Monday, July 27, 2015

A Hiking High

Keli Gwyn here talking about hiking.

We're privileged to have a great place to walk right here in our community. I've logged many miles on the El Dorado Trail. The sections I walk are striped and paved just like the one in the photo below.

This summer I got a hankering to take my walking to a new level.

My husband retired at the end of last school year. While I've been camped in front of my computer cranking out words, Carl has been heading up to the Sierras to go hiking. He returns with glowing reports of the places he's explored.

Feeling left out, I decided to accompany my guy when I can, using hikes as a reward for getting my words done for the week.

We headed up to an alpine lake a week ago. And I do mean up. According to my Fitbit, we climbed the equivalent of 84 flights of stairs that day.

But oh, was the effort worth it. The wildflowers were in bloom! I whipped out my camera and snapped picture after picture.

Hiking enables me to get exercise, spend time with my guy and enjoy the beauty of our majestic mountain range. Talk about a high!

Do you enjoy walking or hiking?
If so, what are your favorite destinations?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Allie Pleiter on getting one’s ducks in a row…

I visited Memphis last week, and had the chance to see the legendary Peabody Hotel ducks in action.  It’s simply too cute not to share.

According to the “Duckmaster”—an outgoing guy with a ringmaster-like personality and the red coat to match—the ducks who reside in every Peabody Hotel lobby fountain started out as a practical joke.  Many years back, the general manager of the hotel and his buddies got a crazy idea about what to do with the live decoy ducks they had left over from a hunting trip.  What started out as a late-night prank turned into one of the cleverest publicity stunts in hospitality history.

The ducks, who have upscale penthouse lodgings on the top floor, march to great fanfare out of the elevator, across a red carpet, and into the lobby fountain.  All in front of an adoring audience who has waited up to an hour to view the spectacle.  I and my friends gladly paid premium prices for coffee and pie to nab a front-row table.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  Look closely at my video and you’ll see the theatrical little group doing their thing—and the size of the crowd gathered to watch.

While I was waiting, did I plot a romance novel about the Duckmaster and perhaps the pretty veterinarian who keeps the ducks healthy? Maybe.  Keep your eyes open…and your ducks in a row.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I'm crying into my Ice Tea by Leann Harris

Yesterday, Marta blogged about her first trip to RWA. Well, she's in New York this week while I'm at home this summer. When my kids were growing up, I had the opportunity to stay at home but after working as a deaf-ed teacher, being a full-time mom was a rough transition. That's when I started writing and I went to RWA every summer, which was camp for mom. I learned and made so many friends. I went to RWA last summer in San Antonio, and saw so many friends. RWA is an organization that teaches writers how to improve their skills, get published, meet editors and agents, and gives you the ability to met other writers who know what you're going through. You don't feel like such a weird person with all those people running around your head. Good luck, friends and have fun.
This a a picture at my first signings at RWA.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Today I'm packing my suitcase and checking everything twice. Why? Because tomorrow morning bright and early I'm headed into New York City for the annual Romance Writers of America conference. This is a once-a-year extravaganza during which writers get to live the way popular movies depict authors--being wined and dined by published, having important meetings with editors, signing books for adoring fans--well, that might be a slight exaggeration! But it is fun, busy, and stressful, with all those things packed into four short days.

My first conference was more years ago than I care to count--1989 in Boston. It was the first time I'd flown by myself, the first time I'd been to Boston, and when I arrived, I felt like an impostor. Who was I to mix and mingle with all these successful, well-known authors? Surely anyone who looked at me could tell that I didn't belong there!

But I soon discovered that plenty of the folks who were there that first day felt just like I did. Someone once said that an RWA conference is a chance to see 2000 introverts pretending to be extroverts! And that's about the size of it for most of us. Writers are used to being alone with our computers. We're used to settling down to work in front in our sweat pants and sneakers. No wonder it terrified me that first time.

Now I'm older (a lot) and wiser (a little) and I know that most people feel insecure in situations of this kind. I also have friends I've met through RWA who are as close as sisters, and our only chance to be together is at the annual conference. It's become a kind of "class reunion" for us, and we greet one another with shrieks and hugs when we spot each other in the hotel lobby.

So yes, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'll tire myself out, probably, and eat food that is much too rich for my usual diet. And my writer friends and I will talk and talk and talk, making up for a year's worth of short emails and shorter texts.

If you're in or near New York City, I hope you'll consider stopping by the Marriott Marquis for the huge book-signing held as one of the kick-off events of the conference. Non-attendees are very welcome to come in, browse through rows and rows of books and authors, buy books and have them signed by the author, and contribute to a worthy cause that affects all of us--Literacy in America. Every cent raised will go to literacy projects, and I can't think of a better cause for writers to support.

I hope to see you there: Broadway Ballroom, 6th Floor, Marriott Marquis. The book-signing runs from 5:30 to 7:30, but the line will begin to form as early as 1:00 for people who are eager to meet their favorite authors. But don't worry about standing in line--the Marriott will be prepared with chairs!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A book with a view....

Good Morning, Jenna Mindel here having trouble getting my current work in progress to well... work.    This is the third book of my new Maple Springs series where love is supposed to run sweet.... But not with this love story! When I pitched the premise, I had the brilliant idea to re-write an old manuscript that wasn't publishable as is, but had a couple of great characters I didn't want to leave hanging.  

In fact, my hero, Darren Zelinsky has walk ons in the first two Maple Springs books - Falling for the Mom to Be that releases the end of this summer, and then again in A Soldier's Valentine which comes out in February.  Darren's a big, quiet spoken kind of outdoorsy guy and a conservation officer for the state of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources.  (Another fascinating occupation and I think they're all rock stars!)  Anyway, Darren has had his heart badly broken, and I feel a bit protective of him, but of course I have to make him face crushing heartbreak once again, right?  LOL. 

Have any of you started a project one way and then didn't like how it looked or came together, so you redid it?  Well that's what happening here -  I started this book from the heroine's point of view like I do most of my Love Inspireds and it simply wouldn't work.  This is truly Darren's story, and as much as I want to coddle the guy - I really need to put him through the emotional ringer.  Sigh.  Easier said then done.

So, I wondered who's perspective do you look forward to reading more in a romance?  The heroine, who we as women can hopefully identify with or the hero, who we hope to also fall in love with along the way?

Thanks for your insight! 
Feel free to keep tabs on my upcoming books at my website 


Monday, July 13, 2015

Books, Books and More - Gail Gaymer Martin

Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at

A Mother To Love was in stores for June but if you missed it, you can still find it as a mass market book or an eBook on or It is the first in the Lilac Circle series. All the stories revolve around the neighbors who live on Lilac Circle. The next book in the series, A Husband To Love  will be released in October, just in time for Christmas.

What's A Mother To Love About?

An Unexpected Family

Angie Bursten wants to find love on her own timeline. Tired of her family's interference, coworker Rick Jameson comes to the rescue—as her pretend boyfriend. Angie starts to spend time with Rick and his adorable daughter, Carly, and what began as a hoax soon feels all too real. Betrayed by the woman he'd married, single dad Rick is slow to trust. But seeing Angie with Carly, he can't ignore the way he feels for his beautiful coworker. And when Angie helps Rick with the toughest battle of his life—gaining full custody of his child—there'll be no more pretending. If they can open their hearts, Rick and Angie have a real shot at happily-ever-after.

But that''s not all from me. In two days, July 15, Romance By Design, a romance with attitude and humor, is availabe on as an eBook and soon to be a paperback. If you purchase the book the launch day - Wednesday, July 15 - the cost is $.99. Now that's a bargain. On July 16, the price will revert to the regular price.

Here's what you'll read on the back cover about Romance By Design:
When successful interior designer Hunter Evans returns from London with his latest contract in hand, he is startled to learn a new designer with curly red hair, ruffles, and a noisy charm bracelet has been hired to add country decor to the modern design firm. And of all things, the company owner seems to enjoy putting them together on the same project And even worse, Hunter can't control his attraction to her.

Thrilled with her new prestigious position, Morgan Branigan faces opposition in the design company that had catered to modern decor. But nothing can stop her. As the only daughter in an Irish family with five brothers, she learned how to win battles. But had her brothers prepared her for the unexpected feelings that draw her to Hunter, her nemesis? Would it take more than feelings to kindle the relationship? Morgan’s only hope is God’s design.

To see the cover of Romance By Design and learn more Click here  I hope you enjoy 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Investing in Ourselves

Terri Reed here, do you ever have those days where nothing fits? The shorts that I bought a few months ago now won't button. The dress I planned to wear in a few weeks is too tight. Being a writer requires copious hours sitting in front of a computer, which doesn't lend itself to physical activity--unless you invest in a treadmill desk. I'm seriously considering this but they are sooo expensive and I don't know if it will work for me or not. I have issues with motion sickness so I usually stay away from treadmills and such. Though I've heard you walk at such a slow pace that motion sickness shouldn't be a problem. I have also considered acquiring a height adjustment desk that slides up and down so I could work standing up for periods of time.
But the main thing for me is I need to get out of the house and exercise. I was doing pretty well for a long time--I went to the gym everyday for Pilates or Zumba. But then I had some minor injuries and health issues that prevented me from going. And now that I'm doing better its so hard to get going again. I'm determined to get back in shape. Or at least lose the inches I've gained. 
I love to dance so I'm off to Zumba now. Its an hour long. 
I tell myself I can invest an hour in my health.  
Its important that we invest in ourselves so that we have the energy, emotional and physical well-being to invest in others. 
What do you do to invest in yourself?

On Sale NOW!  Oh, and stop by my webpage at and comment. I have a present for one commenter between now and July 31st.

Under other circumstances, FBI agent Samantha Bennett might welcome a bit of backup—but not from an overprotective Mountie. She's been on the trail of a serial killer for six months and no one has ever taken the case seriously…until now. When Royal Canadian Mounted Police inspector Drew Kelley saves her life, he decides that the hunt for "Birdman" is his problem, too. Together they begin a cross-continent chase to stop the madman before he strikes again. However, Samantha fears her growing feelings for the lawman may weaken her focus, or worse—put Drew directly in the killer's sights… 
Northern Border Patrol: Keeping the U.S.–Canadian border safe