Archive for the 'Author Friend Promo' Category

Mr. Right & a Chicken Dinner

May 12, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Leigh Goff

How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna fall for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll try to explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you.

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing.

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you’re ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone.

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix.

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat.

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing.

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Here’s a little from my book to peak your interest.

Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…
is deadly.
 
After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

EXCERPT

Hayden shook his head. “I shouldn’t expect someone like you to care.”

“Like me? I’m not so different from you.”

He cocked his hands on his hips and stared into my eyes. He concentrated, searching for something. “Jenna, what if that were true? How would that fly with your Pearl friends?”

“What are saying?”

“The night of the beach party—you stayed under the water for minutes. I thought you were drowning.” His gaze lowered to my mouth, sending a warm flutter of butterflies inside me. “Maybe you’re more like me than you ever thought possible.”

Surprised, I pressed a hand to my stomach. I glanced back at the yacht club. “I-I have to go.” I stumbled into a walk. My mind raced. What was that look he gave me?

He followed after and grabbed onto my hand. Lightning flickered from his touch and ignited my nerves. The shiver ran the length of my arm and down to my toes. My heart raced. I turned and looked at him. I wanted to feel his eyes on my mouth again.

He held me fixed in his gaze. “Promise me if you decide to become a pearl girl, you’ll do it as an informed person.” His tone was deadly serious.

Right there, I felt the weight of his concern. I dropped my gaze. “Hayden, I’m too smart to be a part of something that is ethically bankrupt and environmentally dangerous, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Don’t let them change you into one of them.”

I touched my hand to his cheek and traced the line of his jaw. “Do you think my mother and her friends are really part of a pollution conspiracy and a murder cover-up?” I asked referring to his childhood recollection. “Do you think I’d ever want to be a part of that?”

He considered my argument for a brief second. “This is bigger than you, Jenna. It will suck you in, if you let it.”

Mama appeared behind me, interrupting the discussion. “Everything okay here?”

“Fine.” I breathed in and out as quietly as I could, waiting for my racing heart to settle down. “Hayden, this is my mother, Dr. Crossland. Mama, this is Hayden Black. We’re classmates and we were discussing a history assignment.”

She dissected him with her eyes and everything about her expression told me she did not approve.

BUY LINKS

Parliament House Press

Amazon

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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THE WIND CHIME

May 10, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

by Linda Lee Greene, Author & Artist

So often I think that if I keep my eyes closed, I can close out the ring of the wind chime that hangs just beyond my bedroom window from a corner beam of my patio roof. I can tell by the darkness beyond my shuttered eyelids that it is not yet dawn, possibly even the middle of the night. Like Tarzan the Rooster on my grandparent’s farm that proclaimed each rising morning when I was a youngster, this wind chime is pushy in its determination to heave me awake no matter the hour—for the reason, it seems, that it can no longer hold in its enthusiasm to have me embrace a new day. Call me nuts to ascribe human characteristics to an inanimate object, but it is nothing new in our history. In fact, the convoluted term for such a predilection is “anthropomorphism.” If nothing else, this time of isolation that is a condition of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to draw us into deeper contemplation than ever before—and in my reflections, anthropomorphism occupies me quite a lot in the configuration of one of my wind chimes. An inconvenient sidebar to my fascination with it is that it represents my most precious and yet challenging relationship.

Apart from the fascinating history that wind chimes enjoy in chronicles of ancient Rome, China, India, and Japan with which evil eyes, malevolent spirits, and even pesky birds were warded off by wind chimes suspended from roofs of temples, pagodas, and homes, members of those cultures also turned to them to draw power and good luck to themselves. It occurs to me that there is another application of these delightful instruments of sound that is less considered, one that hides within the universe’s quirky ways of forcing us to face our most troublesome bumps on our road to nirvana.

The oldest of the three wind chimes in my possession was given to me by my mother not long before her death 28 years ago. It is pared-down and less impressive than the other two, modest is a better word for it—a thing appearing undiminished by ego, like my mother. Also like her, it speaks to me only when I speak to it—primarily in my thoughts. When she was alive, my mother never gave me advice about anything. Her retort whenever I solicited her advice was, “Why are you asking me? You’re smarter than I am!” That seems a wholly inadequate response to a daughter from her mother. As you can imagine, owing to this reason if no other, my mother is my Everest, the mountain I must climb to make it to nirvana. I am not a mountain climber, and for that reason, I understand that we will continue to travel together throughout time until we smooth the path of our shared journey.

Meanwhile, I find a measure of comfort in having arrived at some understanding of her. I see that the classic battle between the heart and mind of human beings found no ground whatsoever within my mother. Not that she didn’t have a fine mind—she was as smart as a tack. But my mother had an intuitive sense that “the center of man is not the mind but the heart. The New Testament [of the Bible] teaches that the heart is the main organ of psychic and spiritual life…”[1] The Bible’s Song of Songs 5:2 tells us, “I sleep; but my heart keeps watch.” That is my mother.

My mother also was wise to the fact that she served me best in allowing me to get acquainted with my own substance, to learn the lesson of bearing my own pain, on my own. She knew me better than I know myself.

I have always believed that my mother’s spirit lives in the wind chime she gave to me. It is the talisman she left behind for me. My mother’s death was a slow but a certain one, and although she didn’t say as much, I think she knew I would discover its secret—its secret that I would hear her in the voice of that little wind chime after she was gone—if only I would heed it.

“2018 American Fiction Awards Cross-Genre Finalist” All #families have their secrets but some are much darker than others. Captivating psychological suspense in multi-award-winning author, Linda Lee Greene’s Cradle of the Serpent.

Greene weaves a tale that brims with unimaginable twists and turns in a long-term marriage. Enthralling journeys into the human psyche, romantic love, archaeology, and American Indian history carry the reader into archaeologist Lily Light’s quest to come to terms with the catastrophic consequences of her husband’s infidelity.

The trauma throws Lily into amazing episodes of past-life regression in which she takes on the persona of a young maiden named White Flower, a tribal member of the long-ago builders of Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound. White Flower’s life of thousands of years before reveals to Lily the unexpected path to her own salvation.

Lily Light is an archaeologist who works at the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio. Her work opened her to experiences, knowledge, and beliefs she never knew existed. Psychotherapist Michael Neeson is Lily’s therapist and guide in her dream travels.

 AMAZON BUY LINK

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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Make Mother’s Day Extra Special

May 3, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Gardening

from Emma Lane

My son brings me a gigantic fuchsia plant every year for Mother’s Day. I love it. I confess, it’s for my favorite small bird, the Hummingbird. She shows up right around Mother’s Day every year and it’s a perfect gift for my deck. The female nests close by and some years bring her off spring to the flowers. So darling, so sweet, so tiny, as they cling to the perch, all wobbly and delicate. You watch and wonder how she managed to raise three babes in a demitasse nest. They love to sip from fuchsia blooms of this plant and I skip artificial feeders for that reason. Some years a second plant joins the first. I am honored on Mother’s Day. My son understands me well. No roses, no candy. Feed my birds.

In the greenhouse, I’m creating a Succulent Bowl. These collections of various, and there are many, varieties of succulents live peacefully together in one container. They are perfectly suited to indoor dwelling in a sunny window. These plants require very low maintenance, water once a week, if that; and they tolerate well the dry indoor air. Caution: do not over water!  My good friend swears fairies live amongst hers. I place meaningful messages on small decorative rocks. It’s easy to add your own favorite sayings. Another friend creates a fairy garden complete with toadstools and small winged fairies. It’s fascinating to find small lovelies hiding between the different succulents. Enjoy! These bowls are a perfect Mother’s Day gift for a busy Mom with their easy-care maintenance.

My last suggestion for your Mom’s special day is a gift certificate to her favorite plant nursery. Even for a novice gardener, a visit to the plant world is an “upper” for these still dreary Covid days that are still hanging around. The visit is outside in the fresh air and, by the first week in May, many perennials and annuals are already in bloom. Stick to the locals who will give individual attention to their customers that the ‘big boxes’ can’t. Honor your Mom on her special day and she will keep this event warm in her heart for a long, long time. I know I do.

Another good gift is my latest Cozy Adventure/ Mystery, Whispers of Danger and Love

 

The heroine is a landscape architect who speaks gardening. She struggles with a client who demands a cutting garden mid summer, (and a hunky detective who seems bound to destroy her plants.) I enjoyed relaxing in her garden even as I created it from my own imaginings. It was also fun to watch the sparks fly between a couple who knew each other as children but must readjust their thinking as adults.

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, 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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GARDENING & WRITING

April 26, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

Can they possibly have anything in common?

from C.D. Hersh

Henbit

The warm days this week enabled us to take a stroll through the yard, another put-our-butts-in-the-writing chair avoidance tactic. We found a slew of winter weeds scattered throughout the landscape. Some tiny-leafed, prostrate thing has taken over a portion of the easement making it the greenest it has been in years. Buckhorn plantain spills out between the path stepping stones. Flat rosettes of chickweed carpet the stone gully in the backyard, and henbit, with its scalloped leaves and purple stems, juts out of the grass—or at least what passes for grass in the lawn.

We’re letting the unidentified weed taking over the easement and the lawn. It’s green, low growing, and doesn’t look like it would need much mowing. But after an afternoon of surfing weed identification web sites (another avoidance tactic), we’ve come to the conclusion that we might have to dig out this patch of weeds and eradicate it every other spot we find. You see, if we’ve identified it correctly, we’re harboring shot weed, also known as hairy bittercress. Oh, it looks innocent enough, but when it sets seeds the slightest touch will send hundreds of seeds shooting out in a three-foot radius across the lawn into flowerbeds and pathways looking spots to hide and root.

Jimson Weed

Fighting weeds in the garden is a full-time task. It starts in early spring with digging out winter weeds like plantain, chickweed, and henbit from the paths and flower beds. By the time we get those eradicated the dandelions rear their yellow heads. After that it’s pigweed and purslane and nutsedge and Canadian thistles and Jimson weed and ground ivy and goose grass. Spring and summer progress marked by an army of weeds marching through the garden. We hoe and pull and mulch and spray, and they just keep coming. The only thing that keeps them under control is persistent daily effort—and maybe a hard, hard freeze.

Like the cycle of weeds in the garden, writers face different challenges along every stage of our careers. As soon as we think we have a handle on our craft and profession something new springs up and surprises us. The beginning writer’s weeds might be learning the basics of the craft or finding that story idea or dealing with writer’s block. For some it’s getting to the end of the book, or figuring out what to do with the sagging middle. For the more skilled, unpublished writers the weeds that need pulling could be social networking, getting an agent, or getting published. Whatever the weeds in your writer yard there’s one universal truth—they will always be there. Our job is to figure the best way to control them.

We’re not beginning writers. We know how to write. That has been reinforced with a number of contest placements. We have a good grasp of the skills and have been published. We know our stories and the characters. We even have books waiting in the wings to be written. But we still have writing weeds to pull—BIG ones.

We haven’t finished our series—yet.
We want to write in several genres, which presents branding problem and sometimes an identity crisis.
While we have some social networking and internet connections there isn’t a large following wanting our books—one of the biggest weeds for a lot of writers.
Currently, we spend more time blogging than writing the books.

Gertrude Jekyll, one of the most important British landscape designers and writers, once said, “There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight. It cannot always be done easily; many things worth doing are not done easily; but there is no place under natural conditions that cannot be graced with an adornment of suitable vegetation.”

Gertrude’s advice applies not only to the garden, and all those weedy patches, but to writing as well. The road to success isn’t easy, but we can accomplish it. We can transform those bare, ugly pages into something overflowing with suitable vegetation (the best words and story we can make). When we finally reach that goal it’s worth the work. So, pull those weeds out of your writing garden and create something beautiful!

We’re going to try this year to get rid of our biggest weed and finish our next book.

What are the writing weeds that are stopping you from creating your masterpiece? Do you have a plan to pull them out?

While you figure out what weeds to attack here’s an excerpt from the first book in our series.

In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

EXCERPT

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”
Amazon buy links:
The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting 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.

They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

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.

Social Media Info:

Website
Soul Mate Publishing
Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads
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iPhone Misadventures

April 19, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

by Catherine Castle

I got a new iPhone and, quite frankly, I’m ready to throw the thing across the room. Or maybe even in the nearest river!

To start off, I didn’t get the last of my five email boxes cleaned out. As soon as we transferred the email addresses over, the last email box began filling. And filling. And filling. Every time I read and deleted a new email, 100 more came over.

When it reached 900+ I said to Hubby, “I’m shutting this phone down before it loads all 5,000 + unread emails.”

I spent the next five hours hunched over the computer keyboard deleting the unread emails down to about 84. Then I deleted the 15,000+ deleted emails left on the server just to be sure they didn’t come back. Better to be safe than sorry, as Hubby as seen a few of his deleted emails return to unread status and pop up on the iPhone. Yes, I know, I can’t blame the iPhone because I didn’t clean out my online mail inboxes and trash. But this was just the beginning of the iPhone misadventures.

Unlike my beloved Blackberry, there’s nothing intuitive about this iPhone. Swipe right, swipe left, touch right, touch left. Swipe from the upper corner, tap on the bottom, touch here, touch there. Push partway up and to the right to see where you’ve been on the internet. Swipe up to trash something, or click right, or left depending what app you’re in. Yikes! Who can remember all that?

Stupid iPhone!

Additionally, my finger either doesn’t work or I don’t even touch something and stuff flies off or onto the screen. Once, while merely holding the phone, a box popped up with the message, “To reverse this action, tap the screen with three fingers.” What action? What had I done? What had I erased? Fortunately, the screen told me which fingers to tap with, so I tapped. And tapped. And tapped. The screen didn’t move. It didn’t tell me the unknown action was reversed. I couldn’t even see a back button.

“Honey,” I yelled. “Think I did something wrong!” By the time Hubby came to the rescue I’d punched enough things that the screen was back to what I recognized. Only heaven knows what I might have screwed up!

For every action I did on the Blackberry with one touch, it takes two, or maybe three or more on the iPhone. I’ve read some of the instructions, and tried to search things out on the iPhone book, but apparently I don’t know the new lingo well enough to find things. And I’m usually pretty good with searching. However, nothing seems to have the same names as the Blackberry did.

My texts to my daughter are filled with strange words that I didn’t type, courtesy of predictive typing. I tried to type PTL (Praise the Lord) and it came over on the text as “Pyle.” The words But I came across as “Bilirubin.” And the text screen, filled with facial icons, bubbles holding your text message, and sometimes giant emojis, takes up so much screen space that I can’t easily see the text thread. When my daughter retyped “Bilirubin” I thought SHE had typed the word, not me. I had no idea she was rolling on the floor laughing until the next day when I scrolled up the text stream and saw what I’d done.

And if you think that’s wild, wait until you hear these next items.

The other day, using my iPhone, I tried to call my hubby, who was driving my car. I knew he wouldn’t try to answer his new iPhone, so I called my car phone.  At the same time the car phone was ringing, I heard another call beep in. I ignored it, thinking it was a phishing call. Hubby never answered, so I hung up and called him again. The same thing happened. So, I hung up again. As I pulled the phone away from my ear, the second time, my daughter’s name scrolled across the banner on the top of the phone, indicating she was calling.

When I answered, she said in a concerned voice, “Mom, is everything okay. Why are you calling me so much?” (I never call her during work hours.)

“I wasn’t calling you. I was trying to call your dad in my car,” I said.

As she hung up I heard her say to someone, whom I later learned was her boss, “It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong. My mom has a new phone.”

When my hubby got to his destination, he called on his cell to see what I needed. He couldn’t remember how to answer my car phone. It doesn’t have Bluetooth pairing like his car. He received my cell phone call on the car phone and, at the same time, my daughter also received a call from my cell phone.

The stupid iPhone called my car phone, while husband was driving it, and called my daughter at the same time.

Here’s the kicker—I did NOT call my daughter’s cell. No way. No how. Not even possible. I swear I never touched her number. I clearly, and positively, know I called my car phone. Yet the iPhone showed it made both calls.

The phone somehow dialed both numbers at the same time! How is that even possible?

Stupid iPhone!

Later in the day I was having a conversation on our home land line when my cell rang. It was my daughter.  I knew it was her because I’d attached an ‘Oogah Oogah’ old car horn sound to her calls. An unmistakable and very loud sound. I answered and quickly said, “I can’t talk now. I’ll call back in a few minutes.” Then I hung up. A few minutes later I got another call from her on my cell—the same “Oogha-Oogah ring, but it was my son-in-law on the other end.

“Can I call back?” I asked. “I’m in the middle of another call.”

Son-in-law said, “She can’t talk. She’s on the house phone with her mother-in-law.”

“Then why did she call me just a minute ago?” I asked.

Son-in-law calls out to my daughter, “Why are we calling your mother?”

In the background I hear her say, “I didn’t call her. She called me! Twice!”

I know I didn’t call her. The iPhone log shows she called. She still swears she didn’t call me, but that I called her.

Stupid iPhone!

Earlier that same morning I tried to comment on a blog I’ve always had access to on the Blackberry. I’d reached the site via clicking on the title of the blog I’d received in my Catherine Castle mail inbox. The site kept kicking me off. I couldn’t like, share, or comment. So, I went back to the original email, which was still open on my email inbox, and scrolled down to the like button. Click—and I was over to the page instantly, all nicely opened. While complaining to my husband about the wretched phone’s behavior, I slid my finger down the screen to check for my author icon. I wasn’t there, but our joint author icon was.

“Did you just comment on her page?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “I was just headed over there right now.”

I rotated my phone screen so he could see it. “You’ve already commented.”

He squinted at me. “Did you open our author email and like the post? Because I did not like that post.”

“I didn’t!” I protested. Although, in all honesty, I sometimes have a problem and click the wrong email box on my phone. I did it with the Blackberry quite often by mistake. So much so that hubby’s threatened to take our joint author email off my phone.  He leveled a glary squint at me, not at all convinced I knew what I was talking about.

I switched back to my Catherine Castle email box. The email in question was on the top. I scanned it again. In the To: line it didn’t say Catherine Castle. Instead it had my husband’s name. Somehow the email addressed to his personal email box (which is another glitch I’ll not go into), got scrambled and put in my author email box and linked our joint author photo to it.

Stupid iPhone!

I could go on with my misadventures with the stupid iPhone, which I’m sure will continue until my weary blonde brain figures it all out or I end up in the funny farm. However, I’ve already exceeded a thousand words on this rant.

On the bright side, there are a couple of things I do like on the iPhone. I did discover one useful tool. I accidently deleted an email one evening and moaned in distress over my actions.

“Shake it!” Hubby said.

“What?” I replied.

“Shake it! Shake the phone!” he yelled urgently.

Bemused and befuddled, I did as he commanded, although I hadn’t the foggest idea why. An icon popped up on the screen.

“Now, tell it to untrash,” he said. “Hurry before the icon disappears.”

I did, and, Lo and Behold, my trashed email reappeared like magic.

Pretty cool for such a. . . Stupid iPhone!

 

I can draw pictures in my emails. A feature that I’m sure will be a giant time suck. I’ve already drawn and sent pictures to my daughter, and I’m considering how I can use this tool for Christmas email cards.

 

Twitter works again and so does Pinterest. So I can waste endless hours surfing instead writing, cleaning and practicing the piano. Although piano is never a waste of time. It’s more of a joy.

Hopefully, as time passes, I’ll find more to like and less to complain about. One thing is for sure—as I learn this new device I’m giving my family and friends lots to laugh about.

Do you have an iPhone? Have you any tips for me?

Catherine loves to laugh at herself and loves to write comedy. Check out her award-winning romantic comedy, with a touch of drama, A Groom for Mama.

Take your mind off the sound discrepancies between men and women with a copy of Catherine’s award-winning romantic comedy that has a touch of drama. You’ll laugh as Mama searches for a husband for her daughter.

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets a Groom for Mama.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

April 12, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Gardening

from Emma Lane

Theme gardens can be fun for adventurous gardeners who want to shake things up.

Photo by Emma Gossett on Unsplash

Colorful annuals. Their raison d’etra, reason for living, is to bloom and make seeds. To keep them full of their bright and beautiful blossoms frequent culling of the old blooms is the secret. Paying attention to color combinations will enhance bedding petunias such as blue and yellow; red, white and blue; primary colors-red, yellow and blue; all pastels.

 

Perennials are friends forever. The trick here is to plant staggered bloomers. Daffodils and tulips for spring give way to lupine and peonies in April and May. June is for roses (and brides) and July owns lilies. Hibiscus and other members of the family (Rose of Sharon) for late summer, and we all appreciate summer’s wind up with splashes of intensely colored mums and sunflowers. There are many beautiful perennials to be planted in between. Careful attention to foliage varieties is also important for a successful perennial bed: spiky Crocosmia, spreading Dianthus, and pretty round-leafed Baptismia australis which has an herbal gray cast to its foliage.

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Butterfly and humming bird gardens are always fun. Certainly the tiny hummers appreciate blooms where they can dip in and steal a drop of nectar, but I’ve seen them take a tiny taste of flat but colorful yarrow. My son gifts me a huge fuchsia for Mother’s Day which is the very day I usually spot the first humming bird. They love this plant! Hummers prefer trumpet shaped blooms they can dip their long bills to drink the nectar, but I have observed them sipping from a daisy.

 

Shade gardens are wonderful underneath shaded walkways.  Besides the enormous varieties of hosta, spring bulbs can be followed with blue bells and other shade loving perennials. Brunneria is a precious substitute for hosta. Deer treat it with disdain. Begonias have a large variety for annual shade; my favorite is non-stop begonia in their vivid colors. Spring blooming shrubs are glorious such as rhododendrons, azaleas, dogwood and many others that liven up the woods before the trees leaf out.

Cutting gardens are wonderful for those who appreciate fresh cut bouquets for inside. Reserve a bed especially for: gladiola, tall zinnias, phlox, sunflowers, snapdragons, lisianthus, lilies, just a few of the varieties that are splendid cut flowers.

 

… which leads me to call attention to my latest Cozy Adventure/ Mystery, Whispers of Danger and Love.

The heroine is a landscape architect who speaks gardening. She struggles with a client who demands a cutting garden mid summer, (and a hunky detective who seems bound to destroy her plants.) I enjoyed relaxing in her garden even as I created it from my own imaginings. It was also fun to watch the sparks fly between a couple who knew each other as children but must readjust their thinking as adults.

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, 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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DAMAGE TO THE CHILDREN

April 5, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

from Anne Montgomery

 

The children of Colorado City, Arizona and the neighboring town of Hildale, Utah will long suffer the degradations of the “prophet” Warren Jeffs.

 

 

 

“We were told the world wanted to kill us, that people wanted to destroy us and our moral values,” Raymond Jeffs told San Angelo Standard-Times reporter Krista Johnson.

Ray Jeffs is one of the sons of Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned pedophile “prophet” of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“I genuinely believed I would be destroyed because my dad told me that constantly,” Roy Jeffs, Ray’s brother said.

Roy continued to believe in his father until three of his sisters confessed that the man had abused them. After hearing his siblings stories, Roy realized that he, too, had been sexually assaulted by his father.

Johnson’s comprehensive reporting on the FLDS cult provides in vivid and horrifying detail the control the elder Jeffs concerted over his people, damage that will take many years to rectify. You can read the complete article here.

Here is a brief intro to my novel dealing with abuse and it’s aftermath. I hope you’ll take a moment to peek into it.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

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Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter

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FOR THE LOVE OF FURBABIES

March 29, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

from Alicia Joseph

Last July my dog, Phil, suffered from liver failure. The situation was touch and go for a horrible two weeks. But, against the vet’s grave prognosis, my baby survived. He’s twelve, and though I know he won’t live forever, I was completely unprepared for losing my dog. My baby. My sidekick. The face that makes me smile even when I want to cry. The eyes that watch my every move, because his world revolves around me as much as my world revolves around him, maybe even more so.

During that miserable time of not knowing whether or not Phil would turn that miraculous corner to recovery, I was consumed with the idea of losing him. I didn’t eat. I cried when I held him and buried my tears in his fur. He seemed to know his precarious situation, but never gave up. I love him so much for that.

But all through that time and after, I only considered my loss of losing him. What I would have done. What my life would be like, while never considering his loss should something happen to me. I know he waits for me when I leave the house, as all dogs do, but how would they feel, how would they react, if we never make it back home to them?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since last month, when a neighbor passed away suddenly. She had a dog, Ricky. We used to walk our dogs together, along with another neighbor and her little dog. The woman’s parents could not take Ricky, he didn’t get along with their own dog. This woman had no brothers or sisters. They didn’t know a lot of people who could, or would, take Ricky in. He went with a family friend, but that didn’t work out.

I volunteer at a shelter. I’ve seen many dogs come to the shelter in the way of Ricky’s predicament. Through no fault of their own, they lose their owners to death, and there is no one to take them in. So these dogs, used to living in a home filled with stability, love, security, now come to a shelter filled with loud chaos and uncertainty. Even the best shelters are a scary place to a dog who has only known a house as a home.

Luckily, Ricky didn’t have to meet that fate. My neighbor with the small dog took him in. She had the intention of keeping him, but two dogs were a bit too much for her. But she was determined to keep him until she could find a home for him, which wasn’t hard at all because Ricky is adorable.

Last week, Ricky went to his third home in less than a month. This was a friend of a friend, so my neighbor passed Ricky off confident he would be well-taken care of. I often wondered for those weeks that my neighbor had him what he was thinking. Did he think his mommy would come for him soon? Was he waiting for her? Did he miss his home and wonder why he was moving to different places? We avoided walking Ricky down the street he used to live. We didn’t want to confuse him.

But then on the day he was leaving, I took Ricky for a walk and thought maybe it was the right time for him to say goodbye to his old home. We walked down his street. He definitely knew where he was. He led me straight to the familiar place, sat down in the driveway, and stared at the house. He didn’t try to pull me to the door, which I was glad for.

Ricky’s mom’s name was Tracy. She didn’t die at home, but if spirits find their way back home no matter where we pass, maybe she was there to see him one last time.

I hope so.

 

I thought about Phil, remembering what I went through when I thought I was losing him, but we need to consider what our furbabies go through when they lose us. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about Phil going to a shelter or being shuffled to three different houses. He has an uncle and aunties who love him, and who he loves, especially his uncle.

Uncle is his favorite.

Here is a glimpse into one of my books. I hope you enjoy it.

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality.

After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

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Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon. Life permitting.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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TIME CRUNCH DINNER

March 24, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Catherine Castle

The other day I made chicken breasts in the crockpot in anticipation of making a batch of chicken pot pies. I threw in a couple extra boneless breasts, and hubby and I went out to run some errands. When we got back later that afternoon we were hungry and the scent of chicken filled the house.

“What’s for dinner?” hubby asked.

I decided to use some of the crockpot chicken breasts and throw together a quick White Chicken Chili with what I had in the pantry. I didn’t have enough cannellini beans so I substituted and came up with a pretty good chili, if I do say so myself. I hope you’ll think so, too.

Quick White Chicken Chili

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans), drained

1 green pepper, diced

2 boneless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded

1 4-ounce can green chilies, chopped

2 cups chicken broth, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

1 15-ounce can of butter beans

Cumin to taste if you like a spicier chili

Combine cannellini beans, green pepper, breasts, green chilies, and 1 cup chicken broth into a pot.

Pour butter beans into a food processor and pulse until beans are mashed. Add to ingredients in pot and stir well.

If chili is too thick add more chicken broth until it reaches the consistency you prefer.

Heat and serve with homemade cornbread and coleslaw.

Makes 4 1-cup servings

While you’re waiting for the chili to heat check out Catherine’s Award-winning Inspirational Romantic Suspense The Nun and the Narc

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicably attracted to him, he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them by making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion, and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Amazon Buy Link

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. A former freelance writer, she has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit (under her real name) in the Christian and secular market. Now she writes sweet and inspirational romance. Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing, has garnered multiple contests finals and wins.

Catherine loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Learn more about Catherine Castle on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out Catherine’s Amazon author page and her Goodreads page. You can also find Catherine on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site.

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C.D. HERSH SHARES THEIR STORY

March 22, 2021 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

Over the years while promoting our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles, and appeared on different blogs or radio interviews we’ve encountered many questions. Today, we are sharing a few of those questions and answers.

Who had the greatest influence on your writing careers?

At Donald’s uncle’s 90th birthday party, when we were talking with him about writing when Donald retired, he said we should just go for it now. We took his advice and the rest is history. He died a year later and really didn’t get to see that we got published.

Where’s the most romantic vacation spot you’ve been together?

Wawasee Lake in Indiana, where you can see a full sky of stars on an evening stroll arm-in-arm along the lake, listening to the sounds of the evening.

Are you a morning writer, afternoon writer, evening writer, or midnight oil writer?

As a team we tend to be afternoon and evening writers, although Catherine has been known to be a midnight oil writer when she is working with the first draft.

When did you first realize you were a good writing team?

Our first experience as a writing team came when we were writing drama scripts for our church. We had so much fun doing it and people seemed to really like what we wrote, that on a business trip Donald took, we wrote a three-act play called Adam and Eve on a Raft. After that we were hooked on writing things longer than two-minute skits. Then on another business trip we were discussing writing a book, to pass the time and keep awake, and the paranormal series was born.

In your Turning Stone Chronicles, you have a unique take on shape-shifters. Can you talk a little bit about that?

As we developed the book concept, we decided that we wanted something different than the normal were-shape shifters. In reality, we can thank Donald’s psychology courses for the idea of the various forms of shifting. One of the psyche theories is that we all have three parts to our psyche, commonly called id, ego and super-ego. We added a twist to that theory using male, female, and animal egos, and a magic ring that could tap the various forms.

What is your favorite sentence or quote in The Promised One?

We have several but probably the best is: “Grief is a midnight indulgence when no one else can hear.”

Who do you envision as your lead characters?

Alexi Jordan and Rhys Temple are the heroine and hero of The Promised One. Their story line runs through all the books, although the lead characters will change in each book.

In The Promised One, the partnership between Rhys and Alexi is extremely powerful and hits you immediately from the beginning of the book. Do you think this is a reflection of the strength within your own relationship together?

We’re laughing out loud here as we read this question. It’s not something we intended, but since our daughter said she could see us in the characters, we guess it does reflect our relationship, minus the shifting, of course. We suppose a bit of self comes out in all writers’ writing, at some point.

Since we’ve commented about Rhys and Alexi’s relationship, we thought we’d give you a brief look at those characters.

Tucking his gift under her arm, she started to leave.

“Hey.” He pointed at the other gifts. “Aren’t you going to add yours?”

“Nope. I’ll give it to you later, when we’re alone.”

“Ooh. Something special. Mineral or animal?” His right eyebrow raised, his smile growing.

Alexi laughed. “Just embarrassing.”

“For you or for me?”

“I’m not telling.”

Sidling close to her, he backed her against the wall. “Come on. Just a hint,” he said, a purr in his tone as he placed his hand on the wall next to her shoulder and moved into her personal space with the ease of a lover. One of his famous melt-the-girl looks smoldered in his gaze. The golden flecks in his green eyes lit up like fireworks. Hot fireworks.

Enjoying his closeness and the raw sensuality emanating from him, she lingered for a minute, then slowly moved away. Standing this close she could get burned, and she wasn’t ready to play with fire . . . not yet. She shook her head. “Not a chance.”

He crossed his arms, obviously irked that she hadn’t succumbed. “My irresistible charms work on everyone else. Why not you?”

Oh, if you only knew. She had to fight to resist him. She flashed him a smile. “Because I’m special. And I’m your partner. Keeping your back safe is more important than getting you on your back.”

He laughed, a deep, throaty, and utterly sexy sound.

She locked her knees to keep from melting into a puddle.

“I like the sound of that.”

Of course you would. She felt her face flame.

Amazon buy links:
The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)

The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting 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.

They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

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.

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Soul Mate Publishing
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