9/13/2019

C.H.'s Recipe Share: Blueberry Pandowdy

Welcome to my Recipe Share! 

Today would have been my Dad's 87th birthday 

Although he's been gone for 20 years, I still miss him. In honor of his birthday, I'm sharing one of my Dad's favorites ~ Mom's Blueberry Pandowdy.




Growing up, we were blessed because of our Dad's fondness for baked goods, which included anything sweet. During the Summer, Mom's Blueberry Pandowdy was always baking. It was one of the recipes I copied down before I got married.


I have recipes everywhere...or at least I did until I gathered the 3 x 5 cards, notebook pages, print-outs, etc. and put them in a binder--make that two binders. That got rid of the crumbling file folders I'd rubberbanded together all those years ago. LOL.




Here's a picture of the recipe card from my binder. You can see from the stains that it's been well used. Over the years, I've adapted it to include any berry or fruit. If you have it, use it ;)



We had some gorgeous blueberries the other day, so I got up early, followed Mom's recipe and here's what it looked like...now I'm not certain that's what it should look like since I never actually saw a picture of it. LOL!


I love using my grandmother's Limoges cake plate...makes me feel closer to her. ;)


~ ~ ~

If I had raspberries--it became Raspberry Pandowdy. I made up recipe postcards, which I brought with me to many booksignings over the years. Love the simplicity of these double-sided cards, using our oldest son's advice to take a picture so people can see what it's supposed to look like. I'd like to add, that's what it looks like when I bake it -- not a guarantee of what it should look like. LOL!









~ ~ ~

Here's Mom's recipe:


Blueberry Pandowdy

My mom used to bake this when blueberries were in season. There is nothing like the taste of blueberry pandowdy fresh out of the oven with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast.

Note: I’ve only made this recipe with fresh berries, but you can substitute frozen or canned blueberries, or whichever berry or fruit you prefer (*see alternate below)—but I can’t guarantee that it will be as delicious as it does with fresh berries.

2 cups washed fresh blueberries (substitute drained, thawed frozen or canned blueberries)
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of ½ lemon (or lemon juice)
Cake batter (see recipe below)
Cream, Hard Sauce, or Vanilla Ice Cream for topping

*I've made this recipe with apples, too--our oldest son loves it*
6 Granny Smith Apples (peeled and sliced thin)
1 & 1/2 cups of sugar 
2 tsps. cinnamon
splash of lemon
Cook in medium saucepan until soft, add to greased baking dish (or casserole) top with cake batter.

Combine berries (or fruit,) sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Pour into a greased (I used margarine) baking dish (9x9x2) if you have it, or if not, I’ve used a casserole dish.

Spread with cake batter (recipe follows) and bake in a preheated moderate oven 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Spoon out servings hot or cold and serve with cream (whipped if preferred)
Makes 6 servings.

Pandowdy Cake Batter

½ cup butter (or margarine)
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cup sifted flour (I only used Heckers Unbleached)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup milk

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Stir in egg. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. Beating until smooth. Spread over hot berries…see above berry recipe.

Do you have a favorite sweet recipe that you love? Leave a comment, I love swapping recipes!

~ ~ ~

Today was supposed to be the day my Sweet Christmas Novella: Christmas Comes to Apple Grove would be available for Pre-Order...


Well it would have been if I'd known that you could only set the Pub date...not the Pre-order date. *sigh* 

So it's been available for pre-order since August 28th when I set everything up. I only seem to learn things the hard way, but I always get back up, brush myself off and put one foot in front of the other. 

So although I didn't manage to have the pre-order date today, on what would have been my Dad's birthday. In his memory, I'm still thinking of him, thanking him for the gift of life, words and song. Celebrating by giving away a signed print--or e-book--copy of my new Sweet Christmas Novella: 


Christmas Comes to Apple Grove




Happy Baking...Happy Reading!!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

9/12/2019

Jacqui Nelson’s North of the Border - Rustic Cabin Inspiration


One Summer when I was a teenager, my best friend invited me to her family’s lakeside cabin in northern Alberta, Canada. The location was 370 km (230 miles) north-east of our families’ neighboring farms. The lake was named after a bird…whose name I can’t remember…but I do remember the lake was a smaller one near a larger one called…wait for it…Cold Lake. How fitting is that for a remote northern location? And yes, I remember the Mysterious-Bird-Named Lake being very cold to swim in.

But what I remember most is their cabin. It was small and rustic. No electricity or running water. Only a bed, table, wood stove, and a couple of kerosene lanterns inside a one-room hideaway in a small clearing in the forest. The walk to the outhouse on the other side of that clearing felt extra-long in the dark with only a lantern to light the way. In contrast, my family’s farmhouse was a 3-bedroom new-built 1960s bungalow which was very modern at that time.

In my new book, A Bride for Brynmor (releasing Sep 19), my heroine and hero (Lark and Brynmor Llewellyn) get stranded in a tiny log cabin at an equally small train junction. Brynmor and his brothers have hired the station attendant to transform the location (which sits in the perfect location between Denver and Noelle, Colorado) into a freight hub. But when Brynmor and Lark first arrive at the junction, they must get off the train unexpectedly.

Below is an excerpt that follows their getting off (or the jumping off) the train as it leaves the junction and picks up speed on its way to Noelle. And below that is a chance to win an e-copy of A Bride for Brynmor. 

But first my series & book blurbs...

Songbird Junction Series

Welcome to Songbird Junction where Welsh meets West in Colorado 1878. The journey to find a forever home and more starts here. Brynmor, Heddwyn, and Griffin Llewellyn are three Welsh brothers bound by blood and a passion for hauling freight—in Denver where hard work pays. Lark, Oriole, and Wren are three Irish-Cree Métis sisters-of-the-heart bound by choice and a talent for singing—in any place that pays.



A Bride for Brynmor - Book Blurb

Can a sister who’s lived only for others find freedom with one man? Family has always come first—for both of them. He’s never forgiven himself for letting her go. She’s never forgiven herself for almost getting him killed.

When Lark and her songbird sisters are separated fleeing their cruel and controlling troupe manager, only Brynmor Llewellyn can help Lark save her sisters and escape to the far west. But Lark wants more. And so does Brynmor. When they’re stranded in a spot as difficult to guard as it is to leave—a rustic cabin at a train junction between Denver and the mountain town of Noelle, Colorado—they find themselves fighting not only for survival but for redemption, forgiveness, and a second chance for their love.

Will the frontier train stop of Songbird Junction be Lark and Brynmor’s salvation? Or their downfall when her manager, a con artist who calls himself her uncle but cherishes only his own fame and fortune—demands a debt no one can pay?



A Bride for Brynmor -  Excerpt (with Cabin Inspiration)

(Some backstory: Ulysses is Lark’s troupe manager and Barnum and Bailey are orphaned lambs that they are transporting to Noelle.)

“I didn’t want to face Ulysses’ anger again so I jumped.” Lark pressed her lips tight, ending her story there. Let him think she had been most afraid for herself.

“Or…” Brynmor doffed his wool cap and raked his finger through his hair. The soft glow from the stove's growing fire turned his thick auburn waves even redder. “You didn’t want me to face him again.”

She’d accomplished that. Her stubbornly helpful Welsh giant was safe.

Her shivers lessened and her bravado returned. She raised her chin. “Or I never liked watching from the wings. Now I can see what you discovered in this cabin.”

“You’ll see nothing.” His long sigh left a ghostly trail in the air. “The attendant’s belongings are gone. He didn’t even stay long enough to make a dent in the food supplies we’d left him.”

“Good news. He left with intent, and there’s no need to search for him. You can stay here.” With me.

He grabbed several blankets from a nearby stack and arranged them on the floor by the stove.

“What are you doing?”

“Making a nest for our lambs.”

Our. Her heart thudded as she savored the silent echo in her soul. “How cozy,” she murmured, trying not to appear undone by a single word. When she placed Barnum and Bailey on their bed, her arm brushed Brynmor’s and her body flushed with heat.

“Everything in here is snug,” he muttered as he stepped back to give her room. Or at least tried.

She set the bag—that she’d slung over her shoulder before bolting from the train—on the floor, took out two bottles of milk, and handed one to Brynmor. They both knelt to feed the suddenly very wiggly lambs.

Barnum and Bailey’s eagerness to guzzle every drop consumed her attention. They rocked forward and back, bouncing against the bottles as they enjoyed their feast. Their darling eyes widened, their impish tails wagged, and their spindly legs quivered. When they finished, they flopped down on their bed and curled up close to each other, becoming one enticingly fluffy ball of wool.

No matter how cute, she couldn’t stare at them all night. She turned her gaze to the clutter in the cabin, so she wouldn’t be tempted to stare at Brynmor all night as well.

“If you see a feed sack,” he said, “let me know. When Barnum and Bailey wake up, they might enjoy some ground corn.”

The corner of a familiar shape caught her eye. She wound her way through the freight to get a better look. “Of all the things to have in an office, and one this size, why is a piano here?”

~ * ~ 

Is there a location from your youth that has inspired you? 

Maybe a cabin or a friend's house? Or even a treehouse? As a kid, I always dreamed of having a treehouse—they seemed like great fun in the stories I read and watched on TV.

Comment below (before the end of the day on Sunday, Sept 15) for a chance to win an e-copy of A Bride for Brynmor

~ * ~ 

Jacqui Nelson - Author Picture
Fall in love with a new Old West... where the men are steadfast & the women are adventurous. 



You'll find Wild West scouts, spies, cardsharps, wilderness guides, and trick-riding superstars in my stories. Those are my heroines. Wait till you meet my heroes! My love for historical romance adventures with grit and passion came from watching Western movies while growing up on a cattle farm in northern Canada.


Website: JacquiNelson.com

Join my newsletter & receive Rescuing Raven (Raven and Charlie's story in Deadwood 1876) for free: JacquiNelson.com/download-my-free-read 

9/11/2019

Charlotte Henry's new release, A Rogue Not Taken

An Accomplished Woman
by Charlotte Henry

In Pride and Prejudice, Caroline Bingley famously defines an accomplished woman:

“… no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.”

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

Jane Austen might have been describing the expectations of womanhood during her lifetime, but Lizzie Bennet seems to doubt Miss Bingley’s list could be achieved by any mere mortal. The definition of accomplished changes with time and a woman’s circumstances. What of a poor woman in Regency England? What she considered accomplished probably looked very different—keeping a tidy house, managing a tiny budget, and if she could, being able to read enough to entertain and inform herself and to write well enough to correspond with those she cared about. Even today, many opportunities to learn such things as art, music, and languages are no longer found in the home, but are transferred to schools (if students are lucky).

Rogues of St. Just trilogy

In The Rogue Not Taken, the second book of the Rogues of St. Just trilogy, my heroine Rowena Penrose is getting tired of people referring to her as “the accomplished one,” as though her sisters were not and she herself has nothing more to offer than the ability to entertain. The sisters are only one generation removed from the clay pits of Cornwall, so their father has been rigorous in seeing that they are brought up to be gentlewomen. With one sister a painter and the other an amateur sculptor, all of the girls have their talents, but Rowena wants her reputation in the parish to include more.

In her mind, an accomplished woman doesn’t merely entertain others. She must have other qualities, more than her address or her air. Qualities such as compassion, powers of observation, and an ability to make decisions quickly in the service of others. Don’t you think that an accomplished woman looks, in fact, far more like Anne Elliot in Persuasion than like Caroline Bingley? As for my Rowena, her real talent is in the herb garden, making cures for their tenants and anyone else in need. She’s learning from an old herbwoman with a dodgy reputation, which means she has to be discreet about her mentor. I had a little fun with expectations when I revealed the herbwoman’s true identity, forcing the hero to acknowledge that he has to appreciate people for who they are, not who they seem to be—and that includes Rowena.

What do we expect from a modern woman, I wonder? What do we consider accomplishments, or do we even think of them in those terms? For instance, I learned to sew when I was five, was cooking my own breakfast and making my own clothes by ten, babysitting the neighbors’ children by twelve, and taking the train to another city to visit by fifteen. To my family, these kinds of accomplishments were normal. (I never could master the washing machine, though, and to this day wonder why they don’t all look the same so you can figure them out!) Piano lessons were a luxury, but in my parents’ minds, music was a necessity; art not so much. So I didn’t begin to learn to paint until I was in my fifties. But while I think self-expression and a good education can round out a character and give it direction, people still can develop those extra qualities that are not so much observed, as felt by others. Care and compassion. A sense of humor that doesn’t depend on someone else’s humiliation. A world view that values the bus driver or the auto mechanic as much as the professor (spoken as the daughter and sister of auto mechanics).

And unlike in fairy tales, where the angelic heroine is given everything she wishes for simply because she’s angelic, an accomplished woman is happy to work out her own ambitions, sharing what she learns and how she grows with the people around her. In the expression of her talents and her personality, she can make the world a better place. And in that, I think, no matter the size of our sphere of influence, we all have the ability to be accomplished women!

Charlotte Henry - author photoCharlotte Henry is the author of 24 novels published by Harlequin, Warner, and Hachette, and a dozen more published by Moonshell Books, Inc., her own independent press. She writes the Rogues of St. Just series of Regency romances, and as Shelley Adina, writes the Magnificent Devices series of steampunk adventure. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, and is currently at work on a PhD in Creative Writing at Lancaster University in the UK. She won the Romance Writers of America RITA Award® for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, and was a finalist in 2006. She appeared in the 2016 documentary film Love Between the Covers, is a popular speaker and convention panelist, and has been a guest on many podcasts, including Worldshapers and Realm of Books. When she’s not writing, you can find Charlotte sewing historical dresses, traveling for research, reading, or enjoying the garden with her flock of rescued chickens.


9/10/2019

Harlequin Romantic Suspense for September 2019

Harlequin Romantic Suspense brings you four exciting books for September thrills: 


COLTON ON THE RUN by Anna J. Stewart


The Coltons of Roaring Springs


With no memory of who she is while trying to evade the man who kidnapped her,
Skye Colton has no choice but to trust Leo Slattery, the handsome rancher who
found her in his barn.


Find your copy at your favorite retailer today: https://books2read.com/u/31rRKM


COLTON 911: TARGET IN JEOPARDY by Carla Cassidy

Colton 911

After a one-night stand, Avery Logan is pregnant with Dallas Colton’s twins. He’s thrilled
to be a dad, even if relationships aren’t his thing. All he has to do is keep her safe
when deadly threats are made against her—and somehow not fall for Avery while living
in tight quarters. 


Find your copy at your favorite retailer today: https://books2read.com/u/bWBQGG



COLD CASE MANHUNT by Jennifer Morey


Cold Case Detectives


Jaslene Chabot is determined to find her best friend, who’s gone missing in a small
West Virginia town. But when she enlists the help of Dark Alley Investigations, Calum Chelsey
is so much more than she bargained for, and the search offers them more opportunities
for intimacy than either can resist. 


Find your copy at your favorite retailer today: https://books2read.com/u/bM9Yw7 


HER DETECTIVE’S SECRET INTENT by Tara Taylor Quinn


Where Secrets are Safe


After fleeing her abusive father, pediatric PA Miranda Blake never dates in order to keep
her real identity a secret. But as she works closely with Tad Newbury to save a young boy,
will she finally be able to let someone in? Or will Tad’s secrets endanger her once again?


Find your copy at your favorite retailer today:  https://books2read.com/u/mqDw1e 

Regan Black is a USA Today and international bestselling author of sexy, adrenaline-fueled romance novels. Her books have been nominated and have won several awards throughout her career. “Live the adventure!” has been her motto from the start. At least the start of her journey as an author, an Army wife, and mother of two. She and her husband now enjoy an empty nest in the South Carolina Lowcountry where the rich blend of legend and history fuels her imagination.


9/09/2019

Karilyn Bentley's Newest

Lights drew her attention to the opposite wing of the mill, where a man stood staring at her window. At her. Breath caught in her lungs as she froze.
But only for a brief moment until she realized it wasn’t a man, at least not a living one. Her breath escaped on a whoosh of relief. Intuition whispered the man was the spirit who’d watched her last night.
The one from her dream.
Shadows clung to his body, ghostly fingers releasing as he stepped into the dim slash of moonlight. Lights flickered from behind him, like the dying gasps of sputtering candles. Dressed in a white shirt with an old-fashioned high collar, sleeves rolled halfway up his forearms, and dark trousers, he reminded her of a working man in a World War I photograph. As if he had removed his coat and tie and rolled up his sleeves to get to work.
Except the men in those photos didn’t sport the wide-eyed, happy look of this man. Ghost. Whatever. Yeah, he wasn’t the only one surprised. She’d sworn never to see a ghost again, yet there stood a ghost, captured by her gaze. The man was hot, in an old-fashioned way. At least he didn’t sport a handle-bar mustache.
He gestured to her, his hand beckoning in a “come here” motion.
She squeezed the bridge of her nose. Was she actually thinking of heading his way? Judging by the way her feet pointed toward the door, she’d already decided. Dammit. She might not want to see a ghost or speak to a spirit, but past experience told her if she ignored them, they ramped up the annoying factor.
How bad could it be to talk to an attractive spirit?

Read a Little, Buy the Book


"Unpredictable and filled with interesting twists on the spirit world, I enjoyed this ghost story romance."

"The story was mysterious, suspenseful, wonderfully romantic, and I didn’t want it to end."

"Loved the roller-coaster ride this story took me on! Now excuse me while I catch my breath! Once again, Brava, Karilyn Bentley!"




KARILYN BENTLEY blends magic, dark fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny that her readers expect and love.

Karilyn's love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works. Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, a crazy dog, aka The Kraken, a funny puppy, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.


SOCIAL MEDIA
website |  Facebook |  Goodreads  |  Twitter @KarilynBentley1
Amazon |  Bookbub  |  Pinterest   |   Plotting Princesses  | Previous GLIAS interviews


THE SUPER DUPER QUESTION FOR TODAY

ANGI: I heard you were asked to write THE SHADOWHEART CURSE so it could be made into a movie. You can you tell us a little about it?
KARILYNHi Angi! I'd love to tell you all about it! Charlie Band is a well known horror director who approached my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, with an idea he had to stream ten movies based on ten books. He had ideas for books/movies based on movies/series he had made that were popular. He asked ten different authors to write books for his ideas and then those books would be made into movies. I was chosen as one of those authors. You can sign up to livestream the making of the movies at https://deadlyten.com. Despite the rest of the movies being horror, mine is a ghostly romance between a medium and a ghost. I promise, no blood and gore. J I'm looking forward to watching The Shadowheart Curse be turned into a movie! They are supposed to start filming it in either September or October. All ten movies will released on February 14th, 2020.

I've got to admit, I really enjoyed writing someone else's idea. I'm a ghost writer (get it? Okay, bad pun)! This was a fun experience for me and I'd do it again if asked.

DON'T MISS THESE SERIES






KARILYN is giving away a mobi copy of THE SHADOWHEART CURSE.

Your host, Angi Morgan
Get Lost on Facebook   @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

AND OUR NEW Facebook Group: The Readers’ Spot
KARILYN WANTS TO KNOW: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A GHOST?   

9/06/2019

First Fridays with the Crew




WHY ARE YOU A WRITER?

Ever wondered why a writer writes? This month we'd like to share our stories of why we became professional storytellers.

Amanda McIntyre

 Storyteller at Heart 

Odd as it may sound, I don’t feel I chose writing, but rather writing chose me. It wasn’t at birth, but a late-in-life process and I didn’t start out writing romance. I started out writing a weekly newspaper column for some seven years on the importance of the Fine Arts in our schools, a topic that remains close to my heart.

In retrospect, I give credit to my art teacher, Elenora Nebola, for encouraging the artist in me and instilling a passion for the creative process, to see its potential and possibility. (She would be the only person to show at my first hometown signing in the midst of a vicious snowstorm!) 

Years later, her teaching--along with a natural curiosity (or incessant questions, however you prefer to see it) prompted me to delve into other forms of reading, research and writing. (I have been known to read the dictionary, true story.) It was as though a door had opened and the yellow brick road lay before me—I still crafted and painted, but it spilled over into writing poetry and short stories, and I had a hunger to learn the craft of writing.

Read for free in KU or .buy for .99
Not long after, as a cathartic endeavor to a low point in my life, I discovered an anthology contest based in Michigan and spent all night-literally writing through the pain-penning by hand my first novel.

Granted it was a first draft, but it felt electrifying, exhilarating and something inside me was sparked. Writing that book opened my eyes to sharing what potential and possibility there is in this world. It gave me a renewed hope, a hope I wanted to share. (That book, Tides of Autumn has been revised since and republished, thankfully.)

I joined a number of writing groups—RWA, and From the Heart, took online classes, found writing mentors,(Thank you, Lori Soard) met wonderful authors—seasoned and aspiring-- and was a member of the Dorothy Parker Reviewers group for a time. 

My first published novel came in 2001 with a small press (long before digital books were around!) and I was humbled when it was given top pick on Midwest Books Reviews and featured on an episode of the syndicated show, Book Talk.

That fall, in October 2001, I attended my first reader conference in Orlando, Fla. It was a difficult choice given many had canceled flights due to the tragedy of September 11. But the solidarity shown and the determination to allow faith, hope and love to overcome the horror of that day served to inspire me even more.

Now, some 32+books later (some retired, others revised and republished, and my current works), I have had the experience of working with publishers and editors from small press to traditional, sold internationally, and currently enjoy the journey of the self-publishing world.

And, looking back, I feel a part of history—a pioneer of sorts, in being a part of the rise of digital publishing. Like it or not, it is for certain that the publishing industry is always changing—but there it is again, potential and possibility.

Am I doing what I love?  Where I once used a paint and brush to tell a story, I now use words. My passion is the creation process. Gathering, researching, observing, questioning—believing that LOVE WILL ALWAYS FIND A WAY. These are tools of this artisan by which I not only share my stories, but live my life.

***
C.H. Admirand
My Seventh Grade English teacher inspired me to write poetry and short stories, but it was my darling hubby who planted the seeds encouraging me to write a book. One night I was looking for something to read (that I hadn’t reread a few times already,) and my husband Dave asked me why I didn’t write one of my own. It was as if someone opened a window and a breeze blew through…and all at once, I knew, I was going to write a book.

I worked during the day as a secretary when our three kids were in school and wrote at 5am before they got up and then after they went to bed. I wrote my first book on a Brother electric typewriter in 1994 and was elated when we were finally able to buy our first home computer at Radio Shack--a Tandy that had the Q&A word processing program on it. I still have a stack of those little 3.5” diskettes in my desk drawer with my first story on one. The Key to the Briar Keep…the manuscript is still in a box under my bed! LOL.

I joined RWA and NJRW in 1995 and would never have realized my dream of receiving “The Call” or publishing one of my books if I hadn’t joined these amazing organizations. At one of our NJRW meetings in 1999, I saw a contest and thought…I could write a Regency Short Story. I entered The Lady and The Rake and to my shock…won! The prize was publication in The Dancing Rose Anthology. A few months later at another NJRW meeting, Author Amanda Harte told us her publisher Avalon Books was debuting their new historical romance line in three months. She gave us her editor’s contact information and told us to go home and write and send those stories in!

I went home and wrote The Marshal’s Destiny, my first Irish Western Historical set in the late 1870s Colorado. Crossed my fingers and received my first rejection letter…but it had a handwritten note on the bottom saying that if I’d consider revising, they’d be happy to take another look. I wasn’t going to, but my author friends at NJRW convinced me to just do it! LOL.

Funny thing, my hubby and I were working in the yard a few months later and our daughter said he had a phone call. Two minutes later, he comes outside to tell me it’s Avalon Books on the phone and they want to buy my book! LOL…I’ve always used my initials C.H.—guess that’s why they asked to speak to Mr. Admirand. Maybe they thought I was Charles Horatio or maybe Chumley Higginbotham…and here I was just plain old Colleen Helen. I’ll never forget that my darling hubby got “The Call” instead of me. 

Available for $1.99 
My first book, The Marshal’s Destiny, was published in 2001 and there’s something really special about the cover—that’s my great-grandmother Margaret Mary Flaherty in the cameo. I named my heroine after her and was delighted when Avalon said they’d add her picture to the cover. That picture still sits on our mantelpiece among our other ancestors. When I got the rights back in 2013, I edited my first book and self-published it…that’s the cover you see with the beautiful scenery next to the original release from 2001.

But my writing career didn’t take off in 2001. I didn’t sell another book for six years—but I’d been writing through all of those rejections and sold six books in 2007! It was a very busy year. Although my writing career has had to take a back seat when first my father became ill, and then my mother. Writing actually kept me sane when I wanted to curl up and escape from the pain of watching one of my loved ones dying. Dad’s been gone for 20 years, and mom passed away eleven days after our youngest grandson was born 5 years ago.

Who knew in 1994 that I’d still be writing 25 years later? Not me. LOL! Life should be celebrated every day. Every. Day. Oh...and in case you wondered…my first real dream was to dance in a cage wearing those cool white, ankle high, zip up the back Go-Go boots and fringed mini dress like the dancers on Hullabaloo A-Go-Go one of my favorite shows as a kid. 
***
E.E. Burke
I’ve always been a storyteller. Even as a child, I made up stories and I loved to tell them to people. I wrote a few (terrible) plays and penned (bad) song lyrics, drew comics and illustrations. I started out as more of a visual artist, and kind of evolved into a writer in college but ended up in Journalism because I convinced my parents someone would pay me to be a journalist.

Available for $3.99
Reading romances in the late 80s sparked a desire to write them, but by then I’d gravitated into a marketing job. Frankly, fear held me back. I did a lot of creative thinking and even writing while I was in advertising, but I didn’t start crafting novels until I was fifty. I don’t recommend waiting. I wish I’d started this journey many years ago.

What feeds my creative well? History, art, reading, movies, television shows, plays, music, symphonies, ballet, parties, school, church, family dinners, walks around the block. Everything. I see every part of my life as potential seasoning and food for creativity. There’s some debate about whether you can “teach” creativity. I don’t think it’s something that’s taught as much as something you release and then learn to direct. That takes skills, so I’d say over the past ten years, I’ve evolved creatively as a writer and a storyteller through all those things I mentioned earlier, as well as seeking out learning opportunities and trying new things.

You may never see the first book I wrote because my skill level wasn’t where it needed to be. In fact, that book basically provided the backstory for the hero in my first full-length completed novel, Her Bodyguard (Volume 1, Steam! Romance and Rails.)

This book is the culmination of many hours of being happily buried in historical research, pages upon pages of character development, and a lot of learning about the craft of writing a novel.

I’m ten years out from the days I first started down this path of becoming an author. I say becoming because the journey never ends. The next book is always waiting to be written, and to be better than the last. Steam on!
***
Jacqui Nelson
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I’m a writer because (as the Get Lost in as Story blog is titled) I’ve always been lost in a story. Reading (or watching) one. Adding new plot-lines and characters to stories made by others. Constantly thinking about why, when, and how real and fictional characters do what they do.
     Earlier in my life, I chose to be an animator so I could add a visual story to someone else’s words. But those were fixed words shaped by both a writer and a narrator. Now as a writer I get to shape the words from start to finish.
     I started my 1st novel in 2008, then wrote 3 more, published the 4th, and came back to the 1st. Some authors recommend that you never publish your 1st story, but I kept reshaping (aka editing) the heck out of my 1st — and published it in 2014. I’m a writer because I’m captivated by the creation process (and the magic in not only writing but rewriting).
     So, thank you to all of the writers who've created the stories that captivated me in childhood and every day afterward, including today.
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Regan Black
My typical answer is I write because I can’t paint. I never planned to be a professional writer, although I’ve always been a voracious reader. I love to write poems and short stories and dream up big adventures. A gift I inherited from my grandmother.

When my children were very young and I was a stay-at-home mom I started writing poetry. Several pieces were published in various outlets. While working on my second poetry collection for publication and daydreaming about writing a children’s book, my husband’s office closed for remodeling and he came home to work for the second time in a year. My poetry was sunshine and rainbows one day and “Oh, dear. It sounds as if she might throw herself from the window.” (Don’t worry, it was a first floor window - I was only risking a few scratches from the rose bushes.)

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To cope with this latest invasion of my daily mom routine, I wrote a book. A full-length novel fictionalizing how I met my husband. It was a desperate attempt to remember why I fell in love with him. We joke that it’s the worst romance novel ever, but it probably saved our marriage.

That awful first novel definitely changed the trajectory of my writing goals. It got me hooked on the thrill of writing novels.

I sold my first book in 2004 (Justice Incarnate) for an early 2005 release. There’s nothing quite like that feeling - I still savor it. My next book with Harlequin Romantic Suspense comes out in October 2019 (Colton Family Showdown).

Now, over 45 novels later and double that number in shorter works and nonfiction titles I am still just as addicted to crafting action-packed romantic adventures as I was then. Writing is as essential to me as breathing these days and I love the time each day with my stories, the research, character discovery, and connecting with readers and fans.
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I have been making up stories all my life. As long ago as when I was five, I remember lying in bed and making up elaborate stories about TV stars with whom I already had a fascination. (The Lone Ranger was prime among these first heroes!)

I started physically writing down my fantasies when I was 10 and 11. Most of the stories were early attempts at romance featuring the Beatles, but no singer or actor I loved was safe from my pen. When my friends were reading themselves to sleep, I was writing my very first love stories until one in the morning. (Oddly, that is still my favorite time to write.)
Eventually I started making up my own characters, and I submitted a few short stories to magazines like Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and McCalls. But my love affair with writing novels really began when I fell in love with LaVyrle Spencer’s amazing romances. From my first LS novel I wanted to follow in her footsteps. 

Ever since the day I sold my first book (my RWA Golden Heart winner “The Rancher and the Rock Star”) to Avon in 2011, I have had to pinch myself daily to keep believing that I am actually “doing this” – living as a writer with a dozen romance books under my belt. I have the most wonderful, supportive family (especially my own romance hero, Jan), and I have wonderful readers and fans who've bought my books an, in many cases, become friends.

Every day I look forward to all the books I get to write in the future. Talk about having my dream job! Am I lucky, or what?

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Angi Morgan
Why am I a full-time writer? My dad. I've shared this story with other writers. Not certain I've ever done it in writing. But here goes.
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     I had always wanted to be a writer. I have been a story-teller all my life, but back before computers, it was tiresome re-typing a manuscript attempting 200 pages with no mistakes. And re-writes...forget it. My father asked why I wasn't working on a book any more and I told him. So when home PCs became affordable my father bought three. One for each of his children, even though *I* was the one who needed one and used it for something other than games.
     I wrote and wrote and wrote. There are so many stories that will never see publication. But the kids were all in school...it was time to find a job, something I hadn't had since our youngest was born. And then in 1997, my dad became ill. Terminal cancer that stole him from us within months. Tim and I visited with him every weekend. He was only 61 years old.
     One day on our way home, Tim stopped the car and told me that I couldn't wait to follow my dream. There was no way of knowing how long we'd have here on earth... I was a writer and I needed to write. "We'd gotten by on one salary and could continue that way."
     So I did. I found other writers in 1999 and sold my first book in 2009. Now it's 2019 and over 20 books later.
     Thank you, Dad!! And as always, thank you Tim, for supporting me (in more ways than one) and helping me achieve my dream.
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