Life Lessons


I’m a big fan of Dr. Seuss, I always like what he writes,
In all the times I’ve read his books, I’ve gained great insight.

He always tells it like it is, he makes no excuses for his thoughts
And I very much appreciate his words, whether I like them all or not.

With it being the beginning of the year, I find his lessons ring so true
As we all begin new writing projects or might brainstorm a few

Let’s not overlook his five great tips, for lessons in our lives
To be strong and kind and fair, to be inventive and wise.

Promise to be truer to yourself this year, than you have before
You’ll be amazed about how you accomplish, and so much more.

Don’t stand aside when it’s your time to shine, believe in all your might
Embrace your strength,  learn from mistakes, and continue with the fight

Use those brains to bring about change, be sure to aim those feet
In the direction that takes you forward, and further from defeat

Be true to yourself, stand your ground, and be confident in what you say
Because no one can say your stories better than you can on any day

Embrace the hours, laugh out loud, and smile at everyone you’ve met
Because when the journey’s said and done, there’s no time for regret

With the world in chaos and much turmoil, they need writers more than ever
To calm their fears, instill hope again, and to make the world even better.

So I’ll end with this my friends, as I give it once last look
Write some more, promote each other, and read a great new book.

Happy New Year Soulies! Here’s to an amazing 2017.

Patricia W. Fischer can be found on Amazon, Kobo, Nook.

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The Soul Mate Tree Blooms



Before I start today’s blog, I want to announce that Sizzle in the Snow was voted one of the top ten anthologies in Critters’ Preditor and Editor Readers’ Poll Contest. This was a Christmas Anthology I was part of last year.  Link: B0186SCT74


Today I want to highlight the start of The Soul Mate Tree Collective. Wednesday was the beginning of a new project for Soul Mate Publishing with the release of the first of thirteen books in The Soul Mate Tree Collective, Realm of the Dragon, by CiCi Cordelia. I’m pleased to have them on my blog today to kick off this project. Each month, through January of 2018, a new book will be released.

I was contacted last year to be part of this collective, and jumped at the chance. My book, The Trail to Love, will be released in April.

But today is about The Realm of the Dragon, written by the two Soul Mate editors who created this idea.

Cheryl created a trailer for The Soul Mate Tree. To view all the covers go to:

Now, I’ll let them tell the story. Welcome, Char and Cheryl.

Thank you for hosting us today to discuss our new release, Realm of the Dragon by CiCi Cordelia, Book One of The Soul Mate Tree Series. CiCi is the pen name BFFs Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko. We’re both multi-published authors and Senior Acquiring Editors for Soul Mate Publishing. We share a love of well-written stories infused with our favorite romantic genres: paranormal, suspense, and erotica. We are both fans of Alpha Men and the women they’d lay down their lives for.

The Soul Mate Tree is our flagship series. When we presented the idea to Soul Mate Owner and Senior Editor Debby Gilbert, she fell in love with the premise and gave it her professional blessing. The Legend of the Soul Mate Tree is a multi-author effort, with one book release per month, starting in January 2017 and running through January 2018. If all goes well, Char and I plan to do more fun projects, and have some ideas in mind. We already have authors asking us about our next project. Fun!

Once we set everything in motion among our authors and culled interest from a dozen interested writers, the project took on a life of its own. Our cover artist, Wren Taylor, is a miracle worker, and created the most amazing cover art, branding the project wonderfully. Then we needed a hook for our project, and since Char used to write poetry, she collected the physical attributes and magical abilities of the tree, items we had already decided upon, and sketched out a poem.

Together, we polished it up, and ‘The Legend of the Soul Mate Tree’ was born:

I am old, I am ancient, my purpose is clear

To give those who are needy a treasure so dear.

They who come to my roots, touch my bark, stroke my leaves

Find the soul of their lives if they but believe.

When I call and you listen, your prize will be great

If your heart remains open and you don’t hesitate.

Do you yearn? Be you lonely? Is your time yet at hand?

Reach for me and I’ll give to you. I’m yours to command.

For your trust, for your faith, keep my secrets untold

And I’ll gift you forever, to have and to hold.

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

 For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.


Link to Realm of the Dragon:

Blurb: For sheltered Lily Kiers, it’s all too real. Her escape from danger, straight into the arms of her destiny.

Thrust into a realm made of fantasy and unbridled passion, Lily faces violent resentment and jealousy from extremely powerful enemies. Amidst fierce creatures whose very existence defy all common sense, Lily pieces together a past she could never have imagined.

Claimed by Kord, Prince of Battle Draconian, their love will not be denied, even as malevolent forces plot to rip them apart.

Trailer for Realm of the Dragon:

Excerpt: “I won’t hurt you.” The dragon’s powerful voice held a soothing quality. Then it ruined the moment by leaning down to sniff her. “Mmm. You smell like apples and honey.” To her amazement, that long, forked tongue re-emerged and flicked gently along her neck. Its texture felt incongruously like velvet.

Lily managed to bite back a hysterical shriek even as her lower lip trembled. She clamped it between her teeth to steady it, before venturing, “A-Are you going to eat me?”

Every muscle and bone in her body hurt. Her world had upended itself. Beyond exhausted, she longed for this nightmare to end.

If a dragon could frown, then this dragon was definitely frowning. Its fierce expression sent additional shudders through her, and she fully expected those massive jaws to come for her at any moment.

As hard as she struggled for calm, tears leaked from her eyes when he raised long, sharp claws and reached for her. Too frightened to move, she turned her head away. The thrumming of her heart pounded through her entire body as she waited for the sharp talons to slash into her. Instead, the dragon carefully nudged her cheek until she was forced to raise her face and meet its magnetic stare.

“I said I wouldn’t hurt you.” Then slowly and gently the creature unfurled its tail, the very tip pressing against her lower back as if encouraging her to gain her feet, and held her steady until she was standing securely on the ground.

Before Lily had a chance to run, there was a bright flash of light, then a shimmering of brilliant colors. Her jaw slackened at the sight of a man standing before her.

An extremely handsome, naked man.


Char & Cheryl can be found at:

CiCi Cordelia, Writing From The Heart:

Cheryl Yeko, Where Love Always Wins:

YouTube Channel:

Char Chaffin, Falling In Love is Only the Beginning:
Goodreads:  Chaffin

Tina SusedikTina has been published with Soul Mate Publishing for several years. She has five books with them. She can be found at:

Twitter: @tinasusedik


Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author




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Renaissance Revival: The Racquet and Tennis Club NYC

1918 Racquest and Tennis Club NYC

Tennis on my mind. The Australian Open begins the tennis season in January in a summer place, while we have snow and ice surrounds here in the Northeast. I’ve been involved with tennis since 1973, so I’ve seen it have those swings, pardon the pun, from hot to cold, and I’m not talking about temperature. Tennis courts so busy, you couldn’t find one to play on, to so many courts and no one interested to play. This has come full circle. Tennis is in again. Play tennis . . . a great exercise and mind challenging game. In 1918, NYC’s Racquet and Tennis club, designed by McKim, Mead and White, very much the palace style of architecture,

Racquet and Tennis club 370 Park Avenue, NYC-

Renaissance Revival. A popular style in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Italian Renaissance Revival

Identifiable Features

  • Low-pitched hipped or flat roof.
  • Symmetrical facade.
  • Masonry construction.
  • Impressive size and scale.
  • Round arch entrance and windows.
  • Classical details: columns, pilasters.
  • Roof line parapet or balustrade.
  • Arcaded and rusticated ground level.


Surprised me, I have never visited this beautiful club in NYC. After all, I’m a certified USPTA tennis teaching pro, and have played tennis in most states, and in London, and Bangladesh. And I taught History of Architecture at the university level. I wonder how many pros have been there?

On the fourth and fifth floors what is really special about the Racquet Club is on display. On the south end are two court tennis courts, something like indoor tennis courts but with some odd angles and sloping walls. Court tennis involves rebounds off all four walls, changing boundaries, second chances and other arcane rules more like chess than regular tennis.A link from Google Maps for your perusal. The roof is glass:,

The interior contained three dining rooms, a billiard room, library, lounge, gymnasium, four squash courts, two court tennis (real tennis) courts, and two racquets courts. Today, there are four International squash courts, one North American doubles squash court, one racquets court, and the two court (real) tennis courts.

On July 13, 1983, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The club sold its air rights on Park Avenue to a developer a number of decades ago, resulting in the unusual sight, for New York, of a glass-clad skyscraper rising in the middle of the block, immediately behind the club.

If it interests you to know details, Wikipedia has a handle on them.

Racquet and Tennis Club – Wikipedia

Looks like a fun place. What do you think?

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Say Cheese by Rebecca Heflin

I must admit, I’m not fond of having my photos taken. I’m very self-conscious when someone points a camera at me, but professional author photos are a necessary evil.

Author headshots are important for:

  1. Newspaper or magazine articles
  2. Your website
  3. Social Media
  4. “About the Author” pages in your books
  5. Book signings and appearances marketing


My original author photo was taken five years ago, and since I’d decided to let Mother Nature take her course, my hair color was no longer the brown of my youth. I hated to give up that photo — I think it’s one of the best photos I’ve ever had — but it was time for another dreaded photo shoot.


This time around, I wanted something with a casual feel, so I had the photos taken at my home, barefoot and in jeans. These are the three photos I selected from the dozens that were taken.


If you don’t have an author headshot and you’re caving to the pressure for one, or like me, need new ones, here are some things to consider.

  1. Be yourself

The camera doesn’t lie. If you’re trying to portray someone you’re not, it will be readily apparent. If you’re more the casual, barefoot kind of person, don’t choose a setting or clothes that say buttoned-up. Your photos should reveal the real you. Select what you feel comfortable in. Although I’d recommend against your PJs and bunny slippers.

  1. Consider the setting

Do you write beachy romance? Or dark paranormals? Maybe it’s smalltown romance, or how about western romance? Choose a setting that compliments your brand. Or if you write in multiple genres, choose a versatile and interesting location for the photo shoot.

  1. Consider color

While it might be tempting to go with solid white or black, don’t do it. White can wash you out, while black can look harsh. If you know what colors work best with your skintone and hair, select several items in that palette — maybe take a few test photos. Most women, regardless of skin tone look great in rich saturated colors (think emerald greens, sapphire blues). For guys, avoid white as well. If you’re wearing a dress shirt, select a nice solid blue. Even so, wear what you’re comfortable wearing. See Tip #1.

  1. Consider necklines

Necklines like crew, boat, or scoop necks are generally flattering for women. I also like V-necks, provided they aren’t too revealing. You want people to remember your writing not your boobage. Men, an open-collar dress shirt in a nice hue works well.

Many photographers advise against turtlenecks, but I disagree (as evidenced by my latest photo). I think it depends on the person, the hair style, and the shirt color. It all goes back to what makes you comfortable, and that all-important Tip #1.

  1. Hairstyle

It bears repeating — wear your hair in a style that is comfortable for you. And don’t go out and get a brand new style the day before your photos. A cut takes about two weeks to “fall into place” and look natural. Plus, you may need a little practice on that new do before it makes its photographic debut. Color takes about the same length of time to settle in.

  1. Less is more

Ladies, keep accessories to a minimum. Stud earrings are best, but if you’re like me and have a favorite pair of earrings, wear those, as long as they’re not distracting. If you do wear a necklace, keep it simple. Remember, the photo is of you, not your accessories.

If you can’t see a thing without your glasses, by all means wear them. It’s best if they have non-glare lenses, but if they don’t, many professional photographers can remove the glare with photo editing software, but there can be an additional charge.

  1. Smile

Last, but certainly not least, give your teeth a quick whitening a few days before the photo shoot. My mother always said, a nice bright smile is your best accessory – although a lovely scarf never hurt. ☺

For ideas on poses, check out the Pinterest page on headshots, or scope out other author websites for pose ideas.

Worried about the cost? Professional photos don’t have to cost a year’s royalties. If there’s a college or university in your town, contact their fine arts program. There are lots of students who would love to add your author photos to their portfolio, and at a fraction of the cost of professional photographers. My latest photos were taken by a student from my local university who’s not even majoring in fine arts — he’s pre-med with a love of amateur photography. And he didn’t charge me a thing.

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Open Letter to my Readers By: Rose Lange

thank-you-noteDear Reader,

Our lives are busy, and it never seems to stop, abate, or slow down. So when I sit down to write in my office, it’s just me, and these imaginary, yet real people in my mind. And as any writer will tell you, writing is a frustrating, wonderful, joyous, frustrating, euphoric, pain staking, why am I doing this, nail biting process. Oh, and did I mention frustrating? Yes, I enjoy what I do, but some days I would love to throw the towel down the chute, light the match, burn the bridge. You name it, I’ve thought about it. I have lost track of the amount of times I’ve wanted to do just that: quit. I’ll be honest when I say, that I’ve managed to keep my sanity because of two things. One, because I’m too addicted at this point, and two, my readers. You are the super glue that holds my sanity together.

Writing is solitary, yes, but only to a point. I spend time alone creating this world, telling their story, and watching it all unfold before my eyes. The end result, after revisions, contracts, edits, final galleys, is when it is birthed into the world. It is gratifying, and humbling to think that someone then took the time to look up, purchase, read, review, and spread word of mouth. Without you, I couldn’t continue this passion, and it is because of you that I want to keep telling stories. It is part addiction, part joy, and always heart. Because even if the work starts in the mind, thinking of an idea, allowing it to simmer, and grow, it always makes it way down toward the heart. I guess that’s the reason we feel so naked, and vulnerable on the page, because in a sense, we are.

If I had a dollar for every doubt or fear I’ve felt, thinking geez will anybody even care about this story, does it matter, is it boring? Heck, I could retire early in a private cabin in the woods. With each book, even as the excitement has taken a front row seat, and is ready to go, the doubts always loom, like an ominous grey storm cloud, snuffing out the sunshine.

Dear Reader, you are that sunshine, with your warm, encouraging, and comforting words. With each review you leave, and each time you recommend my book to a family member/and or friend. When you take the time to reach out beyond a review, telling me you couldn’t put my book down. The housework did not get done, and my book is to blame. You have a talent, and I felt as though I was right there in the story. Or that I cannot wait for your next book to come out. These are my greatest rewards before, during, and after the process. I hold these close to my heart, and remember them when I’m doubting the process, doubting myself.

Such enthusiasm keeps me motivated, and running back to the keyboard the next day. So please, next time you’ve read and enjoyed an author’s work, please do not hesitate to reach out, because your email may arrive on the very day or moment they wanted to quit. Words are powerful, and carry more weight than we realize.

Thank you all, for keeping this writer going.

Facebook: Rose Lange, Author

Twitter: @writingdiva82





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Elle’s Proposed Book Rating System – Elle Hill

In spite of my rather severe case of nerdiness, I have neither read nor watched Game of Thrones. Shocking, right? I refuse to do so because, before I could embark on the series, several friends told me beloved characters die in droves. Die. In. Droves.

Nope. Nopity nope nopers.

I refuse to consume media in which main characters die. I hate stories that don’t have some kind of happily-ever-after. I eschew media that allow any kind of harm to befall an animal. I also try to avoid any media, from movies to music to novels, that include any of my deal breakers: rape, harming an animal, rampant and unchallenged -isms, and really, really bad writing.

On the topics of books, you wouldn’t think it’d be difficult to find some that don’t kill main characters or end poorly, that don’t include graphic or gratuitous rape scenes and animal abuse, and that aren’t horribly racist or sexist. You’d think.

Let me give you a brief example. I just stopped reading book three of a long, enormously well-reviewed, and smartly written series. Sure, the series was relentlessly androcentric, and yes, while many women were kick-ass, their power lay carefully couched in reassuring, nonthreatening, sexualized terms. Still, I persevered. Because good writing. But at the end of the third book, when the main character offered up a goddess for a lifetime of brutal rape by ice giants in order to secure his victory, I’d decidedly had enough.

But fear not, my friends, for I have a potential solution. I have decided we need some kind of rating system for novels. Nothing quite as simple as the G, PG, R cinematic system. I want to have a more detailed system that provides information on what I imagine are common deal breakers. Some of my rating suggestions are below.


Okay, obviously many of these are slightly tongue-in-cheek, but I’m quite serious about some. Am I missing anything, folks? Well, I mean, of course I am. But what would you like to see as a warning or incentive on the cover of a book?

You know, this system would greatly benefit my pocketbook, since I wouldn’t bother buying some of the books, and would likewise help me preserve my precious spare time for books that don’t enrage and disgust me halfway through. All we need to do is, you know, get everyone else on board and institute it.

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Re-Starting Those Resolutions

ny-memeMy first thought on December 31st was to resolve to make no resolutions. But where was the fun in that? My second thought was to choose carefully…resolve only those things I knew I could accomplish. Again…the easy way out. I decided to compromise. I’d make four resolutions … two easy, two challenging.

Resolution #1Eat healthier. Cut the sugar, the bad fats and carbs. Then my family decided on an Italian-themed potluck for New Year’s Day. One son brought homemade Arancini and the host/son made Fettuccini Alfredo (with heavy cream). Dessert? My Tiramisu. Needless to say … I needed a restart immediately on #1. Since then, there have been a few more slips, mostly related to family or friends. This resolution is still a work in progress.

best-sneaker-featuredResolution #2Walk every day. Preferably outside. A rather silly resolution to make when you live in Atlantic Canada. By day 3 a snow storm rolled in leaving nearly a foot of snow in it’s wake. Thankfully, I compromised and began walking a circuit in my four-story apartment complex. Admittedly, I’ve missed a couple of days but not enough to call foul on the resolution.

Resolution #3Write every day. Preferably on a work-in-progress but even an outline, or a media kit counts. Thankfully, I’ve not fouled here yet even though my progress isn’t as far along as I’d like.

social-mediaResolution #4Concentrate more in a social media presence. If you think I failed #1 from the get-go, I really dropped the ball here. It’s no secret, I was a late-comer to social media. And despite all the hype on publicizing yourself as much as you do your books, I still struggle with personal posts. I am making an effort, just not the consistent one I’d hoped for when the year began.

So, for those keeping score, I’m just short of an even 2 and 2. Surprisingly though, the two I’ve been able to adhere to best were not the ones I’d expected. Now it’s time to revise and start again. I need to look at all my resolutions as I do my writing. Something, if not everything, every day.

ny-chapter-1My revisions now include: #1 – try cutting back on two things rather than three; #2 – accept the fact the the weather’s not going away and ramp up the inside route while, at the same time, giving myself a day off each week to be lazy; #3 – (here’s where I’m getting a bit tougher with myself) write on the WIP every day. Shoot for 1000-2000 words per day during the week and 500 words per day on the weekend. And, like the walking, take one day off; #4 – post 1 personal and 1 professional media notice on my author page every day. Nothing more than a line or two, but keep those who follow my page engaged.

For those who resist social media as much as I do, I’ve put together a list of things I’m going to try. A lot of these ideas come from my newsletter as well. Feel free to use any of these to your own advantage:

  1. Share a review of not just current books but newer reviews of older books at least 2 or 3 times per week.
  2. Share a recipe. Since I put recipes in my vintage novellas, I have a beginning.
  3. Share a short scene from the newest releases or any releases currently on sale.
  4. Share a writing related meme.
  5. Tweet tag lines, links and book covers. Since I write in multiple genres, do a genre day on Twitter.

I’l love to hear from those who follow this blog. Do you make resolutions? When you do, can you keep them? Do you have something specific you like to post or tweet about?

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.






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