Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Cure May Kill You: A Fun Look at Early Remedies

The apothecary shop was the forerunner of the modern drug store. For centuries, villagers and townspeople depending on the local apothecary for remedies of all sorts. In some areas, the apothecary was considered a doctor, despite a lack of medical training. They not only prepared medicine but they also preformed minor surgeries, did amputations and treated wounds. They also performed bleedings and blistering. There were no training schools to learn the trade. Like many vocations, it required an apprenticeship.

The available drugs at the apothecary were made from a variety of roots, plants, berries and other herbs. Often the apothecary grew his own plants. From these plants, a variety of powders, liniments, lotions, and ointments were made and sold for a variety of illnesses including everything from a cold to cancer. While some of the remedies had to have helped some patients, advances in science proved most of them to be ineffective in treating disease.

Just so you will appreciate medicine today, here are some of the unusual theories and medical advice given centuries ago:

A plant was supposed to cure the part of the body that it looked like. For example, walnuts were considered brain food because they resembled the brain. Rose petals were good for blood diseases because of their red color. Almonds could improve eyesight. 

Cure for tuberculosis: Smoke dried cow dun. Inhale fumes through pipe.  (That would've killed me right on the spot.)

Cold: Mix goose grease and turpentine. Spread on patient's chest. 

Whooping cough: Father should place head of a sick child in a hole in a meadow for a few minutes at dusk.

Ague: Have patient swallow a cobweb rolled into a ball.

Anemia: Eat raw liver and drink fresh blood. 

Scarlet Fever: Put saffron in an onion, baked onion until juicy and feed onion to patient.

Teething: Hang the foot of a mole around the baby's neck.

Stuttering: Hit the person in the mouth with a chicken gizzard. (Bet that shut them up!) 

Everyone believed the more bitter the medicine, the better it worked.

In closing, I must say that I think it was only the lucky who survived, and I'm glad medicine has advanced so much in the past hundred years. There is just no way I could swallow a cobweb!!  Could you?


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekend Writing Warriors: Delivering Love Today #1


Joining Weekend Writing Warriors this weekend with a snippet from a fun & flirty short story I published this weekend. "Delivering Love Today" is set on Valentine's Day and Kelly is driving a florist van, making Valentine Day deliveries. Of course nothing goes as planned! 

As I topped the hill, a man ran out in the road, waving his arms for me to stop.
“Oh, shit!” I slammed on the brakes, causing the pink bear to spill onto the floorboard and the boxes in the back to slide forward as the van came to a screeching halt.
The man rushed toward the van. I clutched the steering wheel and stared at him.
He was rather fine. In a weird kind of a way.
He looked as if he had just stepped off the set of the TV western, Hell on Wheels, which I watched faithfully because the main character was enticing.

You can find more snippets in a variety of genres and discover new authors at  at http://www.wewriwa.com/  Have fun! 

Kelly Anderson never wanted to be delivering love on Valentine’s Day. But she has no choice. Her uncle had been kind enough to give her a job at his florist after she was fired from a diner, and she doesn’t want to let him down. So she puts on her best smile and climbs behind the wheel of the delivery van that’s filled flowers and balloons. Reminders that love is everywhere except in her disenchanted life.

On a lonesome country road, she’s stopped by Jared Marsden, a handsome cowboy who needs her help, or more precisely, her van. He offers his help in exchange for hers. Is he more than he seems? Will this twist of fate bring a valentine into Kelly’s life, or will it bring her a horde of angry customers and an end to her job?

Come take a fun ride with Kelly this Valentine’s Day and find out!  


Delivering Love Today: A Romantic Short Story, about 5300 words. http://amzn.to/1yJ1Sjo  99 cents  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

When the Muse Takes Hold: Delivering Love Today

This time last week I had no idea I would be doing this post today. I actually had no plans to have a new story out now either. My muse had other ideas. I was stalled on a book I was writing. The weather was blah and I was blah with it. Then, last week I was wandering around in a store where there were tons of Valentine goodies everything. Maybe that put the spark in my brain. I don't know.

The muse tends to be strange thing. Just when you think it has left you, it reappears, all charged up and ready to go. I got out of bed and sat down in front of the computer, knowing I wanted to write a Valentine story. Several years ago, I had written a short short story, under 1500, about a girl delivering flowers on Valentine's Day. I never really did anything with it. So, I decided to take that concept and go with it. Maybe make it a short romantic story. Maybe I'd even make a series of them?

Once I started writing, the words flowed. My muse had taken hold. I wrote all day and into the night. If there is any time that I love writing, it is when I'm writing hot. It's that moment that the characters take over and I just transcribe their words. By Friday night, I had written the story and done the second draft. A couple more drafts followed, along with editing, a cover and formatting.

It was almost a non-stop process, but it was also uplifting to me as a writer. Just to know I could accomplish this and experience such joy doing it. You can experience so much negativity as a writer, that I feel it is important to be positive and one of the most positive things you can do is embrace your muse. Let her come to you and follow her direction.

Because following your muse means following your heart!


DELIVERING LOVE TODAY
A Fun & Flirty Short Read  (5300 words)

“Delivering Love Today” is a fun & flirty romantic short story!

Kelly Anderson never wanted to be delivering love on Valentine’s Day, but she doesn’t want to let down her uncle who’d been kind enough to give her a job at his florist. She puts on her best smile and heads out in the delivery van that’s filled flowers and balloons. Reminders that love is everywhere except in her disenchanted life.


On a lonesome country road, she’s stopped by Jared Marsden, a handsome cowboy who needs her help, or more precisely, her van. He offers his help in exchange for hers. Is he more than he seems? Will this twist of fate bring a valentine into Kelly’s life, or will it bring her a horde of angry customers and an end to her job? 

Grab a copy to read at lunch:   http://amzn.to/1yJ2wxb     

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Meet Marilyn Baxter and Celebrate her new release today!

In 2001, Marilyn discovered romance novels quite by accident, which led to a renewed interest in writing. She’s had over forty stories published in the confessions and romance magazines and taught a class in how to effectively write for this genre. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter, Heart of Dixie Romance Writers. Her involvement on the local and national levels has combined to give her a great love of the romance genre and to develop friendships that span the globe.

In addition to reading and writing, Marilyn loves to knit simple things, cook in the crockpot and garden in a few pots on her patio. Her motto is “Have passport, will travel,” and she recently added Ireland and Wales to the list of 32 states and 21 foreign countries she has visited.

 A native of North Carolina, she came to Huntsville, Alabama by way of Frankfurt, Germany. She has lived there longer than anywhere else and calls it home. After raising two great sons, she loves to dote on her two granddaughters. And somewhere amidst all the above, she fits in a day job as an administrative assistant for a boutique law firm.


If you could be any fictional character (books, movies) who would you be?

 Joan Wilder from Romancing the Stone.  Oh wait!  In a way I am Joan because I write romance novels.  But I haven’t had a wild adventure with a hot guy.  However there’s still time!

It’s raining men! What kind of men?

Only one – Hugh Jackman.  The man is an incredible performer.  He sings, dances and acts.  And he’s a good family man.  You don’t read negative things about him.  Alas, he is married, but should anything every happen to his wife (and I hope it doesn’t) he should know I’m here, waiting for him. ;-)

How do you de-stress?

Oh this one’s easy.  I get a massage.  Then I’m like a new woman until stress sets in again, and I get another massage.  I have a membership to a massage clinic so I get one a month.  I can’t say enough about the rejuvenating benefits of therapeutic massage.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?  Schedule?  HA HA HA HA HA!  You’re kidding, right?  I have a day job and the stress levels with it alternate from not much stress at all to over-the-top stress.  I just have to go with the flow.  Some days I don’t write at all because by the time I get home, I have no brain cells left.  Other days, I come home, grab something for dinner and write til midnight.  My job is only part time – four hours every weekday afternoon.  So I am able to burn the midnight oil and then sleep late the next morning.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 

I knit.  I don’t knit really fancy things.  But I find the repetition soothing and the end result rewarding.  I do a lot of scarves.  My church supports a Lakota mission in South Dakota and in December we decorate our Advent tree with socks and gloves and hats and scarves.  So I knit a lot for this tree.  I can rationalize watching Law & Order SVU, Bones, Major Crimes, CSI and Castle by doing so with needles and yarn in hand.  I also love to travel, and in 2013 I went to Ireland, Wales and England with a group of friends who also happen to be writers.  It was AWESOME!  I saw Stonehenge, visited Buckingham Palace and, yes, I kissed the Blarney Stone.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"? 

Sadly, yes.  I went through a divorce several years ago and the stress of that blocked me completely.  My muse bought a one-way ticket to Lord knows where and I could not coax her back.  I could barely write a coherent grocery list during this time.  I also couldn’t concentrate long enough to read a chapter in a book.  I used to read 6-8 books a month.  During that year I think I read 9 books all year.  For this block, I just had to wait it out until life settled down and I got into the swing of my new life as a single person.  I still get blocked from time to time, but now I can get unblocked by writing something else, having a Hugh Jackman movie marathon on the DVD player, watching loads of documentaries on Netflix or picking up a good romance novel.

If you were going to cast the hero of your book, what actor would get the part?  Guess!  HA!  I actually used Hugh Jackman as the inspiration for Direct Deposit.

Thanks for a great interview, Marilyn!! Now, more about her new release:


Direct Deposit by Marilyn Baxter, available Jan 20, 2015 from Boroughs Publishing Group.  Also available at Amazon, B&N and other major retail sites (e-book only).

Successful family law attorney Maddie Prescott is driven to succeed.  She was a pawn in her parents’ messy divorce and has devoted her career to representing children in court.  Her husband’s early death, however, has made her realize she can’t have it all and she calls the sperm bank for a withdrawal.  One advantage to single parenthood is her child will never be a pawn.

Jack Worth promised his dying best friend that he’d look out for his wife – a small price to pay when Alex kept him out of jail after a teenage prank and then mentored him to success.  His own illegitimacy makes him question Maddie’s baby plans, but his promise prompts him to volunteer to be the sperm donor.  When Maddie’s job is threatened because of their decision, Jack modifies the offer and suggests a marriage of convenience complete with a direct deposit.

No hearts will be involved and no strings are attached, but neither counted on falling in love.
Twitter:  @marilyn_baxter
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.baxter.372


Monday, January 12, 2015

Sassy & Shameless: Darlene Interviews Authors Katherine Bone & Donna Cummings!!!

Fresh from the 50’s, we are happy to have Darlene Higginbottom, a character from “Laid to Rest” with us today. She’s going to interview illustrious romance writers, Katherine Bone, accompanied by Captain Jack himself, and Donna Cummings with her cup of coffee. Also you can get a free copy of Darlene's comedy, "Laid to Rest," at Amazon Tuesday thru Thursday this week.

Now, let me introduce today's hostess. Darlene Higginbottom is an enterprising working girl stuck in Clayburn, Mississippi in 1957. She knows she has the looks and talent to be the next Marilyn Monroe if she can only get to Hollywood. She's also something of a redneck and she doesn't mind saying what's on her mind. So, without further ado, Darlene, take it away.


I'm just so excited to be here today. Could you bring the camera in a little closer? Today, I will be talking with two romance writers, Katherine Bone and Donna Cummings. Hey you, behind the camera, keep it on me.

Hello, Kathy and Donna. I’m sure glad you’re here today and I know we’re all gonna learn a lot about sex!!!! Let's start with Kathy, who writes pirate romances. 

Ahoy, Lady Darlene! Jack and I are very happy to be sailing with you today!
 “Did she ask about my ex?”
 “No, Jack. She wants to learn more about sex.”
Jack’s eyes widen and he shares a sparkling grin. “Well that’s another jar of dirt. A sojourn in Tortuga would enlighten ye, m’lady.” Winks at Darlene.

Lord have mercy, who did your eye makeup?

 *Donna waves wildly at Darlene* Hey, movie star! I've been a big fan of yours for a long time. I'm all giddy at being here today. *tries to keep from swooning* Psst, Jack. Could you help a girl out over here?

*Darlene fluffs hair* Honey, I just love it that you're a fan. Listen, y'all, my motto is: a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. You gotta do what’s necessary to make your dreams come true. With the help of two morons, I hauled the mayor’s dead body home before his wife found out he died in my bedroom. 

What is your motto? What were you willing to do to make your dreams come true and who paid your bail?

Jack cringes. He looks at Katherine. “I take it this one is a dead shot.”
 “Right ye ARRR, Jack. Lady Patricia warned us that Darlene holds nothing back.”
 “Lady Darlene, you are a sassy wench! I enjoy women of your caliber.” Jack puffs air on nails and buffs them on coat sleeve.

Captain Jack, I could give you a ride you'd never forget.  Look, Kathy is blushing! Bless her heart.

“To answer your question, Darlene, my motto is ‘Believe to receive.’ Making ones dreams come true is difficult enough when the Kraken is ever at the ready to haul ye down to Davy Jones’ locker. But if ye keep your headin’, stay the course, and never deviate from your dreams, you’ll make your port o’ call even if ye have to eat a few weevils in your hardtack. 

As for paying bail? Well now, pirates have a way of getting out of scrapes all on their own.”
 “As long as there is a dog with keys nearby, pet,” Jack adds.

I don't have a dog, but I am stuck with Richie and Tommy Ray. Honey, a dog would be a whole lot smarter. Go ahead, Donna...

That's excellent advice, Lady Katherine. I think I'll be adopting that "Believe to receive" motto now. I'm not entirely sure I have a motto at the moment. It used to be "seemed like a good idea at the time". . .

I've thought that on many occasions.  I have something of a bad reputation. It all started back in high school when I charged boys a dollar for a peek down my blouse.
 
Jack nods. “I’d pay for that.”

*Darlene rolls her eyes* It seemed like a good idea at the time until Mrs. Raydeen Tuttle caught me. But I've never thought I was bad. I just consider myself enterprising. A girl has to be enterprising, and she needs to learn to walk with a sway if she wants to get ahead. What’s the most enterprising thing you’ve ever done? Can you walk with a sway when necessary?

“Sway when necessary? I don’t need rum for that. As for enterprising… Let’s see to that trip to Tortuga.”
Kathy: “I’d like to add that Jack is ever amiable to a trip to Tortuga, Lady Darlene.”
“To be sure.” Jack twirls his braided beard and smiles.

He needs some time with his monkey. Go ahead, Kathy. 

As to the most enterprising thing I’ve ever done in my writing career… I’d have to say learning to listen to the right people like Lady Patricia Preston. She’s been a great friend to me, Darlene. (I’m sure you agree.) Late last year, I found myself questioning my writing career. I adopted the song Radioactive by Imagine Dragons as my transformation soundtrack. The idea of change absolutely scared me to death. What if I made the wrong tactical choice? 

Here’s what I learned: sometimes making our dreams come true involves gutsy decisions that scare and immobilize us. How does one break away from the known into the unknown without sailing to World’s End?”
 Jack cringes. “Being shanghaied by Elizabeth Swann and swallowed by the Kraken comes to mind.”

What about you, dear fan Donna? Oh, could somebody bring Donna another pot of coffee? She's done drained the first one. 

Darlene, your enterprising nature makes you a role model for us all. :) I've discovered that advice that works for others doesn't always work for me. I've been told many times to pick one subgenre and to stick with that. Unfortunately that doesn't work for me because I really enjoy writing historicals AND contemporaries. 

I was once told to stick to one man. Didn't work for me either. Sorry. Go on...

Fortunately there are readers who like when I write both, and I'm really glad about that. Oh, and I'm practicing my sway. Ya never know when a good sway will come in handy!

Honey, perfect that sway. You know you can marry more money in three minutes than you make in a lifetime. Let's move on and talk about sex. Back in my day, the backseat of a car at the drive-in was the right place for fun. You know, if the car is rockin’, don’t come knockin’.

“Have ye seen on board the Pearl at sea?”

I think he's had enough rum. I always found those  flared poodle skirts were so convenient. They should come back in style. Look at y’all, grinning and remembering how cold those vinyl seats were in the winter. Anyway, do you incorporate your memories into your sex scenes or is all that stuff you write just stuff you wish had happened to you?

Sex scenes? Do tell…”
“Jack, you know how I feel about this. As romance writers it’s very hard not to approach sex scenes like movie directors and producers. You know the scenario: insert tab A into slot B. The hardest part about writing passionate sex scenes is getting the sensual tension right.”
“I have no trouble getting my sensual tab tense, luv.”
Smacks Jack. “Not here, Jack. We’re talking about writing.”

Bless his heart, that boy definitely needs some time with his monkey. Go ahead, Donna.

The vinyl seats are even worse in summer! Having your legs stick to the seat while trying to scoot outta there? Not very sexy! (Did she notice I didn't answer the rest of the question. . .)

Well, just wait till you hear my next question. Speaking of sex, I've read your romance novels and you know, when I get to the parts where the characters are like doing it and the guy really knows what he's doing (for a change) and there's like fireworks when the heroine comes... 

Kathy and Jack spew their rum! “I beg your pardon?”

Are you sure y’all ain’t writing fantasy?????

“Fantasy? I’ll have you know—”
“Jack, Darlene’s merely curious about our historical damsels. She’s not commenting on your prowess. I assure you. Are you, Darlene? Besides, if our heroines didn’t enjoy their heroes, what’s the point, eh?”

Exactly! And if my heroes didn't do their jobs properly, I'd have them go back and practice until the heroine was completely sated, er, I mean, satisfied with his performance. Otherwise he wouldn't be the hero!

Donna, darling, you need to give up writing and become a sex ed teacher. Why you'd be doing the women of America a favor! Speaking of heroes, I’ve been promised a hero in a future story. I wasn’t too enthusiastic until I read your books. And I am like Woo Hoo! Them boys know what to do when they are, like, down there. Why, they'd make a girl wanna whistle Dixie. So what else should I expect from a hero? 

 "My heroes have a code.”
 “More like guidelines.”
 “Well that’s not entirely true. Nelson’s Tea has its code, which is a bit different from the one you use, Jack. But as to what you can expect? Heroes who will do anything to protect those they love or those they know need protection. And they don’t need rum to do it.”
 Jack hides his dram of rum behind his back. “I take offense to that. I’ve done quite a few things without any rum.”

Well, Darlene, I think heroes should always make the heroine laugh. If he's interested in pleasing her that way, he's bound to please her in a lot of other ways. So make sure your new fella is just as hilarious as you are!

I'm just hoping he's got a real fine body like that dude in the picture. And that he's read your books!!! I'd really love it if he were a movie star, too. 

Talking about movies, let’s pretend you’ve won the Pulitzer for romance writing and they’re gonna make a movie of your life. And I’m in the starring role as you. I know I’m too much of a sex symbol, but I can tone it down. Just like Charlize Theron did in Monster. Well, maybe not that much, but…what kind of movie will it be? And how should I portray you?

“The movie’s already been made, luv.” Jack points a knowing grin toward Darlene. “Mayhap you know it? It begins with Pirates…”
 “Hmm… That’s a great question, Darlene. I’m pondering the answer because I don’t really think I live a very exciting life. LOL!!! But I’m going for broke here. Let’s say my life would be a cross between Pride and Prejudice with an Officer and a Gentleman spin in Pirates of the Caribbean. Darlene would be me getting swept off her feet by Jack, the one true rogue.”
“Obliged, luv.” Jack bows.
 “As for how you should play me, Darlene? As adventurous as your conscience allows, eh?”

My conscience usually allows me to adventurous, but I can tell you right now that I ain't trying pole dancing again. I nearly dislocated my hip, but I made a lot of money. Okay, what about you, Donna?

Oh dear, can you portray me as Boo Radley, the guy in To Kill A Mockingbird who never leaves his house? Because that's my writing life right there. But seeing as how you're so enterprising, I'm sure you can sashay and sway your way into making my story a LOT more entertaining!

 Well, I could be a writer with a secret. Maybe they could get Clark Gable to play the guy I've got chained up in the basement! 

It looks like we’ve gotta wrap this up, girls. I sure have had a good time! On that note, why don’t you tell me about the new books you’re working on now and stuff like that. 

“I’m so glad you asked about my books, Darlene. Part of moving away from my old publisher was getting my rights back to three previously published books in 2012 and 2013. DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT and LOST TREASURE, CAPTIVE PRINCESS now ROMANCING THE JEWEL were re-launched by EsKape Press Publishing in March and September of this year. The last book to be re-launched THE ROGUE’S PRIZE is coming out any day. I’m going over the galleys now. Huzzah and Hoorah! When Rogue comes out, I’ll have finally gotten back on track and will be able to finish publishing my Nelson’s Tea Series. I’m so excited to be able to do this for my readers.

Here’s the blurb:

The Rogue’s Prize ~ Book Two in the Nelson’s Tea Trilogy by Katherine Bone
An unlikely alliance earns Henry the ultimate prize...
Captain Henry Guffald is no ordinary sea captain. A member of Nelson’s Tea, he’s been ordered to rescue a comrade captured in Spain. The rescue is Henry’s last chance to prove his loyalty to Admiral Nelson. Not so easy a task when the job entails joining forces with a female pirate.
Lady Adele Seaton would no sooner give up the call to rove than marry, contrary to her father’s wishes. When news arrives that her brother has been captured in Spain, Adele quickly develops a plan to rescue him and sets sail to intercept the first royal navy ship she encounters. A brilliant tactician, she doesn’t count on meeting her match in a navy captain bound and determined to outwit her at every turn. Can a pirate be tamed?

Bio: Katherine Bone lives in the south where she dreams of the power, passion, and persuasion of Rogues, Rebels and Rakes, and the happily ever afters every Alpha male deserves.

 Ports of Call:


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I'm working on a zillion things actually. Well, math isn't my strong suit, so lemme see. . . about 3 contemporaries, and two historicals! But since I never know which set of characters will shove their way to the front of the line, I'll just mention the latest one I've got out, which is Lord Wastrel, a Regency historical. As for why you should read it -- I'll bet you'd pay to look down his shirt. Oh wait. He's not wearing one!

Bio:
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the tonI can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.

Social Media Links:
Website/Blog: http://www.AllAboutTheWriting.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Donna.Cummings.Author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookEmDonna
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349107.Donna_Cummings

Buy Links:
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OMBL5N4
Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-wastrel-donna-cummings/1120606756?ean=2940046308556
iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id931337529
Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lord-wastrel
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Hey everybody! Thanks for stopping by and visiting with all of us. Some real and some not!
Leave a comment if you had fun!!! We love it when folks have fun. 

On a hot Mississippi night in 1957, Mayor Clifford Stroud, III drops dead in Darlene Higginbottom’s bedroom. Unless she can get his body home before his wife finds out, Darlene, a Marilyn Monroe wannabe, knows her rosy future will collapse. She convinces Richie, an unemployed gas station attendant, and Tommy Ray, who’s just plain slow, to help her move the body. That’s when the fun begins.

It’s Bus Stop meets O’ Brother, Where Art Thou in “Laid to Rest,” a Southern comedy, 

 http://amzn.to/LLHoPy  

Also if you love short stories and you're in the mood for a Valentine, here's my latest:  http://amzn.to/1yJ2wxb