words and punctuation – Carolyn

CBS Sunday Morning did a segment this morning about President Roosevelt’s speech to the congress about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The state department had presented him with seventeen pages starting with the history of our relations with Japan from the beginning. Roosevelt’s final speech was a fraction of that and is remembered right up there with the Gettysburg address. Why does that matter to writers?

In grad school I had a wonderful professor—she did a seminar on James Joyce that turned me into a fan—who used to beat me about the head and shoulders when I chose the wrong word. I don’t mean using ‘infer’ when I meant ‘imply.’ Everybody knows that one. I tend to be a facile writer and let the words flow (when they flow, which isn’t always). It’s easy to pick the first word that pops into the writer’s head that sounds pretty good. According to my professor, that is not good enough. And she’s right. Roosevelt changed one word to “infamy” in his speech. A day that will live in infamy. And it is remembered.

At the first of the Christmas parties last night a group of writers got into a discussion about punctuation. Only writers would think punctuation would be a viable subject at a party. I read a great deal on Kindle. Sometimes I wish I could download a book, correct it and send it back to its author. So many have no idea how to punctuate compound or complex sentences. And they put commas between the subject and predicate. Misplaced modifiers, though not punctuation, lead to some hilarious sentences. At our critique group we look out for these ‘gotchas’ and hoot and holler and fall about when we find them.

One guest, a retired journalist, said that the reason newspapers are so badly edited these days is that editors have been fired. I prefer the British term “made redundant,” but the result is the same. “Rewrite Men” have been gone since computers replaced typewriters. Now the picky, picky, pick veteran editors have been replaced by Roboeditor somewhere in Virginia. So far, machines don’t think quite as well as the editors they replaced.

Does any of this matter? It does to me. I am no more perfect than any other writer, but at least I give it a shot. We do not want to become the ‘post literate’ society.



Creating a Character (Pat)

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and beginning of the holiday season.

My entry into a merry season is somewhat hating.   Thanksgiving was great, but on Monday I came down with one whopper of a cold, and I’ve been nursing it since.    I take great pride in rarely being sick.   I sometimes even brag about it.   Bad move.   I  evidently challenged those little devil germs and they pounced.

I am surviving but only through gallons of orange juice.    It usually works.   This time, not so much.

But a new book is calling and I can’t deny it any longer. It will be the fifth in the Covenant Falls series.   I always start with one character.    He — or she — usually charges into the mind and soul like a medieval  knight or lady.  It’s only until we become intimately acquainted can I move on to other characters, particularly his — or her –counterpart in the book.

In this case it’s the lady.  She’s Jennifer — Jenny –Talbot, a free lance war reporter who has been wounded while covering the civilian disaster in Syria.     She’s not one to stay still long, even while recovering with her family in Denver.  They are driving her crazy.   Why can’t she be like other women?   Mainly, why doesn’t she marry and have children like her sister?   Why must she roam the world and put herself in danger?

Maybe because she loves it.  She’s never met a man who gave her the same rush as a good news story.  Now she’s stuck for a few months while undergoing therapy     She can’t drive or carry cameras.   But then, while scanning every newspaper she can access, she reads a short story about  a horse therapy program for veterans that’s only a a four-or-five-hour drive away.   She can get there one way or another.    Maybe she can make a story out of that.   Keep her name in print.  She’s certainly acquainted with the trauma many soldiers suffer.    She’s experienced the same flashbacks and nightmares.   The one thing she knows, though, is she is never  going to give up her independence, her lust for the next story wherever it may be.

I instantly understood Jenny.   I’m a former reporter and know the call of a good story and desire for independence.   I can’t wait to go on her journey.

The only problem now is to find a man who can match her.

Maybe I can do it next week.   After another glass of orange juice.  Or a gallon.


Having met so many s.  It’s only a few hundred miles away.    t she sees , carry camerasHaving been a reporter myself, I understand Jennifer     in antoher lifeBut she can’t drive yet and is still undergoing therapy .yShe can’t drive yet but she sees an aarticle in artical aticlean  . women,witbnot oneoRecuperating at h Home to Hopes




Let’s Read Holiday Books!

I love to write–and read– Christmas stories. I’m going to list a few that I’ve enjoyed recently, along with my new one, which I’m so thrilled to say received a lovely review from Library Journal!


I’m working like mad to meet a deadline before the birth of my new grandbaby, so hopefully I’ll be able to share some photos in a week or two. Please feel free to add your holiday reading suggestions in the comments. I’m always looking for new books and authors.


MONTANA SECRET SANTA, Bk III Love at the Chocolate Shop, Tule Publishing

KINDLE: http://littl.ink/MTSSAmazon

NOOK: http://littl.ink/MTSSBN

iBOOKS: http://littl.ink/MTSSIB

KOBO: http://littl.ink/MTSSKobo

GooglePLAY: http://littl.ink/MTSSPlay 

AMAZONAU: http://littl.ink/MTSSAZAU

AMAZONCA: http://littl.ink/MTSSAZCA

AMAZONUK: http://littl.ink/MTSSAZUK

start reading for FREE: http://littl.ink/MTSSTule

Other great holiday reads, including Dani Collin’s delightful:

Free! Don’t miss out. Click image.

I love all of Jane Porter’s holiday stories, especially this one:


And don’t miss this wonderful new release from Jean Brashear:


Click on image for Amazon link to 99¢ special sale, for a short time only!

Happy reading, my friends. See you next Friday…with a new baby in my arms, I hope.






150 Free Romances – Merry Christmas Early! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

ryan-zee-christmas-romance-giveaway-2016Just Click the Graphic and Start Choosing! You can take one, or all 150!


Whew, back at last – Carolyn

Storybroads has for some reason been unavailable–at least to me–for several weeks.  This is basically an update of what I wrote and couldn’t post. It’s a report of our Malice in Memphis writers retreat in the woods at St. Columba, the Episcopal conference center north of Memphis. A lovely lodge set in the woods. Nobody but us.

We have seminars, watch movies, brainstorm, critique. Writerly stuff. And our first chance to see the copies of our new Malice in Memphis anthology of ghost stories. I hope those of you who get it will enjoy it. Our third should be out before the Fourth of July.

But nothing is ever easy. My daughter wound up in the emergency room Thursday night. They thought they might have to operate, but decided to give her major drugs and send her home until Monday. Of course, her car was at the hospital, and there was no way she could drive drugged, so I went down to get her and take her home at 2:00 in the morning. I do not drive after dark if I can help it, though with my new Escape, it’s not so parlous. That meant I have to take her back on Friday (when she was in her right mind) to pick up her car. No problem. All I cared about was that she was apparently better.

However—Friday morning I had to make butterscotch brownies and layered nacho dip. Then I had an appointment for a photo for my church directory that afternoon. Plus the packing, getting my two sessions ready to be delivered and the handouts printed.

Unfortunately, the photos look just like me. I hope they can retouch out the double chin and the circles under my eyes. I still managed to get to the lodge by six in the afternoon. Breathing hard.

And, of course, we had a blast. I don’t know about others, but I probably took in fifty thousand calories.

Our major speaker was Debbie Dixon of Belle Books, one of the best and most knowledgeable teachers I have ever heard. She did three hours on The Big Black Moment. I took enough notes to finish the synopsis on my next proposal and then some.

She’s a tough act to follow, but I did follow her with two hours on the hero’s journey and the heroine’s journey. Since there were five men among us, the heroine’s journey generated a lot of discussion. Great! The men refused to believe that despite the pill, which is the greatest social change since the death of the woolly mammoth, self-determination for women has not increased that much.

Then, the St. Columba host came by to check on us. Despite the fact that I had been the contact person and was standing right beside him, he spoke to and gave his card with his cell phone number to the MAN who was standing beside me. I didn’t give it a thought, but the male writer noted it after the man had left us for evening. He was annoyed.

Since I had to feed the horses, I did not spend Saturday night at the retreat, but when I left, there were half a dozen brainstorming groups and several others working on critiquing their first five pages. I did want to stay, but I know Zoe and Frieda would never have forgiven me if their oats had been late this morning.

Successful weekend! Everybody needed a creative juice infusion. I think we got it.


Back Again (Pat)

I’m back again after what seems like months rather than weeks.

It’s been a hectic falls.  I finished the fourth in the “Home To Covenant Falls Series” and wrote proposals for several more.   I have fallen in love with Covenant Falls and just can’t seem to leave.

This time I’m telling the story of former SEAL Jubal Pierce who is medically discharged after being imprisoned and tortured by a terrorist group in Africa for two years after a humanitarian mission went bad..    He has lost muscle and bone strength and no longer qualifies as an active SEAL.

He’s at loose ends, not sure where to go or what to do, but he thinks a car trip across the country might help him find a future.  But first he plans to stop for a night or two with old friend, former Chopper Pilot Clint Morgan, in Covenant Falls.   He certainly has no intention of staying longer until he catches a  teenager trying to burn down the dock of a cabin where he’s staying.   He sees himself in the young man and, despite his better judgment, decides to stay a few days to teach the kid a lesson.

Lisa Redding is a doctor who gives up a coveted fellowship in a Chicago  hospital when her teenage brother is arrested for drug possession.   Their mother died a year earlier which sent her brother and sister in a downward cycle..   She’s their guardian and realizes  she cannot  look after them if she accepts the hospital position.    Her brother is embittered both because she wasn’t  at home when needed and, as a doctor, she should have been able to save their mother.    The supervising doctor at the hospital suggests she accepts a one year position in Covenant Falls, filling in for the town doctor who has suffered a heart attack.   He will try to restore the fellowship the following year.

She has never lived in a small town.   She’s a big city girl and so are her siblings.   They’re not happy at all with the move, and neither is she.   But  Covenant Falls has a way of embracing its new residents, even if she is suspicious of another newcomer’s interest in her son, particularly one who has spent his adult life engaged in war and violence.

It was a fun story to write, full of emotion on the parts of both Lisa and Jubal.   He has no one and  doesn’t want anyone, and yet he is drawn into the warm circle of Covenant Falls. A pinto horse,  assisting in the birth of a foal,  a troubled teenager  and  a testy lady doc make it increasingly difficult to leave.   And Lisa?  Is she ready to give up her lifelong dream of being a pediatric surgeon for a burned out warrior?.

The book will be out  the first of February and can be purchased in advance at Amazon.   I hope you will love Jubal as much as I do.

Have a great week!


Are you Black Friday shopping? Here’s an alternative.

I must admit–it’s tempting to go shopping for some excellent, money-saving deals, but the stress of standing in line with a great deal of humanity, just doesn’t work for me.

Here’s my alternative: hiking in Yosemite National Park.


And when I get home, I will be sitting by the fire and reading…for FREE.  Please join me–and help spread the word. Who doesn’t love FREE?


Amazon: http://littl.ink/+bXg 
BN: http://littl.ink/MTROGUEBN
iBooks: http://littl.ink/+7Q5
KOBO: http://littl.ink/+B8z 
Google Play: http://littl.ink/+bNz

 Also, I’d like to invite you to Tule Publishing’s Holiday Party on Facebook next Thursday, December 1. Please drop by for some good cheer, book talk with lots of authors and prizes galore. Here’s the link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1876161522604220/?notif_t=plan_user_joined&notif_id=1479676749575422


I’ll be there off and on all day, celebrating the release of my new Love at the Chocolate Shop title, MONTANA SECRET SANTA, which just received a wonderful review from Library Journal.

Red Christmas  background with luminous garland. Vector illustration

Here’s the review: Salonen, Debra. Montana Secret Santa. Tule. (Love at the Chocolate Shop, Bk. 3). Dec. 2016. 168p. ebk. ISBN 9781945879029. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Temporarily back in Marietta, MT, to dog-sit while his parents are away, brainy tech millionaire Jonah Andrews has no plans to stay—until classy advertising expert Krista Martin is knocked off her feet by one of his wayward charges. Railroaded into chairing the town’s wish- granting Secret Santa Society, Jonah is totally out of his depth. Then Krista reluctantly ends up on the board as well, and she proves to be just the lifeline he needs. A brilliant but socially clue- less hero and a career-focused heroine struggle to keep their growing attraction on the casual side and eventually find their goals and lifestyles aren’t as far apart as they seemed. Who could resist a lovable canine trio or a hero who invents something just for you? VERDICT Sweet, affecting, and just plain fun, this holiday charmer is a delightful addition to the series and a perfect companion to a mug of hot chocolate and a crackling fire. Salonen (Black Hills Rancher) lives in South Dakota.

(For the record: I lived in South Dakota. I’m a California girl now. ;-) )

Whatever your plans for the day, I hope they turn out great!!!



A Happy Thanksgiving Recipe and Free Read! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Just popping in quickly to share my own dressing recipe!turkey-dressing-recipe-meme


And for a brand new, complimentary (for a limited time) ttq holiday novella, click on the cover!christmas-past


Flying Changes – Carolyn

The Malice in Memphis ghost story anthology is out! Hooray! It’s in trade paperback as well as in Ebook form on Amazon. Getting an anthology together even with a group like ours that meets once a month as well as critiques together can be challenging. Makes herding cats look like directing the Vienna Boys Choir.

Some people delivered their stories in the first week after the decision was made to concentrate on ghost stories. Some of our members, however, dawdled until we were about ready to throttle them. In the final analysis, getting good stories was more important than artificial deadlines.

We made our publication date before the rush to buy Christmas presents. Whew! Since both Memphis and ghosts are of major interest these days, the anthology would be a great Christmas present. Whatever royalty I might make will be more than eaten up by the copies I order to send to friends in Canada and the States.

If you have watched the dressage classes at the Olympics, you have seen the horses come down the center like dancers—one canter stride with the left lead, one with the right and so on. This is called a ‘flying change.’ Among my horse buddies, ‘flying change’ has come to mean an abrupt shift of subject.

So—flying change. This weekend was the annual horse show put on by the Nashoba Carriage Association in which horses and carriages drive obstacle courses, intricate patterns at different speeds, and even drive a cross country marathon. The horses range in size from miniatures to great big draft horses. The carriages run from two wheel Meadowbrooks to big elaborate steel Marathon carriages.

I tell my writer friends who write historicals that if they intend to have characters drive or ride in carriages, they really ought to come to the show and see real carriages and horses, and if possible, catch a ride with one of the drivers.

It’s much bumpier than you might think, and at a strong trot, can become hair-raising. And it is noisy! Romances often have lovers making love inside a fast carriage. They’re better coordinated then I am! How romantic is it to crack heads with your lover when you drive over an unexpected bump? Or to wind up on the floor when the carriage swerves around a sharp corner?

I absolutely love driving my big old Zoe horse. Did it yesterday, as a matter of fact. But I am fully aware that I am less in control than I am when I am in the saddle. Not that Zoe would agree. She hated being ridden and dumped me more times than I like to remember when I rode her. But she’d drive me to San Francisco and back quite happily. Horses are funny.

Back to the ghost stories… I hope you get them and enjoy them. We had a blast writing them. Every southerner has at least one ghost story. I think we have enough leftovers for a whole other book.


Malice Anthology–at last – Carolyn

At this point, it looks as though our Malice in Memphis ghost story anthology will be published in time to do a booksigning for Halloween. Nobody has told me the title of the anthology, but I think it’s Malice in Memphis Ghost Stories. Not all that creative, but at least it says what it is. It will be available on Amazon—hint, hint. Just think what lovely Christmas presents copies would make!

Everybody seems to have a ghost story to tell. At least we southerners do. When I was researching my stories, I found that even the people who swore up and down they didn’t believe in ghosts would say, “But, now that I think of it, my old Aunt Mary’s house had a ghost…” and up would come a story that they swore was absolutely true.

I think I have very little of what it takes to connect with the supernatural. I may have dozens of spirits gibbering around in my house and barn and getting grumpy because I ignore them. After George died, I did have a couple of things happen that were not explainable. I think they were George telling me he was still around and looking after me. I keep a very heavy fifty foot chain coiled outside my back door to use on my tractor. A week after the funeral, I started out the back door to go to the barn to feed the horses and found that chain stretched full length across the garage. Nobody comes up in my driveway without alarms going off, and no animal could have moved it. But something sure did.

Then a few days later I discovered that the small tool chest George kept in the garage for quick fixes was sitting in front of my car door. Not lying flat, but sitting upright. And it weighed a good twenty-five pounds.

This house bumps from time to time, but everyone’s houses do that. I know we have field mice. They come in every autumn. No idea how they get in, but the cats present dead ones to me on a regular basis. They do make noise. But I know they aren’t paranormal. They’re just cold. The deer sleep in my pasture—I find their nests like miniature crop circles. I seldom see them, however, although last spring we had a faun under my horse trailer. I disappeared fast so its mother could find it without angst.

If I have spirits in the house and barn, they are apparently benevolent spirits. The cats tell me they can see or sense them. Not me. I don’t feel George’s presence as much any longer. That, according to my psychic friends, is normal as well.

I am content to let my friends have their ESP. I’d just as soon not be aware of any ghosts. But I do like writing about them. Look for our Malice in Memphis anthology a couple of days before Halloween—the perfect publishing date.