Category Archives: Other


I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell

Today’s Magical Read is I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell

He needs to change his luck, and fast!

Matt Ewing would gladly hunt down a fortune in lucky pennies if he thought it would help save his business.

But for all his hoping, Matt’s clueless when his long awaited lucky charm falls in his lap in the form of a beguiling genie. He just can’t believe that this beautiful woman could be the answer to his prayers…

She’s been bottled up for far too long!

Spending 2,000 years in a bottle would make any woman go a little stir crazy. So when Matt releases Eden from her luxurious captivity, she’s thrilled to repay him by giving him the magical boost he needs…

But for all her good intentions, Eden’s magical prowess is a little rusty and her magical mistakes become more than embarrassing. And though Eden knows falling in love will end her magic and immortality, she can’t help but be drawn to the one man who wants her just for herself…

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s magical read. All of these titles and more will be available at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference book fair on March 19th from 5:30-7:00pm.

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins

Today’s Magical Read is the Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins

Rachel Braun plans it well. An extreme-sport athlete, Rachel becomes frustrated watching her best friends drift apart, settle into ordinary lives, and turn into shadows of the fearless women they’d once been. So, during a wine-soaked reunion, she extracts a promise from them: If something ever happens to me, I’m writing a letter to each of you. Promise you’ll do what I ask.

The women agree without hesitation. After all, Rachel Braun is indestructible.

So begins THE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF FRIENDSHIP, a novel about three friends forced to face their biggest fears. Sarah, a jaded international relief worker, must track down the only man she ever loved—a personal icon who represents the last of her crumbling ideals. Kate, a stay-at-home martyr, hurls herself out of an airplane. The ten minutes of terror spur her to seize back what she’d sacrificed for the sake of family—at a terrible risk. And Jo, a Kentucky-bred media mogul voted “least likely to breed,” is given the most unexpected task of all: Caring for Rachel’s orphaned and emotionally fragile daughter. As their lives careen out of control, the three friends turn to one another for help—and realize the true value of friendship.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s magical read. All of these titles and more will be available at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference book fair on March 19th from 5:30-7:00pm.

Head Games: A PrettyTOUGH Novel by Keri Mikulski

Today’s Magical Read is Head Games by Kerri Mikulski

Taylor is calm, cool, collected, and ferocious on the basketball court. A total all-star. Not so much in real life. She may be tall, gorgeous, and an incredible catch, but just try telling her that!

And lately, Taylor doesn’t know which way to turn: The summer showcase game is almost here. Her BFF Hannah roped her into a fashion show (eek!). And she can’t decide between Zach – the super-popular, super-tall, super-off-limits basketball dynamo – and Matt – the sweet boy from her math class (who may just be dating her BFF’s older sister). It’s enough to make any girl’s head spin!

Can Taylor strike a pose, land the boy of her dreams, and win the game?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s magical read. All of these titles and more will be available at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference book fair on March 19th from 5:30-7:00pm.

Stronger than Sin by Caridad Piñeiro

Today’s Magical read is Stronger Than Sin by Caridad Pineiro

Dr. Liliana Carrera nearly lost her life to Wardwell scientists. She won’t let them harm other innocent victims, like her new patient, Jesse Bradford. The former pro athlete had the best hands in the NFL . . . until an injury forced him to undergo Wardwell’s experimental gene therapy. Now Jesse’s gorgeous body is superhuman-but his strength comes at a price.

With Wardwell threatening his family, Jesse can’t tell Liliana all he knows. Yet he can’t resist her compassion . . . or her healing, erotic touch. As their passion flares, Jesse’s body becomes dangerous and volatile. For evil men are plotting to change the face of humanity-and will destroy whoever stands in their way.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s magical read. All of these titles and more will be available at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference book fair on March 19th from 5:30-7:00pm.

Undead and Unfinished (Queen Betsy, Book 9) by MaryJanice Davidson

Today’s magical read comes from our Keynote Speaker

MaryJanice Davidson.

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor returns in the ninth novel in the New York Times bestselling series.

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor is having a tough time getting through the Book of the Dead-until the Devil strikes a bargain. She offers Betsy a chance to finish the cursed (literally!) thing, and finally discover all its mysteries. There’s just one catch…

Betsy and her half-sister Laura have to go to Hell long enough for Laura to embrace her dark heritage (after a rebellious youth of charity work) and finally make nice with her mother, aka Lucifer. That means interacting with their family’s past. In doing so, they’re impacting the future in ways they never anticipated. Of course that’s what Mother wanted all along. Damn her.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s magical read. All of these titles and more will be available at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference book fair on March 19th from 5:30-7:00pm.

First line quiz by Chris Redding

Here’s a first line quiz. I will award a bag of chocolate to whomever gets all of them correct. If there is more than one person than I will draw a name from a hat.

1. My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name being Philip, my infant tongue could make both of those names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

3. When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

4. “What’s it going to be then, eh?”

5. A squat grey building of over thirty four stories.

6. Boys are playing basketball around a telephone pole with a backboard bolted to it.

7. My names was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie.

8. It was a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.

9. She dreamed of sanctuary.

10. The corpse grabbed her arm with cool fingers.

Thanks for playing.

Chris Redding

Because You Never Know by Joanna Aislinn

Many years ago—geez, I’m old enough to write that?—I worked with another occupational therapist who once commented, “Joanna, you have a story about everything!” She was right; I still do, but isn’t that what makes me a writer?

So it goes that I have a story about my absolute favorite chicken recipe, this amazingly simple, incredibly delicious, very elegant dish; perfect for special occasions yet easy enough to make during the week and even better the next day! Feel free to make ahead, store in a covered glass baking dish and reheat before company comes!

When I was a girl I lived down the block from a family-owned Italian butcher/grocer/deli. As soon as I was old enough to cross the street, my mom had me there almost daily, picking up little things she needed. Sometimes, she’d send me without money and I’d sign a receipt; she’d pay for those items on Saturday, when she made her weekly visits and bought our meats for the following week. Three brothers owned that store, and over the years, I’d established a pretty decent rapport with at least two of them.

By the time I was in my late teens/early twenties, the owners offered a hot deli bar. One of the brothers gave me a sample of this to-die-for-chicken breast made with rosemary and wine, so I asked for the recipe. He got really annoyed when I pushed for it, told me he paid to have it, and that I had no business asking. Good thing the little Italian lady who did the cooking motioned to me when said owner wasn’t looking or I would have ended up in a rather caustic exchange of words. She slipped me her phone number and gave me the recipe on the sly.

Long story short: I must have written that recipe down on two pieces of paper because at some point, I had only a list of ingredients and no directions on how to put them together. I even tried flubbing it a few times, but the dish never tasted the same as when Angelina (not her real name) made it. Of course, I’d lost her phone number too.

Somewhere between five and ten years ago, I was sitting in my doctor’s waiting room, waiting for a routine physical. An elderly woman and developmentally disabled man entered together. After a while she looked at me, nodded and finally told me I seemed familiar. I shook my head, and though I recognized the man from church, I’d never connected him as her son. She shook her head in the way someone who’s had her hardships does and started talking about where she went to church, etc. Then she told me she used to cook at my old butcher/grocer/deli before the place was sold and eventually went out of business. (It is now a custom motorcycle shop, go figure.)

I nearly jumped out of my chair. “Oh, my gosh! You’re the lady who used to make the chicken!” I immediately knocked on the receptionist’s window, secured pen and paper and begged Angelina for the rest of the recipe. (Yes, it’s at my official website. Look below for the link.

Thoughts for the day: Expect the unexpected. Be open. Smile and say hello. You’ll be surprised at who crosses your path, and why, when or how any given person will impact your life.

Here’s the link:

Try it! Let me know if it’s as awesome as I say!

Joanna Aislinn
The Wild Rose Press
January 15, 2010

Save the World, Write Green By Kathye Quick

Question for 2009: What can you do as a writer to leave less of an eco-footprint on the world?

Answer – plenty. While every suggestion will not work for every person, one or two small steps can actually help.

Paper and pens are two of the most basic office tools, but while we’ve been recycling paper and using recycled paper for years, pens have mostly gotten left out of the recycling picture. Enter BeGreen pens, which are sold in packaging made from recycled materials. You can find the BeGreen line at major office supply stores and national retailers including Office Depot, Office Max, Staples and Target. Add Pilot’s BeGreen line and the pen is now greener than the sword. (Unless we’re talking about recycled swords, which is a whole different story).

ForestChoice® pencils are manufactured from the finest California Incense-cedar wood, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to have originated from environmentally well-managed forests. ForestChoice® now offers consumers a high-quality writing instrument that demonstrates a serious commitment to the environment.

And then, there are pencil sharpeners. Do you really need an electric or battery pencil sharpener? No.

We’ve been using rescycled paper for years (at least we should have been) and now by adding the eco-friendly lights bulbs when we can, we’re on our way.

Other things we, as writers, can do to help include”

  • Take “no tech” days. Writers, especially web writers, spend a whole lot of time online which means they’re spending time using up energy. Turn off (and unplug) computers and other electronic devices.
  • Get into green computing. There are many different ways that you can make your computer more environmentally friendly. Get an energy-efficient computer; refill ink cartridges instead of sending them to the landfill; do all the day’s printing at once and keep the printer unplugged the rest of the day. These little things add up to big energy savings.
  • Submit your next manuscript electronically whenever possible. Even my publisher, Avalon, is getting into this submission policy.
  • Reduce the number of mailings you send out by using an electronic query whenever possible.
  • Swap one regular promotional mass mailing in favor of an electronic mailing
  • Skip one cross-country convention and do an online conference instead
  • Switch from press kits and full-sized mailers to postcards
  • Make one book appearance–or tour–a virtual tour online
  • Use solar rechargers for equipment like your PDA, cell phone, MP3 player
  • Reuse/recycle writing equipment/computers by using the Freecycle Network rather than just trashing them than buying new and trashing.

The Freecycle Network is wonderful. You can post anything you don’t want on it and before you know it someone else does! They even come pick it up. A friend of mine got all new kitchen cabinets because a woman didn’t like the cabinets she custom ordered once they got in her kitchen remodel. You can’t charge for anything on the Freecycle network, but that is made up in the fact that the unused item is gone from your house.

The URL is A screen will come up and ask for your town that then lists all the freecycle networks in your area.

Take one step, take them all. But let’s all try something to help.

Happy Green Writing in 2009

Kathye Quick
Cynthia and Constantine – Beyond Camelot – The Wild Rose Press
digital 2/09, print 3/09
Grandmother’s Rings – 3-book series contemporary from Avalon Books
Amethyst 8/09, Sapphire 12/09, Citrine early 2010

Sources –

I-Planet shopping, 8Waysto Green your Writing, the Green Writing Challenge, Writing Green/Planet Books

Importance of Critique Groups By J. Hali Steele

You know… critters. At least that’s what we call them. No, they’re not a bunch of little creatures running with nuts and looking for cover. Well, not most of them. Though we’ve been known to hide out when involved with a new WIP and the words simply fly from our fingertips.

Finding a group that fits you is very important. You’ll only grow as a writer if you learn the mechanics of writing. I remember reading somewhere that great authors weren’t born that way–they learned to write. This doesn’t mean not to attend classes, you should. But read, read, read. From all genres. Become serious about your craft.

You have a story to tell, so now you have to write it in a way that others want to read it. Nothing works as well as having someone (no, your mom, sister or best friends don’t count) look through your WIP with a fine tooth comb. The fun part is–you get to comb theirs.

It can be scary telling someone you don’t think something they wrote works or is passive and, ach! the dreaded back story. But it’s important to be honest in your critique. There’s no need to be brutal or disrespectful of someone’s creation. A few well thought out ideas or suggestions will go much further in teaching and helping. This is a very subjective industry. We all read books looking for something different. It’s not the difference we critique, or the author, it’s the mechanics of writing.

When I joined my first group, it literally scared me to death. I was getting ready to give my story, my baby, over to a total stranger to rake over the coals! What if they didn’t like what I wrote? What if they tell me to forget it, you’re terrible. All these things ran around in my head until I gathered my courage and posted the first chapter. And, boy, my first one was tough. She wrote, “watch the head hopping.” Then every other sentence there appeared a box to the side saying, “whose POV is this?”

I’ve since learned that little box to the side is a comment box. It’s used to give suggestions and comments, and if used effectively, it will help you to hone your craft. All kinds of good stuff can appear in that one little box. One day there was a comment to me from the same person that said, “Wow, this is good.” An encouraging note that told me I learned, I improved.

Without my critters help I’d probably still be sitting at my computer, all alone, struggling through another story and wondering why the hell my email was full of messages saying thanks but no thanks.

There are many groups out there who share their expertise in various genres, Google critique groups. Find one that fits you and always keep an open mind. You’ll only improve at what it is you love doing–writing. Remember: Grow and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.

Write What You Know? By Lois Winston

(Originally appeared on Fresh Fiction Blog – March 10, 2008)

“Where do you get your story ideas?”

“Are any of your characters based on yourself or people you know?”

The above are the two most frequently asked questions I hear from readers. The third most frequently asked question is, “How do you research your sex scenes?” This question is never asked by someone who has read my books, always asked by a male, and usually is asked each year at my husband’s company Christmas party. The question is always preceded by over-imbibing on the part of the buffoon asking the question (usually to the embarrassment of the long-suffering wife at his side) and is always followed by a wink-wink, nudge-nudge from said buffoon. Depending on my mood, I will either glare, scowl, look down my nose at the fool (not an easy task for this vertically challenged writer,) or offer his wife a sympathetic eye roll.

But I digress (Can you blame me? What are those dimwits thinking???)

Anyway, there’s a writing axiom that states, write what you know. To some extent this is a sound guideline to follow, but it’s also extremely limiting. I have a very good friend who writes stories populated with vampires, werewolves, selkies, and other assorted weird creatures of the paranormal world. My friend is neither a vampire, a werewolf, nor a selkie, and I have it on good authority that she’s never met any such creatures, either. So obviously this very successful author is not writing what she knows from first-hand experience.

In LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION I wrote about secrets and revenge and the lengths some people will go in order to bury the former and achieve the latter. The plot is ripe with scandal. Drugs. Violence. Blackmail. Political machinations. Attempted murder. My heroine is a wealthy widow whose abusive, cocaine-snorting, deceased husband was about as low as a low-life can get.

Write what you know?

Hmm…I’ve never done drugs (sinus and headache meds don’t count), never blackmailed anyone, never tried to kill anyone, never been involved in politics except to vote, and my husband is the complete opposite of my heroine’s husband. The guy even still helps me on with my coat and opens doors for me after all these years! Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m also far from wealthy. Very far. As a matter of fact, if the economy doesn’t pick up soon, I may be facing retirement living in a cardboard box, but at least I’ll have my darling husband to keep me warm.

So no, the characters in LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION are neither based on me nor anyone I know, and the story line is far from autobiographical. However, some of the plot lines in the book are loosely based on actual events, just not ones involving me.

I get my ideas for my characters and my plots from the world around me. I’m a die-hard news junkie who has always believed that truth is stranger than fiction. That belief is reaffirmed every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the evening news. I’ll hear a news byte or read an article, then give the event a “what if” spin. The voices in my head take over from there, and the next thing I know, I’ve got the plot for another book.

I do have a confession to make, though. In TALK GERTIE TO ME, Connie, my heroine’s mother, develops an outrageous craft project involving plaster of Paris and a certain body part (No, not that body part! My, you all have dirty minds!) Many years ago I knew a woman who came up with the idea and wanted to demonstrate it on The Tonight Show. Unfortunately, Johnny Carson’s people weren’t interested. But in TALK GERTIE TO ME (with proper credit being given to the creator of the concept on the acknowledgements page,) David Letterman’s people are. Connie winds up demonstrating the craft on Late Night, using a certain sexy movie star from Down Under as her guinea pig assistant.

Write what you know? Hmm…to some extent — with a little help from those voices in my head.

* * *

Award-winning author Lois Winston writes humorous, cross-genre, contemporary novels and romantic suspense. She often draws upon her extensive experience as an artist and crafts designer for much of her source material. When not writing or designing, you can find Lois trudging through stacks of manuscripts as she hunts for diamonds in the slush piles for the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. Visit Lois at