Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Short Stories for the Holidays

Busy as this time of the year is, don't we all want to find a few minutes to just sit and read for a while? And it's even better if we can find something shorter to read since we don't have a lot of time to linger. Today's guest in My Writing Corner, Leslee Breene has an offering that is just the ticket--a collection of short stories.

Becky, Thank you for having me as a guest author on your blog! It’s always fun to share the writing journey with fellow writers and friends.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Probably since elementary school. In the First grade, I wrote a play entitled “The Princess Who Had Fleas” that the class performed with paper mache hand puppets. The title reveals my early imagination. Obviously, the play was not a romance. How did you get started? By taking workshops in the craft of short story writing and joining writers’ groups. The National Writers’ Association was where I had my first taste of critique with other fledgling writers in Aurora, CO. It was bittersweet, but when you have that innate passion to express yourself in the written word, a critique group is where you start…even if it can be painful at times.

Where did you get story ideas?
A memorable week-long seminar in Santa Fe, combining short fiction and poetry, comes to mind. It was called Recoursos. In the early 1990’s, this was the ticket to rub elbows with university profs and published literary writers. I learned that the story idea must first originate in the mind, then the heart. Every word counts in short fiction.

What is your writing process. Do you plot carefully or wing it?
Since I’ve been a commercial women’s fiction writer, I’ve learned the value of creating a working synopsis for every book. This is a must! The literary writer has more leeway, but the ending for that genre should make sense. Personally, I prefer a storyline that reaches a satisfying resolution.

Please tell us about your debut short story collection, and what made you want to write it?

Christmas in My Heart is the result of combining four awarded holiday short stories, a few of them I revised, to share with family and friends. And hopefully, by word of mouth, many more will want to add this collection as a “keepsake” of favorite Christmas stories to read again every year. The beautiful, inviting cover by graphic artist Lori Corsentino is one that I’m especially proud to place on my coffee table!

What is unique about your current heroines?
The heroines’ ages in Christmas in My Heart range from 11 to 27. Each heroine faces a challenge that will change her life. The settings take place in Minnesota, New Mexico and Colorado.

How about a blurb?
Here’s a sneak peek at the back cover of Christmas in My Heart. The collection also includes a teaser from my last novel, Journey to Sand Castle.

The Caretaker -- In a blustery 1875 winter, a Scandinavian immigrant farm family prepares for the arrival of a baby. When the baby wants to arrive too soon, eleven-year-old Selma must take a challenging journey that transforms her life. ~Women Writing the West LAURA Finalist, 2009

Snow Angels of San Marcial -- Christmas is coming in a small Mexican town and young Angelina wants to give her hard-working widowed mother a special gift. But will her unpredictable brothers cooperate? ~ByLine Magazine Christmas Fiction Contest, First Place, 1998

Carpenter’s Crib -- Lauren, a recent widow, hires a carpenter to make her baby son a crib before Christmas. Turns out, the carpenter is a widowed single dad. It’s too soon for romance yet when a tragedy threatens his small Colorado business their mutual attraction cannot be denied.

The Christmas Gift -- In 1883, Miriam takes the train to Denver to deliver her orphaned baby nephew to her married sister. But the sweetness of his touch upon her cheek makes her heart tighten. When the time comes, how will she ever let him go? ~Amazon Top Ten YA short fiction ebook , 2014

What a wonderful variety of stories! How can readers reach you or find you online?

Four of my published novels are available on Starlight Rescue and Journey to Sand Castle are also available in Kindle ebook.


Thank you, Leslee for bringing us your collection of short stories, just in time for the holidays. Leslee is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter on today's blog. If you'd like to be in the drawing, please leave a comment or feel free to ask her a question.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Let's Visit a Romantic Spot!

Ever since I began reading short stories, I've enjoyed those with great romances or romantic elements. This week in My Writing Corner I am featuring a new anthology, Welcome to Serenity Harbor, with a romantic story by Kat Henry Doran. I love small town romances and Serenity Harbor sounds like just the place to find a few.

Madeleine Flynn returns to Serenity Harbor intent on restoring her beloved home to its former grandeur. Nothing will get in her way. Including a man whose jeans fit in all the right places and who handles a staple gun with the with the grace of a philharmonic conductor.

Acting on their own agenda, local power brokers expect general contractor Azrael Hanson to monitor renovations on That House--and toss in a few diversions whenever possible. 

Torn between duty to superiors and a private life he craves, Az knows standing with Maddy will damage his career beyond salvage. If he follows orders, he'll lose a future with the only woman who has brought a new word to his life: hope.
Writing under the pseudonyms of Veronica Lynch and Kat Henry Doran, author Kathy Cottrell uses her past experience as a nurse, victim advocate and insurance investigator as fodder for her award winning stories which center around women and men who stand for the “less thans” of the world and manage along the way to find that one person who completes their lives.

She also channels her creativity into creating tote bags. Outside of writing and the tote bags, she is a devoted hand maiden and personal slave to the four brightest lights in the universe: Meredith and Owen, Ashlin and Kieran.

Let's get an excerpt from Kat's story, "It Had to Be You," part of Welcome to Serenity Harbor:

     “Hanson,” she rasped between swollen, broken lips. “Are you from around here?”
      He nodded. “Born and raised. Why?”
      “I remember a family with six, maybe seven kids. All were named after the minor archangel. Are you part of that clan?”
      “I am. My family owns Hanson Scapes.”
      “So, you're from here, too,” he said, feeling more than a little stupid at the lame statement. Despite the ER doc's warning to not let her talk, Az liked the sound of her voice. She may have lived in Serenity Harbor long enough to know about his mother's obsession with angels, but she hadn't stuck around long. With her height and that Lauren Bacall voice, a woman with her looks stayed in a man's mind. And this one fell under RLT. Real Looker Territory.
      “My name is Maddy Flynn.”
      One of his nastier habits was spitting out the first thing that came to mind. What came out of his mouth earned both feet, one elbow and the opposite fist all in one bite.
      “Oh, sure. You're the girl who wants to rehab the whorehouse.

Doesn't that sound like a winning story? And it comes in a whole host of tales that should be just as fun to read.  Here are the buy links:

D2D: https// BN:

If you would like to know more about Kat Henry Doran, you can visit:


Thank you, Kat, for being my guest today. Questions or comments for Kat or on Serenity Harbor?  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Romantic Journey Back in Time

Studying history is one of my passions besides my writing, and it is always great to find books that really pull you in to the time period and the story. Visiting with me today in My Writing Corner is Jean Jacobsen, who writes about New York in the 1830's in her new series. Jean, tell us about yourself and your new book.

Hi Becky, I’m so excited to be here with you today. We share a love of history, research, travel and writing. I’ve come to writing later than most and only at the suggestion of a fellow writer who had asked for help with a chapter. When she read my suggestions, she said, “You should write your own story.” Soon after that conversation, a character popped into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote down her story. I must say, it was a most interesting experience to listen to someone I didn’t know. That’s where I got my first story idea and I worked on it for twenty years as I learned about the writing and storytelling process.

Through the years, I’ve developed a writing process that is both a structured and writing raw, as I sometimes call it, process. I plot the story and have my outline. The writing raw part comes when I sit down to write, look over the outline and start writing whatever pops into my head about the story. Later I fit it into the appropriate chapter, rather than writing linier.
My current series, Chronicles of the Hudson River Valley, is set in the 1830s in New York State, about thirty miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley. Book one; The Reluctant Debutante, the heroine, Clarissa Tanner fights to save her beloved Thoroughbred horses and family estate after the tragic death of her parents. Her father’s long time enemy purchases the outstanding debts and imposes a 90 day deadline for repayment thus throwing her into the dreaded marriage mart of New York’s high society. She fears she won’t find a man who will allow her to work with the horses she loves, who understand who she is and let her be herself. Her strength of will and early feminist views in this male dominated world ruffles the feathers of fellow horse breeders. Love finds her in the form of her handsome dance instructor, Nicholas, preparing her for the society debut and sets sparks flying.

Stay tuned for the soon to be released:
Book two, The Reluctant Heir

The hero, Liam, Nicholas’ brother has a weakness for gambling and flees from the strong arms trying to collect a debt owed to the card dens of Boston. Liam finds friendship and love with the lovely tavern maid Erin as together they dodge the strong arms and search for pirates treasure on Clarissa’s estate in the Hudson River Valley.
Readers can find me at my website  and Amazon at

Thank you, Jean, for being my guest. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

An Intriguing New Romance for Fall

With Daylight Saving Time about to end, we have more of those long evenings we can spend with new books to read.  This week I am looking at a new book that really caught my attention and interest. It combines two of my favorite things -- suspense and the Northwest. Author C.B.  Clark is the guest today in My Writing Corner.

C.B. says she has always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn't until she lost her voice for a year that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada's Northwest Territories and Yukon. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology she worked as an archaeologist and an educator, teaching students from primary grades through the first year of college.

She says she enjoys hiking, canoeing and show-shoeing with her husband and dog near her home in central British Columbia. She explained why she wanted to write her new book, Cherished Secrets.

I love writing. I love creating new worlds, peopling them with interesting characters, and then upping the stakes and watching them scramble to reach their goals. Having lived most of my life in small towns, I am intrigued by the power wielded by local gossips. Imagine living for years under the suspicion of having committed a vicious murder. You know you're innocent, but no one else believes you, not even your closest friends. How do you clear your name? As the hero in Cherished Secrets says, "Suspicion is like a stink that follows you around. No amount of washing will ever erase the smell."

What an interesting premise.  Here's a blurb for Cherished Secrets:

Twelve years ago sixteen-year-old Carrie Ann Hetherington, pregnant with the child of a murder suspect, fled the small town of Cooper's Ridge for the anonymity of Seattle. Now, faced with a family dilemma, she must risk her carefully re-invented life and return to her childhood home.

Eighteen-year-old Declan McAllister's prom date is found beaten and strangled to death, and he becomes the prime suspect accused of the grisly crime. Now this successful Dallas businessman returns to Cooper's Ridge to find the true murderer and finally life the cloak of suspicion he's faced all these years. In his quest to prove his innocence he must join forces with the woman who shattered his heart to find a devious killer who will stop at nothing to protect a shocking truth.

Caught up in a menacing web of secrets, deception and danger, they struggle to overcome past betrayals and present danger. Can they tear down the barriers they've erected around their hearts and rediscover true love.

Here are the buy links for Cherished Secrets:



Book Strand: http://www.bookstrand.comb/cherished-secrets


The Wild Rose Press:

Here are the links to reach C. B. Clark:

Goodreads author page:

Thanks for being my guest and telling us about Cherished Secrets. Any questions or comments?

Mysterious Doings

As the  summer begins, it is time to start selecting those books we want to take on vacation or for sitting around the pool or at  the beach...