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An Unexpected Legacy

September 30, 2023 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , ,

The hall closet was the final frontier for Asher. For three days he’d been chipping away at the house: the trash bin on the porch was overflowing, the growing pile of items marked for donation threatened to topple, and Asher’s patience was worn to a nub. Neither of his siblings could be persuaded to help him with this overwhelming task—despite both of them sharing the same now-deceased father as he.

“Dad’s place is filled with junk,” Asher’s sister told him, after pleading her excuse of a busy schedule. “Just get rid of it all.”

It’s my vacation time, too, he wanted to point out. But Leigh thought her time more valuable because she was the CPA and a mother of two to his no-kid, single-man, dev-ops job.

With a sigh, he pulled down a cardboard box from the top shelf of the closet. He’d lost count of the number of boxes his father had packed into the nooks and crannies of the suburban rancher. Caution was printed in marker across the lid: Do not open. Asher shook the box, but heard no rattle or clunk. A forgotten Christmas present his father had squirreled away? He eased off the lid. Inside, a weighted bundle covered in blue silk filled most of the interior. Unwrapping it, Asher held a goblet that once must have been shiny gold. The cup was etched with faux lettering—It reminded him of a party store prop. Part of a Halloween costume? He tried to picture his father dressed in a Medieval tunic and Arthurian crown, sipping rum and Coke from the cup at a late October party. Nah, not Cooper Plack, whose imagination was limited to whether he could cheat on his annual tax return.

Asher ticked off what he’d found so far that might be worth something—something that would help pay off his father’s debts. It was a short list: a four-year-old Ford sedan parked in the driveway; a pair of diamond studs he’d found in a jewelry box (his late mother’s?) in the master bedroom; a vintage roll-top desk (once Asher cleared out the notebooks, catalogs, and random slips of paper stuffed into it), and now this—a goblet of questionable provenance. 

Eager for a break, Asher carried the goblet into the kitchen and washed it, hoping a little soap and water would bring out the luster it may have once had. He whistled as he scrubbed the fancy cup with a dishcloth. The end of his house-emptying ordeal was in sight.

A sudden pop and flash surprised Asher enough that he almost dropped the goblet. 

Why are we summoned?

The words that Asher heard seemed to float in the kitchen—or were they inside his head?

“Who’s . . . there?” He said this aloud, cautiously.

The only sound he heard back was the faint ticking of the clock on the wall above the microwave. Then . . .

We are the Calet of the Chalice. You know the Decree. State your purpose.

Asher still held the goblet, but it no longer looked tawdry. Instead, it gleamed from within. Clever party gag, he decided, and turned the goblet over to feel for the on/off switch. His fingers found only the smoothness of the goblet’s stem and base; no button, no toggle.

Oh, well. He would play along until the unit’s timer reset. “Ah, a Chalice, is it? Well, then, if it’s magic, I get three wishes, right?”

We will grant one wish.

“Only one?” Just like one of his father’s tchotchkes to act parsimonious. 

Please note that after your wish, the Decree requires we receive something in kind.

Asher laughed. “Dad, where did you find this cheap-ass toy?” He set the goblet back in the sink and dried off his hands with a dish towel. Time to get back to his task.

Cooper Plack found us while dumpster diving along Walnut Avenue.

Frowning, Asher felt a twinge of unease. “Wait. That wasn’t a wish directed at you. It wasn’t even a wish.”

It counts. You should have read the Decree.

“There wasn’t any paperwork in the box,” Asher protested. He felt silly arguing with the toy. Even a toy that somehow knew how it came into his possession. His father a dumpster diver?

You have your wish. Our turn now.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said with a smirk, wishing that he’d never opened the box, never removed the blue silk. “But I’m a nobody. Just a software tech guy.”

Done. We accept that trade.

With another pop and flash, Asher vanished. 


His sister, finally worried that she couldn’t reach him, stopped by their father’s house to investigate. 

“Asher,” she called from the open front door. The word was swallowed by the silent rooms. He’d made more progress with the de-cluttering project than she expected. But where was he?

In the kitchen, she surveyed an open cardboard box, a yard of blue silk, and in the sink, a shiny goblet. But still no Asher.

She picked up the ornate cup and rotated it to study the antique lettering around its middle. Was this for real? She rubbed at a smudge near the rim.


Stumbling back from the sink, Leigh dropped the goblet on the table as though it were scalding. 

Why are we summoned? 

A haughty voice filled her head, but underlying it she could make out an urgent murmur of others, and one in particular caught her ear.

“Asher?” she said. “Where are you?”

Run, Leigh, run.

And she did. Out the door, slamming it behind her.

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9 Authors, 9 Interconnected Stories

September 28, 2023 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Under the Harvest Moon

We’re less than two weeks away from the release of the latest Bluestocking Belles collection of historical romances, Under the Harvest Moon.

All new original stories by authors Caroline Warfield, Jude Knight, Sherry Ewing, Cerise DeLand, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Collette Cameron, Mary Lancaster, Rue Allyn, and me are set at harvest time in 1815, in the small fictional town of Reabridge in Cheshire, England.

Here’s the blurb:

As the village of Reabridge in Cheshire prepares for the first Harvest Festival following Waterloo, families are overjoyed to welcome back their loved ones from the war.

But excitement quickly turns to mystery when mere weeks before the festival, an orphaned child turns up in the town—a toddler born near Toulouse to an English mother who left clues that tie her to Reabridge.

With two prominent families feuding for generations and the central event of the Harvest Moon festival looming, tensions rise, and secrets begin to surface.

Nine award winning and bestselling authors have combined their talents to create this engaging and enchanting collection of interrelated tales. Under the Harvest Moon promises an unforgettable read for fans of Regency romance.

A Team Effort in Planning

The members of the Bluestocking Belles plus participating author friends Collette Cameron and Mary Lancaster are spread out all over the globe. Thank heavens for the wonders of social media, messaging, Google Drive, and Zoom that make communication and collaboration rapid and easy. Or at least easier!

The hardest aspect of organizing was finding a good time for a Zoom meeting that would accommodate Elizabeth in Australia, Jude in New Zealand, Mary in Scotland, Rue in Nicaragua, and the rest of us scattered over U.S. Eastern, Central, and Pacific time.

But we did it, and just about a year ago, after much preliminary research and chatting, we finalized our story world and deadlines as a group and then each presented ideas for the individual characters and stories. Later, we shared in beta-reading drafts and final copy before submission to Jude Knight (who is also an editor) for the final editing.

When a character wandered into another author’s story, the creating authors chatted separately. So, for example, my heroine, Fleur, encountered the heroine of Rue’s story, Charite, and offered a description through Fleur’s point of view that had to be adjusted after Rue’s critique and input. Caro’s doctor hero appears briefly in my story, in one scene with my hero, and later in a scene at the home where my heroine resides where he’s come to deliver a baby.

There’s more, yet each story is a standalone romance delivered in each author’s unique voice. You can preorder your copy for only 99 cents and have it pop onto your eReader on release day, October 10th.

The special pricing will be good through October 17th. Plus, if you haven’t read last year’s Bluestocking Belles collection, Desperate Daughters, you can pick up a copy of that for only 99 cents through October 4th!

And Here Are the Stories: Under the Harvest Moon

Moonlight Wishes and Midnight Kisses by Collette Cameron
A scarred veteran with no future, Courtland Marlow-Westbrook wants to be left alone. Scottish heiress Avery Levingtone never stopped loving him and is determined to win his love again. Will these former sweethearts find happiness together, or will the wounds of the past keep them apart?

The Morning Light by Caroline Warfield

Adam Wagner is meant to save lives, not take them. He is haunted by Waterloo. The horror of it keeps him from those he loves. Meg Barlow doesn’t understand how Adam could turn his back on her so thoroughly, but she isn’t about to let him get away with it.

A Harvest Blessing by Rue Allen
All the battles are over, or are they? When Captain Thom Owen is forced into a false engagement, he must escort his pseudo-fiancée home to meet his father. Can an English vicar’s son and a French Comte’s daughter find love despite their differences?

Coming Home by Mary Lancaster

Old memories, new love
Home from Waterloo, Captain David Buckley contemplates settling down near his hometown of Reabridge—only it is full of painful memories. The mysterious Lady Lorna falls literally into his arms, and he begin to understand the true meaning of love and home.

Under the Champagne Moon by Alina K Field

Fleur Hardouin’s heart longs for Captain Gareth Ardleigh, but she needs an advantageous marriage.
Gareth has promised to find Fleur—on behalf of another man.
Now he must choose between honoring a promise and trying to win the hand of the woman he loves.

A Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Widowed at Waterloo, where she also nursed the wounded, Veronica Petersham promised a dying man to bring his effects to a family in Reabridge. She falls ill just short of her goal, in the milking shed of kind and stoic Martin Bromelton.
Perhaps there is hope for the future after all and the opportunity to find love once more.

A Love Beyond Time by Sherry Ewing
Eight years ago, Hannah Pownall had her heart broken by a young lord.
Captain Brandon Worthington returns to the town of Reabridge to recover from the war and finds the girl he once loved still unwed. Can love at first sight be reborn after heartbreak, proving a second chance is all you need?

The Widow’s Harvest Hope by Cerise DeLand

The new Earl Barlow returns home from Waterloo, intending to live by his own rules. The woman he loved and lost years ago visits for the Harvest festival—and he plans to offer Vicky Wright what they both want. Can a lady who has lived by the rules throw them all away to seize her last chance for happiness?

Love In Its Season by Jude Knight

The Battle of Waterloo lost Jack Wrath the use of one arm and ended his career in the cavalry. He has no place to go and nothing to offer. Gwen Hughes has a business to run and no time for romance. Under the harvest moon, two people who believe romance has passed them by finally reach their season for love.

Amazon –

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Happy autumn! I’ll be back with another post in December.

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Places of Everyday Inspiration

September 15, 2023 by in category Writing tagged as

It’s fall!!! Well, kind of. My husband’s birthday is this weekend and he likes to remind me that technically his birthday is still in summer. But, it’s almost fall and it feels like fall – that counts, right? The leaves in Minnesota are starting to change, there’s pumpkin spice favoring everywhere you turn, kids are back in school, the stores are out of chili beans, and the temperatures are dropping.

One of my absolute favorite parts about fall is taking outdoor walks. I do this year-round, but let’s be honest, fall is definitely the most optimal time of the year. No need to wear extra bundles of clothing and worry about your face freezing off, or shed clothes like crazy and have sweat pour down your back.

landscape field and trees
Photo by Simon Berger on

I started walking outside during the pandemic as a way to escape the four walls of my house and keep my mental health in check. It’s since grown into one of my favorite pastimes. I queue up an audio book, grab the dog, and take a walk during my lunch. Sometimes my husband joins me and it has become a way for us to have meaningful, adult conversations without tiny voices interrupting us. I also find that this time has been a great source of inspiration to me as a writer. Very frequently an idea will come to me during my walk that requires me to stop and make a note in my phone.

Unfortunately, my “day job” company recently decided to adjust our hybrid work policy in a way that now requires us return to the office more often than not. This means that I need to say goodbye to my lunchtime walks. Side note – My office is not located in a place that is conducive to outdoor walking.

I find myself now mourning my midday outdoor walks and the everyday inspiration they’d bring me as a writer. I’m now leaning heavily on the other places that bring me inspiration. They are as follows:

1. The shower. It’s weird, but it works.
2. The car. Not so great for taking notes, but usually pretty effective for generating ideas.
3. Vacations. Doesn’t happen as often as I wish they would, but usually great writing time for me.

What are you favorite places and/or activities to spark creative thinking?

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When a writer’s best-kept secrets inspire a novel… and that writer is me by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2023 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Writers have secrets.

Even when we don’t want them to, those secrets sneak into our stories. Subtle at first, a moment in your heroine’s life that mirrors something awful you lived through. You shiver. How’d that get in there? Oh-oh, it’s flashback time. I’m not going there again… am I?

You dismiss it at first, then you fixate on those moments. They fester, begging for attention. Like the scar covering an old wound, it’s always there to remind you. 

That’s what happened to me when I was working on Sisters at War.

My two worlds collided head-on—my writing world with my past.

When I look back on my life, it’s been a wild ride. I traveled a lot, lived in different places, had crazy jobs, but I kept going and never spoke about what happened to me because you just didn’t.

I was sexually assaulted.

And I was ashamed.

When I saw the same thing happening to women in the Ukraine (rape by Russian soldiers), it hit me in the gut. I asked myself, why don’t things ever change? Why must women always be victims? Would they, if women spoke up? Told their stories? Should I tell my stories?

No, I said. People will judge me. Let it be. It’s over. Done.

Me back in the day…

Then when I was researching WW2, I came across the horrible sexual violence the Nazis did to women prisoners (I decided to concentrate on the emotional wounds instead). Then I discovered something that infuriated me. At the Nuremberg Trials, they kept out rape victims’ testimony because, and I quote, they didn’t ‘want a bunch of crying women in the courtroom’.

I was livid.

That’s when it became clear to me I had to write Sisters at War no holds barred. And I did. It’s raw in places, gut-wrenching, emotional, but in the end it’s a story about love, courage, and redemption.

I told the story of women assaulted during WW2 through the eyes of two sisters. Meet the Beaufort Sisters in Occupied Paris. Eve and Justine. They were once painted by a famous artist when they were fourteen and sixteen. The painting became known as ‘The Daisy Sisters’; then in August 1940, the SS stormed their home and stole the painting.

And one of the sisters.

The story continues with how each sister copes with the aftermath of sexual violence, how it affects her part in the war, and the men in their lives who stand by them.

The early reviews have been amazing:

‘A must read for anyone’

‘Hard hitting and heart breaking’

‘An absolutely gripping, powerful story’

Then a question popped up from more than one reviewer: Will there be a sequel? Yes!

I’m writing book 2 now about the Beaufort Sisters and continuing their story through the war and afterward. I admit, I’m petrified writing the sequel, praying I can make it as exciting and inspiring as ‘Sisters at War’.

Well, there you have it. My secrets are out in the open. I recounted what happened to me in the Acknowledgements of Sisters of War so readers will know the words of my heroine, her emotions, guilt, shame, and choices come from a real place. Along with the healing that still goes on. My editor said my acknowledgements were the bravest she’d ever read. Brave? I don’t know. Emotional, truthful. A cleansing. It was time.

 I hope readers give my story a chance. I hope you give my story a chance.

Thank you for listening.



Who are the Beaufort Sisters?

They’re beautiful

They’re smart

They’re dangerous

They’re at war with the Nazis… and each other.






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September 5, 2023 by in category Writing

Happy September. It really feels like time is zipping by on a bullet train. It seems like August was jam packed for me. I was blessed with a mini holiday. In the midst of prepping for my trip, I forgot to post on my scheduled day. Have you ever tried to send an email or post something in that brief pre-flight window before they kill the wi-fi? Trust me, that’s not a good move.

I don’t know what happened to my original post. During all the chaos of prepping for a much needed break, I had written a couple of posts. I wanted to share my thoughts on something I was prepping for, but I ended up posting about something else. Which turns out to be okay, because my schedule has been a little sidetracked due to some emergency dental work.

So here’s the first part of a series on prepping for a mega book conference and signing. Excuse the tense. This was written in future and now it’s the past.

In case I hadn’t mentioned it, I’m excited to be signing at the inaugural Steamy Lit Con later this month (August). This is my first mega signing and I was surprised at the amount of prep it required.

I had a lot of questions. At the top of the list,how many books to take? Followed by what kind of swag to take and how much?…What titles to take so I could set up a preorder?…Table decor…what to wear?…Can I bring an assistant?

It seemed like the list of questions was endless. Then I started noticing in the author group there was a lot of conversation about exclusives. My mind was buzzing. I didn’t have an exclusive book or product.

I was growing overwhelmed with each post I read. I finally reached out to couple of veteran mega book signing authors for clarity because the answers I was getting were all over the place.

Check out some of the questions and answers.
How many books to take?
50 – 100 copies per title
200 per title
Don’t take every title, but take about 20 – 40 per of the ones you bring
If it’s a series, bring 20+/- of book one

What Swag to bring?
Bookmarks for sure
Pens, Stickers and bag clips

You definitely need a sign
I only do table top signs
I hate those retractable banners
I use a custom table cloth or drape

Forms of payment…do you charge tax?
Get a QR code
My website
Bring a lot of change
Yes, charge tax
Figure tax into the price

Do you discount your books?

I’m not exaggerating when I say it took me about a month to come up with a plan. Originally, based on some early information, I thought I was going to need A LOT of books. I was basing this on what I’d seen on various social media posts. If I’d stuck with that plan, I was going to order a few books every month so I wouldn’t have to do large orders. Well that never happened.

So here’s what I did.

Created a show inventory
I have a few titles and knew I didn’t want to bring everything. I knew I wanted to take my most popular series, The Good Girl and The Alex Chronicles. I also wanted to take my duet, A Southern Gentleman. I hadn’t intended to take my other series Generational Curse, but it’s going…I’ll explain why later. Plus I wanted to take my stand-alone.

Let me explain. If this weren’t a local event and if it weren’t the first time I’d be meeting these readers, I’d have take fewer titles. My two main series have five books each. When you add in the duet and stand-alones, it begins to look like a book store.

I did a preorder.
I did this because it would help with figuring out what to order. I was hoping for a lot of preorders. I received three…technically it was four. My mom/show assistant was generous to place a preorder. This was two more than the last time I did an event with a preorder. I understand the low number is because I’m a relative unknown…I’m working to change that.

Two of the preorders came from books I was on the fence about taking. I figured if I got preorders on them, I’d take them. That’s how I ended up taking the Generational Curse series and the anthology I was in earlier this year. For the record, I always intended to purchase a few copies of the anthology. I just hadn’t gotten around to doing so. The other reason I wasn’t too eager to bring Generational Curse, is because I’m working on a series update.

How many books did I order?
I took the advice of the veteran authors and focused on the first book in the series. No matter how much I want people who have never read me to buy the entire series, I couldn’t order based on that. Instead, I ordered 20 of the first two books in each series and the first in the duet. Then five of everything else. This was a game changer. I write big books and if I’d gone with the other advice, it would have cost me a few thousand dollars.

I’ll stop here, otherwise this post will begin to resemble a novella. I hope this helps as you prepare for your next book signing.


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