Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moving Forward

Do you have those moments when you seem to be stuck in time?  Times when you have to consciously put one foot in front of the other to make it through the day?

The past few months have been like that off and on for me.  In the midst of personal issues going on, I have continued to put one foot in front of the other with my writing.  And the results of that pushing -- Mirrored Deception was released on September 20th.  I'm so excited for this book to be out.

It was a struggle through the summer months to get anything done, but with constant encouragement from writer friends, I pushed through the "funk" if you will and came out on top with a new release.  I would not have been able to do that if it hadn't been for other writers' encouragement.

As I move forward with my life and all the changes it entails, my writing goal continues to grow.  I will be finishing up Bridges Burned, the sequel to Crashing Hearts. I encourage you to check out Crashing Hearts before that sequel comes out.  You can find out about it here as well as Mirrored Deception.

So when those moments of being stuck in time strike, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's Time to Visit the Jungle with Savage Hunger!!! by Terry Spear

I feel like I've been in the jungle with all the guest blog posts and interviews I've had to do for Savage Hunger's release October 1! Not to mention all the critters and the heat plaguing me in Texas!

But here are a couple of reviews and the schedule so if you have time to drop by one of the sites, you'll have a chance to win a copy of Savage Hunger!

This just in from Long and Short Reviews!


Savage Hunger by Terry Spear
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (341 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

As a jaguar he is graceful and gorgeous...

Speedy and stealthy...

Fierce, independent, and wild...

As a man he is passionate and powerful...

Willful and wonderful...

And he'll stop at nothing to protect what's his... Savage Hunger leaves a reader hungering for more of this awesome and exciting new world that Ms. Spear has created. The author has written a story with a lovable heroine, an alpha hero who’s not obnoxious or overbearing, and a fun sister to tag along and complicate Connor’s life. The food they eat is exotic although the eating establishments are earthy, and they spend more time using trees than Tarzan. This new series is exhilarating and filled with rich and vibrant descriptions to make a reader feel like they’re in the thick of the Amazon jungle. There are moments of humor, of tenderness and pure hot loving. In short, Savage Hunger has the best of all the elements that make readers of paranormal romances happy. Pounce on your own copy and see for yourself.   
Booklist Review of Savage Hunger
(Book 1)


October 2012

In the heat of the jungle, jaguars are clawed, dangerous, and hungry for love. With hopes of overcoming night terrors and thanking the man who saved her life, Kathleen McKnight returns to the Amazon. A jaguar at heart, Connor Anderson doesn’t just protect her, but wants to claim her for his own.
Savage Hunger.
Spear, Terry (Author)
Oct 2012. 352 p. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, paperback, $7.99. (9781402266928).
Spear has left the werewolves of her past novels (Dreaming of the Wolf,2011) and turned to felines. Connor Anderson and his twin sister, Maya, inherited the ability to transform into jaguars from their parents, the only other shifters they have ever known. In the Amazon, Connor uses both his jaguar and human abilities to save the life of steely army captain Kathleen McKnight. Obsessed with Kat, he returns to the Amazon a year later and is surprised to find that she has returned to the jungle in search of him and his “pet jaguar.” Kat and Maya become fast friends, and the attraction between Connor and Kat is irresistible, even in the face of Kat’s troubled past and Connor’s dual nature. The strength of Spear’s writing lies in her ability to keep the reader emotionally in tune with the characters despite the unfamiliar terrain of both the deep jungle and the supernatural elements. Spear’s lush descriptions of the Amazon, and a few tantalizing loose ends, will leave readers hungry for more time in paradise.
— Amber Peckham
Schedule for Savage Hunger Blog Tour, end of Sept and all of October!
Savage Hunger, October 2012
Savage Hunger

Savage Hunger

9/24 Love Romance Passion
9/25 Sharon Buchbinder
9/26 Paulette's Papers
9/27 Jesse Kimmel-Freeman & Book Boost
9/28 The Lovestruck Novice

10/1 Star Crossed Romance & Tabby's Nocturnal Nights
10/2 Castles and Guns
10/3 Booklovin Mamas & Romance Lives Forever & Casablanca
10/4 Paranormal Haven
10/5 Fresh Fiction & 7 Scribes

10/8 Night Owl Reviews
10/9 Manga Maniac Café
10/10 Urban Girl Reader & Literary Addiction
10/11 Under the Covers Book Blog
10/12 Books and Beyond

10/15 Cocktail and Books
10/16 Book Lovers
10/17 Deanne's Tidbits
10/18 Books-n-Kisses
10/19 A Bookworm’s Haven

10/22 Fiction Vixen
10/23 SOS Aloha
10/24 Reading Between the Wines
10/25 Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
10/26 Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee

10/29 The Qwillery
10/30 RomFan Reviews
10/31 Cynthia Wolf

Books will be given at all the sites to one commenter, US/Canada address!

"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Another 3 month book ...

You know, whenever I write a book, I'm amazed by how loooooonnnngggg the process seems. I start writing it and I pick at it, and I work on it, and I procrastinate, and I put off, then eventually I knuckle down and get the thing done.

And when I look back I realize it took me 3 months. Yep, that's what I average per book: 3 months from start to finish. I tend to self-edit as I go, so that's 3 months total, plus or minus a few weeks.

Why does this seem so long to me? I've finally figured that out: usually that 3 months spans a season, or maybe two. Example: my latest WIP was started in early June. I wrapped it up in early September. It spanned the whole summer. Maybe *that's* why it seems so long?

I'm not sure, but I'm glad it's done -- or nearly so. The ending of that one gave me fits, but I think I finally the right way to wrap it up. I'll know more in a few months when I go back and re-read it and make sure it all makes sense!

And to celebrate, I scheduled another book for publication. Gilt released earlier this week (on Amazon to start with, wider distribution in a month or two).

This is a book about guilt -- and about gilt, as in, the things we hide from each other, and the more importantly, the things we hide from ourselves. I did the first draft of this book in 2005. When I picked it up again in 2011, I said, "well, I like the characters, but this plot needs work."

And work it I did. This was another 3-month book, one that spanned the autumn months last year.

I'm enjoying the flexibility of scheduling my own releases. I plan one more for this year, then we'll see what next year brings ... I have 3 ready to go, but I think I might take a break and only release 2 next year. We'll see how fast I can type!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life's Colors

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Today the phrase "take time to stop and smell the flowers" popped into my head as I drove to the grocery story. Mother Nature is more than generous to us here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. One scene that always takes my breath away is the white, billowy thunderheads that look like puffs of cotton. On a certain stretch of highway, framed by tall pine trees, you can see the clouds waiting for you at the end of the road. Of course you never reach them, but it's fun to imagine grasping a bit of fluff and taking it home to dream on. I grabbed my camera and went back to capture the picture to share with you. The huge thunderheads were gone, but you can catch a glimpse of what we get to see every now and then when we're lucky and Mother Nature is in a creative mood.
My mother, an award winning oil painter, gave me the love of finding beauty around me. I didn't realize it at the time of my youth, but when my daughters spent time with her and came home talking about their time with their grandmother, I started to see her skills as an artist. Their favorite experience was when she would have them lie on the ground and watch the clouds. "If you concentrate very hard," she would tell them, "you can move the clouds around with your mind." Then they would have fun looking for different pictures in the clouds. Even now I take the time to see what I can discover.
Do you know clouds aren't really white? I learned this watching the movie "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" where Dutch oil painter Johannes Vermeer asks his housemaid-turned-assistant what color she saw when looking at the clouds. At first she said white, then no – yellow, blue, grey are the colors. When I went looking with my camera, I did happen to notice the multitude of colors in the clouds. Amazing how a compilation of colors can appear white.
This got me to thinking about our writing and how we each have our own individual voice. How does this happen? Can it be a compilation of our life's colors and those who've influenced our lives? Maybe who we are is determined by how we absorbed those experiences and share them with others. Is there one event in your life that might have had a great impact on how you write or approach your writing or job?
Paradise Pines Series: Night Angel available at:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dark Shadows and the Art of the Hook

My local library recently acquired a full set of episodes from the original Dark Shadows series. If you were around in the late 60's and early 70's, you might have watched this TV soap opera with its tales of 'Gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue'. I remember rushing home from school during fifth grade to find out what twist of fate tormented Barnabas Collins—my introduction to vampires—and the residents of Collinsport. Vampires have come a long way since then.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've enjoyed watching the first seventy or so episodes filmed late in 1966, prior to the appearance of Barnabas. Dark Shadows is wonderfully campy with its dated clothing and hairstyles. The acting feels exaggerated, theatrical, as if performed onstage. What struck me most is the art of the 'hook'.

Each episode opens with a hook. At the splice where the commercial would be when seen on TV, the viewer is left at a hook and the story reopens with a hook. And each episode ends with a hook.

How does this relate to romance?

Each chapter of a romance novel should open with a hook and end with a hook. Each scene within the chapter should open with a hook and end with a hook.

I expect in the future to be more cognizant of hooks in the stories I write.

Do you remember Dark Shadows?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Building a Descriptive Storehouse

As a writer, I need to describe things from tropical sunset scenery to a villain's deepest darkest feelings, I work to hone my vocabulary skills.  How?

Stop and let my senses record. 
           I work outdoors and have come to appreciate the amazing array of green hues I can see over a growing season. I have also worked in scorching heat and brutal humidity while being stalked by hordes of ravenous mosquitoes.
           I used to note these things and keep on trucking. Now whenever I can, I stop.  I will watch the red-tinted sun until it disappears under the horizon. I really listen to full fade of an ambulance's siren. I study the body language of a child with a new toy. I record as much as I can without allowing my inner voice to interrupt and do commentary. That way I build a bank of "clips" to use.

Let associative words attach themselves to emotional events. 
            I've given birth and discovered infidelity. I have been wracked by fear and rage, and filled to glowing with wonder, joy, and awe. 
            As soon as I can, I play back what I have "recorded," and let my feelings attach to the "clip." Some feelings  are not immediately writable. Others are. Again, I am building a storehouse of future descriptions.

Use resources to expand my pool of words. 
           My Flip Dictionary thesaurus lists 72 words under the heading "Green."  Dictionaries list antonyms.  Children's encyclopedias have great pictures with captions and identifications.

          News magazine reporters and columnists are often masters of the succinct description. Short stories are a treasure trove of good examples.  Poets also play well with words. I read a variety of writing.  

        Nothing beats practice.

Vegas with Mimi Barbour

Title: Release for hot, new "Vegas" Series – Are you feeling lucky?

Thank you Voices From The Heart for letting me visit your blog today and for your support in helping me spread the news about my new series called "Vegas"



This is release day for the new romantic suspense

Vegas Series by Mimi Barbour

 "Partners" Book One in the new Romantic Suspense Vegas Series. 

 Riveting and fast-paced, this short blockbuster will introduce you to Aurora Morelli and Kai Lawson, the characters who are the stars of the Vegas Series. 

In this novel, Aurora is forced to accept one very difficult fact—she's lonesome for her partner Debbie. An attack by a maniac put paid to their working together and Aurora is pissed. She's out to get the madman who hurt her friend and God help anyone who gets in her way.  Therefore when a new partner is forced on her, a bloody hotshot no less, the kind of dude she always stays as far away from as possible, she's even more pissed.

This action–packed short is humorous and will sweep you into the lives of these Las Vegas Detectives. 

Short Excerpt – Chapter One

 So this is what missing someone feels like. Kind of sad and lonely mashed together, eating away at you all day long. Aurora had never felt this way before; wouldn’t have given herself permission. This time the annoying ache refused to stop.

She seldom allowed gloomy thoughts to grab hold and mess with her head. But looking around the small office assigned to her and another, seeing the empty desk, sorrow gnawed away until she gave in. Her old partner Deb left behind a hollow emptiness, a sensation she wouldn’t ever admit to anyone else. What did you expect? She chastised herself. Not having the person you trust more than anyone else in the world backing you up sucked big time.

Two weeks ago, life had been normal. She’d gone to get a cup of the sludge they called coffee and left Debbie working on their backlog of case files. Returning to their office, Lieutenant Cory Ashton had caught up with her and they’d stepped into the room together, both coming to a dead stop. Debbie, who’d lately taken to the layered look with sloppy clothes, had bent over to pick something up from the floor and everything had draped open— her pregnant belly had been revealed for all to see.

 "Roll the Dice" Book Two in the romantic suspense Vegas Series.

“You shot me!” Aurora is incensed. Her new partner shrugs and answers. “I saved your life.” From the very first page of this riveting story, these two battle for supremacy in trying to catch the serial rapist who ripped both their lives apart. With all her might, she fights the attraction to his baby blues that tease and start her internal warning devices humming. After all, her job is her life and determination has always been her lifeline.

 Kai has a mission of honor to undertake. The man who’d raped his sister can’t be allowed to live. After all, she hadn’t! Revenge fills his soul while visions of his new partner fills his heart. The sassy woman rattles his calm, and he can’t keep his hands to himself. Doesn’t mean she has the power to stop him from doing what has to be done.

 Short Excerpt – Chapter One

 “You shot me!”

“You told me to.”

“Dumb shit!” Aurora pushed her new partner from hovering over her so she could sit up. “I didn't mean it. I just wanted you to scare Rhondo.” She felt blood poring from the wound on her arm and purposely kept her head turned away.

“Shooting you did scare him. He let you go, didn't he?”

Aurora frowned at him. Why did his voice have to sound so damn reasonable?

“What-ever!” She hoped her scorn would get to him.

“Hey! I saw his eyes, you didn’t.  He had every intention of using that knife. You know, the sharp one he had pressed against your throat. If I’d shot him instead of you…” He shrugged.

Aurora shuddered, fighting off nausea. She didn’t want to listen to reason. Being angry made the situation a whole lot easier to deal with. Sarcasm, the best weapon she had in a macho man's environment, replaced whining.

She glared at him and saw his shapely eyebrows rise. The light of the bulb hanging from the ceiling of the cruddy apartment haloed his head making the bare skin shine.  “Just my frigging luck to end up with a partner who thinks and looks like Bruce Willis."

Kai chuckled. Her glower put a quick end to his merriment. He tried changing the subject with sweet talk. "I've been told I have a nicely shaped head for being bald."

"Sure and it goes swell with your baby-blue eyes." She sneered on purpose. No way would she admit he did look good.

His response was a grunt of displeasure. “Are you always this crabby?”

Disbelief shone in her amazed expression. “Not at all…” She said, disdain evident. “…only when I’ve been shot.”

"Vegas" Contest Rules

(Sept 15 – Sept 30th)

1. Read the book called "Roll the Dice".

2. Write an honest review for Amazon.

3. Send a copy of Amazon's notice to


you'll have a chance at being the lucky winner of a

$50 Amazon Gift Certificate

 I've purposely set the price of the book down to $.99 for this contest and on Sept 19 & 20 it will be promoted in the

and will be …

…you guessed it!


Good Luck!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Coming up with a new topic for our blogs gets harder all the time, doesn’t it?  But I’m typing with new energy today, because one of my blogs spurred Vonnie Davis to write a scene and that vignette led to her creating her second Honky Tonk entry.  Better yet, she just told me yesterday, TWRP is sending a contract for her story “Back Where You Belong."
Congratulations, Vonnie!
So here’s the cute story.  Desperate for a blog topic, I was gazing out my window at my orange tree.  I couldn’t see the critters, but I was well aware that more snails than oranges hung from that tree, and it was my job to get the ding-dang things off those leaves pronto. 
Since snails were on my mind, I wrote about them.  Trying to be positive, I considered the ‘blessings’ of the snail, even their use as a food…escargot.  And then I wrote:
Typical romance writer that I am, the sex life of an edible snail does interest me. Not only are snails bisexual, but they throw love darts at each other.  They are reproducing like mad (love darts shooting everywhere!) and slowly chomping away at my orange tree.  Anybody want a truckload of edible snails? 
Vonnie zeroed in on the love darts.  She tells me a scene about a couple came fully formed into her head as soon as she read my blog (May, 2012), and the rest of the story developed easily from there.  In five months, she's got a contract!  Is that cool, or what?
One lesson is clear: we writers get our ideas from the most unlikely sources if we’re open to them.  Another truth: our blogs have worth!
Congratulations again, Vonnie.  We can’t wait to read your second Honky Tonk Hearts story!
LAST RESORT on sale now, print & download
Wild Rose Press:

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Inspiration of Travel

I'm writing today's blog entry in a lovely hotel in Macau, a part of China located near Hong Kong, clear on the other side of the world from my home in California. My husband and I are on vacation, enjoying the fact that my working 40-50 hours a week leaves us with enough funds to support our home, and lifestyle, with enough left over for the world travel we like to do.

We aren't extravagant people in most ways, but we do like to travel.

Part of that is a matter of wanting to experience life beyond the day-to-day experiences most people have, like watching TV, going to the movies, fast food lunches on weekends, and the like. Did you know that you can get a quarter-pounder in Hong Kong?  In fact the McDonalds menu isn't that different from what you can get in the US.

But in addition you can find a nice little place around the corner where they serve chopped goose or pork on a bed of rice for half the price of a hamburger, and it is really delicious.

I love this kind of experience. It inspires me to write books where the heroine heads to a far-off place in the universe, eats food that is unfamiliar, and meets people who are different from the people she's lived with all her life. If some of my experiences leads to similar experiences for my characters, then that's all right.

In fact, it is perfect.

After all, I want my characters to lead at least as interesting lives as I do.

Meanwhile I do have a new release of my Gaian novella, A Promise Made, with a lovely new cover, new editing job, and a lower price. I got my rights back from my publishing house and have released it myself on Amazon and Nook, with other places to follow once I'm back from my vacation.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I love research

Please welcome Autumn Jordon, an award-winning author, and Golden Heart finalist.

First, thank you Mona for hosting me on the Voices from the Heart blog today.
Like Mona, I love reading and writing romantic suspense and if you’re a fan of Mona’s, it’s a given you do too.  Awesome! We’re kindred spirits.

Want to know why I love writing romantic suspense?  Yes, because I love to read the genre, silly, but seriously, I love writing romantic suspense because of the research.  When an idea comes to me, I can’t wait to dig into a topic and find the most intriguing facts. Sometimes data or comments by industry professionals lead me to other fascinating subjects.  And sometimes, the story idea I started out to write is left by the wayside because my research has uncovered a more interesting subject.
In my new release, SEIZED BY DARKNESS, the idea came to me years ago when I walked into my local post office and saw a poster of a missing girl, age 16, tucked among the flyers for church socials and postal information. Her smiling eyes haunted me. Her innocence apparent. Being a mother and grandmother, my heart immediately went out to her parents and extended family.  I could only imagine the nightmare they’d lived since their little girl went missing.

I wondered where the child was now and did she still smile? Staring at her face, I swear I could actually feel her strength and somehow knew she was hanging on. I pray the girl survived her ordeal and was returned safely to her family.
I knew right then I had to write a story about a kidnapped victim and her efforts to regain her life and my muse went on its way.  Since I’d written two novels already involving the Russian Mafia, I checked my research notes and found that the Russian Mafia has indeed been charged with human trafficking crimes.  However, I was surprised to learn that the agency who is foremost involved in the investigation of this felony is the U.S. Marshals and not the FBI or CIA or HLS.

As I researched the agency, I learned about their history and about the many crimes they are the go to guys and gals for.  Fantasizing and some real disturbing stuff, I tell you. 
I had longed for a while now to try my hand at writing a series and what better platform to use then the U.S. Marshals.  They’re honorable, loyal, intelligent, strong, etc., etc., and their site had some pictures of really hot alpha male types, which for a romance novelist is gold.  Anyway, I brainstormed and three plots involving US Marshals acting in undercover situations came to me within seconds.  I couldn’t flesh the ideas out fast enough while writing synopsis.

SEIZED BY DARKNESS, the first of my new series know as C.U.F.F. (Central Undercover Felony Force), is now available on Amazon and B&N in digital download.  A paperback version will be available very soon.  I hope you’ll follow the links and read more about the story and enjoy the sample.  I’m working hard on the second in the series and hope to have it available early 2013.  
My bulletin board is now covered with pictures of the whole C.U.F.F. team and their love interests and the stories villains of course.  I fell in love with the members I’d used in Seized By Darkness and again with the characters I’m developing in my next story. They watch each other’s backs. They share priorities and loyalties— country and family first. They argue, laugh and cry together. It’s a really family affair, the C.U.F.F. team, and I hope you’ll fall in love with them too. 

 Autumn Jordon can be found at her website.
Her book SIZED BY DARKNESS is available at Amazon . "You are on a rollercoaster of a ride from the opening scene to the last."~Cindi O

Joanne--Dave Barry and our fat free obsession

Short and sweet today, I'm sharing a Dave Barry Classic on our obsession with fat-free products. Enjoy a chuckle and please leave a comment! "We have become basically a nonfat nation. This is true; virtually all edible substances, and many automotive products, are now marketed as being "low-fat" or "fat-free." Americans are obsessed with fat content. DOCTOR: Mrs. Stoatbonker, you will die within hours unless you take this antibiotic. PATIENT: Is it fat-free? DOCTOR: I don't know. PATIENT: I'll just have a Diet Pepsi."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Writing Challenge: 100W100D

There has been a lot of talk lately amongst my writer friends about procrastination. A small group of writers from one of my RWA chapters decided to do something about it and issued a writing challenge—100 words for 100 days.

As I mentioned in last month's post, I accepted the challenge.

The purpose of the challenge is to start a daily writing habit.

What are the rules?

Write 100 words per day or more. On days when you are busy, write no more than 100, but do 100. Record progress and share with teammates.

Easy, right?

We began the challenge on August 6th and have supported each other with encouragement for 32 days. Though none of us have added word count every day, we've come darn close. As to my progress, I've written at least 100 words a day for 28 out of the 32 days. I've added 12,000 words to my WIP at a time of year when I tend to spend more time with family and friends and gardening than writing.

I look forward to the remaining 68 days and hope to increase my daily word count.

Have you participated in a writing challenge?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


FREE on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
10 5 stars reviews at

High Rises are like large families where members face love, hate, meddling, and gossiping.
When the neighbor who was harassing her is found dead in the Jacuzzi, Alexa is a prime suspect. Can she count on her dear neighbors, including the delectable Italian, Dante, for help?
With too many skeletons in their own closets, would they save her or incriminate her?

“Dante, please. Not now. We can’t...” She frantically shook her head.
“Why not, darling?” He trailed kisses on her cheeks, her temple, and jaw and nipped the sensitive skin of her throat. “We have all the time in the world, now that your ex is gone. Forget everything but you and me.”
“I’ve been trying to.” She sighed and slid off his lap to stand in front of him. Her head dropped in dejection. “I can’t anymore.”
“Why?” Stunned, Dante exhaled loudly. “What’s going on with the selfish bastard?” He tipped her face up and peered into green eyes that had lost their sparkle.
 “There’s something you should know. Greg told me…” She hesitated, folding her hands and entwining her fingers.
“Why all this nervousness? Damn it. He upset you again. Maybe I should have a talk with him.”  
Her breathing labored, she clasped his shoulder. “It’s not about Greg this time. It’s Steve.”
Merda. Dante straightened and loomed above her, gritting his teeth. “Steve Bairey? Is he bugging you?”
“Yes. I mean no. I mean...”
She looked so fragile in her shorts, her generous breasts exposed to his admiring gaze. Golden brown hair mussed around a face stricken with angst and tumbled in waves upon her shoulders.
A need to protect her replaced his initial lust. “That womanizer has a sick mind. I’ll kill the bastard.”
“Oh God, too many wishes are coming true today,” she mumbled.
“Steve is dead.”
“Oh.” Silence fell between them as he digested her words. “When? How?”
Her huge eyes simmered with apprehension. “He drowned in the Jacuzzi this afternoon.”

"A romance wrapped in a mystery." S.Hughes

"The hero is an appealing sweetheart, and this book is definitely a page-turner you won't want to miss." Kelsey Tanner

"Neighbors and More is an exciting, fast-paced mystery combined with a romance as hot as the Florida sun. Grab a cold drink, a fan and prepare for a perfect beach read." Linda McLaughlin

"A wonderful romantic suspense set in beautiful, east coastal Florida. A murder mystery, a falsely accused heroine and her handsome lawyer, and a diverse cast of characters, has all the makings for a great romance, intrigue and fast-paced action. Loved it." Seniorcitizen

"Dante really is a sweetheart and the author had me falling for him, along with Alexa. It's a very enjoyable read and an excellent mixture of mystery and romance."BevPetter.

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Recently, I attended a Bob Mayer conference. I highly urge all of you to hear him whenever he is in your area. The man does it all. He writes, runs a production company, conducts corporate and writing workshops.  He manages to get this all done by using a non-Internet connected computer. When he is working, he can’t surf the web or read all those posts with endearing photos.

I attended another workshop this week with another prolific writer, Chris Penszak. He joked about how much time he wasted by surfing Facebook. He banned himself from it because he had too much to do. Just that day, I wasted twenty minutes looking at photos on my time line. The average person goes to check their messages and wastes anywhere from one hour to ninety minutes on the average. It really doesn’t seem that long either, but it is.

In reality, you gobble up about ten hours a week on Facebook, and that’s when you’re not posting, liking messages, or even forwarding items you want to share. This is writing time. If you’re like me it seems like your free time is gobbled up by everyday errands, volunteer activities, household duties, and even unexpected illnesses and household guests.  Do you have ten hours to spare?

This is time spent away from the people you love. My mentor, and all around wonderful person, Vonnie Davis, suggested doing emails, posts while watching television with my husband. This allows me to get promotional activities done while still spending time with my new husband. Of course, he points out that sometimes I do watch the show. My multi-tasking tasks skills need work.

Facebook is a strange plea for attention. I noticed I have check-in on my cell phone. People who intend mischief or robbery love it when you check in. I recently bought my honey a new iPod on Amazon. They wanted me to post news of my purchase on Facebook. Okay, let’s list everything I have of value for the opportunist scanner. Later when I check in at Paneras to meet my friend, Jill, he’ll know I am not home. (Of course, I never check in or list my purchases.)

Facebook is the cause for one-third of the recent divorces in Britain according to legal records. It has become the other woman. Old lovers trying to get contact with a previous date or mate can cause conflict at home.  Folks looking up high school sweethearts spur jealousy and arguments. Maybe you just wanted to see if the quarterback you drooled over is bald now. Often a malicious ex will leave provocative messages that give the appearance something is going on.

The old joke is the real reason a person has a Facebook account is to stalk exes. To make sure they are miserable or at least hook up with sub-par people. This type of behavior doesn’t exactly invite closure and is a tad creepy. Of course, there is the ex who won’t go away. Who feels the need to contact you just to let you know he’s still around, despite the fact you’ve moved on, and married. Reminds me of the Adele song where she turns up uninvited on a former lover’s doorstep to catch-up. Facebook gives potential stalkers the ability to catch-up online.

Limiting your Facebook doesn’t limit it as much as you might think. My students notice any Facebook status changes I might make. They are not my friends, and yet they can and do view my photos.  My husband had a strangely persistent ex who became very interested in him when he started dating me. She managed to comb through all our pictures, even though she had been defriended. I got a new friend, Charlie, from Arizona that I neither knew nor invited. I’ve had my husband and daughter both go over my privacy settings and are unsure how Charlie came in.

Workshops tell us that we have to promote using Facebook. As you all know, Facebook recently went public, but the stock price never even came up to the initial prediction. Four out of five FB users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network site according to a recent Reuters poll. I actually know no one who has bought anything because of a Facebook ad.

I have bought books because of likes on Amazon. I have bought them after reading an excerpt on a blog. I've also bought another book after reading a free book by the same author. Reviews have influenced me too. I've never bought a book from a Facebook ad, though. How about you?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Writing, Procrastination is thy middle name.

I think I have a phobia.

And like all writers, I think I have to give it a name. A title. A brand of some sort. I'm calling it "putoffititus."

You see, for the past three months I've been struggling to finish the last book in my Red Hand Conspiracy series. No, that's not true. I've been avoiding finishing the last book in this series. Oh, I open the document every week, add a thousand words, go back and read over earlier chapters. Delete this. Add that. Play with it. Massage it here and there, but work hard at it? Nah.

Both my agent and editor are asking me how soon I can have Jazzbeat of Surrender completed. I'm at 43,000 words with only 50-52,000 words to go. If I'd buckle down, I could have it done in a month, or so.

My problem? I can't stay focused on it. Oh, I'm writing. Writing every day. I'm just not working on the right project. I've written and submitted a novella. Submitted and sold two short stories. One publisher has asked for another short story set in the same historical town. And my creative mind is chomping at the bit to forge ahead on that project.

I also entered the Golden Acorn Contest and took third place in their paranormal division--and I've never written paranormal before. I mean, sometimes I think I live a paranormal existence, but write it? No. Never. At least not until I was supposed to focus on Jazzbeat.

So what the heck is wrong?

Short attention span?

Lack of discipline?

No direction?

You see, I'm coming up on something I'm not sure I can handle realistically. I have to reveal the head of this group of terrorists that have run rampant in the first two books. In short, I've painted myself into a corner. I've hinted and alluded to who the person might be, but of course the real villian is someone else. And I'm waiting for the rascal to cooperate. As if a terrorist would. Right?

Book one, Mona Lisa's Room, takes place in Paris and a small seaside community on the Normandy Coast. Release date is November 9th. The back cover blurb is in the form of an email--


You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I'm feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes. 

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

Don’t worry. I’m safe…the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

Book two takes place in Paris and Budapest and has no cover yet, but I can share the blurb of Rain is a Love Song.
When Gwen Morningstar and her daughter travel to Paris for the birth of her sister’s baby, both step into a quagmire of danger. Her daughter’s kidnapping and eventual rescue propel Gwen to join in the pursuit of the abductors, The Red Hand terrorist group. She’s determined to keep her daughter safe, even if it means traveling undercover to Budapest with counterterrorist agent, Jean-Luc LeFevre, a Frenchman with his own brand of justice—and danger. 
Jean-Luc’s assignment, working with Gwen, an American crime scene photographer with just enough training to get them killed, does not please him. She takes too many risks and drives him to distraction. Never mind the eye-tick she gives him every time she makes him angry. As his feelings for her grow, he’s determined to keep both Mother and daughter safe.
But can he, when the tentacles of The Red Hand are far-reaching, both abroad and in the States?
So now the time has come to put on my big girl writing pants and finish this project. No more side-trips to other storylines. What about you? Are you your own worst enemy at times?