Are you a reader, a watcher, or a listener?

The Authors’ Billboard: a great place to find Free & Bargain Books & Box Sets

We all love to be entertained… or to entertain. Some of us wear both sombreros. Before there were books, entertainers – jesters and gladiators of one sort or another – strutted their stuff to elicit reactions. Then folks learned to write. Can you imagine the thrill when someone figured out how to go beyond hash marks for tallying sheaves of grain and used scribbles to create words to share stories and histories?
Coming forward a few millennia, new ways have been developed to entertain us. I still like the written word, but I can’t read and drive, shop, garden, or clean house (ugh) at the same time. Well, I can – sort of – if I ‘listen’ to my book. Audiobooks are cool, but unless you have a fantastic public library that lends them, they’re pricey to buy and only a small percentage of books are recorded.

The solution to reading while driving, washing dishes, pulling weeds, swinging from the trees… whatever… is to enable text-to-speech on your phone, computer, or other smart device. Chrome, Apple, and Amazon all have their own versions of TTS. I couldn’t test Apple’s because I have a PC, but here are two other options.
The Chrome Store has a free app that will read several different formats (Kindle, Google Play, Scribd, Overdrive) to you. The reading pace is adjustable in settings, but the speech is mechanical. I’d have to be desperate or really mad at Amazon to use it.


The other way to go is with Amazon. I think all their Echo and Fire devices are now Alexa enabled. I love my Echo units. I can start ‘reading’ (listening) to a book in the car, walk into the store and continue listening through the wee speakers in my Echo glasses frames, come home and listen to more on the Echo Show, then fall asleep as Alexa continues to read on the Kindle Fire. No eyestrain involved plus all the devices automatically sync to each other. Alexa’s voice is sweet and the rate and manner of speech are great, too. Oh, and she also pauses, skips forward or back, or changes books when you tell her to (no fumbling for a keyboard). Awesome if you missed a passage.
Now, no excuses for not checking out a great read. Go ahead. Put in your earbuds and listen to a book while your sweetie is watching a ball game or you’re hauling kids to karate class. You deserve a break today. Just try and time it right so you’re not at an emotional moment in the story when picking out produce. The other shoppers might wonder if you’re crying at the prices or losing it completely. They won’t know it’s because Claire just left Jamie (again).

NEW RELEASE! Sweet Romantic Nights – A Fabulous Freebie Collection

A great place to start! SWEET ROMANTIC NIGHTS: Seven stories, all sweet, a few are also funny, but all were created with love by @gr8authors from The Authors’ Billboard. Available everywhere for Free. Limited Release, so grab it now.

Hot Summer Romance Box Set by @AliciaStreet1

It’s the time of year for beach reads—and hot summer romance. Time for taking a morning coffee out to a sunny porch to gobble up a few more pages of a book. Even if I’m inside, sitting in my favorite reading chair, I love summer romances. Stories that take me away. Lounging on a beach or splashing in a pool. Swimming in a mountain lake or hiking in a lush forest.

Beach Reads Alicia Street

A new boxed set of HOT SUMMER ROMANCE releases June 13 and is guaranteed to sweep you into summertime adventures with hot guys and swoony sighs. You can pre-order it now!

Hot Summer Romance

Rolling Waves and Sun-Drenched Days. NINE HOT SUMMER ROMANCES From Award-Winning USA Today, International Bestselling Authors to Fuel Your Beach Reading Needs…

Hot Summer Romance Includes:

THE HEAT OF YOUR KISS (NEW) by Alicia Street, USA Today Bestselling Author: Rory had no idea his new job managing the summer sports at a posh country club would bring him face to face with the woman who rocked his world.

HEAT OF THE MOMENT (NEW) by Allyson R Abbott, International Bestselling Author: When the heat is rising and you only have a moment to choose. What would you do?

JOHNNIE WALKER by Jen Talty, USA Today Bestselling Author: When past and his scandal collide, it throws him into the spotlight…the very thing he’d been running from to begin with.

LOVE ALONG THE LAKESHORE: A SAUGATUCK SUMMER (NEW) by Joan Donaldson, Award-Winning Author: When nineteen-year-old Ginny Madden returns to her family cottage on the Lake Michigan shoreline, she discovers greater meaning to life as she associates with folks outside of her wealthy society, especially with a fruit farmer who yearns for a second chance at love.

CHANGING THE RULES by Katie O’Sullivan, Bestselling Author: Caroline and Brian mix business and pleasure. Except… the more time they spend together, the more complicated their relationship gets. Can the pair stay alive when her family comes to find her?

Need More? Keep Reading! Also included:

THAT INCREDIBLE KISS by Tamara Ferguson, USA Today Bestselling Author: After ten years apart, Ashley Mitchum and Brian O’Neill are fatefully reunited in Crystal Rock. Will unveiling their dark family secrets heal two wounded hearts?

FINDING LOVE by Natalie Ann, USA Today Bestselling Author: What happens when a hopeless romantic falls for a cynical romance writer?

THE BRIDE WORE LEATHER by Suzanne Jenkins, USA Today Bestselling Author: Lisa’s reluctant lover reveals a secret that will change their relationship forever.

SLOW BURN by Stephanie Morris, USA Today Bestselling Author: Sun-drenched days and starlit nights fuel a summer romance that threatens to burn them both.

        ~~~~~~ HOT SUMMER ROMANCE ~ ON SALE FOR 99¢ ~~~~~~

 

 

A Visit to Istanbul and Ephesus

My first trip to Turkey took place in the nineties. We stayed at the Hilton on the Bosphorus, also known as the Strait of Istanbul. This narrow, natural waterway located in northwestern Turkey forms a continental boundary between Europe and Asia.

Breakfast and lunch in Istanbul consisted of baklava, kadaifi, loukoumi, and other delicious sweet pastry, accompanied by a bitter Turkish coffee.

This first picture shows a panoramic view of Istanbul with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia– a Byzantine Basilica that was transformed into a mosque.

We spent three days discovering the huge city on our own and took two guided tours to visit the palaces. Our first guide welcomed us on the modern tourist bus and casually asked if our room had a balcony. When I said, “Yes,” he replied, “Have you heard strange noises coming from the Strait at night? They are the late concubines’ sighs and moans.”

As we looked at him, confused, he explained that the Ottoman Empire was ruled by a Sultan. The Sultan’s mother, the Vadim Sultana was the most powerful woman in the empire and the only one not wearing a veil. She was in charge of his harem. The Sultan’s first wife was the kadin and her first son the heir to the throne. Having accomplished his royal duty, the Sultan indulged in as many concubines as he wanted — often more than a hundred. Most were foreign beauties captured as slaves. When a Sultan died, the new ruler made space for his own harem by getting rid of the former group of concubines. The women were shoved into sacks weighed down with heavy stones and tied with ropes, and then thrown into the Bosphorus, screaming and crying. I couldn’t sleep well that night.

Here are pictures from the Topkapi Palace.

The Topkapi Walls

One of my favorite memories of Istanbul was my two-day visit to the Grand Bazar where I bought several souvenirs: a hand-made bedside rug with the tree of life, a copper pitcher, and small Turkish coffee pot called kanaka, and others…

I never went back to Istanbul, although we booked a cruise in 2016 that included this unique city, the ship canceled the stop because of unrest at the time. Instead we docked in Kusadasi that we have already visited.

The highlight of Kusadasi included a guided tour to the historical city of Ephesus where we saw the ruins of the Library of Celsus, the temples of Domitian and Hadrian, the Great Theater, and the temple of Artemis, the multi-breasted goddess of fertility. St. Paul preached against her shrine, and wrote his Letters to the Ephesians there.

St. John the Evangelist wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. Tradition says that the Virgin Mary and John lived in Ephesus during their final years.

The day in Kusadasi ended with shopping and a break at a café for coffee and pastries.

I didn’t write any book set in Turkey yet. Maybe some day… But I would like to offer you two romance novels I particularly love:

LOVE in the ER In the past, her work in the ER brought her pain and frustration. Can it bring her love and a needed closure now?
LOVE on the SLOPES: Gabriella hides her pain and limp. Dr. Nathan saves her from a ski accident and dates her. Can he win her love and rebuild her knee?
IRRESISTIBLE – SPRING INTO LOVE
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SWFH93Y
International: https://books2read.com/IrresistibleSpring
Love at First Sight… Your eyes meet, and just like that, you know that you might have met THE ONE.
SPRING INTO LOVE with STEAMY STORIES From New York Times & USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.
UNFORGETTABLE LOVERS
Nine incredible tales – from Sweet to Spicy – for your pleasure. Read about the UNFORGETTABLE LOVERS you want & need in your own life. http://mybook.to/unforgettableloverz

Talking Puppies Tell All by @MimiBarbour

Talking puppies? You bet! When my friend, Kay Walters, suggested making a video with our dogs talking trash about us, I was tickled. “Can you do it,” I asked? Dumb question–that woman and her son can make any kind of magic possible.

The next day she sent me a bunch of questions she wanted me to answer and requested a photo of my white bundle of mischief, Charli.

Very soon after, with a clear English accent that I love (I’m a Canadian and to this day believe I don’t have an accent LOL), she sent me this Talking Puppies video, and I was thrilled. Not only was I crazy over the pups talking, but I was floored at what can be done in today’s media universe.

I’ll add here… I’m glad I don’t have a pet snake or iguana speaking for me. But hold on… she says they will be making more movies in the future and using all kinds of pets.

Can’t wait, Katy.

 

Special Agent Makayla

Makayla hears the cries of children in trouble.

People don’t understand, and it’s complicated for Special Agent Makayla to explain. In her mind, she doesn’t have special powers. It’s just fallout from the days when she was blind… before the operation that restored her sight. Back then, she’d learned to use her other senses, rely on her instincts, and listen intensely. Except her uncanny ability is beyond reason.

Because of her gift, she works with the Special Victims Unit and takes on all the cases of vanishing kids where the usual processes haven’t worked. Sickened by many of her assignments, she finds joy when she sees the kids free and healing. Her biggest stress… they just keep on disappearing.

Dean Andrews desperately needs help. His nine-year-old niece has gone missing and the only person he’s told that can save her is a kook who mysteriously hears the cries of terrified children. How can he put his trust in this wild-haired woman with striking eyes and a heart bigger than her tiny body?

Yet, he has no other choice. His sister begs him to find her little girl… and he promises. Now he must deliver. Time is running out and everywhere he’s turned leads to yet another dead end.
Working as a team, they hunt the dark web, become involved in porn webcam sites, and do whatever is necessary to find his niece before she’s lost forever.