Sunday, December 8, 2019


These are the most-listened-to episodes of the week. Did your favorite make the list?

1)   Bullet Books Speed Reads Part Two 
2)   Bullet Books Speed Reads Part One
Jacquolyn McMurray
4)   BB eBooks
5)   Mandy Tremelling
6)   Lisa Kessler
7)   Rich Amooi
8)   Mina Beckett
9)   Anna Hague
10) Dawn Hosmer

*stats compiled from Podbean - these do not include numbers from ArtistFirst Radio Network

Saturday, December 7, 2019

It’s Research. I swear! ~ by KR Brorman

Sylvia Plath said, “Everything is writable about.” There’s more touchy-feely inspirational mumbo jumbo in the full quote. However, as we are saturated, especially in America, with the “Holiday Season,” there is no lack of writeable material.


Store clerks who like to share EVERYTHING.
That relative who brings a new significant other they met on Tinder.
Cousin Eddy rolling up in his tenement on wheels, “sh***er’s full.”
The drunk HR director copping a feel over the cocktail weenies.

From Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year’s, we average what, a dozen or more events with family, friends, work, church, civic or professional organizations? Do you live in a small Texas panhandle town? I do. Congratulations! You can probably add in three basketball tournaments and possibly football playoffs. Actually, I’ve done my time in high school sports mom purgatory and get to enjoy it from the warmth and safety of social media cheap seats sipping white wine spritzers and watching Hallmark Christmas movies on the 24/7 cycle. Don’t judge, it’s all research!

Back to the gatherings. “They,” the marketing and media savvy gurus, warn us to steer clear of the third rails of politics and religion. The same advice is often given for family gatherings. We may be able to avoid one, but let’s face it, there are a HUGE elephant and donkey in the room, and they have both tracked crap all over the proverbial carpets. And for some families, it’s a study in primal human behavior. For others, it’s an exercise in tolerance and acceptance. Which do you think makes for better stories?

“How was Thanksgiving?”

“Oh, you know, my raging atheist Aunt Marge and my Evangelical street preacher cousin Jim sat and cheered on the Dallas Cowboys. Nothing brings people together like football.” Zzzzzzzzzzzz

“But Kristine,” you say. “What about the fun stuff?” Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has a bit about traveling to see relatives just for the comedy fodder. It’s all fuel. My great-granny Picket would have pumpkin pie with “the pink stuff” and a slice of ham chaser for dessert to “cut the sweet.” Marathon games of Phase 10, Uno, Domino Trash Train, and my all-time favorite moment…my husband holding the most offensive Cards Against Humanity card for my dad to read. Read and laugh until I thought he was going to pass out. All research!

Does your GPS operate in adventure mode? Mine does. I swear I’ve been through every seedy neighborhood, side street, or back alley to get to an airport, especially if there was an easier direct highway route. True story. While traveling through Ireland and Scotland with my besties, who also happen to be my creative sounding board, graphics department, proofreader, and development team, the sat nav was neck deep into adventure mode. So much so, we began referring to it as “Barry, the travel agent.” On the surface, this is not wet your pants hilarity. After 2 weeks, a few hundred miles, and countless sleep-deprived hours and multiple, I say multiple, “not today death” experiences on single-lane UK roads, and when the National Weather Service goes and names the first hurricane to threaten a US coast “Barry” …you can see how the name must weave its way into our collective lingo and new romance series – hint hint wink wink. Everything is research.

In his book, Anatomy of a Premise Line, Jeff Lyons writes, “The function of storytelling to teach ourselves about what it means to be human.” As we don our ugly sweaters and gorge on pudding and roast beast, if we happen to get lost over the river or through the woods, remember these aren’t obligations to family, employers, or community. They are connections. They are humanity. They are us in all our unvarnished glory. These are the writeables.

And if anybody asks why you’re doing (insert silly thing here), you can say, “It’s research. I swear!”

KR Brorman’s Award-winning debut novel Eden’s Fall and sequel Winter’s Thaw, co-author CC Cedras, with SA Young, are available at your favorite bookseller.

She lives on a farm in the Texas Panhandle with her husband. She currently serves on the Texas High Plains Writers Board of Directors. KR’s first independently written novel, a contemporary Texas romantic suspense, is slated for 2020.

Connect on:

@TheBlondeKB - Twitter

TheBlonde Kristine - Facebook

TheBlonde Kristine – Instagram 

Listen to KR Brorman's podcast episode here.

Sunday, December 1, 2019


These are the most-listened-to episodes of the week. Did your favorite make the list?

1)   Grace Augustine
2)   Scarlett Braden
Spencer Dane
4)   BB eBooks
5)   Jacquolyn McMurray
6)   TwinsieTalk Book Reviews
7)   Mina Beckett
8)   Karen Deen
9)   Barbara Martoncik
10) Freya Barker

*stats compiled from Podbean - these do not include numbers from ArtistFirst Radio Network

Saturday, November 30, 2019

On Being in a Writers’ Group ~ by Jacquolyn McMurray

I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. As the third born in a gaggle of seven children, car rides were the perfect time to entertain my younger siblings with tales of witches, magic, and happy endings. For years I dreamed of being a published author, but like many others, I made excuses about why I didn’t have time to write.

And then in 2001, we teachers in Hawaiʽi went on strike. We gathered daily to “walk the line” and took advantage of the opportunity to get to know one another more personally. One teacher suggested we bring notebooks and do some timed writing exercises together. A few of us joined in the exercises and even fewer of us were brave enough to share what we’d written.
By the end of the strike, three of us had formed a writers’ group and committed ourselves to writing together one day a month, typically on a Sunday afternoon.  A fourth teacher joined us later after deciding to send our trio a writing sample and a request to join. Based on our frequent snack of ice cream sundaes, we dubbed ourselves the Sundae Writers’ Group. Two of us remain active to this day.

One of our earliest lessons was that supporting one another was superior to going it alone.  And along the way, over almost two decades, we learned other valuable lessons on our paths to publishing.

How to give and receive constructive criticism.

In the early years when we were all raising children and teaching full time, we used our monthly writing sessions to motivate ourselves. We did a lot of Natalie Goldberg timed writings and made up some of our own. We looked at our school vacations and started to arrange weekends of writing—two nights and three days in a rented house with no other distractions. Stories and poems emerged. We added reading our work aloud to the group and critiquing one another. 

How to deal with rejection. Lots of rejection.

The poet in the group had already published a few poems and had her eye on publishing a chap book of her collected work. The rest of us wanted to be published, so we explored those options and started submitting some stories and poems to magazines. 
The success of one was a celebration for all.

One of our writers had a good idea for a non-fiction book to help students better understand the writing prompts in high stakes tests. We rallied around her and helped to revise and edit her chapters. She published that book with Corwin Press. 

With structure, we are more productive.

Over time, members of the group moved and took on more challenging positions in the workplace. Determined not to dismantle the group, we arranged to meet in the summer for a week-long retreat.

Eventually, two of our writers were no longer able to attend writers’ group, but Kristin Noelle Wolfgang and I soldiered on even when she left the state for five years. Every summer we rented a quiet place to write for a week and continued to follow the organization we had developed for our retreats—set goals and celebrate our progress, make simple meals, minimize contact with the outside world, honor quiet writing time, and stay in the sanctuary except to take walks. 

Over those years, I too became a published author. I learned to value scheduled, structured, writing time, but most of all I value the support of Kristin and all the other writers who make up my tribe.

Jacquolyn McMurray writes both contemporary and historical romance. She and her husband live on a macadamia nut farm on Hawaiʻi Island where they feed a clowder of cats and a flock of hodgepodge chickens. Jacquolyn is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Greater Seattle Romance Writers, and the American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing, Jacquolyn enjoys time with her family, reading, sewing and solving crossword puzzles. In her past life, she was an elementary school teacher.

Follow her on Facebook or Amazon

Listen to Jacquolyn McMurray's podcast episode here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Episode 116 - Guest Grace Augustine

Grace Augustine – author of the Acorn Hills series, The Secrets of Dalgaard Castle, and So, You Have MS.  Now What?!5b32f

Episode 115 - Guest Scarlett Braden

Scarlett Braden – author of the Providence in Ecuador series, Psst! Your Wisdom’s Showing, and Lyrics of a Transcendental Love.!5b32f