Friday, February 05, 2016

Celebrating Our Authors #MakingMagic #Books #FridayFeatures #BelieveTheHype @SouthernMagicRW

Welcome to the first Features Friday where we celebrate the releases of Southern Magic authors. Please share with anyone who loves books.

The first flirt of the week is by author Meda White.

Home with my Heart

Contemporary Romance

Heat Level:
Two flames--Sweet with some love scenes, more sensual and euphemistic

The year is 1984. The hair is big and the stakes are bigger. Dixie Johnson has three daughters, two jobs, and one bookie who won’t let her rest until her deceased husband’s debts are paid. Widower Dan Baker has a vision for expanding his business, but with three sons, too little time, and a one-night-stand with the woman he intends to hire, it may never happen. Dan quickly realizes Dixie is essential to more than his bottom line and life takes them on a journey that can only lead to one place. Home. This contemporary romance contains Southern Gothic elements. Home With My Heart is the prequel to Play With My Heart and tells the love story that made the Southland series possible.

Meda's books can be found here.

Release Date:
February 10, 2016


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The second flirt of the week is by author Susannah Sandlin.

Wild Man's Curse

Romantic Suspense

Heat Level:
Two flames--Sweet with love scenes, more sensual and euphemistic

The bones said death was comin’, and the bones never lied. While on an early morning patrol in the swamps of Whiskey Bayou, Louisiana wildlife agent Gentry Broussard spots a man leaving the home of voodoo priestess Eva Savoie—a man who bears a startling resemblance to his brother, whom Gentry thought he had killed during a drug raid three years earlier. Shaken, the agent enters Eva’s cabin and makes a bloody discovery: the old woman has been brutally murdered. With no jurisdiction over the case, he’s forced to leave the investigation to the local sheriff, until Eva’s beautiful heir, Celestine, receives a series of gruesome threats. As Gentry’s involvement deepens and more victims turn up, can he untangle the secrets behind Eva’s murder and protect Celestine from the same fate? Or will an old family curse finally have its way?

Susannah's books can be found here.

Release Date:
April 5, 2016


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Monday, February 01, 2016

The do's and don'ts of "I do!"

Just as style guides differ in the correct way to write the plural of "do" and "don't," wedding guests are divided into people who DO enjoy a little humor during the ceremony and those who DON'T. And are perhaps further divided when that humor is intentional versus accidental. There's a broad range of what people find funny at weddings and receptions.

I love the candid moments that make a wedding day unique and memorable. I admit to preferring the unplanned and harmless humorous moments the best. I don't want anyone's day ruined. In fact, I can hardly stand watching the wedding scenes of America's Funniest Home Videos. Give the girl $10K or stop traumatizing her already!

A flower girl running down the aisle, merrily pulling every artfully placed floral arrangement off each church pew as she rushes to the front. Um, no, I don't find that one so funny.

But, I LOVE the little girls who clearly didn't realize what being a flower girl meant (how could they?) and have now decidedly changed their minds. Right. Now. Andwanttositwithgrandma.

Very sweet. You can always count on the unpredictability of children.

Pets can bring some funny moments to the big day. Your lap is your lap. They don't care it's covered in imported silk. They may learn silk tastes DELICIOUS. And hey! Now they've got your attention. Win-win, right?

Let's not even start with horses and grand entrances.

There have been cake incidents. Sometimes with the cake itself - maybe it's a late arrival or a leaning tower or a switcharoo groom's cake that the bride didn't pre-approve (LOVE those).

Or maybe it's the moment the bride and groom dole out a petite bite for each other. "What? We weren't supposed to smash it into each other's faces? Oops! Hope your makeup and hair are look better natural anyway. What? Not the right thing to say?"

Punch. Spiking. Don't.

Groomsmen are known for their IMpractical jokes. Really gentlemen, the bride has enough to worry about. Tone it down a bit.

Lighting candles and assembling crosses. Yes, someone came up with the idea to ASSEMBLE A CROSS during the wedding. I've seen it a few times and I love the thought of that cross gracing the couple's wall or mantle. But, I'm not good at assembling things! Much less when stressed!

Outdoor weddings. Weather in general. Traveling. Football season.

How I hold my breath and look around when they ask if anyone objects. It's the writer in me. I can't help it. I always think someone is about to raise their hand or jump up to denounce the union.

And wedding pictures have evolved into personalized vignettes...a T Rex chasing the wedding party (LOVE!) to bridesmaids showing buttocks (appreciate the irreverence, but I'm undecided on it).

The dance floor is a memory waiting to happen. Hopefully a memory which doesn't involve a visit to the emergency room.

The toasts. Enough said.

Things the bride and groom forget to say or do. Things they say or do but shouldn't. Things happening between the groomsmen and the bridesmaids. Parents. Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties.

My own engagement lasted 2 days, which could be considered funny in itself. Especially if you saw me try to find a ring and a dress....

My dear husband proposed on a Monday and on Wednesday we married. He took me quite seriously when I said, "I wish we could just get married on this cruise and not have to do the whole wedding thing." We married on a beach and it was just us and a clergyman in a private moment of devotion. I got what I wanted, just as any bride should on her big day. I just happened to want a not-so-big day.

Of course, despite the casual nature of our wedding, we still had a few mildly humorous the fact that our taxi driver was also our witness and photographer. And a good sport!

Do any funny moments come to mind from weddings you've attended? How about your own? Say goodbye to any remnant of St. Nick in favor of St. Valentine by sharing a good wedding story laugh!

Friday, January 29, 2016

What's in a name? No, seriously. There's a right answer. @SouthernMagicRW

Shakespeare may have had it poetically correct, but he might also have been fundamentally wrong. A rose would still smell like a rose if it was called a rocket. But then it might explode in your face.

Names hold great power. We see it in our daily lives and in the books we read, but some of my favorite examples are in the Bible. Jabez, the guy in First Chronicles who's famous for his prayer, was named so because he gave his mother great pain in childbirth. His name literally means pain. Ouch!

God even changed people's names to go with their purpose. Many years after he swindled his brother Esau (hairy) out of his birthright, Jacob (the supplanter) had his name changed to Israel (God prevails) as a token of blessing. Abram (high father) was changed to Abraham (father of a multitude). Naomi (pleasant) wanted to be called Mara (bitter) after she lost her family. Jesus told Simon (he has heard God) that he'd be called Peter (the rock). And y'all thought this guy was the first one.

I'm a little preoccupied with names. I'm sure it's due to my own unique name and frequently being asked its meaning. I explain it on my website in case you've never had the pleasure. Click here for more.

I think names can give people (and the characters we write) strengths, weaknesses, and destiny.

When I first joined Southern Magic, it was shortly before the reader's luncheon where Sherrilyn Kenyon was the key note speaker. Some awesome author mentioned that Sherrilyn had a book on character names, so I hopped on the 'Zon and ordered myself a copy. Here are my affiliate links if you want to check it out. First one is Kindle, second is paperback.

This book has been extremely valuable to me in naming characters, particularly those whose ethnic roots influence their behavior. I have a yet to be published novel in the rough draft stages where the heroine is from a strong Italian family. I named the entire family from this resource. LOL

In the Character Naming Sourcebook, the chapters are divided into about forty-five countries of origin, so if you're writing characters with Irish heritage, you can look up surnames and given names (male and female) and their meanings. Pretty cool, huh?

My name is even in this book in the Native American section.

If you're looking to name a your villain, instead of naming them after someone you dislike, you can check the book or this fun website I found by doing a Google search. Or you can look up the name of the person you're least fond of and see what their name means.

See how much fun this is? I could waste a lot of time looking up name meanings, but the whole point is that names have power.

Even yours.

Google it and post the meaning in the comments.

We can all benefit from the knowledge of what's in a name.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Confession of a Pantser

I am a total pantser and have many times started a story with only the name of one of the characters and a sentence. It's always a miracle that I can get more words as I go along. :)  I spend a lot of my time in the car traveling for work and when I hear a song on the radio that speaks to me for some reason, I make a note of it and when I have about 15, I make a playlist. Once that is done, I immerse myself in those songs and most of the time, a nucleus of a story comes to me.

For example, I heard Please Mister Please by Olivia Newton John for the first time in years right before November. Suddenly, I had a character named Olivia who owned a bar called Ollie's. And since I am not a country music fan, I had her own this bar in Texas and hate the music. AND so, I was off on my #NaNoWriMo story that ended up being 65,000 words. :)

Now comes the confession. I offered to help a friend brainstorm a new book even though I am in the middle of my own with some issues and even though it's the time of year I have to do annual reports for 2015 for the day job.  But, I figured I had plenty of time to help before the book is due and agreed with her to setting some time to do it in February.

I went to bed last night in the midst of a crazy storm. The lightning must have triggered something in the old synapses because I woke up with an awesome first scene in my head. I also had backstory on both main characters and their goals and motivations. Even some internal and external conflict.

Writing all this down took 5 pages in my notebook. I had a plot and a plan. For someone else. What was going on?  AND would she hate it? LOL.  So, I confess. I CAN plot. Shhh,don't tell. It'll be our secret.

** oh and here's a creepy thing. I am listening to as I wrote this and guess what song came on???**

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


 Miss Frankie, the librarian on the Lee County Bookmobile, opened up the world of books for me. When I was six, I thought she must be at least a hundred years old. Though she smelled ancient, a combination of baby powder, breath mints and the glue used in book bindings, she had the lively mind of an avid reader.  And she knew how to put exactly the right books into the hands of a six-year-old Mississippi farm girl in love with words.
My house was one of the “stops” for the bookmobile. I was always on the front porch waiting for Miss Frankie. She’d help me fill a cardboard box with books then tell me to share them with the kids in the neighborhood. I did, but only after I’d read them first. I learned to read very fast so I’d have at least four books finished before Mama notified the neighbors that our monthly stash of books had arrived.
By the time I was in fifth grade, I was not only reading voraciously, but I had also learned how to project myself into the story and become the characters. Mrs. Cynthia Pickens, or “Miss” Pickens as we called her,  believed in stretching little minds with great literature. She introduced us to Mark Twain by reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to us at story time. 
In country schools, it was not uncommon for students to advance through the grades without learning more than the basics of reading. A little kid who could not only read well but make the characters come alive was rare. So “Miss’ Pickens often called on me to read at story time. It was my first taste of standing before an audience presenting the work of an author, and I was hooked!
After a meandering journey that took me through two children, more dogs than I can remember, graduate school and the literature of great Southern writers – Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Conner, Walker Percy – I made the transition from reader to published writer.
           Eudora Welty (Why I Live at the P. O.) and Mark Twain helped me find my comedic voice.  It took nearly twenty years and several genres before I realized  my true voice is that of a basset hound who thinks he’s Elvis reincarnated. 
          It’s not easy being a dog. For one thing, I prefer the entire steak to just the bone. But as Elvis says, “Give me a good Cuban cigar and a shot of bourbon in my dog chow, and even I can write a book.”
             Do check out the latest book in the Southern Cousins Mystery Series, Elvis and the Rock-A-Hula Baby Capers!

Peggy Webb is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than 75 books, including romance and the comedic Southern Cousins Mystery Series. She also writes literary fiction as Elaine Hussey.  Peggy’s two dogs send an urgent message to race out and buy her books so their human mom can keep them in faux fur pillows and Pup-Peroni.  Do visit her at her websites, and as well as on FB and Twitter. Watch for her great giveaways for Valentine’s Day!