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Today is day 3 of my author spotlight on The Long and Short of It.  Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?  Spotlights are not a good thing for a menopausal woman!  They bring on hotflashes which invaraiably leads to a mood swing and…well, trust me, you don’t want to be there for that!  Good thing you’re protected by the vastness of cyber-space!  Anyway, today I’m talking about what I do to beat writer’s block.  Hope you’ll join me–and if you do, please, bring a fan!

Also, over on the Dames of Dialogue blog, Claire Applewhite, author of Crazy For You, is in the spotlight.  Interesting and fun read.  I find it amusing that she seems to be going in the reverse direction of most romance authors.  She started out writing mystery but as she writes, she’s finding that romance often noses into her stories.  Usually, it’s the other way around with romance authors–or at least with the ones I know–they start out writing romance then move into mystery or some other genre.

I have a theory about why that happens, but that’s a post for another day!  Meanwhile, check out yours truly on the Long and Short of It and Claire Applewhite on the Dames of Dialogue.  Between the two, you’re sure to find something you like!

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I posted anything here.  So much for that class on being a good blogger.  I guess my mind was otherwise occupied when the teacher talked about the importance of blogging at least once a week.  Oops and yikes!

Anyway, I have been busy.  Between weekend trips to Knoxville to help my mother-in-law move and see my father-in-law–who’s now walking again.  Yay!–I’ve been working on a short story for a free read promotion on Cata in April.  Based on the Cherokee legend of Atagahi, it’s about a female shape-shifter who gets shot and the hero takes her to the Enchanted Lake to heal her.  I finished it yesterday but it stilll needs some serious editing before I send it in.

I’ve also been getting my garden going–in between the rain and snow showers.  Yep, I said snow, it snowed here yesterday.  Again, yikes!  Thank goodness the plants in my garden seem to have survived but I’m fervently praying that’s the last snow I see for a while–like until December 24th!  So far, I’ve planted broccoli, lettuce, onions and a few herbs, all plants that can withstand cooler weather.  I’m hoping to get the carrot seeds out tomorrow before it starts to rain again.

Writing and gardening, two things I love to do so I figured I needed to balance that with something I don’t like at all…spring cleaning.  All I’ve got to say about that is…yuck!  I’d much rather be writing or gardening!

Okay, now on to the real reason I’m here–the Dames of Dialogue have a new interview up with author Dorothy Francis.  It’s a fascinating insight into the mind of a mystery writer so check it out and don’t forget to leave Dorothy a comment!

with the latest Dames’ Dozen.  Denise Dietz, author of the Diet Club Mystery series is in the spotlight today on the Dames of Dialogue blog.  Her answers, not to mention the titles of her books, will put a smile on your face and give you some insight into what makes this fascinating woman tick.  Throw in a few promotion tips for authors and a romance that will warm your heart, and you have a highly entertaining and informative interview.

So instead of strangling a loaf of Italian bread or beating up a cookie or even chaining a lamb chop to the bed, hop on over to the Dames of Dialogue blog and check out her interview.  You’ll be glad you did and it just might save the life of a cheesecake!

After a week of not having anything to write about and/or not being able to write because of a trip to the ophthalmologist that left me with super-dilated eyes and a horrible headache which kept me off the computer, I’m playing catchup again today.

Hmm…seems to be a way of life for me these days.

Anyway, I’ll start with a couple of things from the Dames of Dialogue blog:

First, on Wednesday Laurel-Rain Snow posted a fascintating Dames Dozen with author Stacy Juba who wrote her first book at the tender age of 16, entered it in the Avon Flare Young Adult Novel Competition and won.  It was published when she was a freshman in college.  Wow!  Since that awesome beginning, she’s had a career as a journalist and is now writing mysteries.  An interesting and inspiring interview you don’t want to miss! 

Second, Laurel-Rain also posted the Friday Favorites today, an article co-written with her son who lives in Germany and attended his first ever Oktoberfest last year.  Wonderful descriptions, fabulous pictures, and a burning question; if it starts in mid-September and runs through the first week of October, why do they call it Oktoberfest?

Beats me, but I really enjoyed reading his first-hand account of a celebration that is know the world over, Oktoberfest–A Lively Beer Festival and More!

You can check them both out at the Dames of Dialogue blog–oh, and as usual, don’t forget to leave a comment!

Back later with the other thing that’s on my mind today…

get you interviewed on the Dames of Dialogue blog!  Just ask Elizabeth Zelvin, author of Death Will Get You Sober and Death Will Help You Leave Him.  She’s under the spotlight today as we grill her on the Dames’ Dozen and she doesn’t even break a sweat!

Check out her wonderful interview on the Dames of Dialogue blog–and don’t forget to leave a comment!

And while you’re there, check out Betty’s latest celebrity interview with actor and musician, Jenny McShane.  I should’ve posted something earlier this week about it…but my mind isn’t geared to post about the Dames except on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Sorry Betty and Jenny!  I’ll try to do better, I promise!

New Dames’ Dozen is up and running and this time we have a real treat for you–Holli Castillo, author of Gumbo Justice.  Holli’s book takes place in pre-Katrina New Orleans but as fascinating as her book is, her journey to publication is even more riveting.

So, go on, hop on over and read about this amazing author.  I think even Rooster Cogburn could learn a few things from her when it comes to true grit!

And please don’t forget to leave Holli a comment!

BNTBTSBack cover blurb:

Natasha risks more than her life when she guards a defense attorney targeted by the Mafia.

Protection specialist Natasha Chamberlain thinks guarding a defense attorney from a disgruntled client should be a fairly normal job, but when she learns he’s been targeted by the mafia, she’s ready to call it quits. However, the attorney holds her to their contract and Natasha finds her own life placed in danger along with her bodyguard cohorts, Pit and Bigun. Natasha’s fiancé Jonce Striker is fit to be tied when he learns this, which only confirms to him that the bodyguard field is too dangerous for his love. After Natasha is shot trying to protect her client, Striker delivers the final ultimatum: leave the bodyguard field or lose him. Natasha makes her choice but will she live to regret it?

It’s no secret that I absolutely love this series.  I was hooked with the first book and my addiction only grows stronger with each one so instead of a review, I thought I’d share a few of the reasons why I like Ms. French’s Bodyguard series so much.

Number one—as Wilkie Collins said about cliffhanger endings, “Make ‘em cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em wait—exactly in that order.”  Ms. French does just that, sprinkling her books with touching moments, numerous laugh-out-loud scenes and then she ends them with a bit of a teaser that always leaves me wanting more and wondering what’s going to happen next.  The excellent writing and exciting plots are more than enough to keep me coming back, but that teasing hint of what’s coming in the next book hooks me every time.  In that respect, The Bodyguard and the Snitch doesn’t disappoint.  In fact, it just might be Ms. French’s best cliffhanger ending yet.  It seems Natasha…oh, wait, I don’t want to spoil it but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it.

Number two—the way the protagonist, Natasha, grows with each book, not only personally, but professionally too.   With each story, she’s a little bit more confident of herself, her job, and even though her personal relationship with Jonce Striker, the love of her life, doesn’t always run true, the reader knows through her actions and thoughts that’s she’s coming into her own there too.  Natasha is an independent young woman and though she makes mistakes, she’s determined to learn from them.  There are several places in this book where she catches herself doing something she doesn’t consider professional and makes herself stop, step back, and rethink the situation.  She doesn’t always win the battle but at least she tries.  This also happens in her relationship with Striker, both of which tell the reader the character is maturing as a professional and as a partner in love.  Ms. French obviously knows what she’s doing when it comes to developing her characters and I think she’s bringing Natasha along nicely, not rushing things, but letting her grow at a realistic pace. 

Number three—speaking of characterization, the secondary characters are fabulous.  Yes, the main characters are well-crafted, but I think Ms. French has an extraordinary talent when it comes to creating secondary characters.  Not only the ones who show up numerous times in the series, like Pit and Bigun—who I hope and pray will get their own book one day—or Stevie and Cameron—who are a delightful mishmash of trouble just waiting to happen—but Natasha’s clients in each of the books; a millionaire computer geek, a show dog, a rock star, and in this one, a defense attorney, are all characters that I’d like to see appear again in the series.  We get a little of that in this one with Roger, the computer geek, and Giki, the rock star, and I hope Ms. French continues to weave some of these fascinating secondary characters into later books.  Her characterization skills are wonderfully apt and quite multi-faceted and it often leads to some of the most humorous passages in the books.

Number four; the romantic relationship between Natasha and Striker.  I’ve always had a thing for star-crossed lovers, whether in books, movies, or TV shows; it is a plotline that I’m drawn to.  Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona, Sam and Diane, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in almost every movie they made together, David and Maddie, even Eve and Roarke in a few of J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  I love them all and Natasha and Striker can easily be included on that list.  It’s fun watching these two alpha-personalities clash and seeing the give and take between them as they struggle to keep their relationship from crashing and burning.

Number five; humor.  Ms. French has a sly sense of humor that often takes me by surprise which only makes her books more enjoyable.  It is, of course, evident in The Bodyguard and the Snitch and I ended this one with a smile on my face…and a gasp at what’s becoming Ms. French’s trademark teaser ending, which brings us full circle, right back to number one!

With The Bodyguard and the Snitch, Ms. French has written yet another outstanding book that now rests in its pre-destined spot on my keeper shelf.  As with every one of the books in this series, the plot is compelling, the characters and dialogue are original and believable, and the ending, well, let’s just say I’m hooked and can’t wait to find out what happens when Natasha needs a bodyguard of her own.  Can you guess who it’ll be?

A quick heads-up, Sylvia Dickey Smith, author of the Sidra Smart mystery series, is in the spotlight today at the Dames of Dialogue blog. Ms. Smith gives a very interesting and entertaining interview so hop on over and check it out.  You’ll be glad you did!

Oh, and as always don’t forget to leave a comment and while you’re at it, click on the link for her website–it’s gorgeous!

Back later with more on what’s been going on in my life the last couple of weeks–if I can stop doing Snoopy dances, that is!

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

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Romance of My Dreams