Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing

My good friend Suzan Harden—paranormal storyteller extraordinaire—challenged me to answer the following questions.

What is the working title of your next book? Firefall. It’s the first book in what I hope will be a three-book series.

Where did the idea come from for the book? My oldest son gave me the idea. He’s a filmmaker with loads of ideas—he gave this one to me! What a sweetheart.

What genre does your book fall under? Young adult, but instead of paranormal, it’s more a sci-fi. Guys will like it as much as girls…I hope!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I actually have images of who I envision, but most of the actors are too old now. Still, imagine fifteen or sixteen year old versions of Emma Watson and Ricky Shroeder as the hero and heroine. Secondary characters look like Selena Gomez, Tom Cruise and Amanda Sayfried—again, each of them being in their mid to late teens.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Oh dear…I haven’t boiled it down that far. I guess I would start with a question:  Just what is it that makes a person alive?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I have a publishing house in mind, and will submit it there myself.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The first draft took exactly one month, but it was very rough. I’m on the fourth draft right now with probably two more to go.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? It puts me in mind of the Michael Vey series, with a touch of Jules Verne.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? The success of a friend inspired me to try my hand at a young adult story, but my son helped me with the idea.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  The idea that technology can give a disabled person a chance at a real life.

Check out Suzan’s blogs and books at

You can find my books at my publisher’s site

plus at Amazon

and Barnes & Noble


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Moon's Influence

Blazing bright, it guides our paths. Its light dimmed by scudding clouds, it makes us look over our shoulders. It draws on the oceans, influences our moods, inspires poetry, strengthens magic, arouses love. The full moon hangs beyond our reach and yet who among us has not gazed upward and felt a personal connection to it?

In my novel Wait Until Moonrise, the full moon rising over the Welsh castle of Beaumarith is a key to freeing Nicholas Pierce from the spell that has imprisoned him for more than two hundred years. “As one who is dead, yet warm of flesh, walk ye within these walls. Unseen. Unheard. Untouched…” Thus begins the curse cast by the sorceress Saffira. Only the full moon and Nicholas’ one true love can free him.

Readers, has the moon had any special influence on your lives that you’d like to share? Fellow writers, please include a paragraph or two from one of your books where the moon is featured in a scene. Links to your books are also welcome.

All of you are invited to email me at with “Moonrise” in the subject line and I’ll enter you into a contest to win a $15 gift certificate. I’ll draw the winner’s name on July 7, 2012 at 8:00 pm CDT.

And now, to get things started, here is an excerpt from my paranormal romance, Wait Until Moonrise.

Moonlight bathed half the room. Delight touched her as the silvery air stirred at her entrance, humming like invisible music just below the level of her hearing.

Crossing the glossy floor, she opened one of the doors that led out to the patio. Scents of roses and honeysuckle embraced her with their lush, romantic smell in spite of the cool night air. A breeze sighed around her, sweeping inside to stir the crystals of the chandeliers, like music of a magic sort.

Turning, Bria imagined lovely ladies and handsome men whirling about the floor, colorful gowns and sparkling jewels shimmering in starlight. She could almost hear the strains of a waltz in the crystals of the chandeliers, and she moved to the center of the room, slippered feet miming the rhythm.

Closing her eyes, she raised her arms as if embracing a partner. Some long-ago learning took over, and she danced with childlike grace. Her slippers flew from her feet, and she felt the cool parquet with her bare, sensitive flesh. The belt of her robe slipped loose. The fabric of her robe and nightgown whirled around her like a graceful partner as she dipped and swayed.

The music of the crystals ceased.

Opening her eyes, Bria whirled to a stop facing the glass-paned wall. The door to the patio was closed.

Cautiously, she approached the door and peered through the glass. But for plants and flowers, the patio was empty.

“Georgie wasn’t kidding when he said some of the doors don’t hang plumb around here,” she murmured, opening the door. Once more, a breeze swept around her, cool but also full and fragrant with life.

Backing away, she listened as the melody of the breeze began again, one crystal moving against another, swelling and shimmering down around her. She swayed to the rhythm then resumed her dance as if the silence had never broken it.

“I must admit you dance almost as well as your mother.”

Startled, Bria whirled around. A man stood in the doorway leading onto the patio, arms folded over his chest, one shoulder resting against the door’s frame. Moonlight surrounded him like an aura, forming a halo about his black hair and shadowing his eyes. Then, he tilted his head, and silver light poured over his features like clear, sweet water.

Bria stared. Only in dreams had she seen such a beautiful masculine face. Dreams and one disturbing portrait…

“You look prettier, though, when your mouth isn’t hanging open,” he went on in a bored tone.

“Who…who are you?”

As her voice whispered across that hushed, moonlit room, the stranger fell still. Then, slowly, eyes black and wide, he lowered his arms. “You can see me?”

The query came to Bria as a hoarse, disbelieving whisper, words of doubt trembling on a precipice of mad hope. Frightened by the emotion in his voice—by the sudden, stark sensation burning in his black eyes—she backed away. He, in turn, moved toward her, away from the open patio door, into a patch of shadow…and promptly vanished.

Fear welled in Bria’s throat, and her flesh crawled. Turning, she ran for the ballroom door, away from the whisper that drifted after her.


Wait Until Moonrise, available exclusively at

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just for Fun

My good friend Ciara Gold tagged me and challenged me to post 7 lines from the 7th page of my current work in progress. Here they are from my untitled work:

I’ll go over and introduce myself to them first thing tomorrow.

Turning, she reached for the sill of her bedroom window. She balanced herself with one hand on the sill and the other on the inside of the sash as she put one foot through the opening. Stradling the window sill, she grinned again. What a great night.

Suddenly her bedroom’s overhead light snapped on. Cassie’s head snapped up. In her open bedroom doorway stood her father, and his expression indicated that the great night was about to take a turn for the worse.

Stay cool!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Do FREE books help sell your backlist?

Erotic Romance Author Cerise Deland talks Strategy!

My friend and fellow romance author Cerise DeLand has stopped by my blog today to talk about how giving away copies of her novels has impacted her sales. Welcome, Cerise!

Do Free books help sell your backlist?

Some say yes, FREE helps to sell more books, especially ones in a series or backlist. But I am here today to discuss how any author decides what to do for any PR promotion, using in particular this strategy for me with my nearly one year old Regency erotic romance, LADY STARLING’S STOCKINGS.

How did I decide to make her FREE?

This was my strategy:

Five days ago, I put my self-pubbed Regency erotica romantic suspense, LADY STARLING'S STOCKINGS up for Free on all vendor sites everywhere. In that period, it has gone from way down in the #s to a fantastic (as of Thursday morning at 7 a.m.) #15 on their Free erotic list.

What do you need to know about LADY S. to understand my delight with this?

1. She debuted almost a year ago.

2. She had good strong sales but they dwindled down. (I have more than recouped my investment in her.)

3. She is a stand alone book, but...

4. She has 5 "sisters", i.e., Regency erotic romances out there that sell steadily well AND have gotten consistent 5 star reviews from readers and reviewers alike. And incidentally have remained on that publisher's Top Ten Best list for over one entire year!

5. She had advertising by me such as book covers, etc. on various sites.

6. She has a dynamite cover that I paid GOOD STRONG BUCKS for, because I wanted the best in graphic design. Please do go look at her. This is a Jimmy Thomas pic that my designer worked with to remove all her clothes...except for her lovely stockings (which of course are part of the plot and an element that speaks to her character).

7. My goals to make her FREE?

·         To gain the market share of Regency readers I felt I had not totally reached. (So much to choose from as a reader.)

·         To increase my name recognition among my Regency readers as well as my historical readers. (I have medievals as well and will soon begin a historical series for EC.)

·         To increase my name recognition among all erotica readers.

Am I happy so far?


Moral of story:

Going Free, like any other tactic to raise your name recognition, brand or

sales, is a useful tool.

As one author friend of mine often says, Your Mileage May Vary.

BUT if you know what you do, why you do it and what you want, you may be able to measure your "success" and you may make yourself happy.

Hysterically so.

Please do admire the cover! Dreamy, oui?

Jimmy Thomas, reinterpreted by my fabulous graphic designer. YUM.

Please go here to get her and keep her on the best-download FREE list! THANKS.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What Sparked the Idea for Wait Until Moonrise?

My latest paranormal romance, Wait Until Moonrise, was a long time comin'. The basic plot came to me way back in 1992 while I was driving home from watching Disney's animated film, Beauty and the Beast. By the time I got home, the main story of an invisible hero who can be seen only in the moonlight had pretty much gelled in my mind.

It was the scene when Belle and the Beast were dancing in that magnificent ballroom that sparked the story idea. If you've seen the film, you might remember the stars shining through the windows and the beautiful floor. I thought of a couple dancing, with the hero visible only as he passed through patches of moonlight--and vanishing when he passed through shadows. A hero who can be seen only in the moonlight--and the heroine is the only person who can see him...the idea intrigued and excited me. And it raised a lot of questions. Was the hero a ghost? If so, how could they be together?

The rest of the main plot fell into place so fast that my head spun. I could barely type it fast enough. Nicholas, the hero, wasn't a ghost but a cursed 18th century nobleman, condemned to a living death within the prison walls of his own magnificent castle. Two hundred years pass before the heroine, Bria, arrived, seeking her lost past in her family home. But what happened to Nicholas in those two centuries? Did he lose his mind? How was he affected by other people who lived around him, unaware of his presence? What about the sorceress who cursed him? Was she still alive?

These were just a few of the questions that occured to me. Eventually, I fleshed out the story and started sending it to publishers and entering it in contests. It came close to being published a couple of times, it placed in a couple of contests...then it won the 2003 Emily for best paranormal romance. I still couldn't find a home for it, so I moved on to other books. I eventually published my first novel in 2006, which was followed by six more books with Ellora's Cave.

Then I decided to try my hand at self-publishing. Border Heat, a romantic suspense, did well, then came Onslaught. During all that time, my mind occasionally went back to Wait Until Moonrise, and the time finally felt right this year. I pulled it out of a really old computer file, read it through and thought it was still a very good story. A couple of revisions ensued, then I released it into the world this past week.

I'm excited and nervous. This book is the book of my heart. I pray that it's well received. I'd appreciate comments, reviews...anything to tell me that that initial spark was worth building into a flame.

Wait Until Moonrise is available exclusively at Amazon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writing for Love...or Money?

In addition to writing novels and novellas, each month I also write ten to twenty non-fiction articles on various topics. This month, for example, I’m writing about heirloom diamond rings, how a new mattress can help fight allergy symptoms, and which wrist watches best complement summer fashions. Such articles keep me busy, supplement my income, and keep me up-to-date on fashion trends and home furnishing improvements. Plus they test my willpower when it comes to fine chocolates. But do such articles help me add detail to my fiction writing or does writing them use up valuable time that I want to devote to my storytelling tasks?

Actually, it does both. But like many writers, I know that fiction writing rarely pays the mortgage, so I need the income those articles bring me. While ebook technology has allowed many writers to earn more money than they ever dreamed of earning through the traditional route of publishing through a New York house, most writers still need another source of income in order to pay those monthly bills.

But for many writers, money isn’t the main goal anyway. Putting our words together in stories that intrigue our own imaginations is the primary reason that most of us write. We need to write our stories. We love it when other people read those stories—and pay good money for them—but most of us would write even if we never made a penny off our hard work. It’s fun. It’s necessary. Writing is like water to a thirsty person—only writers are pouring it out instead of taking it in.

So please remember when you read our words that most of us create our stories out of love. And if you find our stories worthy of your love, please spread the word about. Maybe someday more of us can give up our day jobs—and those non-fiction articles—and spend more time writing the fiction that completes us.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

My friend Suzan Harden tagged me with the Lucky 7 Meme...never heard of it but it sounds like fun. It is a game of writer virtual tag.

Here's what to do:

1) Go to page 77 of the current wip (that's work in progress for non-writers).

2) Count down seven lines.

3) Post the next seven lines on your blog or FB page.

4) Tag seven writers. Let them know they've been tagged.
Here is my contribution from page 77 of Moonrise, my new paranormal romance:
His attention fixed upon her face, eager for that moment when she would see him. Forgetting his companions, he imagined he stood alone in the doorway and that Bria was coming home to him. Mounting the steps, she crossed the landing, walking straight into his outstretched arms.
Then she stopped. Just beyond the threshold. Just beyond his reach.
He glanced at the chandelier overhead, felt its warmth against his face and realized that its glow had overpowered the moonlight. “Damn!”

And here are the writers I'm tagging:

TJ Bennett
Nancy K. Bowden
Diana Castilleja
Fran Lee
Linda mooney
Melissa Ohnoutka
Cindy Spenser Paper


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rev's Angel

We had an angelic intervention on Saturday evening.

Our oldest son’s rat terrier – Rev – disappeared during a walk along a nearby creek last Saturday afternoon. He was wearing his collar, but his tags were at home (don’t ask). A six-hour search along the creek, in the woods along that creek, and through adjacent neighborhoods turned up nothing. Heartbreak for all of us. The creek was running deep and fast, a major four-lane road lay nearby, wild animals lived in the woods.

Signs were posted overnight. We tried to console ourselves with the knowledge that God had a special angel watching over Rev. The Lord had brought Rev to us 6 years ago (after being left at the SPCA--TWICE!!!) because He knew that we would give him a good home. We all fell in love with the little guy and he fit in with our family very well.

A call came in early Sunday morning from two women at the apartment complex that lay on the other side of the woods from the creek. They had gone out for an early morning walk and saw one of the signs that had been posted overnight. Minutes later, passing the fenced dog park in the middle of their apartment complex, they spotted Rev sitting in the grass INSIDE the fenced park, paws crossed, patiently waiting.

Those wonderful women took him back to their apartment, fed and watered him, then called the phone number on the sign to report that Rev was alive and well. He wasn’t hurt or frightened. In fact, he happily performed his small repertoire of tricks for the women…something he does only grudgingly for us. Within minutes of that phone call, he was back safe and sound with his family.
"Someone" found Rev and put him inside that dog park during the night—a fenced dog park with a closed gate. I believe the "someone" was an angel – Rev’s angel.

Those two women were angels, too, to go to the trouble of taking him in. Yes, there are animal lovers in the world. Many come in human form, but some, I believe, are true angels.

And Rev will never go out without his tags again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Phobias and American Heroes

Facing your greatest fear can be one of the most difficult things you ever do. But courage is often found when you have to face a fear in order to save someone else. The recent storms in our country provide proof of this.

Consider the father in Indiana who lay atop his son to protect him during the recent tornado outbreak. He truly feared he would die, but his love for his child gave him the courage to do what he needed to do. Another parent, a Kentucky mother, lost her legs protecting her children from the tornado there. Sacrificing for others makes these people true American heroes.

My latest novel, Onslaught, features a heroine who must face her fear of storms in order to protect someone else. Ronnie Clarke would rather wrestle with a difficult spreadsheet all night than walk the floor at 3 a.m. with a fussy baby. But she doesn’t have much choice when her unreliable mother drops a surprise bundle into her arms and then vanishes through the bathroom window of a cheap motel room. And Ronnie's mother left one other thing—a life or death warning. She kidnapped Baby Danny to save him from the religious cult leader who wants to sell him to the murderous leader of an illegal drug cartel. Oh, and Danny is Ronnie’s nephew, the son of a sister that she never knew she had.

If all that isn’t trouble enough, the only safe place to hide is in a small town on the Texas Gulf Coast, within easy striking distance of any devastating hurricane that might crop up. Since Ronnie has a phobia about thunderstorms, she’s practically set up for failure.

Onslaught is a full-length novel of romantic suspense, available in ebook format at:

Barnes & Noble:

Smashwords (for PDF or other formats):