Friday, March 31, 2017

Our "Love is Blooming" Winners Are . . .

March is drawing to a close, which means it's almost time for four more fabulous Heartwarming releases.

But before we dig into these new books, let's have another look at our March releases.

Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

 Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

 Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

  Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

This month, we had the pleasure of Love Inspired author Jill Weatherholt joining us for our celebrations with her debut release, Second Chance Romance!

  Buy links: Harlequin © Amazon © Barnes & Noble

To celebrate our March releases, we had not one but TWO fabulous giveaways for our readers, and now it's time to announce our winners!

First up, we have our Love is Blooming Potter's Passion Prize Pack to say thank you to our readers who preordered/purchased any of our books. This prize pack consists of a solid-wood, hand-made planter box, brimming with treats for gardening enthusiasts, including a garden tool set, tote and folding seat, thirteen “ever-blooming” black-eyed Susan garden stakes, three pairs of garden gloves, 25,000 Harlequin My Rewards points, and three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books! (Approximate retail value: $170.)

And our winner is . . . Lynn B. of Crofton, MD. Congratulations Lynn! Please contact Kate at readers @ kate - james . com (without spaces) to claim your prize.

Next, for helping us spread the word about our March releases, we created the Love is Blooming Gardener’s Dream Prize Pack. This prize pack will arrive in a pretty planter. We again added three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books to read while you soak your cares away with the bath salts included in the prize pack, after a hard day’s garden work. (Approximate retail value: $55.)

And our winner is . . . Jennifer B. of Bethany, OK. Congratulations Jennifer! Please contact Kate at readers @ kate - james . com (without spaces) to claim your prize.

Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaways, and happy reading!
LeAnne, Kate, Tara, Cerella and Jill

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The 64 Pirouettes by Virginia McCullough

Have you noticed how many author bios and introductions start with a line or two of creative history? Joanne wrote her first story at age three, or, Gloria entertained her dolls with harrowing tales of…  I used to envy the Joannes and Glorias their early forays into the writing life, especially because I didn’t think of myself as particularly creative. But eventually I wondered if I’d dismissed my own creative history simply because I hadn’t put pen to paper. I forgot about all the experiences that contributed to my “inner writer.” And I’m not alone.

Many years ago, I began coaching aspiring authors who (mostly) wanted to write nonfiction books. I began asking these clients to jot down their creative history, something I’d done for myself. For example, maybe I hadn’t written stories in kindergarten, but I’d designed elaborate wardrobes for my adventurous families of paper dolls. I dabbled in music (rather badly) and took violin lessons from an old man with thick glasses and tufts of white hair. He lived on Mozart Street—no kidding!

I also studied dance with a Russian-trained teacher—no nonsense, please! That experience taught me about flow, and when I was “in the zone” no inner critic could spoil the joy of creativity. One of the best gifts I ever got. I eventually discovered that discipline is transferable, that mental skills learned in dance training would benefit my writing life.

Although no one ever told me I wrote well, an inner urge led me to start writing articles in my mid-twenties when I was at home raising kids. Later, I moved on to nonfiction books and ghostwriting, still believing I wasn’t particularly creative. Don’t we make these distinctions in writing? We have nonfiction, and then there’s creative writing. What a myth that turned out to be. 

In the spirit of nothing is wasted, when my coaching clients pieced together a creative history, their confidence went up a notch or two. I heard it in their voices and saw it in their work. They had connected the creative dots.

I can trace the figure skater, Perrie Lynn, gliding gracefully across the ice in Girl in the Spotlight (book one of my first Heartwarming series), to the exhilarated girl in the dance studio doing sixty-four pirouettes in a row. When I watch figure skaters, I move along with them in body, mind, and spirit. I feel the discipline and passion that allow these artist-athletes to perform a four-minute program immersed in the magical zone. And I felt that all over again when I wrote the scenes showing Perrie Lynn on the ice.

Isn’t it fun to know the creativity expressed in one pursuit doesn’t wander off and die when we’re done with a project, but just pops up somewhere new? Makes me kinda glad to be alive!  


Virginia McCullough's debut Harlequin Heartwarming novel, Girl in the Spotlight, is scheduled for a June 2017 release. For more information, visit her website at

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Character Conversations: Hanging with the March Heroes

The heroes of our March releases found out about the heroines’ Character Conversations picnic and staged their own scene! They’re taking over the blog today so they can have their turn to do the talking. So, without further ado, we’re joining the following Heartwarming heroes as they hang out in The Coffee Bean, the cafĂ© co-owned by Jackson and the woman who is like a mom to him, Phoebe:

SAWYER from A SONG FOR RORY by Cerella Sechrist

JOSH from SANCTUARY COVE by Kate James

TONY from HER TEXAS REBEL by LeAnne Bristow

LUKE from THE WEDDING MARCH by Tara Randel

and special guest: JACKSON from Jill Weatherholt’s Love Inspired debut, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE.


Sawyer and Luke are riffing on their guitars as Josh and Tony relax in a booth of The Coffee Bean and listen in. They finish up the song and exchange smiles.

TONY: Well, Josh, who do you think is the better musician?

JOSH: Oh, no! I’m not going to pick favorites. I’ll say it’s a tie.

SAWYER: It’s okay, Josh. Luke will understand if you admit it’s me.

LUKE: He’d only be saying it to spare your feelings, Sawyer. We know it’s me.

SAWYER: (with a teasing glint in his eyes) I have an artist of the year award that says otherwise.

LUKE: One artist of the year compared to my four Grammys? (shakes his head with a grin) Child’s play.

JOSH: How about I say that you bring out the best in each other when you play together? (Josh gives Tony a self-satisfied smile). And I’ll add that you’re tied because of how much you both use your talent to give back to communities.

TONY: Yeah, especially those less fortunate. So you’re both winners.

SAWYER: Well, when you put it that way… (He puts his guitar aside and extends his fist.) Tie?

LUKE: (places his guitar aside and fist bumps Sawyer) Fair enough. Tie.

JACKSON: (emerges from the kitchen carrying a tray of goodies) What’s that? You guys actually agreed to tie? Phoebe said she was enjoying the music back there in the kitchen.

(The guys perk up at the sight of food.)

TONY: Whatever she’s whipping up has my mouth watering.

JACKSON: It’s chicken and waffles with French fries. She won’t even tell me what she has planned for dessert.

SAWYER: If I was thirty years older and not already madly in love with Rory, I think I’d be asking Phoebe out to dinner.

JOSH: You’d have to get in line, buddy. She’s obviously a keeper.

JACKSON: (laughs) I’ll tell her you said so. Now. (He places the tray in between TONY and JOSH.) Phoebe said we can snack on these potato skins until the meal is ready.

LUKE: If Cassie was here, she’d be wondering how many calories this meal is going to cost us.

TONY: (takes a bite of the potato skins) And you’d have to tell her it doesn’t matter, it’s worth every single one. These might be the best thing I’ve eaten this year!

JOSH: Now hang on, guys, before we get too crazy…remember, the ladies said we have to answer their questions before we can eat.

SAWYER: (groans) I’m starving, man.

LUKE: Well, potato skins aren’t an actual meal, so…

TONY: Let’s just answer their questions while we snack on these. Then we’ll be ready when the chicken and waffles are.

JACKSON: That sounds fair.

JOSH: Okay then, majority rules. (clears throat) So, the first question the girls wanted us to answer is…

TONY: (fakes a drumroll)

JOSH: Thanks, Tony.

TONY: My pleasure.

JOSH: What’s your idea of the perfect date?

SAWYER: (pauses with a potato skin halfway to his mouth) Is this a trick question? (looks around) Are there cameras in here?

LUKE: Well, are we answering what we think is the perfect date or what the ladies would like to do on the perfect date?

JACKSON: Why don’t we try to choose something somewhere in between? Something that both the ladies would enjoy, but we’d have fun doing, too. I’ll go first. My perfect date is a picnic by the Shenandoah River. You guys should see how Melanie’s face lights up when she’s down by the river. (He flashes a grin) Of course, she’s already the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, but I don’t know (he pauses) when she’s at the water’s edge…I could sit there with her for the rest of my life.

TONY: Not a bad answer, Jackson. Okay, I’ll play. Sabrina’s a country girl through and through, so some night fishing at the river would be just her cup of tea. Then we’d crank up George Strait on the radio and two step around the truck. Who thinks they can do better than that?

SAWYER: Well, Rory and I have been together for years, except, you know, for the two years I was in Nashville making a go of it without her. She and I have been through a lot of ups and downs, so if I was choosing a perfect date, honestly, I’d want it to be something she’d enjoy. I wouldn’t have fun if she wasn’t having fun. I’d like to do something really extravagant to show her how much she means to me – like rent a private jet and fly us to Europe or something. (chuckles) Because when you’re famous, you can do that sort of thing. But that’s not Rory. These days, it’s a miracle if we can just have a night to ourselves. So we’d probably stay in, and I’d probably cook dinner because she’s used to her brother cooking for her all the time. He’s a chef. And then we could curl up with a movie. She loves action films more than I do, so we never have problems deciding what to watch. (shrugs) I know it’s simple, but I also know that’s what she’d like most.

JOSH: (smiling) The shared history you and Rory have is special, and I bet your relationship is stronger for it.

SAWYER: Yeah, I think so. You’ll find out yourself in due course with Emma.

JOSH: I look forward to it. Okay, so my idea of the perfect date is not dissimilar from what Jackson said. Emma’s cottage is on the shore of a large private lake. We’d pack a picnic lunch, take her canoe and paddle around to a spot where a stream tumbles over large rocks into the lake. We’d then leave the canoe and follow the stream inland to where there’s a wildflower-edged pond, fed by a small waterfall. That’s where we’d have our picnic. (Josh flashes a grin at Jackson) I’m not going to argue who is the most beautiful woman because I think we’re all darn lucky, but Emma and I both love the outdoors and that’s were Emma is in her element. So, like Jackson said about Melanie, I’ll just say, that—as long as we had our dogs with us—I could sit by that pond with Emma forever. Well, Luke, that just leaves you.

LUKE: Since Cassie’s album hit the charts, she’s been busy with interviews and concerts. I know she’d be happy to stay home for a few days in a row and get some down time from her hectic schedule. We love to pack up our guitars and head over to the gazebo adjacent to the beach in our town. Honestly, we have fun coming up with new songs, even if we’re just goofing around. Being by the surf lowers Cassie’s stress level, and since I’d do anything for her, just sitting by the beach, together, would be a perfect date for us.

JACKSON: Good job, guys. Now, I believe the girls said these answers are what they expect next Valentine’s Day.

SAWYER: I knew there was a reason they asked!

JACKSON: They’re smart, I’ll give them that. Okay, last question, and then we can see how Phoebe’s coming along in the kitchen. They want to know what the most important relationship is in your lives –

TONY: Definitely a trick question.

JACKSON: Hold on…What is the most important relationship in your life…other than the girls?

LUKE: Oooh, good one. Okay, I’ll go first this time. My answer is relationships, meaning the teens that hang out at Kids’ Klub. Mentoring these kids has really given me a purpose I never thought I’d find when I walked away from the music world. It’s humbling, and fulfilling, to be a part of these kids lives, to watch them thrive in the program. And Cassie is right beside me when it comes to all things Klub, so the center is growing and expanded. I couldn’t be happier. Josh, why don’t you go next.

JOSH: Okay, just to be clear, I’ll say after Emma, it’s my family. No question. (Josh held up a hand as Jackson was about to interject.) I know what you’re going to say. I have to pick one person, but I can’t. My mom and dad, brother and sister are all equally important to me. With that, I’ll turn it over to Sawyer. I was so impressed with your last answer, I’m curious what you’ll have to say this time.

SAWYER: Easy enough. My dad. He was always one of the greatest influences in my life, both him and my mom, but after he was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s, his wisdom and encouragement became even more important to me. (grows serious) His mind is slipping more and more every day, but he still has these bursts of wisdom that never cease to hit home for me. It’s tough, I’m not gonna lie. But it’s also given me the opportunity to really treasure his presence in my life, both on the good days and the bad ones.

LUKE: Tony, are you crying?

TONY: What? (sniffs) No. But you have to admit, it’s pretty moving. Sawyer’s a tough act to follow.

SAWYER: That’s what they tell me.

TONY: But I’ll give it my best shot. This one is pretty easy for me. Although the teens I work with at Little Mountain Children’s Home rank pretty high, my most important relationship is with my son, Levi. My dad walked out when I was just a baby, so I never had a relationship with him, and I already missed out on ten years with my son. Building that relationship is, by far, the most important thing in my life. Jackson, that just leaves you. I imagine we all know what you’re going to say. Probably has to do with that lovely lady cooking up some chicken and waffles for us as we speak.

JACKSON: Of course, Phoebe is like a mother to me, but my daughter, Rebecca (he releases a breath) She’s my world. There was a time, after my ex-wife left us, if it weren’t for that little girl, I don’t know if I could have gotten out of the bed in the morning. And, that does it. We have fulfilled all the requirements and are now free to enjoy Phoebe’s home cooking!

LUKE: That was less painful than it could have been.

SAWYER: Agreed. And by the way, thanks, Jackson, for letting us have this guys’ night here at The Coffee Bean, after hours.

JACKSON: Phoebe insisted.

TONY: Then I think we need to step back into the kitchen and thank her.

JOSH: (cough) Don’t you mean, check on the food?

LUKE: Well, the potato skins are all gone, and I’m still hungry.

TONY: You read my mind! Jackson, show us the way to the back.

JACKSON: Okay then. Follow me, guys…


If you want to read our heroines' Character Conversation for this month, visit this post.

And don’t forget there is LESS THAN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS LEFT to enter to win one of the LOVE IS BLOOMING prize packages we’re giving away! 

Most notably, we have our purchase sweepstakes as a way to say thank you to our readers. One lucky person will receive a spectacular Love is Blooming Potter's Passion Prize Pack consisting of a solid-wood, hand-made planter box, brimming with treats for gardening enthusiasts, a garden tool set, tote and folding seat, thirteen “ever-blooming” blacked-eyed Susan garden stakes, three pairs of garden gloves, 25,000 Harlequin My Rewards points, and three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books! (Approximate retail value: $170.) You can enter here.

Purchase* any of our five March releases for one entry for each book and register your purchase here. You can also enter by purchasing the March Heartwarming box set. The sweepstakes runs until March 30th.

* Alternate method of entry available. Please see Official Rules on the entry form for details.
Secondly, we're offering the Love is Blooming Gardener’s Dream Prize Pack. This giveaway is a gardener’s dream come true and arrives in a pretty planter. We’ve included three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books to read while you soak your cares away with the bath salts included in the prize pack after a hard day’s work. (Approximate retail value: $55.) You can enter at the bottom of the Love is Blooming blog post here.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Filling the Void by Janice Carter

Which void, you may well ask, for there are many.  Abysses. Chasms. Black Holes. Often, clothes dryers.  But the void I'm referring to are those empty moments of time when you are physically  (and mentally perhaps) doing nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Riding on a bus.  Standing in a crowded subway car.  Waiting for a doctor appointment.  Or sitting in a classroom.
      As an elementary student, I would always try to get a desk in the row next to the windows.  I could stare out those windows any time I wanted.  Back then, it was called daydreaming and it was one of my favorite pastimes, especially during the daily arithmetic lesson.  Unfortunately, that habit, along with a particularly frightening teacher, led to a case of math phobia in high school.
     Several years later, when I was a teacher (not of mathematics you may be relieved to know) and spending many hours daily with thirty children and their needs and wants, then going home to two other children (my own), there were no time voids in my life.  Every nanosecond was accounted for, even those that hadn't yet happened.  Once I found myself pulling into the school parking lot without any memory of how I got there.  Apparently this is a real occurrence and many people experience it.  I learned about it in a book about the brain that I was reading to research memory improvement.  I can't recall the author, but I'm sure he or she is a neurologist.  What happens is that a part of the brain lapses into a kind of fugue state while you are performing an everyday activity - like driving a car.  In my case, this state was triggered by a mental debate over menu options for dinner that night. Automatically and without any work on my part, the more reliable part of my brain, in a desperate surge of self-preservation, took control to get me to my destination safely.
    After my retirement those time voids reappeared, giving me plenty of, well, time to indulge mentally.  Or not.  A few weeks ago I was returning home from a visit out of town, travelling by train so my brain didn't have to take charge of my trip.  At one point as I exited the washroom at the end of the car, I was struck by the image of many heads bent over the blue-white glow of electronic devices, passengers filling the voids their way.  The car was dead quiet. When I sat down, I wondered which was more surreal - the actual world around me or the scary one I'd been imagining in the dark forests outside the window.
     I know. I can hear you muttering that I must belong to that pre-tech generation - the one whose childhoods were enlivened by radio, record players and board games.  And I do!  But I also have a Kindle, an iPad and a cellphone (because my children only respond to text messages).  I may be inching my way along the learning curve of technology, but now I can FaceTime, Facebook, iMessage and Instagram with some dexterity.  Of course, there are many seniors far more adept.  I know because I bumped into one the other day.  She was standing in the nuts and dried fruit aisle of the health food store and scrolling through her iPhone - maybe for her shopping list.  I bumped into her because I'd been checking my list on the scrap of paper clutched in my hand.  In spite of my affection for the magic of Google and Two Dots, I can't risk injury to my knee replacements by peering at my cellphone while walking down the street.
      The point I'm trying to make is that these increasingly rare 'time voids' or empty spaces in our lives are important.  We can't slow down technology nor should we want to.  But we can moderate our use of its products, whether cellphones or cars, tablets or dishwashers, and benefit in small but important ways - get more exercise, connect face-to-face with friends or daydream.  Also, the time voids generated could be opportunities to simply give our minds a rest.  A few seconds of daily mental rejuvenation - daydreaming, meditation or cat-napping - can extend our expected life spans.  I'm certain I've read that somewhere.
    Come summer, my preferred mental time-filler involves sitting in an Adirondack chair at my cottage.
I wish I could say this is my inspiration chair but really, it's my staring-blankly-at-the-water chair and I can sit in it for ages until a single thought might nudge me into the cottage to fix a snack or get a cold drink.  Occasionally, that thought might become a word followed by a phrase that could lead to a whole sentence.  If I'm lucky, there will be enough sentences to actually write something down, as I have today.  Wishing you many empty and relaxing moments!
       Care to share your favorite way to fill those 'time voids'?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Patricia Johns: Hairy, Growly and Toothy

I was a young teenager when Disney's Beauty and the Beast hit the theaters, and I immediately fell in love with that hairy, growly, toothy beast. Not the prince. Not the shined up, smoothed over, fresh-shaven prince, but the beast. He was the one who stole my heart.

So when Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast came out this month, I knew I had to see it! Fortunately for me, my dad was visiting, and I got to see that movie with dear, old Dad. It seemed appropriate. 

This got me wondering what it was about the Beast that appealed to me. I'm not the only one--Disney isn't grossing what they do for the taste of one woman, that's for sure. But I've narrowed it down to a few core elements. Let me know if you agree, or if you have more to add.

1. Raw strength is appealing. There is something about broad shoulders and an ability to fight off a pack of wolves, am I right? But he has to curb that strength to be near Belle, and the attempts at gentleness are incredibly lovable.

2. The brooding hero.  His inner pain and his attempts to hide that pain make him a sympathetic character. We know why he's angry and tortured. We just need Belle to learn the truth.  

3. He's a different species! And I don't mean that in the bestiality sort of way... I mean, like all men, he thinks differently, acts differently, and there is a gulf to bridge in order to bring him and Belle together. I've always loved how different men are from women, and that is brought to the forefront with the beast.

In my own writing, I tend to write my heroes brooding, tortured and incredibly masculine--and my romances, regardless of which line I write in, are all sweet. In April, THE TRIPLETS' COWBOY DADDY hits the shelves, and I hope you'll pick up a copy!

Then in June 2017, my second Heartwarming release, THE RUNAWAY BRIDE, will come to e-tailers everywhere. 

Clean romance, and brooding heroes to your heart's content! You can count on me for that. 

So what do YOU think makes the beast so appealing? Or do you prefer the prince? I want to know!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sit Down Saturday with LeAnne Bristow

Today we’re celebrating the release of LeAnne Bristow’s debut Heartwarming novel, “Her Texas Rebel.”

So, LeAnne, where did you get the idea for this novel?
I actually started writing this story when I was a kid in high school. I was fascinated with the idea of a bad boy that really wasn’t as bad as he pretended to be. Of course, the story got shelved for twenty something years while I grew up, got married and raised a family.

How long did it take you to write? That depends….do you count the version I wrote when I was 16? I started seriously pursuing the idea of getting the story published in 2012. Over the years Tony went from a youth pastor working with troubled teens to a carpenter, to a mechanic to a police officer. Originally the story was targeted for Love Inspired. An editor who was doing a pitch contest told me my voice and this story seemed like a better fit for Heartwarming. It took me two years and three rejections to follow that advice, but, here I am!

What is your favorite scene?
That’s a hard question! I have several, but one that really sticks in my mind is a scene where Tony and Sabrina dance together. Because she knows him so well, she knows that something is wrong and insists on examining and ultimately saves his life. It’s shortly after this scene that Tony discovers the truth about his son.

Your main character, Tony, has gold eyes and a dimple that is under his eye, rather than on his cheek. Why did you give your character such unusual characteristics?
Because Tony didn’t know that he had a son, I needed something that would immediately identify Levi as his son. Sharing the same hair and eye color wasn’t enough. The eye color was one clue, but I got the idea of the dimple because I have a cousin with the same dimple. I always thought it was unique and it made the perfect clue for Tony. Sabrina also has an unusual combination of hair and eye color, although it’s not played up a lot in the book. But I was always fascinated with the blond hair, brown eye combination. My youngest cousin has that combination and I used her as my model for Sabrina.

Tell us one thing you learned during research.
I did a lot of research about homes for children. I thought children’s homes were just for troubled youth who were sentenced there as a last resort. I discovered that kids of all ages are residents for a huge variety of reasons. A friend I grew up with now works at a children’s home and was incredible patient with me and answered a million questions.   

This is your first book.  Exactly what does that mean to you?
Oh my gosh! This book means everything. It is proof that dreams really can come true. If you’re patient and willing to work hard enough, anything is possible!

What do you plan to work on next? 
Currently, I’m suffering from the “Sophomore Book Syndrome,” meaning that the ideas I had for my next book didn’t pan out like I wanted to and need some revision. Okay, a lot of revisions, but I refuse to give up!

Thanks so much for stopping by! And don’t forget that you only have a few more days to enter our awesome Love Is Blooming giveaway!

One lucky person will receive a spectacular Love is Blooming Potter's Passion Prize Pack consisting of a solid-wood, hand-made planter box, brimming with treats for gardening enthusiasts, a garden tool set, tote and folding seat, thirteen “ever-blooming” blacked-eyed Susan garden stakes, three pairs of garden gloves, 25,000 Harlequin My Rewards points, and three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books! (Approximate retail value: $170.)

Next, is the Love is Blooming Gardener’s Dream Prize Pack is a gardener’s dream come true and arrives in a pretty planter. We’ve included three previously-released, signed Heartwarming books to read while you soak your cares away with the bath salts included in the prize pack after a hard day’s work. (Approximate retail value: $55.

About LeAnne: LeAnne Bristow may have been born and raised in central Texas, but she’s a desert rat at heart. After calling Southeast Arizona home for more than twenty-five years, her husband finally let her claim the title of an Arizonan. Her day job is teaching kindergarten, but her favorite pupil is her granddaughter and LeAnne is determined to teach her how to catch lizards and love the desert as much as she does.
She loves to hear from fellow book lovers. Find her on Facebook and follow her ramblings on Twitter.

Friday, March 24, 2017


I hope these lovely, talented, history-making women of the silver screen and recordings have caught your eye. They each in their way are favorites of mine for their intelligence, their individuality, creativity and yes, their courage. In addition to all this, do you know what they have in common? 
All were abused.
All were hit, screamed at, belittled and for years each had to right their own ship, learn their own value and get out. I have included one of my all-time favorite people, Whitney Houston, because her ending was tragic, but there were so many times, she was strong. So many times she fought the fight, but her tragedy is there for us all to remember that money, fame, talent, beauty and all the “prizes” of the world cannot stop festering insecurities when they are fed by an oppressive mate bent on their own power, their own needs before the needs of all others, in their paths.
That theme has long, long been the placard I hoist---the soapbox upon which I stand. Granted, I have other causes celebre, but in this current contemporary morass where hate breeds more hate daily for no reasons at all, so much of what is strewn on the streets during riots---actually began in the home.

This I know.

During the mid 1990’s MIRA was in its infant stage, just toddling onto the bookstacks at Barnes and Noble. Back then, MIRA put me on the road to tout, promote and extol our brilliant new line of women’s fiction. We wanted to illuminate and glorify women’s strengths, their talents and their choices in this world headed to the new millennium.  In the process, my agent and I devised an essay contest in which we asked women who had been abused to write to us about their experience and not only how they got out of their situation but how they triumphed over poverty, lack of education, lost opportunities. How they saved their children and raised them to be good citizens of the world. The letters flooded in and it wasn’t because we offered a “Spa Weekend Getaway” or a “Night on the town”. It was because they had something to share. Something to say.

Over the years we compiled the best of the letters and HCI agreed to print them in
THE EVOLVING WOMAN: Intimate Confessions of Surviving Mr. Wrong.”
This was the kind of book you don’t want to become a New York Times Bestseller.  This was a niche book meant to be handed from mother to an abused daughter. Girlfriend to another abused girlfriend. A father to a daughter. You get the idea.

For one month solid, I went on the road visiting Women’s Shelters from New York to Amish Pennsylvania, Florida to Alabama, Denver to Portland to San Francisco. The stories were more harrowing than any movie you’ll ever see. You don’t want to know what these women went through. But they did. They lived. They triumphed. They are my heroes and they will always be.

In April, I will release with the heartfelt blessing from my editors, Victoria, Claire, Megan and Dianne, “PROTECTING THE SINGLE MOM”.  My heroine, Cate Sullivan, is just such an abused wife. Though this story does not dwell on the abusive life she led,  she tells enough of it that is the same story that was told me all those years ago.

Cate is fiction. Her dilemma is not.

My Prism Book Tour starts in two days and yes, I’ll have giveaways and free books, but the real reason you should stop by is for my posts about my experiences and thoughts about those days back then when MIRA and HCI gave me full reign, and let me explore some very tough ground. Those days changed my life and I’ll never forget them.
In May, I will re-release my first book on this subject. “BECOMING.”  I just finished the edit on this story and for those who have any friend, family member, acquaintance that you believe might be in just such a situation, send her an e-copy. If you can’t afford the $2.99, write to me and I’ll gladly send it for free. My gift. My pleasure.

 Many of our Heartwarming stories deal with women who are starting over. Single mothers. Job loss. Insecurities. Death of a spouse. Divorce.  Harrowing health issues. And yes, abuse. As the authors we take on tough subjects, because life is tough for most all of us at one time or another.

We live in America where there is help for all manner of abuse. It takes courage to pick up a phone and it takes courage to help a friend.  Every state has a Domestic Abuse hotline. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is 202-745-1211. 

Again, if you know someone whom you even suspect is in trouble, copy them about this blog. Send them my book. Give them one of these phone numbers. But don’t stay silent. You can help. You can change her world.

To thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I'm giving away my new tote and two of my Shores of Indian Lake books. Make a comment here on this blog and I'll announce the winner on Saturday. I'll need your address to mail it to you, so make sure you make note of my email or leave an email for me to contact you. 

God bless you all.