Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Coming in 10 Days! A MATCH (NOT) MADE IN HEAVEN

Coming February 1 from Mt. Zion Ridge Press:


“Welcome!” A little silvery, wrinkly lady dressed all in neon orange popped up from behind the tall counter when I stepped inside the old Dog House building.

I had to stop calling it that, because it no longer looked like the hot dog stand. The counter in the middle of the room cut it in half, with a half-dozen chairs and a low coffee table on one side and two desks on the other. I saw two doors behind where the grill used to be. One was marked “restroom” and the other hung open enough to see a table and several folding chairs -- I assumed it was a conference room.

“Welcome to A Match Made in Heaven!” She clapped her hands and beamed at me. “Oh, sweetie, I know it’s hard finding the love of your life, but with our help --”

“Aunt Gertie,” a man said, stepping out of the restroom. He dried his hands on a paper towel. From the restrained frustration in his voice, I had the feeling he had hurried out to stop her. “We’re not a dating service.”

Whew! I was on the verge of panic, considering the thoughts I had when Mr. Phillips gave me that card.

“Yes we are. You let me set up my program and you said I could give all the romance help I wanted,” Aunt Gertie retorted, sticking her bottom lip out. On her it looked cute.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Off the Bookshelf: THE CORONER, by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush


I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer Dornbush on the Seymour Agency writers cruise last February. The lady knows her stuff when it comes to forensics and writing it accurately in fiction. When I saw her novel offered on the Daily Deal at Audible, I had to grab it.

Just wish I had listened to this book SOONER!

Dr. Emily Hartford is on her way up in her career and personal life, surgery resident, engaged to an incredible guy on her birthday -- but part of her "birthday present" includes a call from the small town where she grew up. Where her estranged father has just had a heart attack. And where the boy she left behind, Sheriff Nick Larson, is dealing with the death of a high school girl.

After 12 years away, Emily has to go home, where some things haven't changed, and other things have in a big way. She picks up with old friends as if she never went away, and the pain and silence surrounding her mother's death are still standing between her and her father. Budget and time considerations and small town politics push Emily into agreeing to fill in for her father, the coroner, to handle the girl's autopsy. This starts an avalanche of discoveries and changes in her life, and the lives of those around her. The simple autopsy turns into a murder investigation. Emily is forced to face things about herself and the town and people she left behind -- and her life is set on a rapid course of changes.

I know TV is filled with crime scene and forensics shows, with a coroner as a vital part of the cast, but ... dang, this would make a great TV show.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

February 1 title: A MATCH (NOT) MADE IN HEAVEN

So. what's MATCH about?

Dinah doesn't want a new man in her life, after her current boyfriend seriously blew their first Christmas together -- and became her ex-boyfriend. She has to find a new church and job, after being fired from her position as church secretary (and dealing with the church politics fallout). Then there's the suitor who insists they are perfect for each other, despite the fact she never filled out a profile at "A Match Made in Heaven." 

The worst part in all this is that the man running the job matching service seems to be interested in her, not her profile -- but he doesn't do anything about it.

What's a good church-going girl to do when everything seems to go from wrong to weird, and the crazy old lady who insists on helping her find true love doesn't know the meaning of "No!" or "Not ever!"?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Off the Bookshelf: HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S BOOK, Institute of Children's Literature

This handy little book of guidance comes from my Alma Mater -- I took the 2-year correspondence course from the Institute of Children's Literature back in the "old days" -- when correspondence courses were handled through snail mail. I started at the end of my senior year of high school and got my first rejection letter while still taking the course.

Everybody needs a refresher course in the basics, in what they know -- or think they know. Reading books by people who have been doing it longer than you is always helpful, and when it comes to writing, there's always something to learn, a new perspective through someone else's eyes.

Chapters include:
Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
How Old is Your Reader?
Writing Basics
Plotting a Great Story
What Editors Wish Writers Knew
Jan Fields' List of Five Good Tools that Can Get You Into Bad Trouble
Checklists. (especially helpful: Organization; Character and Settings; Sentence Structure; Mechanics)

Some of this information is presented as Q&A, so you get an idea of the questions other writers are asking too.

Very useful. No matter what you know or how much you think you know, it's always good to KEEP LEARNING.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


Just in time for Valentine's Day ...

Or maybe not ....

My February 1 release from Mt. Zion Ridge Press launches a new, humorous romance series:

The Match Girls: Six church girls who become friends as they deal with a wacky old lady, armed with a computer program, who insists on helping them find the love of their lives -- whether they want one or not!

Want to learn about this particular title?

Stay tuned!!!!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Off the Bookshelf: SILVER WOVEN IN MY HAIR, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Kind of appropriate to start off the new year with a fantasy novel!

Thanks to Janeen Ippolito and H.L. Burke of Indie Book Magic, who discussed and recommended this book a number of episodes ago. Not sure which. I bought the book (Thanks, A Libris!) and it's been sitting and waiting for months to be read.

Thursey is a Cinderella, with the requisite mean, ugly stepmother and nasty stepsisters and being forced to do all the work while her sisters go man-hunting. BUT there are differences. They run an inn, her father is missing after a devastating war rocked their kingdom, and Thursey is a bookworm. Well, she loves to read, and she loves stories, and when she hears a wonderful story told by a traveler who comes to their inn, she writes it down and illustrates it. And she keeps her books hidden from the Uglies, because lowerclass people who can read could be accused of evil magic.

Yes, there's a handsome prince, and she is given a gorgeous gown and provided transportation to the ball, but .... well, her "faerie godmother" is actually a fat traveling monk, and the dress comes from her dear friend, the goatherd, and just like in the Disney version, the Uglies find the dress on the eve of the ball and shred it. But magic does prevail.

This is a fast read, a delightful way to pass a cold winter night. You might just see yourself in Thursey, and your heart will be touched by her friends and how she gets her father back, even as his death is finally confirmed. Lovely. Thanks, J and H, for the recommendation.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Off the Bookshelf: WISH YOU WEREN'T HERE, by Janeen Ippolito

Steel City Genie, Book 2

Allis and Cendric are back and in even deeper trouble than they were at the end of the previous book.

Gee, you'd think that finding your soul mate, the one that destiny has been trying to put you together with for 5 years, and breaking the curse that kept you apart would, y'know, kind of guarantee a happily-ever-after, right?

Not in this alternate version of Pittsburgh, where magical folk live alongside of ordinary mortals and there are different versions or dimensions of reality to deal with, and magically enhanced politics and sabotaged love spells to deal with. And oh, yeah, a really ticked off queen of the Jinn who was the worst possible future mother-in-law for our heroine. Thank goodness she broke up with sonny-boy -- but the jerk is back in her life and seems to be at the core of Allis and Cendric's new problems.

Along with trying to unravel the sabotaged love potions -- which are kinda illegal -- Allis keeps coming up against people trying to recruit her into different jobs and destinies and she's just not up for it. Don't newlyweds get a break? Not in this magical world, unfortunately.

Another fun romp in a world full of strong and detailed worldbuilding (the author's specialty -- check out her guidebooks!). Can't wait to see what they have to face next!