French French Toast for the Weekend!


So many of you loved Karen’s brownie recipe made in her George Foreman Grill from an earlier post, so I asked her for more yummy food–Grill-style.

Here’s Karen’s take on a breakfast favorite: French Toast.

Hi everyone, I’ve been invited back to share another recipe with you. I was happy to see how well-received my brownie recipe was, it has long been a family favorite! I found out that many of you use your George Foreman Grill on the go while in your RV. That is a great idea and I learned something new!

It’s the weekend, so that means big breakfast! One of my family’s favorite breakfasts is what we loving call French French Toast. It is baked and since using the oven here in Seoul, South Korea is expensive, I’ve turned again to my ever-trusty George Foreman grill. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Pan of French Toast



3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter
6 to 8 slices French or Italian Bread, 1-inch thick, cut on the diagonal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat eggs, milk and vanilla; pour into a shallow plate large enough to hold all the bread in one layer.

Make sure your bread fits into the pan you want to use before you soak it in the egg. That way you won’t have eggy toast that will not fit!

Soak bread for 2 minutes.

Bread in batter

Turn and continue to soak bread until all egg mixture is absorbed.

While bread is absorbing the egg mixture, place butter into a 13×9-inch pan and melt it in the oven.

Place in Grill

Place in Grill

When the butter is melted, add bread in one layer and bake for 15 minutes.

Turn and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes more.

When Done in Grill

When Done in Grill

Note: If you are using your George Foreman Grill, you may need to adjust the temperature and time to cook to your taste; because the grill is smaller than the inside of an oven, the toast gets darker than you may like. Also, eight slices of bread do fit into the deep-dish attachment – it is just a snug fit!

Serve with Buttery Pecan Syrup

Buttery Pecan Syrup

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
1/4 vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a rolling boil; boil continuously for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in salt, butter and vanilla. When butter is melted, stir in pecans. Serve with your Pan of French Toast.

FT with Pecan Syrup

Note: This syrup keeps well refrigerated and reheated as needed.

I hope you’ll give Karen’s recipe a try and tell us how you like it.

You can find Karen on Twitter — @AwesomeVampireG

Happy Reading and Cooking!

Linda Joyce

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Loving You Always


Do you believe it’s October already? The year is flying past quickly. Much too fast for me.

In August, I teamed up with authors Marilyn Baron, Melissa Klein, and Kenney Ryan to speak at the Decatur Book Festival over the Labor Day weekend. Kennedy and I had met before, we belong to a local writing organization, but never really spent time together before joining forces to present, “Tackling Sensitive Topics in Fiction.”

All went well. We had a nice crowd. We had fun!

And I discovered that Kennedy is a woman passionate about life, helping others, and writing. Her latest release: LOVING YOU ALWAYS is out TODAY!

Please meet Kennedy Ryan:

Things I Keep Learning

I think sometimes life has a way of making sure we’ve learned certain lessons. Like a teacher might ask you the same basic question in several different ways to be sure you’ve truly grasped the material, life does that. Life is that thorough instructor constantly reframing the same questions to ensure we truly know the answers.

I saw this over the last year in the process of releasing my debut novel, WHEN YOU ARE MINE. Certain questions I had settled and lessons I had learned, I found myself circling back to. Life’s way of saying “just making sure.” These are three of those lessons.

1. Never expect anyone to work harder for you than you are willing to work for yourself.

I signed a three-book deal with one of the large publishing houses, Hachette. There are advantages that come with that, but there is no resting on the proverbial laurels. I have worked harder than I ever have, maybe in my life, over the last year. With such a saturated market, it’s hard to penetrate. Hard to be heard. Hard to stand out. Writing a good book is the best thing you can do, but it is certainly not the only thing expected of writers anymore. I never expected my editor, my publicist, or anyone on my team to do more than I was willing to do to promote my book. I hustled. Researched trends. Developed relationships. Spent my own money. When it comes to my career, if there is a work bar to be raised? I will raise it!

2. Don’t look to the left or to the right. Look in the mirror.

Kennedy Ryan comparison_vazantWhat does that even mean? So many times, we look to the left and to the right. We think someone owes us something or we pout because such and such gets more and has it easier. There are factors we can’t control which propel some into NYT rarefied air, and leave some less lauded. One of my favorite quotes comes from Iyanla Vazant. “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” Do not torture yourself with the success of others. Make. Your. Own. The insidious danger of comparison is that it whittles away your confidence and allows you excuses for achieving, not less than someone else, but less than what you could achieve. Define what success means for you, figure out strategically what it will take for you to reach that, and pursue it relentlessly. Don’t look back. And definitely don’t look at anyone else.

3. Relationships are the true world currency.

So many times over the last year, I have rediscovered this principle. I have not, like so many, been slaving away at this for years. I wrote a book, and the first agent I pitched to signed me, and the first editor, bought my book. That sounds good, but I had zero knowledge of the publishing landscape. To put it in Twitter terms, I had no klout…clout. You know what I mean! LOL! I approached this new venture the way I approach every other aspect of my life. Make friends. Look for opportunities to help others. Treat others as you would want them to treat you. Those lessons, you NEVER stop learning. They are so fundamental to how I define success as a person, I take refresher courses in them. I didn’t target influencers, or set out to network with an agenda for what people could give me. I just followed those three principles that I cherish IRL. Before I knew it, bloggers with big numbers, bestselling authors, and industry influencers were looking for ways to help me. That is humbling. I have not arrived. Wherever “there” is, I am nowhere near it, but I know there are opportunities that have come my way because of these three principles. And they are chances money could never buy.

Ryan_LovingYouAlways_ebookAs I release LOVING YOU ALWAYS, the second novel in that three-book deal that shocked me as much as anyone, I realize life is still quizzing me. These same lessons are on repeat, and I hope every time I’m tested, they embed themselves deeper into who I am, until they are second nature. And if there were a fourth lesson, it would be remain teachable.

Because there is always more to learn.

Kerris Moreton should be the happiest woman in the world: She has a successful business and is about to start the family she’s always wanted. But the man of her dreams-the one whose green eyes see straight into her soul and whose gentle hands make her body hum with pleasure-is not hers.

Each secret moment with Walsh Bennett serves to remind Kerris of what she’s missing. And every stolen hour makes it harder to see her future without him. But being with Walsh would betray a sacred promise and upend her perfect life. When tragedy strikes, the razor’s edge between love and loyalty grows sharper than ever. And Kerris must decide where her heart will fall . . .

Kennedy Ryan Bio:
Kennedy Ryan writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She always give her characters their happily ever after, but loves to make them work for it! It’s a long road to love, so sit back and enjoy the ride. In an alternative universe and under her government issue name, Tina Dula, she is a wife to the love of her life, mom to a special, beautiful son, and a friend to those living with autism through her foundation Myles-A-Part, serving Georgia families.

Her writings on Autism have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, and she has been featured on the Montel Williams Show, NPR, Headline News and others. Ryan is donating 25% of her proceeds to her foundation and her national charitable partner, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

Her interview series MOMMIES DO THE MOST AMAZING THINGS is featured each month in Brooke Burke’s online magazine Modern Mom.

Looking for Kennedy? Look no further!

Google +

I hope you enjoyed meeting Kennedy. Check out her new release!

Happy Reading,
Linda Joyce

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Linda’s Lovelies. What’s that?

Hey there!

How’s your fall getting started?

In Georgia, it’s 74 degrees. 46% humidity (which is low for us). Sunny. A few wispy white clouds.
The squirrels are out in full force burying things in my garden. In other words, things are a changin’.

Me, too.

I’m making the leap. Taking the risk. Opening myself up to a new adventure. Will you join me? I’m starting a street team!



Linda’s Lovelies.

What’s that? I’m gathering a group of avid readers who enjoy the journey of books. Not only the story in the book, (Yes, of course, I want you to love the book!) however this is about unveiling a book to the world, then spreading the word about it. So Linda’s Lovelies will get the first glimpse of any new release of mine. Plus some special perks.

Linda's Lovelies Bling

Linda’s Lovelies Bling

Would you be willing to share promos, updates, giveaways and teasers?

Tell your friends?

Share with book groups?

Take part in my author events?

If so, I’m lookin’ for you to join me on this journey!

I’m working with some Sassy Savvy Fabulous ladies to help me make this happen. Here’s link to sign up: Linda’s Lovelies

Questions? Please let me know.
Want more details about me? Check out my NEWSLETTER.
L*E*T*T*E*R*S* from Linda

Happy Reading,

Linda Joyce
Twitter: @LJWriter
Fresh Fiction

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Friday with Friends: An American Abroad–exciting journey!

I really love connecting with people. I love the stories of their lives. Everyone is interesting to me, and I have never failed in finding some common connection with anyone. A love of good food is a good bonding moment.

I’ve become more active on Twitter (@LJWriter) and through it, I’ve reached people all over the world.

Including Karen from Twitter @AwesomeMartiniG . Who’s now in Korea. She’s sharing about her journey.

Please meet Karen Knowles.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Hello everyone, I’m coming to you from Seoul, South Korea; working for the United States Army.

This is the view from my kitchen!

We are living in a high-rise apartment overlooking the Han River. Seoul is beautiful and we are enjoying it very much. Cooking here is a challenge due to the differences in power between the US and here. I have a gas range and an electric oven. Electricity is expensive here so I do not use my oven often so we have a George Foreman Grill that I use in place of the oven.

It works pretty well!

Karen's well-preserved recipeI have been asked to share my favorite chocolate comfort food with you.

I have shared this recipe with family and friends. It is an all-time favorite. I found the recipe on the back of a bag of chocolate chips almost 30 years ago and as you can see, it is very well loved! It is super easy and once you try it, you will never by a box mix again! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Double Chocolate Brownies

Karen's Ingredients

Karen’s Ingredients

The ingredients list:

3/4 Cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine (I use Butter Flavored Crisco)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 – 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a small saucepan combine sugar, butter and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts. Remove from heat and add ½ bag (1 cup) chocolate chips. Stir until smooth.

Remove chocolate mixture to a bowl and add vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time quickly so the eggs do not cook. Stir in flour mixture remaining ½ bag chocolate chips and nuts if used.

Batter Spread into a greased 9” square pan, or into the deep-dish attachment on your George Foreman Grill.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 to 15 minutes before cutting.



Karens browniesThese are great warm with a cold glass of milk!

Have you ever cooked brownies or other goodies like this? Let us know. Share a recipe with us!
Thank you Karen for expanding our world and showing us how ingenuity and creativity create a wonderful life.

Happiness abounds,

Linda Joyce

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Nine months, Short and Long

Fall is approaching. I love the change of seasons.

Cooler days. The change of the color of sunlight.

This is month nine of 2014. The year moved so fast and so slow.

What can you accomplish in nine months?

When 2014 rolled in, I had such a great plan after having my life derailed for two months by health issues with my parents. I would complete three full manuscripts, attend conferences, and reader events. I would cook more and enjoy my garden. (Okay, it’s really hubby’s garden. He plants and I cook the harvest.) My four-legged boys and I would have more time for games and racing around the yard, playing fetch and chase. I would visit with my nieces and nephew and their families. My friends and I would have potluck dinners and share laughs. My hubby and I would have a lovely anniversary trip somewhere special. (I had an Alaskan cruise or a Riverboat cruise in Europe picked out.)

None of that happened.

Instead, I have devoted much of my time to caring for aging parents. Moving them from their homes. Helping them adjust to a different way of life that they need, but don’t want. I’m handling finances and interpreting doctor’s instructions. Making sure taxes, insurance, and medical bills are paid timely and appropriately. And learning patience.

I’m reaching a new balance in my life. But it’s not easy.

I am so grateful for the support of friends. Those who share a joke and check-in to see if I’m a total nut-job yet or not. I am grateful to have a loving, caring, and understanding sister. I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband who is strong. He senses when to step-in to pick up my load and offer a hand to guide me. He is the calm voice of reason.

What lessons have life given to you this year? What are you grateful for?

Warmest Regards,

Linda Joyce

Posted in Authentic Living, Blogging, Health | Tagged , | 2 Comments


Hey there!

How’s your summer going?

It doesn’t officially end until September 22nd, so here’s another Must-Read book, TOMORROW COMES AT MIDNIGHT.

Author Gina Hooten Popp

Author Gina Hooten Popp

Author Gina Hooten Popp is a soft-spoken woman with a funny bone that will keep you smiling if not rolling on the floor with laughter, a smile that makes you want to sit and chat with her over coffee, and a writing voice that will keep you intrigued in her stories. I know. I first heard TOMORROW COMES AT MIDNIGHT when it was still in rough-draft form and I was captivated before the end of the first paragraph.

More about Gina: A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Her debut THE STORM AFTER is a 2014 RONE Awards Finalist. Before publication, THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in The Linda Howard Award of Excellence for Unpublished Writers Contest and the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest. Her new book, TOMORROW COMES AT MIDNIGHT was released on August 7th.


Tomorrow Comes At Midnight

Tomorrow Comes At Midnight

by Gina Hooten Popp

Tomorrow Comes At Midnight is a story of love, loss and redemption. Thus the inspiration for its title. Because it is true that with each setting sun there comes a chance to put the past to rest and start anew. An especially meaningful concept for the story’s hero Jayden James—a twenty-year old up-and-coming ballplayer who injures his pitching arm in a motorcycle crash. After the accident, Jayden still aspires to go pro, but through an unusual set of circumstances (mostly due to his own flawed decision making process) he finds himself living in a treehouse and dealing drugs to get by. The one bright spot in his life is his girlfriend Lula—a promising abstract artist who likes to paint bluebirds with black spots.

Set in 1979 and early 1980, this Texas-flavored drama unfolds amidst a small-town backdrop of parties by the lake, drug deals and everyday life. In short, it’s the story of Jayden and Lula. Neither have fame or wealth when they start out, but they do have two things in common…both struggle with a sense of self worth…and, both have more fun than most people. He has a razor-sharp wit and strong pitching arm, and she is a highly creative abstract artist. Together they discover the meaning of love and loss, while they work toward their shared goal of not being ordinary.

Tomorrow Comes At Midnight  (Back Cover)

Tomorrow Comes At Midnight
(Back Cover)

On a deeper level, the book’s storyline addresses the many obstacles one faces as they attempt to be the best at what they do . . . whether that is sports, art, etc… A person really has to jump a few psychological hurdles in addition to physical ones to achieve their dreams. And, no one else can do that for them. The inner strength and drive has to be found from within.

There’s one other thing about this book that’s a little different—the hero Jayden James has some interesting thoughts on life. For example, he would tell you this—
“You need a spiritual life most when you’re at your worst…not so much when you’re perfect.” Such is his thinking as he overcomes inner demons and physical injuries to reach his goal of going pro. So this story is a little bit about that, too. Although, I wouldn’t consider it a religious message because Jayden and his friends cuss like sailors and they do some really bad things because, after all, they are drug dealers and such. However, Tomorrow Comes At Midnight carries an overall positive message of hope and inspiration.

Back Cover Blurb: Living in a treehouse and dealing drugs is one way to overcome your fear of being ordinary. But Jayden discovers it’s not the best way, as he gets beaten-up, thrown in jail … and then beaten up again before being thrown out of jail. And that’s only a small part of the punishment the universe seems to heap on him as he makes his way from being a troubled soul who struggles with a sense of self-worth to being a confident, professional ballplayer. Set in the 1970’s, this Southern drama would be your typical small-town-boy-makes-good story.

Except that it’s not.

TOMORROW COMES AT MIDNIGHT is available at Amazon:

You can find Gina on FB:

On Twitter: @Gina_Popp

And her website:

Happy Reading!


Posted in Author Interviews, New Book Release, Writing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Savoring Summer in So many ways

Tell me all the ways you’re savoring summer.

Tell me what you’re doing now.

the beach
the mountains
your garden
amusement parks
your backyard
a good book on a rainy afternoon
a family reunion
the graduation of a family member or friend
a wedding of someone dear
or if you’re like me, you’re dreaming of a vacation. :-)

My garden is thrilling me with its cucumber production, however, it rained too much in May and early June, which damaged my tomatoes. The okra is loving the summer heat and beginning to take off. Soon, crab stuffed okra poppers will appear on the dinner table. You will find my recipe here: Hot Curries & Cold Beer
Many thanks to Rashda Khan for hosting me.

In the herb garden, the basil is ready for harvest. Pesto coming up! I freeze it to have all winter.
I’m also drying parsley, thyme, and oregano.

I love to cook–a pinch of this, a spoonful of that. My kitchen is a dream space, however, the only thing I bake is Bread Pudding. Thankfully, my hubby enjoys the precision measuring required in baking. His specialty is sweet potato pecan pie.

Today, I took the time to actually type up my recipe for bread pudding. It lived only in my head and thinking about it proved more challenging than I first anticipated.

The photo you see of the Bread Pudding was made in a 9″ cake pan. (Usually, I make it in a 9 x 13 inch pan.) I made this one round so I could “take it along” to an event. Bread Pudding is one of the special things I savor in summer.

Bread PuddingBread Pudding (I usually double this recipe and put it into a 9 x13 pan, but this calls for an 8inch square pan)

1 loaf of French Bread. (I let it sit out for a day before using.)
2 TBS melted butter
1 cup raisins
4-5 beaten eggs
2 cups milk (sometimes I use 1 cup milk and 1 cup Half and Half)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans

** I also like to add fresh fruit. Thin sliced apples, or pears, or peaches. I gently fold fruit into the mixture after the pecans and raisins are added.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Grease pan (I use Pam spray, you can use butter)
3. Break bread into small pieces
4. Put beaten eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt into a mixing bowl and combine until well mixed.
5. Add bread to mixing bowl with liquid. Make sure bread is well coated with liquid. Cover and let soak for about 20 minutes.
6. Add raisins and pecans and mix well.
7. Put soaked bread into lightly greased baking pan.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top
springs back when lightly tapped.

Bourbon sauce:
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
(If I don’t use superfine, I can’t ever get the sugar to melt all the way.)
1 stick butter, melted (Make sure butter is cooled before adding egg so it doesn’t scramble egg.)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup Four Roses Bourbon. (You want to use a very high quality bourbon.)

Mix sugar, egg, and vanilla into melted butter in a sauce pan. Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar is thoroughly melted. Add the bourbon and stir well.

Pour over bread pudding. I like it served warm.

What about you? What are you savoring this summer?
Please feel free to share a recipe. :-)


Linda Joyce

Posted in Authentic Living, Food, New Orleans, Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Summer Beach or Backyard Reading. SALE!

Everyone loves a sale!
It’s only a click away. And only until June 30th.
Plus a contest at Fresh Fiction!
Please share the news with your family and friends.

Pink in my garden.

Pink in my garden.

Writing is a unique world. I do it mostly in isolation. I used to listen to music, but even that influences my mood, which may or may not be beneficial to my writing. Thus, silence is usually the loudest thing I hear.

When I’m involved and in the flow of fiction, it’s as though I’m in a different world and a barking dog, a chiming doorbell, a ringing phone in the real world make my blood pressure rise in an instant. I prefer to stay immersed in the fictional places I go until I need to surface…for example when my stomach complains because I forgot to eat lunch.

I see characters all around me. If my gaze remains too long at you when we’re in the grocery store, or pumping gas, or passing in the craft store, it’s because there’s something about you that intrigues me and I’m memorizing that characteristic to capture it in one of my books.

I created Pinterest boards for my books. (I’m getting ready to add boards for my Works In Progress, too.)

InD’tale magazine is showing off my books. The images are beautiful! If you’re not an InD’tale subscriber, it’s free.
Like a little scavenger hunt? Check out:
Page 57 & 77 of the May issue.
Page 61 of the June & July Issue.

My greatest joy is sharing my writing with readers. Right now, my books are on sale. What better time to buy than now?

Bayou Born - 2014 RONE Award Finalist

Bayou Born – 2014 RONE Award Finalist

BAYOU BORN, book one of the Fleur de Lis series, is a 2014 RONE Award Finalist.

The winner of the RONE Contemporary category will be announced in July at the RNC—Romance Novel Convention, July 9-13th in Las Vegas. You can purchase Bayou Born for $1.99.

What are others saying about Bayou Born?

“A true southern experience, Cajun style!” ~Kathy L Wheeler, author of Color of Betrayal

“The bayou isn’t the only thing hot and sultry in this sassy romance. Linda Joyce captures all your emotions and tantalizes your taste buds in this saucy southern tale.” ~Claire Croxton, author of Santorini Sunset

“Family, a little scandal, two people risking their hearts in the name of love, all mixed with Southern charm—this story has it all.” ~Kellie Kamryn, author of Pleasure Island

* * *

Bayou Bound  by Linda Joyce

Bayou Bound
by Linda Joyce

BAYOU BOUND, book two of the Fleur de Lis series, had a worldwide release on May 28th, 2014. It was awarded 1st Place in Romance from Southeastern Writers Association. It received 4.5 Stars and a Crowned Heart for Excellence from InD’tale Magazine. It has 4.9 Stars at Amazon.

You can also find it on Lady Bank’s Bookshelf:

What are others saying about Bayou Bound?

A raging storm has nothing on the steamy and fierce passion of Nick and Biloxi. Linda Joyce is the new author to watch!
~ Kathy L Wheeler, author of The Color of Betrayal

As if the bayou needed more heat and steam! Step aside Shakespeare. Linda Joyce adds southern charm, and a much happier ending, to this modern day Romeo and Juliet.
~ Claire Croxton, author of Santorini Sunset

Family feud turns up the heat between jet-setting photographer Biloxi Dutrey and family-oriented veterinarian Nick Trahan. Bayou Bound is a keeper.
~ Marilyn Baron, author of Under the Moon Gate

Bayou Bound is an authentic love story filled with southern charm, easy-to-love characters, family turmoil and a courtship that will keep you reading up until the end. It’s easy to love Biloxi and Nick, despite their outward perfection, because their inner insecurities and vulnerabilities make them so completely accessible. Joyce gives both characters such unique voices and does an amazing job revealing their desires and doubts throughout the entire book. Not only does Joyce give us a good story, she gives us genuine characters! Love this book and going back to read the first in the series! ~Kelly Silverman, Screenwriter

**Plus, there’s a chance for you to WIN an eBook copy of Bayou Born and Bayou Bound. Check out the contest at Fresh Fiction:

Come share my writing world through the stories of my characters. Please let me know what scenes, things, and words you really like.

AND if you want to share an authentic New Orleans experience, register for Author and Reader Convention-New Orleans. It’s August 14-17th.

Happy Reading!

Linda Joyce

Twitter: @LJWriter
Fresh Fiction:

Amazon: Bayou Born


Amazon Bayou Bound


The Wild Rose Press:

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Hurricanes are coming! Hurricanes are coming!

Hurricane Season Starts Today

As a southern gal, today has specific meaning. Memorial Day has passed and this is a BIG mark on the calendar. Hurricane season officially opens today, June 1st.

Now is the time to prepare for what may come. Last minute planning leads to disasters, as we saw with Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and Hurricane Andrew in August 1992.

Modern technology and the “categorizing” of hurricanes warns us of impending doom. Not so years ago. A warm sunny day on the beach turned to death and destruction. The events of what took place are captured in the novel THE STORM AFTER by author Gina Hooten Popp, and she’s sharing about her journey of bringing the story to life.

Gina Hooten Popp

Gina Hooten Popp

Gina: When I first started writing my story THE STORM AFTER about the Great 1900 Galveston Hurricane, I did a lot of research on hurricanes and I stood amazed at what I learned. It humbled me to realize the devastation that could be wrecked in a matter of hours…moments really. For some reason, the lyric “Just how fragile we are.” from the singer Sting’s song kept coming to mind.

The hand-written and recorded survivor accounts and photos all brought tears to my eyes. But during all those hours of initial hurricane research what I couldn’t know is how many people that had endured storms, wildfires, earthquakes, and other catastrophes (natural and manmade) would reach out to me with their individual stories. Each one unique in what happened to them. And they often gave me survival tips. Sometimes it was something simple, but smart, like putting a football helmet on for protection from flying debris. One woman wrote that her husband had been hit by lightening twice during a storm trying to stop leaks in the chimney and in the roof. What was surprising was that he was working from the inside of their house. Her caution – stay away from flowing water as best as you could. One person spoke of making sure you had good walking shoes on and not flip-flops. Others just wanted to say it had meant so much to them that people had been there for them afterwards as they tried to cope with what had happened to them. How important it had been to have another human being simply sit with them and provide human contact. In a sense, just letting them know that they were not alone.

THE STORM AFTER by Gina Hooten Popp

THE STORM AFTER by Gina Hooten Popp

Today, June 1st, is the first day of hurricane season and I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge all those who’ve contacted me with their personal survival stories. It has meant a lot to me. And, if you’re reading this post and you’d like to share a tip or an observation, please leave a comment. Who knows? You might just save someone’s life or at least help them out a little.

THE STORM AFTER--a  2014 RONE Award Finalist

2014 RONE Award Finalist

Gina Hooten Popp is the author of THE STORM AFTER – 2014 RONE Award Finalist.

You can connect with Gina here:
Face Book:

Purchase your copy of THE STORM AFTER :

Linda: I hope you enjoyed learning more about the details behind the awarding novel, THE STORM AFTER. It’s a wonderful read. Gina keeps you hooked to the story as the characters try to survive!

And, if you have a Survival Suggestion, please share it with us. Share the knowledge and wisdom and help us all to be better prepared.

Happy Reading!
Lind Joyce

Posted in Books, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments



The unofficial start of summer is here! And here’s a book for your summer enjoyment from a wonderful author, G.A. Edwards

I can tell you about the inner working of a romance writer, a writer of women’s fiction, a short-story teller, and a bad poet.

But what turns the cogs in the brain of a Young Adult writer?

Maybe it’s sense of humor and knowing when to break the rules—writing rules—that holds the interest of readers of many ages. Maybe it’s the ability to tap into an inner Diva or insight into the emotionally growing mind of a young person possessing both fearlessness and vulnerability, then capture experiences in words. It is definitely the ability to engage readers and do it without preaching a message.

GA EdwardsG.A. Edwards is one such writer who encompasses all of these qualities.

Please join me in celebrating her debut novel MIRROR IMAGES. You can purchase it here:

Let’s learn more about the author behind the book.

Linda: What is your favorite quote?
G.A.: While Mirror Images is a YA thriller about a small town, it’s also focused on the emotional relationship between two brothers when one of them is bipolar. I think one of the best quotes occurs when circumstances caused by the crimes force the family to listen as Max gut-wrenchingly describes what a toll being bipolar is on him when it comes to relationships.

“Do you guys understand what it’s like to know that you’re probably always going to need someone to help you? To check on you, to make sure you take your meds, that you aren’t too hyper or too sad, or that you don’t kill yourself? That you can’t even be there for the ones you love, because you’re sick? Because I live with it every single day, and I can’t face myself…if all I can ever be is someone else’s burden.”

Linda: When did you first want to write?
G.A.: I have enjoyed reading and writing since I was in grade school. I am a retired English, Speech Communication, and Theatre teacher and have spent my adult life working in the field and encouraging others. One day several years ago, I decided to take some of my own advice and begin writing. I have always used writing things down as a release to help cope when needed. I started with a blog, then went on-line, found a writing group, and began a serious attempt to become an author.

Linda: When was the moment you first considered yourself a writer?
G.A.: I think everyone feels it the first time they hold their book in their hand and realize they are now a published author. For me, it was when I realized that writing wasn’t simply an outlet anymore. I had developed set goals and the drive to complete them.

Linda: Will you share one or two writing tips that provided an “ah-ha” moment for you?
G.A.: Even before I was working on Mirror Images, I saw patterns and literary devices in literature and the work of other authors. Some of these things were quite obvious and so much a part of me, that I didn’t recognize them as viable structures to use for my writing until I started looking. A simple example of this is found in the old Scooby Doo cartoon. Each week the show begins with the group talking about where they are going (Exposition). Then the group arrives at their destination and something happens like there’s a picture with scary eyes, the appearance of a ghost or monster followed by the action building when the gang makes a plan to catch that week’s villain (Rising Action). Fred catches the villain, rips off the mask, and everyone says, “Mr. Wilson!” or whatever the guilty party’s name is for that week (Climax.) Velma goes over the clues (Falling Action) and the show ends with case solved and some additional hi-jinks of Scooby Dooby Doo (Resolution). Even though I have moved on to use a more complex plotline than this one, I came to realize I already had much of the knowledge I need to write successfully.

One of the most helpful things I did that resulted in numerous “ah-ha” moments happened when I became an intern for the New Adult line with editors, Karen Grove and Nicole Steinhaus, from Entangled Publishing, L.L.C. Each week I would read one or two full manuscripts from other writers, produce an evaluation, and it became easy to see the errors and places for improvement in the work of others. I then applied what I had learned completing these reports to my own work.

Linda: What lie(s) were you told about writing?
G.A.: I wasn’t lied to, but I had to learn to trust my own opinion when it came to voice. Very few of the writers that I work with write Young Adult or utilized much first person perspective. After trying to adapt Mirror Images to another point of view, I went back to the style of voice I heard in my head. One thing that gave me confidence to go with my gut was that I had read a great deal of work from Young Adult authors. I knew teen readers already readily embrace this style.

MIDigitalCover (1)Linda: Where did the inspiration for MIRROR IMAGES come from?
G.A.: I asked myself, “What did I enjoy reading when I was younger that I miss? What have I heard teens complain is unavailable when it comes to reading material?” The answers were contemporary mystery suspense similar to Lois Duncan’s, Killing Mr. Griffin or I Know What You Did Last Summer, and more books with the social messages found in the current works of Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List and the new, Torn Away. It was also important to me to write a book that would appeal to both boy and girl readers.

As for the exact inspiration for Mirror Images, I began with the town of Madison. I thought of the many good aspects of small town living and those that are not so great. I utilized this knowledge to include the perspectives of some of the people in Madison in the beginning blurbs before each chapter. The scenes in Mirror Images that take place at the fair are drawn directly from a real town in Missouri. It is the community that ties the trilogy together and I am enjoying showing a different aspect of the town as I work on Explosive Charges, Book Two, in the Madison Murders series.

The relationship of main characters, Marty and Max, came from observing my twin stepsons. When the boys came into my life, I was surprised by the number of differences in the way the twins interacted with each other compared to what I had seen with my own single birth children. The title of the book came from the fact my twins would look to each other, rather than a mirror, if something was mentioned about their appearance.

As for the theme of mental disorders, I wanted to give a fair but truthful voice to the many people who have diagnosis and the family members who help care for someone who fits the description. I wanted to show that these individuals with a diagnosis are so much more than the symptoms of an illness or a disorder or their label.

Linda: What research did you do for this book?
G.A.: I studied the types of symptoms associated with being bipolar and the effects of the medications and therapies used to treat it. My sister is active in determining the Juvenile Code of our state. She was an invaluable resource as I searched for examples of the process accused go through in the judicial system. Tragically, a nearby community had clear examples of what occurs when members are accused of crimes and the fall out for the accuser, the accused, and the entire town as the truth was sought. Also, my granddaughter takes great joy in telling everyone that I tried to drown her in name of research to get a better visual in my mind of a dead girl. She exaggerates, some… Don’t worry, she’s fine now.

Linda: Please share with us one thing about you that most people don’t know.
G.A.: I am a very open person, so there isn’t much that I haven’t shared with someone. I think something that would surprise others is how much I love flowers. I did grow up in a small town and one of my joys as a child was to take a nightly walk to look at all of the neighbor’s flowers. I still enjoy this.

Linda: We wish you great success with MIRROR IMAGES.

Here’s a peek inside:

Someone is drowning little girls in Madison, Missouri.

But Marty Jamison’s too busy to worry about it. He’s got to help his bipolar twin, Max, start the new school year. It’s not fair when all he wants to do is get good grades for a future scholarship, to save for a car to drive after his upcoming birthday, and to spend more time with pretty Kayla Gallagher.

As more and more deaths occur, someone close to Marty is tied to the Floating Angels Murders. He’s forced to entertain the possibility that a person he loves is a killer.
Determined to find out the truth, Marty uses his after school job as a reporter at the local paper to search through the grisly evidence from the crimes. Marty finds his answers, but a final showdown at the pool forces a choice that could leave him ashamed to look at his own image in the mirror.

Mirror Images brings back the suspense of YA classics by authors Lois Duncan and Gail Giles with an emphasis on social issues similar to the those in the works of Jennifer Brown.

More about G.A. Edwards:

G. A. Edwards is a retired English teacher now spending her days as a writer and speaker sharing the joys of literature one word at a time. A voracious reader of all genres, she writes gritty contemporary thrillers for teens with flawed heroes you’ll want to come out on top. Memberships in Romance Writers of America, Heartland Romance Authors, Mid-America Romance Authors, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and as an intern for the New Adult line with Entangled Publishing, L.L.C. have given many writing skills and even more friends. She lives in the Midwest where she enjoys traveling with her husband and hosting highly competitive family game nights. She swears she loves teens, a good story, and her minivan, but avoids celery, glitter, and squirrels when possible.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting G.A. Edwards. She’s a writer to follow!

Happy Reading!

Linda Joyce

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