Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Rev. Clara Alexander is an ordained New Thought minister who creates and performs sacred ceremonies, including unique weddings, funerals, memorial services, baby blessings and house blessings. She is also a popular speaker, inspiring groups with her talks on how we cling to our grudges, how we overuse the phrase “ I’m sorry” and how we can live the life we love.
Wendy Brown recently retired from a career in wildlife biology, where she studied sandhill cranes and whooping cranes as they migrated from Idaho to New Mexico. Wendy eventually found a permanent home in Albuquerque, where she and her husband enjoy the sounds of sandhill cranes from their deck. Since retiring from state government in 2014. 

Valerie Capps
has bypassed the porch rocking chair to pursue her life-long passion for writing, thereby proving that in today’s world, life can begin again at 65! Valerie lives in Nashville with her husband and their spoiled-rotten Welsh Corgi.
Mary W. Clark retired from her law practice in 2007 and transferred her observation and composition skills to travel writing. She is currently working on a book about her father’s World War II experience flying “ the Hump” from India to China over the Himalayas. Mary lives in Paris, Texas.
Fran Fischer: “ I was born at a very young age and that happened 82 years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I’ve crammed as much living into my life as possible, and I’m not through yet. I’ve traveled extensively and I even flew in the same zero-gravity plane that the astronauts trained in. I live in California with my first (and only) husband, and we celebrated our 62nd anniversary this year.”
Pat Garcia (Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack) is an American expatriate living in Europe. An accomplished musician as well
as a writer, she has been writing (and reading) since childhood.
Mark David Gerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction, and compelling memoirs. Known as “ The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients as coach and consultant, helping them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease.
Holly Deuel Gilster plays “ make believe” for a living. In other words, she is a professional actress and musician. Holly also loves painting with words as an accomplished poet, an award-winning short-story writer and a book reviewer for The Or Echo.
Aaron Gordon is a retired social sciences community college professor. He and his wife, Ellie, have been married for 65 years and have three children and grandchildren.
Ellie Gordon is a retired public school teacher who spent the best 20 years of her life in the classroom. A Chicago native, she now lives in New Mexico.
Karla “ Rosie” Harper recently retired from teaching elementary school, freeing her to return to her early love of dancing. Today, when not helping out with her grandchildren, Rosie is taking dance lessons, spinning on a dance floor or performing in senior centers and retirement communities with Albuquerque’s Sugartime, as a singer as well as a dancer.
Linda Hoye is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, available through major online retailers. A native of Saskatchewan, Linda currently lives in British Columbia (by way of Washington State) with her husband and doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier.
E.V. Legters hasn’t so much retired as she has exchanged one life for another — from rewarding years with career and children (while pursuing the arts on the fly) to a life with the arts at its center. She is the author of Vanishing Point and Connected Underneath and is currently hard at work on her third novel.
LD Masterson lived on both coasts before becoming landlocked in Ohio. After twenty years managing computers for the American Red Cross, she now divides her time between writing, volunteer work and enjoying her grandchildren. Her short stories have been published in several magazines and anthologies, and she is currently working on a new novel.
Kathleen Messmer not only runs a film production company with offices in the UK and the US, she is an avid photographer and wildlife advocate. In the unlikely event that she ever retires, Kathleen plans to live on a ranch with draft horses and pygmy goats and vineyards and fruit orchards, somewhere near the water. Oh, and a cowboy...maybe.
Karen Norstad has worked as cashier/gift wrapper, secretary, boutique seamstress, administrative assistant, manager of employee stock options, executive assistant, and budget analyst. Now retired, Karen’s life revolves around lounging about, wearing PJs until four in the afternoon, obsessing over the news, reading, fusing and slumping glass, practicing piano, keeping a small balcony garden and cooking.
Matt Nyman’s nonlinear career path has included working in the geological sciences, teaching high school, stay-at-home parenting and, currently, training tomorrow’s teachers. Poetry equently resides near the surface of his existence, occasionally erupting onto paper.
Jill Plaman was born and began aging in Milwaukee, but she has lived and worked in Albuquerque since 1977. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MSW from the University of Minnesota. Her special interests are travel, international folk dancing, reading, hiking and spending time with family and friends.
is a clinical social worker/ therapist who has always pursued many other creative endeavors, including painting, playing music and, now, writing. A Connecticut native, she lives in New Mexico with her husband, Michael.
MaryFrank Sanborn left Boston 33 years ago, to apprentice with photographer Walter Chappell in Santa Fe. Still in love with the beauty of the Southwest, MaryFrank photographs, writes, hikes, travels, teaches yoga and meditation, makes soups on Sundays, and dreams of the ocean and whales.
Patricia Stoltey is the author of four mystery novels. The most recent is Wishing Caswell Dead. She lives in Northern Colorado with Sassy Dog, Katie Cat and her husband, Bill.
Susan Swiderski grew up in Dundalk, Maryland, where everybody calls everybody hon and eating steamed crabs is a sacrament. Although she’s happy in her adopted Georgia, part of her heart still lingers on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, explaining the setting for her novel, Hot Flashes and Cold
. Susan is currently working on a trilogy, proof that this old gal is still a pathological optimist.
Jan Castle Walker is a retired teacher and an active artist. She lives in Davis, California with her husband, Mack.
Karen Helene Walker is a novelist, memoirist and essayist and the author of The Wishing Steps and Following the Whispers. When not writing, Karen is tap dancing, folk dancing or performing with the musical group Sugartime at retirement communities. Karen is currently working on her second memoir. 

You can follow Karen and the other authors along on their tour by checking out the schedule HERE.

This tour-wide giveaway is for two (2) print copies (U.S. entries only) and two (2) eBook copies of STILL ME ... AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out this charming book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 27, 2017


Quote for the week: 

I'm so excited today to host Author Janet F. Smart and her latest novel DUCK AND COVER. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your visit.

Isn't this an adorable cover? Sure makes me wonder what's about to happen.
Duck and Cover
Published by Saguaro Books
By Janet F. Smart
Released February 2017
After his dad dies in an accident at work, twelve-year-old Teddy Haynes and his mom come back to live with family in rural West Virginia.  They hope to start over, but some people say the Russians are going to blow up the United States. How can they start over, if the world comes to an end?
He finds his life filled with talk of bomb shelters, a cat and dog that don’t get along, clinging two-year-old twin nephews and a pretty girl he’s too shy to talk to. To help cope with their fears, Teddy and his friends convert an old cave in the woods into a bomb shelter.  Will they be able to work together and pull through the tense-filled months during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962? And will Teddy be able to overcome his grief from the loss of his dad?
The Inspiration:
The inspiration for this middle grade book came from a flicker of a childhood memory. When I was young, I remember going to my aunt’s house with my mom and another aunt. I remember them being afraid and saying that the world was coming to an end. It took me a while to figure out what this memory could be about, but I finally realized that it must have been during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So, I wrote about the incident from the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy. I added three friends, a cat, a pregnant dog—and a brownie recipe.
The first paragraph hook:
I survived the long drive from Cleveland. Now if I could just survive the Russians, I’d be okay. Some people worried they were going to blow up the United States. Mom and I had come back to West Virginia to start over. How could we start over if the world was coming to an end?
The history
The first version of this manuscript that I can find is dated 2012. It was only 20,000 words. And 360 of those words were the lyrics to a song (Monster Mash). Of course, that had to be taken out. There have been many more changes to this story since then. It took first place in a writing contest in 2015. At one time, there were five recipes in the book. Now there is only one – brownies!
Fun Facts
Teddy is the main character, but I really love his best friend, Melvin—he is quite a character. Teddy’s family has a naming tradition. They name their children (and pets) after presidents and/or their wives. Teddy carries a worry stone with him wherever he goes.
My advice to writers:
Never give up.  Get critique partners, keep improving on your manuscripts and send them out. They can’t be published if the only one who sees them are you, your critique partners and the insides of your computer.
You can find Duck and Cover on Amazon in paperback and kindle.

A little about Janet:
The author, Janet F. Smart, lives in picturesque West Virginia. She is the mother of three grown boys. She enjoys writing for children, bringing her thoughts, dreams and imagination to life. When not outside enjoying nature, she sits at her writing desk, her inner child flowing onto the paper. She writes a monthly children’s column for a regional magazine, belongs to WVWriters and loves writing poetry, picture books and middle grade manuscripts.
Connect with Janet on Facebook,, her writing blog and her author page 
Janet is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter on this post, continental US only. Get extra entries when you share this post to Facebook and/or follow her writing blog. Janet will select the winner next Monday and we'll post it here.
Congratulations, Janet.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Welcome Wednesday. First, a huge thank you to everyone that attended our birthday party, whether you just visited or left a comment. The kids and I hope you enjoyed your cake and ice cream. Also the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I must share the funny thing that happened so you'll understand why we sometimes just gotta laugh. Life is funny, and we need to accept the fact that often we are not in control. Yes, I'm talking about the Rafflecopter. I tried and tried to get it to show up. It wasn't about to, until Wednesday, the last day. And suddenly, there it was. I laughed. Well, better late than never, right? And that's enough about that.

One day last week, I looked out the window of my writing room, and this is what I saw.

Seven white-tailed deer were grazing in the pasture.
I watched them for awhile, and they slowly moseyed along toward the mesquite trees and vanished.
Haven't seen them since. I guess they were just passing through. I was happy to see that some of them survived hunting season. There are a lot of hunters in the area.
Happy Reading and Writing.

Monday, March 20, 2017


Author Maria Santomasso-Hyde is visiting today as part of her HE GAVE ME BARN CATS Blog Tour with MC Book Tours. Her book was released March 14 by Dancing Lemur Press.

If you’re looking for a story that will touch your heart, you’ve found it in this tender story of love, loss, and inspiration. You could win your own copy, just check out the giveaway details.

◊ He Gave Me BARN CATS
◊ by Maria Santomass0-Hyde

◊ Published by Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

◊ Available March 14, 2017

◊ $10.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 134 pages

◊ Genres: Christian Fiction / Christian Life-Death, Grief, Bereavement

◊ Print ISBN 978-1-939844-21-7 eBook ISBN 978-1-939844-22-4

◊ Order through Ingram, Follett Library Resources, or from the publisher

◊ $3.99 eBook available in all formats

Inspired by true events...

        Maria has cared for her very ill mother for many years. Her burdens are heavy, causing a sadness bordering on darkness.  When she discovers her historic barn is now home to a mother cat and kittens, she feels lighter than she has in years. As the kittens grow, they teach her as only animals can do.

          Then tragedy strikes. As Maria loses her family, the darkness envelopes her like the heavy fog that blankets her Blue Ridge Mountain home each morning. She creates a scorecard:  God: 9, Maria: 0.  Her questions turn into anger at God.  She searches to find answers as to why her loving God would take away so much in such a short time.

          How will she learn to trust again? Can the kittens in her barn help her heal?

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available for order in print format at following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Everything Cats, Foyles, and Chapters-Indigo.

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available for order in eBook format at the following sites: Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Amazon.

Be sure to add HE GAVE ME BARN CATS to your shelf on Goodreads.

Formerly a newspaper reporter, Maria Santomasso-Hyde now owns Alta Vista Fine Art Gallery.

She lives in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, with her husband, Lee, and The Queen of the Universe (Roma, their Black Cat) … and other Black Cats who decide to move in.

Come join the blog tour and learn more about Maria and HE GAVE ME BARN CATS by visiting the following blog:

March 8 - Rockin' Book Reviews - Guest Post

March 10 - Defending The Pen - Excerpt

March 13 - Reviews by Crystal - Q&A

Alex J. Cavanaugh - Guest Post

March 14 - Thoughts in Progress - Review

March 15 - Open

March 16 - A Bluestocking's Place - Excerpt

March 17 - Juneta @ Writer's Gambit - Q&A

March 20 - Reviews From the Heart - Review

CBY Book Club - Excerpt

March 21 - bookworm1102 - Excerpt

Giveaway Details:

This is a tour-wide giveaway for two (2) print copies (U.S only) and two (2) eBooks (international). To enter just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Gulp, one-year-old. How can that be? It seems like just yesterday that you were born. I remember thinking the same thing when each of my boys were born. The years are short. Time passes. Today, my YA contemporary novel, UNDER A PURPLE MOON, is one year old. Let's celebrate.
Birthday parties must have cake. I hope you like this one.
It's Red Velvet.

What's cake without ice cream?
Choose your favorite flavor.
"Wait! Wait! Wait, Beverly."
"Eden? What's wrong?'
"Where's the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
"Yeah, we have to have peanut butter and jelly."
Murphy, Toby, and Josh nod at each other.
"We do? Why?"
"Yes, Ms. McClure. Would we lie to you?"
The boys and Eden look so innocent, though I know otherwise, how can I refuse?
"OK. Let me see what I can do."
How about these?
Four teens gobble them down. Then eat the cake and ice cream for dessert. And to think, I created these characters. Maybe I should have worked on manners a bit more.
The party isn't over yet. What's a birthday without gifts?
We're doing this a different way than usual. The birthday kids are giving you, the visitors, the gifts. 
So what do we have?
First is a deck of UNDER A PURPLE MOON playing cards.
These are really neat and would make great gifts for friends and family, as well as for yourself.
Next,  we  have a signed paperback copy of UNDER A PURPLE MOON (US only).
Third is a $10.00 gift card from Amazon.
I had planned to try Rafflecopter, but my eyes are still giving me trouble and I don't have the patience to read the instructions and put the thing together. So, we're doing a much easier giveaway. If you want to enter for a prize, just leave a comment. Next week, March 22,
 Random. org, will choose the winners. I'll announce them on the blog and to you, and your gifts will soon be on their way as soon as I have where to send them.
Happy 1st Birthday to UNDER A PURPLE MOON May there be many more to celebrate.
 Silver Award Winner of the 2016 Children's Literary Classics Award.
 Thank you to L. Diane and Staff for making this book possible.
Happy Reading!
 Good news! Thanks to the kindness of Alex J. Cavanaugh, who made one for me, Rafflecopter is coming tomorrow. What a wonderful friend. Thank you, Alex.
If you comment before the Rafflecopter is live, (midnight) come back and check off that part, and you are entered. I'm so excited.

The link to the Rafflecopter is below. I did it wrong, of course, and the thing doesn't show up, but you can enter following the link.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 13, 2017


Quote for the week.
I hope you've recovered from the time change.
No post today. My eyes still insist on seeing two of everything, and it's very tiring covering one eye when I read or type or whatever which, lets me see only one image. Don't even ask me about driving, just get out of my way. They're putting a prism in one lens of my glasses. It's supposed to make everything normal. Normal? What's that?
Anyhow, be sure and stop by on Wednesday. We're having a party. Refreshments (cyber) and prizes.
See you then.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Welcome Wednesday. I'm late posting this, but you know the saying: better late than never. March 5-11 is Read an E-Book Week.
artwork © Brad Fraunfelter
Twilight Times Books, the publisher of my  Award-Winning YA historical fiction novel CAVES, CANNONS, AND CRINOLINES has several books for free. You can see them here. My book is not a freebie. Sorry. It is available at AMAZON for $2.99, and most other places where books are sold.
I also have some exciting news coming next week. On March 15, 2017, we're celebrating a first birthday. I'm not saying who. You'll have to come to the party to find out. We'll have cake and gifts. Be sure to stop by for a chance to win some awesome prizes. 
See you on March 15th.
Happy Reading and Writing!

Monday, March 6, 2017


Quote for the week: Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. Yehuda Berg

Well, #InkRipples for March has another new word for me. Tropes. Are you familiar with the word, or am I just illiterate? So, if I planned to write about tropes, I had to find out what in the world they were. Thanks to the fabulous Internet, I now have an idea.

Here's what I found from Wikipedia. A literary trope is the use of figurative language. It can be a word, phrase, or even an image. The word can be used to describe commonly recurring literary and rhetoric devices, motifs, or clichés in creative works. (Now you know, if you didn't.)


  • Allegory – A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse. For example: "The ship of state has sailed through rougher storms than the tempest of these lobbyists."
  • Antanaclasis – is the stylistic trope of repeating a single word, but with a different meaning each time. Antanaclasis is a common type of pun, and like other kinds of pun, it is often found in slogans.
  • Irony – creating a trope through implying the opposite of the standard meaning, such as describing a bad situation as "good times".
  • Metaphor – an explanation of an object or idea through juxtaposition of disparate things with a similar characteristic, such as describing a courageous person as having a "heart of a lion".
  • Metonymy – a trope through proximity or correspondence. For example, referring to actions of the U.S. President as "actions of the White House".
  • Synecdoche – related to metonymy and metaphor, creates a play on words by referring to something with a related concept: for example, referring to the whole with the name of a part, such as "hired hands" for workers; a part with the name of the whole, such as "the law" for police officers; the general with the specific, such as "bread" for food; the specific with the general, such as "cat" for a lion; or an object with the material it is made from, such as "bricks and mortar" for a building.
  • Kenneth Burke has called metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and irony the "four master tropes".[


  • hyperbole
  • irony
  • litotes
  • metaphor
  • metonymy
  • oxymoron
  • synecdoche
  • For a longer list, see Figure of speech: Tropes


    In screen writing: The "ticking clock."

    In music: The chord progression known as the  "12-Bar" is a trope of Blues, Rock, and Country Music.

    In literature: The trope of atonement or redemption is common.

    There are many, many more, but I think I've got the general idea. I wonder how many tropes I've written without even knowing it.

    Do you have any tropes in your writing?

    #InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. They post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. They're all authors, but you don't have to be to participate. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, just be sure to include links back to Katie, Kai, and Mary.

    The topic for April is Revision. I'm quite familiar with that word. So why not join and have fun?
    I also have some news coming soon. Stay tuned.

    Happy Reading and Writing.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017


    February sure went by in a hurry. Can't believe it's the 1st day of March, and we know what that means.

    The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
    Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

    Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

    Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder if IWSG!
    Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

    Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG

    Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

    Remember, the question is optional!!!
    March 1st question:  Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
     The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG will be Tamara   

    Now for the question.
    Funny you should ask. I'm doing just that. My WIP was first written in 1998. Yes, that's a long time ago. And, I actually submitted it to a few publishers then Oh, my. I shouldn't have, but I was new in the writing world, and I thought it looked good. I know better now. So why am I working on the story after all these years?
    Good question.

    One day I was cleaning my writing room, throwing away a lot of old stuff, manuscripts, notebooks, and folders when I ran across this story. Now, I already had two or three other manuscripts in different stages, enough to keep me busy for years, but the boy and dog in the story kept calling to me. I listened  and remembered how much I loved these characters, so we're trying again, with many changes.

    Will it work this time? I don't know, but in a week or so, I hope to find out. The boy and dog are almost ready to face the world. So, at the moment I'm a bit insecure.
    Happy Reading and Writing.