Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Who's For Dinner Fridays, and Saturday Sampler.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warrior and 8 Sentence Sunday time, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Writers share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

My snippet is from my new sci-fi romance novella MISSION TO NEW EARTH. Sara has diffused a tense situation between 2 team members, Marsh and Tom. She's given the team time off, even though they're due for another simulation. The rest of the team takes off, leaving Sara and Marsh behind.

I strolled up to the man I loved and put my arms around his waist. When I rested my head on his chest, I heard the thud of his heart, normally, a reassuring sound that always made me go weak in the knees, now it beat more rapidly than usual, still agitated
“Hey, guy, everything will be all right. We’re ready--more than ready.”
“I know, it’s just—”
Leaning back in his arms, I reached up and patted his cheek. “Settle down, big boy.” I gave him a long kiss, to which he didn’t respond—still worked up over the latest simulation. Then he gave in, as I knew he would. Not to be smug, but Marsh did like my kisses.

This will be my last snippet from Mission to New Earth. Next week: new month, new story. Thanks for all your comments.

The Story:

Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?

In 2172, Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of nuclear winter—the timeline changes. Eight years of training crammed into four.

Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch, but are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.

The is the last week for the Giveaway. Don't forget to enter.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Last Day For a Plethora of Free & Discounted Books #SFRBlast

Last Day

Oh, happy day! Five days, actually. Another chance to get free or 99-cent science fiction romance books. I love participating in this promotion. I'm a reader, too. (Like you didn't know that. Hahaha) So I'm going to shop my heart out.

The Pilot (An Outer Rim Novel), on sale for $.99, is the first book in my Outer Rim series about strong women on the frontier of space. This book was so much fun to write. Most of my books are, some more than others. I love the feisty, short, red-headed Celara. More than that, I love the interaction between her and the hard-nose administrator Trevarr. She won't give an inch and neither does he . . . until he needs her help.

Each book in the Outer Rim series is a standalone. You don't have to read them in the order they were written.


Life on the frontier of space is hard enough so when pirates stole Celara d'Enfaden's cargo, she vowed not to be tricked again. Determined to make an example out of indie pilots who disobey orders, Coalition Administrator Trevarr Jovano impounds Celara’s starship and cargo. If he backs down, he’ll lose respect. If she can’t deliver her cargo, she’ll default on her loan and lose her only home—her ship. More important than her ship, though, is her brother. To rescue him from a galactic gangster, she’ll even work with Jovano who is bent on avenging his wife’s murder.

The Pilot is available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, ARe, Smashwords.

Note: as of this morning, iBooks has priced The Pilot at $1.99. I'm working on getting that fixed.

Click on this link to find more books. http://smschmitz.com/promo

I hope you find many terrific books to download. I know I will. I think I'll have to live another fifty years (at least) to read all the books on my Kindle.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Meet Author A.J. Norris

I'm happy to introduce you to a fellow Michigander and an author with a new release. Even though we live in the same state, I met A.J. Norris through the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal RWA online chapter. Let's get this show on the road. 

Welcome, A.J. Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Southeastern Michigan and live with my husband, son, and two Yorkie mixes. I write paranormal romance and romantic suspense. In my spare time, I love to go to the movies and watch my son play baseball.

Where can readers find you?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I first realized I wanted to be a writer when a story starting forming in my head and I needed to get it out. That was about five years ago and I’ve been writing ever since. I knew though that I needed help in order to become a better writer, so I joined a couple of critique groups and tried to learn as much as possible through research and just writing my butt off.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I try to write something every day, although that doesn’t always happen. When I’m writing a MS, I will usually put down 1500-2000 words a day. Sometimes more.

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?

I’m a pantser, so I just sit down and start writing. I usually have a main character in mind and put them in a situation and let them tell my how it unfolds. I research as I go along or make a note to look something up later. After I get the first ten thousand or so word down, I loosely outline the ending so I stay on track. I need to have the ending in my sights, otherwise I get lost.

If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?

That’s simple: start writing earlier.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

My books tend to be somewhat dark with happy endings. I put my heart into every character and I hope that it shows. I love stories about redemption and second chances.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is the second book in my paranormal romance series called Her Black Heart. The first book, Her Black Wings is where it all began. I recommend readers start with the first book before reading the second because the sub-plots carryover in the second book. However, each book features a different romantic couple.

Although, my Dark Amulet Series is a paranormal romance, some have said it has horror elements. I also try to use situational humor to offset the darker parts.

Her Black Wings Blurb:

Amalya Rivers longs to die and end her lonely existence—but it doesn’t work out that way…

A former runaway turned criminal, Amalya is murdered and thrust into a treacherous world full of red-skinned, horned beasts under the control of the Demon Ruler, Abaddon, instead of enjoying peace and serenity like she hoped. But saving a young child from a certain brutal death in the last moments of her life has earned her a chance at salvation.

Elliott the Redeemer wants no part in saving another soul…

After one too many failures at redeeming lost souls, the nail-biting, self-pitying Elliott has had enough of his work and would prefer to live out his eternity on Earth drowning in bourbon. It doesn’t matter that Amalya has grown black feathered wings signifying the good that still dwells within her. He can’t risk failure again.

Amalya must save someone from her past in order to escape Abaddon’s rule…

She has to prevent the now grown child she saved from committing murder or risk returning to Netherworld with Abaddon for good. She can’t do it alone, though. Amalya needs the help of the angel sent to guide her, but their emerging love might not be enough to convince Elliott she’s worth the risk.

Amalya loves her black wings. She knows she’s meant to be an angel—and she will stop at nothing to prove it…

Her Black Wings Excerpt:

“You can touch them if you want.”
Placing a hand on the cushion at her hip, he leaned down. He ran a palm along one of the top arches of her wings. She closed her eyes and moaned, carried away by the new sensation. His touch felt erotic. What was the deal with that? He seemed to enjoy it as much as she did. Then he stopped, got off the couch, and went to gaze out the sliding glass door.
The angel stared outside. When he didn’t move for five minutes, Amalya became curious to see what he was looking at so intently through the glass. She pulled herself to a sitting position. Straightening out her legs, she placed her bare feet on the putrid yellow carpet. When she took a step toward him, she almost tripped over one of the shoes Aba had given her. She looked around for the other pump. It was missing. Damn; she’d liked them too.
She stood beside him about to take her first glimpse of Earth in ten years. The fact that it had only been a couple of days for them didn’t matter; she was nervous. All she could see was an overcast sky, reminding her of the last moments of her life. She had to step closer to the glass to get a better view. The balcony beyond the door-wall was enclosed with a black wrought iron railing. They were up high, maybe on the top floor of a ten or so story building. She expected to see snow on the ground. Instead, grass covered the courtyard below. What had happened to winter?

Buy Link:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

#WeWriWa #8Sunday ~ Mission to New Earth

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warrior and 8 Sentence Sunday time, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Writers share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

My snippet is from my new sci-fi romance novella MISSION TO NEW EARTH. Marsh is upset about something, and Sara doesn't have a clue what's wrong. She finally finds out.

“We screwed up again--in RT, it could kill us,” Marsh announced as soon as the five of us joined him, his voice echoing off the hard surfaces of the lav.
“You and your damn RT,” Tom spat out. “Why can’t you just say real time like a normal person?”
Marsh was right to pick the only place that wasn’t monitored. We absolutely didn’t want the directors to think we weren’t a well-functioning team. They could pull us and put in the Shadow Team--our replacements.
“Okay, guys, what did I miss?” With a forced grin, I raised my right hand. “I swear I wasn’t dreaming about a day at the beach during the sim.”

The Story:

Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of nuclear winter—the timeline changes. Eight years of training crammed into four. Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch, but are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.

I'm running a Giveaway through the month of September for a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Click on Rafflecopter to enter. 

Be sure to check out the other snippets from the great list of authors here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

#CoverReveal Timeless by Crystal Collier

TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal

Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Who's For Dinner with Marissa Garner

It's Friday and time for fun. Marissa Garner is here to tell us who she would invite to dinner. Take it away, Marissa.

When Diane explained the concept of “Who’s for dinner,” she really made me stop and think. Always a risk, my husband would tell you, because my writer’s imagination can get carried away.

For example, the first dinner guest who came to mind was Eve. Yes, that Eve. I’d ask her, “What the hell were you thinking?” Then the names of dozens of people whom I’d like to grill…er, politely question filled my mind. I’d ask Julius Caesar why they named a salad after him. Did Christopher Columbus have nightmares about falling off the edge of the earth? Kat O’Leary would need to explain what she was doing in the barn the night of the Chicago fire. I’d want to know if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. The names multiplied until I had a guest list for a banquet instead of an intimate dinner party. So I started over with a more focused theme and timeframe: modern-day authors who influenced my writing.

Daphne du Maurier definitely deserves a seat at the table because her novel Rebecca is widely considered the origin of the romantic suspense genre. Linda Howard’s books taught me so much about sensuality in the romantic relationships between heroes and heroines that I’d want to learn even more. Iris Johansen could give me new tips on creating beloved continuing characters. I’d pick up a few pointers from Brenda Novak on fast-paced plots and from Allison Brennan on heinous villains. And finally, from my idol Sandra Brown, I’d soak up everything I could but especially new ideas for shocking plot twists. By dessert, my brain would be as full as my belly, and I would revel in the companionship of my talented dinner companions. 

Of course, then we’d discuss my latest release, Wanted (FBI Heat #3). If you would like to read it also, you can purchase it here.

For San Diego’s elite FBI agents, risking their lives is standard procedure when it comes to capturing the city’s most dangerous criminals—but falling in love is the greatest risk of all.

Kat MacKenzie knows something is terribly wrong at the Diablo Beach Nuclear Power Plant, but she can’t figure out if it’s computer error, equipment malfunction, or human sabotage. Unfortunately, the only person she can trust with the problem is the man she left at the altar two years ago. If Dillon doesn’t already hate her, he surely will once he discovers why she abandoned him.

The last person he expects to call him is the woman who broke his heart. But FBI Special Agent Dillon O’Malley can’t ignore Kat’s plea for help—not when national security may be at stake. As enemies become clear and catastrophe threatens, can Kat and Dillon put the past behind them to save the day and secure their future?

Bio: Marissa Garner is a wife, writer, chocoholic, and animal lover, not necessarily in that order. As a little girl, she cut pictures of people out of her mother’s magazines and turned them into characters in her simple stories. Now she writes edgy romantic thrillers, steamy contemporary romance, and sexy paranormal romantic suspense. Her stories will titillate your mind as well as your libido. She lives in sunny Southern California with her husband, but enjoys traveling from Athens to Anchorage to Acapulco and many locations in between.

Social media links:

Marissa, that's quite the dinner party! I will definitely eavesdrop on that conversation. Daphne DuMaurier is one of my all-time favorite authors. And Linda Howard. Wow. I'd love to chat with all of the lovely ladies you would invite. Best wishes on your new release.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Meet Author Gina Conkle

It's my pleasure to introduce you to a fellow Michigander and a member of my RWA chapter, Gina Conkle.

Welcome, Gina. Tell us about yourself.

Hi Diane! Thanks for hosting me on your site. I’m Gina Conkle, writer of Viking and Georgian romance. I’ve been writing since around 2002-2003, but I didn’t get serious about writing until 2012. I was born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA but now live in Michigan (I love it!) with my husband, Brian and our two boys. We don’t take a lot of vacations, but when we do we go all out. That means we visit old places like castles (the older and moldier the better). When I’m not reading or writing, I like to cook and garden. My big summer project was a garden and then blogging about cooking Viking meals. Check out the How to Eat Like a Viking blog series. It was a fun project I did with my younger son (he did all the photography).

Where can readers find you?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

The pinpoint moment of “I want to be a writer” came in 5th grade. Two things happened: I’d read Gone with the Wind and my teacher, Mrs. Miller, had us write a creative story. My story was The Girl Who Stopped World War III. I remember getting lost in the words, the story images coming to life like holograms around me. It was great!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

My most productive times are at night. Maybe it’s the cocoon of night, but for some reason I can go on to 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and pound out the words. I’m married to Mr. Early Riser, so I try to balance things and put in some early hours.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

For Viking romance, I’ve been to Sweden and Scotland. I also read some great Viking historians (Nancy Marie Brown, Jenny Jochens, and Judith Jesch to name a few). That’s for the historical background. On the fiction side, the characters just show up in my head. The people who talk the most get put on the page.

With my Georgian romance, Lucy Inglis and Job E. Lewis help me visualize Georgian England. I’ve never been to England. Some of the more vivid, colorful characters I’ve ever written just popped into my head while I was writing my Georgian books. Juliette Sauveterre, a favorite character from The Lady Meets Her Match, wasn’t planned. She just showed up while I writing the book. Now it looks like she’ll get her own book!

What did you learn from writing your first book?

I learned from my first book, Norse Jewel, never to compromise for the sake of publishing. This was my biggest lesson. The book was submitted as a single title, but they wanted it for a category line and asked me to cut the novel down to 70K words. I did and I regret it to this day. Honor your stories. Editing is one thing; story chopping is another.

How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?

I love spending time with my guys! Since I have boys, we’ve spent years talking about and learning about dinosaurs, insects, reptiles of every kind, super heroes, and science fiction, etc. Call me crazy, but I read to my boys as infants (even in the hospital right after they were born!). Both my sons love to read, and interestingly they’ve refused ereaders. They prefer print. We all like superhero movies, action-adventure movies, museums, and just hanging out. We had regular game nights for a long time (Monopoly, Scattergories, Boggle, BezzerWhizzer, etc.) When they were younger we’d play games like Uno, Go Fish, and Concentration (the memory game). Now the oldest son is in college and the younger son is a junior in high school. Brian (my husband) and I have more dates now, and we’re planning what’s next for us.

As a family, we’re already talking about movies (and the plots and characters) that we’ll see at Christmas Break when the oldest comes home! We stay in touch via skype.

What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?

I worked in biotech eons ago. Subtle scientific knowledge showed up in Meet the Earl at Midnight (a la Georgian era). I have a dark contemporary romance series percolating for years down the road that will involve both life science and physics.

Tell us about your latest book.

Survival’s in his blood…

Rough-souled Brandr’s ready for a new life far from Uppsala, but the Viking has a final task —protect the slave, Sestra. Her life's full of hardship…until she learns the location of a treasure. With war coming, stealing the enemy's riches will save lives, but only one man can defend her —the fierce Viking scout, Brandr.

The two have always traded taunts, now they must share trust. Passions flare as secrets unfold, leading one to make a daring sacrifice on their quest To Find a Viking Treasure

Buy Links:  Amazon    BN   Kobo   iBooks   GooglePlay  

Excerpt   “Maybe I get you.”

 Brandr sliced the oars through water…back and forth, his body’s motion hypnotic and smooth. “Go ahead. Talk to me.”
The Viking could be a mystical warrior dressed in black against waning fog, his graveled voice working a kind of silken magic. Sun shined through clouds, the pearled orb anointing his head. Perhaps Odin did send Brandr to save the day.
Wraiths rose up from the channel as if to push them along. Did the Norse gods want them to succeed? She didn’t believe in Odin and his Valkyries, but the stories Vikings spun at night entranced her.
“You could tell me what you’ll do with your reward,” she said.
He snorted. “I said you could talk to me. Not the other way around.”
“That’s not how it works. People take turns talking and listening to each other. It’s called conversation.” She angled her head coyly. “Vikings can do it. I’ve seen it happen.”
Brandr squinted at tree tops rising above the mist. “Never been much for talk.”
“Your mouth never stops when trading jibes with me.”
His chuckle was raspy and low. “You have a way of loosening my tongue.”
To her shame, his laugh cut a scorching path through her body and her legs fell open under her skirts. Her knees were heavy, and she left them open.
“You’re a warrior long in service to Lord Hakan. Surely you’ll get a bigger reward than a handful of coins?”
His tarnished silver eyes pinned her. “Maybe I get you.”