Cynthia Robertson recently tagged me to participate in an authors’ blog tour on the process of writing. Cynthia is not only an excellent writer, book reviewer and editor; but also a perceptive critique partner and good friend. She was the driving force in setting up the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop, which I think is one of the best critique groups in Arizona. Her blog is always insightful, so take the time to head over there and check it out. You can also follow her on twitter @Literarydaze. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

NoiseTrade: Build Audience While Boosting Your Mailing List

Diana Douglas:

I’m going to look into this. What do you think?

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

noisetrade What if I told you there was a cool new way to share your work with the world that could help you build audience, boost your mailing list, and make money at the same time?

Welcome to NoiseTrade.

The idea is simple. Authors can upload ebooks (and audiobooks) and NoiseTrade’s community of readers can download them for free – for as long as the author wants. There is a tip-jar, and you can suggest a figure, but it’s not compulsory.

So it’s pay what you want, but with a killer twist. In exchange for the download, the reader provides their email address to the author (in full knowledge they will be contacted in future).

In other words, it’s a smart way to boost your mailing list, with the possibility of making a little money on the side too.

NoiseTrade is quite well established in the indie music scene

View original 627 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments




When I used to work as a graphic designer, most people outside the industry had a glamorized image of what the job entailed. I find the same thing is true when I tell people I’m a writer. The image doesn’t fit the reality. So what makes a writer a writer? Here’s my take on it.

  1. You forget that the characters in your book aren’t real.
  2. You forget that the characters in your head aren’t real.
  3. You carry on conversations with the characters in your book. Out loud.
  4. Your neighbors think that you’re weird.
  5. Every notebook in the house belongs to you, even if you have to steal it out of your grandson’s backpack. (In my defense, I put it back after I tore out the pages I used and he never even noticed it was gone.)
  6. Your best friend breaks their leg and as they writhe in pain, you take notes because you might need it for your novel. (I didn’t do this, but I’m pretty sure that if the occasion arose, I would.)
  7. You critique everything you read.
  8. You critique everything you watch on TV or at the movies.
  9. You drink tons of coffee. Or alcohol. Or eat lots of chocolate. Or (in my case) gummy worms.
  10. Your butt is numb.
  11. You realize you can no longer spell due to years of relying on spellcheck.
  12. Halfway through your work in progress, you come up with a fantastic idea for a new novel. And you want to start working on it NOW. Instead, you make a few notes and go back to your WIP.
  13.  You decide that flipping burgers or working in a little cubical somewhere would have been a better career choice because you suck as a writer.
  14. You realize you don’t suck as a writer.
  15. You don’t give up.






Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

10 Dialogue Tips To Make Your Novel Shine

Originally posted on Writers In The Storm Blog:

Dialogue_Photopin By Shannon Donnelly

Great dialogue can make or break a novel.

This view may stem from growing up watching a lot of 1930’s screwball comedies. Zingers fly with rapid fire and everyone talks. A lot. But the importance of dialogue really sank in when I wrote A Proper Mistress. I went for a lot of dialogue in that book and it went on to be one of my best selling romances.

We all know great dialogue when we read it—and the best dialogue seems effortless. But good dialogue takes work, sometimes needing multiple edits and thinking it over and totally revising a scene. It also takes a few key ingredients.

1) Give Your Characters Unique Voices.

Can you tell who is talking without any tags to make this obvious?

You have to get your characters talking in order to find their voices. And each character needs a distinct voice.


View original 1,071 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a few random and occasionally bizarre facts about February 14th.

When the Egyptians mummified their dead for burial, they removed every organ but the heart because they believed the heart was the only part of the body necessary for the trip through eternity.

Condom sales are 20-30% higher around Valentine’s Day.

Valentine candy “conversation hearts” have a shelf life of five years. (I don’t know how they figured this out. Conversation hearts last about 15 minutes in my house.)

“Quirkyalone Day” is celebrated on February 14 as an alternative to Valentine’s Day. It is geared toward people who “resist the tyranny of coupledom.”

The symbol of the ribbon, which often adorns modern-day Valentines, is rooted in the Middle Ages. When knights competed in tournaments, their sweethearts often gave them ribbons for good luck.

Pope Gelasius established Valentine’s Day in A.D. 500 in an attempt to appropriate the ancient pagan Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, into Christianity.

According to Welsh tradition, a child born on Valentine’s Day would have many lovers. A calf born on Valentine’s Day, however, would be of no use for breeding purposes. If hens were to hatch eggs on Valentine’s Day, they would all turn out rotten.

The saying “wearing your heart on your sleeve” is from the Middle Ages. Boys at this time would draw names of girls to see who would be their “Valentine” and then wear the name pinned on their sleeve for a week.

During the 1700s in England, a girl would pin four bay leaves to her pillow and eat a hard-boiled egg, including the shell, on the eve of St. Valentine’s Day. Supposedly, if she dreamed of a boy that night, she would soon marry him.

In 1653, English puritanical leader Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Realm and, subsequently banned St. Valentine’s Day customs. Valentine’s Day wasn’t observed again until Stuart King Charles II was restored to the English throne in 1660.

You’ll find these facts and more at:


Posted in Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook by Josie Brown


Donna Stone is a typical suburban mom in the OC. Her days are filled with carpools, volunteer work at the school, and carting her three children and their friends around to their various activities, all while holding down a free-lance job with Acme Industries as an assassin for the CIA. In her mind, her roles as mommy and hit woman aren’t all that different. She says:

Any woman can be both the perfect housewife and an accomplished assassin, because both functions require the same qualities: creativity; a never-say-die attitude; and an attention to details, no matter how small.

Her career began five years earlier when her husband Carl, an Acme Employee, was murdered. Up to that point, she’d had no idea that his employer was a subcontractor for the CIA. Carl had infiltrated a collection of rogue operatives called the Quorum. The night she gave birth to their youngest child, he died in an explosion. When Carl’s boss offered her a job, she took it. Avenging her husband’s death and the need to support her children was all she needed to convince her that killing bad guys was the job for her.

The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook is delightfully snarky, sexy and completely ridiculous in the best way possible. The story open with Donna spread-eagled, almost naked and handcuffed to the bed in an upscale hotel as she waits for the tranquilizer slipped into Yuri’s—a Russian Mafia boss—macchiato to take effect. Her plans are to snap the handcuffs, slit his throat, then jump into her Toyota Highlander minivan and get to the school by three o’clock to take her son, Jeff, to baseball practice. Plans go slightly awry, but Donna’s above mentioned creativity and never-say-die attitude gets her to the school (almost) on time. She handles both roles like a pro, slipping from mommy to assassin back to mommy again, perhaps not flawlessly, but with humor and skill. Assignments come via her handler, Abu, the Good Humor Man.

I’ve never been a fan of books written in present-tense, however this was so skillfully done that I was about half-way through the book before I realized that The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook is in present tense. There were a few continuity errors, but I was having too much fun to care. Handbook is the first of a series followed by The Housewife Assassin’s Guide to Gracious Killing, The Housewife Assassin’s Killer Christmas Tips, The Housewife Assassin’s Relationship Survival Guide, The Housewife Assassin’s Vacation to Die For, and The Housewife Assassin’s Recipes for Disaster. I’ve not read these, but they are definitely on my to-read list. If you’re stuck inside because of the snow and ice, or just in the mood for a fun read, check ‘em out.

Signing off from sunny, warm Phoenix Arizona. Have a great weekend!!!




Posted in e-books | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Body Odd or Why I Disappeared for Three Months…


The first thing I’m going to do when I get better is buy a new robe. This is UGLY.

After a three month hiatus, I’ve returned to the blogosphere. I wish I could say I’ve been busy doing something really interesting like backpacking the Himalayas or even working on my novel, but the truth is, I was coughing. I started coughing the beginning of October and didn’t stop until the end of the year.

It wasn’t a cold or flu or allergies. That would have been boring. Instead, after 59 years of cooperation, my esophagus decided it wanted to dance to its own music (the Twist, otherwise known as diffuse esophageal spasm) and little tasks like swallowing or talking without coughing my brains out, became almost impossible. And believe me, I need to keep all the brain cells I can. Fortunately, I’m doing a lot better now.

 Three months of inactivity can make it a challenge to get back into writing mode—I think my muse is still afraid she’ll catch something—but I’m getting there. Next week I’ll be reviewing The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook by Josie Brown. I didn’t read a lot while I was laid out on the couch sucking on cough drops, but her novel was entertaining enough to make me forget how miserable I was. I hope you’ll stop by to check it out.

In the meantime… HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!!

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments