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Friday, January 26, 2024

Look For the Magic by Laura Hunsaker

 In my free short story Amethyst Heat I wrote in a magical ring from the heroine’s aunt Gilly. She doesn't know that it's magic, of course. Not until something big happens. This ring sends our heroine back through time. When people ask writers how they get their ideas, which we do hear often, that's something that doesn't always have an easy answer. But with this story, I do have an easy answer!

I based the idea off of a ring my own aunt gave me when I was a child. While mine definitely hasn’t sent me through time, it does have a bit of its own magic.

See this ring?

My aunt gave it to me when I was seven. She passed away the next year, so while it was already special, that made it even more so. I wore this ring every day until I was ten when I lost it in the summer camp rec center pool. I searched so much for that ring, I had friends helping, camp counselors, and we didn't even catch a hint of the ring. In a crazy twist of fate, I found it 3 months later in the pool drain (that we'd already searched months ago!) when I was diving for (ha) rings.

I called it my lucky ring and wore it for years, even as beat up as it was from the pool filter incident, until I lost it on a choir trip in high school. We were going up to Utah for a couple of days, and I found it on the bus ride back. It was on the seat. I did not sit in the same seat as I had before. Seriously. Lucky ring, guys. So by this point I put it in my jewelry box so I wouldn’t lose it.

Amethyst Heat was the first thing I wrote (2009) and it's very super short, but even though my ring isn't an amethyst, it was the inspiration for the story.

Around 2016, the magic was still working, because I let my youngest wear it. She was three, and I never saw it again...until about two years later! My youngest found it on the ground in my room. We vacuum daily in my household. Daily. How is this ring just chilling on the ground for two years?! It’s once more in my jewelry box for safekeeping. Lucky ring is lucky.

Amethyst Heat is a very short story, about seven pages long, if that. And it's free!

           Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  Google Play  |  Smashwords
Add short story Amethyst Heat to your shelves on Goodreads

While out riding, Meg McMurray finds herself on unfamiliar lands. Gone are the long expanses of Oklahoma prairie, and in front of her are the wild Scottish Highlands. How did she come to be there, and did Aunt Gilly's amethyst ring have anything to do with it?

A sweet romance set in the Highlands of Scotland.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


 by Judy Ann Davis 

Happy New Year to all!

According to a calendar of events for yearly celebrations, January 24th is Global Belly Laughing Day. This special holiday was created in 2005 by Elaine Helle, a certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, from Lake Oswego, Oregon. It was first celebrated on January 24, 2006.                                                                     

There are four goals according to the author of this special day:

  • To celebrate and remember past laughter.
  • To do it in public with others and connect via laughing.
  • To remember the importance of laughs and smiles.
  • To gain the health benefits of smiling and laughing. Laughter is the best medicine.

I will also add: When we laugh, we ease stress and anxiety, boost the immune system, improve mood, support heart health, burn calories, and even relieve pain.

When I taught career development to adult students, single parents, and displaced homemakers in a program called New Choices, young people often asked me what was the secret to my long marriage. I used to laugh and tell them: “Never say what you’re thinking when you’re angry.” Then, I’d add that both my husband and I are very polite to each other, appreciate each other—and often laugh a lot, even over the smallest things like a shared joke, cartoon, turn of a phrase, even a stupid thing one of us has done or a crazy antic of a grandchild.

HY  Hintermeister 1897-1972
As a writer, I try to write humorous or witty dialogue for my characters in my novels as well because I admire crafty dialogue that makes the reader smile. I enjoy reading RomCom novels as well.

I often think if we could get people in our nation and in the world to enjoy a good belly laugh together, there might be more hope for better understanding among everyone globally.                          

To celebrate this special day, I leave you with two jokes about writers:

1—What do you get when you cross a writer with a deadline?                             A really clean house.

2—Why do writers feel chilly? They’re surrounded by drafts. 

NEW - NEW - NEW     
COURTING BETSY -Book 3 of the Ashmore Brothers Series

                          VISIT MY   AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE FOR ALL MY BOOKS 


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Lipstick on the Cup and Other Memories by Liz Flaherty

I wrote this a few years back. My apologies if you've seen it before, but it felt right for today. Happy January! 

"Flowers in the city are like lipstick on a woman -- it just makes you look better to have a little color." - Lady Bird Johnson

Several months ago, I put on makeup to go out and realized I looked better with it on. Nan Reinhardt and I were off on a weekend soon afterward and did a little high-school-freshman shopping at Walgreen's or CVS and I added to my cosmetics supply. On her advice, I even started wearing eye shadow. I'm still not good at it, but I'm getting better. Whether I like to admit it or not, the truth is that when I look better, I feel better. That being the case, I wear makeup nearly every day, even if I'm not going anywhere. The roommate likes me in it, too, and mentions it, and while I don't think I'd wear it for that reason alone, the "new look from an old lover" doesn't hurt.

A few days into my makeup-wearing adventure, I looked at my coffee cup and saw lipstick on its edge. My first thought was, I'll admit, "Yuck," and I grabbed a napkin to rub it away. My second thought was of my mother-in-law, who left lipstick on every cup she drank from and, more importantly, on everyone she kissed hello or goodbye.

In short, lipstick was part of Mom's telling you she loved you. I think of her every time I see my "Tickled Pink" lip print on my cup. And I leave it there.

You might wonder, and rightfully so, what lipstick smears have to do with writing romance or women's fiction. The only time the prints show up is on murder mystery covers or if a wayward husband is having an affair.

But my kids grew up with their grandma's lip prints on their foreheads and their cheeks. It is a memory that has a place in all our hearts. It gives joy to me each time I look at the pink spot on my cup.

As an author, this is what I want to give to people who read my stuff. They don't have to remember all my titles, protagonists, or story lines. They don't have to finish a book if it doesn't click after the first chapter, although I thank them for trying.

But, if they remember Grace Elliot saying "geezy Pete," or Lucy Dolan's cat, Kitty Kinsale, or that Cass Logan made the best gingerbread men in Christmas Town, I'm happy with that. I hope they are, too. I hope it's the lipstick print on their cups and that they smile when they remember.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

New Year Means New Energy by Joan Reeves

I welcomed 2024 with open arms because it wasn't a very good year for me.

I've always had this feeling that a new year meant new energy and another chance to make one's dreams come true.

Despite the freezing weather outside, I'm content writing a new book, finishing my latest Kindle Vella, and working on my plans to make this year awesome.


I'm giving away one (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card. There are several ways to enter, and you can enter often so click here to enter my January Rafflecopter.


I'm so behind on so many projects—personal and writing—that I'm trying to up my game with a process I saw in a YouTube video.

Each day I make a list of 8 Critical Things I Must Do. With so many things that require my attention, knowing I'm only asking myself to do 8 kind of keeps me from being overwhelmed.

I've been working this Critical 8 for about a week. I don't know if I'm slow or the 8 things I try to do each day just require too much time, but I have yet to cross off all 8 tasks.

In the last few years, I'd utilized the 1,3,5 Method. That worked well for me until I fell a year behind due to family illness and my own illness. Hence trying the Critical 8. I'll keep working on it and let you know next month if I'm staying with it.

Have you tried something new like that for 2024? If so, leave a comment and tell me your process. 


I'm also giving away 1 ebook copy of Brianna's Season for Miracles

This small town romance is currently in Kindle Unlimited, but I think I'm removing it from KU and publishing it "wide" next week.

Now's your chance to get a free copy of a novel described as a heartwarming journey of self-discovery.

To be entered in the random drawing for this prize,  leave a comment about this post along with your email address written out, not as a hot link.

Drawing closes Jan. 23, 2024. Winner chosen by random draw and notified within 48 hours of closing.


I've been reading in different genres these last few months. I wondered if you readers also have been trying new types of books. If so, leave a comment and tell us what genre is attracting your attention.

If you're an author and a reader, are you dipping your toes into the waters of other genres? Let us know in comments please.

Good luck with your 2024 Journey!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Delicious Memories by Bea Tifton


For Christmas, my father gave me some white chocolate candy bars. I love white chocolate, but like any other type of candy, some bars are better than others. This was the best white chocolate I had ever tasted. Dad hit it right out of the park for me, and I really appreciated that.
As a piece of the candy bar melted on my tongue, I had a sharp, clear memory of my childhood.  When I was a child, the Sears Department Store we frequented had a candy counter right smack in the middle of the store. If I was good (which was every time, of course, because I was a perfect child), we would stop by the candy counter. This was a big deal. A whole bag of candy I could choose all by myself.  I always walked solemnly around the display case, looking at every kind of candy, and then ordered white chocolate stars. As I clutched my little paper bag of treasure, I would take out a star, nibble it, and let the piece melt in my mouth. Heaven.  So my father’s gift of candy bars brought back one of my favorite childhood memories.

Isn’t it funny how even the smell of some foods can evoke such powerful memories? I was a sickly child before I became a sickly adult. I didn’t like chicken noodle soup, so Mamaw would make me her potato soup recipe from scratch. I could eat that when I couldn’t tolerate anything else. It was delicious and I felt special because she had gone to so much trouble for me. To this day, every time I smell potato soup or see it on a menu, I smile to myself and think of my Mamaw.

When I was very small, Mom would go to a specific bakery to buy bread. The counter seemed so far away to me since I was so young (and small for my age, anyway), so I couldn’t even see over the display case. Mom would ask for the bread, and then she bought me a sand tart. The baker was always so friendly to me. He would give me a big smile as he leaned over and handed me my cookie.  I felt so special.

Memories are powerful things. They can make us sad, happy, and even angry. But how wonderful that one can go back in time at just a mention of certain foods. Do you have any special food memories?


 Photo Credits: Anete Lusina "Delicious White Chocolate on Ceramic Plate"
The Indiana Album: James Ray Coleman Collection "Sears Candy Counter, 1970s"
Wikimedia Commons: Dept of Agriculture Extension Service "Woman Cooking in a Kitchen"
Wikimedia Commons: Sara Stieneh "Bakery at Clark's, a Grocery, Drug, Sundries, and Department Store and Lunch Counter" Kati Bishop "Woman Looking Up Smiling"



Thursday, January 4, 2024

New Year, New Adventures by @JacquieRogers

 New Adventures in 2024! 

I don't know about you but I'm plenty happy to see 2023 fade into memory and 2024 roll in.  Not that I had a terrible year, but 2023 sure seemed like a long slog.  Nothing came easy, that's for sure.  But before I get into all that, here's this:

Our family managed to get through the holidays unscathed, which was made easier because my son and granddaughter were here for a week.  He installed a new kitchen faucet so now I can actually get water to both sides of the sink.  Win!  On the down side, I still haven't found all the presents I bought for people.  I guess they'll get them for 2024 birthdays.  No one seemed too disappointed with their gifts, and I certainly did get a haul.  One thing I'll be using is the teensy refrigerator for the car, which I'll be bringing along on our RV trips.  Also the fluffy slippers and hoody blanket will come in handy. ☺

My greenhouse is finished!  And yes, I've already planted (and killed) some seeds, so this is round two.  I found out that once the seeds sprout, I need to take them off the heated mat and also remove the humidity dome.  Live and learn.  We'll see how round two fares.  I've planted basil, spinach, green onions, and petunias--mostly because those four plants are super easy to grow and I thought they'd be good for practice.  I've never had or used a greenhouse before.  Farming, I know--fancy schmancy greenhouses are a whole 'nother story.

For reading, I've been into biographies lately.  How about your New Year book choices?

Stay safe, and until next month, Happy Reading. 📚😍

If you're on TikTok, friend me!  My handle is @jacquierogersbooks.  
You can get videos of Honey Beaulieu and Sassy's latest updates there.  And goofy videos of her scribe.  Heck, we even do a few cooking videos.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Welcoming the New Year by Bea Tifton

  Filling in for the lovely and talented (and ill) Caroline Clemmons.

Last night during the evening news, the commercials were dominated by weight loss ads. This morning, as I watch one of the news magazine shows, every story is about resolutions, things to do at the first of a new year.

One story encourages people to do all their routine medical screenings. I do all of those in December as I’m frantically trying to beat January when my health insurance deductible starts over. And as far as losing weight, I started in October, but I’m aiming for a new lifestyle rather than a temporary diet. 

What is it about the new year that prompts us to make all these lists? We plan total reformations, and sometimes fantasize that from now on our lives will be perfect. Well, I’m all for optimism but really, turning the calendar to a new January page isn’t really a magic button.

The concept of starting over and making resolutions stretches across many cultures and countries. For Lunar New Year, many people completely clean their whole house and sweep out all the bad luck from the previous year. I need to adopt that one!

We had a tough year. Caroline and Hero took turns getting seriously sick, and I got sick several times myself. We were ill over the Christmas holidays, and while we did manage a good, but dialed down,   

Christmas, I keep thinking, Is it over? Did we really just celebrate Christmas and the New Year? Is it already time to go back to real life and our regular routine?

Perhaps the draw for the blank page thinking associated with the new year is our way of rejuvenating. It’s a wonderful sense of renewal, a do over. We get to tweak our lives. In a world filled with scary, hard things, it’s greeting the new year with optimism and hope. We don’t have to remain stagnate or helplessly stuck. I love that. So, make all those resolutions. Sweep out the old year and welcome the new. It’s gonna be a good one, I just feel it.

Photo Credits: MARTPRODUCTION "A Woman Looking at the Mirror" Yaroslav Shurgev "A Woman in Long Dress Standing on a Porch Holding a Broom"
Pixabay RosZie "Goals" Jill Wellington "Happy Person Silhouett Photo of Woman"