Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Confessions of a Dating Rebel!

By Glenys O'Connell

 There are lots of traditional mores that now seem outdated: once upon a time, women were not allowed to own property, vote, hold down a job (except poor women could do something menial, like being a servant).

In fact, right up until a few years ago, women teachers in Ireland (and possibly other countries!) were expected to leave their jobs if they got married. One brave soul had to go all the way to the higher courts to insist that she and all other women teachers had the right to work in their chosen profession and at the same time be a wife and mother. She won her case and a judge ordered her reinstated, but whether she actually returned to work in a school that had caused her such unhappiness, I don’t know. I doubt things would have been pleasant for her in the staff room.

Yes, there are many things that women weren't supposed to do in the past that they do now without even having to stop and think. For example, I can remember when I was in my teens, you were considered a bit 'fast' if you asked a guy out on a date. Well, not being one to stand on ceremony, I bravely invited three boys out on dates. Not all at the same time, you understand.

One turned out to be a total jerk. So much for my feelings of being sophisticated in the ways of dating. But never mind, if at first you don’t succeed….

The next turned out to be older, but also a member of the minor aristocracy, and I learned a lot from him – his lifestyle provided lots of insights for a girl from a working class background! But he was looking for a long-term relationship which was more than I was ready for. 'Nuff said.

The next guy I met and asked to accompany me to a party turned out to be a real gem – and we're still together many years and four children later.

So Phssst! to social mores!

You're probably wondering why I'm telling you all this. Definitely not to prove what a rebel I am! I'm pretty sure my own very modern daughters wouldn't be impressed by this bit of 'forwardness' on their Mom's part. And the idea of proposing – well, that went way beyond me!

But hey, girls – it's a Leap Year. You know, the one year in four when February has 29 days.

And if you're too young to know this bit of old folk lore, this is the one day every four years when it's considered okay for a woman to propose to a man. Wow!

If you're in love and he's a bit shy (or, as we used to say, a bit backward on coming forward)       today's the day you can pop the question with good luck on your side.

I'd love to hear about your own adventures in setting the running in a relationship – whether it's making the first move - or even proposing!

Lady Diana, the heroine of my romantic comedy  Marrying Money, was tired of there being a dearth of eligible (and wealthy) husband material in her life. So she decided to go out and find herself a rich husband to save her impoverished estate. Here's an excerpt:           

“I have definitely got to do something about the state of things. We can’t go on this way, what with money leaking out left right and centre and the east wing needing a new roof and…….“

Sally raised an eyebrow at me over her pint mug of lager and lime. It’s her way of saying: “Get on with it.“ and I don’t think she has any idea just how badly her eyebrows need plucking. Raising one like that makes it look like a caterpillar is crawling up her face……

Where was I? Oh yes. “I made a decision this morning, after going over the accounts one more time with Jim Chatterton. After realising that I don’t actually have a pot of my own to piss in, as your dad would so charmingly put it, I've decided on a course of action."

"Ohh, get you. 'I've decided on a course of action.' Well, if that ain't just the lady of the manor, an' all," Sally said before honking loudly and banging her forehead on the table.

"Stop it, will you – everyone's looking," I hissed at her. "Anyway, I am the lady of the manor. And I'm going to get married."

                I should have waited until Sally had swallowed that mouthful of lager and lime. That way she wouldn’t have sprayed it all over the vicar when I made my marriage announcement.

                "You're not serious! You? Get Married? Never!"

                People really were staring, now. The Reverend Morrison was edging quietly away from our table, although I wasn't sure whether he wanted to avoid another lager spray or was afraid I’d ask him to conduct the service. The vicar and my dear nutty Aunt Kay, the family witch, have had a few spats in their time. I think it once involved an exorcism.

                "You're not really going to marry Larry the Lettuce, are you?" Sally's eyes were wide.

                "Well he's as good as any other option around here. And he's got money. It's simple: He gets me, and the Ashburnham Estate gets his money."

                Which is actually only a variation on my ancestors' behavior. Whenever the estate was down to its last few hundred thousand, out would go a hunting party to bag a nice rich bride and dowry. I couldn’t see any difference between my bagging Larry the Lettuce and my great Great-Great-Great-Great--Grandfather, Lord Ralph, aged 70, bringing home pretty little fifteen year old Alice de Clancy and her accompanying gold dowry.

Glenys O'Connell swears she has never proposed to anyone in her life. This blog is the last confession of this sort she intends to make - even under threat of removal of her chocolate stash! You can read excerpts from her books on her web page at Romance Can Be Murder


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Debra St. John is The next…

I think every writer dreams of being the next somebody. The next J.K. Rowling, the next Stephenie Meyer, the next Stephen King, the next Nora Roberts.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to be the next anyone of those people. For one, I don’t write about teenaged wizards or sparkling vampires (although I do so love to read about them). I definitely don’t write horror. And while I do write romance, I also have a full-time job in another field that prohibits me from being able to crank out half a dozen new full-length novels every year.

Not to mention the fact that these particular people wrote unique (at the time) stories that have already become iconic. They haven’t continued trends, they’ve started trends. I don’t think any idea I have spinning in my head at the moment can be even remotely considered trend setting.

So where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me right where I always wanted to be. As an author. Writing stories that I love. Probably just as those above did at first too. Each wrote a story he/she loved and hoped someone would publish it so others could read it, too. Maybe part of their dream was to be on a best seller list. Or maybe their dreams were as simple as mine: I want to write a book. I want to get it published. I want others to read it.

In that sense, my dream has come true. I’ve written books. I’ve gotten them published. Others have read them. Will I ever be a bestseller? Will my name be known by millions? Will someone someday say, “Gosh, I just wish I could be the next Debra St. John.”? Okay, probably not, but you never know…it could happen.

No one ever knows that the next Big Thing will be. Times change. Tastes change. Trends change. Don’t worry about being ‘the next’. Write the book of your heart. Get it out there in the hands of readers. And…


Here’s the blurb and excerpt from my debut book This Time for Always.


As manager of a local bar, The Corral, Sharlie Montgomery has put the past behind her. That is until Logan Reed walks back into her life, turning her world upside down. His presence brings back painful reminders of the past: the love they once shared, the money he took from her father, and the baby she gave up for adoption.

Logan wants to buy The Corral, and he’s come back to town to prove he’s made it on his own without the Montgomery money. Sparks fly whenever Sharlie and Logan are together. Anger, fear, and jealousy aren’t enough to erase the love they once felt for each other. But is love enough? Logan wants a family—the one thing Sharlie can’t give him.

Logan's strong arm encircled her waist, preventing her from falling.

Sharlie caught her breath as her body pressed against him. She raised her eyes to his.

The anger in his eyes turned to awareness. His breath hitched. The temperature in the tiny room rose.

Logan's gaze roamed every inch of her face, finally coming to rest on her lips.

Her pulse quickened, the beat thundering in her ears. They were so close she could feel the cadence of his heart. She sucked in a gasp of air.

His gaze met hers again. "I've tried to stop thinking about you like this. But I can't."

Sharlie licked dry lips, then cursed inwardly when the action drew his attention there once more. His head lowered.

"Don't," she managed.

"Don't what?" Logan's warm breath caressed her cheek.

"Don't kiss me."

"Why not?"

"Because I don't want you to." Even to her own ears the protest sounded weak.

"Liar," Logan taunted.

"Please," she tried one last time, shaking her head in a vain attempt to deny the feelings coursing through her.

Logan cupped the back of her head, stilling the motion. "I have to." His words melted into a kiss as their lips met.

The gentle insistence of his mouth coaxed a response from her. Her lips parted, allowing the kiss to deepen. Their breath mingled. The moist heat made her knees buckle.

"Don't you remember?" Logan's husky voice whispered, as his lips left hers to trail down the column of her throat. "Remember how good it was.”

My other books include, This Can’t Be Love, Wild Wedding Weekend, and A Christmas to Remember.

Debra St. John’s books are available through The Wild Rose Press. She’s the Sunday Blogger at The Acme Authors Link and the Thursday Blogger at Heroines with Hearts.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Is a Strong Self-Esteem a Bad Thing?

I grew up in the generation when girls were taught self-praise stinks. While boys were taught to proclaim their worth. In the early 1960's, women were valued for how clean they kept their homes and men, for how much they earned. I had it drummed into me that Mondays were for laundry, Tuesdays for ironing, Wednesdays for baking, Thursdays for cleaning the downstairs and the upstairs were cleaned on Fridays. Cooking for Sunday meals was done on Saturday as was shopping. On Sunday, the Sabbath, we rested. Is it any wonder I hate routine?

Some would say life was gentler then. But was it?

Milllions of women were sure their self-worth was tied to taking care of others. Not a bad thing, really, but what about their dreams, their desires, their needs? Then the middle sixties hit. We had the sexual revolution, the power of the peace movement and the dreams of the civil rights movement. Slowly we moved into the feminine self-affirmation movement.

Women of a younger age are more prone to draw attention to their strong points. Yay them! When I hear my granddaughter say, "I can't wait for college next year. I shall shine bright like the stars," I want to stand up and applaude. "Go, Sugar Dumplin'!"

Yet a strong self-esteem is not merely for the young, it should be for us, too. We--you and me of various ages--deserve to feel good about ourselves. About our achievements, dreams attained, goals earned. And why not? Did we not work for those things? Allow your self-esteem to germinate, to grow, to bloom.

In my novella, Those Violet Eyes, Evie is hiding behind her dream of going to college to become a teacher. Win, the new man in her life, is encouraging her to make her dream come true. But, as so often with dreams denied, the excuses are often stronger than the dream. --

Win evidently saw her determined features. He shook his head a couple times and clicked his tongue for Blaze to approach her. When his horse stopped beside hers, he glanced across the pond, watching the birds—or waiting. Damn him.

Well, she could wait, too.

She slipped a foot out of her stirrup and slung it across her saddle. Leather creaked. A bullfrog plopped into the water. Silent minutes clanged by, growing louder with each tick of some unseen clock.

“Never took you for a coward, kitten. Not with all that attitude you’ve got.” Win slid his gaze to her, his hazel eyes growing hard. “Or was that all bluster to hide a scared little girl.”

Before she thought it through, Evie slid off Molly Mae. “You come down here and say that to my face, Win Fairchild, you overbearing, pushy jerk. I’ll slap your ears so hard, they’ll make a jam sandwich. Two floppy ears jammed together, you no-brained idiot. What gives you the right to push at me like this?”

Win slipped off Blaze, all ease and grace. In a flurry of movement, he grabbed her arms and hauled her to him. “What do you want out of life, Evie? Do you want to rot away on the Double-Bar working for Dooley? Or do you want to go after your dreams?”

“Some dreams are just that—dreams.” Didn’t he understand?

Win nodded. “True. I have a dream of going back to the Corps, but it won’t happen, not with my hearing loss and amputation. I have to accept it as an unrealistic dream. I also have a dream of helping kids who’ve lost limbs to accidents or diseases. It’s going to take some work and sacrifice on my part, but I aim to do it. Got a new dream, too.” His voice grew softer and he ran his knuckles down her cheek, his gaze intent on hers.

Don’t ask.

Available June 27th from The Wild Rose Press

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I used to love libraries ..

Let me hasten to say, I still feel libraries are valuable resources in a community and I heartily support them. But I just don't get to the library any more. If I can download a book to my Kindle, why go check one out? And I buy the magazines I want, and the newspapers, so ...

I did visit local libraries when we first moved to town because our WiFi wasn't hooked up yet. So I would go to the library and use theirs most of the day in order to stay connected at work.

I grew up with the library in my home town. My mother was the acquisition person for children's books, mysteries, and non-fiction, so she would buy books then bring them home to read before shelving them. I cut my teeth on John Creasy, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, and Ian Fleming. I loved Nancy Drew, who wore frocks and pumps and drove a roadster. I still remember one very slim John Creasy book where the hero saves the world -- literally -- from burning up. The book was maybe 250 pages long but there was a ton of action in there. And let's not forget Leslie Charteris' The Saint (Simon Templar), Creasy's The Baron, Ngaio Marsh's Alleyn, and Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey.

Those were the books that I read growing up. I missed out on the Little House books, most of romance novels (although I loved Anya Seton and Mary Stewart's The Ivy Tree might be my favorite romance/mystery of all time). These authors obviously influenced where I am today, and I have my library to thank for that.

I wonder if children growing up today will have the same relationship to The Story. I know they won't have that relationship to a book -- holding one in the hand to read as you sit in a tree overhanging a stream (as I often did). And I wonder if The Library will continue to evolve to accommodate changing needs, becoming 'media centers' to feed the need for passive entertainment.

I'm glad I grew up when I did because I had that chance to go into a cool, shady, mysterious building run by grownups and come out with worlds in my arms. Then I ran away to escape for hours at a time as I used words to create pictures in my head. Movies? That was for special occasions, maybe once a month. TV? My parents controlled the TV and doled it out in small chunks.

But books: books were daily enjoyment for me. And I have my library to thank for that.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Guest Alison Chambers Says Love of Books=Love of Writing

Alison Chambers
                I can trace my love of writing back to one thing:  books.  Since this is Library Lover’s month, I remember walking to the library every week, in bad weather and good, in search of more exciting books to read.  When I decided to go to college at twenty-four, the first place I turned to was the library.  I studied on my own, carrying a heavy armload of books every Friday, and took the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests.   I managed to earn thirty-six college credits before I even walked into the front door at college and was able to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in just two and a half years, so I owe a lot to my local library.

                I remember getting books as a child and loving the shiny covers, the slick pages, the beautiful pictures of fairy princesses inside.  And when I was older, I read more complicated stories and loved every one of them.  But particularly mysteries, especially those starring Nancy Drew.  Nancy Drew was the first true female heroine to me.  She was smart and spunky, able to best all the men around her, including her boyfriend and her lawyer father.  That made a huge impression on me. 

                When I wrote my first book at eighteen, I used the library again for tips and tricks and ‘how-to’s.’  I still do.  And with the advent of the Internet and electronic books, my love of books has never faltered.  I just learned to love them in a new way.  And now that I am a published author, I am still a voracious reader of other people’s books and hope to never stop learning from them.  Books offer so much:  wonderful stories, fantastic adventures and a key to an exciting new career or profession.  They can inspire or sadden, anger or entertain, but most of all, they can educate. 

                My focus has always been on entertainment and telling page-turning stories of romantic suspense.  Stories about buried treasure, unsolved mysteries, lost loves.  When I was in grade school, we were supposed to write a story called the “Lost Moon.”  While everyone else wrote about the cow jumping over the moon, I wrote about a pirate ship called the “Lost Moon,” carrying a cargo of buried treasure.  My imagination has been geared to the great ‘what if?’  ‘What if this’ and ‘what if that?’  A dangerous twist of fate.  A pinch of luck that could have turned the tide in the opposite direction and saved the day.  And where did I get all those ideas?  From books, reading about history’s tragedies and triumphs, of fabulous treasures that have never been found, of dark mysteries no one can fathom.   Things that still fascinate us, spark our curiosity and make us ask the inevitable ‘what if?’ 

                For example, did you realize the treasure of the great Aztec emperor Montezuma has never been found and people still continue to search for it?  That’s the subject of my latest book called “The Montezuma Secret.” 

Here’s a blurb:  Hunky Trey Zacco, gritty survivalist and host of the Miami-based Holiday Channel’s hit "Wildman" series and glitz and glamour girl, Erica Kingsley, host of the channel’s "Lap of Luxury" show, are thrown together in the steamy jungles of Belize as a publicity stunt. Erica’s father, Arthur Kingsley, the owner of the Holiday Channel, has proposed the angle, not only to boost ratings, but also as a way to toughen up his spoiled daughter. And Kingsley wants them to search for Montezuma’s lost gold, presumably moved to Belize from the Guatemalan jungle. Zacco cannot hide his resentment at having to share the spotlight with the flighty fashionista Erica, and he locks horns with her every step of the way even as both try to ignore the strong physical attraction growing between them.  But when Arthur Kingsley’s plane crashes in the jungle on his way to film the opening of the show, Trey and Erica launch a desperate search to find him. And when, one by one, members of the camera crew are killed and the equipment sabotaged, Trey and Erica find themselves stranded in the middle of the jungle with sultry producer Morgana Montez, Trey's ex-lover, where no rescue crew can reach them.  

 "The Montezuma Secret"
Available on  Click to purchase:
Only $.99 in e-book format for your Kindle, PC, MAC, iPhone,   Blackberry, iPad, or Android. 
Also available on Smashwords!
FIVE STARS on Goodreads and

Voted Book of the Month-Best Romantic Suspense on  Visit me during the month of March on ibookbuzz for blogs, chats and more!

Also available “The Secret Sentinel” from The Wild Rose Press

FIVE STARS-Night Owl Reviews and Goodreads

Thanks to the great Roses of Prose authors for having me and keep on reading or as our local library advertising campaign says: ‘Put your face in a book!’

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Library Lover's Memories

Library Lover's we're celebrating those that love libraries. I can go for that, especially considering I'm one of those lovers. The quiet, the brightly lit rooms, the smell - oh the smell.

When I was a kid, growing up in Phoenix, the closest library was the big one downtown on Central Avenue - the Phoenix Public Library. It was an all day adventure. Someone would volunteer their mother to drop us off and another mother would pick us up hours later.

The first time was a field trip in grade school and the place was daunting - the building was mammoth, the card catalog huge and I had no idea how to use the Dewey Decimal System. I couldn't wait to go back on my own. The dark green marble floors were shiny, the chairs tucked in nooks and crannies were plush and the librarians so learned. Most of the time I wondered around lost, but I loved it.

Along the sidewalk on the Central Avenue side, huge oranges hung ripe from thickly leafed trees. My cousin Jerry and I decided we had to have one of those oranges. We made a plan. We waited until we saw my aunt pull up to the sidewalk and as we dashed to the car, we grabbed an orange and tucked them into our book bags. Have you ever tried to eat an ornamental orange?

My first book's first library siting!
Once a month, the bookmobile library would come to the A.J Bayless shopping center which was two blocks from my house. The little trailer was jammed with books and didn't allow for more than a couple of kids in at a time. It was crowded and hot, stuffy and fragrant with the smell of books. I loved that traveling library.

In high school, the library was so lacking that trips to the Phoenix Public Library on Central Avenue were still necessary. And the attraction of the place broadened a bit. I didn't have a car but my friend Judy did - a cute powder blue mustang. Cruising Central Avenue in a mustang and stopping for fries and a shake, made going to the library to research a paper worthwhile. The guys hanging out at the library didn't hurt either. No wonder the smell of a book is so sensual!

After I was married, I worked at the army library in Germany. Getting that job thrilled me. The lady that trained me made a great many assumptions about my library knowledge. Little did she know I still didn't understand the Dewey Decimal System. But I didn't care. I roamed around the tiny library and breathed deep. Then the second hour came along. Apologies to all the librarians I greatly admire, but this was one of my most boring jobs. I'm not sure what it says for G.I's, but the place didn't get much traffic. I did get to do a lot of my own reading.

Not having kids at home anymore, I'm not sure how often they get to the library.So much research and reading is done on the Internet now. And I'm not knocking it. I spend a great deal of time on the Internet. There are advantages. But you miss so many things - the librarians, the Dewey Decimal System, the boys and especially the smell. 

Visit Brenda at for a complete list of books
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Thursday, February 23, 2012


Why does Margaret Tanner write Australian historical romance? Many people have asked me this question over the years. I have always liked history, particularly Australian history. I am also very interested in geneology, in particular, tracing my family tree.

Like the heroines in my novels, my forebears left their native shores in sailing ships to forge a new life in the untamed frontiers of colonial Australia. They battled bushfires, hardship and the tyranny of distance in an inhospitable and savage land, where only the tough and resilient would survive. They not only survived but prospered in ways that would not have been possible for them had they stayed in Europe.
I would like to think I display the same tenacity. My goals are a little different from those of my forbears. I want to succeed in the publishing world.

I received my baptism of fire on the literary field of battle at an early age. I have known the highs (winning awards and having my books published), but also known the lows of the volatile publishing world. Publishing company closures, an opportunity for one of my novels to be turned into a film, only to be thwarted at the last minute by government funding cuts, and writing friends dropping off because they couldn’t get published and gave up the struggle.

I am a fourth generation Australian. We are a tough, resilient people, and we have fought hard to find our place in the world.   We have beautiful scenery, unique wild life, and a bloodied convict history.

I admire heroines who are resourceful, not afraid to fight for her family and the man she loves. I want my readers to be cheering for her, willing her to obtain her goals, to overcome the obstacles put in her way by rugged frontier men who think they only want a wife to beget sons.  A chance for revenge.  To consolidate their fortunes. That love is for fools.  Oh, the victory for the reader when these tough, ruthless men succumb to the heroine’s bravery and beauty, and are prepared to risk all, even their lives to claim her.
Then there are the brave young men who sailed thousands of miles across the sea in World War 1 to fight for mother England, the birth country of their parents and grandparents. I also wanted to write about the wives and sweethearts who often waited in vain for their loved ones to return. Who were there to nurture the returning heroes, heal their broken bodies and tormented souls.
This is why I write historical romance, even if it means trawling through dusty books in the library, haunting every historical site on the internet, badgering elderly relatives, and risking snake-bite by clambering around overgrown cemeteries.

Wild Oats from The Wild Rose Press is an EPICON 2010 Finalist.

 English aristocrat, Phillip Ashfield, comes to Australia to sow some “Wild Oats”.  After seducing Allison Waverley, he decides to marry an heiress to consolidate the family fortunes.  Phillip has made a fatal choice, that will not only ruin his own life, but the repercussions will be felt by the next generation.

To save Allison from the disgrace of having Phillip’s baby out of wedlock, Tommy Calvert, who has always loved Allison, marries her. Mortally wounded on the French battlefields, Tommy is found by Phillip who learns that Allison has borne him a son. He vows to claim the boy when the war is over, because his wife cannot give him an heir.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#Reviews: people are hungry to learn about a good book

I, Barbara Edwards, am an author and a reader, not a reviewer. Writing a review is a separate skill and I don’t have time to learn one more thing. At least that’s what I said last month.

Reviews are a part of the writing business. I like to get a great review. It warms my heart to read that another person liked my work enough to write and publish it.

When I like a book my response is to say ‘wow’ and add the author to my mental list of books to look for.

So why do I hesitate to actually write a review?

  1. It’s hard to condense a book into a few sentences.
  2. I want to say nice things, and some books, give me a little space here, are not worth reading. Sigh.
  3. The review should mean something to the person reading it. Does she like cowboys or vampires? Chicago or Egypt? Sweet romance or spicy sex?
  4. The best reviews are about three paragraphs long. A brief description and a brief summary without revealing the end. And why the reviewer thinks the work is worth reading.
  5. Writing a review takes time from writing my next book.

So here I am. I wrote a review last week. I read a nice book and wanted to share it. If you follow my personal blog, then you read the review.

I was surprised at the response. People are hungry to hear about a good book. I had a ton of likes and several comments, plus a very nice thanks from the author.

Posting the review to Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing takes time but it’s a learning curve.  My name might not be on that book, but it’s out there with a tiny note to check my work. Maybe if enough people respect my review, they’ll read my books.

I plan to do a couple more reviews because I like the books. I just need to add several hours to the twenty-four already in my day.

On my website are tidbits and urls to reviews for my books.

  Author Website:

Ancient Blood

Authors Den:      

Buy Link Ancient Blood:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents' Day From An Author's View

Laura Breck
When I'm watching the news, I often let my imagination wander off into the world of fiction. What would it be like to write a romance novel about the next president of the United States of America? I always start my stories with a quick blurb and character names. After that, I find photos that represent my vision of each character. And we definitely have some gallant characters to work with this year!

Let's start with the Republicans. Mitt Romney. A very handsome man, so the picture would be easy to look at. Romney is a strong name, but Mitt? I truly can't imagine naming a romantic hero in one of my books Mitt. Such a unique name, but, in my humble opinion, not very alpha male. We'll change his name to Matt.

Which brings us to Ron Paul. A nice looking gentleman. He could carry off the role of hero. Maybe in a murder mystery. But we surely can't have a character with two first names! We'll have to change his surname to Paulson.

Rick Santorum is a nice strong name. I'd maybe tweak his given name to Rico, give him a more exotic flair. Unfortunately, his picture won't work for an international playboy romantic hero. To me, the mouth is a critical part of a man's face. We'll have to photoshop some lips for him.

We can't forget Newt Gingrich. His professional photos make him a possibility for a cozy mystery sleuth. But his candid photos capture him making some odd faces. We'll have to keep him from showing so much emotion. And, of course, he'll need a hero's name. How about Nate?

Our last option for president is Barak Obama. A strong name, a good looking man. I'd like to beef him up a little bit, but I do like guys with muscles. And I'd probably give him a nickname that the other Navy SEALs call him. How about Rock?

Politics this year are so divisive and negative. I often find it very difficult to listen to the candidates. When I watch the debates or listen to speeches, my mind naturally clicks over to fictionalizing these people's lives. Do you ever do this? Imagine real people as characters in books?

Some day, I'll tell you about the novel I've concocted in my mind for my doctor. I've got a whole storyline for him that involves international espionage and a princess from a middle-eastern country. It definitely makes those annual visits more interesting.
Happy Presidents' Day!
Secret Vegas Lives
Scandalous L.A. Desires
both available from Red Rose Publishing

Don't forget to check out Romance Biggest Winner 2 – a fun, social way to make 2012 a healthier, happier year!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Host a Successful Book Signing

by Jannine Gallant

I bet you thought I was going to give you all the answers. Ha! I wish. But I will give you the limited wisdom of my experience and ask for yours in return.

I just brought home a big box filled with 50 copies of my latest book, Bittersweet. My heart pitter-patted in my chest as I flipped through the pages and gazed at my beautiful cover. Then the churning awareness that I had to sell every last one of these little gems took hold. Gulp!

I'm not a novice at book signings, but I'm no pro, either. When my first book, Victim of Desire, released nearly two years ago, I naively ordered 100 copies figuring they'd sell themselves. Okay, you can all stop laughing now. I held 3 signings and learned from each one.

The first was in my small home town of Tahoe City. The paper ran a story for me for free. I rented a room for a modest cost where local artists display their work. I brought lots of appetizers, told all my friends, and was thrilled when they showed up at the appointed time and bought 28 books. A success - I think so. What I learned was that I felt awkward asking for money because I knew these people. The solution, my best friend in the whole world took over the financial transactions. I signed and talked. She collected payment. The atmosphere was convivial and fun! But only one person showed up that I didn't know. So word didn't exactly reach the masses that the hottest new author since J.K. Rowling was making a personal appearance.

My second signing was with a group of authors over two hours from my home. It was a lovely day in a vineyard with music and wine tasting. The other three ladies were chatty and interesting. The problem, no one approached our table. I think the people milling about were afraid they'd have to buy a book from every one of us. Definitely a dilemma. I sold 3 books, which didn't come close to covering the cost of my gas. I'd have to say this one wasn't a success.

My final book signing was in the town where I grew up. My mom, who still lives there, talked to the local librarian. (This is library lovers month, so I didn't totally ignore our topic choices! LOL) This wonderful woman made fliers, brought coffee and cookies, and arranged an article for the paper. She also asked me to plan a presentation. I wanted to pull my hair out just thinking about talking in front of people. On the big day, we arrived, set up, and waited for several of my mom's friends to trickle in. I survived the reading and discussion - even enjoyed it after I quit shaking. But I sold less than 10 books. Again, this signing was a friends only affair. I think we'd have to call this one a toss up as to rather or not it was a success.

So, as I think about arranging signings for my new book, I ask you what I can do differently? What has worked for you in the past? What should I avoid? Please share your experiences.

For more information on my books, please check out my website and blog or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Translation of Success


Honestly, I almost forgot about my blog. I have blogged nonstop for the last two weeks and here I am almost forgetting to blog at my own space. I've been busy. In the real world outside of my cave, I work overnights at a major hospital. I like my job. I need it. I have three children- one that just got out of college, one in college, and one that has just been accepted into college. I live in New England where the mortgages are high and the weather cold. I love my family and my animals. Well, yesterday one of my dogs did irritate me, but then again I was in a bad mood. And today, I'm going to get my taxes done. I cringe at the thought.
When you get to be my age, some people begin to question what they have done and want to do in the future. I haven't, not since I began writing. Oh, I get frustrated at times with the venture. I love writing. It consumes me. I also have my fanpage, Novel Works, which I truly enjoy. I love meeting other authors and readers alike. I'm an avid reader and a big fan myself.

The Judas Kiss

I have been extremely busy the last few months. I have a series, Tides of Charleston with WCP. The first, The Judas Kiss, was released in January. 

Shadows of the Past
I also began venturing outside the traditional publishing arena. I tried Indie publishing. My first attempt was my fantasy series, Whispers of a Legend. I got such a positive response to my series that I released a historical romance, Daughter of Deceit. 

I went with Amazon Select with Daughter of Deceit trying to break through a barrier on Amazon that Whispers did for me on Barnes and Noble. Amazon Select allows a few free days. The last three have been Daughter of Deceit's free days. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee what Daughter of Deceit would do. At it's highest point it reached #3 on Free Kindle- #2 on Romance- #1 Historical Romance- #1 on Romantic Suspense. I was thrilled. Did a happy dance all day yesterday until the reviews from readers started coming in on Daughter of Deceit. 

Now I do my own editing on my self-published books. I have made no bones about missing an editor, but I never saw some of the reviews coming at me- angry reviews about my editing-not my story-but my editing. Oh, I've had really good reviews too, but I never experience this with Whispers. These readers are mad at me! 

So what have I learned. I learned that I'm going out to get an editor. One of my Indie friends has suggested someone. I'm going to have Daughter of Deceit edited than go into print. It will take about a month I suppose to get it corrected. 

Daughter of Deceit
Success translates that there are certain expectations placed upon you. When I was looking around at the covers of the books around Daughter of Deceit they all have been professionally done. I got a professional to do Whispers of a Legend (love him, too), but its more expensive than doing it yourself. I love my cover to Daughter of Deceit. I did it myself with a little help from one of the Roses, Laura (she did our cover for A Holiday to Remember).

I think the expectations concerning Indies have been raised to a new level. I say this looking around the other books beside mine. Each book looks extremely professional. There are a couple of reasons for that. Bestselling authors have been bursting on the Indie scene with their backlist. Indies also have raised their skills. All good things.

I have been so fortunate also. I have gained some great friendships. People I can’t thank enough but in time I hope to return their kindness. I won't forget. I also wanted to mention that during my free run, I was on several blogs. Check them out if you get a chance.
Ghostly Regency Romance (Beth Trissel’s blog), Oh, What a Tangled Web (S. G. Rogers’ blog) or over on Lindsay’s Romantics.

For my first experience with a semblance of success comes a lesson- never stop. I love my books. I think Daughter of Deceit is a wonderful read. I’m so excited about Whispers of a Legend series and the potential of where it could go. It’s a little taste. I will learn from it. Kept family, friends and my doggies close at hand. And above of else…get an editor.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Self Esteem shot itself in the foot today.

Self-Esteem is the feeling of well-being when thinking about yourself. It’s when you get kudos for your writing, or creating a masterpiece of some kind. It’s a low feeling when you think you are nothing until someone thinks you’re something and tells you so.

I’ve always had low self-esteem. That changed once my first book was accepted for publication. It was the biggest boost I’ve ever had in my life. It was a Readers Choice Best Seller for the first month and stayed in the top ten for many months after release. When the next two books were accepted, it was the Snoopy Dance of Joy on the ceiling for a few days. Someone actually enjoyed reading something I wrote. How wonderful!

Over the following years, I had small injections of esteem booster when each of my manuscripts were accepted for publication. I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then the other shoe fell. I registered for college. Yep, at the age of fifty-three, I decided to take a few college classes. I didn’t have a job so I needed something to get me up in the morning. Why not college? I always wanted to go to college. My daughter is in college. So, I registered in the classes she’s taking. I’ve always said there is no such thing as wasted learning.

Church Finance and Bookkeeping isn’t bad. I’ve taken bookkeeping before, back in the dark ages. The class teaches how to handle the accounting for a non-profit organization. I could use a refresher course and can always use bookkeeping skills since I do have a business. This class had me nervous the first few days but I settled in to the work and now it’s a lot of fun trying to keep up with classmates that could be my children.

English Composition, on the other hand, is where the “self-esteem shot its self in the foot” comes in. Holy cow! I have seven published books and now I’ve found out that I don’t know how to write! Well, not according to the text book, anyway. I am now learning the mechanics of writing and the steps to writing a great narrative. I have kept up with the kids but I’m wondering how I was ever published. I guess I must have done something right.

Self-esteem is taking her lumps but I’ve convinced myself that I will be a better writer for taking the class. Of course, I’m sure my editors will appreciate me learning how to make their job easier, too.

Cole Jackson knew all about low self-esteem. After being orphaned by men who didn’t understand the love his white father had for his Pauite mother, Cole was an outcast from the inhabitants of the town. He got a boost when he received a simple smile and some attention from Shyanne Bennett.

A shadow grew on the kickboard, and drew Cole's attention from his meditation.

"What's up, Chief?" Dex grinned at Cole, displaying a row of perfect teeth. His platinum hair reflected the sunlight like a halo around his head. His cronies, three idiots that Dex couldn't take a breath without their applauding his success, surrounded him. Each held their hands solemnly behind their backs.

Cole ignored them, his gaze caught by that blonde girl, Shyanne Bennett, that he'd been watching for the last four months. It was the highlight of his trips to town. She sat across the street in a wagon with one of her friends while her father tended to some business or other. Shyanne made it easy to forget that there was a horse's arse standing beside him trying to make his day worse than it already started. He'd focus on the good, and ignore the bad. He'd become good at that throughout the years.

"I'm talking to you, In-jun."

Cole concentrated on Shyanne. Dex turned, followed his line of sight and laughed.

"You've got no chance with that one. She's way out of your reach."

Cole tossed the apple core into the street. His eyes remained on the girl. He wished the idiot would go away while he enjoyed the view. She was pretty when she laughed, her blonde hair bobbing around her shoulders and down her back in soft curls. He wondered what color her eyes were.

At that moment, she noticed him. She stopped talking, her gaze locked with his, and a smile curved her mouth. Cole would remember that smile for the rest of his life. It was one of the few moments in his life when he felt acceptance. No one could take memories away from him so he held on to the special ones like a miser held on to his gold.

Dex kicked the foreleg of Cole's horse. The wagon lurched as the horse cried out. Cole leapt to the ground, his boots accenting his landing with a plume of dust. He stood face to face with Dex.

Dex grinned. "Well, I finally got through to him. You can take your eyes off the girl. If anyone gets that one, it'll be me."
"We'll see," Cole challenged, his glare drilled into Dex's eyes. They stood equal in height but Dex had quite a few pounds over Cole.

"He can talk. I didn't think he spoke English." The cronies laughed. Dex's grin melted to a smug frown. "There's nothing to see."

Cole glanced past Dex at the girl. She stood on the raised sidewalk now, and watched the exchange along with a few other people. Cole could toss this fool to the ground but it would only get him reprimanded by Sheriff Olsen. That would either impress Shyanne or she'd never speak to him because of it. Dexter Heims wasn't worth the trouble.

"Right." Cole tried to step around Dex with the intent of loading the rest of his supplies. Dex grabbed a handful of Cole's jacket, and shoved his back against the buckboard.

"I didn't tell you to go yet." As the fool stepped back, his cronies fanned out beside him. Dex turned his back to Cole for a moment, taking something from one of the others.

"What ever." Cole hooked his thumbs in his back pockets, cocked his head in annoyance, eyes on the building across the side street. A few others had gathered behind the idiots. Great. Cole smirked as he waited.

Dex turned back to Cole. "You remember General Custer? That run in they had up in Montana territory?"

Cole glared at Dex. "Last year. What about it?"

"Did it look like this?" In a synchronized attack, all four of the boys pelted Cole with balls of mud. Cole didn't flinch as the globs thudded against the wagon and the stacked supplies, startling the horse, and splattering him. He didn't take his eyes from the grin on Dex's face.

Cole smirked. "If you had half a brain, you'd remember that the other blonde horse's ass lost that battle. The Indians won." Cole headed toward the supplies, undeterred by the show of stupidity. "But you're not long on brains, are you."

Dex puzzled for a moment. He glanced around and laughed, the others following his lead, as usual. Cole continued his task as Dex and his band moved off down the street. Cole worked, his head held high as he turned his back to the laughter. As he hefted another bag of seed, he chanced a glance into Shyanne's kind blue eyes as she strolled past him into the mercantile. At least she wasn't laughing. Another memory he could keep.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Shyanne’s Secret is on sale this month at Whiskey Creek Press. See how Cole handles his self-esteem issues and how I handled my writing ability.