Smart Girls Read Romance





Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Serial Killer by Suzanne Rossi

Hello, everyone.

Well, it's happened again. Somehow, the end of the month has crept up on me and here I am with only two days left on my blog entry deadline. Naturally, I had no idea what to write. Then I remembered the advice of an author friend, "When in doubt, blatantly self-promote." Sounds like a plan to me.

I'm happy to say that I recently signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for Killer Country Club, book #4 in my Snoop Group series. I'm expecting edits to come through any day now. I have to admit that when I wrote the first book, I had no plans to turn it into a series, but a friend told me she wanted more from this bunch of diverse women, especially Anne and Gil. Since I'd left the ending concerning the relationship between my hero and heroine up in the air, decided to give it a shot.

I can't quite recall how A Novel Death first grew in my mind. I played the "what if" game like I often do. What if a critique group decided to help solve the murder of one of their members? The seed germinated and took off. I gave them all motives and secrets. I also gave one of the ladies a love interest in the lead detective. The covers are all below.



So, before I knew it, I was writing book #2, Killer Conference. I used my favorite conference, Moonlight and Magnolias, as the basis for the get-together. Same for the hotel where it's held. I've been to M & M many times and decided it was the perfect setting--a large attendance, lots of editors and agents, and enough suspects to keep cops and critique groups busy for the duration of the meeting. Nothing like the heroine finding the bodies of two agents only to discover herself facing the killer to get the old heart pumping.



In book #2, I introduced a couple of characters readers would love to hate--Fran, dictatorial and just plain nasty; and Susan, paranoid, opinionated, and just plain nuts. By introducing those characters I knew immediately I had book #3 on the plotting grid. A Taste of Death practically wrote itself. I've been involved with enough RWA chapters and other writing groups to have witnessed back-stabbing and power grabs first hand. What a perfect time to put that knowledge to good use. It seemed natural to have a victim drop dead in front of dozens of witnesses during a chapter meeting luncheon. And to know it was no accident. Someone knew about her severe peanut allergy, right?



Since the relationship between my recurring hero and heroine is moving forward with each story, it wasn't long before I found myself working on book #4, Killer Country Club. This one created problems from the start. The setting of a country club brought in a ton of new characters, personalities, and a more complex plot. I can usually bang out a book in three or four months, but this one took over a year. Let's just say a lot of revisions went into it. Good thing, too, since my editor didn't have too may of her own to suggest. I don't as yet have the cover for the book, but here is the blurb.

Anne Jamieson and the Snoop Group are on the prowl to investigate a murder linked to the local country club. Anne decides to take out a trial membership to track down the killer. Then she stumbles upon a second body in the club hot tub. Before long, Anne is the target of an attempted murder. The further she and the Snoop Group delve into personalities, the closer they come to the truth. The suspect list grows along with the body count. And can Anne's fiance, Detective Gil Collins, keep her safe. Will Anne and her friends find the killer before another murder occurs?


By now I was getting tired of the Snoop Group, so decided to end the series. (Does that make me a serial killer? I know--really bad pun, but I love bad puns.) However, once again my friend said, No! I want a wedding and more bodies for the group to find. Now, I find my twisted mind working on how to get the Snoop Group along on the honeymoon. I'm happy to say I think I have the solution. I know the inciting incident, the killer, and the motive. I even have a tentative title for book #5, Honeymoon to Die For. (And no, I'm not killing off the hero or the heroine.) Unfortunately, that's all I have at the moment, but give me some time.

I guess I have succeeded indulging in blatant self-promotion enough for today. Hope you have a great 4th of July and I'll see you next month with more thoughts and comments. Aren't you all lucky? LOL.

Suzanne

Friday, June 28, 2019

"It is at the edge of a petal that love waits." ~William Carlos Williams

The rose is a flower of love...all kinds of love. Roses symbolize friendship, passion, and remembrance. I've planted about twenty this spring. I lost count. These are for remembrance. Roses are the queen of flowers.
For a hushed moment after sunrise the sun touched the garden and everything was new and perfect. Then the sun rose higher and I saw the Japanese beetles. They also love roses. Despite  my annual battle with these noxious pests, my garden is a little bit of Eden. I tripled my efforts outdoors this year after my dear father's passing. The Memorial Garden reminds me of a painting as it unfolds. Gardening is a living form of art.
Neglected corners remain in the yard, but gardening is an ongoing journey. I'm eyeing the long border along the road with ideas for improvements I might make late summer or fall. Efforts there must be undertaken with caution because of the road monster.
(Breadseed Poppy--seed originally from Monticello)
Did any of you see Finding Neverland years ago, starring a young Johnny Depp as Author J. M. Barrie? Excellent film, made before Depp went off the rails. Near the end of the movie, Kate Winslet, who portrays the mother of the boy who inspired Barrie to write Peter Pan, enters  the wondrous Neverland set Barrie has created. (Peter Pan began as a play in 1904.) At times, when I go into the garden, surrounded by magical beauty, it reminds me a bit of that scene.
There's nothing quite like a near perfect day in the garden. I say 'near' because perfection is elusive and my idea of a magical garden excursion may not be yours. But when the cerulean sky reaches to heaven, flowers sparkle like jewels, and leafy green enfolds me, I am uplifted. In that moment, I am happy.
All winter and spring I dreamed of delphinium spires. This is 'Million Dollar Blue,' an improved kind from Wayside Gardens, more heat and cold tolerant.
On blue sky days, the ridges rise clearly beyond the wooded hills. Country noises fill air pungent with farm smells sweetened by herbs and flowers. Meadow larks trill from tall grass, bees hum, and butterflies flit. I chase them with my camera.
When a new birds calls, we must know what kind it is--recently an oriole. Red Winged black birds have a distinct cry. They mostly stay at the pond but sometimes visit our back garden. Goose squawks resound except during afternoon siestas beneath the pear trees. Never mind, I spoke too soon. Our two buddy brother roosters peck around and crow, a lot. A typical country sound.
We still hear cows. Young ones will remain until they're old enough to go, but we had to sell our dairy herd--sad sigh. We're remaining on the farm, thank the good Lord. Son Cory will raise beef cows while Hubby Dennis runs his farm machinery business. As for me, I will garden, cherish my friends and family, and write again. Not much to report on that front, but I'm beginning to miss writing, an inherent part of who I am. Or was. I know Dad wouldn't want me to give it up. His death, on top of my brother Chad's, threw me more than I can say, but I'm slowly mending, largely with the help of garden therapy. I've come to realize missing them will ever be woven into the fabric of my life.
This country scene may not strike some as idyllic, but it's heaven on earth to me.
Hollyhocks set off our barn in this pic. I used to call it 'the old red barn' until Cory redid it in white. A decorative barn quilt adds color to the front.
(Bathsheba climbing rose from David Austin)
"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." ~John Muir
"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright." ~Henry David Thoreau
(Red Admiral Butterfly on mini buddleia from Jackson and Perkins)
The fuzzy bumble bee (pictured below on larkspur) reminds me of a tiny teddy bear. The heirloom larkspur has been here longer than I have. The flowers come in blue,white, pink, and purple. A hardy annual, it reseeds for the next spring.
All images were taken this month by me.
"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life." ~Rachel Carson
"I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes." ~ e.e. cummings

Monday, June 24, 2019

June Has Busted Out All Over ~ by Judy Ann Davis


Sadly, the month of June is almost over.

It’s considered one of the favorite months brides choose for their weddings. Ironically, June 24, 1944, was my parent’s anniversary, and the day always brings nostalgic thoughts of them and what it might have been like to be married during World War II.

June is also my birthday month, and for me, it ushers in the beginning of summer and warmer, sun-drenched days ahead with fluffy clouds scudding along on the breeze in a baby blue sky.

The grass in the Central Pennsylvania farm fields is lush and taller than knee-high this year, thanks to our endless rains, and is ready for mowing. Once cut, the drying hay will fill the air with a sweet scent that mingles with the fragrances of many different emerging blossoms along the roadsides.

My favorite flowers is the rose which is also the flower of June. Although I was married in August, I chose white roses for my bridal bouquet.

Over the years, I’ve tried to grow them in my flowerbeds. I’ve tried climbing, bush, miniature, tea, hybrid, knock-out—and the list goes on and on. What our friendly deer don’t eat, the remainder dies from the cold, freezing winters here in the mountains.

I have only a clump of old-fashioned rag roses left, which I dug out from around the foundation of an old house on our family farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This hardy variety from the 1800s seems to be able to hold its own, despite the rabbits munching down the stalks under the snows.

If you have a favorite month of the year, please share it. If you have a favorite summer flower, I’d love to know what it might be. Have a wonderful summer ahead, and let's hope we won't have to duck between the raindrops the entire season!

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

JEWELS AND TROLLS

By Caroline Clemmons

Receiving a Facebook friend request from a reader or potential fan is fun. Each friend is a jewel. Making a connection with a reader adds a ray of sunshine to the day. That’s what attracted me to Facebook. I can connect with readers and other authors (who are also readers) all over the world. I love that.

What don’t I love? Trolls. Do those of you who aren’t authors get odd friend requests?


Allow me to rant a bit about the trolls. Authors get a variety of fake requests including from high-ranking military officers—as if we’re supposed to believe generals and admirals can’t wait to be our Facebook friend. I don’t mean an occasional phony request, but several each day.

Many have me checking the person’s Facebook page. Sometimes the page consists of a photo of a guy and the photo is repeated over and over. No friends shown. Troll. Delete.

Now the trolls have caught on and sometimes pose as a woman with a photo of a middle-aged or elderly woman or children. No posts. No friends. Troll. Delete.

I'm aware the trolls want to hack our friends list and any personal information we have in our profile. What I don’t understand is why someone would spend his or her time doing so. With the skills required to do this despicable job, a person could make a good salary working for a legitimate company.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox now.  



While I'm here, I'll add that I released a new book Friday, DEBORAH'S DILEMMA, Pearson Grove book 3. The Universal Amazon buy link is http://mybook.to/Deborah. This book will be in e-book and in KU. Soon there will be a print edition. 



Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Scheme That Backfired -- Laurean Brooks

BENEATH A MACON MOON


June is the month we celebrate Father's Day, but it is also the anniversary of my father's passing. A humble, sweet man, we lost him June 9, 1980, two months before he was due to draw his first pension check.

Daddy was a big cut up much of the time, joking around, acting silly, and making all of us laugh. His jovial personality kept the family in stitches, reminding me of his favorite comedian, Red Skelton.

On the other hand, when Daddy wanted to, he could look solemn. It is one of these incidences I want to tell you about today.

Our family lived on a farm, seven children plus Daddy and Mama. We took care of a cow, goats, chickens, sometimes pigs, two dogs, and three vegetable gardens—plus we tended four acres of corn. This is why we groaned when Daddy announced his friend Gordon said we could plant another garden on his farm.

A couple weeks later, on a Saturday morning in late April, Daddy said to my sister and me. “Girls, pick yourselves out a couple of sharp hoes and meet me at the truck. We're going to Gordon's place to plant our garden.”



Jewell and I were not “happy campers". What teenage girl wants to spend her Saturday breaking dirt clods and getting sweaty? Although we would not think of disobeying Daddy, we could show him our disdain in a subtle way. (Well, maybe not that subtle.)

So we devised a plan. After tugging on baggy pants and shirts fit for a hobo, we painted up our faces to look like clowns. When we had slathered circles of hot pink lipstick onto our cheeks, we used the same to smear across our lips, drawing broad, turned-up smiles. Then we took a dark eyebrow pencil and stroked in heavy, thick eyebrows that swept downward and into our hairlines. We even penciled handlebar mustaches under our noses. Artistic mustaches that any gentleman would be proud to wear.



With our makeup and our costumes on, Jewell and I plunked floppy straw hats on our heads. Hers was straw-colored, mine a rose pink. Before leaving the bedroom, my sister and I preened before the mirror and giggled. We resembled the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. It was hard to stay mad at Daddy after seeing our reflections. Nevertheless, we planned to show him a little defiance.



We tried to slip past Mama in the kitchen. Lucky for us, she didn't bother to look up from peeling potatoes. Instead, her words stopped me at the back door. “Laurie, the preacher's asked about setting a date for your baptismal service.”

Jewell slipped out the back door since she wasn't part of the conversation. I had made a profession of faith on Easter Sunday, a couple of weeks earlier, Without turning, I answered, “Yeah, I know. I guess we can talk to him after church, tomorrow.”



I didn't hear the rest. I just nodded and said, “Okay.” Her voice trailed off as I rushed out the back door toward the shed. Jewell passed me a hoe and we headed to the old Chevy pickup where Daddy waited, rolling a cigarette. We threw our hoes in the bed, climbed in the cab, and waited for Daddy's reaction. We were sadly disappointed when he showed no sign of noticing anything wrong.


Without cracking a smile, he poured Prince Albert tobacco into a cigarette paper. When he'd finished rolling the cigarette, he licked the paper, stuck the cigarette in his mouth and lit. Reaching for the gear shift, he said, “I guess we're ready to go.”

We rode the mile to Gordon's farm in silence. Jewell and I tried to keep our chins posed in defiance posture. It wasn't easy to do if we looked at each other. Doing so made us giggle. And Daddy wouldn't even glance our way.


After a long morning of breaking dirt clods and dropping seeds onto the turned earth then raking dirt over them, the job was finished. It was time to go home. I looked at Jewell. Her clown mouth was drooping and smeared, and half her mustache was gone. She laughed at the dripping pink circles on my cheeks and the once thick eyebrows melting and running down my face. Perspiration had taken its toll.

Still, Daddy was unresponsive. He gripped the steering wheel, stared at the road ahead, and kept driving. Until we pulled into the yard and spied a shiny silver Oldsmobile parked behind our station wagon.

Daddy rubbed his bristly chin. “Hmm... I wonder who that is."

“It's our preacher. Oh, no! He's come to see me.” My face burned, and this time, not from the sun.

What was I supposed to do? Where could I hide? My face was covered in melting clown makeup, and I was dressed like a vagabond. Too late, I knew I should have listened to the rest of what Mama was saying before rushing out the back door.

Jewell and I did the only thing we knew to do. We ran around to the east end of the house and sneaked in the door that led to a long hallway with two bedrooms on either side. Trouble was, the bathroom was at the far end, next to the living room and kitchen. It would be impossible to slip in there and wash the goop off my face without the preacher seeing me.

While struggling with conflicting emotions and trying to still my pounding heart, Jewell said, “Laurie, you know you should go in there and talk to the preacher. He came to see you.”

“No way! I can't, and I won't.” Nothing could have dragged me in the living room to face him. Not the way I looked. Another thought occurred. “What if Mama comes back here and makes me come out?”

Jewell shrugged, bored with the drama. She slipped out of the house using the same door we'd entered, leaving me to face my fear and anxiety. If Mama or Bro. French walked down the hall, I would hide in the closet. But, to my relief, no one came after me. And after what seemed like hours, I finally took a deep, soothing breath as our preacher stepped into his shiny car and drove away.

If this story has a moral, I would call it: “Defiance never pays; it just boomerangs.”


***********************************
Jaela was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. But, when a family secret is disclosed, her heritage is destroyed. Who is she? Will she find true self .....



Beneath A Macon Moon by [Brooks, Laurean]


https://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Macon-Moon-Laurean-Brooks-ebook/dp/B00UZXUL88/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Phil "Gunner" Carr - A Tribute


Hi everyone,
On March 7, 2019, my brother, Phil "Gunner" Carr, went home to live with our Heavenly Father. I'm so happy for him, but, regardless of that joy, there is still a hole in my heart. I loved him so much and was always so proud of him. We were very close.


I would like to share his bio with you.

I grew up in Arlington Texas. Spent a lot of time in Oak Cliff which is a suburb of Dallas Texas. Riding motorcycles and running outlaw became my way of life. I always had a love for music. In 1973, I took my first stage in country music. 


I played all the secular stuff, blues, country and old rock n roll. I played the road and chased the neon dream until 2000. Then, one night In a little club In Arlington, Jesus showed up and changed my life forever. That is when I became known as the "Outlaw Saved By Grace".

It was at this time, Phil began to sing, write songs and live for Jesus Christ. Two years ago his career in Country Gospel took off. He and his wife, Barbara, traveled around Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Nashville in the ministry of the Lord.

His songs SUNDAY MORN, TAKE MY HAND, and SEVEN began climbing the Country Gospel Music charts and are being requested still. SEVEN is #3 on the PMCMA chart!

Phil and I collaborated on ideas for various projects. One of the most recent was on my book, THE LEGEND OF BAD MOON RISING. His idea for the book was based on parts of real life. I wanted to get the flavor of the story right, so, in the course of writing, I asked him about dialogue and such. He chuckled and said, "Sis, I'm not a writer. I just write songs. You might say I'm a three minute man."
 You know I couldn't let that statement lay dormant for long. Those few words became the idea for my book,  CHRISTMAS, LIBERTY, AND THE THREE MINUTE MAN, about a Country Music singer/songwriter and an event planner. 

For now, his music ministry is continuing to speak to folks on their journey to the Lord. This summer Gunner is up for some awards for Country Gospel Music. You can hear a couple of his songs and read his testimony on his website, Gunner Carr Music

Phil "Gunner" Carr, 8-5-1952 - 3-7-2019. I miss him and am proud to call him brother.

Happily and gratefully yours,
Carra
Love. Romance. Family.