Does Your Pantry Bulge?

As I sit here on this chilly morning watching leaves float ever so gently and cover my yard and deck, I’m happy not to have to run to the grocery store.

Coffee scents the air and a pot of delicious leftover Gumbo awaits in the refrigerator. Yay! No cooking tonight. A blessing indeed.

No matter how many times I say I’m going to minimize my kitchen pantry items, somehow my best intentions go awry. There’s always something to cook, so I want ingredients for several dishes at hand. Always. Or the freezer holds several meals ready to thaw and reheat.

When I ask hubby what he’d like for dinner, the answer is most always the same. “Whatever you make.”

Well…that’s a great help. Right?

Then, sometimes, after I’ve thawed out something, he’ll call and ask, “Why don’t we have so-and-so?”

Me: “I’ve already laid out -whatever.”

Hubby: “Oh. Okay then.”

End of story. Lol

Did I say I detest going to the grocery store? Well…I certainly do. I’d rather spend my time doing more interesting things and I’m sure many of you feel the same.

There’s a great phone app called “Out of Milk.” It’s my go-to grocery list-at my finger tips at any given moment. So I don’t lack an ingredient, I add items to the app’s list right before running out. I know, I know. That’s paranoia! Heaven forbid I lack an item for a particular dish. My hubby shakes his head when he helps bring in bags and bags of groceries. Ha.

I must share my October roses. There aren’t many, one rose and a bud, but still beautiful. With this weird weather, the plants have no idea what season it is.

SmartSelect_20181025-103433_Photo EditorUntil next time…I wish you Music, Butterflies and most of all…Love.

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

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?

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

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.)

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.

 

 

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