Tuesday, September 30, 2014

RETURN TO DRAKE SPRINGS

During September, I've posted and had guests post about their fictional small towns included in the Small Town Charm boxed set sold by Turquoise Morning Press. I hope you've had a chance to read this collection of romances. My Rebuild My World is set in Drake Springs, Florida, and I intended it to be the last book set there (a sequel to the first Drake Springs novel, Reclaim My Life). But the town stayed with me. So many interesting characters and so many stories...

October 15, 2014, TMP launches the new Drake Springs category romance series (Their Next Door line) with Book 1: Return to Drake Springs. These are short romance novels that are sweet in tone, available in e-book formats.


Book 1: Return to Drake Springs

If you've read Reclaim My Life and/or Rebuild My World  (Or Veiled Threat from the Wedding Day Collection anthology), you'll revisit familiar characters. But you don't need to read those to start reading this series. I hope you enjoy this small Florida town and that you'll RETURN TO DRAKE SPRINGS soon!

And don't forget to sign up for my mailing list for exclusive content, contests, and fun!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

ONE PIECE OF WRITING ADVICE: TOUGHEN UP!

Interviewers or blog hosts often ask published authors, “What is the one piece of advice you would give new or struggling writers?” My response, I say, would take an entire blog post in itself. So calling my own bluff, I present my blog post on the one piece of writing advice I offer writers.

Don’t be defensive about critiques and feedback.

What? That’s it? No pearls of wisdom like just keep writing or read plenty of other authors in your genre?

I didn’t say it was the only piece of advice I’d give, but if pushed to choose just one, it’s this: don’t be defensive. Why?

Consider tennis. If you are an ordinary woman who wants to play a respectable game with friends, you sign up for lessons. You practice. You play as often as you can. You may hire a coach. If that coach says your backhand needs work and that your racket is wrong for you, are you going to pout and cry? Call her a jerk? Not if you want to improve your game. Another trick I learned from tennis. When you play with stronger players, your game improves. If your opponents offer no challenge, your skills won't develop.

When I began my fiction-writing career, I participated in a critique group in which we met and read our work aloud then praised each other on the progress of our stories. Not helpful. The last straw for me was the night the host suspended our meeting to watch an episode of Friends. This wasn’t a critique group. It was a girls’ night out.

I found an online group through the RWA Kiss of Death chapter and found three authors who were a good fit. We critiqued each other’s work in a professional manner. I began to hone my craft and even finaled in a contest. Still the writing contract eluded me.

Until I won a first chapter critique in a conference raffle, I didn’t realize what a thorough critique involved. Fortunately, I struck gold. Vicki Hinze, a multi-published, best-selling, award-winning author whose work I read and admired had offered the raffle prize. I submitted the first chapter to RESTORE MY HEART and then waited for her to ooh and aah and tell me how promising a writer I am.

Vicki promptly gave me her feedback, and she didn’t ooh and aah. She actually telephoned me (this was before the days of unlimited text and talk, and it was on her dime) and talked for an hour reviewing such issues as author intrusion and passive writing. It was brutal for both of us because her feedback showed me weaknesses and areas that needed work. Lots of work. She provided me with reference materials and signed me up for her writer’s newsletter (Now The Writer's Zone, which I continue to read). She put many hours of work into my critique, an example I try to follow today when I offer a critique for a raffle prize.

Two years later, when RESTORE MY HEART sold, I asked Vicki for a cover quote. She read the entire book and gave me the quote. I hope I made her proud. I treasure her feedback to this day and continue to learn from her.


Grateful for her help, it never occur to me to feel offended by all her red marks, although she had taken apart my well-crafted chapter and told me it wouldn’t sell as is. I’ve seen writers cry and pout, and I’ve seen them argue and be defensive. Those are the writers I left behind.

I learned a hard lesson about critique partners. They can’t be your friends. Even strangers who match up to critique each other’s manuscript may eventually become friends. When that happens, move on. Find someone who isn’t restrained about giving you the truth to help you improve.

I do know close friends who continue as critique partners, but they are established, seasoned authors. If you’re trying to sell your novel, you need ruthless feedback. You have to take the discipline. A good critique is not a personal attack. It isn’t about you. It’s about your craft, the skills you need to hone to achieve your publishing goals. You can't allow your feelings to be hurt.

Where to find good feedback? Enter contests that include judges' comments. Attend conferences and enter raffles for critiques. Or shop for critique services through a professional organization. I spent $20 in raffle tickets to increase my odds of winning Vicki's critique. What a bargain!

Then when you get your feedback, study it objectively. Work on areas of weakness. Man up. Or woman up. Learn what you need to be your best. Don’t be defensive!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM BOXED SET

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I do hope you've enjoyed meeting the eight authors from this small town charm boxed set. At 99¢ it's a great bargain for your e-reader, too.
To learn more about my small town Drake Springs, Florida, "like" its Facebook Page and find out about the upcoming, category romance series from Turquoise Morning Press. It's already an award-winning series!


Or you can order here:




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM BLOGGER #8: Jennifer Anderson

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Welcome to Honey Creek, Ohio!

Take a walk around town, where there is only one stoplight, one gas station, one grocery story, many churches and one lake. But, oh man, what a lake.

Honey Creek Lake is where a lot of the magic and drama happens in the sweet, little town. Maybe take a dip in our man-made waters. Walk along the edge and watch the boaters zip by sending waves a water to lap the shores. Have a lazy day, cast out a line and wait for the fish to bite. Or maybe, grab the hand of your loved one and step inside our new gazebo. Slip under our famous Weeping Willow and steel a kiss from your sweetie. Every corner of our lake holds a story. When you’re there, create your own.

Head five miles back into town from the lake, stop by our White Cottage Restaurant, and have a slice of strawberry pie, although I’m partial to the lemon meringue. The pie display case and red-topped tables only add to the incredible yummies filling every plate. Catch 22 Pizza sets off the perfect Italian mood with soft lighting and scents of garlic, warm bread and spicy sauce. Grab a slice or an entire pizza pie. Is doesn’t matter because after one bite, you’ll be back for more.

If you’re only here for a short while, maybe plan a trip back during our summer months. We host a Strawberry Festival with music and booths full of berry fare. July plays host to a Fourth of July celebration with a parade and fireworks at the lake. Rent a cabin and stay awhile. You’re sure to find whatever you’re looking for in our charming town and rural county.

Honey Creek sets the stage for a sweet Young Adult novella, Ice Princess. In it, Mya wants to shake things up in her small town. But once she’s given what she wants, will she change her mind and crave for normalcy.



Here’s an excerpt from Ice Princess, Honey Creek Royalty Book 1:
“Okay. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A farmer and a pig….”
“Stop,” I yelled without looking up.
“I already told you that one?”
“No, but any joke starting with a farmer and pig can’t be good.” I rolled over on the large towel we’d spread across the sand. It was the last day of summer vacation, and Michael and I agreed to spend the day together doing nothing but enjoying the sun. Living in Ohio, we weren’t sure how many more days we had left. Soon the leaves would fall showing off snow-covered cornfields.
“Can you toss me a Dr. Pepper?”
“Sure.” Without looking, I reached into the small red Igloo cooler we brought and produced a cold dripping can. I knew it was for him since I preferred bottled water to soda. Not Michael. The kid lived on caffeine and sugar. Which made the lack of fat on his body hard to explain. Not that I’d ever noticed. Michael Graves was my best friend. And nothing more.
“So, you ready for tomorrow?”
“Sure, I guess,” I answered. “How’s it any different than the last three years at Fayette County High? Really, we’ve known the same people and gone to school with them for the past twelve years. We all know who we’re gonna eat lunch with or who we’re gonna sit with at opening assembly. Boring.” I wasn’t a pessimist or a Debbie Downer, but Honey Creek needed some excitement and I didn’t think our senior year would prove to be any different unless something unusual happened.
“Ok. So why don’t we spice it up a bit.”
“Like what?”
“Let’s start a nasty rumor or sit at a different table at lunch.”
“Ooh, Michael, you’re so scandalous! Have I been rubbing off on you?”
“Hardly. I think the most daring thing you’ve ever done was streak across my yard when we were five because you’d heard wearing your bathing suit gave you tan lines. Even though you had no idea what tan lines were, I might add,” he said with a smirk. The afternoon sun danced across his blonde moppy hair, intensifying his golden highlights. He sat next to me in a short beach chair staring out at the water. Everyone we knew was out enjoying the last weekend of August. All of the rental cottages were empty from the few Honey Creek vacationers that came to visit the lake. It was a manmade watering hole, but that didn’t take away from the fun had there. Boats skidded across the water pulling skiers or tubers in their wake. The sand was dressed with towels and blankets full of half-clothed bodies soaking up the sun like Michael and me.
“So word around town is there’s a new kid coming to school.”

4 Star LASR Review: Great Read!
It is a wonderfully emotional short story with just the right balance of sweetness and sadness. I recommend it to anyone who relishes a charming story of love and friendship.”

"The emotional scenes in the hospital and day of funeral are great - I know I cried when I reviewed initially, and I cried again in both read throughs this week - I'm such a sap :-)" -Wendy on GoodReads

Blurb:
Mya Newman never minded the routine or quiet that came with living in Honey Creek, Ohio. For her senior year, she craves something exciting to happen instead of it melting into a cookie cutter routine like the previous years.

When a new girl, Audrey Moore, moves to town, Mya finds herself caught in a triangle. She discovers hidden feelings for her best friend, Michael Graves, but he seems to have eyes for the new girl.

After Mya's father becomes ill and eventually passes, she turns to her best friend, Michael. He never leaves her side, but she wonders if he'd rather be elsewhere. With fear of rejection and loss of friendship, Mya decides she can't confess her recently discovered feelings.

When Michael and Mya share a dance at the Winter Formal, does she open her heart to him? Or does she shy away, forever longing to be the princess who finds her prince?

About Jennifer Anderson:
I'm a Mommy, wife and now author. Even though I've spent many years on either coast, I've spent a majority of my life in the Midwest. Here is where my heart grows with the love and support of my family and friends and here is where I find inspiration for my stories.
I'm also excited to announce Spider, my first non-series YA novel will also release in 2013. My Brother's Wedding, a contemporary romance, releases in e-book only in August 2013. Stay tuned for more news.
My complete list of releases:
Ice Princess, Honey Creek Royalty Book 1
Prince Charming, Honey Creek Royalty Book 2
Queen Mean, Honey Creek Royalty Book 3
King of the Lake, Honey Creek Royalty Book 4
Spider, May 2013
My Brother's Wedding, August 2013
Print edition of Books 1-3 from Honey Creek Royalty Series are now available!
You can visit me at www.jenandersonauthor.com and www.musingsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com
Twitter: @JenniA8677




Sunday, September 14, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM BLOGGER #7: Judy Alter


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A city girl discovers small-town Texas

Coming from Chicago, where I’d been raised, I thought I’d met small towns when I moved to Kirksville, Missouri (pop. 1960s about 12,000). But I didn’t really know about small towns until the late 1970s when I started visiting Ben Wheeler and Edom in East Texas. My good friends, Charlie and Reva Ogilvie, had a guest ranch outside Ben Wheeler, and we ate at The Shed in Edom frequently.

Ben Wheeler bothered me. It was then almost a ghost town, with boarded up store fronts, though I understand it’s had a renaissance, thanks to the man who bought Arc Ridge Ranch from the Ogilvies. It was like many small towns I had driven through: it needed a coat of paint. We went once to a dilapidated roller skating rink (my kids loved it) and more often than I liked to a dismal grocery store, since boarded up, where I trusted neither the cleanliness nor the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer units. Don’t even talk about the freshness of the vegetables. For real grocery shopping, we went to Brookshires in Canton, but I guess that’s a feature of small-town life—going to the nearest good-sized town for a lot of things.

Edom, on the other hand, delighted me. We went several years to the annual craft fair, and other times we wandered the main street which featured craft shops—pottery, leather workers, jewelry makers, and a wonderful women’s clothing store. I was amazed that the main street, a state highway, had neither stoplight nor stop sign. You took your chances and you ran like hell.
The best thing in Edom to my family was The Shed.

I suppose The Shed isn’t much different from lots of small-town cafés with chicken-fried steak, fried catfish, glorious meringue pies (Charlie told me it was all air so no calories, and  I reminded him about the pudding bottom), and huge breakfasts. The thing I loved most was that everyone knew Charlie and Reva and greeted them happily. We basked in a small afterglow of fame because we were their guests.

That café and that town became so firmly embedded in my mind that they formed the setting for my mystery series, Blue Plate Café Mysteries. I changed the town name to Wheeler, but no one from that part of the state will be fooled, and I was careful to note that the murders there were from my imagination and reflected in no way on Edom or its residents. But the fictional counterpart of The Shed is central to the story.

A friend who grew up in Granbury, Texas wrote me, “You nailed small-town life.” It was the biggest compliment I could have gotten.       

MURDER AT THE TREMONT HOUSE

Small towns are supposed to be idyllic and peaceful, but when Kate Chambers returns to her hometown of Wheeler, Texas, she soon learns it is not the comfortable place it was when she grew up. First there’s Gram’s sudden death, which leaves her suspicious, and then the death of her married sister’s lover. Kate runs Gram’s restaurant, the Blue Plate Café, but she must defend her sister against a murder charge, solve the murders to keep her business open, and figure out where the café’s profits are going. Even Kate begins to wonder about the twin sister she has a love-hate relationship with. Gram guides Kate through it all, though Kate’s never quite sure she’s hearing Gram—and sometimes Gram’s guidance is really off the wall.
            Kate’s adventures continue in Murder at Tremont House, when she still has to deal with a journalist, intent on probing small-town secrets, gone missing, contradictory stories about the local teen-age heartthrob, and the series of men who seem to rotate through her life.
            No, life in a small town is anything but idyllic and peaceful. But Kate loves the café, and she shares some of her favorite recipes—and some of her good friends.


An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of two books in the Blue Plate Murder Series—Murder at the Blue Plate Cafe and Murder at the Tremont House,  mysteries that are set in small-town East Texas in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.


She is also the author of five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, and Deception in Strange Places. Before turning her attention to mystery, Judy wrote fiction and nonfiction, mostly about women of the American West, for adults and young-adult readers. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame at the Fort Worth Public Library.

BN  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/small-town-charm-love-mystery-cheryl-norman/1120220580?ean=2940046127706



Friday, September 12, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM BLOGGER #6: Suzanne Lilly

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Is it a dream or a premonition?

Daydreams, night dreams, dreams of the future, dreams of the past. They all affect us in some way. Everyone has dreams of what they want in their own futures. But what if you could see the future and it wasn’t what you wanted? That’s the question that inspired my book, Shades of the Future.
You see, I’ve always had inklings of things to come. I might be driving down the road and realize that I haven’t seen so-and-so in such a long time, and wouldn’t it be funny if I ran into her today? If I get little goose bumps down my spine, I know it will happen.
There was the time I was driving home from work and I just knew I was going to have a car accident. I brushed it off as stress, but sure enough, at the top of an overpass, I was accordionated along with six other cars when the driver of the car in front slammed on his brakes. Fortunately no one was hurt. The weirdest part of that one was my husband knew I’d been in an accident, almost as soon as it happened, even though he was miles away.
Then there was a time a friend told me she was going on a weekend visit with someone she’d met online. I immediately thought of her getting pregnant, and goose bumps quickly followed. She laughed at me and told me it was nothing like that, there wasn’t going to be any hanky-panky because they were just friends. I think you can guess the ending to that story.
The thing is, although I sometimes get these inklings, there’s never a darn thing I can do about it to change them. I’ve often wondered what’s the use of knowing about things in advance if you can’t control the outcomes.
That’s exactly the situation my heroine, Mariah Davis finds herself in when she puts on a pair of sunglasses that allow her to see the future. She sees some good things and some bad things coming down the road. She tries to do everything she can to stop the bad things. Instead of avoiding fate, she faces it head on and has to learn how to deal with the hard times, as well as how to trust in those she loves.
You can read Mariah’s story in Shades of the Future, one of the eight books included in the Small Town Charm, Love and Mystery boxed set for only $.99. This video trailer of  Shades of the Future will get you in the mood for box full of love and mystery.

In the meantime, care to share stories? Have you ever known about something before it happened? What was it, and were you able to change it in any way?




Shades of the Future by Suzanne Lilly Mariah Davis loves animals, running, and her hunk of a boyfriend, Kevin Creamer. Everything looks bright for her until the day she finds a pair of sunglasses that allows her to see the future.


Suzanne Lilly weaves an engaging world populated with charming and eccentric characters that readers will want to visit again and again. 
Brenda Hiatt, Award winning romance and young adult author

Suzanne Lilly is a teacher and a writer who occasionally takes time off to zipline in Alaska, teach in China, and traipse around Rome. She writes sweet stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending.

Sign up for her email newsletter to find out about upcoming books before anyone else. You’ll also get exclusive bonus materials and contests just for subscribers. One subscriber is chosen to win a $25 gift card each time the newsletter comes out. Sign up for my occasional newsletter





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM BLOG #5: Cheryl Norman


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FIVE LESSONS ON FORGIVENESS
Cheryl Norman


REBUILD MY WORLD--part of the small town charm mystery boxed set--is romantic suspense, but its theme is forgiveness. In the course of the story, several characters must learn the power and peace of forgiveness. It isn’t a preachy story or a religious one, rather a lesson in mental health.

You read that right. Forgiveness is good mental health.

How can Taylor Drake forgive the man who attacked her and murdered her roommate? How can Adam Gillespie forgive the man who contributed to his family’s financial ruin? How can Taylor and Wil forgive the person responsible for their mother’s death? How can Adam forgive the man who abandoned his pregnant sister and later forgive a startling betrayal within his own family?

Yet, ultimately, they do forgive, and that’s the heart of the story. Have you had to forgive someone when it went against every fiber of your being? Or have you had to forgive yourself?

I’ve watched television programs about people who visit the killer of a loved one in prison and forgive them. "How can they?" I’ve asked myself repeatedly. Could I do that? Frankly, I hope I never have to test myself on that one!

I remember after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when ministers called on their congregations to forgive those attackers. How’d you do with that one? I struggled. I was angry and shocked. I wanted swift justice. Forgiving those responsible for all those innocent lives asked too much. Yet I finally made peace with myself and forgave them, thanks to the five lessons I learned (and share below).

Forgiveness isn’t easy. It can be one of the hardest emotional decisions you’ll make. If you aren’t able to forgive, the price you pay is high. The Drake and Gillespie families find this out for themselves until they learn these five lessons:

1. Forgiveness isn’t earned. You don’t forgive an offender because he deserves it.

2. Forgiveness isn’t necessarily wanted or requested. The offender need not ask you for forgiveness. In fact, he may be indifferent to your feelings.

3. Forgiveness isn’t approval. You aren’t endorsing the behavior by forgiving the offender.

4. Forgiveness can be anonymous. Just because you forgive an offender, doesn’t mean he or she will know about it (i.e. he may even be dead).

5. Forgiveness is healthy. It relieves stress. (Remember, resentment is an acid that eats away at its container).

In conclusion, forgiveness is about the forgiver, not about the forgiven. Do it for your own health.

I hope you enjoy the mystery and romance that unfolds in REBUILD MY WORLD. Although its theme is forgiveness, the story is much more. Enjoy.
~*~
Rebuild My World by Cheryl Norman
More than anything, Taylor Drake wants her life back. Suffering from the agoraphobia that has plagued her since a brutal attack, the once confident and successful photographer now cowers behind closed doors with a loaded pistol.

Ms. Norman is a gifted storyteller. I loved Rebuild My World and eagerly turned the pages, excited to see what event would next happen to keep this story moving. Not only is it well plotted, but the characterizations draw you into the lives of these people. Ms. Norman tells a compelling tale that keeps you guessing. Vine Voice Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars
~*~


Cheryl Norman grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and earned a BA in English at Georgia State University in Atlanta. After a career in the telecommunications industry, she turned to fiction writing and won the 2003 EPPIE award for her contemporary romance, Last Resort.  Her debut with Medallion Press, Restore My Heart, led to a mention in Publisher's Weekly as one of ten new romance authors to watch. Running Scared, a romantic suspense set in Jacksonville, Florida, and Washington D.C., received a Perfect 10 from Romance Reviews Today. Reviewer Harriet Klausner calls her writing "Mindful of Linda Howard." She currently writes the Drake Springs series romance novels for Turquoise Morning Press.

Her passion for cooking and healthful eating led her to write four cookbooks and an award-winning blog, The Hasty Tasty Meals Kitchen (hastytastymeals.com). She also offers writers grammar help via her Grammar Cop blog, newsletter articles, and workshops.

In addition to writing fiction and cookbooks, Cheryl works with other breast cancer survivors to raise awareness about early detection and treatment of the disease.







Monday, September 08, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM GUEST BLOGGER #4: Julie Anne Lindsey

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FEISTY HEROINES MAKE ME SMILE 
by Julie Anne Lindsey



I love a good romance. Who doesn’t? What I don’t love is a heroine who’s too waify. Too proper. Too snorey. When I set out to write my first sweet romance, I hoped to create a woman who'd make readers smile. For me, that meant making my heroine relatable...and again...for me, that meant she needed to be kind of exuberant, perhaps even a well-meaning hot head. *Looks in mirror* *waves*

Hey, I like big personalities. I can't help myself. They make me smile. I couldn’t help wonder what a slow speaking, hay baling, small town hero might do if faced with an uptight, displaced former local? It was this course of thought that led to my first sweet romance heroine. Voila! Cynthia Potter was born.

In Bloom, my heroine Cynthia says what she means…at the moment… and causes a problem or two as a result. She’s feisty. I like her. She puts her foot in her mouth. A lot. Gets caught kissing someone she didn’t intend to kiss.  (Who hasn’t been there?) And makes an embarrassing discovery of biblical proportions. 

Writing sweet romance opened a whole new world for me. I learned what mattered most was the chemistry, banter and will-he, won't she of it all.  I get screwed up in a knot on my couch writing every “Kiss her already!” moment, and I LOVE it. In sweet romance, every sentence leads up to the all important confession, “I love you.” And getting there is SO much fun. CYnthia finds a lot more than romance in Honey Creek, but you'll have to take a peek for yourself to see what else. *insert winky face*

If you’re in the mood for a sweet & sassy heroine , I hope you’ll visit Honey Creek. It’s a beautiful place where anything can happen. Kick off your shoes, relax into that porch swing and cuddle up to a steamy hot toddy. Take a trip to Honey Creek. They're just a click away : ) See you there!

Bloom by Julie Anne Lindsey

In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future….

Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one. Now Cynthia’s come home, and these two hardened hearts can’t stop arguing. If they’d only take a break long enough to find some common ground, they might be surprised to find love can grow anywhere.

If they let it, love will find a way to Bloom.







Saturday, September 06, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM GUEST BLOGGER #3: Jan Scarbrough

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The Cats of Heart to Heart
By Jan Scarbrough



Heart to Heart is part of a four book Ladies of Legend series called Return to Legend. The premise of all four stories is the return to Legend, Tennessee, a fictitious town created by authors Maddie James, Magdalena Scott, Janet Eaves and me.

When I wrote the story of Heart to Heart, about an animal communicator and her relationship with the owner of six cats, I knew the cat characters were critical to the story. I thought it might be fun to honor a few of cats I knew, as well as those of my Legend co-authors.

Tinkerbelle
Last winter dogs killed a cat named Tinkerbelle at the barn where I take riding lessons. The character of Tinkerbelle is my way of honoring this sweet, little cat.
Notes: Long hair pale gray – gentle – likes attention and being the center of things
Quote: “The gray cat had followed them into the living room and continued its leg rubbing routine. Jeremy clenched his teeth, forcing himself not to kick the animal off his pant leg. This was his best Armani suit, for crying out loud. He didn’t want cat hair on it.”

Attila
My cat hero is named after Magdalena Scott’s companion of the same name. Magdalena often writes emails about Attila, and that gave me the idea of using the name in my book.
Notes: Male, Maine coon – big cat, sturdy, rugged – uneven, shaggy coat, long tail carried proudly, large, well-tufted paws – intimidating size – brown tabby with white underbelly and white paws
Normal cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw; polydactyl cats may have as many as eight digits on their front and/or hind paws.

Calliope
Calliope is one of Maddie James’ cats.
Notes: Calico – long hair – knows she’s beautiful – princess - tri-colored
Quote: “The top of the desk was empty except for a longhaired, tri-colored calico cat stretched out in the center preening herself. A tiny pink tongue licked a white paw in a leisurely manner. The cat didn’t even look up to greet them.”

Clio
Maddie James has a second cat named Clio. The real Clio is a tortoiseshell female. I changed Clio’s color in the book and his sex.
Notes: Orange tabby with white bib – nervous – comes up for affection some times after gets to know you
Quote: “The last cat in the room, an orange male tabby named Clio sat next to the water fountain watching the other cats in the room with a worried gaze.”

Jinx
I gave my husband a fiftieth birthday gift—a black cat named Jester. You can tell where I found my character Jinx.
Notes: Black cat – prowls, sneaky, pops up expectantly
Quote: “Jinx, the sleek black cat prowled the perimeter of the kitchen as if he couldn’t stay in one place for long.”

Gloria
My favorite cat of all time was Gloria. My daughter, the veterinarian, brought her home from college at Thanksgiving one year. Knowing my daughter is dangerous, because she has a knack for placing homeless pets. How do you think Maddie James got her two cats?

Notes: Tortoiseshell – female, this color is typically reserved for cats with relatively small or no white markings.
Quote: “Gloria was the oldest cat in the house, a tortoiseshell in color—reddish orange and black—with a distinctive orange stripe down the bridge of her nose.”

Heart to Heart by Jan Scarbrough When Jeremy’s aunt gives him a second chance, he must decide if he believes in the unbelievable and the pet psychic who teaches him about faith…and love.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

SMALL TOWN CHARM GUEST BLOGGER #2: Bobbye Terry

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Bobbye Terry
Welcome to Briny Bay, North Carolina
By Trixie Frye and Roxie Turner


“Hi everyone. My name is Trixie Frye. I’m the second born in a wild and crazy bunch of siblings. Our oldest sister got out of our little bayside town early while the gittin’ was good, and who knows if she will ever be back. However, my sister, Roxie and baby brother, Jack, still live in Briny Bay, North Carolina.  It’s not that we don’t love the stuffin’ out of our little dysfunctional home. It’s just that the place defies explanation. I mean, if you knew it recently gained notoriety for having  the highest per capita murder rate on the Eastern seaboard, you’d probably think just setting your dainty little foot on our sandy soil would be enough to make you seriously consider increasing your life insurance. But, as sure as I am Southerner, you don’t have to worry your pretty little head one tiny bit. Why, we don’t even lock our doors at night.”

“She’s right you know. Roxie Turner here. Nobody from Briny Bay’s gonna’ bother you unless it’s one of our town drunks, and they’ll just crawl up on your porch and sleep it off.”

“It’s my turn to talk, Roxie so stop your yapping. As I was saying, when it comes to As upstanding, everyone except my couch-potato husband, Floyd, and his bunch of misfit sports buds go to church on Sundays. And, thank the Lord for donations at our last picnic social, we even have a pet cemetery. No, we don’t deserve this bad press. Truth be told, we have gone and gotten a bum rap just because of a few mutilated bodies that had the unmitigated gall to end up dead here. Coincidence,  sheer coincidence. You see, it all started with Georgia Adam’s murder. She was Roxie’s lifelong nemesis and Georgia up and croaked in the town landfill with a knife through her eyeball. “

“That’s enough sister. It’s time for me to take over this conversation. She was my nemesis and I did almost go to the big house over this unfortunate misunderstanding. You see, readers, most of the town folk are convinced I, Roxie Turner, the younger prettier sister, am the reason for our sudden surge in the death toll. I don’t understand how rumors get started. Someone out there obviously doesn’t follow the International Snoop Guidelines. When I tell someone the latest gossip, I make sure they repeat it back to me for accuracy before I let them loose to spread the word. Anyway, who knew somebody would take me seriously when I said I was going to kill Georgia. I mean, really? I’d just been saying I’d snuff her for a couple of decades. If I were really going to do it, don’t you think I’d gone ahead back then when our feud started? It would have been an easy task to just blow her up or push her off the cliff into the bay.”

“Now, Roxie, my honest-to-God need to get all the facts on the table requires I, the smarter more detailed sister, butt in, that is, respectfully submit additional information. You see, it’s not just that you always wanted to run down Georgia so she was deader than road kill on a one-hundred degree day, but that you have an uncanny way of stumbling over dismembered body parts and corpses and then feel the need to touch them. Whoever invented baggies never knew the ghoulish ways some people like you might use them.”

“Trixie Frye, stop trying to turn our audience against me. Tell you what, readers, why don’t you read Buried in Briny Bay and decide for yourself? It’s in the Small Town Charm, Love and Mystery boxed set for just $.99. It’s cheaper than a piece of Trixie’s lemon icebox pie and a lot easier on the waistline. We’d love to hear what you think, and come to see us sometime.”

   

Buried in Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry Roxie Turner finds herself up to her neck in trouble her lifelong nemesis, Georgia Collins, is discovered buried in the town’s landfill. Worse, with her characteristic Southern sass, Roxie has been saying she’d kill Georgia for more than twenty years.


I had Janet Evanovich, Julie Garwood, Jill Shalvis and Pamela DuMond all grouped together for this category. But I think the crazy sisters, Roxie and Trixie just had to come out on top. What a feel good book Buried in Briny Bay was, as it kept me smiling from the first page till the last. Another Look Book Reviews Award, Best Book to Bring on Smiles

Bobbye Terry is a multi-published author of romantic comedy, fantasy and suspense—writing where southern charm sometimes meets macabre reality. Her awards include Eppie finalist and two-time finalist of Detroit's Bookseller's Best Award.