Welcome.

Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Weekend Writing Warriors, and guests whenever they drop in.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Star Wars, Christmas Program, & Friends

The title of this post was our weekend. Busy and fun. We met friends for lunch on Saturday, finally getting together in over a year. I can’t believe it’s been so long. The good/bad aspect of retirement is we have time. Time to travel, to play with/visit grandchildren, to write, to do all kinds of things. We would agree that “we have to get together” then not set a date. I’m ashamed that I didn’t. My vow for 2018 is not to neglect my friends.

Our granddaughter (10-year-old) is a dancer. Saying she loves to dance is an understatement. Her enthusiasm is evidenced by her big smiles as she dances on stage. This weekend was the holiday program by her dance studio. In years past, they performed “The Nutcracker.” This year they combined dance numbers with little skits. We saw another side of our g’daughter. An actress. In one scene, she scolded some children. She explained later that she was channeling her mother scolding her brother. Very effective. Proud grandmother here.

Yesterday, we saw Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi. Nothing is more fun than watching a movie with fans—daughter, son-in-law, g’daughter, and grandson (almost 8). Did you know that fan is a shortened word for fanatic? Oh, yeah. We are a family of Star Wars fans. I’d heard raves about this episode. Even if it had met with disgruntled reviews like Episode VII, I still would have gone and enjoyed. Without spoilers, I'll say this movie had several surprises, cliffhanging scenes, and great lightsaber fights interspersed with humorous one-liners. The most poignant, though, was seeing Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and knowing she was gone.

After the movie, we went to dinner and talked and talked about the movie. G’son, who never sits still unless he’s playing with Legos, didn’t move during the movie. He barely ate any popcorn, and then only before the movie began. He sat next to me, transfixed by the action. During dinner, he bounced on the bench in his excitement to talk. I knew he’d read several Star Wars books and watched the TV shows. I didn’t realize how knowledgeable he’d become. Wow. Not sure I want to play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit against him. SIL is very observant. He mentioned things I totally missed. Not unusual for me. I focus so intently on the main action that I often miss what’s happening (or is shown) off to the sides. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I have to watch a movie a couple of times before I catch everything. (side note: I had to watch Inception five times before I got it all. I think.)

I love discussing movies. Books, too. One of the reasons I belong to a book group is to get others’ take on what we’ve read. It’s so much fun to delve into the reason behind a scene or subtle hints with others.

The holidays are upon us. No surprise there. Our grandkids had a snow day last week, the day we were babysitting Toddler Girl. The three cousins helped decorate. (With releasing Romance Rekindled, I’m still so behind.) The older two had fun standing on the kitchen counters to put my nutcracker collection on top of the cabinets. TG helped by handing them up to the older ones. She was fascinated by the stackers I only put out at Christmas time. (She’s played with the plastic Star Wars set that I keep out all year.) Between the three, our house is about half decorated. TG is coming over today. Maybe she can help put ornaments on the tree. LOL Thank goodness, the tree has lights or it would look very bare. Where does the time go?

My New Release Alert (newsletter) went out last week. Did you get your copy? Be sure to sign up so you don’t miss getting it. You get a free short story when you sign up. Use the signup in the top right corner above.

Here’s the link to read the latest. http://mailchi.mp/97b6c4bfa19c/a-new-release


I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays. 


Saturday, December 16, 2017

#WeWriWa - Mother's in Jail? ROMANCE REKINDLED


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

I'm sharing excerpts from my new release, ROMANCE REKINDLED, a romance with a little mystery. To keep within the guidelines, this snippet has been edited from the original. Please excuse the rogue commas.

The ringing of her phone that night had Abby scrambling across the covers to the nightstand where she’d plugged in her cell phone. Two-oh-one blazed from the bedside clock in three-inch high red numerals as she yanked her phone off the charger.
“Hello,” Her voice sounded groggy, so she cleared her throat, “Hello?”
“Abby, this is Rose at the police station.”
“What happened?” As she clutched the cell phone, she had no idea how she could speak with her heart yammering in her ears.
“I’m calling about your mother—she’s all right,” the dispatcher said quickly, as if to reassure her.
How can anyone be reassured when the police call you at two a.m.?
“My mother?”
“Yes. She’s been arrested.”



Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.

ROMANCE REKINDLED is available at:


Thursday, December 14, 2017

S.J. Pajonas Visits with her New Release @spajonas

I'm happy to welcome S.J. Pajonas today. She's here to talk about her new release in the Hikobashi series, Chaos in Kadoma Ward, a science fiction romance. I've read both books in this series and thoroughly enjoyed both. 

First, let's get to know her better. Welcome. Please tell us about yourself.



Hi! I’m Stephanie, also known as SJ. I’m a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile, and I love foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. I'm also an author who has trouble to sticking to one genre. I love complex characters and worlds, and I especially love Japan and Japanese culture. When I sit down to write, I think about the kind of story I want to tell, be it science fiction, mystery, or romance, and then relate this to a Japanese topic or cultural idea I've been researching. Out pops a great story at the end. Right now, you'll find science fiction, cozy mysteries, magical realism, and romance in my collection, but like one reviewer, Lola, says about me, "With every book Pajonas writes, it just feels comforting. When I read one of her books, her writing style just works for me, and even while I had little time to read, I instantly got sucked into the book again when I picked it up."

I wish I'd said that. LOL I feel the same way. Back to the interview. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m a stay-at-home mom while also being an author, so I juggle my writing time around my kids’ school schedules. I tend to get in my exercise first thing in the morning, and then work on any promotional work I have to do right after. I write in the late mornings, after lunch, and then again in the evenings. Some days work out better than others. Some days I get all my work done with no problem. Other times, dentist appointments or other such obligations can get in the way. I just try to do my best to hit my schedules!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, I like to walk and listen to audiobooks, knit, and watch movies. During the summer, you’ll find me reading at the town pool. I wish I liked to cook! Cooking is something I do out of necessity, and it sometimes turns out to be a success.

What is the best part of writing for you?

The best part of writing for me is watching a story unfold from my mind to the page. I’m an author who rarely plots anything ahead of time. I like to choose a starting point and tell the story from there. Sometimes I have no idea what I’ll write at all! And then I get to the end and I’m surprised by where my own brain took me. That’s always quite the trip, and definitely always a lot of fun.

It is indeed a great feeling and a lot of fun. Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?

Writing almost always begins in my head for several months before I really sit down to do anything. I’ll spend my time on my walks or knitting or doing chores just thinking about characters, what they do, what motivates them, who they love, who they hate. I always know a story is going to be good based on the amount of time I daydream about the characters prior to sitting down and putting anything on paper. I’ve had plenty of ideas that have faded after only a day or two of daydreaming. Those are the ones I set aside. Everything else that occupies my thoughts gets a chance to live on the page. After that, I’m a pantser, meaning I write by the seat of my pants. I discovery write along the way and figure things out as I go. Outlining has never worked for me, and goodness knows, I’ve tried!

What did you learn from writing your first book?

If I learned anything from writing my first book it’s that pacing is the most important part of telling a story and that compromise is key. Move the story too fast and you confuse and exhaust the reader. Move the story too slow and you’ll bore the reader. If anything, I tend to err on “too slow” which I believe my first book is. Still, even after a ton of revisions on that book, it moves as fast as I want it to. Sometimes a slower story is what’s called for. That’s where I had to compromise.

Are your stories driven by plot or character?

I write science fiction and cozy mysteries, both of which are plot-motivated genres. But characters are really important to me both as an author and as a reader, so I try to compromise as much as possible. The plot may drive the story, but my characters are the ones reacting to it and making the choices. They are what readers fall in love with. If I hear one common thing amongst reviewers, it’s that my characters make them come back for more.

I agree. Yumi captured me right away. So inquisitive. What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

All of my series (both the sci-fi and cozy mysteries) are Japan-inspired. I have a deep love of Japan that has lasted more than two decades, and when I started writing professionally, I really wanted to show that love in my work. I hope that readers will take a little bit of Japan with them when they read my stories – either they learn something new or want to learn more.

Tell us about your latest release.



My latest release is Chaos in Kadoma Ward, the second book of the Hikoboshi Series. This series is science fiction, space opera, action adventure with a romance sub-plot. A little bit of everything for everyone! The first book in the series, Crash Land on Kurai, was an idea I had floating around in my head for a long time. I wanted to write about a confident journalist who finds herself up to her neck in troubles and way out of her comfort zone. Journalists are curious by nature, so my main character, Yumi, is a lot of fun to write. She asks hard questions even when her life is on the line, and she’s always hoping to get to the bottom of a juicy story. The universe I set this tale in is the same universe as my original sci-fi series, but I took my characters and introduced them to a whole new society to study and explore. This made it easier for new readers to enter into my work from a new angle and not feel like they missed anything important if they didn’t read the older series. It’s been a lot of fun to write! I’m currently writing the third book in the series and hope to have it available in Spring 2018.


Tell us more. Please.

CHAOS IN KADOMA WARD is the second book in the Hikoboshi Series, an action adventure, space opera series that explores the worlds settled by the Japanese who fled Earth a century ago. Culture, history, technology, and swords clash in a fast-paced future society on the brink of war.

Blurb:

Contract by proxy — Yumi is owned by a corporation. Forced into a new life on the planet Hikari, she has two objectives: find a job and get along with Rin, the man holding her life in his hands. But with her occupation missing from this planet and her enemies looking for her, she must intrude on the kindness of reluctant strangers to stay out of harm’s way. Rin’s ex-wife wants Yumi gone, and a judge threatens to deport her if he catches her loitering about town with no job. Her desire to bolt grows stronger daily.
But Rin won’t let her go. He’s fascinated with the stories she brings from home, stories that promise to save him from the madness they all live in, a meritocracy with low birth rates and malfunctioning androids. As they build a tenuous friendship, and something more, Yumi has to face her fears, her inadequacies, and her lack of control. A headstrong journalist, she’s pushing her luck on Hikari every day as the society turns bored, restless, and finally rebellious. War is coming, and Yumi and Rin are right in the middle of it.
Excerpt
A soft, low chime rings through the room, and a disembodied female voice declares, “You have a visitor. Atsumi Sekino requests access to the apartment.”
“What the hell is that?” I ask, looking around.
Rin’s jaw tightens. “Atsumi? What does she want now?”
He stalks out, and I follow him to the front door. The door has changed, a screen overlay showing Atsumi standing in the hallway. I recognize her face from the photo, but she’s dressed for business in a smart suit with her hair down around her shoulders. Rin taps on the screen.
“Atsumi, can it wait till tomorrow? I just got home.”
“Rin, we have to talk now. I know Yumi Minamoto is in there with you.”
Rin lets out one of his weary sighs, and it’s ten times worse than what he uses for me. Now I know where this habit comes from.
As he reaches for the door, I hurriedly smooth myself out, patting down my ragged hair and weeks’ old clothing. I don’t know why I care, but I’d like for us to get along.
“Thanks. I know it’s getting late,” Atsumi says, barging in like she owns the place. She sets her bag to the side and slides off her heels. “But we have things to discuss tonight, and I needed to see this Minamoto in person.”
She looks right through me as her voice registers in my head. I’ve heard it before.
“Really, Rin? This?” She gestures to me. “I saw the photos, but I didn’t believe them.”
“Excuse me?” I say, holding back my temper. Barely.
“Yumi Minamoto, this is my ex-wife, Atsumi Sekino. Atsumi, Yumi.”
We stand, soldier-straight.
“You will bow. I’m at least six levels above you,” Atsumi demands.
“Atsumi,” Rin growls. “Is this necessary?”
I bow anyway, confused as to how this introduction went off the rails so quickly. What have I done?
“Good,” she says, a huff in her voice. “Rin is neglecting to tell you I’m also his boss.” Ah-ha. That’s where I’ve heard her voice, when I’ve eavesdropped on Rin in his bedroom back at the temple on Kurai. “We’ve been divorced for over a year. I’m long past ex-wife status.” She peers around me to take in the rest of the apartment. “I see nothing’s changed, though. We should sit down.”
“Not a chance. You’re not staying. I just brought Yumi home. I’d like her to get settled in.”
“How gallant of you.” Atsumi’s voice is a river of sarcasm. “But don’t get too comfortable.” She bends over and retrieves her tablet from her bag. “Do you have any idea the kind of hell you’ve put me through for the last two weeks?”
“Nooooooo.” Rin drags out the one syllable into ten or more. “I spoke with you last week, and you didn’t mention anything. What’s going on?”
“Narumi Ogawa, that bitch of a boss from Aoi Uma, has been petitioning for the removal and disposal of Minamoto for” — she scrolls through something on her tablet — “excessive property damage, illegal termination of ten androids, arson of Shiroi Nami’s temple…” She looks up from her tablet at me. Blood from my brain is sinking to my feet. “You must have friends in Shiroi Nami because they went to bat for you on that charge, but the district judges let it stay.” She clears her throat. “Breach of contract, and on and on. What the f*** were you thinking?” Atsumi spits at Rin.
Rin stiffens. “We’re not married anymore. You can’t talk to me like that.”
I take a small step back, running through possible scenarios in my head. I can run. I can hide out.
I can do so little.


One last thing. Where can readers find you?

You can find me at the following places…
Website: https://www.spajonas.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/spajonas/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SJPajonas/
Tumblr: http://spajonas.tumblr.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/spajonas/
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/spajonas/
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/spajonas/
Amazon Profile: http://www.amazon.com/author/sjpajonas/
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7233209.S_J_Pajonas

Thanks so much for visiting, Stephanie. I'm anxiously waiting for the next book in this series.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

#WeWriWa - ROMANCE REKINDLED Burn the Box




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

I'm sharing excerpts from ROMANCE REKINDLED (formerly titled From Jailbirds to Wedding Bells), a romance with a little mystery. In this snippet, Abby and her mother are having tea in the kitchen. Please excuse the rogue commas.

“I had a boyfriend before your father, someone I wanted to marry. We, uh, we were so sure we would marry that we, uh, anticipated our wedding vows.”
Oh, my goodness, my prim and proper mother went all the way with a guy she didn’t marry. “Why are you telling me this?”
“The cards and letters in that box are from him.”
“I sort of figured that out since you went ballistic,” Abby took a deep breath, “I assume the journals are from that time, too.”
“I want you to promise me something, Abigail,” Mother reached across the table and clasped Abby’s hand, “I want you to burn everything in that box . . . without reading.”




Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.


ROMANCE REKINDLED is available at:


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#IWSG - New Release, New Insecurities


It's the 1st Wednesday. Happy Insecure Writers Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 
Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. And thanks to this month's awesome hosts:  Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There are times when I really don't like being self-published. Everything is on me. I set the deadlines and, foolishly, announce ahead of time when a book will be released. For various reasons like family obligations and, mainly, procrastination, I almost didn't make my December 4th release date for my Christmas story, Romance Rekindled.

Unlike Smashwords, which puts the book up on their website right away, Amazon takes longer. They say 24 - 72 hours. I've never found it take that long. By the skin of my teeth, and with three hours to spare, Romance Rekindled went live on Amazon last night. So I made my deadline. Whew!



Romance Rekindled is a contemporary romance with a bit of mystery. Two couples discover that love is better the second time around.

Blurb:
Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.




Coming soon to Kobo, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble.

This month's optional IWSG question:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I wouldn't procrastinate so much. LOL I did publish two books this year, so I'm proud of that. I'm disappointed I didn't get farther along on my science fiction romance. You'll probably read more about that one as my insecurities escalate.


Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today. 


Monday, December 4, 2017

New Release: ROMANCE REKINDLED #ChristmasStory

It's release day! Yay! I am so excited to present ROMANCE REKINDLED (A Far Haven Tale), a Christmas story that began as two short stories and ended up as a 41,000 word novel. The story takes place in the same world as the Alex O'Hara PI mystery series. Sometimes, secondary (or tertiary) characters need their own stories. That's what happened to gift shop owner, Abby Ten Eyck.






Here are the deets:


Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did. 

Romance Rekindled is available at:




Coming soon to: Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Barnes & Noble


I hope you enjoy my holiday story. Coming in 2018, more Far Haven Tales.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

#WeWriWa ROMANCE REKINDLED What's in the box?


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors where authors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them hereSorry for missing last week. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. 

I've been sharing excerpts from ROMANCE REKINDLED (formerly titled From Jailbirds to Wedding Bells), a romance with a little mystery. This snippet is still in the first chapter. Please excuse the rogue commas.

When Abby finished draping the garland, she grabbed the empty tote to add it to those already stacked in the dining room. The boys had left that heavy box in the way. Using her foot, she tried to push it aside, but the weight made it move only a couple of inches on the thick tan carpet. Maybe if she took out some things it would be easier.
“What are you doing?” Mother screeched.
“I can’t move the box,” Abby ripped the rest of the packing tape, “I need to take out a few things so it isn’t so heavy.”
“Stop right there, don’t—”
Abby pried open the lid. The box was filled to the brim with cards, letters, and journals.


Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.


 ROMANCE REKINDLED will be released on Monday, December 4th at the usual online booksellers.