Body Image and Seasonal Dysfunction

My jeans don’t fit! I’ve lost weight. Lots of it. I have more to lose. You’d think I’d be happy, but I’m not. I’ve barely lost where I need to lose it the most. I hate this in-between stage. I need a new body! I don’t like the one that has come with passing birthdays. This one needs a complete engine overhaul and a new paint job.

My daughter is at the beach for a week. I could easily join her, but I won’t. There is no way I’m going to put on a bathing suit. It’s body image and I know what my image is. My oink, oink body is starting to imitate a Chinese Shar-Pei . I can see what is staring at me in the mirror, and I’m thinking no-way! Embrace my curves? My curves are in the wrong places and headed south. The days of wearing a bathing suit in public are done for me – besides we aren’t supposed to be in the sun. I’ve had plenty of sun in my life, more than enough.

To make matter worse, I’m writing a Christmas story. As authors, it seems we are always off season with our stories. This year is no different. I actually have two stories in edits.  Let’s pretend we are freezing as we walk through the snowy street. We’re doing that while trying to keep the house cool enough that we don’t melt! Does it make me feel any cooler to envision a snowy walk? The sweat pouring off my forehead is not snow.  I wish it were that easy. I’d be writing tropical beach romances in January and snowboarding adventures in July. Just think of the savings in power bills.

I need to do a little post holiday shopping when the sales on summer clothes are probably at their best.  But anything I buy, I’m hoping won’t fit next year. I think I should make do with the few things I bought this spring.

I watched a friend last year lose tons of weight. I kept telling him to buy a few new clothes, because he got to the point that he couldn’t walk without holding onto his pants. When he finally bought some new clothes, the transformation was amazing.  I’m not quite to that point with my weight loss.  Maybe in another month and by then all the stores will have their winter clothes. That won’t help me when September and October can still be darn hot here in Virginia.

It does conjure up the memory of my youngest daughter having a massive growth spurt when she was about two. Right after Christmas, I noticed her little snowsuit was snug. A week later, I could barely get her in it, and the little sleeves were much too short. Do you know what it is like to buy something like that after Christmas? Every store told me they had sold out and they weren’t getting any more in stock. (Back in the old pre-internet days.) I think my friend bailed me out with one from one of her friends that no longer fit her daughter.

Anyway I look out my back door and I see green grass, Cannas blooming, too many Japanese beetles, a set of robins frantic to gather bugs to take to the nest filled with young ones, hummingbirds flitting, the sky is blue, and I’m writing about Christmas in the northern hemisphere. Seriously? Yes.

So I’m seasonally out of kilter. My pants are trying to fall off of me, and the body is having a race to see which part of me can reach my knees first. And the winner is… To be announced at a later date.

But if you’d like to read a book that will take you through a few seasons, and take your mind off your own body image, A Rancher’s Request released on July 27, 2017. (Somehow I can’t imagine living around here in 1890 wearing long dresses  with no air conditioning.) These two people might be more suited to one another than either one wants to admit. Zadie is determined to make Duncan change his mind about the arranged marriage that their fathers have agreed upon.

Here’s a snippet you might enjoy of Zadie chatting with her best friend.

A shiver ran up Zadie’s spine. “Marriage isn’t that far off for me.”

You have a suitor?”

“Thank you very much. You make it sound as though I would never have one.”

Catherine looked at her children who were now tossing seeds from a maple tree into the air and watching them spin to the ground. “I didn’t mean it that way. But you never seem to have an interested male. You went off and were educated. This is Franklin. No one around here does that.”

“Well, I did and I’m glad I did. And as for my suitor, he’s the son of an old family friend.” She decided that wasn’t lying. It also wasn’t telling the whole truth.

“Oh, that’s so exciting. Tell me more! Do I know him?”

She shook her head. “Not much to tell. He’s from Edenton, he’s moved to Wyoming, and we’ve been corresponding. So far everything is going well.” All right, that’s a lie. Maybe I should write to him. What if this doesn’t work?

“Oh, I’m so happy for you.”

“Well, don’t get your hopes up or spread a bunch of gossip, because I still don’t know what will happen. We’ll leave it with so far everything is working well.” Another lie. If you call getting chapped hands from all the laundry as working well, it’s a fry-in-Hell sort of lie. I’d like to skewer my father and roast him for dinner.

“Wyoming? Isn’t that a territory?”

Zadie shook her head. “It recently gained statehood.”

“Aren’t there Indians out there?”

Again Zadie nodded. “I’ve heard it is very wild in the west.”

“Aren’t you scared?”

Zadie smiled. I’m scared out of my skin and not so much about the Indians. I’m more worried about my own survival skills without a maid to help me. “I’m certain Duncan will protect me.”

It’s available in paperback and in ebook.

Click on the cover for a sneak preview!




The Power of Words

I recently attended a workshop on poetry. I had to be there. It was for our local writing group and I had to MC, etc. Someone else had invited the speaker. All I knew was that Tom was coming and that he taught at a college. Long story short, I sort of recognized his face. It was later that I did that OMG head smack. He’d attended our group a few times, but used a nickname. As a speaker, he was fabulous and a little quirky – just enough to make him unique.

Poetry is one of those little hidden elements. So many people will tell you they dislike poetry. But they like music. Umm, wait a moment. The words to those songs are basically poems. They are listening to poetry. There are those who write poetry. They love to write it. And people who read it.

I read poetry. Occasionally I do a little mind bending and force myself to write a poem. Because making our minds do other things is supposed to be healthy for the brain to keep it active. Guess that means I do mental cross-training. Am I any good? Absolutely not! I can’t imagine ever putting together the poems I’ve written and publishing them as The Poetry of Elizabeth Ayers. (Doesn’t that sound as though you are about to read some Victorian British poet? Ha!)

But one of the things the speaker did talk about was the power of words. Words come with feelings attached to them, especially ones that utilize our senses. Say automotive tire to one person and nothing happens. But the odor of new tires is considered pleasant by some and might gag another. One thing everyone can agree on is that the odor is distinctive. The feel of corduroy is distinctive, as is polished stone. Oatmeal, grits, brownies, mashed potatoes, matzo ball soup, and the list goes on and on because foods produce feelings in us. What’s your comfort food and why? Do you remember your mom or grandmom making it? Or after you finished your Christmas shopping with Dad, he’d take you that one place where you’d get a cup of hot cocoa and an oatmeal raisin cookie that was so big you had to break it in half and share it with him? Memories! So when we read something, the words trigger those memories in our mind’s warehouse.

When I got to thinking about it and how it applies to what we read or write, like or dislike about books, I had another ah-ha(!) moment. We choose genres and often authors because those stories tug on memories and trigger those happy juices in our brains. What works for one person doesn’t for another. It’s a little like strawberry ice cream swirled with chocolate.

For me, I love old houses and tiny historic towns with little restaurants that serve real food that someone in the kitchen actually made and didn’t pull from a freezer and stuff in the microwave. Such is the little town of Franklin, VA. To drive up that hill to all those beautiful old houses, look down to the Blackwater River, the old train station and what was once a sawmill makes history come alive. It’s a friendly little place that the bypass has allowed the busy world to forget.

So if your idea of a good read is a feisty but kind female, and a strong, protective male who respects the women in his life, you just might like A Rancher’s Request. It starts out in the small, but thriving town of Franklin, VA. Two men, who have been friends since they were children, hatch a plan to have their children marry when Duncan Lorde writes home and asks his father to find him a good woman. His dad knows exactly where to find one.

Zadie Larkford, the daughter of the town’s doctor, is a young college-educated, proper, Victorian woman, and she’s livid when she discovers that her father intends to ship her off to the newly formed state of Wyoming to marry man she doesn’t know. In a time when arranged marriages were common and young women obeyed their fathers, Zadie has no problem letting her intended know that she’s not going to be a meek little woman. But sometimes the best plans go awry.

A Rancher’s Request is on pre-order sale for 99c USD. The low price is a little reward to my faithful readers. It will release June 27, 2017.

Enjoy the letter Duncan wrote to Zadie after receiving one from her.  He knew she was being uppity in her letter with the hopes of discouraging him. With tongue in cheek, he replied.


It will also be available in paper and in large print.


Zadie Larkford, recently graduated from an Eastern women’s college, lives a quiet life in her hometown of Franklin, Virginia. Content to spend her days painting by the river and watching her friends marry, she is shocked to learn that her father has promised her hand in marriage to a complete stranger. Ultimately unable to disobey, she leaves her childhood home to travel – unaccompanied – to Creed’s Crossing, Wyoming to meet her betrothed.

Raised in a seafaring community in North Carolina, Duncan Lorde made the decision to leave his father’s prosperous fishing venture to make a life for himself in the west. Determined to succeed in the treacherous and unpredictable pursuit of cattle ranching, he has land, a small cabin, and a herd. All he needs now is a wife–a good woman who will cook, clean, and provide him with strong sons to help on the ranch. When Zadie arrives in Creed’s Crossing, the young daughter of his father’s old friend is far more independent and strong-willed than he expected.

The young would-be-couple has barely begun to forge a bond when the forces of man and nature collide, impeding Duncan and Zadie as they struggle to fulfill…

A Rancher’s Request

Publisher’s Note:

A Rancher’s Request is a full-length historical novel with romantic and romance elements for the discerning reader who appreciates historical accuracy with a dose of authentic adventure. Available in both Kindle and trade-sized paperback, this story of a rancher and his bride speaks to the heart of the old west in a way that blends traditional western novels with the spark and excitement of love.

Indie Artist Press is thrilled to add another tale to the Creed’s Crossing Historical series with book 5, A Rancher’s Request.

Love on the Pony Express Trail

Please welcome

Lizzi Tremayne

Hello everyone!

I love this blog because I come from a real small town…with ONLY a Main Street, a little place in the Santa Cruz Mountains called La Honda, California! I moved halfway across the world to New Zealand…and guess what?  I found another Main Street town!  I now live out of the little Main Street mining town of Waihi, New Zealand, in an even smaller road 10 km out of town…it’s not even a main one. Just a lot of cows.


hills-of-gold-6x9-ebook-coversm-fileThe Main Street in my first novel, A Long Trail Rolling, and at the start of The Hills of Gold Unchanging ( just released last week!), is…well, it’s actually a trail. A wagon trail, and the Pony Express Trail, in the 1860’s in Utah.

The stories in my first fiction series, The Long Trails, are historical romantic thrillers, with plenty of horses and action! I’m a horse vet, so you guessed it, there’s plenty of that in there too!

The scene…

My heroes Aleksandra and Xavier have just met…just after Aleksandra’s life has fallen apart at the seams. She’s just taken offense at something Xavier said, and he’s headed out the door, while she stayed inside to talk with Scotty, the trading post keeper….


Xavier was harnessing Dzień to the wagon when Aleksandra came outside.

‘I can do that,’ she snapped, rushing to the side of the pony, her blue eyes icy and cheeks flushed pink. Xavier smiled at her back as she hurried around to the pony’s other side to finish.

‘I’m sure you can, Querida, but I’m happy to help,’ he said, wrapping a breeching strap around the shaft and buckling it snugly.

‘Thanks,’ she said, tight-lipped, looking away as her hands slid down Dzień’s rump towards the crupper.

‘Any possibility you might tell me just why you went loco on me back there?’ Xavier watched her brows drop as she stared at a strap she’d just buckled too tightly. Her lips tightened further as she readjusted it.

‘I want nothing to do with people who insult my friends.’

Como, what?’ He shook his head and blinked at her.

‘My friends, the Shoshone. The only friends I have left alive, other than Scotty,‘ she said from between clenched teeth, and then slumped, sobbing, against Dzień.

Cautious of her all-too-effective looking sword, Xavier slowly approached her. He slid his arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him, watchful for any fast moves on her part, not caring if her tears soaked his shirt. How long they stayed like this, he neither knew nor cared. Once her sobs quieted, he slipped his fingers under her chin, lifting her face to stare into the watery depths of her blue eyes.

‘Okay now, Querida?’

‘As okay as possible, I guess.’ She dropped her head again. ‘The Shoshone have been family to me, especially since Mama died,’ she murmured into his shirt.

‘Are you sure you won’t stay here? I’ll sleep in the stable, if it would make you happier.’

She closed her eyes and was still.

‘No, it’s okay. I’m sorry, Xavier. I’m upset, but that’s no excuse for my rudeness. Thank you for this.’ She nodded her head at his tear stained chest.

De nada. It is nothing.’ He smiled. ‘May I accompany you to your home, at least?’

‘No, really, I’m fine, thank you again. I’d better go farewell Scotty. It’s getting late.’

‘If you’re sure…’ Xavier shook his head and followed Aleksandra back inside.


Buy A Long Trail Rolling, and The Hills of Gold Unchanging at:


Visit Lizzi at her website

See you there!


Lizzi Tremayne

Lizzi Tremayne

Lizzi and I met several years ago online and although I’ve never met her in person, we have talked by phone. Lizzi stays busy! She is a veterinarian who specializes in horses, and she’s very active with New Zealand’s Romance Writers. She writes and she rides! So how does she do her research when she lives so far from her childhood home? Lizzi never does anything ordinary. She spent her vacation on horseback, riding the historic trails of our west! Her stories are fast paced and suitable for any horse lover in the house who loves history, a little romance, and a whole lot of intrigue, mixed with action.  There’s a reason why her books win awards.

Love in the Colorado Territory

Cynthia Woolf lives in a small Colorado town with her wonderfully supportive husband Jim . She is an award-winning and best-selling author of twenty-five historical western romance books and two short stories with more books on the way.

Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.

Colorado Bride

Matchmaker & Co.  Book 4

Emily Loring survived the last few years as a governess to a rich family’s children. But when the lord of the house can’t keep his hands to himself, she’s left with no option but to risk everything as a mail-order bride. Raised in a New York orphanage, she’s always dreamed of a husband and children of her own, but even that small dream always felt out of reach. The city is all she’s ever known, but the promise of a family, a place to call home, drives her to risk everything and head for the wilds of the Colorado Territory, and the arms of a stranger.

Ben Logan fell in love once, to a city girl who left him at the alter to run off with another man. A mail-order bride appears to be the answer to his need for a wife to warm his bed, as long as she loves the country life as he does. He doesn’t need much, but he won’t risk his heart again. When Emily arrives, her curves tempt him nearly as much as her smile. But his ex-fiancee is back, and determined to have Ben for herself, even if it means murder…


While Ben unloaded the grain from the wagon, Emily walked over to one of the stalls. Inside were a beautiful golden horse and a pure white baby one.

“They’re so beautiful. The mama with her yellow coat and white hair on her neck is striking. Will the baby stay white or change color?”

“The mare is a palomino and, yes, more than likely, the colt will gain the same coloring as he gets older. But he could possibly stay white, which is what I’m hoping for.”

She turned to face him where he stood at the end of the wagon.

“Will you teach me how to ride? I don’t know anything about horses, but I believe that I should learn in case I need to go somewhere.”

He shrugged. “Sure I’ll teach you. I’m surprised you don’t know anything about ranching. I was pretty specific about it as one of my requirements.”

“You said you wanted someone with farming or ranching experience, I know how to milk cows and gather eggs which qualifies, and I’m willing to learn whatever else I need to. I’m a fast learner.”

The mare came up to the stall gate where Emily stood. She turned and reached over to pet the horse. Her nose and mouth felt like velvet.

“Oh, she’s so soft. I never imagined…”

Ben came up behind her.

“Her name is Champagne, because of her coloring. She doesn’t belong to anyone yet. Would you like her?”

“Oh, yes. Can she really be my horse?”

He must at least like me or he wouldn’t gift me with my own horse, and such a beautiful one to boot.


She turned and Ben was standing right there. Emily reached up, snaked her hand behind his neck and brought his head down to hers. Remembering the kiss he’d given her at their wedding, she mimicked that kiss. She meshed her lips with his and opened just enough to put her tongue out and touch his lips. She felt him smile and open for her exploration.

He let her take what she needed, let her control the kiss and she was pleased. When she finally pulled back she was breathless and her body hummed with awareness of him.

He held her with his arms wrapped loosely around her waist.

“Well, that was some kiss, wife.”

“Just following your lead…husband.”

She liked the sound of that. Husband. She’d begun to believe that she’d never marry and certainly never to anyone like Ben. His arms were strong with muscle, she felt them through his shirt. His stomach was flat and hard. She felt that, too. And she could tell his manhood was primed for her as well and knew she blushed.

“Now, look at what you’ve done to me. I can’t go to the house like this. You better stop kissing me.”

She smiled and shook her head. “Nope. You can ask a lot of things of me, but that isn’t one of them. I’ll always kiss you. Even when we fight, I’ll kiss you because no fight is worth my marriage. And kissing reminds us that we are married.”

“All right, I agree. Besides, I like kissing you.”

She raised an eyebrow and cocked her head. “You should. I only know what you taught me.”

He tightened his hold on her. “And that pleases me.”

“Why? You’ve kissed other girls and that doesn’t bother me. Why should it bother you if I’d kissed another man?”

“Because I want to know that I’m the only man in your life, at least until we have sons.”

The thought of having babies and how babies are begot made her blush. At this rate she’d be colored pink all the time.

A Note from E. Ayers:

Cynthia Woolf is not just a fellow western author, she’s also a super dear friend. It’s easy to see why her stories have won so many awards and why her books are best sellers. Her stories are always sweet with just enough warmth to make them realistic without being too hot. She’s as comfortable in a saddle as she is at the keyboard of her computer. And there’s not much she doesn’t know about ranch life or being madly in love. I got my copy of her brand new book, Colorado Bride, and loaded it to my phone so I can read it anywhere.

A Sweeter Kind of Romance & VOTE!

Writing romance without sex? Um…yes. I’ve been writing them. It all started asciwwith A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming. I wanted to keep itsweeter. So I kept the sexual tension in there and just sort of left out the sex.  It’s not exactly sweet romance as you might find in inspirational and Christian stories. There’s a little more spice to it than those, because to me those ultra-sweet romances tend to be as unrealistic as the erotic shape-shifters.

In fact if someone in my family started talking marriage but then said they were not the least bit sexually attracted… HUH? No way! Run away as fast as you can! Sex is part of falling in love. Sexual attraction is a very big part falling in love and part of marriage. If there is no sexual attraction, something is very wrong! Or somebody is filthy rich! But since I don’t write that…

And if you haven’t read A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming try this contemporary western. It’s a little east/west sort of story and there’s been over 100,000 copies of this book sold on Amazon alone!  (Yes! I’m writing the diary of Clare Coleman! I’ve already made plans to make 2017 my year to finish the diary. Plan on reading it sometime in 2018. It’s my Magnum Opus. My readers asked for it.)

My sweeter romances are just sweeter than my other stories. I don’t ignore the sexual component. Often it’s a fade to black situation. I figure my readers are smart enough to to read between the lines. Which also means I get some funny reviews. Once person might be appalled because the sexual attraction is there and another person thinks it’s refreshing to read a story without all the sex in it.

I find it quite normal to read a book that realistically portrays a relationship and its development, which might lead to a bedroom scene. The passionate kiss, two bodies pressed together, the emotions, and the one-ness of the moment can be portrayed beautifully.

bicoMy collection of short Christmas stories Baby, It’s Cold Outside contains the novella A Cowboy’s Holiday. Jeremy and his female friend find themselves in some extreme circumstances as they make their way across country to Jeremy’s family in Wyoming. Anyone who has read my other contemporary westerns knows who Jeremy is and knows his family, the McCullough’s and the Lazy A + 8 ranch. He’s a good guy and he’s going to do the right thing. Why? Because he’s been raised that way. And sometimes doing the right thing is a struggle. (You don’t have to read those other stories to read Jeremy’s!)

Happy Holidays, River City  are also sweeter stories. They are not abouhhrct sex. They are about falling in love, starting over, second chances, finding each other, taking the next step, and commitment. And not everyone celebrates Christmas.

Happy Holidays, River City and Baby, It’s Cold Outside are on sale for 99c .

51ez8nzw29lAnd since I’m plugging my books, Loving Ellen is still riding the top of the charts in KindleWorld’s historical. There’s a beautiful Russian Orthodox wedding tucked in those pages of the rugged West. Okay, and a very sexy hero to melt your heart, along with two little boys who are…um…boys who need a daddy. 🙂

Writing sweeter romances has gained me a following and writing something sexier is…well, not on the horizon. I don’t write erotic and I can’t imagine doing it. Even my not-so-sweet River City romances aren’t super hot.  And as for Chelsea’s Christmas which appears in this year’s boxed set Christmas at the Inn sm-fronton Main Street, is sweeter. But its roots are in the west. Her father is from the west and he’s tried to raise his children with those values that ranching families have. (Not just ranchers but farmers, too!) The people I have known who make their living off the land have a great respect for it and for all living things.

I grew up in a small town/ farm community. There was a farm directly across the street from me and the dairy was catty-cornered  from me. My father grew up on a large successful faboxed-set-v3bkrm. My mother was a city gal. I think that gave me a nice balance.

And while I’m at it, please remember to vote on Tuesday! I’ll break the cardinal rule of never talk politics and say it. I don’t like either candidate! But I will vote. I will vote for the who I think is the lesser of the two evils. See. That was simple. I now have half of America angry with me. I don’t care. One of them will win. But at least I did my duty as a citizen and had my opinion counted.

It’s not the President of the USA that makes this country great, it’s the people who flag-file00018192538live here! It’s the 4% of our population who provides food for most of the world. It’s the men and women who work at the big corporations, and the local hairdresser,  firefighter, police officer, auto mechanic, teacher, and small business owner who make this country great. Have a little faith in your neighbors, and the men and women down the street.

i_votedPolitics starts from the ground up. It’s the city councilperson and school board official. It’s your mayor, senator, and congressional representative. VOTE! Too many countries in this world still don’t give all their citizens voting rights. Don’t take our right to vote for granted. Let your voice be heard!

Please Welcome

This year the authors on Main Street decided to invite Nan O’Berry to join our Christmas boxed set. If you are a western reader, you probably know about her. Nan is local to me and has been a published author for years. She writes both obe-ad-smhistorical and contemporary romances, mostly in the western genre. Her “backyard” is filled with chickens, cattle, and horses. She’s probably more at home on a horse than anyplace else. Between working and caring for her family, she manages to squeeze in writing romances. Her latest release Road to Redemption remained on Kindle Worlds’ #1 and #2 slot for historical for two months after release and she’s still in the top 10!

Yeah, I’m the one who kept trading places with her and that was so much fun! She mentored me when I first started writing in the romance genre, so it was student and teacher trading places, sometimes as often as four times during a day.

Everyone on Main Street is excited to have her join us this year because Nan is the epitome of a Main Street author. She’s that small town gal who writes with the values that she has lived and raised her children to cherish.

I’ve already read her story, Candi Cain Kisses, and I can promise that you will love it! (Just don’t read the ending in public if you don’t want people to see you cry!)  Please welcome Nan O’Berry.

The holidays are just around the corner.

There’s nothing better than writing a story set about the norman-rockwellholidays. Holidays bring people home. We recall the Norman Rockwell painting depicting Thanksgiving dinner. The warmth and desire to belong transcends paint and canvas to nurture the deep need among us to go home again, to feel a part of something, to become again an innocent in a world of uncertainty. That being said, I am thrilled to have been asked by the Authors on Main Street to join their Christmas box set.

Each of our stories features an Inn. In Candi Cain Kisses, ‘my Inn’ is the Candy Cane Inn, an old Victorian on Main Street inebook-candi-cain-4x6-xsm Mistletoe, Texas. This building serves as the small town hotel. One of the parlors on the main floor has been transformed into a tearoom. Here, the citizens of Mistletoe can come at the end of a hard days shopping and enjoy a homemade pastry, a slice of cake¸ or cookie decorated for the season. It is here, where my heroine, Candi Cain meets Jonathan Barlow and his adorable daughter, Felicia.

One of my favorite movies is To Kill a Mockingbird. My hero, Jonathan Barlow is Atticus Finch without his glasses. He’s come to Mistletoe for a ‘do-over’. Losing his wife¸ he feels labeled “the widower”. Coming to Mistletoe, will allow him a fresh start with his precious daughter Felicia. No longer will he be, Tiffany Barlow’s husband.

northern-girlHis daughter, Felicia is a heart stopper. Picture her as the little dark-haired sweetheart from the Northern Bath Tissue. She is drawn to Candi and Candi’s intuition senses the lost waif and understands her issues. Candi’s own mother returned to Mistletoe and her family after Candi’s father’s death.

Of course, love blossoms. However as we know, true love never takes the easy path. I hope you all will take a peek at Candi Cane Kisses and enjoy the journey toward true love for Candi and Jonathan.

Nan O’Berry

A Very Full Month

First! A great big huge THANK YOU to all my readers who sent Loving Ellen to the top of the Historical Fiction in Kindle World for two months. Sharing the #1 and the #2 spot with Nan O’Berry was wonderful. You’re going to see more of Nan O’Berry as she is joining us as a guest author in our upcoming Christmas boxed set. Nan writes both contemporary and historical western romances.

October is going to be a busy month on Main Street as we all get ready to release this year’s Christmas boxed set. I’m excited because this set will contain my fourth story in the popular Montgomery family saga.

If you remember the first story was about Cody Montgomery. He was the single with-this-ring1600-x-2400father of seven children, divorced and then widowed. His choice in females was anything but stellar, and he collected children with each marriage. So when he met DeeDee who had high hopes of her own bridal design business, sparks began to fly and not the way Cody always expected. Cody was a great dad to his large brood. Not always perfect, but he tried hard.

Julia was the oldest daughter and the “wild child” of the Montgomery household. But her boy crazinJulia&Aaron 250x400ess seemed to settle down when she went to work for DeeDee in her fledgling bridal business. Well, until the redheaded and freckled Aaron came along and stirred the passion in Julia to new heights.

Then there was Melissa. She was the good daughter, 2h2h-finalizedgood student, etc. But after working for her grandfather at SunWest as an actuary, she realized her career choice was a big mistake. She packs up and returns to her childhood hometown and rents a gatekeeper’s cottage on an old estate. There she found herself falling in love with the man she thought was the groundskeeper on that estate.

This Christmas, it’s Chelsea’s chance at love. She’s sm-frontfollowed in her father’s footsteps and become a lawyer. She’s even working for the same organization that looks for innocent people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. Chelsea’s been the “smart” one, a studious wallflower of a young woman who hooked up with the wrong guy while still in college. No one in the family has liked her boyfriend. It wasn’t until he almost killed her that she escaped the abusive relationship and ran home. But he’s out for revenge. Because if he can’t have her, no will!

This month in my hometown will be the start of a local writer’s group. I’ve worked hard to make that happen and on Wednesday it will become a reality. It’s another drain on my time but being with other creative minds is always a good thing. I’m not exactly certain why, but the energy level always increases around other writers.

I’m also teaching a two-class workshop on dialog this month at the Portsmouth Public Library in Portsmouth, Virginia. And it seems that whenever I teach I always wind up examining my own writing as I prepare the lesson plans. Somehow I’ve got to explain to my students so that they understand. The introspection is probably a good thing as it forces me to put words to things I do automatically. So how do I teach students to watch and listen to people around them?

There is no stereotypical author when it comes to personality types, but I have noticed that the best authors usually are people watchers. They pay attention and notice things. Everyone has quirks. Good authors notice the quirks and assign them to characters in their stories.

So how did I just manage to go from telling you I’m teaching class on dialog to quirks in characters? I was thinking about my own characters dialogs. We don’t just talk. We are almost never still. Are you tapping a finger on your mouse as you read this? And did you just pick up that glass beside you and take a sip? Did you look into the glass? That pesky little fly wasn’t swimming in there was he? What were you expecting to see in there? Do you look at your ice cubes and that strange white pattern that forms inside the cube? Ever look at the way cream mixes with coffee and seems to create a swirl in the cup? Do you notice the condensation as it rolls down the glass – the way it gathers droplets along its path as if attracted by magnetism to it? Do you wonder why children backwash into your drink, but you don’t?

Ah, yes, the minds of writers, and the places they go and maybe shouldn’t. But it’s these places that add to our writing. Your hero didn’t just sip at his hot cider between his bits of dialog. We are not robots with mechanical predictable movements. We talk with inflection and we use our hands, eyes, and facial muscles when we speak. Next time you are in public, watch how people talk. Pay attention to how she plays with her hair. If he’s sitting, what is he doing with his feet? What’s in his hands? Does he use them when he talks? And how does he use them? Men do use their hands differently while talking. Now assign things such as tapping fingers or whatever little quirk that makes each person different to your characters. It’s not he said, she said.

So with two books in some form of edits, plenty of promo to do for my new releases, I should be relaxing, Instead my head has already begun to play with characters for tweet-mine-smmy next historical western that must be ready by Dec.1. That will be the third and probably the last “Loving” novel for a while. Because… I’m going to devote next year to my Diary of Clare Coleman. Furthermore, I can’t keep up this hectic pace. For now, I refuse to add anything beyond my commitment to the Authors of Main Street’s Christmas boxed sets and the diary.