Get The Words Down

I was answering a Comment from a reader on a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. She was talking about distractions.

OMG! I know all about distractions. As many of you know, my youngest child (now an adult) has multiple medical problems. I spend more time with her on a weekly basis than I did when she was in school. I take her to PT once a week, to doctor's appointments, or just hang out at her house if she's having a difficult time.

The last few months have been difficult for her.She has Adhesive Arachnoiditis as a result of back surgery and pain abatement procedures. It's changed her life--and mine too. This is year 2 of the "new normal" for all of us. She's an amazing woman who keeps persisting in her effort to manage the pain.

Anyway, I thought I'd pass along the advice I gave the reader.

No Perfect Time


One thing I've learned in life is that there is never a perfect time to write a book. When your kids are young, there are school activities, homework, PTA, church, family and friends to visit, etc.

If you work outside the home or at home, there's the job and all it entails then the housework, the meals to prepare, the laundry, etc.

There's always something that needs to be done. No one can do it all so you have to figure out how you want to spend your time.

For most of us with too many demands and too little time, that means we have to give something up to carve out a block of time to write. Many people watch TV in the evening or read for pleasure. I don't do this very often. If I'm watching TV because my hubby wants my company, I have my laptop with me so I can work on some of the many tasks authors must do in this digital age: social media promotion, email, blogging, keeping up with market news, designing graphic image teasers for online use, and about a million other things.

I try to find at least 3-5 hours a day to actually write. That may not be a block of 3 hours. The time may be squeezed in throughout the day. Or, I get up early or stay up late to get it done. 

Get The Words Down

I do this because I know there are 2 secrets to writing a book.

(1) Write something every single day because it keeps the story in your mind and you don't have to waste precious time trying to remember what the scene was about. Or, letting a couple of days expand into even more time when you haven't written. When that happens, you lose the excitement of the story you wanted to tell. That's the key to catching a bad case of Writer's Block.

(2) You need to get to THE END as fast as you can. The secret of getting it done is to just get the words down on paper/computer. No matter how much you think it sucks, just get the words down. Resist the urge to edit as you go along. GET TO THE END.

Something amazing happens just by reaching the end. You realize you did it! You wrote a book. It doesn't matter how awful it is because you have a complete draft of your story.

Writer's Button 2.25 inches Diameter
The magic happens when you then go back to the beginning of your completed draft and start editing. If you don't have a complete draft, you don't have the raw materials for the magic to happen.

 If you polish as you go along, you'll probably never get a book finished. Or, if you do, you'll only be able to write one or two a year.

Takeaway Truth

Get the words down so you can get to The End. That's just the plain truth.

Quick Lesson On Novel Writing + Giveaway

A lot of people begin writing by the seat of their pants. They just sit down and start keying in the words as they see the story unfolding.

There's not anything wrong with this if you are the rare genius who instinctively has a command of the basic elements of a novel.

If you already know where your story is going and how to get through the middle and to the end, then you'll probably end up with a focused story.

If you don't know these things, you'll stall out after about 50 pages or less.

The reason this happens is that beginning writers don't realize a novel must be structured and contain the basic elements of a novel if it is to be successful. Every story ever told must have these elements.

Giveaway Alert


To the right, you'll see the Giveaway Prize from WriteWay, my CafePress Shop. This khaki ball cap has a sepia book stack graphic and says: Ask me about my book. 

Scroll to the bottom to see details for the Ask Me About My Book Cap that is the Giveaway Prize.

Basic Elements of a Novel

From the simplest to the most complex, from the shortest to the longest, a novel is:

(1) a structured story

Yes, at the very minimum you must know the beginning, the middle, and the end and the turning points in the story that move it along.

(2) about an appealing or fascinating character

The best scenario is to make the character someone the reader roots for from the very beginning.

Who wants to read about a character who's a totally jerk wad? Unless the story is about the jerk wad growing as a person and becoming someone the reader does like and does root for.

(3) struggling against great odds

Yes, those great odds comprise the conflict with which so many writers struggle. Why must there be conflict in a story? Because it's the fuel that propels the story from scene to scene.

In real life, people are motivated by two things: the desire to feel pleasure and the desire to avoid pain.

Of those two desires, the desire to avoid pain is stronger. Use that information to dish out the pain, or conflict, to your characters and then let them do everything in their power to deal with the conflict in order to avoid the pain offered by their specific challenges.

Sometimes, you'll have your characters chase after pleasure as a way to avoid pain.

(4) to achieve a worthy goal

Yes, each story has a goal which most believably belongs to the main character. Set that goal early on in your story so your reader can latch onto it and know what the stakes are.

You want the reader wondering if the hero will find the kidnapped woman before the bad guy kills her.

You want the reader wondering if the heroine can repay the bank loan before the bank forecloses on the family home.

My latest book is Second Chance Bride. He's the only man she wants—and the one man she can never have. If you read my new release, look for the story goal.

Takeaway Truth

Remember, every story ever told must have these elements: structure, character, conflict, and story goal.

Gifts & Promotions for Authors
Giveaway

If you're a beginner, have you tried writing a book? How did it turn out? If you're already a published author, how do you write a book?

(1) Leave your answer or answers with your email addy written out in Comments, and you'll be entered in a Giveaway to win the cap shown here.

The CAP prize is for a Lower 48 winner only. If you live outside the lower 48, your prize will be an ebook copy of one of my books.

(2) Giveaway closes July 4, 2018.

(3) Winner chosen by random draw.

(4) No purchase necessary.

(5) Remember, leave your answers in comments with your email addy written out.

Online Safety Guide for Parents

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay via Pexels.com, CC0
I often get requests to review a product or to pass on a website that might be of interest to the readers of SlingWords. I personally review the product or website before I decide to recommend it.

Last month I received an email from a reader regarding a post about children's safety that I'd written in 2011.

Because of that post, the reader thought, correctly, that I'd be interested in an online guide created for parents to teach their children how to be safe online.

A Must Read for Parents and Teachers

In case you think this problem affects only children in the technologically-developed countries, you're wrong.

In the email I received, my reader pointed said: "Although this might be surprising to some, many children who live in third-world countries are connected to the internet, and they are subject to the same types of cyber threats as other children."

Every parent, grandparent, and teacher needs to read The Ultimate Parent Guide for Protecting Your Child On the Internet -- especially if you are a parent who has given an internet-capable device to a child.

The first section is on Smartphone Safety. Drum these rules into your kids.

This guide came out in April 2018 and is free. Just as my reader said, it is an invaluable guide with each section summarized "with actionable items for the parent/teacher."

Created by vpnMentor, a website co-founded by Ariel Hochstadt, formerly Global Gmail Marketing Manager for Google, vpnMentor has the goal of offering users a "really honest, committed and helpful tool when navigating VPNs and web privacy."

(In case you don't know, a VPN is a virtual private network across a public network that enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.)

Takeaway Truth

In today's world, there's information just as crucial as the birds and bees talk with kids. In fact, as soon as they can work a device, it's time to have an online safety talk with them.

What Do You Really, Really Want?


Think of something you wanted last year--really, really wanted.

Did you do anything to get it? Anything to make it happen?

Now, 2017 is in the rear view mirror. Do you still want that something?

Will you still want it next year?

What's stopping you from getting it? Action.

Takeaway Truth

Resolve to write down the one thing you really want. Then write down every step that is needed to get that one thing. Then, take that first step today. Tomorrow, take another step. Take a step every day--day action no matter how small--from today until the day you get it.

Summer Reads 2018: Angela Ford & Jennifer Conner



Summer Reads 2018

Angela Ford & Jennifer Conner
Win your summer read!

ENTER HERE


Time to bring out the flip flops! 
Whether you head to the beach, the poolside, 
or your favorite spot to soak up some sun-take a romance with you. 


or off to London with a Dare – Angela & Jennifer’s co-authored romance – 
3 winners every month this summer!

Jennifer & Angela are giving 7 eBooks all summer long!
Escape with a romance this summer–besides the titles listed above,
 they’re giving you 2 brothers from The Mac Brothers Series and 
taking you to Sunset Beach in their Sunset Beach Romance Series 
(each book in series can be read as stand-alone romances).

Perfect summer reads while you relax in the sun. 
Good luck on the draws!
Have a fabulous summer–Happy Reading! 
Ange & Jenni







         Amazon – Jennifer Conner   

      



Takeaway Truth

Summer time is fun reading time. Add these to your fun list today.

7 More Truths About A Writing Career

This past Wednesday I listed 7 Truths About A Writing Career.

I thought some more about the subject and came up with...

7 More Truths About A Writing Career.

1. Never publicly denigrate another author's books.

If you're a "real" writer, then you know how hard it is to breathe life into the vision in your brain. Sometimes a book just doesn't "sing" no matter how well it is put together. Even if you don't think a book is particularly good, always remember that the author sweated blood over it--just as you do over your work. Be kind.

2. Don't believe everything an editor, agent, or a glowing review says about you.

3. Don't place too much emphasis on reviews--good ones or real stinkers.

If you buy into the good ones, then you'll also have to own the bad ones. Take them all with a grain of salt because reading taste is subjective.

4. Share what you know with others.

If you help someone else along the way, you help yourself (and enrich your karma).

5. Always write.

If you are waiting for a contract, start a new book. If you are certain that you'll never sell, write. If you are depressed, write.

If you are ecstatic over a new contract or soaring sales of your indie book, write. Never stop writing because when you do, that writer's muscle stiffens and atrophies from lack of use.

6. Always strive to improve your craft.

7. Develop a great work discipline.

Write on a regular schedule--every day is best of all. Keep producing. You’ll create one heck of an inventory.

Takeaway Truth

What are your writing truths? Let me know in comments. 

Not Always a Bridesmaid Collection

Always a Bridesmaid

4 Stories about Love, Laughter, and

Disasters at weddings.

REVIEWS:
The plot kept me captivated as a budding romance develops between Chasen and Skye, who seem to have the same vision and goals in life. I found the dialog to be open, honest and heartwarming and a few lines to melt the heart. “It looks like your journey brought you love.” “If you dream together, then it’s a reality.
I enjoyed this fast pace wedding novella with interesting characters. The plot kept the pages turning, and the dialog was entertaining. What happens when the wedding planner and her fiancé have a difference of opinion? A wedding is a girls dream, and she knows what she wants, but what if the groom is trying to rush things?
The Professional Bridesmaid
To help three co-workers coordinate their weddings, Skye Wilson must act as a bridesmaid for them. Skye dreams of becoming a wedding planner and needs to start somewhere and reluctantly agrees. Just when the wedding arrangements and her plans started going wrong, she meets Chasen Dantrell, a handsome limousine driver.
Chasen has a growing limo business. He loves his job but the long hours of waiting by himself wear on him. That is until a cute, blue-eyed bridesmaid named Skye stumbles his way.
As their two worlds become more and more entwined with each wedding they work, Skye wonders if she'll ever be a bride and would it be Chasen at the end of the aisle with a ring?
The Undecided Bride
When Steven, the man of Bridgette North dreams, proposes she automatically says yes until her fiancĂ©’s constant pressure for a speedy wedding has her questioning his motives and love. Now she is undecided whether she wants to marry him.
Mason is hired to trick Bridgette into marrying Steven quickly to ensure a promotion but ends up falling head-over-heels in love instead.
Can Mason explain his deceit and still win her heart?
And will Bridgette be willing to risk her heart one more time?
Red, White, and Bridesmaid
Jess Caldwell is the third in line to wear the mistletoe headband until she’s kissed. But it’s her best friend Kara’s wedding, Jess needs to keep her mind on designing the flowers and not on the fact that Kara’s older brother, Darrin, who she’s had a crush on for years will be there.
Darrin’s happy to be moving home, and what is even more of a pleasant surprise is seeing her again. Jess isn’t the geeky girl he remembered when he left. But after all the mean things he said in the past, will she give him another chance?
When things at the wedding go wrong, more than fireworks fly for this 4th of July wedding.
Will love be in the air?
The Reluctant Bride
Penelope Moore’s last boyfriend had no qualms about cheating even after he professed his undying love. As a wedding event planner Penelope has seen plenty of happily-ever-after. But with her terrible luck in the relationship department, she is reluctant to believe it will ever happen to her.
Ferguson enjoyed the freedom of bachelorhood until he met his last girlfriend. He considered her the love of his life until she betrayed him. Without his consent, she used his professional experience and knowledge as a private investigator to write and publish a best-selling novel. Ferguson couldn’t forgive her underhanded deceit and ended their relationship.
When Ferguson meets Penelope he is once again willing to risk his heart, but Penelope isn’t as trusting. Just when he is beginning to win the beautiful event planner’s heart, his ex-girlfriend arrives in town and causes heartache all over again.
Can Penelope and Ferguson trust each other and their hearts enough to get their happily-ever-after?

Available now on multiple platforms in eBook and paperback. Coming soon in audio and foreign language translations.

Takeaway Truth

Doesn't this sound like a fun collection? Get your copy today.

Review: Set It Up

Just released today is the Netflix original film, Set It Up, a romantic comedy film directed by Claire Scanlon and written by Katie Silberman.

The film stars Zoey Deutch as Harper, Glen Powell as Charlie, Taye Diggs as Charlie's boss Rick, and Lucy Liu as Harper's boss Kirsten.

One might consider this Devil Wears Prada times 2 in that there are 2 arrogant, selfish bosses rather than one, resulting in 2 beleaguered employees, hoping to get a big break by catering to every whim of these egomaniacal bosses, scheming to make the two bosses fall in love.

Since this is a romantic comedy, you probably know that the two schemers end up falling in love, but their journey to that moment and their Machiavellian plotting is what makes this film so good.

Most movies billed as romantic comedies in the last few years don't seem to understand what a romantic comedy should be. This one has some edgy humor--for better or worse, the way real young people talk to each other in today's world.

Best of all, it's got what should be in a romantic comedy: characters who are intelligent--especially women who are smart and don't do dumb things--likable, caring, and, best of all, do the right thing when it really matters.

If you're looking for a good romantic comedy, this one is a must-see film.

Takeaway Truth

This is truly the first modern romantic comedy with heart, soul, romance, and humor. Let's just call it a modern classic and be done with it.

Wise Use of Setting Enhances A Story

A good setting can enhance a book just as a good setting can enhance a gemstone.

Setting is a crucial element in a good story. When writing, I like the reader to know immediately where and when a story is set. It helps the reader get a handle on the story.

A good story clues you in immediately. How can you care for a character if you don't know where she is and when the story takes place.

Where and When

A story is always set in a certain place and at a certain time. A story set in Texas just won't be the same if it's set in New York or Paris.

In many books, the setting is like a character in the book. It can move the story along, create conflict for the characters, enhance the narrative in many ways -- big and small. Authors have reasons for the settings they choose, and it's more than just "writing what you know."

Some readers love historicals set in England and Scotland. Some love Texas or Southern stories. Some like the glitz of New York.

I set most of my books in Texas. The weather here is certainly conducive to using nature as a source of conflict plus we have everything from small towns to huge metropolitan areas and people from just about every state and country who have moved here.

Just about anything that can occur, happens in this state. Plus there's a certain cachet that Texas has. The state is known worldwide. When I've visited other countries and am asked where I'm from,  my answer always brings big smiles and an eagerness to talk about Texas.

Even when the TV show Dallas went off the air, that was the first thing someone in Paris mentioned.

I have truly been asked if I ride a horse to town. No kidding. Texas is "a whole other place" in the minds of those who don't live here. To those born in Texas, there's no better place to live and die. So I like to use Texas as a setting in many of my books.

Giveaway
Enter to Win This Journal

What's your favorite setting for books? What's your least favorite?

Leave your answer with your email addy written out in comments, and you'll be entered in a Giveaway to win a journal as shown here.

Why Last Christmas? Because I'm currently writing a Christmas novella for release in October so I'm in the Christmas Spirit.

Journal prize for Lower 48 winner only. If you live outside the lower 48, your prize will be an ebook copy of Last Christmas, which is set in a small Texas town.

Giveaway closes June 24, 2018. Winner chosen by random draw. No purchase necessary.

Takeaway Truth

Leave your answers in comments. I'd love to send you this beautiful journal!

7 Truths About A Writing Career

There are a lot of misconceptions about writers and what they do for a living.

If you've ever thought it would be easy to have a writing career, this post is for you.

If you've ever envied what seems to be the easy success of other authors, this post is for you.

I write from the standpoint of 35 years as a published author which doesn't count the years before that when I was a freelance writer.

Trust me, being a professional writer is not easy in any shape, form,000 or fashion.

7 Truths About A Writing Career

1. You won't get rich unless you are that one in a million, and no one can predict that so don't expect it. Do expect to work hard and be willing to learn.

2. It takes a bit of good luck to sell a book to an agent, a publisher, and readers and then to keep on selling.

3. Good luck seems to increase with hard work and a positive attitude.

4. Sometimes deals and plans fall apart for no apparent reason so have a Plan B ready to go. Then a Plan C, Plan D, etc. Always know what you're going to do when your great deal falls apart.

5. Sometimes what you think is a curse may turn out to be a blessing so be ready to roll with it.

6. Sometimes what you think is a blessing may turn out to be a curse so have that Plan B ready.

7. Always remember why you started writing in the first place—because you love putting words together. Always dwell on the pleasure of doing that. When you lose that joy, you might as well find another career.

8. Never publicly disrespect another author. If you are an author, then you know how hard an author works to bring a book to completion. Respect that by not denigrating the author in public.

(I've been shocked in the past at group book signings by authors who loudly express their disdain for another author. If you can't say something nice, say nothing.)

Takeaway Truth

Writing isn't just a career for those who love storytelling. The desire to write is inside the author—maybe in their soul, their subconscious, somewhere deep inside them—creating the desire to string words together.

Excerpt from Dead Heat, A Romantic Thriller

The dictionary defines Dead Heat as: a race in which two or more competitors finish in a tie.

In my novel Dead Heat, Sabrina Snow and John Galloway want to make sure there is no tie, that they triumph over the villain. The clock is ticking, and there's no time for mistakes.

Dead Heat is the second book in my Outlaw Ridge, Texas, series, and it was just as much fun to write as the first book Heat Lightning.

Blurbing The Book

She lies for a living so how can he trust her?

Sabrina Snow knew she was going to get herself killed if she didn’t get help. Someone was after her, and he wasn't going to stop. She ran to the only man she trusted...the only man who had the skills to save her.

Too bad Navy SEAL John Galloway probably hated her. That didn't matter because she owed him the truth even though she'd wanted to keep the knowledge from him. But what if she were killed? John needed to know where to look. If he'd hated her before, what would he feel once he learned the depth of her deception?


Naming The Villain

For me, naming the bad guy is always harder than naming the good guys. While an author wants a book to become a huge bestseller, we don't want to use a common name that may become associated with a heinous fictional villain. We definitely don't want to cause grief for a perfectly nice real person.

In naming villains, I do what Thomas Harris did in Silence of the Lambs. I create a moniker that probably isn't held by a real person. I mean have you ever heard of a real man named Hannibal Lechter? I don't think so. I followed Harris's method in Heat Lightning, Book 1 of Outlaw Ridge, and I did it in Dead Heat also.

In Dead Heat, the villain is known by many names. I introduce him early in the book as Shaitan--The Devil--a name from Islamic myth.

He's known by whatever the most common surname is in the country in which he operates: Kuznetsky in Russia and the former Soviet bloc countries; Kowalski in Poland; Kovacs in the Czech Republic, etc. If he had a base of operations in the U.S., his name would be Smith.

Excerpt from Dead Heat

The only thing that saved Sabrina Snow was the too-sensitive car alarm on the twenty-year-old Renault Espace she’d bought when she’d arrived in France.

One minute she’d been sound asleep, dreaming about babies and blue skies. The next, the old car’s wailing alarm split the night.

Adrenalin dumped into her bloodstream, and her internal timer kicked in.

One-one thousand.

Sabrina didn’t hesitate or take time to look out the window to see what or who had set off the ultra sensitive alarm. She thrust her feet into her hiking boots, slapped the Velcro fasteners into place, and grabbed her Glock from the nightstand. Over the ululating siren, she heard men shouting—cursing in Albanian—she thought.

Two-one thousand.

Another second or two is all it would take for someone with the right explosives to breach the old farmhouse’s heavy wooden door. Her combat knife was in its Kydex sheath strapped just above her right ankle and a spare knife, along with a double-stack magazine for her Glock, was in a webbing sheath hooked to her belt.

Three-one thousand.

She snagged her thermal coat from the doorknob on her way out of the room. The basics for escape and evasion were in the coat pockets even though she had that and more in her go-bag. She shoved her arms in the coat sleeves and zipped it as she raced downstairs.

Four-one thousand.

She threw open the cellar door, leaped down the short flight of stairs, and headed for the hidden entrance to the tunnel.

Five-one thousand.

Desperation gave her strength and speed. She shoved aside the dusty pile of old carpet and furniture that hid the opening to the tunnel and crawled inside. The dank smell of earth that hadn’t been disturbed in decades created an anxiety of its own. She didn’t like tunnels or small spaces. She slid the straps of the go-bag she’d placed there—just in case—onto her back.

Six-one thousand.

Sabrina pulled the timer from beneath a pile of rags. Her hands were steady as she set it to blow the charges she’d placed three feet inside the tunnel. She knew how much lead time she needed to reach the ladder at the other end. She shoved the timer under the rags.

Seven-one thousand.

Her feet wanted to fly, but discipline forced her to replace the carefully-constructed camouflage that hid the tunnel opening. That might buy her another minute. Maybe two if the hit team wasn’t very good.

Eight-one thousand.

The muffled boom of an explosion shook the old house. Dust drifted down from the tunnel ceiling. The front door had been blown. Her internal clock automatically switched to a countdown.

Three minutes to reach the other end of the tunnel and climb out.

With the Glock in her hand—just in case—Sabrina ran flat out, or as near to flat out as she could, given the height of the tunnel wasn’t made to accommodate her five feet ten inches of height.

When the charges went off, there would be nothing left of the ramshackle building, nor the earthen tunnel that had been dug by French resistance fighters in the second World War. There wouldn’t be anything left of her either if she was still in the tunnel.

Two minutes and thirty seconds left.

In the past, she’d managed a six-minute mile when she’d been in peak condition. Not bad, considering the Russian woman who held the world record had done it in a bit more than four minutes. But she’d never aspired to breaking records—just staying alive.

Two minutes left.

Sabrina’s breathing was loud and fast. Too fast. She wished she could have tacked on an extra thirty seconds. She wasn’t in peak condition. Hadn’t been for more than two years. Even though the other end of the tunnel wasn’t quite a mile, she was cutting it close.

The house wasn’t that large, and the only room with furniture had been the bedroom. She expected the hit team to get to the basement right about now. Sooner if they were good—or reckless. If she were lucky, it would take seconds more for them to find the camouflaged opening to the tunnel.

Assuming they didn’t already know about it.

Sabrina pushed that thought to the back of her mind and focused on getting to the other end of the dark tunnel. She had to get to John. He had the skills to help save her.

One minute and thirty seconds left.

She’d walked the tunnel enough times that she didn’t need a flashlight. The last time she’d had to run like this as if her life depended on it—which it did—was the last time Shaitan had sent a hit team for her.

One minute left.

A sharp pain bit into her side. She ignored it and kept running. Gulping the musty air, she reached the ladder at the other end. She’d have to increase the intensity of her workouts if she expected to stay alive. She dropped the Glock into her coat pocket and stepped onto the bottom rung of the rusty iron ladder and ascended, two rungs at a time.

Breathless, she reached her right hand up and found the square wood frame buried in the hard packed dirt. Her fingers searched for the crude wooden latch that secured the tunnel’s cover. A splinter rewarded her fumbling fingers, but she found the six-inch long chunk of wood. She gripped the handle, turned it, and pushed upward. The wooden hatch didn’t budge.

Thirty seconds left.

No! Not after all the preparations she’d made. Refusing to believe she was trapped in the tunnel, she pushed harder. Nothing.

She removed the backpack and held it in her right hand while she steadied herself with her left on the ladder. She climbed up another rung, until she was stooped below the hatch. She clung to the cold metal rung, bowed her back, and pushed up. Pain stabbed her back where it met the unyielding wood, but she kept pushing. The hatch shifted a little.

Twenty seconds left.

Despite the cold December air, Sabrina perspired. Something was blocking the exit. Encouraged by the small bit of movement in the hatch, she stepped down, slung the backpack on, pulled the straps tight, and repeated the movement, pushing upward with all her strength. She gave it everything she had.

Ten seconds left.

The wood creaked. Frantic now, she shoved even harder, groaning with the effort.

Time's up.

The world exploded.

Reviews For Dead Heat

"...fast-paced, action-packed conflict between the good guys and the bad. ...pulls in the reader and keeps the momentum at high level. As old problems resurface, the outcome of the couple’s steamy relationship is always in question.

"Reeves keeps the reader guessing as Sabrina struggles to hide life-changing secrets from John. If you like romantic suspense laced with tight tension, sympathetic characters and a swift pace, Dead Heat will leave you fully satisfied." ~ Amazon

"For those who love body-heat, that’s delivered with some serious Fahrenheit’s, too. It’s sensuous and sexy, a blend of desire and passion balanced to perfection. If you love suspense, and you also enjoy your romantic suspense served up with a high heat level, this book won’t disappoint." ~ Amazon

"A treacherous, action-filled book with an absolutely great storyline and really cool characters, that brought the story to life.

"A book that keeps you hooked until you reached the end. ...divine, I liked it, truly a masterpiece, in my opinion, the storyline was captivating and packed full of intrigue--a must read folks." ~ NetGalley

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from the latest book in the Outlaw Ridge, Texas series.

You can find Dead Heat only at Amazon. Buy it today and have an exciting romantic thriller to read this week.

Even though Dead Heat is part of the Outlaw Ridge, Texas, series, you don't have to read the first book in the series, Heat Lightning, ($2.99 because it's a shorter novel) in order to enjoy Dead Heat.

I construct all my books so that they are standalone with no cliff hangers to spoil your reading pleasure.

Of course, I'd love it if you did grab a copy of Heat Lightning. *g* Then you'll have 2 great romantic thrillers to read this week.

Takeaway Truth

Thanks for visiting with me today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Review: The Clapper

Second Chance Bride, Only on Amazon
In my latest book, Second Chance Bride, the heroine watches late night infomercials when she has insomnia.

If you watch infomercials, did you ever wonder about the people in the audience?

Where do they get these perky, enthusiastic people who are blown away by the product being demonstrated?

Watch The Clapper, a little film I watched on Netflix, and you'll realize those people are actors waiting for their break--or maybe knowing they've missed the boat when it comes to catching a break in Hollywood. The Clapper is also available on Amazon Prime Video.

This comedy film was written and directed by Dito Montiel and is based on his novel Eddie Krumble Is the Clapper.

Blurbing The Clapper

Eddie, played by Ed Helms, is kind of content—perhaps resigned is a better description. He makes his living as part of a paid audience for infomercials and unfunny sitcoms. He shills for infomercial—laughing uproariously, responding enthusiastically, laughing—whatever is called for.

He's got a crush on Judy, a gas station attendant played by Amanda Seyfried, but he's the typical shy guy scared to ask her out. His life is in a comfortable rut until night show host Jay Leno outs him as The Clapper of multiple infomercials. Suddenly, everyone wants to know who The Clapper is.

Instead of taking advantage of this temporary spotlight, Eddie runs from it. He loses his paid gig, and his entire life is torn apart. Can he pick up the pieces and make a new start? Will he get the girl?

My Take

There's some good talent in this film, and there are some amusing moments, but it's actually more poignant than uproariously funny. I thought the premise of a paid "clapper" could have been mined for more comedy.

This may be a case of the humor being left on the cutting room floor, or a book that didn't translate to film very well. I was interested enough in the premise to look the book up, and I might read it just to compare to the movie version.

Takeaway Truth

I haven't seen a great lineup of movies on Netflix recently, so if you're looking for something different, try The Clapper. Let me know if your reaction is different from mine.

Saturday Share: Summer Grapefruit Salad

I've been away from home a lot since the second week in May so I haven't been cooking much.

Now it's so hot I don't want to cook so I take the easy way out as often as possible.

One thing I especially enjoy in the summer is a good salad so that is definitely part of every meal.

Several days each week, I get Darling Hubby to grill some chicken and finish the meal with a big salad bowl.

Salad doesn't have to be limited to greens, tomatoes, and whatever else you put into it. I'm adventurous when it comes to salad. Greens, tomatoes, dried cranberries, pecans, strawberries, oranges--whatever dried or fresh fruit I have on hand along with pecans or almonds or sunflower seeds.
Pexels Photo Grapefruit #209549

A fruit salad pairs especially well with grilled chicken, and this refreshing grapefruit salad is really fabulous with it.

You can take luscious fresh red grapefruit, and peel and section them. I used to do that. It's a tedious messy job.

There's no denying that fresh grapefruit is better for you, but, frankly I never have the time to deal with fresh grapefruit.

So I take the easier alternative which is the large containers of Del Monte Sun Fresh Red Grapefruit Sections which you'll find in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle.

You can buy this grapefruit in 2 different versions: packed in light syrup made with sugar or No Sugar Added.

We are a household that avoids artificial sugar because of all the research that shows there's nothing good about them. Rather than help one lose weight, research shows that artificial sweeteners can actually make you gain weight.

So we go for the sugar added container. If you have health conditions that indicate otherwise, choose the No Sugar version.

Summer Grapefruit Salad

Ingredients

* Del Monte Sun Fresh Red Grapefruit Sections
pexels.com/photo/green-mint-214165 (ImagesThai.com)

* Fresh mint leaves, washed

* Del Monte SunFresh Red Grapefruit

Directions

* Add the grapefruit including the juice--about 3/4 cup per person--to a pretty serving bowl.

* Use about 1 tablespoon mint leaves per serving. If you love mint, use more. If you think the aroma and flavor are too strong, use less. Every person is different. Lightly crush the mint leaves to bring out the aroma.

* Add the mint to the bowl of grapefruit and stir.

* Refrigerate the grapefruit salad until you're ready to serve. This makes a delicious salad that's almost like a palate cleanser. It also makes a wonderful light dessert to end the meal if you have something heartier than chicken--like a grilled steak.

Takeaway Truth

Light, fat free, and low calorie--even if you choose the sugar added grapefruit--this summery salad dessert is an easy way too add more fruit to one's diet.

2 Ways To Get Started Writing Each Day

Many years ago, I learned something vitally important from writers I admired--writers who had published dozens of books.

The truth they shared? Keep your focus on your work in progress every day. Staying with it day after day is the key to keep going to the end.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about those who wait for inspiration, and how that's not a good thing. What you need is to take action, and that's what this post is about.

Every morning when a writer faces the computer monitor, there's that moment of "Ugh. I don't want to do this."

Now that's not really the truth. It's a lie--it's the inertia we all feel about starting the work day. For a writer, that means pulling words out of your brain. Writing that first sentence is the hardest sentence of the day.

I learned early in my career to make it easy to get started each day by leaving nothing to chance.

Writers who don't write regularly have a difficult time getting the words to flow. Sometimes the flow is less than a drizzle, only a drip or two. If they give up, it's even harder the next day. Here are...

2 Ways To Get Started Writing Each Day

(1) Pros prime the pump every day by leaving a dangling thread on the previous day's work. That thread makes it easy to dive into the work the next day. That may mean not finishing a chapter, but quitting a few sentences short from doing that. Then the next morning, you know exactly what you must first do. Or maybe it means not even finishing a sentence, but leaving it hanging.

Example: Jack read the letter, his panic increasing with every word. What could...

When the next morning rolls around, finish that sentence, and you'll find you keep going.

(2) Prime the pump, so to speak, by reading over what you wrote the previous day, and then dive into the current day's writing.

Do not edit if you're in rough draft. You want to get the story to the end.

If you see something you want changed, make a note and stick it on your outline or your monitor or in a running log of changes.

Takeaway Truth

Try these tips to keep you moving forward--toward the end of your project. When you've made the habit of starting every day with the thread you left, you'll save yourself time, angst, and also learn to enjoy the journey.