10/20 CYBORGS by Grace Goodwin, Author of the Interstellar Brides Series

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fiber Arts, Lost and Found by Sarah Raplee

This style, but with a smocked top and
crocheted lace trim on edges of sleeves
and hem - as well as matching slip.
Hello, I'm Sarah Raplee, author of Paranormal Romance that crosses genres into Suspense, Fantasy and Steampunk.

I've loved working with fabrics, threads and yarns since I was five years old. In kindergarten, we were each given a big square of burlap and a huge assortment of yarn and embroidery thread, dull plastic darning needles, buttons and pieces of fabric and told to imagine a scene in nature and recreate it with our materials on the burlap.

I loved the scratchy texture of the rough burlap, the softness of dark green cotton muslin, the slippery feel of brown satin. I pictured an apple tree in a meadow of flowers with the sun shining down. Round red buttons became apples, yellow fabric became the sun. I cut out fabric birds and made yarn-and-button flowers. Happiness bubbled up as my vision came into being.

Later, I learned to making yarn octopuses and sew doll clothes by hand. When I was old enough, Mom taught me to sew clothes on her machine. I took to it like bird to flight.
Years later, I decided to sew my first baby’s christening dress. I was determined to learn to crochet in order to make the five yards of lace trim required. I wanted to create a family heirloom. [I'm traveling, so unfortunately don't have a photo of the actual christening gown and lace to show you. These photos will give you an idea.]

Having my sainted mother, a master (mistress?) of the art of crochet, in my corner gave me the confidence to even attempt such a thing. Mom taught me using a large hook, thick yarn and the patience of—well, my mother. She's an amazing woman.

Although the end goal was to crochet yards of tiny, delicate blue lace, for the first week I made thick potholders. Then I graduated to thinner yarn, a smaller hook, and bookmarks. Lots of bookmarks! Finally, Mom announced it was time to work with a thin-sliver-of-a shiny steel hook and some cotton crochet thread hardly thicker than sewing thread. That was super hard! After a few days’ practice, I tackled the lace. It took weeks to finish the lace and the dress, but I’ve never been prouder of making something beautiful and meaningful with my own two hands.

After that, I loved to crochet. I made hats, booties, blankets and sweaters for my children and for gifts; crocheted scarves and vests and afghans, doilies and lace pillow edgings; and even a beautiful red skirt for myself. The skirt required a knitted waistband, so Mom and I figured out how to knit and purl a little, but it took forever to finish that one small piece! The end result was beautiful, but I hadn’t the patience for knitting.

Through the years, I tried knitting a few more times, but it never stuck. My slogan became“crochet all the way!”

Fast-forward to the present. The second-eldest of my ten grandchildren and her husband are expecting a baby—our first great-grandchild! I so want to make him a blanket, but I gave up crocheting some years back due to arthritis in my hands. It’s just too painful.

A friend suggested I try knitting, because it puts less strain on the finger joints. I decided to give knitting another try. My daughter-in-law gave me a book for beginners, Stitch 'n Bitch: the Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller. I tried, but I struggled with the book until I visited my sister for a few days. She had me knitting and purling in half an hour.

After much practicing with large needles and thick yarn, I knew Knitting didn’t hurt my hands. I bought yarn for the (gulp) soon-to-arrive baby’s knitted blanket. I chose an easy pattern from the book. Last weekend we went for a getaway to Gig Harbor, Washington, where I planned to begin my project. But when I started to knit, I discovered the yarn I’d chosen had NO STRETCH WHATSOEVER! Knitting requires yarn that stretches a little. .

Luckily, amongst the picturesque shops around the harbor, my husband spotted Rainy Day Yarns. I showed the shop ladies my stiff yarn (something they’d never experienced before) and asked them to recommend some yarns that would work in the pattern. They guided me to the area where I discovered an even more beautiful (and elastic)  yarn than my original!

I’ve rolled the hanks of yarn into balls. Tonight, using the virtues of patience and gratitude I’ve learned over the years, I begin a new chapter in my creative life—as a knitter!!! (Although the baby may be crawling by the time I finish his blanket...)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Art and Imagination

by Courtney Pierce

As far back as I can remember, maybe age four or five, a small oil painting hung in my grandparents’ living room. It portrayed a young boy dancing in the woods. The ornate gilt frame measured twice the size of the canvas. The boy wore rolled-up linen britches and a frilly linen shirt. His waist coat appeared to be soft. Tousled brown locks topped his exuberant feminine face, so life-like that he appeared to move.

I named him The Dancing Boy.

There was nothing for a young girl to do at my grandparents’ house. The tick and bong of a clock in the dining room cut through the quiet to mark the passage of every slow hour. My paternal grandmother was a fairly terse German woman who held on tight to every minute of her escape from WWII. Whenever I visited, I would plan my own escape by spending an inordinate amount of time staring at that painting, chased by my own imagination. I made-up all kinds of stories about that young dancing boy. What did the music sound like to inspire him to dance? Why were his bare toes so dirty when he’s wearing fancy clothes? Did he run away from home? Did he have to dance in secret because his parents were too strict? Who are the two shadowy adults in the background?

As I approached my late-teens, my questions focused om the painting itself. I broke through my fear of my grandmother to dig a bit deeper into its history. She told me it was created in the early 1800s and had been given to her as a gift by her employer after an elaborate remodel of a guest bedroom. In fact, most of the furniture in my grandparents' Georgetown home were cast-offs from that wealthy family. She also told me the painting had been a rescued section of a much larger piece that had been destroyed by fire. 

To me, that little cutaway had become its own work of art.

After my grandparents passed away, The Dancing Boy hung in my parents’ living room for over thirty years. My Dad requested I research how best to have it professionally cleaned and conserved. Decades of cigarette smoke had veiled the luminous skin tones, vivid details of the boy’s frock, and richness of the woodsy vegetation. I took the piece out of its heavy frame for any indication of the artist. Nothing. But I did discover it had been painted on wood, not canvas.

I took The Dancing Boy to the Portland Art Museum for a deeper inspection by the curator. My Mom freaked a bit, however, because she was convinced that The Dancing Boy had been stolen by the Nazis and didn’t want me to get busted. Geez, Mom! And I thought I had a vivid imagination.

The curator’s eyes lit up when I showed him the painting. Under the glow of lighted magnifying glasses, he made all sorts of noises: “hmmm . . . ahhh . . . mmm.” Then he raised his head and nearly blinded me before switching off his headgear. “As far as I can tell, it’s definitely Early American, around the Revolutionary War," he said. "But without an identifying signature, it’s hard to say who might’ve painted it. Whoever it was, they were damn good.”

“Damn good to know,” I said. 

Then my imagination started to race with more stories. Maybe Ben Franklin had been in the company of the original painting, or Washington, Adams, Hamilton, or Jefferson. I suddenly heard tankards clinking and the scratching of quilled words on the Declaration of Independence. That would certainly be cause for a budding young man to dance in the woods. The possibilities were endless. I packed up the painting and hung it back on my parents’ living room wall, my soul having grown ten times in size that day.

On Christmas morning of 2012, my parents came by the house for our traditional exchange of gifts. We had spend limits in place, so gifts were usually gag-like in nature. My Dad had been failing rapidly, and I knew he would only exist in my heart quite soon. I sat him on the couch in the living room and handed him a cup of coffee. He pointed to the front door.

“Go out to the truck and get that big box in the back.”

I did as I was told, of course. I had no idea what my parents had given me, but my pulse raced like a hummingbird's. I brought in the box and set it on the floor in front of my father.

“Go ahead and open it,” he said. “It’s for you, not me.”

And when I did, I broke into tears. He had given me The Dancing Boy. I didn’t know what to say, but my Dad did:

“It’s yours now, kid. I wanted to be able to see the look on your face before I’m dead.”

Dad. A steel-belted marshmallow.

It took only fifty years to come up with the ultimate story about The Dancing Boy. The painting became the subject of magical realism in my second novel of the Stitches Trilogy, Brushes. The three-book seriesStitches, Brushes, and Riffscenters on a baby boomer couple, Jean and Spence Collins, who find a magical artifact at an estate sale. When they discover it holds the key to immortality, they set off on quite the world adventure, but not without getting into serious trouble with the FBI. It’s a bit like The Thin Man meets History Detectiveswith a twist of magic.

I relived every wondrous moment of little-girl imagination when I wrote Brushes. And immortalizing The Dancing Boy forever on its printed pages means that I, too, have added to the painting's long history.

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband. stepdaughter, and their brainiac cat, Princeton. Courtney writes for the baby boomer audience. By day, she is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has 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.  

Coming Soon!
Book 3 of the
Dushane Sisters

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

The Dushane Sisters Trilogy concludes with Indigo Legacy, due out in the fall, 2018. There's love in the air for Olivia and Woody, but will family intrigue get in the way? Ride along for the wild trip that starts in a New York auction house and peaks in a mansion on Boston's Beacon Hill. The Dushane sisters finally get to the truth about their mother.

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."

Saturday, October 20, 2018


Just for ROMANCING THE GENRES readers, for the rest of OCTOBER, I will make BOOK 1 in the series FREE on BookFunnel.

Surrender to the Cyborgs
Interstellar Brides: The Colony, Book 1
By Grace Goodwin

Here is a letter from the base governor, a warrior named Maxim, who started it all. Enjoy!

 A letter from the Governor of Base 3, Maxim Rone

Dear Earth Females,

The forgotten warriors of the Colony have suffered long enough. We fought bravely for our people, and for yours, protecting the Coalition worlds from the scourge that is the Hive. We come from many worlds, but in the end, we all ended up here, broken and betrayed. Abandoned by our own people.

For long days I believed nothing could be worse than the pain of becoming one of them, the Hive. They tortured us, testing our endurance to pain. They injected us with microscopic biosynthetics impossible to remove. They altered us, changed us, made us both more and less alive.

We were supposed to become one of them, absorbed into their Hive mind, mindless drones sent out to hunt and maim and kill. And to collect. More bodies. More worlds. More.

By some miracle of the gods, or brotherhood, we on the Colony were saved. Set free while our mind was still our own. But in the end, many of us wished for death, for we have all been altered, changed.

My own people, the people of Prillon Prime, rejected us for years, building this Colony planet and shipping her wounded warriors, her broken things somewhere dark and quiet, somewhere they would not have to look at us.

For years we lived without hope. And then came you. A human woman loved one of us and everything changed. Prime Nial, our ruler, is contaminated, as we are. And this human woman, an ordinary woman from your world, loves him anyway.

It is too late to go back to the hopeless existence we once knew. We have seen this new love with our own eyes. And we can not unsee what we have seen.

My mate is the first bride to come to this hellish place. And if she can love me and my battered second, she will save us all.

Perhaps, beautiful female, you should consider volunteering for the Interstellar Bride Program yourself. We need more brides to cherish, to claim…to love.

My mate, my stubborn mate, is locked in a prison cell on your precious Earth. Know this, I am coming for her. Nothing will stop me.

She is mine.

I am coming.


I just released ROGUE CYBORG, Book 6 in my Interstellar Brides: The Colony series

About Grace Goodwin

Grace Goodwin is a USA Today and international bestselling author of Sci-Fi & Paranormal romance. Grace believes all women should be treated like princesses, in the bedroom and out of it, and writes love stories where men know how to make their women feel pampered, protected and very well taken care of. Grace hates the snow, loves the mountains (yes, that's a problem) and wishes she could simply download the stories out of her head instead of being forced to type them out. Grace lives in the western US and is a full-time writer, an avid romance reader and an admitted caffeine addict.

All of Grace's books can be read as sexy, "stand-alone" adventures. Her Happily-Ever-Afters are always free from cheating because she writes Alpha males, NOT Alphaholes. (You can figure that one out.) But be careful...she likes her heroes hot and her love scenes hotter. You have been warned...

Sign up for Grace's VIP Reader list at http://freescifiromance.com

YOUR mate is out there! Take the test today and discover your match (or two):

Interested in joining my not-so-secret Facebook Sci-Fi Squad? Get excerpts, cover reveals and sneak peeks before anyone else. Be part of a closed Facebook group that shares pictures and fun news. JOIN Here: http://bit.ly/SciFiSquad

Friday, October 19, 2018

Discovering the Art of #Cosplay

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories with a romantic soul. But I'm also a cosplay addict.
I remember very clearly learning to sew. I must have been six or seven years old at the time. A well meaning female relative tired of my tomboy ways bought me one of those sets that are popular quick picks for presents. It was sewing clothes for Cindy (the British equivalent of Barbie). I remember very, very clearly my poor mum trying to explain why the hat had to have a running stitch running parallel to the brim so it could be gathered in to make a Miss Muffet style cap. I was a stubborn little madam and wanted to do the stitch at right angles to where it should be (I can't remember why though). Eventually my mum gave up, grabbed the box and chucked it out the front door. Some time later, I snuck out, reclaimed the box, and quietly sat stitching it her way. The incident was never mentioned again.
I can't say I was the most competent seamstress, but I am a relatively good bodger. Once my mum had taught me to use her sewing machine, I turned out quite a few outfits for my dolls, including a rather mix and match 'uniform' for my space travelling crew of Pippa dolls (not Pippa because I owned them - that was their real brand name!). My POC captain wore a gold lamé robe (really a dressing gown) with a blue satin belt. My red-haired second had a blue silk mini dress, while the medic had a white shorts suit like something out of Austin Powers, and my alien shapeshifter (a headless doll transformed by the edition of a wooden cat's head from a finger puppet with a bit of real fur glued between her ears) had a pink catsuit (of course). I guess having parents who were fans of Star Trek might have had some influence...
As a teen, I extended the life of some of my favourite clothes using my sewing skills. Outgrown jeans got expanded by strips of coloured fabric down the sides. Long sleeved tees got turned into sleeveless ones. But my most ambitious project was a costume for my first scifi convention - a hoodie from one of my favourite scifi series, Blake's Seven, plus a gun belt. I still have the top even now.
But it wasn't until quite recently that I've really challenged my basic sewing skills and discovered the art of cosplay. A dear friend and fellow fangirl generously bought me a three day pass to Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2016. We'd not long seen the first film in a new trilogy, where lead character Rey had caused my eldest's conversion from Star Wars hater to fan (but that's still the only film of the series she likes). She had a hankering for Rey's costume, and as a fellow author and cosplayer on Twitter had not long posted a tweet about two Star Wars patterns, it just seemed fate. However, finances meant that I hadn't planned to take my children (I hadn't expected to be going myself, and wouldn't have if not for my generous friend). When the chance came to take one of my three, it was superfan 11yo who got the chance. Due to his red hair, I suggested a General Hux cosplay for him, even though this meant making my own pattern/design from scratch. This was quite a test for my basic sewing skills, but I don't think it turned out too badly?
11yo as General Hux
After that, I well and truly got the bug. Eldest did in fact get the chance to come to the final day of Star Wars Celebration with me, and although she's not the biggest fan, she does have the better idea of fandom, a concept she embraces. She adored all the cosplayers at the con, and I knew I had at least one companion for doing it again, so many years since the first.
Eldest as Rey
While I may not look like any characters I like, I take this as an opportunity to make and wear whatever costume I happen to take a fancy to.
My Anakin costume
I've now made 12 cosplays in all, always learning new skills along the way, and after two years of refusing to join us, my husband has now gotten the bug too and has joined me in attempting a complex cosplay of his own (though he did do Hooper from Jaws last year). But you'll have to wait until next year for the big reveal...
Hubs as Hooper, and yes, that is Toyah.
Eldest's Tauriel (The Hobbit)

Middle child onstage as the Witch-King of Angmar (Lord of the Rings)

This year's cosplays: my version of Han Solo (The Empire Strikes Back), youngest as the Plague Knight (ShovelKnight), middle child as Quicksilver (X-Men), and eldest's Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Lost Art - of everyday

My grandson is big into the Jurassic World movies. We have 'enjoyed' them many many times. In the beginning of the Jurassic World movie, they are in the lab talking about creating dinosaurs.  It's said that they need to keep creating bigger, meaner, and more unique dinosaurs because people of bored or T-Rexs and raptors.

Bored....bored of T-Rexs and raptors.

And I think of true that would be. We have become of world of 'impress me - NOW'. In my book, A Mermaid's Wish, Aislynn argues to save a wood fairy's home by claiming all the 'everyday places' of our world are begin replaced with strip malls and movie theaters. Only if a natural wonder is on the property will it be preserved.

We miss so much of the art of everyday by seeking amazing.

I strive to take my grandson to local places that are beautiful just because they are.... to understand what an amazing world we live in.

Just last night we went to the beach (and froze) to watch the sunset.... We came home and our neighbor asked us why. "Was there something special about it?"

The art of everyday includes...

We miss sooooo much by looking for the 'great' thing.  By not enjoying the art of everyday.
To keep from losing this art, I have made a goal to take at least 3 pictures a week and post them either on Facebook or Instagram.

The pictures aren't to be of anything special just of my 'everyday' world. To share the art of everyday.

I would love to see your everyday art, please leave me a picture in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by and see you next month! But in the meantime you can come and hang out with me... we will talk about doughnuts and vodka...and everyday art...

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Art of Making Memories

Today is the age of selfies and a world of photos being on our phone or our hard drive and photo albums have become a thing of the past. To keep prints in good condition requires albums with acid proof paper and the use of photo corners. A lot of work, and how many of us end up with boxes of photos stored away and never looked at?

I love photos. I always have. My dearest possessions are my mother's old photos dating back to the 1920s (wow that's nearly 100 years old!) and covering her life in Latvia, then as a post WW2 refugee in Germany, then life as a 'New Australian' in the post war immigration influx.  Then there's all the photos of the kids, and now the grandkids.

When I realised I hadn't stored my photos properly I had to take them out of those horrid albums with the sticky pages. I wanted something better than just shoving them in a box where they might deteriorate anyway so I scanned them and now my sentimental collection lives 'on the cloud' - and then I discovered the art of digital scrapbooking.

I knew about 'paper scrapping', a craft which has been around for a very long time and which involved showcasing select photos or programs, or invitations, cards etc on special pages, decorated with coloured or patterned paper, adding embellishments like ribbons and lace, and creating a page to tell a story, preserve a memory or just show off a fabulous photo. I loved the idea, the way you could make the pages look, but I had neither the inclination nor the room to store all the bits and pieces required, and which had to be dragged out every time I'd want to create a page.

But for digital scrapbooking all I needed was my laptop and my scanned photos. I had developed an love for digital design and taught myself Photoshop so digital scrapping was a perfect match for me.

To decorate my digital pages I have to buy digital 'kits' of background papers and embellishments. And fonts! Can I just say here I love fonts? A weird addiction, but finding 'the right one' is as satisfying as having a French vanilla slice.

The beauty of scrapbooking is you can just focus on the photo, or you can add a whole story by journalling on the page as well. It's also an excellent way of recording the dates and places of special occasions for future generations.  You can scrap a page about something you love, a hobby, a piece of music, a place. The options are endless for creative expression, and in a way that suits our  techy world.

It does a bit of technical knowledge to master a program like Photoshop, or the free GIMP program, but as with all technology, now there are more basic options like the free Canva site on which you could produce some fabulous results. Youtube is a fount of information on using these programs.

Yes, digital scrapbooking still keeps your work/photos 'online', but technology now lets us easily and inexpensively put our memory pages into print books rather than hidden away prints, and is an easier option for keeping images in good condition rather than the fuss of storing prints properly (although I love my nearly 100 year old originals and although I have scanned them and used them in the biography I wrote about mum, holding them in my hands is something special.)

I can spend hours putting my pages together. I get totally absorbed and with the flexibility of digital, can experiment and try different looks until I get it right. The undo button is my best friend.

I'm sure there are scrap booking purists who still go 'old school', but the ease and convenience of being able to just turn on my laptop and be able to create wherever I am makes me a super fan of this 'new art'.

For anyone who is interested in a bit more information, I have written the Digital Scrapbooking Bootcamp and it's available free here.  

Andra Ashe

Monday, October 15, 2018

What do you really know about #Halloween by Kristin Wallace

So we’re well in to October now, which means full on Halloween prep and pumpkin spice everything. There are many popular Halloween traditions, from carving pumpkins to dressing up in costumes, but do you know the origins and history behind the holiday? 

I decided to look it up...

Origins of Halloween

The origin of Halloween dates back over 2,000 years ago and has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in) in Ireland and other parts of the United Kingdom. The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st, which marked the end of summer (and the harvest) and the beginning of winter. October 31stbecame a night of celebration. On that night it was believed that the spirits of the dead were able to walk the earth. To commemorate the event, the Celts dressed up in costumes and built huge bonfires to burn crops and make sacrifices. When Samhain was over, they re-lit their hearth fires from the sacred bon fire in order to protect their families during the winter. 

The Holiday Evolves

In 8thCentury, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st All Saints’ Day or All Hallows Eve, a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The holiday incorporated many of the Samhain traditions, including bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes. Eventually, All Hallows Eve became known as Halloween. 

The more popular traditions in the US (such as dressing up & trick or treating) didn’t begin to take shape until the second half the 19thcentury, mostly due to the large influx of Irish immigrants who began arriving in the 1840s. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Halloween evolved into a secular holiday aimed mainly at children.

Check out HistoryChannel.com for more in-depth history of Halloween.

Here is some more Halloween Trivia:

-Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep the spirits and ghosts away on the Samhain holiday. 

-The word witch comes from "wica", an Old Saxon word that means "wise one". The early witches were known for their skills with medicinal herbs.

-It takes an average of 252 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

-According to the National Confectioner’s Association, more than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. 

-Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.

-Halloween candy sales in the US average about $2 billion dollars annually.

-Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the Roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.

-Black cats were once believed to be witch's familiars who protected their powers.

Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. She is the author of three best selling series, Palm Cove Tales, Shellwater Key Tales and Covington Falls Chronicles. Her latest release is SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS, 1 of 9 holiday novellas in Sweet Christmas Kisses 5. Available now for only 99cents. 


Amazon  /   iTunes  /  Kobo  /   B&N 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Out of This World Romance with CJ Cade

Out of This World Romance – What’s the Appeal?

Hello to all you readers who love to romance the genres. When Sarah and Judith asked me to post, I got to thinking… just what is the appeal of Out of This World (Sci Fi) Romance?

Sci Fi has been around for a very long time, since tech came far enough to create robots and flying machines. Being human, our imaginations were not far behind.

What would happen if… those robots could think for themselves? Those flying machines could take us out into space? Where we would of course meet other fascinating and dangerous sentient beings… and there our adventures would begin.

According to Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction ,‘E. E. "Doc" Smith's Skylark of Space, written in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby, appeared in Amazing Stories in 1928. It is often called the first great space opera.’ Then came Buck Rogers, etc. Plenty of fictional fun to be had.

I read sci fi as a kid—in the form of comic books. Those were a nickel a piece at the local store, and oh, wow! Superman and all his enemies and allies introduced us kids of the ‘60’s to a whole new universe.

Then came the televised Star Trek, followed years later by the movie Star Wars…and from there the genre really took off, so to speak.

I’ll tell you a secret about sci fi and space opera…they’re really just ‘out-of-this-world’ westerns. With robots instead of colorful sidekicks, space ships instead of horses, and laser weapons instead of six-shooters. And heroines who get to wear fitted space suits instead of those silly bustles.

And sci fi romance…even more fun! The hero always gets the girl…and vice versa.

Sometimes even on the page.

Join me in a space opera romp, won’t you? My books are all available now FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Cathryn Cade writing as CJ CADE

Bio: CJ Cade is a native of Montana, so look for the flavor of the cowboy culture in her Sci Fi Romance/Space Opera. Her alpha heroes & feisty heroines may pilot space ships instead of horses, but they find plenty of wild adventure & sexy romance, so deep space never stays cold for long!

CJ also writes Contemporary & Contemporary Paranormal romance as USAT Best-Seller Cathryn Cade.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Lost Art of Conversation by Lynn Lovegreen

It seems that if I’m not writing, I’m talking. I spend a lot of time critiquing with fellow writers, discussing topics at volunteer meetings, and hanging out with people I love. Much of it involves the “lost art” of conversation. Why is this considered a lost art—are we spending too much time looking at screens, or are we simply out of practice? Either way, we can start by engaging more with our family and friends. Try these tips next time you’re waiting for food to arrive or before you turn on the TV or device.

It takes a little thought to create a good conversation. To start, we need to think about the person we’re talking with, and anticipate her background and interests. A teenager may not know anything about a TV show made in the 1970s. A fly fisherman in Alaska may not want to discuss the subway system in New York. So we want to start with some common ground that everyone can relate to.  

It’s always a good idea to ask questions. Questions give people positive  attention and help us find common experiences or ideas to discuss. Where have you traveled or lived in the past? What do you like to do in your free time? What movie or show did you see recently that you’d recommend? Once everyone is comfortable, we can get a little more abstract. What superpower would you choose if you could have one? What is the greatest invention in our lifetime? Which person in history would you want to have dinner with?

I find that everyone, of every age group, can participate in a good conversation with the right encouragement. Create an inviting atmosphere and an interesting topic, and folks want to engage. We can bring people closer together, and entertain ourselves, with the lost art of conversation.  

Lynn Lovegreen has lived in Alaska for almost fifty years. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering at her local library. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We Still Need Diverse Books

Hi everyone! 

I am YA, and now MG author Barbara Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for adolescents and teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them.  My debut middle grade novel, Courage, was recently published by Harper Collins.

I happen to be between conferences right now. I was at the Joint Council of Librarians of Color (JCLC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico last week. Today (Wednesday) I am speaking at the Illinois Library Association conference in Peoria, Il.  In lieu of a new post, I am giving you a post a made during the JCLC conference, as librarians discussed children's books and We Need Diverse Books.  An appropriate topic as I prepare to begin my Diverse Writing class  for next week. So here goes, an overview of the Youth Author Luncheon at the recent JCLC conference.

The Youth Author Lunch on Friday included an opportunity to discuss with a panel of WNDB personnel, Dhonielle Clayton, Lamar Giles, Caroline Richmond, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and Juleah del Rosario. We had a full house including great conversations at individual tables, a lovely lunch, and a lot of information about changes in diversity in the publishing industry.

The panelists started by going over the history of We Need Diverse Books. The first wave of activity after the birth of the #WNDB hashtag and movement involved publishers looking at authors and illustrators writing outside their lane to provide “fixes for the problem.” Fortunately, most now embrace the #ownvoices movement. In addition, many books written by POC and other #ownvoices are finding spots on bestseller lists. As Lamar Giles notes, that is not because these authors went from bad to good overnight. Its because the authors and books are finally being taken seriously by publishers, and getting the marketing and publicity push behind them to propel them into visibility. Diverse books by diverse authors are no longer being shoved into a pigeon hole to die, quietly and unnoticed. Once these books are discovered by readers and reviewers, the quality that was always there is seen.

We are coming up on the fifth anniversary of the organization. The panelists discussed many of their accomplishments including:
  1. Sponsoring numerous diverse interns into large publishing houses. Publishers often hire from pools of unpaid interns, and many authors from marginalized populations found in difficult to afford to take on an unpaid job in the very expensive land of New York. In the last few years, several of the interns subsidized by WNDB have gone on to permanent employment in publishing. 
  2. The Walter Awards celebrating diverse books by diverse authors. 
  3. Short story anthologies of diverse authors designed to be school-friendly. Each anthology includes a slot reserved for an unpublished author to help undiscovered #ownvoices get a start. 
  4. Copies of the anthologies, Walter award winners, and other books are regularly given away to classrooms across the country. And several participants at the luncheon went home with autographed copies of several of the books involved in the giveaway. 
  5. Created an Our Story app as an easy-to-use resource for students, teachers, and librarians to help find diverse books of interest. The app includes a quiz readers can take to help the app suggest books for them. That includes so-called reluctant readers who may simply not have found a book that speaks to them…yet. 

During the Q&A period, several questions about the self-publishing surge came up. The panelists felt self-publishing was more a band-aid than a solution to the problem of getting more diverse books published and into libraries. They advocate for actions that will help fix institutional problems, such as the internship program. While self-publishing is now a viable publication path for authors to pursue, it should not absolve publishers from dealing with real issues that remain in the publishing industry.

New releases by the presenters:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Lost Art of Daydreaming

by Madelle Morgan

When was the last time you did absolutely nothing? No TV, no phone. No rushing to fill rare free moments with yet another errand on the To-Do list, clean the cat's litter box, or to scroll through social media posts and online shopping sites.

When was the last time you sat alone in a quiet place, with no devices in hand, and listened to your inner thoughts?

This month's topic is "lost art".

I suggest that connecting with our inner selves is a lost art. 

Month after month we rush through our days with no time to just "be". There is always so much to "do". We have no time to think. To dream. To let ideas float into our minds from the deep well that is our subconscious, or from the infinite super consciousness of the universe.

I've been very busy over the summer, reading fiction and non-fiction, attending seven workshops, hosting guests, and travelling. My To-Do list is very long. I've hardly had time to take a deep breath before it's on to the next thing.

More to the point, I haven't had that time so important to writers and other creatives to daydream. A plotter, I haven't devoted the hours necessary to connect the dots for my WIP and think about the character arcs. I tell myself I'll do that before I fall asleep. Yeah, right. Eight hours later... the next busy day begins.

It's fall already! Yikes. Where did the summer go?

Don't get me wrong. I had a fabulous summer! I enjoyed every minute. A highlight was a two week trip to England's Yorkshire and Midlands regions. I planned to work on the plane (didn't happen) but I did think about my WIP.

Sort of.

I decided that my characters in Hollywood Hero have to go on location in the endless Yorkshire moors. That's progress, right?

How do you make time to be alone with your thoughts and fill that creative well?


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Madelle writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense set in Canada. Find all her books on Amazon.com