Lone Star Conference

This morning I want to remind you about the 2012 Lone Star Conference in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 13, 2012.

Noted author and speaker James Scott Bell will be giving his Plot And Structure Workshop. This is a great opportunity because, normally, when Mr. Bell speaks, the conference fee is enormous. He's a heavy hitter so don't miss him.

Only $130.00, this conference is a bargain. For more info, visit the page for theNorthwest Houston Romance Writers of America Conference.

Takeaway Truth

The Lone Star Conference is one of the best around. Take advantage of the chance to meet editors, agents, and authors published traditionally and as indies.

Wow! 3 More Websites for Free Books

If I keep finding websites that list free books, I'll keep delivering them to you.

Readers, get ready to click the mouse so you can visit and bookmark 3 more websites where you can find free ebooks listed.

Authors, you get ready to click and bookmark these sites too. Yes, you want bargains too, but you also want websites where you can list your book if you have a free book promotion running.


Like so many of the websites that list free ebooks, the focus is Kindle more often than not. Do not be dismayed. If an ebook is free on Kindle, it's probably free on the other platforms too. If you find a book you want, visit your favorite ebook seller and check to see if it's free there too.

If it's not free at your fave book spot, which is highly unlikely, you can always download the Kindle app for a device of your choice and get it that way.

Remember, be sure the book you want is still showing as $0.00 (free) at the ebook seller because these website owners have no control over when a book cycles off the free promotion. It's free when they list it, but it's up to you to verify that it's still free when you buy it.

On your mouse. Get set. Go!

E Reader News Today

This site offers Tips, Tricks, and Bargains for your Kindle.

Readers, you'll find free and bargain Kindle books.

Authors, you want to visit ENT Free Book Submissions to list your book for free. Note: you must send in your submissions at least 3 days before your book will be going free, or it will not be posted.

The Kindle Daily Deal

Author Phil Torcivia brings you a list of Amazon's Kindle Daily Deals at this site.

Readers, you'll find deals, bargains, and free books listed. Use the menu tabs on the left sidebar to find what you want.

Authors, you'll want to contact Phil to find out how to list your book. Technically, the listing is free, but he asks that you buy one of his books in exchange.

Free Nook Books

Just like Amazon, Barnes & Noble has lists of free Nook books. So all you readers with Nooks, bookmark this page or just do a search for "free Nook books" when you shop the Barnes & Noble website.

Authors, you know the drill. You can make your book free here, but there's no spotlight or free advertising for it.

Takeaway Truth

Ebooks are bargain entertainment. Stock up on some today for the Labor Day weekend.

Condoleezza Rice For President!

Between the writing and some necessary housecleaning -- ugh! -- I'm late blogging today. What follows is personal, so feel free to move on if you're not interested.

A short while ago I watched Condoleezza Rice give a speech at the Republican convention. I'll be honest, I abhor politics. I don't watch the conventions -- either one -- usually. I always vote, but I can't stand all the mud slinging in the guise of political announcements.

I do think the country is in terrible economic shape, and I think something must be done. So I hope whoever ends up in the big chair has an effective plan.

All that aside, I want to tell you how much I admire Condoleezza Rice. The woman is simply phenomenal. She's smart and has common sense and charisma. I'd vote for her in a NY minute. Heck! I'd campaign for her, and the only other politician I ever said that about was the late Barbara Jordan from Texas. She was another amazing woman. I truly thought she might end up in the White House, but her time on this earth was cut short.

I think the only reason you don't see Ms. Rice on the ballot as Romney's running mate is that she's smart enough NOT to want the job, and I can't say I blame her. Who would want to voluntarily enter that shark pool.

I hear people talking about the lack of leadership in this country; the lack of brains; the lack of will. I don't see any of that when I look at someone like Ms. Rice. I see courage, intelligence, perseverance, the will to prevail, and I see those same qualities in so many of our service men and women, in the immigrants who have done everything they can -- including risking death -- to get to this country. I see it in my children and in many of their generation.

Anyway, that's all I wanted to say after listening to her inspired -- and inspiring -- speech.

Takeaway Truth

Are you registered to vote? If not, take care of that matter tomorrow. If you don't vote, you have no right to complain about who does what in the government.

Amazing Dance Video to Bee Gees Stayin' Alive

I didn't think I'd have time to post today, but my friend Elaine Chase just sent me this video.

Famous dance sequences from old movies are seamlessly incorporated with the Bee Gees Stayin' Alive song. It's awesome!

Takeaway Truth

Some things are just too delightful NOT to pass on immediately. Enjoy!

How To Read An Ebook

Since I've been reading ebooks for a few years, I'm always surprised to discover there are people who don't know how to take advantage of the low-priced ebooks they hear about.

This post is for those of you who know about ebooks, but who don't know how to read them without buying an expensive ebook reader.

Basically, there are 2 ways to read ebooks: with a dedicated ebook reader device or with an ebook reader software application loaded on some device of your choice.

The price of dedicated ebook readers keeps falling. New ones cost much less than they used to, and there are refurbished models offered at rock bottom prices.

Read With Dedicated Ebook Device

Although Kindle is considered the device that really put ebooks on the map, so to speak, there are many dedicated ebook reading devices in the market. They are available from their respective websites but also from retail stores like Office Depot, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc.

Some of these devices (each device has several different types) are Kindle by Amazon, Nook by Barnes & Noble, Kobo Reader by KoboBooks, Sony Reader by Sony, iPad by Apple, and so many more.

Most of the comparison charts offered on websites of the many different devices are out of date. I found Top Ten Reviews is current, but, as the title suggests, it's limited to the top ten ereaders.

Wikipedia Comparison is comprehensive, and it shows that it was updated August 16, 2012. This chart lists just about every device there is.

Kim Komando Compares Ereaders is good, but that chart is from last year.

Read With Ebook Reader Software Application On Device Of Your Choice

For every dedicated ebook reader device, there is a corresponding software application that can be downloaded to multiple devices like all major smart phones, computers, tablets, iPods, or The Cloud, etc. that enable you to read an ebook without buying a special device.

Here are some of the devices you can use to read ebooks: Mac or PC computers, Android phones or tablets, iPhones, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry, Windows Phone, or The Cloud.

You can download any or all of these software applications based on where you want to buy ebooks. For example, if you want to buy exclusively from Amazon, download the Kindle Reading Apps for the device of your choice.

If you want to buy from Nook, either exclusively or maybe sometimes, then download the Nook Reading Apps for the device of your choice.

The same is true if you want to buy from Kobo Books, download the Kobo Reading Apps.

I have a Kindle, but I also have the Kindle App on my laptop and iPhone, the Nook app on my Desktop PC, and the Kobo Books App too. I have my books on all the major ebook seller sites so I like to see how each book displays on the respective ebook apps plus I like to support the different ebook sellers with purchases.

Check out the websites of the various ebook retailers. Select the one or ones from which you want to buy. Download the reading app for the device you want to use -- your smart phone, computer, tablet, or whatever. Set up an account from where you want to buy, and you're set to take advantage of low-cost or free ebooks.

Takeaway Truth

Reading ebooks is easy. Start building your ebook library today.

Time or The Lack Thereof

All summer, my complaints -- silent and those I express aloud -- have all had a recurring theme: lack of time.

I just don't seem to have enough time to do all the things I want to do and need to do. Of course, that probably means either that I'm attempting to do too many things or I'm not managing my time well. Probably a little of both.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, "Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days."

Have you ever taken a day planner or a piece of paper and divided it up into 24 segments then notated everything you did in every hour of the day? That's eye opening.

When I find myself complaining about lack of time, I do this and realize that failure to use my time effectively -- or lack of focus -- is my real problem.

Takeaway Truth

If you're having a problem accomplishing tasks, try analyzing your 24-hour day. That might help you get back on track.

Review: Lost In Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel

It's late to be posting my weekly review, but I just finished reading Lost In Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel. The book took longer to finish than usual since the novel turned out to be rather long, but it was worth it.

If you've ever been in a foreign country and had the slightest moment of unease about your location or an awareness of a stranger who makes you uneasy, you'll understand the premise of this book.

If you have an imagination, you'll understand that kind of "OMG moment" even if you've never found yourself alone on a side street in Firenze, followed by a couple of men who look like what the locals call gypsies. Makes me shudder just remembering that little incident.

(As is my custom when I review ebooks, I give the Kindle Buy Links because I read most books on my Kindle. However, I'm certain every book I review is available at most ebook sellers so look for them on the platforms that match your ebook reading device. Click here to shop for your very own Kindle.)

Blurbing The Book

Control freak doesn't begin to describe Halli Sanders, a young woman with deep-seated trust issues. She and her brother Ben and her sister Rachel are in Italy intent on having a vacation of a lifetime. When Halli gets stranded and unwittingly films a crime, she finds herself rescued by American action film star Trent Tomlin who is out to prove that his brother's death was a murder, not a suicide.

Halli's carefully planned itinerary hadn't included car chases, abductions, unending danger, and falling in love, but nothing seems to work out as she'd planned. What's more, she has no control over the unfolding events, and neither does Trent who probably wishes some director would yell, "Cut."

My 2 Cents

Engaging characters, a wildly implausible plot that the author skillfully makes the reader believe is plausible, and tension that ratchets up with every chapter, Lost In Italy is a compelling read that makes you root for Halli and Trent. Sometimes, you'd like to slap Halli and tell her to stow the emotional baggage and have a modicum of trust, but that just means that the author did a good job in showing her with all of her conflicting emotions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found myself grinning at the ending and thinking that these two people had a shot at "happily ever after."

Takeaway Truth

Reading is the least expensive form of entertainment, and ebooks are the biggest bargain around.

News for Readers & Writers

I'm really late today in getting my blog post written. Darling husband came home from the Big Apple last night. Spending time with him is more important than blogging and just about anything else I can think of.

Amazon India

The big news for authors who publish with Amazon is that India now has a Kindle store! Welcome, readers from India.If you're interested in romance novels, I hope you'll give mine a look. I have ebooks and audio books available.

Back To School Special For Authors

Amara Pierce, Director of Author Promotions at Book Candy Studios, emailed me to tell me about the back to school special they're running for authors. As Amara says, "Why should kids get all the breaks?"

For a limited time, authors can receive 20% off any order. If you're unfamiliar with their work, visit Book Candy Studios and take a peek at their affordable packages, designed as an "add-on" to enhance any book promotional program.

Plus, Book Candy offers free promotion for authors in the form of "Open Book Friday" at their Facebook fanpage. Check out their video.

Audio Book Special Promotion Starts Today

Thousands of titles have been discounted to $5.95 at Audible.com from now through Sept. 2. For those with subscription packages, that price is discounted further. One of my titles, Just One Look, is offered at this special promotion price. Fill your iPod or MP3 player today. I know I have since some of my favorite authors have audio books in this special promotion.

Takeaway Truth

I like to spend Friday evening reading. I'm headed for the couch with my fully charged Kindle. Tomorrow I'll review what I read tonight. See you on Saturday!

Cool! 3 More Websites for Free Books

Yep! I have 3 more websites where free ebooks are listed.

Readers, get ready to click the mouse so you can visit and bookmark 3 more websites where you can find free ebooks listed.

Authors, you get ready to click and bookmark these sites too. Yes, you want bargains too, but you also want websites where you can list your book if you have a free book promotion running.

On your mouse. Get set. Go!

Digital Book Today

Readers, click the menu tab at the top that says: Best Free Books. You might also want to check out the Author Interviews.

Authors, you'll want to click the menu tab that says: Feature Your Book. They have paid and free promotions. You'll also want to take a look at the News for Authors link.

Free Booksy

Their motto is: "We love free books, and we help you find them."

Readers, you'll love this site. Visit the menu tabs at the top for Free eBooks and Book Giveaways. They even offer listings of Free Audio Books.

Authors, after you check out the free books, you'll want to visit the menu tab For Authors. Unless you want to pay some rather hefty advertising bucks, you'll be most interested in the Market Your Book on Facebook, an app they offer for free.

Free Kindle Books and Tips

This wonderful site is the brainchild of my buddy Michael Gallagher. His information is organized well, and he posts multiple times a day. Best of all he offers tips on how to get the most from your Kindle device. Just about everything I know about my Kindle, I learned from reading Michael's blog.

Readers, you'll want to bookmark this site or even subscribe to the Kindle edition -- that's what I do so I don't miss any updates.

Authors, all you have to do is fill out the form found at the For Authors link on the website. You must have an average rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars to be considered. If your book is selected, Michael will contact you in advance by email.


Like so many of the websites that list free ebooks, the focus is Kindle more often than not. Do not be dismayed. If an ebook is free on Kindle, it's probably free on the other platforms too. If you find a book you want, visit your favorite ebook seller and check to see if it's free there too.

If it's not free at your fave book spot, which is highly unlikely, you can always download the Kindle app for a device of your choice and get it that way.

Oh, and another reminder: be sure the book you want is still showing as $0.00 (free) at the ebook seller because these website owners have no control over when a book cycles off the free promotion. It's free when they list it, but it's up to you to verify that it's still free when you buy it. 

Takeaway Truth

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but reading a good book a day keeps the shrink away by expanding your horizon, invigorating your brain, and entertaining you. Not bad for such a small price.

Introducing Amazing Narrators

Today, I want to introduce some amazing women to you. Felicia Greenfield, Robin Kohn Glazer, and Christine Padovan, the narrators for my first 3 audio books.

I'm singing the Hallelujah chorus because my first audio book, Just One Look, is once again available for sale.

Felicia Greenfield

Just One Look is narrated by Felicia Greenfield, an actress with an extensive resume in theater, television, and film, this book is like a great romantic comedy movie! Felicia is amazing! She told me recently that she's doing cartoon work now. I just hope her schedule loosens up so she can do another of my books because she truly makes the characters come alive.

Robin Kohn Glazer

My second audio book is available too. Still The One is narrated by Robin Kohn Glazer who has an amazing resume. When she was young, she was the voice of Lucy in several TV specials -- that's Lucy Van Pelt, created by Charles Schulz in Peanuts! I still watch the Peanuts specials, and Robin was in some of my favorites -- my kids' favorites too. (My kids now think I ROCK!)

In addition to her other body of work, Robin was Lucy in:

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Snoopy Come Home

You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown

There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown.

I was honored that she narrated Still The One.

Christine Padovan

Last, but not least by any means, is Romeo and Judy Anne, narrated by the talented Christine Padovan. Choosing Christine as the narrator for Romeo and Judy Anne was a clear example of serendipity since the hero Roman Carlisle has some dialogue in Italian, and, it turns out, Christine's family is from the northern part of Italy, and she speaks Italian!

With a resume similar to the other narrators I've chosen, Christine has worked in TV, film, theater, and has done much voice over and narration work. In fact, she has narrated several audio books that are available on Audible.

Thanks, ladies! You made me proud!

Takeaway Truth

No matter how good the story, if the narration isn't excellent, the audio book is lifeless. Great narrators breathe life into stories. These three are great.

The Skinny on Audio Books

I took a long working weekend in an attempt to bring 4 projects to a close. I made myself stay offline for most of that time. Wow! That gets harder to do with every wired week that passes.

In the meantime, a lot has been happening in the audio book world. Discussions about audio books have been ongoing on several authors' lists to which I subscribe.

Since my second audio book Still The One just became available on Audible. It should be up on iTunes and appear on the book's Amazon page shortly. This audio book was performed by Robin Kohn Glazer, an accomplished actress (chances are you've seen her on TV and movies) who did a fabulous job with my book.

Since I've been immersed in the audio book production process all summer, I thought I'd pass along some insights I've garnered as well as tell you about some special audio book promotions starting this weekend on Audible.


1. Audio books are best produced by professionals.

Just because you're an author who created the book, doesn't mean you have the skills to narrate the book -- no matter how well you read. If you want an example to prove this point, look at the audio book of Promise Me by Harlan Coben. Mr. Coben decided to narrate the audio book himself. I don't wish to insult one of my favorite authors, so I'll only say that Mr. Coben needs to stick with creating his fabulous novels and leave audio book narration to the pros.

2. Even when you, the author, leave it to the pros, you-know-what happens.

My first audio book, Just One Look, has been MIA since I notified ACX that the Closing Credits audio file appeared in place of the Introduction file. That was corrected by the book's audio producer immediately, but the book had to go back through the Verification process. I was notified last night that the audio book of Just One Look would again be on sale tomorrow, Aug. 22. (I've linked it to the Audible page where it was initially sold. Tomorrow, I'll find out if that is still a good link.)

Through no fault of my own, I lost momentum and time. Because I listened to the audio book and knew it was wonderful, I was frustrated every day that it wasn't available for sale. The "voice actor" who did the book, Felicia Greenfield, brought it to life. I even laughed aloud as if I'd never heard the banter between the characters before.

3. When bad things happen, do what you can to resolve the problems and find something good in the situation -- that silver lining to the storm cloud -- then move on.

There will always be unexpected challenges with something new. Don't take it too hard. I spent way too much time being frustrated which only made me feel bad and put the kabosh on my creativity before I shrugged, said, "Oh, FISH." and moved on. Suck it up as soon as possible and walk it off.

Audio Book Special Promotions

Audible is running 2 special promotions to introduce those who haven't yet discovered the joys of audio books to the pleasures of narrated books. I've been a long time fan of audio books, and you will love them too once you try one.

With Audible, you can download a book in just about any format so you can play it on your iPod or  MP3 player, your computer, or even burn a CD and play it in your car if you're still listening to CDs.

Commute to the office or wherever and listen to a great book -- like mine perhaps that will make you laugh and feel good? Listen while you drive or ride the bus or the subway. Listen while you mow the yard or clean the house or do your miles on the treadmill or stand in line at the grocery checkout.

Promotion #1

Save 20% on Audible Gift Certificates from now to Sept. 2, 2012, at 11:59pm ET.

Promotion #2

Special $5.95 Audio Books  promotion starts August 25 and runs through Sunday, September 2. During that time, you can choose from 1,000 audio books and buy for only $5.95 each.

If my audio books are part of this, I'll give special links here on SlingWords at 8 am Central, on Aug. 25. Use those special links, and you can buy my audio books for only $5.95.

Every Day Special

Subscribe to an Audible plan.This runs all the time. Subscribe to their special $7.49 plan, and you can get one of my audio books for only $7.49, the least expensive plan on Audible. Pay only $7.49 a month for 3 months. The details are on the linked page. You have no obligation and can cancel at any time.

Takeaway Truth

Audio books are fabulous. They can take away the tedium of commuting, traveling, mundane chores and tasks, and entertain you all at the same time.

Review: The Stolen Series by Elizabeth Naughton

Today I'm reviewing an entire series: Stolen by Elizabeth Naughton. You see here the image for the Stolen Series Box Set.

As is my custom when I review ebooks, I give the Kindle Buy Links because I read most books on my Kindle. However, I'm certain every book I review is available at most ebook sellers so look for them on the platforms that match your ebook reading device. Click here to shop for your very own Kindle.

In 2010, Ms. Naughton was a Double RITA Nominee (Best Romantic Suspense, Best First Book) for the first book of this series: Stolen Fury (Stolen Series Book #1)

Stolen Fury was offered free so I grabbed a copy. After reading the intense sexy romantic suspense, I was hooked and eagerly plunked down $3.99 for the other 2 books in the series.

The 3 Stolen Books

To unearth a centuries-old secret, an archaeologist must team up with the rakish thief who’s stolen both an ancient relic and her heart… This story features Dr. Lisa Maxwell who yields to the seduction of sexy Rafe Sullivan. When she winds up alone in bed the next morning with her treasure and her self-respect stolen, she's out to regain both along with handing out a significant amount of payback.

Stolen Heat (Stolen Series Book #2)

Antiquities dealer Peter Kauffman, introduced as Rafe's best friend and partner in Stolen Fury, is stunned to discover the only woman he ever loved did not die in a taxi bombing six years before. In all those six years while he grieved, she never once got in touch with him, and that fuels his anger when he discovers Egyptologist Katherine Meyer is alive. But, with killers looking for her -- and now for him -- she may not stay that way for long.

Stolen Seduction (Stolen Series Book #3)

Rounding out the series, is the story of Hailey Roarke, introduced as Rafe's ex-wife in Book 1, and Chicago PD Detective Shane Maxwell, also introduced in Book 1 as Lisa's twin brother.

Hailey, an ex-cop from Key West with a family that put the "dys" in dysfunctional, has been thrust into the position of head of her late father's corporation. When she meets Shane again on a trip to Chicago, and is rejected by him again, events are set in motion to frame her and force Shane to make a choice about her and what she means to him.

What Makes This Series Work

The unifying characteristics of this series are: strong characterization, believable secondary characters, good plots, excellent emotional conflict that keeps the lovers apart, and riveting sexual attraction between the characters that makes their inevitable consummation believable.

The sexual tension is intense -- just as it should be. The heroes are testosterone-fueled yet sensitive to the women they love -- to all her needs, not just sexually, but to what she needs emotionally and what she needs to be happy with who she is.

After reading 1 book, you'll be hooked so go ahead and buy the boxed set if you wish. All the books will end up on your keeper shelf. Or, grab the free book then buy books 2 and 3.

Takeaway Truth

One of my favorite poets Emily Dickinson wrote: "There is no Frigate like a Book, To take us Lands away...." That was another element of this series with settings in Egypt, Chicago, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Excellent choices for armchair traveling -- and for great romantic suspense.

Another 3 Places For Free Books

Today, on Thursday3Some, I offer 3 more websites where free ebooks are listed.

Readers, get ready to click the mouse. I'm going to list 3 more websites where you can find free ebooks listed.

Authors, you get ready to click and bookmark these sites too. Sure, you're readers looking for bargains, but you're also looking for websites where you can list your book if you have a free book promotion running.

On your mouse. Get set. Go!

Addicted To eBooks

This website has low-priced ebooks on the main page.

Readers, a menu tab at the top takes you to a section for Free Kindle eBooks.

Authors, a menu tab at the top takes you to the Submission Form.

GalleyCat Facebook Page

GalleyCat's New Books section is a place you can list new releases.

Readers, you'd have to scroll down to check the listings and see if there are free books listed.

Authors, the submission page doesn't preclude listing free books, but GalleyCat doesn't list every book. They're selective in choosing books to be featured, but your book might get featured and receive a lot of exposure.

Author Marketing Club

Readers, sign up for free and get notified of new, free Kindle books. You'll also be able to interact with authors who have signed up and learn about books before they are published.

Authors, sign up is free for you also. You can improve your visibility, solicit reviews, and share your marketing skills with other authors. There's a lot of content on the website that might help you improve your marketing and promotion.

Takeaway Truth

Pick up a good ebook today or list one -- at any of these sites!

Still The Most Published Book

Book publishing is changing every day. If you're an indie author, you're also a publisher. That's a heavy mantle to assume in light of the history of book publishing which one could conceivably say is a history of civilization.

The most published book in the world is still the Bible despite what some Harry Potter fans may think. Here are some more interesting facts about the Bible.

1. Johannes Gutenberg (spelled correctly here) was the first European to produce a book printed with movable type. (Books printed using movable type were produced in China more than 500 years before Gutenberg.) Gutenberg’s first book was The Bible.

2. The shortest verse in the Bible consists of two words. "Jesus wept." (John 11:35)

3. Several early English Bibles are famous because of their errors, not their workmanship or beauty. The textual idiosyncrasies have made certain Bibles eagerly sought by collectors.

4. The Breeches Bible, 1560, states that Adam and Eve "sewed fix tree leaves together and made themselves breeches."

5. The Bug Bible, 1551, incorrectly translated the 91st Psalm ("Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.") as "Thou shalt not be afraid of any buggies by night."

6. The Treacle Bible, 1568, used the word treacle (a dark brown very sweet sugar syrup) instead of balm in the verse: "Is there no balm in Gilead?"

A rose may be a rose, but "Is there no treacle in Gilead?" certainly loses the mellifluous sound to the ear, that poetic quality that makes a line memorable -- for the right reasons.

Takeaway Truth

There's a reason successful publishers always used human proofreaders.

Musings: Danger In The News

Flat Screen Televisions

I never thought much about the following situations that these warnings address, but, after reading about them, I think it's important to make everyone aware of them.

A recent insurance company newsletter I received stated that there had been a 41% increase in television tipover related injuries to children during the last 20 years.

Part of this is because in the last decades, it was common to have more than one television per household.

Within the last 5 years, the proliferation of flat screen televisions, which are front-heavy and have a narrow center of gravity, the chance of even a small child pulling one off a stand increased dramatically. Even though these TV's are lighter in weight -- thus easier to pull or knock off -- they still are heavy enough to cause damage to a child. So secure the TV from little hands and boisterous children.

Rachel $1000 Email Scam

This one is so obvious that I can't believe anyone ever falls for stuff like this, but, apparently they do. This one started going around last week. So if you get an email from "Rachel" telling you that you’ve won $1,000.00 Visa gift card, and if you opened it, check your computer to see if malicious software got planted on your computer.

Honestly, if something sounds too good to be true then it usually is.


If you live or travel in a state that is hot and dry, for God's sake, don't throw cigarette butts or matches out a car window. I know if you're a smoker, that you get used to doing these things, but the results can be devastating in hot weather states where there's never enough rainfall in the summer.

In parts of Texas, there are signs on the roadside asking drivers not to do this, but it's appalling how many drivers just ignore those caution signs. Please be aware of your actions.

Takeaway Truth

Be careful out there.


Every weekend when we drive up to our hideaway in the Hill Country, we stop and buy a watermelon, my very favorite fruit which is actually a berry. Did you know that?

Nothing says summertime like watermelon. When I was very young, my older brother and I would visit our grandparents on hot, summer afternoons. My grandfather would always have a watermelon sitting in the shade of the back porch to stay cool.

In mid-afternoon, halfway between dinner and supper, my grandfather would cut that enormous melon. Back then, watermelons were huge -- none of these small melons you see in supermarkets now. Farmers prided themselves on growing melons that weighed 20+ pounds with prize-winning melons hitting the scale at 40-50 pounds. When we had the afternoon's watermelon treat, the cut wedge was about 18 inches long -- bigger than the child who held it.

Watermelons were cut on the porch so the juice wouldn't make a mess in the kitchen. My grandmother always brought the salt shaker out on the porch. You don't see that any more, but my grandparents' generation liked to sprinkle salt on the cut melon. I guess it brought forth the juice and made the melon taste even sweeter by contrast.

Takeaway Truth

In Pudd'nHead Wilson, Mark Twain wrote this about watermelon: "It is the chief of this world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented."

Review: Templar Seduction by Mary Reed McCall

The Templar's Seduction by Mary Reed McCall is the first historical romance I've read in a long time -- other than books by friends who write historical.

Back in the heyday of historical romance, I read about 3 of these babies each week, and the books were a lot bigger then than now. I cut my teeth on Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Catherine Coulter, and Jude Deveraux.

After a few years of that, I guess I was burned out. I'll be honest. I bought this book based on the title. I'm a sucker for anything about the Knights Templar, and I don't care if it's nonfiction, historical romance, or contemporary thriller.

As is my custom when I review ebooks, I give the Kindle Buy Link because I read most books on my Kindle. However, I'm certain every book I review is available at most ebook sellers so look for them on the platforms that match your ebook reading device. (Want your own Kindle? Click here.)

About The Templar Seduction

Captured by a powerful English lord and sentenced to hang for murder, errant Templar Knight Sir Alexander de Ashby thinks he has little to lose until he finds he holds a friend's fate in his hands. When offered a chance to save his friend because he looks like the twin of the Scottish Earl of Marston who died while in English custody, he chooses to impersonate the man and infiltrate the Scottish stronghold, giving secret information to the English who plan to capture the castle.

Alex doesn't count on Lady Elizabeth, as smart as she is beautiful, who was the real earl's wife.She knows immediately that he is an impostor, but Alex woos her and passion convinces her she is wrong.

Alex and Elizabeth discover a love that is real, but the truth threatens everything that he wants that he never dreamed he could have. In a time, when Honor meant everything to a man yet women were considered without Honor, Alex clings to that newly-discovered ideal while Elizabeth is prepared to cast it in the very faces of those who will determine their fate.

Honor and redemption or dishonor and death?

My Take

I really enjoyed this book! It had everything a sweeping historical romance should have: the Knights Templar as mythic heroes; a larger than life hero who is physically appealing, mentally sharp, impassioned of the heroine, and who has a great sense of humor; and a heroine who is intelligent, loving, vulnerable, and able to see beyond the obvious.

Takeaway Truth

A good story is like a little vacation between the covers of a book.

Random: Jane Austen, Go Indie, & Navy SEAL

This morning I was so exhausted after my workout that I crashed in front of the TV to recover. I put on the Ang Lee version of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition DVD) with the intention of watching only ten minutes.

Big mistake. Of course I ended up watching the entire movie. I love that adaptation. Such restrained performances by Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and Hugh Grant. So I'm running late the rest of the day now. (But it was worth it. A little Jane Austen -- even a movie -- is better than no Jane Austen at all.

Go Indie!

A couple of days ago Smashwords announced that they'd just concluded another deal. This time they're adding to their library distribution with Library Direct, a new service that allows libraries and library networks to acquire and establish large opening collections of ebooks, direct from Smashwords.

They said they already had purchase commitments from three library systems, each of which will acquire some variation of the top 10,000 best-selling titles at Smashwords. These purchase commitments total about $100,000.


Did you see the documentary a while back on Navy SEALs, especially Seal Team 6? Exceptionally good doc. A friend of mine who is military sent me what follows. Wryly humorous, I think it pretty much encapsulates the documentary I saw.

Dana Perrino ( Fox News) described an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL. After discussing all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to learn several languages?

His reply:"Oh no ma'am, we don't go there to talk."

Takeaway Truth

Happy Friday!

3 Funny Videos For Writers

I've been watching some old videos saved to my Favorites on YouTube. For your entertainment this morning, here are 3 of my favorites.

Harlan Ellison's rant about people wanting writers to do it for free. Warning: profanity-laced.

Jane Austen's Fight Club is simply hilarious.

Before and After Photoshop is proof that you should never believe everything you see in a world where photo editing software exists.

Takeaway Truth

Watching my collection of YouTube videos makes me want to connect a computer to my BA-TV for an evening of entertainment.

Universal Laws

How about some humor to start over-the-hump day? My friend Frank in Albuquerque sent me these. I don't know who first uttered these or when. (If you can prove ownership, email me and I'll add your name as creator.)

Universal Laws
by Unknown

1. Law of Mechanical Repair
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

2. Law of Accessibility
Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act

4. Law of Variation
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

5. Law of Close Encounters
The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

6. Law of Result
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

7. Law of Biomechanics
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

8. Law of Coffee
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

9. Law of Physical Surfaces
The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.

10. Law of Logical Argument
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

11. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance
If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

12. Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy
As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

Takeaway Truth

Reeves Law of Writing – If a writer is trying to think of the perfect phrase or plot element, it will pop into her head after she is in bed and falling asleep – seldom to be remembered when she awakes the next morning.

Finding The Perfect Title

Recently, I blogged on 99cents ebooks (What's In A Name?) about the importance of good titles.

I thought some more about this and came up with some tips to help you if you have a tough time finding the perfect title.

Title First Aid

1. Listen to music – with and without lyrics. Lyrics might give you a word or phrase that inspires. Just music alone may emphasize the tone or mood of the book and put you in the mood where your brain is more creative and will spit out words that might become a title.

2. Read: the classics, poetry, the Bible, Shakespeare, dictionaries of proverbs, cliches, or slang phrases – depending on what kind of book you've written. Countless numbers of books have titles from the Bible or Shakespeare's works. Mine what you read for titles and let what you read make your imagination soar.

3. Watch movies and television. Make terse notes -- using just a word or two -- about the impressions you get from what you watch.

4. Brainstorm. Do this by yourself, with family, and with friends. Have a title party. Invite some writing friends and sit around and spew words. Title by committee which, I'm guessing, would be similar to television and movie writing by committee.

How To Brainstorm

1. Make a list of words that you think describe your book – adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs. Write down every word you can think of that depicts the plot, the tone, the theme, the action, the hero, the setting, the relationships, etc. Maybe listen to music that you've "matched" to the book while you do this. Then look at the list of words. Draw circles around the ones that resonate. Can you combine a couple into a succinct title?

2. Try the 2 column method. Arrange the words you've thought of in columns. Adjectives in one, nouns in another. Do the same for adverbs and verbs. Then pick 1 word from each column to arrive at an adjective and noun or an adverb and verb phrase.

3. Use all this to go off on any tangent that leads you to another phrase or word.

Unharness Your Imagination

When you brainstorm, don't harness your imagination by sticking to a category. Combine a note you made about a book or movie with a word or two about your particular story. That's how I came up with the title for the book that I'll soon publish -- Scents and Sensuality.

I was reading Sense and Sensibility again, and it suddenly hit me -- a play on words with Scents taking the place of Sense because the heroine of my book is a perfumer. Sensuality because it sounds somewhat similar to Sensibility and the pairing reminds me of the Austen title. Also, body scent is directly related to sex appeal and perceived sensuality. The science of sex appeal is another important element of my new romantic comedy.

Takeaway Truth

A rose by any other name might still smell the same, but a book by any other title might never get bought. I think Margaret Mitchell was smart to cast aside her original title, Tomorrow Is Another Day, in favor of Gone With The Wind.

Musing About Changes

Good morning! Are you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning? My grandfather always used to say that in the mornings, and it never failed to make me laugh.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? I can't think of anything that would describe except perhaps a squirrel. The phrase is so weird. Some day, I'll have to research its origin.

In the meantime, here's some news from around the cyber world.

Author Deaths

You probably heard that the literary world lost Gore Vidal and Maeve Binchy last week.

Like most brilliant writers, Mr. Vidal was not an easy person to know according to those who knew him. He challenged everything and everybody in his writing and in his personal life. Like many authors, he made it to an advanced age. He was 86 when he passed.

Ms. Binchy, a newspaper writer who became a best-selling author of women's fiction, always wrote of her native Ireland in books peopled with strong women overcoming adversity. She was a relatively young, by today's standards, 72 when she died in Dublin last week.

What's Monday Without Coffee

In case your morning cup of Joe doesn't contain enough caffeine to jump start your day, try Death Wish Coffee, the world's strongest coffee with 200% more caffeine.

Don't you love the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee? Apparently, Dunkin Donuts, my favorite brand, has come up with a new way to make you want coffee. In South Korea, they're responsible for spraying that coffee aroma on public buses.

South Korea may have coffee fragrance, but Arizona has bikini coffee at the Barista Café, an establishment where you get cleavage with your coffee.

Changes At SlingWords: Accepting Ads

Menu Bar: Top of the Page --New Tabs
Beginning August 15, SlingWords will host advertising limited to 3 paid SPOTLIGHT ads to appear in the right sidebar. Click the Advertise on SlingWords link here or at the top of the page for more info. Presently, there are 2 ads already in place.
Audio clips, cover art, and descriptions for my audio books will appear on this page. Since my books are being turned into audio books, I'll also start blogging about the audio book industry occasionally.
On this page, you'll find a complete listing of my published ebooks along with excerpts, cover art, book description, and buy links.
This is my little cyber boutique where you'll find promotional items and gifts designed for writers -- T-shirts, coffee mugs, bags, and more.

Changes At SlingWords: Far Right Sidebar

I've added new pages to the blog.

Home -- Main Page

Editorial Policy -- Explains the editorial content and advertising policy of SlingWords.

FAQ -- Answers to the questions I often receive.

Free For My Peeps -- Yes, I know the word Peeps is passe, but it's such a cute word so I still use it! Color me uncool. This has links to my free books, stories, and articles just for you.

Indie Resources -- Directory of artists, editors, format specialists, and full service operations for indie authors

Link Resources -- Lists of links for writers and readers.

Recipes: Characters Cook -- How to cook like the characters in my books.

Contact Joan -- Need information or the answer to a question? Click this page.

Changes At SlingWords: Near Right Sidebar
  • Something To Talk About -- Categories of all blog posts.
  • Amazon Search Box
  • Buy Me A Cup of Coffee
  • 99cent Books blog -- Click to find quality ebooks priced at 99 cents.
  • Indie Reader Top 10 list -- Click to see what's hot this week.
  • Subscription Links -- Writing Hacks for Writers, Wordplay for Readers, Subscribe to Sling Words by Email or RSS.
Takeaway Truth

Happy Monday! 

Olympic Gold

Have you been watching the Olympics?

I've caught only a few events. When I had my dental checkup, the TV aimed at patients was tuned to the white water rafting events. Exciting!

I've seen more of the swimming than anything. The American women  swimmers have been amazing. The young women are so excited and proud to be there -- it just radiates from them.

Australian Boxer Jeff Fenech said: "An Olympic medal is the greatest achievement and honor that can be received by an athlete. I would swap any World Title to have won gold at the Olympics."

I guess that says it all.

Takeaway Truth

Congratulations, Olympians!

Review: The Pendant's Promise by Judythe Morgan

The Pendant's Promise by Judythe Morgan is a book that is a lovely blend of women's fiction and romance.

The Story

This is a contemporary historical novel set in the Vietnam and post-Vietnam eras. If you were a product of the turbulent sixties, like heroine Lillian Reed, this book will be more to you than a romance novel with a strong women's fiction slant.

Lily has feminist ideals, but, nonetheless, she is the virtuous daughter of a minister. Her life is changed when she falls in love with Green Beret Major Alex Cabot.

When Alex becomes MIA in Vietnam, Lily faces life as an unwed mother. Scared and alone, she did what she thought best to shield her child from the stigma of illegitimacy as it was viewed during that era.

Poor Lily should have heeded the words of Sir Walter Scott: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." (I'll confess that was one of my mother's favorite aphorisms. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times, and it probably accounts for my strict adherence to honesty in all matters.)

My Take

Strong characterization and a hero worthy of that label people this twining plot of lies and deception. Although at times I wanted to shake Lily and shout, "Just tell the truth," I understand why she acted in the way she did -- she was a product of her generation and the mores of the near past. Alex is wonderful. I mean what woman doesn't love a man who clings to the memory of the love of his life?

Lily was flawed, but in the way that makes her seem real and allows for her to grow. Author Judythe Morgan skillfully created her characters, and they'll seem real to you too.

Takeaway Truth

If you like Barbara Delinsky, Danielle Steel, and women's fiction authors like that, you'll love this book.

Next Week: JUST ONE LOOK Available Again

In case you want to buy my first audio book Just One Look, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until next week.

Last week, I purchased a copy and noticed immediately that the Closing Credits had been placed where the Introduction should have been.

The Closing Credits were also properly at the end. I notified ACX immediately. They said a new upload had to be done. So, after a week, they pulled the book until they could review the entire upload again even though it was a 44 second issue.

I'll post when the audio book is once again live and available so please wait. Or buy the ebook edition of Just One Look and read it while you're waiting for the audio performance which you'll find utterly delightful!

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes, stuff -- you know the kind I mean -- happens.

Readers, Tune in Book TV

Are you lucky enough to receive Book TV from your television provider. You know, the program that airs on C-Span 2? If you have access to this program, and you're a serious reader, you really should watch the programs that feature nonfiction authors and their books.

This morning when I was reading email, I took a few minutes to read yesterday's edition of Shelf Awareness. You can find back issues of Shelf Awareness on their website, and you can subscribe if you'd like to receive this free email newsletter about book news.

Shelf Awareness was giving the weekend schedule for Book TV. Of course, given the coming election, they have several authors lined up who have books about political parties, candidates, and campaigns covering present day and going back in history to FDR's WWII presidential campaign. That's the one I'm most interested in. It's easier to view the past with impartiality than the present.

On My Must See List

I really enjoy Book TV because authors talk about how they came to be interested in a particular subject, the research they did, the surprising things they learned, and then they go into detail about how they wrote the book. Sometimes the writing was a struggle, and sometimes it flowed effortlessly. Often, the insights are priceless.

Last week they had Timothy Gay, author of Assignment to Hell: The War Against Nazi Germany with Correspondents Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, A.J. Liebling, Homer Bigart, and Hal Boyle on the schedule. Wow. What a title! Seriously, good nonfiction is as thrilling as the most popular suspense novel.

Each weekend, Book TV has 48 hours of programming from Saturday 8am (ET) to Monday 8am (ET). Check out the Book TV Schedule. Chances are you'll find an episode that's must-see-TV for you.

Takeaway Truth

If you fancy yourself well-read, you need to check out Book TV.

3 More Websites For Free Ebooks

Again, on Thursday3Some, I offer 3 more websites where free ebooks are listed.

Readers, get ready to click those mouses, or is it mice? I'm going to list 3 more websites where you can find free ebooks listed.

Authors, you get ready to bookmark these sites too, not just because you're also readers looking for bargains, but because these sites are great places to list your book if you have a book that's free.

On your mouse. Get set. Go!

Indie Books

Although Indie Books no longer offers free listings, they do offer the opportunity to post a book for free on one of these 3 Facebook pages on certain days.

Readers, visit the pages and take note of the many links for free books.

Authors, visit the pages and take note of the protocol to post your free book.
The Cheap

Readers, The Cheap offers free and low-cost books. Deals change quickly so check in often.

Authors, as the website says: "The-Cheap is all about getting great books into the hands of readers! What began as one of the best places on Facebook for Nook deals has grown into 20,000+ member community of readers looking to fill their Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, iPads, and the ereaders that came before them. We’d love to help you bring attention to YOUR book! We have FREE promotional opportunities and our paid options start at $15." Go to How It Works, scroll down, and click Free or Paid.

Free Book Dude

Readers, free Kindle and Nook books every hour of every day.

Authors, fill out the Free Book Dude Submission Form.

Takeaway Truth

Pick up a good ebook today at any of these sites!

Story Idea By Judythe Morgan

We're chatting with Judythe Morgan, an antiques dealer, a former public school teacher, a one-time Department of Army Civilian (DAC), and a writer who has won numerous awards.

In the winter, you'll find Judythe on the Texas Gulf coast, writing away. Summers, she shifts her base to the Rio Grande National Forest with her husband and their two dogs, an Old English sheepdog, Toby Bear, and a Maltese named Buster.

Judythe blogs at Judythe Writer, and she's also on Twitter and FB. Her first novel is The Pendant's Promise, which is also available at other ebook sellers of course.

Now, Judythe, talk to us.

Where’d You Get Your Story Idea?
by Judythe Morgan

As a writer, that’s a frequent question. My answer: I’ve been blessed with an active muse and a vivid imagination. Everyone understands about vivid imaginations. An active muse usually needs more explanation.

Greek mythology claims nine muses are responsible for all creative endeavors. Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia and Urania supposedly held the power both to inspire and/or remove the ability for creative thought. The commonly used term “muse” finds its roots in these sisters. But muse is more than a Greek god pulling strings.

Writers use their senses to absorb information, both passively and actively, to take in what’s happening around them. Our heightened senses of touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing, and emotion (not quite the sixth sense but a valid source of inspiration) feed our creativity.


I believe that muse is that part of a writer’s environmental awareness beyond the level of most, which in turn means anything can be a source of story ideas. A fragment of a conversation, the way the light falls on a tree's leaves, how a wine tastes or the caress of a fabric on your fingertips.

My muse will catch occasional words from a loud gentleman behind me when I’m seated in a restaurant or, waiting in line, I’ll hear snippets of other conversations. The phrase "in one ear and out the other" does not really apply. Instead, it’s more like "in one ear and disappear into the black hole of my mind until needed.”

All this information may not be used immediately, or even ever, but it rests hidden beneath a writer's thoughts as a pool of images, ideas and fragments that surface when needed to form the stories that delight readers. Strange connections act as sources when ideas or experiences bubble up out of that black hole of knowledge we writers have deep inside.

That’s what happened with The Pendant’s Promise. The seed of an idea literally germinated in my head for years before a solid love story plot formed.


When the US Army sent my husband to South Korea during the Vietnam War, I followed, knowing I would be an unauthorized dependent. I didn’t think about negative possibilities. I only knew I didn’t want to be away from my husband for thirteen months.

I sold our car and bought airline tickets for myself and toddler daughter. Once there, I discovered many other unauthorized wives and a fascinating culture. I also ended up working as a Department of Army civilian at Headquarters Eighth Army, which filled my writer’s black hole with details and feelings that ultimately surfaced in Lily and Alex’s story.

Most of my story ideas find their origins in my life experiences. Life, fate, karma, has blessed me with some fabulous (and some not so fabulous) events to feed my writer’s muse. However, ideas are a dime a dozen and cannot, in themselves, move you forward as a writer. You have to write the stories. And, that is what I love to do. Write stories to touch the reader’s heart.

The Pendant’s Promise tells the story of a teenage girl who fabricates a marriage and widowhood because her baby's soldier father is MIA in North Vietnam. Her life is comfortable, full and complete until her daughter’s engagement party when she meets the groom’s godfather — her Alex, alive and well and eager to participate in wedding plans. Lily’s world goes topsy-turvy as she faces the past, her lies, and a living, breathing Alex.

Takeaway Truth

Thanks, Judythe, for chatting with us today. It's always interesting to hear how an author came up with an idea and then breathed life into it.