Thursday, September 26, 2013

A SEAL Wolf Christmas is Howling for YOU!!! And Book Plates are Available!

Yep, it’s out and the wolves are all thrilled… until the she-wolves find that hunky Bjornolf has Anna on his team. She’s hard-charging and take-no-prisoner kind of she-wolf, so, ladies, be forewarned. Look and drool, but don’t touch. :)

Wolves howl in Moscow zoo at winter
I have to mention here that a woman was talking about ancient seals and I was like huh??? She wasn’t talking about Navy SEALs of course, or old, old seals with flippers, but the kind that would seal an envelope. Anyway, I think we all prefer the SEAL wolves, don’t we?? Hoooah! :)

Can an Alpha Wolf Who’s Met His Match…
Navy SEAL Bjornolf Jorgenson has had tough missions before, but going undercover with feisty gray wolf Anna Johnson could top the list. She drives him crazy—in more ways than one. Now he has to investigate a murder, supervise a wild teenage wolf—and handle Christmas with Anna.

Survive the Holidays with Her?
For Anna, the only thing worse than staging the perfect family Christmas is having to do it with Bjornolf posing as her husband. Anna is a serious undercover operative who isn’t afraid of a fight, even with a hunky SEAL shifter. With a killer on the loose, Anna just wants to focus on their mission, but the one thing she can’t fight is her sizzling chemistry with Bjornolf.

Buy links:
Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound
Powell’s Books

Also I've made up book plates, so if you have some of my print books and would like autographed book plates, I'll send them!

Aren’t they beautiful?
fae autographed book platesHighland autographed book platesJaguar autographed labelsromance autographed book plateswolf pack autograped signature
If you need some, just send me an SASE.
terry spear @ ymail (dot) com

When you send me the SASE, just add a note saying which you need and the quantity! :)

Are YOU ready for Christmas? Don’t let anything get in your way! :)
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Deep in the writing cave: old dog, new tricks

I decided with my 15-book series to try to plot the books. I NEVER plot my books, but with 15 books, I think I need to make sure all my plot lines intersect. So I grabbed "The Writer's Journey" (which I skimmed once) and am now looking at the building blocks of the book.

I'm worried I may try to force some elements of the story into that structure, so I'm treading cautiously.  But in other cases, I can see where I need one of those plot elements and I'm missing it.

So here's a word of ?wisdom? ?caution? -- don't be afraid to go back and try something new. You'll never know what you discover.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Summertime at our house means flowers, lots of gorgeous blooms. We live in the Sierra Mountains surrounded by a variety of tall, stately trees. But, what makes our yard so beautiful is what my husband does with his gardens. He amazes me with his love for flowers, his gentleness with them. I am not allowed to do anything but look because I have these two black thumbs and I kill flowers when I’m left in charge.
When we first got married we lived in an apartment on the second floor. It didn’t deter him at all. He found empty wastebaskets, cans, and any kind of container he could to plant his flowers. I know it amazed his father who had no inkling of his fondness for gardening.
The season is drawing to a close for this year, but we are still enjoying the late blooms. Since it snows here, he must be very careful of what he plants and can’t wait until the warm weather late spring to see which plants survive. I have to hold him back from planting too early.
I think hobbies are what make us unique. Mine is sewing quilts and his is growing flowers.
Do you have something that you do that draws you into a creative mood?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Cruises are becoming the most common way to see the world and unwind in an enjoyable surrounding. My husband calculated that it was cheaper to board a ship from Fort Lauderdale and go on a week cruise than pay airfare, hotel, restaurants and entertainments.

In addition, organizations find it easier to hold their conferences during a cruise than to locate a hotel, cater the food, and manage a hundred details. FRW chapters took us on two lovely cruises  and EPICON hosted their 2012 conference on a cruise leaving from Jacksonville.

During our last cruise, we met a woman in her seventies who lives ten months a year on a cruise ship. She sold her house and her car, and explained that on a cruise ship she doesn’t have to fix her room, prepare her meals or worry about her laundry. She enjoys shows and performances without having to drive to a theater. She has plenty of books to read, a laptop to connect with the world and makes friends with other travelers. The doctor on board knows her well and takes care of her little problems. Sometimes she joins a tour and visits a new place. Twice a year she spends a month at her children and goes through all her medical checkups, buys her supply of medicine and reserves the next cruise. She told me she was writing her memoirs.

Would you be able to live on a ship?

If you like to travel and love to read come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with passion.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Experiment with "Free" results so far...

Last month I announced that I'd put one of my best selling titles up for free and reported that the rest of the series had pretty much immediately started selling better, particularly the title that came afterward in the series. This month I'm going to report further on how this experiment is going.

Beloved Enemy has now been available as a free download at Smashwords, Apple, and Amazon for a month. In that time well over 13 thousand copies have downloaded. Copies of Beloved Traveler have doubled, and the entire series saw an increase in sales from about ten to fifty percent per book. Also traffic on my website has increased, which certainly helps my visibility. I've doubled the number of reviews on Beloved Enemy and fortunately they've all been pretty good reviews. Sales in Germany and Canada for the rest of the series have picked up to the point I now have separate pages in my spreadsheet for their weekly sales at Amazon.

Overall this experiment has been a quantifiable success.

The question at this point is whether to continue to let this book stay free or put it back to full price. Eventually I'd like to start earning money on the book again, the question is when? One thought would be to continue running the book as free until I have a new title out to catch people's attention. That might be a good idea. Another would be to take if off free when interest in downloading it ends. At this point the downloads have fallen to about 150-200 per day, but I still see a lot of traffic per day on my website, much of it from direct links inside my book. So it seems reasonable at this point to continue as things are.

I'm now working on setting up my first Cricket Starr novel, Violet Among The Roses, as a free read under its new series name Mythical Seductions. That is the series name I picked to replace Divine Interventions since without the Ellora's Cave banner to indicate the book was erotic romance, it was likely people thought the books were Inspirational.

The series was intended to be inspirational in many ways (particularly the bedroom) but not Inspirational in the religious sense. I felt my target audience wasn't being drawn by the title.

So now Violet Among The Roses is already available as a free download at Smashwords and I expect it to be set to free at Apple within the next week. Once that is done we'll see how long Amazon takes to price match. I'll post in October how that works out. I hope to get enough downloads to at least make the Cricket Starr name viable again.

Has anyone else played with going free on a title, and did it have good results? I'm curious to find out what other people are experiencing.


Saturday, September 14, 2013


I’m scared about the bilateral knee replacement surgery I’m slated to have in one month.  The pain (I don’t do pain well), the physical therapy, tottering around with a walker for a month, being dependent on my husband for who knows what needs…none of it pleases me.  I’ve been a healthy, energetic, independent woman all my life and I hate the idea of being weak, in pain and needing support from others.

What’s more, I’m told that the artificial parts they’ll place in my knees won’t “feel” like me/mine/real.  That gives me pause.  Daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, will my knees remind me that I have fake elements as essential mechanisms?  Will I have to think too much about what has been an involuntary act for more than half a century? 

What will it feel like to walk, climb, exercise?  Will I still have a good golf swing?  Can I handle leaps from my boat to the dock and wrenching lines from the boat to cleats?  How easily will I be able to hop in and out of the car, carry groceries, pull/carry luggage, work in the garden, climb a ladder so I can prune my fruit trees?  Could it be that my scuba gear is still too heavy for my knees to bear…on a beach dive?

Will I be too tentative, knowing the limbs are part fake and maybe vulnerable?  How afraid of falling will I be?

Anyone out there who’s had a bilateral knee replacement with some experience to share?  I need to prepare mentally for what’s going to happen to my knees…and march through the stages of grief BEFORE I have the operation!

FADEOUT won a RONE award!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do you love Diana Ross? #music

I do!

When you think about the things from your childhood that made you smile, what do you think of?

For me, candy, cartoons, rainy days, and music.  Motown music.  (And of course I'm from the south, so there's also a little bit of country.)  But, my dad was a huge Motown fan, and the music always played throughout the house.

Diana Ross was one of my favorites.  My cousin and I never missed one of her live concerts broadcast on HBO.  We couldn't wait to see what she'd wear, sing, or just say between songs.

When I think about a lot of the singers (and music) playing on the radio today, it's a little sad that there aren't many artists that I think will evoke the same emotion for children growing up today that Lady D does for me.

(I hope one day people will read my books, and they'll be transported to another time and place like Lady D's music does for me.)

If you've never seen Lady D in concert, I recommend it!  Not only did she have a blast, but so did the audience.  I think we sang every word to every song :-)

If you'd like to see more video of Lady D in concert in Memphis, TN, visit my YouTube Channel!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lemons into lemonade

I'm taking a break from mysteries and focusing on my alternative America series, a group of books I've been working on (off and on) for a few years.

I love this universe and these characters, so it's like coming home for me. I recently took a quick trip which involved a lot of driving, and while I was doing that, I had uninterrupted time to simply think about my characters, my plots, and the arcs for the books.

This was such a luxury for me. It made a 10-hour drive (round trip) into an astounding, marvelous experience. I barely noticed the time passing because I was occupied with thinking -- without interruption, without distraction. The driving was easy (very little traffic, cruise control most of the time) and I had beautiful scenery.

A trip I was somewhat dreading turned out to be ultimate lemonade. Here's hoping you can have a similar experience (and often!) It's so refreshing!

30 books and counting

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Highland Gardens

I've been knee deep, promoting my Highland Gardens series. It's great. It's fun. I need to get back to writing. So I'm working on the next two stories. In a month or so, I'll post about the new stories. For now, the Highland Gardens series...

Highland Gardens

Scottish Time Travel Fantasy Romance Series

The Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time. On occasion, so do mere mortals. This is the setting for HIGHLAND GARDENS, a time-travel romance series spiced with scheming faeries and one incredibly mischievous brownie. Journey from the lush gardens of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Scottish Highlands of the early sixteenth century.

Just Beyond the Garden Gate

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.

Available for Kindle and Nook

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

That happens when a twenty-first century business executive is expected to fulfill a prophecy given at the birth of a sixteenth-century seer? Of course, he must raise his sword in her defense.

Believing women only want him for his wealth, Finn MacIntyre doesn't trust any woman to love him. When, during Scottish Highland games, faerie magic sends him back in time to avenge the brutal abduction of his time-traveling cousin, he learns he's the subject of a fae prophecy.

Elspeth MacLachlan, the beloved clan seer, is betrothed to a man she dislikes and dreams of the man prophesized at her birth, only to find him in the most unexpected place—face down in the mud.

With the help of fae allies, they must overcome the treachery set to destroy them to claim a love that transcends time.

Available for Kindle and Nook

Enjoy the fantasy. Dare to dream!

~Dawn Marie

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Self Publishing Is Out of My Comfort Zone

This is my novice journey into the world of self-publishing. I did learn self-publishing and vanity publishing are very different.
Please do not fall prey to vanity publishers. Author House contacted me early in the game and offered to publish my book for $10,000. Lucky for me, I didn’t have that type of money. They sent me copies of slick paperbacks they did publish.  One book had Los Angeles spelled Los Angles in the title.
The big difference between vanity and self-pub, besides the price, is the ability to change your work. I pointed out a mistake to a friend in her children’s book that she was able to correct in five minutes. If someone else publishes your book, you’ll learn to live with the mistake and move on. This is one of the major lures of self-publishing. The other lure is that it is cheap, but it’s not as cheap as you think.
Pick up a copy of The Naked Truth about Self Publishing to find out the real nitty gritty. Popular self-published authors who learned the hard way compiled this book. I downloaded a free Kindle book where the author told me she published her own book on Kindle free. She created the art work with Power Point and did her own editing. She admitted it didn’t look too hot, but it was a learning curve. Do any of us need a sloppy book out there with our name on it?
You really can’t do it on your own at first. No one edits her own work well. You can expect to pay for editing, proofing, cover art, formatting and ISBN numbers. It depends on whom you use. A higher price doesn’t mean someone is better. Case in point for me was editing.
Sometimes you can get what you want. I shopped for my editor. Editing is such a personal thing that there needs to be a good relationship between the author and editor. I interviewed several people. If you are wondering how you interview an editor, you allow them to edit a couple pages of your work. Here are some of my results.
*One woman rewrote my work in her own voice.
*Another one cleaned up my Western characters’ language, so they spoke proper English.
*Another seemed clueless about what she was doing. She didn’t understand fiction editing and wanted to take out any extraneous adjectives and adverbs, which meant all of them.
*One woman came highly recommended from several published romance authors and she’s very, very good.
They all offered me different prices. The most expensive wanted a five hundred dollar retainer and would bill me hourly. I had this woman edit one page I wrote. It took her one hour to edit it. It didn’t take me that long to write and research it. With this is mind, a 300 page novel would cost me almost $11,000 dollars.
Normal rate for an experienced copy editor is .008 a word for an edit. Keep this in mind when you are having prices thrown at you. I am thankful for all the helpful authors who broke down the prices for me at the conference.
This is the tip of the iceberg. Next month, I’ll address cover art.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reasons I Don't Finish A Book

This is about how many books I have waiting to be read.

I will say my husband is a better person than I am because he finishes every book he starts. I don’t. I read for pleasure, knowledge and reviews. As for the reviews, I’ve been told not to read past the fifth chapter because I might give the story away. If I enjoy the book, I still finish it. However, a few things stop me cold.

   Mechanics can cripple a tale - I am not an editor. I need an editor to edit my work. Still, when I see glaring errors even I can pick out, it makes for difficult reading. It is almost as if the work has to be edited to make any sense.

  An unlikable character is another reason - Philip Roth, a masterful writer, may be able to make a pedophile into a sympathetic character. Trust me; most authors do not have this skill. I declined to review a book that included a selfish heroine who refused to have anything to do with her a father because he married a woman she didn’t like. She even kept her grandson away from his grandfather. When her father dies suddenly, she complains about how inconvenient it is and how she looks bad in black.

Lack of research - I once read a book that took place on an Indiana farm. The author’s unfamiliarity with farming, the crops that grow in Indiana and the general geography hurt her credibility with anyone from Indiana, or with a farming background, or had the ability to use the Internet. Many people want to write historical novels, but they don’t want to do the research. Historical readers are great historians. They recognize a wrong item or even a word not right for the period.

   Believability - Fantasy and science fiction get a pass on this. I understand fiction is pretend, but some things only happen in comic books. A cougar novel had the fifty-year-old former model heroine more beautiful and toned than her twenty year old model employees. Whenever she walked into a room, men’s mouths fell open. She was also a billionaire, owned most of the town and ran several businesses. The poor woman couldn’t find an available man to date. Which part do you find hard to believe?

 Sameness - I think people read novels by a particular author for some sameness. They’re comfortable with reading the same thing over and over. However, when it is the exact same plot line in the same place with different main characters, it’s still the same novel.

  Vulgarity factor - I don’t think of myself as a prude. I used to be a beta reader for several different types of erotica a few years back. While some of the books I read were funny, far-fetched, or just plan goofy, they do not compare to what’s out currently. Some writers have their characters tortured, kept hostage and raped by several men. They liked to call it bondage. Yeah, right.

The agenda peddlers - You don’t have to read more than a chapter into these books to see what the agenda is. It could be pro-gun or anti-gun. It might be anti-meat penned by a vegan. Everyone has opinions. That’s fine, but an opinion is not a story arc.

 The story doesn’t go anywhere - I will freely admit to finishing these books thinking they will get better. Sigh. The best example I’ve seen is a mystery with twenty-two possible murderers. After persevering through 500 plus pages, the detective announces he can’t figure it out.

 Too little conflict - Everyone is wonderful in the story and there are no problems. What is the plot line again?

  Too much conflict - Some writers, hearing that conflict drives the story, manage to pile on endless twists, from unknown brothers to counteragents. After about the thirtieth conflict is introduced, I realize I no longer care.

 Great beginnings that melt into miserable middles - The book had so much promise, but then it went nowhere. The first part of the book was the contest entry, which explains why it was better than the rest.

  No explanation - This tends to happen more in fantasy or science fiction, where the writer uses language or terms that hasn’t been explained to the reader. He created the word so he knows what it means. The rest of us, however, might like a clue.

All in all, there really aren’t that many books I don’t finish. I really hate it when I read an entire series only to have a sucky ending. I persevered through six books for that ending.  When do you stop reading?  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Creativity and Travel

Vacations are meant as a time to step away from the schedules and reconnect with family in a different environment. "The family that roller-coasts together screams together" kind of thing. For some of us, those frenzied days at amusement parks are thankfully over as are vacations spent traveling for hours, while cranky kids in the backseat squabble and ask "are we there yet." At this point in our lives, vacations come in two varieties--visiting the grandkids and soaking in every hug and humorous story they tell or flying to a favorite spot to work on our writing.

These are the benefits of retirement. We are relieved from work schedules and all those outside pressures. Calvin and I can at last be the "free spirits" we've longed to be.

In a week, we leave for two weeks in Paris and a week in Berlin. Since Calvin turns 82 on our return to the States, this might well be our last long trip. I'm a little apprehensive how he'll handle it all and he's concerned I'll get sick. Color us worriers.

Paris is our favorite city. Calvin lived there for a year back in the late sixties, writing at sidewalk cafés. He took me there on our second anniversary eight years ago and I was captured under her spell. The sights, sounds and smells I'd experienced are featured in my Red Hand Conspiracy romantic suspense series. I can't wait to go back for more story ideas. I have two in mind--a historical and a contemporary--I want to research while we're there.

We decided to rent a little apartment on the Left Bank, near the Sorbonne University. This large neighborhood in Paris is known as the Latin Quarter. Centuries ago, students at the Sorbonne spoke Latin exclusively as they roamed the streets and argued politics and art in cafés. Today, the students still do this, only in French or English.

Since both of us are diabetics, I can shop at the fresh produce stands at rue Moufftard, a few blocks from our temporary home, and cook a few meals to help keep our glucose levels down. Although all the walking we'll be doing should help, too. Paris is a city for walking, gaping at the beautiful architecture, listening to French spoken in machine gun rapidity and stepping into tiny shops to the friendly "Bonjour Messieur, Madam." offered by the shop owners.

Hemingway lived in an apartment not far from "ours" while he wrote A Moveable Feast. James Joyce and Orwell lived nearby, too. Not too far away, Picasso perfected his Cubist art style. Creativity is in the air--and I plan on inhaling!

Here's a picture of our living room...

We'll say goodbye to Paris and fly to Berlin to visit family. Calvin's only son lives there, working for the Bayer Corporation. Kelly's wife, a native Berliner, runs a large beauty shop. We haven't seen them in over two years, so we are due for some major catching up. Kelly is a taller version of Calvin...just as warm, as charming, as humorous as his dad. He holds a PhD. in High Energy Theoretical Particle Physics--and I have no clue what that is.

Our vacation will be a lovely mixture of family hugs and sharing stories combined with exploring our favorite historical artistic city. A great atmosphere for creativity to bloom, don't you think?

Mona Lisa's Room, book one of a romantic suspense series, takes place in Paris and Villerville, a small seaside community along the Normandy Coast. An American art teacher, Alyson, and Niko, a French counter-terrorism agent, are on the run from a ruthless band of terrorists called The Red Hand. This book was the winner of the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit in two categories--Best Romantic Suspense and Best Book by a Virginia Author.


Book two of the series, Rain is a Love Song, is set in Paris and Budapest. Gwen travels from North Carolina to Paris to visit her sister, Alyson. Her daughter is kidnapped in front of her eyes and rescued by French government agent, Jean-Luc. Determined to help him find these dangerous terrorists, she worms her way into the investigation, much to his displeasure and distraction.

Link to the book trailer:


Sunday, September 1, 2013

One of the Most Fun Things about Being an Author--the Covers!!!

Hero of a Highland Wolf
How difficult can one Highlander be?
For centuries, Grant MacQuarrie and his ancestors have been administering Farraige Castle overlooking the North Sea for a Playfair family, who had left it in their capable hands when the last heir moved to the States. Now, the daughter has inherited the estate. According to the contract, she must live in the holding for a year and a day so she can learn how to adequately manage the castle from across the sea before she can return to America. Grant MacQuarrie, pack leader and chief of the MacQuarrie clan, has run the estates forever and isn’t happy about having an American lass in his way. But when she arrives, he learns she’s a sexy wolf who isn't at all like her stuck-up, devious father, who hated Grant and his clan.

Colleen Playfair has never been to Scotland, although she has several famous and infamous Scottish ancestors. So when she learns she must live at Farraige Castle in the Highlands for 366 days, she’s excited about the prospect. And a little apprehensive. Already, one Grant MacQuarrie is not happy about her coming. Will the Scots be peeved with her since she’s an American, trying to run things? But she’s got her ancestors' head for math, geology, and architecture, her father’s stubborn determination, her mother’s ability to make friends, and her uncle’s knack for making people smile, so how hard could it be?
Totally had fun with this story. We haven't lost the MacNeills. They're intertwined with the story also. But it was fun showing two wolf packs in the Highlands that are actually friends. :)
So what do you think? Does he have what it takes to win YOU over?

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