Archive for the ‘Writer Wednesday’ Category

Mary BehreJoin me in welcoming Mary Behre to the blog for this edition of Writer Wednesday. I’ve known Mary for what seems like forever. I think we met for the first time at RWA Nationals in Anaheim, but had exchanged emails before that. Mary is an organizational queen, forever coordinating contests and marshaling volunteers. She’s also another member of the LaLaLa group that I love.

Fun fact: her name rhymes. Before we met in person, I assumed Behre was pronounced “bear”—like a certain hero from JUST RIGHT. But you know what happens when you assume. It’s actually pronounced “Berry”—like the fruit.

In her own words: Award-winning author Mary Behre loves stories with humor, suspense, a touch of the paranormal and above all else, a good romance. She tries not to take herself too seriously, often claiming as the lone female in a house full of males, she’s the undisputed queen. And even has the glittery tiara to prove it. When not writing, she enjoys reading, gluten-free baking, and hanging out at the beach with the most important men in her life, her family.

Mary’s newest book, Harmonized (A Tidewater Novella), continues her popular Tidewater series. It’s Book 2.5 — and it just came out yesterday. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

About the book:

Harmonized | Mary BehreOld lovers reunite on Valentine’s Day to find a missing baby the world thinks is already dead…

After nearly dying on assignment, Tidewater police officer Zig Harmon has been awarded the Silver Star and desk duty. But handling every case that walks through the door while his entire department is out hunting a serial killer is nothing compared to dealing with his former flame, Karma De La Cruz.

As much as she hates it, Karma knows that her best chance of finding the kidnapped baby haunting her visions is the man she once left behind. Forced to work together, Karma and Zig start to realize that they may have let go of something incredible. But now, time is running out, both for the missing infant and for their chance to start again…

Harmonized is already getting some great press:

“Mary Behre consistently delivers a fun, suspenseful read with a delightful paranormal twist.” –Lena Diaz, author of Exit Strategy

And my personal favorite:

“Harmonized hit all the right notes.” –Herding Cats & Burning Soup

I love a good play on words! Read on below this week’s “This or That” questions for a sneak peek. But first, let’s get to know Mary a little better.

Sweet potato fries or regular fries? Oh, regular definitely. I detest sweet potatoes. The best fries are steak cut and coated in Old Bay seasoning. They’re so yummy, I think I’ll go make some right now!

Leather or lace? Leather’s too sweaty and lace is too itchy, so I’ll have to say neither. I’m a cotton or silk girl all the way. I prefer to wear something that breathes. Unless I’m getting dressed up, then it’s silk for me.

Night owl or early bird? Mostly an early bird. Although, when I’m really pushing myself to finish the first draft of a novel, I often sprint with friends in a cyber chat room at night. Still, I usually hit a wall at 11pm my time. LOL

Personal chef or personal trainer? Personal chef. I love to eat well but I hate to cook. One of the first things that had me falling for my husband was he prepared a caesar salad from scratch. Best salad ever. Then he introduced me to marinated flank steak. Yep. He definitely worked his way into my heart through my stomach. 🙂

Writing time: Home office or coffee shop? Neither. I do some of my best writing at the library. Plus, I don’t have to worry about dogs barking, kids yelling, or the phone ringing. Plus, I love the whole shush factor at my local bibliotheca.

A library? That’s a new one for me. I might have to give it a try. I like the whole “no dogs, no phone” thing. (I’d no doubt appreciate the “no kids” part, too, if I had any.)

Now the excerpt you’ve been waiting for:

“You shook my entire belief system to the core when you walked out. The woman I’d fallen in love with was full of compassion and kindness. She wanted to be a nurse. To save the world. But the woman who abandoned me? I couldn’t reconcile her with the woman I loved.

“It was conceivable that the party girl did take the money and run to Cabo. You never called to contradict the story. I didn’t know what was real, and it screwed with my head every time I thought of you. Eventually, I tried not to think about you at all.” 

“Great,” she said, her heart in her throat, choking her almost as badly as his words. “Because I never stopped thinking about you. See, more regrets. Had I just talked to you that day—” 

“We’d have argued.” Zig dropped his arms to his sides and closed the distance between them. “We’d have fought and you’d have still left. I might have chased you, but I couldn’t have stayed in Mexico for four years. We’d have still broken up because eight years ago, we were children trying to act like adults. Today, you’re a woman and I’m a man.” 

“So that’s it? Eight years of pain was for nothing?” Karma didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or kick Zig in the balls.

“No, not for nothing. We had to take separate journeys to get here, to this moment. So I could apologize to you for not fighting harder. Being too young and stupid to see you needed me, even when you thought you didn’t. I’m sorry, Carmelita. Truly sorry.” 

“I’m sorry too,” she said, the fight drained out of her. She’d lost him so long ago but at least she could start over knowing he didn’t hate her anymore. 

“No more apologies, Karma.” Then he silenced her by brushing his lips gently over hers. 

It wasn’t a kiss of old lovers reunited. But it could have been. 

It wasn’t a kiss of promise. But it might have been. 

It wasn’t a kiss of passion. But it was. 

It was all those things and more. The feel of his soft mouth on hers, was old and new, and more than she could have hoped for.

Get Harmonized on your e-reader of choice:   Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Books-A-Million     iBooks

You can find Mary on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or her website,

I got to know Lynn Cahoon, a fellow member of the LaLaLas, at RWA Nationals in San Antonio last summer. Has it really been nearly a year? Yikes. How time flies.

We share a birthday and a love of the support of our LaLaLa sisters. Read more about the LaLaLas here.

Lynn Cahoon Lynn is, according to her rather impressive bio, a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. An Idaho expat, she grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she’s living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series, won the 2015 Reader’s Crown award for Mystery Fiction.

She also writes romance. Her Bull Rider’s Collection is waiting TBR on my Kindle.

Here’s the blurb for her newest release, DRESSED TO KILL:

Dressed to Kill | Lynn CahoonJill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it is for charity…

Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act…and by then, it may be far too late.

Now, on to a round of “This or That.” Please excuse me for having some of the same questions this week as last. I sent them to the authors at different times, but apparently they’re some of my favorites.

Snack of choice: Sweet or salty? Salty, but I LOVE chocolate covered Pretzels.

Car or truck? Ha – SUV. I just got an Equinox and I love it.

Honkin’ big purse or barely-there bag? Big purse, the bigger the better.

Vacation time: Beach or mountains? Since we just bought property up in the woods in central MO, I guess I better say mountains. 🙂

Would you rather travel to the past or the future? Hard one. I’ll say the past. I’d love to meet my parents when they were first together.

Kirk or Picard? Picard, definitely.

If you’d like to get in touch with Lynn,  check out these e-spaces:





This week’s Writer Wednesday is a little different. Instead of talking to a romance writer, I’ve invited Roni Noone and Carla Birnberg, bloggers and authors of “What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms.”

The blurb:

#wycwyc | Roni Noone & Carla BirnbergWe all know we should eat better, exercise more, get better quality rest, and so on. Tell us something we don’t know, right? After all, every statistic we have about Americans and our health proves that no matter how good our intentions are, we are failing to change the habits that undermine our well-being. But how do we achieve our healthy living goals when they’re so daunting? Who has the time, the willpower, the resources to do all that nutritious eating, muscle building, restful sleeping, and work-life balancing?

Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone have the answer to that—the answer is you. You have the power to make healthier living easy and exciting, just by adopting one simple mantra: “What you can when you can.” It’s all you need.

What You Can When You Can (#wycwyc) is a book, a movement, a mindset, and a lifestyle—one that harnesses the power of small steps to let you achieve your health and fitness goals on YOUR terms. The #wycwyc (pronounced “wickwick”) philosophy applies to anything and everything that contributes to a healthy, happy life: nutrition, exercise, physical and mental rejuvenation, and so much more.

The movement has its own hashtag (#wycwyc — pronounced wick-wick) and there’s a podcast, which I eagerly download every week.

You might ask why I’m such a fan? I’ve been following both Roni’s and Carla’s blogs for years, and when I heard they’d be writing a book that summed up this approach to healthy living, I was thrilled.

Too often, I fall into the perfection trap. If I’m not eating according to whatever diet plan I’m trying to follow at the moment, I throw in the towel and binge. If I can’t take an 45-minute walk, I don’t walk at all. #wycwyc is a reminder to strive for progress, not perfection.

We authors can be a particularly unhealthy lot, sitting at our computers for hours on end. Relying on takeout. Downing sugary coffee drinks like they’re going out of style.

Is that just me? Sorry.

But seriously. Life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. With each podcast, tweet and photo on Instagram, Roni and Carla remind me that every moment offers a chance to make a better, healthier decision.

Let’s get to know Roni and Carla with a round of “This or That.”

Snack of choice: sweet or salty?

Roni: Salty then sweet!

Carla: Salty salty salty. Years ago when my daughter was tiny she looked me in the eye one morning and said: Dada has a sweet tooth. I felt pretty prideful for a fleeting moment until she took a breath and continued with: and you have a really bad salt tooth. Ahh well….

Night owl or early bird?

Roni: Ex-Night owl turned early bird. Hey, you got to do what you got to do.

Carla: I am so much of a lark I often cross friends in the hallway – the metaphorical hallway 🙂 – as they are going to sleep and I am getting up to start my day. Especially my friends in the west coast now that I am a central time zone’er.  4 AM. Pretty much seven days a week. I treasure the quiet morning hours for writing.

Cardio or yoga?

Roni: Yoga for sure!! Although I do like a good run now and then.

Carla: Either. I’m a traveler and I will take it to how I can get it.

Would you rather travel to the past or the future?

Roni: Future for sure! I’m fascinated with how much progress we’ve made an a society and culture and I’d love to see what the future holds.

Carla: Either. I’m a traveler and I will take it to how I can get it.

Star Trek captain: Kirk or Picard?

Roni: Hands down, Kirk. Gotta love the cheesy original.

Carla: Either. I’ve never seen an episode. I know, I’ve been told that’s blasphemy.

Note from Arlene: Total blasphemy. Now I’m not sure we can be friends. 😉

Mac or PC?

Roni: Another switch for me. Started out PC and now I’m a MAC user. Although I love Android on my phone.

Carla: I’m a habit gurl. I was PC for decades, but now that I’ve switched to Mac I think I may never go back.

Arlene again: Okay, that redeemed you … Die-hard Mac grrrl in the house!

Get your greens: lettuce or kale?

Roni: Kale. Kale. Kale. Kale. KALE!

Carla: Both but in entirely different fashions: The lettuce is in salads etc. the kale is always shoved into my vitamix blender and whirled until it’s unrecognizable.

It’s vacation time: Beach or mountains?

Roni: Beach. Nothing beats the feel of sand on my feet and the sound of the ocean.

Carla: 20 years ago I would have said beach. I don’t know if it’s growing up or simply changing – but I am a mountain woman now. Long hikes, fresh air, and nights spent reading.

Solo or group exerciser?

Roni: Group all the way! I’m super social and love working out with people.

Carla: My entire approach to fitness is fitting it in where I can. Completely our what you can when you can philosophy. So it all depends on who’s around when I feel the spontaneity and the time is there. If I’m at a playground I usually drag in companions 🙂

With unlimited funds at your disposal, would you hire a personal chef or personal trainer?

Roni: Trainer. I love to cook so this one was easy.

Carla: Neither. I’m such a boring plain eater I don’t need the chef and let’s just say I don’t respond well to personal trainers. I owned a boutique training studio in the early 90s and, while I like to think I was a fantastic trainer, my response to encouragement or people cheering me on is often to stop. I’m an enigma wrapped in a riddle who would probably donate the majority of the funds.

Jocks or nerds?

Roni: I’ve always associated with nerds but the more I workout and get into fitness, jocks are growing on me!

Carla: Both and neither. The older I get the more I’ve learned one label does not fit most individuals. Nocks 🙂

Shopping bags: paper, plastic or reusable?

Roni: *sigh* I would love to say reusable but I usually forget them! So I normally use plastic BUT I get a lot of use from them at home for things.

Carla: Reusable. After spending two years in Oakland California where it was a nonnegotiable I have finally learned to always be prepared. That said, my real answer would probably be backpack. I’m never go anywhere without my backpack and that’s where I tend to shove all of my groceries 🙂

More about the authors:

Carla Birnberg | #wycwycCarla Birnberg is an award-winning writer, speaker, healthy living and fitness expert, community builder, and social media maven. With “unapologetically myself” as her motto, Birnberg encourages others to carve their own unique paths to longer, healthier, and more vibrant lives. She has been published in Woman’s Day, the Wall Street Journal, Runner’s World, Better Homes and Gardens, and Health, in addition to numerous other publications. Shape magazine named Birnberg one of the top 15 fitness gurus to follow on Twitter, alongside Jillian Michaels, and Fitness magazine listed Birnberg’s blog as one of their favorites. To learn more about Carla, visit

Roni Noone | #wycwycRoni Noone has founded and runs several healthy living blogs including Roni’s Weigh, GreenLiteBites, and a supportive online community called BlogToLose, where now more than 6,000 users are blogging to reach their own weight-loss goals. She used her blogs to not only shed 70 pounds, but to start a running habit, get over a fear of weight training, complete two marathons and run seven Tough Mudders, yes, seven. Roni has been featured by many media outlets including CNN, the Today show, Inside Edition, Ladies Home Journal, Everyday Health, Woman’s World, Woman’s Day, and Wired. To learn more about Roni, visit

#wycwyc online:

Anyone want to join me in #wycwyc-ing our way to better health?

Writer Wednesday | Arlene HittleWe’re back!

This week’s Writer Wednesday guest is 2015 Golden Heart Finalist Caroline Bradley. Caroline’s “Indulge My Fantasy” finaled in the new Erotic Romance category, so you know it sizzles.

I’ve known Caroline — or at least her alter ego — for years. She’s tenacious and has a great sense of humor, keeping our little band of writers (the LaLaLas)  merry with her stories. I’ll let her bio speak for itself.

Though she seems like a mild-mannered office worker by day, Caroline Bradley writes at night, all night, every night. “Indulge My Fantasy” is her first toe dipped in the erotic waters but she enjoyed it so much, she’s back for more with her newest work-in-progress, “Heated Competition.” Her alter ego wrote contemporaries until Caroline decided to step in and take a walk on the wild side. She’s having so much fun, she may never go back.

Caroline lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her two teenage sons and a very boisterous cat named Mickey, after Mick from the “Rocky” movies. If you see her, chances are good her body is right there but her imagination is miles and miles away.

“Indulge My Fantasy” is either three 20k word erotic novellas or a 60k word erotic novel. Whoever wants to publish it can decide. 🙂

The blurb: Auto mechanic Grace Bennett is again indulging her mother’s OCD when she crosses paths with a broken down sedan on the side of a snowy country road. The driver is none other than the saving grace to this single woman’s sanity, the hottest actor in Hollywood, Aaron Elias. Snowed in overnight, they relate to each other faster than she thought possible but he has his world in California and she has hers in workaday Philadelphia. She’s certain when they go their separate ways, she’ll only be a passing memory for Aaron.

But she’s not. He brings her out to Malibu and tries to make her a part of his life. Even though they grow closer, in his world she feels like a round peg in a square hole. His life is more of a fantasy than even she could’ve imagined and she retreats back home, ready to put Aaron and his world behind her and go back to her every-day-the-same existence.

In Grace, Aaron has found the grounding he needed. Grace makes him see who he is and what he really wants. Until her, he’s only been mailing in his career, even though he says he wants to shoot for the stars. She shows him how but then she leaves. He chases her back to Philadelphia and makes her see, a little fantasy in life is what makes it worth living.

And because Caroline is letting no grass grow under her feet, she just put out her first book, Heated Competition. Here’s the blurb:

Heated Competition | Caroline BradleyPhys Ed teacher Lindsey Kincaid has spent two years running her ass off to rebuild the life her ex ruined. She depends on her coaching stipend from the cross-country team, and when colleague Gabe Shraeder sets his sights on taking over her team, she can’t back down. Why is the son of one of the richest families in three counties a high school teacher, anyway? Is slumming it the latest trend in noblesse oblige? But the varsity soccer coach is hotter than the track in July, and a harmless beer bet lands her in Gabe’s arms.

Lindsey would prefer if their casual spring break hook-up meant nothing, but Gabe turns out to be anything but casual. His touch reminds of things she misses like intimacy, pleasure, and companionship. With him, she’s not alone anymore; she doesn’t have to fight. But Gabe has secrets of his own.

Is Gabe trying to help her, or does he want to take over her team and her life? She’s done things she regretted to keep the home and the dream she still clings to. What in Gabe’s past will shape Lindsey’s future? In this Heated Competition, can either of them win?

Now, let’s move on to “This or That?”

Snack of choice: Sweet or salty? BOTH! I love mixing the two. Every Christmas (and sometimes before then) my kids and I make what we call Pretzel Buttons. Take Hanover Butter Snap pretzels (wagon wheel style will work too), lay them all flat on a baking sheet, then put an unwrapped Hershey Kiss on each one. Bake in the oven at 250 for 3 minutes. Take the sheet out and press an M&M into each half-melted Kiss (mush them in so the chocolate melts into the pretzel). Let cool and enjoy! (I’ve been told creativity in the kitchen relates to creativity in the bedroom.)

Sneakers or heels? Sneakers all the way. I’m a runner girl. There’s a magnet in my kitchen that says, “Forget the glass slippers; this princess wears running shoes!”

Cardio or yoga? All the above. Cardio because I love to run, yoga for strength and balance. Moderation in everything is key. Unless it’s…well, you know… <wink> Then go get all you can get.

E-book or print? I love my Kindle but books have their place too. I don’t see paper books ever going out of style, but being able to take my Kindle on the elliptical and letting it read to me? Priceless…except the text-to-voice option sometimes mispronounces things. That, too, can be quite amusing.

Bradley Cooper or Brad Pitt? With a name like Caroline Bradley, take a guess. I have a thing for men with blue eyes. Always have, always will. Besides, Brad Pitt is taken. Bradley Cooper is not. Yet. (He hasn’t met me yet.)

Plain ol’ lettuce or super-fancy kale? I actually prefer spinach in my salad to lettuce, but kale chips? OMG. I forget where I found the recipe but it’s the one time I can make two teenage boys fight over vegetables.

Find Caroline at or on Facebook at Caroline Bradley.