Monthly Archives: February 2015

Pay it Forward…Cover Reveal for Amy DeClerk #MFRWAuthor

Long before the movie or the book, my late Saluki mentor introduced me to the concept of Pay It Forward. When I was planning to leave the depressing dead end existence I had let myself get into, she handed me $100.00 to help fund my new life. Her one condition was that I help someone else in the future.

Wow, that was a long time ago. I have when possible followed her advice: help others even when I’m not going to get anything back directly. And I find the more I do this, the less I stress about life and helping others. Okay, I’m no angel and sometimes I do let myself fall into a “why doesn’t anyone help ME” sort of funk. In the end it all works out, and I feel better for the experience. RIP Shirley, you were an awesome human being.

This is an introduction to my Pay It Forward Saturday blog plan. Each week I’ll promote someone who has asked for the exposure. If no one is scheduled, I’ll introduce the work of one of my many artist friends.

This first post is for AmyDeClerk. We’re going to help with her cover reveal for BOUND TO YOU. Wow what a great way to start paying it forward!

Title: Bound to You
By: AR DeClerck

Jackson Baine is a man with a gift, and he has never had a problem with selling it to the highest bidder. His newest bound1job is with one of the biggest terraforming companies in the universe, and the money he stands to make will allow him and his crew to retire on any planet in any galaxy they choose. His biggest problem: Ferrell Terraforming has assigned him a company liaison to see to his needs and protect their interests. But that’s not his only problem. Lia Bernardi is smart, beautiful and strong, and she entices Jacks in a way no other woman ever has. She is a distraction he cannot afford on the surface.
Anatolia Bernardi is ready to climb the corporate ladder, get out from under her egotistical boss, and impress her overbearing father. All she has to do is turn one dead, empty planet into an oasis. Her company says Jacks Baine is the key, and it’s her job to make sure he’s productive and happy. Both of which, she soon learns, are harder than she’d thought they’d be. For some reason Jacks can get under her skin and break down every wall she’s constructed between herself and the world.
On the surface of a long-dead planet Jacks and Lia will be forced to face the startling realization that the past never really goes away.

Author Bio:
amypicAR DeClerck lives in the Quad Cities, IL. She is a wife and mother of two daughters. She has two dogs and a cat, and always has her nose in a book. She’s either reading one, or writing one. She writes romance in many sub-genres, and has always had a soft spot for sci-fi romance. She credits her love of reading and writing to her mother, who always keeps a book handy.




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Formula for Success #AmWriting #MFRWAuthor

Flourish where you're planted and hold on

Flourish where you’re planted and hold on

Don’t Quit.

Well, DUH, you say. We already knew that. True. But there’s knowing and there is understanding what you know. And there’s really understanding what we need to know, to achieve success. Kristen Lamb nudged me into seeing this (think in terms of that anvil the Road Runner used on the Coyote:  Five Principles of Achievement

Right. That.

You might back slide. You might do something else for a while. But you do NOT quit.

I once decided to research what former profession successful writers held. Some of them continue in this profession since this is not the most stable of vocations. Lots of nurses, ever notice? Police, military, teachers. Mmm Hmmm. Business owners, especially entrepreneurs, people who have started and held together various businesses; successful sales people. Lawyers, quite a few of those, and also teachers.

What is the common denominator for these professions? You can’t skate through these jobs on charm and a smile. And with most of them you also need an extensive education. No faking it in nursing or law (well, some lawyers…) Most if not all of these professions require good scheduling and a tremendous work ethic.

I know, these are very broad generalizations. But writing, especially writing prolifically, requires dedication, scheduling, and determination to succeed. All of which are invaluable in the above professions.

Of course, there’s a lot to be said for a scattered approach to your prior to writing occupation. If nothing else, you

Keep holding on...the same bush in the winter

Keep holding on…the same bush in the winter

gather a plethora of experience…**holds hand up high and proud**…I never made it into vet school but I waited tables and groomed dogs and trained horses with the best of them. Leading me, in my 30s, to a temp position as a buyer’s assistant at a power plant. And I discovered it’s just so much nicer to work indoors when the thermometer is busting out the top of the glass. Not to mention being paid if you’re sick!!! Another plus is not smelling like cigarette smoke or flea dip when you drag yourself home from work.

Win. Win.

With my mind not obsessing over paying my bills without destroying my back I was able to free my thinking patterns up to write down the stories I’d been mentally collecting for decades.

Write. Rewrite. Edit. Submit. Repeat as needed, ad infinitum

Definitely the formula for success.

shine wherever you land

shine wherever you land



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Twenty One…and Older. MUCH Older

When I Was One-and-Twenty

By A. E. Housman

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.
When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
       Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
       And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
       And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

I was managing a stable when I was twenty one. I cleaned stalls, groomed horses, helped prepare horses for training or lessons. When you’re the only person who sticks it out, you become by attrition the manager, it’s not always about being the most qualified.

One of the students was the son of a veterinarian who admired something about the way I did my work. He tried to encourage me to go to vet school, and be more than a stall cleaner.

“But…but…I’m over twenty. By the time I finish vet school, I’ll be thirty or more.”

And he pointed out, not so gently: “By that time you’ll be thirty or more whether you go to vet school or not.”



Yeah, he was right.

I didn’t go to vet school. For one thing it wasn’t exactly my path especially since I am so not a people person. Plus my journey led to a different destination…though I was not sure at that time what that destination might be. However, I took that wisdom with me wherever I did go.

You say you can’t write a book since it’s going to take six to nine months and you just don’t have that time? Or maybe you can’t write a series since OMG it will be several years and you’ll be so old?

Well, MONA, you’ll be that old anyway.

So pull up your BIG girl panties (the purple ones with lace) and DO IT.

Don’t come to the end of days with a bucket load of “wish I hads”


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A Bit of Jocularity…Seriously

When my post with Peter, Paul, and Mary published, a friend in Kansas called to share a bit of trivia.

It seems her family reunions in HOLYROOD, KS from time to time. The last census shows Holyrood has a population of 447. Right, 447, no commas, no zeros. I bet it would be pretty hard for anyone to prank here since everyone would know everyone else and what they’d been up to.

Lebanon KS is the accepted geographic center of the contiguous United States; Holyrood is due south about two hours.

Although mildly interesting, none of this has anything to do with my friend’s telephone call.

It seems Holyrood, population 447, has three churches. One is Catholic, one is Lutheran, one is United Church of Christ.

The Lutheran Church is St Peter Lutheran Church

Or you can visit St Paul‘s United Church of Christ

The Catholic church is St Mary‘s Catholic Parish House

Think I’m joshing? HERE check it out for yourself.

Yes, truth can be stranger than anything you can make up. My friend suggested I put this in a book…but who would believe me?

In appreciation for you staying to the end: Classic Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Peace and love


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What’s So Bad About Being Good?

The Billionaire’s Girlfriend

The Sheik’s Secret Passion

The Trillionaire’s Hidden Girlfriend

The Duke’s…The General’s…The Warlord’s…The Alpha’s…

These tropes have been a part of romance writing from the beginning. Along with the Lost Heir, Secret Baby, Self Made Huge Success. Plus name brand shoes, expensive cars, the best of the best of the best.

For good reason. These are popular themes, and these books sell. Some people want books to take them away from the mundane. They want to put themselves in the expensive shoes of the most beautiful woman in the room, being appreciated by the richest, most powerful man in the world. Fantasy is a wonderful thing and if you like writing these stories then you should indulge.

But if this is not your lifestyle and it’s an effort for you to come up with all the necessary accoutrements; if you’re more of a dusty boots and old truck kind of a writer…then write about dusty boots and old trucks and people who fall in love in small towns.003

If you’re uncomfortable with clinical sex scenes and don’t understand the BDSM lifestyle, don’t try to fake it. You will be found out.

Small town series sell. It wouldn’t take much to name multiple successful books set in towns where the readers want to move one day. Good people going about their lives, loving each other, fighting, making up. Well written, honest conflict piques interest the same as extravagant lifestyles and high drama. For me as a reader and a writer, it’s better when the citizens in that small town are believable, and not a cast of wealthy people, highly successful, former champions. But again, that’s my personal preference.

Do not be afraid to write about ordinary people who live and laugh and love. Ordinary people who do extraordinary things: fight fires, foster children, contribute to the idea that life is worth living. And if you do write those books, don’t be surprised at the number of readers who thank you for writing about people to whom they can relate.

We can’t all wear Jimmy Choo.



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Let’s Make Sunday a Time for Feeling

DORANNA DURGIN reminded me of a singer who had been in the back of my mind while I indulged in sharing music I love. Most of these songs tell a story and when you follow a specific singer that story expands. What is a great song but setting a good story to wonderful music?

John Denver has been a particular favorite for a long, partially (or mostly) because he wasn’t afraid to expose himself to the world for his music. Such as his song to his wife. Here is a male who understood romance!

Singing about the life of a touring musician who has to leave the one he loves:

And his love affair with Colorado:

Yet a love song to West Virginia

All of these and more exposed John Denver as a complex man with strong convictions. Doesn’t listening to all these songs, one after another, just tickle your plotting nerves? Sure does mine.

We have a snowy week ahead of us. Moisture in any form is so welcome.

Hug the ones you love, two legged or four

Hug the ones you love, two legged or four

Happy Sunday




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Truth in Music…and Life

I do tend to wander through You Tube, or our extensive ‘old’ music collection. Heck Tom still had 45s! This was one of his favorite songs, not because of his upbringing, but because of the truth he saw in the words:

I enjoyed Harry Chapin, and the other singers  At some point, while I soaked up the utter romanticism of songs from that era, this came to my attention:

So much beauty and truth in music.

Money and Success and Fame are wonderful but your children need you NOW.



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Do You Remember…

Are you of an age to remember folk singers who poured their souls out to expose what they saw as issues we all needed to recognize? I’m feeling kind of nostalgic tonight and wanted to share some memories from those long ago years.

This concert was in 1986.

Even earlier, Peter, Paul, and Mary gave us this song Bob Dylan wrote in 1963:

The same song in a duo, 1983

More than thirty years ago. Thirty. Years.

Seriously…how many more years will it take?


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Self Indulgent Moment Here

Not much inspirational here, no recipes. Some pictures and a bit of sharing news.

Just recently I came across Ira Glass, and this interesting graphic statement about STORYTELLING. A profound message, at least for me. My high school writings were…well, a beginning of sorts. My first full length book was a hot mess even after I chopped off the first sixty (yes SIXTY) pages. And in spite of Chuck Wendig’s strong advice on PRE-REJECTION in this instance I think I was wiser to listen to my inner voice and wait just a bit before I exposed that collection of words to public scrutiny.

front-cover-my-killer-my-love-first-try[1]What I did do then, and later, was (again borrowing from Chuck Wendig) FINISH MY STUFF. And eventually I sent it out one last time. And they liked it. My Killer front-cover-draft23My Love was published May 2011. Teach Me To Forget came out the next year.

Life intervened as it often does.  I still wrote sporadically but those stories stayed (safely) in my computer. Until sometime last year when I pulled one out (rather like reaching into the back of the closet for that outfit I’d been saving for a special occasion) and sent it off to Lauri, the editor who has said consistently: If you wrote it, we want it.

And she did. A Question of Honor (working title) went off to BLACK OPAL BOOKS. They have grown so much since my first submission and I knew I would be waiting. And waiting. Instead of just sitting around waiting, one evening I sent a prologue and a blurb to Lauri and she sent back: Do you want a contract?

Well, ummm, yeah. But it’s not quite finished. That’s fine, she replied. When you’re ready.

looking westIn January I started a week long blogging challenge that has stretched to a month. I met many talented people at various stages of their artistic careers. All prompted by Seth Godin (yeah, I’m kind of a squealy fan girl here. During that time I was noodling through my computer and came across “Tyler’s Story,” Tyler being the partner of Devin (A Question of Honor) whose wife left him and took his favorite horse…he really wanted that horse back! I had finished this during my down time, and just for grins popped it over to Lauri with the explanation that it was finished but not smoothed out yet. And Lauri sent back that question I was finally beginning to believe I deserved: Can we send you a contract?

Shedding Some LightWhich means: Two books published, two contracts coming. And a book in final edits that will be out in May 2015. That’s soon. Very soon. Since all three new books are in New Mexico, and all at least somewhat related I’ll be sending Black Opal Books art department some of my pictures of New Mexico mountains and sunsets and sunrises.scans 090512 015

And delving into new stories to share. Eventually that first book will come along, or at least the location and characters. Thanks for hanging around to the end!

In case you’re wondering, My Killer My Love right now is a stand alone though I have a follow up novella in the works.

Teach Me to Forget is related to Sometimes When We Touch (just about to go in to Lauri) which is set in Willow Springs, New Mexico. There’s a good chance Paul, the veterinarian from TMTF will be moving to Willow Springs in the future.003

A Question of Honor is set on a ranch near Willow Springs, as is Tyler’s story (yet to be named) and that first book is on a ranch nearby. New Mexico is a magical place if you like wind and green chiles.images[3]


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More Yummy Biscuits…or Scones Depending on Where You Live

Last month I shared a recipe for ‘almost’ KFC biscuits  HERE

Greta van der Rol, who writes Space Opera, takes wonderful pictures, and lives in Australia, tells me biscuits are those sweet morsels (cookies!) and what I shared was scones. Oooo-kay. Scones for me are kind of sweet and a bit flaky. But it’s all good and yummmmm.

A couple days ago on a Low Carb FaceBook page I saw a new recipe for something I might not call a biscuit…it’s so good, it might need its own name. And soooo simple. I’m hoping to find the original recipe so I can give credit to the very clever person who came up with this.

In one bowl mix 1/3 cup coconut flour, tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp baking powder. 011
In a small bowl combine 3 eggs and 1/3 cup melted butter.
Slowly mix wet ingredients into dry mixture. Slowly fold in 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese. Shape into bal
ls onto parchment paper. Bake at 400 15-18 min til edges are golden brown. Cool at least half hour. The longer they cool the denser they get.

Yes, they are good. No doubt they’ll keep well refrigerated if they last that long. I’m thinking a nice white cheese would be good. Or maybe with some different spices. Hmmm.

I have news…SUCH news…to share with you.



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