A Thoughtful Critique

Posted October 28, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Reading Choices

Tags: , , , , ,

Bountiful Woman

Bountiful Woman

Last week I had the good fortune to find a few free hours in my hectic schedule. I used them to have lunch with a writer friend and colleague who lives maybe 10 miles away from me. We chose a fabulous spot, one actually pretty much surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan and a marina, rather empty this time of year as owners are putting their boats into storage for the coming winter.

But the day was a lovely autumn day. The food was fantastic and so were the Bloody Marys.

As for the conversation? Lengthy, thoughtful, stimulating, and writing oriented. She brought up my most recent releases, the novellas comprising Soul String Saga. And she raved about the whole series and what it meant to her as she read it. After listening to her enthusiasm, I commented that I wished more readers were finding this book. I carried the essence of its theme, plot and characters in my heart for more than twenty years.

Well, she blogged about her thoughts regarding Soul String. I’m humbled by her comparison and her feelings regarding this work. Somehow her words became more powerful once she put them in print. So with her permission, I share them with you. Perhaps, you might find this series interesting too.


by Anne Parent

Posted on October 27, 2013
Free to Fly

Free to Fly

I am a feminist. I read Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystic and my life was forever changed. I’m also a romantic and a traditionalist. I know these seem at odds, but I learned that a woman is a product of her many desires. I love a happily ever after ending to a story, my love of romantic fiction. I love powerful women that I find in fiction and I especially love it when they come together.

In the early ‘80s I read Barbara Taylor Bradford’sWoman of Substance and discovered Emma Harte. I was enthralled with the entire Emma Harte saga. I can still see her struggles in building her empire. Emma Harte is symbolic of the feminist movement, but she was more about the costs for a powerful woman.

I have recently discovered another series that has reawakened my past, Casey Clifford’s Soul String Saga. B.J. Kelly spoke to me, as did Emma Harte. B.J. was of my generation, a woman of the ‘70s. Clifford reminded me of what life was like as we opened opportunities for women who came after us. She has so perfectly depicted the choices women were faced with and what they had to give up to step into a man’s world.

However, this is also the story of B.J.’s soul mate and the struggles each of them faced in finding their paths. Every woman should read this series of books to understand why she has the opportunities of today and what women before her endured.

This is the ultimate book of feminism. It is also the ultimate love story.

Feminism is a word that carries strong emotional baggage. Throughout the years it has evolved, sometimes for the good, but not always. For me, it’s about having choices, not having it all. What does it mean to you?

Serene Harbor

Serene Harbor

An Author Event

Posted September 16, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Announcements

Tags: , , , , ,

Storm's coming.

Storm’s coming.

I’ve been AWOL this summer. Change happens in life and we’ve lost a lot of our nursing help in caring for our disabled son. So I’m working many more hours. Too many hours.

Finally, something had to give and it’s been my weekly posts. Why? Because being there for our son is very important to me. But so is finishing my next book. It’s another Dessert Dames novel and the working title is Lemons Squared.

So now you know whymy weekly posts have ceased for a while–at least until life changes again and I have more time. But I haven’t forgotten you. I continue to take photos whenever I can and hope to be using them again. I do use them on my Facebook pages every now and then. 

Lots to choose from

Lots to choose from

But for those of you in the Racine/Kenosha, Wisconsin area, I’ll be participating in a Local Authors’ Showcase on Wednesday. I’m very excited that my schedule cleared enough that I could do so. I’ll be very glad to discuss my books with them. And sign my latest PR cards. If you’re in the area, I hope you stop by, Wednesday, September 18th, 4-7 PM at Andrea’s, 60th St and 24th Avenue, Kenosha.

Here’s my new PR card.And keep reading. 🙂

Summer Meltdown

Posted July 19, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Uncategorized

Kindle Owners:

The first book in the Soul String Saga is on sale for .99.

Great way to see if the series interests you. You can read more about Book 1 and the following completed books now available in various formats here. So far reader reviews rank it a straight 5 stars!

Here’s a few reader reviews from Kindle.

  • I started this book…did not stop until I finished….I immediately ordered books 2 & 3.
  • This great Casey Clifford story brought me back to…my strongest yearnings for success and most precious romantic memories and I got to relive those feelings through B.J. I can’t wait to see what comes next.


Stay-at-home Vacation

Posted June 25, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Vacations

Tags: , , , , ,

A soft sunrise with a very calm lake.

A soft sunrise with a very calm lake.

I’m posting a few photos of sunrises I’ve taken from my balcony over the past several days. I pulled my camera out because the colors were so amazing or the hues of the clouds as the sun rose.

Yes, this is what I see as long as we have a sunny day. Sunrises are one of the many reasons I love living in this particular spot.

But summer has definitely arrived and you know what topic people think about come summer. I knew you would have the answer. You didn’t disappoint.


Many of the blog sites I check on regularly as “taking a vacation” to enjoy the weather or get a break to renew their creative energy or perhaps just because what is summer without a vacation…

Well, while I can’t go away from this spot I call home because we can’t find any help to care for our disabled son, I’ve decided to relive prior vacations. I’ll do this through pulling out my photo books and scanning the best of my photos of places I’ve been to and sights that still inspire me.

I’m also starting a new novel. Those first few chapters are always the hardest to get going and most often the ones that get pitched or significantly revised. If I’m really energetic and in a writing quagmire, I might even be forced into organizing a few kitchen cabinets. (Oh, please don’t let me get that desperate!)

Another day, another hue, always glorious.

Another day, another hue, always glorious.

Anyway, I’m stepping away from blogging until mid-July. Oh, I may post a photo or two or a quick update for important items I want to share, but think of me sitting on my balcony or in my office, watching the birds, the eagles, the sunrises and moonrises.

And best of all, I won’t have to pack, put up with the hassles of air travel, or fume about the price of gas. 😉

See you in mid-July.

P.S. I’ve been working on putting my novella series, Soul StringSaga, into print for readers who love to read print books. Books 1, 2 & 3 will be in Volume 1. Books 4 & 5 will be in Volume 2. Here’s the print cover for Soul String Saga: Volume 1.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00007]

Alaskan Wildlife

Posted June 16, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Travel Sights

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A huge pod of Orcas showing off.

A huge pod of whales showing off.

Who doesn't want to see a real whale tail?

Who doesn’t want to see a real whale tail?

Last week I finished my blog post with a promise to post wild life photos taken in Alaska. Well, I keep my promise but these photos are a tiny fraction of what Alaska has to offer. Also, all of these were taken in their natural habitat. They were photo opportunities, lucky happenstances of being someplace at the right time with a camera ready to point and shoot.

Boreal Owl Denali NP

Boreal Owl Denali NP

I hope you enjoy them.

One time I was on a tour of Resurrection Bay, near Seward, AK, and a huge pod of Orcas swam very close. The captain cut the engines and announced we couldn’t move again until they left. The day was cold and drizzly and very overcast. Most of the passengers stayed inside the cabin drinking hot coffee and cocoa.

I’d brought warm rain gear and headed out to the deck and watched that family of about 15 Orcas of all sizes romp in weather they obviously enjoyed. Never got a photo. Too entranced with the show. That lasted for about 40 minutes until they did something like a synchronized “farewell” and took off.  AMAZING!!!

Dahl sheep enjoying warm temps at the roadside in Denali.

Dahl sheep enjoying warm temps at the roadside in Denali.

As I mentioned last week, photos such as these and lucky happenstances while traveling or in life can be the fodder that feeds a writer’s creativity. For those not writers, these sightings and memories of them either captured in our brains or by a camera, might inspire a painting, a collage, a mosaic, a screenplay.

Or perhaps most special of all—inspiring others with your memory and retelling. I think that’s part of why I was so happy to learn my friend and her sister loved their trip to Alaska and at least my friend hopes to go again. I’m sure she will. I’ll bring her with me.

And that concept inspired elements in the first two books of my Dessert Dames series, but most especially a chapter near the end of the second book, More Than a Trifle, that takes place in Alaska, in a very special place one of the friends decided would be the perfect place for her second marriage—starting it in a place new to both Katy, the friend getting married and her future husband Aidan.

You can see bears anywhere, even in Anchorage.

You can see bears anywhere, even in Anchorage.

But Katy brings her closet family and friends with her to share the beauty of that place and her second chance at happiness. I loved writing those scenes and all the time I wrote them I was surrounded by photos I’d taken of that place on several different visits to Alaska.

Have you ever listened to a friend or family member talk up a place they visited and then got lost in their photos? What did you do with that feeling? Those memories the photos or story embedded in your brain?

Caribou near Fairbanks

Caribou near Fairbanks

Bald eagles are abundant and always hungry.

Bald eagles are abundant and always hungry.

Dreaming of Alaska

Posted June 9, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Travel Sights

Tags: , , , , , ,

Whales of all types visit Alaskan waters.

Whales of all types visit Alaskan waters.

I had lunch this week with a friend who has just returned from in her words, “the most incredible, awesome, fantastic trip ever. What a beautiful state!”

Then she handed me her numerous photos and proceeded to tell me all the things she loved about the state.

I salivated at her memories—because, of course, I love that state also. Not only for its beauty and awesome sights, but most of all because my oldest son has made that state his home. Part of my heart will always be there.

But I also developed a serious case of lust for one of her photos. I found it incredible that she was able to get such a shot with her little camera. I want a copy of that photo. If she gives it to me, you will surely see it on this blog.

Why do I want it? Because while I’ve seen mountain sheep while I’ve been in Alaska on various trips, I’ve never been close enough to get a photo such as she did.

Waterfalls everywhere during snow melt.

Waterfalls everywhere during snow melt.

Where did she take it? Why Denali National Park which is a place everyone should see/visit.

And lucky woman that she was, the whole time she was in the park the weather was perfect and she had great shots of Mount McKinley or Denali as it is sometimes referred to. That mountain peak is so huge and high that it can create its own weather systems. Thus a visitor might be enjoying a sunny warm day in the Park but never glimpse McKinley because its peaks are shrouded in snow clouds.

And shroud is a great word to describe the clouds that can hide that beauty from a person’s view.

But all this reminds me of a note I received from my son recently. He was talking with a co-worker whose mother was reading and loving my book Fireweed which is mostly set in Alaska. Anyway, the co-worker’s mother wanted this message relayed to me. She loves my Fireweed book and wondered if I had been raised and lived a long time in Alaska. The mother said it reminded her so much of things she’d done when she and her husband first moved up there.

Glacier have deep crevasses in incredible blue.

Glacier have deep crevasses in incredible blue.

I was humbled and thankful to that reader for taking the time to send the message through my son. I got that message just before I left for the writers’ conference last weekend. And guess which of my books sold the most copies in the book sale there?

Right. Fireweed.

And how did I get those details correct so they would please a long time Alaskan resident?

My son gave her the perfect answer. Good research, long visits, and lots of phone calls to him and his expert friends.

I would have added one more item. Reviewing often the haunting photos of the state I’ve taken over the years or friends have shared with me from their trips. Photos help you relieve the moment. Find the essence. Feel the emotion and air. Smell the atmosphere.

And days can be moody and haunting...

And days can be moody and haunting…

They are memory’s friend.

Have a great week. 🙂

Posted June 3, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Book signings

Tags: , , , ,

Ahh, a red rose...

Ahh, a red rose…

I guess I know how Meryl Streep feels when she’s up for an award, or two or three, and finals but doesn’t win. So my 3 books that finaled in the Write Touch Readers Award didn’t win in their categories. But my books DID final–and with some best-selling, well-known, wonderful writers who’ve been around far longer than I have.

As a writer, that is.

So I’m still very proud of my books–an my accomplishment.

And because I’m such a generous soul, have I got an offer for you, dear readers.

Last week, before I left for the conference, my boxed set of all the Soul String novellas went live on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. The introductory price for the bundled set of 5 (sold individually for $2.99) is $5.99.

That’s a savings of $8.96.

A mini series in the making

A mini series in the making

Here are a couple of reviews for the series.

From Amazon:

These five books about B.J. Kelley are amazing. I read the first one and couldn’t wait for Book 2. Now all the books are out. This is a saga you shouldn’t miss. The main character, B. J. Kelley, is smart, interesting, and wonderful. This is a woman you can relate to and love. You only want the best for her. The men in her life are also exceptional from her father to her boyfriends. Finally, she grows up and the love of her life is hers. The plot moves right along including the mystery aspect. You will not want to put these books down. They are perfect summer reading.  5 stars


This series is well worth the wait for each section, and Clifford is good at portraying life as a wavy line, not straight up–or down, either. I liked all the books in this series, and if this is the end of Brenna & Company’s story, then I’m okay with it. But Clifford left open the possibility that Brenna’s story could continue, and I’ll want to read it if we follow these characters into new adventures. One of the things I like best about Soul String is the complete cast of great characters that show up in these books, plus all the different locales. The whole gang is back in Full Circle, too, including the creepy, dangerous guy, so in a way, there are many endings. I’ve read other books by Casey Clifford, and I’m looking forward to whatever book comes out next!  5 stars





I hope you’ll take advantage of this introductory offer.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next week.  Keep smiling and reading… 🙂

Shivery Memorial Weekend

Posted May 26, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Memorial Day

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Loons on Plummer Lake

Loons on Plummer Lake

Memorial Day weekend and here in Wisconsin—at least in this corner—we’re wishing the weather were a bit warmer so we could get outdoors and enjoy what’s supposed to be the unofficial opening weekend of summer.

We aren’t even close around here. Some of us still have our furnaces on especially at night since the temps drop low enough to think the calendar is stuck on March not the end of May.

So, since dear hubby and I are home and caring for our disabled son, I’ve had time to remember other Memorial Days and times we were able to be celebrating the holiday somewhere else and with people and loved ones not around here today.

Take for example Memorial Day 1993. My first trip to Alaska and on this particular day we visited the Portage Glacier, saw a pod of whales in Turnagain Arm when we traveled the highway from Anchorage to the Glacier. We also saw several mountain goats up close and personal as they picked their way around the steep sides of the mountains not 15-20 feet from the highway’s edge.

Wouldn’t see that in too many places.

Reflections on Plummer Lake

Reflections on Plummer Lake

Or Yosemite Valley riding a bike on a beautiful trail again getting up close and personal to some of the most beautiful acreage ever. I spent more time getting off and on that bike to take photos and since the bike was quite decrepit and didn’t have very good brakes—well, let’s just say the day was memorable for great scenery and a bike ride I never want to repeat.

Yosemite? Absolutely—and we have returned—but no bike ride for me.

Plummer Lake at sunset

Plummer Lake at sunset

Or we’ve had a few Memorial Day weekends up north at my sisters’ cabins. Those were fun weekends mixed with the work of opening cabins, doing clean up and landscaping to prepare for many more summer weekends. The one that I remember most vividly was maybe 2002 or 2003. My husband and I had a trailer hitch on my escape so we were elected to haul a trailer filled with furniture for the cabin my one sister had purchased. Beds, mattresses, kitchen appliances, living room furniture, kitchen set, lawn furniture, you name it. I was so proud of my Escape for handling that hauling job well, not to mention dealing with that holiday traffic.

Memorial Day means many things to different people. But the reason for the holiday is to remember those who gave their lives in service to their country. Before that became officially a holiday, about this time of the year families would trek to cemeteries to clear away winter debris from family plots and graves and leave flowers or some token of remembrance. That custom predated the Civil War—our bloodiest one with the highest body count. As a result the current concept got rolled into the family custom.

Last years' flowers on Memorial Day

Last years’ flowers on Memorial Day

Two great reasons to celebrate the day not only with preparing for summer but also for remembering those we’ve lost in war or just because…

I’ll be doing that also over this weekend.

I hope your weekend is a great one. That you have time to celebrate the promise of summer along with remembering those you miss in your lives.

See you next week, probably a day late as I’ll be at the Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference. Wish me luck. Three of my books are up for awards. Whether they win or not, the weekend will be great to learn more of my craft in the workshops and visit with writers for two days.

Dreams Do Come True

Posted May 19, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Goals

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

From Alaska son

From Alaska son

Last Sunday was Mothers’ Day. Since I am a mother, I made a decision to treat myself to a day when I did nothing. Well, I did things with my hubby. We took the day to visit, take a drive, eat out. Just do whatever we felt like doing—together.

I visited with my sons, two at the cemetery near my mom and dad, one by phone as he’s in Alaska, and one in our home as he lives with us. I sat in my living room, thought about the next book that’s cooking in my brain, watched the lake, and started reading a new book. I enjoyed the home made key lime pie my hubby made for me. I admired the lovely flowers I received from the men in my life who love me.

From youngest son

From youngest son

It was a marvelous day.

A vacation day if you will.

Something I don’t take as often as I should.

But since my last post, I’ve accomplished something I never thought would happen. Three of my books finaled in three different categories of the same readers judged contest, The Write Touch Readers Award. The winners will be announced on June 1st—just a few weeks from now. The books were as follows:

An Island No More—romantic suspense. (This book took second place in the Bean Pot Readers Choice and has finaled in the 2013 Award of Excellence contest.)

Better Than Dessert—mainstream.

Seasons of Wine and Love—single title.

From hubby

From hubby

I got the call one evening when I was exhausted. I’d been caring for our disabled son who lives with us and been up for 40 hours straight. I’d just showered and gotten into my jammies and was on a path for bed when the phone rang. I ignored it instead crawling into bed.

But my hubby walked into the bedroom and insisted I take the phone. Of course, I figured the call couldn’t be a good one. (I tend to get negative when overtired to the tenth power.)

I picked up the phone and said hello. Hesitation colored my voice I’m sure. That didn’t last long.

Of course, I was beyond excited at the news. (I’d hoped to final with one book but when she continued with number 2 and 3, well, I was flabbergasted.) However, I was also half asleep. I’m sure I didn’t make any sense during our conversation and I’ll have to apologize when or if I see the woman at the awards luncheon—yes, I’ll be there for that.

Those lilacs brought spring into the room

Those lilacs brought spring into the room

After the call I fell asleep and slept for maybe nine hours. When I woke the next morning to coffee, I sat in my chair and looked at my husband. Then I said to him, “I had the strangest dream last night.”

“You did?” He set the paper down and turned to me. “What was it about?”

“You woke me up and insisted I take a call. The caller told me three of my books finaled in a contest.”

Dear hubby chuckled. “Honey, that wasn’t a dream. That happened.”

“Don’t tease me.”

“I’m not. I listened in on the other phone. You really did.”

Well, let me tell you hearing my dream really wasn’t a dream made my day. My week and ever since. Writers always dream of getting calls such as that one—ones that bring news of success because finaling is special. It is another measure of success. However, I’m so glad this is one dream that wasn’t a dream, but real.

I wonder–have any of you “slept through” a moment of success?

Yellow roses were the first flowers hubby sent me--delivered to my classroom.

Yellow roses were the first flowers hubby sent me–delivered to my classroom.

P.S.  Today is hubby and my 34th anniversary. Our romance started with another phone call. His to me. Sort of asking me if I dated. I answered “not really.” He asked why. I answered “No time and more importantly no one’s asked.”

I’m so glad he asked.

When A Pitcher Lives With Hoarders

Posted May 5, 2013 by caseyclifford
Categories: Character traits

Tags: , , , , , , ,

So close to the lake no leafy trees yet.

So close to the lake no leafy trees yet.

I’m not quite willing to say winter has truly decided to leave us and spring has arrived. But maybe it’s happening. I hope. At least I’m more optimistic than I’ve been though we did have some cold days and nights early last week.

It could have been worse. Areas of Wisconsin got over a foot of heavy snow, so much schools closed down for at least a day. When I heard that I was thankful for the dreary skies and sleety rain.

However, what has happened in the past few days allowed my hope to spring forth. Thus you have the photos of the few plants that have filled out and/or bloomed in the past day and a half. Aren’t they lovely? I had to take photos of them and post.

But to keep this in perspective our trees are being stubborn as you can see from these other photos. Sure the evergreens are green but they don’t count. We still have BARE LIMBS visible. We’ll need more than a few days of warmer temps and sunshine to have these trees leaf out.

But they're trying...

But they’re trying…

A few miles further inland the trees are now in leaf. In fact the magnolias are blooming. Ours has barely budded. I checked on my walk around.

What I also noticed which I guess is a sign of spring is the dandelions are out in full bloom and spreading fast. So are the weeds which are abundant. Why is it those nuisancey, nasty bits of vegetation manage to survive the worst of weather? (Okay, I’ll admit it…the only dandelions I ever loved were the ones my sons picked and gave to me before they learned how much work it was to get rid of them in the lawn.)

Yes, even in the plant world the forces of the “Evil Empire” rule far too often. 😦

Upon opening my garage door this morning...

Upon opening my garage door this morning…

While I’m on a rant of sorts, this past week made me face the fact I’ve been trying to avoid. Both my husband and our disabled son are hoarders. I finally bit the bullet and cleaned out the refrigerator. It took all day—mostly because my husband hoards leftovers in there and then he forgets about them. So a found many disgusting life forms gelatinous or furry and of varying putrid colors. I’d have to take breaks just from being on a sensory overload of horrid derivation. I lectured. He smiled and ignored all I said, I’m sure.

But that task did prepare me for dealing with my son’s living area.

As a vent dependent quadriplegic, my son is able only to move his head. Which means his caregivers and family must do everything for him. So if he hoards, that means we all contribute to it. So I guess I must count myself among them.

However, I’ve been on a rant about that. And it’s not easy to be on a rant against someone in his condition. Here’s the backstory. His living area needed new flooring. That meant I spent the whole week cleaning up, packing up, and finding places to put his “stuff.” (Think in my roomy living space because I’m not a hoarder).

For example, I uncovered 5 keyboards—none of them in use. Pieces of electronic equipment he doesn’t even know what he used to use them for—once upon a time. 1000s of CDs, DVDs, video tapes, cords, power cords, things I can’t put a name to because I don’t know what they are or what they might belong to. Neither does Steven.

In my garden. Just buds yesterday.

In my garden. Just buds yesterday.

Can I get rid of them? At least the duplicates and/or triplicates?

“No,” he answered.

Think broken stuff, unused clothing and old tennis shoes. Old magazines, file folders, cards. Just piled up.

So I asked again, “Can I get rid of this stuff?” and got the same answer. (Sorry, it’s going…and that will be another long and sullen day together.)

I know this is a control issue since he has no control over his body or his life. But still. From the dust on most of what I’ve moved around and carried upstairs, and eventually now to the dumpsters, he’s never looked at this stuff. In years. I mean major dust bunnies. Most of them as frightening as those alien life forms I found in the fridge.

Coral Bells made it through winter...

Coral Bells made it through winter…

I also know he’s inherited it from his father. So you understand this is a constant battle I fight.

Also you know what I’ll be doing next week. It will likely take me that long. I’d much prefer writing the beginning chapter/s of my next book where my main characters won’t have this flaw, though maybe a secondary one might. I’ve certainly got a lot of material to work with now.

Hope you have a great week.

I''m thinking spring and planting next...

I”m thinking spring and planting next…