Thursday, April 28, 2016

Artisan Interview with Marsha Jaramillo of Markets of Sunshine on Etsy

Don't you love discovering new artisans and their creative stash of treasures? I do. Their imagination and talents are simply amazing.

Today's artisan is Marsha Jaramillo from Markets of Sunshine on Etsy. At Markets of Sunshine you'll find whimsical story book gifts ranging from weekly planners, key chains, bookmarks, and secret compartment hollow books.

Marsha Jaramillo is a mixed media artist from Florida. She has been selling on Etsy since 2008 and has published one DIY Craft and Recipe book with her
Etsy team called Sharing Delicious Secrets.

Interview with Artisan Marsha Jaramillo

(1) What Inspires you?

Teaching my daughter at home was such a joy. I wanted her to be an avid reader so I bought her several series for girls. One being Nancy Drew by Caroline Keene. That became my inspiration to start my secret compartment books on Etsy.

(2) What’s your favorite piece of work that you've created?
My book lover gift sets

(3) What are you working on at the moment?
Book Journal Necklace

(4) Do you work alone?
My husband and I work together to create our book lover gift sets

(5) Have you had memorable reactions and comments toward your work
I have gained a following of customer's who come back year after year requesting my Little Golden book planner sets and my Eco-Gift Sampler Sets.

(6) How do you market your work?
Hollow book

I promote my business on social media and through good old snail mail and in the community to local business owners. And, through guest posts like this one.

(7) Why do you think people should continue to make things by hand?
If we don't teach the younger generation how to make things with their hands I fear that many of these skills will be lost. It is also very good therapy for the mind and allows you to relax and destress. And, people all around the world want products made in the USA.

You can visit Marsha at the following links:






Wednesday, April 27, 2016

VOLCANOS and SHORTBREAD with author Nicci Carrera

My guest today is Author Nicci Carrera who is sharing her shortbread recipe and a hair-raising volcano experience.

Where to find Nicci on the Web: (blog)
Good morning! Lynda, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog on this special day, release day for my second book. 

Recipes and Writing Prompts

Volcano Reflections
A volcano can change your life if it doesn’t kill you first.

In the early morning, I wandered outside to my private swimming pool. I ran for a dive as I did every day, but today the smooth surface of water reflected red lava spilling down the black flank of the volcano that forms the backdrop for my house in Hilo, Hawaii.

The significance of the reflection hit me as the water sliced around my hands. The icy rush and pressure of the pool joined the blunt force knowledge I was about to be engulfed in fire. Mount Kilauea’s lava flows must have shifted during the night. A stream of fire was heading right toward my house.

I surfaced, gasping for air. The taste and smell of ash hit my senses. I exploded from the shallow-end, water streaming off my body, and stumbled up the pool steps. The metal hand railing was warm to the touch as I pulled myself hand over hand out of the heavy water. I sprinted for the door, and that’s when I saw her.

My neighbor, Michelle, stood behind the sliding glass patio door, staring at me with her mouth hanging open.

Everything after that was a blur. We escaped together, and both my house and her parents’ house, where she was staying at the time, burned...

(See writing prompt at the end of this article)

English Shortbread

Hint: I use a Silpat on top of a flat cookie sheet for all cookies. Silpats are incredible; I highly
recommend getting one: But you do need a nice flat cookie sheet. I use one like this:
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Extra fine sugar for sprinkling on top.

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
3. Sift together flour and baking powder.
4. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, stirring well to blend.
5. Knead dough lightly until it  holds together.
6. Roll dough on floured surface to 14 inch square.
7. Cut into 49 (2 inch) squares or cut with a cookie cutter.
8. Place squares or cookie cutter-shaped dough about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet (or Silpat lined baking sheet).
9. Drizzle a thin coating of extra fine white sugar over the cookies.
10. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks.

Makes 49 squares, or numerous other shapes! I make hearts for Valentine’s Day and shamrocks for Saint Patrick's Day.

Writing Prompt:
Using Nicci's Volcano experience, write about how she and Michelle might have assisted others in the neighborhood to escape with them. In your account include a helicopter, stubborn helicopter pilot, two troublesome neighborhood teenagers, and one overly excited poodle. Oh, and turn this into a humorous scene! Have fun...

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Writers often draw from real life experiences, those exceptional moments that bring a plot twist, setting, conflict, resolution, motivation, or characterization into clear focus in a way we never before envisioned. It's an awe inspiring occasion, to say the least. These instances happen at all points in a writer's life and at the most unexpected moments. In this new series of blogs, we'll get a replay of such moments from the writer's personal perspective. 

So let's meet my first guest, Author Jeannie Hall.
Jeannie Hall is a Romance Suspense/Thriller author, hailing from the Southern United States. She uses her experiences growing up in the Deep South and love of nature as backdrops for her books. Jeannie enjoys writing intense and dark plots which twist in unexpected ways around her characters. She believes the best characters come from difficult and sometimes tragic pasts, building them into stronger women and men. 

Jeannie's Light Bulb Moment

My personal light bulb moment was precipitated by a lifelong friend. My best friend since middle school, Tammy Carter Bronson, writes and illustrates her own children’s books as well as YA novels. Before I was published by the fabulous Wild Rose Press, Tammy and I swapped manuscripts. I was having trouble with mine – well, trouble doesn’t even cover it. I had written five hundred words of a single title contemporary romance, and it was going nowhere with a capital N. To give you an idea of how bad it was, I started my story with my heroine attempting suicide. Not exactly a storyline to entice publishers. LOL!

Tammy was kind and didn’t tell me how horrible it was. Instead, she asked if I’d consider turning it
Tammi and I
into a different genre like mystery or suspense. I could keep all my original characters, but instead of having my heroine despairing to the point of a near suicide, I could have her running from the bad guy who haunted her childhood.

What a fabulous idea!

I could make my heroine wounded by her past but not defeated by it. She would be strong, overcoming even the most harrowing of obstacles. And she’d fall in love along the way. Girl power!

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. While I had to work hard to complete the massive rewrite of the story, that same novel – my debut – ultimately became the dark romantic suspense, Violation of Faith. I’ve heard so many people tell writers that their first novel will never be fit for publication. That they need to throw it under the bed and consider it a great writing experience but nothing more.

I disagree.

If you’re willing to trash, delete or heavily edit the bad parts – or the parts that don’t work – then there is no reason why your first novel can’t become your first published novel.

I’m living proof.

You Can Visit Jeannie Hall at These Links

Amazon Author Page:

Review Page:




Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spotlight of COME LOVE A COWBOY - Anthology

Eight stand-alone Contemporary Western Romance novellas from Award-Winning Authors.

Here's you chance to fall in love with a cowboy that's perfect for you. How about a firefighter, daredevil bronco buster, wealthy rancher, or a too-lovable bad boy?

Come Love A Cowboy has something for everyone. I love anthologies. I like to browse through the list of stories making a reading schedule, as to the order in which I'm going to read them, then leisurely enjoy each and every one. 

Today, I'm going to share a few thoughts on just one of the exceptional stories, Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing. I've read several of Andrea's books in the past and I've never been disappointed. She writes from the heart, not just her own, but straight from the hearts of her characters. I never feel as though she rushes her story or short-changes her readers with cookie-cutter heroes, heroines, and plots.

KC and Chay's story, as it unfolds in Bad Boy, Big Heart, makes me catch my breath on the very first page, as the author introduces me to KC and Chay and to the world where I'll watch them fumble through the complexities of life and love, Wyoming! Here's an excerpt:

 ~ So much land, stretching away toward the mountains. Instead of the squares and spires of a city skyline hiding the streaks of sun and clouds, depriving the city of blue, here was endless blue, the horizon of earth and sky made jagged by the distant peaks as if they held the clouds aloft. An immediate feeling of space gripped her, a boundless world, a sense of freedom... ~

If that doesn't give you goosebumps and make you immediately book a flight to Wyoming, well, just read a little'll get there sooner or later!

And what can make a young woman's heart beat faster than a Bad Boy? It's the proverbial warning. You know the one. It's supposed to stop you, but ends up catapulting you straight into the middle of the fire. Don't take my word for it...see for yourself with this excerpt:

Let me give you one word of advice, Miss City Girl. One word you most likely won’t pay a blind bit of attention to, but I’m gonna give it to you anyway. And it’s this: don’t, repeat don’t, fall in love with Chay Ridgway.

I never summarize the story in my reviews, but I do like to tell you what I like and I liked a lot. I liked the push and pull between KC and Chay, their diverse backgrounds being a natural catalyst to igniting a spark. I liked the secondary characters that fill the big Wyoming background with color, humor, and authenticity. I love the rich dialog that kept me smack in the middle of every scene. I loved the a sunset ablaze with color that warms the heart as it sinks into tomorrow. 

Great Job, Andrea! 
And congratulations to all the authors of 
Come Love A Cowboy.

Luke’s Fate by Kathleen Ball
Meg O’Brien hoped never to lay eyes on the one man who broke her heart. To her dismay, Luke Kelly arrives at her ranch a much different and broken man. Can Meg ever forgive his callous treatment of her and help Luke become the man he used to be?
Grant Me The Moon by Caroline Clemmons
All Tory Fraser intended was to show her high school history club students a local archeology dig. How could she know the excursion would involve a murder?
Three for The Win by Keta Diablo
Hollis should have known better than to fall for a bone-melting man like Stede. He’s gone now and Eli is left to pick up the broken pieces of her life.
Border Affair by Hebby Roman
When his partners’ daughter is kidnapped in México, a self-made millionaire must confront his feelings about their affair and the future of their relationship.
Leaving Necessity by Margo Bond Collins
Mac has one week to convince his ex-girlfriend Clara not to sell his oil company. In this high-pressure reunion, can they strike love again?
The Shape of Destiny by Julie A. D’Arcy
A young male shape shifter. A beautiful female ranch owner. Can love be born in a web of deceit?
Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing
She’s a New Yorker escaping her parents. He’s a Wyoming cowboy supporting his dad. One summer, two young people—three months to find love.
Desert Heat by Patti Sherry-Crews
A single mother struggling to keep her guest ranch puts her own desires on hold. When a handsome and persistent fireman sets his sights on her, she must decide how much she’s willing to give.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ARTISAN OF HANDMADE - Spotlight and Interview - Suzanne Sumrow of PURPOSE4EVERYTHING

My guest Artisan today is Suzanne Sumrow of the Etsy Shop, PURPOSE4EVERYTHING.

I love this shop because it speaks to the little girl in me who still loves the whole fantasy world of dollhouses and the enchanting miniatures that fill them with wonder! And if that's not enough to make you look, take a peak at the Carved Geode Druzy Sterling Silver Pendant, Turquoise Blue Green Organza Ribbon Necklace or the Trimont China Footed Teacup and Saucer Set Vibrant Pink with White Flowers.

But enough of my drooling. Let's meet Suzanne who kindly agreed to do an interview for Between The Pages Artisans of Handmade Feature.

Hello Everyone. 

I'm Suzanne and I'm a nature lover, treasure hunter, vintage glass collector, creative spirit, loving mom of 3 and an avid animal lover. With 4 cats, 2 dogs and an adorable ferret, it is always a fun house! I have always loved creating things-- jewelry, stain glass, mosaics, wood working-- and I have always loved collecting miniatures. Lately I have used my creativity to delve into the world of miniature making...from drapery and furniture to nursery toys, kitchen accessories and home decor items. I have so many ideas for miniature items that I want to make, there is not enough time in the day!

I opened my shop to share my love of vintage items, and have a venue to sell some of my handmade creations.

Lynda: Thank you for introducing yourself, Suzanne. Let's jump right into the interview questions. 

What is the name of your shop and do you have a story behind that name?

The name of my shop is Purpose4Everything.

It is my belief that everything in our lives has a purpose.... whether it be people, places or things. Someone created something to bring pleasure or usefulness. For my vintage items, I just want to help them to find their purpose again! And for my own creations, to bring a bit of joy to someone, and spread the intention of love and peace.

How long have you been selling online?

I actually opened my Etsy shop to customers in September of 2012, altho I created the shop in May, and spent 4 months finding items, creating items, taking photos, researching and actually listing my items... trying to have a full shop right from the start!

Where can we find your products?

I only sell on Etsy, but I have a pinterest board devoted to my miniatures. My vintage finds are also only in my Etsy shop, and they range from vintage jewelry, to kitchen items, to collectibles, to home decor, to tools... it all depends on what I come across in my treasure hunt travels! I make jewelry and stain glass as well, but miniatures have been my passion lately.

Do you have a blog or website where you showcase your work?

Well, I started one for my miniatures... but then I was in a car accident that disrupted everything. I shattered my right wrist and dislocated my right hand (my dominant hand), so I was unable to do much of anything for a long time. I still have problems, and it takes me longer to create things, but I am not going to let it put an end to my creativeness.

So needless to say, I am very behind on updating my website. I have had to deal with a lot of emotions over the loss of my 'perfect' hand, and am learning to accept my imperfectness know, my new normal. Being a bit of a perfectionist, makes it just a little bit harder, lol! But I hope to start it back up soon. 
Do you have any tips that might help another shop owner to better present their products?

My biggest tip would be to take good photographs! A picture says a thousand words, and you want them to all be good words, lol! I sometimes take over 30 photos just to get 5 good ones.... I am not the best photographer, but I keep trying! And I do alot of editing on one of the free photo editing websites (PicMonkey is what I use). But that all takes time, which is why I am not able to list as much as some shops do. Almost all of my items are one of a kind, so that requires a new listing for every product, very time consuming.

Do you work part-time or full-time in your business?

Well, I work full time on my business, now, as I was laid off about a year ago. But I also have 3 kids and a household to run, so it seems like I am always working on my shop with any spare time I have! I am the one who creates or finds all of my items, researches and photographs them, packages and ships them, does all the book keeping and all the promoting! It is definitely not as easy having my own shop as I thought it would be when I first started this. I spend a lot of my time trying to promote myself, on my Google+ page, Facebook, Pinterest and by being on Etsy teams.

What is the best/worst, or most amusing interaction you've experienced with a buyer?

The best experience is making custom orders for people! I get to know them, I get to create a one of a kind item for them, and I end up with a great friend!

I would have to say the worst was when I had a customer from Germany purchase one of my vintage items. Not sure what happened, but she refused the package, after opening it, and had it sent back, stating customs denied it... then wanted a full refund. It had cost $35 just to ship this item... Thank goodness PayPal was there to help me thru it, and they actually took care of it. But it was 3 months before I actually got my item returned. Needless to say, I do not ship International unless the customer is willing to pay for International tracking... lesson learned!

Do you accept custom orders?

I actually prefer custom orders! It is impossible to design miniatures that will fit everyones' dollhouse decorating needs... so custom is actually easier! The customer gives me an idea of what they need, and I figure out a way to make that idea into a miniature item. Some of my miniatures take days, or even a couple weeks, to finish. From finding the right items needed to create a piece, to actually making it into that piece. I ask my customers for input along the way, to make sure I am designing something that looks like what they have already created in their mind... so I ask alot of questions! I will try to create almost anything in miniature that a customer asks for, I love a good challenge!

Can you remember what your first sell felt like? How did you celebrate?

My very first sale was of a vintage pottery piece that I picked up, and it sold within the first week of my shop being opened... needless to say I was thrilled, and I was hooked! It made me feel that opening my shop was the right decision for me, because it took me quite awhile to take that plunge and actually open my shop. I have been happy with it since, I have grown alot from it, and I have found many a good person who have become good friends from this!

How valuable is patience for a new seller?

Patience is so important! As is perseverance! You have to work on something relating to your shop nearly every day, if you want it to work. It takes time to get found... it takes good pictures, good search words, promoting your shop or items every day, having the things that people are looking for... I am always working on that! I keep unique and interesting vintage items in my shop just to help me get found for my handmade items.... Learning from other sellers is always important, especially if you are just starting out. After 4 years, I am still trying to learn new things to help my shop make sales. There is a lot of competition out there, so great customer service is one of the most important things you can offer to a customer, too.

Friday, April 1, 2016

CAN YOU SPOT THE LIE? Pit your skills with Andrea Downing...

Scroll down to the bottom and see if you guessed correctly.

Mr. Einstein may have been correct, but... Fiction Writers develop their skills until they can tell one lie after another with hardly a comma between, weaving together fabrication upon fabrication until a thrilling new story emerges.

Pit your lie-busting skills against my guest bloggers for this new series, Spot-The-Lie Mondays.

The initial post will appear on Mondays and somewhere within this short narrative is a total falsehood, fib, deception. Can you find it? If you think you can, leave a comment as to what you think it is. 

Be sure to return on Friday when today's guest author, Andrea Downing, will reveal her lie and provide a unique writing prompt that incorporates the pesky little critter.

Andrea, the page is all yours!

Good Morning Everyone. Are you ready to SPOT THE LIE?

I do love writing in my New York apartment. The room serves as both an office/study and my guest room, but its soothing colors and view of Central Park offer the quiet I need to get on with my work. It has a huge oak desk and great closet space, which hides my printer away. There is a comfortable armchair and a convertible sofa bed for guests. Either side of the sofa are bookcases. One has an Encyclopedia with a shelf of travel guides, followed by my grammar book collection for editing and photos of my daughter. The other bookcase has Groves Encyclopedia of Music, followed by my poetry collection and assorted historical books on the west. There are also beaded horses of Native American origin and an antique Guatemalan doll. Photos of my daughter as a baby top the bookcases, as do trolls. The walls have part of my art collection: watercolors by a French artist, macro paintings of perfume bottles and another painting of a girl watching out the window for her lover (one presumes). There is a television on the wall above my desk as well as a flying pig hanging from the ceiling—if you pull the string of the pig, its wings flap. Obviously, my MAC is on the desk along with a telephone and modem and router. Between the windows is an antique wooden stagecoach trunk. There’s a standard lamp in the corner, a desk lamp, a set of rolling drawers under the desk where I have lunch on occasion, and a sisal rug on the floor completes the picture.


My lie…is the Flying Pig. I do actually own a flying pig ‘puppet’ that used to hang from the ceiling in my study in London but, alas and alack, I never hung it here in New York, as the room is so much smaller.

WRITING PROMPT: On a night you wouldn’t want your dog to be out in, amidst the crackles of thunder and white flashes of lightening, the doorbell rings. A friend you haven’t seen in six years is standing there, bedraggled and dripping—a sad sight. Naturally, you invite her in, but, to your amazement, she asks to stay the night. You show her into your guestroom somewhat reluctantly since it’s also your office, but as she enters, tired and weak, she bumps her head on your flying pig. As you go to stop the pig from swinging around, there, before you, is a piece of jewelry you lost some time ago….

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

UGLI AND UMBRELLAS with Author Catherine E. McLean

My Guest today is Author Catherine E. McLean. 

Catherine has tackled a very little known fruit to most of us, in fact, I didn't know it existed until I was trying to find a food that started with the letter U. But Catherine has mastered the selection and given us a great salad recipe. She's also enlightened us with some fun facts about umbrellas while finding a way to challenge our writing muses with her prompt.  

Now, I'm turning this page over to Catherine...

Ugli and Umbrellas
By Catherine E. McLean

Katrine Thielke Photo Credit
The ugli is a grapefruit-sized enigma ranging from 4" to 6" wide with a mottled green to yellow skin that's thicker than an orange but peels very easily. Technically an ugli is a tangelo (a hybrid of a grapefruit and a tangerine). Flavor-wise it's sweet and juicy like the tangerine but with a subtle tang.

This light-orange fleshed fruit does not need any sugar added and it easily substitutes for citrus fruits in recipes. It can even be made into marmalade.

Of course, I like it as a fresh fruit, and I also like to put it on a salad. My favorite use for ugli is for my:

By Catherine E. McLean *

Often there's a bit of this and a bit of that left in the veggie keeper in the way of salad greens and salad fixings. So, now is the time to use them up. In an individual bowl for yourself, or use a large bowl if you're making it for the family. Add and toss together any or all of those leftovers:

salad greens (as many different shades of green as you have from iceberg lettuce to baby spinach)

radish (sliced)

tomato (either diced, wedges, or cherry)

carrot (shredded)

celery (sliced or chunked)

cucumber (sliced thinly)

onion (slice or chopped)

...and any other "left over" veggie, sprouts, shredded red cabbage, etc. that can be put in a salad

ugli segments (as many as desired (the large segments can also be cut in half)

Top with a vinaigrette dressing (I like the sweet and sour varieties).

Optional is to add a handful of pecans, walnuts, or other nuts or seeds, even bread cubes.

If the day is warm and sunny, enjoy your salad outdoors, on your deck or patio, sitting beneath an umbrella doing the following—

WRITING PROMPT - The next most marvelous umbrella

The first umbrellas were palm leaves and some three thousand years ago the Egyptians had parasols. In the 9th century, the Chinese invented the oiled-paper, waterproofed umbrella. Trade brought umbrellas to the Roman empire, but with its fall, a 1000 years would go by before the umbrella reappeared (during the Renaissance). The umbrella was a women's necessity and fashion statement, but an Englishman changed that in the 18th century (who hasn't seen an Englishman sporting a classic black umbrella?). As the world modernized, improvements to the umbrella accelerated. The umbrella became compact, even pocket-sized, that practically explode on hitting the opening trigger. Now it's the 21st century, the era of electronics and computerization. Your writing challenge is to think outside the box and invent a marvelous, technological improvement to the common umbrella.

About Catherine E. McLean:
Website for readers:
Website for writers:
Pinterest:(see my Umbrellas and Parasol board)