Thursday, May 29, 2014

Playing in the Dirt

 Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Frank and Lance really kicked butt this last week. All that hard work from the prior week spilled over and they finished. Drip lines down, black mulch laid and all plants and seeds in the ground. For those of you who know Frank, you might be amused. This is our third planting season, and the man who said he refused to "play in dirt" and avoided it for two years, sure did a lot of playing.

This year's configuration is different. Lance learns something new every year. Some things that were outside last year are now in the greenhouse. We aren't even using the field where the potatoes and green beans were last year.

We of course have greens in the greenhouse which includes butter lettuce, kale, collard greens, chard, spinach and a few more. Carrots were moved into the greenhouse. All of the dill and most of the tomatoes are in the greenhouse.

Peppers and more peppers
Outside, we have more rows of cucumbers than last year since we're upping the jars of pickles we plan to produce. Some tomatoes are outside. We have a variety of peppers, cabbage, butternut squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, golden potatoes, watermelon, onions, garlic, okra, green beans -- and I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

Our third farmers market was successful considering it was a holiday weekend and there was a huge craft fair in downtown Prescott. We didn't do quite as much business as the prior week but better than the first. What was amazing was the praise from return customers. Lots of good feedback. And more requests for shirts. Frank and Christie are researching the best place to have them done.

Sadi loves strawberries
We have a few strawberry plants out front in my flower garden. I like the plant and the color. Sadi likes the fruit! Grandpa says he used to get a strawberry now and then, but Sadi beats him to them. She checks the plant every time she goes out front.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Series - Fun to Read, Fun to Write

I'm literally in the middle of writing a series. I have five books planned for the Love and Murder Series, and I'm halfway through book three. This will be my first series but not my last. Like many readers, I really love reading series novels, but had no idea I would enjoy writing them so much.

There are several different ways to structure a series. A common way is a series of stories involving the adventures of one main character. This is used often for detective or intrigue novels as well as time travel. Another method is to use a setting and each book tells the story of different characters who make up that town or island or planet, wherever.

My books are linked by characters who know each other - kind like spinoffs - and the theme of Love and Murder. My first book which released May 2, had enough characters to spin off three more books. Lacy Dahl and Chance Meadowlark are the main force in The Art of Love and Murder. Phoebe Anderson makes an appearance as Lacy's best friend. There is mention of Chance's brother, Mason. That led to book two, Southwest of Love and Murder which is the story of Phoebe and Mason. In book three, The Legacy of Love and Murder, Lacy's daughter, August is the main character. She also played a minor role in The Art of Love and Murder. Book four will feature Penny, the hotel clerk in book one that Lacy dubbed the Black Fairy because of her Goth dress style. Penny is in a great deal of danger. For book five, we'll go back to the Meadowlark Ranch and a story that will bring Mason and Chance's father, Dirk, and his friend Margie Alcott into a mess of love and murder.

The reviews have been great for The Art of Love and Murder. I've had emails and phone calls about how much readers loved the read and they can't wait for book two. Southwest of Love and Murder is on my editor's desk now so look for it in a few months.

Meanwhile, I hope you'll get your copy of The Art of Love and Murder and get hooked and murder!

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press: 

Barnes & Noble

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bait Shop Blues and a Giveaway with Nancy Pirri

Bait Shop Blues
Finding love shouldn’t be so hard…
What does a successful businesswoman born and bred in Chicago want with half-ownership of a quaint bait shop in northern Minnesota, willed to her by her grandfather? And how will the reclusive half-owner of the shop convince the woman to sell out her half to him? For Cassandra Thompson, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike who's recently been dumped by her second fiancĂ© in two years, it could mean a well-needed change in life. For Leif Halverson, a handsome man of Ojibwa extraction, and co-owner of the shop, it could mean disaster—like falling in love. Leif is far from happy about this city woman invading his territory so he challenges her to a wilderness survival contest where the winner takes all.
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 “You know, I was surprised to hear Roy had a granddaughter. He’d told me often during the past fifteen years he had no family.” He raised his brow. “Makes me wonder why you suddenly appeared out of nowhere.”
Cassandra frowned. “The private investigator he’d hired had learned about the car accident that had taken my parents’ lives. After that he managed to track me down. Didn’t Grandpa tell you he’d been searching for us?”
“Yeah, he did.” He gave a short irritable laugh. “About two days before he died.”
“Oh! I’m sorry. You must have been surprised,” she murmured. She tried to imagine how she’d feel if someone had butted into her business, Pretty Woman Cosmetics. She’d be furious.
“Not just surprised, but stunned. Roy then told me he’d had a falling out with his only son years ago.”
“Unfortunately, that’s true. I was three years old at the time.”
“Roy was real torn up when he heard about your father’s death.”
She sighed. “I imagine he was, seeing as my grandfather and father hadn’t spoken to each other in years. He said it was the saddest day of his life, and he’d forever regret they hadn’t mended their fences. I wish I’d had the opportunity to see Grandfather before he passed away. I was so young when my parents took me away from here that I’ve no memories of him.”
As she peered out the window, the beauty of the vivid green treetops caught her interest, but then she shuddered at the grayish-colored water. After awhile she sank back in her seat and grimaced, identifying the pungent odors in the plane. Leather, gasoline and the distinct odor of fish blended together, yet each scent was distinct.
She was uncomfortably conscious of his maleness. Virile and confident, but without being macho and overbearing would aptly describe him—the little she knew of him. Yet, her awareness of him as a very attractive man was starting to bother her. He was just another handsome man. She’d dated plenty of good-looking guys and had learned her lesson well. She bit her lip thoughtfully, gauging her attraction to him and decided, in the end, she must be experiencing some sort of chemical imbalance.
About the Author:

Nancy Schumacher is the owner-publisher of Melange Books, LLC, writing under the pseudonyms, Nancy Pirri and Natasha Perry. Nancy started writing eighteen years ago while raising four children. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is also one of the founders of the Minnesota RWA chapter, Northern Lights Writers (NLW).
Nancy's debut historical romance, THE MACAULAY BRIDE, set in late 19th century Scotland, was published in 2003. The debut book received several contest wins and received a TOP PICK award from Romantic Times Book Club publication in Oct. 2004. BAIT SHOP BLUES is her second full-length novel. She has written five full-length novels, and many stories included in anthologies with Melange Books, LLC.

Get in Touch With Nancy:
Click on this link for the giveaway:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life is Full

 Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.
It's been a very busy week on Tortuga Flats Farm. I was gone for part of it, and I left my camera in my mother's car which means, unfortunately, no new pictures.

Our second Farmers' Market appearance in Prescott was a great success. This was the report from Frank and Lance. (I was in California with Mom and sister) We had repeat customers. That means a great deal. Then we had a vendor from another aisle stop in and say she'd been listening to the buzz from market customers so she had to pop over and get some pickles. Nice to hear.

Frank and Lance have been working hard all week in strong, dust blowing wind. Frank got all the fruit tree wells dug out and the orchard mowed. Today he announced we have plums and apples forming. This is kind of a surprise because Lance
Christie and Sadi hanging out
gave all the trees such heavy trims we figured it would be a year before they could fruit. Maybe it helped since we had NO fruit last year.

Lance got the sweet potatoes in the ground and did more planting in the greenhouse while Frank worked on the orchard. Then they both spent a few days laying the row mulch that looks like plastic but is made from something organic. They planted potatoes, cabbage, onions and peppers.

Once I returned, I harvested dill which goes into the freezer. It will be an every other day chore from now until the end of summer. We use pounds of dill weed and seed for our pickles. At this point, only weed is harvested but we do have some seeds coming ready in a week or so. Although we freeze the weed, we'll dry the seeds. All the dill right now is in the greenhouse. The dill that was planted outside didn't take. Probably too early for our climate. We'll try it again. We use so much, we need more than the greenhouse can hold.

I'm splitting my days between helping where I can, such as harvesting dill, and writing the third book in my Love and Murder series for one publisher while writing on two other projects for another publisher. Life is full!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inspiration and Fear by Jessi Gage

Please welcome my guest, Jessi Gage, to Muse Monday.
I’m so excited to be on Discover Yourself today! Thank you for having me, Brenda.
Let’s talk inspiration and fear, two things you don’t usually think about putting together.
Inspiration comes from many places. Happy places, curious places, surprising place, dark places… Can inspiration comes from fear? Should an author ever use her writing to explore her own limitations and issues?
I did when I wrote my new contemporary romance, Reckless. But I hope I did it in a way that entertains and inspires.
The best writing digs deep into character. We authors go about that in a variety of ways. We interview people, we read biographies, we spend time putting ourselves in the heads of our characters. Sometimes, the best writing happens when a writer injects a bit of herself.
I did this with my heroine, Cami. My own fear of merging on the freeways is manageable, but when I wrote Cami, I gave her that particular fear in spades. Then I let the worst possible thing happen to her, a traffic accident. Through forcing my character to face her worst nightmare and letting her overcome it (and even find love in the process), I was able to place my own fears in perspective. It was therapeutic, in a way.
Through writing Cami, I learned some new things about myself, like maybe that the root of my fears regarding driving are related to my fears of letting people down. I worry that as a driver, I’m slower than I should be. I put others out by taking too long to make a decision. I slow others down. I get in their way. It was liberating to examine these fears in detail through the eyes and emotions of someone else. I actually see myself thinking more rationally in tense situations on the road.
More importantly though, I hope I’ve written a character that touches the hearts of my readers. Cami is a sweetheart who has something bad happen to her because someone else (my hero, Derek), acted aggressively behind the wheel. Not only does she have her own issues to deal with, but she has to grapple with whether or not she will forgive the man who hurt her.
Here’s the blurb for Reckless:
Sometimes it takes a miracle to find forgiveness.

Divorced construction worker Derek has anger management issues. Acting rashly on the freeway, he causes an accident. His truck escapes unscathed, but he can’t say the same for his conscience. Visions of the wreck haunt his dreams, but they’re always followed by the sweet caresses and soothing words of a beautiful woman who calls to everything male in him.

Cami assumes she is dead. With no memory of her past, all she knows is endless fog and the occasional visit to a darkened bedroom where she comforts a man battling nightmares. When she wakes in a hospital bed and regains her memory, she assumes the ruggedly handsome Derek was no more than a figment of her concussed mind.

As Cami recovers, she learns that Derek is not only real but also the driver charged with causing her accident. She should be furious with him, but their inexplicable nights together showed her a tender side beneath his rough exterior. Will she let one reckless mistake drive them apart, or will forgiveness have the right of way?

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Thanks for reading! And thanks again, Brenda, for having me. Anyone who wants can stop by my website for a chance to win another of my new releases THE WOLF AND THE HIGHLANDER and an Amazon gift card. For an extra point in the giveaway, leave a comment letting me know what fear or issue you have that you would like to read about through a character’s perspective.
Jessi’s Bio:
Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she's sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.

Jessi’s Links: