Happy Thanksgiving and a Recipe!


Thanksgiving. Overeating to the point where you can only lie on the couch and groan while you watch football is an American tradition dating back to the Pilgrims. Okay, well maybe not to the Pilgrims, but you get my point.

As you gather with friends and family to celebrate this American tradition, I hope you have much to be thankful for.

This year, as every year for the last twenty-three years, I’m thankful for my husband. Likewise, I’m thankful for my family, my dear friends, and my readers, and my Soulies ☺. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, the food on my table, and the day job that pays my bills. And given the recent events in the world, I’m thankful I live in a country where I’m free to speak my mind, pursue my dreams, and elect my leaders. Finally, after a year of some aggravating health problems, I’m grateful I’m back on my feet and feeling my oats.

May this Thanksgiving find you and yours happy, healthy, and thankful.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

And here’s an idea for all those leftovers.

Thanksgiving Wraps


  • Sandwich Wraps of your choice
  • Leftover sliced turkey
  • Leftover stuffing/dressing
  • Leftover gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce/Chutney
  • Mayonnaise


Mix equal parts mayonnaise and cranberry sauce/chutney. Slather onto sandwich wraps. Top with sliced turkey and stuffing/dressing. You can also top with lettuce, tomato, or other condiments. Roll up. Serve with leftover gravy for dipping. Yum.


Posted in According to Rebecca, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged | 1 Comment

Marisa Makes Memories

By Marisa Dillon

thanksgiving-turkey-dinner-4Is it stuffing or dressing?

Are they yams or sweet potatoes?

Patronize Target or TJ Max?

When was the first Thanksgiving?

Who was the first to play football on Turkey Day, Detroit or Dallas? 

Any of these questions could be conversation starters at your Thanksgiving table between bites of Grandma’s cranberry and sausage stuffing and Aunt Minnie’s pecan-covered, sweet potato casserole. Some may stump the most avid Thanksgiving Day fan. But let me don my apron and assist you in the kitchen with some of the answers that can impress your guests.

Stuffing is baked inside the bird, dressing is served on the side. And in the south, ya’ll, there is no debate, it’s always called dressing.

Yams ARE sweet potatoes.

Target’s open on Thanksgiving, TJ Max is not.   Interview_of_Samoset_with_the_Pilgrims

And even though you were taught Indians and pilgrims celebrated a good harvest at Plymouth in 1621, it wasn’t until 1863, when
President Abraham Lincoln made it official. And the reason? A public relations move to calm down the country during the Civil War.

Finally, football addicts may know this already, but every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record, and it all started with a publicity stunt to sell more tickets.

134034262So whether you’re serving a traditional meal or boycotting the bird, what you do on Thanksgiving Day is steeped in tradition: turkey, shopping, parades, football, making a wish, and giving thanks.

But before you pass out in a food coma in front of the football game on TV or join the ranks of Black Friday early-risers this Thanksgiving, think about what traditions are important to you and consider making some new memories. Here’s a few to get you started:

Create a Thanksgiving recipe book. Preserve the family favorites by scanning handwritten recipes into your computer. Then assemble them into a note book or go hi-tech with an online tool like Shutterfly.

Donate to charity or volunteer. Check with your local community center or homeless shelter and give to the less fortunate.

Assemble a gratitude chain. On strips of paper have friends and family write down one thing they are grateful for this year and string them together, then proudly display your creation on a mantle or your Christmas tree.

But of course, if shopping IS a part of your holiday fun, even on Turkey day, then embrace it with pride and drink a Venti Starbucks with double espresso to get you through the long lines and triple door buster specials.

No matter who you share your table with this holiday, start this year’s memories with a lively conversation and remember to give thanks!GiveThanksBanner


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Choosing Review Sites and Reader Contests

Night Owl Reviews Winter Wonderland Web Hunt

Historically, publishers sent books for reviews which were then used in publicity campaigns, targeted to booksellers to stock those books. The bookseller used those reviews to entice readers to their store to buy that book, and more. An author today has to do both, solicit the reviews and find readers. Reviews were (and are) part of a strategic business plan to make sales.

Kirkus Reviews and RT Book Reviews were established as catalogue style magazines for booksellers and libraries to choose which books to stack on limited shelf space. Kirkus includes all types of books, RT showcases genre fiction. These catalog magazines are still the primary information for booksellers. But, digital and indie books have seen success and now RT and Kirkus have added interactive webstores offering all kinds of products and services for independent authors and small press publishers. A book review in one of these catalogs is still the primary way to reach thousands of booksellers and libraries in one month.

It may seem like a gamble to spend over $400 for a book review but, if an author already has a solid backlist of at least five well reviewed books, that gamble could pay off in sales. That review could interest a bookseller because they do read them. If a quick internet search on the author is engaging, and reveals more books, the bookseller may add that reviewed book to their order. It’s a business decision.

The bookseller highlights the review as a reminder as to why they chose to purchase that book to stock in their store. They continue reading the reviews for more books to sell. A few minutes, and the decision is made. The bookseller moves on. The library process is a little more involved but each of these catalogs is sent to about ten thousand potential markets every month. Even a one percent return on that review could land that author on 100 bookstore or library shelves around the country. It’s a good gamble for an established author.

However, to become an established author and garner reviews and sales for the first books, an author today has to gamble on the free or small fee sites. New digital review sites and book bloggers have multiplied along with marketing myths, publicity scams, and book pirating sites. Authors must do their research and here are two primary questions to consider when soliciting a review. Does this review site or book blogger actually reach readers – or – do all the posts have comments from the same six people?  Will I want to promote that review site to people who may actually read my book? Remember the business model that reviews are a tool for making sales.

I’ll offer two examples I consider as the best I’ve experienced of innovative review sites for indie and genre fiction authors.

InD’ Tale Magazine  is relatively new and mirrors the catalogue style publication of reviews, in addition to great articles and author interviews. Text reviews are free and include a To Buy link. [Hint, no To Buy link with a review – no bother!] This magazine is the most impressive digital magazine I’ve seen. The 100+ pages of full color graphics and interactive links loads quickly even on my antique system and slow modem. There are guidelines to be eligible for a review, and a priority tier, so Read Them. For an additional $10 the author can include their book cover and a direct link to their website.

The other example is Night Owl Reviews (NOR) . This “Find Your Next Great Book!” site is older, more established, and even their monthly magazine is in website format – no downloading required. NOR accepts a broad variety of books to review, including children’s and nonfiction. Submissions are put into a pool for a set time frame and become featured on the site after a review. Here’s the downside, if a reviewer hasn’t picked your book to review after six months it could be purged from the pool. It’s a gamble but didn’t involve any cash.

What is good about NOR is authors can engage with readers directly through weekly chats, seasonal contests, give-away specials, and more. Readers return to NOR because they can be interactive with authors and win free books, and cash! Authors sponsor the contests, like this month’s Winter Wonderland Booklover contest. As an author sponsor, for the next month, contestants will have to read the blurb of my book and see my book cover, in order to win cash prizes. This could translate into new readers for me and be worth my $50 investment to be discovered. I am also writing more books.

So those are my two examples.

Please share your favorite review sites, contests, book bloggers, and advice – in the comments!

And visit the: Winter Wonderland 2015 (NOV 20 – DEC 17)

All cards will be purchased via the Amazon.com website.


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Building a Novel by Dorlana Vann

I’ve used a lot of different methods to write my books over the years. The technique depends on the story and if I already have an idea or not. One tactic is to build inspiration upon inspiration, like a house, from the ground up. Creating a novel in phases not only gives you a jumpstart but also challenges your imagination. It’s an in-depth way to really get to know your story, plot, and characters. The process is slower and more laid-back than others. If NaNoWriMo is a sprint, then the Building Method is a marathon. However, I’ve written four novels this way, so I know it works.

FoundationYour inspiration. Purposely seek out something that you can use as an initial starting point. This can be a picture, a song, a childhood memory, a dream or a combination of things. Write it down, pin it on a bulletin board, think about it, and do a little research until a story idea begins to form. For me, when I use this method, fairy tales plus a supernatural element are my inspiration.

FramingWrite a short story.  To support your idea, expand your inspiration into a short story. The trick is, you must get it out your mind that this will be used for a novel. Just write the best short story you can. Under 3,000 words should be a good word count goal. Then edit and give it to readers to critique. Then sit on it for a week or so.

ExteriorOutline. Use your short story as inspiration to plot your novel. (The short story might only be used for the backstory, plot, setting, moral, etc.) Whatever your outlining style – detailed chapter by chapter, pre-rough draft, one sentence chapter summaries on index cards – by the time you’re finished, you will have a few or a lot of recognizable details from the short story, but it will have developed into its own unique design.

InteriorWrite. Fill in your outline with a rough draft. This is your sit-your-butt-at-your-computer-time and write and rewrite. I think having either a word-count or an hours per day goal is essential. Write your first draft using whichever style you prefer: don’t look back or edit and research as you go. And then write your second draft, and your third … until you are sure your story is solid.

Final Walk ThroughEditing. Time is one of the best editing tools. Distance will give you a better perspective. Work on something else for a month and then edit. After that, hand it out to your readers and then edit some more.

ClosingSubmissions. Find the perfect buyer. And don’t forget, you also have a short story.

I posted an example on my blog of how I used this process.

Love and Laughter,


 snowmen banner sept 18

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.✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.✫ HOW TO MARRY YOUR WIFE BY STELLA MARIE ALDEN .✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.✫


really happy to be here!

Originally posted on :


Come Join

What foul devilry is this? They told her he was dead. After
six long years without a word, her knight falls onto his knees and sings
poetry. Then he denies their son? Heed this well. She’s no longer an innocent
who’ll giggle and tarry on his every word. The sharp edge of her tongue and
knife is the only welcome he’ll get. She’ll not marry him. Besides, the pain
would be too much to bear should he ever leave again. 
Her attitude is beyond understanding. What voice
did he have? The king commanded and he obeyed. Regardless of her hatred, the
Templar knight weds. This time she will travel with him and he will win back
her favor. It’s a long road from London to Hadrian’s…

View original 1,241 more words

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To Outline or Not to Outline, by Trish Jackson

Hello fellow Soul Mateys. This is my first post on this blog and I am excited to be here.I recently participated in a writing class given by James Patterson.  I write romantic suspense, and he’s the master of suspense, so it was perfect for me.

I’ve always been a pantser. I get an idea, run it around my head until I have time to get to it, and then I sit down and write, and the story is all there some place in my head. I know a lot of you probably work the same way.

James Patterson dedicated two entire lessons to outlines, and he managed to convince me that an outline is absolutely imperative. So I went ahead and created an outline for my upcoming novel, Virgo’s Vice. This story was already written, and I already had a publishing contract on it with Soul Mate. It’s not supposed to work that way, of course. The outline should come first, but I wanted to see if it would change anything. I managed to get it done, and received my first edit from Caroline about a week after I completed it.

It did change things. A lot. Just for starters, the number of chapters doubled.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. Patterson recommended starting with an outline, separating each chapter, and getting the entire story down before you even start writing it. I found that this doesn’t work for me because I’m not a plotter and it interferes with my creativity.  I now write until I get to a place where I’m a little stuck—we all get to that point at some stage, right? That’s when I go back, read over what I’ve written, and start my outline.
  2. There are no rules about how to lay out your outline. I’ve seen templates for some very complex outlines that totally put me off. Just a numbered list like this with a new number for each chapter is fine.
  3. Write what’s in each chapter as if you’re telling a friend about a book you just read.
  4. Now go back and read the outline and consider the following:
  5. Think of each chapter as a scene in a movie, and make certain you started a new chapter for each new scene;
  6. Each chapter should contain something that moves the story forward. If it doesn’t, you probably don’t need it. There has to be a reason—or plot point—for every chapter. Deleting is hard, but sometimes it is the best thing to do;
  7. Make certain each chapter ends with something suspenseful to compel the reader to move on to the next one, preferably at the height of the conflict. (The hook);
  8. Try to find a way to add more suspense to each scene with impactful words, actions and visceral emotions (consider the senses used—sight, sound, smell, touch, taste plus balance, pressure, temperature, pain and motion.);
  9. We write romance and this means there should be as much sexual tension as possible. Put the primary characters together and then tear them apart;
  10. If a scene doesn’t seem quite right, try writing it in a different character’s POV;
  11. Try two or three alternate endings.
  12. Troubleshoot and edit, edit, edit.

Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, I absolutely recommend that you use this excellent tool. It’ll also help you to write a synopsis when you’re ready to submit it to Soul Mate Publishing.


Trish writes rural romantic suspense and her stories always include pets.

Would love to connect.

Twitter: @trishjaxon  Facebook Pinterest Goodreads LinkedIn

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, Trish J's Mid-Week Jam! | 6 Comments

Top 20 Ways to Make Your Romance Hero A Sexy Alpha Guy


Oftentimes, when I’m between projects and life is crazy-busy, I take a hiatus from writing. I knew my life would be crazy this past month with increased time and responsibilities required at the day job plus the added stress of getting my teenage sons to practices/games/social events/writing those college essays. So I did what any respectable romance reader-writer-mom would do, I fell into a heap of romance novels to get me through it.

For the writers among us, we know reading is essential to our craft. We need to know what’s out there, what other writers who are currently defining our genre are writing, and what readers are reading. We need to look at best-selling authors’ work to try to dissect it to understand why readers are reading it and what they’re looking for in a good story.

Two books I read made me pause to reassess my heroes. The first was an older Jill Shalvis book that was re-released last year, Her Sexiest Mistake, and the second was Katy Evans’ Real. These two books hit me right in the gut. So I had to look at them closely and figure out why the hero in each of these books took my breath away and why I fell so hard for them as I read the books . . . because I want to do the same thing to my readers. I want to give them a sexy Alpha hero who takes their breath away and makes them fall in love all over again.

So here’s what I discovered about writing a sexy Alpha hero who doesn’t come across as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, but someone who is worthy of the fiesty heroine in my stories.

1. She perceives him as a sexy bad boy, even if he’s not totally a bad boy in reality. He might have the trappings (look like a tough bad boy, but he’s got a soft, good heart).

2. His actions are unapologetic and he’s got a take-charge attitude all the times.

3. He uses his power and strength for good. Always.

4. He’s comfortable in his own skin.

5. He’s unapologetic about what he wants–and what he mainly wants is her. He goes after what he wants, even if he’s misguided at times. He’s not wishy-washy.

6. He’s competent at what he does, whether he’s a high school chemistry teacher or a underground boxer.

7. Even though he’s tough, he’s got a softer side where we see his protectiveness and compassion for his family members, kids who populate his life, pets, the people he’s claimed as family.

8. He pokes gently at her flaws and doesn’t let her remain stuck or run away from them.

9. He serves her and takes care of her at times (makes her a meal, fixes something for her, takes care of a task that is more difficult for her).

10. He sees her–really sees her–deep down. As Michael Hague says, he sees her essence, not just the façade she puts on for the world to see.

11. He’s not afraid to show both his affection or his attraction, no matter how edgy and passion-filled it can be at times. He’s hungry for her, yet he genuinely likes her as a person, too. Her strength, her personality, her quirks. He’s attracted to everything about her, not just her body.

12. Sometimes, he’s a pissed off Alpha male, but he’s always in control of his anger.

13. He’s on to her tricks when she’s trying to pull one over on him.

14. He’s a Saint & a Sinner.

15. When she pokes at him, he doesn’t back down. He stands his ground calmly.

16. He grows and learns about himself just as much from the heroine as from the lessons life throws at him. He’s different with her and for her. He wants to be a better man because of her.

17. He’s a Protector & Provider.

18. She feels totally safe with him, for good reason. He’s proven to her he won’t let anyone hurt her.

19. He’s intense.

20. He desires her above all else–he’s cut her from the pack; and whether he knows it yet or not, she’s the only one for him. Period.

So, there you have it … my Alpha male theory, based on two books that I recently adored. How about you? What have you noticed you love about the heroes in the romance novels you’ve been reading? Those Alpha guys who took you by surprise, body-slammed you, and took your breath away? I’d love to hear your list!


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