June 30

Birthdays: David McPhail (1940), Adam Roberts, Assia Djebar, Czeslaw Milosz, Dinaw Megestu, Jose Emilio Pacheco, Winston Graham

Tip: In dialogue, try to avoid the “But as you know…” syndrome. If the reader should know it, then you should have had it in before this.

Thought for the day: “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” – Colette

Jumpstart: Open any magazine to a picture and write a paragraph about what is happening or what is being advertised. You’re trying to describe this to someone who can’t see it. Be specific.

Author Spotlight: Pam Godwin

Title: Lessons in Sin
Author: Pam Godwin
Series: Standalone in the Midnight Dynasty World
Genre:  College Romance/Contemporary Romance/ New Adult
Publisher: Dangerous Press
Release Date: June 29
There’s no absolution for the things I’ve done.
But I found a way to control my impulses.
I became a priest.
As Father Magnus Falke, I suppress my cravings. As the head teacher of a Catholic boarding school, I’m never tempted by a student.
Until Tinsley Constantine.
The bratty princess challenges my rules and awakens my dark nature. With each punishment I lash upon her, I want more. In my classroom, private rectory, and bent over my altar, I want all of her.
One touch risks everything I stand for. My faith. My redemption. And even my life.
As if that could stop me. I need her pain, and her heart, and she needs my lessons in sin.

Continue reading “Author Spotlight: Pam Godwin”

June 28

Birthdays: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712), Mark Helprin (1947), Jane Ransom (1958), Aimee Bender, Asa Larsson, Deborah Moggach, Eric Ambler

Tip: Do not plagiarize another author’s work. EVER.

Thought for the day: “If you get a nasty fan letter, treasure it. The writer of it would love to be you.” – Dee Holmes

Jumpstart: Write an excuse to the writing principal about why you didn’t write today. Make it plausible.

June 27

Birthdays: Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872), Helen Keller (1880), Lucille Clifton (1936), Alice McDermott (1953), Christina Bjork (1938), Esther Forbes (1891), Anita Diamant, E.R. Braithwaite, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Teju Cole

Tip: Don’t expect agents or editors to do the work for you. They don’t have the time. Your story should be as good as you can possibly make it. If they say you need to fix things… fix them yourself.

Thought for the day: “You can’t reach your goal if you don’t reach for it.” – Cynthia Thomason

Jumpstart: You have planned the ultimate sit-down dinner. The guests have all arrived and the food is being served. There is just enough for everyone—when an unexpected guest arrives. This person is important and to turn them away would be an insult. What do you do?

June 26

Birthdays: Pearl S. Buck (1892), Walter, Farley (1922), Nancy Willard (1938), Charlotte Zolotow (1915), Edith Pearlman, Laurie Lee, Lev Grossman

Tip: Do not use “dream sequence” writing, as in the old TV show Dallas. You shouldn’t kill off a character (or do something equally dramatic), then have them come back and it was “all a dream”.

Thought for the day: “In this game, part of the responsibility for your success or failure rests squarely on your shoulders, so be prepared to take the heat when you don’t follow good advice.” – Mary Ellen Donahue

Jumpstart: Finish this: When the lights went out, I was…

June 25

I’m starting something new today. On days when I don’t have author spotlights or new reviews up, I’ll post tidbits for you to read that are all about writing. Like this:

Birthdays: George Orwell (1903-1950), Eric Carle (1929), Linda Spalding (1943), P.H. Newby (1918-1997), Yann Martel (1963)

Tip: Don’t overuse backstory, especially in the first chapter. Weave it in through the story, don’t “info dump” on the reader.

Thought for the day: “I write at any time of day in any place, so long as it’s quiet and I can set up my computer. I’m a slow writer, given to playing Spider Solitaire when stuck. Otherwise, my writing habits are blindingly boring. I just sit down at the computer and write.” – Yann Martel

Jumpstart: Your character just found out she was adopted, and she never knew. What does she do? How does she feel?

New reviews

I have been lax in posting my reviews. Life has gotten in the way — a deadline for my own writing, too many things going on, etc. You know how it is. I’ve been reading, just haven’t had the time to write them up and post. So… here for your enjoyment:

Under LGBTQ+ for adults: Two new Andrew Grey reads. They both have hunky men and babies. Who could go wrong with that?

Nowhere to Ride by Andrew Grey – a 4 sparkler romance

Rescue Me by Andrew Grey – 5 sparklers for this one

Under Romance:

Sworn to Fly by Maria Imbalzano – 3 sparklers – good story, but with some minor issues

Casting Her Crush by M.C. Vaugh – 4 sparklers for this theater-based romance

And under Teresa’s Movie/Book Tie-ins: 4 new ones to look at.

Author Spotlight: Shirley Goldberg

A talk with Sunny and Dana, the heroines of Shirley’s books

When fellow author Vicky Burkholder invited me to guest post, I asked two of my main characters to join me. They didn’t seem all that eager.

“What’s the problem?” I’d been wrestling with words all day. Who needs  moodiness from my imaginary beings?

“Isn’t this a tad weird?” Sunny’s voice was taut with attitude.  

“Weird? How?” Dana asked.

“We’re characters in books and we’re chatting as if we’re real people.”

“Not so odd.” Dana scratched a mosquito bite. “We’re friends in the books. By the way, my trip to Florida was great. Except for a few mosquito bites.”

“Don’t say anything about who you went with on vacation,” Sunny said. “We don’t want any spoilers. Not everyone has read your book.” She gave Dana a stern look.

“It’s not my book,” Dana said. “It’s Shirley’s book.”

“Don’t quibble,” I said. As if they’d listen to me.

“I guess we should introduce ourselves. I’m Sunny Chanel, the main character in Middle Ageish, Shirley’s first novel.

“I’m Dana, Sunny’s BFF in her book.”

“You have your own book now, though. How do you feel about that?”

“You sound like my therapist.”

“The two of you bicker inside my head all day long,” I interrupted. “It’s unnerving.”

“I’m the one with a therapist, not you.” Sunny stepped around me to confront Dana.

“Remember, no spoilers,” Dana chided.

“Sorry.” Sunny looked embarrassed. “Aren’t we supposed to be introducing Shirley?”

“You start.” Dana gestured with her chin. “Give the readers a heads-up about her background. Why she wrote the book.”

“I’ve always wondered myself.” Sunny looked at me. “You did a lot of online dating and took notes in the ladies room, didn’t you? When you were on a meet.”

“I’ll admit it.” I put my hands up in surrender. My dirty little secret was out. At least they weren’t bickering.

“Let me get this straight. You’re on a date. You excuse yourself to go to the restroom. And take notes in the toilet stall? Seriously?”

“Pretty much,” I said.

“It’s true,” Sunny said. “You wouldn’t believe how many guys I had to do the ole meet-and-greet with to keep the story moving forward. Shirley planned it all in the restroom.” She gave a little sneer. “How romantic.” 

“I don’t write books in the toilet,” I protested. “Notes. I took a few notes.

“We’ve all heard the advice writers get.” Sunny fixed me with a look that said I wasn’t getting away with anything. “Write about what you know.”

“So I’ve heard,” Dana said. “We’re getting off track here. The book is about starting over. Not so easy when you’re a little older. Shirley knows because she started over. She was living in Crete, teaching English. She and her husband ended their marriage.

“Right, sorry about my tirade,” Sunny said. “Shirley moved back to Connecticut and started over.

“We met when you moved from Paris to New Haven and enrolled in the grad program.” Dana crossed her legs and scratched her mosquito bites again. “Just like Shirley.”

“Are you saying the book is autobiographical?” Dana asked Sunny.

“Ask Shirley,” Sunny said. “I think all writing is somewhat autobiographical.”

“My marriage was circling the drain.” No point in denying the similarities in the book to my own life. “Look, relationships aren’t easy. It’s a wonder two people come together, much less stay together.”

“In Middle Ageish, I issue the dating challenge that starts the ball rolling,” Sunny said.

“I made up that dating contest,” I said.

 “Yeah, probably after three glasses of wine.” Sunny looked around the living room. “I could use a glass of wine.”

“Hey.” Dana poked Sunny in the arm. “We’re guests here.”

Sunny gave Dana a look. “Shirley forced me to date. A lot. And broke my heart.”

“No spoilers!” I’d had it up to my eyelashes with my characters. Especially Sunny.

“Dana, you’re the heroine in Eat Your Heart Out. Can you say a little something about––”

“Friendship,” said Dana. “Women. Men. Two foodies. We sauté together, banter, and dance around each other. There’s some serious stuff too. A few issues.”

“Shirley said she writes to make readers laugh,” said Sunny.

They exchanged a knowing look.

“I’d second that emotion, don’t you agree?” Dana looked proud of her song-quoting skills.

The three of us burst out giggling.

Blurb for Eat Your Heart Out

When a tyrant in stilettos replaces her beloved boss, and her ex snags her coveted job, teacher Dana Narvana discovers there are worse things than getting dumped on Facebook. Even at her age. Time for the BFF advice squad, starting with Dana’s staunchest ally, Alex. Hunky colleague, quipster, and cooking pal extraordinaire. But when the after hours smooching goes nowhere, she wonders why this grown man won’t make up his mind.   

Actor turned teacher Alex Bethany craves a family of his own and his new lifestyle gives him the confidence to try online dating. Meanwhile he’s sending Dana mixed messages in the kissing department. After a surprising event rocks his world, Alex panics, certain he’s blown his chances with his special person. From appetizers to the main course will these two cooking buddies make it to dessert?

Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them all the way to dessert.

About the Author

Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look at living single and  dating in mid life. Shirley is the author of two rom coms. Eat Your Heart Out and Middle Ageish, both in the series Starting Over. Shirley’s friends nag her to tell them which stories are true in her novels. Her characters believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.

Shirley’s Socials





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Author Spotlight: Andrew Grey

Title: Nowhere to Ride  
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Standalone
Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance 
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook 

Everybody needs to be rescued sometime.

Veterinarian Mitchell Brannigan gets off to a rocky start with his new neighbor when someone calls the town to complain about the noise. Mitchell runs a shelter for rescue dogs, and dogs bark. But when he goes to make peace, he meets Beau Pfister and his fussy baby daughter, Jessica… and starts to fall in love.

Beau moved out to the country to get away from his abusive ex-husband, but raising an infant alone, with no support network, is lonely and exhausting. The last thing he expects is a helping hand from the neighbor whose dogs he complained about.

Mitchell understands what it’s like to live in fear of your ex, and he’s determined to help Beau move on. But when an unseen menace threatens the shelter and Beau, it becomes apparent that he hasn’t dealt with his own demons.

With each other and a protective Chihuahua for support, Mitchell, Beau, and Jessica could make a perfect family. Mitchell won’t let anything happen to them.
But who’s going to rescue him?
Continue reading “Author Spotlight: Andrew Grey”

Author Spotlight: Marilyn Baron

Melody, a young single mother, discovers she’s descended from the last Tsar, Nicholas II. She becomes the best hope of a secret global society, Guardians of the Romanov Legacy, dedicated to restoring a Romanov to the throne of a New Russia. A diary and an heirloom necklace inherited from her murdered grandmother hold the key to her identity and to the location of the Tsar’s lost shipment of gold.

She must accept the sacrifices her birth demands and trust the machinations of the estranged father of her child. To refuse means turning her back on her heritage, her daughter’s legacy, and the long line of her family’s women who were keepers of the secret. Will her longing for true love have world-changing consequences?

Buy Links for The Romanov Legacy:

Amazon Kindle and Paperback 

Barnes & Noble NOOK and Paperback 

Target (Paperback)

About the author:

Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel, Stumble Stones, and

The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel, The Alibi. Her latest novel, The Romanov Legacy, released June 14, 2021, is her 27th work of fiction. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, Marilyn is past chair of Roswell Reads and serves on the Atlanta Authors Series Committee. To find out more about what Marilyn writes, visit her website at: www.marilynbaron.com/