Posts Tagged ‘Harlequin author’

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


We want realism in our fiction…sort of!



I saw a Twitter post recently about how cop shows on TV are not realistic. I thought to myself….exactly! Why would we want them to be? In fiction, there’s a fine balance between realism and what reads well. Do we want to see the real life of a cop? Nah. We want to see the exciting parts, not the day to day sitting in meetings, writing reports and training. Do we want to see the realistic day in the life of a firefighter? Nope. Most of their time is spent training, cleaning, and doing medical transport. We don’t want boring, we want Backdraft! How about the glamorous life of a fiction writer? Unless you want to hear pages about me sitting in front of the keyboard under my garden plum tree, I’m thinking most readers will pass. We want a writer like Castle who solves cases in between penning award winning novels. So do readers want realistic fiction? Yes, to a degree. We want details and interested facts, the essence of a protagonist’s profession, not the actual reality of it.

What professions do you like to know about in your fiction books? And how much realistic detail to you like in your fiction? Giving away a signed book and a ‘boat in a bottle’ necklace this month in honor of my 20th book for Harlequin! Prize awarded at the end of July.


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. 

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

Do you have what it takes to write professionally?


Well…one thing I’ve learned over the years is the top job requirement to being a writer is tenacity. It will carry you through all the highly aggravating parts of the business. I was interested to read a Forbes article about this very topic (link below.) Here are a few of their questions to determine whether or not you’re ready for the tricky world of writing.
Are you tenacious, meaning a self-starter who can work alone for long periods of time and still keep at it?
Can you handle criticism and use it constructively? Do you know the difference between valid criticism and emotional reaction?

Are you willing to work your way up writing ladder (income and name recognition)?

Do you really like writing?

So what do you think? Is writing the job for you? Why or why not? Giving away an Amazon gift card and a signed book this month. Comments welcome!

What about those “low class” books?


Ah me. It’s true. Snobbism is alive and well in the book world and we all participate to a certain degree. Those wonderful “classics” of literature are worthy, the heartwrenching literary fiction pieces that tell of the tragic journey of the human soul, now those are amazing, are they not? The large books that make us examine ourselves, priceless!

But what about the books that aren’t big and bold, on an epic scale? Does that mean they are less worthy? The little book that made you laugh. The hard boiled detective novel or thriller that absorbed you into the wee hours.  Romance writers are familiar with the “second class citizen” idea. What we write is often considered “fluff” or “purple prose” and definitely not up to par with the above mentioned. Yet these very types of books fill the shelves of bookstores and populate the best seller lists on a regular basis. Interesting, no?

So what is the mark of a worthy book? Here’s my definition. A good book touches someone. It moves them. It makes them, for a moment, stand outside their life circumstances. If a book can do that, whether it’s a romance, sci fi, horror novel or thriller, it is entitled to a spot on the bookshelf or the t.b.r. pile.

So what do you think? What qualities make you feel like a book was worth your reading time or not? Giving away an Amazon gift card on Wednesday!


“I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.”


Can you make a living writing? Yes…and no.

imageThis question comes up often, as we all strive to do whatever we can to keep afloat in this tricky economy. Could I make a living solely on my writing income? Straight answer? Not where I live. In the San Francisco Bay Area with housing prices and cost of living being what it is, probably not. I also work part time as a third grade teacher and my husband works as well. That said, could I come close if we lived in an area that was less expensive…yes, and no. The answer is yes, if I was willing to do what it takes. What is that, you ask?

Continue to publish traditionally, but add more self published works. That’s doable, but I’d need to promote those self published works as vigorously as Harlequin promotes the traditional titles. That means, have professional covers designed, market them on Smashwords, Amazon and every other site that will carry them. Maintain a high blog presence and participate on book related loops/websites on a near daily basis to keep these little gems on the front minds of consumers. Am I willing to do that? No, sorry to say. Why? I love my teaching job and I want to be excellent at it, that takes work. I mother my two teenage girls and I want to excel at that, too. I strive to be a good wife and a helpful member of my church. Could I give those up and pursue a full time living as a writer? Yes, but I choose not to. Some people could no doubt do it all. I can’t, not if I want to do any of it well.

What about you? Did you ever make a choice that would bring in less income, but reward you in other ways? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Giving away an Amazon gift card this month.

Are you Harry Potter? Juliet? Find out here.


Harry Potter, I have been. And Juliet, too, though with much more practicality than our fair Capulet. How about you? Have you ever been so involved in a story that you imagined yourself as the hero? Or maybe you’ve just had one of those days where you’d love to step into life of your  favorite fictional hero.  Below are some reasons why I have been Harry Potter.

1. He’s a geek. Really. No one would pick him for the school rugby team (though his Quidditch skills are awesome). He’s not an intimidating physical specimen and his strength is a mental one. Go Harry! Carry the banner for all the pale, scrawny, types out there.

2.  Harry means well. He really does. He wants to defeat evil, support his friends and represent Hogwarts to the best of his ability. The trouble is, it’s sometimes really HARD to know the right path to take. One way and you’re helping your friends. Another, it’s the whomping willow.

So what fictional character can you relate to? Here’s a fun idea. Hop onto this website and find out which literary character you are most like. Would LOVE to hear about your findings! Giving away an Amazon card and a signed book this month!

And our March winner is…

Sheila Deeth! Hope you enjoy your Starbuck’s card and signed book! On to the April contest! image

Dear novel…a letter from your author.

DaydreamingDear Novel,

I know this relationship is new for both of us, and strangely formal at this point. Let’s face it, our union was arranged via a signed contract with a point by point synopsis and a mere three chapters of interaction. I don’t even know your characters full names yet! So we’ve got some work to do, you and I. It’s time to get out the character charts and the big while plotting paper and the research books and dive in.

It will be painful, of course, as we will have those “new love” misunderstandings. Perhaps we will obsess too much about the plot while our dear characters languish about as mere cardboard prototypes. In the first draft of our relationship, we may experience (gasp!) a sagging middle. These things happen. No page can remain white and spotless, no draft fresh and unmarred. We will face the edits and revisions with grace, won’t we, dear novel? Together we will open new chapters and learn things about ourselves and the world that we didn’t know before.

I am looking forward to this journey with you, dear novel, and all the people who will come alongside us as we travel.


Your author