Monday, June 30, 2014

It's a Review Jungle Out There

Reviews are so important to an author. A few good reviews can entice readers to take a closer look at a novel and put it on their TBR list or buy right then. In recent years, reviews have become harder to get. No one knows exactly why; could be more books are published now with all the indie authors and explosion of small presses.

With the difficulty in garnering reviews, I'm pretty happy to have had five reviews so far for The Art of Love and Murder. I'm more than happy to share a snippet of each with you and their links if you're interested in reading the full review.

Long and Short Reviews 4 Stars
The book’s strength is in its characters and descriptions… The setting was a character in itself. I loved the town! The author really made it come to life, not stinting on details (but not boring the reader either)… the writing kept me turning pages and I never once thought about setting it down.

Page Princess
I give this book a Loved It rating. The Art of Love and Murder is the perfect summer read to grab while the weather is hot. Brenda Whiteside ropes you in and will have you not wanting to move from your spot until you finish every last page.

Highly recommended. The Art of Love and Murder is full of strong, believable characters and a gripping suspenseful plotline. It was really easy to visualise the events as the setting description was fantastically detailed.

Musings from an Addicted Reader
I liked this story a lot. The chemistry between the two is sizzling, another great read from Brenda Whiteside.

Zombies Inside
The Art of Love and Murder is full of strong, believable characters and a gripping suspenseful  plotline. Highly recommended for anyone who likes romance mixed with intrigue.

Now whip over to my web page for an excerpt and watch the video!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pepper Phillips' Fearless Adventure

I'm so pleased to have Pepper Phillips today. Read on and enjoy!

Thanks Brenda for letting me describe my fearless adventure.
I’d like to say I bungee jumped off a bridge, but I’m afraid of heights, so that’s never going to happen!  LOL
Instead I attacked my patio and yard.
This is more difficult than it sounds. For one, I have a black thumb. My daughter bought me a lovely princess teardrop fuchsia for Mother’s Day, within ten days all the little stems curled up and died, except for one. I’m relieved to say that hers did the same thing, so I don’t feel quite so guilty. The lone survivor is hanging out in the fig tree.
So why am I doing this massive undertaking? A baby shower. At my house. Lots of women coming. Enough said.
The patio itself wasn’t that hard, but it was time consuming. Move the furniture around so that it looks good from the living room. My living room has five double French doors, so everywhere you look, you can see the patio. I needed to make the area look appealing from inside the house and livable on the outside.
And then it needed plants. Lots of them.
I borrowed the hubby’s truck and went to get some ferns. Three of them filled up the back of the truck. They were really inexpensive, and really huge. I had to go back later and get three more, as I decided that three wasn’t enough. Now it looks super lush and gorgeous.
Then there was the long blank spot of plain dirt in front of the patio. I bought ten plants with pink flowers with a white center…that would work well with the color theme of pink with white polka dots that I’d chosen to use (it’s a girl!).
Luckily two of my sons felt sorry for me and planted them in about ten minutes. But it was a long space and still looked sparse. Another trip to the greenhouse and I purchased all of the plain pink ones. Just enough to plant between the others. I got smart and hired a grandson to help me.
While I had him, we tackled the large pecan tree in front of the patio. First he dug up the Amaryllis plants that didn’t want to leave their ground, then we stacked a double stack of bricks around the tree. I ended up planting eighteen of the largest bulbs back around the tree. Before they were only on one side, so it looked lopsided, and weeds were on the other side. At least the weeds did have blue flowers in the spring.
Then for a spot of color, I planted eight bright red salvia plants. I might have to go back and get another eight, but my aching body is protesting big time.
I truly admire women who love to dig in their garden. I for one like the end result. But looking at my patio and enclosed tree bed made me look across the yard and driveway at my hubby’s office building and it really needs something in front of it…I might have created a monster.
Pepper Phillips is a transplanted Northwestern girl, now basking in the Louisiana countryside where she creates stories set in the South. If you enjoy sassy contemporary romance with a touch of heart, try The Devil Has Dimples. At Amazon and other major distributors.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wind and Weed Wars

 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.
Weeding is now in full force yet the crops are thriving too. My weeding efforts are concentrated on root crops and money crops. Root crops, such as onions and carrots, do not like to compete with the roots of weeds. The money crops, such as the cucumbers, need to reach their full potential so we have great pickles this fall.

The black plastic mulch was a great investment. Even in the areas where we have a horrible reoccurring grass problem, the rows are better under control. You can see in one of the pictures that between the rows we still

have a battle but at least the plants aren't being suffocated. In addition to the black mulch, we've used grass cuttings on other rows. Frank tends the yard, so now we say he's the mulch farmer.

We had two days of unbelievable wind. It's always windy here, but this was over the top. We had to stake the pepper plants to keep them from bending so far they would break. I think we lost only one.

The wind usually blows from the same direction - kind of out of the southwest.
You can tell from this poor apple tree who had a major trim over the winter.

The garlic is all harvested and curing which takes three to five weeks.

Heavy decisions this week on the pickles. After finding some jars of our Old World style too soft, we may discontinue them. It's a touch process getting them to retain enough firmness and pump up the flavor. Our regular ones are
great but the Old World was Frank and Lance's favorite. But consistency is so important if you go retail. We'll see. Only one more Farmers' Market and we're out of product until September. Success!

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Muse is a Composer by Kat De Falla

Please welcome my guest, Kat De Falla. Don't be shy, readers. Leave a comment for music!

My muse is my composer husband. If you’ve never heard live classical guitar while you are working on your WIP, I highly recommend it! This weekend, I attended my very first book signing at my local RWA Chapter Conference, WisRWA

And who was there to support me? My totally sexy husband playing live music for the desert reception while I signed books outside.

I will give a lucky commenter a copy of the soundtrack he wrote to accompany The Seer’s Lover. Just leave a comment and tell us “What is your muse?”


She traced a circle in the sand with her finger.
Why would she disclose her whole existence to someone she’d just met? Someone who talked so little about himself that she found herself talking to fill the void. Saying things she could barely admit in her own head.
His hand covered hers. “I’m lonely, too. Getting to know you this week has been the brightest point in my life and I don’t want you to leave, but I know the only place you’ll be safe is far away from me.”
She swallowed. He had read her mind.
He lay down on his back and closed his eyes. “Cali, you know when you hear a song for the first time and you kind of ingest it? You can’t possibly know right away that it will be one of your favorite songs for the rest of your life. A classic.”
“Yeah.” She hoped he was going somewhere good with this.
“That first listen,” he continued, “you pick up a little of the melody and some lyrics that catch you. But when the song ends, you have to hear it again because you want to memorize all the words and sing along. After you hear it a few times and learn the words inside and out, then you begin to let the melody seep inside you. Next thing you know, you’ve completely digested the song and find yourself humming it while you are doing nothing, like shaving or driving your car. Finally, the song becomes so ingrained it becomes a part of you. Forever. You can recall it and it’s with you whenever you need it. Am I making any sense?”
She nodded, blinking back the tears fighting to fall.
“Cali, I don’t want you to go back because you’re my favorite song.”

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Me and the Garlic - When you're hot...

 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.
The heat has Earlier and hotter than the prior two years. It's affecting so many things including my stamina. Instead of getting some of my author business done early, I'm up and outside by 7:00. The heat is intense by 10:00.

The garlic wants out of the heat too. We're still new with garlic growing, and from everything I've read knowing when to harvest is touchy. Nine months is pretty common from planting to harvest. At seven months, it looked like the garlic was ready - at least from the top. I've been the garlic lady so far, and it was left for me to decide. I couldn't believe it could be ready. More research. Only way to tell was to dig up a couple. Yep, good to go. We started the harvest today.

Garlic has to be loosened and then brought out, not just pulled, and immediately gotten out of the sun. I didn't get around to hanging it today. Tomorrow will do. What we harvested is resting in the garage where it will be hung to cure for three to six weeks. And there's more to harvest.

Out of control dill.
The dill has all gone to flower and is out of control. I attempted to tie it away from the ceiling of the greenhouse as each plant flowered and reached ever higher. I've given up. Some of the flowers have gone to seed and finally tinges of brown are showing. Lance planted more dill outside. And as the greenhouse plants go to seed, we'll save the seeds and pull up the plants so Lance can plant more. We use massive amounts of dill for our pickling.

Last of the cucumber rows are mulched. This year we are using grass
Mulched cucumber plants
clippings which worked great on the garlic. Mulch will keep down weeds as well as maintain soil temperature. It's hard to believe those little babies will have cucumbers on
Cucumber before mulch
them in two months. And then in the jar for Pirate Pickles!

By the way, check out our Pirate Pickling web site. We had so many requests for tee shirts that we now have them for sale.

Roses in my garden that needs attention.

Monday, June 9, 2014


My muse is kind of wacko right now trying to fit the creative stuff in between promo, editing, blogging, farming and family stuff.

So on this Muse Monday, I'm here to remind you of my latest release, The Art of Love and Murder, the first book in my romantic suspense series, Love and Murder.

Check out my contest page right here on my blog and take advantage of two blog tours and win!


Momentarily struck dumb by his eye color, she stared back. Why hadn’t she noticed until now? Although not as light as hers or her father’s, the professor’s eyes were a startling green shade.
His hand nudged her arm. “Lacy?”
She jumped. “Oh, yes.” She slipped the tissue from the half-carved wolf. Another glance at his eyes and goose bumps riddled her arms.
He lifted the wood close to his face, using both hands as if handling a delicate hummingbird. His thumb traced the neck of the creature to the juncture of where it emerged from the wood. When he brought the piece to his nose, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Lacy wanted to turn away from the oddly erotic gesture.
He swallowed, opened his eyes and set the wolf back on the tissue. His attention shifted to the photograph of the chest. He touched the photo, a smile on his lips. “Where is the chest?”
The chest. Like he knew it, had seen it before. “I’m having it sent. You’ve seen it before?”
He didn’t move, stared out the window as if deep in thought. “I’d like to show you something, Lacy.”
“All right.” She waited, watching his profile.
He turned and stared into her face a moment. “You’re so very lovely. A creation full of life and passion, surpassing any art form.”
His hypnotic voice floated on the classical strains drifting from the living room. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t know what to say. She’d been lifted upon a pedestal of admiration. With any other man, she might consider his words a means to a sexual end. The professor’s intentions, however, were crystal. He admired her like a work of art. 

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