General Health Tips

All during my life I have been allergic to one thing or another, such as dust and wool and polyester. I avoid what I can and learn to substitute, like always wearing cotton and using rice milk in place of regular milk. Some things I have discovered by trial and error, while others have been suggested by doctors such as a dermatologist.


If you have someone allergic to laundry soap, switch to a more natural product, such as ECOS. If that doesn’t clear things up enough, run your loads through the rinse cycle twice on cold. When I was living in Anchorage in the early 60s, a woman said her husband was miserable as his feet were allergic to soap and she couldn’t seem to get the soap out of his socks. The co-op had an old-fashioned washing machine and I suggested using it to rinse out the socks. She would fill it half full of cold water and toss in all the socks she had just washed and agitate it for a few minutes. It worked splendidly and kept him from having to go barefoot (not a good choice in Alaska). She said I saved her marriage.

Also on the laundry.

Buy several net bags made for the laundry and put the clothes in them that you will wash, but want to keep out of the dryer. Then when your husband or kids help you by drying the clothes, they will know not to include those bags.

If you have anyone with a cold or allergies who has to blow their nose a lot, try putting out a roll of expensive toilet paper. It is by far a lot softer than the tissues they sell, and keeps your nose from becoming red and sore. If you have an empty square tissue box, pull off a long strip of toilet paper, fold it along its tear lines and put it in the box, just to look nicer.

For people with allergies to bar soap, switch to Dove for face and body. It has more lotion than soap and stopped the deep rashes that I still get when I use regular soap, like when on a trip (and I forgot to put my Dove bar in the suitcase.)

Another health tip.

Want to keep your skin supple as you age, but don’t want to pay the high price for collagen lotions? The membrane of an egg is loaded with the stuff. I’ve kept my wrinkles at bay by pulling off the membrane of an egg or two and tossing them into scrambled eggs or stir fries, or baked beans, etc. Some folks say to spread them on the wrinkles on your face, but by eating them (tasteless), you benefit the rest of your body as well. Just a few a week is all you need, unless you are really old and have almost no natural collagen. Then you might need a little more.

Allergic to chocolate? Buy some roasted Carob. This powdered alternative to chocolate can be sweetened with honey or your favorite sweetener. I always use it for my hot chocolate drinks. It stops the craving for regular chocolate. Make sure it is roasted.

MY heroine in Sunbeams and Shadows is a cook for a dude ranch. She has to make sure she cooks around the allergies of their guests. She makes carob brownies and other carob treats for a child allergic to chocolate.


Why Readers Love Thrillers

These days, thrillers are the hottest reads around. They’ve taken the market by storm and keep readers engrossed from start to finish. But what do readers enjoy most about these kinds of stories? What keeps them riveted? Join me as I explore what it is we love about these page-turners.

1. The twists and turns within the plot. These keep readers turning the pages, especially when there are secrets to be unraveled and bad guys to be tracked down. The excitement of the chase keeps our adrenalin racing while we immerse ourselves in the world of the characters from the safe confines of our homes.

2. Being inside the head of the perpetrator or the hero who’s taken the job of bringing him/her to heel. Trying to figure out what motivates a devious person to do the things they do. Most of us prefer to stay on the straight and narrow, but it’s quite interesting being on the other side and looking inside a terrible mind.

3. Admit it, some of us are fascinated with murder and mayhem. We get a second-hand high from reading about bad things happening to good people, knowing that the hero will make things right and that all will be well with the world. Having things right side up leaves us with a deep sense of satisfaction and justice served.

4. Traveling to different locales as armchair adventurers. I like being taken outside of my culture and seeing the world between the pages of a book, and I suspect you do as well. Through books, I’ve traveled to more countries than I’ve been privileged to visit and learned much about the culture of folks I’ll never meet.

5. The learning experience. My viewpoint has been expanded by many bits of information I’ve picked up by reading books, particularly those that specialize in fields such as forensics and medicine.

6. Figuring out the who-dun-it. Half the thrill is trying to figure out who did what and why they did it. It gives a sense of accomplishment when you’re able to follow the clues and have them make sense. I know that’s my experience.

7. We live vicariously through the plethora of emotions we experience while reading a thriller—anxiety, anger, despair, fear, confusion, satisfaction. We immerse ourselves between the pages and go for a ride that sometimes leaves us drained but buzzed for having been on a roller-coaster ride of feelings.

Now that we’ve discussed the various reasons we enjoy books that grip us by the shirt and refuse to let go until the end, let me tell you about Flames of Wrath, a psychological thriller that will be published on November 28.

The need to right a wrong against an innocent victim triggers a hailstorm of revenge.

In less than twenty-four hours—before Alexia Leighton is scheduled to return to Miami from spring break in Jamaica—a group of friends betray her in a grisly assault that stops a heartbeat away from murder. The seventeen-year-old prays for the mercy of death. She survives.

While on the road to recovery, Alexia’s attackers become victims of mysterious acts of violence, leaving authorities confounded and racing against time to prevent another deadly attack. Concern looms, as the perpetrator has proven to be two steps ahead of them at every turn.

When the attention swings to Alexia’s mother, a cyber-security expert, the family closes ranks. Geneva Leighton must quickly eliminate herself as a suspect, but not without handing down more punishment.

The offenders fear for their own safety and the secrets that plague them. Can they trust the police to find the killer before someone else dies, or has their fate been sealed—leaving them with no place to run, and no place to hide . . .

Buy links:

Unexpected Sweet Surprises

September is here. Yes, it means it’s the end of summer, but it also means Fall is on the way! Multi-colored mums, pumpkin everything, and sweater weather. My favorite time of year! I did have a wonderful summer though. This year we were lucky enough to be able to travel across the country to attend our son’s wedding in Utah. 

First off, Utah is God’s Country. I’m not sure I’ve seen anywhere more beautiful. Though Wyoming came in a close second. We spent the night in Laramie, Wyoming. What a cute little town. We shopped for cowboy boots and antiques, shared a one-pounder burger that was amazing, and then for dessert stopped at the cutest little cupcake shop I’ve ever seen.

With the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. 

People who live anywhere near Laramie Wyoming are very lucky!

I was so inspired, that I fashioned Lucy’s Cupcake Shop in my book Targeting Lucy in the Granite Falls Series after it. While researching frostings, icings, and everything sugary yummy, I came across this cake frosting that is so much better than canned frosting and easy too. Yes, I love my job!

Yummy Buttercream Frosting!

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated
  3. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Add milk and beat for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

You can read more about Lucy and her fabuloso cupcakes here!!

“Love, danger, and second chances – will Lucy trust her heart to the firefighter who never stopped loving her?”

Also, this week only, her bestselling novel Deadly Secrets Loving Lies is Free! Download your copy today!

The Deadly Secrets Series offers high-octane romantic suspense that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Cynthia is a USA Today Bestselling author of 40 Romance and Romantic Suspense novels. Check out her books at, and sign up for her newsletter and download a free read.

Planning a Novel

If you’re a writer, how do you start thinking about a novel? A lot of people get an idea for a character and plot a story around him or her. That is rarely my approach. I almost always start with a cool idea.

What if a man was framed for a murder in the small town where he lived? What if he had plastic surgery to change his appearance, came back to town, and tried to identify the real killer? That’s the idea behind my Scene of the Crime.

Or what if a princess was imprisoned in a cell that was supposed to be haunted, only the other occupant of the cell turned out to be an enchanted prince instead of a ghost (the plot of my Killian Unbound)?

My latest release, Life Force, also started with an idea that called out to me. What if a man had lived for more than five hundred years? What if a dying billionaire was desperate to discover the secret of his longevity?


Once I get the idea, I need to go into some detail about the character. Who is Matthew Carter? Where does he come from? Why has he lived so long?

I decided he was born in a medieval English village where everyone else died of the Black Death. When a group of monks found him, they brought him back to their monastery where he got an education far above most men of that era. He was on track to become the abbot when some of the brothers started wondering why he had never aged past his thirties. In a move worthy of the Julius Cesar conspirators, they surrounded him and stabbed him–they thought to death. But he managed to crawl away. To his shock, he woke up the next morning with his injuries almost healed. Cut off from everything he knew, he had to figure out how to make his way. But his education stood him in good stead and he prospered.

Life Force starts in the 21st century when Matthew has survived an accident in an experimental submarine where everyone else perished. This brings him to the attention of a dying billionaire desperate to discover the secret of his longevity.

Matthew has learned to be wary of relationships because he knows he will outlive any lover. But at a medical convention, he meets a researcher named Olivia Stapler who attracts him. She’s injured in an attempt to capture him. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, he marries her and brings her home to his Santa Barbara ranch to nurse her back to health.

Their relationship heats up, but the billionaire decides that the way to capture Matthew is to abduct his new wife and threaten her life.

Now it’s a cat-and-mouse game where Matthew is trying to save Olivia. But what happens when she finds out he’s been lying to her about his real background?

As I developed the twisted plot, I also developed the characters. I never totally know them at the beginning of a book, but I always go back and fill in more about their background as I discover it.

Be sure to check out Unforgettable Protectors, a wonderful collection of nice romantic suspense stories of different sub-genres. From psychiatrists to psychics, liars, lawyers, Vampires, Wiccans and ghosts, human trafficking, drug rings, and haunted homes, this set is packed with adventure and trills of all heat levels. A fabulous value at only 99c. And it includes my own Night Moves.