The Purse Project: Kate Collier

What does my purse say about me? Let’s start with why I have Vera Bradley purse.


Because it’s a colorful floral; all those pockets keep me organized; the strap is cross-body; and the bag weighs next to nothing. I also love the whole idea of two women turning a good product idea into a thriving business that benefits breast cancer research.


The matching zippered pouch holds delicious lip balm to prevent chapped lips and eyedrops to soothe my dry eyes. Why suffer when I want to take a walk on the lakeshore on a cold windy day?  Or when I can’t tear myself away from a writing session? The pouch also hides my loyalty cards. I recently added the black one, for MacKimmee’s on Church Street in Lenox, MA, where I finally found a simple black alpaca sweater, warm enough for the coldest days, dressy enough for dinner, and lightweight enough to carry in a weekend bag.


Two other cards are neither credit cards nor loyalty cards. The one on the left is an appointment card; that’s my acupuncturist’s office, which was originally the Trolley Barn for my town. The lime green card? That’s for Sonnenberg, an impressive mansion in my town. I love walking the grounds, meditating in the Japanese Garden, smelling the roses in the formal garden, and taking pictures of the changing landscape as the seasons unfold. The fabric pencil box was made by a cousin who is both a romance author and a talented craftsperson. Even though I do all my writing on my laptop, I’m lost out in the world without sharpened pencils (with erasers, please!) to jot ideas and write notes.


These items are obvious: a bookmark for my romance series, a business card for my mystery series, a B&N coupon, a hair clip, and mouthwash. Those in the know recognize the anniversary coin from a 12-step program (29 years and counting!). But what in heaven’s name is the teeny old man hugging his knees and wearing a quirky cap? That’s a Piskie from Cornwall.  I don’t leave home without that Piskie, and I don’t let anyone see me rubbing it for good luck.


Ah, more items that are always in my purse: a pick to tame wind damage after a walk, hand sanitizer, nourishing lotion for my hands, and yummy gluten free fig newtons.


Finally, the one item that’s so valuable it has to be pinned to the inside of my purse: the smartkey to my hybrid vehicle. I love my Prius, which is pushing 100,000 miles and still getting 48+ mpg. You’re thinking, cars come with two keys, don’t they? Yes, and mine did, too. But somehow I lost one key during a trip to Ireland, the trip before I got the Cornish Piskie.




Writing as C. T. Collier, Kate’s newest release is Planted, first in The Penningtons Investigate, a series of traditional mysteries set in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York.

Learn more about C. T. Collier and the Penningtons at:


Summer is Upon Us–Guest Author Linda Bradley

Today’s guest author, Linda Bradley, talks about summer.

Maggie Abernathy and I have a few things in common so our feelings about the summer months are quite similar. Maggie Abernathy is a school teacher and so am I. We both love summer days! It’s the time to rejuvenate, hide-away, and spend the days enjoying the summer sun. Summer is her favorite season. It’s my favorite season, too.

Maggie Abernathy lives in the suburb of Grosse Pointe in Michigan. It’s a charming place with a quaint village where one can shop, visit the library, or get a bite to eat. Maggie is lucky enough to live near the lake. It’s a place I know well, as it was my home for many years.

GP Park Landscape


For Maggie, she spends quite some time tending her garden. She loves peonies, lilacs, and her tomatoes.


She becomes quite fond of the pooch that her mother left on her doorstep. Bones can be a rascal, but he’s lovable.


Maggie’s pastime is taking photographs. After she develops them, she paints them, something that she dreams about publishing someday. She loves cows.

White Cattle

Maggie Abernathy is a cancer survivor and so am I. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I put my blinders on, went through two surgeries, and radiation. It prodded me to write Maggie’s story.  I’ve been cancer-free for three years and I suspect Maggie will not have another bout of this trying disease. Several readers wanted to know if my debut novel, Maggie’s Way was autobiographical. Not really. Although we shared the experience of cancer and the same occupation, everything else is fictional. So I imagine, if I were to meet Maggie on a summer day at the beach, our conversation might sound something like this:

Me: May I pet your dog?

Maggie: (Smiles.) Absolutely, but I wouldn’t ask him to tend your garden.

Me: (With a chuckle.) Why is that?

Maggie: Let’s just say he likes tomatoes.

Me: I love his floppy jowls.

Maggie: He is kind of cute. My mom gave him to me. I suspect as a lesson. (Peers out over the lake and watches a young girl splash at the shore. The girl’s feet are covered with sand and her hair is damp.) Guess she didn’t want me to go through cancer alone.

Me: I’m sorry to here that. Been there done that and it sucked. I hate my tattoos.

Maggie: (With a grin) Sure does, but I’ll be okay. (Young girl runs over to where we stand and peers up at us.) Hi Chloe.

Chloe: Hi Maggie. I see Bones is behaving today. Good dog! (She pats his head and nuzzles her face close to his.)

Maggie: Yes, it’s a good day.

Me: It’s a great day with the sun. Summer is my favorite season.

Maggie: It’s my favorite season, too. My name is Maggie Abernathy.

Me: I’m Linda Bradley. Nice to meet you.

Chloe: I’m Chloe. Maggie’s not my mother, but I wish she was. She lives next door to me. I’m kind of like that kid that’s always around.

Maggie: (Smiles at Chloe.)

Me: You too must be good friends.

Chloe: (Shades her eyes and squints into the sun as she stares at Maggie.) I think we are. Are we good friends Maggie?

Maggie: Yes, we’re good friends.

Chloe: When do you think that happened cause I thought maybe you thought I was too much of a pest.

Maggie: Not sure, kiddo. Friendships are like magic. Sometimes they just happen.

Me: Kind of like a midnight wish on the wings of a summer fairy sprinkling her fairy dust over the people that love summer the most.

Maggie: (Smile grows bigger.)

Me: You do believe in fairies, don’t you?

Maggie and Chloe: (In unison) I do. (They share a quiet giggle and Chloe reaches up to hold her hand.)

Me: It was nice meeting you two. Enjoy the day. (I bend down and pat Bones’ knobby head.)

Maggie: (Nods) You, too.

Me: See you around. (I wave and walk away.)

Chloe: (Her voice trails into the breeze) She was nice. Remind me to make a wish on the summer moon tonight.




Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.

Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.

Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.

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How to Keep Your Characters from Getting Bored

July is National Anti-Boredom month. I recently asked author Carole Ann Moleti what her characters do to fight boredom.

Liz and Mike Keeny are far from bored during the summer months. The Historic Barrett Inn is full of guests. Liz and her beloved housekeeper Mae are busy attending to them-as well as to little Eddie. Mike is fisherman, so he takes full advantage of the warmer days to nab some striped bass and flounder for the local restaurants.

On top of that, the ghosts haunting the Inn are always more riled up in the summer months and the painful anniversaries of their traumatic last years have the specters buzzing and their hosts struggling to contain them. And this year, they have Category 5 Hurricane Edward on the way. Is it just coincidence he’s named after sea captain Edward Barrett? Mike and Liz don’t think so. When the evacuation order comes, do they stay or do they go?

Breakwater Beach: Book One in the Unfinished Business Series


Available in e-book, print coming Fall 2016


Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?


Mike tipped his hand in salute and went out to his truck. “Morning,” he said to Mae who was getting out of her van.

“Good morning’ to ya, too,” she replied, looking at him askance. “Come along, lassies, still plenty to do.”

Mae looked at Liz standing in the doorway wearing Mike’s sweatshirt. Her eyes traveled from Liz’s hair, still damp and caked with mud and sand, all the way down to her bare feet.

“Ehh . . . a change in plans, girls. We’ll start downstairs today. First, polish the woodwork and then clean all the fixtures. Then upstairs, after the missus has time to get dressed.”

Mae herded them out of the foyer then followed Liz upstairs, smiling like she was about to solve the crime of the century. “From the looks of ya, that was one wild night on the beach. Now ya best be hoppin’ into the tub after passin’ me the nightie. I’ll soak it and get that mud out before it’s ruined. I’ll freshen the big guy’s sweatshirt, too.”

“It was nothing like that, Mae.” Liz couldn’t bear the thought of having to explain this to another person she knew from another life.

“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not passin’ any judgment. To be honest, I’m relieved. Ya took my advice. There’s nothin’ wrong with livin’, Liz.”

Also available in ebook and print:

The Widow’s Walk: Book Two in the Unfinished Business Series

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Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?

Coming in 2017: Storm Watch 




Mike and Liz thought they’d gotten control of the specters haunting the Barrett Inn. But things get very complicated when they’re the ghosts from your past life. The Category Five Hurricane bearing down on Cape Cod appears to be headed directly for them–or has it been spawned from inside them?


Either it was age or too much on his mind, but forgetting your morning routine was like getting lost in your own back yard. Mike was in the parking lot before he realized he’d forgotten to stop for tea. There was some water and soda aboard the Whaler-warm of course-some stale snacks too. The sun peeked through a bank of puffy white clouds, giving the hint of a beautiful day to come. But to the west, a dark expanse rolled over itself like a giant octopus, its tentacles undulating, slapping the shit out of the cottony sky. “Damn ghosts.”


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Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Books One and Two in the Unfinished Business series, Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal romance novels, Breakwater Beach and The Widow’s Walk, were published by Soulmate. Book Three, Storm Watch, is expected in 2017.

Urban fantasies set in the world of Carole’s novels have been featured in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires. Her award winning non-fiction, which ranges from the sweet and sentimental to edgy and irreverent has been published in a variety of literary venues.


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Snarky Sunday: Christine Hart

To non-moms, I’m that annoying person posting too many kid pics on Facebook. Does everyone care that my kids are at the park, again. Of course not.

To other moms (of littles) I’m one of those people who unabashedly cherry-picks each photo session for the moments where one or both children are happy and clean – preferably doing something I find clever or cute.

Does my four-year-old throw a fit ending in tears and stomping at the drop of a hat? Oh, he’s the master. And that kid on the playground everyone’s frowning at for being too rough? Also my son.

Does my one-year-old spend her time trying to circumvent my will so she can eat soap and climb bookcases? Yeah, her breath smells like shampoo and my shelves have been gutted unless they’re higher than three feet.

So next time you see a smiling cherub on my Facebook or Instagram feed, think of it this way … sure, I’m needlessly sharing gratuitous adorableness with my friends and family. But I’m also investing in my mental health. So that next time I have to fish poop out of bath water or scrub spaghetti off the ceiling, I have public reminders of what they’re like at their best.

Christine’s new release, In Irina’s Cards, is available at Amazon.

In Irina's Cards #11 Final (850)

Christine Hart writes from her suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. She loves writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.

In addition to her undergraduate degree in writing and literature, her background also includes corporate communications and design. She is a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.

When not writing, she has a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of her Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. She shares her eclectic home and lifestyle with her husband, baby daughter and preschool son.

Follow Christine on Facebook.


Follow Christine on Facebook.