SOS I need you right away.”

When I was small my parents taught me to recite a bed prayer: “God Bless Mommy, God Bless Daddy, my big brother, my little sister and all the people I love.”

I did the same with my children and grandchildren.

Many remember the famous paragraph from the Gospel, “Ask and you will be given. Knock and the door will open for you.”

Right now we are praying for my husband’s niece. She’s 43, has two children 10 and 7 and she’s been battling colon and then lung cancer for three years. She’s undergone several surgeries, radiation and chemo therapy. She’s fighting with all her will, to live and be allowed to see her children grow. Family and friends have organized a chain of prayers for her, and we refuse to believe the doctors’ prognosis that she has only three years to live, if lucky.

So do you believe in the power of prayer? Do prayers change things?

What if God doesn’t seem to listen and your prayers are not answered?

 

Actors Portraying Characters

Once I wrap my head around a storyline, actors with clear-cut personalities make their way into my head. I see characters, as I think an actor would portray them, in my story, as though a movie is playing. For my book A Smoky Mountain Christmas, Sandra Bullock represented the main character, Tina. I envisioned Sandra as Tina in every scene I wrote. Sandra Bullock, most of the time, plays spirited, and infectious characters, so does Tina capture the same traits in A Smoky Mountain Christmas.

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I’m excited my book, Perfect Match, is in our upcoming Boxed Set, Love Blooms on Main Street, release date April 30, 2015.

Perfect Match: The flower Forget-Me-Not symbolize true love and remembrance. Cali finds love again with Trace. In the midst of mistrust and a triangle with Trace’s deceased wife, Cali refuses to play second-fiddle to a ghost. Can they earn a second chance at love?

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These are the actors that played in my mind while writing Perfect Match.

Cali Weston, heroine: Meg Ryan

Trace Robbins, hero: Greg Kinnear

Dylan Robbins, young boy: Connor Corum

Burt Hall, Cali’s old friend: Robert Duvall

Faye Ragland, meddlesome sister to Helen: Shirley MacLaine

Helen Ragland, meddlesome sister to Faye: Betty White

Tim Stone, the lawyer: Tom Skerritt

Sarah, the housekeeper: Olympia Dukakis

Sheriff Lang: Jeff Bridges

Stephen Moran-art dealer & villain: Matthew McConaughey

I enjoyed writing this book while the characters dealt with forgiveness and the loss of a loved one. All of us deal with these issues our own way. This is Cali and Trace’s journey toward progression in their particular difficulties.

Do you envision actors as your characters while you read or write?

Check back often for updates on our newest Boxed Set, Love Blooms on Main Street.

Links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Diesel, Apple and Smashwords, can be found here: http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html

Cinderella Blue: Romance and Cops by Joan Reeves

Cinderella Blue by Joan Reeves

Pre-Order now! Only 99cents On Kindle

In my new romantic comedy, Cinderella Blue, Love means never having to say, “You’re under arrest.”

Joan’ s March Giveaway

To be eligible to win the March Giveaway of a Swag Bag or an online gift card (gift varies based on delivery destination), leave a comment with your email address. Closes midnight March 31. Winner notified by email. Name posted in WordPlay, Joan’s email list.

Wow! I finally finished this book that I began working on in 2013. No, I’m not just abysmally slow. From the time I started updating this book which had been published about ten years ago in print, these are just a few of the…

Life Events That Happened

1. Sold our house. 2. Moved all the furniture into storage. 3. Moved to our weekend house in the country for the next 6 months. 4. Bought a townhouse in Houston. 5. Began 3 week remodeling project on townhouse. 3 weeks was the contractor’s timeline. 4. 15 weeks later, the 3-week remodeling was completed. 5. Moved all furniture out of storage and into townhouse. 6. Moved back to Houston and into townhouse. 7. Unpacked, arranged stuff, moved furniture around, etc. 8. Woke up one morning and could not raise my right arm without excruciating pain. 9. Went through 6 months of physical therapy, massage, pain meds, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory meds, and learned all kinds of painful ways to stretch the trapezius muscles in my shoulders where nerves were pinched.

Yep, Life Sucks Sometimes

Little did I know that updating this book and bringing it back to its original length which had been cut by the editor all those years ago would require the patience of Job, months of persistence, and the will power of Gandhi. This romance saw more stops and starts than a freeway gridlock.

At times, I delighted in escaping the chaos around me by entering the Fictional World where I am the Master of Space, Time, and Dimension. (Mistress just sounds kind of funny.)

I see all and know all and can solve a character’s problems before dinner each night and give them a rousing happily ever after that will make a reader smile. Ah, if life were only like that.

About Cinderella Blue

In this book, I’ve done a bit of a flip-flop with character cliches. In most stories involving a cop hero, the cop avoids commitment at all costs. In Cinderella Blue, Detective Bruce Benton, first introduced in Nobody’s Cinderella, is commitment phobic, but so is Detective Andrea Luft.

I had fun solving Andie’s problems stemming out of her emotional baggage. Cinderella Blue is on sale for only 99cents during the pre-order period. The book releases March 31 so I hope you’ll take advantage of that and buy it before the price rises to $3.99.

Excerpt, Cinderella Blue

Heat shimmered in waves above the pavement. Across the street, Bruce Benton saw a cluster of shops that created one-stop shopping for women looking to drop a few grand on a pretentious wedding. He crossed the street and headed to the flower shop. As he passed the glass storefront of a photographer’s studio, he saw a woman inside. A nano second later, he stopped abruptly. The heat must be frying his brain. He retraced his steps, casually glancing in again. The woman wore a wedding dress, but instead of a bridal bouquet, she held a handgun.

Bruce drew his Glock and eased the door open. A bell over the door jingled. He cringed as he slipped inside. Maybe she was deaf. The woman whirled. Nope. Not deaf. She held her gun in the same shooter’s stance as he. “Take it easy, lady. Maybe the photographer took some lousy pictures of you. That’s no reason to shoot him.”

“That’s funny.” The blonde suddenly grinned, but her gun never wavered. “You’re cute. Anyone ever tell you that you look kind of like Karl Urban?”

“Let’s not talk about some Aussie actor. Let’s talk about you. Why would a sweet thing like you have a gun?”

“Sweet thing?” Irritation replaced her grin. “Lower your gun. Lay it on the floor.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that. You see I’m a–”

Everything happened at once. A man rushed from behind her, slammed into her, and sent her flying into Bruce. They went down in a tangle of arms, legs, and miles of white satin. She came up snarling.

Bruce leaped up, gun in hand. “Freeze!”

He grinned and pulled out his handcuffs. “I always wanted to say that. Just like a TV cop. You lost your gun, sweet thing.”

He stepped toward her. With a snarl, she whirled. He saw a white blur and felt agony in his hand. A roundhouse kick to his solar plexus cut off his gasp of pain. He hit the floor. Wheezing, he tried to rise, but the blonde stood over him with her gun–and his–pointed at him.

She smiled. “Uh uh, sweet thing. You stay right where you are.”

Bruce groaned. Not from pain so much as humiliation. Crap. He’d never live this down.

Book Details

Available for Pre-order on Amazon Kindle. Only 99cents during this pre-order period. Prices rises to $3.99 on April 13.

(Joan Reeves writes Sassy, Sexy Contemporary Romance. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers with audio editions available at Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free newsletter for writers, and WordPlay, a free newsletter for readers. Find Joan online: Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, and she encourages you to believe that: It’s never too late to live happily ever after!)

Blessings for Spring

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about blessings lately and how to write them. Blessings should come as naturally as swearing in traffic or gesturing like a mad woman at the computer when the words don’t flow and I feel like my brain has morphed into cotton candy. Yet they don’t. Not for me.

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I think the reason I’ve been working on reading and writing blessings is that life has been challenging over the last year or so for me and many of my friends and acquaintances. Challenges that are more than inconvenient. In many cases, these challenges have been life altering. Even potentially good alterations in life can truly stink at the moment. When these challenges come and it’s time to take a deep breath and say, Well hell, that didn’t go as planned…time for a new plan, many of us fall back on our work to keep us whole.

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Work is something we all do. It is something each and every one of us wants to take pride in and do our utmost to see done well no matter what it iswith the possible exceptions of answering e-mails and maintaining a clean house. Spring is a time when, for most of us who write, we start to panic at all that we need to see done before the year’s end. If you don’t have this quasi-paniced drive and worry kicking in now, skip immediately to the blessing, you are already well adjusted.

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I love the energy of spring. The new growth. The feeling that, yes!, this is going to be the best work year for me yet. I will see better work accomplished. I will improve in craft, content and volume of what I do. These are things I can control. These are doable things. To achieve that there must be balance and an appreciation that not everything is going to go according to plan. That can be a good thing too.

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So, as spring progresses and life begins to bloom again in the world around us, I am hopeful it will bloom in our spirits with renewed energy. We are looking forward to our new box set here on Main Street and it has the same theme: LOVE BLOOMS. Indeed, it does. Always.

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Here’s a blessing I love from John O’ Donohue in his book on Celtic spirituality, Anam Cara:

May the light of your soul guide you. May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart. May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light, and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work. May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration, and excitement. May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in the bland absences. May the day never burden. May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises. May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected. May your soul calm, console, and renew you.

May you always find something sacred in every day. I hope spring brings a feeling of renewal to you all. May each of us strive for perfection and find excellence at least once every day in whatever we do. Happy Spring!

 

Leigh  

Riding the Rollercoaster

Life for a writer can be a series of highs andclip-art-rollercoaster-428971 lows. If you’re a writer, you know what I mean. One day you’re brimming with great ideas and excited about your work in progress, and the next you’re blocked, struggling to produce even one decent sentence. Sales are lagging or a bad review comes in, and you’re ready to quit writing altogether.

Nothing has more ups and down for me than starting a new project. I’ve recently begun a new Christmas story, and I’ve already run the gamut of emotions.

First there’s giddy excitement. I’ve got an awesome new idea. A couple of main characters with a great conflict. I’ve got a plot sketched out. OK, time to start that first scene. Nothing can stop me now.

Next comes the crash back to Earth, after I’ve drafted the first couple of chapters. I read them over and wince. I’ve used most of those phrases a dozen times before. I’ve absolutely run out of ways to describe people’s eyes and hair and the way they smile and gaze at each other. The writing just isn’t fresh or sharp. Damn, the scene I’ve just written is pretty close to one I used in another book. 

For a while, I figure I’ve run out of steam. Am I burned out? Have I already written everything I had in me? But I keep going, keep editing, and at some point I hit my stride. The best days are those when I can’t tear myself away from the keyboard, and when I’m away from my computer, I scribble ideas on scraps of paper or in the Notes feature of my cell phone.

Revisions can be easy or agony, depending on the book. There’s nothing like the feeling after final edits are done and the cover is ready. But along with the satisfaction, there’s always trepidation. What mistakes did I miss? Are readers going to like it, or will they trash it? Have a dozen other authors already done a similar story, but a million times better? I’m never fully satisfied with the finished product. I send it out into the world with both pride and fear.

The greatest high of all comes when a glowing review appears. My story made someone cry or cheer. I gained a fan. I may not have written a bestseller, but the story I came up with in my head has reached somebody’s heart. That’s pretty amazing.

Do you find it harder to start or finish a book? Do revisions drive you mad? Do negative reviews crush you? What are your writing highs and lows?


My newest release is Believe In Me, book 4 in the Mus1970sCover.inddic Box Series. Now available at Amazon.

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Spring has sprung!

spring treeAt least in Northern California where I live it has. The last two weeks have been blossoms galore and the allergies to go with them, and this week we’ve moved on to bright-green leaves on all the trees. It will be in the 80s this weekend. Sometimes I feel California doesn’t do Spring or Autumn. We do hot and dry, and cold and wet for our seasons. 🙂

For those folks in the Midwest and back East, I am so sorry. It has been a tough year, but you are resilient people and you will dig out and spring will come again, just like it does every year. California’s tough time will come this summer when I fear our lawns will have to die and we will be rationing water like we did in the ’70s. I do not look forward to bricks in the toilet tank and timed showers. Those were not fun days.

The warmer weather and blooming everything has really enhanced my moods too. I feel like opening doors and windows, going for walks, and writing a new book.

What is your favorite season?


LoveintheTimeofZombies smallMy newest release, Love in the Time of Zombies is available in ebook and paperback!