Sunday, June 26, 2011

Now, HERE'S a real hero: Brian Glacken

As you know, I've moved my blog over to Wordpress.

In case you haven't visited me over there yet, here's an example of a real-live hero: a boy whose parents I know - only he's not a boy, he's all grown up ... and a hero.

Makes me seriously re-think the meaning of the word selfless.

Hero: Brian Glacken

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We've Moved

I'll be posting over at my new blog at:

Join me there and feel free to request a guest appearance.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Murder on the Interstate by Jean Henry Mead

Murder on the Interstate is the third novel in Jean Henry Mead's mystery/suspense series. The book features continuing characters Dana Logan & Sarah Cafferty, two 60-year-old amateur sleuths traveling Interstate 40 in northern Arizona in their mothorhome when they discover the body of a beautiful young woman recently shot to death in her Mercedes convertible. They soon learn that the killer is stalking them. Their murder investigation leads them into danger and they're kidnapped by homegrown terrorists plotting to take down the government.

Murder on the Interstate has received the following blurbs and reviews:

"Careen into crime with two intrepid sleuths who outwit terrorists in a fast-paced plot taken from today's headlines. A page turner. "

~Carolyn Hart

"Murder on the Interstate burns rubber right out of the gate and exceeds the speed limit on every page. With all the car chases, gun shots, screeching breaks, and crashes, the movie version could be the sequel to one of those car-heist action-films. Except for the fact that the protagonists are two women approaching Medicare, and their vehicle is a motorhome. Dana and Sarah are stalwart, clever and funny characters, and author Jean Henry Mead caroms them from one tight situation to another as they weave along the Interstate and into a high stakes mystery."

~J. Michael Orenduff, Lefty Award winning author of The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein

"Full of surprising twists and turns, Jean Henry Mead has produced an RV adventure with her two senior sleuths in hot pursuit of a murderer, but the tables turn and the two women learn that not only are they in danger but so is our national security. An exciting mystery that will keep you turning pages."

–F. M. Meredith, author of Angel Lost

(Murder on the Interstate is the third novel in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series.)

.Murder on the Interstate is currently available from Oak Tree Press in print and will soon appear on Kindle: and at Barnes and Noble:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Release Celebration and Giveaway by Linda Weaver Clarke

Book Release Celebration for Mystery/Adventure Novel and Book Give-Away May 23 June 1: To win a mystery/adventure novel with a touch of romance, leave a comment at But thats not all! You may also be eligible to receive two free e-books as part of this contest.

Montezumas Treasure and Family Secrets are Themes for Mystery Novel

Mysterious events, the search for Montezumas treasure, a good-looking rogue, and family secrets! How important is it to learn about the past? Will it make a difference in ones life and the choices we make? To April, it makes a big difference. Knowing about her parentage changes her perspective of life.

With a blend of mystery, adventure, humor, and sweet romance, Linda Weaver Clarke creates a story based upon the adventures of a married couple and their three daughters in Montezuma Intrigue.

When a leather parchment of Montezumas map is found in great-grandfather Evans old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. The girls want to search for it but their father is against it for some mysterious reason. With Julias help, she and the girls convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezumas treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little treasure hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger.

Sukos Notebook wrote, In the latest book by Linda Weaver Clarke, Montezuma Intrigue, the mysteries continue as this author entrances us with life-like characters and electrifying adventures. The search for Montezuma's treasure is both exciting and memorable--I am spell-bound!

While searching for Montezumas treasure, Matthew is trying to get the courage to tell April how he feels about her. How does he tell his kindred friend that she means more to him than just a friend? Oblivious of Matthews feelings for her, April is gradually learning the importance of her heritage. Who were her ancestors and why has the family kept a certain secret all these years? This mystery series includes Anasazi Intrigue, Mayan Intrigue, and Montezuma Intrigue.

Book Trailer:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wanna be a Guest Blogger?

Now that the A to Z Blogging Challenge is over, along with the month of April, I need new content for the Author Exchange Blog.

Check out my submission guidelines and contact me if you'd like to be a Guest Blogger.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Release by Joyce Lansky

Joyce Lansky announces the release of her first story in the May issue of Appleseeds magazine.

The story is titled Paul Revere's Ride: On Me and is part of their Reader's Corner.

To learn more about Joyce, visit her at

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z end

Today, the "Z" day, is ze last day of ze A to Z blogging challenge.

Thank you to the following people:
  • Those of you who stopped by, on a regular basis, and kept visiting even though you didn't comment;
  • Those of you who visited once or twice and didn't trash me or the blog; and
  • Those of you who visited regularly and commented, becoming new friends.
I'm glad I participated in the challenge. I met new people, visited new blogs, and picked up a few pointers.

Happy May Day! (Tomorrow, that is.)

Friday, April 29, 2011



If you're a writer, tell us about YOU! What's your latest book, where's your latest appearance, and what are the URLs to your online presences?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X Marks the Spot

I've never been enthralled with stories about treasure hunts. Pirates, parrots, peglegs, and buried treasure all seem kind of boring. The best part of Peter Pan was Tinkerbell. The best part of Romancing the Stone was its humor. And romance. Nothing about Indiana Jones appealed to me. (Not even Harrison Ford.)

I prefer puzzles to hunts. I also prefer figuring out why someone wants to dig a hole and bury something rather than doing the dirty work and digging stuff out of the ground.

What's the lure of treasure hunts? So you find something that's lost. Big deal. If the treasure you find is worth significant money, I can guarantee you someone else is going to claim ownership and take it away from you ... leaving you with nothing but frustration for all your efforts.

Now, if the satisfaction of the hunt is what floats your boat, okay, maybe I get it. A little.

Really now, tell me, what's the deal with treasure hunts?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who is WonderWoman?

WonderWoman is a person who has great abilities to overcome, to survive and thrive, and pave the way for a better world. Thousands of WonderWomen live in this country (and in the entire world).

My focus today is on the WonderWomen who have have triumphed in the face of adversity presented to them in the form of sexual assault.

On April 30, 2011, thousands of people will take a Two-Mile High Stand Against Sexual Assault®. At dozens of drop zones across the country, men and women of all ages will take to the sky and jump. Most for the first time ever. And it's all part of Operation Freefall®, the boldest, highest-altitude, and most daring event organized to put an end to sexual assault.

Operation Freefall is the only event of its kind to increase awareness of sexual violence. The event is held simultaneously across the country on the last Saturday of each April, and it benefits both Speaking Out About Rape, Inc.® (SOAR®) and community-based anti-sexual violence organizations nationwide.

My daughter is a WonderWoman. If you'd care to support this wonderful cause--and all the WonderWomen, WonderMen, and WonderChildren in this country--feel free to visit Laurie's fundraising page to learn more: click here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Very is a stupid word

I find myself using the word very lately, as in something is very important or very stupid. (I also use really in a similar fashion, but we'll overlook that on the "V" day of the A to Z blogging challenge.)

Really now, if something's important (or stupid), how does does very make it more so? Aren't the words important and stupid explicit enough on their own without having to define degrees of important and stupid? And grammatically speaking, how correct is it to modify an adjective with another adjective?

Why do we use adjectives anyway? Sure, the red car distinguishes it from the blue and green ones but why do we have to say the green grass? Yep, in places like Montana grass turns dirt brown in the dryness of summer but, otherwise, it's green ... and don't we all know that?

Same thing with adverbs. Yes, the earth spins slowly on its axis. I suppose it might be important to stress the fact to someone who's very stupid but, really, how many people are so stupid they think the earth spins quickly on its axis? And if someone were that stupid, why would you be talking about the earth's axis anyway?

All kidding aside, I understand the value of adjectives and adverbs. I'm just practicing a more judicious use of them lately.

What are your thoughts about the little buggers?

Monday, April 25, 2011


When I think of the word ugly, I think of nastiness. Many of the villains in literature have ugly spirits, as do their counterparts in real life. The first things that clues us in to a villainous spirit are words and behaviors--which are often only the tip of the iceberg.

Ugliness is bone deep and is almost always obscured by surface traits that are more appealing. A person is handsome or pretty, holds a prestigious job, has an attractive spouse and children and we all think, "What a nice person. So smart and successful." Handsome and rich don't equal kind and generous any more than pretty equals honest.

In every serial killer book I've ever read, someone makes a comment about the neighbors of the killer being shocked to learn that the nice, handsome, next-door neighbor was, in reality, the twisted, evil, ugly, killer.

Why do we equate surface beauty with nice? Why do we equate a lack of surface beauty ugliness?

Ugly isn't a lack. It's a surfeit of stuff that's rotten, only someone prettied it up in a disguise. Think about the villains we create on the page; think about the villains we've encountered in literature and on the big screen. Their ugliness is hidden beneath a layer of masks.

Some writers do a better job of characterizing and motivating their villains than others do because of the multitude of layers they use to cover up the ugliness. If we use the same process with our non-villainous characters--layering an unexpected trait with a variety of disguises--imagine the complexity we'd be able to create.

What other "hidden" traits do you bury beneath the layers of characterization?

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Although I am far more auditory and verbal than visual, today's blogpost on my personal blog got me all caught up in photos of Tigers.

I don't know why, but I think tigers are the most beautiful creatures on earth (other than naked human infants, that is).

Here are some I found; enjoy this pictorial essay. (You can locate the sites where I found the pics by clicking the photos.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Schedule

S is for Schedule, as in why does Blogger keep Screwing mine up? Several times in the past two weeks, I've checked my blog out at some point well after the 6:00 a.m. time I've scheduled a post to appear...only to find that the automatic post did not automatically post.

Does anyone know what I'm doing to Screw up my Schedule?

There, now that I got that off my chest, I'd like to share a few tips for getting your schedule under control:
  1. Quit your job;
  2. Divorce your spouse;
  3. Put your kids up for adoption;
  4. Destroy the TV, radio, computer, and all other types of electronic equipment; and
  5. Contract a mental illness so you're no longer responsible for anything.
Does that give you a clue about how my Schedule ran today?

P.S. My day wasn't half as bad as that of two other people I know!

P.P.S. Hope your day went well. Someone deserves to have had a good one.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rorschach is the "R" Word of the Day

I don't know much about the Rorschach Test, other than it's a projective psychological test named after a Swiss psychologist named Hermann Rorschach. The way a person interprets inkblots is supposed to reveal things about the way he thinks and how his mind works.

I wonder if our interpretations of the images formed by the clouds on a windy, summer day have any bearing to the Rorschach Test. Puffy, white clouds are sort of the inverse of inkblots, aren't they?

More importantly, I like the idea of looking at something and saying the first thing that pops into my mind. I used to do this conversationally as a child until I realized my comments weren't always socially acceptable (my mother's glaring and frowning was the clue). Nowadays, I don't much care who glares and frowns at me--I just like the way I occasionally allow my mind to wander down any path it chooses, without censorship.

As a writer, I believe it's important to be open and creative. As a human being, I believe it's important to be spontaneous and curious. I've got the curious thing down pat, now to work on the spontaneous.

Not that any of this really has anything to do with Hermann Rorschach and his test, but I'm feeling very disorganized and the opposite of grounded today. And, a couple of blog commenters recently told me to give myself a break and NOT be so organized.

This blogpost is the result: a stream of consciousness blathering. (I bet my blogging buddy Bill uses that word all the time...) A better word begins with "R:" rambling!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for quid pro quo

Kind of tough to find a topic for the letter "Q" on the A to Z blogging challenge.

So I thought I'd let you folks join in the fun and come up with words that begin with "Q" and then provide a sentence using it. This way, you'll help be improve my vocabulary.

Here's my "Q" word: quid pro quo. I'm not a turn-the-other-cheek person; I believe more in quid pro quo. (This is not necessarily the truth; remember, I write fiction!)

Okay, now it's your turn.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Perspective

Perspective. Each of us has one. And none of us has the quite same perspective as anyone else. Even if you and I think alike, and share the same ethics and morals, I might hate the winter and you might love it. This single different is going to make a huge difference in how we handle being stranded together in a blizzard.

One of my daughters has a perspective that's always been a bit different from that of anyone else I know, and in a really good way. She sees humor in places I might not and the way she phrases her observations makes me laugh like crazy. Because of perspective.

When writing fiction, it's important for us to communication the unique perspective of our characters. That's what makes the sociopaths in Lisa Gardner novels so chilling. Or what draws me to Ed McBain's writing: each of his characters has a vivid perspective.

Some writers give each character a physical trait that helps readers focus on their individual perspectives; others use an event from their characters' pasts.

What tricks of the trade are YOU willing to share about perspective?

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for "Ooops!"

Ooops! Life is interfering with my blogposts today.

I only wrote one and it's on my personal blog. Click here to be redirected.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The "N" feature of the day is negativity.

According to psychologists, the brain is more sensitive to the unpleasant than it is to the pleasant; it has a “negativity bias.” Studies have shown that the brain experiences a greater electrical
surge when exposed to negative stimuli than when exposed to stimuli deemed to be positive or indifferent. Some psychologists believe the negativity bias is a form of survival instinct; it helps
us recognize danger as quickly as possible—so it can be avoided just as quickly. (excerpt from the book, Taking the Mystery Out of Business, by yours truly)

When I was younger, I used to believe that a positive person can bring a negative person up. In reality, the opposite is true.

Negative thinkers suck all the energy from their environments, especially at work. They complain, they whine, and they criticize—endlessly. If the sun is shining, it’s too bright and reflects off their computer monitors. If it’s raining, the lack of sunshine causes their depression. If everyone in the office is laughing and having a good time, they’re being too loud and disruptive. If everyone in the office is quiet and focusing on their work, they’re ignoring the negative thinker. (yep, another excerpt)

I knew a man once, who blamed the world for everything in his life he didn't like, or that he perceived to be holding him back: his left-handedness, his ethnic background, even his body shape and proportions. These factors, he claimed, set him apart from everyone else and set him up to be a victim.

I don't view life from the same perspective. Although I write with my right hand, I am otherwise left-handed--which makes many tasks that much easier for me. My ancestors were abused and neglected hundreds of years ago and I actually had a business associate once tell me how she didn't care for "the Irish" at a networking event. (She made the mistake of overlooking the fact that my married name is representative of my husband's ancestry--not mine--and that he, not I, am a compatriot of hers.) And although I wish I weren't so height-challenged, there's not much I can do about it. I have other physical attributes (i.e., curly hair) that make up for it.

The "N" feature on my personal blog is about the word "No." Many people consider the word "no" to be negative and, oftentimes, it's not. Especially when you say No to Negativity.

Let's start a campaign to outlaw negativity, pessimism, and whining. What do you say?

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for...

McHenry, Murphy, McLean, Mulligan, McGee, Malloy, Mallone, Maloney, McCoy, Mitchell, Moore, Morrisey, Murray, Morgan, Mooney...

Okay, I'm talking about names. Mostly Irish names. When I write fiction, I have a marked preference for Irish names: Mollie, Maeve, Maureen, Meghan, Moira, Mitch, Micheal (yes, that's the Irish spelling, it's not a typo!)...

I also like Irish names that don't begin with "M." For example, my dog is named Delaney, which means "son of the challenger."

I also like the first and last names of a character to involve some illiteration: Michael Murphy, Mollie Lynch, Neill Mooney...

What are some of your "rules" when it comes to choosing names for your characters?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Love

Some days, so far, I've immediately come up with a topic for the letter of the day on the A to Z blogging challenge. Other days, not.

Today is one of my good days. (At least from my perspective!) Check out my personal blog for another "L" blog post.

LOVE tends to be a theme I write about a lot in my fiction, even my mysteries. It's also a theme in a lot of the books I read, even mysteries and crime fiction:
  • Who loves who,
  • Who doesn't love who,
  • How people and pets love each other,
  • Why one person loves another person,
  • How a lack of love makes people behave,
  • How an overabundance of love makes people behave,
  • How people kid themselves into believing they don't want, or need love,
  • How people think they can't live without love,
  • How people manage to live without, or after the loss of, love,
  • What motivates people to do all manner of things in the name of love.

Why is love so darned important to us?
  • Do we feel more valuable, or important, if someone loves us?
  • Do we measure our worth based on who loves us?
  • Is receiving "bad" love better than receiving no love at all?
  • Why is romantic love viewed by so many people as being the ultimate in love--i.e., more "important" than the love of, let's say, our dogs?
If Love is so wonderful, how come the most painful hurts we experience are because of our Love for others?

I guess I don't have many answers. Do you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Killer

I love mystery novels. And suspense novels. And romantic suspense novels. And thrillers. And crime novels.

Although I love a good hero or heroine, I always find myself sucked in more by the bad guy. Or, more accurately, by the bad guy's motivation.

Why does the killer kill? Why are nasty people nasty? What prompts people to hurt others?

I recently read several books in Lawrence Block's "Hit" series. The protagonist is a professional hit man. And guess what? I like him. A lot. Why?

He takes his job seriously. He's professional. He separates his business and personal lives. These are all traits I share.

On the other hand, I can't imagine myself killing someone for money. To avenge a wrong, maybe. In self defense, certainly. But for $50,000? Nah.

Although I don't share his motivation and perspective on killing, I understand it. He has a code of honor and lives by it. I respect that.

Am I twisted? Maybe.

What's your take on killers? In fiction, that is.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Jerk

I'm really stretching it today on the A to Z blogging challenge. Over at my personal blog, the feature of the day is Jack and Jill and I started a campaign to resurrect nursery rhymes.

Unfortunately, my well of inspiration is drained and I'm suffering from writer's blog-block at the moment. The only "J" word I can think about is "jerk" and I really don't want to wax poetic in a negative fashion. (I'm writing this blog post on Monday, folks.)  Since I have always refused to surrender to writer's block, we'll see how this writing exercise goes...

I've decided to take the word jerk and write about it in a fashion that is not negative. So, instead of discussing the myriad incarnations of jerks I have known, and continue to know, and instead of focusing on jerk as a noun, I'll focus on it as a verb.

Hmmmm. Sigh.  [thumb-twiddling and head scratching going on]

Okay, nothing comes to mind except beef Jerky--which is not a verb. FYI, I've only tasted it once and didn't much care for it. On the drive north from Missoula, Montana to Glacier State Park, you pass a beef jerky plant that claims its beef jerky is world-famous. Hard to imagine.

What IS beef jerky? Why would anyone want to eat something that's called jerky?

If I haven't lost you and you've read this far, the reason I continued with this exercise is to prove that writer's block doesn't have to exist. Yes, I just wrote complete drivel--and I bet that's a word my friend Bill Kirton would use on his blog - he's literary and likes certain types of words, of which drivel is likely one. I did, however, spit out my word count and educated you about the beef jerky plant and my friend Bill, whose most recent blog post is undoubtedly more entertaining than mine.

If I've lost you, then you're not reading this, probably don't care about beef jerky OR me, and haven't benefited from the exercise. I guess you can't tell me it sucks then, eh?

Well, I may be a Jerk with a capital "J," but I hope I got you thinking about writer's block. It doesn't have to exist. Writing rubbish (another Bill word) is better than writing nothing. Besides, my mind has already jumped onto a terrific topic for the letter "P," so there!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I (aka writing in the first person)

I don't know about you, but my writing seems to be stronger and contain more of an emotional impact when I write in the first person.

When I step into the skins of my characters, I think differently than I do when I write from the third person. My unconscious mind doesn't allow for me trying to fake it, either, by writing in first person with the intention of changing it to the third person later on. I've done that in the past and it doesn't work.

Now that I've realized I pretty much have to write my fiction from the first person, it leaves me with a couple of Issues:
  1. How do readers feel about having a book sectioned into distinct parts written from the first person POV of different characters?
  2. How do readers feel about having a book with alternating chapters: every other written in the first POV by the main character and the remaining chapters written int he third POV by other characters?
What's YOUR take on this Issue of I?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hunter, Evan

I'm beginning to seriously wonder about the state of my mental health on this 8th day of the A to Z Challenge. My goal, before I began the challenge, was to write a blog post about the first thing that came to mind about writing--with respect to each of the day's letters. Now my goal is to continue doing that very thing without letting on just how odd I am. Let me know how I'm doing as the month progresses...

On to the H feature of the day: Hunter, Evan. Otherwise known as Ed McBain. Under the name Evan Hunter, he wrote the novel, The Blackboard Jungle, the screenplay for The Birds, and a number of other novels. He may be better known for the crime fiction he wrote as Ed McBain, most notably the 8th Precinct series. He was first published in the fifties and continued writing until his death in 2005 at the age of 78.

I've told a number of people (including other writers) that Ed McBain is my all-time favorite writer. Most people are shocked. Some people don't know who he is. I have a couple of theories about these reactions:
  1. Many people assume that a woman's favorite author will be a woman and a man's favorite author will be a man -  guess I busted that theory; and
  2. He had a strong, powerful, graphic voice that many people assume a woman wouldn't like.
His voice was my favorite thing about him. Using 3rd person narrative, no less, before the end of his first sentence in any piece of work, he had you by the throat. You knew who was telling the story and how the character felt. His writing style, no matter what genre, always managed to elicit emotion from my and grab me not only by the throat but also by the heart and mind. I never finished one of his books without having something to think about.

Can you think of any authors like that? If so, who are they and what is it about them that grabs you?

Friday, April 8, 2011

My favorite Georges

George #1:

Remember Curious George? And all the wonderful things he could do?

I loved the Curious George books when I was a kid. Being the oldest child of conventional parents, I really loved his flights of imagination and the way he attempted to do things. Everyone knows monkeys can't fly, right? But George could fly. He did, or tried to do, anything that struck his fancy.

George #2:

My very first job in an insurance agency came about because a wonderful man named George decided to take a chance on a 19 year-old college drop out. George passed away much too early at the age of 54 after suffering a heart attack long after I'd moved on to work somewhere else. He and I remained friends, however, and would often meet for lunch: especially in the summer because we both loved the hot dogs and potato salad  lunch special at a local restaurant. I remember his birthday, September 17th, and that he called his lovely, wonderful, sweet wife the barracuda--but with a twinkle in his eye and a private grin. I remember his wife's name, too: Brenda.

You know how some names just stick with you, in a positive (or negative) way? I really like the name George.

What names do you like, and why?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Writing and the F-bomb

I'm featuring that nasty four-letter word during the A to Z Blogging Challenge because of the controversy I've seen, in a number of genres and by a number of writers, about explicit and/or vulgar language in written and online materials.

Let's face it. Some of us use colorful language. Others of us curse. Still others of us possess a strong case of garbage-mouth.
  • Using Colorful language is saying, "Oh, poop!" when you step in a pile of excrement.
  • Cursing is saying, "Oh, cr*p!" when you step in poop.
  • Using garbage mouth is saying, "S**t, s**t, s**t, s**t, s**t!" when you step in a pile of crap.
To many of us (here in the U.S. of A, anyway), using the F-bomb is the ultimate in garbage mouth. To most women, there's a four-letter word that's even worse. To the rest of us, neither of these words is anything other than a normal part of our vocabularies. After all, the f-bomb is the only word I know that can be used as a noun or verb and can be modified into use an adjective or adverb.

But when is it acceptable to use bad language in your writing?

I, personally, seldom swore until I got divorced. For some reason, all that angst and anger released a vocabulary I didn't acquire, unlike everyone else, in childhood. I discovered the f-bomb when I saw it written on the bathroom wall [at school] in high school. Having never encountered it before, I looked it up in the dictionary. Not finding it, I asked my mother for the definition. After choking, then laughing 'til she cried when I explained why I wanted to know, she gave me the definition. I didn't find an urge, need, or reason to use it for 20-some years.

Do I say that nasty word? No! Never! (Not.)

Seriously, I do use it on occasion ... But only when I'm alone or with a person whom I know very well and know he or she won't be offended. I don't use it at work. I don't use it in public. I don't use it in my writing.

Sometimes, however, a character of mine will use the word because it's part of his or her vocabulary. But only if he or she would be using it in real life. When I'm in line at the registry of motor vehicles, for example, I hear the word a lot. I imagine I'd hear it used quite frequently in the hallowed halls of a police station. An exotic dancer in line behind me at the bank used it every other word during a cell phone conversation.

I'm not one for gratuitous vulgarity when I write (or read) and, personally, find many stand-up comics both irritating and crude because they weave nasty words into their shows to get laughs instead of telling good jokes. On the other hand, when used to illustrate a character, and depict him or her realistically, I find it appropriate.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Embrace the moment

My "E" theme for the A to Z blogging challenge is a phrase: Embrace the moment.

Each of us Experiences stress. If you're a writer, you're always concerned with deadlines, Editing, cranking out new words, creating sympathetic characters, dreaming up Exciting plots, and not feeling guilty about all the housework and other chores that inEvitably pile up.

Here's a little deep-breathing Excercise I learned that truly does help settle a person when he or she is strEssed or tEnse. First, you close your eyes and breathe deeply--in and out. You refuse to allow anything to Enter your mind while you're doing this Exercise (which takes only a couple of minutes) and you think the first half of the phrase on the inhale and the last half of it on the Exhale.

The Exercise focuses on the word C E N T E R:
  • Completely / surrender
  • Empty / of Expectations
  • Name / your work
  • Trust / your resources
  • Embrace / the moment
  • Return / refreshed
I find myself doing this Exercise if I can't fall asleep, when some idiot is going ballistic at the office, on an airplane when an Eight-month old is crying inconsolably in the seat behind me.

It's not yoga, it's not medication, and it's not a miracle. It's just a little, bitty way to Ease up when life is getting you down.

Care to share any of your own relaxation techniques?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Deadbeat

The title of this blogpost sounds like a title in Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series... Yep, I just checked my bookshelf and it IS the title of her "D" book. Since you (or, more specifically, Sue) can't copyright a title, I'm keeping it for this blogpost.

If you're interested in another "D" blog feature, feel free to drop in at my personal blog ... it's a humorous anecdote.

My mind has wandered down the path to numbering the type and manner of Deadbeats in this world. (No, I'm not going to share why.) Here are the sort I've either run into or heard of:

The Deadbeat who hates to pay bills, or can't pay them on time and chooses to play sneaky, snarky games--like writing out checks to the electric company and the phone company, but mailing them to the other place. I don't know about you, but after the 2nd time this happens, I'm going to realize what the deadbeat is up to. I bet the electric and phone companies have, too.

The Deadbeat who doesn't pay child support because s/he wants to stick it to the ex. the kids aren't going to suffer more from neglect and living with a stressed-out parent than the ex is going to suffer?

The Deadbeat who talks trash about other people and doesn't realize that NO ONE  trusts him or her. When you're doing business with someone and she trash-talks another customer, does she really believe you believe she's not going to trash-talk YOU the minute you're out the door?

The Deadbeat writer who, at a critique group, asks a fellow member of the group to refrain from reading her work (erotica) aloud and cites her religious beliefs as the reason she can't listen to the other member or allow her to participate. (Yes, everyone writes in different genres and everyone knew what everyone else wrote before joining.)  Helllooo... how, as a writer, can you not understand and respect the First Amendment? How can you actually believe your right to practice your religion is more important than the other writer's right to participate in the critique group? How can you not choose to be respectful by stepping out of the room while she's reading her excerpt so as not to infringe upon her rights instead of demanding that she be respectful of your rights by not participating?

When we think of Deadbeats, we usually think of people who don't pay money. In my mind, Deadbeats are stingy, selfish, and focused on one thing: themselves.

What's your definition of Deadbeat?

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Challenge...What's Yours?

During the A to Z Challenge, over 900 bloggers are posting once a day to their blogs and each day represents one letter of the alphabet. (April/30 days minus 4 Sundays = 26 days/letters.)  Check out my personal blog to see what I came up with for the letter "C" on a non-writing basis.

I've faced and overcome many Challenges in my life--as I'm sure you have. On a few occasions, the Challenges got the better of me.  That's just how life goes, sometimes.

Here's an opportunity for you share a story about how you overcame, or didn't overcome, one of life's Challenges. Of Course, the Challenge has to be related to your writing, even if only peripherally.

YOUR CHOICE: post a Comment here or e-mail me and we can arrange to have you share your story in the future--either as one of "letter" days this month, or in May.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Boring

I haven't been bored since puberty ... which is a heck of a lot of years. No matter what I'm doing, or who I'm doing it with, I can always keep myself amused. As each of my daughters passed through this phase of life, and as my oldest granddaughter begins it, the word boring found (and still finds) a home in a lot of conversations.

Okay, I admit it: I have little patience. Some would say I have NO patience. But still, I don't understand how it's possible to be bored for more than a few minutes. Once I find myself falling into a state of boredom I jump out of it. Of course, I always carry pens, pencils, pads, and index cards and they're a big part of why my handbag is so big. And why I always have a briefcase in my car. But that's another subject...

I spoke to a classroom of fourth graders about being a writer earlier this week and one of them asked me what I find boring about being a writer. I could honestly say I'm seldom bored.  And that's because most topics and people fascinate me. Over the years, I've performed tremendous amounts of research--both for my writing and about things that barely touched on it simply to satisfy my curiosity: graphology (handwriting analysis), the different branches of the Secret Service, how different states require criminal and sexual offenders to report, etc.

As a reader, on the other hand, I find myself bored more often than I do as a writer. And I believe this is something we need to keep in mind when we're writing. Of course, what interests us may not interest our readers. And while we may love long stretches of narrative description or detailed love scenes or pages of witty dialogue--not everyone else does.

Not that we should be writing to make other people happy but, if our goal is to publish works that elicit emotional responses from our readers or to create material they enjoy reading, we have to balance writing what we want with what readers want.

In no special order, here are some of the things that bore me as a reader (and cause me to skim over paragraphs, or even pages):
  • Love scenes that provide in minute detail what goes where. Dear Ms. Writer: I've had sex once or twice and know how the process works. Instead of giving me a biology lesson, share with me how the characters feel.
  • Too much repetition. Dear Bestseller: Yes, I know the protagonist has blue eyes. Or was abused as a child. Or wants to be a pilot when he grows up. But I don't have Alzheimer's--I remember what you told me. I find this especially boring when the repetition has to do with body parts, hair and eye color, height, etc. without also being directly and significantly tied to motivation or character growth.
  • Lack of personality. Dear Mr. Novelist: I know you're human. I know you have feelings and opinions. Why aren't you communicating them to me? From, Bored Reader.
  • More than a few errors in editing, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Dear Author/Publisher: I've read LOTS of good stuff that was published by small, independent presses or self-published authors. Those works were reviewed by editors and other professionals to help them improve the quality of their work before publishing. Cripes, even Stephen King and Nora Roberts run their work by editors before sending it off to the printer. Why didn't you? You should have.
What are some of the things you find boring when you read?

Friday, April 1, 2011

A My Name is Alice

Actually, my name is NOT Alice but it was the first thing I thought of as I prepared this, my first blog post for the A to Z Challenge. (Remember that old jump rope song? You had to come up with people's names, towns, and products to sell that began with the same letter of the alphabet: A my name is Alice and my husband's name is Al; we live in Attleboro and we sell Acorns.)

Okay, so maybe you didn't jump rope. Or sing stupid songs. But I did and it was fun. Which is why I thought I'd join the A to Z Challenge. Each day during the month of April, except for Sundays, I'll be publishing a blog post with a theme that begins with a letter of the alphabet. If you click the image at the left (or at the image in the top right sidebar of the blog), you'll connect with the list of bloggers who are doing the same thing. I'm doing the same thing on my personal blog. Which may be stretching my creativity a bit now that I think about all my responsibilities and writing projects during the month of April. But hey, that's why it's called a challenge, right?

Back to the theme letter: A. And my blog post title: A My Name is Alice. And American poet and author Alice Walker. Writer's Digest's August 2010 issue had a terrific interview with her and I found her to be fascinating. I also love the titles of her books, especially Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, and some of her poetry. You can check her out at

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Best Books Blog Award

Thank you to Deirdra Eden Coppell for awarding Author Exchange Blog with the Best Books Blog Award.

You can find her blog at:

You can find her website at:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Keep Me in Suspense by Paul Carr

Paul Carr is a mystery author, whose first mystery novel, LONG WAY DOWN, was released in November 2009 by epress-online, inc. Here's what he has to say about suspense:

I'll usually keep reading a book as long as an answer to an important question seems to be around the corner. This is true whether it's a crime novel or a story about the discovery of a new planet or a cure for a dreaded disease. I know all good stories don't contain these kinds of questions, because readers' interests run the gamut, but personally I like the suspense of a good mystery. I always find myself looking for something momentous to keep me guessing, and reading, and usually the story contains some element of crime. Throw in some colorful characters, action, and humor, and I like it even better.

As an author, I hope there are a lot of other readers like me. If you are, I also hope these questions would pique your interest: Why would a small-time crook in Miami set up an elaborate surveillance over a remote spot in the Caribbean? What's at the bottom? A sunken treasure? Why would he try to kill a beautiful woman? Has she discovered his secret? These are puzzles for hired gun Sam Mackenzie in my mystery thriller, Long Way Down.

Here's a quick sketch of the book: Candi Moran is drop-dead beautiful, but she’s also in trouble. Miami loan shark Vince La Salle wants her dead because she knows too much about his secret project in the Caribbean. Hurt and bleeding from a gunshot, she stumbles onto Sam Mackenzie's live-aboard boat and asks for help. Sam gets her medical attention and takes on the job, but soon learns that she left out some dangerous details as he unravels La Salle and Candi's past. La Salle is involved in a mysterious project, but where he’s getting the money is the big surprise. Sam navigates a serpentine trail of assassins, con artists and deadly financiers, dodging bullets, karate kicks, and missiles, to protect Candi. Is she worth it? That's a question the reader will have to answer.

Long Way Down

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Release: DANCING WITH THE PEN edited by Dallas Woodburn

Dallas Woodburn is proud to announce the release of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing.

Dancing With the Pen is an anthology of poetry, stories, and essays written by students in middle school and high school from across the nation.

It is published by Write On! Books and was released in January 2011.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interview with PEGGY FREZON

Peggy Frezon
 Peggy Frezon is a freelance writer and pet enthusiast. This interview is about her writing and, if you're interested in learning more about her "animal" side, check out her interview over at Forever Friends which  appears on March 23rd..

You do a lot of freelance writing and submit work to a lot of places. Share with us what it's like to be a freelance writer.

The best part of being a freelance writer is doing what you love, and working from home. No commute. No problem if you’re sick or just want a day off. And yes, sometimes I do work in my pajamas!

I generally write every day from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., with a break midday to take Kelly for a walk. Sometimes I write at midnight--freelancing usually means you can have a flexible schedule.

The most difficult part about being a freelance writer is the isolation. It helps to meet people with similar interests through social media, and join a few face-to-face writers' groups and attend conferences.

Your latest book is about dieting with your dog. What sets it apart, why should we buy it, and where can we buy it?

Dieting With My Dog is unique because, sure, it’s a dieting story, but it’s also about a reciprocal relationship. When I learned that my dog was headed toward some serious medical concerns if she didn’t lose weight, I was ready to do anything to help her. The funny thing is, my doctor had given me the same warnings for myself for years, and I never took action. Kelly, however, became the motivating factor to help me face down the physical and emotional reasons for overeating (and overfeeding my dog).

This book is “for anyone who has ever loved a pet--through thick and thin.” Parents and pet parents will relate to the emotional struggles of motherhood and the empty nest.

Dieting with My Dog will be released September 15 (August 15 in the UK). You can pre-order the book now on Amazon.

What did you learn while Dieting with My Dog?
Keeping fit is a lifelong challenge. Humor helps. And everything’s easier with a best friend.

What's your take on the furor about eBooks and how they're going to change the world of publishing?

I think it’s inevitable. I don’t own an e-reader yet, but I assume that in time I will. I love books, holding a book, turning the pages. But I am comfortable with technology and there is no use fighting it. I write for several magazines and we are constantly figuring out ways to integrate our website and Facebook pages with the print pages. Most authors today need to understand and embrace blogs, twitter, etc. to survive.

What are the addresses of your websites, blogs, and other online presences?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guest Blogger: Lillian Brummet - SPYING, A MARKETING TECHNIQUE

Spying – A Marketing Technique

One of the best ways to research your own marketing plan is to spy on other authors. Visit as many other authors' websites as you have time for or interest in – and ask yourself some vital questions.
  • What are other books in your genre doing?
  • What do they look like?
  • What are they selling for?
  • How are the other authors promoting their work
  • And most important: What can you do to stand out among them?
This research and evaluation of your peers in the industry will answer vital questions that can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your marketing plan. This research will provide you with information on what they are doing to promote their book, what they are highlighting and how they are attracting visitors to their site.

David & Lillian Brummet
 Visit your library to evaluate books in your genre and use the Internet to obtain the other information you need. The local bookstore can provide useful information too. Simply walk around and look at the promotions other authors are sending bookstores – What do you like/dislike about them and how can you use this to enhance your marketing efforts?

Writers are natural researchers - we have to be! We just need to focus this talent in a slightly different way. Knowing what others are doing will help you develop your website and other promotional materials so that you stand out in a crowd like a purple snowflake in a snowstorm.

I’d like to invite your readers to visit our site ( where you can see what we have done to provide interesting, compelling content and keep people interested in our work.

~ Written by Lillian Brummet; co-author of Trash Talk, author of Towards Understanding and co-author of Purple Snowflake Marketing - Host of the Conscious Discussions talk radio show and owner of the Brummet’s Conscious Blog:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Release: THE BODY DWELLERS by j.a. kazimer

j.a. kazimer is proud to announce the pending release of The Body Dwellers, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance published by Solstice Publishing.

The release date is March 1, 2011 and you can find more info at the author's website:

Friday, February 18, 2011


Dear reader: Jean and I first met a couple of years ago through a publisher that produced books for each of us. She is a kind, generous person who writes all kinds of stuff. She also lives in Wyoming, which is not a whole lot different from Montana! I wish her much success with her children's books although I'm sure she won't be needing my wishes to achieve it! - Linda

I considered writing an autobiographical children’s book for years before I finally sat down and actually wrote one. Solstice Publishing released my first children's book this week, The Mystery of Spider Mountain, and I’m well into the second book of the Hamilton Kids' mystery series.

Fiction is rooted in fact and my three protagonists spent their formative years at the foot of a large hill in southern California, as I did with four younger brothers. Because the hill was inhabited by trap door spiders and an occasional tarantula that had arrived on a banana boat from Central America, I called it Spider Mountain.

My brothers and I were close in age and explored our "mountain" together. The apron was filled with tall, blue lupines which bloomed nearly year round, and halfway up the hill was Dead Man’s Tree. We called it that because a thick knotted rope hung from a limb that we swung on. At the end was a large loop. That prompted stories about horse thieves which we imagined had been hanged there.

A dirt road encircled the hill at three levels but was so chocked with rocks and clumps of weeds that even a bicycle would have had difficult passage. So we wondered how the people who lived at the summit were able to reach their home, and imagined everything from rock climbers to space ships and helicopters, although we’d never heard one in the area.

When I was twelve and old enough to babysit brothers who were nearly my own size, we climbed our mountain to spy on the mysterious house. What we found was a chain link fence restraining four large vicious-appearing dogs with mouths large enough to swallow a child. Or so we thought. It didn’t take us long to scramble back down the hill to our own house. And, of course, we never told our parents.

When I began to write, I wondered again who those people were and how they arrived at their hilltop home. The house itself was a mystery but I had to decide what kind of crime(s) the residents of the house had committed. And how the Hamilton kids would be able to bring them to justice. I then thought of the Ouija board we used to play with. That’s when the spirit Bagnomi materialized and talked to the kids via the board.

My four brothers had to be reduced to two to make the story manageable. Even so, they were as unmanageable as my own brothers had been, so their widowed grandmother came to live with them—as ours had done. However, our grandmother didn’t have bright red curly hair like Ronald McDonald, and wasn’t interested in finding a husband. Even children’s books need humor and the Hamilton Kids’ grandmother provides that and more, along with an adopted Australian Shepherd with a penchant for chewing furniture.

Writing for children has opened a new vista which I hope my young readers will enjoy as much as I enjoyed the writing. I'm well into the second novel in the series, The Ghost of Crimson Dawn, which takes place in Wyoming, where the Hamilton Kids visit their Uncle Harry at his mountaintop ranch. There's a bit of autobiographical plotting in that book as well.


You can find Jean online at:
Her website:
Her blogs: and

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Blogger: Velda Brotherton

Researching and Writing Regional History by Velda Brotherton

Have you ever wondered where a writer obtains historical information or interviews? I began writing regional history long before the advent of the Internet as a feature writer for a weekly newspaper. Searching for the same facts today is much easier if we’re computer literate. Yet nothing beats contact with the people who have stories to share.

During the nine years I wrote for the newspaper, I must have interviewed hundreds of people. My main interest soon became the history of the area where I lived and worked. The editor gave me a page where I began an historical column which I’ve written in one form or another for twenty years. So I must modestly say that I’ve gotten pretty good at getting information out of people.

The first thing I learned was to write stories about the people who lived our history. It’s pretty easy to look up a bunch of facts, dates and place names and the like and put them down. Not so easy to tell the stories that will keep your readers coming back for more. So once a writer hears or reads about a specific happening, the next step is to find someone whose family history includes stories of that event. Take the lady who, when we talked about the Battle of Prairie Grove during the Civil War here in Arkansas, immediately remembered that her great-grandmother had told a story that from where they lived it sounded just like popcorn popping. She also told of a man who lived in a cave to keep from having to serve in the war, so he could care for his family who lived nearby. Such stories lend color to any tale about that battle.

For years I saved many interviews in the hopes the stories could one day be put into a book. And when that day finally came I learned that having those stories simply wasn’t enough. I had to revisit all the places where my stories took place. Ten to twenty years can bring about a lot of change. So one entire summer my husband and I drove through four surrounding counties taking photographs that could be compared with old pictures we had and talking to folks in all the little settlements. I wanted some new stories that had never been published in any form.

It’s indeed handy to become a good hand at photography. Taking pictures isn’t enough, we have to learn composition as well. In today’s world with digital cameras, much of the work is done for us and what doesn’t work can usually be fixed in the computer. In my day, we took black and white photos that were then screened and developed in the dark room. I learned about composing my shots, focusing, using the proper f stops and watching for shadows that could ruin an otherwise good photo. Whether using film or a digital camera, it’s a good idea to take plenty of shots of your subject, for what looks okay on the small camera screen may not be so great when viewed the way it will appear in your book.

After we spent about four months traveling the area and recording stories, I realized that not all research can be done in the field. A lot of research was done by poring through old books, periodicals, historical quarterlies and the like. The Internet often can’t compete with some of these written words. Next time some hints on finding reliable information to back up your stories, both online and at the library.

You can find Velda online at:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Release: NIGHT SHADOWS by Stephen L. Brayton

Stephen L. Brayton is proud to announce the February 15, 2011 release of Night Shadows.

Genre: Paranormal

Publisher: Echelon Press

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guest Blogger: Stephen L. Brayton


William Congreve, in The mourning bride, 1697: “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”

Stephen L. Brayton
 This oft misquoted phrase was brought to mind this morning when I accidentally put my radio away after setting out the morning breakfast at work. I like to write with low playing background music. I also will have music on the TV playing when I'm typing the longhand pages into the actual novel file.

There is a scene in my upcoming novel, Beta, where Mallory visits the home of the father of the kidnapped girl. She passes by the rock station in Des Moines and muses on music. Like Mallory, the music I listen to will depend on my mood.

If I want minimal distractions while typing, I'll have the classical music station on, or maybe soft jazz. Usually though, I'll have one of three stations tuned in. I'll start with Top Forty Hit List until some hip-hop or quasi rap song starts. I'm sorry, that is not music to me and I cannot function properly when it plays. Then I'll turn back to the Eighties channel, maybe the Seventies. At rare times I'll see what Soft Rock has to offer. At work, when I'm writing, I'll have on Classical-until NPR gets into it's morning drollness of news-or an Eighties station out of Des Moines.

I mentioned my dislike of Rap, but, ironically, the beat of the music was the only kind I could study to in college. My neighbors across the hall usually had a station out of Iowa City tuned in. It played a constant beat for about five minutes, then switched to another constant beat. The bass throbbing through the door kept my mind focused.

In my town, there is a souped-up Lincoln with Hot Wheels tires. I can tell the car is coming from half a mile away because it's playing some stupid piece of music at volume level twelve. In fact, I don't think the car actually uses gas; the pounding rhythm bounces the car along. But...I like to have the windows down and the volume up when a favorite rock song of mine plays, so I can't blame him too much. Well, I can, because I turn down my radio when the song is over.

Country is good, but I'd rather listen to songs from twenty to fifty years ago.

Hard rock doesn't impress me much; just a bunch of noise with no melody (maybe that’s just my age showing). There are a few 80’s bands I did enjoy, but I don't consider them really hard rock although others might.

I won't even touch opera so don't even try to persuade me to listen.

Big Band and Jazz are okay if it's the right artist and I'm in the right mood.

Sometimes, though, sitting by the river listening to the birds and the water is just perfect. To quote Redford from Jeremiah Johnson, “Nothing wrong with quiet.”

Stephen L. Brayton's website is and his new book, NIGHT SHADOWS will be released on February 15, 2011.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Release: SINK OR SWIM by Stacy Juba - and more...

New Release by Stacy Juba
Sink or Swim - Mystery/Suspense
Mainly Murder Press
Release date:  January 1, 2011

Contests, Prizes and Celebrities Launch New Reality Show Mystery

Readers are invited to attend an online launch party for the new reality show-themed mystery novel Sink or Swim, a book that former contestants of Survivor, the Amazing Race, and Big Brother have called "extremely well-written, suspenseful, and a great read."

CSN Stores, which is comprised of over 200 specialized online stores that offer a wide variety of home goods from dinnerware, to laptop messenger bags, sofas and suitcases, will give away a $50 gift card on the author's web site, during a contest that will run from Feb. 6-14. In addition, from Feb. 8-13 visitors can also enter to win from 33 print books and e-books donated by nine authors. A blog post written by Stephenie LaGrossa, owner of GiGi Restaurant & Lounge, Philadelphia PA, television personality and fan favorite Survivor: Palau, Guatemala, Heroes vs. Villains, will kick off the festivities.

LaGrossa was one of three former reality show contestants that endorsed the book, giving the comment, "Being on a hit reality show not once, but three times, made Sink or Swim really hit home for me… It was an easy read and extremely well written… I would love to see it come out as a movie one day.” Also endorsing the book were Michelle Costa, former contestant on Big Brother 10, and Shawne Morgan, former contestant on CBS’s The Amazing Race 16.

Written by Stacy Juba, Sink or Swim follows personal trainer Cassidy Novak, who has gained fame for starring on a hit reality show. Not only does she lose and have to walk the plank, but upon returning home, Cassidy discovers she is being stalked. As her former competitors get killed off, Cassidy refuses to play by the stalker’s bizarre rules. She’s also being shadowed by photographer Zach Gallagher, who has been assigned to capture her personal moments for the local newspaper. She wants to trust Zach, but fears he may not be as nice as he seems. When the stalker forces a showdown, Cassidy must walk the plank again – this time for her life.

The book was published in gift quality trade paperback from Mainly Murder Press and is also available in multiple $2.99 ebook formats including Kindle and Nook. Juba is also the author of the mystery novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, as well as the patriotic children’s picture book The Flag Keeper.

More information, including a book trailer, reviews, and book club discussion questions, is available at Juba has also launched an online version of the fictional reality show Sink or Swim on her blog, in which authors can enter their literary characters as contestants. The three characters that draw the most unique visitors at the end of the year will be declared the winners.

You can find Stacy online at: or

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest Blogger: Lillian Brummet - HOW TO PREPARE FOR A BOOK RELEASE

How to Prepare for a Book Release

There are many things that authors can do long before their book is released, but it is never too late to begin or enhance a marketing plan.

My first suggestion is to get a great stack of paper to jot notes on. Personally, I reuse sheets of paper that have only been printed on one side. Make sure you have a couple of pens handy; using two colors is helpful for organizing and grouping ideas. Oh! – And have a thermos of any kind of refreshment you choose next to you, because this is going to take a while!

David & Lillian Brummet
 OK. Got all those? Now is the time to sit at your computer and scan through the last 6 months worth of the previous postings on every section of your favorite writer's forum and your publisher's author forum. It is important to read the messages with headings like "new author" because the actual message may have crucial information. I know, this sounds like a lot of reading, but you will get efficient at scanning messages and determining if they hold useful information without having to digest every single word.

The reason for all this reading?

You will learn about reviews, marketing, promotion materials, media kits, book production processes, resources, the publisher's policies, royalty information, distributor information... it is all there. With this information you can easily get a head start on your marketing plan. Another reason for doing this is to find reliable mentors in your field of interest.

Effective, long-term networking through interacting with your peers on forums can easily lead up to exchanging of links, promotion materials and multi-author book events. These individuals will soon become your online friends who show up and support your media events, tell others about your work and will help you if they can. Of course, this means that you might have to offer something first to get the ball rolling for networking.

~ Written by Lillian Brummet; co-author of Trash Talk, author of Towards Understanding and co-author of Purple Snowflake Marketing - Host of the Conscious Discussions talk radio show and owner of the Brummet’s Conscious Blog:

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Working With Your Publisher by Kelley Heckart

Beltaine's Song by Kelley Heckart
Congratulations, a publisher has decided to contract your book. Now you can kick back and savor the moment, right? Think again. Once your book is contracted, the hard work has just begun. There is editing, more editing, filling out forms for the cover design, writing blurbs and telling everyone you know that you have a book coming out. An author has to work with representatives from the publishing company—the Senior Editor, the editor working on the book, the graphic artist designing the book cover, promotions people and accounting personnel that pay royalties. All of these people are there to help the author with the publishing process and one thing needs to be understood—they do not work for the author. They are your partners, working with the author to make the process as smooth as possible.

With e-publishing, this means corresponding with all of these people via email. Communicating via email can be tricky at times. Something meant to be funny might come across as rude. Here are a couple of points to remember:

  • Emails should always be professional. Leave out the emoticons and other unprofessional garbage. Remember that publishing is a business.
  • Always use 'please' and 'thank-you' when writing an email to anyone at the publishing house. These two simple words can go a long way in making publishing life easier even if you, the author, are upset about something.
The one huge mistake that newbie authors make with their publisher is to go in and start ordering people around, thinking that since they are a published author, they are so awesome that everyone must do their bidding. This kind of behavior will likely backfire and the author could end up getting blacklisted. No one wants to work with a difficult author. The publisher's employees are not the author's minions. The relationship between the author and publisher is a partnership. I cannot stress this point enough. If a new author thinks that publishing houses don't get together and talk about problem authors, think again. The publishing world really is a small world.

Another point to remember is to refrain from posting negative things about a publisher online. The first thing a publisher will do before accepting a submission is to Google the author. If they see an author trashing a publisher (it doesn't matter why), they will think that author is unprofessional and difficult to work with. The submission, no matter how great it is, will likely land in the circular file cabinet or the recycle bin on the computer.

Now, I know some people are reading this and saying, "Duh. This is common sense stuff." That's so true, but it still baffles me how many times I have seen an author bury themselves by trash talking a publisher or by being rude to the Senior Editor and making her/him mad. Just remember—an author is not irreplaceable. There are many talented writers out there and guess which ones will have a nice, long writing career and which ones won't?

About the Author:

Kelley Heckart writes Celtic historical romances with fantasy elements. Her stories reflect her passion for history, storytelling and the supernatural. Inspired by the ancient Celts, her tales are filled with fierce warriors, bold women, magic, conflict and romance. Kelley and her books can be found online at

Kelley’s Links: Check out my long hair hotties!