Book in the Spotlight: Serendipity by the Sea, by Jennifer Vido

Please join me in welcoming author Jennifer Vido. Today we are spotlighting Serendipity by the Sea. Sweet romance, second chances, and secrets are found in this new release.


Title: Serendipity by the Sea

Author: Jennifer Vido

Genre: Sweet Romance


Will her wanderlust ex-boyfriend’s return allow a hopeless romantic a second chance at love?

Cate Ainsworth is poised to land her dream job when an ex-boyfriend—the guy she once loved who left town with no explanation—returns to their Lowcountry hometown. Their long-denied attraction tugs her in a new direction, but will she risk everything for a second chance at love?

A freelance photographer, Knox Price seeks adventure, not commitment. Back in town to care for his uncle gets complicated when he crosses paths with Cate, igniting a spark he can’t ignore. But can he confess the truth about why he walked away?


Jennifer Vido is the author of the Gull Island sweet romance series. An avid booklover, she interviews bestselling authors for her bi-weekly Jen’s Jewels column on A longtime Arthritis Foundation advocate, she teaches an arthritis-friendly water exercise class to seniors in the morning before heading to the office to serve as the executive director of a legal non-profit in her community. The proud mom of two sons, she currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two rescue dogs, and a finicky calico cat. 











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Tuesday’s Tops List: Book Quotes

In no particular order, here’s a list of some of my favorite quotes from books I’ve read over the years. This list could go on…and on…and on…

“I never deal from a position of fear. Only from strength, and if I don’t have that strength I make damn sure the world thinks I do.”
A Woman of Substance, by Barbara Taylor Bradford

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone … just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkein

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri

“It’s hard to resist a bad boy who’s a good man.”
Happy Ever After, by Nora Roberts

“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.”
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote

“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens

“Each time you happen to me all over again.”
The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

“And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

“Blessed are the parents whose final words on leaving—the house, the car, the least consequential phone call—are always I love you. They will leave behind children who are lost and still found, broken and, somehow, still whole.”
Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, by Margaret Renkl

“I believe I learned the secret of life. It is to endure.”
A Woman of Substance, by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Book in the Spotlight: Sophia’s Magic Beans, by D.V. Stone

Please join me in welcoming author D.V. Stone. Today we are spotlighting Sophia’s Magic Beans. One peek at the blurb will have sweet romance readers wanting to see more of this delightful story.


Title: Sophia’s Magic Beans

Author: D. V. Stone

Genre: Sweet Romance/light fantasy


In a small New Jersey town, sometimes fairytales do come true.

Calliope Novak’s candy store made it through the shutdowns, but she still struggles with everyday costs. She juggles chores, work, and making time for Sophia—her six-year-old. Personal life? Non-existent. Luke O’Brian confronts his boss and mentor after discovering his law firm’s involvement with a crooked politician and is reminded of the non-disclosure agreement he’d signed. He can’t break it without evidence—evidence that he can’t access after he’s escorted out of the building by security. Devastated, he reluctantly returns to his hometown to regroup. Lake Unami in Northern New Jersey is a magical place. Rainbows and unexplained coincidences seem more normal than not. Guardian angels, bookstore owners, and an endearing cast of characters all come together to bring happiness and love to Calliope, Sophia, and Luke.


D. V. Stone is an award-winning, multi-genre, traditionally and independently published author. She writes books people want to read. Whether romance or fantasy, contemporary or mid-grade, her stories are about the importance of friends and family. About overcoming obstacles often with humor.

Around the Fire is a popular weekly blog where she introduces both established and new authors giving an insider’s look into their lives and books as well as tidbits about her own life.

Now retired, she is a full-time author and incorporates her life experiences into her books.

As a former Emergency Medical Technician, she volunteered in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At the same time, she worked as a professional EMT in a women’s state prison. She was the proprietor of a coffee shop and a small restaurant/ice cream stand in the years that followed. After those, she was a manager in an animal emergency hospital, while her last position was in a human medical office.

When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots—a 41-foot long 13.2 feet high 5th Wheel camper, she rambles around town in Northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. She also loves travel and history.

D.V. is a wife to an amazing husband, mother to one son, and not your average grandma to three beautiful grands. A woman of faith, she believes and trusts in God.

“My greatest pleasures are spending time outside with friends and family, cooking over the open fire, sipping a glass of wine, and reading.”

Hali, her rescue dog, always reminds her to let readers know, “Woof, woof.” Which is loosely translated as support your local animal rescue.”




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Guest Post with Author J. Arlene Culiner

Please join me in welcoming author J. Arlene Culiner. Her guest post on the nuances of romance are spot-on. If you’re looking for a romance novel with unique characters, All About Charming Alice (Blake’s Folly Romance Book 2) is a perfect pick.


Title: All About Charming Alice (Blake’s Folly Romance Book 2)

Author: J. Arlene Culiner

Genre: Romance


Trust in Love and Solutions will appear

Alice Treemont has no intention of falling in love. Living in Blake’s Folly, a semi-ghost town, she cooks vegetarian meals, rescues unwanted dogs, and protects the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests?

Jace Constant is in Nevada, doing research for his new book, but he won’t be staying. He’s disgusted by desert dust on his fine Italian shoes and dog hair on his cashmere sweaters. As for snakes, he doesn’t just despise them: they terrify him.

So why does the air sizzle each time Alice and Jace meet? A romance would entail far too many compromises.


Romance is a dance, archaic and complicated, that has to be re-learned each time it appears. The first steps are awkward, tentative, then just when we gain a bit of confidence, we trip over our own feet, stumble, and sometimes come crashing to the floor. Oh, the misery — especially since this dance requires considerable elegance, high polish, and a promise of tenderness.

Romance isn’t polite. It’s an obsession that makes us rude to friends (think of canceled coffee dates), self-centered (we can’t talk about anything else), and narcissistic (we’re always looking for a mirror).

So it is in All About Charming Alice. Alice Treemont, an original but prickly character, lives in a semi-ghost town in the Nevada desert. She rescues dogs, studies and protects snakes. Jace Constant, a writer from Chicago, isn’t crazy about dogs or the Nevada desert. As for snakes… he’s terrified of them.

Neither Alice nor Jace are young; both have had relationships that fell apart, or grew dusty, or lacked long-term zing. Neither expects love when it comes galumphing over the horizon. But here it is, with all its doubts, hesitations, and misgivings…

And while Alice and Jace are taking those first tentative steps, the nosy, cranky folks in Blake’s Folly are watching from the sidelines: ageless, shapeless Ma and Pa Handy: beer-swilling Mick Fletcher; the lovely flirtatious Rose Badger; and Killer, the scruffy stray.


Suddenly he rose to his feet and, in that languid way of his, crossed to the doorway where she stood. She was a tallish woman, but he towered over her. Casually, stretching out one arm, he rested his hand on the doorframe, a hair’s breadth above her head. He was close, so close. His body was supple, strong and—yes, she had to admit it—warm, fragrant. The heat of him reached her over the few inches separating them, and she ached to curve into it. Aura? This man was a flesh-and-blood heat wave.

The strange, tingling excitation was flowing through her again like thick port wine. She lowered her eyes, refusing to meet his gaze, although she knew he was, once again, examining her minutely.

“I want to take the room.”

“Look, you don’t need my room,” she said, desperation too evident in her tone. “There’s a perfectly reasonable motel the other side of the Winterback Mine, out in the direction of Logan. Actually, it’s far better equipped to take in tourists than anything you’ll find here in Blake’s Folly.”

“I know. Rider Motel. Air conditioning, cable TV, and right across from the Dew Drop Inn.” His smile was wry. “That’s exactly where I’ve been staying for the last three nights. And over and over during those three nights, I remembered Blake’s Folly and the Room to Rent sign on your wall. And the more I thought about it, the more appealing it got. There’s nothing worse than an impersonal motel room when you have to stay in an area for a while.” He let his eyes wander over the faded wooden framing, over the settee on the veranda. “Right here, it feels more like home.”

That wasn’t it, she knew. That wasn’t even part of the truth. He was back because something hot and wonderful shimmered between them. Did she fascinate him as much as he did her? Possibly. Although she hadn’t done anything to encourage him, not once. It would have been hard to find someone less friendly than she’d been.


Gosh, I enjoyed reading this book immensely. The humor during Jace’s courtship of Alice and her self doubts often had me laughing out loud.
Diana Lanos, Smile Somebody Loves You

The perfect story for all the hopeless and hopeful romantics out there.
Lisa McCombs, Readers’ Favorite

The writing and dialogue is magical and masterful. The romance filled my heart with an emotional, heartfelt, dazzling experience. Enjoy!
Sheila Clapkin, author


Writer, photographer, social critical artist, and impenitent teller of tall tales, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a mud house on the Great Hungarian Plain, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, a haunted house on the English moors, and on a Dutch canal. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest where, much to local dismay, she protects spiders, snakes, and all weeds. She particularly enjoys incorporating into mysteries, non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with very odd characters.



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Write Stuff Wednesday: Body Language

It’s Write Stuff Wednesday, and today I’m talking about body language. Character’s aren’t talking heads in a space free of objects, colors, movements, and other people. Facial expressions, actions while speaking, small gestures, and movements by others all come into play in the real world. These elements must also exist in the story world. Below are a few of the sites I find helpful when my mind draws a blank for words other than “nodded” and “grinned”.
Movement with Dialogue
The entire site offers a wealth of helpful writing information.

Photo by Joe L on
Bryn Donovan’s Master List of Body language and Gestures
Be sure to spend some time checking out the countless other lists and articles on writing she has shared.

Photo by Vera Arsic on
400+ Facial Expressions
Stick around for the many other resources such as Writing Tips, Writing Tools, and Word Lists (to name a few).

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on
Body Language Cheat Sheet
Snippet below – see link for full list.
Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Basic Character Descriptions
I came across this article last week and appreciated the suggestions to move beyond many common mistakes.