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.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blogmania Twitter Blog Blast Party

Blogmania bloggers are all about building relationships - between our blogs, our cherished readers, the online community and business owners. We value each other's opinion as we all are endeavoring to make the best choices for our home life. So it seemed natural to partner up with The Lane Real Estate Team and Breebee's blog to bring you our first ever twitter and blog blast party.

The Lane Real Estate Team is all about building relationships through communities - specializing in Kennewick Homes for Sale. And Bree is a blogger - and a mom - trying to think outside of the box and help build community ties in NW Columbus OH via her Kid event website! Our other twitter party sponsors also offer items to help strengthen and maintain relationships - from stationary to hand stamped sentiments.

Our Party Theme: "Building toward Blogmania with The Lane Real Estate Team" []

Info on the Blog Blast:

If you post on your blog(s) our announcement between now and the twitter party you will be entered to win $100 cash. If we reach 500 blogs there will be two additional $50 drawings, totaling 3 winners! You can email me, or for the HTML code for blog(s) links and some posting specific OR ask the post owner for info and that blog owner will provide you an HTML code.

Please return with your specific blog post links on Bree's Blog, under her Twitter Party PAGE tab.

Info on the Twitter Party:

9:30-10:30pm, Sunday, EST we will party!

There is a custom tweet grid and a linky for early RSVP. RSVP'ing early also enters you into special drawings. You do not have to RSVP to tweet and win but the 'extra' will not be available.

You can win both the blog blast and at the twitter party!

RSVP at BreeBee's:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I was pleasantly surprised to find my new novel, The Gospel of Matthias Kent, appearing on the home page of The Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop as "This Month's Special" almost a full month before the official launch date. It's arrival there announces a special arrangement between Draumr Publishing and Mechanicsburg Mystery where we will be selling advance copies during a "Meet the Authors" event at the New Cumberland Public Library in New Cumberland, PA, on Thursday, July 29th, at 7:00 PM. Fellow Susquehanna Writer Don Helin (author of Thy Kingdom Come) and I will be on hand to discuss the publishing world and test the audience with a game of Author Jeopardy. Best of all, a portion of each book sold goes to support the library!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Creative Detours

Three days into our beach vacation, I was beginning to stress out over the lack of time I'd spent writing. The week leading up to the trip had been busy, and my husband consistently reassured me that I'd have "plenty of time to write" at the beach.

I didn't doubt the sincerity of his words - just the feasibility and logistics of making them a reality. Vacation offers too many other temptations - opportunities that not only vanish once the trip is over, but cause the discipline of writing to be about as tempting as day old crab cakes left out in the sun. How could sitting down and working possibly compete?

Nearly a week in, I'm finding that it can't - at least not in the butt-in-chair-git-'er-done style necessary to move forward on a novel-in-progress, final revisions or a book proposal. What did happen, however, was that the less disciplined aspects of writing - the creative part - struck gold.

I discovered that two hours on the beach or five minutes work on a jigsaw puzzle can unfreeze the brain, help make a transition from one scene into another...or just provide a brain break. The combination of relaxation, a change of pace and a change of scenery kept my pen flying over the page, my fingers clicking on the keyboard as I made observations, wrote blogs and concocted the "what ifs" that form the foundation of future projects.

As writers seeking publication, we are often so driven that we run over our creativity in our haste to make good time down the road of success. And while roadkill may make for an interesting diversion or plot twist, particularly in genre fiction, it can't sustain an entire project.

Sometimes, we need to get off the beaten path and just enjoy the scenery, trusting that our subconscious writers' minds will continue to churn without us...

...which is why it's important to always have a notebook in the glove compartment.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Aaron's Books

This awesome indie bookstore hosted me for a book signing last Friday, which was also their Five-Year anniversary (they had cake!). It was a great experience. The store is situated on the main drag of Lititz, PA. A lot of people came through the store while I was there. We even sold enough copies to make Shadow's Son their No. 1 bestseller last week -- yes, I am a bestselling author somewhere.

The owners (Todd, Sam, and young Sir Aaron) and bookseller (a fellow Pennwriter!) Vicky Burkholder are about the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. If you live in Lititz, you probably already know that. If not, stop in and say hello. They have a great selection of new and used books, and a playroom in the back for the kids while you browse.

If you happen to pick up a copy of my book while you're there, I wouldn't mind.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Gospel of Matthias Kent

Since I fancy myself a student and fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, I wanted to write a few words about Mike Silvestri’s soon-to-be-released (September 1, 2010) novel, The Gospel of Matthias Kent.

I’ve had the privilege of obtaining an advance copy from Mike after having reviewed snippets of his manuscript in our monthly critique group meetings. Those compelling sneak peaks always left me hungry to read more, so it was with eager anticipation that I dove into the book.

GMK is a futuristic tale of a dystopian America where the gap between the rich and poor is stark to the extreme. The rich enjoy wealth and power on the backs of the poor who struggle daily to survive starvation and a pestilence known as the Rot which consumes not only flesh, but also wood and paper. This extinction of paper is a blessing to the governing body, the Synod, who uses the tragedy to control the masses. As writers, we are all familiar with the phrase, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Take away the pen (and paper) and you are left with only the sword which the Synod ruthlessly wields to promote their self-serving agenda.

Matthias Kent, an opportunistic advertising executive employed by the First Bank of Job, climbs the corporate ladder to land a prestigious position providing him with a lifetime of security except for one catch: to maintain his status, Matthias must always and forever submit to the will of the Synod. A childhood trauma motivates Matthias to pursue a vengeful scheme that puts him at odds with the ruling elite. He gambles not only with his new found position but with his life and the lives of others.

Mike does a masterful job presenting the reader with a cold, gray America mostly devoid of human civility and the title character’s inner struggle against his true calling. Novelists are taught the key to successful fiction is to put your protagonist in an impossibly bad situation and then make it even worse. There is where Mike’s literary talent really shines. In the opening chapter Matthias gains the reader’s sympathy by performing an act of kindness. At heart, he is a good man who ends up making some bad decisions and falls victim to a cruel enemy. Mike’s skillful writing left me suffering along with Matthias during his loss, a turn so devastating and complete that it even surpassed that of Biblical Job. At least that man didn’t lose his faith.

Not wanting to reveal any more of the plot, I’ll just say that elements of GMK reminded me of other tales, most notably Fahrenheit 451, The film The Book of Eli, and even Saul on the road to Damascus. Like those stories, GMK also includes redemption and a satisfying conclusion. The Gospel of Matthias Kent has found a permanent home in my bookcase and will be a book I’m sure I’ll revisit.

Way to go, Mike. You make all of us Susquehanna Writers proud!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Writing Groups; Just an Expense or Helpful

It's nearly the time of year when I have to write the check for my membership in RWA. For those of you who are members, you know it's a hefty fee. For the past three years I've  held a debate with myself on whether to renew or not. I haven't written romance for a long time though some of my romance books are still on the market. All my recent novels have been in the genre I love most, fantasy. Should I rejoin RWA? The only reason I've retained my membership for this long is because I must if I want to continue with my local chapter, CPRW.
Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers is a wonderful bunch of committed authors. Many are published, many are on the verge and all are super supportive of each other. I know I would never have been published without the guidance and knowledge they've shared with me over the years. So each year I cough up the dough for the national organization so I can remain part of the local group. It's a difficult decision this year especially in the current economic environment. Two kids in college further tightens the home budget.
The other writing group I belong to is Pennwriters, a state wide writers organization.  Members represent every branch and niche of the profession. Each year they host a weekend-long writing conference with excellent guests including agents and editors of major houses. It's a terrific conference. They also put out a newsletter to bookstores promoting the work of their published authors. Thanks to that effort, I was contacted by the Borders Store at the Lycoming Mall in Williamsport, PA to do a booksigning for The Keepers of Sulbreth this Saturday, July 10th from 1-3 p.m.  This is a great service provided to me as a member of the group. And the cost of belonging to Pennwriters is less than half of what it costs to belong to RWA.
So I have about sixty days to decide if I'm going to put the money out there for a large national group who really doesn't do much to help me. I would miss seeing my friends at our local meetings but a few of them also belong to Pennwriters and a few others I keep in touch with on FB and through blogging.  Pennwriters also have a few local groups I might start taking part in this month. It's a difficult decision but I must weigh the cost versus benefit before renewing membership. What about you? Do you put out a lot of money to membership in professional organizations? What kind of benefits do they provide beyond moral support?
And don't forget to drop in at the Borders on Saturday for my booksiging at the Lycoming Mall in Williamsport.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fun story for July Summer Reading Trail

I stumbled upon The Summer Reading Trail and thought it was a great idea. I love for readers to discover my work!

I missed the July registration (where did June go?!) so I'm giving you the exclusive chance to check out my July read. If I could have registered, it would have gone under the general Fiction category, but it's anything but generalized fiction. You'll have to read it to understand.

So I give you Survivor Barbie! I'd love your comments if you read it.

Happy summer reading!