Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Hot Seat - A New Author Get's Pinned

I’m excited to have Lisa Fender in the hot seat today.  Lisa and I met several years ago and when she discovered I was an author she asked if we could have coffee.  Turns out she had the dream.  She wanted to know if I would look at something she’d written.  There were issues with the mechanics (like I still goof on, especially in first drafts), but I saw a lot of potential in her story idea and encouraged her to keep going and work on the techniques.  She did! And I’m delighted that tomorrow I will be attending the book launch party for Fable, the first book in a series she and her sister, Toni Burns teamed up to write.  Turns out, Toni had the dream too!

Is there anything surprising you’ve learned about the publishing industry that you’d like to share with us?

Oh, where to start. I think the most important lesson is you don't have to go through a publisher to get your book out for sale. You can launch your book on your own, but if you want to do it right, it's not cheap. Why I decided to self-publish is because for one, I didn't have to wait possibly years to get it published, and two, you have to do all the marketing yourself anyway, why pay someone just to have their name on the book. You don't make much money as it is, why give even more of it to a small time publisher, or even a middle of the road one. 

The chances of a first time author getting a contract with one of the big names is slim to none, and they pick your title and cover. We did that all by ourselves, and I think it turned out pretty good. It's a wonderful and fun story. There's action, intrigue, a quest, and even a love story. What more could you want?!

 What is the naughtiest thing you ever did...that you got caught?

 When I was in my teens, (I think 17) I got caught with my boyfriend up at the lake by our house, doing it off the path. A man walked by and heard us and stopped to call out who's there. I've never gotten my jeans buttoned so fast in my life! Ah...the 70's. Sex, drugs and rock and roll!

 Leave a comment for Lisa and get entered into a drawing for a signed copy of Fable and a $10.00 Starbucks gift card.

Book 1 of the Lorn Prophecy
by Lisa Fender & Toni Burns


Stevie Barrett lives an ordinary life in Golden, Colorado, where nothing remarkable ever happens. That is until right before her high school graduation, when Stevie’s life takes a bizarre turn. Her best friends, Jack and Alyssa, want to be supportive, but are confused by the events plaguing Stevie.

Stevie’s mom is attacked by men with glowing gold eyes. A strange being spies on Stevie, hidden in shadow. She has waking visions of a people called the Djen and their archaic world. And when her and her BFFs don’t think it can get any weirder, Stevie heals a stranger with a touch. The abilities build until they are a tidal wave awakening within her and threaten her sense of reality.
 Her efforts to understand what is happening lead her and her friends to discover a group known as the Rebellion. These warriors from another dimension are hunting her. Their leader is a man bent on destroying Stevie and possessing her legacy. In order to stop him and save everyone she loves, Stevie and her friends must embark on a quest to find and return Tecton, one of the five Orbs—relics—of the other plane she comes to know as Djenrye. The journey will alter everything she believes, propelling her into another world and another life.

At the sound of Tonka barking, she wrenched the faucet handle hard enough for metal to screech on metal. “What—really, Mom? Tonka’s still outside?”

When no response came, Stevie poked her head out the bathroom door. “Mom?”
Wait a sec… The lights are off. Mom’s not home?

She went down the hall, opened her mother’s bedroom door, and turned on the light. It was empty. A quick walk to the window to glance at the driveway revealed the vacant space where her mom’s SUV should be parked. I can’t believe I was so mad I didn’t notice.
She walked out of the room and absently flicked off the light. Her yellow lab was still outside and her mother nowhere to be found. The darkness of the house closed in around her.

Creeping back down the hall, she peered in her room, and was relieved at the lack of movement and unfamiliar shapes. She tiptoed to the top of the stairs and looked down to blackness.
Tonka’s barking stopped. Stevie strained to hear anything, but all was still. An uneasy feeling washed over her.

Spring nights usually brought the sounds of crickets, birds, and an occasional coyote howl, but never silence. In fact, the normal cacophony of nature’s music frightened her “down the hill” friends the first time they stayed overnight. Comfortable in the symphony nature freely provided, Stevie would tease them about being “city kids”.
But this quiet was complete. It created its own strange vibration. There is stillness, and then there is deathly silence. This felt like the second. Compounded by Tonka’s sudden calm, the void was a weight pushing down on her. Stevie had never been claustrophobic, but a sense of being entombed and exposed at the same time unnerved her.

Quietly, she moved down the stairs, avoiding the middle one that creaked, afraid to bring noise into the void. At the landing, she turned right, in the direction of the kitchen. She passed the grandfather clock with its steady, rhythmic ticking, and glanced at the time.
Ten o’clock. Where are you, Mom?

Entering the kitchen, Stevie kept as close to the walls as possible, attempting to blend her five-foot-seven-inch frame in with the shadows. Through the open blinds of the sliding glass door, a full moon cast weak light across the floor. Beyond the glass, Tonka’s shape could be seen in the backyard.
Stevie inched across the pine floor. Again, careful to avoid the creaky joints, she positioned herself in such a way that only her head would be visible to the outside.

The yellow lab stood at the base of the nearest cottonwood, front paws clawing at the trunk, attention completely focused on the branches above. Tonka appeared to be attempting to climb the tree.
A mountain lion? That would account for the silence, at least.

Living in the foothills, it was not uncommon for wildlife sightings, even bears or pumas. Stevie searched her memory, but couldn’t remember when the last sighting had been broadcast. She leaned into the glass; hands cupped on either side of her face, and squinted into the night.
A tall figure stood on a thick branch, silhouetted by the moonlight. The way that it balanced on the tree, the easy athletic posture and height—it could only be a man. Tonka resumed her barking and the distraction drew her eyes downward. The lab’s normally yellow fur glowed green. Straining to make out the source of the strange light, she looked again at the man-shape. A gasp escaped her lips and she jumped back.

What the hell?



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Roger Rabbit Goes to the Dogs - Pinks Hotdogs that is!!

I'm delighted to be an author with Musa Publishing, who will release Gary K. Wolf's (the creator of Roger Rabbit) new Roger Rabbit book, Who Wacked Roger Rabbit, on November 22, 2013.  So when I discover something that ties in with that long-eared little devil who is coming back to us in a new work, I have to share. 

The picture below is from an article in Splash Magazine, LA, about the special hot dog created by Pinks to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the release of the Who Framed Roger Rabbit movie (which by the way is releasing on Bluray), and they dedicated this yummy delight  to Charles Fleischer, the comedian who was the Roger's voice.

Read the full account here:

And if you're in the Los Angeles area stop by Pinks Hollywood at 709 N. La Brea Ave. and get your dog!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Travels - The Summer Escape Shared & Winner

The contest is over and the winner is Anne!  Anne, please contact me with your snail mail info so I can mail you prize when I return.

Here we go, the locations of this summer's vacation sites!

Flying into London and spending a few nights.  From London we board a cruise ship out of Harwich and head for the North Sea.

First stop, the Faroe Islands, then off to Iceland.  A couple of days in Reykjavik, then moving to the north side.  While in Akureyri we will fly over to Grimsey Island and cross the Artic Circle.

When we leave Akureyri, we head over to Norway. I've been to southern Norway, but not this far north.

Two ports of call in Norway and then back to Harwich.  From Harwich, back to London and another four nights.  This is the longest vacation we've taken.

 I'm sure the brother-in-law will be happy to see us return.  He gets the pleasure of spending three weeks with the Beast!  Wonder how that's going to work...LOL

If you could go any place in the world, what would be your destination of choice?  Why?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Weekend of Learning! Conferences Can Make for Lots of Laughter Too

Sorry about neglecting my blog last week, but the 'to do' list on last minute details had me focused on one thing...The joint conference between the Heart of Denver Romance Writers and the Colorado Romance Writers.  And what a conference!

Saturday was a blast thanks to the hilarious, Kristen Lamb.  Not only did we learned, but we did through laughter.

Our guest editors, Debby with Soul Mate Publishing and Lily with Elm Publishing were delightful and left talking about how much they look forward to receiving the great stories our pre-published authors shared with them.

From the comments received, I think a good time was had by all!

Thank you, Janet Baltz for taking all the pictures!

The opening comments...Any Denim (CRW) and myself

The delightful Helen Heart and I conversing.

Kristen Lamb explaining in great detail!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Hot Seat Friday - Cynthia Woolf Spills the Beans on Her Secret Lust

Today's Hot Seat guest is the always writing, Cynthia Woolf.  Cynthia decided to try the self-publishing route and has turned her decision into a stay-at-home career. You go, girl!!
She's sharing a couple of things with us today, including her newest 'lust' of the heart...or is that loins?  Take it away, Cynthia!
  How much of your personal life do you incorporate in your writing? 
 Not a lot.  I write historical westerns and I have used the stories I heard about my dad in some of the western/ranching parts of the stories.  My dad was a cowboy on a ranch when he met my mom and their story is what inspired me to write my first book, Tame A Wild Heart.  My current series, Matchmaker & Co, which includes Capital Bride and my current release, Heiress Bride was also inspired by my parents.  They corresponded for several months before Dad finally asked Mom to marry him.  Kind of like the mail order brides of old.  :-)
What celebrity would you like to spend a few months on a deserted island with? 
Why?  My husband and I have an agreement that we each have one person that we would leave the other for to have a fling.  His used to be Elizabeth Taylor.  Mine used to be Sean Connery and he's still damn sexy but I have found a new heart throb.  Chris Hemsworth.  He plays Thor and played the Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman.  He just sends this heart of mine thumping and gives me an ache in my loins.  LOL 
Heiress Ella Davenport survived a carriage accident that killed her father. Her life saved in exchange for savage scars marring her beautiful face. Her friends, socialites, showed their true colors, casting Ella aside like damaged goods and leaving her a social pariah. Even her wealth can’t buy her the kind of marriage she wants. Desperate to find a husband who can accept her despite her scars and, without knowing about her money, she seeks to become a mail order bride. Matchmaker & Co. is her one chance to start over and leave the pain and betrayal far behind her.

Nathan Ravenclaw was run out of town by the father of the girl he was courting once he discovered Nathan’s Arapaho heritage. It didn’t matter that Nathan was a successful rancher, businessman, and a positive member of society. The white community suddenly saw only a half-breed. Even his money couldn’t buy him a wife. That was ten years ago. He moved and rebuilt everything that cold rancher once took from him. He has it all...except a wife. Matchmaker & Company promises to send him a woman willing to start a new life with him. But Nathan's battered heart lacks the ability to trust. He longs for children, not romance. His new bride, scarred and cast aside like himself, promises to be perfect for him. Until he meets his mail order bride. Fierce desire and an even more dangerous hope roar back to life within him. Two things he swore never to indulge in again.

And love? For these two battered souls, that's the biggest risk of all

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wenchy Thursday - Sharon Ledwith's Anniversay Celebration

Sharon Ledwith is celebrating her book's first year anniversary during the month of May with fun blogs and prizes.  There is even a count-down calendar on the front.

If you enjoy YA, you need to add The Last Timekeepers to your list!  And be sure to join in the fun Sharon has planned for this month.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.
When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

To read an excerpt:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Travels - Last Guess Before the Planning Starts

Time for our trip is drawing nearer.  Still a couple of months away, but those two months will fly by.  Think we have the BIL set to stay in the house while we're gone.  He may wait until the day before we leave to arrive, but that works.  Given all the last minute things that will be in the works, plus all the packing laid out on the guest room bed, that probably is for the best.  Yeah, I'm a last minute packer even if I do start pulling the things I plan to take out of closest and drawers weeks in advance.

This is my last post on the Guess Contest.  After this, I'll share the dreams on the "to do" list and look forward to when I can post pictures of what we did!

Now, time for you to guess where this is to enter the drawing for a souvenir from my trip.  Heck, if I hit good deals, there may be more than one.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday's Wench - Sam Cheever Gets Cozy!

The multi-talented, Sam Cheever discusses cozy mysteries with us today.  Discover what she thinks makes one and check out her latest release!

And now here's Sam Cheever

 What is it about cozy mysteries that makes them so much fun? To answer that question, I guess you need to start with the basic elements of a cozy. When one thinks of a cozy, one might think Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or maybe Angela Lansbury’s character, Jessica Fletcher, of Murder She Writes fame. The traditional cozy is set in a specific, confined area, such as a bunch of people stranded in a remote location with a killer in their midst, a.k.a Clue (Best. Movie. Ever). Many contemporary cozies are in small town settings, with quirky characters and the challenges and opportunities inherent in small town living. A cozy generally revolves around a murder, but the murder is usually off screen and/or not overly violent.

Cozy mysteries feature amateur sleuths of all kinds. For example, some of the most popular contemporary cozy series feature flower shop owners, chefs, caterers, accountants, book store owners, writers, and dog trainers. These unlikely sleuths find themselves repeatedly embroiled in murder most foul and struggling to figure out whodunit. The mystery is made more interesting by the quirkiness of the people involved, their tendency to lie and cover, and the misconceptions that come from knowing someone for years. It’s a fun formula fraught with opportunities for both the reader and the sleuth to go awry and lose their way.

Which brings me to the reason I love a good cozy mystery. I love the challenge and journey of figuring out whodunit in a light, fun environment. No guts, no gore, no over-the-top sensuality. Just a big, fun puzzle.
My own cozy mystery series is centered on an antiques store owner and has an additional fun twist. Filled with lots of great, old things, Yesterday’s Antiques is a hotbed of paranormal activity, giving Yesterday Mysteries a paranormal edge. This aspect adds an extra element of fun to the already enjoyable mystery. Anna Yesterday is a kind, attractive young woman trying to make a living doing what she loves in a small town in Southern Indiana. When Anna opened Yesterday’s Antiques, she inherited two spirits, who are tied to objects that were once buried under the store.

Joss is a cowboy from pre-Civil war times, whose gun belt and holster were uncovered behind the store when Anna was having some improvements made. Joss is sexy, protective, and obviously in love with Anna, and she feels pretty much the same about him. The second specter, Bess was a saloon girl who sometimes cleaned the floors in the inn that was located where Yesterday’s now exists. She lived in the mid to late 1800s and Anna isn’t sure what her transference object is. Bess and Anna butt heads on a regular basis, mostly due to the fact that Bess is jealous of Anna’s relationship with Joss, but also because…well…Bess is kind of a crank. #:0)

To make things even more interesting, Anna has a sexy, flesh and blood assistant who’s an ex-cop to help her with her sleuthing. Her growing feelings for Pratt are confusing and cause no end of tension between the two men in her life. All in all, it’s a fun series with likeable characters and I’m really enjoying being on the creation side of the cozy mystery genre for a change! I hope you’ll check these books out.




[caption id="attachment_1008" align="alignleft" width="200"]Book 1: Yesterday
Mysteries Book 1: Yesterday Mysteries[/caption]

 Antiques can be a dangerous business. Especially when you’re dealing with a desperate politician, a sexy ex-cop, and a couple of “spirited” companions.

 Anna Yesterday owns Yesterday’s Antiques in small town USA. When she finds an old newspaper clipping lining the drawer of an antique dresser, she realizes she’s never heard the ugly story of rape and suicide detailed on the yellowed newsprint. So she starts to dig, and her sleuthing exposes an ugly cover-up that casts the residents of Crocker, Indiana into danger and intrigue, and leaves them with a corpse.




[caption id="attachment_1017" align="alignright" width="200"]Book 2: Yesterday's
Mysteries - April 2013 Book 2: Yesterday's Mysteries - April 2013[/caption]


A deadly secret is tangled up in Yesterday’s Threads, and Anna is racing the clock to get it unraveled.


In 1859, Elisabeth Margaret Nelson traveled to Crocker, Indiana to meet her new husband and start a new life. Her family never saw her again. The story of her death and a heartbroken husband who grieves his entire life is a sad tale for sure. But is it true?

When Anna Yesterday receives some vintage dresses from the local museum, she’s excited about highlighting them at Crocker’s annual Apple Blossom Festival. But someone wants the dresses back, and they’ll apparently stop at nothing to get them—leaving a trail of murder and destruction in their wake.

As Anna and Pratt work to uncover the deadly intrigue behind the vintage dresses, interference of another kind is working its way to the surface. All too soon, Anna and Pratt find themselves neck deep in trouble from more than one dimension—and wondering which will get them first!



Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Musings - Reworking the Past

I’m currently reworking past releases that I received the rights back on.  It’s amazing the difference a few years can make in ones perspective on a prior creation.  And not just by the  editors.  But re-edits by a new eye is interesting too in how they see things compared to the prior editor.
But my focus on reworking has been my own eyes view before it goes to the editor.  That then brings highlights to other areas and the potential to change.  This is what I’m going through now with two books.  One book is in the hands of an editor with Passion in Print Publishing and her suggestions helped make a stronger story.  The re-release of Barely Legal has added heat and numerous areas where she suggested beefing up descriptions for a better visual by the reader and is scheduled to release June 21st.

The other is with an independent editor and will be a self-published release in late May or early June.  Call Me was my first ever published book and going through it to tweak before sending for edits, I could only scratch my head.  How did I make such goofs?  The first round edits are over and once again, very good suggestions from the editor to expand and improve.  And the title has changed too.  Now Educating Amber will be the first in the Call Me series.  The second book in the series will probably re-release in August.  Also, on the planning board is at least one new book.
And that’s what I’m up to at the moment on the re-releases.  The new books, that’s a different story.  Working on two at the moment and once the above edits are off my plate, the new ones will receive full attention.

Now, I have a question for you? 
For Readers:  Do you re-read prior books if you know changes have been made or the story has been expanded?

For Authors:  Do you ever go back and read your old works and swear if opportunity arises, you’re going to make changes?  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday ...Wenching by Eleni Konstantine - Taking Care of Self!

Eleni Konstantine shares great tips for looking after yourself.  Trust me, I really needed to have some of her suggestions re-enforced.  I confess to getting caught up in 'things' and forgetting about me.  Family and work become priority and 'me' gets put to the bottom of the list.  So thank you, Eleni for reminding me if I don't care of myself, I won't be able to handle the endless 'to do' list each day!

by Eleni Konstantine

You do right? Or are you like most people and run yourself to the ground trying to keep up with the hectic pace that is the 21st century? The latter probably.

I’m a great believer in telling people to look after themselves. But do I do the same? The answer is sometimes, because I have to. I have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and I know that I will crash if I don’t have breaks. One thing that CFS has taught me, I can’t go weeks without looking after myself as I once did. Probably a reason for the onset of it.

So what can we do to look after ourselves?

Nap or Meditate

I love my afternoon naps and have them most days. It helps me re-energize. Can’t get to sleep? Don’t worry. Use that time just to close your eyes and relax. I can’t meditate properly as I tend to fall asleep and that’s okay. I think it’s my body’s way of letting me know I need the sleep.


Move away from the computer. I find that I move a lot more during the day than at night, where hours can pass as I sit at the computer. During the day, I put laundry on to remind me to move. When it’s time, I empty one load and fill the machine with another. But at night, I put the alarm on the computer or listen out for the computer voice telling me the time on the hour.  I do move - some of the time.


I feel better on the days I exercise. Endorphins are released and the body benefits from the movement. I haven’t managed to get into a proper routine yet (CFS is awful for setting routines) but when I did exercise regularly, I felt much better and I was more productive. Of course finding an exercise you enjoy is the key. I go to Curves as it suits me the best and do Tai Chi.

Necessary ‘Pampering’

I need to have remedial massage every so often (ouch!), because it does help the muscles and movement. I have reflexology on occasion, and also chiropractor and acupuncture appointments more frequently. Basically it’s me listening to what my body (and brain) needs.  So work out and try to work it into your schedule once a month.


I truly believe reading feeds the soul. See my blog post on the Musa Publishing blog. It helps to re-energize and let our imagination run wild, and our inspiration and muse spark off as well.

Vege Out

I watch TV, but I tend to watch it when I’m so tired I can’t read. I love stories and this is just the visual form. I tend to record things and watch when I’m in the mood or have an hour or so that I want to relax and not think about anything but what’s in front of me. Currently episodes of Son of Anarchy and Boardwalk Empire are waiting for me. Both amazing shows with such complex characters.

Drink Water

Remember to have that water bottle on your desk. I find it better than grabbing a glass of water because I’m likely to drink more. However, if you are good, you can use the refill of the glass for ‘moving’ as discussed above.

Eat Regularly

My biggest downfall. I don’t eat regularly nor have a proper breakfast - though I’ve been trying to fix that. Because I don’t have a set routine this isn’t easy for me. If you’re hungry (even if you don’t know it), your brain doesn’t operate at full capacity and you can’t concentrate on your work. And eating brain food helps. Bananas, anyone?

 Commune with Mother Nature

Being outside - even if it’s in your front or back yards helps us get out of that funk that we can get when we’ve been too long inside. I always feel better for it even if it’s for a short while. It’s been hot here in Australia so this hasn’t been doable lately. I love the beach, and don’t mind going and sitting on a bench and staring at the waves. Or even going for a walk to the local park.

Hanging Out with Kids or Pets

Kids live in the moment, and as adults we tend to think in the past or the future. They have boundless energy and love doing all sorts of activities. I draw and play board games with my godson. It’s an enjoyable time and ultimately the kids will say something that is hilarious, so it’s always fun.

My dog is the same - lives in the moment and loves to play ALL the time. That unconditional love and companionship is just priceless.

All the above do help - if we can get them into the routine. It’s a work in progress for me.

Maybe we need to schedule looking after ourselves into our diaries? What do you think?

Zeta will protect the one she loves, even if it means living in Hell.

 Mastering a unique power was much safer for Zeta Kosmos with a mentor to help her along. Now that he’s disappeared, Zeta must continue alone with her calling—closing Gateways to Hell.

Daniel Richards is in the family business—Warding supernatural evil from causing havoc on humans. As such, he’s only interested in the safety of one-night stands. Until Zeta. This bad boy now wants a long, lasting relationship.

 But Zeta can’t let go of her past, nor can she ignore the secret demonic threats against Daniel’s life. She’d rather fight demonic spawn and be dragged into Hell than allow anything happen to him. Can Daniel convince her to stay? Will she have to pay the ultimate price?

To read an excerpt from Gateway to Hell, please click HERE.

ENCHANTED REALMS - a short story duo

 Stormy Divide

Will Ellie ever find a way home?

 Thom may be used to the dangers of the forest, but nothing has prepared him for this. When he stumbles across a woman dressed in weird clothing lying on the ground during a storm, he has no choice but to help her.

Ellie finds herself in another world, having travelled through time and space thanks to what Thom calls The Rifts. The question is whether she will ever be able to find her way back, or if she will be stuck in this new world forever. Or if she will even want to go home…

Angel Eyes

What if the man of your dreams only existed in your dreams?

Vera’s dreams are haunted each night by a man she only knows as Angel Eyes. He feels more real to her than anything else in her life, including her fiancĂ©. Vera must try to forget her childish dreams of soul mates and happily ever after… but are they really only dreams or can she find a way to be with Angel Eyes forever?

To read an excerpt from Enchanted Realms, please click HERE.

Eleni Konstantine is Fantasy and Paranormal fiction writer, with a number of shorts published. Her stories range from flash fiction to novels. She blames her mother for her writing bug because as a child she was given many books, including illustrated fairytales. That and a love of Greek mythology, and Eleni was destined to become a writer.

Eleni lives in Adelaide, Australia, with her family and feisty American Staffy.

Learn more about Eleni Konstantine on her website and blog. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Travel Wednesday - The Guessing Continues

Here's a stop on the upcoming adventure this summer.  The 'to do & see' list keeps growing.  There is no way we'll get all the things in!

Anyway...guess to get into the drawing for a goody from one on the places.  No idea what until I'm there and shopping...*g* 

Pretty, but hope to heck the streets don't look like this in the middle of summer!