Monday, August 30, 2021

Back to an Empty Nest

Well, after way too many moves, entirely too much packing and shopping and packing and shopping, ridiculously long drives, and endless stress, we are back to being an empty nest.

The Princess is settling into law school, where she’s learning that a life of “Why?”, “It’s not fair,” and only responding to logic has paid off. She’s exactly where she belongs and is loving it—after a few early bumps during orientation week. 


Banana Girl starts class today. In person. Almost like normal. She’s planning to study abroad (I’m still not sure that will happen, but I’m staying quiet). She’s learning how to grocery shop and cook, and redoing all her time management to allow for walking to class and eating.


And the husband and I are rediscovering what a completely empty house is like. We’ve had periods of this before, and I’m not holding my breath that it will last for a long time, but right now, it looks like maybe we will be alone until Thanksgiving. Maybe.


My house is clean. I’ve scrubbed and dusted and vacuumed. And, since there is no one to blame but the two of us, my husband is making less of a mess than normal. J


The girls’ rooms are…basically clean. Since the Princess really doesn’t live here any more—by her own admission—I informed her that when she left for law school, her room needed to be clean to my standards or I was taking a trash bag to the rest of it. My threat worked. Her room is empty of garbage and things she doesn’t want anymore. We donated a ton of clothes to a breast cancer organization, threw out several bags of garbage, and even managed to find someone who wanted a swim team backpack (I’m still trying to get rid of the flippers).


Banana Girl’s room isn’t too bad, either. She’s convinced she’s living here forever (she’s not), so she didn’t want to dispose of too much, but the room is clean and things are put away. I still don’t know why there are clothes in her hamper, since she did laundry, but that’s a “her problem.”


The three rooms of supplies needed for law school are gone. My house probably lifted a good three inches without the extra weight. 


And now we’re left to figure out what to do. Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, since my husband, the Pack Rat, is still here. J

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Welcome Back, Charlotte O'Shay

 I’m so happy to be here to show off the cover of my upcoming friends to lovers, romantic suspense, MY ONLY ONE and tell you all about my pre-release giveaway. Thank You!

Every writer is proud when her book baby comes into the world and never more so than when it’s an indie release. MY ONLY ONE is the first book in a projected seven book Fortunato Family series and my very first indie. The romances in this series tread very familiar ground for me as they all take place in and around New York City and involve a large working class family of seven siblings. 

Why indie? It’s natural for an author to want creative control over all aspects of her work from copy, to fonts to covers but indie authors are also responsible for every back-end, non-creative task in publishing. It’s a challenge and a huge learning curve for me but one I was ready to tackle. I’ve learned so much from generous fellow authors and indie author groups and the bottom line is I hope I’ve created a story romance readers will remember.


A little about MY ONLY ONE:


We grew up in side-by-side New York City tenements. Shane was my first friend, my first crush, and when he enlisted, my unforgettable heartbreak. Fate brings us back together after ten years, and I’m in a world of danger. But I’m not a kid anymore and I know what I want. Shane and I  have a second chance at forever and there’s no way I’ll lose him again. 
Brilliant, beautiful, bound for success, Esme was the girl next door and a temptation I had to resist. I was too old for her, but I couldn’t forget her. When we meet again after ten long years, she’s caught in the crosshairs of a deadly drug kingpin. But I wear a badge now. Nothing will stop me from protecting the woman who claimed me—heart and soul—so long ago. I’ll keep Esme safe or die trying. 
Time’s running out for Esme to pay her father’s debt to the cartel.


Pre-order MY ONLY ONE here:




In the run up to this release, I’m doing a giveaway with the help of N. N. Light’s Bookheaven. 

Click below for a chance to win a $50. Amazon or Apple gift card. 

           Giveaway –


Enter to win a $50 Amazon US or Apple gift card:


Open to US residents only. You must have an active Amazon US or Apple account. 

Runs August 23 – September 7, 2021.

Winner will be drawn on September 8, 2021.


Author Bio

The only thing Charlotte O'Shay loves more than reading steamy, emotional romances is writing them. Charlotte believes home is where the heart is and hers is in NYC. She lives with Mac, her IRL hero, two subway stops from her childhood neighborhood, where walks along the Hudson River serve up fresh story ideas every day. 

You can find out about new releases, sales and all things romance by signing up for Charlotte’s newsletter



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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Welcome Back, Jeny Heckman!

 Sunflowers in the design of Dee’s Cornucopia

Greek Mythology is such a giving source of inspiration for many aspects of our modern life. The never-ending soap opera-like saga of Greek gods and Greek Goddesses was the inspiration of my fantasy paranormal Heaven & Earth Series. Dee’s Cornucopia is a novella telling the story of Dee Taylor, the beloved grandmother who started the Quest in our modern lives when she communed with Demeter the Greek Goddess of Harvest and Agriculture. 

Dee is a grower! She can grow anything! She has a nursery in Hawaii called Dee’s Cornucopia and also happens to be a descendant of Demeter!

The sunflowers are the story of unconditional love! Dee lost everybody she loved the most. She lost her father at a very young age. She lost her beloved husband soon after they married. She lost her beloved mother and later her only child! She loved them unconditionally! Out of all this tragedy comes a story of love for Dee’s grandson Finn Taylor, the protagonist of the Sea Archer, book 1 of the Heaven & Earth Series.

The Cornucopia is one of the only constants in Dee’s life. It is her passion! She loves to grow flowers, plants, and fruits. She loves to grow sunflowers!

The Story of the Sunflower in Greek Mythology

Apollo was the son of Zeus, the god of all the gods, the sky, everything else below, including mankind. Apollo was the son of Zeus and the God of the Sun. He lived in a palace in the East. He would ride his chariot of Gold and Ivory every day in the skies from East to West. As the evening would set, Apollo would end his journey at the far sea on the western end and would return home on his Golden boat.

Everybody admired and loved Apollo. He was believed to love everybody in return. He spread love and life to every being. He was known for his youthful and manly beauty. He had Golden hair and was the most handsome person that anyone had come across.

He caught the eye of a water nymph called Clytie. She fell madly in love with Apollo. She used to follow his movements across the sky with unblinking eyes. Unfortunately, Apollo never returned her love, and he would ignore Clytie. 

Apollo’s love interest in return was Daphne, the beautiful daughter of a water God. Unfortunately for Apollo, Daphne did not return his love. I told you Greek Mythology was a never-ending soap opera of tragedies!

When Apollo tried to forcefully convince Daphne to love him, she asked her father’s help. Her father turned her into a plant. When Apollo learned about this, he was heartbroken. His sorrow knew no bounds.

The water nymph Clytie continued to watch Apollo’s passage through the sky. She would starve herself sitting on a rock for nine days without any food and water and just watch Apollo as he passed in the sky. Eventually, she was turned into a flower, which came to be known as the Sunflower.

It is believed that since then, the Sunflower keeps looking at the sun and following it’s movement from the moment the sun rises till it sets.

The History of Sunflowers

The sunflowers’ effect is quite unique. The bright and vibrant flowers seem to always perk up our moods. They cheer us up every time we look at them. It may be something about their shape, size, and color. Their overall appearance never fails to evoke positivity.

While sunflowers’ origin is cited in Greek mythology, they are not necessarily native to ancient Greece. Sunflowers were considered indigenous to the Americas. In 1,000 BC, the indigenous population of the Americans cultivated these sunflowers as a source of valuable food. For centuries, they had been using the sunflowers as a source of food and for medicine, dye agent, and oil. 

When European discovered America, the sunflowers became a popular commodity. They took the sunflowers back with them and they started to spread the flowers across continents. And so, the world’s introduction and adoration to sunflowers’ beauty and sustenance began.

Sunflower Meanings and Symbolism

People love sunflowers for many good reasons. They resemble the sun and have many meanings.

I presented the story of Clytie and Apollo. Like Clytie, the way sunflowers stretch to follow the sun is often associated with steadfast loyalty, everlasting faith, and adoration.

Sunflowers also represent happiness and radiance. Who doesn’t improve their mood when they look at a sunflower? 

The sunflower bright yellow, orange, and red colors symbolize the sun. But there are also many other species of sunflowers of different colors. Some are red or dark red, some are lighter yellow, strawberry blonde (my favorite hair color), gold, pink, and even chocolate brown. That’s why, a sunflower bouquet can be created for many joyous celebrations including weddings, engagement parties, baby showers, etc.

In some countries like China, the sunflowers have a specific meaning like long life, good fortune, and vitality. This can be attributed to the flower’s ability to endure life. They can stay hardy for weeks even when they are already cut for vases and used in bouquets.

Another example is found from centuries ago in the Inca civilization. The Incas believed that sunflowers were the representation of the Sun God. According to many literature excerpts, the Incas worshiped these flowers in their temples their priestesses decorated their clothes and crowns with sunflowers.

Grab a packet of my favorite sunflower seeds that I am giving away at my book launch party here.

Jeny Heckman is an awardwinning fantasy paranormalromance author best known for her Heaven & Earthseries, an award- winning fantasyparanormal series. Herdebut novel, The Sea Archer, published in October 2018,won "Best in Category," at the Chanticleer InternationalBook Awards. Her second book of the Heaven &EarthSeries, The Warrior's
Progeny won First Place Best in Category at the 2020 OZMA Book Award and is a finalist in the 2021 RONE Awards Paranormal Long Category.

The Warrior’s Progeny also won Best in Category from the Chanticleer International BookAwards for the Fantasy Romance genre, as well as earned the Crown Heart of Excellence fromInDTale Magazine.


Her standalone Womens Fiction novel, entitled Releasing the Catch, was a finalist in theFeathered Quill awards, likewise received in 2020.


Jeny loves working with her charities, which include Hospice of the Northwest, the Michael J. FoxParkinsons Foundation, the Seattle Childrens Hospital, and the American Cancer Society. Jenylives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over twenty- eight years.



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Dee Walker can kick your ass. At least she thinks so and isn't afraid to say it.


A no-nonsense spark plug, Dee keeps everyone around her hopping. When she meets fellow field hand, Arthur Taylor, her colorful world becomes even brighter when she makes him an offer he can't turn down.


However, this story of a bright explosion of color in a monochromatic world isn't what you might imagine, as Dee's life doesn't exactly turn out like she thinks it will.


This novella is the life story of Dee Taylor, the feisty and eccentric grandmother of Finn in the Heaven & Earth series. Her bright colorful muumuus and big floppy hat are her trademarks, and this story will tell you how it all began. She also has this little ability to see future developments. Oh, and commune with the greatest Greek family in history, but she just doesn't know it... yet.



“My God, it’s hotter than a billy goat’s ass in a pepper patch out there,” Dee announced as she entered the office furnished with the rich fragrance of leather, old wood, coffee, and tobacco smoke.

Her boss, Bert Norton, sat hunched at his desk, puffing on his ancient pipe. His gaze snapped to hers, and he gave the merest hint of a smile before frowning at her crass expression. The two fellows, also occupying the room, stood a little straighter at her appearance, but gave each other surreptitious glares. They wore identical uniforms of scarred leather boots, dusty work trousers and damp cotton shirts, right down to the sweat-stained field-hand hats squeezed together in their enormous fists.

“Ah, sorry?” Dee phrased it almost like a question and raised her eyebrows at all the testosterone in the small space.

“Deidre, please, take a seat.” Bert gestured to one of the broad wing-back chairs occupying the area in front of his desk.

The two imposing men shifted their weight from foot to foot in apparent agitation. If I sit in that chair, I’ll look weak. Possessing a vagina created enough of a disadvantage chasm already.

“Thanks, Mr. Norton, I’ll stand. No sense in giving anyone the upper hand, right?” she quipped and slapped her hands on her hips, shifting her own weight from side to side. The corner of her boss’s lips twitched, but he sighed, and they both looked over at the two workers.

Purchase Links         

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Welcome, Wendy Rich Stetson

In the stifling heat of a Manhattan summer, a fresh-faced, red-haired woman huddled in a garret, awaiting the opportunity that would change her life.  The air was rank, rife with the scents of summer in the city.  Beyond the fire escape was nothing more than a sliver of sky.  She’d fled the tiny town where she grew up, leaving lush fields and rolling green ridges for dirty sidewalks and towering skyscrapers. As the days dragged on, she grew restless, nagged by a feeling that instead of chasing her dreams, she was treading water, barely keeping afloat as a murky eddy of shattered hopes threatened to drag her under…


If my journey to writing a romance novel was, indeed, a romance novel, it might begin something like that.  The time was the early 2000’s, and the place was a sixth-floor studio apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  I’d just finished my Master of Fine Arts in Acting, and I was ready to make my Broadway debut.  Little did I know…that momentous event wouldn’t take place for another ten years.  Every student actor is told repeatedly that the odds of making a living in the theater are slim at best.  Nonetheless, thousands follow their dreams, believing that surely, they will be the exception.  And with lots of hard work and tenacity, many actors do carve out a career in The Biz.  But progress is slow and hard won, and for lots of young artists, the urge to keep creating—to keep telling stories even during dry spells—tugs at our insides until we branch out into other disciplines.


I remember lounging on the blue and green plaid sofa that sat a mere six inches from my bed and a foot or so from the dining table, watching Oprah Winfrey interview successful romance writers who found purpose and joy weaving heartwarming tales of love.  “I could do that,” I thought, every bit as na├»ve as I was to think a starring role on Broadway would arrive on my doorstep all wrapped up in shiny paper and tied with a satin bow.  Still, I cracked open a notebook and gave writing a whirl.


I never set out to write “Amish Romance.” Indeed, in the early oughts, the genre was nowhere near as large and popular as it is today.  Encouraged by those Oprah guests with the often-heard truism to “write what I know,” I came up with a simple premise: what if a girl went back to her hometown in central Pennsylvania and fell in love with an Amish guy?  I dove into my story with the pent-up fervor of a frustrated actress, holing up in coffee shops and teaching myself the art of writing as I went.  Over the course of many months, I researched, brainstormed, and revised, until my heroine finally achieved her happily ever after.


Hometown sat on my hard drive for decades as my acting career took off.  I performed at theaters around the country and in New York City.  I dipped a toe in commercial acting, film, and television.  I narrated over twenty audiobooks and taught Shakespeare workshops to high school students.  I had a child.  I started running.  I twiddled my thumbs.


Then one day I thought…hey, what about that book I wrote?  Could now be its time to shine?  As nervous and hopeful as that young performer who first acted on the crazy whim to write, I approached small, romance publishers, hoping the story of a red-haired girl trying to find her place in the world, would, in fact, find its place in the world.


Much to my delight, it did.  “Hometown” is coming August 11, 2021, from The Wild Rose Press.  


Oh, and, Oprah?  Thanks.


Wendy Rich Stetson is a New York City girl who still considers the Central Pennsylvania countryside to be her home.  She grew up road tripping in a 1979 VW camper van, and she keeps a running list of favorite roadside attractions from coast to coast.  Now an author of sweet, small-town romance, Wendy is no stranger to storytelling.  She’s a Broadway and television actress, an audiobook narrator, and a mom who likes nothing more than collaborating on children’s books with her teenage artist daughter.  Wendy lives in Upper Manhattan with her family of three and rambunctious Maine Coon kitty.  Follow Wendy’s journey at


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When Tessa's big-city plans take the A Train to disaster, she lands in her sleepy hometown, smack in the middle of the most unlikely love triangle ever to hit Pennsylvania's Amish Country.

Hot-shot Dr. Richard Bruce is bound to Green Ridge by loyalty that runs deep. Deeper still is Jonas Rishel's tie to the land and his family's Amish community. Behind the wheel of a 1979 camper van, Tessa idles at a fork in the road. Will she cruise the superhighway to the future? Or take a slow trot to the past and a mysterious society she never dreamed she'd glimpse from the inside?


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The girl entwined her fingers in her skirt and tugged the fabric tight. “Your hair is the same color as my cat, and she’s the best cat in the world.” In a heartbeat, she fled and buried her face in the man’s lap.

“My goodness.  What a compliment.  Thank you.” She fumbled with the clasp of her wallet, discovering only then she smooshed her thumb deep into the whoopie pie.

The elfin child giggled and bounced on bare toes.

Standing, the man swept her into his arms and smiled down at Tessa. “Rebecca has not seen many women with ginger hair.”

Ginger hair. For years, she was tormented by boneheaded boys shouting, “Carrot Top” and “Flame.” No one ever called her mane ginger. Beneath his candid gaze, her curls heated like embers, warming her from top to toe. Who was this man?

The girl wriggled, knocking askew his straw hat.

He tossed her under one arm like a sack of flour and righted it, loosening a tawny curl that escaped the wide brim and fell over one brow. His gaze passed over Tessa’s face.   

Her unruly hair and short shorts tweaked at her consciousness. What did the Amish call outsiders? English? She was definitely dressed like an English woman. And not one from a Jane Austen novel.

He deposited the giggling girl right-side up on the floor and approached the table. “I’ve rarely seen hair that color myself. Like a copper penny.”

She stared at the mangled whoopie pie and blushed even deeper. For a brief moment, she felt his gaze trail down her body like a caress. Or did she?