Writer Wednesday – Our Sweet, Lovable Fur Babies


For our Writer Wednesday post this month, my Firebird friends and I are talking about our pets. I’ve had lots of special fur babies over the years. Tiggy, my first cat as an adult, used to “hug” me when I picked him up, wrapping his front paws around my neck and burying his face in my hair.


Here is Suki and her pal Itsy. Suki (the Siamese) loved to play fetch. She had a little rubber mouse that she would drop at our feet and meow for us to throw it for her. This would go on until we finally wore her out. After a good nap, she was ready to go again.





Smudge was a solid white cat who was completely deaf. As a kitten he had two gray smudges on top of his head. The smudges faded and disappeared, but the name stuck. He was super sweet and loved to go for walks and car rides, the longest of which was from Florida to Connecticut and back. We used to get a lot of double-takes on the dog walks at rest areas. Here he is in Virginia.

Our last two cats to pass away were Itsy at 14 and Suki at 17 1/2 years old. We’re now a one-cat family, which hasn’t been typical for us. Midnight is enjoying being king of the house. He likes sitting in my lap as I write. I think he’s critiquing.

Midnight in dining room


He also loves boxes. It doesn’t matter how small. I call this pic, “How to fit 17 pounds of feline blubber into a 7×10 box.”












Recently Midnight discovered something that he likes even better than boxes. My mom got him his first catnip toy. That black blob you see is a stoned cat.




After years of having only cats, we rescued two long-haired dachshunds, Morgan and Bailey. We lost Bailey to an enlarged heart, but her sister Morgan is still with us. She likes my husband, but she’s super attached to me.






Morgan’s favorites things are whatever Mommy is doing, whether it’s something fun, like sailing…





Morgan in yard


…or just hanging out while Mommy writes.








Today, though, she’s having a rough time. She had to have 12 teeth extracted. Doesn’t she look sad? But now as I write this, she’s sleeping peacefully beside me, having had a dose of doggie morphine.



What about you? Do you have, or have you had any especially memorable pets? (I know, they’re all special!) To check out my friends’ lovable fur babies, click the links below.

Tamra Baumann – Priscilla Oliveras – Sharon Wray


First Review of Trust My Heart

Trust My Heart coverTrust My Heart has its first review, on Deena Peterson’s “Just One More” blog. She says, “Carol has created an engaging story and memorable characters and this is a great end-of-summer book!” and “…this comedy of errors warmed my heart.” Click here to read the rest of the review. Trust My Heart will be release October 25, but is available for preorder now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Writer Wednesdays – What’s in My Purse?


The Firebirds skipped our July edition of Writer Wednesdays, since several of us were getting ready for the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Diego, but we’re back for August. This month, we’re showing what’s in our purses.

I have all the usual boring stuff, like my wallet, checkbook and note pads. But I found a few interesting things in there, too.

Like two bank envelopes…20160809_235458

I had hoped there was money in them that I had forgotten about, but unfortunately, they were both empty. (I did find $30 last week, though, in the pocket of a pair of shorts I hadn’t worn in some time.)





Of course, my keys stay in my purse. The rectangular purple one is my gym key, and the boomerang key chain was given to me by a lovely writer friend from Australia, Catherine Rull.



I also have quite a few in-case-of-emergency items, like a mini-sewing kit, ear plugs, Burt’s Bees lip balm, a small plastic bag of topical items like antiseptic, Blistex and sunscreen, and a small bottle of Aleve (which actually holds whatever kind of headache medicine we happen to have on hand at the time, currently Advil).




And what writer doesn’t carry bookmarks and business cards? And of course, lots of pens, most of which are imprinted with names of other writers or writing organizations. I currently have pens in my purse from Elizabeth Heiter, Lynda Bailey, Sandra Owens, The Golden Network (Golden Heart finalists), and my own RWA chapter, TARA (Tampa Area Romance Authors).

One thing I realized that I don’t have in my purse is pictures of my kids and grandkids, except what’s on my phone. But since I carry my phone in my purse, I guess that counts.


Click the links below to find out what’s in my writer friends’ purses.

Tamra Baumann – Kay Hudson – Tosha (TL) Sumner –  Priscilla Oliveras – Wendy LaCapra







Some More Good News!

Although I didn’t bring home a RITA, I did have a great time at the Romance Writers of America Conference last month. But now it looks like Mistletoe Justice might have a shot at another award. I’ve received notification that it is a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Award Competition.


Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Florida Writers Association Conference in October. This means I get to buy another gown, right?



Writer Wednesday – My Favorite Vacation


We’re back for the June edition of Writer Wednesday. This month, we’re sharing some highlights of our favorite vacations. It’s hard for me to chose a favorite vacation, because I’ve had so many good ones.

Like the ones that we spend with our kids in New England. After being raised in Florida, both of our girls married Navy guys stationed in Groton, Connecticut. I wouldn’t want to live there in the wintertime, but New England is beautiful the rest of the year. We especially enjoy hiking…


and visiting waterfalls…


And checking out some of the other sights, like the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island. Yes, these are actually real carved jack-o-lanterns.




















We’ve also had some fun vacations aboard our sailboat. We started sailing in 1989 when we bought a Compac 16 from my husband’s uncle. We sold our last boat, a MacGregor 26, last year and haven’t gotten a replacement yet. Over the years, we’ve had some really good times with our kids and, more recently, our dog Morgan. She loves sailing. Actually, she loves going anywhere that Mommy and Daddy go.


But one of our favorite kind of vacations is a cruise. Cruises are a really economic way to vacation, when you consider that lodging, meals and entertainment are all included. We’ve been to the Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean and the Western Caribbean. The last cruise we took was to New England and Canada. It was June, and this Florida girl almost froze. Our first stop we bought windbreakers. (My sweaters weren’t cutting it.) Our second stop we bought knit caps and gloves. Our third stop, I bought a couple of scarves. It was quite different from cruising the Caribbean, but we had a great time.

A few highlights from that trip…a lighthouse in Maine (I think)…


Hiking in St. John, New Brunswick…

New Brunswick, hiking

The fort in Halifax, Nova Scotia… This guy wouldn’t even twitch, no matter what you said to him.

Guard at Fort, Halifax

Halifax Public Gardens…

Halifax Public Gardens

On the front of a sailboat on Bras d’Or Lake at Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia…


Alexander Graham Bell’s mansion on the shores of Bras d’Or Lake…

Bell Mansion

And of course, no cruise is complete without towel art!

Towel Art 2

The final highlight of that trip was being stranded in baggage claim in the Orlando airport because the weather was too bad to unload the plane. Some members of a high school band, also stranded, pulled out their instruments and proceeded to entertain us tired passengers with music, song and dance.

Baggage claim

What about you? What particularly memorable vacations have you had? Check out what fun my writer friends have had by clicking the links below.

Tamra Baumann – Kay Hudson – Tosha (TL) Sumner – Sharon Wray – Jean Willett

Writer Wednesday – What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up


We’re back for the May edition of Writer Wednesday. This month we’re talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Usually the reality of adulthood doesn’t bear any resemblance to what we envisioned as children. When I was a kid, I wanted to be either a school teacher or a concert pianist.grand-piano-illustration-1210722

I started taking piano lessons when I was ten years old and practiced hundreds of hours every year, but the closest I ever came to being a concert pianist was playing a piano concerto with the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra my senior year of high school. A year and a half later, I met my husband, and very soon, the topic of conversation turned to music. When I said I played the piano, he said he’d seen me play somewhere.  I mentioned the Young Artists Concert with the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra, and he said, “That’s it. You played Mendelssohn’s Piano Concert in G Minor.” I thought I had a stalker. As it turned out, he was playing French horn in the orchestra at the time and accompanied me at that performance.

math-teacher-1474675As far as my dream of being a school teacher, it didn’t take me very many weeks of teaching Sunday school to decide that maybe I wasn’t cut out for spending my life working with children. Many years ago, the church I belonged to had a bus ministry where we picked up kids and teens in the neighborhood and did a program for them on Wednesday nights. This was a pretty rough neighborhood, and some of the teens we picked up were gang members. I taught the seventh grade class. Each week, that was the longest hour of my life. Those kids used to regularly invade my dreams, and it wasn’t in a pleasant way. That was probably a pretty good indication that teaching children, at least troubled children, was not one of my spiritual gifts.



So I never became a school teacher or a concert pianist. But maybe my dreams weren’t so far off base. I’m not a concert pianist, but I’ve been church pianist since I was 16. (I’m not going to tell you how many years that is!) My husband and I have enjoyed singing and playing together, leading worship at church, for our entire 35 years of marriage.

SpeakerAnd though I never became a school teacher for pay, I home schooled my two daughters for ten years and loved every minute of it. And now I do public speaking and present workshops on writing. So maybe I am a teacher at heart.

What about you? What did you want to be when you grew up? Was that dream at all similar to the career you eventually chose?

Click the links below to see what my writer friends have to say.

Tamra Baumann – Priscilla Oliveras – Kay Hudson – Tosha (TL) Sumner

Join us next month when we’ll each tell about our favorite vacation.




Writer Wednesday – Most Embarrassing Moments

The Firebirds (2012 Golden Heart finalists) are back for the April edition of Writer Wednesday. For this month’s prompt, we’re sharing our most embarrassing moments, putting them out there for the world to see. Crazy, huh? But I really believe two of the secrets of enjoying life are not being too uptight and being able to laugh at yourself when you look like an idiot.


Most of my embarrassing moments stem from my being somewhat of a klutz. I’ve always had a talent for tripping over my own feet. Usually it’s just my pride that’s hurt.

You know how it is. You trip or turn your ankle, or whatever the case may be, and the first thing you do is look around to see who might have witnessed your humiliation. Less important things, like checking for dislocated joints or broken limbs, can wait until later. Of course, there is ALWAYS someone there to witness it. That’s Murphy’s law.

I remember when I was a young teen walking to the bus stop. I was checking out this really cute guy, and I had on those platform shoes that were so popular at the time. (You know where this is going.) One minute, I was sashaying down the street, giving him my sweetest smile, and the next I was sprawled in the grass with my books scattered around me.

I wish I could say that I’ve totally outgrown my klutziness, but unfortunately, I haven’t. Some time back, I spent seven weeks on crutches after turning my ankle on a step. Walking on flat surfaces with crutches is pretty easy. Navigating steps can be tricky. Going up, your good foot leads. Coming down, your crutches lead. One step at a time. No shortcuts.

My first Sunday down off the platform at church, I hadn’t yet figured out the “no shortcuts” part of the equation. With my crutches on the bottom step, I decided to step right down to the floor. Except I couldn’t reach the floor. So I sailed through the air, making this smooth, graceful arc to land on my knees in the front pew. The preacher moved right into his message as if the pianist wasn’t kneeling, conspicuously facing the congregation, and when I turned around to look at my minister-of-music husband, he was still standing on the top step of the platform shaking his head.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted that I was a finalist for a RITA. (The RITA is like the Oscars of romance writing.) A formal awards ceremony will be held at the Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego this summer. When the winners’ names are announced, they walk up on stage, accompanied by their editors, give a short speech and accept their award. If I win, my thought processes will go something like this—What? Oh, my goodness! Did they just call my name? Aaaaahhhh!!!! Oh, God, please don’t let me trip, please don’t let me trip, please don’t let me trip…

What about you? Any embarrassing moments you’d like to share? Check out the links below to see how some of my writer friends have embarrassed themselves over the years.

Tamra Baumann – Priscilla Oliveras – Sharon Wray – Shelly Alexander – Natalie Meg Evans


A Review of Sit Stay Love

I just finished reading Sit Stay Love, by Dana Mentink. It was such a fun story!1604 image2

Cal Crawford is a cranky pro baseball pitcher who inherits his mother’s overweight, geriatric dog, a dachshund mix. He’s a busy man and doesn’t really like dogs, so he immediately calls a pet sitter.

Gina Palmer is an out-of-work kindergarten teacher who is crazy about dogs, so she takes the job. When she meets Cal and Tippy, she’s much more impressed with the dog than the man. She finds Cal uptight and egotistical, but falls instantly in love with Tippy.

1604 image1Cal and Gina are from completely different worlds, but as she spends time with him, her opinion of him changes. With Gina’s help, Cal begins to mellow and see the blessings in his life

Sit, Stay, Love is a great story. Some parts are laugh-out-loud funny, and others had me teary. Tippy is amazingly sweet, but manages to get into all kinds of trouble, making her even more endearing. As mommy to an overweight, geriatric dachshund myself, I especially enjoyed Tippy.

If you like fun, light-hearted reads that make you laugh and cry, and old, lovable, mischievous dogs, Sit Stay Love is for you. And with part of the proceeds from the book being donated to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, you can’t go wrong!

Click here to check out the book on Amazon.

RITA© Came Calling…

Last Friday, I received news that was akin to getting “The Call” (news of an author’s first publishing contract—yes, that actually comes as a phone call). I had entered both Hidden Identity and Mistletoe Justice in the RITA. The RITA is the Oscars of romance writing. For the past month, I counted off the days until March 25.cover-mj

Then I got up Friday morning and completely forgot that it was RITA announcement day. When my phone rang around 9:45 in the morning, I didn’t recognize the number and almost didn’t take the call. I changed my mind the last minute and picked it up. It was Adrienne Mishel telling me that I am being nominated for a RITA for Mistletoe Justice. After babbling incoherently for a few minutes, I thanked her then started calling family and friends.

Waterfall Press flowersI’m still basking in the afterglow. Saturday, after being out all morning, I came home to find a box from ProFlowers on my doorstep. Inside was a beautiful bouquet of tulips and irises and a box of fancy chocolates from my new editor,
Erin Calligan Mooney, and Waterfall Press.  They will be publishing my Murphy book. Then today, I got Spencerhill flowersanother surprise. The doorbell rang, and the florist delivered a lovely mixed bouquet from my agent, Nalini Akolekar, and Spencerhill Associates.


I’m walking on air and probably will be for awhile. The awards ceremony will be at the Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego in July. Now to pick out a gown. More on that later…

Review of A Fool & His Monet

I just finished reading A Fool & His Monet, by Sandra Orchard and loved it!

Special agent for the FBI, Serena Jones, is investigating the theft of a priceless painting. With multiple suspects, any of whom could be involved, along with lots of twists and turns in the plot, Sandra keeps you guessing all the way to the end.

1603 Pin 3

The book is full of great characters, too. Serena is fun and quirky and will have you laughing out loud. Her Aunt Martha is a hoot—a detective wannabe, bold and fearless, and Serena has her hands full trying to keep her out of trouble. Mr. Sutton, Serena’s neighbor, has made it his mission to help everyone in the neighborhood expand their vocabulary with his “word of the day.” Serena’s mom’s greatest desire is for Serena to give up her dangerous job, marry and have children, and she makes her wishes known at every opportunity, much to Serena’s embarrassment. Several men show interest in Serena, but the two most likely candidates are Nate, Serena’s building superintendent, and Tanner, her FBI trainer. We’ll find out in future books which one will win her heart, although readers are being given the opportunity to vote. Lastly, we have Serena’s cat Harold, who loves to lie around and refuses to kill the mouse that is terrorizing Serena.

A Fool & His Monet cover

A Fool & His Monet is the first in a series. Though Serena solves the mystery of the stolen Monet by the end of the book, another mystery remains unsolved—Who murdered Serena’s grandfather during the theft of a painting years ago? This event was Serena’s reason for going to work for the FBI and their Art Crime Team, and she has hopes that one of her cases will lead to her grandfather’s murderer.

This is a fun start to a great series. I can’t wait to read the rest!

A Fool & His Monet is available now. To check it out on Amazon, click here.