Posted by Donna MacMeans Jun 15 2015, 12:38 am in Donna MacMeans, family reunions
Do you do family reunions in your family? Perhaps your family all live close by. Every weekend is a family reunion . I envy you that.
I’m one of five kids. I remember family vacations in Maryland as being a time when my mom would pack up the car and we’d drive to some state park and set up camp. That was the extent of our vacation. The parks might be a state or two away, but otherwise the scenery was the same. (For those not familiar, the yellow picture is the State of Maryland.)
Once all of us kids grew up and got married, things were different. We each settled in different parts of the country. My oldest brother and his wife stayed in Maryland. My second oldest brother lives in Rochester, NY, while my younger sister is in Florida. I’m in Columbus, Ohio. My youngest sister is a further south in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Every three years, we would have a family reunion so the brothers and sisters could reconnect. The venuechanged as we took turns being “close” to the vacation site. But after my oldest brother bought a beach house in Bethany Beach, Maryland – that became our new destination spot. (Jeanne Adams’s family also goes to Bethany Beach on occasion. How’s that for coincidence?) I have great memories of those trips. ( This, I believe, is a shot of the lifeguards at Bethany)
This log cabin shot by pinstopin.com is much like the cabin where my husband and I stayed our first family . We discovered we had forgotten to pack mosquito spray. You could lie on the bed and hear them buzzing by your ears. Unfortunately, we had neglected to pack bug spray for the trip – but we did pack spray deordorant and baby powder. We sprayed the cabin with deodorant believeing this would make the wings of the mosquitos sticky. Then we pumped baby powder into the air. We thought the powder would settle on the mosquitos’ sticky wings and weight them down. When they landed on the powder strewn floor we would stomp on them. We stomped on a lot of bugs that night – moths, flies and, yes, mosquitos. It was a sweet smelling victory .
As kids came along we took them to the reunions so as to meet and form a relationship with their cousins. When my son was about three, he went along with my husband and the other men to go fishing. My oldest brother had a boat and they all piled in. However, they weren’t terribly far from the shore when someone noted that the boat was taking on water. I understand that there’s a plug at the bottom of a boat to help it drain – well the plug was open or missing – not sure. Everyone pitched in to bail water while my brother guided the boat in. The poor man hasn’t heard the last of that snafu. In planning this reunion, his children said they would only go on a boat if my brother (their father) wasn’t in charge – citing the nefarious fishing expedition. That was 27 years ago. (If this image from torch.aeta.gf.mil was of that day, all the men would be baling )
The reunion this year is in Branson Missouri. I’ve never been there but I’ve heard the scenery is beautiful. Come to think of it, the scenery has ALWAYS been beautiful when we go on these things. And the S’mores are always tasty around a good campfire, and the laughter loud and good humored. I can’t wait.
How about you? Does your family do family vacations? Have any good stories to share? Tell you what. I’ll bring a souvenir back from Branson for someone leaving a comment. I can’t tell you what it is because I haven’t bought it yet but it will have BRANSON emblazoned across the front of it. So tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine when I come home.
Posted by Donna MacMeans Jun 1 2015, 12:27 am in Donna MacMeans, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott, Robin Gianna
Can you believe June is here? This year is flying by!!! Maybe some of these new releases can accompany you to the beach this summer. Can’t think of better company.
On June 8th, Bandita Jeanne will be doing a COVER REVEAL for her next book, DEAD RECKONING! Woot!
Donna will be blogging on June 15th as she’ll be traveling on her regular day.
Not to worry as Jeanne will be talking on June 23 about CON CAROLINAs, a fabulous sci-fi Fantasy Con in North Carolina. Banditas Jeanne and Nancy were both speaker-guests and had a great time at the Con!
Don’t forget CAPITAL DANGER should be launching late in the month. Not sure when but check back for the party.
On June 29th, Robin Gianna will be back in the lair. This time she’ll be promoting her latest release, Her Greek Doctor’s Proposal, as well as sharing some of her recent adventures on a research (and family) trip to Greece. Should be fun!
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 16 2015, 1:24 am in booty, Donna MacMeans, Fedora, Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter, Smoke and Mirrors
Thanks everyone for sharing the excitement of my Smoke and Mirrors release with me. As per the random number generator, the winner of the $10 gift certificate is Sandy Wickersham- McWhorter. Sandy – I need you to go to my website to send me your mailing address so I can mail your card.
Also the winner of the voodoo doll and tea packet from April 23rd (right before I left for Barbara Vey’s in Wisconsin) is Fedora! I’ll need you to do the same. If you can send me your mailing address, I’ll get this in the mail pronto.
Thanks everyone from making the Romance Bandits community so much fun!
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 13 2015, 12:15 am in Bound by Moonlight, Donna MacMeans, Dream Quest, Gwen Hernandez, Rachel Conner, Sandy Loyd, Smoke and Mirrors
Yeah, that’s me. Old Dog.
I’ve been in a fraud conference the last two days and there’s these presenters – really cute, really funny, smart young guys in business suits (I love a man in a nice fitting suit!), then suddenly I realized – I could be their mom! So I’m feeling a bit like an old dog today.
But Darn it – This old dog done learned a new trick!!!
Today is the launch of my contemporary paranormal short story, Smoke and Mirrors. This story was actually first published back in 2003 in an anthology called DREAM QUEST (don’t you love that cover!). The beauty of being in that anthology was the company of the other incredibly talented authors. As you can see by the editor names on the cover, Linnea Sinclair had a hand in that book and the connection with Linnea has paid off multiple fold. (Linnea definitely believes in paying it forward). The DREAM QUEST publisher went out of business and reverted the story rights to the authors. The story was written and edited and just sitting there, waiting for something to happen.
So I epublished it – me! All my previous books have been traditionally published. My agent handled everything about publishing Bound by Moonlight – another epubbed paranormal project. So this is truly my first learning experience with processing an ebook.
The process is easy…if you know what you’re doing. I’m one of those people that learn by making every mistake possible. This was no exception . I’d like to thank Gwen Hernandez who came to my aid over the weekend to tell me what I was doing wrong.
Thank you as well to Sandy Loyd, who also came to my aid, but simply did the work for me instead of telling me why the project wasn’t loading correctly. Do you know people like that? She helped me in that I felt better knowing I had a file I could publish if I absolutely had to…but I still took Gwen’s advice and changed the project so that it would load correctly. I’m proud of that.
Then the cover wouldn’t load. I sent an urgent email to my cover designer who sent back a resized cover. Thus I’m learning. I know this process will be much easier the next time I publish an ebook – and I plan to do several.
But enough about that.
This is a cute short story about a plump girl who buys an amber amulet imbued with magic. While wearing the necklace, she wishes to be thin. A heavy scented smoke emits from the back of the necklace and the fun begins. You can see the inspiration for the cover. This story has a nice twist. You’ll have to let me know if you figure it out before you reach the end and all is revealed.
So tell me, have you had an experience where you resisted someone who wanted to just do it all for you? Are you, like me, one who learns by making every conceivable mistake along the way? Tell me about one of your recent discoveries. I have a $10 Amazon card to send to someone leaving a comment.
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 4 2015, 12:17 am in Deception of a Highlander, Donna MacMeans, Madeline Martin, Michelle Dawnn, Valerie Bowman
Hi All – I met Madeline when I taught a workshop in Jacksonville, Florida last November. Madeline has since published her debut Scottish historical Deception of a Highlander which you can read more about at the bottom of this post. But first she tells us about the unusual journey she took to reach this incredible place in her life.
Sometimes positive inspiration can come from a likely place. As it turns out, my came from an unlikely likely place.
I’m going to start this post with a confession: I’m not especially spiritual and am also a pretty hardcore realist. So when Regency author, Valerie Bowman, was super excited to do Vision Mapping at a local writing workshop a few years ago, I was a total skeptic. Putting pictures from a magazine onto a poster board sounded like craft time more than soul searching. But I love crafts (even though I suck at them) and when an award-winning author tells you it encourages them, YOU DO IT – that said, I was game to at least try.
I went to the workshop and set to work pulling out pictures from magazines – rip, rip, rip.
The I put them all on the poster board – paste, paste, paste.
I stepped back and regarded my work. It was pretty.
Afterward, the instructor, Michelle Dawnn, met with each of us individually and told us what out boards meant. When it was my turn, I folded my arms over my chest and tried to politely squelch my skepticism. She indicated an area of my board and opened up with how I wanted more alone time with my then-husband to reconnect. He and I were going through a rough patch (obviously that one never smoothed out…), so what she said really snagged my attention.
Then she knocked the chip right off my shoulder with her final comment. I had words on the poster board saying ‘Push harder, run faster’. All the words we chose for our board were supposed to be positive. She paused on that one piece and said, “This is not positive for you.” She looked me in the eye and said, “You’re always pushing harder – don’t you think it’s time you slowed down?”
Somehow between those scraps of paper I tore out and the way I’d Type A positioned them on the poster board told her exactly who I was.
I was the girl who slept 5 hours a night to make time for more, the one who didn’t say no because she could always take more, the one who was in a difficult marriage and overwhelmed with loneliness. The one who wanted happiness and comfort in her own skin.
And Michelle got all of that.
She got ME.
Through everything she saw, she helped me identify what things were important in my life, things I took for granted until they were brought to my attention, and what I truly wanted out of life, but was too unsure accepting or understanding.
I may or may not have cried a little during our discussion.
That night, I went home and looked at my board again – but this time I didn’t see a simple craft project. I saw it as me.
It was the deepest part of my heart laid out in an array of colorful magazine pictures and words, it was the basis for my strength, the raw expression of my true desires. And no longer did I see it as just pretty – I saw it as beautiful.
Fast forward four years, two Vision Mappings, one divorce and a whole life change later. My Vision Mapping tells a whole different story now. There was the one I did after my divorce that showed a woman struggling to find who she was and wanting the freedom to live her life. Then there was the one I did a few weeks ago that shows a woman who is confident in her own strength, but who still grows in the light of those she loves. Seeing these through the years is like watching my life turn chapters.
I think Vision Mapping is different for everyone, but for me – that not-so-spiritual, realistic skeptic – it’s been a way of reconnecting the pieces of what I hold dear, what gives me strength and what I long for and can obtain.
I hung my latest Vision Board on the wall next to my bed, even though it doesn’t match my décor (which is saying sometime for someone like me), so I can wake up and see it every day and be reminded of these three wonderful things:
- Who I am at my core
- What I love and what gives me strength
- What I want and can achieve
Valerie swears by them as a powerful tool for focusing her energies and being clear on her goals. I’m forever grateful to her for introducing Vision Mapping to me as I feel it’s made a huge positive impact in my life and helps keep me on track with my goals too.
There are two fabulous prizes to giveaway for people who leave a comment below on what things positively motivate them (expected or unexpectedly so).
- A signed copy of Deception of a Highlander.
- A copy of Core Appeal by Michelle Dawnn as well as ½ off a private session for Vision Board reading (can be done long distance) – see her site for more information: http://www.michelledawnn.com/ so one lucky commenter can have the opportunity to be introduced to the Vision Mapping experience as well.
Best of luck to everyone!
Deception of a Highlander is my debut release and will be followed by Possession of a Highlander (August 11, 2015 release) and Enchantment of a Highlander (release date to be announced).
Scottish Romance doesn’t get much steamier—or more dangerous—than a spy hunting her quarry, and losing her heart to him instead.
To pay a seemingly impossible debt, Mariel Brandon has become a spy for Aaron, one of England’s deadliest minds. Aaron’s latest mission for the sharp-witted and daring Mariel is to find two people in a heavily fortified castle on the Isle of Skye, a castle headed by the clan MacDonald and the powerful Kieran. Mariel is to seduce Kieran and get him to take her to Skye. If she succeeds, Aaron promises to let Mariel’s young brother go, and to free both of them from their debt. If she fails, her brother will die.
What she doesn’t count on is craving Kieran MacDonald almost immediately upon meeting him. Now Mariel must keep a secret from Kieran—one that could get them both killed—as she tries to form a plan that will save her brother, get her out from under Aaron’s thumb once and for all, and keep her in Kieran’s strong arms forever.
Here’s a teaser excerpt from Deception of a Highlander:
It was only a kiss, but he knew without a doubt the heat of her mouth against his would only serve to whet his desire further. He would not be able to still his hands from gliding over what was hidden from view, from pulling her against the parts of him she made ache.
With an incredible act of willpower, he straightened, released her and took a step back to address her from a safer distance lest he give in to temptation.
“If ye still want to come, meet me here tomorrow morning at nine o’clock, aye?”
He turned to leave when her hand on his forearm stopped him.
“Why did you not kiss me?” she asked.
Kieran studied her face and desire tugged at him once more. “Do ye always get what ye want, Mariel?”
Her eyes trailed the length of his body, her expression shrewd. “Only if I know how to get it.”
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 1 2015, 12:21 am in Caren Crane, Club RT, Donna MacMeans, Madeline Martin, Romantic Times Convention, RT, Smoke and Mirrors
I don’t know about you, but it’s BEAUTIFUL around Ohio this time of the year! Flowers are bursting out everywhere and the trees are blossoming in beautiful pinks, purples and whites. I’m inclined to spend more time outdoors in May, but then there’s those rainy days when you want to snuggle down with a good book. Which is exactly what we have for you this month.
On May 1, Tawny’s latest Sexy SEAL hits the shelves. A SEAL’s Pleasure is hot, hotter, hottest and follows on the heels of her most recent USA Today bestseller, A SEALs’ Secret.
May 4 offers a bit of Scotland with debut author Madeline Martin. She’ll be here to talk about Deception of a Highlander.
Join me on May 13 (Caren’s birthday!) as I launch my first contemporary paranormal short story Smoke and Mirrors. (Love this story.)
I’ll be back at my usual day on May 23 to tell you all about the Barbara Vey luncheon in Milwaukee. Great Fun!
Caren Crane and Suzanne Ferrell will be attending the ROMANTIC TIMES BOOKLOVERS CONVENTION in Dallas on May 12 -17. Be sure to look for them at CLUB RT at the following times:
- Caren – Wednesday, May 13, 4:00 pm (her birthday!!) and Friday, May 15, 10:30 am
- Suzanne – Wednesday, May 13, 4:00 pm and Thursday, May 14, 1:30 pm
We hope to meet lots of our favorite readers there and see how many free books you are hauling home!!
Posted by Jeanne Adams Apr 30 2015, 12:08 am in Anna Campbell, Anna Sugden, Australia, Books I Love A Latte, Caren Crane, Cassondra Murray, Dan Churchill, Donna MacMeans, Jeanne Adams, Rae Latte, Tawny Weber
Hey gals and guys!
It sure is quiet around here with all the Banditas busily writing away! Sven is NOT happy with us, but the staff has taken several much needed vacations. You know, we kept them hopping around here all the time. No one’s had a vacay in what….nearly 8 years! Grins.
So, anyway, I wanted to let you in on a little secret. Remember how we used to have Author Invasions, back in the early days? Some of you will remember us invading the Good Ship Revenge, RomanceNovelTV and many more!
Well there’s another invasion today. A goodly number of the Bandits, along with some other wonderful NYTimes, USA Today (TAWNY! SQUEEEE!), and Amazon Bestselling authors are invading the www.BooksILoveALatte.wordpress.com blog. Rae Latte has been gracious enough to host many of the Bandits, and today is no exception.
The FUN, FUN, FUN part, however, is that there’s a really sexy man involved. He’s from Austrailia and his name is Dan Churchill. www.DanielChurchill.com.au He’s the #FoodDude He believes that #RealMenCook
Well, ’round here, as you know, WE believe that #SexyHeroesCook. So a bunch of us invaded Rae Latte’s blog and brought our Heroes (and Heroines!) over to prove that Dude Food is cool. That’s the title of Dan’s Cookbook… Dude Food, A Guy’s Guide to Cookin Kick-Ass Food.
This cookbook is one I really like. Not only do the recipes sound awesome, but the pictures are GREAT! (Snork!) I’m buying it for Hubby for Father’s Day. It’s so simple – but good – that any Dude could do the recipes. Grins.
So if you’ve got a moment and you want a bit of a tantalizing taste of my next book, DEAD RECKONING, and Cassondra’s hero from HONEY BEND, and one of Tawny’s heroes, and Donna’s and Caren’s, heroes from Anna S’s NJ Ice Cats, one of Anna C’s heroes…you get the idea.
If you’re tantalized by #SexyHeroesCook then pop over to Rae’s blog beginning at 9 in the morning and going til 9 at night.
Other authors featured include some fab authors, some of whom have been our Lair guests – Natalie Damshroeder, Sandra Lake, Jade Lee, Barbara Devlin, and more.
You’ll be glad you checked it out…I’ll be on at 11 am Eastern!!
See you again, HERE, on the 8th May!!
Posted by Donna MacMeans Apr 23 2015, 1:31 am in Barbara Vey's luncheon, Charmed, Donna MacMeans, The Whisky Laird's Bed
Tomorrow I leave for Wisconsin. I’m going to Barbara Vey’s luncheon in Milwaukee. It should be a hoot! This is my reward for surviving tax season . I get to meet with my agent who also lives in Wisconsin and many writer-friends that I otherwise wouldn’t see. I love it. All year I’ve been gathering little gifts to give to the seven readers who chose to sit at my table, as well as something special to give away as a door prize. I know most of you won’t be there, so I thought I’d share my plans with you. (Don’t tell the seven people at my table. I want them to be surprised.
I bought these little boxes because of the peacock feather print. Aren’t they sparkly? Inside I’m placing some mardi gras beads, and a voodoo doll to represent my time travel, CHARMED. That’s the time travel whereby the historical woman ends up in modern day New Orleans. Gotta say – this is a great book! I’m waiting to hear back from one potential publisher, but I may indie publish it. I’m told time-travels are a hard sell right now, but I don’t understand why. They’re so much fun.
To represent my straight historical, I’m adding a packet of tea with literary quotes, and a homemade corset cookie. I’ll add a picture to the blog of the cookie when it’s done – the pink base is drying as I type. Somehow I imagine these things turning out better than they ultimately do . Fingers crossed!
I have little decals of Lion Rampant of Scotland to represent THE WHISKY LAIRD’S BED. You’ve seen the Lion Rampant, the red lion with the blue tongue and claws. I’m also giving the readers a tin of single malt scotch whisky fudge from Scotland. It’s the only way I could work Scotch into the picture :-). And they’ll get a book. I haven’t decided which book to give away, but they’ll get one. And, of course, a peacock feather.
For the door prize, I have a peacock vase. Check it out! I’ll include most of the goodies above, plus they’ll get a little bottle of scotch and maybe my last golf-playing beanie baby teddy bear or maybe this library lion – I always have some sort of plush in my prize baskets.
The trick will be packing all this stuff in a suitcase to take on the plane to Wisconsin! I’m particularly concerned about transporting those cookies.
There’s to be sixty authors at this event. Tess Gerrisen is the luncheon speaker. I can’t wait.
How about you? If you could attend a reader event such as this, which author would you like to sit with? Any ideas about author gifts? (I’m always looking for new ideas). What are your thoughts about time travels? Someone leaving a comment will win a tea packet and a voodoo doll. The doll is a product of “good” voodoo. It’ll protect your To-be-read pile from harm.
Posted by Donna MacMeans Mar 25 2015, 12:18 am in Donna MacMeans, goofy sales tax
Hi all –
I just got back from Houston, TX last night and I could kick myself. I should have bought a pair of cowboy boots (or are they cowgirl boots?) while there as their sale is exempt from sales tax. Go figure! I was in Houston for an RWA board meeting and didn’t have a lot of time to shop, or means to get to a shopping center, but I’m afraid that was an opportunity lost. Cowboy boots are a part of the state’s identity and thus receives special treatment — which makes me think of other goofy tax rules. While I’m currently surrounded by tax returns, I think taking a look at other strange but true tax tales might be fun.
Alaska – When I think of space travel, I think of Texas (Houston in fact) and Florida. I do not think of Alaska. Perhaps they plan to change that by exempting all goods and services related to space flight to include any product launches or items intended to be launched into space – even if it never returns. Seriously? They get a tax break and the right to create space junk?
California – Sales tax is charged on snow in California. Thankfully, not this kind of snow . (Not sure how one collects from Mother Nature). Rather they charge tax on manufactured snow – the artificial kind that’s used at ski resorts to get the right amount of powder. I guess that might cut back on decorating a Californian house with snow for a Christmas party. The process for making snow is taxable.
Maryland charges a tax to flush a toliet. It’s for a good cause, though. The money collected is used to protect the Chesapeake Bay. So when folks in Maryland seek that physical relief, they can even rest easier. LOL.
Washington State legalized marijuna. However, they declared it neither a food nor an agricultural product. Is it a manufactured product? That doesn’t make sense. Still, by declaring it not an agricultural product, the state can charge sales tax for it’s purchase PLUS charge an extra 25% excise tax. It gives new meaning to the term cash crop.
Food is generally tax exempt in all states…except in North Carolina. University students there have to pay sales tax on university meal plans. It supports what I’ve long expected. What is served under those meal plans is not really food.
Now if I had my way, romance novels would be sales tax exempt. They should qualify as a medical expenditure because the stories are uplifting and make you feel good. Don’t you agree? The world would be a better place if everyone read romance.
If you had the authority, what would you exempt from sales tax? Come on, I know you have some great ideas!