Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Stained Glass Summer Free At Musa Publishing


Musa Publishing is celebrating the 13 Days of Christmas by offering free books every day. STAINED GLASS SUMMER is free today on their website.

You can download the book here!


Blurb: Twelve-year-old Jasmine adores her photographer Father and wants to be an artist just like him. But when Dad abandons the family, Jasmine is sent to spend the summer with her Uncle on a Pacific Northwest Island. Soon, Jasmine is learning stained glass from island glass artist, Opal, and thinking she might just be developing a crush on Island boy, Cole. But, it’s not until Jasmine finds herself mentoring another young artist that she can truly let go of her Father and call herself an artist by her own terms.

STAINED GLASS SUMMER is a 2013 Epic Ebook Award Finalist in Children’s Books.

There is also a free study guide at my website here.

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No Kiss Blog Fest is Coming…

No Kiss Blogfest Image

The No Kiss Blog Fest is coming.…..

What is the No Kiss Blog Fest? It’s when bloggers (authors and readers can participate), post a scene from their work-in-progress, a published book, or even a movie clip where the hero and heroine are about to kiss, but don’t…it’s the great build up to the kiss! It’s the flirting and the tension to that kiss moment.

At the Seattle RWA Conference, I took a great workshop by romance author, Terry McLaughlin, where we talked about writing that kiss scene. Some of the things she mentioned included:

  • Write at least a page or two for the build up to the kiss scene
  • Place the scene near the end of a chapter break or section break so the POV character can switch immediately after the kiss, or the almost kiss.
  • The POV of the scene should be told through the character who is most vulnerable at that moment
  • Consider the scene where the kiss takes place–Are the characters so involved with each other, they don’t notice the setting, or are they trying not to notice each other and the sensory details are noticed everywhere.

So, get ready–on January 2nd, I’ll be posting a scene or a clip from a movie that’s almost a kiss….

And for those of you who would like to play along, you can sign up for The No Kiss Blog Fest here.

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Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day Winner

Giveaway Day Tote

The winner of the Holiday Tote during the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is….Samantha Lurie!


Congratulations Samantha! Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by!

Happy Holidays!

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Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day


I’m really excited to be participating in Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! Actually…it’s more a Giveaway Week as the giveaway period runs from December 8- December 12 until 5 p.m. (PST). You can find giveaways for patterns, fabric and supplies here.

And you can find homemade giveaway items here.

One of the things I like to do when I’m not writing children’s and romance stories is sew and craft. It’s a great creative outlet for those times when stories are brewing! And…as what usually happens–one of the characters in my next contemporary romance also sews.

So…without further ado….

Giveaway Day Tote

I’m giving away this cute holiday tote bag made out of cotton fabric. It can be used to wrap up a gift, tote your gifts to the family’s home for the holidays or save it for yourself and hang it up as decoration!

In order to enter the giveaway all you have to do is tell me a name of your favorite children’s holiday story (U.S. mailing addresses only). Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner. I will draw one name and announce the winner on December 14, 2014!

Good luck!

And again, you can find a list of all the blogs participating in the Giveaway Day here.


Short Holiday Reads

Time during the holidays gets a little short, but sometimes it’s great to take fifteen minutes and get lost in a holiday romance. Here are a few of the ones I’ve written, including ELF SHOES, which is a companion story to STAINED GLASS SUMMER and is available as a free download here.

A little bit behind the scenes of ELF SHOES–This fall, I visited Orcas Island for a few days. Orcas island is the setting which inspired STAINED GLASS SUMMER. During my visit, I walked around Rosario Resort and I suddenly had this feeling that Samson and Lexi, my teen characters from ELF SHOES might walk across the lawn, at any minute, wearing their Santa suits and Elf costumes!


elfshoes-200Blurb: Fourteen-year-old Alexa loves to volunteer as an elf at the Island Santa Workshop but this year her costume elf shoes feel a little too tight. When childhood playmate, sixteen-year-old Samson, turns up to play Santa, Alexa finds herself trying to convince Samson to see her as more than just one of the “boys.” Can first love be found this holiday season at Santa’s Workshop?


New YEar Heart Song

Blurb: Successful concert pianist, Angie is happy to return home for the holiday where she can forget her career troubles and enjoy the opening season of the Elmheart Hotel. The only thing she didn’t plan is running into Caleb who is working as the hotel handyman and doing his best to raise his seven-year old son, Jesse.  When a snowstorm throws Angie and Caleb together as hosts of the hotel’s New Year Eve party, will an old song ignite a New Year love?  NEW YEAR HEART SONG is a part of the Elmheart Hotel sweet, contemporary novella series.

You can buy NEW YEAR HEART SONG here.


Love's Christmas Gift-001Blurb: Skipper Bill and Elizabeth have been friends forever. But, when Elizabeth is offered a job interview across the country, these two friends are going to need the help of a little mistletoe to find their holiday romance. Can mistletoe turn friendship to Christmas romance in this short holiday romance?

You can buy LOVE’S CHRISTMAS GIFT here.

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Books for the Ferguson Library

The Ferguson Public Library is looking for book donations–especially children’s and romance. I grew up in St. Louis and immediately popped a signed copy of WEAVING MAGIC and ROMANCE FOR ALL THE SEASONS into the mail to the library.

Here is more information on how to help:
The Ferguson Municipal Public Library is struggling to keep its doors open to provide the community and especially schoolchildren with a ​warm and ​safe place to learn when many other organizations in the city –
including the schools – ​remain​ closed due to the unrest.

Here is an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch -

A social media campaign has started via Facebook and Twitter for funds and
BOOKS. You can follow the grassroots campaign on Twitter

Monetary donations can be made directly on the library’s website

If you have BOOKS TO DONATE, they can be sent directly to the library at:

​ ​

Ferguson Municipal Public Library

​​35 North Florissant Road

​Ferguson, Missouri 63135


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The Curse at Pirate’s Cove by Rita Monette


I’m very excited to have children’s author and illustrator, Rita Monette on the blog. Rita is talking about her new book, THE CURSE AT PIRATE’S COVE. (Musa Publishing). This is the second book in a series of swamp legends featuring Nikki Landry, a young girl living in the bayous of Louisiana in the 1950’s.  THE CURSE OF PIRATE’S COVE is the sequel to THE LEGEND OF GHOST DOG ISLAND.  You can read more about THE LEGEND OF GHOST DOG ISLAND on a blog interview on this blog here. Rita also keeps a great blog, Tales of the Bayou,



Welcome Rita!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your middle grade book: THE CURSE AT PIRATE’S COVE?

In this book, Nikki has reached a milestone. Her papa had told her she could ride her bike to school when she turned eleven. But all is not well. No sooner has she left home, when her rusted old bike falls apart. Now it’s back to riding the smelly old school bus until Papa can afford another one…unless she can figure out something on her own.

Nikki’s friend, Spikes, tells her about an old pirate ship resting in a cove at a swamp island, and a legend that there’s buried treasure nearby. With every legend there is a dire warning, but legends don’t scare Nikki. After she blows out her birthday candles, she makes a wish. But did that wish trigger a curse?

2. THE CURSE AT PIRATE’S COVE is a sequel to your first book, THE LEGEND OF GHOST DOG ISLAND, what were some of the challenges of writing a sequel?

The challenges I found in writing a sequel using the same group of characters is that I had to re-introduce them, and give a little background information, without doing a page long info dump. During my edits, I found I had to go back and clarify some characters, landmarks, as well as incidents, that had happened in the first book. Tip: Let someone read your draft that hasn’t read the first or previous books. And if they start asking questions, you’ve probably left something out. Great tip, Thanks Rita!
3. Can you tell us a little bit about how you created the main character, Nikki Landry? Any tips or tricks for creating a character that has many adventures?

Nikki was easy. She was me at that age. The difference is that I had to make her more daring than I was in order to get her involved in the adventures and solve the mysteries. Nikki is sassy and gets into trouble more than once. She is tenacious when it comes to getting to the bottom of things, and learning the truth behind the legends. Although Nikki is tough, she has a soft side when it comes to her dog Snooper, her close friends, and her family.

I think the traits a character needs for adventure stories needs is to be likeable and strong willed. Very well said!
4. What is your favorite scene in THE CURSE AT PIRATE’S COVE? Why? Please post a short excerpt of the scene.

I have many favorite scenes, but the one that shows Nikki and Spikes’ relationship, and sets the tone for the book, is the one where she is talking with her friend in the old oak tree on the school grounds where they usually eat their lunch. (Warning: Nikki’s English leaves a lot to be desired.)

“I ain’t believing there’s no pirate ship out in those swamps.” I lifted my chin.
“Just hear me out, Tomboy.” He sounded impatient. “There’s a legend that goes along with it, see.” He leaned toward me and lowered his voice. “There might even be a curse.”
“A legend?” He had my attention. I prided myself in being a super legend buster ever since I solved the one about Ghost Dog Island last year. I even got my picture in the newspaper. “And what about that curse? Well? Come on, tell me about it.”
“I’m trying to.” He waved his hands in the air.
We propped ourselves against a couple of large limbs and got out our lunch bags.
“Uncle Luke says he first heard about it back when he was a kid. He says a friend of his grandfather, by the name of Beco, was out trapping on Fog Island with his buddy Clamare. They came across this here hole in the ground with a half-buried wooden chest, see. It had a big old lock on it. A couple of old coins sat there in the dirt, so Clamare picked them up and slipped them in his pocket. Beco decided he’d go back for some tools and shovels to dig the rest of it out, and told Clamare to stay there and watch the chest. On his way out to the edge of the island, he saw this ragged old ship. Thinking it was kind of odd-looking for being in the swamps and all, he got a little closer. It had a broken mast and raggedy sails.” He poked me with his elbow. “When was the last time you ever saw a fishing boat with sails?”
I shook my head. “Never.” I unwrapped a peanut butter and jam sandwich and took a bite. “What’d he do?”
“Well, he started to board it, see?” Spikes dug into his own lunch bag. “But then he heard some talking coming out of the boat. He stopped right then and there, ’cause he didn’t know who might be on that old wreck out in the middle of nowhere, and there weren’t no other boats around. This one had a big old hole in the hull, so it couldn’t have sailed there on its own. At least any time in recent history.”
“Then, what?” I licked some of the jam off my fingers.
“Then, someone stuck his head up over the bow, see. He had on one of them three pointed hats that pirates always wore. Old Beco yelled a big hello, and the man took out a pistol and shot over his head. Well, Beco took off right then and there. That night, he went down to T-Noon’s bar and got drunk, and told some other fellows about it. The next day, they all went back out to the island with shovels and brought guns just in case that crazy guy in the boat was still there.”
“Was he?” I asked.
“Nope. The ship was gone, and so was Clamare.”
“What about the treasure?”
“They never found it. Not even the hole it was in.”

 Thank you for stopping by, Rita! Readers who want to learn more about your books can find you at:




 Musa Publishing


Rita-studio pic cropped-croppedRita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. After retiring from her job as an administrative assistant, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write, draw, and paint. Five long years later, Musa Publishing offered her a contract for her debut middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, and now the sequel, The Curse at Pirate’s Cove, which also include her artwork. Her stories are set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. Rita now lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee.


Shop Small Business Saturday–Author Book Signing


5463cf754ddbbThis Saturday, November 29, is Shop Small Business. This is a great opportunity to get out and support your local booksellers and local authors! As a part of the Nationwide event, I’ll be doing a book signing at Page 2 Books in Burien, Washington. There will be authors at the bookstore all day, and you can see the whole line-up of authors here. I’ll be there from 4:00-5:30 p.m. I’m reading from my young adult novel, WEAVING MAGIC, and doing a Q and A. Afterward, I will be signing copies of both WEAVING MAGIC and ROMANCE FOR ALL THE SEASONS.

RomanceforAllSeasons3 500x750-1Blurb: Bestselling author, Mindy Hardwick’s sweet contemporary Sailor Series and Elmheart Hotel Series are together for the first time in this anthology, ROMANCE FOR ALL THE SEASONS. These six novellas will delight your heart at Valentine’s Day, sweeten hot summer days, banish Halloween ghosts and goblins and warm your soul during the holidays.

Romance For All The Seasons makes a perfect gift for a reader who loves a story at every holiday.


Weaving Magic - Front cover 72 dpiBlurb: He loves magic. She loves romance. But the biggest illusion is the one Shantel and Christopher perform together.  Sixteen- year- old Christopher fights to stay sober while fifteen-year-old Shantel struggles in the aftermath of her mother’s death and seeks refuge in a fantasy world. But the unacknowledged roots of their problems refuse to stay buried and soon, the two are headed toward a deadly magic trick. Can Shantel and Christopher move beyond magical illusions to find love?

Weaving Magic is a great gift for a reader in eighth or ninth grade–(Ages 13-15).

There is also a free, study guide for WEAVING MAGIC here.

Stop by your local, independent bookseller and visit with your local authors!



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Blog Links of Interest

Happy Friday!

Here are some great writing tips and links for your browsing pleasure!

If you want a little clarity on what hashtags to use on Twitter, check out this great post over at Writers in the Storm.  Twitter is not my favorite social media to use, but hashtags do make it easier to find and follow certain conversations and topics I am bookmarking this one for future reference!

Having trouble pacing your scene or chapter? Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers Blog wrote a great blog post on how to keep your pacing smooth and balanced. Another good one to bookmark!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this month? I’ve done it in the past and tried to do it this year, but about eight days into it, I realized it just wasn’t possible for me to do it this time. Partially it was because I already did a fast draft of my contemporary romance in-progress in August and September, and so I’m on a second draft of it now which is much slower and involves me flushing out the details and keeping the pacing and characters going in the same direction. And part of it was I simply had too many other author commitments this month, between speaking events, writing and designing an on-line class for January, and an upcoming book signing over the Black Friday weekend, I just kept getting bumped out of the pure “time to write.” mode.  I loved seeing this blog post over at Seekerville about the reasons author, Myra Johnson is not doing NaNoWriMo.

Finally, the Linus Chapter of Snohomish is collecting handmade quilts and blankets to comfort the teens affected by the shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High school which took place last month and took the lives of five teens.  If you are local, you can drop off your blankets and quilts at Pacific Fabrics in Everett where they are collecting them. If you are not local, and you’d like to participate, I’d be happy to drop off blankets for you if they can be mailed to me. The blankets need to be at Pacific Fabrics by December 31, 2014 Please email me if you need to mail them and we can set something up. The details for the blankets size can be found here.



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Oh What a Character–On-Line Class for Teens at the Loft


In January, I’m teaching another on-line class for teens at The Loft Literary Center, Oh What a Character: Crafting Unique Story People.

Characters are the key to the story, but how do we craft compelling characters that go beyond the cookie cutter variety? In this class for teen writers, we’ll explore character archetypes as well as the sociology and psychology of all our story characters. We’ll look at how to craft multifaceted antagonists and best friends who can spin off into their own stories. The class includes writing exercises, reading and discussion, and opportunities to support others in our online community through the sharing of our writing. Beginning to advanced teen writers will learn how to deepen their story writing skills by creating strong characters.

As a part of the class, we’ll write two fun scenes to help us get to know our characters better. The class is taught through the Loft’s on-line website and both writing assignments will be critiqued using the workshop method by peer writers and myself.

Here is a little sample of the two scenes we’ll be writing:

Writing Assignment Scene One:

“Why I Stole It.”--From the view point of either your main character, their best friend, or the antagonist character select an object from YOUR house, and have your character tell you why they stole it. The object should be something with sentimental value such as a souvenir from the last trip you took with an older sibling before they went to college, or something ordinary such as a spoon in the kitchen. Try to stay away from the large, obvious, expensive items a thief might steal–electronics, expensive cars, fancy china, paintings. The one exception might be a piece of jewelry that had sentimental value–but this should be played with as in What if..the jewelry was NOT expensive. The writing should be no longer than 800 words, double-spaced.

Writing Assignment Scene Two:

“The Rattlesnake in the Drawer.”–Your character is going about their daily life and routine, when they find something unexpected that brings about a strong reaction. This should be a physical object that creates a physical or mental threat, or a mystery, real or imagined. The “rattlesnake in the drawer” should be something reasonably found in the house but changes the course of direction of the scene for your character. For example, a twelve-year-old girl finds an old wedding photo album in the attic, but instead of the pictures being her mom and dad, they are her dad and aunt. Pick the room in the house from the following list: Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, closet, basement, garage, attic.


And here’s how we’ll talk about them in workshop:

What do you like? See if you can be clear with what you like. Do you like the opening? The middle? The character? The ending? The point of view? Be specific about what aspects of the character in this scene are working for you.

What bumps you? Where are you confused?

What questions do you have? What do you want to know more about?

Registration is now open here. If you register by December 12, 2014, there is a $10 off registration.

The class would make a great holiday gift for a teen writer.

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