Thursday, February 28, 2013

The First 10 Pages of Rescuing Rita

For the more than 60,000 who downloaded Stealing Mercy—I’m attempting to write a prequel that answers the question of what happened to the missing cousin, Rita. At first I thought this would be a novella, which means I could technically end it, but the ending is still very far away. So, I can’t end it, even though I had intended to do so before I leave on Monday for a week in Washington. I’m in a quandary. End the thing, make it short and sweet—or give it more humph and substance?

Novel or novella? Sooner or later? Don’t hesitate to add your two cents.

Rescuing Rita
Seattle, 1889

Poke was playing her song! White hot anger, as mind altering as any potion or aphrodisiac, flashed through Rita. Clarisse, a virginal vision clothed in white lace, opened her mouth to sing and Rita grabbed the closest weapon she could find, a wig stand, and headed for the stage.
            Clarisse’s high C turned to a squeak and her blonde curls bobbed when she saw Rita flying up the stairs, wielding the wooden head.
            “That’s my song, you little strumpet!” Rita took center stage and swung the head at Clarisse.
            Clarisse jumped nimbly away, straightened her dress and picked up her tune, leaving Poke, the pianist, a few stunned beats behind.
            With the head braced in front of her like a battering ram, Rita charged. She landed in the curtains.
            Clarisse climbed onto the piano bench, jostling Poke, who lifted his hands off the keyboard and flashed Rita a startled, although amused look. Clarisse, balancing beside the pianist, nudged him with her tiny shoe. “Please continue, sir. This audition is not over.”
            “Oh yes it is!” Rita dropped the wooden head and it bounced around her feet as she lunged for Clarisse.
            “Now, Miss Clarisse, you know I can’t let you climb on the piano.” Poke reached for Clarisse, struggling not to laugh. Rita now had two people she needed to kill.
            Clarisse scooted across the lid of the upright piano on her bustle as Rita stepped on the bench and using Poke’s shoulder as a toe hold, she tried to join the music thieving Clarisse on the top. But Poke grabbed her around the waist and carried her to the front and center of the stage while she kicked and screamed.
            “Can’t you see she’s a complete nutter, Ivan?” Clarisse said from her perch on top of the piano. “We simply cannot have her in the troupe.”
            Rita wriggled so she could have a better look at Poke’s good natured face. “I wrote that song. It’s mine. She stole it!”
            “I didn’t steal it. Besides, how can one steal a song?” Clarisse asked. “I simply heard it, learned it--”
            “Through the paper thin walls while I wrote it. Do you want to know what I heard through the walls?” Rita smacked her lips, making kissing noises. “If you get a spot in the troupe, we will all know why!”
Clarisse gasped in outrage and Ivan laughed. “I got my position in the troupe because of my gifts and talent!” Clarisse stormed.
So, Clarisse already had a role with the troupe. Little wonder. “And your willingness to share and talent.” Rita wiggled, but Poke wouldn’t let her go.
“Would you like to sing, Miss Michaels?” Ivan’s disembodied voice spoke from the theater seats. Because of the flickering glass lights lining the stage and the dark house, Rita couldn’t see Ivan and she wished she could. She needed to read his expression and gauge his response to her outburst.
            Poke definitely didn’t seem in the least perturbed or unhappy about holding her. Of course, he was built like an ox. Rita knew he was not only the troupe’s accompanist, but also the “man at large” responsible for assembling and disassembling the heavy settings and scenery.
            “Set her down,” Ivan said. “Let’s hear her.”
            Clarisse put her balled fists on her hips. “We have heard quite enough from her!”
            Poke chuckled and placed Rita down on the center of the stage. Rita flashed Clarisse a warning glance. She worried that Clarisse might start stomping on the piano keys or kicking at Poke, who was settling on his bench, acting as if having a blonde tart standing on top of his piano was de rigueur.
            “You wrote this song? Then let’s hear it,” Ivan commanded.
            “Ivan,” Clarisse’s tone turned silky soft, reminding Rita of Clarisse’s many private auditions before Ivan, where he had undoubtedly seen and heard more than just a song…or two.
            “I’ve heard you, Clarisse. I know what you can do,” Ivan said, confirming Rita’s suspicions that Clarisse had only gone through the formality of the audition for the prime purpose of killing Rita’s chances of joining the traveling troupe and escaping dreary Seattle.
            Poke played the opening bars while Rita stared into the lights. Blood pounded in her head and zinged through veins. Every nerve tingled and goose-bumps rose on her arms. The Rose Arbor Traveling Troupe was her ticket back to New York and she wasn’t about to let a trollop like Clarisse steal it from her.
            Rita came in right on cue, her voice steelier than her spine and nearly as strong as her resolve.
            “Quite the show you put on tonight,” a voice sounded from the center of her dressing room, sending crawling worms down Rita’s back. She took a deep breath and threw a robe over her chemise. Boris Kidrick, a heavy drinker, tobacco chewer and black licorice sucker, carried his own unique odor—a smell that Rita easily recognized and did her best to avoid. She wondered when he had come in, because she hadn’t heard the door, although the clatter of the dancers and the tinkling of the piano could drown out a quiet slip through the door.
            Rita poked her head over the screen and saw Boris standing amongst the overflowing costume trunks and crates of props, leering at her.
“I always try to entertain.” She kept her voice light. Her earlier outburst had left her tired and drained. She didn’t want another sparring match with Boris. Not tonight. Her glance fell on the fire tools beside the mantle. She considered caning him and finishing him off. She would be doing the world a favor and it would be in her debt. She would really like to be in a position to pull in some favors instead of the awkward, semi-clothed position she currently found herself.
            The door flew open and Matilda breezed in, but she stopped short when she spotted Boris standing bull-like in the center of the dressing room. Matilda stepped to the screen, as if to protect Rita and glared at Boris. “Mr Kidrick, you must know men aren’t allowed in the dressing room!” Matilda crossed her arms across her chest and drew herself up to her impressive full height. She towered over the squatty Kidrick—especially in her high heels.
            Boris chuckled. “I now own this room and that fancy stage you’re so fond of parading on.”
            Hesitation flashed over Matilda’s haughty expression while Boris rubbed his hands together. “Didn’t know that, did ya?” He chuckled at Matilda’s sagging shoulders. “Good things are coming my way,” he said with an unpleasant glint in his eye. He winked at Rita and she ducked back behind the screen and tightened the belt on her robe. She waited for the door to close before she peeked out from behind the screen.
            “He’s gone.” Melinda crossed the room, dropping articles of clothing on her way to the dressing table. She sat down before the mirror and began to rub her face with cream, leaving her stage makeup in runny smears. In the harsh light, she looked all of her forty years plus some.
            “I didn’t know Mr. Taylor had sold the theater,” Rita said, settling down on the bench beside the older woman. With her long curls trailing down her back, Rita looked like a child beside her friend.
            Matilda shrugged and frowned. “I had heard Kidrick had come into some money.”
            “Any chance that he’ll lose it—and the theater?” Rita’s glance met Matilda’s in the glass.
            “It’s inevitable. But until then, we have to live with him.” Matilda scrubbed at her worn and tired face. Once she had been beautiful. And under the stage lights, she moved like royalty. But here, in the quiet dressing room, after a long night of pretending of trying to carry a beauty she could no longer claim, Rita’s pink skin and blue eyes sharply contrasted with Matilda’s fading style.
            Rita twisted her hair into a long thick braid.
“Don’t worry, pet, you’ll be on your way to New York long before we even get a new lock for the dressing room door.”
“Why do men like Boris consider actress synonymous with harlot?”
Matilda twitched a boney shoulder.
“King David liked to sing and dance and no one thought he was immoral.” Her voice faltered. “Until Bathsheba came out on the roof…Maybe he’s not the best example—but he did sing and dance.”
Matilda laughed. “There are plenty of noble and worthy performers.”
 “Tell that to my father, my mother, my grandmother, and my cousins.” Rita swallowed. “Tell that to men like Boris.”
“Your father and mother—although they might not have meant to—have hurt you far worse than the likes of Boris Kidrick.”
Rita had learned a lot from Matilda since she had joined the Rose Arbor Reparatory, but that was one lesson that she had learned several months ago when her parents shipped her to God-forsaken Seattle.
Actually, where they had sent her was far worse than Seattle. They had sent her to her grandmother’s horse ranch—seven long, bumpy, jaw jarring and teeth rattling miles from Seattle. Had they really expected her to stay on a horse ranch surrounded by acres of pastures filled with horses, cattle and cow-pies. Did they really think she would learn to behave like her hick grandmother and shovel out stables?
“I don’t know why you’re so anxious to return to their company.”
Rita leaned against Matilda’s shoulder. “I don’t want to go to New York to see my parents!”
Matilda’s lips twitched. “You want to be on the New York stage.”
“Yes! Of course!”
“And you somehow imagine that you will sing and dance right beneath your family’s nose and they will never notice?”
“I’m an actress—and a wizard with makeup and design. They’ll never know it’s me.”
Matilda lifted her eyebrow. “That will never work. Your family has already summoned a posse to look for you.”
“But they’re looking here—they won’t think to look in New York!”
Skepticism clouded Matilda’s expression. “If they are as influential and prominent as you say—”
Rita lifted her chin. “No one can stop a shooting star.”
Matilda smiled and wiped off  her face cream. “Laws, child, have you no fear of heights?”
Christian Roberts sat at the gaming table, coins on his left side and a flask on his right. A pair of kings, accompanied by a six, a four and a whatchamacallit, swam in and out of his vision. What was that? He tried holding the cards a little further away and willed his eyes to focus on the whatchamacallit. Was it a queen—or that other card that he couldn’t remember the name of—or was it another king? He really hoped it was another king. He held his cards away from his chest, but after just half a second, he slapped them face down on the table. He didn’t trust his friends—not even his partner.
And he was pretty sure they weren’t his friends. Not really. They tolerated him because he had a steady stream of cash…and whiskey…and he liked a good game. A game with Kings. Not that he didn’t like the Queens. He didn’t even mind the whatchamacallits, when they came in pairs. Although one by his lonesome couldn’t do much good. He picked up his hand and tried to steady his gaze while an ox-like man pounded on the piano.
Christian threw the musician a frustrated glance. Maybe he could focus if that brute would stop filling the room with that awful sound. He looked around at the men sharing his table, trying to read them. No one else seemed to mind the racket coming from the piano in the corner.
“You in?” Percy asked.
He was definitely inside because the piano was inside. Never really ever seen a piano outside—unless it was on its way from one place to another. And yep, there were the bottles lining the shelves behind the bar. A wood floor. A stamped brass stamped ceiling. Four walls. Definitely inside. He nodded.
“Well?” Reynolds prompted.
Aw. The game. He was supposed to ante up. What did that even mean? What a funny expression. Sounded like auntie up…Christian tried to think of how his Aunt Margaret would respond if someone tried to ante up her. He snorted at the thought.
“What’s so funny?” Kidrick demanded.
Christian’s mind raced. He couldn’t admit that he was thinking of his Aunt Margaret. His attention flicked over the men surrounding him. They all looked so grim and serious, he doubted that any of them even had an aunt. Especially not like his Aunt Margaret who liked to bake tarts and give each pie a ridiculous name.
“Have you had a chance to take a bite out of Little Boy Louis,” she would ask him, referencing a blue berry tart. He chuckled low and deep.
“Damned French,” Kidrick muttered.
“I say now--” bad form cussing his nationality. Well, his mother’s nationality. His eyes welled as he thought of his mother. He blinked away his tears, because while he wasn’t sure whether or not the brutes at his table had aunts, he was very sure that they never cried. At least not over a pair of kings. Or a trio of kings. He still couldn’t tell but he did push in all of his pile of coins.
“You sure, Roberts?” Percy lifted an eyebrow at him.
Christian laid his cards on the table. And from the reaction, he guessed it was a trio of kings after all. He smiled as he scooped the pot into his bag, then stood and swagger-staggered toward the door.
“Hey! Roberts—you can’t just leave.” Reynolds called after him.
“You gotta give us a chance to win it back,” Kidrick said.
Christian looked at the stars shining through the window. He had to get away from the tavern’s smoke and stench. He paused at the open door. But first—he raised his hand to stop the calls of his playmates. They let out a collective sigh as Christian turned back to the room, but then groaned as Christian sat down at the piano, bumping hips with the brute at the keyboard.
“’Scuse me,” Christian mumbled. The pianist relinquished his seat as Christian poised his fingers over the keyboard and began to play Dickson’s “Land of Long Ago.” For just a second the ribald laughter hushed and only music filled the night as the piano cast a spell over the crowded and smoke filled room. He ended as abruptly as he had begun and pushed away from the instrument and out the door.
Rita literally danced when she heard the news. Her feet skipped, her toes pointed, her knees wanted to drop to the ground in worshipful thanksgiving, but she pirouetted instead.
“You won’t regret this!” she promised Ivan, stopping mid dance to hug him.
The craggy faced man smiled while the blonde beauty behind him mouthed, “Oh yes he will.”
But Rita wasn’t about to let Clarisse piddle in her pot of pure happiness. She had an all expense paid ticket out of Seattle. Her family would never think to follow the Rose Arbor troupe across the country. Think of all the cities she would get to see! When she had traveled before it had all been by rail, accompanied by her stiff, self-righteous cousin who never let her leave the safety of the sleeper car. But with the troupe they’d go from city to city and perform on the very best stages!
 “Not so fast!” Ivan warned. “You have to prove to me you can do this.” He handed her a sheaf of music. “Come up with a dance for this.”
Rita studied the music, noting the eighth notes and basic time signature. She recognized the popular ballad and since she already knew the song and its message—choreographing a dance would be fairly simple. Behind Ivan, Clarisse smirked, making Rita wonder what sort of dance Clarisse had used for her audition piece.
“I want to see it tomorrow morning,” Ivan warned.
“I’ll be ready.” But she would need to practice, preferably with Poke, and far away from Clarisse’s spying eyes.  She couldn’t let Clarisse sabotage this opportunity. She would need to come up with the dance on her own and then practice with Poke’s accompaniment just once…or maybe twice.
“We won’t leave for a couple of days,” Ivan told her, his voice full of laughter. “And you can only bring one trunk.”
“I wouldn’t care if I could only bring dancing shoes!”
“That would be interesting,” Ivan said.
“We’re not that kind of show,” Clarisse said, coming behind Ivan and laying a hand on his shoulder. “I told you—she’s not reparatory material.”
“We’re taking a chance on you,” Ivan told her, ignoring Clarisse. “It’s going to be a lot of hard work and a lot of travel. You will, no doubt, find the reparatory demanding and challenging. That’s why I want to see if you can come up with an original dance overnight.”
“I love challenges! Challenges suit my nature,” Rita told him, flashing Ivan a smile and fighting the impulse to stick her tongue out at frowning Clarisse.
 Rita pushed through the theater doors and found herself in the back alley. She needed to practice someplace far from Clarisse…some spacious, private place where Clarisse would never look. Her eyes landed on the outhouses. She wrinkled her nose as she drew closer to a small, smelly clearing, far from windows and prying eyes.
            Christian exited the outhouse and caught a sudden chill. A skin-pricking sensation said he wasn’t alone. Animals. Possibly a red fox, a raccoon, skunk, or an opossum.  “Hey-ho?” he called out. Only the night birds answered. He tightened his hand on his bag of gold. Something skittered in a nearby thicket, and a twig snapped. He watched the moonlight flicker through the boughs of a pine tree then followed the sound of falling feet.
What was dancing in the moonlight? A fairy? Her dark hair had come loose and swirled around spinning shoulders. Her delicate skin glowed beneath the stars and her body moved to music that only she could hear. Such a beautiful creature belonged deep in the woods, or in a valley of wildflowers, or on a gilded throne—she did not belong in a dusty clearing behind the privy with only alley cats as an audience. Unable to stop himself, he drew closer.
            “Mon dieu qu'est ce que tu?”
            Obviously startled, she stopped. “You’re French.”
            Christian shook his head. “No, I am drunk.”
            She studied him, as if assessing his potential danger. He tried to look harmless, which wasn’t difficult, since he was basically harmless. Unless he was mad.
“Do you always speak French when drunk?”
            Christian shrugged. He wasn’t good at answering questions when he was drunk. He was much better with questions when he was sober. Although, he was capable of asking questions and he had asked one that she hadn’t answered.
            “I asked my question first.”
            “Well, it was silly question—anyone can see what I am.”
            “You speak French.” He stepped closer and peered at her. With all that dark hair and her dark red lips, she looked like his mother. “Are you French?”
            “No. Are you?”
            “Partly.” He paused. “Don’t let me stop you.” He waved his hand at her. “Carry on.”
            She scowled at him. “I’m not going to dance if you’re going to stand there and watch.”
            “Why ever not?” He motioned toward the theater. “I assume you came from the theater, where you presumably dance for hundreds on the stage, so why would you not dance for me here?”
            Her arms dangled at her side. “I no longer feel like dancing. You killed my mood.” She jabbed a finger in his face. “But I’m not going to let you spoil my happiness!”
            “Of course, I would be devastated if I did.” He tilted his head to the side, smiling. “Do you always dance when you are happy?”
“Of course not. Although, I haven’t been this happy for a long time, so it’s hard to know.”
“Why are you so happy?” An unpleasant though occurred to him. “Are you in love?”
She shook her head.
“Good. I’m glad. Love can make you do regrettable things.”
“Have you been in love?”
Christian didn’t want to talk about love. He wanted to watch this girl dance. “Will you dance for me?”
“Absolutely not.”
“Will you dance with me?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“I’m very rich.”
She laughed and the noise delighted him. He didn’t want her to stop, but after a few moments, she did.
“Why should that matter?” she asked.
He shrugged. “Damned if I know, but it usually seems to. Now, will you dance with me?” he repeated.
She shook her head.
“Can I walk you home?”
“Yes,” she said, smiling up at him. She took his hand and led him to the theater’s back door.
“You live here?”
She pointed to the sky. “On the third floor.”
“Why are you so happy?”
She took a deep breath and told him of her plans to join the Rose Arbor Traveling Troupe.
“That’s not happy, that’s sad."
“Why would you say that?”
“Because this might be the only chance I’ll ever have to do this,” he said, before taking her in his arms and kissing her.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Rice Experiment

For the last three weeks I’ve been talking to cooked, white rice. You might think that I don’t have a lot to say to rice—we don’t have a lot in common and I really only like rice when it’s smothered in teriyaki sauce—but I’ve been whispering compliments and loving words to the jar of rice with the red band around it’s lid and insults and hateful words to the jar with the blue band on its lid.
I started this because my friend did it and I was shocked by the results, (which were more dramatic than mine, because she did it for a longer period of time—I ended mine early because of travel plans) so I tried it myself. My husband, ever the skeptic, pointed out that maybe I tended to spit when I speak harshly, so after my first time of rice-talk session I was always careful to hold the jars away from me and not spit. Maybe my sessions of kind words were longer than the hateful sessions and therefore the lid was off for a longer period of time? I don’t know. I think it was about even. I tried to be fair.
Friends asked if it felt good/cathartic to vent on my poor rice, but it really didn’t. In fact, it was just the opposite. I always end the sessions feeling badly and a little apologetic toward the abused rice—even though I know it’s just rice and doesn’t have feelings or emotions. Being mean makes me feel—mean.
What lessons have I learned from my experiment?
1.      When I’m mean or unkind I’m hurting myself, maybe even more than I’m hurting anyone else.
2.      Rice or mold can’t understand my words—just as like someone speaking another language can’t understand my words—so it has to be more than the actual stringing together of sentences—it has to be a combination of the tone and the intent. And maybe it’s just the thoughts? I don’t know.
3.      From now on, I will always be more mindful of my negative thoughts and words. I will speak to others and myself with love, kindness and compassion.
I would love to hear scientific theories explaining the results of my rice experiment. Can someone learned in the ways of bacteria explain this to me?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Indie Cover Awards

This is what the judge had to say about Losing Penny's cover. (It's a finalist in a contest The judge must be British or Australian, so it's much more fun if you read his critique with an accent. I love his double use of exclamation points--something that apparently artists, but not writers, can do.)
Don’t you just love the colours in this lovely contemporary romance design?  The red umbrella matches the title and attracts attention.  The light red combines well with the dark navy blue…reminds me of how in design school they used to teach that one should vary tones in a composition – combine light tones with darker ones of an opposite colour…There is a lot of space in the cover too which is really nice as the background does not look overcrowded and it makes the image stand out more.  The setting is appropriate for the book as a large part of the story takes place at the seaside.  A really stunning cover!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reviews for The Rhyme's Library

I love a good review! And two out of two is even better! Listen to me blatantly toot my own horn.

5.0 out of 5 stars

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Gaele
Format:Kindle Edition
In the second book that I have read from this author, she is fast becoming an author for me to watch for in the contemporary mystery genre. The Rhyme's Library is a clever murder mystery, rife with family and small-town secrets and an engaging, intelligent heroine at its center. Blair is cleverly created, a librarian by default, she has a fascination with the "word a day" theory, in fact each chapter starts with a word and its definition; some obscure, some not. When she finds the body of her newly deceased aunt in the basement of her family home, turned library, the coincidences, secrets and suspicious characters just seem to appear in every person she encounters. Stalled or put off by the police, injured, threatened and nearly drowned in several rainstorms, Blair perseveres trying to piece together the puzzle that is her family.

Kristy Tate has managed to craft Blair into an empathetic character that you do not pity, despite rather tragic and scary circumstances. While injecting a bit of humor into some of the situations, and adding several eccentric characters who manage to provide cryptic clues and miscues, the pacing never stalls, and there are more than enough suspects to wonder about. While never reaching a frenetic page-turning pace until the very end, this book was difficult to put down. A wholly surprising and satisfactory ending that hints at the potential for a romance leaves readers wondering just what the next book will bring.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review as part of the Indie Authors Rock promotion on I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ryme's LibraryI December 10, 2012
By elva
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I loved this book. This is the 3rd. book I've read by Kristy Tate. I enjoyed all three. Great evening read warm and cozy , yet exciting. I'm wating for Losing penny Tate's next one. Good books for all ages.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The 50 Page Honeymoon and the Outline

I just finished the outline for Rescuing Rita. One would think that this would have been accomplished last month, before I started the story…but no. That’s not how I work. Usually, I have a general idea of where I’m going and what will happen when I first sit down to a story. The first fifty pages are a bit of a honeymoon for me. I fall in love with my characters and their world. They transform from paper dolls to people with emotions and motivations. And then I get to about page 100 and go…huh. Because the plot has become sticky and multipronged with moving parts—some more interesting than others—at this point, just to keep it all in my head—I need an outline. And now I have one. 17 more scenes equal 8 more writing days. I hope to have the first draft finished before I go to visit my family the first week of March.

I’ll have a writing reprieve for the one week I'm in Washington, before returning home and to Rita--filling all the plot-holes, adding the visual details, tightening the dialogue and ramping up the tension. By April 1st I’ll pass it along to my editor and begin a new story. Maybe by the time Rita returns from her editorial stint I’ll have another 100 pages under my belt, another complete outline.

And while I don’t feel especially celebratory that today I only wrote one page of my story— I’m grateful for the outline of the next (and final) 17 scenes. It feels good to know where I’m going, how I’m going to get there and the pay-off in the final scene.

Life is like that. In literature, we call that second act of the three act story the “wandering stage.” We all need that wandering and sampling to decide what we really want—who and what we want to pursue. Sometimes we think we need a mentor—sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t even when we think we do. Sometimes we travel in herds, sometimes in pairs and sometimes we’re alone—even when we’re with other people. But we’re all writing a life story—sometimes we’re the hero, sometimes we’re the fool, and sometimes the victim. But it’s important to remember that we are the protagonist in our life stories—we can’t schlep that responsibility onto anyone else’s shoulders. We can’t hitch ourselves up to anyone else and go along for the ride, because no matter how strong that someone is—they won’t be strong enough to carry you. You have to walk your own journey. And an outline is a good thing to have. It’s even better than that first fifty page honeymoon.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Losing Penny Parties

I’m stealing this one from Debbie Macomber, who is not only a prolific writer, but also a marketing genius. To read Debbie’s idea, see below, but first read my idea. I want to host Losing Penny parties and every hostess gets these prizes.
Signed copies of my books Stealing Mercy, The Rhyme’s Library and Losing Penny
A tote bag
A dessert like Penny, a cooking show diva and weight loss guru, would make (I haven’t exactly figured out how to do this yet, but I will.)
Here’s the genius part. What if you, fellow writer and friend, hosted a Losing Penny party for me and I hosted a similar whatever your book is called party for you? And what if there were a thousand of us, doing this all over the world, and maybe even in other worlds and in other dimensions? Just think of what we could do…
Right now, I’m doing the Eclectic Book Eggcerpt Eggchange—for more info, see my last post. I won’t start this project until April, so anyone interested has some time to think about it and get back to me at

Here’s what Debbie is doing (she makes $22 million a book, so I can’t compete)
Get together for brunch as you settle in with one of America’s most beloved authors, #1 New York Times bestseller, Debbie Macomber. At your Debbie Macomber Books and Brunch House Party, you’ll get a sneak peak of Debbie’s new book, Starting Now, as well as read and discuss The Inn at Rose Harbor and get a first look at “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove”, Hallmark Channel's first primetime scripted series premiering this summer!

You’ll also be able to make and enjoy some of the treats featured in
 The Inn at Rose Harbor as well as sample tea compliments of Harney & Sons.

Your exclusive Debbie Macomber Party Pack will contain:
·         Signed finished copy of Starting Now for host
·         Copies of The Inn at Rose Harbor including an extended excerpt from Starting Now
·         DVD with a trailer and a sneak peek scene of "Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove"
·         Autographed stickers signed by Debbie Macomber for host’s and guests’ books
·         Salem Baking Company's Moravian Cookies in Ginger Spice and Meyer Lemon
·         Bookmarks
·         Coasters
·         Tote bags for the host and a trivia prize winner
·         Sachets of Ambessa whole leaf tea blends from Harney & Sons
·         And more!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eclectic Books Egg-cert Eggchange

 Here’s my idea. I think it could be a great way to promote our books.

Authors agree to exchange information about their books. Each post the information on their blogs with picture of the book, blurb, excerpt, links to other authors' sites and buy links to the books.

Arrange the dates ahead of time and exchange information via email.

Post on blog, Facebook and Twitter, etc. In exchange you do the same for your partner authors.

Every book would have to have high moral standards (no cussing, hanki-pankiness, scantily clothed cover models, bigotry, etc.)  If you and your author partners decide to do give-aways—that would be awesome.

If interested, please e-mail me at and I’ll try to group the books according to genre and every genre could possibly have their own week during the month of March- that way we could cross promote without being overwhelming.

What do you think?
From the same person who ran the Eclectic Books catalog

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hailey's First Review!

So what if Hailey's Comments is #453,631 and Stealing Mercy is #72! I love them both and I love this review!
4.0 out of 5 stars fun read that will keep readers entertained February 10, 2013
By Gaele
Meet Emma, by her heart an artist, but her job is ghost writing a syndicated and very popular Agony Aunt column, named after her grandmother. When her frustration with advice giving begins to show in her answers with less pith and more bitch, Emma takes a vacation rental on a remote island to paint and prepare for a `non commercial artists' contest that would result in her work being in a prestigious gallery.

From the moment she arrives, people behave in a decidedly strange way towards her, strange men invade her rental property, the minister carries a gun, and Twinkie the Yak is not as soft and fluffy as his name indicates. With several twists, a host of potential bad guys who possibly could have murdered Helen, and a pair of oddities buying up the island, Emma is thrust into a dangerous, if slightly madcap adventure. Most of it rain soaked.

Emma is a fun heroine, although a bit of a whinger as she seems to forget what she does have, always looking for something that she cannot quite reach, as she often sabotages her own choices. Even with those moments, the secret keeping of her authorship of the column has bled over into her own life, she keeps everyone at arm's length but her dog, and that seems to have become her go to reaction to new people. She comes off as more shy and retiring than stand-offish, but it is in those moments of extreme stress that her softer side comes out and makes her far more sympathetic and relate-able. With the quick pace, the mysteries that seem to twist together like a Gordian knot and the well-meaning but ever interfering grandmother this is a fun read that will keep readers entertained.

How to be Successful in Two Easy Steps

How to be successful in two easy steps.
1.      Work hard
2.      Be kind
Work hard. Make a plan. Work the plan. Make the plan the work. Commit to it for a specific time. Write down what you did and the results so you can measure if your plan is working. If it’s not, in time, create a new plan. I could talk a lot more about this, but I really want to talk about step 2. It’s the step most often forgotten and probably the most important. Remember the cliché, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice? Turns out it’s really true.
A number of months ago I wrote a blog post with 5 writing tips. You can read that here. My first and most important tip was not to fight.

 “This is pretty basic, but it’s important to remember. If you’re like me, the perfect retort to a rude comment isn’t always at my tongue’s tip at the encounter. If you’re fuming and rummaging through your head trying to formulate the perfecting stinging comeback, you won’t be in tune with your story or characters. It’s impossible, for me at least, to feel in sync with my writing if I’m too busy mentally constructing closing arguments. I’m not advocating being a pansy, I’m just saying learn to be a peacemaker. It’ll help you be a better writer (and a nicer person.)”

The truth is the world not only helps those that help themselves, it also helps those who help others.

My friend volunteers on her homeowner’s landscape architectural committee. This means that she sits on a board with other volunteers and makes sure that the slopes and corners in the city look lovely. She has a number of allotted slopes and corners that she’s responsible for and a budget to keep them planted and pruned.

Unfortunately, a woman on the board likes to go behind her back, use her budget and pull her plants. And she’s not only adversarial on the sly—she’s openly hostile at the planning meetings.

And so my friend has a counter attack plan. Every time this woman says anything my friend plans on complimenting her before offering her own input. For example: “You have the most creative ideas—now what about the ivy?” Or, “I can tell you really put a lot of time and thought into the needs of those roses, have you considered geraniums?” You get the picture. It might not work, but it’s a whole lot easier to steal the budget from someone who is throwing you daggers than someone who’s complimenting your creative use of groundcover.

And if that doesn’t work—ask your writer friend to mention the landscape architectural committee control freak in her blog post that will be read hundreds of people, because everyone wants the nice guy to win.

It’s trite but true—you harvest what you plant. And it’s just as easy (probably easier) to plant seeds of kindness as it is plant contention.

And when you lose your temper—you lose.

There’s more than one way to be a loser. In my latest book, Losing Penny—Penny is a loser of a different sort. Cooking show diva, Penny Lee, loses fifty pounds, and gains a stalker. To avoid the attention of her most devoted follower, Penny concocts a plan: while pretending to take a culinary tour, traveling the world, collecting recipes and posting them on her blog, she hides at a remote beach house in Rose Arbor, Washington, where she spends the summer compiling her cookbook.
When English Literature professor Drake Islington is offered the chance to spend the summer at a remote beach house where he can write in peace he happily accepts, never dreaming that he is a pawn in a match making scheme. His encounter with Penny promises a delicious summer, until uninvited guests arrive forcing Penny and Drake to cook up a scheme of their own. When Drake’s mother, a stalker and a donkey named Gertrude join the mix, the town of Rose Arbor sizzles with another tale of romance and suspense.

And so, I’m kindly offering a smashwords coupon to anyone who would like to read and review Losing Penny. If you’re interested, please leave your e-mail address and I’ll send a coupon.