Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Thursday, September 29, 2011

October Release of "Moon Over Madness"

October and Halloween are almost here. What a perfect time to release my latest book, "Moon Over Madness," a paranormal witch/vampire/ghost novella. This ebook will be available at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com for .99 cents in the next few days.

Chantel Deneuve is a half-witch who chose to deny her witch heritage and move away to East Hill, Florida, to raise her two young daughters. Unfortunately, her long ago ex-husband, Colin Rowe, has implicated Chantel in an antiquities theft he committed years before. As Halloween nears, danger and madness ensues. How will Chantel combat the assortment of ghouls who come to take back the treasure?

First off, Chantel didn't know anything about the theft. So how can she give back something she's never seen and doesn't know how to find? Enter vampire, Riordan "Rio" Martainn, who just happens to live down the street from Chantel. Rio arrives at Chantel's doorstep late one night and offers his services.

Chantel is wary, but charmed, by the handsome Rio and listens to his plans to help her seek the missing antiquities. She needs his help, whether she wants it or not.  Now the lives of her daughters and herself are at stake. In the midst of this madness, Rio's vampire friends help out, along with an assortment of witches, ghosts and more. As the chaos increases, Chantel and Rio find themselves drawn to each other. Neither is looking for a romantic interest, but as everyone knows, you can't fight love.

"Moon Over Madness" is a light-hearted read. Although there is romance in this novella, nothing too racy ocurrs in the story. Chantel and Rio try denying their mutual attraction, but in spite of their efforts, their relationship grows beyond their control.

You'll be able to read more about Chantel and Rio in upcoming books. The next Chantel Deneuve novella, "Moon Over Mistletoe," will be released in early December.

I hope you enjoy "Moon Over Madness." I had a fun time writing this story and hope you will have as much fun reading about the adventures of Chantel, Rio, and their friends.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No Winners

There were no winners for my "Outback Love" contest.  I guess no one wants to win a book by a new indie author. Oh, well. Maybe sometime down the line?

This brings to mind writer/author, Karin Cox's, recent blog post about "Respect." It's all about the need for respect between authors and the need for respect from authors for their readers. I think all writers/authors should read that post. You can find it at: karincox.wordpress.com

I'm noticing there's a great deal of animosity from established authors against indie authors. I haven't personally experienced animosity directed at me, but I've heard from other indie authors, ones who have been out there in the fray longer than I have. In some cases, it's carried to the point of hatred. Apparently, established authors think indie authors are going to take away their books sales and fans. Well, if an indie author is good enough to attract fans and book sales, then bravo. That's an author who should be published, whether it's with a big name publishing house or ePub.

The ePub industry is here to stay, whether established authors like it or not. I understand, that's a scary proposition. Will paper book sales drop? Yes! Will ebook sales increase? Yes! That's a fact of life. Times are changing. We can't stop progress. So we just have to learn to live and work with it.

I have to admit the ePub industry is a Godsend for me. I started writing seriously in my college days. I got zillions of rejection letters, but none were rejected due to the content of my writing. I was told one novel, "Firefall," sounded great, but it was too long (899 pages) for an unpublished author. I was advised to write something shorter. I wrote "Outback Love" and was told that they'd publish it if I was already a published author. Huh?

I received rejections from agents, my favorite being, "If I could only have worked with you from the beginning." The beginning of my novel? The beginning of the romance industry? The beginning of the publishing industry? The beginning of time? I never got an answer on that.

Yes, I kept every one of those rejection letters. I wanted to keep a paper trail of my writing career. Due to all those rejections, I wrote in spurts. A year or two of writing and then years of working, family and living life. More years of writing. Then more years of living. This pattern went on and on. All those years in between just added more fuel to the fire. It gave me more life experiences to write about, more travels and locales to add to my books.

I'm not the kind of person who gives up easily. Though the years I've just kept writing. A poem was published in a literary magazine. Several articles about boating were published in national boating magazines. I wrote bunches of short stories, none of which were published, but I enjoyed writing them. My favorite rejections on my short stories were received on "Harry's Garden." I received two rejection letters on the same day for "Harry's Garden." At that time, I'd long since given up sending my stories out to just one magazine at a time. I was sending the stories out to two or three at a time, supposedly a no-no, but I did it anyway. Oh, my!

Anyway, two rejection letters arrived simultaneously for "Harry's Garden." One said, "I love the beginning of your story." The other said, "I love the end of your story." Huh? I thought, why couldn't the two get together and decide they loved the whole story? By the way, I love "Harry's Garden" and it will eventually be ePubbed in my collection of short stories and poems, "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows," which I plan to ePub before too long.

Rejection letters don't mean you're a poor writer. Acceptance from a publishing house doesn't mean you're a great writer. It's all about writing the best novels, novellas, short stories or poetry that you can. Then it's about timing. Was the reader having a good or bad day? Had the reader just finished three manuscripts ahead of yours, all with the same theme? Did your reader just happen to love your hero or heroine, because the reader identified with one or both at that particular moment in time? It also has a lot to do with luck. Did the stars, moon and planets align in the precise way on that particular day?

I don't regret getting rejection slips through the years. They made me a better and more determined writer. For several years I was a member of RWA and the Cactus Rose Chapter. Along with a couple other writing friends, we started Desert Rogues, our own writing group. Several writers came and went in our group, but eventually there were just four of us, whom I mentioned in a previous blog post, but here they are again: Ruth Kerce (who writes erotica, ruthkerce.blogspot.com ), Michele Bardsley (who writes urban paranormals and romantic comedy, michelebardsley.com ), Nancy Lynn (who wrote a really fun romantic comedy) and me, Teri Heyer (contemporary romance, paranormal and trying other genres). So now all four of us are published authors. Really cool.

At some point, I'd like to think the animosity between authors will eventually ease up. After all, we're all in this great big pot together. Some are on the top of this stew and others are simmering on the bottom. But when the chef comes along and stirs that pot, we're all going to get mixed up. Hey, I love food, so I had to use that analogy.

Anyway, I respect all writers/authors, big and small, established and indie. All of us have some great stories to tell. I'm a voracious reader myself, so I respect all readers too. I know what it's like to have a big name author treat a reader like crap. Yep, a couple big-time authors have been on my "Do Not Read" list forever, because they were so rude to me when I met them that I'll never again buy one of their books.

Writers/authors need to remember that every person out there is a potential reader. So be nice. Play nice. Treat your potential readers with respect and they'll stick by you forever, through thick and thin. They'll forgive your writing a slow, boring book now and then, so long as you follow it up with something good down the line. But treat your readers like crap and they won't buy your books no matter what you write. And it could be as simple as your reader saying, "Oh, it's so nice to meet you." Only you don't respond and turn your back on said reader. Believe me, it happens and all too often.

For those of you who are interested, I'm going to keep writing. My next release is a novella, "Moon Over Madness," which will be ePubbed by next week. It's a light-hearted paranormal about witches, vampires, ghosts, and those are the good guys. There's some bad guys too. It's a fun read for October and Halloween.

Many thanks to all who have waded through and read this particular blog post. I needed to say these things and I hope you all understand. Many more thanks to the readers of my books.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Win a Free Ebook Copy of My Novel, "Outback Love"

Here is my CONTEST. I have decided to award a FREE ebook copy of my contemporary romance novel, "OUTBACK LOVE," which is set in the Australian Outback, to the WINNER of this CONTEST. See entry rules below.

Priscilla Alexander is a city girl from San Francisco who desperately needs to get away from her high-stress advertising job and her dysfunctional parents who are getting a divorce after 30 years of marriage. So, in spite of the fact that Priscilla doesn't like to travel, anywhere, she decides to take a lengthy adventurous holiday through the Australian Outback. Alone.

Priscilla isn't interested in finding Mr. Right, particularly not in Australia, half a world away from her comfortable city life. But sometimes life doesn't go the way you have it planned.

Ian MacAlister, an Aussie who looks more like he should be wrestling crocodiles, isn't looking for his soul mate, particularly not stranded on a muddy Australian road. So what is he to do when he comes across Priscilla and her van which is stuck in the mud on a lonely highway?

Priscilla doesn't want Ian's help. And he doesn't want to help her. Only he feels obligated to come to the aid of a damsel in distress. Sparks fly and an adventure begins. Will Ian convince Pris that he really is her Mr. Right? Will Priscilla accept the fact that Ian is actually her one true love? Follow their romantic adventure through the Australian Outback.

ENTRY RULES: Now here's the deal with the CONTEST. I'm going to award a free ebook, Kindle copy, of my novel, "Outback Love," to the person with the best romantic destination. The contest will end next Tuesday at midnight on September 27th.

HOW TO ENTER: Tell me about your ideal romantic destination. Is it somewhere in the Caribbean? Or maybe in the South of France? Or what about the Scottish Highlands? Or maybe it's in you own backyard? The person who writes about the best, most unique, most romantic destination will win the free ebook, Kindle copy, of  "Outback Love." Enter by posting a COMMENT below at the bottom of this blog post.

I'm going to invite my author friend, Ruth D. Kerce, to help me decide on the winner. Ruth has two new, really HOT, short story ebooks, "Into the Storm" and "G-String Gentleman," now available online at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes&Noble.

The winner will  be announced on my blog and also notified by email on Wednesday morning, September 28th. The link to the free ebook copy will be emailed to the winner. So please be sure that I have your email address.

Many thanks to all who decide to enter this CONTEST. I'm looking forward to hearing about your romantic destinations. I might even write a book set in your romantic locale.

Please note that "Outback Love" is available online at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble and Apple. My ebook, "Jetting Away," a short story prequel to "Outback Love" is also available at the same online venues. Both "Outback Love" and "Jetting Away" can be read as stand-alones, but I hope that my readers will enjoy both books.

"Outback Love" was inspired by a three week long, 5000 mile trip, that my husband and I took a few years back through the Australian Outback and other parts of Australia. The trip was a wonderful, grand, exciting adventure. I feel very fortunate for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel there. Australia is a beautiful, exotic country. Definitely a romantic place to visit. According to my baby sister, Lisa, it's also a great place to live and raise a family, as she's been living there for the last three years.

I hope you all enjoy reading my books, "Outback Love" and "Jetting Away." Also, my newest release, a paranormal vampire/witch/ghost novella, "Moon Over Madness," should be available online in early October.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Love of Books - Part 1 - Childhood and Teens

My love of books goes back as far as I can remember, which happens to be a very long time ago. I  was around two and a half then, because that is when my brother came home from the hospital and he was a tiny baby in my first memories of books.

As with most children, our mom and aunt read lots of books to us: picture books, story books, fairy tales. My very first favorite book was a beautifully illustrated copy of "Thumbelina." To this day I can still picture her tiny elfin figure among the flowers and leaves. I'm sure I actually held the tiny Thumbelina in the palm of my hand way back then. A next favorite was a pop-out book about Santa Claus and his reindeer. I had to be three and a half then. The illustrations of Santa were classic, with his big round belly, chubby cheeks, pink nose, white hair and beard, red suit and jaunty red hat. Rudolph was there with his bright red nose leading the other reindeer and, of course, the sleigh was filled with a big bag of toys.

I know Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" and "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" were favorites of mine at an early age. So too were the Terhune dog stories that Mom read to us. I also loved O'Henry and Mom read my favorite stories to my brother and I over and over again. To this day, my favorites are "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Ransom of Red Chief." Now all that was long before I could read on my own.

I have early memories of going to the library and sitting on the floor looking at shelf after shelf of books. How excited and proud I was to check out story books and bring them home for Mom to read to us. I can still picture those bookshelves and the musty smell of the library as if it was yesterday.

I remember the very moment I learned to read. It was like one minute I couldn't read and was just staring at the pictures and words. The next minute something clicked and I could read the words. The book was "Dick and Jane." From that moment on there was no stopping me. I read every book in my path. It meant at the library I could move up to the shelves for early readers and oh what a treasure trove that was to my young eyes.

From there I moved up again to the "Betsy and Tacy," "Five Little Peppers," "Little Women," Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew series. I read every one and most more than twice. Other standouts from those early years were "The Enormous Egg," "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates," "Old Yeller," "Savage Sam," "Island of the Blue Dolphins," "Hetty, Her First Hundred Years," "The Bronze Bow," "Silver for General Washington," "The Wrinkle in Time," "The Yearling" and "The Phantom Tollbooth."

Back then, I remember meeting Scott O'Dell at a bigger library in the next town over. When he signed my copy of "Island of the Blue Dolphins," I told him I was going to grow up and be a writer someday. He said, "Good for you."

In 5th grade something bewildering happened. My teacher decided I was reading too many books. Can you imagine a teacher saying that these days? My parents were called in for a parent/teacher conference and I had to be there too. The teacher insisted that I read too many books, so that I daydreamed too much and therefore didn't spend enough time playing with the other kids. Huh? Was this actually a problem? To this day I fault that teacher for her reasoning.

I have been and always will be a dreamer. Put me on a desert island with absolutely no books and I'll still daydream. There are stories in my head and they'll never go away until I take my final breath. So my teacher's thinking that taking away my books would stop the daydreaming was ludicrous.

To make a long story short, my parents and teacher came to a compromise. By the way, no one listened to what I had to say about books. Anyway, for the rest of the school year I wouldn't be allowed to read any fiction, only non-fiction. This teacher, who loved science, decided that fiction was the culprit. Sheesh! What did she know?

So I just moved into another section of the library and read nonfiction. I read every biography, travel book, science book and adventure book that the library had to offer. Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, Francis Marion the Swamp Fox, pioneers, cowboys and Indians were added to my favorites. Gee, I had better, more vivid, daydreams after that. I have to admit that I even read our classroom science text book from cover to cover too. So my love of history and science came about because of that teacher. Reluctantly, I had agreed to spend recess time running around the school grounds with the other kids. Funny thing, the other kids and I talked a lot about books when we weren't galloping around pretending to be wild horses.

That brings me to all the horse books I read. "Misty of Chincoteague," "Stormy, Misty's Foal," and all the other Marguerite Henry books. "Black Beauty" was another favorite. I was obsessed with horses at the time, so I read every fiction and non-fiction book I could find on horses. I even slept with a ceramic palomino pony on my pillow, but that's another story for a later time.

I think I was around nine or ten when I told the librarian that I'd read every book in the Children's section of the library. I was very distraught. Were there no more books? I remember that librarian's secretive smile as she led me to the Adult section and introduced me to a new treasure trove of books. Conrad Richter's Awakening Trilogy: "The Trees," "The Fields" and "The Town" were the first ones I read. Then it was on to every classic I could get my hands on. "The Last of the Mohicans" (one of my favorites to this day and which I've read many times), "Treasure Island" and  "Robinson Crusoe." Jessamyn West's "The Friendly Persuasion" is one of my favorites from that time. I read so many books then, I could go on and on.

About that time I realized that my favorite Disney movies were actually taken from books. So I read Mary Stewart's "The Moon-Spinners," which is my number one favorite to this day. Then I read "That Darn Cat," "The Prince and the Pauper," "Kidnapped," "The Swiss Family Robinson," and so many others.

At fifteen I came down with mono and was extremely sick for several months. I missed two months of school and a teacher was sent to my house to tutor me. What a brave soul he must have been. About the only thing he really had to tutor me in was math. To this day I really dislike math, but that tutor made algebra seem fun for the only time in my life. Again, that's another story. However, I remember that the tutor and I talked a lot about books.

The really great part about being sick with mono was that I read every waking moment while propped up in bed. Primarily I read classics for those two whole months, because that's what my mom brought me to read. By then we had a little magazine/bookstore just around the block from us. So Mom would stop by there and buy me paperback books. I reread old favorites like "The Moon-Spinners" and "Far from the Madding Crowd," and ones I'd never read before, of which "The Portrait of a Lady," stands out as an all time favorite.

In high school I read all the required books: "A High Wind in Jamaica," "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," "The Temple of Gold," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "The Scarlet Letter," "Great Expectations," "The Great Gatsby," "The Red Badge of Courage," "Frankenstein," "The Catcher in the Rye," "Daisy Miller," "Turn of the Screw," "Wuthering Heights," "Jane Eyre," "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet," All were added to my favorites.

Outside of high school I read a lot of classics: "Pride and Prejudice," "The House of Mirth," "Lady Bovary," "The Age of Innocence" and more of Shakespeare (I received a BA in English Lit due to my love of Shakespeare). That's also when I read "Gone With the Wind" for the first of many times. Then I discovered James Michener, of which my favorites were "Hawaii" and "The Source." Other favorite books at that time were "The Thorn Birds," "Roots," "The Turnbulls," "Christy," "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace." I'm sure I've left out a bunch of my favorite books from back then.

I graduated from high school at the age of sixteen, just a month short of my seventeenth birthday, and started college three days later. My college days brought about an even greater love of books. So I'll save that story for Part 2.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Procrastinating

I'm probably better at procrastinating than anything else. I have no problem finding one thing or another to distract me from what I should actually be doing. Though I like to think I'm not alone in this trait. I must be related to Scarlet O'Hara, because I'd rather think about or do something tomorrow rather than today.

Well, this isn't a good trait for a writer. So I'm having to write against the grain, make myself do now what I'd much rather do later. Oh, I have lots of story ideas bouncing around in my head and as many more partials in boxes in my closet. Those are all stories/novels I'll finish later, much later.

Anyway, it was a milestone for me to ePub my books "Outback Love" and "Jetting Away," because I would have rather finished them later. But I did something uncharacteristic for me and wrote both of them in record time. I write fast, when I make myself  sit in the chair and write. It also helped to have a fair amount of nagging from my husband, mom and best friends. But now I'm in the groove so to speak. I've made a bargain with myself. I give myself time to procrastinate and then I sit down and write, usually around 2,000 words a day.

So let's see, there's that box of partials in my closet. I will get to them, one by one, eventually. But in the meantime, these new stories keep popping up in my head and insist that I write them first. I guess it's pretty much a case of "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." The stories that clamor the loudest in my head get written first. The others have to wait their turn, because I'm busy procrastinating.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm procrastinating right now. I should be finishing my novella, "Moon Over Madness," which will be released as an ebook in early October. Instead, I'm writing this blog post about procrastinating.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dude: The Story of a Hundred Pound Puppy

This is the story about my hundred pound puppy, Dude. I rescued Dude from the pound last January. I had lost my sweet Nikki, a ten year old Lab/Chow mix the previous October and was still mourning her loss. Then on a Friday afternoon in January, I swear my dog Nikki told me to make a trip to the pound.

I looked at the twenty-four dogs offered for adoption. They were all mature, older dogs, not what I was looking for. I was sure Nikki sent me to rescue a puppy. I started to leave and a man came out of the back building and walked up to me. Hmm! I decided to ask if they had any puppies. He told me no, none available for adoption. Then he asked what kind of puppy I was looking for. A big one, I explained.

I told him about losing Nikki following two and a half years of diabetes, then kidney failure and uncontrolled seizures. Nikki had been on Vetsulin, twice a day for two and a half years. The last year she was totally blind, but had no problems getting wherever she wanted to go. Nik was a happy dog right up to the very last day. The kidney failure came on over her last few months and the seizures only in her last few days. She was able to recover from her first grand mal seizure, but a week later she seized again and it couldn't be stopped. I took Nik to the vet's and was with her to the last moment of her life. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

Just the previous year in November, I'd lost Maggie, my ten and a half year old Lab/Chow. Maggie had been with me since she was ten weeks old and I had a really rough time dealing with her loss from Hemolytic Anemia, a type of blood cancer. She was doing fine one day, sick the next and passed away seventeen days later. It's very difficult recovering from such a sudden loss of a very dear companion and family member.

So as I talked to this man at the pound, I explained all this. I only had one of my three dogs left, Shani, an eighty-five pound, fluffy, Collie/Chow mix. Yes, I love Chow mixes as they tend to have wonderful temperaments and are very sweet and lovable. I wanted a puppy who would be a companion to Shani and I. We were both still mourning the loss of Maggie and Nikki.

The man at the pound thought for a minute and then said that he had my puppy, who had been brought into the pound just a half hour before. He said the pup was around four months old and nineteen pounds, that an elderly woman brought him in (to be euthanized) because she couldn't afford to feed him. He was just too big. So this man took me into a back area and showed me the pup.

The puppy took one look at me and started wagging his tail which wagged his whole body. The man said the elderly woman thought the pup was a Lab/Burmese Mountain Dog mix and he asked if I wanted the puppy. Well, of course. So he went to talk to his supervisor. While the pup and I were communicating through the chain link gate, the puppy slid his front white paws under the gate so we could meet properly. I was sold. There was no way I'd leave that puppy in the pound facing an uncertain fate. The life or death decision was to be made that night.

When the man came back, he took the pup out of the pen so I could hold him, which was quite a fete with a wriggling bundle of fur, nineteen pounds in size. The man said that if I wanted the puppy I'd have to adopt him right then, because the shelter was closing in thirty minutes and the pup might not be there the next day.

I went to the front desk and paid the $76 adoption fee. I was told the puppy would be neutered the next morning and I could pick him up in the afternoon.

I went home and didn't say a word to my husband, Ben, who had decided we weren't getting any more dogs. Hmm! What did he know? The next afternoon, Saturday, as I was heading out the door, I told Ben about the puppy and he wasn't too happy. Too bad, I was getting him anyway.

At the pound I took custody of my new puppy. He didn't have a name, the elderly woman hadn't told them what name, if any, that she'd given the puppy. This pup was a wiggly, golden bundle of fur with four white feet, a white chest, and floppy ears. All the way home I tried to pick out a name and then decided I'd leave that up to Ben.

As I walked in our front door carrying the wiggling puppy in my arms, Ben said that was the biggest puppy he'd ever seen. Shani, on the other hand, took one look at the puppy and decided she didn't want him in her house.
I went into the back yard and we walked around. Shani ventured out and decided to get a closer look. The puppy was excited to have a new Mama Dog, but Shani wasn't sure she wanted that role.

Ben stood on the patio and looked skeptical. He knew there was no way he'd get me to take this puppy back. So he gave him a name, Dude, and the name stuck. First off, we discovered that Dude liked to retrieve tennis balls and chase and retrieve a Frisbee. He also had a penchant for my flower pots on the patio. He'd empty out the flowers and potting soil and then roll around on the grass with the pot. He'd also toss the pots around (never broke any) and carry them with him everywhere. Well, I'd never seen a puppy or a full grown dog who loved pots. We also discovered that Dude didn't bark, he "ah-rooooooed" instead. And boy was he a talker. He would "roo-roo" and "ah-roo-rah" and had quite a vocabulary of sounds. Well, I love talking dogs. Nikki had been a talking dog too.

A couple days later I took Dude to the vet and was told that the puppy wasn't quite three months old, instead of four months. That meant he was going to get really big, eighty to one hundred pounds. Oh well! Like I said, I love big dogs. The vet also said he didn't see any Burmese Mountain Dog in Dude, but thought he was some kind of retriever mix. When we came back home, Ben pointed out that it would take a lot of food to feed this pup. Well, we'd just buy giant bags of puppy food, the kind for large puppies.

For all the months since January, Dude has been a wonderful, enjoyable, goofy, wiggly, lovable bundle of fur. Now we couldn't ever imagine him not being in our lives. Shani reluctantly decided to be his Mama Dog and the two are now inseparable.

Dude hit the hundred pound mark at around nine months of age. Now, at ten and a half months, he's well over one hundred pounds. I need to take him to Pet Smart to get weighed, as Pet Smart is closer than the vet's office, which is twenty miles away.

Dude carries a tennis ball in and out of the house. He even sleeps with one. He still loves Frisbees, but he ate the last one (spit out most of the pieces). So he doesn't have a Frisbee right now. Most of the new tennis balls I've given him, he's buried in the backyard. The one he carries around is an old tennis ball that used to belong to Maggie. Maybe he knows that Maggie left it for him?

Dude outgrew his love of my flower pots and now leaves them alone. He gathers sticks and leaves and brings them inside the house and puts them on his bed. He goes outside after dark and chases tiny frogs and moths. However, he always wants a bodyguard/escort when he goes outside. That's because a few months back a Mockingbird thunked him on the top of his head and then some bats chased him. Dude has a long memory and wants Ben or I to go out with him to chase off the birds or bats. Hopefully he'll outgrow that. After all, he's a giant puppy and should be able to take care of himself.

Surprisingly, Dude is now red in color instead of gold. He has a beautiful coat and a long, powerful, fringed tail that he wags like a fan. We think he's probably a mix of Golden Retriever, Irish Setter and Rhodesian Ridge Back Hound. His fur rises in a ridge whenever he get scared and he "roos." Both are traits of Rhodesian Ridge Backs. He has webbed feet which means he's some kind of retriever. His coloring is definitely Irish Setter and he has the height of an Irish Setter, but he's more solid like a Lab or Retriever. He requires lots of ear and belly rubs. He's a really sweet puppy dog who loves everyone, including our three grand kids, our neighbors and everyone at the vet's office.

Our grandson asked not long ago if Dude bites. I assured him, no. "But Nana," he said. "Are you sure about those teeth?" Yep, Dude has really big teeth.

You'll be hearing lots more Dude and Shani stories, plus a lot of pictures.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let Me Review Your Books

Now that I have two of my own ebooks out there, "Outback Love" and "Jetting Away," I am finding that book reviews are hard to come by. I offered free copies of my books to anyone who would write a review. Obviously, that did not go over very well. However, it has come to my attention that I am just one of many writers who are not getting reviews on their books.

So here's the deal. When I'm not writing I'm reading, which means I usually read a couple books per week. I know that's not a lot, but then I do most of my reading at night as I'm a night owl. Well, I've decided to offer a free review to anyone who would like me to read their book. I don't know if anyone will take me up on this offer. But it's worth a try. I don't expect anything in return, it's just something I'm willing to do.

Since I do most of my nighttime reading on my Kindle, I would prefer a Kindle copy of your book. In return, I'll write the review on Amazon.com. I already write reviews on books from time to time on Amazon. Those are on books I've read and particularly liked. If you look at my reviews, most are pretty short. However, I would be willing to write a lengthy, detailed review if you'd like.

I'm not going to write a 5-star review if I don't think your book merits it. On the other hand, if I don't feel that a book should receive 4 or 5-stars, then I don't write a review. So if I read your book and don't feel it should receive a 4 or 5-star rating, I won't post the review unless you want me to. In that case, I can send the review to you first if you'd like.

There are a lot of books out there I'd love to read. Unfortunately, my book budget is limited at this time. So my reading your book and writing a review would be a win/win deal for both of us. I'll get to read a great book and you'll get an honest review.

I've never made this offer before, so I don't know if anyone will take me up on it. I'm not about to accept pay for a review. This just seems like a nice thing to do and something I would enjoy.

At this time I would only be interested in reading Contemporary or Historical Romances or Romantic Suspense, as that's what I usually read. Since I'll only have time to read one or two books per week, it would have to be on a first come, first served basis.

For those who might be interested, my qualifications are: a BA in English Lit, years of tech writing, love of reading, I do a lot of blogging, and the fact that I've pretty much been writing one thing or another forever. My first two ebooks, "Outback Love" and "Jetting Away," are available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble and Apple. Both will also be available on Kobo, Sony, Diesel and Scrollmotion in the near future. I have other books in the works. "Moon Over Madness," a paranormal witch/vampire novella, will be released in early October 2011. "One Family's Secret," a mainstream novella, and "Moon Over Mistletoe," a sequel novella to "Moon Over Madness," will be released before the end of the year. "Murder on Sunday Beach,"  a mystery/romance novel set on the Florida Gulf Coast, should be released in early 2012.

I'm looking forward to hearing from any interested authors.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Looking for Readers/Reviewers for "Outback Love"

One of the things new authors need more than anything else is readers who are willing to review their books. For that reason, I am offering a free copy of my debut novel, "Outback Love," to the first few people who respond to my request. It will be a Kindle Edition and sent to your email address. Since I have to pay for these copies, I will only be able to send a few free copies. In return, I would appreciate it if the reader would follow up with a review on Amazon/Kindle. Of course, I can not force you to write the review, but hope that you will do so in return.

As a new indie author, I don't know if this is the appropriate way to do things. So please understand where I am coming from here. I wrote what I believe is a very entertaining novel, a contemporary romance set in the Australian Outback. This book was a labor of love inspired by an adventurous three week, 5000 mile trip my husband and I took through Australia a few years back. It was a grand adventure and I write about all the locales we visited on our trip.

Priscilla Alexander is a city girl from San Francisco who never travels anywhere. However, her high-stress job, in addition to family problems, drives her to escape as far away as she can get. So Priscilla ends up in Australia with an old conversion van and a plan to drive through the Outback on her own. Only her vehicle gets stuck in the mud at the very start of her trip and things after that don't go quite as planned.

Ian MacAlister, who comes across Priscilla and her van, doesn't have time to help a damsel in distress. On the other hand, he still feels obligated to help her out. Priscilla doesn't want Ian's help. He looks too dangerous to her. Besides, she's an independent female and believes she can do everything on her own.

"Outback Love" is the story of Priscilla and Ian and their trip through the Australian Outback. Priscilla fears she has found her Mr. Right, but at a time and a place that is totally wrong. Will Ian be able to convince Priscilla and himself that they're meant to be together? Please read "Outback Love" to find out.

As I've already said, if you'd like to be both a reader and reviewer, please let me know. I'm anxious to hear from you.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Outback Love" - The Story Behind the Story - Part 1

It was very exciting this morning to see that my debut ebook, "Outback Love," is now available at BarnesandNoble.com. This is one more milestone for a new indie author. "Outback Love" should soon be available online at Kobo, Sony, Apple and Diesel. Now all I need is some more readers.

For those who don't already know, "Outback Love" was inspired by a three week, 5000 mile road-trip, my husband Ben and I took through the Australian Outback a few years ago. It was a grand adventure that we began in the end of June, which was the beginning of winter in Australia.

We arrived in Melbourne, New South Wales, Australia in the middle of the night following a 13 1/2 hour flight from Los Angeles, California. We were tired, exhausted, ready to get some sleep, because I'm never able to sleep on a plane. Unfortunately, our new luggage was damaged in flight due to a hydraulic fuel leak on the plane. So here we were in the middle of the night with an oily mess of luggage. When we unzipped the luggage, much to our horror, at least half of our clothes were covered in that same oily mess.

It took close to an hour to convince the airline that they were responsible for the damage. Finally they handed us a bunch of red, white and blue striped, zippered bags and told us to put whatever we wanted to keep in those bags. Then they took our two duffel-style roller suitcases and gave us a receipt. We were told to come back at 9:00 the next morning to receive a check for $200 in damages.

I then called the hotel I had booked to ask for the free transportation that was part of our hotel stay. Only the desk clerk who answered said they didn't do airport pick-ups after midnight. Huh? No one mentioned that when the hotel was booked. Well, the next step was to get a cab. Only it turned out the cabbies wouldn't accept American dollars and the money exchange booth at the airport was long since closed for the night.

At this point I was about ready to sit down and cry. I had done all the bookings for this trip and it was all starting out bad. Then a Good Samaritan stepped forward in the form of a friendly, middle-aged, Australian business man. This kind man said he'd listened to our whole ordeal over the luggage, no transportation from the hotel to pick us up and now no Australian money to get a cab. He handed me a twenty in Australian dollars and assured me that would be enough for the cab ride to the hotel. I tried to offer him American dollars in exchange and he declined. He said that sometime down the line I was to help out another stranded tourist in return. Definitely a "pay it forward" kind of agreement.

Totally exhausted, we finally made it to the hotel. By this time we were well into the wee hours of the morning. After a quick shower we fell asleep in very hard twin beds. No, I hadn't requested twin beds, but the desk clerk said all the doubles were already taken. I managed to fall asleep in spite of the hard mattress.

My husband's older sister, Barb, and her husband, Dick, were traveling with us. They'd managed to sleep on the plane so hadn't been as tired. Their luggage and clothes were not damaged by hydraulic fluid. Though their hotel room also had hard twin beds.

In the morning I was counting our blessings. Only half of our clothes were oily. So the oily clothes were in separate striped bags from the good clothes. We'd traveled pretty light, so we didn't have much of a wearable wardrobe. We got some weak coffee for breakfast, but that was better than nothing, but no food was available. I swear that when I booked with that hotel they'd advertised a free continental breakfast.

To make a long story short, we exchanged some money at the front desk so we could all take a cab to the airport. Then, after a little haggling, we finally got our check for $200 U.S. Then another cab ride to the rental place where we were supposed to pick up our rental conversion van to start our trip through Australia. My husband, who was going to do all the driving, noticed immediately that the van's four tires plus the spare were all bald. We weren't about to venture into the Outback in a vehicle with bald tires. So after more haggling the rental people agreed to put new tires on the van. Only we had to wait in their lobby for several hours while that was done.

It was mid afternoon before we were ready to start out. I was very apprehensive by that time. I'd planned our trip day by day, having figured out how many miles we could travel each day and had booked all the hotels in advance. We had our doubts about making it to that night's destination. Because of the long delay waiting for the tires we didn't get to visit the sights I'd planned for us to see in Melbourne. We had to head out immediately and didn't even have time to search for a market where we could stock up with some food and other supplies.

I think at this point Ben, Barb and Dick were not that happy with me. With the trip starting out this way, what would happen next? I had my fingers crossed and I was praying that the rest of the trip would go smoothly.

Please continue to check back to read the rest of "The Story Behind the Story" of "Outback Love."

Friday, September 9, 2011

What Do You Like To Read?

Everyone has their own favorite genre of books they like to read. Sometimes that never changes and the reader sticks to the same type of books over and over again. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with that. Reading is a very personal thing and we all read what we like the best.

Others read a variety of books. I fit in that category. I read everything. Sometimes I get on a kick and read all I can get in a particular genre or subject. Yet my reading is often as changing as the weather and is maybe even influenced by the weather or the seasons. I love history so I read a lot of non-fiction history books, but at the same time I read a lot of historical fiction. Then again, I'm always a fan of contemporary fiction, romantic suspense, mystery/romance, paranormals, chick lit and even suspense/thrillers.

So now that Halloween is approaching I'm reading Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Novels, starting with "Dead Until Dark." I read that one on my Kindle and finished it last night. What a great read! Of course, I'm a "True Blood" fan on TV, so it's about time that I read the books.

I read a lot of books on my Kindle. Some of the ebooks are by new indie authors. I love finding a new author to add to my favorite authors' list. A few indie books that I've read recently are "Eyewall" by H.W."Buzz" Bernard, "Murder on the Rocks" by Karen MacInerney, "Beneath the Honeysuckle Vine" by Marcia Lynn McClure, "Hot Tea" and "Sweet Tea" by Sheila Horgan, "Wading Home" by Rosalyn Story, "A Little Death in Dixie" by Lisa Turner and "Love at First Flight" by Marie Force. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of those books and recommend them all.

I'm usually reading more than one book at any given time. Always a history book, a paperback novel and something on my Kindle. I never leave home, even for a short excursion, without either a book or my Kindle. So I can honestly say I'm addicted to books.

When I used to live in Las Vegas, which which several years ago, I was a member of the "Cactus Rose" Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Then three of us broke off from "Cactus Rose" and started our own independent writers' group, "Desert Rogues." An assortment of writers came and went, but eventually there were four of us who stuck it out. Two of the four have gone on to be very successful writers: Ruth D. Kerce, who writes paranormal and contemporary erotica, and Michele Bardsley, who writes paranormal urban vampire books and romantic comedy.

Ruth Kerce's two latest short story erotica indie books are "Into the Storm" and "G-String Gentleman." Both are really fun to read if you're into something hot, hot, hot. Ruth also writes for Ellora's Cave and Changling Press. Her books are available online via Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, etc. and at bookstores everywhere.

Michele Bardsley's latest book, "Must Love Lycans" is a new Signet release. It's the latest in her Broken Heart Vampires Series. Michele's books often hit the best seller lists and are available both online and at bookstores everywhere.

Nancy Lynn, the third member of our "Desert Rogues" group, wrote "Whatever It Takes" which came out in paperback a few years ago. Nancy stopped writing for a few years, but I'm pleased to announce that she's back to writing again and "Whatever It Takes" will soon be re-released as an ebook. I'm looking forward to other books she'll be writing.

I was the fourth member of "Desert Rogues." I wrote "Outback Love" and "Firefall" but neither book was published back then. I was known as "The Queen of Partials" because I wrote the first 3-4 chapters of about a zillion books. I finally burned out and turned to painting, first acrylics and later oils. After painting well over 150 landscapes, still-lifes and a few figurative paintings, I finally burned out from painting. Though for several years my paintings were available and sold from art galleries in the Vegas area and in Florida.

Fortunately, with the ePub industry, I've been able to publish two of my books, "Outback Love," a contemporary romance novel set in the Australian Outback, and "Jetting Away," a short story prequel to "Outback Love." Both books can be read as stand-alones, but I like to think you'll want to read both. Retired now, I have lots of time to write. So one by one my books will be available online as ebooks via the usual venues: Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Sony, Apple and Diesel. I hope that eventually some of my books will come out in paperback, but for now they'll just be offered as ebooks.

I'm currently working on "Moon Over Madness" a paranormal witch/vampire novella, which should be available by the beginning of October, in time for Halloween. I'm having a fun time writing that one. Half-witch, Chantel Deneuve, and vampire, Rio Martainne, have a very interesting relationship. My next book, "Murder on Sunday Beach," a cozy mystery/romance novel, is also in the works. Artist, Abby Love, and Deputy "Bo" Bodine are faced with solving a murder that has hit too close to home. This novel should be released  in early 2012.

I like to think you'll enjoy reading my books and will add my name to your list of favorite authors. I have lots of books that need to be written. So please keep checking back for my latest releases.

In the meantime, keep reading, both your old favorites and new authors like me. We authors have lots of stories to tell and need a bunch of dedicated readers to enjoy our books.

Many thanks to all my readers. Thanks for trying out a new and upcoming author.

I hope that in the comments section following that you'll mention books you've recently read and would like to recommend to others. We're all always looking for new books to read.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Indie Authors

I've started wondering if indie authors are supporting other indie authors. I can't help but feel that's important in this ePub industry. After all, if we don't support each other, like buying each other's books, then who will? I, for one, buy a lot of indie books. Finding a new author is exciting. So I search for the indie authors and download one ebook after another onto my Kindle. What a wonderful surprise as I read each book. And the coolest thing, I keep going back for more. Am I addicted to indies? Maybe so.

So what I'm asking is, am I the only one? Or are we actively buying each other's books? This is important. We're in this together and, it seems, we need to stick together. This is a "Paying it Forward" kind of thing. I buy your books and someone else buys mine and so on to keep the ball rolling.

Remember, as indie authors we're starting out at a grave disadvantage. No one knows who we are. That's a scary proposition to readers who want to know what to expect. We're an unknown quantity. But, trust me on this, we indie authors have some great stories to tell.

So set aside some money each month, whatever feels right, and spend that amount on indie ebooks. Try out new authors, new story ideas. Take a chance. I've been doing this for a long time and have come across some great books by some wonderful authors. In fact, I did this long before I became an indie author myself.

Think of it this way. What if you threw a party and nobody came? That's how it is for us indie authors. We're having a party and right now we're waiting to see if anyone walks through that door.

Well, enough said. I just had to get this out there. Sorry to anyone who might be offended by this. It doesn't mean we're abandoning our favorite authors in order to buy unknowns. No, we'll keep reading our favorites and at the same time discover some new favorites.

It's like when my grandson was asking me about my giant 100 pound puppy, Dude. I assured him that Dude was really sweet. "But Nana," he said. "Are you sure about those teeth?"

Well, I can't guarantee that every indie book you buy will be the best of the best. But chances are, you'll discover some really great reads.

A special thanks to all readers who take a chance on us indie authors.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Stormy Nights

Stormy nights are not necessarily conducive to writing. For the last three days and nights we've been whopped by Tropical Storm Lee here on the Florida Panhandle. Lightning strikes, thunder so heavy it sounded like we were under siege, deluged by rain. Though I have to admit we needed all that rain since we've been under drought conditions for ever so long.

Tornado Watches and Tornado Warnings are a bit unnerving, particularly when a tornado or water spout is spotted nearby. Two sleepless nights in a row. The first night I did some writing. The second night I couldn't think clearly. Too tired even to read, which is saying a lot.

Now I'm instantly reminded of why we evacuate in the face of a hurricane. The winds, rain, lightning, thunder, are not particularly fun. I love the clean air after the fact, even love the sight and sound of the rain, but the rest can be a bit much. Tropical storms, being less than hurricanes, we just hunker down and endure.

My dogs, Shani and Dude, finally decided that it is okay to pee and poop in the rain. Dude, the pup, even found that playing in the rain can be fun. But this morning the winds are so strong even a dog might blow away.

I think the storm blew away most of our tourists here on the Panhandle. There's news footage of tourists complaining of not being able to swim in the gulf and having sand blown in their eyes. Ah! Sorry, but we can't schedule perfect weather here for holiday weekends.

I have to get back to my writing. More coffee is what I need to get my brain kicked into gear. Two cups isn't enough, so I'm going for three. At some point the light is going to click on and I'll be back in the game. In the meantime, I'm watching The Weather Channel, CNN and HLN and seeing that we got off easy here on the Florida Panhandle. No real flooding here. Only "baby tornadoes," so very little damage. Lots of leaves and tree limbs to pick up. In a few days we'll be back to wanting more rain. Go figure.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Moon Over Madness"

This is the season for witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and ghouls. So it's the perfect time to be writing my latest book, "Moon Over Madness." Imagine a half-witch meeting up with a vampire. Add a couple precocious kids, a hundred pound puppy, some meddling neighbors who happen to be witches, a grandmother who wants to be part of the action, a couple dragon hunters, an angry female dragon, some really bad guys and you get the picture. This is a really fun novella to write and should be as much fun to read. So I'm working really hard to get "Moon Over Madness" finished in time for an early October release.