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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Release -- DIAL V FOR VAMPIRE by Isabella Norse -- Ebook Giveaway!

A Kudzu Korners Novel

Maggie Robinson is a full-time server, part-time blogger, and 24/7 skeptic. Her love life? Non-existent. Why bother? Her parents' divorce is proof that "happily ever after" is a fairy tale. To make matters worse, she has no idea that her tongue-in-cheek blog, Life with Zombie, has placed her at the top of the werewolves' Most Wanted List.

Noah Townsend is a vampire with a broken heart. It has been two years since his wife's death, and he is still recovering. Instead of dealing with his grief, he has thrown himself into his duties as the head of a security firm that specializes in protecting paranormal beings and hiding their existence from humans.

Worlds collide when Noah saves Maggie from a werewolf attack. Can Maggie overcome her skepticism, and Noah his grief, in time to realize that they were made for each other? Or will the ripples started by Maggie's blog grow into a tsunami that will tear them—and Kudzu Korners—apart?


     Something was following Maggie. She paused in the murky light at the base of the flickering street lamp, eyes searching the darkness behind her.
     “Hello?” She thought she saw the glint of a pair of golden eyes, but they disappeared almost immediately. As if, perhaps, the owner of the eyes closed them. Definitely not human—too close to the ground.
     “You know, I probably should’ve taken my fear of the dark and the lack of lights into consideration before changing to night shift.” She spoke out loud, needing the comfort of a voice. Her subconscious scanned through its database of secondary fears and whipped out... Chihuahuas?
     “Really, brain? That’s the best you can come up with?” Stepping to the edge of the light, she stared into the night, wishing someone could beam her straight into her apartment, still a few blocks away. “The wild Chihuahua packs are in Arizona. I’m pretty sure they haven’t spread to the Deep South. Yet.”
     Inspiration struck, and Maggie fumbled in her over-sized purse. “Ah-ha!” she crowed as she pulled out her key chain—along with a small blizzard of tissues and gum wrappers. She thumbed the small LED flashlight dangling from the ring. Nothing. She tried again. Nada. “Well that’s a fine how-do-you do. If a girl can’t depend on a flashlight with five-year-old batteries in her time of need, what can she count on? I guess I’ll just have to get by on my looks and my wits.”
     There. Surely, that was the sound of claws on concrete. She whirled to scour the darkness again, half expecting to find a gang of small, scruffy curs advancing on her with malice in their hearts. The darkness peered back at her, all innocence. “See? This is why Mama told you not to watch so many scary movies. Your imagination runs away and conjures up all kinds of problems where there are none.” She stomped her foot in frustration. “Why does everything shut down at night? Why is there no one willing to assist a damsel in distress?”

Be sure and leave a comment for a chance of winning an ebook of DIAL V FOR VAMPIRE!


Sunday, August 21, 2016


Writing is blissful! Editing, not so much. So today I’ll talk about canning.

I love to can, specifically to pickle. I’ve pickled nearly everything, and long before Portlandia came out with their satire, "We Can Pickle That". (Is it coincidence that I happen to live in Portland Oregon?) From bananas to kumquats, daikon to habanero peppers, and of course from Apples to Zucchini, I’ve given it a try. Not everything comes out, but most of the time I end up with something one wouldn’t find at one’s local grocery store.

I began pickling when I was a hippie on a Canadian communal farm back in ’72. My first attempt was a recipe called Fir Tip Marmalade. I decided on that recipe because fir tips, that soft bright-green new growth of the Douglas fir tree, were plentiful in the Vancouver Island bush. I doubled the recipe, didn’t use pectin because I had no money with which to buy any, and canned it in quarts. The good news was they all sealed; the funky news was that I ended up with 21 quarts of pungent syrup. If anyone has drunk the Greek wine, Retsina, a wine infused with the flavor of pine resin, you can guess at the flavor.

I got better. I learned to follow recipes. I adjusted the size of jar for the type of condiment. I practiced. I did it a each autumn. I wrote down everything: every change, every modification, every quirk. That is my Big Book, and I use it to this day.

Today I’m pickling beets and hot dill cukes. Yesterday my husband picked plums from our tree that as soon as our tomatoes ripen will become Chinese Plum Sauce, Plum-Tomato Barbeque Sauce, HP Sauce, and juice (without the tomatoes). To me, the rhythm of canning comes close to the rhythm of writing, where I fall into that timeless place, that here-and-now place, and the rest of the world goes away. Though one is sedentary and cerebral and the other, tactile and a bit frenzied, they share a common thread: they both produce something I love.

This winter, when I open the crunchy habanero dills, when I spoon the plum sauce on our pork roast, when I drink dark plum juice mixed with sparkling soda, I can sit back once again and be proud of these summertime creations.

Check out more blogs by Mollie Hunt at:
Happy reading! (and canning!)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Celebrate & FAMILY SECRETS book offer

To celebrate this final day of the
3rd Birthday Bash, 
I am featuring 
published by Fire Star Press,
a Prairie Rose Publications imprint.

 For an opportunity to win a free copy, please leave your comment below.

About Family Secrets:

Jennie Graves Howell has a secret, including being thought of as a loyal wife to her husband serving in Afghanistan, a husband who has demanded a divorce.

     Jennie’s family do not want her to delve into the past. Grandpa Mike refuses to talk about his experiences in the Vietnam War and the aftermath. He wants the biggest mistake he ever made to remain hidden in the past, including family members Jennie never heard about until hints of their existence begin to seep through the cracks of secrecy.

      Her new friends at the Golden Oaks Family Ties club are willing to teach Jennie the skills she needs to unlock her family’s secrets, but is she willing and emotionally strong enough to learn what her family has kept hidden?


“So you’re not afraid of opening Pandora’s Box?” Kaylee asked.
            “I don’t see it as Pandora’s Box. I see it as—well, not like a treasure chest—more like a strong box with important information inside that can be of great value if only I can unlock it.”
            “And your grandpa is the key, no?” said Lupe.
            “No…” Jennie hesitated. “He’s the lock. He’s the one who keeps everyone from talking about it so it stays hidden away.”
            “So, what’s the key?” asked Kaylee.
            “I think it’s more of a case of who is the key?” said Donna.
            The room grew silent as everyone looked at Jennie.
            “I guess I’m hoping I’m the key,” Jennie said….

Family Secrets is available on Amazon, including
Kindle Unlimited.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Backstory of BLACK AND BLUEBERRY DIE by Livia J. Washburn -- and Giveaway!

 When I finished writing and turned in the 10th Fresh Baked Mystery, The Candy Cane Cupcake Killer, I thought it was going to be the final visit with Phyllis Newsom and her friends. I was taking care of my father, and that was becoming a full time job. It was also the last book under contract and the publisher wasn't getting in any hurry to offer me a new contract. The books were still selling well, but there had been changes in the company and they were cutting back on their mysteries. So after much inner turmoil, I decided to end the series.

My father passed away August 17th, 2015. He left me the responsibility of being his executor, which was a new and complicated job. His house needed work, and Dad was a pack-rat, so there was a lot to go through. He had built their bathroom cabinets when he was almost eighty, and they were a bit of a mess. Rather than buy new materials, he used old homemade cabinets and re-cut them, added bolts to make the doors stay closed, and he wasn’t worried if they were the same size or how they looked as long as they functioned. My parents helped us build our first home when we got married. They knew we wanted to write, and the pay was undependable, so we never had to worry about a mortgage, we did it all ourselves. This meant I knew which side of the saw to use. I tore all of the doors out and gave the cabinets a new face. Did you know you can buy cabinet doors on Amazon in many sizes? I covered the facing with plywood to provide a smooth surface, adding boards behind to make the openings the same size, and painted it all. I enjoyed using the skills Daddy taught me.

While this was going on I had time to publish other authors’ books and make covers for them, but little time to write. After the full 10 yard, roll-off dumpster left Dad’s place, I started wanting to write again. Fans had written asking when the next Fresh Baked book was coming. Since I no longer had a contract with the previous publisher, I could write it when I had time and publish it through Fire Star Press, which is run by my business partner and friend Cheryl Pierson and myself. I had what I thought was a good title, so I designed the cover first to see if I could capture the feel of the series. Once I had the cover, it was time to get to work. But what would I write about?

 I decided to have the victim work in a beauty shop. My mother and father had a beauty shop, Paul’s Beauty Shop, attached to our house. They were both licensed hair stylists. Daddy was a handsome ex-Marine, and Momma was a beautiful long-legged bleached blonde accountant. She started out a brown-haired beauty, but Daddy loved her as a blonde, so he bleached her hair. I will admit she did look good as a blonde. They built the shop and took classes when I was two. I heard the story many times about how I took a few years off Momma’s life by popping up on the roof when they were shingling it. I liked to climb, and there was a ladder…enough said. One of Momma’s clients was the elementary school principal. She talked Momma into going back to college and getting a teaching degree. She also helped get her hired as a first grade teacher when she graduated. Momma was the reason I had the idea of this series in the first place. She was a retired teacher at the time and devoting many hours to volunteering. Sadly she developed dementia and couldn’t read the first book when it was published. I couldn’t really share with her how much she influenced me with a love of reading, and how to cook, and the value of education. I helped Daddy take care of her for 10 years. Dementia sure does rob a family. Daddy was having trouble with it himself at the end. The man who taught me how to build a house could no longer take care of himself. It was heartbreaking. They were my heroes.

Family is the reason the series was created and family helps in all ways to this day. My husband James is with me from the beginning with plot suggestions, editing, and he is my main taste tester. (Unless it’s a dog biscuit. I have plenty of four-legged taste testers for those.) Shayna, my oldest daughter, a high school chemistry teacher, takes care of the home and our 5 dogs when we run off to write in a quiet cabin. Joanna, our youngest, is a third grade elementary teacher and gives the books their final edit. She has been doing this since book one.

So Black and Blueberry Die allowed me to revisit wonderful memories of growing up in a beauty shop with some fun twists of fiction. In conjunction with the big Third Birthday Bash celebrating Fire Star Press, Prairie Rose Publication, and the other imprints Cheryl and I publish, I will be giving away 2 early ebooks. The book doesn’t come out until September 2nd, which would have been Daddy’s 89th birthday. It will be released in trade paperback and ebook only. There will not be a mass market paperback edition. 
Thank you all for helping me celebrate my latest book and our big Publishing Birthday Bash.  The winners of the ebooks of Black and Blueberry Die will be announced Friday, September 19thFor a chance to win, just mention what your favorite food is to take to parties. I like to bring homemade rolls. They can be as difficult or easy as you want. A warm roll with a little butter is hard to beat.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Welcome to my blog post for August. This summer has been a scorcher so far and there's no sign it’ll cool off till perhaps November!

But, the weeks and months are flying by. I guess that means I’m enjoying them, because if I weren’t they’d drag by.

Okay — I’m gonna get real geeky with you here, but bear with me…

Doctors Niels Bohr and Ernest Rutherford, back in 1913, depicted the atom as a nucleus surrounded by electrons that travel in circular orbits around the nucleus. Strikingly similar in structure to a solar system.

This simplistic description had the effect of firing the imaginations of untold numbers of people, and still does. Add a little quantum physics into the mix — just to insure that everyone is too confused and befuddled to truly understand, and — well, there is no end to the adventure that springs to mind in the fertile imagination.

Such has been my plight. The notion that entire worlds, not dissimilar to our own, may exist at the sub atomic level, or that we ourselves are just part of the atomic make up of a bit of mustard on some fellows hot dog in a very much larger, alternative reality has always played about the fringes of my mind, and as a youth actually haunted my dreams (yes, I was an odd child).

Then I read some of Cosmologist Max Tegmark’s work. I defy anyone to read some of his theory’s and not have flights of fantasy.

Dr. Tegmark described four Multiverse levels:

•Level I: A generic prediction of cosmological inflation is an infinite ergodic universe, which contains Hubble volumes realizing all initial conditions - including an identical copy of you.

•Level II: In many models, inflation can produce multiple Level I multiverses that have different effective physical constants, dimensionality and particle content.

•Level III: In unitary quantum mechanics, other branches of the wave function add nothing qualitatively new, which is ironic given that this quantum parallel universes have historically been the most controversial.

•Level IV: Other mathematical structures give different fundamental equations of physics.

Then, in September, 2008, MIT's Dr. Jacob Bozeman admitted that "The implications of this deceptively simple hypothesis are completely blowing my mind. Like, we could all be nothing more than this little dot in the fingernail of some giant dude.”

Einstein proved that time and space are relative, and by extrapolation we deduce that size is also, for size is nothing more than a measurement of space. Let’s take the nucleus of an atom, say you cut in half, then quarter it, and so on, until eventually you end up with the one millionth part of a nucleus ... yet that one millionth part can itself be cut in half, then quartered and so and so on ... never reaching the point of absolute nothingness.

Now let’s toss in a little String theory. In a nut shell String theory discounts the uni-verse as we understand it. Rather than one universe, there are many, perhaps countless systems out there. Collectively this is called the multiverse or metaverse.

Other scientists say they’ve found something else in the echo of the Big Bang. These guys start with a different model of the universe called eternal inflation. In this theory, the universe we see is just a big bubble in a much larger cosmos. This cosmos is filled with other big bubbles, all of which are other universes where the laws of physics may be dramatically different from ours. 
 These bubbles had a violent past, jostling together and leaving “cosmic bruises” where they bump into each other. So, these bruises ought to be visible today in the cosmic microwave background.

Enter now Stephen Feeney from the University College London who says he found tentative evidence of this bruising in the form of circular patterns in the cosmic microwave background. In fact, he and his colleagues have found four of these bruises, implying that our universe must have smashed into other bubbles at least four times in the past.

The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes including the one in which we live. Together they comprise everything that exists and can exist: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy, and that includes the laws and constants that govern them. The various universes within the multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes, yeah — I know you’ve heard that before.

Is your imagination on fire yet? Think of it, there are as many adventures in that one millionth part of a half of a half of a nucleus as in our entire known universe!

Let’s go there — you and me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Art of the Blurb

Some would say that the first thing that attracts a reader to a book is the cover. Personally, I think it’s the title. The book’s title is the first thing that entices me to go further. From the title, I’m drawn to the cover. Is it colorful? Does it tell me something about the genre? If the title and cover have piqued my interest, I go to the blurb. The blurb, for a book, is the description you find on the back of a paperback book or online at your favorite ebook retailer. 

I seem to be a bit of an anomaly among writers. Most authors seems to look forward to writing a blurb for their book with all of the enthusiasm usually reserved for a root canal or colonoscopy. Not me—I enjoy writing blurbs! *ducks to avoid thrown objects* 

The purpose of the dreaded blurb is to give enough information about your characters and your story to entice a reader into purchasing your book. Therefore, the blurb must reference the genre and introduce the main character. Or, in the case of a romance (my chosen genre), both the hero and heroine should be introduced. The conflict between the characters must be hinted at but a good blurb, never ever contains spoilers. I mean, if you give everything away in the blurb, there is no reason for anyone to read further!

So, why am I talking about blurbs this month? Well…. Drumroll, please! I am excited and pleased and thrilled—and did I say excited?—to announce that if all goes well, Dial V for Vampire, the first book in my sweet, humorous, paranormal romance series will be released by Fire Star Press by the end of the month! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it so please forgive my overuse of exclamation points in this post. In honor of the pending release I present the unofficial blurb for Dial V:

Maggie Robinson is a full-time server, part-time blogger, and 24/7 skeptic. Her love life? Non-existent. Why bother? Her parents' divorce is proof that "happily ever after" is a fairy tale. To make matters worse, she has no idea that her tongue-in-cheek blog, Life with Zombie, has placed her at the top of the werewolves' Most Wanted list.

Noah Townsend is a vampire with a broken heart. It has been two years since his wife's death and he is still recovering. Instead of dealing with his grief, he has thrown himself into his duties as the head of a security firm that specializes in protecting paranormal beings and hiding their existence from humans.

Worlds collide when Noah saves Maggie from a werewolf attack. Can Maggie overcome her skepticism and Noah his grief in time to realize that they were made for each other? Or will the ripples started by Maggie's blog grow into a tsunami that will tear them – and Kudzu Korners - apart?

And, just in case you are wondering what makes a blurb unofficial, this is the blurb as submitted to Fire Star Press, it may undergo some changes before publication.

If you need me, I’ll be over here squealing and happy dancing until release day, then I’ll hyperventilate!

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