2 Books You Need in Order to Write Anything Better.

Okay, I lied. You don’t really need these two books to write ANYthing. Grocery lists, for instance, or chores lists. Or, you know, poetry. Either the really fancy kind (Shakespeare’s sonnets come to mind) or the wild n’ woolly kind (Charles Bukowski).

Michael HaugeBut if you’re writing anything else (just about), you’re gonna wanna read these two books by Michael Hague. The first one is Writing Screenplays That Sell, and the second one is Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds.

Why? Because. Okay, that’s really not an answer. Because they’re damned good. Because they tell you what is in every story imaginable that you didn’t realize was there. Because they help you SELL your story. I took a day long workshop with Michael at the end of March (the weekend we had a couple of earthquakes in Brea, California), and what he said made sense. What’s more, it was accessible to me. ME. Me. The gal who, after she took a 4 hour workshop with  <name redacted>’s  several years ago couldn’t write coherently for a YEAR mainly because of <name redacted>’s ego pumping up the workshop making most of us feel like shit. But it took time for me to see clearly beyond that fiasco.

The title of Michael’s workshop was Story Mastery, and he made good on his promise. He gave us the steps to every story. EVERY. STORY.  And there wasn’t any need to “find the elixir” either (though, hey, elixir. Pretty yummy stuff.). (Let me know if you get the first reference. The second will only be understood by my hubby. Sorry.)

Formula? Um, heh. Okay, you can call it a “formula”. But most good stories have these points in them automatically. For those of us less naturally gifted, these books and Michael’s workshops are gold. GOLD.

screenplaysThe Screenplay book talks about Story Concept, Character Development, Theme and Character Arc, Structure, Scene Writing, Exceptions to the Rule, Marketing Yourself as a Screenwriter, and on and on. If you’re writing a screenplay, you must – simply must – read this book. A 20th Anniversary Edition has just been released (and mine is signed so no, you cannot borrow it).

Michael’s Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds  book basically tells 60 secsyou how to pitch clearly and cleanly and with passion (because without passion, what is life?). If you’re a writer who wants to sell, at some point you’re gonna need to pitch your product. You have to get out of your writing cave, put on your DIVA panties, and pretend to the world that you’re comfortable shilling your wonderful novel/screenplay/play/book of poetry (shrug). And his book gives you the tools to do just that.

Nothing, however, beats passion. I just went to a conference in Arizona where, for the first time, I had enough passion behind my product to convince several really cool people to take a look at the full manuscript. And it felt fantastic. FANTASTIC.

So, if you’re a screenwriter, a novelist, a playwright, heck – even a poet – you just might want to pick up these books. And if Michael Hauge is speaking anywhere near you? Go ahead, dig into your savings, and go hear him. Because what he has to offer is so worth your time, energy, gas, and money (says the gal who is limited on all fronts at this point in time).

And no, I don’t get a commission, and he doesn’t know I wrote this. Just being clear.


What craft books have you been reading lately? I’d love to know!

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A Rose and a Red…

Me again. Wines that won’t break your pocketbook but that are tasty. (Or that you should really stay away from.) These are both under $10, though I don’t recall the actual price. And I’m talking California prices, so if it’s a California wine and you’re elsewhere in the country, so sorry. You’re probably paying more.

La VieilleLa Vieille Ferme Recolte 2012 Rose Wine Alcohol 13.5% by Volume – Southern Rhone Valley

On the Label: “The Perrin family are the producers of this excellent rose wine.  The vines from the appellation are planted on the hills of the renowned Mont Ventoux, and benefit from great sunlight and fairly cool temperatures for the Southern Rhone Valley.  The Blend is made from Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault and the wines have a beautiful rose color, a floral nose with hints of aniseed and brown sugar.  The mouth is on notes of white flowers, cherries and fruit drops.  The finish is fresh and balanced.  Winemakers reviews, recipe ideas, for all details, go here.” (My thanks to Pull The Cork for the photo. Go check them out!)

My Take: Okay, well – the label is obnoxious. Really? You’re gonna tell me how it smells AND tastes? Maybe it’s the translation, but when I read this I got irritated. (As if you couldn’t tell, lol!) But it’s a French wine from the Rhone Valley. I usually like those wines, and this fit into my price range, so I tried it.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ Though I will say its not that different from a stringent (i.e.,  no oak) white wine. Fine when well-chilled – just don’t expect sweet from this wine.

[Noble Vines] 337 Cabernet Sauvignon  2011 Lodi, California 14.5% Alcohol by LodiVolume

On the Label: “Born in France…Raised in America. Not all wines are created equal. Noble Vines 337 is the most coveted Cabernet Sauvignon vine stock in Bordeaux, France.  These rare vines are prized for their concentrated flavor and thrive in the red soils and cobblestones of our Lodi vineyard.

“This wine exudes seductive atoms of mocha and dark cherry followed by intense flavors of ripe blackberry and spice.  Enjoy with savory pasta, pot roast, thick steaks and creamy cheeses.”

My Take: Richer than I had suspected it would be. I’ll definitely try this wine again. It has a bunch of potential, even if it’s a bit pretentious. I wanted to try a Lodi wine, and I’m glad I chose this one.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ I keep searching for the Very Drinkable wines for you, my dears! But this will definitely do, in the meantime.


What’s your favorite?

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Desert Dreams Conference, 2014

desert dreams logoSo yeah, I went to the Desert Dreams Conference put on by the Desert Rose chapter of RWA.  This year, it was in Tempe, Arizona, and I had a blast.

If you’re a writer, I highly recommend it – it’s limited to about 200 people, and there are some top agents and editors who come to get out of the snow back east. Plus the presenters are always wonderful!

If you’re a reader, there is an awesome book signing – this year there were about 50 authors signing their books, and the energy is always wonderful. But otherwise, the conference is really geared to writers, not readers. (Sorry.)

Cathy McDavid had an excellent workshop on Creating a Story Skeleton – I managed to plot out book 2 in my StarTide Talent Agency series during that workshop.  Loved it – clear, concise, and OMFG so freaking helpful to a panther pantser like me. (Damn you, autocorrect!)

Jennifer Ashley had an amazingly wonderful workshop on Successful Single Title Series; she’ll be partnering with a category author to make it Single Title/Category Series at RWA in San Antonio this summer, and I’ll probably go again.

Christie Craig gave a fantastic luncheon speech. I first saw her speak in 2012 at RWA in Anaheim, and she’s just amazing. She lit a fire in my belly that hasn’t gone out and I’m so damned glad of it. I also promised her I’d see her in San Antonio, and I’d have the two books in my series done by then. Gulp. SO looking forward to it!

After lunch, Shelley Coriell did a wonderful presentation on how to create a business plan as a writer. I’ll be following it as much as I can from here on out, because it makes damned good sense.

Oh, and Allison Brennan’s The Villain’s Journey was A MAZE BALLS as you might expect. It mainly reiterated stuff I already knew, but she’s so fun to listen to. My main take away that I’d learned some time back was this: The Villain is the Hero of his own story. So you damned well better make him/her three dimensional, and not a cookie cutter.

In other news, I had three fabulous pitches (the guitar book, book one in the StarTide Talent Agency series) with two publishing houses and one agent, and I managed to get those submissions sent out before I left the hotel on Sunday. Finally, I feel like I know what I’m doing. Seeing the spark of interest in their eyes totally made my day. Week. Okay, heck, the month of April. When I know anything of any interest, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I didn’t win any baskets that were raffled off, but the conference made more than a thousand dollars to donate to literacy in Maricopa County (I think that’s where they donated it.)

Oh, yeah…and there’s this, too.

Finalist Realizing Dream Contest

Yeah, I’m proud. And shocked. And thrilled. Because this is the book that I pitched, and got such GREAT feedback on. So, that’s my weekend. Any questions?


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Mad for Red Wines…

Good wines without breaking the bank. I’m all about that. I believe that a good bottle of wine can be had for under $10, and I’ve appointed myself the job to sniff those out. (I’ll be sure to let you know if it’s MORE than $10, because every now and then I taste those, too.) If YOU have a favorite wine, I’d love to know – so please leave a comment!

As the title says, I’m mad for red wines. I mostly prefer Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels, but there are some surprisingly good red blends out there, too. So sit back and enjoy!

TJ Reserve Zinfandel Paso Robles Lot 84 FrontTrader Joe’s Reserve Zinfandel 2012 Paso Robles, California Lot # 84   Alcohol 14.5% by Volume

On the Label:  ”Juicy raspberry, boysenberry and black cherry notes lead to vanilla oak and spice notes with a smooth, jammy finish.”


My Take: First off, a bit of snark. I’m really, really tired of wineries saying their wines taste “jammy”. I’ve never tasted a wine and said to myself, gee, that tastes like jam! I should dip my toast into it with breakfast! (Okay, so that IS a good idea – but you get my meaning.) On the positive side, that’s it for label chat. Boom. Done. LOVE it.

A bit of wisdom for you – when Trader Joe’s puts out a reserve with a Lot # on it, you can almost guarantee that it’s a good winery wine in that bottle. I met a wonderful guy who works at Letitia when Tom and I were up in Cambria; he told us that Letitia wine was in one of these bottles (I’d tell you which one, but TJ’s doesn’t stock it any more so there’s that). We grabbed two bottles and wish we’d grabbed more, as they were $9.99, and I don’t think you can find much Letitia wine under $10.

Oh, and the wine – yes, tasty. TASTY. Not “jammy” to my tastebuds at all, but definitely full of flavor and perfect with steak and potatoes or maybe a hearty lasagna. No, I don’t know which winery it’s from. If you find out, please let me know!  BTW, here’s an article on it from Trader Joe’s online Fearless Flyer.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ The only danger is having a love affair with this type of wine can lead to heartbreak when they – suddenly – no longer carry it. Sigh.

With every conservative bottle of wine (see above), there is its wicked cousin who comes to dinner (below).

Stark Raving RED by Rosenblum Cellars   Sonoma, California   Alcohol 12.5% by stark raving redVolume $8.99 at Vons

On the Label: “Some might think quitting your day job to pursue your passion for winemaking is crazy – even stark raving mad.  Stark Raving ™ from Rosenblum Cellars is a tribute to our founder’s maniacal obsession with experimentation, which still inspires us today.  Our Red Wine is a playful and bold blend of plum and bright red fruit flavors, proving that a little dose of madness can lead to extraordinary things.”

My Take: I loved this wine. I picked it up for the label – I bought it for the fact that it came from Rosenblum Cellars, and I can tell you I’ll definitely be buying it again. It’s a big wine, and does better with a little airing. It’s also got a screwtop, which I love (makes it fit in my fridge easier).

My Rating: ~ Drinkable Plus ~ I did love this wine, but I didn’t LOVE it. There are some who won’t like it – it might be a bit too brash. It’s DEFINITELY a food wine – not a sipper, in my opinion – but that’s okay because I like to eat when I drink wine, lol! But do give it a shot and let me know what you think. Here’s a link to a YouTube video that’s really fun – give it a shot!


So, what do you think?

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The Garden – Spring, 2014

We’ve been planting for a few weeks now. Just added some zucchini, lemon cucumbers, more tomatoes, and some pumpkin seedlings that my dad gave me. Had to zap the zucchini and the cucumbers with organic bug spray (sounds weird, right?); hoping it works because I’m tired of my veggies getting eaten.

But before I show you the garden, here is my bulb bed – very happy with how it turned out!

The bulb bed...
The bulb bed…

The iris area the newest up. The daffodils are gone, as are the tulips; the freesia (red, in the foreground) seem to hang around the longest, and are definitely the most fragrant.

A spider daffodil (?).
A spider daffodil (?).

Aren’t these sweet?

The hubs snuck some dainty tulip bulbs into my bed...pretty, ain't they?
The hubs snuck some dainty tulip bulbs into my bed…pretty, isn’t it?

Here, though, is the star of the garden – the first to be picked for consumption, and the first to be done for the year.

Yep - it's artichoke season!
Yep – it’s artichoke season!

See the baby artichoke, right below the bigger one? Yeah. We’ve got nine artichoke plants. Nine. That’s a lot of artichokes…

Below are the pumpkin plants my dad grew from seed. Not giant pumpkins, just regular ones – it’s gonna be interesting to see if we actually get some pumpkins this year!

Dad's pumpkins, planted too close together. Oh well!
Dad’s pumpkins, planted too close together. Oh well!

When they start vining, we’ll train the vines out into the yard.

The potato bed. Yum!
The potato bed. Yum!

Potatoes are the easiest thing to grow. Once a potato in your pantry (or fridge, or wherever) starts budding, cut it up so each bud gets a chunk of potato, and toss them in the ground, bud side facing up. I planted these about a month ago.

Here’s a mixed bed that we planted last fall – kale to the left (the insects leave the kale alone), boysenberry in the back (though Tom tried to dig that out, it’s hard to dig berries out all the way), and beets in the front. Almost time to pull the beets, the berries haven’t started flowering yet, and I’m cooking with the kale right now.

kale-berry-beet bedSo, that’s the highlight of the garden. What do you think?


I love your comments! If you like the blog, I’d love to have you follow me (because that way, I’ll be much more disciplined about putting blogs up).

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Two Whites to Whet your Appetite

Wine Friday is mostly about the bargain. I’m always on the lookout for wines that are tasty, easily available, and won’t break the bank. Below is my honest opinion of the wines I buy and drink; they are all available for under ten dollars, unless specified. (My rating system is at the very bottom of this post.)

Today, I’ve got two whites, for the white wine lovers in the crowd (and I know there are many!).

creme dy lysCreme de Lys Chardonnay 2012 Sonoma, California Alcohol Content, 13.5% by Volume. $7.99 on sale at Vons

On the Label: ”Slow down, exhale and enjoy this rich, creamy Chardonnay.  You deserve it! Our Winemaker chose California vineyards that yield incredibly lush flavors of tropical fruit, baked apple and citrus.  Sur lie aging gives this wine its soft, creamy style. Aging nine months, primarily on French oak, adds hints of vanilla and creme brulee on the finish, making this wine the perfect reward at the end of your day.”

My Take: For those of you who love the new “naked” Chardonnays, i.e., a Chardonnay that doesn’t have that big, buttery 1990s flavor, relax. Even though this wine is aged in French oak, it’s got a nice richness to it that does not harken back to those big, buttery days. As well, those of you who MISS those big, buttery Chardonnays, take heart. This has the creaminess that many of the newer, “steel” Chardonnays could never have. A little bit of  the old style in a new, creamy flavor. Excellent with chicken, or a creamy pasta.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable Plus ~ It’s not quite up to my Very Drinkable standard, but it will definitely fill the bill when you need a white wine for dinner OR for sipping. It’s versatile and very mouth-friendly. Enjoy!

Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc, 2013  Napa, California Alcohol Content, 13% by Volume. OnGP_VarietalTier_SauvBlanc_2012 sale for $6.99 at Vons.

On The Label: (Front) “Our historic winery is perched on a hillside overlooking the picturesque vineyards beneath Geyser Peak Mountain.” (Back) “Founded in 1880 by pioneering winemaker Augusts Quitzow, Geyser Peak Winery became California’s 29th bonded winery, and sits in the heart of Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley.  Our Sauvignon Blanc, with fresh fruit character and balanced acidity, comes from a diversity of rugged, coastal-influenced growing regions.  We seal our Sauvignon Blanc with a screwcap to ensure all of the delicate aromatics and flavors captured at the winery are delivered to you in the bottle – enjoy!

“Taste profile: Crisp and refreshing, with flavors of lime, grapefruit, honeydew melon and lemongrass.

“Suggested pairings: Fantastic with Asian food, especially Thai and sushi.  Also great with salads, oysters, shellfish and grilled seafood.”

My Take: Whew. That’s a label that says a mouthful, plus tells you not only how to taste it but what to serve it with. Kinda pushy, don’t you think? Or maybe that’s just me. Anyhoo – despite the pushiness of the label, I really enjoyed this wine with the crab quiche I’d made. It’s definitely crisp and clean, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it to any spring or summer party. Definitely prefer it with seafood.

My Rating:  ~ Very Drinkable ~ And at that price, stock up on a few bottles. You never know when you’ll need a terrific wine.

What are you drinking? I’d love to know.  Until next time – Cheers!


My Rating System: Undrinkable; Barely Drinkable; Drinkable; Very Drinkable; and the ever-popular “Stay Away! This is MY wine, you Slut!”  All opinions are my own. You’re welcome, lol.

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Writing Process Blog Hop (tagged by Jami Gray)

I’ve been tagged by the fantastic Jami Gray to participate in this blog hop that introduces you to writers you may not know, and gives a little insight into each person’s writing process.

Jami is the author of the Kyn Kronicles, tales of the supernatural hiding in the shadows of the mundane world. I was supposed to tag 3 more people, but I couldn’t find any who hadn’t already participated and/or were already doing too many blogs, so there’s that…but you can check out Jami, and the other two writers that she tagged – Michelle Miles and Julian West.

Here are the four questions I was given.

What am I working on?

Whooo boy, that’s a doozy. I’m currently working on a YA novel set in the world of ballet; a contemporary romance series built around the StarTide Agency, straddling the music world and Hollywood; plus another series that hasn’t yet been accepted. Oh, and I really need to get book 3 done of the paranormal romance Caine Brother’s series. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. And this doesn’t even touch the plays I’m working on!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

What makes any one book different from another? The author’s voice. I like to think that even across genres, when you pick up one of my novels, you can tell it’s my voice that wrote it.

My first book baby - Demon Soul.
To retrieve his soul, she’ll become fire…

Why do I write what I write?

I write paranormal romance because I can let my imagination take flight (and it can get pretty dark in there, lol). I write YA because I love teens, and I can tap into my own teen years with no problem whatsoever. And I write contemporary romance because I’m a total sucker for happy ever after – and yes, I do believe in it. I’ve been escaping into books since I was a child, and reading Harlequin romances since my early teens. Having a writer as a father and a storyteller for a mom, writing my own books seemed to be the best thing in the world.

How does my writing process work?

I am a pantser (I write by the seat of my pants) with a pretty solid idea of where I’m going in the story. While I don’t plot the whole book before I start, I usually know what I want to happen, plus some of the highlights (and low points), and the ending – though sometimes the ending can be foggy until I get there. First chapters are critical and in my first novel, Demon Soul, I rewrote that first chapter probably ten times after the book was finished (a couple of times, that meant a rewrite of the first three chapters to get details to have the right continuity). So, I have to say my writing process is as messy as my desk. Which is pretty messy.


Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope you have a terrific week!

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Kat Martin on Writer Wednesday!

I swiped this from Kat's website!
I swiped this from Kat’s website!

I am thrilled to have Kat Martin on Writer Wednesday. Kat and her husband, Larry, have been friends with my parents for many years, so it was of particular wonderfulness to be able to go see them and have lunch with them last month.

Left to Right, Julia Blake, me, Kat, and Tonya Plank - a lovely lunch!
Left to Right, Julia Blake, me, Kat, and Tonya Plank – a lovely lunch!

Let’s jump right in to the interview, shall we?

CA: They say every writer remembers when they got “the call” (or the letter) for publication. Would you share your story?

Kat: I was sitting in a restaurant with my hubby and my 3 best friends.  Agent called.  Said I had sold my book.  She said I got 4.  Since I had been turned down by every other publisher in New York, I assumed that meant $400.00  I didn’t care.  As far as I was concerned, my career was launched.  Later I found out it was $4,000!  Which was a whole lot better since we really needed the money!

CA: Wow! That’s totally awesome. What is the hardest part of writing for you? Characters? Story? Sagging middle? What’s the easiest part?

Kat: There is no easy part.  Characters seem to take care of themselves, so that isn’t tough for me.  I worry about saggy middles.  I worry about making all the pieces and parts come together in a way that makes sense.  I don’t relax until I reach the end and know I actually have a book.

CA: Wow – I was so hoping for an easy part! What was the best decision, writing-wise, that you ever made?

Kat: Remains to be seen.  I’ve changed publishers, agents, editors, many, many times.  Always with the idea of moving forward, moving my career ahead.  They were all tough decisions and there is no real way to know if they were the right ones.  At  least not yet!

CA: So maybe it’s continuing to write? What was the worst decision, writing wise, that you ever made?

Kat: Probably leaving Pocket Books.  They really wanted to make me a star and they had the power to do it.  Trouble was, they were really difficult to work for.  It was affecting my health and my creativity, so I  moved somewhere else.  Lost a great chance.

CA: But you have your health, and your creativity, so maybe you didn’t lose anything?You’ve written and had published over 60 novels, many of which landed on the NYT Bestseller list. Is getting on the list still as exciting now as it was the first time you hit it?

Kat: It’s just as exciting for sure!  And you never know if you are going to hit so it makes you edge-of-your-seat nervous.  Thrilling when it happens.

CA: Do you have a ritual that you do before you begin writing each day?

Kat: As with most women, my ritual starts with coffee, showering, make-up, hair, and getting dressed.  Then I do my email, check in on Facebook, then start working on my novel.  I go over what I wrote the day before and charge forward.

CA: I guess what I’m really asking is, do you ever procrastinate from writing, or do you just jump right in?

Kat: No way to procrastinate if you have a contract.  You don’t get paid if you don’t deliver, so if you plan to pay your bills, you go to work, just like any other job.

CA: Well, yeah, that’s totally true!  You live part time in California, and the rest of the time in Montana. In five sentences or less, what are the highlights of both places?

Kat: I live in the two of the best places in the world.  In California, it’s all sunshine and blue skies.  I live on one of the harbor channels so I get to watch the boats go in and out all day.  Seals come up to our dock.  In Montana, beautiful mountains, rugged landscape.  It’s a hard life, nothing like the beach.  70 mile round trip to the show.  But the wilderness is exhilarating.  Lots of wildlife, eagles, deer, Osprey.  You can be in the high mountains in about 5 minutes.   Whoops, that’s more than 5 sentences!

CA: Oh, that’s okay – like I’d edit you, lol!  So, do you go to writers’ conferences, readers’ conferences, or both? Why or why not?

Kat: I go to both.  I don’t like to fly or I would go to more of them.  I do it, but don’t like it.  My husband goes with me.  We usually hit RT, RWA, Western Writers of America.  I love Thrillerfest but its usually close to RWA, so I try to alternate.

CA: How big a role does social media play in your marketing strategies?

Kat: Since I don’t understand how to use it, not a lot.  I have a Facebook page.  I’m  on it.  I don’t understand the likes and all of that.  I don’t have any idea how that works.

CA: LOL – well, I can aim you at classes in Facebook if you want! So is marketing your novels now much different than when you first started?

Kat: It’s totally different.  We traveled the country talking to book buyers.  There were 1200 at the time.  Now there are about 5 and you can’t get in to see them.  And digital plays a new and extremely important role.

CA: Wow, I had no idea. Do you feel the marketplace is now more open for new writers, or is it more difficult, with the advent of self-publishing?

Kat: Way more difficult for newbies and for writers published in print.  New authors are buried in the hundreds of thousands of old and new books (particularly in romance) that are being put up as e-books.  Established authors have a thousand times more competition.

CA: Ouch. What do you wish someone had told you when you first started writing?

Kat: Nothing anyone said would have mattered.  I would have just kept on going, even if someone told me how hard it was going to be.  It’s a calling for some of us…a compulsion that seems to have no end.

CA: Oh  yeah, I totally resemble that.  So what is your favorite genre to read?

Kat: Romance is my fav.  I read across a lot of different genres, though.  A good book is a good book.  Period.

CA: Can you read fiction when you’re in the first draft of a novel, or do you stick to non-fiction? Because “they” say you shouldn’t read in the category you’re writing in while you’re writing…

Kat: I constantly read.  Anything and everything.  Little things pop into my head as I move through a story, things the author is doing that remind me of things I need to be doing.  Movies, TV, books.  All are great for ideas.

CA: Awesome! Okay, now for some quickies…

Cake or pie?  Pie!

Seafood or beef?  BEEF!

Coffee or tea? Coffee

Hugs or kisses?  I love kissing, but it depends on whose doing it!  Hugs are almost always good.

Potatoes or dessert?  Rice

Peeps or Cadbury Eggs? Cadbury.

CA: Anything else you want to talk about?

Kat: A little advice?  If you want to be a writer, keep writing and don’t let anyone stop you.  Persistence is the key.

Find me at:

My website ; Facebook ; and Twitter is @luvromance.


A novella, only 99 cents!
A novella, only 99 cents!

Against the Heart, a novella is out in e-book only for $.99  cents.

Devil’s Prize, historical, just re-issued with a gorgeous new cover.

AGAINST THE WILD, my next Against novel, is out May 27th

I’m so GLAD Kat could stop by! I’m hoping she’ll hang out today and answer questions, if you’ve got them for her.

Until next time – happy reading!




Posted in Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Two Reds To Start Us Off…

Hey, all! It’s been a long time, but Wine Fridays are back! I’m always on the lookout for wines that are tasty, easily available, and won’t break the bank. Below is my honest opinion of the wines I buy and drink; they are all available for under ten dollars, unless specified. (My rating system is at the very bottom of this post.)

belle ambianceBelle Ambiance Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Manteca, CA  Usually $9.99, on sale for $6.99 at Vons; Alcohol 13.0% by Volume

On The Label:  ”Belle Ambiance is a beautiful spot nestled in one of our family vinehards.  During our 80 years of winemaking, we’ve enjoyed many perfect moments here under the shade of its ancient oak tree relaxing, watching the sun set, and basking in the moment with friends and a glass of wine.  We created this luscious, rich, indulgent Cabernet Sauvignon to share that feeling with you.” BelleAmbianceVineyards.com

MyTake: I liked that the label wasn’t too into wine-babble; it struck me as a family-friendly label, lol.  However, this was a meh wine to me. Either it hasn’t reached its peak yet (being a 2012), or it has passed its peak; it wasn’t memorable for being big and rich, nor was it past its prime. This is a new wine to me, and maybe I just need to try it again. For the price, and maybe for a second bottle at dinner, it’s fine and won’t upset anyone; but it’s nothing to brag about, either.

They’re owned by the Delicato Family Vineyards, and have a raft of wines under $10: for more on them, go here.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ Though there are other, more enjoyable wines out there for the same price.

Rosenblum Cellars Vintner’s Cuvee XXXV Zinfandel  Sonoma, CA Usually $13.99, on sale $6.79 StBar1_A2at Vons; Alcohol 14.5% by Volume

On the Label:  Zinfandel is our signature wine, and with rich and layered flavors, it’s an excellent introduction to the Rosenblum Cellars style of wine making.  We designate an anniversary number to each Zinfandel Cuvee blend, honoring our history with ‘America’s Heritage Grape’.  Kick back around the table and enjoy this wine’s intense and robust flavors.  Notes of blackberry, wild raspberry and cassis make it a delicious complement to hearty pasta and barbecue dishes.” rosenblumcellars.com

My Take: This was a lovely Zinfandel blend that perfectly accompanied the honey-balsamic pulled pork sliders I made last weekend. Its richness cut through the sweet-sour of the pork, and worked well with the purple cabbage Asian slaw side dish. It is most definitely a wine you want to sip with dinner, or at least with snacks, either in front of a fire (for those of you buried in snow back east) or while watching the sun set (for us west coast types). It feels young, still, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it ages. (Ha! As if I can keep a bottle that long…!)

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Especially at this price (which I’m guessing won’t be long, since it’s such an odd price point)!  As soon as my paycheck clears, I’ll be grabbing a couple more bottles of this, just in case we grill some steaks this weekend.

What are you drinking these days? Does the weather outside change what you’re drinking inside? Sound off, and let me know.

Until next time – Cheers!


My Rating System: Undrinkable; Barely Drinkable; Drinkable; Very Drinkable; and the ever-popular “Stay Away! This is MY wine, you Slut!”  All opinions are my own. You’re welcome, lol.

Posted in Wine Friday | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Writer Wednesday – Lucy Lit

Now, Lucy doesn’t know I’m featuring her today so I don’t have a full interview or anything with her, but what I do have for you is a terrific debut book that she’s written, titled 42, Rue du Jardin.

I confess, I bought it partially because its set in Savannah, Georgia and partially because I saw Rebecca Tsaros Dickson’s name on the cover. I’m just starting to follow Rebecca (she’s an author coach/editor/etc) and I wanted to see one of her finished products.

Lucy Lit's Debut Novel
Lucy Lit’s Debut Novel

42, Rue du Jardin is a winning debut, full of charm, relatable characters, and solid storytelling. The two lead characters, Cullan and Royce, are not in the first flush of youth; they are in their vigorous 40s, with good, solid careers. Cullan is navigating life while hoping against hope that she’ll find a man who can make her orgasm like they do in her romance books, while Royce is a businessman and Tantric scholar who loves to love women limp and satisfied before he moves on. The way Lucy brings these two together is so much fun.

Here’s the blurb:

“The streets of Savannah have stories to tell…

One determined (and detached) Alpha male. A woman whose faith in love is shattered. Tantric sex. Could be a disaster or maybe a path to healing.

What happens when your romance novel fantasies collide with your reality?

Forty-something Cullan Davis almost has it all. Loving family, friends, successful business, community activist.

And no sex life.

A chronic, disfiguring skin disease and past abuse left physical and emotional scars that prevent her from believing in relationship possibilities. Resigned to being alone, she compensates by living vicariously through the heroines in her beloved romance novels. When her real-life lust from afar notices her, panic sets in. She cannot possibly get involved. Her scars are too deep. No man wants a self-proclaimed freak, do they?

Royce Jacobson is a wealthy philanthropist, single parent of a twenty-year-old daughter and womanizing player. Practicing his own version of tantric sex, he subscribes to the love ’em and leave ’em satisfied mentality. He wants to add Cullan to his conquest list but discovers vulnerability in her, touching a part of him he didn’t know existed. She’s an enigma. And Royce excels at solving puzzles. He’s convinced tantra can break through her reserves… if only she would cooperate.

When they end up on opposite sides of a high-stakes business venture, sparks fly professionally and personally. How far will Royce go to get what he wants? Can Cullan learn to love herself and trust in a man?

Readers who value older characters proving that romance and sex are timeless will enjoy Cullan and Royce’s journey to the address of 42 Rue de Jardin. A complete novel with no cliffhanger – First in the Sultry Savannah Series.

This romance is for mature audiences only due to explicit content and language.”

Do yourself a favor, and check out this new author.

Find her at Amazon and her website. Tell her Christine sent you, lol!


Posted in Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments