Friday, July 4, 2014

A kid, some chocolate and a life lesson learned

Tonight, on my way home from work I stopped by the grocery to pick up something for dinner. Upon entering the store I spied a kid, probably around eleven, hawking chocolate bars. He fidgeted in a casual way, targeting people who came out of the store, probably figuring if they had money to spend on groceries a few dollars more might find its way into his hands as well.

Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, when I left the store, he chose me as his target. "Hello ma'am I'm selling chocolate bars for X organization would you like to buy some? They're one for three dollars or two for five."

Now normally I feel bad for the kids, either giving in because I feel sorry or I breeze by with some kind of mumbling explanation revolving around only having a debit card and no cash. Tonight I had the money and quite honestly felt sorry for the guy. Standing in front of a grocery store, getting turned down by strangers was never something I could stomach, no matter how many fundraising activities I had to participate in for school.  To be honest I don't know if those kids selling the chocolate are part of a bigger scam or genuine young entrepreneurs, too young to get a job without mountains of paperwork and connections that a young person needs nowadays.

The kid smiled at me and I rolled my eyes. He reminded me of the actor who plays Manny on Modern Family. Same type of cute swagger.

"Okay, I'll take one," I said  digging into my pocket for three dollars.

"How about buying two? It's only five dollars," he replied with a wink.

Having eaten my share of these bars, not to mention I needed chocolate in the house like a hole in the head, I declined, reiterating that I only wanted one.

"Come on, I only have six more to sell and I have to stay here until I sell them all. How about two?"
"One." I replied with some amount of finality meant to convince both him and me. My groceries were starting to melt and the kid bantered with such charm that my resolve was

After a few more seconds of negotiation, I walked away with one chocolate bar and an admiration for this spunky kid. I didn't doubt with his charm he would sell those six chocolate bars but more importantly his tenacity, drive and courage will be the keys to get him farther in life than selling chocolate bars in front of a grocery store.

So, kid, if I see you again I probably will buy two chocolate bars from you because the one thing I admire is the courage to try, try and try again...and if you ever read a future book of mine, you'll probably find a character in it. Just like you.

On another note, meet some more of my fellow authors...

Meet Ryan Jo Summers!

      Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who pens romances with a twist, mixing contemporary love stores with threads of Christian messages, time travel, paranormal and mystery. She began writing at the age of ten and never really stopped, always having to give voice to the characters and scenes in her mind. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her menageries of pets, time out with friends, getting with nature, cooking and reading or painting just about anything.  Shimmers of Stardust is her first book out with Soul Mate Publishing, expected September of 2014, followed by a mystery romance in November. 
WHISPERS IN HER HEART--November 2012 Black Lyon Publishing 
SHIMMERS OF STARDUST--September 2014 Soul Mate Publishing 
WHEN CLOUDS GATHER--November 2014 Soul Mate Publishing

Shimmers of Stardust

Logan Riley is a Civil War hero turned renegade outlaw and hanged for his crimes in 1869. Except he survives, traveling through time. Fast forward 140 years and anthropologist Dr. McKenzie Lynne is hired by team of physicists to find a time traveling treasure. Kenzie finds Logan and soon learns the real fate they have in mind for him. Horrified, she runs, taking their living treasure. Now, pursued by obsessed physicists and the military, they race across the deserts and mountains of AZ and NM. If they get caught, it’s a lifetime of imprisonment and tests for him and certainly worse for her. But staying free means forever on the run, hunted and homeless.
        Running and hiding, hunted like criminals, they also discover attraction and love blooming like wild desert flowers. Logan knows how to survive on nothing, how to outwit the pursuers, when to run and when to hole up. What he doesn't know is how to keep himself safe from Kenzie's power. Kenzie's strong Christian faith works to convict him of his past crimes better then the hangman’s noose had. As their affections continue to grow and their pursuers close in, their love will face the harshest test of all—Kenzie's Christian morals and Logan's bad boy nineteenth century outlaw justice against the twenty-first century US Military and the insane physicists who will stop at nothing to get them back. 

Meet Larynn Ford !

I was born and raised in the South, lived in the country all my life, and love my animals. I have two goats, a potbelly pig, a kitty, and lots of fish. I love being outdoors, spending time with my animals, and gardening, but writing is my true love. I write paranormal romance set in the South. While my renewed interest in reading and the idea I’d like to try my hand at writing began with a bunch of teenage vampires, the characters pushing forward from my imagination to my computer screen lately have been cats. Big cats. Rescued, my book about werecougars, will be released July 16.


Fiercely independent and determined to be taken seriously in a man’s world, PI Rose Baxter will do whatever it takes to find the kids who are disappearing from the streets and bring them home safe, even teaming up with PI Marty Brown, a man hot enough to burn whatever part of her gets too close – her fingers, her sheets, her life, and her other nature’s whiskers.
But her other nature knows whiskers grow back and will accept nothing less than this man as her mate for life, a plan Marty’s all in on. Sparks fly when she refuses to be the little woman. Besides, those kids need her and their time’s running out. But, thrown together 24/7 can she fight it?


Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Importance of Setting Goals

I find the hardest challenge I fight, beyond the usual monkey on my back of writer's block is that of discipline. The discipline of writing every day, that is. Of course ending sentences with a preposition is another one, but I digress.

When I think back to the art of discipline - and it is an art, I usually freestyle it, which means I write based on whims and impulses. Does it work? Sometimes. But more often than not,  I end up frustrated because I haven't written enough or completed x book in x amount of time.

Thinking back to the accomplishments I have managed in my life, I am happiest when the those accomplishments are the result of goal setting. Be it personal or professional, the finishing of a goal with a positive result is meaningful, satisfying and motivation to set additional goals.

So here's my challenge to myself and to you. I am going to my first RWA conference in San Antonio at the end of the month. My challenge, my goal is to finish at least one project that I am working on - not just to have something to pitch to editors and agents but also as a way to feel a sense of accomplishment. Will you join me in this challenge and finish that project that has been the annoying monkey on your back?

Now a few authors that have finished projects near and dear to their hearts...

Meet Anne Cole !

Souls Entwined is Anne B. Cole’s debut release, combining sweet romantic suspense, time travel, and paranormal elements in a New Adult novel attractive to a wide range of readers.

In addition to writing, Anne teaches preschool and is raising three very active teenagers with her husband of twenty-two years. Her love for making fresh baked goodies, running, hiking, historical fiction, and her three pet cats continue to be her inspiration while she pens the sequel to Souls Entwined.

Souls Entwined

When a cursed family heirloom sends Gretta Dobbs back in time, a hunky construction worker, Sam Daggett, suddenly finds himself love struck and joins her adventure. Their souls entwine within the bodies of young lovers on a Greek island in 1829, where they begin to unravel the mysteries behind Grettas ring all while avoiding a bloodthirsty pirate who is determined to seek revenge. Gretta and Sam must find the secrets needed to save her and her relatives from an afterlife in purgatory and return to their own lives---or risk becoming prisoners of the past, continuing the evil cycle of the ring’s curse.

To follow Anne’s publishing journey and connect with her, check out her website and find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Click on the Buy Link below to see Souls Entwined on Amazon.

Meet MJ Compton !

Although my 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting my husband, my urge to write never went away. I live in upstate New York with my husband and two young-adult children revolving in and out of the house. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of my passions, and I enjoy watching baseball and college basketball, but I'm primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.

My current release is Moonlight Serenade, a sexy paranormal romantic suspense that New York Times Best Selling Author Maggie Shayne says is "a gripping, sexy as hell, page turner of a werewolf novel not for the faint hearted!" Alpha male werewolf Tokarz de Lobo Garnier will do anything for his headstrong human bride . . . except trust her. She’s a reporter, and she’s on the trail of a story that could destroy the sanctuary his pack has enjoyed since the American Revolution. But she’s in danger, and risking her safety goes against everything he believes. 


Meet Linda Bennett Pennell !

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work. I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite positive she is a little girl. When I am not writing, I can be found singing with the Texas Master Chorale, volunteering with my church and community arts efforts, and working with the local school district. 
Favorite quote regarding my professional passion:  "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." Voltaire   
Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel now available from Soul Mate Publishing
Confederado do Norte  coming from Soul Mate Publishing July 9, 2014

Twitter:  @LindaPennell 
Buy Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day and a few thoughts on gratitude

A big Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians and an early Happy Fourth of July to my American friends. With a full day set aside for writing I can't help thinking about gratitude and all of the things I am grateful for on this wonderfully sunny and hot holiday.

Firstly I am grateful for living in such a beautiful country that celebrates diversity and multiculturalism. Unlike our neighbors to the south, we don't look at Canada Day as a celebration of independence and a turning point in our history - we are still a Commonwealth country if more for tradition than anything else. I celebrate Canada Day for the freedom given to us by the brave men and women that fought for our country in all past wars, for the diversity of our present day country that embraces people from all cultures while standing strong on the values that make us Canada, and for the privileges of living here like great natural resources, friendly neighbors to the south and a pretty darn good reputation as being a nice and hospitable folk.

Finally I am personally grateful to the publishers of my books - Soul Mate Publishing  for The Fog and Black Opal Books, for Showdown at Evil High. Both Debby and Lauri saw potential in my writing and I look forward to a long and happy relationship with both companies.

A Few Thoughts on Gratitude in Writing..

When I think about the word Gratitude, the first thing that pops into my mind is Oprah and her Super Soul Sunday's. I love watching the people that she interviews because in addition to wonderful advice, they seem to embody the word  Gratitude. Many of them have looked back on the lives that they created for themselves and pushed past the daily struggles to embrace the small things that have made them successful. From the families and peers that have supported them to the community that rally around their brand to make it the success that it is today.

I think as a writer it is important to inject gratitude into your characters. Too many times I throw my characters into impossible situations just to see how they can rise above. Not as many times do I stop to have them embrace and learn from their situation. In our daily lives we strive to learn from our experiences, hoping that it makes us better people. So too should our characters. How can we make them learn and grow from their experiences? How can they see the good in a situation and learn from their mistakes? How can they impart gratitude onto others?

On this day of celebration and reflect for Canada, I will be grateful for my blessings and asking my characters to give thanks as well... how about you?

Since my blog was too long yesterday, I had to bump Eris to today. So without further ado.....

Meet Eris Field !!!!

At 17, Eris left Vermont to attend Union University School of Nursing in Albany, New York where she met her future husband, a surgical intern from Istanbul, Turkey. After they married and moved to Buffalo, New York, Eris worked as a nurse at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  When their five children finished high school, Eris returned to school and completed her Master’s in Psychiatric Nursing. She taught psychiatric nursing at the University at Buffalo for several years. </ Eris’ first publications were a biographical novel, Legacy of Change: The Saga of a Turkish Family from Empire to Republic, that she co-authored with her late husband and a textbook, Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nursing.  In her first novel, The Gift of Love, she shows how the hero, a grandson of a Father Baker boy, uses the treasures of Western New York to save a mute child and win the heart of the woman he loves..
Now, Eris lives in a ‘snow-belt’ town in Western New York and writes what she loves to read--contemporary, cross cultural romances. She is a member of the Romance Writers of American and the Western New York Romance Writers group.  Her interests include supporting the Crossroads Springs Institute in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS and visiting as many fascinating cities of the world as she can.

Expat from Turkish Harem Rules Saved by Dutch Psychiatrist
The lattices created by the rules of our families and culture may stifle us but it is the lattices of our own making that strangle us.
 June 11. Orchard Park, NY. Soul Mate Publishing’s release, Lattices of Love, by Eris Field is a contemporary, cross-cultural romance about Emine Wheeler, a Turkish-American psychiatric nurse from Buffalo, NY, and Marc van Etten, a Dutch psychiatrist from Amsterdam--two people who must marry but for different reasons.

When Emine broke a long engagement and then refused a maneuvered marriage, her actions threatened her family’s honor. To prevent disgrace, Emine, who had always believed that there should be love in a marriage, accepts Marc’s offer of marriage, a marriage that would solve his problem of providing care for the troubled four year old he calls his daughter. Emine falls in love with her reticent husband who believes that people blame him for his wife’s suicide. Fighting for his love, Emine uses what’s available to her--the fragrant soaps of Edirne, the magic of Turkish baths, ancient recipes for Turkish dishes such as ladies’ curves and ladies’ navels, the mysterious gleam of Zultanite gems from Anatolia, and the crimson silk garments of every Turkish bride—but only Marc can vanquish his demons that stand in the way.
 Lattices of Love is an elegant story about suffering, forgiveness and love. Field has drawn on her experience as a Clinical Specialist in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing and on her experience with Turkish-American women, including her three daughters. Lattices of Love can be ordered as an e-book from

 Lattices of Love
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release date: June 11, 2014
ISBN: -61935-478-4

Meet Becky Lower !!!

Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it present day middle America or on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s. Contemporary and historical romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Contemporary and Historic RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. 

The Road To Comfort
 Juliette St.James has only done two impetuous things in her life, and the first resulted in her becoming a single parent at age 18. Now, she’s embarking on a cross-country trip to celebrate becoming an empty-nester. Not sure of what she will do now that she’s flying solo, she comes face-to-face with her worst nightmare—a cowboy.
 Cyclone Kelley is a former rodeo cowboy who has broken one too many body parts to continue on the rodeo circuit. But the one body part that can’t be fixed by putting it into a cast is his heart, which was broken when his wife died. He wasn’t home to save her, and feels he’s unworthy for any kind of lasting relationship with a woman, so his life has been a meaningless string of one-nighters.
 One broken car and an equally broken cowboy later, they are forced to decide if love is worth gambling on what could be. Or if tornadoes, and Cyclones, are better left alone.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Big Easy Blog Tour

Many thanks to Tierney James, a fellow author of mine from Black Opal Books.She invited me to be a participant on her tour, so for those of you joining me for the first time, a few answers that she posed to me.

What Am I working on?

I have an equal love of  writing Paranormal Romance and Young Adult Paranormal. Currently I am working on three different projects. The first is a paranormal romance mystery with a working title of The Reunion. It's a story about two families that hold a summit every fifty years. The families are the chosen representatives of Heaven and Hell , their job to maintain the balance between good and evil. The story centers around the mysterious death of a member of one family and the struggle for two opposing members to solve the mystery before all hell breaks loose.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I like to focus on my characters and how I can challenge them to grow and learn from their experiences. I think while creating the universe, the atmosphere is very important, but it is the emotional connection the reader has to the characters that make the story. As a reader and a viewer of many movies, I believe it is the stories that connect with its viewers that make the most difference. While I think cool ideas and elements that enhance the story are important, the essential pieces that make the story successful will always be the human connection. I don't like getting caught up in elements of a story that detract from the reading experience. Things like impossible names that the reader spends time trying to pronounce, or hundreds of characters that are difficult to keep track of pull the reader out of the story and once immersed, as a writer, I feel an obligation to keep the story as clean and straightforward as possible for the sake of the reader and making their experience as pleasurable as possible.

Why do I write what I do?

What can I say, I am a sucker for romance. I love strong male characters, headstrong heroines and interesting sidekicks. An unusual twist on reality through creating a paranormal injection of interest keeps me intrigued as well. As writers we spend so much time on the characters and their story during the development stage. It's important for me to be interested in the people and their stories because of the time spent developing their universe. If the circumstances and people don't constantly challenge me, the marathon of writing their story won't make me want to see how their story ends. Often something will happen  to a character and at the time I did not have any idea why I made that happen. For example in Showdown at Evil High, I had no idea why Sullivan demanded to see his dead wife at the beginning of the book. I had no clue how that would fit into Killara's journey until the story had almost finished and this element became important to both characters. I also love writing what I do because I want to be a character in that world. I want to be the gorgeous headstrong heroine, fearless and free. Is is living vicariously through them? You betcha!

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I wish I was disciplined enough to say I get up at the crack of dawn, write for a few hours and can turn out a book in a month. Unfortunately that isn't me. I write best at night, just before bed. Currently I have a 9-5 job so I am able to write during my lunch hour as well as after work.  I have a home office but also write on my couch, in my bed and at the local Starbucks. Basically I carry my laptop where ever I go and when the mood strikes, I write.
And now a few fellow authors, I would like to promote...
In the interest of paying it forward, I am featuring other authors on my website all this week . Here are the first three. I hope you click on their links and check out their fabulous bodies of work!!!!!

Meet Lauren Linwood ! 

Since I was a history teacher, I enjoy reading novels that tie in historical tidbits to their plot. Steve Berry and Brad Meltzer are masters at this. I’m an avid moviegoer, and I also follow college and professional sports. I love to walk every morning and do yoga—but I will never be able to pull my foot from behind me to hover above my head! I watch everything from Downton Abbey to The Walking Dead and wish I could be a writer/producer on Game of Thrones. I gobble up shows such as MasterChef Sand The Next Food Network Star, but I’m sad to report that I’m just a mediocre cook . . . who loves to eat!

She's promoting her new book: Written in the Cards

Maggie Rutherford jilts her too-perfect society groom at the altar and flees to the American West, where she turns her travels into dime novels that she writes under the pen name Lud Madison.

Civil War veteran Ben Morgan marries his childhood sweetheart and takes her to homestead on the Great Plains. Losing her in an Indian attack, Ben becomes a gambler. When he kills a cheating opponent in self-defense, the man’s gunslinger brother swears revenge.

Ben hides on a cattle drive and brings in a herd to Abilene, where a waiting Maggie interviews him for her next story. Sparks fly as they wind up living in the same household, running a general store east of Abilene. But with Black Tex Lonnegan on his trail, will Ben run from his growing attraction to Maggie and the gunfighter’s promise of death–or will he make a stand for his life–and love? 

Meet Heather Wampler !

I'm a simple woman. I love to write. I love love. So I combine the two with some added flair. I tend to write about whatever I'm into at the time. My first novel was about zombies. While at work one day a few of the neurosurgeons and I got talking and The Last Alive was born. The next novel, War of the Gods was born when I was watching my husband play God of War. The third and my second favorite, Cutlass Anne, came from my love of history and my love affair with pirates for a few months.  
I love to write. There is a force in side of me that compels me to write so I do. At the moment I'm working on four more novels. Two that are in the editing stage. It's almost as though I have these stories in my mind that are just bursting to come out. 
I would love to tell you about my most recent release, Cutlass Anne.
After setting out to save her sister, Anne Crowley finds herself face-to-face with the notorious John Jacks, the ruthless pirate captain. John Jacks thwarts Anne’s every move yet she finds herself attracted to the infuriating pirate. Determined to find her sister, and resist the charming John Jacks, Anne and her band of pirates must search the high seas for clues to finding her missing sister before she’s lost forever. 
Twitter - hlwampler