Monday, July 30, 2012

Feeling like a "Real" Author

Writers write.

That's all there is to it, right? Well, not quite. You need to keep writing. You need to keep learning. You need to write, revise, repeat, rethink, edit, query, submit, garner rejections, and learn to be resilient. And then - if you are lucky enough to find an agent or a publisher - you get to keep repeating the process (and maybe even get paid for it.)

Why do writers keep going? Especially those of us whose debut novels may have gotten wonderful reviews but not the sales? Whose second novels may be languishing with a defunct publishing house who never sent out royalty checks? Why would a writer - like, umm,  me - keep going?

Hope. The idea that One Day something Great might happen.

And, believe it or not, we keep writing for our Readers. The idea that people are reading our books and being transported into the worlds and scenes we imagine is a powerful motivator.

They say the definition of insanity is to repeat the same actions but expect different results. But in the case of writers, the actions are never quite the same. We should keep learning as we go, and our writing should keep evolving.

And in the meantime, it's hundreds of little things that keep writers going. A compliment from a friend. A compliment from a stranger. The support from fellow writers, in person at critique groups or on blogs and Facebook. A scheduled book signing at a local store. An email from a random reader, asking when your next book is coming out. Or an email from a book group who loves your work.

For instance...

This is a photo of my mom and her sister, my Aunt Kate. (And yes, I'm named after her.)
I got an email from Aunt Kate earlier this spring, asking if I was available to go down to Virginia to meet with her book club. They were scheduled to read my second book, PERFECT STRANGERS, to kick off summer. We were in the midst of track season and some hassles with our neighbors, so I had to decline.

She let me know afterward that the women in her group loved the book. Her email made my day.

This time she didn't ask, as she'd heard from her sister that our house troubles have escalated. But she did send an email yesterday to let me know that the "No Rules" Book Club of Annandale, Virginia read and discussed my debut novel, UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS, this week. And loved that as well. And can't wait to read the next one.

My aunt has always encouraged me to write, and to believe in myself. When I was in second grade and started writing stories, she told me if I finished a whole book, she'd publish it. I did, and she did. The slim volume was bound in heavy yellow velum, with illustrations she added herself and hand water-colored, and entitled "The Mystery of the Haunted House." I was thrilled. And hooked on the idea of being an author.

I can't thank her enough for encouraging me at a kid, and for her continued encouragement even now, when I'm supposedly all grown up.

I hope every writer out there has at least one person like this in his or her life, sending cheerful emails out of the blue to brighten a day and reinforce the idea that You are a Real Writer. I'm lucky enough to have several people like this in my life, but today I'm really thankful for my Aunt Kate.

What keeps you going?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Puppy Goes to the Lake

My mother-in-law has a house on a fresh-water pond in Chatham. It's really more of a lake-size body of water, which the kids and dogs love to play in. Even when they've just recently been to the doggie spa and shouldn't be playing in the lake.

But it's been such a hot summer. I can't say no to that Puppy face.

The kids were having a blast, getting out every water toy and flotation device they could drag down from the garage. It was too hot for the dogs to participate. They just watched. Puppy's older cousin didn't even swim much. Otis just sat on the beach, despite the fact that he must have been REALLY hot with all that fur!

Puppy stayed in the water most of the afternoon. By the end she was exhausted... and happy. And, I hate to admit, a bit smelly. So much for the Doggie Spa. But you can't beat a happy Puppy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What About the Real Mermaids?

NOAA - the National Oceanic and Atmostpheric Administration - released an official statement earlier this month about mermaids. In that, they don't exist. Read the article on their website here.

But why release a statement that denies something... when most people don't believe in mermaids to start with? Doesn't that seem just a bit, well, fishy?

Every culture around the globe has fairy tales and stories with mermaid-like creatures. Every tale is based on some smidgeon of truth. Why is it so far-fetched to think that there might be a race of creatures adapted to life under the water just as we live on dry land? A race that didn't crawl out of the primordeal ooze, but stayed put and evolved to thrive there...
My soon-to-be-published novel (no release date yet) is a tale of mermaids and undersea wars between the clans. I live on the shores of the Atlantic, and I think there are plenty of things in the ocean we have yet to discover - but why is NOAA coming out so strongly against their existence?

Could they be real?

Could this be a coverup?

Is this Area 51 but on an oceanic scale? A Men in Black scenario of undersea aliens?

There was a recent documentary which aired on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, which talked about the what ifs of the existence of mermaid culture. My son saw it while at a sleepover, and a visiting friend talked about it at length on our recent fishing trip. I have yet to watch the whole thing, but have seen the YouTube clips, some of which are so patently faked...

 But... What If...?

Do you believe in Mermaids?

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Go Fish"

We went fishing over the weekend with friends from out of town. Five of us went on a half-day charter out of Saquatucket Harbor with Bob Luce and his first mate Billy. Bob is 70-something and has been fishing the Cape for sixty years. Billy is "younger" and has been working with Bob on and off since he was 13. They were a sarcastic and sardonic pair, and it was a fun morning. Except...

They made me fish, even though I clearly said I was just there to take pictures. I caught one blue and one striper, and they made me hold my catch.

There I am squeeling, "Take it back! Take it back!" I'm really not that squeemish - I've raised three kids. I've baited my share of hooks down on the dock and taken scup off those same hooks. But there's something about sticking your fingers into the gills that made me scream. The rest of them laughed. At me. I didn't care as long as they took the fish back off my hand!

Lauren didn't even try holding her fish - but she did try to kiss it...
My husband has no issue with holding his catch - he loves to fish and was very happy with this morning trip.

We caught more than a few dozen stripers (you can only keep a certain amount though, so most went back into the ocean.) We caught even more blue fish, with their scary teeth and I didn't go near them, except to take pictures. We kept several for Charlie to take home and cook up in his new smoker.
The prize for biggest fish of the day goes to Ken - who was the happiest to be out on the water and then, ironically, the only one to get sea sick on the long ride back into shore. But he was a happy fisherman...
This big guy was "tagged" which means a little yellow twisty tag was attached to him, with an address in North Carolina and a "reward." We didn't keep him but released him back into the Atlantic unharmed, except for the bit about the trauma of being caught.

How was your weekend? Have you ever been out on the ocean fishing with light tackle? Have you ever held a big fish in your bare hands?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Puppy Goes to the Doggie Spa...

We're expecting company for the weekend. Puppy needed a bath. Rather than destroy use the guest bathtub (like I usually do) I went to the new Hot Diggity Doggie Day Spa over on Main Street in West Dennis.

What fun!

My son came along to "help" and it's a good thing because Puppy would NOT get into the tub, despite the cute ramp. He lifted her up and in. I couldn't have done that. She sat right down and let me scrub her and soap her and hose her and brush her... and my son took photos. (Okay, so I couldn't have done the blog without him either!)

I totally recommend the DIY dog spa experience - it was a joy to walk away from the mess! Clean dog with none of the cleaning up afterward!

What fun are you planning for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

FREED - a 99 cent new release by Kinley Baker!

Kinley Baker has a new release this week - FREED - a novella in her Shadowed Love series, from Crescent Moon Press, available for just 99 cents on Amazon! Confetti and Champagne for all! (Especially for you, Kinley!)

Here's the cover, and the link to Amazon...

Her first two full-length novels in the series are RUINED and DENIED - I posted about DENIED on it's release day earlier in the month - click HERE to read that post and see the cool cover art ;-)
Here's the BLURB:

After mortal invaders slay a Shadow Shifter woman, Queen Ella knows there is more blood on the horizon. As the most powerful Sensitive in the village, Ella has always known she’s destined to save the kingdom. But her task seems impossible. She must move the Well of Souls to a new realm to save her people or risk failing the Ancestor gods.

The woman King Falon loves will never love him back, despite a binding marriage built on regal decorum. Falon’s first duty is to his people, and he only wants to provide the Shadow Shifters with a safe future. He must assert his power to gain the respect of the warriors.

Harder still, King Falon must accept the salvation of his people lies with his own Queen Ella, a woman who speaks madness... a woman he’s always loved, but hardly knows.

Kinley Baker is the author of the Shadowed Love series, featuring her novels Ruined and Denied. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. You can find Kinley at

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Release by Christine Ashworth: DEMON HUNT

Cue the confetti and champage - it's time to celebrate a new release!

DEMON HUNT by Christine Ashworth is now available! Here's the cover and the blurb about the novel:

Tribred Gregor Caine decided long ago to deny his blood legacy, so he isn’t thrilled when paired with a full-blooded Fae to hunt the demons threatening to decimate Los Angeles. As they fight side by side, he finds she calls to both his Fae and his demon blood; a call he can’t resist.
Warrior Fae Serra Willows crossed into the Human Plane to help destroy the demons released from the Chaos Plane. Finding and shutting down the portal between worlds is more challenging than she expected…and Gregor and his world more seductive than she had ever imagined.
As the killings escalate, Gregor and Serra realize one of the most deadly demons from the Chaos Plane has marked Serra as his own. To save her, Gregor has to face his greatest fear—losing his humanity to the darkness in his blood. But in a race against time, that darkness could become his greatest strength. And he will kill to claim Serra’s love.
Sounds interesting, right? DEMON HUNT is available from Crescent Moon Press, or you can purchase it on here:

Christine Ashworth is a native of Southern California. The daughter of a writer and a psych major, she fell asleep to the sound of her father's Royal manual typewriter for years. In a very real way, being a writer is in her blood-her father sold his first novel before he turned forty; her brother sold his first book before he turned twenty-five.

At the tender age of seventeen, Christine fell in love with a man she met while dancing in a ballet company. She married the brilliant actor/dancer/painter/music man, and they now have two tall sons who are as scintillating as their parents, keeping the dinner conversation lively.

Christine's two dogs rule the outside, defending her vegetable garden from the squirrels, while a polydactyl rescue cat holds court inside the house. Everything else is in a state of flux.

You can find Christine here:

Amazon Author page:


Friday, July 13, 2012

Puppy Goes to a Beach Party

We were invited to a 50th Birthday Party down in Provincetown, out on Herring Cove Beach. That's out at the very tip of Cape Cod. The kids were all invited as well, but they all had other plans... so we brought Puppy instead. It was her first Beach Party.

Puppy greeted the host, like a polite guest...

She said, "Happy Birthday" to the Birthday Girl...
...And then made her way over to the buffet line...
Okay, at that point we did intercede and explained to Puppy that she'd already eaten dinner before we left home. She pouted a while, but perked up when my husband promised her treats if she behaved. So she kept an eye on him.
He made good on his promises, letting her gnaw on the bbq rib bones, as long as he held onto them for her.
And she stayed out of the buffet line for the rest of the night. Mostly. Really. When the fire got going, I did let her have a few marshmallows, but she stuck with the uncooked ones (Have I mentioned her sweet tooth?)

The sunset over the ocean was gorgeous.
All in all, a successful birthday party, and a really fun Beach Party experience for Puppy. She can't wait to do it again!
What are your plans for the weekend?

P.S. Happy Friday the 13th to all!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spreading Kindness...

Elana Johnson has a great post today about The Kindness Project, including links to the other fabulous bloggers who are participating.

Check out her post by clicking here.

She reminds us all of the old adage, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Words to remember, especially in this day of instant communication, with Facebook and Twitter making it so easy to share our every thought and feeling. I try hard not to blog or tweet in a negative way. I've posted before about not printing bad reviews, too. (hey, I'm not a paid reviewer. It's not my job to shatter anyone's dreams.) And as my sister pointed out, when I'm feeling stressed, I tend to post more funny saying/photos (too many?) on my Facebook wall. Especially about coffee. (I love my coffee...)

But I think I need to remember this adage more often when I'm speaking to my friends and neighbors as well. Staying positive in the face of the negativity of others is hard, but it's something we should all strive for. Especially when you have crazy neighbors or relatives that drive you up a wall.

So practice smiling and saying, "I'm sorry you feel that way" for the next time someone tries to drag you into a b*tch-fest. It's hard, but your karma-improvement will be worth it. At least, that's what I hear.

How do you handle negativity in your life, either online or in person?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Favorite Words can be a Problem

It's nothing to get depressed about. We all do it.

We all have those little words that keep slipping into our manuscripts over and over and over again... the key is to recognize and make adjustments. Especially if the word is unusual - those words tend to jump right off the page and slap the reader's face. Use unusual words sparingly, and they have impact. Overuse them, and your story sounds less than amateur.

But what about "normal" words? They don't jump out at you, and yet if you overuse them the tone of your story suffers almost as much.

When I posted an excerpt from the first chapter during the A to Z Challenge, commenters pointed out that I'd used the word "stupid" three times in that short space. It jumped out at them. I changed it. Sometimes you can't see these things for yourself...

I'm currently working with my editor on changes to my YA manuscript, and the word "just" started jumping off the page at me. So I did a count. Somehow, I'd used the word 136 times in less than 300 pages. Duh! Granted, the main characters are teenagers, and my own teenagers tend to overuse this word too (it seems to make everything more urgent) ...but as a writer, I should be able to come up with alternatives once in a while. Right?

What words do you tend to overuse? And how do you avoid these pitfalls?

Friday, July 6, 2012

CapeWomen and the Artists Way

Lat night, CapeWomenOnline hosted a fabulous reception for an exhibit at the Guyer Barn in Hyannis.

Publisher Nicola Burnell has been teaching two classes, following the wonderful Julia Cameron's Artist's Way. To celebrate finishing their Journey, the men and women who took part in the class have an exhibition of their works hanging at the Guyer Barn, part of the newly designated Hyannis HyArts District.

There were visual artists in many varied mediums, as well as a few students from Nicola's CapeWomen writing class, who read from their works. It was a beautiful night on Cape Cod (read: not too hot and no humidity!) so the event was well attended by family, friends, and fellow artists.

 What a wonderful night for the artists involved! Kudos to Nicola for such a wonderful program! The Cape needs more events and classes like this!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Anniversary Sale of SOUL REBORN by Jean Murray

This Fourth of July holiday week is turning into my own Celebrate Crescent Moon Press week, as I share more good news from some of my new fellow authors!

Join Author Jean Murray in celebrating her 1-Year Anniversary of SOUL REBORN,
her debut paranormal romance novel.
TO CELEBRATE: Soul Reborn  from Crescent Moon Press on sale for $0.99 (original price $6.99) at All Romance eBooks for a limited time only - now through July 15th!!!
Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.
Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess' undead army unleashing hell on earth.  But Lilly has a secret—one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.
I'm headed over there to buy my copy - I mean, 99 cents, right? You have 10 days to get in on this incredible deal on another great book to stuff your nook with for beach reading. Woo Hoo! Happy Anniversary, Jean!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Hope you're enjoying the holiday with family and friends!
  Stay cool and stay safe while you celebrate Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Paperback Giveaway of TASTE by Kate Evangelista!

What a cool cover, right???

Kate Evangelista is another Crescent Moon author, and this month she's hosting a rafflecopter giveaway - win a paperback copy of her novel TASTE!

Interested? Here's a little about the book...

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn't realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud. 

 Go to Kate's blog to enter the contest and win a copy - Go now! Here's the link:

And Happy Fourth of  July Week to All!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Release Day for DENIED by Kinley Baker!

As you may know, I've recently signed a contract with Crescent Moon Press for my YA novel, SON OF A MERMAID. What you may not know is that the authors of Crescent Moon are a warm, welcoming and supportive bunch of writers. I'm so happy to be part of the family!

One of my fellow CMP authors is celebrating a release today! (cue the confetti and champagne!) DENIED is the second book in Kinley Baker's Shadowed Love series (the first was titled RUINED) I haven't had a chance to read either book yet (time to charge up the nook for the beach!) but DENIED sounds really interesting... here's the blurb:


When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other.

Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance novels, Ruined and Denied. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. You can find Kinley at

Big Congrats to Kinley today! Leave that confetti in your hair, and open some more champagne! Celebrate every milestone!

Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads:

And here are the rest of Kinley's links. Stalk Find her online at: