Thursday, November 29, 2012

Can't Buy Me Love

Before I start my post, I wanted to announce my winner from Friday's Blog Hop.....and the winner is... TwiMom22580!!  Congratulations!


In case you live in a non-powerball state, you'll know the powerball lottery was drawn last night and worth just over 500 Million Dollars!  Of course like many across the country, my husband and I both bought ticket and like many millions across the country, we didn't win. I knew when I woke up this morning that we didn't because my alarm woke me instead of my husband screaming. haha

I didn't expect to win....I never do....but it's kind of exciting to wait and watch. And, honestly, I don't know that I'd even want to win 500 million dollars...that's just too much freaking money. I mean, really, does anyone need that much money?? All you're going to do with it is buy stupid things like a 12 bedroom mansion you'd get lost in and would never clean, or a porche that puts a "rob me" bullseye on your head. All that money will just change a person into someone they always hated.

Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't ever want to win the lottery, just not 500 million....I'd be happy with a million. That would still pay off my bills, get my kids through college and take care of my husband and I when he retires in fifteen years. I'd also give money to my brothers and sisters (and in-laws) and their kids. much would you be happy with if you won the lottery? And, what would you do with it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cuz Everybody Hurts....sometimes

So yesterday while at my chapter meeting one of our members gave a talk about "the five stages of critques", likening it to the five stages of grief. In case you don't know what they are, they're
  1. denial
  2. anger
  3. sadness
  4. reoranization (pick yourself up, dust yourself off...blah blah)
  5. moving on
It was a nice mini program. Afterward, during the break, one of the members came to me and mentioned that I judged her manuscript in a contest last year and really trashed it. While one other judge gave her a perfect score of 75, I gave her a 30. She said my comments were mean and had she been a newbie writer, the comments would have made her think twice about writing. She then said "if you aren't published you shouldn't judge contests."  Okay....hold the phone! First, I AM PUBLISHED and have been since 2008 and I just recently launched my fourth book. Second, while my comments to anyone I critique can come across harsh (yes, I admit it), I always apologize up front and try to explain my reasons. I also say, it's only my opinion.

Now, since her comments to me came across a bit....mean as well, I decided to look up the story in question. The collection of entries I had to judge were in my 'sent' folder so I could still pull them up and I have to say after looking at the submission again and my comments...I STAND BY EVERY WORD.  This author is multi-published herself with an electronic publisher (like me), however in historical romance. This manuscript she entered in the contest was a contemporary....totally different kind of writing. 

Here is the closing comment I made on the entry:
That's not so bad, right?

Anyway, now that I know I'm right (hah) I can jump to step 5 and move on.

So, tell me, do you ever get nasty critiques? (of course, everyone does...I've had some doozies!)  How do you handle them?

One more thing....if you're visiting before November 30 you should novel House of Cards is free at Amazon. Just click on this link.

Friday, November 23, 2012


It's been exactly thirteen months and two weeks since my novel Forget Me Not debuted. In case you haven't read my blog before, you should know this was my first full length novel to publish as well as the first full length novel I'd ever completed. It took me eight very long and frustrating years to publish this book and in those eight years the story went through a lot of revisions. I didn't do these revisions lightly. I had a lot of help, suggestions, advice, brainstorming from many friends and authors as well as an editor or four. :)
Anyway, one of the major changes I did was to toss out my first chapter and open with what was chapter two (after rewriting that several times!) I still have that first chapter as well as several other scenes I had to cut. I keep them in a deleted scene folder. I guess you could call me a horder of the written word. hah
Despite having to make so many changes, I'm very, very pleased with how the book turned out. Over the past year it's finaled in two "reader" contests and has been a top seller with my publisher. The reviews have been beyond amazing.
Now, if you're curious about that first chapter, it is....unedited of course, so what's here either didn't make it in the book or did with some changes (like names and such).

Twenty-five years on the job and it still pissed him off to find a crowd at a murder scene.
Special Agent John Simms flipped his collar against the cold spring air and kept his eye trained on the door of the building as he crossed the street. Although the sun barely winked in the sky, a crowd had already gathered around the brownstone apartment building. It didn’t seem to matter that the poor soul found murdered in her home lived two stories up or that the voyeurs were pressed back behind the yellow police tape, they still tried to stretch their necks like a child’s toy to get a glimpse of the activity inside the building and the mutilated corpse once it was wheeled to the coroner’s hearse.
He blamed the entertainment industry for the morbid curiosity. T.V. shows, blockbuster movies, even some of the novels on the New York Times bestseller list glamorized crime as if it were a game. Every psychopath in the country rose to the challenge to see who could better the other without getting voted off the island. 
It made his job that much harder sometimes.
He flashed his identification to the young officer assigned to keep the onlookers and gathering reporters back and continued inside to the entryway of the building.
Though the neighborhood wasn’t located in one of the more upscale communities in the city, there was an antiquated charm to the narrow foyer. Streams of sunlight beamed like spotlights through several small pane-glass windows along the ceiling, casting a dull gleam on the scuffed cherry-wood floors.
Inside the open doors of a gated elevator car one of New York’s finest brushed powder along the buttons. Across the hall another officer spread ash over the handrail of the stairs. Tiny dust motes rose into the air, dancing around the tear-shaped  glass dangling from the light fixture.
Since both officers chose to ignore him, he put on a pair of latex gloves and climbed the steps to the next floor. Lining the hallway like imperial guards was a handful of police officers. They sent him an assessing glance and he saw the flicker of disdain before they chose to ignore him like their fellow officers on the lower floor.
Agent Simms opened his wallet for the young officer dusting along the door jamb and peered into the apartment at the work the responding police officers were doing.
“Who’s in charge?” he asked.
The officer spared a glance at the gold FBI badge and continued to sweep the ashen powder on the aged wood.
“Lieutenant Goodrich,” he said, motioning toward an elderly man in a wrinkled suit. “He’s talking with the coroner right now.”
Agent Simms nodded his thanks and stepped into the room to wait for the paunchy detective to finish his conversation with the woman from the coroner’s office. Over the years he’d made a point not to show up at a crime scene before his partner. Darryl Hawthorne was what Simms called a ‘people person’ and it was his unofficial job to arrive first at the crime scene and smooth the ruffled feathers of whichever precinct was in charge of the investigation. It didn’t seem to matter that they were all on the same team. In all his years on the job, the responding homicide detectives didn’t like to share any part of their investigation with the FBI, nor did they like to get pushed out of the loop. However, since Agent Hawthorne was enjoying a morning in with his new wife, Simms decided to handle this case on his own.
He could be diplomatic when he needed to be.
He stepped farther into the room and studied the layout, placing it with the others in his head.
The area was small, stuffed with furniture which looked like it had been bought at a flea market. On the far wall stood a built-in book shelf lined with various paperbacks. The whole of the room appeared clean and in order, with the exception of the dusty mess the officers made. The faint smell of pine soap and bleach lingered in the air.  
Agent Simms caught the irritated glare from Lieutenant Goodrich when the coroner step away. He squared his shoulders and returned the look. So, maybe diplomacy would have to take a backseat.
“Yeah? What can I do for you?” Lieutenant Goodrich. He dropped two antacids into his mouth from the roll he pulled out of his jacket.
“I’m Special Agent John Simms. I’d like to take a look at the body.” He tucked his ID in the lining of his jacket and took a step toward the bedroom. He stopped and arched his brow when the lieutenant raised his hand to block him.
“This is a simple rape and murder agent and my jurisdiction.”
“Rape and murder is never simple, Detective and since it came across my wire, I’m authorized to look into it,” he returned. He glanced at the hand inches from his chest, then back at the lieutenant. “The body, if you don’t mind.”
A sound much like a growl grated from the lieutenant’s throat before he turned and stepped into a small bedroom.
Simms clenched his teeth and gave himself a moment to prepare for the familiar stench of death. The disinfectants hadn't been strong enough to cover the smell.
Crumpled in the center of the bed lay the nude body of a woman. Her face was pressed into the baby blue sheets which were saturated and discolored with blood.
Simms continued to the side of the bed and carefully moved a strand of matted hair from what was left of the woman's face.
A string of curses ran through his head, but he kept the detachment in his voice when he spoke.
“What’s the story?”
“Don’t you know?” Lieutenant Goodrich said. To his credit he didn’t flinch at the heated glare Simms shot him. With a heavy sigh he shoved his hands in his jacket pockets and fingered the roll of antacids.
“We don’t have a positive ID just yet, the bastard did quite a number on her face. But the apartment belongs to a Catherine Flores,” he said. “She’s a school teacher in New Rochelle. This morning the landlord got a complaint about the smell. Since Ms.  Flores had mentioned she would be out of town for a few days, he let himself in, found the body like this and called 911--but not before he lost his lunch in the bathroom.” He cleared his throat in a weak attempt to hide his smirk. “There was no forced entry so either she knew her attacker or he was waiting nearby for her. We’re already talking to the neighbors, but as usual no one saw anything.”
“Are you positive she was raped?” Agent Simms asked. He stepped away from the body, scanning the room and the work by the police forensics team. The police photographer hovered over the bed, snapping pictures from different angles. Simms made a mental note to get a copy of them for his files.
“There's evidence of vaginal tearing and a little blood, so it's likely she was,” a female voice answered behind him.
The coroner entered the room a step ahead of a burly man in a white jacket pushing a gurney. The name 'Karen Baden, M.D.' was embroidered above the left breast pocket of her lab coat.
She stepped to the side and nodded to her assistant to continue to the body.
“I didn't find any semen so he may have been wearing a condom,” she said.“Of course I'll know more after the autopsy, but my best guess would be the cause of death was the twenty or so stab wounds all over her body.”
“I’d like to know what you find as soon as possible,” Agent Simms said. Then, in an afterthought, added, “Please.”
“Well, as long as you said please,” the coroner said. She stepped around them to join her assistant next to the bed.
“This doesn’t appear to be one for your files, Agent Simms, since there’s no sign of a paperback with the body. Isn’t that why you’re here? You think this is one for your unsolved paperback murders?” Lieutenant Goodrich said.
Silence thickened the room. Several officers slowed their work to listen in on the conversation. Simms checked the urge to knock the smirk from the lieutenant’s voice.
“The fact that this homicide closely resembles the M.O. of the paperback case is why I’m here, Detective,” he said. “And why--if I deem it necessary--will take over this case.”
“It’s Lieutenant and until I find your evidence, this case belongs to me.” Goodrich glared at the police photographer who quickly turned to continue his pictures.
“Look Lieutenant, I’m really not interested in playing king of the mountain with you. We both have an interest in this case as well as a job to do. So you do yours and I’ll do mine. Then we’ll decide whose case this is.” See? He could be diplomatic.
The lieutenant scowled and stalked from the room. Simms turned back toward the bed as the coroner and her assistant prepared to wrap the body in a thin white sheet.
He wouldn't need to wait on the autopsy to know this would be his case before the day was over.
He’d been handed the Paperback Murder case three years earlier, after the body of Michelle Castillo, the daughter of a high-profile attorney in Chicago, had been found in an alley two blocks from her apartment. She’d been raped and mutilated, her body sprinkled with shredded strips of paper they later found to be parts of a book. The press quickly jumped on the story and dubbed it the Paperback Murder. Within a week he’d received calls from several major cities around the United States about an unsolved case with the same M.O.
He hadn’t been surprised when this call came in. He’d been expecting it.
Like the last twelve murders, their current victim was Hispanic, in her mid to late twenties, with a long slender body and dark brown to near black hair. She was an avid reader of romance, according to the assortment on her bookshelf, though there was no one particular author she collected.
Once they had a positive ID he would go about retracing the woman’s steps to find out if she had frequented a bar or club in the last forty-eight hours since all the victims before her had last been seen at one.
Simms blew out the tight breath he held and fisted his hands in his jacket pockets. So far the only link to the other murders that was missing was the shredded remains of a paperback novel.
“Your partner’s here,” Lieutenant Goodrich said, stepping back into the room. The scent of coffee filtered in from the cup the he’d taken from one of his officers. It reminded Simms that he still had a full cup cooling in his car.      
“You have something for me?” Simms asked as Agent Hawthorne entered the room.
“We got a conclusive I.D. on the last book,” he said, holding out a thin file folder. “They’re written by a woman named Casey Martin. She writes crime fiction but more along the lines of, uh, romance. I think they call it erotica or something.” He cleared his throat, a hint of color in his face. “Forensics went back over the other books and so far three of them are matches. The one here in New York last summer, the one from Chicago three years ago and the first one in L.A.”
“Did you pass this to Whitney?” Simms asked.
“Yeah and he said we need to find Miss Martin before it’s too late,” Hawthorne said.
Simms took the file, clenching his teeth as he looked over the papers. “She probably doesn’t even realize what she started with these books.”
“Gentlemen?” the coroner’s voice spoke behind him. “I believe there’s something here for you, Agent Simms.” She stepped back and gestured toward the bed.
In the center of the mattress where the body had laid was a paperback book. A small pair of scissors had been pushed through the eyes in the photograph of the woman on the back cover. The front cover had been intricately sliced, the only remaining letters spelling out the words-- Time To Die.
“Looks like this one belongs to you after all, Agent,” Lieutenant Goodrich said, popping another antacid into his mouth.
Now, since you've made it to the end of my post, you're entered to win a copy of this book in either print or electronic format. Just leave me a message and tell me, what kind of horder are you?  ;-)
And, don't forget to check out my previous blog post for a list of all the other wonderful Decadent Authors participating in the hop.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop!!

As you can see, according to the little button up there, I will be participating in a blog hop on Black Friday along with about 45 of my Decadent Sisters.
I hope you'll swing by for a peek at my novel Forget Me Not, as well as enter for a chance to win your very own either print or electronic form.
Here's a list of all the ladies participating. See you then!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Where's The Beef?

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past year or so, you know today is Election Day. Join me in a chorous of FINALLY!  I don't know about you, but I am seriously sick of all the negative campaign ads constantly running on every channel on T.V. 

I'm not planning to vote....don't bitch at me about it....I just never registered in my new state (I should still be registered in Houston though..hah). My husband and daughter number 2 are voting though, and like many newish voters, aside from the president, they're at a loss as to who the other candidates are. All of our TV stations run constant ads on the candidates, but they're ads saying "don't vote for so and so, because they did this"...there's nothing saying what they will do better if elected. And it's even spilling over to the social media sites. Everyone has an opinion/complaint about the candidates it's hard to choose who to believe. Honestly, I'd rather watch Viagra commercials than listen to everyone smear his/her rival. 

Anyway, I'll be so glad when all of this is over and we can get back to normal....provided the 'right people' are elected to office.  Needless to say, tomorrow morning at least half the country/state is gonna be pissed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I've got the music in me

I love music. I don't think there's anyone in the world who doesn't. The right song can pull you back in time. It can make you laugh, or make you cry. It can inspire you to be a better person.

I've listened to a variety of music over the years and as I've gotten older, my tastes have changed. As a child I listened to whatever my mom listened to (mostly Spanish performers, but for the life of me the only one I can remember isTrini Lopez, although it was actually an English language album). Then I started listening to whatever my oldest brother was listening to, which was what every teenager was listening to...The Beatles! I can still see him at the kitchen table with a box-sized radio, his ear against the tiny speaker, singing along.  Later, when he started buying their albums, he'd lounge beside the speaker of the console stereo system my mother bought. When I hit my pre-teen years I started listening to more of the "bubblegum" pop...Barry Manilow was my all-time favorite and I'm still a big fan. But, for the most part, my music choices were forged by whatever the adults in my family were listening to. Which meant I listened to a lot of country-western and Spanish music and the rock & roll of my older cousins.

Needless to say my music choices haven't changed much over the years. I still enjoy a wide variety of music, mainly because I have teenagers and they listen to what's popular now....and thankfull they aren't big fans of rap with the exception of Eminem....who I can tolerate to a point.  Of course, my kid's taste in music came from both me and my husband (who, being a musician, loves Rock, 'hair bands' and country). Our kids also like the "oldies" (anything before 1990 is an oldie to them.)  and they're also big Beatle fans, so I've done my job well teaching them about music. hah

This past weekend my husband and I took our girls to the Carrie Underwood concert. Hunter Hayes, a 21 year old newcomer, was her opening act and the main reason daughter number one wanted to go. While sitting there waiting for him to finish his set (I really don't see the appeal) I started thinking about the first concert I ever went to. It guessed it....Barry Manilow. He played in Carbondale, Illinois where my older sister and her now ex-husband, lived. They got the tickets and surprised me with them. Her Ex was a fan but my sister wasn't, she only went because we wanted to go. Of course, once the concert was over, she totally changed her mind about was that good! Anyway, it was my first concert and my biggest idol so you can imagine how excited I was. I was literally like those girls you see on old footage of a Beatle's fact, the minute Barry stepped on stage I cried....seriously! I never make fun of those girls anymore. haha  I've since seen Barry four times and he's just as entertaining. Of course I don't cry with excitement like I did the first time, but I still get giddy like a school girl.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Call me Invisible

I hate marketing. And I'm not talking about going to Walmart. There is just so much I can do to get the word out about my books...some days I just want to give up. 

Bestselling authors become bestselling authors because of word of mouth....and the occasional write up with the New York Times. Bestselling authors also have help from their publishers who give them publicists to help get the word out. Small publishers, or Indies as they're called, don't always offer that kind of help, although Decadent did, which is probably why my book Forget Me Not was one of their top sellers. But, sadly it's not enough when it comes to my other published works. So, I'm left to do it myself...and as I said...I hate marketing. I'm just not the "look at me" kind of person and when I try I feel like I'm one of those annoying narcistic persons who just have to call attention to themselves. But, if I don't do it, then I stay invisible. Which I'm used to, so why complain.

Okay, now I'm just sounding whiny. Must be my lack of sleep.

So....let's pretend I like doing my own publicity. Today I'm blogging at Romancing the Genres, monthly blog. Romancing the Genres: It's Not a Mystery Where Ideas Are Born:  Feel free to swing by. I even posted an excerpt of my newest release House of Cards...which is my best book to date, but no one will ever know it......okay, I should just go back to bed. :-/

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Cuz, I Won't Give Up

It’s hard for me to believe that in less than a week I’ll be launching my new book, House of Cards. It took me  f o r- e -v e r  to complete this story...don’t ask why. Suffice it to say, I just got in my own way.  But, what’s really mind-boggling is that this will be my third published book in less than a year.  Of course, with electronic publishing, I guess that isn’t too hard to believe. Technology has made life so much easier...makes me glad I was born in the middle of the twentieth century. I mean, what would I do without my microwave popcorn?? 

Anyway, as I was saying, my new book will be out on Monday, October 15th....the same day my oldest child turns 25!! (Happy Birthday, Adam!) But, what’s different and crazy about this release is....I’m self-publishing it.  Why is that crazy? Because for the longest time, I’ve been against the whole self-publishing thing...mainly because I’m of the old school of thought...if you can’t get a publishing house to consider your work, then it’s not good enough. I even felt the same way about electronic publishers...until I published my novella Her Will His Way.  Of course, even after publishing that I still set my sights on the Big 6 (as they’re known) because I wanted the prestige and respect of the publishing world. But, as much as they gushed over my work, they didn’t believe it was good enough to warrant them printing it out and shipping it to retailers. So, on a whim, I sent my beloved novel, Forget Me Not, to a new online publisher....and, well....I welcome me to the twenty-first century.  I’m very pleased with those results. My novel became one of their highest sellers, especially considering how long it was (83K words as opposed to the 60K preferred by e-readers--according to demographics). So, with those numbers I decided to sell my next book, Dark Obsession, to another online publisher. Those sales didn’t do as well....which is not because the book isn’t’s awesome!...but...well....I won’t go into that...let’s just say, I’m disappointed.  Anyway, despite that, I was still not so sure about doing the whole self-pubbed thing.  I had just finished House of Cards and I knew this novel was going to be my breakout book because it’s that good! I planned to start querying agents and editors, especially after the first chapter took third place in the TARA contest for best romantic suspense.
On the referral of another writer, I submitted it to the senior editor at Harlequin Intrigue. Thankfully, she rejected it. (Talk about a BIG SIGH OF RELIEF!!! I don’t really like their books and never wanted to write for them. Call it a lapse in judgment and desperation that I even submitted.) After that rejection, this same author suggested I self publish. He’d recently published one of his novels and was so very happy with the process he became a poster child for it. Hah  But, still, I wasn’t sure if that was the right move for me because I still had the doubts of self-publishing at the back of my mind.  Then I thought, did I really want to go through the whole submit and wait forever with the big six?  While I was in L.A for the RWA conference this past summer, I got interest from a couple of the editors there (although I doubt they’re sitting at their desk waiting for the email..haha). Then, I spoke to Jayne Ann Krentz (big fan!) during a book-signing and mentioned I was considering self-publishing. She told me it was one of the best moves she made---self-publishing her backlist---then she handed me her card with the name of the company she uses. So....I made up my mind. Self Publishing I come!
Like with any release, I’m both excited and terrified! I know there will be many who love the book but there will also be those who hate it....such is the life of an author. This is my fourth published work so I’m not so neurotic about the critics each his own. I will say if you base the book on its cover, you’re in for a thrill!  Special thank you to Robert Gregory Browne for the design!
And, because you’ve made it this far into my blog post, here’s a sneak peek at my book, House of Cards.
The needle wavered at sixty-five miles per hour. The engine gunned and the car shuddered seconds before the tires left the pavement. Metal crunched against metal, sparks igniting across the highway. Jesse squeezed her eyes shut and braced for the impact. Her body bucked against the backseat as the car rolled, the seatbelt strap pinning her against the vinyl and cutting into her neck. Glass shattered against her skull as the car tumbled to a stop in a shallow ravine. Jesse struggled with her seatbelt, fighting to unclasp the latch.  The burning odor of gasoline stung her eyes. 
Outside a shadowed figure stepped forward and crouched beside her door.
“You should have left it alone,” the voice said.
Even through her petrified fear she heard the unmistakable scrape of a match. The figure took a step back and tossed the tiny stick into the car. 
Her scream woke her. 
Jesse bolted up on the sofa, her arms flailing, fighting the restraints of the chenille blanket tangled around her. The soft glow of light from the laptop on the coffee table caught her attention and it took her a moment to realize it had been a dream. She wasn’t that helpless child anymore. She wasn’t trapped in a burning car with her parents. She was at home, in her apartment where she’d lived for the past five years.
She shoved the blanket off and pressed the heel of her hands to her eyes to push back the burning tears. She was safe. She was fine. She was alive. She tried to repeat the mantra but the images from her nightmare continued to play in her head. 
“Damn it.”
After giving herself a moment to steady her pulse she slapped the computer closed and staggered into the kitchen. She didn’t need to look at the clock above the sink to know what time it was. Three o’clock in the morning. Same freaking time every night for the last two weeks.  With a frustrated sigh she yanked open the refrigerator and grabbed a water bottle.  She took a long drink, the cold liquid soothing the rawness of her throat.  Outside lightening flashed, followed by the sonic boom of thunder. She jolted, her heart slamming against her breastbone like a sledgehammer. The dream flashed in her mind. The car tumbling across the highway. Her mother’s terrified screams. The explosion that turned her parent’s flesh to bones and ash. 
Jesse closed her eyes and held her breath, counting against the thump of her pulse. After the accident the doctors had told her she’d lead a normal life; that her injuries, though life threatening at one time, wouldn’t keep her from doing whatever she wanted to do. She slowly exhaled and slid a look at the orange pill bottle on the window sill. They just didn’t say anything about her mind debilitating her.
She took another pull from the bottle, her gaze shifting to the blinking light on the old answering machine buried under a newspaper. The calls she’d ignored earlier. She mentally ran through a list of possible callers–her boss at the paper, a student from her computer research class wanting her notes again, or her friend Amy dying to tell her about her latest date. Most days she enjoyed living vicariously through Amy’s erotic encounters, since Jesse hadn’t had a serious relationship in over three years but, thanks to her nightmare, she was no longer in the mood.
“Whoever you are can wait.” She finished the bottle and tossed it in the recycle bin before leaving the room.
After a hot shower, where she stood for half an hour to let the beating spray massage the tension in her muscles, she poured herself a glass of wine then pressed play on the answering machine. A soft rustling sounded before a voice came on the line.
 “Jesse. Are you there? Pick up. I know you must hate me and I’m sorry. You were right. I should have believed you. I’m so sorry I didn’t listen. Please, pick up the phone. Mierda. Where are you?  I need you. Ay, dios mio, I don't know what to do. Please Jesse, you have to help me. I think he’s going to kill me.”
Look for the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or ITunes beginning October 15th!
I also wanted to mention, from now until the end of October, I will donate $1.00 of every book sold to the Texas EquuSearch Organization. Just click on the link to learn more about them.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Q & A With Debut Author, Peter Salomon

Today I have a double treat for you. (1) I’m not going to bore you with my babble and (2) I have a very special guest visiting. My dear friend, Peter Salomon was kind enough to stop by BBE during his blog tour. Last week Peter launched his debut novel, Henry Franks, and it’s been getting some wonderful reviews. I had the pleasure of reading the first draft, and from page one I knew he had a hit on his hands.

Since Peter has been making the rounds on the blogosphere to promote his work, I thought I’d make this interview a bit fun. So...let’s get started.

Welcome Peter! I’m so glad you stopped. For those readers who don’t know who you are (gasp), let’s start with something simple. Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I was born and lived outside of New York City for the first 18 years of my life and with the exception of one year in Boston have lived in the south ever since. I was born in CT and raised in NJ and then moved to Atlanta for college and stayed in GA for a very long. Only recently have we been searching for a permanent place to live now that the kids are older. We did MA for a year and then New Orleans for three and now hope to stay for a very long time in Chapel Hill, NC. On the plus side, this has allowed the kids to see a great deal of the eastern US.
I had a brief flirtation in my early teens with being a doctor but that really didn't last all that long. I always wanted to be a writer, I just never really knew how to go about doing that so I've done a number of other jobs along the way. It's now much easier to find solid, helpful information to determine how to make a living through writing but when I was just starting out there was far less so I feel as though I had to stumble blindly for a very long time. Thankfully it seems to have worked out!

We’ve been friends for a long time and I’ve read a lot of your earlier works so I know what an amazing writer you are. Who would you say has most influenced you and your work?

At the top of the list would be my grandfather, Andre Scara Bialolenki, even though he was unpublished. He was a fantastic writer and wonderful man who encouraged and supported me so very much until he passed away. I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy novels, losing myself in the worlds they created. I have a great many fond memories of staying up all night
curled in a chair with Terry Brooks or Orson Scott Card or Frank Herbert. I was always one of those readers who would read anything but I definitely gravitated towards those two genres.

For a lot of people, the image of a writer is that of a recluse, hunched over their keyboard 24/7. Since we both know that’s not true, tell us what you do when you're not writing. Do you have any hobbies or interests?

With 3 kids? Seriously, though, my BA is in Theater and Film Studies so I have always had a soft spot for musical theater and films of any kind. I also enjoy photography even though I am not even half the photographer my father is.

As I mentioned, I’ve read Henry Franks and I have to say I was in awe at not only your imagination, but how detailed you were with the scientific end. For those who haven’t yet picked up the book, tell us more about it. What inspired you to write such an ‘out there’ book?

HENRY FRANKS is about a teenage boy who was in a car accident that killed his mother and left him horribly scarred, with no memory of his life before the accident. Everything he knows about himself is what his father has told him and, as the story progresses, he begins to wonder if his father has been telling him the truth. Plus there's a serial killer and a hurricane and a girl-next-door to keep things interesting.
I started writing the book from the father's point of view as he raised his son but quickly found that I was far more interested in the son's perspective so I started it again. I was drawn to the search for identity and wanted it to be a very small, almost claustrophobic sort of story, with very few characters and settings in order to amp up the 'creepiness' factor. It is YA Horror, after all.

You must be thrilled the book is out just in time for Halloween. Do you have any current projects you're excited about and can share with our readers?

At the moment I have been working on two new manuscripts (both YA) that I wrote while HENRY FRANKS was out on submission. Plus two (or three) picture books. The two YA manuscripts are both action/adventure type of stories that deal with similar identity issues as HENRY. Sort of.

For any new writers out there in need of advice, what would you tell them?

The best advice I ever received, from my grandfather, was just to keep writing. A blank page is pretty much useless (unless you're going for REALLY avant garde poetry...though I wouldn't recommend it). And learn to love revising...editing is your friend!

Well, I do like revising, so good advice. ;-) Now, open there anything else you’d like to say to my readers?

Just that I'm thrilled to be able to visit and can honestly say that I wouldn't be here, promoting the launch of my debut novel, without your help along the way in the editing/revising process.

It’s been my honor!
Thank you for stopping by.

To learn more about Peter and his work you can visit him at his website:
You can also catch him at
Twitter and Facebook

Peter will also be stopping by for more questions, so feel free to ask him anything.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I can't believe it's September already! Where did the time go?? These last few months have been crazy, to say the least! One minute it's June and we getting ready to go on vacation with the kids, and celebrate my birthday the next, school has started and I'm chauffeuring Manda back and forth to school. Sometimes it feels like I've just awoken from a very long sleep...yet I'm still a bit tired.
Have a seat, and I'll tell you all about it.
It all started when we got home from vacation at the end of June. We'd gone to Utah, up in the mountains, and I figured my exhaustion was due to that....have you ever been up in the mountains at 9000 feet? It takes your breath away....literally! So, anyway, after we got home I was feeling drained, but didn't pay much attention to it. July 4th was coming up, but we didn't really have anything planned so I was pretty much vegging at home and getting in some reading. Also, I had just finished my novel, House of Cards (which I'll tell you about later) and I was letting it 'gel'. Anyway...on the night of the 4th, I got a message on Facebook from an old friend who told me that she just saw on the local news (of my hometown) that my best friend's 27 year old son died in a drowning accident. I was devastated! I called her on her cell and spoke to her for a bit, then called my aunt and spoke with her. I wanted her to be there for Dani since I was 20 hours away. After I got off the phone I told my husband what happened and he told me to book a flight so I can be there in person. (Have I mentioned what an amazing man I married??) So I got to Port Arthur that Saturday...actually flew into Houston and drove to P.A. I was still feeling pretty crappy, but played it off as jet was a four hour flight because of layovers. I stayed in town for five days, staying at my cousin Michelle's house and spending as much time with Dani as I could. When I got home that Thursday I was still very exhausted and again, played it off as jet lag and lack of sleep the whole week I was gone. I thought I was coming down with something because I couldn't eat, or sleep and was just....blah! I tried to rest, lived on watermelon and cantaloupe because the were the only things that didn't taste like paste and tried to get my act together because I was leaving for California on the 23rd---ten days from when I got home---to attend the RWA conference. I was also in charge of setting up the literacy signing and still had a lot to do. So, the Saturday before I was to leave, I was feeling really awful and weak, so I asked my daughter if I could use her glucose meter to check my blood sugar. Let me just say, two months earlier my doctor told me I was borderline diabetic...borderline...which meant to me...I was close, but no cigar. But something told me I should just check my I did....and, yeah...they were high. 535 to be exact! Being the queen of denial that I am, I checked again, than waited an hour to check again. In the meantime I was texting back and forth with my cousin, Michele, who's an RN. She told me to go to the ER and get checked out and get some insulin. So...after some hemming and hawing and waiting for the monsoon to die down, Manda and I went to the ER. (We were the only ones home and she didn't want to stay alone during the storm.). Needless to say, I was just as bad once I got to the ER as I was before I left the house. The doctors and nurses weren't too happy with me....for good reason. Manda has type 1 diabetes, so I should have been aware of the signs. They hooked me up to an IV

....and it took three nurses and 6 tries because I was so dehydrated! (picture, courtesy of my daughter because she was enjoying not being the one to get stabbed. haha)
Then they told me they were going to watch me for a couple of days until my sugars stabilized., I was going out of town in two days, they had to get me out within 24 hours.
So....bore you yet??? Suffice it to say, they kept me overnight. Now, to make the rest of this long story short.... I made it to California, still sick and taking pills for my sugar, spent 7 days there, got home, hopped a plane for Wisconsin for my niece's wedding, got home, sent Jeremy off to school and my husband off to Pittsburgh (something to do with his work), got the house as clean as possible and did some shopping because my sister and niece were flying in to spend ten days with us (yay!) and my sugars were still in the 400 range and now my blood pressure was dropping to 80/60. *sigh* So by the end of the week I made an appointment with my doctor and he put me on insulin shots, which I have to take once a day with the pills, which are twice a day. My sugars have pretty much stabilized and my BP is back to normal and I'm feeling human again. And, just in time too, as I am starting a new path in my for me, that is.
In November I am going to be self-publishing my newest novel, House of Cards!! I'm very proud of this book because I feel it's my best work to date. It's definitely my best writing! Sometimes I even go in and read and think "Wow, this is good! Who wrote this??" hah
The book is a thriller, with the hint of a romance, and takes place in Brownsville, Texas. It's about Jesse Pena, a young woman who's trying to prove that her brother-in-law murdered her pregnant sister, but she's having a hard time getting anyone to believe her because she looks crazy half the time. And the brother-in-law has made it known to the press that Jesse and her sister are borderline schizophrenic. I recently had the cover done by a wonderful friend and fantastic author, Robert Gregory Browne, and I couldn't be more proud of how it turned out. I hope you'll look for it in November. =)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Do You Believe in Magic

This is a cross post from the Crimson Romance website.
How much do you believe in the supernatural? Do you check your horoscope on a regular basis? Have you ever had your cards thrown? Or had your palm read?
I think everyone has a sense of magic in them. But, by my definition, magic doesn’t mean having the power to cast spells or make yourself float in midair…to me magic is about emotion, how strong your heart is, how strong your bond with everyone and everything around you.I’ve always felt I’ve had a strong intuition and it’s gotten me out of some pretty hairy situations. I also used this intuition when I write.
When I was researching my novel Dark Obsession, I focused my search on Curanderismo, spirituality, and pretty much anything having to do with witchcraft and mysticism. The information I came across was all very interesting. I even had a chance to speak with a man in west Texas who did years of research on Curanderismo and his insight made for great conflict in my story (and future stories). My research also took me on a road trip with my aunt and cousin, to the Rio Grande Valley (in Texas). I went to get visuals (since it had been several years since I lived there) and they went to see family. While we were there, my aunt’s sister-in-law told me about a (healing) incident she witnessed with a colicky baby, a raw egg, and a glass of salt water. This particular healing (called a limpia) was written into my novel Dark Obsession.
Now, I wouldn’t say I’m a firm believer in what I researched, but I can admit there’s something there to consider. I’ll even admit I’ve done the occasional Tarot card reading…but the free ones you find online–although a lot of good they do me since I don’t ever quite understand the meaning. Plus, with the way my luck goes, I could use all the mystical insight I can get. But, really, don’t we all wish we could have just a little bit of magic ala Samantha Stevens?
I read an article several years back where a police officer investigating a homicide said, “You can’t be born or raised near Mexico without believing the possibility that the magic exists.”
So…are you a believer or non believer? And, where do you draw the line? (horoscopes, palm reading, runes?)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Don't Stop Believing

After 8 long years, countless revisions and the wonderful eye of my critique partners, Helen King, Marina Agostinelli and Kelly Anderson (whom I accidently called Kelly Armstrong in my acknowlegements--hah), my novel Dark Obsession is finally live and available at Amazon!!

This is the second book I wrote (two months after I wrote Forget Me Not) and I've been trying to get it sold since! Crimson Romance, a division of Adam's Media, bought it in January and I am one of 25 they've listed as their launch authors. I can't tell you how excited I am.

Some people would probably think I'm crazy for spending eight years on a book, and they're probably right. But, I was very determined to sell this story. I believed in it and I knew people would enjoy it. And so far, the reviews have been wonderful!

So, with this new book I'm hoping you'll all help promote me on your Facebook pages or Twitter pages...and that you can write a better 140 character blurb than me haha. I'm hoping to get into the top 100 bestselling e-books at Amazon.

I'm also having a contest that runs through June 17 (my birthday :D) and you can win a gift basket worth $50. To enter, just send me a photo of my book on your e-reader.

And, I promise not to take 8 years to publish the next book. haha

If you're looking for the answer to my TRR question it's : B-his father.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cross posting...yes, again.

I posted my monthly post at Romancing the Genres:  Celebrating their one year anniversary...or birthday. The blog has been doing very well in a world where everyone and their dog blogs. So, if you get a chance, swing by....I've even treated you to an excerpt from my upcoming novel Dark Obsession.  (up for presale at Amazon.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey- A Review - ish

I dont usually do reviews, but my husband said I should...and hey, it's getting me writing. haha

A few days ago I was playing Words With Friends with my cousin and she asked me if I'd read that much talked about book, Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. I suspect she asked because I write romance novels and my love scenes are a bit sensual. But, I told her no. The book is too way over hyped for me (I really hate when people make a book bigger than it is) plus I hadn't heard nice things about how the book came about, meaning the premise was stolen from the Twilight books, and-although I never read the Twilight books because of (1) the over hype (2) the horrid writing (3) my daughter read them and she was like "meh" and (4) I saw the second movie of the series on TV and WANTED TO PUT MY FIST THROUGH THE BIG SCREEN!! it was sooooooo horrribly stupid!!!Anyway....she had the book in PDF and said she would send it to me, so I figured....sure.

I have to confess, I was pleasantly surprised. As a reader, I really enjoyed the story and the characters. Ms. James does a wonderful job of bringing Ana to life so you feel like it's you. The story grabs you from the first chapter because it's so entertaining. This book wasn't the over-sexed BDSM that was hyped about. It was a coming of age story of a young woman's innocence and how she grows sexually. Sure, there was some BDSM, but it wasn't the over the top, cringing kind like Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty--written under a pseudonym I can't remember or pronounce..hah (I couldn't even get through half that book!) The way Ms. James' scenes are written, along with the characters, makes them very sensual and HOT, but they didn't have me wanting to wake my husband at 3:00 in the morning for wild kinky sex....well maybe a little. haha (sorry...TMI??)

 Now, as a writer, I had a few issues with the book. Namely, as everyone knows, the editing. Really? You write a book with all intents and purposes of getting a big contract or making loads of money and you can't take the time to edit properly??? And the "editor" who bought the you not know who Strunk & White are?? Or what the Chicago Manual of Style is??? Do you even know what an editor's job is?? Also, the formatting.....say it with me...for-matt-ing. Work on that too, would ya? Okay, sorry....probably shouldn't bitch about the editor---burn bridges and all---but it's not like they'll ever read this blog. haha

 Another issue for me is the language...meaning, Ana, who is something like 21, is from a very modest up-bringing and goes to Washington State (not an Ivy League school mind you) uses words in her every day language that I not only never heard before, but had to look up. Granted, she's supposedly smart---perfect GPA, but who uses loquacious when speaking to someone? There were many other instances when she used words I didn't know, but I don't feel like looking for them in the story. There were also times Ana didn't speak like someone born and bred in the U.S. I think Ms. James needs to learn the English language as Americans speak it.

 Issue three....tags. Why the hell does everyone murmur when they speak or why do they speak 'dryly'? Do these two things mean something different in England? Or does everyone murmur there?? It was very distracting for me...I'm reading, getting into the character's head then the dialogue is followed by... he/she murmured...just use SAID. Also (and this goes back to formatting) there would be an action/attribute then the next line would be dialogue, then an action and dialogue and it became very confusing as to who was speaking because there were no tags. Sometimes the two lines/paragraphs of dialogue would be from the same person. And the 'speaking dryly' me when someone is being 'dry' it's sort of like being sarcastic....when used in this story, the dialogue doesn't mesh.

Issue four, the end of Part One. I didn't like that it ended with unresolved issues. Although I think this was a brilliant move on the editor's part (at least he/she did something right) because it compels you buy the second book. And I suspect Part Two will do the same.

 I think there were a few other writing issues, but I can't remember now. :)

 All in all, if you've been hesitant to read the book for the same reason I was, welll....I'm here to tell ya, it's actually an entertaining read. I found myself smiling often as I watched Ana come into her own and discover a new side to Christian. And I was enamored by him (although I'd have preferred to see him in his early thirties as opposed to 27.) Ms. James has a fun, entertaining voice and I'm looking forward to part two.


Okay, so, I read books two and three and I stand by my original comments. I know it's totally wrong how Ms. James went about writing her book....taking the characters from Twilight and putting them in an alternate world and making them much older and less vampirey....but for me, it's a non-issue...maybe because I'm not a Twilight fan...who knows? I mean, no one is screaming foul at the zombie books featuring Jane Austen's characters.

In my opinion, Ms. James still has a great story (that could have been better crafted) and likeable characters.   Again, as a romance novelist and reader, I enjoyed the story. It was entertaining and had some fun moments (and I don't mean the sex).  I will say book three was over-written and there were several gratuitous sex scenes that she could have done without. And the epilogue was a waste of time as well.  But, all in all...a good read. Now as to whether it will make a good movie.....I don't think's so much better in the imagination than to see it all live-ish.

So....what are your thoughts? Have you read it? Will you read it? And why not?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.

I'm doing a cross post today (because I'm tooo lazy to write another blog..hah)
For the past few weeks I’ve been in ‘edit’ mode. I recently sold my paranormal romance, Dark Obsession, to Adam’s Media’s new imprint Crimson Romance. Because I will be one of the launch authors, I had to jump into my edits and revisions in a timely manner. Which, for me, is soooo much easier than writing a full book. However, this time around, doing revisions before the actual edits were a bit more difficult because I had to cut the story by about fifteen thousand words (in order to meet their word count). That’s not easy to do when you’re as married to your words as I tend to be.

It took me about a week to get my head into it. I couldn’t just go in and cut a scene here or a scene there, because every scene in my story had a purpose (as it should). So, revisions became a bit of a rewrite. I not only had to cut scenes, I also had to redesign them and restructure what came after so it made sense. Thanks to my wonderful critique partners, who gave me some terrific suggestions, I was able to get through it without the need of a transfusion. :)

I turned the book in two days early of my deadline (yay me) and I have to say I’m pleased with the results. This was the second novel I’d written (many years ago) and I was as determined to see it published. It’s a great story (if I should say so myself) and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all.

The book comes out June 4. Here’s a quick summary of what it’s about.
Ramon (Ray) Chavez, a 33 year old farmer from the Rio Grande Valley doesn’t believe in visions or omens or the mysticism of his Mexican/Indian heritage. When he’s awakened by the spirit of this great-grandmother with a message that something is coming, Ray passes it off as a bad dream. But he may just reconsider his position when he finds Lexie Solis stranded on the edge of town, in search of a new life. Ray feels an instant attraction, as well as a connection, to the s ittish young woman, and he pursues a relationship with her. But what Lexie doesn’t tell Ray or his family, is that she is on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend and he may be more powerful than even she wants to believe. When Lexie is assaulted by an unseen force, they learn that the man she is hiding from is a master of the dark arts and his obsession with Lexie goes beyond his need to control her; he wants to possess her soul as well. As their past lives parallel, Lexie’s only hope for salvation is in Ray’s hands. But can he accept his destiny in time to save the woman he loves as well as his own life?

Within the next few weeks I'll be searching out reviews, sending to the various review sites and other readers. This novel, like many others, was a labor of love for me. I really love the characters and their fact, I'm working on a follow up 'staring' the sister of Ray, so stay tuned for that as well.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Romancing the Genres: Have a Little Faith in You

Once a month I blog at Romancing the Genres.

Here is the blog for this month.

Romancing the Genres: Have a Little Faith in You

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is the official day of LOVE. That day when stores are crazy busy with men looking for the perfect gift for their significant other at the very last second and settling for a card and heart-shaped box of chocolate (because the flowers have gone up 100% in price).
You know there are some people who actually hate this holiday....and it's not the can't-find-love types either. My friend Toni rants yearly about it...which just cracks me up. Personally, I've never given much thought to the day except for where my kids are concerned. When you have elementary students you have to do the whole Valentine's Day thing, which can be fun when the teachers make it creative--like decorating your container where the valentines go. When I was a kid we just had brown paper bags and the kids only gave valentines to their friends or "crushes"....needless to say, I didn't get many valentines (boo hoo).
Anyway, my kids are practically out of school but I still like to get them a little box of chocolate...and today I'll be one of those last minute shoppers because I kept putting it off. My husband and I don't really do anything special...usually just a card for each other and sometimes lunch or dinner (we do the same on our anniversay)....but I'm not the materialistic type and I'm a perpetual dieter, so no chocolate for me. I figure, if I want something, I'll just get it myself.
Anyway....however you celebrate the holiday, I hope it's a lovely time for you.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Romancing the Genres: LOVE OF A LIFETIME

I'm blogging at Romancing the Genres: LOVE OF A LIFETIME: In April my husband and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage. For some reason it doesn't seem like it's been that long ............
follow the link to read more

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews