Wednesday, April 18

Old Dogs and Lake Houses

By Ava Cuvay
Happy Wednesday! It’s cold and icky still in my neck of the woods, but I have seen glimpses of warmer weather (when I was in Florida for Spring Break, but at least I can attest to the fact that warmer weather does exist. For a long while, I wasn’t so sure).

Print and Kindle versions available on Amazon
I am thrilled to announce that my children’s book is published! I was invited to read it to a group of Kindergarteners, which was a fun experience. The questions they ask are a far cry from what I expected. And they were all very concerned about the hermit crab (note: he is NOT the main character!). Now, I have to figure out how to balance two pen names and two entirely different writing careers… because I complain so much about having too much time and nothing to do, right? ;-)

But what I’d really like to talk about today is a book I’ve mentioned before: The Crossroads Writers “The Lake House” Anthology. The weather outside might be crummy, but the stores are stocking summer stuff and that means beach and mermaid goodies. Which reminded me of this multi-author multi-genre anthology.

I love this book, and the concept behind it. And not just because my mermaid story is in it. Let me enumerate my reasons:
Print and Kindle Available

1-      It’s multi-genre. Most anthologies stick to one genre, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this anthology has contemporary, suspense, paranormal, etc. It’s a smorgasbord of genres. You can try a genre that you’ve never read before without having to commit to a whole book in that genre. Or, if you’re like me and read across multiple genres, this keeps you from getting bored (“Oh wow another mermaid story… how original…”).

2-      It’s multi-author. Again, it’s a smorgasbord (and if I wasn’t already hungry, I am now). You can try out a new author and see if you like her writing style without having to commit an entire book. Let’s be honest, when we order a meal off the menu at a new restaurant, we’re conservative in our choices. We play it “safe” and order the hamburger, because who can screw that up too much (They can; don’t ask)? But at a buffet, we can let our wild side out and try that new thing we’ve never heard of which might be awful but might also be our new favorite food! But I warn you… You’ll find several new authors to love!

3-      It has varying heat levels. I understand that not everyone wants to read really graphic sex, and this book has a little of everything. Actually, I think it tends toward the not-so-graphic side of smexy… but the book also has a lovely cover that screams “nice and wholesome” romance (so you are free to read those graphic sexy parts without worrying that anyone will judge!).   

4-      Most importantly, it has a short story titled “Bacon Can Wait.” While I would make the case that making bacon wait is a sin, the story is wonderfully written with heat and humor by my pal Anya Breton. If you want to know the truth, hers is my favorite story in the anthology (ok, mine is a close second), even though I really enjoy all the others. I guess the sheer crime of the title snagged me and the rest held me.
But don’t just read Anya’s story. Read her story and my story. Then go whole hog and read the rest. Be a glutton. Fill that plate with the entire anthology. Savor it. Go back for seconds. Drag your friends to the trough and tell them “You have GOT to try this! It’s delicious!”
While you do that, I’m going to go snag a few pieces of bacon. Because…. It’s bacon and I can’t wait.


Thursday, April 12

How Wednesday became Thursday

by Margie Senechal

Or is it Thursday became Wednesday? Or how Wednesday bled into Thursday?

SO, yesterday as I was driving Jordie to the Humane Society where she volunteers as a dog walker, I was thinking about what I should blog about. I got to a red light with about a mile to go when it dawned on me that it was Wednesday. Whaaat?

Let's pretend today is Wednesday and I'm not a day late and always a dollar short.

I thought I'd do a quarter year check-in. 

Image result for Next year in havanaAt the beginning of the year, I chose a phrase to inspire me through the year--something to live up to. Make it happen.

Look to your left, below, or above--depending on your viewing venue--at the notebook I found at Burlington. Like it was meant to be.

Make it happen has become a silent mantra to me, reminding me that my future is my own making. I have to make changes to see results. Like focusing on one project instead of five.

Image result for slightly south of simple bookAt the beginning of the year, I didn't set a writing goal. I should have. SO, I'm going to make one right now, to all six or seven of my readers. I am going to FINISH the first draft of Suitcases by July 20th.
Image result for the secret of southern charm 
Why July 20th? Because that's when I'm heading to Longbeach for a weekend with my mom, sisters, and bff's Chris and Judy. Chris and I have been best friends since second grade when we met in Iceland. Our friendship has held up over many miles between us and now many years. Ironically, we both ended up in the PNW decades into our friendship. She and her mom, Judy, live on Oregon's southern coast.

Image result for the book of speculationChris is also a writer and she has read the first quarter of Suitcases and keeps bugging me to send more to her. So, my goal is to have a printed copy for her to critique when we meet up this summer.

Image result for the tasterOkay, my second check-in is my reading goal. I committed via Goodreads, to read 50 books this year. I'm off to a good start as I finished my 20th last night. Heck, if I keep up this rate I could double my goal. Thanks to Once Upon a Book Club, I've rediscovered the joy in reading a printed book as opposed to a Kindle book. I really enjoy looking at the pages on both sides of a bookmark to monitor my progress.

All these book pictures are my recommendations from the twenty books I've read. I've liked or loved all the books I've read, but these have been my favorites so far. 

Have a great Wednesday disguised as a Thursday!

Wednesday, April 4

Don't Like the Weather? Just Wait a Second... ~ @AuthorKristina Knight

This spring has been a weird one. We have yet to make it more than a day or so at a steady temperature. Take yesterday. We were sitting at 35 most of the day, with rain. Last night the temperature suddenly shot up to about 50, still with rain, and then the wind started up so it sounded like a freight train was running through out house. Today, the winds are hanging on and now it's about 30 degrees again.

I think Mother Nature might have lost her mind or something because spring is supposed to be, you know, kind of warm and with a bit of sunshine. Not grey and gloomy and cold.

It's not just the weather, either. Social media continues to be gloomy and cold. The news is gloomy. And all the gloomy is making me...well, gloomy, too.

I've been skipping my morning walks (because who wants to walk in a downpour or 20 degree and windy kind of a day), I've been drinking too much cocoa (because cocoa on a gloomy day is about the only thing that's motivating me to get out from under my warm blankie), and bingeing too much TV (because what's better than snuggling under a blankie when it's cold and escaping into someplace warm?).

But I have been writing. Because I don't like being gloomy and writing helps me get to my happy place. When I'm writing, I'm not stuck in the gloom and the grey. I'm right there in the middle of summer with the hot sun beating down and a cold glass of lemonade or tea in my hand. I'm at that community picnic or baseball game, I'm swimming in the pool, or basking in the sun on the beach. Like reading, writing has the ability to transport me to whatever place I'd rather be. So, really, my wordcount so far this spring should be much higher than it is...but the words I've gotten? I'm keeping, and I'm building on them every day.

I read a non-fiction book a year or so ago (2K to 10K: Writing Faster) a couple of years ago, and it set off a lightbulb in my brain. Because when I'm in the groove of getting that first draft down on paper, its easier not to hit social media first thing in the morning (and stay there all day). It's easier to shut out that 25th straight day of grey skies or that headline that I just know is going to take me down a rabbit hole of time-waste.

So, while the late winter and early spring gloom has been a bit longer and greyer and gloomier than it's been in a couple of years, and while I was letting that gloom incapsulate me for a little bit...I'm getting back to where I want to be. I'm writing. I'm reading. I'm happier.

There's an old saying that if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes and it'll change. This winter and spring I gave the weather a bit more than five minutes...but I'm taking the five minutes back. Because it isn't the weather that needs to change, its my attitude about the weather.

How about you? Do gloomy days make you want to veg out in front of the TV? How do you overcome that urge?                                                                    ~Kristina

Saturday, March 31

TRUTH AND SOLACE now available! @JanaRichards_

TRUTH AND SOLACE, book 3 in my Love at Solace Lake series, released this week. Maggie and Luke's story is the final installment in the series, and like the title says, the truth is revealed. But some of these truths are painful and threaten to rip apart the closeness the Lindquist sisters have painstakingly built. And the truth also threatens to tear Maggie and Luke apart. They'd been in love before but fell apart, too young to sustain a lasting relationship. But this time they have a real chance, if they can trust, and forgive.

Here's the series blurb:

Love is worth the risk…

When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.

 As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.


The truth could destroy them. Or set them free.
Maggie Lindquist left Solace Lake determined never to return. Circumstances have pulled her back and she’s helping to restore her family’s dilapidated fishing lodge. When she agreed to the plan she didn’t expect to have to work side by side with the man who abandoned her ten years earlier. She didn’t expect to like him, or want him ever again. But can she trust him as she once did?

Luke Carlsson rushes home to tend to his ailing mother. Her lengthy illness means he needs to stay, at least temporarily. And to stay, he needs to work. Solace Lake Lodge offers him a job and an opportunity to work with the woman he’s never stopped loving. But the restoration is unleashing secrets hidden for decades and no one is left unscathed. Especially not Maggie and Luke, whose love needs to be resilient enough to forgive, and strong enough to build a future together.


The organist began to play Pachelbel's Canon in D, signaling the bride’s imminent arrival. All eyes turned to the staircase. Cam’s daughter Tessa led the bridal party. She wore a red lace dress and carried a basket of flowers in one hand.

Following Tessa, Maggie began a slow descent down the stairs, one hand on the railing and the other holding a bouquet of white roses. All the air rushed from Luke's lungs. Her full length, lace dress in dark red fit her perfectly. The low bodice that skimmed the sweet swell of her breasts nearly undid him. Her dark hair shone in the glow from the fireplace, her smile wide and happy.

When her gaze connected with his, his heart squeezed with unexpected longing. He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry, his heart hammering. Maggie’s smile faltered. She quickly turned her attention to the men standing in front of the fireplace. She walked toward them, taking her place on the bride’s side, opposite Drew, her smile firmly in place once more. Only the slight trembling of the ribbons cascading from her bouquet hinted at any nervousness.

He was aware that Harper and Scarlet had descended the stairs and now stood with the others in front of the fireplace. He was sure they were both lovely, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Maggie. In her chef’s whites, her face pink with the heat of the stove and her hair dampened with perspiration, she was beautiful. Always had been.

But today, she was stunning. He’d never seen her more exquisite.

The ceremony went by in a blur. Scarlet and Cam exchanged vows and wedding rings, and sealed their union with a lingering kiss. They looked at each other as if they were the only two people in the room. The bond between them, the sense they knew without question they belonged together, and would always be together was profound. No matter what life threw at them, they would endure, as long as they stood side by side.

I want that, Luke realized with a start. He wanted to be with a woman who truly understood him, loved him. Someone to share his dreams, his hopes, his fears. His gaze drifted to Maggie once again. They’d had that once, that special bond, but they’d been far too young to appreciate it. Or at least he had.

When such a bond was broken, could it ever be mended? If Maggie knew the truth…

He pushed the guilt away. Tonight, he wanted to forget.

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