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TusCon is this weekend! (Nov. 10-12)

Night MovesNovember is a busy month. Hot on the heels of Halloween I have ten birthdays to celebrate (including mine) and Thanksgiving. But perhaps best of all is TusCon, a three day indulgence in various forms of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. Films, authors, art, dealers, anime, and gaming fill every moment from Friday afternoon through Sunday.

BTW, to celebrate, I’m giving away NIGHT MOVES: a Short Story Sampler over the weekend (Nov. 10-12). If you come to the convention you can pick up a physical copy, or you can download it from Amazon.

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Why I Write Redux

I thought this was worth sharing as a good example of writer-brain. I’ve had many a conversation with myself like this one.

Source: Why I Write Redux

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Honoring Those Who Serve(d)

I come from a military family. My dad was a fighter pilot and career Air Force officer. My brother also served in the Air Force. My husband’s dad was in the Army, my husband in the Reserves, my godson’s dad was Navy and his brothers Marines. I live in a town where lots of former military retire and the Air Force base is a big influence on the local economy.

Despite that, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Memorial Day parade or service. Military service was ordinary, just part of my family’s life. We never made a big deal out it. And yet when I stop to think about what those men chose to do, I realize how extraordinary and praise-worthy their choices were–and are. Some of their duty assignments were dangerous, others were supportive, but all were necessary.

I’m a little shy of saying it out loud, so I’ll say it here: I’m grateful every day for those who serve, including police and fire fighters, and I’m grateful when they come home safely.

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Win Free eBooks from 45+ Authors!

pararomI’m cross promoting LIGHTBRINGER with other Paranormal Romance authors and that means you have the chance to win Free books! Just click on the graphic to enter.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!


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Tucson Festival of Books This Weekend!

The 9th Tucson Festival of Books is this weekend and I’m looking forward to attending. I’m only an author now because I started out as a book lover. If you’re near Tucson and love books as I do, you should think about spending at least part of the weekend on the U of A mall. It’s a fabulous event and it’s FREE!

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Happy Presidents’ Day! And a Free Book!

DangerousTalents2_600x900On President’s Day we honor Washington and Lincoln, two of America’s best leaders. They were men of honor, integrity, determination, and humor–characteristics I try to build into my heroes.

Lord Dahleven is that kind of hero, so to celebrate, I’ve made DANGEROUS TALENTS Free for a limited time. This is your chance to discover where the lost Vinland colony disappeared to, meet their Viking descendants, and cheer on a modern woman who finds herself in a very different world. If you’ve already read it, thank you!

You can help out by telling your friends about this sale, and by leaving an honest review on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few sentences will do. Customer reviews really do make a difference to authors and help other readers find books they’ll enjoy.

Thank you again for subscribing to my newsletter. And stay tuned for the announcement of a new book release very soon!

Happy reading!

P.S. If you’d like to see a list of all of my books, check out my Amazon Author page.

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Happy Holidays!

imagest1dg40qoSending all of my fans a big Thank You! for reading. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and that however and whatever you celebrate, it is filled with laughter and joy. May 2017 bring you more of what you want, less of what you don’t, and lots of time to relax with a good book.

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Save The Date!

November 10-12, 2017

That’s when TusCon 44 will be held with Kim Stanley Robinson as Author Guest of Honor.


G.R.R.M. and young fan.

TusCon 43 wrapped up Sunday night. George R. R. Martin, Peri Charlifu, William Malone, James Perry II, Edward Bryant, Geoff Notkin, and Elizabeth Gracen were the headliners, and  over 100 other author and artist guests attended as well. This convention was larger than past TusCons, but thanks to hard work and planning it retained the relaxed atmosphere that this convention is known for. (Disclaimer: I’m on the committee as Guest Liaison, but the real heavy lifting is done by a slew of other talented and hardworking people who volunteer their time and effort.)

I spoke on three panels and had a fabulous time seeing old friends and making new ones. I shared one of those panels, “Strange Bedfellows: Do Angels and Demons make good heroes?” with long time friend and author, Roxy Rogers. (Be sure to check out her story, “Gabriel’s Release”  a prequel to her forthcoming Angels Descending series.) Angels and demons are on my mind these days because after some delay, I’m finishing up GUARDIAN, the second book in my Celestial Affairs series which will be available in early 2017.

On the new friend front, I shared a panel and autograph session with actress, author, producer, and dog lover Elizabeth Gracen who is as charming as she is talented. I also got to meet Jeffe Kennedy, who writes romantic fantasy (and many other things), and traded books with her. I’m looking forward to reading her new books, THE PAGES OF THE MIND, and it’s sequel THE EDGE OF THE BLADE.

I could go on and on about the excellent programing, the full video and anime schedule, the outstanding art show, dealers, and gaming, not to mention the phenomenal hospitality suite,  but I don’t have enough superlatives. Instead, I’ll exhort you to save the date and buy a membership to next year’s TusCon. (There will be a Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale. Price will be $45.)

Happy reading!

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Dangerous Talents FREE Today

DangerousTalents2_600x900DANGEROUS TALENTS is FREE today. A lot of you have already read this book (Thank you!), but just in case you haven’t, or you have a friend you’d like to recommend it to, you can get it free through today. Tomorrow it will go back to its regular price.


If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to sign up for my new release newsletter and get a free fantasy short story. I’ll never, ever share your email, and you’ll be the first to learn about new books and special offers. To sign up just tap on GET A FREE STORY in the Navigation bar.

Thanks for reading!

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Sell It!

Most readers want to like the protagonists of the books they read. Even if the main character has a long way to grow to become likable at the beginning of the book, they had better have something that makes them sympathetic or the reader is going to find someone else to spend time with. Most commercial fiction is populated with sympathetic characters, people we want to root for. But what about when your otherwise likable character makes a mistake?

There’s an old saying among writers, “Reality is no excuse for fiction.” That means that just because something happened in real life, if it’s weird or unlikely you probably shouldn’t have it happen in your book. (The only exception to this maxim is when it makes things worse for your hero, and even then you have to be careful.) We’ve all made boneheaded mistakes, done things that in hindsight we can’t believe we did, things we should have known better than to do. That doesn’t mean our characters get to be stupid, though. They can make mistakes, but you’d better give them a good reason to be blind to the right path or your readers will let you hear about it. And you’d better sell it.

You can hit all your marks, give your character the right emotional backstory that perfectly justifies her inability to trust, or commit, or stop being a workaholic, but if the reader doesn’t feel it, they won’t believe it.

So how do you do that?

  • Understand your characters. Have at least a basic knowledge of your characters before you start so you know where they’re coming from. This makes it easier for you to know how the character will choose between A and B as they progress through the story. It’s okay to build up that background as you go along, just be sure you go back in the revision phase to make everything consistent.
  • Multiple layers. You can’t just tell the reader that the character was hurt by her boyfriend and you can’t do it  just once. Show how that experience is still affecting her years later, in several different ways. Then you can show how the events of the story are causing her to grow beyond that old, limiting experience.
  • Which brings us to: Show, don’t tell. I know, this is an oldie. And you don’t have to show everything. Sometimes telling is the right way to move a story along. But putting a reader IN a scene, so they can watch how it unfolds and how the character reacts, rather than being TOLD about what happened, helps the reader feel it.
  • Tell it from a different character’s perspective. Sometimes you can break the above rule (sort of) by having another character tell about something that shaped the protagonist. By showing that other character’s reaction to the events, you guide the reader’s reaction as well.

That being said, even if you do everything right, you won’t sell it to every reader, every time.

Writing a novel or short story isn’t as much of a group effort as writing for Hollywood, where directors and actors interpret the writer’s work before the audience ever sees it, but it’s still collaborative. Obviously, your editor will have some input. Less obvious is what the reader brings to the story. Every reader has his or her own way of viewing the world. Sometimes that bias prevents them from understanding why a certain experience shaped the character a certain way. The character’s reaction is not what they would have done. If you do your job well, most readers will be able to experience the world through the mind and the heart of your character for that little time they’re inside your  creation. But the magic doesn’t always work. Not every book is a good fit for every reader, every time. And that’s okay. If the author does her job, the rest of the story will be satisfying enough for the reader to keep turning the pages, even when the character makes a mistake.

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For the 28th and 29th of September, DANGEROUS TALENTS will be Free. This is the last time this year that the first Vinlanders’ Saga book will be on sale.

And if you haven’t already done so, you can get a Free fantasy story by signing up for my VIP Newsletter. Just click on Get a Free Story in the Nav bar above. (I won’t spam your inbox or share your email. The only time you’ll hear from me is when I have a new book or when a book goes on sale.)

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