Monday, May 27, 2013

Dystopian vs Utopian

While meeting over coffee with some friends the other day, the subject of a dystopian vs utopian future came up.  It was suggested that maybe one of the reasons people write the dystopian future is because it’s easier.

Then and now, I think I might agree with that.  Because even if on the surface you write a utopian world, by the time you drill down, there would have to be something happening to make it so.  I mean what qualifies as “perfect”? And how can it be perfect for everyone? 

It can’t can it?

With the success of TV shows and movies showing the struggle to survive, it would appear that there are a lot of people that prefer the dystopian tale.  But, I have to admit, I seem to be getting tired of it.  I also am tired of the young adult angle.  Why is it that the adults always seem so clueless?

I don’t write science fiction, so I haven’t attempted to write a futuristic tale, but as I sit and wonder what my story would look like, I can’t say I know.  Would it be based around children saving the world? Or, would there be one “all knowing” character leading the rest? Or, would we simply pick ourselves up brush ourselves off?

Maybe that’s what the dystopian world shows?

What do you think?

(This post was originally posted on my blog.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Does He Looked Cross-Eyed to You?

Or just interested in a meal?

I really liked the tigers at the zoo because they show real interest in you. Whereas the lions just sleep, and the jaguars and pumas pace too much. But often when I go to the zoo, the tigers will watch me and I can get a good picture. :) 

I would definitely not want to move to close to him in that enclosure.

What's your favorite animal at the zoo???

I'm reading over Jaguar Hunt and making final changes, and then I've got to get back to A Hero of a Highland Wolf.

But I had some exciting news about a couple of other books. 

An agent (Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Agency) is representing my publisher and featuring two of my books at the BEA conference this weekend for foreign rights sales!!!

Nothing may come of it, but I'm excited that they will be featured and who knows? 

Winning the Highlander's Heart
The Accidental Highland Hero 

Winning the Highlander's Heart
Winning the Highlander's Heart--Book 1

Lady Anice vows to flee the amorous advances of King Henry I, and return to her home in the Highlands, where she hopes to find a laird to wed, when she learns her staff has vanished. Premonitions of imminent danger warn her of foul play and she is certain she is cursed when it comes to marriage.

The king orders the Highlander Laird Malcolm MacNeill, seeking an English bride, to provide the lass safe escort and learn what has become of her staff. Escorting her home safely proves a dangerous trial in and of itself and keeping his heart out of the matter, when the king wishes her wed to one of his loyal barons instead, complicates issues further. Losing his heart to the lass means Malcolm could very well lose his head.


The Accidental Highland Hero
The Accidental Highland Hero--Book 2

Lady Eilis Dunbarton’s life undergoes a drastic change with the death of her cousin, Agnes. Now she’s faced with the disagreeable prospect of marrying the man who was to be her cousin’s husband. Not by a change of contract, though. Instead, by deceit—pretending to be her cousin. But if her husband-to-be discovers she’s not really Agnes, her life is forfeit. So what choice does Eilis have but to flee?
When Laird James MacNeill’s clan rescues a half-drowned lass from the sea, there is speculation she is of the enemy clan, especially since she doesn’t remember her own name. James is immediately enticed with the lady, but his focus must remain on finding the proper bride. For if he does not wed soon, he must give up his holdings to one of his younger brothers.
Focus slips away with each day Eilis is close, and James finds himself contemplating the thought of taking her to wife without knowing her true identity.
But how dangerous would the end result be?
And what will happen if Eilis’s husband-to-be comes looking for her only to find her in the arms of another man?
B & N

Audio Book

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

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My RT conference was probably different than yours

I attended the RT convention in Kansas City earlier in the month, and this is the first time I've gone to that conference via the Day Pass, and didn't attend the parties at night, etc. I found I liked it a LOT better that way. I really focused on the workshops during the day, and spent the evening with my sister (who lives in Kansas City and who let me bunk with her during the conference).

I caught up with my friends at the conference then left at the end of the day to relax in the "normal world." In the past, this conference has been all about the readers, but this time I noticed a real focus on self-publishing and on authors.

There were a LOT of workshops about promotion, social media, self-publishing pitfalls -- all geared to new authors. Most of the presenters were very good, but a couple left me shaking my head at the amount of work they do for the return (these weren't best-selling authors; most of them I had never heard of (which may not mean much, granted)). Some of them were spending a lot of time and money and admittedly breaking even.

As always, I have to take a bit here and there to use for my own purposes, but overall, I thought it was a job well done and worth my time and money. Will I go again? If it's convenient (i.e., within driving distance). Otherwise, it's terribly expensive (as is RWA's National Conference, which I no longer attend).

I think the influx of self-published authors is putting a real spin on old-time organizations like RT and RWA, and RT is evolving to meet that challenge. I'm not so sure about RWA, but I haven't stayed very current with them so I may be wrong.

I came away feeling energized about writing and promoting, although I was surprised by how"Promo Alley" was ignored by people. It used to be that fans would descend on all the free promo items and take-take-take. That's the way it was last year. This year: not so much. I talked to several authors who were surprised by how few items were taken.

So maybe everything is changing -- and changing faster than we suspect. Here's hoping we can stay current with the changes!

30 books and counting....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Civil War Generals

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Memorial Day is here this weekend. I thought it would be interesting to look back into our history at some facts about the generals in the Civil War.
Some leading commanders were elderly when the war came, notably the Federal Commander-in-Chief, Winfield Scott, who was seventy-five, General John Wool was seventy-four, Edwin V. Sumner wa sixty-four, and John Dix sixty-three.
The dean of ranking Confederates was the Adjutant General, Samuel Cooper who was sixty-three. Albert Sidney Johnston was fifty-eight. Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston were fifty-four.
Most of the war's famous general officers in the field were young. A partial list of these, and their ages at the outbreak of war in 1861:
Seventeen: Brevet Major General Galusha Pennypacker, USA, the youngest of the war's general officers. Born June 1, 1844, and too young to vote until the war's end.
Twenty: Brigadier General William P. Roberts, a North Carolina cavalryman, who was the youngest Confederate general.
Twenty-one: George A. Custer, USA, born in December, 1839, and a cavalry brigadier in June, 1863, at age-twenty-three.
Twenty-three: Judson Kilpatrick, USA, West Point, '61, a brigadier and major general in 1865, at the age of twenty-seven.
Twenty-four: W.H.F. (Rooney) Lee, son of Robert E. Lee, and Stephen D. Ramseur, CSA.
Twenty-five: The cavalrymen, Joe Wheeler, CSA, and Wesley Merritit, USA, the former a major general at twenty-six, the latter a brigadier two days before Gettysburg, at age twenty-seven.
Twenty-six: Godgrey Weitzel, USA, the corps commander who ruled fallen Richmond; Fitz Lee, CSA; and Adalbert Amers, USA, West Point, '61.
Twenty-seven: William Dorsey Pender, CSA.
Twenty-eight: The cavalrymen, Alfred Torbert, USA, and J.E.B. Stuart, CSA, and Stpehen D. Lee, CSA.
The Civil War - Strange & Fascinating Facts by Burke Davis, author of Gray Fox

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Release: Just Beyond the Garden Gate

Just Beyond the Garden Gate
Scottish Historical Time Travel with Faeries

I'm excited to announce the release of Just Beyond the Garden Gate, the first novel in the Highland Gardens series. Visit Dawn Marie Hamilton Writes on May 25th for the Full Moon Book Giveaway.

Kindle Edition Available at Amazon

The Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time. On occasion, so do mere mortals.

Determined to regain her royal status, a banished faerie princess accepts a challenge from the High-Queen of the Fae to unite an unlikely couple while the clan brownie attempts to thwart her.

Passion ignites when a faerie-shove propels burned-out business consultant Laurie Bernard through the garden gate, back through time, and into the embrace of Patrick MacLachlan. The arrogant clan chief doesn’t know what to make of the lass in his arms, especially when he recognizes the brooch she wears as the one his stepmother wore when she and his father disappeared.

With the fae interfering at every opportunity, the couple must learn to trust one another while they battle an enemy clan, expose a traitor within their midst and discover the true fate of the missing parents. Can they learn the most important truth—love transcends time?

Journey from the lush gardens of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Scottish Highlands of 1509 with Just Beyond the Garden Gate.


Laurie opened her eyes a crack. Her head pounded, her pulse raced. This wasn’t good. Those couldn’t be two, huge, leather-clad feet inches from her face.

She opened her eyes wider. Raised her gaze higher.

Those feet—the ones that couldn’t be there—was it possible they were attached to two muscular calves wrapped in soft napped animal skins?

Higher still. Bare knees. Plaid wool and saffron linen.

Farther up, she took in all of the man who towered over her. Piercing blue eyes blinked. Crinkles appeared in the corners. He was grinning. Not outwardly. The perfectly shaped lips remained tight and straight, but something within this gorgeous man was pleased.

She gasped with recognition. This was her man, the one from her heated dreams and visions. The man she didn’t believe existed. The man who made her insides flip-flop.

Unsure what had just happened, she gave her head a firm shake. Mistake. Dizziness hit in waves. She swallowed hard. When the nausea passed, she pushed her palms against the ground and rose to her feet. Unsteady, she swayed. The stranger’s image blurred.

Large calloused hands gripped her arms. A strange though familiar jolt of energy coursed through her, causing her heart to beat too fast.

He quickly released her. He must have felt it too.

Again, she swayed. She reached for his support at the same time he took hold of her upper arms.

She blinked to clear her vision and moistened dry lips. The flash of desire in his eyes made her shiver. He smiled for real this time, leaned forward, placed a hand behind her head, and brushed her lips with his. Gentle at first, then with vigor, his tongue delved into her mouth.

Instinct insisted she struggle. Holding her body rigid, she fisted her hands, which he’d trapped within his embrace. She forced her fingers open and pressed her palms against his hard chest—a vain attempt to push him away.

The current flowing between them became overpoweringly seductive. No man had made her feel this way before. For several moments, she wavered between fighting him—a familiar stranger—and succumbing to the delicious sensations swamping her. He deepened the kiss, and the internal battle ended. Desire won. She clasped hold of the front of his shirt with shaky hands and kissed him back with pent-up passion.

Satiny lips anchored her in a storm of unfamiliar sensation. Pleasure vibrated along her body. She opened her eyes a slit. The intensity of the man’s shocking kiss matched the masculine power burning in his startling blue eyes.

His grip tightened. His fingers burned through her clothing, searing her skin. She closed misty eyes and sank into the reality of her dream lover’s embrace.

Amazon Author Page
~Dawn Marie

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meeting an Author

I worked at a craft fair last weekend and to my great fortune, my "neighbor" was a romance author.

She is writing a Christian Fiction Romance series set in the late 1800's American west. The heroine in each of her five (so far)  Newly Wed books has joined up with a wagon train of mail order brides.

By mid-afternoon, the number of shoppers had dwindled to a few browsers, so I started to read Sky's Bridal Train. She told me she'd written this story for herself, and then her children insisted she try to get it published. A small Christian press in Oklahoma accepted it. And I can see why--it is really quite good!

Her "Meet the Author" book-signing booth was tasteful and inviting: stacks of books, a one-page B&W handout listing her five titles and blurbs, a doll-house log cabin to draw names for a free-book. The niftiest promo item she had was one I'd not seen before: a banner that raised up out of a holder that rested on the floor and was held up by a six-foot tall arm. It was like a narrow upside-down screen for home movies or slides.  The banner displayed each of her covers with lovely feminine colors--very professional and eye-catching.

I'm gonna get me one of those banners some day.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mother's Day Babies

My latest novel, MOTHER’S DAY BABIES, was very appropriately released around Mother’s Day.
Available for 99 cents at,

The perfect gift for Mother's Day, only 99 cents
This book is dedicated to the mothers we celebrate and those we remember with love on Mother's Day.

Blurb: Widowed for seven years, Barbara Ramsay lives and breathes for her five grownup daughters and their babies. She's also used to chatting over the phone with her good friend, Lou. But why has he invited her to come to Paris with his TV Network crew?

Powerful News Director, Lou Roland is certainly not marriage material, yet he has suddenly decided he wants Barbara in his arms. Not an easy task when his pretty confidante from Kentucky proves so difficult to date--unless he follows her rules. Can the over-fifty confirmed bachelor and the widow loyal to her husband's memory find true love and share a future?

Mother’s Day Babies also raises an interesting question. What can a young father do when he’s eagerly expecting the birth of his first child and the mother blatantly announces, “He’s not yours!” just after the delivery?
Let Lou Roland, the hero of MOTHER'S DAY BABIES, tell you his feelings.

“Ten years later, we bumped into each other in Atlanta. You’d think that at thirty, I’d have been wiser.”

“You still held a flame for her?” In a way, Barbara was pleased to discover he was capable of loving a woman for that long.
“I was still an idiot. That’s what I was.” The bang on the desk startled her. Now at fifty-four, Lou resented his previous naïveté. “Jennifer moved in with me. But not for long. Later, she called to say she was expecting my child.”
“Ah, did you believe her?”

“Yes, and I was delighted to be a dad. I thought something positive has finally come out of our troubled relationship. You see I grew up in a very conservative home. My mother was a church-going lady, classy and generous. Just like you.”
His gaze roamed over her with appreciation. Barbara smiled at the compliment. That explained why Lou liked her.

“I wanted my child to have the good childhood I had.”
“So you married Jennifer?” Hoping he’d done the right thing, Barbara arched her eyebrows.

“She laughed in my face when I proposed and said she wasn’t ready for monogamy. I realized a marriage with her wouldn’t last long but I wanted to be part of my child’s life. Jennifer had no medical insurances so I immediately gave her a check and said I’d pay for the delivery and the baby’s expenses.”
“You were there when the baby was born?” Riveted by his story, she studied the thinning of his lips, and the sad little lines carved around his eyes.

“No. Jennifer had a knack for disappearing. She called when the baby was five-months old. I was furious to be deprived of my child’s first months and we had a fight. That’s when she screamed she wasn’t sure Monica was mine. She was sleeping with two other men at the time.” Disgust and rage churned in his eyes, now as gray as a tempest. “The girl has her mother’s looks. I wanted her to take a DNA test. Jennifer refused.”
“I can understand your frustration, your anger. But you kept contact with your daughter?”

“Only a few times over the years.” He shook his head. “Jennifer followed her lovers and only called me when she needed money.”
“No wonder you longed for a family life.” Now she understood why he never married.

“When she grew up, Monica was the one who called to ask for money. I made her promise to go to college and I paid her tuitions.”

For a chance to win a copy of MOTHER’S DAY BABIES, let me know your opinion: What should the young man do when the woman announces the child may not be his?
About the Author: From chemistry in the lab to chemistry between people.
As a director of chemistry, Mona Risk traveled to more than sixty countries on business or vacation. To relax from her hectic schedule, she avidly read romance novels and mentally plotted her own books. Eventually she left a scientific career to share with readers the many stories brewing in her head. Mona likes to set her stories in the fascinating places she visits.
Mona Risk’s books won Best Romance Novel of the Year at Preditors & Editors; Best Contemporary Romances at Readers Favorite; Epic Award Finalists; and many stellar reviews.

 Other books in The Holiday Babies Series:

Mona Risk Amazon Page of books

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The 30th RT Booklovers Convention

A couple weeks ago I attended the RT Booklovers convention, which celebrated its 30th year of existence. It was a grand party over the five days I was there, with parties every night, sometimes more than one, and seminars during the day. I met readers, fellow writers, a few publishing professionals, and basically had a great time.

Every year I go to this convention I ask myself: "Is it really worth the money?"

The cost isn't cheap. Between the the hotel, travel expenses, the convention fee, the promotional items I bought and gave away, not to mention my meals, I spent a lot of money. Will I make that up in extra sales? Hard to say, but I think it's unlikely. I did raise awareness of my brand and my books, and I did find some information at the convention that will help me manage my writing career, as well as get the latest information on what industry professionals think. Every year I learn more about about how the business is going and get useful information.

But all that is not why I go to the convention. I go because I have a good time. After all, where else could I get away with something like this:

Yes that's me, wearing a safari outfit and carrying a toy elephant. The Samhain Safari was one of the parties and since my latest Gaian novel, Beloved Stranger is published with Samhain, I decided that when on safari it was important to bring your own elephant. Which is to say that I visited a local toy store and bought the cutest elephant I could find before the party, then decorated him with a flashing light on his trunk. One thing about it, if you carry around an elephant with a flashing light on his trunk, you will get attention. I talked to a lot of readers at the party who all said they liked "Blinky", my elephant.

And that is part of this convention, getting the attention of readers. Did it sell any more books? Maybe not but today I have a nice new elephant and a big smile remembering how much fun I had. Some days that can be enough.

Does anyone else have any convention stories?

Janet Miller
The second Gaian novel, Beloved Enemy - now on sale at Amazon, Nook, and Kobo.
See more at

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I asked a question on the loops the other day: Do I need to work with more than one publisher to widen my net of readers?

Seems like this question was plaguing other writers as well, because after weeks of discussion, I gathered 22 pages of responses!  My blog gift to you is a simple synthesis of the advice.  One proviso: what you do depends on your goals and how prolific a writer you are.  One author with lots of MS's to offer explained that at 70 years of age, she can't wait for slooooooow publishers...she has to self publish in order to get all her books out in the next few years.

The Synthesis:
1.  Yes, seek other publishers to widen the net, but be careful who you pick...make sure the new publisher (s) 'sells' your genre to a large readership, has a solid track record and offers you some fresh ways to promo.  The publisher must provide an editor who gets the very best out of you.  Kayelle Allen offered these look-fors:
1) are they ethical?
2) are they successfully marketing their authors?
3) is their cover art excellent? 
4) is their editing superb? 
5) do they treat you and others fairly?

2.  If you decide to stick with one publisher, make sure it 'sells' your genre to a large readership, has a solid track record, offers you excellent editors and some fresh ways to promo, and has a way of rewarding you for staying loyal to one publisher.  (One writer who has been in the business for 25 years warns us that she's seen many publishers fold up their business and disappear; she advised against depending on one publisher for this reason.)

3.  By all means, learn how to self publish, even if for a novella.  No need to mention you won't have to share royalties with a publisher if you self publish.  The beauty of self-publishing is you can speed up the process...instead of waiting a year (or three!) to have a publisher get your book out, you can complete the process in months!  Better yet, you are completely in control of the process, including cover choice.  BUT ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS (emphasis provided by advice-givers) do the following:
---Polish your work
---Use CP's and beta readers to respond to your work
---Polish some more
---Pay (or barter) for an editor who is tough on you for all writing elements (not just editing)
---Pay (or barter) for an excellent formatter
---Pay (or barter) for a fabulous cover
---Polish your work again

4.  If your agent, your editor and or your publisher isn't doing the job, be brave and complain.  If you see no change, move on.

Promotion is the underbelly of my to bring in more to sell more books.  We learned early on that promotion would remain in the our hands, and we're puzzled about how to promote in these chaotic times.  What worked before isn't working now.  Two goals are clear:  1. Build a loyal readership (and nurture that group); 2. Have fun interacting with those 'netted' readers.  

Hope you found some value in my synthesis.  Let me know what you think I left out or what resonated for you!  Rolynn

P.S. Just in case you didn't know, I self-pubbed a suspense novel, SWOON late in 2012 (after having two books published by The Wild Rose Press). Take a look!

Don't miss SWOON by Rolynn Anderson! If you like an interesting cast of characters, a heavy dose of mystery and a lot of fabulous surprises, you'll be happily turning pages late into the night.ˮ
~ Brenda Novak, NYT and USA Bestselling Author of award-winning 

 Her dead clients won’t rest in peace.

When the dead tell tales, Jan Solvang’s first reaction is to RUN!  But then she gets caught up in their mysteries.
Jan’s a boutique funeral planner, new to risk, hired to bury a missing woman and memorialize an infamous man.  Yet when she digs for clues to write their eulogies, she disturbs family secrets and unmasks killers.
Roman Keller, hard-driving documentary writer, is in complete control of his life and his stories, until he falls for Jan, a woman who trusts her dog, her faint-dreams, and her instincts more than she trusts him.

Can they make the sacrifices necessary to cement their relationship or will the mayhem caused by the dead ruin their second chance at love?  

Website for Rolynn Anderson:


Print version Amazon