WRAPPED WITH A BOW

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Even though I’m an avid reader, this is one of those busy times of year when finding the time to settle down and concentrate on a full length novel can be a challenge. With that in mind, I recently picked up a collection of Christmas themed short stories titled, Wrapped With A Bow: Nine Holiday Short Stories as Unique as Snowflakes.

The authors who contributed to this collection are Aubree Lane , R.E. Hargrave, Ella Medler, Cherime MacFarlane, Samantha Jacobey, Michele E. Gwynn, Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough, Teri Riggs, and Holly Barbo.

I’ve enjoyed the work of all these authors in the past, and had high expectations for this collection. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a great collection that I found to be entertaining, romantic, often heartwarming, always absorbing … and it also left me feeling good.

These stories truly are as unique as snowflakes, yet, along with being connected by the Christmas season, they also share the idea that there are more good decent people than bad people in this world – which I often need to reminded of after watching the evening news.

Some of these stories have an almost fairy tale quality, portraying down-on-their-luck young women who, against all odds, find their prince charmings and happy-ever-afters. There are also exhilarating thrillers – and even some stories with absorbing and exciting paranormal refrains designed to take us to new places.

All wrapped up together, this makes for a most satisfying reading experience. Not to mention that, at the extremely low price of ninety-nine cents, this collection is a steal – leaving more money in my pocket for holiday shopping. In fact, this short story set would make a great stocking stuffer for all your friends.

WRAPPED WITH A BOW contains the following stories:

THE KISSING BALL — Aubree Lane
SUGAR & SPICE — RE Hargrave
FROZEN HEART — Ella Medler
A WHITE CAT FOR CHRISTMAS — Cherime MacFarlane
CHRISTMAS CANDY — Samantha Jacobey
SOPHIE’S WISH — Michele E. Gwynn
CHRISTMAS FOR FAITH — Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
TRUE LOVE NEVER DIES — Teri Riggs
A CRYSTAL SNOWFLAKE — Holly Barbo
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Available at Amazon…ONLY 99 cents!!
US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0187NPMF4
UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0187NPMF4
CA – http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0187NPMF4
AU – http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0187NPMF4

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

 

Trick Or Treat? I’ll Take The Treats!

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Halloween with The Crazy Lady Authors and fantasy writer Cynthia Richards. Treats for everyone and Happy Halloween to all.

Deep Thoughts and Junk

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from The Crazy Lady Authors

The Crazy Lady Authors are a group of women authors who support each other (almost) unconditionally. And, yes, we are all just a little bit crazy, so the name fits. We’re also busy women with diverse ideas of what it means to rustle up a batch of treats (or dinner) for the hobgoblins in our lives – not only on Halloween, but also on all those days when we’re crazy busy trying to keep up with our families and day jobs while still making a deadline and keeping our muses happy. Plus, who knew that even our muses could sometimes be foodies? In fact, you’ll find food rather prominently featured in some of our books. What the muse wants, the muse gets – just like those adorable little hobgoblins. As it turns out, our muses got together and  inspired us to write a…

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“The City Has Many Faces,” free on Amazon from September 14th through the 18th

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I’ve had this book by George Polley on my wishlist, and now it’s free for a limited time. I want to share this opportunity with all my friends. Get your copy free September 14-18!

Musings by George Polley

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This post is different from most of what I write on my Musings blog. This  post is about my most recent book, “The City has Many Faces, a love story about Mexico City,” which I’m offering free to my readers from September 14th through the 18th, on all Amazon sites. Drop by and pick up a copy, then sit down and read about the city that captured my heart back in 1973. Here’s the link:   http://authl.it/2o2

When you’re finished, let me know what you think, and do tell your friends about your recent visit to Mexico City.

George

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Do We Need To Be Enemies?

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As is always the case, author, blogger, musician, and artist, Elyse Bruce, has provided a well thought out and entirely reasonable solution to a problem we Indie Authors have been struggling with lately. Now, if only Jeff Bezos will listen.

Elyse Bruce

The last few weeks have proven to be difficult for Indie authors on Amazon due to a number of policy changes, not the least of which has to do with book reviews.  Two months ago, many reviews were deemed invalid and were removed from the Amazon site which caused an uproar among a segment of Indie authors.

Some reviews removed were “paid for” reviews while others were “review for review swap” reviews.  Some were “doxing” reviews (in other words, the sole intent was to sink the author’s book before got a toehold in the market) and some were “toxic” reviews (in other words, the sole intent was to use the review format to personally attack the author).

But then there came to light another kind of review removal and that was the removal of reviews by those Amazon considered to be a friend of the author regardless of whether the…

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Spotlight on: Cooking with The Crazy Lady Authors

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Right now, for a limited time, the Kindle Edition is available at a 67% discount … for only 99 cents!

In case you don’t know who The Crazy Lady Authors are, I’ll tell you a little bit about us. You can also get to know us on Twitter @CLAuthors, on Facebook, on Pinterest, and on our blog.

We are a group of writers who have banded together to support one another unconditionally, in our work and in our lives. In the process, we’ve become more than merely colleagues and friends … we think of ourselves as sisters … and can’t imagine not having one another to lean on. Needless to say, with such a great sense of camaraderie between us, we always end up having a lot of fun together. It’s no accident that we dubbed ourselves The Crazy Lady Authors. Anyone who picks up our collaborative cookbook will immediately get a sense of what I’m talking about.

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Our cookbook, Cooking with The Crazy Lady Authors is available in both Kindle (on sale for just 99 cents!) and paperback editions from Amazon. You can also contact me to purchase a signed paperback edition. Simply email me at CairennHouse@gmail.com and put the word COOKBOOK in the subject line to arrange it.

In Summary

As Jacques Pepin would say, “Happy cooking!” As Julia Child would say, “Bon appetite!”  As for what Alice B. Toklas, (in)famous for the Hashish Brownie Recipe in her own self-titled cookbook would be most likely to say, I choose this quirky quote:

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As it so happens, our cookbook is full of recipes for incredibly good food, and you can legally purchase all the ingredients at your local supermarket. And it’s currently on sale for just 99 cents! See how easy we’re making it for you!

We’re nice like that.

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SPOTLIGHT ON AUBREE LANE

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I recently had a conversation with Aubree Lane about Early One Morning which has one of the most original plots I’ve ever come across, not to mention wonderfully drawn characters.

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As a very green (read naive, floundering, doubting myself) indie author, I was fortunate to happen across Aubree Lane, who personifies the notion that an author’s best friend is another author. After reading her novel Early One Morning (and being captivated by it) I pulled up my big girl panties and decided to contact her about reading and reviewing my debut novel, Looking for the Good Life. She told me it would be a while before she could get to it, but promised she would eventually read and review it for me.

Frankly, although I was hoping she was being truthful, I didn’t really expect her to follow through. Happily, I was wrong, and was thrilled when she put up a positive review on Amazon. It came at a time when I especially needed encouragement. That’s when I realized how significant support from fellow authors can be, and was inspired to make sure I offer support to other authors as well. Writing reviews is one of the ways I do that. Another way is to spotlight them on this blog.

Jayne: Welcome to my blog, Aubree. I’m so happy to have this chance to talk to you. Ever since reading Early One Morning I’ve wanted to ask you questions about it, especially the plot. But, before we talk about that, I’m curious about how long it actually took you to write Early One Morning.

Aubree: Wow, what an introduction. I had no idea. You have me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you, Jayne. We indies have to stick together. Being an independent author is not for the faint of heart.

Jayne: That’s so true … and you’re welcome.

Aubree: I know exactly how you were feeling that day. I’m glad I could help. You give me too much credit though. Your new book, Love in the Dust is up next on my TBR list and I can’t wait to start flipping the pages.

Jayne: Oh goody!

Aubree: As for Early One Morning, it was a work in progress for many years. It probably took me about a year to write the first draft. I had to set it aside when life took a turn and I began homeschooling my youngest son. Four years later we were both DONE with that. He went back to public school, and I went back to writing. I was a different person by that time and EOM was in for a complete rewrite. It took around another year before I felt it was ready for publication, so I drew in a deep breath and hit the publish button. It was the most exciting and scariest thing I’ve ever done.

Jayne: I know that feeling. I think of it as triumph (as in, yay me! I just wrote a book) immediately followed by massive self-doubt (as in, OMG – what if nobody likes it?). I think it must be the indie writers’ version of stage fright. But enough about that; I want to know about the plot of Early One Morning. Were you inspired by real events that were in some way similar to what takes place in the novel?

Aubree: Jayne, Jayne, Jayne … funny you should ask. One day a new girl in my high school choir brought her yearbook from her old school in Hawaii. That is where the correlation begins. Early One Morning is basically set in Hawaii, Annie (my heroine) used to sing in the high school choir, and a new student brought in her yearbook. Being teenage girls, my class gossiped and giggled our way through the pages and voted on the hottest boy in the senior class. Annie Harper and her classmates did so as well. I always remembered that day and the boy who grabbed our hearts. I thought I was alone in my weirdness, but one day I ran into one of my old friends and, out of the blue, she asked me if I remembered the boy in the yearbook. His name still rolled off our tongues. My hero had to be named, Terence Javier. No other name felt right.

Jayne: Great name!

Aubree: Yes, but that is where the similarities end. To the best of my knowledge, no one in my choir class sought Terence out. After running into my friend I began to wonder, what if one (or more) of us had gone to Hawaii and found our crush. My imagination went wild and Early One Morning was born.

Jayne: I love that the yearbook thing really happened. I was hoping you’d say that. Still, the way you had your characters follow up on the object of their crushes was brilliant. How about the process of character development in Early One Morning? Which came first, the characters or the plot? Okay, dumb question, since the yearbook thing sparked the story, the plot must have come first, at least to some degree. How do you usually handle plot versus characters?

Aubree: Let me say right off, I don’t do outlines. I always know how a story will begin and how I think it will end. The ending typically changes several times during the course of the writing process, so I hate to get hung up on what is supposed to happen. All of my stories need to have a twist the reader doesn’t see coming. Those little surprises usually pop in my head as I get into the meat of the tale.

The characters probably come first, but they are already wrapped up in a general plot line before I strike the first letter on the keyboard. As the story builds, so do the characters. What amazes me is that I find myself liking and developing some minor character more than I intended. In Early One Morning that character is David Crandall. David is married to Annie’s best friend. He’s a private investigator for his wife’s law firm. I liked him so much he finds his way (as a secondary character) into the next book I wrote called, Tahoe Blues.

Jayne: When I read Tahoe Blues I was thrilled to run into David Crandall again. Isn’t it funny how characters seem to take on a life of their own and sometimes do things we don’t expect them to do? So, what is your latest project?

Aubree: My current project is called Winter in Waianae. Annie’s little sister shows up unexpectedly on her doorstep. It is technically part of the series, but you could read it as a standalone. I love this book. It began as a holiday novella, but I couldn’t stop. It had to be full length. The day Annie’s little sister, Brittany, turns eighteen, she jumps on a plane and heads for Hawaii. She ends up falling for the boy across the street.

Sounds kind of like more of the same old thing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t want to give away too much, but there are a couple of mysteries which need to be solved. One of them revolves around a childhood bedtime story about Spinner dolphins and the Winter Solstice. The other is crime across the street at the kid’s house, and I’ll always have you wondering about who will get their happy ending (there will be at least one, but since the main characters are so young, this book will be family friendly).

In case you are wondering … yes, David Crandall shows up in this book too. I just can’t let him go. One day I’m going to have to break up with him, but not today.

Jayne: I’m certainly in no hurry for you to break up with David! I’m looking forward to running into him again … and going back to Hawaii with you to discover the mystery of the Spinner dolphins and the Winter Solstice … not to mention experiencing Annie’s little sister falling in love.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I’ll let you get back to work now so you can finish Winter in Waianae and hit that publish button again. Can’t wait to read it!

So there you have it folks. Be sure to go to Aubree’s Amazon author page and hit the follow button so you’ll know when Winter in Waianae is released. Meanwhile, get to know David Crandall, and all her other delicious characters, in Early One Morning and Tahoe Blues.

Fortunately, Early One Morning is widely available:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1dBCOm3
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1E1ubgg
Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1EGJG8x
Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/18YyN9o

And, don’t forget you can connect with Aubree at:

Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Twitter @AubreeLane3
Goodreads

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Spotlight on Holly Barbo: Artistry with Words and Wood

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Holly Barbo has an impressive back list of paranormal fantasy thrillers, including the Sage Seed Chronicles series.

Her latest release, Sunstone, is also a thriller, with a story set in a steampunk world on a distant moon. I read it last weekend, and was both entertained and impressed with her ability to create such a coherent, cohesive, and captivating world with characters and problems I could relate to. I feel as if the moon, Myrn, must be a real place, and the people who live there are people I know. You can read my full review on Amazon.

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Sunstone Blurb

But, as the title of this post implies, Holly’s creative talents aren’t limited to her ability to create with words. She is also an artist in wood. Along with her skills in restoration, she also designs, creates, and sells  beautiful one of a kind pieces, such as this one:

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Visit Barbo Furniture to see more. And don’t forget to check out Sunstone. I highly recommend it.

You can connect with Holly Barbo on her blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

 

Spotlight on Diane Rinella

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There is an originality to Diane Rinella’s work that is not only refreshing, but utterly fascinating. She somehow manages to charm her readers while at the same time enticing them to think … and feel. That’s not an easy feat. If you want an entertaining read that also allows you to tap into your own emotions, then Diane’s work is for you.

Diane’s latest release is

*Something To Dream On.”

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SYNOPSIS

If a painting in the home of your perfect man reflects your dreams of doom, do you run, or do you dare to embrace love? While Lizetta lives a life of compassion, childhood bullying over a few extra pounds have caused this sparky woman to lose sight of the beauty of her soul. Jensen’s recent past is filled with substance abuse, shady morals, and loose women. A brutal wake up call forced him to find his way back to the gentle soul he once was; however, there are some whose futures depend on the return of the demon. Souls can heal, but how long can they fight the forces that seek to destroy them? If one of those forces is the person who shattered your self-image, and she is determined to take down the one you love, could you still believe that everyone deserves a second chance?

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed every page of this book, and was sorry to see it end. Frankly,The story is completely fantastical, yet it quickly hooked me and became real., as did the characters. I’ve been pondering how Ms. Rinella achieved that, and can only conclude she is not only a master of dialogue, but that the characters all possess a part of her – a piece of her heart? – which she passes on to her readers. Exactly how she does that is a wonderful mystery. Most of us would blithely agree that the universe does indeed work in mysterious ways. However, the concepts that we are all the sum of our experiences, as well as being responsible for all our choices,whether they are made consciously or unconsciously., can be uncomfortable to contemplate, as well as difficult to fully accept, and act on. Yet, this story successfully tackles these ideas, providing us with an entertaining framework that explores and explains, as well as inspires. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. While it tackles serious issues, it doesn’t drag the reader down. In fact, I found myself uplifted. I am left with the idea that the universe, in all its mysteriousness, also provides us with more opportunities to get it right than we could ever imagine. That’s a very comforting thought. I highly recommend reading “Something to Dream On.” It will be time well spent. I’m glad the universe saw fit to help me discover Diane Rinella’s work. You will be too.

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Fortunately, “Something to Dream On” is currently on sale for just 99 cents, or free with Kindle Unlimited on AMAZON. Don’t wait too long to get your copy, as the price will be going up. You can also go to Beyond the Valley of the Books for a chance to win a signed copy and SWAG pack! Learn more about Diane at her Amazon Author Page. You can also follow her on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook.

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Author Spotlight: Cherime MacFarlane

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Fascinating interview with a very interesting author. I want to share it.

Ella Medler

Hello, my friends, and welcome.

Today I want to introduce to you one amazing author from Alaska: Cherime MacFarlane. I have discovered Cherime lurking on facebook, and read one of her books. It was full of local color, and you know me – I’m a sucker for real-life-inspired stories. Recently, I’ve bought another of her books, The Twisted Laird, and that is what drove me to write this post. Listen carefully: That book is amazing!

I’ve written a review, of course, but I’ve also twisted Cherime’s arm and sat her down for a chat. Here’s what she has to say.

Q & A with Cherime MacFarlane

I was surprised at the amount of detail in The Twisted Laird. All the strands of the story – the family life, relationships and customs, even the way of thinking and the speech – everything weaves together beautifully into a fascinating book. How did…

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Crazy Love

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By the time we get to know our parents they’ve had to grow up. They’ve accepted responsibility for raising children, and learned to handle the tough stuff, like mortgage payments. Of course, they were young once, and had crazy periods in their lives that their kids may never know about. Or, if their kids do find out, they are inevitably shocked.

By the time I knew my grandparents they were, of course, old. I couldn’t imagine them in their younger days and when I heard the story of how they got married, my mind reeled. As it turns out, they were so anxious to get to the honeymoon that they got married in a horse and buggy, with the the minister and the guests either on horseback or also in buggies. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, Grandpa said “giddy-up” and off they went to start their life together. I smile every time I think of this. Now that I’m older myself, I like knowing my staid grandparents were once young, in love, and just a little crazy.

My parents’ story also surprised me. My dad was a truck driver for Standard Oil, and my mother was a waitress at the truck-stop diner he stopped at regularly. When she wasn’t there, he left her little love notes in his determination to win her over. My dad wrote love notes??? After winning her over, they moved in together before they were married. My parents shacked up together??? At one time that information made me a little uncomfortable, but now it makes me giggle. Go Dad!

My own kids have no idea that their seemingly conventional mother and father were also young and a little crazy at one time. Oh yes! We actually had lives before they came along. We met at a survivors party. What’s that? The party after the party for those who survived the first party. It was a Halloween party. I’d gone as a vampiress, wearing several layers of sexy black satin and lace draped over one another. He wore his old army fatigues. I was sexy as all get out, and he was invisible. I didn’t even notice him, but he’d noticed me. It was hard not to when I came in second in the costume contest. I lost to a fat guy wearing a tutu, of course. Tell me, why does the fat guy in the tutu always win? Anyway, the next day I went back and HE was still there … at the survivors party. He’d been waiting, hoping I would show up. He charmed me with his admission that he’d been too shy to approach me at the party, and I fell for him … and his green eyes. Two years later, we were married.

My kids can’t imagine their mom being sexy or their dad being charming. They can’t imagine that once upon a time we were crazy in love. One day they’ll probably figure it out.

My short story, “Crazy Love,” is about how being young and in love makes us do crazy things. I hope it will make you smile. I smiled a lot as I wrote it.

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You can find it in the Treasured Moments collection, which is currently available on Amazon for only 99 cents. Along with my story you’ll also have 13 more stories to enjoy … all written by a group of writers who call themselves The Crazy Lady Authors, because we were crazy when we were young, and we’re still a little crazy now. Being a little crazy is one of the things that makes life so much fun, don’t you think?