Winter storm survival kit – Don’t forget a good book

New LimitedPartnerships OmnibusAs a native of Minnesota, I know how to get through a snow storm. The main thing is to ensure you have all the supplies you need including food and medication. You don’t want to run out when the roads become impassable.

Next, ensure you’re prepared for a power outage. Fill your bathtub with water, make sure you have plenty of batteries for your lanterns and radio and charge up all of your electronic devices. Don’t forget your ebook readers, and laptops. Icy branches tend to fall on power lines, so you never know if you’ll have lights throughout the blizzard.

Don’t forget to make sure your gas tank is full in case you get stuck on the road and that your car has food, water and plenty of blankets. Getting stuck in the car is the worst place to be so don’t hit the road unless you absolutely have ot.

If you’ve got a generator, make sure it’s full of fuel and that you’ve got a spare can. The best answer for a power outage is to go someplace else where there is power. A neighbor, churchs, fire departments, or schools, are places that may offer shelter. Know where emergency warming shelters are and decide ahead of time where you might go.

In a bad blizzard, going somewhere else may not be possible. Opening the oven door and turning it on is a last resort as is sitting in the car and running the heater. If you do sit in a running car, for pete’s sake open the garage door and ensure there’s fresh air circulating!

The best option might be to gather everyone in the house, build a fort of blankets and pillows and use body heat to ride things out.

For me, getting snowed in means it’s time to curl up with a good book. For that reason, I’m having a blizzard sale and making Limited Partnerships Omnibus at just $2.99, more than fifty percent off! Snuggling up with some steamy romance is the perfect way to warm the heart and ensure you’ll make it through the rough winter weather.

I’m told they’re saying this storm is like a hurricane only with snow and cold. How are you preparing for the coming Snowpocalypse?

Cindy Young-Turner made a tough decision

Thief of HopeWhen Cindy Young-Turner finished her first book, Thief of Hope, she did what most authors do. She wrote query letters in search of an agent and was thrilled to find one. A few years later (yes, it can sometimes take that long) she found a publisher.

The excitement of hearing from your agent that you have a publisher is indescribable and can only be comparable to the day you open the box and hold your first book in your hands. It’s an awesome feeling and never gets old.

Unfortunately, not all publishers are created equal. The decision to break your relationship with your agent or your publisher, is a tough one, but one Young-Turner made, and she hasn’t looked back since.

I sat down with her to talk about the decision that changed her writing world and ask her about the status of her second book.  Continue reading

An interview with author Gale Deitch

Fine DiningI’ll remember 2014 as the year several writer friends I know and respect published or republished great books. Mark Willen’s smart and poignant mystery, Hawke’s Point, Cindy Young-Turner’s republication of her engrossing fantasy, A Thief of Hope and the second book in Gale Deitch’s popular culinary cozy mystery series, Fine Dining.

Gale Deitch developed an impressive fan base after her first book, A Fine Fix, was published last year. Her readers have been asking for more in the series, and now they finally have it.

The star in Deitch’s kitchen-centric stories is Trudie Fine, a caterer who loves brightly colored clothes, is growing accustomed to a new boyfriend in her life in the form of a handsome detective, and whose loyalty for a close friend lands her in the middle of a murder investigation.

Continue reading

What a year!

What a yearFacebook does this thing where, whether you want them to or not, they make a little compilation of the posts you’ve made throughout the year. Either in a groovy little video with canned music, or through a series of stills, they give you a look back at the most important posts that marked your year…or at least the posts which garnered the most attention.

When they first did this last year, I found it kind of creepy. Somehow, they’d come pretty close through their formulaic editing, to highlight some crucial aspects of my year. Creepy or not, they managed to do it again this year, highlighting the two big exclamation points of at least my writing year without my help.

Continue reading

I’m Baaaaack!

Feeling betterIt’s good to be home from the hospital and even good to be back at my day job. When I knew I would be out of commission for
a while, like most people who write as a passion, I figured sick leave would be a good time for getting some words on paper.

It wasn’t.

In fact, I didn’t write a single word. Not one.

The General’s Ambition had just been released. I had plans to attend the Fort Meade Officer’s Spouses Club Holiday Bazaar. I’d started a free promotion for The Peacekeeper’s Photograph and wanted to do some blog interviews and promotions for the new book. None of that was to be. I simply couldn’t concentrate on any of it.

I discovered that healing takes up a lot of time and energy.

My first day back at my day job was exhausting. The sight of more than 600 emails, a bunch of voicemails and projects that still awaited my attention, sapped my energy. I’m not sure when I’ll have balance again to be able to work a full day, then put some hours in at the keyboard. Eventually, I’ll be able to do that again.

In the meantime, I’ve had a new idea for a series I’m very excited about. I’ve started an outline (yes, I’m going to fully outline this one) and the newness of the idea is giving me the energy to put some time into the work.

Thanks to everyone for your words of support while I was away. It was good to know I’d been missed. I’m back now! Look for some blog interviews, maybe more free promotions for The Master Sergeant Harper Series. I may even post a couple of teasers for the new series one day soon.

A brief pause

Hospital stayI should be posting something profound about Veteran’s Day. Something that reflects my pride of service, my pride for all the men and women, including my family members, who have served. Instead, I need to post a brief pause. Had to spend some time in the hospital for a procedure, I’m told, is the most common of all surgical procedures. Look it up. I’ll be back soon to talk about The General’s Ambition which was, finally, published in ebook and paperback.

In the meantime, hug a veteran you know and thank the ones you don’t.

The differences are obvious

TCBF2Last year, if someone had asked me what a book festival was like, I could only comment from a visitor’s perspective. Now, after having three of them under my belt (she says as she polishes her nails on her chest), I’ve got a few things to compare and contrast and an opinion as to what an author should look for in a festival of the book.

My previous post on the Baltimore Book Festival outlines what I thought about that event. Huge, expensive, will probably leave you in the hole financially but also gratifying in a way. Against all logic, I would probably do it again if the mood suits me, but never on my own. There’s safety in numbers and the BBF is proof of that adage.

The Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival on the other hand, is a very different affair.

Continue reading

Things I learned from the Baltimore Book Festival

A great chance to talk about writing with fellow authors.

Multiple authors sharing a booth and my professional looking banner helped make the festival worth it this year, at least for me. Participation should be carefully considered.

My writer friends and I have had multiple conversations about book festivals. The bottom line question is, are they worth it? We toss around questions like, can you sell enough books to cover the cost? Is it worth it to invest in banners, posters, cards and other give-aways? Does participation result in readers who look for you later to buy books online?

This is what I learned from participating in the 2014 Baltimore Book Festival.

Continue reading

Baltimore Book Festival 2014

What a weekend! The Baltimore Book Festival was a bit overwhelming and a lot exhausting. As crazy as it was to get past the massive crowds and find a place to park, it was amazing to see so many talented authors of every genre imaginable all in one place. I loved the opportunity to meet and talk to other writers about their experiences, but by far, the best part of the weekend was the opportunity to meet and talk to readers. What a joy it is to watch a stranger purchase your work–people who don’t know me as a person let alone as a writer. People who don’t know the books and yet, they still take a chance and buy the work. It’s an amazing feeling.

I’ll write more about the experience soon. Until then, here’s a little gallery of photos from the event.

Always cool

ambitionMan, it just never gets old. The box arrives. Your heart clacks like a freight train with a gazillion cars. You cut the box open, take out the stuffing and there. You get that first glimpse and have to pause for a second…is that really it? Is it really here?

You pick it up, run your hand over the cover, turn it over and read the back. Then you flip through the pages thinking about the hours it took, the characters you created.

Then you smile to yourself.