Brand New!
Moon Shadow Series:

Ghost Shadow

Dragons of Wendal Series:

DragonKin

Now Available:

Soul of the Desert

Sunday Bargains

I read The Watchman by Robert Crais quite some time ago. It’s VERY good. It’s a thriller, and a tough guy one at that; good stuff. It’s a spinoff from Crais’ popular series. It stands alone well and I think it’s much better than his series (although his series isn’t bad, I like the main character, Joe Pike, in this book/series better. He’s a very cool dude.) There are a lot of guns and shooting in these things, but I don’t think they are overly violent. Crais’ books usually run over 10 dollars so this is a good opportunity to give it a try! I highly recommend it if you like thrillers.

For all you soapers out there–The Soap Queen book is on sale for kindle! I don’t own this particular book, but I use Bramble Berry for some of my supplies. I love the company. They have good customer service and are very knowledgeable about the products they sell. The author of the book, Anne-Maria Faiola, is the owner of Bramble Berry. She started this company from the ground up. She runs classes, creates recipes and runs a great business. If you make your own soap or want to learn, this is a good place to start. I have read many a tutorial from Bramble Berry and it’s where I got my first lotion recipe. I make my own shampoo as well and get some of my supplies there (they don’t really specialize in shampoo, but I wish they’d add more of the ingredients to their list.)

Louise Penny has a new novel out soon and probably because of that, several of hers are on sale for 2.99. These are general mysteries and very popular. I haven’t read them yet, but now is the time to check them out. Her books normally go for about 7-15 dollars. The first is Still Life.

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Posted: April 26, 2015

Browbeating Inspiration

Remember how I said that not all covers start out great? Well, none of mine do. I usually have too many concepts vying for attention. That can make for a very crowded cover. These days, it’s very important to have only one or two elements on a cover that stand out because most covers are seen online and the first time you see it, it might be a small thumbnail. It helps if the genre is apparent, even in thumbnail. It helps if one of the elements can be discerned. It probably also helps if none of them are the colors I started with below.

Exec_loot

I’m not going to put the yellow one up. But you can imagine this cover with a bright yellow background. It was eye-catching, indeed. Just not for the right reasons!

executive_dirt


front_dirtsm I did consider other greens for gardening too. Shoot. I go through color combinations that take me days. I also had a skull in several of these shots, but skulls are small and not all that visible, especially with the maze in there. I tried really hard to make the skull work, but eventually, you have to face the fact that gray blobs all over the front cover do not sell books. The skull was originally in front of the shovel.

There were other ideas, including a ghostly hand with “fingerprints,” but it evoked snorts of laughter. I suspect there will be more ideas yet to come, but an outline is not a book and I’ve characters to create and name. Someone has to do it!


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Posted: April 24, 2015

Bargains, Trivia, Oh My

Joanne Fluke boxed set is on sale TODAY ONLY. This set includes the first book in three different series. Price matched at a few retailers (I couldn’t get the B&N associate link to work, sorry!). This is a steal on these books!

Kobo has started a new trivia contest. You can go back and play the earlier days. It started 3 days ago and I’m very late getting this announcement up. My apologies! Those antlers are a bit spooky there on the front page. Not sure what it is supposed to represent. I wonder which celebrity won antlers???

Here is the first coupon code for 25 percent off: SULQHR Thanks to Dee for sharing the winnings! Feel free to share unused coupons and trivia answers in the comments!

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Posted: April 22, 2015

New Kobo Glo E-Reader (coming soon)

The new Kobo Glo e-reader has been announced and shipping in Canada for probably a month. For those of us in the US, it will be available for pre-order on April 24th. I’m still thinking I need the H20 waterproof version, but the new Kobo Glow is reputed to be the model that competes with the Kindle Voyage. The H2O is actually a model above the Voyage as Amazon doesn’t have a model to compete with it!

I need to be one of their testers and give these things a whirl!

Posting Schedule on the Blog

Summer months always mean lower traffic to the blog. With the nice weather everyone is outside (and that is a good thing). So the summer schedule will gradually be starting here–I’ll be posting every other day instead of every day. Of course, if there are important announcements or great sales, I’ll have to post anyway! Get out there and enjoy the summer!

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Posted: April 20, 2015

Kobo Weekend Sale!

Kobo has a 30 percent off sale going on this weekend–every genre! Get 30% Off eBooks in Every Genre! Valid through 4/20/15!! Use code APRIL30 at checkout.

savingThere are not a lot of cozies listed, but I did find one that sounded promising! Death by Polka

Also available at Amazon: Death by Polka

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Posted: April 18, 2015

Staying Rich – A Football and Money Book

savingStaying Rich I came across this rather fascinating book a few days ago. I’ve always thought that many an NFL player probably ended up broke. They flash money and can appear quite wasteful. These guys make a lot, but they have a lot of people taking a cut of the pie and most of them have a limited number of years to earn their money because they might get hurt, get cut from the team and so on. Even if they have a “long” career, that is only going to be a few years. They start out young and you know they aren’t thinking about managing money. So when I saw this book, I found the premise very interesting.


In addition, here’s a little quote from the book that I saw from a review at Foxsports:

After Phillip Buchanon was taken by the Raiders with the 17th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, one of the first people he heard from was his mom, which makes sense because she’s his mom.

What didn’t make sense to Buchanon though was what his mom wanted. The woman who raised him said he owed her $1 million for the child rearing.

Buchanon, who played for five different teams during his 10 seasons in the NFL, recently wrote a book where he recounted that exact story.

Here’s an excerpt Buchanon’s book, New Money: Staying Rich (via FoxSports.com)

According to Buchanon, his mom had joked about the $1 million payment before, but she never sounded serious about it until after the Raiders drafted him out of the University of Miami.

My mother had said my debt to her was a million dollars before, but this time she was more serious than ever. If you do the math, one million dollars divided by 18 years of raising me was approximately $55,555.55 a year in restitution. Except, at age 17 I decided to move out of my mom’s house, choosing to live with a close friend and his father because I no longer felt secure in my own home. Why, you ask? Because my mother let people come in and out of our house and take what they wanted. So technically, even if we went by her logic, I only owed her $944,444.44 for her services over 17 years.

Is it petty that I’m knocking a year off her calculation? The fact that I have written this paragraph enrages me, merely because I’m entertaining the thought that her argument had any logic at all.

There were some additional passages about how he tried to deal with his mother and her demands and a lot of “if I’d only known”. Very interesting.

Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

“Disrespect your money and you’ll end up broke.”

Most pro football players are terrible money managers. Sure, we earn plenty, but, generally speaking, we don’t know how to keep it. I almost went broke and became a negative statistic. Life after football is not easy. I had to re-invent myself as I navigated the playbook of life beyond sports.

New money is like a newborn baby: it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. You better learn how to deal with it, fast! Although they have a fiduciary duty, financial advisors should not care more about your money than you care about your money. And yes, your “fun friends” and family will view you as an endless ATM. Trust me, they will plead poverty and expect you to bail them out of their self-imposed financial emergencies. This book helps you understand the difference between “I truly need it” and “I’d really like it” when dealing with those closest to you. New Money will help you understand when you’re being an enabler or administering appropriate tough love.

New Money: Staying Rich dispenses valuable advice, told through first-hand experiences, to aspiring professional athletes, entrepreneurs and anyone fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of rapid wealth. Learn from my errors; don’t make the same mistakes I did. Have fun reading the entertaining and enlightening stories in the book, and learn how to live a sustainable life as a New Money Millionaire!

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Posted: April 16, 2015

Book Bargains for the Day

savingIvan Ramen: Love, Obsession and Recipes from Japan’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint – When I was in Japan, I occasionally ate ramen noodles–and not the kind in the little plastic bags we get here. They serve the real thing with real noodles and varied ingredients in noodle restaurants all over Japan. I never really understood why they put an egg on the top in some recipes. Not that it was bad, but it didn’t seem to go with the noodles. If I had a choice, I’d usually eat udon, which has a thicker noodle. Tempura udon (shrimp, sweet potato, onion, sometimes eggplant or squash) was my favorite Japanese soup. I still make udon, especially in the winter. Wonderful to have a hot bowl of soup when it’s cold out! Anyway, I found this book the other day. It’s hard to find good recipe books. I hope this is a good one!

For fiction lovers of steampunk I found The Diabolical Miss Hyde on sale today. Doesn’t go with ramen noodles, but if you like steampunk, it might well be just what you need! Also at Kobobooks.

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Posted: April 16, 2015

Name that Puppy in the Window

dogprintsI know y’all think writing research is all glory, spending time in fancy restaurants sipping lattes and spying on how the wealthy live, or perhaps strolling along waterfronts hoping to glimpse human nature spilling forth from the yachts lining the banks. Or maybe it’s all about interviewing handsome, but tortured FBI agents and…Well, in my version of research, I wrote a scene and decided to ask my biker friend to ask his biker gang erm, biker friends to help me name the dog in the scene. There were some interesting results. Some not printable here because this is a cozy forum and while I do realize that some might have found that one name subtle, well, never mind.

I will put some of the possible winning names in the comments. BUT, I still want to hear from you. Here is the snippet I sent to the bikers. After you read it, tell me: What shall we name the dog in this scene???

(For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the main character is Sedona. The story is told from her point of view. The books, in order, are Executive Lunch, Executive Retention, Executive Sick Days and this one, Executive…)

Okay, here we go. Quiet on the set! Action!

I waited outside for as long as I could possibly delay, but LeAnn was a no show. The funeral home was a sedate little building, shaped to resemble a chapel with steps leading up to large double doors. The guy posted at the door was the size of a tank, decked out in a leather vest and motorcycle chaps. Tats circled one arm, crooked teeth poked out his top lip, and he either forgot to comb his hair or it had recently been on fire making it impossible to force the stray knotted bits down over the various bald patches. Maybe he’d been in a fight and someone had pulled clumps out. The gold hoop earring in his right ear looked as though it had been yanked on a number of times because his earlobe was long and distorted, almost double the size of his left ear. He had not shaved in at least two days and the speckled stubble was mottled gray and black. If he were competing for the world’s ugliest dog title, he’d lose, but only because at his feet was a bulldog mix of some sort that had obviously won the title.

When I reached the top step he put his hand on the doorknob. “You here for Joe or his ma?” he growled out.

“What?” I stuttered, backing down a step.

Like an instant tornado, LeAnn appeared behind me and grabbed my arm, panting. “Yes.”

His beady gaze drifted to her. She met his stare with a bravery that had to come from having survived childbirth and the raising of children. Or insanity.

My feet shuffled, but LeAnn held steady, albeit breathing hard.

“Joe’s side on the left. His ma on the right,” Tank declared.

What, this funeral was divided like a wedding?

LeAnn cocked her head sideways and gave him a respectful nod. It was easy to be respectful when the guy towered over us by two feet and had us by a yard on either side. He was either carrying a retractable whip or a baton on his hip, and he kept his hand near it, hooked in a pocket.

“Your dog is adorable,” LeAnn said. “Is it okay if I pat her on the head?”

Tank’s eyes lit up, and he showed more crooked teeth than an aging dinosaur. “She’s more’n happy to say hello.”

LeAnn matched his smile, if not his teeth, and crouched down to greet the dog.

Okay–What is the name of the dog in this scene??? Suggestions in the comments. If you see one you like, second that name!

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Posted: April 14, 2015

Noodling Covers and Themes

When I start writing a book, I’m pretty unorganized about it. Every single story I write starts with a random scene that is rarely the first scene. The first scene I sketch out usually defines something important about the character, such as her magic abilities, perhaps her fighting ability (or lackthereof) or maybe even her interaction with the main guy. The mystery plot shows up in bits and pieces. I write random scenes for at least a quarter of the book before I start stringing them together into a cohesive whole. I tend to have random scenes sitting on my hard drive for quite a while.

For the Sedona series, I was done writing that series with book three (Executive Sick Days). I never planned to write more than three books because as a reader, that’s usually about as long as I last in a series. As a reader, I never had fan mail and requests. I never had sales numbers to juggle and sway me either. In fact, I never had to worry about things like covers, formats, cozy versus paranormal…

At any rate, when I buy art, I usually buy from DepositPhotos. Art can be very expensive so I usually get a one month subscription and download a LOT of art for around seventy dollars. But that means I have to download artwork for books that aren’t even a glimmer. Back when I downloaded art last year for Ghost Shadow, (At Kobobooks) I wasn’t even certain I’d write another Sedona book. I had considered reworking the old covers though, so I downloaded several cozy themes. Being unsure what a new Sedona book might be about, I downloaded cooking themes (I could always use them to redo the cover for Executive Lunch), tea scenes, indoor scenes, outdoor scenes, etc. I also downloaded art for some of the projects I edit because sometimes I am asked to do bookmarks or perhaps add something to an existing cover. Now and then I am hired to do a short story cover because professional artists are expensive and short stories never sell enough copies to cover such a cost. If I have the art, I can put together an inexpensive short story cover for myself or for one of my clients.

At any rate, looking at artwork, even bits and pieces can be inspirational. Sometimes when I have writer’s block, I work on the covers rather than force the writing. I fiddled with some exceedingly awful concept covers for the fourth Sedona book. That’s pretty normal. I run the covers by a few people and after they get over the shock, they say something like, “I don’t even know where to begin.” That’s when I start over. Maybe I”ll show you some of the rejects. :) We all need a good laugh now and then.

But today, I’ll show you a couple of concepts that have to do with where the story outline is leaning. I had a “finished” cover with the gardening concept, but recently I saw someone publish a book with my main feature–they were using the exact same piece of artwork! And their cover was better than mine! The nerve! Well, back to the drawing board.

Later in the week, I’m going to need help naming a dog that might make an appearance in the book. So if art isn’t your thing, but dogs are, tune back in. It could get interesting.

Click More for the art.

(more…)

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Posted: April 13, 2015

Hints about Possible WIP

Should I hint about possible works in progress (WIP) or is that an annoying writerly thing to do? I’ve been flirting with a couple of covers and an outline. You have to realize that at this early stage, these ideas may never jell or come to fruition. Anything can happen. Or nothing. For example, one of the cover ideas I was flirting with used a particular piece of stock art. I thought my genius idea was almost finished being roughed out–when I saw a new release come out using that same piece of fabulous stock art…in nearly the same way only better than mine. Sigh. Back to the drawing board, curse the luck. But I’m still noodling and fussing around. You never know what might turn up. What say you? Do you want to hear bits and pieces and see early artwork? Or would you rather just read quietly in a corner? I think I’d pick read!

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Posted: April 12, 2015
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