Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Local Legends Provide Inspiration for Rebecca Patrick-Howard's Mysteries

Rebecca Patrick-Howard loves ghostly mysteries just like I do. How exciting to have her on my blog today. Rebecca, talk about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop?
I’ve been published for around 13 years but it’s only been recently that I’ve seen success with my books. I began by collecting local ghost stories, legends, and folk tales from people in my community. I created a Facebook page in which folks could send me stories but, for the most part, I just got out in the community and started interviewing people. My paranormal mystery series, Taryn’s Camera, is about a woman who sees the past through her camera. She uses this to solve old murder mysteries. I use this series to combine my love of urban exploring, old houses, photography, and ghosts. The first book in the series is WINDWOOD FARM. That idea came from an exploration of an old stone farmhouse I did with my husband. The house was empty and had been neglected over the years. The downstairs was completely devoid of furnishings. When we wandered up the stairs, however, we discovered a bedroom full of belongings. It appeared that someone had simply gotten out of bed one day and walked away. That scene gnawed at me for years so I finally created a story around it.

That would intrigue me, too! I love that you visit sites that you use for your stories. What is your research process like? Do you enjoy it?
I love researching. I do a lot of hands-on researching. For GRIFFITH TAVERN I did a lot of researching on old stagecoach inns and even visited a local one. For my Haunted Estill County series I meet people in restaurants, coffeeshops, their houses, etc. to get their stories.

There is some romance in your mysteries. How do you handle spicy sex scenes and relatives? Are your family and friends supportive or do they choose not to read your books because of its sensual nature?
I am also a professional ghostwriter by trade. I have ghostwritten an erotica novel. I don’t think I could let my mother read it but my husband certainly supported me on THAT endeavor! I am a little old-fashioned with sex scenes in my own writing. I’m not a prude at all, but since I don’t write romance I try to stick with scenes that are a little chaste. It’s very difficult to continuously come up with different ways of saying someone puts tab A into slot B.

I completely understand that! What kind of response do you get when you tell people you are an author?
I mostly either get people thinking I do it as a hobby (it’s a real career for me and has been for many years) or I get people who tell me THEY could write a book if they wanted to but just haven’t had the time. Because I work from home I often encounter those who can’t believe I actually work and think I just kind of dabble with writing on the side.

I think many of us get the same reaction. I used to say I was retired, but I no longer do. I say I’ve changed careers. Do you work with a conference partner, writer’s group or other organization? Where do you get support?

I belong to a small, and exclusive, writing group. I was “voted” in. They are all fabulous people and excellent writers. We’re not all fiction writers and I think that’s helpful, too. We all come at writing from different directions.

It’s great to have that support. What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the third book in my Taryn’s Camera series. It’s called DARK HOLLOW ROAD, which is the name of an actual road here in my county. I loved it and jumped on it before my husband used it for himself. (He is a writer as well.)

I love that title! For your non-fiction book, what most inspired you about writing this book? A person or people? A place? Something else?
My nonfiction book, COPING WITH GRIEF: THE ANTI-GUIDE TO INFANT LOSS was written about dealing with the death of my youngest son, Toby. He died from SIDS in 2010. Although it started out as a memoir, I ended up interviewing many infant loss parents and including their stories as well.

I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re very courageous to share your grief to help others. What is the biggest chance you’ve taken as a writer? How did that work out?
Although most of my currently released books are paranormal, I didn’t start out writing about ghosts at all. I’ve always written straight fiction. A few years ago, I was working on a novel called FURNANCE MOUNTAIN. It’s set during the Depression and is about a little boy who writes President Roosevelt and invites him to visit his small, railroad town in Eastern Kentucky. While doing research on the time period and town that I was basing my fictional town on, I began uncovering some local ghost stories. I set them aside thinking they were interesting, and pretty soon I had dozens of them. I will eventually get back to FURNACE MOUNTAIN but, in the meantime, the ghost world has taken over a little bit!

I am in the middle of Griffith’s Tavern, and I love your premise of Taryn seeing the past through her camera. And I love a good ghost story! Thanks for visiting with me today. Wishing you all best, Rebecca.

Buy Rebecca's books at:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NaNoWriMo Update: Day 12

Little did I know what I was getting into when I jumped into the NaNoWriMo pool. On the plus side, I’m still showering and we have clean underwear. On the down side, I’ve gone through more than one “dark night of the soul.” I pondered whether or not I wanted to share this with you, but we’ve been through a lot together, so here goes.


I’m very proud of my commitment to this challenge having logged over 21,000 words so far. I have written every day but one, and that was due to meetings and a stomach flu. Most days I’ve written more than the requisite 1,667 words. What a good feeling to be ahead of the game and see on my little chart on the official NaNoWriMo site that my word count tops the straight line that is “par.”

Progress v.2

Yes, my word count is piling up, but last weekend I realized that while I had all these great scenes and was reuniting characters from The Cavanaugh House (a popular request from readers) NOTHING WAS HAPPENING. Yeah, I had a little bump in the road (you’ll get that joke when you read the opening scene) but my protagonist was not in danger. There was no risk for her. No threat. Ergo, no story. I’ve read that many NaNoWriMoers begin to hate their books—or at least drown in despair—at around day 15. As I’ve said, I’m an overachiever. I hit the wall at day eight.


If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve met my muse, Boris. I knew by Sunday night that I had to stop worrying and trust my muse. This drought had happened in previous books, I reasoned. And now it’s happening in this one. I was encouraged late last week when writing a scene and the whole story turned around because of a crazy “What if” question that I tried out. Then it all went flat again. Sunday evening Rich reminded me of Stephen King’s quote, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, kill all your little darlings.” This was after all a mystery. Where was the body? Well, I can’t just randomly kill off a character in some spurt of gratuitous violence. “Trust Boris,” I kept repeating. Monday dawned with some new ideas and a whole different direction for the book. I felt invigorated and ready to get back to work. Thank you,Boris.


I’m not trying to sound coy, but I do have a process. The first thing I do each writing day is read my previous day’s work aloud. It’s a great revision/editing tool. But with NaNoWriMo I feel like this crazed woman who runs around screeching, “I Must Write!” No time to read. The blessing of my weekend doldrums is that nothing was coming so I decided to read my rough draft. Hmmmm. This book’s not so bad after all. Kill off a couple of darlings and this could be a mystery.

How is your NaNoWriMo challenge coming along? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know I’m not alone on this crazy roller coaster ride. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Angela Smith Gave "One Last Hold" One More Chance

Like me, Angela Smith fell in love with books at a very early age when her mother read her children stories. I am so happy to welcome her to my blog because we have so much in common! Welcome, Angela. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been dreaming of stories ever since my mother read stories of 'Brer Rabbit' to me and my sister so often that we could recite it before we could even read. My mother gave me my first romance story at a very young age. I’m not sure it’d even be legal now, ha-ha! And even though I longed to write, alas, I had to have a real job. Luckily for me, I fell into the perfect job in criminal justice and later became a certified paralegal. Perfect fodder for adding suspense in my writing!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Peggy Bird Celebrates Romance with Every Holiday

Steam rises from Peggy Bird’s spicy romance novels. A fellow Crimson Romance writer, she is here today to tell us about her journey as a writer. Welcome, Peggy! Start us off with a little bit about you.
I’m the luckiest woman I know. I’ve been everything I ever wanted to be (except a ballerina. That was never in the cards, I’m afraid.) But I’ve been a nurse, worked on public policy, had a good marriage (on the second try), raised a terrific daughter and become good friends with two step-daughters, been part of a small business, headed up a non-profit, been an artist and a writer. I’ve traveled and lived in another country. Now I get to use all that experience in my writing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NaNoWriMo Here I Come!

When I first heard the term NaNoWriMo, I thought it was a strain of the flu. When I learned what it actually is, I thought it was a form of insanity. National Novel Writing Month. Write a book in a month? What? My first book took 30 years!

But the more I learned about NaNoWriMo, the more intrigued I became. It seemed that every year I was in the revision phase of a current WIP and in no frame of mind to begin a new project, so I never have joined. This year, however, I am ready. Yes, I am about to join the legions of crazy writers who stand poised at the end of October to give up every other activity in their lives (including showers so I’m told) to achieve the goal of 50,000 words by November 30th.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Maris Soule Weaves a Haunted Tale

Today I welcome fellow Michigan author and member of the MidMichigan Chapter of Romance Writers of America Maris Soule to my blog. Like me, Maris loves suspense in her stories, and today she’ll talk about a perfect tale for this time of the year. Welcome, Maris!

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Elizabeth.
Since this is the month for haunted houses and things that go bump in the night, I’d like to tell your readers about HAUNTED, a romantic suspense I recently released as an ebook. HAUNTED was originally published as a Bantam Loveswept back in 1995 under the title Dark Temptation. That was the year Loveswept’s marketing department decided to put flowers on all of the covers—not their wisest move since after the first month the similar covers started confusing readers, who wondered if they’d already bought/read the story. Although my sales for Dark Temptation were comparable to the other Loveswepts published during those “flowery” cover months, I never felt the book had a chance to reach all of the readers who might like a story that brought together an Oscar-winning, special effects hero (who might be a killer), and a heroine who needed his help even though the idea of working with him had her shaking in her boots.

I love the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the gold country area, so it seemed the perfect setting for HAUNTED. In the story, Jason McLain moves from Hollywood to the small town of Slaterville, nestled in the Sierra Nevada, to escape the media hype that follows the death of his wife. A jury may have acquitted Jason of the murder, but the question still remains: Who else but a special effects expert could have rigged the gun that went off when she opened the safe?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Inspiration for a Ghostly Tale

The Cavanaugh House is a Kindle Countdown Deal for only $.99 from Oct. 14-Oct. 21. Click to order your copy.

There’s something about a ghost, isn’t there? Whether or not you believe in ghosts, hauntings and wraithlike appearances capture everyone’s attention. I happen to be a believer. After my father’s death, my sister saw him standing at the foot of the stairs near the doorway to our kitchen. My nieces have reported that while sitting in the living room with my mother, they often heard dad’s signature “shoe drop” from the bedroom above at the time of night Dad usually retired.  A good friend saw a colleague of ours after he was killed in a tragic automobile accident. And while I’ve never seen a ghost, I have felt one.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Morgan O'Neill Travels to Medieval Italy and Finds Romance

Morgan O’Neill has done it again. Kept me up reading until way past my bedtime. Authors Deborah O’Neill Cordes and Cary Morgan Frates who write as Morgan O’Neill have just released their Italian time-travel series. Read all about it!

The Other Side of Heaven, Book One of the Italian Time Travel Series

Californian Gwendolyn Godwyn seeks to learn her family’s history and hopes to restore the bond that once existed between her Italian forebearers and those who live in America. While visiting her ancestral Italian town, Gwen is caught in a violent earthquake and inexplicably thrust through time. At first refusing to believe what has happened, she nevertheless uses her wits to survive, donning a monk’s cowl to hide her identity as a woman. Ripped apart from all she has ever known, Gwen finds herself in the midst of brutal territorial battles in an era she once blithely called “The Dark Ages.” When the golden Italian summer of 951 emerges from the strife and gloom, Gwen joins forces with a cadre of gallant men, allies in the struggle against the evil nobles, Willa of Tuscany and Count Berengar, kidnappers of Italy’s rightful queen, Adelaide. Along with Father Warinus and Lord Alberto Uzzo, Gwen seeks to rescue Adelaide and restore her kingdom. In the midst of this great adventure, Gwen falls in love with the complex and passionate Alberto, to whom she reveals her identity as a woman. But can Alberto learn to love her strong and independent nature and help Gwen in her quest to discover her rightful place in time?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mike Martin is Living the Dream

Author Mike Martin is living every author's dream--a television series based on his Sgt. Windflower series. He's joining me today to tell us about his journey. Welcome, Mike. 

Every Book Has Its Own Journey

I was told at the beginning of my fiction writing career that every book has its own journey. And that our job as writers was to give the books a good send-off, but after that they had a life of their own. That was wise advice and it has allowed me to enjoy each of the books in my series on its own merit, and to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

When I started writing the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, I had no idea that it would be a series. I was just happy to have written a book. I did not realize that once the characters came onto the pages of that first book, The Walker on the Cape, that they would have real, and not just imaginary, lives. Or that they would continue to speak to me until I started writing down their words again.

By the time I got to the second book, The Body on the T, I knew for sure that I was not the creator of the characters and I had very little control or power over their actions. I was merely the scribe, the recorder of their thoughts and ambitions and dreams. I also knew that it was going to be a series, that there was more to tell at the end of this story. Some wise writer once said that the story is never really over until the writer dies. And since that hadn’t happened, I kept going.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Leslie Garcia is Crazy for Cowboys

Today I welcome fellow teacher and Crimson Romance author Leslie GarcĂ­a. Leslie seems to have a little crush on cowboys. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve written literally since I was six. I never really wanted to do anything else. Well, except own a huge estate with at least one of every horse breed and one of every dog breed roaming the premises. Instead, I surround myself with cherished children and grandchildren and continue immersing myself in the power and beauty of words.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lola Karns Writes About the Struggle of Wounded Warriors in Bad Traveler

Lola Karns visits me today to talk about what inspires her, what challenges her and what makes her reach for a cookie. I’m so pleased to have you as my guest today, Lola. Why not start by telling us about your book, Bad Traveler. What was the first seed of an idea you had for this book? How did it develop?

Three unrelated factors collided in my brain and provided inspiration for Bad Traveler.
A. There is nothing fun about flying cross country with an infant. I have been the screaming baby section and run through airports with car seats precariously dangling from the stroller. I have pretended turbulence is “super-fun bouncy ride in the sky” even though I’m more scared than the kids.
B. Living near the home of Seal Team 6, I grew more aware of issues facing veterans as they returned home from war. A series of reports in the Virginian-Pilot piqued my curiosity.
C. The bakery near me closed. I decided to invent one because it’s easier than opening a real one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Look at Kathi Daley's Cozy Mysteries

What a fun day on my blog!  Cozy mystery author Kathi Daley is giving away two prizes: a copy of Haunted Hamlet and a Haunted Hamlet mug. Leave a comment on my blog to enter the contest to win either the book or the mug. This contest will run from today through Friday, Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.

Kathi, I am so pleased to have you as my guest today. Tell us about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your books? How did each develop?
The first book I published was Halloween Hijinks in September of 2013. It started as a whim. I was on Facebook and I got this idea to share my page with my dog. I wrote the following intro:

My name is Zoe Donovan. I’m a third-generation Ashtonite (our unofficial name for the citizens of Ashton Falls). The by-product of my wealthy mother’s single act of teenage rebellion, and my locally beloved but financially lacking, blue-collar father’s tender act of love, I’ve overcome my scandalous entry into the world and carved out a satisfying and peaceful existence.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Can Loglines and Beat Sheets Convert This Pantser?

At long last I am reading Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting that You’ll Ever Need.  Though it’s written for screenwriters, many author friends have recommended it as a resource for how to write novels. I haven’t finished it yet, but I have already found many pearls.

Snyder (1957-2009) describes a logline (also called a one-line) as a one-sentence description of your screenplay. As authors, we often hear of an “elevator pitch” which means if you were on an elevator and the publisher/agent of yours dreams was riding with you to the next floor, how would you pitch your novel? Quick—the elevator doors are closing—what is your “literary logline”? I am going to use these terms interchangeably since I am discussing novels, not screenplays…yet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Becky Lower Marries Romance to History Time After Time

I am so pleased to welcome my “Bundle-Buddy” Becky Lower today. Becky’s first book in the Cotillion Ball Series, The Reluctant Debutante, is bundle with Love’s Destiny in Time After Time. I love the way Becky weaves historical figures and incidents into her romances. Welcome, Becky. Talk about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your books? How did each develop?
The Reluctant Debutante came about during one of my writing group meetings. I love reading Regencies, but didn’t want to get into English royalty and the dictates they had to put up with. One of the men in the group (surprise, surprise) mentioned that England didn’t have the corner on debutante balls. So, I started researching when the tradition arrived on our shores, which happened to be 1854. It turned out the decade before the Civil War was chock full of great events. The Reluctant Debutante is the first book in my series, and takes place in 1855, when Amelia Bloomer was causing trouble in New York City, and railroads were expanding into the West. The sixth book, The Duplicitous Debutante, is set in New York in 1859, and features another sibling in the large Fitzpatrick family.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Terri Herman-Ponce Talks About Her Past Life Series

My friend Terri Herman-Ponce hit several high-interest areas for me in her novel In This Life: ancient Egypt, past lives, psychology, and of course, romance. I am so happy to welcome you today, Terri. Talk about the books you’ve written.
I write the Past Life Series, which is about deadly do-overs and resurrected revenge. Love, lust, and murder wrapped up in a paranormal without the usual suspects. Here’s a short blurb:

When psychologist Lottie Morgan meets Galen, their encounter is as intense as it is eye opening. Something about him is familiar. His looks. His words. His touch…

Lottie can’t resist the urge to know more about him, or the smoldering memories that surface every time he’s near. Only Galen’s keeping a dangerous secret, one linked to a life shared thousands of years ago. One that could destroy the relationship Lottie has with her current lover David.
As Lottie and David discover connections between their ancient lives and their present one and search for answers others would kill to keep buried, they unearth a link to a past neither one is prepared to face. One filled with mystery where powerful passions ignite and deadly deceptions begin.
One reviewer in particular summed it up best: “This series is going to be really good.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Deborah O'Neill Cordes Looks to the Past to Write About the Future

Today I welcome my good friend and one of my favorite authors, Deborah O’Neill Cordes. Deborah’s book, Dragon Dawn will be a Kindle Countdown Deal—only 99 cents (99 pence in the UK)—from Aug. 16- Aug 22. Today Deborah talks about how genealogy has inspired her writing. 

It's All Relative, Mr. Pitt
 by Deborah O'Neill Cordes

Genealogy is one of my passions. It's a fascinating avocation for me, but it does have a down side, in that at times it's become positively addictive. As a novelist with multiple works-in-progress, I've had to cut down the time I spend researching the family tree. And yet, I don't believe I've frittered away the hours digging into past lives, because the information has provided the framework for several of my plots. If I hadn't done genealogy, I wouldn't have found some amazing and little known stories to weave into my novels.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Teresa Blue's Man of Her Dreams - A Dream of a Deal!

My friend Teresa Blue has a deal for you! Her romance, Man of Her Dreams, is a Kindle Countdown Deal for 99 cents for a few days only! Go to Amazon to order your copy right now! Well, after you finish reading this post and leaving a comment, anyway.

I’m so happy to be here musing with Elizabeth, a fellow Crimson Sister and also a chapter mate of MidMichigan RWA. We experienced our first sales and book signing together at an RWA weekend retreat in 2012. My how time flies!

So good to have you as my guest today, Teresa! We had a great time at that writers’ retreat. Why not tell a little about yourself.
I grew up in a very small community when the biggest thing to do was to go swimming off the train bridge. Seriously. We dove head first into the muddy St. Joe river and swam for hours.
Later, my friend and I would get our suntans while reading romance comic books. Years later, I joined the DoubleDay Book Club and anxiously waited for the hardcover books to arrive each month in the mail. Continuing sagas from authors such as Rebecca Brandewyne, Laurie McBain, and Johanna Lindsey. I didn’t want the stories to end and so I started adding to it for my own enjoyment.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Great Review of The Cavanaugh House!

The Cavanaugh House is featured at today. Join me over there and see why I'm smiling

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Emma Barron's The Glass Orchid is a Regency Delight

Emma Barron is a fellow Crimson Romance author whose historical romance, The Glass Orchid, is included in the Time After Time bundle with Love’s Destiny.  Emma, I am so pleased to be “bundled” with you. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve had several careers in my life: student (yes, I made it into a career), ecologist, lawyer—but romance novelist has been by far my favorite. I currently live in Upstate New York with my husband, young daughter, and two large and impressively boisterous dogs.

Hey, I’m originally from upstate New York—a beautiful state, isn’t it? Talk about the book(s) you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop? The Glass Orchid explores what happens at the intersection of love and the Regency’s strict social constraints. I wanted to examine how the characters would navigate issues of love, freedom, independence, and individual choice during a time when those things weren’t necessarily valued.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Cavanaugh House is a Kindle Countdown Deal!

For a limited time, The Cavanaugh House will be available for 99 cents on Amazon. Part of Amazon's Kindle Countdown Deals, this sale will last through July 28, so order your copy today at



his house held secrets.  Secrets that wafted through rotting window sashes on the winter wind.  Secrets that spiders wove into webs anchored between the ceiling and walls. Secrets that scuttled on the feet of cockroaches across stained kitchen linoleum and scurried into its cracks. Secrets that peered from holes in the baseboard from glinting mouse eyes. This house held the secrets close to its bosom where they had slept for decades. No one had disturbed these secrets in all the years the house sat decaying from neglect. There was no reason to, and there was no desire.

June 1968
This might be the biggest mistake I’ve made yet, thought Jesse Graham.
She climbed out of her three-year-old yellow 1965 Volkswagen Beetle and waded through tall grass and weeds that scratched at her sandal-clad feet. Looming before her, the two-story house—her house—hovered, insinuating more height than it could actually claim. Wrapped in chipped and peeling greenish-yellow paint, the house looked weary, and the once-red front door had faded to a dull russet. The roof sagged, and the tiny porch appeared to be giving up the fight to support the small roof above it. She stared at the house, and the windows stared back, blank. Above the front door, two windows mirrored her dismay as the wood trim above them bowed down. In her twenty-eight years, she had never seen a sadder looking house.
“Oh my God, what have I done?” she breathed...


Mustering her courage, she pulled the fabric off the sofa. She shrieked as a flurry of grey shapes scattered in all directions—one straight toward her. She panicked as paws scurried across her sandaled foot. Mice! Goosebumps prickled her skin and adrenalin shot though her body. Heart pounding, she ran out the front door, off the porch and bolted to her car. Her knees gave out and she collapsed, trembling.
“Are you okay?”
Grabbing the door handle, she pulled herself up and looked around for the voice’s owner.
“I’m over here,” he said.
She looked toward the road and saw a blue pickup truck at the end of the driveway. Leaning out the driver’s-side window was a man about her age, with tousled red hair. Humor lit up his mouth and softened his strong jawline and rugged face.
“Are you okay?” he repeated as he climbed out of his truck and started toward her.
Jesse brushed herself off and ran her fingers through her hair.
“Oh, yes, I’m fine,” she said.
She saw his hazel eyes twinkle with amusement.
“I can see that. In a hurry to get somewhere? I noticed your quick exit.”
She looked at her watch and gasped.  It was after 2 p.m. If she were going to get any utilities started, she needed to get to town.
“I need to get my utilities started.”
Oh, that sounded intelligent. She was a little off balance, and not just because of the mice encounter; this man’s gaze was warm and unsettling. He chuckled.
“Well, I would never want to keep a woman from that.”
“What I mean is…”
He held out his hand.
“Joe Riley.”