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June 21, 2018

Author Vicki Batman on Handbag and Book - My Observations about Dogs #gettingapet #catsanddogs #romanticcomedy

Some of you may be laughing hysterically just from the title of my blog because you know I grew up with cats, not dogs. My mom didn’t want to fence the yard for a dog. Our first cat was a huge gray guy named appropriately Smokey. He was born between our wooden and the neighbor’s chain link fences. 
Over the years, there were others, like Mischief, Fuzzy, Snuffer. Our last two were farm cats from Kansas named Romper, aka Roo, Roo-roo, Romp, and her sister, Scooter, aka Scoo. 
Handsome, however, grew up with dogs. He loves to tell the story of their sheepdog who ate the Thanksgiving turkey (Christmas Story, anyone?). So when #1son was about three, he adopted Baxter, a sheep dog who grew VERY LARGE. Baxter was too big for little kids and no one could walk him well.
After Baxter and Snuffer passed, we adopted the farm girls. They were little and squirmy and perfect for boys’ love. Both had a long shy streak and would hide behind furniture when people came over.
Many years passed and Handsome began to yearn for another dog. This time, he did more research. I liked the size of beagles, but he said no, he’d found the perfect pet – Malti-poo. They don’t shed, are smart (poodles are second smartest dogs), and are good natured. Off he went one Saturday and came home with TWO??!! I must add I wasn’t too surprised, but this story I had to hear.

The pups were running in a large fenced area, and the little white one, which we named Champ, seemed to be the ringleader. Handsome was smitten. Then he watched a while longer and saw a slightly bigger gray one watching everyone. His heart was struck and home he came with Jones (yep, like in Indiana Jones).
These two are inseparable. Jones truly pines for Champ when they are apart. Jones is incredibly fast and has caught squirrels, lizards, and birds. Champ is our happy-go-lucky perpetual two-year old. On our walks, he has to mark a spot every ten feet. (I now allow him to have three stops). Jones gulps his food (probably picked up from being crowded out of food as a puppy). Champ doesn’t care. They are tough dudes and rarely complain. For a one-on-one, Champ likes to set his front feet on my chest. Jones will stretch across our laps and sigh contentedly. They followed Roo and Scoo (mostly to sniff their bottoms) and sat with them when they passed. They were easy to train or maybe I was easy to train. LOL. They love everyone.
So, my observation is this: if we ever get another dog, I am letting Handsome pick because these two are priceless.

Do I write pets in my stories? Of course! Real life has real pets. But I did write a hilarious one about a bug. She’s feisty and quick. Check out “Bug Stuff” from Just Desserts…and Other Stories: 

               “The water bug kind?” 
               “Yes.” His gaze shifted around. “I’m positive it winked at me.” 
               “Must be a female.” I chuckled. “So, squash it.” 
               “Easier said than done.” 
               “Why?” 
               “Cause she’s sneaky?” He pointed. “See? She’s hiding behind the faucet.”

Want more hilarious fun? Find Just Desserts at many e-retailers and at: Amazon

June 5, 2018

Michelle Miles: Living in a Fishbowl

I had a recent experience on Facebook that has me questioning my very existence on Facebook.

My post was somewhat controversial, though I had no intention of it being that way, and generated over 170 comments (don’t bother looking for it; the post is no longer available for public consumption). It was merely my observation of the double standard that exists in our world. What’s good for the goose is sometimes not good for the gander.

When we put ourselves on social media, and post things that are considered hot topics, we unwittingly invite these people into our world. If our thought or opinion doesn’t align with theirs, then we’re open for attack. Everyone and everything comes under careful scrutiny by people who know better and people who have no problem telling us about it.

A perfect example was the woman who replied to a picture of my cat to tell me I should be feeding him out of a plate instead of a bowl. My response was, “Are you seriously telling me how to feed my cat?” to which her reply was to call me a b*tch, unfriend and block me.

So be it. I don’t need her on my friends list anyway.

But it angered me. Why is it okay for her to come over to my profile, crap all over it and then unfriend and block me?

Another post had a guy telling me I was irrational and ignorant. Um, okay? Because you know me personally, HOW? And you can tell that by reading ONE of my posts? Because I’d never seen him comment on anything of mine EVER and I’ve been on Facebook for over nine years.

Being a somewhat public figure has its pitfalls, as we all know from the recent news about Roseanne. And LeBron stomping out of his interview carrying his man-purse has caused all sorts of ridicule on Twitter.

I think I’m just weary of social media altogether. I’ve been saying this for a while now. Maybe I just need a break from it all, because it’s starting to feel like I live in a fishbowl.

May 17, 2018

Vicki Batman - Thirty-four #readromance #RLFblog #MFRWorg




34          I counted just the other day because I kinda had thirty in my head. So why the number?



I’ve written thirty-four short stories.

I began by writing my romantic comedy mystery, Temporarily Employed. Then I critiqued six very short stories for a friend, and all of the sudden, the rhythm of writing these fell into my head. Then an idea came, and I was off. I churned out a lot of short stories, many of which were pubbed by magazines and other publishers, some have been in anthologies.

I really do like writing short. My life has been upside down and concentrating on a book is hard for me. I can pop in and out of a short story and feel as if I’ve accomplished a lot.

As for very shorts…

I’ve collected eleven, two of which have never been pubbed before. Here’s a bit about them:

Love blossoms in the small town of Sommerville in these heart-warming and very short tales, filled with fun and forever possibilities.

Included are:

Bug Stuff ~ An accountant unites with his co-worker to exterminate a pesky adversary.
Just Desserts ~ A political dinner gone disastrous brings together a reluctant attendee and her handsome seat-mate.

With This Ring ~ When a wife forgets the all-important little black dress, the evening turns into something utterly unforgettable.

Good Girls Finish First ~ When men friends are challenged to fix breakfast if they lose a race, one woman leads the pack and discovers finishing first can lead to romance.

Ouch ~ Who knew a yoga class would be so dangerous...and romantic?

Man Theory ~ When a geeky co-worker espouses his theory on love, a friend risks her heart.

Tommy and the Teacher ~ A young boy steals from the school’s book fair causing interesting possibilities to arise.

Absolutely Positively Lost ~ Helping a map-challenged young man find his way is truly serendipitous.

The Little Birdie Who ~ A new town, a new friend, a new beginning. Who would have thought a little bird could bring two people together?

Check Her Out ~ It’s a sticky situation, especially between a store manager and Auntie Caren when her nephew must pay for the gum he stole.

This Is Not Working ~ One of those days at a new job when nothing is going right, and then the boss steps in.   



Are you thinking short stories are not as satisfying as a book? Shorts are VERY satisfying.

Find Just Desserts…and Other Stories at: Amazon  Nook                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

May 1, 2018

Michelle Miles: May Day

It's May! Can you believe how fast it got here? Seems like we were just celebrating New Years Day.

May is probably one of the best months of the year (besides October - I love Fall!). Lots of fun stuff happens in May. My birthday. My husband's birthday. Mother's Day. Memorial Day Weekend. The end of school. It's a busy month for sure.

And this year, we have a royal wedding to look forward to! I can't wait. I enjoy following the royals from their wedding to the birth of their children.

I had a blog post all written and ready to post but after re-reading it (and after my cool down period), I decided it was far too snarky. And so here I am talking about May 1/Beltane while The Fifth Element plays in the background.

I like May even if it is the official beginning of our hot Texas summers. There's lots of shopping happening during the month and cake and ice cream. That just can't be beat.

What do you love about May?

April 19, 2018

Vicki Batman on What's inspiring you? #readromance #springishere #RLFblog

Nature is!
I have always liked the beautiful colors of flowers; however, my obsession really began about three years ago when Handsome and I traveled the Rhine on a river cruise. We began our journey in Lucerne, Switzerland in late June. The weather was perfect, in fact, almost like spring compared to the heat my area experiences in the summer. Many variety of flowers bloomed everywhere. I became captivated and took many photos. Some flowers resembled those grown at home. I also spotted new plants. Even the tiny orange weed in the crack next to a white-washed building captured my fancy. 
This year, the spring flowers are bountiful, most likely due to the abundance of rain and cool temperatures. The antique climbing roses is loaded with tiny pale yellow bouquets. (These are the same plants I nearly chopped down, too.) Every day, I see new things—a snowball viburnum bursting with large blossoms. Many colors of Iris. Hot pink Gerbera daises. Green roses.
The air is fresh, perfumed by the budding flowers. The breeze lifts my hair and brushes across my mouth only to stick on my lip balm (no flavor). On dog walks, Champ, our white malti-poo, toddles along, stopping to pee every ten feet. His smoky gray brother, Jones, has long straight legs and walks like he knows what he is doing, only he doesn’t most of the time. Kids handling super-hero kites which are struggling to find lift. My neighbor is dead-heading the yellow and purple pansies with their fanciful smiles along her front walkway garden.
So how is all this loveliness inspiring?
I’ve been working harder at effective descriptions by adding how I feel and what I see. Hopefully by doing so, you--the reader--are experiencing a better mind picture.

April 3, 2018

Michelle Miles: New Quarter…NEW GOALS! Sorta…


It’s really hard for me to get it in my head that it’s April. APRIL! The first three months of the year are gone in a puff of smoke. 

I think I’ve mentioned before I have this journal I use daily to keep me on track for my goals. I discovered, too, long ago that it’s too hard for me to plan an entire year of goals. With the Best Self, it breaks down the year into 13-week increments. I set three goals for those 13 weeks. They can be anything I want. So, because I want to produce more books and get myself out of debt, I decided to start tracking these goals.

March 15, 2018

What makes a good Ending? #readromance #RLFblog #writing



Hi, everyone! It's Princess Vicki and I want to chat about THE END. You just finished the book,  close it, and sometimes, sigh. The last line sets the tone for how the book ends, a resolution, and is a counterpoint to the opening line which sets the story in motion.
Sometimes, there are lines that stay with us forever. For example:
“Tomorrow is another day.” From Gone With the Wind
“Thank you, God, she thought. Thank you.” From A Knight in Shining Armor (When I reached the end of this one, I sat for about a minute with the book in my hands, then started it again instantly.)
When I finish a story or book, I think a lot about the last line. I have been accused of writing a cliffhanger and maybe so.

“Taking another breath, I mustered every ounce of bravery I possessed and said, “Choose me.” Find Temporarily Employed at: Amazon 


He took a deep breath and said something I never never, ever-ever thought I would hear, “Come on, sweetheart. Let’s get lucky.” Find Temporarily Insane at: Amazon 


   


The relationship isn’t resolved in TE, and in TI, Allan Wellborn is trying really hard to win Hattie back. Will he get the girl?
Today, I’m sharing last line from the Princess’ books. Take a look:

March 6, 2018

Michelle Miles: Let's talk crafts


I had a hard time coming up with something to blog about. I’m not sure what my mental block is with blogging lately, but I literally stare into space and then … I got nothin’.

I thought about talking about the Oscars but, let’s face it, they were #OscarsSoBoring. I was glad to see Gary Oldman and Sam Rockwell win. The Shape of Water just looks weird to me and I doubt I’ll ever see it.

There’s not much else going on in my life other than writing, editing and stitching. I’ve started an Etsy shop and I’ve been stitching my little fingers to the bone. I make cross-stitched Christmas ornaments. If you follow me on Facebook, you likely have seen me post progress photos of them. They’re fun and they give me a sense of accomplishment because I can finish one in about a week.

I’m also trying to teach myself how to crochet. I have no idea why other than I saw the most gorgeous crocheted blanket on Facebook. It looks like this:


February 20, 2018

Where Did You Get that Story Idea? by Kathleen Baldwin #CreativeInspiration


Good morning! I’m Kathleen Baldwin, author of the award-winning Stranje House novels. Like most authors, the question I’m asked most often by readers is, “Where did you get the idea for your books?”

Every author has her own answer. 

I love adventure in real life and in books. Guess where I get my ideas for my adventurous heros and heroines . . .
You guessed it. For me, adventuring in the wild is a powerful source of inspiration. I love being out in nature. But hey, I also enjoy doing research. How's that for a dichotomy?  Dusty musty old books are often a source of inspiration as well.

TRUTH: Inspiration comes from many places. 
Here's several wonderful authors answering that question.

February 15, 2018

.@VickiBatman - What Makes me Stop Writing? #readromance #RomanceLivesForever #MFRWauthor



I remember the first time my brain didn’t want to write. I’d been working on my first romantic comedy mystery for a few months when Handsome was diagnosed with throat cancer. My whole world stopped. (FMI see Romance Lives Forever at: Romance Lives Forever .)
But how to keep the creativity going? I did develop a game plan—I took writing classes (didn’t comment much but worked on all lessons), played my favorite Word Search no Vowels, I critiqued with friends, journaled, attended my local romance writing chapter meetings. Most importantly, I set a deadline for after when his treatment would end and our lives would be back on track.
On the designated date, I booted up my computer and found my book. It had been haunting me, and when thoughts popped in my head, boom! I wrote them down and saved them. I had decided if I could only write twenty words, that was what I would do. I started with chapter one and worked. I was so nervous because I thought what if I can’t get back in my groove? The next day, I did better, and after that, better, till finally, my fingers were flying again.


February 6, 2018

A Family for the Rancher by Allison B. Collins #CowboystoGrooms #AFamilyfortheRancher #PlottingPrincesses #MFRW @allisonbcollins

Hi, everyone! It’s been ages since I blogged with the Plotting Princesses. So much has happened, but I’ll try to keep it short.

Under my real name, Allison B. Collins, I have a three book deal with Harlequin for a new series, Cowboys to Grooms!  It’s been a dream of mine for years to be a Harlequin author.  I’ve been reading their series for more years than I care to admit, and to now be writing for them—it’s better than the richest of chocolates and the bubbliest of champagnes. It really hit home last summer when I was invited to the Harlequin party at the Romance Writers of America conference.  Strictly for Harlequin authors and employees, I really felt like part of the Harlequin family. (I might have to write about it after the next one, so stay tuned!)

The first book, A FAMILY FOR THE RANCHER, just launched, and I’m over the moon excited about it. This series started out as a dream I had a couple of years ago. As soon as I woke up that next morning, I knew I had to turn it into a series of books. There are five brothers, so five books.  Nash is the oldest brother, and definitely a wounded hero home from the war in Afghanistan. I was so into writing about him that it made me cry several times. Kelsey Summers is the physical therapist Nash’s father hired to help Nash get better.  Kelsey arrives at the ranch with her mother and young daughter in tow. 

Blurb:

January 25, 2018

#NewRelease DEVIL TAKE ME by Karilyn Bentley #urbanfantasy #supernatural #magic

I'm excited to announce that Devil Take Me, the fourth book in the urban fantasy Demon Huntress series is now out at an online retailer near you! Gin Crawford returns for another adrenaline-racing adventure. This time a demon is loose in Dallas wreaking havoc and her demon-killing employer seems to be harboring its own demon. She needs the help of her guardian mage, Aidan Smythe, to track down the demons, but he's not speaking to her. What's an demon hunting empath to do? Check out the blurb and excerpt, then get your copy to find out!

Happy Reading!

Blurb:

January 18, 2018

Handbag and Book: Oldies but Goodies. @VickiBatman #readromance #RLFblog #MFRWauthors


At age fourteen, my mom introduced me to romance books. On our summer breaks, she took us to the library. Our reads had to last two weeks and then she would take us back. I was such a fast reader. I read mine, sometimes twice, and sometimes, my sisters’ books too.

One day, I was totally bored. Nothing new to read. So I asked Mom if we could go to the library, a day off from our regular schedule. She firmed her lips and gave me an interesting look. Then she reached for her handbag, stashed on a shelf in a built-in bookcase. She pushed a small paperback in my hands and said, “Read this.”

On the front was a picture of a couple, a dark-headed girl turned away from a man with brown hair wearing a suit. The author’s name was Emilie Loring. I flipped the book over and read the back cover blurb. Hmmm, I thought, and went to my room where I plopped on my bed and began.

January 2, 2018

Michelle Miles: Dream Big


Oh, hello, there. It’s 2018.

Last year was trying in a lot of ways for lots of people including me. I had a lot of changes on the job front and the home front. But that’s all in the past and I’m ready to move forward in the new year.

I wrote a lot in 2017 but some of it hasn’t made it to publication yet. I finished three novels, one a major revision, one new and as-yet unpublished and one published and for sale (On the Hunt for the Wizard King).

I’ve made some career decisions for 2018 regarding the books and have decided to phase out all the contemporary romances on January 20. They’ll be gone and permanent out of print. I may do something with them someday, but for now, they’re all going away. It wasn’t an easy decision, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized those books are not really part of my brand anymore.