Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ariana Franklin...Mistress of the Art of Death....

One of my next favorite series is by the author, Ariana Franklin.  As you'll see, my tastes differ from mystery, suspense, biography, and historical fiction...this last one being the genre that Franklin is in. 

Her main character in this series is Adelia.  The title of her first book is "Mistress of the Art of Death," which I recommend to start your adventures into her world.  She's a feisty forensics examiner who's ahead of her time.  She's independent, unlike her contemporaries of the middle ages.  She is summoned by King Henry II of England, to solve the  gruesome murders of several children.  Since women were basically second-class citizens back then, she always travels with a companion that masquerades as the 'real doctor,' while she pretends to be his assistant.

Along her travels, she encounters obstacles and individuals that try to cover up their dastardly deeds & stop her from completing her missions.  Her personality lends humor to the stories, as each adventure spells disaster.  The King always promises her that she only has to solve one case, and then he'll let her return to her homeland in Italy...however, he always manages to force her to stay for yet another mystery.  The King also provides humor, as he's a kind King in some ways, but also selfish in wanting her to remain in England.  

Check out the series, in its order, right here.......

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Author Interview with Paul Levine!

So, my first author interview...Paul Levine...Thanks for taking the time to talking to us....

Q-You were a successful lawyer, so what made you want to be a writer?  Are you still practicing?   Or do you write full time now?

A-I practiced law 17 years in Miami and experienced mid-career burnout.  I’ve written full-time for the last 21 years.

Q-How long did it take you to write your first book?

A-It took a little more than a year to write “To Speak for the Dead” which I wrote while still practicing law.  After then it was 9 months to a year, whether I was doing anything else or not.

Q-How difficult was it to get your first book published?  What challenges did you face?

A-The first challenge was to get an agent.  As it turned out, it only took him 48 hours to get a two-book hardcover/paperback offer from Bantam.

Q-Where do you get your character inspirations from?

A-I wish I knew!  Some just come to me, without warning.  Jake Lassiter, the protagonist of “ToSpeak for the Dead” and seven other novels, is a night-school lawyer who was a second-string linebacker for the Miami Dolphins.  He voices my opinions but he does a lot of stuff I would never do…like punch out a witness in court.

Q-Do you work with an outline or just write?

A-I use a detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline so that I know where I’m going.

Q-Do you ever experience writer’s block?  If so, what cure works for you?

A-Basically, when I feel “blocked” (or lazy),  I remind myself that the mortgage is due.

Q-What things do you love & hate about writing?

A-There’s always the question: Do you enjoy writing or having written?  When I was younger, I enjoyed the process perhaps more than I do now.  These days, I enjoy the finished product more than the work to get there.

Q-Do you have any advice and suggestions for aspiring writers?

A-Put your ass in the chair.

Q-How do you market your work?  What avenues have you found work best for your genre?

A-For many years, I just let the publishers do their thing.  Earlier this year, I bought back a bunch of my books that were still in print and now I’m my own publisher on Amazon Kindle with both the “JakeLassiter” series and the “Solomonvs. Lord” series.  I do a lot of promotion on Facebook and various blogs and book sites.

Q-What is your take on the recent upswing of e-books?  Do you think they are the future?

A-The future is now!  Yes.

Q-You wrote many episodes of the television series JAG.  How did you segue into TV?

A-I free-lanced two episodes, which JAG bought, shot and aired back in 1997 and 1998.  In 1999, they offered me a full-time gig on the show, and I took it.  I think writing dialogue for television actually improved the dialogue in my books.

Q-Can you tell us about your latest book?

A-That would be “Lassiter.”  Allow me to quote the flap copy:
Eighteen years ago, Jake Lassiter crossed paths with a teenage runaway who disappeared into South Florida’s sex trade. Now he traces her steps and runs head-on into a conspiracy of Miami’s rich and powerful who would do anything to keep the past as silent as the grave. In this tale of redemption and revenge, Edgar-nominated author Paul Levine delivers his most powerful thriller yet.

Jake Lassiter, second-string linebacker turned low-rent lawyer, is cynical about the law, but if you hire him, he’ll take a punch for you . . . and maybe a swing at the prosecutor, too.

Amy Larkin—beautiful, angry, and mysterious—accuses Lassiter of involvement in the disappearance of her sister eighteen years earlier. What does Lassiter know about Krista Larkin, the runaway teen turned porn actress? More than he’s saying.

Seeking to atone for his own past, Lassiter follows the cold trail of the missing Krista and butts head with the powerful men who also knew her: a former porn king turned philanthropist, a slick Cuban-born prosecutor, and an aging mobster.

The evidence leads to a long-ago night of kinky sex, designer drugs—and possible murder. But before Lassiter can nail the truth, a gun goes off, a suspect falls dead, and Lassiter has a murder trial to defend. Will the verdict disclose what happened to Krista? The answer, buried under years of deceit and corruption, is revealed in an explosive courtroom finale, proving that rough justice is better than no justice at all.

Q-What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A-Hike, swim, bike, walk my emotionally challenged dog in the Santa Monica mountains.

THANKS AGAIN, PAUL!!   I can personally recommend the Solomon vs. Lord series...I absolutely LOVE them!!

More info about Paul Levine at

Monday, May 28, 2012

Paul Levine Interview Coming This Week!!

In a recent blog, I advertised that I'd feature an interview with the author, Paul Levine.  It's been done, so I'll be featuring that this week...stay tuned!!


OK I've said it before, but I'll say it again...I'm a fan of Oprah, and I've made it a point to "attend" the Oprah Life Classes.  Her second season just finished about a month ago.  This season, she had some AMAZING 'teachers' on...Iyanla Van Zant (who I've always loved), Tony Robbins (also a very commanding man), Deepak Chopra (who I had never seen or read before, but is another wise man), and most surprisingly Bishop T.D. Jakes.  

What an inspirational man!!  I would highly recommend checking him out!  I am NOT a religious person, but he really taught me a lot of lessons.  He has so many interesting things to say that really make sense.  He wasn't there to convert anyone to religion, but more to inspire...and inspire he DID!  I took notes throughout the Life Classes, and I'd like to share one of the quotes from T.D. Jakes that makes SO much sense and motivates as here it is, something to ponder.......

“Unforgiveness unchecked becomes a cancer in our soul…because a cancer won’t stay where it starts…it spreads"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sherlock Holmes......

Speaking of books made into movies, what do you think of the Sherlock Holmes series with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law?  Has anyone read the actual books?  I admit I haven't, but I am completely in awe of the movies.  The repartee between these two is so entertaining!  Every discussion is a quick "back & forth" banter  that leaves me laughing.  They're like an old married couple.  I'm a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr.  

It's such a relief to see he turned his life around, coming back from the very depths of addiction to take advantage of his innate talent for acting.  But I digress...if anyone out there has read these books, I'd like to know how the movies stack up against them.  Or if, you've just watched the movies, what do YOU think of them?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book to Movie......

There have been many books turned into movies, and sometimes they're a disappointment or don't quite follow the book.  For "Hollywood creative license," purposes, I suppose the powers that be feel they need to enhance the storyline.  

Several movies I'd like to put on my "pleasantly surprised" list are "Lincoln Lawyer" and "The Lovely Bones."  If my recollection is correct, and believe me, my memory isn't all that notable these days, they stayed pretty true to the books.  Since I loved the books, the movies were a 'thumbs up' for me.

"Lincoln Lawyer" was the first book in an engaging series by Michael Connelly.  It's a spin-off from the very popular "Harry Bosch" series.  When I first saw the trailer, I knew Matthew McConaughey was the PERFECT guy to play Mickey Haller, the smarmy, cynical lawyer-turned-believer.  Casting was pitch perfect!  The movie did NOT disappoint in introducing us to this fascinating character.

"The Lovely Bones" did stray a tad from the book; however, it was done in a good way.  To me, the movie expanded on it by telling more about the creepy neighbor.  I don't want to give anything away, so I can't go into greater detail.  It's a haunting story, a bit of a downer, basically told by a young girl who was murdered and can't quite cross over.  She's watching her family from afar, observing how they cope with her loss. The imagery in the movie was breathtaking.

One example of a riveting book turned to crud was the recent movie, "We Need to Talk About Kevin."  I have my own rating system of 1-5 for books I've listened to...the highest being a 5.  I gave this a hearty 5.  I didn't want to stop listening!  However, the movie stunk and didn't do the book any justice.  I would recommend reading the book over watching the movie, as it was beyond dreadful.

So...are there any books, turned into movies, that YOU liked or disliked?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Are YOU a Cheater?

I love reading.  I've loved it since I was a young child, always reading ahead of my fellow classmates.  Over the last eight years or more, when audiobooks started becoming more popular, I became a convert.  I haven't looked back since.

There seems to be a debate as to whether this is considered 'cheating.'  They say it's the lazy and inauthentic way to read.  Some look down their noses at us cheaters, but I think it's a great thing.  Just think of the time it saves - you can now drive, clean the house, exercise - all while reading!  It also widens an author's audience...those that may not have considered reading before are now listening.

I've noticed since I'm used to it now, that if I do actually 'read' the occasional book, I'm a 'skimmer.'  I skim past those very same descriptive passages I find so enjoyable while listening.  It's an odd phenomenon to me.

I've gotten a friend to start listening now.  She was never a reader before but now finds herself addicted as well.  After all, who doesn't like a good story told to them?

The narrating is very important - it can seriously make or break a novel.  There's a real art to it.  I have my favorites, and it's got an element of acting to a certain degree.  There are plenty of famous actors that narrate now.

So....are YOU a cheater?  I proudly admit YES!

Let's face it ... whether you're reading words or listening to them, it's a positive thing.  You're expanding your mind and imagination while actively stimulating your soul.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How True ... Get Out There and Read !

The man who doesn't read books has no advantage over the man who can't read them

                                                                  - Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My First Interview!! PAUL LEVINE....

I am thrilled to report that I've scooped my first author interview, and it's a BIG one!  Well-known author, Paul Levine!  He's one of the faves I listed in my Favorite Authors list in a previous blog post and has graciously agreed to let me interview him right here.

He wrote the Solomon vs Lord series, about two bickering attorneys, with such humor that I was hooked from the first paragraph.  Since then, I've gotten two co-workers hooked on the series as well!

He has another series based on Jake Lassiter, an ex-pro football player turned maverick attorney.  His 8th book in this series, entitled "Lassiter," is now in bookstores.

He also managed to segue his skills into writing for television, including more than 20 episodes of JAG.


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Sad Reality......

I've been a tad disheartened by a lot of the books I've read recently and some of the information I've seen online.  I wasn't aware that unless you're JK Rowling or James Patterson, an author won't necessarily be monetarily successful.  I have to resign myself to the cold reality that I won't be able to focus completely on writing.  My husband isn't independently wealthy, where I could just stay home and immerse myself in my stories.   I'm not giving up, but it's quite a sad lesson.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust.....

<Sigh>  It's getting so aggravating to witness great television shows being axed while more and more of these so-called 'reality' shows flood the airwaves.  I just found out that yet another show I liked was canceled after one season.  "A Gifted Man," which followed the life of a world-renowned neurosurgeon, who was frequently visited by the presence of his dead ex-wife.  The show had humor, life lessons, and entertainment value.  I can't say the same for these reality shows that serve to dumb-down our society.

Unfortunately, someone out there must be watching them, or they wouldn't keep making them.  That's my concern and fear.  Every season, my husband and I hesitate to get drawn into new shows that seem interesting, because they wind up canceled soon after.  It's a disappointing circle for we take the chance it might be great and get renewed?  Or invest our time in it and later see it thrown into the fire again?

It appears that any show that has a semblance of requiring one cell of brain power doesn't have a chance.  Instead, these mind-numbing programs that claim to be reality-based are taking over more and more.  It's a sad state of affairs in our house :(

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mission Impossible....

I accomplished the impossible today!  My husband has ZERO interest in reading...yes it's true...isn't that ironic?  His wife is aspiring to be a well-known author, and he doesn't care about reading.  I was having trouble re-writing (yes AGAIN) my first chapter, and I asked him to just let me read it to him. 

It wound up achieving two great things...(1) he was pulled into my story and started helping me re-write it, and (2) it helped me 'hear' the story.  One of my publishing books suggested reading your book aloud to get a sense of what doesn't sound right, etc.

My husband also got a taste of how I find time getting away from me! lol  He's STILL helping me, so I must run...we have more collaborating to do :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

It Can't Just Be Me....

Is it just me??  Fellow writers out there, please weigh in so that I know I'm not losing my marbles.  Is it just me, or do you find yourself getting really angry & moody if 'life' interrupts your writing work?  It can be anything from having to take the clothes out of the dryer to my husband wanting to watch TV together.  The slightest disturbance that forces me to pry myself away from my writing/editing can send me into a grouchy tailspin...there's just never enough time in a day anymore...please comfort me that I'm not alone in this!?   lol

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rapp with a Strap.....Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn.....the next favorite author of mine.  He writes the "Mitch Rapp" series.  This guy is a CIA operative that works covertly and expertly for a secret department within the government.  Yes, he straps!  He's always got guns and weapons at the ready!  He is the best CIA assassin they you would definitely want on your side.  He always gets the job done so that the good ole' USA is safe under his watch.

The series is packed with action and Mitch's attitude of thumbing his nose at the very bureaucratic agency he works for.  I highly recommend this series, and trying it with book one, which is entitled "Transfer of Power."

Having Faith..... little gray friend actually greeted me at work this morning! lol   He's part of a 'couple,' so I've decided to call them Oscar and Felix.  He was right there when I pulled into my parking spot, and let me talk to him for quite a while.  I knelt down with some corn...again, he put up another little paw, as if contemplating, but decided against it.  I have faith he'll soften and warm up to me.

Think Again....

Finally, my lifelong dream is within my grasp...I can see that brass ring dangling in front of me, just outside my reach!

So many things to do that I didn't expect.  As much as it's now 'the best time to be a writer,' thanks to more avenues (i.e. kindle, internet) being open & available, it  brings with it the necessity to do a lot of your own marketing.  In the 'old days,' you sent it to an agent/publisher, and THEY did all the work.  Not so anymore!  I have a stack of books to read on how to get published, make the perfect pitch, become a 'breakout novelist.'  Each one has different tips and things I must do if I want to have a chance.

Create a blog...join writing groups and other writers and your homework and be prepared...

This doesn't leave much time for anything ummm..WRITING!  lol

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quote of the Day...Man, if This isn't TRUE....


He Returns.....

I saw my squirrel friend again today.  I have to name this little guy...

I was on a break, sitting in my car, which is where I usually see him.  However, this time he was right outside my driver's door.  I hung my head out the window and spoke to him softly.  He looked inquisitively at me and didn't run.  He looked away, then back at me as I continued to coo 'hello.'

Then, our brief encounter was over, as he proceeded to go back into the little hole he lives in.  What a joyful, peaceful moment!

I figured that was it for the day...not lunchtime, he was there again.  I shared some of my donut with my furry friend...each time, dropping a piece closer and closer to where I was.  Tentatively inching toward the goodies, it afforded me an immediate glimpse of him.  I was able to talk a bit more and enjoy his company.

My love for animals knows no bounds.  They're so pure of heart and innocent.  They provide me with a sense of gratefulness...they 'right' my world even when I don't realize I need it.  That's a gift I will always treasure.

P.S.  Tomorrow, I'm bringing him some critter mix!  lol

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cutting Through the Brush....

I'm still in the editing phase of my book, and it doesn't seem like much to chop 5,000 words from a manuscript, but I did it.  However, it's still quite a lot - currently at 105,000 where it was previously 110,000.  This is simply being done by cutting out unnecessary words and taking out redundant ones as well.  For example,the word 'only' appeared 104 times!!  I was able to slim it down to 46.  This tedious process is necessary, and as I plod along, I keep reminding myself that the 'end product' will be a polished manuscript.  It will finally be something I can proudly hand over to all of the agents and publishers that will be begging me for it (lol).

I had no idea this would be such hard work, but it HAS to be worth it, in the end.  All of the toiling...all of the haggling over a word here or a different sentence there...I'm told this happens most often with your first book, and the ones that follow are easier.  I'm a tad skeptical on that, and the jury is out.  I'm thinking any following books will be held to the same standard as the first.  Herego, they ALL have to be good.

As I say that, though, I'm reminded of all the series' that I listen to on audiobooks.  There have been plenty of times I've been disappointed in a book that is part of a series.  I can't love them ALL.  Some are naturally better than others.  That's not a good way to think - as if I'm already lowering my standard - so  I refuse to!

I will forge ahead and worry about this FIRST book and make it the best it can be. ...Stay tuned.....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fear & Destiny....

Just a quick little 'hello' to everyone with an observation.  My husband and I are catching up on some of our favorite weekly DVR'd shows.  One of the characters opened a fortune cookie, and it read  "Fear is your greatest enemy."  

I think it was a sign, and I'm going to follow it.  This time around, with my writing, I'm determined not to give into it.  I will no longer allow others to hamper my destiny.  Take this as a lesson, my friends.  After nearly 20 years of having this sleeping bear hybernate, she has awoken.  She will not be deterred.  She will succeed.

If you have a dream, follow it!  "Destiny has no timeframe"...I just made that up! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I always seem to find a richness of material at the lakehouse.  It's an incredible source of inspiration. Even though I'm only here for an overnight visit, I was blessed to have a gorgeous day.  The sun was out, there was a soft breeze on the dock, and the lake was relatively still.  

The minute we arrived, the deafening sound of pure silence hit.  It is so intoxicating and peaceful.  Perfect for a writer who finds comfort and bliss in quietude.  I crave it and appreciate it in my own home; however, the lakehouse is completely different.  The atmosphere and surroundings are my idea of paradise.

The view from the deck fills me with a sense of calm.  There are tall, slim pine trees surrounding a larger oak.  Stone pathways lead you down to the lake, with a large deck and sitting area.  This afternoon, I was able to spy two mallard ducks floating across my path in the water. A serenade of tinkling windchimes provided soft background music.

Standing at another side of the deck, I got to feel the buddings of pine cones...just now starting to form.  It's a magical place that, much like Howling Woods Farm (from a previous blog), reminds me I can still find venues where I can feel 'at home.'

Friday, May 11, 2012


Before anyone snickers, especially you men out there, let me tell you - and I say it unapologetically - I love Oprah.  In fact, you may notice I have a spot on my sidebar that shows a daily Oprah quote.  She does some amazing things...not the least of which is her Life Class.  It has imparted so much wisdom, and I'm sorry this season has now ended (hopefully until next year).

I completed the last episode very early this morning, and she reminded me of something she mentioned a long time ago...keeping a Gratitude Journal.  Every night, she writes five things down that she's grateful for, even if it's the tiniest of things that happened that day.  I started a journal years ago, when she first mentioned it, and I stopped.  Well, I'm starting one again.  While it's fine and dandy to say "I'm grateful for..." she says "there's power in the words."  Therefore, writing it down actually helps you feel better and drink it in.

Even if you had the crappiest day, you can probably think of 5 things you are grateful for...i.e. your spouse, your pet, the fact that you are still alive and breathing, etc.  Also, if it becomes a habit, you will probably START your day being more mindful and noticing things you're grateful for...such as catching a squirrel eating some kibble, getting a compliment from someone, or anything else that makes you smile.

Try may be 'grateful' that you did :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just an "Everyday" Post.....

I've decided to impart another bit of 'grammar wisdom' on you...the use of words like:

everyday  vs.  every day

It's a simple trick I was taught many years ago, and  I've never forgotten it... Any time you want to use a word like this, remember that the ONLY time you put a space between the words is if you can mentally insert the word SINGLE, and your sentence will still make sense.  For example...

"I'm sick of working every day."   

I have a space between 'every' and 'day' because if I inserted the word "single" between them, it would STILL make sense...such as "I'm sick of working every single day."

You would generally use 'everyday' without the space when you're referring to a thing, such as 'everyday clothes,'  or  'everyday items.'

Therefore, if you can't insert 'single' between the words, then go with the space...EVERY...DAY.

Hope this helped.....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quote for Today...

A loving person lives in a loving world.  A hostile person lives in a hostile world;  Everyone you meet is your mirror

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

She is Gone....

The other day, I posted a blog about Kelly, a friend I met via Facebook one year ago, that came to visit me in person.  She is my soul sister, and now she is gone.  She had to return home today, and the house feels weird without her. Not often can I say that after having a houseguest. 
However, she was more than just a guest.  It was like we instantly formed a little family...we were the three musketeers...Kelly, myself, and my husband...and not in that creepy "Sister Wives' way your mind might be going! lol
I can't wait to see her again soon, and the hubby feels the same way...I swear, it was fate that we met! Everything was so comfortable between us we'd known each other forever. 
As much as we feel lucky to have met, we feel equally sad that we live so far apart. That is the cruel part of can cut both ways.

They're on the Move....

So let's discuss one of my pet peeves.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I'm a grammar snob.  It drives me nuts when I see people improperly using words.  Let's start with forms of the word "THEY."  You have:


These are so often misused, so take a lesson from me  

We'll start with the first one...THERE...its purpose is to denote a PLACE, as in 'over there,'  or we went 'there' last night....or in another form such as  'is there a problem?'

Secondly, we have THEIR...this should be used to identify PEOPLE and their possessions...'their' house is beautiful.   'That car is theirs.'

Lastly, but by no means least, is THEY'RE...for the love of pete, only use this as a shortened form of THEY ARE.  It's that simple.  

Whew...I hope (and think) I made that easier on you.  Now, you have no excuse to abuse these words in a sentence.   Be warned...I'm OUT there...around that corner...w a t c h i ng :)

Nelson DeMille...

I like this author.  His books are meaty and rich with interesting characters.  He has a series I love - the John Corey series.  I listen to audiobooks constantly, and I've been lucky to have one of my favorite narrators read this series throughout.  It's about an ex-cop who is now an ATTF Special Agent that works with the FBI on various cases.  He is utterly hilarious in his sarcasm and humorous quips, but  he's also damn good at his job.  

Most of the books involve John scrambling to stop evil-doers of hurting our country.  The pacing is suspenseful where it needs to be and funny as you take your journeys with John and his assignments.  I would suggest starting with the first one, "Plum Island."

DeMille has another series, though there are only two books thus far.  It involves a different John...John Sutter.  He's an attorney who gets wrangled into working cases involving the mob.  These two are "The Gold Coast" and "The Gate House."  Naturally, start with the first one, "The Gold Coast."


Quote for Tonight...


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Heaven DOES Exist on Earth...I've Just Been There...

Time stopped...the world around me disappeared...I walked through a gate and entered's right here on earth, folks.  It's a place called Howling Woods Farm.   Wolves and wolf-hybrids surrounded me, and the rest of the universe melted away. 

They greeted me with loving kisses, allowed me to give belly rubs, played with me in their midst.....literally...several of them began a romp, and I wound up in the middle, right underneath one as they continued their session.  It was bliss.

There was nothing but trees and acres of woodland.  The weather was perfect, and they welcomed me in their space without reservation.  I felt like part of the pack.  Even though the farm is a rescue haven, they are still afforded their natural environment to live out their lives in joy and comfort.

Then came the sadness...having to return to the 'real world' when the visit was over.  Everything else then paled in comparison.  No longer in the sanctuary where I felt more comfortable among wolves than people.  I'm a deep animal lover.  They offer unconditional love and everlasting affection.  No human relationship is unconditional, regardless of  how great it may be. 

A dog is faithful through thick and thin.  Animal lovers will know exactly where I'm coming from.

Online Bonds.....

I may have mentioned this here before...the planets seemed to align when I met someone on Facebook about a year ago.  Her name is Kelly.  She's from Indiana, I'm from New Jersey.  We've talked online and phone and formed a very close bond.  Yesterday, she arrived for a 'first-time meet, face to face.'  It's already felt like she's been here before.  The ease with which we still get along is amazing!

We're set to go to the Wolf Farm within the next hour...can't wait!  More to follow....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The 'Write' Stuff?

The nagging doubts, the this normal for an author?  I have no doubt that other writers must feel this way after finishing a book and moving into the editing phase.  That's where I find myself now, and I'm not a fan of it.  It's not befitting.  This business requires a certain confidence - perhaps even bordering on cockiness, if you're going to succeed. 

I know I'm a good writer, yet as I slash away, removing unnecessary words and adding others, I'm starting to wonder.  It's an odd malaise that I'm sure will pass, but I don't have to like it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A "Rose' by Any Other Name...

Rose Connors...another of my favorite authors.  She writes the Marty Nickerson series.  Marty is an Assistant District Attorney who fights tirelessly for victims.   The first book is "Absolute Certainty," with Marty feeling proud that she put a man away.  However, when another body is found, she starts to wonder if she targeted the wrong man.  When the D.A.refuses to re-open the case, Marty goes out on a limb to follow her instincts & perhaps find the real killer.

Howling Woods.......

As you all may know, my Facebook friend (Kelly) is coming to meet me in person, after knowing each other online for nearly a year.  She lives in Indiana & I'm in New Jersey (figures we've become best friends yet we live so far away).  She arrives tomorrow, and we have a wonderful activity planned for Sunday! 

We're both such crazy animal lovers, that I found a place that is literally the next town over from me.  It's a wolf and wolf-hybrid farm/shelter.  We can interact with them - pet them, feed them, etc.  We can't WAIT!!  My husband is also a fan, so he's looking forward to it as well. 

Just the thought of being close to wolves and petting them fills me with such joy and anticipation.  Apparently, they like fig newtons! lol   We're ready to buy those along with chicken thighs.  They have a website below, where they listed "things the wolves like."  Check it out - there are videos of past visitors with the's incredible!

Michael Connelly

This next favorite author from my original list has two series I all started with Harry Bosch, the cranky but keen homicide detective.  He's a bit of a loner but one hell of a cop.  It's a very successful series, and since I'm into cops and mysteries, I recommend it to others that feel the same.  A spin-off series has developed - the Mickey Haller books. 

I can't tell you how elated I was when the movie, "Lincoln Lawyer" came out, because it was the first book in the Mickey Haller series.  Unlike most movies that don't wind up living up to the hoopla of the book, this one delivered.  The movie was excellent, and so is the book!

Therefore, I'd recommend two books:

"The Black Echo"  (first one in the Harry Bosch series)
"The Lincoln Lawyer"  (first one in the Mickey Haller series)


Quote for Today....

"If you want to change what other people think of you, you must change what you think of yourself "           -- George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Harlan Coben....

What can I say about him?  He's another favorite author of mine.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that all of his books are based in New Jersey, where I'm from. 

The man has a it his stand-alone books or the Myron Bolitar series, which I am hooked on!  The adventures of Myron and his tre chic sidekick, Wynwood Lockhorn, are hysterical.  They blend a mix of mystery with humor.  I highly recommend them! 

Start with the first one, "Deal Breaker."  Myron is a sports agent/lawyer who always seems to get himself in trouble...but have no fear, because he has Wyn at his side.  He may look like a wimpy, ultra-rich snoot.  Of course, he IS, but looks are always deceiving with him...he knows every form of karate and will kill without compunction to defend his friends. 

Let me know if you're also a fan, or if you took my recommendation and read the first book...then give me YOUR assessment :)

My Racing Mind.....

Where do I start?  How about with the excitement first...I've formed a close bond with a wonderful friend through Facebook.  We've been talking via FB as well as the phone, and she is FINALLY about to arrive IN PERSON!  Yes, she'll be here in just two days, and we're both over the top with anticipation.

Now for the next racing mind...between work, the never-ending editing of my book,  trying to keep up with all of the new connections I'm making on LinkedIn...having to totally clean my house from top to bottom, so she doesn't see what a slob I am, even though I've warned her, my mind is in so many different directions!

Ahhhh...deep breaths....nope, that doesn't help! lol    Since I'm taking off from work for the next 4 days so we can visit, I still have tons of stuff to do before go.  Arghhhhh...someone shut my brain off, please :)


I've always loved this quote...


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Hard Day's Work...

I stayed home from work today, because we had someone coming to the house for an issue.  Let me tell you,  I would have had an easier day had I gone to work!  I literally spent NINE hours...yes that's NINE hours...editing my manuscript, and I'm still not even done with this first draft.  This craft of writing, while it's a talent I possess and a joy in my life,  is HARD work when you want to be serious enough to get published.

The Red Pen is Laid Down!

Much like laying down a gauntlet, I have finally laid down my dreaded red pen!  I've completed editing and marking up my first draft...all 260 pages of it...sheesh!  Now, it's onto the next phase...going back to Page One and typing in all the corrections & changes.  Such a daunting task...but then again, I never thought I'd get through slashing with my red I'm going back in, folks! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Skill is There, but the Wisdom is Not...

It's so interesting to see how a writer can evolve over grow wiser and more 'seasoned.'  Look at this example to show how much more mature my writing has gotten since I wrote this book about 20+ years ago.  I'm sure I could polish it up one day, and it would take some seriously heavy editing, but I'm too focused on my current book to even THINK about doing it just yet.  Compare it to the mystery novel I'm writing NOW, which is still untitled, though I have an idea of what it will be.  First is the sample of the 'older' book from 20 years ago  "And the Tide Will Turn"... following it will be a small snippet of the LATEST book so you judge for yourself...

                                                    CHAPTER ONE
            “Yes ma’am, I’ll be right in.”  Diane Richards hung up the receiver and rushed to her employer’s office.  She was only 22 years old and already holding down a wonderful job at LaRouge, the most successful cosmetic and fashion corporation in Los Angeles.  She was secretary to the Founder and President, Jacqueline Barrett.  Ms. Barrett was so exciting to work for with her worldly ways and wealth of knowledge and power.  She was in her mid-50’s but still very beautiful with her lengthy chestnut hair, always twisted in a sophisticated bun, and a figure just as slim as the models.  She was an extremely intelligent woman who was well-respected in the industry.
            “I’m glad you’ve come in for some constructive criticism.”  she smiled.  Taking a nervous breath, Diane sat in the soft chair facing Jacqueline’s mahogany desk.  “Don’t be so nervous, dear.  That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.  You need to loosen up a bit.  You’re an attractive young woman.  Why don’t you ever let that come out?”
            “You think I’m attractive?”  she blushed.
            “Oh, don’t be so modest!  You have a wonderful figure, and your hair is like spun silk, but you just let it lie flat.”
            “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, Ms. Barrett, but why are you telling me this?”
            “I care about people looking their best.   I own the most popular agency in L.A., and  I think it’s about time I helped you out.”
            “Thanks, but I’m afraid it’s hopeless.”  her eyes fell to the plush navy carpeting.
            “How do you expect to improve yourself with that line of thinking?  Do you ever hear my models talk like that?”
            “They have no reason to because they are perfect.”
            “No one is perfect, dear.  Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way.  My top female models, Teri and Jeanette, are total opposites, but they are both still beautiful.”  she smiled, “Although they don’t get along very well.”
            “I’ve heard they argue during every shoot.”
            “Let me give you some friendly advice.” she winked, “Don’t take rumors so seriously.”
            “I’m sorry Ms. Barrett, I didn’t mean…”

            “Let’s move on, shall we?”  she smiled patiently, “Picture Teri – tall, lanky, blonde, and did you know she actually has gray eyes?  I’m sure you’ve also heard she can be demanding and stubborn.”
            “I’m just grateful she’s nice to me.  I wouldn’t want to be on her bad side.”
            Jacqueline chuckled, “As for Jeanette – she has long, black hair, porcelain skin, and her eyes are the brightest shade of green I’ve ever seen in this business.”
            “How old is she?”
            “She just turned 25, and Teri is 26.  However, you are the focus of this conversation.  For starters, you could benefit by wearing makeup.”
            “I don’t know the first thing about it.  I wasn’t allowed to wear it when I lived at home.”
            “What do you think I have Allen Mulligan for?  He’s been my makeup man for over five years, and he’s the best!”
            “I’ve met him twice.  He’s very nice and very handsome.”  she blushed, “I’ve had a crush on him since the day I started working here two months ago.”
            “Goodness!  Nearly all of my models share your sentiments!  If you promise to keep this under your hat, I’ll tell you who his heart really pounds for.”  She had a devilish gleam in her eye.
            Diane leaned forward, hope filling her voice, “I promise not to tell a soul.”
            “Jeanette!  In fact, they’ve become good friends.  He’s nearly 14 years older than her, you know.”
            “Age doesn’t really matter when it comes to love and matters of the heart.”
            “I suppose you’re right.”
            She was running out of patience, “Doesn’t Jeanette already have a boyfriend?”  Why did other women always beat her to the punch?  It wasn’t fair!
            “Actually, she’s got her eye on my top male model, Matt Downing.”
            “He’s got the nicest eyes I’ve ever seen.”
            “Oh yes!  Don’t they just melt you?  They’re so blue!”  she seemed to be off in her own little world.  Diane had never seen her act this way.  She was always so professional and in control.  “Okay, enough of this gossip.”  she stood abruptly, her eyes twinkling beneath the tortoise shell glasses, “Go down to Allen and get yourself made over.  Just tell him I sent you.”
            “Thank you so much, Ms. Barrett!  I really appreciate your help.”
            “It’s no trouble at all, dear.”  she smiled.

Nervous about facing Allen, Diane took her time getting there.  All she could think about were his dark eyes, wavy brown hair, the protruding torso, and those adorable dimples.  She had been captivated with him since the day they met, but she was sure he hadn’t noticed.  Now that she knew he had eyes for Jeanette, she swore she’d take him away from her.
            As she walked down the stairs, she thought intently.  From now on, she wouldn’t enter this complex unless she looked as glamorous as Jeanette!  It might take a while, but she’d come out on top.
            When she opened the door to enter his room, he was on the couch, smoking an unfiltered cigarette and reading the latest gossip rag.  Once he spotted her, he stood.
            “Hi there,”  he smiled, revealing those dimples, “Can I help you?”
            “Yes.  Ms. Barrett sent me down for a makeover.”
            “Ah yes, you’re her new secretary.”  he was still smiling.  The man was always happy!  “Sit down, and tell me what you’d like.”
            She’d like many things!  Kissing his sexy lips would be a wonderful start.  “Give me the works.”  she giggled, taking a seat.
            “Well, your hair has very nice texture.  Would you like to keep it shoulder length?”
            “Yes, but I’d like a different style.  This one is boring.”
            “How about coloring?  Do you want to be adventurous or stick with the blonde?”
            “What do you think?”
            “I’d like to try auburn.  I really think it would suit you.”
            First, he dyed her hair, layering the sides while leaving the length intact.  Her tiny nose was enhanced, her eyes appearing larger.  Once that phase was finished, he worked on her makeup, applying a light base, tangerine blush, and matching lipstick.
            Before she could observe the results, Bryan Moore, LaRouge’s ace photographer and Teri’s beau, barged in, his stocky body hurling the door open.
            “Allen, I need help.”  He was panting like a dog.
            “What the hell are you doing?”  Allen’s face contorted, “Don’t just muscle your way in here like that!”

            “Teri’s shooting, and she’s demanding more lip gloss.  It’s the purple stuff.  She says it’s on your dressing table.”  he pointed impatiently,  “So, just give it to me, and she’ll put it on herself.  We really don’t have time for you to do it.”
            “She thinks she can demand anything as if she owns the goddamned world!  She’d better start acting like a lady.  Why can’t she be more like Jeanette?  She’s a perfect lady.”  he stomped over to the dressing table, “Take the gloss and get out of here!”  he tossed the tube.
            “Thanks.  By the way,”  he was eyeing Diane,  “You’re a looker.  What’s your name?”
            “Don’t get any ideas!”  Allen boomed, “She’s not a model.”
            “She could be.”
            “I thought you were in a hurry.  Her majesty is waiting.”
            “Look, Teri’s okay, and she deserves some respect.  You know she’s fragile.”
            “Teri, fragile?”  he howled, “You’ve got to be crazy!  We’re not running a kindergarten, this is a professional organization.  None of us has time to cater to a childish brat.  If she refuses to act like an adult, she’s not going to be treated like one.  Besides, you’re her man, so you should know better than anyone else what a bitch she is!”
            “I wish you’d get off your high horse once in a while.  Take some time to smell the coffee, pal.  Jeanette isn’t the virgin queen.  Just keep that in mind.”  he slammed the door behind me.
            Allen faced Diane, “I’m sorry about that, but it’s an everyday occurrence around here.  You’ll get used to it soon enough.  Anyway, look at yourself.”  he swung her chair to face the mirror, “I hope you like what I’ve done.”
            “Oh, you’re a miracle worker!”  she jumped out of the chair and hugged him, “Thank you so much.”
            He smiled, “I was only doing my job, and I had good features to work with.  I don’t know why you think so little of yourself.  It’s not very healthy.”
            “Oh, but I looked so homely.”  she poured on her famous modesty routine,  “Now I can face the world.  I owe you so much.”
            “Don’t be silly.  You can pay me back by going to lunch with me someday.”
            “I’d love to.”  she smiled sweetly.  Now she was more determined than ever to make this man hers.  And she was going to do it, no matter what the cost!
                                                             *   *   *   *   *


The headaches were back.  With it, they brought the tension…the darkness…the fear.  Fear of losing control.  He would experience memory loss and start “hunting” again.  The last time this happened, the outcome was catastrophic….
*  *  *
Jenny Evans arrived at work…another annoying day at her measly job as a sales agent for a life insurance company.  It wasn't a job she ever dreamt of, but she fell into it when times got rough a few years ago, and that bastard, Danny, left her.  
Once the economy started to tank, her last boss told her he had to let her go.  She was thriving as a Manager for a small publishing firm.  She had loved reading since she was a child.  She read everything she could get her hands on.  She kept a journal and even wrote poems and stories. Then, she got the droll speech about how great she was, but they weren't doing so well, her salary was too high, blah blah blah.  So, she wound up on unemployment until her dear friend, Viv, got her this job.   
Jenny was a good sales agent - always in the top four, but it didn't fulfill her.  She needed something more....
*  *  *
Viv Williams was a vivacious 35-year old.  Her hair looked like spun gold, and she'd be the first to tell you it came from a bottle.  Never pulling punches, she was a blunt, sassy Jersey girl - but not like those bimbos plastered on every goddamned tv station, ruining the image of her beloved state.  Pissed her off every time she heard a reference to it.  She could make any sailor blush with the way she cursed, and yet it suited her.  She could somehow get away with it and not have it diminish her femininity at all.
Standing 5'8" and curvaceous, she was proud of her looks.  They had opened doors for her.  Once her high heels opened them, she could show everyone she had a brain and not just ample boobs.  After all, she was the top sales agent at PMS.  What a hideous acronym to overcome, yet she did it.  She sold the most life insurance policies every year at Peter Mann Services. 
Why did he have to name his company after a damn female medical ailment?  Typical man, he didn't think, that's why. Didn't he have a single advisor who could give him a hint it might not be a good marketing move?  No matter.  She grinned at herself in the mirror.  She was wearing her favorite red dress. okay it was bright red and not exactly "appropriate" for work, but she would throw a nice black blazer over it and add her new shiny pin.
Jenny gave it to her for her birthday last week - a beautiful crystal snowflake.  She was so sweet and thoughtful. She knew she had her work cut out for her.  Jenny was feeling extra low these days, and she wasn't sure why.  Usually, she told her everything, but she was holding something back....

"I Wrote a Book" (poem)

I wrote a book –
I’m on my way!
Oh not so fast,
They all do say

You have so much
You still must do -
Like read and edit
Till your face turns blue!

My eyes are burning
From slashing this thing -
It’s for my own good -
Success it will bring

‘Cuz to put forth a book
Without being supreme
Would spell certain death
For my life's one true dream

Rejections will come,
But I have to be strong -
To give up now
Would be totally wrong

It’s taken too much
To get to this spot -
I’m closer than ever
Give up?  I will NOT

So it’s back to the novel
To edit again
As I re-write this thing
With my dreaded red pen

One day I will see
My book on a shelf
And I will take pride
In my work & myself!

Linked Into a Whole New World

I never would have thought that networking these days would be so much easier and different than the old days, when you had to meet people in person, make the rounds by shaking hands, introduce yourself and tell them what you do, etc.  Not anymore!  Now you can join LinkedIn, which puts you in touch with people you never would have met otherwise.  It's helping me so much in my quest to become a published author.  Not only am I connecting with other authors, but I'm building resources I can use at a later date. 

Since my books lean toward mystery and crime, it's great to have the right contacts when I want my story to make sense and be accurate...I now have police force contacts, psychologists, addition to other writers that are helping me along the way.  It's a wonderful feeling!  I'm meeting such nice people without having to leave the house.