Thursday, October 31, 2013

Have you wondered about the Boxed Sets out today? #99cents

Well I have.

I started seeing them on Amazon a few months ago and thought to myself that it would be exciting to be involved with a great group of authors in a boxed set.

As most of you know, I have been promoting with the Indie Book Collective in their Free Partays for some time now and we cross promote all the time. Except it’s always been about our own book! In boxed sets there’s a much closer connection.

I’ve wondered - if by having everyone promote the one unit - would it make a difference. I began to pay attention to the other collections out there and was pleasantly surprised to see that they were doing very well indeed.

So when a couple of the members from our group decided to published three of the sets, I was waving my hand like a crazy woman, whistling and shouting pick me!! Happily, they did. For two sets – The Ultimate Romance Set and the Ultimate Romantic Suspense Set.

Now I’m proud to share with you that we have three boxed sets available, including wonderful authors, many Amazon best-sellers, and the most exciting bit of news is this…

For a limited time only they have put the price at 99cents!!!

It’s true and it’s a sweet bargain so grab your copies now. And as a personal favor to yours truly, anytime you see a tweet, a facebook post or any other type of advertising for these sets, please re-tweet and share. In fact there are buttons below that you can use to do so now Jthank you!! thank you!!

For your own information, you might want to check on these sets periodically to see the outcome. Maybe it’ll be something you might like to do in the future. Or better yet, I’ll keep you posted from time to time and let you know the results.


Red Mountain Publishing is Pleased to Announce Three Boxed Sets Packed Full of Romance, Mystery, Thrills and Suspense and YES, HORROR!!!

For a limited time get 21 full length novels for less than $3.00 from bestselling authors Taylor Lee, J. Thorn, Lorhainne Eckhart,  Helen Scott Taylor, Rebecca York, Mona Risk, Nolan Radke, Thomas Morrissey, and more. [Click on Boxed Set Image to BUY or scroll to Amazon links below.]

Happy Halloween! Act Fast because the Deal may not last!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

One of ECWC's most facsinating workshops presented by Mary Buckham!

Today, I wanted to share with you another workshop that I found utterly fascinating, extremely helpful for future creativity and a heck of a lot of fun. My friend, Mary Buckham is a genius when it comes to sharing knowledge and presenting facts that - when explained properly - make so much sense.

Often, she gives courses for the members of RWA on their University site and I’ve been fortunate to have signed up for her latest on Settings. In fact, I liked that course so much; that I also went to her ‘Writing Active Settings’ workshop in Seattle. Figured I reconfirm what I’d learned. Plus I’d get to watch a pro in action.

And trust me. This lady is a pro. In a good way!!

Through the examples she chose to read, she made settings so vivid and imaginative that one instantly realizes what a tool we’re missing if we don’t incorporate some of her suggestions into our own work.

There were seven reasons she gave us as to why settings should be taken seriously.

1 – Show characterization

2 – Show details

3 – Reveal emotion and build tension

4 – Set up backstory

5 – Foreshadow conflict

6 – Make a sequence active

7 – Can be written as a character

Setting can anchor the reader and orient him as to:

-         The time of day

-         Where the characters are

-         How much time has passed


I’ll give you an example of what I mean by time passing. Rather than falling back on those same old transitional phrases we all use such as: Sometime later… or Days passed… let’s try writing a setting such as Mary suggests.

By the time the cops released Anne, the fresh red roses she’d purchased the day of her arrest were wilted, the stems congealed in slimy green water.

Do you see what I mean? By showing the state of the roses, the reader knows that Anne must have been held for days.
I’ve been playing with this setting stuff and it’s kinda fun. You’ll use more words, it’ll take some thought but it really can add a lot more oomph to your story. **If you write suspense or thrillers, you might want to be careful not to slow down the tempo especially in an action scene.

And remember too much of a good thing is still – too much. Use it sparingly, pick places where it’ll add and not detract from the pacing. And if you want to know much more than the small bit I’ve shown you here, go to Mary’s website. You’ll see she has books for sale there, very reasonably priced, that will explain this to you in much more detail and with a heck of a lot more skill than I have.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One of the most informative workshops of the ECWC - #Marie Force

Today I decided to write about one of the people who influenced me a lot at Seattle's ECWC Conference.

Her name is Marie Force and her handout says that she has self-published 18 original novels. A lovely young woman who is tremendously proud of her success, she seemed happy to pass on as much information as possible. Having hit the New York Times Best-seller list as an Indie Author, she answered all the questions the audience pelted her with and she didn’t hesitate to give out personal information – like the facts about the huge income she now enjoys.

I got the impression that she wanted to help those of us in the audience who were willing to listen and learn. As you know, many authors are stuck in the traditional mindset and that’s just fine. Most likely, they have grown up with certain rules, are happy in their worlds and cling to those outdated times. She wasn't. Marie proved there is a new frontier for her and anyone willing to take chances. And she took that dissatisfaction to the RWA board and fought against the Rita contest guidelines so that we would be allowed to enter our Indie work. Thumbs up for her spirit and the courage it must have taken to face down the wall of disapproval and rejection.

Beside myself, there were others willing to admit that changes have happened, are stil happening and they wanted to get on board. Being that I am an eager learner, I sucked in everything she advised. Some things I’m on the fence about but most I agreed with one-hundred percent.

Asked what the best promotion is that an author can do, she answered unequivocally. It’s your next book and the one after that. She believes that part of her success is the fact that she writes seven (you heard right) – seven full-length books a year.  Well honey, that ain’t gonna happen with this author!  I guess I can get away with a possible five or six if I throw a few novellas into the mix but anything more and the psych ward at the local hospital would have a new patient.

Marie also spoke at length about writing a clean first draft. Since this is something I feel is important, and as you know, have expounded upon, it was nice to hear a lucrative writer who has the same opinion. Of course, in her quick turnover world, Marie doesn’t have time for rewrites and layering revisions.  Funny thing is - she told the audience the more she'd followed this method the easier it has become… ahhh…yeah!  Train the brain!

The handout she passed around was also invaluable, full of pertinent information about the steps in publishing a professional looking manuscript. Steps that include how to format your work properly.  I’ve listed her website below and I have no doubt if you wrote to her, she’d send you a copy also. If you go there make sure and check the Formatting Fairies page. And if you happen to be looking for services such as editing, formatting or book covers you might find this is the place for you.

Another thing I found out through this workshop was that, unlike months ago, authors can upload direct to Kobo and Apple rather than having to use Smashwords only. **A quick footnote I must add - to upload to Apple, you do need a Mac computer but then again, if you don’t know anyone who can help you, Formatting Fairie's charges are not that high.
Before I finish this post, I wanted to also add a link she passed on for a yahoo group called Self Publishing Info Swap. I've just joined and I have no doubt that a person will pick up loads of great information there about all matters pertaining to the route many of us are taking as today's Indie Authors.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Most important thing I learned at the conference…


I’m a bit exhausted and a whole lot exhilarated! Now you’re asking yourself – why should I care?


The reason I feel that way is because I am so full of information to share with you from Seattle’s Emerald City conference. I came home yesterday with a brain that screamed in agony – no more! NO MORE!!


After three days of consuming tidbits, snippets and whole workshops, I have to debrief, make notes and calm down. Excitement is starting to fade, and I’m now on my knees in thankfulness that I am a note taker. The only thing I didn’t write down was my inner reactions to meeting people. Those emotional moments will just stay inside me and warm my heart.


The pleasure at finally being able to put the real face to an image I’ve carried around of friends I’ve met on the web. And collecting hugs! Man that was special. So many times I’ve sent cyber hugs to colleagues for the help they’ve given me in my career, the wonderful advice and the special support. Sure is nice to finally be able to wrap my arms around those people then look them in the eyes and say… Hi!!!

In the next few days I'll be sharing some of the highlights with you of what I know were important lessons for me and what I’m positive will help you. I hit so many workshops on marketing that I can't wait to set in action what I leaned. As soon as I unwind, and get set up again in  my normal "place" I'll clue you in also. Promise!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Read all about it!!


Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Read all about it!!!

I've released my newest book called Let it Ride, book #6 in the Vegas Series. I also  have it being promoted in a Freepartay (below). Hopefully, I've let the world know through facebook, twitter and my newsletter that’s it is now LIVE on Amazon!!!

Here’s the back page narrative:

Lisa never breaks promises. 

So when her partner, Aurora, makes Lisa vow to find out who’s kidnapped casino owner Jeff Waters and save him from being hurt, she agrees.  No one knows that he’s burrowed a path into Lisa’s soft heart after their illicit night in his luxurious penthouse apartment.  Just imagining him being in danger is enough to terrify the Las Vegas detective into taking chances she wouldn’t normally now that she’s responsible for her precocious three-year-old nephew.

Jeff hates knowing that the one person who comes to his rescue is the only woman he’s ever wanted to marry, a woman he should be protecting—not the other way around. The fact that his family’s history put her in danger is driving him crazy. As crazy as the two killers who want him dead… but only after they get their ransom and bed the gorgeous, long-legged exotic dancer they haven’t yet realized is only there to save their captive.

***Just so you know, I really wanted to make this book the best in the series so I could end it on a high note.  But it’s difficult to tie off the ends accumulated in five other books. I think I accomplished what I wanted to do. There’s a lot of fast-paced action, some emotional scenes that’ll rip through your defences and make you sniffle, romance to satisfy the romantics and two heroines who are my favorite characters so far.

"Let it Ride" A short Excerpt:

“I know how to get to Jeff. I purposely left their balcony door ajar, and as long as no one has closed it, I can get into the room again.”

Kai’s voice iced with anger. “Over the balcony? Are you stark-raving mad? We’re on the twenty-sixth floor, Sunshine.”

Lisa made sure that she looked confident even if nausea emerged from just the thought of her intentions. “I checked. The balconies are not that far apart and there’s an overhang, plus a ledge. I can make it. No problem.”

“Not gonna happen!” Kai was adamant. “Too dangerous. If they catch you this time, they’ll peg you for a cop.”

“Not if I’m still in this stupid costume. Look, I left behind my diamond earring, well it’s a rather large Cubic Zirconia, but they’ll never know. I’ll just say I discovered it missing when they pushed everyone else out, so I hid in their guest bathroom near the entrance until they went to bed. Then I made my way to the other bathroom where I’d been sick because I was sure I’d lost it in that room. And it is there, so they’ll believe me.”

Aurora stared at her with searching bewilderment that slowly turned into an approving grin. “That’s what you were doing when you stopped behind me. You always intended to go back.”

“Yep! I’m not leaving him there for them to torture any longer than necessary.”

“Get ready. I’ll help you.”

“Au-ro-ra!” Kai headed in her direction, intentions of strangulation clearly on his unhappy face.

“Dammit Kai, I’d do it for you and her legs are a hell of a lot longer than mine.”

Ham interrupted while pointing at the monitor. “Better go now, darlin’. Check who’s heading up the hallway… and does he ever look pissed!”





Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Marketing, promoting, advertising - when does it stop??


I’m off to a convention in the Emerald City (Seattle, W.A,) this week and I’ve been way too excited to get anything done. Or so I thought. Seems I work well under pressure. I’ve gotten more done in the last three days than I’ve been able to accomplish in a week. Of course, not all of it is correct but it is fixable…..gulp! :-)))

I spent time today reading over all the workshops offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The choices are staggering. As an Indie author, I’m of course interested in most of the marketing workshops. Keeping up with this fast-paced business is tiring and exhilarating at the same time as challenging.

Those dollars I spend trying to promote my books have to be put to the best use I can discover. As you all know, the freepartay’s have done me well. But it’s been over a year that I’ve advertised with them. I realize that I’m hitting the same market repeatedly.

It makes sense for me to spread my wings and find others who might like my books. And that means I need to share my promo bucks. Like many others, I accept that I must market my work and pay the money to do so. I just want – like everyone else - to get great results for the least amount of money.

I will keep notes and let you know any gems of information I come up with during this convention. And I don’t expect all of it to come from the workshop co-ordinators either. I have no doubt the personal networking will bear fruit also. At least I hope so.

Recently, I’ve been told that the best form of publicity is by releasing more books. I took that advice seriously and after waiting well over a year, I just got the rights back for my favorite book of all – Together for Christmas. I’ve had my brilliant cover artist, Steven Novak (the man’s a gem! And so easy to work with) make a wonderful cover for the book and I re-released it a few days ago. I’m so happy to see it up on Amazon, looking spiffy and finally selling at a reasonable price.



Back page narrative:

Abbie Taylor has a thousand things to do before the big day, help the vicar with his needy families, organize the Christmas nativity, and spare time for a distraught baby at the orphanage who only settles when she’s near. Falling into a coma while her spirit resides inside a prickly, big shot businessman doesn’t work for her at all …until she falls in love.

How could Marcus Chapman be so unlucky? First he’s saddled with his newly widowed mum, and the next thing he knows, he has an annoying spirit invader who’s instantly aware that he isn’t nearly as tough as he makes out. Between these two manipulating women, and the orphans Abbie forces him to visit, the poor man doesn’t stand a chance. The season is Christmas, and love is all around.

***When this book had been released under Wild Rose Press it had 8 reviews - all fantastic – all 5 star reviews and not one from my mother or friends….LOL! Legitimate reviews that told me they’d loved the spirit-travel concept and found the romance enthralling.

A short Excerpt:

     Maybe it was the eagerness in her voice, or maybe just her words, but whatever she said made him grin. Up till then, he’d seemed like a stranger looking back at her in the mirror. Then his smile changed everything. Unfortunately, it didn’t last too long. But she’d seen enough and decided right away that he had a dear face. Not what one would call handsome, more like interesting. She’d bet that his full head of messy hair cut short and worn close to his head normally didn’t look so scruffy. That wouldn’t be his style at all.

      His piercing green eyes didn’t have the same sparkle as his mother’s. They were ruthless and compelling, slightly haughty and intense, and the shrewdest stare she’d ever come across. She felt as if he were trying to find her inside of him by staring into his own eyes.

     “Can you see me?” She teased.

     “I do believe I can. I went slightly crossed-eyed for a moment, and I have no doubt that was you sneaking a peek.”  When he grinned teasingly, dimples appeared on both sides of his mouth and created a whole different impression. This man devastated with his attractiveness, his charisma.  

     Unequivocally, Abbie knew at that moment, not only had her spirit joined with his, but also her heart now faced a challenge.


If you liked the concept of Quantam Leap, make the protagonist a female, add in a lot of romance, humor and a lovely Christmas theme and you'll have
Together for Christmas.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Your first draft – write like a fiend? YES/NO??



Whaddayathink... Yes or No???

Let's face it - everyone has their own methods of writing. And I'm not saying one way is better than the other....okay maybe I am. But we all think our way is the best. When it comes to our own working style, we're all probably right. But if what I have to say from experience helps another person make better choices, then I'm happy.

So... Here’s my thought on the subject.

In my experience, there are days when I can write up to 3,000 words if there’s little or no distractions - like when I’m at retreat. However, at home I'm lucky to get in 1,500 to 2,000 words.

When I say that amount, I'm talking about a relatively clean draft. I try very hard to write first drafts that are very close to being reader ready. What I mean by this is - I don't go along with the idea that you can just write crap so you have words down on the paper or in the computer. For me, trying to fix badly written work is hugely difficult, especially once I'm into the story and it picks me up and carries me along.

Truthfully, I miss a lot since I’m one of those speed readers who skim. I don't see all the passive sentences or the same words used over in a short space or the starting of sentences that are weak and need to be changed - and on and on…  Oh, and thank goodness for spell check. Even still, a lot gets through that my eyes miss.

My thought is - if you write the best you can to begin with - a well-written first draft, then the second pass over will be far easier. Plus, those few mistakes you have missed will be glaring rather than dealing with a manuscript where every second sentence needs work. In fact, when I get the edits back from my editor, I'm always hugely amazed at how many of these types or errors she still finds even after I've tried so hard not to let any get past me. Imagine if I let the work roll without any controls.


But that's just me! Usually, I'm on a tight schedule for the edits and I'm planning a release date to fit into a FreePartay promo. So, to tell the truth, I really have no choice. I can’t expect an editor to fix a broken manuscript and I don’t have the time to do more than one good edit myself.

There’s a lesson to be learned in this decision. The fact that I don't let myself get away with weak work has been a huge benefit to me in the long run. Truthfully, I find my writing getting stronger all the time. The words come to me and my brain sifts through them as I write them down. Many times the necessary repairs jump out at me then and there. Not always, but it’s happening so often it lets me trust my work that much more. It makes writing enjoyable and less of a massive job of painful plodding through each revision!!

Try it and see if you don’t find your mind adapting to your demands. It’s a challenge – right?

Now tell me I’m full of … ahhh - you know what - but make it convincing.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Little White Magic - a wonderful new release by Jodie Esch!


Today is a huge treat for me because I have a very good writing pal of mine visiting BELIEVE!. She has sucessfully released three books in a very short time - LITTLE WHITE MAGIC -being the third. Finally, she has taken time out to breathe.


The Story Behind the Story –Little WhiteMagic


I’m pleased to present Book #3 in The Girlfriends Series –Little White Magic. Teens, trouble and a touch of the Tarot.


Rachel and her best friend Steph are spending the summer as junior counselors working at a camp in Vermont. But Rachel’s on a mission.

What’s a girl supposed to do when she needs a new boyfriend? Enlist the help of a tarot reader, trust the cards and embrace the journey. Spiral into an adventure filled with startling revelations, where nothing is as it appears – and a mysterious, scarred young man’s talents seem almost magical.


The Backstory


A few years ago, I was traveling in Arizona and discovered a number of articles in a local newspaper that highlighted the recovery of Stephanie Nielson. She had survived a horrifying plane crash, but with burns that covered 80% of her body. 


Her reflections and journey to regain her life were earth shattering. I was haunted by her courage and belief. I knew that I’d stumbled across a very powerful piece of writing. Her words affected me deeply. She clutched onto life with the support of her faith and her family.


I saved the newspaper clippings and went onwards with my life. Even though I’m a paper hoarder, I unfortunately misplaced that file. But the idea of writing about a burn survivor was trapped in my brain, so I began to create my Young adult novel, Little White Magic.


A week ago, I visited Laura Langston’s blog, a fellow author, and low and behold, there was my lost story. Ms. Neilson had turned her articles into a memoir and published them under the title Heaven is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph and Everyday Joy. I was pleased that I’d located her writing because I could revisit her touching words.


I realized that in Little White Magic my heroine Rachel would be the perfect person to reach out to my hero Dylan as he copes with his unspeakable tragedy.


One never knows where one can find inspiration for writing a novel.


I hope you enjoy this latest installment of the on-going adventures of best friends Rachel and Steph.


Thanks so much to Mimi for being ‘the hostess with the most-ess’.



Chapter 1


Normally I love a Tarot card reading, but today something is wrong, wrong, wrong. Madame Ariana’s azure eyes skewer me like a laser.
I shrink back in my chair. “What do you see?”

In the silence, her silver bracelets jingle as she places twenty-two cards in a circle, her long fingers caressing each one. I know what she’s doing—the Soul Mate spread. I’ve studied the cards throughout my senior year. She points to the card in the middle.

“The King of Wands,” she says in an ominous tone.

“What does that mean?”

She spins one of her five rings slowly with her left thumb. I stare at the largest ring, the one with the dragon. My stomach plummets. I’ve always hated dragons. There’s something about the blood-red eyes that is beyond scary. I make an effort to refocus.

“Does that card represent the past?”

“Be patient, Rachel. The cards will let you know.”

I’m here to find out if Channing really loves me or if this is just a summer romance. I guess I’m nervous because he’s my very first real boyfriend. I’m not counting my neighbor last year who I thought might be interested in me. Channing could have any girl in Camp Winnoski. Every day I wonder why he chose me.

The neglected cottage has thick purple curtains and black walls. Three plump crystals dangle from glossy beaded strings in the window. Good. Three is my lucky number. A dusty stench thickens the air. Even though it’s late in the afternoon, it’s so dark outside it feels like midnight. Another summer storm is brewing.

Madame Ariana talks about the past. But I don’t want to think about my mom abandoning me, dad always working, changing schools. Not today. I want her to tell me about Channing. About the future.

“You are ready for a deeper connection with your soul mate. But I see confusion and conflicts. The King of Wands will be your mentor. He will inspire you. In time, harmony will rule.” She leans across the scarred pine table and whispers, “You will be two jewels polishing each other’s rough edges.”

That sounds cool, but …



Monday, October 7, 2013

Meet the irresistible, loveable author of the "Grammy's Gang" books - Flo Barnett

Today, it's my pleasure to welcome the author of the "Grammy's Gang" books, Flo Barnett. She's a wonderful, warm-hearted individual who so obviously cares about children that she's gone and done something about it. Entertaining the youngsters is so very important today - the right type of entertainment. And the Grammy's books are sooo right - modern and delightful.
When I retired in 2000 I was “grandchildless.”  Then, miracle of  miracles, my daughter sent me a beautiful flower arrangement with a small note attached.  It read, “I can’t wait to meet you.  See you in January.  Lots of Love, your first grandchild.  P.S. Do Not Tell Anyone Yet!”  Needless to say, I, along with my hubby, were walking on air!
Shortly afterwards, it donned on me that I wanted to leave this baby, as well as any others that would hopefully follow, a meaningful legacy he or she would treasure forever. Since I’d always fancied myself somewhat of a decent storyteller, I decided I would write something that spoke to what it was that made him or her unique.
Fast-forward to 2013.  I now have seven grandchildren, six of which are boys and one gorgeous princess girl. The legacy I envisioned for each one of them has expanded exponentially into the “Grammy’s Gang” series. 


My newest entry, “When Grammy Goes Away,” is book number six in the series.  The dedication reads, “For my totally awesome, first-born grandchild, Brady. You are my beginning, my now, my always and forever!”
Each book in the series attempts to address a significant life experience in an age-appropriate, light-hearted manner.  There is a ton of humor in every one of them.
“When Grammy Goes Away” deals with the subject of losing a loved one.  Young children operate on a concrete level;  their questions concern things like where is that person now?, what do they eat there?, what will they see and do?, etc.
In the book, the stages of grief that everyone, no matter their age, experiences when they suffer loss are addressed.  On a personal note, I lost my dad when I was only three years old.  In those days, adults didn’t explain death or try to understand what a small child could possibly be feeling. It’s not that they didn’t care, they just didn’t know.
In “When Grammy Goes Away,” the mother tries to help her child see that death isn’t the end of his relationship with his beloved Grammy.  He can recall the wonderful times they shared and know Grammy will “always and forever” be in his mind and heart.
And, yes, even though the seriousness of a loved one’s passing is the focus in this story, there is a ton of humor, too!

Thanks, Mimi, for giving me the opportunity to speak about my “Grammy’s Gang” series.  I’m very proud of these books especially because I’m so darn proud of each and everyone of my “Gang!” I’d love to hear from your blogger buddies.  I can be reached on Twitter @FloBarnett1 or on my blog:

****Now meet the irresistible, loveable, alter-ego herself.....