Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Ho-Ho-Ho or whatever you celebrate

Kick back, relax, and enjoy the time with family and friends

See you next year ☺


Monday, December 23, 2013

Twenty-Four Years Is a Long Time To Wait

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
When you have to wait longer than you think you should, a dream finally coming true can have a much more dramatic impact. This past week brought a conclusion to my wait. I held my first print book in my hands. Was it worth the wait? Yes, absolutely yes. I had to work a little bit to get the box of books because we had snow on the ground and the delivery truck wouldn't come down our driveway. I was hearbroken the box didn't arrive on the day it was scheduled because the truck driver didn't want to get stuck even though our road was dry with no snow. The next day we happen to see the truck parked alongside the road. My husband dropped me off at the post office and continued up the road to check on my box. Much to my delight, by the time I got to where they were parked, he was signing for my box. To add even more excitement to the day, he'd parked on some black ice and the pickup started rolling backwards. It only went a foot or so by the time he jumped inside and got it stopped.
When I opened the box of 30 gorgeous books, I was in awe. I didn't jump up and down, but I did smile a lot. They are beautiful books with wide margins and a good-sized print. So many friends wanted signed copies. I didn't expect to be nervous about writing something inside the books. Maybe it was a life-long practice of not writing inside books that made me nervous. I don't know, but I am starting to get used to it now.
Now that I finally have accomplished this dream, I wonder what I should work toward now? Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays

Wishing our readers a joyous holiday season!

Visit Dawn Marie Hamilton Writes

From:  Dawn Marie
            Patrick and Laurie
            Finn and Elspeth

Friday, December 20, 2013

All I want for Christmas is--- honest critiques

My current WIP is a rewrite of my first completed romance. The original rambled, had way too many scenes that didn't advance the plot, and was overly autobiographical.  It also had a surprisingly potent story arc, vivid secondary characters,and a hero I still dream about at night. I submitted it six years ago and received slammed door rejections. They hurt, but they taught me that I had much to learn about the craft of writing.

The spectre of self-doubt is my constant companion, but like Scrooge on Christmas morning, I believe in second chances. I am determined to gestate this rewrite and give it birth. I will let this story go and start on the next one.

That's where critiques come in. The true spirit of the Christmas season is giving, and I am grateful beyond measure for every critique I give and receive.

The critiques I do for others teach me to be a better writer. The critiques I receive are the best gifts I could ever receive.

Christmas all year round.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Main Street Evening Christmas Bash

The Authors on Main Street would like to invite you to their Main Street Evening Christmas Bash that will take place on Thursday, December 19, 2013, from 3pmEST to midnight at

We are excited about spending fun time with you. We have planned activities, songs , games and prizes, even two Amazon cards of $25 and $50. We hope to have you visit with us to all get in the holiday spirit
feeling excited.

Presenting the 11 authors of CHRISTMAS ON MAIN STREET.
Have you read any of their books?

The Christmas Wish by Tori Scott. Page-turning stories from the Heart of Texas.
Her Christmas Cruise by Mona Risk. Around the world through Stories that Simmer with Emotion and Sizzle with Passion.
A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming by E. Ayers, Writing the Romantic Slices of Life.
The Christmas Con by Jill James. A little Sweet. A little Sexy. A lot Happily-Ever-After.
Small Town Glamour Girl Christmas by Stephanie Queen. Zing of Excitement; Zap of Wit; Long-lasting Zip of Feel Good.
The Christmas Gift by Pepper Phillips. Southern stories with a Touch of Heart.
A Potters Wood Christmas by Leigh Morgan. Strong Women, Strong Hearts
A Baby for Christmas by Susan R. Hughes. Sweet with a Touch of Heat.
A Light in the Christmas Cafe by Kristy Tate. Romantic stories laced with Humor, Mystery and a hint of Magic.
What if...this Christmas by Kelly Rae. Love really is all there is!
A Smoky Mountain Christmas by Carol DeVaney. It’s Love and the Little Things that matter.

Again, see you on  at 3pm EST

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Happy Holiday Books!

Hi all,

Well it is that time of year when book sales temporarily slump as people are too busy to read, only to be followed by a surge in sales once everyone gets a chance to unwrap their new ereader and get to work loading it with new material.

In particular people love to buy books that are holiday-themed, which is one reason I've written so many holiday books myself. For example there is this book: Christmas With Sarah.

I wrote this book a long time ago, one of my few contemporary romance novels, set in Northern California. My heroine is an artist living in Big Sur who falls in love with a wealthy man in the software business and his young daughter, Sarah. Molly misses her family holiday traditions and wants nothing more than to spend Christmas with Sarah... hence the title of the book. I totally enjoyed sticking every tradition I could think of into the book, including making cookies, bread dough ornaments, and heading to see a local production of The Nutcracker.

Another story I wrote where holiday traditions come in is my fantasy short story, Perfect Hero. I wrote the first version of this as a free story, then expanded it when Ellora's Cave did a holiday collection. In this story my hero has been freed from the computer game the heroine was working on and he creates a magical Christmas to convince her he is just what she needs in her life. It is a fun happy story that I very much enjoyed writing.

My next title, Ghosts Of Christmas Past, is a little more serious as both my characters are battling the depression the holidays can bring. In the case of my hero, he's a vampire who always had happy memories of family Christmases but now that the last of his mortal family has died, he takes a seasonal companion to ward off the loneliness he feels. This year he's found a young woman who is also battling depression and it turns out that the pair of them have a lot in common. This was one of my most popular short Hollywood After Dark stories.

Finally I have one title that is a futuristic story about the first Christmas celebration on Mars, a story I titled Reflecting The Future. In this novella length story I have a perky young woman who is the "morale officer" of a Martian mining colony who wants to liven up the station by reinventing holiday traditions. This was another fun title for me as I tried to come up with what a group of miners and their families would use to decorate for Christmas... for example, just what would you substitute for a "tree"?

In all of these stories I injected as many holiday traditions as I could, and they all reflect in one way or another my love of the season. Many of these stories are very cheap: for example, Christmas With Sarah is only $1.49 at Amazon, and even though it has Cricket Starr's name on it, it is a Janet Miller level sensuality book.

I hope that everyone has a great holiday and happy New Year.

Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

Saturday, December 14, 2013


My suspense/romance, LIE CATCHERS makes its KDP debut on December 27, with its free days February 11-15.  Now, the free days sound well-placed (around Valentine’s Day), but how in the world will I bring attention to a book that says ‘look at me!’ at such a busy time in everyone’s lives?

Add more challenges: this is my first KDP/free days experience.  One of the reasons I took the responsibility of collating all that information about KDP and free days (for Wild Rose Press) was to make use of it myself.  Holy cow, the pressure’s on to follow my own directions!

So what would you do in my situation regarding my date of release?  Wait to do the happy dance after New Years Day or go ahead and build some buzz before December 27 (which is what we usually do before a release)? 

Your advice, my friends?

Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a writer and a government agent reveal their secret obsessions.

Treasury agent Parker Browne is working undercover in Petersburg, Alaska to investigate a money scam and a murder. His prime suspect, Liv Hanson, is a freelance writer struggling to save her family’s business. Free spirited, full of life, and with a talent for catching liars, she fascinates Parker.

Trying to prove she’s a legitimate writer who cares about Petersburg’s issues, Liv pens a series of newspaper articles about an old, unsolved murder. When her cold case ties in with Parker’s investigation, bullets start to fly.

Parker understands money trails, and Liv knows the town residents. But he gave up on love two years ago, and she trusts no one, especially with her carefully guarded secret. If they mesh their skills to find the killers, will they survive the fallout?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why doe some chapters write themselves....

... while others are like pulling teeth?

I am 5 chapters away from finishing the 3rd book on my 3-book volume of my 3 volume set (yes, 9 books total). I set an arbitrary deadline of Dec. 31 to finish this 3rd book, and I have 5 chapters to go, but it is like sloughing through mud to get them written.

When I do write, it's going great. I'm pleased with each chapter as I finish it, but it's so hard to get the words out. It may be because I've been working, nose to grindstone, for several months on this and the end is now in sight. That's the "reluctant to finish" syndrome every writer knows.

I think it's because I'm not as close to this set of characters as I was with the others. The books follow two couples through a major journey and I'm working on the "secondary" couple right now.

Or I may just be brain weary. I'm not sure.

But I WILL finish this book by Dec. 31. I promise.

I'll report back later and let you know how close I am.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Now What? After Thanksgiving It's Time to...

Rest up! Are you kidding? Now it's time for decorating and party going and buying gifts and...

Wait! Is all that really necessary?

Sometimes we want to do everything to get in the holiday spirit, and some of it can be great fun. But sometimes, it's way too much and cutting back a little will make the time so much more memorable.

I was excited to write my first ever Christmas book, and now I'm just finishing up my 2nd: A Highland Wolf Christmas. But I've had deadline after deadline after deadline. Need to get edits back on another book, and have this one to turn in by Dec 15. Add the chaos of Christmas on top of that???

I keep telling myself now that I'm not writing full time AND writing full time, I will have more time to do things like---Christmas shop. Not happening. But that's okay because I LOVE to create stories, so it's like Christmas every day just being able to do that.

But even so, I do end up ordering a lot of stuff online, no hassle with shopping in the stores, though it isn't the same as seeing all the Christmas decorations in person, or smelling the cinnamon spices for Christmas, or hearing the Christmas jingles, or... well, okay, so sometimes I just like to drop into a store to immerse myself in the feel of Christmas. Like this! This was a store in Salado and it's so much fun to me to just see this in person and enjoy.


In Bjornolf and Anna's story, they're not into Christmas--and they are involved in much grander things--saving a family in a kidnapping situation in the Amazon jungle, and then serving as a "couple" enjoying the Christmas holidays while investigating a Christmas tree farm double homicide. But during that time, they learn about themselves, about their partners, and the importance of giving and sharing and finding love. It's a little different story though--as they are werewolves.

So for this special time of year, make sure to take a break and really enjoy the time, sharing the love and not doing so much that the holidays become a trial and you can't wait for them to be over with so you can rest. :) 

A SEAL Wolf Christmas

Can an Alpha Wolf Who’s Met His Match…
Navy SEAL Bjornolf Jorgenson has had tough missions before, but going undercover with feisty gray wolf Anna Johnson could top the list. She drives him crazy—in more ways than one. Now he has to investigate a murder, supervise a wild teenage wolf—and handle Christmas with Anna.

Survive the Holidays with Her?
 For Anna, the only thing worse than staging the perfect family Christmas is having to do it with Bjornolf posing as her husband. Anna is a serious undercover operative who isn’t afraid of a fight, even with a hunky SEAL shifter. With a killer on the loose, Anna just wants to focus on their mission, but the one thing she can’t fight is her sizzling chemistry with Bjornolf.

Buy links:
Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound
Powell’s Books

So now, are you ready for Christmas??? I just got home from Nebraska way late at night, so I'll have to start decorating tomorrow! :)

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Letting go can be good

My mother was a master sewer and knitter. She used to make all our clothing (me and 2 sisters) as well as her own. Plus she knitted sweaters galore.

In later years, when we no longer needed or wanted sweaters, she still knitted & donated them to the church, which would raffle them off & give the money to charity. I can't tell you how many people in my home town have stopped me and commented on the sweaters they bought.

Mom died 3 years ago this month, and we had already donated the final sweaters she made to the church. But this year I decided to donate some of the sweaters she made me. I kept two: one she & I designed together using graph paper, and my Christmas sweater, an elaborate tree with beadwork on it, worn only on special occasions. The others: I'm taking to the church.

The Church Ladies were thrilled to learn there are 5 Marge Wilson sweaters available. I told them more would be coming because my nieces and my sisters are also going to donate some of theirs. It was a tough decision to let them go, but really, they're sitting in bags in my closet: it's time someone else can enjoy them!

Letting go can be tough, but it's also a good feeling. Keep that in mind if you have a manuscript tucked away somewhere.... this month I've been going through my dreaded "Maybe" folder (maybe I'll use this material someday). I've weeded out a lot but I'm keeping some.

It's tough but I feel a LOT lighter for it!

J L Wilson
(30 books and counting)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Counting My Blessings and Saying Thank You

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Since this is the time of the year when we say thanks for the blessings we have in our lives, I'd like to say thank you to all of the dear friends I have made while I have been part of the From the Heart family. I have been a member of this great online group for more years than I can remember and membership chair for most of my years here. It has given me the opportunity to meet and work with so many authors, some of whom have become dear friends and 'adopted' family members. I know that my writing career has advanced in leaps and bounds with the knowledge and skills and mostly the patience of those who have never given up on me. For this, I am truly grateful and thankful. Sometimes it's the little things that unexpectedly propel us into success or turn on that light in your brain that says, ''Yes, that is how it should be done and then fly toward writing that first great book."
Two years this Christmas Eve I was offered my first contract. I know that all the support I have received from my friends here before, during, and since my first three books have been published has made the experience all that much more meaningful. So, I simply say to all those of you who have been around to make the writing experience a successful time for me, I say thank you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remembering November 22nd, 1963

Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? That seems to be a question I've heard most of my life. Could the tragedy actually have happened fifty years ago? The events are imbedded into so many memories. Even those who were not yet born at the time know the story as if they'd been alive. News stories and books keep the memory strong.

I was in first grade during the fall of 1963. My favorite songs were Puff, the Magic Dragon and My Daddy is President. My mother was expecting a child. November is hunting season in the northeast, and dad was a hunter. A visit to the doctor assured my parents the baby wouldn't come for several weeks, so dad headed into the woods of upstate New York.

On the morning of November 22nd, I rode the bus to school. It was late in the afternoon when the principal came to the door and softly spoke to my teacher, who turned the TV on. We had one of those old black and white television sets where the picture appeared green. It hung from the ceiling in the corner of the room. I remember crying.

They sent us home from school early. Mom had been busy and hadn't heard the news. She was shocked, but attempted to act calm for us kids. We watched the news all evening. Since dad was gone, I slept with my mother that night. When I woke the next morning, my sixteen-year old brother informed me my mother was at the hospital. She'd been so upset she went into early labor, quietly got up from bed, and called the ambulance. My uncle drove to New York state to retrieve my father.

My baby sister was born on November 23rd. Happy 50th birthday Kim!

Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thank you, Syd Field

I am a huge fan of Syd Field, who has passed away. His books and classes on screenplay structure are, and will stay, classics for both scriptwriters and novelists.

Whether you function best as a plotter, pantser or somewhere in "fluid outlining" land, you have to end up with a satisfying story arc based on a story structure or your story is likely to fall flat.

A member of the RWA screenwriters group posted this link to a series of tutorials by Syd Field, a fine parting gift from a master.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Here and There


Xmas Here and There

Have you started your Christmas preparations?
Maybe some of you did. I am not ready for Thanksgiving yet, but I love this holiday season which allows me to visit with my children and grandchildren.

Christmas is not celebrated in the same way in different areas.

You may be used to snow and brightly decorated fir trees.


Buy yourself a box set of three Christmas stories, full of emotion and humor. For 99 cents you can't go wrong and will enjoy delightful stories.
Click here for more.

Christmas Babies Mm

In South Florida, tall and majestic, the palms trees sparkled with spirals of colorful bulbs around their trunks and twinkling garlands swayed between the palm fronds. In spite of the balmy breeze and warm temperature, the holiday season decorations brightened streets and buildings as described in CHRISTMAS BABIES.

Her Christmas Cruise Twitter

Have you ever tried to take a cruise during the holiday season? You should see the incredible decorations of a cruise ship at Christmas time. In HER CHRISTMAS CRUISE, you will have ample time to celebrate a very special time.

An Unusual Christmas  Amazon

What if Christmas isn't a joyful time for some people? The heroine on AN UNUSUAL CHRISTMAS travels to the end of the world to escape the celebrations and her sad memories. Yet she finds unexpected Christmas gifts and her own happy ever after.

CHRISTMAS HERE AND THERE is offered at a discounted price for a few days, 99cents!
If you like to travel and love to read, treat yourself and your friends to an inexpensive box set of  sweet Christmas romances.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random acts of awesomeness

There seem to be two kinds of posts in my Facebook feed these days. There are the "hey, isn't this awful" type posts where someone references something that is pretty upsetting. I read some of those posts, and I shake my head and sigh in agreement.

But then there are the awesome posts, the ones where someone did something really nice and we all get to collectively say "Hey, that was pretty cool!"

These are things like Jennifer Lawrence heading off the red carpet at the London premiere of Catching Fire and pushing past security barriers to hug a sobbing young girl in a wheelchair. She literally stopped the red carpet to spend a few moments with a fan who'd been overcome at being so close to her heroes.

And then there was Friday's day long "Batkid" celebration in San Francisco where the Make-A-Wish foundation took a five year old cancer survivor and gave him the opportunity to play a superhero, rescuing a damsel in distress, foiling a bank robbery, and freeing the Giant's mascot Lou Seal from villains at AT&T park, with the help of what seemed to be the entire city. The fun was tweeted by thousands of people in the SF Bay area as they cheered the little boy on.

It makes my day when I'm reminded how good people can be to each other and how often people go out of their way to make another person's life a little brighter. In a world where the bad sometimes seems to outweigh the good, that's important to remember.

Janet Miller/Cricket Starr