A weekend of bookish fun awaits!

728x90 RNR going

OK, who’s looking for some fun? If you’re in the Dallas area, you won’t want to miss this! Bring a friend, your book club, or just yourself and join us for Readers and ’ritas Nov. 10 -13. Parties, books, authors, scavenger hunt, swag, prizes . . . and did I mention fun?!

I’m so looking forward to this event. I love visiting with readers and chatting about books. Add in food and drink, and what’s not to like, right? And for me, another exciting plus is that the weather is Dallas is currently projected to be in the low- to mid-70s for that weekend. Woo-hoo. In other words, perfect!

Click here for the full agenda and list of authors and guest speakers.

Hope to see you there!


You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bag

bagIn honor of spring’s arrival, I have changed from my black winter goes-with-everything purse to a bright, fun bag. I love the bag – it’s a great color, and it has perfect pockets for keys, phone and little stuff. It’s a little bigger than what I normally carry, but going into spring and summer, that’s OK, because I tend to add things like a trial-size tube of sunscreen or DEET wipes. I like to be prepared. Anyone remember the game show Let’s Make a Deal? I could have been a serious contender. 🙂

And then I see women out and about with these cute little designer bags. Darling wristlets that hold no more than a credit card and driver’s license, and I can’t help but think where is all your stuff?! Where do these women keep their sunglasses, reading glasses, checkbook, lipstick, tissues, coupons and member cards, pens, mints, nail file, keys, Advil, phone, etc., etc.? It’s not a rhetorical question. Where?!

In my purse, I carry necessities such as hand wipes, safety pins, a mirror, a tape measure. No, really. Aren’t these necessary in your day-to-day life? And now I have reading glasses. And swag. Yes, I carry bookmarks and Darlene Deluca pens and lip balm where ever I go. You never know when I’ll have the opportunity to strike up a conversation with a reader!

I do own a few small bags that I use for special occasions or when I know that a large bag will simply be in the way – or I’ll have other things to carry. But if I routinely carried only a tiny tote, who would be the keeper of the stuff? My husband doesn’t like big purses, but I can’t tell you how many times he’s asked me to keep his wallet, or a brochure in my purse. Or the number of times he’s asked me for a pen or a wipe or sunscreen or some other item, fully expecting that I have said item in my purse! When a kid needs a Band-aid, or a tissue, or a cough drop . . . guess who they come to? Pretty darned handy, huh?

Over the weekend I happened across a conversation on one of my Facebook groups about this very topic. And guess what? The general consensus was that every woman needs to carry a bag at least large enough to carry their Kindle or a book! Yes! I found my group. I love these people! They get it. Some things are necessary, and they are bigger than a credit card! And I heartily agree – carry a book with you at all times. I can’t think of a better reason for a big bag!

What’s the largest item in your purse?


Bigger isn’t always better

DDshop bagIt’s Small Business Saturday, and I’m getting ready to head out to one of the very few independent bookstores left in our area to meet and greet customers. The store, called Readers World, is run by people who were displaced when Border’s went under, and it’s carved out a niche of supporting local authors – especially independent ones! Hooray!

I know the big stores offer a lot more variety, deeper discounts and the convenience of shopping for multiple items in one place, but we also need stores like this — stores that offer the convenience of a quick in and out, stores that offer personalization, cozy stores where shop owners get to know their local customers and authors. It’s a special place, and I hope enough people will continue to shop here to keep this wonderful store in business.

Don’t you enjoy going to new places and finding that little gem of a shop that’s different? Or that cute little shopping area that’s not a mall, or a strip center sporting the exact same shops you see in your town everyday? I do! And I love finding unique gifts for the people on my Christmas list. Many times, the small independent shops are the best places for finding something different – and exactly right.

I’m not doing a lot of shopping today because the weather is on the nasty side, but when I finally get down to seriously checking off my Christmas list, I’ll try to shop local, and small, because I don’t want to lose the fun shops that offer a quiet, cozy atmosphere, and unique items that my friends and family will love, and that I’ll feel good about buying!

Happy Small Biz Saturday, everyone! And happy shopping.


Time Out!

CUdZZn0VEAA4cXZIt’s that time of year – time to take a break, sit back, relax, and reflect on the good things in your life. It’s amazing how hard it is to stop the busy-ness, turn off the television, close the laptop, ignore the calendar and forget about the to-do list for a few minutes. There’s grocery shopping to be done, piles of laundry, a turkey to cook, tables to set, etc., etc. I know!
The house is quiet right now. Everyone’s doing their own thing, so I’m trying to sneak a few minutes of calm before holiday festivities begin. I have much to be thankful for. There’s the big stuff, of course – living in the U.S., freedom of choices, and good health. I suppose, like most of you, it comes down to people. I’m so very thankful to be the mom of two awesome kids who’ve grown into decent, responsible young adults. I’m thankful they can be here for the holiday – and happy that they WANT to be here! 🙂 I’m thankful for a supportive spouse who works hard and provides our family with a wonderful lifestyle. Without his dedication, I wouldn’t be able to devote my time and energy to starting a new career. I suppose, in a way, I am also thankful that I was laid off from my corporate job a few years ago, which is what catapulted me into the world of fiction writing. At the time, it didn’t feel so good, but I know I probably would not have taken the steps that led to becoming an author otherwise.
That, of course, brings me to many other people to thank. So grateful for critique partners, editors, beta readers, friends who cheer me on, readers and followers! I recently ran a promotion in which I gave away thousands of one of my women’s fiction novels for free. Not everyone will like or even read the book, but I’ve been touched by the number of people who’ve bought one of my other books, who’ve taken the time to write a review or give a rating, and those who’ve left kind words of praise. Many thanks to all of you!

I’m looking forward to spending Thanksgiving Day away from my computer, not writing. I’ll be eating, and hanging out with family and friends, and eating some more – sharing fun times that will turn into treasured memories (that’s the plan, anyway :-). And when it’s all over, I’ll get back to work with renewed energy – thanks to the encouraging words from so many enthusiastic readers.

I know some people will be working today, some are facing personal crisis, some are missing loved ones and not feeling particularly thankful. But I hope you all can find some peace and quiet, a little time to reflect, and something or someone to be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Exposure is Good

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031]I admit, I’ve resisted giving my books away for free to the general reading public. Of course I give away copies for review to bloggers and release day festivities and occasional promotions. But something about giving my work away for free just goes against the grain. Who wants to work for free? Every book I write is a lot of work. It takes a long time, a lot of thought, research and hours and hours of writing, revising and editing. And it costs real money – cover images, cover design, proofreading, swag, promotion, etc.

Well, I finally decided to try it, and placed an ad with Bookbub in an effort to reach more readers. To get exposure. Thousands of people responded, and downloaded the book. Now, I know many of those downloads will sit on Kindles for months and may never even be opened. A lot of people are simply drawn to the power of “free,” and download on a whim.

This morning, as my promotion ends, I’m feeling grateful, and rather in awe. Not only did thousands download the book, which is the first in my Women of Whitfield series, I sold many copies of book 2, and already have four new five-star reviews. And I’m re-energized to get back to working on the next book! So, many thanks to all of you who downloaded The Storm Within. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you bond with Claire, Mary and Dana and will want to spend more time with these three friends.
Happy reading to all!

Get your copy of The Storm Within

For those of you who are still contemplating the series, or hesitant to try a new author, please use the Look Inside feature available on Amazon, and take a look at the reviews there and on Goodreads. In case those things aren’t enough to tempt you . . . here’s a little excerpt from The Storm Within:

They shopped for two hours, and Claire’s bags were bulging with evidence of a spending spree. The new skirt and blouse would replace the ones she’d worn the night Ray was over for dinner. Those had found a new home in the landfill.
“Okay, we better put the brakes on, or I’ll need one of those ‘oversized load’ signs for my car to haul all of this stuff home. Besides, I can’t carry anything else,” Claire said.
“And my feet are tired. And we need food,” Mary told her. “What do you think? Gardenview or one of the other restaurants down here? What about the little Mexican place?”
“Sure. That sounds good.”
A few minutes later, they dumped their bags into the extra chairs at their table, and dove into the basket of chips waiting for them.
“This is what I love about this place. Instant gratification,” Mary said.
Under the table, Claire eased her tired feet partway out of her sandals. Ahhh. Now all she needed was something for her parched throat.
The waitress stopped by with glasses of water. “What can I get you ladies to drink?”
Claire spoke first. “I’ll have a house margarita on the rocks. With salt, please.”
She glanced over at Mary and caught her frown.
The waitress turned to Mary. “Ma’am?”
“I’ll have the same.”
As soon as the waitress left, Claire pursed her lips, and set the menu down. Her eyes met Mary’s.
“What?” Mary asked.
“You know what. I don’t want to see that look every time I order a drink. We’ve been having wine with dinner, or drinks and appetizers forever. I can have one margarita, for heaven’s sake.”
Mary leaned forward, her brow furrowed. “But can you? Have just one? What about when you get home, Claire? What about the other night?”
Her throat constricted. Of all people, Mary should understand. “You know what happened the other night. It was awful, and I needed to go numb for a while. Jesus, can’t you cut me a little slack on this?”
“Claire, I don’t want to argue. I’m worried about you, that’s all.”
“I’m fine.”
“All right, but if you’re fine, why aren’t you doing anything? Why don’t you come help me with concessions at the baseball field next week?”
Claire shrugged. “I might. I’m not sure how long I’ll be at Elise’s or how worn out I’ll be after that. I’ll call you.”
“When are you leaving?”
“Tomorrow after lunch.”
“Want me to help you pack or anything?”
Claire rolled her eyes. “No, I do not need help packing, for heaven’s sake.”
“What are you doing with Reggie?”
“He’s staying here. I’ll put out extra food and water.”
The drinks arrived, and they ordered dinner. Claire lifted the heavy margarita glass, and held it out toward Mary. “Well, that’s that.”
“To new beginnings,” Mary said as she clinked her glass against Claire’s.
Her attorney had said the same thing. A euphemism for starting over, Claire thought. Starting over at fifty-five. When she should be settled and comfortable. What was so great about starting over?

Inspiration and affirmation in Palm Springs!

roneSo here we are facing down October, and I still can’t get my head around September! It’s been such a flash! A new release, a book fair appearance, a writer’s conference and awards gala, and a trip to see the college kid!

It’s all been fun, but I want to pause just a minute and revisit the InD’Scribe Conference and RONE Awards ceremony in Palm Springs.
I didn’t meet as many readers as I had hoped for, but the rest of the conference was outstanding. I met so many awesome authors and industry professionals! It was great to meet in real life several people I’ve only had a Facebook relationship with, and put names with faces. The keynote speakers, Catherine Bybee and Anne Perry, were fabulous and inspiring. I found myself wishing I could just get away and write! Ah, but that real life thing . . .

I still haven’t had time to thoroughly go back through all of my notes, and implement everything I learned, but it’s on my list of things to do! One of the most valuable things about a conference and sitting down and chatting with other authors, is hearing about their success and failure. What they’ve tried in terms of marketing, what was effective, and what wasn’t. Tips and tricks. It’s always encouraging to find other authors who are living the dream and willing to help others. And it’s energizing to feel like I’m part of something bigger. Sometimes writing can be isolating and I feel like a gerbil spinning in circles on one of those little wheels all alone in a cage. It’s really good to get out and about! 🙂

And then there were the RONE Awards. “Something Good,” my finalist in the Sweet Contemporary Romance category, got the first-runner-up spot! Of course it was disappointing not to take home the big prize, but still, simply being there was so affirming! I was among very talented company, and the book was read by four to seven judges who gave it a strong thumbs-up, and that in itself is a wonderful thing!

I extended my stay in Palm Springs a day after the conference to settle down and enjoy another day of summer. Great decision! I got to have dinner with a long-time friend from high school who was one of my bridesmaids from thirty-some years ago!! 🙂 Ah, what a three-hour dinner with a good friend can do!

I also spent some time at the pool and had fun giving a few leftover books to readers lounging in the sunshine. I gave one gal the choice between my new release Her Greatest Risk or Something Good. She read both covers, and chose Something Good, saying it sounded like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. So many people have said that!! I’m wondering if my next visit to southern California should include a stop in Hollywood!? Well, a girl can dream!

Happy reading, everyone! Wishing you a lovely Autumn!

Click HERE to find Something Good on Amazon!