Book Review

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(Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series Book 1)

Collette Cameron’s Triumph and Treasure received 4 of 5 stars as a well-written and exciting page-turner filled with anxious moments, gentle romance, and one of the most dashing hero’s to come along in the world of Regency.

This treasure is a triumph for author, Collette Cameron.

Angelina definitely has it rough from the very start, falling for the wrong man and ending up in a desperate situation until fate leads her to the dashing hero, Flynn, Marquis of Luxmoore.

Flynn is a real charmer in as unpretentious a way as any romance author would hope to have portrayed.  Handsome, thoughtful, and possessing a teasing sense of humor.

The Marquis has troubles of his own, and a woman of desire he now must forgo in order to save his family.

Flynn and Angelina are put together by a scheming Earl, her uncle, and it is through a series of misadventures that the two end up growing in love and happiness.

You can buy this and Collette’s other novels here.

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Romance Weekly Blog Hop – Favorite Carol

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Hello, and thank you for hopping over from Collette Cameron‘s blog.  This week, Xio Axelrod wants to know what is our favorite Christmas song or carol.

This is a fun one, and I can’t wait to read what everyone chose!

Before I answer, let me just explain that Christmas for me is highly traditional — a mix of Catholic Latin Mass, Russian Orthodox custom, and memories of grade school with nuns for teachers.

Tradition begins the holiday with Advent (1st of 4 Sundays prior to Dec. 25th) but it isn’t until December 24th, right after attending Vespers and Matins, that the tree, a manger, and holiday decorations are set up before attending Solemn High Midnight Mass.

Years ago, as tiny tots so to speak, my siblings and I used to awaken on Christmas morning to a tree, its trimmings, and the presents. It was truly magical how it all occurred without our ever knowing — and honestly believing it was Santa who did all that work.

St. Nicholas always left candy inside our shoes at home and in school, but on his feast day (Dec. 6) and not at Christmas.

The decorations remain and the festivities continue until January 6 (Epiphany), but for years as a child, our decorations remained until the 12th (Russian Orthodox).

Now, to answer that question. I like a lot of the classic tunes, and Donnie Hathaway’s This Christmas just makes me smile, dance, and sing no matter how often it is played on the radio.

Still, the one that stands out most, represents the season best, and never fails to choke me up so that I am unable to sing along without weeping is . . .

Please, if you would kindly hop on over to Gemma Brocato‘s blog now, let’s find out together what song she chose as her favorite.

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Romance Weekly Blog Hop

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Thank you for hopping on over from Elizabeth Janette’s post about what she is most thankful for this year. Here is my reply to that same question.

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Since deciding (reluctantly) to join this week’s hop, I’ve had a difficult time (again) trying to come up with as honest and succinct an answer as I can.

Expected response: family, friends, etc. But, that isn’t entirely the case for me. Yes, I adore my two children and don’t honestly have a clue as to what my life would be without them. I am eternally grateful for their existence and always will be.

Wishy response: my health, job, home, etc. Of course I’m grateful to be alive and in relatively normal health, but . . . I don’t have a home to call my own, my health is slowly starting to deteriorate, and . . . y’know what? I am truthfully and emotionally thankful that I found work this year.

Trouble is, after six years of unemployment, losing a home, and having my family ripped apart, I can’t seem to shake the underlying fear of having it all come back full circle. Losing this job, or worse.

I’m thankful for having finally decided to run with this need to publish a romance novel, get it done after much heartache, sweat, and tears, and actually know people are purchasing it AND enjoying it! 😀

Is that being thankful? I sure hope it is. Now, I want to be thankful that I can finally say I’m thankful and mean it 😉

Okay, no more S.A.D., holiday-depression, angst-ridden remarks. Let’s all hop QUICKLY on over to Dani Jace and see what she is thankful for this year!

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Romance Weekly Stocking Stuffer Event

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As you may have heard, December 2nd is the date for the Romance Weekly Stocking Stuffer Event. Everyone’s invited and there are a load of great prizes to be had.

When you see this guy, hanging around Facebook, Twitter, Google (just about anywhere your favorite Romance Weekly authors are) you’ll know we’re giving something away, so you want to hurry on over to the event and see what it is.

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Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop

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Thank you for hopping over from Victoria Barbour’s blog. This week the question asked is Tell us your favorite seasonal dish!

I’m not a huge fan of holidays but don’t want to dump here and depress the hell out of everyone.

great-stuffingTo answer this question, I will humbly admit to adoring and devouring my mother’s meat stuffing.

It isn’t quite as common as I once believed. As I got older and started venturing out into the world of other homes, other family holidays, and other traditional dishes, it was soon realized that a majority of the world prefers bread stuffing.

Now, bread stuffing, for me, came in a blood red box with bright yellow lettering on it, so to say I’m not a huge fan would be an understatement.

The more bread stuffing I ate, real or otherwise, the less interested I became until I found myself craving mom’s meat stuffing even when it was May or August . . . nowhere near holiday time.

Instead of writing down ingredients with precisely measured oz, pinch, tsp, or tbs, my mother makes me watch her do it her way. That’s who she is and how she rolls. No one is better than her at anything, so writing it down is moot. It’s inside her head, and unless I blink (which is likely) I’m liable to miss something and screw up (her point exactly) . . .

. . . if you’ve ever watched an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, and Raymond’s mother seems like a bitch to Debra to you, that’s my life but on both sides. My own mother and my ex mother-in-law.

I had two Marie’s.

Anyway, this meat stuffing is 1 part ground beef and 1 part pork mixed together with 4 eggs, about a 1/2 can or 1/2 a dried loaf of bread crumbs (seasoned), diced celery, chopped liver, a 16oz can of chicken broth, a mix of mushrooms, a diced onion, not too heavy on the mashed garlic clove, and whatever seasonings to taste — celery salt, salt/pepper (of course), and that smorgasbord seasoning thing that I don’t like or use.

She once told me that chicken broth replaced pet milk, and since I have no idea what pet milk is or why I would want to buy or use it, I’ve stuck with the broth 😀

This combination may seem like a meatloaf to some, but you don’t smoosh it together into a loaf. Instead, you leave it loose and continue to chop at it during the 350° cooking time of at least two hours, basting with the turkey juices at will.

The dressing is stuffed inside the turkey as well as being set aside to cook on its own, and since I’m not a fan of turkey at all (tastes like blood to me) I opt for a heaping helping of the stuffing, a side of cranberry sauce made from scratch (by yours truly), and a dollop of mashed potatoes. After buttering a biscuit, I whip everything together and eat it like a hash.

Thanks for hopping over and reading my work. Now, let’s go visit Rhenna Morgan and find out what her favorite holiday dish is!

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Crystal Ball Time

Hello again 😀

I’ve been a very bad blogger the past few weeks, I know. I’m not even writing the next rough draft or contributing numbers to my first attempt at the NaNoWriMo thingy. 😦

butt-in-chairI’m just not writing, period. Still reading tons, though!

I don’t know the reasons why I can’t bring myself to write, and I’m always hopeful that tomorrow will be the day when everything just falls into place, too.

Well, maybe I do and I’ve done too good a job of convincing myself otherwise, but I can’t be too certain that is even the case. I know what’s going on inside my head 24/7 and it has everything to do with this next story — the four-part fantasy thing I’ve actually been working on for the past two years but just never got around to doing anything about word-wise.

I found the article linked below a few days ago via Facebook and was actually determined to blog about it, and here it is three days later that I’ve finally found the time and inclination to do just that.

It comes via BestSellerLabs, titled 10 Key Questions That Can Determine Your Success As A Writer.

Seriously, when I first saw it on my feed, I was afraid to click on it but did, and then waited another ten minutes before finding the courage to look at the article, it was that scary for me.

Do I want to know the truth? Will this prove once and for all that I’m a wanna-be and not the real deal?

Discipline was never a strong suit and I rather like it that way, if you don’t mind. Never was and never will be a go-getter, stressed to the limit, gotta git ‘er done NOW type of personality.

So, here we are with the ten . . .

1. Do you employ the potency of your TRUE self? — power of the writer’s voice. Do I have uniqueness in my writing? Am I so far removed from the norm that it isn’t possible for anyone who bothers to read my work to not recognize it instantly as being mine and mine alone. Well, yeah!

That’s one for me.

Romance-Novels-Are-Dangerous2. Are you writing for a particular genre because it’s popular? — have I let myself slip into the comfy trap of writing what is popular, sells easily, or is all the rage right now? Um, no. Well, I believe my genre is quite popular based on the number of sales statistics that continue to surprise and boggle considering the amount of hater comments directed at same. Still, it isn’t because I am seeking fame that I choose to write contemporary romance so . . . no, I don’t do that, either.

That’s two for me.

3. Do you stick to a schedule? (Be honest.) — No, I don’t stick to any schedule because I don’t see the need. There have been weeks and even months where I’ve sat and stared at a blank Word page and not typed a single letter. Not even writer’s block moments, just . . . I know what I want to say but can’t think of the right words to say it. So, I just keep on thinking because it always happens that eventually, inevitably, the words are going to start to flow again and I’ll have written chapter upon chapter within a matter of days or weeks. How anyone is capable of doing that on a daily basis regardless is beyond me.

That’s zero for me.

4. Are you afraid of being judged? — now, based on the article author’s expertise, it is because of what I just said in #3 that this #4 occurs. I can’t write because I’m afraid of rejection. That I’m dwelling on the what if’s of my readership rather than concentrating on the next story. I’m not buying this for the simple reason that when I used to feel that way about letting others into my extremely personal world, I could write for weeks on end without coming up for air or food or even sleep. Now that I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks, I’m cursed with more blank pages than ever before.

That’s three for me.

5. Do you edit as you write? — argh. The article writer presumes this is yet another procrastination technique that will kill flow and creativity. Now, I’m not going to argue that he’s dead wrong because sometimes it is a clever way of avoiding that next scene (especially the crucial cliff-hanger areas), but I also go back to the previous chapter as a way to refresh my memory so that the following chapters are in line with the rest of the story. If I find a boo-boo along the way, oh well! Still, I must admit that writing cold turkey without looking back is a huge help and why I had hoped that NaNoWriMo would be just the thing to get this next novel up and running.

That’s zero for me.

6. Do you use a professional editor? — I’m a cheap-ass bastard and a loser for not being able to afford an editor who will go over my slip-shod crap and make it shine. Whoa is me. Not! I happen to possess an abundance of confidence in my ability to be grammatically correct 98% of the time. Oh dear.

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Leanne-Sype-Pen-to-Paper-Communications

That’s zero for me.

7. Do you write for a specific, easily identifiable genre? — Well, yeah. I was a little thrown off kilter by this one since I find it difficult to believe someone will just write something without a clue and expect to have it sell. Like, what, for example? A kind of science fiction memoir romance, with some suspense and dragons thrown in for effect?

That’s four for me.

8. Are you hoping for a bestseller with your first book? — I actually WISH my answer was yes. Honestly, I do. I sometimes wish I had that A-type rah-rah look at me! attitude that so many successful people possess. Perhaps the Catholic upbringing makes this impossible, who knows. To-date, I have sold 15 books online. Thrilled to bits, I assure you. Now, if he had asked do I hope to make a decent INCOME with my writing . . . well, then, yeah, damn skippy, I say!

That’s five for me.

9. Are you planning to just write and leave everything else to a publisher? — Ha, ha, ha. A what? Did he say Publisher? No. Definitely no. I still need heaps and loads of gumption to go that route, and as of today . . . the urge to submit is nowhere to be found. As for marketing my book, I’m working on it. I’m not as afraid or shy about this as I was just a few months ago. I’m putting myself out there and not caring where the chips fall, so it isn’t like I’m living a delusional existence in the world of books.

That’s six for me.

10. Do you know WHY you are writing? — Carpe Diem is the message here, and I can honestly say yes to this one. I write not only because I have to but because I want to. It is what I do best, it is not just a hobby, and it consumes a majority of my daily routine. As I already mentioned, even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. I’ve been this way for decades and I don’t see it fading away or changing in this lifetime.

That’s seven out of ten for me. Not bad considering I went into this thing with the wrong attitude 😉

The article writer is a professional coach so I’m sure he’s an expert at knowing the in’s and out’s of the marketplace. His advice is helpful if not geared toward his end of the spectrum of things. It was worth reading and taking the time to figure out where I land in the top-ten.

What about you guys? Did you get ten out of ten, zero out of ten, or like me and land somewhere in the middle? Any pet peeves with this one? I’d love to hear from you and find out just how disciplined our line of work really expects us to be 😀

Thanks for taking the time to read, too!

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Reading Fun Quick Five

This week’s Reading Fun Quick Five, courtesy of Rakes and Rascals and Books and Reading Wednesday — Some Questions by Mishka Jenkins. Clicking on the titles will lead you to the Amazon accounts.

1. Which novel are you currently reading and who is the author?

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Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas

2. What is the opening line of the book?

“She had to escape.”

3. What are the hero and heroine’s names? (on the remote chance you’re not reading a romance, give the name of the main character).

Zachary Bronson and Lady Holland (Holly) Taylor

4. What is the first sentence of the second paragraph in Chapter 9?

“At Marlow’s, a man had only to snap his fingers for something — a drink, a dish of caviar, a woman — and it was brought to him with discreet alacrity.”

5. What’s next on your TBR pile?

Nora-Roberts-Sullivans-WomanSullivan’s Woman by Nora Roberts

Rakes and Rascals is devoted to Regency, and up to now — with a few friend exceptions — my reading material has consisted mainly of this genre. With Sullivan’s Woman onward, the posts will be of contemporary romance novels. I hope this is okay with the creators — Mishka?

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post, too 😀

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click this hot guy and see where it leads

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