Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Signing Books with Mary Higgins Clark! #CapeCod Art, Word + #Wine Event

In one week, I’ll get to meet one of my idols—Mary Higgins Clark, the “Queen of Suspense”—and, in a dream come true, I’ll actually be sitting on an author panel with her!  The two of us are part of the nine-author panel at Art, Word, and Wine, a charity event to raise money for Dream Day on Cape Cod.  The panel includes other well-known authors such as Hank Phillipi Ryan, Sally Gunning, and Jacquelyn Mitchard, so to say I’m honored to be in such company is an understatement. 

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and throughout my childhood, my father would bring home stacks of library books each week, selected with the help of the local librarian.  That’s how I discovered a ghost story/sweet romance entitled Jane-Emily, a novel which inspired my own books many years later.  But when I would inevitably finish all the library books in a few days, I’d turn to raiding my mother’s bookcase.  And that’s how I first discovered Mary Higgins Clark’s debut novel, Where Are The Children?

I can still remember my pulse racing as I tore through the pages.  I quickly hunted down the two other paperbacks we owned, A Stranger is Watching and The Cradle Will Fall.  Over the years, I read all three over many times in between waiting for new releases.  And before I began writing my debut novel, Silver Lake, I re-read Where Are The Children? as a lesson on building tension and suspense.  I was surprised to discover the book was set on Cape Cod, a place which meant little to me as a child, but has now become my home for the last 18 years and serves as a setting for Gull Harbor and Haunted Souls.


And now I’m one of the “great Cape Cod authors” who will be signing books at Art, Word, and Wine!  The event will be held at the Cape Cod Museum of Art on Tuesday, August 30th, from 4 pm to 7 pm.  The $20 admission goes to a fantastic charity that brings children with life-threatening illness to the Cape.  So if you’re in the area, come meet some famous authors, find some new reads, and enjoy wine, cheese and crackers, and artwork in a beautiful setting, all while helping Dream Day on Cape Cod achieve its mission.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Steamy #Romance + a #Haunting Mystery! #99c #Sale on #Kindle ~ final days!

For a very limited time, my new release, HAUNTED SOULS, is on sale!  Both Kindle and Nook formats are priced at 99 cents until Friday, which is a huge drop from the regular $5.99 price.  Hurry and grab this steamy military romance mixed with haunting mystery while it’s less than a buck!  Blurb and links can be found below:

Four years ago, Emily Shea and Staff Sergeant Brett Leeds agreed to part with no strings attached. Sparks flew during their brief affair, but fate intervened, sending Brett overseas. When an unexpected pregnancy derailed Emily’s own plans, her attempts to locate Brett were soon overwhelmed by the challenges of single motherhood. Now, Brett has returned home, and Emily is forced to share her secret.

Despite feeling betrayed, Brett is determined to forge a relationship with their son, Tyler. As the former lovers battle both their inner demons and their mutual desire, another presence enters their lives—Tyler’s imaginary friend.

Soon, however, the chilling evidence points to a different conclusion: a ghost has formed a dangerous connection with their son. Emily’s attempts to help both a lost soul and a friend in need spiral toward a deadly confrontation, and Brett must race to save Emily before he loses her again—forever.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Celebrating #blackcatappreciationday + Researching #Superstition about Black #Cats

Max and Jinx - 1 yr. old brothers
It’s black cat appreciation day!  I absolutely love black cats…I have had many in the past, and I have two right now.  Most people ask if this is due to my fascination with the paranormal, as most of my novels involve spooky ghost mysteries.  And that’s probably part of it—but a few other things weigh in.  For one thing, I think black cats are beautiful.  But I also am a strong supporter of pet rescue and adoption, and black cats are over-represented at shelters, which could be in part because many people are consciously or even subconsciously affected by the superstition surrounding black cats.  So, today’s post is dedicated to how this idea that black cats are unlucky came about.

The ancient Egyptians believed cats had magical powers, and regarded them as sacred.  In fact, they worshiped a feline goddess known as Bastet.  On the other hand, Druids feared cats.  All cats are nocturnal and appear dark as they creep through the night, sure-footed and stealthy even with no light to see by.  This gave all cats a mystical aura, but the color black has often been associated with sinister forces.



Black cats, along with bats and spiders, have long been considered by some to be bad omens.  Some cultures believed witches could turn into cats in order to avoid capture.  Black cats were also thought to be familiars—low ranking demons tasked with serving and protecting a witch.

Even with a limited understanding of diseases, societies throughout history were also able to see the connection between cats and outbreaks of plague.  Cats control rodent populations, and rats are carriers of many diseases deadly to humans.  This added to the idea that cats had powers beyond human comprehension.

Thus, an association with witchcraft and the occult, superstition, fear, and awe combined to make black cats a symbol of Halloween, the night when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grows thin.

So, there you have it…a few reasons black cats are considered unlucky by some.  Personally, I cross paths with my Max and Jinx dozens of times each day, and so far I’m no worse for the wear.  So celebrate your beautiful black cats!  And, if you enjoy a little spooky suspense like me, try one of my books…there’s some steamy romance in their as well, so something for everyone!




Friday, August 12, 2016

#99c Sale on #HAUNTED SOULS! #ghosts #romance #99cents #Kindle

For a very limited time, my new release, HAUNTED SOULS, is on sale!  Both Kindle and Nook formats are priced at 99 cents this week, which is a huge drop from the regular $5.99 price.  Hurry and grab this steamy military romance mixed with haunting mystery while it’s less than a buck!  Blurb and links can be found below:

Four years ago, Emily Shea and Staff Sergeant Brett Leeds agreed to part with no strings attached. Sparks flew during their brief affair, but fate intervened, sending Brett overseas. When an unexpected pregnancy derailed Emily’s own plans, her attempts to locate Brett were soon overwhelmed by the challenges of single motherhood. Now, Brett has returned home, and Emily is forced to share her secret.

Despite feeling betrayed, Brett is determined to forge a relationship with their son, Tyler. As the former lovers battle both their inner demons and their mutual desire, another presence enters their lives—Tyler’s imaginary friend.

Soon, however, the chilling evidence points to a different conclusion: a ghost has formed a dangerous connection with their son. Emily’s attempts to help both a lost soul and a friend in need spiral toward a deadly confrontation, and Brett must race to save Emily before he loses her again—forever.






Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Signing Books at #Mashpee Commons! #haunting #romance Cape Cod #CapeCod

Market Street Bookshop in
Mashpee Commons
Another event in my busy and exciting summer—I’ll be signing copies of my new release, HAUNTED SOULS, at Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee Commons on Saturday, August 13th, from 12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m.  All my older titles will be available for sale and signing as well…SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBOR, both #1 Kindle Bestsellers, and DIVINE FALL, an award-winning Young Adult novel.  If you’re on Cape Cod for the weekend, or the summer, or year-round, come by and get some new beach reads!  And signed books make both great gifts and great souvenirs of your time on the Cape.  You can find the book store on, you guessed it…Market Street…right next to Trevi Restaurant and the big fountain.  More info can be found at this link for Mashpee Commons.  If you've never visited the Commons, you're in for a treat, it's a beautiful and quaint spot right in the heart of Mashpee.

Front page of the Arts section
of the Mashpee Enterprise!
I’m thrilled that our local newspaper published an article on the new release and my writing career recently, mentioning the book signing event as well as some upcoming classes I’ll be teaching.  The article discusses the initial inspiration for this story: a ghost tour I went on with my sister in Cape Cod’s Barnstable Village, which started and ended at the Old Jail.

I’d never even heard of the Old Jail, and it’s truly a historic gem.  It’s the oldest wooden jail house in the entire country, actually, and is thought to have been built in 1690, on orders from the Plymouth and MA Bay Colony Courts.  The structure itself is quite small, containing three cells which held large numbers of people sometimes.  According to our guide, conditions were rough and people had to take turns lying down to sleep when cells were crowded.  As you can imagine, many people died, and the site is considered actively haunted. 

On our tour, we were shown photographs with shadowy figures taken by volunteers who work in the jail house.  A few of the volunteers shared their stories as well, and one claimed that a ghost had followed them home and engaged in some poltergeist-like activities.  Well, that got my attention right way, and my imagination started churning.  My sister had her little daughter with her, and I started to wonder what would happen if a young child with sensitive abilities took pity on a lost soul, and actually invited a ghost to come home with them.  The initial idea was born.

Of course, my stories also have a romantic element, and that aspect turned out perfectly suited for Cape Cod as well, since it soon became clear to me that the male main character in my story was in the military—and Joint Base Cape Cod hosts a number of branches.  There are some pretty steamy scenes as Brett, an EOD tech, reunites with the one woman he could never forget.  But can they overcome their past?

You can find the blurb to the book here and the full news article online at this link.  Hope to see you at the signing…and stay tuned, I have more big news ahead!  A teaser: I’ll be signing books with my childhood idol and the queen of suspense…Mary Higgins Clark!  Check back for more info!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Speaking at Cape Cod Writers Center Conference! #amwriting #CapeCod #Author Panel

The Cape Cod Writers Conference is “one of the oldest broad-based writer’s conferences in the country” (source), and it is returning to Hyannis for the 54th year this August.  Last year, I was unable to participate in the conference, but the President and Editor-in-Chief of my publishing house attended as one of the presenters.  Later in the week, I was able to meet with her and other local (or at least within driving distance) authors who write for The Wild Rose Press, and we had a wonderful lunch together on the Cape.

This year, three of us will be speaking as an author panel during the lunchtime discussions on the first day of the conference—Friday, August 5th—from 11:45 to 1:00 p.m.  Below is the summary of our session…I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share my experience with other writers, and I hope if you’re attending the conference, you’ll come join us for an informative chat during the lunch hour!

The Writer’s Journey: Come hear three traditionally published Cape Cod authors discuss their long, interesting, and often circuitous paths to publication and beyond. Former CCWC President Kevin Symmons, Kathryn Knight, and Katie O'Sullivan, authors of 14 successful novels in various genres, offer insights, tell stories, and answer your questions.

For more information, here is the link to the homepage of Cape Cod Writers Center: 
Cape Cod Writers Center.  And don't forget to look for the book store at the conference for offerings from Cape authors!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Busy #amwriting Summer - #Book Signings, #BFest, #NewRelease Promo, + A Shanty

Me, Katie O'Sullivan, and K.R. Conway in our Shanty!
I don’t think I can remember a time in the recent past when my life wasn’t fairly busy, but this spring and summer have been an absolute whirlwind of activities, many revolving around my new release – HAUNTED SOULS.  Any writers reading this can understand how difficult it can be to launch a new novel in the current publishing market…so to gain visibility for my new title, I tried to explore every promotional opportunity I could think of—some very much “outside the box”—and take part in every event I could fit into my schedule.  So this week’s post serves as a recap, while also hopefully serving as inspiration for others in terms of creative marketing ideas.

After brainstorming with some other local authors, three of us decided to apply to rent one of the Artist Shanties along Hyannis Harbor for a weekend in the spring.  These adorable little shanties are made available for artists, writers, photographers, and crafters to use as a little storefront for a few days.  The rent was incredibly low for such great exposure—the difficult part is making sure your shanty is open and attended each day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  With three of us for just three days, this wasn’t too difficult…but when the rentals move to full weeks in the height of summer, I imagine a renter on their own might experience a bit of exhaustion by the end of their time!  Then again, everyone is so excited to share what they’ve created, chatting with visitors, shoppers, and other crafters provides its own energy.

We hung pages of our books from the ceiling and matted quotes on the walls.

The original post about our preparations can be found here, and I’ve included pictures of the final product—our decorated shanty, which came out great and attracted lots of readers and visitors to Cape Cod.  We had so much fun just sitting around and chatting all day as well, and as three authors, we often discussed writing amongst ourselves.  This led to more networking ideas, and one of my fellow authors who was participating in the Barnes and Noble B-Fest Weekend recommended me to a B&N looking for an author to run the Sunday Teen Writing Workshop event during the B-Fest book festival.

Teaching a teen workshop
at Barnes & Noble B-fest.
Since most of my novels are meant for an over-18 reader base, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to highlight my one Young Adult novel, DIVINE FALL.  It was great fun to teach some elements from my writing classes to teen writers, and many of them took home signed copies of my YA Paranormal Romance.

On June 1st, my fourth novel HAUNTED SOULS came out, and I did a lot of the usual online promotion.  I had a fantastic Release Party on Facebook with many author friends posting as guest hosts.  Social media promotion led to another fantastic opportunity—the manager of a local bank offered to display and sell all my novels in their lobby for a week, plus host me for a signing on Friday, as part of their emphasis on community and reading over the summer.  It was another out-of-the-box promo event that worked really well, and I received a message from a teen who purchased DIVINE FALL that made my week…it included the sentence “It was one of the best books I’ve ever read”!

My books on display at a local bank!

I spoke about the
haunting and historical
inspiration for my new book
at the library event.
I spoke at a local library as well in June, as their Author of the Month, and the Assistant Librarian who introduced me told the group she’d read my first three books and had literally not been able to put them down, which was thrilling—reading is my favorite pastime, and if I can give others exciting stories to get lost in, I’ve done my job as an author.  That is the reason I write: to create engaging reads that offer entertainment and escape from life’s hectic pace.

Speaking of hectic paces, I’m gearing up for my August schedule of events, which include an interview with the local paper, a signing at our local bookstore, speaking at the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and signing books at the Cape Cod Museum of Art for the Art, Wine, and Words Fundraiser to benefit a children’s charity.  

Of course, all the promotion I do does cut into writing time, but for me, connecting with readers and the community is just as important.  Hopefully, readers visiting my blog today will consider reaching out to authors when they love a book—it means SO much to us!  And for fellow authors visiting, I hope I’ve sparked some ideas for promotion and networking--and with the exception of the very low Shanty rent (my part was $25)--all of these events cost nothing!  For more ideas, here's an older post I did on the same topic.  Happy reading and writing!