How to Keep Your Characters from Getting Bored

July is National Anti-Boredom month. I recently asked author Carole Ann Moleti what her characters do to fight boredom.

Liz and Mike Keeny are far from bored during the summer months. The Historic Barrett Inn is full of guests. Liz and her beloved housekeeper Mae are busy attending to them-as well as to little Eddie. Mike is fisherman, so he takes full advantage of the warmer days to nab some striped bass and flounder for the local restaurants.

On top of that, the ghosts haunting the Inn are always more riled up in the summer months and the painful anniversaries of their traumatic last years have the specters buzzing and their hosts struggling to contain them. And this year, they have Category 5 Hurricane Edward on the way. Is it just coincidence he’s named after sea captain Edward Barrett? Mike and Liz don’t think so. When the evacuation order comes, do they stay or do they go?

Breakwater Beach: Book One in the Unfinished Business Series


Available in e-book, print coming Fall 2016


Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?


Mike tipped his hand in salute and went out to his truck. “Morning,” he said to Mae who was getting out of her van.

“Good morning’ to ya, too,” she replied, looking at him askance. “Come along, lassies, still plenty to do.”

Mae looked at Liz standing in the doorway wearing Mike’s sweatshirt. Her eyes traveled from Liz’s hair, still damp and caked with mud and sand, all the way down to her bare feet.

“Ehh . . . a change in plans, girls. We’ll start downstairs today. First, polish the woodwork and then clean all the fixtures. Then upstairs, after the missus has time to get dressed.”

Mae herded them out of the foyer then followed Liz upstairs, smiling like she was about to solve the crime of the century. “From the looks of ya, that was one wild night on the beach. Now ya best be hoppin’ into the tub after passin’ me the nightie. I’ll soak it and get that mud out before it’s ruined. I’ll freshen the big guy’s sweatshirt, too.”

“It was nothing like that, Mae.” Liz couldn’t bear the thought of having to explain this to another person she knew from another life.

“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not passin’ any judgment. To be honest, I’m relieved. Ya took my advice. There’s nothin’ wrong with livin’, Liz.”

Also available in ebook and print:

The Widow’s Walk: Book Two in the Unfinished Business Series

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Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?

Coming in 2017: Storm Watch 




Mike and Liz thought they’d gotten control of the specters haunting the Barrett Inn. But things get very complicated when they’re the ghosts from your past life. The Category Five Hurricane bearing down on Cape Cod appears to be headed directly for them–or has it been spawned from inside them?


Either it was age or too much on his mind, but forgetting your morning routine was like getting lost in your own back yard. Mike was in the parking lot before he realized he’d forgotten to stop for tea. There was some water and soda aboard the Whaler-warm of course-some stale snacks too. The sun peeked through a bank of puffy white clouds, giving the hint of a beautiful day to come. But to the west, a dark expanse rolled over itself like a giant octopus, its tentacles undulating, slapping the shit out of the cottony sky. “Damn ghosts.”


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Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Books One and Two in the Unfinished Business series, Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal romance novels, Breakwater Beach and The Widow’s Walk, were published by Soulmate. Book Three, Storm Watch, is expected in 2017.

Urban fantasies set in the world of Carole’s novels have been featured in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires. Her award winning non-fiction, which ranges from the sweet and sentimental to edgy and irreverent has been published in a variety of literary venues.


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Snarky Sunday: Christine Hart

To non-moms, I’m that annoying person posting too many kid pics on Facebook. Does everyone care that my kids are at the park, again. Of course not.

To other moms (of littles) I’m one of those people who unabashedly cherry-picks each photo session for the moments where one or both children are happy and clean – preferably doing something I find clever or cute.

Does my four-year-old throw a fit ending in tears and stomping at the drop of a hat? Oh, he’s the master. And that kid on the playground everyone’s frowning at for being too rough? Also my son.

Does my one-year-old spend her time trying to circumvent my will so she can eat soap and climb bookcases? Yeah, her breath smells like shampoo and my shelves have been gutted unless they’re higher than three feet.

So next time you see a smiling cherub on my Facebook or Instagram feed, think of it this way … sure, I’m needlessly sharing gratuitous adorableness with my friends and family. But I’m also investing in my mental health. So that next time I have to fish poop out of bath water or scrub spaghetti off the ceiling, I have public reminders of what they’re like at their best.

Christine’s new release, In Irina’s Cards, is available at Amazon.

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Christine Hart writes from her suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. She loves writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.

In addition to her undergraduate degree in writing and literature, her background also includes corporate communications and design. She is a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.

When not writing, she has a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of her Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. She shares her eclectic home and lifestyle with her husband, baby daughter and preschool son.

Follow Christine on Facebook.


Follow Christine on Facebook.


Six Degrees of F. Scott Fitzgerald

The local newspaper recently ran an article about an old apartment building that is scheduled to be demolished. Apparently F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in the building when he was a child–around the turn of the last century.

He’s not the only author to darken those halls.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at photos of building the article referred to as 501 Catherine Street and discovered it was the same building in while I lived when I first went out on my own: 735 East Willow Street.

Let me give you a tour.

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I lived on the third floor, in apartment 9. In the above photo, the two windows on the third floor of the brown brick section were my bedroom.

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In this photo, two of the three windows on the front of the building (the painted-red section) were my living room.

(The third window belonged to a vacant, burned-out apartment my roomies and I once tried to explore.)

There were many wonderful things about this apartment:

The ancient Norge gas stove that worked like a charm (oh, how I wish I still had that stove!)


The cat loved sitting on the counter. And yes, that is a Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” poster hanging behind the stove. It’s possible F. Scott’s mom cooked his meals on that stove.

The wide pine-plank floors that gleamed like honey when the sun poured through the windows.



The rooftop access–we essentially had a private third floor terrace.


We would leash the cat out there so she could get fresh air. We could also keep an eye on our cars. (Mine was the dark blue Firebird next to the yellow VW Beetle.)

Other photos:


Yes, that’s the Tolkein Mural hanging on the sloped ceiling over the sofa. And yes, I sat on that sofa with my mom’s portable typewriter and pounded out dreadful attempts at novels.


I’m not sure it’s visible in this photo, but even when I lived in the building, it was falling apart. The landlord had someone come in and bolt the facade of the building to the wood floor with steel bands. We tried to cover the bands with a black and white area rug.


Import stores were my favorite place to shop.


My great-grandmother’s blue willow dishes dressing up the table for a dinner party.  And yes, I still have that round blue Panasonic transistor radio (hanging over the calendar).


On the right side of this photo, you can see my grandmother’s Aunt Jemima cookie jar.

Two photos I don’t seem to have are of the stairs going up to the roof and the Milton Glaser Bob Dylan poster hanging on the bedroom door.

I sometimes dream I’m living in that apartment again.

It’s a shame something wasn’t done to save the building a long, long time ago.


Purse Project with D.R. Grady

Thank you MJ for helping me unearth…uh…discover the treasures in my purse!

Here’s my current purse. I got this on sale for the season – a creamy white St. John’s Bay crossbody bag. I have two requirements for a purse. It must be a crossbody, and it must have tons of pockets! This one fits my requirements. I do change my purse out for fall/winter and spring/summer.


What’s inside:

The two outside pockets contain my keys and my phone.


Inside  the main compartment you’ll find a few other essentials. Regular sunglasses for when I wear my contacts and prescription sunglasses for when I’m wearing my glasses. Lip balm, phone and glasses cleaner, and eyedrops. Oh, and my wallet. I bought this one a few years ago and still really like it. The back slot of this wallet is perfect for carrying my author business cards and I do hand them out!


Next up is a hodge podge of other “essentials.” I’m usually thankful for these when I need them. As a writer, I would be horrified to not have pen and paper, and the stylus comes in handy sometimes. Hand cream is a year round must. A Leathermen because you need scissors sometimes, cuticle stick, stain and hand cleanser, a nail file, and Advil.

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The second picture shows the pile of coupons that are usually in my purse. They’re there to taunt me when I leave the store, purchased the item, and forgot to use the coupon…(eye roll)

I’ve only ever used the umbrella once. I still it carry it everywhere…. The Five Crowns cards are a favorite that I also forget about unless a family member reminds me. I like to keep at least one snack in my purse. It helps quell chocolate withdrawal crankiness. (big smile)

The stevia drops are a must because I’m addicted to coffee and iced tea. They live in the back pocket with some tissues and cough drops.


That’s everything! I try to keep what’s in there fairly light. I add a bottle of water if I’m going to be away for a while.

The Dragon Chronicles Book 3: Healing

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 Ewain Douglass and Marissa Mays are dedicated healers who work together, and live together, in tight confines. Too bad they set sparks off each other. They might struggle to remain professional to each other, but they’re working on it. Then the enemy sets his sight on the unmated, and targets Marissa with a vengeance.

Meanwhile, Lindy and Alex, the dragon and her controller, are still seeking to learn all they can about their abilities and their future. They tremble once they learn the identity of an enemy no one wants to face. One only the dragon has a chance to defeat.

The dragon has called her allies together and many have come. Paranym soon becomes crowded with the family members of family members. A war for their very lives looms.

Ewain and Marissa don’t have time to declare it on each other.

Available at Amazon.

D.R. Grady photo

D.R. Grady lives with her husband near Hershey, PA. She adores chocolate, laughing, collecting bags, books, and shoes, and writing stories that resonate with others.


Twitter: @drgradybooks

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National Smile Power Day with Author Ryan Jo Summers

Today is National Smile Day. The significance of that got me to thinking.

A smile can be one of the most quickly observed feature on a person, alongside eyes and hair (according to studies and polls). Personally, I’ve always been self-conscious of my smile. All my school pictures show more of a forced grimace as the photographer tried in vain to get me to flash my pearlys. There are few photos in existence that show me truly grinning. Blame it on years of coffee and tea or blame it on my malformed choppers, it’s just not something people will notice about me immediately. Well, perhaps the lack of a big, beaming smile.

That being said, how does it transcend to my characters? Writing romance, there has to be a quick, initial attraction and eyes and hair only go so far. I tend to believe the heroines will notice a smile—or lack of a smile—before they can tell what the hero ate for breakfast or shampoo he showered with.

With few exceptions, my heroines are strong, independent women. They are successful business owners and career gals. They don’t need no stinkin’ man! They might, however, want one if he has a pleasant, heart-racing smile. My heroes are normal guys. They tend to come from blue collar occupations, are devoted to family and their lady love, and oftentimes are lower than the heroine in the pay scale. So what does he have to offer her?

Well, himself of course! Some of my ladies find themselves stuck in some precarious situations and the hero comes riding to the rescue, armed with a disarming smile to quickly earn her trust. Some ladies are content in their station in live and when ‘this guy’ shows up to interrupt her status quo, his charming and polite smile can melt her defenses.

Of course, there are also the other kind of smiles, you know the kind: sardonic, strained, mocking and others. I am guilty of using those in both real life and print, because I tend to be sarcastic and stressed a fair bit of the time. (No, really, it’s true) And I enjoy using a less-than-adoring smile between characters (not necessarily the main h/ h) to create some cool tension.

Used properly, a smile can irritate, upset, cause dread, warm the heart, establish trust, and cement bonds or a host of other emotions. Smiles are a catalyst to create an emotion—positive or negative. Think about that next time you meet someone and flash ‘em a grin.


Tossed together by happenstance, fleeing for their lives and falling in love under the Caribbean sun as paradise turns deadly.

Upon The Tide Final

New York Fashion designer, Piper Kincaid, just wanted a pleasant visit with her cousin down in Florida. That was before she and handsome beach bum, Kade Wyatt, become the targets of a
gang of robbers and killers.
     Kade simply wanted some fish for his pet seagull. Now he and the lovely exec from out of town are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. He’s busy concentrating on Piper when he should be focusing on keeping them alive. 
     Fleeing for their lives aboard Kade’s houseboat, ‘The Hightide’, they experience risk, surprises, mystery and romance during the Great Caribbean Boat Chase. However, the biggest surprises are waiting for them back at port.
Upon the Tide now available at Amazon.
ryan summers
Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.


Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants (50 ish and growing), poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.
More about Ryan Jo can be discovered at: