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Wednesday, April 14, 2021


Selling books is not easy. Whenever another author in the writing community claims to have found a foolproof way to make sure their books get noticed and sell, I listen. Way back, in the early days of the internet, published authors advised unpublished authors to set up a website before getting published. So, I fearlessly learned HTML and set up a site on Geocities--because it was free.

Fortunately, a publisher was willing to send my books out into the world and soon I had lots of news to put on my website--things like contest wins and glowing reviews. But every other author did the same thing. Getting noticed, even with award-winning books is difficult.

Along came Blogger. I signed up and started posting regularly. I "met" other bloggers. They commented on my blog and I commented on theirs. It was quite nice, but I didn't sell any books due to my blogging.

Next came Facebook. A friend of mine encouraged me to join the new social media site, so I did.   I found lots of other authors on Facebook. I found friends from the past who I hadn't seen in ages. I enjoyed seeing what everyone was doing. But I didn't sell many books through Facebook. 

Some authors started making book videos. This was a good way to showcase your books, they said. So I made book videos and uploaded them to YouTube. I did not sell any more books than usual. 

LinkedIn showed promise, so I set up a page there.

Twitter came along and I signed up for that as well. I could post my book videos there. I could post my glowing reviews and contest wins. I could help my author friends by posting about their books.

Triberr was introduced. What a marvel! I could post on my blog and my tribemates would repost my post on Twitter. Spreading the news became easier. 

Pinterest became a terrific place to wander in and get lost. 

Then came Instagram. Beautiful photos, tons of hashtags. But I signed up for that, too.

I was getting a bit weary of all this social media stuff. Tons of new social media sites blossomed on the Internet and I ignored them. 

Until TikTok came along. One of my daughters showed me some of the funny videos on TikTok, but I didn't think much more about it. Then, out of the blue, the New York Times posted an article about TikTok (
Suddenly, authors began touting their success on TikTok.

So I joined TikTok. I am watching what the other authors do. I have not bought a crown--yet, but I might. Have I become an overnight best selling author? No. But TikTok is entertaining. 

So far, the best way I've found to sell books is to buy an ad on any of a number of book promotion sites. You can read about that here:

I enjoy writing, but marketing is not easy. If TikTok works, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Guest Post: A MEASURE OF MADNESS by Kim McMahill

Today my guest is author Kim McMahill. She grew up in Wyoming which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. While she started out writing non-fiction, her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense and adventure fiction. Along with writing novels Kim has published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel story anthology. She has had the opportunity to live in Hawaii, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa, and Colorado, but has finally returned home to Wyoming. When not writing she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, puzzles, playing games, and spending time with family

     I would like to thank Penelope for hosting me on her blog and allowing me the opportunity to share a bit about myself and my work. I’ve been writing for about twenty years which has taken me on an evolving journey from non-fiction, to stand-alone novels, to short stories, to my current project, a romantic suspense series. I am often asked how I came up with an idea that I thought could sustain multiple books. Well, the idea emerged as I started getting to an age when keeping fit and healthy started taking a little more effort and a lot more research. 

     Nearly every woman I know, myself included, educates herself about nutrition, exercise, fitness, diets, etc. in order to live a healthier life, manage a medical issue, or to lose weight. I’ve found there is so much information out there that it is difficult to sort out fact from fiction. The diet and nutrition industries are worth billions, which makes it even more challenging to ascertain who or what to trust. With so much on the line for something that impacts nearly everyone, there is no doubt corruption and crime infiltrate the industry making it perfect fodder for a crime series. 

     So, about six years ago I came up with an idea that I thought would make an awesome romantic suspense series. I’ve named it the Risky Research Series. The series starts with, A Dose of Danger, which deals with a potential miracle diet pill. Book 2, A Taste of Tragedy, revolves around a deadly sweetener, and book 3, A Foundation of Fear, explores the role of lobbyists and politics in the industry. The latest novel in the series, A Measure of Madness, releases on April 9, 2021. There are also two short-story prequels available for free download, A Formidable Foe and Midnight in Montana. Here’s a bit more on the latest novel, A Measure of Madness
     The FBI locates the mastermind behind Coterie, but attempts to bring him in result in a shootout that sends Coterie’s members scrambling for cover. When Devyn’s partner is left fighting for his life in a Puerto Rican hospital, she becomes more determined than ever to bring them to justice.
     Devyn’s decision to ignore her orders and pursue the head of Coterie to Brazil puts her job and her relationship with Sheriff Gage Harris in jeopardy, but she is unwilling to allow those responsible for so much death to live out their lives in paradise.


“Where are you?”

“You probably don’t want to know.”

“Devyn, where are you?”

Devyn took a deep breath. She hoped he wouldn’t be too angry. When she left Puerto Rico, she didn’t see any other option. Now, she was so tired she wasn’t sure what to think.

“Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

“What? Alone? Does your boss know?”

“You heard correctly. Yes, alone and yes, Conroy knows. He wants me on the next plane out of here, and I’m considering it.”

“What do you hope to accomplish?”

“I don’t know. I just couldn’t let Coterie get away with everything they’ve done. Conroy has a friend in the CIA who has a contact here. The best they can do is keep an eye on the group and arrest them up if they screw up or if they overstay their visa. That’s not good enough.”

“You have no jurisdiction.”

“I’m aware of that. I’m pretty certain I know where the head of Coterie is at this moment along with his right-hand man, but there’s not a lot I can do about it. The other little development is that Sofia decided to run, and J.R. is not happy. I may be delusional from lack of sleep, but I kind of had this thought that maybe if I could get to her first, I could convince her to come back to the states and cooperate. If J.R. never followed her back he’d still be free, but he seems pretty obsessed with her, so I’m betting he’d take the bait, and we could lure him to return to the states.”

“You need sleep. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“I know, but without a gun or any authority to arrest anyone, I haven’t come up with a better plan.”

“Get some sleep and call me in the morning when you’re thinking clearer. Don’t risk your life or career for this demented group. I don’t want to lose you.”

Devyn felt like crying. She wasn’t generally emotional. Maybe she was just too tired to have this conversation.

“I’m sorry, Gage. Please stick with me a little longer. This has to end one way or another, and soon. Coterie seems to be imploding. I may not get another opportunity to get to as many as I can while they are in disarray. If we do nothing they may regroup and the killing will continue.”

“I do understand, but sometimes we just have to concede defeat and move on. I’m with Conroy all the way on this, but I’ll not turn my back on you whatever you decide. I love you too much.”

“I love you too,” Devyn whispered as she disconnected the call.


To learn more about the Risky Research Series or to Download your copy of any of Kim’s novels, visit:


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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Favorite Book on Fiction Writing

I own many books about writing, but one of my favorites, which I discovered early on in my journey to becoming an author, is Guide to Fiction Writing, by Phyllis A. Whitney. I enjoyed reading Ms. Whitney's novels, so when I found this book I was thrilled. I highlighted something on nearly every page. 

It's a sensible, practical guide to fiction writing. I always had plenty of ideas for books from the time I was young, but getting everything into sensible, coherent order seemed overwhelming. 

But, step-by-step as I followed Ms. Whitney's suggestions I eventually I got the hang of writing novels. I still have some unpublished manuscripts, which need tons of work, but I continue to find ideas for more novels. 

How about you? Do you have a favorite book about writing? 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Hope Springs Eternal

 Hope Springs Eternal

Alexander Pope wrote that in 1732, but he certainly got it right. We are always hoping and what better time to hope than spring when the flowers begin to blossom and the snow is gone. In the photo, you see my beautiful Lenten Rose. I love it!

We had too much snow in NJ this winter--at least, I thought so. I used to love snowstorms when I was teaching because invariably--if the snow was bad enough--I got a day off. I didn't mind shoveling snow when I was younger. Now, it's a bit more difficult with my aging bones. In December, when we had our first snow this winter, our driveway wound up with two inches of solid ice on it. I got out the ice chopping tool and was going along quite well until hubby and I directed out energies to the end of the driveway. I chopped up a bunch of ice, put the shovel underneath it, and  slipped. I sprained my wrist. I could have broken it or any other part of me, so I was lucky. But it has since made me very wary of ice and snow. 

I didn't do as much writing as usual in this pandemic year. I went through one edit of Home Somewhere. A Rush of Light still needs a cover, but other matters have become more pressing--like getting a vaccination against COVID-19. I've gotten one shot, now I need one more, but it's progress.

Fortunately, the New Jersey Romance Writers held their annual JeRoWriMo challenge in February. For the challenge, authors make an attempt to write 30,000 words in the month. I've done it before and with the cheering squad at NJRW, I did it again.  Of course, what I wrote was a very rough draft, so now I am fixing it but it was great to start something new. 

John Heywood said in 1546, "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good." As far as St. Leo's Prayer Shawl Ministry goes, the pandemic ramped up production to levels I never expected. When women who crochet are forced to curtail their social activities, they simply buy more yarn. Our small prayer shawl ministry supplied blankets to one nursing home and is now supplying another. We gave away shawls to Memorial Sloan Kettering's nearby outpatient facility. We also made preemie hats and blankets for three local hospitals. I had a great time trying out new patterns and seeing what I could do with all the scraps of yarn I have.  

I look forward to going to meetings in person again. I look forward to big family dinners. I look forward to hugs. I look forward to traveling.

How about you? 

Oh, and don't forget to check out my website at where you can see all my books. 

Take care! 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Guest Post: TEMPERED TRUTH by Pamela S. Thibordeaux

Today my guest is award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux. She is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of the Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!

Pamela's latest release is Tempered Truth. Here's a quick blurb.

Fate declared them neighbors. Scandal insisted they were brothers.The fact that they looked enough alike to be twins only added fuel to the rumors flying about their parentage. For fifty-plus years Craig Harris and Scott Hensley have enjoyed a bond nothing can sever. Not the insinuations that they share the same father. Not the years of strife and grief and heartache. Not even death. Will the truth set them free or will it destroy the friendship that has lasted a lifetime?

Now for the excerpt! 

 February 28th, 2005

Craig settled in for the seven-plus hour drive to Scott’s home in Lafayette, Louisiana. His daughter-in-law sat in the back seat so she could take care of his granddaughter should she awaken. Her continued weeping unnerved him. “Lex, please, you’ve got to get a hold of yourself.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do if he dies, Craig. I don’t think I can handle it. He’s my father. I’ve already lost one father; I’m not ready to lose Scott too. Oh, God, I can’t believe this is happening!”

“We don’t yet know how he’s doing. Trina said he’s stable. Whatever the situation, what he and Trina, need from you now is your strength and your faith. Besides, being this upset is not good for you, especially in your condition. Nor is it good for Tamera Joy.”

She sniffled. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

He glanced in the rearview mirror and smiled as she rubbed her gently rounded abdomen, then returned his gaze to the road. “No need to apologize. Let’s focus on the positive here.” Easier said than done but I hope she can get it together. Neither my heart, nor my nerves, can take much more of her crying.

Craig swallowed the bitter bile of fear in his throat. Hard to believe barely two months ago Scott sat at his kitchen table toasting the holidays, the upcoming New Year, and their joy over their second grandchild. Now he clung to life in a hospital room.




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Thursday, March 11, 2021

What Are Your Favorite Apps?

 Last week my cellphone lost its mind. I know it doesn't really have a mind, but there were days when it seemed it did. Like the day I could see the Verrazano Bridge but I had no idea how to get to it since I was caught in a maze of one-way streets. My cellphone guided me directly to the bridge with its calm, robotic voice. I was ever so grateful.

But over the past year, my phone kept insisting it didn't have enough memory. I deleted many of my beloved apps, but it continued to complain. Then last week, after more than three years of faithful service, it kept spitting out error messages. I could get on Facebook, but not Google. I could not send or receive text messages. It was very distressing. 

I went to the store and bought a new cellphone--an Android, because I am frugal and a klutz. So, if I step into the bay one day and the phone falls in the water, I won't be too heartbroken.

The new cellphone is great and has lots of memory. It came with a whole ton of games I will never use. I deleted all of them. I have no idea why the phone came with so much junk, but at least I was able to get rid of it. 

The best thing is that I was able to return to all my beloved apps that I had to delete from the old phone. I have Pandora once again, which is absolutely perfect to help me dust. I hate dusting, but I can do it with my favorite music urging me on. I had all my favorite station on Pandora--music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I loved country from the 80s, Catholic hymns from the St. Louis Jesuits, Cat Stevens, Mozart, Beethoven, and a whole lot more.

I have Flickr, where I can look at fantastic photos. I have Pinterest, where I can find crochet patterns, recipes, and historical details for my historical characters. 

Of course, I have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But I also have NPR, which is absolutely the best place for news as well as our local newspaper, the Asbury Park Press. 

I also have the Kindle app on my phone, but I don't have any games. 

Maybe you do. What are your favorite apps? 

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Would You Like To Be A Bird?

 Hubby and I often sit and look at the bay. It's a convenient place to get some fresh air. It's a calming atmosphere, too. My mother always said it was due to the negative ions, but I don't doubt the repetitive movement of the waves and the sounds lead to a measure of serenity as well.

One day, as we sat there watching the birds, hubby said he thought it would be great to fly as the birds do. Well, I think it might be nice to fly, but not as a bird. Birds can't read or write. The creativity of a gull is focused on food. They drop clams onto the blacktop in parking lots in order to eat the clams. I know some people like raw clams, but I don't. 

Birds don't draw, paint, or sew. Some birds don't even build nests. 

I like birds. There are many different kinds and they all have different calls, which I love to hear.  But I would rather be human. We can't fly, but we can do so much more.