Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Ten Most Important Commandments for Writers (to Ignore) by L. A. Kelley

Ten Commandments for Writers (to Ignore)

1. Thou shalt write every day, according to a strict schedule, at the exact same time, and in the exact same place.

Oh please. I have a life. It’s great to set aside time to write, but other stuff has to get done, too. Don’t be so glued to a schedule, there’s no room for spontaneous fun.

 2. Thou shalt master one genre and stick to it forever.

Why? Maybe this one genre isn’t really for you. Maybe you’re better at something else. Maybe you’d be happier writing something else. Maybe you simply like more than one genre. Of course, if you’re a Baptist minister who wants to try a hand at male-on-male erotica…well, that’s what pen names are for.

 3. Thou shalt stick to one age group and never try to write for another.

Again, why? Go ahead. I will applaud your endeavors and there is no such thing as the writing police to haul you away to literary prison.

 4. Thou shalt write what you know.

I don’t know anything, but I do know how to use a web browser. It’s called research. If it’s done well, the book reads correctly and people think you’re much smarter than you are. (A definite plus in life.)

 5. Thou shalt neglect other parts of your life.

Sheesh. Do you really want to spend years alone, huddled in an unheated attic, eventually succumbing to an upper respiratory disease because no one bothered to look in on you? Not me.

 6. Thou shalt suffer for your art.

I don’t suffer for anything. All writers hit a roadblock once in a while. We write through it or put the project away and come back later. If every word is a constant agony, don’t write. Yeah, you heard me. This is not failure. This is life. Sometimes plans work, sometimes they don’t, but life is always too short to be miserable. Find what makes you happy. Of course, if being miserable makes you happy, keep plugging away at that unfinished novel.

7. Thou must edit, edit, and edit again.

Editing is important, but there comes a time when looking at that manuscript makes your stomach heave. Then it’s time to give it to someone else to read. Unless penning a journal, what good is writing if no one ever reads it? Get it out there. Get critical feedback. Excessive self-editing is useless, but editing with a purpose, knowing where to cut, and what needs to be clarified is essential.

8. Thou shalt read all you can in your genre and ignore everything else.

Nope. Every once in a while, read something in another genre, one you ordinarily wouldn’t pick. There’s plenty of good stuff out there and choosing something different may jumpstart braincells and give unexpected inspiration.

9. Thou shalt travel for inspiration

If you can travel, terrific. If not, one word. Internet. I can’t afford to go globetrotting. Heck, in this day of Covid, I’d be happy to sit at the corner bistro again without feeling as if I’m surrounded by a curtain of germs. Until that time, the internet is loaded with pictures, maps, and excellent travel writing, both current and historical.

10. Thou shalt not have a prologue or epilogue

Why not? Prologues and epilogues can be fun ways add a little extra detail to a story without interrupting the flow. The key word is little. Prologue and epilogues should be short. If not, stop kidding yourself. They’re chapters.

There you have it. Ten pearls of wisdom. Use them or lose them without guilt.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasy and scify adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She breaks rules just because she can.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Please Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! by Nancy Gideon

I’m a huge fan of letting nothing go to waste (hence the palazzo pants hanging in my closet . . . someday I’ll be wanting those!). In this day and age, nothing gets tossed out when it can be reused. As an author, I’m a firm believer in the word recycling! Because a clever phrase is a terrible thing to waste.

There’s a time-proven adage that if you wait long enough (and have enough closet/memory space!) your old favorites will be back in style! Being a waste not want not child of the ‘60s and ‘70s with parents from the Depression era, I tend to hang onto everything until it finds another chance for a useful life (sorry hip huggers, you are not among them!). Old vases from former Valentine’s Day surprises, Amazon shipping boxes and mailers, hotel pens from just about every state, leftover mashed potatoes . . . you never know when you’re going to need them! But the one thing we writers seem to discard thoughtlessly are words.

If you wrote (and rewrote and rewrote!) it, own it! So many authors make the mistake of letting their no longer Prime time books lay fallow in the fields, ignored by their original publishers. If you haven’t talked with your agent or editor to broach the idea of starting up a promotion cycle to catch new readers who weren’t around for the initial ride, what’s stopping you? That second go-round made stars of many a writer with a backlist. Buuuut, if they’re content to let the work lie, it’s time to get those rights back and consider either a new house or self-pubbing. It’s not as scary as it sounds.

In publishing, as with everything consumer-based, content is king. If it’s something that will spark excitement in new readers or nostalgia in older ones who’ve lost their dogeared paperback copy, having that decades old novel available in e-formats as well as print can earn a whole new tier of readership. And a whole new level of income.

If you can tempt a new or small press to take on your backlist (after you’ve carefully fine tooth combed your contract to make sure it’s unencumbered by legal obligations!) and get it back into print and e-book with a facelift – and even tack on additional books in an older series – as I’ve done/am in the process of doing with my By Moonlight shapeshifter series, Midnight vampire series, and “Dana Ransom” historical and contemporary books, there are royalties to be made, especially if they’re willing and able to promote it through their own channels .i.e. LIFETIME INVESTMENT w/a Dana Ransom is enjoying another rebirth and is on SALE this month:

Published: September 30, 2014
Length: 178 Pages

Note: if the work was represented by an agent, check your contract. Chances are, without definitive wording, they still get a percentage of those new sales! If not, self-publishing is the way to go.

Self-pubbing doesn’t have to be a scary new world. Do your homework. There are tons of information-backed workshops offered through targeted groups, i.e. from FF&P and Paranormal Romantics to writing organizations or industry professionals offering online classes. There are homebased companies who’ll do all the legwork of reformatting, re-registering, and supplying new covers and back blurbs. You can even send in those dog-eared oldies to have them re-scanned so you can re-edit them! And there are those out there who will take your money and leave you with nothing but empty promises – so do your research! Learn, listen, ask, ask again for more in-depth information from those who’ve been there. And realize that those wildly successful did-it-themselfers who pull down millions probably had half again as much to invest up front. Do your research and take the road that best suits your intended destination.
Nancy Gideon on the Web

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Paying it Forward by Julie Howard

I started small with fiction, first writing short stories and flash fiction (usually defined as under 1,000 words). This helped me get the rhythm of a story, practice dialogue in short bursts, and understand how a story arc works.

While my goal has always been to write novels, I’ve come to love the short story form as well. There’s a different skill involved in a shorter piece – sometimes I believe it takes greater talent to write a thousand-word story than an 80,000-word book. Done well, a short work can have a punch that stuns the reader.

I continued to write short stories even while I worked on my novels and have had a number of them published. Once I found a publisher, though, I focused all my writing on longer fiction. I believe having short stories published gave me credibility as a writer, and helped me find a publisher willing to take on my books.

A few years ago a fellow writer and I started a literary journal to help other writers get their works published and build a credible resume. We’ve been amazed at the reception the journal has received around the world – we have writers sending stories from Argentina to New Zealand, Africa to the U.S. The talent is phenomenal.

While I’d love to spend 100 percent of my time writing novels, I really do love the Potato Soup Journal project. It’s truly a labor of love.

Potato Soup Journal is primarily an online journal, with a new work published nearly every day, but we also publish a paperback and ebook “best-of” edition once a year. Our most recent edition releases this week – the best of all the stories published in 2021.

We now have several associate editors to read and judge the dozens of submissions that flow in each week. All of us volunteer our time, with a common goal to promote good writing and offer more opportunities for publication for other writers. As submission volume has increased, we’ve become choosier about which stories to accept. Only a small fraction of submissions make it into the book. The volume of more than sixty stories is something the authors (and we) can be proud of.

The books are available now. If you’re a writer interested in short stories, it’s free to submit. If you enjoy reading them, the site is free to view. Book proceeds go to support annual costs of the site. We invite you to take a look!




Tuesday, February 22, 2022

It Never Gets Old and Writing Out of Your Comfort Zone

 First of all - Did you notice the date 2-22-22? It’s a palindrome date, which means it’s read the same both backward and forward. Not to mention it can be called Twosday 2/22/22 on the second day of the week. LOL Due to the date's repeating numbers, it's considered an angel number in numerology, or a number bearing particular energy or universal message. Numerologists also claim the Once-In-a-Lifetime date 2-22-22 will deliver big energy for connections of all kinds, personal, professional, and romance. I think written  2-22-22 it looks cool. LOL

But I digress… Back to the topic at hand, the excitement of holding your novel in your hands never gets old. I received my print books of AN ANGEL’S WYLDER ASSIGNMENT the other day, Taco and 
Mystic had to help me unbox them.  Holding my sixteenth book in my hands was as exciting as my first one. What fun!

This book is a bit different than I usually write. An historical, time travel, western, mystery, paranormal romance. Whew. Writing out of your comfort zone can be down right scary. At least it was for me. Making sure I had all the nuances right for a story partially set in 1878 required research and a plan. Even then, I made a few of mistakes the historical writers in my publishing group were quick to point out. Sigh. However, I got through it and am especially proud of the results. I may even attempt another. We’ll see. I believe stepping out of my comfort zone, enhanced my writing abilities. If you’ve never written out of your comfort zone, you might want to try it some time.

So what’s An Angel’s Wylder Assignment about?

Angel Killian Dugan’s annual trip to the family castle in Scotland is shattered by the arrival of Legion Commander North. Killian’s skills are needed for an urgent time travel assignment. A rogue demon has escaped back in time. He must discover the why and where then stop the demon before it can damage the past and change the future.

Killian’s girlfriend Chinoah Grace, a Native American shapeshifter is included in the mission, which takes them to the wild west town of Wylder, Wyoming in 1878. She will have her hands full fitting in and making friends. Nothing is as it seems. They encounter visions, spirit quests, and a mysterious shaman. On top of it all, blending in as a blacksmith is more physically difficult than he imagined. But not as challenging as keeping his hands off his undercover wife. Will they complete their assignment or run out of time?

Buy Links:



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Thanks for reading, see you next month!



Friday, February 18, 2022

So You Want to Write a Novel by Elizabeth Alsobrooks


So you’ve decided to write a novel. If you have already started, you are beginning to realize it’s not quite as easy as you might have thought. Or, you haven’t started and are wondering how to begin. Either way, there are some rather basic steps that are sure to help. Writing is a craft and every craftsperson needs some tools. They can’t all be provided or explained in a single blog, but some basic building blocks can be discussed. All stories need some basic characteristics to be successful. This blog briefly discusses the basics and then focuses on the portion least covered: the sagging middle.

Before you begin writing any novel, you need to understand genre. Why is that important? Well, unless you are writing for your own personal enjoyment and have no intention of publishing your work or sharing it with others, you need to consider your audience. The reason that’s an important first step is that every genre has a certain amount of structure and rules that readers expect from a book written in that genre. Some even have pretty straightforward formulas. Reading a book or two about that genre’s structure is a good idea.

For example, romance has some pretty serious rules and the readership is so sure about what they like and expect in their reading that the genre itself has many subgenres that appeal to particular audiences, from torrid exotica to sweet inspirational and everything in between.

Whatever genre you choose it’s a good idea to become well read in that particular genre and analyze what about certain books make them bestsellers. Whether it’s an intricate plot, unique writing style, in-depth characters or any combination of these traits, the most popular writers are consistent in delivering what their audience wants and expects. Figuring this out is what reading like a writer is all about. Literature majors often write an entire thesis on a particular writer’s style or storytelling technique.

Once you have decided on a genre you need to discover if you’re an in-depth plotter or what they call a pantser, someone who writes by the seat of their pants. But even if you’re a pantser, you need a basic understanding of story. Otherwise, you will run into trouble sooner rather than later.

One of the most common problems pantsers face is a sagging middle. A successful story is actually more than a series of events. It’s more than just a beginning, middle and end. Tension must rise, characters must have goals and motivation in order to grow, and conflict has to exist so characters have something to overcome.

The most common reasons for a sagging middle, the point where most readers would become bored and stop reading (death to a writer), are that too much was revealed too soon about the characters, a subplot or secondary character has taken over and the plot is wandering without purpose, which basically means there is too little structure. For a plotter this is sometimes avoided, but a pantser has to become more focused at this time.

Some ways to avoid a sagging middle are to add interesting plot twists, introduce an unexpected character that adds a complication, reveal some change in the main character’s motivation, increase the consequences for the character if they fail to achieve their goal, or change the setting. Whatever you do, you have to increase the tension and change is the easiest way. Change who, what where, when or why.

The beginning is where you introduce an inciting event. It’s what they call starting in the middle of things, pulling the reader in by making them wonder what’s coming next. It's that what’s coming next that writers sometimes lose track of.

They forget to add an important ingredient: complication. What is being complicated? The main character’s achievement of their goal is being threatened. The writer must make sure the reader never loses sight of the goal or the consequences of the main character failing to achieve that goal.

Even if you’re a pantser you need to decide on the exciting beginning (inciting incident), the complication, the climax and the resolution. You need an exciting beginning to suck your readers into your story, to make them care about your character and what is going to happen to them. You need to add interest by adding complications, plot twists. You need a climax, that moment where it appears all is lost and there’s no way the character will achieve their goal. Then, you need a resolution, even if that resolution isn’t as complete as an ever after (unless it’s a romance in which case you better have that couple achieve their HEA).

Pantsers must remember that aimless exploration can get your plot lost. Plotters should remember that their outline must include enough foreshadowing and complications to keep up the pace and make their story a page-turner. Whatever you decide to include, never forget the golden rule that every single scene and event MUST move the story forward.

So let’s get your story started!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

2 Romantic Craft Books

I love to read romantic comedies or cheer on the love side plots in a novel, but I learned while trying to write my sequel (still working on this one) that I stink at actually writing any type of romance that goes deeper than shallow hints of interest.

Lucky for me, my critique partners had 2 great craft books for me to check out.

Romancing the Beat:

Have you ever picked up a craft book that was so thick (and repetitive) that you weren’t sure if you’d ever finish? Romancing the Beat is the perfect cure.

It’s short and to the point, and chock full of useful, practical advice. If you’re new to romance or need some more training (like me) this is an easy find and read that I’d recommend.

The Kdrama Cure:

I’d love to say that there’s only romance arc I attempted and failed buuuut that would be a lie. In fact, I’ve tried several times to no avail and of course one of those was a kdrama-esque one, so my lovely writing friends suggested this one.

If you’re like me and you love the pacing and the tropes of the kdrama world, this one is totally for you.

It’s slightly thicker than my first suggestion, but not by much and there’s so much good information in there. 

The thing about writing is that there are so many stories to tell and it’s completely okay if you don’t have all the skills you need to tell a particular story just yet. Learn your weaknesses and dive into a craft book, then try again because who knows? 

You might just tell your best story yet.

Monday, February 14, 2022

RodeoHouston!! Chili Cookoff!! Texas Cowboys!


It’s almost rodeo time in Houston, and traffic around the NRG Stadium crawls to a stop.  Since 2003, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (RodeoHouston) has been held at NRG.  HLSR is the largest livestock exhibitions and rodeo in the world and offers the richest purses.  Kickoff is marked by the Downtown Rodeo Roundup held near Houston City Hall, the Downtown Rodeo parade, and the ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run – a 10k and 5k walk & run and the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest (the Chili Cookoff, which is a major event in HLSR each year).  I always wanted to participate in the Downtown Rodeo Parade. Since 1938, the nation’s fourth largest city is transformed from a bustling metropolis to a down-home celebration of Western heritage. Decorative floats intermingle with thousands of men and women on horseback to fill the streets with hoof beats and marching bands. This year, the parade begins at Bagby and Walker Streets. 

In 2019, there were more than 2.5 million total attendees during the 24-day event, and HLSR was proud to welcome visitors from 75 countries.  The livestock and horse shows drew more than 34,000 entries, and the junior auction sales totaled more than $17 million.  Incidentally, 376,000 oreos were battered, fried, and dusted with powdered sugar. 

The rodeo has drawn some of the world's biggest recording artists, including Dixie Chicks, Elvis Presley, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi and Lynyrd Skynyrd to mention a few.  When I lived in Houston, I attended several times. Once, I saw the Zach Brown Band in concert. This year look for Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, For King and Country, and many more. This link lists the entertainers:

 The 2022 HLSR will begin February 28, 2022 and end March 20.

  For those of you who like to imbibe, there are numerous beer tents and a relatively quiet wine garden.

 In The Texas Cowboy, there are several mentions of RodeoHouston. Charlie, a supporting character, was a bronc rider, and he rode in HLSR.  Charlie is the ranch foreman. The hero Ash Colter gives him carte blanche to entertain his ex-girlfriend while she is on a surprise visit from England, and that’s where Book Two, The Cowboy Duke, is born. Can an English Duchess make a Texas cowboy’s spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle?  The Cowboy Duke tells us (in my humble opinion).


Let’s all go to RodeoHouston! I want to be present and accounted for at the Chili Cookoff. It’s not just chili, but beef brisket, music, and even impromptu dancing. It’s a party, RodeoHouston-style.


When Ash Colter was twelve, his mother divorced his cattle baron father and whisked him away to raise in her native England. Sixteen years later, when his father dies, he inherits Marathon Ranch. Running a 1,000-acre spread famous for the best Black Angus cattle in the great state of Texas is the biggest challenge he’s ever faced…until he meets a pert, pretty, and sassy ranch hand who seems to have her own agenda for his ranch. Unfortunately, she makes his spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle like no one else ever has!

Trish Owens is a real cowgirl, a loner, and, though she’d never admit it, a little lonely. When the “English Cowboy” appears on the scene, her entire way of life is threatened, not only her job, but her beloved Quarter horses. She’s sure he plans to import his thoroughbreds from England. Worst of all is the chemistry sizzling between them. He makes feelings she thought long dead awaken.

Can these two unwilling allies set aside their differences to put Marathon Ranch in the Winner’s Circle…and to fall in love?


Squinting in the sudden sunlight, Ash sized up a woman about his age. In jeans with a burgundy Marathon tee, she was slender but curvy.  Her blonde hair looked as if it had been hurriedly ponytailed. Wayward strands dangling everywhere framed her face. On closer examination, he decided she wasn’t hard on the eyes. In a non-fancy way. But then he was accustomed to Dorothy—High maintenance with a capital High Maintenance.

The girl tilted an odd look at him.  Then she suffered a wardrobe malfunction. The band holding her ponytail broke. Blonde silk gushed over her big, chocolate brown eyes. A graceful hand, stained black by hoof polish, swiped the thick mess back from a pretty face. Her unsmiling mouth was generous and wide. Feed her and clean her up, and she’d be a presentable…opponent. The chill in what should have been melting brown eyes was as unwelcoming as Deanne’s steely green gaze.

He snapped a smart salute, imitating her stance. “I’ll do that, ma’am. I’m Ash Colter. You are?”

“Trish.”  One word. No introduction. More or less bugger off.

He stuck out his hand. “My pleasure, Trish. I assume you work with the horses.”

“Right assumption.” Gazing intently into his eyes, she accepted his handshake. “How could you tell?” she asked, her voice dripping sarcasm.

“The hoof polish was a big clue.”

She glanced down at her stained hand. Her handshake was firm, confident, another person he felt he could trust. The color of her eyes was quite rare with her blonde hair. Very striking, but at the moment, they challenged him to measure up to her standards. Oh but no, he refused to have two bitches to contend with. This one was no problem. Employees could be towed into line. Or dismissed.

“Maybe I’ll see you around the stables.” He popped the trunk, dismissing her as curtly as was polite but smiling inside. What a feisty filly.

“The funeral is day after tomorrow,” Trish said, loud enough to carry. Her native Texan accent was music to his ears, but he could scarcely believe what she’d said. “Mrs. Colter waited to give you time to get here.”

He froze with his hand on the hot trunk. Without turning, in a voice like ice, he spat, “Thank you for telling me, Deanne.”

“You didn’t know?” The amazed question burst from the gutsy Trish.

As a sharp pang of grief broke through his carefully erected walls, he visibly winced.  He’d lost his father, and his stepmother had planned the funeral without consulting him. What else had she planned to cut him out of? Knowing her for what she was, still her cruelty shocked him. What if he’d been delayed? He’d have missed his final farewell to his father. Sick at heart, he swiped a hand across his burning eyes. He couldn’t trust himself to speak around the sudden lump in his throat. Gritting his teeth, he slammed the trunk. Shouldering his duffle, he faced a sea of surprised expressions. He could scarcely see them for the sheen of emotion clouding his vision.

Angry now, he tried but failed to modulate his voice. Dark emotion crept into his gruff tone. “No one saw fit to tell me.”

“Oh?” Trish’s eyebrows darted up, her wide eyes shifting to Deanne. “You’re kidding.” In unconcealed shock, and perhaps reproach, she gaped at her employer.



After 14 years in Texas, Linda returned home to her roots in the South Carolina red clay. She has eight published novels, four of which are available in audio from For many years, she bred, trained, and showed the magnificent Andalusian horses. So, she’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer. She won The Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award for Excellence, the Raven Award, and the SARA Merritt. In real life, she was a legal assistant. She loves to dress up, use the good china and crystal, and host formal dinner parties. She has a fondness for sports cars like her current ride, Zippy Z.






Web Site: – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.

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Sunday, February 13, 2022

Save the Roses by Marilyn Barr


Once Valentine’s Day is over, do you have plans for your roses? Rose Water, rose dust, dried petals, what about the thorns? I’d like to share with you were favorite ways of using all the parts of the flower. Don’t throw away a powerful witchy element which has the power to boost self-love. Since the 7th century BC, roses have been bringing people together and rose water has been making people more attractive…but not in the method you would think.

  Linked to the root chakra, rose (especially naturally red not florist dyed roses) boost self-esteem, security in one’s self, and feminine intuition. Roses do not attract people to you with a love potion. They fill you with self-love and confidence. Confidence is sexy. The law of attraction says this self-love with bring other confident people into your life because you are giving off positive energy. So, no hypnotism here.

The easiest way to incorporate roses into your rituals is to grind the dried petals in a spice grinder before adding them to a bath or self-love jar. Want to add an element of protection? Grind the thorns with the petals. The dust will be soft, and you will not feel a difference. The reason for the grinding is to save your drains (or jetted tubs) from being clogged with petals. Anyone who has spent time picking the congealed petals off their bathtub can tell you it’s no fun.

More complicated ways to add rose is by making rose water, rose tincture, or rose essential oil. Because Roses take so much care, I buy all of these instead of making them. I haven’t found a local florist who doesn’t bleach or dye their flowers either. You can guess that Alison provides fresh roses to all of Strawberry KY’s witches but who has a magical green witch for a neighbor? Rose liquids can be worn for a boost of confidence during the day and a boost of feminine intuition during the night. I will add rose to my pillowcases before putting them into the dryer to get the boost without such a strong scent.

How will you use your roses?

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Are Old TV Shows Considered Underrated?


By Keri Kruspe

Isn’t it amazing how the shows you grew up with as a child stick with you long after your childhood does? When I was young, my mother was an avid watcher of all things paranormal (not that I think it was called paranormal back then). Because there was no cable, DVD’s or streamlining, we had to watch what she did. She never missed an episode of the favorites I’ve included in this article, as well as some I didn’t include such as, “The Outer Limits”, “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” and let’s not forget “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”.

Over the years, newer versions of these shows have popped up (some even in the movies), but I feel the original shows had a lot to say for themselves. I admit in most of the acting in them were atrocious, the sets laughable, and the special effects were something a five-year-old could run circles around nowadays.

Even so, it was the story that caught us. Decades later, those narratives not only still haunt me, but they’ve had a tremendous influence on how I develop my novels, especially since they have an “extra” twist. It’s a fascination with the genre that not only affected me but made a big impact on my brothers and sister. None of them have pursued an author’s career but have shared this passion with their own children and/or outside interests.

To show you what I mean, I’ve outlined (in no particular order) my favorite episodes of some of these series. I’d love to hear if you have one as well!

Star Trek - "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"

The premise of the episode was two survivors of a war-torn planet, each half black and half white, (one had the black on the right while the other had the black on the left) committed to destroying each other. They end up back at their planet, where no one is left alive since their people completely annihilated themselves in a civil war. The ending scene is the bridge crew commenting on how sad it was the two men would rather feed their racial hatred of one another rather than give it up.

Night Gallery - "The Caterpillar"

Not sure why this episode was called “The Caterpillar” when it was about an earwig. Anyway, it’s the story of an unscrupulous man who wants the beautiful wife of another colleague. He pays a thug to have an earwig placed in the husband's ear as he sleeps. Once the deed is done, the insect tunnels through the victim's brain, causing excruciating pain and certain death. However, the man he hired to do the dirty deed enters the wrong bedroom and placed the insect in the man's own ear by mistake. After weeks of pain he miraculously survives, but the doctor tells him that his ordeal is not yet over… it was a female and she laid eggs....

  Lost in Space - "Wish Upon a Star"

Talk about campy, this is series takes the cake. But, like with all of these offerings, they did have one episode that stuck with me. If you’re not familiar with this sixty’s oldie, here is the premise: The space family Robinson is sent on a five-year mission to find a new planet to colonize, but the voyage is sabotaged time and again by an inept stowaway, Dr. Zachary Smith. The family's spaceship, Jupiter II, also carries a friendly robot who endures an endless stream of abuse from Dr. Smith but is a trusted companion of young Will Robinson.

In this episode, Dr. Smith goes into voluntary exile after the father confronts him when his laziness and carelessness that threaten the group's survival. With Will's assistance, Smith makes a home in the wreck of an alien spaceship. In it, they find a small alien machine that materializes the operator's wishes. I’ve often wondered how I’d handle such a temptation.

 Twilight Zone - "Time Enough to Last"

This is one of the most popular Twilight Zone episodes. This story outlines a shy man who loves to read. The only problem is that he can find neither the time nor the place to enjoy his pastime. One day, he sneaks down to the vault in the bank's basement to read a bit and suddenly, there is a huge explosion above. He emerges to find the world destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. He does find books from the library and rejoices when he realizes he has a great deal of reading time ahead of him. Except for one problem, his glasses end up broken and he can’t read without them!

This struck a huge chord with me since I’ve always been an avid reader and has had to wear glasses since I was six. The mere idea of not being able to see has haunted me my whole life.

 Dark Shadows - "The Vampire Curse"

All I can say about this “soap opera” was my mother was obsessed with it. She loved everything scary (Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein, etc) and dutifully watched each and every episode of this cringe-worthy show.

While the acting is hard to watch nowadays, back in the day no one seemed to care. I was surprised when I did a little research on this drama that the vampire character didn’t show up until after the first season. And then it was only considered a “bit” part for a couple of episodes.

But Barnabas Collins changed how we looked at vampires. For the first time, one seemed “human”, a person who didn’t want to be a vampire, and through impeccable manners and courtesies revealed a soft love for the Collins family. Even when he preyed on them. The series created a great villain, turning a tragic hero into someone who audiences flocked to, both the typical daytime target demographic and also, surprisingly, those of us much younger. I admit when I create my villains, I strive to make them have a “humane” side to offset their viciousness.


I hope you enjoyed my “blast from the past”. I find when I’m researching new characters and what makes them tick, I’m forced to reflect and rely on my own history. As I delve into different personalities and what drives them, I hope someday it’ll help me understand the most complex character I’ve ever come across.


Monday, February 7, 2022

Do you BookBub? Plus, a contest!



You've probably seen a lot of authors asking you to follow them on BookBub over the last few years. It's a useful platform for both readers and authors. Authors can notify their followers of their new releases (and their pre-orders if they have enough followers,) have a central place where their books are listed with buy links, and recommend books to their followers.

So, what are the benefits to readers?
  • Follow your favorite authors and even other readers who share the same reading preferences as you.
  • Get notified by email when your favorite authors have a new release. That way you don't have to hunt through social media posts to find out when that book releases again. For some authors, you may even get a notice when they have a book available to pre-order or a sale.
  • Find all of the books by your favorite authors in one place with buy links. Some authors have these on websites and universal buy links, but not all.
  • Leave reviews after you read a great book. Reviews help authors out immensely, but they also help other readers to find great books.
  • Find out what books your favorite authors have enjoyed! When your favorite authors leave a review on another author's book on BookBub, that review will be shared with you, so you can get their book recommendations and find more great books to read.
I'm currently a participating author in a contest where you follow authors on BookBub for a chance to WIN a $250 GC to your choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Here are the details...

Enter NOW for your chance to win $250 of your choice Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!

The Rules are simple...Follow as many authors as you would like...the more points you get, the better your chances are of winning! Good Luck!

Enter Here: before 11:59pm 2/11/22

You can find me on BookBub here:

Best of luck to those who enter the contest! 
And wishing you all a month of wonderful books to read!

Friday, February 4, 2022

10 Reasons Books Make Good Valentine Gifts


By Maureen Bonatch

Valentine’s Day is coming up. Depending on what stage of life you’re in, this could elicit a variety of feelings. Anticipation, or dread, of the day may depend on whether you have that special someone, are looking for them, or if you’re just stuck making a ‘unique’ valentine box for your kids' school. 

The good news is that February isn’t just for lovers—it’s also for book lovers! Library Lovers’ Day is also on February 14th and is dedicated to book lovers! 

If you’re not quite ready to swap out your chocolate and flowers for a book, here’s ten reasons why you might consider it.

1. You Might be Willing to Share a Book

The classic heart shaped box of chocolates allows for a variety of chocolate choices. That is, if you don’t feel like you have to share them. Or, if you’re nice enough to share, and it’s one of ‘those people’ who poke the chocolate to try to decipher the kind only to declare they don’t care for it after taking a bite. 

If the gift you give, or get, is a book. That’s something you can happily share—that is, if they don’t want to read it after poking their fingers in chocolate.

2. Many People Buy Them for Themselves

That awkward feeling of having to buy the chocolate you want for yourself is eliminated with books. Everybody buys them, so there is no need to make an excuse that that huge box of candy that you intend to inhale once you get home is really for someone else.

3. Say What You Mean Without Saying a Word

Perhaps you’re looking to open up a conversation in your relationship but aren’t sure how to express your feelings. Choose a title, or a genre, that helps you to say what you really think. Whether it’s an erotic romance, or a serial killer series, it might get them thinking.

4. The Price Doesn’t Go Up In February 

There’s nothing worse than watching the price of flowers and candy jump right as February rolls around. Then you’re left to decide whether the recipient of your love will appreciate the investment if you go with a classic gift. Think out of the chocolate box and buy a book. The price doesn’t change depending upon the month of the year.

5. Ability to Read is the Only Skill Needed

Most people love flowers, but not everyone is good at keeping them alive. Eliminate the guilt of accidentally over or under watering and killing that beautiful arrangement before the credit card clears. If you know how to read, you can indulge in a story again and again. 

6. Always Calorie-Free

You don’t need to feel guilty, or skip dinner, if you decide to indulge in multiple books. They’re always calorie-free. 

7. Who Needs a Valentine When You Have a Book Boyfriend

You might just discover the perfect guy between the pages of a book. No need to dress up or do your make-up. He loves you just the way you are—robe, slippers, and all!

8. A Book Doesn’t Require a Special Box 

Young mothers know the challenge of helping to make that perfect, unique Valentine Day box for their child to take to school. If you’re not a crafty person, the struggle becomes even more real. Books? No special box required. They already come wrapped nicely with a beautiful cover.

9. No Reservation Required

Want to go out for a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day? You and every other person in your town. Good luck getting in without a reservation unless you plan ahead. Books save your space today, and every day of the year.

10. Books Make a Good Gift All Year Long

We all know that the price of the candy you bought on Feb 14th is going down the minute the 15th rolls around. The same with the special treats designed for any other holiday.

The good news is that you can give a book for any holiday and not have to worry that the candy is stale or expired because you waited until it went on sale. 

But go ahead and buy that discount candy. You can eat it while you read your book.

If Cole can't believe she's changed, can Sabrina accept that her only chance at love exists in her memories?
Find out more right here: Forget Me Not

Just a small-town girl, Maureen Bonatch leads a double life. She lives in a magical world as a novelist, and as a nurse leader in reality. Maureen’s first novella was a paranormal romance published when blogs were a new-fangled thing. She’s since changed her focus to writing paranormal cozy mysteries as M.L. Bonatch and urban fantasy as Maureen Bonatch. 

 While she’s not busy writing or doing nurse-things, she’s a mom to her twin daughters, bicycling in the beautiful woods of PA with her hubby, doing the bidding of a feisty Shih Tzu, and dancing as much as possible. She believes music can be paired with every mood, laughter is contagious, and that caffeine and wine are essential for survival. 

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