Kathleen Kaska's Blog

December 29, 2014


            Besides being writers and contributors to the book, Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing, Sharleen Scott and I have another thing in common. We live in Washington State near one of the great produce valleys in the country. Skagit Valley is famous for growing berries: blueberries, strawberries; black berries; Marion berries, and raspberries. If you ever visit during the summer, you’ll see fresh berry stands all along the roadways and even in the small towns along the way. Walking through a community farmer’s market, will have your mouth watering over the scent of ripe fruit.
            So, it made perfect sense to me when I learned that Sharleen’s recipe in the book was Berries and Cream Pie. Although berry season has long passed, I have Sharleen recipe and several containers of berries in my freezer, which will get me through until the summer. 
            Her recipe calls for fresh or frozen berries poured into a nine inch pie crust and topped with a mixture of sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and half-and-half, and baked. Check out the dessert cookbook for recipe details and to read Sharleen’s seven steps to a lasting, loving relationship. Her writing advice is equally simple and wise: “Follow your heart, because only a book written from the heart will have a heart.”              Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Relationships and Writing, is edited by Lois Winston. The book features mystery and romance writers sharing not only their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.   
Bio: Romantic suspense author Sharleen Scott lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband Brett, two college kids, and two spoiled cats. Caught in the Spin, the second book in her Caught series, was released November 2.

For more information about Sharleen Scott and her writing, check out her website:  www.sharleenscott.com 
Cookbook authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.Watch the Video!Now an Amazon bestselling cookbook!
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Published on December 29, 2014 04:00 • 5 views

December 22, 2014


          I’ve always believed strawberry shortcake was one of those perfect desserts; impossible to improve upon.
Bake, Love Write author, Donnell Ann Bell, adding one simple ingredient, proved me wrong. Her Toasted Strawberry Shortcake is simple and quick, but dressed with what I like to call “liquid gold.” And any pastry that can be toasted is one step above great. What Donnell did to strawberry shortcake was to brushed each piece of pound cake with Grand Marnier and broil each side until nice and toasty before adding the strawberry topping. She turned a fabulous dessert into an unforgettable one. Donnell Ann Bell
            Donnell is a contributor to Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Relationships and Writing , edited by Lois Winston. The book features mystery and romance writers sharing not only their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.               What’s Donnell’s advice on love and writing? In a nutshell: fall in love with your best friend, but don’t fall in love with your words.                                     Here’s a peak at Donnell’ latest release Buried Agendas:             
 Diana Reid is an investigative reporter skilled at uncovering other people’s secrets.  It’s her own that she works to keep buried. Eight years earlier, she promised to leave her fiancé and hometown of Diamond, Texas forever. That pledge vanishes when she receives a letter stating people are going to die, implicating her hometown’s largest employer, and making a veiled threat against her mother. With no other choice, Diana will return to Diamond, albeit in disguise, to discover the anonymous author.             Brad Jordan moved on with his life after Diana walked out on him. Needless to say, she’s an unwelcome topic.  Just as he rebuilt his life, the newly elected mayor of Diamond, and newly engaged to be married man, plans to rebuild his struggling hometown.  Those plans are threatened, however, when an El Paso physician notifies Brad that she believes his family’s company, Jordan Industries, is conducting illegal practices and sacrificing the public’s health. When the doctor suggests bringing in Diana to uncover the wrongdoing, Brad opposes the idea. Still, when she appears despite his wishes, he is forced to accept that a woman he vowed to forget may be his only option to get to the truth. Together Diana Reid and Brad Jordan face a dangerous adversary—one whose only intent is keeping a deadly agenda buried. Bio:Donnell Ann Bell is an award-winning author of three romantic suspense novels, all of which have been e-book bestsellers.  Buried Agendas is her fourth published novel. Currently she is working on her first suspense series for Bell Bridge Books.  Donnell and her husband live in Colorado.  You can visit her website at www.donnellannbell.com
   Cookbook authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.Watch the video!Now an Amazon bestselling cookbook!
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Published on December 22, 2014 06:00 • 2 views

December 15, 2014


          When I read Lesley A. Diehl’s recipe, Butternut Valley Ginger Stout Cake or Muffin, in the Bake, Love, Write Dessert Cookbook, I couldn’t believe my luck. I’ve always been a proponent of beer and chocolate as a perfect culinary combo. I discovered the treat in college. I do not remember the circumstances. It probably had something to do with being able to afford a nice treat on a student budget. Back then I could get a beer and a Snicker for just over a dollar.            But here’s the real reason Lesley’s dessert grabbed my attention. Last January I gave up dark beer and cut down on my pastry consumption in an effort to lose a pound a month. Much to my surprise, it worked and I can now get into my skinny pants. How nice is that? But being a lover of stout beer and muffins, it was a big sacrifice. Lesley A. Diehl
            Lesley is a contributor to Bake, Love, Write: 105 Autors Share Desserts Recipes and Advice on Relationships and Writing, edited by Lois Winston. The book features mystery and romance writers sharing not only their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.             Even though the recipe doesn’t actually contain chocolate, Lesley explains why stout beer pairs well with it, as it does with ice cream and sweet and spicy foods. The recipe contains cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar and molasses, which all complement the stout.             With this dessert I can have my beer and eat my muffin too.             Check out Bake, Love, Write and also discover Lesley’s recipe for a lasting, loving relationship and her practical advice on writing.             Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She is author of numerous short stories and several mystery series including the microbrewing series (A Deadly Draught; Poisoned Pairings), two rural Florida mystery series (Dumpster Dying; Grilled, Chilled and Killed), and the Eve Appel mystery series—A Secondhand Murder; Dead in the Water. Other mysteries include Angel Sleuth, and Murder is Academic.Visit Lesley at http://lesleyadiehl.com/
Cookbook authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.Watch the Video!Now an Amazon bestselling cookbook!

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Published on December 15, 2014 00:15

December 8, 2014


           Rarely does a day go by that blueberries don’t find their way onto my plate or bowl. I usually have them for breakfast with my oatmeal, or when I’m in a hurry, I toss down a handful right out of the container. Blueberries often satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner. My favorite deli here in town offers fresh baked blueberry muffins daily. Although I watch my pastry consumption, I treat myself to one of these delights every now and then. I don’t often bake with blueberries, but when I read Judy Penz Sheluk’s recipe for Lemon Blueberry Pudding Cake, I had to give it a try.
           Judy is a mystery writer and contributor to Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Relationships and Writing, edited by Lois Winston. The book features mystery and romance writers sharing not only their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.            Her recipe is not only quick and easy, Judy also shares a trick to keep the berry suspended through the cake instead of all sinking to the bottom. The prep time takes less than ten minutes. It bakes up in less than an hour and once cooled, all that’s left to do in mix up and spread the glaze over the cake.           Her advice for a lasting, loving relationship? Simple: trust and respect. Writing advice: even easier: Exercise your writing muscle every day.           Check out Judy’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose. It is scheduled for publication in July 2015 by Barking Rain Press. Two of her short mystery To read more, here is Judy's website:
www.judypenzsheluk.com 

           In her less mysterious pursuits, Judy works as a freelance writer, specializing in art, antiques and the residential housing industry; her articles have appeared regularly in dozens of U.S. and Canadian consumer and trade publications. She is currently the Editor of Home BUILDER Magazine, and the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal.
Buy Links:World Enough and Crime  The Whole She-Bang 2 
Cookbook authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.Watch the Video?Now an Amazon bestselling cookbook!
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Published on December 08, 2014 00:00 • 3 views

           Rarely does a day go by that blueberries don’t find their way onto my plate or bowl. I usually have them for breakfast with my oatmeal, or when I’m in a hurry, I toss down a handful right out of the container. Blueberries often satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner. My favorite deli here in town offers fresh baked blueberry muffins daily. Although I watch my pastry consumption, I treat myself to one of these delights every now and then. I don’t often bake with blueberries, but when I read Judy Penz Sheluk’s recipe for Lemon Blueberry Pudding Cake, I had to give it a try.
           Judy is a mystery writer and contributor to Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Relationships and Writing, edited by Lois Winston. The book features mystery and romance writers sharing not only their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.            Her recipe is not only quick and easy, Judy also shares a trick to keep the berry suspended through the cake instead of all sinking to the bottom. The prep time takes less than ten minutes. It bakes up in less than an hour and once cooled, all that’s left to do in mix up and spread the glaze over the cake.           Her advice for a lasting, loving relationship? Simple: trust and respect. Writing advice: even easier: Exercise your writing muscle every day.           Check out Judy’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose. It is scheduled for publication in July 2015 by Barking Rain Press. Two of her short mystery

           In her less mysterious pursuits, Judy works as a freelance writer, specializing in art, antiques and the residential housing industry; her articles have appeared regularly in dozens of U.S. and Canadian consumer and trade publications. She is currently the Editor of Home BUILDER Magazine, and the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal.
Buy Links:World Enough and Crime  The Whole She-Bang 2 
Cookbook authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.Watch the Video!Now an Amazon bestselling cookbook!
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Published on December 08, 2014 00:00 • 1 view

December 5, 2014


Today I'm delighted to have mystery writer Conda Douglas as a guest on my blog. Check out her Dora Starke mysteries. Her creativity goes beyond writing. Read more about her unique talents.

Us authors are creative types, and what better time to get creative than around the holidays? In my cozy mystery series (the first of which, Starke Naked Dead, is out now), the main character, Dora, is a jeweler. In the next upcoming book, Starke Raving Dead, Dora scrambles to quickly create cheap jewelry to fill her empty shelves before the opening of the season. Bottle cap pins to the rescue!


Bottle cap items can be wonderful as gifts for all sorts of occasions. A baby shower? Give a bottle cap pin with the photo of the new mom as a baby! Maybe pins for all the attendees! How about making a bunch of Christmas bottle cap ornaments? Give out a bottle cap magnet for a Halloween treat! A project for your child's class? The limit is your imagination.
It's possible to do bottle caps the old fashioned way, cut out the image with a pair of scissors, recycle used bottle caps if not bent, glue and then use clear varnish on the top, but most of these supplies are inexpensive and if you're like me you'll keep coming up with new uses for these.
Materials (check Beadaholique or Amazon, links are to Amazon, the punch and Glue Dots are available in office and craft stores too):50 Mixed Color Bottle Caps (or collect your own throughout the year and they're FREE)Craft Scrapbook Jewelry 1" Circle Epoxy Stickers for Bottle Cap Pendants EK Success Papers Shapers Nesting Punch 1" (or any brand, as long as 1")Glue Dots Super Strength Multi-Use 1/2" dots (or use super glue, but you have to wait longer, however, sometimes the glue dots "let go" after a couple of years)
Images: use photos, images from magazines and greeting cards, draw your own, stencil, use stamps, stickers, glue small objects that fit within the 1" circle, there are inexpensive bottle cap images for sale, or use your imagination!
How to:Take your 1" paper circle image and press it against a Glue Dot. Press the circle into the bottle cap. Place a 1" Circle Epoxy Sticker on top. DONE. Then attach whatever to the back, whether it be a pin back, or hanger for pendants, or magnet. DONE.
I got into making bottle cap pins when I saw the cover for the first in my tween fantasy series, The Mall Fairies: Exile and knew I wanted to wear the image as jewelry! Here's the result:


And here's me wearing a demi-suite of earrings and pin.

BIO: Growing up in the ski resort of Sun Valley, Idaho, my childhood was filled with authors, artists and other creative types. I grew up with goats living in the kitchen, buffalo bones in the living room and rocks in the bathtub (long story). I've traveled the world from Singapore to Russia (in winter!) and my own tiny office, writing all the while. Now my life is filled with my cat, dog, permanent boyfriend and writing.The rare times I'm not writing, I love to read, teach exercise classes, bike and swim, hoping to stay in physical and mental shape for more writing and sometimes succeeding!
In my popular tween fantasy Mall Fairies series the first two in the trilogy are out now: The Mall Fairies: Exile, followed by The Mall Fairies: War, and a cookbook full of dessert recipes plus fun fairy short stories The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook. The fairy inspiration for my Mall Fairies came from the sparrows that live in the Boise Towne Square Mall in Boise, Idaho. When not rescuing fairies from humans, cats and themselves, I work on the last title in the Mall Fairiestrilogy, The Mall Fairies: Destiny.I also delight in writing my Starke Dead creative woman mystery series with jeweler Dora Starke. The more Dora discovers cursed jewelry, her aunt digging graves, and a rampant poisoner, the more fun I have—although sometimes Dora complains about her plight! First up and available now is the award winning Starke Naked Dead, with a necklace worth millions and  a stark naked body! Next up, Starke Raving Dead, in which Dora's mad Aunt Maddie proves the aptness of her name.
My links:Blog: Conda's Creative Center: http://condascreativecenter.blogspot.com/Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/condadouglas
What do you do, dear readers, to foster your own creativity?
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Published on December 05, 2014 00:00 • 1 view

December 4, 2014



Today I'm honored to have Helena Fairfax as a guest on my Birds and Books. Helena has just released a new romance A Way from Heart to Heart. Find out more about Helena, her latest romance novel, what inspired her, and what she does to break through writer's block.

1.  A Way from Heart to Heart, your contemporary romance, has just been released. What made you decide to set the story in the Yorkshire moors?I live in the north of England, very near the moors where my story is set. It’s a fabulous landscape and has inspired many writers, from Charlotte Brontë to Kate Bush.A few years ago I spent a week on the moors with a group of disadvantaged teenagers from an industrial city in Germany. It was great seeing their reaction to the heather and rolling hills and wide open spaces. My time with these teenagers made a lasting impression.A Way from Heart to Heart tells the story of how my heroine, Kate Hemingway, takes a group of disadvantaged London teenagers to the moors for the week, accompanied by the hero, an upper-class journalist. I wanted to create a complete mix of classes and cultures, and put them all put together in an unfamiliar landscape for a week.   2.  How long have you been writing? What was the motivating factor that got you started?I’ve always enjoyed writing, ever since I was a child. A few years ago I began writing a romance on a boring train commute to work. This time I really found a story I was determined to finish. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme for expert critique of my manuscript, rewrote it under their advice, and with their invaluable guidance my first novel, The Silk Romance, came to be published. I’ve never forgotten the advice I was given by my reader at the RNA, and I still apply it to my writing today.3.  What do you want most for you readers to come away with after they’veread your books?That’s a great question. I think I’d like them to come away with the message hidden in my latest release, A Way from Heart to Heart. ‘There is a way from heart to heart’ is an uplifting Afghan proverb, which I discovered during the course of my research. It means that no matter the differences between us, the human heart has an enduring capacity for love, despite all the odds.4.  Tell us about your perfect writing day.In my perfect writing day I would write 5,000 words that didn’t need any revision and moved the story forward. This has yet to happen!5.  When you reach a roadblock in your writing, how do you break through?I get quite depressed sometimes and find it quite hard to write. When that happens, I write anything I can, whether it be a short story, or a blog post, or an “easy” scene in my wip, or even outline a fresh novel. Anything so as not to stagnate.6.  Tell us about your marketing strategy. I’ve learned a lot about marketing since my first book was published. I have a good social platform and I enjoy interacting with readers. I have a blog and FB page with lots of active followers, and I’ve enjoyed building an audience with them. With the release of A Way from Heart to Heart, I’m approaching local media – press, radio stations, etc. – and also local bookshops and other areas of local interest. As with most authors, it’s a balancing act between promotion and writing the next novel.7.  Name fouressential items for writers.A laptop; the internet; a thesaurus; copious cups of tea8.  What is the last book you’ve read purely for pleasure?I’ve just finished a great book called Separated @ Birth, by Anaïs Bordier and Samantha Futerman, a true story about South Korean twins who were adopted and only discovered each other in their twenties. It’s such a moving story and left a deep impression on me. One of my favourite books of the year.9.  What interview question have you always wanted to answer but have never been asked?Which romance author influenced you the most? My answer would be Georgette Heyer. I

A Way from Heart to Heart was released by Accent Press on 18thNovember 2014.
Here is the blurb:After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, Kate Hemingway’s world collapses around her. Her free time is spent with a charity for teenage girls, helping them mend their broken lives - which is ironic, since her own life is fractured beyond repair.Reserved, upper-class journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t.  But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her charity, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything, and leaves Kate torn.Can she risk her son’s happiness as well as her own?Bio: Helena Fairfax writes engaging contemporary romances with sympathetic heroines and heroes she’s secretly in love with. Happy endings are her favourite, and when one of her novels won a reader competition for "The Most Romantic Love Scene Ever" it made her day.
Helena was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now, and these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire. After many years working in factories and dark, satanic mills, Helena has turned to writing full-time. She walks the Yorkshire moors every day with her rescue dog, finding this romantic landscape the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings. A Way from Heart to Heart buy links:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Way-Heart-Helena-Fairfax-ebook/dp/B00PQRJ0WQ/Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Way-Heart-Helena-Fairfax-ebook/dp/B00PQRJ0WQ/
(Available from other online distributors from February 2015)
­Social linksFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/HelenaFairfaxTwitter: @helenafairfax Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/helenafairfax/Blog: www.helenafairfax.com
Thanks so much for having me, Kathleen, and for your thought-provoking questions. It’s been a lot of fun!
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Published on December 04, 2014 02:30 • 2 views

December 2, 2014

Thanks for joining me in celebrating the upcoming release of my fourth Sydney Lockhart mystery, Murder at the Driskill (Austin, Texas).




Today is the last day of my blog Tour "Travels to Austin: A Trip Back in Time."
Scroll down to Monday, November 24, where Conda Douglas helped kick it off.
I'm giving away a signed copy of the book. To be eligible, leave a comment on each blog.

Day seven of my blog tour finds me at Jenny Milchman's blog,  Suspense Your Disbelief.
I'm writing about Austin's infamous Sixth Street before it became Sixth Street. 

For the last day, stop by  Marilyn's Musings where I'm writing about the historic Driskill Hotel and why I used it for the setting of my fourth Sydney Lockhart mystery.
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Published on December 02, 2014 15:14 • 1 view

December 1, 2014

Ashlyn Chase, writer of humorous erotic and paranormal romances, shares her amazing dessert recipe High-Protein, Low-Carb Chocolate Cupakes, in Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing. The dessert cookbook is edited by Lois Winston and features mystery and romance writers sharing their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, as well as the best advice they've ever received on love and writing.
Not only is Ashlyn's cupcake recipe quick and easy, but you don't have to worry about busting your diet while enjoying it. Get a copy of the book in time for the holidays. Find out what Ashlyn has to say about what makes a romantic relationship lasting and successful and what it takes to turn out a great book.
Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar.  A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a satisfying experience.  She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the American Red Cross.  She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity.  She is a multi-published, award-winning author of humorous erotic and paranormal romances, represented by the Seymour Agency.
She lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband who looks like Hugh Jackman with a salt and pepper dye job, and they’re owned by a spoiled brat cat.      
Tag line and Links:

Where there’s fire, there’s AshSign up for my newsletter right from my home page: http://www.ashlynchase.com/While you’re there check out my news and reviews. Join my facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshlynChase Chat with me: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ashlynsnewbestfriends/ …and I tweet as GoddessAsh. https://twitter.com/#!/GoddessAsh Ask me to sign your ebook at www.authorgraph.com Amazon Author Page Here I am at Barnes an Noble


Flirting with Fangs series! All available in mass market paperback, ebook, and audio

Gods Gone Wild, Humorous Erotic Anthology, B&N http://tinyurl.com/q5cytzn
Amazon http://tinyurl.com/qdpsaby

Cookbook authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.

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Published on December 01, 2014 07:00

November 30, 2014

My protagonist Sydney Lockhart comes with two pets: a white standard poodle named Monroe, as in Marilyn, and a tougher-than-nails cat named Mealworm, as in the larva stage of a darkling beetle. What do these pets and their names say about Sydney? You can read more on Sheila Webster Boneham's blog, Writers & Other Animals.

Today is day six of my blog tour. I'm celebrating the release of Murder at the Driskill. Stop by and find out how you can win a signed copy of the book.

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Published on November 30, 2014 07:29 • 1 view