Sunday, April 29, 2018

Who's YOUR daddy? by Mackenzie Crowne

If you’re an avid romance junkie like me, you know heroes come in many yummy delicious packages. We all have our favorites. Mine is the darkly sexy brooder - dear Lord, be still my heart. Seriously. Even as a teenager, my ideal had dark hair and a five o’clock shadow. In fact, the only poster I ever put on my wall was this life-sized pic of Clark Gable.

Who’s your daddy, baby? Mmm mmmm. So hot.

That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the other types. I mean, who among us can resist the charming and playful blond? And hey, a mature hero with a smooth skull can be incredibly sexy. (I know this first hand. Mr. C. has been follicly challenged for years.)

Then there is the hulking Scot whose auburn waves bring sighs to many. While I love a man with a little fire in his hair, I avoid them for my own stories. My youngest son is a handsome, six-foot-four ginger and the idea of imagining certain sexy scenarios with a red headed hero is....

Well, you understand. *shudder*

My baby boy also has a full beard which, for some reason, is currently a wildly popular look that does nothing for me - other than make me think of the Smith Brothers – and that makes me cough.

(If you’re old enough to understand this reference, you probably agree a mature hero with a smooth skull is a total HOTTIE!)

As an author, my heroes are each distinct in my mind and on the page. I tend to lean toward the dark-haired type like Jake, Max, and Sam, but if you ask Tuck and Wyatt, the two remaining hotties from my Players series, they’ll no doubt tell you it’s true that blonds have more fun. As a reader, however, it doesn’t really matter what the author’s description tells me when it comes to the hero. The moment I become engrossed in a story, my mind provides its own picture of my current book boyfriend. Surprise, surprise. He inevitably resembles a certain dreamy movie star of old.

What about you? What type is your favorite and does your mind rewrite his image in your head to match your ideal?

When Mac isn’t imagining scenarios for her non-red-headed heroes, she’s providing happily-ever-afters for her lucky heroines like Sophie Taylor, heroine of Mac's RONE Award winning 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How #Setting Tugs at a #Reader By C. Hope Clark

Roses and Readers, please welcome C. Hope Clark today as our guest. She's talking of my favorite topics. Enjoy!

My fiction carries a strong sense of place. I prefer reading books where place impacts plot and characterization. Most readers, in my humble opinion, want setting to be a solid piece of the composition, where they feel they’ve left the world they live in and have completely immersed themselves into another, regardless the genre.
When you consider place, note that people as a whole usually fall into one category or another. They either love their home and the comfort of roots, or they dream of travel. Any book needs to accommodate one feeling or the other, if not both.
This blog tour I’m on of late, is in honor of my latest release Newberry Sin, the fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Setting sucked me into this story. My tales are usually grounded in real places. Towns, beaches, rural areas more than urban. Newberry Sin takes place in a real community named Newberry. Why? Because I can so see myself living there. It reminds me of age-old roots I wish still existed.
Small town Southern beckons me. I was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi and spent summers on my grandparents’ cotton farm. Grandpa was a farmer who donned a wilted fedora even in the fields with Grandma wearing a farmer’s wife dress and proverbial apron that could carry three dozen eggs from the coop back to the house. I climbed pear trees and chased feral kittens amongst the hay bales in the barn. Took my summer afternoon naps on an eight-inch-deep quilt spread across a four-poster bed. My grandmother’s rooster and Billy goat chased my sister, but loved me. I collected eggs but could not watch a hen prepped for dinner.
I played in the hollowness under a wisteria bush and tried to remember not to let the screen door slam on my way out. Biscuits were homemade every morning, served with real butter and maple syrup with my record being twelve biscuits at one sitting. For the longest time, the only phone was a party line that I would sneak and eavesdrop on when nobody looked.
Carolina Slade, the protagonist in this series, loves the country, has a degree in agricultural,
and lives to right the wrongs in what most people think is homespun rural Americana. But where there’s money, frankly, where there’s humanity of any kind, there’s corruption and a pecking order of the haves and have-nots. Slade traverses that world trying to maintain that country setting stereotype and rid the world of the ill-doers for the betterment of all. She’s an old soul in a forty-year-old body whom you might fool once, but never twice. And family means everything to her.This Newberry setting appeals to my roots. However, it appeals to an amazing number who’ve never spent a night on a farm, too. We’ve reached an era where our grandparents were more likely urban than rural, and so many wish they could’ve experienced what that was like.Which means in these days when we can travel so easily, the ruralness of Newberry Sin and the other Slade books beckons to the traveler. They can envision themselves transported to barns, fields, rivers, and general stores, and if only for the length of a story, belong to a different life.

Setting is a powerful tool. Its foundation helps mold the personality, mission, and emotional substance of a character. It’s why authors owe readers the purest delivery of that sense of place that they can. Because to refine your players, they have to be home to understand what to defend, or be away from home to have something to miss. Some piece of place grounds them, or leaves them restless. They pine for what they don’t have, or they find themselves unable to  leave it.
After WKDK-AM Radio in Newberry invited me five years ago to talk about Carolina Slade’s first escapades on the air, I was invited to one book club, then another. Each person, each setting, made me fall in love with all things Newberry. I joined the Friends of the Library, a strong contingency fighting illiteracy in Newberry County, and soon found myself at their annual, old-fashioned luncheon of chicken salad, fruit salad, and a take-away Dixie cup filled with a potted vinca or begonia for each person to take home and plant.
This was what I wanted in my Slade books. Five years after that introduction, Slade finally tackles a mystery in Newberry, South Carolina. The town is thrilled. Heck, the neighboring towns are thrilled. I’m beyond thrilled, because as I stated, everyone either feels at home, or wishes they could be there, while at the same time journeying through a mystery where the clues make everyone sure they can figure it out, because it’s all so familiar.


BIO: C. Hope Clark’s latest is Newberry Sin, her eighth mystery. Hope is also founder of FundsforWriters, and her newsletters reach 34,000 readers each Friday. Her novels have won several awards, for content and covers, and Writer’s Digest selected FundsforWriters for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the last 17 years.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Hooked on #Audio by Betsy Ashton

I blame this affliction on my mother. And on my grandmother. It's inherited, just like my silver hair came from both women. Maybe a bit of nurture thrown in, but mostly it's nature.

I am a hopeless audio addict. I love listening to books read by great readers. I love poetry read by the poets, many of whom are the only ones who should read their words aloud.

My addiction started when I was two. My grandmother read stories before every nap and at bedtime. She'd read them over and over, particularly Little Golden Books. She'd check them out of the library or buy them used. I listened and by three was following along, my tiny finger tracing the words. Once I dared to correct my grandmother when she misread a sentence. She thought I'd heard the story so many times that I'd memorized it. She said, "Show me the word." I pointed to a word she'd read wrong. I was right.

Mom read to me as often as my grandmother did. Even when I was six or seven, Mom and I would curl up in an easy chair where she'd read aloud. Black Beauty. My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead. Sand Dune Pony. By then, I was reading the books myself, but it was our special time, Mom and me, when she'd read to me.

Many decades later, when she was too ill to read, I read to her. Role reversal at its finest. I finished one of her favorite books, The American President, the day before she closed her eyes the last time.

When my husband and I travel, we load up on audio books from the library. We're hooked on suspense, thrillers, and, of course, Stephen King. We take at least four long car trips every year, so we plow through writers like Jeffrey Deaver, John Gilstrap, Lee Child, Vince Flynn, and the Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child Pendergast FBI series. We've almost missed turnoffs because the story was so engrossing. And we've been known to sit in the driveway to finish a chapter. More than once.

There is something about the marriage of a good reader with the written word. I'm looking for the right reader for my Mad Max series. So far, I haven't found the right female voice, but I will. I want other fans of the spoken word to enjoy her as much as I do on the printed page.

If you listen to audio books, which are your favorite writers?


Betsy Ashton is the author of the Mad Max Mystery series. Her stand-alone serial killer novel, EYES WITHOUT A FACE, is a departure from her normal fare.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Does talking about writing count as #amwriting?

I'm a Master Gardener and have often given talks about poison plants, many of which you have in your garden (hydrangeas; lily of the valley; daffodils...and the list goes on).

I spoke at a library recently about plants, but they really wanted to talk about writing. So I gave my slide show on poison plants (see the list on my web site, if you're curious) then we chatted about writing for an hour or more.

The attendees wanted to know the usual: how do I fit writing in my life (I work full-time, I volunteer, I have a social life); what's my process; where do I find my plots -- you know, the usual. Along the way, I mentioned that I enjoy writing but the day this becomes a job, that's the day I walk away. I have 30 books out and I've got nothing to prove to anybody--I'll take my success and move on to the next thing in life.

I "gave away" a few books (that's in quotes because everyone gave me money and I probably made more than if I'd sold them). Everyone seemed intrigued by my energy, but I pointed out that if you're doing something you enjoy doing, then you make time and energy for it. That seemed to resonate with quite a few folks, and one woman said she admired my philosophy of life.

Philosophy of life? I guess I never thought of it that way, but maybe it is. I pretty much do whatever I want (within reason: I didn't slug that guy who annoyed me in the store) and I don't worry over much about what others think of me. I try to enjoy whatever I'm doing and if I don't, I get it over with as fast as possible. Is that a philosophy of life? Hmm. Maybe.

If it is, then I'm living the dream and you know, maybe I am. Sure, things could improve. This pesky hip could get a bit stronger, I could sell a bunch more books, I wouldn't have looming deadlines in the Day Job that are giving me fits. But hey: I'm doing what I want to do, so I've got nobody to blame but myself.

It's all good.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

All Part of a #WritersLife by Brenda Whiteside

Back when I had a day job, the weekends meant so much more. For one thing, I got to write for more than fifteen minutes in the morning before work. Maybe that's when I got in the habit of working seven days a week. I'm not sure. Now that I can write everyday, barring family distractions, every day is a weekend. Writer's Life

I thought about this on Sunday afternoon when I sat down to watch Diamondbacks baseball. I love our Arizona baseball team. Yet...there I sat composing a post for a blog. FDW sat in the recliner next to me, and I hoped I'd get the post out of my head and on the page before he caught me. I know this is not just a Brenda's a writer thing. We don't take full days off our craft...we'd feel guilty if we did. So, we rarely take a complete day off. Writers' Life.

And whether a writer is a weekend warrior or full time, it's a rare author who goes on vacation without a phone and/or her laptop. I've been known to sneak into another room when FDW isn't paying attention to check my emails.

There's one thing he can't call me on and that's writing in my head. Most of my writing is done without a computer in front of me. Actually, I've been caught in cerebral writing mode a few times. "You're thinking about your book, aren't you?" Did the faraway look in my eyes give me away, or that I didn't respond to anything he said in the last twenty minutes?

The voices in my head don't know Sunday from Wednesday. How can I explain my inability to shut them down? Then there's promotion. Yes, I've known for months that the next book would eventually get released, but there were edits and those voices. And I didn't have everything I needed to approach promotion in a meaningful way. So, when the email comes with the release date for the next book, as it did last week, there is a mountain of work to do. Because until you get that date, the ISBN number, and a book that has been edited to death, you can't do much of what has to be done.

But before you think this all sounds like no fun, there are benefits. The biggest thing is flexibility. I can take my office to the chair in front of the TV and watch the boys of summer while I work. I can work a long day and get ahead of the game so I can go play with my granddaughter tomorrow. And the only one who's keeping track of my "to-do" tasks is me. I can cheat today and make up for it tomorrow.

Yet...those voices in my head are always there. Luckily, no one knows but me (and now you) and I like it!

The Worldwide Release date is coming up this summer for the fifth book in my Love and Murder Series. Look for The Deep Well of Love and Murder on June 18.

Monday, April 23, 2018

This Is How To Be A Success At #Promo by Margo Hoornstra

Wow! Kazow! I’ve done it! At long last, I’ve FINALLY done it! I’ve really, really done it!

I’ve solved the what works and what doesn’t promotional conundrum that has so many romance authors, even authors in general, stumped.


April Fool!!

I know! I know! It’s three weeks past April First. Sorry. Just couldn’t resist.

Okay, so maybe I haven't completely solved the elusive promo puzzle. No silver bullet information to impart here. What I have done, though, is to obtain some insight into the problem. And, maybe, just maybe, gotten a peek at some kind of solution.

The end of last month and beginning of this, I set up a couple of Sponsored Product ad campaigns on Amazon for the two self-published titles I have out there.


Our own Alison Henderson had used them, I was told, with some success. Another of our own, Jannine Gallant had used them too. Why not me?

First, I needed to understand what, exactly a Sponsored Product ad was. (Bringing traffic to the buy page of MY product as the result of being on the buy page of others.) Not an easy concept for me to grasp, I’m afraid. Once I had that mastered though, I started by listing upwards of 75 keywords, in this case names of other authors with books similar to mine, AND established track records, ie high numbers of good reviews. Next was to set my daily cost limit at a conservative $5.00 and my bid limit (still not exactly sure what that is) at $.25 per and I was off.

Initially, things began to look very, very good. Impressions were coming in at about 4,000 a day for SIS and 2,000 a day for FMOL. Sixteen clicks on each in the first ten days! My exposure on KU (Kindle Unlimited) and KOLL (Kindle Owners Lending Library) was growing. People were actually reading my books! I sold a copy.

My other books, traditionally published through The Wild Rose Press 


were selling. Minimally, but selling.

Then, without warning, the newness of it all began to fade. Impressions dwindled to about half of what they had been after only two weeks. Currently, Saturday In Serendipity averages 400 a day, For Money Or Love a mere 100.

Nonetheless, there is movement. There is visibility. There are sales.

My plan is to hang in there for another month or two and see what happens. Though I don’t have exact royalty figures for any of the titles right now, I do know I have made more than I’ve spent.

And isn’t that what advertising is all about anyway? In that sense, this current campaign of mine is a success.

Go figure.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the stories I write, please visit my WEBSITE

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Being a Thoughtful Writer by Leah St. James #amwriting

About eight years ago I attended the annual conference for New Jersey Romance Writers. Since the conference takes place across the water from Manhattan, it usually draws some big names in romance fiction, and I hit the jackpot that year.

I sat next to Brenda Novak at lunch where we shared concerns over having sons with Type 1 diabetes. I attended a round-table discussion for published authors facilitated by Suzanne Brockman where she talked about how she was handling the emergence of self-publishing. And I attended a workshop led by Eloisa James. (Talk about writing “fan girl” heaven.) I don’t know what happened to the copious notes I took from these and other sessions, but one thing Eloisa James said stuck in my head all these years.

Someone asked her about her writing routine—what a typical writing day looks like. She didn’t answer right away but finally said (paraphrasing) that she spends a lot of her writing time thinking. She got a laugh from the audience, but it made sense.

Creating fiction, or any piece of writing, takes time in thought before you can start actually writing. Then as you’re putting your story to words, you sometimes have to stop and adjust, maybe consider a different angle or research a point.

Writing takes a lot of thought, and that requires time.

I was reminded of that this week, Friday night actually, when I staggered home after a 12-hour day at the “paycheck job,” exhausted, discouraged and ready for more than bed. I was ready, in that moment, to sit down and tell  TPM (The Plot Master a/k/a hubby a/k/a my critique partner) that I was taking a break from writing until the day I could (hahahaha) leave full-time employment and maybe get a part-time job.

I didn’t say anything to him (other than “goodnight”!), and he got up first in the morning (meaning fed the cat and locked him out of the bedroom). Luckily I woke feeling a bit less fatalistic. Then we went to breakfast at our favorite diner-type breakfast spot, and the conversation turned to the plot of my current WIP. (You might recall that’s the one he ripped to shreds about a year ago, the one I’ve been struggling to get back on track.)

I told him about some changes I’ve made in his ideas, and we talked them out. We looked at different angles to the story, and I explained why I decided to make the changes. I had so much fun! When we left, I was re-energized and ready to tackle the project again.

I know I’ll get discouraged again. I’m sure I’ll have many more long days at work when I come home too tired to do more than fall into bed, days when I think about chucking it all. But I hope I can remember those words from Eloisa James. I hope I can slow down for a few minutes and think about why I started writing--to tell a story. I hope I can remember again how she inspired me. It might take me another five years to finish this blasted book, but as long as I keep at it, a little every day, someday I’ll get there.


Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil and the power of love—or at least she writes them in her head. Eventually they make it onto a book form. To learn more, go to

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Busy as a bee by Barbara Edwards

I almost forgot to post my blog. This week has been a challenge. I’m researching a new story and plotting the story line. All of a sudden I’m full of energy. The rainy, cold weather isn’t making an impression. I ignored the rain to enjoy the clumps of crocus opening blue and white faces to the sky. the few yellow are far outdone by the others. I even have a hyacinth sneaking out. I love their scent.

So back to my story. Lucky for me its in an era I’m familiar with, northern New England. how can I forget the covered bridge, the granite quarry, the mountains covered with color or green of every shade.

The older towns have beautiful mansions from a time when the factory owners lorded over the right side of the tracks.

I’m thinking about what to name my story. What goes with spice? Herbs sounds a little hard. I can see my hero, know my heroine and what each wants. Certainly not each other at this point.

So I’m spending the next couple months in the green mountains of Vermont with a deadline of July first.

I’ll probably be sharing parts of my story as I run into problems with the plot. 
Did you know that there are scattered family cemeteries on many of the old farms?

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Amazon Author’s Page

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Tale of Three Tails or Three Dog Night In The Country

         My Family Grew When I Wasn't Looking

First there was Zap. He came into my life about a year and a half ago after I discovered him on a pound puppy website. He'd been abused, starved, and dumped outside their shelter. I was interested as I didn't want a puppy but the ad claimed he was two or more years old. 
Later, my vet would say he was more likely only a year old. 
It took a while to win his trust and he's still skittish around strangers. He also retains an almost pathological aversion to pickup trucks and large men.
However, he loves women and children and is a real sweetheart.

About six months after adopting Zap, I learned about a four-month-old pup. Bred as a Cowboy Corgi (Corgi/Heeler mix) this little guy didn't fit the desired standard. Although a Cowboy Corgi can be long or short haired and all colors, their legs have to be Corgi short.

Here, on the left, is Kif with legs twice the accepted length. The breeder  planned to take him to the pound unless he found someone to take him off his hands. And that's how this boy joined the household. 

Image result for Cowboy Corgi
I added this picture on the right so you can see how tall a Cowboy Corgi ought to be.

It didn't take Kif long to warm up to his new digs.                                  
Though training is slow things were going smoothly enough when three days ago this sweet fellow walked up on the deck, opened the screen door, and walked right in.
After I got over the surprise of finding a strange dog in my house, I gently ushered him back outside. Back on the deck, he stared in at me, grinned as if we'd just shared a marvelous joke, and furiously wagged a barely-there tail. Then he simply opened the door and came back inside. 

At least this time I got to see how Houdini accomplished his skillful breaking and entering. Using his nose, he bounces the wire meshing until there is enough space to get one toenail inside - after that it's a quick slide open. He had that sliding screen door open in seconds flat.

No collar and, beneath all that silky-soft hair, I could feel the outline of every bone. So, of course, I fed him. His tummy had shrunk so much that he wasn't able to eat even half of what the other two consume.

Three days later and he's also making himself at home. 
The spot on the couch without the red cover is where I sit and the space is getting smaller and smaller. 

Here they are one big family.

Checking out the new guy's pearly whites, I can tell he's also a youngster. So much for planning. I now own three furry juveniles where I'd originally planned on a single teenager.

While Zap and Kif are a little jelly, they've also started teaching Bender (yes, I've named him) the ropes. Their first and most vital task each morning (after lifting a leg) is to check out the pond. You never know when there might be a Canada Goose, Duck, or Heron to bark at.

As for this crazy dog lady? I'm headed back into town for more dog food.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What Do Writing and the Weather Have in Common? by Jannine Gallant

I took this video in the meadow a couple of days ago on a walk with Ginger. The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and the frogs were croaking. Spring had arrived!

Today is the first day of my "summer" job at the boat ramp. This is the current view outside my booth where I have two heaters cranked up to combat the 24 degree temperature. If a boater shows up, I'll probably faint from shock. LOL Not that I'm complaining, mind you, since I have a ten hour shift and nothing to distract me from writing.

April is one of those months where you never know what will happen. Kind of like my WIP (work in progress). Without a signed contract for this book/series, I've been struggling to stay focused and on track. My personal deadline (complete a book every five months) will be up in June, and I'm only a little over the half-way mark. I've come to the conclusion I won't be finished by then, and I honestly am not freaking out about that. I put a lot of pressure on myself to produce, and I need to ease up! My publisher is waiting to see how well my current series sells before offering a new contract, so I can adjust the timeline accordingly at that stage. If I get a new contract... But let's not go there and just assume I will.

I wrote in another post that I was going to put together an outline to better stay on track. I actually did! I know, shocking, right? I have a few rough notes scribbled in a binder, plot points that need to happen in the next quarter of the book. I even put together a romance arc to keep that part of the story moving forward. I was pretty pleased with myself...until I actually started writing. Just like the erroneous assumption that spring had arrived and it would be smooth sailing (get it--boat ramp LOL), those clouds rolled in and snowed on my parade. (Sorry about the mixed metaphors.) My characters got off track immediately. I tried to drag them, kicking and screaming, back to my outline, but they're stubborn. Finally, I gave up and decided to go with the flow. Maybe they'll work their way toward my plot points in good time. Or not. I've come to the conclusion some things can't be forced. My hope is my characters know what they're doing. I guess we'll find out.

In the meantime, pick up a copy of BURIED TRUTH. I need sales to get that next contract. Help a paranoid author out, and happy reading!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Loving Our Bad Boys by Betsy Ashton

Why is it that we fall in love with our bad boys? I don't mean in real life, although that was true once for me when I fell in love with a budding rock star, until he became a star and lost his way in the drug scene.

I mean, why do we like our bad boys in our books? I ask that because I have never written a story about a bad boy. My Mad Max series has strong male figures, but Max's boyfriend can't be confused with a bad boy. Johnny Medina is a decent guy who loves Max. Period.

My serial killer is the closest to a bad ass dude as I've written, yet she is a female bad ass dude. I didn't fall in love with her, but I became entranced by her story. After all, she has a "storied" career of what she sees as righteous kills. Her fans find themselves rooting for her, even as she struggles with her own psychological mysteries. She doesn't know how she would be defined in the DSM and frankly doesn't care.

So, why do I want to write about a bad boy? Because they look so deliciously entertaining. Years ago, I wrote a romance which I never sent out. It doesn't fit the genre model. The characters are both around forty. One is married; one wears a wedding band, but her marital status is unclear. When they fall in love, the conflict intensifies along with the heat. He's married; she might be. Is he a bad boy for being married and loving a potentially married woman? So far, he's the baddest dude I've tried to write.

I read about bad boys all the time. I love thrillers and suspense stories. My fictional heroes range from Jack Reacher to Mitch Rapp to Jack Bauer to Mr. Reese in the old Person of Interest television show. They kill. They're good at it. Very good. They are sexy in a dangerous sort of way. They kill people who need killing. They hide in plain sight.

Oh, hell. That Thing in Eyes Without A Face is a female version of all them with a dash of Dexter. I guess I can write about a bad ass. Bad ass dudettes need equal billing.

What do you think?


Betsy Ashton is the author of the Mad Max Mystery series. Her stand-alone serial killer novel, EYES WITHOUT A FACE, is a departure from her normal fare.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Life Happens by Diane Burton

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. ~ John Lennon

I should stencil John Lennon’s quote on the inside of my eyelids. This has not been my best year, writing-wise. Oh, 2018 started great with lots of energy, ideas galore, a plan to release three novels this year. For two weeks, I was going great guns on the fourth Alex O’Hara mystery. Then, for some weird reason (which I won’t go into), I quit that book to finish one that I thought was 75% done. It wasn’t, but I’d committed to it.

Enter the doldrums of 2018. Winter blues, depression. Whatever. I was stalled during the month of February. I wrote but not as much as I could have. With March, spring was in the air. Sort of. For a day or two we had sunshine. Hurray! My energy returned. The finish line was in sight, just 10k words to write. I had the outline done, just needed to go from “telling” to “showing.” And I was looking forward to celebrating Easter with my family.

That’s when Life slapped me up the side of the head and said, “Unh uh.” I woke up one morning with a vicious sore throat and a cough. I guess Life thought I needed to remember all those people who got influenza, even those who’d gotten the shot, those who ended up in the hospital. When family members (Hubs included) had gotten hit with bad colds, I escaped. I couldn’t believe it. How lucky could I get!

My luck ran out. No Easter with the family, not with coughing my head off. Finally, I was bullied (Hubs and daughter) into going to the doctor. Guess what? Doctors take Spring Break, too. Off to Urgent Care, where I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Say what? That explained the lack of energy, difficulty breathing with the least exertion, wanting to sleep all the time.

Along with no physical energy, my creative energy disappeared. Even reading was too hard. So was Facebook and email. Binge-watching Netflix was all I could manage. Life must have thought I needed downtime while one course of antibiotics worked. Recheck at the doctor’s showed an ear and sinus infection. Another course of antibiotics. More downtime. After all that, I am feeling better. I even got to see the grandkids last week. Talk about withdrawal. I hadn't seen them in over two weeks.

The plan to finish my romantic suspense (Number Never Lie) by Easter didn’t happen. That pushed back the release by Mother’s Day even farther. I'm almost afraid to mention a release date. I’m disappointed, but what can I do? Buckle down again. Keep on truckin’.

We make plans, and Life laughs.

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She blogs here on the 16th and 30th of each month. She shares snippets from Numbers Never Lie every weekend on her blog.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Art of the Blurb by Alison Henderson

By the time you read this, I will be deep in my edits, probably moaning and tearing my hair. However, at the moment I'm taking advantage of my last few days of freedom to work on the blurb for UNDERCOVER NANNY that will become my Amazon product description.

As you know, blurbs vary widely in length and level of detail. Some are mere teasers. Others spell out most of the main plot points. I've read quite a number of articles on how to write great product descriptions, but I'm not sure I got many useful pointers from any of them. Some were written by professional marketers, and others by authors discussing the elements and style that have worked for there. I'm not a marketing guru, but personal preference seems to play a major role.

So, what about you? When you're looking for a new book, what do you look for in a blurb? Do you want a brief description that gives you an idea of the tone of the book but only a broad overview of the characters and plot? Or do you feel more comfortable (and therefore more likely to part with your hard-earned cash) if you have a better idea of the story?

I don't think most readers like super-long blurbs, so I've written two potential options for UNDERCOVER NANNY: one with approximately 100 words, and one twice that length. I would love your opinion as to which would make you more likely to hit the "Buy" button.

Kidnapping. Extortion. Antiquities smuggling. Add one light-fingered, bad-tempered monkey, and it’s all in a day’s work for novice bodyguard Casey Callahan.

She has been hired to protect the five-year-old niece of archaeology professor Alec Bainbridge from would-be kidnappers while posing as the child’s nanny—a task made all the more challenging by the escapades of Balthazar, a Capuchin with an attitude.

Amid break-ins, anonymous threats, and possible arson, Casey and Alec race to identify the villains before they harm the child or make off with a priceless Egyptian artifact. All the while, their growing mutual attraction becomes a complication too powerful to ignore.

Kidnapping. Extortion. Antiquities smuggling. Add one light-fingered, bad-tempered monkey, and it’s all in a day’s work for novice bodyguard Casey Callahan.

Casey has been working part-time for an all-female bodyguard agency while finishing her graduate degree. In her first solo assignment, she has been hired to protect the five-year-old niece of a handsome archaeology professor from would-be kidnappers while posing as the child’s nanny. When she arrives at the house, she is startled to learn her duties will also include wrangling the little girl’s staunch companion, an impudent Capuchin named Balthazar.

Alec Bainbridge has been balancing excavation and teaching duties with single parenthood since the death of his sister. When a stranger attempts to take his niece from school, his fears push him to hire a bodyguard. However, the young woman who shows up is a far cry from the matronly type he was expecting.

Despite Alec and Casey's best efforts, the anonymous threats continue to escalate, sending them on a race to identify the villains before they harm the child or make off with a priceless Egyptian artifact. All the while, their growing mutual attraction becomes a complication too powerful to ignore.

Do you like either? Should I mix and match elements? I want to give readers enough, but not too much. It's a fine line, and any help you can give will be most appreciated.