Bits and bytes

RONE Award Finalist!

Some very exciting news!  The Cat’s Paw Cove Romance holiday book MEOWS & MISTLETOE is a finalist for a 2020 RONE award for an anthology presented by  InD’tale Magazine

The RONE is awarded to the best books in the Indie and Small publishing industry.  One of the Cat’s Paw Cove Romance founders, Catherine Kean, is also a finalist in the Paranormal, Long category for Hot Magic

I’m so honored to be a part of this author group! Congratulations to all of us!

Sharon Buchbinder       Darcy Devlon          Mandie Stevens           Debra Jess     Sue-Ellen Welfonder      Kristal Hollis      Kerry Evelyn      and me!

I’ll keep you posted!

 

 

Cat’s Paw Cove Romance

I thought you might like to know a bit more about Cat’s Paw Cove!

Many readers tell us they wished it was a real place.  Wonderful! That means the Cat’s Paw Cove authors are doing something right!  All of us believe that everyone deserves their happily ever after, no matter who you are, where you come from, what period you live (or lived in!), or what magical abilities you have. 

You can read all about Cat’s Paw Cove at www.catspawcoveromance.com and the creative geniuses behind this concept, authors Catherine Kean and Wynter Daniels. Meanwhile here are a few interesting tidbits.

  • Cat’s Paw Cove is a fictional town, located south of St. Augustine on Florida’s Atlantic coast. 
  • The name derived from the small islands in the harbor, which look like the pads of a cat’s paw.
  • The town was founded in 1645 by British families who survived a shipwreck on their way from England to Barbados.
  • The shipwrecked vessel was the Guinevere that encountered a violent storm and sank off the coast of Florida in a hook-shaped harbor. Most, but not all of the passengers survived.
  • There’s something unusual about the town’s residents.
  • Most of the town’s cats descend from a fictional breed called the Sherwood cats that originated in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. Their facial markings resemble eye masks like Robin Hood might have worn. And they have magical abilities.

Guest authors create their story-within-a-story in Cat’s Paw Cove and blend their stories within the context of existing businesses and characters. That’s when the fun begins!

I created my storyline based on my family ancestry research. My 9th great grandmother was Rebecca Towne Nurse, who sadly found her place in history after being hanged as a witch in 1692 during the Salem witch fervor. I’ve become addicted to learning more about this period in our history and my ancestor. I discovered Rebecca’s mother was a Blessing, and that name became the genesis of my Cat’s Paw Cove family. I had a name. But I needed a story.

That’s when the “what if” game began!  Though Goody Nurse was innocent of any blasphemous evil, “what if” there were townspeople who practiced magic? “What if” they escaped before they too were murdered?

“What if” one particular family, the Blessings, had an inherited gift of bringing the dead forward that was passed from generation to generation for centuries?  “What if” one fine day in modern times, Dr. Theodosia Blessing, the wonder-child of historians around the world, yearned for anonymity after renouncing this magical inheritance?  “What if” she returned to her hometown of Cat’s Paw Cove, Florida, reinvented herself as Theo the potter, and lived with her familiar, a cat named Aloysius?

And “what if” she discovers she can no more renounce the gift than win an argument with her mind-reading tortoiseshell cat?

Just “what if,” indeed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Familiar Blessings: Book One in The Magic Potter Series

An Excerpt:

A gentleman shouldn’t stare at a woman. But Ethan didn’t consider himself a ‘gentle’ man.

Pool, after all, was a game of angles and strategy and keeping an eye on the opponent.

Theo’s first shot broke the trio of balls and pocketed two. She stood, and her blouse glided back.

“This is a betting game,” she said.

Ethan laughed. “Really? Your break shot is nearly impossible to beat, and now you want to wager.”

She shrugged. “I might miss. You never know.”

Ethan doubted it. Not the way she handled the stick. She considered her next shot, then bent over to make it.

Bam. The third ball found the pocket, and the cue ball lazily rolled to mid-table.

“You’re up.” She retrieved and racked the balls for him.

He should have gone to the motel to get some relief from his aching leg. But he wasn’t quite ready to tell this woman good-bye.

“Beating two isn’t impossible.” Ethan leaned to the side to take the weight off his bad foot, then prepared for his shot.

“It follows the principle of elastic energy consumption that factors into how the cue ball interacts with the others,” he said. “A simple matter of equal energy transfer.”

He peeked over his shoulder to gauge Theo’s reaction. “All about equal angles; equal velocity.”

Unphased, she leaned on her stick and jutted her chin. “Bring it on.”

Maybe he’d misjudged this woman. He liked her bad-ass attitude. He jimmied his body position to adjust his approach, then slid the stick under his bridged fingers. The third time he struck the cue ball like a missile on target.

By the grace of all saints, the racked balls split and banked. Each one went into a pocket, and the white ball came to rest precisely mid-table.

Thank God for the laws of physics.

He squared his shoulders and faced his worthy opponent. “Shall we wager on the next round?”

Copyright Candace Colt 2019

First Date

Remember that first date? Sometimes it’s all good. Sometimes, not.

My flash fiction piece originally appeared in FLASHQUAKE e-zine.

Otherwise Unremarkable © 2004

Oh hell, goodbye, she said.

Wait, you just got here, he said.

I know, but this just isn’t working.

C’mon. Stay longer. Only one drink; just one.

No. This isn’t right.

One drink.

No. I mean it.

Scotch? Vodka?

Too strong.

Beer? Ale?

Too bitter.

Merlot?

Headaches.

Chardonnay?

Hate the taste.

Zinfandel?

Too sweet.

Tea?

No caffeine.

Water, then?

Bottled only.

Perrier?

Evian.

Oh hell, goodbye, he said.

 

Words

Writers have a love-hate relationship with words and I am no exception. I am convinced that words have their own agenda. 

 

Words  

by Candace Colt © 2006

Glazed periwinkle blue, a clay jar sits alone on the window sill. Loosened, the cork stopper no longer shields my stash from daylight’s glare.

Single file my words escape to the floor, sidle past the sleeping cat, and bow to those who lie in repose on bits of crumpled paper.

The motley parade scrambles onto the blank page and jostles for a position like misbehaving schoolchildren; jabbing ribs, batting heads, and pulling shirts.

With self-satisfied smiles, they whisper. Take the pen, give us life, or else we die.

I take pity and write till my hand goes numb and my knuckles crack.

When the ink runs dry, they still come.

The little bastards never utter a single thank you.

Played like a fool by my own words,  I reseal the jar to quiet the others.

Almost too late, I realize their plan to exchange my life for theirs.

 

Photo from https://www.pexels.com/@lanophotography

 

My Favorite Girl Scout Badge?

The Dabbler

 

 

They retired it years ago. Did you even know they retired badges? I didn’t. Today, there are badges for things I would never have dreamed.

GEOCACHING?  COMPUTER CODING?CYBERSECURITY?

It makes me extremely proud of how well the Girl Scouts of the United States of America continue to empower girls to dream big.  I loved being a Brownie and a Girl Scout. Fun times and great memories.  

For the record, and full disclosure, I’m still a dabbler. Whew. It felt good to admit that. Along with my writing, I dabble in cooking (not really my strong suit unless it’s something I can throw in a crockpot!).

And rock painting. And yoga. And Tai Chi. And line dancing. And journal making. And leathercraft. And jimbe drumming.

Here are a few of my dabble-examples. 

I’d love to hear about your dabbling. Leave a comment and let’s start the discussion!

 

 

Characters Just Pop Into My Head

Every author’s process is different. Let me share how I developed one character from my Nocturne Falls Universe falcon-shifter series. I started with a semi-structured idea of the story and where it will go. But the writing process took off when like a film director,  I visualized the first scene.

In the first book in the series, THE FALCON FINDS HIS MATE, scene one takes place on the wrap-around porch of a two-story Pepto-Bismol pink Victorian house. Way before I wrote the first sentences, I had a firm idea of what the place looked like based on a collection of pictures I added to a Pinterest album. For me, it’s critical to over collect photos of places, people, and things even if only a few details make it into the book. By the way, the house is an important character, too.

If you’ve read my Nocturne Falls falcon stories, does this look familiar?

It’s the Carpe Diem

Once I had the house, I started asking questions. Who lives here? Why here? What sets this place apart from others? I decided the house belongs to Echo Stargazer (a made up name). Since Nocturne Falls is an extraordinary town, it needs an extraordinary person. I did an Internet casting call and decided who else could play Echo but…

Iris Apfel

How did little gravely-voiced Echo come to live in a house like this? Magical people are drawn to Nocturne Falls. That’s when the fun begins and I can make up ‘stuff’!

Echo’s ancestry dates back to Colonial America. Her great-great-greats were persecuted for their psychic gifts, escaped and migrated to the Carolinas. There gifts passed through the generations. Echo is a clairsentient who blocks the noise when she has to by wearing a special bracelet. With it off, she reads minds.

Widowed years ago, Echo came to Nocturne Falls to raise her son and daughter. To earn a living, she converted the first floor of this house to a gift and tchotchke shop she called the Carpe Diem. Town tourists love what she sells in the front of the store. In the back and with complete privacy, locals can purchase supplies for spells, cleansings, charms, rituals, and the like.

Upstairs is the living quarters where Echo supplements her income by giving readings with her special cards. The cards aren’t Tarot or Oracle. They are black as onyx, and only the client sees the images on them.

This photo is of Iris Apfel’s apartment in NYC. It inspired Echo’s dining room-card reading area.  In the story, Echo’s house was crammed with her preciously-pink chintzy décor. Just like Iris’s place.

And doesn’t this look like Echo’s kitchen?

Finally, there’s Crealde, Echo’s nineteen-pound bundle of contentment. Never! Either he’s “hangry” or he’s not around. Curious, nosy, demanding, vociferous, and a howl that can wake the dead. But loveable and cuddly, only on his terms.

Once I have the location and characters, I create a story bible with facts, fables and details. It also has timelines, peripheral characters, places and events. The bible is ongoing, especially in a series. Echo has a role in each of my Nocturne Falls stories. It’s easy to forget details. If I do mess up, my dear readers will let me know!

When that’s all done, I’m on to the plot, character arcs, and the juicy stuff! That’s best left for another discussion. Hope it gave you a small insight into

Visit my Pinterest site for more of what inspired me.

https://www.pinterest.com/fortheluv2write/nocturne-falls-universe-falcon-shifter-series/
Image attributions:
Director’s Chair  http://worldartsme.com/director-clipart.html#gal_post_23000_director-clipart-1.jpg
Victorian Home http://favim.com/image/95589/
Iris Apfel https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/magazine/iris-apfel-doesnt-do-normcore.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r
Dining Room Table https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/iris-apfel-manhattan-apartment-slideshow#4
Pink Kitchen http://inspirationsdeco.blogspot.com/2011/07/inspirations-deco-cuisines-retro-n8.html
Crealde https://www.deviantart.com/mndcntrl/art/Did-you-see-that-196886659

Kindness Rocks the World!

Goodness knows the world can use more kindness. It doesn’t take a boatload of money to offer someone a smile. Or let the person with a fussy child go ahead of you in the checkout line. Or give up your seat on a bus or subway car to someone who looks more tired than you.

Or let that person who is stuck in the parking lot, exit into your traffic lane, even if it means waiting a second time for the signal to change.

Whatever we do, we should do it with no expectation of getting something in return. I believe in the ripple effect, and the good you do for someone will be passed on. Sadly, the opposite is true, too. And we see this much too often today.

There are some fun ways to accomplish Random Acts of Kindness otherwise known as RAK. Something I’ve gotten hooked on is painting rocks to hide around the community. You might already be a part of one of the hundreds of rock painting Facebook groups.

I started a Pinterest board to collect ideas for my projects. Don’t be intimidated by some of the rocks you’ll see. You don’t need extraordinary artistic ability to paint and hide a rock. Trust me as I’m no artist! But there are some incredibly talented people who create mini-masterpieces.

How do you start?

  • If you’re on Facebook, check out some of the group sites. I’ve only listed four of the dozens in the Tampa Bay area. I’ll wager there are groups in your area.

Dunedin Rocks FL    Palm Harbor Rocks     Oldsmar Rocks      Artful Souls Rock-Florida

  • YouTube has many free rock painting tutorials that guide you step-by-step.
  • Get some rocks, paint and brushes. And paint! You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Get kids involved, too. They love it.
  • Once your rocks are prepped and ready, find some fun places to hide them. Parks, libraries, stores, hospitals…you name it.

So, what happens if you find a painted rock?

You can keep it or rehide it. I’ve done both. If there’s a group name on the back, take a photo of the front and back then find the group online. Usually you need request to join the group before posting your photos. The creator is always “tickled” to see their rock appear as that doesn’t happen very often. Joining a group doesn’t mean you have to paint rocks, so no worries!

I was excited a couple of weeks ago when a simple little rock I painted ended up in Sweden. Now that’s pretty cool!  Here’s a photo of it. Remember, I said “simple“.

You never can tell how far a smile will travel!

Why Do We Love Sunsets?

A sunset is, after all, a natural astronomical phenomenon.  Scattered gas molecules and changing light waves.

Not a big deal, right?

Something that happens every day when our little rock (sorry, I’m not a flat-earther) sails around the monster gas ball we call the Sun in a solar system that is an infinitesimal blip in one of a billion galaxies.

Sometimes we witness the sunset, sometimes it’s cloudy or rainy and we can’t. The precise time is a mathematical calculation. Even my smartphone can tell me what time it will happen.

Ancient cultures to modern times have revered the sun and its daily trek across the sky, even to the point of worshiping the sun as a god.

And we still love sunsets. Some studies suggest why.

Relieves stress

Boosts well-being

Increases life satisfaction

Elevates mood

Helps us live in the moment

Turns everything into beauty

Considering the fifty dozen sunset photos I’ve saved in the cloud, I love them. What is the attraction for me? It might sound a little out there, but for me, the setting sun is a reminder of nature’s unconditional love and assurance that we did everything we could to make the most of today.  And a reminder that if we are lucky, we’ll get another shot at making tomorrow even better.

What say you?

(All photos property of Candace Colt © 2018)