Sunday, May 31, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading The Keys to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure

This week's Book-A-Week Challenge is "The Keys to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure" by Jim Colombo.

Caroline Baker is having a day like no other in Jim Colombo’s The Keys to the Vault.

While playing hooky from her job as an independent soybean trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, Caroline is approached by a man looking for a lift into the city.

As they are driving to his downtown office, the stranger makes another request: he needs her help in retrieving a sensitive file from his office. Caroline agrees and easily collects the file, filling the rest of her day with bathing suit shopping, fending off attempted purse snatchings and giving a philandering boyfriend the boot.

It is only after this very long, very strange day that Caroline finally opens the mysterious file. Its contents will not only spring unlucky-in-love Caroline into the romance of a lifetime, it will plunge her headlong into an international adventure with the fate of the entire international banking system at stake!

To find out more about Jim and his writing, visit

To order a copy of the book go here or click the Amazon link in the scrolling Book-A-Week ticker on the left of the blog.

Don't forget - there will be an interview with Jim posted next Sunday so mark you calendar and stop by to tell Jim how much you enjoyed his story or ask a question.

Write and Win! - Writing Prompt Contest in June

The month of June is writing prompt contest at

Each week during the month of June, Denise will post a new writing prompt on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Your job as readers and writers is to post your creative writing in response to those prompts.

Rules: (not many)

1. The prompt is always the beginning of a sentence. Example: In the mirror. . .

Your creative writing response has to start with the prompt provided at the beginning, and let it take you from there.

2. There is no limit in the amount you write and post for others to see except that it has to be at least 1 paragraph.

3. Yes, if you want to win, you have to participate by posting your creative writing response in a comment. Emailing Denise (which many people do and she appreciates it) will not count. You want others to see it and respond, say how much they enjoyed it and see how everyone comes up with something completely different.

4. To be considered for a prize, you have to respond to all 3 prompts posted in that week no later than Saturday evening.

5. The most important rule is to have fun and make whatever you write grab the reader's attention.

What happens at the end of the week?

At the end of each week, Denise will announce the winner for that week. Remember, you have to respond to all 3 prompts for that particular week.

The prize is a "You don't say no to girls. . . who do it and write about it" T-shirt and a copy of IT HAPPENS IN THREES.

That's a chance to win a book and a T-shirt each week during the month of June!

Have fun and thanks for participating!

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Ellen Dye

This week's Book-A-Week Challenge was Three's the Charm by Ellen Dye.
Learn more about Ellen and her writing with the interview posted below. Leave her a comment, ask a question, tell her how much you enjoyed her story. . .I did!

Who are you?

I’m Ellen Dye and my first novel is called Three’s The Charm, a contemporary romance published by The Wild Rose Press that’s filled with down-home fun, laughter and a very well deserved happily-ever-after between two people truly meant for each other.

And as for me as an author, believe me when I say Three’s The Charm is a dream that was a long time in coming.

I was first bitten by the writing bug when I was nine years old and stumbled onto my Aunt Nettie’s strictly contraband trunk of True Confession magazines. Naturally, being that they were strictly contraband, I was compelled to read the lot, breaking only to refresh my supply of Munchos potato chips and RC Cola. Somewhere near the bottom of the pile I decided I wanted to be a writer and create stories just as great as these.

Then, being nine, I promptly forgot all about it.

Fast forward a goodly number of years, having gotten the pesky business of growing up out of the way, to a local grocery store. My year old son was screaming with enough force to shake products from shelves while I was attempting to stem the noise by stuffing his mouth with animal crackers---and in that instant I saw Them. Each and every one of Sterling MacFadden’s True magazines were there on the shelf just waiting for me.

Long story made short---I bought the lot, devoured them and remembered I wanted to be a writer. Then my husband installed Word on my computer which prevented me from forgetting my decision to be a writer this time.

I began tapping away and submitting faithfully, thinking of all the publishing experience I was getting and preparing myself for a flood of rejections. But to my very great surprise about a month later I got The Call from an editor at True Love saying they wanted to buy one of my stories.

When do you write?

Literally all the time. I’m sort of a quirky little scribbler who can’t ever seem to keep a schedule. In fact it’s lucky that I can, through writing, claim status as an “Artistic Type”---otherwise I’d be widely known as a complete airhead. So, back to my “all the time” answer and how that works---I keep a spiral notebook with me always and when I get a free moment (even if it’s in the school parking lot waiting for my son) I jot down as much as I can.

When do you read?

Well, interestingly enough the answer is just the same as the above---all the time. I always have a book with me when I leave the house, literally, for any reason. I read everywhere from grocery store checkout lines to hair salons when I zip in for a trim. And hey, no good night’s sleep can ever begin without a good book to start if off, right?

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

I love this question because for me it’s a real stumper. To be one hundred percent honest the truth is I have no idea where my ideas, or the inspiration behind them comes from. I do vaguely remember wondering, as I took my desperate to get home cat out of the vet’s office, what sort of life a country vet would lead. And pretty much from that point on Three’s The Charm took on a life of it’s own, complete with characters.

How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?

The plainest answer to this question is ten years, but it’s not exactly accurate. I started off writing with no desire to write books. I wanted to write confession stories, short fiction for magazines and general freelance articles. And I did. I was also exceptionally lucky in that I mailed my first batch of confessions off and received The Call from the editor at True Love about a month later. And I was really happy with this sort of writing.

So it was about five years or so before I decided to write a book in addition to the freelance stuff. Three’s The Charm was about two years in the writing and polishing and then another year and a half or so to sell. And I have to say I’ve never had so much fun writing anything as I did writing Three’s The Charm.

Why do I write?

Because I love it---it’s as simple as that!

Thanks, Ellen for a terrific story to read and a wonderful interview. All the best!
Ellen’s first novel, Three’s The Charm is available now from The Wild Rose Press, fictionwise ebooks and
Ellen also has a story in L&L Dreamspell's Romance Anthology
You can keep up with Ellen and her writings at

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Reminders Book-A-Week Challenge and Drawing

Reminder: Sunday morning we'll post an interview with this week's Book-A-Week Challenge author Ellen Dye, author of Three's the Charm. Stop by tomorrow to check it out, leave a comment, and tell Ellen how much you enjoyed her book.

To find out more about Ellen and her books visit her website at Remember, an interview with Ellen will be posted next Sunday!

Next week watch for Jim Colombo's The Key's to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure in the Book-A-Week Challenge

Reminder: Sunday will be the book drawing for an autographed copy of It Happens in Threes. If you haven't sent Denise an email telling her you want to read her book, you have a few hours left.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Name that Hero Contest!

Step right up and name that hero!

As you know, I have this story for book number 5 going off in my head and in the various writing prompts that I post and you write to. At the moment, I call it the "Pink Undie Story." The real title will hit me when I actually get to focus on that book.

In the meantime, if you hadn't noticed, I have yet to name the hero, the cop who got caught wearing those pink undies. The heroine is Jane and will remain Jane. For some reason her name just fits.

The hero. . .his name has not popped out and hit me yet, and said, "My name is. . ."

Here is the contest part. From now until Saturday, post a comment back and make a suggestion as to a name that I should use for my hero. I

f you want to know more about him, read some of the previous writing prompt posts. The name cannot be Michael, Max, Lucas, or Jake. Those are my other heroes.

The name needs to be very strong, especially after the guy gets caught wearing girl's panties.

What do you win?

Hm. How about an autographed copy of IT HAPPENS IN THREES and a You don't say no to girls T-shirt.

Hurry though! You only have until Saturday!

I will announce the name and the winner on Saturday evening. Good luck!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Killer Bunny Hill edits complete

Whew! I just finished the edits for my publisher on Killer Bunny Hill! Yup, I am doing the happy dance!!

My apologies for not keeping up with the blog in the last week, but hopefully with the edits done, I can now go back to writing my WIP, and the Writing Prompts. I plan on writing those tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am actively reading this week's Book-A-Week Challenge novel, Three's the Charm by Ellen Dye. If you haven't read it, it's not too late. Follow this link to Amazon or go to

Visit Ellen's website to lear more about her other works. Remember, Sunday, we will post an interview with Ellen so be sure to stop by and drop her a note.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Happens in Threes book drawing

Enter enter to win a chance at a FREE copy of IT HAPPENS IN THREES

05/25/2009 - 05/30/2009: DRAWING for an autographed copy of It Happens in Threes Send an email to Denise that says "May Book Drawing" in the subject and tell her why you want to read her book. One winner will be drawn at Random.

Good luck!

The only female . . .Writing Prompt Tuesday

Tuesday's Creative Writing Prompt: The only female in the room. . .

This should be an interesting starter phrase. Would love to see what some of the guys write fro this one!

I will work on a response to Friday's prompt and get that out to you as soon as I finish the edits on Killer Bunny Hill. Fingers crossed that will be today.

In the meantime, work on this prompt and if you haven't started read this week's Book-A-Week Challenge, Three's The Charm, you better hop to it. Ellen Dye's interview will be posted on Sunday and she wants to hear from you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading Three's The Charm

This week's Book-A-Week Challenge is with Ellen Dye, author of Three's the Charm

If you have not purchased it yet, follow this link to Amazon or go to


Heath Ransom is educated, successful, a brilliant Doctor of Veterinary Medicine---and completely miserable. In the process of making himself amount to something---a feat no Ransom ever achieved in Trenton's Forge, West Virginia---he'd managed to lose the only person who made his life amount to anything, his wife, Rachel.

And now he's home and determined to stop at nothing to win her back.

But Rachel has some very firm opinions where her ex-husband is concerned---and no way will Heath, with his golden-blonde, ruggedly sexy good looks change any of them. She'd vowed never to speak to him again, and that was that.

But when her beloved horse falls ill and Heath is the only Vet within three counties of West Virginia mountains Rachel begins to learn that some vows need to be broken.

And perhaps, others are meant to be renewed.....

To find out more about Ellen and her books visit her website at Remember, an interview with Ellen will be posted next Sunday!

Next week watch for Jim Colombo's The Key's to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure in the Book-A-Week Challenge

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Carmen Shirkey

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview is with Carmen Shirkey, author of "The List"

First, let me congratulate Carmen on being named the winner in the Romance category of the 2009 Indie Book Awards for "The List"! Woot!

And thank you for participating in our Book-A-Week Challenge and participating in the interview.

Post your comments and questions to Carmen and On with the Interview:

What motivated you to write this book? Your first book.

I’ve enjoyed the written word most of my life. Thank goodness for the verbal section on the SAT, or my University of Virginia dream would’ve been shattered. J So I always have ideas – for songs, for books, ect. I actually asked a screenwriter friend of mine if she’d be interested in THE LIST for a movie script. She told me that it was too happy for her (she likes to kill characters) so that I should write it myself. So I did – with the motivation of National Novel Writing Month ( in November. I wrote it in one month, and spent the next three years editing.

Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your life?

The book is definitely fiction. However, the old adage “write what you know” definitely helped. For example, there’s a breakup scene that is almost word for word one that I lived through.

One reviewer of the book said that she was almost sure that I had exaggerated the dating scenarios, and that they were a bit unbelievable. Sadly, all of them were dates I had.

And the friend character of Monica, she’s my best friend in real life. Her words are taken out of context, but she said almost everything I wrote. I couldn’t even change her name, because the character was so real.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Honestly, I don’t think about it. It’s like in high-school, where they would ask us in English class “Who’s the Christ figure in this book?” I almost always thought “Really? I don’t think they sat down and planned it out like that,” but maybe they did. I don’t. The words come to me when I sit in front of the computer, and they usually come out in a sarcastic, smart-ass way.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would say that I think I’m closest in style to Janet Evanovich, but I don’t want to copy anyone. I want to be my own writer. I also admire Jim Butcher and his Dreden Files novels. The best writer on the planet is Joss Whedon (writer of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” show, “Firefly”, “Dollhouse”, “Toy Story”, etc.). He’s a genius, and if anyone ever even said my name in the same paragraph with him (or just on the same day), I could die happy.

What are your current projects?

Currently, I’m still trying to get people to read THE LIST. However, an agent recently suggested I take a walk on my dark side, so I’ve just started a new, more fantasy-like, darker, possible-romance. I’ve only got 3500 words so far, and I’m still developing the story, so I’m scared to lock myself in by giving you the details. I’d like some reviewer down the road to call it “Buffy meets Dresden meets a cute bunny” or something like that.

What makes your story unique?

Here’s the thing – I don’t think my story is unique. I find in talking with my readers that a lot of women – and men – have a list of qualifications for their husbands/boyfriends/dates/S.O.’s. I think that’s why it resonates with people. However, I’d like to think that the way I’ve TOLD the story is unique, with a sense of humor and a light-hearted flair.

How do you come up with your story ideas and your characters?

Nobody believes me when I answer this, so I don’t know why I continue to look like a crazy person, but I dream them. Honest. I keep a notepad and recorder by my bed so when an idea rumbles about in my sleepy brain, I can write them down and get back to sleep. Sometimes, I can’t read my handwriting the next day, but I’m SURE it was a great idea.

When do you find you are the most creative or write the most?

I’m most creative in the wee hours of the morning (or late hours of the night, depending on how you look at it.) Thus, the dreaming of ideas. However, my brain is constantly running, and if I can sit down in front of a computer and put my fingers on the keyboard, it’s pretty much a guarantee that something will pop up on the screen. Now, it may be crap, but it’s something.

Who came up with the book cover for THE LIST? Why?

I hired an illustrator to design the cover illustration. I had posted an ad and hired another illustrator, but this guy Danny, he applied anyway and sent me almost the image pulled right out of my head. So I paid him, too, and used his illustration. I wanted the girl to look like me (but skinnier), and be wrapped in her list so she was almost constrained by it (the moral of my story.) I used read for the title, because I saw a study that said red is a color that makes readers buy impulsively, and the blue gradient is there because blue is my favorite color, and makes the red “pop.” How’d I do? Do you like it?

Did you have a list?

I get asked this a lot, and the answer is yes. I had a list. My list was a lot longer when I was in my early 20s, had whittled down in my late 20s, and in my 30s, I realized that my list included a lot of things that were negotiable. So, I narrowed it down to the most important 10 things, and that’s when I found my favorite guy. J People also ask what was on my list, but a woman needs to keep some mystery going, don’t you think?

Summary of THE LIST

Candace Saunders is a single, 30-something with a 50-item list of the qualities she wants in a man. She meets two suitors – one earns lots of checks on her love itinerary, the other is the anti-list. As she falls for (which one?) she wonders, can perfect be put on paper?

Marketing Information:
Romantic Comedy
Purchased on:
Follow Carmen on Twitter: @carmenshirkey


Carmen Shirkey was born in Staunton, VA. She received her degree in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Virginia (she’s a crazy Wahoos fan) where she was also a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority. She then proceeded to become a gypsy – moving from city to city. Currently, she resides in VA, but who knows where she’ll turn up next. Her cat, Pooh Bear, would prefer to stay in one place so he can adequately mark his territory.

Aside from writing, Carmen’s passion is for travel. She once got a fortune cookie that told her that she would “step on the soil of many countries,” and she took it seriously. She hopes that enough people will buy her book so she can go on permanent vacation, instead of packing all her travel into two measly weeks each year. That’s the amount of vacation time she gets in her full-time gig as a Web editor.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Morning Street Sign Help

I need a little street sign help.

A writer friend of mine, Gina Leuci, takes pictures of street signs. Not just any street sign, but signs with people's names on them.

What is cool about this is that she does this so people like me can have a picture of a street sign with the name of my character on it. Obviously that is only one reason. Also, it is better than stealing a sign and hanging it in your house. Yeah, I knew a couple of colleg guys that did that.

The way Gina does it makes it art. Especially, after I get the ones back she has already done all framed up very nicely for my office with a green mat that matches the sign color.

You're wondering why is Denise telling me thes and what does it have to do with her asking for help. Here it is. I have a character in my third book, CONNECT THE DOTS, whose name is Charley. Gina has not found a street sign with the spelling of Charley with the "ey." We need your help, please!

While you are driving around to run errands or goingto visit family and friends, you may drive by a "Charley" street sign every day and not pay any attention to it. Well, we need you to pay attention to it.

If you see a street sign with the name "Charley" printed on it could you please take a picture of it and email it to me. Or, if you see it in New Hampshire, email me and we can take a picture of it.
Either way, I would very much appreciate it. That is the last one I need to complete the names of my characters for all three books.

I'm working on number and the names are Lucas and Maggie (Margaret).

To find out more about my artistice friend, Gina, checkout her website at

Friday, May 22, 2009

The cab pulled up . . .Writing Prompt Response

Cab Writing prompt response.

Sorry for taing so long, but here is my stab at Tuesday's creative writing prompt.

The cab pulled up. . .

The cab pulled up in front of the curb and Jane’s stomach bottomed out. Seeing the yellow vehicle reminder her that she had to leave her car behind at the burnt out Starbucks for crime scene investigation.

Not only had she left her car behind, but she had been hauled to the police station for question. Like she was some nutso that bombed the coffee shop. She stepped through the glass doors, squinting at the bright sun high in the sky. “Do I look like a criminal?” she murmured, moving toward the cab.

“You look pretty shady to me.”

The deep voice came from behind and sent involuntary shivers down her spine. Before she could react, a strong hand brought her up short. Jane glanced down at the fingers gripping her forearm. Her gaze trailed upward and paused at the broad hard-muscled chest she remembered seeing naked only two nights ago. She licked her lips. Swallowing the knot of lust, Jane continued until her eyes met his steely-gray ones.

“Going somewhere?”

Calming her rapid heart, she reclaimed her arm and stiffened her spine. She would not let desire interfere with her anger. “Home.” Jane pivoted away from the detective.

His hand landed on top of hers at the same time that she grabbed the door handle to the cab. Before she knew it, the cab took off. Without her.

Mirror Writing prompt for Friday

Mirror Writing Prompt for Friday is not a Snow White reference.

Today's writing prompt has to do with driving. In her rearview mirror. . .

Have fun with this one and try to make it suspenseful!

I'm running a little behind on stuff this week thanks to getting my first techno article out there and then I received the edits for KILLER BUNNY HILL. I will be sharing my Tuesday writing response later today so look for that.

Don't forget, Sunday the interview with Carmen Shirkey, author of The List will be posted so stop by before or after your BBQ and leave a comment.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Interview of Denise Robbins on author Carmen Shirkey's blog

Author of The List, Carmen Shirkey posted and interview with Denise Robbins on her blog at Stop by and leave a comment.

Come back here on Sunday to see an interview with this week's Book-A-Week Challenge author Carmen Shirkey and leave your comments. If you haven't read her book yet, go to and order it today.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How do Computers and Romance Relate?

Romantic Techno-Thriller

So, you're wondering what that is. Good. It is a mix of technology and romance.

What do computers have to do with romance?

Besides online dating? Could be everything!

Thanks to a push from author Jessica James who suggested I write an article that discusses technology and some terrific article ideas from my publisher's loop, I wrote an article this weekend that revolves around how I combine computer technology with romantic fiction. This is my brand! Only took me a year to realize what that meant, but now I get it. Woot!

You see, all my novels are a mix of some kind of technology, romance, and suspense. I'm going to coin my brand as "romantic techno-thriller." To read the first article around this subject, please click this link to see the published article on

Let me know what you think!

Midweek - Have you started reading The List for Book-A-Week Challenge

Midweek of Book-A-Week Challenge and we're reading The List by Carmen Shirkey.

How do you like Candace so far? Have you had similar dating experiences? Share them here! Or share them on Sunday when we post an interview with Carmen.

THE LIST by Carmen Shirkey was just named the winner in the Romance category of the 2009 Indie Book Awards! Woot! If you have not ordered your copy, get it now at

Next week's Book-A-Week Challenge title is Three's a Charm by Ellen Dye. To order your copy of Ellen's book go here

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The cab pulled up. . .Tuesday Writing Prompt

It's Tuesday and time for another creative writing prompt.

Reminder: Each week in the month of June we will be having writing contest. A new writing prompt will be posted on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. To participate, you have to write a response to each of the writing prompt posts with your own creative writing. At the end of each week on Sunday, we will announce a winner. The winner will receive a T-Shirt and a copy of It Happens in Threes.

In the meantime, you can warm up with the ones I post on Tuesday and Friday of each week.

Today's prompt is: The cab pulled up. . .

The only rule is to start your blurb with those four little words, and make whatever you write a real attention grabber. Have fun and share what you create!

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading List

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading List

Good morning!

Just wanted to let you know that I have updated the Book-A-Week Challenge book widget to the left.

This week we are reading THE LIST by Carmen Shirkey and was just named the winner in the Romance category of the 2009 Indie Book Awards! Woot! If you have not ordered your copy, get it now at

I have added to the Book-A-Week Challenge another book Three's a Charm by Ellen Dye. To order your copy of Ellen's book go here

Keep watching. The list will change as I add more authors. Speaking of which, if you have a book and want to have it added to the Book-A-Week Challenge then email me. I would be happy to include it and post an interview of the author.

Monday, May 18, 2009

At the funeral . . .Friday's Morbid Writing Prompt Response

Last Friday's Morbid Writing Prompt was: At the funeral. . .

My response:

At the funeral, Maureen stood at the graveside peering down at the casket covered in flowers as the preacher’s words slid numbly by her. Was she responsible for his death? She lifted her head and gazed around through tear-blurred eyes at the other solemn faces. Or was one of Jimmy’s friends and colleagues? Even if one of them had pulled the trigger, was she the underlying reason someone had killed him?

He should have listened to her. The night she complained that she heard something or someone in the lab, had not been her imagination. The robot knew it. Maureen shook her head. That was ridiculous. The robot knew what it had been programmed. But she knew. Someone had been snooping around their project and the sensitive work they were doing.

Jimmy must have too. Otherwise, why would he have changed his will and made her the sole heir when they weren’t even married? Married? They hadn’t even been engaged thanks to the shooter.

Where was Lucas? He was here, hiding, observing. Damn! She would hate him to be right, for one of these people that she had worked with for almost a year to be a killer.

She glanced at each one of the faces of her team. Everyone was there except Daniel who was also dead. Had quiet, sweet Daniel been involved in Jimmy’s murder or had he been an innocent bystander who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? And what was up with him and Jennifer going to work for the competitor? Did they not have any loyalty to a man who brought them into the government project?

Jennifer. Maureen looked straight across the six-foot deep hole at the woman who had been Jimmy’s longtime girlfriend and the lead engineer on the team. She stared into deep blue eyes that met hers head on. Why did she not get a sense of this woman, a flash of something in her mind to let her know if Scottish Jennifer with her funny accent and hard gaze was a murderer? If she had been involved, she should have known. No. She would have known.

Tearing her gaze from Jennifer’s, she eyed the rest of the attendees. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Besides the team members, there were a few government officials, but not everyone on the morphing robots project attended. On her left, stood some of Jimmy’s college buddies and friends. A movement to her left caught her eye and she turned her head in that direction.

Leaning against a tree was Robert Sacks, the owner of Robotics FX and Jimmy’s main competitor.

What was he doing here? She snarled silently. Where was Lucas? Did he see Robert? The preacher’s voice seeped into her mind and she returned her attention to the sleek, shiny casket and its flower-laden lid. Taking the preacher’s cue, she bent at the knees, picked up a handful of dirt, and tossed it on top of Jimmy.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Don’t worry Jimmy, I’m safe and I will catch your killer. That’s a promise.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading "The List" by Carmen Shirkey

Week three's Book-A-Week Challenge is "The List" by Carmen Shirkey
(THE LIST was just named the winner in the Romance category of the 2009 Indie Book Awards! Woot!)
If you have not ordered your copy yet, visit Carmen's site at and order a copy today.
Excerpt from "The List":
Why was I here? I knew this guy was so far from being right for me that he was in another time zone. What a total waste of time – that’s an hour of my life that I’d never get back. I was too nice to just get up and leave, but there was the added incentive of not having to listen to my friend Monica’s pestering if she found out I bailed on the date. I really didn’t want to go to start with, but when I made the mistake of mentioning the invitation for said date while on the phone with my best friend, she had gotten all giddy with excitement. When I said I didn’t want to go, you could almost hear her thought balloon pop over the landline.
“You’re too picky,” she had said, and I could hear her sigh. “You’ll be an old maid if you keep up these shenanigans.”
“First,” I said, “Who uses the word shenanigans anymore, and second, I don’t consider it being ‘picky.’ I considered it being ‘discerning’ or ‘not settling’ for what was best for me.”
“You’ve got your expectations too high with that damn list of yours,” She told me, yet again.
The list that she was referring to is a set of 50-or-so criteria for what I want in a man that I just happened to write down. I’m a type-A personality, I have lists for everything, but I’ve set down these, um, guidelines, in an ordered manner so that I can easily see whether a man would be perfect for me.
There were your standard items, which any self-respecting woman would consider necessities.
  1. Chemistry – which is not definable by it’s nature
  2. Attractive – See #1
  3. Has a steady income (not rich, just not a moocher who expects me to pay his way)
  4. Animal-friendly (Hey, the cat was here first)
  5. Good sense of humor (Yes, all women really do want that.)
Don't forget that on Sunday we will post an interview with Carmen so read the book and leave a comment.

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Carla Neggers

This week's interview is with Carla Neggers, author of BETRAYALS, on our Book-A-Week Challenge.

Please welcome this week’s author for the Book-A-Week Challenge, Carla Neggers.
First, let me congratulate you on THE ANGEL named as a finalist for the Romance Writers of America® (RWA) 2009 RITA® Award for Romantic Suspense.

Thank you! I'm honored to be recognized by my peers and among so many wonderful writers.

What makes your stories unique? The “Carla” aspect.
Oooh..good question! I think it's my blend of suspense, romance, adventure and action – often with a touch of humor. I have a very 'organic' approach to storytelling that I think comes through in my characters and plots. I enjoy creating a 'universe' of characters. COLD PURSUIT is the first book in my Black Falls series, set in Vermont and Washington, D.C. – it continues this fall with COLD RIVER. It's the first time I've actually named a series. My other series is set in Boston, Maine and Ireland. It started with THE WIDOW and continues with THE ANGEL and THE MIST.
Can you tell I love to write?!

I heard you were taking a trip to Ireland. Is this a trip for family and fun or a working excursion for a new novel?

Any trip to Ireland is for pleasure, whether it involves research or working on a book or a vacation. I'm typing this from my hotel room on Kenmare Bay! It's a beautiful morning, and we're off to hike part of the Beara Way. I'm taking lots of pictures – check them out soon on my website or Facebook page! THE ANGEL, due out in paperback at the end of the month, and THE MIST, due out in hardcover at the end of June, are both partly set in Ireland (as well as Boston and Maine!).

The image to the left is a picture Carla sent of the Ireland mist the other morning.

With more than 50 novels published, how do you keep coming up with compelling stories that capture your readers’ attention?

I've always had ideas – it's why I write!
What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I love to write – I'm not one of those tortured writers. ;-) But the best part about being published is getting to hear from and meet so many readers. There's just nothing like it. It's such a privilege.

Is there any part about being an author you find less appealing than others?

Anything that involves a spreadsheet. ;-)

When you’re not working on your next story, what are you doing?

I love to hike, kayak, garden, travel, read and hang out with friends and my large extended family. The garden's not looking so great so far this year – the hard winter and the deer have taken a toll – but I'm looking forward to getting out there with my hoe. I do some of my best creative thinking in the garden!

Okay, last question. When you curl up with a book to read, what kind of book is it or which author do you rush to the bookstore to buy?

Reading is one of my great pleasures, and I'll read almost anything. Right now I'm reading a book of Irish fairytales. A good thing to do, since I'm here on the southwest coast of Ireland.

To find out more about Carla or get more information about her upcoming books, visit her website at

I want to thank Carla for taking the time while in Ireland to participate in this interview and for sending a wonderfaul image of Ireland. Now we can all be jealous!

You don't say no to girls. . .T-Shirt Giveaway Winner

T-shirt Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner for the "You don't say no to girls. . .who do it and write about it" T-shirt Giveaway.

The winner not only twittered about the T-shirt, but emailed twice. She REALLY wanted the T-shirt.

Congratulations, Val!

For those that didn't win, keep watching for more giveaways and contests. Or, go to and you can order one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Traffic in fiction

As I make my 90 minute commute, I wondered how traffic and an underground tunnel could be used in a novel.

Thoughts ?

A Morbid Writing Prompt for Friday

Friday's Writing prompt will seem a little morbid but could be a great hook.

Today's writing prompt is: At the funeral. . .

Imagine this is a scene in your latest WIP and for whatever reason your hero ro heroine has to attend a funeral. Something that happens at that funeral has to move your story forward or tell you more about the hero or heroine.

Now, go grab that reader's attention and send back what you write up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Three Days until interview with Book-A-Week Challenge author Carla Neggers

This week's Book-A-Week Challenge novel is BETRAYALS by one of my favorite authors, Carla Neggers.

Only three days left before I post an interview from Carla Neggers. I emailed Carla last Saturday and told her about the Book-A-Week Challenge, and she graciously agreed to answer my questions so I could post an interview with her. Unfortunately, she is in Ireland (lucky her) so making the interview interactive is not possible but maybe we can catch her the next time we add her book to the list. AND there will be a next time.

So, if you have not read BETRAYALS yet, you better run out and get a copy. On Sunday, look for Carla's interview here.



Rebecca Blackburn caught a glimpse of the famed Jupiter Stones as a small child. Unaware of their significance, she forgot about them—until she discovers the priceless, long-missing gems are the key to a deadly chain of events spanning thirty years and three continents sparing no one.

When a seemingly innocent photograph reignites one man's simmering desire for vengeance, Rebecca turns to Jared Sloan, the love she lost to tragedy and scandal, his own life changed forever by the secrets buried deep in their two families.

Their relentless quest for the truth will dredge up bitter memories and shocking revelations of misplaced loyalty, dangerous pride and naked ambition and they will stop at nothing to expose a cold-blooded killer.

If you have not purchased your book yet, scroll down the left side of the blog and click the book widget.

The words on the page. . .Writing Prompt Response

Tuesday's writing response was: The words on the page. . .

I hope you all enjoyed Tuesday's writing prompt. I know I did and here is what I came up with.

The words on the page. . .

The words on the page sent shivers of terror skittering down her spine. Her hands shook. One the white paper, someone pasted big block letters cut from magazines to form one sentence.

“Your turn to die.”

Reading the message aloud, the words grabbed her by the throat and threatened to choke her.

“Was this some kind of sick joke?”

Gasping for air, Jane touched her neck and groped for the back of the chair. She needed to sit. She needed to breathe.

Her vision blurred as blackness shrouded her mind. She missed the chair and fell to the floor in a motionless heap.

I'll post another prompt on Friday. In two weeks we will be having a contest so start getting your pen or keyboard warmed up.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The words on the page. . .Writing Prompt

Tuesday's Writing Prompt

So I was scrambling around this morning and almost forgot to post a writing prompt, but here it is.

Prompt: The words on the page. . .

Don't forget to grab the reader's attention. Enjoy and have fun with it! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Book-A-Week-Challenge with author Carla Neggers

Book-A-Week Challenge Week 2

This week's book is BETRAYALS by one of my favorite authors, Carla Neggers.

Book Blurb:


Rebecca Blackburn caught a glimpse of the famed Jupiter Stones as a small child. Unaware of their significance, she forgot about them—until she discovers the priceless, long-missing gems are the key to a deadly chain of events spanning thirty years and three continents sparing no one.
When a seemingly innocent photograph reignites one man's simmering desire for vengeance, Rebecca turns to Jared Sloan, the love she lost to tragedy and scandal, his own life changed forever by the secrets buried deep in their two families.
Their relentless quest for the truth will dredge up bitter memories and shocking revelations of misplaced loyalty, dangerous pride and naked ambition and they will stop at nothing to expose a cold-blooded killer.
If you have not purchased your book yet, scroll down the left side of the blog and click the book widget.

T-Shirt Giveaway

We're giving away one T-shirt.
Designed by and author Denise Robbins

"You don't say no to girls. . .who do it and write about it" T-shirt this week.

Enter to win 05/11/2009 - 05/16/2009.

To enter send an email that says "May T-shirt Drawing" and let Denise know you want a T-shirt. One winner will be drawn at random on Saturday evening.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge with Author Ceri Hebert

Our first Book-A-Week Challenge is the romance Sweet Forever by Ceri Hebert

We're concluding this week with an interview of Ceri Hebert, the author of Sweet Forever, Where One Road Leads, and Finally Home. After reading the interview, please feel free to post comments or questions about her book and the interview.

Please welcome our guest, Ceri Hebert.

Where are you from?

Ceri: Originally, I'm from Minneapolis, MN but my parents moved me out to southwestern New Hampshire when I was 11. I definitely consider this home more than Minnesota was.

Tell us your latest news?

Ceri: Currently I have a manuscript being considered by L & L Dreamspell. FOREVER HOME is actually a sequel to my book SWEET FOREVER published by Samhain Publishing. It centers on Jaycie Winslow who wants two things in life, to raise and train Quarter Horses on her family's South Dakota guest ranch and Craig Lynch, the object of her childhood affection who's returned to South Dakota a widower with a young daughter. I have another manuscript with Kensington Publishing. THAT KIND OF MAGIC is the story of a Wiccan shop owner who refuses to use magic to find the man of her dreams, but it seems she might not have a choice. I also have several manuscripts that are being edited. I never seem to have a lack of projects.

When and why did you begin writing?

Ceri: I started my first story when I was about twelve years old. My friends and I were convinced that a house on our road was haunted and we were determined to find out why. It inspired me to write about it. I turned our little group into a team similar to Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy (no Scooby).

What inspired you to pen your first novel?

Ceri: I was a quiet kid at very small school. I had a few good friends, but I didn't date much. I started writing my first story as an outlet for my daydreams. I really wanted that happy ending. I wanted to give my heroine the perfect life that teenage girls often dreamed of. One of my stories that I started at the age of sixteen actually published now. FINALLY HOME published by Whiskey Creek Press, evolved with me over the years. My heroine, Tori started out as a sixteen year old, but when the book was published she was twenty-five.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Ceri: I'm a drama queen—or I should say my heroines tend to be drama queens. At least they're drama queens when I write in third person. Strangely, when I write in first person (which isn't often) I can add humor to my story. Maybe it's because I can laugh at myself.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

Ceri: Definitely contemporary romance. I'd love to write a good romantic suspense but I haven't been able to come up with a really good mystery. I'm dabbling in paranormal romance which I enjoy, and I have a young adult fantasy in the works. But contemporary romance, such as FINALLY HOME, SWEET FOREVER and WHERE ONE ROAD LEADS keeps drawing me back. WHERE ONE ROAD LEADS is the only story that involves a little crime, a little mystery, when my heroine returns to her hometown after fifteen years of self-imposed exile to start up a youth center. There are plenty of people who don't want her back, who can't forgive her for the car accident that killed three people. Someone is sabotaging her project and would rather see her dead than settled back in town.

Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?

Ceri: No, they're pretty much all from my imagination. I do use some elements from real life. In my book WHERE ONE ROAD LEADS my heroine has rescued a dog that was abandoned after a hurricane down in the Gulf. I took that experience from my sister who was in New Orleans after Katrina and found an abandoned dog. She had it sent home to Idaho to be cared for and was adopted up there. There are little things here and there that I'll use.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Ceri: I adore Nora Roberts. I'm in awe of any author who can be so prolific and make her books so enjoyable. I'd love to spend a month shadowing her and seeing her process. Also Dean Koontz. Even though he's not a romance writer I'm overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into his books.

What are your current projects?

Ceri: Currently I have two short stories finished and waiting for editing, one a spicy romance the other a little harder to define. Time travel maybe? A story about a middle aged woman who gets the chance to go back in time and decide if she wants to do things differently. For my full length projects I'm trying to get back to my horsey roots. All my stories growing up involved horses. I'd like to write a few more.

Do you see writing as a long- or short-term career?

Ceri: Well, let's see, I started writing when I was 12. That was over thirty years ago. Not that I spent most of that time writing, but it means that much to me, so I'd definitely consider myself looking for a long-term career as an author. Not that I'm able to quit my day job just yet, but I won't give up on publishing more of my work.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?

Ceri: I'd be more serious. I would've worked harder when I was younger to make this a reality. I definitely would've taken advantage of the free time I had when I was younger to hone this craft.
Thank you Ceri for your time and for the terrific read. I very much enjoyed reading Ben and Hayden's story.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

One more day to Week 1 of our Book-A-Week Challenge

Book-A-Week Challenge and Author Interview

Have you finished this week's book, Sweet Forever, by Ceri Hebert yet?

I have!!

One more day and we'll be posting an interview with the romance author. Get ready to tell her your favorite part of the book and post your questions.

She sat along. . .Writing Prompt Response

Friday's Writing Prompt was: She sat along. . .

My Writing Prompt Response:

She sat along the curb with her hands bandaged in white gauze watching the emergency personnel fight the flames of the burning building. Men in bulky yellow jackets scrambled from red fire engine to crumbled brick and back carrying long, heavy hoses, and spraying water not only the burnt out Starbucks, but the dwellings that surrounded it.

An explosion rocked the ground she sat on and Jane crab walked backwards away from flying debris then fell on her elbows. “Ow!”

Smoke billowed up into the heavens as firefighters battled the blaze while avoiding soaring pieces of metal and glass. The longer they fought, the deeper her heart sank.

“No one could have survived,” she muttered into her covered hands, listening to the sirens as even more vehicles approached.

“How do you know?”

Startled by the question, Jane looked up and over her shoulder in the direction of the deep voice. The sun was in her eyes and she had to squint, but she could not make out the figure. She raised her hand to shield her eyes when the man moved.

“How do you know there are no survivors?”

His voice sent a shiver of awareness down her spine. When she peered up at him a second time from her sitting position, Jane could not believe her eyes. Her eyelids fluttered and blinked, but the vision remained. Damn! “Pink undie guy.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

Romance Authors and Readers

How do romance authors or any authors reach out to their readers or potential readers?

Last night, before I had dinner with "the girls" of, I had a very interesting conversation with Terry of During our quick (longer than 30 minutes) chat, we both talked about how there are lots of groups for authors to meet other authors, or even authors to meet editors, agents, etc. But where are the events where authors can meet readers?

I'm not talking at like a book signing. Although they can be fun the amount of interactive time between a reader and the author can be minimal. And yes, although you may learn a little more about the author, when does the author learn more about his or her reader?

At dinner with "the girls", they noted the same thing, that there are a lot of opportunities for authors to meet authors. This is all well and good, but isn't our goal as an author to reach readers? Not necessarily to put our latest and greatest book in their hands, but to find out what they liked, what they didn't like, and what they would like to see.

Perhaps there is a reader in your midst that has thought of writing a story but has not figured out how to put pen to paper. Is it not our responsibility to help them figure out how to do so, to encourage them, motivate them?

I realize there are some, perhaps many authors that are actually shy, introverted, whatever you want to call it and putting yourself out there can be, um, well, distressing to a few. BUT, don't you want readers to know that you as a person exist behind the name on the cover? That you are more than the bio posted on the book jacket or your website? Please, you can only show so much of you in 100 words or less.

I, personally, love talking with readers and authors. Let's face it! If you write, you more than likely read. Don't you want to have a sit down with your favorite author and ask him or her about him or her self? Yup, I am waving my hands in the air. "I do!"

I would love to have a cup of coffee or a can of soda, even a glass of wine and a chat with as many of my favorite authors as possible. (To name a few, David Baldacci, Linda Howard, Carla Neggers, Suzanne Brockmann, John Sanford, Faye Kellerman, many more!) I would love to share a cold beer with a new author I just read and find out why she wrote that story as her first.

I'm not talking a friendly chat in an auditorium. That is an oxy moron if I have ever heard one! A friendly chat would take place at a local coffee shop, pizza place, winery, where everyone can sit around in comfy chairs, and be themselves. No suits or ties, or dresses (unless that's what makes you comfortable), but a T-shirt and a pair of jeans so you can sit back, cross your feet and have a conversation as if this author and reader was your next door neighbor. Who knows, maybe they are.

I would be willing to drive a distance to sit down and talk with readers and authors, wouldn't you? Wouldn't that beat standing in line for a 5 second blip and a signing by an author who doesn't even know your name?

Anyway, after all that longwindedness (not sure if that is a word), my point is, I'm an author and a reader and I want to meet readers on a more personal level, talk with them, hear their stories, share my stories, and just have some fun.

With that in mind, I would love anyone's input as to:

A. Does this sound like a terrific idea?
B. Would you as a reader want to participate in this?
C. Would you as an author want to participate in this?
D. What place would you recommend for a cozy author/reader chat?
E. How often should these take place? (once a week, once a month, more)??

Share any thoughts and ideas. And yes, I plan on following through on some form of this in the VERY near future. Hopefully, other authors will want to participate or start something similar in their area!

She sat along. . .Creative Writing Prompt for Friday

Friday's Writing Prompt: She sat along. . .

Have fun and remember to share as little or as much as you want. Make it fun and hook your reader.

Speaking of reading, I hope you are enjoying reading Ceri Hebert's Sweet Forever. Don't forget Ceri's interview will be posted on Sunday so stop by and ask her some questions or tell her what you liked about her story.

Risky Writing Prompt Response

Tuesday's Writing prompt: At the time, it didn't seem risky. . .

I have to admit, this one was more difficult than I thought it would be. Here it is.

At the time, it didn't seem risky. It wasn't every day she went back to a man's house that she barely knew. Hell, she never did anything like that. It was all her best friend's fault. "That's the last time I listen to Mary's advice. Ever!"

She stomped her foot against the cement. Her ankle twisted when the high-heel stuck in the crack of the sidewalk. "Ow!"

By the time she worked her shoe loose, tears streamed down her face. Tears of pain, frustration, or stupidity, she was not certain. She blew out a breath and sent the hair she had painstakingly coiffed upinto the cool night hair just so it could plaster against her forehead again. “The guy appeared to be so normal in the bar.” With those gorgeous pale blue eyes, who would have thought he was a total freak!

The ache in her ankle caused her to limp and her pace to slow. Raking her fingers through her hair, she trudged back toward the damn bar where she had stupidly left her car behind.

“How could I have been so stupid?” Jane tugged her jacket tighter around her middle. The night temperature had dropped and a chill ran through her.

Then she heard something, shouting. She looked left and right and came up empty. The sound came again. Jane glanced over her shoulder and saw the pink underwear man gaining on her.

“Oh, no!”

Forgetting the cold, she dropped her hands to her sides, looked for a place to hide and took off. Sharp needles of pain shot through her ankle and straight up her leg. She gritted her teeth and speeded up her limpy run.


Why was he after her? What the heck was the guy’s problem? What did she care? She only wanted out of there!

She took a dark alley that she knew would lead her to the backside of the bar. On a normal day, she wouldn’t dream of going down a dark alley by herself, but this was not a normal day. Nothing about today had been normal. One thing was for certain. She would never, ever, go home with a stranger again! Damn! She couldn’t believe she had in the first place. Now look where she was. Loping away from some freakishly handsome guy who wore ladies panties. Who claimed he was a cop. Ha! Like she believed that crap.

Jane risked a glance over her shoulder again. The guy was no longer behind her. She almost breathed a sigh of relief when she pivoted back around and halted in her tracks. The air she had been about to blow out now stuck in her throat.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reading Sweet Forever by Ceri Hebert

Just a reminder that we are reading Sweet Forever by Ceri Hebert this week for the Book-A-Week Challenge and will post an interview with her this Sunday so get your questions and comments ready.

I personally want to know who came up with the title. Did Ceri or her publisher? Either way, it is a perfect fit for the story.

Ceri's website is at

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Romance in the Back Seat

Are you a published romance author on the East Coast? Do you want some more publiciry?

Checkout Terry's new website and read all about her project of back seat author interviews.

She is going to be doing a whole trek up the coast interviewing romance authors. I, of course, suggested that I might know a few more.

Checkout her site, shoot her a message, and help her out. Tell her that I passed on the information.

Have fun!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Risky Writing Prompt for Tuesday

Tuesday's writing prompt deals with risk.

Here is the prompt: At the time, it didn't seem risky. . .

Write a sentence or a paragraph, or as much as you like and share with us.

Remember to hook your reader when you finish that prompt sentence and keep their attention from then on.

Have fun!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Let's just be friends writing prompt

Friday's writing prompt: When he said, “Let’s just be friends. . .”

Here is my response:

When he said, “Let’s just be friends,” as he crawled out of the bed they just made love in, Jane’s first thought was that he had to be kidding.

From the bed, she blinked unseeing at Max. He bent down and his dark hair disappeared from view for a second then he came up smiling at her.

“Tha. . .that was a joke, right?” she asked, her voice quavering. She tugged the green sheet up in front of her still naked breasts in a shield.

Max stepped into his boxers, boxers she had bought him for Valentine’s Day, yesterday. His gaze met hers. “No.” He shrugged. “I think we’re good friends and that we should stay that way.”

Her mouth dropped open and she wanted to scream, wanted to give him a piece of her mind, but the words caught in her throat and the only sound that escaped was a loud sigh. Heart beating inside her chest thrummed blood in her ears, and her vision started to blur. She grasped the headboard to steady herself.

His shirt pulled over his head, Max hauled his harry legs into his jeans and jerked them up. “I’m sorry, baby. I know I hurt you, but it just. . .” He shrugged again. “It’s not a good idea.” He slipped the belt into the buckle and hooked his pants up.

Not a good idea? Kissing until her toes curled and her stomach dipped as if on a roller coaster ride was not a good idea. Make the bed move as if one of the vibrating machines was hooked to it when in fact it was just the two of them was not a good idea. Screaming until the cows come home because the climax sent her into oblivion was not a good idea. Then what the hell was?

Oh, she had her mad on now. Jane leapt from the bed, leaving the sheet behind. Hands fisted on hips, she stood next to the bed and went off.

“Excuse me? Are you out of your freakin’ mind? You just made love to me, scratch that,” she said holding a hand up palm out. “We just had rock my world sex and you want to bolt out the door ten minutes later after you’ve got your breath back!”

Max opened his mouth to speak, but Jane shook her head once and met his blue eyes with her own brown-eyed glare and he shut it.

“Don’t even tell me that what we did was average or even below average.” She stalked around the bed and aimed a finger at his chest. “I hear you yell my name. I felt the rumble low in your gut as you spasmed with ecstasy inside me.” She laid her hand on his fast beating heart and stepped closer. “Are you going to stand there in front of me and tell me to my face that you didn’t enjoy what just happened between us? Are you going to lie to me?”

Tearing her gaze from his strong and heaving chest, Jane lifted her chin and gazed up at Max. Go ahead, she thought. Go ahead and lie. Be Pinocchio.

Max peered down at her, his blue eyes cold as ice, hard and unfeeling. “I want us to be friends,” he told her in a flat voice.

Jane’s heart fell to the floor, exposed and bleeding, and Max stepped on it, crushing her as he walked past her without another word and left.

The door banged shut behind him. He leaned against it, letting out a rush of air. He had to get out of there. If he stayed any longer, he would never have left. He had to leave. If he stayed any longer, the life of the woman he loved would be in danger. If it wasn’t already.

Book-A-Week-Challenge with author Ceri Hebert

This week we start the Book-A-Week Challenge reading "Sweet Forever" by author Ceri Hebert.

Book Jacket Blurb from "Sweet Forever":

Torn between the home she loves and the man shes falling in love with, Hayden must decide which one she will leave behind.

When Hayden Merrick travels to meet her grandmother for the first time, she doesn't expect to find the father who abandoned her or a man who could prove to be the love of her life.

There hadn't been much time for romance in Bens Winslows life and no woman has interested him enough until Hayden arrived at his neighbor's home. As soon as he meets her, Ben believes she could be the woman he's always hoped for, but he has to convince her life could be just as sweet on the prairie as on the coast.

Hayden's plans to return to her home are put on hold as she struggles with a difficult decision - pursue a life in South Dakota or return to the one she's loved at the edge of the ocean? Ben hopes he can give her the best of both worlds.

If you haven't ordered your copy yet, you can order an autographed copy from Ceri at or go to Amazon

You have until Sunday to read the romance novel "Sweet Forever" and post your comments.

Happy reading!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Marketing Saturday with author Denise Robbins

I've decided that Saturdays need to be my marketing day. Why?

Gee, cuz during the week I have to drive to work in South Boston and who can be creative after that. :-)

And because first thing this morning I sold a book so it seemed like a good day to focus on promotion.

Went for breakfast this morning at Sammy J's around the corner from me and one of the ladies asked if she could buy a copy of It Happens in Threes. What a great way to start the day!

Did I tell you I got the "You don't say no to girls. . .who do it and write about it" T-shirts?

Well, I did. Actually, I will be picking up some larger size T-shirts this week from Kim and Deb at In honor of those T-shirts they made especially for me and all us writers, I thought I would try to come up with something fun to so readers of It Happens in Threes can also get one of the T-shirts.

Don't you want one?! Well, you might if you saw a picture of it. Sheesh! I guess I have to get someone to take a picture of my hiney - I mean backside just like on my book cover so you all can see the very cool shirt.

While I try to devise a wonderful contest, I am sitting in my home office with the cats not so patiently waiting to be paid attention and try to focus on my upcoming radio interview with Don McCauley of Free Publicity Focus Group

Speaking of interviews, my friend and mystery author CJ West, is going to be hosting a new blogtalk radio show. Here is a link to his website Anyway, I have to send him a copy of It Happens in Threes today so he can read it before I guest a spot on his talk show. I hope he is prepared for a heart-stopping romantic suspense! :-) Not to worry, I did forewarn him.

In the meantime, I am also working with Jeannie Ruesch of on my next book trailer video for Killer Bunny Hill that will be out in July just in time for the national RWA conference. I'm just so excited I get goosebumps every time I think about it.

OH! And I so need to update my website at I realized yesterday that I had not even posted the logline that my friend and mystery romance author Nora LeDuc at helped me craft after about 25 email exchanges. Nora's latest book, Murder Came Calling, will be out in June.

Plus, I haven't even listed my next book event that is scheduled for July 11 at the Toadstool Bookstop in Milford ( with author Diana Rubino ( and celebrate her latest release A Bloody Good Cruise along with Killer Bunny Hill.

With my next release coming out in July, I have to get my friend and author Jessica James of to create my next press release. Seriously, Jessica is the best when it comes to creating the right message for the media.

Okay, is it me or has this job thing truly interfered not with just my writing but my marketing and promotion.

Sheesh! I still owe a response to the Friday Creative Writing Prompt.

With all that said, and , how do other authors manage it and stay sane along the way?

Feel free to share, rant, toss ideas, or just tell us who you work with on your promotion or what you like to see.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Book Hooks Day 4

How else to create a hook for your book?

Start with action. "Action" does not necessarily mean a gunfight, a fistfight, or an explosion. Action means starting your book or story at a compelling place, in a scene, with something at stake for your characters.

Look closely and you may find that you have pages of material that should not be in the beginning. They fill in some important blanks for readers, but that backstory can safely be moved to somewhere after your opening.

“Uh – hem.” Yup, that was me. The first time I took my pages to a NHRWA critique session, I found out that the action of my story actually started on page four, so I moved it up to page one.

The key is to start your story with a riveting moment that grabs the reader by the shirtfront and does not let him or her turn away.

Example: “Twelve hundred pounds of charging horseflesh hit the wooden railings chest high and somersaulted into the north stands. Faces frozen with horror moved in desperate slow motion to get out of the path of the crazed beast.”

The first lines of Cut Throat by Lyndon Stacey a horse has crashed through the gate protecting the crowd and someone is going to get hurt.

Now that's some action!

A general rule is to never put dialogue or straight description in your opening lines. Dialogue is fine in the first scene. Many experts agree that first scenes without dialogue do not achieve their potential.

"Why is that?"

The most compelling reading material involves tension between people, and people usually talk to each other. However, if your very first lines are dialogue, it is impossible for the reader to understand who is speaking right off the bat. It would be like walking in on the middle of a conversation between two people at a party and trying to decipher what they are discussing.

“I think she is a very attractive girl.” “Yes, but can she sing.” You do not have a clue about who they are or who they are talking about.

Similarly, the use of description right up front will not pull your reader into the story. Not because it confuses or disorients the reader like dialogue, but because description can be dull and it does not tell the reader anything about the story itself.

If (and this is a big IF) the setting is somehow crucial to your first scene and you feel you must start there, limit it to one or two sentences and then get right into the meat of the scene. There will be time for description later.

Example: Death was not taking a holiday. New york may have been decked out in its glitter and glamour, madly festooned in December of 2059, but Santa Claus was dead. And a couple of his elves weren’t looking so good. ~from "Creation in Death" by JD Robb

Your homework, should you choose to accept it is. . .

Exercise: Write two different opening hooks. They can be just a paragraph or a page. But remember, you are to hook that reader and make them want more.

At least one of the opening hooks has to have action in the opening paragraph.

Have fun!

Friday's Creative Writing Prompt

Today's prompt is: When he said, "Let's just be friends. . ."

I like this one. Definitely not a one sentence or one paragraph write up on this.

Enjoy! And remember to capture the reader's attention.

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