31 March, 2015

Romance Weekly Blog Hop - Flash Fiction


Thank you for hopping over from Carolyn Spear.

This week, Veronica Forand wants us to do some Flash Fiction - 100 words - using spring, coffee, and lizard.

Way Back When . . .

It seems like only yesterday that I traveled out west for high school Senior Break.

Dad had arranged that trip, but I had wanted to do what everyone else did: head down to Daytona Beach.

Lake Havasu was cool. The London Bridge was there, and I'd liked to have walked across it, except that if my Aunt Anne asked and I said yes, then it meant no.

I saw my first lizard while I was there. Lots of them, actually, along with a few road runners that didn't resemble the cartoon depiction whatsoever.

We drove to Long Beach via the desert, and in spring it was a sight to behold.

Along the way, we stopped at an honest-to-gosh roadside cafe with tumbleweed, cactus, and medieval gas pumps outside.

Not being a coffee drinker, I opted for a can of Coke to get me through the last few hundred miles of that tense journey in the back seat of Uncle George's 1964 Dodge Rambler.

yep

The coke spilled between my legs.

Terrified that Aunt Anne would blow a gasket, I sat in that sticky mess with my lips zipped tight while she rattle on about my awful dad who never taught us Lithuanian or told us stories about 'the good old days' back in 'the old country'.

*Sigh. I wish I had ordered a coffee instead.

At least I ended up being the envy of all my classmates, who spent their week in dismal, cold, and rainy Florida.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my first-ever attempt at a Flash Fiction :D

And now, let's hop on over and visit with Andrea at A.S. Fenichel to find out what she wrote using the words spring, coffee, and lizard.

24 March, 2015

Romance Weekly Blog Hop - WIP Updates



Romance Writer's Weekly (RWW) has a website with its own blog, and a newsletter. There is also a Facebook page, and the Twitter handle is @LoveChatWrite.

I hope you've arrived here after having visited with Mishka Jenkins. An author buddy whom I met approximately two years ago, Mishka graciously introduced me to RWW and an even larger group of like-minded, helpful, friendly, and fun romance authors. I am forever in her debt as a result.

One of Mishka's novels, The Magic Spark, is available on Kindle here.

Successful businesswoman Alex is content with her life in London, and any ideas of romance have been left on the back burner. But when her fairy godmother, FG, waltzes into her office one morning announcing she has come to help Alex rekindle a passion for life and love, she is about to check herself into therapy!
The fairy godmother’s incessant wand-flicking soon lands them in the isolation of the Scottish highlands, where Alex’s next client, Mal Ross, not only stirs her professional interest but her romantic ones too.
But the path of love is never smooth, no matter how much magic you throw at it. 


This week on the hop, my question came up, and it is a nosy one. I'm curious to hear what everyone is working on right now, where they're at so far, and if they are experiencing any set-backs, dilemmas, or issues with things like plot, conflict resolution, etc. I also suggested bonus points for including a wee bit of their favorite scene.

Since joining RWW, I've met a host of new romance authors and enjoyed reading their writing. It's difficult to put into words just how exciting and educational it's been, too. A new world opened for me, and I've slowly started to break out of the thick wall of insecurity that I'd let myself get wrapped up a bit too tightly in over the years.

My goal is to have read at least one novel by everyone in the group, and while I am making my way through the novels, I can't say the same for my prompt attention to reviews, ratings, and blog posts. It will get done, though.

My latest WIP is tentatively titled THE CURSE, and I've written close to 50,000 words as of today. It is a story I put on the back-burner about four years ago and let simmer until it started to come back to me with more gusto and oomph.

My cue to get the thing back in line and run with it. :D

It is about a thirty-year-old woman who grew up believing the rumors and whispered secrets about a curse on the maternal side of her family. After her mother's untimely death, Kaisa decides it's time to discover the truth.

She bumps into the leading man at the airport, where their guardians make an invisible yet calamitous appearance, and the story takes off from there.

I like where it's headed, how it flows, and the amount of action involved. I think I've accomplished my goal to introduce a solid antagonist, and Jordan, a young, brash attorney with a personal vendetta against Perry, the reluctant leading man, is making headway.

I'm not sure how other authors feel, but I've always written my leading men in a way that makes me feel as if he's all mine. My lover, my boyfriend, my best friend, and mine forever. Maybe that's why most leading men are so freaking hot, perfectly chiseled, and Adonis in face, eh?

This time around, I stepped out of that comfort zone by creating a leading man with all of the outward features I tend NOT to admire in a man. Blonde hair, blue eyes, a bit hipster but still masculine yet in all of the wrong ways for a modern man to think, feel, and behave. He's a misfit with a needy boy mentality he's unaware even exists.

My biggest writing dilemma has always been with show vs. tell, but I think I've studied the two enough now to know when it crops up and how to remedy the problem. At least I hope I have. Also, I'd received an over-kill amount of bad and conflicting advice about imagery and description that left me deleting both from my work. Now, it is a struggle to bring it all back but I'm trying.

I should have known better, but . . . water under the bridge.

Here are a few paragraphs from that WIP

     “If that was all you came here to tell me,” Perry said to Jordan and folded his arms at his chest. Feeling bare skin made his eyes grow big, and then lowering his gaze, Perry now saw that he stood half-naked before them both.
     No way in hell.
     Perry hurried around the first row of lockers and quickly stepped out of his jeans. While cussing under his breath and berating himself for being twelve times the fool, he got dressed as fast as he could. Even as embarrassed as he was to have been in that stage of undress for that amount of time without even realizing it, his main concern remained wanting to keep Jordan away from Kaisa.
     After quickly swabbing some deodorant and then pulling a striped, long-sleeve shirt over his head, Perry peeked around the end of the lockers, checking on Jordan’s proximity to Kaisa while in the midst of zipping up his jeans.
     Jordan had crouched before Kaisa the same way Perry had done just moments ago, and seeing the man’s hands on her knees brought back his anger with a vengeance. He started forward on impulse and struck his little toe on a metal pole underneath a wooden bench between the row of lockers.
     In mortal pain, and with his mouth wide open, Perry didn’t make a sound as he slowly collapsed atop that bench. Closing his eyes, he leaned on an elbow and extended the injured foot in the air, shaking the excruciating pain away. Perry struggled to get his breath back. Squeezing his eyes tighter, he gently pounded a fist against the bench and kept shaking his throbbing foot.
     He wanted to roar in agony, laugh at himself, and yes, even cry like a baby, but he wasn’t alone and wouldn’t dare, so suffered in silence instead.
     “Are you okay?”
     Perry started to say he’d be alright, but it was Jordan who had asked, and even in blinding pain, he knew better than to assume that question was directed at him.
     “I’m fine,” he heard Kaisa reply, and the sound of her voice had a magical effect on Perry’s foot. He opened his eyes and stared ahead in silent wonder. A few seconds later, and he was well enough to stand up, zip up, and turn to face the two whom he would rather die than see in another embrace again.

Thank you kindly for stopping by and reading my response. Now, if you would please pay a visit with Jami Denise, to discover what she's working on right now.

17 March, 2015

Romance Weekly Blog Hop - St. Patrick's Day



Every Tuesday, the members of Romance Writer's Weekly (RWW) get together for a blog hop. We are a terrific support group for fellow Romance Authors and love to share our experiences, give and receive help with our writing dilemmas, and promote one another's work.

Romance Writer's Weekly also has a website with a blog, where we spotlight, promote, and post interesting articles about writing via our members. We also issue a newsletter and can be found on Facebook and Twitter @LoveChatWrite.

If you arrived here after having visited with Carolyn Spear, I thank you.

This week, Betty Bolte says - It's St. Patrick's Day! and wants us to tell if and how we celebrate it, or how we'd like to.

I don't celebrate the holidays.

Any of them.

Including my birthday, which also happens to fall on a major holiday.

March 17th is a Feast Day in honor of St. Patrick, who wasn't Irish at all but Scottish.

Born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387 and died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 493.

Sold into slavery at a young age (16), to a chieftan named Milchu in Dalriada, a territory of the present county of Antrim in Ireland, where for six years he tended his master's flocks in the valley of the Braid and on the slopes of Slemish, near the modern town of Ballymena.

His master, Milchu, was a druidical high priest, and Patrick became familiar with all the details of Druidism. St. Patrick is now credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

The 'snakes' as we like to refer to them -- and literally, I might add -- in which St. Patrick is often credited with having driven out of Ireland, weren't slithering reptiles but the Druids.

A few fun facts about the day from a Time Magazine article titled How America Invented St. Patrick's Day

IRELAND
Irish bars didn’t begin opening on March 17 until the mid-1960s
In 1996, the St. Patrick’s Festival, which still runs to this day, is a four-day event of music, treasure hunts, performances, and of course, a two-hour parade that draws up to half a million people onto the streets of Dublin.

AMERICA
The day grew in significance following the end of the Civil War and the arrival, across the 19th century, of ever increasing numbers of Irish immigrants.
St. Patrick’s Day was a public declaration of a belief in the future of Ireland as a nation free from British rule, and a strict adherence to the values and liberties that the U.S. offered.
Corned beef and cabbage — rarely eaten in Ireland but commonplace in American cities as a springtime dish — became the meal for March 17, and over the years all types of green food, including milk shakes, beer, and candy.

As a child, yes, I celebrated and always (still do) tried to wear something green. Probably because I wanted to avoid being pinched at all cost. Ouch!

Mine is Shillelagh McTavern
Another fun fact: it wasn't until my first term in college that I learned the story behind wearing orange on that particular day. In case you're not familiar, if you wear orange on March 17th it means you are a) Scottish/British and b) opposed to the idea of celebrating anything Irish (or Catholic).

LOL - who knew!

I also really liked making shamrocks from an assortment of green construction paper. Getting to add the white frill from paper doilies was a bonus.

And, if I drew one rainbow I drew a thousand of them. I remember how elaborate they started to get with age, too. Clouds on either side, then the pot of gold at one end, and later a leprechaun as well.

I also recall that hunting for the elusive four-leaf clover was a huge to-do on St. Patrick's Day! I sometimes find myself doing it now, and it's still fun.


I also once tried a McShake. Ugh. My word, how minty can a shake be to make the teeth rattle inside the head? I attempted to mellow it by adding Nestle' morsels, thinking it would be like eating mint choco-chip ice cream. That only made things worse. It was the one and only time I wanted a McShake, thank you.

As a wife and mother, I did the corned beef and cabbage thing on March 17th. It was actually my first time ever tasting the meal and I LOVED IT! As the years wore on, though, the price of corned beef grew disproportionate with my income. Sadly, I can't recall the last time I made or ate that delicious dish.

When I was little, I used to dye water green and drink it, and later on it was Vernor's, but to-date I have never had a green beer -- not even during my time spent in beer capitols of the country (college campuses) -- nor in any of the many nightclubs or bars I once frequented.

I am Big Gassy Leprechaun

In Detroit, we have a Thanksgiving Parade that ends up being televised nationally, but we also have a huge (and I do mean huge) St. Patrick's Day Parade. Many of them, in fact, in a lot of cities throughout the state. Not in my city, but whatever.

Nope. I've never attended a parade and I don't feel the need to start now, either.

I would, however, like to maybe be inside one of the bars that open at 6 a.m. on that day and TRY to spend as much time hopping them as I can. At least until I can't drink another green beer or the crowds/noise become too much to handle and claustrophobic agoraphobia sets in.

Lastly, I guess you might say I celebrate St. Patrick's Day by watching old movies.





















And, yes, I know all the words to O Danny Boy, too :D The Andy Williams version, of course.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Now we head on over and visit with Brenda Margriet to find out how she celebrates St. Patrick's Day.


FAMOUS by Kahlen Aymes - Release Day Blitz

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FAMOUS by Kahlen Aymes

Famous Amazon GRSW
Cover design by Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Follow Okay Creations on Facebook

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Caden Carlisle is a world-renowned superstar with good looks, million dollar movie deals and women throwing themselves at him wherever he goes. He has it all… but wants nothing more than a normal life without the paparazzi and glitz.
Brooklyn Holloway is an up and coming starlet with a solid head on her shoulders and her eyes wide open. It’s all about art for her and she isn’t looking to star in blockbuster films. She’s perfectly happy keeping a low profile and doing indie projects with a message.
When fate throws the two of them together on set; both are unprepared for their undeniable connection. Cade is drawn to Brook’s down-to-earth wholesomeness and she can’t help the irresistible pull of his good looks, sense of humor and chivalrous ways… So, when he begins to think he’s in love with her, resisting is next to impossible, despite being committed to someone else.
Only when filming ends and the world’s fascination with celebrity invades their bubble, can they decide if the emotions they felt on set were scripted, or forever.


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I felt the walls were crashing in around me. I tried to push against his chest, but he only held me tighter, his arms going around my back.
"Go back to your... girlfriend!" I said the words softly, but inside I was screaming. His eyes were wide, and he was breathing fast when he looked at my tear stained face
"Brook, this is so fucked up! Please listen to me. Until twenty seconds ago, I thought you were with David!" His voice was thick with pain, as he tried to stop my struggles.
My useless struggles quieted, and defeat filled my voice. "Cade, I beg you, please let me go. Don't make a scene that neither one of us can afford. We don't need the rags telling the wrong story to the world. Please, I just gotta get out of here." I struggled against him again, and this time his arms dropped to his sides. He stood in front of me, staring in stunned disbelief.
"Please don't follow me." I turned and ran out to the street.

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BannerFamousLive



Cade Teaser One


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I’m a single mother of one daughter, Olivia. She’s amazing in every way.
I was born in the Midwestern United States and educated at a private university where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration.
I’ve always been creative with art, music, theater and writing. I decided to write a story as a way to build a network for a business venture. The reader support of my stories and my overwhelming desire to find out where my characters would take me, soon had the writing morphing the business. No one was more shocked than I. When readers began nominating my work for online awards, it took my breath away and only made me love it more. It soon became clear that writing was, and should be, my focus.

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Famous RDB

14 March, 2015

The Calum by Xio Axelrod


Print Length: 117 pages
Publisher: BookBaby (December 13, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00R0H1ARS
Author Blog: http://xioaxelrod.com/

Finished reading on Thursday but wasn't able to blog that day.

The Calum is an easy (and fast) read and the first of Xio's work for me, too. It won't be the last, though, and here's why.

First, it is evident by her style that she adores poetry, which helped to make the sentences flow with a strangely subtle hint of that poetry flare to make it sound almost lyrical at times.

Second, she's a rule-breaker, which equates to my kind of gal and kindred soul in the art of writing.

Third, I've never been to Scotland before and never had any desire to go there, but while reading The Calum, I couldn't help but be transported to that cold, blustery, and to me, dismal place just north of England.

This was a well-written page-turner about two good friends who spend their Christmas vacation overseas so that Lovie's friend, Jo, can search for, find, seduce, and then get hitched with a Calum or Scottish Book Boyfriend.

Jo is a flaky sort who reads a lot of romance novels and gets it in her head that if she just flies to Scotland, that her dreams will be fulfilled. Lovie is the reluctant yet supportive side-kick with the opposite thoughts about love and men on her mind.

This, actually, was about the only issue I had with the story. Jo started out as a stereotypical dork blond who toward the end did a one-eighty I just didn't see coming nor expected. She switched gears in such a way as to be a bit unbelievable or out-of-character.

That isn't to say Jo wasn't a believable character right from the start, because I felt that all of them were, including the Calum.

Lovie ends up in a situation she couldn't have anticipated much less hoped for, and it is her journey through Inverness that we end up discovering along with her and the man she meets on the Moors.

The sex scenes weren't too graphic for my uppity taste buds, and there was some 'language' involved, but not enough or too much to spoil the whole thing for me.

If you're in the mood for a quick romp through some Scottish moors covered in heather, a little romance, and some unexpected twists and turns along the way, then The Calum is for you.

The synopsis

Twenty-six is too old to believe in fairytales, but tell that to Lovie’s roommate. Convinced she’ll find a real life version of her ultimate book boyfriend, Calum MacKenzie, Jo drags Lovie to the Scottish Highlands. Lovie’s no cynic *ahem* but she knows The Calum is a myth. A construct. A freaking unicorn! And there are warmer places to spend a winter vacation.
If Duff had his way, he’d never step foot in Inverness again. Only his best friend’s wedding, and his ailing grandmother, could bring him home. Duff’s plan is keep his head down and stay out of trouble. Hard to do when the groom targets a pretty blond tourist for one last conquest..
When Duff and Lovie meet, stones, sparks and insults fly. He’s instantly attracted to the sexy, sharp-tongued American. She’s just glad to have someone to hang out with, especially the bad boy with a mysterious past. Lovie is determined to learn his secrets, but as they grow closer, Duff is forced to choose between his best friend and his heart.

An Excerpt

Lovie Grant wished like hell that she had paid the five dollars for the airline headphones. But that balloon had popped, and now she was stuck listening – again – to Joana’s latest “brilliant” plan. She hunched her shoulders and buried her face in the in-flight magazine. Anything to avoid one more word about their freaking trip.

“Are you even listening to me?” Her shrill tone bounced off the airplane window and directly into the oh-my-God-let-me-off-this-sky-bus-before-I-kill-her section of Lovie’s brain.

“What is it now, Jo?”

“You’re not paying attention. And you keep sighing like you’ve been left home on prom night.”

“I’m just tired, and I can’t sleep on planes.” And I should be relaxing on a beach instead of chasing after you.

Flip. Flip. Flip.

Page after page taunted her with one photo of crystal blue waters and palm trees after another. There would be no palm trees where they were headed.

Which asshole decided to put that magazine in her seat-back pocket?

“You’re upset.”

How very astute. “It’s a scientific fact that a lack of sleep causes a decrease in the neurotransmitters that regulate mood.” Flip. “Otherwise, I’m fine, Jo. Let it go.”

“I call bull. You’ve already convinced yourself that this is going to suck.” Jo’s bottom lip poked out in her signature pout. With her blonde locks twisted into two braids, and her bright pink Juicy sweatpants, the picture of a bratty twelve-year-old was nearly complete.

Lovie’s best friend, roommate and constant damsel-in-distress had a plan. A good plan, she’d said. A sound plan, if you dared to believe her. Lovie didn’t, but the plan was this:

● Go to Scotland
● Find “The Calum”
● Marry him

Where to Buy


Book one: The Calum available on:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Kobo
All Romance


12 March, 2015


Cookie Cutter is a Contemporary / Adult / RomCom

Release Date: March 23,2015
Publisher: Little Bird Publishing
Thunderclap for a Show of Support

Blurb:

Iris Alden and Carter Blackwood couldn't be more different. Change-averse Iris likes her life neat and organized, while Carter's itchy feet mean he doesn’t plan to stay in the same place for long.
When Carter moves into the house across the street from Iris, to renovate it, she fights the disruption it causes in her life. Before long, though, it's not simply the house Carter's rebuilding, but Iris's heart, too.

Jo Richardson @JoFictionFreak tells contemporary stories with romance, humor, the supernatural, the paranormal, suspense, mystery, action, and anything else she can think up.

In 2012, she wrote Cursed be the Wicked, a character driven, paranormal mystery romance that was picked up by Soul Mate Publishing and released in March of 2014. Since then, Jo has also written a couple of short stories and her recently contracted contemporary romantic comedy, Cookie Cutter, is set to release on March 23, 2015, through Little Bird Publishing.

10 March, 2015

The Perfect Writer's Retreat - RWW Blog Hop


Hello again, and thank you for hopping over after having visited with S. C. Mitchell. It is his question we feature this week, too!


If you forgot to check out his published work while you were at his website, Steven's latest novel, The Blarmling Dilemma (Hearts in Orbit Book 1), is available through Amazon.




Hearts in Orbit — Volume 1: THE BLARMLING DILEMMA is a science fiction romance set in the far-flung space traveling future, and sets a new course across the galaxy that leads to love and adventure. 

An intergalactic circus, vicious space pirates, and a planet full of backtechers cross paths as two hearts go into orbit to save a pair of adorable Blarmlings.







And, the question Steven posed to us this week is: Describe Your Perfect Writing Retreat.



The Writer's Retreat Amtrak Express


When it first came up as a hot topic last year, I figured there couldn't possibly be a better place to write than on a train bound for . . . wherever.

As the dust settled on this pipe dream, however, I started to realize where it could all go very wrong.

Like there being other people on board whom I'd want to meet and chat with . . . for hours. Those huge cabin windows that offer spectacular views would be a constant distraction for someone who adores looking at just about anything while going just about anywhere -- even to the grocery store!

I also know (from experience) that the gentle sway of the cabins along with the sound of the rails beneath us is a great way to put me to sleep, and even in broad daylight.

In other words, the Amtrak experience isn't a likely place to get much writing done.


Another grandiose idea would be to travel to Europe (England most likely) and book a room inside one of their nifty, old castles.

There are actual writer's retreats that do this - so I've heard - and even been told by a few of the lucky ones who actually did something this exciting.

But again, it would be difficult to avoid the urge to roam about the place, pop into every room, and spend a few - hours, maybe? - looking at all of the wonderful knick-knacks, tchotchka, and paintings that no-doubt line every wall of every inch of space within those stone walls.

And, then I'd want to have a closer inspection of the grounds and surrounding land. You know, to get a feel for what it was REALLY like back then and how truly close I am to getting at least a whiff of the ambiance from just a few of the Historical romance novels I've devoured over the years.

This type of a retreat would help to feed an over-active imagination with all of its wonder, magic, and history at my disposal. Being in Europe, England at least, and in a real Castle would give me tons to think about, and then probably taking hundreds of pictures for reference and memory purposes once I got back home and THEN got down to the task of writing a novel.

So, a Castle Writing Retreat is not exactly conducive to the writing experience, either.


Being anywhere with a terrific view for the purpose of writing sounds glorious, doesn't it?

But would it take me at least a full week to get over that spectacular view?

I'd want to roam about the place, explore, discover, and load up on pictures.

Once my curiosity is appeased, maybe then I'd find time to actually write.

With heaps of great info and know-how now being added to a growing list of things to write about from actual experience: like local customs, vernacular, the environment, weather patterns, and flora/fauna aspects that inhabit such a place, THEN I'd be able to settle down to the actual task of writing.

I think by then the retreat would be over, wouldn't it?

I really don't believe I'm cut out for nor have any interest in attending a Writer's Retreat, but then I don't think that was what Steven had in mind for this week's thought, either.

If I really need to get any writing done, I need to be in a familiar place to do it. A place without too many distractions, people, things, and food to keep me distracted and unproductive. I would look at it as a vacation from writing yet still be able to learn about writing nonetheless.

So, my favorite retreat is right where I am now, inside my space with my laptop and all my personal things surrounding me. And, my music, of course.


Now, if it was possible to find and rent some tiny space all to myself and with no time frame to vacate (be able to stay until the manuscript is finished), then YES! I'm there.

The adorable little lighthouse by the sea. A one-room shack tucked away on a mountainside.

Gosh, what fun it would be to have a houseboat!

Not in a crowded harbor laden with hundreds of other boats, though. Just a houseboat moored to a pier on an inland lake surrounded by forest.

Sigh. I'm sure I'd be a more prolific writer and maybe even a better, more descriptive one, if that was my reality. :D

As always, I appreciate that you took the time to drop in and read my response.

Next up on the hop, we pay a visit with Leslie Hachtel and find out what would be her ideal Writer's Retreat.

Leslie's novel, The Defiant Bride, is available through Amazon.




Dariana refuses to be forced into marriage, even if it has been ordered by the king, so she fakes her own death only to be discovered and tricked into marriage with William, a man she may not be able to forgive. 

When William, a warrior knight, is felled by an arrow, she saves his life and arranges his rescue before fleeing to avoid discovery. 

When Dariana is abducted, William must track her down to fight for her life and their happiness.


And, Dariana, once the most defiant of brides, must channel her own strength of will into survival, both for herself—and for the child she now carries.

07 March, 2015

Sweden Laundry


Title: 스웨덴 세탁소 / Seuweden Setakso
Genre: Comedy, fantasy, romance, family
Broadcast network: MBC Every1, MBC Drama Net, MBC Music, MBC QueeN
Broadcast period: Nov-2014 to March -2015
Episodes: 16




A lot of new faces in this one, and with some stiff acting on a few parts, but overall, I gave this a high score because of the interesting story line.

Lee Yong Yi as the grandmother and Bom were like-able. Hwang Young hee as the mother is too pretty to be a bitch omanee, but she still pulled it off in ostensible Korean-drama style. Chang Jo as Yong Soo chul, the supposed love interest who ended up being more of a side-kick or extra than a real lead that could have resulted in this being a true romance . . . he was okay but could stand to gain a bit more skill/polish under his belt.

Sweden Laundry is about a young woman who doesn't seem to fit in right with her fatherless family. The oldest brother is a bookworm who continues to fail the bar exam and the youngest is a stuck-up wonna-be actress in the making whom the mother dotes over and spoils.

Song Ha yoon as Bom is the monkey in the middle who gives the impression of going nowhere and doing nothing with her life yet is responsible for taking care of her siblings and bitchy mother.

At the start of the 16 episodes, she is planning a trip to Sweden when life gets in the way and she is forced to put that plan on hold. Instead of traveling, she invests in a small building near her home and turns it into a laundromat, which she decorates in the Swedish flag colors and adds Swedish touches throughout to give the illusion of having traveled there.

The twist comes when she sees visions by touching her customer's garments. It then becomes Bom's duty to try and help the clueless customer before the end of each episode. The ability to foreshadow apparent disasters is a gift from her late grandmother, and the only person Bom ever felt truly loved her and whom she loved in return.

I think where Sweden Laundry went wrong (for me, at least) was that it started out one way and then evolved into something else. It began as the girl with an odd ability who works hard to make a wrong right, and it turned into a stereotypical Korean family-affair type drama.

Hence the 4 out of 5 stars because despite that strange switch-a-roo, I still enjoyed watching every episode. It wasn't a romance and there wasn't a whole lot of comedy involved, but at the very least, it was a refreshing change from the norm.

At least it was for the first half of the 16 episodes, anyway.

03 March, 2015

Romance Writer's Weekly Blog Hop - Personal Space


Hello, and welcome to another Tuesday Blog Hop via our host, Romance Writer's Weekly.

I hope you arrived here after having visited with Dani Jace.

This week I'd like to feature her published work, White Doe [shapeshifter romance / romantic suspense]. which is on sale for only .99c on Amazon.


Hawk shifter, and bad-boy biker, Shane Cheveyo has spent years trying to outride his secret life and erotic memories of his first love who left without a word. When his great-grandfather, the legendary chieftain of their tribe passes to his next life, Cheyenne is drawn back home to the Outer Banks of North Carolinaout of respect for her heritage. Rekindled passion reveals their true nature, but will the magic of the white doe save them or separate their destinies forever?
This week's question comes to us from Elizabeth Janette, who's novel Redemption for Liars is also available on Amazon and in publication through Soul Mate Publishing.

Welcome to Hill's Creek, Texas, where the townsfolk like their secrets the same way they like their steaks . . . big and juicy. Don't worry. Nobody's secrets stay buried for long.
Until his socialite sister took a swan dive out her penthouse window, FBI Agent Jonah White’s life had been fairly simple: track down bad guys and slap a pair of silver bracelets on them. Nursing a guilty conscience gnawing at his heart, he heads to Hill's Creek, Texas, to investigate the one woman who just might be connected to his sister's death. Falling in love with her, a possible accomplice to murder, was never part of the plan.
Recently widowed Maya Savantes is barely keeping her head above water. With a precocious five-year-old to raise, and a growing pile of debt to wade through, she doesn’t have time for a romp through the sheets with a mysterious stranger – no matter how sexy he is. But when her deceased husband's trigger-happy loan shark comes looking to collect on old debts, Jonah might be the only one who can protect her.
Both novels are in my TBR pile, and I'm anxious to get to them, too!

Okay, so Janette wants to know the inside scoop on our writing space, and she suggests that we also include photos, if possible.

A latent New Year's Resolution of mine is to strip myself bare, seriously discover the true me, and stop worrying about what others might think. That includes not being ashamed of myself, what I've become, and even the situation I've found myself in for the last seven or so years.

I'm keeping it real, so to speak (and L'ing OL at that).

So, I'm 53 and living with my mother in my childhood home. Unemployed and unemployable -- too old for this, too qualified for that, unqualified for this, not right for that.

No one wants or needs me, and I'm cool with that . . . now.

This is where I eek out an existence, in the former bedroom of my younger brothers, which is now referred to as the Den, or my space.

I can't do anything about the wall color, the ghastly carpet, or even the curtains, but the rickety old Sauder desk is mine and so is the Vaio laptop, the Dell monitor (so I can see what I'm typing), the chair, the Canon printer at the bottom (currently covered by a bag of TGIFriday's Potato Skins), the 20+ yr old Panasonic TV with a PSII attached to it for gaming purposes, and if you look real close, the tiny bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel Moscato on the floor beneath my desk.

All that belongs to me.

In winter, I like to keep the curtain directly beside me closed for warmth. I'll open the opposite side for light, but you don't want to see all of the lawncare items currently covered beneath that blue tarp in the lower left corner. So, for the purpose of this blog, I switched sides to give everyone a clear yet unimpeded impression of what I see each day.

We're in the midst of an ice storm as I type, but the weather gods assure us it will switch over to rain by 4 p.m.

Every day I wake up, eat something healthy -- granola bar, fruit, berry muffin, sometimes not so healthy, like spam on toast or waffles with powdered sugar on top.

After gabbing with Ma for awhile and getting annoyed with her Newscast channel surfing, I get dressed and head out to the corner 7/11 for two 48oz Diet Coke drinks (one you will see in the righthand corner of the first pic above).

Yes, I know it's not healthy, and if I could, I would substitute it for tea -- black, Earl Grey, and Chai are my favorites -- but tea does not like me, either. I still drink it, though, believing that tea is good for me even if it does rip apart my stomach and give me a severe case of d ... skip that. I know you aren't interested.

After returning with my daily fuel (caffeine), I immediately check my 4 e-mail accounts. 1 for work, 1 for family, 1 for my writing, and Yahoo! because my PayPal and Facebook are attached, and it's a huge hassle trying to make the switch.

If it isn't a day when I have to rewrite a blog post for work, then I will browse my writing FB page and then return to my real-life FB page. For about two hours I will chat with friends, like posts, post what I like on my timeline, tag people for certain stuff, and then take care of business on a few of the games I play there.

At around 2 p.m., I get hungry again and will have my last meal of the day by either heating up a frozen meal or preparing something I crave, which I then eat while watching a Korean drama online.

I do exercise throughout the day as well. In summer, a few trips around the block, mowing the lawn, etc. In winter, it is up and down the basement stairs or pacing and stretching in front of the den wall window pictured above. I have an Aerobic Rider thing, too, but when my knees start to scream at me, I stop that kind of a work-out.

At around 4 p.m., I drive my daughter to work, and then for the few hours it takes her to finish, I spend that time going over notes and ideas for my WIP. It is the time of day when my thought processes are jotted down and thought out some more. After picking daughter up and taking her back home, THEN I get down to the business of writing.

Without any distractions, and from about 7pm until midnight or thereabouts, I am writing -- typing in Word.

When I start to get drowsy, I get ready for bed and read until I fall asleep. :D

I didn't mean to go on and on like that, so my apologies to those of you who actually read to the bitter end. :D

And now it's time for us to hop on over and visit with Fiona Riplee. Her latest novel, Circle of Lies, is due for release this summer.
Raz Donovan: Is Raz the savior of the Sixxer alien race or will his child bring mankind and Sixxers together in peace? Sixxers are a race of people with the ability to manipulate energy. As a former M83 solider and Transor, Raz vowed to never get involved in the fight against the humans again. His only purpose now is to protect his small circle and stay away from the one human female that could ruin all his plans. But once Raz realizes the extent of the Sixxer destruction he is forced into a battle that will include fighting his heart.
Sandra Robbins: Sandra always wanted a husband and a family. An ordinary life where she could grow old and be happy. Unfortunately, her ex-husband had a different ideal. Now wary of men, she is drawn to the mysterious man that takes care of her best friend. Raz is nothing like her ex and because of circumstances put into motion before she met him, she'll be thrown into a world where it's hard to tell the truth from the lies. Once a part of this world there is no turning back as her heart tries to convince her to fall in love again.
Will all of Sandra's dreams come true? Or will Sandra encounter a nightmare she can't escape?

02 March, 2015

Review of Cursed Be the Wicked


Cursed be the Wicked [Kindle Edition]
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing (March 3, 2014)
ASIN: B00ISBVAJI
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
J.R.'s Blog Space

Synopsis:

Cooper Shaw lives his life under a pen name and enjoys the anonymity it provides during his journeys across the globe as a seasoned writer for a travel magazine. When his job lands him in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, to cover the famous Festival of the Dead, he soon realizes that he can't stay invisible forever as he faces ghosts from a past he's been trying to forget ever since he left. The city represents nothing but bad memories for Coop until he meets Finnley Pierce, a quirky young woman with an old soul and curious insights. While she acts as his tour guide through a town he thought he knew, Finn helps him unearth the truth of his childhood and might even begin to open up his heart. By unraveling the mystery of his father's murder, Coop may finally accept who he is, where he came from, and perhaps even realize what he wants for his future.

Right away, this story intrigued me because of its being written in the male lead's perspective and not the other way around, like most other novels of the romance variety.

Not a big fan of first-person romance due to their being one-sided throughout. The reader never gets an opportunity to find out how the other person feels, thinks, what they want, or even why.

However, Cursed be . . . isn't your typical romance novel. It reads better as a mystery with bits of witchery and mayhem tossed in the mix, and that is what is most intriguing about this story.

Well-written, smooth-flowing, and with some interesting characters who pop up along Cooper's way through a past he'd tried hard to forget but is forced to have to confront on account of his job as a travel magazine contributor.

This is about Cooper and his being forced to return to his past, where he meets a woman not linked to that past yet she ends up helping him discover the truth along the way.

Cursed be the Wicked is a recommended read for anyone who enjoys mystery, witchcraft, missing link scenario, and a refreshing change from the normal.