Saturday, November 21, 2015

SILVER LAKE is on the #Amazon 50 #Kindle Book Deals List! #Romance #Ghosts #Kindledeals

In August, I announced the exciting news that the electronic rights to my debut novel, SILVER LAKE, had been sold to Amazon Publishing's Encore imprint.  This reunion romance/ghost story is now exclusive to Kindle as an e-book, and has also been entered into the Kindle Unlimited program.  This has been really great for increasing the visibility of this title, and November brought another nice surprise--Amazon put Silver Lake on sale and added it to its "50 Kindle Book Deals for $2 Each" list for the entire month!

It will be half-price at $2 until November 30th, but grab your copy now to ensure you have a page-turning mix of second-chance romance and spooky suspense for your holiday reading! Shopping, traveling, entertaining, and visiting with family can all be stressful at times, and reading is a proven load up your Kindle now with November's Kindle Deals and make sure you factor in some time to sit back and get lost in a book.  Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

DIVINE FALL won The #Romance Reviews Award! #YA #Angels #horses

I was thrilled when my YA paranormal romance DIVINE FALL made it through the nomination rounds for the Reader's Choice Award over at The Romance Reviews site.  Fifty votes were needed to advance into the final round...a voting period that lasted almost the entire month of October, one of my busiest months in terms of promotion since I write what can best be described as "paranormal romantic suspense"--romance mixed with a haunting mystery or supernatural secrets, which are especially popular during the Halloween season.  But I tried to remind my readers to vote as I scrambled to keep up with other commitments.  And then this week I received some exciting news--my book won the Young Adult Romance category!

Most of my books are considered cross-genre, and this one is no exception.  It's classified as "YA Paranormal Romance", but the tag line I use is "Forbidden First Love and Supernatural Secrets". A reviewer at BTS Book Reviews used this quote: "This delicious YA novel was filled with love, rich in history, suspense, and enough twists to keep the reader turning the pages." This reviewer's 4.5 star write-up actually put Divine Fall into the BTS Book Review's nominations for their Red Carpet Award.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

While my books always involve romance, I do try to mix in plenty of conflict, tension, and mystery, as well as enough details about the setting to make the reader feel like he or she is right there.  This novel is set in a fictional town, Huntsville, Maryland, close to where I grew up.  The rural town is located in the very real Frederick County, near the very real Monocacy National Battlefield, site of the Civil War Battle that "saved Washington, D.C.".  As a kid, I spent a great deal of time at the huge farm owned by good friends of the family, and their little girl and I whiled away countless hours riding the horses, playing with the barn cats up in the hayloft, throwing sticks for all the dogs that roamed the property, and exploring the surrounding woods.  These wonderful memories inspired "Fox Run", the barn where Jamie boards her horse Beau, and where the mysterious Dothan Reed works as a new stable hand.

If you'd like to give this book a try, it's only 99 cents on Kindle and Nook!  All links to retailers are in the colored links above or on this page ~ DIVINE FALL.  Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Writing Inspiration ~ #amwriting #Nanowrimo

photo (1)Last November, I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, and while I didn't finish a complete manuscript in one month, I did "win" in terms of word count.  By February, I had typed "the end" to my fourth novel, and now Haunted Souls is awaiting a release date.  I decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, as I've branched out into teaching writing classes as well, and to say I'm over-scheduled at the moment would be a tremendous understatement.  But I wanted to cheer on all the writers working on getting their daily word count in by posting the inspirational quote I keep on my keyboard.  And if your fingers need a break and you care to read the story behind the quote, I've included it below.  The original post first appeared as one of my contributions to The Pearls of Writing Wisdom ~ a blog co-written by ten published authors dedicated to sharing weekly writing tips on Tuesdays and inspiration on Fridays.
The quote taped to my keyboard came to me in a fortune cookie on New Year's Eve in 2010. It seemed appropriate for what I was feeling, since my resolution was to begin sending out queries for my first manuscript, Silver Lake.
Real courage is moving forward when the outcome is uncertain. - Michael Angier

Now, I'm not comparing writing to the kind of courage it takes to go into battle to defend your country or something like that.  But it does take courage to go after your dreams, especially when the dream is as big as writing a novel and getting it published.  It's easy to say "Someday, I'm going to write that novel." It's much harder to actually do it.  Even once those first words get typed, there's no guarantee your energy and inspiration will hold out until you get to "The End". A writer pours blood, sweat, tears, caffeine, and days spent in pajamas into a manuscript, and the outcome IS uncertain.  Will it all come together?

But if you don't start, you definitely won't finish.  And if you don't send queries out and risk rejection, you won't find a publisher willing to back your story. Putting your creation out there is nerve-wracking at best.  I knew I was about to enter a very unpleasant stage of the process for most writers.  And there was no guarantee that if I stuck with it, my novel would find a home.

I weathered the rejections.  I rewrote and made cuts.  I tried again.  I began receiving full requests, and then an R&R (a request to Revise and Resubmit) - with suggestions on what needed to be fixed.  Again, no guarantees, but I did the work.

And the day that contract offer came for my debut novel was one of the best days of my life.  December 16, 2011, almost a year after I opened that cookie and found the words of encouragement that remind me daily not to give up.

Keep at it, writers!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Same Costume, 9 Yrs. Later - #Halloween #JackSparrow #PiratesoftheCaribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean was always one of my favorite Disney rides, and the movie based on the theme park ride, Pirates of the Caribbean ~ Curse of the Black Pearl, came out in June of 2003.  At the time, I had a one-and-a-half-year-old son and a four-and-a-half-year-old son, so it's safe to say I probably never saw it in the theaters.  But somehow by the time my younger son was almost four, we owned the DVD and it seemed to be playing constantly in our house, much like Frozen is today at my sister's.  To be honest, I think I loved the movie more than my favorite form of entertainment combines forbidden romance with some supernatural mystery and danger--that is the mix that inspires the books I write.  So I was just fine with the fact that I knew many of the lines by heart.  In fact, my kids decided the necklace I wore (a silver heart) was our "medallion", and we played pirates quite a bit.

So it was no surprise when my younger son decided he wanted to be Captain Jack Sparrow for Halloween in 2006, when the movie alternated with the latest Star Wars film on a seemingly endless loop on our television.  While I'm not particularly crafty, I decided I could make a convincing costume for him, and I set about stringing beads, buying fabric, and sewing, gluing, and pinning things together.  I loved the costume and I still think it's the best one I ever "made".

Nine years later, I pulled the old DVD out because I assigned it to my writing class for homework. Yes, that's right, they had to watch a movie--this one is a good exercise in Goal, Motivation, and Conflict for the characters.  My son found me watching it and settled in.  By the time it was over, he had decided what he wanted to be for this Halloween--Captain Jack Sparrow, again.

I'm fairly organized, and those old pirate accessories I made were still packed in our costume box.  Of course, he was much too big now for the shirt and vest.  He declared the plastic sword "too small" and insisted he needed the hat and dreadlocks this time.  But as a nod to the past, I was able to reuse the strings of beads from the headpiece, the sword belts, and the long red-and-white sash.

I couldn't resist snapping a picture in the same spot, all these years and feet and inches later, and making a little collage.  My heart twinges a bit at the incredible changes that have occurred in less than a decade--where does the time go?  But the memories make me smile, and my teenage boy is still the sweet kid he was in pre-school.  Just another reminder to enjoy every second!

Captain Jack Sparrow - 2006/2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ghost #Suspense + Steamy #Romance for Haunted #Halloween Reading! #Kindle #paranormal

It's my favorite time of year!  All the spooky stuff is highlighted this month, and I love to get a shiver up my spine...especially when it's combined with some steamy romance between star-crossed lovers.  Since that's what I like to read, that's what I write...I have two ghost story/romance novels out now, with a third on the way.

In SILVER LAKE, a group of former high school friends agree to reunite in a final attempt to solve the five-year-old mystery of their friend Brandy's disappearance.  Rain Anderson is determined to find closure for Brandy's terminally ill mother, and she's also anxious to try to reconcile with Jason Lansing, the man whose heart she broke back in high school.  As the paranormal activity in the lake house escalates throughout the summer, it soon becomes clear that Brandy's ghost has a message to share...and she's desperate enough to put her friends in danger in order to expose the truth.

GULL HARBOR is a #1 Kindle Bestseller set on Cape Cod.  Claire Linden arrives in the coastal town of Gull Harbor ready to take on an aggressive ghost.  Now that she's embraced her gift as a medium, she's confident she'll be able to rid her temporary summer home of the restless spirit that drove the owners of the house to hire her.  However, she never expects to also encounter Max Baron, the man who promised to love her forever, then disappeared suddenly from her life five years ago without a hint of an explanation.  As Claire begins to unravel the truth behind the haunting, Max is forced to share his secret in order to stay close enough to her to try to protect her from a danger that extends even beyond the paranormal.

Click the colored links to take you to each book's Amazon Kindle page to read more.  Longer blurbs and more ebook format links are also available under the title tabs above.  Grab your copies now and settle in for some suspenseful and steamy entertainment just in time for Halloween...Happy Haunted Reading!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

History of Superstitions ~ #Paranormal Postings #Halloween #Ghosts

Some of my most popular posts have discussed the origins of certain superstitions--specifically, ones that are considered bad luck.  A superstition is a long-held belief or behavior with no rational basis.  As a fan of all things spooky, I like to research the history behind the more sinister superstitions we hold, especially around Halloween.

I love (and rescue) black cats, so it's safe to say I don't believe I'm in trouble if they cross my path.  There are many reasons black cats came to be associated with magic, witchcraft, and the occult, and I've gone into further detail in this post.

Another "unlucky" symbol I can't accept (because it's the date of my birth) is the number 13.  There are a whole host of reasons for the fear of this number, many of them stemming from different religions.  I take a deeper look into Triskaidekaphobia in this post.

I thought I'd research a few more well known "causes" of bad luck for my October Paranormal Postings series.  Many of these superstitions date back to ancient times, so tracing the exact sources can be tricky.  Sometimes several factors seem to combine to create the belief or behavior.

One example is the belief that walking under a ladder brings bad luck.  One theory is that this dates back to ancient Egypt, where triangles were considered sacred (think pyramids).  A ladder propped against a wall forms a triangle; walking through would desecrate the triangle.  The Christian religion, with its concept of the Holy Trinity, also contributed to the idea that violating a triangle would be unlucky.  Finally, some sources point to the use of ladders in the gallows.  To walk under the ladder was to be caught in the hangman's line of vision.

Do you cringe if you spill the salt?  At one time, salt was a very valuable commodity, so spilling salt could have indeed been truly unlucky.  If you consider our word "salary" comes from the Latin word "salarium", which means salt cellar, the value of salt throughout history becomes even more evident.

Another explanation involves the Last Supper, during which Judas Iscariot--the betrayer of Jesus--apparently spilled the salt.  In the painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, Judas is the second to the left of Jesus; his hand is clutched around a bag (of silver, most likely), and his arm has knocked over a cellar of salt.  You can better see the detail in this copy of the painting.  Judas is the only one with his elbow on the table; the spilled salt is near his wrist.

Da Vinci's Last Supper by Giacomo Raffaelli   Attribution: Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, Wikimedia Commons

The way to possibly ward off the bad luck associated with spilled salt is to scoop some up and throw it over your left shoulder, into the Devil's eyes.  This stems from a belief that the Devil stands behind a person's left shoulder.

Breaking a mirror is said to carry a whole seven years of bad luck.  I don't put a lot of stock into most superstitions, but I admit the thought of breaking a mirror makes me nervous.  Like salt, mirrors held a great deal of value at one time--they were both expensive and rare.  Breaking one was a loss, and the guilty party might well be considered rightfully unlucky.  Another explanation goes back to the idea that a person's soul is revealed in their reflection; breaking a mirror would then equate to breaking one's soul.

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out my post on the Origins of Halloween as well.  Please note that the giveaway associated with that post is over, but I will have plenty more coming as I prepare for the release of HAUNTED SOULS!

An ex-boyfriend and
a dangerous ghost await
Claire in GULL HARBOR 
If you like some steamy romance mixed with things that go bump in the night...try my ghost stories SILVER LAKE and the #1 Kindle Bestseller GULL HARBOR.  My new YA Paranormal Romance involves supernatural secrets and forbidden love - check out DIVINE FALL as well.

Happy haunted reading!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

DIVINE FALL made the "Perfect #Books for Autumn" List! #amreading #Kindle #romance

Revenge, Romance, &
a Rogue Fallen Angel...
The publishing industry is not an easy should come with a warning label.  And lately, I've had to deal with some of the toughest choices in my career.  I'm a big ball of stress, and it's not fun.  But then something happened to brighten my week - one of my readers sent me a link on Facebook.  "Divine Fall is on the list!" it said.

What list? I wondered as my stomach flipped.  But the title read "14 Perfect Books to Get You in the Mood for Autumn" and the site was the very prestigious I figured it couldn't be a bad thing.  And it wasn't.  In fact, it was so unbelievable, I found myself stunned.  Because this list, compiled by the very respectable Bookbub site, includes novels penned by Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Sarah Addison Allen, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Lowell...and Diane Setterfield, author of one of my all-time spooky favorites, The Thirteenth Tale.  The list goes on, with New York Times Bestsellers, USA Today Bestsellers, award winners, and books with cover quotes from Stephen King.  And then there's my YA Paranormal Romance, DIVINE FALL, sitting right in the middle.  It's no major bestseller, for sure...but it's had some highlights: one of five finalists for 2015 RomCon Reader's Crown, a reviewer pick for BTS Review's 2015 Red Carpet Award, a semi-finalist in The Kindle Book Review's 2015 Best Kindle Book Awards.

At the moment, it's up for the Reader's Choice Award in Young Adult Romance at The Romance Reviews.  With everything that's happened this month, I haven't had as much time as I'd like to ask readers for votes.  But it's easy to sign in via Facebook and click the Vote Now link once you're in!  I truly appreciate each and every vote.  Even if I don't win, I'm going to sit back and enjoy the mystery of having my book on a Bookbub list with amazing authors I could only dream of meeting someday.

And if you haven't read it yet, the Halloween season is the perfect time for some supernatural secrets mixed with forbidden first love.  The best part is the price - 99c on Kindle and Nook!  So treat yourself to a "perfect autumn read" and send me your thoughts for other great fall reads...because losing myself in a page-turning read is the best stress reducer I can think of!