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1. Coloring Page Tuesday - Happy Independence Day!

     Happy Independence Day! The 4th of July is Saturday and I have to say, I am feeling especially proud to be an American this week!! Hope is in the air as is love! Here are two teddies to help you celebrate.
     CLICK HERE for more patriotic coloring pages!
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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2. Truth and Fiction: Girl Cliques

My daughter just finished first grade—a year of filled with holiday parties, cutesy art projects, and learning to read. It would’ve been altogether wonderful if it wasn’t for the mean girl. Yes, the 6-year-old mean girl. It wasn’t anything major, just your typical using-guilt-to-manipulate, ruling-the-first-grade-roost-with-a-pink-clad-fist kind of thing. It ended up being a great learning experience for my daughter, as we were able to teach her some valuable life lessons and give her the tools necessary for dealing with not-nice people. But honestly, in the beginning, I was totally at a loss.

Growing up, I didn’t understand girls; girl relationships were complicated with way too much subtext for me to figure out. So I hung out with boys. Boys were straightforward. I didn’t have to play games or curry favor in order to be friends with them. But my daughter’s a social BEAST. She wants to be friends with everyone and play with everyone and my advice to avoid the little Napoleon just didn’t fly with her. Then one of my friends told me about this book she had read. So I checked out Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. And oh boy did I get an education.

This book, to put it simply, is AWESOME. Written by a former educator who has spent most of her life studying teens and their group dynamics, it pulls back the curtain to reveal the intricacies of the typical girl clique: the players and their roles, currency within the group, what motivates them, and a ton of other stuff. This book has been incredibly useful because it’s TRUE; as I’ve looked back over my experiences with other girls, I’ve seen it played out at all different ages and in different groups. When I shared what I’d learned with my neighbor, she said that she’s unfortunately seeing this among the women at the nursing home when she goes to visit her 80-year-old grandmother.

So as the mother of even a six-year-old girl, I’ve found this information to be really helpful.  As someone who would like to relentlessly stamp out bullying, it’s invaluable.  But I’m blogging about it today because of its practical use for writers—because if you’re writing about girls (or even women), the information can come in really handy.

As I say in most of my webinars and workshops, one of our most important jobs as authors is to make readers care about our characters. And one way to do that is to write characters who are believable. If your writing involves girls and the popular girl clique, it’s important to understand the way these groups typically operate, so you can write their dynamics in a way that rings true with readers.

Now, I’m just getting started and I know that some of you are already bristling, so please allow me to disclaim. The information from Wiseman’s book is applied mostly to the popular girl clique, not to every group of girls; girl groups do exist that are healthy and positive. Dynamics within these popular cliques are often (but not always) similar. While I’ll be sharing these commonalities, I understand that every human being is intrinsically different and not all girls fit this mold. But by understanding how the dynamics typically work, we will hopefully be able to 1) write girl groups realistically, according to the way they tend to exist, or 2) turn the cliché on its ear by using the information to write girls in a new and fresh way.

Enough posturing ;). Let’s get to it…

According to Wiseman, most girl cliques have an established social structure, with each person playing a clearly-defined position. Today I’d like to focus on those roles within the popular girl group, and what they typically look like.


Wiseman’s book was the basis for the movie “Mean Girls”

The Queen Bee 

  • Reigns through a combination of charisma, force, money, looks, and social intelligence
  • Strengthens her power and influence by weakening girls’ relationships with each other
  • Is usually at the center of the group
  • Transfers affections from one girl to another as she deems strategically appropriate
  • Seeks revenge when someone has “wronged” her
  • Uses subversive means to maintain control or subdue a perceived threat
  • Is always in control
  • Can manipulate girls, boys, and even adults to get them to do what she wants

The Sidekick

  • Gains power by being in close proximity to the Queen Bee
  • Is closest to the Queen Bee
  • Unquestioningly backs the Queen Bee
  • Works with the Queen Bee to intimidate and bully other girls to get them back in line
  • Becomes jealous if the Queen Bee warms to other girls
  • Often loses her sense of identity as she adopts the Queen Bee’s attitudes, likes, and dislikes as her own

The Banker

  • Gains power by being the one who always knows what’s going on
  • Is the confidant of the group; can easily get information out of other girls
  • Uses learned information strategically against other girls
  • Causes conflict through the sharing of information

The Messenger

  • Gains power out of her ability to “save” relationships and resolve conflict
  • Delivers information about others, but does so out of a desire to act as mediator
  • Appears to be a peacemaker, as she’s always trying to fix people’s problems
  • Loves to create drama
  • Is always involving herself in other people’s conflicts

The Wannabe

  • Gains power by feeling that she belongs in the group
  • Will do anything to keep her spot in the group
  • Imitates the behavior of the others in the group
  • Is always currying favor from those in a position of power
  • Has no sense of personal identity as she takes on the likes, dislikes, and opinions of the powerful girls in the group

The Torn Bystander

  • Gains power through her silence, which she utilizes so she can stay in the group
  • Often disagrees with how the group treats people but is afraid to act on those beliefs
  • Rationalizes her decisions to not oppose the group
  • Often has to choose between friends in the group
  • Tries to accommodate everyone
  • Toes the line when she’s with the powerful girls but is often a truer version of herself when she’s not with them

The Target

  • Has no power within the group
  • Is at the bottom of the pecking order within the group
  • Is often made fun of or humiliated by the other girls
  • Doesn’t truly feel part of the group
  • Will change herself in an effort to fit in

The Champion

  • Gains power by knowing she’s liked for who she is as a person rather than who she is within the group
  • Belongs to different groups and can move freely between them
  • Is able to take criticism
  • Doesn’t view or treat people as commodities in the social game
  • Stands up to the Queen Bee when she feels it’s necessary
  • Treats people with dignity and respect

So there you have it. In most popular girl cliques, these are the players. Depending on the size of the group, some of these can be missing, or numerous roles may be combined and taken on by one member. What’s interesting is that while most parents would say that their daughter is The Champion of her group, most parents would be fooling themselves. But the fact is that every girl can have champion moments; it’s these moments of growth that give girls the strength and confidence to rise above their roles, move out of these relationships—which are sometimes abusive—and become better versions of themselves. In books, it’s these champion moments that provide important crossroads scenarios that can propel our heroes along their character arcs and help them become happier and healthier characters.

So when you’re writing a story where your main character is part of a group like this, consider this information and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which role does my hero play?
  • Is she satisfied or conflicted about the role she plays?
  • At the end of the story, will she be in the same position?
  • At the end of the story, will she be in the same group?
  • What will she gain by changing her role?
  • What will she lose by staying the same?
  • Who is speaking truth into her life? Who is challenging her?
  • What circumstance would make her rise above her role?

Here are some questions to consider if you’re looking to switch things up:

  • How can I make my girl group different?
  • How does the dynamic change if I remove one or more of the players?
  • What new roles can I add?
  • Does any one character play more than one role?
  • What other ways can a girl gain power within the group? What role might emerge out of a desire to gain power in that way?
  • What character could I add that would throw the group into disarray?
  • If the Queen Bee abruptly disappeared, what would happen to the group? Would it fall apart? Would someone new rise to take her place? Would that person come from within or outside of the group?

I hope I’ve given you some helpful information today, or at least some food for thought—either for a writing project or your own personal introspection. If you’re interested in learning more about girl dynamics, do check out Queen Bees and Wannabes. And because I’m just figuring all of this girl stuff out, I’d love to hear any comments, opinions, or girl-group stories that you’d be willing to share.

photo credit: Yoko @ Creative Commons

The post Truth and Fiction: Girl Cliques appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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3. New Wall Art

Excited to be licensing these two food related images for wall art:

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4. Hart-Celler and a watershed in American immigration

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the congressional passage of the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was the culmination of a trend toward reforming immigrant admissions and naturalization policies that had gathered momentum in the early years of the Cold War era.

The post Hart-Celler and a watershed in American immigration appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Ist wie sandstein Chlor Verschönern eine andere Bezug

In Toronto, das sind stellen Auch. Wenn Sie beabsichtigen auf Einrichtung sandstein hamburg ein brandneues Dielen, erreichen merken Ihre Treppe. Sie können Neues Teppichböden Jogging Abnahme das Zentrum Ihre Treppe wenn Sie usw. Wählen Sie. Es gibt eine Sache anspruchsvolle Bezug Hartholz natursteine hamburg Treppen für die Treppe in Ihrem Haus für die in Ihrem Haus. Sie werden scheinen viel besser als Menschen Regel versichert mit Teppiche und Verwendung legene. Für den Fall, Sie Kasse Teppichboden Treppen sehen Sie über die Ecken nach kurz in dem Aussehen sehr gut angelegt genutzt. Für den Fall, Sie interessiert sind Sie.

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6. Worms - a bookwrap


Author:  Bernard Friot

Illustrator:  Aurélie Guillerey

Ages:  4-7

Unwrapping some of the illustrations...

About the book...

A small boy is forced to attend a dinner party given by his dad for executives from his father's company.  He can hardly stand it...he is is so bored.  Finally his father asks him to go get the salads from the kitchen. The boy eagerly agrees, anything to escape this tediousness.  

As he eyes the salads a mischievous little thought enters into his head: 

"I'm not sure why, but looking at the salads, I suddenly thought of worms." he explains. "The worms I use for fishing bait that I keep in the fridge, way at the back, behind the yogurt." 

Dare he even think of what to do with them next?  Yep, he schemes and he smiles and then he adds an extra garnish to the salad - one that will liven up the deadly party for sure.  Oh my!

With an impish grin the little boy rolls the salads back to the dining room and proudly serves his special of the day. The illustrations take it from there.  You will have a good chuckle as you observe the guests reactions as they discover the hidden surprises embedded ( and wiggling ) in their salads.  The little boy turns boring into entertaining!  

The illustrator does a brilliant job of adding humorous touches and wonderful details through body language and shocked facial expressions on both the guests and the worms.  

This would be a great read-aloud and kids would be disgusted at the very thought of not only finding a worm in their salad but having to eat it!  Yew!!  Laughter will ensue and discussions will be had regarding how each of the adults responded to their squirmy discovery.

You will simply love the ending of the story.  Sometimes what goes around comes around...there enough said.  I highly recommend this book and caution you to check out your salads very carefully from now on.  

About the author and illustrator ...

BERNARD FRIOT is a teacher and author who has written more than 50 books for children and teens, and has translated just as many from German and Italian. He lives in Besançon, France.

AURÉLIE GUILLEREY studied decorative arts in Strasbourg, and has since illustrated many children’s books, including Tell Me About Colors, Shapes, and Opposites. She lives in Rennes, France, with her husband and young son. 

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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7. A New Book to Spark an Interest in World War II History

INTO THE KILLING SEAS is a fictional retelling of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the waning days of World War II.

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8. Rick Remender Leaves Marvel to Focus on Creator Owned Work

rickremenderLast night, Rick Remender announced his intentions to “take a break” from his work with Marvel comics.  The writer, known for his tenures on Uncanny X-ForcePunisher, and Captain America, says that he owes Marvel a great debt for enabling him to “provide for [his] family as it grew” and for taking a chance on him when he quit his first job as a successful animator to pursue his career in comics.

Before Remender worked with Marvel, he put out several books with Image, the most notable of which is Fear Agent with Tony Moore.  Creator-owned work has always been Remender’s greatest passion, though when he started out the market “didn’t seem to want such things.”  Recently, however, things have changed.  Remender currently writes a number of my favorite Image titles including Black Science; Deadly Class; and most recently, Low.  This work has become increasingly time consuming, and so:

For the next year, I’m only going to do work that the artists and I own.  Putting my ass on the line along with my partners, and try for the dream one more time.  To get back to doing what feeds my soul.  To be around for my family during some trying times and spend my work hours making comics with the people I want to, the exact way we want to make them, and owning and controlling the fruits of our labor.

Remender’s announcement comes on the heels of a number of creative shakeups for Marvel’s “All-New All-Different” line up.  Yesterday, Marvel announced that Jeff Lemire would take the reigns on the new Uncanny X-Men series.  Jonathan Hickman has previously stated that he would also be taking a vacation from the House of M following the end of Secret Wars.

Things are moving at a breakneck pace in the lead up to SDCC.  It’s hard to imagine how Marvel will top themselves at the convention.

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9. A West Ender’s stop on Broadway

We’ve got one day here and not another minute…”. Well, not one day exactly, but just five—a short week’s stay in NYC from England, and four nights to catch a few shows. So how to choose? The first choices were easy: two new productions of classic musical comedies, and as it happens, shows by the same team of writers. Betty Comden and Adolph Green were veterans of Broadway by the time they came to write On the Twentieth Century (1978), though merely young starlets when they first scored a hit with On the Town (1944).

The post A West Ender’s stop on Broadway appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. head in the clouds

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11. Webcomic alert: Witness the economic struggle of the cartoonist in ICE CREAM by Alex Fellows


Here’s a comic that sums up all the money stuff we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks. The unnamed cartoonist in Alex Fellows’ ICE CREAM has just purchased a fancy refrigerator he can’t really afford. I think most of us will empathize with the financial soul searching, credit card juggling and marital discord that follows.

I could pull any number of panels in this comic but here’s just one.


I wasn’t familiar with Fellows work, but he won a Xeric in 2002 for Blank Slate and a Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2011 for his comic, Spain and Morocco. You can see more of his work here. I’ll definitely be following Ice Cream!

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12. Board Book: The Doghouse

Board Book: The Doghouse. Jan Thomas. 2008/2015.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 36 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:
Oh no! The ball went into THE DOGHOUSE.
Who will get it out?

Premise/Plot: A cow, a mouse, a duck, and a pig are playing ball together....when....it happens. The ball is kicked into the doghouse. Who is brave? Who is scared? Will they get their ball back? Read and see!

My thoughts: I do love Jan Thomas. And The Doghouse is a great example of just why. The Doghouse is funny, playful, and dramatic. Some drama can help keep read alouds fun and spirited. This one is just predictable enough--repetitive enough--to keep it fun.

The same characters can be found in A Birthday for Cow. (Cows feature into two other Thomas picture books: Let's Sing A Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy and my personal favorite, Is Everyone Ready for Fun?)

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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13. When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit written and illustrated by Judith Kerr, 192 pp, RL 4

  Because my mother taught fourth and fifth grade for almost two decades I have known about Judith Kerr's book When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit for almost as long as I have known about her Mog the Cat books. For some reason, though, I never put two and two together and it wasn't until I sat down to write about one of my favorite childhood books, Mog the Forgetful Cat, that I discovered that

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14. Summer Travels and Blog Hiatus

  A month ago, I was coming to the end of my MFA, and after six months of searching for a job, had almost given up hope. I thought that after the summer, I would need to relocate back to … Continue reading

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15. Immune profiling of tumors may better stage early cancers

When immune cells infiltrate tumors in large numbers, patients do better. Now researchers aim to harness this immune response to predict outcomes. The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) in Milwaukee is coordinating an international effort to validate Immunoscore, an assay that quantifies this immune response.

The post Immune profiling of tumors may better stage early cancers appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Hedge funds and litigation: A brave new world

Hedge funds and other investment funds are emerging as sophisticated litigators, viewing litigation as an asset, which can create value and mitigate risk, rather than something to be avoided or feared. As a consequence, both the market and various legal systems are being disciplined and developed. How and why is this happening? Willing to litigate relentlessly and fearlessly, hedge funds will seek out and find gaps in documents and uncertainties in the law, and exploit them with ruthless efficiency, entering new legal territory and pushing the boundary of legal theories.

The post Hedge funds and litigation: A brave new world appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Alive by Chandler Baker // Heart-Pounding Excitement

Reviewed by Rachel  Alive by Chandler Baker Age Range: 12 - 18 years Grade Level: 7 - 12 Hardcover: 368 pages Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (June 9, 2015) Goodreads | Amazon Stella Cross's heart is poisoned. After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive.

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18. Spotlight and Giveaway: Summer at the Shore by VK Sykes

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Summer at the Shore!

About Summer at the Shore

Morgan Merrifield sacrificed her teaching career to try to save her family’s bed-and-breakfast and care for her younger sister. She can’t let herself get distracted by Ryan Butler. After all, the rugged ex-Special Forces soldier is only in Seashell Bay for the summer. But her longtime crush soon flares into real desire-and with one irresistible kiss, she’s swept away.

Ryan values his freedom. As much as he wants Morgan, he’s not ready to settle down with anyone, much less in sleepy Seashell Bay. But his code of honor doesn’t allow him to leave a woman in distress-and she’s in desperate need of help to fix the inn. It only takes one day working under the same roof and Ryan is already hoping for a lifetime of hot summer nights . . .

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1HQdXaQ
B&N: http://bit.ly/1QCacvn
iTunes: http://apple.co/1BkZ5Qv
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1CbXgk2
BAM!: http://bit.ly/1GckJlP
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1BgH326

About VK Sykes

V. K. Sykes is a wife/husband writing team -Vanessa Kelly and Randall Sykes – who write romantic suspense and single-title contemporary romance.  One of the great things they appreciate about being writers is that they can work anywhere so Vanessa and Randy split their time between Ontario, Canada, in the summer and Florida in the winter. Both locations have shores just as beautiful as the imaginary Seashell Bay.





This time, the smile did reach his eyes. He slid an arm around her waist. “If I wanted company, Kristi’s not the woman at Golden Sunset I’d want in my room.” His arm tightened around her waist, gently pulling her against his naked torso.

Morgan froze, staring at him. The slowly building heat in his gaze sure didn’t look like a joke, nor did the arm around her waist feel like just a friendly gesture—not when she was plastered against all that warm, brawny muscle. And honest to God, she hadn’t a clue how to react.


His eyebrows ticked up, then he sighed and withdrew his arm. “Sorry. I made you uncomfortable.”

“You just kind of surprised me.” Morgan swallowed past a lump in her throat. God, she didn’t want him to let her go. “But we seem to be making a habit of this, don’t we?”

He smiled wryly. “If twice constitutes a habit.”

She sucked in a deep breath and decided it was time for some frank talk. “You know I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling the same, Ryan. Like practically every minute since I saw you on the ferry.”

“I hear a ‘but’ coming.”

How could she explain how terribly vulnerable she felt? Between her father’s death, her worries for Sabrina, and her insecurity about her own future, she was close to being an emotional basket case. How could she possibly risk a summer hookup with Ryan? That would lead to a world of hurt down the road—especially since he’d just made it blazingly clear that he avoided long-term commitments.

“But I’m . . . I’m not there emotionally, Ryan. I don’t think I could handle it, no matter how much I might want to. I’m kind of a wreck right now.” She briefly nestled her face against his shoulder. “I’m really sorry.”

“Don’t be. I get where you’re coming from.” Ryan gave his head a shake. “I’m just finding it damn near impossible to ignore all this crazy chemistry between us. Hell, sometimes it feels like I’ve got a grenade inside me.”

Boy, that was exactly how she felt. If Ryan grabbed her and kissed her now, she’d probably be lost. They’d end up naked on this pebbly beach, getting busy in plain view of every boater sailing down the channel.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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19. Work in Progress

An illustration piece in progress -

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20. Loads of Headbutting Before Breakfast

“This is my rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


British author and illustrator David Lucas has a new book out, This Is My Rock (Flying Eye, May 2015), and I’ve got some art from it today. I always like to check out Lucas’ books, and this one has a poignant back story to its dedication.

This is a story of power and ultimately, friendship, as a domineering goat atop a mountain claims it for himself but in the end discovers his own loneliness. It invites, as the Kirkus review notes, “a broader consideration of the ins and outs of ownership than the usual toy-oriented run of ‘sharing’ titles.” Lucas’ geometric designs and angular speech bubbles give the book a distinctive look. Keep your eye on the sky here to note his shooting stars and zooming clouds and rising suns (note the one on the first spread, featured above). These are visually pleasing spreads, ones evoking the Southwest in color palette and border design (though it’s never specifically noted where the story takes place).

Here’s some more art from the book. Enjoy!

“Not your rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


“This my rock. Not your rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


“This my rock. Not your rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


* * * * * * *

THIS IS MY ROCK. Copyright © 2015 by David Lucas. Published by Flying Eye Books, London. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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21. Guest Post and Giveaway: Once Upon a Cowboy by Maggie McGinnis

Maggie McGinnis dropped by the virtual offices to celebrate the release of Once Upon a Cowboy. Check it out!

Why I Stick to the Sweet Side by Maggie McGinnis

Thanks so much for hosting me today! I’m so excited to celebrate the release of Once Upon a Cowboy with you!

When I first started writing romance, I was pretty secretive about it. After all, I had children … and a mother … and a mother-in-LAW, for God’s sake. What if I was lucky enough to get published? They might—gasp—read my books. And then they’d look at me differently, right? Seriously, we’re talking native New Englanders here. We did not talk of such things as romance in my house, even though clearly, something had happened there at least three times, since I had two brothers.

When I wrote my first sex scene, I immediately chopped it out of the manuscript and saved it in a new file that I named “grocery list.” I mean, what if I keeled over from some mystery illness and my mother ended up in charge of sorting out the files on my laptop? If she came across that scene, the poor woman would be rinsing her eyes for weeks!

Weeks later, I tried again. Chopped it again. Filed it again.

Clearly, my sex scenes were destined to live life undercover … as grocery lists.

Luckily, I found my niche in the world of sweet romance. There’s a whole world of hotness implicit in creating gorgeous sexual tension, and when it comes time for Tab A and Slot B, I can close the proverbial door and let your own imagination take over. There are a gazillion authors out there who write sex really, really well, and I’m happy to recommend them. I’m just … not them.

That said, my grocery list file has become a folder, and I have quite a collection of … lists in there right now. Who knows? Maybe Maggie McGinnis has a hot-hot twin who might someday be able to pull off the whole hot-writing gig.

Just please don’t tell my mother.

How about you? Do you prefer your romances to be on the sweet side? Or super-steamy?

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter below to win fabulous Loveswept swag! And psst! I’m giving away sparkly prizes on my website (www.maggiemcginnis.com) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MaggieMcGinnisAuthor), so go check ’em out!

Once Upon a Cowboy
Whisper Creek # 1

By: Maggie McGinnis

Releasing June 30, 2015



In this sexy Whisper Creek romance for readers of Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe, a red-hot cowboy uses some Montana magic to give a reclusive beauty her happily ever after.

Yoga instructor Jessalyn Alcott radiates peace, calm, and serenity—on the outside. Inside, she still feels like the broken, desperate girl from the trailer park. She’s got dark secrets she can’t share, which is why she never lets her relationships go beyond the third date. But when she travels to the Whisper Creek dude ranch for a friend’s wedding, Jess is enchanted by a cowboy whose deep blue eyes, dimpled smile, and rock-hard body make it tough to remember why she keeps running scared.

Cole Driscoll has struggled to find his place on a family ranch where he’s always played second fiddle. His future might be uncertain, but he’s sure of one thing: He wants Jess by his side. Easier said than done. When it comes to getting close, she’s full of excuses, and he longs to fix the hurt he sees in her eyes. Now that she’s at Whisper Creek, there’s nothing he wants more than to break down the walls around her heart and heal her pain with the power of love.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/once-upon-cowboywhisper-creek-3-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23395415-once-upon-a-cowboy?ac=1
Goodreads Series Link:

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Author Info

Maggie McGinnis, USA Today Bestselling Author of Accidental Cowgirl and Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award is a former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, who lives in New England with her family.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


“No. I will not pose for some crazy beefcake calendar. Not happening.” Cole put one hand up, palm toward his sister-in-law as he reached into the fridge for a bottled water. He’d just finished leading a trail ride out to the cliffs, and had stopped by the main lodge for a quick drink.

Kyla smiled sweetly. “It’s not a beefcake calendar. It’s a Men-of-Whisper-Creek memento.”


“Cole! You know it would be a great moneymaker. Every woman who stays here at the ranch would take one home with her.”

Cole shivered dramatically. “That doesn’t make me feel better.” He pointed out the window. “Go take pictures of the scenery! Look! Blue skies, rolling grasslands, big snow-capped mountains in the distance. Make that calendar.”

“Come on. We’ll just take a few pictures. You’d have final say over what shots I use.”

“No.” Cole sighed. He loved Kyla like a sister, and her ideas had been bringing in more money than they’d ever made before she came along, but a calendar? That was putting things over the top.

“Kyla, remember when you thought we should get goats?”

“Mm-hmm. I was right, right?”

“You were right. Kids love them.” He put up one finger, then raised a second one. “And remember when you thought we should add a spa package?”

She nodded. “Right about that, too.”

“Yes.” He put up the rest of the fingers on his right hand. “Also right about the wedding gazebo and the Shetlands and the fishing excursions.”

“Sounds like I’m five for five.” She raised an eyebrow in challenge.

“Exactly. So let’s not mess with your perfect record by pimping out the cowboys for a calendar, okay?”

“Not all of the cowboys. Just a select few. Like, twelve.”

He shook his head. “Not happening.”

“Cole, we have the hottest cowboys in Montana. It makes business sense to capitalize on that and you know it.”

Before he could formulate an answer, Ma blew into the huge country kitchen with a laundry basket full of towels.

“What’s all this jawing about in here?”

Cole raised his eyebrows at Kyla, silently daring her to tell Ma she wanted to put together a cowboy calendar. No way would Ma go for it, and they both knew it.

With a flick of her head, Kyla turned to Ma. “I was just telling Cole I think we should do a Whisper Creek calendar.”


Ma pursed her lips, nodding carefully. “Cowboys?”


Ma smiled benignly as she picked up a towel, folding carefully. “I think it’s a great idea. Is he campaigning to be Mr. February?”

Kyla shot a superior look his way, huge grin on her face, and Cole could do nothing but sigh, slap on his Stetson, and head for the door. Great. Outnumbered once again.

“I’ll let you know when we need you for the photo shoot,” Kyla called.

He opened the door. “And I’ll let you know when I’m headed to Alaska.”

As he walked toward the stable, he saw his brother working one of their new ponies on a long lead in the corral. He approached slowly so he wouldn’t startle them, settling his arms on the top rail as he watched.

Decker spotted him out of the corner of his eye. “How are things up in the henhouse?”

“Your wife is planning a beefcake calendar.”

“Oh, really?” Decker’s eyebrows went upward. “And who does she plan to use for the—beefcakes? Is that a word?”

“Who do you think?”

Decker shook his head. “No way. Not happening.”

“That’s what I told her. But don’t think Ma’s going to save us. She just stamped her approval. I think you need to get some control over your woman, Decker.”

Decker smiled. “Right. You go ahead and tell her that.”

“It’d help if she wasn’t so damn right all the time.” Cole sighed. “Now she’s got attitude.”

“She came with that.” He motioned Cole into the corral. “You want to take the pony for a bit? I need to get ready for that open house up at Boulder Creek.”

Decker might play a cowboy while he was working at the family ranch, but he was also an architect, and phase three of his new housing development on Whisper Creek’s western border was set to open this fall.

“Another fun afternoon sitting around a model home with your fancy suit and shoes on? God, I’m envious.”

Cole stepped into the corral and took the rope from Decker, ducking as Decker tried to cuff him in the head.

“Lot of ways to make a living, buddy. Lot of ways.”

Cole nodded. “Yup. I’m just glad my ways don’t involve suits.”

Decker shook his head. “I’d much rather be here this afternoon, believe me.”


“I would.”

“It’s okay, Decker. I’ve got cowboy-duty nailed down. Even have my best Stetson on in case anybody shows up early. We’re covered.”

“Are you being an ass?”

“Nope. But if you start scheduling these open houses for every Sunday afternoon, I might turn into one.”

“Well, once we sell all the lots, we won’t need to do any more open houses, right?”

“Not till you start on phase four, anyway.” Cole tried to keep the bitter edge out of his voice, but he figured Decker heard it anyway.

They’d both been raised right here at Whisper Creek, but after their little sister’s death, Decker’d been kicked off the ranch by their despondent father, who’d needed to blame someone. He’d spent ten long years out in California honing his architect chops while Cole and Ma had struggled to keep the ranch from going under completely, but two years ago when Dad died, Decker had finally come back.

And at first, it had been great. He and Cole had poured buckets of sweat into reviving Whisper Creek. They’d worked together, cussed together, drunk beers at the end of the day together, got to know each other again.

But now? It’d been two years since Decker had driven back up the long driveway and into their lives, but they still hadn’t quite worked out the who-does-what equation yet, and Cole was getting itchy.

While he mucked stalls and led trail rides and fed those damn goats Kyla had insisted on, Decker spent half his time up at the new development, or at town council meetings, or glad- handing the guys who would be voting at the next council meeting.

Leaving Whisper Creek certainly hadn’t been Decker’s choice, but Cole just wished now that he was back, he’d be—back. Back in the stables, back on the trails, back in the corrals for more than a passing lesson or two before heading out in his truck for yet another meeting or business lunch.

Decker was working his ass off, no doubt about it. And the Boulder Creek development had been responsible for Whisper Creek’s bank account finally moving into the black, but there didn’t seem to be any end in sight, and Cole was getting a little tired of feeling like he was carrying the ranch on his shoulders.

Especially since he wasn’t one hundred percent sure he even wanted to play cowboy anymore.

He sighed and headed for the stables with the pony. Yep. To the outside world, Decker was saving the ranch with his money, his valedictorian brain, and his housing project, and Cole was—well, Cole was being asked to pose for the ranch calendar.

And that kind of said it all.

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22. The story of DC’s library moving coast to coast


With DC Entertainment not ensconced safely in the petri dish of the Burbank studio world, THR’s Borys Kit delivers the Story of the Move with two videos of the DC library then and now. Trigger warning: images of Steve Korte holding a whip.

The move west didn’t merely uproot the staff; it also meant a cross-country trip for DC’s celebrated library on Broadway, which was stored in a vault and included nearly every comic the company has published as well as a collection of licensed merchandise and oddities. (Collectively, DC’s copies of the first appearances of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are worth more than $2 million.)

Special movers, working with Warner Bros. Archives, packed nearly 100,000 comics and 8,000 hardcover books into 600 boxes, and a security team escorted them to a giant truck in mid-March. DC executives tracked the vehicle via GPS, and another security team oversaw the collection’s unloading. “It was like medevacking the heart from New York to Burbank,” says Nelson.

The front office certainly looks nice. I still feel a stab when I go up to the Carnegie Hall area, but sometimes puling stakes and moving is what it takes:

Overall, the move went as smoothly as possible, with no major damage to the collection reported. Nelson, whose office door boasts a transparent Wonder Woman image, says the new environment has affected employees and their work: “There’s a happiness that comes with being so close to the studio — seeing people they haven’t seen on a regular basis — and being in a creative space that feels like a comic company.”

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23. 100 years of black music

Celebrate the end of Black Music Month with this timeline highlighting over 100 years of music created and produced by influential African-Americans. Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams developed the idea for Black Music Month back in 1979 as a way to annually show appreciate for black music icons. After lobbying, President Jimmy Carter hosted a reception to formally recognize the month.

The post 100 years of black music appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. हमारी मानसिकता


हमारी मानसिकता lady photo

हमारी मानसिकता-  कुछ देर पहले मैं अपनी सहेली मणि से मिलने गई. उससे मिलने कोई आई हुई थी. मुझे देखते ही उठने को हुई और बोली … ठीक है मैं शाम को आ जाऊंगी… और स्माईल देती हुई चली गई. उसके जाने के बाद मणि ने बताया कि ये महिला उनकी जानकार है और वो टी सैट  और दो चार चीजें मांगने आई थी कल के लिए चाहिए. असल में,  उनकी लडकी को लडके वाले देखने आ रहे हैं .. सामान अच्छा हो तो जरा रौब अच्छा पडता है.

मै सोचने लगी कि हमारी मानसिकता आज भी जस की तस है. लडकी पसंद करनी है या टीसैट पसंद करना है.   दिखावे के पीछे पागल से हुए पडे हैं. अपनी चादर बिना देखे दूसरों की चादर देख कर पांव पसराते हैं और अंत क्या होता है हम सभी जानते हैं  अब तो अखबार के सुर्खियां भी नही बनती कि दहेज के कारण मौत हुई.

फलां की शादी में 5 करोड लगे डिमकाना की शादी मॆं बारह करोड लगे. अरे छोडों हमें क्या लेना… बस जरुरत इस बात की है पहले दिन से ही कोई दिखावा न हो और सारी बात साफ और स्पष्ट हो ताकि सब कुशल मंगल रहे.

शादियों में बहुत खर्चा बेवजह होता है इस पर रोक लगा कर बच्चों के नाम ऎफ.डी करवा देंगें तो बहुत अच्छा होगा. बाकि हम चाहे 5 लाख दे या पांच करोड लोगों ने तो बोलना ही बोलना है … फिर किस के लिए दिखावा और क्यों ???

बहुत बडा प्रश्नवाचक है ????



story on marriage

फेरे हो रहे थे। दूल्हे मियां शराब में टुन्‍न थे। इतने कि वे लड़खड़ा रहे थे। आधे फेरे होते न होते टपकने को हुए कि दुल्हन ने शादी से ही इंकार कर दिया। ठीक भी है, ‘जब तक पूरे न हो फेरे सात, दुल्हन नहीं दुलहा की।’ इसी तरह एक शादी में दूल्हे के पिए हुए दोस्त दुल्हन पक्ष की महिलाओं के साथ बेहूदा मजाक कर रहे थे। जब उनकी मजाक अश्लीलता की हद तक पहुंच गई फिर भी दूल्हे ने हस्तक्षेप नहीं किया, अपने दोस्तों को मना नहीं किया तो इस दुल्हन ने भी बीच फेरे के डोर काट दी।

उल्लेखनीय बात यह है कि यह गुना जिले के बिजानीपुरा गांव की आदिवासी लड़की है। इसी तरह एक दूल्हे ने अपनी शिक्षा के बारे में झूठ बोला था। शादी के समय एक मौके पर साध्ाारण से गणित में वह ऐसा गड़बड़ाया कि उसकी पोल खुल गई और दुल्हन ने शादी से इंकार कर दिया। फेरे पर बैठकर दहेज में वस्तुओं की मांग करने वाले दूल्हों को दुल्हन द्वारा लौटाने की घटनाए भी पिछले कुछ सालों में हुई हैं।

सवाल यह है कि दूल्हे शादी के मंडप में बैठकर ही दहेज की मांग क्यों करते आए हैं? वजह यह कि अब तक लड़कियों के घरवाले इस बात से डरते आए हैं कि बारात लौट गई तो लड़की ‘लग्नभ्रष्ट’ हो जाएगी, फिर उससे शादी कौन करेगा? दूल्हे, दूल्हे के घरवालों और बारातियों का अहंकार तो हमारे समाज में ऐसा रहा है कि किसी बाराती की कोई मांग पूरी न हो या तथाकथित रूप से अपमान हो जाए तो दुल्हन को रोता छोड़ बारातें लौट जाती रही हैं।

दूल्हे के पांवों में दुल्हन के पिता द्वारा अपनी टोपी या पगड़ी रख देना, कर्ज लेकर वरपक्ष की मनचाही सामग्री जुटाना, दूल्हे के घर वालों की मिन्नातें करना कि कहीं बारात न लौट जाए, यह लड़की के बाप की नियति रही है। क्योंकि पहले लग्नभ्रष्ट हो जाने पर दुल्हन की कहीं शादी नहीं होती थी और दूल्हे को तो फिर कोई रिश्ता मिल जाता था। समाज की मानसिकता ऐसी थी कि कलंक सिर्फ दुल्हन को ही लगता था। बगैर पढ़ी-लिखी, परनिर्भर लड़कियों के हाथ में था भी क्या? लेकिन अब जमाने ने करवट ली है।

लड़कियां अब करारा जवाब देती हैं तो समाज में भी ऐसे बहुत से लोग निकल आते हैं जो लड़कियों को उद्दण्ड या लाजरहित बताने के बजाए उनके साहस की प्रशंसा करते हैं। मीडिया में भी ऐसे साहस की चर्चा होती है। अधिक से अधिक लड़कियां भी अब अपने पैरों पर खड़ी हो रही हैं।

ग्रामीण इलाकों तक ये जाग्रति पहुंची है कि जिस ससुराल में टॉयलेट न हो वहां जाने से दुल्हन इंकार कर दे। और एक दुल्हन इंकार करे तो उसकी खबर प्रेरणा बनकर अन्य युवतियों तक पहुंचे और एक सिलसिला बन जाए। ऐसा सकारात्मक साहस अधिक से अधिक युवतियों में होना चाहिए कि वे गलत बात बर्दाश्त न करें और समाज को उनका साथ देना चाहिए। See more…

हमारी मानसिकता

The post हमारी मानसिकता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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25. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Perfect Bargain by Julia London

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How to Marry a Highlander # 1
By: Julia London writing as Jessa McAdams
Releasing June 30, 2015
Entangled: Lovestruck


American lass seeks brawny Scot…

As if being newly single isn’t brutal enough, Sloane Chatfield’s friends are getting obnoxious about setting her up. When Sloane insists she’s waiting for a certain sexy fictional Highlander to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland to find her a new boyfriend. She’d rather have a root canal. But if she can find a Highland hunk to “break her heart” before her friends arrive…

In a remote Highland village, Galen Buchanan is struggling to keep the family pub afloat. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there’s an opinionated American lass parked at his best table, driving him mad. But then Sloane asks Galen to be her pretend Highland boyfriend…and offers him enough money to save the pub. It’s only for a few days, he figures. What’s the worst that could happen?



“I happen to be quite good at sizing people up, and you, lass, are spoiled. Donna take it personally—it’s an American thing,” he said casually, as if that were a foregone conclusion.

Now Sloane was indignant.“Watch yourself, Braveheart,” she said, poking him in the arm. “And anyway, how is that even remotely an American thing?”

“It’s the way Americans view the rest of the world,” he said. “Americans think the Loch Ness monster exists, and that we all live in the Highlands in a Braveheart movie. Or, you all read Trainspotting in school and think we’re all on drugs. You think Scots believe in unicorns and our national pastime is the caber toss, and our calendars are manly men in kilts holding kittens.”

“Is there really a calendar like that?” she asked, perking up. If there was, she’d be picking one up before she headed back to the States.

All she got in response to that was an I-told-you-so look.


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Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical series, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and the The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several acclaimed contemporary romances, including The Cedar Springs series, and the recent Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming. Julia has added a short contemporary series to her titles as well, including The Perfect Bargain, writing under the name Jessa McAdams.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a four time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. To keep up with all the Julia London news, please visit http://www.julialondon.com. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/julialondon

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