Friday, August 31, 2012


September 1, 2012 ~ Get ready to load your Kindle with great books by 13 awesome authors in the Books-a-Fire Giveaway! During the entire month of September, you’ll have the opportunity to win a New Kindle Fire as well as weekly prizes of Amazon Gift Cards.

You may also enter once from this website:

Grand Prize:  An Amazon gift card in the amount of $199.00 to purchase a Kindle Fire or something else
Weekly Prizes:  Week One - 1 $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
                           Week Two - 1 $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
                           Week Three - 1 $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
                           Week Four - Drawing for Grand Prize

There are plenty of ways to enter the contest and lots of good books by talented 
authors for you to buy. So head on over to the Books-a-Fire contest today!

Here are the details:
  • There is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY to enter the contest to win a New Kindle Fire.  You may enter once at the Books-a-Fire website and enter again at the websites of each of the authors listed.  That gives everyone additional free chances to win!
  • The contest starts Sept 1, 2012 and ends at midnight Pacific Time Zone on Sept 30, 2012.
  • The winner will be notified by e-mail and we will post the results on the Books-a-Fire website.
  • Although buying a book does not increase your chances of winning, we encourage you to browse the books of the authors who are sponsoring this contest and buy the ones you like. Choose from a variety of genres, sure to please everyone on your list. What are you waiting for? Head on over and kindle your reading fires!  Links to purchase the books are included with each book on the list.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Best-selling author Carmen DeSousa, and another famous author-buddy, Emerald Barnes, both tagged me for this cool challenge called The Next Big Thing.  I love a challenge, so here you go:

1. What is the title of your book or current Work in Progress?

This one is ALL FOR LOVE.  It was just published on 8/23/12.

2. Where did the idea for this book originate?

It came from the black, wait, that was a different story.  This idea came from the idea file I keep on my computer.  A bunch of little ideas float around in there until they coalesce into something readable.  The internet is a good source of ideas.  That number for the 81,000 club, that number came from an article on the internet.  I made up the part about the club.

3. What is the genre?

This is my first Contemporary Romance.  I also think it could be filed under Women's Fiction, just for grins. 

4. Which actors/actresses would you choose to play in the movie version of your book?

This guy is not an actor, he is a Latvian Olympic Volleyballer named Aleksandrs Samoilovs.  But when I saw him on TV during the games, I emailed my cousin and said, I just saw "Quinn" on TV.  Perhaps it is because of the hair and the fact that Liz and Quinn met during a volleyball game. 

I think Liz could be portrayed by Rachel Weisz, the actress who played in The Lovely Bones (one of my favorite books).  I believe she would be good because she has sort of a shyness about her.

5. Give us a one sentence synopsis of the book.

Liz will do anything for love, but will she be able to live with the consequences?

6. Is your book published or represented?

It is published by 5 Prince Publishing

7. How long did it take to write?

Whew... this one took about a year.  It went through many drafts.  At first it was written in flashbacks alternating with present-day events, but my editor said that was too confusing so I went back and reordered it into three distinct time periods.  I think it worked out pretty well.  She was right.  It was confusing.

8. What other books in the genre would it compare to?

I like to think it compares with books like Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler, but I'm afraid that is being way too optimistic.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book--or any book?

I think it was Ernest Hemingway who said that the key to writing is to "Just write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence you know."  That inspires me to try and get a little deeper into the emotion of a character. 

10.  Name one more thing that might pique our interest in this book...

It's raw in places.  And heartbreaking.  I tried to pull out all the stops.

Now, to continue the fun, I am tagging Sara Barnard, Katy Huth Jones, Deanna Lynn Sletten, Katie Jennings, Vickie McKeehan and Sandy Wolters.  Oops, once again, I went overboard.  But hey, Sandy is injured, she may have to wait for a few weeks~until her cast comes off!

Friday, August 24, 2012

I Missed the Signup!

I got so excited by the launch of ALL FOR LOVE, I forgot to sign up for Six Sentence Sunday!  Oh well, I've already posted the whole first chapter~just scroll down to the previous post to read it.  And be sure to enter my little picture contest, too.

Since I am such a creature of habit, I will go ahead and post a few more sentences from another part of the book~and I won't be limited to six!  So here goes...

This is from Liz and Quinn's third date.  They are in his Jeep, bound for who-knows-where ...

I’ll never forget the black night air rushing through the cab. The canvas top leaked all around the industrial-strength zippers, and the music could barely compete with the roar of the wind. And there we were, together. No one else around.  In our own little world within a world, rushing headlong into the deep, dark night, taking on life, chasing the future, and leaving the past behind.

Note: MJ Kane sent me the current link and I signed up for 6SS after I published this post~I always was a little backwards. LOL

If you come back next week, you can read a few more sentences.  For now, check out the others authors (even though I forgot to sign up).

Afterthought: Don't forget to send me your picture for the contest!

Monday, August 20, 2012

ALL FOR LOVE's here!  My newest novel, All For Love, was released in digital format today, August 23, 2012 from   

It is available on Amazon iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  The print version will be available on August 27th.  To celebrate the launch, I'm running a month-long contest:

 Send me a picture of yourself reading a copy of ALL FOR LOVE and be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  You may photograph yourself reading either the digital or print copy.  Send pics to and I will post them on the blog as well (unless you tell me otherwise).  The contest starts August 23rd and ends September 23rd.  Have fun ~ I can't wait to see you!  All names will be entered into the computer for a random drawing.  It will be available at Amazon, B & N, iTunes, and Smashwords.

Now, read on for a preview of the book!

Cover blurb:

Liz falls in love with Quinn the moment they meet in college.  He professes to love her, too.  She begins to think about the future, but his past rips them apart.  What Liz does next impacts the rest of their lives.  She feels it is the only way… she does it all for love.

And here is the beginning:

Part One—Now 

Chapter One

            We were drinking iced tea at our favorite sidewalk café when the plastics plant exploded.

            One moment Ronnie was checking my left hand to see if my wedding ring was still there, and the next thing I knew she was crawling across the blistered sidewalk in slow motion, reaching out for me.       

            Ronnie and I have been friends since college.  She and Carol were my dorm mates.  The best friends I’ve ever had.  But college was a long time ago.        

            “How long do you think it takes to fall out of love?”  I had just asked.
            Stalling for time, Ronnie gazed about The Sidewalk Café.  The strong breeze should’ve been cool, but it was dry and hot.  Instead of our usual twelve inches of rain for the year, we’d received just less than two.  The drought in our area of West Texas had been catastrophic; a simple spark from a piece of machinery could start a wildfire that might burn for days or even weeks. The weather channel delighted in telling us we were smack dab in the middle of the worst dry spell since the nineteen fifties.
            In a way, it was fitting.  I seemed to be smack dab in the middle of a drought myself.  My nest felt as empty as the prairie, and my husband, who could’ve been the spark to light my world, was also brittle and dry.  In fact, he was so dry he was practically nonexistent, like the prairie grass hiding in the earth, waiting for moisture.
            Ronnie swished a fly away from her drink.  “What’s going on, Lizzie?”
            I hesitated.  She was so good at taking the wind out of my sails.  In fact, I’d swear she was using “wait time” on me, a technique we had learned in our education classes at the university about a hundred years ago. 
            Shrugging nonchalantly, I forged ahead.  I really wanted her input.  I still valued it every bit as much as when we were nineteen.  “I think he’s screwing around again.”  I sipped my tea.  Mine was sweet, hers was not .  She was usually the sensible one—at least when she wasn’t toasted on Mexican red.
            She smoothed the shiny fall of hair off her face.  It was still the fresh reddish color of a blood orange. 
            “Are you sure?” she asked.  “Or is it just suspicion?”  She swirled her tea, giving me a moment to answer.  The amber liquid climbed the inside of her glass like a tiny tsunami.  She reached across the table to touch my hand.  We weren’t very demonstrative anymore, not like when we were in school.  I don’t know why, but I suspected it was my fault.  A hug upon meeting was the extent of our physical relationship.  Sometimes one of us would hug the other when we parted—it all depended upon our emotional altitude at the moment.  But this time, she wasn’t being demonstrative by clasping my hand, she was simply checking to see if my wedding ring was still in place.   She turned my hand over and pushed it flat down on the table.
            The emerald-cut diamond was in the same place it has resided—almost continuously—for over thirty years.
            “Well, I guess you’re still together, so either no proof or you want to stay.”  She was blunt, as always.
            I opened my mouth to explain, but my words were cut short by the tremendous explosion that blasted my streaky sienna hair into a halo, shivering the plate glass window behind us.  Ronnie was on her feet in an instant, her own heavy hair standing out from her head like a fright wig as she stared toward the southwest, toward the Pan-Tex Plastics plant that has crouched there for years.
            “Oh My God!”  Her voice, though it should have been loud, was dim, as though the blast had flattened her words.  Later, I realized it was my eardrums that were flattened, not her words.
            I tried to stand but my wits were scrambled.  My scarf, the one Quinn bought for me in Italy during our one and only European vacation, was hanging from the little teal-striped awning.  My eyes darted here and there, searching for something to label.  Searching for some cause.  Terrorist?  Yes, that must be it.  Terrorist.  My eyes continued searching high and low, but there was nothing out of the ordinary except for the staticky condition of my hair, the tingling of my skin, and that pesky scarf hanging inexplicably from the awning above us.  And then I realized my insides were vibrating, tingling just like my skin.  Breakers of air rolled in from the plant, thrashing me like the waves of tea had thrashed the inside of Ronnie’s glass.
            Up and down the street people poured onto the sidewalks, pointing southward.  That’s when I saw a great pillar of black smoke billowing from the place where there should have been only tall towers, slim columns, and fat boilers.  Inside the smoke, orange flames were eating the edges of the deceptively serene noontime sky.  Not many folks realized that raw plastic is made from natural gas.
             I shaded my eyes and looked away.  It was too much, too surreal.  But normalcy wasn’t found when I looked away.  On the ground, dozens of black smudges caught my eye, grackles knocked out of the air by the concussive blast; the smaller gray spots were undoubtedly sparrows.
            Sirens began to whoop—both the ones at the plant and the big one atop the nearby courthouse.  The only time I’d ever heard it go off before was during tornado season, and that was only from a distance.  Up close it was like being inside a disaster movie in surround sound.
            Central Fire Station, three blocks over, began to empty its wide bays of fire and rescue vehicles.  Police cars added their warbling wails to the cacophony.  We watched, dumbfounded, as the cruisers shot past the intersection in a hurry to join the maelstrom.  The visible sound of rushing flames perfectly matched the tremor inside my body.
            The second explosion knocked us to the ground.
            My head grazed a table as I fell.  I sensed the concrete rushing up to meet me, but there was no pain; instead, silence engulfed me like deep water.  Everything slowed.  After a moment, I became aware that my knees were bleeding inside my new white Capri’s, speckles of blood seeping through.  That’s when I spotted Ronnie crawling across the blistered sidewalk toward me.  Her face was dotted with red like a Botox-party nightmare.  Slivers of plate glass glittered brightly all across the patio and only then did I realize I was screaming.
            My husband of thirty-two years was at work in that plant.
“C’mon.”  Ronnie had my arm, attempting to pull me up.  My extremities seemed filled with sand.  “Let’s go,” she instructed.  “Who knows what will happen next!”
            I struggled to my feet catching a glimpse of my face in the one remaining section of the café’s plate glass window.  It looked like a full white moon staring back at me.  Touching the side of my head gingerly, I felt a lump rising where my skull had caught the table when I fell.  But Ronnie was the one who really needed help.  The second explosion had knocked her into the edge of the new brick flowerbed and as a result, she had a large leaking gash above one eye.  This is in addition to the dozens of pinprick-spots of blood dotting her face. 
            My own head was swimmy, my vision blurry.  Together, we were able to gain our feet, and I watched numbly as Ronnie swiped her hand across her bloody forehead. 
            Crumpled napkin still clutched in my fist, I reached out, blotting at her wounds randomly as we staggered across the street toward the courthouse like a couple of book clubbers after an afternoon meeting complete with wine.  
            A paramedic stopped us near an ambulance (when did they arrive?), handed Ronnie a thick square of cotton and instructed her to keep pressure on the gash.  He sat us down on the courthouse steps and told us to stay put until he came back.  Then he ran toward the knot of people gathered a little further down the street. Was someone injured there?  I couldn’t make out exactly what was going on.

            We sat like stone mice on the warm cement steps, Ronnie’s arm clasped around my shoulders, her other hand pressing the cotton to her forehead. The leaves of the live oaks trembled overhead and I recalled a squirrel we’d been watching from the café.  Glancing upward, I half-expected to see the little creature scampering to safety, surprised by all the noise and confusion.  But it was not there. 
            Then I spied my purse hanging on the back of my overturned chair across the street, and it dawned on me: my phone was probably still there, nestled in its little phone-pocket on the side.
            The gorgeous day was now filled with so much sound it was like white noise—there but not there.  I found it impossible to think, and as the cloud of smoke grew heavier and blacker, the notion of fire reminded me of the tinder-dry fields surrounding the plant.  The acrid smell of melting plastic was so strong it scratched my throat and stung my eyes, and that finally prodded me into action.
            I disentangled myself from Ronnie and headed back across the street. The owners of the café were standing on the sidewalk in shock.  The little tables and chairs that had seemed so cosmopolitan only moments earlier were now scattered across the patio like so much wrought-iron rubble.  The table umbrellas looked like giant turquoise tops upside down in the gutter.
            With great effort, I leaned down and prised my purse strap off the back of the chair where only moments earlier I’d been sitting, sipping tea, trying to decide whether my handsome husband was sleeping around—again. 
            Jana, one of the owners, hurried over.  “You all right, Liz?”
            Nodding, I dug out my cell phone and automatically dialed Quinn.  Nothing.  No ring, no voice mail, nothing.  It was as if I was dialing the very nothingness of the universe.
            I felt myself graying out, the world blowing away from me like the smoke rising from the plant.  My head throbbed, the ground wavered as if a giant was shrugging his shoulders just beneath the surface, and I felt myself sinking …
            When I came around I was vaguely aware of Ronnie and Jana lowering me into my now-upright chair.
            “Liz!” Ronnie was patting at my face as Jana rubbed an ice cube up and down my bare arms.  “Lizzie!  Can you hear me?” 
            I could feel my eyelids fluttering, but I was powerless to stop them.  Is that drool running from the corner of my mouth?  Maybe Jana rubbed the ice cube on my lips.  Then it hit me.  I must’ve fainted.
            “I’m okay,” I sputtered.  It came out more as, “I yuh-kay.”
            Inside my eyes I still saw black smoke tinged with fire.  Surprising tears welled up and spilled over my bottom lid—ahh, so that’s the moisture.  My eyes finally opened all the way (seemingly of their own accord) and I was staring into the bloodshot-blue peepers of my dearest friend.  So it’s true, I thought.  It really happened: the plant exploded.
            The look on her face told me I was neither dreaming, nor imagining.  That one look told me it wasn’t something that simply appeared in my head because I’d fainted; no, it was the other way around.  The realization that Quinn was in that explosion was the reason I fainted.

Hope you enjoyed chapter one...
The novel is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 8-19-12

I can't believe it's Sunday again already.  I think this may be the last SixSunday post before All For Love comes out.  If things are on track, it is set to be released on August 23rd.  I plan to have a giveaway as soon as it goes live, so if you're interested, please watch for that.  

In today's six, Liz is thinking back to the first time Quinn asked her for a kiss.  She was so surprised, she automatically said no.  It was the first time anyone had asked, rather than just ... kissed.  These are her thoughts:

But that night when I said no to the first kiss, even then I’d known he wouldn’t run away. Our connection was so complete it never entered my mind that he would turn away later. I knew, inside my heart and inside my head, that he was the one for me. In fact, after the second date, the kissless date, he called and we talked on the phone through the night. Around dawn, I hung up after the requisite “you first, no you.” It’s amazing how we talked about everything and everyone we’d ever known, and yet we skirted all the important issues until they came around later on down the road and crushed my soul into fine dust which blew away across the desert like ash poured from a crematory urn.

Okay, that's it.  Here's the link if you want to check out some of the other super snippets:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One Sentence Pitch

Hello again,
Here it is, hump day.  Get over the hump, and it's all downhill from here to the weekend.  Of course, if you're a writer, that just means you get to spend more time on the computer.  I love staying up late on the weekends and sleeping in the next morning, know I don't have to "get up and go."

Today's post is about a very simple sentence I  learned in a creative writing class~was it all the way back in college?  Heck, who knows.  My memory is like swiss cheese.  Anyway, this is a one sentence check to see if your plot is sound.  It's called The One Sentence Pitch because you could use it to pitch your book to an editor or publisher if you were of a mind.  I think I've also seen it referred to as The Elevator Pitch.  If you're a self-published author, this probably doesn't apply to you, but it's still a handy tool for keeping your ducks in a row, and for helping to write those pesky back-of-the-book blurbs or tag-lines.  I'm terrible at those.  I think my editor, YoDen, actually wrote the one for The Phantom Pilot.  Or maybe that was my bio, I'm terrible at those, too.

Okay, here is the sentence, just fill in the blanks: 

My novel is about ____________ who must ___________ in order to ____________.  

As you can see, you must name your protagonist(s), and tell what they must overcome in order to have a successful resolution.  

For example, here is my sentence regarding The Phantom Pilot:  My novella is about a couple of kids who must figure out why the phantom pilot is haunting them in order to help him move on to the other side.

Here is the sentence for The Phantom Student, book two in the Phantom Series:
This novel is about Derol Pavey, a new student who must enlist the aid of Jase and Stevie in order to overcome the bullying that somehow connects him to the phantom student. 

So there, I hope that is helpful to you when you are plotting or even when you are just trying to come up with a tag-line.  Here's another that could have been written about one of my favorite movies, Terminator:  This story is about Sarah Connor who must avoid being terminated by a cyborg from the future in order to live long enough to give birth to the leader of the revolution that will save the world.  

Okay, maybe I went overboard with that one a bit, but hopefully you get the drift.  It's fun.  And I think it's helpful, too.  


Afterthought: I challenge you to do a one sentence pitch for your book or a favorite book or movie and post it in a comment.  =)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 8/12/12

Hi Everyone ~

My new Contemporary Romance, ALL FOR LOVE,  will be released on August 23rd from 5 Prince Publishing so I thought I'd better give another snippet here.  This little excerpt takes place after an explosion at the plastics plant where Liz's husband, Quinn, works (there are other snippets in the SSS archives page if you're really digging it).  Now, Liz is driving her friend, Veronica, to the hospital because she was cut by flying glass (caused by the tremendous explosion) while having lunch with Liz at an outdoor cafe.  This scene occurs just after a cop gives them the go-ahead to drive on up to the ER.  

Suddenly, new tears overflowed onto my cheeks.  I hoped the officer didn’t see me wiping them away, but a thought had just hit me: what if Quinn is in there?  In the hospital or in one of the ambulances queued up near the ER entrance?  For the tiniest split-second I thought it might be fitting for him to be there.  But that was just my negative nature getting the best of me.  After all, the woman on the phone last week could have been almost anyone.

I hope you enjoyed this tidbit.  To enjoy more snippets from Seix Sentence Sunday, go here :

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mama's Pride and Joy

Hi folks,
            Just a quick blog about motherhood.  As you all know, I'm a newly published novelist, my first book, The Phantom Pilot, having been released last December.  Oh, I'd had a few short stories published here and there, and won a few contests (one in Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, woot!), and I'd even written a couple of bottom-drawer novels.  So of course I was THRILLED the day I received the acceptance email for The Phantom Pilot (Cool Well Press). 
           But let me tell you, that day was nothing compared to the day my only daughter, Sara Barnard, called me and told me HER historical romance novel, (shameless promotion here, skip ahead if you're allergic), A Heart on Hold,  had been accepted by 5 Prince Publishing.  I whooped and hollered and carried on so loudly the cat "lit out for the territories," which is just another way of saying she dashed under my bed.  
           Now, I also have a novel coming out with 5 Prince. All For Love, a contemporary romance, will be out later this month.  Great people at 5PP, let me tell you.
           My second Phantom book, The Phantom Student, will be out next month from Cool Well Press, another great publishing company (YoDen!).  But enough about me.  This was supposed to be about motherhood.  So on that note, here is the link for Sara's novel   
It will also be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble at any moment.  It's a great read.  And I'm not biased.  Not in the least.  I swear!

~ Check out my new book trailer, just made it last week ~ Book One of The Phantom Series, Book trailer ) ~

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday ~ August 5, 2012

Hello again,
It's August already... and Sunday, too.  Wow.  That week went by so fast it must've been on steroids (or maybe I've just been watching too many sports, aren't the Olympics fun?  Gabby, Michael Phelps, all the volleyball players!)  I just love it.  But now it's time for a few more sentences from THE PHANTOM STUDENT, book two of The Phantom Series.  Hey, also check out my book trailer for book one, The Phantom Pilot.  It's my first try.  Okay, Dude helped ... a lot! 

Book trailer

Okay, here's the set-up for this week's snippet. Last week, Jase and Stevie-girl had just entered the old school by way of the cafeteria.  Now, they find themselves in the old kitchen, confronting something they never expected. As always, Stevie-girl is the first-person narrator:

         This was too much. I looked at the closed pantry doors. 
Someone was in there. I tried to remember if I’d ever heard the little girl breathing—do phantoms breathe? 

         Jase held up his hand in a gesture I took to mean stay. Then he crept toward the breathing doors as quietly as possible.

Okay, that's all for this time.  Have a great Sunday.  And check out these other Six Sentence authors.  Such a wonderful, varied bunch!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writer's Squalor

Hi! What do you think of the new look?  I'm not sure.  I'll live with it a few days and then decide.

Today I'm going to give you a writer's tip.  I don't often do that because I don't often have any tips, but this one just came to me while I was in the shower.  By the way, do you resent the amount of time grooming takes away from writing?  I'm thinking of shaving my head so I can just get some hair tattooed on.  Had a friend who got her eyeliner tattooed on several years ago.  I've lost touch with her, though.  I would like to see how it looks now.  That could save a few minutes in the grooming department ... hmm, what else could we do to shave off a few minutes?  Thinking, thinking, got it!  Stop shaving legs and underarms.  That would save ten minutes or so.  Okay, maybe I'd better think some more.

Actually, saving time isn't really my writer's tip, but it does go along with it.  My tip of the day is this: When you are writing, don't stop!  Yes, I'm a simpleton.  But seriously, don't stop when you're in the zone~you know what I mean~unless it's for the day job, of course.  Can't always control those outside forces.

What I mean to say is, don't let everyday life intrude unless it's for a kid or an emergency.  Those two things often go hand-in-hand, right?  But the other everyday things can be pretty safely ignored.  I know, easier said than done.  You may have to disable FB, Twitter, email, Youtube, Google+, Amazon, your smart phone, the TV (the Olympics are pulling at me even as I write this -- something about the sound of raucous applause), anyhow, you get the drift.

What does that have to do with the title of this post you ask?  And if you've stuck with me this far, you have every right to be asking that about now.  Let's just say that my hubby, Dude, had a week off recently, and for once, we didn't go out of town and we didn't have any company.  So I took advantage of him (he loves it when I talk dirty), and together we dusted, mopped, and vacuumed the entire house.  Whew!  I don't think that is what he had in mind when I said I was going to use him while he was off.

Oh well, more on that later ... heh heh.

I suffered many pangs of guilt as the dust-bunnies sprouted wings and flew through the air like those proverbial pigs ~ but I assuaged the guilt with diet Coke and loud music.  The question is: How did I let it get like this?

Embarrassed to ask anyone else, I put the question to my author-daughter.  That's when she told me about Writer's Squalor.  Finally, validation!  I'm a writer, a real writer!  I let my housework go in order to finish writing a scene.  Then I let it go some more to finish the entire book.  Then came the edits.  And I totally forgot about it while I played around with that evil beast, promotion.  That's how I found myself in Writer's Squalor.  Whoohoo ... I feel better now.  Sometimes, all it takes is a label and a handsome hubby wielding a dust mop!

Afterthought:  Let me know if you like or dislike the new format of the blog~if you couldn't care less, just send me a smiley face!