Make the Most of This Time

 

July 20, 2020

Hi y’all,

I hope you and your families are doing well. There are so many changes to adapt to it can be overwhelming. Stress levels are up for a multitude of reasons. My wish is that you find something of use in this blog post.

Recently, I learned gardening is being used as therapy in the UK and it’s helping people. If this interest’s you and you haven’t done it before. Start out small. Educate yourself in the area you’re interested in and have fun. Here’s a link if you’d like learn more about green therapy: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/13/green-therapy-gardening-helping-fight-depression

If you’ve always wanted to write books but keep putting it off, do it. Start with a short story. Find a group of writers. Want to write fiction and nonfiction? Lots of us do! I have a teatime cookbook and a journal both available on Amazon.  Or, you might be interested in nonfiction such as memoirs. I have a friend, Joan Neubauer,  who’s written a great book on this topic. You can find her book here: From Memories to Manuscript: the Five Step Method of Writing Your Life Story

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The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes

I create stories to entertain people, an opportunity to be transported to another place, or assist someone by looking at something in a way that gives them greater understanding,  For my visual art, my goal is to bring beauty to the person looking through my portfolio.

Monet's Roses

Tambra’s Watercolour and Gouache tribute to Claude Monet

Having delicate health means every single day is a precious gift. I focus on what I can I do today: finish edits on my novella, tweak that short story for middle graders, try to sketch and paint a mermaid in ProCreate. From the time I was twelve years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer and artist. Of course, these are not optimum conditions, but my drive to continually be creative is an integral part of me. Not being able to create makes me physically sicker.

I challenge you left-brainers out there to be creative (in a positive way, please.) Colouring is a stress reducer. Cooking can be creative, building something from wood, woodburning, soap making, sewing, gardening, learn to play a musical instrument, recycling/upcycling items. If being creative is new to you don’t automatically say what you’ve done is a piece of crap. A new skill takes time to learn so give yourself a break and have fun.

Make the most of the time you have right now. What can you learn, create, and share with others? I believe I was given the gift of storytelling and writing as well as art. Not everyone will like my writing and art, but some will. Being creative reduces stress and stimulates areas of your brain that will help you think of out-of-the-box solutions in your life.

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Smudge Alpin MacRuff

I hope you find a creative activity is fun, that you can share with family and friends.

Maybe we can take away something positive from 2020. A deeper understanding of how precious life is and how to make the most of it. Smudge Alpin MacRuff wants you to be kind and love one another.

Wishing you peace and love,

Tambra Nicole and Smudge

 

Tambra’s Upcoming Workshop

Hi y’all,

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A cup of hot tea and a good book is magic to the soul.

I’ll be teaching my first workshop of 2020 in August. This is the only workshop I have scheduled for the year. If anyone would like me to teach this online course I can anytime after August. The group hosting the event is the Hearts Through History chapter of Romance Writers of America. You don’t have to be a member of RWA to take the course. Here’s the link: The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting

Testimonials from former participants can be found on my website at https://tambrakendall.com

I hope to see some of you there! GoodWritingStephenKing

Hugs to all!

Tambra

 

Writer’s Creativity Journal EBook

Hi y’all,

Just a quick note to let y’all know my Writer’s Creativity Journal (ebook) is free today and tomorrow. Keeping a journal or diary, writing short stories, putting your family memories in a book is tremendously helpful at any time, but at this moment in our history it is even more important for our mental health and well being. Creativity and imagination are precious gifts.

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If you’d like a copy or to check it out here’s the link: Writer’s Creativity Journal

I hope all of you are doing well and finding a way to deal with the new normal we’ve been handed. I just finished watching a course by Dorsey Armstrong, PhD on The Black Death (you can find it on Amazon Prime) and people in the Middle Ages reacted as people have done today with COVID-19.

The course was wonderfully presented and I learned a lot of new information from it.

I’m still editing the printout of the novella but am getting closer to adding the changes into the manuscript. My goal is to have it ready for purchase sometime in July. I have a reader appreciation group on Facebook if that’s something you enjoy. When the book is released I’ll have a few contests.

Romance readers of my blog, I’ll be setting an author spot at Coffee Time Romance. Y’all stop by my Facebook page and say hello. You’re welcome to ask writing questions if you’re writer.

I leave you with a Doctor Who quote: “We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one.”

Hugs to all and stay safe!

Tambra

You Want to be a Writer, But…

Written by Tambra Nicole Kendall                                                    April 25, 2020

 

JKRowling

This blog post is aimed at writers.  My goal for this article is to make writers aware of a topic that concerns anyone who is working in the area of the arts. The slant of this post leans toward writers who plan to submit their work to a publisher and the fear of rejection.

So, you want to be a writer but you’re afraid. I understand why you’re afraid. Your words, your heart, have bled onto the page and now you feel naked, raw, and uncomfortable. This is the sacrifice we make to touch the soul of the reader. If you haven’t noticed, fear of rejection and guilt are the mud puddles writers wallow in often.

When I meet people and they’ve asked what I do, many have flippantly said, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I don’t have the time. You don’t work, why don’t you write it for me?” The arrogance of this attitude astounded me. 

People, this is NOT a compliment. Unless this is a person who has had something extraordinary happen in their lives and you’re a ghost writer searching for an interesting story this attitude is rude as hell.

That person is telling you that their time is more valuable than yours and that isn’t true. It’s insulting. I nicely but firmly, tell those people I have enough projects of my own. Since it’s their story, they need to write it using their description and words. People can be lazy control freaks, don’t let them bully you.

LabraThor

LabraThor is here to beat back fear, rejection, and guilt.

 

Attitudes in American society have conditioned people to view the arts in a negative manner. This spills down into families affecting the writer on a  personal level.

Some people are afraid to let anyone know they’re creative. The attitudes and conditioning of American society. places importance on sports and science. The arts is given the middle finger and this point of view is handed down from generation to generation. The situation could prove too stressful and the writer has hidden behind fear. American society needs to stop treating artists and creatives like we’re leftover puppy kibble. You are not less as a person because you’re creative. What you create has value.

 Just before I graduated from high school, I wanted to attend The Art Institute of Houston and take their advertising courses.  When I told my Dad about the school he was furious and adamant that I continue learning secretarial skills because that’s what he decided I should do. I had no way to get to AI of Houston since the car I was driving was his and if I had found to attend, he would have thrown me out of the house. Had he kicked me out I would never have been able to return. I tried to figure out a way to be able to go but there were no options.

Still, I continued to sketch and searched for a way to make my dreams come true of being an author and illustrator. After I married and had kids, I found a local writing group and took art lessons from an amazing Houston area artist, Dana Schoppa. She was the only supporter of my art and I will always treasure my friendship with her. I was afraid of so much back then, but Dana gave me courage and I learned from her that it isn’t the end of the world if you make a mistake. I will always be grateful to her and the blessing she is in my life.

Writing, fine art, illustrating, sewing, pottery etc., is important to society. When there’s a tragedy, writers, artists and art therapists are called upon to help heal the wounds. We are a viable, contributing force to our communities, our nation, the world.  Words are powerful.

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When I started writing seriously, I had a full-time job, two boys in elementary school and an abusive, alcoholic husband. Not an ideal environment to write in or do much of anything, but somehow, I’ve managed to learn how to write stories that have touched readers and made them happy. I continue to study and learn and probably always will.

Fear ruled me for so many years I refuse to give in and give it anymore of my time. When I find myself falling into its trap, I remind myself of what I’ve accomplished so far because I stopped living in a state of fear.

IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, DO IT. If you submit your story and get rejected either resubmit to another publisher or find out what’s wrong and fix it.

Writing is not for the faint of heart. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Writing is personal and creative, but it’s also a business for most authors. There are resources to assist a pensmith’s if the business part of writing scares you. Professional organizations are a great place to start gathering information and networking.

There’s nothing stopping a person from writing for themselves or their immediate circle of family and close friends. Everyone has their own focus and interest and none of the choices are wrong. Children’s literature isn’t better than mysteries or romance, its all about your personal interest. Fear has slithered its tentacles into this mindset. Don’t fall for it.

Fear paralyzes and you don’t get anything done. It’s pointing its finger at you and laughing. You fell into its trap.

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The fear of rejection can paralyze people. I’ve heard some writers talk about the fear that someone in their family won’t like what they write: they don’t have to read your work and it isn’t their business what you write. People are always trying to make something about themselves when it isn’t about them at all. It all about control. Just like the story I told about my Dad refusing to let me go to art school. That was pure control freak behaviour.

There are a million and one excuses wearing the ever-changing mast of fear waiting to catch you in a weak moment and stop you from the joy of writing. Create a workable, yet, fluid plan. Having a writing road map gives you an idea of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.

Remember, writers write.

Sending healing hugs and light,

Tambra Nicole

In These Difficult Times: Creativity is a Secret Key

Being chronically ill I’m home a lot. Doctor visits range from two to four times a month. If I’m feeling good that means I can drive into town to pick up a few things at Walmart or the resale store and then a coffee from Starbucks.

Vintage illustration of a cup of coffee and a coffee grinder.

I’m telling you this because I had to change my mindset when I lost my job. Being pissy about my situation wasn’t going to make it better or bring back my health. After dealing with the grief and anger I had to make some changes. I had started writing children’s stories and articles in 1990, so I had a foundation in it when I forced out of my job. It ended up being my saving grace along with having sewing and crafting hobbies. Creativity was and is the key for keeping depression and negativity to the curb (at least most of the time for me). Having hobbies can bring great joy and relieve stress. The writing and the art crafts saved me.

Old Books on a shelf.

My plans for next few months are to finish final edits on an erotic paranormal novella and publish it. Finish polishing two middle grade short stories that I’ve had sitting in my computer and publish them together so the kids get two funny stories. Then, start plotting a Gothic romance gaslight/steampunk story. I’d like to finish some junk journals and maybe do a bit of sewing. I’ve always wanted to learn more than two stitches in crochet so that’s something to consider. Do I have the energy for all of this? Not all at once, that’s for sure but I look forward to getting up in the morning and writing stories that make people happy. Or teaching my creative writing workshop and helping writers understand aspects of the craft better. I’m thrilled to have assisted so many wonderful people over the years.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a book. Now would be a great time to start it. There are novels, short stories, novellas, a collection of short stories with a wide variety of genres to write in: romance, science fiction, fantasy, high fantasy, Western, children’s: picture book, middle grade, young adult, new adult, historical romance, historical fiction, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mysteries, cozy mysteries, thrillers.

If your child wants to be a writer National Novel Writing Month, nanowrimo.org has a Young Writer’s Program you can check out with your budding novelist. There’s also journaling to express feelings or it can be used as a way organize your life while being creative.

These strange times could be a blessing in some ways. You have the chance to make more memories together with this extra time together. There’s a chance someone may want to learn to cook. There are beginning cookbooks for kids, beginning cooks in general, then there’s specialized categories such as French cooking. Take photos of the meals and add them to a document or blog and track your progress, comments on how it turned out and if you want to change anything for the next time you want to make it. You could also take a blank hardback book and create your own cookbook.

Illustration of the word menu with old fashioned cutlery.

Our Cairn terrier, Smudge keeps us laughing as well as vigilant because he’s a stinker that runs off with things the minute your back is turned. The TV remote, ink pens, paper of any kind can go through the terrier shredder. He loves being outside, is curious, intelligent and loves people from young to old. Pets are a comfort and a blessing and I’m grateful to have my Smudgie. Petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure.

Smudge Alpin MacRuff in 2019.

My husband is doing a few things in the yard while he’s off and playing some video games. We’ve been watching classic Doctor Who on BritBox, Farscape and Highlander, enjoying each other’s company.

Have a romantic dinner with your spouse at home. Remember why you chose each other.

Getting grumpy during these difficult times isn’t going to make things better. That kind of mindset will make you and everyone around you feel worse and that leads to ugly, nasty things none of us want or have time for. We do need to wake up and learn from this pandemic. Each of you know know what that teaching is. We may not be able to go back to our old way of life, we might have to adjust to a new normal. Be grateful you’re still here to have the opportunity for another day, another chance.

Sending hugs and positive thoughts to everyone.

I pray all of you are healthy and not getting each other’s nerves too badly. What have you found that helped you and your family during this time of confinement?

Sending this with love and light,

Tambra

P.S. : You can find my books on Amazon. I believe my teatime cookbook in ebook is free with Kindle Unlimited. I price all my books with people’s budgets in mind so as many people have access to my books as possible.

Gift Ideas and Recipes

Hi everyone,

With the holidays coming up fast, I thought I’d share some gift ideas and recipes that hopefully might make things  a little bit less stressful for you. There are ways to reduce stress during the holidays: Set a budget, pick up things that go on sale throughout the year for kids, spouse, parents. (Whoever you buy gifts for in your family.)

For the adults bring a nice gift (with a specified limit $40, or whatever you decide) and bring a possible white elephant gift. Have someone with a cup or bowl with numbers for the amount of people participating. The way we’ve always played this game is you can steal a present no more than three times. I’m sure you can do a search for other ways to play this game. Don’t forget to reuse numbers for white elephant drawing.

Homemade wrapping paper:

Kids can decorate sheets of butcher paper and Kraft paper sheets for you to wrap gifts. This can keep them busy for a little while and you’ll end up with something you can use. With the sheets you can fold them to make gift bags, too.

Gift Ideas

Oven Mitt Gift

Buy an oven mitt in the design you think the recipient will like. Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target are good places to pick these up. Then fill with cooking goodies like measuring spoons. Rubber spatula, wooden spoon, silicone basting brush, timer, vegetable brush. Tie a ribbon around it and to finish it off you could add an ornament.

Containers

A plastic container with a lid. Dollar Tree is one of my favourite places to go for those and then head over to Walmart and purchase art supplies to place inside. Sketching tin with pencils, a hardback sketchbook, watercolours, acrylics. You get the idea.

Nice plastic container could also hold yarn for someone who knits or crochets, knitting needles or crochet hooks, a book with patterns.

Another idea would be to make one with spa items. Body scrub, bath salts, nice warm, fuzzy slipper socks, bath fizzy, bath sponge, body wash and lotion of the same or similar scent.

The container gifts are great because you can personalize it for the person you’re giving it to. Plus, the container is something that can be reused later.

Mason Jar gifts

A sewing kit could be a great useful gift. Thread, needles, a thimble, tape measure, small pair of scissors, buttons,

Something else you could put in the jar would be a place for matches, emergency candle, a small flashlight. I’m sure you can think of many other ideas for mason jars. Tie a ribbon around the jar and add a tag. Pinterest has some great ideas that can help you find the right combination for those special people in your life.

Recycle/Upcycle

If you have basic sewing skills, pull out your sewing machine. You can make great purses and totes from old blue jeans. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest for creating fabulous things out of denim that you can give a second life by taking a few minutes and looking at it with a crafty point of view.

Other Gift Ideas

My cookbook, The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes: The Celtic Heritage Series (Volume 1) comes in print and ebook. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/148204319X

If you know someone who loves to journal or is a writer, consider my Writer’s Creativity Journal, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LKFW16Y

For the romance reader, I have a contemporary fantasy romance,  just might be the perfect gift for the romance reader in your life. Christmas of Hope

Recipes

Cranberry Brie Bites

Ingredients

  • 14oz (400g) ready rolled Puff Pastry
  • 1egg lightly whisked
  • 3oz (150g) Brie
  • 6tbsp Cranberry Sauce
  • Fresh thyme leaves to decorate

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200c/400f and line a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone liner.

Unroll the pastry and brush with egg wash, then cut the pastry into approx 40 small rectangles. Place one rectangle on top of another and repeat with the rest of the pastry, so you have 20 or so ‘doubled up’ rectangles of pastry. Place on the prepared tray and bake for 10 minutes. Then take out of the oven.

Slice the Brie into small slices and place on top of the pastry puffs. Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to melt the brie.

Place the puffs on a plate and top each one with a small blob of cranberry sauce and a few fresh thyme leaves, then serve.

Holiday Cheer White Sangria

Ingredients

  • 2 750 ml bottles Your Favorite White Wine, Like Riesling
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 2 Oranges, Sliced thin
  • 6 ounces Cranberries, About 1 1/2 cups **
  • 1 cup Pomegranate Juice ***
  • 2 cups Ginger Ale, Or club soda for a less sweet version

Directions

  1. In a large pitcher, combine the white wine, ***pomegranate arils, orange slices, **cranberries and pomegranate juice.
  2. Chill for at least one hour.
  3. Stir in the ginger ale and serve.

***Personally, I don’t like Pomegranate juice, I would substitute it with Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry juice which would add a bit more sweetness and balance out the other flavours. If you like pomegranate juice, go for it.

** Again, I’d substitute cherries or soaking dried cranberries in a bit of Riesling and then adding it to the cocktail mix. Whole cranberries can be bitter (at least they are to me), but dried cranberries are a bit tart and wine-soaked fruit can be quite yummy. – Tambra

Writing update

I’ll have an erotic romance novella released sometime at the end of January 2020 with the Common Elements Romance Project. All the stories have the same five elements: a lightening storm, lost keys, a haunted house (real or rumoured), a stack of thick books, and a person named Max.

My story is an erotic contemporary paranormal romance with vampires and a demon.

Have a wonderful holiday season, be safe and I’ll see you in the next newsletter.

All the best to you,

Tambra Nicole Kendall

Celebrating Romance Readers

September 2019

I want to celebrate romance readers. I feel they are the best in the world. Years ago, I was an avid romance reader. I loved the happily-ever-after ending because it made me feel good. (Why read something that makes you depressed?) Most of my reading is romance fiction, otherwise, it’s nonfiction for research purposes.

It wasn’t until the early 1990s that I took the brave step from reader to learning to write a romance. I loved reading romance so much, I wanted to write stories that made other people sigh with happiness and fall in love with the characters I had created.

Romance readers are thrilled to share their favourite authors and titles. Word of mouth advertising is powerful. Romance readers have made it a top seller of genre fiction for good reason. Romance has quite a number of sub-genres to satisfy the taste of a wide range of readers such as: science-fiction romance, fantasy, paranormal, romantic suspense, steampunk/gaslight punk, gothic romance, erotic and plus others I’m sure I’ve missed.

Romance readers are educated. They want heroines who are smart, sassy, and capable and they know they can find her within the pages of this genre. 86% of romance readers are women and 16% are men who appreciate amazing characters and storylines.

coffee-2067644_1920Book signings and contests, appreciation groups all have the point of meeting readers and letting them know they are appreciated. As an author I want to make a positive difference in reader’s lives. To write stories that take them away from their problems and stress for a little while and give them a place to dream, to relax, and to participate in the story I’ve created within the pages of my books.

That’s pure magic.

A reader opens a book/tablet/e-reader and magic ensues. It’s an exchange between the author and the reader and to me that’s enough reason to celebrate. Reading romance has helped feed my love of history and Celtic mythology. It’s taken me to Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.

Romance novels are about two people who against all odds, fell in love. There’s nothing wrong with more love in the world.

If you haven’t read a romance, try one. Ask your local bookseller for some recommendations. The genre has changed in the last 50 years. Become a celebrated romance reader and discover the magic!

 

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Don’t forget, you can purchase all of my titles on Amazon.com

If you’re a writer, I’ll be teaching my Essentials of Characterization and Plotting one more time this year. It will be for the Young Adult chapter of Romance Writers of America. See you there!

Tambra Nicole

Tambra’s Website

 

Smudge Alpin MacRuff’s Adventures and Upcoming Writing Projects

SMUDGE ALPIN MACRUFF’S ADVENTURES

Hello everyone,

It’s hard to believe, but Smudge Alpin MacRuff will be five months old tomorrow. Smudge has changed so much already!  He’s smart and sassy like many terriers. If you tell him no, he talks back. He even did it to the vet!  I try not to laugh. Really. But it’s so hard and I fail. Miserably.

SmudgeStinkeye

Already giving the stinkeye.

Smudge and I just started puppy training classes. I told him he needed to learn how to be a gentleman terrier. Yes, I talk to my puppy like he can understand everything I’m saying. Why? Because I think dogs are smart and they are definitely smarter than people give them credit for.

Terriers in particular I think aren’t given a high enough rating for their intelligence. From what I’ve seen whoever is doing these tests, they knock them down on the scale due to their stubbornness, which is wrong. If you consider what Cairn terriers were bred to do they needed their stubbornness, ability to focus, think independently and have the energy to rout out foxes, badger, and other forms of rodentia. Stubbornness and intelligence are two different things and a good working terrier requires all of this and more to get the job done.

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Mama, are you taking another picture?

It’s fun to watch Smudge grow and learn new things, to see his personality emerging.  I have a journal keepsake book I made to keep notes on the things he does and anything else I want to remember.

The terrier curiosity along with everything being a game is quite exciting and entertaining. This can be a good thing, and not so good, which leads to  ‘oh crap, he’s got something and run off with it!’, his tail wags, his eyes shine and the chase is on.

Napkins, facial tissue, paper towels (kitchen paper), notebook paper are all potential victims of Smudgie’s shredding. We’re all learning and so far I’ve learned that the only way to get him to stop running and drop whatever he’s confiscated is to offer a piece of a treat. Yes, puppy blackmail.

Let’s be honest, my arse isn’t fast enough to catch him. And why bring on an asthma attack when I can use bribery and get the job done for the moment. As you can see, the drop it and leave it commands are areas we haven’t gotten to yet in training. I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t have to resort to food bribery.

SmudgeMay2019attheVet

Look into my eyes. “Give me the treat. You know you want to.!”

With all this walking three or four times a day, running around and chasing Smudge in the house I hope there’s some weight loss in my future. I must be diligent with my attention because puppies, like all babies, are prone to sticking everything in their mouth. I’ve got to keep an eye out for undesirable things on the ground like a dead crawdad. The partial body of a dead crawdad is not on the puppy’s diet. (Blech!) There was no way, NO WAY I was sticking my fingers in his mouth to get that thing out. I did try using a small stick but it didn’t work. His puppy jaws were clamped tight. I said a prayer and figured it was going to come out either from the front end or the back.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a puppy and my first time to be owned by a Cairn terrier. He’s an energetic handful but I love my furbaby so much.

THE WRITING UPDATE

My writing schedule is odd but I’m getting a few things done.

Here’s what’s in the works: A Homemade Recipes for Dogs cookbook by me and Smudge. Depending on how many I sell, I would love to make a donation every three months to a Houston area or Texas organization that rescues terriers. When it’s ready I’ll write a blog post and announce it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

I’m lengthening an erotic romance short story that was published previously. It will be novella length  (80-120 pages) for the Common Elements Romance Project. All of the authors participating are writing stories with five common elements, in any romance genre. I’ll post more information as it gets closer to the release months of October and November of this year. There will be a Facebook party and the authors will be doing things for their releases, too.

There’s one more project I’m working on. A Young Adult paranormal contemporary romance. I wrote it (and finished it) years ago. I picked it back up, still liked the story and could see the potential.  It takes place in a small, Texas town full of supernatural species, and the other part of the story is in the Celtic world realm. The heroine, Tara. learns she is more than a clairvoyant shifter. She is the only one who can help her boyfriend, Druce find his mother, who disappeared five years ago. They’re on a time limit racing to save Druce’s mother and stay alive. Tara and Druce’s lives are threatened by Ancient Celtic deities who will do anything to prevent the layers of lies from being exposed to the Council.. Will Tara and Druce find his mother and deepen their relationship or will they fail?

ONLINE WORKSHOPS

August 5-30, 2019 for Hearts Through History Romance Writers of America chapter. Go to the Hearts Through  History website for more information. *I’ll post links to the workshop when I receive them.

October 7-31, 2019 Young Adult Romance Writers of America chapter. Go to their website for more details. *I’ll post links to the workshop when I receive them.

If you’re on Facebook and are a fan of my work, I’ve started a Reader Appreciation Group.

Hugs and blessings, Tambra and Smudge