Small Town Comfort Zone

Do you prefer small town living or big city lights? Me? I’ve experienced both, from growing up in a population of 500 in Farmville, U.S.A. to the hustle and bustle of Phoenix.

Both have their allure, don’t they? I have found the older I get the more I enjoy what being part of a small community brings to the table. I love the sense of community. My kids hated it. We knew where they had been, who they had been with and what they were doing. Maybe not at the exact moment (although sometimes we got that phone call too), but we found out eventually. I loved it as a parent of four.

Cultures and economics have broken the small town molds somewhat with decaying infrastructures and lost jobs. The small town quality has diminished somewhat, but the charm is still there.

Want to know what’s going on? Hit the local diner. Probably the best coffee in town and the most up-to-date gossip. Wednesday bible study helps reenergize hump day and gives an extra nudge to finish out the week with support from great friends. Nights and weekends spent at the ball field for years to come.

Falling in love isn’t the easiest in either situation. In a small town you know everyone and everyone knows your business. It’s difficult to meet new people in a big city. There are more strangers than friends. The bar scene? Forget about it.

There are certainly a lot more high school sweetheart stories where I’m from. I love those. I think they are difficult relationships to maintain. Why? Because when you are so young, you change so much as you grow into adulthood. The falling in love is the easy part. Remaining in love takes work. Not only embracing the person you have become, but embracing the changes your partner grows into as well requires true commitment.

I know in a contemporary romance you really only get to experience the act of falling in love with a peak into the after effects through the brief epilogue. It’s fun to imagine what happened afterwards. Some of my favorite series have been ones that actually write about the children of characters that have fallen in love and married.

I think there may be future books in store for Garrett’s Point down the line with that in mind.


I Like Happy Endings

Not all of my friends support my endeavour to write romance. Some feel it to be an empty, pointless and even inappropriate genre to read.

Gasp! How could they, you ask? Well, everyone has a right to their opinion and the freedom to voice it (hopefully without malice…hint-hint), which includes myself.

I don’t write seeking the approval of my friends or anyone for that matter. I chose to write romance because I love it. We have soooo many negative forces at work around us. Reality in itself can be such a downer. Sometimes my plate runneth over with reality, and life can be very difficult at times.

Romance is not all fluff. For me, the characters represent imaginary people who come to life and have something to say…something to share. I just become the vessel. For that moment in time, its like I’m witnessing their lives and recording the events.

It’s not all roses. How boring would that be? Completely realistic? Maybe not. One of my daughters actually feels that romance is too predictable. “They all have happy endings. You know what’s going to happen before it ends. Why read it?” she always says.

I have read romance novels since I was 13. Why? I loved the act of falling in love. All of it! The butterflies. The excitement. The newness of getting to know one another. The attraction. The fear. The uncertainty. The courting. Yes. I said courting. It’s beautiful when two hearts become one. It always led me to wonder what happened next. I made up my own stories even then.

It’s pretty simple. I like happy endings. The giddy, warm feeling a good romance leaves me with is priceless. It makes me feel good. If I can do the same for a little while when someone reads one of my books, that makes me feel good too.

With that being said, there are still a few hours left to this holiday weekend. I think I’ll go curl up with my Ipad and get lost for a little while.


It’s Live!

Stirring UpTrouble, Book 3 in the Garrett’s Point series is live. 

 Rusty Shannon is one tall, badass, retired Navy Seal that owns and operates the Bottom’s Up Bar with a no-nonsense attitude. He runs a tight ship and intimidates most people he comes into contact with. While his demeanor comes in handy running a bar, it also hasn’t hurt his social life. Women are attracted to his large build, sexy beard and taunting tattoos. Many women have taken a ride on his Harley, but none have captured his heart until he tastes Melanie’s Sweet Potato Pie.

Hometown Girl

Melanie Davis, known as Mel the Mediator, is the logical, peace-keeping one amongst her friends. So when trouble presents itself at the diner, and Rusty rushes to her rescue, she is both unprepared for the attraction she feels toward him and the fear that is resurrected from a long-past experience when holds her in his arms.

Feeling like he’s been sucker-punched, Rusty grumbles around for several days not wanting to admit the effect Melanie has over him. That is until he realizes he isn’t the only one under her spell. When competition presents itself for her heart, Rusty is determined to stir things up. He’s never lost a mission and doesn’t intend to start now. Too much is at stake.

Hope you love them as much as I do. 💋

Stirring Up Trouble Links






Two More Days

Stirring Up Trouble, the third installment of the Garrett’s Point series, is only two days away from release day!

All  of your favorite people are back with an up close and personal view into Melanie’s life at the diner. 

Enter Rusty Shannon. The owner of the Bottoms Up bar is a no-strings attached guy with no lack of female companionship. One life threatening encounter with Melanie turns his world 180 degrees upside down. 

I can’t wait for you to read their story. 

Watch for it Tuesday on all available ebook outlets. 


It’s Personal

I reorganized my office this past week. As I placed signed copies of books by authors I have met at various signing events, I paused in a moment of reflection. Memories like 8×10 glossy photographs flashed through my mind of the moments I met these amazing women. I wondered if they realized the imprints they have made in my life not only at that moment but as time has passed since then.

Two-and-a-half years ago I jumped into the Indie world with a dream in my heart and truly not a clue of what I was getting into. Sound familiar? I know it does to many of my friends. What I have learned since then is perhaps more important than my writing.

I’ve learned that it isn’t a sign of weakness to admit you need help, and that there is usually someone willing that has been in your shoes, feeling the same way. Josie Bordeaux and Deanna Hatmaker were that lifeline for me when I first jumped in the murky waters of writing.

Writing can be very lonely, locked in your cave with your fictional friends with the people who surround you not truly understanding the madness in the process. Signings were an attractive yet extremely intimidating avenue to network and meet like-minded individuals who understood this crazy, emotional yet most exciting ride.

Reaching out – even via social media – was not an easy thing for me. I’m actually a wallflower when it comes to small talk. I suck at it…tremendously. I knew I wanted and needed feedback, but was scared of rejection. I reached out anyway, wanting so much to learn from others. One author was in my backyard and the other across the states, miles away in the desert. AL Jackson is one of the sweetest people I have never met and provided constructive feedback that I hear and use to this day. The other,  Samantha Chase, has become a dear friend that I cherish…and she is one of my favorite authors! Without our coffee sessions (and she doesn’t even drink coffee) I would probably have given up.

Relationships have been built and friendships created that I cherish. I love Brenda Kennedy like a sister, even though we are miles apart. The two Anns are more than just two peas in a pod. They are talented, fun-loving women always willing to offer words of encouragement.  L.L. Collins is as sweet in person as she appears to be. Chelle Bliss is just amazing and her book are so freaking hot! Becky McGraw, I would drink with anytime, anywhere again. Hilary Storm – well, she scares me a little. Lol. She is fierce and wonderful rolled into a ball of fire. Kristen Mazzola and Rebecca Brooke are beyond talented and full of bright energy. They were gracious enough to let me in and learn a thing or two from their talented selves at dinner.

Why do I mention these amazing women? It isn’t to name drop, even though I am a fan of all of them. I am thankful for the experiences I have shared with them and the lessons I have learned. They are everyday women with families, children, jobs, challenges – just like me- living out their dream to share their amazing stories with the world.

So much negativity exists in this community at times, I’m appalled at some of the stories I hear. People don’t really attack others for the fun of it do they? The reality is sometimes ugly. At the end of the day, it’s always personal. I just want to give a SHOUT OUT to the women above for being amazing examples of just plain good people.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far is I’m writing for the love of it and the need to share the stories shouting to be written. Some of my characters are the best fictional friends a good could ever want. That makes me happy. Do I hope you love my stories too? Of course I do, but whether I sell one or 10,000 books, that’s okay. It’s the journey along the way that means so much more.

thank you 2


Planning Session


How many of us are reflecting on the closure of one year and looking to the new? Most of us I would imagine.

For me, 2015 has been full of change, challenge and countless ups and downs. A new day job that challenges not only my skills as a leader but as a persona able to adjust and lead change, a new additional to our grandchildren (I’m soooo in love) and not giving up on my dreams to do what I love.

So, I have always been one to tout ‘Never Give Up’. I’ve been derailed this fall and winter and had to put my writing on hold, but the stories and characters have been screaming for release. I’m so very excited to be back in the writing cave doing what I love. I have so much I want…no – need- to share.

Patience has NEVER been my strong suit. The Lord knows this best, for I am tested…and fail…a lot. Looking to 2016 I have coached myself to be okay with adjusting or renegotiating my plans when needed. Life doesn’t always go as planned no matter how well we lay it out, does it? Hey, for me, that’s frustrating because I am an A-#1 planner! Life lessons have taught me that I can learn to adjust the sail or wear my butt out fighting it.

I am a firm believer in the work smarter not harder theory.

This afternoon I am I am organizing (reorganizing) my thoughts and layouts for the next three books. I’m going to finish out the Garrett’s Point series for my readers as promised. Melanie and Sydney are waiting.

The newest project I feel is very special. I was so excited when this idea bloomed. It was during my morning drive and prayer time. Many delays later, I am excited to bring the Young Adult #Stonewall series to life for you in 2016 through my alternate pseudonym S L Michaels.

I’m excited to reengage my readers and submerge myself in the cave.

As my family and I ring in the new year (if I’m not asleep) I am tingling with the excitement of new things to come and ready for the challenges that await.

I wish you a Happy, Successful, Healthy New Year!