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Monday, October 16, 2017

Kids’ Sports

Is college football your Saturday pastime? Pro football on Sundays (Monday and Thursday nights)? Later this afternoon, we’ll go to the park and watch our grandson’s last flag football game. Considering the weather, we’ll probably need our winter jackets. Ironic, in that earlier this season, they cancelled a game because of the heat (90°+).

I’ve never been a football fan. Never been interested enough to learn the rules or plays. Because of Grandson’s enthusiasm, I’m learning. This is his second year where play is stopped when the opponent grabs a “flag” (streamer) from the ball carrier rather than a tackle. Next year, if he continues, the kids will wear pads and helmets and can tackle. Not sure if I’m ready for that.

The kids seem to have fun. Grandson does. The coaches make sure each kid plays each position. (I have to keep erasing “boy” and writing “kid” because a girl plays on one of the teams. Yay, girls!) The coaches encourage the kids, no yelling, no disparaging. The point is to have fun, as well as learn the basics of football. They teach the kids the importance of teamwork. The parents are just as encouraging, cheering all the kids. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

Unfortunately, it isn’t always. We’ve seen coaches belittle kids. Parents who scream at their kid and/or the coaches. My kids were fortunate to have great coaches. Both Daughter and Son played baseball (T-ball and Little League) and were on swim teams. The enthusiastic parents cheered all the kids. The coaches taught them teamwork. A lifetime skill.

I hear (and I’m sure you have, too) grousing about how we’re raising a bunch of kids who never know how to fail. Everyone gets a trophy/ribbon/prize, no real winners. While that’s true, when kids are just learning a new sport, what’s important? Winning or having fun and learning the game? For the flag football teams, there is no scorekeeping. (You can bet, though, that the kids keep score in their head.) As they get older and, hopefully, mature, the game will change and scores will be kept. There will be winners and losers. I hope the coaches will teach them how to be gracious whether they win or lose. That they will learn from their mistakes.

I also hope those kids, especially Grandson, will continue to have fun. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

#WeWriWa - THE PROTECTOR: Rissa's Guilt

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors where authors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

Here's another excerpt from The Protector (An Outer Rim Novel: Book 3). Dillan and Rissa are in her kitchen alone late at night. When she tried to send him away, he made himself at home--the way he'd done six years before.

Please forgive the creative punctuation (and changes from the original) to keep within the guidelines.

Rissa caught herself staring at his strong neck, the way his throat worked as he swallowed the ale, and hastily took a sip of her own. Six years ago, she’d tried to remember he was a kid—he wasn’t one then, and he sure wasn’t one now. She regretted not sending him on his way back to his ship, he made her think of things she had no business thinking of, not with him.
“The children are all right?” he asked.
“Yes, Fortuna’s girls are taking care of them.”
His expression—so serious—convinced her he cared about the children. He’d been that serious once before—when he lost his friend in a rock-slide up in the mountains. Even though their other friends left after a few days, Dillan stayed to help the search-and-rescue teams from neighboring colonies, and when those teams gave up, he joined another team hired by Konner’s father to continue the search.
His grief, compounded by survivor’s guilt, had led her to comfort him. Comfort that had almost gone too far. She wasn’t going to think about that time.

Who knew rescuing two girls from traffickers would bring down a world of hurt?

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from returning. Mining heir Dillan Rusteran has loved her for years. Little do they know that by rescuing more children they're tangling with a galactic trafficking ring.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Release: Leave Nothing But Footprints by Patsy Collins

 I love the title of this new release. It's a premise of Girl Scout camping. (I blogged about my family's involvement in Girl Scouts last Monday.) That made me ask Patsy to tell us how her story came about.

Diane asked me to explain how I came to write Leave Nothing But Footprints. Thank you so much for the opportunity, Diane! 

I've written four romances now. The first (Escape to the Country) was published after I won a novel writing competition. Unfortunately the publishing company then closed down (I'm fairly sure that wasn't my fault!) I subbed my next one (A Year and a Day) to Mills and Boon. They were very complimentary, but didn't take it as they felt the secondary characters had too large a role. It was a fair point – the story is as much about the friendship between Stella and Daphne as it is about Stella's love life. I self published that one and a new edition of Escape to the Country.

In my next novel (Firestarter) the secondary characters again play an important role. Alice is very close to her sister Kate, so naturally confides in her and they spend a lot of time together. Personally I'm happy to read romances where the lead characters have close relationships with family and friends and by then had decided to stick with self publishing, so didn't feel obliged to confirm closely to a publisher's requirements. Even so, I decided that for my next one I'd ensure other people didn't take too much attention away from my romantic leads – perhaps just to prove I could.

Much of my writing is done in a campervan as I accompany my husband to various locations (he's a professional maritime photographer). I realised that if I could get my main characters into a campervan there wouldn't be room for anyone else. Naturally I needed a reason for them to be there, so I engineered an extended photographic assignment. They do say 'write what you know' but I promise the book isn't autobiographical.

As with my other books, I wrote most of Leave Nothing But Footprints on location, but with this one I took it to the next level. Of course I climbed the hills, walked the beaches and followed the paths where Jess and Eliot took their photos. Obviously I carried out research (my husband made a brilliant consulting expert for the photography stuff). Naturally I tried out the food and drink they enjoyed (any excuse) but for this one I worked on my laptop at precisely the spot Jess processes her photos and even slept in her bed. It's a good thing I like her as there was no escape!


Jessica Borlase always gets what she wants. From cocktails in the exact shade of her manicure, holiday on Capri with friends, to a spacious apartment, her father's money makes it possible. She enjoys the luxurious lifestyle and is grateful for his support, but frustrated to always be treated as Daddy's pampered little girl. She tries to break free, by leaving Borlase Enterprises and studying photography.

Now what Jess wants is the utterly gorgeous Eliot Beatty; a world famous photographer who often uses his talents to benefit conservation projects. Her father attempts to bribe Eliot into taking Jess on an assignment in order to teach her the skills she'll need to develop a career. Although annoyed at the interference, she's delighted to discover this means two weeks with Eliot in the beautiful countryside of South Wales and close confines of a campervan. Trouble is, the man can't be bought.

Jess eventually manages to persuade Eliot to take her. She believes she can earn his respect and that she's ready for the hard work, long hours and living conditions far short of those she's used to. She's wrong on all counts. Can Jess learn to cope with the realities of the trip, and is Eliot really worth the effort?


In this scene, Jess is seeing Eliot's campervan for the first time.

Jess looked in from outside and smiled at the pale wood effect floor and trim, the neat storage solutions and the turquoise cushions. It was obvious why Eliot had been surprised by her rooms when he'd first gone there. The van was very much a miniature version of her apartment. It was much nicer than she'd expected. Much smaller too.
"The seats at the front swivel round to face the table when I want them to. This table can be fixed to the side of the van outside if we want to eat al fresco."
"I'm not a big fan of eating standing up," she said without thinking. Why pick holes when he was telling her the advantages of what seemed to be his pride and joy?
"Me neither, but I've packed folding chairs. This is the kitchen." He indicated two gas burners and a dinky sink. "Fridge." He opened the door, showing it was crammed full of food. "Bathroom." He slid open an internal door.
Jess stepped up into the van to take a closer look.
"The toilet flushes, there's a sink and shower."
"Pretty good."
"I'll have to show you how to use them, but it's not difficult. And this is obviously the bedroom."
At the rear of the van was a double bed complete with duvet and pillows, all in the same turquoise as her own bedlinen. She realised the bed was raised up to create the storage space which now contained her clothes and camera equipment.
"A double bed?"
"Yes, proper mattress too. Oh, don't worry, the bench seat and table at the front convert into a single. I'll be having the double. Where you sleep is up to you."
She wanted to give him a disapproving look, but wasn't quite sure she could manage it.

Patsy Collins will write anywhere she can reach in her campervan. She's the author of five novels; four contemporary romances and one coming of age story with a difference. Hundreds of her short stories have been published in magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Ireland and South Africa. She's also co-author of From Story Idea to Reader – an accessible guide to writing fiction.

Patsy blogs about free entry writing competitions and runs the womagwriter blog which is handy for magazine guidelines. You can also find Patsy on Twitter https://twitter.com/PatsyCollins  and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PatsyCollins.writer

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Release Day: Evil Speaks Softly by Maureen L. Bonatch @mbonatch

Evil Speaks Softly
The Nightwalkers Series, Volume 1
Maureen L. Bonatch

A paranormal romance from The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: October 11, 2017
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor, DCA Graphics

Tagline: Everyone has a story to tell. Even the dead.

They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.
They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead. They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

Evil Speaks Softly
Maureen L. Bonatch

Rating: Sensual (PG-PG13)

Page Count: 312
Word Count:  82982 
Digital Price: 5.99
Print Price (if applicable): 16.99
978-1-5092-1708-3 Paperback 
978-1-5092-1709-0 Digital 

“I met this strange man at the bar last night. He told me some really weird
            I paused. When she remained silent, I continued. “He said it was related to my writing.” She watched me with the fascination of one who desperately wanted to look away but couldn’t. As if a deer blinded to the oncoming headlights, she was fixated, trapped. “He said to talk to you.”
I searched her face. I knew my Grams. When resignation settled on her features a knot clenched in my stomach from either fear, or the excitement of validating Gage didn’t fabricate the story. Perhaps he wasn’t crazy.
            Grams slowly closed her eyes and opened them again. “He found you?”
            I nodded.
             She turned to stare out the frosted window where the birdfeeder sat frozen over from the recent snow. “I can’t believe he took that risk. Watchers are never to approach the Recorders. It could totally upset the balance.” She worried her lower lip between her teeth.
             When she used the same terms as Gage, my anxiety elevated. I expected her to deny his claims and then we’d laugh about the incident. “Grams, please tell me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I took a deep breath. “Some weird things happened last night. Occasionally I notice unusual things, but it’s an old house and I have an active imagination, but this time it scared me.”

About the Author:
Maureen Bonatch dreamt of becoming a Solid Gold Dancer. When the show ended, she continued dancing in her living room but pursued other dreams. Surviving twins gave her the confidence to learn to belly dance, declare herself a tequila connoisseur, and act as biker babe to her alpha hubby. These adventures, her vivid imagination, and a love of sarcasm help her craft stories full of fun, magic and mayhem.

Maureen lives in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons —biking, sweat pants, hockey and hibernation—keep her there. While immersed in paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. She enjoys reading & writing—of course! Also bicycling, being a backseat motorcycle babe, watching movies, hockey, wine tasting (usually in her living room where she still dances) and laughing.

Discomforting Thoughts About the Author & Evil Speaks Softly:
·         As a writer who 'writes by the seat of her pants' Maureen’s relentless characters can be demanding in wanting their story told and often have their own agenda. They just aren’t ruthless spirits and there’s no ancient curse…that she’s aware of.
·         The herniated disc Maureen suffered from while writing this story may have leaked a little extra darkness into the tale.
·         Maureen’s first house had a restless spirit.
·         Twins run in Maureen’s family—just no feisty triplets.
·         Maureen has no knowledge of wrestling but she did watch some WWF back in the day for entertainment.
·         Maureen believes she has had sleep paralysis in the past.
·         Nighttime spirits don’t terrify Maureen much since she’s up at the crack of dawn and can barely stay awake after 9:30 p.m.

Contact Info: mbonatch@yahoo.com


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017


As I said in yesterday's post, I'm excited to share a fun anthology by some friends of mine. They have been sharing excerpts on their blogs, which has only increased my desire to read the book. The original Pets in Space was so much fun to read, I pre-ordered my copy of Pets 2 as soon as it was ready. My copy downloaded last night, and I can't wait to read it. Here's my friend Cara Bristol to tell you more about it.

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 description
By Cara Bristol

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Buy link for all stores: https://books2read.com/u/3L9aYM

Rescued by the Cyborg (A Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance) by Cara Bristol
A cyborg’s haunted past and a Faria’s clouded future entwine…

Hostage and sole survivor Solia waits for death at the hands of vicious predatory aliens when Cy-Ops agent Guy Roarke disobeys orders and charges in. A former medic, he initiates emergency medical procedures before rushing her to Cybermed.

Guy is taken with Solia, but the guilt of a past mistake won’t allow him to plan for a future with the delicate, brave beauty. Life is so uncertain, he can’t even keep Mittzi, the kitten his niece gave him. What he can do is see to it Solia gets the help she needs for a full recovery. But when best intentions place her in greater danger, it’s up to a little kitten to make everything all right again.


Something kept poking her. Solia rose to consciousness but buried her face in her wing and squeezed her eyelids even tighter. She didn’t want to see what existed in the light. Monsters were real, and they didn’t just creep in the night. Don’t look. Stay here. Here, wherever that was, with her eyes closed, was warm, pain-free, safe.

Safe from what? What was she forgetting?

Pat. Pat. Something pawed at her feathers. Then a rumble. Pat. Pat. Poke. Something sharp, like a claw scraped across her face.




Cage. Death. Her lids sprang open. Two green Ka-Tȇ eyes stared into hers. The creature yawned, revealing a mouthful of small, sharp teeth, and then struck out with its paw.
Solia shrieked. The creature somersaulted and disappeared. Dragging her broken, torn wing, Solia stumbled for the door and plowed into a massive chest.

“What’s happened? What’s wrong?” A man gripped her shoulders. Though he barricaded the way, his presence exuded safety, calmed her panic. More memories flashed. Racing through the jungle. This man carrying her to a pod. Bodies hitting the window, scratching, clawing, trying to crack it open. The man—Guy— had rescued her from Katnia. The floor hummed beneath her feet. She was on a ship now.

But one of the creatures—“K-K-Ka-Tȇ. Here.

“What? Where?” Disbelief knit his brows.

Solia gulped air and pointed. “Under the berth. It’s little, but I woke up, and it was on me, scratching my face. It had green eyes. Claws.” She patted her cheeks. There didn’t seem to be any injury.

“Mittzi.” Guy shook his head. He got down on all fours to peer under the bunk.

“Be careful.”

He reached under the berth and pulled out a ball of gray fur with white feet. Maybe Ka-Tȇ were born furry but lost their hair as they matured? The creature spoke, emitting an odd little meow noise. Neither language training nor the implant provided a translation. It clung to Guy, showing no sign of savagery, but maybe viciousness developed with time, too.

“It’s not a Ka-Tȇ, its a kitten, a baby cat,” Guy said, his tone gentle. “Don’t you have felines on Faria?”

About the Cara Bristol
USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol writes steamy science fiction romance with an emphasis on the characters and their romance, with a little humor, heat, and danger added for fun. She is the author of three science fiction romance series: sexy cyborg Cy-Ops Scifi Romance series, the dark erotic Breeder series, and the new humorous Alien Mate series. She likes to say that she writes science fiction for readers who don’t like sci-fi.  Cara lives in Missouri with her alpha hero, her husband, and Hannah, her cat, aka her writing supervisor.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Morning Musing on OUTLANDER

photo credit: IMDB

I had today’s blog post all worked out in my head before getting up this morning. I often do my best thinking in that twilight between awake and asleep. Then I watched the episode of Outlander that I’d recorded last night. Oh my goodness. Such a heartbreaking episode. At least, that’s how I felt as a mother. Then immense joy.

*** Spoiler Alert ***

Have you been watching Outlander? It’s a Starz original series based on Diana Gabaldon’s eight-book Outlander time travel collection. I read the series when it first came out. Everyone was back then. Or so it seemed. The main question in my book group's discussion was would she go back?

When the series premiered in 2014, I was excited to watch it, because of reading the books. I even blogged about it three years ago. Hubs enjoyed the series because of the Scottish history. (His grandfather was born in Scotland.) While he was interested in the battles, I watched for the romance between Claire and Jamie. Of course, I anticipated their happy-ever-after. Would they get it or not? What trauma Gabaldon put them through! What heartache.

I said (above) this episode was heartbreaking to me as a mother. To be reunited with her true love, Claire must leave her daughter (and Jamie’s) behind. It doesn’t matter that her daughter encourages her to go. I’m not sure I could do that. Perhaps, I'm not the romantic I always thought I was.

Last year, I wrote a novella called Mission to New Earth. The beginning of the blurb reads: Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind? My main character (Sara) has no family to leave behind. My answer to the question in the blurb is no, not in my present life. Never to see my family again? No way. But other characters in my story did leave their families. In a future story (one that's in the early stage), I'll explore the rest of the crew's reasons for leaving those families behind.

When I wrote that novella, I didn’t consciously think about Outlander. Since I can now see the similarities, I must have done it subconsciously. At the beginning, Claire isn’t given the choice to travel back in time. Sara chooses to go on the mission. Later in the series, when Claire discovers Jamie survived the battle of Culloden, she’s torn between her family (daughter) and her true love. That’s what makes the story so emotional. What would we do for love?

I’m looking forward to watching the next episode. What does Jamie feel when Claire returns? How will that affect his life?

Are you watching Outlander?

Come back tomorrow when I share a fun new release from some friends of mine: an anthology titled Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

#WeWriWa THE PROTECTOR: Rissa Remembers Him

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors where authors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

Here's another excerpt from The Protector (An Outer Rim Novel: Book 3). Last week, Rissa discovers the man who helped her rescue the kids is no stranger. 

(Please forgive the creative punctuation.)
Rissa pursed her lips, “Dillan.”
“Ah, you do remember me,” he said, giving her a grin that used to make her smile . . . didn’t work.
“I always remember pains in the ass.”
Putting his hand on his heart, he staggered, “Ouch, you sure know how to hurt a guy.”
“Go away—I’ve had a bad couple of hours, and I’m going to bed.” She walked to the alley door and opened it, saying, “Go back where you came from.”
He strolled over to the cooler and reached in for a bottle of ale, as he’d done many times in the past, then sat on a stool, saying, “Is that anyway to treat someone who came to your aid tonight?”
While taking a long swig of the tart ale, he watched the fem who’d turned him inside out six years ago. She looked the same, although her dark hair—still skinned back into one long braid—had a few strands of gray, and a few more laugh lines fanned out from her exotic dark eyes.
A blush started at her neck and rose into her high cheeks as she said, “Thank you for helping us.”

Who knew rescuing two girls from traffickers would bring down a world of hurt?

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from returning. Mining heir Dillan Rusteran has loved her for years. Little do they know that by rescuing more children they're tangling with a galactic trafficking ring.

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords ~ B&N ~ iTunes