Posts Tagged ‘California author’

Rein in those horses, writers!


Hi, all. Just saddling up for some last round final edits and I thought I’d share some hard won wisdom with you! Check out the video link below!









Follow me on my Amazon author page for all the exciting announcements!

Dana’s Amazon Author Page

On dogs, writing… and dessert!


Hey, all. Starting a new little feature here. Take a look and see what you think. Got a little August contest going for some nifty loot! :

Either/or…a quick romance reader survey!


summer dog

All right! Let’s find out what YOU, my darling blog readers, prefer in your novels. Comment with your picks  and speak your mind!



Do you prefer...

1. Either LONG NOVELS (400 pages plus) or SHORTER novels (approximately 250 pages)?

2. Either UNKNOWN VILLIANS that aren’t revealed until the end, or UP FRONT VILLIANS who are up close and personal from the get go?

3.  Either MILITARY/COP protagonists or the EVERYMAN type hero?


Let’s hear from you!


Book #2 in the Pacific Coast Investigations Series available for preorder now!

Seaside Secrets


Three best perks of being a writer

blog motivational


Yep, it’ s a hard job writing fiction books for a living but really, the perks just can’t be beat! Here are the three best things about my wacky job.

1.  It fosters curiosity.  As you’ve probably heard me say before, my other job is an elementary school teacher and you’d think that would be high on the “fosters curiosity” list too, but frankly, teaching 26 kids of varying levels and needs takes every bit of mental stamina I possess. In a word, I’m too busy to indulge my curiosity much while in the thick of things, but writing is lovely because it causes me to ask questions. What if a massive earthquake hit an old opera house? How would a man react to having his childhood disease return? What would it be like to be uncertain of your own identity?

2.  It can be done anywhere. My favorite location to write is sitting opposite my wild tangle of tomato plants, banging away on the keyboard while butterflies and finches do their thing. I’ve also written in coffee shops, the back seat of cars and composed tricky sections mentally while in the bathtub. (Do yourself a favor and don’t imagine that last one!)

3. I can provide justice in an unjust world. I only read the paper on Sunday and it’s INFURIATING. I know God’s justice will prevail ultimately, but I’m maddened to see how things are going along right now. I mean this I.S.I.S group? Violent crime in the U.S.? Children betrayed by the people who were supposed to protect them? I feel powerless to set anything right on planet earth, but in my books? Oh you’d better believe bad people will be punished! SEVERELY! I know it’s only fiction, but there’s some comfort in that, right?

So what are the perks of your current job or those you’ve held in the past? It’s a big prize month here at the blog. The September prize is a signed book, Starbuck’s card and a fun fall treat! I so value all of your comments!

Three comments that kill a writer’s ego.


mustache pix

What’s the worst thing you can say to a writer? I’m sure there’s an impressive list that can wound our fragile egos. Here are a few that stand out in my mind.

#1) I didn’t finish your book. Oh, the agony. Was it a sagging middle? The characters weren’t fully fleshed out? You hated the font? It’s like telling a chef the food wasn’t good enough to bother eating. Excuse me, while I go throw myself into a lake!

#2) There’s not enough sex in your book. Sigh. If you want lots of graphic content, you’re just not going to get that from me. Is it possible to enjoy a book that isn’t sexually explicit? If the answer is no, I’m not your author.  We will shake hands and agree to disagree.

#3) I don’t read. Acck! Really? Like, at all? This one is perhaps the most discouraging of all. I hear it a lot from folks who get their entertainment in other ways, T.V., computer games, etc. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but when I hear folks say they haven’t read a book since high school, I am saddened.

Are there phrases that really cut you to the quick? Would love to hear your thoughts. Giving away a Starbuck’s card, signed book and a cute fall surprise this month. 

Best sellers…would you read any of these?

I am fascinated by best seller lists, because it’s like taking a peek at the pulse of the nation’s readers. Here are the top five print/ebook bestselling books according to the New York Times for this week.

1. The King, by J.R. Ward.Black Dagger Brotherhood continues as a royal bloodline is compromised by a grave threat to the throne.

2.  I’ve Got You Under My Skin, by Mary Higgins Clark.The producer of a true-crime show must contend with participants with secrets as well as her husband’s murderer.  

3.  The Fixed Trilogy, Laurelin Paige, for adult audiences only

4.  Shadow Spell, by Nora Roberts. In County Mayo, a falconer with an unresolved past falls for his sister’s best friend

5.  Missing You, Harlan Coban. Kat Donovan, an N.Y.P.D. detective, searches for the ex-fiancé who left her years before, and for her father’s murderer.

Interesting variety, no? I would probably not choose The King (not into vampire and paranormal) or The Fixed Trilogy (I generally skip imagethings with covers featuring scantily clad people doing unmentionable things), but I would probably give the Mary Higgins Clark book a read, and I enjoy most everything Coban has written. What do you think? Would you read any of the top five bestsellers on the list? Comments get you entered in the drawing for an Amazon gift card.

Farewell my dear novel…

blog motivationalRats. It’s that time again. I feel adrift, wandering between the projects that are laying on clipboards and lurking in files on my iPad. Why this lack of focus, this feeling of unsettled angst? I just sent off the full manuscript of my latest project (a romantic suspense novel) to my editor. Cause for jubilation, yet I find myself at loose ends. Why? I shall summarize.

1. I’ve been living with this plot (new circumstances bring old secrets to life) and these characters (avian specialist and a botanist) since I hatched the idea a year ago. Every day, whether it was a writing day or not, found me wondering, tweaking, outlining and discussing these elements with anyone who would listen. It’s hard to discard all of that at the touch of a ‘send’ button.

2. I have used up all my creative juices and mental energy. After struggling against the mighty ocean current, I’ve finally made it to the beach. I’ve dragged myself exhausted onto the sand, depleted. So what’s the next move? Let myself be swept out on the waves of the next book and start all over again!

Do you ever have projects that leave you sad or adrift when they’re completed? Would love to hear your thoughts. Giving away a Starbuck’s card next week.

When good writers fall victim to bad leprechauns…

shamrockIt’s happened to me. While I have not ever actually witnessed the stinker in action, I have experienced the oddest writing failures that can only be attributed to the work of a malicious leprechuan whom I have named Sprinkles O’Nutty. How else can one explain the following three oddball writing mishaps?

1. My first book, my baby, my magnum opus. I open th shipping container breathlessly to discover….the title is misspelled on the spine. Wha…??? This tome  has been through a gazillion test readers, editors, the art department and assorted passers-by. The only explanation is that Sprinkles has had his naughty wee fingers all over this project.

2. I receive a lovely note from a reader. She enjoyed the romantic suspense novel, but what, by the way, happens in chapter eleven? It seems to be missing from the book. Huh? Who could be responsible for the theft of chapter eleven? Yep. It’s O’Nutty at work.

3. And finally, there is my business post office box. This is the nerve center from which I send out rafts of complimentary books, promotions and assorted mailers. How can one explain that in this official postal vessel I receive Mr. J.’s mail order meat catalogues, Mr. R.’s flyers for casino adventures and the cleaning service bills for Ms. Y? Nutty, your leprechaun fingerprints are all over this!

Have you have any inexplicable minor misfortunes recently? Do you suppose it could be the work of a leprechaun in your neighborhood? Please share. All comments get you entered in the Starbuck’s card drawing in a few weeks.

P.S. Did you notice the  typo???  Darn  leprechaun!

The power of ‘STET’…use it wisely!

So you’ve written that heart wrenching, lyrical tome and packed it off to your editor. Whew! What a relief…until you get it back, covered with notes and editorial comments. Sigh. Now we’ve got some choices to make. Do we accept the changes to our exquisite manuscript? Or do we scribble STET, a word which literally means ‘let it stand’? In other words, STET is a way of saying to the editor, “No. I don’t accept your suggestions. Leave the silly thing the way I typed it!” Naturally, we writers feel as though our writing was fine the way we typed it, no? The temptation is to scribble STET all over the place, so our genius will not be diluted in any way. In reality, good editors will suggest changes not to alter the author’s message or vision, but to make that message and vision more impactful. Yes, I grumble all the way through my editing phase, but you know what? Most of the time, the editors comments are right. I eat humble pie, and I incorporate their changes. Infrequently, I disagree with an edit that alters my voice or changes an important aspect of what I wanted to say. Then I employ the powerful STET, but only in special cases. So respect the mighty power of the STET and use it wisely, young grasshopper! Heroes

Do you have a job or hobby where folks offer helpful criticism? How do you handle that? Giving away an Amazon gift card this month. All comments are welcome!

And our January gift card winner is….

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