Search This Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Release -- Home for the Heart by Sarah J. McNeal -- Giveaway!

Lucy Thoroughgood has gone and done it now—fallen in love with Hank Wilding, a man she’s known all her life. He’s content with friendship, but Lucy’s heart has flown the coop and she knows she’s in love with the determined bachelor. When she visits him with a proposition—to let the orphans she cares for learn to ride his horses during the summer—he surprises her with one of his own. She must accompany him to the dancing lessons he’s signed up for.

Secretly pleased, she hopes that perhaps this arrangement might lead to more than friendship. But Hank’s loved hard and lost, with his engagement to one of the popular town girls going south two years earlier. He’s sworn to never lose his heart to another—including Miss Lucy Thoroughgood.

A teenage orphan, Chayton, could be the key to thawing Hank’s heart—but danger follows the embittered boy. Will Hank be able to give Chayton the home he yearns for—or will the boy’s past bring only sorrow to those he cares for? When a Lakota premonition becomes reality, Lucy’s life hangs in the balance. Will Hank have the chance to let Lucy know how wrong he was?


     In the quiet of the barn filled with the smell of fresh hay, horse manure, and leather tack, Hank sensed rather than heard someone enter the building. Ah, the smell of sunshine and roses. Must be Lucille Thoroughgood. Without turning to look at her, he set the pitchfork against the wall of Lonesome’s stall. “What do you want, Lucy?” he grumbled as a greeting.
     “Mr. Wilding, I have something I’d like to propose to you.” Her voice sounded tense. When he turned to face her, he saw those blue eyes dart away from his to peer at the straw on the floor. She promptly straightened her spine and must have forced herself to look him straight in the eye. Her starched manner made him want to mess with her.
     “A proposal?” He moved closer to her…maybe too close. He felt something shift in his chest like a warning bell. “Well now, I haven’t ever had a lady propose to me before,” he joked, badly, just to get her goat. Generally, women were not to be trusted. He’d learned that lesson the hard way. But Lucy was his old friend since grade school. Even though she must have been born straight-laced and proper, she spoke her truth, plain and simple. Beneath that barbed wire exterior beat a heart of gold.  
     Lucy propped her fists on her hips and he thought she looked like a charming sugar bowl all ruffled up in her pink flowered dress and her sweet, straw hat that sat askew on her gleaming brown hair. She knitted those brows together and narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m not proposing marriage to you, Mr. Wilding. I’m proposing a business deal…sort of.”

BUY LINKS     Barnes and Noble     Smashwords     Kobo     iBooks


Friday, May 20, 2016

Wind Power

Last year when I traveled I-40, I kept a look-out and tried to photograph some of the old windmills. These things have been around for decades pumping water for home and agricultural use.
Windmill in eastern New Mexico

I recently completed a fast and furious trip along I-40 from California to Arkansas. As usual, even though the weather for most of the trip was overcast and/or rainy and/or foggy, I took pictures to help ease the boredom. Along Tehachapi Pass, I took some of the windmills, or wind turbines, designed to generate electricity. They have been a frequent subject of my picture-snapping over the years.

Wind turbines along Highway 58 in the western Tehachapi foothills
Were those babies turning? Oh, yeah.....probably more than I have seen them in the past.
In case you are wondering about the size of these wind turbines, the base of one set behind this barn can provide a little perspective.
Although I didn't get a photo, we did see some blades (there are three per unit) being trucked down the road. They were on some of the longest trailers I have ever seen. What I noticed this trip, although I'm sure they were there two years ago when I made this same trip, is that these wind turbines are not exclusive to the windy foothills of California's Tehachapi Mountains or the coastal range near Livermore. We passed clusters of them all through Oklahoma.....

 and northern Texas,
If you have any doubt that the Mojave Desert in California can be windy, just look at the number of wind turbines that lined the bottom edge of the Tehachapi Mountains we passed on the way back home.
Where else besides these places are you aware of wind turbines like these being used to generate electricity?

 Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novel, Family Secrets, was published by Fire Star Press. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Release -- FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE by Diana Tobin -- Giveaway!

Michaela Sparks left her hometown years ago to prove herself. When a good friend, Nancy, is killed in a terrible car accident that leaves Nancy’s two daughters motherless, Michaela marries their father. Now, circumstances have brought her full-circle, back to the small town of Webster with her two adopted daughters—and the hope for a brand new start for all of them.

Ethan Reigh is the new coach of the Webster Wolves junior hockey team. New in town, he rents a room from Michaela’s mother, Nettie Baxter. Though an injury ended his pro career in the NHL, he never shares the extent of what’s happened—the partial loss of his leg. When he meets Michaela, known as “Mike” to her friends, he’s torn between hope for a wonderful new relationship—and fear of losing her if she knows the truth.

But Mike has had enough of deception to last a lifetime, and she knows there can be no love without truth. Will she measure up and be able to claim the man she so desperately wants a future with? Ethan is prepared to show her how much he cares—he’ll do whatever it takes FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE.


     The adoptions had been finalized. Their new mother would do what was best, and that was what mattered. He’d kept up the payments on the life insurance policy he’d taken out more than a year ago. It was damn little, but at least it would help keep a roof over their heads, or better yet, give them a new start. The marriage was legal, if not real.
     He gave barely a thought to the woman he’d married thirteen months ago. He didn’t consider her his wife, no matter what the law said. His wife had been his one true love. 
     He’d killed her nearly five years ago.

Be sure and leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook of FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE.

BUY LINKS  Barnes and Noble   Smashwords     Kobo     iBooks


Sunday, May 15, 2016


Editor Cat-There are Days, by Rogena Mitchell-Jones Manuscript Service

Tinkerbelle is looking at me from her bed behind my monitor where she does her best editing. She knows what I’m thinking. She knows I don’t have a clue what I’m about to write, and she knows I’m going to fudge my way through in spite of that. Cats know these things, but…

How do they know?


Tinkerbelle, Prime Editor

I turn slightly and see Tink is not alone; Little is also watching. She wants to see what I do next. She looks exceedingly smug, knowing that if she doesn’t like it, she will drift her feathery fur across my touch screen and make it all disappear in a fizzle of pixel-fire.

 “No, Little, no! It can’t be that bad. Can it?”

Little, Hands-on Editor

There has been a lot of buzz on the internet lately about cat editors. You think we’re kidding? That the phrase, cat editor, is just a cute way of saying we like to work with a cat on our laps? Not true. Cats know a good story when they hear one, and since they are essentially telepathic, they often know a writer’s work before the writer does.

Tinkerbelle is purring as she pushes me for full disclosure. Okay, I admit my title is misleading: I don’t find cats scary, and certainly not my own little clowder.

Keep Writing or the Claws Come Out, by Jordan L. Hawk

No, I’m not afraid of cats or their arsenal of arcane abilities. Bring them on, the more the better! (Limited only by my finances and how many litter boxes I can clean in a morning.) Their talent for reading my mind and at times, influencing it, is a good thing; after all, what would a cat writer be without cats?
The fact that my books revolve around cats doesn’t seem strange to me.
When sometimes I find myself writing from their perspective, well, that isn’t so weird, is it? Someone needs to tell their stories.
When I have crazy cat lady dreams and wake up with a cat on my head, that’s just normal, right?
But sometimes when I close my eyes, I begin to purr…

Be afraid! Be furry afraid!

Tinkerbelle, the black floofy female with one white whisker, is a 15 year old rescued stray who until recently worked with me as a therapy cat. Little, also female, black (with a pendant), and a rescue, is 9 and sassy. Big Red, the orange tabby male, adopted me. His age is thought to be around 12.


Check out more blogs by Mollie Hunt at:
Happy reading!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Write to Express, Not to Impress

The definition of a writer’s voice, as found on Wikipedia, is “the individual writing style of an author, a combination of their common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works).” I believe that each writer’s voice is as unique and natural a part of them as are their fingerprints. However, learning to trust that voice can be hard when faced with the overwhelming amount of writing advice we are inundated with each day.  A writer can’t swing a pronoun without hitting advice - it’s everywhere and most of it begins with the word never:

“Never use adverbs.” (I kind of feel sorry for the poor adverb. It gets such a bad rap.)

“Never use a dialogue tag other than ‘said.’ ”

“ ‘Said’ is over-used as a dialogue tag. Change it up.” (Did I mention that much of the advice conflicts? No? Well, it does.)

“A chapter must be at least five thousand words.” (No. Just no.)

Trying to follow all of the advice given not only stifles our voice, it can completely stifle the creative process. To be honest, I’m still learning to navigate the advice minefield. As a general rule of thumb, I’ve learned to avoid the advice that begins with never. I’ve got enough living under my belt to be a firm believer in the old adage, “Never say never.”
For those times I am feeling overwhelmed by what-ifs, and should-I’s, I fall back on the one piece of advice that has saved my writing sanity more than once: Write to express, not to impress

I’ve learned that when I am really struggling, when the words are feeling heavy-handed or I’m staring at a blank page, unable to begin, it’s usually because I have started writing to impress. When writing to impress, I become more focused on the turn of a phrase rather than the story I am trying to tell. Writing to impress also means that I am worried about what others might think of what I am writing, or whether it meets the myriad of “rules” that I’ve read that week. When that happens, I have to take a deep breath and remember why I write, which is to express all of the stories that I have to tell.

Once I put my focus back on the story, make that my story, the words come easier. There is nothing like the feeling when the words suddenly click - that feeling is what lets me know that I’m once again using my voice to tell my story. After all…

Sign up for my newsletter here: