What Do You Collect?

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A faithful reader of my Pam of Babylon series recently sent me an article about beach glass, aware that Pam is a beach combing fanatic, and has a vast collection of it which she displays in a clear glass ginger jar on the white marble of the kitchen in her ocean front home on Long Island.

Beach glass is like rock hunting or scouring parks with a metal detector; the lure of the hunt and the excitement when you find something to add to your collection can’t be beat. All of those things appeal to me. I belong to every rock hunting group on Facebook, much to my husband’s amusement because I haven’t ventured out of our yard to hunt.

Collections of anything intrigue me. I once saw a photograph of a collection of small hearts consisting of religious medals, art and artifacts, you name it. Soon after, we were at the beach, and I found a small, stone heart. Now I was hooked. Friends started sending me hearts. I have hearts made of stone, glass, metal, and paper.

Owls are another passion. I have so many owls. The owl thing started with a piece of jewelry Jim bought me when we were dating; in sterling, an owl ring made of turquoise, mother of pearl, and onyx. I forgot I was wearing it one day and went to my OR job with it on my finger. When I had to scrub for a case, I popped it in my pocket and down with the laundry it went, never to be seen again. Over the years, he’s added pieces of costume jewelry, including bracelets, earrings, and necklaces all with owls.

An antique chalk owl once belonging to my mother graces the library in my kitchen. My children are the sources of many of my owls, including a metal sculpture from Jeni, and a canvas bag from Sarah. A friend made me a little needle-felted owl. He’s so sweet, looking down from his perch.

In my stories, I get to collect personalities. I like lots of characters. I’m driven by their interaction, their histories, their weaknesses and strengths. A caveat is that I sometimes get them confused and will change their names inadvertently, having to quickly go back and fix after the fact. It’s a liability of reading my books. An example is in my mystery series, I changed an aunt’s name from Paula to Beth. Hindsight, she was really a Beth. But she’d been named Paula in three prior books, so Paula she remained. Paula is so real to me now after writing about her, but she’s such a Beth!

The first book in my new series, Bittersweets, had so many characters I started taking notes for each couple, and writing a book for each one. The first, Bittersweets – Terry and Alex is included in our new steamy romance boxed set, Love on Fire, six stories by six authors now available on Amazon for 99 Cents.

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Suzanne Jenkins
Get Suzanne’s newsletter and never miss a new release! Receive a FREE Pam of Babylon short story by signing up at http://suzannejenkins.net

Suzanne’s Gift to You! DOWNLOAD FREE and Bargain EBOOKS
Start the first installment of Suzanne’s bestselling series, Pam of Babylon FREE! Download Today – The Greeks of Beaubien Street 99 Cents (Greektown Detroit Detective Stories) Also free, Atlas of Women, a compilation of the novella, Mademoiselle and four short stories, and Burn District: The Prequel.

Her anthology of romance titles with eleven other authors, A TOUCH OF PASSION, has just become the 2016 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards.

Suzanne writes page-turning contemporary romance, mystery, and women’s fiction with passionately gripping characters that stay with readers long after they turn the last page. The Detroit Detective Stories, beginning with The Greeks of Beaubien Street are a reflection of American fantasy with historical reality. Pam of Babylon books consistently rank in the Top 100 Best Sellers in American Drama with over 500,000 downloads.

Suzanne’s stand alone novels include Someone Like You, the Family/LGBT themed Alice’s Summertime Adventure, suspenseful The Savant of Chelsea, Slow Dancing, The Liberation of Ravenna Morton and Perfect for Him, her latest romance story. “Bring the tissues,” readers say.

Burn District, Jenkins new sci/fi series, follows an American family as they flee from political insanity to save their lives in the Arizona Desert.

Her short story, Vapor appeared in Willow Review, Spring 2013.

A retired operating room nurse, Jenkins divides her time between the west Michigan lakeshore, the Brandywine River Valley, and the mountains of Southern California, traveling across country with her husband, Jim and dog Oscar in an RV, to visit their children and grandchilden on different coasts.

Visit http://suzannejenkins.net where you may subscribe to an email list entitling you to free stories and excerpts of soon to be released and new releases.

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My New Addictions: Chocolate Toffee and Sexy Romance Novels

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Maybe I’ve taken this summer vacation thing too far, indulged too much, for too long, but it’s too late now.

I’m addicted.

Even thought I’m back to work, I rush through my tasks to get to the end of the work day and back to my latest indulgences, nicely paired together (the new bonbons and soap operas): chocolate toffee and sexy romance novels.

I haven’t found anything else to distract me from this dynamite duo of delectably dangerous desert. (I know what you’re thinking: this girl needs to get a life.)

This pair of perfection is the exact antidote to the routine, boring life, or the stressed, crazy life. Either way, it’s a welcome reprieve from a life filled to the brim with responsibilities and work. If you’re up for a staycation experience on any given Sunday afternoon or rainy Saturday or evening after dinner alone, I want to share the delight with you.

The Recipe: Chocolate Almond Toffee

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. Toasted chopped almonds
  • 1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Let butter melt and then cook, stirring constantly with a spatula (so the butter and sugar don’t separate!), until mixture turns a dark amber, 12 to 15 minutes. (This can take closer to 20 minutes if you’re heat is not high enough. Increase the heat and keep stirring until the color turns. Don’t give up! If you’d like to use a candy thermometer for this step, attach it to the saucepan and cook until the temperature reaches 285º, or hard crack stage.) Toffee mixture should be dark in color and very thick. Stir in ½ cup of chopped almonds.
  2. Pour toffee mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately top all over with chocolate chips. Let sit 2 minutes so chocolate begins to melt, then spread chocolate all over with a spatula to create a layer on top of toffee.
  3. Sprinkle all over with remaining ½ cup almonds and pecans (use chopped crumbs too for nice texture!) and pink Himalayan sea salt.

Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, then cut or break into pieces and serve.

AND

The Sexy Romance Novels:  Love on Fire

 

6 steamy romance novels by 6 bestselling authors…

Sometimes passion takes you and there’s nothing you can do to resist it. That hotfeeling overwhelms you until you can think of nothing else but him, want to do nothing else but make love.
Sometimes love sets you on fire until it consumes you.
Let these six novels of crazy hot love take you there, make you feel the heat of that passion, bring you that ecstatic joy.

Playing the Game – by USA Today bestselling author Stephanie Queen – International Digital Award Winning romance about a socialite playing the game of seduction to win against a superstar until winning feels more like losing her heart.
“Reading Queen is an absolutely scrumptious experience…with characters who come alive like Pop Rocks and carbonated beverages” –Romantic Times Book Review

Bittersweets – by bestselling author Suzanne Jenkins – A one-night stand for lawyers Terry and Alex segues into a long weekend of passion, leading to a lifetime of romance.
“…once I began reading I knew there was no turning back. Suzanne Jenkins has an incredible talent.”–Anonymous Reviewer

Red Rock Rises – by USA Today bestselling author Taylor Lee – A fiery former undercover agent, as tough as she is beautiful, no one messes with Red Rock until she meets the handsome Police Chief.
“Taylor Lee does it again! Red Rock Rises introduces another unforgettable heroine and a hero who is more than her match. From the first page to the last, the sparks fly between Jesse O’Donnell aka Red Rock and the sexy Police Chief.”–Kharma Queen

Bedroom Therapy – by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York – Phone sex, fantasies and fetishes are all in a day’s work for sex advice columnist Dr. Amanda O’Neal until she meets sexy detective Zack Grant, and things get personal.
“Bedroom Therapy is a torrid private investigative romance with the heated emphasis on the equatorial hot relationship between the sleuth and the doctor. The story line is fun to follow” –Amazon Review

Tempted by Mr. Wrong – by USA Today bestselling author Jacquie Biggar – How can something so wrong, feel so right?
Jacquie Biggar had me reading well past my bedtime. The characters are so well written they could walk right off the page!” –Avonna

To Love A Hero – by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Mona Risk” – Amidst a clash of cultures, an American scientist finds more chemistry than she bargains for with a national hero from Belarus
Outstanding Read. Mona Risk’s To Love a Hero is a wonderful love story complete with deception, conceit, stubbornness and the love of a lifetime for two people who couldn’t be more different. Ms. Risk hits a homerun with this.”–Simply Romance. Review

Available for Pre-Order Now – Release Date August 14th

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Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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Life and Fiction by Mona Risk

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It all started ten years ago. In a different life, I was the director of the Analytical Division of an environmental company. I supervised a staff of chemists who perform analytical tests on drinking water and hazardous waste. My responsibilities also included working on various government contracts. A monotonous predictable life that suddenly changed when I won a Department of Defense contract to refurbish a military laboratory in Belarus.

During my fifteen trips to Minsk, capital of Belarus, I was well received by everyone, and worked with colonels and generals, chemists and engineers, and even journalists. I was invited by two colonels to their houses, met their wives and children, and appreciated their warm hospitality.

TO LOVE A HERO is my contribution to the Authors’ Billboard box LOVE ON FIRE. Through my novel, a fictional story about an American chemist and a Belarusian officer, I lived again my fantastic trips to Belarus. My story highlights the affability and warmth of the gorgeous and gallant Belarusian officers who sing, toast with vodka, and make a woman feel like a goddess.

 Book Description

The hero, Major General Sergei Fedorin, has pledged to cleanup his country of the nuclear pollution that killed his wife and threatens his nation with cancer. American aid allows him to start his mission by refurbishing an old military laboratory. The patriotic Sergei is a true hero in his country, an alpha man who protects millions of citizens, a controlled public figure, watched and scrutinized by everyone, admired and revered, but not allowed to live a personal life. He accepts it all because of his dedication to Belarus. BUT

When the lovely American chemist stumbles on the escalator of the airport straight into his arms, Sergei has more on his mind than nuclear pollution.

Raised in boarding schools, Cecile learned to fend for herself at an early age. She buried her loneliness under long hours of study and work. Now she’s determined to excel in her first international contract. So many people are watching over her shoulders, but no one will detract her from her mission. BUT

In Belarus, a Russian country dominated by male chauvinism and intrigues, Cecile finds much more chemistry than she bargains for, and in the arms of General Sergei, she learns that chemicals are not the only things that generate heat.

I had a lot of fun writing this book and I hope you will discover a new country and interesting culture while reading TO LOVE A HERO, the passionate story of Cecil and Sergei.

Some of my personal experiences are related in my book. I even included my fall on the broken escalator of the airport. I was rescued by my lab manager while my heroine (the smart woman) fell into the arms of a hero to die for, the handsome Major General Sergei who made her pulse race and stole her heart.

Sometimes passion takes you and there’s nothing you can do to resist it. That hot feeling overwhelms you until you can think of nothing else but him, want to do nothing else but make love.
Sometimes love sets you on fire until it consumes you.
Let these six novels of crazy hot love take you there, make you feel the heat of that passion, bring you that ecstatic joy.

Thanks for stopping by today!

We hope you enjoyed what we shared with you today! Please take a few moments to share with your friends using the share buttons below. Subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. —>>

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Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
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What’s the Difference (Words)? Authors’ BillBoard

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What’s the difference between can and may? Does it matter? Words make a difference. As an author, I have to be careful with what words I choose. A mother teaches her children (or tries to) to say “May I have a cookie?” which is asking permission, rather than “Can I have a cookie?” meaning, “Am I capable of having a cookie?” Today people use the word “can” to ask permission, so I use it that way when I’m writing dialogue, but not in the rest of the story.

When the difference is between can and will, it is a question of being able to (can) as opposed to wanting to do it or not (will). A scripture says, “If any will not work, neither let him eat.” Notice the use of the word “will.” This refers to someone who is able to work, who could find a job, but won’t. He’s lazy. It is not referring to a person who cannot work because he is unable.

I think everyone has their set of words that gives them problems when they write. Mine is lie and lay. I always have to stop and look them up whenever I want to use them in a sentence. Simply put, lie means to recline, and must never have an object. Lay means to put or place something down, so has an object (the thing you put down). The problem arises when you need to use the past tense of lie, which is lay, so it feels like you are using the wrong word.

When I write my Trahern series, which involves a family moving west after the Civil War, I sometimes bring in a tiny bit of dialect. I use more when my characters are just out of the mountains, and less if they’ve been out for a while. A sprinkling of such words is all that is needed to give the impression.

The Handsomest Man in the Country is the first of the Trahern series and is free, so give it a try.

Link to Handsomest Man

The problem I notice most often in other people’s writing is it’s and its. It’s (with the apostrophe) means it is, whereas its means something belonging to it. It is the first day of the shop’s grand opening, would be written: It’s the first day of its opening. The error occurs because we usually show possession by an apostrophe. I have to go through my books, checking all the “its” to make certain I didn’t slip up. It’s so very easy to do.

What words give you fits?

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Nancy Radke
Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse’s nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. She spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said “Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes.” It is light and humorous.
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The world is ours!

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Mrs. Rabbit goes shopping - from The Project Gutenberg ebook of Peter Rabbit by Beatrox Potter.jpg

From The Project Gutenberg ebook of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.

“There is something quite delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” ~ Beatrix Potter

I’ve always loved that quote . . . as a writer and as a reader. It is, after all, the most wonderful thing about books: how they transport us to countless other places and times. Through the experiences of fictional people that we come to know as well as (or sometimes better than!) our nearest and dearest, we joke and laugh, grieve and heal, say good-bye and fall in love—and have a million other adventures. Doing all this within stories we read helps us to be able to do it in our real lives too. It’s also just pure fun! 🙂

And speaking of fun, while you’re reading this note, I’m traveling by car and plane, visiting family scattered across the huge province of British Columbia. I’m also exploring the world vicariously via a good book every chance I get.

I hope you’re doing the same, and if you’re craving a romantic getaway adventure, give my cozy River’s Sigh B & B series a try.

 

 

 

 

 

Until I write again . . . happy travels, inside the pages of a book and out!

Betty Smith quotation.

 

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Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.

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When a story becomes so much more

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Let’s create a scenario typical for an author. Or maybe not so typical…

You have this story in your head. There are too many books to write first, so it stews and bubbles and works its way into the back of your mind.

Then the time finally comes! Yay! The story gets to be written.

So, the words flow. The characters develop.

And then that fickle write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants muse says. “HEY! I’ve got a GREAT element to add to this book!’

Oh boy…

I’ll be honest. Pretty much all of my books have been written like this. I’ve learned to let the characters lead me, and so far, it’s worked out in my favor.

Queen Of My Heart is my contribution to the Unforgettable Heroes, Unforgettable Passion boxed set released two days ago!

And this story… Oh man, where do I begin with it?

I call this the book that broke me. The reaction to the story to this day is mind blowing. Sometimes, I go back to pull an excerpt or something and I catch myself reading more thinking… “Did I REALLY write this?”

It’s a story that touches on several deep, sensitive topics. There were scenes I had to walk away from while writing because they were intense.

I often take real life topics and work them into a story. I’ve touched on many things before- PTSD, traumatic brain injury, struggles of single mothers- this is just to start.

In Queen Of My Heart, I’ve given country star Tucker McGinnis a past. And while difficult, I love that he has worked hard to begin overcoming it. But said past still haunts him to this day.

It’s exciting to get this book into many readers hands, and I do hope you’ll check out this collection! It’s great to be in the company of some amazing authors!

https://www.amazon.com/Unforgettable-Heroes-Passion-Unforgettables-Book-ebook/dp/B073RR3PW8

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Nikki Lynn Barrett
No matter where she goes, USA Today Bestselling author Nikki Lynn Barrett hears voices in her head. Instead of calling her crazy and locking her up, her family realizes it’s just a product of being an author and allows her to write the stories so that the voices shut up.
But they don’t. And probably never will. There’s no need to lock her up, Nikki knows she’ll never escape the voices, not until each and every last story is written. And for every story she writes, about ten or more ideas pop up.

When she isn’t slaving away at her computer writing books that will probably make you cry and keep you in suspense, Nikki plots to take over the world one book at a time. What? It’s a sickness. One she can’t escape!

Books aren’t her only addiction, though. Nikki can be found making up parodies to drive her son crazy, and bantering back and forth with her husband, who somehow manages to steal her away from the fictional world she lives in all the time.

Nikki lives in Arizona with her husband and son, where she can be found using every creativity outlet she can find through music, photography, handcrafted things, and random interests that she may pick up from time to time.

If you want to learn more about the author who makes people cry for a living, check her out at www.nikkilynnbarrett.com

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Finding My Happily-Ever-After #mgtab

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Hi Everyone!

I’m Tamara Ferguson, and I’m new to the Authors’ Billboard this year.

Well, first things first–I hate writing about myself.

But after admitting that, I have to laugh because I probably have close to fifty published interviews online, mostly because I have a problem with saying no.

So, what I am I willing to reveal about myself?

I’ve led a way too colorful life, with a lot of ups and downs. From the time I was a kid, I’ve had a bunch of different hobbies and worked several kinds of jobs–lifeguard, swimming teacher, secretary, solar energy researcher and teaching assistant, waitress, sales rep, floral designer and a wholesale florist and horticulturist to name a few. And I almost taught college level horticulture—it broke my heart to have to say no because I was pregnant and unable to relocate to Chicago with my husband at the time. Teaching was what I always wanted to do.

So how does my experience aid my writing?

It makes it easy to expand on secondary themes and characters when there’s a little of me in each of them. Plus, I’m a firm believer in happily-ever-after endings. I take a lot of the negative twists and turns that’ve occurred in my own life and spin them around to create a more positive outcome. For me, my writing is all about hope.

What’s an example of that?

I’m the mom and full-time caregiver of a severely autistic son with diabetes. I use my experience and circumstances to develop my character Beth In Two Hearts Unspoken. Like me, Beth is struggling with the quality of care and monetary cutbacks in the state of Illinois while trying to raise her severely autistic son Kyle.

Beth is a single mom, which I once was. But unlike me, Beth decides to follow her dream and ends up in a town she vacationed in as a kid, since a new vocational facility for the mentally and physically disabled has recently been built, and Kyle has been accepted into their program.

Expanding on that–

I mix elements of romance, suspense and humor into my stories in an effort to make my characters more relatable and realistic. Sometimes the reader doesn’t catch the serious undertones that I weave into each story because I write simplistically with humor. I try to view problems through the perspective of the characters I create.

Humor is what gets me through my own life. No matter how overwhelming my problems are, I always try to find a bright side to everything. But wow sometimes this can be really difficult! After something totally devastating occurs, life goes on.

And sometimes you have to decide whether you want life to go on with or without you.

Tamara Ferguson’s contemporary military romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is a moving and beautifully written story about a romance between a wounded veteran and the mother of an autistic son, who have both moved to Crystal Rock for healing and a fresh start. I enjoyed seeing how the two of them felt that instant attraction despite the misgivings and insecurities each of them had, and loved seeing how their relationship grew. While this story is categorized as a romance, it deals with two important and serious issues, namely the rehabilitation of veterans who bear both physical and mental scars from their tours of duty, and the lack of sufficient vocational opportunities for young people with autism, who all too often are shunted away into institutions instead of being surrounded by family—5Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Two Hearts Unspoken is on sale for 99c for a limited time.

Writing steamy yet sweet compassionate stories of fate that are wonderfully romantic, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of The Tales of the Dragonfly romance suspense series, The Kissed By Fate new adult romance series, The Two Hearts Wounded Warrior romance book series and The Daydreams & Dragonflies sweet romance series.

During the last 2 years she’s become a 4X Readers’ Favorite Book Award Winner for short story fiction, romance suspense, earning the silver medal for military fiction, a 2X winner for the Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Award for new adult and anthology romance, a 3X finalist for the IAN Book of the Year, and a New Apple Romance Selection for excellence in publishing.

Since she’s the full-time caregiver of a severely autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects because she’s writing or helping other authors promote their books on twitter.

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Tamara Ferguson
A member of the Romance Writers of America, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series, the Kissed By Fate Series, and the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series.

Her latest wounded warrior romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is included in the top-ten bestselling Holiday Anthology, Mother’s Day Magic…With Love, which was also #1 in Wounded Warrior Fiction. Since being released independently, Two Hearts Unspoken has become a #1 International Best Seller at Amazon as well as a #1 International Hot New Release, and is the 2016 SILVER MEDAL WINNER at Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards for Military Fiction.

Presently, Tamara’s working on Two Hearts’ Christmas Wish, the fourth story in her multi-award winning Two Hearts Wounded Warrior series, Emergence, the third book in the multi-award winning Tales of the Dragonfly Novels, and a novella for the next installment of the bestselling Wedding Pets and Kisses anthologies, featuring stories by multi-award winning, bestselling and USA Today authors.

Since she remains a full-time caregiver for an autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home, where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects, because she’s writing or helping author friends promote their books on twitter.

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How do authors manage to visit all the places they write so eloquently about? #Travel #Inspiration #mgtab @jacqbiggar

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cropped-book-1014197_1280.jpg

Did you ever wonder how authors manage to visit all the places in the world they write so eloquently about?

Believe me, if I could travel to exotic locales I would (not so sure about different worlds though!), but most of us have to make do with researching the areas we’re interested in placing our characters into.

Whether it’s a castle in England

 alnwick-castle-92607_640

or the vineyards of Italy

italy-179214_640

We can get real-time views thanks to modern day search engines like Google. With Instant Street View simply type in any address and you’re instantly transported there with a complete 360 picture of the area.

Another great search tool for authors is Pinterest. You can find just about anything you’re looking for on subjects ranging from fashion to settings, and of course inspiration 🙂

My upcoming release, Hold ‘Em: A Gambling Hearts Romance, is set in the Texas hill country. I had visions in my head of what the area should look like, but needed to make sure of some facts such as what sort of flowers are prevalent in the open ranch fields? I did an online search and came up with this lovely field of bluebonnets:

wildflowers-1187878_640

Perfect for my scene! Here’s a little taste of what I wrote:

Cassandra stared at him, bemused. The sun had decided to peek out from behind the clouds, turning his hair antique gold in the streaming light. Their clothes were soaked, but on him, it was a good look. His shirt plastered to his torso highlighted strong shoulders and a well-defined chest. One she wanted to rest her head against.

Startled out of her trance, she jerked her gaze out across the most beautiful valley she’d ever seen. Bluebonnets and healthy green grass waved back and forth, teased by a playful breeze. An old log cabin, its roof sagging and covered with moss, crouched by a babbling brook shaded by a giant cottonwood. And just to finish the fairytale, a multi-hued rainbow cast its benevolent glow over the entire picturesque area as though daring the rainclouds to return.

“Wow,” she said. “You weren’t kidding. This place is fantastic.”

A deer broke cover and slowly made its way down to the brook, testing the air every few feet.

Cass grabbed Matt’s arm, intensely conscious of the coiled strength that lay just under the skin. She cleared her throat and pointed, “Look, Matt, it’s a Bambi.”

Matt gazed at her instead of the animal, the quirk of his mouth causing a heart-palpitating dimple to appear. “What is it with women and Disney creatures?”

She laughed and dropped her hand, uncomfortable now with his sole attention. “Are you telling me you never had a favorite character from a movie when you were a child?”

He lifted his head and eyed the deer, his profile reminding her of a proud animal. When he turned back the humor was gone. “We should get down there before the weather decides to break again. You ready?”

Curiously sorry she’d ruined the moment, Cassandra nodded and they started out for the valley floor. The deer took one look at them and bounded away, disappearing into the woods on the far side of the clearing.

“What is this place?” she asked, lagging along in his wake, her hand brushing the top of the grass as they walked.

Matt glanced back, then kept going, his body cutting them a trail. “It was my great-grandfather’s first home. Dad used it as his fishing shack when he wanted a break from ranching.”

Cassandra gazed upon the valley with new eyes. She imagined an adventurous young man with Matt’s face riding across the Texas plains until he happened upon this magical land. Easy to see why he decided to stay.

If you’d like more of my vision for this story, check out my Pinterest board here

What about you? How do you research your settings? Any tips or tricks you’d care to share?

Hold ‘Em releases August 15th, I hope you give this funny, heartwarming book a try!

 

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In the game of love all bets are off

When professional poker player Matthew Shaughnessy wins the pot of a lifetime, he didn’t expect to land himself a fiancée.

Cassandra Gardener is left with little choice but to play the part of a Texan’s fiancée for a week if she wants to clear her father’s gambling debt.

Can two people with so much to lose win the biggest bet of all- love?

http://a.co/9OJfSea

International Link: http://books2read.com/HoldEm

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34682965-hold-em

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Jacquie Biggar
Lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her her husband, daughter, and grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley.
And can’t function without coffee.
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