Posts Tagged ‘amazon gift card’

Our September winner is….

imageJackie Tessnair! Congrats, Jackie! Message me with your address and I’ll send your gift along. Thanks to all who participated this month!

Welcome to my bat cave!

image It’s not easy being a superhero, so Batman’s got to have his bat cave, a place to put his feet up, so to speak.  While I don’t go around saving the world on a regular basis, life is crazy with teenagers and two jobs and a million extracurriculars for all of us.  I don’t have a cave, but I’ve got somewhere better. It’s that special place where I can retreat with my keyboard and my notes, or maybe a crossword puzzle and listen to my own thoughts. Do you have a place like that?

For me, it’s the little spot in the picture. We live in suburbia, mind you, so my yard is sandwiched between two other properties. There’s not a lot of room and I’m privy to the sounds of barking dogs, contractors working on building projects and traffic noise. Yet I am also able to watch my garden grow and savor the divine gift of seeing little seeds turn into flowers and fruits. I enjoy the privilege of writing fiction while watching the little nest of scrub jays babies fledge into full-grown birds, and lately I have become aware of a shy brown lizard who peeps out from time to time. Not a perfect getaway spot, but it’s perfect for me.

Do you have that spot? That place where you feel most relaxed and comfortable? I would love to hear about it. May is triple prize month, so I’m giving away a signed book, plus an Amazon and Starbuck’s gift card. (We’re also sending out spring prize packages for folks who sign up for my occasional newsletter in May- Can’t wait to hear about your personal bat caves! 

Which era best suits your personality? Quiz time and triple prize month!



Did you ever get the sense you were somehow living in the wrong era? After spending some time in the quaint island town of Coronado, California, I felt a bit like that. The old Hotel Del, built in 1888, was a reflection of an earlier time when people dressed for dinner, wrote letters, talked and went about their lives without the benefit of iPhones. Folks dressed without ever thinking to bare their midriffs and  other parts, even when taking a dip in their “bathing costumes.” All in all, it was a quieter life, so different than the constant noise of my present one.

Here’s a fun quiz to take to see which historical time period best suits your personality! I’d love to hear your results! Giving away a triple prize this month (Amazon gift card, Starbuck’s card and a signed book.) There’s also a spot on my website for folks to sign up for my very occasional newsletter and receive a spring freebie packet.)




And our August winner is….

And our August winner is…..D.L! Congrats to you and thank you to all who participated on my blog this month. Great discussions!

D.L., if you hop on my website and choose a book, I’ll mail it out with your Amazon gift card. Send me a message with your address. 🙂




Music to an author’s ears….top three compliments that thrill.




The job of the professional writer takes place mostly in darkened rooms or at out-of-the-way coffee shop tables. We slave away, push the send button and through some miraculous process the manuscript turns into a book. It’s done mostly in isolation. Perhaps that’s why writers covet those hard-to-earn words of praise. Here are the top three comments guaranteed to thrill any writer any time.

#1) “I couldn’t put it down.” Oh joy! All that endless agonizing over pace, plot, character arcs and such! There is no sweeter sentiment than hearing you’ve managed to create something compelling. If an element in your book captured a reader in some small way, you have completed  a writer’s greatest mission.

#2) “When will the next book come out?” Ah ha! Not only has someone enjoyed your book, but they are eager to check out more of your work? Priceless!

#3) “I could really relate to the characters.” What a sweet sentiment. Creating characters who are different but believable, multi-faceted but not over the top, and meaningful without being maudlin is not an easy task, I can tell you. Think about how many people in the world pass by you every day with whom you have no personal connection. The writer has a scant smattering of words, the briefest of moments, to make you connect with somebody whom you’ll only meet across the pages.

We all have that particular compliment that is sweet to our ears. What compliment do you most enjoy hearing? Giving away a signed book and an Amazon card tomorrow! Would love to hear your thoughts! 

It’s back to school…and back to book writing!



It’s time to gear up! School starts in a matter of days and for me that means diving back into a double life. Like Clark Kent, I have a mild-mannered public persona…I’m a third grade teacher. In fact, most people I encounter think that is my only profession. Because I am blessed to share a job with another teacher, I work two days a week at school and the rest as a wacky fiction writer. It’s not a perfect split. The teaching gig inevitably spills over into the rest of the week in the form of prepping, professional development, parent conferences, etc. The writing life spills over into the teaching days when I get a brainstorm that just has to be jotted down before it’s lost forever, or that blog that must be posted, or the interview that must be done.  It’s not perfect, and much of the time I am slightly disoriented. This comes to light when people ask that dreaded question, “How’s the book?” I am paralyzed. Which book? The two I am currently writing? The one I’m reading for pleasure? The professional development book? The novel I’m reading to the kids at school? I suspect my dazed countenance is why folks think I’m a bit wafty.

Do you ever feel torn between two worlds? How are you adjusting to the “back to school” switch? Would love to hear your comments. Giving away a signed book and an Amazon card this month. 

Don’t mess with my happy…or “you can’t do that in my romance novel.”


Are you a voracious reader? Me too! And let me tell you, I invest plenty of emotion in the books that I devour. If certain things happen in the course of said novels, I can get quite PEEVED. Below is a personal list of items that I cannot tolerate in a romance novel.

1. Don’t kill the dog. I mean to say! If I’m reading a thriller or gritty mystery, fine, but in a romance novel, I want to eventually feel happy. Please do not kill any beloved pets or I’m going to put that novel down.

2. Don’t switch tones on me. If we start the book off as a frothy, fun to read romance, don’t plop some heavy bombshell in chapter six, along the lines of a brutal attack or sudden death. That’s changing the rules of our relationship. Not to say I don’t want intensity and surprises, but keep the tone of the novel consistent throughout.

3. Watch the dialect, please. You can tell me that Wanda Sue speaks with a southern drawl and I’ll insert that into my inner reader. You don’t need to write it into the dialogue. “Ya’ll keep comin’ ’round now, hear?” is just going to annoy me after twenty pages.

Can you relate to any of my pet peeves? What peeves you about novels? Giving away an Amazon gift card and signed book at the end of the month. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Those scene stealing animal sidekicks.

Dog with suitcases

Harry has his Hedwig. Dorothy has Toto and there would be no Lone Ranger exploits without the faithful Silver. Animal sidekicks can sometimes emerge to be the unsung heroes of books or movies.

It’s funny how a character that can’t even speak can take over an entire novel. This happened in my latest book for Harlequin Heartwarming. The culprit? Baggy the dog. Sure his real life inspiration won an ugliest dog contest, but I get plenty of emails and messages from Baggy’s fans. Here’s a little snippet in which I explain where Baggy came from.

Hey! Let’s see if we can make a list of animal sidekicks from books or movies. Add a comment and you’re entered to win the drawing this month. Giving away an Amazon gift card and signed book! Hi-yo, Silver!

When you should change your ‘no’ to a ‘yes!’

imageI don’t write children’s books. It’s just not in my repertoire at the moment. I’m pretty busy writing for two different lines and keeping up with life in general. Makes sense that I’d say ‘no’ to the opportunity to write a children’s traffic safety book for our local school district. Of course, I said yes. Why? Because I’m a teacher at heart and we’ve lost precious young people in our district in bicycle related accidents. No, children’s fiction is not my genre, but yes, there are enough reasons to change my answer to a ‘yes.’

Did I mention I don’t write short stories either? If I’m asked to participate in an anthology, I say ‘no.’ So when my publisher asked me to write a short suspense to be used as a giveaway, of course I said…yes! Why? One, it was a wonderful promotional opportunity. Two, I love to give things away, it’s like party favors! Three, it was a professional challenge to write a twisty, edge of your seat suspense/romance in 10,000 words!

So sometimes it’s a good idea to rethink some of our decisions. Did you ever do something you’d previously promised yourself you wouldn’t? How did it turn out? Giving away some neato prizes this month.


Here’s the link to the online short story. It’s a free read on the Harlequin site.;jsessionid=5F995D6050EEE523F44015B85FD19EB5?articleId=1703&chapter=1

Why writers should ‘just say no!’

12808921_sI’m sure you’re aware that the role of an author has changed significantly. We don’t whack out a jolly good novel, hand it over to the publisher and let them do the heavy promotional lifting. It’d be swell if we could, but that just isn’t the way the world is. Authors have to market their work. Period. So which avenues should a hardworking writer gal pursue to this end? Here’s a brief list of platforms that have been recommended to me.

Facebook, Twitter, personal blog, website, Pinterest, Tumbler, Instagram, Linked in, Goodreads, SnapChat, publisher sponsored forums, You Tube, group author blogs, etc. etc.

Boy oh boy would all these things help get the word out about the wonder that is a Dana Mentink book. One eensy weensy problem. I don’t have the time to participate in all these things and still produce any meaningful writing. Fact is, I’ve just got to say no to many of these nifty opportunities. I choose a few from the list that feel the most authentic to me (Facebook, Twitter, various blogs, Goodreads) and I try my best to keep up with them. Is it going to make me a N.Y. Times bestseller? Nope. Will I keep my sanity? Hopefully!

Are there things in your life you’ve had to say no to in order to keep your sanity? Would love to hear your thoughts. Giving away an Amazon gift card and a signed book in August!