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Dear Edward…

Don’t you love getting handwritten letters? Especially from someone who piques your romantic interest? Such was the case for Special Forces lieutenant Edward Giordano in the romance novel, A Soldier Finds His Way.

After saving the the heroine’s life, then being separated from her for a period of time, he receives a sweet note, inviting him to her family’s home for a meal on Easter Sunday. Her tenderness and sincerity – not to mention, beauty – intrigues him. But, having guarded his heart for so long, the gruff and tough soldier has a hard time dealing with the softer emotions that swirl through his entire being as he reads…

I think of you often. I would like to see you. The words bounced around his head. He couldn’t turn them off. Our laughter echoes through… He stopped and pulled the letter out of his pocket and searched for the line. Our laughter echoes through my mind and makes me happy all over again.

Bottom line? He’d be a bonehead not to go, even if opening his heart might lead to pain and disillusionment.


A Soldier Finds His Way is book one in the Forever a Soldier Series.

AVAILABLE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

A Soldier Finds His Way – regularly priced $3.99.

ON SALE for .99 Sept. 1-6, 2020


Do you enjoy reading sweet romance novels? Great! Click HERE or on the image below to check out some sweet deals. Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? Even better, as all of these books are enrolled in the program. Enjoy.

Pulling the Plug on Social Media

It’s official. I’m out of Facebook and Twitter for good.

Why?

When I landed book deals with a couple of publishers several years ago, they recommended I join some social media sites to a) get my name out there, b) interact with readers/fans, and c) promote my work. There were no real instructions as to how to accomplish those three tasks once my accounts were set up, and for me, vague recommendations just don’t cut it.

I’ll admit, I did enjoy the cat videos, Forrest Gump memes, and the occasional Chuck Norris jokes (Before going to bed, the Boogie Man checks the closet for Chuck Norris…). Photos of friend’s gardens, their grandchildren, and pets sleeping in crazy positions made me smile. But the bombardment of political opinions and re-posts of un-researched and un-true news, quotes, and quasi “facts” more than tipped the scale in the opposite direction.

Most of all, for ME, social media was a vortex that sucked large quantities of time and gave little in return. If I was writing and the muse just wasn’t tickling my creative side, I’d pop over to FB to…to…to…I dunno. Certainly not to find inspiration. It had become an addiction, plain and simple. A go-to place to relieve boredom and veg out.

I judge no one. If you’re happy with social media, wonderful. I’m glad you enjoy it. Really.

I’ll still be here. Hanging out at the house. Writing. You know… Living large. (LOL)

Until next time…

Irene

Diet, day three…

In my last blog I told you I was on a diet. I’m not talking about some crazy sort of food deprevation scheme for weight loss. No, that’s not it all all. I’m fasting from social media.

If I were a disciplined person, I could probably give myself a set amount of time each day to visit Facebook. But, nah. I know myself. No can do. It’s like having Keebler cookies in the pantry and telling myself I can only have two each day. Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen. The Keebler elf and I are tight. So are my britches. Which is why I can’t keep cookies in the house.

So here I am. Day three, no Facebook. How am I doing? I’ll tell you…

My savvy computer knows how addicted I am. All I have to do is type an “f” in my browser’s search bar and, whammo! It knows to populate Facebook. Yup. It brings me right to the login page. Yikes! There it is. Staring me in the face. The front door to my addiction. I’ve got to close the browser fast lest temptation puts me in a headlock and makes me cave in.

Do I miss Facebook yet? Yeah. Sort of. I haven’t seen a funny cat meme or dog video in three days. And, of course, I miss tidbits of news from my online buddies.

On the other hand, one thing I don’t miss is when certain friends dump every bad-news item from mainstream and other-stream news media onto their feed for all of us to… um… enjoy? Killings, rioting, pestilance, kidnappings… Goodness gracious. Less gore and more happy-happy, please. Bring on the cat videos!

So, there you have it. My “diet” thus far. I’ll keep you posted.

Just so you know, my latest book is now available on Amazon. It’s free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers.

Full ugly cry.

When I read a book, I judge the author’s writing strength by very simple criteria.

I’m not terribly concerned about a few typos or a couple of boo-boos with punctuation. Minor formatting errors mean nothing to me. The criteria I’m looking for is this: Can the author make me laugh, cry, get angry, smile, feel nervous, or afraid? Will the story evoke primal emotions in such a way that I feel fully immersed in the lives of the characters? That’s the kind of writer I strive to be.

Recently, I was blessed by a reader who wrote a blog about Justice for Hattie Mayfair, the first book I’d written outside my normal romance genre. I hadn’t strayed far, but this story had added elements of suspense. In her blog post, the reader gave me the best compliment I’ve ever received as a writer. Her comment let me know I had hit the mark. That she felt things. Deeply. Here’s a snippet of what she said…

“I can tell you I was on my toes most of time. I sat on the edge of my seat, laughed, and shed a few tears. Especially at the end… full ugly cry!”

Full ugly cry. I love it.

The Traveler

A traveler came through a small country town and brought with him news from around the globe. Citizens gathered in the courthouse square to listen as the man spoke for hours about events occurring in places they would never visit and people they would never meet.

From morning to evening, the traveler painted a bleak picture of the world. Wars, pestilences, fires, floods, injustices, political corruption; the endless tales brought great anxiety and heaviness of heart to those in the peaceful village.

Dusk settled like a shroud of gloom. The visitor glanced at the clock tower, ended his talk, and descended the steps from the courthouse portico.

“Sir.” The village elder rose from a bench and hobbled through the crowd toward the traveler. “You’ve distressed us greatly with your discourse. May I ask you a few questions?”

“Of course.” With a slight nod, the man confirmed his assent.

“These things of which you speak… Are they true?”

“According to those who sent me, yes. I suppose them to be so.”

“But, have you confirmed, beyond reasonable doubt, these things are true?”

“Well, I—”

“Tell me about the people who sent you. Do they have a reputation for being truthful? Are they virtuous, trustworthy, and honest?”

The traveler hooked a finger in his collar and pulled it from his bobbing Adam’s apple. “I don’t actually know them on a personal level, but I assume they are.”

“Assume?” Clutching a walking cane, his legs unsteady, the gray-haired man shook his head. “By your own admission, you know little to nothing about the character and motives of those who sent you on this journey. The stories you shared may be true, false, or a twisted blend of both, which renders them questionable.”

“It’s getting late, and I must move on to the next town.” With great haste, the man packed the papers with his many notes into his valise.

The crowd parted and made a path for the man’s exit.

“Tell me,” the old man called out to the traveler’s back. “Did you expect us to take action based upon news that was built on a foundation of suppositions and assumptions?”

Turning, the traveler snarled and cursed the old man. “Stay uninformed, all of you.” He spat on the ground, pivoted, and stormed away.

Murmurs rose from the crowd, and the people gathered around the elder.

He silenced them with a raised palm. “It has been said that to be misinformed is often worse than being uninformed. We can act only upon that which we know is true. To do otherwise is to propagate lies or misinformation.”

A young man stepped forward. “Are we to do nothing, then? If, indeed, there is any truth in the things the stranger has said, ought we not do what we can to help remedy these things?”

“First seek the whole truth. Make it your sure foundation. Then act upon it.”

The moral of the story:

  • Information is only as reliable as its source
  • Before spreading a story, practice due diligence and make sure it is true.
  • Don’t be an unreliable source.

 

Something to do during quarantine.

Hello again!

Everybody doing okay? Hanging in there with all this “social distancing” and everything else that’s going on? It’s a stressful time for some folks. Understandably so. I hope you and your loved ones have been physically untouched by COVID-19 even if the world is turned a bit upside down.

To help during this time, my dear author friends, Beatrice Fishback, Dana K. Ray, and Linda Robinson, and I, have decided to run a 99¢ sale on a few of our books. All are available in Kindle Unlimited as well. We hope you enjoy them.

So, here we go…

99¢ for a limited time (April 21-27)

Check it out!

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Here’s one for young adults.

Faith and Family Series, book 1

Set in 1987 on a Southern plantation in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Natalie’s Choices depicts teen angst, family relationships, and the consequences of both right and wrong choices. Can Natalie and Tori’s friendship endure the endless trials life throws at them?

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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No matter how hard you try…

There’s No Reasoning with Love

In their teens and deeply in love, India Jackson and Vince Mancini are torn apart by a lie concocted by their fathers that separates and takes them down two diverse paths.

But then LIFE happens and their journeys are set on a collision course. Love is complicated. Sometimes, no reasoning to it at all.

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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How do you love someone who’s totally absorbed in themself?

Shelley Auburn, executive for Universal Station, a competitive website designed to take over every major worldwide web, will stop at nothing to become the primary shareholder. The best course of action is marrying the heir apparent, Patrick Malloy. Will Shelley marry Patrick for his wealth and finally have everything she has labored for, or will unexpected circumstances open her eyes to a world of unimaginable love that plunge her headlong into its embrace?

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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Loyalty to the family is all that matters.

Brothers, Antony and Sonny Luciano grew up knowing exactly what their lives would hold.

Antony, driven by power and money, is prepared to take over the streets his father runs. Sonny reluctantly surrenders to a similar fate until their mother’s fresh talk about her faith births in him a hope of a better future.

One bullet changed their destinies forever.

~***~

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

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A small-town romance with all the big-time feels.

Rachel Valentino’s life is turned upside down…by a tornado.

Things only get worse when her sister dumps her pre-teen daughter on Rachel then disappears for months on end.

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

The Preacher and the Shopkeeper

It’s here! Get your Kindle copy for 99¢ for a limited time.

Here’s the back-cover synopsis:

Industrial City, Ava Starling’s hometown, is struggling to survive with businesses and industries closing and jobs at a minimum. She’s desperately trying to help assist the needy through the thrift store she owns and operates, but homelessness is on the rise. Ava doubts the recent assignment of the young and handsome Brandon Sparks as senior pastor of the defunct Union Street Church can breathe hope into empty hearts. 

When Ava and Brandon meet, sparks fly but misunderstandings and trust issues ensue. Only Ava’s mother knows the true reason behind her daughter’s resistance to the new pastor, but it’s only a matter of time before Brandon discovers why Ava holds animosity toward him. Will she learn to accept his offers of help or continue to resist his hand of friendship? Working together to meet the needs of the community might forever change both their lives more than either can ever anticipate.


Somebody “Un-Liked” me!

In this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up in “likes” and “un-likes” on social media.

Here’s the thing. Your self-worth isn’t determined by whether someone likes you or not.

It’s like Junior High.

“So-and-so likes me.” Or… “I don’t think so-and-so likes me.”

Does it matter?

Whose approval are you going for? Those who truly love you, or some like-likers, like-unlikers, like, un-like, but like again-ers? Oh, my! It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

Yes, once you make your name public, whether you’re an author, actor, singer, musician, WHATEVER, you make yourself a target of Like or Un-Likers.

People are fickle. They like you until…

They find you’re not like them, politically.

They find you’re not like them, religiously.

They find you’re not like them… um… Italian-ly, Irish-ly, Black-ly, White-ly, I-like-big-dogs VS small-dogs-ly, or cat VS dog-ly.

SO WHAT!!!

Take a deep breath.

It’s “social” media, folks.

Which, may or not, by definition,  be SOCIAL at all.

Rant over.

What’s Next?

That’s the question I ask myself once I’ve finished writing and publishing my latest book. Awake into the wee hours, my mind is a whirlwind of activity. Will I dive into writing a trilogy? Dabble with a stand-alone novel? Maybe come up with a couple of short stories for giveaways?

Decisions, Decisions.

A lot of my stories start with a series of “what-ifs.” The possibilities are endless.

And so, the idea for my next novel, The Preacher and the Shopkeeper, began to take shape:

What if my heroine lived in a declining city where homelessness is on the rise? And, what if she owns a thrift shop and uses the proceeds to benefit those in need?

What if a young preacher accepted a pastorate at a church only to find an empty building with no congregants except for a slightly eccentric live-in custodian?

Excellent! We now have a heroine and a hero.

And, fleshing it out, we have a back-cover synopsis for our story:

Industrial City, Ava Starling’s hometown, is struggling to survive with businesses and industries closing and jobs at a minimum. She’s desperately trying to help assist the needy through the thrift store she owns and operates, but homelessness is on the rise. Ava doubts the recent assignment of the young and handsome Brandon Sparks as senior pastor of the defunct Union Street Church can breathe hope into empty hearts.

When Ava and Brandon meet, sparks fly but misunderstandings and trust issues ensue. Only Ava’s mother knows the true reason behind her daughter’s resistance to the new pastor, but it’s only a matter of time before Brandon discovers why Ava holds animosity toward him. Will she learn to accept his offers of help or continue to resist his hand of friendship? Working together to meet the needs of the community might forever change both their lives more than either can ever anticipate.

Coming Soon!

THE PREACHER AND THE SHOPKEEPER