11 Beaches, Anything Can Happen

I have joined ten fabulous authors to bring you Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea – 11 Beaches, Anything Can Happen.

These are short stories by best-selling and award winning authors pulled together for your beach reading enjoyment. The collection includes a bit of suspense, mystery and yes, romance. Available at all major retailers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Want to win a Money, Books, Money & Books? Help us hit our pre-order goals.

We’re so excited about this limited edition box set that it’s only .99 cents! We want as many people as possible to enjoy these stories, and we’re offering some great prizes as we hit our pre-order goals.

No purchase necessary in order to enter to win. On June 28th, when Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea, 11 Beaches – Anything Can Happen releases (shortened to #11Beaches), we’ll see how many pre-orders we’ve received and give out the prizes accordingly.

Here’s what you can win!

*One winner will win the box set (you can gift this if you’ve preordered it already!)
*If we hit 1,500 preorders: One lucky winner will win $25.00 in Paypal money.
*If we hit 2,500 preorders: One lucky winner will win a $50 Paypal money plus 10 signed paperbacks from the authors participating in #11Beaches.
*If we hit 3,000 preorders: One lucky winner will win $100 plus 10 signed paperbacks from the authors participating in #11Beaches.

If you would like to help us reach our pre-order goals, you can grab your copy for only .99 cents on:

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/11Beaches-Amz
B&N: http://smarturl.it/11Beaches-BN
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/11Beaches-Kobo

Disclaimer: *Emails may be distributed to the nine participating authors for them to add to their mailing lists.*

A summer breeze, sandy shore, and sparkling waters. Is it the perfect setting for love or something more dangerous? First loves, second chances, mystery, and intrigue, even murder.

Drift away with this collection of stories about Sun, Sand and Sea to 11 beaches…where anything can happen.

The individual stories and their authors are:

Whispers in the Wind by Angel Sefer

Blackmailed by a ruthless mastermind, Emily Stone finds herself on the Greek island of Alonnisos, impersonating the golden heiress of a luxury beach resort. Seductive Captain Andreas Aliveris is torn between his irresistible attraction to the stunning imposter and his need to protect a loved one. Can passion overcome suspicions and regrets in this game of danger, betrayal, and greed?

Amanda’s Revenge by Julie Sarff

One Hollywood heartthrob, one happily married woman and one very vindictive ex. Amanda is back looking like Winged Victory in a business suit, and Lily Bilbury is the only one who can stop her from ruining her husband’s career. Join Lily as she travels to sunny Miami and loses a very important missive that could get her husband fired. But that’s okay, because she has a plan to get the letter back.

Beach Baby Blues by Stephany Tullis

When bride to be, Honor Elin Mattison, threatens to boycott her Caribbean cruise bachelorette party, matron of honor and older sister Shelby dismisses her sister's idle threat reminding her that the cruise is her last chance to let loose and live it up.

Celebrating her last few days as a single woman with a bikini clad bridal party that could make a professional model feel like an ugly duckling depresses Honor even more than the family made decision to include her father's love child, (her 18 year out of control step sister) in all the wedding festivities.

A mystical ambiance permeates the LaMagnifique cruise ship that not only transforms the bridal party but infiltrates old, newly formed and promised relationships.

In the midst of the sublime, an unexpected malady called blues on the beach, infiltrates the ship.

Will older sister Shelby's promise that what happens on the ship stays on the ship hold true?

Or are some secrets too dangerous to keep?

Beach Blanket Murders by Judith Lucci

Kat had been counting the days until her beach reunion in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her college friends from New Orleans. It would be the first time she’d seen major heart-throb Liam Cross since Christmas. She dreamed of a diamond engagement ring as she tucked her new bikini into her suitcase. Little did she know that in a few hours her life would change forever. Fire and Ice, Love and Murder. The Ocean can be Deadly.

Love Notes in the Key of Sea by Anna Celeste Burke

Georgie Shaw and Detective Jack Wheeler have a second chance at love—despite the fact they met during a murder investigation. Decades earlier, Georgie lost the love of her life in an attack on the beach that left one man dead and two others missing including her fiancé, Danny Farrell. When Georgie returns to Corsario Cove, more than memories haunt her as a song Danny wrote just for her echoes in the air: Love Notes in the Key of Sea. Who else, other than she and Danny could know that song? A new mystery brought Georgie and Jack together, will an old one drive them apart?

Pandemonium on the Peninsula by Valerie Clarizio

Talia Johnson is living her dream in Door County, WI. But, being a Park Ranger comes with sacrifices.

Deputy Ryan Larson loves his job but worries about the attraction he feels for the surly Talia Johnson.

When pandemonium breaks out, Talia's life becomes endangered. Ryan races to help her. Will her stubbornness prevent Ryan from saving her?

Copper Moon – The Meeting by PJ Fiala
The Artist…

Brie Spencer is in need of solitude and scenery to help her heal from the loss of her sister. Feeling she will never be able to move on from this heartache, and the torment of the night her life changed forever, she makes the trip to Copper Moon, to paint and heal.

The Biker…

Hank James has always wanted to win the coveted Copper Moon Cup. But having the fastest time has eluded him, that is until this year. Having spent every waking moment tinkering on his baby, he thinks he's finally going to bring home the elusive trophy.

The Problem…

Looking to capture the perfect sunrise, Brie tumbles into the path of Hank James - literally. Making final adjustments on his bike before the race begins, Hank heads to the beach for a trial run. Almost running over a woman and dumping his bike is the last thing he needs.

Love on the Rocks by P.J. MacLayne

Carena Galloway has big city ambitions and a broken heart, and men have no place in her agenda. Aiden Wade is only in town to help his grandmother and his schedule doesn't include the local ladies.

But Fate, it seemed, had other plans.

The Art of Getting Away by Nicole Sorrell

When her SUV leaves her stranded, Carlos helps get it running again, then can’t stop thinking about the sassy girl with the blue-green eyes. After discovering she’s in the cross hairs of the most violent outlaw motorcycle gang in the Midwest, Carlos is in way over his head when he tries to help her get away.

After the Storm by Kinsey Corwin

Charlene "Charlie" McCann isn’t looking to repeat her mistakes and all Beck Holland wants is to tear down the walls she’s built. Can they survive what comes after the storm?

Dead End Beach by Cherime MacFarlane

The last beach at the end of the road and the last party of the summer. Some people are leaving when the embers die. He wants to stay. Will she welcome him into her life?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/11Beaches-Amz
B&N: http://smarturl.it/11Beaches-BN
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/11Beaches-Kobo

Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

The anthology, Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea is available for pre-order! Only 99 cents!

11 stories take place on 11 beaches. It's a great summer read! 

Today, I'm featuring ANOTHER one of my fellow authors from the anthology, Stephany Tullis. Part of her story, Beach Baby Blues takes places on a Caribbean cruise. Lets interview one of the characters named Blake Duncan.

Q: What's your super power?

Blake: That's easy. Can't believe you haven't guessed.  My charisma. My charm. Women and men alike are dazzled by my good looks . My looks are like honey to bees...fragrant, tantalizing and sweet. People are drawn to me by my looks and bewitched by my charm. I've never lost a friend. A: I need to clarify before I answer this question. In my business, I negotiate. I manage five bands. My job is to get my peeps the best gig I can get. Representing them well can be tough especially at times when they may be competing for the same tour date. Getting that best deal is not always easy. I have to do what I have to do. I hate it especially when I have to undercut one of my bands for another. It can get tricky. You just have to understand the business. 

Q: On what occasion, do you lie?

Blake: I need to clarify before I answer this question. In my business, I negotiate. I manage five bands. My job is to get my peeps the best gig I can get. Representing them well can be tough especially at times when they may be competing for the same tour date. Getting that best deal is not always easy. I have to do what I have to do. I hate it especially when I have to undercut one of my bands for another. It can get tricky. You just have to understand the business. And I do.

Q: When and where were you the happiest?

Blake: Strange you should ask. If I had been asked this question last month, I don't believe I would have had an answer. Just recently though...a few weeks ago, I ran into a childhood friend on a cruise ship. She was hosting her baby sister's bachelorette party. Hadn't see her in years--since high school. We had a few drinks on the ship. Some late night conversation. I had such a great time. Makes me wonder what my life would have been like, if I'd settled down with Shelby. Hmmmm.

Q: What is your biggest regret?

Blake: Wow! You're not going to believe this but my biggest regret is not having children. Of course, with my life style, it's probably for the best. But I use to imagine myself with twins. A girl and a boy. Blakely and Duncan. They're beautiful. Curly , deep copper colored hair and hazel eyes. And of course, they both love music.  She loves to sing and has such a range. And Duncan dominates the keyboard--like a Brian Culbertson.

Q: What is your motto?

Blake: Love this question. I have a wall hanging in my music room that says: "For all of you who gossip about me: Thanks for making me the center of your world." I don't know to whom I should attribute the quote but I use it all the time. It's the story of my life. I love what I do. I love my artists. Music. And traveling. I love cutting that deal. I mind my business and wish those who speculate about my success, to leave me the H alone--

Q: Clothes in the hamper or on the floor?

Blake: My clothes go from the dry cleaner, to my suitcase, to my body and then, the floor. How's that?

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Blake: Five years older. Still charming. Haha. I'd like to think I'd be ready to settle down. Find me a special somebody--who loves music and maybe travel. Without the somebody, I see myself doing more of the same...traveling with my bands.

About Stephany

My spirituality is the force behind my being. In my world, there is no life without writing, traveling, family, music and my love of politics. My loves and interests are central to my writing.

I published my first novel The Master's Plan, A Novel About Purpose in November 2013 and my first Christmas novel, 48 Hours 'Til Christmas, in November 2014. BLUE LADY (a short story), published in February 2015, launched my first series, The Angelica Mason Series. The first full installment in this series, entitled BLUE LADY'S Sweet Dreams, is scheduled for release June 2016 to be followed by BLUE LADY'S Mission Impossible in the Fall  2016. Beach Baby Blues is a part of the Anthology entitled, Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea...11 Beaches where anything can happen, to be released June 28th.

You can find me on:



Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

The anthology, Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea is available for pre-order! Only 99 cents!

11 stories take place on 11 beaches. It's a great summer read! 

Today, I'm featuring one of my fellow authors, Valerie J. Clarizio. Her story, Pandemonium on the Peninsula is about law enforcement officer Ryan Larson, and is set in Door County Wisconsin. Let's interview her character to get to know him better.

Ryan Larson  is twenty-six years old.  His hobbies are fishing and hunting, and he is a sports fanatic.

Q: What is your biggest fear?  What frightens you the most?

Ryan: Having my sister out-hunt or out-shoot me.  But Park Ranger Talia Johnson frightens me the most.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Ryan: I see myself being promoted to sergeant.  

Q: What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Ryan: Shopping.  There, you pried it out of me.  My guilty pleasure is shopping. I’m a kitchen gadget 

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ryan: When I was real young I wanted to be a professional wrestler.  My friends and I even made our own wrestling ring in the backyard.  

Q: What is your favorite pet?

Ryan: My parents had two Siamese cats.  They were brilliant.  They could do tricks like dogs and everything.guy.  If it’s a kitchen item from ‘As seen on TV,’ it’s in my kitchen.


About Valerie  

Valerie Clarizio lives in romantic Door County Wisconsin with her husband and two extremely spoiled cats. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.She’s lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into an outdoors enthusiast, of which her favorite activity is hiking in national parks. While out on the trails, she has plenty of time to conjure up irresistible characters and unique storylines for her next romantic suspense or sweet contemporary romance novel.

Other books by Valerie J. Clarizio:

Taken by Surprise - Romantic Suspense - VJC Books
Unforeseen Obsessions - Romantic Suspense - Whiskey Creek Press
Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery  - Romantic Suspense - Novella #1 in the Spinelli Series - Melange Books, LLC
Craving Vengeance, A Nick Spinelli Mystery - Romantic Suspense - Novella #2 in the Spinelli Series - Melange Books, LLC
Crazed Reckoning, a Nick Spinelli Mystery - Romantic Suspense - Novella #3 in the Spinelli Series - Melange Books, LLC

Connect with Valerie J. Clarizio:

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What's In A Name?

Sometimes when I’m watching a baseball game, the names of the players will catch my attention. Is there such a thing as a quintessential name for a baseball player? One that can call to mind the sounds, smells, and excitement of being at the diamond?

Well, yes.

"Buster" Posey is such a name. If he was anything other than a baseball player, it just wouldn’t work. Can you picture a Reverend Posey? Didn’t think so. The baseball player’s father is Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey II. Obviously “Buster” III is carrying on his family name tradition.

Dennis Ray “Oil Can” Boyd is also a great name for a major league player. He was a pitcher from 1982 to 1991. The nickname is from his drinking days in Meridian Mississippi, where the rot-gut whiskey from the local moonshiner was referred to as “oil.”

How about Russel Jay “Rusty” Kuntz? That name belongs to a baseball player for sure. In the American League from 1979 to 1985, he’s been the first base coach for the Royals since 2012.

Frank Edwin “Tug” McGraw is a classic name for a pitcher. He got his nickname from his mother when he was a baby. He was one of the top National League closers in the early 1970’s.

Mordecai Brown was a pitcher from 1903 to 1916 (There's just something about the name Mordecai that fits America's favorite pastime). The press dubbed him “Three-Fingers” because of a farm accident that resulted in the loss of most of his right index finger. His handicap became an advantage when he learned to throw a baseball with an unusual amount of topspin that resulted in ground balls.

Kirby Puckett is one of my favorite player names. He was an outfielder with the Minnesota Twins from 1984 to 1995.

Cornelius Mack has a nice baseball-y ring to it. He started with the Washington Senators in 1888, and played in the big leagues until 1896.

Astacio “Melky” Cabrera is a left-handed outfielder from the Dominican Republic. He started with the Yankees in 2005, and is currently with the Chicago White Sox.

Some names sound like a seafood restaurant menu: Catfish Hunter, Mudcat Grant, Dizzy Trout, Hank Conger.

Others have names that seem to refer to the game itself: Homer Bailey, David Mark Winfield, Roland Glen “Rollie” Fingers, “Bombo” (means"fly ball" in Spanish) Rivera.

And I can’t fail to mention those names that make you think of other things (I’m stealing this from Dayn Perry’s article from last year): Tucker Tubbs (sounds like a County Sheriff from The Dukes of Hazard); Earl Burl (could be a saxophonist on a street corner in New Orleans); Skye Bolt (A Norse God-of-Making-Out-With-Cheerleaders); and Rock Rucker (sounds like a redneck who could fend off attackers with a severed deer head and crescent wrench).

And of course, I can't resist mentioning Hunter Pence, which sounds like "underpants" if you say it fast enough.

All right, I'm out.


Sneak peeks into The Art of Going Home

Here's a short peek into the book that is exclusive to this blog post. Yep, it can't be found anywhere else (except the book, of course!): 

     Pouring the last of the wine into my glass while trying to appear unconcerned, I rasped, “When was this?”
     “He ended it with Elaine about ten months ago,” Tabitha said. “She talks bad about him behind his back, but would stoop to anything to get him to go out with her again. As if he would. Like my daddy always said, ‘You can’t shit in one hand and eat out the other.’”
     “I guess that explains what she said to him after the vigil. That he knew how to get in touch with her.” My hand flew up to cover my mouth. “Oh my God! Did they sleep together?”
“I doubt it,” Tabs said, quickly backpedaling. “Who could blame any girl for wanting to? Mm, mm, mmm. With that body of his? Even though Zac obviously knows how good-looking he is, he’s a great catch. You need to take the opportunity to see how things develop between you two.” She went to the kitchen and brought back a second bottle of wine.
     “I don’t know. Zac and me? Aren’t we like brother and sister? And we live so far apart.”
     “Don’t kid yourself,” she scoffed. “He hasn’t looked at you like a sibling since you were a freshman in high school. And neither have you. There are ways to manage the distance.” She could see my hesitation, so she pressed, “Come on, you’ve known him your whole life. He’s a good guy.”
     “I know he is. Probably too good for me. Besides, I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to trust a man enough to let him get close.”
     “You have to be willing to learn,” she said. “I bet Zac is the right one to teach you how to open your heart.”


     I sat at Zac’s kitchen table with a glass of wine. He was cooking dinner for me that evening, after he’d finished his martial arts class and I’d exercised in my room.
     The house he rented was a ranch style on the edge of town. It was about twenty-five years old, red brick on the outside, and boring beige inside, with two bedrooms and one bath. It was a typical bachelor pad. He had a huge flat screen TV, black leather sofa, secondhand coffee table, ancient dinette set, and an old weight bench with weights in the spare room. There was very little else.
     He was making spaghetti. I was thinking about Aunt Ceci’s letter, and my conversation with Tabs. I was also admiring his cute rear end. And his broad shoulders. And his muscular thighs.
     I was on a mission. Determined to get to the bottom of his relationship with Elaine, I needed to come up with a way to broach the subject.
     “So,” I began. “You said yesterday after our picnic that I could trust you. That I could tell you anything, right?”
     “Of course you can,” he said, not looking up. “What’s on your mind?”
     “Does it mean that you’ll be open and honest with me, too?” I asked.
     “Yes.” He responded quickly, with a little less conviction. I let the silence stretch while he fixed our plates and set them on the Formica table. After we ate for a time, he caved. “Is there something you want to talk about?” he asked.
     Finally. He’d taken the bait.

Nicole's Newsletter

The Art of Going Home is the first book in  Art of Living series. During May I'll be working diligently on the second book. Its title isThe Art of Retribution and concludes the story of Maddie and Zac.
Available this fall!

What Reviewers Are Saying About
The Art of Going Home

     "Maddie’s journey is both emotional and powerful. It was a real joy to read and I love the happy ending to the book, though it doesn’t reach a full conclusion. I will most certainly read the next installment and very much look forward to it.
     If you want a book with depth, soul and a fantastic plot as well as a host of intriguing characters and a scorching hot love interest, this one’s for you. It is honestly one of the best books I have read this year. Have the tissues handy and set aside some time, it’s a real page turner and all round fabulous." - 
Eat Sleep Read Review

Last month in my newsletter I revealed the cover for my short story, The Art of Getting Away. It will be released in an anthology with eleven other stories. The collection is titled  Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea, and will be available for pre-order May 16! Check out the Facebook page  and enter to receive free giveaways!

GIVEAWAY on Goodreads

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Art of Going Home (The Art of Living) by Nicole Sorrell

The Art of Going Home (The Art of Living)

by Nicole Sorrell

Giveaway ends May 20, 2016.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Girls Just Wanna...

Get their beauty sleep.

Yep, it’s really a thing.

We all know that getting a good amount of shuteye has a range of benefits for our health. It allows you to concentrate better, you’re less likely to get sick, your mood improves and it can even prevent you from putting on weight. Another benefit has emerged. Sleep has been proven to make us more attractive.


A study conducted by University Hospital Case Medical Centre in Ohio examined the process of “catabolysis”, which is a natural purification process that helps your skin cells get rid of internal debris that can cause cellular damage. Translation: it’s the important process that eliminates the stuff that can diminish your beautiful looks. The researchers investigated catabolysis in connection to our sleep and their results were seriously surprising.

They found that people who didn’t get enough shuteye lost 30 percent more water 72 hours after a skin barrier disruption, such as exposure to UV light, than those who regularly get their required amount of snooze time.

Our skin cells are running on a natural 24-hour rhythm, repairing themselves at night and protecting themselves during the day; so less time spent sleeping means your skin has less ability to repair and replenish itself. Hello: dull and dry skin!

The real clincher? The study found that poor sleepers had twice the amount of signs of ageing. Think: fine lines, uneven pigmentation, reduced elasticity and slower recovery time from sunburn. So how can you get the best sleep possible to look the best you possibly can?

And for those of you who believe a person’s looks are secondary to their intelligence, here’s what your brain does when you sleep:

Makes decisions

The brain can process information and prepare for actions during sleep, effectively making decisions while unconscious, new research has found.

A study published in the journal Current Biology found that the brain processes complex stimuli during sleep, and uses this information to make decisions while awake. The researchers asked participants to categorize spoken words that were separated into different categories — words referring to animals or objects; and real words vs. fake words — and asked to indicate the category of the word they heard by pressing right or left buttons. When the task become automatic, the subjects were asked to continue but also told that they could fall asleep (they were lying in a dark room). When the subjects were asleep, the researchers began introducing new words from the same categories. Brain monitoring devices showed that even when the subjects were sleeping, their brains continued to prepare the motor function to create right and left responses based on the meaning of the words they heard.

When the participants woke up, however, they had no recollection of the words they heard.

“Not only did they process complex information while being completely asleep, but they did it unconsciously,” researchers Thomas Andrillon and Sid Kouider write in the Washington Post. “Our work sheds new light about the brain’s ability to process information while asleep but also while being unconscious.”

Creates and consolidates memories

While you’re asleep, the brain is busy forming new memories, consolidating older ones, and linking more recent with earlier memories, during both REM and non-REM sleep. Lack of rest could have a significant affect the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory creation and consolidation.

For this reason, sleep plays a very important role in learning — it helps us to cement the new information we’re taking in for better later recall.

“We’ve learned that sleep before learning helps prepare your brain for initial formation of memories,” Dr. Matthew Walker, a University of California, Berkeley sleep researcher, tells the National Institutes of Health. “And then, sleep after learning is essential to help save and cement that new information into the architecture of the brain, meaning that you’re less likely to forget it.”

Makes creative connections

Sleep can be a powerful creativity-booster, as the mind in an unconscious resting state can make surprising new connections that it perhaps wouldn’t have made in a waking state.

A 2007 University of California at Berkeley study found that sleep can foster “remote associates,” or unusual connections, in the brain — which could lead to a major “a-ha” moment upon waking. Upon waking from sleep, people are 33 percent more likely to make connections between seemingly distantly related ideas.

Clears out toxins

A series of 2013 studies found that an important function of sleep may be to give the brain a chance to do a little housekeeping.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found that during sleep, the brains of mice clear out damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration. The space between brain cells actually increased while the mice were unconscious, allowing the brain to flush out the toxic molecules that built up during waking hours.

If we’re not getting enough sleep, our brains don’t have adequate time to clear out toxins, which could potentially have the effect of accelerating neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Learns and remembers how to perform physical tasks

The brain stores information into long-term memory through something known as sleep spindles, short bursts of brain waves at strong frequencies that occur during REM sleep.

This process can be particularly helpful for storing information related to motor tasks, like driving, swinging a tennis racquet or practicing a new dance move, so that these tasks become automatic. What happens during REM sleep is that the brain transfers short-term memories stored in the motor cortex to the temporal lobe, where they become long-term memories.

Be beautiful. Be smart. Sleep.



I'm Thankful for Lexemes

Baseball season has officially started! And that got me thinking about baseball words and terms. And drinking. Don’t know why, but the two seem to go hand in hand.

A lexeme is the smallest or minimal unit of lexicon in a language that bears some “meaning”. A lexeme has a morphological form, semantic content (or meaning) and a syntactic category. Lexeme is basically an abstract notion used in linguistic morphology, the concrete realization of which is a word.

Okay, enough of the boring stuff.

There are a surprising number of baseball terms that are also cocktails. Here’s some that I found:

Airmail - A baseball slang for an errant throw where the ball flies high over the intended player’s head.

Shake together 1 ounce light rum, 1/2 ounce lime juice, 1/2 ounce honey syrup, and 1 cup ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Top off glass with champagne.

Bender - A curveball.

A wild drinking spree.

Bomb -A home run.

Also called a depth charge, a mixed drink that is made by dropping a drink in a shot glass into a larger glass of alcohol.

Caddy - A substitute in the late innings of a lopsided game to act as a defensive replacement for an aging power hitter or to pinch run.

Mix 2 shots whiskey, 1/2 shot cherry liqueur, 1/2 shot Martini Rosso, 1/2 shot angostura bitters.

Cement Mixer - A baseball pitched with the intent to break out of the strike zone that fails to break and ends up hanging in the strike zone. 

A shot drink consisting of 1 part Bailey's Irish Cream, 1 part lime juice. (The drink is traditionally ingested by taking the shot of Bailey's, holding it in the mouth, then sipping the lime juice and swirling the two around the mouth. The acidic lime juice causes the cream-based Bailey's to curdle. The curdled Bailey's rapidly gains viscosity and sticks to the drinker's teeth, reminiscent of cement.)

Chase - To swing at a pitch well outside of the strike zone.

To chase an alcoholic drink that you've imbibed, you follow it with a stronger or weaker alcoholic drink. 

Double - A hit where the batter makes it safely to second base before the ball can be returned to the infield. Also a two-base hit.

To increase the number of shots or measures of alcohol in a drink. 

Handcuff - A hard-hit ground ball that bounces directly at an infielder may be difficult for him to get his hands up in time to grab. He may appear to be handcuffed in that situation. A pitch thrown high and inside may handcuff a batter because he can't get his hands far enough away from his body to swing the bat. 

Mix 1 oz. Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum, Coca Cola, 1 dash Vanilla Extract.

Granny - A grand slam home run.

Mix 2 shots rum, 1/2 shot apple schnapps, 1/4 shot cinnamon schnapps, 2 shots apple juice.

Hammer - To hit the ball hard, typically for extra bases. A curve ball, usually of the 12 to 6 variety.

Mix 3 ounce coconut rum, 2 ounces peach schnapps, 2 ounces 7-Up.

Moneyball - refers to Michael Lewis's 2002 book. "Moneyball player" most often refers to one who has a high on-base percentage, and does not steal a lot of bases.

Mix 2 oz. vodka, 5 oz. Green River Soda, lime dollar sign ($) twist, and ice. Strain.

RhubarbAn argument or fight in a baseball game. Hence, Rhubarb, a novel by H. Allen Smith.

Mix juice from 1/2 lime; 10 muddled mint leaves; ice; 2 ounces vodka; 1 ounce raspberry vodka; 1 ounce Cointreau or other triple sec;  1 ounce rhubarb syrup. Strain and garnish with 2 lime wedges and 1 long, thin slice of rhubarb stalk.

So, I'll bring my adoxography (add-ox-OG-rah-fee -- skilled writing on a trivial subject) of musings to an end.



The Detective's Brother - A New Release from Rebecca Lovell

Booktrope Editions
$14.95 paperback (signed copies available upon request)
$0.99 on Amazon through April 11, 2016, then $4.99

The Blackthorn Detective Agency is well-known in Fort Worth, Texas, as an outfit that can find people who don’t want to be found and uncover the darkest secrets. This comes in useful when Josephine Douglas, their only female detective, is killed while on a case. Her dying wish was for the best detective in the agency, Simon Creed, to find her long-lost half-brother Quinn. Reserved and detached from everyone he knows, Creed agreed because she was the closest thing he had to a friend. He manages to find Quinn in the mountains of Colorado.

Quinn Donahue, however, is actually Josephine’s younger half-sister. The truth had been hidden from everyone, including her, and she agrees to go to Texas to claim her sister’s estate and clear up the misunderstanding. The moment she sees Creed she falls for him. Knowing that they’ll only have something in common as long as her sister’s estate is in the balance, she takes the drastic step of cutting off her hair and dressing like a man in order to stay close to Creed and step into Josephine’s shoes at the agency.

Creed grudgingly accepts Quinn as his trainee, only to discover her secret at the same time he finds out someone is trying to kill him. Even more unexpected for Creed are his feelings for Quinn, and his desire to protect her. They’ll have to work together to find who’s behind it before one – or both of them – is killed. 

About the Author

Rebecca Lovell was born and raised in Fort Worth Texas, and has loved learning about its history since she first visited the Stockyards. She has been writing since she was a teenager, and is living proof of the fact that anyone’s writing can improve if they practice hard enough. Historical fiction is one of her favorite genres to read as well as write because she loves learning about new culture and eras, especially ones that she hasn’t read before.

Though she traveled the country extensively, she currently lives in Texas with her high school sweetheart husband and a number of vocal and pushy cats.

Rebecca is currently hard at work on her next historical Western novel, Framed, and a short contemporary romance whose title eludes her.



Nicole's Newsletter

Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!

More reviews are being posted for The Art of Going Home on Amazon. If you haven't had the opportunity to add yours, please take a moment to get it out there! It only needs to be a few words, and it's the best way to support an author!



Coming June 28th!

The Art of Living Series Book Duet (The Art of Going Home - available now and The Art of Retribution - coming this fall) will have a companion short story!

The Art of Getting Away is approximately 10,000 words (about 25 pages), and will be published in an anthology called Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea: 11 Beaches ~ Anything Can Happen.  It features Carlos, the brother of the hero from the books, and a girl he meets while taking a vacation at the lake, named Andi. When Carlos tries to protect her from an outlaw motorcycle gang, it's an adventure you won't want to miss!    


I Love to Travel

This year I’d planned to go to Guatemala, but unfortunately the trip was cancelled. So this week I’m traveling around south Texas with a short stop into Mexico and the coast.

Two hours into the trip, a detour to the Urgent Care was required. I had a 103 degree fever, bilateral ear infections, a ruptured eardrum, and bronchitis. Three prescriptions later, we were able to continue south.


Texas is one of my favorite regions of the country because of the influence of Latin America. I love the Tex-Mex food and the BBQ, the warm weather and thunder-storms, live-oaks, the flat open spaces, and Spanish language.  It’s big, bold, and spicy.


A shopping trip into a Mexican border town started with a visit to the bakery for pastries and coffee with a live mariachi duet providing the background music. We bought vanilla, pottery, blankets, jewelry, and leather goods. A late lunch of authentic chicken tacos, queso flameado (oven melted fresh cheese served in warm tortillas with salsa), and margaritas was a great way to end the excursion.


A few days later and a few hours up to the coast, we’re on the gulf enjoying the sun and salt water.  A walk in the warm afternoon along the sand in the waves among the weekend beach-goers, then out to dinner. We’ll spend two days enjoying the high seventies, blue sky and cerulean waters before heading home. Hopefully mild spring weather will be waiting.  


Girls Just Wanna...

Be queen.

Every girl fantasizes about it. But if we can’t be Empress of the world, or even princess of a small country, at the least we want to rule our own world. 

I want to be in control of Nicole-land. However, my self-serfs never seem to keep the business of my realm running smoothly. (Schizophrenic much?)

Here’s a typical example. On March 2nd, I was driving to the dentist to get fillings. (Yeah, it was going to be that kind of day.) I was already stomping my tiny Monarch Feet because I’d lost one of my kindles. I’d wanted to bring it with me because, being the busy Royal that I am, I can’t waste a single minute of my day. Running late, I’m driving a little bit over the speed limit when the miniature gas pump light on the dash beeps. The Imperial Limo (clunker) is about to run out of fuel. Could anything else go wrong?

Funny you should ask. I’m just about to believe I can make it to the gas station when lights (not miniature) appear in my rear view mirror. After dutifully pulling over, the patrolman politely asks for my license, registration and insurance. After examining my documentation, he casually asks if I’m aware my registration is expired?

Why yes, officer. Yes, We are.

As a matter of fact, after my dentist appointment, my Royal Self is on my way to the DMV to renew the tags on my vehicle. I got my vehicle inspected three days ago and received the official form proclaiming my car had passed. I then logged onto the DMV site to pay the fees. It declined to accept my renewal. Apparently, I had not yet paid my property taxes, for which I never received a bill. Yesterday I paid the taxes over the phone, and received a faxed copy of my receipt. However, the DMV site still would not allow me to renew my tags online. (Seemingly, it did not recognize Ourselves as Royalty). 

I handed all my paperwork to the nice gentleman in uniform. He acquiesced to My Highness that this one time he would allow me to proceed without a ticket and a fine.

With that little Sovereign Hiccup out of the way I was now running very late, and I continued down the freeway toward the gas station. But (you guessed it) the Imperial Clunker didn’t make it, sputtering to a halt.

Two hours, three conversations with the tow company, and one more meeting with the gentleman-in-uniform later, I was again on my Majestic Way to the gas station. Then straight to the DMV to renew my tags (with a late fee).

Welcome to my Royal World.

I Love to Travel

This week on Open Book Blog Hop we’re talking about our personal experiences. 

Something I love to do is travel, and a few years ago I had the opportunity to go on a ten day tour of Israel. I also love ancient history, and the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East has some of the world’s oldest civilizations.

For me, nothing compares to the awe inspired by seeing other cultures. Experiencing the food, hearing the language, walking in places described in documents thousands of years old, seeing people in their day-to-day routiness that are so different from my own--it’s very humbling, and gives a sense of what it means to be a citizen of the world.

For a week and a half we traveled the country by buses, stopping for two or three days at a time in different locations. One thing that I realized (even though I knew it, being there made me understand it) is how small the country is compared to the U.S. The State of Israel is about 263 miles long and 44 miles wide. While there I saw the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, and the Mediterranean Sea. We traveled to Jerusalem, Masada, Capernaum, Ceasarea, Ein Gedi, Tiberias and Meggido. I saw the Dead Sea scrolls, The Israel Museum, the western wall, The Temple Mount,  and rode a camel.


One of my favorite quotes is from Mahatma Gandhi: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” I like it because it’s about getting an education, and I believe an education is not confined to the classroom. Be a student of the world. To best see the points of view of others, you must step into their world.

Want to know more about my travels? Want to tell about your own travels? Please leave a comment!

Check out fellow-blog-hopper Stepany Tullis's bio. And check out her fabulous books:

Depictions of Courage

Helen Keller

We can all use a reminder that having the courage to be helpful and kind can have great effects, especially when bullying is so prevalent.

Today, March 3, in 1887,  Helen Keller began learning from her tutor, Ann Sullivan. Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. With Ann, the previously uncontrollable Keller flourished, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. Sullivan, later dubbed “the miracle worker,” remained Keller’s interpreter and constant companion until the older woman’s death in 1936.

She was considered a bright but spoiled and strong-willed child. Her parents eventually sought the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone and an authority on the deaf. He suggested the Keller’s contact the Perkins Institution, which in turn recommended Anne Sullivan as a teacher.

Sullivan, age 20, arrived at Ivy Green, the Keller family estate, in 1887 and began working to socialize her wild, stubborn student and teach her by spelling out words in Keller’s hand. Initially, the finger spelling meant nothing to Keller. However, a breakthrough occurred one day when Sullivan held one of Keller’s hands under water from a pump and spelled out “w-a-t-e-r” in Keller’s palm. Keller went on to learn how to read, write and speak. With Sullivan’s assistance, Keller attended Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904.

Helen Keller became a public speaker and author; her first book, “The Story of My Life” was published in 1902. She was also a fundraiser for the American Foundation for the Blind and an advocate for racial and sexual equality, as well as socialism. From 1920 to 1924, Sullivan and Keller even formed a vaudeville act to educate the public and earn money. Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968, at her home in Westport, Connecticut, at age 87, leaving her mark on the world by helping to alter perceptions about the disabled.

Do you know any who is disabled? Do you think they possess courage? Do their caregivers?

Let's hop to PJ Fiala's blog to see what she has to say about courage.  Also, take a look at her books:

Girls Just Wanna...

Visit the gynecologist.


It’s time for your annual exam. Da da da DUM.

Nothing’s more traumatic for a woman. It can knock even the strongest of us off our stiletto Jimmy Choo's and send us into fits of hyperventilation. There is no equivalent, and can only be understood if you’ve experienced it. It never reaches the point of being comfortable, no matter how many times you’ve done it.

Maybe it’s because you’re only covered by pieces of paper.

Or the torture device you must lay on that hoists your legs in the air. Yeah.

Or the tacky pictures they tape to the ceiling to help you relax. As if.

Or the things they say.

"Do you mind if these (eight) trainees come in and observe?" What the...

"Nice socks!" Thanks...?

 “Open your knees.” Ugh...

"You're not really a blond, are you." Can I just run half naked from the room with embarrassment, now?

And then there’s the speculum: "You’re going to feel a little pressure." It feels more like you’re trying to push a train in there.

 "Relax, you're going to break the speculum." I’d like to break your head.

 “Hmmm. I’ve never seen that before.” Did you really just say that, doc?

"Would you like to see your cervix?" Uh...NO thank you.  

When it’s finally over, I can barely find the internal fortitude to pull up my big girl panties and pretend to be an adult.

Well, at least I won’t have to come back for another year. Thank God.


Have any experiences to share? Anything your doctor said that you didn't really need to hear? I'd love to see your comments!  

Girls Just Wanna...

Wait. Hold that thought. Before we can have fun, the first thing we have to do is wake up. Yeah, I was NEVER a morning person.

People who are cheery before ten a.m. get on my nerves faster than a speeding bullet. Out of desperation, coffee and I became BFFs. Employers tended to frown upon wasting the hours from eight to ten in the morning in a lethargic haze while staring vacantly into space. They expected me to work from the moment I sat at my desk.

One thing my book character and I have in common is coffee. It is a food group, a nutritional requirement, life sustaining and a miracle, all poured steamily into my very own mug the size of a bucket.

The coffee plant originated from a plateau in Ethiopia. The region is known as Kaffa. It's not clear if coffee took its name from the region, or vice versa.

The first person known to write about coffee was a Persian physician and philosopher named Rhazes or Razi (850 to 922 AD), who characterized it as a medicine. Other early writings establish Yemen, just across the Red Sea from Ethiopia, as home to the first coffee plantations starting in the early 15th century.

Coffee's true worldwide journey came with the Turkish conquests of the Arabian Peninsula during the early 16th century. It was the Ottoman Empire that brought coffee to entirely new places. The first documented coffee house opened in Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1554, but there may well have been others earlier in Cairo, Damascus, Mecca, and Medina.

The early 17th century saw Muslim coffee's introduction to Christian Europe, and coffee's diffusion throughout Europe went at breakneck pace. Venice's first coffee house ("bottega del caffe`") opened in 1645, England's in 1650, France's in 1672, and on to the New World, a Boston outpost in 1676. Today's rapid proliferation of coffee houses: nothing new, save perhaps for the free Wi-Fi.


The Dutch created the first successful coffee plantation away from the Middle East on their colony of Java in early 18th century Indonesia. Coffee production was fast established on Sumatra and Ceylon. France received some plants as gifts in 1720, promptly transporting them to its colonies in Central America. Coffee plantations spread throughout Central and South America. Central America's first coffee harvest occurred in 1726. Today, Brazil reigns as the world's biggest producer, claiming no fewer than 10 billion (billion, with a "b") coffee plants. (Read more here.)

Almost all coffee drinks served by your friendly neighborhood barista start with Espresso, which is a concentrated, often thick coffee beverage with a layer of crema--the trademark thick, tan foam that floats on the top of a shot of espresso. The ingredients are exclusively coffee and water, created with a machine that forces hot water through a basket of tightly packed, finely-ground coffee for a limited amount of time at very high pressure. "Espresso" is also the blanket term for the process that creates this beverage. Espresso is not a type of coffee bean.

Amazingly, there are unlimited options when it comes to consuming caffeine. Aside from drinking Espresso “as is,” it can be made into:

Cappuccino – made with one part espresso, one part steamed milk, one part frothed milk. Sweet, milky, and luxurious.
Latte – made with one part espresso and 3 parts steamed milk. Can include a dollop of foam on top and a sprinkling of spice.
Macchiato – a shot of espresso with a dollop of foamed milk on top.
Café au Lait – coffee mixed with a hefty amount of steamed milk.
Americano – espresso with hot water added.
Mocha – a latte with chocolate powder or chocolate syrup added. May include whipped cream on top.

I have put a lot of thought into inventing a method of delivering coffee straight to the bloodstream via IV. But I gave up. It tastes too good to bypass the taste buds.

And here’s a clever idea: Coffee Cocktails. Some of these chilled martinis look too good to be true:

Espresso Martini - a mix of vodka, coffee liquor and espresso
Raspberry Mochatini - vodka, espresso, dark cacao liqueur, raspberry liqueur
Lazarus - vodka, cognac, kahlua, espresso
Irish espresso-tini - vanilla vodka, cream liqueur, espresso
Negrita - pisco brandy, coconut liqueur, espresso

To Think! Barista Bartenders! Now THERE’S a Book Boyfriend I need to Find Fast, Jump in a Jiffy, Marry this Minute.

Okay, maybe I’ve had too much coffee today.

The Cover for The Art of Going Home and Adventures in Fast Food

Choosing the image for your book cover is very difficult. The cover art has so many roles to fill. It’s got to stand out from millions of other covers; it needs to entice the reader; and it needs to relate to the genre. It’s the image that will represent the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your writing.

Since my story is both a romance and a mystery, it was difficult to choose which genre to portray. The ever popular naked male torso? (There’s no mistaking that for anything other than a romance novel!) A sinister scene of police tape surrounding a child’s body? (Clearly a murder mystery.) After considering dozens of concept covers, in the end, I chose neither.

Woven throughout The Art of Going Home’s plot is the struggle of the heroine Madisen to come to terms with the events that occur during her visit to her hometown. It’s the story of her personal journey as she struggles to cope with the death of her surrogate mother, the antagonism of her father and the emotions re-experienced surrounding the murder of her twin sister that took place a few days after their tenth birthday. The things she discovers about her sister’s drowning shock her, and she fears for her sanity. She feels adrift and vulnerable, floating in a sea of uncertainty, unsure she will survive the turmoil thrust upon her.

The image of a young woman adrift seemed the most appropriate.

Tell me what you think. Does the cover make you wonder what’s going on? What cover would you choose? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

On a completely unrelated note, I’m featuring a short escapade written by a friend of mine about his quest for a quick meal. Enjoy!

Jeffrey Adams Post on Facebook
 1:33 am · February 13

I went into Wendy’s today. I ordered the 4 for 4, obviously, like anyone would do. “Are you dining in?” Do I want a bag? Don’t sugar coat it with your marketing speak. I’m at Wendy’s ordering a 4 for 4, either or will do for both parties. “4 for 4 with the crispy chicken please.” This fellow seems competent but I don't trust him enough to ask for no mayonnaise. My card, yes here you go, swipes and back to me & “here’s your drink cup.” Well done, well done Wendy’s. Many a times Micky D’s will leave you standing with your phone in your hand while waiting on your order. Not at Wendy’s, you best hurry over & touch the same button every being off the ark has touched to get your soda because guess what? ORDER UP!

#fastfood  #orderup #everybeingofftheark 

Apple Pie

This week in our blog hop we’re doing a tutorial, or a “how to.”

Because my biography states that I like baking pies, I sometimes get asked for recipes, or what kind of pies I bake.

I live on a farm, and we have four apple trees. Two of them produce good apples for eating and for pies. I think one of the trees is a Braeburn, but I’m not sure (the trees are about 60 years old). One tree ripens early, in August, and the other in September. So for four or five weeks, we are busy picking up apples the tree has dropped (so we can mow under it), picking them from the tree, and giving them away. And freezing them for pie and making apple sauce.

Aside from apples, we have peach trees and blackberry bushes. The peach trees are only four years old, so production is hit or miss. The blackberries usually produce very well. We use them for jam and for pies. The variety we have is pretty tart and contains lots of seeds. When I use them for pies I mix them half and half with apples. Less seeds, good balance of tart and sweet. But by far, the pie I bake the most is apple.

To me, the best part of the pie is the crust. I usually roll them thick, and build up the edges a lot. It’s a personal preference, though, and how much crust used is up to the baker. I also like to add things sometimes, like raisins (I thought it would be terrible, but it’s actually very good) pecans, or caramel. All make a great pie.

Today I’ll give the recipe for a basic apple pie. Dessert should be sweet and rich, so there’s lots of sugar and butter. Enjoy!


The photos are: one of last falls apples; mixing butter and lard with dry ingredients; wrapped dough ready for refrigerator; butter on top of apples and flour/sugar-spice mixture; and finished pie.

Let's hop over to Traci Wooden-Carlisle's blog to see what she's going to show us. And check out her books. They're fabulous!

Lela Markham Answers Seven Questions

This week in our blog hop we're interviewing other authors!

 Lela Markham

Lela Markham

Lela Markham is the pen name of an Alaskan novelists who was raised in a home built of books. Alaska is a grand adventure like none other with a culture that embraces summer adventure and winter artistic pursuits. 

A multi-genre writer, currently Lela is concentrating on dystopian and fantasy, but you never know what her imagination might get up to.  

Lela shares her life with her adventuresome husband, two fearless offspring and a sentient husky who keeps a yellow Lab for a pet.

You can stalk her at: 

Or reach out old-school at lelamarkham@gmail.com

Lela, the first question is: What sort of conditions are most conducive to your productivity? 

My mother operated a daycare center out of our home when I was in high school, so I actually don’t have an “ideal” productivity zone. I don’t mind chaos, noise, etc. I write where I am and when I can, so I get a lot done.

Lela, If you had to co-author a book, who would be your ideal partner and why? 

 Click to see on Amazon

Click to see on Amazon

If I had to co-author a book – I wouldn’t choose to do that because I have been part of collaborative writing teams before and they usually don’t work out. But, if I HAD to – I think it would be my daughter. She’s an artist-musician who writes song lyrics – so a poet – and I would love to have a fantasy book with lots of musical poetry in it. I don’t care for my own poetry, but I enjoy hers. I think we could work together on a book where I provide the narrative and she provides the poetry, that way we would not step on each other’s toes and a collaborative writing team might work that way. 

What's your least favorite aspect of being a writer?

Formatting for paperback. Ugh!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be, Lela?

I’ve always loved the idea of telekinesis, although I would settle for a magic wand that magically formats for paperback without costing any money. 

What's your favorite food?

 Click to see on Amazon

Click to see on Amazon

My dad was a professional chef and my mother was a diner waitress-cook, so I was not permitted as a child to develop a favorite food. You ate what they were serving and sometimes that was what the customers wouldn’t eat. So it would be easier to say what my least favorite food is than what my favorite is because I learned to like a lot of food. That said, my favorite cuisine is Chinese food. I cook a lot of Asian inspired dishes. And, I brake for chocolate cheesecake with a big mug of coffee.

Tell us about the one place you've been that you never want to go back to and why?

The Newark Airport. We got stuck there one time and it was horrible – confusing alleyways (I mean corridors) and rude people, maggots on the salad, filthy . The airlines wanted us to fly standby and send our 7 year old and 2 year old individually on different airplanes. They didn’t seem to think we should have a problem with that. So, I have tried hard to never fly through Newark since.

Lela, out of all the characters you've written, which is your favorite and why?

Wow, an absolutely favorite character? That’s sort of liking asking a mother which of her children she loves more. But… Jacob Delaney from Transportation Project series. He’s 95 years old, so has such a rich backstory to draw from … he’s outspoken, hardy, a devout Christian who loves his family fiercely … and he’s an anarchist.