Because Everyone Needs A Little Fantasy

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With kids still out of school and no end in sight for our local teacher’s strike this seems a perfect time to share the work of a friend of mine and fellow writer who writes YA. Fantasy to be exact with her work sometimes compared to a young Tolkien.

Andrea’s first publication is The Chosen, a middle-grade fantasy she worked on for about three years. The second book in The Chosen series, Nature’s Unbalance, was released May 2014. Andrea is currently editing Book 3, Striker’s Apprentice.

Andrea’s second series, New Avalon, is YA fantasy. Book 1, Destiny, is available on Amazon. Fate: New Avalon, book 2 is releasing on September 30th. Readers of the first book will find Elena Baxter’s second year at New Avalon even more challenging, if possible, than her first.

Andrea has also published My Open Heart, an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. Her hope is that it will give encouragement to young adults growing up with heart disease, or other chronic illnesses, as well as parents of children growing up with heart disease.

Andrea lives in the Kansas City, KS area. She grew up in Florida, but is originally from NJ.

She has generously shared with me details of her writing career. The following are some questions and answers on what it means to be a writer for Andrea along with an excerpt of her work:

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How did you start writing?

 I had to change my major towards the end of my sophomore year of college. I didn’t know what field I wanted to go into. My sister said, “You like writing, why not do that?” So I chose journalism. When I graduated, I started writing freelance web copy from home. I then decided I wanted to try to write a book. After a few attempts at different genres and storylines, The Chosen was born.

What is the best part of writing?

Creating new worlds and shaping my characters to be who I want them to be…until they take over.

Why do you write?

Because I want to.

How do you come up with ideas?

*laughs* Another tough question. They usually pop into my head when I’m watching television and movies, or reading books. I’ll see something that sparks an idea, and take off with it from there.

 If you had one super-power what would it be and why?

Flying. I’ve always wanted the ability to take off and fly away, hovering above everything and everyone, and floating through the clouds.

 One wish?

This is a tough question, but if I had one wish, I would use it to heal my heart condition. I would love to be able to know the freedom of running up a hill.

 What would you say to someone wishing to become a writer?

Never give up your dream. Keep working hard, and persevere.

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Ten Brides

Ten Brides for Ten Heroes spans the gamut of the ever-popular wedding romance genre—from heartwarming laughter to thrilling adventure, from sweet to steamy. This 10-book bundle features novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. So get ready to toss the bouquet and say, “I do!” as ten brides risk it all to find their happy ever after. 

 Patrice Wilton:

Wedding Fever by Patrice Wilton – The romantic comedy series, Serendipity Falls.

Mila O’Reilley owns Wedding Fever, a bridal boutique in Serendipity Falls Mall. She sells more than dresses, she sells dreams along with the belief in happily-ever-after – a sentiment she personally doesn’t share. Can a jaded bridal consultant and a cynical news reporter uncover the true mystery of Serendipity Falls without being swept away in the madness?

Find Patrice at:

 Helen Scott Taylor:

The Army Doctor’s Wedding by Helen Scott Taylor – The Army Doctor’s Series

Major Cameron Knight throws himself into the danger of front-line, battlefield medicine to keep the demons from his past away. When he rescues an injured charity worker who’s saved a tiny newborn baby, he marries her so they can take the orphan back home for surgery. With this brave woman he finally has the chance to redeem himself and find love.

Find Helen at:

 Mona Risk:

Wedding Surprise by Mona Risk – The Holiday Babies Series

Claire and David faced many challenges over the years. Finally, Claire’s dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she loves is about to come true. Two weeks before the wedding, Adriana, the high-school classmate who’s tried to snatch David several times, makes an announcement that threatens to destroy the couple’s happiness. Is Claire and David’s love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

Find Mona at:

 Alicia Street:

Tomboy Bride by Alicia Street – The Dance ‘n’ Luv Series

Kendra returns home for her brother’s wedding determined to get her age-old crush to finally see her as more than a tomboy. But will her game of making him jealous with a hot and handsome faux-beau make him fall for her—or backfire and leave her in ashes?

Find Alicia at:

 Rebecca York:

Destination Wedding, by Rebecca York – The Decorah Security Series

From the moment Nick Cassidy signed on as one one of Camille Norland’s bodyguards, sexual sparks flew between them. Although determined to keep his emotional distance from her, Nick is forced to admit his real feelings when she’s kidnapped by a ruthless Russian mobster with matrimony in mind.  Can Nick rescue her before the wedding night?  Can they escape from Victor Zanov’s tropical island death trap?  And can they come to terms with their complicated relationship?

Find Rebecca at:

 Annie Jones:

Summer of Love by Annie Jones

Brides, Beehives and Barbecue! Can mother daughter mayhem be far behind? Bless her heart, it’s 1967 and a determined southern bride isn’t sure love is really all she needs.

Find Annie at:

Donna Fasano:

Return of the Runaway Bride by Donna Fasano

Savanna returns to her hometown to explain why she fled on her wedding day, but she never imagined how her escape all those years ago changed Daniel. Can she make him understand—and forgive?

Find Donna at:

Rita Herron:

Single & Searching by Rita Herron

A woman looking for love… A reporter looking for a story… A mad rush to find a criminal… When the truth comes out and danger strikes, will they succumb to the passion burning between them?

Find Rita at:

Theresa Ragan:

Here Comes the Bride by Theresa Ragan

Samantha Johnston, a reporter for the LA Beat, attends the wedding of one of America’s hottest actors in hopes of learning the identity of his mystery bride, and ends up saying, “I do.”

Find Theresa at:

Mimi Barbour:

Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour – The “Elvis” Series

After her year in Texas as an exchange student, Annie leaves pregnant and heartbroken. Nine years later she returns to introduce her eight-year-old son to his American family. And to the man who still haunts her dreams – the handsome, embittered rancher who never knew he’d fathered a son.

Find Mimi at:



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Lorhaine banner

Friendly Fire Book Blast!

2013authorphotoheadshot1600 (1)I’m proud to introduce Lorhainne Eckhart, a fellow Canadian and writer, to my blog today with her latest book, Friendly Fire.

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Lorhainne Eckhart is a 2013 Readers Favorite Award winner, frequently a top 100 bestselling author on Amazon in Romance, Westerns and Police Procedural. Author of 25 titles which includes novels, collections, and short stories. She writes three genres, western romance, romantic suspense and military romance and has sold more than 250,000 eBooks since her bestseller The Forgotten Child landed on the Amazon #1 Bestseller list for Westerns and Western Romance.
The German Foreign rights for The Forgotten Child have since been acquired by a major publisher, retitled The Forgotten Boy and released March 18, 2014, now a top 100 overall bestseller on Amazon. Lorhainne lives on sunny Salt Spring Island with her family where she is working on her next book.

Friendly Fire cover

Friendly Fire (The Wilde Brothers)
Author: Lorhainne Eckhart
Publication: May 20, 2014

Genre: Adult/Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction/Western Romance
**CONTENT WARNING: Although this series is filled with ideals of family, love and loyalty, the Wilde brothers are strong sexy alpha males. Each book and short story in this series is filled with sexual tension, steamy romance, rough language, and passion. It is for those who enjoy adult contemporary romance, women’s fiction, western romance.


“I wish I could find a man like the Wilde Brothers.” – Tina
“Read the whole thing in 1 day. A page turner from start to finish. Makes me wish I lived in Idaho.” – Diane

In FRIENDLY FIRE, after a roadside bomb ends his career in the marines, Logan Wilde struggles to put his life back together. When he takes a job as a sheriff in a small Idaho town, he expects a quiet, peaceful life that will bore him to tears. However, Logan hides a painful secret: He suffers from sleepless nights and flashbacks that come out of nowhere, and anything can be a trigger.
From the moment the new sheriff walks through the door of Julia Cooper’s cafe, she fights the attraction between them, especially after Logan shoots a carafe right from her hands when he’s startled by a car backfiring in the street outside. Julia has seen that wild look before: She saw it in her father’s eyes right before he shoved a gun to his head and killed himself.
Julia decides she needs to meet someone average, someone who has never handled a gun. Everyone is convinced that her daughter’s teacher is the perfect match for her, but when she’s with him, she misses the sparks that always sizzle between her and Logan—and when her daughter goes missing, it’s Logan who’s there for her, Logan who searches with her, and Logan she leans on.
Worse, Logan suspects that the teacher knows something about the disappearance, and he may not be the safe, dependable guy Julia believes him to be.

The One (Joe & Margaret)
The Honeymoon, A Wilde Brothers Short
Friendly Fire (Logan & Julia)
A Matter of Trust (Ben & Carrie) Coming Summer 2014

The Forgotten Child (Brad & Emily)
A Baby And A Wedding (An Outsider Series Short)
Fallen Hero (Andy, Jed & Diana)
The Search (An Outsider Series Short)
The Awakening (Andy & Laura)
Secrets (Jed & Diana)
Runaway(Andy & Laura)
Overdue (An Outsider Series Short)
The Unexpected Storm (Neil & Candy)
The Wedding (Neil & Candy)

The Deadline (Andy & Laura)

The Choice
Lost And Found
Blown Away, The Final Chapter


Logan saw the sign over the door, a big oval carved with a tree and roots. A plastic sign on the door said “Open.” Logan pulled in front, angling into a parking spot.

When he stepped out, Clinton shut the passenger door and pointed to his phone. “I generally go home for lunch,” he said. “Let me give my wife a call. I’ll be right in, Sheriff.”

Logan took in his deputy. The gun strapped to his side should have given him confidence, but the way he spoke about his wife made his courage seem fleeting.

“I’ll be inside,” Logan said.

He took in the coffeehouse, with about half a dozen tables and a glassed-in counter holding baked goods, sandwiches, and deli meats. He scanned the chalk menu board and strode up to the counter, where a woman with cropped dark hair had her back to him. She wore a white apron over a black long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, and she turned around and glanced up at Logan with a bright smile and round face—and the most stunning green eyes he’d ever seen.

She hesitated, holding a plated sandwich. “Hey, there. I’ll be right with you,” she said. She had a killer smile as she strode around the counter and over to a table, setting a sandwich in front of an older man wearing a cowboy hat. She said something and then hurried back behind the counter. She had a neat and trim figure, with a small, rounded ass, and she wore sneakers.

Logan couldn’t take his eyes off her. He sat on one of the stools and took in her figure. Something about her had captivated him. She glanced his way, her wide eyes rimmed with long, dark lashes, all natural and so exotic. She wore not a stitch of makeup. Natural beauty, he loved it. He couldn’t help himself from taking in her round face, those soft, pink lips. She cleared her throat, setting both her hands on the counter, and his eyes went right there. No ring.

“You must be the new sheriff,” she said. As she watched him, all the light in her eyes vanished, replaced with something hard, as if she had figured him out in two seconds flat.

“I’m Logan Wilde,” he said. There was something about the way she was standing, so ramrod straight, that kept him from sticking his hand out to shake hers. No, what he wanted to do was put his hands on her, but that would definitely get him slapped. “And you are?” he finally asked, raising an eyebrow until she finally relaxed—almost, anyway. He realized this lady was not one to be toyed with. She was a difficult woman, strong, who reeled in his interest.

“Julia Cooper,” she replied. She clutched a dish rag and then tossed it down, extending her hand. “I own this place.”

Logan couldn’t help the smile that touched his lips as he took her tiny hand in his. Her soft, firm handshake stirred his interest further and scrambled all his good sense, too. “Nice to meet you, Julia.”

“So what can I get you, Sheriff?” she asked. He could tell she was still holding on to something. She had put up a wall and seemed ready to scurry behind it at any time. Logan couldn’t help wondering what that was all about. Did she have some trouble, or had something made her naturally cautious? That wasn’t necessarily such a bad thing, though it bothered him to think something had scarred her. He realized it wasn’t safe for her to take anyone at face value, anyway.

“Heard you make a mean sandwich. What do you recommend?” he asked, taking in the wide selection she gestured to on the chalkboard.

“Well, I have to say today’s special is pretty good: chicken and goat’s cheese on focaccia with a side of soup, your choice of minestrone or spinach and bean.”

He tapped his fingers on the counter. “Either sounds good. Why don’t you choose for me?”

She gave him a quick nod. “You got it, Sheriff,” she said, turning and opening the cooler, lifting out chicken, vegetables, and other fixings.

He couldn’t take his gaze off her back, with her slim curves—and that butt. Logan had never considered himself one of those guys who was a breast or ass man, but there was something about this woman. He wanted to figure out a way to get to know her a whole lot better. She was far from a super model, but she filled out a pair of plain old jeans. She wasn’t tall, either, and he was pretty sure he probably had a foot on her, but she’d sure fit nicely in his arms.

He wondered, for a moment, how responsive she’d be to his touch, or to him whispering to her in the dark. A tightening in his groin overcame him, and he swore under his breath. There had to be something wrong with him. Hell, he’d gone stretches before without a woman, but this last time…well, it had been over a year. Maybe that was his problem. He cleared his throat, trying to clear his head as well, forcing his thoughts to the meeting with Stan and Johnny Rhodes, but he just couldn’t shake the thought of Julia, who was such a distraction. The door chimed, and Logan glanced over his shoulder as Clinton strode in.

“Hey there, Julia,” Clinton said, also nodding to the older man eating a sandwich in the corner. “Slow today?” he asked as he took a seat beside Logan at the counter.

“Hi there, Clinton. Yeah, it’s been a little slow, but it should be picking up, with tourist season coming. I hope so, anyway. How’re your wife and that new baby of yours?” she asked. She had a sweet, soft voice, and Logan thought he could listen to her talk all day.

“Oh, they’re great. Annie is sleeping through the night now. She’s so sweet, and she has such a pretty smile,” Clinton said. He was already pulling out his cell phone, showing off baby pictures, and Julia leaned across the counter, taking in the photos with a natural excitement, as if she really was happy to see pictures of someone else’s baby. Maybe that was a female thing. To Logan, seeing baby photos was about as interesting as seeing some realtor’s face plastered across a billboard. He couldn’t even pretend interest.

Julia actually took the phone and touched her chest. “Oh, look at her! You have to bring her in. Tell Jenny to bring that baby over next time she’s in town.”

“Will do,” Clinton said, taking his phone back, a big smile on his face.

Logan could tell that his deputy was constantly distracted. With all the marines he had trained, he had hammered into them that they had to get their heads in the game. Clinton had two pretty faces waiting at home, but there was a time and a place for those thoughts. Logan couldn’t help wondering, if and when trouble hit, how Clinton would respond. He was soft, and the last thing Logan needed to worry about was having to knock on Jenny’s door and tell her she was a widow—and that her baby no longer had a father.

“What can I get for you, Clinton?” Julia asked, wiping her hands on a red and white dishtowel.

Clinton glanced over at the chalkboard and gestured to the special. “Special looks good, with minestrone. Would love one of them cappuccinos, with cinnamon on top, too, if you don’t mind.”

Julia nodded with a big smile. “You got it, Clinton,” she said, but when she faced the sheriff, her whole demeanor changed. She was back on guard, her smile now gone. “Sheriff, do you want something to drink?”

“Just a regular coffee would be great,” he replied, and she turned away, poured the coffee, and set it in front of him.

“Cream, sugar?”

“Just a little milk,” he said. She set a creamer in front of him, and he watched her as she turned away again and started fixing his lunch.

“I’m just going to wash up, Sheriff. I’ll be right back,” Clinton said, disappearing through a door in the back.

Logan slid around on the stool, taking in the big front window. Cars and a couple pickups drove by, a few people walking past here and there—unhurried, nothing like the way people were in the city. Everyone wore cowboy hats and blue jeans, and the way they all walked and talked said “Midwest ranching community.”

He sniffed the air at the hiss of the espresso machine, frowning out the window at an older white Cadillac that drove past. His heart was racing, his hand shaking on the counter as if he knew what was about to happen. There was a high-pitched whistle, then a bang as the car backfired in the street, and his chest squeezed as he waited for the explosion. Everything was moving in slow motion, everything louder. Where had the explosion come from? He heard the sound of gunfire.

For a moment, it felt as if he wasn’t even there. Julia was screaming, shouting at him, and he stared and stared, blinking, hearing only his breath, long and loud. Her face was terrified, and his hand trembled around his pistol—aimed toward her. It took him a minute to take it in: the shattered glass, the handle she was holding, all that was left of the carafe. There was now a hole in the espresso machine.

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Sitting Is The New Cancer

Sitting is the new cancer. Really? Because I’ve never heard of anyone going through chemotherapy for excessive sitting. Still, when I hear the stat of 9.3 hours a day sitting for the average person,versus 7.5 hours sleeping I see a problem.

I even see a link. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get lean and buff – in a chair. And obesity is linked to cancer, heart disease and a whole host of degenerative diseases which fell us on a regular basis

Most of us could use a little more time walking. But when? The average work place isn’t designed for walkers. And when we’re not working writers write. Add in family duties and going to the gym during the slim piece of time we have left – isn’t going to be top priority.

This is where Nilofar Merchant’s idea comes in. Have meetings where you walk.It’s an idea I for one, could embrace. I like the idea of having meetings where we walk, rather than sit in a stuffy room. She explains it brilliantly in the following video:

I can see where being outside in fresh air would engage our senses, possibly allowing us to come up with fresh ideas and solutions to our problems, whatever they might do.

I suspect taking notes or writing as you walk might not work so well,so walking meetings might work better when they are only between one or two people. And should decisions have to be made, including a brief wrap up session, in a seated area might be of benefit.

Perhaps combining the two with a ten to fifteen minute walking portion where people walk and brainstorm together and then another ten or fifteen minute portion at the end, where business is taken care of, decisions made, voted on and recorded, where necessary, would work best.

I think I’ll propose this for our next meeting. So, if you see a bunch of us walking along and talking you’ll know, we’re having a meeting. Important stuff happening here. Don’t let the odd bit of laughter fool you. It’s a meeting!


Some of the most popular shows on television right now are based on Marvel Comics. Whether it’s the agents of Shield or Arrow these characters are larger than life.

They’re escapist entertainment for sure. But I think they’re particularly popular when people are feeling stressed and over-whelmed. Super-heroes don’t have the same problems mere mortals do. They’re stronger, smarter, faster, and bigger than life. Whether they’re able to leap the tallest building, transform themselves or harness the forces of nature their special powers mean they’re not subject to the same limitations as ordinary people. And their powers are used to protect the innocent.

In the Xmen we have Storm able to harness the powers of , well, a storm, to wreak havoc when necessary. Then there’s Rogue, Jean Gray and Emma Frost. In Batman, Cat Woman has been known to give him a run for the money although I’m not sure her big screen incarnation truly captured her abilities.

I’m having a hard time thinking of a major motion picture and box office hit whose main character has been a female superhero. Have I missed one or is it time for someone to create such a character?

What super powers do you think would make a great female superhero? Women are better known for being nice and able to get along with others than for their destructive powers. But could some of those powers be made into super powers?

What would these be? Empathy, intuition, caring, mediating are strong female characteristics but how would they work in a superhero? X-ray vision, super-wealth and the ability to harness the forces of wind, water and other elements could also come in handy and are not male only traits. In fact I think any small child would tell you his mother can see things in the back of her head….lol!

Marvel has a free Create Your Own Superhero page.It’s fun to play with!

So tell me, what super powers would you want if you could have any? And which super powers would you like to see in a superhero?

Chocolate Marble Cake

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The cake on the cover of Chocolate Worth Dying For is a stock photo but the following recipe is how I think it would taste and the pictures are of this cake. It’s delicious and really not that hard to make.

4 oz (113 gr) dark chocolate melted – allow it to cool so it’s no longer warm to the touch but still fluid

1 cup (250 ml) sour cream with ¼ cup separated.
6 egg yolks at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks (1 cup or 250 ml) butter at room temperature

3 cups (750 ml) cake flour sifted into cup and leveled off
1 ½ (375 ml) superfine sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
• In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks, ¼ cup sour cream and vanilla until combined.
• With flat beater of stand beater mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed.
• Add butter and remaining sour cream beating on low speed until ingredients are moistened. Beat at medium for 1-2 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl.
• On medium low-speed add the egg mixture a little at a time beating until ingredients are mixed together.

• Remove 1/3rd of the batter (1 ½ cup (375ml) and mix in the melted chocolate until evenly mixed.
• Put 1/3rd of batter in 10” pan that has been sprayed with pan.
• Top with half of chocolate mixture spreading evenly
• Put other 1/3rd of batter on top
• Top with remaining half of chocolate mixture spreading evenly.

• Use teaspoon to marbleize batter. Dip the teaspoon in without touching the bottom or sides and lift up and over in a roll like waves.
• Smooth the surface

Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool and then remove from pan


4 oz (113 grams) dark chocolate
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp cognac of raspberry vodka

Melt chocolate and slowly whisk in heavy whipping cream. Add another Tbsp if it seems to thick or you might want to add in a Tbsp of cognac or raspberry vodka. Pour over cake.

Serve with strawberries and whipped cream if desired.