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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

THREADS OF LOVE

Finally, we have a cover for the novella collection releasing March 1. Myself, and three other authors have compiled four stories of love and forgiveness.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

LAX AGAIN

Well, once again, I've been lax about reporting on my writing journey. So, let's get caught up, shall we? I finished, COOKING UP LOVE, Finding Love the Harvey Girl Way, and sent the completed manuscript to Harlequin's Heartsong Presents line. I finished four proposals. Two for Harlequin's Heartsong Presents, One for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical, and one for Love Inspired's romantic suspense line. In addition to that, I've done a bit of marketing, not nearly enough, and ran one of my ebook historical romances, A Love for Delicious, free over the past weekend. Not as many downloads as I would have liked, but haven't given up yet. Sales have slowed for the month of October but I'm hopeful that scores of people will run out and buy a Kindle for themselves and loved ones at Christmas then proceed to download ALL of my books. I'm optimistic :) And I was one of the nine authors chosen for Barbour's Christmas anthology, A Pioneer Christmas due out for the holidays in 2013. So far in 2013, I have releasing, Unraveling Love, a novella by Barbour, Cooking Up Love, Heartsong Presents, SugarPlum Dreams, a Christmas story through Heartsong Presents, and A Cowgirl Christmas, an anthology by Barbour. Whew! When I comment on how busy I am, my friends all say, "Well, you asked for it." And, yes, I did. Thank you, God.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ACFW Conference 2012

I don't have pictures yet, bummer, but didn't want to wait too long to tell you of my experiences at conference this year. If you are serious about writing, and have yet to make the commitment to attend writing conferences, I strongly urge you to do so. Attending a conference lets editors and agents know who is serious about their writing. On Thursday, I had the priviledge of riding the shuttle from the airport to the hotel with Tina James and Melissa Endlich, editors of Harlequin's Love Inspired Line, and hopefully soon editors of mine! :) Once at the hotel, I had the joy of meeting in the coffee bar with Gina Welborn and Laurie Alice Eakes. What fun they are! Then, later that afternoon, I met with my wonderful agent, Chip MacGregor, and we came up with a game plan for the rest of 2012 and 2013. On Friday, I attended Susie May Warren's wonderful class on writing, had professional headshots done, and had an editor appointment with Tina James of Harlequin in which she requested a proposal. Yay! That evening, I went into the cute little historical town of Grapevine with Rachel Fernandez and Melissa Smith to a seafood restaurant where I ordered fish tacos Texas style. Yum. Saturday was more classes and then the wonderful Gala. I arrived home on Sunday totally and completely exhausted but feeling as if I'd finally "arrived" as an author. After six conferences, people now recognize my name and my face. In a good way, too! God willing, I plan on attending conferences every year and maybe, sometime in the future, actually mentor up and coming authors. If you're serious about writing, save your money, attend conferences, network, make appointments, make friends, have fun, and keep writing!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

HARLEQUIN HEARTSONG PRESENTS

Well, as usual, a few days have passed since my last blog. Hey, at least it wasn't months! But, my writing career just took a great big leap! I've signed a two-book contract with Harlequin's new Heartsong Presents line, with the option of signing for two more early 2013. The first book, COOKING UP LOVE, Finding Love the Harvey Girl way, is book one in a series focused on the Harvey Girls, women who served in restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad, and is scheduled for a June 2013 release. The second book is SUGARPLUM DREAMS, a Christmas historical romance. This is scheduled for a November 2013 release.

Friday, August 24, 2012

DAILY LOG - DAY 1 CAPTAIN HICKEY

Don't get too excited, I seriously doubt I'll be able to keep up the post a day thingie. But, I did promise to give readers a view of my publishing journey. I have 9 books posted on ebook. Check them out here www.cynthiahickey.com that I pubbed myself, then have the three cozy mysteries that were put out through my agent. Then....shhh, it's a secret but some traditional pubbed books are in the works. I've been writing seriously since 2006. So, can't complain too much about my progress, I suppose. Except today, I've actually gone backward in word count. Yep, you heard me write, uh right. I did some editing and cut out words. Sigh. Good thing I'm ahead of my writing schedule overall.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BUBBLE BLASTER

Good thing writing isn't like Bubble Blaster where one wrong move and you lose. In writing, you can backspace, delete, undo, etc. I had all my plans laid out, one right after the other, and quite proud of the fact, thank you very much. I ebook pubbed all my poor manuscripts that couldn't find homes, put out a romantic suspense under my maiden name (for those of you who like just a little spice, but nothing too dirty). I had it all planned. Then WHAM! God gave me a delightful surprise regarding two stories I had all but given up on. I still can't give you all the details, just know that next year, my readers will have something new to read. And the year after that. All in a genre I was actually getting ready to wave good bye too. God has a way of pointing us in the right direction, doesn't He? Good thing my bubble didn't burst! And oh, yeah. One of these days, I'm still going to start vlogging. Need to get on that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

CHOCOLATE GRAVY RECIPE

3/4 cup of water 3/4 cup of milk 1 cup of flour 1 cup of sugar 2 Tb cocoa Heat water and milk (to touch, not boiling) must be careful not to scorch. Mix together dry ingredients. Add slowly into milk until thick, stirring the whole time. I use a whisk. If not thickening, slowly add small amounts of flour. Is delicious over fresh buttered biscuits or biscuits and peanut butter. Enjoy Southern food at it's finest!

Friday, July 06, 2012

New Romantic Suspense Release

Finally, a story written several years ago, has come to fruition. SHADES OF CRIMSON is now available on ebook form and in print. The beautiful model on the cover is my niece. I also think I may have decided on a course for my blog to travel. Since I am traditional published and indepent, I will blog about my decisions and progress in each. For now... enjoy my newest and visit my website at www.cynthiahickey.com to see my other books.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH ANN LEE MILLER

Note: Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address (JaneReader[at]msn[dot]com) will receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity. Those who don’t want to leave an e-mail may contact Ann for their free book at AnnLeeMiller.com. Tell us about your book. Kicking Eternity, First Place Long Contemporary winner of the 2009 Romance Writers of America Faith, Hope, and Love Contest, is all about chasing dreams—our dreams, God’s dreams, and the mixed-up tangle of both. Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her. The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full. Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex. Can you give us a sneak peek at your new release? Cal looked up from the easel and caught her staring. Her gaze darted toward the window, her cheeks burning. When she looked back at Cal, she saw a small smile playing at the edges of his mouth and eyes. It reminded her of one she’d seen and dismissed earlier. “Why are you quizzing me on prayer?” “You think I have an ulterior motive?” “You tell me.” He sat on the table top behind him. “You were sitting there like you were afraid of your own skin. I wanted to paint your fire. Pretty much a no-brainer to get you going on a topic that lights your passion.” He shrugged and grinned at her. Raine turned her face toward the bulletin board covered with crosses her elementary students had colored. Stupidity for having fallen for Cal’s manipulation warred against something entirely different. Cal saw something she didn’t see in herself—passion. A board creaked nearby, and Cal squatted down in front of her. His hand cupped her face. “You moved.” He brought her head back into position. His palm stayed on her cheek a heartbeat too long, his fingers trailing down to her chin almost in a caress before he broke the contact. She met his steady gaze. “What button are you trying to push now?” Cal stood. “The one that turns your cheeks pink like they were a few minutes ago.” Cal wasn’t the only one who could manipulate. “Let’s talk about obeying God.” “Talk about whatever you want. I’m going to work on your shirt now.” What inspired this book? My daughter has had a passion to become a foreign missionary since she was in first grade. She just completed her junior year of college and is still headed for missions, probably to an orphanage in Peru. Also a close family friend fell in love with a young man and felt strongly that God told her to marry him. When the guy broke off the engagement, she was devastated on multiple levels. In Kicking Eternity the hero has to come to terms with the same dilemma. Are you a panster or do you outline? I detest plotting, but consider it a necessary evil. I plot every scene for the whole book before I actually write the book. It takes… forever. My first two books were written without plotting. Going back through whole books to fix plot lines felt counterproductive. I tried Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method of plotting for my third book and Karen Wiesner’s First Draft In 30 Days for my most recent book. I also use Jack Bickham’s Scene and Structure as I build scenes. To me, it feels so much easier to make changes to the book’s skeleton than to rewrite large portions. How long have you been writing? I always say I became a writer the year I discovered Sister Sheila had hair. I was in fifth grade at St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami, knee deep in nouns and verbs, when Sister Sheila walked through the door in a new habit that showed two inches of mouse brown hair threaded with silver. Thanks to Sister’s encouragement, I went on to earn a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University. I’ve been writing novels for the past fifteen years. Tell us something about you that would surprise your readers. My father spent several years building a forty-foot sailboat in our backyard. We launched it in the Miami River and lived aboard at Dinner Key Marina when I was eleven until I turned thirteen. At the time I didn’t realize how unusual it was to live on a boat and ride my bicycle down the dock each morning to attend school. All my friends at the marina did the same. After school every day, I tossed my books onto my bunk, shimmied into a swim suit, and jumped overboard. Sailboats show up in all my books thus far. What do you hope readers will take away from this book? I especially want to reach people with unhappy, dysfunctional families like the family I grew up in. I want to give them hope that God will provide love and healing for them. Tell us about the journey to getting published. I wrote my first novel fifteen years ago and have been writing full-time for ten years while trying to break in to traditional publishing. Last summer my agent let all her unpublished authors, including me, go. In the midst of my despair, God nudged me to indie e-publish. So, I swallowed a hairball of pride and walked down the self-publishing road. I feel a surge of joy and gratitude that my books are finally being read. The part of me that clamors for validation still hopes for a traditional publishing contract. But how can I go wrong obeying God? What project are you currently working on? In addition to Kicking Eternity, The Art of My Life debuts in September, Avra’s God in December, and Tattered Innocence next March. What is your Writing schedule like? Do you write only when inspired? Since I started my writing career in my forties, I feel fairly obsessed to accomplish what God created me to do. Think about how the hero in Sweet Home Alabama jammed lightning rods into the sand to make his beautiful glass. He did his work before the lightning struck. I jam a lot of words onto the page before lightning strikes and makes it beautiful. What is a fond childhood memory? As a kid, I adored stories about girls who went to boarding school and imagined their lives as oh-so-much-better than my own. Our Lady of the Hills Camp in Hendersonville, North Carolina, the closest I got to attending boarding school, turned out to be the “happy” in my childhood, spawned a lifelong affection for camp, and inspired the setting for Kicking Eternity. What book are you currently reading? I’m reading Ann Brashares’ (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) The Last Summer, one of her adult novels. I enjoy reading her because I think we have similar writing styles and grasp on the early twenties. What are your hobbies (besides writing)? Wedged in between my writing I manage to hike in the mountains with my husband, do Zumba, and go garage saling every Saturday morning with a friend. This year I mentored three teens from my youth group. I’ve guest lectured on plotting in Phoenix colleges for the past few years. Every summer you’ll find me at teen church camp. AnnLeeMiller.com Twitter @AnnLeeMiller Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kicking-Eternity-ebook/dp/B0082GF8CE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337363292&sr=8-2 Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kicking-eternity-ann-lee-miller/1110908265?ean=2940014441759 Bio: Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives. Book Blurb: Fresh from college, Raine scores a teaching job at New Smyrna Beach Surf and Sailing Camp. A crush on the camp rebel/art teacher threatens to derail her plans to teach orphans in Africa. The broody recreation director spots her brothers meth addiction and Raine's enabling. Raine believes she is helping her brother--until lives are threatened. Endorsements: “Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who'll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won't want to miss Kicking Eternity!” Jenny B. Jones, Author of the Katie Parker Production Series from Think and The Charmed Life Series, and other single titles from Thomas Nelson “In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.” Mesu Andrews, Author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song, and Love Amid the Ashes, which won the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category

Monday, May 21, 2012

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

My husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary this past weekend. Some wonderful family members took us to the Improv to see Bob Marley. A hilarious man, by the way. What does this have to do with writing? I'll tell you, but first ask yourself what all the top comedians of today have in common. Jim Gaffigan jokes about food. Bob Marley jokes about his family. See where I'm going with this? Before Bob Marley came to the stage, two openers stood at the mic. Their jokes weren't as focused as Bob's. Sure, they had some funny things to say, but their routine was all over the place. As writers, we need to find that "brand" everyone is talking about. What makes our stories different from other authors? What can make us stand out? What does the reader expect to see in our books when they start reading? Know your audience. All the greats do. That's the secret. I honestly believe you don't have to be the greatest writer, (although you DO need to be the best YOU can be) the funniest writer, etc., but you do need to know what your target audience is looking for and continue to deliver with each book.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

WEDDING BELLES By Janice Hanna

Who (or what) influenced you to become a writer? From the time I was a little girl, I always had a creative bent. I loved to sing and dance. I got involved with drama in high school and ended up writing a little play, which we performed. In the late 70s my father moved our family to Los Angeles so that he could get into the movie business, (as a producer). He encouraged me to co-author a screenplay, which I did. In fact, I joined the screenwriter’s guild at age 18. Quite an honor! After I got married and had my children, they showed an interest in theater, too, so I ended up directing and writing musicals for Curtain Call Café (a Christian theater group). From there, my interests spread to books, and I started publishing fiction for the Christian market. I’ve now published over 80 books, everything from inspirational romance to non-fiction devotionals. I would have to say that my father was a huge influence. He passed away in ’06, but did a lot of writing in his lifetime (both screenplays and lyrics to country songs). Janice, can you tell us about your latest book project? Yes, I’m so tickled to share the news about my comedic historical, WEDDING BELLES, which is releasing on May 1st. Most of my readers know that I love to write light-hearted tales, and this one is no different! What is the story behind this book? I received a call from editor Susan Downs, who shared an idea she had for a series of books titled “Belles and Whistles.” The books in this series, she explained, must be historical, set in the west, with funny, quirky female characters. Because I write romantic comedy, she thought I would be perfect. I quickly put together a proposal for six books and two were picked up right away: WEDDING BELLES and SLEIGH BELLES. I was commissioned to write WEDDING BELLES first and had a blast doing so! The basic premise for the book was developed before I started writing, but something significant happened along the way to change my plans drastically. I needed a sneaky reason for Lottie Sanders (my heroine) to bring a group of women to Estes Park Colorado as potential brides for the town’s men. About a week after I got the contract for this book I went to a local restaurant that happened to be hosting a melodrama during the dinner hour. As I watched the drama take place, I realized this was my answer! Lottie would write and direct a melodrama to raise funds for Parker Lodge (owned by the young man she secretly loves). Out of that came the rest of this fun, melodramatic tale! Why did you choose to write this book under the name Janice Hanna, instead of Janice Thompson? Ooo, great question! I write most of my contemporary novels (like the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series) under Thompson and historicals (like the LOVE FINDS YOU books) under Hanna. My maiden name is Hanna, and I love to write under that name to honor my father, who passed away in ’06. I think he would have been very proud of this particular book. Is there any connection between the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series and this one? Nope. None whatsoever. Just an interesting coincidence with the titles/names. What’s the deal with the wedding stories? Why do you write so many books with wedding themes? My four daughters (all in their late 20s/early 30s) got married within four years of each other. Talk about wedding chaos! At writer’s conferences I’ve been told to “write what you know” and I certainly know weddings. I worked for a short while as a wedding coordinator and have catered many a wedding and/or bridal shower. It just makes sense to keep my writing wedding-themed, as much as possible! What outside interests do you have? People might be surprised to hear this, but I bake cakes. Wedding cakes. Shower cakes. Birthday cakes. You name it, I bake it. In fact, I was once asked by a local restaurant to bake cakes for them. Cute cover! What’s the story behind it? My heroine, Lottie, is a tomboy. She’s not much for dresses. In fact, she wears pants most of the time. The men in Estes Park make it their mission to get Lottie “gussied up and lookin’ like a lady” as the story progresses. Of course, she’s still pretty attached to her cowgirl boots, so giving those up isn’t an option. I love the cover, because it merges the boots with the wedding dress. How much research went into this story? I drove to Estes Park while working on this book. Even though I had been many times before, I needed to see the area again so that I could envision it through Lottie’s eyes. The wonderful people at the Estes Park Museum spent a great deal of time with me, talking about the history of the area and pointing me to just the right research books to write. So, I would like to think I’ve got most of the historical elements right. I added the Stanley Hotel, of course, and the Stanley Steamer. But the setting for my story is Parker Lodge (which is completely fictional). Because I’m passionate about photography, I took dozens of pictures of the area. I particularly enjoy my trek up into Rocky Mountain National Park, where I did my best to absorb all I could about the scenery. What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story? I learned a lot about the health benefits of living in Colorado! Did you know that Freelan Stanley (the man who designed/built the Stanley Hotel) came to Colorado at his doctor’s recommendation because he had tuberculosis? His health improved dramatically while in Estes Park. What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book? I was directly inspired by the team of actors and actresses (here in Texas) who performed the melodrama. That little “spark” of inspiration completely changed the layout of my story and allowed me to tap into one of my strengths: directing. Many people don’t know that I spend part of my time working as a director at a local Christian theater and I love anything and everything about putting on shows. What do you hope the reader takes away from the story? Two things: I hope they see Lottie as the precious girl she is. I also hope they learn that perceptions are just that. . .perceptions. They’re not fact. Sometimes we look at situations and think we’ve got them figured out. When we give them a second look (and a third) we realize we were dead wrong. What is the next project you’re working on? I’m currently writing a novel titled LET THEM EAT CAKE, which is part of the new WEDDINGS BY DESIGN series from Revell Publishing. Many of my readers know me as the “Bella” author (from the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series). In this new series, readers can catch up with Bella, DJ and the whole gang! What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while? I spend time with my grandbabies. I have six darling grandbabies with number seven on the way. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon? I feel so incredibly blessed at this particular season in my life. I’ve been through several hard things over the past several years, but through it all, God has been right there, walking me through one book project, then another. He has used the writing to bring healing in so many areas, and I’m so grateful for that! I’ve made Ephesians 3:20 – 21 my life verse: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. God IS able to do so much more than I could ask or think, and He keeps proving that to me. In spite of any weakness on my part (and there’s plenty, trust me), He entrusts me with this gift (writing). I will use it to His glory as long as He allows. Please give us the first page of the book. A Reckoning in the Rockies Estes Park, prepare to be razzle-dazzled! Parker Lodge, located on the beautiful Fall River, continues to offer the best entertainment in town. This month’s event is certainly no exception. Join us this coming Friday evening, April 27, for a rousing performance by local musician Jeb Otis, who will play several well-known ballads and folk tunes on his saw. Otis, who hails from the Estes Valley region, will be appear- ing at the lodge for one night only, performing before a packed house. C’mon out and share in an evening of fine food, rousing entertain- ment, and heartfelt fellowship. Front-row seating for the first ten guests to arrive. —Your friends at Parker Lodge Estes Park, Colorado, 1912 “Jeb Otis says he’s going to jump off Longs Peak and end it all.” “What?” Lottie Sanders looked up from the rippling waters of Fall River into her boss’s worried eyes. “He’s going to end it all? Why-ever would he do that?”
 “Oh, you know how he is.” Gilbert Parker plopped down next to her and sighed. “Melodramatic. Always wanting attention. Just like the other men in this town. He’s frustrated because the Widow Baker won’t give him the time of day, so I guess this is how he plans to remedy the problem.” “He’s going to remedy the problem by taking his life?” Lottie swallowed hard. “Won’t that defeat the purpose?” “Who knows?” Gilbert offered a little shrug, and a hint of a smile turned up the edges of his lips. “But if it’s any consolation, I reminded him that he’s got a concert coming up this Friday evening, so maybe he’ll wait till after then to do himself in.” “One can hope.” Lottie thought about the many times Jeb and the other fellas who frequented the lodge had posed such ludicrous threats. How weary she’d grown of their antics. “What’s it going to take to convince Jeb that he and Althea Baker are as different as night from day, anyway?” she asked. “They would make a terrible match. I’m surprised he can’t see that for himself.” “True.” Gilbert released a sigh. “But I guess it’s true what they say—love is blind.” “Mm-hmm.” It’s blind, all right. How can readers find you on the Internet? My website: www.janicehannathompson.com Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson Twitter: booksbyjanice My online courses: www.freelancewritingcourses.com Where can readers buy this book? They can email me for an autographed copy: booksbyjanice@aol.com. They can also purchase online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Christianbook.com.

Friday, April 20, 2012

MY FOURTH COZY!

The cover is done. I think it looks fantastic! Now, to finish writing the book.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

AIMS Testing and Writing

Life is definitely funny. I'always asking for the time to write, and thankfully for me, my job often supplies that needed time. This is AIMS week at the school I work for. A time of quiet and students busily testing. Now, my room is full of testers who didn't finish with the rest of their class. I can't write. It's TOO quiet! Maybe if I stare at the computer screen long enough, words will come to mind.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

EBOOK OR TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING

I've dreamed of becoming a published author since I was a preteen. I dreamed of jetsetting around the world in designer fashions, a house big enough for a room just for shoes, New York best selling books releasing one right after the other. Quitting my day job and writing full time. In 2007, my first cozy mystery came out in print form, followed by the second in 2008. Right before the third was released, the line closed. In between agents I self-ebook pubbed two romantic suspenses. Then, my cozies were rereleased as ebooks with new covers and doing quite well, thank you very much. I am currently writing the fourth in the series, and have completed the first book in a new series. I live in a comfortable home, I jet set via research, wear name brand clothes off the clearance rack, and own over thirty pairs of shoes. No, I haven't been able to quit my day job. Maybe I never will, but does this mean I haven't succeeded at my dream? I don't think so. Success is being content with what you have. Will I stop pursuing publication in print form? No. But I will continue to epub until that lucky editor chooses me again. Succeeding at publication, fulfilling that dream, all depends on where you are and whether you are content for the time being. Happy Writing!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

FIRST LINES

As teasers for my cozy series, here's the first line in each novel. FUDGE-LACED FELONIES: I marched into church on Sunday--not to search for God, but to find a killer. CANDY-COATED SECRETS: A horn blared. CHOCOLATE-COVERED CRIME: "If she messes this up, I'll..."

Monday, April 09, 2012

SCARY SERIAL KILLER

What would be your scariest type of serial killer? Don't answer if you don't want me possibly using your villain in a future novel!

Friday, April 06, 2012

TGIF!

The day started off great! Did the math on copies sold of my cozies the past five months. Over 8,000! God is good. Then, my day job brought me back to reality with a couple of detention students that totally explain why some species eat their young. I so can envision a Detention Monitor that "does away" with her students. Not really. Most of them are cool and just having a bad day. So, do they have to make mine bad, too? Seriously! But...my Friday still doesn't compare in roughness to the one Jesus endured 2,000 years ago. Happy Good Friday, everyone!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

NEW EBOOK COVERS

First time, all in one place, here are the new designs for my ebook mystery series originally published by Barbour, not in ebook form through www.spyglasslanemysteries.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WHAT KIND OF MYSTERY SOLVER ARE YOU?

Take the quiz and get a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

http://apps.facebook.com/quizzeshq/contests/199661/entries/new?referral_feed_id=65672032

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CONTEST

Everyone loves something for free, right? I'm running a contest for a free Kindle ebook of my first cozy Fudge-Laced Felonies. Yes, this is two or three fold, I'm crazy that way. I'm hoping if you win book one, you'll run out and purchase books 2 & 3. After all, they're only 99 cents. Anyhoo, here's the contest.


Sign up to be a follower of my blog and I will enter you in a drawing for the free Kindle copy. Also, leave a comment on my blog of the best April Fool's prank you've ever pulled or had pulled against you. I might use it in a future book!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

GETTING ON THE VLOGGING BANDWAGON


I'm hearing more and more about the benefits of vlogging (blogging except you're on camera speaking where all the world, if they should so desire, can see you), and after watching a talk show yesterday when I should have been writing...yes, I know. Anyway, the guests on the show were all making money off their youtube videos, which goes to show, I need to get on the vlogging bandwagon. If I can find a way to make money doing so, then more power to me, right? And, yes, before anyone says anything, this is a blog about writing tips and whatnot, but I did retitle it, CONFESSIONS OF A DYSFUNTIONAL WRITER, so don't blame me if I get off track.

Writing tip of the day: Write.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

A LITTLE OF YOURSELF


Yes, the picture is a little gruesome, but it fits the post. Today's writing tip: Put a little of yourself into everything you write. Maybe not actually drip blood into your story, but put your feelings,your life experiences, your tears. The more emotion, the better the story. Writing is hard. If it were easy, more people would be doing it and becoming published.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

10,000 WHAT?


Read on an agent's blog that editors like an author to have 10,000 fans of their facebook page. Really? That's insane. I'm up to 266 and have no idea how to get more. So, tell all your friends to "like" me.

On the writing page...I sent in my 1908 Romantic Suspense to my agent, so the waiting game starts on A GILDED PROPOSAL. I started researching a story idea for LOVE FINDS YOU IN LOVELOCK, NEVADA, and wrote a few words on my newest historical, CLAIMING THE LUMBERJACK'S HEART.

I've been told by a few multi-published authors that an author should always be working on three stories. The one you're getting a proposal ready for, the one you're editing, and the one that is contracted. Well, I don't have a contract as we speak, so will work on writing a complete. Most likely the lumberjack story. If one of the proposals out there get contracted, then I will switch over.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

WRITING WORLD QUESTIONS


I'm in a holding tank on my submitted work and totally baffled as to what project to focus my attention on. Do I finish one of my submissions? Focus solely on my fourth cozy? Send in the first book to a new cozy series? I feel like pulling my hair out. I know a writer is supposed 'write always' but write on what? This is where I am today.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WRITERS' WORLD ANOTHER WEEK


I REALLY need to be consistant with this blog!

Last Friday, I had a tooth pulled, or rather, cut out, and have stitches in my mouth. Ouch. Needless to say, I haven't done much writing. What I have done is continued with my plotting for number four in the adventures of Summer Meadows. The title to book four will be MAUI MACADAMIA MADNESS. Funny, right? Fits right along with FUDGE-LACED FELONIES, CANDY-COATED SECRETS, and CHOCOLATE-COVERED CRIME. Let's pray I can write this within a reasonalble amount of time and that it is as well received as the first three books.

One thing I've learned in comparison between mysteries and non? You can not rush a mystery. NO seat-of-the-pants writing here. As in historicals, there needs to be a fair amount of preparation before you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Writing World Day 2

Cozy Mystery progress: yesterday I plotted out my cozy mystery, brainstormed with a friend to make sure my character's motive for solving the crime is plausible, came up with my lists of suspects, and determined who my killer would be, and why. Today, I'm staring at my screen wondering what to write. Good grief.

1908 Romantic Suspense: Did some editing from a received critiqued and basked in her words telling me it was the best story I'd written yet.

Now, don't get me wrong, words of affirmation are good, especially to us writers, but the words don't come often. Critiquers need to be brutally honest, and writers need to be able to "take" it. The thing to remember is to encourage and not batter. To build up, and not tear down.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A WRITER'S WORLD


I've been thinking and praying about what direction to take this blog in 2012, and feel led to take you on my publishing journey. I have set a goal of three books contracted, and want to share that journey with you. I'll be brutally honest, and hopefully, will help other aspiring authors.

After a disappointing month of January, when I was basically told that my writing stinks and I'll never get another contract, I put my keys to the keyboard, and typed up another proposal. This one is a 1908 Romantic Suspense. I'm having alot of fun writing the story and pray it finds a home.

Readers of my Summer Meadows series have been clamoring for a fourth book and will start plotting out a honeymoon mystery as soon as I hit send on this blog post. I hope you will join me a couple of times a week as I take this crazy journey called writing.

I will keep you posted on my progress and will post helpful links that will help you on your own journey.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A RANGER'S TRAIL By Darlene Franklin

A Ranger's TrailA Ranger's Trail by Darlene Franklin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Ranger's Trail is a wonderful story of family values, revenge, forgiveness, and following God's plan. When Leta Denning's husband is murdered, she vows to seek revenge, not realizing that her words and actions set her family on a destructive path of vengeance. When handsome Texas Ranger, Buck Morgan arrives, Leta has no idea of his personal stake in the Hoodoo war, and accepts his help around her decaying ranch. When she finds out how close he is to the Mason County War, she must choose between love or vengeance. A page-turning story that brings history to life.



View all my reviews

Thursday, January 19, 2012

COZY MYSTERIES - OODLES OF THEM!

Ready to laugh? Swoon? And then put on your thinking cap?

Then let me tell you about a new line of cozy mysteries for e-readers for only .99 each. Spyglass Lane Mysteries is a collection of Christian cozy mysteries—modern-day whodunnits with colorful characters and plenty of wholesome romance. The mysteries are authored by some of Christian publishing’s favorite and best selling authors.

New mysteries release every Thursday and there are 21 mysteries now available in this line for just .99. So what are you waiting for? Check out the books below and click the link to purchase for your e-reader.

If you would like to be notified each week of the latest book release click here to sign up for our email newsletter or here for our RSS feed.



A Suspicion of Strawberries (The Scents of Murder Series)
By Lynette Sowell
A facial gone wrong, or murder? Andromeda Clark must uncover the truth to save her handmade soap business.

The heartbreaker diva of Greenburg, Tennessee is dead. Andromeda Clark knows that her cherry facial scrub didn't accidentally kill Charla Rae Thacker from anaphylactic shock. But Andi's soap business is in trouble and tongues are a-waggin'. To save her business, she searches for the one who tampered with her product. And now Andi's long-time, long-haul trucker boyfriend Ben decides it's time to settle down and stay in Greenburg for good. How can a woman breathe?


Another Grave Matter

Another Grave Matter (The Volstead Manor Series)
By Anita Higman
Volstead Manor has caught on fire, and the last of its murderous secrets flare hot enough to drive Bailey back to her sleuthing. A villain, who remains shrouded in darkness until the end, threatens to destroy Bailey, and once again, the mansion ignites with malevolent mischief. While she unearths a family secret from Prohibition that’s hidden deep within the cellar, she becomes entangled in a ticking-clock race to save her own life. Will the foul surprises never end at Volstead Manor, and will Bailey’s burning desire to marry Max go up in smoke?


Another Hour to Kill


Another Hour to Kill (The Volstead Manor Series)
By Anita Higman
Where Bailey Walker lives, being neighborly takes on a whole new meaning. Bailey has survived the mysteries of Volstead Manor, but her latest threats are more ominous than ever. Did her neighbor B.J. die of natural causes? Or was he murdered? And why does the new neighbor, Vlad Tepes, always seem to be watching her? While searching for a lost treasure and planning a wedding the size of an amusement park, Bailey must discover what monster is still lurking in the neighborhood. Will she unravel the puzzle in time, or will Bailey merely provide the villain with Another Hour to Kill?

Another Stab at Life

Another Stab at Life (The Volstead Manor Series)
By Anita Higman
Bailey Walker has just lost everything—her family, her job, and her home. She has nowhere to go except the dilapidated mansion she’s just inherited from her granny Minna. Unfortunately, Bailey discovers that the house has a history as shadowy as its hidden passages and finds the neighborhood overflowing with some rather quirky folks—as well as one particularly appealing bachelor. Bailey feels like she’s trapped inside the pages of a gothic novel but with a comedic twist. In order to honor her grandmother’s wishes and stay at Volstead Manor, Bailey must unravel a string of mysteries and secrets, which all seem determined to stay happily ever buried.


Band Room Bash

Band Room Bash (The Mayhem in Maryland Series)
By Candice Speare Prentice
This murderer is playing for keeps. When Trish Cunningham and her oldest stepson, Tommy, find Georgia Winters, the English teacher at Four Oaks High School, dead in the band room, the suspect list is lengthy. The teacher had a number of enemies—including Tommy Cunningham. Once again, Trish pulls out her notebook to collect clues. Detective Eric Scott, suffering from unrequited love for Trish’s best friend, Abbie, pointedly asks Trish to butt out. But despite the detective’s warnings, she jumps in as usual and finds herself embroiled in a mystery that has its roots in thwarted love and revenge. The finale could be Trish’s swan song.

Candy Coated Secrets

Candy-Coated Secrets (A Summer Meadows Mystery)
By Cynthia Hickey
When a carnival train crashes in front of Summer Meadows’s house, she does what comes naturally – she acts without thinking and volunteers to lead an elephant to the fairground. The animal’s trainer follows close behind but disappears when they reach their destination. When Summer goes looking for the trainer, she finds something altogether different – a woman hanging dead in the shower of one of the trailers. A carnival slew of mishap and misadventure ensue when Summer and her fiancé, Ethan, set out to solve the murder.


Chocolate-Covered Crime


Chocolate-Covered Crime (Summer Meadows Mystery Series)
By Cynthia Hickey
Summer Meadows' chocolate candy business is booming. She's overwhelmed with her April Fool's Day wedding plans, and against her family's advice, hires her cousin to be her wedding planner. But then her cousin is found murdered and more mysteries keep occurring at family parties. Can Summer resist the urge to investigate when she and her dysfunctional relatives are dipped into a plot of unrequited love, internet scam, and jilted hearts? Could the murderer be related to her and have Summer targeted next? Will her fiancé' support her sleuthing antics, or is he another suspect with something to hide?


Died in the Wool

Died in the Wool (The Massachusetts Mayhem Mystery Series)
By Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery
Hone your investigative skills with Died in the Wool, a mystery filled with humor, suspense, and romance. Monah Trenary is battling for city funds for her beloved library. When a rival for the much-needed monies winds up dead, Monah is considered one of the prime suspects. When a second corpse weighs in, police detective Mike Brockman discovers that, according to the evidence, Monah and monkshood are a lethal combination. Can Monah and proven sleuth Casey Alexander find the real killer before this librarian is booked for murder?


Everybody Loved Roger Harden


Everybody Loved Roger Harden (Everybody’s Suspect in Georgia)
By Cecil Murphey
Psychologist Julie West and Reverend James Burton arrive late for dinner on Palm Island – but just in time to discover their host, millionaire Roger Harden, murdered. Ten possible suspects share closed quarters on the secluded island, all of them with deep secrets and sufficient motive to have wanted the wealthy benefactor dead. Can Julie and Burton ignore the mysterious attraction developing between them long enough to discover who among them didn't love Roger Harden enough to let him live?


Fudge Laced Felonies

Fudge-Laced Felonies (A Summer Meadows Mystery)
By Cynthia Hickey
While transplanting the rosebush her church’s handsome greeter, Ethan Banning, inadvertently killed, Summer and Ethan discover a hidden stash of diamonds, a rusty can full of cash, and a bloody-gardening glove. This discovery sets Summer and her candy-making aunt on a search for a killer. As Summer gets closer to the truth-not only of the theft but of her true feelings for Ethan-the diamond thief hatches a plan to hush the feisty sleuth.


George Washington Stepped Here

George Washington Stepped Here (The Karen Maxwell Mystery Series)
By K. D. Hays
For years after her divorce, Karen Maxwell handled administrative paperwork for her brother’s private investigation agency while he ran around town doing the “fun” part—the investigation. When his partner retires, he finally offers her a chance to take a case of her own. She soon finds out why. The assignment involves the theft of the local historical society’s most treasured artifact, and her brother figures everyone involved is a little crazy. While Karen poses as a volunteer at the site to catch the thief, she meets a host of dedicated historical re-enactors, one of whom happens to be tall, handsome and unmarried.


Gone With the Groom


Gone with the Groom (The Bridal Mayhem Mystery Series)
By Janice Hanna
The best laid plans of brides and men go awry when Annie Peterson’s future son-in-law Scott disappears. Have pre-wedding jitters caused Brandi’s fiance to take flight, or are more sinister forces at work? Surely Annie can solve the riddle. But who could be behind this apparent kidnapping caper? Maybe the drug company Scott works for has hidden motives. Perhaps it’s the handiwork of Otis, Scott’s deceitful dad. But then again it could be the shady wedding photographer, or the “political enemies” of Scott’s mother. Will Annie solve the mystery and recover the missing groom, or will she suffer “regrets only”?


Homicide At Blue Heron Lake

Homicide at Blue Heron Lake (The Mainely Mysteries Series)
By Susan Page Davis and Megan Elaine Davis
Emily Gray returns to the lakeside community of Baxter, Maine, expecting a peaceful week in her family's island cottage. Instead, she and her high school crush, Nate Holman, discover the body of Henry Derbin, an elderly island resident. Amid rekindling her old friendship with Nate and trying to make sense of the murder, Emily shares her faith with an old schoolmate. When a second body turns up, the cottagers on Grand Cat Island are frightened and baffled. Is this why Mr. Derbin forbade everyone from going on his land? Can Emily and Nate overcome past hindrances to their romance long enough to dig up clues that will help solve both murders?



Inn Plain Sight

Inn Plain Sight (The Massachusetts Mayhem Mystery Series)
By Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery
Come along as bride-to-be Casey Alexander works to solve the murder that hijacked her shower. She’ll find that the victim’s propensity for blackmail, gossip, and downright meanness has created a long list of suspects. Unfortunately, Casey’s fiancé is at the top of the list. Armed with her ever present Post-It Notes and the help of her best friend, Casey follows the clues to a killer hiding in plain sight.


Kitty Litter Killer

Kitty Litter Killer (The Mayhem in Maryland Series)
By Candice Speare Prentice
Trish Cunningham is pussyfooting with a murderer. Amateur sleuth Trish has retired from her short-lived crime-solving foray. No more walking deliberately into danger. Now her short-term goal is to see her best friend, Abbie, marry fiancé, Eric Scott, in three weeks. But the brutal murder of Abbie’s ex-husband could ruin the nuptials, especially since Abbie was the last one seen with him—when they had a hostile argument at the local convenience store. With evidence pointing at Abbie and the possibility of jail looming in her best friend’s future, Trish comes out of her self-imposed sleuth retirement. And as the clock ticks down to the wedding date, Trish once again puts herself in reach of a murderer’s claws—this time to protect her best friend.


Murder in the Milk Case

Murder in the Milk Case (The Mayhem in Maryland Series)
By Candice Speare Prentice
Will Trish Cunningham’s discovery sour her on milk forever? When mommy and wife Trish Cunningham finds the body of pharmacist Jim Bob Jenkins behind the two-percent milk, she know she’s having a bad day. Worse, she’s a suspect in the murder. Sleuthing to exonerate herself from criminal charges, she shakes up a murderer who has nothing to lose by killing anyone in the way—including Trish.

Nipped in the Bud


Nipped in the Bud (Garden Gate Mysteries)
By Susan Sleeman
WHEN YOU FIND YOUR BOSS PUSHING UP DAISIES. . .
Life in full bloom, landscape designer, Paige Turner, scores her first landscaping contract to spruce up the park, her radio talk show shoots to number one, and her retail shop is simply blossoming. Yes, her life is a bed of roses. Until she finds City Manager, Bud Picklemann served up on the blade of her favorite shovel mere hours after she’s threatened to have his head on a platter, then the thorns come out. And there is none thornier than the local police chief declaring Paige the one and only suspect and threatening to plow her under.

YOU’VE GOT TO FORMULATE A PLANT OF ATTACK . . .
Paige teams up with dashing attorney, Adam Hayes to weed through the list of suspects, and clear her soiled reputation. A bigmouthed Parrot who often spouts Mr. T-isms, and a giant pickle mascot join in quirky Paige’s quest to once again cultivate control of her life.

The Wedding Caper (The Bridal Mayhem Mystery Series)

The Wedding Caper (The Bridal Mayhem Mystery Series)
By Janice Hanna
When a $25,000 night deposit mysteriously disappears from the Clark County Savings and Loan, Annie Peterson, has reason to be concerned and to assume the role of amateur sleuth. Her husband’s job at the bank makes him a potential suspect, but knowing him to be a godly man, she can’t imagine it. Then again, there is that matter of the weddings to factor in. Twin daughters Brandi and Candy have just received proposals and two weddings are pending. Sure, Warren occasionally jokes about robbing the bank to pay for the ceremonies, but Annie knows him better than that…doesn’t she?


Treasure at Blue Heron Lake

Treasure at Blue Heron Lake (The Mainely Mysteries Series)
By Susan Page Davis and Megan Elaine Davis
Emily Gray has accepted a job working for the Baxter Journal and plans a feature story on Lakeview Lodge. Owner Jeff Lewis tells her and Nate Holman a mysterious legend about a hidden treasure and murder. Now the hunting lodge is plagued by an intruder who thumps around in the night. Nate and Emily try to help their friend discover who is invading the resort. Things turn more sinister over the Christmas holidays, when one of Jeff’s employees is murdered, with Jeff as a suspect. Is the legend of an old lumber baron’s lost treasure behind the crimes? Jeff’s faith is shaky, and his family rejects him. Nate and Emily try to help him through the crisis. In the midst of the turmoil, Nate graduates from the Police Academy and proposes to Emily. Their life together begins with unmasking the murderer at Lakeview Lodge.


Where the Truth Lies


Where the Truth Lies (The Massachusetts Mayhem Mystery Series)
By Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery
Casey Alexander refuses to believe her aunt committed suicide. Convinced a murderer is hiding out in her aunt’s sleepy hometown, she’ll do anything to uncover the truth. But as her personal investigation produces mounting evidence, the danger to Casey grows. Now she’ll be forced to trust certain residents of Pine Mills for help, including local nursery owner, Luke Kerrigain…the man with whom she’s falling in love with…and who may be stalking her. Prompted by strange clues and a mysterious stranger, Casey does a little more digging. The secrets she unearths will turn lives upside down and threaten the peace in Pine Mills’ small community—especially when she discovers that the truth can sometimes be hidden in a lie.



Worth Its Weight in Old (Karen Maxwell Mystery Series)
By K.D. Hays
Paintings slashed... Furniture broken… Someone is wreaking havoc at the Blue Moon Art & Antiques Gallery. Fledgling private investigator Karen Maxwell goes undercover as a salesclerk to find out who’s behind the vandalism, and why. She learns little from friendly clerk Vicki and Eric, the shop’s surly, tight- lipped porter, would run over her with a hand truck before he’d answer any questions. The guilt may even lay with the shop owners themselves, despite the fact that they’re the ones who hired her.

Karen’s investigation seems to be going nowhere—just like her once-promising relationship with Brian, the handsome blacksmith who could sweep her off her feet in a minute… if he’d ever take a break from working with the church youth group. Frustration mounts as her dreams of romantic evenings turn into endless rehearsals for the church Christmas play. If Karen can’t crack the case soon, she may find herself busted back to plain, old office manager, her dreams of a career as a private investigator—and a life with Brian—as old and busted as the Blue Moon’s vandalized antiques.