Florida Everglades


For those of you that follow me on Facebook, or just know me in real life (not social media, lol) you know that my BF and I started taking Sundays for ourselves–away from the computer, and hopefully tromping around somewhere on the beach or on kayaks at the inlet, or on a mini road trip. Florida from Key West up the coast to Pensacola can take 9 hours. We have a loooong, skinny state. Fun thing is, you can cross it in under three. Yep, coast to coast, across alligator alley, Ft. Lauderdale to Naples.

Not only do I write on average six books a year but we also have an author’s services business–which we have narrowed down to the things that work for us. We both edit and Christopher offers one-on-one book coaching in addition to marketing and running all of our websites and newsletters etc. Working for yourself requires a lot of elbow grease and the pay-off is not the same as a nine to five job where you get a dependable check–in order to avoid burn-out, we grabbed Sundays for us. The injection of energy and balance has been incredible and I highly recommend it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money-we love Groupon! And most of the parks are free, or just a few bucks.

We went to the Florida Everglades National Park, which cost 25.00 to get in but the ticket was good for a week. Believe it or not, folks actually camp there 🙂  I have never seen a panther in the wild and the mosquito can be as large as the pelicans. https://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm

These three images are all from the same day, and the same park. The first is a bald cypress grove, I think there is a turtle in the second one, and this last image is Flamingo–the park had a small marina at the very tip of the park closest to the Gulf. This place actually had a bald eagle in a nest. Sorry I didn’t get a picture of that!

I was born in Seattle and raised in Spokane where my mom still is–she tells me about shoveling snow, and I don’t miss it. I will take warm sun and sand any day!

My #BytheSea series is a contemporary romance with 14 stories so far (more to come this year!) that take place in Lauderdale by the Sea and I make sure to add in scenes that hopefully bring my love for the coast alive. www.tracihall.com

Have a wonderful day,





I love You, I hate you…The Life Cycle of Writing a book

There is a major love/hate relationship that goes on with a book. I can’t speak for every author, but I do have a feeling many may relate to this.

I’m currently working on publishing book number 24. There is a vicious cycle that goes on through every book, some worse than others. It goes a little like this:

1. I’m sooooo excited to write this book! The characters and story line keep calling to me and I’ve been excited!

2. Hmm….I thought I knew how this would go, but now the words aren’t flowing.

3. Okay, I’m skipping this scene. Leaving a note to myself for round 2. Oh, here too. And here, and here and….wow, this is full of holes and notes to self…


5. Well, I should have seen this coming.

6. Head desk. Hair pull. Cry.

7. This book sucks. How am I going to fix it?

8. Huh…I like this. Not too bad after all.

9. More hair pulling. OMG, I am going to ruin this book, mess up this series.

10. Lots of second guessing. More revisions. More tweaks.

11. Does this plot point work? Is this too much? Is this too little?

12. Opens up adult beverage and partakes.

13. THIS will make the story better!!!!

14. On second thought….

So, I could go on, but I think you catch the drift.

With writing and publishing, for many, comes this agonizing pain of getting the story right, getting the characters the way we want them…and even then, I wonder: Will the readers love this? Is this character’s flaw too much? Too little? I know I’m not going to make everyone happy. It’s not going to happen, so I have to learn to write the story the way it calls to me.

For some reason, this this current book, I’m going through the “I-suck-itis” phase BAD. And because of that, I thought I’d write a little about it. I know that by the end, when it’s all said and done, the journey will have been worth it, but wow, during the time the feelings hit its peak, it’s quite brutal.

Until next time! Thanks for reading.
Nikki Lynn Barrett

How to Enlarge a Bathroom Without Moving Any Walls.

Our house was built in the late 60’s when basements were tiled with vinyl asbestos and bathrooms were the size of closets.

When a flood ruined the floor in our upstairs hall bathroom, I took the opportunity to redo the whole room. I would have loved to make it bigger, but there was nowhere to expand. Instead, I decided to see if I could use some visual tricks to enlarge the space. Here are some of the techniques I employed:

We started by removing the tub and installing a shower in its place. And to make the space look wider, we designed it with no curb at the shower entrance and no shower door. There’s only a glass panel you step around. As another space saver, the toilet paper holder hangs on the outside of the glass panel.

To give the room an open feeling, we used coordinated, very light tile on the walls and the floor. (The wall tiles are laid horizontally to widen the room.) We also found a vanity that was slightly smaller than the old one–with an open shelf at the bottom to give a more airy appearance.

A glass shelf hangs on the wall over the toilet. It can hold necessities but doesn’t visually intrude into the room. In the same way, the medicine cabinet is rimless and set into the wall.

For a coordinated look, all the fittings in the room, including the grab bar in the shower, are brushed nickel.

And finally, we opted for a sliding “barn door” on the outside of the bathroom, so the door takes up no interior space.

If you’re thinking about remodeling a bathroom, perhaps you can use some of these space-saving tricks.

I was lucky to have David Sanderson-Kilchenstein do all the demo and construction. He helped me pick out materials, then took the bathroom down to the studs and built it back up again. As you can see, his work is fantastic.

My latest Decorah Security novella, Hollow Moon, was just released and is on 99c sale.

Rich Pecan Bars #Recipe by @DonnaFaz #mgtab

I’ve had a death in the family, so I hope you’ll forgive me for re-running an old recipe. This is one of my favorites – Rich Pecan Bars. It’s like eating a pecan pie that’s been baked into a bar. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Rich Chocolate Pecan Bars

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 pound pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 13 inch x 9 inch baking pan, making a small lip around the edge like you would a pie crust. Dough will be sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate and pecans. Pour over the crust and spread the filling evenly, staying within the lip of the crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut into bars and serve. Wrap remaining bars in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.


Taking My Cues From Nature For Spring Romance Suspense #mgtab

I Have Two New Releases In Romance Suspense!!

Plus Authors’ Billboard Will Be Publishing Several Romance Suspense Boxsets Very Soon.

I’m excited to say I’ll be a part of at least two of them this year.

Crystal Rock, Wisconsin…

Is a purely fictional resort town where my stories take place. The Dragonfly Pointe Inn has been restored, and in the process, it’s discovered that a human trafficking ring has been operating in the area during the years when the inn was abandoned.

Or has the trafficking been going on for much longer?

I do weave a slight element of fantasy through my stories.

Once two lovers kiss at Dragonfly Pointe? Their love is meant to last forever.

Continue Reading →

Writing What I Know

I have to say that I am quite thrilled to be a new author to Authors’ Billboard and posting a regular blog on the 27th of each month. For those who don’t know me, I’m a retired police officer/detective, a mother of two, grandmother to one, happily married to an incredible man, a total Disney Freak, and so much more!

I’m also a firm believer in writing what I know, and as I’m nearing the age of fifty I realize that I know quite a lot. Which is quite funny because I don’t think of myself as a very intelligent person. However, I do know there is a difference between being book smart and street-smart, and I can honestly say that I am 100% street-smart.

Because I spent sixteen years as a police officer, I tend to set a lot of my books into the law enforcement world (See-writing what I know!). Some of my books are romantic suspense, some contemporary romance, I even have a few paranormal romance books in the cop world, too. I am sure you can imagine the kinds of things I witnessed in my career. I have stories that would make you laugh till you cried, and stories that would make you sob for hours with emotional pain. I spent thirteen years working primarily patrol, and small investigations. Around my fourteenth year, I started getting involved in more in-depth investigations and moved on to be promoted to detective. I became a certified Crime Scene Investigator and thrived on those kinds of investigation.

The only reason I retired was that I sustained a second major concussion in ten years and had a lot of issues afterward with headaches and memory. I tried to go back, but it just didn’t work and I realized it was safer for all involved if I hung up my handcuffs.

One of the major cases that I worked on was a domestic violence homicide. I will never forget the day I stood over her body and my own past flashed in front of me. Words spoken to me so many years ago about how if I didn’t do something, I’d be killed. My entire life shifted that day-like it was a major adjustment to the way I saw life and I decided that I couldn’t stay quiet anymore.

And that’s why I write about domestic violence. I know it. I have felt it. I lived with the hand of control holding my throat, and cutting off the oxygen from my lungs. It’s why my books on the subject are so real, they come from experience, and sadly, from what I know.

But my books are not all doom and gloom. Most of my books are romance and I write that because people want to feel alive-feel loved. After being a victim of domestic violence, I know what it is to want to feel loved, in a healthy way. I’m so lucky that I am now married to a man who loves me for me, and has never tried to change me, threaten me, or hurt me with his words. Its possible for everyone to find that, they just have to believe.

I look forward to sharing with you more about books, life, kids, Disney, everything! Thanks for stopping by to say hello! ~ Stacy Eaton

Find Stacy’s Books on Amazon

Want to be more creative, more confident, increase your brain power, make better decisions and feel good?

What is the ONE thing you can do that is guaranteed to make you more creative, more confident, increase your brain power, make better decisions and feel good?

No, the answer isn’t ‘have more sex’. Although that helps too. NO, the answer is to get more sleep. Sleep deprivation affects our mood, our ability to focus, our very well-being. Researchers agree that only 30 % of people get enough sleep. A study in Science magazine said that for the sleep deprived, an extra hour or two of sleep each night can do more for feeling happy than a $60,000 raise. Professional athletes, scientists, writers, creative people of all types, are finding that an extra hour– or better yet, two, can have a profound difference on their quality of life. One researcher insists that cheating your body out of the R& R it needs can make you more prone to illness, stress, traffic accidents, and weight gain. He asserts that sleeping will actually do more to take off weight than exercise!” So resolve to purge yourself of your “sleep macho” habits and give your body the care and attention it deserves. Start with more sleep. Experts are proving that getting enough sleep is the single best way to improve your life. Go for it!!

P.S, I am/was a committed sleep macho. I’m slowly but surely increasing the amount of sleep I get and yes, it is making a difference. How about you? Do you get all the sleep you need? If not, why not? Let me know! Maybe together we can help each other.

P.P.S. Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive has tons of excellent advice. I’m hooked on it and highly recommend it!

Taylor Lee

On the other hand, if you want a book that you can’t put down and read far to the night, check out my New Release: BETRAYED: Sizzling. HOT Detective Series; The Criminal Affairs Collection


Oh Happy Day, Oh Happy Food



After a year of unexpected diagnoses, treatments and scares I am now on an exciting journey with food.  I’ve always loved cooking and taken a vivid interest in the nutritional value of food. That’s besides the taste.

On and off I’ve been a vegetarian, or a  pescetarian.  Now recovering from unexpected health conditions I face an extremely limited diet where spices, most herbs, garlic, onion, citrus fruits, dairy, fried foods, roasted foods, red meat and so on are banned.  Desperate now,  I grabbed the hand of Veganism, like Oliver Twist I wanted more. I realized then I was on a journey and I didn’t look back, like Lot I kept on going.

Along with my robot pal who goes by the name of Google, and my doctor who looks the same age as my eldest grandson, I set off down  the yellow brick road, to explore the strange new world where I am Vegan. My mind flashes to the Walking Dead and that vicious adversary Neegan, everyone is Neegan. But this is no zombie horror story it’s the opposite, a world of culinary joy, delight and intrigue.

I am not saying I’ve grown wings and living on fresh air, no, but at least whilst surviving I can now enjoy food as well as preparing and cooking it. Also I am not declaring Veganism to be more nutritional or tasty than the Palaeolithic and vegetarian diets, far from it, but to those suffering from oesophageal and gut trouble amongst other complaints, it’s a godsend. After all, food is all about survival and we’ve all battled through the centuries to make tasty heaven on earth plates of mouth watering happiness.

Through the two illnesses in the one year, I lost two and a half stone and this way of eating has kept me there. I continue to be amazed with the nutritional value of what I originally considered to be a side plate of greens.  Oh no, I’ve been slapped over the head with a leaf, the humble plant holds the key to a rich and healthy life and you save a hell of a lot of money too, once you have  a full shelf of necessary ingredients. Oh and a smoothie blender.  Not necessary but it does save a lot of elbow work.  So today I would like to share one food that I thought I would never taste again; butter.  Glorious butter. I mourned its passing in my so recently restricted food life. I yearned for that creamy butter, I used to slap it on everything, bread, potatoes, baked potatoes, and asparagus besides using it for cooking. Nothing was more delicious than a slice of warm freshly baked crusty bread covered in butter, slightly dripping from the heat of the bread. Yum.  You can imagine how excited I was to find I could actually make a vegan butter; maybe a slightly different taste, but so minimal and absolutely creamily delicious. I made it in five minutes top and that included mixing and blending the ingredients.

I use ‘nutritional yeast’. For your interest, it is made from sugarcane and molasses then dried to deactivate it. So it cannot be used for baking. It is also an anti-viral, antibacterial Immune-booster. It is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Good source of fibre, with thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B6 Folate. The Chrome server advocates it also, as a good source of protein, magnesium, copper, and others. It can replace cheese in so many recipes, and in sauces such as lasagne, carbonara, pesto. It can be added to scrambled eggs, stirred into soups, and sprinkled on air fried chips or mashed into a baked potato.

Here’s a link to Sari Foods who give the low-down on Nutritional yeast. This is not an advertising thing as you will find many places selling it, but I like the organic non-fortified brand.

So without further ado, here is the recipe.


Use a powerful blender but with a smaller bowl.  I have a Ninja blender grinder extractor which is great for butters.

Use the smoothie programme and make the sure the bowl is not too large otherwise you will have difficulty blending small amounts. Tip the blender to one side if necessary, the measures I have will help produce a smoother blend and less tipping of the blender. If you make your own in a food processor make sure there is no skin on the almonds as otherwise you’ll end up with little brown bits through your butter.



4 tablespoons olive oil  extra virgin. You can use standard if you wish.

240 mls or for US 1/2 cup of refined coconut oil. Don’t use unrefined as it is too grainy and will have a strong taste of coconut

16 tablespoons of organic almond ground flour or meal without the skins.

10 tablespoons oat milk or another non-dairy milk that you prefer. Do not use canned coconut milk or soy.

Two teaspoons of organic nutritional yeast or maybe three if you want to add more vitamins to your butter.

One tablespoonful of organic cider vinegar.

If you like some colour use a pinch of turmeric not too much or it will go an avocado tint.


Put the ground almonds, nutritional yeast, milk and salt into the blender, blend for a minute until smooth.

Pour in the refined coconut oil and olive oil then blend on full speed until velvety smooth and light and airy. It took about 1 minute in my Ninja. If you have a less powerful blender just keep going for longer.

Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate. A glass jar with a lid is the best. The time it takes to set will depend on how deep your container is. Two hours should be enough but leave if for longer if necessary. You can hurry it up by placing it in the freezer for a short while.

I actually use a Ninja blender grinder. When I first unpacked it I was terrified of the darn thing. It had a column of three nasty looking blades. I was so afraid of them I had to get hubby to use it first. He cut two fingers on it so beware.  But after I had him plastered up he used it again for me. Bless him. And he’s not even eating the butter.






Now on Amazon https://goo.gl/DNkgy6


Now on Amazon https://goo.gl/SVtnXA