Friday, December 24, 2010

Who is the greatest author ever? Read my blog. You may be surprised!

Day 12 of 12 Days of Christmas -The Greatest Author Ever

Christmas is tomorrow but we need to start celebrating today: This day is for thanking the greatest author ever: God. The Bible is still one of the best-selling books ever. Because of His genius, you can open the Bible to any page and find a pearl of wisdom that applies to whatever you are struggling with. I abhor being preachy about religion and have trust issues with people who spout their beliefs from church tops. However, I would be very remiss if I didn’t include this great author who scripts our lives and holds our souls. One of my favorite images of my faith is the story about the two sets of footprints in the sand and then they go to one set. I am very thankful for God to have carried me so many times. The Bible is always a good read and one I need to take advantage of more often. I would encourage you to do the same, especially of the eve of Christ’s birth. “And low in a field the shepherds were watching their flock by night . . .”

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

For all with Nooks on your Christmas list, both of my mystery books are now available for the Nook. Check it out!
Day 11 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads is John Desjarlais whose latino mysteries who feature a great plot.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 11 of 12 Days of Christmas Good Friends and Good Reads - John Desjarlais

John is a recent addition to my friends list. I met him in Muncie, Indiana, at Magna Cum Murder He has been helping me find myself ever since and I don’t even think he knows it. John is involved with the Catholic Writers Guild. I hadn’t realized it at the time we met but I had asked to do a guest chat months before. After the conference he invited me to the group and I felt instantly at home. John then sent me an email about helping him publicize his newest book out this spring and wanted to know if I would be okay with talking about secular issues.

To this point as an author, I’ve tried to stay bland on any stand, least I offend a potential buyer. So far that hasn’t work so well for me. (I have a lot more to say on that but this isn’t the place.) John has pushed a few buttons and made me think about who and what I am as a person and as an author.

John writes thrillers that swirl around Catholic churches and their doctrines. I haven’t read one yet but am looking forward to them. He has received some fantastic reviews. His current book, Bleeder, is about a priest who bleeds to death in front of his congregation on Good Friday and his friend who is the prime suspect. The sequel to Bleeder, Viper, will be out in March and brings back fiery Latina insurance agent Selena De La Cruz. Working against time, prejudice, and her own Latino community’s suspicions, Selena reluctantly re-joins her old DEA colleagues to hunt a deadly drug dealer who is out of jail and systematically killing everyone who ever crossed him.

John, thank you for making me think about who I am and what I want to be and opening some doors I didn’t even know existed!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My mother is a poet. See why she rates a listing on 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends.

Day 10 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends - My Mother

This writer is a poet. I’m not sure I can adequately do justice to all this wonderful woman has given me. It started at my birth. She is my mother. Thanks to her I have never had a “can’t do it attitude.” Growing up she was a shining example of accomplishing great things. When something needed to be done, she rolled up her sleeves and accomplished it. If our church needed new carpet, she set up a fund raiser to raise the money. If someone was broken down on the side of the road, she would stop and take them where ever they wanted to go. If we didn’t have money for gifts, she made them. I remember rooms of Barbie furniture made from dish soap bottles, tissue boxes and fabric scraps. She has written so many Bible studies, Christmas programs, church newsletters, newspaper articles and poems or odes as they are fondly referred to. How could I not write with that example? I couldn’t, however, I don’t do poetry, never could and can’t say I would like to try now. Maybe because my mother does that too well.

My mother just finished her first book with a neighbor. It’s a wonderful coffee table book that also is a great children’s book. It has beautiful photographs of a year in the life of a pair of eagles that lived in a nest near their home. They documented the eaglets from egg to flying off on their own. My mom wrote the verse to go with each picture. It is fantastic!

They have a limited number of books that are self published but are looking for a larger publisher. If you are interested, contact me via comments and I will provide info for getting a book.

Thanks, Mom for never letting me believe that no meant I couldn’t!
Day 9 of 12 Days of Christmas features my most famous and favorite author Catherine Coulter. Find out what she did for my writing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 9 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends - Catherine Coulter

Day 9s Great Reads and Great Friends is a bit different than the others. Catherine Coulter is an author who always gives great reads, but I have never met her. Someday I would love to chat with her about writing and how she creates her characters. I started reading Catherine when she wrote regency romances. She then switched to her FBI Thriller series featuring Dillon Savage and Lacey Sherlock and I followed. I write mystery books because of her influence. Now I realize Catherine doesn’t need my help to sell books. She is a bestseller. I would like to be a bestseller one day and if I keep working hard at my craft I may get there.

Catherine Coulter makes my 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends list because her books have always kept me company through the years. I love the happy endings and the thrill of excitement. No matter what was going on in my life, I could find the thrill and excitement I needed in her books.

I just want to thank her for her stories of good always triumphing over evil. Thank you for letting me escape for a few hours as I poured through the pages. Those escapes made me a little saner for the ups and downs life throws at you. Thank you for never letting me down with one of your novels. I hope to never do that to my readers.
Ever read a cookbook cover to cover? Check out Stir, Laugh, Repeat on Day 8 of 12 Great Reads and see why with this one.

Day 8 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Authors - Martha A. Cheves

I’ve never met Martha personally but she has a good soul. I know this because I read her cookbook called Stir, Laugh, Repeat, Finding Joy While Playing in the Kitchen. It has some great recipes in it that only use a few ingredients, which I appreciate, but it has a whole lot more. It has heart! It has vignettes about happy times and funny stories to go with each recipe. It also has great tips with each recipe than can help a novice cook become a good one. This is a great cookbook to have in any kitchen!

I met Martha cyberly through Sunny Frazier (see previous entry). Sunny recommended Martha as a book reviewer. Martha is also excellent at critiquing books. I could be biased about that. She gave great reviews for both of my books which I am exceedingly grateful. Her blog called A Book and A Dish features authors, Martha’s reviews, and the must have ingredient is the authors must submit a recipe that goes with the book. It is great fun seeing the recipes that the authors picked.

Martha has a new book coming out called Think With Your Taste Buds - Desserts. I can’t wait for this one. Desserts are my favorite! I hope you will check out Martha’s recipes and pick your favorites. The easiest way to do that is buy her cookbooks. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Marketing Maven Sunny Frazier is featured today on 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends. Check it out and leave a comment.

Day 7 of 12 Days of Christmat Great Reads and Great Authors - Sunny Frazier

I’ve saved Sunny Frazier for Sunday because Sunday is her day to give “nudges” to help people promote on the internet. Sunny has taken the internet as if it was a bull by the horns, lassoed it and shared that knowledge with others. She has a “posse” of people she helps and I am a proud member. With all she does for others, I don’t know how she finds the time to write, but write she does.

Her books are the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries. FOOLS RUSH IN is the first and WHERE ANGELS FEAR is the second. Both are great reads. Funny, suspenseful and can’t put them down until the end. They are loosely based on Sunny’s work at the sheriff’s department for a number of years. However, the astrology part is the most unique with Christy using her skills and the stars to profile the suspects. These are a must read.

Sunny I can’t thank you enough for all you have done to help me promote my books and get them out there for people to find. And I am not alone. You are always adding others to your distribution list. Your outspoken encouragement has always pushed me to try new things. Thank you. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for today…

Watch for the latest Christy Bristol Mystery due out in 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmat Great Reads and Great Authors - Becke Martin

I met Becke Martin at Bouchercon in Indianapolis in 2009. When we first met we talked and talked about books, publishing and the conference. We would probably still be talking if she hadn’t had a dinner date with an old friend of her family. We’ve kept in touch and met again at Magna Cum Murder in October. Becke was under the weather and you could tell because the spark that just oozes from her wasn’t there. It was back by Sunday and she is one person who warms a room just when she enters.

Becke has a unique way of making everyone feel welcome and wanted. That is part of the reason she has such a great group of followers on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Book Club and Gardening Book Club. She is the moderator and always finds the greatest photos to make everyone feel at home. She also is passionate about supporting mystery writers and their books. She has done so much to help me get my work out in front of people. I appreciate being a guest on the Book Club but have treasured her warm nature much more.

Becke is an author as well. She has a host of gardening books and should soon have a fiction book out. Check out her books at her website:
Thank you Becke! You are one in a million!
Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas features my critique partner who just released her second book. See what she has to say about Mitch Malone!
My book received five red corvettes instead of stars. It is so cool, you have to read it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Authors - Joselyn Vaughn

Today is the day that I arranged for Joselyn Vaughn to guest as part of her book release only two days ago. That was before I had the idea for the 12 Days of Christmas, thanking authors who have been very helpful for me. Ironic in that Joselyn was suppose to be on the first day becuase her impact is felt almost daily. Joselyn and two other wonderful ladies are my critique partners. They help me shape and improve my writing. So first off is Joselyn talking about Mitch Malone, my main character and namesake of the Mitch Malone Mysteries. After that I will talke more about Joselyn and her gifts. Take it away Joselyn...

The day I met Mitch Malone should have been a dark and stormy night. The kind where you can’t see the lines on the road and your headlights don’t penetrate nearly far enough into the inky blackness in front of you.

It should have been because that is where Mitch works best. At night. Where he can see, but not be seen. He can fade into the darkness and catch the story that is going to have people snatching papers off the newsstand in the morning.

I am privileged to have been the first (other than Ms. Gager, of course) to have met Mr. Malone and I will never forget that first read. I read Ms. Gager’s chapter and was disappointed that she’d only managed to pound out eight pages the previous night when the idea came to her. I mean, really. How was I supposed to wait until she wrote more to find out about the femme fatale and the dead body?

That is one of the joys of having great critique partners. You can’t wait to read their pages and find out what happens in the story. You also learn a lot, not just from their suggestions, but from reading their work. You can see different techniques for advancing the story or showing an emotion. Good critique partners can also help you when you are stuck. Ms. Gager has helped me through road blocks and is solely responsible for Noah’s arrest.

We’ve also brainstormed ideas about having the worlds in our books intersect. Could Mitch stay at the Lilac Bower for a case? We didn’t think that would work until Mitch is ready for romance. Because you know Minnie wouldn’t be able to leave the matchmaking alone.

We’ve had a lot of fun with Mitch and I hope that I don’t have to say goodbye to him for a long time.

Now for my turn...

I must have been living under a lucky star when we ran into each other on the streets of Fremont that day more than five years ago? It doesn’t seem possible but here we are. Each with two books out. I would still be wondering why I kept getting rejections if it hadn’t been for you. We have come a long way and I hope that is only the beginning and we keep going in this business that is changing faster than we are getting gray hairs. (Me so many more than you!)

Joselyn writes wonderful romances published by Avalon. Her newest book is Courting Sparks and is a Christmas release (only 2 days ago). You will burn through the pages as the romance of Daphne and Noah seeps through the work of an arsonist intent on dousing the flames building in their hearts. Joselyn’s books revolve around a theme of matchmaking library ladies who work to fix up the town’s single folk. Their antics add a touch of humor to the books. The head matchmaker runs a bed and breakfast called the Lilac Bower. We all need to get away and rekindle our own romance with the help of a place like the Lilac Bower.

Her first book, CEOs Don’t Cry, also featured the manipulations of the Library Ladies intent on making a CPA relegated to a small town want to stay. Let’s just say the numbers on this one refused to add up until Leslie looked at the balance sheet of her life.

Joselyn, I owe you so much and the greatest gift has been our friendship.

For more information check out Joselyn’s page at or Avalon Books,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 4 - 12 Days of Christmas Great Friends & Great Reads - Holli Castillo

Holli’s and my first book came out at the same time through our publisher Oak Tree Press. I was very lucky to come out with such a dynamo. We were in Las Vegas at the Public Safety Writers Association Conference. I’m not sure if it was because of our shared experience of first books or what but we became friends and communicate on a fairly regular basis. Holli’s books are fast-paced legal thrillers. Holli’s life experiences as can-can dancer, attorney, prosecutor, and bartender are material for many more books. Holli is a fighter and doesn’t let anything stop her. I admire that in her. She also is willing to share her successful marketing with others.

Holli’s books in the Crescent City Mystery Series are set in New Orleans where she is a proud Saints fan. Gumbo Justice was the book that came out with A Case of Infatuation. It was fantastic. You have to check this one out if you love thrillers. Ryan is a cool as a cucumber on the outside but is a take-no-prisoners, don’t-mess-with-my-family hellion on the inside which occasionally bursts through to complicate her life and work.

I am on pins and needles waiting for Jambalaya Justice that is due out in 2011. Holli, I couldn’t have picked a better person to share my release date with. I wish I could be in Vegas this year to see your presentation, but I don’t think it is in the cards for me. I will miss our hotel hopping and shopping with the Big Who!

Get a copy of Gumbo Justice today.
Just went through my yahoo mail account. I am so horrible about deleting old email. Went from 2700 to under 2000. Not great but I'm getting there!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 3 of 12 Great Authors and Great Books - Brynn Paulin

On day 1 I talked about the first person I met at what was then the Grand Rapids Area Romance Writers of America. The second person I met was then president Brynn Paulin. At that time Brynn was writing feverishly (and still is) but was also giving her all to the organization. I remember my first retreat and Brynn spent more than 18 hours talking about writing a book and the various stages of a hero’s journey. I couldn’t believe how she had broken it all down and made it seem achievable, even easy. I took her method and finished my first book. I couldn’t have done it without Brynn’s easy step-by-step directions. Should I mention she did this all for free to help all the new writers in the group? Brynn always helped struggling writers with seminars and was often a speaker at meetings.

Brynn is a prolific writer and now a book editor. Her books have one rule: Always a happily ever after. I can guarantee all her characters have goals, motivation and conflict to keep you turning the pages. Check out her steamy romances at:

I should also mention that I owe Brynn’s mother a huge depth for telling me to forget romance. I was taken aback at first but realized she was right. The mystery was primary and the romance secondary. I would have spent a lot of time spinning my wheels if it wasn’t for that honest evaluation of my manuscript.
Day 2 of 12 for great Authors who willingly share their gifts with others. Today is Marilyn Meredith.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 2 of Twelve Days of Great Reads and Great Friends: Marilyn Meredith, aka F.M Meredith

Marilyn’s name became very familiar to me when I got the proof of my first cover. She had graciously given me a cover quote and I had never met her before. That changed when I attended the Public Safety Writers Association Conference two years ago and saw in person how special she is. Marilyn has so much energy. She recruits all the speakers for the conference (which I highly recommend) as well as writing three to four books a year and I can’t tell you how much publicity and events she does. It is exhausting to talk about.

She writes a variety of genres from romance to mystery and some with paranormal elements. She has two mystery series currently. One through our publisher, Oak Tree Press, is the Rocky Bluff PD series, the latest book called An Axe to Grind. I haven’t read this one yet but did read her previous release, No Sanctuary. It was a great read with Stacy as a police officer in a small rural department and her investigation into the death of a minister’s wife. It kept me guessing until the end and that made perfect sense. You can’t go wrong with her Rocky Bluff PD books. Her second series through another publisher is the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series which revolves around Indian legends and real crime. I haven’t read these yet but they are on my to-be-read pile as soon as I get my Kindle for Christmas. Marilyn, if I am still going half as strong as you are now, my life will be full and satisfying.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, your contacts and your time with so many writers.

Check out Marilyn’s many books at:

12th Day of Christmas Great Reads - Bronwyn Green

When I first decided to finish a novel, I didn’t care how long it would take, I was going to the end and not quit halfway through this time. To do that I needed some support. Lucky for me I found the Grand Rapids Area Romance Writers of America group that met an hour away. I wanted to join the group and went to the first meeting but no one was there except me and another new person. The restaurant had a contact number. It was with Bronwyn Green. I was so nervous and she put me right at ease. We talked for two hours about writing, the group and getting the book done. She really made me feel like I could write and the whole group would be behind me along the way. I joined and have never looked back. I count Bronwyn as one of my craziest and zaniest friends. You have to check out her blog especially the “riding in the car with boys” blogs. Hilarious doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her books are the same way. Great reads and wonderful happily ever afters. Thank you Bronwyn for your warm and giving nature and laughs that made me nearly pee my pants!

Please note: Bronwyn writes hot and steamy romances, mostly in e-books. (Explicit language and situations.) Her website comes with this warning: This site is intended for adults eighteen years and older as some material is both sensual and graphic in nature.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My 12 days of Christmas Great Reads
& Great Author Friends...
Starting tomorrow and in honor of this the season of giving, I’m going to blog about some wonderful people, who are writers. I’m calling it the 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Author Friends. Starting with Day 12 on Monday, I will feature one author per day. In this season of giving, these people are some of the most giving people I know – their time, talent and experience to help other writers. Please check out these people who are not only great writers but great supporters and friends. Stop by and see who my favorite authors are and why.