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Yay, I’ve launched my first audiobook!

Most of us like to dip our toes into the water before diving in. We want to feel it out and see if we’re comfortable with what lies ahead before making the committment.

It was no different for me with diving into a new venture of producing audiobook versions of my existing repertoire of novels, etc. For my toe-dipping experience I chose a novelette titled, One and Only. I’m super excited about it and am glad I took the plunge.

Here you go. I hope you like it. Have a listen, then click the audiobook cover to visit ONE AND ONLY on audible.com (Also available on Amazon.)

The cat that came for a nap

Let me preface by telling you that we own two cats and this guy isn’t one of them.

Hubby and I were standing in the carport when a cat strolled toward us and began weaving between our ankles and rubbing against our legs. Not only was he affectionate, but also very vocal with kitty trills, singsong meows, and a host of other cat conversation.

When hubs opened the door to go inside, the cat zoomed past him and walked around the house as if he owned the place. He ate a bit of our cats’ food, found their litter pan, and used the “facilities.” After exploring the whole house from one end to the other, he decided a nap was in order.

Judging by his clean and ultra-soft coat, this kitty was loved and well-taken care of. He wore a red collar with a little bell hanging from it, but didn’t have any kind of identification tag. I uploaded his photo on the NextDoor app and hoped his owner would see it. Also, I decided to bring him to a local vet and see if he was chipped.

Turns out, Simba was indeed chipped! But no one responded to the phone number associated with the chip. I had no choice but to take the cat back home with me, which was okay. I needed a nap and Simba did too. He cuddled with me as if we were long-lost buddies.

Lo and behold, someone recognized Simba’s photo on the NextDoor app, notified the owner, and the pair were reunited. I kidded the young lady who came to pick Simba up and told her the cat had cheated on her and slept with me. We had a good laugh, and Simba went home where he belonged.

Simba, claiming the top spot on the cat tree.

Thanksgiving and… DOGS

It’s been a couple of years since my novella, Thanksgiving at Canine Corral was published, but every time the holiday approaches, I find myself rereading and enjoying it. Yeah, that makes me sound a little biased and a tad self-absorbed, but… Okay, okay! A LOT biased and self-absorbed, maybe. LOL. But I seriously enjoyed writing this book!

I’m an animal lover from way back. The first dog in my life was Cindy, a honey-colored mutt with a gentle and sweet temperament. Cindy was a few years old when my father came home with a stray pup he’d found wandering on the street near the garage where he worked. My mother was not pleased as she did not want a second dog.

But Mom also had a soft heart toward animals, and as I sat there watching the ensuing exchange between my parents, I had a sneaking suspicion that this newcomer was going to be with us for a long, long time.

“Mike,” Mom said to my dad. “We don’t need another dog!”

The little stray knew how to WORK the situation! She put her head on my mother’s lap and poured on the sad-puppy look.

“I’m serious, Mikey. One dog is enough for our apartment.” Now, Mom was unconsciously stroking the pup’s luxuriously soft and gorgeous fur and scratching behind its ears.

“But, Mabel–”

“No. We have a cat and a dog. That’s enough to feed and care for. She’s got to go.” Mom cupped the puppy’s face and kissed the top of her head. “I’m sorry little girl, but…”

Suddenly, Mom was crying. She scooped the pup onto her lap and hugged the wriggling bundle.

I was right. The newcomer stayed with us the rest of her life and was a joy to the entire family.

So, you see, it comes as no surprise that I would write a book about a young woman whose passion for animals led her into a lifelong quest to find homes for stray, abandoned, and otherwise homeless dogs.

I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving at Canine Corral.

Click HERE to visit the book on Amazon

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

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.