Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Happy Spring! I’m participating in the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop sponsored by author, Dianne Venetta.Over the next ten days, authors and bloggers will be sharing gardening tips, recipes and giving away books on their blogs.

There is also a grand prize for the entire blog hop of one ereader and one $25 gift card. In order to be entered for the grand prize, you must comment on all the blogs participating in the blog hop. You can find the entire list of blogs participating here.

On my blog, I’m sharing a recipe for Crab Cakes which is from my memoir, Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention.

Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention is the story of my seven-year experience running a poetry workshop at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. During that time, my Dad passed away and some of the memoir includes my teen age years growing up and his recipes. One of the recipes is Crab Cakes which his Dad, my grandfather, made for us the first trip we took with Dad as a divorced parent to see his family in Norfolk, Virginia.



Dad’s Crab Cakes


1 cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped parsley

½ cup butter

1 cup evaporated milk

1 egg

Thyme, salt, pepper to taste

2 cups crabmeat (from can okay, if fresh crab not available)

1 cup breadcrumbs


Parmesan cheese


Sauté onion, celery and parsley in a little oil. Add crabmeat and thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through. Add bread crumbs (or packaged stuffing), milk, lightly beaten egg. Toss well.

Shape in crab shells (or custard dishes), sprinkle with bread crumbs, parmesan, dot with butter, dust lightly with paprika.


Brown in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.


As a part of the Authors In Bloom Blog Hop, I’m giving away a signed print copy of my sweet contemporary romance, Sweetheart Summer! This is a sweet contemporary romance from my series, Cranberry Bay.

To be entered to win a copy of Sweetheart Summer AND the grand prize drawing for the blog hop of an ereader and gift card, please leave your name, email address and one comment about what you love about spring. Please only one comment per person. (US and INT entries)




Goodreads Giveaway for Kids in Orange

I’m giving away three signed print copies of Kids In Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention.

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Kids in Orange by Mindy Hardwick

Kids in Orange

by Mindy Hardwick

Giveaway ends March 28, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



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Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention Available



Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention is now available in both print and ebook.


Barnes and Noble



Blurb: The gang leader doesn’t like poetry, but will a detention center workshop show her how to express love for her newborn daughter?  A teen boy dies of a drug overdose. Will his final poem speak what he cannot say?

In the middle of a career change from teacher to writer, Mindy Hardwick volunteered to facilitate a weekly poetry workshop at a juvenile detention center. By helping the teens write poetry about their lives, Mindy discovered strength and courage to grieve the loss of her father, find forgiveness and release the past.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be used as a grant to hire writers to work with teens at Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Writing the book was a ten-year process including seven years of running the workshop with the kids. For the last three years during March, I worked on the story, spreading the pages across my dining room table as I tried to make sense of a structure which included short vignettes, the teen’s poetry and my dad’s recipes from his blog. March in the Pacific NW is a hard month. The grey rainy days of winter linger and linger and it seems as though spring will never arrive.It always seemed like a good time to work on this book.

I knew the story would include three voices–mine, my Dad’s and the teens I had worked with, I just didn’t know how to weave it all together and it took a strenuous post graduate semester with Vermont College that involved more tears than I can count as well as my Dad dying at the end of that semester for it to finally come together.

Perhaps the hardest part for me to overcome in the telling was my own personal resistance to telling the truth.  As a child and teenager so often I put on a smile and pretended nothing was wrong in a family that was exploding at the seams with alcoholism. Years and years later, I was shocked to find that defense mechanism blocking me at every turn when I sat down to write the story. It took the a very kind and patient critique from a dear friend and writer who asked me very gently but firmly to go just one layer more before I finally knew the story was finished.

During the month of February I taught an on-line class, Writing and Resistance: Overcoming the Obstacles to Our Success. As I taught the class, I was working through the edits and proof reading on the formatting of the manuscript. Due to the poems, recipes and short vignettes the format process was as challenging as writing the book had been and there were many times the file would come back and I would think let’s just stop. I can’t read this story one more time. Let’s just quit.

But I knew–keep going. Don’t give up. You’re almost there. Even on the day of release (today) when the book went up on Amazon and the Kindle edition didn’t link with the print and I had to  contact Amazon and ask for it to be linked, that little voice said, Don’t give up. You’re almost there. You’re almost there.

And then the book posted and very appropriately it was March 1 and that story is no longer on my dining room table and there is a part of me that feels like I did when my Dad died, as if something inside of me has suddenly been released and the voices of my dad, the kids in detention, and myself is finally free.



Valentine’s Day Giveaway

We had a snow day–which is a treat for the Seattle area because everything shuts down and the world goes very very still for about twenty-four hours.

I took advantage of the day to get some Valentine’s Day sewing done and am giving away one Valentine’s Day apron and a signed print copy of SWEETHEART SUMMER.





The giveaway is going on at Mindy Hardwick, Romance Author Facebook Page and all you have to do is  leave me a comment and I will pick one winner on Friday.

Please comment on the Facebook page here.

Good luck!

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Cover Art Reveal Kids in Orange

I am happy to reveal the cover art for Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention as well as the blurb! The book will release in both print and ebook in mid-February!



Blurb: The gang leader doesn’t like poetry, but will a detention center workshop show her how to express love for her newborn daughter?  A teen boy dies of a drug overdose. Will his final poem speak what he cannot say?

In the middle of a career change from teacher to writer, Mindy Hardwick volunteered to facilitate a weekly poetry workshop at a juvenile detention center. By helping the teens write poetry about their lives, Mindy discovered strength and courage to grieve the loss of her father, find forgiveness and release the past.

Cover Art Designed by: Earthly Charms 

Also, the Daily Astorian ran a nice profile article about the Cranberry Bay romance this week. You can read that article here.

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Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop



Happy Holidays! I am participating in the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop sponsored by BookHounds.

This month I have been drafting the third book in the Cranberry Bay series, SWEETHEART WEDDING, release date is summer 2017. Since I have been in the wedding mood, I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway of a couple winter wedding books. In order to be entered in the giveaway, please leave me a comment about your favorite holiday memory and your email address. (US or INT). I will choose one winner and announce by January 2 ,2017.

The first is A Season to Wed which is a collection of three novellas all about weddings at Christmas.




The second is the latest Brenda Novak book, A WINTER WEDDING set in her town, Whiskey Creek.


You can find all the blogs participating in the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop here.





Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day Winner



Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog for Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

The winner of the hand towel and apron is Jeanna Massman!

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Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day



It’s Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! This is a great opportunity for sewers, crafters and those who enjoy giving and receiving handmade gifts!

You can find everything from fabric to supplies to handmade items. The the links for Sew Mama Sew Day are here.

I have been meeting once a month with a group of fun gals in a stitch group and working on embroidery. I’m giving away one of my hand embroidered towels–it’s snowmen so you can keep out after the holidays! As well as a half-apron from a favorite pattern of mine I discovered this fall, an apron in an hour. You can find the pattern here.



The gals in my sweet contemporary romance books, SWEETHEART SUMMER and SWEETHEART COTTAGE (with forthcoming SWEETHEART WEDDING (Summer 2017) love to sew and participate in a sewing circle. You can learn more about the series set in the fictional small town of Cranberry Bay located on the north Oregon coast here. The books are available in both ebooks and print here. Sweetheart Summer_MindyHardwick_800

Sweetheart Cottage by Mindy Hardwick_Final Ebook

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is open until Sunday December 11. Please leave me a comment with your email address (US entries only) and I will announce a winner by Wednesday, December 14. Your items will ship priority mail by the 16th so you should have them in time for Christmas if you’d like to give them as gifts.





Creating Characters from Life Class



In January, I am teaching an online class for adults (older teens are welcome to attend too) with the Loft Literary Center.

Creating Characters from Your Life is a six-week on-line class that starts January 18 and runs until March 1. You can register here.

Let’s explore how to create characters from life and give meaning to our struggles and triumphs by drawing on life experiences to create fictional characters for any length or genre of story. We’ll begin by brainstorming ideas for characters including: truth and lies, love and betrayal, and first and lasts. Next, we’ll look at how character archetypes can help us move from fact to fiction by creating bigger than life characters.

Every story has two sides, and it’s important to explore the point of view of our villain too. We’ll look at not only what makes our villain bad, but more importantly what makes them good. No great story is complete without the wise mentor or wizard and We’ll examine how to show and not preach those wise moments to our hero.

Finally, we’ll give our hero the moment they have been waiting for and construct a scene in which they will confront the dragon while learning how to create tension and craft dialogue that makes the scene sizzle. At the end of class, students will understand how to create a character from life and write a fictional scene which empowers both the reader and writer.



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Write For Rights


Amnesty International’s Program, Write for Rights. takes place during the month of December.

From the website: Sometimes a letter can change someone’s life. That’s the premise of Write for Rights, Amnesty’s global letter-writing campaign. Today, it’s one of the world’s biggest human rights events.

Every December, Amnesty supporters across the globe will write millions of letters for those whose basic human rights are being attacked. They are people like you, continuing a long tradition of writing letters to right some of the world’s biggest wrongs.

And it’s not just letters – it could be petitions, emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, photos, postcards. Your words really can change lives. Join us.

The list of this year’s cases can be found here.

Amnesty International has done all the work and sample letters can be found for each person as well as ways to submit on-line letters in support of this year’s cases rights.

It only takes a few minutes, but Write for Rights is a great way to champion for someone who has lost their rights. I hope you will join me in writing.

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