Thursday, May 31, 2012

Last stop on the tour!

Today I'm at Reader Girls, sharing a bit more about Dead to Rights, my dark paranormal. It's the last stop on the blog tour! And wow, the last day of May. How did that happen?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Final stops on the blog tour

May is winding down, and so is the blog tour for Dead to Rights, my dark paranormal novel. I'm so grateful to Decadent Publishing for arranging this tour! They're a really great publisher, always enthusiastic and supportive to their authors.

Today I'm at the wonderful Jessica E. Subject's Mark of the Stars blog for an interview. Hope you'll pop over and say hi.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Only 10 years in the making

I finally did it. I released Orion Rising on Amazon. I won't say this is necessarily the book of my heart, but I love it so much. I wrote it ten years (or more) ago, and literally spent years researching - the mythology of constellations, astronomy, the Sixties through the 90s (yes, I lived through those decades but didn't always pay attention!)

I'd subbed this to a few literary agents years ago, too, and had some interest but no real takers. I finally decided to take advantage of the ability to self-publish, and put it out there myself.

I'm so grateful to my wonderful niece, Meg Eubank, for allowing me to use that amazing photo for the cover. Love ya, Meg!

This 94k novel is a bit different in that it's told through three points of view of three siblings as they struggle with the death of their youngest brother.

So, while I don't expect it to take the literary world by storm, I do hope readers will love it as much as I do.

Orion Rising - literary family saga

Orion Rising
Available on Amazon
Literary novel

To the Byrne children, constellations were more than stick figures in the night sky. At their father’s telling, their myths became tales of adventure and romance for Percy, Allie, Mary and Aurie, whose names seem to imbue celestial royalty upon them. When the Orion River floods in 1965, the Byrne children are drawn to it like sailors to a siren’s call. After Aurie disappears in the river, their names seem more like a curse. Though self-imposed, the curse follows them through three decades before each learns the key to breaking it – love, and forgiveness. But sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.


(coming soon)

Casting Call
Who would Cate cast as these characters? Find out here.


The footfalls of Persephone, our father had always called it: the slow, steady patter of rain across the roof; the spring rains that, like Persephone, awoke the sleeping bulbs in the earth, the buds on the trees, unfurling, petal by petal, a world of color and life.  Persephone’s glad return to Earth from the dark depths of the shadowy, lifeless underworld of Hades signaled the beginning of a season of rebirth. I listened to the soft footfalls across the roof, wide-eyed, hoping to catch a glimpse of the fair maiden. She was more real to me than Santa Claus, whose gifts were only for one night; Persephone’s gifts changed the dreary winter world to spring.

But this spring was different. After a particularly long winter, a foot of snow remained on the ground for what seemed forever. In mid-March, Aurie and I watched from our front window as the snow piled above the bushes outside, until the snowmen in the front yard seemed to be swimming up to their necks in a frothy white sea. Sick of all that snow, we had tired of the usual sledding and skating; and the constant barrier of snow made either activity nearly impossible for long spurts of time. The snow lost its fluffy, shimmering quality and formed hard edges; dirty brown spots seeped further inward from the streets each day. Our mother tried to busy us with activities week after week, but we longed for sunshine, bike riding and roller skating – freedom from this white entrapment.

Even our father, who never hurried us, grew restless. A yearning edged his voice when he talked of wanting to use the new Unitron refractor telescope that Mom had given him for their fifteenth wedding anniversary the autumn before. The snows had kept thick, heavy clouds low over their heads, so the shelter of his attic observatory was of no use; we would all have to wait until the weather improved, he said.

Then, on the first of April, the temperature rose sharply to sixty degrees. Aurie and I watched from the window, and laughed at the steam rising from the snow, thinking it a wonderful April Fool’s Day joke. Swiftly the Orion River transformed from a white wasteland to a brown raging torrent, ripping away trees and anything else in its path. For days, the river crept further out of its banks and into nearby streets, invading homes and downtown businesses.

I thought it strange my parents spoke so often with neighbors. Worried, they listened intently to each news account, and kept a close watch on the flooding. On Willow Street, some families abandoned their homes in anticipation of disaster. We began moving some things to the upper floors, but the flood waters crested before Buttonwood Street residents had to evacuate.

Our parents resisted, but curiosity drew us all to the edge of the river to watch its destructive current.

"It's as if Mother Nature wants to wipe some of us off the face of the earth," Dad said.

Mom hugged Aurie close to her, warning, "Don't any of you come near this river until we say so. Do you hear?"

I couldn’t look away from the churning waters. This new river, so unfriendly, couldn’t be the same one to which Mom and Dad brought us on picnics. Nothing could live in this river. The current swept along large, ugly debris: ice chunks, tree branches, even small sheds from neighbors’ back yards.

Mom tugged us away. "Let's go home."

Hypnotized by its deft, frothy swirls, I didn’t move until her voice cracked with fear.

“Mary, let’s go.”

I glanced back. Percy and Allie already were walking toward home. Mom clutched Aurie against her. The fear in her eyes made her as unrecognizable as the river.

I should have known then. Everything was about to change.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Register today for Supernatural Saturday

Don't miss out on this fun event! On June 16, the Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop will host Supernatural Saturday at the Holly Inn in Mt. Holly Springs. Don't miss your chance to attend these sessions:

11:00 a.m. - Ghosts of Gettysburg
                    Mark Nesbitt

1:00 p.m. - Werewolves, Zombies, Apparitions and The Gates of Hell
                   George Appelt, Jennifer Harlow, Larry Kerr, Cate Masters
                   Moderated by Dennis Royer

2:00 p.m. - Mysterious Pennsylvania - Patty Wilson

3:00 p.m. - The Connection Between Shadow People, ETs and Djinn
                  Rosemary Ellen Guilley 

4:00 p.m. - Book signings

It costs only $20 per person to attend this one-day conference, which includes a buffet lunch. An incredible bargain!

For more information, contact Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop at: 717/795-7470
or email
or stop in at:
6 Clouser Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

SSS: Jeb's in a pickle

Hey Sixers! Hope you're having a fantastic Memorial Day weekend for those in the States, and for all others, a fantastic weekend. :)

Here's another peek at my Western historical, A Midwest Summer Night's Dream. In this scene, Jeb has agreed to hire on as Winona's guide to California - if she can find a suitable horse. Now he's wishing he hadn't.

Curses flew through Jeb’s head all day, but he cut them off before they reached his tongue. Stubborn woman, she’d cornered him like a fox in a hen house. Her chances were slim, but not impossible.

The mere thought of riding beside her, wind rifling through her hair…oh, what a pickle. He sure could use the cash, but the strain of avoiding her might do him in. He’d have to ride upwind so as not to catch her lilac scent, or the constant hard-on hitting the saddle might kill him.

Aw, that pic reminds me of the horse we used to own. I miss him. And that cowboy's pretty easy on the eyes, too! Too bad we didn't have guys like him hanging around our barn, ha!

Don't forget to check out the amazing array of authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Have a great week!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ripped from the headlines

Some events and news stories intrigue me so much, I incorporate them into stories. Find out how on the next tour stop at You Gotta Read.

And this weekend's the Horror Blurb Fest at TBR! Don't miss it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A launch to remember

Last night's book launch for A Community of Writers short story anthology was an incredible success. The Fredriksen library has the most wonderful supporters! So many people came out to hear the readings, attend the signing and most importantly, buy the anthology that will help keep this program running - for free. When I attended it years ago, that was such a fantastic benefit. Instructor Ann Elia Stewart is fun and engaging, not to mention an experienced and incredible writer herself. So to see that many attendees at the book launch was really heartwarming.

Even more heartwarming was the guest of honor - Mr. Craumer himself. Below is a photo of him talking about how he wanted to honor his wife, and decided to fund the writer workshops. His wife Natalie read a book a day for most of her life. Amazing!

Below are a few pics of the authors who gave readings last night. First up is Rayne Debski.

Here's Duffy Batzer, who read an excerpt from her humorous piece. "Oops, Said God."

Margaret DeAngelis, below, read part of her story, "Take Care"

Ann gave Mr. Craumer a copy of the anthology autographed by all the attending authors.

The party then moved downstairs, where Ann kicked it off with a champagne toast.

After that - pandemonium. I wanted to snap some more pics of the other authors, but so many people wanted their books signed, it was literally nonstop.

It was so great to see Ann again, and a few of the writers I attended the workshop with. If it hadn't been for Ann's workshop, I wouldn't have connected with my crit partners. We've kept our little group going ever since, and they have been my safety net as well as crit group. I love 'em!

If you're interested in getting a copy, I'd suggest buying directly from Sunbury Press to ensure that the money goes back to the Cleve Fredricksen library. I notice some resellers already have some new and "used" copies for sale on Amazon (doesn't that just kill you? It does me!), but please don't buy from them. Support this wonderful writing program and get yours right from Sunbury Press.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Launch party tonight!

Come to the Cleve J. Fredricksen Library at 100 North 19th Street in Camp Hill tonight for the launch of A Community of Writers: A Collection of Short Stories.

The party starts at 7:00 p.m. Many of the contributing authors will be on hand (including me), plus readings and a champagne toast! A party not to be missed. :)

All proceeds from sales of this collection will benefit the Cleve J. Fredericksen Library in Camp Hill, Pa., which sponsored the Natalie J. Craumer Writers Workshops I attended with a really great group of authors. The library offered the workshops at no charge, thanks to the support of husband of the late Natalie J. Craumer, who instituted the workshops to honor his wife's memory.

I'm happy to give back to the workshop by contributing two stories. I hope the anthology hits the bestseller lists to keep this great program going!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thin is sometimes not preferred

Thin bodies, yes. Thin blog posts, not so much. Sorry mine have been thin of late. But my time's been stretched so thin as to almost be transparent. I just have not been able to get online much. And when I do, my $#&! computer's acted wonky. I suspect last year's virus attack left my CPU a bit shaky and weak, and I fear it will collapse at some point.

But for now, the blog tour must go on! Today I'm at Simplistik, where the hero of my dark paranormal, Dead to Rights, is in the interview seat. Come over and learn what makes an angel tick - or what might tick him off. :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

SSS: Jeb's bath

Hey Sixers! Welcome back. Hope you had a great week!

Here's another look at my Western historical, A Midwest Summer Night's Dream. Jeb uses the same bath water Winona used earlier, and it has a strong effect:

I bear a charmed life no one said it better than Shakespeare, and Jeb could live no other way. Open skies and plenty of space suited his needs, with a borrowed book now and then to help chase away loneliness, but what tomes did Miss Young have stashed in her trunk?
The flash of an image through his mind stole his breath. Miss Young—Winona—dipping her hand into this water, letting it run along the skin of her arm, mass of chestnut waves pinned atop her head, long legs leaning against the tub sides, her curving bottom in the self-same spot his now sat. The vision hardened him with uncommon force, and he slid under the water, let the scented water cover him. Better to drown in a porcelain tub than in his own foolishness.

Ah, I love a well-read guy, don't you? :)

Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to check out the other Six Sentence Sunday authors. Something there for everyone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dead to Rights blog tour continues!

Three more blog spots this week! Two for the Dead to Rights blog tour, and another for my latest release, A Midwest Summer Night's Dream.

Today, I'm at Romance Books R Us for the Western historical, talking about rounding up heroes for stories. Yee haw, ha ha.

On Thursday, I'm at Lia Davis' blog with the topic, Weaving Unrelated Topics into a Story, and basing fiction partially off of actual events.

Friday, I'm at spotlighted at Readers' Eden (what a great blog name, huh?)

I hope you can pop over sometime and say hi. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Loves Blogfest

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for yet another fun event! The first loves blog fest celebrates the loves that started it all:  first movie, first song/band, first book, and first person.

First movie
Remember the days when movies were special treats, something you waited and waited for to appear on TV? You had to make sure you watched at a certain time on the scheduled night because there were no recorders, no DVDs, in fact not many conveniences of any kind. (And if you don't relate to this, you're too young!)

When I was a kid, we had three channels, and every year, I waited for this movie to be aired. It has so many great elements - fantasy, an evil witch, a bumbling wanna-be wizard, a spunky heroine. So many characters to root for. Even the Wiz. How many times have you repeated the line, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"?

First song/band
Too easy. The Beatles. I was six years old, and my brothers and sisters, all older than me, could talk about nothing else but them. The night they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show changed my life. I became a rabid fan even at that young age, and from then on, I couldn't get enough of their lyrics, their songs, their movies, their pictures.

First book
Aside from The Velveteen Rabbit? :) I loved Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft and others, but when I read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings, I loved everything about it - the characters, the world Tolkien created, the magic and fantasy and heroism. I was so relieved when the movies didn't trivilialize the books, but brought them to vivid life.

First love
I had a few crushes in my young life, but when I met my hubby, that was it. He was first, last and forever. I was nineteen when I married him after dating for six months, and we're still hanging in there. That's us back in 1977, when he dropped me off at my surprise wedding shower. (No laughing!)

And this is us a year and a half ago, finally celebrating our 33rd anniversary (a few years late) by sailing off into the sunset on a cruise ship.

Thanks for visiting! Don't forget to visit other blogs participating in the First Loves Blog Fest!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

SSS: Jeb meets Winona

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! Hope your kids bring you breakfast in bed and make your day memorable. You deserve it!

Here's another scene from A Midwest Summer Night's Dream, in which Jeb first meets Winona, who's just arrived on the stage coach. He's just finished complaining about the weight of her trunk when he gets a look at her:

Jeb rose along the bell shape of her skirt to where it curved in to her waist, jutted out to her ample bosom sadly confined behind the green fabric, along the graceful arch of her neck to her pinched rosebud mouth, flared nostrils, and dark eyes that sparkled like the clear night skies above a mountaintop. Within the bonnet, chestnut hair framed her heart-shaped face. Her stark stare and peach-blush complexion arrested him—she was no spinster. No chance of that, with her looks.

Still shielding the envelope against herself, she drew to her full height, nearly eye level with him. “The weight of civilization is well worthwhile, Mister…”

Thanks so much for visiting! And especially for your comments.

Don't forget to check out all the fantastic Six Sentence Sunday authors. Have a great week!

Double billed again today

What a crazy busy week! But very good. I'm so grateful for your support!

Today I'm at the Happily Ever After Thoughts blog. Hope to see you there!

And if you visit Coffee Time Romance, you can enter to win your choice of any of my back list. I'm part of their forum event, and learned that May 13 is actually Leprechaun Day, so named my giveaway Pot o' Gold.

Friday, May 11, 2012

All Genres blurb fest at TBR this weekend

All authors are invited to post blurbs from their books at TBR this weekend. Any and all genres welcome! Just please be sure they're suitable for general audiences.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another stop on the tour

I'm over at Books-n-Kisses today, another stop on the Dead to Rights blog tour! Do I feel like a rock star? (well, not really)

If you have any time to stop by, it would be great to see you there.

In other news...

Congrats to Lorrie Unites-Struiff on the re-release of her very cool story, Gypsy Blood. Isn't that a beautiful cover?

I love Lorrie's writing style. You will, too.Pick up your copy at Amazon!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blog tour catchup and another guest post

Busy busy day! I have two stops on my blog tour for Dead to Rights today, first an interview with Close Encounters of the Night Kind and a guest blog at Romancing the Dark Side.

Another interview today at the wonderful Kayelle Allen's site, Romance Lives Forever, is for another dark paranormal, Dancing With the Devil.

Whew! I know you can't visit them all, but it would be great to see you here or there. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

SSS: First peek at A Midwest Summer Night's Dream

Hey, Sixers! I'm switching it up this week to a first look at my Western historical with a Shakespearean twist, A Midwest Summer Night's Dream. Here's the opening six:

Strange how fast civilization fell away. Faster with each stop, it seemed to Winona Young. No sooner had the Overland Stagecoach departed the last town—its name meant nothing to her—than plains stretched out, framed by the rectangular coach window like a moving painting. So beautiful, even in its emptiness. Like a clean slate.
Exactly what she needed.

 Thanks so much for visiting, and especially for your comments! You guys are great. :)

Check out all the fantastic participants at Six Sentence Sunday. Have a great week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The anthology is here!

This snuck up on me! I didn't realize it had been released, but the "Community of Writers" anthology is now available from Sunbury Press.

All proceeds from sales of this collection will benefit the Cleve J. Fredericksen Library in Camp Hill, Pa., which sponsored the Natalie J. Craumer Writers Workshops I attended with this really great group of authors. The library offered the workshops at no charge, thanks to the support of husband of the late Natalie J. Craumer, who instituted the workshops to honor his wife's memory.

You can read more in this press release.

A release party will be held at the library on May 22 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. It should be a lot of fun! Hope to see some of your smiling faces there.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Insecure Writers: Writing outside the comfort zone

Hey, I actually remembered it's Insecure Writers Day. Just in time for my latest insecurity - writing outside my comfort zone.

Yep, that could be me, scaling that gigantic phallic rock. (Sorry, that pic cracked me up and I couldn't resist posting it.)

I'm a big believer in writing from the gut - going where the characters lead, following my writerly instincts, taking a flying leap off the edge of the cliff, as Ray Bradbury so aptly put it, and building my wings on the way down.

I've written a few stories that are outside my comfort zone. Mostly the discomfort came from the erotic scenes. Sometimes the characters seem to demand the sex be hot and nasty. In some cases, I follow along, though I may close my eyes while typing. :)  Sometimes, I insist on toning it down a bit. Sometimes, when it feels necessary to the story, I just go with it.

For one novel, I actually stopped writing it a few times because the sex was very intense. It's set in the Underworld, and most of the erotic scenes involved a demon and his concubine. Once I realized that those scenes were actually less about sex than the underlying power struggle, I gave in to the demons' demands.

But I'm worried that some readers won't perceive the story as I'd hoped. A great deal of research goes into my stories (yes, even those set in The Undeworld - mythology plays a big part). And I am a serious writer.

Do you view such stories in a negative light? Do you view such writers as less than serious?

Thanks to all who share their views on this subject, and especially to Alex Cavanaugh, who launched the Insecure Writers Support Group!

Unrelated news, but visits are appreciated!

I'm at Romance Book Junkies today, talking about writing across genres and my dark paranormal, Dead to Rights (not a romance! Shh, don't tell.). I'd love for you to come over and keep me company! This kicks off my month-long blog tour. Just a word of warning. :)