featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#TRAVEL BACK TO THE GOLD RUSH WITH GUEST AUTHOR LINDA McLAUGHLIN

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history, so it’s only natural that she sets most of her books in the past. Learn more about her and those books at her website

I’m thrilled about my latest release, Lily and the Gambler, a Western romance set in the California Gold Country, included in Romance Super Bundle IV: Endless Love.

My husband and I toured the area twice some years ago and I fell in love with it. Gold Country is best enjoyed by driving State Highway 49. We started at the southern end, in Mariposa, and drove north to Sacramento, and then Grass Valley and Nevada City, where my book is set in September 1868. I recall scribbling descriptions of the scenery as we drove along.

We made the trip twice, first strictly as a vacation, though I kept thinking how I’d like to set a story in the area. The second was a research trip for me, if not for my DH. At one point, he threatened to divorce me if I dragged him through one more mining museum!

A lot of the old Victorian homes have been turned into bed and breakfasts, and we took advantage of that to stay in some lovely old homes.

Interesting stops along the way include:

Sonora, a lovely little town that hosts the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. For the kid in all of us.

Columbia State Historic Park, the best preserved Gold Rush town.

Angels Camp, where Mark Twain heard a story on which he based his short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

Placerville, formerly nicknamed Hangtown for the zeal of its law enforcement.

And my favorite, Grass Valley, a charming town with the attraction of having the wonderful Empire Mine State Historic Park, a fascinating glimpse into the lives of 19th century miners.

If you’re up this way, do take a side trip to Sacramento, the state capital, with its charming Old Sacramento historic area, and the amazing California State Railroad Museum. This is one of my all-time favorite museums. It was fun to climb aboard the old trains and imagine a different time.

Grass Valley was especially interesting to me because of the large Cornish population in the 19th century. This area had deep gold veins that couldn’t be panned. The Cornish miners were encouraged to come because of their experience in the tin mines of Cornwall, which were petering out. To this day, the Cornish pasty is a local treat, and the city still celebrates a Cornish Christmas.

Lily and the Gambler
Respectability is in the eye of the beholder, or so Lily hopes. After her lover’s death she pretends to be his widow and travels to California to marry a mine owner. Then she meets King Callaway, a charming gambler. King knows he’s found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to take a chance on a foot-loose card sharp? Only Lady Luck knows for sure...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

GUEST AUTHOR NUPUR TUSTIN

A former journalist, Nupur Tustin relies upon a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate fictional mayhem. Childhood piano lessons and a 1903 Weber Upright share equal blame for her musical works. Learn more about Nupur and her books at her website and blog.

The Diligent Composer

I did, of course, have talent. With that and great diligence I progressed.—Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
 
It was on Mother's Day 2012 that I decided to write a mystery series about a composer. I had just become a mother, and, like Fanny Mendelssohn, discovered I had little time to spare for the piano. Reading and writing about music would, I hoped, make up for that.

Which composer, was the big question. Neither Beethoven nor Mozart seemed suitable.

A good detective must be approachable, a shrewd observer of men and manners, and discreet enough to inspire confidence in those who seek his help. Plagued with deafness and many other illnesses, Beethoven had an irascible, volatile temperament that ruled him out. And Mozart's observations tend to be filtered through the self, confined only to what pertains to him.

Either Bach or Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang's father, would have served. But it was Haydn who appealed to my imagination, whose life resonated with me, and whose vision of himself, as a craftsman rather than a divinely inspired artist, accorded with my own.

Born to a simple wheelwright and his wife, Haydn lacked the advantages Mozart had. His father played and sang a little by ear, but neither parent had any formal musical training or the means to provide Haydn with one. It was a stroke of good fortune that took Haydn to Vienna as a choirboy at St. Stephen's. Although the practical instruction he received served him well, when it came to music theory and composition, Haydn was largely self-taught.

It took ten long years of grinding poverty before he received his first job as a Kapellmeister—Director of Music. By the time my novel opens in 1766, he was employed by the Esterházys, wealthiest magnates in the Habsburg Empire, and the imperial court newspaper was hailing him as the "darling of the nation." He would never look back.

But he never forgot his humble origins or the people who helped him—the impoverished friends in Vienna who offered him a space in their crowded attic or lent him money for coal or food. And he was ready to help anyone in need. His musicians approached him with their problems, and he frequently interceded on their behalf with his employer.

So, when a violinist disappears, and no one could care less, who better than Papa Haydn to take on the task of discovering the truth?

A Minor Deception, a Joseph Haydn Mystery

When his newly hired violinist disappears just weeks before the Empress's visit, Haydn is forced to confront a disturbing truth. . .

Kapellmeister Joseph Haydn would like nothing better than to show his principal violinist, Bartó Daboczi, the door. But with the Empress Maria Theresa’s visit scheduled in three weeks, Haydn can ill-afford to lose his surly virtuoso.

But when Bartó disappears—along with all the music composed for the imperial visit—the Kapellmeister is forced to don the role of Kapell-detective, or risk losing his job.

Before long Haydn's search uncovers pieces of a disturbing puzzle. Bartó, it appears, is more than just a petty thief—and more dangerous. And what seemed like a minor musical mishap could modulate into a major political catastrophe unless Haydn can find his missing virtuoso.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

KILLER CRAFTS & CRAFTY KILLERS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE, PART 5


Is there anyone among us who doesn’t wish she had more hours in the day? We’re all constantly looking to save time so we have more time to do what we need to do or want to do. Today’s book suggestion is one that will help do just that. It makes a great gift for the busy working moms on your list or anyone else looking for timesaving dinner recipes and timesaving tips.

We'd Rather Be Writing
88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips

Have you ever wished you could find more time to do the things you want to do, rather than just doing the things you have to do? Most authors juggle day jobs and family responsibilities along with their writing. Because they need to find time to write, they look for ways to save time in other aspects of their lives.

Cooking often takes up a huge chunk of time. In We'd Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips you'll find easy, nutritious recipes for meat, poultry, pasta, soup, stew, chili, and vegetarian meals. All of the recipes require a minimum of prep time, freeing you up to read, exercise, garden, craft, write, spend more time with family, or whatever.

Within the pages of We'd Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips you'll be introduced to authors who write a wide range of fiction—everything from mystery to romance to speculative fiction to books for children, young adults, and new adults—and some who write nonfiction. Some of the authors write sweet; others write steamy. Some write cozy; others write tense thrillers.

Some are debut authors with only one published book; others are multi-published and have had long publishing careers. Some are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors who may or may not be familiar to you, but being a bestselling author doesn't mean they still don't have to juggle their day job along with their writing.

The authors who contributed to this book are a rather creative and resourceful bunch when it comes to carving out time from their busy lives. So in addition to timesaving recipes, within the pages of this book you'll find timesaving and organizational tips for other aspects of your life. And if you happen to be a writer, you'll also find a plethora of great ideas to help you organize your writing life.

Authors who contributed to We'd Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips include: Lisa Alber, Reggi Allder, Judy Alter, Krista Ames, Rose Anderson, Cori Lynn Arnold, Judy Baker, Beverley Bateman, Donnell Ann Bell, Paula Gail Benson, Kris Bock, Maureen Bonatch, Ava Bradley, Susan Breen, Lida Bushloper, Michelle Markey Butler, Ashlyn Chase, Judy Copek, Maya Corrigan, Mariposa Cruz, Melinda Curtis, Lesley A. Diehl, Conda V. Douglas, Nancy Eady, Helena Fairfax, Jennifer Faye, Flo Fitzpatrick, Kit Frazier, Shelley Freydont, Mariana Gabrielle, Rosie Genova, Marni Graff, Joanne Guidoccio, Margaret S. Hamilton, L.C. Hayden, Linda Gordon Hengerer, Heather Hiestand, R.Franklin James, Kathryn Jane, M.M. Jaye, Elizabeth John, Stacy Juba, Gemma Juliana, Carol Goodman Kaufman, Melissa Keir, Kay Kendall, A.R. Kennedy, Lynn Kinnaman, Marie Laval, B.V. Lawson, Claudia Lefeve, Alice Loweecey, Cynthia Luhrs, Sandra Masters, Lisa Q. Mathews, J.M. Maurer, Sandra McGregor, Kathy McIntosh, Claire A. Murray, Ann Myers, Tara Neale, Stacey Joy Netzel, Jayne Ormerod, Alice Orr, Laurel Peterson, Irene Peterson, Pepper Phillips, Caridad Pineiro, Kathryn Quick, Renée Reynolds, Josie Riviera, Elizabeth Rose, C.A. Rowland, Cindy Sample, Sharleen Scott, Terry Shames, Susan C. Shea, Judy Penz Sheluk, Joanna Campbell Slan, Karen Rose Smith, Lynette Sofras, Kaye Spencer, Skye Taylor, Lourdes Venard, Lea Wait, Regan Walker, Lois Winston, and Aubrey Wynne.


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Kobo 

Monday, December 5, 2016

KILLER CRAFTS & CRAFTY KILLERS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE, PART 4

If you’re an author, you might be in need of a holiday gift for your critique buddies or the gift exchange at your local writing group. If so, check out Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected, a writing book offers advice from a publishing insider who has been on both sides of the table.

Over the years Lois Winston has given workshops and talks to several thousand aspiring writers. As a literary agent, she’s listened to hundreds of pitches and read through tens of thousands of query letters and manuscript submissions. Being both a published author and a literary agent gives her a unique perspective on publishing. She knows what it’s like to be the writer whose only desire is to sell a novel, and she knows what it’s like to have to crush someone’s hopes with a rejection letter. It wasn’t until she started sending out those rejection letters that she began to have a better understanding of why so many writers receive them.
What she’s come to realize is that most manuscripts are rejected by agents and editors for one or more of ten basic reasons. Writers have control over some of these reasons but not all of them. This book will discuss these ten reasons and how writers can control more of their destiny by not falling prey to them.

Whether your goal is to be published by a legacy publishing house or you plan to self-publish, this book contains invaluable information about self-editing, grammar, punctuation, point of view, telling vs. showing, passive vs. active writing, dialogue, narrative, voice, style, hooks, query letters, and synopsis writing.

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Nook 
Kobo 

Friday, December 2, 2016

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR MADELLE MORGAN

Growing up, Madelle Morgan enjoyed nineteen summers at a cottage in the District of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, where lake shorelines are dotted with palatial properties owned by wealthy families and celebrities. Being neither rich nor famous, she worked briefly as a chambermaid at a Muskoka resort. She began her engineering career in Canada’s subarctic, which inspired her debut romantic suspense, Diamond Hunter. Learn more about Madelle and her books at her website/blog where she tweets and posts about writing, Hollywood, filmmaking, and the settings for her stories.

Madelle is giving away a “What Happens in Muskoka Stays in Muskoka” tank top (UK, US, and Canadian readers only) and five ebooks. Subscribe to her blog before midnight December 11 to enter the drawing.

Caught on Camera Blog Tour Wrap-up

Today I wrap up an exciting my first ever blog tour, two-weeks celebrating the launch of Caught on Camera, Hollywood in Muskoka, Book 1. The book, a New Adult, coming-of-age romantic comedy, is my second published novel.

Who hasn’t dreamed of a career in Hollywood? Chambermaid Rachel, a tall, skinny, twenty-two-year-old brunette with ugly glasses, has her heart set on becoming a camera operator and filming the Hollywood stars she idolizes.

Then she’s asked by the bride-to-be of a millionaire superhero actor to stand in for a missing bridesmaid because she fits the dress. A make-up artist transforms Rachel from plain to pretty. Suddenly Mickey, one of the groomsmen and a talent agent, is very interested.

Rachel discovers at a disastrous wedding photo shoot that being in front of a camera is not at all glamorous, and being behind the camera shooting celebrities is not what she expected. Mickey helps Rachel realize that she has a special talent for a different career in Hollywood, and that she belongs in his arms instead of behind a camera.

Caught on Camera also features Mopette, an adorable Maltese scamp crucial to the plot; a multitude of movie references for anyone who loves all things Hollywood; and a playlist features popular Canadian artists.

The other books in the series will describe how the groom’s Hollywood friends and siblings find true love while vacationing in Muskoka. Each book will explore a career such as screenwriter, producer, director, and stunt professional. Research into the professions that create movie magic is a pleasure because I absolutely love everything about filmmaking!

Caught on Camera
To achieve her dream of working on Hollywood film sets, star struck chambermaid Rachel Lehmann needs $35,000 for film school tuition by the end of the summer. When she’s asked to fill in for a missing bridesmaid at a movie star’s wedding and pretend to be the bride's cousin, it’s her big chance to secretly take photos of celebrities and sell them to the entertainment media! Then Mickey, one of the groomsmen, sweeps her off her feet.

Mickey McNichol, talent agent to the stars, believes everyone in show business is out for what they can get. When he falls hard for the bride’s "cousin", he thinks he’s finally met a beautiful woman he can trust. But if Rachel betrays the wedding party, Mickey will ensure she never works in Hollywood.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

KILLER CRAFTS & CRAFTY KILLERS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE, PART 3

No matter where you fall along the political spectrum, you have to admit it’s been a divisive year. Couple that with the conflicts going on in the rest of the world, and it’s a wonder we all don’t crawl into bed, pull a blanket over our heads, and refuse to come out. Now think about how our children must feel.

If you have a a young child on your holiday shopping list, you might want to consider purchasing a copy of The Magic Paintbrush as a gift. Without being preachy, The Magic Paintbrush addresses the issue of differences, in this case, a kingdom that is all pink at war with a kingdom that is all blue for longer than anyone can remember—so long that no one even knows what started the feud. It takes two children from another land to point out to the rulers of both kingdoms how we're really all the same inside and the benefits to getting along.

Now if only people in the real world would do likewise…

When nine-year-old Jack and his seven-year-old sister Zoe are snowed in for days with nothing to do, their complaints land them in every guy’s worst nightmare—the kingdom of Vermilion, a land where everything is totally pink! At first Jack is mistaken for a spy from the neighboring kingdom of Cobalt, but Zoe convinces Queen Fuchsia that they’re from New Jersey and arrived by magic.

Queen Fuchsia needs a king, but all the available princes in Vermilion are either too short, too fat, too old, or too stupid. Jack and Zoe suggest she looks for a king in Cobalt, but Vermilion and Cobalt have been at war since long before anyone can remember. Jack and Zoe decide Vermilion and Cobalt need a Kitchen Table Mediation to settle their differences. So they set out on an adventure to bring peace to the warring kingdoms—and maybe along the way they just might find a king for the queen.

The Magic Paintbrush is suitable for children eight years of age and up to read on their own. Younger children will enjoy the story if it’s read to them. You can read an excerpt here

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

KILLER CRAFTS & CRAFTY KILLERS HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE, PART 2

House, MD has been off the air for several years now, but like many TV shows that acquired a cult following, viewers still can’t get enough of Gregory House, and you’ll continue to find the show in syndication most nights of the week. Whether you’ve got a House addict, a doctor, a med student, or a lover of medical dramas on your holiday shopping list, this compilation of twenty essays is sure to please.


What do you get when you combine CSI science, the medicine of ER, and an acerbic, pain pill addict with a cane? House MD.

In HouseUnauthorized: Vasculitis, Clinic Duty, and Bad Bedside Manner, the entire cast of the show is on the exam table: Wilson, Cuddy, Foreman, Cameron, Chase and particularly the cantankerous, but brilliant Dr. House.

What makes House tick? Why did he really hire Foreman, Cameron and Chase (and why is it so easy to believe he’s actually subjecting them to some sort of bizarre psychological testing)? What would House be like as a heating and plumbing repairman? And why doesn’t Wilson just stop talking to him already?

Answers to these questions are presented by a team of writers as talented as the team of doctors in House, MD. The prognosis? One heck of a good read.

Buy Links
Nook 
BAM 
Kobo