Thursday, March 29, 2012

Could There Be An American Idol Show for Writers? by DL Larson

The Fine Arts Departments are always the first to go in schools when finances are tight, but on Reality TV they are not only thriving, they dominate prime-time! So many young people chasing their dream, so much talent, each vying for the Big Lights of Fame. "American Idol," "Dancing with the Stars," "Face Off," and the list goes on and on as the nation watches raw talent become polished and professional. As a writer I'm jealous! Where's the show for writers?

Or food shows! Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, Chef Ramsey, the Cake Boss or Cupcake Wars hold us in fascination with their tricks of how easy it is to cook. We find their recipes on-line thinking we can do it, we can make the perfect meal, if only we had all the fancy gadgets or beautiful kitchen in which to prepare our food. We dream on, knowing we could become great chefs, ignoring the little devil on our shoulder telling us the meal will be devoured in ten minutes. Still, I'm jealous and dream of a show for writers.

Or the market HGTV has on making us drool, telling us how easy it is if only we would move this wall and use the newest perfect flooring, or replace our counters with granite ~ no home is complete without granite. And stainless steel appliances! It all looks so elegant and divine, and easy. And I think, "where's the maid? Surely such a fancy home comes with hired help! Or a chef? Yes, all that money surely must pay for food preparation." As a writer, I'm looking for end results, but realize even with a fancy home make-over, I would still have to do all the work to keep it beautiful. It reminds me of writing. Nothing gets done unless I do the work myself.

So, if ever there was a reality TV show for writers, what would the goal be? Would we have seasons of genres, romance, horror, sci-fi, western, etc.? Would famous authors make cameo appearances and tell us their secrets? Would we work in groups to create a comedy or soliloquy? Would we take old classics and create a new twist to them? Would we play word games? Would we read our own manuscripts to the audience and wait for the applause and cheers? Would someone end up famous?

Tell me, what would you like to see in a reality TV show for writers?

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jean Henry Mead, Author of The Mystery Writers, Shares Her Views on a Once Dirty Word

“Self-Publishing is No Longer a Dirty Word”

By Jean Henry Mead

Not everyone agrees that independent publishing is the key to writing success, but a growing number of authors are proving the naysayers wrong. More and more writers are leaving their publishers to strike out on their own, some with unparelled success, such as Robert Walker, who has repeatedly said that the secret to success is to consistently turn out quality work on a regular basis.

But even Rob will admit that there’s more to it than that. We’ve all heard that writers need a platform and a fan base of readers who trust the author to turn out quality work. But how does one acquire a fan base? Not by hermitting him or herself at the computer without making contact with the outside world. Those days are over.

When I put together my second volume of mystery writer interview, I met some successful new writers, among them Canadian bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif, who publishes not only her own work but others with her Imajin Press from Alberta.

She says in The Mystery Writers: “In 2010 Amazon opened KDP to Canadian authors and I went back to my roots—to indie publishing. For me it's probably the best fit. I am by nature very independent and a strong marketer. Plus I'm ‘an idea person.’ Even my old publisher saw this in me and often called me a "guru" or "marketing genius." While I don't consider myself a ‘genius’ I do know that I'm a risk-taker.”

Independent publishing isn’t for everyone. It requires not only writing talent but good marketing skills and industry know-how to succeed. A number of other self- publishers are included in The Mystery Writers as well as bestselling traditionally published novelists such as Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block, J.A. Jance, Vicki Hinze and James Scott Bell (former Writer’s Digest fiction columnist).

Tim Hallinan, award-winning author of the traditionally published Poke Rafferty mystery/thriller series, decided to self-publish his Junior Bender series—humorous stories of a burglar with a “moral code who works as a private eye for crooks.” Tim’s earlier novels earned him critical acclaim but not enough money to retire from his day job. He now earns thousands of dollars a month with his self-published ebooks.

He said the reason he decided to leave his agent and publisher is because “the money we were offered by the publishers wasn’t very good. I looked at the offers and thought, ‘I’d rather own my books.”

Rebecca Dahlke once managed her father’s crop dusting service in Modesto, California, and decided that her protagonist—a beautiful former model—should also be a crop duster. She then decided to independently publish her novels, with successful results. Rebecca, like Cheryl, is a promoter and a humorous one at that. She says, “Self-publishing is no longer a dirty word. . . Eons ago, back in the dark ages (of publishing)—was it really only five years ago?—all we authors could hope for was a good agent, a decent publisher, a slowly growing fan base, and a list of book stores that might, or might not, keep our books on their shelves for three to six months before returning the unsold copies to the publisher. We could send in Advanced Reader Copies to prestigious reviewers or magazines and hope they would say nice things about our books, or pay a publicist to tout it, take our dog and pony show on the road, eat bad food, stay in crappy hotels, be at that next book store, book fair, conference, and smile till our cheeks ached. .

“The changes have been exciting, and for this author, validation that I too can write books that readers enjoy. So, for all the august veterans who see the Internet as an encroachment onto their hard-won personal turf, let me paraphrase one of my favorite movie lines: ‘Saddle up boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride’!” You can read how Rebecca accomplished her success in The Mystery Writers.

And, after ten publishers of my own over the years, I decided to independently publish The Mystery Writers with my own small press. The 406-page book is featured on Createspace: and is available on, Kindle and Nook.

Amazon Buy Link:

The 406-page book is a veritable bible for fledgling writers because the advice offered by 58 bestselling, award-winning and midlist writers is invaluable for any genre. Twelve subgenres are represented and the authors write from as far away as South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, the U.S. and England. Some of the traditionally published authors from the U.S. are Lawence Block, Sue Grafton, James Scott Bell, J.A. Jance, Vicki Hinze and Julie Garwood.

To promote the book, I’ll be blog tourng from April 16-28 with the Mystery We Write blog group and my schedule is up at:  I’ll be giving away a print copy of the 406-page book and an e-book copy in a drawing at the conclusion of the tour to visitors who leave comments with their email addresses.

About Our Guest:
Jean Henry Mead is a national award-winning photojournalist and former news reporter as well as a mystery/suspense and western historical novelist. She’s published 17 books, half of them novels and served as a news reporter; news, magazine and small press editor in California and Wyoming. She was also a correspondent for the Denver Post.

Please welcome our guest, Jean Henry Mead, by leaving a comment.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Writing and Waiting - what do you do?

While I am waiting for word on a book out at publishers, I've done what most everyone advises - start another one.

I've started it. Barely.

I have about six chapters outlined, more or less, though when I write I find that I tend to add in different details or even ignore the outline as I go along.

Never gone is the specter of that "other" book, languishing on some slush pile or maybe sitting, forlorn, on some editor's desk. So I hope.

It's hard to forget something you've worked so hard on. Hard to get over it and go on to something else that easily, though I am trying.

So, what do you do when you are between books? Besides clean the fridge, eat or???

Friday, March 23, 2012

People Make The Difference! by DL Larson

This first photo was was taken in Hawaii, this year. The second is a cliff in Ireland in 2002, I imagine it is still there. Hawaii has many cliffs similar to Ireland. The last photo reminded me of Hawaii, but it is in the Dominican Republic, 2010.

Beautiful scenery is always fun to gaze at, but it is the people we meet who make any trip interesting and worth remembering. The same goes for stories. Without characters our stories lack depth.

Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games, brings this into sharp focus. She has created a strange world, one with a perverse society that makes a cast system look like child's play. She flavors her pages with strong images of what the Capitol looks like versus the surrounding districts where people are starving, yet working nonstop to support the privileged at the Capitol. Uprising is long over-due. Sending children to fight each other to the death is a yearly festival for those at the Capitol.

Katniss Everdeen doesn't realize she is the spark that will propel a revolution she never thought possible. She is a teenager who supports her starving family by hunting for food in the woods, a place forbidden to go. She takes her sister's place at the Hunger Games and life is never the same - for anyone!

The long awaited movie will be released this weekend. It is bound to be a HUGE Hit. Suzanne Collins was very careful in choosing the perfect director for her story. Already there are dozens of trailers to promote the movie as well as guide books to familiarize yourself with the Hunger Games characters and the world they live in. I've already read two of the three books, so I'm pretty in-tune with the characters. Their world is fascinating, but it is them, Katniss, Peeta and Gale who bring this story to life. Just as any good character does!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pesky Little Details

All those pesky little details an author better get right, or else--

Late afternoon yesterday I noticed all our early blooming daffodils, both in the backyard by the kitchen window and by the fence, had fallen over. I thought that may have been due to the strong winds, but just in case it was from the heat, I gave the ones by the kitchen window some water.

This morning, both sets of daffodils had sprung back up, so my conclusion is they didn't like the heat, but revived during the night because it was cooler.

Daffodils do not usually bloom in Illinois this early, nor do forsythia bushes, green grass, and other tulips happen yet. We also don't usually have bees circling our backyard, ants on the sidewalk, gnats in the air, or mosquitos flying around, not to mention 80+ temperatures this early in the season. This year is an exception, which I've heard is due to a jetstream.

If you were writing a book with a setting near Chicago, Illinois, and the timeframe of March, unless you were specifically mentioning this year, all the things I mentioned above wouldn't be here. Instead, to ground your readers in a story, you'd mention snow starting to melt, or grass still brown, if you even see it peeking from the snow. The temperatures would typically be in the 50s, or if you're lucky the 60s.  You might see a few buds on the bushes, or daffodils or tulips beginning to come up, but not blooming. The insects would also be few and far between.

When I wrote Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, I had to check certain details also, such as when the rose bushes bloom, and when they're dormant, what the temperature is in Scottsdale, Arizona compared to Flagstaff, even what time it's sunset in that part of the country. Though I'd taken a trip to Scottsdale in April, 2011, and garnered much  information which proved useful, that didn't mean what I witnessed in April was typical for other times of the year in that area, or even in Flagstaff.

Fortunately, the Internet is a great source for learning such pesky little details. An author needs to get them right,  because, God forbid, if they're wrong, a reader will notice.

What other pesky little details should authors be aware of? Can you share any you've encountered when writing a book?

By the way, the thriller I mentioned, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, is on sale on kindle at 99 cents through March 24, 2012, after which it returns to $1.99.  It's also available at the regular price of $1.99 in other electronic formats, and is in print for $12.87.

Find excerpts and buy links to all of my books at
You're invited to check out my Author Central Page at:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's Tax Time - Do You Know Where Your Records Are?

I’m writing a non-fiction book for writers about federal income taxes and the many twists and turns this subject takes.  Over the years I’ve worked with writers on this topic at conferences and writers groups and if there’s one thing about your income taxes that you want to know something about, it is record keeping in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines and legal requirements.

Let’s take for example mileage logs to demonstrate the difference between guidelines and legal requirements.

If you claim mileage as one of your expenses related to your writing business or hobby then you are legally required to prove it with written documentation.  More specifically, you are legally required to prove the dates, the purpose and the miles traveled for your writing business.  IRS Publication 463 (Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expense) has an example of a mileage log but you do not have to use this exact representation.  As long as you have the legally required pieces of information -- dates, miles traveled and the purpose -- then you can structure your mileage log or records as you see fit.  For example you could use spreadsheet software or the table function in a word processing software to capture your information.  You can also keep your output from driving direction software and search engines for your trip(s) to supplement your other records.

An important issue with mileage is that you CAN NEVER claim commuting miles and this is something that you really need to understand.  IRS Publication 463 does an excellent job of spelling this out in Figure B.  Unless you have office in the home your first trip out the door related to your writing business will be considered as part of your commute and NEVER deductible.

For overall record keeping requirements you can also reference IRS Publication 583 (Starting a Business and Keeping Records), and all publications, forms and instructions issued by the IRS can be found at

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Little Time Away

This past week on Thursday and Friday I spent some time away at a conference. And while I missed being at home with my hubby, it was so nice to have a little break from work. Plus, the conference was a good one, and I came back with some fabulous ideas to implement in the coming weeks and next year.

Next weekend we head off to Florida for Spring Break. I can't wait, as I really need some extended time away to relax and rejuvinate. Spring Break at home is okay, but it seems there's always something starting at me in the house calling my attention. Being in someone else's house for a week will be quite refreshing. Plus, there's the added incentive of visiting Mom and Dad, multiple pools, and Disney World!

Time away from a manuscript can also be a good thing. Last fall I had an editor ask for some rewrites/revisions on a project I'd submitted to her. At first I was overwhelmed. I didn't know where I was going to start. Some major things needed to be changed. Due to another deadline and other 'real world' commitments, I put the manuscript away for a while. Last week, I dusted it off and took a look at it again. I printed out the notes the editor had sent, and I'm going through page by page and getting a feel for the story again, with the editor's suggestions in the back of my mind. I'm crossing out (I'm using a hard copy.) the parts she thought didn't work and adding a few things here and there. Once I've gone through it initially, I'll sit down at the computer and do the actual deleting and additions.

It still feels a little's heartbreaking to cross off so many words, knowing I have to replace them somehow in the over-hauled version to meet word count...but coming at it after having 'rested' for a while has allowed me to bring some fresh eyes to it, so to speak.

So, there's definitely something to be said for taking a little break.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

On the Hunt for Another Leonardo by Margot Justes

According to Yahoo news, there is another Leonardo Da Vinci
fresco hidden in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Imagine that.

Centuries after his death, he still makes headlines. I try
to keep up because in my vampire tale Blood
Art the Mona Lisa plays a prominent and demonic role. How could I not be

This story has a fresco hidden by another wall, and the
original fresco is suspected to be a Da Vinci original.

Speculation abounds, but the general belief is that Leonardo
started painting the "The Battle of Anghiari" around 1505, but there
were issues with the paint and it was never finished. It is believed that Giorgio Vasari, another
artist covered the Leonardo fresco with a wall to protect it and then painted
his own fresco.

Chemical analysis, indicates the possibility that the fresco
might actually exist. The data in not conclusive, but there is enough information
to pursue it further.

The process in gaining the information was and continues to
be intricate, and controversial because researchers had to drill six holes in
the Vasari fresco to gain the chemical details needed to identify the Leonardo

The project is not without protest, art researchers feel
that the Vasari fresco is being damaged, and that it "was nothing more than
a Dan Brown Style publicity stunt."

However they were able to identify the composition of the black paint used 'exclusively'
by Leonardo. To further enrich the story, the
battle is said to have been painted at the same time as the Mona Lisa.

One other touch to
the mystery is a message Vasari left on his fresco. "Cerca Trova" ("Seek
and You Shall Find.")

We can agree or disagree on the process. Is it worth
potentially destroying a master fresco to find another one, that may be beyond
restoration, or may not even exist save for a few strokes of black pigment. Art
historian are debating the very same thing.

In all the recent Leonardo speculations and potential new
finds, centuries after his death he is still being discovered. A Renaissance
man for all the ages.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
Hearts & Daggers
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So Much To See! by DL Larson

On the big island of Hawaii, there is a place in the Puna District where the lava rock heats the lagoon and the waves of the Pacific wash over the reefs and sporatically surges into the tranquil pool. It's a bit like trying to relax with a toddler about. Not nearly as tranquil as you hoped, yet surprisingly fun!

The lagoon picture above, is just one of the many stops I made on a trip to paradise. The rain clouds hovered in the distance and I watched them move toward the island. The wind picked up, the waves grew taller and looked menacing, and folks left the lagoon quickly as the waves struck the reef wall with surging velocity. The serene setting turned into a whirlpool in only a few moments. Paradise, I discovered, has a temper!

The Kilauea Volcano errupted in 1960, the most active volcano on the islands. In its wake it left black sand beaches and lava cliffs. Black sand is made immediately when lava hits salt water. The surf is large and the splash is over 60 feet in places. No one stands too close or the force of the water will knock you down.

The park is visited by thousands each year. I was happy to be one of them. If you ever get to Hawaii, make the Puna District a must see.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Please Welcome Our Guest, Michelle Prima, Professional Organizer and Author of 101 Organizing Tips for Writers.

Michelle Prima is a Professional Organizer, specializing in author services, from file management to blog tour coordination. She is published in non-fiction, including her self-pubbed 101 Organizing Tips for Writers.

Two lucky commenters will win her booklet.

Buy Link:
Follow her blog:
Twitter: @MichellePrima13

Today, she's offering tips on how to manage our time.

Time Management for Writers by Michelle Prima

If you're like most authors, writing isn't your full-time job. You might be employed outside the home. You might have young children at home. You might have a sick family member that takes up much of your time.

Whatever the situation, not many writers have the luxury of writing ten hours a day to crank out that manuscript. So it is important to know how to manage your time so you can make the best use of the minutes and hours you have every day.

First, set goals for yourself. These should include daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals. Write them down! They are more likely to come to fruition when written. Then prioritize them according to importance and deadlines. Looking at them on paper will give you a better idea of how to plan your time. For example, if you have a deadline in three months for a 400-page manuscript, divide the number of pages (400) by the number of days (90). You will need to write 4.4 pages every day to reach your goal. Always make goals realistic so you don't stress yourself out and get discouraged.

Second, keep track of all your activities in one place, whether it's an electronic calendar such as your smartphone, or an old-fashioned paper calendar. Record both personal and business tasks in this one calendar to avoid double-booking. Block out time for writing on your calendar. If you don't schedule it, you'll end up doing something else, and never get back to the writing.

Third, be proactive when it comes to meetings and appointments. Have contact information handy for the person running the meeting, and for all attendees if possible. Allow yourself plenty of time for driving to your appointments. Add on extra time when driving during heavier traffic or bad weather. Never schedule appointments back-to-back, even if they are in the same building. You never know when the first one might run late. Finally, call ahead to confirm date, time and place of the appointment. Too often, someone will think you meant one Starbuck's, when you are sitting at another. Or they write down the wrong date in their planner. It happens. So avoid wasted time by confirming with them.

Most important, learn to set boundaries for yourself. Say 'no' if you truly don't have the time or energy to help. Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. And be firm that writing time is for writing only. Close the door and turn off your phone and email alerts. You'd be surprised how much time you waste just taking a peek at incoming mail.

Managing your time will give you more of it in the end. And who wouldn't like more time in a day?

What do you see as your biggest time waster? What can you do to improve on it?

Please welcome Michelle by leaving a comment. Remember, a free booklet will go to two lucky commenters.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Being Creative...

I'm guessing most writers are creative in other ways. Many are drawn to music or singing. Some are pet owners. Many craft or enjoy hobbies like collecting or doing photography. Most require creative thinking in other ways besides writing.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Besides owning pets, I enjoy creating things in miniature. See my other blog for a small scene I made a while ago.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A New Experience

Yesterday my hubby and I spent the day over in Michigan looking for land in the South Haven area. We left Friday after work, spent the night at a wonderfully cozy resort, and drove around in our truck all day Saturday looking at parcels of land.

This was something we'd never done before. Even when we bought our house, we didn't look at many different properties. It was a rather unique situation of a rental house and an owner who said the house was always for sale for an interested buyer.

So for us, yesterday was quite a fun learning experience. We looked at lots of land in many different locations. We figured out what area we didn't like, what area we did, what kind of land we like (trees, but not too many to make clearing difficult), and how close to town we want to be.

We didn't make any hard and fast decisions. We didn't come home as land owners. But we learned a lot and will go back soon and do it again until we find just what we're looking for. We're in no rush, so there's plenty of time. Even if it takes years. And we had a ton of fun with this new experience.

New experiences are one of the great things about being a writer (and a reader). Most of the time, you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home (or even get out of your jammies if you don't want to) to experience all sorts of adventures you never dreamed you would. As the writer, it's your privilege to take readers to different places, situations, and times. As a reader, you get to experience these things without ever leaving your EZ chair.

Don't get me wrong. I love to travel and explore. But there's only so much time and money for that sort of thing. It's nice to know, with books, there's no limit to the adventures awaiting me!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Celebration by Margot Justes

We're celebrating my older daughter's MBA graduation by
going on a cruise during the kiddies spring break.

My grandson already said he won't be swimming in the pool
because there are sharks in the water. He thinks we're going on a power boat
like the one his parents own. I can't wait to see his face when he sees the
size of that ship.

My granddaughter is looking forward to spending time with
auntie Dina, who hates cruising and still hopes it won't happen.

To be honest her first and only cruise was a long one, and most
of her excursions got cancelled for lack of interest, and our stop in Costa
Rica was missed completely because of a medical emergency. To top that off,
last night on board was a bit breezy. She did however enjoy seeing the Panama Canal.

I keep telling her to give it a chance, and she keeps
telling me she did-and she hates cruising, but agreed to go because of the
family. I keep reminding her it's only seven days. So far that is not working.

Personally, I can't wait, really need a break, and I've
never been to Puerto Rico.

In the meantime, today I finished the re-reads of A Hotel in Paris, and it will be out on
Kindle this week. I celebrated the
finish with a delicious brunch at the Cuisine of India.

Next project is a new novella set to come out in September,
and I have to go over Blood Art and
send it to an editor. I want it ready for Halloween.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
Hearts & Daggers
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Take Advantage of Critiques! by DL Larson

Getting back into a routine after being gone awhile is a challenge for me. Catching up on mail, e-mail, etc. overwhelms me and I procrastinate more than I should. I did check my email, finally, and discovered I had several good notes to tend to and not just jokes and better pass it on notices. I received a few critiques on my unpubbed manuscripts. As usual, it was eye-opening and rewarding, frustrating and humbling at the same time.

No manuscript is perfect, I know that, so do you! Yet, we want to hear only the good things we acomplished in our writing, and not so much on what needs work. I learned a long time ago from a professor I did not like, that pointing out the weak spots is a well needed knock-up-side the head. Too much glowing words leaves no room for improvement. And I sure want to keep improving my skill as a writer.

Don't get me wrong, I love it when someone enjoys my work. I also want to know where the reader might get bogged down because I didn't explain the setting, plot, character's actions, etc. as I should have. Now is not the time to be stubborn and say I wrote it that way ... because ... because it's what the characters wanted, or I want to add to the tension, the mystery, the whatever! If someone took the time to critique your work, please, please, take the time to consider their opinion and take a good hard look at what they are saying about your writing. Keep in mind a critiquer has no purpose to harm you, only to enlighten you to tend to a problem they discovered.

My advise is to take advantage of every tidbit a critique has to offer. Use a critical eye as you examine the hot spot, see it for what it is, and then change it to what it should be.

I've had many critiques over the years, most were okay, some very enlightening and I still appreciate being set in the right direction. Only once did I encounter a horrific critique and that was years ago. I learned from the advice, yes, I also learned what the ring of vindictiveness sounded like and realized some people are simply unhappy doing what they were doing. That too was a growing experience.

If you have not had your work critiqued, I encourage you to do so. Find a writers group, or enter a contest and pay someone to point out the good/bad parts of your manuscript. The important thing is to have someone unbiased examine your work.

If you have had your work critiqued, share your experience with us!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Please Welcome Romance Author, Paula Martin Who Writes at Midnight

Paula Martin had some early publishing success with short stories and four romance novels, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching.

She lives near Manchester in North-West England, and has two daughters and two grandsons. Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her favourite place in Ireland. She’s also interested in musical theatre and tracing her family history.

Personal blog:
Writers’ Group Blog:

Paul'a Newest Release - Fragrance of Violets

The title comes from a quote by Mark Twain: Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. The story, set mainly in England’s beautiful Lake District, is about two people who need to forgive each other and also deal with other issues in their lives.

Abbey Seton distrusts men, especially Jack Tremayne who destroyed their friendship when they were teenagers. Ten years later, they meet again. Can they put the past behind them? Abbey has to forgive not only Jack, but also her father who deserted his family when she was young. Jack holds himself responsible for his fiancĂ©e’s death. He’s also hiding another secret which threatens the fragile resumption of his relationship with Abbey.

Will Abbey ever forgive him when she finds out the truth?

Fragrance of Violets and Paula's previous novel, His Leading Lady,  are available from Whiskey Creek Press at also from Amazon and Bookstrand.

And Now Paula Tells Us About Writing at Midnight

I’ve always been a night owl, never a morning person. When I was a child, I used to read under the covers with a flashlight long after my parents thought I must be asleep. Maybe not until midnight but certainly much later than my supposed ‘bed-time’.

As a teenager, I’d turn off my light, wait until my parents went to bed (probably about 10.30 or 11pm) then switch on my light again and either read or continue writing the next chapter of my current story, for my friends to read avidly the next day. Okay, those early romances of mine were very corny but my friends enjoyed them!

For a lot of my adult life, I had to cease burning the midnight oil. Baby era: 10pm feed then get some sleep before she wakes again; 25 year teaching era: have to get up at 6.30am so need to get to bed early.

Not all the time though. When I worked backstage in amateur musical theatre, rehearsals were held at a local sports club which, being a private club, could stay open long after the statutory closing time for licensed premises. We stayed too, often until midnight, although that made it doubly hard to get up the next morning.

Show week itself was even worse. Adrenaline-fuelled, we needed time to unwind after the show, so it was often well after midnight before we left the theatre bar.

I never had any problem staying up late. The problem came the next morning when I had to get up early to go to school. To my credit, I have to say, I was never late for school, although not necessarily alert and raring to go!

My colleagues got wise to me. It was summed up by one of them: “Never ask Paula a question before 10am if you want a sensible answer from her.”

Then came retirement. Oh wow, freedom to do what I want, when I want! And that included staying up as late as I wanted, because I didn’t have to get up at (to me) some silly o’clock in the morning. I might get up about 8am but most of my friends know not to call me until after 10am.

I do my best writing at night. I may have a whole day free (sometimes!) but day-time writing doesn’t work for me. My mind seems to work so much better from about 9pm onwards. My muse is obviously a night-owl too.

I’m full of admiration for people who can get up at 6am and start writing. But me? Yes, I’m a midnight writer.

How about you? Are you an early bird or a night owl? When do you your best writing?

Paula's Website:
Personal blog:
Writers’ Group Blog:

Please leave a comment to welcome Paula Martin to Acme Authors Link

Pinterest Possibilities

Morgan Mandel
 Pinterest is the hottest new social networking site. It has many possibilities, so many I haven't figured all of them out yet. I hear hints of what can be done, but am not sure yet how to go about doing all of it.

Some things I do know -
After you join, First, you get a bunch of Boards. You can rename them what you want, but be sure to classify them, so people looking for pictures in certain subjects will see yours.

To put stuff on the Boards, you can type in urls for your own blog or website and pictures will come up, from which to choose. Make sure you have the rights to what you want to share. You can Pin pics onto your own Boards, and somehow people might notice where to go and decide to go there, although many just like looking at the pretty pics and do Likes or Repins onto their own Boards. What's cool is your Boards can also show up on Google searches. There's a space under your pics for comments, which you or someone else can make. I haven't done too many, but probably should start doing so.

Somehow once I joined Pinterest, emails started coming in with people following my Boards, or Liking my pins, or Repinning my Pins. When I get one from someone I'm not following yet, I click the email to follow that person.

If you choose to do so, you can sign in with Facebook or Twitter and specify that your pins show up on those sites as well.
There are other possibilities, which I have yet to figure out, such as using hashtags (#) or @ like in Twitter. I'm not sure how that works, but maybe someone reading this will enlighten all of us on how that works.

Here's my Pinterest Page, if anyone wants to follow me. Those who already belong, if you wish to mention yours, please do so in the comment section here.

I had to receive an invitation to join Pinterest. I'm not sure if that still holds true, but if you have trouble joining, send me an email at morgan@ with Pinterest in the subject line and ask for one. I'll be glad to send one off to you.

Follow Me on Pinterest

There's even an app for the iPhone, so you can play on there when you get bored. Pinterest has possibilities, but more than that, it can be relaxing and less stressful than weeding through some of the comments that can crop up on FB and Twitter. I recommend you give it a try.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lazy Monday and Daydreaming....

Must be something going around... my lazy day is today. Well, not really as I'll be attending a night meeting and writing on that. So until then, I'm cleaning off my kitchen table, reorganizing the office, and daydreaming about a couple projects.

It's really not being lazy since daydreaming is actually writing, but without the computer, since you can let your mind wander and come up with fresh ideas, or different ways to write something.

So, what is your Monday schedule? Do you like to get right to work, or approach it slowly after the weekend? Share what you daydream about.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

All My Ducks in Row

Sorry to have been the absentee blogger the fast few weeks. Last week I was out of town and the week before...let's just say I was taking a little break from life. I had a pajama day: didn't get out of my pajamas and sat either on the couch or in my recliner all day with a book. It was the best day ever.

This weekend has been all about getting my ducks in a row. Friday I made a list of everything I wanted/needed to accomplish this weekend. As of right now, I have only one thing left to do on the list. There was a great deal of satisfaction in crossing things off as I accomplished them. Plus, I did a few things that weren't on the list.

Of course for today, I've come up with several other things that I can (should) do, but we'll see. Another book and that chair and blanket just might be too enticing!

I've also somewhat gotten my ducks in a row writing-wise. I finished my WIP: a Thanksgiving story called "An Unexpected Blessing", polished it up, worked up a query and synopsis, and sent it off to my editor. Less than 24 hours later I had a request to send the full mss. I certainly do love how quickly things move over at The Wild Rose Press.

The next thing I have to get in order are the rewrites/revisions on a mss I'd submitted last year. The editor sent it back saying it was a good story, but not quite ready to be published. It's been sitting on the floor of my den, patiently waiting its turn to be worked on.

Getting so many things done this weekend, and even finding a little time to relax, has given me hope that I'll be getting to that particular project sooner rather than later.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Munchkins are Coming by Margot Justes

This will be a short blog. The munchkins are coming and spending the night. I went to Costco and got their favorite munchies.
They love potato pancakes, I bought some at a Polish deli, along with their favorite sausages.
A spinach, onion and Feta cheese frittata is easy to make, and I have all the ingredients.
Blueberries and blue berry muffins for my grandson. At some point he's going to turn blue. Costco started carrying LaBriola pretzel rolls, my granddaughter loves them. So do I, they are really, really yummy.
The little munchkins have quite a sophisticated palate. Tonight for dinner we're going to a new restaurant,Saranello's, they love going out to eat. I have books and games, all set for an adventure. Basically, it's food, games, books and more food.
Till next time,
Margot Justes
Hearts & Daggers
A Hotel in Paris