Longsheng, China

b0df697654e0a48eb4e0b234f9415431 SONY DSC I am feeling a sense of nostalgia and wanderlust. My thoughts often drift to this magnificent place and so I wanted to share with you photos of the setting for my novel Broken Smiles. This is how I picture my village. I’ve backpacked all through China when I lived there. Longsheng was by far my favorite place. That is why I chose to make it the main setting for my book. The terraced rice are called the Dragon’s Backbone. I have awoken to the sides of the mountains flaming in early dawn. The mist is the breath of sleeping giants. It inhales and exhales, rich with life. Content. Peaceful. B16 cb6ebe430718e285b6d47983ed6c8880 46fb950779725299fe4f5b905fd4bea9 FullSizeRender-14

The people are unlike any I have ever met. The women never cut their hair. For a small fee, they insist to carry your bags and help you across the river.

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I “helped” to plant some stacks of rice and discovered I was doing it all wrong. There is an age old system to everything in China. Including their maze-like plumbing system made from bamboo. I was a grateful traveler.

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Whenever I opened my laptop and cracked my fingers to dig in to writing my book, it was like opening a book of spells. I would escape back in time to my favorite place. The many smells of rich earth and water buffalo, of sharp spices and tricking water, of steamed rice and bamboo soup, would rush into my mind. It was easy, and yet difficult, to try to capture the setting. I wanted to do it justice. So, when I received reviews like the ones below, it made me happy.

“The beautiful descriptive settings in places like China and Morocco, sweep you away as if you were there. Not only do you “see” what it would looks like there, but you also learn many things about the culture.”

“I loved how the book was set in China. I have never been there but it made me want to go.”

“The author has an incredible way of describing the scenes (especially in China) that even though I’ve never been there – I can picture it so well.”

“**Warning, this book will give you the travel bug after you read it, you may feel like spontaneously buying a ticket to China!”

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Happy travels! Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you. What are some of the settings in your novels or some of your favorite spots to travel? – Tara

Photos are found on China-travel, SkylanD, and my own photo albums 🙂

Featured Books Friday!


Here we go again with Featured Books Friday! Click here, here, or here for other great book blurbs I’ve had in the past.

You are welcome to share—in the comment section of this blog—your name, book, purchase link, and a 500 word blurb or scene from your novel.

You are welcomed and encouraged to share on your social media sites. It’s exciting to see that readers are introduced to books they would have normally not found otherwise.

Thank you for contributing!


Here’s my blurb and link for Broken Smiles (women’s romance)…

Laidan smiled over at Kort and took note how he dwarfed the Chinese. Despite his size, he looked graceful as he slowly circled his arms about his body.

With eyes closed, he stepped forward and turned with both hands pushing forward as if to ward off an attacker. Then slowly he, along with the group, brought their fingertips toward the earth and circled their head with one hand while they took yet another step forward and balanced on the other foot.

While Laidan watched Kort, she thought of his fighting skills and the success he’d had in Mixed Martial Arts. She wondered if it felt strange to him to be doing all of these moves in slow motion. From the look of peace she saw upon his brow, she decided that he was a natural, and that tai chi was an inner fight. The storm brewed inside as the external motions were peaceful and slow. As the fight for balance between body and mind came together, inner peace was found.

For Laidan, it was a moment to connect with herself. As her mind relaxed, she felt again the calm within the storm. She thought of the night before, standing in the raging river, holding fast to Rafe as the water swirled about them. He calmed her. She realized he still probably didn’t know much about her, at least her biggest secret of being a musical icon, and she wanted to keep it that way. When she was around him, music felt different. It was as if the notes were brighter and the words she sang had more meaning.

Now that Rafe had entered her mind, it proved hard to concentrate on the slow moves. She thought how when he’d kissed her forehead, it had been the most intimate kiss she had ever experienced. Her pulse began to race, and suddenly tai chi moved at a snail’s pace. She closed her eyes, hoping it would help calm her now-excited mind. She followed along with the instructor, but inside she was losing the battle for inner peace.

Rafe brought so many new emotions. He threw her off-tilt and yet at the same time gave her balance. After their talk beside the river, Laidan realized how much they were alike. Both of them had been slaves to separate industries that had made them lose the love and passion found in their natural talents.

Even though she tried to concentrate on inner peace and the simple slow moves, words to another new song sprang rapidly to the forefront of her thoughts:

War, you claim war within my mind

Raging water, blowing wind, no safe place I find

Pulses pounding, beating hearts

Running fast, worlds apart

Then you kiss me on my brow

And silence enters in

Inner peace deep inside,

And true life can begin


Thanks for stopping by!


You Might Be a Writer If…

Love this funny post! Follow Kristen Lamb’s blog. It’s fabulous!

Read through the comments. So great! Here’s mine…
You might be a writer if… You recognize the evolution of the “I am secretly correcting your grammar,” T-shirt.
Starting off, those people confident enough to wear one of those shirts, intimidate you to no end.
Then, the more you write, the more you kind of latch on to those people. Hey, maybe they could be a beta reader for you!
Finally, you break down and buy one for yourself. Just so people won’t talk to you.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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A lot of “stuff” has been going on in my life lately. Hard stuff. Heavy stuff. The kind of stuff that just makes me want to write massacre scenes….except I am so brain dead I had to google how to spell “massacre.”

Masicker? Missucker?

WHAT AM I DOING???? *breaks down sobbing*

I am supposed to be an adult an expert okay, maybe functionally literate. Fine, I give up! I have nothing left to saaaaayyyyyy. I am all out of woooords *builds pillow fort*.

I figured it’s time for a bit of levity. Heck, I need a good laugh. How about you guys?

We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us. Am I the only person who watches Discovery ID and critiques the killers?

You are putting the body THERE? Do you just WANT to go to prison? Why did you STAB…

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