Home for Christmas

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T’was 3 weeks before Christmas,

And all through the town,

People wore masks,

That covered their frown.

The frown had begun

Way back in the Spring,

When a global pandemic

Changed everything.

They called it corona,

But unlike the beer,

It didn’t bring good times,

It didn’t bring cheer.

Airplanes were grounded,

Travel was banned.

Borders were closed

Across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lockdown

To flatten the curve,

The economy halted,

And folks lost their nerve.

From March to July

We rode the first wave,

People stayed home,

They tried to behave.

When summer emerged

The lockdown was lifted.

But away from caution,

Many folks drifted.

Now it’s December

And cases are spiking,

Wave two has arrived,

Much to our disliking.

It’s true that this year

Has had sadness a plenty,

We’ll never forget

The year 2020.

And just ‘round the corner –

The holiday season,

But why be merry?

Is there even one reason?

To decorate the house

And put up the tree,

Who will see it,

No one but me.

But outside my window

The snow gently falls,

And I think to myself,

Let’s deck the halls!

So, I gather the ribbon,

The garland and bows,

As I play those old carols,

My happiness grows.

Christmas is not cancelled

And neither is hope.

If we lean on each other,

I know we can cope

Keep it going!

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A sweet Romance

This delightful Debut from Author, Claire Huston, hits all the right marks to keep the reader turning the pages. Our protagonist, Becky Watson, is a single mom with a two year old. She is juggling motherhood and a return to her work as a Life Coach. She’s gifted at keeping weddings on track, even though her clients are often the spoiled well-to-do in this upscale New England town. Through the sister of a handsome, reclusive artist who needs a reboot, Becky takes Charlie on as a client. She gets more than she bargained for. Charlie, who was once an acclaimed artist, hasn’t painted in years. He is grumpy and depressed because his wife left him years before. He isn’t over it. He hides out in his studio while his young daughter worries he’ll never be the father he once was. Becky, struggling with finances, needs this job so she promises more than she thinks she can deliver. Yet, dedicated life coach that she is, through trial and error, she manages to get Charlie back on track, even though while doing so she begins to fall for his off beat charm. At the same time, Charlie becomes enamored with the gallery curator, the beautiful Rachel, introduced to him by Becky. During the course of getting Charlie back on track, Becky and Charlie find they have more in common then previously thought. They become close friends. But will Charlie see beyond Rachel’s beauty to realize how important Becky has become to him? This heartwarming, contemporary novel keeps the reader engaged throughout. I loved all of the characters and the author’s deep understanding of what motivates each character. I highly recommend this wonderful novel.

Going West: Deep Magic…

This is a wonderful story with photos. My imagination was totally captured with references to King Author’s Stone and Narnia.

France & Vincent

Wales 222

I’d seen the name when I’d planned the route… though ‘planned’ may be stretching things a bit far; I had a vague idea and my companion had a map. From Kilpeck to Rhyader, somewhere near which we would find our hotel, there are perfectly good ‘A’ roads and the fifty mile trip should take no more than about an hour. But with a ‘B’ road that passes through something called Golden Valley, and through villages with names like Kingstone and Dorstone before leading you up a track called Arthur’s Stone Lane… well, the ‘A’ roads were never really an option. Especially when I’d seen ‘King Arthur’s Stone’ marked in telltale brown on the map.

Wales 196

Not that we had any idea what King Arthur’s Stone might be. “Probably just an erratic,” and if so, we would probably miss it. Such things are seldom signposted and one odd boulder in a field…

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Telling Sonny, a novel by Elizabeth Gauffreau


Author, Elizabeth Gauffreau, totally immerses the reader into a by gone time, a time when vaudeville shows captured the imagination of both young and old. It was also a time of innocence. It is 1924 in a rural town in Vermont where time seems to move at a snail’s pace. Or so it seems to Faby, a young girl on the cusp of adulthood. Newly graduated from high school, Faby is waiting for her life to begin. When a handsome young man, a hoofer in the vaudeville show that has entranced Faby, shows interest in her, Faby’s choice leads her into a life for which she is unprepared. Author, Gauffreau, tells Faby’s story with depth and poignancy. This novel is deeply researched and rich with details of life in the early part of the century. With the ease of a writer who knows her craft, the author immerses the reader not only into a bygone time, but into the mindset of a young girl grappling with the unexpected turn her life has taken. It is also a story of family and of the ties that bind.
Poignant and beautifully written, I highly recommend this remarkable novel.

Interview: Women’s Fiction Writers Association

I’m so excited about this novel. Liz is a remarkable writer.

Elizabeth Gauffreau

I am very pleased to share that I was recently interviewed by Maggie Smith of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association for the podcast “Hear Us Roar.” I roar to Maggie about my debut novel Telling Sonny: what the book is about, the process of researching and writing it, and the road to publication.


And of what relevance is the header photograph for this post, you might ask? Why, it’s my very-pleased-with-my-little-self face, of course!

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Series or Standalone: What do Readers Prefer?


What Do Readers Prefer: Series or Standalones?

The advantage to writing a series are many. Marketers like marketing a series. What about readers? According to a survey by Written Word Media, it appears most readers have no preference, though some do prefer a series. This means which ever appeals to a given writer, will appeal to a given reader.

So, whether series or standalone, what keeps a reader turning the pages?

Obviously, readers do not want to be ‘bored’. That goes without saying. So, what really keeps them turning the pages? According to the survey mentioned, they want a plot that keeps them engaged, which means pacing and either tension or suspense. What they don’t want are uninteresting, one dimensional characters and overdone descriptions. Too much narrative or backstory weighs a story down. Grammar mistakes or spelling errors can kick a reader out of their suspension of disbelief. The emphasis needs to be on a well a developed plot and fully dimensional characters. This is essential for both a series and a standalone.

What writers need to know when marketing a series or a standalone.

First, even successful authors realize that offering the first book in the series for free or at a low cost will garner new readers. According to marketers, the economics of writing and selling are easier when authors write a series. This also goes for authors who write standalones. Marketing the first standalone with giveaways or at a reduce cost will garner readers.

What readers like and expect is a book that is in line with their expectations.

This is true from the illustrated cover to the written description of the book. If it is a series, the author must relate this in the description so the reader can expect that some plot threads will be left unresolved. Readers want to be surprised by the unfolding of a story, but definitely not confused by the ending. According to this survey, readers absolutely hate cliff endings. Gently lead the reader to the next in the series. Whether a series or a standalone, unresolved, confusing or unsatisfying endings lead to poor reviews.

Last, though not least, make your books easy to find and to buy. A website with links to your books and reviews will up your readership.