The Fictional Inauguration

Posted by Julie on January 21, 2017 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Like much of America, I’m tuned into the Inauguration. No matter who is being sworn in as our new president, I make a point to watch. I love the traditions, and yes, the fashion and looks that surround everything.

There’s also what I think is the author brain. What is this person thinking? What if that one did this gesture, or said this? What are they talking about at that tea, anyway?

I thought I’d invite you into my imagination. If you could write a story about the inauguration, what POV, point of view, would you want to write from?

-The outgoing president

-The incoming president

-The outgoing first lady

-The incoming first lady

-The outgoing vice-president

-The incoming vice-president

-A child of the outgoing president

-A child of the incoming president

-A former president attending the event

-A secret service agent on detail

-A member of the military involved

-A member of the media covering the event

-A citizen attending the event

-Someone else (Who?)


What would you write about? Would it be suspense? Romance? Thriller? I know some of you are already thinking horror, I see you.


My guess is not everyone thinks like this, but it’s a rainy day and I thought it would be fun to imagine.


Share in the comments or on Facebook. If you don’t follow me on social media, I’m everywhere, including snapchat, @JulieArduini.


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Surrendering Control by Michelle Griep

Posted by Julie on September 29, 2016 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

I’m a control freak. No, really. All my toilet paper rolls are lined up like little soldiers beneath the sink in the bathroom. Spices in the kitchen cabinet are in alphabetical order. Even my bookshelves are ranked according to genre. Organization is practically my middle name—until puppy Ada Clare entered my life and changed that name to chaos.


Ada is a fuzzy-muzzled bundle of electric wires covered in black fur. She flips couch cushions onto the floor in a big nest. She can root out Chapstick like none other, remove the cap, and eat the insides. Destructo Dog doesn’t begin to describe this boxer.


I tried to control her. I really did. I watched every Dog Whisperer episode, paid frequent visits to the humane society for behavior tips, and bought every possible chew toy and doggie treat known to mankind to keep her occupied. All to no avail. It got to the point where I had to concede defeat and either pack her off to the pound or surrender my need to control my household décor.


Give up the dog or give up my Better Homes and Gardens ideals?


I kept the dog. It’s been two and a half years now and she’s settled down, for the most part. I still get dog nests and I have to lock up my Chapstick, but it’s been worth it. She’s my buddy, my watchdog, and my lap warmer (even though she’s fifty pounds).


So with my love for dogs, it’s natural that I’d include one in my new release, OUT OF THE FRYING PAN. But heroine Zula Hopkins’ canine is anything but cute. Her Fifi is a decrepit little terrier who could give the world’s ugliest dog a run for his money. Here’s a blurb . . .


Michelle Griep's latest release, Into the Frying Pan.

Michelle Griep’s latest release, Out of the Frying Pan.

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

View More: http://bethanyaleshire.pass.us/michellekellyABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, but historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART releases in October. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.








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Book Review: When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Posted by Julie on August 3, 2016 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Book Description:
Gwen Marcey takes death in stride. Until she’s faced with her own mortality.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity—a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.

This was a ride, and a wild one at that. I am deathly afraid of snakes. I can’t look at stuffed animal snakes, cartoon ones, none of it. So I wasn’t sure how I would do with this book that tackles snake-handling in church.

I confess, I couldn’t read it at night. There was only one scene that was scary for me, but the thought of it made me read during the day, and I really enjoyed it. It is obvious the author thoroughly researched this book. The characters were so well-developed, especially Gwen. This is not the first book in her series, but it definitely can stand alone. I learned a lot about her. Single mom. Cancer Survivor. Forensic Artist.

I enjoyed her daughter working with her, and that I could not figure out why was good, and who was evil. As Gwen kept saying, “Trust no one.”

I hope you trust me, though. When Death Draws Near is a suspenseful plot I’ve never run across before that keeps you on edge. It’s dynamic, humorous at times, and full of action.  I definitely recommend it.

To purchase When Death Draws Near, click here.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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COTT: Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Posted by Julie on March 21, 2016 in COTT, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |
A recency-ero costume party should be no more than an amusing diversion,
but it seems, wherever Drew Farthing goes, mystery–and murder–are on the
guest list.

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-Era house party at
Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew’s
former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancée,
Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody
is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to
believe she’d taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of
whether the death is an accident or murder. The police have their own
information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he’s
trusted and admired since his childhood—someone who’s been smuggling drugs
into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to
get to the bottom of everything, but Drew’s never felt more unsettled.
Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn’t
know who to trust, and he’s not ready for the secrets he’s about to
uncover—or the danger he’ll bring down on everyone he holds
About the author:
JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of
storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along
with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her
tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation
Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when
not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching
NHL hockey.

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COTT: Anything for a Mystery by Cynthia Hickey

Posted by Julie on February 8, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |
Stormi is delightful as the accident prone and bumbling wanna be
detective. What she lacks in skill she makes up for in nosiness. Add in the
sexy detective and a slightly nutty family and our lead character has her
hands full.
~Amazon reviewer


About the book:
Stormi Nelson, best-selling romance author, moved into her huge Victorian
house in the private community of Oak Meadows Estates. When her agent tells
her that her characters are becoming too cardboard and that she needs to
get out and mingle with people, she comes up with the idea of a
Neighborhood Watch Program. The only problem is … she’s the only member. On
her first night of patrol, she stumbles over a dead body, meets a hunky
detective, who happens to be her neighbor and clearly frustrated with her,
and her mother, sister, niece and nephew arrive to shake up Stormi’s
peaceful life. As she is immersed ever deeper into the mystery surrounding
a neighbor’s murder, she decides to change writing tactics and write a
romantic mystery based on her experiences. What follows is a frolicking
good time as Stormi finds herself the nosiest neighbor of them all. Can she
find the killer before she becomes the next victim?


A note from the author, Cynthia Hickey:

“Why I Became a Writer”

Funny how this roller-coaster business can tug on someone until it’s either
write or die. A bit dramatic, yes, but that’s how most writers feel.

I started reading at the young age of five and became hooked on words and
stories. Being a shy child, I would make up stories to act out, but it
wasn’t until Junior High when an English teacher assigned a

writing project that I realized how much I loved putting the story to
paper. I began writing short stories in which my younger brother was
featured as the hero, or I’d write a romance featuring me and whatever boy
I had a crush on at the time.

When I turned fifteen, I wrote my first “real story” about terrorists
taking over a high school. Funny how I have now seen that very plot made
into a movie. I couldn’t be stopped after that first “book.” I kept
writing, keeping my stories in a notebook, which I unfortunately lost when
I married and moved out of state. Then, life happened and I didn’t take up
writing again until the age of forty when my children were older and I had
time to devote to it.

In 2007, I published my first cozy mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies,
with Barbour Publishing and haven’t slowed down since. Forty books later,
and several genres added to the mix, I have no intentions of stopping this
crazy career any time soon. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.

About the author:
Multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three
cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. She
had several historical romances release in 2013, 2014, 2015 through
Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold half a million copies of her
works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to
Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband
run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the
CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of
their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two
Sulcata tortoises. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell
everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at

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