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GOOD MORNING BREAD

November 2, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Helen Carpenter

During the editing of one of our books, commas turned into a major topic of discussion. Yes, well, my daughter and I were writers, what did you expect? We liked commas and we also liked to slice commas from our writing, so we have a conflict of interest. For example, in the first two sentences of this paragraph (and this sentence too), we used commas. We could have used a comma in the third sentence before the “and,” though we chose not to. Either way would have been correct.

Another example is the title of this post. A comma would change the entire meaning. By omitting it, we imply (or say) the recipe below is a good (delicious) morning bread. Had we included a comma (Good morning, bread) we would be saying good morning to our bread. That would also fit, since the bread is definitely worthy of salutations.

Like bread, commas have lots of uses. You can splash them around in personal and geographic names, in numbers, before quotations that indicate speech such as “she said,” and in lists. If you’re the user of a certain word processing software, you can make your commas curly or straight and either style gets the job done.

We don’t claim to be experts on commas and we would be happy to hear your take on this very important punctuation. Let’s eat breakfast while we have the discussion. If you’re not hungry, then we’ll say, “Let’s eat, breakfast.”

Breakfast Bread

1½ cups dried mixed fruit (we used one 5-ounce package of mixed cranberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and filled in the remainder with dried cranberries)
½ cup warm tea, any flavor
1 package regular yeast
½ cup warm water
2 tbsp. butter
½ cup coconut milk
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup nuts of your choice (we used pecans and pistachios)

Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Soak dried fruit in bowl with warm tea. Set aside.

In separate bowl, add yeast to warm water. Set aside in a warm draft free location.

Melt butter.

Mix coconut milk, sugar, honey, salt, and egg. Add melted butter and stir. Next, add yeast and water mixture and stir.

Mix cinnamon and flour. Add to liquid ingredients and mix well.

Drain fruit. Add fruit and nuts to dough. Use your hands to mix, adding additional flour by tablespoons if necessary.

Let dough rise 1 hour. Punch down, divide in half, and shape into two equal loaves. Put loaves in prepared pans and let rise 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves 30 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes and remove to rack.

Serve warm or cold with butter or topping of your choice.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. The Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-if, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates every day, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and  Facebook .

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN

October 31, 2022 | Uncategorized

May your tricks be creative, and your treats plentiful.

Wishing you all a safe and fun Halloween!

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This Treat is No Trick

October 26, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Tina Griffith

I used to make these Pinwheels for my kids when they were in elementary school.  The recipe is pretty easy and quite versatile.  By that I mean, you can flavor and add color to both layers.  Example: add cinnamon or almond flavoring to the chocolate dough, and add peppermint flavoring and pink food coloring to the white one.  Can you imagine eating a purple and green spiral cookie on somebody’s birthday?  Or how about a black and orange cookie on Halloween?

And just before you put them in the oven, you can also top them with sprinkles, candy shapes, or just plain sugar.  Use your imagination to make the most interesting of cookies for any holiday or celebration, because  experimenting is part of the fun with this dough.

Grama Tina’s Spiral Cookies

¾ cup of softened butter

1 cup of white sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons of vanilla

2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon of baking powder

cocoa powder, peanut butter or Nutella – optional

rainbow sprinkles or candy shapes – optional

5 drops of food coloring – red, yellow, pink, orange, black – optional

1 teaspoon of cinnamon, almond, or nutmeg – optional

3 or 4 drops of flavoring – peppermint, lemon, etc. – optional

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Lay parchment paper on 2 large cookie sheets or grease well.

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour with baking powder. Add to butter mixture in 2 additions, stirring until it becomes a soft dough.

Divide dough in half.  Add cocoa powder (and/or cinnamon, peanut butter, Nutella, or mint flavoring).  Mix and set aside.  Now move to the other ball of dough.  Leave this white and add mint or a cinnamon flavoring or any flavoring you like and coloring. Remember – both the colors and flavors should go together well.

Roll each ball out flat, and then place one on top of the other.  Take one end and slowly roll this up into a log.  Length-wise or width-wise determines how large your cookies will be.

Once you’ve completed rolling the dough, wrap it in plastic and place in the refrigerator until chilled.  This could take up to 2 hours, but you can leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

When you’re ready to bake, take the log out and remove the plastic covering.  Beginning at one end, slice the cookies about ¼” thick and place them on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for about 10 minutes – you want them to be a lovely golden brown.  Let cool and serve.

**HINT – using a piece of thread instead of a knife, makes it easier to cut the dough.

Ophelia’s Curse is a suspenseful and intriguing novel from start to finish. The story will give you goose bumps and have you sitting on the edge of your seat. In short, this story will tickle your senses on a level that you’ve not known before. The thin line between witchcraft and terror is remarkable and written as if Tina Griffith had the gift of pure magic. This is an hypnotic and provocative book. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the twists and turns prove you wrong.

On Hallow’s Eve, as the veil between the two worlds was thinning, the face of the full moon was lit up like a Christmas tree. The dead would soon come alive, the alive would dress up as the dead, and witchcraft had a way of piggybacking off other spells. This was the ideal night to be a witch, for the effectiveness of all incantations, divinations, and other avenues of magic, was perfect.

Jayla is a clever witch, who had been cursed in her teens by her friend, Ophelia. Since then, she has had to retrieve dark souls from shrewd men in order to survive. While she has taken hundreds of souls in her lifetime, this story is about her trying to take the one which belongs to Roger Casem – the man she accidentally fell in love with.

Could she kill him, as she had done with the others? If she wanted to continue living, she must. But today, when his eyes skimmed her body with unbelievable passion, she began to recognize her own needs. As she blushed and turned her face away from him, Jayla did the only thing she could.

AMAZON

 

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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Scary Things or Imagination

October 24, 2022 | Author Friend Promo

by C.D. Hersh

Years ago, a teaser news story from Huffington Post popped up in Catherine’s email about a mysterious “star jelly” found in the RSPB Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset, England. Being paranormal buffs (which, for us, includes sci-fi), naturally, Catherine looked up the article. There are a lot of theories out there, but not much positive proof about what this substance is. Some people postulate that the jelly is slime mold, a form of cyanobacteria, the remains of regurgitated amphibians, or frog spawn. Personally, all of the above are too ordinary. As paranormal fans, we like the more supernatural of the explanations that says the “star jelly” is related to the sighting of a strange meteor like object seen over the reserve last week—an extraterrestrial substance dropped to earth from the meteor shower.

This isn’t the first time “star jelly” has been found. Records dating back to the 14th century mention finding this gelatinous material after meteor showers. It’s been called star jelly, astral jelly, star rot, star shot and astromyxin. Non-paranormal believers say it’s coincidental that people find star jelly after meteor showers. Curiosity about finding a meteor rock leads them to places they wouldn’t normally go, and they find the substance, which has been there all along. In other words, they want to believe it’s this baffling substance from outer space.

Star jelly has been a part of several fiction stories. Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Talisman, and H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Colour of Space.

C.D. Hersh photoPutting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts, and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

Their paranormal series is titled The Turning Stone Chronicles.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Follow C.D. Hersh on social media:

Website

Soul Mate Publishing

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

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A WARM BREAKFAST TREAT

October 19, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Stella May

This is a wonderful recipe my family enjoys with breakfast or as a snack. Not only are the muffins nutritious, but they’re also easy to prepare, taste great, and freeze beautifully. I hope you enjoy these oven gems as much as we do.

Banana Coconut Muffins
2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs, or 3 small
⅓ cup sugar⅓ cup oil (I use sunflower oil)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups almond flour
1 cup chocolate chips, optional
1 cup chopped nuts (any type), optional

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix eggs with sugar, then add all ingrediencies through baking powder.

Stir in almond flour. The mixture is supposed to be a consistency of sour cream. Add chocolate chips and nuts if you choose to use them.

Prepare a cookie sheet with lightly oiled baking cups. Spoon mixture into cups.

Bake 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You can also use this recipe in a loaf pan to make Banana Coconut Bread. Bake at the same temperature for approximately 55 – 60 minutes. Either way, cool completely then enjoy.

Here’s a little to intrigue you on Stell May’s latest time travel romance.

After months of working like a woman possessed, Nika Morris kept her promise. Coleman House is finished. It’s gorgeous. Spectacular. Brilliant.

It’s breaking her heart.

Because once the new owners move in, she’ll be cut off from the time portal to 1909, where she met and fell in love with Eli Coleman. Now stranded in her own time, she’s waited months for the key to reappear in its hiding place. Only it hasn’t. Which means Eli must have believed the terrible things she was accused of.

Back in 1909, Eli is stunned at his best friend’s deathbed confession of a shocking betrayal. Nika—his Daisy, his time-traveling wonder—was innocent. Once he finds the key, he wastes no time stepping through the portal, determined to make things right.

But the moment Eli stumbles into her shiny, noisy, confusing future, he realizes reconciliation won’t be simple. There is more than one emotional bridge to rebuild before he and Nika can return to the time their love was born—and live their destiny out to the fullest.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Stella May is the penname for Marina Sardarova who has a fascinating history you should read on her website.

Stella writes fantasy romance as well as time travel romance. She is the author of ‘Till Time Do Us Part, Book 1 in her Upon a Time series, and the stand-alone book Rhapsody in Dreams. Love and family are two cornerstones of her stories and life. Stella’s books are available in e-book and paperback through all major vendors.

When not writing, Stella enjoys classical music, reading, and long walks along the ocean with her husband. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Leo of 25 years and their son George. They are her two best friends and are all partners in their family business.

Follow Stella on her website and blog. Stay connected on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 

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RAIN ON A METAL ROOF

October 17, 2022 | Author Friend Promo

By Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

Opening onto the sliding glass doors of the bedroom of my previous house was a three-season room. I called it my solarium because it was a space of windows more than of walls, a lovely and light-filled area facing due south—ideal for potted plants tucked among wicker chairs and wrought-iron pieces in warm weather but scorching hot for human beings and other mammals. The windows were single-paned, drafty, and ill-fitting, and the walls and roof were slabs of Styrofoam clad in aluminum sheets. In winter it was a freezing space suitable only for hanging slabs of beef, if I had been of a mind to use it for such a purpose. In fact, the months of April and October were the only times of year during which it was fit for living beings of any species. All the other months of the year, it was either too cold or too hot to be functional.

Despite its negative aspects, my solarium had a vital redeeming quality: it gained me access to the rain. Actually, the inspiration for much of my writing came from the sound of rain that washed the sides and battered the roof of my metal solarium. As I stretched out on my bed with my laptop astraddle my thighs, the sliding glass doors were open to my solarium, open to the sound of the rain, a sound that carried me back to the rains of my childhood, rains that are the source of my love of rain, and one of the most enduring connections to my past.

The sound of rain on the metal roof of the porch below the window of my room in our West Second Avenue house in Columbus, Ohio often pulled me to a joyful waking when I was a child. If it happened to be a Saturday morning, my family and I would pile into our car and drive eighty-five miles south to the farm of my maternal grandparents for the weekend. Featuring a red barn, whitewashed chicken houses, and raw-wood pigpens, the saltbox farmhouse rose to two-stories within its whitewashed clapboard sides and pitched metal roof.

The farmhouse sat on the south rim of the star-wound crater in Peebles, Adams County, Ohio, which is the bedrock of the world famous “Great Serpent Mound.” The metal-roofed front porch of the farmhouse offered an unfettered view of the crater as well as its backdrop of the Appalachian Mountain foothills, preferably taken in while sitting in the front porch swing.

From the porch one stepped into the parlor of the farmhouse, its focal point a chugging wood-burning stove in winter. Adjacent to this central room were two bedrooms, a kitchen, and at the back, a summer kitchen. A door from the summer kitchen opened to a long path that terminated at a gelid in winter and malodorous in summer outhouse.

Tucked behind the front entrance of the farmhouse was the door to the steep staircase to the upper floor, and at the head of the stairs was a small bedroom that housed a full-sized bed and a mirror-topped chest of drawers. I recall some of my younger cousins being folded cozily into the spacious bottom drawer of that chest in lieu of a bassinette when they were babies. A doorway in this first bedroom opened to the largest room in the house, a sleeping room set up with several beds in dormitory fashion, all of them topped with feather-stuffed mattresses. The enormous collection of feathers had been plucked over the years from the farm’s chickens before they were fried to a crisp in my grandmother’s enormous iron skillet. In that dormitory bedroom, my mother, my aunts, my brother, my baby sisters, our young cousins and I were crooned to sleep to the sound of rain dancing on the metal-capped roof of the farmhouse.

The farm featured in the above essay forms the backdrop of Guardians and Other Angels, multi-award-winning author, Linda Lee Greene’s novel that chronicles the story of two heroic families played out against the bad and the good of the early to mid-twentieth century, years of worldwide economic depression and war, as well as the spawning of the “Greatest Generation.” Firsthand accounts of the times in authentic letters written by members of the families are peppered throughout the book.

 

Available in paperback and eBook on Amazon

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

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GOOD EATING with ROOT VEGGIES

October 12, 2022 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Emma Lane

One of the nicest things about root veggies is that they are almost always around ready for serving to your family. Stored in the bottom of the pantry or in a cool, dry place in the cellar, potatoes are a staple for meals. Carrots, onions, and both types of potatoes can be prepared fairly simply for easy cooking. Satisfying and healthy, these root vegetables can be presented many different delicious ways.

 BREAKFAST

Fried Sweet Potatoes

3 medium sized sweet potatoes

½ cup butter

Brown sugar to sprinkle

Wash, peel, and slice potatoes in ¼ inch thick rounds. Melt butter in skillet, place potato rounds in and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Brown sugar forms a syrup to pour over potatoes after cooking.

I suggest serving summer sausage patties, hot biscuits, raspberry jam, and orange juice.

Wash, peel, and slice potatoes in ¼ inch thick rounds. Melt butter in skillet, place potato rounds in and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Brown sugar forms a syrup to pour over potatoes after cooking.

I suggest serving summer sausage patties Hot biscuits, raspberry jam, and orange juice.

LUNCH

Mashed White Potato Patties

2½ cups leftover mashed potatoes

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups shredded mild cheese

1½ cups finely chopped green onion

Dash pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 – 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Mix potatoes, cheese, flour, green onions, and a dash of pepper to taste together in a medium sized bowl. Form into thin 3 ½ inch patties.

Brush with beaten egg then cover with breadcrumbs, Turn gently with specula and cover with breadcrumbs other side.

Sauté in heated oil until browned and completely warmed through. Flip gently to brown both sides. Serve warm.

Great with scrambled eggs and bacon.

SUPPER (OR DINNER)
Carrot Casserole

1½ to 2 cups cooked and mashed carrots

1 small, sweet onion chopped

⅔ cup sharp grated cheese

½ tsp. yellow mustard

⅔ cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven 350° F.

Combine mash carrots in a mixing bowl with all ingredients except crackers. Pour into casserole dish and top with crushed crackers.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Suggested serving with browned pork chops topped with onion rings, mushroom soup and baked.  Fruit cups as salad.

Here’s a peek at my Cozy Mystery, Murder in the Neighborhood, a novel which introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small-town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

Amazon Buy Links KindlePaperback
Read more cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon .
Janis Lane is the penname for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

 

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A Shapeshifter Called Harper

October 10, 2022 | Author Friend Promo

from Carol Browne

You’re expecting to read about a shapeshifter called Harper now, I know, but it’s why this character is called Harper that is the reason for me writing this blog. The name was originally Tyler.

Tyler was the MC in a sci-fi novella entitled The Star Attraction, which I wrote in 2016. In May 2019, I was offered a contract for the book by my publisher. Said publisher closed down a few months later and that was that. Following this, I found myself dealing with a multitude of life problems, not to mention my other books and the demise of my third publisher. Hence, it was only in July 2022 that I found time to submit this book elsewhere (no verdict as yet!). Meanwhile, I am writing a sequel.

This week I saw a promo post on Facebook for a new release and, lo and behold, the male protagonist is a shapeshifter called Tyler. What are the odds? I might have been the first person to use this name in this way, but the other author got published so Tyler is damned and has morphed into Harper (which seems apt).

In this same week, a fellow author was distraught when she found that her latest manuscript, which she was about to send to her agent, has the same theme as another recently published book. I won’t reveal the theme, but it is such a novel, specific and original concept that it beggars belief that someone else came up with the very same idea. I hope she and her agent can find a way around this dilemma.

Last year I had an idea for a crime thriller, and I believed that the crime and the reason behind it was so outlandish and original that the chance of anyone else coming up with the idea was remote. More fool me. Yet another of those promo posts on Facebook was to show me the error of my ways as a concept I had deemed so unusual and unique was there for all to see in someone else’s stylish new book trailer. Meanwhile, as I toyed with the idea of an epic fantasy involving women with magic powers, I found that my story had already been given its marching orders by The Wheel of Time.

When there’s nothing new under the sun, it’s a challenge trying to create original concepts, and even more difficult to avoid accusations of plagiarism even though you had no idea that your ideas duplicated someone else’s. In the same way, it’s not possible to be aware of every book that has been, is being, or will be published. The fact that there’s no copyright on titles is a small crumb of comfort!

So, what is going on? Is it the Collective Unconscious that causes so many people to have the same ideas at the same time? How often does this happen to other authors and what do they do about it? Would any author reading this blog have changed Tyler to Harper or kept the original name? I’d love to know.

For now, my shapeshifter is called Harper. I lay claim to this in writing in the hope that there aren’t any other shapeshifters called Harper out there already! If there are and anyone has any objection to mine, speak now or forever hold your peace!

Once upon a time a little girl wrote a poem about a flower.
Impressed, her teacher pinned it to the wall and, in doing so, showed the child which path to follow.
Over the years poems and stories flowed from her pen like magic from a wizard’s wand.
She is much older now, a little wiser too, and she lives in rural Cambridgeshire, where there are many trees to hug.
But inside her still is that little girl who loved Nature and discovered the magic of words.
She hopes to live happily ever after.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Fantasy author Carol Browne is a published author who is currently seeking an agent.

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HOW I GOT MY AGENT

October 5, 2022 | Author Friend Promo

by Leigh Goff

 Query Tracker was my go-to for the initial search for a literary agent that represented young adult fiction. I read through Lauren Bittrich’s information, visited her agency’s website, and did more research. With her editorial background and interest in YA, she seemed like a great fit for my new manuscript, WICKED SWEET. I sent her my query letter with the required first twenty-five pages attached. She replied two days later that she loved the sample pages and would be thrilled to read the full manuscript.

It’s easy to say I had a feeling she was the one, but I did. And fortunately for me, the stars were aligning. I immediately sent the full manuscript to her. Two days later, she sent another email requesting a meeting via Google Meet! I cried for ten crazy, happy minutes. After I composed myself, I did an internet search for what to do when you get the email for The Call.

Oh gosh, shouldn’t have done that. All of sudden there were posts and articles from other literary agents saying that just because an agent requests a meeting/phone call, it doesn’t mean she is going to make an offer. She might want the author to revise and resubmit. Was that really a possibility?

I deflated a bit, but my instincts kept telling me to get ready and I was optimistic. I wrote down a few questions I wanted to ask her and on the day of The Call, I had to calm my nerves. As the meeting started, my voice was a bit shaky answering her questions. But when the meeting neared the end, my nervousness had been replaced with excitement. She was fantastic and I wanted to work with her.

However, I still had other agents with my manuscript. I asked Lauren for ten days to get back to her and then I notified the other agents of the offer. After some back and forth with those ladies, I knew who I wanted to work with. It was Lauren. Day ten arrived. We emailed each other that morning and a few hours later, my representation was official.

For anyone interested, here is my query letter for Wicked Sweet.

Dear (Agent’s Name):

WICKED SWEET is a YA contemporary with magical elements that will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic and Heather Webber’s Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. It is complete at 90,000 words.

New school. New town. New chance to fit in. There’s nothing to connect sixteen-year-old Abigail to her family’s witch history except Abigail, and in her remote Southern town where supernatural fears run high, an empathic talent and a girl-on-girl kiss are enough to let suspicions wreak havoc on her life.

As Abigail delves into a forbidden romance, she also finds herself irresistibly drawn to the local tale of a sixteen-year-old witch burned at the stake centuries earlier. Danger begins to find Abigail who’s discovering the witch’s story has dangerous parallels to her own, especially when an enemy is watching, waiting to toss a match. Together with her coven of diverse misfits who host wicked séances and haunted bonfires, they must overcome frenemies, small town fears, and uncover the deadly lies being hidden by a prominent anti-LGBT family in Whispering Point before history repeats itself.

I am the author of three YA novels, KOUSH HOLLOW (The Parliament House, 2020), BEWITCHING HANNAH (Mirror World Publishing, 2017), DISENCHANTED (Mirror World Publishing, 2015). I am a member of SCBWI and I have my bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. I am also descended from an accused witch from seventeenth century Virginia.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Leigh Goff

(add your website)

Here’s a glimpse at my first three novels. I hope they intrigue you.

DISENCHANTED

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Goodchild from the wickedly wonderful town of Wethersfield, Connecticut struggles with her magic as she finds forbidden love along with a centuries-old true love curse. Here are a few spells, some spoken in Latin, from Disenchanted.

“Ictus.” Sophie hopes for a windstorm when she encounters a boy who should be her family enemy, but she’s love struck and only flower petals rain down on her and Alexavier.

“Verum.” Sophie casts this spell on the boy she thinks she must hate, but instead of him speaking the truth, a heart shape appears in the bark of a mulberry tree trunk behind him. The tree is significant in this story as it is in Pyramus and Thisbe. They are the ill-fated couple, like Romeo and Juliet, and they planned to meet under a mulberry tree.

Semper memoriam tui delebo Diamond”- She commands Judge Mather to forget about the rare red diamond used as a blood charm that has caused so much trouble.

BEWITCHING HANNAH

When an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald realizes she can no longer repress the magic that has taken away so much. There’s also the Grey witch’s Arundell Curse plaguing Hannah and her mysterious love interest, W.

“By the power of fire, I do summon and churn, and call thee forth to blaze and burn.” Hannah casts this spell, needing heat from her hands to burn through a seatbelt when she’s trapped in a fiery wreck.

Her frenemy, Arora, demonstrates her dark magic when she captures an insect and kills it with this spell, “By my command and desire, your pesky little death I require.”

The nefarious Emme using magic to fight with Hannah says, “For the trouble you have inflicted on me, double shall I inflict on you.” She snaps Hannah’s icy doppleganger statue in half and Hannah doubles over in agony.

KOUSH HOLLOW

As Jenna Ashby, the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior, is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive New Orleans social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow. She’s also cursed with her cold, narcissistic mother, Rayna, who’s ambitions are limitless.

 

In the excerpt below, Jenna is drawn to Voodoo priestess, Mama Ismay. She watches her create a mystical potion using bayou magic, but then Jenna is left with more questions than answers when she sees what’s in the mysterious aquarium.

 

Amazon Buy Links

Koush Hollow

Bewitching Hannah

Disenchanted


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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The Secret Sauce in a Writer’s Tool Kit

October 2, 2022 | Author Friend Promo

From Sharon Ledwith

A while ago, I took a LinkedIn course that explained the secret sauce to a writer’s success. It was interesting, but this course seemed to be targeted toward journalism. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the course as my ‘free’ window expired. I believe that the course was called ‘Write like an Elite Writer’, but don’t hold me to it. The teacher was well-spoken and knew his stuff. I watched enough of his course to glean what I needed and pass along what I thought was helpful to my followers.

So, what’s this secret sauce to an elite writer?

Apparently, there are four ingredients. Simplicity. Clarity. Elegance. Evocativeness.

The teacher breaks down the ‘ingredients’ that make up the secret sauce in each module. Mostly I found his teachings loaded with common sense. It’s like in the book, The Secret, the author reveals that it’s ‘like attract like’ or the Law of Attraction that will help you manifest the life of your dreams. But we all know there’s more to that than meets the eye. You just don’t go sit on your couch and ask for a brand-new car to show up in your driveway. Though, that would be awesome! You must take action. Even if it’s baby steps. In the case of writing a book, that means putting in the sweat equity needed by showing up at your computer and getting the words down. Even if it’s only a paragraph a day, you’re still taking action.

Here are ten takeaways I reaped from this course:

    1 – Write with integrity. Never showoff or impress. Be true to yourself.
    2 – Simplify your writing by cutting out needless words.
    3 – Cultivate sensitivity to your readers.
    4 – Write for your readers.
    5 – Know your intent. Are you writing to inform? Persuade? Entertain? Inspire? Figure that out, and you’re halfway there.
    6 – Aspire for beauty. Get your ideas to flow more gracefully.
    7 – Balance the four ingredients like an artist. Don’t be obsessed with perfection and try to relax.
    8 – Simplicity calls for tight writing, so avoid flowery language.
    9 – Get rid of careless repetition. Don’t ramble. Share only what the reader needs to know. Writers are notorious for TMI (too much information).
    10 – Don’t be a lazy writer!

The last point is a no-brainer. The above information is nothing new. The teacher did give examples and solutions to make your writing cleaner and crisper. Still, many authors out there don’t heed the above advice, making their writing sloppy and unprofessional enough to let their readers down to the point of never buying another one of their books again. If you’re an author, don’t let this be you. If you’re a reader, share how you felt about the book (good or bad) through a review or even contacting the author personally. Trust me, we’d sure appreciate it!

I guess the takeaway from this course is that if you use the secret sauce (simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness) in your prose, you’ll raise yourself to the level of not just being an elite writer but feeling that you’re one too. And isn’t that what we writers strive for? To better our best? If you’re a writer, do you incorporate any of these ingredients in your writing? Readers, have you ever dropped an author because their book lacked sensitivity? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you!

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

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