Sunday, December 26, 2010

Meet and Greet

This week I'm hosting four of my friends and fellow authors on my blog.  Each will share some insights into their success as published authors and their writing process.  I think many hopeful writers believe there is a secret formula to success and becoming a published author.  Those of us in the field know persistence and hard work are the only two things all published authors have in common.  After that the process of completing a novel and finding a home for it in the publishing world varies for everyone.  Still, there is no harm in learning how others do it.  One little hint could make the difference in your own writing.
As a reader, I love learning how my favorite writers get the words on to the paper.  It fascinates me endlessly, especially their little quirks.  I also like seeing the person behind the writer. 
The four authors I will be interviewing also have another thing in common.  Their books are available for purchase on your new eReaders.  I hope you received one for Christmas like I did.  Please visit everyday and I promise you'll find something for you.
On Monday, December 27th, welcome Cate Masters.  She's a member of The Susquehanna Writers and has her own busy blog.  I'm so happy she could find time to join me.
On Tuesday, December 28th, welcome Natalie Damschroder.  She has a new release and a big book coming out in April.
On Wednesday, December 29th, meet Megan Hart and hear about her upcoming release, Precious and Fragile Things, a chilling suspense novel you'll be still thinking about long after you're finished reading it.
Thursday, December 30th, welcome fantasy novelist, Jon Sprunk, also a member of The Susquehanna Writers.  Jon will tell us about the first book in his fantasy series, already released, the upcoming second book. 
Please stop by and read their interviews where you'll find them as clever in person as their characters are in their novels. 
Do you like meeting authors personally?  Did you get or give an eReader for Christmas?  What books have you bought?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gemmell Nomination

Hey folks,

Just wanted to share that Shadow's Son has been nominated for the prestigious David Gemmell Award in the Morningstar and Legend categories. Here is a link.

Voting begins, I believe, on Dec. 26.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pardon our construction

In an attempt to evoke the lush central Pennsylvania region, we've been searching for a new look.

I hope you like the latest, and hopefully last, at least for awhile. It's cleaner and easier to read.

Susan Gourley/Kelley posted an interesting discussion on her blog about whether authors needed both a blog and a web site. I wonder the same thing. What are your thoughts? If an author makes his/her blog look professional, does it impact your impression if that author has no web site, but only a blog?

Susan did such a wonderful job redesigning her blog, don't you think? It made me want to redesign mine too, so I did. Now mine looks much cleaner. I'm considering doing away with my web site, which now seems redundant.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Is a web site necessary for an author, or will a blog suffice?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday sale!

To celebrate the holidays, Wild Child Publishing / Freya's Bower will discount your order of $8.00 or more by 25 percent! At checkout, just add the coupon code: Happy Holidays

You can find several of my titles with both publishers. Wild Child Publishing released Liberation via Pen, which reviewers called: "a great story. Cate Masters does an exceptional job working out her plot."

This summer, Freya's Bower released my historical romance, Angels, Sinners and Madmen. Set in 1850s Key West during the heydey of the wreckers, it's a unique adventure you won't soon forget.

Also with Freya's, Wilderness Girl is a humorous erotic romance novella. It's a 2011 EPIC finalist too! Reviewers have said: "Wilderness Girl is an adorable contemporary romance with a really cute beginning that will make you laugh out loud! This storyline was a nice change of pace from what I've been reading lately and it was quite enjoyable. Hank and Dana had quite a bit of fun, which made it fun for me. This is my first book by Cate Masters, but it won't be my last. I look forward to reading more from her and I'm thinking you'll feel the same way too!" and "I loved this story for one main reason- it's why I love romances. The story was so fun. It was also filled with hot and steamy sex scenes, and the figuring out how this relationship will work stuff. I always think I like longer books, but the length on this one was just right. Enough to read in one sitting, but filled with everything I needed or wanted to know. Ms. Masters can write a story filled with all the ingredients for a good erotic, romance in my book."

Lastly, The Lure of the Vine is also available through Freya's. Reviewers have said: "Do you like a little mythology in your books? Then here is a good one for you. A nice SPICY read that is titillating, sexy and an ending that makes the journey worth the trip :) What a wonderful little read that is not the typical Harry met Sally, I enjoyed the drama, the lust and the issues right until the bitter end. This is not the first book of Ms Masters that I have been fortunate enough to read and let me just say that it won't be the last :)" and "This is an interesting and creepy tale. Dion and his Maenads will give you the chills right from the beginning of the story. The author does a good job of turning a Greek god into a successful businessman looking for love."

Happy shopping!

Monday, November 29, 2010

December Events

Hey folks,

I've got a couple of local book signings next month:

* Dec 11 (5pm) -- Borders Books in Camp Hill, PA.
* Dec. 15 (5:30pm) -- Borders Books on Allentown Blvd. (Harrisburg, PA)

Come by, and bring your literate friends. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Writer of Influence

Writers—whether we admit it or not—are influenced by those who precede them.

Though his name is not so familiar as others, Pennsylvania was the birthplace of a man who influenced such varied literary masters as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville.

In fact, no less an authority than the Encyclopedia Britannica calls Charles Brocken Brown the “father of the American novel.”

Born in Philadelphia on Jan. 17, 1771 to Quaker parents, Brown was early forced into the study of law by his family. They were unable to stifle his literary ambitions which had been fired by a lifetime of voracious reading and ardent desire to write. He was published as early as the late 1780s and had completed his first novel by 1798.

In his brief career (he died at the age of 39 of consumption) he produced at least eight novels, in addition to short stories, poetry, history and political writings, and served as editor of the Monthly Magazine And North American Review.

His best known novel today is probably Wieland, a gothic romance involving a supposedly inexplicable mystery.

One which should be of more interest to us is Edgar Huntly, which predates Cooper’s introduction of the American Indian into fiction. Peter Kafer, an independent scholar, has linked the roots of this novel to the infamous Walking Purchase of 1737 which forced the Lenape west into the Wyoming Valley and set the stage for the Indian wars later to ravage the settlers along the Susquehanna River.

Van Wyck Brooks called his novels “…singularly original, poetic and impressive.” Brooks says it is easy to see many images in Brown’s novels reappear in Poe’s tales and poetry.

If it were only these so-called gothic novels for which the man is known, it might be enough. But, influenced early in life by Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin and other thinkers, he was also an advocate for the rights of women, education, penal reform and other social issues.

Recognizing him as “the early republic’s most ambitious and accomplished literary figure,” the Charles Brockden Brown Society was founded in 2000 as an international scholarly organization to stimulate interest in his writings and his era. More information on the society is available at

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blogging With a Purpose

I recently read an article proclaiming social media was changing publishing by putting power in the hands of individual authors for the marketing of their books. Is that true? I don’t feel powerful but increasingly I feel responsible. With the plethora of avenues open to writers to self-publish, what chance does a new author have to capture an audience while competing with the gazillion other books out there?

My favored hope of promoting my recent and upcoming releases is through blogging. Merriam-Webster defines a blog as “a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks.”
The vague description fits what you find on blogs. They vary in length from a few sentences to lengths equal to multiple pages. Some are updated daily, weekly or even less often. Most ‘experts’ suggest a minimum of once per week.
The content varies as much as the frequency and length. I know some writers who use their blog only to promote their own works. Others do lots of interviews or have guest appearances to assist other writers in their promotion. Most blogs I frequent do promote their own works, works of others but also write numerous posts I find education and instructive in ways to help my writing career. Still others offer interesting tidbits on a wide variety of things such as ranch living, certain TV shows, herbs and green living, and some just make me laugh. Professional blogs can offer lots of clues and advice to help writers in their careers.
I love finding new blogs and picking up the occasional follower. Will it help sell my books? I’m not sure but links to other blogs, link to their readers also. If someone like Cate Master’s books, might they not take a look at my romance novels when they see my link on her site? If a reader enjoys Jon Sprunk’s fantasy novel and see on his blog we did a book signing together, might they not click over to my blog and consider my novel?
I have no doubts the world on the internet has already replaced a lot of traditional media and perhaps sometime in the future it will make all ‘dead-tree media’ obsolete. In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing what I know how to do and try to learn more. I’ll be doing my first blog tour ever in January to promote the release of my newest fantasy, Beyond the Gate. I’ll be searching for new ways to make my own blog work for me.
How often do you blog? How many different blogs do you visit on a regular basis? What type of blogs do you visit?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Susquehanna Writers out and about

Mike Silvestri and honorary Susquehanna Writer Peter Durantine at their signing table on Oct. 16 in Harrisburg, at The Midtown Scholar.

Pete signs a copy of his release, The Chocolate Assassin.

Dennis Royer manned the Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop's booth at Celebrate the Book on Oct. 23.

Me at my booth. Should have worn that mermaid costume, I guess.

Hope to see you at the next event!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Four-time EPIC finalist!

I'm dancing on air! I received the email this morning from EPIC notifying me that I'm a finalist in the 2011 competition - for these four stories!

I just made reservations for the conference in March. Can't miss that party!

One Soul for Sale - Paranormal Novella
BLURB: When Madelyn sells her soul on UBuy, she’s not ready for the hell that’s unleashed. All she really wants is to make a success of her art. But the gorgeous stranger who buys her soul for $666 asks her to perform a few tasks. Tests of her true worth, Madelyn thinks, as each brings her – and her cat Brutus – into greater danger. And closer to the frightening shadowy figure stalking her. On All Hallows Eve, her final test will open the gates of hell. Or is it heaven?

Going with Gravity - Contemporary
BLURB: Publicist Allison Morris plans her own life – what’s left of it – around the life of her boss Michelle McCarter, the ex-wife of a famous rock star. When Michelle needs emergency public relations patchwork in Hawaii pronto, Allison arranges a flight to the dream destination. At the airport, she meets Wes Hamilton, a six-foot-three sun-bleached blond whose blue eyes and dazzling smile rekindle her fizzled-out sizzle. A world-renowned surfer, Wes captivates her with his charm and wit, though his easy fame and on-the-edge lifestyle are the polar opposite of her own. When their jet loses its fuselage in mid-air, she takes advantage of what she thinks are her last minutes alive with Wes. The plane lands safely. Wes takes care of her when her carefully constructed life begins to unravel. When Michelle accuses Allison of using Wes to gain fame for herself, Allison’s world falls apart in an explosive confrontation. Wes is waiting with open arms when she has nowhere else to go, but can Allison learn to stop planning and go with gravity?

Picture This - Contemporary
BLURB: Harrisburg News reporter Sydney Welles writes award-winning, attention-getting news stories. Her career’s on track, but she’d like a little more attention in her personal life. A year ago, she shared a great kiss with Philadelphia Daily News photographer Ben Taylor. Since then, nothing but a string of one-hit wonders. Suddenly, Ben’s back in her life – well, in her newsroom, anyway – but he acts as if he’s meeting her for the first time. Their story assignments throw them into uncomfortably close quarters, but Claudia, her editor, reminds Sydney she’s a consummate professional. She can handle it. Sydney’s not so certain when she and Ben go undercover to expose the mayor for shady dealings and he kisses her again. To keep their cover, he says. The mayor resigns amid shame, and Sydney’s the toast of the town. Two other reporters take an interest in more than her journalistic talents, but Sydney can’t help picturing herself back in Ben’s arms. Will she still want to once she learns Ben’s secret?

Wilderness Girl - Contemporary humorous erotic
BLURB: When Dana’s boyfriend drags her to Wilderness Outfitters on a Friday night, she wonders why so many people find The Great Outdoors so great. Until she meets Hank— six feet of tanned muscle, wrapped in a faded black T-shirt and jean shorts loose on his hips. Eyes like wildfire burning in a sun-kissed face. Grinning like a fox.
After her boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot, humiliation becomes gratitude when Hank invites her to his favorite camping spot, and she seizes on the impulse to change her boring life.
A web programmer, Dana’s outdoor experience had consisted of walks to and from her car. Alone on a mountaintop, as she struggles to set up camp, a five-foot snake doesn’t seem a welcome sight: until Hank comes to her rescue.
He initiates her to the pleasures of hiking, campfires, and Harley rides down winding roads. Making love beneath a starry sky, Hank awakens a primal Wilderness Girl in Dana she never knew existed.
Their weekend feels like a fantasy, which proves all too true on their return to civilization. As the daily grind eats into their time together, their romance begins to come untethered.
Will her high-tech lifestyle clash with his low-tech one? Can she manage to recapture the passion of the wilderness in their city existence?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Never use your soul as a bargaining tool

Madelyn can tell you what a bad idea it is - especially near Halloween, the night when the veil between the two worlds fades, allowing souls to travel freely between. In my paranormal novella, One Soul for Sale, she posts her soul online at the bidding site UBuy, and all hell breaks loose. Literally.

This month, you have two opportunities to win One Soul for Sale. Join in the Night Owl Reviews Web Hunt all month for a chance to win one of three print copies. Next weekend, join the LASR Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win a PDF copy. Or you could buy your own copy now - One Soul for Sale is available digitally from Eternal Press or in print from Amazon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

French Ebook

Just received the contract for French rights to ebook versions of the Shadow trilogy.

Shadow's Son has been doing well on the Kindle here in the U.S.. For everyone who has asked, I'm still waiting for news about other e-format versions. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 11, 2010

8 Things to do at a Book Signing That Doesn't Draw a Crowd

I write books that target a niche market, so when I am fortunate enough to set up a book signing, I'm not necessarily fortunate enough to sell a lot of books. So, I keep the signings short and have developed a list of things to do when the crowds are, shall we say, underwhelming:

  1. Smile and look accessible.
  2. Resist the urge to follow people into the cafe, waving copies of your book. Instead, smile and say hello to anyone who goes by.
  3. Plan promos for the next book signing that will draw crowds that rival a John Grisham signing.
  4. Graciously thank the bookstore staff who made this signing possible, along with anyone who stops by the table, whether or not they buy a book.
  5. Jot down ideas for blogs, plot lines, setting and dialogues. Flesh them out if time permits.
  6. Create a shopping list so you're prepared when the signing is over. Try not to spend more than twice the cost of your book, particularly if you haven't sold any.
  7. Write said notes on memo-sized pieces of paper, and look up from time to time so you still look approachable.
  8. Relax! When is the last time you had an hour to yourself with no one bugging you?

    All joking aside, I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to all of my friends and family who inquired, attended, congratulated me or otherwise let me know they were thinking of me. I don't know a soul whose to-do list isn't daunting, and in this case, it truly is the thought that counts.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Meet Kelly Starling Lyons

Today we're hosting a former Pennsylvania author, who is heading back to the state to do a program in Pittsburgh. We were lucky enough to catch award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons as part of her blog tour leading up to the 15th anniversary of the Million Man March. Kelly's book, One Million Men and Me, will be featured at several events in addition to the blog tour. Here are a few of them:

October 15 – 4:30 p.m. Reading & Meet the Author event at All Booked Up Used Books & Collectibles

October 16 – 15th ANNIVERSARY OF THE MILLION MAN MARCH — 11 a.m. Storytime & Reading Hour at International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, NC.

October 18 – 6 p.m. Million Man March Anniversary Program at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh, PA.

To celebrate the Million Man March (October 16) and the National Day of Writing (October 20), the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Reading is FUNdamental, and Just Us Books sponsored an essay contest for students in first through fifth grade. They were asked to write about a special moment with their father or father-figure.

Winners will be announced at 6 pm, Monday October 16, 2010. Award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons will present a program about her picture book and the Million Man March. Event is free and open to the public.

For a great lineup of posts on interesting facts about the march, visit Kuumba, Kelly's blog. Get a sneak peek into her childhood and find out why she became a writer at Laurie Edwards blog.

Great to have you in PA, Kelly!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mystery Writers' Day

Hi All: Elaine and I were at the Mid Town Scholar last night and talked to Catherine (the owner). She is hosting a Mystery Writers' Day next Saturday, October 16th from 1 - 4 pm. Any published mystery writer is welcome. Mike will be there. There's still space if anyone wants to join just email Catherine.
I didn't think to ask her, but I'm sure she'd be happy so help sponsor Tina's great idea for a teen writers contest. I can ask Debbie Beamer at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Store also.
Even if you don't sign, stop by and say hello to Catherine . We need to show support.
Hope to see you there.

Book Signing Sunday at 1 pm - A Happy Ending

Several months ago, a good friend and colleague chided me - gently, but with good reason - about letting my published books wither on the vine. Published in 1999 (Acting Assertively) and 2004 (Diverse Divorce) in the educational market, these books continue to pay small royalties and are sold primarily through the publisher's catalog. I did the press releases and post cards when they first came out, but for quite some time now, I've been content to sit back and let them sell - or not.

Fortunately, the wake-up call from my friend arose from opportune circumstances, not something catastrophic, like the threat of my book going out of print. My friend, who works at Borders, made it her personal quest to get my books into our local store.

Thanks to her nudge and persistence, along with the efforts of Cindy, the manager of my local Borders, my books are now in the store. And on Sunday, as part of their twice yearly event for educators, I'll be doing a book signing at 1:00.

If you live in the York area, stop by and say hi. If you'd like to buy a book, I'll be happy to sell you one, but I'll also be happy if you simply stop by to chat. And if Ann is working, I might even ask her to take a bow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Celebrating a New Release

It's always exciting when a fellow author has a new book out. This week we're celebrating Elizabeth Dulemba's latest book, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Georgia. It may seem a bit early to celebrate the season, but there are only about 79 shopping days left, so here's a great gift for all the kiddies on your list.

You might also want to check out Elizabeth's other books. And her site has lots of kid-friendly activities. Also, her book, Lulu's Brew, available as an app, has had more than 9,000 downloads! Very cool!! After all Halloween's just around the corner.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Events

This month I have a few book-related events:

Two book signings for Shadow's Son:

* Oct. 2 - Borders at Lycoming Mall. 2-4 pm.
* Oct. 17 - Barnes&Noble at State College, 12-3 pm., with uber-talented author Susan Kelley.

And a radio appearance! I'll be on The Hour of the Wolf out of NY on Oct. 16, 5-7 am.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It’s Banned Books Week – how will you celebrate?

From Sept. 25 through Oct 2, Banned Books Week highlights the importance of our freedoms. As an author, I’m grateful for the intellectual freedom we’re afforded in America. Across the nation, cities have joined in the fight against censorship by holding events.

Unfortunately, the practice of banning books follows a longstanding tradition of censorship. Read Mark Twain’s letter, written after the Omaha Public Library banned Huckleberry Finn

It’s surprising that even today, books are still being banned. One of my favorite authors, T.C. Boyle, made the list with The Tortilla Curtain. The Santa Rosa High School review committee limited its reading to juniors and seniors because they considered certain parts “provocative.”

This, when America ranks lower each year in global literacy? Seriously, how can students learn to think for themselves if others decide what they should and should not read?

Here are some accounts of attempts to ban books.

Four members of the Christian Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit seeking $30,000 each, claming emotional distress simply because the West Bend, Wis. Community Memorial Library displayed a copy of Francesca Lia Block’s Baby Be-Bop. They called for the YA book to actually be burned in public. Thank goodness for the library board’s decision, 9-0, not to restrict access in any manner.

After a parent claimed the book promited “economic fallacies” and socialist ideas, a Pennsylvania school district banned even such a benign title as Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. A CYA move, disgraceful to say the least.

Here’s the complete list of books banned this past year.

These complaints makes me want to run out and read it for myself. Judge for myself. How about you?

How to combat this ongoing nonsense? The American Library Association advises us to be proactive. Stay informed. Several groups include activities designed to protect our First Amendment rights, including The Freedom to Read Foundation, The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, The National Coalition Against Censorship, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Find them online, including Facebook, to keep yourself informed.

What should you do if you find an act of censorship? Report it to ALA’s Offi ce for Intellectual Freedom. All identifying information is kept strictly confidential. You can fi le reports online by going to

Most importantly, participate in Banned Books Week by joining in a local event, or simply by reading a banned book. The New York Times suggests a list of ten activities, if you can’t think of one yourself.

Anna Quindlen also provided a few suggestions in her op ed piece.

What have I done, you ask? Why, I bought a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird. I look forward to reading this classic, and to continue reading any book I choose.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Featured author: Sharon Donovan

Prior to the loss of her vision, author Sharon Donovan was a legal secretary for the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges in Domestic Relations. Painting was her passion. When she could no longer paint, she began attending creative writing classes and memoir workshops. After a long and winding road, a new dream rose. Today, instead of painting her pictures on canvas, Sharon paints her pictures with words. Sharon writes stories of inspiration and suspense. She has certificates in business and medical transcription. She is a published author with The Wild Rose Press, White Rose Publishing, Whimsical Publications and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Echo of a Raven is a CTRR recipient, and The Claddagh Ring is a CAPA nominee. To read excerpts and reviews of Sharon’s books and to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: You can also keep up with Sharon on her blog:

The Wild Rose Press just released Sharon's latest, Her Biggest Fan, as part of its Men in Uniform series. Her Biggest Fan is available in ebook and print. Please give Sharon a warm welcome!

Here's the blurb:
From the shadows of the woods, he keeps vigil. The stage is set to drive the pretty little princess insane. He’s coming for her. And when he catches her, he’ll pounce on her like the big bad wolf.
After receiving a disturbing fan letter, New York Times best-selling author Tess Kincaid flees to the New England home she’s inherited following her father’s death. The manor has been tainted, every room staged to resemble the way it was in its glory days. However when Tess calls the police, the chilling props vanish into thin air.
Ruggedly handsome Sheriff Mike Andretti is called to investigate the reported burning candles, dancing gargoyles and otherworldly events. When he discovers no trace of the eerie setting, he finds himself caught between duty and desire. Is the woman with the bewitching green eyes delusional or is this a trap of twisted wit set by a demented fan?

And an excerpt:
Cool air drifted out of the ballroom, carrying the scent of burning candles and cigarettes.
Music floated through the corridor, the seductive undertone hauntingly familiar. The music was hypnotic, mesmerizing. Tess could barely think over the loud beat of her heart.
Every sense screamed to beware. She was about to come face-to-face with her stalker, her biggest fan. But over the hammering of her heart and accelerated senses, her will to put an end to this deadly game prevailed. She had to face him, find out who was behind this bizarre masquerade. Anticipation mounting, she made the turn at the end of the corridor and came to a riveting halt.
A female wax gargoyle stood in the doorway, long blonde hair billowing in the breeze. Her glass eyes shimmered with madness, an eerie smile on her face. In one hand, she held a mission bell, the other reaching out for a candle.
Music played from the old phonograph, the plucking of guitar strings laced with seduction. A breeze blew in through open terrace doors, stirring the sweet scent of jasmine from the candelabras.
Two wax nymphs stood at the bar, glass eyes shining bright in the candlelight, pliable fingers wrapped around flutes of pink champagne. Lit cigarettes burned in ashtrays. From behind the bar, a winged monster served drinks.
In the center of the ballroom, two gargoyles held a pose as if they were dancing, their waxy bodies closely pressed together, their reflections glowing in the mirrored ceiling. From the old phonograph in the corner, the hypnotic music played.
Tess gasped, her hand clasping her mouth. “Oh, my God!”
Mike raised his gun, circled the room. “Come out with your hands up. Hancock County Sheriff. Put your hands where I can see them.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Special guest on my blog today

Mike Silvestri's discussing his latest release, The Gospel of Matthias Kent, on my blog: Pop on over for a visit and leave Mike a comment!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blogmania winner!

Wow, what a great Blogmania event! We're so appreciative of all the new followers. We'll strive not to disappoint. :)

We've tossed everyone's name into a bowl and drew out (drum roll please....) J Krowyn. Congrats! I will be emailing you for your mailing address so we can send the box of goodies your way. The Leap Books gift certificate will arrive separately, and the ebooks will likewise be emailed.

Thanks again to everyone for your amazing support. We hope you'll visit often. The Susquehanna Writers are a busy bunch, so there's always something new!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet Blogmania offering from The Susquehanna Writers

Welcome to BlogMania!

You have two days to enter to win our prize package below. If you enter the giveaways in all the participating blogs, you'll have the chance at $40,000 in prizes!

The Susquehanna Writers blog is #152 out of 170.

Check out this sweet package! What's better than books? Books and chocolate from the Sweetest Place on Earth -- Hershey, Pa. Click on the photo above for a larger view.

The Susquehanna Writers will be giving away these goodies for Blogmania:

Acting Assertively by Lisa Lawmaster Hess
Fever Dreams by Cate Masters
The Greater Good by Susan Kelley
It Came from Beyond the Sun by Mike Silvestri
The Keepers of Sulbreth by Susan Gourley
Picture This by Cate Masters
Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk
Spark of Magic (ebook) by Lily Stone
Summer Lovin' (ebook) by Laurie J. Edwards
Thy Kingdom Come by Don Helin
The Yellow Stone by T.M. Crone
Plus a $10 gift certificate to Leap Books

And yummy chocolate! Large plain, almond and extra dark Hershey's bars.

All you need to do to qualify is:
- become a follower of The Susquehanna Writers' blog
- live in the continental United States or Canada
- leave a comment on this post, including your email address so we can contact you if you win.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. on September 16, 2010. Winners will be chosen at random and posted by September 18, 2010. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to initial contact from me or I will select a new winner. Good luck, and enjoy the mania!

Follow on to the next participating blog: The Sweetest Romance Authors.

Check the master list of participating Blogmania blogs.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another chance to win Surfacing!

Surfacing is in the Spotlight Giveaway at HEA Reviews. Simply leave a comment at that post by Friday for a chance to win a print copy of my contemporary fantasy. You can read the first chapter on the Whiskey Creek Press site.

Here's the blurb:
AJ Dillon is trouble. The former lead singer of an indie band has no home, no money and no future. His grandfather is the only relative willing to take another chance on him. AJ arrives in Weeki Wachee, Florida, with his guitar, a few clothes and a bad attitude. The only good thing about Weeki Wachee is the ocean -- the one place AJ feels at home.
Grandpa lines up a job for AJ at Weeki Wachee Springs, where beautiful women perform as mermaids. Grandpa says real mermaids exist, but AJ doesn’t believe – until he meets Cassiopeia. She helps his passion for music resurfaces. But greedy Chaz finds out about her, and threatens to kill them if AJ doesn't go along with his plan to make a fortune with a real mermaid show. Can AJ save Cassie, even if it means losing her?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My blog's part of Blogfest!

Time for Blogfest! Woo hoo! *throws confetti and blows noisemaker*

My blog is participating, and giving away the tasty prizes shown below. So pop on over to, follow my blog and leave a comment (open to those in the continental US or Canada, sorry).

Click on the photo for a larger view.

And don't forget to visit this blog on September 15-16 for a chance to win the sweet prizes the Susquehanna Writers will be offering for Blogmania.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Came, I Saw, I Signed

What do you get when you mix forty-five thousand people, four hot days in Atlanta, and enough alcohol to fill a super tanker? Dragon*Con 2010!

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Jenny and I had been to World Fantasy last year, so I was thinking it would be little bigger, a little noisier, with a few more fans than writers. Pfft. I didn’t have a clue. The sheer volume of people descending on downtown Atlanta was mind-boggling. People arrived early in the morning each day and stayed well into the wee hours. Writers, actors, artists, publishers, T-shirt sellers, podcast creators, people in the most outrageous costumes.

I met some of the staff at Pyr/Prometheus Books, including editor-extraordinaire Lou Anders, Director of Publicity Jill Maxick, and “Slush Reader” Rene Sears. They are terrific people and uber-helpful. We spent a lot of time together at the Pyr display booth, talking to fans and spreading the word about our products.

I was also psyched to meet fellow Pyr authors like the irrepressible Sam Sykes (Tome of the Undergates), James Enge (Blood of Ambrose), Mike Resnick (Starship series), and Clay and Susan Griffith (The Greyfriar).

We ate, we talked, and we drank. It was awesome. And did I mention the costumes? Check my facebook album for some pictures. One of my few regrets was not spending more time just people-watching.

Anyway, if you get the chance, I highly recommend going. Pack comfortable walking shoes and a camera, and maybe I’ll see you there next year.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Little Introduction

Hello from Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region. I’m pleased to have been invited by the Susquehanna Writers to contribute to this blog.

Though I’m 60 miles from Harrisburg I’m still close to the river and my Sticks Hetrick mystery series is set in a fictional rural community near the capital. Sticks originated as a character in a short story written when I was on the staff of The Daily News in Lebanon, where I lived for 20 years.

There are now four novels in the Hetrick series: Something In Common, Cruel Cuts, Corruption’s Child and Being Someone Else, all published by Whiskey Creek Press and available in print and electronic forms. In addition to these mysteries I’ve published four other novels, three of them historical fiction and the other a mainstream novel (for want of a better description). In the near future I hope to announce a new publishing venture in another genre.

Since retiring as an editor with The News-Item, Shamokin, in 2000 I’ve been librarian of the Northumberland County Historical Society where I assist patrons with genealogy and research.

Between this second (or should I say third?) career, my writing, a voracious reading schedule, reviewing for several sites, marketing of my books, drawing, a few other hobbies, my children and four grandsons there isn’t much time for rocking on the porch. But I enjoy it all.

I invite you to check out my webpage for more information:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Women Writers in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Genre

A few weeks ago I stepped into a small bookstore at the Park City Mall in Lancaster Pa. While searching through the selection of sf/f novels, I noticed something. The entire section I browsed contained books written by female writers. Just imagine how thrilled I was! (books written by male sf/f writers were shelved further back in the store. Sorry, guys.) The section was not marked "Female Writers" or anything indicating a genre bias. That would be discrimination, now wouldn't it? Displayed were works that I might have passed over at Borders, or Barnes and Noble, but there they were, awaiting my purchase. This goes to show that in a genre that has for decades been dominated by men, women are finally getting their dues.

I remember the days when great writers like Anne McCaffray and Octavia Butler were lost among the crowd. Even today women in the genre use a sudonym that would not indicate gender, because God forbid a man want to read anything written by a women. Perhaps they should. I am tired of men getting it wrong. Portraying women as concubines or sex slaves or indicating that it is every woman's dream to sit on a man's lap (because that's all we think about, right?) is not only insulting, but an unnatural view of human behavior. Most great science fiction novels written by men are actually male fantasy novels. So, why isn't there a genre for that?

I chose a book by Karen Miller entitled, EMPRESS. It enthralled me from the beginning to the end, and I can't wait to read another of hers.

Remember guys. Most readers are female. Get it right.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

POD of the future is here

Taking POD to the next level, the Espresso Book Machine brings convenience to readers. Now if we can just get bookstores on board to buy these babies!

This is a long interview, but very informative.

Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweetness from Central Pennsylvania

Check out this sweet package! The Susquehanna Writers will be giving away these goodies for Blogmania. What's better than books? Books and chocolate from the Sweetest Place on Earth -- Hershey, Pa. Click on the photo above for a larger view.

If you're a U.S. resident, become a follower and leave a comment during Blogmania, you could win this sweet prize:

Acting Assertively by Lisa Lawmaster Hess
Fever Dreams by Cate Masters
The Greater Good by Susan Kelley
It Came from Beyond the Sun by Mike Silvestri
The Keepers of Sulbreth by Susan Gourley
Picture This by Cate Masters
Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk
Thy Kingdom Come by Don Helin
The Yellow Stone by T.M. Crone

And yummy chocolate! Large plain, almond and extra dark Hershey's bars.

So mark your calendars for September 15-16. You won't want to miss out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fever Dreams cover needs your vote!

Cover artist Dawne Dominique did a great job creating the cover for Fever Dreams, don't you think?

We'd both love it if you would vote for entry #14 in the You Gotta Read Covers contest!

A contemporary novel with fantasy elements, Fever Dreams is also part of the Romance Junkies Summer Contest. Enter before August 31st for a chance to win a print copy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Dangers of Research

If you're a writer, especially a nonfiction one, you're probably incredibly curious about everything. I'm always intrigued by odd snippets and facts that I stumble across as I research. Pretty soon I'm totally engrossed in something totally off topic, but thoroughly fascinating. Before I know it, I've blown all my writing time on a nonrelated subject.

At the moment I'm researching and writing on pirates. So when a tidbit about a woman pirate from Pennsylvania caught my eye, I had to follow up even though it had nothing to do with the Chinese woman pirate, Ching Shih, I was supposed to be writing about. Curiouser and curiouser...she lived nearby and met her husband one town away from where I'd lived. So how come I'd never heard of her?

Rachel Schmidt (1760-1789) was born on a farm near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. When she was 16, she met George Wall in the thriving metropolis of Harrisburg and married him against her parents' wishes. She and her husband departed for Boston and worked as a maid and fisherman, respectively. After partying with friends and using up their money, they hit upon a scheme to get rich quick.

Rachel and George sailed out just before a storm, pretended to be in distress, and then murdered those who stopped to help. They took the goods, then sank the ship. This worked well until a storm swept George overboard. From then on, Rachel worked alone, stealing what she could from docked ships.

In 1789 she was captured and tried for a murder she didn't commit. Although she confessed to her earlier crimes, she was hanged for the one she hadn't done. Talk about irony. . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writers Write Day: Part 2

Things I discovered while trying to implement Writers Write Day:

  1. I'm very distractible.
  2. I'm not cut out to write for long, uninterrupted periods. (See #1)
  3. The combination of the lure of the Internet and the habit I've developed of frequent check-ins is much stronger than I realized.
  4. I need to power through the first painful "I can't do this/this is too hard" phase to get to the sweet spot where I can focus and concentrate. Telling my daughter to turn off the TV helps, too.
  5. Butt in chair, eyes on work remains a viable writing rule.

    I've logged a little more than 5 hours since last night, so I still have about 2 hours to go (I'm flexing my day to work around my family's schedule...and my distractibility ;-) It has been a very productive five hours. Which leads me to:
  6. I need at least one of these a month.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writers Write Day: Wednesday, August 11

Last Friday, I received an email about Writers Write Day from fellow writer Rita Gerlach. The official date? Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 11. Here's what Rita had to say:

"Writers, there is a tug-o-war going on for your attention. It mostly comes in the guise of the Internet. Next Wednesday, August 11 is Writers Write Day. The goal of this all day event is to immerse writers in their manuscripts without the distractions of blogs, Facebook, social networking sites, news sources, etc.. Let's admit it, they do pull us away, and sometimes hours go by and we have lost valuable writing time.

Here is what to do.

1. Put a 'do not disturb' sign on your door.
2. Write for at least three hours in the morning. If you start at 9am that will bring you up to the noon hour.
3. Take a lunch break.
4. Write for four hours in the afternoon.
5. That evening post on your blog, Facebook, etc. how it went. How much work did you get done?

Here is what you CANNOT do.

1. Do not peruse the Internet. That includes Facebook and other social networking sites.
2. Do not make phone calls unless absolutely necessary, and make them during your break.
3. No text messaging.
4. No television or radio, but by all means listen to inspirational music that helps the creative juices flow.

Let your family and friends know that you will be going into a day of seclusion to work on your manuscript. Hope you have an incredible time writing."

It sounded wonderful to me, but...yeah, there's always a "but."

In my case, the "but" comes in the form of a preteen whom I prefer not to leave to her own devices for seven hours, and a doctor's appointment for said preteen, made months ago.

BUT (there it is again), I'm not giving up. I like the idea too much to pass, so I'm stretching my Writers Write Day into three days. I started this afternoon, will put as many hours in as I can tomorrow and will finish on Thursday, if necessary. The times I designate as writing times during those days will be Internet-free...but Facebook and blogs do make a nice reward for a job well done, as does email.

How about you? Are you up for a challenge? Or, are you such a well-oiled writing machine that this is child's play for you?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Celebrate the Book Festival coming this fall!

On Saturday, October 23, 2010, The Friends of Bosler Library will host Celebrate the Book, a Central Pennsylvania Book Festival at the Carlisle Expo Center. Their purpose is to bring the community and authors and book-related special events together to promote literacy.

The event will have scheduled authors, children’s book illustrators, and book-related vendors as part of the festival. The featured guest is John Grogan, author of Marley & Me. Children’s activities will include the game “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” and a “tea party” with Alice in Wonderland. Dr. Sharon Gaston will entertain with her wonderful storytelling, and Megan Lloyd will talk about her inspirations for illustrating her books for children. There is so much more—Wert BookBinding, historians Richard Sommers and Ann Hoffer, Patrick Reynolds, and Mark Nesbitt--check out their website to see the program and all the author’s biographies.

If you are an author and wish to participate, Celebrate the Book is seeking authors who would like to attend the festival, sell their books, and meet the public. Contact festival chair Lynn Hofer for details.

I will be at a booth with my books, including my latest fantasy novel Surfacing, and my Native American historical with local ties to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Follow the Stars Home, which releases tomorrow! Woot!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My cover for Surfacing!

I couldn't wait to share this new cover. It just came in my email, and I love love love it! Right down to the fin on the spine. :) Kendra Egert did an amazing job.

The blurb is on the back cover (and you can read it if you click on the image to enlarge it), but Surfacing is the story of struggling indie rocker AJ Dillon, who moves to his grandfather's house in Florida because he has nowhere else to go. Grandpa lines up a job at Weeki Wachee Springs, home of the famous mermaid show. There he meets Cassiopeia, a real mermaid.

But some of you already know that. You've been a tremendous help with edits, and I'm so grateful.

This cover really made my day. What do you think??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shadows from the U.K.

Today I received a large package from Gollancz (my UK publisher). *cue the dirty thoughts*

Done? Okay, here are the UK covers for Shadow's Son in hardcover (left) and trade paperback (right). I think they came out awesome.

Thanks, Gillian!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Are first chapters an effective marketing tool?

A discussion at Lyons Literary blog convinced me they are. Or could be, if your first chapter interests people. :)

So in advance of tomorrow's release of my historical novel (which I like to call a historical adventure romance), I've posted the first chapter of Angels, Sinners and Madmen on my web site. While historicals may not be to everyone's liking, I hope the first chapter will entice people to want more. The trailer and excerpt are here.

On Wednesday, I'm also launching a new blog series called Casting Call - I hope you'll check it out. First up is Angels, Sinners and Madmen.

Though I'll still be visiting plenty of blogs (see the crazy schedule here), today also marks my last official stop on my blog tour at Margaret West's wonderful blog.

And tomorrow is my monthly post at Popculturedivas, a tribute to my much-maligned home state of New Jersey. I hope you'll pop over!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The best authors are transparent, their phrasing and word use as deft as an artist's brush. Their art paints the lives of their characters, while we, the readers, follow the flow of their work in silence.
But I do wonder sometimes just how the author might phrase their work aloud, what they'd emphasize, how they'd punctuate. Public readings used to be commonplace. Now, they're much less so.
But that's about to change next Saturday night at Gallerie 13 in Mechanicsburg where six authors will be reading their works aloud. Two of them are SuquehannaWriters -- Lori Myers and Mike Silvestri.
The event is called "WordArt" and it was was dreamt up by Ally Bishop. Ally is a MFA student who wanted to bring the wordsmith's art into the same venue as the visual arts. She gathered us together; poets, essayists, humorists, fiction, and non-fiction writers alike, to lend our voices to our prose. It promises to be a thoughtful, humorous, and enjoyable evening. Best of all, it's free. There's even refreshments.
So, come on out and listen to how the wordsmith's paint at Gallerie 13 on 13 East Main Street in Mechanicsburg, PA beginning at 7:00 PM on Saturday, July 31st.
See you there.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New blog series: Story Elements

Today I launch a new blog series called Story Elements. Each post will examine the various aspects of each title and how I pulled together various elements into each story. I hope you'll pop over to my blog at As always, I love comments!

First up is my contemporary, Going with Gravity, which also provides a nice escape to the lush setting of Hawaii, also rich in culture.