Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Weekend Writing Warriors, and guests whenever they drop in.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Last week, after sitting in a plane for seven hours (storm, divert to refuel, etc.), our Arizona family finally arrived. Our fifteen-month-old granddaughter must have been so tired of being cooped up and unable to move (much), she took her first steps alone. With each step, her confidence grew. We all clapped and said things like “good job” or “you’re doing great, keep going.” She grinned and landed on her well-padded bum. She scrambled up, holding onto the chair, looked around to see if we were watching, then walked alone again—looking like Steve Martin in Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels as he faked walking on his "newly-healed" legs. 

Baby Girl's parents were so excited. So were her grandparents. She walked alone for the first time at our house! Other than pictures and videos or FaceTime, we hadn’t seen her since January. Imagine our thrill that we got to watch a major milestone. In person.

I’m sure most of you know how walking alone progresses. First, it’s standing while holding onto something or someone. Then it’s holding onto the couch and stepping sideways. Ta-da. Moving slowly at first. Plopping down when shaky. Getting back up, crawling forward (because that’s easy). Pulling herself up with the aid of the couch or chair. Trying again.

But that last step is the hardest—letting go. One step, another, wobbly legs, arms out, balance, rush to a safe spot. Grabbing hold. Ahhh. Did it.

It’s the same for anything we try. Baby steps first. We go from one safety net to the next. Holding onto the known. Until, at last, we can let go and plunge ahead.

A writer’s journey goes that way, too. We write, keeping everything to ourselves. We tentatively talk to another writer about the story. Then we let a trusted friend read a chapter. We get some positive feedback and our confidence grows until we can trust that friend or another to read the whole story. Along the way, it isn’t all positive feedback. The negatives cause us to falter. We fall. We get up and try again.

With each positive response—an atta girl, a smile, a kind word—our confidence grows. We know we have to let go. Sending our “baby” out into the world is daunting. Is she ready? Can she stand alone? Will the editor like it? Will readers buy it? What if it gets a bad review?

We have to have confidence to keep on going. Remember that toddler taking her first steps. We will fall down. But it’s the getting back up and trying again that makes us a success.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Plethora of Free & Discounted Books #SFRBlast

As you can see from the banner, over forty authors of science fiction romance are offering free and discounted books. 

For the past few months, I've thought about offering my first sci-fi romance SWITCHED at a discount--99 cents instead of $3.99. This promotion made the decision for me.

I loved writing SWITCHED, and that's after a whole string of rejections for straight romance. I wrote it for fun. I've often talked here and on Paranormal Romantics blog  that I'm crazy about space, about the possibility that we're not alone in the universe. To smash up a quote from the movie Contact. if we were alone wouldn't that be a waste of space?

So I started playing the what-if game. What if aliens came close enough to Earth to observe us? What if they glommed onto our satellites and our entertainment signals? What if they occasionally transported a celebrity aboard to entertain the crew? What if they got the signals mixed up and transported the wrong person? 

SWITCHED is the first book in the Switched series. It is complete in itself.

Here's the blurb:

As if being kidnapped by aliens isn't bad enough, Jessie Wyndom discovers they grabbed her by mistake. She wise cracks past her fear especially when she learns she was part of an experiment separating Terran twins before birth. Her twin just took Jessie's place back in Ann Arbor, Michigan while she gets to twiddle her thumbs on an Alliance of Planets starship. The only good part is the hunky captain. Except. He's so unemotional he could be Mr. Spock's double.

Captain Marcus Viator's well-organized life is turned upside down by the free-spirited female from Earth. Problems with the starship prevent him from returning her to her home. Fate brings them together. Treachery tears them apart. Is their love strong enough to reunite them?

SWITCHED is on sale for 99 cents at the following online booksellers.

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B006578JXC

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

Here's a free book I enjoyed.

Amazon: https://amzn.com/B00H0ENUFQ

I hope you find many books to enjoy.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Who's For Dinner with Nicole Fitton

For my dinner party at Diane's house I would like to invite an author who has had a profound impact on me and I believe my writing.

When I was about sixteen I read for the first time a book by Maya Angelou 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.' I had never in my life read such an amazing testament to the strength and courage of humanity.

This book did two very profound things to me. Firstly it made me appreciate the true power of the written word. How in an instant you can affect someone so utterly and totally. Secondly it inspired me to fully live the life I'd been given and not just 'settle for' but rather to 'strive for'. Now as a sixteen year old this was heavy stuff indeed and my deeper love of books and the written word I believe came at that moment.

Now, with Maya at my table I would love to talk for hours about the regular every day stuff, you know what was her time like as a singer in clubs in her twenties, what does she likes to cook, who does she most admire….. but after all the chatting and getting to know one another, 2 burning questions would remain - Her work is mainly centered around works of non-fiction, semi-autobiographical type memoirs, she wrote plays and TV scripts but never a full blown fictional novel. If she were to write a fictional novel what form would it take and why? I'd also love to know how through so much heartache and struggle she managed to stay so positive and warm hearted? She was a most gracious lady, who was so engaging with everyone she met. I feel I knew a part of her through her writing, but would have loved an opportunity to have met with her in person.

All Tomorrow's Parties  is a contemporary love story set against a backdrop of 1980s pop culture. Laine Marshalls rollercoaster life will have your thoughts racing and your heart running for cover. She's a girl of her time, fun loving and slightly unhinged. Can she really have a happy ever after? All Tomorrow's Parties is chicklit with a twist of something dark.

Author Bio:
Nicole Fitton grew up in London, England. She worked for over 20 years in both the UK and US music industry. She has lived both sides of the Atlantic ocean and currently resides in Devon,UK. Her debut novel ~ 'All Tomorrow's Parties'  is a contemporary romance with a few sharp twists and turns. She has a degree in nursing and is a certified Pilates Instructor. She is currently writing her second novel due for release Autumn 2016. When not writing she likes to annoy her children by using hashtags (#funtimes!) and talking to the dog - who always listens. Nicole is a member of the group Authors Helping Authors.

Connect with Nicole via:
Twitter: @MisoMiss

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Meet Author Diana Stout

I'm so happy to introduce you to Diana Stout, a writer I've known for a long time. We belong to the same writers' group (the Mid-Michigan chapter of Romance Writers of America). Only recently I've gotten to know her better. She's an articulate speaker and a fun lunch partner. 

Welcome, Diana. Here's where I get to grill (I mean, interview) you.

First, tell us about yourself.
Originally, I was a voracious reader and became a self-taught writer with various publications, which led to an online writing community and a local community college asking me to teach creative writing classes. That teaching and a divorce led me back to school relatively late in life so that I could earn a living teaching others how to write. As a result, I had to take a fifteen-year absence from my creative writing. I was doing a lot of writing—just not creatively. Because of my education, though, my writing strengthened and changed.
My earlier work experience covered many fields and those experiences added another layer of depth to my educational experiences; it made me an atypical student.
Today, I write fulltime. Even though at the beginning of that 15-year period I was working with several Hollywood producers who wanted to see anything and everything I was writing, I have no regrets for the choices I’ve made. It’s all been an amazing journey.
That journey includes two daughters and eight grandchildren. We all live in Michigan but in different communities. When I’m not writing or spending time with my family, I’m watching movies, reading, putting jigsaw puzzles together, or spending time with friends.
Where can readers find you? 
Sharpened Pencils Productions is a company I formed in January this year and is the name of my main website, as well:  sharpenedpencilsproductions.com. All my blog links, my writing portfolios, and other information is located there.
My blogs are: Only for the Brave, where I talk about life as a writer; Behind the Scenes focuses on writing information and the process of writing whether it be screen, stage, or page; and Into the Core is where I talk about my paranormal experiences.
Other media:
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/dstout

How long does it take you to write a book?
My first book took a year and a half. The second nine months; the third three months. My fourth book took me eight days. All of these were first drafts, and I was working part-time with the fourth book.
As you can see, I’ve taught myself how to become a fast writer and a marathon writer. Additionally, I’m a heavy outliner. For those first few books, I was a panster and all over the place. My first drafts now are far tighter and cleaner than those earlier first drafts used to be.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve had three romances traditionally published, with all rights returned, so I’m in the process of republishing them.

Grendel’s Mother, a recent, new publication, has been my favorite for a while, only because I was involved with it for ten years before finally deciding to self-publish. That decision was not made lightly and made only after several agents told me that I couldn’t write for YA and adults at the same time.
I do have to say, though, my favorite book is always the one I’m currently working on. Probably because it’s the one I’m spending the most time with.

Right now, I’m totally in love with a time-travel romance that I’m developing, along with the Laure Ridge novella series, with the first one, Shattered Dreams published on July 12. Also, I’m reviewing and revising screenplays I’ve written.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, a good story entails characters who I can hook into or understand quickly. A good story has sparkling dialogue and action that reads fast, and if I can laugh somewhere along the line, all the better. Also, I need an engaging plot, one that surprises me.
As a writer, I’m a jaded reader because of my knowledge of story construction, so the author who can completely surprise me or pull my emotional heartstrings of love or terror will have me as a new fan.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I always start with a title. I’m not sure when that practice started, but once I have the title, I can see characters, conflict, and resolution.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
So many jobs, so many fields. I’ve worked in insurance, advertising, sales, manufacturing, as a bookkeeper and accountant, office manager, office supervisor, academics both administratively and as a teacher, as a tutor and tutor liaison, substitute school bus driver, raised calves and took them to market, learned how to put up food, and sewed my own clothes.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
If you like independent characters who fight against all odds, I’d recommend that you start with Grendel’s Mother. Even though the main character is only 15, she struggles against odds in the 6th century, which includes giving birth and raising a child entirely on her own in the wilderness.

If you like a hot romance that includes external danger—which comes from some poachers who aren’t afraid to kill—then, I’d suggest Determined Hearts.

If you like a sweeter romance with sexual tension or awareness, then I’d suggest Tomorrow’s Wishes or New Beginnings. These books will be available before the end of the year, hopefully before summer’s end.
If you like just a short, fun romance, then I’d suggest any of the stories from my Laurel Ridge novella series. The first one, Shattered Dreams came out on July 12 and is available only as an eBook on Amazon. To learn more about the series, visit my portfolio on my Sharpened Pencils Productions website. The other six novella will follow soon.
Why did you choose to self-publish? Is it because your works cross genres?
Apparently, according to agents, Grendel’s Mother doesn’t fit neatly into one category. I was told that no book can be written for both young adults and adults at the same time; yet, that’s exactly what I did. I’ve been told, too, that I needed to pick one genre to write for, but I enjoy writing in different genres. Doing so keeps my writing fresh. Plus, I would be bored if I was stuck in one genre. I hope my readers will enjoy the variety, as well.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
My hope is that the story resonates, that they find themselves thinking about the plot, the situation, or the characters long after they’ve read my work. That they’ve enjoyed the reading so much that they tell their friends. 
If you’re interested in receiving updates about my publications, subscribe to my What’s New! blog.

Laurel Ridge novella series - Seven stories with seven couples. Each couple with their own story, told against the backdrop of a small southern community of Laurel Ridge, Georgia.
SHATTERED DREAMS  -  Mason Baylock has returned to his hometown as a newly appointed judge. He's hoping to reconnect with his high school sweetheart, Shelley Willis, but she's not interested. To keep him foremost in her mind, he frequents the diner, located across from the courthouse and where Shelley works, on a regular basis. Once a week for the more than the past three months, he's been asking her out.  And, once a week for more than the past three months, she's been turning him down.

Then one evening, they become locked up in the kitchen's cooler by accident. That's when there's no more escaping—the real conversation begins—and where the heat gets turned on. She can't deny she isn't attracted to him, but she's not about to date someone who shattered her dreams years ago, either. And then, she discovers that there is more to the earth-shattering consequences than even she imagined, which threatens to fracture and splinter life as they know it.

Will both of their dreams be shattered forever? Or does enough of a spark remain that they can rekindle the love they once shared?

            Mason snagged her arm, turning her around. “Even after all these years I still know you. I know that set of your jaw. We're not going anywhere. This conversation is going to get finished here and now. I've been dancing around you for half a year. My endurance isn't limitless, Shelley.” Not once had he raised his voice. He appeared calm while her insides were rolling and roiling, like waves on the lake during rough, stormy weather. And all the while, his gaze caressed her, as if he was looking for a way in so that he could help her help him.
            It wounded her to see him so anguished. She had no choice. She had to tell him and what she was about to tell him would devastate him. She was too far in to back out now, nor would Mason let her.
            “Apparently, your father didn't want you to know.”
            “Know what? Shelley, tell me. You're driving me crazy! What didn't my father want me to know?”
            “About our baby.”
            His face paled. “Our what?”
            “That last time we spent up here...”
            “Spring vacation of our senior year. I remember.”
            She paused, willing her voice to stay steady. “I got pregnant.”
            Mason started to say something, then clamped his jaw shut. For several minutes the only sounds were those of squirrels chattering to each other in the treetops as they chased each other. How could they be so carefree and playing happily while she stood here feeling cold and miserable?
            “There's more, isn't there?” he asked.
            She nodded.

Buy links
Shattered Dreams: a Laurel Ridge novella (#1): https://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Dreams-Laurel-Ridge-novella-ebook/dp/B01HJXVS1A/   Shattered Dreams available as an eBook only at 99 cents!
Thanks for having me here today, Diane! It’s been a pleasure.
So glad to have you, Diana. Best wishes on your books.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Life Without Internet…Again

Last week, we went on vacation Up North. That’s what Michiganders call the area north of the middle of the state. It can mean anywhere from Clare to Mackinaw City—not to be confused with Mackinac Island or the Mackinac Bridge, which are all pronounced the same “Mack-i-naw.” However, Up North does't mean the upper peninsula. That's the U.P. But I digress.

photo credit: Phil Peffley
For several years back in the 1990s, we rented a cottage on Platte Lake along with my sister and her family. Many enjoyable summers while the guys fished and the “girls” sat at a picnic table with coffee and tried to wake up. This time, no kids (all grown), just my two sisters, brother-in-law, Hubs and me. One thing stayed the same, the guys fished. Or tried to. B-I-L’s boat motor had a major problem. It didn’t work. Rowing was the only option until the motor was repaired.

Meanwhile, the girls staggered out of bed, grabbed a much-needed cup of coffee, and just chilled out. My usual morning routine didn’t exist. No internet. If losing internet service had been sudden, I would’ve freaked. At least I was prepared. I got all my blogs (my own and visitors’) scheduled before leaving home. My email piled up, but I wasn’t worried. I’d been through internet withdrawal before—in April on the cruise.

Being disconnected is freeing. As before, I didn’t even take my computer out of its bag. Instead of working on my novella, I read. I talked to my sisters. We shopped until I dropped. LOL Like Energizer bunnies, my sisters kept on going. We certainly helped the local economy at gift shops and restaurants between Frankfort and Traverse City. Afternoons, we napped. In the evening, the five of us played dominoes. No sitting around glued to the TV. Some nights we were so tired we went to bed early.

That’s what a vacation is for. Rest and relaxation. Even though most of us are retired, we still have our routines at home. A vacation takes us away from that. Camaraderie with family trumps routine.

photo credit: Phil Peffley
However, it wasn’t all fun and games when the temperature and humidity rose. Along with no internet service, the cottage had no air conditioning. Who needs AC when a cool breeze comes off the lake at night? Except when no breeze came off the lake. We did bring fans, which helped, but even a sheet was too much.

I’ve tent camped, in the wilds of Canada, without AC, internet, or even an outhouse. Dad liked getting away from it all. Not me. I like my creature comforts. I can tolerate no TV, internet or AC, but I need a bed and a bathroom plus a nearby restaurant.

Imagine our surprise and horror when we returned home to the news of the shooting of police officers in Dallas. We left an idyllic setting for the reality of violence in our country once more. My heart aches for the families of the slain and wounded officers. Even more so for all of us in this world who have to keep going through one tragedy after another. Crazed gunmen out for revenge. Terrorists with their warped morals. People who have no respect for life. All compounded by news reporters endlessly replaying the events and speculating ad nauseam about the shooters.

I’d rather be back at the cottage. Being cut off from the world isn’t so bad.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Who's For Dinner with Veronica Scott

I love to interview other authors and find out what influenced their stories, which characters were a challenge to write and why…I also enjoy interviewing people who got to tell their stories on an even bigger scale – TV or movies. 

photo credit: IMDB

For my dinner at Diane’s house, I’d want to invite legendary film producer Gale Ann Hurd, who’s been involved with many of my most favorite and rewatched movies, from “Terminator”, “Terminator 2,” “Tremors,  “Dante’s Peak” to “The Walking Dead” TV show (some seasons of which I like and some seasons of which I take a break from!) …but top of my list is the movie “Aliens.” I love the strong heroine Ellen Ripley and the space marine at her side, Dwayne Hicks. (I always add a lot of backstory in my head about the relationship between Ripley and Hicks that might have been.)

photo credit: IMDB
This leads to my other guest at the dinner, which would be Michelle Lovretta, creator of the SyFy series “Killjoys,” my current favorite program. I’ve actually interviewed her twice and had a wonderful time asking her questions about the characters – Dutch, a tough bounty hunter with a mysterious past, and Johnny and D’avin, two brothers who form her team. Dutch and Johnny have a platonic, friends only relationship, and Dutch and D’avin have a hot, had-sex-too-soon-now-how-do-we-go-forward-and-what’s-possible-for-us challenge. But I happen to know Michelle also has a high regard for the movie “Aliens.”

I think the three of us, and Diane of course, could have a wonderful, wide ranging discussion of science fiction movies and TV, and the tropes we enjoy, versus the ones that make us cringe. I’d love to hear more from each guest about the challenges she’s faced as a woman in the Hollywood/TV environment and how they overcame obstacles along the way.

I’d be peppering Gale with fangirl questions about what it was like, making the movie “Aliens”.
I’d be asking Michelle more details about the backstory and worldbuilding in the Quad, which is where “Killjoys” takes place.

It would be fascinating to hear each of them discuss their creative process and how stories and characters come to them. Additionally, I’m always intrigued by the sheer mechanics of making a movie or a  TV show, and would love to hear more about the background of some of my favorite scenes .

I’d be interested in hearing how they develop their characters, and work with the actors to further deepen the portrayals. What kinds of details do they look for?
I’d love to know what story each of them has in the back of her mind that they’d like to tell but haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet. Who would they like to work with? Which character would they be, if they could live in any scifi universe…the list of questions to hash over is endless but since this is an imaginary dinner, not an interview setting with time limits, we could get to it all, right?
I’d be storing up all of this discussion like a squirrel does with nuts, to ponder later and think about in connection with my own science fiction novels, where I always have a strong heroine and a Special Forces soldier in the midst of some perilous adventure together.

Veronica Scott’s most recent release is Hostage To The Stars.

Author Bio:

Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Meet Author L.G. Keltner

Welcome, L.G. Tell us about yourself.

I am a mother of two boys, and I have another child on the way.  Life with my kids and my husband can be crazy, but I manage to somehow get some writing done with everything else going on around me.  I’m also an avid science fiction fan and consider the word “geek” to be a flattering description.

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

I was six years old when I first started to write.  I was fascinated with books and the fact that someone created them.  To my mind, that was an astonishing power, and I wanted to be able to do this amazing thing.  My stories were awful at first, but I never gave up, and my writing improved over time.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

I’m always open to ideas when they come.  I almost always have a notebook or notebook paper with me, because inspiration can come from anywhere.  For example, the Self-Help 101 series was born after I was online looking through books and began to wonder if there was a self-help book out there for everything.  Later that day, I was listening to the Pinky & the Brain theme song, and the two ideas merged.  Within days, I was writing Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family.  I made it into a Christmas novella because I knew I could have it done in time for a Christmas release.  The idea for the rest of the series and pairing each one up with a different holiday followed naturally from there.

What does your family think of your writing?

Many of them are supportive.  My dad has always been interested on what I’m working on.  My husband seems to think of my writing as some kind of superpower.  Then again, I see people who can paint or draw a beautiful picture in the same way, so maybe it’s not such a strange reaction.  My kids seem to think it’s cool that mommy “makes books.”  Others don’t seem to take my writing dreams as seriously, thinking that it probably won’t get anywhere.  I understand why they might think that since it isn’t easy to get established, but I try not to let those doubts get to me.

What do you think makes a good story?

A writer who is passionate about the story they’re writing is essential.  If a writer isn’t invested in the story and characters, it shows.  I also think good character interaction can make a story much more enjoyable.  You can have the best plot in the world (which means a lot, don’t get me wrong), but if your characters aren’t dynamic and don’t interact with each other in an interesting and believable way, you’ll lose a lot of readers.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Writing gives me the chance to take a break and be someone else for a little while.  I love being able to live through someone else’s experiences.  Sure, my characters are fictional, but they have the ability to go anywhere and do anything.  I can travel to strange worlds.  I can be a teenager and experience that exhilaration of finding your first love all over again.  Being a writer is an amazing thing.

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

Be patient.  It can take a long time and a lot of hard work before you get anything published.  That’s okay.  Take the time to learn the craft the best you can, and practice, practice, practice.  If you keep working at it, you can make it.  Most of all, keep writing because you love it.

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

It depends on the story.  I write some stories in the hope that they might inspire someone to think about a topic in a new way.  Even when I have that as a goal, though, I know that will never happen unless readers find the story enjoyable to read.  If a story is well-written and entertaining, a reader will be more likely to remember your story months or years after reading it. 
Overall, though, I’m not writing in the hope that I’ll change someone’s life forever with my words.  While it would be great to do that, it’s a lofty and difficult goal to reach.  Instead, I hope people enjoy the stories I tell.

Share with us your latest book.

Title: Self-Help 101 or: How to Survive a Bombardment With Minimal Injury
Author: L.G. Keltner
Genre: YA/holiday/humor
Length: 25,000 words
Cover Art: L.G. Keltner and Jamon Walker
Release Date: June 28, 2016


Book 2 in the Self-Help 101 series

Dani Finklemeier has self-published her guide to taking over the world, but she still isn’t rich.  Now she’s eighteen, still babysitting for money, and looking forward to starting college in the fall.

Of course, she has to survive a 4th of July outing with her family first.  That’s a challenging prospect considering she has to be in close proximity with a group of cousins known as The Fallible Four.  As if that weren’t enough, she also has to deal with the fallout of her parents learning more about her relationship with her boyfriend Seth than she ever wanted them to know.

The good news is that, if she survives this holiday, she’ll have plenty of material for another self-help book.


If I’d been paying proper attention, I would have seen the airborne French fry, and I would have observed that its trajectory was about to bring it into direct contact with my eye.  Which means I should have seen it coming, right?  That’s what happens when your mind has been numbed by three consecutive hours of children screaming.

Note #1
If you want to learn to survive a bombardment with minimal injury, you should start by studying the basics of ballistics.  Any object can pose a threat, especially around children.

My name is Dani, and if you’re one of a handful of people who read my first book Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family, then you’ll know from the opening paragraph that I didn’t achieve my goal.  I still babysit for money.  Perhaps I overestimated my ability to make tons of money by unleashing my words upon the world.  Apparently self-publishing as an unknown writer makes sales difficult.  That doesn’t mean I’m giving up, but I’m sure you guessed that.  After all, you’re reading my second book, aren’t you?
            As a side note, Richard “Moneymaker” Johnson’s book Self-Help 101: How to Write a Self-Help Book Regardless of Your Level of Expertise hit the bestseller’s lists soon after I purchased my copy.  I’m not bitter about that, though.  I swear I’m not.

Purchase Links:



Also, if you haven’t yet read the first installment in the series, Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family, you can download the ebook for free from the following places:

You can also get it in print here:

One last question, L.G. Where can readers find you? 
Readers can find me on my blogFacebookGoodreadsSmashwordsAmazon, and Twitter.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

#IWSG: Doubts

It's the first Wednesday and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, whose mission is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. And thanks to this month's awesome hosts:  Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte , LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott! 


At one time or another in this crazy industry we’re involved in, we have doubts about our abilities. Is our writing crap? Will anyone like it? Will an editor buy it? What will reviewers say? No matter how many works we have published, we know it’s a crapshoot getting an editor or an agent who will take a chance on us and our work.

This year I have been full of doubts, stagnation, procrastination. I get ramped up and something happens to drag me down. Sometimes it’s family, mostly it’s me. I have all these marketing plans, thanks to generous writer friends who’ve shared what works for them. I’ll see an opportunity then think about all the work it will take. Do I want to leave the story I’m writing on to follow up? Or should I keep writing?

I’m in the final editing/revising phase of a novella that’s taken me three years to write. Three years? I can hardly believe that. Since when do I take so long to write a short novel? I can crank out a 95k novel in no time but can’t finish a 20k novella? What’s wrong with me?

Looking for that kick in the pants again.

I’ll be without internet service until Friday or Saturday. I’ll try to get to everyone. I so enjoy your blog posts. Best wishes to everyone.

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if the Americans had not won the Revolutionary War? Or the War of 1812? Great Britain did not want to lose its colony. But our ancestors were determined to be free from what they considered the tyranny of Britain. Had they not won, what would our lives be like today?

I’m grateful for the bounty we enjoy. Have fun this weekend. Celebrate safely.

Safe travels for all who hit the road.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Alicia Dean: 10 Moments That Changed My Life

A while back, I was on Alicia Dean's blog recounting 10 moments that changed my life. So I thought turn about was fair play for Alicia to tell us her moments. Happy Birthday, Alicia!

Alicia Dean – 10 Moments that Changed my Life

1. July 1, 1961 – My birth in Seminole, Oklahoma – I guess it didn’t really ‘change’ my life, but it started it, so I thought it worth a mention, especially since today is my birthday. Side note, although most people who know me have already been told, I was born the same day and year as Princess Diana.

    2.    Around 1967 – I discovered Elvis. I don’t recall the exact moment that I discovered him, but my younger sister recalls me pointing her out to him when she was 5ish and I was 7ish. So, it was some time before then that he came to my attention. Elvis has been such a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Watching his movies and listening to his music has brought me indescribable joy over the years.

    3. Approximately 1970 to 1971 (Can you tell my memory sucks?) - Writing my first story, a romance called “Just Pretend.” In my author bio I mention writing my first romance when I was 11, but while writing this list, it occurred to me that I moved to Missouri when I was 11, and it seems like I wrote the story a while before then. So we’ll say I was 9 or 10. J I might have to amend the bio.

    4.   July of 1972 - Moving to Missouri with my family (my parents and my four siblings). We lived in Oklahoma City and it was during a tumultuous time when the court-ordered ‘Finger Plan’ was implemented which forced students to be bused across the city in order to force desegregation, rather than allowing them to go to school in their own districts. (Not that the schools didn’t ‘allow’ other races to attend, it was just that the different parts of the city were more or less broken up into various races sort of organically) There were riots and fights and the area went downhill quickly. We moved to Missouri to a quaint, lovely, idyllic town. When my parents first told us we were moving, we were devastated to leave our friends. But, in no time at all, we were in love with Missouri and thought we’d landed in paradise. Three months later, our house burned down, and we ended up moving back to OKC, and we were even more devastated to go back than we were to leave.
    5.   August of 1973 or 1974 – I met a group of friends who became my ‘sisters.’ We shared everything – secrets, good times, bad times, we got into trouble together, cried on one another’s shoulders, and grew into womanhood together. While not all of us are still in contact, I will forever treasure those friendships and memories. Among the group was Paige, who became and still is my best friend. She and I have shared even more as the years have gone by and we are about to grow into geriatric-hood together. J I wouldn’t trade a single moment.

    6.   August 16, 1977 – Elvis’ death. I know it’s difficult to understand, considering I didn’t ‘know’ him but Elvis’ death was a tremendous blow. As I mentioned, he was a huge part of my life. I truly felt as though I’d lost a piece of me. He was so young, so gorgeous, so talented. I’d seen him in concert in 1975, 1976, and 1977, and I was looking forward to the time he’d return in 1978, so I could see him for a fourth time, and the year after that, and the year after that… I couldn’t believe he was really gone. I still get emotional about him. Yes, I know, it’s weird. But it is what it is.  

    7.  January 13, 1984. Marrying my now ex-husband. (It was a Friday. Yes, I got married on Friday the 13th. Those who know my ‘twisted’ side shouldn’t be surprised.) Although the marriage didn’t last and it was far from perfect, it most definitely had a huge impact on my life. My eldest daughter was two months old when we married, but my other two children were born during the marriage, and I wouldn’t have them had I not married Terry. So…not a total bust. J Plus, we parted amicably and are still friendly.

    8.  November 23, 1983, March 26, 1986, December 11, 1992 – The births of my kids.
Since I have three children (Lana, Lacey, Presley), I thought I would combine these ‘moments’ that changed my life. And, boy, did they ever change my life. I can’t fathom my world without them. They were a joy to raise (although there were difficulties, as anyone who has children or knows children can attest to), but overall, I adored raising them and we made some beautiful memories together that I cherish. They were all so beautiful and smart and funny. (I am NOT biased, I assure you….) J And, we are still close, still hang out together, and I value those moments as well. I am exceedingly blessed!

    9.    December 1994 and April 1995. The death of my father, followed four months later by the death of my husband’s grandmother, ‘NanNan.’ My dad was the most caring, most amazing man in the world, and his death devastated me. He always believed in me and encouraged me. He would have been so thrilled to know I made my dream of being an author come true. NanNan raised my ex-husband and was the only mother-in-law I knew. She was a loving, precious soul whose world revolved around my children. Part of our routine was to go visit her every single weekend. When my son was three, he and I went to check on her one morning after having been at her house the evening before, and we found her dead. I still miss them both.

   10. February 2007 – My first book, Nothing to Fear was published by The Wild Rose Press. I can’t begin to explain what that felt like. Something I’d wanted for as long as I could remember was finally realized. I knew at that point, regardless of whether I ever reached fame and success, writing was my passion and I would never stop. (By the way, the Kindle version of Nothing to Fear is only 99 cents, if you want to check it out. I read sections now and cringe at the writing, but I like the story and it will always hold a special place in my heart) https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Fear-Alicia-Dean-ebook/dp/B00178YG22/ref=sr_1_21?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1467322187&sr=1-21

I’m sorry, I know I went into too much detail on some…maybe all. But, there you have it. The 10 moments that changed my life. Thank you for allowing me to share on your blog today, Diane!

Pre-Order for only 99 cents! Available July 8, 2016

Amidst a blizzard, paranormal debunker Camille Burditt arrives at Devil’s Promenade in Oklahoma to research a supernatural 'spook light' phenomenon for her latest book. There she encounters a ghostly being, which she dismisses as a figment of her imagination. But as the apparition becomes too persistent to deny, Camille realizes the woman’s ghost is quite real—and that her demise was not accidental. 

Declan Rush—the inhospitable, reclusive owner of the inn where Camille is staying—is linked to the deceased woman, but he is less than forthcoming. Despite his unfriendliness, Camille is oddly drawn to him, even though she suspects his connection to the spirit might be that of killer to victim. 

When another suspicious death occurs, Camille intensifies her investigation. She has precious little time to ferret out the truth. Not only is her book deadline looming—she's desperate to discover if the man she’s falling for is a murderer. 

*** A World of Gothic is a Gothic Mystery Romance Series by authors from all over the world. For information on other titles and for interesting tidbits on mysteries and the authors, check out A World of Gothic Facebook page: 

Award-winning author, Alicia Dean, began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite televisions shows like The Walking Dead, Dexter, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, Vampire Diaries, and The Originals. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Find Alicia here:

 *** Sign up for our Novel Notes Newsletter, a multi-author newsletter where we give away a $25 gift card each month: https://www.facebook.com/NovelNotesAuthors