Monday, August 14, 2017

Cover Reveal - A Gift for Santa

Just 133 days until Christmas, and the cover is up for A GIFT FOR SANTA, the second Northern Lights Novel! I feel like it really captures the magic of Santa's reindeer and the love of a child. What do you think?

This is Chris's story. He's the brother Dana came to Alaska to find in THE ALASKAN CATCH. Now his former fiancee is back in on her family's reindeer farm after ten years away. It may be winter, but things are heating up in Alaska.

Here's the blurb:

It's the season for giving…and starting over? 

A reindeer farm without Santa wouldn't be Christmas in Marissa Gray's Alaskan hometown. Luckily Chris Allen's there to pinch-hit, although for Marissa, seeing her ex-fiancĂ© again brings back memories of what might have been. 

Ten years after their breakup, the feelings between the wildlife biologist and blue-eyed fisherman are stronger than ever. Only now there's a foster kid in the mix, as well as the shocking crime that cost Marissa her job and her family's security. She and Chris need to find their way to a meeting of minds and hearts to make this truly a season for second chances…

Release date is December 5th. In the meantime, the Prism Book Tour for THE ALASKAN CATCH is still going on, with excerpts, reviews, articles, and prizes. Click HERE for the full schedule. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Alaskan Catch Prism Book Tour

I'm so excited! Twenty book bloggers have signed up for the tour. There will be fun posts, excerpts, reviews, and an interview. Plus prizes. See the whole schedule at Prism Book Tours. Hope you can make it!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Two Giveaways

My first Harlequin is out! It's a dream come true for me and proof that happy endings really happen. To help celebrate, I'm giving away a happy endings necklace to one lucky reader in the United States. The contest runs from August 7-14th. 

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PLUS! You can still enter the Mystery Givaway with four fun prizes from the four August Heartwarming authors until August 15th.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mystery Giveaway

The August Harlequin Heartwarming authors have teamed up for a mystery giveaway. Preorder/order any of these four books and then enter HERE (non-purchase entry also available). Books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,and in both paperback and ebook form, and as ebooks at  iTunes, Google Books, Kobo. 

They're Harlequin Heartwarming stories, so you know you can count on complex, feel-good storylines with no sex and minimal swearing. 

Don't wait too long. Giveaway ends August 15th. Enter now.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway - Alaskan Romance

The Alaskan Catch goes on sale at online bookstores in August, but enter now on Goodreads and you just might win an early signed paperback copy.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Alaskan Catch by Beth  Carpenter

The Alaskan Catch

by Beth Carpenter

Giveaway ends July 17, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

And since we're talking giveaways, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter and get a free ebook, plus the latest news about upcoming books and lots of fun prizes. Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Don't wait - the next issue goes out soon.
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UPDATE 7/18/17: The winners have been chosen! Books will go out this week. Congratulations and thanks for entering.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Muldoon Market

Anchorage for Free    

Partly because I want to share my hometown with the world, and partly to motivate me to get out and enjoy it, I've decided to post a series of fun places to see in Anchorage for free. Today, I visited the Muldoon Market,held on Saturdays throughout the summer at Begich Middle School. This isn't the big Saturday market downtown, just a neighborhood market where vendors can sell their fresh farm produce and crafts. 

The items aren't free, but the entertainment is. Today's singer had a wonderful voice. There's was a clown, a bubble fun area for the kids, and a table of free recipe cards and books. I dropped off a couple of books I'd finished reading, hoping someone who doesn't know about the Harlequin Heartwarming line will discover them and love them. 

Summer just got here, so there were no carrots or fresh potatoes yet, but there were salad greens and starter plants for sale. Lots of fun crafts: crochet, art, photography, fabric. Even a pipecleaner guy. Yes, that car he's wearing is made of pipecleaners. Bake sale items and other good stuff to eat. Some adorable child-size aprons that made me wish I had a granddaughter to shop for. Mostly there were just lots of people out sharing their talents and enjoying the day. 

I ended up with some recipe cards, moose notecards for an upcoming giveaway, and a pack of poppies to plant in my flowerbed. 

Are you a fan of farmer's markets?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Brain

Have you ever suffered from temporary book amnesia? That disorientation you feel when you finish a really good book, look around the room, and wonder for a moment where you are and how you got there? 

Kind of like half the atoms in your brain are still in that fictional world?

I’ve experienced this phenomenon all my life, but now it's climbed to a new level. I’m currently writing book #3 of the Northern Lights Series. Meanwhile the first book, THE ALASKAN CATCH, comes out in August, so I’m working on excerpts and articles for marketing that book. The second book, A GIFT FOR SANTA, comes out in December and I've been working on frontmatter and am expecting edit notes for that one any day. 

All the stories are related, but have different characters and plot lines. Plus, I have a couple of different non-writing projects that need my attention. Sometimes, I find myself staring at a my keyboard, trying to remember what I'm supposed to be working on.

I know lots of writers have multiple projects going at any given time, but my approach has always been to immerse myself in one world at a time. That’s no longer an option. I'm going to have to learn how to transport from story to story without getting lost. Not that I’m complaining. Writing multiple books for Harlequin is a dream come true, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity. I just need to develop better juggling skills.

How about you? Do you read or write more than one story at a time? Any tips for organizing multiple projects? I'd love to hear them. 

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Friday, May 26, 2017

When in Doubt, Check It Out

Physically, I’ve always considered myself extraordinarily average. Brown hair, five-feet-five, not athletic but not hopelessly clumsy, just average. But I discovered I was wrong. My appendix was an overachiever.

It all started a little over a week ago, with an aching stomach. Just your usual stomach bug, and not a particularly bad one. I was just glad I had a week to recover before boarding a plane to Anchorage. The pain worked its way from my stomach down the right to the lower right side of my abdomen over the next couple of days. I felt better, but that area was still tender when I moved or touched it.

Then I had a fairly healthy couple of days, but the tenderness was still there, maybe a little worse. Sunday, I was fatigued as well as sore. I started googling appendicitis. While the pain and loss of appetite were classic symptoms, I had no fever, vomiting, etc. Still, I thought I should get checked out before flying. I called a walk-in clinic, but they said for appendicitis symptoms I should go to the emergency room. It didn’t feel like an emergency.

Monday, I tried to see the doctor who’d done my colonoscopy a couple of years ago, but he’s booked until October. They said go to emergency room. The tenderness wasn’t any better.  I gave in and my husband took me in.

The fine people at the ER did the usual – blood work, urine, etc. and started an IV for the dye they use in a CT scan. Turns out I don’t have particularly good veins for IVs, but eventually they got one in.

I went for my first CT scan. I’m sure I’ll be using that in a book someday, with that futuristic spinning light and that mechanized voice telling me to hold my breath. But then they stopped the scan. The IV wasn’t taking in the dye. They backed me out of the machine and lowered my arm. The dye started again. Raised my arm. It stopped. So, the IV only worked at table level, and I couldn’t go into the machine with my arm beside me.

Various people punched a few more holes, trying unsuccessfully to start another IV. Then a nurse discovered if I held my arm behind my head, turned outward to just the right angle, the drip worked. We were in business. The CT scan was completed and they sent me back to my ER room to wait for results.

And we waited. I presumed the delay had something to do with the difficulty getting the scan and half-expected to be sent back to do it again. The nurse confided to me she’d never seen someone with no fever or more pain than I was having come back positive for appendicitis. Finally, we got the call. I not only had appendicitis, it was ulcerated and I was going into surgery. Soon.

As it turns out, my appendix was in an unusual position, kind of hidden behind my colon, which for some reason tends to confine and mask the symptoms. The surgeon took it out in three pieces, and I spent a miserable two days in the hospital. But now I’m home, I’m alive, and I’m thankful.

Things could have been so much worse. If it weren’t for the flying deadline, I might have continued putting it off until my fever spiked and I got really, really sick before the surgery. What if I’d continued to blow off the symptoms and my appendix went kerboom halfway between Seattle and Anchorage? That wouldn’t have been pleasant, for me or the other passengers.

Here’s my Public Service Announcement for others with my tendency not to want to make a fuss. Go. The people in the ER are there to help. If it’s not a heart attack, or appendicitis, or whatever, that’s good news. If it is, thank goodness you went.

Friday, May 19, 2017


My first newsletter is out! You can read it by clicking here. To celebrate, I'm giving away this bracelet to one lucky newsletter subscriber. Hurry, the contest ends soon. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Antelope Canyon

On the way home from Durango, we took a little detour to Page, Arizona for a tour of Antelope Canyon, on the Navajo Reservation. I'd seen pictures, but they didn't compare to the real thing.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon. It's only about six to eight feet wide, and during flash floods the water rushes through, forming these fantastic shapes in the rock. Up above, the narrow opening means the light peeks in and paints the rocks with light and shadow, changing during the day. Our tour was in the evening, so didn't have direct beams shining in.

The tour starts in Page. While we waited, a talented hoop dancer performed for us. He manipulated a series of hoops over and around his body as he danced to the beat of a drum. Then they loaded us into the back of pickups and off we went to the canyon. 

Look up
Petrified waves
Like clouds, the forms of the rocks often seem to contort themselves into recognizable patterns and surreal shapes.

It's humbling to think of the millions of years it took to build up the rock, and then for the water to wear it away once again. 

Outside the canyon
Light and shadow

Can you see the bird?
I can almost make out faces in the outcrops.
I like the color contrast here.

Reverse cave

If you're in the area, maybe to see the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon is worth a visit, if only to exercise your imagination.

What shapes do you see?

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finding Rainbows

Yesterday we flew from Anchorage to Arizona, with a stopover in Seattle. It was raining (big surprise I know.) For various reasons, our plane out of Seattle was late getting off and we had to wait behind ten other planes for takeoff. So I was waiting, reading my book, and happened to look out the window to see this. 

I don't think I've ever seen a rainbow this low across the sky, or with such definition between the colors. The photo really doesn't do it justice, especially with the raindrops on the window, but you can take my word that it was spectacular. 

This is one of those lessons I keep having to relearn. Beauty is all around us if we pay attention. 

Look up. Do you see something beautiful?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Musical Memories

I was puttering around in my garage today and found a time machine. Yes, Virginia, those are real vinyl record albums. Granted, the time machine isn't fully functional because, while we do still have a turntable, the stereo receiver it used to be hooked up to is long gone. But it doesn't matter. Just looking at the covers is enough to send me back in time.

I remember when my friend introduced me to Tiger Beat and Donny Osmond. She had his album and a signed poster. *sigh* That smile, that hair. What twelve-year-old girl could resist? Then came the Carpenters and John Denver and Olivia Newton-John. Yeah, I wasn't much of a rebel. Eventually I discovered the Eagles, and Peter Frampton, and Fleetwood Mac. 

My college boyfriend, now my husband, didn't sing or play an instrument, but he had one great musical talent. Within a few notes of a song starting on the radio, he could name the song, the band, and often the album. He introduced me to Heart, Thin Lizzy, Credence Clearwater Revival, and so many more. Here's Homer Simpson remembering his music. 

Earlier in the episode, Homer Simpson claims music achieved perfection in 1974, and I wouldn't totally disagree. I've forgotten most of my algebra and almost all of the periodic table, but I can still remember the lyrics to "Desperado." Can you?

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Life isn't Football

Have you ever been to a college football game? I don’t even like crowds, and yet there is something exhilarating about hanging out with 50,000 of your fellow fans, rooting for your team.  The conflict is set, the stakes are clear. At the end of the evening, you’ll emerge victorious, or you won’t. But there’s always next season.

It’s especially fun in the student section, where enthusiasm is at its highest. You’re all on the same side, rejoicing at each first down, groaning over every fumble. If a call goes against your team, you all agree it was a bad call, because it’s your team, even if the replay does rather look as though the knee touched the ground. It’s all in good fun, because at the end of the day, it’s just football.

But I’m seeing the same behavior when it comes to politics. There is this bitter rivalry between the two parties, and everyone’s expected to root for the home team. Everything my party does is good, everything your party does is evil. Don’t show me the replay, because I don’t care. I’ll believe what my friends believe, because we’re on the same side.

Is it truly unimaginable that a person who believes women should make their own choices on abortion can also believe high corporate taxes are bad for job growth? Or that we spend too much on welfare and not enough on alternative energy research, or vice versa?

When a controversy pops up, do we really consider the implications, or do we blindly believe or dismiss information based on what our friends are saying? After all, if something is controversial, it usually means there are strong arguments on both sides. Hardy anyone’s against home-grown tomatoes or puppies.

It’s fine to have opinions. It’s fine to share opinions with friends. It’s not fine to marginalize or insult everyone who has a different opinion, especially when we haven’t researched the issue ourselves. Headlines aren’t a sound basis for policy-building. 

If we want to vow unquestioned loyalty to the home team, there’s always football.  

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Giveaway

My first Harlequin, THE ALASKAN CATCH, a Northern Lights Novel, is coming in August and it's set in my home state of Alaska! To celebrate, I'm giving away this Alaska salmon-themed kitchen towel and potholder to someone with a U.S. mailing address. If the winner is outside the U.S., the prize will be a $10 Amazon giftcard. 

UPDATE 3/30/17:  We have a winner. Congratulations, Darlene!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Check back often and read the newsletter for more fun opportunities.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Favorite Colors

I was setting up security questions recently, and one was my favorite color. I had to stop and think. Do I have a favorite color? When I was a little girl, my favorite crayons were magenta and blue-green. I still love those colors, but not always. My horizons have expanded.

When I’m choosing room colors, I’m drawn to warm neutrals with pops of color, such as deep red and sage green. Natural colors that are easy to live with. But when I see pictures of bright red kitchens or blue and yellow living rooms, I like them, too.

In clothes, it depends on my mood. Sometimes bright crimson or purple, sometimes simple black and white or shades silver and gray. Denim blue, of course. Mixes of blues, greens and purples like an ocean painting. A single clear shade of turquoise. Burgundy. Dusty Plum. Sunrise pink.

Yellow daffodils in the spring. Lilacs. Peachy roses. Purple iris. Clear blue delphiniums. Russet chrysanthemums. The palest blue of forget-me-nots, and the velvety purple of a pansy. Bright orange lilies, lacy white alyssum. It’s hard to find an ugly flower.

Truth is, I have trouble naming a color I don’t like. Generally, I’m not a fan of yellow-greens, but I’ve seen chartreuse groundcovers in shady gardens that are stunning, and some people wear it beautifully. Even mustard blends nicely with autumn shades.

Am I open-minded or indecisive? How about you? Do you have one favorite color?