Hot Summer Nights

Everyone likes to do something different in the summer. For many years race tracks were my thing. I know, how smart do you have to be to drive around in circles, eh? Most people would tell you, not very. But it’s not the driving that gets me. Sure, that’s part of it, but it’s the challenge of racing. Taking a bare chassis and building something piece by piece until you have a car. Directed primarily by a loose set of rules, each part thought about, calculated into the whole, saved for and pushed to the limit.

At the track, it’s dark, it’s loud, and it’s endless. There are so many tasks to perform before a race, during a race, after a race and during the week. And that doesn’t count what you have to do if you manage to wreck the car. Primarily it’s the mental challenge that drew me. The math, the calculations all done at every instance just to make sure your machine goes faster than someone else’s. I realize competition is a dirty word these days, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.

I know how far I can push myself, physically and mentally, and it’s much further than I ever dreamed. Those hot summer nights are something I’ll never forget. The winning, and the blood, sweat, and tears. The losing, the sweet smell of fuel additive and best of all, dinner with friends at three in the morning.RTW 250x400 11.17

When it came time for me to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and write my first book, I wrote what I knew. Literally. If I had a question, I knew the right people to ask. I’ve been able to use many of my experiences as a basis for incidents in my books.

This left me able to concentrate on the writing. Exciting beginnings, no sagging middles, and the prerequisite HEA. It’s with a grateful heart that I post about my latest release, Running Three Wide. It wouldn’t be finished without the help and encouragement of the Passionate Critters. Thanks, Ladies!

Here’s the blurb:

Drive hard. Turn left. Find love…and danger.

Sarah Miller has finally become crew chief for a racing team, but her dream job comes with a hitch—dirt late model driving sensation and the man she swore she’d never see again, her old flame, Damon Blade.

Damon has too many women trying to run his life: his mother, his sister and his boss. Getting stuck with a female crew chief is the last straw…until he discovers its Sarah. And that someone else from his past is holding a grudge and determined to kill them both.

Balancing dirt track racing and staying away from a murderer has them running three wide. Headed full speed into the turn, will there be room for romance?

If you’re interested you can buy it here.

Here’s wishing each of you a great season. What do you love to do in the summertime?

 

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Guest Post — Lynn Cahoon

Researching or how to make it to the front of the line at the bookstore.

When I was thinking about The Council series, I wanted to be accurate in my portrayal of a witch out of water. Parris McCall doesn’t know she’s a witch when the story starts. Sure, weird things are more likely to happen to her than to others. And once, when head cheerleader, Brittany the bright, made fun of Parris, one too many times, the queen bee’s hair turned pink.  In English class. In front of the entire junior class.

amemberofthecouncilWhen she got home from school that day, Gran had weaved this fairy tale about her powers and her parents, but even then, Parris had refused to accept or even listen.

So what was an unknowing witch to do?

I didn’t have a clue.

As in most cases, when I’m looking for answers, I visit the information mecca. No, not the internet. I went to the library. There I found all sorts of historical books about the Salem witchcraft trials along with some basic Wiccan handbooks. Not a lot. Most of the how to books were in the area of Tarot reading or horoscopes. I live in a small, conservative town.

After racing through all those books, and probably getting a warning code attached to my library card in case of a plague of locusts or roving witch hunters, I hit the book store.

Visiting the book store actually gave me more options in books. I bought a handbook of spells, one on elementary magic, and one boasting an encyclopedia of spells, castings, and potions.

When I got in line with my treasures, you could see the tension when people around me noticed my choice of reading material. Several stepped aside, mumbling how they’d forgotten something.  And I hadn’t cast even a little spell.

I’m still researching for the last book of the series. Picking up bits and pieces here and there, I’ll use my writer magic to weave together into a story that finishes Ty and Parris’s quest. Or at least that’s my plan today.

What’s the most unusual subject you’ve researched?

 ****

A Member of the Council – The Council #1

A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world.

Parris McCall, owner of the dive bar, The Alibi, has finally constructed a life where her

little quirks don’t show or matter to anyone. As for her grandmother’s warnings that she’s different, well, she’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it.

But when Ty walks into her bar, both lives are instantly changed.

Buy Links – http://www.amazon.com/Member-Council-Lynn-Cahoon-ebook/dp/B00IPQX0AI/

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CahoonBIO – Lynn Cahoon’s a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love. Lynn’s published in Chicken Soup anthologies, explored controversial stories for the confessional magazines, short stories in Women’s World, and contemporary romantic fiction. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

Contact Lynn at her website: www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnCahoon

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Guest Post — Ashlee Mallory

First connections and why I wanted to become a writer

I would like to thank Through Heart-Shaped Glasses for having me on today! I love your blog and don’t know how you come up with ideas so prolifically! It was actually in reviewing your first month of blog topics of “Firsts” that I came up with my own topic for today. It had me thinking about how and why I am where I am.

We probably all remember the opening scene in Romancing the Stone, where Joan Wilder, A.K.A. Kathleen Turner, finishes her book and goes in search of a tissue but finds her apartment a mess with post-it notes reminding her to pick up tissue? Her only company a hungry cat? Had I known just how spot-on that writing scene was from that scene, where there was no glitz, just Joan and a typewriter, would I still have chosen writing as a profession?

Yeah. Most definitely.

Because despite the sometimes lonely existence even with my family surrounding me and pets vying for attention, there’s still the thrill of putting together a particular scene that has me smiling to myself, and the hope it might even draw a chuckle from readers.  Or writing that one suspenseful scene that will send chills up readers’ spines as they worry and wonder what happens next. Those are the moments that I love about writing.

One of the first romance books that I remember totally loving for the range in emotions it wrought from me—from spurts of laughter after reading a particular witty comment that the heroine threw at the hero, to full tears at the emotional and physical pain the hero endured to show her his love—was Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of dreams.  When I finished that story and every time I read it afterwards, I knew I wanted to aspire to writing just like Ms. McNaught. To draw readers in to my story, the character’s life, where they experience their joy and pain along with them.

YouAgain (2) (1)I’ve only just debuted my first book and it feels like the dam has broken. Ideas are bubbling and waiting to be let out.  I only hope that I’ll be able to capture all the emotions as capably as Ms. McNaught. And even though the house is in shambles and the laundry is several feet high and the kids are eating cereal for dinner (although that seems to be by their choice, thankfully), I wouldn’t change any of it.

My debut book, YOU AGAIN, is now available for purchase on most major E-retailers as seen here http://www.entangledpublishing.com/you-again/  I also love to connect with readers and fellow authors and you can find me on:

My web page, http://www.ashleemallory.com/

Twitter:  @ashleemallory and

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ashlee.mallory.50

Bio:

AshleeMallory.AuthorPhotoAshlee lives with her husband, two kids, a dog, and cat surrounded by the majestic mountains of her hometown in the greater Salt Lake City area. When she’s not writing the boring legal stuff for her day job, she gets to immerse herself in writing stories about love, life, and the occasional murder.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Traditions to Keep (& a gingerbread recipe!)

2013-12-15 18.38.05Twenty-one years ago we invited my best friend and her two little boys over to make gingerbread cookies with our 1 year old son. It’s a holiday tradition that has continued in my house every year since.

Our families grew, the cookies changed from innocent creations to being pulled apart on the trays and mutated into whatever was popular at the time and for their ages. We’ve had cookies that were anatomically correct and a few years, instead of men the cookies became guitars and swords.  And I have pictures of all seven kids growing up around my dining room table – smiling, happy and enjoying something together that they’ll remember forever.

This year, the oldest child is engaged and asked me if he could bring his fiance – because they want to continue our tradition and “it just wouldn’t be Christmas without coming and baking cookies!” Wow…I cried, and my heart swelled with pride – I’ve certainly done something right. This is certainly a tradition worth keeping and passing down.

Here is the Gingerbread recipe that was given to my by my mother-in-law twenty-one years ago and used every year since:

1 Cup margarine

1 Cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 Cup dark molasses

2 tbs vinegar

5 Cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp all-spice

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

Beat margarine until creamy. Beat in sugar and salt. Stir in eff, molasses and vinegar. Beat well. Sift flour, baking soda and spices together. Stir into molasses mixture. (Dough will be STIFF) Chill dough at least 3 hours. Roll dough to approx 1/8 inch thick (up to you, really) on a lightly floured board or pasty sheet. Cut shapes with cookie cutter, decorate if desired (we load them up with all kinds of candy!) Place on a greased cooked sheet one inch apart at 375 for 6 minutes – or until light brown and puffed up. Cool slightly and remove to wire rack. If you prefer, you can decorate with royal icing after they’ve cooled. This same recipe can be used in molds to make houses and trains too. Makes approx 8 dozen.

What traditions did you start years ago became permanent parts of your holiday celebrations?

And don’t forget…every comment earns a chance to win ONE of our holiday books up for grabs this month! Including mine:

MuffinsandMistletoe 200x300

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Reading – Year in Review

Today I was scanning through my Goodreads bookshelf and realized I’ve read some great books this year!

Unlike some novelists, I love reading nonfiction. I like books on business, marketing, parenting, and faith.  I read several non-fiction books for writers, including The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke and 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron. One of the best books I read this year was a non-fiction book titled The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I recommended it to several people at work, and they also loved it.

I read several Christian novels this year. I especially like romances with a good dose of comedy like Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt and Sandwich with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips. I also read Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, one of my favorite authors. I love her voice, and she creates some of the best heroes around.

I read sweet romances, including The Husband School by Kristine Rolofson and A Little Bit Cupid (which I highly recommend) by our very own Jennifer Shirk.

And when I wanted something different from all that romance, I read Proof, a great medical thriller by Jordyn Redwood.

Over Thanksgiving break, I read three different Christmas novellas. Mistletoe Magic by Terri Weldon and Faith House by Robin Patchen, two talented authors from my local writers group, and Muffins and Mistletoe by an extremely talented Heart Shaped Glasses author, Debora Dennis. There’s nothing better to get you in the holiday spirit than a great Christmas romance.

Well, those are some of the amazing books I read in 2013. I can’t wait to see what wonderful books 2014 has in store for me. What are some of the books you read this year?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Back-to-School for Adults

Learning

My son started preK this year. It was exciting and a more-than-a-little scary to drop him off on his first day, but he’s not the only one in the family who is working to learn more this year. As an author, I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills. Whether you’re a writer or have a different passion like learning new languages, improving your health and fitness, or couponing, living a life where we’re always striving to learn more and better ourselves can help us live more successful, fulfilled lives. Here are a few of my favorite ways to learn something new.

  1. Read a book. Whether it’s a book on writing or a great novel, reading broadens our horizons and teaches us valuable lessons.
  2. Go to a conference. I’ll be headed to a conference later this month, and I can’t wait to connect with like-minded people and hear experts teach. There is nothing like being able to escape the expectations of your daily life to immerse yourself something you love to do.
  3. Take an online class. If conference fees and airfare are too much of an investment, check out some of the free and cost effective online classes available. Online classes can provide access and sometimes even feedback from some of the biggest names in the field.
  4. Find a group or support system. I have a stellar writers’ group in my area and another amazing group online (waving to all my wonderful critique partners). Whether it’s face-to-face or through the computer, having a group of peers who constantly push and encourage us is vital to growing and improving.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to learn something new?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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