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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hitting the Halfway Mark on Our Year-Long Challenge

Last summer I wrote about the 100-day A For Adventure challenge my husband and I have taken on:

I discovered this challenge while chilling out after my day job and reading the paper one evening. I'm a big one for taking on challenges. So far, they've been in the creative category -- taking part in NaNoWriMo, taking part in the A to Z Blog Challenge, doing a reading challenge, doing a year-long Movie Madness challenge.

So it's not that strange for me to want to start up a new challenge. This is aside from the daily challenge of fiction writing, mind you.

I can safely say I've never caught the 'I want to run the 5k marathon' urge, or pretty much any urge that is physical in nature.

But nature...

Now that's something that speaks to me. It's always been a balm for my soul.

2014 went down in history as the hardest year I've ever lived through, due to a chemical exposure in December of 2013. Sounds scary, doesn't it? Yet, as a person with multiple chemical sensitivies, the chemical exposure was merely to carpeting.

Yet it derailed my entire writing year, as I could not think straight. Certainly not straight enough to write fiction.

I received treatment at a specialized clinic and began to improve. I knew I needed to get more physical movement going in order to feed oxygen to my starved cells, to keep limber and build strength. All counter-intuitive when my chronic pain made it all seem impossible, but the exercises I'd already done at the clinic assured me that more walking would be better for me.

I mentioned the challenge to my husband, who has rapid-cycling bipolar disorder along with a high degree of agoraphobia (he suffers incredible anxiety levels whenever he leaves the house.)

I told him I was going to do the A for Adventure Challenge, and asked him if he'd like to join me. I had no expectation that he would say yes, but I always invite him to try things. I also don't pester.

To my surprise and delight, Brad said yes.

I signed us up for the challenge -- an event we customized for ourselves in order to ensure success -- and six months later, we are thrilled to have hit the halfway mark. 100 walks in 100 different places has celebrated walk number 50.

I'll keep you posted as we close in on the three-quarter mark.

Yeah, baby.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The right place to write by Joanna D'Angelo

Courtesy thestar.com

Courtesy thestar.com
We all have our favourite places to work, mine is at my desk during the day. Sometimes I will have music playing but usually I like nature sounds. I have a great app on my iphone that has various relaxing sounds and I will often listen to bird sounds while working. In the spring and summer I can open a window but in the winter I have my app. If I'm working at night I will usually work in bed just to be cozy and warm.

But sometimes, I love heading to one of my local coffee shops and just parking myself in a corner with a big cup of tea. Sometimes I'll be quietly typing and discretely "listening in" on conversations, other times I'll just gaze out the window or people watch. Hey, we're writers - always looking for a story right? It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks coffee shops are great for writing. A study in 2012 found that writing in a coffee shop really does help with your creativity. Evidently it has to do something with the noise factor. If there is moderate ambient noise of about 70 decibels, it is conducive to creativity. Ha! Imagine that. Here's the article from the Toronto Star about writing in coffee shops.

I guess where we choose to write depends on our moods and if we want to be around people. As writers we tend to work alone a lot and while sometimes that's a wonderful thing, other times it can get - well - lonely. So being in a public place is a nice change. But no matter where we end up - the point is to be in an environment that helps our imagination flow and helps us get the work done.
Where do you like to write?
Joanna D'Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea and writing in coffee shops.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Bodyguard to Remember

He's a Keeper

"I loved a lot about this book but I adored Pru... And agent Merrick is - well - big sigh. Strong, stoic, handsome, and always there when Pru needs him." - Amazon Review

Some authors start with a plot, a setting, or an idea that they want to share with the world. I start with characters. While I'm developing the rest of the essentials for a novel, those characters live with me, like extended house guests. Like anyone else you live with, you learn ore about the than you ever intended.

For instance, although it isn't mentioned in A Bodyguard to Remember, Pru is not a morning person. She can't sleep in because she has to get her kids out the door, but she's not at her best until she's had coffee. Though always polite, I can tell she's holding a grumpasaurus at bay... especially when her kids won't get out of bed until the very last minute

Merrick, on the other hand, is so even tempered its scary. The more crazy things get, the calmer he is. I worry he's going to explode from tamped down emotion, but Pru assures me he let's it seep out when the crisis is over.

I'm going to miss them, now that they are out in the world. No doubt the place will fill up soon with another set of characters, but I enjoyed having them in my life while I told their story. I hope you'll enjoy them too.

Prudence Hartley has the same problems of every other single mom: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, don’t forget about dinner.

But everything is about to change for Pru when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous. 
When a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody, Pru has so many questions running through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are they after her now? Oh and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective? 

Available at:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sometimes a lie can lead to love . . .

UnconquerableCallie_850 (1)(8)Tuesday's REVOLVING BOOK is the historical romance UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE by DeANN SMALLWOOD.
Sometimes a lie can lead to love.

Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s, is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City, Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest deception to date, a mythical fiancĂ© who waits at the end of the line. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCallister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal and the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships, and even the risk of death.

Seth McCallister is mystified by the audacity and determination of Callie Collins. His initial distrust and concern for Callie, a woman traveling alone, begins first as admiration, then friendship, then love, a love that he is forced to hold at bay. What he doesn’t realize is that there is no fiancĂ©. To make matters worse, Callie develops feelings for Seth McCallister, too. Yet she feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.

Extremely well written. I found myself in the west, riding along on the wagon train with Callie struggling right along with her. Experiencing her every emotion, forging friendships,and falling in love I recommend this book to anyone with an adventurous spirit.

UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE is an enjoyable and entertaining love story. DeAnn Smallwood exhibits her talent for words with her tale of love, hardship, relationships, and determination. She does an excellent job of crafting a romance with the historical backdrop of a wagon train. Her depiction of the adventurous spirit of settlers, as well as the dangers and hardships they endured on their journey for a better life, was fascinating and excellent.

The heroine, Callie, a courageous woman determined to forge a life for herself, embarks on a treacherous excursion through Indian country, despite the obstacles or the dangers she must face. Along the way, her courage and giving nature wins the hearts of her fellow travelers, including the wagon master.

UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE is a sweet romance that will draw you in from the beginning to the end. It is resplendent with history, well-drawn characters, and vivid descriptions. The plot flows unfettered and solid with an engaging story line. This novel is for anyone who loves romance and history without sexual complications. A must read.

DeAnn Smallwood lives in Colorado with her husband, Marvin and two Yorkies, Eli and Stormy. She is a native of Colorado, but has lived in Montana and Wyoming. Historical romances are one of her favorite genres to write. Recently, she branched out into the suspense/thriller genre and wrote the first novel in her death series: Death Crosses The Finish line. This is written under her pen name of D. M. Woods. Her second book in this series: Death Is A Habit has just been completed. You can find her contemporary romance: Tears In The Wind, and two additional historical romances, Sapphire Blue and Montana Star at Amazon.com and SoulMate Publishing. Another historical romance: Wyoming Heather will be out in May. Her greatest pleasure next to writing is having her books read and enjoyed. Many more stories are just waiting to be written and shared.

website link

Monday, January 12, 2015

A woman goes through an amazing transformation both physically and emotionally and finds the love of her life . . .

SISTERS-OF-SPIRIT-COVERToday's Sneak Peek is Identity by Christine Mazurk, one of four novellas in the lovely and lyrical Sisters of Spirit Anthology (Lachesis Publishing). The anthology features four stories about four very special friends. Written by four real life friends: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval Spikes (also known as J.D. Spikes Lachesis Publishing author of The Possession).

What It's About:
Four life-long friends face the biggest changes of their lives.
Four sisters—not related by blood—but by spirit, each embark on a quest
Four women find out what they’re truly made of, and what love really means.

In “Identity” by Christine Mazurk, a young woman embarks on a complete life-change after losing more than 100 pounds, and through a twist of fate finds herself training for a marathon under the guidance of a super sexy coach. But when she starts falling for the hunky trainer, can she trust her new-found confidence to take her to the finish line?
“I found it on a beach on Munnatawket Island.” The girl’s dark green eyes sparked, or glistened with unshed tears. Mike couldn’t tell which. “Since it’s engraved, I thought it might be valuable.”
He huffed out a breath, staring at the luggage tag—a gift he bought for his dad last Father’s Day. “It is valuable, in more ways than you know.”
She stared at him, an odd expression on her face. She started to say something, then stopped, and instead rested her right hand on his arm. Warmth seeped through his skin, and the freshness of his loss re-surfaced.
Two weeks; two long weeks ago.
His throat tightened as hot tears rose, and he coughed to cover his emotion. He shifted, unsure how much to share with this girl, a stranger who brought him a gift, one that punched him in the gut and sliced open his heart.
“Do you want to talk?” she whispered, her gaze drinking him in. “When I touched it, I felt a wave of sadness. Now, I feel that from you.”
Oh shit, not here, not in front of the staff.
“Come back to the office,” he said, his voice unsteady.
She followed him, and he counted the click of her heels as a distraction to tamp down his pain. Long limbs in tight jeans. In the office, she stared up at the wall of medals, and he couldn’t help but notice the tight curve of her butt. Even in her high heels, the top of her head barely reached his shoulders. He stepped away to put some space between them.
“They’re my dad’s. He was an Ironman.” He fingered one of the awards.
“Was?” She had a beautiful face and thick dark hair that shimmered in the light.
“Sit, please.” When she did, he sat down next to her. “I’m about to spill my guts, and I don’t even know your name.”
“Bryce Evans,” she said as a soft blush washed over her cheeks, causing her eyes to appear an even darker green. “I should have introduced myself, but I was taken by your emotion.”
“That apparent, is it?”
“It’s the way you handled the tag.” She shrugged and seemed embarrassed.
“He was returning from Ironman St. George in Utah when his private plane went down in the Sound.” This time, he didn’t bother stopping the tears. He let them flow. Something about this girl opened the floodgates, and his words tumbled without faltering.
“St. George was his fifteenth race. When he called me, after the finish, he sounded excited but exhausted. He said it was one of the toughest courses he’d ever done, so it wasn’t his fastest race. He described the aggressive climbs on the two loop course, and the scenic mountainous run, but he was just stoked to cross the finish line to add one more medal to the wall.”
“I’m so sorry,” she said as she took his hand. He watched as tears spilled over her long lashes, and his heart clenched. “You must have been close.”
“We were. The ironic thing is I left my career as a regional sales rep to strengthen our bond. I became his partner less than six months ago, and now, he’s gone.” A sob escaped. “I’ll never see him again.”
Bryce surprised him, when she dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She hugged tight and cried with him.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, a voice whispered, Don’t let go. And Mike wondered what he should hold onto, the memories of his dad, or this girl who just popped into his life?

Like what you've read? Check out "Identity" by Christine Mazurk in the Sisters of Spirit Anthology. You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Connect with Christine Mazurk on her web site and on facebook and twitter.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.