Friday, April 30, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different!

ARTHUR: What are you going to do, bleed on me?
BLACK KNIGHT: I'm invincible!
ARTHUR: You're a loony.


Mayra shares some great query tips at Sharing with Writers

Marvin shows us how to keep our prose strong at The Old Silly

Helen reveals that even MORE adult authors are jumping on the YA bandwagon at Straight From Hel

What began as a simple challenge for Arlee at Tossing It Out The A-Z Challenge has inspired so many and Monday is feedback day for those who participated. You won’t want to miss it!

One of the A-Z participants talks about the honesty of bloggers at Alex J. Cavanaugh


Terry - "I cutz out the katnip kupon for u."

Stephen - “And that crazy dog said I couldn't punch my way out of a wet paper sack!”


May 1 is my 19th wedding anniversary! Between a rough schedule and time away from the love of my life, I will be offline all weekend. (I promised!) However, The Sunday Sillies will go up as usual.

Amazing to think that we met when we were twenty-two and have now known each other for half of our lives. My husband claims he can't even remember his life without my presence!

Pits, I guess I just revealed my age, didn't I...?

Our wedding day, May 1, 1991, in Albuquerque, NM.


Let me introduce Mr. Green Mamba! He lives at the snake museum in Wilmington, NC. As I discovered, snakes do not like camera flashes - so make a mental note to avoid using a camera flash to escape a snake in the wild. Mr. Green Manba tolerated three photos before he struck at me!
Spunky the photographer - annoying the animal kingdom one critter at a time!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Promo Thursday - The Bookmark

Bookmarks are designed to hold your place in a book.

But, are you using it to its fullest potential as a marketing tool?

From the obvious to the creative-

Hand them out at signings.
Send one to all fans and friends.
Send one in every letter!
Leave one signed for your waitress or waiter.
Leave a stack at the library.
Send stacks to school libraries.
Save postage-paid return envelopes and include one with a short note - "Thanks, but I'm not interested in ___, but perhaps you'd like to read my book?"
Leave them in doctor and dentist's offices.
Send stacks to bookstores.
Carry them everywhere and hand to those you tell about your books.
Leave one at every business you visit.
Include extra bookmarks with any book you sell or give away.
Include one with gifts.
And the totally unethical - stash one in your competition's book at the bookstore. (Yes, I confess, I've done this!)

What are some other creative ways you can use a bookmark to market your book?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Photo Tuesday - Moving On

Today is a little tribute to some of the wonderful people I've met during my journey with The Circle of Friends.

I never set out to write a YA series, let alone five books.

Thanks to the fans, friends, bloggers, and awesome people I've met along the way.

I've lived and breathed these characters for years now. They've made me angry, made me cry... I've even dreamed about them!

While I will continue to make appearances and promote my series, it's time to move on with another project.

As I stated yesterday, it will be a teen version of my non-fiction book, Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK!

After that... I'm not sure.

I have ideas for another fiction book, with an emphasis on fantasy, horror, and love.

At this point in my life, I don't know if I'll ever write it, though.

Fiction is the toughest sell, both to readers and to the media.

My non-fiction title continues to be my best seller and I'll likely stick with non-fiction for a while. Since speaking is what pays the bills, I need to continue building my credibility as a speaker, and that means non-fiction.

I'm also really, really beat at the moment, and need to do something that will uplift ME.

In addition, I need to find out what path God wants me to take. Where will I be the most effective as an author?

Thanks once more to those who enjoyed The Circle of Friends. I hope those books inspired and made a difference in your life!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tales From the Bookshelf Special

Welcome to my new blog format! Let me know what you think. I still need to add a few links and adjust my header.

This is also a special bookshelf as I adjust to changes.

I am revamping my posting schedule:
Monday - Tales from the Bookshelf
Tuesday - Photo Tuesday
Thursday - Promotional tips and guest posts
Friday - And now for Something Completely Different
Sunday - The Sunday Sillies

I'm still promoting my YA series, The Circle of Friends, and soon I will launch a new book project - a teen version of Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! In a few weeks I will dive headlong into research for that book.

Thank you to everyone who's hung with me for the past two months. Between an uber-big virtual tour and my speaking engagements, I've not had the time to visit as many bloggers (or anyone else) as I would like. I hope to get back on track, refreshed and ready to attack the world again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Sunday Sillies

Because they're just not as funny on Wednesdays...

Don't forget to provide a caption for the last one!

Sorry I missed last week's on Friday - the caption winner is below.

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

Cute Baby Animal - Mrs. Frisby Is Busy

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

Cute Baby Animal - Lumbar Roll

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

The winning captions from last Sunday's caption challenge:
From Laura - "If I throw my poo at those tourists, will they throw it back?"
From Lee - "What should I blog about today?"

And now, provide YOUR funny caption!

Friday, April 23, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"I warned you! But did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew it all, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny, isn't it?"

What's completely different? I'm actually HOME today!!!

And I put this together this morning, too! LOL


Helen gives us some publishing stats - Straight From Hel

B. Miller wrote this excellent piece about plotting a murder - B. Miller Fiction

Elana talks about the first draft - Elana Johnson

Jamieson got to meet Christopher Moore - Jamieson Wolf

Elizabeth talks about dropping clues about our characters - Mystery Writing is Murder

What participants are saying about Arlee’s A - Z Challenge - Tossing it Out

Alex unveiled his new book cover today - Alex J. Cavanaugh

Just named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers - Mystery Writing is Murder - and today Elizabeth outlines how to set up a blog.

Harper Studio is folding - Southern Review of Books


In the middle of my insane road trips this week, I spent a couple hours with my friend and mentor, author p.m. terrell. Trish is SO awesome! She is so positive and genuine, one cannot remain down in her presence.

She told me an interesting story - an observation on human behavoir.

A couple years ago, she was invited to an author event at a university in Charleston. They did a poor job advertising it, had no signs out, and hid it in a room no one could find. After an hour, she said a man stood in the middle of the room and loudly announced that he was way too important an author to waste his time at such a poorly attended event. She said he was a very arrogant subsidy-published author with one book. (BTW - Trish has an agent and many books with her current publisher.)

Two days later, she arrived at the Book 'Em event in New Hampshire. Janet Evanovich arrived and discovered that her books had not arrived from the publisher. Now Janet is BIG time - no one would've faulted her for leaving. Instead, she sent her husband to the local bookstore to purchase every book of hers they had in stock, while she ran to a local bakery and purchased donut holes for everyone. Trish said every person who met Janet was in awe - "Janet Evanovich gave me a donut!"

Wow! Now that is something to think about...


I met Judy Hoffman a few years ago when she attended one of my seminars. Judy is an author and member of the NSA, and she contributed a quote for my book, Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK!
Judy came out to the Administrative Professionals Appreciation Lunch in Clayton, NC and heard me speak. She even purchased a copy of Book I for her granddaughter! The people we meet in this business are just too cool...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Someone's Turning 50!

No, not me! I still have six years to go.

But Crystal at Crystal Clear Proofing is 50 today!!!

Crystal has been offline due to surgery and has missed everyone tremendously. Go show her some love and wish her a happy birthday!

And speaking of birthdays, Karen at Following the Whispers turns 61 this Saturday!

Anyone else?

And thank you so much for the comments yesterday while I was traveling. I have another engagement today, but it's relatively close. Thursday is another long day again... Spunky is beat and looks forward to visiting everyone when she returns!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photo Tuesday - Losing Focus

As authors, there's so many ways we can lose focus.

We can lose focus as we are writing. What began as a great idea suddenly becomes fuzzy.
Perhaps we did not outline a clear path.
Maybe the concept lost steam.
At some point, we'll need to make a decision - go back and redesign the the storyline, set it aside for the time being, or scrap it completely.

A completed project can lack focus.
We discover during the editing phase that things are not clear.
We might be trying to include too many characters or subplots.
Our writing might meander in too many directions.
If our book lacks focus, readers will give up and surrender.
We will need to tighten up our work, possibly relying on test readers to point out the problem areas.

Our initial reason for writing can lose focus.
What began as a passion becomes routine and dull.
Our enthusiasm wanes and we forget what we were trying to accomplish.
The daily grind and endless demands on our time can eat away at our purpose.
We need to return to that spark, to that moment of child-like wonder and rekindle our excitement.

Our future path loses clarity.
Rejection wears on our desire to continue.
Even success causes us to wonder how we will repeat that moment.
We feel as if we are struggling to move forward and our path is blocked.
We grow weary and start to retreat.

This is where the power of friendship comes in. This is where a suuport team of fans, friends, and cheerleaders help us to find our path again. It's the community of those blazing their own trail that encourage us to set new goals and keep moving forward. These very people can help us at every stage, regardless of where we've lost our focus.

I believe in this power!

And where I'm at in my life right now, I am really counting on it, too.

BTW - I'm on the road all day today. Seminar this morning, speaking engagement this evening. The highlight will be the time in between the two events, as I will spend a few hours with my mentor, author p.m. terrell. I will really need that boost, too!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Sunday Sillies

More silly in every bite!

Don't forget to provide YOUR caption for the last photo - best one will be featured this Friday.

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

Cute Baby Animal - ROFLphant

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

epic fail photos Hand Rail Fail

funny pictures of cats with captions

Cute Baby Animal - What Do Rats Dream?

funny pictures of cats with captions

Your turn!

Provide a coption for this photo:

Friday, April 16, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"Run away! Run away! Run away! Run away!"

Special thanks to everyone who has commented here, especially as I've been gone almost all week!


Today's news is a little different. I selected some great bloggers with some fascinating posts.

Talli asks about Writing Rituals

Helen asks Will the iPad open new markets? and gives us hope with How to Succeed as an Author

Galen humorously describes New Mexico Chili Cookofff (I’ve lived there - Galen nails both the chili and a Southerner’s reaction!)

Shannon speaks of the Miracles in her life.

Rayna shares a wonderful Journey

CC covers illiteracy and provides the ladies with some nice Pictures

Alex shares his favorite genre Movies and reviews the IPad

B. Miller shares a fascinating piece entitled Lycanthropy Awareness

And Marvin advises us on writing Show and Tell

Two bloggers are hosting a Giveaway for Book V - you still have a chance to win!
La Femme Readers and Find your Next Book Here


Two again this week - you guys make it difficult to choose!
Christina "Warm window... on mah belleh... feelz niiiiiiiice."

CC "If I could just reach the close yet so far away..."


Jai was sweet enough to give me the Sunshine Award! That's twice now - thanks Jai!


It's baseball season!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Since Spunky is one the road A BUNCH this week, Marvin Wilson at The Old Silly’s Free Spirit Blog has been gracious enough to provide a guest post!

Swift Wolf has been sitting for two days and one night now, praying. Praying to the Grandfathers and the Spirit of the Deer. His tribe needs meat. He is ravenous with hunger and extremely thirsty, having fasted all this time. It's the Way of the Hunt. He must obey the laws of the Grandfathers and the Great Spirit in order for the hunt to be successful, so that his people may eat and receive good energy and blessings from the food. He sits. Still. Silent.

He hears a rustling, and suddenly the deer presents itself to him. Eye to eye in full view, a short arrow's thrust away in the clearing.
Swift Wolf stands, maintaining eye contact with the deer. Neither of them are afraid, both of them know that what is to happen now is The Way. Swift Wolf puts an arrow in his bow, pulls back the string and saying a prayer of thanks lets the arrow fly. The aim is perfect, penetrating the deer's heart and sending it to the ground in the throes of certain and swift death.

Swift Wolf runs up to the deer, still praying, pulls out his knife and slits the deer's throat to end its life and pain as fast as possible. Blood gushes forth, but the parched Swift Wolf cannot drink yet. First he must pray.

He prays for the spirit of the deer. He prays that its spirit will be received well and be blessed in the afterlife; that its rebirth will be a fortuitous one, that it will be rejoined with its friends and family who have passed on from this world before it. And he prays his thanks, his gratitude to the Grandfathers and the Spirit of the Deer for allowing this transfer of life, this exchange of energy, this gift of food for his peoples' sustenance.

Then, and only then, after finishing an hour in worshipful, respectful and gratitude-giving prayer and meditation, he drinks of the life giving blood and cuts out the deer's heart and eats.


Cameron closed the book. Great story. What amazing connectedness, such enlightenment. Native Americans. So integrated with nature the way they lived their lives, the way they only took what was needed, and always lived in harmony with the universe. So debt free with their karma. Incredible.

Cameron's wife was standing in the sitting room doorway. "Time to eat, honey, dinner's on."

“Great. I'm famished. Haven't eaten a thing since breakfast. What's for supper?"

"Your favorite … steak."

Thanks, Marvin!
Please visit Marvin's blog The Old Silly’s Free Spirit Blog for more silliness.
Marvin's oustanding works:
Owen Fiddler - Amazon
I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie) - Amazon
Between the Storm and the Rainbow - Amazon
And of course, his awesome book trailer for Owen Fiddler!

Youtube Embed:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tales From the Bookshelf

Today's tale covers marketing books for authors!

I was hard pressed to narrow this list to just a few books, as so many great ones reside on my shelf. But I've selected five marketing books that cover the aspects of book promotion in full detail.

Publicize Your Book: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves
by Jacqueline Deval

Publisher: Penguin Group
Paperback, 320pp
ISBN-13: 9780399534317
This book starts with how to write a marketing plan and runs through hiring a publicist and online marketing. It's geared toward the author with a publisher, but self-published authors will also benefit.

From Book to Bestseller: An Insider's Guide to Publicizing and Marketing Your Book!
by Penny Sansevieri,
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Paperback, 364pp
ISBN-13: 9781600370854

Penny's book packs in a lot of different ideas in short, easy to follow chapters. She also lists addresses and websites.

1001 Ways to Market Your Books
by John Kremer
Publisher: National Book Network
Paperback, 700pp
ISBN-13: 9780912411491

The most concise and detailed book on marketing. John updates this book often to keep up with addresses and websites. A 1001 ways means that every author will find a plethora of ideas in this book.

Frugal Book Promoter : How to Do What Your Publisher Won't
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher: Star Publish
Paperback, 288pp
ISBN-13: 9781932993103

Not just frugal - deatiled! Tons of ideas, complete with websites for further exploration. (Which means it could take months to get through all the information - but that's a good thing!)

Jump Start Your Book Sales: A Money-Making Guide for Authors, Independent Publishers and Small Presses
by Marilyn Ross, Tom Ross
Publisher: Communication Creativity
Paperback, 328pp
ISBN-13: 9780918880413

Covers a lot of great ideas, with quotes and blurbs to further spur your imagination. The side notes alone are worth the price of this book.

All of these books are excellent resources for any author or writer, especially those who've not yet embarked on the journey of promotion!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Author Robert Elmer

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Wildflowers of Terezin
Abingdon Press (April 2010)
by Robert Elmer


Robert Elmer is a former pastor, reporter and as copywriter who now writes from he home he shares with his wife Ronda in northern Idaho. He is the author of over fifty books, including eight contemporary novels for the adult Christian audience and several series for younger readers. Combined, his books have sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Like his popular "Young Underground" youth series, Wildflowers of Terezin was inspired by stories Robert heard from his Denmark-born parents and family. When he's not sailing or enjoying the outdoors, Robert often travels the country speaking to school and writers groups.


When nurse Hanne Abrahamsen impulsively shields Steffen Petersen from a nosy Gestapo agent, she’s convinced the Lutheran pastor is involved in the Danish Underground. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But truth is hard to come by in the fall of 1943, when Copenhagen is placed under Martial Law and Denmark’s Jews—including Hanne—suddenly face deportation to the Nazi prison camp at Terezin, Czechoslovakia. Days darken and danger mounts. Steffen’s faith deepens as he takes greater risks to protect Hanne. But are either of them willing to pay the ultimate price for their love?

The book link is:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Sunday Sillies

Those cats are back!

Don't forget to add your caption to the last photo - winner announced on Friday!

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

Now it's YOUR turn!!