BREAKING NEWS: Our own Linda Lovely’s Mystery/Suspense Novel, BONES TO PICK, has been nominated for the 2018 Southern Book Prize.

04-23 Dora Bramden, On Being an Aussie Romance Author

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

THE JOY OF TRAP CAMS! by Sarah Raplee

  I love looking at photos and watching videos of unsuspecting wildlife caught on my day-and-night-vision trap camera. It was after watching my sister and brother-in-law’s videos of their visiting herd of deer in the high desert that we got inspired to try filming on our property. They know each doe, buck and fawn by name. He puts out corn for the animals during the winter when food is scarce. Ducks, quail, rabbits, foxes and the occasional dog or cat visit as well as the deer. Who knew their neighborhood on the edge of the city had such a diverse animal population?
Now my husband and I realize how much hiking into the woods up the hill to attach the camera to a new vantage point is worth the effort.
               Reward number one: watching the videos of deer and quail (who knew we had quail?) puts smiles on our faces!
               Reward number two: we learn there’s a whole nighttime community of animals living on our property that we were mostly unaware of until we began filming their activities. Watching them makes us feel closer to the land and to nature. We appreciate and pay more attention to our beautiful surroundings. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful place!

               Reward number three: we have a tool to determine whether those big cat tracks by the barn were from a mountain lion or a bobcat—and whether or not the predator is still around. Same for the black bear that left scat at the back of the property last week.
               Reward number four: watching the videos is a mindful meditation. You forget everything else and live in the (recorded) moment. Very relaxing.
               Reward number five: we find out what our cat does outside at night. He’s a mouser extraordinaire!
               And lastly, we get some exercise moving the camera from place to place and retrieving the SIM card so we can watch the videos on our laptops.
               I highly recommend this hobby to anyone who wants to enjoy life and smile more often!

If you own a a trap camera (also known as a trail camera or wildlife camera), what is the most interesting photo or video you've captured?

Monday, April 23, 2018


by Courtney Pierce

A serious case of corny humor makes me laugh. A snappy retort or a play on words can take me down that path too.  My sense of humor is . . . well . . . a bit off from the norm.  It’s why I inject a dose of humor in all of books. Life is serious enough, so I like to think of my stories as an escape from the traffic, fake news, and the Bickerson's on social media. Forget that yahoo in the Lincoln Navigator who butts in at the merge every dang day. I wouldn’t dare flip the bird at that guy, though, but one of my fictional characters just might.

To my selfish delight, I save up snippets of funny stuff I hear in passing. They go into my reserve tank, and then I let them loose like spit balls from the mouths of my characters. Dialogue is an excellent vehicle for this sneaky, quite satisfying trick. Protagonists and antagonists alike get to say and do things that I, myself, wouldn’t dare to in real life.

Another great vehicle for making readers smile–and me toois to infuse something ridiculous into a dire situation. This lightens the mood and breaks the tension. I especially like to do this with an animal, because they’re so well-meaning and pure. It’s like an Art Linkletter moment on Kids Say the Darndest Things. In my latest book, Indigo Legacy (due out in late summer), I use a therapy dog to play out this type of craft. A standard poodle named Pogo picks up on my protagonist’s most hurtful, emotional moment after she learns something terrible about her dead husband. Among his effects is a police report. The dog snatches it and chomps on it like Popeye’s spinach. The vision is intended to be funny, but the emotion behind the dog's bad behavior is not. As a result, my character’s grief is completely re-calibrated.  In an instant, the mood of the scene changes.

Pain is so much easier to write than humor. Whether psychological or physical, pain is pain, but not everything is universally funny. A laugh is the result of the reader's taste and experiences. As an example, take the 2007 novel Sideways by Rex Pickett. Among the backdrop of the California wine country, a raucous boys-will-be-boys story unfolds. Two grown men take a last-hurrah trip before one of them gets married. The premise alone is a total set-up for fun. For me, the debauchery, bathroom humor, and sharp dialogue are hilarious and right on point.  And just when you think these guys couldn’t make one more bonehead move, they top themselves. Every page yanked me forward with one laugh-out-loud scene after another. Of course, some people thought the book (and also the movie) was stupid and immature. Duhhh . . . yeah, that was the whole point!

Unlike authors of thrillers or crime dramas, the recipe for tickling a reader’s funny bone requires their complete trust in the author. But as the author, I'm going to write what makes me laugh, not the reader. A prediction of that magnitude is destined to fall flat because it wouldn't be genuine. How the heck could I possibly know what makes others laugh unless I know them?

Some of the best chuckles are rooted in a character’s struggle. How I get her out of it usually sticks her deeper in fresh mud. It’s a crap shoot, for sure, but when you hit that F-bone just right, then everyone wins.

Go ahead and pick your smile poison: subtle, bathroom, corny, snarky, ironic, or caustic. All forms of humor are accepted here, even encouraged. We can all come up with the flash of something both tragic and funny that really has happened. You know, a real you-can't-make-this-stuff-up moment. How about a character whispering self-barbed dialogue in the women’s restroom after she's already wet her pants? That situation could be dumb or brilliant, depending on what the author does with the scene. 

In truth, it only takes the description of my character's expression in the mirror's reflection to make it funny. 

And on that note, I know a good exit line when I see one. 

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her new family. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com

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

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

Saturday, April 21, 2018

How I Became an Aussie Romance Author by Dora Bramden

I’d been working for years as a bookkeeper and although there were elements of my job that I loved, doing maths wasn’t something I enjoyed. It never was a favorite subject for me at school either. My favorite class was art. Being creative lifted my spirits and I enjoyed myself. Because of missing a lot of school from illness, combined with being slow to learn to read, I struggled with grammar and spelling in English classes. But when it came time to do some creative writing I soared. I would hear other students moan when asked to write about a subject put up on the board and I didn’t get why they hated it. For me, this was the easy class. According to my logic at the time, you couldn’t get a creative piece wrong, plus I could think of a million things to write about. Most importantly, I enjoyed writing them down.

When I was forced to give up work due to illness, I wondered what I could possibly do with all my time. I’d tinkered for years with a romance novel that never got finished. I thought back to my time in school and remembered that the few A’s I got for subjects other than art, were for a poem I’d dashed off at the last minute and creative piece about a fire that we’d had at home. I’d written about the things I’d lost and how it had affected me.

I knew that there were reasons for not finishing my romance novel. I didn’t know how to finish, and I didn’t know anything about story structure. So I decided to enroll in a professional writing course. I loved every minute and learned many of the missing links to writing a story. While I was doing the course, I enjoyed the industry overview class. We had lectures from writers in all walks of publishing, but when Anne Gracie, a very talented and successful Aussie author came to speak, I felt I had found a calling. She told us about the romance author community in Australia and also said she ran a class in the city teaching romance writing, specifically.

I joined her class, and it was a major eye-opener. She recommended I join the RWA if I wanted to pursue being published,  I went to the conference in Melbourne and immediately realized I had found a group of people just like me. I made wonderful friends at that conference, years ago, and they are still good friends. I finished my book the year after I completed the course.
Since that first conference, I have undertaken many short courses online in the craft of romance writing and attended many lectures and workshops through the Romance Writers of Australia and Melbourne Romance Writers Guild.

I wrote and wrote and began to pitch my books to publishers. I came very close to a contract but didn’t quite get there. After ten years of writing, and watching the industry change rapidly from traditional paper publishing only, to e-book and then self-publishing. In 2016 I decided to move forward and join the ranks of indie published authors, and with a lot of help from my writer friends, I released ‘The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover.’ The first in a series that is dear to my heart. I had imagined three sisters who had grown up with artist parents who were busy with their careers. A secret affair had caused an enormous ripple effect in their family, and it interested me to see how this would have impacted on their daughters and their ability to have romantic relationships.

Last year I released the youngest daughter’s story, ‘The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby’ and this year I’ll be releasing the last story in the series ‘The Australian Billionaire’s Secret Proposal.’
The enjoyment I’ve had in writing the Baxter Sister Series has been tremendous. Through some really tough times, they’ve been with me, like real people living inside me, taking me out of my everyday and into a world of art, glamour and international travel.

As a young Australian woman I always wanted to travel overseas. I had to wait a long time, but I did get to Europe. I’ve enjoyed being able to relive some of those moments through my writing too.
So I hope that helps you to see a little into what makes the writer in me tick. It’s about being creative, an innate need to give expression to my ideas and exploring our capacity to love.

For more information about me and my books, you can visit my website or my Amazon author page

Friday, April 20, 2018

My Funny Fowl Friends

...or maybe I should call them feathered fiends. If you're not a fan of birds, this is not the post you're looking for...
Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. And these are my chickens.
"What this shiny thing you holding, Hand That Feeds?"
Well, that's two of them. Saffron and Jasmine, giving my phone the eye.
2018's must-have headgear
This one is Kala, who decided my eldest's head was the best vantage point to check out her new garden. Lucky we only have bantams rather than full sized chickens, huh? We think she has a vision problem because she tends to look up at you with one eye, then the other. It's a bit...intimidating, especially when you think their ancestors were meat eating dinosaurs who liked eating the small squeaky things that were our ancestors at the time. I'm sure she's not thinking of anything like that...right?
"What are you, big tall thing?"
And this poor soggy little girl is Effie, who had to take a bath recently.
Fortunately the lovely sunshine we've had this week soon dried her back out.
She's sunbathing, not dead - promise!
When the girls choose to take a bath themselves, they tend to opt for earth rather than water. I made them this dust bath a couple of weeks ago - before that they just used our flowerbeds much to the detriment of the poor flowers and shrubs - but fortunately they took to this one quite happily!

And if that doesn't make you smile, how about my chicks last year taking their first bath?

"Are you laughing at me?"
Or maybe my chicks literally flying the coop at a few days old?

My feathered friends always manage to come up with something to make me smile, and of course there's always the added bonus of keeping chickens as pets...
I hope you enjoyed meeting some of my chooks.
"That's it?!"

Thursday, April 19, 2018

He said what???

Somethings in this world are guaranteed to make me laugh...My grandson...

He wrote his book...Swimmers the Turtle   and he loves reading to our dog.

And there doughnuts...

But what really really makes me smile???? A new book launch! Behind the Mask is part of the Office Seductions box set.


One night of playing Cinderella and having the most amazing sex of her life with Prince Charming, was just that - one night.
Only Prince Charming turns out to be Keegan Ames, the engineer for Jolene Rawmen’s dream project, a family nature reserve.

Besides coming to terms with the sex games Keegan has introduced her to, Jolene must fight to save her dream, stop a serial killer, and try not to fall in love with Prince Charming. 

It's available on amazon - Office Seductions 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Smile...And Say Fuzzy Pickles!

Oh the things that make us smile...

Sometimes it's something as simple as a splash of rain on my nose, or something incredibly hilarious like my ginormous Staffordshire Terrier, King Alfred, falling off the couch while he's sleeping. Other times, it's something so unlikely, such as a bittersweet memory, or a horribly bad experience you look back on and finally see the humor hiding behind your embarrassment. Quite simply, smiles are like people; they come in different shapes and sizes.

Most people can pull a memory from each of these scenarios and find something to smile about. For me, most of my laughter and happy smiley memories come from my children. Those who know me, know I have a butt ton of kids...10, actually. They are my world, and I could not imagine life without them. They range from ages 7-22. And let me tell you, they are all unique in their own right. So, in honor of this month's smiley theme, I would like to share some of my all-time favorite kid memories with you.

Let's start with oldest to youngest.

1) Ahh, that wonderful age of 17. NOT! My son was going through a very argumentative stage where, he felt, that as a 17 year old man with a part time job, he knew all about life. Sound familiar, parents? One day, one such argument ended with a lot of blood of stitches. No...we didn't beat the kid silly. During one of his outbursts, he flailed his arms and ended up putting his hand through the window behind him. It left a nasty gash to his lower arm that required a trip to the local ER.

Why does this bittersweet memory make me smile? Because it was a valuable lesson to my son. He realized that day that sometimes he can be a little overdramatic, and has since learned to stop and think before getting angry. That is a huge accomplishment many adults never reach in their lifetime. While I am not a fan that my son was hurt, I am wowed by his ability to realize action creates a reaction. I smile because I am proud.

2) My second oldest can be the comedian, let me tell you. My favorite memory (which still occurs from time to time) is when he sings to me...in the voice of Prince! HAHA Yup. He hits those squeaky high notes and I can't help but roll over with laughter. He always has a way of picking people up with his silliness, and I can only hope he maintains this quality as he makes his way out into the world.

3) Oh, what can I say about my oldest daughter....she's something else. Creative, vibrant, and so scatterbrained at times. It was three days after her 16th birthday. We were in the car on the way to town to get some groceries when she hits me and her dad with, "So, I was thinking that I need to start focusing on my goals for life." Naturally, we as parents agreed with glee. She continues on to say, "I think I am going to set up a meeting with the guidance counselor and make sure I have the classes I need to help me get into teaching when I graduate. I'm so much more focused now. Remember how I was when I was 15?" Commence laughter... Dad replies, "You mean, three days ago?"

4) LOL I am laughing as I type this because the next in line is...whewie! She has provided us years of comic relief for sure. She is the person who tends to get her words confused, or just totally wrong. My favorite of all time is when we were watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy and the patient had a tumor, who ends up dying. She blurts out at the end, "I hope I never get a tuna because I want to be a cheerleader so I can stand on the top of the period." Yup. That's my baby. In her defense, she was only about 9 or so.

5) That time my son joined the high school wrestling team and lost to a girl! It was my son's freshman year, and he was determined to be the best wrestler on the team. But come the first match, he lost. Not because he was bad. (Nor was the girl! She was actually pretty darn good!) But because he refused to hurt a girl. He was terrified he'd cause her pain, and simply refused to use all his strength. While I realize some of you may conceive this as him thinking he's superior to a female, but I assure you, that is not the case. My son is a gentle giant, nothing more. He truly feared he would hurt the young lady, who was a great deal smaller than he is. Why does this make me smile? Because my son understands true sportsmanship. He never let the loss define him, and never once told her he "let her win". Even when she asked. They became great friends after! I know him enough to know he would do it again.

6) Now 15, my son is the quiet type. Always has been, even as a little man. He tends to shy away from people, especially strangers. Despite my best efforts to help him open up, he simply doesn't like to. Perhaps one day he will, in his own time. In the meantime, I have learned not to push him to do things he doesn't want to...such as taking a picture with the Easter Bunny. I apologize to the parents that fateful day and the hour long cleanup my son's upset stomach created. Now why is this something that makes me smile? No, it's not the obvious look on the people' faces in line who got a poop show. This specific incident showed me who my son was, and made me realize I needed to handle him much more different than I did the others. You might think you know what you're doing by kid number 5, but let me assure you...you don't. I smile because it reminds me that all people, adults and children are different. Besides, being the same would be boring!

7) When my 13 year old was a young lad of about 4, he went through this defensive mode. Why? I have no idea. You couldn't say anything to him without him taking offense. One day, I was standing at the sink doing dishes and he was hovering. I assumed he was thirsty and asked, "Do you want some water?" He crinkles up his little nose and narrows his eyes and says, "No, you water!" Then stomps away. That's it. I guess he told me.

8 and 9) Yup. TWINS! Two of a kind. One boy, one girl. Born 14 minutes apart with the boy being first, they have a unique bond. Sadly, my son has a speech disorder that impairs his ability to communicate with others. Except his sister. After years of speech therapy, he does much better now, but there are times he remains hard to understand. His sister has taken him under her wind, so to speak, and is often found translating. During one of his speech evaluations at school, they wanted to observe him in a natural surrounding without the hindrance of teachers. They brought his twin sister in and recorded the 15 mins of them conversing. It was adorable for sure, and full of code I still can't crack to this day. However, it did allow the school to see his strengths and how he responded to certain tones and sentence structures. Which overall, really did help him progress. Why does this make me smile? Because the recording was just too darn cute, and it made me realize these two will no doubt spend their entire life around one another. There is a comfort in knowing that.

10) Finally, the last one! If you've stuck with me this long, thank you!

What can be said about the baby of the family? Rotten. Spoiled. All around butthead at times. But don't let that fool you. Of all my children, he's the only one to have taken a liking to sciences like his mom. The others all pursued business, legal, and teaching degrees. While my 7 year old is a little young to be picking a college goal just yet, he gets excited about rocks, dinosaurs, and my personal favorite, space! He loves to watch documentaries with me, and never fails to ask all the right questions, which truly makes me smile like a lunatic. He's so curious. I love that about him. I can only hope he maintains such curiosity into adulthood. Who knows? He may one day find a job at NASA!

Now that you've finished reading about my load of children, you might be asking why in the heck is the name of this post Smile...And Say Fuzzy Pickles! It all comes back to my favorite childhood memory.

When I was 12, my parents took me, my sister, and brother to the mall to get our pictures taken with the Easter Bunny. 12 year olds don't take pics with the darn Easter Bunny anymore, right? Well, I thought so, at least. I was determined to make the worst of it, just cuz I could. However, the photographer was having none of it. He positioned us all nicely around the big bunny and told us to all smile. I refused....and then he said, "On the count of 3, say fuzzy pickles!"

What the...the image of a fuzzy pickle was too much to ignore. I burst out laughing, snorting, the whole works. The pictures turned out amazing. And to this day, I still remember yelling FUZZY PICKLES! Sadly though, a flood stole those pictures. But that's okay, cuz the memory lives on in my heart!

I truly hope you've enjoyed my post, and hope it brings a smile to your face, because I too, am smiling right now as I relive these wonderful moments in my head.

Until next time,

Monday, April 16, 2018

Launching A Book Series by Kristin Wallace

Going "off topic" for this month's post again. I am neck deep in book launches for my new sweet romance series, The Heiress Games. I had the bright idea to schedule back-to-back-to-back launches in April, May & June. Book 1 (Least Likely Heiress) just launched last week on April 10th. (You can read more about it in last month's post. CLICK HERE!)

I had to do the series this way because of the way the series works, but wow...is it a lot of work. I don't know how some authors put out a book a month! Hats off to them.

Anyway, because I'm swamped, I will cheat a little and give you guys a preview of Book
2, Not Quite An Heiress, which launches May 8.

The craziest will ever concocted will bring them all together…

Eccentric heiress, Victoria Armington, has died and left her vast fortune to her pet pig, Matilda. Now three Armington descendants have been chosen to compete for custody of the pig…and control of the money. Then there’s the lawyer in charge of overseeing the competition, and his two best friends, who arrive to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Welcome to The Heiress Games…

Heiress #2: Abby Douglas

Abby Douglas isn’t quite an Armington. She’s not quite part of The Heiress Games. Her half-sister is, though, and Abby will do anything to ensure she wins the fortune. Because there’s a secret Douglas sister out there...and they need to save her life. The last thing Abby expects is temptation in the form of an arrogant, yet irresistible, ex-football player, Killian O’Connor.

Killian O’Connor needs to reconnect with his troubled teenage son before it’s too late. He’s lost his football career after an injury, and he won’t lose his son. So, he agrees to help his best friend oversee The Heiress Games. The last thing he expected was to fall for a buttoned-up, English professor. Abby and Killian couldn’t have less in common, but they just might discover that the biggest fortune they could find is love.

In the midst of it all, there’s also a saboteur at work. Someone who might stop at nothing to make sure no one wins.

ALERT! The Heiress Games is like no other series. You’ll actually see the same events unfold in Books 1 (Least Likely Heiress) and 3 (The Forgotten Heiress), but from the other characters’ points of view. Each romance will come to a satisfying conclusion, but you’ll have to wait for the ultimate winner to be announced at the end of Book 3. The author apologizes in advance for writing such a cliffhanger, but hopes you’ll love the journey to the grand finale.

You can pre-order Not Quite An Heiress now from...

AMAZON      /     ITUNES       /  BARNES & NOBLE     /   KOBO


Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and sweet contemporary romance filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. Her previous best selling series include Shellwater Key Tales (sweet contemporary romance) and Covington Falls Chronicles (inspirational romance). 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Writing to the Beat

The influence of music in my writing

One of the unexpected things I've enjoyed since I started writing fiction a few years ago, has been exploring a character’s unique voice and personality. It's a magical thing as a writer, when the ordinary words you're tapping into a keyboard suddenly start coming out in character. When a distinct voice or turn of phrase emerges that's not really my author-self speaking.

Something that's helped me find that character voice has been music. It may be a cliché to talk about a song being part of the soundtrack to your life, but I think there's truth to the idea. Everyone reading this blog can probably think of a particular song or album that can send them hurtling back to a moment in the past, complete with emotional reactions attached to that memory.

I’ve found a similar thing when hanging out with my characters. I know I'm on the right track with a story when I'm writing and out of the blue (or the murky recesses of my mind) I can picture my heroine walking down the street or sitting in her apartment...and there's a song in the background. A real song that I know is the type of music she’d listen to.

This is exactly what happened when I began writing my debut novel, Girl on a Plane. The story centres on the character of Sinead, an Irish flight attendant. She's quite a bubbly, hopeful person with a strong backbone underneath the glamorous surface, as she's tackled difficult personal issues in the past.

A few songs that popped into my mind reflected Sinead’s character:
  • It's Beautiful by Spiderbait, with an ethereal, floaty sounding female vocal and pop beat which I could imagine her listening to on a plane.
  • Nothing Compares 2U by Sinead O’Connor, about woman who has loved and lost, who may eat her dinner in a fancy restaurant or do whatever she chooses, but she's still blue.
  • My Angel Gabriel by Lamb, the perfect song for evoking Sinead’s feelings when she finally falls in love with our hero, Gabriel.
I ended up keeping an open file of songs that I thought suited the character, and started building a playlist in Spotify to listen to when writing specific scenes. In the end, I had playlists for both main characters. Sinead’s has a pop rhythm. Gabriel, the gruff but gorgeous Aussie CEO who she meets in First Class, has quite a different emotional feel.

Gabriel was a tough character to write, because he hides his emotions. He even hid them from me, the author of his story! By finding music I thought Gabriel would be drawn to, I actually found a window into his character. He’s also had a difficult path in life, but being a man, perhaps is angrier and more determined to succeed career-wise than Sinead. His songs come from artists including Nirvana, Hilltop Hoods (Aussie hip hop group) and the moody Nick Cave.


Excerpt from Girl on a Plane 

Music was an important element in this scene from Girl on a Plane:

“Not bloody Kylie,” he whispered. The singing budgie wasn’t his favourite Aussie export. He rubbed his temples with both hands.
Sinead was centre stage with a microphone in one hand, doing the weird dance from the music video. Even though he wasn’t a fan, it was the type of song your brain absorbed by osmosis. She wasn’t wearing the famous white jumpsuit with the plunging neckline, but he pictured it anyway. She already looked damn fine up there, shimmying and shaking, even sexier than when she’d danced to the Macarena song back on the plane. The Kylie outfit would be the icing on the cake though.
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la…
She launched into the song and as she started on the lyrics, he had to admit she wasn’t half bad. At least she was giving it everything she had.
Gabriel’s ears pricked up at the words of the song. Could the lyrics be meant especially for him? She couldn’t get some guy out of her head, and his loving was all she could think about.
This song wasn’t so bad after all. Sinead strutted across the stage like a real rock chick. Her tight jeans gave him a fine view of her assets, along with every other bloke in the bar.
One guy yelled out. “Hey Kylie! Wanna do the locomotion with me?”
Laughs broke out from the punters near the stage. A jolt of jealousy struck him like a punch in the gut. He couldn’t stand the idea of these guys looking at her, let alone laying their hands on her. Weird, seeing as he’d never experienced anything like it. Ever.
Sinead seemed to be oblivious to the effect she had on the guys in the crowd. She was in the zone. Now Sinead sang about wanting the guy every day and every night. Asking him to stay.

Christmas music in Heart Note


When writing my romantic comedy Christmas novella, Heart Note, seasonal music was a big influence on the story, setting and mood. From Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You, to the new Gwen Stefani Christmas album, Christmas music was on my Spotify playlist while writing the draft. 

I even incorporated a crazy but fun flash mob scene into the book, based in a department store perfume counter just before the holidays. The fast-paced beat of the music also influenced the rhythm of the scene. 

I’m interested to hear from other writers about whether music plays an important role in your writing. And readers, do you ever imagine a soundtrack to go with your favourite book? Comment on this blog and let me know!

P.S. You can check out my complete music playlist for Girl on a Plane on my website - cassandraolearyauthor.com/extras and click through to listen on Spotify.

About Cassandra O'Leary

**Winner of the global We Heart New Talent contest. Nominated for Best New Author in the 2016 AusRomToday Reader's Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.**
Cassandra O'Leary is a romance and women's fiction author from Melbourne, Australia, drinking coffee, dreaming of Italy and Spain, and raising two mini ninjas with her superhero husband.
In 2015, Cassandra won the global We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK and her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was released in July 2016. She was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist, First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.
Read more at cassandraolearyauthor.com 

Friday, April 13, 2018


By Diana McCollum

All month long authors have been blogging about things that make them smile. I must say all the things that make them smile, makes me smile too!

So I'm going to concentrate on what made me smile this week! I'm smiling right now thinking about the 'what'? It makes me happy and joyful.

This is the picture of our house. The faded paint had begun to chip here and there and it was starting to look sad.

The color along with the white garage door was so outdated.

Husband called the painting contractor and contract was drawn up and signed, new updated color picked out, six new matching outside lights bought, a new doorbell, new house numbers bought, and the work began!

Now, every time I pull into the driveway I have a smile on my face, and joy in my heart. All because of paint!!! 

What is something or someone who brought a smile to your face and joy to your heart this week?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

What Makes Me Smile by Lynn Lovegreen

Lots of things make me smile. Here are a few favorites:

  • Sunshine
  • A fond memory
  • Seeing my husband after a long day
  • My cat batting around a bottle cap
  •  A great book
  • Spring leaves budding 
  • Meeting up with a friend
  • Beautiful scenery
  • A funny TV show or movie
  • My teen writing group
  • Blooming flowers
  • Working on my current manuscript—well, most of the time! There are challenging moments, too! :-)

Reader, I hope you had a reason to smile today. If not, I hope you find something that will. Life’s too short to miss out on the finer things in life. :-)

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