Saturday, December 29, 2012

Here's to a Great New Year.

Story update: Neither of my Christmas stories made the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Moving on to 2013. There's no way I'm rehashing 2012. While I had a number of successes (all three of my books are now in print, I started three new novels and I lost thirty pounds) I see no point in reviewing the things I didn't do. I don't even like reading or listening to the news outlets do the year in review.

First  2013 goal: Turn all three of my novels into audio books. My husband bought me a microphone headset for Christmas and today I downloaded some free software. Now I have to learn how to use it. As with everything else I've tried, it isn't as easy as they make it sound. While recording the prologue to The Crystal's Curse, I stumbled over words, mispronounced names and had gaps where there shouldn't be gaps. In addition, you could hear the dog barking outside in the background. I could rerecord it, but instead I am using it to learn how to edit an audio file. 

Why you may ask would I want to make audio books? Certainly not because I expect to make money from them. No, the real reason is simply because it's a challenge, something I haven't done before. If I happen to sell a few, that's just icing on the cake. Also, my son told me the reason he hasn't read the manuscript I gave them is because most of his reading is done by listening to audio books while driving his truck on the job. With four small children at home, he simply doesn't have time in his off hours. So, when I present him with a CD he will have no excuse. By now you'd think he'd know better than to try and thwart his mother.

Second 2013 goal: Finish writing the three books I started this year. I've already written eight chapters on the new mystery again featuring Valerie and Detective Delgado. I have also got two chapters written on a sequel to The Crystal's Curse and three chapters of a paranormal romance.

There are several other things I'd like to do, like lose another twenty pounds, but since I'm having enough trouble keeping the thirty off, I think it's highly unlikely. I'd like to take another trip to Europe. However, unless there's a surge in the economy which causes my stocks to add money to my dwindling 401K, it isn't going to happen. I don't think I'll hold my breath. So I'll stick with the only two that have a reasonable chance of success.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Story Contest

Okay here's another story for the RJ contest. Let me know which one you like best. Remember, they have to be under 300 words, so you have to leave some things to the imagination.

Christmas Memories
As a single person without family, I found the Christmas season depressing. Spending it in Las Vegas this year seemed like the perfect solution, no snow, incessant Christmas music, or bell-ringing Santas. I sighed in relief as I stepped out of the terminal into brilliant sunshine.

 However, as I walked down the strip, I realized that even here there was no escape. Holiday displays decorated every hotel. One had an animated scene with a jolly Santa filling stockings while his reindeer pranced nearby, another a depiction of the Twelve Days of Christmas, including a singing partridge, and lords a leaping. Even outside street performers dressed as Dickens characters sang, while a man yelled humbug.

 I sank down on a bus stop bench, put my head in my hands, and quietly sobbed. Memories I kept at bay most of the year overwhelmed me, Christmas the year Dani turned four, how her eyes sparkled when we lit the tree and how she grinned when Joe lifted her up to place the star on top. She’d laughed when Joe grabbed a handful of tinsel and threw it. Later he’d kissed me under the mistletoe. Now she and Joe were gone and I had nothing left but painful memories.

  I felt a small hand pat my knee. “Don’t be sad,” said a curly-headed boy, not more than three or four.

 A good-looking man rushed over and scooped up the child. “Joshua, you scared me.” He looked at me. “I know you. I’ve seen you in Starbucks.”

 “And you sit in the corner with the batman logo laptop.”

 “She’s sad, Dad, she needs chocolate. Dad says chocolate makes everything better.”

 For the first time in months, I laughed. “Your father is a very wise man.”

 Joshua’s father held out his hand. “Join us.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Story Contest

The RJ is having a contest to write a Christmas story. It can't be more than 300 words and you have to use the words, reindeer, jolly, wise men, Dickens, humbug, partridge, star, bell, mistletoe, tinsel, inn and stocking.  Here's my first attempt. I'd really like your feedback.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said as I walked through the Christmas display near the entrance of the Royal Hotel and Casino.

 “What’s wrong?” Charlene said, the bells dangling from her ears tinkled as she swung her head to face me. Charlene Partridege loved Christmas. She put up the office tree topped with a blinking star and hung a stocking on each desk even before Thanksgiving. She set a tiny nativity scene on her desk complete with wisemen and shepperds. I drew the line when she tried to hang mistletoe from my door. She’d even suggested the entire office staff dress up in costumes from Dicken’s Christmas Carol. As the director, I squashed that idea immediately. I had a feeling I knew which role she’d envisioned for me and, although I admit I wasn’t feeling the Christmas spirit this year, I had no intention of going around saying bah humbug every few minutes.

  “Santa’s workshop in a casino? Please tell me they didn’t dress up the cocktail waitresses as Santa’s helpers this year.”

 “I think they look adorable.”

 I rolled my eyes. I didn’t see a jolly Santa on a throne, but off to the side of the workshop sat a giant sleigh and eight huge reindeer on a snow-covered platform surrounded by Christmas trees. Wrapped presents of all sizes and shapes spilled from a red bag. A long line of people wound around the display. I watched as each one handed an elf a wrapped package.

 Charlene walked over and picked up one of the gifts. “See, each one has name on it. Thanks to our employees and customers there won’t be one child in this town that doesn’t have at least one gift this Christmas.”

  I felt it then—the true spirit of Christmas. For the children of Tinsel town we had room at the inn.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Art of Being Happy

My life hasn't been perfect, but other than erasing a few really stupid things I did when I was younger, I wouldn't change it. One of the things I've learned is that it takes a whole lot of energy to be sad, but very little to be happy.

When I took out the trash a few minute ago,  the sun was shining. Warm air caressed my nose and my arms and I felt happy. Happiness can be as simple as basking in the sunshine for just a few minutes, holding a new baby, reconnecting with an old friend, or taking a nap with my husband. It's lunch with my mom and daughter, a text from a grandchild, or hearing a baby laugh. It's taking a moment to enjoy a clean house even if I know it won't stay that way for more than five minutes. It's the smell of clothes straight from the dryer, or fresh baked bread.

Sometimes it's the feeling of satisfaction I get when I work hard, such as losing a few pounds, finishing writing a chapter on my new book, taking a dinner in to a neighbor or even pulling weeds from my flower beds. Or it can be as easy as running my car through a car wash, eating out at a new restaurant, or settling in my easy chair to watch my favorite TV program.

Unlike sadness which can linger, happiness is fleeting, usually experienced in single moments. The art of being happy is taking the time to savor those moments.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I'm basically a lazy person who'd rather sit around all day, read books and graze in the refrigerator. I constantly have to look for ways to motivate myself. When the kids were young, all my time was taken up just taking care of them. Kids have their own way of motivating you to put food on the table and since Pampers weren't around, not doing laundry wasn't an option. It only took watching the baby put something from the floor in his mouth or picking him up and seeing dirt on his hands and knees to spur me to sweep and mop.

Then they went to school and for the first time I had time on my hands. I still had chores that needed to be done, but no impending disaster if I let them slide.  I knew people who had routines, something scheduled for each day of the week. You know, Monday was laundry day, etc. Didn't work for me. I'd find myself putting off the laundry just because it was Monday.I did, however, find creative ways to motivate myself. For instance, if my house needed a good cleaning, I invited girlfriends over for lunch. Since there was no way I'd let them see my house dirty, I'd work like a fiend getting everything spic and span.

Later I went to work and since there was no way I could do everything in the few hours I was home, I enlisted the kids. I even had a work chart for each day of the week posted on the refrigerator. The supervision took almost as much time as doing the chores myself, but for the sake of teaching the kids to work, I made everyone stick to the routine.

The kids left home. Eventually I retired and ended up with lots of hours where no one expected me to do anything. With only two of us at home, the house stays relatively clean, or maybe I've just learned to ignore the dirt for longer periods of time. Whatever. With all the extra time, I decided I needed a hobby, so I took up writing novels. At first I wrote for several hours a day, finishing my first in less then six months. The second took a little longer, and I worked on the third one off and on for over a year. After all these years, I find I'm still looking for ways to motivate myself. It would be nice if   my publisher was bugging me to meet some deadline, or my editor was clamoring for my next manuscript, but sadly I don't have either of those. I do have readers who keep asking for the next book, but unlike hungry kids, they don't scream as loud or as often as it takes to keep my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keys of my computer.

I guess I'll just have to get creative. No food until I've written for at least two hours? That might work.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Strengths and Weaknesses

I was thinking about strengths and weaknesses. For instance I'm a very logical person. If you want practical solutions to your problems, then I'm the person to go to for advice. On the other hand if what you want is sympathy, you'd be better off talking to someone else.

I'm the last person you want to nurse you when you're ill. When my children were little and they got sick, I checked on them, made them stay in bed, took their temperature, made sure they took their medicine and rushed them to the doctor if they failed to get better. However, I didn't sit by their bedside with a cold rag pressed to their head, or hold back their hair when they threw up. Why? Because it never occurred to me. The last thing I want when I'm sick is someone hovering over me. I assumed they'd feel the same way.

When a friend talks to me about their problems, I instantly look for solutions, I understand if they just want to vent and I won't be upset if they don't implement my suggestions, since everyone needs to handle things in their own way. But "Oh, you poor thing" is generally not something that comes out of my mouth. If they continue to whine day after day about the same set of circumstances without even attempting to do something about the situation, I lose patience.

I often feel sorry for myself and can wallow in self pity with the best of them, but for me it is something I do alone and only for short periods of time. Then I kick myself in the rear and decide to either rectify the problem or learn to live with it.

The questions is: Is my practicality and logical approach to life a strength or simply a lack of empathy for others? Am I missing some nurturing gene or is sympathy and hand-holding a talent given to others?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The First Thing to Go

As we age the first thing to go is not our agility, memory or even our eyesight. The very first thing that turns against us is our metabolism. It starts to desert us sometime in our thirties. Nature's  cruel joke is that our appetite remains the same. So we're eating just like always and wham, we've put on a few pounds. So we cut back and go just a little bit hungry. Do we lose weight? No. We may slow the rate of gain and, if we're lucky, stay the same. Until, the next year when the old metabolism takes another dive. It's either cut back again, or pack on the pounds. By the time old age rolls around we're down to carrot sticks and celery while hoping the same thing won't happen again next year.

I used to feel sorry when I saw two old people sharing a meal. I thought maybe they were too poor to afford two meals. I now know the truth. It's not that they wouldn't like to eat more, or even that they both want the same meal. After sixty, it's the only way to stay just this side of obese. The constant hunger may be the reason that old people are often cranky.

Al and I have been on a diet for a few months and have lost a few pounds. We've even trained our stomachs to expect less food, but our taste buds are still screaming for ice cream and chocolate.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I Don't Want to Be Popular

I just received the paperback proof of The Crystal's Curse. If you like science fiction better than mysteries, this is the book for you. It is set on present day earth.  I've mixed aliens, time travel and Mayan mythology with just a dash of romance to create an interesting story I hope you'll enjoy.

Now all of my books are available in print as well as ebook format. I ordered a few just to have them around. I was thrilled when I saw my books for sale the first time, but to hold one in my hand and be able to leaf through the pages is even more exciting.

The only thing better would to be to have one on a best seller list. Not holding my breath for that one. On second thought after looking at that list, maybe I don't want to be on it after all. Other than authors who have a dedicated following, the only new authors I've seen seem to be popular because they are what the publishers call cutting edge, a euphemistic term for using an excessive amount of foul language or writing what amounts to porn. If it's not titillating in some way then it's not worth publishing. Under that criteria, I don't want to be popular. Reminds me what it took to be considered a popular girl in school.

Every time I hear or read the words "cutting edge," whether it refers to  TV shows, movies or books, I know it's something I'll be avoiding. Of course, I also avoid anything described as heartwarming, tender or endearing because I hate to cry. It makes me all blotchy and takes way too much energy.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Marketing - Not My Thing

Marketing myself is just embarrassing. I created business cards with the names of my novels and my blog address. Yet I have a hard time handing them out. My husband was recently in the hospital and I managed to hand out two cards, even though we met probably twenty five new people there. I bought new shoes and didn't give any to the clerks that helped me. There are a lot of people in our small town who don't even know I write books.

My novels are entertaining, but since I'm not particularly well known, in order to have more people read them, I'm told I have to get out and sell them. Now I don't mind speaking in front of a crowd. In fact, unlike most people, I actually enjoy it. It's the latent actress in me. I want to be in the spotlight as long as I have a script and I don't have to promote myself.  Don't get me wrong. Like most people, I love talking about myself, telling people my experiences and making fun of my foibles. What I don't like is having to sell people on how great I am and the amazing, not to be missed books I've written, especially one on one.

One of my hangups is that I have a hard time spending money.Wait. I think I just heard my husband laugh. Okay, let me clarify, I have a hard time spending money until I've researched the product, decided what I want and what I'm willing to pay for it. Consequently, I hate sales people who think it's their job to talk me into buying. The minute they start, I hang up or walk out the door, even if I want what they are selling. In addition, I resent friends and family who see me as a potential buyer for whatever they are currently selling. I feel used.

So how do I do the same thing to others? How do I say, please buy my books just because you know me or just met me? Some writers hire publicity agents so they won't have to promote themselves, but then you have to be earning enough money from your books to support that expense . . .  hold on, I'm getting dizzy.

At the moment my marketing plan consists of trying to be courageous enough to hand out cards and when I get all three books in paperback, trying to get a few books clubs to allow me to come and read an excerpt to them. Hopefully the books will then sell themselves.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Double Down Available in Paperback

For those of you who don't have an e-reader, my murder mystery, Double Down is now available in paperback at They tell me it will take about five days before it is available on Amazon. I can't tell you how excited I was when I received the proof. To see my writing in print was amazing. I couldn't stop grinning. I confess I still grin when I look at it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Writing - Magnificent Obsession?

I consider myself a writer. Then I read a blog or article where someone claims real writers are those people who have to write. It's a passion. It's impossible for them not to write. Most of them have been writing stories since childhood. I think that's not me. I can go long periods of time without writing. Some days I have to force myself to sit down in front of the computer. Once I actually start writing, I love it. So what does that make me, a fake writer?

If writing is my hobby rather than a career, what do I call myself, one who dabbles in words? I don't consider it a career because I already retired from a career, and I only write novels which will never make the New York Times best seller list. They aren't gritty, cutting edge, thought provoking, or heartbreaking.They are simply entertaining.

So what's the criteria, a money making job, an all consuming passion, or is it simply being good at it?  If you draw or paint exceptionally well, you're an artist, even if it's not financially rewarding. If you compose, sing or play an instrument, you can call yourself a musician, even if you don't do it to the exclusion of everything else.

I may not be Hemingway, but I believe I'm good enough at stringing words and phrases together to weave an entertaining story to be able to call myself a writer.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

In My House, Diet is a Swear Word

Lately, in my house, DIET has become one of those four letter swear words, like . . . well, you know. I try not to use swear words, but occasionally one slips out especially when I'm dieting. Oops. Not eating things I like makes me cranky, but then so does trying to slip into a too-tight pairs of pants or skirt.

 I've always hated people who say they forgot to eat. I enjoy food. I look forward to deciding what to eat. My family's favorite pastime is going out to eat. Most of our traditions revolve around food. Even so, throughout my childhood, teenage years, even in my twenties and after having children, I was thin. The pounds didn't start to pile on until my late thirties when my body suddenly turned against me.

In spite of eating exactly the same amount of food, it began to store fat. So naturally, I cut back. The less I ate, the less my body required, therefore allowing it to continue to store more fat, as if it were preparing for an inevitable famine. Nor did my activity level suddenly decrease. Once my children were all in school, I went back to work. Yes, I sat on my butt for a period of time each day, but then I hurried home, made dinner, cleaned house, did laundry, chauffeured children to various events and even did yard work on the weekends. Not exactly a sedentary lifestyle.

As the years wore on, the problem only got worse. I cut back on calories, joined a gym, took up running, tried over the counter appetite suppressants and each time I lost weight until my body adjusted. Then however little I'd been eating became the new norm. Not only did I stop losing weight, but the minute I ate more, the pounds came back a lot faster than they had come off. I even tried crash diets, like drinking liquid protein instead of eating. Again, I lost weight but I could only gag that stuff down for a short period of time before my mouth absolutely refused to swallow any more. When the weight came back, it brought with it friends and relatives. I once read that you can shrink fat cells, but they don't go away. I could swear that any time I ate something that tasted good, I could hear the fat cells in my thighs saying, "Cmon down. We've got just the place for you."

When I retired, I decided to stop worrying about how much I weighed.. After all, no one but my husband looks at me anyway and he doesn't seem to care, until I reached the critical dress size. You know the one you swear you will never buy. I can disregard the scale, but the closet gets me every time. When everything becomes too tight and I can't bring myself to buy bigger, the only choice left is  . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I hate insurance

I hate insurance. You are basically betting your money against yourself. When you buy life insurance, you bet you'll die young and the insurance company is counting on you living to a ripe old age. Car and house insurance is the same principle except that the odds are better that some accident will occur and you don't really have a choice, since most states and mortgage companies insist that you buy it.

A few years ago we bought a home warranty policy that covered large appliances, water heater, air conditioner and such. Since most of our appliances were at least ten years old and one air conditioner was at least 25 years old, we thought it was a good deal. Wrong.

The only thing that's gone out since we owned the policy is the six year old air conditioner on the addition to our house. Six months ago it needed a new condenser motor. Insurance company called a repairman and it got fixed. Pretty good deal. Now we find out they didn't put in the right model and once it got hot, it doesn't work.

We have been trying to get it repaired for over a week now. The only companies on the insurance company's list are in Las Vegas, an hour away. In the summer, these companies are swamped with business and have no desire to spend their valuable time driving for two hours. After three days, they finally sent someone out at 7:30 p.m. Of course he didn't fix anything, just looked to see what needed to  be fixed, had to order parts, get approval, etc.  Since then it's been nothing but excuses and appointments where no one shows up. A week later and the den is still hovering in the 90 degree range. Fortunately, the 30 year old air conditioner is still keeping the main part of the house cool.

I've made so many calls to the insurance company and the vender that you'd think they'd send a repairman just to get me off their backs. Today the insurance company asked me if I want to have another vender. "Start over?" I asked. I could practially hear her shrug.

As soon as I get this air conditioner fixed, I'm cancelling this policy.Of course, at the rate it's going, they can probably cound on at lerast six more months of premiums.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Double Down didn't make semi-finals

Double Down didn't make the list of semi-finalists on Amazon's Breakthrough novel contest. Not too surprising but still disappointing.  I didn't know until today that there were written reviews. It's no wonder that Double Down made it to the quarterfinals. The two expert reviewers at that level loved the excerpt, even saying that they believed I had a promising future in the writing field. However, the Publishers Weekly Reviewer who read the whole novel hated it. He or she didn't have even one nice thing to say.

I'm not sure what they expected. Double Down isn't gritty or gory,and doesn't have explicit sex scenes. It probably qualifies as a cozy mystery, except it doesn't include any talking animals, recipes or knitting patterns. I refuse to read anything with those types of gimmicks. It's just an entertaining mystery along the lines of an Agatha Christie novel, or so I thought until I read that review. The feedback wasn't constructive, just vicious.

Because I enjoy writing and some people seem to enjoy reading my stories, I'll continue to write. After all this is just one person's opinion, but I'm not sure if I'll be entering any more contests.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Jealousy Now Available

My new mystery, Jealousy,  featuring Valerie Peterson and Detective Delgado is now available for Kindle on and for other ebook readers.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Back home and loving it.

Just got home from a vacation in Jamaica. White sands and warm ocean, what could be better? We really enjoyed ourselves. We swam with the dolphins, did a zip line over jungle canopy, flew down a metal bob sled ride, and climbed a 1000 foot waterfall, in addition to snorkeling and just laying in the sun on the beach. The only thing that would have made it better was if we were twenty years younger and all that fun didn't come with aches and pain afterward.

Even though we enjoyed the time away, we couldn't wait to get home. I missed our dog, my own bed, home cooked food and laying around watching TV in my robe. 

When we got home we discovered that the pool drains had clogged with leaves while we were gone and since the water couldn't circulate, we had brown scummy water. We cleaned the pool filters and I dosed it with lots of pool shock, but it's still not back to blue. I'm afraid we may have to call the pool guy to drain and clean it. Another bill we don't need especially since we haven't paid off the vacation yet.

Good news is that Double Down made the quarterfinals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Now back to writing, cleaning house, and paying bills.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Made The Cut

My pitch for Double Down made the first cut in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. They took 5000 entries in two categories and selected 1000 in each category, so the odds were good. Next they will read an excerpt and whittle it down to 250 in each category.  They won't announce that until March 20th. I told myself that I would feel good just to get this far, but I want more.

In the meantime, I need to edit Jealousy. If anyone out there is an English teacher or just an excellent proofreader, I could use your help. It's really hard to proof your own writing.

My next project is another young adult sci-fi, completely different from The Crystal's Curse. My granddaughter, Katherine, wanted me to write something using her name as one of the main characters. This one is for her and all my other grandchildren whose names I'll be using in it. I wrote the first two chapters over a year ago thinking I could work on it and Jealousy at the same time. I found out I had a hard enough time disciplining myself to work on one book, let alone two. So it has been languishing in my computer for a while. Somehow I deleted the outline. Fortunately, I printed out a copy and stuck it in a folder.

Now butt in seat, fingers on keys and write.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jealousy - Coming soon

I finished the first draft of Jealousy tonight. A new mystery featuring Valerie and Detective Delgado coming soon to a web site near you. I've been working on this book for over a year and a half and now that it's done, I feel lost. I don't remember feeling this way at the completion of the other two. Maybe it's because I've worked on this one longer. Of course, it's not ready for publication yet. The ending still needs work. I need to write a jacket cover synopsis and think about what image to use as a cover. I'm sure it will need a few revisions before I'm ready to upload it. But the essential story is now down on paper.

I should feel elated. Instead, I'm still worrying about it. Should I keep the beginning? Does it start too slowly? Does the plot hang together? Have I wrapped up all the essential elements? Are there too many characters? Will the reader get lost? I guess I won't have the answers to any of those questions until someone other than me reads it.

In the last couple of days, I've read it through from the beginning to the end and I love it. After I test it out on my family, I'll post an excerpt here and hope you'll give me some feedback.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rewarding Risks

All though my life I've taken chances. Not the gambling kind, and not stupid ones like getting involved with drugs or anything illegal. Just small risks. Like going white water rafting or taking up in line skating in my fifties. I had to give up the skating when I discovered that falling down at that stage of life hurt a lot more than it did as a child.

The most satisfying risks involved learning something new. In my career, I often volunteered for projects I'd never done before. Then I'd panic. Unwilling to fail, I'd learn what I needed to make the project a success. This boldness often led to promotion and reinforced my desire to seek out and conquer other challenges.

Writing novels has been one of those challenges. At the beginning I was convinced that I was not a creative person and I had no stories inside struggling to be told. However, I was bored, so I sat down at my computer and a whole new world opened up to me.  As the story evolved and the characters came to life, I found the excitement I'd been looking for.Within six months I'd finished my first novel.
It was only after that I read books on writing, joined writers groups, and went to seminars.

The best part of writing is that it necessitates continual learning. I've researched anatomy and Mayan mythology, mastered new formatting techniques and computer shortcuts. I've joined facebook and learn to blog. Tweeting may be next.

The world I grew up in is nothing like the world of today, but instead of feeling like an outsider looking in, writing has been my key to keeping tuned in, turned on and feeling young.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Writing Contests

Amazon is holding a contest for new authors. There's only two categories, general and young adult and you can only have one entry. I considered entering Double Down, but one of the judging criteria is originality. Double Down is a murder mystery. Yes, the plot is original but essentially follows the same pattern as most mysteries. The Crystal's Curse on the other hand has a completely original plot line. However, it's my first attempt at writing and as such not a polished.

The first step is to write a 300 work pitch. You can't imagine how difficult it is to compress a plot that takes 70,000 words to unfold in to 300 word teaser.  However, I have learned and can probably spruce up the one I have into something that might intrigue the judges.

If you pass that stage, they'll read the first 5000 words. Now I've written a killer prologue. Generally if you hook the reader in the first few pages, they'll stick with you while  you set the stage and give them enough background so that they can identify and care about the characters. Then you carefully unwind the plot until they're hooked and can't stop reading until the end. But if your book is being judged on the first 5000 words, you don't have that leeway.

So before submitting my entry, I'm editing The Crystal's Curse for the thousandth time, trying to make it as tight and compelling as possible. If I leave out some of the background to make it more exciting in the beginning, then its hard to identify with the characters. At one point, I gave up and wondered why I was bothering. The chances of winning were probably as astronomical as winning the lottery. Why put myself through it? I haven't answered that question yet. I only have until the end of January to decide.

Friday, January 6, 2012

DOUBLE DOWN Now available

I got tired of waiting for the publisher to return my emails, so I've decided to publish my murder mystery, Double Down, as an eBook on Amazon and Smashwords. As a bonus I've included with it a taste of the my new mystery, Jealousy, again featuring Valerie Peterson.I hope to have Jealousy ready for publication by spring. My goal is not so much to make money, although that would be nice, but to have as many people as possible read and enjoy the books I've created.

If you love me, or even if you just call me friend, please go to Amazon or Smashwords and at the very least hit the like button next to my books.