Mystery ~ Romance ~ Adventure
by Karen Sue Burns on October 26th, 2014

Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. – Doug Firebaugh
I retired from my day life as a university controller and CPA a few months ago and I’m now living the free and easy life of a 21st century retiree. Right.
The first few months have been spent goofing off . . . er, I mean getting accustomed to a new schedule, or actually lack of one. After forty-some years of working and getting up every week day morning in the dark, I decided to get my body set at a different schedule. It surprised me that it only took a month or so to adjust. I’m flexible that way. I now stay up late and get up later.
I like it. Finally, I’m in control of my own time.
Retirement from accounting has meant that I have more time to devote to writing. Of course, that devotion only kicked in after eight months. Remember the goofing off phase?
I have a writing plan for the rest of 2014 and one for 2015 as well. This is truly a first for me. I’m excited about the October 29 release of my first collection of short stories set in Sugar Land, Texas—Christmas in Sugar Land. I’ve worked hard to get this book ready to go. It includes additional content I called Enriched Content—recipes, photo’s and author notes—that’s referenced throughout the story text. It’s a way to enhance the reader experience—I hope!
Anyway, I’m going to take my dog, Dexter, for a walk. I love the fall weather on the Texas Gulf Coast!

by Karen Sue Burns on April 1st, 2013

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison

Did you know writing is a lot like making love? The more you do it, the better you get. Now I could have said gourmet cooking or gardening, but I wanted to get your attention. Why, you ask.

Well, it seems like a fun way to mention the fact that I love to write. Yep, it’s true, and not just fiction, but non-fiction as well. I’ve had plenty of practice over the years at my day job. I can write a policy and procedure in my sleep. Seriously! Forget that stereotype that accountants are boring. I’m here to tell you we are party animals and we love to read romance fiction.
Apparently, we aren’t alone. In 2011, romance fiction generated nearly $1.4 billion in sales…Wow! Women make up 91 percent of the romance book buyers, who are most likely to be aged between 30 and 54 years in the U.S. This is good information for a romance writer.

It’s nice to know there is a market for your work. After all, writing isn’t a hobby for me. I hope it will help fund my retirement in a few years.

The person who is the most supportive of my writing is my longtime friend, Carolyn Ross. She lives in Florida so we usually get together somewhere other than home. We love to travel. Las Vegas is a favorite destination and yes, I’m in the negative column when it comes to slot machines. Carolyn is my beta reader and has offered to be my handler if I ever do a signing tour. Yep, she’s the best.

Writing is a solitary activity. Thank heavens for cable TV, TMZ, and red wine for distracting me from writing every waking hour. Oh yeah, and the day job as well. A girl needs balance in her life—however, if I sleep less, I will have more hours to write. Hmm, I’ll have to think about that.

My latest published work is a story, Second Time at Love, in book two of the Seasons of Love anthology, Spring Promise. Details are on the home page. Enjoy all the stories in Spring Promise, y’all!

by Karen Sue Burns on November 17th, 2012

I love to travel and decided early on in the creation of my debut romantic suspense novel with Crimson Romance, In Hot Pursuit, that I wanted part of the action to take place in Rome, Italy. Rome is the perfect city for a newly rich thief to ramble around in and feel perfectly safe from any harm that might be brewing in Texas. It is also the perfect city for the two main characters, Quinn and Logan, to fall in love while they chase the thief.

My goal was to give the reader a taste of Rome by intertwining the search for the thief with its beauty and tourist attractions. In addition to the ambiance of the Roman streets and restaurants, Logan and Quinn visited five major monuments in their search: the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter's Square, and the Coliseum. First, I used the Pantheon as "home port" for Quinn. It was a landmark close to their hotel and provided a sense of comfort for her.

The Spanish Steps is popular with Americans and the location of Quinn's first visual sighting of the thief at the Piazza di Spagna. The piazza is the street below the steps and once Quinn and Logan arrive there, the thief has disappeared. Quinn voices her frustration to Logan at not yet locating the thief and vows to herself that "she’d find that bitch and in Rome."
The Trevi Fountain is their next stop on their Roman journey hunting for the thief. Quinn and Logan both throw a US quarter into the water, over their left shoulder, ensuring a return visit to Rome per the urban legend. Quinn's thoughts on this simple, comforting act: "They had crossed an unspoken boundary. The warmth of his gaze filled her with hope. Hope that what lay ahead wouldn’t bite her in the butt. But at that moment, the planets in her world were in perfect alignment."
St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica have a special place in the plot as this is where Quinn learns the name of the Rome hotel where the thief is hiding out. It's their destination the morning after they first make love and where they cross the line of dancing around each other to acknowledging they are happy being in Rome, together. Logan kisses Quinn in the center of the Square and says: “That’s something I’ve wanted to do for twenty years. Thank you for being here with me.”

My final monument to share is the Coliseum, the background for the cover of In Hot Pursuit. I love this elliptical amphitheatre in the center of  Rome. Quinn loved it as well. It was completed in 80 A.D. and is a fabulous testament to the power and intelligence of mankind. It's a popular tourist attraction and it the beginning of the Pope's "Way of the Cross" procession each Good Friday. The interior is spooky if you imagine gladiators and battles and dripping blood.
I will continue to use the locations of my travels as settings for my novels. There is a beautiful world out there just waiting to be used in the plot of one of my stories.

Don't forget to check out all the other authors on the Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop by clicking on the blog badge to the right!! Gift cards (one $100 and two $50) will be provided to three lucky people who leave comments on any of the author blogs!! Why not start now with a comment here?

by Karen Sue Burns on August 19th, 2012

You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars. -- Henry Ford

A year ago I made my first trip to the country of Ireland. I went with my good friend Carolyn who has an Irish an ancestry. In fact, we saw more than one shoe store with her maiden 
name as the business name. Obviously, she took many pictures. Of any country I've visited, the Irish people seem the most similar to Americans. Or should I say we are similar to them. Today, over thirty-six million Americans have an Irish heritage.

Our trip started in Dublin, the capital of Ireland. One day we were wandering around the center of the city and happened upon a city park called Merrion Square. It's a Georgian square bordered on three sides by redbrick townhouses and the fourth side is across from a government building, the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery. This railed-off garden in now a public park. We turned a corner on the street, entered the park, and came upon a memorial to Oscar Wilde. Holy cow . . . since we hadn't looked at a travel guide, we had no idea this statute was there. It is awesome!

What a pleasant surprise, and Oscar was only the beginning.


On our walk, we continued to turn corners. The biggest surprise was the gardens. The flower beds were incredible and then OMG, the colors of the trees were mind-blowing. Not being a gardener-type person, I am awed by the beauty of shrubs, trees, and flowers. I don't want to even think about the man-hours necessary to keep the gardens in tip-top shape.

Seriously, I really should re-think my I-hate-gardening stance. Another day.

I'll talk later about other beautiful and surprising things we found in Merrion Square. Don't forget to go around the corner — you just never know what you'll find.

by Karen Sue Burns on August 12th, 2012

Whatever you choose, I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. -- Nora Ephron

The summer has gotten away from me. I've been busy writing a manuscript for a full request from an editor and I haven’t thought about my blog — shame on me. I do believe life has a way of knowing where one’s time should be devoted and we simply can’t do every little thing we desire all at once. Women are good at multi-tasking. Yet, just because we can do multiple things at the same time doesn’t mean we have the capability or the power to work non-stop.

Yep, we gotta stop and smell the flowers.

This can mean many different things. Seems like many of my friends like to garden for relaxation, I hate it. I wonder why they are willing to spend so much time pulling weeds — makes no sense to me. I mean, why get all sweaty and dirty taking care of the yard when you could be supporting your local economy by hiring a landscaper.

Of course, they may not enjoy tinkering with a recipe as I do. Last Friday at work, we did a potluck lunch. It’s based on my friend Carolyn’s idea of doing Dip Day, i.e. chips/crackers and an assortment of dips. We’ve termed ours OMG (day of the week). Clever, don’t you think?

It’s a chance for everyone in the office to bring whatever they want, no rules and no set menu. Part of the fun is discovering the great ideas your co-workers come up with. Yeah, yeah, there’s always one or two who hit the local grocery store and the deli counter. But that’s okay . . . not everyone enjoys cooking like moi.

Usually I bring an appetizer or a side dish, but this time, I decided to make a dessert. I received a blue ribbon at the county fair when I was in sixth grade using a similar recipe — fiddled with it a bit for my OMG Friday dish:

Apple Crisp

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Vanilla Ice cream

1) Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.

2) Spread apples in pan, sprinkle with lemon juice. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except ice cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.

3) Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream.

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