Sunday, September 7, 2014

Character Blog Tour

Thank you, Jodi Bowersox, for inviting me to be a part of this tour!

Jodi Bowersox is a recent transplant to Colorado Springs after spending most of her life in Nebraska and Kansas. She lives with her husband, Kevin, and three cats.
Under the pen name of J.B. Stockings, Jodi has two children's picture books. A Tale of Two Kitties was written and illustrated by Jodi as a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Stubborn Princess, was illustrated by Jodi's son, Tracy, who has CF. He receives the profits from this book.
Jodi has also written four romance novels to date, and is working on the fifth, a sequel to Rocky Mountain Angels called Rocky Mountain Miracle.
Jodi is also a watercolor artist specializing in pet portraits.

My name is Darlene Panzera and I am a multi-published author of sweet, fun-loving romance. "I love writing stories that help inspire people to laugh, value relationships, and pursue their dreams."   
Now to tell you about my character!

1) What is the name of your character?
     Stacey McIntyre
2) When & where is the story set?
     Cannon Beach, Oregon
3) What should we know about him/her?
     "Make Your Dreams Come True" is the main theme for The Cupcake Diaries series, but before the main characters can succeed, they must overcome flaws in their identity and discover their self-worth. This is also true of Stacey McIntyre, the heroine of The Cupcake Diaries:Sprinkled with Kisses.
     After Stacey McIntyre's town was flattened by a tornado when she was fourteen, she and her parents moved around a lot. This made it hard for Stacey to form lasting friendships or get a date. She also became withdrawn, self-conscious, and awkward in social situations—never knowing what to say or how to act.
     Throughout the humorous tale, The Cupcake Diaries: Sprinkled with Kisses, Stacey dreams of being a confident, capable, take-charge type of woman like Kate Jones, the heroine from her favorite action-adventure novels by author DV Berkom. Whenever she finds herself in a jam or fearful situation, Stacey asks herself, "What would Kate do?"
     In the beginning of the story Stacey thinks, ' Kate Jones would be tempted to kick her whiny, fearful butt and tell her to stand up for herself and get a life. Except knowing what she should do and doing it were two different things. She simply wasn't Kate.'
     Stacey soon finds a smooth round rock, names it Kate, and places it on the counter of the cupcake stand to encourage her to be strong and courageous. And as Stacey faces challenge after challenge in her quest to sell cupcakes on the beach, she slowly begins to take on the heroic qualities she admires about her literary heroine. But when Creative Cupcakes puts Stacey in charge at the State Cupcake Competition and chaos erupts in the kitchen, will she be able to make the final transformation into the type of person she's always wanted to be?
     We often admire character traits in others that we ourselves would like to have. We eagerly buy magazines and newspapers with photos of beautiful Hollywood movie stars, top-level athletes, influential political figures, and the smartest, wealthiest, and most inspirational of society.
     Who do you most admire and why? Has anyone in your life inspired you to change for the better? Do you wear a bracelet, or keep a photo or physical object to represent admirable qualities you would like to embrace? I'd love to hear your comments!
And now, presenting a few other authors you will want to check out!

Debby Lee belongs to several chapters of RWA, has published three short stories and a novella in A Cascades Christmas by Barbour Publishing. She’s happily married, has five children and lives in Washington. Reading is one of her favorite hobbies, as well as cheering for the Seattle Seahawks. Visit Debby’s website at and her blog at
A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. As a child she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies. When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving in the United States Coast Guard. During that time she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career. These days you can find her on the coastline as she follows her husband’s Coast Guard career along the beach. Dawn Luedecke's Lighthouse Anthology

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guest Interview

Today I welcome:   Jae Young, owner of Simply Cakes by Jae. 

I have personally tasted several of her cupcakes and I can tell you they are simply the best! My favorite is the Vanilla Raspberry. All of her melt-in-your-mouth cakes are filled with luscious homemade crèmes, berry centers, or ice cream. Yum!

When I first met Jae, her shop was in Astoria, Oregon—the same setting as the main shop I feature in THE CUPCAKE DIARIES. She's now located in Cannon Beach, Oregon, the setting for book 5: Sprinkled with Kisses.

1. Jae, can you tell us a little more about yourself and your shop? 

I began baking at a young age at home, making all of the cakes for family and guests. I studied under my grandmother, who was a chef and dietician. I love what I do.

2. What inspired you to open your own cake shop and how long have you been in business?

I was catering to a French Bistro and making wedding cakes. The Bistro closed and I found myself with too much time on my hands and the need to create, so I opened a cupcake shop. The customers at the Bistro are pleased I am still making the pastries they became addicted to.

3. In my sweet novella series, The Cupcake Diaries, my three heroines Andi, Rachel, and Kim struggle to open their cupcake shop and make their dreams come true. What do you think is the hardest part of opening a small business?

You need confidence, patience, talent, and you really need to love what you do.

4. Where did you get your fabulous recipes? Did you create them yourself ?

My recipes initially were my grandmother's. I have expounded on them with new filling combinations and design.

5. How many flavors do you have and what is your own personal favorite flavor cupcake?

Currently 15. My favorite is Chocolate/chocolate mousse.

6. You used to have a shop in Astoria and recently moved to Cannon Beach. How was that transition for you? What preparations did you have to make?

It cost me approximately $10,000. for new plumbing, electrical, and mechanical, as well as 6 months of reduced sales as I was going into the winter. Moving to a new town is like starting a new business. I moved in the fall so that I would be able to ease into my new surroundings and get a flow going. The hardest part of the move was loading a truck with all of my equipment and furniture as well as pots, pans, etc.

7.  In THE CUPCAKE DIARIES: Sprinkled with Kisses,  newcomer Stacey McIntyre fears her mobile cupcake stand may be in danger when she sees tsunami evacuation route signs. Research shows her that in 1964 a tsunami, triggered by an Alaskan earthquake, wiped out the bridge that connected Cannon Beach to the rest of the state of Oregon and flooded the area with 27 foot high waves. As a local resident at that time, can you tell us a little of your personal experience?

When the siren went off at the fire department signaling a tsunami we loaded everyone into the car and went to higher ground like everyone else. It was about 1a.m. We went home after a couple of hours and the damage that I remember was minimal. The rivers overflowed but the wave was small. I do not even remember the bridge being taken out.

8. What about the future? Do you see new trends in baking or cake decorating?

I am not a trendy person. I make simple elegance that tastes really good. Most of my customers get addicted to their favorite. Trends come and go but a good piece of cake is forever.

9. That's so true! How can we find your shop so we can come taste your delicious,  melt-in-your mouth cupcakes for ourselves?

I am located right as you come into Cannon Beach between Hemlock and Spruce at 163 E. Third Street, 1/2 block to the beach. I am in a two story house with blue shingled siding on second story.

Phone number:  (503) 436-0436   Website:

Thank you for visiting with us today! I would also like to add that Jae makes fabulous wedding cakes so if you know anyone who's getting married be sure to pass along her information. Simply Cakes by Jae are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Monday, March 31, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

April 1, 2014 by DARLENE PANZERA

I want to thank my critique partner, D.V. Berkom for inviting me to join My Writing Process Blog Tour. As the author of two bestselling thriller series (Leine Basso and Kate Jones), her love of creating resilient, kick-butt female characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages. You can visit her blog at:

My Writing Process

1. What am I working on?

I am in the middle of writing my next novella in THE CUPCAKE DIARIES series. This would be Book 6 and features the Creative Cupcakes team going to compete in the Regional bake-off in Seattle. This story features Trish & Ollie Montgomery, a married couple who must rediscover their love for one another and learn to be a team again.

I am also working on a collection of short-short stories to group together into a sweet anthology and have plans to start working on a sweet ranch series.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write sweet, wholesome, traditional-style romances that feature lots of light-hearted humor on top like the fluffy frosting on a cupcake. But then there's that bottom layer of rich relationships between the characters. Focusing on friendship, family, and love, I give them real life issues they need to work out and core values they need to discover by the end of the story.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love romance. I love thinking about  all the millions of different ways two people could meet, all the possibilities of what they could say, and  all the things that could happen. The choices are endless, and like a puzzle, I like figuring them out piece by piece. I also like building in all the connections between character, setting, plot to foreshadow future events, and tie everything together to feel like an organic whole.

4. How does my writing process work?

First, a fun idea for a dialogue exchange between the main characters pops into my head. Then I write it down and slip it into a folder on my desk. Then day after day other parts of the story will emerge and soon I'll have a whole folder of random notes. When I feel it's time to begin, I type all the notes into one word document on my laptop to see what I've got. Then using character charts I  brainstorm who these characters are, and using a plot template I figure out what needs to happen to them to help them grow into the people they need to be by the end of the story. Sometimes I put together a photo collage on a poster board to help generate ideas. Sometimes I use index cards and lay them out on the floor like dominos. Next I write the first full rough draft. Then I cut excess parts that don't fit the story and may move scenes to different locations. Then I do a rewrite, bringing in more detail to deepen the story. Last is the polish, which edits sentence structure and word choice to make the story shine. My critique group offers suggestions from start to finish to give me valuable feedback before I send it off to my publisher.

Who's up next?

These three amazing writers are joining us on April 14.

Dawn Luedecke

A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. As a child she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies. When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving in the United States Coast Guard. During that time she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career. These days you can find her on the coastline as she follows her husband’s Coast Guard career along the beach. Visit her blog on her website at:

Debby Lee

Debby Lee belongs to several chapters of RWA, has published three short stories and a novella in A Cascades Christmas by Barbour Publishing. She’s happily married, has five children and lives in Washington. Reading is one of her favorite hobbies, as well as cheering for the Seattle Seahawks. Visit Debby’s website at and her blog at

Jackie Marilla

Jackie Marilla writes contemporary romance with just a little spice!  She published her first short story, ONLY ON VALENTINE’S DAY, with Books To Go Now in January of 2014.  Jackie lives on a farm in Hawai’i with her supportive husband, several feral cats, and a flock of hodgepodge chickens.  When she’s not at her desk writing, Jackie loves to visit her grown children and grandson in the Pacific Northwest, read, sew, and make lampwork glass beads.   In a past life, she was an elementary school teacher. Jackie is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Greater Seattle Chapter. Visit her blog at:


Friday, March 7, 2014

Photo-Journal Research Trip

How does an author gather the details she needs to write a book? Tag along on a photo-journal research trip along the Oregon Coast!

    Before I could write the next books in The Cupcake Diaries series, I knew I had to take a 4 hour road trip from my home in Washington down to the Oregon Coast. I had been there several times before, but  needed to gather new info and take a fresh look at the landmarks in the surrounding area with an author's eye. My husband did most of the driving so I could write notes and take photos along the way.

     Our first stop was at the Pig 'N Pancake restaurant in Astoria to get coffee and a good breakfast. Afterwards I took photos of the sprawling Astoria-Megler Bridge from the parking lot. Astoria is the seaport town where the majority of the first 4 books in the series is set.

     We continued our journey and arrived in Cannon Beach forty minutes later. Book 5 - The Cupcake Diaries: Sprinkled with Kisses - releases March 18th and is set at this location. When I wrote the book I used the Google Earth web cam to view various streets where I could place my heroine Stacey's pink Volkswagen bus mobile cupcake stand. I was happy to see the web cam had been extremely accurate - I recognized the spot on sight. As I walked the beach and traveled all the paths Stacey took in the book I used my camera to photograph everything. I will use these pictures for upcoming blogs and other promotion for the new book release.

     Next we visited the tourist information center where I talked with the woman in charge about festivals and events that might impact my characters at different times of the year. I also picked up maps, booklets, postcards, pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers from the area to help set my scenes with accurate detail and historical background.

     Now the part we were really looking forward to. We went to Simply Cakes by Jae and bought 4 cupcakes: 2 vanilla with raspberry filling and Italian butter cream icing, 1fudge filled chocolate, and 1 caramel filled chocolate.  These are simply the best cupcakes I've ever tasted!  Jae's shop was originally located in Astoria and when she moved to Cannon Beach I was inspired to have my cupcake shop girls (Andi, Rachel, and Kim) expand their business and run a beach stand. Jae has been a valuable source of information, not only for details about running a cupcake shop, but for giving me local resident insight. Many scenes in the book series were inspired by our previous conversations. This time we talked for 1 ½ hours. I plan to have a book signing at her shop (with cupcakes!) in May.

     While I was in town I also stopped in the local book store to see if they'd be interested in a book signing and also learned the library features local authors once a month.

     Next stop: Seaside. This is the new location for Book 6 in the series, the book I plan to write next. I picked Seaside to be the town where my cupcake shop girls open their second shop for a number of reasons. Seaside has volleyball tournaments on the beach, something I plan to bring into the plot. And it has the aquarium where you can feed the seals. They are just so cute I have to bring them into the story by setting an important scene there. Seaside is also a huge draw for tourists and so the town has lots of fun and unique things for my new romantic couple to do.

After checking into our hotel, we walked to the circular promenade at the end of the main street by the beach. The statues of historical pioneers Lewis and Clark  stand in the middle and when I saw a pictorial engraved hand shake on the monument with the words, "peace and friendship," I thought that could very well be this new book's theme.

Day 2 of the research trip was much lighter. I took more photos. The purpose of the pictures are 3-fold. I can use them for promotion, look at them while I write for inspiration and accurate detail, and they help me find possible locations for scenes set in the story.
     I found the perfect place for the second cupcake shop next to our hotel in the Riverside Walk shops. I went across the bridge to take photos of the shop from the opposite side of the river and discovered two furry otters scratching their backs on the wooden dock. There is no doubt - these little guys will also find a way into this story!
My husband and I went into the Seaside Aquarium today and I gathered the scene info and necessary ties to theme and plotline by reading some of the descriptions and backgrounds of the fish. Very cool! The background for one type of fish symbolizes my story character's trials.
     I visited two more bookstores and talked to each of them about possible book signings in hopes of grouping some of these together into one weekend the next time I come down. Always multi-tasking!
     I hope you've enjoyed the tour and recognize some of my stops when you read Books 5, 6, & 7  of The Cupcake Diaries.  For more information visit:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blog Talk Radio Interview

Happy Valentines Day! Welcome to my new weekly blog!

Each week I will feature giveaways, author interviews, photos, fan stories, behind the scenes peeks at your favorite characters and settings, as well as baking and gardening tips, crafts, and - you guessed it - recipes!

Today you can get to know a little more about me by listening to the radio interview I did this morning on Dialogue: Between the Lines hosted by Susan Wingate. Great fun! I was so nervous, but Susan is a great host and author of several award-winning books herself! She kept the conversation going strong and offered insight into several prevalent topics!
Find Additional Books Podcasts with Authors On The Air Books on BlogTalkRadio


Friday, November 15, 2013

THE CUPCAKE DIARIES: Spoonful of Christmas


Release date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 Avon Impulse




Spoonful of Christmas, the fourth installment in The Cupcake Diaries series.

Andi, Rachel, and Kim each have their own reasons for wanting this Christmas at Creative Cupcakes to be special.
Andi is scared that Jake's job offer with another newspaper will move them to a different state.
Rachel, set to marry Mike on Christmas Eve, is afraid her cousin Stacey will ruin the wedding.
Kim fears she'll never get a ring and Nathaniel will leave her after the holidays are over.
What they didn't count on was having a modern-day Grinch try to steal Christmas away from them. Can they unmask the culprit before it's too late ... or will this be a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons?

I hope you enjoy SPOONFUL OF CHRISTMAS! Set in Astoria, Oregon, I've tried to capture as much family tradition, historical landmarks, and local lore as I could. In this fourth installment of the series, I introduce Max, a twelve-year-old foster care child who Andi thinks is her young daughter's imaginary friend. Rachel thinks he's the thief who stole the roast at her wedding, and Kim thinks he could be the Grinch sabotaging their shop. So who IS Max? I love the fact this heartwarming story loosely follows the classic Grinch storyline and focuses on family and children as well as the romance. If you like cupcakes, comedy, and Christmas, I hope you'll check out this sweet, fun-loving romance during the holidays. Then drop me a note - I'd love to hear from you!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Next Big Thing Blog Hop


February 1st


By Darlene Panzera

Indie author DV Berkom (www.dvberkom.comtagged me in the Next Best Thing Blog Hop, where you get to answer a set of questions about your current release or a work in progress (WIP). (Check out her new release, Bad Traffick, a Leine Basso Novel. The first book in the series, Serial Date, was awarded the Awsome Indies Seal of Approval.) And now, on with the show!

THE NEXT BIG THING…Blog Hop questions:

What is the title of your book?      BET YOU'LL MARRY ME

Where did the idea come from for the book? I was inspired by my love of horses to write a story set on a ranch. I have two horses of my own and based the fictional town of Pine on the real life town of Winthrop on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. The main characters were developed to spar back and forth with the sweet, fun-loving banter I enjoy.

What genre does your book fall under?    Sweet Contemporary Romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Ashton Kucher and a beautiful long-haired unknown actress with a great smile.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A wealthy CEO bets a stubborn female rancher $10,000. he can get her to marry him within 5 weeks.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? BET YOU'LL MARRY ME is published with Avon Impulse, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? This book has been a work in progress for many years. There were multiple revisions and drafts before it was published.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? NY Times best-selling author Debbie Macomber hand-picked a shorter version of this story to be published behind her story in FAMILY AFFAIR. She picked my story because she said my writing style is very similar to hers and many other people have agreed. We both write sweet, family oriented, small town stories with a bit of humor.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I love to write and wanted to write a romance with more fun, more intense banter between the hero and heroine and so I decided to write this story. Because I love horses and the country I set my story on a ranch. I hope my readers have as much fun reading it as I had writing it!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? As the main characters, Jenny and Nick, battle it out with each other, there's a cute romantic subplot between Nick's tough tomboy sister and one of the ranch hands. There's also a pack trip into the forest to a fire look-out tower, a back-country horse race, and the 'Legend of Harp Lake' which notoriously plays match-maker to unsuspecting couples.

I’ve tagged the following awesome authors to continue THE NEXT BIG THING…Blog Hop. Please visit their sites and give them some luv.