Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apple Picking

Yesterday we did one of our favorite fall activities: Apple Picking!

It was a beautiful day and we got lots of apples and a couple of pumpkins, too!

Now I can't wait for apple sauce, apple cider, apple pie, pumpkins seeds, and pumpkin pie! Yum!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sydney Opera House by Margot Justes

A large cosmopolitan city, there is a great deal to see and do in Sydney. Depends on how many days you have to visit, and what interests you.

The iconic Opera House is a must; designed by Danish architect  Jorn Utzon, built between 1959 and 1973. It is by far the most fantastic building I have ever seen.

I’ve seen it morning, noon and evening, and the color of the tiles seems to change at will.
“The sun did not know how beautiful its light was until it was reflected off this building.” A quote by architect Louis Kahn, perfectly described the magnificent changes that occur depending on time of day.

There are some 1,056,006 tiles on the roof, and it was supposed to cost 7 million to built, but as usual, the cost wound up to be considerably higher, to the tune of 102 million.  The funds were collected through the Sydney Opera House lottery.

There are 5 theatres, and there are more than 2,500 performances or events a year. The building is well utilized. I was there on a Wednesday, and house was packed by tourists and locals alike.

I was lucky enough to see Tosca at the Opera House, in the Joan Sutherland Theatre. I had mixed feelings about the production, since it was set during World War II in Italy. The contemporary setting was to attract the younger generation to operatic music. I’m a traditionalist, and my feeling is don’t mess with success. I much prefer the original version, but the tenor Yonghoon Lee was magnificent, and it was still Puccini’s music.

There is a wonderful restaurant in the Opera House, Guillaume at Bennelong, where you dine, rather than just eat. It is due to close New Year’s Eve. Instead of the fine dining, the establishment wants to open a bistro.  There are many bistros all along the harbor, one more would probably get lost in the mix, except for the fact that it is in the Opera House, and they will be able to charge a premium just for the view; back to that old adage, it’s all about the location.

The building is magnificent, and worth a visit just to see it, but there is much more to Sydney.

More next week.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
coming soon Blood Art

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is Entering A Contest Beneficial for You? by DL Larson

I have two contest entries judged and have three more to go. Two were historicals and well done; the others are sci-fi and I'm looking forward to seeing how each develops. Judging a manuscript is inspiring, tricky and can be awkward for the judge in finding the right inspirational words to motivate the writer rather than discourage her/him if the manuscript is not ready to be seen by the public. Sometimes the manuscript is not as polished as it should be.

Most writers have a sense of when their story is at its best. They have shared their work with others at critique groups, or with family and friends. They have listened to others on plot, pace and characterization. They have implemented new ideas as best as they can. Some have hired an editor to fine-tune their work. After all that, many writers are anxious for a more professional feedback on their work.

So they search for a writing contest.

Many believe a writing contest will validate their work as a writer. I understand this concept, I have entered many contests, won a few awards and indeed felt I had been given a stamp of approval by my peers.

So is entering a contest beneficial for a writer?

Here's a simple check list to consider:

1. Entering a contest costs money, ususally $25-50 per entry. Will the feedback be worth the price?
2. What is the prize for winning? Is it a chance to have your work put before an editor or publisher? Or wide-spread recognition? What mileage can you get for winning?
3. Who is judging? Will there be professionals over-seeing this contest? Or is it simply a money-maker for a writers club?
4. Who won last year? Do your homework and make sure you are entering a bonafide contest.
5. Are you willing to listen and believe what the judge may comment about your work? Not just what is good, but what needs work or improving?

If you can say yes to the above questions, then a contest would be a beneficial move for you as a writer.

Number 4 is very important. Many years ago I entered one of my historicals into a contest. I won $250. I was ecstatic! Yet no money came to me. I waited, and waited. And I waited some more. After nine months, I wrote in this very blog group that I had yet to receive my money. That prompted some action since I had mentioned their name and business. I finally received my prize. I hated taking such tactics, but I had not set up the contest prizes, they had. They took my money easy enough, it was up to them to make good on their contest.

Entering a contest is exciting. You are showing the world your baby! I commend you for taking such a huge step, for it takes courage to enter a contest. If you do not win, do not be discouraged. Keep writing, keep reaching for your dream.

I tell myself that every day ~ keep writing, keep reaching for my dream!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

visit me at

or at

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall into Autumn

My favorite season has arrived!

I absolutely love fall. To celebrate it's arrival, this weekend we did a clean-up of the yard. We cut down the perennials, emptied the annual containers, moved the seasonal plants indoors, and put away the garden decs. The autumn garland went up around the front door, the goose is now sporting her fall outfit, and the tables are wearing their pumpkin and gourd runners and cloths. I even hung a bronze, embroidered towel in the bathroom and colorful leave-patterned towels on the oven. We lit candles, and the tantalizing aroma of spiced pumpkin and vanilla permeates the house.

Mother Nature is beginning to put out her decorations, too. Some of the trees are just beginning to turn and are displaying hints of red, yellow, and orange. The temperatures are cooler: even getting crisp at night. The smokey smell of fire pits and fireplaces lingers in the air with the teasing temptation of gooey s'mores.

Soon we'll take our annual fall family trip, this year to Michigan instead of Wisconsin. We have a friend's wedding up at an Adventure resort in Wisconsin to look forward to at the end of the month, and then comes Halloween: Ghosties and pumpkins and witches. Thanksgiving will follow, bringing delicious food and time once again spent with family.

It's a wonderful time of year...full of change and cozy days and evenings. I can't get enough.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sydney by Margot Justes

An early six am flight put me in Sydney about three hours later. The first thing I noticed was the change in temperature; Cairns was mid 80’s , Sydney mid 60’s. Not bad for middle of winter. For me, it was the perfect time to travel.

As with Cairns, I loved Sydney. Vastly different from Cairns, Sydney is big, less touristy, a working metropolis, like any other major city, except it’s in Australia, and it’s stunning. Maybe because I loved the gorgeous accent, the famous harbor, the iconic Opera House, the bridge, and all within walking distance, but it never got old. The people are just as friendly and helpful as they were in Cairns.

A short taxi hop brought me to the hotel. I love to walk, and usually pick hotels in areas where I want to spend the most time.  I wanted to be close to the Opera House, Sydney Harbor, Harbor Bridge, and the Rocks, considered to be the oldest part of Sydney. There was a hotel that fit the bill, and the price wasn’t astronomical.

When I checked in, the room wasn’t ready. They were very gracious, and said there would be a lovely room available within an hour. I had breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and by the time I finished, a room was indeed ready, and the luggage was already in place. The view was fantastic; I could see the harbor, the Opera House and the bridge.

By noon, I was on my way to the harbor to get a closer look at the Opera House; without a doubt, it was one of the most remarkable buildings I have ever seen. I was already dreading going home, and I just got there.

There are many restaurants along the harbor, with spectacular views, and I decided my first dinner in Sydney would be in one of those outdoor places. It gets chilly in the evening, and most of them had heaters and candles. The heaters for warmth, the candles for ambiance. Perfection.

The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting the Government House. The mansion overlooks the Royal Botanic Gardens, and it was walking distance form hotel.

The Government house built between 1837 and 1845, and for a while served as the official residence of the Governor of New South Wales. This Gothic Revival building is quite beautiful; the stately rooms, and 19th century furnishings make for a fascinating visit, and along the way you learn a quite bit about Sydney.  The guide was knowledgeable, and passionate about the history of the building, and some of the inhabitants. Admission is free, and it is well worth the visit.

In the evening I went back to the harbor area, and stopped for dinner in one of those delightful restaurants that faced the harbor, and the food was delicious.  I’m a pizza fan, and always manage to try the local version. Yes, even in Australia-they are quite popular there too. I couldn’t have asked for a better first day.

More next week.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
coming soon Blood Art

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Book Review! by DL Larson

I'm nearly through my 12 week blog book tour. I've answered interview questions, given character interviews and told family secrets all the while sharing the story of my book, Promises My Love.

This week I received a review from 'My Devotional Thoughts.' Hopefully the link below will take you to the site and you can read the review for yourself. She gave me a 4 star rating and stated what I have been worried about since publishing this book. As a series there is only so much I can do to help the reader comprehend what happened in the previous book. She confessed there were parts she did not understand and I value her honesty. But a series is a series and not a repeat of the book before. I only hope not knowing the whole story may have readers going back to read the first one.

In a nutshell, just in case this address does not take you to My Devotional Thoughts, the reviewer stated ... this is not a simple book to review. This is an extremely complicated book with much depth, pathos, and true family grit. ... this story truly touched my heart and reminded me of what is important in families and life. ...the author does an excellent job at illustrating her point through an amazing story of family, tragedy and true love.

If you are interested in a copy of Promises My Love, visit

Also, if you are interested in any of the blog stops I've been too, google my name: DL Larson and a list of the places I have visited will appear.

Here are the blog site names:
Uplifting Reads
Straight from the Library
Lisa Haselton Reviews
Sugar Beats Books Blog
Samantha Holt Blog
Reading In Twilight
Dawn's Reading Nook Blog
It's Raining Books
Long & Short Reviews

Just a reminder ... Acme Authors will soon be moving to a new site ~ called Book Beat Babes. Our kick off is Oct. 15!!

Til next time ~
DL Larson

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On the Move - Come and Join Us Beginning Oct 15!!!

The gals at Acme Authors Link are on the move!!!

Although Acme Authors Link will remain as a more personal blog, which from time to time will highlight our members' ups and downs in the writing business, the gals here have decided to offer our audience something more substantive.

Beginning Tuesday, October 15, our group will migrate to a new, exciting spot on the web, called Book Beat Babes, at

Directly above you'll find the cover for our new blog, and right below is the description, taken right from the header at Book Beat Babes - 

Your Source For Tips,Trends, & Secrets in Books, Publishing, & Promo As Reported by: Debra St.John, Christine Verstraete, Morgan Mandel, DL Larson, Terri Morris, & Margot Justes - Along with Special Guest Appearances!

Come and join us at our new home on October 15, when we'll kick off with a Meet and Greet of our members, followed by daily posts from members and special guests. Right now, you're welcome to check out our great lineup of guests already booked, which you'll find in the right hand column at Book Beat Babes, with more on their way!

Click now to follow  from the right hand column there, so you won't miss out on any of the upcoming posts. 

We hope many of our loyal blog followers here will join us in this exciting new venture! We appreciate each and every one of you!

Morgan Mandel, 
Blog Owner of Acme Authors Link
and Book Beat Babes

Connect with Morgan on Facebook:
Twitter: @MorganMandel
Amazon Author Page:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cairns by Margot Justes

Cairns is a small town, walking distance to everything. It’s quaint, accessible, beautiful, and the people are friendly. The only taxi we took was to and from the airport.

Restaurants were plentiful, we even paid homage to Crocodile Dundee, and ate at the place named after the movie. I loved the movie, and the restaurant was right on the boardwalk, facing the water, and a short hop from the hotel. Beautiful setting. The food was okay, nothing fantastic, but I didn’t expect more. In this case, location and name were the selling points. I heard the steaks were good, but I’m not a great meat eater, and honestly prefer a good meatball to steak.

The hotel room included breakfast, and it was quite a buffet spread, down to my daily dose of passion fruit. I mixed it with yogurt and prunes. I love prunes, must be the European background. As odd as it sounds, the mix was delicious.  I continued with the concoction in Sydney as well.

In the center of town, there is a huge swimming pool that faces sand and water, and it is open year round. A sidewalk separates the pool from the sand, and the walk along the coast was mesmerizing, the beach on one side and Cairns on the other. Beautifully laid out for optimum pleasure for all.

There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, art galleries, souvenir shops, parks, and flora and fauna. In other words, it was perfection. From the day I arrived, I knew I was going to hate to leave. It was love at first sight.

The Cairns Regional Gallery introduced me to the works of Lloyd Rees. His drawings and paintings reflected lush landscapes, light, where man and nature interacted. His  drawings of churches were amazing, almost architectural renditions but drawn with soul.  I saw a drawing he did of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, and had to see the real thing. I actually visited the cathedral because of the drawing. He captured my imagination. I would see his work again in the Art Gallery New South Wales in Sydney.

The sunset harbor cruise is highly recommended, along with the harbor, there are glimpses of mangroves in the distance, a sublime sunset, and a beautiful skyline of the city.

There was so much more to see and do, but this was a good start. Would I go back? Absolutely.  

More next week.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
coming end of September Blood Art

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Yesterday I thought about starting to set up some blog spots to promote my upcoming release, The Vampire and the Vixen. It makes its world-wide debut on October 16. A new release is always exciting, but the trouble with this one is it's been out on Kindle since June and even had its run of five freebie days a couple of weeks ago, where it made it into the top 25 of Contemporary Romance freebies and almost into the top 50 overall. I can't wait to see how many copies were actually downloaded during that time. It also garnered a whole bunch of new reviews, all of them quite complimentary.

To be setting up a blog tour to promote its release, seems kind of 'been there done that'. I think if it were a paperback book, having a 'second' release would be more exciting. But it's a short novella, so it's only available in e-format. True, it will be around in a lot more markets (TWRP, Nook, etc) in addition to Kindle, but Amazon really seems to be the biggie.

So, I have to figure out how to make it fresh and new, not only for me, but for my readers as well. I think my focus will need to be on promoting it as a Halloween story.

I'm sure something will come to me, right?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tjapukai by Margot Justes


Tjapukai is an Aboriginal Cultural Park. A short 15 minute ride from Cairns, puts you right in the old world culture brilliantly revived, and it seems to be alive and doing well.

It is a contained park with planned activities, and I thought it was a terrific introduction to the Aboriginal culture and folk art.  

There was a didgeridoo concert, the haunting mellow sound resonated in the theatre, along with traditional dancing performed by the Tjapukai Dance Troupe. The didgeridoo requires a lot of air power, but the sound that comes out of the instrument resonates around you like an echo. Powerful, still and evocative.

The dance movements were mesmerizing, you quickly got caught up in the story they were telling. Tales of hunting, spiritualism, survival and pride; an insight into the culture through music and dance. The perfect introduction to a civilization  that was totally foreign to me. It was ideal, because it brought the past to life not just through a lecture, but through art, music and dance, and it was interactive

There were boomerang throwing lessons, along with spear throwing, it’s not as easy as it looks. If thrown correctly, the boomerang will return to you, but you must make the attempt to catch it. It will not magically appear in your hand, although the return flight was fascinating to watch.

There were lessons about hunting tools and weapons that were used some 40,000 years ago by the Aboriginal people. It was an amazing insight into an ancient society.

The park is intimate, well organized, and first and foremost educational. A rare glimpse of what once was, an inspiration to keep the old culture alive for future generation. A tiny spark that shows awareness of what once was.

More next week.

Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
coming end of September Blood Art

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Day at the Fair! By DL Larson

Each year we attend the Sandwich Fair. It's one of the biggest fairs in Illinois. Thursday is "local folks" day and so we spend a great deal of time visiting with neightbors and friends as we mosing through the aisles of vendors.

This year we had our two grandsons with us and our daughter Amber. Tractors and trucks were the main agenda, but we were soon deterred by the rabbit hut and petting zoo.

The fair runs through Sunday and there is something for everyone. We'll be going back Friday night ~ it's tradition. We'll probably attend the concert and cheer on the up and coming bands that will perform. Going to the fair is a great family event. So if you have time, make the trip - Sandwich is on U.S. Route 34, an hour south of Chicago.

I love the food, just ate a cinnimon roll, had lunch at Faye's and plan on eating some funnel cake before the fair is over. And the lemonade shake-ups! Gotta have one of them!

Going to the fair is a subtle reminder that summer is nearly over. That's one of the reasons fairs became so popular, summer's end would be the last chance many people would have a chance to socialize before harvest began and winter set in. We don't have that issue in today's society, but it is still a reminder that the season is soon to change and we need to enjoy each of the days left.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mark Your Calendar - Sunday, Sept. 8 & Monday, Sept. 9 for a Freebie

For those who don't yet have a copy of my romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, it's going free again Sunday, September 8
and Monday, September 9.

This is the story about the reluctant reality show contestant who has a good chance of winning the prize, a handsome billionaire.

Here's where you can find it:

And, if you miss the promotion, you'll have to shell out the high price of 99 cents to get this book!

Morgan Mandel

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Fun Opportunity

My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has a unique and exciting opportunity to have a commercial shown during the Big Game 2014! We could use your votes. Follow the link below to vote. You can vote once every day. Here's the release from our marketing rep...

Would you like to see a Wild Rose Press commercial during the Big Game!

There are 167 million Big Game viewers, and they could all be watching The
Wild Rose Press commercial on the 2014 Big Game. How will we get an ad on
the Big Game, you ask? Easy! With your help, we can win a spot through

Intuit is giving one small business a TV commercial on the Big Game. We want
that ad to belong to The Wild Rose Press, and you can help make it happen.
Just click HERE to vote for The Wild Rose Press:

Thank you! (Keep your fingers crossed and let’s get the Roses on during the
Big Game!)

And please feel free to share and/or pass this link along.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!