It's Just a Little QUIZ--Winner!

09/30/2013 10:50


Congrats to Debi N. of Indiana, winner of the IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH QUIZ.  There were several perfect scores, so we put the names in a hat and my husband drew out Debi's name.  Thanks to everyone for playing, and Debi, you will receive your $10 Amazon Gift Card this week!



Welcome Guest Blogger, Courtney Giardina!

09/28/2013 09:26

Today I welcome Courtney Giardina, author of TEAR STAINED BEACHES as a guest blogger!  Courtney is in the middle of a blog tour to promote the launch of the print version of her debut novel, which you can buy here.  And she's giving away a signed copy, so be sure to enter the contest at the end of this post!  Take it away, Courtney!


Fall season has begun, but that doesn’t mean beach getaways have to be put on the backburner! In honor of the print release of Tear Stained Beaches and the fact that it takes place in a coastal Caroline town, I wanted to share a few of my key beach essentials for those lucky enough to be traveling to white sandy beaches for the holiday season!


Cute Bikini

My summer attire is filled with Victoria’s Secret bikinis. Right now, I’m loving the ruffled look. It’s a cute and sexy addition to any solid color bikini.

Beach Hat

Covering those highlights and protecting your face from the sun is imperative while hanging out on the beach all day. A cute straw hat like this one from J. Crew is the perfect addition to any cute bikini.

Facial Wipes

Face it, even if you’re just relaxing under an umbrella for the day, you never leave the beach sand free. Facial wipes are a great way to get all that dirt and oil off of your face throughout the day to help protect breakouts and keep your skin feeling fresh. There are a few different options out there, but I like Burt’s Bees facial towelettes with white tea extract.

Lip Balm

Our lips always seem to be neglected when we step out into the sun. After a long day they might feel chapped and dry even if you use spf protection. To add a bit of moisture back into them I recommend Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm.

A good book

Never leave home without a beach read! While you’re working on your tan you need something to help pass the time. Whether its flipping the pages or scrolling your ebook, this is certainly an essential on my beach list.

What are you favorite beach must-haves?



About Courtney Giardina

Courtney was born and raised just outside of Rochester,NY where she jumped and tumbled her way through school as a gymnast and cheerleader. She credits cheering under the lights on Friday nights as the reason for her love of football.  Realizing that becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader was probably not a realistic ambition, Courtney decided to take her creative talents down a different route. In May 2012 she traded cold, snowy winters for extremely humid summers in Charlotte, North Carolina and worked early mornings and late nights on top of a full-time job to create Tear Stained Beaches. When she’s not in the midst of writing songs, poems or debut novels, Courtney enjoys being in front of the camera as an actress, running 5Ks and singing loudly to country music in her Jeep. In her world, everywhere is a stage.


Tear Stained Beaches

Haylie Julian wants nothing more than to put her crumbling marriage back together. Chase used to be a fun-loving, light hearted husband who had lately become an overworked attorney obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder.  It isn’t long before Haylie starts waking up next to a man she barely knows. His secretive phone calls and late nights at the office leave her feeling alone and afraid of what he might be hiding.  Ignoring his continuous pleas to just leave well enough alone, she continues to dig for answers and discovers a heartbreaking truth.

Struggling with what she has just learned, Haylie sets off to a quaint little North Carolina beach town to decide if her marriage can survive. It isn’t long after she arrives that her world is once again turned upside down as Chase’s secret stares her right in the face.

Tear Stained Beaches explores what happens when a marriage isn’t the happily-ever-after you thought it was. Can trust be rebuilt? Can a wife forgive the ultimate betrayal?


Give Back

Courtney believes that giving back should be an important part of our every day lives. Helping those who need it and supporting those around us make for a better tomorrow. As part of her mission to give back, Courtney has chosen to donate 10% of all purchases of Tear Stained Beaches that come from her website by October 23 to the organization  Jodi’s Voice. Jodi’s Voice is a newly created organization working to raise awareness for a great cause of helping create stricter stalking laws.



Enter for your chance to win a signed copy of Tear Stained Beaches!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Guest Post by Deborah Nam-Krane

09/27/2013 11:10


Today, I welcome back my friend, Deborah Nam-Krane, a FANTASTIC author, whose new book, THE FAMILY YOU CHOOSE, debuts TODAY!  Deb is here to talk about “How to Write about Taboos”, which she does a masterful job of in her new novel.  I was lucky enough to read an advance copy, and it blew me away!


In The Smartest Girl in the Room, one of the main characters commits a crime to, well, get some justice for another crime. I had some reasons for that development, but I wanted the reader to walk away with two feelings: sympathy and disapproval. Hopefully my readers understood what my character did, but at the end of the day, I wasn't making a lifestyle recommendation.

In the sequel The Family You Choose, no one breaks a law, but someone breaks a rule; we are definitely into taboo territory. I'm very awareand have been for yearsthat this story might horrify some. I'm equally aware that it might titillate. While I'll accept both reactions (I don't really have a choice), I'm not courting either. So how can I make sure I minimize those possibilities?

First and foremost, I go back to rooting the story in the characters. By the time people finish the novel, I think they will understand why the story plays out the way it did. It isn't about speaking to an issue or manipulating my readers to get a reaction; it's about what happens when someone thinks she or he can get away with anything. (Who that someone is will not be expected.) The taboo isn't the storythe characters who set it in motion and the ones who got caught up in it are.

Another important consideration when writing about something "forbidden": ask why it is so. It's not enough to write to a word; you have to address the considerations surrounding it. Why is it offensive? Is it inherently dangerous? Is there an uneven power dynamic? What's the root of the concern…and is there anything that can be done to flip it, and would doing so help or compromise the characters?

It's rewarding to follow your character on their journey, but it can also be exhausting to do so when they insist you ask all of the questions that surround uncomfortable choices they've made. When we have characters that find themselves in such a situation, our job is to humanize them by making the reader understand, even if they don't approve—and sometimes even if we don't approve. One of the harder parts of writing, but also one of the more rewarding.



About the Author

Deborah Nam-Krane has been writing in one way or another since she was eight years old (and telling stories well before that). Her series, The New Pioneer debuted in March with The Smartest Girl in the Room. The sequel The Family You Choose is available today.  And until October 5th, you can download the book for free from Smashwords. Use code TQ97C. Don't feel bad about getting it free—but please leave a review!



Please join Deborah's mail list to find out first about new releases and connect with her on any of the following sites:

Written By Deb

Amazon Author Page

Smashwords Author Page






09/23/2013 11:41

Don't forget about Carolyn Ridder Aspenson's giveaway

of her book, UNFINISHED BUSINESS.  Enter here!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



IT'S JUST A LITTLE...Giveaway!

09/23/2013 11:35


I'm giving away a signed copy of

IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH on Goodreads!  

Sign up here for a chance to win!



09/20/2013 12:16


I thought we'd have a little fun today, so I put together my first-ever QUIZ about my book, IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH!

The person with the most correct answers will win a $10 gift card!  (In the event of a tie, we will put the names of those with the highest scores in a hat and draw for the winner.)

I will run the quiz for one week.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 28th!


Click HERE to take the quiz!


Stuff going on today!

09/20/2013 08:35


Today I'm on my friend Deborah Nam-Krane's awesome blog, Written by Deb.  She interviewed me, and her questions were some of the best I've ever had!  Read it here.  Thanks, Deb!


Also, thanks to these fabulous blogs for spotlighting me AND hosting a giveaway!  
Click to view.  Indie authors REALLY appreciate your generous support!

1 Book Lover's Opinion 

Rose & Beps blog

Joe Cool Review

Clue Review


My book is also on sale for $0.99, so head on over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and get yourself a copy if you haven't already!


And...last but not least, here on my blog, some Friday fun--my very first IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH...QUIZ!  $10 gift card to the winner!



09/19/2013 10:44


Enter below for a chance to win the hilarious (and touching) paranormal chick-lit novel, UNFINISHED BUSINESS by my author friend, Carolyn Ridder Aspenson.  



a Rafflecopter giveaway



GUEST POST: Character Interview by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

09/19/2013 10:26

Welcome to my friend, Carolyn Ridder Aspenson, author of UNFINISHED BUSINESS, a laugh-out-loud novel about an unusual mother-daughter relationship.  The unusual part being that the mother is dead, but is still nagging the daughter from beyond the grave.  

Take it away, Carolyn!


Today I'm happy to offer an interview with Angela Panther and her mother, Fran Richter.  Angela and Fran are the main characters in my chick lit book, Unfinished Business An Angela Panther Novel.

This isn't a traditional character interview because Fran isn't an ordinary character. Fran is dead.  I'm not sure if I'll actually be able to hear Fran or if her daughter Angela will have to speak for her, so let's start and see how things roll.


Carolyn Ridder Aspenson:  Welcome Angela and Fran, I'm so glad you've decided to talk with me today. I must admit, I'm a little nervous about this interview. I've never actually talked to a ghost. I'm not sure what to expect.

Angela: It's definitely interesting. There are days when I'd like to tune out my mother along with the other ghosts but I don't really have a choice in the matter. Can you hear that?

Hear what?

My mother. She's complaining.

No, I can't hear her.

Be grateful. She said, "I'm your mother for cryin' out loud, it's rude to tune out your mother."

She certainly is a character, isn't she?

Yes, she is but she's got a good heart and I'm glad I have this time with her, even though it comes with its own set of issues.

Yes, let's talk about that. How did you start seeing your mother in the first place?

My mother died of lung cancer in my dining room. Actually, we'd made it into her bedroom, which was sort of a bone of contention for her. She didn't like the bed and didn't like the chair we put in there for her.

Hold on, she's talking again.

She said the chair was ugly and uncomfortable and the bed was worse than a prison bed. Ma, when have you ever even seen a prison bed, let along slept in one?

No, Ma, seeing one on TV doesn't count. Now may I finish answering the question? I promise then you can say something and I'll tell her exactly what you said, okay?

Thank you.

Okay, as I was saying, she died in my dining room.  That night I couldn't really sleep, for obvious reasons, and I wanted to feel close to her so I went and laid on her bed, hoping it would help. That's when she appeared to me and started accusing me of stealing her Hershey Bars from thirty years before.

Ma, can I--hold on, again, please.

Ma says I was a thief and after she died she knew a whole bunch of stuff and didn't want me to think I got away with it.

Ma, I think your not knowing for thirty years was me getting away with it.

So anyway, she appeared to me about that and I thought I was going crazy. I thought it was a dream or my mind playing tricks on me but I didn't think it was actually real.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't refer to my mother as an it, she said it's rude. Even though I wasn't referring to her as an it as much as the situation. She's very sensitive.

So how did you finally come to believe she wasn't a figment of your imagination or a dream?

I think I really did know from the start but just couldn't process it. We'd always said that when she died, if she could give me a sign or come back, to do so and she did. What I didn't know because she never told me until after she died, was that I'd had this gift to communicate with the dead as a child. She just kind of let it go instead of encouraging it. Then she told me she wanted to test it out after she died and it worked.

I know Ma. She said she didn't think it would open the door for other ghosts to communicate with me too but that I'm doing a good thing by helping them.

Yes, what kinds of things have you had to do? And how do you see spirits?

As for seeing them, I see them how they passed, I think, just a little different. With my mother, she's still in the blue nightgown she died in but she's not as thin as she was when she died. She's more like she was before she was ill.

Hold on.  She's mad now.

I'm sorry, Ma. I should have told you sooner. I don't know, I just didn't. No, Ma, you're not fat, Ma.  

She's upset because she died very thin and now she's a little more voluptuous again. She told me before she died that she'd be thin for eternity. I haven't had the heart to tell her that didn't work.

I know, Ma, I shouldn't keep stuff from you. Does it matter? You're dead. I mean, really, you're wearing the same thing for eternity, it's not like you're out partying and want to look good. Geesh. I promise, I'm not holding anything else back. I already mentioned your teeth.

Her teeth?

Yes, she had false teeth and apparently those don't travel between here and the afterlife. She has no teeth now.


Yup.  Okay, so back to the question. The things I've had to do?  So many different things. I had no idea there were so many ghosts here. I'm still not even sure why a lot of them stick around, like my mother. I mean, I get that some have unfinished business but there's this one British man, he hangs out at Starbucks and does a little performance in the parking lot.

Ma, I'm not sure they want to know about that.  Okay, fine.

My mother wanted me to tell you that he's naked, too.


Yeah. He runs around juggling his balls.  Oh, not those kind but actual balls.

Stop laughing, Ma.

I have dealt with some serious issues though.  One woman died when her child was very young and he is sick. Her husband didn't know and she wanted him to know. It broke my heart.

Do you find that people believe you when you give them messages from their loved ones?

Actually, it's been easier than I thought. I still worry about how I'll appear to them but for the most part, if I can give them sort of proof, they accept it.  I think everyone would want to hear from a loved one who has passed. I think they're more open to believing when it's up close and personal.

I'm sure anyone who has lost their mother or any loved one actually, would love to have this gift, to be able to still have them in their life.

My mother said to tell you that she thinks the same way. She said, and I'm quoting her at her request, "You'd think my daughter would be happy to have me around but she's constantly getting on me about stuff. Says I shouldn't spy on my grandkids one minute and then asks me to do it the next. It'd be nice if she'd make up her mind and stop confusing me."

As I've told my mother many times, it's not that I don't want her around. I love having her around but there is a time and a place for her to make her presence known and there are things she shouldn't do, like say, scare teenagers. You know?

I know, Ma. She said she doesn't see the harm in tossing a few pillows now and then to get someone's attention.  And that she didn't mean to break the glass table at the boy's house.

I know, Ma, and I do appreciate you helping me out with Emily (that's my daughter, by the way) but I think maybe the way you handle things could be tweaked just a little, you know?

She said I'm a pain in her big, Italian butt and that having a big butt is at least good for that.

Does anyone else see your mother?

Yes, my son, Josh does and my niece too but I haven't mentioned that to my brother and I don't plan to.

No, Ma, he wouldn't believe it. She wants me to tell him but he and I have an interesting relationship and I'm confident he wouldn't believe me.

I know, Ma. He's a good boy. You've told me that for years.

He's her favorite even though I'm the one that took care of her when she was sick and the one she called for any and everything when she was still alive.

Yes, Ma. I know. Daughters are supposed to do things for their mothers. Trust me, you've made that perfectly clear.

Anyway, as for Josh, I'm not really encouraging or discouraging him from talking to his grandmother. He hasn't seen any other ghosts that I know of but if he does, we'll deal with it together unlike my mother did with me.

I know, Ma. I was younger and I know you did what you thought was best. No, I'm not mad at you.  Yes, Ma, you did a great job.

Do you have any cupcakes? I could use a cupcake right now. And a coffee.

I'm sorry.  I didn't think to bring cupcakes.

That's too bad.

I have so many questions to ask but I know this takes a lot out of you, so I'll cut it short. Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers? Do you have any messages for them?

Ma says they should buy the book because she's a hoot even though I'm a pain. Thanks, Ma. I'm feeling the love.

I just want to tell everyone to take the time to be with the people they love. I've been lucky, for the most part, in having this gift. I get to have my mother with me still, even though she drives me crazy.

In a good way, Ma. I promise.

But seriously, I've seen so many people who have regrets and who would give anything to tell their loved ones just one more time that they love them. Life is precious and it can be taken away in an instant so tell the people you love that you love them and don't let anger or life get in the way of that love. But if it does, know that there is something else, something after our life, something that we go to and see them again. Death isn't a final goodbye.

Ma says the worst thing about death is you don't get to have coffee. She really misses coffee.

Thank you Angela and of course, Fran, for talking with me today. It's been interesting and of course, fun!

You’re welcome.



To learn more about Angela and Fran, visit


Purchase Unfinished Business An Angela Panther Novel at


Barnes & Noble



AAAARRRG! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

09/19/2013 09:28

Avast, me hearties!  Today be

International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  

Get yerself out and have a pint o' grog with yer maties.

(This here photograph be from me lassie's birthday party.  Those wee scallywags had a fine time dividing up the booty!)


Fer more pirate-speak, ye can sail on over to .



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