Monday, January 28, 2013

Some Traveling Music Please

Hop on the Internet Express with me and travel to Emily Ann Benedict's blog. I'm doing a guest book review of Tamera Alexander's book, "The Inheritance."

See you there!

Photo credit: linusb4

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Round-Up - #227

Having trouble remembering what happened yesterday? Dena Netherton shares ways to keep your memory in tip-top shape.

Everyone: What are some of the ways you preserve the ol' gray matter?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Healthy Ingredients

I'm on an omelet kick lately. The Whole Food Diet approves of eggs as long as they're from free-range chickens, who haven't been plumped up with antibiotics or hormones. Organic green peppers, tomatoes, and onion make this a yummy meal. The cholesterol supposedly is not a problem if you use organic, extra virgin coconut oil.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I'm not a Domestic Diva. I've got to admit though, this way of eating has inspired me to watch cooking videos. I never knew an omelet could taste so good or be so healthy.

When I'm cooking up a story, quality ingredients are a must. Strong characters seasoned with all manner of quirks and interesting personalities add flavor to the dish. I taste the concoction (read) to see if it needs a bit more variety in word choice or a new subplot.

I love it when everything comes together, and I can present a delicious omelet to my family and a satisfying story to my readers.

Writers:  What "seasonings" do you like to add to your stories?

Readers:  Do you have a favorite breakfast recipe? We'd enjoy hearing about it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

On My Nightstand - Unforgotten by Kristen Heitzmann

Unforgotten is the sequel to Kristen Heitzmann's book, "Secrets." 

Lance Michelli and Rese Barrett travel to his old neighborhood in the Bronx, New York.* He persuades Rese to make the trip based on reporting his findings to his Nonna Antonia.

What Rese gets is a serious dose of culture shock, loving family, and an understanding of what makes Lance tick. The experience will either make or break their tenuous relationship.

On the other hand, Lance discovers his assignment is far from over. New revelations about his family's past and the purpose he's been seeking all his life send him careening to the brink of insanity.

While I enjoyed "Secrets," the second book ran much closer to Kristen's style. Her multi-faceted characters and their struggles kept me turning the pages. She also avoided the pitfall of the perfect romance/couple. Both of these characters exhibit flaws and learn to deal with each other's shortcomings.

Growing up in the Italian-American community, I found the author's treatment of the setting and culture well researched and believable. She did a great job.

While this is a stand-alone novel, I recommend that you read, "Secrets," first to get the full story. It will enrich your reading experience.

* Note: This NYC borough is never called, "Bronx, N.Y.," by the natives. It's "the Bronx."

Happy reading!

Writers: Do you ever right about your hometown? Please share.

Readers: When a writer uses your geographic location, does it make the story richer for you? In what way?

Monday, January 14, 2013


Yay! I'm doing the Snoopy dance!

Joyce Hart, at Hartline Literary, is now representing me. I'm thrilled to be associated with such a great agency. doesn't end there! I've also signed with Trestle Press/Helping Hands Press to publish my book as an ebook. They're really nice folks and have welcomed me with open arms. I hope you'll "Like" them on Facebook.

A great big thank you to my friend, Kathi Macias, for introducing me to this publisher. She's a great author with a big heart. :)

More details will follow in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Round-Up - #226

The Renegade Writer shares her method for writing articles. Raisin bread plays an interesting part in the process. :)

Writers: How do you organize your thoughts before writing an article or scene? As a SOTP writer, I'm not big on outlines. However, I usually know the beginning and the end of a story/article.

Readers: Do you like articles with lots of sub-headings and sidebars? What makes an article grab and hold your interest? Lots of quotes, analogies, etc.?

Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Exceeding the Challenge

Before I start, let me emphasize this is not a pitch for a favorite activity even though I'm a serious Swagbucks fan. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Swagbucks, it's a search engine that rewards you with points. In addition to searching, you can earn Swagbucks by watching videos and numerous other activities.

To keep people interested, they offer challenges. If you get a certain number of points per day, you earn a bonus. Meet their goal for a specified number of days, and they sweeten the deal. Since more points mean more rewards, I try to exceed their requirement.

As writers, doing the minimum will get exactly that - minimal results. When crafting a story, I strive for excellence.

The savvy reader expects a novel that will "Wow" them. If I want reader points (loyalty and good reviews), my writing must exceed the level of acceptable.

To achieve maximum results in Swagbucks and writing, it takes time and sharpening my skills.

Writers: How do you go beyond what's required?

Readers: What aspects of a book do you consider a "Wow" factor? Setting, plot twists, etc. Please give details.

Photo credit: bigevil600