Posts Tagged ‘gift card drawing’

Are your Facebook peeps real friends?





Authors (let me speak for those of us who haven’t attained Nora Roberts status yet) have to have a Facebook presence. Period. It’s just part of the whole platform, connecting with your audience thing. As a consequence, I have a whole bunch of FB friends whom I’ve never clapped eyes on. Some are from other continents even. So are they real friends? How can someone be a friend whom I will most likely never see in person or hear their actual voice. Here are two questions I would consider when answering that question.

1. Are they people you can be yourself with? Hmmmm. I write a ton of suspense, yet I am in real life a very goofy, silly, jokester. My Facebook peeps seem to be okay with that. They’ve embraced my pizza hat and pictures of my box turtle attending a tea party, etc. Friends? So far, so good.

2. Do they support you when you need it? Sure I’ve got people who like my posts and share my new release info and all that, but more importantly, when I am experiencing grief as I did recently when my beloved dog died, they chime in with support. They tell me of their darling pets who meant so much to them, and offer their comfort. That means something. They understand my sadness at having my children nearly grown, the frustrations of a brain and body that doesn’t work as well as it did a few decades ago, the difficulties of trying to hang onto God in a dark and confusing world. In my book, that’s friendship.

So what about you? Do you consider your Facebook friends to be true friends? Giving away an iTunes card, a signed book and a Christmas surprise this month.


Link to Dana’s new book…Dangerous Tidings


Who’s your fave mom from books or TV?


Mother’s Day…that sentimental holiday in which we honor the perfect women who raised us, always encouraging, graceful, godly…except when they weren’t. After reading the stream of FB posts about all those perfect mothers out there, I began to feel a little inadequate in my own maternal duties, so I cast my mind over the various fictional mothers I’ve come across in books and on TV. Are they perfect, grace filled women? Absolutely…except when they weren’t. Do you know these famous mothers?

1. Margaret March, Little Women, by Louise May Alcott
Raising four girls with no money, a husband fighting in the Civil War, all with a patient smile on her face and never a sharp word? Marmee…you are the pinnacle of the Hallmark card mother.

2.  Bernadette Fox, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple. This mother is on the other end of the spectrum, in that she completely disappears, yet the reader is still convinced that she’s funny, creative, loving and worth finding. She steps out of the role that confines her and though her behavior is unforgivable, the author makes it understandable.

3. Claire Huxtable, The Cosby Show. Personally, I find Claire to be right about where I’d like my own mothering to be. She’s patient…to a point. Fun loving, dedicated, goal oriented, and relaxed enough to enjoy all the quirks and foibles of her own family.

So what about you? Can you think of any mothers from books or TV that stick out in your mind? It’s triple prize month and all comments get you entered in the May drawing for a book, gift cards and a spring treat. 


Are you a genius…or a nut?



I realize that I’m a nut. Quirky. Off beat. Silly sometimes, and prone to leaving my cup of coffee in the refridgerator. I’ve been reading about some famous geniuses lately who showed some, er, oddball traits of their own. Maybe someday my wackiness will morph into genius? Sigh. Probably not, but here are a few oddball traits of some famous geniuses.

Einstein’s chauffeur claimed that he once picked up a grasshopper off the ground and ate it.

Thomas Edison’s research associates had to complete an interview process, which included eating a bowl of soup. If they added salt to soup before they tasted it, Edison automatically dismissed them as potential employees.

Charles Dickens couldn’t stand to have his hair mussed, so the writer kept his comb handy and used it hundreds of times a day.

Here’s a link to the full article if you’d like to read it.

So do you have any quirky habits or know someone who does? I’ve been too busy to post much, so we’re giving away a TRIPLE prize at the end of May…a signed book, Amazon gift card and a Starbuck’s card

A new (and scary!) writing project!



Ever had a project that stretched you? I’m starting in on one of those “rubber band” projects that’s going to stretch me to be a better writer…or make me crawl under a rock and cry. I’ve signed a contract to participate in a continuity series. That’s a collection of six romantic suspense novels tied together by a theme (in this case, rookie cops and their canines.) I’m book three and I’m working away to understand how the overall plot connects book to book, and the zillion and one details that need to be kept straight. If Dimpled Drake has green eyes,  drives a beat up Buick and loves tacos in book one, I’m going to have to make sure he’s still eating those tacos, driving that Buick and flashing those green eyes in book three (and on through book six.) And if we’ve got the gas station attendant dying off in book two, he can’t really show up again in book six, now can he? How does one keep all these things straight? We’ve got a comprehensive written outline and a yahoo author group where we fire off questions to each other on a regular basis. Will that be enough to keep me on track? Time will tell!

So how about you? Have you ever participated in something that stretched you to step outside your comfort zone? Would love to hear your thoughts. Giving away a Starbuck’s card and a signed book on Wednesday! 

Two “nevers” in romance writing.



It’s just as important in this wacky writing biz, to learn what NOT to do in your writing along with all those must dos. Here are two simple items one must NEVER do in a romance novel, at least in my opinion.

1. NEVER kill off a dog! Or any other lovable creature. Yes, I’ve read novels where such things have occurred, but they immediately go into the “donate to the library” pile. It’s too much for this sensitive soul. Perhaps such mayhem might happen in a thriller novel, or a straight suspense novel, but believe me, it upsets the reader and romance readers have expectations to be happy in the end (see #2). If this writing sin is committed, you will get MAIL. Ironically, killing off a character doesn’t incite as much angst as murdering the sweet family dog. In my first mystery novels, there was the “incident of the injured bird”. The bird lived, mind you, but I still got an earful about that! So if you’re penning that romance, or romantic suspense, leave the fuzzy (and feathered) friends alone!

2. Don’t forget the HEA. That’s the “happily ever after” in case you didn’t know. That is an absolute necessity in the romance genre. Readers demand that their characters are going to be in a happy relationship at the end of the novel, or at least there should be an expectation that their future might be happy together. You cannot end the story with the two protags agreeing to part ways and never see each other again. That’s not a romance, and you will get MAIL.

So are there certain things you do or do not want to see in your romance novels? I would really love to hear your thoughts. Giving away a VISA gift card, signed book and February surprise next week!


Are bookstores dying…and did I help kill them? Did you?



It was a sad day in 2011 when Borders went the way of the Dodo. It left a hole in our city that hasn’t been filled. Yes, we have Bay Books and one town over there’s a Half Price Books, but to have that luscious, walk in a bookstore filled with the latest and greatest as well as the tried and true, the remaining choice is Barnes and Noble three towns over. I complain. I lament. I wax nostalgic, but did I myself contribute to the downfall of the bookstore? Uh, er, yes, most likely.

Oh I was happy enough to go browse the bargain sections, and finger through plenty of new releases, but how often did I plunk down the money for a full price book? Um, not often. And how often did I help myself to a discount book through Amazon after reading all those tidy reviews and pressing that easy to find “add to cart” button? Plenty of times. Yes, I must face the facts that often I succumbed to the seduction of the quick fix, lower price Amazon option. Sigh. So when I complain that I miss the Waldenbooks, The Borders, Crown Books, etc, I guess I must take some responsibility for that situation.

To make myself feel better, I’m including a link below with photos of some of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. If only they would come to my city!

Where are your top three places to get books? Giving away a VISA gift card, a signed book and a February surprise.

Kid at heart? Here’s a book quiz for you!


I’d like to say I’m very well read in hoity toity adult literary tomes, but in truth, I’m a lot more of a whiz in classic children’s fiction. I’ll bet you are, too! Take this fun quiz and let me know how you did! The January blog prize is a Starbuck’s card and a signed book.

What can your favorite fruit tell about you?



Because you can never have too much wacky information, here’s a fruity little quiz to make your day. It’s only one question and it supposedly tells you about your personality based on your favorite fruit!

Would love to hear your fruity findings!


How much do you know about New Year’s celebrations? Quiz time!

New Years 2012

Kicking off our January contest for a Starbuck’s gift card and a signed book. Comments to the blog get you entered!

Here’s a five question quiz about New Year’s customs around the world. My kids will be glad they didn’t grow up in Vietnam. See how well you do!

Ah research! Visiting a grand old dame!


It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. In preparing to write a four book detective series for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, I have sent myself on a trip to Coronado, California. I’ve toured the highways and byways of this little island town, and some other spots on the gorgeous California coast. One of the best parts was coming to know this grand lady….The Hotel Del Coronado, affectionately nicknamed The Del. Here are some interesting facts about the grand lady!

The Hotel del Coronado….

is the second largest wooden structure in the U.S.

-opened in 1888 and was enjoyed as a fishing and hunting resort.

-hostel Charlie Chaplin, the Prince of Wales and even Charles Lindbergh when he was honored here after his historic 1927 solo Atlantic flight.

-was the setting of the film Some Like it Hot, featuring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.

Do you have any historic sites where you live? Would love to hear about them! Giving away a VISA gift card and signed book THIS WEEK!