An Indie Smorgasbord in First Chapters

First-Chapters22-ocean-sampleI’m so excited about this release from Indies Unlimited!

First Chapters provides 1500-word excerpts from the work of twenty-two cutting-edge indie authors (well, twenty-one plus me!). Some of them are award-winning, some are bestselling, and they all, at one time, joined forces at a site dedicated to the indie author movement. This volume includes a wide array of genres and unique voices. From elegant vampires to former assassins, from drama to comedy, from science fiction to nonfiction, you’ll find something to please every palate, along with brief author bios and a purchase link, should you decide to read more.

Why did we do this? Because sometimes the “look inside” feature of a book you’re interested in buying online isn’t enough. You might have to wade through a bunch of front matter, leaving only a page or two of the story. How frustrating is that, especially if you’re looking at a number of books?

This volume includes first chapters from authors DV Berkom, Melissa Bowersock, Laurie Boris, K.S. Brooks, Lynne Cantwell, Martin Crosbie, Jim Devitt, A.C. Flory, Yvonne Hertzberger, Stephen Hise, Mark Jacobs, Chris James, LA Lewandowski, TD McKinnon, Rich Meyer, Melissa Pearl, Lin Robinson, Kathy Rowe, Carolyn Steele, Krista Tibbs, Dick Waters, and Carol Wyer.

I hope you enjoy it.

Here is some handy linkage:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:


I am so humbled by this orchestra

This is an amazing and awe-inspiring project. Thank you to Andrea Flory for bringing it to my attention. Spread the word!

Meeka's Mind

Sometimes you stumble on something so special, and so uplifting, that you just have to share it with the world. [Thank you Mark].

These children are playing instruments made from rubbish thrown onto landfill. And their music is beautiful.

Please watch this video clip, and then share it with your friends. Promoting wonderful things is what social media should be all about.


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Staying True to Yourself

iStock_000003474379XSmallNormally, I have ridiculous levels of patience. You have to possess or at least cultivate this quality if you want to be a working writer and keep most of your sanity intact. But I’ve been uncharacteristically rushing lately. Maybe because I’m conscious of making the best use of my writing time while various things are being done to ready Sliding Past Vertical for publication in September. Maybe because, even though the manuscript I spent months with earlier this year went wheels-up, I’d hoped to at least complete the first draft of New Manuscript by the end of 2013 and meet part of my writing goal for the year. Continue reading

Welcome to the Friendly Ghost Party!

Welcome to my portion of Melissa Bowersock’s movable, virtual ghostly feast in celebration of the release of her new book, Stone’s Ghost. Tell you a secret? Ghost stories are one of my guilty pleasures. So are sweets! That’s why I’m pleased to host dessert on my blog. I even tidied up a bit. No, never mind why that closet door won’t stay closed. First, a little about her book.

Matthew Stone doesn’t believe in ghosts … until he meets one. He owns a successful business in Lake Havasu, Arizona, home to the famed London Bridge that was brought over stone by stone and rebuilt over the Colorado River. He has a gorgeous girlfriend, a doting mother, and more money than he needs, but no time for stories about the ghosts who were transplanted from England with the famed bridge. When a chance encounter with a female ghost leads to unexpected friendship, Matt and the ghost are forced to rely on each other as they confront the pasts that haunt them.

Now I’ll turn this post over to Melissa. Grab a cup of tea and some goodies and enjoy!


Welcome to the Friendly Ghost Party, a celebration of the launch of my new book, Stone’s Ghost on July 26, 2013. I want to thank Laurie for co-hosting the party with me.

If you’ve been to my blog, you know that we’ve got a virtual ghost buffet going on. My blog had the appetizers, Carolyn had the main meals but now we’re onto the good stuff:


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Strawberry Ghosts!

Mini Ghost Cupcakes!

Meringue Ghosts!

Click for recipe.

Click for recipe.

Click for recipe. 

 ghost-cupcakes-ay-1875464-l  ghostcookies

Ghost Cupcake Cones!

Ghost Cookies!

Click for recipe.

Click for recipe.

This buffet continues on the sites of several other friendly bloggers who have also offered to co-host the party as well, so you’ll want to hop over to the other sites for more food items. As you’ll see below, we’ve got appetizers, main meals, drinks and desserts. (Good ideas for your next Halloween party!)

Blogger Blog Website Topic
Melissa Bowersock Ghost-Appetizers, overview
Carolyn Schriber Ghost-Main Meals
Lorraine Reguly Ghost-Drinks
Carol Wyer Book information
Yvonne Hertzberger Book info, review

Please share the love by visiting the co-host blogs, browsing through the food items, leaving a comment if you like, sending out a tweet and telling your friends. (If you right-click on a link above, then choose “open in new window/tab,” you won’t lose your place here.)

Now, this party is about more than food. If you don’t already know, there are a couple of contests you can enter. One is on the Facebook event page where you can post pictures of anything ghost-related. Encourage your friends to “like” your post, because the one with the most likes at the end of the day wins a prize package. The second contest is on my blog. Here you can post a ghost story in the comments section, and again, at the end of the day, I will pick a random winner of a prize package. (If you don’t have any of the profiles in the dropdown box when you comment, just choose Anonymous, but please put your name in your comment so I’ll know who you are!) I’ll be tweeting the winners and other announcements throughout the day using hashtag #FriendlyGhostParty.

Here’s the Stone’s Ghost Prize Package: a mouse pad, autographed book, bookmark and magnet. How fun is that?


And, just to share the love, there’s a giveaway going on at Goodreads. The winner will be chosen on July 27, so if you haven’t entered, hop on over there and do that.

Finally, to celebrate the new book, I have put the Kindle version of Stone’s Ghost on sale for just 99 cents for today only. And, just for fun, I’ve discounted the Kindle versions of all my previous books as well. You can find them all from my author page at Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the party!

My Story Cartel Experiment

DTA_Print_coverStory Cartel…sort of sounds like a group of shady librarians who will push you off the pier wearing Stephen King overshoes if you don’t pay your overdue fines.

But it’s a website where you can offer free e-copies of your book—plus a choice of goodies you can pony up for a giveaway—in exchange for an honest review. We indie authors are often looking for reviews, because it’s not like the New York Times Book Review is taking our calls. Yet.

Anyway, after learning about Story Cartel from book reviewer Big Al of Big Al’s Books and Pals, my friend and fellow Indies Unlimited minion, author Lynne Cantwell and I decided to give the website a test drive.

So I’m trying this with Don’t Tell Anyone.

If you would like a free copy (it’s available in mobi, epub, and PDF formats), in exchange for an honest review, please check out my page for the details. Or if you’d like to share the link with friends.

And maybe the indie authors in the house would like to sign up and give it a try with their own books. Similar to many other services like this one, Story Cartel offers a basic free service and an upgrade if you want to pay for the bells and whistles, which include pushing your message out to their database of followers.

I’m test-driving the basic service. I’m curious to see how this will work, especially since they’re only giving me 20 days to get my message out!

Thank you for your continued support, gang.

Character Interviews: Liza and Charlie from Don’t Tell Anyone

Dont_Tell_Anyone_200Two characters from my most recent novel, Don’t Tell Anyone, have decided to interview each other. I swear I had nothing to do with this.

Charlie: Hello, today we’re here with the fabulous Elizabeth Barrett Browning Stanhope, star of stage, screen, and…

Liza: My kitchen. Thank you. Pop me a beer, would you?

Charlie (grabbing two and offering Liza one): Our readers are dying to know, Liza. Just what do you see in my brother?

Liza: I don’t know. What did you see in Adam’s best man?

Charlie: I refuse to answer that, because this might be one of those “safe for work” websites. So what glorious surprise are you whipping up for dinner tonight?

Liza: Are you kidding me? I’ve been studying for my Organic Chemistry midterm all afternoon, so I pulled out one of the casseroles the neighbors brought. It might be lasagna, it might be moussaka. I have no idea.

Charlie: Did you leave the cover on? Or else Mom’s gonna go bonkers again. She keeps yapping that the noodles will dry out and I’ll break my caps.

Liza: Yes, Charlie, I left the cover on. Your dental work is safe.

Charlie: 350 degrees?

Liza: Would you prefer to cook and I’ll ask the questions?

Charlie: Suit yourself.

Liza: Tell me about that mystery man who keeps calling.

Charlie: That, my dear Lizabelle, is the man I’m going to marry. Don’t tell anyone. God, especially my brother. He’ll freak.

Liza: So what else is new?

Charlie: I’m guessing the anger management program was a wash?

Liza: Adam hasn’t put a fist through a wall lately, so I consider it a success.

Charlie: I noticed the place looked a little less…Swiss-cheesy.

Liza: How’s work?

Charlie (shrugging): Eh, the usual. Four divas talking about Prada and health care in front of the camera and wanting to kill each other behind it. Hey, did you know that Joelle’s adopting another Russian orphan?

Liza: Is that the one with the big hair or the one with the bad collagen job?

Charlie: The one Mom keeps calling “Joel.”

Liza: I still have no idea what they’re talking about.

Charlie: Watch the show once in a while. You might get some grooming tips.

Liza: You might get some extra-crunchy surprises in your lasagna. Or moussaka. Or whatever the heck this is.

Charlie (leans over to peer into oven): Is that one of Cara’s dishes?

Liza: I think so.

Charlie: Well, just call Wal-Mart; I’m sure they’ll tell you the ingredients. So here’s another question the world is dying to know: how do you manage to write for the newspaper, go to school, and still have time to play referee between a Jewish mother and her eldest son?

Liza: I’m a good multi-tasker. I record everything. Trouble is, I have to be careful not to mix up the recordings or I could be making my midnight press deadline with an essay about mitochondria and the sodium-potassium pump.

Charlie: It would still be more entertaining than most of what’s in that paper.

Liza: And my chemistry professor might be baffled by my story about school board allocations. Here’s one for you. Back when we were in college, did you ever think you’d be catering to four daytime divas instead of becoming the next Geraldo Rivera?

Charlie: I seriously hate his mustache.

Liza: You’re dodging the question, Mr. Trager.

Charlie (shrugging): It’s a living. Meaning they can’t live with out me. At least you get to be Lois Lane once in a while. Where is Superman, anyway?

Liza: Taking Estelle to get her hair done. You know how much he loves that. God, I hope we have more beer.

Interested in reading the story? Through July, you can grab Don’t Tell Anyone from Smashwords at half off (about $1.50) Go to and use code SSW50 at checkout.

Would you like to know when my next book, Sliding Past Vertical, will hit Amazon? Join my mailing list. I promise I won’t spam you.

Are You Alienating Fans on Facebook & Fracturing Your Platform?

Food for social media thought on Kristen Lamb’s blog today. It’s easy to see a teeny icon and a name and overlook that there’s a person attached. As I read this, two pieces of advice sprang to mind: one from my favorite boss, who said you shouldn’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your mother to read (or wouldn’t want to see posted on the front page of the New York Times, and the other paraphrased from Bob Vila: read twice, post once. I’m not perfect—heck, I even misspelled Kristen’s name in my comment, but I’m trying. Happy Tuesday!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Writers are NOT salespeople and marketers. We aren’t. If we were AWESOME at sales, we’d be in SALES. Sales pays way better than playing with our imaginary friends and hoping we create something others want to read. In fact—and I might be going out on a limb here—I would wager most of you are not thinking, “Well, I’m only doing this writing thing until I can land my dream job in sales.”

I work to be very forgiving when writers make social media faux pas because I get that you are trying to be responsible and that “sales” is unnatural for most of us. I’ve also dedicated years and a good quarter million words (most of them free) to educating writers the proper way of using social media.

I created WANA methods to let writers focus on what we are best at doing—writing. The WANA approach works. It’s been responsible…

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It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…


Yes, I was wearing sneakers. The photographer made me pose this way. He has since disappeared. I am not responsible for his whereabouts. Although I do still have the sneakers.

Twenty years ago today, as a 100-degree-plus heat wave broke, my soon-to-be-husband and I stood on the east bank of the Hudson River while a rabbi pronounced us legally wed. We walked away with two documents: one New York state could recognize and one with religious significance. The Jewish one is called a ketubah. It’s in Hebrew, and there’s a big wine stain on it. No, as far as I know, they do not sell them pre-stained, but what do I know? According to Rabbi Fish—if that’s his real name; he seemed to improvise quite a bit—the spillage of the wine was “good luck.” And, also according to him, the document boils down to this: I am the guardian of my husband’s soul and he is supposed to take care of me.

I was never really certain how to put that into play. Did it mean that I should want for nothing, but I was responsible for his decisions? Or the other way around?

Since neither of us knows Hebrew, we started calling the parchment into play whenever the situation warranted: “You’re supposed to get the mail on Tuesdays; it’s in the ketubah!” “You have to come grocery shopping with me…” Yeah, I’m sure you get the picture.

So after the spillage of wine and a sudden breeze that almost took my veil and half of the groomsmen’s yarmulkes, there was a party. I’m told the food was good. Between thanking all our guests and posing for pictures, I barely got more than a few bites. We stopped for pizza on the way home from our own wedding.

Much as I play-gripe about the Bridezilla horrors of the day, it was a great party. We had a smoking band, my brothers sat in on drums and guitar, small nephews wore tie-dye and danced, my dotty little Polish grandmother had to be rescued from going into the men’s room.

It sounds like a cliché to say that it was all a blur or that time goes so quickly, but it was and it did. I blinked and the wedding was over. I blinked again and it’s twenty years later. In my head, I know time passed. My hair changed color. Entire whole people grew up during that interval. The small nephews are in college and my little Polish grandmother is probably somewhere in the hereafter playfully scolding her husband while he asks how much she spent on that new dress.

It will probably be a quiet celebration, but Husband has vowed to take me back to the wedding hall on the Hudson one day so we can actually try their food. He has to. After all, it’s in the ketubah.

I LOVE Libraries!

800px-Library_picture1I really love doing book events at libraries. Mainly because I love being in libraries. The experience reminds me of my childhood, when I was so excited to be around all those books and to have that glorious little card in my tiny, fake crocodile-skin wallet. That little card was magical. It meant that I could take any of those wonderful books home any time I wanted. (Well, when a grownup was available to drive me there. It was a bit of a walk.)

I still visit my local libraries, and now I bring the books.

Next weekend, I get to go to another.

ChocoholicI’ll be at the Saugerties Public Library on Washington Street in Saugerties, New York on Saturday, July 20 at 2:00. I know, it’s a summer weekend, but Saugerties is such a cute little town, with lots of antique shops to poke around in and coffee bars to satisfy your need for frosty, caffeine-laced beverages. And it also is home to Krause’s Candy, where you can get some of the best handcrafted chocolate in the world. Yes. In the world. And I’ve been to the Lindt Museum. Well, almost. But I got a good long look at it from a boat. Anyway, make an afternoon of it in Saugerties if it’s been a while or if you’ve never seen it. It’s right next to Woodstock.

I’ll have all of my books with me and I’ll be talking about writing and self-publishing and stuff.

I do hope you’ll drop!

Baseball and Writing and Baseball

Photo by Robert Boris

Photo by Robert Boris

I’ve been a baseball fan since I was big enough to reach the TV dials. (Yes, they had dials back then…) Much to my father’s chagrin, I chose to fall for that “other” team, rather than his beloved, pinstriped Yankees.

The soothing voices of the New York Mets’ announcers and the slow, meditative pace of the game appealed to me. And maybe to my budding writer’s mind as well. Watch a pitcher try to hold a notorious base-stealer on the bag. There’s a story behind that dance. The runner tries to rattle the pitcher, throw him off his rhythm. The pitcher tries to catch the batter flat-footed and pick him off base. Watch the tango of catcher and pitcher. A volume goes unsaid as the catcher flashes his signals and the pitcher shakes them off. [Find a copy of Bull Durham if you want a fast lesson in how catchers and pitchers work together.]

Some other lessons I’ve learned from the game speak directly to a professional writers’ career: Continue reading