Monthly Archives: January 2014

Happy Year of the Horse!

Happy Chinese New Year! 2014 is the Year of the Wood Horse.Eight chinese knots

According to tradition, the Horse is bright, warmhearted, intelligent, and clever–but also impatient, hot-blooded, and rarely listens to good advice.  I have a couple of friends born in a horse year, and I can attest to the description 🙂

Also according to tradition, you should be careful what activities you participate in on the first day of the new year. Apparently, whatever you choose to do signifies what will be in abundance for you during the year. I have plans to write, hit the gym, and go out to dinner with friends, which sounds like a good foundation for a great year.

My all-time favorite New Year tradition is the warning against cleaning your house since you might sweep away any good fortune that comes your way. When I told Mark I wouldn’t be doing any housework on Friday he asked, “This is something new?”

It’s such fun living with a smart ass.

To find out what Chinese animal sign you are, here’s a link. May good health, good luck, and much prosperity be yours in the Year of the Horse!



Writers vs Writers

Holy fisticuffs, Batman…want to see what’s really wrong with publishing today? Then get thee to Chuck Wendig’s blog and read the comments section on this post and then this. And don’t get me started on Kboards. Be forewarned, though. There’s plenty of durm und strang, whether you work with a publisher or DIY.

All in all, pretty darned good theater–but so, so sad. Writers attacking writers ain’t pretty and ultimately damages us all.

Can we please just be done with this shit? Move on, people.

Hubert Gravelot - Matrimonial Fisticuffs, with a Portrait of the Pugilist John Broughton, in the background - Google Art Project

New Kate Jones Cover

Okay–it’s finally starting to feel like a real book! The new Kate Jones thriller, A One Way Ticket to Dead, is so close to being ready I can taste it. For someone with issues in the patience department, it’s this last bit before publication that makes me bat-shit crazy…kind of like getting to the end of a long race where you just want to %&*! FINISH. No worries, though. I can usually circumvent any impending implosion with some deep breathing and a glass or two of wine.

I’m aiming for a February release (okay, it may be closer to the end of February… 🙂 ) To whet your appetite and to appease my imprudent nature, here’s a peek at the new cover:

cover for A One Way Ticket to Dead

I especially like the visceral impact of the blood-smeared money and the MP5 standing on top of it. Definitely appropriate to the theme of the book. Don’t worry, Kate’s still got a problem with inappropriate sarcasm and there are touches of levity  throughout, but her arc is demanding a bit more maturity. I leave it to you to figure out what the hell that means. Here’s the description:

“After years of running from her ex—a vicious Mexican drug lord—and his subsequent death, Kate Jones is ready to bury the past and try to piece together a new normal. But first there’s a loose end to tie and it involves digging up old ghosts that are best left alone.

Unaware her actions have attracted the notice of a powerful enemy, Kate is plunged into a deadly fight for survival as both her life and the lives of the children of a man she once loved hang in the balance. And, with the possibility of a cartel informant inside the DEA, Kate isn’t sure who she can trust.

From the emerald-green shores of Seattle to the lush Yucatan jungle and unforgiving Sonoran desert, Kate Jones must once again face her past…and hope she survives.”

What do ya think? Do you like the cover? Does the blurb grab you? Inquiring minds want to know. Any and all comments are welcome. Really.

I’ll be sending out a new issue of the newsletter in the next few weeks and expect to have a couple of giveaways included, so if you’re interested, here’s the link to sign up: . I only send them out about 3-4 times a year, so I won’t spam you–promise.

Off to do ANOTHER edit. Sigh. That bottle of cab on the kitchen counter is calling my name..

.Schwappender Wein

E-Book Expansion

Kindle 2, Kindle 3 & Kindle 4According to a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life project, the number of Americans who read e-books is growing…

Well, dang. I coulda told ’em that 🙂


Awesome Authors–Holly Gilliatt

Happy New Year, everybody! New Year, new way of doing things. As some of you have noticed, Awesome Authors has been on a bit of a hiatus. I’ll still continue to post interviews with fabulous authors, but it’s going to be, well–er–a bit less structured, shall we say. In other words, no set schedule! Yay! Can I hear a yay? No? You’ve always been fine with whenever? Oh, well then, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Today I get to interview women’s fiction author, Holly Gilliatt. Holly’s another fabulous Sister-in-Crime member and I was excited to get to know all about her and her books. So, without further ado, here’s Holly!

photo of Holly GilliattFrom Holly’s bio: A self-confessed music, movie and accessories junkie, Holly Gilliatt’s passion has always been writing. Give her an algebra quiz and she’ll curl up in the fetal position. But throw a test requiring all essay answers her way and she’s in heaven. Between the day job, husband, three kids, two dogs and cat–it’s not easy to find time to write. So she sacrifices the laundry pile to spin her tales of laughter, friendship and love. She’s proud to call the St. Louis area her home.

DV: Welcome to Awesome Authors, Holly! Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

HG: I’m a romantic at heart and tend to find humor in just about everything. So it makes sense that I write women’s fiction that could also be viewed as romantic comedies. Full of laughs, romance, heart.

DV: Sweet-romComs are always fun. Tell us about your newest release.

HG: My first release which is available now as an e-book or in paperback, is ’Til St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the story of three best friends and their lives and loves over the course of one winter. And I’m excited about my recent release which came out on January 5thLove in Sight. This book is about a smart, funny, charming guy searching for love, but the fact that he’s blind doesn’t exactly put him on any Most Eligible Bachelor lists.Cover for Love in Sight

DV: What was your favorite part about writing this book? Least favorite?

HG: My favorite part about writing Love in Sight was getting to know my characters. When I write, I end up falling in love with the guys and wishing the women were the sisters I’ve never had. I get really attached to the people I create. And my protagonist, Jason, is a fantastic guy. Funny, genuine, flawed—but amazing. My least favorite part was editing. The editing process for this book was pretty extensive and I had to cut a lot of scenes that I loved, but in the end, just weren’t necessary.

“I don’t write books with vampires, bondage or sorcerers—I just write funny stories about love and friendship.”

DV: Ah yes, the dreaded ‘kill your darlings’ stage of editing…How long does it take for you to complete a novel? Do you have a set schedule?

HG: It can vary quite a bit. ’Til St. Patrick’s Day only took about three months—it just flew out of me. For Love in Sight, it took a couple of years to write and edit. There was a great deal of research that went into it, though, to hopefully make sure I got the details about living with blindness as accurate as possible. My current work in progress will probably end up taking about five – six months. I don’t have any set schedule for writing—I’ve got a day job and three kids so my schedule is to squeeze it in whenever I can!

I’m extremely jealous of full-time writers. I guess if I sold more books I could quit the day job, huh?

DV: 🙂 Do you work with a professional editor?

Cover for Til St. Patrick's DayHG: My publisher, Turquoise Morning Press, has a staff of editors. My editor for both of these books is Judy Alter, who is an accomplished author of many genres, most recently cozy mysteries.

DV: Judy’s such a lovely person. She was one of my Awesome Authors last year 🙂 Can you tell us about your ‘road to publication’ and what it entailed?

HG: I spent an exhausting amount of time trying to get an agent. Over and over I got responses that ten years ago they could have sold my book, but in today’s market, they’re looking for someone that already has a built-in audience (like celebrities) or something with huge blockbuster potential (like Harry Potter, Twilight, etc.). I don’t write books with vampires, bondage or sorcerers—I just write funny stories about love and friendship. So when I was about to give up, I decided to approach small publishing houses directly. Within a month or two, I was offered three contracts.

 DV: Nice! That must have been exciting! Where can we find you when you’re not writing?

HG: Probably eating something. 🙂 Most likely I’m spending time with my family, or enjoying a movie or concert. And whenever I can, I like to escape to nature—either the woods or the beach.

DV: I’m with you, Holly! I love nature (okay, and food…). In light of the huge changes in the publishing industry, where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think publishing will change in the future?

HG: I’ve got two books contracted (sequels to ’Til St. Patrick’s Day) that are due out in 2015 and I’ve got another manuscript called Loose Ends that is about halfway done and will hopefully get published in the next couple of years. I can’t think much beyond that. I love writing, so I’ll just keep plugging away and see what the voices in my head tell me to write about. Along the way, I hope to build a loyal following of readers. As far as the industry, it’s hard to say. Things are changing so rapidly in terms of self-publishing, e-books, etc. But the good news is that I think books are becoming more accessible and I hope that ultimately means more readers.

DV: What type of promotion do you do for your books? Can you tell us what has worked the best?

HG: Ah, promotion. The part of publishing that I hate. I just want to write. The rest of it—social networking, websites, book trailers—I wish I didn’t have to do any of it. I’m an introvert in a lot of ways, so it’s hard to put yourself out there and push your product. But it’s a part of the process these days. As far as what works the best…I’m still figuring that out. Getting exposure in newspapers has helped locally. Maybe review sites. It’s a work in progress.

“…the good news is that I think books are becoming more accessible…”

DV: If you could time travel (either backward or forward) where would you go and why?

HG: Oh, what a fun question! I would definitely go backward. I would love to either go back to the 19th century to experience such a different world, or go back to experience each of my kids as babies again. I miss those days.

DV: Very cool 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, Holly! Below is an excerpt for ‘Til St. Patrick’s Day. To find out more about Holly and her novels, please see the links below.

Excerpt from ’Til St. Patrick’s Day:

The three women stepped into one of their favorite shops on historic Main Street. Jayne was sifting through some scarves and asked Karen, “How’s Rick?”

 “Oh…he’s Rick.” Karen browsed through a selection of chunky metal rings.

“What does that mean?” Jayne asked, eyeing her friend.

“You know…he’s nice and not bad on the eyes, but….”

“But what?” Jayne loved Rick. He was the anti-Karen. He was sweet and tender and light-hearted. He evened her out, balanced her in a way no other man had.

 “He’s just rather dull, I think. No spark there, not terribly ambitious—”

“I think there’s plenty of spark there.”

 “Everything’s just so comfortable with him, though, nothing exciting there,” Karen said, trying on a ring.

“You do this every time.” Jayne sighed.

“Do what?”

“Just when it’s time to consider actually getting vulnerable and sharing your life with someone, you call it quits.”

“I don’t do that.” Karen’s brows furrowed. “Do I?”

“Yes, you do,” Claudia confirmed. “And I think Rick is a really great guy and he really loves you. I don’t think you should let him go. I think you’ll regret it forever.”

“Me too,” Jayne said, nodding her head with enthusiasm.

“Hmmm… Well if you two think he’s so great, do you want him?” Karen said, rolling her eyes as she walked away.

“What are you so afraid of?” Claudia asked. “Actually needing someone? Getting too out of control with your emotions?”

“Oh Jesus, don’t give me any of your psych bullshit. You watched Oprah for too many years.”

“But Oprah’s always right.” Jayne chuckled. “Well, except for with James Frey. But besides that, she’s a pretty reliable source of information.”

“Well, you two can just chill out and calm down because I’m certainly not going to get rid of him at the moment. We’re safe, at least ’til St. Patrick’s Day.”

“What are you talking about?” Claudia asked.

“Do you mean that John Mayer song, St. Patrick’s Day?” Jayne asked, deciding on a blue-green scarf.

 “Yeah, you know, it talks about how if you’re in a relationship when the weather starts turning cold, you’re safe until St. Patrick’s Day. Nobody wants to be alone over the holidays, then the New Year seems so optimistic, even I’m not jaded enough to dump someone then. The next thing you know, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I don’t need to tell either of you how screwed up that can be when you’re alone.” They all nodded. “But who cares if you’re alone on St. Patty’s Day? It’s a holiday that practically celebrates public drunkenness. Perfect for a raw break up.”

Claudia chuckled. “I never heard that. It’s a pretty interesting concept, though. And actually pretty dead-on.”

“Yep, so relax and know that you’ll be seeing Mister Happy Rick throughout the holiday season.”

Hmmm, Jane thought. Then maybe I’ll get at least a few months with Gray…and that should be enough time to convince him that I’m the absolute perfect woman for him. Yep, I can make this happen.

End excerpt

Find Holly here:

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Goodreads

Buy Links: Turquoise Morning Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Yucatan Dead and a $50 Gift Certificate

cover for Yucatan DeadMy virtual book tour for Yucatan Dead has officially begun! And what a great beginning it is–woke up to a fantastic 5-star review on the Long and Short Of It reviews:

“Wow!  My heart is still pounding.  When I started reading this story I didn’t realize that I would be on the edge of my seat during the entire book. I just couldn’t put this book down…” read the rest of the review here.

As part of the tour, and to show my undying gratitude for all the support ya’ll have given me throughout 2013, I’m giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate–go here to enter the raffle (scroll down the page to the Rafflecopter thingy). Enter early and often 🙂

Here are the rest of the stops on the tour:

Banner for Goddess Fish promotion

Enter to win a $50 Gift Certificate!

Click on the links below to enter the giveaway:

January 15: Long and Short Reviews
January 22: The Write to Read
January 22: Our Wolves Den
January 29: It’s Raining Books
February 5: Booklover Sue
February 12: Straight from the Library
February 19: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
February 26: My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

Thanks again for all of your support, and GOOD LUCK!

Magzter soon to open up to ebooks?

More interesting news about the e-book market geared toward Indies…

Mark Williams - The International Indie Author


The EBUK team are over at the Anne R. Allen with Ruth Harris blog this week, with some facts and figures on the German ebook market that may surprise you, and some facts and figures on the tablet, phablet and smartphone market that may surprise you even more.

ARA Blog

Did you know what India’s biggest selling tablet is? No, it’s not a Samsung or Apple device, and its certainly not the Kindle. It’s a tablet you’ve probably never heard of. The Aakash. But here’s the thing. Millions of Indians have heard of it and have bought it, and some could be reading your ebooks on it.

Chances are you’ve never heard of Magzter, either. And that’s okay. They’ve probably never heard of you.


But one way in which market fragmentation is accelerating is in digital content providers who do not sell ebooks jumping on the bandwagon and selling ebooks.


View original post 536 more words

%d bloggers like this: