Sunday, May 31, 2020

New Romance and Fiction In The Garden

New Romance and Fiction In The Garden

Click on covers for more information and to purchase
A midsummer sailboat race is coming to Annapolis, and Celia Rossi's 1950s-themed ice cream parlor will have a booth at the waterfront celebration. To keep her business flourishing, she needs to impress both locals and tourists on the festive day. But how? She receives unexpected help when she hires a part-time worker who pops up out of nowhere. Suzie Conroy proves to have an almost magical gift for the craft of artisanal ice cream, yet she acts clueless about some ordinary details of everyday life. And why is she so determined to churn up the perfect batch of tutti frutti?
Flame-haired Birdie Mae Dix has no idea what tomorrow will bring. Kidnapped by the Pawnee and traded to the Comanche, she is now in the custody of the US Cavalry. After eighteen years of loss and cruelty, she trusts no one, not even the handsome captain whose piercing blue glare fills her with apprehension…and unwanted desire.

Years of war have hardened Captain Ford Thackery. Pledging his life to a military career, he has sworn never to consider married life—until he rescues Birdie. He knows he must earn her trust as well as find a way into her heart.

When she is abducted by a renegade Pawnee cavalry scout, Ford embarks on a dangerous journey of rescue, but he and Birdie must still bridge the gaping chasm of hatred that separates their worlds.
All Lily Evans wants for her summer vacation in the tiny resort town in upstate New York is rest, relaxation, and a chance to recover from her recent breakup with her cheating ex. Unfortunately, she gets no cooperation from the sexy, playboy Ben Jordan, Aberdeen's hot young police chief. From the moment Lily arrives in town, the man wreaks havoc in her life.

Women fall at Ben's feet like rain from the sky. With Lily's arrival, Ben sees a perfect opportunity to enjoy an easy, pleasurable summer with her. Only Lily refuses to oblige. Ben loves a good challenge…especially if it involves the most beautiful woman he's ever seen.

Before long, sparks fly between Ben and Lily. In even less time, the rumors swirl. Should Ben pursue Lily and risk his future chance at being mayor? Can Lily let go of her fears and learn to trust again?
Louise Archer boards a westbound train in St. Louis to find the Kansas homesteader who wooed and proposed to her by correspondence, then jilted her by telegram – Don't come, I can't marry you. Giving a false name to hide her humiliation, her lie backfires when a marshal interferes and offers her his seat.

Marshal Everett McCloud intends to verify the woman coming to marry his homesteading friend is suitable. At the St. Louis train station, his plan detours when he offers his seat to a captivating woman whose name thankfully isn't Louise Archer.

Everett's plans thwart hers, until he begins to resemble the man she came west to find, and she the woman meant to marry his friend.         

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Garden Interview with Susan Leigh Furlong

Hello Susan

Tell us about your books.

1.      Do you plot or let the story unfold?

A lot of advice online from, for example, J.K. Rowlings or Stephen King, is to use a large chart and post-its to fill in each scene. I tried this technique and found it too frustrating. I am not a math person and that kind of precision makes me tense. Then I read that Diane Gabaldon of Outlander fame writes in chapters or scenes and then puts them together. That’s how I do it. I always have a category of “Scenes to Add” handy to be inserted when I get to that part of the story. This works for me!

2.      When did you decide to become an author?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t creating stories. When I was about ten years old, someone sent us kimonos from Japan for my sister and brother, and I wrote a play that we all presented in our attic along with some of the neighborhood kids. My first writings were handwritten and stuffed in my underwear drawers. Next, I worked on a manual typewriter, jumping up to fix dinner between paragraphs. Then we got a Commodore 64 and I went through two keyboards. After that we’ve had a variety of computers, and my husband always told me “You’ll never fill up that hard drive.” I always did.

3.      How do you deal with writer’s block?

I get so many ideas at night in bed. Once an entire short drama came to me, nearly word-for-word. I keep post-its by my bed and scribble what I remember. Quite often my question in the morning is “What does this say?” I heard that Ann Rice writes her nighttime ideas on her walls, but I don’t think that would go over well in our house! I also do a lot of plotting when I take walks. I give myself a question – How do I get the hero from this place to the next?- and the quiet of being outside opens up my mind until I know just how he’ll do it.

4.      How much of the book is realistic?

I am a lover of history, and I write historical romance books based on actual true events. Then I can toss my fictional characters in and see how they’d survive. Under the category of “You can’t make this stuff up,” I am always amazed at events and people from the past. My first two books (Steadfast Will I Be and By Promise Made) take place in Scotland in the mid-1500s under the reigns of James V who was held prisoner by his step-father before he escape to regain his throne at age sixteen, and Mary, Queen of Scots who caused a war between England and Scotland over her betrothal at age four. I do quite a bit of research on the setting, the clothing, and the customs of the time while my hero and heroine are created from the heart.

5.      How did you do in English as a kid?

Since I’d always been writing, the creative aspects of an English class came easily. I, however, got my greatest encouragement from a teacher I had my junior year in High School. The school had a literary magazine of student work, and I took a leap of faith to submit one of my stories. It was loosely based on an event that happened to me. It was not accepted by the panel of student judges for publication, but my teacher called me in after class to tell me that while the students had not appreciated it, she loved it. She said it showed promise and talent, and I should keep writing. If she had been choosing the stories to be published, mine would have been on the front page. This meant so much to me!

And for something a bit personal....

1.      What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?

I taught school for 30 years, first grade and fourth grade. I had a reputation for being successful with children when no one else was. The result was that often my classes were overloaded with “problem” kids. It turned out that my success was due to the lies I told. For example, in Kindergarten “Kenny” could not be left unsupervised. He’d did whatever he wanted, and usually that meant wandering off or refusing to come in from recess, etc. and punching other kids in the face. When I got him in first grade, I told him that I thought he had strong leadership skills, and I would like him to help the other children. Within two months I could send him on errands to the office alone, much to the surprise of the principal and the secretary, and by the end of the year he could lead the class to assemblies and get them seated.
Another troubled girl had been in Kindergarten twice and still would not spell her name correctly. I told her repeatedly that I thought she was very smart and that I really liked her. Within the week she spelled her name correctly and by November she was the top reader in my class. All because I told a lie.

2.      I have several favorite quotes.

This one, in varying wording, has been attributed to several people, but I like this version by Edward Teller, a nuclear physicist – a scientist who talks about faith. “When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”
Another is by Mother Teresa and is written on the wall of her children’s home in India – a woman who often questioned her faith but believed anyway.
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine  enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”

3.      If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

My warning label would say “She says what she means, and she means what she says. So, listen up!”

4.      What are your current projects?

I am working on marketing my first book, Steadfast Will I Be, and am in the editing stage of my second book, By Promise Made. I also have partially finished my third book, as of yet untitled.

For the past fifteen years I have written scripts and performed with a music and drama group called LightReaders. I am working on our 2020 program of music, which we take to nursing homes in our area, and also working on an extended program with music and sketches to present at our church in August.  Both are entitled, “God is Great – Stories, Songs and Psalms.”

5.      Do you travel researching your books?

Two years ago, I took a two week cruise with my two sisters around Great Britain. One of the stops was in Edinburgh, and we took a side trip north to Loch Lomand and Dunrobin Castle, which happens to be in our Scottish heritage family tree. I felt “at home” there, and I use that feeling when I describe the area in my books. I wish I could travel more, but Google is a great help in showing me the areas.

Where can we find you online?

Download Steadfast Will I Be
on Amazon and other online retailers.

Friday, May 29, 2020

And Author Interview with D. K. Deters

Hi D.K.

Welcome to the Garden Interviews

Tell us about you and your books

How did you do in English as a kid?
I remember little about my early years, but high school English was another story. I always wanted to throw my underwhelming pages in the trash. It turns out, I did fine, but it took years to recognize that everyone has their own writing style and voice.

What was the hardest chapter/book to finish and why?
I’ve always had a tough time finishing the last chapter. I worry if the reader will be satisfied with the ending or if I’ve somehow overlooked a plot hole.  It’s tough to say goodbye to the characters since they’ve been my inspiration for months and months.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There’s a little bit of a hero in all the characters. Their small and almost forgettable actions will have you wondering how they all connect.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Since Christmas Once Again is a time travel fantasy, I was careful about separating the past from the present.

When did you first, without hesitation, call yourself a writer?
November 12, 2018. The day Christmas Once Again was published.

Now let's get to the personal stuff...

Are you jealous of other writers?
Oh yeah. Sometimes I’ll read a line or a paragraph that this is pure mastery and wish I could write like that.

What makes you laugh?
My grandchildren.

Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy restoring old dollhouses and secondhand furniture.

If you were a tool, what would you be?
I’d be a tack remover. I usually can’t find mine until I’ve finished with my furniture project.

What is your favorite time of year and why?
December. Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Where can we find out more?

Download Christmas Once Again on Amazon and other online retailers

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Welcome Wendy Kendall to our garden interviews

Hello Wendy

Tell us about you and your books

Have you ever cried while writing a book?

I cried when I wrote one of the scenes in my mystery Kat Out of the Bag. It's a scene between Amber and Michael. Amber is a college student who runs the Purse Museum's gift shop and Michael is her boyfriend. I not only cried when I wrote this scene, my eyes filled with tears when I read it out loud to my writing Critique Group. Readers will easily recognize which emotional chapter it is.

When did you decide to become an author?

When I was 8 years old I declared to my family that I was going to write books. I loved reading stories, and imagining my own story plots.

Does working to deadline inspire or annoy you?

Working to a deadline motivates me. If no one gives me a deadline, then I create one for myself. If I miss a deadline then I celebrate progress made and set a new one.

When you wrote this book, did you have an idea of how it would end at the beginning?

Oh yes, I wrote the first scene, and then I wrote the last scene, and then I wrote the rest. In a mystery it's very helpful to know the ending when you're planting clues and alibis.There are some interesting parallels in the beginning and the ending of Kat Out of the Bag, but there are dynamic differences in the characters after what they've been through in the story.

Would you like to be friends with the main character?

I would love to be friends with Katherine Watson. She has a great sense of humor.  She's impulsive and opinionated, which can be unpredictable and fun. She's a celebrated, international purse designer so she's creative and has a gorgeous fashion sense. She's a self-made woman and drives an awesome classic, red Mustang. I would expect she'd let me, her best friend borrow her purses too.

 Follow up question - What is something you can picture the two of you doing together?
I can see us together at her Purse-onality Museum after a ride in the Mustang. Katherine and I would talk and laugh and drink lattes as we create one of the purse exhibits depicting women's lives throughout history.

And now for a little fun...
Who do you see as a hero/heroine in your life?

My parents are the hero and heroine of my life. I dedicated my book to them. They were part of “The Greatest Generation.” They were the definition of optimism and persistence, even through the darkest of times. They were creative and adventurous, and never lost a great sense of humor. And they were devoted to each other and our family. They've both passed away after very full lives. I remember so much of what they said, and what they did, and especially how loved they made me feel.

If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?

As a mystery writer, I've considered this in great detail. I would use the Shakespeare play Othello as my psychological thriller model. I would plot the same way as the character Iago. I would be devious about convincing someone else that they have been grievously wronged. With my subtle pushing, that person would strike out to commit the murder, while I am safe and sound with an alibi.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Better late than never.” This quote is especially true when it comes to your dreams. If you can dream it, you can do it and there is no time limit. My writing simmered on the back burner longer than I expected, but I'm savoring it now.

And, if you're an amateur sleuth like Katherine Watson who is often late, she finds out that tardiness can be quite revealing when it comes to discovering clues.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

Caution: frequent stops for purse gazing

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?

Chocolate, Music, Double Chai Lattes

Where can we find out more?
My podcast interviewing authors – A Novel Talk
Title of current release: Kat Out of the Bag

Download Kat Out of the Bag on Amazon and other online retailers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Welcome Christopher J. Ferguson to our Garden Interviews

Hello Christopher

tell us about you and your books

How did you do in English as a kid?

Mostly I slept!  Seriously, I was never a very good student, particularly in high school.  Like most teens, my circadian rhythms didn’t really match the school day, so English class was a great time to catch up on some shut eye.  I actually really enjoyed reading out of school, Stephen King and Dean Koontz being my favorites in those days, but most of the books we got assigned in English were “classics” that, to me, frankly, just weren’t very good or interesting.  There were exceptions, to be sure, such as “Animal Farm”, which I loved, but most of the stuff they had us read was very dull to me.  I honestly didn’t read most of the books and “Cliff Notes” were a godsend.  Frankly, looking back, I’m not quite sure how I passed high school! 

Do you have trouble saying goodbye to characters?

Yes, sometimes.  I truly believe that no character, even the main character should be impervious to dying if that’s what the plot calls for.  So, as I sketch out plots, I’ll sometimes envision moving death scenes for main characters that readers will have fallen in love with.  Of course, after living with them in my head after months of writing, I’ve often fallen in love with them too!  But some of the great tension from books and fiction comes from never being sure the character you love is going to survive. 

Did you have to research forensic science or criminal psychology for your latest suspense?

Well, it helps that I’m a forensic psychologist myself!  So, I’ve kind of immersed myself in the darker elements of human nature.  For me, if I’m writing about a historical period as with Suicide Kings, trying to get the history right can require a bit more research.  I don’t mind fudging history a bit…wheellock pistols weren’t quite around yet during the time of the novel, and Diana Savrano manages to get around Florence a bit more than would have been possible for a young woman living in the very restrictive period of that time.  But, as much as possible, I try to keep the time period as faithful as I can. 

What tips would you give a new writer?

Persistence is an absolute must!  That’s a positive way of saying “Get used to rejection!”  Rejection is really quite the norm when dealing with fiction…fiction is subjective, and there’s a billion people out there all writing fiction, so the competition is fierce.  It’s difficult to succeed in if one is likely to be emotionally crushed by every rejection. 
But persistence also applies to writing.  There are plenty of other things out there that, arguably, are more fun in the short-term: video games, watching TV, hanging out with family, whatever.  Writing can, at times, be real work.  And, given point #1, work that’s not guaranteed to pay off.  Getting on a schedule for writing can help you keep on it, even when the motivation may dip, particularly around mid-book when the initial excitement wears off and the end is still nowhere in sight!

What are your current projects?

Aside from fiction, I do some work in non-fiction as well.  That gig is a bit easier since you actually need credentials to crack in there, so that reduces some of the competition.  I just released a book How Madness Shaped History that is pretty much what it says on the box…looking at how psychology and history have intersected, usually for the worse.  It’s a fun book, I think, with some great, lurid stories, but also some serious points about how we look at mental illness, problems with contemporary society, etc.   

And for a little fun

Do you have a favorite quote?

My favorite quote is actual a song lyric “If I only could, I’d make a deal with God, and get Him to swap our places.”  By Kate Bush. 

Do you laugh at your own jokes?

Somebody has to!

Are you jealous of other writers?

That’s actually a great question!  I’d hate to think I’m jealous of others in a negative sense like I’m angry at them for their success.  But would I love to have the fiction-writing empire of, say, Stephen King or J.K. Rowling?  You bet!  On the other hand, seeing at least that it’s possible for some authors to reach those dizzying heights is also inspiring.  So, I’d have to probably admit to a twinge of envy from time to time, but I suspect that’s also part of the motivation to keep going!

Do you have any hobbies?

Too many!  I’m an avid Dungeons and Dragons player which I’d probably credit (along with my wife and son) as being one of the most positive influences in my life.  I jog, bike, swim, play guitar, read of course, and probably have dabbled in some other things less frequently that I can’t remember.  I don’t have any difficulty frittering a day away (though afternoon naps also help with this…I’m a fundamentally lazy person who plays at being productive.) 

If you could have three wishes granted, what would you wish for?

Hmmm…I’d probably wish for dazzling success with my writing career without any drawbacks.  Second, assuming that world peace or an end to all disease was off the table, I’d wish that one random person who was good of heart was lifted up out of despair and returned to some positive place in their life (disease free, happy, etc.)  And third, yeah, I’d set the Genie free. 

Where can we find out more?

Twitter: CJFerguson1111

and other online retailers

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Garden Interview with Mariah Ankenman

Hello Mariah

Tel us about you and your books

1.Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

I am a heavy plotter. I have a new notebook for every book I write and I plot out every scene down to dialogue sometimes. My Outline is really more of a 1st draft.

2.What tips would you give a new writer?

Read as much as you can. Write as much as you can. Don’t get so attached to your story that you can’t put it down and walk away if necessary. Listen to all advice with a grain of salt because what works for some doesn’t work for others.

3. Describe your writing style in ten words or less.

Sassy and swoon-worthy

4.Do you have set times during the day that you write?

I used to write at night after my kids went to bed, but now I try to sneak in 30-minute sprints throughout the day.

5.Does working to deadline inspire or annoy you?

Yes! Give me a deadline! If I have an end goal in sight it helps me to schedule my time better. I love deadlines.

And for a little fun...

1.If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

Warning, corny dad jokes ahead.

2.Do you have any hobbies?

I do! I love music, specifically playing my ukulele, but we have almost 2 dozen instruments in our house and I can play most of them. I also love crochet, scrapbooking, tabletop games, facepainting, cosplay, and aerial hoop.

3.What is your favorite drink?

Dirty Vodka Martini!

4.If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?

A solar powered ereader with an endless supply of books on it/A RoverTac multitool Camping tool/

5.Do you laugh at your own jokes?

Sometimes I’m the only one laughing at them, lol!

Where can we find you online?

And find all Mariah's books at

Monday, May 25, 2020

Garden Interview with Margaret L. Carter

Welcome Margaret

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

I outline extensively. Since first-draft writing is a slow and laborious process for me, especially since I edit as I go (probably a byproduct of my academic background), I need to know in considerable detail where the story is headed. Early in my attempts to write novels, I learned that without an outline I would usually bog down in the middle and give up.

What's your favorite book you've written?

Dark Changeling, my first published vampire novel, in which I expounded the biology and psychology of my naturally evolved vampire species in the most detail of any of my works. I’ve used Dr. Roger Darvell, the half-human, half-vampire psychiatrist from that book, in several other novels and stories. Of all my characters, he feels the most “real” to me.

How did you do in English as a kid?

Honor roll student in high school. I majored in English at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia) and went on to earn an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English.

When did you decide to become an author?

Shortly after reading Dracula at the age of twelve. The novel enthralled me and got me into reading horror, fantasy, and all sorts of speculative fiction. From the first, I wondered how the “monsters” felt about the stories in which they were portrayed as villains. I started writing fiction about vampires and other supernatural creatures at age thirteen, often from the viewpoint of the “monster.”

When did you first, without hesitation, call yourself a writer?

When I sold my first professionally published piece of fiction, a story in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s anthology Free Amazons of Darkover. One of my favorite authors approved of my work—and paid me for it!

And for a little bit of fun

What did you want to be when you grew up?

In childhood, I wanted to be a doctor, because I was fascinated by biology and anatomy. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the stress, so it’s a good thing I dropped that idea. During the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon election campaign, I got the notion of wanting to go into politics. As a hardcore introvert, I would have been terrible at that! At age thirteen, I decided to become a writer (as explained above). I majored in English in college and graduate school on the premise that I could eventually get paid for reading.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Adventures are nasty, uncomfortable things that make you late for dinner.” — Bilbo Baggins

Have you ever found true love?

Yes, with my husband of over fifty years. We met in a church youth group when I was in high school and he had just graduated. We were drawn together by our mutual love of speculative fiction and the fact that both of us wanted to become writers. We got married at ages eighteen and twenty, respectively, and we’re still married, thank Heaven.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Main dish: My husband’s chicken curry. Dessert: Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream.

What is your favorite time of year and why?

Summer. I enjoy hot, dry weather. I loved Southern California, where we lived off and on as a Navy family. Summer in our present home (Maryland) doesn’t fulfill the “dry” criterion, but even with the humidity I like it much better than being cold.

And tell us where we can find out more

Carter’s Crypt:

Available today! Spooky Tutti Frutti 
On Amazon and other online retailers

Sunday, May 24, 2020

New Romance and Fiction In The Garden

New Romance and Fiction In The Garden

Click on covers for more information and to purchase
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop's machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn't had a day off in a decade and wonders if she'll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher's Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy's shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?
Rejected by her family for her bisexuality, graphic artist Margot DuPont yearns for a life with no fences, no limits, and no family ties. Between college, work at Book Nirvana, and an art competition, she barely has time for her part-time girlfriend much less a flirtation with her competitor.

Dumped into the foster system at a young age, ceramics artist Elmer Byrne craves a big, loving family of the heart. His artist family almost fills that need, but something is missing...until Margot. But when he offers his heart, her thorny defenses shatter him.

Thrown together in an art competition that could jump-start one artist's career, but not both, their irresistible attraction forces them to reconsider the meaning of success.
Josephine Brevil has lived hundreds of years haunted by the horrors she experienced during the Salem Witch Trials. She takes great care to hide her powers, though serving a Root Brew Float laced with a magic potion now and again never hurt anybody. The Order sends her to Massachusetts to deal with a paranormal threat, and she meets the young and handsome widower, Clarence Watts. However, being with him comes with a choice. How can she choose between the man she loves and the magic she holds dear?
Beth Jorgennson crawls from the wreckage of widowhood into a woodworking class for women. Her four younger classmates spill their secrets during friendly get-togethers, but she keeps hers safe within her guarded heart. Over time, Beth learns to rely on new friends instead of clinging to memories of her late husband. But when a secret from her past reappears, Beth isn't certain if she can handle her world being upended again.
Widow Melody Rose has already lost one man whose job involved guns and violence. She swore she'd never put herself through that again.
At first Sheriff Jake Bennett wants nothing to do with the taciturn café owner, but Melody intrigues him. When a stalker targets her, he's determined to protect the woman he has fallen for. Can Melody overcome her greatest fear and save the man she never dreamed would claim her heart?         

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Garden Interview with Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome Joanne

Tell us about you and your books

When did you decide to become an author?

While sitting in high school English class (circa 1973), I dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. Instead, I followed the conventional advice of the times and pursued a career in teaching, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that someday I would resurrect that writing dream. In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement and devoted my second act to writing.

Are your characters based on real people?

Having lived and taught in different cities throughout the province of Ontario, I felt free to “borrow” characteristics from former colleagues and students to create composite characters. While Gilda is approximately 70% of me, the same can’t be said of the other characters. I would be very surprised if anyone recognized himself/herself in the novel.

How much time do you spend writing each day?

After some experimentation, I came up with a daily regimen. Nothing too dramatic, but it works for me. I like to sleep in each day and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. But after my second cup of coffee, I start writing. My goal is 1,000 words a day. After I reach that quota, I’m free to meet with friends for lunch or coffee and plan other outings.

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

A linear pantser, I write brief character sketches, plot the first three chapters and the last, and then let the words flow. At some point, usually around Page 80, I encounter the murky middle, that nebulous place where I find it difficult to continue or sustain the tension of the novel. In short, I’m lost with no clear trail or direction in sight. 
In the early days of my writing career, I struggled to regain my motivation, wondering if I should abandon the novel. Thankfully, I have discovered several strategies that have lifted me out of the abyss.

What tips would you give a new writer?

Carve your own journey and take time to discover what you really like to write. In most cases, you will gravitate toward the genres you read. But don’t limit yourself. Instead, experiment with other genres, nonfiction, and poetry. I highly recommend attending local readings and workshops. If you need more direction, sign up for a creative writing course—online or offline—that exposes you to short stories, children’s and adult writing, creative nonfiction and poetry. Search until you find a warm, supportive environment where your words can flow freely. And most important of all, enjoy the journey.

and for a bit of fun

Do you have a favorite quote?

“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can't have both. Not at the same time.” ― Brené Brown

What is your favorite beverage?

I start each day with two to three cups of organic, fair-trade coffee from Planet Bean (a local café). My preferred blend is “Chatty Matty” and can be described as “light and mellow…nutty with a caramel finish.”

Do you have any hobbies?

While writing occupies the lion’s share of my time, I also enjoy reading, yoga, scrapbooking, blogging, movies, artist dates, and meeting friends for leisurely brunches and lunches.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Years ago, I would have answered pasta, any kind of pasta with tomato sauce or pesto. Since embracing a low-carb diet, I have grown to love and appreciate my daily bowls of comfort. I especially like puréed, low-starch vegetable soups that are quick and easy to prepare. Puréed broccoli soup is at the top of my list. You can find my recipe here:

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?

Clean drinking water. Compatible companions. Pen and paper (preferably a journal).

Where can we find out more?




Download   A Different Kind of Reunion  on Amazon and other online retailers