Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Dear writers who kill dogs…

Dear Writers Who Kill Off  Dogs;

Not to be overly regulatory, but I believe if you are going to kill off a dog in a novel, you should have to put a little warning label on the cover. Readers are sensitive about many things, but there is nothing that gets down in their cockles like the mistreatment of animals. I know. In my first cozy series I committed the sin of wounding a bird in book one. The bird was damaged mind you, not killed. Though I diligently explained the bird’s road to recovery, I got more mail about that than the murdered characters. People love their animals in illogical ways, most of all, their dogs. Why is this? Perhaps it’s the fact that dogs have no voice and they are the epitome of unconditional love. I am not sure, but what I do know is if I’m writing a book about dogs, they’re going to live, by gum. If I’m reading a book with a dog as a character, I jolly well expect Fido to survive. Irrational? Yes. Unrealistic? Maybe, but it’s a deal breaker for me. If that critter dies in chapter five, I’m out, and I don’t care how riveting the plot.

So there you go. Am I alone in this? How do you feel out there writers and readers of planet Earth? Can you handle dead dogs in your novels? 

Info about Dana’s book Sit, Stay, Love


Last day to enter the January contest! How many books did you read in January?

In honor of this last day of January, here’s a review of Dangerous Tidings, my holiday release. I was greatly blessed by the plethora of kind reviews and extremely honored by all those who took the time to post one.

So how many books would you estimate you read in this past month? Post your number and you’re entered into the January contest for a book and gift card. Winner announced tomorrow! 

Five Star Review of Dangerous Tidings





Buy Link, Dangerous Tidings


Top Three Irritating Things About Writers










It’s okay. I can write about this because I do these things regularly and no doubt irritate friends and loved ones all the time. Writers have certain characteristics that can drive you up the wall. Here are the top three:

1. We’re stubborn about words. Yep, we’re gonna retype that email, text, or Post-it note because “effervescent” is just a better word choice than “sparkling.” You should see us struggle over thank you notes, let alone passages in our novels. It’s annoying, especially to those number oriented folks who see words as strictly utilitarian. To writers, words are the stuff of magic, so we are going to annoy the beejeebers out of you trying to land on the perfect one.

2. We have ulterior motives. You think that fun day trip to the city is just a chance for some rest and relaxation. Uh, no. As it turns out, we’ve got the perfect scene brewing in chapter three of our current work in progress, but it’s going to occur in San Francisco’s business district so we need to go immerse ourselves in that location for a while. It’s not that we’re using our together time with you for other purposes exactly. It really is more fun having you to share the adventure with, just don’t be surprised if that giant soft pretzel we’re eating near the Embarcadero doesn’t appear in chapter three.

3. We are going to market our books…endlessly. Yep, you’re going to see mentions of our darling literary babies on our websites, our Facebook pages, our Twitter accounts, our blogs (see below), perhaps on the back of our cars (Got books? Check out and in our email signature lines. I know it’s SUPER ANNOYING and guess what? We find it annoying, too, but that’s the dark side of writing. Authors that don’t sell books aren’t authors for very long. Writing means promoting. Incessantly. We can’t stand it either, but there you go.

There are plenty of irritating qualities about other jobs too, right? Teachers, doctors, sanitation workers, delivery people, they all have those behaviors that just drive folks nuts, also. What is annoying or irritating about your profession/hobby? Share and you’re entered to win the December prize of a signed book, Starbuck’s card and Christmas treat. 










Irritating promotion about current book.

More about Dangerous Tidings.

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! 

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.

Did you use a card catalogues, SRA kits?

happy book

I watch the people go by, peering at their cell phone screens, iPads and tablets. This is how my teen kiddos interact with the written word. They can even read novels on those tiny cell phone screens. It makes me long for the simpler times, and wax nostalgic over some retro reading practices. Take a look below. Did you ever….

1. Read with a flashlight under the covers? It was the old school equivalent to the Kindle and a great way to sneak a book after bedtime rolled around.

2. Use a card catalogue? I remember the musty smell of those old wooden drawers, crammed with little treasure maps that would miraculously guide you to the exact spot on the shelves where you’d find your quarry. Not a computer screen in sight!

3. Read from an SRA kit? Those manilla card things that were all color coded? It was a real thrill to reach “aqua” or whatever color was my next level. Talk about old school!

So what do you remember from your “throwback” reading days? Were there any books/habits that stand out in your memory? Giving away a VISA gift card, a signed book and a February surprise this month. 

The truth uncovered: what makes a perfect book cover?


image image


It’s a fact, Jack! Good covers attract attention and sell books. Now I know we need a bit more than a flashy cover to make us plunk down hard-earned money on a novel, but the truth is, unless that cover is appealing to the eye, we likely aren’t going to pick it up and investigate any further. So what makes a good cover?

It’s got to be colorful.

It’s got to have nifty lettering.

Generally, there is some intriguing image plastered there somewhere.

And I’m going to add a personal preference here…it’s got to look different than the hundred adjacent covers on the shelf. Here are a few of my personal likes/dislikes.

1. I’m not a fan of people on the cover because I like to imagine the characters myself. (I also abstain from book covers featuring heaving bosoms, scantily clad people and ripped bodices, etc.)

2. I like variety. (Forgive me, but many Amish fiction books have the same tremulous looking bonneted beauty in nearly the same pose on nearly the same background.)

3. The cover should hint at what genre I’m going to be reading. A gritty book should have a gritty cover, a cozy should have that small town imagery on the cover. (You can see the difference in the above photos.)


So what do you like/dislike in a cover? Giving away a Barnes and Novel gift card this month.  I would love to hear from you!