Honoring Those Who Serve

With gratitude to the men and women who served and are serving our country, I celebrate you this day.

Thank you for your service.

Takeaway Truth

Freedom is never free.

Memorial Weekend Sale -- Book On Sale

Big Groan! Jury Duty continues. May has been a hell of a month. Packing, painting, cleaning, storing, moving. All in an effort to get the house on the market.

Then Federal Court Jury Duty summons arrived just as we're in full swing of selling and buying. Jury Duty started Monday, May 20, and, lucky me, it continues into next week and possible beyond.

Another big groan!

To celebrate the end of this hellish month -- and the 3 day weekend upon us which I sorely need -- I'm offering SCENTS and SENSUALITY, my latest book in a special 99 cent sale from May 24-28.

Normally, this romantic comedy is $3.99. For 4 days, it will be reduced to only 99 cents!

Takeaway Truth

Grab it while it's on sale.

Write For Children; Release Your Inner Child

About the only writing I've managed to do, since we started this insane selling a house/buying a house adventure, was a children's book for one of my lovely young relatives -- Mystery of the Stormy Night, a Lilly Bug, Girl Detective, Story.


I decided to write this Chapters Book for Early Readers as a learning experience. I intend to publish print editions of all of my ebooks so this was a great way to learn the process.

I wrote the book a couple of months ago and then tackled the formatting process for CreateSpace, my POD publisher of choice. In between packing and schlepping boxes, I formatted the manuscript; got Adina Mayo, my graphic artist, to design the cover; put the whole package together; and uploaded it.

Yesterday, I had some time to finish the proofing process -- I used their online proof as well as ordering a printed proof. I didn't see any problens so I approved it for sale.

Tell A Friend

I must admit writing for a young reader was a lot of fun. I hope you'll take a look at the books webpage because I'm rather proud of this bit of writing.

I even created a video for Lilly Bug's story. If you have young children or friends and family with young children, share the video with them. I think they'll find it fun. I know the "real" Lilly Bug and her sisters loved it!

Takeaway Truth

Writing Mystery of the Stormy Night was fun and a great escape from reality. I recommend trying this because it will give you a fun perspective on writing a story.

College Over--What To Do With Text Books

Since I'm a book lover, you'll understand when I tell you that I still have my college textbooks as well as some of my husband's. Heck, I even have my high school English Lit text.

Most of you get rid of your college texts as if they were contaminated with ebola. Since the spring semester at colleges is over, I thought I'd give you some resources to resell your textbooks other than the campus and off-campus book stores.

Here are some websites that buy college textbooks as well as sell and rent them if you want to get a jump on next semester. These all have badging that represents their credibility, i.e., BBB and the like.





Takeaway Truth

Just do a search to find other sites. Check out several and compare so you can get the best price.

Steak, Barbecue, and Ice Tea

This was the perfect weekend. Darling hubby and I have been working very hard in cleaning out clutter, shifting possessions around between our houses, and all the other things needed to sell a house and move.

We arrived at Rancho Reeves Friday night with the last load of plants which I've found are like books -- you never know how many you have until you must move.

Mutual Decision To Do Nothing

We unloaded and collapsed. After a shower, we stayed up late catching up on our fave TV shows on the DVR. Then we sat outside on the porch and enjoyed glasses of Le Coin, a really good Bordeaux one of our sons gave us in a Christmas gift basket.

Excellent wine for a great evening with the southerly wind sending clouds scudding across the night sky and periodically hiding the quarter moon above.We sipped wine, talked, and just relaxed.

Saturday we slept late, and Larry cooked some amazing steaks on the grill. He's truly a master when it comes to grilling. His steaks are better than any I've had anywhere, and the drumsticks he barbecues are so good they'd make you declare you love chicken better than steak.

Tomorrow brings a return to home and work. Today though, I'm still staring out at our field of wildflowers and enjoying doing nothing.

Double Header

Naturally, today's quotation is a double header -- steak and barbecue -- however you may spell barbecue.

Tom Colicchio, restaurateur and Top Chef honcho, said: "I think steak is the ultimate comfort food, and if you're going out for one, that isn't the time to scrimp on calories or quality."

I'll lift a glass of Le Coin to that.

Essayist John Shelton Reed said: "Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to Europe's wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes."

So very true. In Louisiana where I grew up, barbecue is completely different from what my husband grew up eating in Texas. To that, I'll lift my glass of ice tea which is just as Southern as barbecue.

By the way, in the South when I grew up, it was ice tea, not iced tea. So I still refer to it that way. (I'm sure someone has probably written an essay on why it's ice tea, not iced tea.) Also, ice tea always had sugar added to it. The distinction between sweet tea and unsweetened tea is a latter day occurrence.

Takeaway Truth

It's the simple pleasures in life that mean so much.

Review: Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Recently, I listed to the audio edition of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead.

I was so, well, fascinated by the book that I ordered a print edition of the book.

Blurb It

This book is about what causes people to be fascinated by just about anything -- books, movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, or whatever.

Are there elements that a viral video shares in common with a the most popular summer movie or the newest reality TV show that's causing all the watercooler chat?

Companies put a lot of effort into finding those common elements and mining them. You can too if you've got something to market to the public.

The author Sally Hogshead has been a marketing consultant responsible for some of the most popular media campaigns. She shares her expertise in this book and discloses the 7 universal triggers: lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice, and trust.

From the Salem witch trials to Sex and the City to Gangnam Style, learn how a fascination trigger played a part in capturing the human imagination.

Buy Links

After hearing the audio book, I wanted the print book so I could make notes and refer to certain parts of the book more easily. Then I plan to listen again to the full audio book. Here are buy links to the various editions for your convenience.

Audio Edition of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Hardcover Edition of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Kindle Edition of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Takeaway Truth

If you've been looking for something to give you an edge in marketing, this may be it.

Human Intimacy & Kissing

Since I'm moving more plants and gardening stuff today to my weekend house, I'm entertaining you with part of a post I wrote for PGP Classic Soaps by NYT Bestselling Author Alina Adams. Enjoy!

Is a kiss just a kiss? That's what Herman Hupfeld wrote in the song, "As Time Goes By," better known as the love song from the movie "Casablanca."

Maybe a kiss – especially that first kiss – is something more? Something special? Perhaps even magical?

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss – Or Is It?

In 1971, Desmond Morris published Intimate Behaviour: A Zoologist's Classic Study of Human Intimacy. In his book, he discusses the 12 steps of human intimacy, of which The Kiss is just one step.

Morris begins with Step 1: Eye To Body – visually sizing up a potential mate – and ends with Step 12: Genital To Genital Contact – which you probably don't need defined.

Step 7 in his study of intimate behavior is Mouth To Mouth - Kissing.

In most romance novels, that first kiss is a seminal event in the growing relationship between heroine and hero. By the first kiss, the couple in question are acting on their desire, and they're curious as to how that kiss will make them feel. Will it knock their socks off or put the damper on their growing desire?

Much At Stake

Obviously, much depends on that kiss. If it increases their desire, which it should, then they face the problem of backing away from each other if there are circumstances that keep them apart. Of course, they may, for their own reasons, disavow the effects of the kiss. After all, a romance is all about overcoming obstacles to achieve a worthy goal each other.

I tend to believe that a kiss, especially a first kiss, is pure magic. Just as Hollywood pays a lot of attention to the first kiss in romantic movies, I pay a lot of attention to the first kiss in the romance novels I write.

Here's an excerpt – the first kiss – from my latest contemporary romance SCENTS and SENSUALITY, available at most ebook sellers. Watch the book movie to find out more about the book.

Excerpt, The Kiss

Was it really all right to be herself with him? To show her true personality? "Nicole said men prefer women who aren't so serious. She said men like women who are sexy and flirty. I'm not like that. I'm serious and thoughtful and introverted. And shy."

She was shy? Oddly, Harrison liked that. Most of the women he'd had in his bed didn't know the meaning of the word shy. He'd never had a woman hesitate to tell him in detail what to do, where to touch, how to touch, and when to touch as she pursued her own orgasm. As if he were so unskilled that he didn't know anything about women.

"I really don't know much about pop culture and clubbing and all the stuff that Nicole knows," Amanda said.

"Your friend doesn't know what she's talking about," Harrison said. He stopped moving. Now they weren't dancing. They were just swaying in time to the music. "There's nothing wrong with the real you, sweetheart."

With that one sentence, he had her. She could smell him, and his scent was strong. Musky. Maybe it was just physiology, she thought, with the tiny part of her brain that still worked. Something about her female pheromone receptors went bonkers when he was near. He'd said sweetheart. Amanda didn't know if it was what he'd said or the endearment that warmed her so completely.

In a voice so intense that it made gooseflesh break out on her arms, he said, "You don't have to pretend to be someone you're not. I like you just the way you are."

The song stopped. Still they swayed, cheek to cheek, breast to chest. Heat to heat. The song started again.

"You're beautiful," he whispered against her cheek. "And you're incredibly sexy without playing silly games. You're sexy without even trying. And I want you."

His words wove a spell around her lonely heart. "I want you too," she confessed.

Harrison smiled and nuzzled the tender flesh of her neck where her pulse throbbed.

In a voice so soft that he had to strain to hear, Amanda said, "You don't have to say that...that I'm sexy. I...I won't change my mind about...about...you know." She fell silent.

Harrison pulled away from her a little so he could look at her, gauge her reactions. "Are you trying to say you won't change your mind about having a raging affair with me?"

Amanda took a deep breath and exhaled. She met his eyes directly. "Despite what you say, I know I'm not sexy. I just want to be honest with you. It's important to me to be honest. I don't like lies. They just cause problems. So here's the bald truth. I'm a flop with men, and I was desperate for a date for my cousin's wedding. Nicole helped me hook you. She tutored me on how to be a hot babe because that's what men want."

Harrison found it hard to accept that she believed all that. "That's a hell of a lot of honesty."

His comment was like the release gate on a dam. A flood of words poured out of Amanda. "I don't want you to be confused by Nicole's tricks and think I'm something I'm not. Even though I'm more than willing to...you know...have that raging affair with you."

Amanda spoke faster to get all the words out before she lost her courage. "I was just pretending. So you may not really want me now that you know the truth. I'm not a sexy hot babe, and you don't have to tell me I am just to--"

Harrison's mouth swooped down and captured hers, shutting off the frantic torrent of words. Amanda was frozen for a split second, then the feel of his mouth on hers broke through the paralysis. His lips were warm. They pressed against hers, teasing, shaping hers. The tip of his tongue licked, demanded entrance. She sighed, and his tongue plunged into her mouth. She forgot that she didn't know much about kissing. She welcomed him. She pressed her body as tightly as possible to his and couldn't hold back the moan that rose to her lips.
* * *
Takeaway Truth

Kisses in a romance novel – and in life – should be like Byron wrote in Don Juan: "Each kiss, a heart-quake."

Today Only 99cents Sale: Old Enough To Know Better

Today only, my sexy romantic comedy Old Enough To Know Better is on sale for only 99cents.

Online Review said: "Sean is wonderful and sexy and Stormy is aptly named. She is complicated and emotional and needs to feel the love and lust of a good man. The two of them together is very sweet and yet very steamy. A must read!"

This book is featured today on Michael Gallagher's Kindle Books and Tips blog so I celebrated by reducing the price from $3.99 to the rock bottom price of 99cents! Grab a copy today. If you like it, I'd love a review!

Good Girl Conspiracy, the second book in this series -- The Good, The Bad, and The Girly -- will be published this summer.

Add some love and laughter -- and sizzle -- to your week. Grab Old Enough To Know Better today for only 99cents.

Takeaway Truth

I should have my house up for sale next week, thus ending this exhausting "get the house perfect for resale" process. Then maybe I can get back to my writing job. After all, writers write; they don't spend endless hours sorting, packing, moving, painting, cleaning, and other assorted "sprucing up" tasks. At least, they shouldn't!

Only Constant in Digital World? Change

I'm sure by now that you've heard about Microsoft's bid to purchase Nook Publishing for a billion bucks.

I, and many other authors, have been noting the drastic decline in sales on the Barnes & Noble Nook platform. Then, a month ago, B&N comes out with a new e-publishing platform and wants all authors to migrate from PubIt publishing platform to Nook Publishing platform.

Most of us suspected that was an effort to pave the way for a new world order for books published for the Nook eReader. As to what will actually happen with books published by or for the Nook eReader, that is still to be determined.

Digital Book World has more information about the future of Nook Publishing.

Forbes has some educated guesses about what might happen.

One thing is certain, the news about Microsoft's offer pushed B&N stock up more than 24%. One can only imagine what might result with Microsoft's resources behind Nook Media.

What Does This Mean

For readers with Nook devices? I'm hoping that it means Microsoft will honor those readers who have purchased Nook ereaders by continuing to push content their way rather than forcing them to abandon the devices they've purchased.

For writers who publish for Nook applications? At the very least, it means we may have to jump through a few hoops to publish for Nook. At the most, well, your guess is as good as mine.

Takeaway Truth

The only constant is change -- whether we're talking about life in general or the world of digital publishing.

eBooks From Public Library To Increase

I had an email from Authors Guild about downloading ebooks from your local public library. Authors Guild said the email could be shared so I'm sharing because Readers and Authors need to know this.

Downloading eBooks From Libraries

Per the Author's Guild email: "Downloading ebooks from your local public library is poised to become much more widespread.

"Anthony Marx, New York Public Library President, announced in an op-ed in May 1 NY Times that Hachette Book Group has now joined the other Big Six publishers in agreeing to allow e-lending of its titles.

"Citing surveys that show that most Americans don’t know that libraries offer ebooks, Marx sees a need to educate patrons that they can download library e-books anywhere and on any device. Library e-lending, when permitted by publishers, generally allows one-at-a-time, two week uses of ebooks.

"Library users may download the ebooks from their homes after using their library cards to log in to the library’s website.

"Marx discussed the variations in e-lending terms among the Big Six publishers: Penguin and Simon & Schuster offer their entire lists to public libraries through licenses that expire after a year; HarperCollins also offers their entire list with licenses that expire after a title is downloaded 26 times; Random House offers its entire list for unlimited uses, charging a premium for the license; and Macmillan makes only a limited portion of its list available.

"The numbers show substantial room for growth in ebook downloads from the NYPL (and, no doubt, other public libraries):

"The New York Public Library had 100,000 copies of 37,000 digital titles in circulation last year, compared with 6.5 million copies in circulation of 1 million print titles. Just as libraries decide which physical books to purchase and how many of each, we now will be deciding the same for e-books.

As those with library cards learn that they can download library e-books anywhere and on any device, we may soon see a rapid shift in ebook buying habits."

Takeaway Truth

Readers, inquire at your local library about ebooks. If you have favorite authors, request that the library buy a license for those books to be made available for checkout.

Bargain Priced Photographs

If you post photos or illustrations to your blog and website or need photographs for book covers, have I got a deal for you! This deal is great for authors, bloggers, or just anyone who wants quality illustrations and photographs.

Purchase a membership on Big Stock Photo and stock up on the images you need. A monthly membership at regular price if $69.95. For that, you can download 5 images each day, and you can get the X-Large format which is best for rendering on a print book cover. That's at least 150 images each month!

Quality images are expensive. I've used several stock photo sites, and I've paid an average of $50 per image -- for the medium format. I always bought Medium because Large and X-Large formats were too expensive. Since subscribing to Big Stock, I've used them exclusively. Most of the photographers/artists that I like upload their work to all the popular stock sites so it's easy to find excellent work at multiple sites, including Big Stock.

How To Best Take Advantage

The way to make the most of a subscription (you can cancel at any time), is to think of all your image needs for the rest of the year. How many book covers will you need? How many videos do you plan that you need images for? If you need images for websites, chances are you post about similar subjects so make a list of images that would best illustrate those posts.

Takeaway Truth

Big Stock Photo is a bargain if you plan ahead. Sign up today and start saving.

I Took Thoreau's Advice & Simplified

After two weeks of doing little but packing, carting boxes to a storage unit, hosting painters and other contractors who did all the little jobs on my "to do" list, I'm back.

I'm also considerably sorer and poorer. All that "sprucing up the house" -- we even had the roof cleaned -- in order to sell it for top dollar doesn't come cheap in terms of dollars or physical energy.

What's Left

All that's left is emptying the closets of all the surplus stuff, carting that to the other house, then calling the realtor to put the house on the market.

For now, I'm trying to get back to work, including working in a streamlined office since most of my files, books, and my desk where I did paperwork are all gone. In fact, much of the detritus of daily living is now in storage. If I can live successfully without all that, I guess it means that I didn't need any of it in the first place.

Now I have 2 weeks to get what's left completed. Then I report for Jury Duty. Like most people, I hate the disruption in my daily routine, but I'm trying to look on doing my civic duty as an opportunity to do firsthand research.

Takeaway Truth

I'm thrilled to be finished with most of step 1 of our move -- getting the house ready to sell. I'll be even more thrilled to start tomorrow in my office and get some actual writing done.

Soaps Vs. Romance by Alina Adams

Today is Day 1 of the big Book Blowout Sale sponsored by Indie Romance Authors. To celebrate this 3-day event, I've dropped the price on my new romance Scents and Sensuality from $2.99 to only 99cents! This is only at Amazon Kindle shop and only for May 1-3.

To help me celebrate the big blowout sale, Alina Adams, author of NYT best-selling soap opera tie-ins, romance novels and figure skating mysteries, has dropped by. (You'll find her blog as a link on her website.)

Alina is currently in the process of turning her backlist into enhanced ebooks featuring video, music and more. She's offering the first book in her Counterpoint Interactive series for only 99 cents during the Blowout Sale -- Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga - Volume One.

Take it away, Alina!

Soaps vs. Romance Novels
by Alina Adams

In the musical Oklahoma, one character sings that "The cowman and the farmer should be friends."
I’ve always felt that way, too. Well, not so much about cowmen and farmers, but about romance readers and soap opera fans.

Having both written romances and worked in soap operas, I thought that they had a lot in common, and fans of one should also like the other. So I was surprised to get pushback from both camps on the subject.

Soap opera fans' biggest objection to romance novels seems to be that books are too narrowly focused on the couple, instead of sprawling across a canvas of relatives and community. Plus, when the book's over, the story is over.

Romance readers' biggest objection to soap operas is that they have no Happily Ever After. Or, rather, they do – for about fifteen minutes. And then someone cheats, someone dies, somebody's first love returns from the grave and/or somebody leaves the show. Nobody lives Happily Ever After on soap operas.

I got to admit, if forced to pick one, I’m in the soap opera camp. As both a reader and a writer, I hate it when I invest all this time and emotional energy in a couple, and then the story just… ends. I don’t want it to end. I want to know what happens next (even if it does end up involving a first love who didn’t really die in that place crash/fire/canoe).

That’s why, after writing stand-alone titles like The Fictitious Marquis, Thieves at Heart, Annie's Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman, I am trying something different.

My newest series, Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga, features two sets of heroes and heroines, plus their extended family, plus a sprawling canvas. And it ends on a cliffhanger. Which the readers then get to resolve.

Basically, I am taking what I learned of writing to fan interaction from when I worked for the soap operas As the World Turns and Guiding Light, and bringing it to the romance world. Readers will tell me what they want to see happen next. And then I will write it. (Within reason. No vampires. I know people seem to love vampires. But, not in this series. I fail to find the dead sexy.)

Will my experiment work? You tell me. Two volumes of Counterpoint: An Interactive Saga have been released so far, and more are on the way.

Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga - Volume One will be discounted to $.99 cents as part of the May 1 Book Blowout. Check it out and let me know what you think. As I said, I am totally open to feedback.

And, in the meantime, tell me, do you prefer soaps or romance novels, and why?

Alina's Other Books

Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga (Volume Two)

When a Man Loves a Woman: Enhanced Multimedia Edition

Murder on Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition (Figure Skating Mystery)

Takeaway Truth

Stock up on some incredible bargains during the big Indie Book Blowout sale.