Lance and I met new friends…

Gentlemanly Lance recently provided a great ride in the arena for Elvin, the grandson of a riding buddy. The polite young man with a great smile earned my pony’s trust. I received home canned tomatoes and pickles for facilitating their time together.

Amazingly, handsome Lance turned 32 in May (91.5 in human years) and we do a 3 mile trail ride several times a week. We’re looking forward to cooler fall weather.

My new friend is a book on writing. Suspense Thrillers caught my interest at the July book signing and inspired me to write a new opening to the fourth book in my Love Thrives in Emma Springs series. So far, I’ve written in an embassy spy, an angora rabbit, and Crocs. Stay tuned and happy trails!

Sally and Dana at Reader & Writer 2022. Yin and Yang. I write sweetly intimate and she writes steamy.
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Historical Women

Writing about real people in history can be a task fraught with danger. Do you adhere to the plain facts, or do you spin a tale that fleshes out the bare bones of the past? How much research do you do? Enough to get by, or enough to qualify as a niche historian? The answer can be found in the forest of That Depends.

But its even harder if the person you want to write about is a woman. Who writes the history books? Predominantly men – not always, but frequently enough that women sometimes get erased, whitewashed or the entire domestic sphere relegated to the unimportant things compared to big weapons or wars. An interesting story recently was an ancient bone with 28 scratches on it. A moon calendar? Hunting? Ritual? Why would a man need to record 28 days? Well, the answer is pretty obvious to any woman, in that the first calendar was a woman’s menstrual record. Many other things that have been written off as ritual turn out to be craft items identical to those used today. Inclusion is important in archaeology as in all other areas of research.

I am editing my third book in the Druid’s Portal time travel series. Each generation of the Aurelius family becomes a guardian of the Arwen pendant and can travel in time – to the one who needs them most. For the red-haired triplet granddaughters of Janet and Trajan (first book) this will mean a journey for each of them, into the most violent and dangerous times of Roman Britain.

Boudicca. The name evokes revolution, the revenge of a mother for her ravished daughters. The woman who nearly defeated the greatest empire in the ancient world – Rome. A woman who led her people into bloody battles, a Queen in a brutal time.

But what do we know of her? Only a few paragraphs in Tacitus and Dio. Both Roman men writing well after the event, and from the perspective of the winning side. 2,000 years is a long time, and now we don’t even know the site of the final battle, nor what happened to her or her daughters.

It is out of this that I spun my tale. Hazel (and Quin, her Celtic Roman soldier love) must find out a secret that has been lost for 2,000 years. They will face battle, patch up wounds in a time before aesthetic, and meet Boudicca. What was she like as a mother? A leader? Who were the men around her that supported her into battle? All of this I needed to craft my tale, and yet try and stay as true to history and facts as I could.

It’s been a long road of research, reading papers, looking up websites on how fast a horse could travel across ancient Britain, what foods did soldiers eat compared to the celts and just what did ancient British war hounds look like? I send a heartfelt thank you to the historians and archaeologists that have been kind enough to help me, either by answering odd questions or through their books.

So spare a kind thought for historical authors – it’s much easier to make stuff up!

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.

Contact Cindy on







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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Living in Los Angeles, I prefer to fly out of the much closer Burbank airport if possible, but it’s a small airport. When I recently flew to Boston, I chose to fly out of the bigger LAX, which is twenty-two miles from my house.

I got there for my 8:30 AM flight with hours to spare, and went through security no problem. I had gotten the TSA Pre-check after I bought my tickets, but couldn’t find a way to add that to my reservation, so I just went through regular security. All good. I settled into my gate to wait, and read until the flight got called. We boarded on what was a full flight, and started to taxi. Hallelujah! We were going to get to Boston on time. My B&B had an 8:00 cutoff for hospitality, but I had plenty of time to get to Logan airport, retrieve my luggage, order a rideshare and get there.


We’re taxiing and taxiing and taxiing…and then we stop. And wait. And wait some more.

The captain comes on. They had a problem with the final flight systems check and they couldn’t take off until the situation was resolved. He expected that they would figure it out soon and we would be on our way.

All good. Still plenty of time.

He came on a half hour later to say that they were still working on it.

Another half hour passed, and another announcement from the captain with the same information. I started chatting with the woman in the middle seat, a lovely person who is now a new friend. After an additional half hour, he made the obligatory announcement. All in all, we sat on the tarmac for three hours while they tried to correct the problem.

Then they canceled the flight.

We shuffled out to join the massive queue of folks standing to re-book flights. Just as we had started to resign ourselves to not getting out that day, the line began moving. A guy who had been going to a convention went to find out what was happening and – HURRAH! – the airline was using a plane coming in and was going to turn it into our flight. We all got to keep our seats for that redirected route, if we hadn’t already rebooked. My placement toward the back of the plane meant I hadn’t even gotten close to customer service. I suppose that’s a bit of luck in all this.

That original 8:30 AM departure time became 3:00 PM. That meant getting into Logan Airport after 11:00 PM. I’d already arranged for the B&B to leave my keys.  I felt bad for the mother and son who were going in to Boston to see Paul McCartney that night. They missed the concert—a once in a lifetime experience. All I missed was sleep.

I was nervous for my trip back and held onto the armrest until it got in the air. I am glad the trip home was not an adventure. I hadn’t been on a plane for three years, and the last time my flight in was every bit as chaotic. Maybe it’s me. Haha

I hope that my next trip, hopefully to Italy, will be far less interesting. Fingers crossed!

USA Today Bestselling author Claire Davon has written for most of her life, starting with fan fiction when she was very young. She writes across a wide range of genres. If a story calls to her, she will write it. She currently lives in Los Angeles. Claire’s website is

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Jude Mooney: Man and Legend

Jude Mooney: Man and Legend

The character of Jude Mooney appears in several of my novels. In From Ice Wagon to Club House, Jude works in Storyville as a young man, drives an ice wagon, fights in WWI, and bootlegs during Prohibition. He also trains prize-fighting boxers as well as  race horses. In The Progeny, Jude has settled into a legitimate businessman whose children then face the turmoil of WWII. Where did I create a character like Jude Mooney? Well, except for differences, my father also did many of the things Jude did. 

I wrote my novel Love at War when I read letters my mother’s brothers’ had written home after WWII. I wanted to tell the story of that time and honor that generation. The family in that novel is not mine, but they possess many characteristics that are like mine. In fact, some of my relatives embroiled me in a debate over the gravy Grandma Viola used for her Sunday dinner. Some argued it was red gravy, others brown. As I said, some scenes resemble my own family quite a bit. 

I then decided to write the story of my father’s generation. My father, Sam, was much older than my mother. She was his fourth and last wife. He said that life was never so sweet as with her. So—who was this man, the model for Jude Mooney? Like Jude Mooney, my father started his life driving an ice wagon. At the turn of the 20th century, families still had “ice boxes,” not refrigerators. My grandmother called the refrigerator an “ice box” her whole life. My dad was from a poor New Orleans family, very like Jude’s. He knew Storyville in its heyday. He also bootlegged during Prohibition. His first wife had died of tuberculosis during the Depression. Like Jude Mooney, my father’s brother had committed suicide after a scandal. The Depression saw him responsible for a young son as well as his widowed mother and an unmarried sister. When he and his best friend decided to bootleg, his mother said, “Your father would roll over in his grave if he thought you were doing anything illegal.” My father replied, “My father would roll over in his grave if he knew we were starving.” I recreated that scene in Ice Wagon. The conversation was legendary in the family. After Prohibition, my father opened a bar with that best friend. They also worked together promoting professional boxers; later, my father branched out into the horse racing business and worked as a bookie. 

Sam died when I was almost twelve. When he met my mother, Sam was still a bookie. My mother would tell her nieces and nephews “Never answer the phone!” After all, that was business and not for children’s ears. Sam also had a very old-fashioned, even chivalrous, attitude toward women. He gave up the booking business when I was born. He had a little girl and wouldn’t disgrace her by spending time in jail. I carried this sentiment into The Progeny, when Jude becomes the father of precocious Aoife. 

Jude would do anything for Aoife—or any of his children, and Sam would have done anything for me or for my wastrel half-brother. When I was about three, I had a little dachshund I adored. One day, a horse kicked her when she was snooping in a stable. My father rushed her to a veterinarian while I stayed home to wail in my mother’s arms. My little pup died on the way to the veterinarian, but my parents didn’t tell me that. They said she was recovering at the doggie hospital, and my father then began a search for a dog that looked like mine. We lived in New Orleans, and after seeing many dogs he didn’t think looked enough like my sweet girl to pass as my dog, he finally found a puppy in Baton Rouge that looked enough like her to fool me. My mother told me that the dog had lost weight, and she would look smaller. (Remember I was three and very naïve). Later that day, Sam handed me another precious dachshund. That memory stays with me and always reminds me of just how far my father would go to spare me hurt. My father and my mother were much better parents than I deserved. 

Rest in peace, Sam. I wish I’d had you longer. 

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The Write Word with Wareeze

Setting the Mood in a Scene

Hello Friends and Readers,

If this is your first time to read a Soul Mate Publishing blog post, allow me to introduce myself. I write historical romance novels with a dash of suspense under my pen name, Wareeze Woodson. Six of my books are published by Soul Mate and have been released on Amazon. Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, Captured by the Viscount, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager along with a historical romance western: Bittersweep. I have a self-published one as well. That is number seven. Self-publishing is not for me, however.

Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I have discussed the ins and outs of writing in past articles, the hero, the heroine, the villain, setting the scene, character development, where I find my inspiration for each story, and the lists continues. Today, I would like to discuss the difference between the setting and the mood in each scene.

Much must be considered when writing the setting of a scene. The requirements necessary for such an endeavor are many and are diverse. A scene displays the historical period of the story, the weather, time of day, the exact location in time and place, inside or outside a house, a building, on the grounds of said building or in the woods, by a stream or in the middle of a field. All of these are important facts to give to the reader. The writer paints a picture with words.

Setting the mood of the scene is also difficult to bring to the reader’s mind. Words, words, words written with meticulous care can cause tears to well in the reader’s eyes, or laughter to erupt without warning. The writer has set the scene, where, when, and why. Now it is time to set the mood of the moment in the scene. Below please read an excerpt from my novel in progress and afterward, we shall dissect how the mood was set. This is a scene from, Vanessa.

From the view out her carriage window, Vanessa Jane Riventon scanned the trees flashing by. The coach had picked up speed for some reason. Her heart thumped in rhythm with the jingling of the harnesses and the creaking of the coach as it raced over the hard pack roadway. Something was definitely wrong.

The outrider thundered up to the window on his horse and yelled, “You ladies hold tight and duck down. Thieves is riding up on us. Careful like now.”

Her traveling companion cried, “Dear lord, we are going to be murdered. Robbed then hacked to pieces. Only yesterday I heard…”

The woman’s abrupt silence indicated hysterics would soon follow. That would never do. Vanessa patted her companion’s hand. “Mrs. Latham, calm yourself. The guard will protect us. That’s why he was hired to ride with the coach.”

Vanessa opened her reticule and pulled out her pistol. Uncle Charlie had always insisted she carry a weapon upon the rare occasion she traveled home to Hill House from The Young Lady’s Academy beyond Bath near the village of Shefield. Her throat tightened and tears filled her eyes. Uncle Charlie would no longer be at Hill House to greet her, but this was not the proper time or place to allow tears of sorrow to overwhelm her. She blinked the moisture from her eyes.

Vanessa peered out the window and caught her breath. Indeed, three men with masks over their faces and pistols drawn were riding hard after the coach. A shot rang out and she jerked back, watching in horror as the coachman tumbled from his perch and rolled on the ground. The horses snorted and careened out of control. With every muscle in her body tensed, she clung to the strap above the seat. The carriage bounced in and out of a deep rut followed by a loud explosive crack sending the frightened animals into a frenzy. The scream of splintering wood filled the coach as the shaft convulsed allowing the panicked horses to break free. The carriage swayed nearly over-turning before it verged into the underbrush beside the road and crashed into a tree. Vanessa was thrown to the floor with the other passenger on top of her.

The scene is set in a horse drawn carriage traveling along a hard packed roadway. An event that could only be possible in the long ago past. That information tells the reader when and the bare basic of where. Certainly not in the heart of a big city or town with cobbled streets.

The out-rider thunders up on horseback and yells a caution to her and her companion setting the mood of the scene. Danger is approaching. Vanessa retrieves her weapon from her reticule and peers out the window. The reader understands danger seems imminent so what she is doing is touched upon as well. The mood changes and escalates with fear and panic. The tension is heightened by allowing Vanessa to observe the driver of the carriage falling by the wayside. The carriage is hurtling down the road without a driver when the horses break out of the traces and the coach continues out of control.

Would the reader be drawn into the story and want to read the next page to see what happens next? I sincerely hope so.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to read my post. For more information about my writing, please visit my website.


Wareeze Woodson


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How The Home Edit System Impacted My Writing Life and Writing Process for Good

By Jeanine Englert

I know I am quite late to The Home Edit organizational train, but I’d rather be late than never arrive to the party, right? In case you’ve never seen the “Get Organized with The Home Edit” show on Netflix, the concept the founders, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, have created is a simple, yet mind blowing approach to organizing your life, not just your belongings. It has helped me to organize not only my bookshelves, but also think a bit differently about my writing space and process as well.

The Home Edit marries form with function to make organizational ROYGBIV beauty, and well, I am sold. Their organizational process includes four tenets: Edit, Categorize, Contain, and Maintain. And while they are simple concepts, the act of moving from the start to the finish of the system is daunting. For me and my office space, even just the edit or deciding on whether I want “the item or the space” (a very popular mantra on the show as they help people purge belongings before categorizing), is overwhelming, especially when dealing with books, paper, and writing memories. I balked at first. Then, I started with an easier task: I tackled one singular bookshelf in our house, just one, because as you might imagine, I have many. I won’t even tell you how many. Now that I accomplished that, I know I can dive in to tackling the other bookshelves and eventually my office.

My First “Home Edited” Bookshelf

Organizing in this way reminded me of how I feel about different facets of the writing process as well. I always hedge at the edit while I draft my books: do I want to include this item (character, scene, plot event) or do I want to save that space for expanding deeper into another facet of the characters, scenes, and plot events I already have in the story? Then, how do I want to categorize that portion of the story? Is it part of the character’s core wound, goal, motivation, or conflict? How do I then want to contain it? Which beat of the story does it need to be housed in? Can I maintain what I’ve done when I begin to revise the story after I finish my first draft? And, finally, have I made the story beautiful, like they do in The Home Edit by utilizing the rainbow (ROYGBIV) color system?

Like, I said, I LOVE The Home Edit, and I am so glad I found them this summer as I rested and recuperated from the school year. Not only has it helped me to begin to organize and create new systems in my home and office, but it has added another layer to my writing process.

And as I have learned over the years, my writing process is never static. It changes, grows, and morphs with every story, every book, and as I change as a writer.

So, as you write, I challenge you to take a peek at The Home Edit (Welcome to The Home Edit) and see if it can help you too think a bit differently about your writing space and process. Is there anything you need to Edit, Categorize, Contain, and Maintain?

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. . . Feel free to drop me a comment below. Until next time . . .

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.

Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at

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What gifts do you like with a book purchase?

I purged my jewelry and will offer a ‘buy a book, choose a piece’, or two at the Seattle Reader Writer Event. I’ve been collecting since I was ten, so those are antique dice in the lower left, and vintage rhinestones. Hope to see a few of you on Saturday. Seniors can get a special price. Please feel free to share with your Seattle friends.

Here’s the link and coupon code for $5 Senior tickets.

++++ Coupon code is    seniordiscount      Enter it at checkout and it will make tickets $5  Hourly parking rates are stiff, so carpooling is recommended. The event coordinator has $12 discount tickets for full day parking in the hotel garage. The event is in the ballroom.

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Where There Is A Prince, There’s A Way! by Susan Hanniford Crowley

I love the adventure of writing! The research is fun and always reveals unexpected things, like when I went to a used bookstore for more research on the French Revolution, and I found a bit of history that isn’t commonly known but was perfect for Vampire Princess of New York.

I found a conspiracy that involved the Prince of France that basically said that there were those that successfully smuggled him out of the Square du Temple, a medieval fortress. The official history books say the prince died in the Temple at age 10. The theorists say maybe not. There were inconsistencies between the actual size of the prince and the dead boy found in his cell.

Later imposters came forward saying they were Louis XVII (Prince Louis Charles). With the execution of his father, he would then be king. There were also living relatives of the Royal Family who were living in other countries at the time. It turned out none of the supposed princes was the young king. When you think of it, why would Prince Louis Charles reveal himself in this dangerous time filled with intrigue and murder?

At the beginning of the book, we learned the Vampire Princess Noblesse Vander Meer is obsessed with collecting furniture that once belonged to the doomed King Louis XVI. Her human mother went missing before the revolution, and Noblesse in her search at the time met all the wrong people. She was in the mob that stormed the prison known as the Bastille.

Noblesse’s story is embroiled with danger, intrigue, passion, and lies. Just when you think you’re in the clear, you’re not. It’s the tale of a woman who happens to be a vampire princess coming into her own, unraveling her past, and fighting for her future.

Vampire Princess of New York is available on Amazon as a Kindle for $2.99 and Kindle Unlimited for free.

Au revoir! (Goodbye until we meet again!) Enjoy the passion and adventure of life!

Susan Hanniford Crowley, Author of Vampire Princess of New York
Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance

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Fighting the crowds for summer fun

Summer is well and truly here in the Pacific Northwest, and I am so ready for it! Not only do I get to read more on these long summer days, but the weather is just perfect for taking advantage of all the natural wonders in this part of the world.

Jaycee Jarvis on the edge of Crater Lake with Phantom Ship in the background
Jaycee at Crater Lake

Crater Lake has long been on my “bucket list” of places to see, especially since it is the only National Park in Oregon. It is a truly impressive natural phenomenon–it is not actually a crater but instead Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed creating a deep well called a caldera that slowly filled with water from rain and snow melt, creating the deepest lake in North America. It has no inflows or outflows–just rain and snow to keep the caldera at a near constant level, and completely clear to an amazing depth. The deep clear water absorbs most of the light, reflecting back a dark ocean blue high in the mountains.

We were not the only people taking advantage of the early summer sunshine. The park was completely packed with lines of cars looking for parking near the visitors center. While the visitor center and cafe were the most crowded, the entire park was popular, even though it wasn’t fully open for the summer season yet. I had packed a picnic lunch “just in case” and I’m awfully glad that I did. We hiked up to the rim at an out of the way spot for some amazing views–like this great look at Phantom Ship, one of the few islands in the lake.

I’d love to go back, perhaps even earlier in the season, or midweek, and see if we can get the full experience without fighting the crowds so much!

What about you? Do you have any favorite summer destinations or places you want to check off your bucket list?

Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018. The final book in that series, Crowning Courtship, came out in May 2021.

Learn more about her around the web:

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Rosemary Chicken Pasta

It’s not easy sometimes, being a writer and looking after the house, children, pets, and hold down a job. There is too often not enough time and energy to do all the things. So here is an adaptable recipe that requires no brainpower and you can jot down notes about that novel while the pasta cooks! The sauce should be ready at the same time the pasta is cooked.


(can be scaled up, or portions frozen for later)

2 chicken breast fillets or thigh pieces

1 medium onion (can be left out if you can’t be bothered cutting it up)

1 can crushed tomatoes 440 gms

1 branch of fresh rosemary, about 10cm long, or 1/2tablespn dried, although fresh tastes much better. Adjust amount to your taste.

Salt and pepper

Pasta – noodles are good with this


  • finely chop the onion
  • pour the tomatoes into a saucepan, add onions
  • put pasta water on to boil
  • cook tomatoes on medium, until onions are soft
  • finely chop the rosemary leaves, adding to the tomatoes.
  • add pasta when water is boiling
  • chop the chicken into small 2cm cubes and add to the tomatoes
  • add salt and pepper, cooking for about another 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  • serve with pasta.


You could whack everything in a crockpot and cook on low. I’d leave the chicken whole (a frozen lump will be fine too) and shred when done, and add the rosemary before serving. To save cooking pasta, add in a couple of potatoes, reuse some leftover rice or potatoes, or grab one of those handy microwave rice packets.

Use another fresh herb such as oregano, tarragon or basil

 Add mushrooms, capsicum or sliced zucchini or leftover vegetables

Use TVP (textured vegetable protein) for a vegetarian/vegan version.

You can fry the chicken and onion first, drain fat and then add tomatoes, but this is more work and changes the delicate taste of the dish.

 Stir through a dollop of low fat yogurt after taking off the heat for a creamier option

Cunning Hint:

Use a long handled wooden spoon to stir pasta or rice. Heat doesn’t move through wood well, so you reduce the risk of burns.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.

Contact Cindy on







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