Thursday, December 29, 2011


Happy New Year.  I'm ringing in 2012 by opening up my blog today and tomorrow to anyone who would like to post a tag line/blurb/buy link in the comments section.  To play, you must have your own blog set up with the same title so I can hop over and post my info on your site.  It's a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' type of arrangement. I can't wait to see how many great reads we can post.

Since I'm the site owner, I'll post my info as an example.  Just remember, don't post an entire book, we want to leave room for other guests...oh, and please keep your blurbs PG rated.  Thanks.

Carrie Lang’s sheltered life ends with a prison sentence and lands her smack dab in the middle of an evil retribution plan concocted by the prison bully against another inmate.  Arrested on the one day she calls in sick, Carrie has no one to verify her alibi when a supposed eye-witness describes her down to the make and model of her car.  Her ten-year sentence seems mild compared to being threatened with death for being an unwilling participant in an outlandish scheme.  Can she find a way out of her horrible nightmare, or are the cold gray prison walls her destiny?

First Degree Innocence available at Amazon for an amazing $2.99.

Please leave your information in comments AND DON'T FORGET YOUR BLOG LINK...  Let us know which book you consider Amazing.  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


If you know me, you know my life is an open book.  During our summer trip to Alaska, hubby and I had an opportunity to have "bio-identical" hormone pellets injected beneath the skin of our hips.  For months, I'd felt like energy, no interest in anything, actually wondering if what I felt was akin to waiting to die.  The hormones changed my life--literally. I felt renewed--twenty years younger, alert, fun-loving, and sexy. My husband told me he felt like he'd gotten his wife back.  I saw a new me in the mirror.  My skin tightened, my face looked years younger.  Do you know what an amazing feeling that is?  For him, he was able to discontinue the synthetic testosterone shots he received monthly, and immediately felt and looked better.  Good for both of us.  :)

The hormones are absorbed by your system over a period of four months for women, six for men.  Before the first injection was totally depleted, I went for seconds.  I have to travel three hours away to find a doctor who doesn't see this as a money-making venture and believes in helping his patients. The insurance pays for the office visit, I pay for the pellets, and I get two per visit.  Hormones equal good life, but then, I started realizing I was losing hair.  I'd expected, perhaps to grow a mustache, but not develop male-pattern baldness. *lol*  One call to the doctor explained the body was converting the testosterone into something that it shouldn't, so I take a pill to change that.  That's been the one side affect, until now, when my second round of pellets has completely gone.  I feel like I've going through the change of life all over again.  So, it's not a wise move to wait until the last minute to see the doc.  I go again next Wednesday to have them renewed, and I can't wait.

What ticks me off?  My husband is able to go to a local urologist and have his done without any hassles from the insurance company.  I, however, am deemed unnecessary since I've exceeded the expiration date on usefulness as far as the medical community and insurance industry is concerned.  Yes, our bodies stop producing hormones, but that doesn't mean we can't replenish them and continue to live a more rewarding life.  The qualify of mine totally changed with the implants, and now I'm back to the same uncaring, unproductive, foggy state I was pre-hormone injection.  This procedure has been around for years, but the pharmaceutical companies don't want you to know about it.  Imagine the decline in their pill-pushing.  I've already ceased taking four prescriptions since becoming a pellet junkie.  :)  But, most doctors, and certainly the insurance companies operate on the theory that if my body has stopped producing hormones, I must not need them.  I guess the fact that for me, BIH are like a proverbial fountain of youth.  the good news is that now the insurance pays entirely for my husband.  Again, we women get short-shafted.

Oh, if you're like me, you're suprised that women need testosterone.  Here's what my friend, Ann, an FNP in Alaska has posted on her new FB page: 

Hormones 101- Testosterone is not just a mans hormone. Men don't have the patten on it like we thought. Testosterone often declines due to many reasons, interfering not only with a woman's sexuality, but also her bone density, energy, memory, and muscle loss. Often putting muscle back into your abs burns the fat that seems to accumulates on tummies. It is a very important and I do mean important hormone for women.
I call getting your sexuality back as icing on the cake, but I have seen many women as young as 30 with hysterectomies, use of oral contraceptives, Depo-provera injections lose their sexuality. If you have heard the old term "sex is all in the head", that is so true, as our receptor sites are in our brains and without adequate "T", we lose the ability to fantasize which lead to those great orgasms. Makes a lot of sense if you think about it. So get those levels checked if you think there may be a problem, no matter what age you are. You deserve it and so does your partner.
 Ann has done extensive research on these pellets and has a thriving practice to prove the procedure works.  We're not talking "horse-urine" (premarin) as was given to many of us after hysterectomies, we're talking hormones bio-identically equal to those produced by our own bodies.  What a concept.  There are always going to be nay-sayers about everything in the world, but let me tell you, I cannot wait until next Wednesday.  I want the new, improved Ginger back.  I'm pretty sure that's why my writing has come to a screeching halt.  Mind-fog, depression, and just not giving a "chit" is what being without my pellets causes, and I don't like it one bit.
If you want to find out more about the procedure and why we need hormones, I recommend a great book, Stay Young and Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement. The authors, Dr. Jonathan V. Wright (MD) and Lane Lenard (PHD) explain the science aspect, and the foreword was written by Suzanne Somers, whom I quote...
 "At present, people begin to degrade at middle age (which due to increasing stress is now becoming younger and younger), and the remedy conventional medicine prescribes is one of more pharmaceutical drugs.  Can't sleep?  Take ******.  Depressed?  Take ******.  High cholesterol?  Take *******.  Anxiety or panic attacks? Take ******.  Then there's blood pressure medicine and pain killers, and soon you have a virtual tackle box of pharmaceuticals and so begins the slow degrade of "you."  Your thinking becomes foggy, your joints ache, your libido disappears, the essence of who you are slowly slips away and tends towards disease."
Susanne Somers really nailed exactly how I was feeling pre-pelleting.  Since 2004, this process has been getting a lot of attention, especially from Ms. Somers, Oprah Winfrey, and Dr. Phil's wife, Robin.  As Ms. Somers says in her foreward..."Information is power,"  arm yourself and decide if you want to fade away into nothingness.  I sure don't.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time to Get Busy!

Since I lapsed into a state of "muselessness," I've heeded the call of the games on Facebook.  Sadly, it's not that I've stopped enjoying playing, rather the fact that FB announces to the world my every move.  "Ginger is playing Words with Friends (fifteen minutes ago)," Ginger is playing Farkle (ten minutes ago)," Ginger is playing Gardens of Time (2 minutes ago)," "Ginger is playing Bingo (two seconds ago)."  Even if you stop playing and move to something else, FB's big brother shadows you and announces your presence to the minions.  If I wanted everyone to know what I was doing, I'd personally update my FB status.

For those of you who claim to be so busy, just remember, Santa isn't the only person keeping track of your behavior.  I see where you are and what you're doing, and I take some satisfaction in knowing I'm not the only game junkie.  I've tried to turn off the posting option, but FB won't let you.  I've always hated tattletales and narcs, and FB is the worst.  It's downright embarrassing, if not maddening, that people know my every move, so I've set December 31st as the last day I can wile away with lettered tiles, numbers on cards, automatic dice and a time machine.  I've got to get back to Hattie's Hero, even if I have to strangle her until she talks to me.  Actually, I'm a little jazzed because I think we're going to take a new direction, and I can't wait to see how she reacts to the change of plan.

Tomorrow, I'm calling Faces of Hope, my charity for Autism, and making arrangements to present them with a check.  Thanks to several of my Muse It Up "sisters" who helped bolster my "Shortcoming" royalties for last quarter, I'll be able to donate $250.00 to help the organization with their endeavor to educate parents and aide children who need special assistance. In the big scheme of things, it's not a lot of money, but it's far more than I could have managed alone, and I'm so touched by the generosity of these women who gave because they cared.  I won't name them because some wanted to remain anon and I've already blown that once, but they know who they are and how much their generosity means to me.   I'm really excited, and I'll have someone take a snapshot to mark the occasion so I can share it here.  I may have to wait until after the New Year, but I'll get it done.  Gosh, I can't believe that 2012 is almost here.  Can you?

After I call Faces of Hope, I think I'll call and make an appointment to use my gift certificate hubby gave me for Christmas.  I can get a facial, manicure and pedicure, and I love them all.  What a treat.  Perhaps I can get them to pull a few wrinkles out of this face of hopelessness.  *lol*  Get it?  play on words there.  It was funny until I realized how true it is.  I look in the mirror and wonder how my mother got there.  Growing old is not for sissies.

Well, I'd love to blog longer, but the clock is ticking and I have some games to play.  I don't have many days left to fritter away, so I'd best get busy.  See you soon without something writing related...I promise.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Did I Get It Right or What?

I wrote the following letter in July of 2010.  I found it in my files, and I thought it needed to be shared.  I didn't even have a crystal ball.  :)

My name is Ginger Simpson and I’ve been invited by your instructor to share information with you on how to become a published author.  If you would like to check out my accomplishments, please visit my website at or my blog at  I never dreamed in a million years that I would have achieved so much, and I’m happy to assist anyone interested in seeing their own dreams realized.

Have you considered the pros and cons of the e-book industry?  I’ve been published with internet companies since 2003, and although that seems like a long time in dog years, the industry is still in its infancy.  Why?  I would like to preface the following conclusions by owning them.  These are strictly my own opinions and experiences:

First, the number of techno-smart people are very young.  Ipods, Iphones, new and improved video games and machines all reach out to this generation, and sales soar for the things they enjoy.  Let’s face it, if you’re over forty…when you were a teenager or in your early twenties, did it occur to you how wonderful it would be to own something that allowed you to download a book?  I don’t think so.  We marveled at eight-track stereos and Pac-man.

Secondly, for those who do enjoy reading, books are a comfort item.  People have grown used to holding something in their hands and actually turning pages.  Garnering enthusiasm for something that obliterates what you’ve grown to love is never easy.  Add in the stigma attached to e-book publishing: the bad press caused by companies that weren’t serious about making their mark in the publishing world, and you have a big reason why e-books have been slow on the uptake.  That’s changing.

Face it, tons of Americans sit in front of their computer all day long, so the last thing they want to do is plant themselves there at night and read a book.  Hand held readers are offering new horizons, becoming less expensive, and even old dogs are learning new tricks. Consider traveling with three or four paperbacks in your carry-on, or three hundred downloaded on a gadget that fits in your purse or pocket.  The explosion of the ebook industry is looming.  The younger generation is eager to explore and more likely to approve of new technology…especially when e-books are eco-friendly in so many ways.

It’s not going to be long before schools realize the value in doing away with all the textbooks and putting everything on a handheld reader.  Doing so would save millions used for purchasing books, eliminate the need for lockers, and certainly improve the posture of all those back-pack toting teens.  But then you’re messing with history, again, and people tend to growl when you do that.

I think small press has done wonders in overcoming the stigma that they will publish anything submitted to them. Competition has grown very keen, and rejections are an everyday occurrence.  There are still some publishing companies who will accept everything sent them, because they hope to make up in quantity what they lack in quality. The shame: they’ve tarnished the reputation of those houses that have a good editorial staff in place and want to present the best of the best for their readers.  The reality: They don’t have a good reputation, and legitimate authors avoid them like the plague.  The stigma is also shared with self-publishing businesses.  Authors who utilize this avenue are often looked upon as writers who couldn’t make the grade.  Not true!  Self-publishing allows a promising author to write “outside the box” that mainstream has created and a format that some e-pub houses tend to follow.  Still, creative liberty is a big reason to appreciate most e-publishers from the author’s standpoint.

For years, New York has been the hub of the publishing world, but now, even they are beginning to see value in POD (print on demand) books. Harlequin has introduced a line that is digital only, and several companies have signed with Apple to be featured downloads on their new IPad. 

Small publishers choose the Internet route because most are small-scale, even run out of private homes, and there is no room for stocking multiple copies of their authors’ works. Thus, Print on Demand books cost more than mass-market paperback runs—small operating budgets don’t allow for large print runs.  In fact, to save overhead costs, many don’t offer print at all, but hope that “downloads” will continue to grow in popularity.

 With the economy bottoming out and paper costs rising, you’ll find more NY authors offered on along with e-published authors.  The sad thing for our industry: as NY authors move into the forefront of our “turf,” we are also seeing a swing in promotion.  With Barnes & Noble recent takeover of Fictionwise, you’ll note that most of the advertisement on their home page has shifted to the well-known names.  Not fair!

Promotion continues to be the number one requirement for sales, and in Internet publishing, all the expense and time falls mainly on the shoulders of the author. To avoid being known as a “vanity press” houses must pay the set up expense for the books, but after that their monetary input is minimal.  Face it, people can’t buy what they don’t know about, and as e-pubbed writers who don’t enjoy the benefit of advances and promotional help, we often are stymied about what to do next.  I blog, maintain a website, have my own pages on several author sites, belong to other mega-groups, loops, have author days, participate in interviews, have my books reviewed… I pretty much do whatever I think might help my sales climb, but unfortunately I’m still struggling to find the money to pay for my own promotional endeavors.  In the first year alone, I spent over three thousand dollars to establish my website, attend a conference, and purchase promotional items and copies of my own books.  The return on my investment was disappointing, and it hasn’t gotten much better despite my continued great reviews and encouragement from my peers and fans.  I write because I love it, and there is great satisfaction in knowing I was able to query a publisher and win their favor. Pride is a good return on any investment.

I don’t know the answers.  To me the big PRO is that internet publishing keeps you humble and you make awesome friends. The networking opportunities are endless, and the learning never ends.  The CON, in my opinion, continues to be the return on the time and effort I invest, the lack of recognition by those who don’t value our industry, and, despite all my accomplishments, feeling a need to achieve that one final goal that puts a print copy of my work in a REAL store. I feel guilty for wanting to be a print author in a download world, although most of my work is available in print…just not available on an actual shelf.

 Despite feeling defeated at times, I remind myself that while I may not be raking in the bucks, if I count the many friends who struggle along with me, urge me onward and support what I do, then I really, really am a millionaire.  And, as the old cigarette commercial geared for women used to say, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

I would love the opportunity to discuss how to turn your stories into novels. If you have questions, you can always reach me at  Thanks for allowing me to invade your cyber

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Past

The trash cans are stuffed with wrapping paper, the tree looks sad and forlorn without all the gifts under it. Sort of matches my mood. The leftovers are stacked in the fridge...probably will stay there until they grow mold and I throw them out, and I feel such diappointment.

This was perhaps the worst Christmas I've had in a long time.  I still have the spirit and belief in the holiday, but I was sorely disappointed in how everything turned out.  I had planned to have Christmas Dinner here, but because of a misunderstanding, I thought my son's in-laws were coming to their house again, as they always have.  I wanted it to be just us for one year, so I switchedto  Christmas Eve.  My sister, her boyfriend and son were supposed to come and spend the night, but that didn't happen. She and her son came, but her boyfriend went to his family's.  Her son had worked all night, needed to sleep so went to bed. My sis has never been much of a Christmas person...considers herself more Jewish, so she didn't like the Christmas music I insisted we play, thought the ham and rolls tasted funny, and probably wished she'd stayed home. I sort of got the feeling no one wanted to be there. I really missed the phone call I usually got from my ex-husband who passed away in May.  He was never much of a Christmas person either, but he always called to wish me well.  I still feel the loss of him.

My son,  his wife and the three children they share came, but my son was tired, his wife was not in a very good mood, their oldest son was bored, and the middle one was disappointed I didn't have more games for the PlayStation and more shrimp for him to devour. They're my step sons so I never get them as many gifts as I do Spencer, and I think the middle child resents me for that.  He used to like me when he was younger, but now, he's like a stranger.

 The only bright light in the entire group was Spencer.  He was his usual chipper self, thanked me for every gift he got, for the dinner he ate, and loved everything he opened.  Next year, I think I'll invite just him.  :)

My sister and her son left first, deciding not to spend the night after all, and my son fell asleep in the chair a short time before he woke up and they went home.   I was actually glad they all left since nothing seemed to go as I planned.

My son said nothing about the many gifts I gave him, his wife either.  Their middle one never seems pleased with anything I give him, and although the eldest hugged me when they left, again, it was Spencer who gave me joy.  I suppose my sister liked her gifts, and her son did seem pleased with his, but something was terribly fact, for the first time in a long time, I didn't say the mandatory prayer I insist upon at Christmas dinner.

It's almost 9:00 Christmas night.  I never heard from my oldest son and his wife, despite sending them gift cards and as much love as I could pack into my letter.  Neither of Kelly's sons bothered to call, nor did any of them take the time to buy a Christmas card and invest in forty-two cents to mail it to us.  I usually call my mother and brother, but this time I waited to see if they would.  They didn't.  And I'm especially sad that this marks three years since my other sister has spoken to me, and I still have no idea what I did.

Christmas is supposed to be a time for love and joy, but this year, I just didn't feel it.  Instead I felt the gaping hole that death, rifts and distance have caused.  Maybe next year things will be different.  At sixty-six, I hope I'm here.  The passing of my ex showed me just how fleeting life is, but you know long as I draw a breath, Christmas will always be my favorite time of the year, and no one can dim my belief.  No one!  Those who don't believe are the ones who seem to have a gaping hole where their faith should be.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Santa from Jim Whitaker

Dear Santa,

I’m only 54 years old so I tried to get someone bigger than me to write this for me. They all declined.

I should write this letter asking you the great requests of the Christmas season. But you know, I’m just not so sure.

It’s not that I don’t believe in you in the sense of your spirit of generosity and ho-ho-ho and all the fine qualities you expound for as long as you’re around. It’s just that..

If I ask you for peace for all, you can’t deliver that.

If I ask you for brotherhood for all, you can’t deliver that.

If I ask you for serenity for all, you can’t deliver that.

If I ask you for an end to poverty to prejudice, to backstabbing, to hate, to exclusion, to intolerance, to apathy, to cruelty to loneliness, to aggressiveness and violence or to any of the other abhorrent characteristics of unfeeling humanity you can’t deliver, can you?
All right, Santa, because you’re such a nice guy I’ll give you this much.

Your red suit and white beard and belly laugh - not to mention your belly - make people feel good. They smile when they see you in the mall and think of the accepted folly of you flying in a reindeer-pulled sleigh around the world in one night, without a passport no less. Well, except for that 3-year-old on your lap the other day who was absolutely terrified by that red suit, white beard and especially the belly laugh. Has your knee recovered from the kick he gave you trying to break free?

People enjoy pretending to be you or one of your industrious elves. I’ve worn the red suit and fake beard myself and looked into faces that while I ho-ho-hoed were dissolving into belief where before there was considerable doubt about your existence and meaning.

Pretending to be you made me feel sustained and worthwhile for a while. And, like many others, I grasp that feeling anew when 1 sign “From Santa” and not my own name to a gift I give.

But Santa Baby your time is seasonal and your effect measured in mere weeks, days and hours and in songs people don’t want to hear anymore after midnight Dec. 25.

How much more glorious would it be if every person who looks to you even for the moment would look wholeheartedly to the one whose birth Christmas Day celebrates? Even if at the same time denying the deity of Jesus, what would happen if they truly embraced the teachings and the life and the examples of Jesus?

Wouldn’t the world be at peace, Santa, because there just wouldn’t be any need for the things that fuel war?

Wouldn’t brotherhood thrive, Santa, because that would be the only accepted way of treating others?

Wouldn’t people care enough about each other, Santa, to eliminate poverty?

Wouldn’t people no longer feel a need for aggressiveness or greed or violence, Santa, to make themselves feel safe or secure?

And wouldn’t cruelty be replaced, Santa, with kindness and forgiveness and sacrifice for others?

Following the life of Christ is indeed hard for an individual, Santa. Yet the good in the result for the many would be beyond measure.

So, Santa, don’t take offense. While you’re here, while you last, I’ll enjoy your company. I’ll sit up Christmas Eve and watch the fireplace for your entrance, if you want. Although the last 43 years 1 have to admit have been a little disappointing in that regard.

My Christmas wish, though, my real Christmas wish is that more people embrace the Life that could truly make all those worthwhile Christmas wishes spoken by so many lips come gloriously true.

How about it, Santa?
PS. Milk and chocolate chip cookies, my house, Christmas Eve. At least there better be.

My special thanks to Jim Hill for so graciously sharing the spirit of the season with me.  I asked his permission to post this today, since his letter to Santa so eloquently sums up what most of us wish for.  To find out more about Jim, the author and columnist, I add his email signature line for your convenience.  He's a treasure:

Jim Whitaker
"Hill of Beans" Author, Columnist,
Staff Writer Cynic Online Magazine
My book is available at,

Awakenings: Cozumel, Mexico by Mark Casigh

Mysti didn't have a clue what her life had been missing when an escape to Mexico took her to Cozumel. She learned things about herself that amazed her. She learned to do things with her body and have things done to her body that she had never known existed and that caused her such unimaginable, piercing pleasure. Her sexuality and sensuality are truly set free.


They should've printed this book on asbestos pages!  This book is so HOT, it's hard to hold on to!  Man!  The scenes are so vividly portrayed here, it makes the reader feels as though they are in the room with the characters!  Phenomenal writing!

From the Author:

This is a story of a Middle Aged Divorce` and her awakening after a lifetime's sexual slumber and the whole new world of life that she finds open to her.  Laid out, spread out before life a buffet, for her tasting, her sampling, her choosing, her consumption.  Follow Misty through her development in my new series.

Awakenings: Cozumel, Mexico is available at Eternal Press.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

To The Jolly Fat Man in the Red Suit

Dear Santa,

I know it's last minute and all, but I wonder if you can bring me the thing I really need most right muse.  While you're at it, can you please bring a leash so I can keep track of her...or him.  The sweet little darling keeps wandering off and leaving me and Hattie, high and dry.  My muse is what/who keeps story ideas flowing, and usually speaks through my main character.  Since I'm a pantser...what? You don't know what a pantser is? It's said that we in that category write by the 'seat of our pants' instead of plotting out our stories.  In other words, I sit at the computer, fingers poised on the keyboard and wait for my heroine to tell me her story.  I'm not hearing anything and that's not good.

Hattie either stepped on a rusty nail along the Oregon trail and got a severe case of lockjaw, or I'm stalled again.  I've been trying to 'show' this story...oh, I've probably confused you again.  As an author, we 'show' our readers the story, rather than telling it.  In my books, you'll smell the gingerbread, feel the wind against your chubby little cheeks, enjoy the warmth and crackling of the fireplace...oops...maybe that's not a good idea at this time of the year.  Don't want to sear those other chubby little cheeks.  *lol*

But I digress.  I've been trying to show this story for months now.  Even have the cover art ready, but fat lot of good it'll do me if I can never finish the first draft.  You know, I'm not getting any younger here, and neither are you.  Thought about retirement yet?  Let me tell you, it's not all it's cracked up to be.  I was more productive when I had a career...and more organized.  Last year I had a ton of new releases, this coming year...nothing, nada, zip, nil, zero!

So, if you have room in that big ol' velvet bag of yours, can you please cram my muse on top and schedule it for drop off here in Gallatin?  Although I don't set goals for the new year, I do hope to jumpstart Hattie again and keep her moving.  At this rate she's never going to get to California. Why don't I set goals, you ask?  Past experience shows failure to meet them depresses me. Why set myself up for more stress?  Oh, and speaking of stress, a little Xanax too, if you have room. 

I guess it would be rude of me not to include my best wishes for a joyous holiday season, although it doesn't sound like you're going to get much best until the 26th.  Happy flying and Feliz Navidad.  (listening to the song on Pandora.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kathryn's Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories
By author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

My real childhood Christmas memories, in fact most of my holiday memories, essentially began in my ninth year. Oh, I have memories, scattered and muted, of earlier times but none as crystalized as those after that year. That’s because months earlier on a sultry hot August day around my ninth birthday I almost died; the whole experience changed my young life forever from that time on.
It was early August 1959 – a terribly hot and long summer pre-air-conditioning – and I lived with my six siblings, mother and father, in a rambling run-down house near St. Louis. We didn’t have much money or material possessions, wore hand-me-downs and sometimes we didn’t have lunch money or even a working telephone. Our utilities were often cut off for lack of payment, things would disappear from the house and into the pawn shop and a car would one day be ours and the next not. But we had each other and…love.
My maternal grandmother, Mary Fehrt (joy bringer and storyteller of her generation) was always there for us when it came to providing the things we desperately needed; care packages of food and cash. As much as they could give because they weren’t rich either, but frugal; both worked long grueling hours at a dry cleaner. They’d gone through the Great Depression and could stretch a dollar. I always thought it ironic they’d responsibly had just one child, my mother, Delores, but she gave them seven grandchildren. I thought of my family as a modern day Walton’s. Heck, we even had a writer John Boy (me…though I was an artist and a singer with my brother Jim before I became one) and a musician, Jason (my brother Jim), a loving mother and father and a generous grandmother and grandfather. We were poor but happy. A good hearted family.
Anyway, that August I got sick. My side hurt and I lay moaning on the couch for three days while my mother and father agonized if I should be taken to the ER. Money we didn’t have. In the end, my mother won out and they took me. I had a bad case of appendicitis and the doctors, as they rushed me into the operating room, told my parents if they’d waited another hour the appendix would have burst and I might have died. Died.
Thank God, I didn’t.  Afterwards I languished in a hot hospital room (I can still smell the antiseptic, bloodied bandages and feel the pain of the stitches to this day). Ech.
My ninth birthday was two days after I returned home and my family, relieved I was alive, showered me with gifts. A brownie camera. Art supplies. Homemade cake and ice cream. Everyone was there. I, for once, was the center of attention and loved it. I look back now and realize that was the beginning of wanting to be different, to stand out, make a difference in the world, to shine, and shortly after that I began drawing pictures and singing with my brother on the rusted backyard swing set.
The holidays that year were different for me and my family as well. Thanksgiving was full of grateful laughter, a huge roasted turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and marshmallows (my favorite) and lots of my father’s special treats, nuts and tangerines.  I was acutely aware of everything. I was looking at the world through new eyes and was excited at the life I’d been given back. Happy. Thankful for my loving family.
Christmas was a child’s sweet fantasy. Christmas Eve, as the snowflakes, the temperature and the night’s amethyst twilight fell, my brothers, sisters, mother, father and I piled into my Dad’s big Buick and drove through the woods and neighborhoods of twinkling lit up houses to our grandmother and grandfather’s house. We usually stayed home on Christmas Eve and opened our presents the next morning when our grandparents arrived. Not that year. Dad and mom announced it was special and we were going to grandma’s house. Opening our presents there that night. Yippee! What child didn’t want presents early. Sooner the better.
It was snowing heavily by the time we drove into their driveway and I can still see what I saw as a child as I walked wide-eyed into grandma’s house (my grandmother loved the holidays and had twinkling Christmas lights, the big fat old-fashioned bulbs, strung along the front of their house and there were decorated Christmas trees in every room). My grandmother had outdone herself and there wasn’t corner of her home that wasn’t full of Christmas.
We traipsed downstairs and into a Christmas wonderland. Grandpa had gone out and cut a huge pine tree that stood at the end of their 50’s remodeled basement in all its glory. On its fragrant limbs hung hundreds of cherished family heirloom ornaments and beneath it were piles of brightly wrapped presents, more than I’d ever seen in my life, and a miniature Christmas village with a tiny train that chugged noisily around a little metal track, blowing its whistle.  The whole glittering sight took my breath away.
They made us kids sit on the floor and handed out our presents one by one. Grandma and grandpa had gone overboard, as always, and I remember sitting there unwrapping present after present and crying because I’d gotten so many of the things I’d wanted. A large drawing tablet. Colored pencils. Pastels. A watercolor set. A sparkly (some of you remember those don’t you?) paint-by-number of winter sunsets. A new blouse. A big bag of my favorite nuts, cashews. All for me. I was in seventh heaven. The other kids did pretty well, too. By today’s standards, nothing much, but small trucks, cars, new clothes and dolls meant a lot to us.
I gave my grandmother and grandfather a set of porcelain fishes; my mother an inexpensive necklace and father some gloves. My brothers, sisters and I had gone out on a cold night days earlier to the local five and dime and picked out what we could afford, not much, but it was given from the heart. After the gifts we sat down at the long table full of grandma’s delicious food and ate, laughed, and made memories as the snow continued to drift outside the windows. Later, stuffed, content and exhausted mom and dad loaded us all into the Buick and slowly drove us home on the slick streets. Magic. I’ll never forget that night and the joy of my large family. The love. It’d sustain us through the hard and bad times to come and to this day gives me a smile and a catch in my throat whenever my thoughts touch it.  Merry Christmas everyone! ***
Written a lifetime away on this nineteenth October day of 2011 by author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres. Learn more about her at or or and!/profile.php?id=1019954486       
Her published novels & short stories:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure 1984; Damnation Books 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Blood Forge (Leisure 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out Februry 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out July 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Witches (Zebra 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Nameless One (short story 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions;
  Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Calling (Zebra 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out October 2011)
Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery 2003)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery 2006)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
Winter's Journey (The Wild Rose Press 2008; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press 2008; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
Don't Look Back, Agnes short story (2008; ghostly short story Eternal Press Jan. 2012)
In This House (ghostly short story 2008; Eternal Press January 2012)
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books June 2010)
The Woman in Crimson (Damnation Books 2010)
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels: Volume 1 2011 (I wrote the foreword) ***

Monday, December 19, 2011

Welcome Beth Trissel

The old Virginia home place where my father was born and raised and I grew up visiting over the holidays has inspired more than one story.  I spent some wonderfully memorable Christmas’s in that beautiful plantation home (circa 1816) but the ones I’m most sentimental about were in the late 1960’s.  Drawn to that era, I set my recent Christmas romance, Somewhere the Bells Ring, in 1968 during the tumultuous age of hippies, Vietnam, and some of the best darn rock music ever written.  Fashion was all over the place in those days and fishnet hose all the rage.  I gloried in my first pair while wearing my Bonnie Bell lip gloss that I received for Christmas.  Think I was more excited about those gifts than any others.  The maxi dress followed on the heels of the maxi skirt, which I was all about.  Mom sewed several for me and I floated around like the Christmas queen.  The music of the late 60’s was awesome.  What a thrill when I first heard Innagadadavida by Iron Butterfly.  Stunned might be a better word, but it definitely impressed me as did many other songs of that era.

Not to overlook the less positive elements of “68, like Vietnam and the tragic assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.  I was deeply sorry, but as a kid didn’t overly dwell on those.  One of the top films of 1968 was Romeo and Juliette which stamped me as a romantic forever and brings me back to my new release. 

Not only did that nostalgic time period beckon to me but also an earlier one, 1918 and the end of World War One.  Not in the way of battle scenes, but in the form of a wounded soldier recently returned from war-weary France who lives in the house.  I’ve seen the early 20th century family photos discovered in the attic, along with other treasures and memorabilia, and often pondered that bygone age, gracious in many ways apart from the war.  Having a Marine Corps Captain grandfather who distinguished himself during the thick of the fighting in France during The Great War and then tragically died when my father was only three definitely influenced this story–dedicated to the grandfather I never knew, but grieved all the same.

But the biggest influence was the poignant dream I had years ago about a young woman visiting this house during the Christmas holidays and the mysterious gentleman she met.  His profound sadness made a deep impression on me, as did the gentleman himself, and the young lady who reached out to him.  That dream nagged at me every Christmas until I finally wrote their story. So, if you enjoy an intriguing mystery with Gothic overtones and heart-tugging romance set in vintage America then Somewhere the Bells Ring is for you.  And did I mention the ghost?

Blurb: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative's ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn't so bad.

To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope--until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.

As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe--in Bailey and the ghost--before the Christmas bells ring?

*Image above of old family home this story is based on.
*Available in various eBook formats from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon Kindle, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook and other online booksellers.
*For more on me please visit my blog:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Welcome Both Sides of Adriana Kraft

Who Exactly is Adriana Kraft?

To start with, “I” am actually “we” – my husband and I co-write erotic romance under our pen name, Adriana Kraft. So when you see me out and about on the web using what looks like the “Royal We,” I’m not being regal, I’m just owning our combined reality!

We see ourselves as niche authors, so today I thought I’d share with you how we define our own special corner of the erotic romance world. Here are the SEO tags we most identify with:
Erotic Needs no introduction, defines everything we write. Explicit sex scenes created to evoke arousal and enjoyment.
Romance Happy endings, always. Satisfying, never tragic, always upbeat at the end. The erotic scenes are not gratuitous but always part of a story that leads somewhere. It may be happy-for-now, but the reader will be pleased the characters got it together.
Boomers Many of our characters are Baby Boomers. We don’t limit ourselves to this age range, but since we claim it as our own, we write stories that celebrate sex and vibrant living across the age spectrum.
Couples We are a married couple, and we write for couples (married or otherwise, straight or LGBT). We craft scenes that appeal to both genders, scenes that invite fantasizing, scenes that can be part of foreplay, scenes that lead to one of our favorite lines from a reviewer of Colors of the Night, our very first published book: “the reader will no doubt want either a partner or a bucket of toys close at hand.”

Bisexual Heroines for lots of reasons. Because both of us enjoy reading and writing scenes involving two (or more) women together. Because there’s evidence that as we age, we become more sexually fluid. Because for some couples, if she wants him to read erotic romance together in bed, reading about two women may help entice him into the story. Because it’s fun.

Swingers Because the fantasy of ménage is so tantalizing. Because swinging offers so many opportunities for decadent lovemaking, for taking turns being the sole focus of two, three or more other people, for sharing pleasure, enjoying voyeurism, giving one’s partner a special gift. Check out our Swinging Games series at Extasy for a peek at how one Baby Boomer couple heats up their sex life! 

Polyamory Sometimes, as in swinging, ménage is about recreational sex, but sometimes it’s about three or more persons falling in love, sorting out the intricacies of the relationship combinations, and making long term commitments. We write a world where such dreams can come true. You can check out our Christmas Story, Santa’s Boss, for a three-way happy ending!

Sexual Freedom We’re not fond of the term “promiscuous” and prefer to champion consensual freedom of sexual expression as a healthy approach to sexuality. We know this requires deep trust and open, honest communication, especially when sexual freedom takes place within the context of committed relationships.
Our most recent release at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid, Ripening Passion, fits most of these tags. Here’s the blurb and a SFW excerpt. If you’d like a little more spice, another excerpt is available HERE.
Claire Johnson’s dedication to sex—the cornerstone of her career—led her to found the Center for Sexuality and Sex Practices. Now in her fifties, she knows the Center must keep pace with the rapidly growing Baby Boomer market, so she agrees to go back on camera for a series on sex and aging. But work with her nemesis?
Former English Professor Max Wilson has championed the cause of the Center ever since his deceased wife sought the Center’s help to rekindle the nearly extinguished sexual flames of their relationship. He loves working on camera and welcomes the challenge to perform with the svelte but feisty temptress.
Sparks fly immediately on and off camera. Can either Claire or Max transform those sparks into a fire of sexual desire for their viewers? And if they succeed, what will happen when the movie’s over?
EXCERPT: Let’s drop in on Max and Claire near the beginning. They’ve been sent to a conference on sex and aging in Monterey. It’s evening, and there’s a sunset on the beach…
“Can we walk a little?” Claire grabbed Max’s hand as if it was the most natural thing to do.
They carried their shoes and strolled across the wet, firm sand. Only the sounds of gulls calling and the light slapping of the waves filled their ears.
Her fingers strangely warmed his. Did his warm hers?
Whiskey Creek                 Amazon                  Fictionwise
Thanks for stopping by ~ and please leave a comment. We’d love to know if your niche fits our niche!
Where to find Adriana Kraft
Adriana’s Author Pages at and All Romance Ebooks

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

It's Six Sentence Sunday again...where you can find links to some great reads.  I'm happy to be part of such impressive company.  This week  I'm jumping back to  my latest release, Embezzled Love. Part of any relationship includes fighting and making up.  Evan's good at getting himself back into Cassie's good graces.  :)

She stood, peering out the window, when Evan walked up behind her, put his arms around her and pulled her close. They didn't speak.

The aromatic smell of apple dishwashing detergent still hung in the air even though the soapy water had disappeared down the drain. His warmth permeated her robe and brought a secure feeling that dispelled his presumed past.

"Cat got your tongue, baby girl?" His toasty breath drifted across her neck. "Do you have any idea how much I love you?"


I look forward to sharing more with you and  I wish each of you...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Welcome Margay Leah Justice

It’s Not the Holiday,

It’s How You Celebrate It


Margay Leah Justice

This time of year as we celebrate Thanksgiving with Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday shopping and are constantly barraged by special deals and holiday cheer, we often get so caught up in the commercialization of the holiday that we tend to forget what it’s all about. I admit I go into panic mode the first time I see a holiday-themed commercial on TV and start worrying about all the things that are yet to be done – who doesn’t? With this store telling you they can give you a deal on that and that program telling you what is the Must Have gift of the season, it’s so easy to get so caught up in the Must Have-Buy Now for less mentality of the season that your nerves end up in a bundle to rival that of the Christmas tree lights you just had to keep from last year to save on the cost this year. And what do we do with those lights? Toss them in the trash and buy new ones because they’re just not worth the effort to unravel them and, ultimately, one of them is not going to work anyhow, which throws the rest off. But what do we do when we take the tree down after New Year’s? Bundle the lights away with the ornaments to put back on the tree next year, you know, to save a little money.

Next year: Push Play and repeat on your Holidays-Make-Me-Crazy recorder.

Lost in the brightly-colored wrappings, perky bows, tinsel and mistletoe is the message of the holiday season. We are so caught up in the process of getting the perfect gift at the best price to give to the most deserving at the gathering to beat every other gathering that came before that we forget one simple fact. The holiday isn’t about how much money you save – or spend – or how well you decorate or plan a gathering. It’s about how you actually celebrate the day. It’s about the people you surround yourself with when you pass on the traditions that were passed on to you. Do you think Mary and Joseph were worried about how the manger looked when all of those people came to visit after the birth of their son? Did Mary have to leave Thanksgiving dinner early to go stand in line at the local Best Buy until it opened on Black Friday so she could get a killer deal on a iPad? So why do we? When did this holiday season become all about getting the best gift for or from someone and not about why we celebrate it in the first place?

For me, one of the best memories I have about Christmas happened during one of the most trying times in my life. I found myself without a home, so I was living in a hotel room with my two young daughters as we waited for a spot to open up in a local shelter. We didn’t have much of anything then – certainly not enough to celebrate the holiday – but we got through it with the help of strangers who donated gifts to us. But what made this day really special was how my older daughter (who was about 11 at the time) made our Christmas tree. She drew it – on notebook paper. Not just one piece, but several, each piece containing a part of the tree. Then she aligned them all together, like a puzzle, and taped the whole to the wall. We didn’t have much, but we did have the spirit of the season and it took my young daughter to remind me of what it truly means to celebrate the season. Now, some years later, as I find myself in difficult circumstances again, my daughters both remind me that it’s not about the gifts that are exchanged on that day. It’s about the people whom you choose to spend the day with – they are the true gifts of the season. Of every season.


Note from Ginger:  I don't know about you, but this post touched me deeply.  Thanks to Margay, who is also an author.  You can find out more about her one any one of the following pages:
Muse It Up Bookstore

I Miss Hearing His Voice...

"Let's open just one."

Every year, on Christmas Eve, my dad uttered those same words.  Though we always vowed to wait until Christmas morning, the biggest kid in the family couldn't.  Although Jewish, and definitely not a believer in the reason for the season, he never begrudged us our celebration. He embraced the image of Santa Claus, and didn't mind at all that my mother, a Protestant who loved Christmas, decorated everything to the hilt.  Until I was old enough to realize the difference in religions, I had no idea that my mother and father shared quite different beliefs.  It didn't dampen the love they had for one another, and it certainly didn't cause problems that affected me or my siblings.

Every year started out the same way.  Presents wrapped, under the tree, and we were constantly cautioned that this was the year we were waiting till Christmas morning.  However, when Christmas Eve rolled around, those familiar words bubbled out of Dad's mouth, and the next thing you know, we were sitting among heaps of paper and boxes, the deed done, and another year passed without the traditional opening of gifts on Christmas morn.  Of course, there was always a gathering of the family for a great feast, and lots of laughter.  Those are my happy memories.  We weren't rich, by any means, but I never felt poor.

Christmas hasn't been the same since my father died.  That last Christmas the whole family shared together in 1985 will always remain special to me.  My then husband, me and my children had come from Northern California to spend the holidays in Southern Cal.  My father had been ill for sometime, but seeing the gauntness in his face and his listless movements told me he wouldn't be around long.  When we left, I think I cried all the way home because I knew I'd never see him again.  I was right.  On January 28th of 1986, I received a phone call from my sister telling me our father had passed.  Nothing can quite describe that moment of shock, that emptiness that invaded my soul at hearing her announcement.  Even though I expected that call, there's no way to ever prepare for it.  Whether you know someone is going to die or they pass unexpectedly, the pain is the same.  My dad was my security blanket, and I had to work hard the coming years to learn to stand on my own two feet.  I still miss him and his assurances that everything would be fine.  If he said it, I believed it.

As Christmas approaches, I feel a desire to go to church to celebrate the birth of Christ.  I consider myself a Christian, but I can't find a niche where I fit.  In my opinion, people who select a certain denomination, vow to follow that church's beliefs to the letter, sometimes to a point that I feel is too literal.  If I truly believe that in order to gain entrance to heaven, one must accept Jesus as their savior, then I have to forfeit the hope that I will one day see my dad again.   I can't do that.  He was a good man, and I can't accept that he would be denied an afterlife because he was raised in a faith that differs from mine.  He read the same Bible, just concentrated on the Old Testament.

Since no one's ever come back from death and told us what awaits us, I guess we can only continue to hope and pray that there is something wonderful beyond this life.  If there isn't...well, then I'll be thankful for the time I've spent here, the friends I've made, and my earthly father who made me proud to be his daughter despite his having little pride in himself.  I love you Daddy, and I hope you know how much you were loved and appreciated.  Christmas just isn't the same without you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Terri Main

Going Full-time Once Again: Lessons from my Past for my Future

The year 2012 looms in front of me as a year of change. Next year, after close to 30 years of teaching, I'm retiring. It's a whole jumble of emotions. In some ways, it will be a great relief because the California Community College system is undergoing a great deal of change at the state administrative level. Not all of it is good in my opinion. My health isn't what it used to be either and I can use a slower pace. On the other hand, I love to teach and it has been my life for the past three decades. I figure years on an August to May calendar rather than January to December.

So, what does this have to do with writing, books and being an author. Well, it takes me back to a place I was before I started teaching full-time, which would be about 22 years ago. Back then I was writing full-time. As I enter retirement I'm going to be returning to those roots, but I'm going to be better prepared.

Back then I had been “forced” into it by a recession (sound familiar) that cost me my job in advertising. Back then I had little time to prepare, and honestly I had a lot of irrational and romantic ideas about the work of a full-time freelance writer.

You know the image. The writer blasts through a novel in a few weeks, which is instantly picked up by a major publisher and the next thing you know you have a six-figure advance and a date on the Tonight Show. Okay, maybe I was a touch more realistic than that, but I did figure most of my writing would be for magazines and book publishers. The reality was much different.

First, because I started freelancing without anything more than the two-weeks severance pay in my purse, the two main considerations when choosing a writing project were: (1) How long will it take? And (2) How much will it pay? My first concern was always paying the bills.

Anyone going into full-time freelancing should have six months to a year's expenses covered. That gives you enough time to do a few of the projects you want to do and get a few income streams going before you have pay all your bills from your pen. Fortunately, retirement gives me enough money to cover the basics. Not much more, but I don't have to make that sale to buy groceries. I also have some savings for the extra expenses that come up including those for marketing. There is only so much you can do with social media marketing.

The second big “surprise” for me was that most of my work was NOT for publishers. Being moderately well known in the area for my marketing skills and advertising copywriting, my first, and most lucrative, projects were advertising pieces such as radio commercials, brochures, newspaper ads and a bunch of other business writing. I could get paid $25 to write a one-paragraph blurb about a Bed and Breakfast Inn for inclusion in a travel directory. I got paid up to $400 for some radio ads. Compared to being “paid in copies” for short fiction writing, it was a no-brainer economically, but hardly the most satisfying writing to do. Among my many projects I wrote catalog copy, video documentary scripts, commercials for both radio and TV, resumes, cover letters, press releases, brochures. I even designed bookmarks and business cards.

Fortunately, I can enter my second round of full-time freelancing being more selective. I don't actually mind some of the advertising and marketing work I did. Certainly, writing press releases and designing brochures can be fun. It would be even more fun with today's desktop publishing programs that can take the heavy lifting out of design projects. However, I know that diversification is the key to writing success. Sure, if you are Stephen King or Nora Roberts, you can keep doing the same type of writing and make a good income. However, most of us have to build multiple income streams. That means writing for a local market doing business writing or writing for a local newspaper or magazine, writing short pieces for national publications and longer pieces as well. Most freelancers do not have the luxury of being too specialized.

Finally, I discovered that, for me, writing and teaching went together. I am at the bottom of my soul always a teacher. Much of my nonfiction writing had a seed of education for the reader buried within it. But writing also led me back into teaching. Being fairly successful as a writer in my small town, I was able to propose some writing classes to the local college, which eventually led to part-time employment there as a teacher and public information assistant. That laid the foundation for me to apply for the job I have now.

It seems that writing led me to teaching which leads me back to writing. Oh, and also to teaching. I'm starting up my own online school for people who just want to learn things without having to matriculate at a college or pay an exorbitant fee to a major for-profit entity. And, you got it, My first class – Novel Writing and next year Magazine Article Writing. Now, that's the best of all possible worlds: Writing lessons teaching people how to write. It doesn't get any better than that!

Terri Main is an instructor at Reedley College, in Reedley, California where she lives with her five cats. She has been published in more than 50 national magazines and is the author of Dark Side of the Moon, Parmenter's Wager and A Question of Defense published by Muse It Up Publishers. She is also the author of Creative Calisthenics: The Ultimate Workout for the Writer's Imagination. Her new online learning space is Education Wants to be Free ( New classes are starting in February in Novel Writing, Computer Mediated Communication for Writers and Magazine Writing.

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