Author Interviews · Blogging · Guest posts · nonfiction · writing

An Author Interview and A Book Giveaway! Maddie Cochere!

Today I have a treat for you. My first ever author interview and a book giveaway.

My bestest buddy Maddie Cochere has graciously consented to be my guinea pig  first author interview. She’s a wonderful author and a beautiful person.

Maddie is the author of the Susan Hunter Mystery books. She has just published her first book on her new series Two Sisters and a Journalist. “Murder Under Construction” is a fun, great read from the first sentence to the last. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my very good friend. It’s true. Maddie has a way with words that make even murder funny.

Maddie has also told me that she would be more than happy to give away three e-book copies of her new book “Murder Under Construction” to three commentors. These would be given to three people who will be drawn randomly from the comment section. I will notify the winners via email in a few days.

This is what Amazon has as a book description:

Jo Ravens is thirty-two, divorced, and stuck in a rut. She wants two things in life – a new career as a private investigator, and to lose the sixty pounds she packed on after her divorce.

When she crashes her nephew’s bike in a construction site, she lands on a girl with a large knife in her chest. Jo enlists her sister, Pepper, and their journalist friend, Jackie, to help solve the dead girl’s murder. Things become creepy for Jo when the murdered girl appears to her in dreams to offer unusual clues to her death.

Murder Under Construction is a humorous mystery with Jo’s family adding to the antics of the three women. Mama caterwauls, Jackie’s two children offer sleuthing assistance, and her brother, Hank, laughs at all of them from the sidelines. Murder Under Construction is light, easy-breezy reading from Maddie Cochere.


Yes, did you notice what the journalist’s name is? No? I’ll give you a hint! It sounds a lot like my name! If you want to read how this came about go hop over to Maddie’s blog and find out! You can find her blog at Breezy Books on WordPress.

1. Who’s your favorite character in your books?

Great first question. I’ve never really thought about this before. I love Susan and Mick, and writing Nate into two of the books was a lot of fun, but I’d have to say Darby is my favorite character. He’s the best friend most girls would love to have. He’s understanding, a shoulder to cry on, fun to be with, and he likes to cook. I didn’t have plans to write him into the books, but I can’t imagine the books without him.

2. Who designed your book covers?

My niece, Gillian Soltis,  has provided all of the artwork for my covers. She graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design, and she’s presently a graphic designer for a large retailer. I generally know what I want on my covers. I cobble together horrible artwork with crayons, photos, and clip art. She then turns my mess into something I love every time. I think all of the covers portray exactly what you will find inside – something light, fun, not too serious – easy breezy reading!

3. How do you come up with your ideas for the books?

This question is a little tougher. The first response that came to mind was that I don’t come up with ideas. They come to me out of the blue and at odd times. I’m envious of people who have notebooks full of ideas and storylines to draw from. All I have for my next book is that I want Susan and Jo to meet via a Slimmers Weight Loss. I don’t have any of the details, but I know that little idea will become a book. I’m currently working on Murder Is Where the Heart Is. I went into it knowing who would be murdered, but I had no idea who would commit the crime, how, or why. I think this is something I do unconsciously. I focus on one story and don’t allow myself to think of others until I’m nearly finished with the current work in progress.

4. If you had only one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be? And why?

Have fun. Truly. Have fun writing. Enjoy your own work. Laugh at your humorous moments and cry over your sad ones. I wrote my first three books with no interaction or feedback from others outside of a few family members, and they were mostly laughing with me that I was writing books in the first place. I was having a blast, and I was writing books that would have pleased me if I had purchased them. I’ve read that we should write to please ourselves, and when we do, our work is more likely then to be pleasing to others. So, my advice is to have fun and write the books you want to write.

5. Have you later gone back and just hated something that you wrote in one of your books?

No. My books don’t have controversial topics, and I try to write with humor. I’m happy with everything I’ve published. I still laugh at my over-the-top moments, and I stand behind my particular brand of nonsense.

6. How much of you is in your books? Or is there a big piece of you in any of your books?

There are a considerable number of my life experiences in the books. Upset with a relationship, I really did run off to Florida without telling anyone. I went to the boat races with a guy I met on the beach, and we were run off the road on our way. The conversation Susan has with the first mate on the boat is nearly identical to the one I had when I was deep-sea fishing for shark. I went to New York City twice by myself. I walked and took taxis all over the city, and I met wonderful, lovely people everywhere I went. I did go to Greenwich Village for dinner with two strangers I met at a Broadway play – and yes, one of them was the sexy Chase Connor McLoughlin, III. We went dancing after dinner and closed down The Limelight (it was a disco then). Every book has aspects of my real life. My husband would tell you I was like Susan Hunter when we met, but that I am like Jo Ravens today.

7. What was the one thing that surprised you the most in writing your books?

I’m still amazed by how a story unfolds before me. I don’t outline. I’m not a plotter. I’m a pantster through and through. I write by the seat of my pants, and all I have to do is write a few sentences for the story to take off again. I’ve always said I can’t wait to get back to writing, so I can find out what happens next. I never knew writing would be this much fun.

Thank you for having me, Jackie. I enjoyed your questions, and I appreciate you’re highlighting my new release. I hope your readers will stop by my blog, too. You are the main topic of discussion there today. 🙂

Again, you can find a Maddie’s blog on Breezy Books here on WordPress. Thank you Maddie for a wonderful interview!

Remember people to comment so your name gets put into the drawing for a free e-book copy of Maddies’ book “Murder Under Construction.” And go visit Maddie’s blog!

Also, you find Maddies new book here on Amazon.

Mi Vida Loca · nonfiction · postaday · Uncategorized

The Whimsy Paintings of TJ Lubrano

I received a much awaited package in the mail yesterday. All the way from the Netherlands! It was just a small package, but filled with such beauty and wonderful whimsy.

In it was a small original painting by artist TJ Lubrano. She is one awesome painter and a beautiful young lady, inside and out. Just chatting with her on the internet whether on Facebook or on her blog makes you smile. She’s full of life and love and lots of talent.

I fell in love with her paintings from the moment I saw one. I coveted one as my own and now I finally have one!

(c) TJ Lubrano
(c) TJ Lubrano


Go give her blog a look and tell her Jackie sent you! You will be impressed with her talent, then you will be bowled over by her bubbly personality. She herself is a work of art.

Thank you TJ, I hope to acquire many more of your wonderful works of art. Much love to you!

Blogging · Fiction · Guest posts · postaday · writing

Liz Casey Guest Post ~~ We Move Through the Darkness

Today I am delighted to have Liz Casey return once more to my blog and give us a nice present in the form of a wonderful poem.

Liz is a super talented poet and I admire her very much. Please give her another warm welcome and enjoy!

Liz about Liz:

I’ve been a widely published poet and freelance writer and editor and have appeared in lots of mags and rags across the US. My book-length poetry chapbook, Breaking the Sacred was published in ‘98 by a small press, Angelflesh Press, in Grand Rapids Mich. I currently work full-time as a Sr. Technical Writer, and I run a Motorcycle Touring Company for women, Biker Babe Tours, in Sedona, AZ. I also blog about body issues, size acceptance, self-esteem, and body love at BigBodyBeautiful.



We Move Through the Darkness

Smooth insects held on the surface by some invisible,

meander like amoebae in solution, bumping and turning;

some piloting the boats of their bodies away to dense

pockets of muck, reeds, and stench. Others gliding

toward smaller islands of mud-clotted cattails that

wave their plump, sausage bodies in the shallows.

We move through the darkness of ourselves

in the darkness,

opening unsettled places that vibrate and hurt,

listening to the birds chuckle softly to one another

through the open door, aching at their intimacy, their

private language, wondering how they so easily slide

themselves open, giving themselves to the other world

beneath the surface of the slick canopy, while we sit

talking and closing parts of ourselves off.

Blogging · Fiction · Guest posts · Uncategorized · writing

A Poem of Love by Liz Casey

I have another poem for your enjoyment by Liz Casey, aka BigLizzy from BigBodyBeautiful. She’s a wonderful poet and writer.

I always have admiration for anyone that can write good poetry and Liz is right up there. I never seem to be able to write poetry so I’ll stick with short stories. I’m sure you will agree it’s for the best, especially if you have ever read any of my poetry attempts.

So please give a warm welcome to Liz! Thank you very much.


The Day We Met

the moment opened up in front of us

all eyes and breath

no one else felt it

but we did

you did

later, in my dark room

sifting through the words

we spoke and how the


poured out of you

and lit me up

I knew everything was going to be


and it is

Blogging · Guest posts · nonfiction · postaday · writing

Some Good Advice About Writing

Once more I’m pleased to welcome Mandy from the blog She offers some sage advice on writing. This is a repost but it’s always nice to have some good advice on writing.

Feel free to comment and please make her feel at home. Thanks.

Click on the title below and it will zip you on over to her article. Enjoy!



Is It Really Dross?

Blogging · Guest posts · nonfiction · postaday · Uncategorized · writing

NaNoWriMo Update and other Stuff

Good Sunday to everyone. Hope your weekend was a blast. Monday is coming soon enough, so go enjoy what weekend you have left.

I’m just doing a quick update on my NaNo progress. Did great this past week. Lots and lots of words written. Just hope they make some sort of sense in the end. So far I have a total of 24,636 words. The biggest chunk of that was done this past week. Hoping this coming week is a good one, but I’m definitely slowing down. Wish me luck to keep my pace up.

As I did last week on this blog I’m going to be having some guest posts. I sent out a call for help in things to post and I’ve had some great responses. A big thank you goes out to all who have helped or are going to. Starting tomorrow I’ll have Michelle from Michelle at Play , she’s going to give you a great list for this coming holiday season.

Then later in the week look for another great post by Mandy from Mandyevebarnett’s Blog, and Liz from BigBodyBeautiful will be here with some more of her wonderful poetry. I’m sure you won’t want to miss that!

Also, maybe, I’ll have another snippet from my NaNo project for you this week. So lots of good things to look forward to!

Courtesy of breezybealle
Courtesy of breezybealle
Blog challenge · Blogging · Daily Prompt · nonfiction · postaday

Daily Prompt: Reading Material

Daily Prompt: Reading Material

How do you pick what blogs or books to read? What’s the one thing that will get you to pick up a book or click on a link every single time?


It surprised me that I had to think hard on this prompt. I’ve been reading books for so many years that I don’t even think about how I go about choosing them from the bazillion books out there.

As I sat and thought about the books I read, I found out that I’m an eclectic reader. I will try out new authors and new genres, if they grab my attention. The first few paragraphs are so important to any writer. That is where you will grab your reader by the throat and yell in their face, BUY ME, READ ME!

There are also times that I will just read the blurb of a book. If it doesn’t sound interesting, I will pass on it. Most times I will pass on it. I will have to admit there have been a few times I read the book anyway, even if the blurb or first few paragraphs didn’t interest me. There have been a few times I’m glad I did as the story drew me in and at the end I was sorry it had ended. Granted, these kind of books have been few and far between.

I also have my favorite authors that I read when they have new titles out. For the most part I enjoy mystery, suspense, crime dramas, some fantasy, paranormal and almost everything in between. Okay, maybe it would be easier and less time-consuming to say which types of books I don’t read.

************ um, Hmmm, well damn. That list was short.

I started reading at a young age. Around 4 I believe. As I grew older I would read my dad’s books which were Westerns. Louis L’Amour to be exact. My dad loved his westerns. Then when I was able to go to the local library or the library in my school my reading evolved. I could be found reading anything. I remember finding books by Mary Norton called ‘The Borrowers’. I devoured the whole series within weeks.

Then as I got a little older I found Charlotte Bronte, Lewis Carroll and many other authors which I still love today.

I even managed to read through every single book in my school library that they had on mythology. Then in my teenage years I found the world of Romance. I spent my allowance on romance novels. Then Regency romance, than poetry, then, well you see what I mean by eclectic. I read everything! I just loved to read, period.

Right now I’m more into the mystery/suspense books. I love to see if I can figure things out before I get to the end.

As for blog reading. I pick those for several reasons. I will choose what blogs I read or follow if they interest me. I follow several humor blogs. They make me laugh, smile and feel good. I love humor blogs. I am jealous that it seems so effortless what they do. They write funny stuff. I just can’t seem to write funny, but I love reading it.

Some I follow because they make me feel things. I follow several on domestic abuse and how they managed to leave their abusers and become independent. As a survivor of domestic abuse I cheer for them, I cry, I get angry and want to reach out and hug them. They make me feel less alone. They make me feel. If I can help them in some way I try to do that.  Even if all I can do is give virtual hugs.

Others I follow because they are just great writers. I love reading their stories, poems or whatever they write. I love to cheer them on as they follow a path to published author. They give me hope for myself and they show me how good writers write.

Of course I do have some favorite bloggers. Who doesn’t? I have found some wonderful friendships in this blogging world. A few have carried over into personal friendships where we email and talk about everyday life. I love my friends. They keep me sane. You know who you are. 😉

Blog challenge · Blogging · Mi Vida Loca · Photo Challenges · postaday · Uncategorized

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

I am not a photographer by any stretch of imagination. I do like to challenge myself sometimes. So I decided to see if I could come up with something for this weeks Photo Challenge: Focus.

My pets are like my children. I’m sure most pet owners can identify with that statement. I’m always taking pictures of them when they sit still long enough. Not too long ago I took some of Sam and one of my cats Pouncer. They were both vying for the same spot of sunshine.

The first picture is of the two of them. I really didn’t focus on anything, just trying to get a picture of them both wanting the same thing.

Sam and Pouncer (c) JLPhillips 2013
Sam and Pouncer (c) JLPhillips 2013

Then I took another shot of Sam basking in the lions share of sunshine.

Sam (c) JLPhillips 2013
Sam (c) JLPhillips 2013

I loved how the sunshine shown on Sam and made me think of a black/white picture. So I took another shot focusing on just Sam and how the light played with his coloring of black/white. I thought it turned out pretty good and is my favorite shot of my little guy.

Portrait of Sam (c) JLPhillips 2013
Portrait of Sam (c) JLPhillips 2013
Blog challenge · Blogging · Daily Prompt · nonfiction · postaday · stories

Daily Prompt: Ballerina Fireman Astronaut Movie Star

Daily Prompt: Ballerina Fireman Astronaut Movie Star

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? What are you now? Are the two connected?


I liked today’s Daily Prompt. I thought it was a good one for my 251st post. Yea me! Just over 250 posts! I never thought I would get this far, next stop 500 posts!

When I was 10 I already knew what I wanted to be. I just never told anyone, except my journal. I always kept a daily journal, did for many years. That’s where I kept my fears, worries, loves, likes, hates and dreams.


Ever since I was even younger than 10 I knew I wanted to be a writer. That has always been my secret dream. In my family dreams were kept secret, if they weren’t they were shot down pretty quickly. I was never smart enough, pretty enough, whatever enough.

I got this from my mom mostly, but also from my siblings. My dad never said too much. He was even quieter than me. I always had a suspicion that my dad  knew I wanted more out of life than to get married and have kids. He knew I had bigger dreams. Like me though, he never said anything.

I  had dreams of traveling far and wide and writing wonderful novels full of strong women who did great exciting things! I wanted to write the kind of books that made other girls dream big dreams. I wanted to write so girls and women felt powerful and in control of their lives.

I wanted to be the kind of writer that not necessarily rich, but famous in a good way. Who was looked up to. Who was admired for her ability to write.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be, when I was 10 or now when I’m  much older than 10. A writer.

Ah what dreams we hold when we take a pen in hand and put words down on paper. That’s how I first began to write way back then. With a pen on paper. Now it’s on the computer where I have help in spelling and grammar. After all one must be practical also. While I’m a pretty good at spelling, my grammar sometimes needs work.

image courtesy of Shakti Women
image courtesy of Shakti Women

So what am I now? Besides a whole lot older? I’m still a dreamer of dreams. A writer of words. Just not quite where I wanted to be at this age. Too many side tracks in life. Did I get married and have those kids after all? Yes and no. Yes I got married. First one was a bust with a capital B. This second one? The jury is still out on it.

As for kids, nope no kids. Couldn’t have them and truthfully, haven’t missed anything as far as I’m concerned. I have my four-legged fur babies and more than content with that. Mother material I’m not.

So here I am. No longer that dreamer of 10, but someone older with dreams still firmly attached. No matter what crap life handed out to me I held on to that dream of being a writer.

I am now trying to make that dream come true. Full steam ahead!  So I suppose in many ways the two are still firmly connected. I have held many jobs in my life, done many things, travelled some, changed a lot. But one thing has never differed.

What I wanted to be when I grew up.





Blog challenge · Blogging · Daily Prompt · nonfiction · postaday · Stories of my life

Daily Prompt: Barter System

Daily Prompt: Barter System

by michelle w. on July 8, 2013

If the world worked on a barter system, how would you fare? Would you have services to barter? Would you be successful, or would you struggle?

I thought today’s Daily Prompt was an interesting one. I actually think the world might do better with a barter system. You have something I want, I have a skill or something else that you would be willing to trade said item for. Sounds good to me. I think everyone has something to barter with. Whether it’s a skill they have, some knowledge, or a particular item. You know how to cook? Cook someone a meal for what you want. You know how to sew, knit, crochet? Make something for what you want. You know how to write excellent emails, letters, business letters? Barter your services for something that business has to offer.

The question was how I would fare if we had a barter system. I think I would fare rather well. I’ve done bartering in the past a few times and so I do have a little experience with the bartering system on a small-scale.

I have several things I’m rather good at. I can cook. I’m a really good cook and have learned in the past to cook with very few ingredients. When you don’t have much money, you learn real fast. I’m kind of like the show “Chopped” on the food network. Give me a few ingredients and I’ll cook you a meal. Just give me a bit more time than the cooks on Chopped get. 😉

I know how to type (I mean really type, as I was a secretary in my past life once) I can type 60 wpm or faster if my hands are doing ok. So I can get those letters and emails out rather quickly. I’m a good painter. I can paint you a picture to hang on your wall.

I have done painting for people for other items before. They didn’t have the money to buy what I painted, but they had something else I wanted, so we exchanged services. It worked out well for us. I’ve done this several times.

I have grown my own food and have bartered with friends and neighbors for various services or items. We have even had a small garden where several of us went in on it and we took turns weeding and watering and mulching for a share in the bounty. This can work really well if there are several of your neighbors who don’t have time for full-time garden but can spare a few hours a week.

I like bartering. You have something I need, I have something you want, we deal and it’s done without exchanging any money. Yup, I like this a lot.

Anyone wants to barter with me? Just let me know!

Blog challenge · Blogging · Daily Prompt · Mi Vida Loca · nonfiction · postaday · stories · Stories of my life · Uncategorized · writing

Daily Prompt: Million-Dollar Question

Why do you blog?

This is the Daily Prompt for today. I just had to answer that question.

I know what I write does not much matter in the whole scheme of the world. Given what has been happening out there my words may not matter to most, but they keep me sane in an insane world.

I write short stories, flash fiction and bits and pieces from my life. Is my life that important? Maybe not to most, but to me it’s all I have right now and that might be gone in an instant. So I write, write and write.  I put out my feelings, my ideas, my imagination, in the hopes that whoever reads it will in some way feel better, if only for the spare few minutes that it takes to read my few lines.

Admittedly I am a writer who is still learning her craft. Every day to me is a learning day. I might learn how to observe life and people more. I might learn how to use a bit of grammar in a better way. I might learn how nature has beauty in everything if we only observe it. I might learn more about a friend and what they need from me or me from them. I might learn how to grow as a person, writer, woman, friend or lover.

I also learn things that I wish I didn’t have to learn. How to be vigilant in my surroundings so I too don’t become a victim. How to be constantly on the alert when I am alone and vulnerable. I learn how my heart can break in so many different ways and forms by just continuing to live and see what goes on in the world. I learn how to be sad for the victims of senseless crimes and hate.

This is the reason I blog. To reach out to people I don’t know and somehow give them a piece of me that says…… I care.



Blog challenge · Blogging · Fiction · Friday Fictioneers · postaday · stories · writing

Friday Fictioneers ~~ March 22

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! Hello Friday! Yeah, I love Fridays. You want to know why I love Fridays? It’s because it is Friday Fictioneer time! I know they usually start on Wednesdays, but that is only because of time differences in other parts of the world. Need to give everyone a chance right? Right!

Come read all the different stories that come about from one photograph, you will be amazed! We have very talented and creative people writing these little stories. So click on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields name (that will take you to our leader) to go and read the few tiny rules if you want to join, or scroll down on her blog and click on the cute little blue guy to read many great stories. Thanks for reading or participating.


Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and an end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)


Make every word count.


Copyright -Douglas M. MacIlroy
Copyright Douglas M. McIlroy


Genre/General Fiction (100 words)


Damn rustlers. They thought they had me. Showed them I was no one trick pony!  After they forced me in that trailer, I heard them no goods talkin’ while they drove away. Was goin’ to make big money from selling me across the border.

When they stopped for the night I made my getaway! Learned how to open doors when I was just a colt. Those losers were sleepin’ off a bottle of whiskey. I walked right by ’em. Then I started runnin’, it felt good to have the wind in my mane again!

It’s thirsty business outsmartin’ rustlers.