Thursday3Some: Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney

The Thursday3Some Spotlight is shining brightly on Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney, one of my fellow authors on Authors of Main Street.

About Carol DeVaney

Carol writes heartwarming Contemporary Romance based on family relationships, commitment and sacrifice. She also writes Romantic Suspense, peppered with a dash of humor and grounded in her Southern roots.

Find Carol DeVaney Online

Authors of Main Street Blog:

About Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney

Cali Weston and Trace Robbins refuse to embrace forgiveness for different reasons, until they realize happiness depends on just that. Trace carries guilt for his wife's death, and Cali won't play second fiddle to a ghost.

When did you write Perfect March?

Perfect Match was the first book on my road to publication. I'd played with the idea of forgiveness and the main characters for a while. I wrote the book in 2010, but put it aside. I pulled the manuscript from the dust pile in 2012, polished it and e-published in November of 2013.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Most of the stories that run through my head have a thread of forgiveness. I have a weakness for children who have lost a parent, especially their mother. I had twenty-seven-year-old Cali who refused to forgive her beloved father for abandoning her at age twelve. Then came Trace, a single parent of young Dylan, who  blamed himself for his wife's accident.

Dylan, through grief at the loss of his mother, had emotional issues. Enter Cali into their lives. Against her will, Cali and Dylan bond to the point that Dylan only allows Cali to comfort him during his episodes of nightmares. The story escalated from that stage. I find their story full, satisfying and with a happy ending.

Why do readers buy Perfect Match?

I think most readers can identify with a loss, forgiveness and the issues that layer through division in families. Perfect Match also has a thread of humor and suspense. The humor helps lighten the story's overall tone, and the suspense brings about Cali's understanding of her father's abandonment. I believe readers love a good story, where they can take away hope that love is the one thing that lasts. Love is the one influence that links lonely, grieving people together.

Buy Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney

Amazon Kindle

Apple iTunes


B&N Nook

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy one today.

Kimberley Troutte: A Mother's Love Inspires Book

My guest this morning is Kimberley Troutte whose latest book is God Whisperer.

About Kimberley Troutte

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kimberley Troutte has been an accountant, substitute teacher, caterer, financial analyst for a major defense contractor, aerobics instructor, real-estate broker, freelance writer, homework corrector, and caregiver to all the creatures the kids and hubby drag in. She lives with her husband, two sons, a wild cat and a snake in Southern California. Kimberley writes romantic suspense and children's fiction.

About God Whisperer

A frightened mother on the run…

Lonnie Hogan has lived and breathed fear for the past eight years. She’s ready to run again, or fight for her son’s precious life, but she won’t let anyone take David.

A desperate man searching for his family…

Few people on St. John, Virgin Islands, know their favorite doctor, Mark Norton, is a desperate man searching for the life stolen from him.

Will they sacrifice everything to protect the boy who hears God?

Find Kimberley Online


Grab your coffee or tea and settle in to read Kimberley's very personal love story that inspired her latest novel.

God Whisperer, Near and Dear to My Heart
by Kimberley Troutte

Thank you for having me here at SlingWords!

I am celebrating the release of my new book from Astraea Press. God Whisperer is near and dear to her heart because it’s a personal love story.

I was blessed to be the mother of two amazingly wonderful boys who were born with different and super-rare, non-life-threatening challenges. My oldest was born with a rare eye-tracking condition that also played havoc with his balance. My youngest had perfect eyes but was born with an incomplete, deaf ear. No hole! When the surgeons at UCLA created an eardrum and canal and he was able to hear with both ears for the first time in his life, I wept with joy. The miracle was overwhelming and poured out onto the page.

While the book is pure fiction—the mother is not me, David is not my son, and I am happily married—there is a river of truth flowing through the pages. The worry a parent faces when her child is born with disabilities can be crushing. God Whisperer comes from being in that place when a mother realizes she is not good enough, strong enough, or smart enough to face the challenges ahead for her child. I think all parents feel this way to some degree, don't we?

The important thing I realized early on was to ask questions and educate myself. Also, everyone has some sort of failing. Nobody is perfect and we can all help one another. Writing the book was my way of helping.

God Whisperer is my gift of gratitude. I hope the book shows there is always hope, support and love.

To help others who are going through the trials my family faced, 10% of author royalties will be donated to the American Society for Deaf Children.

Special for SlingWords Readers

I will give away a PDF version of God Whisperer to a random reader who either:
  • knows the real life Danish town in the hills of Southern California where God Whisperer takes place
  • OR tells me their favorite small town.
Thank you for having me here!

Buy God Whisperer by Kimberley Trutte

Amazon Kindle Edition

iTunes Edition

Kobo Editionicon

Nook Edition

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy a book today for a getaway from the mundane.

When To Update a Blog?

For writers, one of the best tools in your author tool kit is a blog. For readers, one of the best tools to connect with others who share common interests is also a blog.

For civilians--that's non-writers like the wonderful readers of SlingWords--a blog can not only help you connect with others and provide information and entertainment to them but also it can be a way to produce income through monetization.

Is Change Good?

To make your blog a viable tool, there are many elements to consider. At the very least, you should push new content to your blog frequently and consistently, that is, write new posts. You've all heard this. But what about changing the look of your blog? Let's talk about updating your blog.

Should You Change Your Blog Design?

Your blog gains Google PageRank, one of the methods Google uses to determine a page's importance, when automated software called web crawlers crawl through your pages, seeking the importance of your content and links. The higher your PR, the more you can charge companies who offer monetization opportunities to websites.

Important pages get higher PageRank and will appear at the top of SERPs, that is, Search Engine Result Pages. Changing a template or design may make your PageRank drop initially but the drop shouldn't be huge as long as you don't change the actual textual content on your blog.

The important thing to remember is to keep the words in your metadata, your keywords, and your text the same.

Elements You Can Change

I've come full circle since moving last year at this time. Much of my writing life has been put on hold so my advice today falls under the category of "do as I say, not as I do."

So, here's what to do.

1. Review your blog and make notes about elements that take up space but don't bring any benefit to you.

2. Check all links on your various pages to make sure they still work.

3. If you have ads, make sure they are still valid.

4. If you have more than one page, look at each page and see if they're complete. (Mine aren't so do better than I've done when I changed my blog design.)

5. Speaking of pages, do you have the minimum necessary pages, especially a Contact Page? What other pages could you add?

6. Is your blog visually appealing? Ask others. Make notes about what they like and don't like. I'll blog more about blog design aesthetics, but you can check the posts I've already written. You'll find many of them in Something to Talk About / Internet Success.

Takeaway Truth

To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The rumors of the death of the blog have been greatly exaggerated." Make your blog stellar, and it will reward you.

Most Bang for Audio Book Bucks

Back in March, I blogged about library circulation statistics for audiobooks and ebooks. I heard from a lot of people who do not listen to audiobooks. What surprises me even more are the number of authors who don't listen to audiobooks. Why? The reasons vary, but one reason is because audiobooks can be rather expensive unless one checks them out at the public library.

Since I've listened to audiobooks since the era of cassettes, I'm always telling others how they can get the most for their audiobook dollar. (This post repeats every 6 months to help readers new to SlingWords.)

When my first book, Just One Look, was produced as an audiobook by ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange, an Amazon company, and distributed by Audible (another Amazon company), I joined Audible.

Audible offers a great membership plan. I now have 8 audiobooks available. Pause here for the commercial which is a list of my audiobooks with the Audible buy link embedded. (I hope you'll get one of my audiobooks whether or not you become a member).

Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones

Just One Look

Nobody's Cinderella

Old Enough to Know Better

Romeo and Judy Anne

Scents and Sensuality

Still The One

The Trouble With Love

Now, on with the post!

To Get Most for Your Dollar, Become a Member

Audible offers several introductory offers for membership. Click here to Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook!. When the Audible membership fee goes to regular price, that's only $14.95 a month. Each month on the basic plan, you get 1 credit per month. If you don't spend the credit, it rolls over. For 1 credit, you can buy any audiobook, regardless of retail price. Now that's a deal!

Plus, there are special sales for members throughout the year--sales like BOGO or $4.99 sale prices. I stock up during the sales.

So there are alternatives to paying high retail prices for audiobooks. I'm sure there are other audiobook sites with membership fees, but I'm most familiar with Audible which also offers another benefit to readers.


Another benefit to Audible membership is WhisperSync. You can get the Kindle ebook edition of the audiobook you purchased for a reduced rate and switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book edition and listening to the Audible audiobook.

You can check the ebooks in your Kindle library to see if they're WhisperSync enabled. Not all are, but all of mine are. Learn more about WhisperSync here.

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

Audiobooks Embraced

The popularity of audiobooks is growing by leaps and bounds. If you read my post about library circulation statistics for audiobooks and ebooks, you saw the staggering increase in audiobooks. In retail sales, there was a 20% increase from 2011 to 2012 even as all book sales declined during that same period.

Once audiobooks were enjoyed mostly by the blind. In today's world, audiobooks have risen in popularity because they make books accessible to anyone--people who love to read and people who are marginal readers. Plus, you can "read" an audiobook while driving, working out at the gym, cleaning house, or doing most anything.

Save Time & Still Be Literate

Time is at such a premium in today's world that readers often don't have the time to devote to their passion. Being able to listen to an audiobook allows readers to indulge their love of books. Audio books can take away the tedium of commuting, traveling, mundane chores and tasks, and entertain you all at the same time. When chitchat at a social gathering turns to the bestsellers, audiobook listeners can hold their own.

Takeaway Truth

About 5 years ago, a little more than 4,600 audiobooks were released. Fast forward a couple of years, and the audiobook releases increased to more than 13,000. It's only going to keep growing which is very good news for authors--and readers too.

Heat Wave

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?"

That rather amusing question was posed by the droll comedian Steven Wright. I adore his deadpan delivery and his skewed way of looking at life.

One of my favorite authors, Peter Mayle (love his books about Provence) said: "There is nothing I like better at the end of a hot summer's day than taking a short walk around the garden. You can smell the heat coming up from the earth to meet the cooler night air."

That may be true of Mr. Mayle's part of France, but it's definitely not true of July in Texas. About the only smell rising here at the end of a hot summer day is the smell of perspiration dripping from one's brow while it washes away the mosquito repellent applied prior to walking around the garden.

Call me crazy, but I like summer. 

Takeaway Truth

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it." ~ Russel Baker

Waiting for Inspiration or Just Waiting

I hear a lot of people talk about waiting for inspiration. Some who wait for inspiration say they want to write a book or get in shape or start a business or learn a hobby. They may say they're waiting for inspiration, but is that true? Or is it just a way to procrastinate on one's dreams?

Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the United States, said: "If you wait for inspiration, inspiration's going to go away and look for more fertile ground to work with."

The Truth Is

Now, I'm only familiar with the "want to write a book" syndrome, but I have a feeling the same thing applies to any aspiration so where I say writer/writing, just insert the words appropriate to the dream of your choice.

If you are an aspiring writer, chances are you view writing as something you do when truly inspired and motivated to succeed. Writers and others call that mindset "communing with the muse." The thing is these people don't know something that professional writers do know.

Inspiration comes to those who write consistently, every day.

Don't Wait

Professional writers don't wait for inspiration before hitting the keyboard. We know that the part of the brain that spews words is like an old-fashioned water pump. If you don't know how one of those water pumps work, let me enlighten you.

The pump has a long, cast iron handle. You pump the handle up and down vigorously. After a few seconds of pumping, water spurts out—unless the pump hasn't been used in a long time. If the pump isn't used regularly, you may have to pump and pump until your arm muscles scream in protest, and you're out of breath. It takes a long time for that water to spurt out. Sometimes, you even have to prime the pump by pouring water into it in order for it to start pumping water out again.

Action Begets Inspiration

That's how writing, or any other endeavor, works. You get started and work every day and that creates the motivation and inspiration to keep doing it, day after day. When you write every day, it's easy to get that outpouring of words. But, if you write every now and then, only when you "feel" inspired, it takes a lot longer to get the words flowing.

Many professional writers leave nothing to chance. They prime the pump every day by leaving a dangling thread that can easily be picked up the next day. They also may prime the pump by reading over what they wrote the previous day, editing it a bit, and then diving into the current day's writing.

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

Sometimes if they don't persist and keep pumping that handle and priming that pump, the flow dries up completely. The longer they go without producing a flow of words—or without taking action toward a goal—the harder it gets to squeeze a word out or make yourself take a single step toward your aspiration of choice.

When that happens, writers call it writer's block. I don't think I've ever heard of a daily working writer with writer's block.

Takeaway Truth

Always remember what Rita Dove said: "If you wait for inspiration, inspiration's going to go away and look for more fertile ground to work with."

Gripe Session

Friday has dwindled into the evening, and I'm just now posting to SlingWords because I am extremely irritated by too many things so I might as well gripe here as to keep griping to my husband.

We were at our house in the Hill Country, but the internet wasn't working. So we mowed -- an action only resembling mowing your lawn in the sense that a blade was used to cut the grass.

Two weeks of no mowing up there means you just about need a hay baler to cut through the tall coastal Bermuda grass and weeds. I keep saying we should get a couple of goats to do the mowing for us, but without humans around to guard the goats, the coyotes would be enjoying them for dinner.

So gripe #1. I pay through the nose for Internet service, but this year, it's been spotty up here. After calling (name withheld currently until I know whether I'm entitled to bitch), I received a voice mail from them saying we were too far away for the high-speed service so they reduced our service to half the speed it was. Huh? WTF! (That's frack if anyone is checking) Not only do we get erratic internet connectivity, but we get a "repair" that makes no sense considering we've had the same internet for about 4 years and it's worked fine up until 6 months ago.

Gripe #2. I received a jury summons AGAIN for a place where I no longer live. I served jury duty there last year before I moved. Then received a notice for jury duty this past December. I called, told them I didn't live there any longer. They tersely said to fill out the form and send it in. I did. Didn't get a response. Now I get another notice, sent to my old address and forwarded.

Gripe #3. Dishwasher here went out in January. Yeah, that long ago. Try getting a repairman to come out to the country.

Gripe #4. I broke a tooth, rather a tooth root on one of my crowns, broke. Met with oral surgeon. Oh, joy. I'm having oral surgery next month for a dental implant. Goodbye 5 grand.

Gripe #5. Oh, heck. That's enough. who wants to hear all my gripes when you've all got problems of your own. How about a mild annoyance to shut this bad news fest down?

Twitter Verifications. Don't follow me if I have to jump through hoops to reciprocate. That's just annoying.

Takeaway Truth

Okay. I'm going to have a nice large glass of Red Road Signature Red and listen to Joe Walsh or Texas Blues or something foot stompin' and thigh slappin'. Wish you could join me outside on the bench under the big oak tree.

Thursday3Some: Tempered Hearts by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Standing in the Thursday3Some Spotlight on SlingWords this morning is award-winning author Pamela S. Thibodeaux, Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Pam is multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction. Her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Find Pamela S. Thibodeaux Online

Twitter: @psthib

About Tempered Hearts (Book 1, Tempered Series)

Only when hearts are tempered, minds are opened and wills are softened can man discern the will of God for his life. Rancher Craig Harris and veterinarian Tamera Collins clash from the moment they meet. Torn between desire and dislike, they must make peace with their pasts and with God in order to open up to the love blossoming between them. 

When did you write Tempered Hearts?

Tempered Hearts was the first novel I wrote when the bug bit back in 1982. The entire story was initially penned in a 5 subject notebook. In 1996 I typed it using a word processor. Since I had recommitted my life to God and committed my writing to Him, the sensuality was toned down quite a bit. However, not knowing there was such a thing as the CBA market, I didn’t find out until I started submitting that the story was still too steamy and gritty for that readership. The first edition of Tempered Hearts was released as an Ebook by Writers Exchange Epublishing in Dec 2000. Since then it has been re-released twice; 2005 by ComStar Media when they contracted the entire series and then under my indy imprint Temperance Publishing in 2012.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

When I had the idea for Tempered Hearts I just sat down and wrote the kind of story I’d like to read. And since I absolutely love western romances, that’s what I wrote. When I hear the term “novice writer” I think, “that was me!” because I had no idea what I was doing and was totally clueless of the “rules” of writing or anything like that. I thought all there was to it was to write a good story. Boy did I ever have a lot to learn!

Why do readers buy Tempered Hearts?

Most of the readers I talk to who have bought any of my books, including Tempered Hearts say they enjoy the unique combination of sensuality and spirituality found in my writing.

Buy Links for Tempered Hearts by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Kindle Edition of Tempered Hearts

Nook Edition of Tempered Hearts

Smashwords Edition of Tempered Hearts

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Plan your weekend "getaway" by buying a book today.

Meet E. Ayers Who Writes Down The Middle

Let's start the day with a cup of coffee, a jelly donut, and a visit with author E. Ayers, the Amazon best-selling author of western and contemporary romances.

Her books are never too sweet or too hot--she writes down the middle. E. is proud to be part of the Authors of Main Street, an elite group of award-winning and best-selling contemporary authors.

Find E. Ayers Online

Twitter: @ayersbooks


Amazon Author Page:

Authors of Main Street Newsletter (Subscribe today):

E. Tackles The Dirty Dozen

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

Mostly I write contemporary romances. But I’ve ventured into historical western romance. I find I’m more comfortable writing contemporary and contemporary western romances.

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

I have 3 books, and they’ve all been released in less than 40 days.

I Thee Wed, part of the Weddings on Main Street Box Set and is the story of Julia, the adult daughter of Cody (hero in my second new release, With This Ring).

Julia is a product of broken marriages and doesn't see marriage in her future so she throws everything into her career with Main Street Bridal Salon, until Aaron, a crazy redhead with freckles, sweeps her off her feet. But a family secret is about to change everything.

With This Ring is a second chance at love story.

DeeDee Drayden has worked for some big design houses, but she's not rail thin, and she’s tired of designing clothing that makes no sense to the average woman. She moves to a small town to start her own bridal design business and meets Cody Montgomery. He’s sworn off women after 2 failed marriages have left him with 7 kids! But DeeDee intrigues him. She may be focused on building her business, but Cody is focused on her.

Campaign, the 7th River City novel is Brad and Ryn’s story.

One of Brad’s friends sets him up with Ryn. After months of emails and text messages, they decide to meet and take the relationship to the next level. Brad is the city manager, and he’s got his sights set on a political career. When he finally meets Ryn, he learns she is mute. He’s not sure she can be the political wife he needs. Ryn is determined to prove him wrong, but her attempts create havoc. He's trying to run a clean campaign, but his opponent will stop at nothing to discredit him.

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

A whole lot of life! I write slice of life, the romantic slice, but I pick up the entire story instead of concentrating just on the romance. That actually makes me more mainstream than romance, except that happily-ever-after is still there. Most my stories, and especially my River City novels have a gritty side to them. People have personal baggage and careers -- things that can make a mess of a relationship. Fitting a relationship into their lives isn’t always easy.

To use Campaign as an example, Brad wanted a woman who could campaign with him. He’s thinking he can have her or he can have his dream of a political career, but he doesn’t think he can have both. Ryn is living in a vocal world and doesn’t see herself as “disabled.” Her mother barely knows sign language, and her dad never learned it. Life isn’t easy, and she's learned that people back away from someone with a disability.

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

Let there be an essay question on a test, and I knew I aced that test! I seemed to always be writing something for some reason. I wrote for the newspaper and for the Cooperative Extension office in my area.I knew I could write.

When my children got to a certain age, they quit reading. I started to write to keep them entertained and reading. There was this huge gaping hole between children’s books and adult books. This puts the young but good reader in an odd place. They’ve read every chapter book they could get their hands on, and the next step is young romance. But wait, they are in 2nd or 3rd grade, and they don’t care about boys! They want a story with as much meat in it as any grown-up story without the romance element or something that would require more life experience for them. That’s the hole I wanted to fill.

Then a dear friend’s daughter grabbed me and said write romance. I said no way. I wasn’t going to write one of those stupid bodice-ripper stories! She said, fine then write them they way they should be written. So I did. (It was a serious three-hour conversation where she twisted my arm and convinced me to put aside my young reader books and write romance.)

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

Being recognized as an author.

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

Being recognized as an author. (It means I can no longer run out of the house without makeup and my hair pulled into a ponytail to buy a couple of cans of dog food.)

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

No. I’ve thought about doing paper for my one book, but I’ve never done it. And I’m considering having audio books available.

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

I don’t. I can read much faster. Yet a close friend always has a CD going of someone’s book. She’s listening while doing housework and listening while driving. My nephew listens to books that have been downloaded to his phone.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

My daughter gave me a Kindle for Christmas, and I was thrilled. But mostly I read at my desktop computer using a Kindle app. I’m very comfortable here.

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

Write the story, and be prepared to rewrite it a few hundred times as you learn to properly craft a story. Remember writing as a child on that large paper with the special lines? Learning to write a novel is the same thing. Practice, practice, practice, and when you get it, you get to move on to the big kid paper, and eventually to the keyboard. It doesn’t happen overnight.

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

Take a chance on me and be prepared for a different sort of romance.

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

To make enough money to actually support myself, I’d like to be able to enjoy life. I’d love to hit that point where I know when I put a book out it will head straight to the best sellers list. To have that wide fan base that wants to read what I’ve written.

Buy Links for I Thee Wed

Kindle Edition of I Thee Wed, part of the Weddings on Main Street Box Set

Link that works in all international Kindle Shops

Nook Edition of Weddings on Main Street

iTunes Edition of Weddings on Main Street

Kobo Edition of Weddings on Main Street

Buy Link for With This Ring

Kindle Edition of With This Ring

Buy Link for Campaign

Kindle Edition of Campaign

Takeaway Truth

Thanks, E., for visiting with SlingWords today. Good luck with all your new releases.

Review: The Battered Bastards of Baseball

If you've read SlingWords for a while, you've probably heard me mention my love of baseball. I was delighted to find The Battered Bastards of Baseball, a documentary about Bing Russell and his Portland Mavericks, on Netflix as a new release.

This true story documents the history of the Portland Mavericks, an independent professional baseball team started by actor Bing Russell. This underdog team was organized at a time when there were no independent baseball clubs left in America.


The Portland Beavers, a minor league team formed in 1903 during the first year of the PCL, that's the Pacific Coast League. Attendance had declined steeply until only a few Beavers fans came to the games. The Bevos powers that be decided to move the team to Seattle.

The Beavers owners saw no chance for a return on their investment. Bing Russell saw opportunity. He started an independent ball club, not affiliated with any of the major league baseball clubs. He often said that he kept an unheard-of 30-man roster because he thought some players deserved to have one last season.

Ball Club Personnel

Bing Russell was a popular actor in Hollywood. He played the longtime sheriff on the TV series Bonanza. If you look at his resume, you'll think, as I did, that he was on every popular TV show from the 1950's to the new millennium.

Manager Hank Robinson was also a successful character actor. Wikipedia says that team members "Robbie Robinson[disambiguation needed], Jason Tatar, and Ken Medlock all have enjoyed long careers as actors as well."

Then there's the Mavericks bat boy Todd Field who had a long career as an actor before becoming a three-time Academy Award-nominated writer and director.

Bing's son Kurt played for the Mavericks in their inaugural season and again briefly in 1977, their last year.

Bing Lived His Motto

I think it's no accident that he brought fun back to baseball--fun back to the fans and the city of Portland--because his motto in life was: Fun.

While the Mavericks existed, they broke attendance records. Their club boasted pitcher Jim Bouton, a former Yankee who was blacklisted after writing a tell-all book. They had a left-handed catcher, the first female general manager of a baseball club, and other players who were given a new lease on their baseball lives by Bing Russell.

My Opinion

Underdog stories are always inspiring. This one is doubly so because Bing put his own energy and resources into building a ball club simply because he loved baseball. When the PCL tried to muscle in and take back the ball club territory, he fought for his beloved Mavericks and for Portland. Though knowing he was going to be forced to relinquish his ball club, he refused to lie down like a doormat and cave to their mediocre offer.

This is a Netflix original so you probably won't find it anywhere else for a while.

Inspiring and uplifting, it will leave you with a smile--just like the Mavericks left the Portland fans after each game.

Takeaway Truth

This is a wonderful baseball documentary. Don't miss it.

Blog Ops: 9 Blog Elements to Kill

eBook Available August 15, 2014
With over 150 million blogs out there, how can you attract visitors to yours? Once they find your blog, how can you make sure they come back to visit, or, better yet, click to Follow your blog or subscribe by email?

Here are answers to those questions, starting with easily-fixed visual design tips and ending with some crucial technical design tips.

1. Kill the written manuscript formatting.

Format your content for the Internet, not for the written page. Your content needs to be formatted to be read on a computer monitor or mobile device.

Many bloggers make the mistake of writing blog posts the same as they would a written paper. There is a specific way to write for the Internet. I've discussed this before, and I'll re-print that post in the future.

Briefly, you have:
  • a keyword rich post or article title
  • sub-headings
  • shorter paragraphs
  • shorter sentences
  • hot linked references for the reader's convenience in learning more about topics mentioned
  • numbers like 1000 instead of writing out one thousand, as you would in a manuscript
  • shorter posts, not long multiple thousand word posts. If something is over 1,000 words, then break it into a series.
This post, including subheadings, is 952 words.

2. Kill the overuse of fonts.

Use only 2, maybe 3, fonts. This is another complaint in surveys. Choose a headline font, a title font, and then a post font. For subheadings, use the post font in bold if you wish.

3. Kill the music!

I can't emphasize this strongly enough. It's one of the biggest complaints by internet users: websites that have music that starts when the site opens. This has been on the top 10 complain list for more than a decade I think, but some website publishers don't seem to know it.

4. Kill the black background and light-colored font.

Again, this is something always mentioned in surveys. Readers hate this! It's hard on the eyes, and anything that's annoying or uncomfortable to read gets rejected. The visitor just moves on, no matter how wonderful your content.

5. Kill outdated content.

If you take the time to write original content, make it something that will be perpetually valuable. Like ebooks, blog posts and other content is forever--or until you remove it. Be sure that the content always offers value to readers who may stumble upon it months or even years after you published it. One way is to really think about what you post and make sure it will give that value on down the road.

The other way is set up a system to go back and check old posts and see if the links still work and to update them if possible. If nothing else, perhaps post a disclaimer saying the content is out of date and to visit the current year's posts for more information.

6. Kill the text-only post.

Judiciously, use graphic images to illustrate your post. Make them appropriate to the content and optimize the size. (See below about website bloat.)

7. Kill the obnoxious, intrusive ads.

If you have ads, make sure they're not obnoxious. OMG but I hate popups, rollovers, and the like, and so does everyone else. Key any ads to your editorial content and the website style.

8. Kill the website bloat.

Speed is everything when it comes to websites. The faster; the better when it comes to the time it takes for a website to open. Make sure your website loads fast because most website visitors are not patient. Surveys show that if a page doesn't open in less than 5 seconds, the visitor moves on.

This is especially true if the website visitor is using a mobile device because those are lower-bandwidth devices than computers. Bloated websites with big honking banner images and tons of images in a single post can take forever to load on a mobile device.

Make sure images are optimized for all monitor resolutions. You may have a high resolution widescreen monitor that beautifully displays the huge graphic you have as your banner image, but others may not. Always think of the average computer or mobile device user who may be trying to access your website. Blogger automatically adjusts for mobile devices, but some websites may not.

When you use a graphic to illustrate a post, opt for a smaller image than a huge image. Images can always be "magnified" simply by the reader clicking the image.

There's also software to help you accomplish this. One such app is Adaptive Images. Read how it works to see if you want to add a tiny bit of Java Script to your HTML website file to have it automatically detect the user's device resolution and resize your images for it. (I suspect this is what Blogger does in their HTML code they offer.)

Remove any page elements or plugins that aren't necessary. All those things add to the time required for your website to load.

9. Kill clumsy navigation.

A visitor should be able to easily find his or her way around your website.  You should always have:
  • a contact page
  • an archive of past posts
  • an about me page and/or a page that explains your editorial policy
  • a page that explains your ad policy if you accept advertising
  • a search box so a visitor can search your website for keywords of their choice
  • and links to the other pages that actually work.
Since I'm getting ready to publish Blog Ops: Search & Destroy Bad Blog Elements; Rescue Hostage Blogs, my third nonfiction for amateur and pro writers, I'll be giving blog tips each week until publication.

Takeaway Truth

A good blog is a well-designed blog. Take steps to make yours well-designed, and you'll reap the reward with increased readers.

Best Sellers Speak

Best sellers speak. What the heck does that title mean?

A reader could infer several things from this title.

* I'm a best seller, and I have something to say today.

* Books that are best sellers speak to readers.

* Authors who write best sellers said something that I'm going to quote today.

The Truth Is....

The title means all those things.

Yes, I am a Kindle Bestselling Author

I reached that status in 2011 with my first indie published ebook, Just One Look, and my other romance novels that followed.

Yesterday, I learned that Weddings on Main Street, the box set to which I contributed April Fool Bride, had a lovely orange #1 Best Seller banner next to it. Whoop!

Becoming a Best Seller is always exciting.

Yes, Best Seller Books Speak to Readers

These books have a certain something that readers embrace. They tell their friends about the books, and the books seem to fly off the shelves.

Yes, I'm Going to Quote Best Selling Authors

Authors a lot more popular and well-spoken than I have said some wise and witty things about best sellers--some are frankly hysterical. Here are a half dozen of my favorite quotations about best selling books and/or the authors who write them for your Sunday entertainment.

You don't need to be able to string a sentence together in a way that is elegant or even vaguely meaningful to produce a bestseller -- as Dan Brown has demonstrated time and again. ~ Anthony Horowitz

Writers have it easy. If you write a bestseller or have your book made into a movie, you'll never have to work again, or so the myth goes. ~ Sara Sheridan

Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. ~ Flannery O'Connor

I've had all six of my books reach the New York Times bestseller list, which is especially rewarding seeing as I flunked out of high school twice because I couldn't write. It just goes to show you that we learn from our mistakes. ~ Robert Kiyosaki

I had a history for starting something and maybe getting halfway done. Then I'd see the same thing I was doing on the bestseller list! My ideas were right, but I hadn't done them fast enough. ~ Lori Greiner

If you write chick lit, and if you're a New Yorker, and if your book becomes the topic of pop-culture fascination, the paper might make dismissive and ignorant mention of your book. If you write romance, forget about it. You'll be lucky if they spell your name right on the bestseller list. ~ Jennifer Weiner

Takeaway Truth

Show me an author who says they don't want to be on the NYT Best Sellers list, and I'll show you a writer who plays fast and loose with the truth. We all want that!

Take a Walk: Lose Weight; Gain Creativity

Feeling creatively empty? Take a walk!

That's right. New research recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, memory and Cognition concluded that people generate more creative ideas when they're walking than when they're sitting.

Ah, yes. All those long hours sitting at the computer trying to pull words from one's brain might be cut short by taking walking breaks.

Marily Oppezzo, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and lead author for the study, actually was inspired to undertake the study while--what else--but walking around her campus with her thesis advisor. Read more about it here.

The study showed that walking boosts creative brainstorming, and that increased creativity continues when one returns to the chair. However, walking didn't have the same positive effect on focused thinking, the type of cognition required to provide specific correct answers to a problem or situation.

Takeaway Truth

I've always gotten my best ideas during my morning walk. I'd even noted that when I was stuck in a scene, I could leave the keyboard to do a few minutes of physical housework--the bane of my existence--and I'd suddenly realize what I needed to make the scene work. Next time you're stumped, take a walk.

Netflix Review: The Numbers Station

I haven't been doing much writing lately since I'm limited to the time I can spend on the computer thanks to the pinched nerve in my right shoulder. Instead, I've been watching way too much Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming.

I really love that Amazon Prime offers so much more than just free shipping--which I take advantage of every chance I get. Here's a link if you'd like to Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies & TV Shows Anytime - Start Free Trial Now.

Currently, Amazon Prime Streaming has much better programming than their competitors. If you haven't tried Orphan Black yet, do yourself a favor and watch it. It's simply stunning. Also watch Sherlock. the BBC production. As for me, I'm working my way through the entire 10 seasons of SyFy's Stargate SG1 series. I'm up to Season 6 so far.

Sample Movies

On Netflix, I've got where I "sample" movies much as one samples a preview of a book on Kindle. Five minutes of watching a movie that sounds interesting is usually enough to tell whether your time would be well spent watching the whole thing.

Either I've watched everything worth watching on Netflix, or their programming just isn't up to par. They have an awful lot of obscure indie films, super low budget flicks that look as if they were filmed in someone's garage, and a massive amount of K-Pop, Japanese mange, etc. (If you don't know, K-Pop is Korean movies etc.)

When I actually find something like The Numbers Station on Netflix, it's worth a review. (The Amazon link for video streaming or DVD, etc. is for those who might want to see it, but don't have a Netflix account.)

What Is A Numbers Station

A numbers station is a type of shortwave radio station characterized by unusual broadcasts that read out lists of numbers or other incomprehensible morse code messages. The voices are often created by speech synthesis and transmitted in a wide variety of languages, but the voices are predominantly female.

The numbers stations first appeared shortly after World War II and were imitating a format that had been used to send weather data during that war. It is widely assumed that these broadcasts transmit covert messages to spies, but this is not officially acknowledged by any government.

Blurbing The Numbers Station

The Numbers Station, a 2013 British-American action thriller, stars John Cusack as Emerson Kent, a burned-out CIA black ops agent--a former wet works specialist--assigned to protect Katherine, played by Malin Åkerman, the code operator at a secret American numbers station located in the British countryside.

Liam Cunningham portrays the menacing Michael Grey, Emerson's cold-hearted, conscienceless boss.

My Opinion

The reviews were ho-hum for this film, but I found it quite intriguing with solid performances all around. It's a "thinking" film that one must pay attention to in order to catch the subtle clues as to what's happening and why. I find films like this don't do well in the mainstream. No big explosions, special effects, or over-the-top heroics. Just a man haunted by his past who doesn't know he's seeking redemption until he's faced with an opportunity that offers exactly that.

A lot of Mr. Cusack's films are like this. Subtle, intelligent, and respectful of the audience to connect the dots. I think the hitman topic is one that fascinates Mr. Cusack. His first entry into this genre was the droll and sly Grosse Pointe Blank, one of my favorite films. The Numbers Stations is much darker but just as excellent in its own way.

Takeaway Truth

An evening's movie entertainment is just a click away with video streaming.

Thursday3Some: Confederado do Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell

I'm enjoying my morning cup of java with southern author Linda Pennell.

Meet Linda Bennett Pennell

Linda has been in love with the past for as long as she can remember. A native of Georgia, Linda finds writing about the people and places of the South is a little like writing about a part of herself. She says: "Southerners value a good storyteller, and it is my goal to follow in that tradition."

(Since I too am a Southerner, I understand exactly what Linda means and agree with her about the tradition of storytelling.

My earliest memories are listening to my grandfather tell stories as we sat on the porch after supper.)

Find Linda Online




About Confederado do Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell

Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war-devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.

When did you write Confederado do Norte?

My title evolved during the research phase before one word of the novel was written. I wanted to use the word Confederado, but I needed to distinguish my novel from the handful of academic monographs on the subject. Confederado do Norte translates as Confederate from the North. Since our neighbors in Central and South America have historically referred to the United States as the Colossus of the North, Confederado do Norte seemed right to describe my main character.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

I knew from my college studies that some Southerners immigrated after the Confederacy's defeat, but little else. As the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War drew near, an article about Brazil's Confederados and their descendants appeared in a magazine to which I subscribe. I learned that one can still see Confederate gray uniforms, antebellum ball gowns, and the Stars and Bars on display during festivals hosted by persons with Anglo surnames. That tidbit led to research that gave a fuller understanding of the people who chose immigration rather than live with Reconstruction. While I do not agree with their choices before or after the Civil War, I found their story fascinating.

Why do readers buy Confederado do Norte?

My readers are drawn to historical fiction, suspense, and of course, romantic elements. If you like your historical fiction flavored with suspense and spiced with a touch of romance, you've come to the right place!

Buy Link for Confederado do Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell

Amazon Kindle Edition of Confederado do Norte

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy a book today for a getaway from the mundane.

Meet Kelly Rae

Please welcome Kelly Rae, one of my Authors of Main Street friends.

About 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 is available as part of the Weddings on Main Street Anthology. As of July 1st, it's also available as a single novella.

Find Kelly Rae Online

Twitter: @KellyRaeBooks

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

My current releases are all Contemporary Romances, with heat levels from sweet to warm. I started with this genre, because it was one of my favorites to read, so it seemed a natural beginning. In the future I have plans to write Romantic Comedy's and I have at least one Romantic Mystery Series - rolling around in my head.

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

My most recent book, is the 2nd novella, in my One Day at a Wedding Series. Every Other Wedding is the followup to Once Upon a Wedding, which debuted a budding relationship between Cassie Anderson and Dan Simmons. Every Other Wedding tells their story from Dan's POV; how they met, what kept them apart in the beginning, and where they are headed now.

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

I like to add a sense of humor to all of my characters, even the more serious characters will have at least one moment in the story that will make you laugh - now it might be at them, but only when appropriate to the character! I cannot imagine going through life without laughing, it makes the good times better and saves the soul in the bad times!

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

When I was 12, I wrote my first story and won an award in my school district. This was beginning of my addiction to stories. I was always a voracious reader and one day in my teens I thought "Why not? Why couldn't I write a book?" So, I did. Then I got married, had a baby, and ten years passed before I did anything with that first book. Now, it's all I want to do!

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

Getting all of the stories that are rolling around in my head out, so I have room to think and remember where I left my keys.

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

I think the worst thing is that being a writer is that you really on write about 50% of the time, the rest of the time is spent doing the business side of it all. I much prefer writing to the business side.

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

Yes, What If... , my debut novel is available in paperback at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

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

I think I am a rarity these days, because I don't listen to audio books. I have a tendency to miss chunks of the story when I listen to an audio version. My brain checks out and suddenly I am plotting a scene or another book of my own, rather than listening to the audio book.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

I have, and use, both a Kindle and a Nook, with no real preference to either. I still prefer holding an actual book in my hands to read, but it sure is easier to travel with an ereader. I bought my first Nook, when I was headed to Ireland for 13 days. I could have read several books just on the flight there and back, so it was definitely easier to have an ereader than a suitcase full of books.

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

Write, write, then write some more and work on a tough skin. It's not every job where everyone around has the ability to critique your work on a daily basis. You have to be able to handle the criticism in a way that won't impede your writing. Oh, and don't quit your day job on the first book. :) It also helps to find author blogs that you enjoy and check them often for tips, updates on the publishing world and how to's.

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

I think I would ask them to spread the word when they read a great book, to review that book online or share the title and author with a friend. A book takes a lot of time and effort, on the part of the author, and just saying something nice in a review not only has a chance to make their day (for those that read all of their reviews), but it can also help their sales. Reviews are the lifeblood of authors.

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

I would love to make the NY Times Best Seller list, that would be monumental. The ultimate goal is to be able to make a career out of writing, to be able to sustain my life, and that of my son, with my words and stories.

Buy Weddings on Main Street.

Takeaway Truth

Summertime is reading time. At such low prices, you can buy several every weekend.

Thursday3Some: Heart to Heart by Jan Scarbrough

Just in time for some summer reading fun is Jan Scarbrough to talk about her new book Heart to Heart: Return to Legend (Ladies of Legend Book 13).

Meet 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. A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan 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

About Heart to Heart

Jeremy Hamilton’s company is cash-strapped and his personal life is a mess. Inheriting the bulk of Ms. Addie Bynum’s wealth is a godsend, but moving to the small town of Legend, Tennessee, to get that money is a big pain. Ms. Addie has given Jeremy a second chance under certain conditions. Question is—will he take it?

Marty Fields is a pet psychic. She’s spent a lifetime explaining animal communication to skeptic citizens of her small town. Only Ms. Addie understands her gift. Keeping Ms. Addie’s six cats after the old lady’s death is the least Marty can do. Yet, she’s put her life on hold for the cats. Will the grandnephew’s arrival upset the rhythm of her comfortable existence?

When did you write Heart to Heart?

I wrote it after the first of the year. It was an afterthought in my writing schedule for 2014. I contribute to The Ladies of Legend series with Maddie James, Magdalena Scott and Janet Eaves. After our bundled books Love in a Small Town did so well, we decided to revisit the series.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

We needed something to tie all four books in the Return to Legend series together. I’d had this idea for some time about making a pet psychic a heroine. Then I saw an article about a house full of cats that inherited money from their deceased owner. Well, the wheels started turning then. Our deceased is Ms. Addie who is kind an generous to a houseful of young girls as well as a half-dozen cats.

Why do readers buy books in the Return to Legend series?

I'll let some of the reviews on Amazon tell you.

This boxed set was great, wonderful writers and I can't wait for the next book from all of you.
Good characters and story line.

Such a delightful series, I'm sorry I came to the end of this set.

Buy Links for Heart to Heart

Amazon Kindle Edition of Heart to Heart

All Romance eBooks Edition of Heart to Heart

Takeaway Truth

Summertime is perfect reading time. Grab a book or two and have some inexpensive fun.