Tips & Bits

The Sons Of A Gun Series is here!

For the past year, I’ve been creating a new historical western romance series and I cannot tell you how much fun it has been. HWR is my first reading and writing love, and the five books in this series were a joy to write. Happy reading!

So proud!

A big congratulations to my fellow Thurston authors. I cannot be more proud of the ten remarkable ladies who joined me in creating the Thurston Hotel Series. Thanks, ladies, for playing nice in the sandbox and writing such great stories.  Great job!

July 15, 2014 will be memorable for me forever. Today, I submitted my application for PAN (Published Author Network) membership to RWA (Romance Writers of America) head office in Houston, TX. Feeling like I’m truly an author!

How many times have you heard the expression ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? Well, it’s the cover that first attracts me to a novel. Cover art is huge and every author strives for the most striking cover possible to showcase their hard work. Design artists, like Su Kupil who designed most of my covers, are exceptionally-talented people. I love every one of her creations. Find her at if you’re in the market for her services. So, next time you’re considering a book purchase, take a few seconds and really study the work of art that is the cover!


Every little girl reads fairy tales with this classic ending. And some of those girls grow up and write stories with a happily-ever-after ending for the heroes and heroines. Whether it’s a sweet romance or something a little spicy. A contemporary career gal or a schoolmarm in a historical western… for me, it’s got to be a happily-ever-after ending. Ah, you’ve gotta love a good romance!

Click on the SPIRIT CREEK SERIES tab above for a sneak peek at some of the citizens of Spirit Creek. And Mayor Randy Barker left you a few words of welcome to town.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY EVERYONE! Have a green beer for me!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! Watch for my historical western romance project, The Spirit Creek Series, coming in 2014.

One advantage to all this snow… I’m definitely in the mood to complete my Christmas shopping!

October… There’s a nip in the air, but Mother Nature is wearing her prettiest finery. I absolutely love autumn!

Most of June felt like April, now we’re getting summer in September! Not complaining, just saying… Loving the wonderful weather these days. Keep it up Mother Nature!

Happy Labour Day Long Weekend, Everyone!

Is it just me, or is summer zipping by too quickly? Yeah, I thought it wasn’t just me. Now, what are we going to do about it?

When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, “Plot twist!” and move on.

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” Gloria Steinem.

Oh yeah. My fellow authors know it’s true!

With all the horrendous weather occurring here on Earth lately, maybe that one-way ticket to Mars idea isn’t so crazy after all.

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Another one from Twitter…

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all you have to do is… write!

Oh, fellow authors, isn’t that the truth!

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I chuckled when I read this on Twitter today.

“Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.” — Lawrence Kasdan

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Okay, that sounds like a good title for a romance novel. But not so. I’d like to share my guilty pleasure with you. Something I enjoy as a stress reliever, and it keeps me out of the kitchen when I ‘think’ I need to eat a cookie. Here it is <drum roll, please> Online jigsaw puzzles. Yep, give me a challenging 150 piece puzzle and soon my brain is asking ‘what cookie?’. Check it out
Best part… it’s free!

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Have you broken a resolution already? I prefer to consider them as ‘GOALS’ and if I meet them fine. If not, then I rework them and carry on. What’s most important? NEVER GIVE UP. If your goal is worth dreaming, it’s worth achieving! Go for it!

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Winter means the flu and colds and coughs. Yuck! But now’s the time to prepare. Clean out your medicine cabinet and throw out all those over-the-counter remedies that are past their expiration date and return all unused prescription drugs to the pharmacy for disposal! While you’re there, replace all the products you’ll require when an illness strikes. Better now than on the morning you wake up and feel like you’ve been run over by a truck!

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True or False?

Eat cookie dough because the calories don’t fully form unless you bake them.

Come on, people! As much as we hate to admit it…False!

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The holiday party season is just around the corner.

Want to lose a few pounds before you go shopping for that perfect outfit or dress?

Join TOPS now. Check out the TOPS website.

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Interesting Quote:

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.

– Richard Bach, author Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s !

efestival of Words

Best of the Independent eBook Award Winners from CaRWA

For General Fiction

Finding Emma by Steena Holmes


Best Cover Art

Death at Bandit Creek by Amy Jo Fleming (April Martinez, artist)

Way to go, ladies! So proud of you!

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Summer has 93 days

June 20 to September 21.

Yikes! Summer is almost half gone!

Only five more weekends with the kids before they head back to school. I hear you. Some mothers are saying still five more, while others are lamenting only five!

Here are three great websites — there are lots more out there — to find interesting and fun ideas for spending time with your kids!

Spend quality time in the sunshine! But Remember the Sunscreen! Have Fun!




Yes, you know I’m talking about ‘Farmers’ Markets’! Please check out your local venue and pick up some fresh veggies and fruits to serve your family (there’s another lovely ‘F’ word) this week. As well, you’ll find homemade jams, breads, fresh meats, and dozens of other interesting things. Grab some lunch or a healthy snack from one of the food vendors, and share some quality family time. Let the kids pick out a new fruit or veggie to try. And allow them to help prepare dinner with you. (Yes, they’ll make a mess, but the memories created will be well worth it). And teach them to help with the cleanup, too! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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The weather is warming up, and summer is around the corner. Time to pump up the vitamin ‘W’. What the heck is vitamin ‘W’ you ask? Walking! Whether on the sidewalk, at the neighborhood park, on a treadmill on a rainy day, or through your local shopping mall, just get out there and start walking. All it costs is a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers. And there’s no better exercise for heart health, better sleep and cancer prevention. Lace up those shoes and let’s go!

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Just a reminder that your local Farmers’ Markets are open every weekend or on whatever designated day in the smaller communities. Please patronize these local growers. Their produce is fresh and often organically grown. There is nothing more tasty or a healthier choice than produce fresh from the farmers’ fields! Enjoy! And I’ll see you at the market this weekend!

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Please indulge me for a second while I say Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mother. She is 88 and only quit golfing a few years ago. She is quite spry, physically active, and eats healthy. For years she has assured her doctor, and anyone else who would listen, that she intends to live to be ninety. I don’t doubt it for a minute. Being so close to her goal, she may raise the stakes and go for ninety-five. Go, Mom!

As a mother myself, I believe mothers are the most important people in the world. We’re gifted with the blessing of children and then without a manual to guide us, we’re entrusted with the responsibility of guiding these beautiful little people toward adulthood. We’re given the daunting task of leading them down the path to serve the community in a productive manner and to live the best possible life their way.

My hat is off to every woman who has willingly accepted the challenge of motherhood and survived. There’s a saying that goes something like this: ‘Being a grandparent is the reward for not killing your teenagers’. I know you’re smiling, especially if you’ve raised one or more teenagers. But being a grandparent is a blessing, and I’m so proud of my own three wonderful grandkids.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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If you’re looking for a healthy snack alternative, you should consider popcorn. Yep, just plain popcorn, preferably air popped, without toppings. Popcorn is an unprocessed whole grain loaded with polyphenols – an antioxydant that helps lower cholesterol and helps prevent cancer.Popcorn contains less fat and less calories than many of the more common snack foods. Even the lite variety of microwave popcorn is acceptable at 75 calories for 3 cups. Just remember – no added toppings!

To keep you from reaching for those higher calorie snacks, pop a bowl of popcorn and leave it on the counter. When a snack attack happens, scoop up a small bowlful and munch away! Enjoy your guilt-free snack!

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One of the best ways to control calorie intake is to record the description and amount of every morsel of food that you eat. Seeing your food intake in black and white in a food journal increases awareness of exactly how many calories you are consuming every day. And believe me, at first, total calorie intake will be more than you expected.

Study the results and decide where you’re going wrong. Too many snacks? Portions are too big? Too many carbs? Not enough protein? Snacking in the evenings?

Follow your doctor’s suggested calorie intake for your personal requirements, and good luck with shedding those extra pounds.

But remember the first step toward success – if you bite it, you write it!


On Twitter, Debra Burroughs posted this quote – “Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.” – Unknown.

Yes, I laughed, too. But seriously, exercise is our friend. Whether young or old, male or female, fit exercise into your busy day. Your body will thank you for it.

Excuse me, please, I have a date with my treadmill.

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I reinvented myself by joining TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), losing weight to goal, and maintaining that weight loss for six years. As a KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) I still need to exercise every week.

During a TOPS retreat, I was introduced to a Two Mile Walk-Away-The-Pounds Leslie Sansone Walking DVD. Suddenly, rain or shine, snow or sleet, I could fit walking into my weekly commitments. No more excuses! Don’t you hate it when that happens? Your waistline and your heart, however, will thank you for it!

Reinvent yourself!

Check out Leslie’s DVDs at and begin the walking habit.

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Millions and millions of Canadians and Americans are obese or overweight. And until six years ago, I was one of them. I am so thankful I was introduced to TOPS by a co-worker. Taking that first step was scary. But attending my first TOPS meeting changed my life and extended it by a good many years, too.

The TOPS’ mission is to support our members, as they take off and keep off pounds sensibly. In my opinion, there isn’t another weight loss organization today that provides better support to its members while they lose weight to goal by following a sensible eating plan and participating in moderate exercise suitable for their level of fitness.

For more information on TOPS INC. and to find a chapter near you, please visit

Like the approx. 153,000 TOPS members in the U.S. and Canada, you will be glad you did.

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Welcome to Tips and Bits.

As you’ve probably noticed on this website, I love all things orange. Sunset is my favourite time of day, autumn is my favourite season, and tiger lilies are my favourite flower. And I adore cute orange and white kittens like this one who appears to be listening to every word.









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