Sometimes writing & selling take a back seat to a SUPER-REAL, Cosmic life event

My mom with my sister (on right) and me (on left)

I’m going to write about a personal matter, which I normally don’t do. But I feel led to, so be it. My mom passed away on July 28. My husband and I were there, holding her hand and talking to her. My brother was there as well. It was a rough but intensely profound experience. Beautiful, really. This was after we had been with her off and on for two days prior.

But death comes at inconvenient times. We are all such busy people, aren’t we? I was in the middle of a huge NYC RWA book con, and I was about to do a book signing with 450+ authors.

It was a no-brainer. I bailed, and dashed down to Philly where she was. Life can be long – she was 87 – and still we fight for it with our life force as it wanes.

The experience of seeing someone I love die in front of my eyes made it so very clear that time is precious and one must work now to make dreams real, and write those stories that matter dearly.

I’ve had amazing dreams for these last two weeks – colorful, adventurous, rather psychedelic. Life comes bounding back. And back, And back. And joy reigns.

What kind of real life moments have you had that trump everything else?

Great summer beach reads for August!

A bunch of fun summer novels have launched. Here’s a sampling.


Like romantic suspense? Check out Heather M. Gardner’s Maguire’s Corner novels One Good Catch and Already Home! Out with Inkspell.

Already Home-book 1
Coffee shop owner Maggie Maguire doesn’t trust the new police chief her father hired to protect Maguire’s Corner. He’s a stranger, cold, bossy and annoyingly handsome. But, Maggie’s witnessed a serious crime and now someone’s trying to kill her. The man that aggravates her most might be the only one that can help her. 


Police Chief Jack Munro likes his new job and his new town, and unfortunately he also likes the stubborn but beautiful town sweetheart. His self-imposed hands-off Maggie policy is about to be put to the ultimate test when he must keep her close to protect her while he tracks down a ruthless killer. 


Determined to ignore Jack’s charms, Maggie attempts to help him unravel the mystery but when their lives hang in the balance she must decide how much she’s willing to risk to save the man she suddenly can’t resist. 


Get Already Home at: 
Amazon, B&N, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks


One Good Catch – book 2
Ignoring a recent trauma that affects her everyday life, ER Doctor Kate Maguire engages in some high risk activities, but these situations aren’t enough to feed her edginess. She needs something more. When her brother’s high school best friend comes back to town, it’s her chance for a ‘no strings attached’ fling with the man who still headlines all her best dreams. 


Rhys MacGrath’s days of one-night-stands are long over. The pro-football player might be side-lined at rehab for a shoulder injury, but that doesn’t mean he can’t admire and desire the all-grown-up, so-damn-hot, version of the tomboy he once knew. His sudden interest in Kate might aggravate his best friend, but it’s her indifference that drives Rhys crazy. 


Everything heats up when Kate’s nosy nature puts her in the line of fire of an arsonist forcing Kate and Rhys to deal with more than just the sparks igniting between them. 

Get One Good Catch at:
Amazon, B&N, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks


Enter the Rafflecopter to win an Amazon gift card!
Find Heather: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon author page



Meradeth Houston’s novel Travelers is a YA fantasy about time travel, and it’s out!
The blurb:
Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive.

Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die.


Get Travelers at Amazon & Smashie
Find Meradeth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, her blog, Pinterest, Tumblr, Goodreads

And lastly, but no less amazing is M Gerrick’s first two of her Seven Crowns epic fantasy novels, The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice. Beautiful covers, indeed!



The Vanished Knight
The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.


Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except… it’s not. A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died.


Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were.


Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim.


In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with. One with a taste for destroying her life.



Get The Vanished Knight at: Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

The Heir’s Choice
After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past. Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.


Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the middle of a nightmare.


The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It’s either her life getting messed up, or an entire country’s lives lost. Simple enough, right? Wrong.


Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a whole new level of complicated.

Get Heir’s Choice at AmazonApple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Visit Misha Gerrick’s blog, Tumblr, Twitter

Happy August Reading!

Beach Read Boxed Set: Crashing into Love

 Like summer beach reads? Me too! I’m thrilled to feature a steamy, action-packed beach read boxed set called Crashing Into Love. It includes the novella Crash and Burn by the fabulous romance author Melissa Keir, who also happens to be the publisher over at Inkspell romance.


This boxed set is a complete steal at only $0.99. Included are seven edge of the seat tales from veteran romance authors.

First, the blurb for Melissa’s novella Crash and Burn:

Can Rob and Keira’s second honeymoon lead to romance, or will it crash and burn?

On the verge of a divorce, Rob and Keira Matthews book a second honeymoon at the urging of their counselor. Unable to conceive, they’ve pushed each other away in an effort to protect their hearts. Will a romantic holiday be the ticket to love or a plane crash in disaster?

A teaser – guaranteed to make you say OMG, I need to find out what happens!
   Crashing waves.
   A wet tongue on her cheek.
   Damp and lying on a hard ground, Keira rolled to her side and coughed up water. Unable to catch her breath, she pushed herself up on her hands and knees. Choking, coughing, fluid flowed from her lungs.
   Somewhere nearby, the dog barked.
   “Oh, my God. Rob!” She crawled to her husband’s prone body at the edge of the water. She flipped him to his back then laid her head on his chest. No heartbeat.
   “Honey. Wake up.” She pounded on his chest. Tears flowed down her face. “I won’t give you up. We’ve had too much history. Fight, baby. Come back to me.” She straddled his body and began chest compressions. “One, and two, and three.” She parted his lips then blew into his mouth. She returned to pushing on his chest. “One, and two, and three. Come on, dammit. Fight!”
   Time ceased as she continued the compressions. Frightened, she shuddered then threw her body down over his chest. Sobs decimated her frame.
   “Please, God. Don’t take him from me.” Pleading, bargaining, beseeching.
   Water flowed out of his mouth as coughs rocked him. He gagged.
   “Rob!” She pushed him onto his side and thumped on his back as he expelled more water. “Thank God. Just cough it out.”
   “Please don’t cry.” His words croaked out as he rolled onto his back. His gaze met hers. He reached toward her face, but his arm fell back to the sand.
   “We need to get you out of the water. I can’t do it on my own.” She stood and grabbed under his arms. Pulling him, she quickly tired. “You have to help. Use your legs and push.”
   This time, he moved out of the water. Gris lay down next to Rob and licked his hand.
   “I’m going to look around.” As she straightened, her legs buckled, and she collapsed on the sand. “I think I’ll just lie here for a bit.” She curled in next to her husband and let sleep overtake her.
 

And now, about other tales in Crashing Into Love:
Lost meets Romancing the Stone–action adventure, a dash of mystery, and romance to die for.

Seven planes lift off…seven planes crash…seven stories of struggle, passion and love in the barren Canadian Wilderness, the coast of England, or the steamy heat of a tropical island. Romance hangs in the balance between survival and death.

Brace for Impact by Daryl Devoré
What could be simpler than a routine plane trip from Toronto, Canada to Caracas, Venezuela for rookie flight attendant, Lori, and sexy R.C.M.P. officer, Guy Lapierre? But Fate had other intentions.

Crashing into You by Lisa Kumar 
When Ashlee Trent meets handsome businessman Kaiden West on a plane to Australia, he eases her fears even as he sets her heart ablaze. But after their plane crashes into the ocean and they wash ashore, will the secrets surrounding him send their budding relationship into a nosedive?

Crashing Through Time by Jenna Jaxon 
The most dangerous thing about time travel is knowledge of the past: does she save him and change history, or let the tragic events play out and lose the love of her life?
More than hearts can be broken when you crash through time.

Love Comes Crashing In by Brenda Dyer
Best friends find love in each other’s arms, but can that love survive reality?

Falling Hard by D’Ann Lindun 
He craves solitude to forget what a woman did to him. She needs one last chance before her career ends. Can a plane crash in the Canadian Rockies show them what really matters?

A Splash of Romance by Deb Julienne 
Who knew a plane crash would lead to romance? Hannah Parks is a trauma nurse on her way to a symposium at the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. She just started her bucket list and a plane crash definitely isn’t on it.  Oliver Lawson’s divorce is final and he’s looking to start over. A tropical island, a gorgeous woman. Romance is one thing, getting there as a result of a crash landing…who knew?

Snag your copy from Amazon (US), Amazon (UK) or Createspace

Watch the trailer! 

 About Melissa Keir:
   For my wedding in Vegas, my books and computer came with me but there wasn’t enough room for my wedding shoes. It’s all about priorities! As an avid reader, I was probably born with a book in hand. Luckily my mom was also an avid reader, so it was easy to “borrow” her books when my books were finished.
   I was reading from an early age about dashing men on horseback riding to the rescue of strong willed and capable women who didn’t really need rescuing. I came to expect that women in fairy tales should have fought their own battles. When I was older, I found Margaret Atwood and realized that women could re-tell history in their own way and I experimented with changing those basic fairy tales.
   Fortunately for me, my husband allows me the opportunity to be myself (spend my salary on books) and still takes care of the really important things for me like killing spiders and opening jars. As an elementary teacher, teaching children about the many worlds inside of books is a gift that I’m lucky enough to do for a living. Teaching the next generation to love reading is a lot of fun. Reading the right book can make a new world come alive!
   Currently living in the suburbs of Ann Arbor, Michigan with my darling husband, way-too-grown-up children and spoiled dogs, I enjoy getting away through a book to escape the harsh winters or summer road construction.

Follow Melissa: on Twitter, her website, on Facebook

What I Learned at UtopYA & the Book Cons

I went to my first UtopYA convention this June (now simply called Utopia Con) and it was quite an amazing experience. This year I signed up for a bunch of cons to sample them and see which ones I liked. I REALLY liked Utopia. Why?

From the first moments – even in the shuttle from the airport – I met very cool authors Diane J Reed and Courtney Farrell who I ended up hanging out with. Waiting in the winding registration line was fun too, because I got into a conversation with Diane about books, promo and all things author. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming, not always the case with cons. Special thanks to Nashville author Susan Burdorf for her warm welcome.

With Katie John
clockwise: Courtney Farrell, me,
Diane Reed, Laura Howard
My book table mate, Selene

With Doris from Dowie’s Place

I shared a book table with Selene Castrovilla, a classmate from my New School MFA Creative Writing days. I also made it my business to get to know people beforehand on the Facebook UtopYA site, which helped break the ice once I got there. It was cool to meet authors in person like Lisa Brown Roberts, Stephanie Pajonas, Natasha Hanova, Carlyle Labuschagne and Pk Hrezo, who I’ve done cross-promo with. Truly surreal to meet people I knew online. Major fun to meet Laura Howard and UK author, Katie John whose blog I actually found years ago. Finally, I am reading one of Katie’s Meadowsweet novels, Vengeance. It’s book two so now I need to go back and read book one. LOL. Meeting Bella Rocaforte was a treat as I love her Inked series. Oh, and I got to meet Angel Lawson who I’m in a boxed set with, launching June 29. It’s called Secret Worlds. We are stoked that it’s already on Amazon bestseller lists from pre-orders. Check it out!

With Bella Rocaforte 

With Tina Donnelly

I can’t forget meeting lovelies Tina Donnelly and Teri Barber who took a chance on my books, and new author, Kristen Bauer with her kids, also book lovers. Bloggers Doris Orman of Dowie’s Place and Ethan Gregory of One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads were fun to meet and chat with. Oh, and Amy Evans and EJ Wesley of NA Alley. The list goes on and on and on. For any Utopia-goers I didn’t mention, know you are ALL awesome and valued.

You see, Utopia is an inclusive con. About thirty of us convened on Thursday evening to go to a local restaurant, Monell’s. There was always an opportunity to join someone for lunch, dinner or a stroll around Nashville. Friday night Diane, Laura and I had an impromptu Tarot salon. I just bought a medieval cat deck! Meeow. I plan to bring my cards next year and have another one.

With Pk Hrezo

With Stephanie Pajonas

The Saturday public signing was a wild extravaganza with a loud, lively crowd. It was fascinating to go around and see how people decorated their tables and presented books, not to mention the incredible variety of swag from bracelets to raffle baskets to candy and divining cards! I thought Starla Huchson had the most creative display table design. Go, Starla!

One of my regrets was that my Sunday morning flight was so early I had to bail on the Saturday night awards event and the dance afterwards. Boo. Next year I will get a later flight!!!

Readers rule!

Eve Langell tackles Dorianna

Blogger rule too!

One hint that I truly loved the UtopYA experience is that I’ve already bought my ticket and booked the hotel for the 2016 Utopia con! And the buzz on the Utopia Con Facebook site is frenetic with sharing news, launches, blog sites and the like. It’s all about community. I can’t wait to say hi again to my friends, meet those who I didn’t get a chance to this year, and help make first timers as comfortable as I felt being a newbie. Utopia rocks!

Helpful con tips:
*If you have a book table for more than a day, make sure to take breaks to stretch, check out other peeps’ books, attend panels and the like.
*Share a table with someone who can handle hawking your books and vise versa. You can give each other much needed time away from the selling arena. Share a room too. Cheaper that way.
* Reach out, talk to someone you don’t know. Rinse and repeat. It’s a lot about making new friends!
* Get enough sleep and eat healthfully. Your energy can quickly become depleted otherwise.
*Don’t try to do everything. Pick a few panels and events. There’s always next time.
* Practice your sales pitch beforehand. Be able to describe your books in two lines each! People need to hear the info quickly because they’re browsing lots of tables. Make your pitch exciting. Get to the emotional core. Make it memorable and they will return.
*Decorate your table in a fun way that isn’t too cluttered. Arrange books to be easily seen. Offer unique swag no one else has. Not just bookmarks! Offer up a raffle basket or other element.
*Dress comfortably and remember that con ballrooms are air-conditioned and get cold.
*Be friendly to all. No playing favorites!
*Don’t be afraid to go out for a meal with strangers. Strangers quickly become new friends.
*Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

great summer reads of all kinds!!!

Here is another one of my recommended summer reading lists with all manner of genres and subjects!

Christine Rains is back with Layers of Lace, the second installment of her hilarious and hot erotic Dice and Debauchery series. I read her first, Loose Corset and can’t wait to dig into this one. The blurb:
Amateur cosplayer Emily Solis is determined to win the costume contest and the heart of her biggest competition. It isn’t the first time Emily has shed her costume with the gorgeous Russell Morrison. Not even her best friend knows she’s been having wild convention sex with him for over a year. It was supposed to remain physical, but Emily couldn’t help falling for him and his kinky ways. In a moment of passion, she rolls the dice and tells Russell she loves him. He doesn’t say it back. Can she convince him they’re perfect together or will she roll another critical failure?
Pre-order or buy the ebook at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, B&N, Kobo, or add it to your GR TBR list!

M Pax is here with Precipice, book 6 in her popular Backworlds space opera series. I’ve read two of them. Both were highly entertaining. Craze is quite the character, and there are many inventive touches in each book. The blurb:
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.
      The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.
      The genocidal alien he’d trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.
      The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy. The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.
Ready for a mini-excerpt? Sure, you are!
    Until he knew for certain whether he dealt with one genocidal alien or two, Lepsi couldn’t think right. His thoughts refused to stand still, stuttering and churning.
    The hatch slid fully open. He sprang off the cargo ejector, sailing two kilometers into the ether. He tumbled in the black for precisely twenty-three seconds then engaged his thrusters to journey the remaining twenty kilometers over to a spacecraft-sized mass of debris. The bits clumped together forming a weird metallic planetoid.

    He traced along the char marks and the mangled pieces of hull. The answers he needed wouldn’t be found in this trash, yet he was closer to them here than anywhere else, unless he joined up with the horrid alien again. His limbs shuddered and his lungs struggled for breath. He never wanted to see the cloud-like ship again. He couldn’t. He’d crack into a billion unrecoverable pieces. Just like the rubble of the Fo’wo ship around him.
Buy the ebook at Amazon, B&N, iBook, Googleplay, Smashie, Kobo

And now for a cover reveal from veteran indie author, Casey Bond, heading to UtopYA in a couple of weeks, where I will get to meet her. Yay! This new cover is Reclaimed from her Harvest Saga series. Isn’t it pretty?! No exact release date yet but soon… In the meantime get started on the series now for FREE by ordering REAP, the first! To see all of Casey’s ebooks, click here. The blurb for REAP:
The remnants of the United States of America have been divided. From five enormous, technologically-advanced cities, the Greaters rule over the Lessers. 


In the Lesser village of Orchard, things are not as perfect as Abby Kelley thinks they are. When the apple harvest draws near and the Greater’s engineered fruits become too much for one village to handle alone, reinforcements from
neighboring villages are called upon. 

Having to choose between her best friend, whom she has no romantic feelings for, and mysterious newcomer Crew, Abby finds herself in the middle of a harvest that she had no intention of becoming a part of. She becomes involved in a situation that threatens the strict rule of the Greaters, and just might give the Lessers hope for a better tomorrow. But, can she help the Lessers without losing Crew? And if she chooses Crew, will she lose her best friend? 

 And here’s one more amazing release! It’s Secret Worlds, with 21 novels by 21 bestselling authors for a mere 99 cents!!! I am honored to have a novel in it – Ruby’s Fire. Here are some provocative teasers featuring the various authors and their books:


“‘Humans in the house!’ came the call from the kitchen as we entered the first trailer. ‘Put on some clothes.'” – from Shiftless by Aimee Easterling


“You’re probably better off without knowing your dad. Mine’s King Jackass.” – from the Pandora Principle by Noree Cosper


“Someone saw you get high. Do you?” he asks. “No, Oblivion is for deleting.”   – from Ruby’s Fire by Catherine Stine


“Another spell gone kaput.” from Changeling by Debbie Herbert


“You don’t get rid of an itch by ignoring it. There’s only one way to settle it down. You scratch it, good and hard.” – from Spark Rising by Kate Corcino


“Being human sucked much more than I remembered. The only thing that remained the same was the burn of a shot of whiskey and the way Naomi felt when we made love.” – from Trinity Rising by J.E. Taylor


“My mom died during an exorcism on my eighteenth birthday.” – from The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton


“I spread out like a shadow on pavement under the feet of the unsuspecting woman working her corner in the seven-hundred block of South Orange Blossom Trail. Her name is Jane, and I will be wearing her by morning.” – from Purgatory by Susan Stec


Pre-order secret Worlds! from Amazon, B&N, Kobo
Happy summer reading, all!

My Fave Vacation Spot! Plus a vacay blogfest. What’s yours?

 I’m taking part in this weekend’s “My Favorite Summer Vacation Spot” blogfest. So, I tell you what mine is. My yearly writing retreat in Cape Cod! By the way, you don’t have to be an official blogfest participant to comment, so comment away, and tell us yours.
This Blog Hop is sponsored by Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill.
For the Linky List and Book Giveaways visit the 6 Co-Hosts go to: Lexa Cain, Melanie Karsak, T.F. Walsh, Vanessa Morgan, Jolie Du Pre & Stuart R. West.

Now, to the subject at hand… Why do I like this place so much? I’m vacationing, yet mingling with friends; I’m getting LOTS of writing done and talking about writing. Most of my novels were started here. I get to swim in the ocean, be surrounded by pines and waterways, lounge on a rose-covered porch in my PJs, and every night someone cooks a great dinner, followed by fun writers’ games. Here are some pictures that tell the story over the years.

My writing station near a pal
path to the inlet
morning coffee
writing ladies

porch roses

Emily’s homecooked meal
me lounging on the porch
Emily, the evening’s chef
One of my writing stations

Tell us all, what’s one of your fave vacation spots?

My Fave Vacation Spot! Plus a vacay blogfest. What’s yours?

 I’m taking part in this weekend’s “My Favorite Summer Vacation Spot” blogfest. So, I tell you what mine is. My yearly writing retreat in Cape Cod! By the way, you don’t have to be an official blogfest participant to comment, so comment away, and tell us yours.
This Blog Hop is sponsored by Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill.
For the Linky List and Book Giveaways visit the 6 Co-Hosts go to: Lexa Cain, Melanie Karsak, T.F. Walsh, Vanessa Morgan, Jolie Du Pre & Stuart R. West.

Now, to the subject at hand… Why do I like this place so much? I’m vacationing, yet mingling with friends; I’m getting LOTS of writing done and talking about writing. Most of my novels were started here. I get to swim in the ocean, be surrounded by pines and waterways, lounge on a rose-covered porch in my PJs, and every night someone cooks a great dinner, followed by fun writers’ games. Here are some pictures that tell the story over the years.

My writing station near a pal
path to the inlet
morning coffee
writing ladies

porch roses

Emily’s homecooked meal
me lounging on the porch
Emily, the evening’s chef
One of my writing stations

Tell us all, what’s one of your fave vacation spots?