Dedicated Service

Sunday Blessings, one and all. I was stumped for a while about the content of my post on this Memorial Day Weekend. Then I thought it might be timely to share a few loving memories about my late husband, Joe, and his military service in the US Navy.

While Joe was still with us, I wrote a fictionalized story about his service in the US Navy, as he was very proud of the time he dedicated to our country. Although he had a horrific accident when he was stationed in Bermuda which shortened his military career, he still managed to work as a civilian on aircraft engines at the Lakehurst Naval Base in NJ after his honorable discharge, which is very close to where we lived, and I still do now.

The story is called Dedicated Service and is free on Amazon today through tomorrow, and although I took some literary liberties with the main character’s family life and romantic endeavors, the details of his enlistment, boot camp, and education, plus the accident and grueling recovery are very real. Joe was a very good historian.

The Blurb: “Michael Burke, the rising star baseball player of his high school class, rethinks his future plans after someone dear to him dies in Vietnam.

As Michael’s goals collapse along with his dreams, he forgoes a college scholarship and puts his marital intentions on hold with his high school sweetheart Ellie Roberts.

Will Ellie be able to endure Michael’s sudden decision to join the Navy and leave her behind? Can she sit by the sidelines and wait while Michael overcomes his nightmares regarding his brother’s death?”

I hope you’ll pick it up and someday find a few hours to read it, and I’d like to wish you a safe and happy remainder of this holiday weekend. Please remember those who’ve served our country over the years, throughout the wars, and have given their ultimate sacrifice, so we can presently enjoy the privilege of liberty and all the perks that go along with it.

Thanks so much for reading – (Joe was a major baseball fan) – and see you next time. Please don’t forget to visit our webpage for Free books, Sales, Collections. and Audiobooks right here:

The Hardest Part of Writing a Book: the Ending

As every writer knows, every book you start has to have an ending It has to be as good as your beginning is, maybe even more so since a good ending can make or break a book. Here are what I consider my rules for ending my books:

Know your ending before you start writing. I may be a pantser, working without an outline, but I do know how the story will end. It’s all a matter of happily ever after.

Build tension in the leadup to the end. While I should know how the story will end, the reader shouldn’t. So, to that end, I will add complications, many of which will be red herrings to keep the reader guessing.

Try different endings on for size. I have done this a couple of times. While I found the ending to the original version of Fire Angel, did wrap up the story, I didn’t find it satisfying, so when I got the chance to edit and release the book on my own, I changed the ending.

Leave room for interpretation. This is especially important if you are considering writing a sequel to a book, or if the story is one that continues. In my Harvester Series, the ultimate plot isn’t resolved until the fourth book, The White Dahlia, but in each of the four books, the romance plot as well as that segment of the main plot is resolved. While each book can stand alone, they should still be read in order.

Ensure that your ending makes sense. Nothing annoys me more than reading a book where the ending seemed contrived and leaves me hanging with that What the hell? feeling. If the purpose of the book was to get the hero and heroine to admit their love for one another, this is where you do it.

Evoke emotions. In every book I write, it’s important to me that the reader can identify with the main characters. I like to think that the ending makes the reader smile and gives them a sense of satisfaction. I may toss in an epilogue to peek at the future, but overall, I want to reader to be have that wow, that was wonderful feeling.

Make sure your ending resolves the storyline. Have you ever seen National Lampoon’s Vacation? There’s a scene where he ties the dog to the bumper when they stop. A few scenes later, the leash and collar are still tied to the car, but there’s no sign of the dog. That has been my mantra as a writer. Don’t leave the dog tied to the car and drive off. If you add an issue, you have to resolve it. In other words. This is your gift to the world. Wrap it up nicely and tie it up with a bow.

Don’t forget to check out the latest offerings from the ABB Irresistible Accidental Heroes, featuring Finding Melinda.

See you next month!

The Book-Ban Craze by Taylor Lee

Florida’s book-ban frenzy targeted Nora Roberts, and she’s not happy.” (And none of us should be either!!!) When a Florida school district banned eight of her books, Nora Roberts wasn’t happy. Neither was Judy Blume when her book “Are You There, God, It’s me Margaret” was banned for featuring middle schoolers talking about the menstrual cycle. Roberts called the ban of her novels “shocking,” telling the Washington Post, “If you don’t want your teenager reading this book, that’s your right as a mom—and good luck with that. But you don’t have the right to say nobody’s kid can read this book.”


Nora Roberts, image from Wikipedia

A Washington Post analysis found that a small number of people were responsible for most of the book challenges. Indeed, they found that individuals who filed 10 or more complaints were responsible for two-thirds of all challenges. When asked on “CBS Sunday Morning” what sort of book she wants to see remain in schools, the co-founder of the book-purging organization Moms for Liberty, offered a righteous-sounding answer. “Books that don’t have pornography in them”.

This signals a new trend.

Book-banners are increasingly going after a wide variety of titles, including romance novels, under the guise of targeting “pornography.” I think we can agree that the term pornography is a very flexible one — deliberately so, it appears. The word is sweeping ever more broadly to include books that can’t be described as such in any reasonable sense.” says Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression at PEN. He added, “A new PEN study found nearly 1,500 instances of schools banning books during the first half of the 2022-2023 year, increasingly based on them supposedly containing ‘pornography.’” Friedman said, “Activists and politicians are inflating the notion of what constitutes ‘pornography’ beyond all recognition. They are going after romance books, books about puberty or sex education, and books that just have LGBTQ characters.”

As for her books, Roberts agreed that the books contain “sex” but noted that it is “monogamous” and “consensual.” Speaking of the censors, Roberts said, “I’m surprised that they wouldn’t want teenagers to read about healthy relationships that are monogamous, consensual, healthy and end up in marriage.”

Judy Blume mused, “When I began to write, thirty years ago, I didn’t know if anyone would publish my books, but I wasn’t afraid to write them. I was lucky. I found an editor and publisher who were willing to take a chance. They encouraged me. I was never told what I couldn’t write. I felt only that I had to write the most honest books I could. It never occurred to me, at the time, that what I was writing was controversial. Much of it grew out of my own feelings and concerns when I was young.” She added, “Censors don’t want children exposed to ideas different from their own. If every individual with an agenda had his/her way, the shelves in the school library would be close to empty. I wish the censors could read the letters kids write.”

Dear Judy,
I don’t know where I stand in the world. I don’t know who I am.
That’s why I read, to find myself.
Elizabeth, age 13


Some wise words from some special authors:

“It’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” – Judy Blume

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.” – Voltaire

“All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States – and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!” ― Kurt Vonnegut

For her part, speaking about the activist who got her books pulled, Nora Roberts joked, “I’m writing another book that this woman can ban.”




Against The Odds Taylor Lee

Given the issues we are facing, check out Book 1 in my “Candidate” series.  Full disclosure: This book contains consensual sex by an adult man and woman who are madly in love with each other. And they aren’t married. Gasp. Oh and one of the major characters is a gay man. Finally the leading man and woman have a baby and then get married…..Yikes! Read if you dare. (And no. I do not think this book is appropriate for young readers. Nor should it be in middle school libraries. But that is my opinion.)


Irresistible Accidental Heroes

This is the latest of the terrific box sets my ABB authors and I produce. My book in the set is:


Compromised: Book 1

The Unstoppable Detective Brooks:

She’s as gorgeous as she is outrageous.

He’s a political superstar.

What quickly becomes a face—off is complicated by their passionate love affair.

Known as the Blonde Bombshell, Piper Brooks,  the sexy lead detective, more than earned her title as Unstoppable.

Ethan Mathews, the former Army Ranger took the political world by storm when he tossed aside a multi-million dollar legal career to run  for District Attorney.

His surprise victory not only puts him in the path of his political enemies, it puts him in charge of the daunting Detective Brooks.

Fortunately, the dueling two-some come together to takedown a literal Cersei Lannister, the most evil woman either of them will face.

Warning:  This book features an adult man and woman who are madly in love, and yep…have consensual sex!

Are you obsessed, passionate, or both?

Are you obsessed, passionate, or both? I’m both. Not with a person, game, or money but with colorful plants. The house we bought in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley in 2014 was built in 1900. It came with ¾ of an acre of deep topsoil, plenty of upgrades needed but loads of well-established perennials. Yup, with a handyman husband and lots of digging tools, I was in heaven.
I brought some of my own roses from Alaska and promptly purchased more from my favorite rose supplier, Burling Leong of Burlington Nurseries. I also planted a few rose seedlings I had started, happy to have a temperate site to evaluate my babies’ size and hardiness.

Less than 10% of the rose varieties I have grown in my Oregon yard in the last four years.

Why would I start seedlings when there are so many colors, shapes, and sizes of rose varieties available? Well, because I like to create. I used to sew, still crochet and cook, and have been known to write a book or forty, all without patterns, recipes, or outlines. I think it was Nike who said, ‘Just do it.’ I was all over that before they put out the slogan (although I’m not a runner).

Here are two of the rose babies I created. Both are rugosas. The blooms are three to four inches across. Both smell great, too.

What’s your passion? Did you know that working with it and finding a way to make it your own gives immense satisfaction? I remember my mother looking at photos of us kids and saying she was ‘Just admiring her greatest creations.’ Aww… Being a loving and caring parent or grandparent IS special, too.

Do you love birds? Check out the first book in THAT TWIN THING series, THE MIDWIFE’S SON. Two birdwatchers find each other fifteen years after meeting as children. Will they recognize each other or will Mom, the midwife, help them out? Twists and turns of emotions end in a Happy Ever After. Read separately or as part of THAT TWIN THING COLLECTION, all available to read for free with #KindleUnlimited.
If you would, please follow me on Amazon, Goodreads, and Book Bub to hear about my latest releases. I’d appreciate it.