On Growing More Brain

The daughter of parents with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, I am always on the lookout for new ways of improving brainpower.

But I am not prepared to fork out enormous sums of money for supplements and other products that make dubious claims. Instead, I read columns and books written by health experts such as Daniel Amen, Tony Buzan, David Snowdon, Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, and Mehmet Oz and take careful note of any low-cost and no-cost suggestions for improving brainpower.

Continue reading on Sue James’ blog.


Inspired by Two Francescas

Twenty-five years ago, I sat with eyes glued to the big screen as Meryl Streep assumed the role of Francesca Johnson, an Italian war bride, in the romantic drama, The Bridges of Madison County. Based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, the film focuses on a four-day love affair between two middle-aged lovers, Francesca and Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photojournalist brilliantly played by Clint Eastwood.

Having spent years in a passionless marriage, Francesca falls deeply in love with Robert and contemplates leaving her loyal husband and teenage children.

Continue reading on Peggy Jaeger’s blog.


In Praise of Reading

An avid reader, I look forward to my daily escape from life’s realities. Eclectic in my tastes, I love to curl up with women’s fiction, historical fiction, cozy mysteries, memoirs, psychological thrillers, and self-help. On average, I read anywhere from 60 to 70 books each year.

Since March of this year, I have been reading at an even faster rate.

The more I read, the less time I spend watching television and surfing on the Internet. To survive and thrive in this time of COVID-19, I need to disengage from the constant barrage of information on all media outlets.

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.


Spotlight on Dead in THAT Beach House

I’m happy to welcome author M.Glenda Rosen. Today, Glenda shares her new release, Dead in THAT Beach House.

Blurb

August 21, 2020, A Senior Sleuths Mystery, “Dead In THAT Beach House,” Published by Level Best Books is the third in the series and available at your local book store, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. This series of murder and mayhem is written in a modern noir style with charming, witty, deliciously clever soft-boiled sleuths.

***

Once we had arrived in the Hamptons, settled in and I felt comfortable, I began to add small amounts of poison to the evening cocktails. It was from the oleander flowers. I had planted them carefully behind the barn in Ames. After only weeks, they were falling ill, listless, crying to go back to Ames. They felt too sick at the beach house. It was simple.

I know you must think I’m a monster. But, really, they felt very little when I strangled them to death thanks to the poison in their system. When they were dead, I filled my library with books about murder and witchcraft. The note I leave for whomever might find them might explain what happened…

The Senior Sleuths, Dick and Dora Zimmerman, much like Nick and Nora Charles from the Thin Man series, and their cozy group of interesting, quirky friends take on crooks and murderers while dealing with an outrageous case of elder abuse.

Later: “Shall we say invitations are mandatory?”

“Absolutely, dear. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss the fun.”

“They’re either belligerent, arrogant, or simply annoyed,” Zero whispered to Cloud as the so-called guests arrived. They were all murderers and those who had committed crimes against the elderly.

Excerpt

Sewn inside the striped petticoat were two old metal skeleton keys.

Dora and keys. They did get her in trouble.

Jake took pictures of the keys with his cellphone and he and his mother agreed it would be best to show them to Dick and Lily. Then they would forward the photos of the keys to the sheriff, and explain where they were found.

Lily and Dick had found their own surprise in the library. There were several shelves of books about murder. Another shelf had books on witches, witchcraft and poisons. All the dust and cobwebs on them couldn’t hide the strangeness of it all.

Dora was determined to come back as soon as possible to look deeper amongst the pages of murder and evil. It only made sense the books might reveal some truths about the house and its owner.

The dust unable to hide strange markings on those books made Dora very curious and determined to look for possible answers inside their pages.

“What kind of people owned this house?” Jake looked at his mother, clearly wanting to get out of there.

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Author Bio and Links

For over 25 years, owner and founder of a business/marketing and public relations agency and consulting firm in New York City, The Hampton’s and Albuquerque, New Mexico where the company served as advisors to a wide range of national, regional and local clientele including major pharmaceutical companies. The agency provided a special expertise to the healthcare industry including: hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, medical facilities, non-profit healthcare organizations and literally dozens of healthcare providers. It was the second largest public relations firm in New Mexico when sold. The agency was built on Marcia’s business experience as owner of two-day care centers for ten years in upstate New York.

Parallel to founding and running her agency, Marcia was also an active advocate and advisor for women’s economic development and success. Along with Betty Friedan, she was honored by the City of New York in celebration of Women’s Empowerment Day for “helping thousands of women advance their careers and succeed in starting their own companies.” She was also honored as the East End Women’s Network’s 20th annual “Woman of the Year,” and nominated for New York State “Women of Distinction Award. In New Mexico her agency received awards and accolades for the many volunteer services it provided.

She has served on numerous organization boards including, The New York Women’s Agenda, Columbia Hospital Breast Cancer Initiative, American Cancer Society, Venture Fund for Women, The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, PULSE (helping to prevent medical errors), Boardroom Bound Alliance and others over the past twenty years.

Marcia presently lives in Carmel, California and is planning on moving back to Albuquerque in early 2021 or end of 2020. She has author clients in New York City, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Long Island, the Hamptons and Vancouver.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Amazon | Creative Book Concepts | The Senior Sleuths

Giveaway

M. Glenda Rosen aka Marcia Rosen will be awarding a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Glenda on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


Basic Car Maintenance for Women

I’m happy to welcome back multi-published author Winona Kent. Today, Winona shares a successful and empowering repair job and her new release, Lost Time.

Here’s Winona!

The other day I did a little work on my car. No big deal, I hear you say. We all know how to top up the coolant and add oil and windshield washer fluid. Some of us know how to change a flat tire, though I’ve never actually had to put that theory into practice.

Decades ago, I took a course called Basic Car Maintenance for Women. To be fair, it was the 1980s. It really wouldn’t be called that today. The course was, however, incredibly useful and it accomplished one thing above everything else: it gave me the confidence to tackle tasks which I’d grown up believing I couldn’t—and shouldn’t—accomplish.

I was born in 1954. My mother had very firm ideas about what men’s and women’s roles were. Men went out to work. Women stayed home and cooked and did housework and had children and raised them. Husbands gave their wives housekeeping money and complained when those same wives spent some of that money on personal items and the chequing account went into the red. If something broke, a husband was expected to be a handyman and fix it. And if they couldn’t fix it, they paid for someone who could. Women, of course, were helpless.

Case in point: my driver’s side rear view mirror. I parked very close to a concrete pillar in a narrow stall, I was focused on checking for other cars behind me as I backed out, and I sheared the mirror off.

I really didn’t want to pay Acura dealership prices (labour, parts and paint) to replace it.

It seemed a simple fix. It was a simple fix. I went online and looked up what a replacement part would cost. I checked out YouTube to see if there were any instructional videos. There were.

I ordered the part and it arrived a few days later. I watched the video three more times and then went down to the parkade. I removed the old bits of the mirror. Super easy!

I went back upstairs and watched the video a fourth time. Then I went downstairs again, armed with an array of little tools, and proceeded to attach the new mirror. On the video, it took about five minutes. In reality, it took about half an hour to attach the electrical power/heat plug and screw the nuts to the four bolts and make sure they were all tight.

My installation was perfect. It cost me about $40 total for the new part. The housing for the mirror is black and my car is a light metallic tan colour. But the trim on the rest of the car is black and the mirror matches it so it looks very sporty. I won’t be painting it.

I told my mother (who is 95) what I’d done. She reacted as I thought she would. She was worried whether it would be “all right” – immediately assuming that because I was a woman, and not a proper mechanic, I was incapable of a) learning how to do it and b) performing the task at all. Mind you, she kept calling it a “lamp” instead of a “mirror” …so I really did have to forgive her ancient brain for being a bit foggy.

She also wanted to know why my husband couldn’t have fixed it instead of me. I reminded her, patiently, that my husband is not a handyman (he missed that requirement in the pre-req’s for spouseship when we got married). And that I really truly actually wanted to do it myself – I hadn’t even asked him.

I know it’s a small thing and women who are younger than me might think nothing of it (I’m 66), but I am rather proud of this accomplishment. And I owe much of it to the confidence I gained 40 years ago in Basic Car Maintenance for Women.

Blurb

In 1974, top UK band Figgis Green was riding high in the charts with their blend of traditional Celtic ballads mixed with catchy, folky pop. One of their biggest fans was sixteen-year old Pippa Gladstone, who mysteriously vanished while she was on holiday with her parents in Spain in March that same year.

Now it’s 2018, and founding member Mandy Green has reunited the Figs for their last-ever Lost Time Tour. Her partner, Tony Figgis, passed away in 1995, so his place has been taken by their son, professional jazz guitarist (and amateur sleuth) Jason Davey.

As the band meets in a small village on the south coast of England for pre-tour rehearsals, Jason’s approached by Duncan Stopher, a diehard Figs fan, who brings him a photo of the band performing at the Wiltshire Folk Festival. Standing in the foreground is Pippa Gladstone. The only problem is the Wiltshire Folk Festival was held in August 1974, five months after Pippa disappeared. Duncan offers Jason a substantial sum of money to try and find out what really happened to the young woman, whose mother had her declared officially dead in 1981.

When Duncan is murdered, it becomes increasingly clear to Jason that his investigation into Pippa’s disappearance is not welcome, especially after he follows a series of clues which lead him straight back to the girl’s immediate family.

But nothing can prepare Jason for the truth about Pippa, which he discovers just as Figgis Green is about to take to the stage on opening night—with or without him.

Read the first two chapters here.

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Where to find Winona…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Notes on a Missing G-String (Book 1 in the series), I looked forward to this second installment. But I did wonder if Ms. Kent could possibly surpass the tension and pace of her previous work. I needn’t have worried. The storyline is an intriguing one filled with musical stage drama, subterfuge, crisp dialogue, and unexpected plot twists. I strongly recommend setting aside large uninterrupted blocks of time to read this unputdownable novel.


Spotlight on She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much

I’m happy to welcome author S.R. Cronin. Today, Sherrie shares her new release, She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much.

Blurb

It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for generations. That doesn’t mean everyone is happy, however.

Ryalgar, a spinster farm girl and the oldest of seven, has always preferred her studies to flirtation, yet even she finally meets her prince. Or so she thinks, until she discovers he’s already betrothed. Embarrassed, she flees her family’s farm to join the Velka, the mysterious women of the forest known for their magical powers and for living apart from men.

As a Velka, she develops her telekinesis and learns she has a talent for analyzing information. Both are going to come in handy. For she’s continued to meet her prince at the forest’s edge, thinking being his mistress isn’t such a bad deal. Then she learns more about his princely assignment. He’s tasked with training the army of Ilari to repel the feared Mongol horseman who’ve been moving eastward for years, killing all in their path. And, her prince is willing to sacrifice the outer farmlands where she grew up to these invaders, if he has to.

Ryalgar isn’t about to let that happen.

She’s got the Velka behind her now, as well as a multitude of university intellectuals, a family of tough farmers, and six sisters each with her own unique personality and talents.

Can Ryalgar organize all that into a resistance that will stop the Mongols? She thinks she can.

Excerpt

After a couple of anks, I decided to ask about seeing Nevik. I’d noticed the other women came and went, missing classes and chores on occasion, and it didn’t seem to bother anyone.

We were in the kitchen, and our instructor, a chubby and friendly woman from Lev, was going over how the Velka traded our skills and products for most of our food and drinks, as few edible products grew in the shade of the forest.

“Uh, I know I can’t, shouldn’t, leave the forest yet, but I was told …. well … that I could ….. um …”

The other four girls in my morning acclimation session all giggled and our instructor slapped the table with mirth. “Spit it out, Ryalgar. You’re getting horny? What’s your pleasure?”

“Um. There’s a man. We were lovers before I came here. I’d like to get word to him. To find a way to see him.”

“To see him. Right. Well, orientation instructors like me assist with all such requests for seeing. So, we’ve got Velka going out to markets in each nichna in the realm. Where would this man of yours be found?”

“He’s in Pilk.”

“Plenty going that direction. Must be a dozen markets there. Can you be more specific?”

“Uh, I think you’d find him at the palace.”

“Ah. You’re hooking up with a Svadlu, are you? Those military types can be sexy. I’ve had a few myself.”

I looked down at my hands.

“Not to worry,” she added, trying to guess why I hesitated to say more. “When I said we Velka value discretion, I meant it. Word of your soldier friend will not leave the forest. You can count on it.”

“Actually, he’s a prince.”

“You’re sleeping with a member of the Pilk royal family? Seriously?”

I had everyone’s full attention now.

“His name is Nevik.”

She slammed her hand down a second time and laughed out loud. “You’re telling me the golden granddaughter we recruited is also secretly sleeping with the guy who just got betrothed to some fancy princess from another realm?”

I nodded. “That sounds like Nevik.”

“Well, you do know how to make things difficult, don’t you?”

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Author Bio and Links

Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.

All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Author Blog | Book Series Blog

Giveaway

S.R. Cronin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Sherrie on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


Turning Experience Into a Belly Laugh

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Shirley Goldberg sharing her inspiring reinvention story and new release, Middle Ageish.

Here’s Shirley!

Thank you, Joanne, for having me on your blog. It’s always fun to talk to readers.

So why a book about a woman who starts over, moves from Paris, France to New Haven, CT, goes back to school, and online dates?

Well, I sort of did the same thing. I’d been living in Greece for eleven years and my marriage was failing.

What triggered my decision was a mundane exchange between me and my husband one evening over what was the plan for dinner. And it was in the middle of that conversation that I realized I no longer wanted to be married. A realization that had been coming for a long time.

I moved back to Connecticut to start over, went back to school and started dating.

While writing the book––and talking about my characters as if they were friends––my real friends asked questions. By this time, they were familiar with the book’s heroine, Sunny Chanel, who was online dating. Over happy hour appetizers and wine, they’d pepper me for answers. “How much is autobiographical?” “Was that a true story about the 300-pound man Sunny dated?” “Did you really go on six meets in one week?”

Sure, there’s a bit of me in Middle Ageish, because making fiction and turning experience into a belly laugh is much more fun than humans should have. And I’m having the time of my life, pumping my checkered past for “copy” as Nora Ephron (or was it her mother?) called everything that was story material.

Starting over is a real thing. It resonates with happily married women because they have no idea about how tough online dating can be. And they’re fascinated and glad they aren’t dating. Divorced women, on the other hand, are intimated by the pitfalls and stories they’ve heard.

Lucky for them I’ve got a website chock full of tips and suggestions for anyone started over. There are articles for men, too, such as how to entice a woman to email him back, written with Peter, a friend of mine who’s been around the dating block a few times. These days he’s distance dating, so I’m planning on interviewing him now that the world of online dating has shifted.

Thinking about venturing out there? When it comes to online dating, remember that nothing counts until you meet. Emailing and zooming aren’t dating, but they’re a good start.

You’re never too old to start new.

Blurb

Tagline: Don’t leave home without your sense of humor.

Sunny Chanel’s marriage is circling the drain when her husband marks his colonoscopy on the calendar and ignores their anniversary. With divorce papers instead of roses on the horizon, she says “au revoir” Paris and croissants, and “hello” cheap New Haven apartment and ramen noodles.

Encouraged by her friends, Sunny jumps into online dating, twenty-three years and twenty pounds after her last date. To her surprise she discovers dating might require a helmet, and occasionally armor to protect her heart, but after years of being ignored, her adventurous side craves fun and conversation. She’s middle-aged not dead. Then suddenly, on the way to reinventing herself, life takes a left turn when the one man she can’t forget calls with an unexpected request.

Excerpt from Middle Ageish

“Last night was number nine,” I said, en route to a job interview. In the car, I shared recent experiences with my best friend Isabel while she kept me company on the phone. School was out, and I’d caught her prepping in her classroom.

“You’ve reduced your meets to numbers?”

“What’s the point in names? I’m not seeing any of these guys again, and you just get confused.” I pulled into the Waffle Cone parking lot and unhooked my seat belt.

“True. But you’re turning into a cynic.”

“As soon as I find my someone special, I’ll tell you his name.”

“Sounds good. So what about your number nine?” Isabel had met her guy online.

“We traded tales from the trenches and he—”

“Trenches?” Her voice rose. “What trenches?”

“Dating trenches, what other kinds of trenches do you think?” Isabel is way too sheltered. “He met eight women, all in one day. In a coffee shop in Hartford. Two coffee shops. Back to back appointments.”

“You are joking.” She cackled, not a pleasant sound.

“He ran from one coffee shop to the other. Had it all timed—half an hour in one coffee shop, and then he’d run a block to the second, and so forth.”

“People do these things?” Isabel asked. She’s lost touch, been with Roberto far too long.

“Oh, lots of weird behavior. I thought it was bold. In fact, I can’t believe what some guys tell me. And do. Like this guy––” I opened the car door, drooling for a vanilla cone with sprinkles.

“Don’t tell me,” she snorted. “I don’t want to know.”

“This other guy has no boundaries and he––”

She hung up.

Oh well. I slid out of the car. Isabel didn’t have a clue about my secret online dating life.

Buy/Read Links

Amazon | Apple | Nook/Barnes and Noble | Google | Kobo | Goodreads | BookBub

About the Author

Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look at living single and dating in mid life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true. Middle Ageish is her first book in the series Starting Over. Her character believes you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.

Visit my website for another excerpt from the book. Sign up and grab a copy of Happy Hour, a short story about an online meet and a tiny misunderstanding. https://midagedating.com/

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Blurb Blitz Tour: Mimi Takes Paris

I’m happy to welcome prolific author Elizabeth Cooke. Today, Elizabeth shares Mimi Takes Paris, Book 1 in The Mimi Series.

Blurb

It is the start of the adventures of a small black poodle, escapee from a cruel puppy mill, who is rescued by Nicole Marcel, a pretty girl singer in the City of Paris. The two become inseparable.

The little dog has an animal intelligence and a tremendous sense of smell, and proceeds to solve a murder, and other crimes by nasal prowess. Mimi gains celebrity status, as does her PERSON, Nicole.

It is a Cozy Mystery like no other!

In Book Two, titled “Mimi’s Paris Dilemma,” Mimi’s reputation, (and that of Nicole’s), is sullied by an unfair assessment by the public. The little dog slowly regains status by solving other crimes.

Excerpt

Mimi was fortunate enough to live in Paris, and she knew it. She, and her ‘person’ resided in a petite hotel on the Left Bank. That ‘person’ was young and pretty and would leash Mimi for walks.

In winter, Mimi wore a pink wool coat with a tiny, white handkerchief peeking out from a pocket on the back. It was so handsome against her jet -black toy-poodle hair. Of course, in warm weather, she only sported the leash.

How proud was Mimi to parade along the rues and boulevards. All of 12 inches long and perhaps 10 inches high, she walked with such elan, that people noticed her. She liked that. But most of all, Mimi reveled in the fact that she had been lucky enough to be endowed with a moist, black muzzle with two intense nostrils that provided her with a world of sensuality.

The scent of companion dogs with messages left behind, greeted her at every corner. The odor of soupe a l’oignon or boeuf, simmering in wine, emerged from the bistros as the two passed by, one two legged, the other on four. Oh, and to pass a fromagerie, was a special delight. The smell of the pungent cheeses from across the country within the little store could not be contained, and all of France was laid before Mimi’s hungry little nose.

Occasionally, Mimi was lucky enough to find a morsel of crepe au sucre on the rue Cler, inadvertently dropped by a hungry tourist who had been munching while he walked. Ah, life was good. What a lucky dog am I, was her constant thought.

Mimi knew she was smart, and she knew her sense of smell was extraordinary, even for a dog. She could define with her nose every herbal addition to a stew of veal with sage, or rosemary in a gigot d’agneau. Oh, the herbal names meant nothing, but the specific tingle in her nostrils made everything so clear, distinct and utterly delicious.

But not this time. This was a dark odor. It was the smell of blood.

Buy Links

Kindle | Nook

Author Bio and Links

The daughter of the Dean of Medicine at Columbia University, Elizabeth Cooke was raised in Manhattan, graduating from The Brearley School, and Vassar College, with a major in Drama, and minor in Art. As a young woman, she worked in theater and as a casting consultant, briefly served on the board of MoMA, before moving to Paris for three years, after her marriage ended. There, she immersed herself in the museums, studied at the Sorbonne, cooked at The Cordon Bleu, and traveled all over Europe. Until recently, Elizabeth Cooke resided on the East End of Long Island. For 10 years, she was the Chairman of The Bide-A-Wee Home, a prestigious animal shelter complex in New York City and Long Island. She also served on the Executive Committee of the Westhampton Free Library for 30 years.

In “Eye of the Beholder,” completed after the memoir, Elizabeth Cooke writes in rather irreverent terms, of the lives of six artists and the most compelling muse in each of their lives: next came, “A Shadow Romance,” an odyssey of an unfulfilled love affair between a mature New York City couple: then, the four “Hotel” books. She has just completed “How To Game People Without Even Trying,” the true story (fictionalized) of the murder of her second husband in his Paris apartment. A fifth ‘hotel’ book, titled “Rendezvous at a Small Hotel” has just been released. The sixth hotel book, “Intrigue at a Small Hotel” has received top honors from The Paris Book Festival for 2016. The seventh and final in the hotel series, “The Hotel Marcel Dining Club” is currently available.

For her, there is great joy in having the gift of expression that writing provides, and this is reflected in her rather prolific output.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Giveaway

Elizabeth Cooke will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Elizabeth on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


Spotlight on The Secret Spice Café Trilogy

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Patricia V Davis. Today, Patricia shares excellent advice for women of all ages and the three novels in The Secret Spice Café Trilogy.

Here’s my contribution to Joanne’s Power of Ten Series. I wrote this blog post over ten years ago, for one particular younger woman friend, and I had originally titled it, “From an Older Woman to a Younger One.” For some reason, it hit a nerve with many women, went viral, was translated into several languages, and eventually landed me a book deal for my non-fiction book, The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman needs to Know. I hope it resonates with you too. Though its particular audience was for one hetero woman, I hope everyone can pull something from it, no matter who you are. Without further ado, here are some of the things I learned after half a century of living that I passed on to a younger woman friend in the hope that it would save her some precious time:

1. You are at least ten times prettier than you think you are.

That holds true no matter how pretty you already think you are! Don’t believe me? Ask your mother/auntie/grannie if she thought she was pretty when she was twenty. She’ll say no. Then find a photo of her at that age. See what I mean?

2. The only thing you should be faking is confidence.

If you don’t have it yet, pretend you do. In every new situation, pretend you’re not nervous; pretend you’re not scared. After a few times doing this, the pretend part disappears.

3. Want to try something new like painting, skiing or running your own business? Go to the library and borrow ten different books on the subject. Skim through them all, find the ones that have the most vital information and study them. Then see number two.

4. No matter how old you get, remember what it was like to be a nine-year-old girl.

Remember the feeling of freedom. If you’ve already forgotten, do a cartwheel. You can so still do one. Savor that feeling. Wake up with it every day. You’ll stay young until the day you die.

5. In the same vein, cut or potted flowers are never a waste of money, because every time we glance at them, they remind us how much beauty there can be in the world.

6. Speaking of money, starting right this moment, whether you’re twenty or sixty, you can change your finances around.

Don’t leave someone else completely in charge, whether it’s your husband, partner, parents or banker. Become financially savvy. Financial independence gives you the freedom to walk away from many bad situations. How do you know you’re in bad situation? See number seven.

7. If your stomach hurts and you haven’t got a virus, you’re in a bad situation.

Before you know what it is, your stomach always does. Give yourself some time to ponder what it might be that’s making your stomach hurt. Chances are you already do know, you just don’t want to face it, for some reason. You can ignore advice from your friends, even your own brain, but you can’t ignore your stomach, because the stomach never lies. Oh, and by the way — drowning your stomach in alcohol won’t make it stop telling you the truth, either.

8. When meeting someone new and he or she seems to be behaving badly, show compassion first.

If after you display your sincere compassion, they are still acting badly, walk away. If they follow you, call the police.

9. Wear sunscreen on your face, neck and hands every day, winter and summer.

I don’t care how dark your skin naturally is. Wear it. You’ll remember me when you look in the mirror at age fifty. Always keep in mind that your body is directly connected to your spirit. Look after your body. Exercise, floss and brush your teeth. Put nothing in your body that can permanently harm your spirit, including the wrong man.

10. And if you are in bed with a man and he’s the right man, meaning your stomach doesn’t hurt, he’s smiling at you, he knows your name, he’s not drunk, and neither are you — for godssakes — enjoy yourself. He is not at all thinking about how fat your thighs look.

Blurbs

Book One: Cooking For Ghosts

Do hearts broken long ago forever leave a tangible trace?

A Vegas cocktail waitress. An Indian herbalist. A British chemistry professor. An Italian-American widow. Four unique women with one thing in common: each is haunted by a tragedy from her past.

Cynthia, Rohini, Jane, and Angela meet on a food blogging site and bond over recipes. They decide on impulse to open The Secret Spice, an elegant café on the magnificent ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary, currently a floating hotel in Long Beach, California. Rich in history and tales of supernatural occurrences, the ship hides her own dark secrets.

The women are surrounded by ghosts long before they step aboard, but once they do, nothing is quite what it seems. Not the people they meet, not their brooding chef’s mystic recipes, and not the Queen Mary herself. Yet the spirits they encounter help them discover that there’s always a chance to live, as long as one is alive.

An Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection, and read by Ann Marie Gideon, COOKING FOR GHOSTS is an unforgettable tale of love, redemption, and divine female power.

Book Two: Spells and Oregano

A mother desperate to save her twin sons, a war veteran in torment, a beautiful young psychic with a terrible secret, a powerful magician with a shattered soul, and a Queen steeped in history and glory. These extraordinary beings cross paths and set off a remarkable chain of events in Spells and Oregano: Book II in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy.

Overcome by despair after a trauma when she was sixteen, Sarita Taylor has spent the past ten years isolated and lonely aboard her beloved RMS Queen Mary. Fearful of outsiders, she dedicates her time to managing The Secret Spice Café, now an award-winning restaurant. Until Luca Miceli, a man with a dark past, steps on board.

Patricia V. Davis deftly spins past and present, mystery and magic, into a potent story of passionate longing and family tragedy all at once. Spells and Oregano is a compelling tale of atonement, devotion, and undying love, set aboard one of the world’s most magnificent, haunted ships.

Don’t miss Cooking for Ghosts: Book I in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy. The Secret Spice Trilogy is an Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection.

Book Three: Demons: Well Seasoned

Dare to Believe in Your Power…

A long-lost grandmother. A stay-at-home mom. A comic book fan. A five-year-old girl with a star-shaped birthmark. And nine more.

The cast is bigger, the stakes are higher. When Sarita’s grandmother, a Vodou priestess, foresees a terrible evil, Cynthia, Jane, Angela, and Rohini reunite on a heart-rending mission to save all that’s precious to them, including the iconic ship, the RMS Queen Mary. They cannot do it alone–the priestess tells them there must be thirteen on the night of the thirteenth moon. in this life-or-death pursuit. Yet, can she be trusted?

Spiced with history and the supernatural, Demons, Well-Seasoned takes us from 1930s Glasgow, to New Orleans and Harlem in the 1950s, to present day southern California, and back again, on a metaphysical voyage that is both exhilarating and poignant. But before you embark upon this final sail with the denizens of The Secret Spice, be warned: expect to lose sleep, and keep tissues at hand. These valiant characters might just stay with you long after their story comes to a close.

Don’t miss Cooking for Ghosts, and Spells & Oregano, Books I and II in The Secret Spice Café Trilogy. The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy is an Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection.

Excerpt from Cooking for Ghosts

Unconcerned with what her business partners were up to, Rohini was giggling with excitement. Hugging herself, she whirled in circles, then flung her arms up over her head and collapsed back in dizzy elation onto the enormous bed in the glorious stateroom. Everything was glorious. She was here. This was her room. The Secret Spice was, in part, her restaurant.

Hers.

And when she’d first seen the Queen from the back seat of Cynthia’s preposterous little car, she knew she was headed to exactly where she should be. She couldn’t stop smiling, until, abruptly, a lump formed in her throat and her eyes misted with tears.

“I made it, Zahir,” she whispered. “I made it.”

She sobered as she thought of him, of all he’d done for her, and all that she might still need to do on her own.

But that wasn’t for today. Today was for celebration and thankfulness. Getting up from the bed, she opened her case, pulled out all the little plastic sacks of spices and herbs she’d packed, and sighed with relief. Not a one had opened or torn. Even so, she could smell their pungent bouquet right through the protective wrappings. Rauvolfia, Serpentina, Jaiphal, Javitri, Khus Khus, Ashwagandha and more — why did cinnamon always smell the strongest? There were dozens of varieties that she’d stuffed inside shirt sleeves and trouser legs and white cotton gym socks, just like a drug dealer might hide a stash. The TSA had missed them completely. They’d even affixed a sticker to the top of her bag: “Checked by Homeland Security.”

Author Bio and Links

PATRICIA V. DAVIS’s debut novel series, THE SECRET SPICE CAFE, is comprised of three books: COOKING FOR GHOSTS (2016) SPELLS AND OREGANO (2017) and DEMONS, WELL-SEASONED. (2019) The audio books will be released in 2020 by Tantor Media, and narrated by Ann Marie Gideon. Patricia lives with her husband, who is both a poker player and a rice farmer, so she divides her time between southern Nevada and northern California. Say hello to Patricia at her author website: http://www.TheSecretSpice.com

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Giveaway

Patricia V. Davis will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Find out more here.

Follow Patricia on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.



Third Time’s A Charm

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Darlene Deluca sharing her multi-act life and new release, The Story Between Us.

Here’s Darlene!

Hello, everyone! Thanks for the opportunity to share my story – the one I’m living and the one I wrote! As far as career goes, fiction-writing is my third act.

In a way, I’ve always been traveling toward this path. English was always my favorite subject in school. Anyone remember the SRA reading program? Those color-coded reading levels that indicated just how big a reading nerd, er, expert, you were? Ha! Competitive reading. I loved it, and was almost always at the head of the class. As a kid, one of my favorite places to hang out was a small local library within walking distance of my home. Once I got a little older, say junior high, I’d take the bus downtown to the main library to expand my horizons – more books are better!!

Anyway, all of that led me to major in Journalism in college. And that launched me into my first act as a newspaper reporter. I was a reporter for a suburban newspaper outside of Kansas City where I learned a lot about how city government works. I covered numerous small suburbs, attended a gazillion planning commission meetings, park board meetings and city council meetings. But it was a low-paying job and the schedule had me working two or three nights a week. After a few years, I was ready to move on.

That led me to Act Two – Corporate America. I was on the ground floor of the move into desktop publishing. For many years, I wrote articles and produced newsletters for companies, their employees, and their customers. For 21 years, I was an editor, art director and producer for Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City. For about 17 of those years, I enjoyed the flexibility of working part time. As a mom, that was important to me because it gave me the opportunity to be more involved with my kids and their school activities. I was a Girl Scout leader, band mom, debate mom, soccer mom, tennis mom, room mom, etc. Though the part-time status kept me from climbing the ladder and a few levels of promotions (I mean, you can’t be serious about your work and only do it part time, right?), I wouldn’t have traded it.

And then 2009 happened. The economy went south, the market tanked, and people lost their jobs. I survived several rounds of cuts, but then it happened – I got my “downsizing” notice.

Long story short, it turned out to be the thing that released me and pushed me on to new, more exciting endeavors. I’m not a big fan of change. If the layoff hadn’t occurred I would probably still be plugging away at the same corporate job that I’d done for ten years.

That brings me to Act Three – writing books. At the time, the job market was not great for a 50-year-old woman. I had a Journalism degree, but all my clips were ancient because I’d moved into art direction and product development. And though I had a lot of art background and experience, I didn’t have the official art degree required for those kinds of jobs. Kind of between a rock and a hard place. The answer? Reinvent myself and forget Corporate America! (I even changed my name.) 🙂

So, I began writing novels. Interestingly, my new book was released a few days ago on my 60th birthday. That’s right, I “gave birth” at age 60! 🙂 Wow. It’s still a shock to say that number. The new book, “The Story Between Us,” is a sweet romance published by The Wild Rose Press. I have seven other full-length novels that are women’s fiction or contemporary romance.

Earlier this year, my plan was to cash out a small IRA and use it to celebrate my birthday. I was close to booking my reservation to attend a writer’s conference in Hawaii. And I’d begun researching VRBO options in Palm Springs and Palm Beach for a long winter getaway. Sadly, Covid-19 hit, and all of my plans came to an abrupt, screeching halt. Sigh. So I was pleasantly surprised when I got the email from The Wild Rose Press saying my book release date was on my birthday. Yay! Something to celebrate!

My advice for anyone thinking about pursuing a second act? If you can afford it, go for it! You never know when you’ll get another opportunity. Also, look for the positive in change. Sometimes it feels like a loss. You might be sad or angry or scared. But it might be the nudge you need to explore or develop that next act!

Tagline

She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake; he sees exploitation.

Book Blurb

Her agent warned her not to get attached to a fan. But children’s book author Kristen Hanover is about to break the rules. Kristen meets a young boy who is a victim of a tragic accident and is drawn into the heartbreaking situation.

Six years ago, Reed Armstrong never imagined he’d actually become guardian of his sister’s boy. Now he is, and most days he’s not sure he’s up to the task.

When he and Dylan meet Kristen, Reed downplays his nephew’s crush on the author. But as their lives become unexpectedly intertwined, he finds himself captivated as well. Trouble is, she sells stories for a living. Does she truly care about Dylan…and Reed, or is she using them for her own career advancement?

Book Excerpt

Reed pulled his keys out of his pocket. In the doorway, he folded his arms and leaned against the casing. “Can I ask you a question?”

Chest pounding, Kristen forced a smile. “Of course.” She took a couple of steps toward him and braced a hand against the back of the sofa.

“Is writing your only reason for being here?”

Heavy, charged air closed around her. How to answer that? Honestly, of course, but…how honestly? “Well, writing is my goal for sure. But—” She glanced around the room before looking at him again. “I’d love to ride my horse, er, Star, and spend some time with…with people I like, too.”

As he pushed off from the door, a slow grin spread across his face. “Sounds like an excellent plan.” He sauntered closer. About a foot away, he stopped. “You’re good with dinner at the main house tonight? Don’t let Dylan bully you. You decide.”

She gave a shaky laugh. That was the plan, right? She couldn’t remember for sure. Her brain was going fuzzy. “I’d love to,” she managed to say.

He leaned closer, his breath warm on her cheek. She braced herself for a friendly peck, but when her eyes fluttered shut, his lips grazed hers. Hovered there, and when she thought her legs might give out, Reed caught her arm and pulled her slightly toward him, his lips covering hers again.

Sparks exploded in her brain, and she grabbed hold of his arm. All of her senses came alive and responded to the unexpected deluge.

A long moment later, he pulled back and brushed a thumb across her cheek. “See you in about an hour.”

Kristen could only nod. As soon as the door closed behind him, she collapsed against the sofa. She ran a finger along her bottom lip. That kiss…Oh, man. The chances of her getting any writing done this weekend just dropped from unlikely to who-said-anything-about-writing?

Buy links

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press | Barnes and Noble | Apple

Author Bio

Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.

Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page.

The Kansas City author enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate and a warm, sunny beach.

Social Media Links

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