Saturday, June 29, 2013

Clean Romance Reviews

I hope everyone has or plans to stop by Clean Romance Reviews today and check out Marked in Mexico on its Saturday Morning Trailers feature. Just click the Clean Romance link above or visit  You can also view my book trailers anytime on my website,, by clicking on the fiction tab and the book of interest.
This has been an exciting week. I want to thank everyone who stopped by the Coffee Time Romance blog, Coffee Thoughts. Tammy was selected to receive a free ebook of either Big Horn Storm, Marked in Mexico, or Desperate Dreams. Congratulations.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Free ebook on Amazon Today Only

Heart Strong by Bonnie McCune

A touching, tender tale full of gentle humor, about thinking too much and feeling too little. Rachel must learn to be heart-strong in order to find her soul mate. 

Also today, check out this wonderful new website, Life Inspiring Scribes and today’s must-read novel, Big Horn Storm, at

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Giveaways and Upcoming Events

Today I’m visiting Linda Carroll-Brad’s blog, Musings About The Writing Life, at Please stop by and check out my interview, and feel free to leave a comment.  

Tomorrow, June 27, on Coffee Time Romance’s, Coffee Thoughts Blog, I’ll be the “Thursday Thirteen” guest blogger.  Throughout the day I’ll be posting trivia, facts, and other behind the scenes information on my three latest novels. And, to keep things really interesting I’ll be giving away an ebook (recipient’s choice of format) of one of my three latest adventures to a randomly selected participant. To join in, click on the Coffee Thoughts button in the right hand column of my blog or go to 

On Saturday, June 29, Marked in Mexico’s trailer will be featured on Clean Romance Reviews’ Saturday Morning Trailers. Be sure to stop by or you can view my book trailers anytime on my website,, by clicking on the fiction tab and the book of interest. 

And finally, stay tuned for additional details on Coffee Time Romance’s featured contests for July where I’m offering up a free ebook of Big Horn Storm and a $25.00 Amazon gift card. In the meantime, to check out June’s contests go to

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Prism Book Group's newest acquiring editor, Paula Mowery, will be accepting "pitches" online July 17th-19th. Paula is interested in obtaining inspirational romance of all genres. Paula will be blogging June 19, June 26th, and July 3rd with information on how to better your chances of receiving a contract. Then, July 17th-19th she will be accepting pitches at Be sure to follow her series of blogs about preparing your manuscript for submission so you'll be ready. You can read her bio at Good Luck!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fiction That Moves You

For fiction that moves you, there is no better place than Prism Book Group and no one creates more delightful teasers for these books than Jacqueline Hopper, one of Prism’s acquiring editors. When I watch her short (1-3 minute videos) they all make me smile. See what I’m talking about by checking out a few of these on her blog  And, don’t miss the Prism Book Group 99 cent book of the month teaser to witness beautiful scenery, horses running wild, and helicopters stirring up dust (hint: it might just be one of my novels). Enjoy, I know I always do.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why Do You Write?

One of the most important questions you can ask yourself as a writer is why do I write? This may seem like a simple question, but the answer is often complex and almost always multi-faceted. An honest assessment of the driving force behind this all-consuming venture helps to define genre, tone, and most importantly, voice. Voice is the way you "speak" on paper. It is how your words come across to the reader, and it will be different for every writer. Voice depends on the style you choose - formal, informal, technical, chatty, poetic, etc. - and the words you choose to express this style – simple words, scientific terminology, slang, etc.  Some writers strive to enlighten, teach, or inspire. Others may want to challenge social norms, shock sensibilities, promote a cause, or prompt action. Many harbor more simplistic goals such as to entertain. Most, though, can probably attribute their desire to write to a combination of factors including my favorite double negative, “I can’t not write.” I find the most compelling impetus behind creating my novels is to entertain by taking readers on an amazing and outrageous adventure which generally results in the characters discovering courage and strength they didn’t know they possessed and a deep and binding love for each other through shared sacrifice. I have to admit, that as a geographer and avid traveler I do hope to peek people’s curiosity about our world and maybe even occasionally incite a reader to pull out a world map or their favorite Search Engine. And I must confess I’m one of those who, can’t not write. I’ve tried a time or two, but before long an idea forms and I’m back at the computer entrenched in a make-believe world in an exciting or faraway land.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Fathers come in all shapes and sizes and their parenting styles run the gamut. My dad was strict, but always fair and never dull. I was okay with his rules because at least I knew what to expect. With the trials and tribulations, confusion, and drama of adolescence I found comfort in having consistency in this major aspect of my life, no guess work involved when it came to my parents. I knew I could count on them and I knew how far I could push them, so I wasted no time in this pointless youthful exploration. Certain restrictions were also a vital part of growing up in the country. Many of the rules were instituted to keep us safe from poisonous snakes, horses, power tools, irrigation canals, etc., but having limits never stifled our fun or creativity.  We were free to explore on motorbike and horseback within realistic parameters and the most outrageous adventures we undertook together. Without his unique idea of recreation and family vacations I wouldn’t have been able to write Big Horn Storm. Though the book is pure fiction, many of the scenes would have been difficult to create without a few real-life experiences to draw upon. I’ll be forever grateful to my Dad for being a parent, first and foremost, and encouraging outdoor adventures which have created enough story ideas to last a lifetime.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The "What if" Scenario

I was recently interviewed on Carlene Havel’s Blog ( She asked me, “Do you ever frighten yourself when you’re deeply involved in writing a suspenseful story?”

My answer was, “No. Most of my adventures are really out there, set in the mountains, jungles, deserts or other exotic locals, many of which I’ve visited with no crisis or unpleasant experiences. What I couldn’t write are serial killer or psychological thrillers.  Those types of stories show up on the news often enough that they are too entrenched in reality. I like my adventures to be a little less likely to happen in real life. Stories can be incredibly suspenseful using the “what if” scenario.” 

What if America was invaded by an unlikely coalition of enemies? What if the approximately 500 missile silos scattered across the West were deemed too dangerous to leave unsecured? What if the control facilities happen to be in the vicinity of your serene mountain retreat? How far would you go to survive and protect those you love? Big Horn Storm 

What if we unwittingly relinquished most of our rights resulting in an authoritarian government? What if in the attempt to avoid conflict among the citizens we were stripped of basic rights, including the option to choose our own mates and fall in love? Would the desire to regain control of your life push you to challenge a formidable foe and attempt an escape through an inhospitable desert landscape? Desperate Dreams 

What if a seemingly perfect life is turned upside down during a simple vacation at a common destination? Could you persevere in the face of tragedy, terror and the formidable natural obstacles of a wild jungle? Would you put your trust in the hands of a handsome stranger? Marked in Mexico 

When creating suspense there are many mechanisms to accomplish this, but in order to allow me to sleep at night I think I’ll stick with the, “what if,” scenarios. I hope my readers enjoy the tension and adventures associated with the endless possibilities in our complex world.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Release - Shaken Blessings by Celeste Charlene

Sandra Calbrin flies to Africa after a military coups to check on the orphans she sponsors and to collect shea nuts for beauty creams in her health spa. Urged by the pastor, she agrees to vaccinate infants.
Shocked by the often dangerous practices that parents in the region engage in, she struggles to prevent them from harming their children. To prove she can care for a child, Sandy takes in an abandoned baby and names her Blessing, hoping to break the child’s curse.
Unfamiliar with obscure customs, Sandy breaks local taboos, is accused of prostitution, and of having an illegitimate child.
 Blessing’s father demands money in exchange for his daughter. Selling children is illegal but returning Blessing to her father almost guarantees the infant’s death.
Military officers harass Sandy and refuse to renew her visa unless she consents to their unscrupulous ultimatums. Blessing’s relatives and the police officers pursue her with threats and immoral demands. They come after her like a pack of lions preying on a wildebeest.
When rebel soldiers take up arms and gunfire erupts in the village, Sandy and her baby Blessing are in danger. Since military officials and immigration authorities continue to terrorize her, who can help her and will she keep her Blessing?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Upcoming Writers’ Conferences

Writer’s conferences are great ways to learn about the craft, meet agents and editors, network with other writers and just have a good time with like-minded people. Here are a few upcoming conferences to check out.

Pacific Northwest Writers Association Writer’s Conference

Where: Seattle, Washington
When: July 25 -28, 2013.
For more information:


Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers 2013 Colorado Gold Conference

Where: Denver, Colorado
When:  September 20 - 22, 2013.
For more information:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sparks Featuring Carlene Havel

I hope you’ve been enjoying the “Sparks” posts.  These small nuggets from successful authors are intended to give readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the thoughts that go into a story and encourage writers to not overlook even the smallest of life experiences when crafting a scene.  Gay N. Lewis highlighted the value of research, Bonnie McCune noted the importance of not only looking at your own experiences, but considering those around you.  This week Carlene discusses traditions, family stories and childhood memories.

Carlene Havel: My family has a tradition of story-telling.  Some of my fondest childhood memories involve nestling in a relative’s lap, trying to stay awake while someone spun a yarn from times past.  During the 2012 holidays, I was thinking about the hardships my grandparents faced during the Great Depression.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to incorporate some of these wonderful treasures into a book? This kernel of an idea grew into a short novel to be entitled “A Sharecropper’s Christmas”.  It’s mainly about my paternal grandmother, based loosely on her experiences as a farm wife during the 1930s.  I admit to changing names and locations, along with invoking some literary license.  For the most part, I drew on my own recollections of family stories, and my mother helped by providing additional details.  While “A Sharecropper’s Christmas” won’t be classified as an adventure novel per se, the story is about life—the greatest adventure of all! 
Carlene is a Texan.  Her published novels include the love story of Princess Michal and King David in, Daughter of the King, and the contemporary Christian romance, A Hero’s Homecoming. Both novels are available at For more on Carlene follow her blog at