Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Writing Communities

As a new writer, or maybe a longtime struggling writer, do you feel alone? As if you are the only one going through writer's block, editing struggles, rejection pain? Maybe you want to go to a writers conference but have no idea which one. Maybe you have a book that you want to pitch but don't know how to write a query or which editor/agent to pitch to.

That's where writing communities can help. If you're like me when I first started writing, you had no clue you were not alone. All you know is that you want, no need more support and motivation from other people like you. People crazy enough to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and try to tell a story that you want to share with the world.

Well, let's see if I can help you struggle less. The following are just a few organizations that may help you out. No, you do not need to join all. You don't have to join any, but at least check them out.

If these aren't for you then checkout what your local library has to offer in the way of writing groups or your local bookstores.

There is the Mystery Writers of America. Their website is MWA has a sister organization called Sisters in Crime. Their website is

Romance writers have Romance Writers of America can be found at This organization has local chapters everywhere. You may have to drive a ways to get to a monthly meeting, but there is a group somewhere in your area.

International Thriller Writers is an organization that I just recently joined. A much smaller group with only about 1000 members compared to the 3000 of MWA and 10000 of RWA, but this group is just has just as many resources. ITW can be found on the web at Oh! They have a huge conference each year and the focus is on getting readers and writers together.

Maybe you write science-fiction or fantasy and want a group focused on those genres. Try Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. SFWA's website is

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How would you answer this:

Was it her or. . .?

Tuesday's writing prompt popped into my head as a I sat down to write in my WIP. Instead, I had to go with this.

Prompt: Was it her or. . .

There are so many ways this can go and I went what I hope was a light-hearted way. Let me know what you think and share your own results here.

Here's mine:

Was it her or . . .

Was it her or the wine? Did she really care? Heck no! her mind screamed. She was going home with a man she just met.

Not just any man, the most handsome man she had laid eyes on in nearly ten years. Jane shook her head. Scratch that. The most gorgeous hunk of a man she had EVER seen in her entire life. His steel blue eyes, dark hair, and square jaw made her mouth water. The way he wrapped his strong, warm arms around her, crushed her body to his, enveloping her as if they were longtime lovers. Jane squeezed her thighs together and rubbed them against each other. As heat pooled between her legs, a quiver of excitement raced up her spine, and she shivered.

“And, oh!” Jane licked her lips, tasted him, a mixture of whiskey and . . .blueberry? She felt the invisible pressure of his mouth against hers. When he kissed her, there was nothing gentle about it. The kiss was fiery hot and needy. It made her knees weak His kiss devoured her and with every thrust of his tongue, sent shock waves rippling through entire her body.

Her palms pressed against the counter next to the sink, Jane glanced up and gazed at her reflection in the restroom’s mirror. A slow, catlike grin slid across her lips as a fire and unbelievable happiness sparked in her eyes. “Yes!” she exclaimed with a toss of her head. “He made my toes curl!”

That single kiss and the fact that her toes curled made her want to leave with the man she just met. Not just go with him, but go and make love with him until the cows come home. Or longer.

“Second thoughts?” Jane eyed the flush of heat traveling up her neck, tingeing her cheeks. “Nope, not a one.”

This was not the wine talking. This was her. This was her need to be with a man who made her feel desirable and wanton and the knowledge that he was that man. No, she had no doubts whatsoever. In making her decision, Jane twisted the lock on the door, opened it, and stepped out to see the Garrett standing next to the exit, smiling at her. Her heart did a little dance then picked up the rhythm.

A set of keys dangled from one hand. The other he held out to her, palm up in invitation. “Your chariot awaits.”

Without hesitation, Jane took his offered hand and let him lead the way.

Meet my favorite hero!

Last week I posted a blog asking authors to interview their favorite hero and post their answers. The link to that blog post is here. We want to meet your hero! Check out who has posted.

Well, in my haste to set that blog post up, it kind of slipped my mind that, oh, duh! I might want to share my favorite hero too. What can I say, yes, I am a blonde.

Anyway, please meet Jake. Sometimes a secondary character, always a lover of women, and my favorite hero.

Interview of Jake:
1. What is the name of the book where we would meet you? What genre is it?

“You first meet me in It Happens in Threes, a romantic-suspense, Denise has coined techno-romantic thriller. Of course, Denise loves me so much, she had to include me in her second novel, Killer Bunny Hill.

As a matter of fact, she was halfway through the writing of Killer Bunny Hill when she started putting my name in place of the hero’s. HA!” [He slapped his well-worn cowboy hat against a jean-clad thigh.]

"My story, where you really get to know me is Connect the Dots."

2. Who wrote the book?

“That would be Denise Robbins.”

3. What do you think of the author? You can tell us the truth.

“Denise is this short, funny blonde, spitfire of a woman that likes my southern drawl and my ass in a pair of jeans. What do you think? [Jake spun on booted heel and flashed his butt and a wicked grin.]

“On the other hand, she did take three novels to get me and mine out there for the world to see. Sheesh! Did she really need to take so long?”

4. Tell us a little about yourself. How would you describe your appearance? More than cute or drop dead gorgeous, give us enough detail to get a clear idea of how you look.

“Well, I can tell you when Shugar, oh, sorry. When Ruby, my boss’s fiancée from It Happens in Threes meets me, she refers to me as a Neanderthal.” [Jake leaned back and rubbed his hand over his chin.]

“As a matter of fact, so does Samantha in Killer Bunny Hill. I’m a rather tall guy and my size does tend to intimidate. . .at first.” [A sly grin spread across his face making Jake’s green eyes twinkle.]

“But then, I have a way with the ladies. I flash my mist green eyes at them, give a wink, and lay on my southern drawl and snap.” [Jake snapped his fingers.]

“The women become my ally and I’m theirs.” [Jake sat down in a chair, stretched out his long legs in front of him, and crossed his lean, muscular arms over the chest that fit his polo shirt.]

5. What character are you in the book? Are you the hero, the best friend, the sidekick, or someone else?

“That depends on the book, Darlin’. In the first two books I get to play keeper of the women or bodyguard, whichever term you prefer. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.” [He winked then set his hat on his knee.]

“In Connect the Dots, I am the finally the hero. [Jake drew out the word finally long and breathy.]

6. Is there a specific reason why you are in the story? Don't give us any story spoilers, but share some teasers if you want.

“Well, yeah, I have to save the ladies. You know the whole damsel in distress thing.” [At this statement, Jake chuckled making the ripples in his stomach muscles tighten and pop underneath his shirt.]

“Just kidding on the damsel in distress. Actually, I’m a trained special agent, who catches the bad guys. I’m kind of the ‘go to’ guy for my boss, Mickey.

“In It Happens in Threes and Killer Bunny Hill, I am called in to keep an eye on the little ladies, who, by the way, can take care of themselves. But I’m there to protect and end up getting involved to the end.”

[Jake leaned back and raked long fingers through chestnut-colored hair.] “In Connect the Dots, I return home from an overseas trip. Hate those. When I get home I find myself with a new neighbor, a very gorgeous, if not citified woman. That’s okay, I won’t hold it against her.”

7. What time period do you live in?

“Oh, Hon, I’m in the here and now.”

8. Where are you from?

“Well, that’s difficult to say. I’ve been everywhere, seen many things, and where I live now is who I am.”

9. Do you live in the same place now?

“Now, I own a nice, old farmhouse in the boonies of New Hampshire. It’s quiet and beautiful, and just what an active field agent needs when he returns from places that would make your skin crawl. I can sit on my farmer’s porch in the chairs that I made myself, drink a beer, and enjoy the sunset.” [A wistful look slid across Jake’s face as he described his place.]

10. Tell us about your hometown and your current home.

“I bought this huge plot of land from my old neighbor with this old rundown house on it. My friends Mickey and Ruby thought I was nuts, but I like doing the work on it by myself.” [He held his large hands out in front of him and flipped them back and forth.]

“I get the greatest sense of accomplishment when I do the work with my own hands. Every time I step on my front porch, I know I built them.”

11. Tell us how your hometown or your current home affects you, the things you do and how you feel about life?

“I live in one of those small towns where everybody knows everyone. You can’t fart without everyone else knowin’ what it smells like.” [He chuckled behind his hand.]

“Sorry, that was a little too descriptive. Basically, we’re an old-fashioned community of people, each with our own talents and skills, who will help each other out in a heartbeat. I love it there.”

12. What is your job? Do you like it?

[Jake leaned in and pressed a finger to his lips.] “Shh. I work for a secret government agency.” [He sat back grinning.]

“Do I like it? Heck, yeah! Why do a job if you don’t love it? Life is too short, Darlin’, to spend more hours in a place you hate, doing a job you despise than at home loving the woman of your dreams or your family. But make sure you cherish that time with your woman and your family every chance you get.”

13. How does your job affect your love life?

[Jake scratched the top of his head and his eyes glanced away.] “That’s a good question. At first, I did not get involved with women. Yeah, I like to flirt.” [He shrugged his wide shoulders and let them drop.]

“But getting involved with someone can be dangerous for them, even deadly. I don’t want to be the cause of a woman losing her life.”

[A gleam shimmered in his gaze.] “Then I met Charley.”

14. What special skills or abilities do you have?

“Besides the sweet talkin’, I am a dog with a bone. I know many languages, some computer skills of which I am getting better and better, how to investigate and research, solve puzzles, infiltrate known organizations, kick ass, and when necessary as it is in most occasions, be diplomatic and stealth.”

15. How do those affect your part in the story?

“Sweetheart, they are the story. I can put 2 and 2 together and when I come up with 5, I know something is wrong. I read body language better than my girlfriend.” [He slapped a hand over his mouth then removed it.]

“Don’t tell Charley I said that. She’ll kick my ass.”

16. Are you happy with the story?

“I think the story surprised me as much as it did Denise. It was so realistic it pretty much scared the bejeezes out of me a couple of times. And when Charley –”

[Jake clamped his lips shut.] “Don’t want to give anything away, but suffice it to say the title Connect the Dots fits well.”

17. Do you have some ideas that the author should consider about the story? You can share them with us. We're all friends here.

“Yup. I think Denise should go ahead and name places. Who cares if the CIA throws a little hissy fit because she, along with a little help from me and Charley, figured out where things are at.”

18. Tell us about your past. Can you share one good experience and/or one bad experience? I know that bad experience can be tough, but it would tell us more about what you have been through.

“Pasts are for the past. Leave it there and it can never haunt you or anyone else around you.”

19. Who is the most important person in your life? Tell us about him/her.

“Most important person in my life is my woman, Charley. She is this citified, pansy-ass, who underneath all those fine clothes is the toughest, smartest, and most feminine woman I have ever met. I’m the luckiest guy there is.”

20. Is that person in the story we are talking about?

“Charley is my new neighbor in Connect the Dots. She starts out as an intriguing pain in my backside, not to mention a liar, but after awhile she grows on me. Yeehaw! The woman knows how to bake cookies and take a man down.”

21. What do you see in your future?

“A lot of Charley and more traveling as a couple.”

22. Do you think your author is going to write another story about you? Or, are you part of a series?

“Well, all her stories so far have been standalone even though I do show up here and there. Do I think Denise will write another story about me?” [A slow, crooked grin tipped the corner of his lips upward.]

“She darn well better, but I know she has to finish that ‘pink undie’ story first and then do that sequel to It Happens in Threes for Mickey and Ruby. Too many people been asking about that. Of course, that means I will probably show up, even if it is to help my good buddy and boss’s fiancée out.”

[WINK WINK] “Watch out, Mickey. Just kidding. Mickey’s kinda the jealous type.”

23. Do you like being a character in a book? Why?

“Absolutely. It’s fun, creative, and I can wreak havoc on Denise’s plans whenever I want just by whispering in her ear.” [Jake chuckled.]

“The woman is like putty in my hands.” [He cupped his hands together then wrapped them over each other.]

24. If someone ever decides to make a movie based on your story, who should play you in the movie and why?

“I’m kind of one of a kind, don’t ya think? But, if I had to choose someone to play me. . . Hmm.” [He sat back, crossed his legs, causing his thigh to bunch up and tighten beneath faded jeans. A few seconds later, he threw his arms open wide and dropped them to his side.]

“I got nothing, nobody. How about you tell me?”

Well, I hope you enjoyed meeting Jake as much as I have enjoyed making him come to life.

If you haven't shared your favorite hero, feel free to do so now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sleuths needed to solve murder mystery on Friday the 13th

What: Murder Mystery with published authors
When: Friday the 13th of course! (November)
Where: Zorvino Vineyards, 226 Main St., Sandown, NH

Sleuths needed to solve murder mystery on Friday the 13th
Enjoy wine and meet published authors while trying to solve a mystery at Zorvino Vineyards

Get out your spy glasses and put on your thinking caps. A group of talented murder, mystery and romance authors are putting their creative heads together to come up with an original murder mystery at Zorvino Vineyards on Friday the 13th of November – and they’re asking you to solve it.

Salem author Denise Robbins is heading up the group of authors that hope to thrill, scare and confound those who try to solve the fictitious whodunnit. A software engineer by day, Robbins writes romantic thrillers that have been recognized as containing “nail-biting suspense.”

“Everyone knows a good book and a glass of wine go great together, but we are planning an event that will really let the participants get a taste of the crime,” Robbins said. “All of the authors are really excited about getting the opportunity to mystify and thrill those who attend.”

The entire Zorvino Vineyards will be open for sleuths to wander about to search for clues. The authors will also be present to sign their books and the winery will be open for tasting. For those who need nourishment while solving crimes, the upstairs facility will be open with a special menu of food. There will also be local vendors and a painter who will be personalizing and decorating wine glasses and other items.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the case will be solved at 10 p.m. when the authors share the details. The public is invited to arrive at any time, but need to leave enough time to find clues and solve the mystery. The person who comes closest to figuring out” whodunit” will receive a signed book from each author and wine from Zorvino’s.

**Participating authors: Denise Robbins, CJ West, David Daniel, Kristin Callender, Carla Snow

Cost is $10 and reservations are required by calling 603-887-8463.

Lori Brighton offers a chance to win a copy of It Happens in Threes and Killer Bunny Hill

Historical Romance author Lori Brighton interviewed me on her blog. Go there and post a comment for a chance to win a copy of It Happens in Threes or Killer Bunny Hill. Lori Brighton interviews Denise Robbins.

After you've left your message, checkout Lori's website at There, you will find that Lori has a degree in Anthropology and worked as a museum curator. Deciding the people in her imagination were slightly more exciting than the dead things in a museum basement, she set out to become an author.

Her first book, a historical romance titled Wild Heart, will be published by Kensington in November of 2009. Read an excerpt and add her title to your list of books to read.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading "President Lincoln's Secret" by Steven Wilson

This week in our Book-A-Week Challenge we are reading "President Lincoln's Secret" by Steven Wilson

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pub. Date: July 2009
ISBN-13: 9780758232144

Purchase from: Amazon or B&N

Blurb: It is 1863, the year of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, when a nation savagely tears at its soul. At the center of the carnage stands the calm, enigmatic figure of President Abraham Lincoln. In this extraordinary thriller, Lincoln sends his most trusted agent to turn the course of the War...

Twelve miles from Wilmington, Delaware, a heavily guarded ammunition dump has exploded—and lit up the night sky for miles around. On a newly christened ironclad in the Potomac, Lincoln meets with Colonel Fitz Dunaway and his beautiful, brilliant wife Asia. Fitz has already been wounded in service to the President. Now, the Union is imperiled as never before . . . and the President needs Fitz's skills more than ever. In the clandestine world where more than espionage is kept secret, a killer makes his first move on Lincoln's man. It is then that Fitz and Asia confront a cabal of traitors and spies, sufferers and sinners who are all guarding the most terrifying threat of all...

Find out more about Steven Wilson by visiting his website at

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with Elizabeth Eagan-Cox, author of "A Ghost from the Shadows"

We're interviewing Elizabeth Eagan-Cox, author of this week's Book-A-Week Challenge "A Ghost from the Shadows"

Elizabeth will drop in today to answer any questions you have on her book(s) and how she writes her stories so leave her a comment.

More information can be found about Elizabeth Eagan-Cox on her website at


Thank you for joining us, Elizabeth, and for sharing your story.

What motivated you to write this novel series?

I have written non-fiction my entire life. I have been a columnist and I have two published books on California history, written in a style called narrative non-fiction, or popular history. I was tired of non-fiction and the market for this genre was getting soft. Very soft. But I yearned to incorporate my passion for California’s more intriguing aspects of history into a plot. So, I took what I know best, California history, and combined it with fiction to create a paranormal mystery series. The plot for each of my novels takes place in present-day time, but historical facts help to create the cold-case files of unsolved mysteries… to which there is some quirky present-day tie-in.

California history is fascinating and it spans nearly five hundred years since the first colonial expedition by European powers. Every aspect of culture is represented in its history, at one time or another… for me this is an incredible tapestry to draw inspiration from.

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

Agatha Christie, she is the iconic queen of cozy mystery novels. I love the way her writing presents the simple, yet profound down-to-earth study of human nature. Big city or small village, human nature remains the same, and so do the many crimes of humanity.

What are your current projects?

I am tying up loose ends for book 3 in my Shannon Delaney Paranormal Mystery series. Book 3 is called A Ghost Meets an Angel. I will hand it in to my editor before I leave to go on my annual Halloween vacation this year. And speaking of Halloween, I was asked to guest write for the Museum of the Macabre’s Haunted History blog. I wrote a two-part article on Celtic Halloween Traditions and it will be on the Museum of the Macabre’s Web site on Octber 30 & 31. Oh, and I have quite a few media appearances scheduled between now and the end of November. All this information, with links is at:

What makes your stories unique?

I combine a true cozy mystery genre with the elements of the paranormal. Simply stated, I have a few ghosts as characters and they are treated as characters, not as novelties. Plus, the lead character, a young woman named Shannon Delaney has her own emerging paranormal energy, and she is not too sure about it. Shannon’s intuitive talent to speak to the past is a surprise to her, she must learn to live with it and utilize it to solve cold case mystery files. I rely heavily on my own ancestry in this regard, using cultural beliefs of my Celtic traditions.

I should clarify what a true cozy is…just so readers understand. In the cozy genre there is never graphic or explicit horror, violence, sex and language. The crime, which is the mystery, has already taken place, the readers discover it at the same time the cast of characters stumble upon it. The settings are small, usually a village, a campus or a particular neighborhood. The plot focus is on character and mystery development and solving the mystery with intelligence gained through sleuthing… good detective work. Jokingly, but true, I have told people you can set any one of my books down and never be afraid of whom might pick it up!

Another aspect that is different, I do weave a great deal of popular history into the plot and the publisher has agreed to allow me a chapter or two worth of page space to have Author’s Notes at the back. I did this because I hate it when I am reading a book, am curious about something mentioned in it and then I set the book aside to get Online to research what I wasn’t sure about! I don’t want to leave my readers scratching their heads about a clue, so I have notes in the back that explain lesser-known aspects of history and clues.

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

I dream them. All of my plots are based on my knowledge and experience with California and American history. Sometimes the little seed of a story is formed from some out of the ordinary influences.

For instance, in Book 2: A Ghost From the Shadows… well I had in my mind a song from long ago that I heard on the radio and, wow! I always loved that song! The song is “Conquistador” by Procol Harem… so go get Online and listen to the song… you’ll get an idea of what inspired book 2. Having grown up in southern California, the song spoke to me.

Then, Book 1: A Ghost of a Chance, was inspired by the mansion that is on the book’s front cover. It is a real home, called The Morey Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn in Redlands, California and I have been in it many times over the years. Officially dubbed as “America’s Favorite Victorian” I always had it in mind as the perfect setting for a ghost story. Though, in truth, I do not believe that The Morey Mansion is haunted. Another mansion, one that is in San Diego was an inspiration for the story as well. That one, I do believe is haunted. It is the Villa Montezuma. And Book 1 got its start from a short story I wrote and sold to a British magazine. I decided to take the plunge and to write a novel, I knew that the short story was the stepping stone to the novel. The story was called “Thin Air” and the only recognizable part of it is in the first two chapters of book 1.

And for Book 3: A Ghost Meets an Angel, I was inspired by two older songs: “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”, sung by Joan Baez, written by Bob Dylan and “Ride Like the Wind” by Christopher Cross.

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

On a yearly calendar I actively write March through September. I take a vacation in October and that has been my goal, to have a book ready to turn in by the time I go on vacation. I come back from vacation and spend the next several months (until March) doing background research for the next novel.

On a daily basis, when I am actively writing, that would be March through September, I take care of business communication in the early morning, often in my robe and bunny slippers and then I get dressed for the day and take a quick coffee break. After that, I go back to tip-tapping on the keyboard at about 10 in the morning and finish up around two or three in the afternoon. I then take another break, usually my meal of the day. In the late afternoon, I check e-mail communication and do more correspondence. I work 4-day weeks, 10 to 12 hours each day and I write two chapters a week. On my off days, I may still be working, but not on the novel. This often includes media interviews and appearances. I find having a structured schedule for the creative writing part of what I do to be comforting… amid the chaos in the world, I can shut out the noise and create my own world, at least for a few hours at a time!

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

Cozy Mystery…and as corny as this sounds… I hold myself accountable for the potential influences of what I write. I like the idea that I can talk about what I write with anyone and anywhere, including in my church. I’m not criticizing the writers of other genres… but no way could I write in a genre that I could not sign my real name to and feel comfortable talking about it in all social arenas.

What are you reading now?

I’m in the process of preliminary research for the yet untitled book 4 in my series. I’m digging into the Online data base called the Newspaper Archive, it is a subscription data bank and is a primary source for study. Newspapers going back into the 1700s up to present day are in this database, from all over the world.

What is your favorite way to take a break from writing?

For short breaks on a daily basis, I go for walks in the rural countryside where I live. My dog, Corley is in charge of these breaks, she lets me know when we have been working too hard!

For actual days off, I do a great deal of genealogical study. I used to teach genealogy classes. As a member of one of the oldest lineage societies in the U.S…. Daughters of the American Revolution…(yes, that D.A.R.) I have learned the most stringent guidelines for finding evidential proof of ancestry. I am the first in my family to connect each and every generation in direct lineage, back to a Revolutionary War Patriot of the 1700s. I now have four Patriots documented. By no means is my story unique…there are many, many people out there with similar lineage waiting to be discovered.

Discovering ancestors and coming to terms with their incredible hardships gives me an overwhelming sense of pride in their accomplishments and a great deal of determination to go forward with my own dreams. This is a topic very close to my heart, you see, I have always felt that my creative talents were inherited, and in fact, in the Celtic culture this inherent and intangible talent is called Blood Memory. It is an Intuitive Intelligence passed on to us very much in the same manner that physical characteristics are inherited. By no means is the concept of Blood Memory unique to the Celtic culture…though in my experience we, in the Celtic culture, are perhaps, more open to talking about it.

Many years ago one of my siblings asked me why I am so driven, so passionate about writing. My answer: I write to quiet the whispers of our ancestors.

When I found my ancestors, I found my ghosts and I discovered that many aspects of being human transcend death, especially the love we have for those in our lives.

Why paranormal? Have you had any real-life paranormal experiences?

I first thought of my concept as supernatural, I was not familiar with the term “Paranormal.” My publisher is the one who described my books as paranormal and it was from this description that I learned what I had always thought of, as supernatural is now called paranormal.

Why paranormal? Not sure, really. I just never considered writing fiction without having a ghost or two in the story. As far as real-life paranormal experiences…yes that is what I would call what has happened in my life on a few occasions. Though, I do not usually go into much detail about them. I will say this… I believe in ghosts as ‘spirit visitations’ and as people, who in their earth-bound life are likely to be how they are in their spectral existence. In other words… (Addressing the readers) that grandparent who was so much a favorite person in your life… well they love you and guide you in their afterlife to the best that their spectral existence will allow. Perhaps a foreign concept to some people, but I do believe that our soul’s emotions are so strong that love transcends death.

In many ways, my Celtic cultural beliefs support this and for readers who may be wondering…my faith is not in objection to it. I am Anglican Catholic, known as Episcopal in the USA. I’m a member of Trintiy Parish in Redlands, California.

Why ghosts?

Why not ghosts? After what I answered above, I hope it is clear that I believe we have an afterlife and in that afterlife we have some spectral wiggle room. Having ghosts in my story and treating them as real characters, as opposed to novelties, also helps me to weave the threads of history into the plots.

Tell us your latest news?

I have numerous appearances scheduled between now and the end of November, most are in radio on the Internet, so it is easy and free to tune in to the radio programs and ask me questions. Please do so, my schedule and easy links to the radio programs are on my web site:

Book signing event offers thrills, chills, mystery & suspense

Two local Borders Books are getting into the Halloween spirit a little early when they host book signings by highly acclaimed techno-romantic thriller author Denise Robbins. The Oct 10 signing in Concord and Oct. 24 signing in Nashua will precede a post-Halloween event at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, N.H., when Robbins joins other published authors for a murder mystery experience on Friday the 13th of November.

Called a master of the techno-romantic thriller field by Night Owl Romance, Robbins is a software engineering manager who uses her knowledge of computers and technology to create tales of crime, romance, and suspense that pulls readers in and never lets them go.

Coffee Time Romance called Robbins’ latest novel Killer Bunny Hill, a “gripping suspense story,” while Café of Dreams said in its review, “Ms. Robbins blends together secrets, intrigue, suspense, and romance as easily and wonderfully as a master chef blends the ingredients for a delectable gourmet meal.”

The Midwest Book Review gave her debut novel It Happens in Threes five stars, and says the book is “packed with scorching romance, nail-biting suspense, and nonstop action,” making it a great read for both men and women.

Readers are invited to come out and meet Robbins and authors CJ West and Nora LeDuc on Oct. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Borders in Concord. On Oct. 24, Robbins and LeDuc will team up again from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Borders in Nashua.

To learn more about Robbins and her books, or the murder mystery event at Zorvino Vineyards, visit

Friday, September 25, 2009

Calling all authors! We want to meet your favorite male character.

Have you written a hero you love? Has a sidekick jumped off the page and become your hero in another story? Have you fallen for this character and wish you could meet him in real life?

We want to know about him! We want to meet him.

This is a great opportunity for you tell show us the kind of characters that you create and a little about your book.

Put on your hero's hat and come be interviewed. Let us ask your favorite male character some questions.

Are you ready? Here are the questions:

1. What is the name of the book where we would meet you? What genre is it?

2. Who wrote the book?

3. What do you think of the author? You can tell us the truth.

4. Tell us a little about yourself. How would you describe your appearance? More than cute or drop dead gorgeous, give us enough detail to get a clear idea of how you look.

5. What character are you in the book? Are you the hero, the best friend, the sidekick, or someone else?

6. Is there a specific reason why you are in the story? Don't give us any story spoilers, but share some teasers if you want.

7. What time period do you live in?

8. Where are you from?

9. Do you live in the same place now?

10. Tell us about your hometown and your current home.

11. Tell us how your hometown or your current home affects you, the things you do and how you feel about life?

12. What is your job? Do you like it?

13. How does your job affect your love life?

14. What special skills or abilities do you have?

15. How do those affect your part in the story?

16. Are you happy with the story?

17. Do you have some ideas that the author should consider about the story? You can share them with us. We're all friends here.

18. Tell us about your past. Can you share one good experience and/or one bad experience? I know that bad experience can be tough, but it would tell us more about what you have been through.

19. Who is the most important person in your life? Tell us about him/her.

20. Is that person in the story we are talking about?

21. What do you see in your future?

22. Do you think your author is going to write another story about you? Or, are you part of a series?

23. Do you like being a character in a book? Why?

24. If someone ever decides to make a movie based on your story, who should play you in the movie and why?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Get Those Skeletons Out of Your Closet: Find Your Own Ghosts!

See how this week's Book-A-Week Challenge author, Elizabeth Eagan-Cox, author of the Shannon Delaney paranormal mystery series, brings to life ghosts from the past.

Enjoy Elizabeth's article!

Get Those Skeletons Out of Your Closet: Find Your Own Ghosts!
By Elizabeth Eagan-Cox, author of the Shannon Delaney paranormal mystery Series.

As an author of a paranormal mystery novel series I use genealogical research techniques to bring to life some of my characters… especially the ghost characters, whom I treat as real characters, not mere novelties.

Discovering my own ancestry has been a journey of self-discovery. I believe that when you unravel the facts regarding the births, marriages and deaths of your ancestors, you find intrinsic information about yourself.

I was the first in my family to connect the dots all the way back to Revolutionary War Patriots of America in the 1700s. Because of being able to authenticate my lineage with evidential proof provided in vital records and military files, I joined one of the oldest lineage societies in America: the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, known in American culture as The D.A.R.

I know from having taught genealogy and helping others that my journey into documenting family ancestry of over 300 years ago is not unique! Anyone curious enough to want to know more about where they came from can do what I did. As your time and schedule allow, I urge you to find your own ghosts!

Here’s a few easy and free ways to get started taking the first steps back in time to meet your ancestors:

1. Get the facts down on paper. Using some kind of form is the easiest way to
organize and chart the lineage you are hunting for. This web site provides free forms that you can download and print up: From the menu on the left, click “Free Stuff.”

2. Finding the dearly departed. Start with death records and trace an ancestor’s
life from death to birth. If your ancestors are buried near you, go to the cemetery, locate their grave and then go to the cemetery office. Ask for burial records. A cemetery/burial record will provide additional information, you may want to order an official death certificate and a burial record will indicate in which county the death is recorded. Most often, death records are kept at county clerk level. If you don’t know the place of burial, try this web site: Find a Grave allows you to search by surname. Remember to try different spellings of the surname.

3. Once you have death information you are ready to tackle the every-day life aspect of your ancestor. You’ll want to locate them on government census records. In the USA, official census records have been recorded every ten years since 1790. There are numerous Online paid subscription services with census data banks. However, before you pay for those services, I advise searching for free through Heritage Quest. The Encyclopedia of Genealogy web site: has an index, Choose “H” on the index and follow it to the listing for Heritage Quest. Find your state and you will find public libraries that subscribe to Heritage Quest, contact a library near you and sign up to use Heritage Quest from your home computer.

Once you locate your ancestors on census records you’ll discover a wealth of information about them: Their primary occupation, residential address, annual income, names of family members. And as you travel back into the census you’ll see how your relatives moved from one place to another, each move taking you further back in time and to a different location.

If you run into a dead-end, then back up and:

1. Look at siblings. Women can be difficult to track, but often their brothers
3. Remember to use different spellings of the surname, think phonetically.
4. Eventually you will want to locate birth and marriage records in addition to death records. However, never overlook the potential that death records provide for unraveling clues and leads. Burial records often name the religious affiliation and that church may have additional information. Burial records also name closest kin…another clue to follow and in some situations, a death record may name a hospital. Never forget that you can get patient care records.

Death can be the beginning!

Find out more about Elizabeth Eagen-Cox at

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Running out of Words?

Do you ever have those moments when you are editing your work or someone else is and they circle the same word five times on a page or GASP! in the same paragraph?
Have you stared at word and tried to think of another word to use to describe something or some action?

If you answered “no”, I would say you are full of you know what.

Come on, we’ve all been there. For some reason you get used to using a specific word and it feels natural until you revisit the story. Then your eyes grow wide in horror and you groan every time you see the word “run” on the page.

Believe me, if you catch it you will be much happier than if an editor or agent recognizes the fact that you have a fixation for the word “looked”.

So what do you do about it? Besides editing and catching your obsession with the word “pulled”, you then have to come up with a good replacement.

There are various tools available to you to help with such things such as the dictionary or thesaurus. I am attached to because it also has an online thesaurus.

When I first started writing I bought the book “The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book” by Jean Kent and Candace Shelton. I have since been given or bought books like “Urban Dictionary” by Aaron Peckham creator of, and “American Slang Dictionary” by Richard A. Spear, Ph.D.

Anyway, there are all kinds of online site you can find like the ones I listed above based on a particular subject or language. In my fourth novel, I have a character who is Irish and I had to find out how to say a particular phrase. Voila, the Internet comes to the rescue.

Back to the point. Using the same word repeatedly is tiresome and boring. “Blech!”

In an attempt to offer a little help for the mundane and the word weary, I thought I would post some adverbs that can be used to change up your pace, “show” the reader more of what the character is doing rather than stating “he said” or “she said”.

Feel free to share some of your own adverbs and/or sites that you recommend to help alleviate the routine use of specific words.

Here are some adverbs to try out:

Instead of "walked"
or "ran"

lumbered, plodded, scurried, sidled, slinked/slunk, proceeded, wended, scuttled, shuffled, scuffed, scuffled, stumbled, shambled, waddled, wobbled, scooted, slouched, scrambled, scampered, minced, trotted, strolled, sauntered, ambled, marched, stepped, paced, roamed, roved, meandered, shadowed, pursued, trekked, continued on, drifted along, strayed, strode, stalked, stomped, strutted, swished, swaggered, stamped

Instead of "touched"
clutched, pawed, gripped, grasped, adjusted, felt, manipulated, maneuvered, twiddled, palpated, palmed, handled, thumbed, caressed, fondled, stroked, grazed, rubbed, tugged, squeezed, scratched, pinched, patted, tapped, tamped, rapped, brushed, dabbed, scraped, glanced, alighted, pressed, wrung, kneaded, shoved, gouged, grazed, prodded, ticked, trapped, jabbed, poked, pressed, probed

Alternative to "pulled"
removed, extracted, produced, tugged, extricated, lugged, drew, dragged, yanked

Substitute for "pushed"
propelled, set in motion, drove, trundled, shoved, thrust, pressed forward, squeezed through, roused, prompted, forged ahead

For "looked, saw"
glared, glanced off, regarded, made out, had in sight, glowered, squinted, shot him a look, fixed her with a stare, sighted, ogled, cast a glance, his eyes begged her, gazed, gaped, spotted, surveyed, turned an eye on, looked upon, distinguished, fixed her gaze on

In place of "turned"
wheeled around, whirled about, rotated, spun on her heels, pivoted, revolved, swiveled, circled, swirled, sheered, veered, shifted, angled off

For the dreaded "said"
uttered, mumbled, parroted, echoed, said half-aloud, snarled, blurted, moaned, muttered, murmured, cooed, whispered, crooned, hollered, shrilled, sassed, prompted, questioned, demanded, queried, replied, suggested, responded, sang out, scoffed, screamed, yelled, yelped, shouted, inquired, chirped, squealed, squeaked, asked herself, asked, assured, commanded, cried out, exclaimed, advised, announced, growled, stuttered, stammered, instructed, told, jeered, scolded, mocked, objected, questioned, roared, speculated, snapped, spat, stated, whined, jabbered, prattled, cackled, gabbled, sputtered, blathered, rambled on, ranted, gushed, spouted, let slip, pointed out, chatted, revealed, boasted, crowed

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great birthday present. . .

Yesterday, as some of you know, was my birthday. As a terrific surprise and present, I received a wonderful review of Killer Bunny Hill from Night Owl Romance.

To quote Danya at NOR: "The only complaint is the wait till the next book comes out."

Now that is what I call a great last line! And a happy birthday surprise.

See the rest of Danya's review of Killer Bunny Hill at Night Owl Romance click here: Killer Bunny Hill Review

It was her birthday. . .

Tuesday's writing prompt is inspired by my birthday.

Let's see what we can come up with. Will it be funny, sad, scary? Or all of the above?

OH! And don't forget the cake!

Prompt: It was her birthday. . .

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to. . .

Happy birthday to ME!

Yes, today I am celebrating my birthday so blow up the balloons, sound the whistles and horns, toss confetti, and my favorite. . .drink champagne and eat cake.

I don't know about you all but a birthday is not a REAL birthday without cake. The cake cannot be just any cake. It has to be a Chambord Torte. Chambord and raspberry mousse layered in between dark chocolate cake. Mmm. My fave!

No, I do not require candles on the cake. Just lots of shaved chocolate pieces!

The champagne is Veuve Cliquot. OMG! This is just the best! Ask my friends.

I will be celebrating this event all week long! Help me celebrate the day I was born and forever more became known as "Sweet Cheeks" in my father's eyes.

What are you going to do to help me celebrate? Come on, put your thinking caps on, spin that propeller on that beanie, or just think like me (scary thought).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading "A Ghost from the Shadows" by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox

This week in our Book-A-Week Challenge we are reading "A Ghost from the Shadows" by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox

Elizabeth will be here on Sunday, September 27, 2009 for an interview and to respond to your questions or comments. Mark the date, read the book, and return here Sunday to ask Elizabeth questions and give her feedback.
More information can be found about Elizabeth Eagan-Cox on her website at

Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Write Words, Inc. (June 4, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1594317224
ISBN-13: 978-1594317224

Purchase from: Amazon

Blurb: Talented publicity writer Shannon Delaney rebounds from a failed romance and takes refuge in an assignment at 1920's-era Magic Manor Dinner Theater on California's Catalina Island, Avalon resort. Assured of quiet surroundings as the only lodger at the renovation-in-process Magic Manor, Shannon soon discovers she is not alone! Portentous events, haunting clues and spectral visitations draw Shannon into separate, yet interwoven, mysteries: The hunt for nineteenth-century pirate treasure, and a decade-old tragic death that reeks of dark intentions. Avalon, fabled as Hollywood's getaway, is ideal as A Ghost From the Shadows location and for Shannon's continuing adventures as she builds her career and strengthens her intuitive powers to speak to the past. Returning characters include: Alex Blackthorne, Aunt Dora, Francisco Zavala, Zach Zavala and Shannon's personal spirit guide: Eric Blackthorne, master magician from the 1800s.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Article idea. . .looking for input

Sitting in my home office with my two cats next to my laptop on Saturday morning before the sun rises, the aroma of my homemade soup wafting up from the crockpot in the kitchen, I am thinking it has been a while since I wrote an article.

Not that I don't have enough on my plate right now, but I feel the urge to craft something that will help other writers. Yes, the topics of my articles are always in the writing realm.

My problem this morning is a topic for an article. Maybe it's the lack of food, or that it is still dark outside, or maybe my brain has gone to complete mush after fighting computer/network issues for three days, but not a single idea has popped into my head.

I would be very grateful if others would leave a comment as to what they would like to see. What have you not read that you REALLY want/need to see?

Let me know and I will see what I can craft.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A rainbow of colors - writing challenge

As I dressed for work this morning in a top labeled with the color "aubergine" on the tag, I wondered, "Why aubergine? What is aubergine?"

Then, because it seemed the logical thing to do, I looked at similar colors in my drawers. (Yeah, okay, so this makes me a little odd, but my mind was working overtime.)

What exactly is aubergine, versus maroon, burgundy, eggplant (besides a vegetable), wine?

What is the difference between these colors? Are they not a version of purple?

Do manufacturers like Crayola, J Jill, and Victoria's Secret make up these colors so you buy the same item only in supposed different colors the next year? You know, "What's old is new again."

Here is your writing challenge. Besides sharing your opinion related to my questions above, describe for me one or more of those listed colors.

Using words, draw an image in the reader's mind what one or more of those colors makes you see, feel, taste, smell.

This should be very interesting and I look forward to seeing your responses.

Something was wrong. . .

This one took me a while to write, but I finally did write a response to the writing prompt: Something was wrong. . .

What do ya think? What do you think should happen next? Let me know by leaving a comment

Something was wrong. . .

Something was wrong. Something was definitely wrong when she slid her key in the knob and the door opened inward with a metallic squeak. Jane released the keys and jerked her hand back. The door was unlocked. Had she left the door unsecured? Jane’s heart beat a fast rap against her ribs.

Biting down on her lower lip, Jane removed the key from the lock and pressing two fingers on the wood, inched the door open wider. When the door was open far enough for her to see no one and for her to enter, she dropped her hand to her side.

Should she go inside? Fear and logic told Jane she should go back to her car, locate her cell phone, and call the police. What if she had left the door ajar? She cringed, thinking how embarrassed she would be if the police showed up and found nothing. They would find no robber, no vandalism, nothing, but her blonde flakiness. Jane shook her head. No way would she take that risk.

Jane steeled herself against the unknown, and grasping her keys in a tight fist, she crossed the threshold into the inky abyss of her storage room. Standing in the open doorway, Jane blinked several times and waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. She wished whoever built the building had put the light switch near the door instead of at the other end of the unlit hall, as far away from the door as possible. The muffled sound of her own blood rushing through her veins rang in her ears, making her a little woozy. Holding steady, she took a deep breath in then exhaled. Two more times and the foghorn in her ears cleared.

She listened, and hearing nothing, stepped further into the room. Was her imagination on overdrive or could there have been an intruder? Oh my gosh! Jane froze, her feet skidding to a halt on the marble tiled floor. What if a burglar were still here? The thought had a lump of fear knotting in her throat, threatening to cut off her flow of oxygen. Her heart hammered as she plastered herself tight against one wall, the stucco scratching her palm and digging into her backside as she attempted to make herself as small as possible.

Move or don’t move? Could she play statue as she had when she was a kid? Maybe she could close her eyes and will herself invisible. No. Her breathing was so rapid, her chest heaved in and out as a bellow would when fanning a fire. Jane swallowed the lump in her throat and commanded her heart rate to slow. Breathe, she mentally chanted.

Deciding she had let her mind play tricks on her and that she was acting ridiculous, Jane pushed away from the wall. On less shaky knees, and with more bravado than she felt, she jerked her heavy pocket book up on her shoulder ad stalked toward the tiny, red glow of the light switch.

“Only ten feet,” she muttered.

When she reached the end of the hall, Jane blew out a heavy sigh of relief. A small bubble of hysteria escaped her lips as she reached for the radiant lever on the switch.

A hand snaked out and grasped her by the throat. His fingers clutched as he shoved Jane against the wall. Her head hit the stucco with enough force a picture crashed to the floor. She tried to scream but only dry air with no sound came out.

Her vision blurred and fuzzy stars danced in her eyes. The fingers gripping her windpipe squeezed and strangled. Jane scratched at the vice-like talons. Air. She needed air. Please, please. She did not want to die like this, not knowing why or who.

Her nails dug in and she raked them across the hand. The man swore and she felt the foul odor of his breath hit her full in the face, but the hand that choked her loosened and Jane gasped for air. “Wh –” She struggled for breath. “Who – ” Who are you? she wanted to scream, but the hand tightened on her trachea.

No! Jane screeched inside her head. No! She kicked, twisted.

“No you don’t, you little whore,” the intruder whispered in her ear pressing his body hard against hers then running his tongue along her ear. His other hand grabbed her breast, pinched her nipple, and gave it a sharp tug.

Oh, no! He was going to rape her!

Did I leave you hanging?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pressing for a Cure

A co-worker of mine will be making cider the old-fashion way using a cider press at Hollis Old Home Day this Saturday, September 19, 2009 starting at 10 AM. It is great fun for the kids to be able to throw the apples down the chute and then see them ground up, pressed, and out comes fresh cider.

Debbie does this event to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. She does not charge for the cider sampling but does have a pity jar for anyone wishing to make a donation to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

She will be working at the cider press all day.

Facts about the event:

Entry is free
The event starts at 10 AM but things really do not get going until after the parade.


Pet Parade
Field Day Events
Chicken Barbecue
Pies Wanted for Apple Pie Contest
Balloon Rides
Heritage Craft Demonstrations
Cow Pattie Bingo **Who does not like a good game of cow pattie bingo??**
Amusement Rides

There is apple picking and a corn maze
The corn maze is $5.00 per person and it is not part of the Hollis Old Home Day Event
Other vendors will be there


Hollis Old Home Day
Nicoles Field
Depot Rd
Hollis , NH 03049


The directions are from Rt 3 in NH
Exit 6 Rt 130 West toward Brookline.
Continue on Rt 130 for about 7 miles
Brookdale Farm is on the left side
Stay to the left where Rt 130 bears to the right.
Continue on the road staying to the left.
You will be on Depot Road.
The Old Home Day is on the left.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday's Creative Writing Prompt Inspired by Ice Cream

Last night while outside pulling weeds in my garden, my neighbors came home. We stood in the street for a few minutes talking when the sound of an ice cream truck caught our ears. Yippee! Ice cream!

This is how fun my neighbors are.

Kenny asked if we wanted ice cream. Are you kidding? Donna and I both bob our heads and in unison say, "Yes!"

Kenny reaches into his pocket and pulls out some money and hands it to Donna. "I'll pay, but you guys have to wait for it." (He wanted to watch a game on TV.)

Were we supposed to say no? HA! Donna snatched the money from Kenny, stuffed it in her pocket and the two of us started back toward my house. We sat on my front steps waiting for the ice cream truck to come down the road. Mind you, I had not even had dinner yet, but hey, I would forego real food for ice cream.

We sat there and sat there and sat there. While the sun waned in the evening sky and mosquitoes nipped at our ankles we sat there waiting for the ding ding of the ice cream truck salivating over the idea of an ice cream drumstick or bomb pop.

SIGH. The ice cream truck never showed. Bummer!

Tuesday's writing prompt: The sound of the ice cream truck. . .

Have fun with this one and I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Social Media is Word of Mouth on Networking Steroids

Social Media is Word of Mouth on Networking Steroids

This past Saturday was the first meeting of the season for the New Hampshire Romance Writers of America NHRWA. Laurie Storey-Manseau was our guest speaker. Laurie is a marketing maven, agency owner of, and a working woman. You go Laurie!

The topic of Laurie’s presentation and discussion to NHRWA was Social Media. Hallelujah, someone to pull or is it push us into the next generation of marketing!
In her presentation, Laurie covered blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and how to use these social media tools and technologies in marketing.

Here is where I receive vindication for my nagging of other NHRWA members for almost a year about getting into social media and marketing. :-) “Thanks, Laurie!”

One of the key points to Laurie’s presentation to a room full of writers that would be applicable to everyone is this: “Do not wait until you are published to start using social media.”

You see, I was behind the 8-ball when it came to marketing and social media. I waited until a publisher gave me a contract for my first book to start a blog. BAD! I did not use Facebook until a friend of mine twisted my arm and nagged me into it. I’m not even sure how or why I began using Twitter, although now, it is my lifeline as my blog and Twitter are the only things I can access while at my day job.

While the end goal of marketing as a writer may appear to be selling your book that will not occur unless people know you exist. Social media and marketing are not just about inundating people with information on your book, but is viral marketing with the real end goal of people, a lot more people knowing who you are, what your brand is, and why they should want to know more about you, and pass it on.

High-level social media/viral marketing example: You find someone who has a great blog on a particular topic of interest to you, you post a comment on the blog, and you pass the word on so others visit the blog post. Someone else who visits that same blog sees your comment, clicks your profile link, visits your blog, leaves a comment, and passes your site on.

Real-world example that happened to me: One day I started a blog post on Book-A-Week Challenge, where I encourage people to read a new book each week. I picked a book, posted information about it, read it, and then posted an interview with the author on the blog at the end of the week. Both the author of the book and me, the author of the blog, use social media to spread the word and tell everyone about the Book-A-Week Challenge, the authors’ book, and the interview. Guess what happens?

People I know read the book
People I know visit the author’s website/blog
People I know leave a comment on the posted interview
People the authors knows leave a comment on the posted interview
All those people now check each other’s profiles and visit their blogs or sites and pass the word on
If you’re a featured romance author in the Book-A-Week Challenge, chances are a reported from (Stephanie Giancola), contacts me or you so she can interview the romance author for her column (because Stephanie knows me and I now know this author)
Terry Kate from sees the blog, contacts me, says she is going to be in New England, and wants to interview me as well as other authors that I may know
I introduce Terry to other authors and after her video interview sessions with us, we go out to dinner afterwards where I introduce her to future authors, Stephanie Giancola who does an on-the-spot interview with Terry for her online Examiner column.
Debbie from meets Terry that night with us and finds out that Terry knows someone on the West coast that Debbie could possibly hookup with to promote and move forward her business

See how all this works?

Remember the old adage that most business occurs through word of mouth? Well, social media is word of mouth on networking steroids. The amount of people you can reach is innumerable.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading "Losers Live Longer" by Russell Atwood

This week in our Book-A-Week Challenge we are reading "Losers Live Longer" by Russell Atwood

Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Company, Incorporated
Pub. Date: August 2009
ISBN-13: 9780843961218

Purchase from Amazon or B&N

Blurb: The death of legendary private eye George Rowell looked like an accident—but searching for the truth behind it will put down-and-out East Village detective Payton Sherwood on the corpse-littered trail of a runaway investment scam artist, a drug-addicted reality TV star—and the bewitching beauty whose appearance set it all in motion...

About the author: Russell Atwood is a former managing editor of ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE. He's written for BIOGRAPHY and A&E MONTHLY magazines. He has been an NYC resident since 1991. His first Payton Sherwood mystery story appeared in EQMM. His first novel, EAST OF A, was published by Ballantine Books. His new Payton Sherwood mystery novel, LOSERS LIVE LONGER,is published by Hard Case Crime Books (09/09).

Find out more about the author at his website at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Writing is not for sissies

Rejections are inevitable. Critique groups will never think your writing is perfect.

You can take a page to a critique session, get feedback, modify the page, and then take it back to the next critique only to be told that there are still several things “wrong”.

That sounds extremely harsh, but it is not meant to be. The fact of the matter is, when you get a group of people to read your work everyone will have a difference of opinion. Every editor or agent will have a difference of opinion.

For those of you who are published authors, you can attest to the title of this blog post. Writing and the processing of getting published, whether your first or fifth novel can be a daunting task. The publishing industry is not for sissies!

Aspiring authors may have or may not have had the pleasure of receiving your first rejection yet. Just remember this: A rejection is a right of passage. It means you have finished a novel and taken that step of putting your heart out there and submitted your work for someone to read. It also means that an editor or agent has taken the time to read your work. That is a huge feat. (not huge feet)

In recent weeks, a couple of fellow writers have received rejection letters either from an agent or from an editor. Does it really matter as to which? No. What matters is that these writers put themselves out there and were told, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Is this a bad thing?

Sounds like a ridiculous question, especially if you are asking the author of the denied novel. BUT, it is not.

Both of the writers I mentioned actually received responses to their work that gave specific reasons as to the rejection.

Hallelujah! That is a tremendous help. These authors should and I know one did already take the offered critique, ponder it, and decide to modify, or move on elsewhere.

Unfortunately, not every agent or editor will take the time to offer advice or give you their opinion. I, myself, have received very nice one-liners that said, “This story is not right for me.” Or “I am not taking on new clients at this time.” Or any number of various reasons for rejection. Heck, there are those that you don’t hear from for months even after the story has already been accepted for publication by someone else. The worst is when your submission ends up in a black hole and you never even know if your work was received.

Now that you have received a rejection or several, a decision has to be made.

Do you give up, throw in the towel, turn tail and run away? Or do you straighten that spine, get a stiff upper lift, maybe buy a suit of armor to cover your chest and protect your heart?

This is when you decide whether you want to get published bad enough. This is when you decide whether you are a sissy or not. The publishing business is not for the weak at heart and the spineless. Pardon the expression, but this juncture is when you grow a set of balls or let them shrivel up and away.

Me, people will tell you that I have no patience. SHRUG! So, and your point would be?

BUT, I have the persistence of a pitbull who wants those pants attached to the man’s ass. (Okay, maybe not the best image, but you get the picture.) In the publishing industry, it takes persistence to get what you, the writer, want. Nothing will ever be handed to you on a silver platter. It never is in anything that is of huge importance to you. If you do not have to work hard for what you want in life or writing then it is not worth it in the end.

So what you receive a rejection. Have a good cry, eat a pint or gallon of ice cream, even feel free to give your pillow several hard punches. Got that out of your system?

Now, do you want to get published? How badly? How important is it to you to see your name on the cover of a book?

Know this. From here on, it only gets harder. Writing a story is hard work, creating it so it meets guidelines that you are not completely aware of is daunting, but tossing your story out there and getting your heart stomped on is the toughest thing you will ever have to go through in this business.

Is it worth it? This is the question that you and only you can answer.

If you answer yes then take the critiques offered by the editors or agents, the various critiques groups you may write with, and decide what is valid to your story. If you listen to the opinions of others, will it help you in achieving that “author” goal?

Take a step back and look at the advice the editor or agent, or critter offered. Now that you have gotten past the “rejection” word, gotten over your mad, does the suggestion make sense? Will cutting 8000 words make it a better and faster paced story? Will deleting most taglines or almost all “ly” adverbs make your story more readable?

Did you submit your manuscript to the right editor or agent? Publishing is not a one-size fits all kind of thing. If that were the case then we would not need so many agencies and writers. Do not send your children’s story to a non-fiction agent. Do not send your contemporary romance to a historical editor. Do not send your very dark thriller to a publisher who produces romantic comedies.

What you write may come from your heart, but the editor or agent is not hooked into that process because your “feelings” are not what they sell. It is the work, the words, the story, that makes a difference.

A rejection is not personal. It is professional. Suck it up! Do the right thing, go back to your story, and fix it.

We want to see your name in the “author” column! And if you need help along the way, you will find that most writers/authors are always willing to offer a tip, a pat on the back, or a box of tissues. Just ask.

Good luck!! Other writers, feel free to share your rejection and success stroies to help boost those who are on the verge of giving up.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All he wanted. . . response

Last week I posted the response to all she wanted. Do you remember that?

What did she want? She wanted to fall in love.

Then I turned around and posted the prompt: All he wanted. . .
What did he want?

That's an excellent question and this is how I decided. At work one day, now mind you, I work with mostly men, so this was interesting. I posed the question to my male co-workers.

I said, "Without thinking I want you to finish this sentence." I gave them the prompt.

Not all of them would do it without thinking. You have to understand that I work with software engineers so they automatically overthink many things. When I received quick and straightforward answers it was unanimous.

All he wanted. . .was sex. HA!

I took that theme and wrote this as my response to the writing prompt. What do ya think?

All he wanted. . .

All he wanted was sex. Should he feel sorry for that? Why? He did not need or want a lot of useless talking which usually turned out to be utter bullshit anyway, so why bother. Jack jerked open the door and walked into the bar with only one thing on his mind – getting laid. The smell of alcohol smacked him in the face as he let the wooden door slam shut behind him and sauntered into the dimly lit joint.

Jack was in search of a woman who wanted to get vertical with him, no strings attached. Just a one nightstand and in return he promised to rock her world or her bed for several hours.

The issue for him, Jack thought as he sidled up to the bar, would be in identifying the right female partner.

“What’ll you have?”

“Guinness,” Jack told the beefy bartender with the barbed wire tattoo on his bicep.

“Coming right up.”

While the bartender built the Guinness, Jack leaned against the bar, his elbows resting on the smooth mahogany. He eyed the patrons through the large mirror hanging behind bar. He popped a few peanuts in his mouth as he scanned the room until his gaze hooked on and stopped at a pair of legs. Long, lean legs with shapely calves led up to where a dark skirt bunched around solid, sexy thighs. Geez, he was instantly hard.

Jack shifted to relieve the pressure against the zipper of his pants and let his gaze travel up the leggy woman. Oooeee! Legs were not the woman’s only feature. The snug skirt hugged the shapely and purely feminine curves of her tight ass. His eyes continued up past a slender waist, perky breasts that were more than a mouthful, but not more than a handful – at least not too much for his hands to handle.

“One Guinness coming up.”

Jack glanced over at the bartender who slid the frosty mug down the smooth wood and caught the glass in his hand. “Thanks.”

As he lifted the mug to his lips, his gaze returned to the mirror. With the glass a breath away from his lips, his hand paused when her eyes met his in the reflection of the mirror. She smiled at him in a way that made his breath catch and told him that she was fully aware of him. All sensuality and come-hither. Jack swallowed, his mouth suddenly reminding him of a desert. His gaze locked on hers, Jack finished bringing the beer to his lips and drank long and deep.

Her tongue slipped out from between full lips and slid across them in a suggestive, make no mistakes about it, I give good head motion, Jack almost choked. Instead, beer sloshed down his chin. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, his brown eyes watched her very green eyes spark and light in flirtation.

Oh, yeah, she wanted him.

Heat flushed his cheeks and his little soldier popped tall and saluted in agreement with his assessment when she began sliding her hand up and down the pool stick in a stroking motion. Jack swallowed the lump of lust and decided she could stroke his stick any day or night.

Tugging his gaze from hers, he set his mug and what was left of his beer on the bar, pulled a twenty out of his pocket and tossed it next to the glass, then spun on his heel and without a second glance at anyone else in the room, headed straight for the woman. Gliding up to her, Jack wrapped one arm around her waist, bent his head, and whispered in her ear.

“I may not be Fred Flintstone but I bet I can make your bed rock.”

Post holiday writing prompt

I don't know about you all, but after the long holiday weekend, and dealing with the horrendous traffic, I need a little writing boost.

For some reason, my mind is geared toward a bar scene, but you may not see this prompt the same way I do. Let's see!

Prompt: Standing in front of the microphone. . .

What did your mind envision? Looking forward to seeing your sentence, paragraph, page, or whatever you feel like posting.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September is my favorite month. . .find out why

September is my favorite month for a couple of reasons.

First, this is the month we go from blistering hot to breezes and cool nights when we go from summer to fall. Yards and trees go from green to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. We go from wearing peek-a-boo shorts during the day to jeans and a snuggly sweater at night. Instead of listening to the air conditioner kick on and hum, we listen to the crackle of logs on a roaring fire and the smell of marshmallows toasting over the open flame.

Can you tell I love fall?

It's funny, but summer and fall are my favorite seasons. Summer is when everything comes to life including us and we celebrate the outdoors. Fall is a celebration of color, long walks, and coziness.

Another reason I love September is that it is the month of my birth. Yes, September is my birthday! That being said, I am taking a page out of a friend of mine's book rather than celebrate my birthday for just that one day, it is my intention to celebrate my birthday all month long.

Oh! Don't even think about asking me my age! :-)

First, the month is nine days down and I have yet to celebrate. Well, that may not be totally true. I did spend Sunday planting a bunch of flowers and I ordered a boat load of bulbs that I will get to plant when they arrive.

Other than that, nope, I haven't even had a bottle of champagne yet. That's because the actual day has not arrived.

So how do I celebrate all month and where do you come in?

I am so very glad you asked. :-)

1. I still need a digital picture of a street sign with the name Charley on it. For those of you who don't know, my friend Gina Leuci takes pictures of street signs as a hobby and because they make terrific and unique gifts when framed.

In my case, the names on the street signs are names of my characters in my novels. Cool idea, huh? Anyway, you can help me celebrate my birthday by sending me a picture of the name Charley on it. I would be grateful in the form of a book.

I will gladly exchange a copy of either of my books for a picture of a green "Charley" street sign.

2. If you live in New England and are reading my book for your book club, email me and invite me to your meeting. Send me a picture of your club reading one of my novels.

3. If you don't live in New England and are reading my book for your book club, email me and invite me to be on a phone call with your group to discuss the book.

4. Signup for the Wine Mystery Event I am planning with Zorvino Vineyards on November 13, 2009 by clicking here.

5. Attend a group book event at the Borders store in Concord, NH on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 2 PM. Join Nora LeDuc, CJ West, and me for some suspense and mystery.

6. Need a speaker for an upcoming event, why not ask a local author? Email me.

7. Are you a published author? Would you like to have your book featured in my Book-A-Week Challenge and an interview posted on my blog? Email me.

Last but not least. . .

Beyond all these nice and lovely things that would make my birthday celebration all the better, what I need or would like from you all are some other suggestions how you think I could celebrate?

What would you do for 30 days to celebrate your special month?

Post your ideas or comments back here. I look forward to reading your ideas. In the meantime, I have to go finish responding to last week's writing prompt and then read!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading "Outcast" by Joan Johnston

Book-A-Week Challenger is reading "Outcast" by Joan Johnston

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira (June 30, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0778325741
ISBN-13: 978-0778325741
Purchase from Amazon
Purchase from B&N

I love books with military types, Washington intrigue, and a little romance. I am very much looking forward to reading this book.

Blurb: Society bachelor and former army sniper Ben Benedict moves between two worlds—from high-society Washington to the mean city streets, from tuxedos to Glocks. His powerful Virginia family wants him out of harm's way, but Ben stays on the job, determined to make amends for a past that haunts him.

Dr. Anna Schuster is fighting demons of her own when she crosses paths with Agent Benedict. The two become adversaries—and lovers—as they search for an Al Qaeda operative bent on revenge.

Ben must fight against time—and his own darkness—to rescue millions of innocents and the woman he loves from a virulent bioweapon in the hands of a dangerous enemy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with Kristin Callender

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with Kristin Callender author of "The Truth Lies in the Dark"

If you didn't have a chance to read it you can pick up a copy of Kristin's book at Amazon.

Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: BluewaterPress LLC
ISBN-10: 1604520140
ISBN-13: 978-1604520149

Find out more about Kristin Callender at her blog

In the meantime, check out Kristin's interview below, and leave her a comment or question.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have always been drawn to writing, but never thought of it as a career option for me until I was an adult. I shouldn't admit this but I was not the most motivated student in school. Writing was the one area that came easy to me. It was a great outlet for my over active imagination. I played with the idea of writing a book for a long time and when Nick and Amanda's story (The Truth Lies in the Dark) came to me I knew I had to sit down and give writing an honest try.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I had a hard time considering myself a writer. It wasn't until I had my first book published that I felt worthy of the title. Now I see it completely different. You are a writer from the moment you pick up a pen, or pull up a keyboard, and bring an idea to life. I tell people now that I will continue to be a writer, whether I become a published author again is up to the editor :)

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I am still trying different styles and genres to see which fits me best. Picture me in a dressing room asking my husband, "Does this cozy mystery make my butt look big?" No, seriously I loved writing mystery and have a few more ideas and am now finishing a contemporary romance. So far I have been letting the stories choose me. If they yell out loud enough I write them. I imagine that eventually I will find my niche, but in the mean time I am enjoying the variety.

Who came up with the book cover for your book? Why?

My teenage son, Michael actually did the cover for The Truth Lies in the Dark. He painted a picture of New York City at night for a high school Art class and friends of mine suggested that it would make a great cover. I cropped it and sent to my publisher and they agreed. I didn't realize until later how rare it is to have so much control over the cover choice. I love that I get to share this with my son.

If your book was made into a movie who do you picture playing the part of the hero and heroine?

The Truth Lies in the Dark could be made into a Lifetime movie. A film producer loved the story and will be pitching to cable executives. I will hopefully be able to come back and tell you who was actually chosen to play the parts of Nick and Amanda. I have just extended the end date for a contest promoting this event. Stop by and leave a comment. The amount of comments received determines the amount of prizes offered.

What is your favorite way to take a break from writing?

Some days the writing takes over and I find it hard to break away for anything; food, phone calls, even the kids. Then there are days when you just don't feel it. Those days I love taking a walk with my music to clear my head, or I pick up a good book. Then there is always Twitter, which provides some comic relief and helpful writing advice.

What are your current projects?

As I shared earlier, I am finishing up a contemporary romance. I also have a few other stories started that I hope to get back to and of course new ones are always popping up. I would also love to try some children's books too. It is harder now to find time to sit and write. There is so much about marketing, promoting, and networking to learn. Juggling these new hats, along with work, family and friend commitments has been a challenge. I give a lot of credit to authors like you, who have found a way to do it all and have time for a Book-a-week challenge.

Thanks for stopping by for my interview and thank you Denise for doing this. It was a lot of fun. Good luck on your future Book-a-week challenges. I'll be back to check them out.

~ Kristin Callender : )

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Reminder - Author Interview with Kristin Callender

Wanted to remind you of Sunday's Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with Kristin Callender author of "The Truth Lies in the Dark"

Kristin will be here to tell us how she started writing and what she's working on, and answer whatever questions we send her way.

Join us Sunday, September 6 to learn about the author of The Truth Lies in the Dark.

If you haven't had a chance to read it you can pick up a copy of Kristin's book at Amazon.

Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: BluewaterPress LLC
ISBN-10: 1604520140
ISBN-13: 978-1604520149

Find out more about Kristin Callender at her blog

See you Sunday!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I have a new fan!

I can honestly say that when I took on the endeavor of writing my first book I never imagined that I would receive emails or letters from readers telling me how much they liked my books.

I have to tell you, it is the greatest feeling in the world to come home after a long eleven-hour day at work, like this past Tuesday, and find an email from a reader that starts out with the words “You have a new fan!”

That alone made my heart stop, do a little spin, and then jump into overtime.
You all know me by now, I just have to share it with you and say thanks to Kim for taking the time to send me a note. There is no greater pleasure! Thank you.

OH! My favorite line in Kim's email and from everyone is "I could not put it down."


You now have a new fan! I had to email you and let you know I just finished your wonderfully fabulous book Killer Bunny Hill. It was a great read. I started it on Sunday night and just finished it on my lunch hour today. I could not put it down.

Besides Lake Mary, FL we also have in common the fact that I grew up in New Hampshire! My parents have a second home in Freedom, New Hampshire, which is about 1/2 hour south of Conway, NH. I loved spending my summers there and winter weekends there - swimming in the summers and skiing in the winter.

Well, I am going to hit my local library and see if they have any of your books there. If not, I'll be definitely going to the store to buy them.

Thanks again for sending me Killer Bunny Hill. LOVED IT!


By the way, Kim did go to her library and checked if they had a copy of It Happens in Threes, but they did not and she let me know the next day.

What?! How could that be? :-)

Not to worry. Kim and I have a plan. I am sending Kim a copy of each book for her to donate to her library so others can read them. Then in December when Connect the Dots is released the library will know they have to get a copy for my local fan.

PS - Kim, if they don't get the copy of Connect the Dots right away you let me know.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blog Tag

A fellow writer, blogger, and this week's Book-A-Week Challenge author of The Truth Lies in the Dark, Kristin Callender, tagged my blog yesterday.

I met Kristin through Twitter where @kcbooks (Kristin's Twitter name) posted a tweet saying she wanted a book to read. Well, I, of course, had a book so I sent her a tweet back. The next thing you know we exchanged books and here we are today.

So, what does getting tagged mean? It is a way to share information about yourself and connect with other writers/bloggers. The best part about this is it's not just for published authors. This is for anyone who picks up a pen or pulls up to a keyboard to bring their thoughts and ideas to life and then is brave enough to share them with the world.

More details can be found at Nick Daws post here: My Writing blog

Here are the questions Kristin tagged me to answer from her blog and am passing on to others, plus. See Kristin’s blog at kcbooks

1. Which words do you use too much in your writing?

But (but then I get rid of it on edits)
And (And at the beginning of a sentence – also catch on edits)
Just (sometimes you just have to use this word, but not very often)

2. Which words do you consider overused in stuff you read?

He said, she said – If there are only 2 people in a dialogue then do you really need the tagline?

Softly – OH MY GOSH! I don’t know how many times I see this word in a tagline such as “he said softly” – GAG!

3. What are your other favorite blogs?

There are so many good blogs out there, but here are some of my favorites. -A book reviewer’s blog by April Pohren, a new friend with writing talent -A promotion/marketing blog by Jessica James, an historical fiction author and the best press release writer -Another New Hampshire Author's blog by Ceri Hebert, who I met through my blog and will one day meet in person -A blog by writer Jason Myers who shares his trials and tribulations of getting published and everyday life

4. Name three favorite words * these are subject to change depending on day & mood :)


5. ...And three words you're not so keen on *so are these, except rejection :)

literary (you’ll have to ask me why)

6. What would you like to improve about your writing and/or blog?

I would like to get more efficient use of what little writing time I have, so have a plan as to the storyline and not as much seat-of-the-pants writing. Then I can turn out more books. :-)

For my blog, I would like to have more time to spend on writing more tip/writing article related posts.

It comes down to I NEED MORE TIME to do any kind of writing.

7. What’s your writing ambition?

I have 2 ambitions as far as my writing are concerned, well maybe 3. I want to write books that readers can’t or don’t want to put down, the kind where you are compelled to go to the next chapter even thought it is 2 in the morning and you have to be up by 5 AM.

I want to write my novels full-time and be able to support myself with on my writing career.

Ultimately, I would love to see my books turned into films. I want to see my hero’s on the big screen. (Mickey, Max, Jake, Lucas, and now Garrett.)

Whew! I did it. Now, I tag the following writers/bloggers.





Blog Tag, You're it... April, Ceri, Jessica, and Jason. Can't wait to see what questions you choose and what your answers are. Have fun!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Querulous Query - a little help on selling your novel

So, I'm not really certain the title of this blog post is accurate or not, but it sounded cool. :-) A little help on selling your novel.

You've written a book. Now what?

Isn't that the question all writers ask at one point?

First - Writing and completing the novel is only the beginning. Before you even consider submitting anything to an editor or agent the novel not only has to be written, but it better be edited, revised, polished and as perfect as you can possibly get it.

Next - You need to identify who you think would be the best fit to publish your work. Once you've identified the editor, agent, publishing house, then you have to see if they want to read your work.

Great! All that sounds easy. How do I do that?

ALWAYS - check the submission guidelines before you do anything. Most often, the instruction is to send a query letter.

What is a query letter?

As defined by, a query is: an inquiry from a writer to an editor of a magazine, newspaper, etc., regarding the acceptability of or interest in an idea for an article, news story, or the like: usually presented in the form of a letter that outlines or describes the projected piece.

Beyond that, I equate writing a query letter to giving birth or pushing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon. HA! Got that visual??

What I mean to say is, now that you have written a novel of 60K to 100K words you need to summarize the story into about 250 words.

Go ahead, say it.

Are you stoned?

Nope. Not. Shaking head.

In about 2 paragraphs, you need to summarize the high points of your novel, capture the editor/agent's attention, and make them salivate and want to read more. I equate this to really great foreplay! If you haven't turned me on, why would I want to go any further?

Address the letter: Dear Editor Name, (NEVER use the generic, impersonal name of Editor/Agent, use a name)

Next, sell your story. This is where you hook your reader and give them a mini-synopsis of your story.

Think back of the book blurb. No more than two paragraphs, under 250 words, sell your story. (A good query should be no more than one page long.)

First sentence should hook the reader. Example: CIA Human Intelligence Operator, Charley Duston gets the shock of her life when she opens her freezer to find the picture of her murdered ex-lover. Worse is the implied message: She is next.

Come on, admit it. You would read on. :-)

Then you finish that hook sentence with a mini-synopsis of your story.

Example: CIA Human Intelligence Operator, Charley Duston gets the shock of her life when she opens her freezer to find the picture of her murdered ex-lover. Worse is the implied message: She is next. Not one to give into intimidation tactics, Charley is determined to uncover the truth behind her ex’s death and bring the culprits to justice. Not knowing whom she can trust, she moves to an undisclosed location where she can covertly investigate the death threats. Here she meets her new neighbor Jake Frisbie at gunpoint when she mistakes him for a carjacker. Attracted to the handsome, easy-going hunk, Charley knows her relationship with Jake would only put him in danger. She tries to fight off her feelings but finally gives in just before her world crashes and she is kidnapped.

The beautiful, new neighbor entrances Jake but he can make no sense of her secretive nocturnal disappearances. As a Special Agent, he investigates her and is shocked to learn she is at the center of an international crisis. Despite common sense, he becomes involved with the young woman and when she disappears, he vows to find her. Risking his life, Jake ventures into the world of black sites and international intrigue to save the woman he loves and expose the responsible criminals. No matter how high up in the government they sit.

2 paragraphs down, 3 to go.

Paragraph 3 - Give the title of your novel, length, and type/genre.

Example: CONNECT THE DOTS is a completed 88,000 word romantic suspense detailing Charley Duston’s efforts to connect the dots between her ex-boyfriend’s murder, black sites, and the attempts on her own life before she ends up dead herself.

Paragraph 4 - Sell yourself. Tell the editor why you are qualified to write this story and what credentials you have in the writing/publishing undustry.

Example: My writing credits include two fiction novels, IT HAPPENS IN THREES and KILLER BUNNY HILL. Just as important, my experience with computer technology, and a longtime friendship with an undercover operative make me qualified to write this suspenseful and edgy story.

Finally and very important - Thank the editor/agent for their time and go for the close. Remember, this person is taking the time to read your work without getting paid for it (yet). Their time is just as precious as your novel. Let them know you appreciate their effort. While you're at it, remember you are also selling your work. Think of yourself as a car salesperson - Go for the close!

Example: I hope you enjoy the brief outline and I look forward to sending you the full manuscript for your reading. Thank you for your time.

See a full sample query letter below.

Editor/Agent Name
Editor/Agent Agency Name
Street Address
City, State Zip

Dear Editor Name,

CIA Human Intelligence Operator, Charley Duston gets the shock of her life when she opens her freezer to find the picture of her murdered ex-lover. Worse is the implied message: She is next. Not one to give into intimidation tactics, Charley is determined to uncover the truth behind her ex’s death and bring the culprits to justice. Not knowing whom she can trust, she moves to an undisclosed location where she can covertly investigate the death threats. Here she meets her new neighbor Jake Frisbie at gunpoint when she mistakes him for a carjacker. Attracted to the handsome, easy-going hunk, Charley knows her relationship with Jake would only put him in danger. She tries to fight off her feelings but finally gives in just before her world crashes and she is kidnapped.

The beautiful, new neighbor entrances Jake but he can make no sense of her secretive nocturnal disappearances. As a Special Agent, he investigates her and is shocked to learn she is at the center of an international crisis. Despite common sense, he becomes involved with the young woman and when she disappears, he vows to find her. Risking his life, Jake ventures into the world of black sites and international intrigue to save the woman he loves and expose the responsible criminals. No matter how high up in the government they sit.

CONNECT THE DOTS is a completed 88,000 word romantic suspense detailing Charley Duston’s efforts to connect the dots between her ex-boyfriend’s murder, black sites, and the attempts on her own life before she ends up dead herself.

My writing credits include two fiction novels, IT HAPPENS IN THREES and KILLER BUNNY HILL. Just as important, my experience with computer technology, and a longtime friendship with an undercover operative make me qualified to write this suspenseful and edgy story.

I hope you enjoy the brief outline and I look forward to sending you the full manuscript for your reading. Thank you for your time.


Denise Robbins

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