Thursday3Some: The Long Road Home by Jan Scarbrough

Today I have an old friend visiting SlingWords. Jan Scarbrough and I were published by Kensington back in the day.

Who Is Jan Scarbrough

Jan, the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writes heartwarming contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and, if the plot allows, about another passion--horses. Jan is a member of Novelist, Inc., and she has published with Kensington, Five Star, ImaJinn Books, Resplendence Publishing, and Turquoise Morning Press.

Find Jan Scarbrough Online

Amazon Author Page:
Goodreads Author Page:
Twitter: @romancerider

Blub: The Long Road Home: Brody

Champion bull rider Brody Caldera returns home after his stepfather’s accident only to discover things have changed big time.

When did your write Brody: The Long Road Home (The Montana McKennas)?

Brody is part of the Montana McKenna series with author Maddie James. It’s been in the works for over a year, but I finished the final version in May. Three other books in the series will follow throughout the summer of 2014.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Maddie James asked me to write a romance series with her set in Montana. We brainstormed “what if” ideas and came up with the idea of four siblings in the clan of James McKenna, a Montana rancher. Brody, Callie, Mercer and Parker will have their own books.

Why do readers buy The Long Road Home: Brody?

Many romance readers love stories about modern cowboys. I’ve tried to be as authentic as I can, making my hero a member of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). I’ve researched the organization and attended several PBR events. Besides, many women just like reading a romance novel.

Buy Links for The Long Road Home: Brody

Amazon Kindle Edition

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation lurks between the covers of a book.

Author Tara Manderino Tackles the Dirty Dozen

This hot summer morning is made cool by chatting with Tara Manderino, author of Heart Quest.

Tara Manderino loves to create stories and situations for the people running around in her head. She first began writing in third grade when she realized she couldn't afford her reading habit. Tara writes in and is published in a variety of genres and finds that each one is her favorite at the time. Her books are available at most online retailers.

Tara resides in her native town in southwestern Pennsylvania. When she's not chasing Lydia, the Boxer, she's writing or reading. Tara likes to bake, watch old movies, and do a variety of crafts.

Find Tara Manderino Online

Linked In:
Amazon Author Page:

Tara Manderino Tackles the Dirty Dozen

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

I write through several sub genres of romance. I love writing inspirational and the flip side with paranormals. All of my books are sweet, even the paranormal vampire ones.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

Heart Quest was my most recently released romance. It is a standalone book, but is technically the second in the series: On the President’s Orders.

With one week to find the stolen stone from the Heart of Egypt, Luke Hayden, one of the premiere agents of the 1874 US Secret Service, travels in disguise across the continent When he learns Maj Bentzer, a woman he’s loved in the past, plays a key role in the stone’s disappearance, he’s not sure he can trust his instincts.

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

Readers can find a healthy dose of love and friendship on various levels, not just between the hero and heroine. I don't think I'm giving anything away saying readers will find love triumphs all. I enjoy writing romance, and I and my characters need a happily-ever-after. I hope the readers do too.

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book.

As my bio says, I really was in the Third Grade. During summer vacation to be specific. I kept wanting to buy more books at the corner store and my parents put their foot down. I couldn’t get to the school library, and the public library was downtown. I was allowed to go, but only if I could find a friend to walk there with me. That was one hurdle. The other was that then I would have to haul home what I had. A backpack would have made perfect sense, but we didn’t use them then. Since going home was all uphill and literally climbing hundreds of steps, I was very careful about what I chose. I managed to convince my parents I absolutely needed a new BIC ballpoint pen and a yellow school tablet. I started writing my stories then. I must have been at it pretty hard because that year for Christmas my parents got me a small portable typewriter!

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

Getting to make up the world my characters live in. And the research. Love doing research and working on a book gives me a great excuse to do it. For my birthday, my son gave me a bound copy of Harper’s Magazine with issues from June to November 1905.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

I detest having to cut out the parts I really like. Unfortunately, that’s a necessary evil in the editing process. Some of it deserves to be cut, but when there’s that one line, one phrase, even a scene that I just love, that needs to be cut. That’s not fun. I tell myself to let go because I know it makes the story stronger, but it’s still hard.

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

Yes. Heart Quest is also available in a Paperback Edition.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

Not often. Since I am hearing impaired it is often more of a struggle than not.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

I’m addicted to reading! My Kindle Fire is my reader of choice, but I also have a little Pandigital tablet that I use, and I used the Kindle Cloud reader on whichever computer I have with me when the urge to read strikes.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Write. Write your dreams. Write what’s in your head. Write what you wish were in your head. Nothing can substitute for writing. And don’t be afraid of what you’re writing. That sounds strange, but we’re our own worst critics. If we listen to ourselves too much in the first draft writing stage, we would never get past the opening paragraph.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

Be adventurous in your reading. So often we get caught up in reading the same thing all of the time that we forget there are other genres out there. I love when the local library has their winter reading programs. That’s the time they encourage adults to read something in different categories. Pick up a biography, or a local history book and broaden your horizons. There’s such a wonderful world to explore through books--there simply isn’t enough time. But then, readers already know this!

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

To write more. I have so many stories I want to share, but with the day job and everyday life, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything written down.

Buy Links for Heart Quest

Amazon Kindle Edition

Amazon: Paperback Edition

Takeaway Truth

I'll echo Tara's advice: try a different kind of book. You don't have to abandon your favorite genre, but try a new genre or author today.

The Friends' Blog Tour

Let's hear it for FRIENDS!
I was tagged to join this "friends" blog tour by my friend Cheryl Bolen who is a NYT and USA Today Best-Selling Author. Cheryl's latest book is Falling for Frederick.

Find Cheryl Online

Blog: CherylsRegencyRamblings
Facebook: Cheryl Bolen Romance Author

With A Little Help From My Friends

I asked three of my author friends to join the blog tour. They will each be posting on their blogs on June 2 so please drop by and visit them.

Liz Flaherty

Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really… 36 years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

Liz's latest book is Jar of Dreams.

Find Liz Online

Email: lizkflaherty at gmail dot com

Jan Scarbrough

A technical writer by day, Jan Scarbrough is a romance writer by night. She's the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and if the plot allows, about another passion—horses. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town Southern charm to her books and the excitement of a horse race or a big-time, competitive horse show.

Jan's latest release is Brody: The Long Road Home (The Montana McKennas). Look for Jan on SlingWords May 29 where we'll shine a Thursday3Some spotlight on her new book.

Find Jan Online

Twitter: @romancerider

Kelly Rae

Kelly Rae writes Contemporary Romance novels that she hopes will touch people and make them want to fall in love for the first time or all over again. She is currently working on a series, the Wedding Novella Series, with a novella out each month this summer. The first of which is titled, Once Upon a Wedding, and will be available June 9th as part of the Weddings on Main Street Anthology, and on July 1st, as a single novella.

Kelly's latest release is What if...this Christmas.

Find Kelly Online


Questions From Inquiring Minds

What am I working on?

I just completed April Fool Bride which will be part of the Weddings on Main Street Anthology to be released June 9.

This week I'll start the process of finishing Cinderella Blue, the long-awaited sequel to Nobody's Cinderella. I do apologize to all my readers who have been asking if I'm "ever going to publish the sequel." The answer is yes. By the end of June I hope. (Real life has been particularly vicious the last 2 years. Just when 1 of the storms of life ends, another has come rolling in.)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I try to write the kind of story that leaves the reader with a smile and a sense of optimism because life is hard, and laughter and hope get us through the difficult times. I always say reading a compelling story is like a little vacation between the covers of a book. I truly believe my motto: "It's never too late to live happily ever after." That's the underlying premise of all my books.

Why do I write what I do?

I could try to come up with some profound answer, but the truth its, I write this way because that's what comes out of me.

How does my writing process work?

Pardon me while I laugh hysterically. This is a long answer. I've had back issues for a number of years, probably created by spending hours on end in front of a computer. I never took enough breaks. Never did enough stretching, and pretty much abused my body until I reached the point that reaching for a mouse creates major pain in arms, shoulders, and neck. The result? Chronic muscle spasms like river rocks in said arms, shoulders, neck, and back. Not fun.

Once upon a time, I would sit down with a basic story outline and notes. I could "see" the entire scope of the book in my head, and I would just start writing. Eight hours? Ten hours? Longer? No problem.

Not any more. Now I hit the office only after having done 20-30 minutes of yoga stretches and a 2 mile walk. I set a timer downstairs so that the alarm goes off and continues to beep, forcing me to leave the computer, go downstairs and turn it off. Then I do 10 minutes of stretches before returning to the computer for another hour.

Consequently, I now must outline in greater detail, make more character notes, timelines, and even storyboard the plot so that I can get back on task faster lest the constant interruptions cause me to lose focus.

Oh, what keeps me from staying downstairs is that before I leave my desk, I set an alarm up here that is so annoying, it must also be turned off.

I guess all of that is now the reality of my writing process.

Takeaway Truth

Aren't friends wonderful? I don't know what I'd do without mine so please visit them on June 2 and show them a little love.

Honoring Those Who Served

“It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” ~ Norman Schwarzkopf

Memorial Day, the holiday set aside to honor those men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, was once known as Decoration Day.

The day of remembrance was created after the War Between the States to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. Later, the day was designated as a day to honor all Americans who died while in military service.

Read more about Memorial Day at the Wiki.

Takeaway Truth

Thank you to all the heroes and sheroes who served our country and sacrificed their time and, all too often, their health and, ultimately, their lives.

4 Reasons Why Video Works

If you're wondering why I'm such a proponent of video, it's because online video is particularly useful in making people remember you, your brand, and your product. In my case, that's books.

Video has been gaining ground as the source for content marketing in business for the last few years.

Video in Business Marketing

Please don't look at video as another over-hyped fad. In a B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey undertaken in 2012 and conducted by Software Advice, most of those who responded preferred video over anything else offered by the business for information including white papers, case studies, and even live demos. This trend in business follows the social media trend that's been building over the last few years at YouTube, Vimeo, and other sites.

Why Video

YouTube is the number two search engine in the world. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.

This doesn't mean that we prefer to learn via video rather than by reading but that video has certain advantages over reading for conveying information.

According to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. aka The Brain Lady who is a consultant to Amazon, Disney, Walmart and South By Southwest among other companies, there are 4 reasons people are drawn to video.

I hope you will visit The Brain Lady Blog and view her video and read the text about this. Basically, Dr. Weinschenk laid out these 4 reasons for using video:

"#1: The Fusiform Facial area makes us pay attention to faces – this is an actual brain function that hard-wires us to use the human face as a gathering point for information and believability."

The Fusiform Facial area, or FFA, according to Wikipedia, "is a part of the human visual system that, it is speculated, is specialized for facial recognition, although there is some evidence that it also processes categorical information about other objects, in particular familiar ones. It is located in the fusiform gyrus."

"#2: Voice conveys rich information – yes, the simple sound of a human voice speaking to us has an amazing way of converting information into meaningful content."

"#3: Emotions are contagious – here’s a subtle but powerful aspect that we may take for granted. The body language of emotions is appealing and we naturally love to share."

"#4: Movement grabs attention – another trait that runs deep in our collective anthropological DNA is the power of peripheral motion. Since the stone age, we’ve survived by noticing things in motion – looks like we still do!"

By the way, The Brain Lady offers a free newsletter so you'd be wise to subscribe.

Takeaway Truth

Face, voice, emotion, and movement: these are the 4 hallmarks of video. Remember this when you design your next video.

Reminder: Enter To Win Free Video

1. Like any of my videos that I've created on my YouTube channel and Subscribe.

2. Post the video you like to your Facebook or Twitter then leave a comment on this post (or any Friday post--they're always about video--through June 20) with the link to your Facebook or Twitter account so I can click to visit it.

3. This giveaway is open from May 19, 2014, through June 20, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random from all comments and notified on or before June 23. On June 27, the winner's video will be featured on SlingWords.

That's it! I'll draw from all those who have left a comment with the link they posted to Facebook or Twitter (either a comment on this post or on any Friday video post) and award a free video of 30-90 seconds in length. If you know anything about videos for book trailers, etc. you know they're expensive to purchase so this is a great chance to get your own video.

Thursday3Some: Self's Blossom by David Russell

This morning, English author David Russell steps into the Thursday3Some spotlight. In a field dominated by women authors, David writes erotica. He's going to talk a bit about his novel Self's Blossom.

Who Is David Russell?

David lives in London and started trying to write literary erotica in the mid-1980s. In addition to his novel Self's Blossom, he also has 6 short stories in the genre and four more stories due for release. David, a singer-guitarist-songwriter, also writes speculative fiction, poetry and literary journalism.

Find David Russell Online

Author's Page on Publisher Website:‎

Self's Blossom: Blurb by Author

A romantic, erotic tale of a vivid portrayal of the quest for the inner truth, empowerment and sexual liberation of Selene, a woman searching for primeval abandon and reckless adventure. Intelligent, a university graduate and a successful careerist, Selene became emotionally scarred by unhappy relationships. Taunted through the years by her former college roommate Janice, Selene gave in to the long-term desire to get one back at Janice by having a passionate holiday encounter.

When did you write Self's Blossom?


What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

A close friend who was writing in the same vein

Why do readers buy Self's Blossom?

Because they appreciate its literary value (check out the reviews -- there are several in Goodreads).

Buy Links for Self's Blossom by David Russell

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble


Takeaway Truth

Have you got your "read" for the weekend?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know About Margaret Fieland

This morning, author Margaret Fieland, the author of Geek Games, and I are chatting over coffee.

Margaret was born and raised in New York City. She's been around art and music all her life. Her poems and stories have appeared in journals such as Turbulence Magazine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is one of the Poetic Muselings whose poetry anthology, Lifelines, was published by Inkspotter Publishing in November 2011. Margaret is the author of Relocated, Geek Games, and Broken Bonds, published by MuseItUp Publishing. She has also published Sand in the Desert, a collection of science fiction persona poems, and the chapter book, The Angry Little Boy, due to be published later this year.

Find Margaret Fieland Online


The Dirty Dozen

In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

I write poetry and science fiction. I started writing poetry as a teen and continued but didn't take myself seriously until about 2005, when I placed as a finalist in an online contest. As to the sci fi, I'm a huge fan of the genre – I've been reading the stuff since I was in elementary school – but didn't start writing any until 2010. In September of 2010, I decided to write a sci fi novel for National Novel Writing Month as a way to overcome my phobia about world building. I spent the six weeks I had before the first of November mostly planning out the alien culture, the political landscape, the history of the Terran Federation and the aliens, the art, the literature, etc. I had about a page of plot notes.

What's your most recent book and what's it about?

The most recently published is Geek Games, the second novel in the Aleyne Series.

When fourteen-year-old Martin lets Tom, a charismatic bully, persuade him to bring down the spaceport computer network, he never considers someone will place a bomb resulting in the death of his friend's father. Nothing will bring Captain Frey back, but if Martin can help locate the terrorists' drug lab, perhaps he'll be able to forgive himself.

(The third novel in the series, Broken Bonds, is also available.)

As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

Romance, adventure, detailed alien cultures, political intrigue, lots about music, literature, and computers, all of which are passions of mine.

How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

I fell into it. After I started writing more poetry, I discovered the Muse Online Writers Conference and met Linda Barnett Johnson. I was writing only poetry at the time, but to join Linda's writing forums, you had to write both fiction and poetry. I reluctantly began writing fiction. Then one weekend I wrote a chapter book based on an experience of a friend who lost his family in a tragic fire. I spent the next year and a half to two years learning enough about fiction writing to make it publishable. It's due out sometime later this year.

What's the best thing about being an author?

I get to write down all the stories in my head and clear out the resultant real estate, leaving room for more stories.

What's the worst thing about being an author?

I have to choose which of the many stories floating around in my brain to work on next. I do keep notes, but I have a lot of ideas.

Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

The three sci fi novels are so far available only as ebooks, but I'm planning to take the first one, Relocated, to print in a couple of months. The poetry book that goes with Relocated is available in print and as an audio book.

Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

I don't listen to audio books often. When I do, I borrow them from the library. They're on CDs, and I listen in my car.

What device do you use to read ebooks?

A Kindle Fire.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Keep writing, and don't listen to the voice in your head that tells you you have nothing to say, don't know how to write, or any of the other negatives floating around. Make it your business to learn your craft, and develop a realistic picture of what your strengths and weaknesses are. Play to your strengths and work on your weak points.

If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

Don't limit your sense of adventure. Read beyond your comfort zone. Let yourself be jolted out of the familiar. Reading is a venture into the unknown.

What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

Truthfully, I've moved so far beyond where I ever imagined I'd be as a writer … but my next goal is to organize an in-person writing event. This is still on my to-do list. I'd also like to organize and publish another book of poems.

Buy Geek Games

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble

Muse It Up Publishing


Takeaway Truth

Why not add Margaret Fieland to your "collection" of authors?

Beach Books & Video Giveaway

Everyone is getting excited about summer! I guess we all breathe a sigh of relief when summer arrives. It's just an automatic response to longer days where we can have more fun, where life is more casual and relaxed.

If you're planning your vacation, don't forget to load your ebook reader with some good books. There's nothing like lazing on the beach and reading a book. Even if you're doing the stay-cation thing, lying in a lawn chair on the patio and reading can't be beat for relaxation.

My video Hit the Beach suggests 4 fun romantic comedies for beach reads. Hope you like the video. I'm giving away a video by Joan Reeves Production, and it's easy to enter.

Enter To Win Free Video

1. Like this video on its YouTube page and Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Or Like any of the other videos I've created that you'll find on my YouTube channel and Subscribe.

2. Post the video you like to your Facebook or Twitter then leave a comment on this post (or any Friday post--they're always about video--through June 20) with the link to your Facebook or Twitter account so I can click to visit it.

3. This giveaway is open from now, May 19, 2014, through June 20, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random from all comments and notified on or before June 23. On June 27, the winner's video will be featured on SlingWords.

That's it! I'll draw from all those who have left a comment with the link they posted to Facebook or Twitter (either a comment on this post or on any Friday video post) and award a free video of 30-90 seconds in length. If you know anything about videos for book trailers, etc. you know they're expensive to purchase so this is a great chance to get your own video.

Takeaway Truth

Have you added video to your toolkit? If not, catch up with the posts I've written about how to create a video. You'll find them listed in the right sidebar under Something To Talk About. Scroll down to Video.

Rain Kisses

We had rain this week, and it was lovely. Texas keeps growing. It seems as if everyone wants to move here.

Most metropolitan areas in the state have mandated conversion to surface water because decades of pumping water from below the surface have caused serious subsidence issues in many areas.

Surface water is more expensive than well water. It's not uncommon in San Antonio and other municipalities for a summer water bill to be a few hundred dollars.

Of course, surface water means reservoirs and rivers must be replenished by rain. Therein lies the problem. The consumption keeps increasing, but the source keeps depleting.

So we've reached the point where rain--in moderation--is a reason to be delighted.

I love what Langston Hughes wrote: "Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby."

Takeaway Truth

Whatever your weather, enjoy it and the day before you.

3 Great Writing Pens

Do you enjoy writing personal notes or cards to family and friends? I do. Sometimes, I feel this writing is the only thing that keeps my handwriting legible. If you mostly write on a computer, have you noticed that your handwriting has deteriorated?

I have a glass top cherrywood display box on my desk where I keep my "pretty" pens. My favorite pen was one made of marble that my husband gave me as a gift long ago with a note that said it was for signing my first publishing contract.  When I got that contract, I did sign it with that pen.

I lost the pen in the made dash of rushing my daughter to the hospital the summer she developed a blood clot after surgery.

Anyway, I buy one really nice pen a year. I was looking at my collection and thought I'd pass on some good writing pens that are available in case you'd like to get one for yourself. After all, a writer needs a good pen to sign autographs. Even if you indie publish ebooks, you can also create print copies just for signing to the special fans who want one on their bookshelf--even if that's only family and friends.

Fisher Space Bullet Space Pen, Rainbow Titanium Nitride

This is a beautifully weighted pen and comes in several colors. This pen was first conceived in 1948 by Paul Fisher. The Fisher ball point pen, the #400 Bullet Pen, was considered the most popular pen of the twentieth century. Now the pen is all brass. This one has a Rainbow Titanium Nitride finish.

The ink cartridge in this , designed by Paul Fisher for NASA, enables it to write in extreme temperatures, under water, and even in zero gravity, at any angle--even upside down

Cross Tech3+ Multifunction Pen with Stylus

I like just about anything that multi-tasks, and this pen switches from black Ballpoint Pen to red Ballpoint Pen to pencil plus it has a stylus to use on smartphone, tablet or any other touch-screen device. It won't smudge the touch screen. I carry one for using on my phone because my fingers have a way of always hitting the wrong keys when I'm trying to send a text or email on the phone.

Swarovski Crystalline Ballpoint Pen, Anthracite (SW1050278)

The Swarovski is just a beautiful pe. The body of it is filled with 160 crystals so it really sparkles and catches the light as you write. The clip is branded with the Swarovski name. Really beautiful. Okay, this one probably wouldn't be a guy's choice, but a woman would really love this.

Takeaway Truth

Father's Day is coming up. Any of these would make a great gift. Something else that would make a great gift is a handwritten note to go along with the gift.

5 Video Design Tips

I shared these video design tips on Lily Bishop's Free Flick Friday. I want to make sure you get these too tips too in case you didn't catch my guest appearance there.

5 Easy Video Design Tips

These tips will make it easier to create a video whether it’s one of your recent vacation or a business video or a book trailer.

1. Be clear about your message.

Select your theme, premise, or message you want the video to put across. Write it down so you keep your focus on the message you’re trying to convey. For a book, this might be a logline or a couple of sentences that sum up what the book is about. For a vacation, this might be the scope of the vacation–start to finish or the 1 week spent at a resort.

2. Select the right art work to convey that message.

If you’re working with photographs, lay them out before you scan them. If art is in your computer, sketch a storyboard with squares to represent the art work and tag each rectangle, i.e., Bryan building sand castle or first kiss scene. Use a square for each photo you want to include so you can estimate the size of the video.

3. Be sure to match text--a caption--to each photo you use.

You can use text as captions, but you can also use a text block or a graphic image that is a sign you've made. You’ll see what I mean if you watch my videos.

4. Music sets the tone.

Hollywood has sound editors, and so do videos–you. Select the music you want playing in the background. If it’s a book trailer for a dark vampire romance, then you want moody, dramatic music. If it’s a romantic comedy, you want something lighthearted that invites the listener to smile. If it’s urban young adult, then you want something that makes one think of urban young adult, not a twangy country music soundtrack.

5. Time is crucially important.

In a video for commercial purposes, like a book trailer or a product showcase, short is not better, but best. Try to make your video between 30-60 seconds long. If the video is personal, then time isn’t really a problem. It can be as long as you want IF it’s entertaining and holds the audience’s attention.

Let me know if these tips help you. You can see examples at my YouTube channel my YouTube Channel:

Please LIKE my videos, share the links with your friends and fans, and subscribe to my channel. I’ll be publishing new videos every month, including writing instruction and humor pieces aimed at authors.

Takeaway Truth

We live in a visual culture. Video should be part of your skill set.

Thursday3Some: Gerry Bartlett & a Glory Novella

I'm happy to be visiting with my old friend Gerry Bartlett today. Gerry is the nationally best-selling author of the Real Vampires series starring Glory, a plus-size vampire heroine dear to readers hearts.

Gerry lives in Texas, halfway between Houston and Galveston where she has an antiques business on the historic Strand. While she likes to write about vampires, she’d never give up Mexican food or sunshine to be one.

Find Gerry Bartlett Online

Facebook or Twitter: @gerrybartlett

About Real Vampires Take a Bite out of Christmas

This novella is number 10.5 in the Real Vampires series. Gerry wrote it to pick up where book 10, Real Vampires Know Size Matters, her December 2013 release, left off.

Heroine Glory St. Clair has finally accepted her long-time lover’s proposal and is ready to plan the wedding of her dreams. But how can she look forward to bliss when her best friend is in mortal danger?

Gerry said, "This novella is a love offering to my loyal fans and to entice new readers to try the series."

If you haven't read a Glory book before, check out the first entry into this comic vampire series, Real Vampires Have Curves.

When did you write Real Vampires Take a Bite Out of Christmas?

I finished it over the holidays and released it February 8, 2014. It’s my first self-published work for my own inprint, Dragon Lady Publishing.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Fans love Glory’s best friend Florence da Vinci. I wanted to finally write a story with a little more about her and the relationship between these two gal pals. I also got a chance to pick up where the last Real Vampires book stopped and give my patient fans something to read while I work on the next and probably last Real Vampires book. I hope to have that out this summer, Real Vampires Say Read My Hips.

Why do readers buy Real Vampires Take a Bite Out of Christmas?

Fans are happy that Glory has finally committed to her long-time lover. It’s taken her ten books to come to this place of strength and independence while accepting that he’s the forever love of her life. He’s also changed and has become less controlling. It made for a satisfying way to build to the climax of the series.

Buy Links for Real Vampires Take a Bite Out of Christmas

Kindle Edition


iTunes Store

Takeaway Truth

If you haven't met Glory St. Clair, take this opportunity to meet the vamp from Austin, Texas. For a very small price, you can have a ton of reading fun this weekend.

Happy Birthday, Mom

At 18. High school senior picture. WWII
My mother is no longer with us, but if they have parties in Heaven, she's kicking up her heels today. She loved music and loved to have friends and family around for special occasions.

No RIP for her. She didn't want to sit in a rocking chair and watch the world go by. She was always in motion. Even when watching TV, she was doing needlepoint or crochet or piecing quilts or working crossword puzzles.

She hated the label "senior citizen" and all of the similar words used to describe someone elderly. She didn't want to grow old gracefully. In fact, she didn't want to grow old at all. But then, who does?

She was a beautiful woman and kept her looks until the end. She didn't leave home unless her hair was styled and her  makeup was on. She grew up in the era of red lipstick. Until her dying day, she never went anywhere without her lipstick.

On an awful January day, she was taken to the hospital. A block from the emergency room, she dug through her purse, pulled out her lipstick, and applied it. Everyone in the family smiled when I told them that little story because they could see her doing exactly that. They all knew her and her foibles, and they loved her.

Takeaway Truth

My mother was beloved, and she is missed, today and everyday.

Sizzling After 50 Shades Box Set

Last week I told you about my friend Elaine Raco Chase's box set What to Read After FSOG: The Gemstone Collection.

Yesterday was the big day! It's live and ready to be bought for the bargain price of 99cents!

Buy Links

Here are all the buy links so you can grab it from your favorite ebook seller.

Amazon Kindle




Barnes & Noble

Takeaway Truth

Only 99cents for so many books? Yep. It's true.

Review: From One Second to the Next

Please, please, pass this on to someone you love. I watched this video on Netflix, but its message is so important that you can view it for free on YouTube.

As I watched this, it was all I could do not to cry for the victims and for those who killed them. I'm embedding the YouTube video here. Read the rest of my review then click play. Please pass this on to everyone you know, but particularly to those you love.

From One Second to the Next, directed by the renowned Werner Herzog, tells the story in a series of vignettes featuring drivers who texted and their surviving victims, none of whom survive intact, and the families. Police officers discuss the tragedies, detail how the victims were found at the scenes of the wrecks, and show pictures of the aftermath. It's not pretty.

Texting and driving is a deadly combination. You think, "Oh, it's just a couple of seconds to text and say I'm on my way." Or, I love you. A couple of seconds is all it takes, as this documentary shows, to kill 3 children. Or to injure a child crossing a street and make him a paraplegic. Or, to kill 2 businessmen on their way to work.

The stories of lives taken by someone who looked at a text screen for a couple of seconds total more than 100,000 now. That's not counting the lives of the drivers who sent the text. As this documentary shows, the burden of guilt for a basically decent guy who sent a text and killed or maimed someone is a burden carried forever.

The Pledge

If you love someone, ask them to promise you that they will never read or send a text while driving. If it's that important, pull to the side of the road. In the stories in this documentary, the drivers often couldn't even remember what they were texting. It was that inconsequential.

If you love someone, promise them that you will never read or send a text while driving. In a second, you can change your life and the lives of others. No text is important enough to warrant killing someone, and that's the risk you take every time you text while driving.

This should be shown in every school, in every household, and in every movie theater before the movie begins. Do yourself and your kids a favor and watch this. Visit Take The Pledge and make your pledge official.

Takeaway Truth

Take the pledge today: I will never text and drive again. Plead with those you love to make that promise to you. Keeping that pledge may save your life and the lives of others.