MJ Monday: MJ’s Meals-High Protein Wraps

I recently made a new kind of wrap my husband says is better than the one I posted last month. He likes the moister version.

I started out with a high protein flat bread…






I spread 3/4 of it with roasted garlic hummus…






Added good deli turkey over half…






Layered whole baby spinach leaves atop the turkey…





Added strips of roasted red pepper…






And starting from the filled end, rolled tightly, then tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Another grab and go meal.

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Nobody’s Baby But Mine

Nobody’s Baby But Mine is a little creepy in that there is a slight stalker element. The heroine wants a dumb man to father a child for her, so she sets her sights on a football quarterback who says “ain’t” in a southern drawl and makes assumptions. Bad assumptions, all the way around.  The hero may be from North Carolina, but being from the south is the only assumption the heroine got right. Almost.

Tricking the football playing into getting her pregnant is morally wrong; the heroine knows it, but her longing for a child who won’t be a genius (the heroine is a physicist who’s always felt like a freak because she’s smart), but who will be normal outweighs her morals.  Twice.

There is a secret baby (for a couple of pages), a marriage that’s anything but convenient, and a truly lovely romance that unfolds as the hero and heroine get to know each other.

The cast of secondary characters is interesting. I adore the hero’s hillbilly grandmother. The secondary romance, between the hero’s parents is interesting, and showcases what a brilliant author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is. The subtleties tying the primary romance to the secondary is extremely well done. At first, I didn’t like the hero’s father, but with each re-read of the book and my own development as an author have made me appreciate exactly what Phillips did here.

Four stars.


MJ Monday: MJ’s Motivation-100 Words A Day

Back on December 1, I knew the busy holiday season would push aside my writing  if I let it. The key was not to let it. Easier said than done.

Then I decided I would writing at least 100 words a day every day in December. Only 100 words. Enough to keep me in my story, but not enough to consume huge chunks of time. I threw out a challenge to my local RWA chapter, and there were takers. The first thing I did every morning was get in those 100 words.


About a week and a half into January, I decided it was time to continue (I never stopped, but others may have). I issued a Happy Hundreds challenge to my chapter: 100 words a day for 100 days. We had many takers. Three of us succeed. Two of us kept going. Yes, there were days where I logged over 5000 words, but those words started out as my measly 100. My cohort says if not for the challenge, she wouldn’t have kept writing. It’s the accountability factor that motivates her.

I started another Happy Hundreds challenge on July 1. It’s going well. It’s astounding how quickly those 113-word days add up to chapters and novels.


MJ’s Musings: The Importance of Research

Any author worth her royalty check knows the importance of research.  Many authors I know would rather research than write. They get caught up in learning something new. I’m the same way.

I’ve had a couple of  “run-ins” with others when it comes to research.

The first two were from my contest diva days. I entered a lot of writing contests sponsored by RWA chapters.

A contest judge told me I should rename the region in which my story was set, because Thousand Islands sounded too much like a salad dressing.  I live in upstate New York, about 90 miles from the US-Canadian border, which runs through the middle of the St. Lawrence River,  the stretch of which is known as The Thousand Islands. The salad dressing was created there. Much later, a couple of people I met produced a documentary on the origins of the salad dressing. The judge should have done her research.

Another contest judge marked me off for not doing my research when I referenced a laser ID number on a diamond. “Impossible,” she wrote. “Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth.” True, but they can be cut. And yes, the diamond industry does laser ID their stones. My former brother-in-law worked in Manhattan’s diamond district and confirmed this for me. I’d done my research. The judge had not.

At my very first book signing, a woman started haranguing me about romance authors not doing their research. I countered with very specific examples. She huffed and puffed and claimed, “Then romance authors need to let people know this.” I should have countered with, “Do you demand the same thing from Sci-Fi authors? Mystery authors?” Why should why romance authors be held to a different standard?

If not for Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and the Dove, I would have lost many games of Trivia Pursuit, because I might not have otherwise known the Battle of Hastings was fought in 1066.

Sometimes, though, even with the internet  authors don’t get the research right. One of my favorite authors in one of my favorite books, put the Mayo Clinic in upstate New York. Yes, the Mayo Clinic is in Rochester–but Minnesota.

Research matters.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Manuscript-BEWARE OF THE MOON

Book Two of my SERVICE FOR SANCTUARY series is coming along quite well. I’ve had a lot of fun with the heroine–she’s not the shy and retiring type.  Check her out:

Brittany Hauge sipped her drink and studied the patrons of the bar. The sour stench of a decade’s worth of spilled beer clung to the air. Loud music, nominal lighting, battered decor—Holsters was her usual hangout when she was in the mood for some action. Tonight, anyone who appeared remotely interesting was either occupied with someone else or had been tried before. She wouldn’t want to give some poor, weak-minded man the wrong idea by giving him a second chance. One and done.

Maybe she needed to find new hunting grounds. Even her usual hurricane tasted off, as if the bartender used powdered orange drink instead of real juice.

Her annoyance with her best friend for reneging on their business plans tainted everything. Britt came to Holsters to work off her irritation with an orgasm or two. No strings attached. Forget her frustration with Selena. Now that Selena had her famous musician husband—and gee, Britt wasn’t at all bitter for not being invited to her best friend’s wedding . . . hey, at least she didn’t have to buy a gift. Britt took another sip of the fruity concoction, searching for a buzz in the liquid.

“Wanna dance?” a potential one-and-done asked.

Why not? Nothing else happening.

She nodded but held on to her half-gone drink. She feared date rape drugs. As a chemist, she could cite their components and how they worked. Awareness didn’t make her immune. Being a Holsters regular didn’t guarantee her safety. She’d stopped being careless a long time ago.

That’s why Selena’s about-face on their business surprised her. If Britt trusted anyone on the planet, she would have placed her money on Selena Wolfe.

Enough energy wasted on the traitorous bitch. Time to dance. Maybe work up some enthusiasm for the pitiful specimen gyrating in front of her.

The liquid in Britt’s glass sloshed as she swayed her hips in time to the music. She closed her eyes, fantasizing she was having a good time. Didn’t work. She opened them again.

And saw him.

A stranger. In more ways than one.

He loomed over every other man in the room. Yet his size wasn’t what made him stand out. His eyes were the key to the strangeness flowing into every cell of her body. Dark. Fluid. He exuded darkness, not only from his eyes and the longish black hair framing his head . His very presence brought midnight into the already murky space. The time could have been high noon and the effect would be the same. The impression ran deeper than his black t-shirt, jeans, and denim jacket. There was a stillness about him, a watchfulness that might have unnerved her had she been completely sober. His stare. Brooding at her.

As tipsy as she was, he proved to be  her undoing.

BEWARE OF THE MOON is scheduled for an October 2019 release.