Fuel Your Creativity with Elaine Cantrell

Please welcome, fellow Astraea Press author, Elaine Cantrell to Fuel Your Creativity!

My Vintage Christmas

My latest hobby is collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.  I got into it when my granddaughter and I started putting up a theme tree each Christmas.  We’ve done candy, polka dots, cowboy and Indians, and birds, and this year we’re doing a vintage tree.  156234_181583701856730_3638142_nThe vintage bug bit me real hard!  The entire family is involved in the quest for vintage Christmas ornaments.  Every time my five year old grandson comes to visit he demands to see my newest ornament.  In fact, he told me to find him a Santa and some reindeer which of course I did.  He plays with them each time he comes over.

A word of warning: vintage ornaments are usually fragile, so the ornaments I bought him are plastic and not especially old or valuable.33980_181583795190054_1152233_n

There are all kinds of ornaments to collect:  German made, papier-mâché, blown-glass or curled paper, etc.  I started with Shiny Brite, an American brand popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  They are so beautiful!  They look nothing like modern ornaments and totally thrill me.  To me, a little wear does nothing to lessen their beauty.  I think of all the Christmases they’ve seen, the joys they’ve been a part of, the lives they’ve touched, and I treasure them even more! 65436_181583965190037_6699233_n

You can have fun all year going to estate or yard sales in search of ornaments.  Sometimes your grandma will have a few old ones she’ll part with.  Ebay sells lots of them too.  The thrill of the hunt is part of the fun.  If you decide to start your own collection you might want to read up on the subject first.  I bought a book that’s been very helpful.  It’s titled Christmas: 1940-1959 A Collector’s Guide To Decorations And Customs.  Not only does it have lots of information, it’s also beautiful. 164514_181583638523403_1611024_n

I would love to have an aluminum tree with a color wheel, but so far I can’t find one that doesn’t cost the earth.  If you’ve never seen one, just google it.  You might fall in love with that shiny metallic perfection.  I hope the pictures I’ve sent will inspire you to create your own vintage Christmas.

Happy Holidays!



Rest Thy Head:

Running away from a fiancé who betrayed her, Peyton O’Malley finds employment at a beautiful mountain inn called Rest Thy Head. She didn’t expect to live in the haunted room or to fall for the inn’s owner, a fire-scarred, war veteran who uses the inn to hide away from the world. She didn’t expect her sister to show up at Rest Thy Head either, much less her formidable mother.

Now, thanks to the aid of a friendly ghost, Peyton has a shot at true love, and so does her sister Ashley, provided the guys cooperate of course!

Get your copy at:





My Biography

elainespictureElaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University.  She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and Romance Writers of America.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest.  When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.


Find Elaine at the following locations.








Twitter handle: @elainecantrell

Astraea Press author helps fight cancer

Please help me welcome Lindsay Downs who is doing something very special this holiday season. Proceeds from the following books will be given to two fellow Astraea Press authors who are battling breast cancer. Check out these great books and thank you for your help!

BluestockingsChristmas_453x680 A Bluestocking’s Christmas

Lady Brittany Sexton loves her newest book on Africa but she quickly learns keeping it in her possession is difficult. For her, the problem lies with Lord Samuel Palmer, who believes ladies should not read inappropriate tomes. Part of Lord Palmer’s fascination is the cryptic messages found in the margins. What quickly develops between Lady Brittany and Lord Palmer is even more confusing.

As Christmas draws nearer and with the book still in her possession, Lord Palmer follows her to her parents country estate.  It’s there they, along with some friends, slowly make sense of the notes.

During all of this, Lady Brittany learns a fact about Lord Palmer that disturbs her greatly—why he desired the book. To clear her mind and think about her answer to Lord Palmer’s sudden proposal, she goes for a horseback ride, only for disaster to strike.

Once well, she returns home. Lady Brittany now has to make a life changing decision. Can she… will she marry Lord Palmer ?



“Lady Brittany, what an unexpected pleasure meeting you. Then again, it’s well known within the ton you’re a bluestocking so I’m not that surprised on seeing you here,” he informed her with a bow.

“M’ lord, I’m truly astonished to see you at such a fine establishment as Mr. Winterbottom’s. After overhearing your conversation last night, I wasn’t sure you knew how to read. Now please remove yourself from in front of me so my maid and I may return home,” she demanded.

This time, much to her amazement, he did as asked and without saying anything until she stepped out the door and about to descend the steps.

“I hope you were able to find a book or two so you won’t be lonely at the ball this eve,” he sniped at her.

“Of course I did,” she snapped back while holding up the wrapped one on Africa.

From the expression she saw in his dark brown eyes, Brittany suspected he knew exactly what the book was but she didn’t want to say anything.

“Now, I must bid you good day m’ lord as you’ve detained me long enough and I’ve dress colours to look at and discuss. After all, isn’t that one of the few topics ladies can and are able to expound on?”

Brittany watched as he tried to say something in response to her comment. When, out of frustration all he could do was shrug his shoulders she suspected this tiny battle had been won. Turning on her heels she, with a glance to Aggie, set off for her way home.

As they fought the cold and the wind blowing down the street the heavenly scent of fresh-baked rolls caught Brittany’s attention as they came upon a tea room. With a glance to Aggie she cocked her head toward the shop.

“The fragrance of those cinnamon buns is making me hungry. Shall we stop in for tea and a bite to eat? I’m sure Lord Palmer will be rushing to find me and insist I turn over my book to him,” Brittany suggested.

“Aye m’ lady. If he’s in a rage as you suspect, he won’t be looking in the windows for you. Then, we can leisurely enjoy the offerings before returning home, where, if I don’t miss my guess, you’ll bury yourself in the book,” Aggie said in a teasing tone.

“You’re so correct. I wager we could take a front table as he won’t even look in, thus allowing us the opportunity to giggle at his antics,” Brittany said arriving at the door to the tea room.

As they stepped into the bakery they were met by a short, plump lady with rosy cheeks and her hair tied back in a bun. Behind her a young lad nervously shifted from foot to foot.

“M’ ladies, welcome to The Sweet Bun. How may I be of assistance on this cold morning?”

“May we could have a pot of tea, Earl Grey if possible, and two of those heavenly cinnamon rolls? Also, as you have a front table near the fire we would like to sit there,” Brittany answered.

“Certainly, and I’ve the tea you prefer. My son would be happy to take your pelisses,” the woman said, turning to the young boy and waving him forward.

Once relieved of their outerwear the ladies swept over to the table they’d requested. Taking a seat so she would be able to look out at the street Brittany started to unwrap her book but thought better of it.

Get your copy at:



The Masked Lady and The Murder

maskedlady1563x2500When Lord Robert Markson, Viscount of Hampshire, is force to return to England to find out who murdered his father and older brother he’s in for a surprise.

It comes in the guise of Lady Kristina Rosewood, daughter to the Earl and Countess of Crossington. To many she’s quartz but to him a multifaceted diamond.

While recovering from an attempt on his life which thrust them closer together they work through emotions for each other while sorting through letters sent to his mother years ago. Slowly, they’re able to discover the one man who could have set the murders in motion. The only problem, he’s been dead for years so who could it be and more importantly why now.

Once all the evidence is compiled the answer is something neither could believe as the threat comes from within the late viscount’s house.



The Guilty Countess

guiltycountess4.14smallAccused of murdering her husband, Lady Donna Kersey turns to the only people who can prove her innocence, her brother and his new bride.

As Robert and Kristina start their search for the real killer they learn the murder might be more complicated than first thought. Uncovering evidence sends the three in pursuit of a possible suspect only to find this person is innocent, or is he not guilty of the murder but not something else.

When Robert and Kristina learn Lord Kersey might not be exactly who they believe him to be that’s when the facts become murky. It takes a surprise visit by Kristina’s brother to help set the record straight which only adds more confusion to the facts.

Will Robert and Kristina find the killer of Lord Kersey before the authorities take Lady Kersey away in irons?



The Earl’s Spitfire

earlsspitfiresmall At a house party a midnight gallop on a purloined horse leads Lady Sophia Walker into something she wasn’t expecting-a marriage proposal.

Barely knowing Lord Peter Gardner, 7th Earl of Modbury, Sophia devises a unique plan to make sure they will get along.

What neither realizes, there’s another, Lady Agatha Crumbly, wishes to become Lord Gardner’s countess and will stop at nothing to achieve her goal.

Returning to London Peter lives up to his promise. As they learn about each other he soon finds out she has an affinity for a certain flower. To help prove his devotion to her he proceeds to deck out his town carriage in them.

As the date of their wedding quickly approaches Lady Crumbly makes another appearance, this time threatening Sophia.

Will Lord Peter Gardner arrive in time to save his beloved from death, or will the other win what she wants?




Lindsay Downs Head Shot_M9A0698-resized smallerBio-

What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.

In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.

More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.

Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.

After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.

For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.

I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).

Where you can find me-

Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/lindsay.downs.7

Facebook Pages-         https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lindsay-Downs-Author/325132754200597?ref=hl


Twitter- @ldowns2966

LinkedIn- http://www.linkedin.com/home

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3210224-lindsay

Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/

Tuesday Treats!

Welcome to  Tuesday Treats!!

In order to enter, please go to my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/joselynvaughn) and like this post:

Tuesday Treats 11-11


The carrying case is padded with a cute flower detail on the front. I think one of the smaller Kindles or Nooks will fit inside, although my Kindle Fire 7″ was just a touch too long.

You should be able to click on the picture to get to the post as well.

Please also check out the post below about Jeff Salter’s collections of veteran memorabilia. And thank a member of the armed services for being will to give up so much for our freedoms.

Hope Tuesday treats you well!

Fuel Your Creativity with Jeff Salter

Please welcome Jeff Salter to Fuel Your Creativity!

I’m grateful to Joselyn for inviting my entry in her series on authors’ creative endeavors (other than writing). Let me say out front, mine is a lot more than a hobby — I consider it a calling.

I collect and display military gear and uniform items. Mostly American, but also some from other nations. Mostly WW2, but I also have a lot from WW1, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam era, and Desert Storm. Over my final several years working in a Louisiana public library system, I mounted nearly a dozen displays at HQ and five other branches, with a wide array of thematic presentations.

But what I do is not as significant as WHY I do it.

My “collecting” began innocently enough, as a youngster, when I began buying army surplus items – like canteen, mess kit, pouches etc. – for camping. At some point I loaned several pieces to a friend but never got them back. Decades later, I decided to recreate that small collection via eBay. I did. And kept right on collecting.

Eventually I had accumulated quite a variety of items from nearly 100 years of military activity (including five wars or major conflicts). And I resolved to put those items to some practical USE… by sharing them with other people. After mounting several well-received displays at our Headquarters building, where I worked, I ‘branched’ out to several of the newly-constructed facilities with locked display cases.

As I carefully arranged the items for a new exhibit (or re-packed them after the display period), I often attracted sightseers… and many were veterans. Seeing my items brought them recognition and memories… and several of them shared their experiences with me.

One of the most notable was an old gent who’d been with a howitzer battalion in the campaign of St. Lo during WW2. After seeing one of my displays, he called me and asked me to visit him in his home. I had no idea why, but I went. Turned out he wanted to show me his remaining uniforms, some battle maps, and other printed materials he’d saved from that time. As I was preparing to leave, he offered those uniform pieces to me.

I replied, “Those should go to your children or grandchildren.”image008

He shook his head sadly and said, “Nobody wants them. You take them.”

Which I did, and informed Mr. Clifton Farrar that every time I displayed any of his pieces I would include his name and where he fought.

I have items from several other individuals – including my own relatives (and in-laws) – and whenever I display them, I also feature their names and where/when they served. image002

That’s why I consider this a calling. It honors those specific individuals and it reminds and appreciates the others who view it. Plus, it educates and inspires the younger generations to remember that freedom is not free — it has to be fought for and protected.image010

When I began writing fiction, one of my earliest manuscripts featured a group of senior citizens from the Greatest Generation… once again rising to the challenge. Quite appropriately, it’s titled, “Called to Arms Again.”

Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veteran’s Day special, Kelly discovers first-hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back. While all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill, an urban gang of thieves targets an isolated retirement subdivision … figuring the crippled geriatrics would offer no resistance.

Though Kelly’s widowed boyfriend came along only for a post-funeral luncheon, Mitch soon finds himself leading a mis-matched flanking team. Kelly’s good friend Wade has his own assignment, with a home-made mortar and lots of illegal gunpowder.

Maybe it’s difficult to remember everyday things like taking pills, but these octogenarians have never forgotten it was up to them to defend family, home, community, and country. The outcome of their courageous stand depends on the resolve and resourcefulness of an unlikely ensemble of eccentric elderly neighbors, several American Legion members, and others spanning four generations.


image014My newest novel is “The Ghostess & MISTER Muir” released by Astraea Press in Oct. 2014. My other published novels (with Astraea) are: “Hid Wounded Reb” (Aug. 2014), “Called to Arms Again” (May 2013), “Rescued By That New Guy in Town” (Oct. 2012), and “The Overnighter’s Secrets” (May 2012). Also released through AP are the short novellas, “Don’t Bet On It” (April, 2014) and “Echo Taps” (June, 2013). Also, “Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold,” a screwball comedy released by Dingbat Publishing in December 2013… and its prequel, “Scratching the Seven-Month Itch” (Sept. 2014).

Buy link:



Romantic comedy and romantic suspense are among nine completed novel manuscripts.

I’m co-author of two non-fiction monographs (about librarianship) with a royalty publisher, plus a signed chapter in another book and a signed article in a specialty encyclopedia. I’ve also published articles, book reviews, and over 120 poems; my writing has won nearly 40 awards, including several in national contests. As a newspaper photo-journalist, I published about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos.

I worked nearly 30 years in the field of librarianship. I’m a decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote tour of duty in the Arctic, at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland).

I’m the married parent of two and grandparent of six.

In for a Pound releases today!

My eighth book (how did that happen?), In for a Pound, comes out from Astraea Press today!

In for a Pound cover art

Joshua Pounds speeds to Pine Bottom to take care of his ailing dad, expecting to spend his time bouncing between doctors’ appointments and cancer treatments. His first task, however, requires a canoe paddle and helping his father’s friend win the honeymoon of her dreams. He doesn’t count on falling in love with an engaged woman.

Sidney Walker had her life all planned: the wedding, the honeymoon, and the dependable husband –until her fiancé crushes her dreams by putting riches above their relationship.

As her engagement crumbles, her heartbreak rocks Joshua’s confirmed bachelor status. He picks up the pieces, but the challenge threatens both of their ideas about love.

Will Joshua’s resolve to keep his heart untouched break Sidney’s?

Get your copy at:

Check for buy links! More coming soon!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pound-Joselyn-Vaughn-ebook/dp/B00P74X3OE/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415122276&sr=1-2&keywords=in+for+a+pound

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-for-a-pound-joselyn-vaughn/1120680046?ean=2940150384255

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/490421



Fuel Your Creativity with Jodi Bowersox

Please welcome Jodi Bowersox to Fuel Your Creativity!

Hi, my name is Jodi Bowersox. My husband Kevin and I are recent transplants to Colorado Springs from northeast Kansas, although I grew up in south central Nebraska. I’ve worn many hats in my life—actress, seamstress, interior designer, home-school teacher, artist, and writer.

As an artist, I paint watercolor pet portraits, and right now, as a seamstress, I’m into making vests out of men’s ties. I also makehand-beaded Christmas ornaments that I sell for the CF Foundation. And speaking of the CF Foundation, one of my children’s books, A Tale of Two Kitties benefits them, and my other children’s book, The Stubborn Princess, benefits the illustrator (my son) who has CF.

To see my watercolor gallery and everything else I do, check out my website: www.jodibowersox.com or find me on facebook: www.facebook.com/jbartistry

Author Bio

In 2006, under the pen name of J. B. Stockings, A Tale of Two Kitties, written and illustrated by Jodi, was published through Trafford Publishing. In 2012, another J.B. Stockings children’s book, The Stubborn Princess, was published through Tate Publishing with Tracy Bowersox as the illustrator.

In 2012, Jodi published her first romance novel, Interiors By Design, through Amazon’s CreateSpace. Early in 2013, Horses, Adrenaline, and Love was released, as well as Cinnamon Girl Explains It All later in the year. Her latest novel, published early in 2014, is Rocky Mountain Angels. Most of these have elements of faith as part of the story, but Cinnamon Girl is strictly romantic suspense. All, however, are clean reads. All have done well with 4+ stars on Amazon.

Interiors by Design and the children’s books are also available on Audible, and Horses, Adrenaline, and Love should be there by the end of August.

Link to find my romance novels on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_7?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=by%20jodi%20bowersox&sprefix=by+jodi%2Cstripbooks%2C292&rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Aby%20jodi%20bowersox

The Stubborn Princess book coverLink to find my children’s picture books: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=by+J.B.+Stockings

Order signed copies through my website.

I won’t take up too much space by giving you synopses for all my books, but I’ll give you one for The Stubborn Princess since it combines both art and writing:

A beautiful princess with curly hair down to her feet is the stuff of fairy tales, but what happens when the princess tires of the upkeep and stubbornly declares a hair care holiday? Anyone with curly hair knows the answer to that question—a disaster!

Mistaking her knotted hair for a nest, a large bird lays her eggs while the Princess is dozing in the garden and sets into motion an unexpected turn of events as the princess is flown far away. Getting back home will require that she focus her stubborn streak in a new direction, and getting back to normal will require she truly see herself for what she has become.

Tuesday Treats!

We’re going to try something different for this Tuesday Treats. In order to enter, please go to my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/joselynvaughn) and like this post:

Tuesday Treats


Here’s a picture of the outside of the Artist’s roll:

Artist's roll outside

You should be able to click on the picture to get to the post as well. Hope Tuesday treats you well!