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Feature Friday! Late Harvest by Suzanne Barrett

Late Harvest by Suzanne Barrett

Kurt von Daniken wants only one thing from Glenna Ryan: The key to making Eiswein – Ice Wine. Five years ago, while working at his family’s California winery, she’d begun developing the method to simulate wine made from grapes gathered after a freeze. Now, when the winery desperately needs it, the only person who might be able to duplicate Glenna’s process, Kurt’s tyrannical Uncle Otto, lies paralyzed by a stroke and near death.

Glenna wants only one thing from the von Danikens: To be left in peace to raise her son, Robbie, who suffers from a birth defect and needs an expensive surgery to repair it. When Kurt suddenly appears at her home, demanding she return to Cresthaven and complete the process, Glenna knows the money she’ll earn by doing so will provide Robbie the treatment he needs. She also knows she’ll risk having her heart broken, again, by Kurt, the only man she’s ever loved. But, what if he discovers the real reason she left Cresthaven?

Buy it on Amazon:

About Suzanne:

Following a career in engineering, Suzanne has returned to her first love of writing and literature. Born in Southern California, Suzanne, along with her husband and an elderly cat make their home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Suzanne is also a jewelry designer, and her wirework is shown at various arts and wine events throughout the county. (Visit her jewelry website at In addition, she has an Irish travel website with articles, recipes and an extensive photo gallery. When she’s not writing or designing jewelry, Suzanne loves to garden.

First published by Kensington Books, Suzanne’s first novel for Turquoise Morning Press wasLate Harvest a Mendocino California wine country story, followed by her two-time Golden Heart finalist book In Love and War a story set in County Waterford, Ireland. Her next offering is Taming Rowan set in England’s Cumbria district and one borne of her work in aerospace.

Suzanne has several novels scheduled for publication in 2011 and 2012.


My Very First Book Trailer!

Thanks to the very talented graphic artist Michelle the Amazing, I have a book trailer for Death by Chocolate! Enjoy the cuteness :)


Death by Chocolate by Julie Anne Lindsey <– ME!

Ruby Russell has reached her limit. When she discovers her hipster husband has a dirty little secret, she whips him up a Viagra-infused-chocolate mousse punishment, but in the morning, her husband’s a stiff. Armed with a lifetime of crime show reruns and Arsenic and Old Lace on DVD, Ruby and her best friend Charlotte try to lay low until after Ruby’s son’s wedding, but a nosy therapist, meddling minister and local news reporter are making it very difficult to get away with murder.

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Margaret Norton

Writing Memoir is NOT For Sissies

“You should write a book” my friends said to me after reading my journal. In 2004, eight people I knew died, including my mother-in-law and brother. As 2005 began, I was paralyzed with grief. A counselor suggested I write about my feelings. This was cheaper than therapy, so I agreed. I felt that my story was interesting, as well as inspirational, and so blindly I plunged into writing my first book. What I didn’t know then was that this would be one of the hardest things I ever did.

Once I started transforming my journal notes into a manuscript, I knew that I was in over my head. In my middle fifties, it had been many years since I attended school. I knew very little about writing. This can’t be much harder than doing a church bulletin or Christmas letter. But I was wrong. I immediately signed up for online writing courses and joined a local writers group. Then I started to look for an agent and a publisher.

Rejection took on a whole new meaning.  Having a sales background, I was used to doors slamming in my face. In past jobs when someone told me no, I learned not to take it personal. They just didn’t need my product or service at that time. But now I was selling my story, my life and it was very personal. The best way to deal with this was to keep writing and in time I learned to put everything in perspective.

It was difficult writing about my personal life. I relived the experiences I wrote about. Sometimes this was fun but mostly it was painful. I found myself doing a lot of deep soul searching and self analysis. I had made a lot of mistakes. Why, I wanted to know. As I explored this, I beat myself up. Eventually, I discovered the positives in my story and felt that others could benefit from my experiences.

Even though I was willing to share my life with others, some of the people in my book were not ready to have their actions revealed in such an honest and permanent way. Its one thing to have disputes with your family – everyone does – but it’s potentially explosive when they find out you’re going to immortalize the family. Some family members and friends supported me while others openly expressed their opposition. It was my story but I was sensitive to the feelings of others. I changed the names of everyone in my book, as a courtesy to them. I left out personal, painful details that I felt would not dilute my message.

Writing is good therapy, but telling true life stories isn’t easy. Even when you take the advice of experts and do what you believe is best; nothing prepares you for what happens once the book is published. For me, I don’t think my family thought I’d finish this big project. But I did. Seeing it in print forced them to deal with how they treated me and the reactions varied greatly.

Would you do it again? I am often asked. Yes, I think so. It’s hard to honestly answer that question. I made a lot of mistakes – like picking the wrong publisher and not fighting for the cover I really wanted. I have thousands of hours and dollars invested – sometimes I think maybe I should have lived abroad for a year, instead of writing my memoir. But then I get an email from a stranger telling me how much my story touched them and the changes they are making because of my book. No, it’s not a best seller – yet – but it does touch one person at a time. This makes it all worthwhile.

When Ties Break: A Memoir About How to Thrive After Loss

Margaret Norton’s When Ties Break: A Memoir About How to Thrive After Loss chronicles one woman’s struggles through life, encumbered by far more than her fair share of burden, and her eventual triumph. The author provides an excellent guide through the tribulations of life, having survived divorce, abuse, abortion, excommunication, chronic illness, homelessness, death, bankruptcy, sibling rivalry, adultery, single parenthood, drug addiction, low self-esteem, and depression.

Although many of her triumphs are faith-based, her story still has a widespread appeal; having survived extreme hardship and betrayal, her tone is not preachy, rather it is inspirational, teaching us about the transformative power of forgiveness and our abilities to become the masters of our own destinies.  Her rocky history has provided Norton with an excellent foundation both for an inspirational novel and for her career as a life coach, helping others to unlock the patterns of abuse in their lives and heal as she did.  Norton admits to having made many mistakes throughout her life, but has paid for them dearly, proving that mistakes and regrets should not ruin us, merely serve as hurdles for us to overcome and use to strengthen ourselves, our spirits, and our faiths.

Many readers can relate to the traumas and oppressions of Norton’s life, having faced similar situations in their own lives.  Reading the story of someone who not only survived, but mastered and tamed the hardships in their lives to thrive is inspirational and gives hope to many readers.  Even if you have not experienced severe loss, betrayal, or hardship in your own life, Norton’s story is riveting and compelling, and is a testimony to the power of the human spirit.

About Margaret:

Margaret has always pushed the envelope – never totally accepting the status quo. A people person, her greatest joy comes from helping others. Preventing abuse, empowering women and improving health are her passions. As a Personal Life Coach, Margaret founded Life Transitions to help individuals deal with change. In addition, she’s a Stephen Minister and Dale Carnegie Coach. This training, along with her personal life experiences, makes her a caring and compassionate coach. She’s also a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at Long Ridge Writing Academy. Her stories have appeared in A Light along the Way, the Upper Room, various local newspapers, on-line and more stories to appear in 2012.

Margaret currently resides in Greensboro, NC where she spends as much time as possible with her four grandchildren. She has a monthly radio show, volunteers with numerous agencies and is a passionate distributor for It Works educating others on healthy living, anti-aging and weight maintenance.  She believes that all life experiences are valuable and by sharing our stories we learn from each other. In her memoir, When Ties Break, she shares her incredible journey as she attempts to answer gut wrenching questions like why bad things happen to good people.

Find Margaret online:

Personal Life Coach, Writer, Speaker

The 2012 Reading Challenge: Writers NEED to be Readers.

So, I just signed on for the Reading Challenge over on GoodReads. I’ve never tried to count the books I read in a year, but I saw the widget and thought, “Oh! For Cute!” So, there you are. It’s right over there–> LOL. I have a reader/writer identity crisis going on most days. If you ask me or anyone who knows me personally, we’ll tell you I’m a reader. I also happen to write. BUT If I  was held at gunpoint or off a skyscraper or faced with a poison apple, whatever and had to chose one or the other: read as much as I want, but never write another story OR write as much as I want, but never read another story…I’d kick you a little, but eventually I’d choose reading.  The stories I make up are specific to me and whether I wrote them or not, I could still entertain myself with them.

But without books….

I can’t imagine life without the endless opportunities they hold. A million authors with all those stories to tell. Books open the world beyond my imagination. Yeah, I’m sticking with books. I’d choose the books LOL.

Wether you use a widget or join GoodReads or hate GoodReads, or however you do it, I challenge you (my writing friends especially) to set a reading goal. Reading reduces stress, it provides an escape, it builds your vocabulary, challenges your mind….I could go on. Reading = Good. No matter how you slice it.

No time? How much television do you watch? A 300 page book takes about 5 hours of your life. Can you pass on one of your shows once a week to pick up a book? I don’t know. It’s up to you, but I’d trade my dinner for a book. I frequently trade my sleep for one. But that’s just me.

Now, specifically to the writers reading this: READ. You are off your nut if you think you can not read and still become a better writer. Business degree one-oh-one: Know your business. THIS is your business people. What’s selling? What’s hot? What are editors buying? (and yes before you all comment to say “what’s on shelves now was purchased up to 2 yrs ago” I KNOW. I got it. But it’s the point. You need to read what editors liked enough to take before their committee and vouch for. Know what’s out there before you write it and wonder why no one wants it. Der. <– that’s me making a dummy sound. I learned it from @Valeriebrbr who makes me laugh and she’s on twitter and seriously people GET ON TWITTER. *cough* #Bunnytrail

Reading also helps you see where there’s a need. Okay there are tons of zombie Apocalypse books, but do readers have one with a headstrong Valley Girl who turns it all around? There you go. Write THAT. You see what I’m saying? If you aren’t reading what exactly is your plan? I know I’ve talked to you about hive mentality, group think etc. You need to know what sells, what people love or hate and why, where the market is open and waiting and where it is bleeding from suicide attempts to escape another vampire book.

Final thought: Read. Whoever you are, whatever you do, add a book to your New Year’s Resolutions. Reading is a fantastic thing to do. For you. For your family. For your brain. If you are in need of a book and have a Kindle, download a free book. Hey, visit a library. Books are still free there too. While you’re there, kiss a librarian. I love those guys.

Writers Deserve a Place on the DSM-IV. I’m Just Sayin.

I Have “Writing.”

Do you have what I have too? Because I have the writing bug and it hit me out of the clear blue. From the day I decided I wanted to write, everything has changed. Until three years ago I had no idea the writing bug existed. If you’d told me I’d decide to be a novelist at the age of 33 with three kids and no time, sleep or qualifications, I’d have laughed at you. But that’s what happened. After reading my first book in years that wasn’t about parenting or homeschool, I fell into the zone where every time I put the book down I thought about it. At the end I wanted to do that too. I wanted to pull someone into my world for a little while. The story left me reeling with ideas and hopes I never knew anyone had. I thought writing was a career path like journalism where you started in high school or college or you didn’t start at all. Wrong-o.

I can remember the first day I dared google writing. Hours disappeared from under me. I called my husband marveling at the enormous sub culture of our population who also strived to be an author and chatted online about the industry, providing support, encouragement and answers. I was in heaven.

As a former psych major, I think this deserves a diagnosis and placement on the DSM-IV personality disorder scale. The more writers I meet, the more we are the same. We have the same thoughts, troubles and resolutions. It’s hive mentality worldwide. I love it! I am not alone! We share the same challenges, joys, trials and all. It’s like a global family of strangers, joined by one desire and everything that goes with it.

My obsession with publication has led me into all sorts of amazing relationships and situations. Some of my best memories have been made in the past two years at writers conferences and gatherings of the like. Many of my closest friends are ones I will never meet due to distance, time and financial constraints, but I see them everyday online and that’s enough. We’ve forged bonds geography cannot rend.

As far as affliction go, I’m happy with mine. Mostly because I know I’m in great company. xoxox


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