Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colorado Fires

I am not in danger. I have family members who have been evacuated and may have lost their homes, but my home is safe.

Colorado author Terry Odell is not in danger. But she's close.

Over 32,000 people have been evacuated in Colorado Springs alone. There are many more people there and in other parts of our state who are on standby to evacuate.

Terry came up with the idea of donating 5% of her royalties for the sale of her book, Danger in Deer Ridge, set in the Colorado mountains between now and July 1st to the Red Cross. You can buy her book at this link:

I am adding Red Tide to that offer. You can buy it directly from Amazon right here.

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Colorado Fires

I'm blogging a bit on the Colorado wildfires at the Indie Chicks Cafe. It's a crazy time.

Morning Pages

I'm writing about one of my favorite tools for writers and anyone else who wants to plug into their creative side today at The Unpredictible Muse.

Please stop by and add your thoughts to the discussion.

It's all better with friends.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Reading Styles

I've learned something about how I enjoy reading.

For non-fiction, a chapter at a time is fine. Even a paragraph at a time can be susbstantial. It's never difficult to pick back up and read another little bit. No big deal. I can even read multiple non-fiction books at once and not get confused.

But when—generally due to time constraints—I try to read a novel a chapter at time, I lose the flow and the flavor and those fine shimmery elements that make fiction fabulous.

I gifted myself a day of reading yesterday. Of course, it wasn't all day. There were meals to cook and chores to do, but mostly I read. And I read half of Alastair Burke's Long Gone. This book, without a doubt, would have been very difficult to read in tiny chapter spurts because she's got several plot threads going at once.

So, my new plan is to read novels in chunks rather than chapters. For me it works better that way.

And, it's all better with friends.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Keep all of your balls in the air. Rotate them equally. Let them touch your fingers only long enough to send them airborne again. Don't take your focus off for one moment or they will all crash disastrously to the ground.

I don't remember anyone ever telling me about this juggling program before. If they did, I chose to ignore it. Probably much like I chose to ignore those who said that writing a book was not easy. Even a bad book. Rather than heed the advice of those who went before me, I plunged. That's what I do. And I ended up with a book that readers seem to like which pleases me immensely.

But that pleasure is momentary. Life closes in...

So now I'm juggling the things we all share: the chores and errands we have because we like to live in a clean house with laundered clothes and oh yeah, eat; a family life that I've discovered I not only want but need; the finalization of the particulars of one book and then it's actual launch; the self-editing process of the second book to get it ready for beta readers who will help me get it ready for a professional edit who will land me squarely in another launch; marketing the first book and trying to get to the third book to actually write it—which is why I got into this in the first place. Then there's the business side where I need to weigh expense against potential income in a business that's in such enormous upheaval and flux that what was effective six months ago doesn't work today. And what failed last month works like magic this month.

I'm learning to juggle. I'm trying not to drop a ball. But some days I know it has to happen. The thing I'm trying to understand is that no matter how much I do there is always something more that could be done. And then let it go. Stop for the day. Refocus. Repurpose. Relax.

What about you? How do you keep all your balls in the air? Or how do you deal with one or two falling?

It's all better with friends.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Confessions of a New E-book Reader

Please help me welcome my friend, Jordyn Redwood, to Suspense Novelist. She is an amazingly talented author and is one of those writers who can set their ego aside to listen to what a qualified editor suggests. I have no problems whatsoever in recommending her first book, Proof, for your entertainment.

Jordyn and I have hung out at a local Citizen's Police Academy as well as a lecture series on sexual homicide. We're not weird, we're writers! She's also my go-to person when I need medical advice for my stories.

Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. Her debut medical thriller, Proof, examines the real life possibility of DNA testing setting a guilty criminal free. It has been endorsed by the likes of Lynette Eason, Dr. Harry Kraus, and Rick Acker to name a few. You can find out more about Jordyn by visiting her blog: and website:


I know, you may be shocked to learn this from an author, but I only got an e-reader last year. I was first gifted the Kindle by my husband for my birthday but then also bought an Ipad within a few weeks of that gift.

It has changed my reading/buying habits.

I was always a print girl. Peg can relate to this as she just bought these wonderful, cherry bookshelves for her home to hold all of these books (she’s showed you a picture, right?). My wonderful, wood-working husband built me a library to house mine. I couldn’t ever imagine not wanting to just always have books.

Now, as an author, my e-reader ended up teaching me some important authorly lessons that I thought I’d share here.

1. Book covers matter. Whether print or electronic, we do judge a book by its cover. I do think it’s worth the money to hire someone who is well adept at designing a striking cover that translates well digitally. It still is what I evaluate first—do I like the look and feel of the cover.

2. Free downloads work: Free downloads offered via the Amazon program (and others) have replaced some of my library perusing. There was one series I had started reading via the library and was able to get the first two. The last two, however, were not in the system. Knowing I would want to read them, but wouldn’t want to go back and buy physical copies of the first two so I could have the complete series on my library shelves, I downloaded the remainder as e-books. If I like an author’s free download, I am more apt to buy their backlist and look for their upcoming releases.

3. Reviews matter: I’ve discovered I am an analyzer of book reviews. And not content, but quantity and distribution. If I’m risking a download (free or otherwise), after the book cover, I look at how many reviews the novel has gotten. If the number is less than 10, I probably won’t risk it yet. If it’s a higher number, I look for distribution in all number groups. After all, out of fifty reviews, they are all five star? This is hard for me to believe and I’m just as likely not to download it as those with only a handful. Also, one-star reviews don’t necessarily dissuade me. If the majority are three stars and above—I’ll risk it.

4. I don’t like advertising: This is one reason I don’t read on my actual Kindle. It was the lowest priced one—and the reason for that is the constant advertising. It’s annoying. If you are gifting the reader to another, don’t go with this model.

5. Design matters: Another reason I preferred my Ipad Kindle reader over the actual Kindle is that it was backlit so I could read it at night in bed and not use my flashlight—which is how I was reading before.

I haven’t gone completely digital. I still am a book buying fiend but I am glad that my debut novel will be offered as both print and digital by my publisher so everyone has a chance to read Proof in the way they prefer.

How about you, how has an e-reader changed your reading habits?

Dr. Lilly Reeves is a young, accomplished ER physician with her whole life ahead of her. But that life instantly changes when she becomes the fifth victim of a serial rapist. Believing it's the only way to recover her reputation and secure peace for herself, Lilly sets out to find--and punish--her assailant. Sporting a mysterious tattoo and unusually colored eyes, the rapist should be easy to identify. He even leaves what police would consider solid evidence. But when Lilly believes she has found him, DNA testing clears him as a suspect. How can she prove he is guilty, if science says he is not?

I know for a fact that a lot of you support new authors. You've supported me. Please check out Jordyn's book. You won't be disappointed.

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


What annoys you?

I have a NON-WRITING related post up at one of the most interesting places on the Internet. It's a little place called Indie Chicks Cafe and it has a lot of writers there who have tons more traction than I can even dream of at this point. Why they invited me is a mystery.

Here's the link. I would appreciate it if you'd leave a comment and thereby keep them from withdrawing their invitation to be a part of this group. While you're there, spread the love. It won't be hard.

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Make Good Art - Neil Gaiman's Graduation Address

This is almost twenty minutes long, but it's worth it when you have the time to sit back and absorb his words.

It's all better with friends.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Audio Edits

I'm doing something different this time with book #2 before I send if off to beta readers.

Audio edits.

My Mac has a text to speech program that I'm utilizing. If I were to read my manuscript aloud (and I've done this previously) I know for a fact that I will skip over unwanted or incorrect words. But with a mechanical rendition that's impossible. As I've followed along, I've picked up too many repeated usages (not an alliteration), the wrong word because one letter was off, and many other things.

Have you tried this before?

It's all better with friends.

Saturday, June 2, 2012