Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Thanksgiving Gift from Me to You and HUGE Savings On My Website

I'd like to offer thanks for my readers this Thanksgiving. If you go to my website on Black Friday, you can buy my self published books for a huge discount and I will personally send a copy to you. the sale will continue through the holidays.

Right now I'm not sure where I'll be on this Thanksgiving Day. I'm aiming for Michigan so I can be with my two youngest grandchildren because I have plans to visit my other children in Colorado in December. Last Thursday I made a full dinner for my oldest grandson here in Texas, and the only child I'll be missing is my oldest son, who actually lives close to me. We'll get together when I return. And just so you know...I swore I wouldn't travel during the winter to visit these kids who left Florida for places like CO and MI and TX. This weather is ridiculous.  But thank goodness for technology or I'd really be devastated by the distance between us. I've been fortunate to be able to Facetime the grandchildren often so they have always known me. And we are at a point where I can also text the oldest one. I sort of love being in their lives on such a personal level, and we don't take out time together for granted. 

So as much as I'd like to gripe about social media and our lives with our faces glued to our has it's positive purpose. So this Thanksgiving not only am I giving thanks for technology enabling me to interact with long distance loved ones...I'm also thankful for the ability to work from home...or from anywhere. My next book has been brainstormed and edited in multiple airports. I'm not good at writing on planes because not all my content is rated for just anyone looking over my shoulder. Although this book should not offend anyone...there's no reason for me to share it with total strangers when I could share the new opening with you!

So my special friends, here is the first opening installment of Hair of the Were - Book 1 by Eliza March in the series As The Chair Turns. I hope you enjoy it.

Hair of the Were [copyright 2017 Eliza March] 

As the Chair Turns  Series [copyright 2016 by Eliza March]

 Chapter One – Son of a Son of a…

 The sea summoned me. And an ache deep in my bones couldn’t resist the longing. I hummed along with the band at the beach bar covering Jimmy Buffet tunes while the crowd sang along. My lips curled into a wide smile as I inhaled the Pina Colada scented tanning oil and the salt-water tinged air wafting on the breeze. Mmm. This was the first day since graduation that I’d been to the beach in what seemed like forever, and I intended to enjoy every minute of it. Allowing the salt air to fill my lungs, the artificially filtered, air-conditioned crap I’d been breathing at work and at school would soon be cleansed from my being…and I could be one with the sea. Or more precisely, one of hordes of hundreds. The beach was packed.
Looking for a place to plant myself in the warm sand, I forced the ever-present tension from my mind. Tomorrow morning was soon enough to worry about my job interview. A kiss from the sun would improve my disposition and my tan and that would do wonders for my confidence. My balyage blonde highlights may be my trademark, but they looked best when I had some color in my cheeks.
“Delia.” A familiar voice called my name. My new condo neighbors, sat not far from where I stood. Jenn and Carrie were responsible for my job opportunity. Sort of. In a backhanded compliment sort of way. If I hadn’t overheard them talking about the management position opening up at Luna de la Mar International Salon and Spa…I don’t think they would have mentioned it.
“Come here,” Carrie waved me over and I carefully stepped around a few bodies in my way.
“Nice hat, Jenn.” I said but she  responded with a bored grunt. Strange girl. She hid under an umbrella with a large floppy hat, huge sunglasses, and a beach cover up. Obviously not a beach person I decided just as a teenage boy jogged by kicking up sand in Jen’s direction. Carrie chanted something in a foreign language and the sand took a sharp left and dropped like beads of heavy metal.
Jenn brushed off the imaginary sand and seemed annoyed. “This place is a zoo.” But not a speck of sand landed anywhere near her.
I stammered for a moment ready to question what the heck just happened but no one noticed and continued with business as usual. Perhaps I had too vivid an imagination. I licked my forefinger, raised it to check the wind direction, and nada. Not enough breeze to ruffle my hair.
Jenn intimidated me from the moment we met—I don’t know why—so I shut my mouth. I was genuinely more comfortable with Carrie who, to prove the similarity in our tastes, wore a bikini almost as tiny as mine and sat boldly in the full sun.
I turned my biggest grin on her and said, “That’s the cutest suit ever.” And it was. I wasn’t just blowing smoke. “I love the combination of pinks with that specific shade of green.” Reminded me of watermelons.
“Not too skimpy?”  Carrie asked.
“Not on a nude beach,” Jenn said.
I took off my beach shirt and posed. “Ya think?” Mine had half the material. Carrie and I burst out laughing while Jenn tolerated us.
 “I love it.” Carrie agreed. “Jenn thinks I should cover up. Too much tanned skin doesn’t go with her personality.”
“Ha-ha—very funny, Carrie,” Jenn said and cracked the teeniest smile. “You’ll all be wrinkled like prunes in a desert in a few years, while my skin will remain smooth as a… Never mind. I prefer a light creamy color to my complexion.” She lowered her glasses to make eye contact with me. “No offense, just forget to moisturize regularly. Your coloring is perfect.”
I wasn’t sure I believed her, but I thanked her just the same. They were both incredibly attractive in their own sultry way, and I estimated them to about mid to late twenties—like me. For some reason, they made me feel young, though, I didn’t think it was intentional.
“Tell us. Did you qualify for the interview?” Carrie interrupted my thoughts.
“Yes! And thank you both.”
“Wait…” Carrie said. “You passed the written test?” they responded in unison, staring at me incredulously.
“I’m so excited.” I may have misinterpreted the level of surprise on their faces before they concealed it. Perhaps not.  I’d seen it but I didn’t know what it meant.
“Excellent,” Jenn said carefully and gave Carrie a quick glance, the kind close friends share that make other people uncomfortable. “We just didn’t think you’d be interested.”
“Why not? It’s like my dream job. Doing hair and managing one of the most famous spas in the world? It’s everything I could hope for. Getting an extra degree certainly paid off—listen to me jumping to conclusions. I still have to interview.”
Carrie still seemed uncertain. “You were able to read and answer all the questions on the forms?” She squinted at me.
“Why yes, Of course I could read and answer the questions—” I bristled for a moment. “I do have a Master’s in Business Administration.” Her question puzzled me. Did they think I was an idiot?
“She didn’t mean to insult you,” Jenn hastily added. “It’s just, we heard they sometimes add trick questions.”
“Oh, well that makes sense.” I sat in the sun, smoothing my ruffled feathers. “Come to think of it, there was one question I’ve never seen on a job application before.”
“Really?” Carrie gulped. The two young women turned to each other then back at me. Were they holding their breath, waiting? They seemed concerned. 
Nah. What did they have to be worried about with me?
 “What in the world could they have a-added to the application since we applied?” Jenn’s voice cracked half way through her question.
I pulled my hair up into a bun to get it off my back for an even tan. Jenn paid close attention when I answered. I tapped my forefinger against my lips. “In the section where it asks for sex, religion, and race. You know the regular stuff. There was a line that asked for species. At first it threw me off.”
 “So I wrote in ‘human’. I can’t imagine what else they were looking for.” I scrunched my nose and I shrugged. “What else would go there?”
Carrie chuckled and reached over and patted me. “Sounds like that trick question all right.”
“You got the interview with Sophia de Wolfe, so it must be okay,” Jenn said, but looked astonished as she scrutinized me as if she’d never seen me before.
“What’s the matter,” I asked. Usually she was a little aloof, so I didn’t take her attitude to heart. But she did appear genuinely stunned.
“Nothing…nothing at all. I wish you the best.” She shoved her glasses on her nose and leaned back in her sand chair. “I can’t wait to hear all about your interview tomorrow night.”
“How did you know my interview was at night?”
She cleared her throat. “It’s too busy during the day to interview.”
 Within a few minutes, the heat from the sun scorched my body. I needed to cool off in the water.
“Anyone interested in a little body surfing?” I asked as I stood. “I could use a little stress-relief exercise.”
“I’m not all that into swimming,” Carrie said but agreed to cool off by the water and watch me. “I prefer dancing to all this other workout stuff.”
“I don’t believe in doing anything strenuous,” Jenn added. “I can’t afford to break a nail.”
Her being a nail tech at the spa, I figured she could handle the repair—but who am I to judge? “Okay, then stay hydrated. It’s warmer than you think. The breeze can trick you.”
She held up her water bottle and saluted me, as Carrie accompanied me to the water’s edge. Our towels in hand, we were ready to claim an empty dry spot out of the tide’s reach.
I found my spot and walked toward the water. “I’m going in. How about you?”
“Sure, but just for a minute. Then I’ll watch you from here.”
Carrie took a quick dip, and I went out farther to catch a wave or two after she walked back to the shallows where the incoming tide washed over her. It was a great cooling off technique, but sand accumulation in private places was a devil of a problem later.
The flag claimed the surf condition was calm, yet the waves were getting slightly stronger…perfect for body surfing. I caught about four good ones before I sensed a riptide building. The life guard had her attention on a small group of young teens who’d drifted out too far. She blew her whistle and motioned them ashore. All but two managed to drag themselves back to the beach. One, caught in the newly formed rip current, headed toward me. I took the angle closest to where I estimated she’d end up and swam out, hoping to cut her off. Seeing my intension, the life guard ran into the surf after the other one.
Adrenaline gave me the burst of strength I needed to maintain my position until I grabbed the girl. “Stay calm. I’ve got you,” I gasped.
“We’re going farther out,” she screamed.
“We’ll be okay.” I lowered my voice and gave her clear instructions. “Tread water and hold on. We’ll swim out when it weakens or someone will come get us.”
Usually a riptide moves along the shoreline, and eventually you can swim out where the current abates. This one seemed to be strengthening, and we were running out of shoreline fast. The young girl was breathing hard, and I was getting worried.
“Don’t struggle. I’m a strong swimmer, but I need you to keep your head. Understand?”
She nodded.
“There isn’t a place to get inside the current. I can’t reach the beach. Our only hope is a boater or the Coast Guard.” I glanced back where the lifeguard had the others and waved for help. She looked in our direction with a phone to her ear and waved acknowledgement. Thank goodness, because the people on the beach were getting smaller by the second.
“I’m getting so tired.”
“Hang in there, sweetie, the lifeguard is calling for help. I can see her.” Then I heard the engine of the coastguard cutter coming through the pass. “Hear that, chickie? It’s our ride.”
I smiled at the kid, and when she saw the boat racing toward us she sighed.
“Okay. I can do it.” She got a second wind and grinned.
I hoped so, because the damn riptide seemed to be tugging on me even harder.
Two Coasties pulled the young girl aboard while I climbed the ladder. My legs went rubbery on me as soon as I touched the first rung, weakening even faster than I expected. I focused on the child getting aboard until I face planted into two nicely shaped legs and an even nicer groin covered in blue shorts.
Seriously muscular arms pulled me the rest of the way into the boat and held me up as my feet hit the deck.
“Are you okay…hurt anywhere?” a deep resonant voice asked.
My view was limited to a massive chest, and when I lifted my chin I was in for a surprise. There in front of me was the most handsome guy I’ve ever laid eyes on.
So help me god…like movie star handsome. You know…check-your-breath, close-your-mouth, wipe-the-drool-off-your-face handsome.
My noodle knees failed me a second time, but he caught me as I faltered. I hoped my bathing suit held up. There wasn’t all that much to the teeny-tiny top and floss bottom to begin with. But he did not seem to take notice, instead he appeared more concerned with my well-being.
Bless his conscientious soul.
He helped me to a seat and waited for me to sit. When he finally released my shoulders, I realized he’d been keeping me upright all along. I went all wobbly and weak in my seat. Not that I’d show it. What the experience hadn’t taken out of me…being rescued by Thor in a Coast Guard uniform did. Someone handed me a water bottle and draped a towel over my shoulders while I ogled my hero.
“Thanks,” I had enough ingrained manners to respond.
“You’re welcome,” a voice with no face replied.
Thor didn’t take allow his eyes to stray beyond my face, so I guess his concern was genuine. “You didn’t answer me. Are you injured?”
“I’m fine. Just feeling the adrenaline letdown,” I answered.
“We’ll have you both checked out onshore.” While Thor gave orders, someone reported in over the radio. They had us. We were safe.
Thor gave the order to turn the boat. We slowly maneuvered our way back through the pass to the intercoastal side of the beach. 
 “You did good,” I told the girl who I’d kept afloat.
“No…you were fantastic,” she said. “You saved my life.”
"My pleasure." I smiled. “You listened and did what I told you. Smart girl.”
Thor turned from the helm and stared at me with a deep burning heat in his ice-blue eyes. I’ve never seen eyes quite that color.
“Really, she saved me,” the girl insisted. “I was giving up, and she told me what to do.” Her eyes brimmed with tears. “I don’t even know your name.”
“Delia…” I said, never taking my eyes from Thor.
He gave me a tiny, knowing smile.  Music played in the distance. Angels sang. The sun broke through the clouds. No—none of that happened, but OMG his smile had that effect on me. All women must react to him this way. Wow.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Reviews? More FAKE News?

As if we don't get enough FAKE, a former reputable review site is another place where I've now had to consider the source. Two days ago, I received an email reminding me this was the final chance to sign my book up for a review if I hoped to have it considered for the annual contest. (Important award, I'd add here.) Yadda yadda and the details followed. Well not really. The links to click followed. When I clicked to see how to enter, knowing there is always a fee, I was surprised to see a reviewing fee for $425-$500 and a note that only books reviewed by them are eligible for the contest. So in essence, the exorbitant entry fee is the review fee.  I'm assuming they consider their review advertising. The author has the option of having the review posted on the site...or not. I guess it depends on the review.

I can't even offer a solution to what seems like a very shady operation by one of the most widely respected review sites over the years. Books have always been submitted for reviews to major reviewers and then the reviewers volunteered or were assigned books to review. Some of these reviewers made a name for themselves and expanded into newspapers and magazines and then websites. Many independent reviewers reviewed on blogs in return for the opportunity to read for free. One review site sells advertising and reviews entirely different books. There's a wide variety out there. 

Ads are one thing. Reviews are different. Their website isn’t a magazine. Prices for online ‘now you see it now you don’t’ content is different from a paper magazine sitting in a doctor’s office picking up new Readers every 15 minutes. Ads are pointedly paid for material ... that’s understood. A review is not supposed to have strings. Now, based on the very large fees being charged for reviews, I'd love to read the books and write reviews ... but honestly, I can't believe the fee wouldn't be an influence on me. Perhaps I'd word my review with more care, hoping the author would submit again next year. 

Since reviews are linked to Amazon rankings, which weighs heavily in book visibility, this "pay to play" system is looking ever more shady. Amazon claims they take down reviews from people with too close a relationship. Friends, relatives, FB buddies. That describes my life. I tell everyone I know about my books. How else am I going to have sales with no additional capital investment? So when Amazon takes down these reviews, it kills me. My husband didn't write one and neither did my mother, but other authors I know did, authors whose opinions I respect, and they weren't always generous with the stars. That wouldn't help the readers or me. I believe they were honest with their opinions. Those who couldn't give me at least a three stars and a positive review probably just didn't comment at all. That works for me as a reader and an author. I've had trolls who I believe didn't even read my books review them as if that was going to help their friend's book rank higher. I don't know. Maybe it will, but when all is done,  I'll be on the high road heading up looking at them heading down the low road.  I hope they can handle the heat.

I'd be naive to believe money doesn't play a large part in everything we do. Advertizing is king, right.  So exposure costs either time or money. I read the reviews on Amazon. And I usually read the bad ones first. Why didn't this guy like the computer? Keyboard. Another one star keyboard problem? And another. Guess what? If the keyboard matters to me...those reviews make a bigger difference than all the advertising in the world. So I don't want to find out they are receiving the computer for free and getting paid to use it and review it. I'm not sure I'd trust one of those reviews because the reviewer's future depends on how many "this review was helpful" checks they receive. 

Can't we all just be kind but honest? Can't we put ourselves in the other person's shoes and walk for a mile or two then write the review for the shoes? "I couldn't get the first ten feet because the backs dug into my heels, but they looked fantastic. I'm only going to wear them when I sit. I was given these shoes in exchange for an honest review. No one paid me $425-$500 to try them, but it would have helped, and if you want to enter these shoes in a contest, you'll need something for your blisters. I highly recommend..."

Anyway... this is a moot point for me. I had two books come out this year Dire Moon (awesome hot cover) and A Fae Myth (also an awesome cover) which were not national contest material, just easy enjoyable reading. Not everything I write is Pulitzer material like this blog. GRIN. But I suggest you check out some of my books and see if there's one you might enjoy. Eliza March at Amazon has them all. Except this one. It's not done yet. But it will be soooon.

If you are on Face Book please go LIKE As the Chair Turns  

Hair of the Were will be my next book and the first in the ongoing series about Delia Belaquoit. I'm loving it so much I hope you'll at least give it a try and recommend it to your friends when it comes out.  Start looking for the first book in AS THE CHAIR TURNS, DeWolf’s Salon and Spa late 2017. Sign up and keep your eyes open if you want to volunteer to be one of the first BETA READERS for us. Subscribe to DeWolf's Newsletter for updates.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Update on How's that Writing Journey Coming?

Update The cover is ready for Hair of the Were the first book in the Luna de la Mar Spa series from Eliza March.

Have you met your goals? What do you do when you succeed? Or fail? What about when you disappoint yourself? Beat yourself up for not being dependable? I have a confession... 

 It's October? OMG - How did I get here and how did I get side-tracked from my writing goals? One thing that interferes with getting my writing done is having more pressing issues that keep popping up, forcing me to re-prioritize.  My family's needs always take priority over everything else, and my uncle has decided to move into assisted living. With no children of his own, I'm trying to help him find a suitable place near his friends. It's giving me good practice for finding out what I will want when the time comes for me and my husband. But it's time consuming and distracting.

"Hair of the Were" is late. I'm beating myself up over not meeting the goal for a planned  September release. The first humorous paranormal book in my As the Chair Turns series should have been released by now, but Irma showed up and blew (pun intended) that and several trees in my yard all to hell.

My house is way too large for my husband and I to maintain. We were ready to downsize and reduce the stress in our lives. Half our belongings are in boxes. We installed new flooring, new roof, and updated the kitchen and the bathrooms. There's still more to do and, now after this hurricane season, there's more. I also planned to put "said" home on the market last month. Real retirement is beginning to feel like an illusive dream.

Needless to say, my plans have changed. But although we had no firm plans in place for moving on, we did have a few dreams; so now, frustration is setting in.

Since I'm not wealthy enough for my writing income to take precedence over my other sources for paying the mortgage and bills ... such as emergency hurricane preparedness and cleanup, I need an alternative vision. I edit part time, mentor/coach part time, work as a hairdresser part time, and then write. So writing comes last, and money that I'd like to spend for promotion and advertising is being gobbled up in daily living expenses.  I am not the only author suffering from this dilemma.

What I've decided to do is stop setting "firm" goals for my release dates and avoid the guilt. I have at least eight books in progress at this time, and because I value good story and character development above churning out crap, I am taking a step back.

One of the observations I'd like to make for writers is that you should set your own pace. Yes, the authors who are releasing quickly and often are having success, but don't sell your work short. Don't self criticize because you take more time to tell the story the way you want to. Do it your way in your own time.

The self-publishing market makes it difficult to rise above the algorithms, keywords, and massive numbers of releases daily. What I see are opportunists, sharks feeding on minnows, finding a way to make more money for themselves without a care to the quality of what they turn out or how they affect the market in general.

Are we dumbing-down literacy? Yes. And genre fiction. The Chicago Manual of Style reviews editing rules about once a year because colloquial language and needs within the US are changing with the speed of social networking. There are age-gapped and style changes taking place every day. English, in all its forms, has different rules around the world, but in addition to that, I believe, fiction in (American) English is being swamped by books published with little, no, or unprofessional editing.  The results are chilling.

Incorrect uses of tense, words, phrases in books and TV, social media, and radio infiltrates our daily experience. Which came first? Does it matter? The results are the same. Confusion and inconsistencies. Authors who discard the rules and, through advertising and promotion, convince readers it doesn't matter.

To each her/his own. I can't live with "incorrect" or inconsistencies in my books. And believe me they have them. But I strive to improve with each book I write, because, as in all art, fiction and novels are a personal matter of taste. Correct language, grammar, and punctuation is not. Dialogue can be true to form, narrative can not.  An author can maintain her or his voice without compromising quality editing.

Be careful when comparing your goals, needs, and successes with other peoples'. 

Be good to yourself. Enjoy the journey no matter where it takes you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Blame Harlequin for this ...

As the Chair Turns (a paranormal, tongue-in-cheek romance series) by Eliza March begins with
Hair of the Were, Book One coming soon.

Anyone who's ever read my writing knows I have an underlying sense of snide... Is it humor? Or sarcasm? Or scattered brain cell patterns from working with too many chemicals and inhaling too much hair spray?But funny? I'm not so sure. Lately, maybe more so than ever.  Nevertheless, I was a reader (and, also apparently a drinker) before I was a writer.

I belonged to Harlequin's "books of the month club". Not sure what it's really called. But I got additional gifts when they arrived. Purple wine glasses I had to use while I read the books they sent. I had a book a day habit and the purple glass always looked full ... too bad it wasn't. My wine habit couldn't keep up with my reading or I'd pass out before I finished the book...and four books, Harlequin? That didn't keep me satisfied. I went to the used book store to supplement my reading addiction, ordered books online, and then discovered a few small ebook presses. Whala! I would never go without something to read again...and I could download at 2 AM! Book two in the series completed? Ah! Book three is available immediately! Yea.

Soon, the series didn't satisfy, the authors couldn't write fast enough, I'd imagined the story twist differently, the characters reactions differently, and I had an idea...write it myself. At least I couldn't drink and type at the same time.

When I first began writing, one of my stylists suggested As The Chair Turns for a title, and with her blessings I am going to use it. The series was originally intended to be reality based and a serious, non-fiction fiction. I just couldn't do it. Fifty years in this business, in one capacity or another, didn't allow for it.

What I didn't suspect at the time was that:
1. I'd ever write it.
2. It would be paranormal.
3. It would be funny.

Karsley, "like Parsley," thank you.  Now that I'm finally going to use it, I hope you find it up to your title suggestion. I doubt Karsley ever suspected it would be something like this. But she has a great sense of humor so I think it will be perfect.

I'd started out writing romantic suspense, then for a while, found my niche in erotic paranormal romance. And I was pretty darned good at it, too. The only thing funny about that is the idea of me writing erotic anything. My husband suggested I write what I know. I have had one husband, five children, the beauty industry, and reality for experience. That was more what he had in mind. But hey, problem was I read lots of fiction. Don't forget that book a day habit. And I read sexy fiction. Paranormal fiction.

I guess he didn't expect me to stray off to my wild imaginary, sexy-shifter worlds. Uh-duh...that had become my "escape reality". Who needed more of what I did every day? I refused to consider writing about the industry I'd been immersed in for...well...forever. (Or close enough to forever to qualify, I believe.)

 One morning I woke up with my hero and heroine in a scene in my a salon.  Deja vous...they were sexy. New addition...nice. But they were funny. Too funny. I didn't write funny. I'm not funny...or I wasn't, anyway.

I thought for a moment and suddenly realized in recent years,  I've started having comic-strip bubbles in my head when people spoke or I read something that grabbed me just right. The intent changes and I see the hysterical side of life.  Everything has a humorous side, right? The visions I have usually include little clouds of dialogue pointing to the characters' (sometimes cartoon animals') heads. Often, I have to bite my tongue to stop the hee-haw response I feel swelling up inside me. You experience that too, don't you? No? I've wondered why my imagination for story-telling waited so long, but it was probably for the best while I was doing personal things to people's hair and bodies.

Here's an except from Hair of the Wolf from Book One of As the Chair Turns. To set up the scene, Delia is the only human working in Frankie de Wolf's world renowned salon and spa in Boca Raton, FL. They are going to a hair show in Vegas...Delia is the responsible one until the slot machines start singing...

All rights reserved Copyright 2017 Eliza March

...Our group filed past the flashing lights, then the digital billboards caught my attention. Suddenly, I had a change of heart. My gambling release switch flipped off and desire did a happy dance in my pants. Images of gyrating, shirtless men from “Down Under” put me in a different frame of mind.

Vegas. Sin City. I began thinking of all the potential sin and felt my lips curl. I was here to party. What happens here...yadda yadda yadda…right?

“Earth to Delia. Are you ready for a couple of those in your lap?” Selena, the female cat shifter, purred, pointing to the Chippendale poster.

Frankie didn’t look at me, waiting for my answer, but I noticed the way his ears perked up. They sort of twitched in my direction. I weighed my answer carefully, reconsidering my previous let-it-all-go moment, and just gave the shifter my non-commital smile.

I had enough on my plate with this raucous bunch of supernatural species, who, under normal circumstances, did their best to look human and contain themselves. Here, I’d already seen evidence of their loss of control. Eye shapes and colors were the first signs. Contacts were a good explanation since shimmering silver eyes weren’t a color humans were naturally blessed with, but that was just for starters. Some of their other traits weren’t as easy to explain. The younger vampires were already setting off smoke when direct sunlight hit them and one of the younger werewolf’s ears sprouted hair.

Never mind. You get the gist.

Controlling them at Luna de la Mar promised to be easier than keeping my staff’s identities secret in a town filled with them…. In Boca, being the only human in charge of every paranormal species unknown to the local inhabitants was harder than making them seem eccentric or weird instead of different. Here, I had a feeling my boss and the staff were going to be, not only uncooperative but, downright bad influences.  

By the time I rounded up transportation for everyone and gave directions to the hotel and instructions regarding where to pick up the hair show tickets, I’d lost half the group and all their attention.

Whatever! The staff were all adults of a sort. They could fend for themselves. After all, I wasn’t their caretaker this weekend. They were powerful, magical, and gifted. I, on the other hand, was merely human. “Screw it,” I mumbled to no one in particular. Only a handful of the staff were still nearby, close enough to hear me anyway.

“You need a drink and entertainment, sweetie.” Jen, the witch, slipped her arm around my neck and scrunched her magical nose at me. Before I could argue, one of my favorite witches prepared to glamour me right there in the taxi line, in front of fake Elvis, a poster of Neil Diamond, and God knows how many witnesses.

I gasped and held up my hand to ward off Jen’s magic, then realized she was right. “What the hell? Do your worst!” I opened my arms wide as she doused her magic over me.

Hell, the six-inch red stilettos didn’t even hurt my feet. Wow. I could get used to this. I liked the taller illusion. The view was pretty awesome. I just hoped I didn't topple over what with all my cleavage piled up in front like this.

Carrie, my other witch-bitch, just grinned up at the billboard. “We need three or more of them…” She pointed at a digital video of bare-chested Chippendales.

Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under? 

Be still my thundering heart. How would I ever get through the weekend? With a low moan, I clenched my jaw and turned away from the smorgasbord of flesh and muscle. Calculating the idea of  “more” ... my right brain did the math while my left side did the architectural planning...

There's more, so much more so if you liked this excerpt and want more, sign up for my Newsletter HERE  at  You'll be the first to get them and hear about the release date.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Insecure Writers' Support Group Question for Today

It’s another IWSG posting day when we share our insecurities and encourage each other. For today’s hop, Captain Alex’s trusty helpers are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan. Be sure to stop by their blogs and see what keeps them going.
My answer to the optional question, for July: What is one valuable lesson I've learned since I started writing? It was one I may have suspected a few times. Writing is hard work. I remember reading so many long excellent books and thought wow! I wanted to take in and appreciate each word the author chose because it seemed important. I'm glad I did. Now I know what choosing a certain word means.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Authors, how well do you know your characters?

I read a book yesterday. It was an erotic romance by a man. I found it extremely active. Great action not much telling. I had two problems with the story: one was that the heroine was a virgin (My eyes are rolling. No, really!) ...not that it isn't possible. But! She was extremely innocent and inexperienced until she took one look at the bad boy hero...and then while fearing for her hot. Then even her internal language changed, and her knowledgeable experience skyrocketed, but we never find out where she acquired the knowledge. She became more and more aware of her own needs and became very imaginative. (You go girl! High Five.) 

So my issues with reading books about virgins, in general, is it's important to establish whether the character is just physically a virgin or that he/she has lived a very innocent sheltered life. You can have both, but it's also important to manufacture a character who actually sticks to the characterization. More than anything this is a rant about characterization. The author almost had it right, just not quite.

You can't build a boat out of mesh and expect it to float. So although I enjoyed the way the writer expressed the story, I had a few problems with the plot, the characterization, and the way the exchanges between characters took place throughout the story. Too many plot holes and lack of information. Too little detail, that had it been added, could have clarified a lot.

Because it was also told in present tense, first person point of view, each character had their own chapter, and it was all well done. But in first-person point of view, the reader should have a lot of insight into the characters; what they think, what past experiences affected them, who they are...deep inside. We can get into that deep point of view. So it would be easier for us to get to know them in that point of view. The author missed a great opportunity.

Because what we get to know about them internally and how they portray themselves externally becomes inconsistent. Out of character behavior, dialogue, reactions.

Sometimes people do that. It's possible. But when actions define characters and those actions are inconsistent as well we need to know why. 

Now I'm going to say something which may not be politically correct. The female character was the culprit. She was the one who was defined by her virginity but didn't have much of a character outside of that. Whimpy woman syndrome. Is this the way men think of women who haven't had sex? Sex defines women and sets them free? A good man can solve all her maturing problems.

Men, if you're going to write about us...get to know us. Truly.

So I'm not knocking male writers who write romance. I think all authors need to get in the characters' points of view (male and female and other more deeply. (These are people, writers. Not cardboard cutouts with names and genitalia.)  And then stay physically, emotionally, and mentally consistent with that character as they change and grow. 

In other words, if the character is a virgin, she would think about why she was a virgin and whether or not she wants to stay a virgin when she gives it up to a stranger. He (the author) didn't get into that, or what past experiences she'd had either (reading about sex or listening to others). And what kind of friends she had. What was she really like? Why didn't she say things either in her head or verbally that indicated what knowledge she had about sex? TV and social media; books and magazines are possible information centers. Out of curiosity, it should be mentioned. Don't leave important characterization details out. I can imagine a character's hair color, but I want the author to clearly show me why a character is behaving in a certain way. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Self-Publishing or a Small Press?

Here's the blog I wrote for my web page
I’ve done both with a number of books, and though I thought I preferred the independence of self-publishing, and still do at times, I am leaning toward mixing it up again. I like the support of a small press and the comradery of having other authors in the stable who are willing to cross promote and bolst0dc60-the2bgemini2bprophecy2bfinal2bcopyer me up when I need advice. writing is a solitary undertaking, but promoting and dealing with the business of writing doesn’t have to be.
A publisher with a good track record, who is a good fit for you, can be your best asset. My needs were much different years ago when I started than they are now. Yet both publishers I began with each serves a different purpose for my writing needs now, and both are not only still in business, but successful and well thought of in the industry. That’s saying something in these times. I also recently published with a third small press and am excited to announce I’m thoroughly pleased with the team I worked with. Being part of another supportive group, specializing in the genre I write, has been a pleasure.
A Hot Moon Rising Book
The trick is finding the right fit. I like a quick turn around on correspondence and edits. I like easy access to the team I work with. I like flexibility and custom service. If I need more than two rounds of edits…let’s do it! I want input on my cover and the marketing plan. I want to be able to participate. Some companies don’t work that way. Some authors don’t have any interest in working that way.  It’s all about finding what works for you and your career.
My self-publishing experience has afforded me the flexibility to adjust with the market. In an industry of change and shifting markets, we need to adjust quickly and research to be prepared for the next wave.  I like testing the market to see what works. In the process, I’ve found thinking ahead of the curve is a crap-shoot. As fast as we adjust things shift. So writing to please yourself is the best answer because…you can’t please everyone.
The downside to self-publishing is the number of hats I have to wear unless I want to hire someone to do them. Then there’s the cost. Once again, the loss of a certain amount of control. Waiting for someone else to do the work. Hoping they have the same vision…
And finally, the time-consuming time away from writing.
I’m considering a co-op of stable writers who want to form a group. Not only can we write together, we can write apart and still be there for each other. It’s been done before and may be my answer.
When I can’t depend on SMASHWORDS’ meatgrinder to accept my old formats…I need another set of eyes and a ton of suggestions. Thank goodness for GOOGLE search.
My books at iBOOKS
My books at SMASHWORDS
My books at AMAZON

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#IWSG Yes It's That Time Again...Support Fellow Writers

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group,founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Our awesome co-hosts for today are: JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG

Optional June 7th Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
No, I never said, "I quit". Have I wanted to quit the endless promotions? The manuscript that just won't format? The scattered plot? The uncooperative characters? YES. But I can't. The stories keep calling me. Writing is where I go to escape Facebook and Twitter. Where I go when the world we live in is beyond dealing with. I struggle to twist the one I can control to my whim. It's security and what I love. It's a place where I can be myself.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

DIRE MOON by Eliza March: An Endangered Shifter Species DIscovers New Hope

Read an Excerpt



Her aura has never reacted to any man this way. 
After the female dire wolf under her protection goes missing, Laurel Finnegan’s new assignment, vetting the brother, proves even more challenging. He’s everything Laurel isn’t. And everything she wants. Before the full moon rises, she’ll have to test their mutual attraction, find his sister, and keep him away from the other females who will stop at nothing to be the dire wolf’s mate.

He refuses to accept the significance of their mingled auras.
Lucas MacDugal’s family is the last of the purebred dire wolves, and times have changed. So when his sister fought tradition and fled Scotland for Sarasota, he agreed. Now, he has to deal with her female security guard. Laurel has extraordinary elemental assets and is instrumental in deciphering evidence, but she’s also the first female to destroy his self-control. He has until the full moon rises to figure out why. After that, his unusual attraction to Laurel may prove deadly for her.

All the evidence indicates Grace set herself up.
Laurel’s worst fears prove true. Rogues from the south have infiltrated the outlying pack land. When she discovers Grace’s location and telecommunications fail, she decides to rely on the elemental connection she formed with Lucas.

He’s in denial…
But there’s no denying how much she hungers for him, and his lust rises with the waning moon. The innocent female haunts his thoughts night and day. He has to respond. Too many lives are at stake for him to ignore the appeal he can’t resist.

The full moon calls his wolf to action.
Lucas will give up everything to claim Laurel as his, but he won’t risk her life. The fear of losing her drives him to discover the mystery surrounding their irresistible connection.


    “Lucas is also their pack enforcer, so you will need protection,” Rand spoke up then turned to Derek. “What do you think?”
   “According to everything I’ve got on him, he’s a lone wolf, aggressive, the second son, yet with alpha tendencies. Above all, he’s honorable. He’s no pup. So I’m not concerned about him getting out of control.”
   Derek still appeared uncomfortable then looked at Laurel and shook his head. “If he’s as powerful and large as I’ve heard, we need to warn off our females. They should stay away from him at the time of the next full moon.”
   “But a few of the females are already looking outside the pack for new blood,” Laurel said.
    “If he sets his sights on one he likes, she probably wouldn’t survive a mating. His mother was purebred and barely lived through the births.” Rand kept his attention on Ty while he grew increasingly restless.
   “Well, it’s not always about breeding.” Laurel gave a nervous chuckle. “If you want to take his temperature, for some reason I’m still your best chance to vet him. So far, none of you boys have tickled my fancy. And precisely, as a reminder, like Grace, I ‘don’t need no stinkin’ brothers’ to protect me either.”
   The three men didn’t exactly growl, but Laurel was certain she heard the low rumbles begin.
   Ty shook his head then pointed a finger at her. “Everybody thinks they’re immune, that they’re in control, until it hits them. Then, suddenly, you’re walking around with stars in your eyes and can’t put two coherent sentences together, let alone fight the urges within you.”
   “Listen to Mr. Romance!” Laurel giggled.
   “Don’t laugh, missy.” Derek gestured to Ty. “Look at him. Neither of them, Grace or Ty, wanted to be involved, and he couldn’t stay away from her, even knowing what she is. Her disappearance has made him as crazy as if they’d been—”
   The room went dead quiet, the word mated hanging in the air. Derek turned in his chair, and his eyes flashed a warning.

   Laurel’s gaze swung to Ty. “You didn’t…did you?”