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The Write Spirit by Jenny Jensen

December 19, 2017 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , ,

The Write Spirit | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of OrangeWe’re in the midst of the celebration season: Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Cuanza, Wilkie Thumbnoggin. (Okay, that last one is just me but he’s a dear old friend and I only hear from him at this time of year; he leads such an interesting life. Can’t wait to hear what’s happened since that kerfuffle last year on the Isle of Jersey with the sea lions and Prince Charles.) It’s also the season of giving – or if giving isn’t practical, then sharing.


I’d like to share with you some wonderful books – the fiction kind – about writing. We’re all readers and writers and we all read and write for different reasons. I read to learn something, to escape, to relax, to be entertained and, of course, to edit. But sometimes I read for therapy (as a 21st century American, I need a lot of therapy). My favorite therapy books are the fictional tales about writers. These stories deal so satisfyingly with the fears, annoyances and obstacles I run up against in my work in the same way you experience them in yours.


There’s nothing like a good writer examining the perils and pains of their craft through the lens of fiction. It’s not only enjoyable but also comforting to read an author’s take on the hazards we all face when we sit down to write.  They address the dreaded writer’s block, the struggle for discipline, the angst of working with publishers and dealing with fans (think King’s Misery). The concept of a writer writing about writing is rich with a million possible premises because this business is – and always will be – about limitless possibilities.

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Here are five of my picks. Some you may already have read but if not, I hope you’ll enjoy them.

The Write Spirit | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange


Foul Matter, Martha Grimes (2004)

Ms. Grimes gives a grand romp through the egos, posturing and Machiavellian plotting of the industry of writing.



The Write Spirit | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange


Blind Submission: A Novel, Debra Ginsberg (2006)

A wonderful indie look at delicate author sensibilities, the struggle for those next 1,000 words and the uses of an editor.



The Write Spirit | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange


Piranha to Scurfy and Other Stories, Ruth Rendell (2001)

The title story offers the most satisfying rebuttal (or is it revenge?) to those obsessive readers who cannot let go of what they perceive to be a misplaced comma or an ‘incorrectly’ used word.


The Write Spirit | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange


Plot It Yourself, Rex Stout (1959)

Every writer fears a charge of plagiarism. This tale is about a sort of reverse plagiarism and makes me ponder the infinite possibilities one can spin off an original premise.



The Write Spirit | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Truman Capote (1958)

We never learn much about the narrator except that he’s a struggling writer. It’s through this writer’s eye that a rather tawdry story becomes magical. It’s the narrator’s portrayal of Holly Golightly, the way he invests her with an almost mystical quality that reaffirms for me the power of a writer’s vision.



If you can add to this list, I hope you will share. I’d love to read those tales about writing that have given you, if not therapy, at least a little wry solace. So happy reading and celebrate well this season!


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Happy Holidays! by @lindaojohnston

December 6, 2017 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , ,

Happy Holidays! | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of Orange


Happy Holidays!


I’ll be missing another OCC meeting this month.  This holiday season, I’ve unfortunately had a lot of conflicts between events I want to attend.  Last weekend, I managed to stop in at a lunchtime party given by a dog club I belong to, then head to a joint party given by the local chapters of both Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Next weekend, when OCC meets, I will be at the Glendale Author Signing Festival.  Unfortunately, there’s no way I can work out being in both Brea and Glendale at the same time.  Wish I could–especially since this month’s program sounds great!

I’m just hoping that next year is more flexible.  I have belonged to OCC for quite a while and love it and its members.  Getting to more meetings is definitely a goal of mine, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

So, hopefully, see you in January!  And I’ll have lots of news next year…


Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published 52 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels.  More than twenty-five of them are romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne.  Her latest release is Colton 911: Caught in the Crossfire, for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

She has also written several mystery series including  the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.  Nearly all Linda’s current stories involve dogs!

Linda enjoys hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.LindaOJohnston.com and friend her on Facebook.


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COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)


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Life and Times of the 1950s: Vintage Holidays by @JanetLynn4

December 3, 2017 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

Vintage Holidays | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

Vintage Holidays


During the 1950s holiday parties happened all month long. They included everything from Company dinners and dancing, Club/organization award dinners, to neighborhood parties. If the evening wasn’t a Black tie affair, dress was “Cocktail” or “After Five”. A great deal of time was spent by both men and women in preparing their holiday outfit. Many women made their outfits for the occasion or re-designed old dresses. Suburbanites who had jobs in the city but lived in the “burbs” realized they didn’t need to travel to the city in order to enjoy the holiday season. Simple to lavish affairs were planned in neighborhoods and by organizations in their local area. Still, fashion was important, regardless of where they live
Men of the ’50s were polished head to toe with stylish hats, suits, handkerchiefs, coordinated ties, socks and Wingtip shoes. Suits were slim fitting and skinny ties were the1950s fashion. Men pulled out the jewelry: collar bars, lapel pins, cufflinks, tie clips and most important…a watch. Many wore some of it or all depending on the event.

Women also followed the trend of the day with dresses that were cinched at the waist and dramatic necklines. In an effort to look coordinated, parures (matching sets of jewelry) were popular. These pieces were designed to be worn as a set. The women wore matching earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins and rings. They strived for the “coordinating” look.

(Note: My mother-in-law, who lived overseas, was a “fashionista” of her time, 40s, 50s, 60s. Her strategy was to make or buy an evening dress that was full and long. Each year (with the help of fashion magazines) she would re-shape the dress by making the skirt less full, changing the sleeve and the neckline. The original dress was reshaped up to five times and they were beautiful each time.

As a youth, I lived in Long Island, New York in the 1950s, and my mother and several neighbor women did the same thing with store-bought evening dresses to keep within the yearly budget. This is how important fashion was in the 1950s.)

Everyone paid a great deal of attention to the coats they wore when they arrived at parties. After all, that was the first thing people saw when you stepped through the door. Full swing coats were popular for women, depending on where you lived and the temperature. Men wore full length coats. And again, the coats, for both sexes, were accessorized, i.e., pins, corsages or boutonnieres of artificial flowers, gloves, hat, etc.

After all, the holidays were the time to pull out all the stops.

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Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Website: www.janetlynnauthor.com
Blog: www.themarriedauthors.blogspot.com

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Veterans Day: a soldier with PTSD finds his way home by way of a Christmas Piano Tree

November 11, 2017 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , ,

Veterans Day is for healing…let’s not forget our wounded warriors who suffer not only the physical pains of war, but the mental as well.

PTSD was first talked about during the Civil War by physicians who described it as nostalgia, while others believed it was a disturbance of a soldier’s mental capabilities caused by severe trauma to the brain.

After World War II, John Huston directed a documentary called Let There Be Light, about the care of soldiers with mental disturbances suffered during wartime.

These are wounds you don’t see.

But they are very real to the soldier with PTSD.

In my holiday romance, “The Christmas Piano Tree,” the hero, Sgt. Jared Milano, is a wounded warrior suffering from PTSD from his last mission in Afghanistan:

“His brain went into freefall and he couldn’t stop it. No matter how hard he tried, how much he squeezed his mind, the memory stayed lost in a thick, suffocating fog swirling around in his head.


Dead and forgotten.

Angry, frustrated, he tried to reach out and grab it, but whatever his buddy said to him before he died remained silent and still in his mind.

When would he remember? When?”



The Christmas Piano Tree” is the story of a pretty young war widow who re-discovers the magic of the holiday season with the help of a homeless vet and an old piano.

I’ll never forget the Christmas I spent stationed overseas in a small town in Italy. The hot chocolate and cookies I baked and gave to the soldiers who signed up for my Christmas Eve Midnight Mass tour. Off we went on that wintry night in an old military school bus…

We were a motley group of military and Special Services personnel attending the service in a medieval cathedral that was cold and damp, but filled with song and hope for a better future.

Many of those men had seen the horrors of combat and suffered from PTSD (what we called DSS–delayed-stress syndrome–back then). Their stories as they told them to me have stayed with me always…

Thank you for spending part of your Veterans Day here with me. We thank all those who have served for their courage and bravery in keeping us and our families safe. God bless you.


The Christmas Piano Tree is available on Kindle and KindleUnlimited.


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Hop aboard The Magic Christmas Train — nominate my book & get a Free copy from Amazon if it’s selected for publication by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2017 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Magic Christmas Train from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Ever since I could hold a microphone, I haven’t stopped telling stories. I used to record fairy tales on an old tape recorder when I was a kid . . . then later I went on to radio doing live commercials, news, voiceovers, interviews, talk radio, etc.

I love to tell stories and add pictures and music.

Which is why I couldn’t resist putting together this 2:00 video about my Kindle Scout book “The Magic Christmas Tree.” Imagine if you could go back to a special Christmas, see family and friends you miss, and change the course of your life . . . and save the man you love from being killed overseas during World War 2.

If you ever wanted to go home again . . . this is the story for you!

A hot, sexy hero, a spunky heroine who tries to save him, and the magic of a small town Christmas . . . and plenty of good food!

So hop aboard the Magic Christmas Train and meet the Arden Family doing their best to support the troops during that Christmas of 1943.

I’d really appreciate your nomination . . . part of the process is getting your book “Hot” and it’s not easy! So any help is much appreciated. Thank you!

You can check out The Magic Christmas Train HERE =



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