Book Covers & Cover Model, Caroline Kelly

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When an author signs with a publisher, he or she has little or no control over the book’s cover. In self-publishing, the author has full control. The author can hire a designer or download images from sites such as http://123rf.com or http://fotolia.com to create a cover using Photoshop or some other photo editing software. There are also sites such as Jimmie Thomas’ http://romancenovelcovers.com where an author can buy individual images or a pre-made cover.

The only problem with these sites is that thousands of authors and the smaller publishing houses use the same images to create their covers.

But I wanted something unique for the cover of my time travel romance, Winds of Time. So, when my friend, Jennifer, suggested I use her daughter on the cover, I jumped at the chance.

Caroline has recently gotten into modeling and acting. She has blond hair and blue eyes and can pass for a young woman of sixteen to twenty-five, depending on her hair, makeup, and clothes. In Winds of Time, Selena Tillman is a twenty-five year old posing as her twenty-year-old ancestor, and like Caroline, she has blond hair. (See book details following Caroline’s interview.)

My brother is a graphic designer with an impressive portfolio (agwvisual.myportfolio.com) and he agreed to make my cover. He used one of the dozens of pictures Jennifer sent of Caroline dressed the way Selena was dressed in Chapter One, the tornado  and locket images I purchased from Fotolia, and a Photoshopped picture of my son-in-law, who’s one quarter Lumbee Indian.

 

 

Once my brother manipulated the images, he added the title in a cool, wind-blown font and my name. Then he sent me the proof, and I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s one of my favorite covers. And Caroline Kelly is definitely my favorite cover model. She’s also the only one I personally know, so I could be biased. She helped with marketing and promotion, and her mom, Jennifer, taught me how to use Instagram.

 

 

Both before and after the book’s release, Caroline promoted it on  Instagram https://www.instagram.com/clkblue21 and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cross promotion was an added bonus I wasn’t expecting. She even agreed to answer a few interview questions, posted below.

Caroline Kelly Interview

 How do you like the cover? Did it meet your expectations? 

I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I love how it turned out. I can honestly say I don’t know anyone that is on a book cover, and to see myself as a book cover model is surreal. 

Tell me about some of your recent modeling jobs.

It’s been an exciting year for me. I’ve been in a couple of fashion shows in Charlotte NC. I have also had an opportunity to be an extra in a couple movies and a cable show. 

What can you tell me about the modeling gig you have coming up in the next couple of weeks?

I’m going to be in the Charlotte Summer Seen Fashion Show representing a swimsuit designer.

Swimsuit in picture is NOT from the Charlotte show or the designer.

What types of acting roles have you had?

I haven’t had any speaking roles yet. I have been a church extra several times for It’s Supernatural a religious cable show. I was a softball extra in a movie this past Spring that was filmed in Charleston SC. My most recent movie set experience was a cheerleader extra in a Clint Eastwood movie filmed in Atlanta GA. I really hope that scene doesn’t get cut 

What did you think of your experience with the film industry, and would you do it again?

Definitely. I love being on the movie set, and the experience I’ve gained as an extra has been amazing. I hope one day, it will lead to something bigger.

Would you like to be on another book cover?

Absolutely. Being part of this book cover has been a fantastic experience and is something I would love to do again. I have a real interest in doing print work, especially formal wear and wedding dresses.

How can other authors contact you if they’d like to discuss using you on their covers?clkblue21@gmail.com or https://www.instagram.com/clkblue21

Thanks so much to you and your mom for working with me on the cover and making Winds of Time my favorite book cover.

Winds of Time

Release Date: June 21, 2018

Tagline:

The past is her future, the future, her past, but can she save an innocent man’s life before history repeats itself? 

Blurb:

As long as Selena Tillman dreams of her ancestor, Mary, who disappeared without a trace in 1871, she’ll never find peace. As long as she dreams of the half-Native American army scout accused of killing Mary, she’ll never find love. Hoping to end the dreams and learn the truth, Selena goes to Texas where Mary and the scout died and sees more than ghosts. She sees a tornado kill Mary in real time before it jumps to the twenty-first century to pull Selena into its vortex and send her back to the nineteenth century. Selena believes she’s fated to prove Dylan’s innocence and save his life, but Dylan isn’t just the man of her dreams; he’s her destiny.

Fed up with the army, bigotry, and women—especially white women, Captain Dylan Casey dedicates himself to solving the mystery of Mary’s disappearance, proving his innocence, and trying to stop a war between the whites and the Indians. Then Mary’s cousin shows up, claiming a tornado killed Mary. Dylan doesn’t trust Selena, but she’s his only ally in Canyon Creek. Yet despite their common goal, growing mutual attraction, and a Comanche shaman’s prophecy of a white woman who will change his destiny and foretell the fate of the Indian Nation, Dylan refuses to take a chance on another spoiled, white woman—until fate changes his mind.

Excerpt:

Captain Casey stepped closer and raked his eyes over her, taking in her disheveled appearance. With surprising gentleness, he swept her hair from her forehead. When his fingers touched her flesh, her breath froze in her lungs, and every muscle in her body coiled. Shocked by the electricity in that brief touch, her knees buckled, and she sank back down to the sofa. When he hunkered down in front of her and took her chin in his strong hand, her breath caught in her throat.

“You really are hurt. What happened?” The deep timbre of his softly spoken question was like the man himself—sexy.

She met his probing gaze before lowering her eyes to the floor. “My horse threw me and ran off. I don’t know what spooked him, and I don’t know where he is.”

He rose to his feet and curled his lip. “Where are your trunks?”

“They’re due to arrive from Pecos later this week,” she said, unable to meet his gaze.

“Why would you leave your trunks in Pecos and travel alone on horseback? Why not wait at the hotel for the next stage to Canyon Creek?”

She was nervous enough without him towering over her, so she rose to her feet and forced herself to hold his intimidating gaze. “I felt a lot safer taking my chances on the road dressed as a man than I did staying in some skeezy hotel in Pecos where everyone knew I was a woman traveling alone.”

It was a reasonable explanation. She was wearing jeans in a time when women didn’t even wear slacks, and she had just shown up without taking the stage. He might have actually believed her if it hadn’t been for her modern vernacular.

He raked his eyes over her with a quirked mouth and skeptical lift of his brows. “You couldn’t fool a blind man in those clothes, and no man would wear an undershirt that color. You even smell like a woman,” he added, sniffing the air around her neck. When his nose grazed the tender flesh behind her ear, goose bumps raced down her arms.

Pages: 250

Print ISBN: 978-1-7323904-1-6

Digital ISBN: 978-1-7323904-0-9

ASIN: B07D989VQJ

Buy Links:

 Universal buy link: https://www.books2read.com/b/mvKKwX

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D989VQJ/ref

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winds-of-time-lilly-gayle/1128772241;jsessionid

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1388810657

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/winds-of-time-7

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lilly_Gayle_Winds_of_Time?id=BAJeDwAAQBAJ

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40207097-winds-of-time?from_search=true

Contact Information:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram| The Wild Rose Press | Amazon

Look for all my books online and in print at your favorite online retailer.

Historical Romances:e

Wholesale Husband

Slightly Tarnished

Slightly Noble

Helpless Hearts

Wilder Hearts

Winds of Time

Paranormal romances:

Out of the Darkness

Embrace the Darkness

Winds of Time

My Review of Laura Browning’s Last Call

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Summer is in full swing, and I’m finally reading again. If you’re like me and like finding great stories to read during the summer, check out the latest by Laura Browning.

Last Call (A Place to Call Home Book 3)

Blurb:

A Place to Call Home…
It’s exactly what Caleb Allred wants and exactly why he’s returned to Mountain Meadow, Virginia to open his dream of a sports bar. Last Call is his only baby. Or so he thought.

The last person Leah Scott wants to see face to face is Caleb. They already have a history. He just doesn’t know about it, and at this point, she’s not telling.

Fate has a way of changing things, though, and now Caleb and Leah have to find a way to pull together for the sake of the son they share.

Don’t miss Last Call, book three of a sexy new contemporary series from author Laura Browning.

My Review:

Ms. Browning puts a new spin on the secret baby trope in this romantic family drama featuring another Allred sibling. Leah is not your typical accomplished heroine, but she is determined. Her trashy family and abusive father have made her a virtual outcast in the Blue Ridge town where everyone knows and respects the Allred family. If not for that one night, Caleb Allred wouldn’t have given her a second look…or would he?

Caleb isn’t as oblivious to Leah has always believed, but she was always so shy, and her family so unlike Caleb’s family or any other family he knows in town, he didn’t think twice about leaving town and making a name for himself along the coast. But when he returns to Mountain Meadow, Leah is not only a beautiful woman trying to make a living at the local florist and get out from under her father’s thumb, she’s also a single mother. And her son looks hauntingly familiar.

I love this series. I’ve read the first two books in Ms. Browning’s A Place to Call Home Series, and while I enjoyed the first two, this book is my favorite…so far. But there’s another book in the series that features Caleb’s twin brother, and if the teasers in Last Call are any indication, I might just like the next book even better than this one.

Last Call is available through Amazon and most online retailers.

About the Author:

Laura Browning graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Journalism mainly because a wise person, namely her father, suggested Journalism might be a steadier income than trying to write romance. She has worked in television markets in Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and North Carolina. In 2001, she won a Regional Emmy for her work writing and producing.

After dealing with reality for far longer than she should have, the urge to spin stories from the fiber of fiction outweighed her desire to report only the facts. Now she combines her writing career with teaching English.

Browning lives in the South with her husband, son, and a menagerie of animals that runs the gamut from horses to a lizard. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, photography, baking and contemplating actually having time to ride her horses.

Reviewing Reese Ryan’s Playing by the Rules

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Playing by the Rules

Playing by the Rules is part of Reese Ryan’s Playing by the Rules Series, which is set in London. The series focuses on a female cousins who find love when they least expect it. This is book one in the series and my first book by this author, but it most definitely won’t be the last book I read by Ms. Ryan.

Blurb:

When Meredith Jane encounters her ex’s elder brother at a saucy Valentine’s Day party for singles, the last thing she expects is to spend ‘seven minutes in heaven’ with him or to discover that he has feelings for her.

Hunter Westbrook adored Merrie long before his competitive younger brother asked her out. Now that their relationship is over and done, he faces the hardest decision of his life. Will he risk his relationship with his brother and jeopardize the future of their family’s luxury resort empire by pursuing the woman he loves? Or will he suffer in silence to keep peace in the family and risk losing her forever?

Merrie has spent her entire life playing by other people’s rules. One of the few women on the management team at her firm, she can ill afford to get caught up in the gossip and scandal sure to come if she chooses to be with Hunter. Nor does she wish to hurt Liam’s family or disappoint her own. Nevertheless, she has discovered a startling truth: She’s been with the wrong brother all along.

In a society where perception is everything, is true love worth risking everything they’ve both worked so hard for?

My Review:

Six months after Meredith breaks up with her boyfriend, her cousin invites her to a Valentine’s Hook-up party. Meredith is reluctant to go, but she knows she needs to move on from a bad break-up or she’ll go back to her jerk ex-boyfriend. Again. When  she runs into Hunter at the party, she’s more than relieved. She’s always liked Hunter, probably more than she should, but Meredith always plays by the rules.

Hunter has always had a thing for Merrie, and seeing her again reminds him of just how much he wants to make her his. There’s only one problem. Merrie is his brother’s ex, and both he and Merrie would never do anything to hurt his family. He stepped aside once before. He’s not going to do it again, even if it means breaking the rules.

Everyone knows bro code says don’t mess with a buddy or your brother’s ex, but there is a time and place for breaking the rules, and Ms. Ryan sets this up beautifully, giving Hunter and Merrie their happily ever after.

I got my copy on Amazon, but Breaking the Rules is available through most onlilne retailers. Get your copy and start this awesome series.

About the author:

Reese Ryan writes sexy, deeply emotional romances with family drama, surprising secrets, and unexpected twists.

Past president of her local Romance Writers of America chapter and a panelist at the 2017 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Reese is an advocate for the romance genre and diversity in fiction.

Book Signing in Raleigh

A couple months back, I was invited to do a book signing at Dog-Eared Books in Raleigh, NC. It was the first time someone approached me instead of the other way around, so I accepted. Since Dog Eared Books is a second hand book store, I knew I wasn’t likely to sell many books unless people I knew personally attended. I even had other authors discourage me from doing a book signing at a used book store. I did it anyway.

The weather was terrible. It rained. Hard. And although there was a steady flow of traffic into the book store, none had come to see me. They were there to buy or trade used books.

But, my youngest daughter and granddaughter attended, so I wasn’t bored or lonely. In fact, my little granddaughter (and the basket of candy I offered passersby) drew people to my table. Even if I didn’t sell those people a book, I met them. I got my name out there. And it was good exposure.

I also did a live reading on Facebook that generated over 500 views in less than 24 hours. You can’t buy that kind of publicity. Even if I didn’t sell all the paperback copies of by book, it doesn’t matter. I make more off of e-books anyway, and people noticed me. Some took my cards, others just stopped for a second to chat.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDogEaredBooks%2Fvideos%2F904693109692672%2F&show_text=0&width=267

The live reading on Facebook was just good marketing.

So, would I do another signing at Dog Eared Books despite the low (and I mean low) sales? Yes. Yes I would. In fact, I plan to do another one in July or August to promote my new release, Winds of Time. I’m hoping to get my cover model to join me at the signing, and maybe she’ll even do the live reading.

Sometimes, a book signing isn’t about sales. It’s about meeting readers and getting your name out there. Keep that in mind the next time someone questions why you’re doing a signing in a location that’s not likely to generate a lot of sales.

Winds of Time Cover Reveal!

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Cover Reveal!

I have a cover! Thanks to AGWDesigns and cover model, Caroline Kelly, I got my cover before I got a release date. Not sure of the exact date, but  I can tell you  Winds Of Time will release sometime in June.

Tagline:

The past is her future, her future the past, but can she save a falsely accused man’s life before history repeats itself?

Blurb:

In 1872, Mary Tillman disappeared without a trace. A year later, the half-Native American army scout accused of the crime was murdered on Mary’s front porch. Now, an attachment spirit is haunting Selena Tillman through Mary’s necklace.

As long as Selena dreams of Mary, she’ll never find peace. As long as she dreams of the army scout, she’ll compare every man she dates to the fantasy man of her dreams. So she heads to Texas where Mary and scout died and she sees more than just ghosts. She sees a phantom tornado kill Mary in real time just before the storm jumps to the twenty-first century and takes Selena back in time with it. Stuck in the past, Selena believes it’s her fate to prove Dylan’s innocence and save his life, but she soon realizes Dylan isn’t just the man of her dreams; he’s her destiny.

Fed up with the army, bigotry, and women—especially white women, Captain Dylan Casey dedicates himself to solving the mystery of Mary’s disappearance, proving his innocence, and trying to stop a war between the whites and the Indians. Then Mary’s cousin sows up claiming a tornado killed Mary. Dylan doesn’t trust Selena, but she’s his only ally in Canyon Creek. Yet despite their common goal, growing mutual attraction, and a Comanche shaman’s prophecy of a white woman who will change his destiny and foretell the fate of the Indian Nation, Dylan refuses to take a chance on another spoiled, white woman—until fate changes his mind.

Lilly Gayle Book Signing!

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MAY19

Lilly Gayle Book Signing!

Public

 · Hosted by Dog-Eared Books

Come out and see me on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 1-4 PM at Dog-Eared Books

4027 Atlantic Ave, Raleigh, North Carolina 27604.
I’ll be signing copies of my Western Hearts series: Helpless Hearts and Wilder Hearts.

Can a former gunslinger find redemption through love?

Former gunslinger Noah Sinclair returned home so he could regain his respectability. Instead of redemption, he finds temptation in Juliana Jeffries—a woman engaged to the man who offered him a job and a second chance. Despite Noah’s loyalty to his boss, Noah’s Helpless Heart still yearns for Juliana—a woman with dreams and ambitions that don’t include a former gunslinger.

Noah stole Juliana’s heart years ago, but then he left town to avenge his father’s death. Now, she dreams of becoming a doctor and she’s obliged to marry Avery, a man with a secret she’s sworn to protect. Noah’s return could test her loyalty, her ambition, and her heart.

Writing about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed.
When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures. Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.
Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed, but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.

My Review of The Three Sisters: Family Like it or Not

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I used to read all the time, but now I don’t get to read nearly as many books as I’d like. I still have my favorite authors, but I also enjoy checking out new authors from time to time. My latest author discovery is Rose Borden. Her first book, The Three Sisters: Family Like it or Not, is a family drama about, well, three sisters.

Fran, Dixie, and Carm are sisters with some serious issues, but everything isn’t as it seems and perception isn’t always truth. When the sisters’ mother dies, the three women are forced to spend time together and what ensues is a hilarious journey as the sisters discover secrets they never knew their mother was keeping.

Heartwarming and fun! I thoroughly enjoyed the story and laughed out loud more than once. There were a couple of places in the story where I thought the author could show more and tell less, but it was still so well done, it didn’t pull me out of the story.

This was Ms. Borden’s first book, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Blurb:

Fran Mattison is living peacefully in the hills of Vermont when her mother’s unexpected death plunges her back into a world she had left behind.

Her mother’s last wishes force Fran to take a long trip with her two sisters, overly cheerful Dixie and the irritating Carm, and to Fran that is the worst punishment ever. She hates to be with them, especially Carm who deceived her and broke her heart twelve years ago. Forget the fact that Carm never shuts up.

Fran would rather stay in the secluded, bitter shell she has created for herself, where there is no forgiveness. The task before her will not be easy but she has to try and do it for the mother she loves so much.

As they travel to different parts of the country to settle Mom’s affairs, the three sisters are in for one shock after another. They learn that their lives have been a lie from the start, they’ve been deceived, and their mother is not the person they thought she was.

A roller coaster of feelings is encountered as each new place they visit brings a new surprise. Their emotions keep blending and tearing apart as they face these situations together. A new layer is uncovered when Fran learns that there is yet another deep secret being hidden between the sisters themselves.

What should have been a simple road trip turns into life shattering changes that test the already strained bonds between the women. Their journey makes them question the true meaning of the word family. It may not be what they expected but it’s their family whether they like it or not.

 

Rose Borden has enjoyed living in different parts of the U.S. and has spent the last 18 years in sunny North Carolina. She loves spending time with her family, writing, traveling, and relaxing at the beach.

Don We Now!

“Don we now our gay apparel!”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and Merry Whatever You Celebrate this time of year. But do you don your gay apparel?

I used to. EVERY year–even if it was just Christmas sweats. Even when I didn’t wear holiday clothes, like my black sweater vest with snowmen and snowflakes on it, I’d wear Christmas colors. 

 

 

 

 

 

As recently as 2016, when my children asked me not to re-wear an old Christmas shirt or sweater, I wore my Santa apron, but I missed my Christmas attire.

I used to own an adorable denim shirt with kitties in Santa hats and a black velvet collar that I loved. I think I wore it more than one year. Then a couple of years ago, my daughter asked to borrow an ugly Christmas sweater for a themed Christmas party. I sent her a Santa sweater I wore back in the 90’s..one in which not a single picture exists because I’m usually the one behind the camera…and my Santa kitty shirt. My daughter was appalled that I still owned them. She threatened to burn them. lol!

 

I did get them back but have since donated them. Apparently, the Santa hat kitty shirt was more then 15 years old. I don’t have a picture of me in it the year I bought it, but here are pics from 1997 and 2007–proof my daughters are right. I do need to update my wardrobe. lol!

 

 

Some years, I don’t think I was festive enough…although, my girls always wore Christmas shirts or dresses until they were old enough to refuse. lol!

 

I actually miss those times, and I love seeing my granddaughters in Christmas clothes.

This year, I don’t have any new holiday outfits, just holiday earrings. Still, I’m not abandoning my gay apparel completely. I plan to wear Christmas colors. But is the headband too much?

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Life at Warp Speed

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Dear Lord, where does the time go? My last post was back in April? April? Really? What did I do all spring, summer, and half of the fall? Publish a book?

No. Sadly, I will not get a book out this year. I did, however, complete a time travel that is now sitting in the hands of an agent. So, fingers crossed there. I also started the third book in my Western Hearts Series. This book will be Brett Henderson’s story. Brett was the ranch owner readers met in Wilder Hearts.

Reading? Yes. I’ve done a bit of reading this summer and can recommend a few books. There was a political spoof I read back in April. I don’t remember the name or the author, but it held my interest, despite reminding me how much I’ve come to detest politics and the media’s reporting on everything ugly in politics.

I also read a couple of romance novels and a romantic drama. Those I remember and can recommend. So, here goes:

Small Changes by Donna Steele

Blurd:

Melanie Daniels is back home, reconnecting with friends and taking over the family business. She’s content even if there isn’t that one special person in her life. Then she sees the man of her dreams stalking toward her.

Jonah Sanders and his daughter have been on the run for nearly two years. It’s time to regroup and rest. He doesn’t know what has drawn him to this small town but he’s learned to live by his instincts. So why does the woman next door override his instincts and cause him to think of a life he can’t chance?

My thoughts:

I’ve read several Steele stories, but I think this one is my favorite. It reminds me of an early Dean Koontz novel but with more romance, and there is a child in the story with special abilities secondary to genetic manipulation instead of a golden retriever. The hero, Jonah, is strong but vulnerable, and Melanie is self reliant and brave without being over the top.

It’s a good story with strong characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like romance with a dash of paranormal in the style of Dean Koontz’s early works, you’ll enjoy this one.

Next on my summer reading list was Laura Browning’s Healing Touch-

Blurb:

A Place to Call Home…

It’s exactly what widowed father Luke Allred is looking for when he brings his son and daughter back to his hometown of Mountain Meadow, Virginia. Luke knows he needs to be a better daddy for his troubled kids, but his work as a veterinarian made it difficult in the past. He’s vowed to change, but he needs help while he settles into his new position with the local animal hospital.
Rachel Hastings is a woman with a healing touch. She takes in injured and orphaned animals, so helping out with two new-to-town children shouldn’t be tough. What she hasn’t counted on is their sexy father, her secret crush from back in their high school days.
Their attraction is immediate, but so many obstacles stand in the way. Luke and his family still grapple with the shock of the accident that killed his wife. Rachel carries baggage from her own failed marriage. Worst of all, Luke’s children hide a secret that is tearing them apart and may destroy any chance Luke and Rachel have of building a future together.

My thoughts:

This was my first book by this author, and I wasn’t disappointed. I love stories set in the south, and I love romantic suspense. This story fit the bill perfectly.There was good character development, especially with the son, Jared. He came across as obnoxious while still being likable and sympathetic at the same time.

The hero, Luke is a jerk in several places, but the motivation is believable as is his behavior…just like real men. Both Luke and the heroine, Rachel, are wonderfully flawed and quite believable, and I fell in love with them both.

Browning’s writing style is reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks, only her stories are set in the mountains of Virginia instead of coastal NC. Hers has a guaranteed happy ending though. So, I can’t wait to read the second book in this series.

Last but not least, I read my first Megan Hart Novel, All the Lies We Tell, first in the Quarry Road Series.

This sexy romantic drama from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Megan Hart explores the tangled lives—and loves—of childhood friends.

My thoughts:

It was definitely a drama with very strong romantic elements. The sex was off the chart hot, and the characters were flawed to the point that I wanted to slap Nikolai and Alicia a couple of times over. But I still liked them both. They were sympathetic and likable with all the flaws of real people.

There were good supporting characters, and the author managed to redeem Alicia’s ex-husband toward the end so he wasn’t a total tool. There was also several hints within the book that a particular death might have been a murder. Or maybe that was just my interpretation. At any rate, I hope the lingering questions surrounding the death of Alicia’s sister are addressed in the second book.

So, what else have I been doing since April? Everything and nothing. Life has just been crazy chaotic.

My oldest daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter came up from Mississippi and joined my youngest daughter, her husband, their dad and me at the beach for a long weekend back in June. If you’ve never squeezed 7 people into a camper before, I don’t recommend it unless you’re a really close knit family. We managed not to kill one another and actually had an awesome time.

We spent time at the beach, ate out, walked on the pier, and squeezed an entire summer of fun into 4 days and 3 nights of cramped, family fun.

We spent very little time around the pool this year and didn’t make it to the beach much after that great weekend. And the times we did go, we spent repairing water damage to the camper and installing a new air conditioner.

We remodeled the kitchen, which looks fabulous, but some unforeseen circumstances led to some financial issues we weren’t expecting. In September, my oldest and her family made a second trip to NC to attend my youngest daughter’s baby shower, so that was another hectic, family-filled week.

Family was a big priority for me this year. My dad’s in failing health and made 3 trips to the hospital since April with COPD and congestive heart failure. He’s made some improvements and thank God, he’s still kicking, just not as high or as often.

There have been a lot of ups and downs this year from my dad’s health to job losses and career redirection to family weddings, and my mother-in-laws worsening dementia. For every up, there’s been a down, but the ups are still higher.

On October 19, my youngest daughter gave birth to our second grandchild–an adorable baby girl. Isn’t she just perfect?

So, as life moves ahead at warp speed and I feel as if I’m getting lost in the ups and downs of late middle age, I take some pride in the fact that I have an amazing family and some pretty good friends.

My day job may not be going in the direction I’d like, and my writing career may not be where I’d like it to be, but I’m still counting my blessings, and life is pretty amazing.

 

 

 

Why Do Electric Service Providers Advertise?

I’m not financially savvy, and I don’t know a lot about marketing or advertising, but I’ve often wondered why electric service providers advertise.

In North Carolina, you don’t get to choose your electric service provider. If you are in Duke Power’s region, you use Duke Power. If you’re in Central Electric’s or Progress Energy’s territory, you have to use Central Electric or Progress Energy. Some electric service providers are membership co-ops. Others are not. Duke Power is not.

I have Duke Power.

In 1999 Texas deregulated the electric power industry. The law was passed to encourage free market competition and lower prices. Although some areas, such as municipalities and cooperatives, were not required to deregulate and don’t have electric choice, at least some people do.

In North Carolina, there is no choice and no free market competition.

In other words, the electric companies can charge what they want and there’s not much you can do about it unless you want to live off the grid.

So, here’s my question. If there is no free market enterprise and I’m stuck using Duke Power and have no choice, why does Duke Power have so many commercials? It’s not like they have competition and can lure customers away from Progress Energy.

Maybe they’re trying to lure in new customers in the area who don’t have electricity. Nope. That can’t be right either. If you don’t have electricity, you can’t see the commercials. So, I’m stuck with the same question. Why advertise?

Maybe if they didn’t waste all that money on commercials, they could lower their rates. Or provide free or reduced cost services to the poor and elderly.

What do you think?