Posts Tagged ‘author’

Freebie…novella for dog lovers!

Hey, all. I honestly can’t remember if I posted this on the blog already but here’s a free novella for your reading enjoyment.

Trouble at Mentink Manor…and a giveaway!

Pull up a chair and a fork. I’m having dessert and a chat with my cyber friends about treats and troubles. I’m also raffling a lovely prize. Details in the video. You don’t want to miss this one!


What’s your idea of a vacation?



Summer vacation! That phrase sparks wild enthusiasm in the education community. As a third grade teacher I can tell you it does in my world. Extra time to read? Write? Hang out with my highschoolers who are temporarily freed from piles of homework? Sweet! Vacation isn’t really vacation, of course, for those who are familiar with the teaching biz. There are conferences, planning times, classrooms to be overhauled, etc, but still, it’s a nice break from the frantic pace of schooling.

People often ask if I get vacations from writing. Well…I’m not totally sure that is possible. Yes, I enjoy trips (Yosemite and Tahoe this summer) but do I really ever stop writing? Physically yes. I leave my laptop home, but since my brain comes along, there’s never reimageally a down time. I’m a passionate imaginer, and I don’t really want to take a vacation from that. I’m not sure I could. At times, I’ve felt guilty about it. Why can’t you put your imagination on vacation, Dana? I don’t know why, but I just can’t do it.

So what is a vacation to you? A special trip? A day off from work to focus on home matters? I would love to hear your thoughts. This week is the last chance to comment on the blog to win the signed book and ‘boat in a bottle’ necklace. Winner announced this weekend!




Series or standalones, pros and cons

I started my writing career as a greenhorn with a three book mystery series set in the tiny fictional town of Finny. I guess you could say, therefore, that I cut my teeth on series writing. However, when that series wrapped I signed on with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and I spent a good bit of time writing single books before I once again switched to series. So which is better? In this writer’s humble opinion, there are advantages and challenges to both.

With stand alone books, you can get in there and write a book with all manner of murder and mayhem, because the characters and setting will not have to carry on through another book. Ah the freedom! Characters can be discarded at will. Frankly, it’s easier to write a stand-alone because you have fewer details to keep track of over time. The disadvantage? Your reader may not be as invested in buying your next book. Stand-alones do not provide that built in sense of urgency about what happens next.

The series, by contrast, is a whole lot more complicated. Characters must be placed carefully in the narrative who may not have the spotlight focused on them until a few more books have come and gone. Still, they need to be set into place (and they can’t be cardboard placeholders either) until it’s their turn to shine. All of their pertinent details from eye color to family history must be recorded to ensure the facts remain consistent over the course of the series. Same with the setting, if the entire series takes place in one location. That coffee shop on the corner of Cream and Sugar had better be in the same location in book two, unless you’ve explained the change. Publishers appreciate series book because if readers enjoy the first one, they’re primed to come back for the rest which makes everyone’s marketing job a bit easier.

So what about you? Do you enjoy stand-alone novels or series? Got any favorites you’d care to share?  Giving away a Starbuck’s card and two books this month.


And the June winner is….

Way to go Valri! You won the book and Amazon gift card! Message me with your address and which book you’d like (you can look on my website at for a list) and I’ll send along your prize! New contest later this week! prize

And our January gift card winner is….

Aerykah! Congratulations! What type of gift card shall we give away in February? Any suggestions? prize

Finding time to do what you love.

Where do you find the time?

I get this question a lot. As a part-time third grade teacher, a full-time professional writer, and a mom of two teen girls, it requires some juggling, but the real answer to this question is twofold.

First off, I have this theory that we always find time to do the things we want to do. Somehow, even the busiest people I know find time to chat on Facebook, or go to the gym, or watch that last episode of The Walking Dead, or sneak away for weekend trips. See what I mean? We prioritize things, carving out time to enjoy the things we love to do. It’s like that with writing. Sure I’m a crazy busy person, and maybe I didn’t have time to dust or organize the hall closet, but I have enough time to write because that’s what I love to do.

Second important point; there’s this thing called a legally binding contract, you see? Once my John Hancock is scrawled across that page, it’s not an option to not have enough time to complete the project. That’s the difference between writing as a hobby, and writing professionally.

Dana Mentink 3 sm