Monday, April 29, 2013

Get Ready for the Class Reunion!

I'm excited that my first Class Reunion book release date is quickly approaching! In order to acquaint y'all with the people in the stories, I'll start posting sections of a prequel very soon. Since the first book is about the 10-year reunion, the second about the 15-year reunion, and the third the 20-year reunion, it's only fitting that I share what happens five years after graduation. Will there be a 5-year reunion...or not?

All three books are currently available for preorder:

These books may also be ordered at the following places:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Good News from Friends

I contacted some of my friends and asked them to share some of their recent good news. Here’s what they had to say:

My agent Tamela Hancock Murray is blessed once again by one of her beautiful, sweet, smart daughters.
            I am excited that my youngest daughter is graduating from high school this year and will be attending Liberty University! My husband and I will soon be empty nesters, and though we will miss her, we look forward to our new stage of life.


After a rough season of helping her mother during the final stages of cancer, Julie Pollitt has some news to share.
            I received an email from an editor requesting my full manuscript. Even if they decide not to publish my book, I feel privileged enough to get past the front door. 


My close friend and fellow guide Cherie Burbach received a nice note from one of her Friendship page followers.
            Today I got a letter from a reader that really touched my heart. He thanked me for my newsletter and articles and reiterated how my advice had helped him and his wife make new friends. It was so genuine and heartfelt that it made me stop and just be thankful.
            I wonder if readers know just how much letters like that mean to writers. So often we take the "negative" that goes with writing (like receiving bad reviews), but when we receive something positive like this it lifts you up.
            His letter reminded me to stop and take a moment to thank God. I get to do something I love every day and once in a while people connect to it. This gives me a purpose that makes me excited to get up and go to work. What a blessing it was to be reminded of that.

My good friend Cindi Myers has an abundance of good news, both professional and personal.
            The View From Here is a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in genre fiction. The Colorado Center For the Book recognizes the best work by Colorado Authors each year. There's a reading/signing at the Denver Press Club next week and the winners will be announced at a reception in Aspen in June. I'm also a finalist for Writer of the Year for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I sold a second book to Harlequin Heartwarming this week. 
            A friend of mine who was diagnosed with lung cancer has been told by a specialist she might not have cancer at all. She's having exploratory surgery this week to find out what is going on.
            Our church food pantry received a grant which allowed us to buy new refrigerators, freezers and shelving and double the size of the pantry.


Friend and former coworker at HSN – she still works there, I don’t – Carrie Henderson is about to embark on a fun journey with her new website. I'll share more when it's live.


Another good friend, Trish Perry, wants to share her happy news.
            Since my house is paid off, I end up getting a huge property tax bill twice each year, and I'm always a little taken aback by it. This year I've been trying to prepare, but that bill was still going to hit me hard. This week, not only did my son transfer some money he owed into my bank account, but I discovered a rather huge error I had made in my math. Those two additions equaled exactly what I need for the bill I'll get this month. I'm ready! And blessed!


One of my personal pals and Bloomfield buddies Kathi Macias has a reason to smile.
            My Bloomfield novel, Last Chance for Justice, releases May 1, and I’m very excited! Also, my dear hubby retired the end of March and we’re having a blast getting used to this new “non-schedule.”


My pal RhondaGibson’s career is going great! Her fans will be very happy to hear this news.
            I’m delighted to announce that I just signed a 2 book contract with Love Inspired.


Fellow Bloomfield author Miralee Ferrell has some great things to celebrate.
            My husband has been out of work for 7 months and recently was hired for a very good-paying job in Alaska. We’ll be separated for 6 months with only one visit mid-way, but we’re so thankful to have steady income. My upcoming release, Blowing on Dandelions, (June 1) was given a strong, positive review with PW and has been chosen as the featured title for July for Crossings Book Club.

My friend Sandie Bricker received something from a reader that made her smile.
            I've been so concerned about the most recent book I wrote because Raw Edges (Abingdon Press - September 2013) is far more serious than my normal laugh-out-loud books, and I poured a lot of personal pain on the page when I wrote about an ovarian cancer memory quilt. I had no idea what my readers would think of something so different, and I didn't want them to be disappointed. However, the first review just came in recently, and the reviewer wrote that, in addition to my trademark laughs, there was a depth there that makes her think it's my best book yet. It was such a humbling relief, and I'm grateful for the reminder that I'm actually doing what I'm supposed to be doing.


Pal Beth Dolezal Teller is happy to share some family news.
            My husband is feeling better after being ill for months, and my daughter earned straight A's. And, I feel blessed to have some AMAZING friends!


I totally know how Debra Collins feels.
            The best news I’ve received lately is that two of my grandchildren have moved closer to me. As a matter of fact, there’s only six miles between us now. This is one happy Nona!

Monday, April 22, 2013

So Many Blessings

I've been blessed over the past few years with so many things.

First of all, my husband Wally retired from being  a financial advisor. Not being the type of person to sit at home, he decided to coach children in the First Tee golf program. And being a fitness buff, he also became a certified fitness instructor that qualifies him to work at the YMCA. He has also gotten some specialty certifications, including one to help golfers stay fit. I'm super proud of him and the way he continues being productive.
My husband Wally at his YMCA job

Both of my daughters, Alison and Lauren, are in good marriages with wonderful men. Alison and her husband Jason have the sweetest little girls, Emma and Sophia, and they live in North Carolina. Lauren and her husband Ryan have been married a year and a half and they are still enjoying being a couple and their new hometown in South Carolina. Wally and I go up to visit them every chance we get.
With granddaughters Emma and Sophia

I'm happy about the direction of my career and how much has happened recently. My agent Tamela Hancock Murray has kept me super busy, so of course I'm grateful for her. I've also become the Etiquette Guide on If you'd like to read some of my articles, go here and click around: Etiquette.

Here are some of my upcoming book releases:
Pretty Is as Pretty Does - book 1 in the Class Reunion series - June 2013
Bless Her Heart - book 2 in the Class Reunion series - August 2013
Farmer's Bride - anthology with 5 other Barbour authors - August 2013
Tickled Pink - book 3 in the Class Reunion series - September 2013
For the Love of Pete - Bloomfield novel - January 2014
Missing Dixie - book 1 in the Uptown Belles series - May 2014

If you would like to order any of the books, click on the links above.

I have some fun posts planned for the next few weeks, including a list of the blessings from some of my closest friends. After that, I'll be posting my prequel for the class reunion in segments to give readers an early glance at my characters.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

All About Blooming Things

In honor of Bloomfield, all the wonderful folks in the garden club, the authors, and the B&H publishing team, I'd like to share some interesting articles about things that bloom. Click on the titles and read all about them.
Photo courtesy of Iphis/

How to Make Floral Ice Cubes by Kerry Michaels

Edible Flowers History by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

How to Press and Dry Your Flowers by Sherri Osborn

The Language and Meaning of Flowers for Married Couples by Sheri & Bob Stritof

Spring Floral Arrangements by Jamie McIntosh

Designing a Butterfly Garden by Marie Iannotti

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Waiting for a View - Special Feature on iTunes

I just got word that my Bloomfield straight-to-digital release Waiting for a View is a special feature on iTunes. Here's a link: Waiting for View.

Here's a blurb:

Pushing 40, Bloomfield’s garden club vice president Sherry Butler has never moved out of her family home, still works at the same card shop where she landed a job after high school, and so resists change that she never accepted years of marriage proposals from Theo, the only man she ever loved.

Once he moves on, Sherry is pursued by Brad Henderson, an old friend who always seems to be there when she needs a helping hand. His kindness only annoys Sherry until one day she is shocked into self-reflection when a little girl points to her and asks her mother if she’s “the sad woman who will wind up being an old maid.”

With a friend’s encouragement, Sherry plans a turnaround, putting her house on the market and her name on the waiting list for a nice apartment with a view of the lake. She also agrees to go out with Brad, another bold step outside her comfort zone.

Letting go of the past is about as simple as an elephant picking up a pea, but for the first time in her life Sherry will leap into the exhilarating world of the great unknown, a place where faith is crucial and true love is waiting.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Etiquette Videos on

One of the things I enjoy about writing etiquette articles for is that the company hires videographers to publish videos to go with some of my articles. I never know which ones they'll choose, but I'm always happy to see them.

Here are some of the most recent ones:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Avalon Books

My first publisher, Avalon Books, will always have a special place in my heart. I sold my first one there in October 1999, and over the next few years, I wound up with a total of eight. Just last year the publisher sold the company to Amazon. This was a good thing for most of the authors because Amazon took our hardcover backlists and gave our books a new life by converting them to e-books and paperback.

Instead of starting with the earlier releases, they're working their way backward. My last book with Avalon had a release date of 2003, and now it's available for Kindle and as a paperback.

Here's a link to it: Forever Aloha (book #2 in the Aloha series).

I'm happy that the book is now available in more than one format with prices most people can afford. The rest of my backlist at Avalon is still only available in library-bound hardcover, but I hope it won't be long before readers can get them electronically and in paperback.

Even though Avalon wasn't a CBA publisher, they only bought G-rated romances, mysteries, and westerns. I'm happy about that because I was never asked to write anything that made me uncomfortable. I made the decision early in my submission attempts to never write anything I wouldn't want my children to read.

My other books at Avalon/Amazon:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Apple Pie Recipe from Bloomfield's Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias, author of Bloomfield's Last Chance for Justice, shares her apple pie recipe that looks absolutely scrumptious! 

Mama’s Flat Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  •             3 cups all-purpose flour
  •             1-1/3 cups shortening
  •             1/2 teaspoon salt
  •             2 medium eggs, separated
  •             2/3 cup milk
  •             3 handfuls flake-type cereal (i.e., corn flakes)
  •             8-10 Granny Smith apples
  •             1 cup granulated sugar
  •             1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  •             1 teaspoon nutmeg
  •             1 Tablespoon orange juice
  •             1 teaspoon lemon juice
  •             1 Tablespoon margarine or butter
Photo courtesy of Messa/

  1. Blend together flour, shortening and salt.
  2. Add egg yolks to milk and mix with fork.
  3. Add yolk mixture to flour mixture.
  4. Divide the dough and roll out half of it for the bottom crust to fit a cookie sheet.
  5. Sprinkle the bottom crust with cereal.
  6. Peel and thinly slice apples and spread evenly over the bottom crust.
  7. Sprinkle mixture with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  8. Pour juices over apples and dot with margarine.
  9. Roll out the top crust and place over the apples, sealing the edges.
  10. Cut small slits in the top crust.
  11. Beat the egg whites until stiff and spread over top crust.
  12. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until golden brown

Purchase Kathi's latest Bloomfield book here: Last Chance for Justice.

Visit her website: Kathi Macias.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Some of My Favorite Sites


Every morning while I sip my coffee and wake up my foggy brain, I visit a list of websites that make me smile, make me think, and often inspire me. I've decided to post a list of some of my favorite places.

Here they are:
  • Steve Laube's Blog - Publishing news and information from three different agents, including my agent Tamela Hancock Murray.
  • Seekerville - A fun blog from a group of writers who have shared their vastly varying experiences on their roads to publication.
  • Martha's Bloomfield Musings - Martha Rogers shares the latest news from Bloomfield, the quirky town "where everyone knows your name."
  • Bloomfield's Facebook page - You'll have to log on at Facebook, but you can learn more about our wonderful fictional town.
  • Just the Write Charisma - Posts by the fiction authors who write for Charisma House. I'm new there.
  • Trish Perry's Blog - Her "reading, writing, and the stuff in between" blog is filled with fun author interviews and chances for free books from many of the authors she features.
  • Rachelle Gardner's Blog - She posts several times a week, and she has some great tidbits that can benefit writers and readers.
  • A Christian Writer's World - Author Lena Nelson Dooley's blog. She has some fabulous author interviews with opportunities to win free books.

There are more, but I don't want to overwhelm anyone. I'll post them later. Have a wonderful April and take some time to relax.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools' Day

I'm not a big fan of April Fools' Day. Why don't we change it to April Smart Person's Day? Maybe that doesn't have the same ring to it, but I like the idea much better.

The origin of April  is unclear, although it is commonly thought that it has something to do with New Year's Day being moved from April 1 to January 1. Apparently, it took a while for people to catch on in the 16th century, so a lot of people didn't know right away. Those who didn't know were called fools, and people played practical jokes on them. Eventually these pranks became a tradition.

Now we have access to all the knowledge we need or want, so let's enjoy the day in a much more positive way. Be nice, and if you must play a joke on someone, make sure it doesn't do any damage.