Category Archives: Author Resource

I’m A Duck

It’s true . . . I’m a duck. Most people think I glide through life with barely a ripple but what’s happening beneath that glass-like surface is a fury of paddling feet. And that’s definitely been the case since January 1st. I claimed 2019 as MY year of reinvention months ago and I’ll be darned if I let my prediction fall short. I started the new year with a bang and refuse to let up.

I renewed my membership with Sisters in Crime, national and the Tucson chapter. I’ve applied for and was AWARDED an educational scholarship from national to help defray cost of attending Writer’s Police Academy’s first ever MurderCon held at the renowned SIRCHIE facility for forensic and crime scene investigation in Raleigh, NC. But that’s not all. I’m signing books again this year at the prestigious event, Tucson Festival of Books. You can find me on Saturday, March 2nd at the Sisters in Crime booth from 1:30-3:30 pm. I’ve also developed three new seminars and have gotten some good “bites” for presentations in 2019. More news to follow on that one but if you could use a fun, user friendly hour to learn or refresh skills on these topics, let me know. I’m still offering my crowd pleaser – Gold, Ghosts and Gravel Roads – a delightful journey through some of the more curious places I’ve traveled as an RVer. It’s especially fun for those who enjoy paranormal pursuits or treasure hunting.

  • DIY WordPress Blog/Website For Beginners
  • DIY Book Covers for Beginners
  • The Basics of Author Platforms and Branding
  • Gold, Ghosts and Gravel Roads

Most new and mid-list Indie authors simply don’t have the budget or time to create appealing websites and book covers. Trust me, I KNOW! That doesn’t mean you can’t present a professional image to the public with minimal training and investment. In this era of brutal mass market competition, snagging a reader’s attention is increasingly more difficult. Let me help! I learned the hard way and can show you how to avoid some of the pitfalls.

I’ve saved the most exciting news for last. After a 2 year hiatus from publishing . . . I’m back! March 1st will see the release Book 2 in my humorous DEAD MEN cozy sleuth series, featuring southern caterer/psychic sleuth Daisy O’Connor. In DEAD MEN CAN’T DANCE, Daisy finds herself knee deep in trouble with both the county sheriff and Deputy Chief of Tribal Police, John Greyhawk. Her penchant for little white lies, disregard of the law, and bloodhound approach to crime solving are a sure recipe for trouble when a murder victim asks for help. As Daisy sticks her nose into police business, the ghost issues a warning, “another will die”. The only question is, will it be Daisy or someone else?

Summer will see the release of a new genre for me. Temporarily named THE DEAD DO NOT LIE, this dark thriller follows the emotional and mental collapse of a disaster inspector who witnesses too much corruption and fraud. I’ve created a realistic view of post disaster chaos, gleaned from my many years as a contract disaster inspector. While the story is purely fictional based on a “what if” moment of inspiration, the elements of strife and grief are real. I think it will be a good read. I hope you feel the same.

Summer also brings a much needed break in my professional life. I’ve hired the most amazing personal assistant to help with social media, book tours, and keeping me organized. She’s a school teacher so you KNOW she can multi-task! And just in time because we are buying a house. It’s located in an obscure part of southern Arizona but close enough to Tucson and Phoenix for those big city getaways and writer’s groups. We’ll still travel off and on but our “stuff” will be planted in one place. I’m excited . . . and nervous. My gypsy spirit is crying, “No, no!” but my old bones are saying, “Maybe it won’t be so bad.” We’ll downsize from the fiver to a small travel trailer more suitable for dry camping and the back road excursions I so enjoy. In the meantime, expect a lot of remodeling photos throughout the year!

That’s it, folks! I’ll keep you posted on new happenings as they happen.

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Who’s Your Favorite Leading Lady?

Author Beverley Bateman is talking about heroines during the month of May at her blog. I was honored to be interviewed about this voluminous topic even though we barely scratched the surface. Please join me as I discuss my favorite heroines! I’d love to hear about your favorites . . . and why you think these ladies are top notch!.C’mon over and leave a comment!

http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/

 

Tucson Festival of Books and Other News

On March 11th and 12th, an amazing annual event takes place on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson – The Tuscon Festival of Books. This star-studded gathering (as far as authors go) offers something for everyone in nearly every age group.

This year, I’m excited to participate as both a signing author and a volunteer. On Saturday, I’ll be in the Author Pavilion from 12:15 to 2:15, then presenting a short “Tent Talk” at 3, discussing research and writing on the road. Sunday will be my volunteer day to assist other presenting authors with their programs.

sandfordWhen not “on the clock”, be assured I will peruse campus grounds and attend workshops by some of my favorite writers such as John Sandford (be still my beating heart) and “Longmire” creator and author, Craig Johnson accompanied by series star, A. Martinez.

I promise to post lots of photos and regale you with my adventures after the event. Be sure to check my Instagram and Facebook pages for the most up-to-date news. If you are attending, be sure to download the free “app” to help navigate the festival and events.

During the week of March 19th, I’ll be attending Escapee’s Escapade, also taking place in Tucson. For those not familiar with RVing, Escapees is a membership club of fellowship, activities and learning. This year, I’ll be conducting a workshop entitled, “Gold, Ghosts and Gravel Roads” where I hope to entertain with my adventures and teach from experience about how to enhance the RVing experience. The presentation will be loosely based on my research for ROAD TALES, Myth, Lore and Curiosities From America’s Back Roads. It will also include a few stories from the upcoming Volume Two.

The hubmeister and I decided to workamp at Ruby’s Inn outside of Bryce Canyon, Utah for the summer months. It’s a win-win since we planned to visit the area anyway. Now we can explore Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Monument Valley and so much more while keeping a centrally located base camp, and earn a buck or two along the way. We’ll only work part time and have the same off days.

roadkillthumbAnd now for my big FAIL…I played entirely too much the past few months and didn’t finish my second book in th e Dead Men series, Dead Men Can’t Dance. By the time I took a breath and realized time had passed me by, I needed to focus on my upcoming author appearances. I hope to release Book Two by April.

One more piece of exciting news, I’m working on an episodic thriller, Road Kill. It’s gritty, not light and fun like my Dead Men books so I hope readers won’t ding me too hard for changing genres. It’s a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Episode One will release in mid March. There should be four to five episodes to reach the conclusion, and then I may combine them into a single title. Hope you like serial killers!

Exploring Mark Twain’s Boyhood Haunts


I’m back! It’s been a while and I apologize. Now that family visits, medical issues and whatnot are out of the way, we are back on the road enjoying new adventures. So here goes . . .

Hannibal, Missouri . . . just the name evokes visions of lazy riverboats puffing down a wide river, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer atop a wooden raft, and the man who gave them

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Historic Hannibal

life – Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain. I’m not exaggerating when I say I almost piddled myself in excitement when the day finally arrived to explore this quaint, historical town. After all, Hannibal’s rolling hills and riverfront access provided the inspiration for Mark Twain’s most famous works. It flavored his writing as it flavored his wit. And I was about to see all the places I’d read about in my youth! How cool is that?

Reality seldom matches expectations. The more we dream and visualize about what lies ahead, the more we risk disappointment. Hannibal is a perfect example. The town itself should be renamed “Mark Twain City” because everywhere you go is reference to the famous author and humorist . . . understandable. One might never venture to Hannibal were it not for Mark Twain’s legacy. And everything tagged with his name comes with a price.

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Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Yes, Hannibal is a tourist trap. But if all I came to see were paid attractions, I’d miss out on the true ambiance of a historical town.

Driving into the outskirts from Highway 36, it was as if we entered a time warp. Hannibal is firmly rooted in the past and the period architecture reinforces that aura, beckoning with untold stories of days gone by. Had I never heard of Samuel Clemens, I would still be lured to this incredibly picturesque albeit decaying community. A great many of the clapboard houses and brick storefronts remain unrestored which supports the character of an aging 1800’s riverfront town.
I enjoyed a short walking tour along the river and railroad tracks, meandered along scenic Cardiff Drive to where it meets the lighthouse replica erected in Mark Twain’s honor, absorbed majestic views from Lover’s Leap, explored Mark Twain’s childhood home and the wooden fence still fresh with whitewash. What I wanted to do and didn’t was visit McDougal’s Cave, popularized in Twain’s 1876 novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The property is part of an adjoining campground and gift shop and is only viewable on special

MarkTwainRiverboat

Mark Twain Sightseeing Riverboat

tours. Adult tickets ran about $20 and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for what I felt should have been free. Perhaps if I’d visited the nearby winery and tasted a few glasses, I might not have been so put-off by the entrance fee. Bottom line is I’m a cheapskate.

I suppose the real reason I wanted to see the cave, aside from a trip down Tom Sawyer memory lane, is the wickedly strange events that took place there. During Twain’s childhood, the property where the cave is located was owned by a St. Louis surgeon, Dr. Joseph McDowell. The man was brilliant by all accounts, and genius sometimes borders on the edges of insanity. When Dr. McDowell’s fourteen-year-old daughter died of pneumonia, he decided to “petrify” her body. After constructing a copper tube lined with glass, he filled it with alcohol and placed the corpse inside, suspending it from the ceiling of the cave.

According to Twain, the local youth discovered the contraption and began to gather there, telling ghost stories to frighten each other in the flickering light of their torches. Even more macabre, the top of the cylinder could be unscrewed so the girl’s face was visible. After two

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View from Lover’s Leap

years, the adults in the community got wind of the girl’s unofficial interment. They complained, forcing the doctor to relocate his daughter’s body to the family mausoleum in St. Louis. However, some people believe the girl’s spirit is still there, following tourists as they navigate the dark cavern.

The cave is not the only place where hauntings occur in Hannibal. A year-round ghost tour features many allegedly active sites for adventurous souls. If we had planned a longer stay (and might have if the weather were not so damnably hot and humid), this cheapskate would have coughed up the bucks for the tour since I’m fascinated by the paranormal.  Perhaps another time.

Would I return to Hannibal for an encore visit? That’s hard to say. I love the ambiance and historical significance of the area. Unfortunately, this area of the Midwest doesn’t generate the same fascination as other places we’ve visited. We like less populated areas like mountains, remote coastlines, and high desert.

That being said, we’re enjoying our slow loop around the Great Lakes through Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. We may not venture this way again so if you know of any unusual, oddball or off-the-beaten track destinations, please let me know. I’m always up for an adventure!

Love Controversy? What’s Your Take On An Author’s “Just Deserves”

Today I’m wearing my writer’s hat.  Yes, yes . . . I do take breaks from hiking, sightseeing and the lazy life of a full time RVer (don’t I wish?) to put words on paper and catch up with industry news.

An interesting line has been drawn in the sand by two authors I respect and follow – J.A. Konrath and Kristen Lamb. To be honest, I see valid points on both sides and a few comments that made me wince  . . . so I guess that means I’m balanced precariously in the middle. How do you feel about the two perspectives? Post your comments below.

Kristen’s blog: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2015/12/pay-the-writer-pirates-used-bookstores-why-writers-need-to-stand-up-for-whats-right/

Joe’s blog: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2016/01/pay-writer.html

 

Author Resource: Savvy Authors

Any writer who says they “know it all” is either fooling you or fooling themselves.

The market is constantly changing, so fast it’s hard to stay on top of current trends. Pouring over a dozen or more websites is time consuming and takes us away from what’s really important . . . our writing. Most large companies encourage professional growth but what happens when you’re self-employed? Seeking conferences and workshops to expand one’s knowledge can seem daunting.

Not anymore.

Savvy Authors offers a plethora of workshops, advice, resource material and communal networking tools for writers to stay focused in this ever changing industry. Not everyone is lucky enough to belong to an organization like RWA which offers physical meetings and conferences. Savvy Authors fills the gap, as well as complements those groups, concentrating on what we all want and need – the “savvy” to succeed in our profession. It doesn’t matter if you are a New York Times best selling author or unpublished. This organization is about writers helping writers.

Basic membership is free and allows an opportunity to test the waters i.e. see what they’re all about while taking advantage of some great services. Premium membership is $40 annually, a pittance compared to other organizations with comparable resources, and offers unlimited access to online tools, workshops and special events, chat rooms, craft and industry articles, etc.

Whether you’re updating your current knowledge base or exploring the industry, Savvy Authors should be highlighted on your bookmark roster. Subscribing to their monthly newsletter is a great place to start.

Click here to learn more:

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