Tag Archives: celebrate

Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

Toot the old horn…or not?  Warning: blatant self-promotion coming up!hands on keyboard

Writers live in a cave of their own making. Caves are necessary because writing is done alone. Sometimes, it’s lonely work. At other times, the characters are so alive, so in your face, filling the cave with chatter, chatter, chatter. Perhaps too much of a good thing 🙂

My goal as a writer is to come out of the cave’s darkness and into the light of day. I’m talking about PUBLICATION. What satisfaction!  What accomplishment!  What j-o-y….  Oh, yeah? Not so fast, my friends.  After giving birth to the baby, what happens next? How do we cave-dwellers know if anyone likes or appreciates or cares about our beautiful labor of love?

We don’t know. Except for two things: reviews and sales. Personal emails are nice too, but we live for reviews. They are the only feedback we get after sending our child nekked into the world. So, now I’ll share with you what some readers and reviewers are saying on Amazon about my newest babies starting with the novel, Family Interrupted:

This one's also on my shelf! And in my e-reader.

This one’s also on my shelf! And in my e-reader.

Barbara, a reader, says:  Read this book! Amazing book. From beginning to end it keeps your interest.

Bookaweek, a review site: I’ll read more by Linda Barrett.

Sue, a reader, says: I loved this book. I was so hoping for a happy ending, and it was better than I had hoped for.

Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews: An emotional roller-coaster ride

Allison, a reader, says: Great story! Ms. Barrett’s writing is engaging and her character’s are very real.

FAMILY INTERRUPTED  received 4 and 5 star reviews from these readers and others. Nothing less. Just check the reviews on Amazon and see for yourself.  So, I’m happy and proud. And hope that you’ll help me spread the word about the book.

Available October 3rd

Available October 3rd

HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER was released two weeks ago, so it hasn’t garnered as many reviews, but I’m very pleased with what’s been said so far:

Joni Rodgers, NYT bestselling author says: Linda Barrett’s frank, funny memoir delivers an honest account of her difficult journey…Highly recommending for the newly diagnosed.

Jane Perrine, author and reader gave it 5 stars!  She says: Emotional tale beautifully told. …Linda’s strength and wit kept me reading. She’s completely honest and shares intimate details of those years but not in a way to make the reader uncomfortable.


Celebrate copy

And now we come to Celebrate! my youngest offering, an anthology only five days old:  Welcome to the world, baby!  You’re beautiful. Sweet. Romantic. And full of second chances at love. Not to mention a great line up of writers starting with NYT Bestselling author, Barbara McMahon who’s accompanied by award winning Rogenna Brewer, Deb Salonen, Karen Sandler and moi. No reviews yet. But I’m sure readers who love the stories will jot a sentence or two on the Amazon and BN boards. It’s just a matter of time. Who could resist a beautiful face like yours?

So today I’m spreading the word that this cave dweller yearns for some honest feedback. Am I tootin’ my own horn?  Let’s look at it another way. Do moms brag about their kids?  You can be the judge!

As always, thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over–and on Facebook, too.



OCTOBER CONTEST:  Two winners in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Post a comment and your name will be entered in this month’s drawing for two of the books shown below and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or BN. Your choice!

Texas Danger, Brashear


















Celebrate copy








Starting Over ~ CELEBRATE!

Hi everyone – I just got back from vacation and discovered that I screwed up the schedule and never published the following blog so you’d know I’d be away until today. The blog was originally supposed to appear on August 29th. Oy.  I am so sorry. I thought I’d figured everything out and was so organized…  So now, if you’ll indulge me, I’d appreciate catching up.  As a little extra today, here comes the cover reveal–you are the very first to see this. It’s not even been on Facebook yet!

The front cover

The front cover

We’d recently talked about first lines of famous books. I introduced you to four author friends who are joining me in releasing an anthology of stories based on holidays. The book is coming out in mid-October. You’ve gotten a taste of everyone’s story except mine! So here’s what I had prepared for August 29th:

CELEBRATE! — A five story anthology plus a novella about holidays we celebrate throughout the year. All written by award-winning authors of On Fire Fiction.fw2

The month has flown by, and today is the last of the posts about holidays, short stories and the anthology CELEBRATE! of which I’m so proud to be a part. True confession: this is my very first time contributing to a group project. In the past, I just didn’t have the opportunity. But now, as an indie pubbed author, I’ve got the freedom to create opportunities simply by finding other writers who might be interested, and then–just doing it!

If you’re familiar with my work, you know that my romance novels contain lots of families. It seems I enjoy working with “a cast of thousands” rather than with a lone hero and heroine. But the families in my books are hurting and must struggle to find their happy endings. I find this set-up strange because I grew up in a very solid and happy family. So maybe I want everyone to have what I had. My short story is no different. Two lonely adults with two recalcitrant kids are challenged to find their way to love and laughter.

I chose to combine MOTHER’S DAY and FATHER’S DAY as my holidays to celebrate. It’s tough to separate them when the theme of the story is second chances for everyone–the adults and their children. Although this story has never been published before, it has been seen by other eyes. I entered the shorter version into a national short story contest when I first wrote it some years ago, and it placed in the top ten entries out of almost 2000. That achievement gave me the confidence to keep writing, to keep trying for a professional career. And here I am!

STORY TITLE:  Man of the House   

FIRST LINES:  This can’t be good news. The readout on Nancy Wyatt’s desk phone said Pulitzer Middle School, and her stomach knotted as tightly as a fishing line around bait.

Uh-oh. Doesn’t every mom’s stomach hurt when her kid’s school calls in the middle of the day? Poor Nancy. What’s in store for her after she picks up that receiver.

I hope this peaked your interest as a first line. Maybe not in the class of “Call me Ishmael,” but in its own class of contemporary fiction.  As a reminder, my women’s fiction novel, FAMILY INTERRUPTED is available at all the usual places that sell electronic books. But it’s also available in paperback at Amazon or CreateSpace.  Here’s a pic of me holding it in my hot little hands.:


The PRINT edition is here!

The PRINT edition is here!

I still get a kick out of seeing it!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blogs about the authors of CELEBRATE!  And I hope you add the book to your collection.

Announcement:  I’ll be on vacation next week. Hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over on Thursday, September 12th.  Thanks for being loyal visitors. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Thanks for letting me share the background of this story a little later than I had in mind. Next Tuesday, we’ll be back to regular blogs about Starting Over.





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Starting Over ~ Meet the Authors of CELEBRATE!

CELEBRATE!  –  A five story anthology plus a novella about holidays we celebrate throughout the year. All written by authors of On Fire Fiction.  file0001398207570

I feel like I’m hosting a party, introducing people who I know will turn out to enjoy each other’s company. At least in the world of books. Wonderful authors matched with enthisastic readers. That’s what I call a party.  Of course, it used to be called a book signing…but I think that’s evolved to its electronic versions–blogs and other social media. To me, it’s all good as long as writers and readers connect.

It’s time to connect with Dee Davis who’s favorite genre is romantic suspense. She’s written lots of them. Has won awards for them. Somehow, she figured out how to combine a thriller with holiday good times. With a little inspiration from one of her favorite movies, Die Hard, she managed to combine loss and hope…and a killer. Dee is the author of our stand-alone holiday novella, Still of the Night..

In another life, Dee would choose to be a rock singer, an actress or a winery owner. Hmm..is there a theme here.  Maybe creativity?  She loves anthologies because she usually gets to know authors who are new to her, stories she can read in an hour or so. “I’ve found amazing hew authors and worked to find copies of old anthologies with stories from authors I already loved.”

Dee Davis

I agree with Dee. I view an anthology as a schmorgasbord of stories and authors. You can taste a little from everyone at the party. Dee Davis is part of the On Fire Fiction group of authors, but her holiday story stands on it’s own as a separate publication. Here’s a taste of Dee’s novella:

STORY TITLE:   Still of the Night

FIRST LINE:   “I’ll be home for Christmas…” Judy Garland crooned in surround-sound, and Jenny Fitzgerald resisted the urge to throw something.stillofthenight-DeeDavis

Oh-oh. I think Jenny’s world is upside down. That’s a huge reaction to the words home and Christmas, the opposite emotions of what those words usually generate. Maybe she’s getting divorced. Maybe she lost her job. Maybe…maybe…maybe… Maybe she’d being blackmailed.  I want to know more!  A good first line.

We’re going to wind up this series next time with my own contribution to CELEBRATE!. As always, thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.





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Starting Over ~ CELEBRATE!

CELEBRATE!  — A five story anthology plus a novella of holiday stories from six award-winning authors, all members of On Fire Fiction.  file0001398207570

The celebration continues with my friend and guest author for today: ROGENNA BREWER.  I’ve known Rogenna for a long time. We go back to our early days in the business, writing Superromance for Harlequin Books. So I can tell you with assurance that Rogenna is a great author with a very interesting background.

How interesting, you ask?

In her own words:  “From a Navy Vet to romance novelist. Not just a job, thirteen years of Navy SEAL research.”

Well, somebody had to research those SEALS! Rogenna served in the U.S. Navy for thirteen years before turning her hand to writing. Oops…I skipped a step or two. While in the Navy she served in the Chaplain’s office where her duties included operating the base library. Which once again proves that all writers start out as readers!Rogenna Brewer

She also met and married her husband while serving her country.  As she says, “The best part was that brief period of time when I outranked him.”   (Hey, makes perfect sense to me 🙂

As for the holiday she’s chosen to celebrate in the anthology…?  I bet you can guess, but here’s what she says:

4th of July seemed like the most natural backdrop for my military romance. Opposing forces, Navy Chaplain Lindsey Alexander and aircraft carrier Captain Doug Reese, deny the sparks of the May/December…er…September romance (nineteen years isn’t THAT big of an age difference) until the fireworks start to fly.”

STORY TITLE:  One Star Spangled Night

FIRST LINES:  Hat in hand, he stood in her office doorway. From spit shined shoes, up military creases, to the eagles pinned on khaki collar points, he commanded attention. The rank of captain gave him the authority to demand it. 

First line discussion:  I feel some conflict coming on.  Who is this guy in her office? Why is he there?  I have a feeling she wasn’t expecting him.

Rogenna’s book, ONE NIGHT IN RENO, (Navy SEAL, anyone?) is also available now.  How about that adorable cover?  I love it.


Check out Rogenna’s books and cover designs  (yes, this woman has conquered a THIRD career) at:  www.rogennabrewer.com.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by.  You’ll meet the author of the stand-alone novella at the next edition of Starting Over.  Hope to see you then.




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Starting Over ~ CELEBRATE!

CELEBRATE!  A five story anthology plus a novella about holidays we celebrate throughout the year. All written by the award-winning authors of ON FIRE FICTION.fw2

We’re continuing the celebration with my long-time friend, BARBARA MCMAHON, who I met way back when we both wrote for Superromance. At last count, over sixteen million copies of her books have sold in fifty different countries in twenty-one different languages. I am so impressed! She wasn’t always a writer. No, indeed. She began her working life in a much for glamorous profession: a flight attendant for an international airline.  Well, okay. Maybe it sounds more glamorous than it really is. She worked very hard  at that job, but soaked up lots of background for her books. To  Barbara, however, there’s no place like home, and her favorite story locale is the American West. She’s  written numerous books with cowboys as heros and plans more for the future.

So which holiday did Barbara choose to highlight?  THANKSGIVING! This is what she said:

BLMPhotoLinda“I chose Thanksgiving as it’s one of the most American of holidays celebrated in the United States. While the official holiday was set in the 1940’s, America has a long history of celebrating by giving thanks–from the days of Jamestown and Plymouth to soon after the Revolutionary War. It’s always been a favorite of mine. I love turkey, dressing, and lots of pies for dessert!

Thanksgiving is a time for families ot gather together to celebrate harvest, another year, give thanks for all their blessings, and enjoy each other’s company. In Love With All The Trimmings,  however, the family reunion planned might not be as joyful as initially anticipated when two sisters vie for the affections of the same man.”

STORY TITLE:  Love With All The Trimmings

FIRST LINES:  “I’m coming home for Thanksgiving!”  Juliana felt her heart drop. “You’re coming here?” she squeaked.

Uh-oh. I’m thinking there’s trouble in River City. The first sentence has an exclamation point, so speaker is excited and happy.  Juliana…not so much. Don’t you just love a story when the conflict starts on Page One, Paragraph One?

Barbara’s book, I’LL TAKE FOREVER, is also available now.  A contemporary romance involving a DEA agent looking for cover in a small town–and finds Jenny’s house. Jenny cannot believe that anyone in her town would be involved with drugs. To learn more about Barbara, link to her website:  www.barbaramcmahon.com



As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Next time at Starting Over, you’ll meet an author who’s also a cover designer. Hope to see you then.






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Starting Over ~ CELEBRATE!

CELEBRATE! — A five story anthology plus a novella about holidays we celebrate throughout the year. All written by award-winning authors of On Fire Fiction.  fw2

I love presenting this series of posts to you because my writing friends are some of the greatest people I know. Always willing to listen and give advice. Never afraid to ask for it either. Just as with other friends, these are relationships based on trust. I’ve known most of these gals for many years, and I can say without hesitation that they work hard and love creating stories. When they get emails from their readers…well, that’s the whipped cream on the cake 🙂

I’m very pleased that my guest today is Debra Salonen, a California girl whose very first published book was released about the same time mine was. We met each other at what was our very first

Deb Salonen Yoga, anyone?

Deb Salonen   

writers conference in July 2000. Turned out we had the same editor! One of the qualities I admire about Deb is her ability to turn off the stress. Hiking and yoga are her secrets. Another quality I admire is her willingness to try something different with her writing. She came up with an adorable but naughty four book romantic comedy series for the “55 and better” generation called Screw Senility which sets a very different tone from the traditional romances she’d been writing. This is hot!  But she still managed to give her heroine a happily ever after!

What holiday did Deb choose for her story? CHRISTMAS! Here’s the story behind the story in Deb’s own words:

Kindness gets to me every time. Maybe that’s because my mother, Daisy Bagby Robson, was one of the kindest women I ever met. I have numerous memories of her generosity, including once when she decided I wasn’t using my bike anymore, so it should go to a poor child I’d never met. As I recall, I reacted as any spoiled baby-of-the-family might. I threw a fit. She patiently described this other child’s circumstance as it compared to mine…in other words, she guilted me into agreeing. 

I wish I could say I instantly became as giving and generous a my mom, but that would be a lie. Still, the memory stuck, and when my children were very young, I wanted to share the essence of this memory in a way that might teach and entertain. I wrote “My Christmas Angel.” Longhand, on lined paper. I read it to them every Christmas for a few years, then tucked it away in my files.

A year ago, my daughter asked me, “Didn’t you write a Christmas story once? Where is that? I’d like to read it to Daisy (my granddaughter).” 

Ah…life comes full circle…courtesy of epublishing.  I pulled out the story and read it. And, as happens with writers, I immediately wondered what happened to Abigail and Dickie–the little children in the story. Why…they’d be thirty-some years old by now. All grown up. With children of their own…and so the story begins.

STORY TITLE:  My Christmas Angel

FIRST LINE:   “Read me your story, Mommy. Please. Before you go. Plee…ase.”

Oh, yeah. I recognize that ploy…and I bet you do, too. One more story, Mommy. Another glass of water.  Someone doesn’t want to go to sleep. Someone doesn’t want his mom to leave. In the next paragraph, we quickly learn about young Ben and his divorced mom who was on her way to a holiday party given by her ex-sister-in-law.  Deb Salonen manages to draw us into the lives of these two lovely people very quickly and we want to know what happens next.

What’s next on Deb’s writing agenda?

“I’m back at work on my next project: a 3-book romantic suspense series called K.A.B. (Karma’s A Bitch) Investigations.”

Find out more about Deb Salonen and her books at:   www.debrasalonen.com


This is the cover of Book 4 in Deb’s Screw Senility series. Adorable, no?


As always, thank you so much for stopping by. You’ll meet another of my author friends at the next edition of Starting Over.  Hope to see you then.






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Starting Over – CELEBRATE!!

CELEBRATE! holiday stories with the authors of On Fire Fiction–


This month I’m joined by five other authors with Fingers on their Keyboards. Those fingers have been tapping away, helping their creators bring you brand new, never before published stories. Together, my friends and I have given birth–definitely a labor of love–to an anthology of holiday stories plus one stand-alone holiday novella. We’re celebrating holidays throughout the year – winter, spring, summer and fall.

We’re glad you book lovers are here to join the fun. We’ve got first lines–and you know all about that now if you read last week’s blog– and some interesting background info to share. When you combine romance, family and happy endings….what’s not to like?

Karen SandlerFirst up is KAREN SANDLER who describes herself as a genre conflicted writer. She’s interested in so much–romance, mystery, sci-fi, young adult, and horses (definitely horses) –and she’s so good! She’s published 17 romances, a young adult science fiction series, and the soon to be released Janelle Watkins mystery series. Poor Karen. She can’t make a decision.

But wait! I’m wrong. She did make the decision to select Hanukkah as her story’s background. And speaking of backgrounds, here’s a bit of Karen’s and why she chose the holiday she did:

Karen says:

When the idea of a holiday anthology was first presented, I knew I wanted to do Hanukkah. I have very fond memories of celebrating Hanukkah when my boys were young. Although my father was Jewish (as was my maternal great-grandmother), it wasn’t until I married my Jewish husband that we started celebrating the holidays.

Of course, Hanukkah was the boys’ favorite. The loved lighting the candles and saying the prayer. They both wanted to do the last night so they could light all eight candles. We started trading off with them each year so they could get an equal chance of saying the prayer on the last night.

The teddy bears described in the story were an actual prizes my younger son won at one of the community Hanukkah parties we attended. He apparently has one left of the two from that night and my grandbaby plays with it now.

Linda interrupts – Readers!  Do you see the makings of a family story here? From generation to generation?  This is what we’ve talked about and shared examples of recently.

I’ve asked all the authors participating in the anthology to submit the title and first line of their stories.  Here’s more about Karen Sandler’s story:

Title:   The Eighth Gift

First Line:  As Sarah Meyer watched the Greenville County sheriff’s deputy tap on the screen of his iPad, she hugged herself to stave off her fear. 

Now I want to know what Sarah was afraid of…a ticket? Or something more?  And could the deputy be her love interest?  I am a nosy reader, and I bet you are, too.

Karen’s book, TILL THE STARS FADE is also available now.  The genre? Science Fiction Romance!  The reviews are awesome. Here’s one from RT Book Reviews:  “it was action packed, fast paced and most definitely a page-turner.”   And another: “This book has something for readers of both genres. The writing is exceptional…Good job, Ms. Sandler.”  From: Under the Covers.




 Check out Karen’s website at:  www.karensandler.net





As always, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed meeting Karen and hearing about her story for the holiday anthology. You’ll meet another contributing author at the next edition of Starting Over. Hope to see you then.





POST A COMMENT AND YOUR NAME WILL BE ENTERED INTO MY AUGUST CONTEST. Prizes are a choice of one of the selections below, all stories written by the award-winning members of On Fire Fiction as well as a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or BN. Your choice.  OH, look. Karen’s got a story in Unsuitably Perfect 🙂

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