05/30 – Lynn Lovegreen - Friendships

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Celebrate! (Your weakness???)

by M. L. Buchman

There's an old adage: You must focus on your weaknesses in order to improve them.

It took me years before I learned that this is generally one of the stupidest ideas ever put forth.

Okay, let's look at an example. You're a pianist. You have a weak run when driving downscale to your left pinkie. You need to work on that. That's not working on your weakness. Your strength is being a pianist and you should fix that run. Your weakness is that you've always had asthma and allergies and working on your tuba playing just because that is a weakness would be a total waste of time.

Yet we are time and time again told to work on our weaknesses.

Do I have weaknesses in my writing? Absolutely! Do I work on them hard? Absolutely! (Though I'll answer that differently in a moment, but for now...Absolutely!) But my overall strength is writing. I didn't come to fiction until my mid-thirties, and I sucked at it early on. However, I've always been a strong writer of science papers, essays, program proposals, operations manuals, and a wide variety of other things. I love playing in the land of the written word. I needed to work on my "fiction" weakness within my "writing" strength.


By identifying writing as my strength, I can finally let go of the years and years I spent attempting to create music.
  • 6 years of piano lessons (and several years working on my own on a Fender Rhodes that I never played well)
  • 6 years in the high school percussion section
  • 20+ years playing guitar (including a lovely 12-string Martin that I still miss on occasion)
  • 4 years of operatic vocal production
  • flute
  • fiddle
  • banjo
  • penny whistle
  • 4 different harmonicas (good ones, including the neck holder so I could play them (very poorly) along with my guitar)
  • I became a sound designer and performance tech for live theater for several years and apprenticed myself to two of the leading sound engineers in the Pacific Northwest.
  • get the idea
When I was a kid, my parents started my piano lessons by setting a double gin and tonic in front of the teacher. I was finally thrown out of high school band when they realized that I couldn't keep time. My songwriting group was always puzzled by my cool lyrics (writing words, duh!) and my off-key singing. The opera voice coach...

Let's just say that I had lots and lots of passion but had neither innate talent nor any particularly trainable skill. Actually, it turns out that, like my mother, I'm fairly tone deaf. 

As a kid, I also desperately wanted to be a pilot. I got my private-pilot license and was well on my way to my commercial ticket when it was discovered that I was partially color blind. Not enough to be unsafe to fly, but enough that I'd probably never get a chance to fly the big jets that so fascinated me. I could have stuck with it and somehow made it work. Maybe.

I've met tone deaf musicians, who've learned by rote how each note should feel when they sing. I've met a theater lighting designer and painter who was completely colorblind. They both firmly believed that no weakness should defeat them. The results were occasionally...curious.


Back to my writing. Do I have weaknesses? Sure. Setting is a major challenge for me that I still fight against. My writing will never have the lush wonder of James Lee Burke where you want to shower off the New Orleans swamp after he takes you there for murder. So I work on my setting, but even though it is a weakness inside my overall strength, it isn't where most of my attention goes.

I've learned over the last 25 years and 6 million words what some of my core strengths are. Two of them are: relatable characters and pacing. It is by focusing on my core strengths that I created my most popular characters:
  • Emily Beale of the Night Stalkers secret helicopter regiment as she rode rough-shod through over 35 military romantic suspense titles.
  • And now, Miranda Chase, the high-functioning autistic, air-crash savant who is fighting to be normal...and to stop the next war from erupting.
Relatable characters and pacing. I've proven to myself that I am an action-adventure writer, whether in romance, science fiction, or technothrillers. (At least so far. Who knows what the future will bring.)

But I didn't achieve my success to date by leaning into my weaknesses. If I had, you'd have okay setting, some more sensory details, and even more dialogue (though my years working in live theater helped make that last one probably tip over from a weakness to a moderate strength--still, something I do try to improve over time). But you'd probably not have a very exciting read.

Instead, I study my strengths of pacing and character like a rabid dog. Well, okay, like a fascinated writer, but still. Those are my strengths and I'm always studying how to play better to them.


Ages ago (about 7 years), I co-wrote a book with my sister (a visual artist--photography):
Managing Your Inner Artist/Writer
One of the things we talked about was how to focus on success and strength rather than weakness.

One one of the most important points for me in the whole book is this simple little diagram of the most basic elements of a project plan.

Most people have a real weakness in one of these areas. And this is one case where I think it is CRUCIAL to fix that weakness. Because if you don't...well...

  • People who never start a project, well, they never got anything done.
  • Some folks are great at starting them, but need someone else to actually do them or them never really move along.
  • Others are dynamos at Starting and Doing, but can never quite let go and finish. (If you're on the 9th major revision of your book, or even the 3rd, I'm looking at you!)
  • And my own greatest failing? I SUCKED (note the semi-victorious past tense) at acknowledging and celebrating my achievements (I'm still working on it--hard). Yet, this is where you get self-confidence and the energy to start the next project. (Folks weak in this area are the ones who burn out because they go straight from finishing one project into the fast churn of starting the next. Trust me, I know. If you doubt that, just read this book.)
Mid-life Crisis On Wheels


How do we do this? That's up to each individual person.
For me? Here are two hot examples:

One: Just a few steps from my writing desk is my brag shelf. I can't tell you how many times I stop and stand there to just stare in wonder at what I've created over the last 25 years of work. This shelf started out as 20 author copies of my first book in 1997. But now? Well, I've done a lot of writing since then.

Two: Just yesterday I published a new collection of short stories.
These five stories were written between 2016 and 2018. But I didn't just pack these stories together. I took the time to go back and read each one. To remember, with joy, the creation of each tale and all those cool characters. I wrote brand-new introductions to each story about why they were important to me then, and why some of them are surprisingly important to me now.

The Complete Night Stalkers 5E Stories
Yes, I hope that fans will want this box set. However, even if they don't, I got to spend some time celebrating those tales of romance and adventure, and remembering that I am fortunate enough to spend my days reveling in the area of my overall strength. (Which beats the crap out of still being a frustrated musician.)

And for me, "Celebration" is definitely a key weakness that I've turned into a strength.

USA Today and Amazon #1 Bestseller M. L. Buchman has 60+ novels, 100 short stories, and lotsa audiobooks. Booklist says: 3x “Top 10 Romance of the Year.” PW says “Tom Clancy fans open to a strong female lead will clamor for more.” A project manager with a geophysics degree, he’s flown and jumped out of planes and also bicycled solo around the world. More at:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

ANIMAL ANTICS-"The Pet Door" Free Funny Short Story

I use humor to get through tough times. Sometimes dark humor, but humor none the less. I hope this true mouse tale makes you smile!

We recently put in a pet door so our two small dogs can go out into their fenced yard and come back inside at will. Marcus, our elderly tan terrier mix, has developed a urinary tract condition which makes it difficult for him to wait for someone to let him out when the urge strikes. A pet door seemed like the logical answer to avoid ‘accidents’ in the house. Dog problem solved!

Enter the cat. Freckles is the elderly orange and white feline who rules the roost around here. He was the first of the three rescue animals we adopted. Each dog, in turn, learned to respect him. He’s actually quite fond of Marcus and Mac, our small black Schipperke/Cairn terrier cross. Mac plays with the cat, Marcus mostly avoids him. When the cat feels paternal, he insists on washing their faces. When he’s in a mood, he steals their toys and blankets through intimidation. We all know Freckles is the boss.

We trained all three pets to use the new pet door, but Freckles does not like the plastic flap he must push up to get through the opening. He especially doesn’t like going outside when he can’t see what might be lurking nearby. He insists on a human opening the door.

BUT…(this is a big but) he has no problem running in through the pet door with a mouse in his jaws. Never a dead mouse, always a stunned mouse—which he brings inside triumphantly, yowling with his mouth full to announce his prize. He makes it as far as the kitchen without fail before he drops the little rodent, intending to play with it. The mouse promptly springs into action and disappears under the closest appliance with my husband and me in hot pursuit.

The first night this happened the mouse took refuge underneath the stove. We opened the slider to the deck a few inches, turned off the inside lights in that part of the house and locked our pets out of the area. My hope was the mouse would smell the night air and make his way along the counter base to the open door and outside to freedom.

I’m not sure that happened, but since we never smelled anything dead in the house, I choose to believe the little creature acted sensibly and left the building.

A week later, the next mouse Freckles brought inside ran into the pantry, and my husband almost caught it with a dishrag. Then the clever little creature ran between his legs back into the kitchen and hid under the refrigerator. We pulled out the refrigerator to no avail. He’d gone into the appliance’s nether regions.

Later that night, the cat turned up in the living room with a mouse in his jaws. We’d been watching television and hadn’t noticed if he came from the kitchen or through the pet door. When the cat dropped the rodent, my husband grabbed the stunned little pest by the tail and tossed him outside before slamming the pet door shut.

We agreed it was probably the same mouse, since he didn’t spring to his feet right away. We also agreed to buy some mousetraps in the morning, just in case.

We awoke the next morning to a broken down refrigerator.

Time for mousetraps, and a cat curfew!

Thank you for reading my story. I welcome feedback.
~Sarah Raplee

Monday, May 25, 2020

One-Hour Vacations

By Courtney Pierce

It’s a toss-up: a pedicure or a deep tissue massage, the serious kind. Either option is a great mini-vacation to indulge myself, but a combo of the two services just might entice me to cancel a trip to Disneyworld (not that I’d ever go there anyway).

Step one on the enjoyment meter is to shut off my phone. No intruders are allowed to bust into my bubble.

Step two is to use the restroom. Avoiding any interruption once we get going is mandatory. Who wants to get off the warm massage table or pull their wrinkled feet from the bubbling water to take a pee? Not me.

If I start with the massage, I like to supply my own CD of nature sounds, gentle rain, and a thunderstorm.  It speeds up the “turn to jelly” process.  I have an outstanding masseuse here in Kalispell. He even hangs from the ceiling and uses his feet. He’ll run his heels up my back and over my shoulder blades. It’s amazing.

I'm not a gabber or gossiper when it comes to services. I like to mentally go away while I'm being pampered. Pedicures allow me to pull out my notebook and write the old-fashioned way.

The pedicure is all about tools. Pickers, clippers, and files are essential for a fulfilling
session. They get rid of all the stuff that I can't reach or even see. I rest the back of my head in silence as the chair vibrates during the leg massage. I grab the remote for the back roll and pause.

To the undulating roller, I think about my indulgence. Suddenly I feel guilty. It's not about me. I never fought, never sacrificed. We women work through lists to make sure our families have what they want and need. We have and need so much, way too much.

Here it is Memorial Day. So many soldiers sacrificed their lives for me to be able to get that pedicure and massage A spoiled girl, a privileged girl, a girl who never had to push the way our forefathers did. That's not right. I need to work harder.

In my binoculars are two adult geese with fourteen goslings. They line up in a perfect line, like little soldiers, for their trek across the lake, not a single youngin' out of place. They are in a lock-down for learning to be independent, not to do nothing and sure they will be taken care of. But maybe not. There are threats from eagles and osprey that could turn their family of eight to a family of two or three.

The geese take care of their young, with only a minimal handout for them to hunt for their
sustenance. Daddy watches. Mama herds to make sure an eagle doesn't pick off one of her precious ones. There's only so much they can do.

And there you have it. The Yin and Yang of the Memorial weekend. I hung the American flag this weekend in honor of our fallen soldiers. It flies free and so do I.

Photo: Micah Brooks
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Kalispell, Montana with her husband, stepdaughter, and their brainiac cat, Princeton. Courtney writes for the baby boomer audience. She spent 28 years as an executive in the entertainment industry and used her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. She studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, Courtney is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal.

Print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including
Check out all of Courtney's books: and 

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Coming in 2020!

When Aubrey Cenderon moves to Montana after the death of her father, the peace and quiet of Big Sky Country becomes complicated with a knock on the door from the sheriff. An injured grizzly bear is on the loose and must be eliminated before it kills again. The sheriff's insistence that she buy a gun for protection will present Aubrey with some serious soul-searching, because the grizzly-on-the-run is hunting for her too . . . for a different reason.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

How Do We Celebrate Community? Welcome to the Conversation!!!


This subject is important to me. I am kicking off our blog-ver-sation about celebrating community during difficult times by sharing some of my thoughts about community and celebrations. Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments to keep the conversation going. Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors to join us. I will check in often to add my two cents worth.

Since the beginning of the pandemic I have seen many heartwarming examples of community members coming together to help and support one another.

There have been food drives, blood drives, neighbors shopping for vulnerable neighbors, strangers lending a helping hand to others in their communities, people sewing masks and gowns or 3-D printing face shields for front-line workers.

Most people wear masks when they leave home to prevent the spread of the virus in their communities. They wash their hands frequently and well. When they can’t do so,  they use hand sanitizer. They are careful to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow. They make it a point to shop local, even online, as much as possible to help the community’s businesses survive.

People do these things not only to protect themselves and their families, but also to protect their communities. They understand that humankind as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are all a part of something bigger than ourselves.

I’d like to share with you one of my favorite poems that most people know by first line rather than by title.

‘No Man Is an Island’
John Donne, 17th Century English Poet and cleric

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

How do we celebrate community in this strange new reality we’re living? How do we nurture those connections and upraise their importance in society? We get creative!!!

New Yorker’s come together at 7pm each day to give thanks and gratitude to the city’s frontline workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Parades of cars decorated with signs and balloons drive by a house on a child’s birthday. Horns honk and people sing or call our “Happy Birthday!!!”

A young woman hosts a virtual baby shower for her sister. Friends play games, joke around, eat cake together while apart, and clap as each present is opened.

Assisted living staff and residents applaud a recovering Covid patient who returns from quarantine.
People stand on their porches and balconies at a pre-arranged time and applaud or bang on pots and pans to cheer for frontline medical workers and first responders.

What ways have you noticed people celebrating community since the pandemic changed things? Do you feel closer to your communities, or do you feel lonely? Why?

Friday, May 22, 2020

A celebration by Peggy Jaeger

In this month's topic we are supposed to explore the ways we "celebrate" ourselves.
I have to tell you I had difficulty coming up with an answer that didn't make me sound a. conceited, b. self indulgent, or, 3. narcissistic.

Let me 'esplain...

I was raised in a strict Irish/Italian Catholic home. The only time we celebrated anything was if it was  a Holy day. I never had birthday parties as a kid, because money was tight and my mother considered it a waste  to celebrate something that came around every 365 days.

I was a straight A student but my report cards were never celebrated. It was expected that I do well just because it was...expected. When I brought home my report card, my mother signed it and said, "Keep it up."

When I got into college - the first in my family ever to do so - my parents' only response was to ask how I was going to pay for it.

See a pattern here? I lived almost my entire life this way. Until, that is, the very first time I was published.

The day my first book went on sale was March 5, 2015. That night I celebrated by making myself a cake and opening a bottle of Skinny Girl Cosmo.

That little ritual has now become a pattern. For every book's release day, I make myself a chocolate/chocolate cake and open a bottle of Skinny Girl. As self indulgences go, it's pretty tame. But it's the one way I celebrate me and my accomplishments.

And you know what? It never gets old. Every new book published ( there have been 18 so far with 3 more planned to release this year ) I get a thrill from eating that cake and toasting myself with a cosmo. Of course I also get a sugar high and a little buzzed, but....

How do you celebrate yourself and your accomplishments? Like I said, it took my until I was 55 years old to do so. How about you? I'd love to hear.

Book #18 released two days ago and I'm so happy it's out in the romance-reading world.
VANILLA WITH A TWIST tells the story of a small town, single mother and ice cream parlor owner who's faced some tough choices in her life, and an engineer at a crossroads in his, who walks into her shop one summer's day and changes both their lives for ever.

And yes, I made a cake and had a cosmo on Wednesday! hee hee

Until next month, peeps ~ peg
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

What to Celebrate?

In this time of uncertainty it might be kind of hard to find things to celebrate... but I'm here to help you!

To give us (Charlie and I) something different to do during this time of stay at home orders, I have started looking up things on Sunday that we might like to celebrate.

For example....

Today is talk like Yoda (Do or do not. There is no try)

Want to do a little stay at home birthday celebration? Just so happens that it's Fats Waller's birthday (we are going to listen to some of his music on YouTube.)

Also in 1932, Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic - I printed off directions on how to make different types of paper airplanes.

It's also National Strawberry and cream day - And who needs an excuse to eat strawberry shortcake???

On March 30th, we've made our 'take' on Vincent's vanGogh's Sunflower picture (let's just say that painting isn't our thing;-0)

The important this is to remember to celebrate! Don't forget June 5th is National Doughnut day...

What are some of your favorite things to celebrate?

See you next month!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Celebrate - every day !

I'm all for celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and maybe getting a present and a bit of extra attention - but I'm also for celebrating every day.

I'm a huge believer in gratitude, in finding things every day to celebrate. Even on days that maybe aren't so great.

It really takes a concerted effort to stop and look for the not so obvious things to celebrate. One that has become second nature to me is when I go outside, I'm so aware of birdsong. I'm lucky to be surrounded by lots of trees and it might be as I wander down the driveway to put the bin out, or check the mail, or hanging out the washing I'll hear the variety of different bird communication and I'll stop and listen.

On a clear day on my walk down the driveway to the letterbox I can see the distant hills and I love that even though I'm living right in the middle of suburbia, I can see the hills and that makes me smile. 

Today (now that our social distancing restrictions have been relaxed a littlet) I was able to drive to the country and see my gorgeous 4yo twin grand daughters for the first time in a few months. Lots of cuddles and snuggles and playtime to celebrate being together again. But that's an easy, obvioius one.

There have been occasions  where circumstances have caused tears and sadness, or hurt. Even on those days I manage to shift my mind to finding somehting positive. Maybe others think it strange, but on those days I'm grateful that I am capabale of 'feeling'. Even a negative feeling. I see it as a celebration of being truly alive. As an integral part of being truly alive.

Our back yard isn't big or fancy and it's currently covered in autumn leaves. I see people outside,
madly sweeping up 'the messy leaves', but I leave them so I can celebrate the change of season, so I can crunch them under my feet, kick them, admire their vibrant colors before the bareness of winter sets. in. 

Quite often, if I'm the only one left up, I'll just celebrate the end of the day by lighting a couple of tea-lights and have a few pieces of dark chocolate. Just because. And we don't need any more reason than that to celebrate!

What will you celebrate today?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Celebrating the Little Things…in a Big Way by Delsora Lowe

In this crazy world, we find ourselves inside or imprisoned in the confines of our yards. Maybe we can wander through our neighborhoods, as long as we stay far away from others.

When all we hear is sad and bad news on a daily basis, as we have for months, instead of only celebrating birthdays and holidays and work promotions and book launches—those monumental milestones in one’s life—now celebrating the little things is a must.  
Weird mushroom with wild strawberry leaves top and bottom - soon tiny red berries
LITTLE has many definitions: insignificant, tiny, inadequate. In this case, I want to concentrate on those everyday “tiny” things we take for granted. Not because they are unimportant, but because we know we can depend on having them. And when we don’t have easy access, they become HUGE. They become things we yearn for or things we obsess about.

Then there are the little things we may not take notice of or think of as important, but are delightful and put a smile on our face. Those little things that make us forget our big problems, like the first dandelions in spring.

My way of celebrating myself is to celebrate what is around me, to energize me, and give me the strength to celebrate myself.

Dandelions aren't just weeds
For me dandelions signal the birth of spring. And more than that, they evoke images of my grandmother, who made dandelion wine from the flowers and picked the tender leaves as they appeared in early spring, before the flowers bloomed. She sautéed them for dinner. My grandmother knew the health and culinary benefits of dandelions (see link below*)—probably why she lived to be ninety-nine. I lived in a small, country town when the kids were pre-school age. We had a huge garden that took up the side of the house. But in early spring, before we rototilled, I’d take the kids out and we’d pick dandelion greens for dinner. I never did try making wine.

Buds are out - soon May flowers

I celebrate taking walks. I live in a medium-sized, safe town and I have two legs that work and I have energy (sometimes), so taking a walk shouldn’t be monumental. As I write this, social-distancing is the norm. Hopefully that term won’t be as significant a barrier when this post appears, as the mandate is now. But I’m not counting on that to be the case. Getting out in the sunshine or on a chilly, windy, brisk day with questionable clouds skittering above me, is a gift. Part of that gift is watching the seasonal changes around me—growing gardens, the return of migrating birds, and even the color of the sky, sunsets, and cloud formations look different than they did this winter.

Waving to a neighbor who is cleaning up the lawn and setting out colorful chairs after a long winter, is a gift. Saying a quick hello to someone you don’t know, but pass by on the other side of the street, and getting an enthusiastic greeting back, is a gift. And standing on the back lawn after a walk, watching your neighbors five new laying chickens peck the dirt, is a gift.
Right now, our celebration of the simpler things that are usually a given in life, are making a huge difference. Last summer a friend who moved gave me a compost barrel. The thing was huge and would take me a decade to fill it, even with the bags of leaves I rake every fall, so I offered it to my neighbor who is building raised garden beds and has just purchased his hens. It sits at the corner between our lots, so I can still help fill the container. He is thrilled and in return gave me fresh eggs.

Fun in the Sun
Escaping the Rain
Another friend gave my ex-husband fresh oysters. His friend had to purchase 100 at a time, but did so to help the local oyster harvesters who have no business with restaurants and the farmer’s markets shut down. My ex, in turn, shared them with me and also with the neighbor who gave each of us fresh eggs. The oysters were the biggest, sweetest, and most tender I’ve ever eaten and were harvested near my town. So much to celebrate, as we all exchanged gifts.

Fresh Maine Oysters
Then there are the simple things we take for granted. Going to the grocery store is now a celebration, especially when the shelves aren’t bare, people are being polite and social-distancing, and the employees who have worked there for decades are still safe and healthy. Hoping that someday soon I’ll be able to get my haircut and chat it up with all the women who work at the small salon as well as the customers who are familiar faces from around town.

Connecting on Zoom or WebEx or Skype and chatting with authors from all over the country and hearing workshops on the craft of writing, is a blessing when we’re all stuck inside. Video chatting with my grandson, so I can show him the Easter basket I’ve been filling up since February, is reason for celebration. I was finally able to deliver the candy in person, dropping it off at the end of the driveway. I got to see his face light up and wave and blow kisses. We did a distancing display of hugging. It wasn’t the same as putting my arms around him, but it was a huge gift to see him and talk in person.

Grandson's eyes widened at this stash
And to wrap up my long lament on things I am grateful for and celebrate, is being a monthly contributor to Romancing the Genres. It is indeed a gift and reason to celebrate. Writing is a gift. Sharing my writing and my thoughts on writing is good for my soul, not to mention, a mental exercise that invigorates and challenges me. And celebrating nine years if RTG as this month, the blog moves into its tenth year is…yes… a great gift.

One more thing to celebrate – is my new book cover. The Legacy of Parkers Point is not a new book, but a new cover for my very first book. When I wrote Legacy, I did not envision writing two more to make a series. Although I loved my very first cover, I decided a new cover was needed to better fit the look of the series, and to show the book takes place in the fall.

Here’s to celebrating ourselves and all the wonders that surround us.

What are the important little things in your life that you now celebrate more than ever?

New Cover - YAY!
The Legacy of Parkers Point


~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~

Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet romances and contemporary westerns from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.

Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine.

Monday, May 18, 2020

A beach read to take you Kristin Wallace

It's been such a craaaaaaazy year. I barely know what day it is, let alone the month. The world seems to have stopped sometime in March, like a weird Twilight episode. Since most of us have been on
lockdown, it might be a good time to take a virtual vacation. How does Florida sound? A quaint beach town filled with characters you will love.

I'm talking about my Shellwater Key Tales series. The books have been out for awhile, but now I'm getting ready to release a 4-book Box Set, "Four Tales From Paradise". (I already put together a box set with three holiday novellas.)
These books follow 3 childhood friends who return to their hometown when their lives fall apart. They become involved in reviving the old Paradise Dinner Theatre. 

Four Tales From Paradise – Shellwater Key Tales 

Three childhood friends return to their hometown at a crossroads in life. One slightly past-her-prime dinner theatre in need of some TLC will show them that love and healing is still possible by the time the curtain rises.

Left Turn At Paradise (Layla & Grayson’s story)

Layla McCarthy has spent most of her life trying to outrun the wild reputation of the mother who abandoned her as a baby. Raised by her grandmother, one of the first female surgeons in Florida. Layla puts all her faith in building a career, only to lose everything when her business partner absconds with the company funds. Then she learns her grandmother and great aunt have bought an old, rundown dinner theater in her hometown of Shellwater Key.

Bringing The Paradise back to life will play a key role in bringing about a brand new act in her life. Including a romance with Grayson Kendall, the enigmatic and sexy director hired to produce the first show. At the same time, the mother who abandoned her as a baby returns seeking redemption.

Can she learn to forgive her mother and open her heart to love? 

Coming Home to Paradise (Beth’s story)

This is the companion book to Left Turn At Paradise, telling the story of Layla’s mother, Beth McCarthy.

After years of trying to outrun the memories and guilt, Beth McCarthy has come home to Shellwater Key to make amends. She has survived deadbeat relationships, single motherhood, and a fight with cancer. Now, she faces the most difficult battle of her life…finding a way to connect with the legendary mother she was never able to please…and earning the forgiveness of the daughter who has every reason to hate her. She might even have a chance to find the missing piece of her heart when Layla’s father comes back to Shellwater Key looking for answers. 

Straight On Toward Paradise (Emma & Reece’s story)

As a teenager, Emma Bertram’s perfect family splintered when her father left her mother for another woman. Anger and bitterness, along with the demands of being a professional chef, have kept Emma apart from her father and his new family for years. Then her father and stepmother are killed in a car accident. Returning to her childhood home of Shellwater Key, Emma learns she has become guardian of her two half-sisters.

What Emma knows about raising children could fit on a restaurant napkin. Then there’s her father’s law partner, Reece Casings, who has no trouble telling Emma what she’s doing wrong. The buttoned-up, so-wrong-for-her, but oh-so-handsome lawyer makes Emma’s blood boil. Or is it heart race? 

In the end, Emma will have to learn how to forgive her father…and herself…and trust in love and faith again if she ever hopes to serve up a happily ever after for everyone.

Last Stop At Paradise (Callie & Noah’s story)

When Callie Dalton’s charismatic televangelist husband falls into disgrace, she and their children is taken down with him. Now, he’s dead, and Callie is left with no other choice but to return to Shellwater Key…and the memories of the mother who tragically died there when Callie was just a girl.

A job as the House Manager at the Paradise Dinner Theatre seems like a chance to start over. However, every instinct warns that the sexy and mysterious carpenter, Noah Johnson, could be the most dangerous complication in her life…and her wary heart. 

When she learns his secrets, will she be able to face her own tragic past and embrace the possibility of a love that will finally set her free?

Four Tales from Paradise will launch in a few days so look for it. All of the Shellwater Key Tales books are in Kindle Unlimited right now so you can scoop them up for free if you're a subscriber. 

Check my Amazon Author Page for all of my books. 

Kristin Wallace is a USA Today Bestselling Author of sweet contemporary and inspirational romance filled with "Love, Laughter, and a Leap of Faith". It's not too late to pick up her holiday box set featuring three Christmas romances (Finding You At Christmas, Falling For You At Christmas, and Loving You At Christmas). Christmas in Shellwater Key is available on Kindle Unlimited so go ahead and scoop it up now. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Celebrating Heritage

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to the fabulous Romancing The Genres and all your contributors and readers.

Part of our celebrations is about celebrating ourselves (something everyon should do!) and since it's May, my background is Latvian and May also celebrates Latvia reclaiming its independence (1990) today I'm celebrating heritage.

Latvia is a tiny Baltic country (64,500sqm) with a population of just under 2m people. A large part of its history consistes of being under the domination of other countries and from the end of WW2 that country was Russia. My mother fled her homeland during the war and because a refugee when the war ended. My father had been conscripted into the German army (when they pushed into Latvia) and he met my mother at a post-war refugee camp in Germany. Together they came to Australia, an democractic country that was as far away from the communist oppression in their homeland as they could get.

I grew up speaking Latvian and only started learning English at the age of 3. I attended Latvian School on Saturdays and joined a Latvian folk dance group when I was 18. It made me so proud to be in a group of other young people who embraced their roots and continued traditions like centuries old folk dances. We performed in our home town of Melbourne, but also participated in the national Latvian cultural festival every January (in a different Australian state each year).

Of course I also grew up with traditional Latvian food. At a family celebration the table would always have pickled herrings and pickled cucumbers (pickled by my mum), smoked eels (soooooo delicious) usually smoked by one of mum's friends, potato salad, dark rye bread, sauerkraut with sausage, and every Latvian's favourite thing - Piragi (bacon buns). While I'm not into pickling my own herrings or cucumbers, I am trying to perfect my Piragi (a work in progress).

 Over the years mum would talk about various aspects of her young life, then her life during the war. when an assignment in my writing course called for a memoir, I knew I had to write mum's story. I wanted to know about my heritage, my family history. I wanted my kids to have knowledge of that and to understand what they nana and grandad went through in their youngs lives - and the huge choice they made to start a new life in a new country.

 I sat down with her over a few months and recorded talks with her then used that information, together with facts from historical research, to write her biography. I had it printed and on the 60th anniversary of her arrival in Australia, we had a family lunch and I have her and my brother and my kids a copy.

I'm lucky to live in a country, and a city, that is extremely multi-cultural so we benefit from different foods and cultural experiences. I love that my parents come from an obscure little country, but one that is rich in traditions which are still being carried on.

It's fascinating finding out about people's backgrounds. What's your family's heritage?


Friday, May 15, 2020

Merry May #anniversary

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of sci-fi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. For me, May is always a month of celebration. Apart for the Romancing the Genres Blog-o-versary, May is also my wedding anniversary AND my book anniversary too. The 7th May 2012 saw the publication of my first ever novel. I'm now eight years published, with 20 titles listed on Goodreads to my name.

Not that I'm able to do much about it right now, with the UK still (mostly) in lockdown. Nor could we take advantage of the 8th of May being made a bank holiday this year for the 75th anniversary of VE day. Sigh. But because of the VE celebration, our street had a social distancing street party, with everyone sitting at the end of their drives with out own separate drinks and party food (we had scones handmade by hubs, with raspberry jam and clotted cream, yum!), while a music teacher at the far end of the road played wartime classics on his clarinet, followed by another neighbour setting up as DJ for the evening while we all stood and chatted at the required 2m social distance. It was a strange kind of party, and yet probably the most sociable our street had ever been. I spoke to neighbours I hadn't chatted to in years (we've lived here 25 years now and just about to finish paying off our mortgage, yay), and others we've never spoken to at all. We have new neighbours in the house adjoining ours that we hadn't spoken to much but apparently the young lady is enamoured of my feather footed chooks so I took my baby Princess Aura out to be seen.
Princess Aura

We stayed out until the sun was too much, but the music went on until 10am. I suppose COVID-19 has come with some benefits...
Our VE Day bunting - a little red, white, and blue, finished off with a rainbow for the NHS

In the meantime, I'm still off work as I have three children home off school and there's no real call for my support as science technician at the school I work for. All those jobs I'd put off due to lack of money, then delayed by lack of time are now being done. And next month, title 21 is due to go off to my editor. Yep, there's finally another WIP.
Keep safe, and carry on reading!