Friday, June 28, 2013

Gift Card Contest Winners

The bad news is that I didn't get three people who followed all the rules.

Some people liked my Facebook fan page but did not comment on the blog post. Some people commented on the blog post but did not like my Facebook fan page. :-(

Whatever. I'm flexible. I'll lower the bar.

Since Natasha Vahora, Erik Crawford, and Mary L. Ball all left comments on the blog post about the contest, they win the prizes. To receive the prizes, Natasha, Erik, and Mary should go to the contact box at my website contest page at:

Please type in your name and email (nobody will see that except me) and remember to put

$10 Amazon Gift Card

in the comment box, I will send the prize via the email address. You will need an Amazon account to collect your gift card.

I have another contest ending next week, if anyone wants to enter that, just use that same contact box but write

The Company You Keep

in the comment box. Easy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Katie O'Sullivan Interviewed Me!

This is Katie.

She was my guest at the end of May because she has a wonderful new book available. You can read that post again right here.

But today I am a guest at Katie's blog. She interviewed me and now you can learn all sorts of fascinating little tidbits about my life--like how I traumatized my children for life and the one superpower I wish I had.

Just click below:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Celebrating the Release of DADDY WANTED with a Contest

I am thrilled! Tomorrow, June 19th, is a big day. Daddy Wanted will be released. If you would like to know more about this sweet romance you can read a review at Romance Junkies' website: The digital edition will be only $2.99! You can buy it at the Prism Book Group page tomorrow. Click HERE.

I can't share champagne with everyone but I can offer a contest, which is always fun--especially if you win. So I'm giving away three $10 Amazon Gift Cards. To enter the contest, you simply have to do two things:

1: LIKE my Facebook fan page at:

2: Add a comment to this post.

The contest ends at midnight on Thursday, June 27th.

Winners will be announced on Friday, June 28th, here and on my fan page.

Just think of the things you can do with $10 on Amazon!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hawaiian Decor, Polish Food

I snitched this photo from Daughter #1 because I think it's funny--obviously Daughter #1 thought it was funny, too.

Saturday we held hubby's big birthday party. I hosed away the grime on the back porch. Daughters #1 and #3 were the decorating committee. The food was catered. We had pierogis, stuffed cabbage, kielbasi and sauerkraut (kapusta). Green beans, pasta primavera, salad, rolls, and chicken marsala were also on the menu--along with a huge birthday cake. (The diet starts today.)

Everyone seemed to enjoy the party. Hubby loved being the center of attention.

I spent Sunday being exhausted and putting away all the stuff we took out for the party. (Daughters #1 and #3 helped--along with Daughter #3's hunny.)

Fortunately, I had sent off the completed edits for Daddy Wanted on Friday night. That had been a good day for writing since we had 4 1/2 inches of rain.

Yesterday, hubby and I accompanied my father and his friend on a bus trip to Atlantic City. I am not a gambler. (Although, writing books is rather like gambling, I suppose.) But Dad's friend wanted to go to Atlantic City and none of her other friends would go with her. Dad felt sorry for her and signed up for the ride--which meant I signed up, too. (Would you allow your 91 year-old father who is deaf and uses a Rollator to get around go traveling without you?) Hubby thought it would be nice to walk along the boardwalk in the sunshine, so he opted to join us.

It turned out to be a very rainy day. There was one break in the clouds for a while and we ventured out of the casino. I took some photos of gulls and enjoyed looking at the ocean for a while, but the rain returned.

We tried several slot machines. I didn't know how to work the machines, but after asking a few questions I got the hang of it. Neither Dad nor his friend could do it by themselves. Dad didn't really care. He is not a gambler either and neither is hubby. (The slot machines are not designed for elderly people with aging eyes, poor eye/hand coordination and no computer skills.)

Maybe if we had won a significant amount of money, it would be different and we would be hooked. But I won about $8. The bus fare was $22. My lunch was about $6.

To be sure, that was not an expensive adventure. However, the casino part was the part I did not enjoy. Pushing the button on the slot machine gets old fast. There's no skill involved. (Writing takes a lot more skill.)

Aside from meeting the gulls, I enjoyed the bus ride because I could read. I read a book of Polish Fairy tales--lots of magic in each one of them. The hero has to go through three impossible trials which he could not complete without magical help. He always gets a princess in the end.

I guess getting the princess is the old world equivalent of winning a million bucks. Pierogis, stuffed cabbage, kielbasi and kapusta are never mentioned--though there's a lot of feasting once the prince is married.

Now I have to do the edits for The Pirate's Wraith. I will have TWO, new books up for sale this year--one a sweet, contemporary and the other a time travel. To me, that's better than hitting the jackpot.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Fine Tuning

The manuscript for Daddy Wanted is going through fine tuning. I got it back this week for a final look. There were still a few things that needed to be worked out. Is it knock off or knockoff? Do I use asterisks or a double-double space for a scene change? And what else can you call an Android phone besides an Android phone? Touchscreen smartphone?

These are minor fixes. I should be done by tonight or maybe tomorrow morning.

However, less than twenty-four hours after the final galley for Daddy Wanted arrived in my inbox, the edits for The Pirate's Wraith showed up. Aaargh!

Daughter #1 congratulated me.

But I'm feeling a bit stressed. :-(

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

My First Featured Author Speech

In June of 2001, I was the featured author at the New Jersey Romance Writers' meeting. My first book, Sea Of Hope, had been published and I was granted my first five minutes of fame. Below is the text of that speech.

It took me twelve years from the time I joined NJRW to get the "call" or in my case the email. I believe one of the reasons it took me so long was because I started out writing in what was the wrong subgenre for me, romantic suspense.

Now one would think that I would inherently know it was wrong for me, but I didn't. My favorite book has always been Jane Eyre, along with anything by Grace Livingston Hill. I also enjoy Gothics and other mildly spooky stories. However, at the time I started getting serious about my writing, romantic suspense had become extremely popular.

But when I entered contests, I never did very well with my entries. So I finally switched over to paranormal romances. I had fun writing, I did much better in contests, and I finally got an agent. But at that point, the market for paranormal was very tight. It was my agent who suggested I try something else.

I do believe in miracles which is why it is surprising that it took me so long to write an inspirational romance. I'm a Catholic and I love my religion. I even considered becoming a nun, though that didn't last long once I got to high school and discovered pretty dresses, makeup, and young men.

I did some serious praying before I decided on inspirational romance. After all, I am not a theologian, and an inspirational has to have a lot more in it than just a lack of sexual activity. Nevertheless, I put my trust in God, said lots of prayers, and dove into Sea Of Hope.

I had a great time writing it. I love the sea. I grew up in Cliffwood Beach and looked out at Raritan Bay every day of my young life. So the idea of writing a story about fishermen always intrigued me, especially for a faith-based novel, because out on the water a tiny boat is truly in God's hands. Quick and deadly disasters occur on the water all the time, making fishing one of the most dangerous occupations.

I set Sea Of Hope in the fictional town of Port Harbor. While I know some commercial fishermen, I had no intention of spending a few weeks on a fishing boat to do research. Instead, I did a lot of reading.

As usual for me, I entered a few contests, hoping to get some useful feedback.

Then my agent died and when another agent took over her clients, she claimed she could not find my manuscript. When I told her that wasn't a problem because I could send her another copy, she told me she didn't want my book anyhow.

That was a rather cruel blow, but I took it in stride. I believe God endows writers with a particular kind of pigheadedness because otherwise they would never become authors.

One day I received a big brown envelope in the mail and assumed I had lost one of the contests I had entered. I carelessly ripped open the envelope and a glass medallion fell out onto the floor. Miraculously, it did not break. I found out I was the first place winner in the inspirational category of the Laurie contest. Obviously, I had done well writing my first inspirational.

I now had a winning manuscript but no agent. While an agent doesn't guarantee a book will be published, it will be looked at in a more timely manner. I sent the manuscript out to another agent who did not want it. I sent the manuscript to two publishing houses and waited for eons before discovering they didn't want it either.

I had not stopped praying. I kept up with, what I am sure, were very annoying petitions and it became evident to me that somebody was actually listening.

When several NJRW members were epublished, I decided to try that route. It did seem unusual that one of the few epublishers at that time accepting submissions was Awe-Struck--and that the only submissions they wanted to see were inspirational romances.

There are those who would think of that as a coincidence. I saw it as a miracle, especially when the editor at Awe-Struck emailed me after a month and said she loved the book and wanted to publish it.

Sea Of Hope is the story of two people whose lives have not gone along according to their plans. Doria, the heroine, is a prodigal daughter who has come home expecting to collect an inheritance, but instead finds that her father left his fishing trawler, which is all he had, to someone else.

That someone else is Murray, a doctor. Doria, desperate for cash, joins the crew on her father's old trawler where Murray is now the captain. It is not until they are far out from land that she learns about the murder Murray allegedly committed.

Doria and Murray begin to understand about trust on that boat under trying conditions. But it is not until they both put their faith in God, that their lives begin to turn around for the better.

I believe I had some heavenly help with the book because everything fell into place so easily. Even when it came time to get the cover done, by a fortunate set of circumstances, my daughter, a marine scientist, just happened to get a job at the Rutgers research station in Tuckerton for the summer. So when I needed photos depicting typical fishermen's gear all I had to do was ask my daughter to take a few snapshots of her crew. Then I emailed the pictures to the artist and he used the photos for his reference.

I believe in miracles. I enjoyed writing about the miracle of two people's hearts turning not only to each other but to God as well. I pray that for those who read it, Sea Of Hope will deepen their own faith and help them to see the miracles in their own lives.

Buy Sea Of Hope at Amazon