Solar Eclipse Mania and Aliens

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On Monday, August 21, I’ll be in the path of the total eclipse of the sun. Big deal. Well, really it is.
I’m sure other areas of the US are going through the same craziness as Oregon is. For over a month now, the front page of the local paper has featured at least one story about the solar eclipse and the impact it will have on the local residents.
Okay, not so much the eclipse itself, but all the eclipse watchers. Highways are predicted to slow to a near standstill between Portland – the nearest major airport – and throughout the Willamette Valley with the influx of over a million visitors. Backyards and open fields will be turned into temporary tent or camper cities (already happening). Public water and septic systems will be overtaxed (not likely). Food and gas supplies will run out or low (no telling). The local economy will boom (hopefully).
Because the traffic is expected to be horrible, garbage pick up has been delayed one day, many local businesses have given employees time off, and non-essential government workers are taking leave (or whatever they call it).
Right now, roads are blocked off in towns around here, not for safety, but to cordon off city blocks for vendors, events, and parties. I don’t know if they planned it this way, but a huge three-day country music extravaganza is going on right now in the Willamette Valley. If these folks came from far away, I doubt they’ll be in a hurry to leave Sunday night. Or if they are, they’re in trouble. I just hope the weight of all these extra people doesn’t cause a major earthquake!
What do people expect out of the eclipse besides a long weekend of partying? Some are saying it will allow the world to see the extra sun (or is it a planet?) that’s been hiding behind the sun.

Here’s a recent picture taken in Dallas, Oregon by Ashleigh Sawicki. Her aunt saw the same thing in Florida as did my friend in Alaska. It’s not exclusive to the United States, either. I hear it’s been sighted in South America and Europe, too. Oh, and if you say it’s just the camera, why would someone take a picture of the sun? Had to be something strange to want to take that shot.
I guess we’ll find out what all the noise is tomorrow. Unless the aliens attack or, gasp, they take out our internet.

No matter what happens, enjoy the life you have, and if it needs improving, be the one to make the changes.

In the meantime, here’s some great diversion. Romance box sets in different flavors!Feeling like a sweet story? Sweet & Sassy is perfect. Need some suspense? Dangerous Encounters and Risky Encounters. Historical fiction: Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics. Paranormal or time travel? Mystic Lovers. Check them all out! All but Love, Christmas are available to read for free with your Kindle Unlimited account. Don’t have KU? Try it for free for 30 days. See Amazon for details.

Follow me on Amazon: http://bit.ly/dhAuthor 

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Choose a Man: Navy SEAL or Fire Fighter

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Two twenty-something women are sitting in a bar in San Diego or New York City. In the lounge of PF Chang’s or Ruth’s Chris Steak House. One of these women is you. You’re wearing four point five inch glossy red strappy sandals, one leg crossed over the other so your black and white polka dot skirt is halfway up your thigh. You’re chatting with your friend and she’s wearing light pink matte lipstick, a three-inch wide pink Bakelite bangle bracelet and her blond hair in a high ponytail of cascading waves.

You know you both look hot, but you always do. So, it’s no big deal. Another warm summer night out in the city. You feel the attention, but it’s like a second skin—always there. Music, clinking glassware and slightly tipsy conversation surrounds you while you take your second sip of your Singapore sling then exhale to relax after your initial catch-up with your friend.

Now you look around. At the men. And there are plenty of them.

Are you in the neighborhood pop-spot near the Coronado Navy base filled with newly inducted warriors?

Or are you in the neighborhood hot spot of a downtown Manhattan Firehouse frequented by hot-off-their-shift lifesaving men?

Do you want the kind of man who would kill to protect you?

Or do you want the kind of man who would run into a fire to save you?

Don’t worry, there is no right or wrong answer—unless you say neither. (But what woman would say that? Honestly?)

You might say either would do, but I think most would have a preference, most of us would see the subtle distinction and maybe come down on one side or the other.

Me, you ask? I’d go for the Navy SEAL. Don’t ask me why.

But I’m going to ask you (fair or unfair) which you would pick and WHY?

Go ahead—tell me.

In the meantime, I’m working on a few stories starring two best friends. One is a Navy SEAL and the other is an FDNY Fire Fighter. Coming soon…

Catch up with me and my progress on these stories at www.StephanieQueen.com.

 

 

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 is About Choices

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Life is about choices.

Really. It is.
Not only small choices, such as what should I wear to work today?
Or bigger ones such as: Should I even go to work today?
Or even bigger ones: Should I tell the boss to shove it, sell everything I own, buy a Harley Davidson, and tour Route 66? Without a GPS?
Okay. Maybe today isn’t the day to make decisions that extreme, so let’s do this instead.

Pick at least one of these romance box sets and live a life that isn’t yours vicariously. You won’t cause any harm. Or go bankrupt. Or get lost. But you’re sure to fall in love. At least once.
Would you like to snuggle with a detective who also happens to be a werewolf? Or maybe a reborn Egyptian god? Check out Mystic Lovers.
Did the movie (or old TV show) Wild, Wild West get you itching to share a saddle with secret agent James West? Check out Angel in Aces Wild, part of Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics.
How about suspense, murders, living on the edge, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, all with some hot romance on the side? If this is for you, check out Dangerous Encounters and Risky Encounters, both box sets with romantic suspense that will keep you gripping the edge of your Kindle.
Are contemporary romances more your speed? From puppies to young brides and…and…well, more themes than I have room for here. Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Sweet & Sassy, and Unforgettable Romances are great (and well-endowed with loads of stories).
Tired of choices?
Heck, why not make time to read them all? After all, the prices are fantastic!
All these box sets are only 99 cents each and also available on Amazon to read for free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

P.S. If you like to live and love out of this time era, check out my stories in Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics; Mystic Lovers, Sweet and Sassy, and Kiss Me, Thrill Me. I think you’ll be glad you did!

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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ROMANTIC CONFLICTS Part 2 @PRosemoor #mgtab

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Last month I talked about romantic conflict in romance novels. Here are some conflict don’ts…and some examples of complex conflicts.

Conflict don’ts

•    Don’t have a conflict that can be cleared up with a discussion – that’s a misunderstanding rather than a conflict.

•    Don’t use cliches – an example is once spurned, the heroine would never get involved with another man

•    Don’t use the ‘I hate you but let’s go to bed’ syndrome

•    Or – the hero who is reluctant to commit because he feels he’s not good enough for the heroine

To me, those are examples of weak romantic conflicts and an author can turn them around.

What if the spurned heroine is determined to make the hero run a gauntlet to prove he loves her. He may not know why she’s making prove himself over and over again, but he’s willing to do it to win her heart … until he finds out why. He feels she’s comparing him to a skunk, and nothing she says is going to make him feel better about it. So she’ll have to do something outrageous in return to prove her love for him.

Example of bringing together external and internal conflicts:

Heroine is a historian who has always loved a wonderful old mansion near the lake and is working to get it historical status. Hero is a developer who wants to tear it down to put up a high rise condo. Why do they have their particular points of view? Maybe she comes from a background where her family wanted everything new, didn’t appreciate anything with history, didn’t appreciate her, which made her feel like the odd woman out. She can equate the hero with her family. Maybe the hero has to prove himself to his family, and that condo he’s going to build is his chance. If he gives it up, then he has failed. No matter if they’re honest with each other, that’s not going to end the conflict. They each have to work to make the other person happy/fulfilled, each have to be willing to give something up for the other. Of course what I would do is have the hero decide to give up on the project for her, which makes her feel like she is appreciated for who she is. At the same time, I would have her be willing to give up her fight to get the property historical status. He refuses. And then she would use connections to find him another property for his condo.

Here are some examples from my The McKenna Legacy novels when falling in love for a McKenna means putting that person in danger…

Brazen – Siobhan is a branch of the McKennas under a curse. Fall in love, act on that love and put the love interest in mortal danger. So in the past, she broke up with Clay so he wouldn’t die like her father did. And then she married someone else who did die. In the present day story, Clay returns to protect her. And while he still loves her, he’s not willing to fully open himself to her because he doesn’t trust her not to spurn him again.

Deal Breaker – Hailey thinks Bryce marries her strictly for business because he wants money, when in fact, he’s trying to save the family business and the only other way he can do it to sell the Lake Geneva house, which was his late mother’s legacy to her children. He can’t do it. He feels responsible for her disappearance. This is all they have left of her.

Purebred – Cat is divorced from a man who married her for her money and is still trying to take what she has left. Aidan has come from Ireland with his racehorse on her dime, and she starts making comparisons between the two. Also, Aidan was in love with a jockey and she died riding one of his horses. So he convinces himself he won’t put another woman at risk, until dangerous things start happening to Cat.

And more examples from my stories in the three serial novels recently published:

 

Gypsy Magic serial novel: Andrei
Elizabeth’s mother was murdered and Andrei’s father testified against the man convicted of her murder. Now Andrei is trying to prove that man, his cousin, is innocent. In addition, Andrei is cursed by the man’s gypsy mother never to consummate his relationship with any woman.

https://books.pronoun.com/andrei/

 

 

Renegade Magic serial novel: Rico
Rico abandoned the mystical beliefs of his heritage, an obstacle in his relationship with artist Charlotte, who is drawn to the old ways. His disbelief makes her fear they will never mesh. Meditation pulls Charlotte straight into her paintings where she senses the murdering witch following her. Terrified of losing her when she is in a dangerous trance, Rico forces his mind to follow.

https://books.pronoun.com/rico

 

 

New Orleans Magic serial novel: Zachary
Officer Zachary Doucet arrives at a murder scene‒‒the victim another voodoo ceremony participant‒‒only to face his ex-partner Detective Rebecca Romero. Zachary intends to clear his half-brother Jordan. From something he did in the past to get his arrest, Rebecca fears he’ll do anything to free Jordan. With Rebecca a straight arrow and Zachary a maverick, is there hope for a future together?

https://books.pronoun.com/zachary

Patricia Rosemoor
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rosemoor has had 99 novels, 8 publishers and more than 7 million books in print. Patricia writes dangerous love, romantic suspense or paranormal romantic thrillers. Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she taught Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

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You Are My Sunshine #LazyDaysOfSummer #amwriting #mgtab @jacqbiggar

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I don’t know about you, but when the warm winds and indigo blue skies of summer appear on the horizon, the last thing I want to do is sit in a chair forcing myself to fight past the sticky middle of my current WIP (work-in-progress).

It’s literally like pulling teeth.

I’d much sooner have my hands buried up to the elbow in fine black planting soil, or daydream on the end of a water hose watching the hummingbirds and butterflies play in the breeze.

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But, I also realize if I want to take this writing career seriously, and I do, I need to sometimes make sacrifices.

One thing I’ve learned is better time management. I’m a late riser, mornings are not my thing :), so I usually sit at the computer with my coffee and go through the social media platforms sharing and promoting.

Then I spend an hour or two visiting my mom next door before FINALLY waking up enough to begin my day!

I take the computer outside to our gazebo where I can work on my story while watering the flowers, and occasionally catching a glimpse of a friendly hummingbird or two.

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Sometimes, I don’t get much writing done, but that’s okay. It’s a WIP, just like me 🙂

If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to lately, you can check out the new anthology written by members of my critique group to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary!

 

My Baby Wrote Me A LetterA family's brush with the past will threaten the fabric of their lives.

Dreams and Promises

Dreams and Promises includes six short stories and novellas written by authors who live in beautiful British Columbia.

It’s our way of honoring Canada’s Sesquicentennial.

Some of Canada’s major cities were founded in the seventeenth century, but July 1st 2017 marks 150 years since our country became a Confederation.

Our stories range from the era of the fur trade, to a commercial enterprise that opened up the Canadian and American West, to present day James Bay, a thriving neighborhood in the garden city of Victoria, British Columbia.

Universal link: http://books2read.com/DreamsandPromises

http://a.co/fl5TEBI

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35387646-dreams-and-promises

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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CREATING ROMANTIC CONFLICT @PRosemoor #mgtab

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CONFLICT IN EVERY SCENE/TENSION ON EVERY PAGE

Writing a romance? This goes to the heart of the story, the thing that keeps the reader reading…

•    Conflict/tension between the hero & heroine drives plot and keeps the reader turning pages

•    Romantic or emotional conflict is something inside the heroine and/or hero that creates a problem  exacerbated by their situation

•    Emotional conflict grows from feelings, doesn’t need to be logical, can’t be reasoned away. It comes from experience, how the character sees him or herself

•    What prevents your characters from making that leap into love is more than just external forces. Love is a matter of the heart, and not about the events, no matter how dramatic

•    The conflict must be both believable and substantial enough to carry the book

•    Emotional conflict should always be in the characters’ and the readers’ minds.

•    External conflict prevents your characters from accomplishing their goals

•    Internal conflict which comes from the characters themselves (Theme) should go along with the external conflict of the story that comes from the circumstances, or is created by other characters. (Plot)

•    Don’t substitute external conflicts for internal ones; enhance emotional conflicts by using externals to provide a context

•    The best romances are built around a complex emotional conflict played out against  an equally interesting story (external conflict) that forces the characters to deal with each other and their issues.

•    Whatever is happening externally in the plot should somehow reinforce what’s going on internally in your characters’ hearts and minds. Think of the plot as a journey where your characters face obstacles that help them confront their inner demons and conflicts.

•    So make sure the final resolution of the romantic conflict comes from inside your characters and not from the events.

Next time, I’ll cite some examples of how to make conflict work for you.

 

 

 

 

My current release, In Dreams, has a ton of conflict, both internal and external. Um, the heroine is running for her life…

 

 

 

 

Patricia Rosemoor
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rosemoor has had 99 novels, 8 publishers and more than 7 million books in print. Patricia writes dangerous love, romantic suspense or paranormal romantic thrillers. Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she taught Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

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Chicken soup for the sick

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I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I ‘thought’ I was in good health for a woman of age, a spritely silver-haired vixen, but I was as sick as the old gray mare, ready for the glue factory.
Then again, three bouts of pneumonia in four months would probably sap even an Olympic athlete. It was time to supplement all those different antibiotics with old time medicine.
Some of the odd things I found in my online research were red onions, vinegar, and honey. Chicken soup is supposed to be great for a cold; it would probably help with the crud, too.
Not in my research, but known to me was an apple a day. It was too late to keep the doctor away, but was worthy as a component in the super soup I was concocting.

Short version: it works. I’ve polished off the pot of Super Soup, I’m breathing easier, and it’s great to have something hearty to eat at the zap of the microwave.

Components:

1 Tbsp coconut oil (or whatever oil you have)
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 red onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
2 heaping Tbsp chicken ‘Better Than Bouillon’ or equivalent in bouillon or chicken stock
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 chopped up cooked chicken breast (or whatever leftover chicken you have)

Saute the solid stuff in the oil until limp. Add the vinegar, chicken ‘flavoring,’ and chicken. If you used chicken stock, you should be good to go. If not, add about 2 cups of water.

Super-meal this!
Add a package of pre-cooked rice or quinoa mix (I like the Seeds of Change brand) or leftover rice. If you don’t have those, add one more cup of water and one cup or Minute Rice. Hearty and satisfying.

You’ll note that I didn’t add any salt. The bouillon has enough salt for the mix. The apple and vinegar gives it a bit of sweet and sour taste—not overwhelming, but fun as a change from ‘all soups taste the same’ stuff I’m used to. Oh, and I never used the honey. Go ahead and eat a big spoonful for dessert.

Enjoy! And if you can, get a pneumonia vaccine. I have to wait 3 months now. I never realized that there were over 36 strains of that strength-sapping, lung-filling crud out there!

NOTE: In 2008, I started writing my first book. In it, the main character (a sweet little old lady from Alaska) had a drug-resistant form of pneumonia. I didn’t know I was writing about myself! If you want to know more about her, and how an overdose of Fountain of Youth water and a drop through a time portal turned her into a young fox in 1780, read Naked in the Winter Wind on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Amazon UK.

Dani Haviland
Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Royalty Wedding

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How many of you watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding a few years ago? I bet you were all sitting in front of your TV screen, studying every detail of her wedding gown, the groom’s rigid but nervous stance, Prince Harry’s good-humor jokes at the expense of his brother, and let’s not forget the lovely bridesmaid Pippa whose dress and back garnered so many admiring posts in the gossip columns!

Will my Prince Paul and the woman he loves, Dr. Amy Tyrone ever reach their happy-ever-after in A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL? Eventually they will, but after going through difficult conflicts and seemingly insurmountable complications, but count on Prince Paul to try to impose his view and Dr. Amy to ends up doing it her way.

My contemporary romance novel, A Bride For Prince Paul, has been approved for Kindle Scout. May I ask you for your nomination. Here is the URL:

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/37BZQ1K8SCMK7
No purchase necessary, and, if selected, you’ll receive the ebook FREE!

Sincere thanks in advance.

How often did we think our problem was too difficult to solve? How often did we end up finding a simple solution, when the various parties agree to bend a bit and compromise?!

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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