My Books!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why I Love...Favorite Sidekick

Readers, I hope you've read the Trixie Belden books for girls.  If you haven't you're really missing out.  I bought my first Trixie Belden book when I was in the fourth grade.  I paid a whopping $.69 for it at a discount store.  I'd read about three pages before it hooked me, and the pages had big print.  This series was perfect for a girl.  Trixie the heroine was an amateur detective whom no bad guy could defeat.  She was fun, fiesty, and had a very understanding mother and father.  She and her friends belonged to a club called the Bob Whites.  If one of them was in trouble they'd whistle like a Bob White, and the rest of them would come running. 

Trixie's sidekick was a wealthy young lady named Honey Wheeler.  Honey had good parents who didn't mind loaning their horses, swimming pool, travel trailer, or anything else so Honey and Trixie could have adventures.  Honey wasn't as adventuresome as Trixie, but she faithfully backed up her friend no matter what Trixie got them into.  And there is the little matter of Honey's adopted brother Jim.  He and Trixie like each other.

If you'd like to get your daughter started on the series, start with the first one and work your way through.  The Secret of the Mansion is the first book, and it's where Trixie and Honey meet and find Jim.  Hey, you may like them yourself.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Delia Latham and Solomon's Gate

Readers, please help me welcome my special guest, Delia Latham.  Since some of you may not know Delia, so here’s a short biography to introduce her.

  Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, Delia Latham moved from California to Oklahoma in 2008, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her simple country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. The author enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She loves to hear from her readers. You may contact her through her website or send an e-mail to delia AT delialatham DOT net.

Delia is writing today about why she chose Christian romance rather than another genre.  Here’s Delia!

Romance, Grandma? Really?

Don’tcha just love love?

I do. I hope I always will. And that, my friends—just in case you’re wondering—is why a 50-something grandmother would write an entire series of books based around a Christian dating agency.

(To be perfectly honest, when I got the first little mustard seed of an idea, I was eleven years younger, had only one grandchild, and hadn’t yet written a novel at all, much less a series of them.) Here’s what happened:

Some years ago, I read a series written by an author I’d never heard of at the time. Her name is Shari MacDonald, and she has an amazing knack for humor. One of the books in that series grabbed me by the imagination and would not let go. That book, A Match Made in Heaven, struck some kind of chord in me. It made me want to write the novel I’d been promising myself for years.

Now, let’s be reasonable here. That was well over a decade ago. Don’t ask me what that pivotal novel was actually about—I don’t have a clue, other than there was a dating agency involved. It made an impression on me, and got me thinking about the matchmaking profession. Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to write about a place where Christian singles could go to find—in King Solomon’s words—“he (or she) whom their soul loveth”?

I stored the idea away in my brain, and every once in awhile, I took it out and played with it (not my brain—the idea). I wrote two inspirational romances, neither of which had anything to do with a dating agency, and got them published. I started a couple of other manuscripts, which I still haven’t finished.

Then I woke up one day and it was as though something clicked in my heart—like God was saying, “It’s time. Let’s do it!”

In a perfect world, I disappeared into my office and emerged three days later with a completed manuscript, painstakingly edited and ready to send to a publisher.

Uh-huh. Whoever said this was a perfect world?

No. I still wasn’t completely there. I thought about the idea while I was doing dishes; I mulled it over while driving down the road all by myself; I worked out a fun little scenario or two as I lay in bed at night, instead of counting sheep; I created and discarded a number of storylines and subplots. Weeks, months, and more months went into mentally laying the groundwork.

By the time I actually did go into my office and start writing, I had several nice little scenes all cozied up in my head, just waiting to be put on paper. And…I was no longer just writing a book based around a dating agency. Now it was a series. Three books, maybe more (depending on how well you like them). Plus, God threw in a real surprise for me.

My dating agency would be no ordinary, run-of-the-mill love connection. Sometime during all of those mental writing sessions, it received a touch of the divine. Now it had an extraordinary connection to Heaven.

I’d love to tell you all about it, but then there’d be no need to read the book(s). And I really want you to read the Solomon’s Gate Series.

Destiny’s Dream released in December 2010, and Kylie’s Kiss followed four months later, in April 2011. (Come on, admit it. You’re a little bit curious about this series!) It’s available through White Rose Publishing and Amazon. I’m eager to hear what you find between its covers, because I’m thinking different people might find different things. Divine experiences often happen that way, you know.

The third book, Gypsy’s Game, should release later this year.

Come on in. I’ll leave the Gate open for you.

Here’s an excerpt from Kylie’s Kiss.

Rick settled into a seat across from Kylie and Clay and sat in silence for a moment, a slight frown drawing his dark brows together. Finally he looked up, first at Clay, then in her direction. “Kylie, I haven’t had a chance to share with you about Lea, though I believe Clay knows a little.”

Her heart sank and her gaze flew to her boss, who nodded. Yes, he knew about Lea, whoever she was. This didn’t sound good. “Who’s Lea?”

“She’s my little girl.” Kylie drew in a slow, deliberate breath, forcing herself to stay calm. So he had a daughter. As long as a wife wasn’t the next announcement, she could handle that.

“You have a child. How old is she?”

“She just turned six.” Rick’s expression softened as he spoke, and Kylie knew without a doubt that Lea was his life. His green eyes, startling against the olive of his skin, met hers without flinching. “She’s a special child, Kylie. Smart, beautiful, charming….” Kylie found herself fascinated by the adorable little self-derisive grin that played about his lips. “And sweet as cotton candy.”

Kylie couldn’t help smiling. “You don’t like her much, huh?”

“She is my heart and soul.” A little sheepish, but unrepentant.

“When do we get to meet this perfect child?” Clay’s grin lit up his craggy face. “Destiny’s already looking forward to it, but be warned—she’s going to try to keep her. My wife has a thing with kids, man. She loves ’em, and they always love her right back.”

Rick laughed a little, but his tone was serious. “I hope she still feels that way after she meets Lea.” He pulled a wallet from his pocket, then sat for a moment, saying nothing.

Puzzled, Kylie watched him run slender fingers through his thick black hair. Again and again he invaded the thick waves, managing to somehow leave them only slightly mussed. Finally he opened the billfold and pulled out a photo.

When he raised his head, revealing the torment in his eyes, her heart nearly stopped. What was wrong with Lea? Whatever it was, did Rick think it would make a difference in how she or Clay might feel about the child? If so, he certainly didn’t give them much credit.

“This is Lea.” He handed the photo to Clay, who smiled and passed it on to Kylie.

“She’s a cutie all right, my friend. You weren’t exaggerating. So what’s the problem?”

Kylie wondered the same thing. The photo showed a partial silhouette of an extraordinarily beautiful child. Unlike her olive-skinned father, Lea was a vision of light. Golden hair, porcelain skin, eyes the color of a robin’s egg. Kylie met Rick’s gaze, mystified by his obvious unease. “She’s lovely.”

“Thank you. I think so.” He pulled out another photo and handed it to Clay. “In spite of this.”

Kylie’s stomach clenched and threatened to revolt. Her boss’s flinch was slight, but unmistakable. Oh, dear God, please help me handle whatever this is with grace. How ironic that her first real prayer in years would be one of such a pitifully begging nature. Somehow she knew her reaction to this photo could mean life or death for her relationship with Rick. How strange that she’d be thinking in terms of a relationship now, when only moments before she’d been ready to concede defeat.

Clay nodded slowly, then met Kylie’s eyes. He held briefly to the picture even after her fingers closed on it. His words were directed to his friend, but his gaze held hers. “You’re right, my friend. Nothing could make this child anything less than perfect.”

He released the photo into Kylie’s grip. By now she did not want to look at it. Something in Rick’s eyes and Clay’s voice told her she could be in trouble. But what choice did she have?

Her eyes moved in slow, jerking movements from Clay’s face to the photo in her hands. She gasped, overwhelmed with sympathy—and total panic.

Another silhouette, shot from the opposite side of Lea’s face. Long, lumpy red welts stained her exquisite skin, puckering her cheek into an inhuman mask. Kylie had no idea she was crying until the tears tickled her face, even as her throat closed and her stomach lurched.

The photo fluttered to the floor as she leaped to her feet. Sending the two men a desperately apologetic look, she flew out of the room with a hand over her mouth.

Delia, thank you for coming today.  Readers, look at the lovely necklace and bottle of anointing oil Delia will be giving away at the end of the day.  She’s also giving away 4 copies of the Solomon’s Gate books.  Leave a comment to win, but be aware that the winner of the grand prize, the necklace, must post a comment today, June 27.

The pendant is about 2 1/2 inches long and the decoration is the same on both sides.
The oil is
Hadas'sah Queen Esther Oil. Necklace and oil from The Master's Jewels.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: The Welcome Inn

In this excerpt from The Welcome Inn, Buck has taken Julianna home after a man tried to kidnap her at the grocery store.  The Welcome Inn is available at Wings Press.

For more Six Sentence Sunday click here.

It felt blazing hot in the room, and Julianna’s breathing sounded as if she had just run a marathon. She could honestly say that she had never felt this way before. She had never wanted a man in her life. She knew exactly how men operated, and she wanted no part of them, but tonight she couldn’t control her heart. "I need you, Buck," she muttered.

Buck was in such a hurry to get his shirt off that he popped two buttons.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fashionista Friday: Channeling the Dutchess of Cambridge

Channeling the Duchess of Cambridge

I think Prince William got lucky.  Kate Middleton is one beautiful, poised young woman.  I also think she has incredible taste in clothes.  One of my favorites was the outfit she wore to meet the Obamas.  Here’s a picture of it in case you missed it.  Isn’t it elegant, understated, and just plain awesome?  The dress is by Reiss Shola, and so many people wanted to buy it that the website crashed.  The price isn’t bad either.  Only $340.00

But do you really want to have the same dress, or would you rather just have the look?  I don’t want to be a copycat, so I went looking for something that has the same feel, and this is what I found. (Picture by Pop Sugar)

This dress has a better pedigree than Kate’s dress.  It’s a Herve Legar which retailed for $1481.00, but you can buy it on sale here for $269.99.

Still a bit pricey?  Here’s a nice alternative at 2 Cute 2 Trendy.  Price? 39.99

If you don’t want something so low cut may I suggest this instead.

This is a bit more casual, but since I haven’t received an invitation to dine with the queen, this will probably do just fine.  It comes in military green which is shown, beige, and black. Fabric is sateen.  Get it for $27.99 at Target.

To accessorize the nude/beige dresses, I suggest we copy Kate who’s wearing black heels and carrying a black clutch purse.

If you’d like to do something really trendy with these dresses you could maybe wear a blazer or oversize sweater with them.  You could also put a shirt over it, and turn it into a cute skirt.

Word of warning!  If you’re pleasingly plump (like me) you’d probably be happier with something  else.  Try this Tina B cap sleeve with embellished waist.  It’s available at  Macy's for $89.00.  I think this dress would be exactly right for me.  It has the elegant, polished look that I like, but it would hide a few bowls of ice cream that somehow got stuck on my hips.  Michelle Obama's look would fit me pretty well too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why I Love Movies Made From Books.

Mostly, I don't like movies made from books. In a book you can explore the characters and learn lots more about them than you can in movie. There is one that comes to mind that I liked though, and that's The Notebook. I think the movie had the same emotional punch as the novel. Plus, any movie with James Garner in it has to be good. I love that guy! If he's anything like the characters he's played across the years he's a great guy.
Still, think about the Twilight books. The characters are good, but they did change the book a little. I know they have to, but hard core readers could spot the changes with no trouble.
Why doesn't someone make a movie out of one of my books? They have plenty of action and romance and would adapt well to the big screen. Or the TV screen. Come on somebody. Take me up on it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Andrea!  You won a copy of A New Dream and the handmade earrings. 

Felicia!  You won a PDF copy of Purple Heart.

Kristina!  You won a PDF copy of Return Engagement.

Thanks to everyone who participated.  I hope you enjoyed the blog hop, and when we do it next time don't forget to stop by again.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

My sentences today are from an earlier work of mine titled The Welcome Inn.  In this book my heroine Julianna wanted to buy the motel that she managed, but the bank refused her offer and sold the Welcome Inn to Buck Abercrombie.  From the moment she meets Buck, Julianna can't stand him.  He's loud, rude, and chauvinistic, and his criminal brother Travis works for him.  Still, there's something about him...  The Welcome Inn is available at  This is the link for the kindle edition, but you can buy the book in paperback as well.

In this excerpt, Julianna has stayed overnight with Buck because someone broke into her apartment and trashed it.

Her voice trailed off as Buck stood up, and she made no protest when brawny, sunburned arms enclosed her and held her tight. He nuzzled his face against her neck, and Julianna quivered in his arms.

"You smell sexy," Buck growled. "I couldn’t sleep last night because I swear I could smell you in the other bed."

He buried one big hand in her tousled curls, and his lips, heavy and warm, pressed themselves against hers.

With a strangled moan, Julianna threw her arms around him and eagerly returned his kiss.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fashionista Friday: National Flip Flop Day

Bet you didn’t know that today is National Flip Flop Day.  No, I’m not kidding.  It really is, and I always celebrate with a blog post on flip flops.  They’ve been around for a long time.  Did you know that King Tut had a pair of flip flops in his tomb?  They were made of solid gold.  We don’t make flip flops out of gold now, but they’re gold anyway.  In 2010, the sale of flip flops generated $2 billion?  Yeah, there’s gold in flip flops, but that isn't what National Flip Flop Day is all about.  I snagged the following from their website.
On June 17th, Tropical Smoothie Café will celebrate the 5th anniversary of National Flip Flop Day! It all started back in 2007 as a celebration encouraging our customers to kick off summer, and their shoes, by wearing a pair of flip flops. As a simple thank you to our loyal customers, the first 500 people wearing flip flops at each location were given a FREE 24 oz. Jetty Punch smoothie. Soon after, we realized that National Flip Flop Day was also the perfect opportunity to spread some sunshine to those in need. In 2008, we proudly announced a national charity partnership with a magical place called Camp Sunshine. Today, we still spend National Flip Flop Day celebrating the kick off of summer by wearing flip flops and giving away free smoothies, but we also raise awareness and money for Camp Sunshine. This year, we decided to expand our charity efforts into six weeks of fundraising to help children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to make more magical memories.
Learn more about Camp Sunshine here. Make a donation at any local Tropical Smoothie Café, or right now by clicking here. And, don't forget to stop by your local Tropical Smoothie Café on June 17th for a FREE 24 oz. Jetty Punch smoothie*. Just remember to wear your flip flops, and to maybe bring along a dollar or two to help those in need. That's the spirit we started National Flip Flop Day with five years ago, and one we hope will continue for many years to come.
*Limit 500 smoothies per location

Flip flops come in all shapes and sizes.  I paid $2.98 for some plain, old-fashioned red ones that I used at the beach last year to walk on the sand.  (I’ve got to find some more to use this year.  The dog ate one of mine.)  But you can spend more on flip flops and get some fancy ones.  Let me show you a few of my favorites.  (Next week I promise we won’t do shoes.  I only did them today because it was National Flip Flop Day.  Next week we’re channeling the Duchess of Cambridge.)

$38.95 at   Comes in different colors.

$39.00 at

 This Hale Bob is $36.00 at
$60.00 at

This one is a Born and comes in lots of colors.  $24.99 at

$29.00 at

See anything you like?  I’d pick the Born hands down.  If you don’t like these, there are lots more out there.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why I Love Ebook Readers

I have a Nook which I love, and here are some reasons why:

1.The storage in my house is maxed out, and on the ebook reader you can put a whole library in the space of a small paperback.

2.Ebooks are cheaper.

3.Because they're cheaper, I'm more willing to take a chance on new authors.  I've found some good ones that way.

4.Some ebooks are lending enabled, and if they are you can loan them with no fear that another reader will mess up your book.  I borrowed a book one time, and the cat peed on it.  (Don't know why she didn't like it.)  I had to buy another one for the owner.

5.My friends think I'm cool because I got one before they did. :)  Seriously, I think ebooks are the future of publishing, and I'd like to know what's going on.  My first two posts when I started this blog were about ebooks if you'd care to go all the way back to the beginning and read them.

Don't forget to come back for Fashionista Friday.  Friday is National Flip Flop Day, but it's also a chance to give back some of what you've been blessed with.  I'll explain it all on Friday.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Party 'till Your Heels Fly Off

Party ‘till Your Heels Fly Off Blog Hop

Tour Rules

1) HAVE FUN!!!


3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, June 13, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, June 20, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
Winners will be drawn and posted June 21st! ***




***Authors have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

Don’t people love to dance? I don’t think there’s anything to compare to the thrill of taking to the floor and moving into the strong arms of a handsome man. Yep, no doubt about it, thrilling is the word. You feel so light on your feet you’re sure you could dance the night away, and by the look in his eyes you know he feels the same way. Just writing the words brings a smile to my face as I think of the times I’ve danced with stars in my eyes.

Now, imagine for a moment that you’re falling in love with the most wonderful man on earth, and he invites you to go to a wedding with him. Naturally, there’ll be dancing at the reception, but you don’t think he can dance because he was in an accident, and he has a bad leg. Let’s just explore that scenario in this excerpt from A New Dream.

“Wasn’t it a beautiful wedding?” Violet sighed as she watched the bride and groom moving across the dance floor.

“I guess, but the food’s great.” Matt polished off the last bite of his roast beef with gusto.

Violet rolled her eyes. “Just like a man.”

“Let me make it up to you. Would you like to dance?”

“What a lovely idea.” Violet stood up and took his hand. They moved to the dance floor, and she went into his arms. “I didn’t think you’d be able to dance.” She hoped Matt hadn’t noticed that her voice sounded a little breathless. The feel of his body against hers caused her breathing to do funny things.

A little smile played at the corner of Matt’s mouth. “I practiced with Chris. You should have seen us. It was hysterical.”

“I bet.” Violet barely heard him. She moved a little closer and dared to lay her head against his shoulder. He smelled of soap and aftershave. Little darts of pleasure stabbed her as smooth muscles moved under her hand. If she didn’t put a little space
between them she was going to shock everyone by kissing him right here and now.

“Yeah, he let me lead, but he kept forgetting he was supposed to follow, so it was pretty confusing.”

Violet almost wished her dress wasn’t cut so low in the back. Matt’s hand scorched her back with its warmth. “You’re doing well.”

“I can’t do fast dances.”

Violet just couldn’t help herself. She squeezed Matt’s shoulder. “We won’t do fast dances.”

After dancing until the wee hours at the reception, Matt takes Violet home.

Violet gasped as Matt’s blond head bent over hers. Their lips met in a searing kiss that made Violet tremble. Need threatened to swamp her. She felt her face turn pink and gave thanks for the dark which hid her reaction. All Matt had to do was touch her, and she turned into a quivering mass of Jell--‐‑O!

As Matt’s arms firmly encircled her shoulders, he kissed her again. When she felt his lips against her throat, Violet made a little sound somewhere between a gasp and a groan and clenched his shoulders. Cold chills raced up her arms.

Matt raised his head and tilted Violet’s chin upward.

“What’s wrong?” Violet whispered. She shut her eyes and slid over in the swing so she could get closer to him. Thank goodness he had removed his jacket. She could feel his shoulders so much easier that way.

“Violet, look at me.”

Violet sighed and opened her eyes. “What is it?” she whispered again.

Matt stroked the side of her face with a gentle hand. “You’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.” He dropped a kiss on her hair and settled her head against his shoulder. You don’t act like you’re ashamed to be seen with me, and I …well…thank you for that.”

“I like the way you smell,” Violet answered, too caught up in the feel of him against her to pay much attention. “Is it after shave, or is it just you?”

“Violet are you paying attention to me?”


Violet heard a smile in his voice. “Nothing.” His lips tasted hers while the moon beamed down upon the lovers on the front porch.

Matt is so silly! As if Violet cares that after he hurt his leg he can’t be a pro-football player anymore.

Thanks so much for stopping by today and reading about Matt and Violet. I’m giving away a PDF copy of A New Dream as well as a pair of beautiful handmade earrings by Lucy O. To enter your name in the drawing you have to do two things:

1.Follow this blog. Do so by clicking on the follow link in the left sidebar. It’s near the top. I’ll follow you back.

2. Leave a comment telling me that you followed and INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

If you are already a follower, leave me a comment and tell me so. Also include your email address.

Romance Junkies gave A New Dream a 4.5 and said, A NEW DREAM is a wonderful contemporary romance with heartwarming characters and heartfelt moments. Elaine Cantrell creates a beautiful, believable relationship with old fashioned values that adds sweetness to the story. All of her characters were likable with emotions and reactions that one can relate to. My favorite though had to be the hero Matt, who had to face a very difficult reality. His growth and the way Ms. Cantrell portrayed his struggles with coming to terms with the changes in his life was nicely done. This is one of the best inspirational romances I’ve read in a while.

Your next stop on the tour is Valerie Maarten:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

In this excerpt from A New Dream my hero Matt is babysitting for the first time. Chris is Matt's brother, and Violet is Matt's fiancee. A New Dream is available at

Violet watched with interest as Matt laid Tyler on the sofa
and removed his diaper. He reached for a clean one, but Tyler,
stimulated by the cold air on his bottom, started to wet all over
Matt, the sofa, and himself. The child screamed as the hot wetness
struck him in the face. Matt, hurriedly capped his hand over the
stream. He looked around for something to wipe Tyler’s face with,
but when he didn’t see anything he used his shirt sleeve.

Chris cracked up. “You’re getting all wet, Matt.”

I know we didn't have Six Sentence Sunday last week, but I'm a creature of habit and did it anyway. If you'd care to read it, it's available.

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Hey, I was tagged for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. The rules of this award are:

1) You link the person who sent it to you. My friend Emma Lai sent it to me, so please check out Emma's answers. Thanks, Emma.

2) List seven random facts about yourself. Okay, here goes:

a) I enjoy going to movies.

b) I love sandals with flowers on them.

c) Give me chocolate, and you can have everything else.

d) In the course of six weeks this spring we had to replace the roof due to hail damage, replace the heating and air system, put in a new septic system, and repair the dining room walls, dishwasher, and dryer.

e) My dog always offers to share his rawhide bones with me.

f) My favorite colors are pink and turquoise.

g) I’d like to have a blue diamond.

3) Now I'm passing the award on to 10 other awesome blog buddies who're listed below. Do take time to check everyone's answers.

J. Gunnar Grey

Jean Joachim

Kim Bowman

Kay Springsteen

Jocelyn Vaughn

Joeanne Troppollo

Adele Laudan

Anne K. Albert

Billie Williams

Stephanie Burkhart

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fashionista Friday

Happy Friday, Fashionistas. Let’s talk shoes today, red shoes to match our purse that we found last week. I did a lot of internet surfing this week, and I found some red shoes to die for! The problem is that with color monitors all being so different, it was hard for me to say if they were a good match or not. So, I decided to share the ones I like the most, and you can decide which ones are best.

My first offering is this wonderful Kenneth Cole peep toe pump. These shoes have a four inch heel with a one inch platform. They’re on sale for $65.00 at

If these don’t move you, how about these sling backs from J. Renee which are one of my favorites. And no, the purse and shoes don’t have to the same. These shoes are available at for only $84.95. The colors are vibrant, and the bohemian print seems sophisticated to me. The heel is only 3 ½ inches on this one.

If you don’t mind spending a little more, I have the perfect strappy sandals for you. These Christian Louboutins are $515.00 at They have a four inch heel with a one inch platform, and I totally love the strappy look. I think it does beautiful things for a girl’s legs. If you wanted shoes the same color as the bag, I think (remember I only have my monitor to go by) that these are your best bet even though I think they’re a bit dressy for the bag.

I think these Amble pumps are gorgeous too. Only $99.00 at

Of course when all is said and done, the shoes you’d pair with the bag will depend on where you’re going and what you’re wearing. If you want to be casual and comfortable, I think this is a good choice. These Soft Spots are on sale for only $44.97 at

Happy shopping, and if you’d like, email me your finds, and I’ll post them for you. Send the pictures to

Thursday, June 9, 2011


My guest today is Dianne Greenlay, author of Quintspinner. Dianne, I'm so glad to meet you.

Thanks, Elaine for inviting me to visit with you today.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.

I live in the middle of the Canadian prairies, and by day I work at my own physiotherapy clinic; by night I write novels and I direct community theatre productions. My husband and I raised 6 teenagers into adulthood (only two bathrooms) and we all survived. We now share our home with a consortium of cats, and travel somewhere exotic in the winters (research for the novel, ya' know?), and somewhere within Canada that we have not yet been to, in the summers.

My debut novel, QUINTSPINNER - A PIRATE'S QUEST is a historical novel and has been labelled by reviewers as a historical adventure, a historical romance, and a historical YA novel. (A little something for everyone I guess ...) I wrote it as a novel for an adult audience, but an editor that I worked with suggested that I lower my protagonist's age to 16, as he felt that it was a story that upper teens would enjoy as well as an adult readership. It seems to have worked as it has won awards in both historical and YA categories.

2. I can see why it won awards. I loved the excerpt. How much research did you have to do for the book?

Well, considering that I'm a prairie girl writing about a sea faring adventure, I had to research a LOT. I had had several experiences on the ocean before I started the story, including some near misses involving a shark beneath my Hobie cat, a spouting Orca swamping the inflatable Zodiac boat that I was in, being stung by a cloud of nearly invisible baby jelly fish, and attempting - and failing miserably - to haul sail on board a tall ship (not all on the same holiday, thank goodness.)

Because of my medical background (besides being both an acute care and rehab physiotherapist, I was also an EMT for 13 years), I did not have to research as much for the parts of the story that involved Tess, (my protagonist) and her physician father, other than to find out what stage medical knowledge and techniques were at in the 1700's.

The most indepth research for me was that that helped me to understand what life on a sailing ship was like 300 years ago. I toured Nova Scotia when it had a major pirate display visiting the province, and the land itself has many nautical museums and ruins of forts and dwellings, complete with actual artillery and ammunition. The curators of these places are amazing resources. They were more than willing to share their vast knowledge of sailing and pirate stories with me.

Back home, I utilized my local library and also developed my own personal collection of resource books on a variety of topics - sailing, pirates, everyday living in the 1700's, herbal medicine - and I still refer to these frequently, as I am writing the second book in the QUINTSPINNER trilogy.

Of course, the Internet is probably the greatest and easiest source of information available to writers today. Facts, descriptions, and even videos are all available at our fingertips. Not so much fun as rolling around in the actual surf, however ...

3.I love the hands-on part of your research! Who are some YA authors who have inspired you?

I loved S.E. Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS, Wilson Rawls' WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, and Kenneth Oppel's SILVERWING series. I'm also a fan of the classics, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, by Mark Twain and LORD OF THE FLIES, by William Golding.

4. What do you think makes a book a page turner?
As a reader, I am compelled to turn the page when the action is fast, the tension is high, and a chapter ends on an unexpected detail or in an unfinished situation. I also have to care about the characters and want to know what is going to happen to them.

5. Great criteria for a page turner. What are you most passionate about outside of writing?

I have many interests, but probably the thing that I devote the most amount of energy towards and derive pleasure from, after writing, would be live theater. I am a founding member of a community theater group and have been a part of all of its productions over the past 20 years. It is a powerful feeling to get people in the audience so involved in the story that they laugh out loud and they cry in front of their tablemates. Hmm ... maybe not so different from reading a wonderful book!

6. Would you share your links with us and maybe an excerpt?

I would be delighted to.
Web page
Facebook Group
book trailer
available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters/Indigo

7. Blurb:
Blurb: In the year 1717, 16 year old Tess Willoughby witnesses a murder near a London marketplace and becomes the keeper of a legendary Spinner ring. Even so, she never imagines that she will find herself an unwilling passenger on a merchant ship bound for the pirate-infested waters of the West Indies and forcibly betrothed to the murderer. Longing to be with William, a young press-ganged sailor, but unable to escape her dangerous fiance's clutches, Tess struggles to survive in her new set of circumstances. During a pirate attack, she unravels the legacy of her strange Spinner ring and its power, realizing that her own life and those of everyone she loves, are in jeopardy. As a powerful hurricane overtakes the ship, a slim opportunity for her own escape presents itself, and she is forced to make the most chilling decision of her life. Having won multiple Book Awards, (ReaderViews, ForeWord Connections, Creative Arts Council, Sask Book Award, Eric Hoffer Award) Quintspinner is a tale of pirates, secrets, betrayal, and romance on the seas of the West Indies, all bound together by a dash of ancient magic.

"Are you alright?" Tess whispered into her sister's ear. "How have you been treated?" Even as the words left her mouth, Tess's hands slid down to her sister's shoulders and froze over top of a softly thickened weal on Cassie's right shoulder. Tess pulled her hand away and stared.

"Oh my God, Cass," she whispered hoarsely. "What has he done to you?"

Under the inquiring touch of Tess's fingertips, an angry raised mound of fresh and tender scar tissue stood out. Clearly it was a miniature form of the powder horn depicted on the pirates' flag.

"He- he branded you?" Tess gasped.

A brand. The pirate captain's brand.Burned deeply into the soft flesh of Cassie's shoulder, it marked Cassid forever as his own.

Tess swallowed hard as sudden waves of nausea threatened to expel a rush of bitter bile. Anger deeper than any she had ever known cascaded over her in a hot rush.Looking into Cassie's tear filled eyes, and seeing the intense anguish there, she clasped her sister hard to her chest. "He will pay for whatever he has done to you!" she seethed.

"No-o-o," Cassie moaned. "He'll kill you if you try anything." Her eyes pleaded with Tess. "Save yourself if you can." She laid her own hand gently over the branded tissue. Her voice was barely a whisper.

"I am doomed."

Readers, leave a comment to be entered in a contest for a Quintspinner tee shirt and a $10.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Follow the tour and comment more often for more chances to win. You can find the tour schedule at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why I Love My Nook

I'm now participating in Why I Love Wednesdays. Today's topic is my favorite book format. For more authors go to

Things sure do change over time, don’t they? Ten years ago I don’t think anyone could have predicted how ebooks would change the publishing world. I’m assuming that anyone reading this post would know what an ebook is, but just in case let’s define it. An ebook is a book read on a hand held device like a Barnes and Noble Nook. They can be read on a computer, but it’s easier on the eyes to read them on the ebook reader.

Prior to the Christmas season an estimated four million homes had ebook readers in them, but I’m sure the number is higher now that Christmas is over. I got a Nook myself. It has a case that opens like a book, and there’s a book light attached so I can read it in the dark if I wanted to. You can also change the font size to suit yourself.

Do I like My Nook? I sure do. For one thing, the books I’ve downloaded so far are cheaper than print books. Same text, just cheaper. And since they are cheaper, I’ve found that I’m far more willing to try new authors. For another thing, I can download an ebook and have it ready to read instantly-no driving to the bookstore or waiting for a book order to come in the mail.

Besides those things, storage in my house is maxed out, and that includes book storage. Both my son and I are avid readers, and even though we have bookcases stuck in every conceivable corner, there just isn’t any more room. But with an ebook reader about the size of a paperback, I can store hundreds of books. If I go on vacation, I can take my library with me.
With the Nook I can even borrow books from other Nook owners which is a plus for me. Honestly, I never liked lending my print books to anyone. All too often they came back with smudged pages or torn covers, and I don’t like that kind of thing. It was always risky to borrow a book for myself too. I borrowed one book from a friend of mine, and the cat peed on it. I had to buy a new copy for her. (I don’t know why the cat did that. I thought it was a good book, but maybe she didn’t like it. LOL.)

The books I wrote are all available in either print or ebook version. (Let me pause to put in a bit of shameless self-promotion; ebooks are inexpensive so try one of mine.) If you haven’t given any thought to reading ebooks, take a field trip to Barnes and Noble where they have Nooks set up for customers to look at and try out. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Oh, and before I forget, over Christmas Barnes and Noble sold more ebooks than print books. And one more thing, a few months ago I read an article in the paper about a school in the Northeast that did away with print textbooks. Every student’s textbooks are electronic.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Technically, there is no SSS today, but since I'm a creature of habit I'm writing my six anyway. I'm cheating a bit, though. I'm writing seven today. These are from A New Dream which is available at In this excerpt, Matt is sitting on a stool while Violet bandages his hand. He cut it while they were carving a pumpkin.

The soft, breathless tone of her voice brought Matt’s head
up. Violet caressed the side of his face and cupped his cheek in her
palm. “You’re so handsome, Matt. When I touch you I…”

Matt forgot that both his knee and his hand hurt. He pulled
Violet between his legs and rested his head between her breasts.
She shivered as he slipped his arms around her waist and fanned
his fingers across her hips.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Welcome to Fashionista Friday

Welcome to the first Fashionista Friday. Am I a fashionista? I doubt it. I’m not even sure I spelled the word right. (If I didn’t, you’ll let me know, right?) No, I don’t spend my days shopping or studying fashion magazines, but like most women, I do want to look nice. I bet you do too, so I’ve decided to share my quest for a new summer wardrobe. After looking at the things I like, you may say my taste is all in my mouth, but then again, maybe we’ll be on the same wavelength fashion wise.

As any fashionista knows, having the proper handbag is critical to give your outfit a smooth, polished look. I needed a red bag, so, I began my search and found a Hermes birkin bag I loved at .

Just look at it! The words Hermes Paris made in France are embossed on front of bag under flap. It has Palladium gold hardware lock and keys, and Hermes Paris embossed on the hardware. There are four palladium feet at the bottom to protect your bag each time you set it down. It’s also available in blue, orange-gold, and silver although the blue bag has ostrich veins not crocodile.

Price? $332.99. Ouch. I don’t want to pay that much for something I’ll use with only one or two outfits, but I do look this look. Can I find an alternative without spending so much?

Yep, sure can. What do you think of this?

Of course, it isn’t identical, but it has the same look to it. It’s roughly the same shape and size, and it also has a nice grain pattern running down the front like the original. It even has the same feet and similar hardware. I found it at

Oh, what’s the price? Only $63.00. Just call me your friendly frugal fashionista. (Bet you can’t say that too fast.)

Don’t forget to join me on Sunday for Six Sentence Sunday. Happy shopping!