Reading for Fun

Over the years, I’ve heard several authors say they don’t have time to read anymore. That always makes me sad, because a love of reading is usually what got us into this business. It’s easy to see how it happens. Life is busy, and there’s a lot of pressure to produce new words faster. And if you’re an independent publisher too, you have all that work, as well. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

About six months ago I started putting “Read for fun” on my daily to-do list. I was doing it anyway (I’m self-indulgent that way) but by making it an action item that I got to cross off, I acknowledged it as something that is important to me and a worthy use of my time. At the end of the day it’s a high priority item and an escape from all the ought-to-have-dones. It gives me a chance to learn from other writers, too, but mostly, I read because it’s part of who I am and I refuse to give it up. The hardest part of my recent cataract surgery was not being allowed to read for a WHOLE DAY! (I watched Hallmark movies instead.)

So I hope you’re able to make time for reading in your life, and that my books are at the top of your TBR pile. (Of course!) 😉 And if you’ve already read all my books, I encourage you to check out Teyla Branton’s Imprints series. It’s more mystery than romance, with the heroine using her newly developed psychic abilities to solve crimes.

Happy reading!

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Tucson Festival of Books Rocks It Again

Last weekend I attended the Tucson Festival of Books (TFOB). I heard some great speakers including Michael McFaul, Dan Lyons, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Marsheila Rockwell, Jeffrey Mariotte, Geoff Notkin, and Melissa Koberlein on topics that ranged from “Democracy and the Free Press” to Vampire Wars to cover design.

I also had great conversations with historical novelist Kris Tualla and paranormal romance author Deena Remiel. And then there were the chance encounters with strangers. One man told me about the family history he was writing, another discussed her mystery series featuring disabled detectives, and a third told me about the burgeoning cannabis/hemp industry in Canada.

TFOB (the 3rd largest book festival in the US) gets better every year and it shouldn’t be missed–even if it is a bit like trying to get a drink out of a fire hose. It’s always held during the University of Arizona’s spring break so be sure to put it on your calendar for next year!

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Win a Free Book!

I’m participating in an ebook Giveaway with over 25 paranormal romance and mystery authors.  And one lucky reader will win a copy of all the books! This contest closes on March 4, so sign up now.

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Tell me what you think…

I’ve planned out 2019 and the writing has resumed on APOSTATE, book three in the Celestial Affairs series. One of my recent tasks was writing a product description for the back of the book and the online store.

What do I think about when I compose one of these?

  • Who is the story about? This may seem obvious, but sometimes secondary CA.Apostate2characters want to shoulder their way onto this tiny stage. Don’t let them. (In this case, Dave carries a significant subplot, but I don’t think he belongs in the product description.)
  • What are the emotional stakes? Make them relatable. Why should the reader care?
  • Is the language strong and powerful?
  • What’s the main conflict or challenge?
  • Is the genre clear? (If this description doesn’t say “Paranormal Romance” then I failed.)

Here’s my first go at the blurb for APOSTATE. How well did I do?

Kellan’s job as an Enforcer for the secretive U’dahmi isolates him from other Celestials. He’s hidden thousands of years among humans who never knew who or what he really is. But when his partner disappears, Kellan must let a mortal woman with powerful psychic skills join him on the hunt.

An occult dynasty stole almost everything from Tasha. Her parents, her career, her friends. All she has left are her newly discovered abilities and the unexpected connection she has with a vampire-like U’dahmi. Dangerous or not, she’s not going to let him leave her behind.

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A Fairy Tale Discount

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror the gift giving season has officially begun. If you’re like me, you have a number of friends who prefer reading on their tablets and phones. Did you know that you can give them ebooks as gifts? It’s easy on Amazon. Just go to the product page of the book you want to give and click the button that says, “Buy for others.” Amazon will ask you to sign in, and then take you to a page where you can tell them who you want to give the gift to. They’ll let you schedule the gift for a particular day and even give you a place to write a note.

To make giving that gift a little easier (including to yourself), DARK WINTER’S NIGHT will be available as an Amazon Countdown for less than a buck through the 10th. (Sadly, Amazon’s Countdown feature is only available in the US and the UK. I’ll plan something soon that will be available to all my fans.)

DARK WINTER’S NIGHT is a short novel set in the Vinlanders’ Saga universe, but it stands alone. It was inspired by one of my favorite fairy tales, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” but I’ve put a Vinlanders’ Saga spin on it. If you’ve been wanting to read more about the Elves, or if you like grown-up fairy tales, this book is for you. (It has scenes meant for adult readers, so it’s not for kids.)

As always, thank you for reading! I hope you have a wonderful holiday celebration surrounded by the people you love, and that the new year is a happy one.

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Celebrate the 15th and 19th Amendments: VOTE!

Today is a wonderful day! It marks the end of those interminable political ads (at least for the next eighteen months). It’s also a day when U.S. citizens can exercise one of their most important rights.

A hundred years ago, women in the U.S. didn’t have a voice in the laws that governed them. Ninety-eight years ago, in August of 1920 the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, giving women the legal right to vote for their representatives. This, along with the 15th Amendment, which was ratified 50 years earlier, are part of what protect “We the People” from becoming powerless. Yes, “big money”  and foreign propaganda challenge this, but election results have shown more than once that when the voters want change, they can make it happen.

Don’t lie to  yourself and think your vote doesn’t matter. It does. If you haven’t already voted, get your ass to your polling place.  Thomas Jefferson said, “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” To that I would add, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

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Guilt, Rage, Love

I tend to avoid political discussion here. I think people read this blog to be entertained and read about what’s happening in my book worlds. But I can’t remain silent. In a week’s time we the people get to vote. It is our right and our privilege. Please pay attention to not only what the candidates have said, but how the incumbents have voted in the past. Look at the consequences of those votes and decide if that’s what you wanted done in your name.

The recent tragedy in Pittsburgh reminded me of a poem I read many years ago. Written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, it reminds us of our responsibility to speak up. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many versions:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Niemöller recited this poem in several different versions over the years. An early version, that Niemoller said he preferred read:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–

but that version wasn’t acceptable in the U.S. in the 1950s.

Other versions included the Roma, the “incurably sick,” the homosexuals.  And before we pat ourselves on our American backs because we didn’t kill 11 million people, there could easily be verses about Native Americans and Japanese Americans.

The Holocaust didn’t “just happen.” It was allowed to happen by ordinary citizens who didn’t see the warning signs or speak up when they did. I’m speaking up. America is strong because we are diverse, not in spite of it. Please remember that when you vote next week.

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Murder and Ghosts on Sale!

In the early part of this century (good grief that makes me sound old) I was a member of the Western Society for Paranormal Research. The organizer of the group is a PhD. who taught at the local Community College. I went on several ghost investigations in Bisbee, Tombstone, and Prescott, Arizona. While some of our equipment was the same as they used on Ghost Hunters, our protocol was very different–but we weren’t trying to make an exciting TV show. Sadly, the group disbanded, but while it existed I learned a lot about paranormal phenomena and had a couple of interesting experiences which weren’t easy to explain Veiled Mirroraway. I drew upon some of that as inspiration for VEILED MIRROR.

If you haven’t read it yet, VEILED MIRROR  is a paranormal romantic suspense and the kindle version is on sale this week for only 99 cents.  If you’ve already read it, Thank You!  Please let me know what you thought of it by leaving a review on Amazon and share your opinion with other readers.

Raised by a father who never recovered from his wife’s death, Beth and Ellie have always been close. So when Ellie’s husband, Chris, dies unexpectedly, Beth flies to her twin’s side to support her through her grief. But Ellie doesn’t accept the sheriff’s finding that her husband’s death was an accident. She believes he was murdered and she wants Beth to help her prove it. Beth is doubtful. Grief drove their father off the deep end, and she fears Ellie may be following in his footsteps.

Then tragedy strikes again, forcing Beth to accept help from beyond the grave to find a killer.

Get your copy of VEILED MIRROR for 75% off the regular price!

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The Joys of Revision

CA.Apostate2A while back I told you that I was about a third of the way through APOSTATE, Book Three in the Celestial Affairs series. I was sure at that time that I’d be closing in on finishing the 1st draft by now. Not so. I am, in fact, at about the halfway mark.

Why so slow? In addition to me not ever being a fast writer, I kept getting this nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I learned the hard way with FORBIDDEN TALENTS to listen to that voice. (It took me six months to figure out what was wrong with that book.) So I went back and revised. And pondered. And revised some more. As a result, I think APOSTATE will wind up being a better, more layered book, but it also won’t be released until early next year. (Here’s the cover, by the incomparable Jaycee DeLorenzo of Sweet N Spicy Designs.)

Some of my ponderings have led me to research PTSD, Domestic Abuse, and terrorism–and I’m not done yet. So wish me well, and I hope that when you finally read APOSTATE you think it was worth the wait. (And in the meantime, you can read books one and two if you haven’t already: LIGHTBRINGER  and GUARDIAN, as well as the “sidecar” novel BETRAYED BY TRUST.)

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Begin reading the Celestial Affairs series for FREE

Now that GUARDIAN, Book Two in the Celestial Affairs series is available, and Book Three is in the pipeline, I’ve made it easy for readers to get started on the series. And what could be easier than FREE? You may have already read LIGHTBRINGER. If so, I hope you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you thought of it by leaving a review on Amazon. And please let your friends know about the sale (which runs through July 18th).

FrankieRobertson_Lightbringer_800pxJared has been stuck on the Terrestrial Plane for over 160 years. He can’t return home without the help of his Celestial brethren, and since he failed at his previous assignments, they aren’t welcoming him back. Now they’ve given him another chance to prove himself. All he has to do is save a beautiful psychic from a demonic assassin who can look like anyone, and strike anywhere, anytime. Falling in love isn’t part of the plan.

LIGHTBRINGER was originally intended to be a stand-alone novel, but I (and my readers) quickly realized that there were a lot more stories to tell. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you, so if you haven’t yet stuck a toe into the Celestial Affairs universe be sure to take advantage of this sale and read the first book in the series for FREE. (And don’t miss BETRAYED BY TRUST, a prequel set in 1979.)

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