Sunday, 26 March 2023

So, You Want to Write a Book…

When I told a friend of mine I was thinking about writing a book, she said to me, “Ah, you have something to say.” I frowned, and said, “No. I just have this awesome story in my head.”

So, with those words planted in your mind, “Let me tell you a story…” 

My journey to publication started in the mid-90s. One evening while I was reading, I thought how simple the structure and dialogue was in this particular novel. You can write, a voice urged inside my head. Let me tell you, I almost fell off my chair. But the words rang true for me. So, I decided to act on this truth, and took a writing course—Writing your Novel—where I met a great couple of like-minded would-be writer gals. Together we started a writing support group, and I wrote my first novel—a paranormal romance. This manuscript caught the eye of an agent, but I was hardly ready, and I see that now. What I needed to do was to hone my craft and get better and better with the process of writing. And that takes making lots of mistakes at the expense of your ego. In other words: lots of rejection, rejection, rejection! Ouch!

Then one night, during my writer’s group, one of my friends said something that floored me. She mentioned that I hit my twelve-year-old character’s voice bang on. So, this got me to thinking—how hard would it be to write a young adult novel? It was a stupid question. Of course it was hard! After thinking about what my friend had said to me, I decided I’d challenge myself and write not just a novel—but a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. Since I’ve always loved the time travel genre, it was a no-brainer for me.

Time travel to almost twenty-five years later, and it turns out that I had plenty to say! About my writer’s
life. About the writing process. About my journey to publication. And about the feeling I finally had holding a printed copy of my first book, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. Let me tell you that was a bitter-sweet moment. Bitter because I didn’t realize the amount of work that lay ahead of me to continue on with my journey as a published author. Sweet because all those years—seventeen to be exact—I’d worked so hard to achieve getting published, had actually paid off. Perseverance, they say, truly wins in the end.

So, you want to write a book? It begins with INTENT. Back when I started blogging, I was so green and didn’t have much to offer writers or even knew what to say. I was scared, insecure, and filled with tons of self-doubt. BUT I moved forward with tenacity and embraced the desire to be a published author, and dare I say, Bestselling author. I’ve built my blog, and my writing career brick by brick, word by word until I’ve amassed quite a collection of helpful and heartfelt content to assist anyone who is remotely interested in delving into the murky, yet exciting world of writing and all the challenges a writer might face. Today, I still have a long way to go, but I’m definitely on the right track with my goals and aspirations as a young adult author.

It is my hope that you find my free PDF ebook Tips, Tricks and Tools for the Tenacious Writer insightful, inspiring, and illuminating as you begin your writing journey or just need some tips, tools, or tricks to help you shine in this crazy publishing business. All the best. All the success.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

Sunday, 19 March 2023

An Easter Banquet and Cozy Mystery Read Compliments of Author Janis Lane...

Nothing tastes better at Easter then baked ham. Therefore, this is the perfect time of the year to share one of my favorite meals with you. The recipes are easy to prepare and are a wonderful combination of flavors that will have your family and friends asking for seconds. 


Baked Ham with Raisin Sauce
 
1 ham (Cured) bone in or out by choice 
Whole cloves 
1 can pineapple rings, reserve juice 
Water 
1 or 2 dashes of bourbon or white wine, optional 
Maraschino cherries to decorate, optional 

Preheat oven to 350° F. 

Score ham ⅛ inch deep. Place 1 clove in each square. Use a toothpick to hang pineapple rings around the ham. Don’t forget the sides! 

Cover bottom of a large pan with ¼ inch of water, also bourbon or wine if you’re using it. Add ham then cover with aluminum foil to avoid drying out. Remove foil twenty minutes before serving. 

Cook 10 minutes per pound or until warmed through. Check often to avoid over cooking. 

Insert cherries into pineapple rings at serving time. 

Spicy Southern Raisin Sauce 
2 tbsp. flour 
2 tbsp. sugar 
1 pinch salt 
⅓ cup dried raisons 
¼ cup water 
1 pinch powered cloves 
⅛ tsp. powdered cinnamon 
3 tbsp. vinegar 
1 tbsp. butter 

 Mix flour, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Add raisins and water. Simmer a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add spices, vinegar, and butter, blend well. Ready to serve over ham slices. 

Cut pineapple rings in half. Add pineapple and cherries to the ham platter when you serve. 

Acorn Squash 
¼ squash per person 
1 tsp. butter per squash quarter, softened 
1 heaping tsp. brown sugar per squash quarter 
Reserved pineapple juice 

Preheat oven to 325° F. 

Mix butter, brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons pineapple juice in a small bowl. 

Microwave squash or bake in the oven until tender. This can be done earlier in the day. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Quarter and arrange in ovenproof casserole dish. 

Add brown sugar mix to center of each quartered squash slice. Warm on low heat in oven until ready to serve. 

Marinated Raw Asparagus 
3 spears per person 
1 bottle spicy Italian salad dressing 

Wash asparagus and place in casserole dish. Cover spears with spicy Italian salad dressing or your favorite type. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove spears from dressing then set on decretive platter. Use tongs to serve. 

Here is a peek at my latest cozy mystery for your reading enjoyment. 

When is it not fun to be a blond? 

What happens when a blond beauty hits town like a tornado stirring up memories and causing turmoil? Detective Kevin Fowler and his wife, the former Beverly Hampton, owner of the local newspaper, are settling into blissful married life. Although Beverly is sanguine over the demand on Kevin’s time by the good people of Hubbard, she is more than dubious when his duties include the escort of a drop-dead gorgeous female from his past.

There is some concern over the persistent vandalism of residential mailboxes, but an infamous arsonist has decided peaceful but dull Hubbard would make a great place from which to operate. He brazenly locates down the block from the detective and his wife.

What bait and tackle shop in the village has a dual purpose? Kevin ponders why two goons have invaded town shooting at and attempting to kidnap and murder three women. A state patrolman, aptly nick named Rooster, teases Fowler at the riotous scene of a traffic accident where the press, not the police, wins the day.

Another mystery and adventure with a satisfying ending that unfolds in peaceful Hubbard, New York, small-town Americana, where Detective Kevin Fowler keeps an ever-vigilant watch.

Amazon Buy Link


Emma Lane
is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane. 

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own. 

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Guest Post: Having No Regrets by Author Alicia Joseph...

Wrinkles cover her thin-skinned ninety-two-pound body, compliments from her eighty-seven years of living in this, at times, tumultuous world.  But she's as easygoing as they come, mostly unbothered by external noise. 


She's a headstrong, entirely capable, and stubborn woman. I love all of those qualities about her.  She minds her own business and lives the way she wants. She talks to me in her beautiful Irish accent. She was born on a farm in Ireland. She rode a horse to school with a trap in the back where kids hitched rides on the way. She misses the horses. The farm had rabbits and dogs and pigs, but she loved the horses the most. 

A couple years ago, her son privately talked to her doctor to persuade the doctor to tell her she couldn't drive anymore. One day she joined me for a walk with my dog Phil and she had a disgruntled look on her face. I asked what was wrong. 

"I know my son told my doctor to tell me I can't drive anymore. I'm not stupid." She looked up at me with her thin lips pressed bitterly against each other and her short brown hair swaying in the breeze. "But I do what I want. He's not the boss of me." 

Later that day I was sitting on my front lawn with Phil and her garage door opened. Seconds later, a blue van backed out of the garage and down the driveway. She pulled into the street and gave me a wave from behind the wheel as she passed. 

She'd found her keys. She's determined like that. 

Another day I was walking Phil past her house, and she was in the garage pounding out a dent in her car. I asked her what happened. She said she hit something in the garage but had to hurry because her son would be over soon. I asked if she needed help, she answered, "No, just don't tell my son."  

That made me smile. Most everything about that special woman makes me smile. I wish to be more like her. I was down one day and told her about it. She told me she doesn't think about thoughts that bring her down. I imagine that isn't something she just started doing in her later years. I'm sure she lived by that adage even when she was younger and raising six children. She talks of her past without regret or resentment. She had a hardworking husband, (whom she also tells me wasn't the boss of her) but times weren't always easy, especially the early days in Ireland when work was hard to find or when one of her children took their own life. 

None of her pains from the past show on her face now. At least none that I can see, though it doesn't mean it isn't there. She chooses to live as happily as she can. Not many people make that choice. Some live bitterly and filled with anger. When my nieces and nephews were young, they'd come over and play in the street. Naturally, they'd make a lot of noise. She'd always come outside, not to yell about all the racket, but to sit on her front porch and watch the kids play because she loved to hear the sound of children's laughter. 

Margaret lives across the street from me, and she loves to sit at her front window with her cat. No matter how bad of a day I may be having, when I see her face at the window I always smile because she waves at me with such excitement, huge smile and arm waving fast and high, as though she'd been waiting all day to see me. I will miss that when the day comes where she is no longer at the window. Hopefully that won't be for a while.

Margaret came over a couple days ago to tell us she and her son and daughters are going to England but won't be stopping in Ireland. She doesn't have much family there anymore and doesn't want to impose on the ones still there. We sat and got to talking and she shared with me how happy she is that we are neighbors. She went on about how comforting and safe she feels that we are right across the street from her. Margaret doesn't live alone. She has her daughter, and her son stops by almost every day, yet still she appreciates that we are neighbors. 

That meant something to me, and I hope she knows how much I appreciate that we are neighbors, too.

Here is a glimpse into one of my books. I hope you enjoy it. 


“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality.

After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

AMAZON BUY LINKS




Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon. Life permitting.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, 5 March 2023

A Healthy March Break Brunch Served Up by Author and Artist Linda Lee Greene...

 Saturdays are universally hectic. Itineraries for this special day of the week are mind-boggling in their Mach-speed, complexity, and crowded activities. But it is also the time before the starting pistol shoots us into a frenzy to steal a few moments to reconnect with our loved-ones, and even with ourselves. Saturday morning renewals in my house back in the days when my kids were still at home, and admittedly when life was slower and simpler, routinely began with all of us gathering together for a sit-down breakfast. Bacon and eggs, toast, juice, and sometimes pancakes were often as not on the menu. It is easy to imagine people of today longing for those laidback weekend mornings, but nowadays convenience is a necessity and usually wins out over nostalgia. 

The following low calorie, low carb, and high protein recipe that serves 4 is a good one to include in our whirlwind playbook. To meet that convenience factor, it can be made ahead of time, in 30 minutes of the evening before for instance, refrigerated, and then reheated at the appropriate time in the microwave at 50% power. For breakfast, serve it with fruit and a slice of a Keto-friendly bread or bagel slathered with cream cheese. I prefer Neufch√Ętel because it is lower in fat and creamier than standard cream cheese. 

This tomato and egg recipe is also wonderful for brunch accompanied with cooked or fresh veggies and a chunk of a hearty bread. At times, I heat it up for dinner. Paired with a side of steamed spinach and carrots, a slice of homemade and healthy bean flour bread, a glass of a tasty bevvie, I then settle in for the rest of evening with a belly full of satisfaction. 

BREAKFAST TOMATOES

4 lg. firm tomatoes, cut in half, scoop out pulp and seeds
Olive oil spray
1 tsp. salt – preferably kosher or sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. dried thyme
8 small eggs if available, or 8 large eggs with the excess whites  discarded or reserved for another recipe
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp. grated parsley for garnish 

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place the hollowed-out tomatoes in a baking dish, spray them with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. 

Break one egg into a small bowl or ramekin and then slide it into a tomato half. Continue this process until all 8 tomato halves are filled. Top each half with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. 

Bake until egg whites are set, about 20 minutes. Use a large slotted spoon or spatula to scoop tomatoes onto a serving platter or into an airtight container. Garnish with parsley and serve or refrigerate. 

In multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s new release, Garden of the Sprits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey, ex-pat American Nicholas Plato gets lost one fateful Saturday morning in Australia’s outback and happens on a pintsized hut on a lonely plot littered with hundreds of clay pots of every size and description. 

Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter,’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter? 

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties. 

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction, and a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living. 

Garden of the Sprits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey is available in eBook and/or paperback. 

AMAZON BUY LINK 


Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.
Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.