This blog is for those 18 and older.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving (Yes, I'm a little late)


        Hello, gentle readers! Hope you are all well and staying safe!
It’s a few days after Thanksgiving that I sit down to write this…and I’m still full!
I make a traditional meal (well, traditional for my family) – turkey, stuffing (my mother-in-law’s recipe which is fabulous), mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies and of course, desserts, but this year, it was a little different. My DH has been having some health issues so I made the same, just not as much.
Still there are leftovers—lots and lots of leftovers—my favorite part of the whole meal. There’s something sad about cooking all day only to have everything you made gone in twenty minutes or less but the leftovers? Love those leftovers! There’s nothing like staggering out to the kitchen for a midnight snack, bleary eyed, still full, but kinda hungry, too. My favorite? Turkey sliders made with King’s Hawaiian rolls. Oh so yummy!
I was fortunate enough to take some PTO from the day job and I gotta tell you, it was wonderful (if this is what retirement feels like, I’m ready!)! I did hope to sleep in at least one day, but that didn’t quite work—I was still up at four-dark-thirty (I guess, after getting up at that time for years and years, your body just gets used to it so sleeping in is next to impossible) but it’s all good. I did what I had planned to do, which was clean out closets (all of them…sheesh, I had no idea I had all that stuff!). I have several nice piles now to go to Goodwill…maybe someone can make use of the George Foreman grill that I only used once ten years ago).
What else did I do with my time off?
I was able to work on my latest work in progress and start two others (yeah, I know, I shouldn’t have started those other two stories, but when characters and the opening scene comes to me, I have to write it down…otherwise, it’s lost). I was pretty happy with my word count. I don’t write as fast as others (I’m a slow and steady kinda person) but I did some major damage to Wife By Surprise, which pleases me. I just might hit my goal of having it done by the new year. 
I should go. I hear that slice of leftover cheesecake calling my name, but before I do, there are a few things I should tell you I’m grateful for. As always, I’m thankful for family and friends, the roof over my head, and the food in my belly. I’m fortunate to have a job I love (even though I’m looking forward to retirement---four years, one month away now), but mostly, I’m grateful to you, gentle readers, for giving me the opportunity to share my passion for writing.
Stay well! Stay safe! And remember to spread kindness wherever you go!


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

 It doesn't matter who you are, reading is a sanctuary and everyone has a need and purpose to read.  

In the Kentucky Appalachians, Cussy Mary Carter is the Book Woman.  She travels by donkey with books, magazines, pamphlets, and any other reading material the local library can scrounge up and send to the hill people.  

Cussy Mary lives with her dear father.  Working in the coal mines, her father is fearful of an early death while he attempts to get a mate for Cussy.  Mating season in the hills is noted by placing a burning candle in the window.  A lit candle means an available bride.  

With little faith in the candle, she knows her unique blue skin places her status on the lowest rung of humanity.  Cussy's job as Book Woman gives her all the freedom she can hope for.  She teaches the mountain people to read and surprises them with materials of interest, when available, to keep them excited about knowledge.

On Cussy's route, Jackson Lovett settled himself in a cabin after traveling the country.  He appears to have an eye for Cussy, which she refuses to acknowledge.  No man of such wondrous standing would want anything to do with a blue woman.  

The local doctor repeatedly requests testing on Cussy's color.  Maybe there's hope to change from blue to white.  Or is the color of a person a vanity issue while the person remains the same?  Another problem for Cussy to encounter.

Jackson is held back from approaching Cussy, but he does show interest in simple ways when she approaches his home with her reading materials.  A bouquet of wildflowers confuses her.  Yet, does she sense his interest? 

Tragedy's are exchanged for hope.  Hope in life, reading, and love.  With each show of anger, jealousy, and prejudice, a page turns with strengthened friendship and love.  

Richardson's story is an intelligent, hopeful, and heartwarming tale.   It's easy to get involved with Cussy's life and wish her the best.

Happy reading,


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Parts of a Story


Hello, gentle readers! Hope you are all well and staying safe!
So, today, we’re going to discuss the parts of a novel—the easy and the not so easy. There’s the beginning, the middle, the end, the synopsis, the blurb…and the first love scene (if your story has one. Some don’t.).
Let me explain.
Starting a new story is wonderful. You’re excited. You’re happy because it’s something new. You have your basic storyline and maybe an outline (I do plot points. Others write by the seat of their pants). You get to introduce your hero and heroine, who they are, what they’re all about. I love this part. It’s fun getting to name your characters and build their traits and foibles. You feed in some of their past and where they are now. As I said, it’s exciting and sets up your story.
Then there’s the sagging middle. I call it that because the enthusiasm for the beginning has waned a little. It’s usually at this point that my brain betrays me and thoughts of “this is boring” or “why did I ever think I could do this” start cascading through my head. It takes patience and perseverance to get through this part (I’m certain other authors do not have this problem, but I seem to with every story I write).
I love writing the end. At a certain point, you find yourself on that downward slope. There’s no turning back now. You find yourself (or at least I do), writing faster and faster, rushing (not blindly though) to reach that happily ever after. You may cry as you write ‘The End’ or celebrate with a piece of chocolate or two.
Let’s talk a little about your synopsis (or as I call it ‘the dreaded’ synopsis). If you plan to submit your work to a publisher or agent, you must have one. Depending on who you are submitting to, the synopsis needs to be two pages or five pages or anywhere in between. I find it incredibly difficult to condense my ninety-five-thousand-word story into two or three or five pages.
Then there is the blurb, the short description on the back of the book that makes a reader look at it to begin with. It must be enticing with just enough information to interest the reader. This can be incredibly difficult for some (re: me), but really easy for others.
But I want to go back to the love scene, which is where I am right now in my story. I have read authors who simply blow me away with how their loves scenes are written and they make it seem so easy.
It isn’t. In fact, it’s darned hard (unless you’re lucky enough to have your characters do all the hard work…sometimes that happens and I love it when it does!). There are so many questions, so many possibilities for that first time your hero and heroine make love. Should their coming together be slow and sensual? Hot and urgent? Both? What about clothes? Are they wearing any or does each character need to be undressed? Who does the undressing? If the scene is hot and urgent, then they should both be ripping each other’s clothes off, right? Or is a tantalizing dance as one article of clothing is removed at a time? Are they talking to each other? What are they saying?
It all needs to be choreographed in such a way that the reader is there, seeing everything, feeling everything. And it needs to be satisfying to everyone—the hero, the heroine, the author, but most especially you, the reader.
So why do we do it if it’s hard? For me, it’s a need. I have to write (even if no one ever sees it). Despite the frustration, despite the tears, I have a story to tell and quite frankly, I am not the same person when I don’t have a story in progress.
And that’s all for me. I should go and tackle that love scene now.

Stay well! Stay safe! And remember to spread kindness wherever you go!


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Shiver by Karen Robards

 East St. Louis, Illinois is nothing like its step-sister, St. Louis, Missouri.  East St. Louis is where things happen and no one sees.  Samantha Jones lives in the shit-hole in Illinois, but she has the love of her life, a young son, and a job as a

night repo-woman.  

That's all she cares about, and she carries a Smith and Wesson to make sure she stays alive to care for her son.

Daniel Panterro is living a nightmare at the same time, only he's bound and bloody in the back of Sam's next repo job.  The classy looks of the BMW she drives her cranky repo truck to, holds him in the trunk when she pops the lid.  

Sam wants nothing to do with the streets of East St. Louis, and Danny cannot reveal his true identity.  Doesn't matter.  She's entangled in his troubles whether she saw who put him in the trunk or not.  

It's a crazy ride.  Danny takes Sam hostage, yet he protects her relative to the situation.  

Sam chastises herself for noticing Danny's good looks beneath the dirt and blood.  The fact that he doesn't want her dead is a relief, too.

Could it be more than just survival?  Could something good and loving come from a frightening hide-and-seek with the thugs after them?  Will Sam and Danny live to find out?

Robards delivers another one of her high-octane romantic suspense novels, and I recommend opening the cover!  

Happy reading,


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Fear the Blinking Cursor


        Hello, gentle readers! Hope you are all well and staying safe!
So, it’s my turn to post to Happily Ever After Thoughts and here I am, staring at a blank page in Word and a blinking cursor, having, once again, no topic. Or maybe, I just don't have the words. This is not unusual. 
As a writer, that blank page and blinking cursor is intimidating and the bane our existence, but it happens more often than I’m comfortable with. Sometimes, as I already said, there are no words and the cursor just teases us (or maybe, torments would be a better description). And it doesn’t only happen when you’re trying to write a blog. It happens other times, too.
Sometimes, the characters in your current story refuse to talk to you, leaving you to figure it out. Sometimes, our muses simply disappear for a time (Hmmm, I wonder where they go. Are there muse conventions where all the muses get together and laugh at us mere mortals? Are there classes where they’re taught how to torture us? My muse must enjoy those classes quite a bit, as he seems to take particular pleasure in leaving me hanging while he’s off galivanting).  
What does one do? I don’t know about other writers, but for me, physical labor does the trick to break that log jam and get those words flowing. I’ve come up with some really good ideas while washing the dishes or scrubbing the floor (I keep a pad of paper handy though writing notes with wet hands isn’t something I would recommend).
I have, at times, simply tried working on another story but then, that can get you in trouble, too, because what if you like the new thing you’re working on instead of finishing the original thing? Hahahaha, that probably explains why I have over thirteen unfinished manuscripts sitting in my computer right now although I always eventually go back to the thing that was giving me fits in the first place).
Walking also helps…just putting one foot in front of the other without any clear destination in mind (Hahahahaha, I’ve walked miles trying to figure out how to get out of the corner I’ve written myself into!). The only problem with that is 1) you could get lost, 2) you could find that you’ve walked too far and now have to go home and frankly, your feet hurt, or 3) you just can’t remember everything that went through your head while you were walking. I could use a recorder to get my thoughts down but I sound like Mickey Mouse (in between the huffing and puffing). It’s rather embarrassing!
Hmmmm, I think I’ll go clean out the fridge…maybe that’ll get those creative juices flowing! Wish me luck!

Stay well! Stay safe! And remember to spread kindness wherever you go!