Marci Boudreaux and Her Sweet Romance

Sweet Romance at its finest is what Marci Boudreaux promises and delivers with style. Her books receive top marks for drawing readers into the story with well rounded characters and a plot you can’t help but love. Here is a little from Marci’s new release.

Now serving second chances.

Jenna Reid purchased the Stonehill Café to prove to herself that her ex-husband was wrong…that she could make her dreams come true. Three years later, all she has is a crumbling building, no social life, and her bruised pride.

Pride is something Colonel Daniel Maguire lost long ago and isn’t likely to find living in the alley behind the café. He just needs a little time to get on his feet. In the interim, keeping an eye on the overworked café owner gives him a sense of purpose. He has no intentions of making his presence known until he hears the woman screaming late one night.

He rushes into the café but instead of finding her in dire straits, he finds a broken pipe and Jenna—soaking wet and holding a wrench. With her last bit of hope fading, Jenna accepts Daniel’s help to fix up her building, but it doesn’t take long for them to start trying to fix each other.

This Old Café is available at these retailers:
AmazonB&NiBooksKobo

As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She’s never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. Until recently, she was a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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A Penny on the Tracks

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It is a program that challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word novel in one month — 50,000 words in 30 days.  If it sounds insane, that’s because it is, but I’m sure I saw a quote somewhere from Stephen King stating that a writer should be able to finish a first draft in 30 days.

I have never finished a first draft in 30 days — not even a first draft of a 15,000 word short story I recently wrote. That tale took me two months to complete.

 

For four straight years, I have promised myself I’d take part in this challenge, and for the fourth November in a row, I backed out before I even began.  I’m not against pushing myself as a writer. I think this is a great motivator for people to actually finish writing a book because so many books are left unwritten because, well, writing is hard.

So, if this gets writers to stay in their seats and write, great. But I don’t approach writing with a word count. I really hate getting caught up in counting words, which is probably why I have not been motivated to take a shot at this challenge. I shut the word count feature off on my computer so that I can’t see the number as I write.

When I sit down to write, I tell myself, “Alicia, write one good, solid scene.” My hope is that I come up with a page or two of dialogue or prose that either advances the plot or develops the characters, basically anything that moves the story along.

I’m currently writing a book about a teenage girl in the 1950’s called, Annabel. Even if I wanted to compete in this NaNo challenge, I’m too far along in this story (about 250 pages, don’t ask me the word count, because I don’t know) to even attempt to write a thousand-plus words a day. I’m mostly in the “fill-in-the-blanks” part of the writing process.

My YA book, A Penny on the Tracks, will be released tomorrow. It is a 75,000 word novel that took me about a year to complete. I couldn’t tell you how long I had been working on the book before I finally had a first draft completed, but I can tell you there were a ton of revisions. An absolute ton.

But in the end, I came up with a story that I’m very proud of and was totally worth the many frustrating late nights I spent writing it.

Here is an excerpt from my coming-of-age book about life, love, and friendship:

I was making our favorite sandwich—bologna, lettuce, and cheese smeared with mustard and mayo on white bread—when Abbey called for me from the living room.
“Lyssa! Hurry up! Poison’s on!”

The sandwiches lay on the counter amid a mess of open condiment jars and scattered pieces of lettuce and lunch meat. I quickly smashed the top slices of bread onto both sandwiches against the piled-stack of a sloppy mess I had created and hurried into the next room, dropping bits of food as I ran.

Abbey was standing on the couch, shouting out the lyrics we both knew by heart as Brett Michaels’ voice filled the room. I handed her a sandwich, jumped on the couch, and screamed out the chorus to “Talk Dirty to Me.”  I took bites of my sandwich during the guitar solo, and Abbey held her sandwich high in her left hand, as though it were the end of a guitar, and strummed her right hand against the front of her shirt. We banged our heads in unison, hair (and food) flying everywhere.

Abbey’s house had a bigger TV and better food options than bologna and cheese sandwiches, but we never could have done what we were doing right then if we were at her house. Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” came on next, and we both lost our minds.

We dropped what was left of our food onto the table and yelled out the lyrics to our favorite song. Abbey sang the song with more conviction, as though she had a lot more that she didn’t want to take anymore.

The video ended, and we both collapsed onto the couch and finished our lunch. After, I went into the kitchen and grabbed a couple cans of pop from the fridge. Hanging on a magnet, on the side of the refrigerator, was a note from my mom reminding me she was working late that night and that there were frozen dinners in the freezer. At the end of the note she promised a home-cooked meal soon.

Abbey was often envious of the lack of parental supervision at my place, especially when it came to dinner. She was jealous I got to eat whatever I wanted. Even if my mom left dinner for me in the fridge, if I wanted to eat S’mores for supper, I ate S’mores.

“You eat dinner on the couch while watching TV?” Abbey had asked me one day.

“If I feel like it,” I answered.

“You’re so lucky. My mom makes me eat with her at the table, even if my dad isn’t home yet. And I can’t even put my elbows on the table.” 

I ate on the couch while watching TV because my friend didn’t know the loneliness that crept inside a person while eating dinner among empty chairs.

But I had forced a smile. “Yep. I am lucky.”

I walked back into the living room and handed one of the cans to Abbey. Abbey didn’t take it.

“My mom said I drink too much pop.”

“Your mom’s not fucking here.”

Abbey smiled and grabbed the can from my hand. About eight videos later and a sore neck from head banging, Abbey had to go home.

I walked her to the door. “Let’s ride our bikes tomorrow.”

“Where to?”

“I don’t know. Somewhere far.”

“Last time we did that we were almost too tired to ride back,” she reminded me.

“That was because of the wind,” I explained. “It was blowing against us on our way back.”

Abbey considered this. “Okay. If it’s not very windy tomorrow, we’ll ride our bikes far.

 

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A Penny on the Tracks

 

Let’s Get This Cookbook Party Started!

Let’s Get This Cookbook Party Started
Who doesn’t love the holidays? You get to bond with family and friends, shop till you drop for that perfect gift, decorate the house to your heart’s desire, plan a meal worthy of gracing your table, and attend all those fabulous parties. Wait…hope I didn’t exhaust you already? Yes, we ALL love holidays and celebrations, no matter what time of year they fall, but it can get a little (okay, a lot) overwhelming when it comes time to prepare for those holiday meals and parties when you’re working a full-time job, and taking care of your family’s needs.

How about some relief from the stress and pressure of figuring out what to serve your hungry guests during holiday get-togethers, events, or celebrations?

Cue a holiday-inspired cookbook written by the following thirteen busy authors, of various ages and genres: Carol Browne, HL Carpenter, Sara Daniel, Dominique Eastwick, Leigh Goff, C.D. Hersh, Vonnie Hughes, Alicia Joseph, Emma Lane, Sharon Ledwith, Anne Montgomery, Chris Pavesic, and Sloane Taylor. These wonderful writers have created recipes that will make your life easy and simple when it comes time to prepare tantalizing appetizers, tasty beverages, mouth-watering cookies, and decadent desserts.

The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers is your go-to recipe book for entertaining over the holiday seasons, hosting events, or celebrating that special day. Compiled by Sloane Taylor—a gourmet cook in her own right—and designed by mother-daughter duo HL Carpenter, the included recipes have been tested and approved of by the most finicky family members. Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE?

So why not have your cake and eat it too? Yes, pun intended. You’ve got nothing to lose, and time to gain when you download The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers. There’s a recipe for every holiday, celebration, or event in your life. Give yourself a gift this holiday season with a cookbook from thirteen writers who share their favorite recipes and tips to help relieve the stress in your busy life.

Download your FREE E-Pub cookbook at Smashwords.

Pumpkin Bread and a Story About Shelter Animals.

I love the fall, and I really love shelter animals. So what’s better than hosting an author who wrote a book about shelter animals and has a knock-out recipe for one of my favorite fall treats– pumpkin bread? Absolutely nothing.

by Sharon Ledwith

When we lived in cottage country, we’d visit the local bakery in Baysville, a small, tourist town five minutes south of us. The smell of fresh baking does something to a body. Sometimes it takes you back to when life was simpler. Today, cottage and camping life have changed. Cell phones are getting better reception, and seeing satellite dishes on cottage roofs has become the norm. But sometimes it’s nice to just unplug, and let nature stir your soul.

In my new series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, I uproot a troubled teen with a complicated life—he or she also possesses a psychic ability—and place them in the serene setting of Fairy Falls. These kids then have to deal with the fact that they’re different, and try to fit in, which as you can imagine isn’t that easy. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The following moist and spicy recipe is geared to enjoy with coffee on the dock, snacks around the card table, or a hot cup of tea in a hammock. With a prep time of 15 minutes, and cook time of 50 minutes, this pumpkin bread actually tastes even better the day after it is baked, and the smell of it coming out of the oven may take you back to your favorite tourist bakery shop while vacationing with your family.

Lakeside Pumpkin Bread
1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
⅔ cup water
3 cups white sugar
3½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger in a medium bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake about 50 minutes. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

So while those loaves are baking, and filling your kitchen with the most amazing smells, why not relax on the couch, and visit the small, tourist town of Fairy Falls, starting with Lost and Found, Book #1 of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls? Just don’t forget the bug spray.

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power, all the while trying to lead a normal life. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey decides that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well.

Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS
Amazon KindleAmazon PaperbackBarnes & NobleMirror World Publishing ebookMirror World Publishing Paperback

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

PETA Sucks

I hate PETA. I haven’t been shy about sharing my feelings about the group that claims to be fighting for the ethical treatment of animals. I base my judgement on a piece written by the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Ingrid Newkirk, as well as an incident that occurred between PETA and a chihuahua named Maya.

In the article, (the link is posted at the bottom of post) Newkirk writes about her support for policies in some shelters across the country to kill “pit bull” type of dogs the moment they walk through the door. There is no getting to know the dog. No temperament testing. Nothing. I don’t believe PETA will even scan for a microchip to find an owner, who may be frantically looking for their lost baby, because PETA doesn’t believe this breed should be pets. They only believe this breed should be dead.

This action doesn’t seem very ethical to me. Newkirk argues that she is doing the dogs a favor by killing them because pit bulls are the most abused breed. She may be right about that. Pit bulls have been, and still are, used in dog fighting. But because pit bulls have been so abused should make people want to take them in and show them love for what could be the first time in their doggie life.

Newkirk goes on to tell stories of people who have been hurt by pit bulls. I believe people have because I know someone who has been hurt by a pit bull. I also know someone who has been hurt by a St. Bernard, another person by a Rottweiler, someone else by a Boxer, and another by a Labrador.

No one will say to ban the entire breed because of those attacks, but if the incident involves a pit, then the entire breed gets blamed. Discriminate much?

I have a pit mix so stories like these are personal to me. No one can tell me pit bulls can’t make great dogs. I live with one, and the shelter I volunteer at makes sure to take in a set amount of bully breeds, as well as special needs dogs. There are currently five pit bull mixes in my shelter that houses twenty dogs.

Those pits will get all the time they need to get adopted. One pit has been thee for six months and the other, eight months. They are terrific dogs that love people, but the stigma that is attached to this breed seems to keep people away. Luckily, my shelter is no–kill so those dogs don’t have to worry about time.

But that isn’t the case in most shelters. These dogs have a time-clock on them and people like Newkirk aren’t helping their case at all. There is nothing ethical about an animal rights group supporting the killing of an animal just because of the way it looks.

No surprise that PETA also supports Breed Specific Legislation, which can ban certain breeds from cities and apartments and homeowner’s associations. PETA is working for legislation that will ban pit bulls everywhere. They truly want this breed dead.

I hope people will stop donating to this awful group so that one day PETA will be dead. No more. Gone. We don’t need them.

If you want to help animals, donate to your local shelter. They need the money more and are most likely saving more animals than PETA. It seems PETA kills more than just pit bulls. According to The Center for Consumer Freedom, PETA killed 72% of dogs and cats that came through to their shelter in Virginia. Per this article, that is 16.3 times higher than other shelters in the state.

Reputable animal groups usually do their best to keep their kill rate as low as it can be. Not PETA. The group recently paid a family $49,000 for killing its Chihuahua, Maya. You can watch the video on YouTube of PETA workers luring the tiny dog into its van and records show that PETA killed the dog five hours later. PETA was so excited and anxious to kill that dog, they didn’t even wait the mandatory five day stray hold.

It is sick that a supposed animal rights group loves to kill animals so much, but they do. I was horrified when I saw PETA’s white vans enter Texas for the hurricane. Those dogs had a better chance against Harvey than they did against PETA. Rest in Peace, sweet babies.

Let’s work to put an end to this sick group.

 

My Phil, enjoying cuddle time. He deserves to live. All those dogs that PETA kills do.

 

Just a few pit bulls that were lucky to have come through my shelter, and not PETA, who have been adopted. Beautiful babies.

 

 

http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Controlling-an-animal-as-deadly-as-a-weapon-2629558.php

Trump and the LGBTQ Community

Months ago, Donald Trump decided transgender children will no longer be protected under federal law. They will no longer be allowed to choose the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Instead, they will be forced to use the bathroom that matches the sex they were born. Even though with all their souls, and everything they believe in, these children feel they were born in the wrong body.

I’ve heard the argument that not allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice is to protect children, even though there has never been a record of a pattern of child sexual abuse by transgender people. Too bad the same can’t be said for Catholic priests, yet no one has ever suggested banning them from public restrooms.

Now Trump wants to ban transgender people from the military. A five-time draft dodger, who once claimed Sen. John McCain wasn’t a war hero because McCain was captured, and Trump likes war heroes who weren’t captured, wants to prevent a group of people, who are ready, willing, and able to fight for their country, from serving their country.

How poetic.

I say anyone who supports banning a capable person from the military better put on a uniform and take their place. If you’re too old, then offer your children.

It’s disappointing when people you know exert what you think are bigoted sentiments. Before the presidential election last year, I had a conversation with a woman I’d known for years. She had always seemed pretty liberal, but that day she was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, while attempting to reassure me that Donald Trump had no plans to take away the rights of the LGBTQ community.

If there is such a thing as white privilege (and there is), then there is such a thing as straight privilege because this woman very casually urged me not to worry because Trump didn’t want to take away the right for gay people to marry, he just wanted to leave it up to the states to decide.

“But we live in a blue state,” she said. “People here won’t vote against it.”

I’m not a selfish person. Whatever rights I have as a gay person in my state, I want my gay counterparts in every state to have those same rights. Whether you live in Kentucky, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, or California, gay people should be protected by the same equal rights. Marriage Equality gave every gay person in this country the federal right to marry, despite any prejudice ideology that may be popular in certain states.

The ease at which my friend had suggested I should be okay with putting my rights on a ballot for any Joe Schmo to vote on, displayed a privilege she seems to take for granted. I am certain she wouldn’t be okay with strangers making decisions about anything regarding her personal life, especially one that involves who she chooses to love, but yet, she expected me to accept it.

If my friend ever considered adopting or fostering a child, I am sure she never worried about being denied because of who she loves. Straight people don’t have to concern themselves with things like that.

According to her, if gay and transgender people want rights, we simply need to cross our fingers and hope we live in a tolerant state.

 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A Solar Eclipse and a Nasty Cold

Summer is coming to an end, and I haven’t touched this blog since May.  It wasn’t intentional. I was pulled away by baseball games, concerts, fests, shelter dogs, and family.

Oh, and there was that little bit of “real” writing I needed to make time for.  Those pesky books won’t write themselves.  I completed a short story in July that will be part of a Christmas Anthology published this December, and my coming-of-age novel, A Penny on the Tracks, is slated for an October release.

So, the coming months give me something to look forward to, besides the fact that we are heading into my favorite season. I absolutely love the fall. Even though it would be so tempting to move to a mild climate that sees no below-zero weather, and sports clear blue skies most of the time, I can’t live without experiencing the shift to the season of falling leaves.

Fall is crisp autumn leaves, apple cider, early sunsets that bring out the ‘cozy’ in me, Halloween, scary movies, sour apple and caramel suckers, pumpkins, Thanksgiving (minus the turkey, please), and hoodies with long shorts (because that’s the way I roll).

I had meant to close out the summer with a total solar eclipse, but a nasty and stubborn cold kept me from making the hundred-plus miles to Carbondale, Il. I had a motel booked in Troy, the closest city I could get to that suddenly popular college town in southern Illinois.

My solar eclipse glasses and a guide to all I needed to know about a total solar eclipse sat waiting to be packed. My tank was full. Supplies were bought, including pepper spray because a woman traveling alone should never be too careful. I had cash in my pocket and water bottles chilling in the refrigerator.

What I didn’t have was a capable body. The trip was not meant to be, and I was stuck at home with a stuffy nose and a throbbing throat, watching a solar eclipse on a cloudy day.

Awesome.

I watched the Carbondale coverage on my TV without being too bitter. Good for those people who witnessed such a spectacular sight. I have 2024 to look forward to, right?

There was one silver lining in getting sick though. I now appreciate so much the ability to taste and smell. Being without those two senses for even two days took so much away from me. I’ve had colds before that limited my senses, but I never before considered what if this were permanent? No matter what I ate or drank, I couldn’t taste a thing. Every food was the same, just different texture. I can’t imagine living in such blandness.

I thought of the the former INXS singer, Michael Hutchence, who had lost his sense of smell and taste during an altercation with a cab driver that left Hutchence with a brain injury, triggering his senses loss. Hutchence would die five years later of what was reported to be a suicide. The people who knew him best said he changed after the accident. Not being able to taste or smell anything had changed him.

Hutchence was described as a sensual man who loved wine and fine dining and women. I can only imagine the depression that settles in when you can no longer taste or smell that which you love, and that which brings you the most satisfaction in your life.

There is definitely a level of intimacy that you lose with the world around you when you can no longer taste or smell anything it offers.

I don’t know how I would cope walking outside on a fall night and not being able to smell the leaves scattered all around, or the musky air filled with that raw earthy scent I love so much.  I’m grateful I can smell Fall, my favorite season.

 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net