Monday, July 27, 2015

A Chaotic 3-State Family #Vacation - #BethanyBeach #HarpersFerry #Chesapeake

So, I've been living out of a suitcase for eight days now, staying at three different houses in three different states.  Of course I feel very fortunate to have been able to take a 10-day vacation full of stops to see family and friends.  But I'm starting to miss my house and my pets!  We've had a lot of fun so far, with many adventures along the way.  For most of the week, we've been with our best friends and their kids, combining two families of four into a chaotic group of eight.  At the beginning of the week, my girlfriend stumbled across an article in the Huffington Post that had us all rolling with laughter: Vacation or Trip? A Helpful Guide for Parents.  We had to all agree we were, most definitely, on a "trip".

The kids in the ocean at Bethany.
We all were in at some point,
trying to beat the heat.
But it's been a trip full of adventures, and long drives, with plenty of family memories forming along the way.  We began Sunday evening in Bethany Beach, Delaware, a beautiful town with a great book store that hosts me for annual book signings.  We stayed over on the bay side, packing our eight, one friend, and one dog into the house.  The weather was sunny and very HOT...a heat index of 104 degrees one day.  That was, of course, the day the air conditioning broke.

So our trip to take the kids to the Rehoboth Boardwalk was delayed one day, due to an emergency repair on the AC, but we did get them there, returning home with a ton of candy and cheap prizes from the arcade games.  In a strange coincidence, my younger son woke up the next day with a very upset stomach and threw up all morning.  Thankfully, it was not a stomach bug that traveled through the group!  He was on the mend by the time we arrived Wed. afternoon in Leesburg, Virginia, the beautiful hometown of our friends.  Aside from enjoying the pool and restaurants, we went into wine country to antique one day.  Oh, and we decided a visit to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, would be a good opportunity to try our hand at white water tubing.  We should have learned our lesson after our previous visit to the same area for what's now known as the "Zip Lining Disaster of 2013".  All I can say is it's nearly impossible to keep eight people together without ropes, which are not permitted, on a river with strong currents and a mind of its own.  There was some panicked moments of missing the correct path, some frustrated moments of getting stuck, and a lot of hilarious moments involving trying to get back into tubes we'd abandoned after one of those panicked or frustrated moments.
One of my favorite stops - an antique market near the
setting of my YA novel DIVINE FALL

By Sunday, we were stopping in Potomac, Maryland, for lunch with more family members before heading to my sister's neighborhood on the Chesapeake Bay.  I get to enjoy time with my little nieces and try to sneak in a little bit of relaxation.  My sister and I love spooky ghost movies (and they help inspire the haunting mysteries in my novels) so we'll marathon a few (we watched "It Follows" last night).  Then our "trip" will be capped off tomorrow with a big soccer game at FedEx Stadium - Chelsea (my oldest son's favorite team) will play Barcelona (my younger son's favorite team), and I'm not really sure where we can safely sit with the boys wearing jerseys from opposing teams.  Wednesday will bring us back to Cape Cod...the end of the journey will be a little sad, but coming home is always a wonderful feeling as well!  Until I have to start on that giant bag of laundry...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Like #Romance? #Suspense? #Ghosts? #Prizes? Join my #StreetTeam! #amwriting #amreading

I'm looking to grow my new Street Team!  What's a Street Team, you ask?  I had no idea either, but almost all of the authors at my agency have one, and my agent suggested I give it a try too. Basically, it's a group of people who want to help promote your books via social media.  They could be fans of the author's books, fans of romance and suspense in general who want to try your books, avid readers of all genres who want to join the community, or people who just want to make new friends and help out.

There are rewards to joining, of course!  First off, you can request an ecopy of one of my books for FREE.  Secondly, I do a prize drawing once or twice a month - usually a gift card, but sometimes jewelry or other physical prizes.  Plus, you meet new friends, help an author increase visibility, and get inside info into the publishing process and upcoming releases (like Haunted Souls!).

What's required?  Not a lot!  Participation is as much or as little as you want - all are welcome, regardless of activity level.  So the only actual requirement is a FaceBook account, as that is where we organize.  Typically, once a week I'll post a FB share or a Twitter tweet and ask for shares or retweets if willing or able.  Anyone who shares/RTs comments "Done" and gets added to that month's prize pool.  This past month, one lucky member received a $20 gift card to Amazon.

So, I'd love to have you!  This is a Closed Group, so only members can see what is going on. Just click the FaceBook link below, hit Join, and I'll add you.  I have many fellow authors in the group, so both readers and writers will have a chance to meet new authors.  I look forward to meeting new members!




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Great New Author Interview! #amwriting #romance #suspense #ghosts #angels

A fabulous new author interview went live today on Britbear's Book Reviews site...she had some really great and unique questions for me.  Check out the post here: Interview with author Kathryn Knight.  And don't be surprised if you have a sudden craving for gummy bears afterwards!
Supernatural Secrets and Forbidden
First Love - only 99c!
RomCon Reader's Crown Finalist - YA
The Kindle Book Reviews nominee -
upcoming Kindle Book Awards YA
BTS Book Reviews nominee -
upcoming Red Carpet Awards


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

#Kindle #Book Awards SemiFinals~ DIVINE FALL made the cut! #YA #angels #horses

Last week I received an email from The Kindle Book Reviews with a link announcing the first round of books to move on - the Semi-Finalists.  Only 20 books per category were chosen, so that's fairly stiff competition.  But my ghost story/romance GULL HARBOR made it last year to the Semi-Finals, in the very crowded "Romance" category, so I held my breath and clicked.

DIVINE FALL was there!  This is a YA book, so regardless of the romantic and paranormal elements, it fits into the "Young Adult" category in this contest - another large category with all sorts of sub-genres.

I've really struggled with this book in a few ways, so I was over the moon.  My first two books are steamy romances mixed with suspenseful ghost mysteries, but after writing SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBOR, I felt like doing something a bit different.  I had an idea for a YA novel involving the last Nephilim, the half-angels, half-humans from the Book of Genesis.  And the main character, 16-year-old Jamie, was going to tell the story through deep first person point-of-view. She was also going to love riding horses and spend all her time at the barn--a nod to my own childhood passions.



By the time I finished this manuscript, though, the Paranormal Romance market was absolutely saturated.  Young Adult books involving angels in particular.  Publishers just weren't looking to acquire anything in this glutted genre, and my current publisher did not have a Young Adult line.

But my fans were waiting for my latest release, and it was ready to go...so I decided to use all the knowledge I've gathered in the years I've been in the writing business and publish this one on my own.  Yes, it was scary to not have the backing of a publisher.  Not to mention, all the marketing and promotion would be solely on me.  But there are some perks of publishing independently, and designing your own cover art is one of them.  I had so much fun designing Divine Fall's cover with the artists I chose!

My regular readers were certainly ready to take the plunge into YA with me, but in terms of marketing, I'm not as adept at connecting with a younger readership.  So it's been stressful trying to figure that part out.

Given these struggles, the fact that Divine Fall made the first cut in the Kindle Awards for YA really boosts my spirits!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed we'll move onto the Finals.  I'm also encouraged by the fact that Divine Fall was one of only five books to make the Finals in the YA RomCon Reader's Crown Award, and that this book is also currently up for the Red Carpet Awards at BTS Book Reviews--a fantastic review in their magazine secured Divine Fall an entry!

Since I control the price on this one, I've put it at 99 cents lately to make it virtually risk-free to try!  If you like romance, first love, supernatural secrets, angels, horses, and/or YA books, download it today for your next summer read!  Links are right below in blue.  And if you like it, tell a friend or two!  Happy reading :)





iPad   


Friday, July 3, 2015

Spend 4th of July in Cape Cod's GULL HARBOR! - #Romance #Ghosts #Suspense #Kindle


A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await
Claire Linden in GULL HARBOR...


Happy 4th of July weekend!  Here on Cape Cod, the summer season officially kicks off this weekend, and things get a bit hectic!  As usual, we have a house full of guests, and plans for the beach, cookouts, and fireworks.  And while on the beach, I'll be doing my favorite thing - reading!  If you need a great page-turning beach read for the holiday, try GULL HARBOR - a spooky ghost mystery mixed with steamy second-chance romance, set here on Cape Cod's National Seashore.

To get into the "spirit" of the weekend (haha, see what I did there?), I'm posting a never-before-posted excerpt from the book - part of a scene where Max and Claire stop fighting their attraction and enjoy a picnic on the beach.  Max still can't share his reasons for abandoning her so long ago, but pyschic medium Claire is dealing with a very disturbing haunting, and she finds herself leaning on her former boyfriend for support.  And Max still feels the need to take care of her, even after all these years - so he's brought lunch for her from the local tavern he owns.  This scene sets up their date for the 4th of July - and there are plenty of fireworks on that night - overhead and between the two former lovers!  Enjoy and Happy 4th :)

           “A picnic on the beach is perfect.  It’s better than dinner and a movie.”
            He held out his glass, touching it to hers.  “To our first date.”  His eyebrows pulled together behind his sunglasses.  “That sounds strange, given our history.”
            She smiled as she sipped.  “We were never what you’d call traditional, anyway.”
            “How’s this for traditional—let me take you to see the fireworks on Wednesday night.  I know you’ll be at Dan’s cook-out for dinner, but I think I’ll be okay to leave the tavern by 7:30 or so.  Can I come and steal you away?”  He leaned back on one elbow and flashed her a lazy grin.  “There’s a great spot to watch them from over by the lake.  It’s very secluded; none of the tourists even know how to find the trail to get there.”
            A flood of heat that had little to do with the warm July sun surged through her.  How was it that this man aroused her so?  She could feel the sexual tension between them, thick and heady.  “I’d love that,” she said softly, dipping her head down to hide her flushed cheeks.  

Want to keep reading?  All the links for Kindle, Nook, and iPad are on this page, below the blurb!  GULL HARBOR BUY LINKS

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ready to Write? Fiction + Publishing Class on #CapeCod #amwriting #Hyannis

My "Fiction Writing and Publication" course is coming to Main Street, Hyannis for the summer!  In this condensed version, we'll meet for three Thursdays in July, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and we'll cover a multitude of topics related to writing fiction and getting it published.

There's something for writers at every stage in this class.  We'll go over some of the basics, such as identifying genres in commercial fiction (necessary for meeting reader expectations, writing query letters, submitting to small or digital presses, and/or listing your book in Amazon categories), idea inspiration, staying on track and word count goals.  Once we've covered the basics, we'll move on to showing vs. telling, Goal-Motivation-Conflict charts, character development, and the hook. Common pitfalls will be covered, such as info dumps, cliches, Mary Sues, and POV (Point of View) issues/head hopping.

Finally, we'll get to querying agents or presses and writing the dreaded blurbs and synopsis. We'll go over all the different publishing options available as well as promotion and marketing. How will I fit it all into 9 hours?

If you're anywhere near the Cape, check out this link at Cape Cod Community College's WERC site for more info: Fiction Writing and Publication.  Even if you're not exactly local, a little trip to Cape Cod a few times this summer for a class gives you the perfect chance to enjoy some of our lovely beaches and attractions!  Happy summer and happy writing :)

Cape Cod National Seashore - setting for my ghost story +
romance GULL HARBOR

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Meet My New #Kittens! #ShelterPets #Adopt #Rescue #Cats

Spazzy & Shadow when they
were kittens
Last month, I wrote about losing a cat I'd had for 17 years. That was so very hard for me - we adopted Spazzy and his brother, Shadow, when my oldest son was only six months old.  Now that kid is driving!  I miss both cats every day--Shadow died at 13--but I'm glad we were able to enjoy their company and share their lives for so long.

I'm a big proponent of pet adoption, so I decided since we have room in our home and our hearts, the best way to honor Spaz and Shadow would be to rescue two brothers from a shelter.  While I often try to go for the older animals that have a harder time finding new homes, our situation right now made younger animals the best fit.  A few years ago, we rescued a border collie puppy who was found on the side of the road in Alabama.  He rode a doggie train north to come to us, and adjusted very quickly.  But at three years old he is still a very energetic pup.  I decided a pair of older cats might not be as willing to adjust to his rambunctious behavior.  At best, they might be annoyed--at worst, they might not want to come out from under the bed.

I have an affinity for black cats--maybe that has something to do with my preference for writing suspenseful ghost stories and watching spooky movies.  I did a very popular post on why some people think black cats are unlucky.  Obviously, I don't - but this old superstition does hinder black cat adoption.  So when I found a shelter on PetFinder (a fantastic site!) with a newly surrendered pregnant black cat, I filled out paperwork for two male kittens (males are often less popular as well, but throughout my life, all my animals have been male except for one female cat, so I figured it's worked out well so far!).

At their Foster Mom's - what
wonderful people fosters are!
My application was approved, and once the litter was weaned, two of the boy kittens who seemed very attached to each other went to a foster home to stay until they weighed the required three pounds.  It was hard to wait! The foster mom put pictures up on Facebook in the meantime, and I got to see them grow.

Meanwhile, I made kitty preparations--new toys, fresh scratching pads, vet appointments, etc.  And I needed to name them!  I did a google search, and wow, there really isn't anything you can't find on the internet!  Lists of hundreds of suggestions for black cat names came up.  I knew I might change my mind when I met them, based on their personalities, but initially I liked Jinx and Jet.

On the shelter FB page, the foster mom later asked me if I had picked out names yet.  She said in the same comment that she'd been calling them Jinx and Max.  What a coincidence!  Of ALL the possible cat names out there, we'd chosen one in common.  Jinx was clearly meant to be.

Inspiration for GULL HARBOR's Max :)
And the name Max has significance for me as well.  My second novel, GULL HARBOR, has a special place in my heart.  This second-chance romance + ghostly mystery is everyone's favorite, it's been a #1 Amazon Bestseller on several occasions, and it is set where I live, on beautiful Cape Cod.  The male main character's name?  Max.

So, both names seemed meant to be.  And my kitties arrived here two weeks ago, and they are settling in nicely. They are even getting along with Otis (tuna fish is the best olive branch there is).  And they are just precious.  There's something so soothing about lying down to read with a pair of kitties curled up on your lap. Hopefully one of these days I'll be able to tell them apart without looking for the telltale tiny patch of white on Jinx's chin!

Max and Jinx at home!  Jinx is on the right (I think)...he has
a little white patch under his chin.  But his face is a bit more
angular too.  Max has a rounder face and is a bit more
outgoing while Jinx is more cautious but more affectionate.
They are both purr machines!