Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kari's Kave: The End ... or just the beginning!

The satisfaction of writing "The End" is such an amazing feeling! But the end isn't ever really the end, it's just the beginning. Beginning of revisions, beginning of starting a new book, beginning of a whole new set of possibilities.

So much work goes into writing a book. Coming up with a great idea, having enough twists and turns to carry the book the whole way through, finding a fabulous conclusion that will leave the reader satisfied and wanting more....

It's not easy!

I always say I'm going to make a schedule and stick to it. I really need to start doing that for my own sanity. But for some reason, I always end up procrastinating. I seem to do my best work under pressure. I don't know why that is. It's the same with dieting. I can never seem to stick to anything without some kind of deadline. Like an upcoming wedding or trip or (ahem....conference!)

So today and tomorrow I will be polishing my book three like a mad woman so I can meet my deadline of the end of the day on March 1st! That's Thursday of this week, people! And then I will be starting my diet and exercise and, yes, a new schedule on Friday.

Friday is 8 weeks until Malice! Let the countdown begin!

Eeeek. I am so excited. Thank God I have Liz and her CP Joni and fellow Berkley author Rochelle there. I haven't been to a conference without my own CP Barbara Witek since the VERY beginning so many years ago. She MAKES the conference for me. I have so much fun with her, it won't be the same :-( But, I understand. Her son's confirmation falls on the same weekend.

At the same time, this is a great opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone and meet some new people. As outgoing as I am, I am shy when I first meet people. I like my comfy peeps with me. Once I get to know someone, I come out of my shell. But to meet them initially is scary.

I am looking forward to meeting my fellow Killer Character bloggers. That will be really cool. And I get to be on a panel with the 4 other Agatha nominees for Best First Novel, which will be scary but also cool! At least I'm not alone up there and only have to answer questions for like 8 to 10 minutes and then sign books after. The scariest part for me will be the new mystery authors breakfast. There are 24 of us and we each get our own table with 10 seats at it. The fans come in and choose which table they want to sit at and eat breakfast with that author.

Eeeek....what if no one sits at my table?

Hoping someone likes our books is terrifying enough, but being the last one picked to be on their team (or to sit with at breakfast :-) is even more terrifying. Even more reason to get in shape and look my best! Gulp!!

I just keep chanting, "It's not the end (of the world if people don't like you), it's just the beginning (of everything!)" I CAN do this, I WILL do this!

Now back to my Kave, and back to your regularly scheduled program...Karitown out :-)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Anita's Attic: Smashing Through Writer's Block


I have an upcoming deadline that's looming too close for comfort, and since I'm not a fast writer, I'm feeling some pressure. The writing is going good. I'm happy with the plot and the characters, I'm writing every day, paying attention to word count, and watching the pages add up, but I still have so much to do. I would love to have my rough draft finished by now, take a month break from the story, then start on edits. Not happening. I've spent the past two days stuck on one scene. Not because I don't know have any idea what happens next, but because I have two things that could happen next. Which one do I choose?

This is where my indecisiveness trips me up. Either option would work, maybe equally well, and that's the problem. I can't decide between them. I look at pros and cons, try to weigh which is better for the story, but still I can't decide. Maybe I'm thinking too hard. Sometimes I can move to a different place in the manuscript and the issue will resolve itself based on what happens there, but sometimes I can't move on until I know.

Eventually the breakthrough comes, sometimes through brainstorming with someone else, my CP or hubby. Sometimes seeing a movie or reading something in a book will spark an answer. More often than not, the answer comes in the wee hours when I'm trying to sleep, as it did this time. I had gone to bed at a decent hour, something that's rare for me. I woke after three hours and couldn't go back to sleep. So I let my mind go. And bam! there it was. A solution staring me in the face.

Austin had just come to bed after a bout of insomnia and I didn't want to keep him awake, so I grabbed my iPhone, dove under the covers, and started making notes. After the frustration of the past two days, I wasn't taking any chances that I might forget the solution to my problem. I was suffocating under the covers, but exhilarated. Even more exhilarated when Austin decided he still couldn't sleep and I was able to pull my head out from under the covers and breathe. It was beautiful. The ideas were flying, and in less than an hour I had fixed that problem and another scene that was going to be an issue later on.

All writers get stuck in scenes, but do you ever get stuck because you have more than one option?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Liz's Lair: What Do Monster Trucks Have To Do With Writing?




You'll be surprised to find out. But here's another question for you? What does a library appearance, a soccer game, a book signing, and monster trucks all have in common?

I did them all in three days!

Most of you know I'm in between books right now, having just finished book 3 and waiting to begin book 4. I love this time in my writing journey when I'm not stressing out over what to write or finding time to actually write it. I call it my recharging time. Like all of you, I give so much of myself to the written word, and I'm left exhausted when I write "the end."

I know. I know. Most of that exhaustion is because I am the queen of procrastination and have to write like a maniac to make a deadline. Still – – I've wrapped up the latest adventure of Jordan and her gang. and they need a break, too.

So for the past month I have not written a single word on CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER. Oh, I've done a little plotting, and I've come up with names and character profiles of some of the new characters, but that’s it. Fortunately, I’m part of a group of talented writers who call themselves the Plotting Princesses. (Come visit our blog sometimes.) They have really been instrumental in my last two books, helping me come up with great plots from just a title and a blurb. Can you imagine being in a room with 10 or more women who talk to people in their heads playing "what if?"

The bad news is that our next retreat isn't until the end of March, and I cannot sit around and do nothing until then. I have to get my butt in gear.

But not just yet!

Thursday, I was invited to the Duncanville, Texas, Library by a group of readers called The Damsels. Mary Musgrave and her band of voracious readers wanted me to do a reading and whatever else I cared to do. There was a group of about 30 people waiting when I arrived five minutes late. (Totally Mary’s fault since she kept me at dinner too long!! LOL) Now, those of you who know me know that I need oxygen to speak in front of a group. So, I was as nervous as a hooker in church.

The first thing I did was ask how many had read my book. Two thirds of the crowd raised their hands. I was in shock. After that I felt like I was among friends and sailed through the ninety minutes, barely stopping to breathe. I have always said I could BS with the best of them. There was talk of my being the guest of honor at a big Friends of the Library fundraiser.

Oh no! Let’s not get carried away.

On Saturday, I went to my grandson's first soccer game of the spring season. The weather was gorgeous, and he did fantastic, scoring two goals in the win. That afternoon I signed at Barnes & Noble in Denton, Texas, with Misa Ramirez and Diane Kelly. The proceeds went to help a local school that had lost a lot in a recent fire. It was one of the few times I haven't sold out, since traffic was slow at that time of the day. In hindsight, we should have signed earlier in the day when they had several activities going on in the store.

Directly from the signing I went with my daughter, hubby, and two grandsons to the Monster Jam at Cowboys Stadium.

OMG!!!

I only went because I had nothing else to do and wanted to be with my family. I figured I could daydream or plot during the show.

OMG!!!


First off, I'm not sure I will ever be able to hear right again. The noise level was unbelievable. And I was so caught up in the monster trucks in the competition that time flew by without any daydreaming. I was reminded of the Saturday afternoons as a teenager when my father and I would plop in front of the TV and watch wrestling religiously. I know now that most of the action was staged, but you couldn't convince me of that back then. My guess is that monster truck races are simply wrestling on wheels.

Now, I'm a college graduate who is also a published author. These kinds of things only appeal to the beer drinking, cussing good old boys who want to let off steam after a grueling week at a blue-collar job, right?

Wrong! There were more young kids there that at a public school! And you know what? This "professional" woman was hollering so loud when the trucks turned over that I am a little hoarse today. I tried to post a video of one truck who lost a wheel but kept on thrilling the crowds until he rolled over and caught on fire, but Blogger wouldn't take it. So I found one for last year's jam to give you an idea of what goes on at those things.

Anyway, I've decided one monster truck jam is probably all I'll ever need in my life, but I'm really glad I went. I did discover one thing, though. Unlike the young, good-looking, slender race car drivers on the NASCAR circuit, monster truck drivers are over 40 and chunky – – kind of like me.

So now I'm left with trying to convince my six-year-old grandson why he shouldn't grow up to be a monster truck driver. And I'm back to enjoying another couple of weeks of recharging until my deadline for book 4 sneaks up on me and I shift into panic mode.

So, to answer the title question, monster trucks turned out to be a heck of a way to recharge for me. Now my question for you is have you ever been to a monster truck jam? What do you do to recharge?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Throw me a bouey, Jethro!

Excuse me, but I need to use a lifeline. Then again, I might not have one left. Let's just say, there's a reason why I over think things. I like to consider myself a planner. I'm organized (usually) and I like to know exactly how I'm going to handle something. I've never been one to leap without looking. Impulsive Barbie is NOT a good thing.

Case in point: me going back to school. GREAT idea in theory. I pumped myself up about it. I can do it! The kids are more self-sufficient, I can make it work around their schedules and working the day job, yeah...gooooo Barbie! You're never to old to keep learning, way to go, advance that job!

Bullshit.

I AM too old! And while my kids are pretty self-sufficient, I'm missing the down time with them. And why is that? Because I have NO down time!!!!!!!! My nose is stuck behind a book (classroom text book, not even a book from one of my peeps!) 7 days a week, for hours at a time! I have had a paper due every week for the last 4 weeks, not to mention a huge group project due next week, and a paper for the other class I'm taking due as well. We are talking 4-6 chapters a week, and that is just 1 class. Chapters for the other are smaller, but they are more intense and require extreme focus on my part.

So what has happened to my professional writing? It has come to a screeching halt, that's what! Not only am I ready to poke my eyes our from all of the reading, but I'm going to freak out over the projects I want to get done that I can't seem to get to - not even on the weekends. IN-Sane, I tell you! I've missed my blog day at LEAST 3 times since classes started, I'm chewing my cuticles like crazy from all of the stress and somehow I missed national margarita day! I've come up with some fantastic anthology ideas that I need to get working on and I'm getting some positive vibes from a cozy submission that I'm hoping turns into something great.

Lots of writing to be done, and unfortunately by the end of the day I've got nothing left. Ugh. And as much as I told myself not to, I'm freaking out over everything. I'm trying to set deadlines for myself, think ahead about promotion for the soon to be released e-book, and find time to write.

What's that old saying? You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Yup, that would be me. I thought taking classes would be more of a brain cell issue (you know, they haven't been exercised except for writing romance, not to mention the vineyards of wine I've drank!) The brains are holding up decently well. It's the nerves and timing that are floundering! I will be the first to admit, I can't keep up. I can't stay up until 11PM or later reading, and then til 12AM or later writing papers!

Can anyone say "burn out"?

Right now I need to be that little engine that could and make it up the obnoxiously big hill to May 7th. But until then, throw me a bouey and let me bob around awhile with the occasional margarita. I'm hoping to have some cozy mystery news to share in the very near future.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend M&M'ers!!!

Cassy's Corner- Life's Strange Moments


As many of you know, my husband’s mother recently passed away. It was partially expected and partially a surprise. We all, including my father-in-law, are doing surprising well.  But, there were moments that will stay with us that might be slightly outside our perception of the norm.
For example, my sister-in-law, daughter and I were sorting through belongings, at the insistence of my father-in-law. He wanted as much taken care of as possible while we were there. So for two and a half days we rolled up our sleeves and went through 66 years of marriage. We matched broken earring backs to the earrings, we found stick pins that had been missing for years, we complied more silly silk flowers than Carter has pills.
One item we found was a broken music box. The top was split. The music part unglued from the base and the handle to wind it gone. She had loved it, but it was far beyond repair. We shook it, turned it and finally admitted it was for the garbage bag. Five minutes later the garbage bag was full of music from the little box. We dug around to retrieve it and as soon as we touched it, it stopped. Nothing we did could make it run again.
One silly necklace she loved to wear at Christmas was a string of tiny Christmas lights that ran by a battery pack. They twinkled all different colors. We played with it, no go. We checked the battery pack and it was empty. Many of the tiny bulbs were broken. Cindy, my sil, sat it on the bureau as it was time to fix lunch. I went to get something out of the bedroom and stood in shock. I called to my daughter and sil, to come quickly. The necklace was blinking like crazy. No battery in it mind you. Cindy picked it up and said, “Okay, Mom, you’re messing with us.” The necklace went completely brilliant and then died out. No shaking, twisting, or fussing would turn it back on.
Later that night we were all sitting in the den, tired but happy to have many of the family together. We began telling stories- good ones, bad ones, silly ones- you know the sort. My husband began one about how his mother always admonished him for sitting on the pretty straight back chairs deemed for “proper” ladies rather than in the ones meant for someone more his size. At that moment, literally, the dainty chair he was sitting in crumbled to the floor in at least fifteen pieces. My husband had no chance to catch himself and ended up in the midst of a rubble.
My father-in-law looked to the ceiling and said, “We get it, Toni, just give us warning next time.”

We had even more stories such as these over the combined recent four trips we made out there, as did others in our family. My ability to believe in the larger universe is growing. Have others had experiences such as these?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kari's Kave: Chrystle Fiedler is in the house!

Hi folks! Kari here :-) While I'm away for some fun in the sun in fabulous Florida, I have a special treat for you. Please give a warm welcome to Chrystle Fiedler. You're going to lover her new book Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery!

*Chrystle is giving away one signed copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave a comment and your email address so we can contact you if you win.*

The floor's all yours, Chrystle....

First of all I’d like to thank Kari Townsend and the rest of the bloggers on the mysteries and margaritas blogspot for allowing me guest blog! I’m here to talk about my new book DEATH DROPS: A NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERY which is on sale now and features Willow McQuade, ND, a naturopathic doctor who specializes in natural cures. When her aunt Claire is murdered, Willow takes over her health food store Nature’s Way Market & Cafe and sets out to solve the crime with a hunky ex-cop. Not only is Death Drops a fun cozy mystery it also has over 2 dozen natural remedies you can try at home. You’ll find everything from yoga to meditation, from vitamins to herbs and homeopathic medicines.


You may be wondering why write about natural remedies? Well, when I was growing up my mother practiced natural cures such as tea bag baths for sunburn, homeopathic remedies for colds and allergies (she even had her own homeopathic kit), arnica oil for sprains and bruises and, of course, chicken soup with garlic was always a staple. I knew that natural remedies worked and became a believer. This interest became the thread that would run through my entire career as a writer.


So, after I graduated from Boston University with a degree in communications, I dabbled in various vocations including advertising and television production (Designing Women, Evening Shade, Early Edition) in Hollywood, I became a journalist specializing in natural health. I’ve written about natural cures for Natural Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Prevention, Vegetarian Times, The Health Monitor Network and was the Good Nature columnist for Remedy magazine.


In 2009 I followed my interest in natural remedies into non-fiction. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Remedies (Alpha, 2009), was followed by Beat Sugar Addiction Now! (Fairwinds Press, 2010 4th printing), and the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Cookbook (Fairwinds Press, 2012) both with noted holistic physician Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. and The Country Almanac of Home Remedies (Fairwinds Press, 2011) with herbalist Brigitte Mars.


So it was only “natural” that when it came to fiction, I’d focus on natural remedies too. In 2011, my life-long dream came true when Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster bought my natural remedies series.


Now, I’m looking forward to sharing Willow’s (and my) passion for natural remedies with readers. Since it’s cold and flu season I thought these cures would be most helpful:


1. Vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin C stimulates your immune system to fight that cold. Take 1000 mg. (to bowel tolerance) up to three times daily to shorten the duration of a cold. This is confirmed by over 30 studies that were analyzed by the Cochrane Database Systematic Review in 2004. Zinc, especially in the form of lozenges helps prevent viral replication of the cold virus in the throat by stimulating T-cell response. Stay under 50 mg. daily.


2. Elderberry can minimize the duration of flu symptoms including chills, headache and respiratory infection. According to a 2004 study published in The Journal of International Medical Research, when people were given elderberry syrup, (the brand name is Sambucol), 90% felt better after just three days! Elderberry syrup is also delicious! Take a dose every couple of hours you are awake when fighting something off. Decrease as you improve.


3. Drink two teaspoons each of apple cider vinegar and honey in a cup of hot water three times daily to break up mucus congestion. Diluted lemon in hot water or berry juices can help relieve fever.


4. Soothe a sore throat with a nice cup of licorice root tea. It eases irritated mucus membranes and stimulates the immune system.


5. Soaking in a hot bath is good for colds and flu. Draw a bath and add a cup of Epsom salts and 7 drops of essential oil of eucalyptus or ginger to promote sweating release of toxins. You can also sip some diaphoretic herbs in the tub such as elder flower and ginger. Afterwards dress warm and rest. Feel better!


If you have a medical condition check with your doctor before using these natural remedies.


About Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery:


Dr. Willow McQuade, N.D., a twenty-eight-year-old naturopathic doctor specializing in natural remedies, has decided to take sabbatical and visit her Aunt Claire, the owner of Nature’s Way Market and Cafe in idyllic Greenport, Long Island. But the idea of rest and relaxation is quickly forgotten when Willow arrives from a morning meditative walk to discover her Aunt Claire dead in the store, a strange almond-like smell emanating from her mouth and a bottle of flower essences by her side.


Despite her Zen nature and penchant for yoga, Aunt Claire had a knack for getting into confrontations with folks. An activist, she held weekly meetings for different causes every week in the store. The police want to believe the death is accidental—but Willow thinks she may have been poisoned.


Things get worse when Aunt Claire’s valuable recipe for a new natural age-defying formula, Fresh Face, is stolen during a store break-in, and an attempt is made on Willow’s life. Desperate for a way out of the mess, she turns to a handsome young cop Jackson Spade. Together the two set about solving the case the natural way—through a combination of hard work, common sense, and a dose of luck.


Praise for Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery


“With a terrific premise and an interesting topic Fiedler’s debut shows promise.” Library Journal


Death Drops is a gem! Entertaining, informative, and with a mystery that had me completely baffled! – Gayle Trent, author of Killer Sweet Tooth


"Fiedler's absorbing mystery is an entertaining debut, featuring a likeable menagerie of characters, filled with natural remedies, with all of it unfolding on Long Island's idyllic East End." Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, author of the national bestseller Liberating Paris.



“An engaging investigative thriller…an enjoyable whodunit.” The Mystery Gazette



For more information please visit www.chrystlefiedler.com

Chrystle Fiedler

cfwrites@optonline.net
www.chrystlefiedler.com
www.killerhobbies.blogspot.com
www.chrystlecontent.com
Follow Me on Twitter: @ChrystleFiedler
Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery (Gallery/Simon & Schuster Feb 21 2012)
The Country Almanac of Home Remedies (Fairwinds Press 2011)
Beat Sugar Addiction Now! (Fairwinds Press 2010)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Natural Remedies (Alpha 2009)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anita's Attic:Visualizing Your Story

I think all writers create their stories in layers. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, I don't know anyone who can write a brilliant story with the first draft. I'm somewhere between a plotter and a pantser myself. I do plot out the story, but it's VERY open to change and in fact it always changes, because I get my best ideas later in the story. That excites me, frustrates me, and frankly, it puzzles me. Why can't I think it through before I write?

As we all know, writing is hard work, and while it's so rewarding to see the story building and growing, it's tricky to go back and pull all those threads together, old ones and the new, and make it come together. Part of my problem is that I can't see the setting or the characters clearly. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. Lots of writers can perfectly envision their characters and the setting. I can't. I can see the plot and I can see the movement of the story as if on a stage, but it's in a vague way. If I have a house, or a castle as is usually the case, it may look different in my head each time I sit down to write. That wouldn't be so bad if the darned picture was at least clear. It's all vague. As I told my husband yesterday, any accolades I get on my writing should be doubled, because it's as if I'm writing blind.

I think this is why I'm finding movies so inspiring. I can see the thing in them that I can't clearly see in my head. My hubby and I watched the new Sherlock Holmes this weekend. I was so inspired with the overall plot. We watched an Agatha Christie (Miss Marple) that we'd recorded. It was a amazing. Secret passages, just like in my story. There they were. I could see them. Then we watched part of a James Bond. Wow, there was the fancy hotel in my story, the one I couldn't picture.

One thing I've learned is that we're all good at different things. I'm good with plot and even though I can't visualize my characters and settings as clearly as I would like, I do manage to pull it together. So there's hope for everyone! I had one reader write to me that she loved how I describe things, not so overdone that she got bored and started skimming, but just enough so that her own imagine kicked in. So I guess it's not hopeless. But my dream is to see the story clearly and get all those great ideas in earlier so I don't have to go back and make changes. Ideally, BEFORE I even start writing. Guess I'll have to see lots of movies.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Liz's Lair: Knowing When to Start Your Novel

So, just in case you don't know, I sold book 4 in my mystery series with a title and a one line blurb. Here is the blurb for CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER.

When an international playboy ends up dead at the International Italian Festival, and Alex’s sister is accused of the murder, Jordan and the motley crew of neighbors hatch a plan that leads to the Godfather himself knocking at her door.

Okay, that's what I have to work with. Knowing where to begin has always been a problem for me. In the past, I've struggled with wanting to put in too much back story too soon, but I think I have finally killed that demon. I write mysteries, so I know the first three chapters are set up.

In MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT, book 3, the setting is a culinary contest on a cruise ship. (Think Top Chef meets my Clueless Cook.) I went back and forth as to where to actually start the story.

Should I put them walking onto the ship? What about starting out with the first competition which I called the Greased Lightning Elimination Round?

I finally settled on a scene on a fishing boat the day before the cruise when my heroine and the contestants spend the day drinking, eating, and trying to get bonus points by catching enough fish to feed the judges and 25 tasters in the elimination round. Of course, with contestants who will do anything to win the prize, all is fair in love and cooking competitions, and somebody ends up with a huge saltwater fish hook in his thumb. Did I mention booze plays a big part in the fishing trip?

I debated long and hard about whether this was the right place to start. That manuscript is with my editor right now, so I'll let you know what she says. Ultimately, she gets the deciding vote. Fortunately, I trust her judgment enough to heed her advice. In looking back, I now think it was the perfect scene to begin with. It allowed me to introduce the contestants and to give the readers a little peek into their personalities before all the reoccurring secondary characters arrived for the cruise later that day. Despite the fact that I don't have to spend too much time with these secondary characters, I do have to give them some air time. Not everyone who picks up MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT will have read either of the first two books in the series. I'm always conflicted about not giving enough information to new readers and repeating too much stuff and ticking off my old readers.

Which brings me back to my original thought about where I should start book 4. There are several ways to start a novel. Here are a few of them with a made-up example.


1. Open with narrative.
The Texas heat burned down on the plains with the vengeance of Satan himself.

2. Open with dialogue
"Damn, it's hotter than hell today."

3. Open with action.
She grabbed her arm as a bullet pierced her shoulder, and she fell to the drought-hardened ground, feeling the heat of the sun caking the blood before it ran down her arm.

Okay, I know these are lame examples, but you get the point. Although my writing style is to start with action, I have used every one of these in my books.

LIVER LET DIE
Single white female stuck in a dead-end job, looking for tall dark rich guy…

MORTAL DECEPTION
Before the night ended, she would have sex with a total stranger.

MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT-- Whose hair-brained idea was this, anyway?

I believe first lines are so important I change mine at least five or six times before I settle on one. I'm thinking for my new story I should open with my heroine Jordan meeting her love interest’s sister and mother for the first time. Maybe something like.

"So you're the girl Alex has been shacking up with."

Just kidding. I write cozies, remember??

Anyway, I'm really curious how you all start a novel. Any hints on knowing what the perfect scene is? And if any of you have a great first line for me, I would be forever grateful.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cassy's Corner- Where to Begin?


Dear Folks, this is an encore posting. We have been challenged lately with the death of one family member, the hospitalization of another, and additional intrusions that now involve insurance companies. I’m not complaining, just explaining. So, with your tolerance, I’m posting an earlier writing from May, but it is as current today as it was then.

Where to Begin?
I’m starting a new book. The last one needs revisions, but I need a new story. I’m not running away from my dear friend whose words are almost completely memorized, rather, it’s time to start something fresh. And, I’ve decided to push myself in different directions.

This has led me to thinking about how one begins a story. Who are the characters? Where does it take place? What are the journeys each person has to endure? Why does the story even happen? Oh, the list is long. I’m in the middle of it all now.

As a self-proclaimed plotter, I’m also trying this book a little differently. I’ve thought it through, but I haven’t mapped out the scenes and arcs as I usually do. Nope. I’m writing. I do confess, as said above, I’m not without a plan, just not the details I dearly  hang onto.

So, it’s a crap shoot.

I’d love to start a conversation about what draws you into a new story. I am taking about writing one, not necessarily reading one. When and how do you decide “that’s” the book?

I have just returned from a few days of lovely time with my husband—long overdue. Over dinner our practice is to catch up. Conversations range from the silly to the serious. This time a fair amount of time was spent with me as the subject. “Tell me what you are working on.” “I’d love to read something on……that you could do.” “You know so much about….write it.” Yeah, okay. I love the support, but the truth is, we don’t want to write all that we know. We want to write about what draws us into the moment. What captures us., the writers as well as the readers.

Today my words on the page are different than the ones I’ve done before. They are more revealing, more “me.” I don’t know if they will appeal to the mass market. But, they need to be typed out. I’ll then decide if I hit the delete button or let them live on.

Chime in. How do you start a new project? How do you pick and choose among your “children” when each is screaming to be heard?



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kari's Kave: Valentines Day & Life's Blessings

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

I'm still basking in the glow of having been blessed with so much in my life. A supportive, loving husband of almost 23 years. 4 healthy, smart, amazing children. A fabulous extended family. Friends that totally rock. And getting to live out my dream job - writing books :-)

Life doesn't get much better than that!

Many times we might feel like we have the world crashing down on us, or that our dreams will never happen, or that we simply can't hold up under the pressure. Life is hard. It's messy and crazy and exhausting at times ... but so worth it all.

So when you feel like you can't go on, take a minute and just breathe. Look around you and you will be amazed at all that you truly have to be grateful for. When you focus on that instead of the negative, amazing things can happen. Positive energy brings positive results.

LOL this speech is just as much for me as I am getting ready to leave for Florida in 2 days. My hubby is out of town and will roll in just in time to drive the car when the kids get done with school at 2 on Friday. In the meantime, I have to clean, pack, shop, load the car, finish a book, finish a line-edit job, blog, and basically lose my mind :-)

Sooooo I am breathing now, taking a look at my blessings, and repeating it is all worth it. But you can bet your booty there will be a big ole chilled glass of wine when I cross the Florida state line!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Anita's Attic: Happy Valentine's Day!

When I think about Valentine's Day, I remember those valentines cards we got in elementary school. It was so exciting trying to decide which valentines to get your classmates. Barbie or Scooby Doo? We decorated our shoe boxes or bags to collect our valentines. The really good ones had candy. The older we get, Valentine's Day gets trickier. More exciting and stressful.

Does he or she like candy? Chocolates? What brand? Or maybe flowers and a nice dinner? Or jewelry? Tools? A trip? Will it say enough, or too much? Don't want her to think he's ready to propose when he just wants to move in. Or is it all too cliched and not creative enough? And also comes the worry that he or she will forget altogether. But the retailers aren't likely to let us forget. Valentine's Day brings in a lot of bucks. American's send out around a billion Valentine's Day cards.

But where did Valentine's Day start? We attribute the day to St. Valentine, and there are various legends about when he lived and who he actually was, but Valentine's Day started as a pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia. According to the History channel, the festival was dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as a couple of important Romans of that time. The Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would make a blood sacrifice of two animals, a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. (Purification? I love dogs, but come on! Dogs will drink out of toilets and eat unmentionable things.) Then they took strips of animal hides (poor doggy) that had been soaked in blood into the streets and gently slapped the women and the fields to make them more productive. Apparently, these women welcomed this. All I can say, is I'm glad I wasn't there. I'm thinking that candlelight dinner and Kay's Jeweler's commercial is looking better all the time.

According to the legend, the women would put their names into an urn and the men would draw names. They would be paired with these women for a year, which sometimes led to marriage. What about the ones that didn't? Love 'em and leave 'em I guess.

At the end of the 5th century the festival was banned as un-Christian and the current Pope declared February 14th Valentine's Day. But it would be a long while before it was really associated with love. Now, we consider February the month to celebrate lovers everywhere. Better than getting whacked with a strip of bloody goat skin.

Here are some fun Valentine's Day myths I found online, courtesy of http://www.stvalentinesday.org/valentines-day-fun-fact.html
  • If an apple is cut in half, the number of seeds found inside the fruit will indicate the number of children that individual will have.
  • To be awoken by a kiss on Valentine's Day is considered lucky.
  • On Valentine's Day, the first guy's name you read in the paper or hear on the TV or radio will be the name of the man you will marry.
  • If you see a squirrel on Valentine's Day, you will marry a cheapskate who will hoard all your money.
  • If you see a goldfinch on Valentine's Day, you will marry a millionaire.
  • If you see a robin on Valentine's Day, you will marry a crime fighter - maybe they mean Batman!
  • If you see a flock of doves on Valentine's Day, you will have a happy, peaceful marriage.
  • If you find a glove on the road on Valentine's Day, your future beloved will have the other missing glove.
My husband and I don't make a big deal about Valentine's Day anymore. Sometimes a card, sometimes not. For someone who loves romance, I'm very practical about some things. For me, it's just one day out of the year. But I can say for certain, I'd take jewelry over flowers or a fancy dinner any day. The jewelry will last forever. I can pass it on to my kids. The flowers and dinner are very short-lived. :) But for all my practicality, it is a great holiday, a good day to let people know we love them. So to all my readers and M&M sisters, will you be my Valentine?

What about you? Do you love Valentine's Day? What's the best or worst gift you've gotten?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Liz's Lair: Conferences Can be Murder

Well, here it is a week after my trip to Chicago and then to Las Vegas, and I'm already late getting my blog up. Sheesh! And I'm in between books and not even writing!! So, I will make this short and sweet.

Conferences are the bomb! The workshops make them great.

Ah no!
I have been going to conferences for so long, there are only a few workshops that usually interest me. Of course, the ones where I am on the panel do catch my eye!!

Okay, then the food is great. Ah, definitely no. How many more times can you serve chicken without it actually tasting like chicken??

So it must be the camaraderie of meeting other writers and comparing notes.

Now, you're getting warm. I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Conferences are great for one reason.....................THE BAR!!

And you all know I am a one-drink wonder. Okay, I'd better explain.

Last Thursday I flew to Chicago for the Love is Murder conference. That night I went to dinner with my agent, my fellow Book Cents babes Anita Chenney and Jill Salzman and her two adorable daughters and both Jill's and Christine's hubbies. We had a blast and it was so nice getting to put faces to names. When we went back to the hotel bar, Jeff, Christine's hubby, and I covered just about every subject imaginable while he kept saying, "Have another one, Liz."

On Friday, the conference began. Now what made this one different was that there were just as many fans as writers. All the other ones I've attended have been all writers, which is good, but this was a nice change. My standard question of, "What do you write?" was met with smiles and a shake of the head. OMG! These were readers. Boy, did I turn on the charm. It must have worked because the book seller sold out of my books. (Of course, she didn't realize I was such a popular gal and didn't bring all that many!! LOL)

Anyway, that night at the bar, I met a few agents and a couple of writers (Linda Hull from Denver who has a mystery series debuting soon at Midnight Ink and Terri Bischoff, her editor.) and we discovered a drink called IceTini. It is a parfait glass that has ice frozen inside in the shape of the glass. They bring a small shaker of some flavor of martinis, and you pour it into the glass and drink over the ice. Cranberry IceTini.

Can you say yummy??

Saturday started out with a breakfast panel of debut authors. We got to hawk our stuff to a crowded room. For those of you who know me, you must be asking. "Did you need a valium, Liz?" Believe it or not, I didn't. Of course, by now I am getting a little better speaking to a crowd. I always say I can BS with the best of them, and that's what I did. And yes, that old guy sitting at the third table who was naked in my head probably was cold, if you get my drift!!

Saturday night was another great night at the bar with Bloody Marys thrown in with the Ice Tinis. I met two really cool ladies who write the Pampered Pet Mysteries for Bell Bridge Books. They call themselves Sparkle Abby (Sparkle being one's cat and Abby-the other's dog.) We had so much fun, they're planning to drive from Iowa to visit me. (I had to look on a map to see where Iowa is since I am geographically-challenged.)

Also drinking the Tinis with us--my agent and Terri. We laughed all night as the drinks kept miraculously showing up at the table. Finally, they had last call, but they had to turn on the lights to get us to leave. By that time, vacations had been planned, new friendships had been forged, and deals had been made.

Deals? At one point I see my agent and the editor shaking hands and talking advances. Now if only someone could remember what went down that night.

On Sunday, I flew to Vegas to watch the Super Bowl with hubby and friends. Because I hated both teams I rooted for a tie!! Vegas responded by kicking my butt at the machines. (Actually, I only lost a little but hubby is a whole other subject!! In the airplane coming back to Texas, I heard the "We could have had an iPad" whine."

So, does this not prove my point about where the action is at conferences?

In April I am going to Malice Domestic in Maryland with Kari, my CP Joni, and Rochelle (All BC ers)and you know where I'll be hanging out!! This one is a really big conference for cozy fans. I hope to meet and woo a lot of them. If there's one thing I learned in Chicago,it's that I love readers and I need to take a lot of ibuprofen. Okay, that's two, but who's counting?

So, tell me about your conference experiences, especially at the bar. Got any advice for me?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Better late than never!

never was last week! (sorry about that bloggerland!)

I'm supposed to be editing my romantic suspense story today. I may get to it, once I get a handle on the teenage drama running rampant in my house. Yup, welcome to the next stage of parenthood!

But speaking of suspense, I watched a new series on TV this week (I forget the network) called THE RIVER. I am hooked! There are only 8 more episodes left and I will be glued to my TV for each one of them! Talk about paranormal elements, suspense, and a rescue plot through the Amazon! I was creeped out and on the edge of my seat for the entire 2 hr premiere!

Makes me remember why I love paranormal stuff so much. I still can't watch shows like Ghost Hunter because, well, we all know what happened at the NEC workshop a few years ago. Yeah, it still makes me shutter to think about it. I'm "sensitive" to paranormal activity - oh YEAH, THAT's the other movie you will NEVER get me to watch. But there are certain paranormal elements I find intriguing and I get sucked in. I would love to come up with something epic like this series. I'm sort of getting into the characters (and I would definitely have to have a love interest in my story - which I think there might be one developing in this series probably by the end), but the location and their quest and the pieces of this research puzzle they keep finding are just so cool! You just know around every bend in the Amazon river and in the jungle, they will be finding some exotic, weird and freaky thing! Repeat..LOVE IT!

So while this series is keeping me on my toes and making me want to write a Paranormal suspense story, I will soon be stuck in small town America - weaving a love story to hopefully turn into a small town series! Well, after I finish editing my Romantic suspense, in which I really need to amp up the suspense a bit more. I have some ideas...but unfortunately I have to leave the paranormal out of this story. Then maybe when my small town romance is done, I can switch gears and find a really cool plot for a paranormal romantic suspense!

I keep hearing that paranormal is saturated, but it seems to me that people just love to read it! What are your thoughts? Anyone write paranormal (besides our M&M'er Anita)? Or has anyone taken one of their traditional stories and added a paranormal element (Kind of like M&M'er Kari's Fortune teller mystery series)?





Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cassy’s Corner- Translating Life


As you all know, I have a tendency to eavesdrop, snoop, and take advantage of the drama around me to add a touch of spice or interest to my stories. We all have our buttons that send us to the keyboard ready to turn the day into the tale we want to tell. How do you imagine the joy of a new love as it fills your characters’ lives? How do you create the angst that comes with torment and dismay? Or, how do you describe loss so that the reader feels the pain? We live with these emotions.
We’ve just lost an important member of our family. It happened both quickly and also over a long time. The decline was slow but the end was fast. We were both ready and not ready at all. She had a difficult personality but was admired and loved. Family are joking about lightening bolts striking us, yet the Kleenex is right at hand.
This has caused me to leave my writing on the back burner while we all are managing details, emotions, phone calls, emails, letters and even tax filings. But, that is not the point I am trying to make.
We think we can write the deep, dark and daring. We can. We do it all the time. There are moments, though, when it’s hard to separate what our characters want and what we are feeling. As people, where do we separate ourselves from our writing? Where do we create fantasy? Where are the boundaries?
I think of Joan Didion. This is not fantasy. How she was able to write what she has is amazing to me. Rather, I suspect that it was her therapy—her escape from the demons that must haunt her.
I share this with you not to ask for any sympathy, please not so. We absorb our experiences and turn them into words for others to read. Or, maybe not. Maybe there are words that stay within us, solely for our own use. Next week, next month, or next year they might be ready to be public. Hopefully then they will still have the poignancy of what is felt in the moment and not colored by our need to bury the sharp edges and the tough decisions.
I leave before dawn for travel across the country. Memorial services, coffee and cookies, lots of hugs. I will check in as I can given plane travel and all. If you find me less present, I hope you understand.
Thank you all for listening.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kari's Kave: The Countdown is On!

9 days and counting!

Look out Florida, here I come :-)

I am so ready, yet not so ready. Every year we drive to Florida to stay with my parents over February break. Two days down, six days of fun in the sun, two days back. We've done this since my oldest was three...he's now seventeen! Fourteen years of Florida trips. Next year will be the last trip we take in February as a complete family.

I am so not ready.

He'll be in college and their winter breaks are different from the high school ones. I will miss this so much. As crazy as life is with them all at home, I can't imagine even one of them gone. The entire dynamic of our household changes when even one of them is gone.

I don't like it one bit!

That's why I truly do LOVE our Florida trips every year with all six of us. Even the long drive! No crazy schedules, no running around nonstop, just lots of down time together as a family. Driving the golf cart, hanging by the pool, playing shuffle board, etc. Even playing board games and watching movies together.

I still have sooooo much to do before we leave, it's insane, and I never think I'll finish in time, but I always do. So here's to taking time to slow down and enjoy the things around you. Enjoy your blessings before they are gone. It all flies by way too fast!

So tell me, what do you look forward to every year?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Anita's Attic: Train, Train, Take Me On Out of This Town...

I've had a whirlwind of a week. I had to travel to Chicago on business, and since my budget didn't allow for airfare and hotel, I traveled by train. I've never been on a train except for a short trip. This wasn't a short trip. It was about 18 hours there and 20 back, and I didn't have a sleeping car. I was alarmed when I was seated next to a portly gentleman who took up not only his seat, but part of mine. I politely moved to the scenic car for several hours, then had the porter change my seat.

My plan was to get a lot of writing done on the trip. If I could have spent the entire time writing, imagine how much farther my manuscript could have been by the end of the trip. I knew I would have to sleep and take breaks, but I was being optimistic. A little too optimistic as it turns out. Trains have a lot of movement, and swaying back and forth isn't conducive to staring at a computer screen. Still, I got quite a bit done.

In Chicago, my business turned out very well. Some loose ends were tied up nicely and I got to spend time with my wonderful agent, her husband, and some writer friends. We had a couple of great dinners, and at one, we spotted guys who were probably hockey players (after all, we were in Blackhawks territory) and some women who were probably paid escorts. If their skirts had been any shorter they would have been shirts. They weren't with the possible hockey players, by the way.

Then I got the added bonus of crashing a mystery conference. I didn't do much crashing, just mingled for a couple of hours and watched my agent pitch, but it was fun to chat with other writers before riding in a taxi in Chicago rush hour traffic to catch my train. The cab driver was a super guy and kept me entertained. The train ride back was even longer, but I did manage to sleep a teensy bit. Unfortunately, I was seated next to another man. There's something disturbing about sleeping so close to a stranger, especially when he's a man, but you gotta do what you gotta do. At least he didn't take up part of my seat.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Liz's Lair: Ten Deadly Sins of Pitching

As you're reading this, I am at the Venetian hotel in Vegas lounging around. Yep. We came yesterday to watch the Super Bowl. I can't even talk about it because I'm writing this the week before, but I'm not crazy about either team. Can we work it out so that neither of them wins?? I hate the Giants (sorry, Barbara.) I wouldn't be a loyal Cowboys fan if i didn't.

Anyway, I am flying to Vegas from Chicago where I will be at the Love Is Murder mystery conference. I am really looking forward to this one since I will be meeting other mystery authors. I might even have to pitch since there will be editors there. I found this blog I wrote last year and thought it was appropriate.

I, for one, think pitching is one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I totally suck at it and pray I never have to sit through one of those ten-minute sessions ever again. I’m agented – she does all my pitching, right?

Wrong, Bucko! She does most of it, I have to admit, but what am I going to say when I find myself in the elevator with Edith Editor from the most perfect house for my next story?

“I’m sorry. Here’s my agent’s card. Call her to find out what I have.”

Ah, no! We all have to be prepared for that golden opportunity in or out of an organized pitch scenario when we’re asked. “What do you write?” As a reminder to myself, I’ve come up with the ten deadly sins of pitching. Here goes:

10. "I have this great story about a lesbian vampire that will be finished sometime in the next year or so.”
NO! NO! NO! If you’re scheduled to pitch at Nationals, don’t waste your time (or their’s.) I guarantee no one will sign you with an unfinished manuscript unless they know you're capable of finishing a book to their satisfaction. Yeah, I know, both Kari and I sold on proposals but not before the editor had already read a completed manuscript that just wouldn’t work for the line.

9. Pull out a two-page, single-spaced synopsis and start reading.
NO! NO! NO! First off, you only have ten minutes, and trust me, you will probably have the editor thinking about Mickey Mouse long before you flip to page two. Keep it short and sweet. A pitch like this should begin with you introducing yourself and a little small talk before she asks what you have. Start with the genre and word count, and be aware, you probably only have the first five sentences to hook her. Make them count.

8. Wear your new skinny jeans and save-the-whales tee shirt.
NO! NO! NO! Business casual is what you need. I'm really jealous you look good in sexy jeans but save them for the night life.

7. “My friends say I write as good as Nora.”
NO! NO! NO! Number one, nobody writes as well as Nora, and number two, you will come across as arrogant. You can, however, say, you’ve read all her books and her style influenced your writing.

6. Pitch an erotica novella to an Avalon Editor.
NO! NO! NO! Do your homework. Know what your targeted person is actually looking for. If it’s an editor, find out some of her published authors and comment on that. For an agent, read one of her client's books. Believe me when I say no one is immune to that kind of extra effort.

5. Go to your appointment a little tipsy.
NO! NO! NO! I always swore I needed a margarita to get me though one of these sessions, but I never followed through. Anybody ever see me after one drink? I am a giggling fool. Don’t chance this.

4. Tell an editor/agent about your advanced degrees and that you are a single mother supporting three kids.
NO! NO! NO! She only cares about this if you’re writing a book about it. Now, if your story is about an undercover CIA agent and that’s in your résumé – go for it!

3. Notice her name tag in the elevator and start rattling off your pitch.
NO! NO! NO! That is right up there with stalking, and she’ll definitely remember you, just not in a good way. Instead, smile and let her start a conversation. Be prepared with your three or four line elevator pitch just in case she asks what you write. If she doesn’t ask, respect her privacy.

2. If she says it doesn’t sound like something she’s interested in, argue the merits of your story to convince her.
NO! NO! NO! Smile and say, “Bummer!” Then ask if she might be interested in something else you’ve written. If she’s not or if you don’t have anything else, ask her questions about her job or how she likes the conference so far. I once pitched to an M & B Medical editor and knew from her pinched brows she wasn’t that into me. “You write too much plot for this line,” she said. “Okay,” I replied. “Now what can we talk about?” By the end of the ten minutes we were both laughing. She might not have remembered my story at the end of the day, but I promise, she remembered me, even smiling when I saw her later.

And the number one Cardinal Sin of Pitching: “You’ll have to read my book to find out the end of the story.”
NO! NO! NO! I can almost guarantee you’ll walk away without a request. A pitch and/or a synopsis is NEVER the place to be mysterious, even if your story is a mystery.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, work on your pitch. Make sure the hook is the first thing out of your mouth after the genre and word count.

“Lonely workaholic CEO hires a prostitute working her way through college to be his escort for a business dinner and ends up with more that just a one night stand.”

Do you recognize this? Is it not the entire plot of the story? Do you want to read it?

Now, go practice your pitch in front of the mirror.

If you’re brave enough to post your three or four line pitches, we’ll be glad to rip it a new one –just kidding. We will have a lively discussion about it and hopefully, help you make it the best it can be.

If not, just let me know what you think of my list.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cassy's Corner: What Do You Have On Your Desk?


Hey, guys, this is an encore post because Cassy is out of town taking care of family business. She posted this blog last year, and it got a lot of responses. I thought we should revisit it. so here it is:

I am curious about what you keep around you when you write. This has crossed my mind because I've temporarily set up shop in Italy, first in one house, then traveling to a writer's retreat and then back to a second house. Yes, nutty, don't ask why. It has lead me to think about the essentials. This trip is all about writing as my books take place here, plus it's my second "home." But, what do you need to write?

Many would say, nothing. Just a pen and paper or a laptop. Lots of ideas. Time. No phone or Internet. Well, I have found I need a lot more. Looking around at the desk I have been using for the last four days I confess it's a mess. My mess. I'm not a "go to Starbucks" kind of gal--yes, I know many of you (guys too, Lindsay) are easily at work out in the world. Nope. Not me (or not I as my grandmother would correct). I like my cramped space with all my stuff around me. Sure I can work in an airport, a restaurant or waiting in a parking lot. But, that's not my first choice.

So, what's around me as I sit here and write this? I'll take an inventory. Beware, this is not for the queasy. How have I accumulated so much in such a short time?

Okay-
- My laptop (of course).
- A thumb drive so that if my lap top disappears I have kept everything (don't laugh, it was stolen on my last trip- yeah, the thumb drive saved my a**).
- A printer/copier- I actually hauled one over with me because I am weird about having hard copy when I need it. It will stay here, so one lugging is enough.
- Two reams of paper. No, I didn't haul those, but they make me happy. Just think, when they are gone, my book is probably nearly finished!
- Four pencils. I make lots of notes and you can never have enough sharp pencils. There are two pens as well.
- A connector for my iPhone. I charge it off my computer and always need to know my husband and kids can find me. Yup, I'm here alone. Remember, this is about writing.
- My iPhone. Why have a connector without the phone?
- Multiple adapters. They are stacked up as I have to keep plugging things in and the European plugs are totally different from our American ones.
- My watch. I can't wear it when typing. The clock on my computer somehow thinks I'm in Connecticut. I have trouble adding six hours, so my watch sits next to me.
-A glass of water. I am a fiend about my water. Many of you are coffee hounds. Not I. But don't get between me and my glass of sparkling water.
- The modem. Gift of life. It is blinking rapid yellow lights telling me I can reach all of you with the stroke of a finger.
- A lamp. Gotta seeing what I'm doing.
- Various sundry of office-type stuff (paper clips, scotch tape, a highlighter, post it notes, and more than I should confess).
- A Tom Tom GPS system for the car. I get lost a lot. Something I lie about to my husband. He really knows the truth but still protects my virtue in this regard. I've never not shown up, just might have taken a longer route than necessary.
- A land line telephone, not my cell. We lose power often enough to warrant both.
- A few Kleenex's.
- Car keys and house keys. Why they are on my desk versus somewhere else, who knows. It all seems to end up here.
- Fussy notes about everything- my story, what I have to do today, who to call, what to remember, it goes on.

Gracious! There is even more I hate to admit that surrounds me. This is actually a small desk. Yet, this is my little nest. The kitchen is perfectly clean, my bedroom is tidy, there is nothing in the bathroom that looks out of place. Yet, my desk is a living and almost moving environment unto its own.

What's on your desk? What do you need to have around you? The only things I'm missing are my two dogs at my feet- traveling with them is just too complicated so they are at the doggy spa. And, of course my dear family. But then, hmmm, the writing would be cramped. Your desk? What's there?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kari's Kave: Re-Launching Samantha Granger at Last!














I am soooooo excited!

My teen superhero series formerly known as THE SAMANTHA GRANGER EXPERIMENT is bing re-launched!

The series will now be called DIGITAL DIVA with books one, two and three called: TALK TO THE HAND, RISE OF THE PHENOTEENS, and LET FREEDOM RING.

This series is near and dear to my heart because it is the first book I ever sold. Now that I have my rights back, I am thrilled to announce book one: TALK TO THE HAND (formerly known as FUSED) is available on Kindle. Stay tuned because it will be out on the Nook and then in print soon.

Here is the kindle link.

Book two RISE OF THE PHENOTEENS no one has read yet. That one will come out next week. Book three LET FREEDOM RING will take a bit longer, as I have to actually write it :-)



















I absolutely love the titles and covers for this series.

Here is a reminder of what these books are about:

A Digital Diva superhero with cell phone technology is just a phone call away and ready to conquer the world...or at least the 8th grade!

When Samantha Granger touches a meteor while talking on her cell phone, her life is changed forever: her body now has all the capabilities of her phone (GPS, phone, text, camera). She calls herself a "Digital Diva" as she rushes to answer emergency calls. But will her identity be discovered when sparks fly (literally!) between her and Trevor, her dreamy crush? Samantha has to get a handle on her abilities and quick, because when Sam gets kidnapped and the entire town is in danger, she is the only one who can save them.

RISE OF THE PHENOTEENS - Samantha Granger has finally come to terms with being different. The only way to keep her situation under control is to stay far away from Trevor Hamilton or risk bringing Digital Diva out of retirement. She gets her wish when the government gets involved. They've discovered Sam's identity an threaten to expose her if she doesn't cooperate. She's whisked off to Washington DC to a special school for gifted students called IPR, where she discovers she's not alone. Only, when a mole threatens their very existence, it's up to Sam and her fellow Phenoteens to save themselves.

LET FREEDOM RING - Samantha Granger is finally going home. After attending IPR and defeating the mole, Sam has had enough. The government realizes even they can't keep the Phenoteens safe, so they set them free. Only, freedom isn't really free if there are strings. The government assigns a mentor to each of the teens and equips them with a special beeper. Dating Trevor will have to wait once more as a series of natural disasters start happening all over the world, but what if they have nothing to do with global warming and aren't exactly "natural?" The Phenoteens must band together once more to save the world this time.

Enjoy! And please let me know if you like the book by leaving a review on Amazon. These are such new and exciting times we live in :-)