Monday, October 26, 2015

My Schedule for October-November

Hi Everyone! I have to pull the plug on this blog for a while. Sometime life happens, and so this is when it happens for me.

However, because I have some IMPORTANT PEOPLE and IMPORTANT HOPS  and it my favorite HOLIDAY MONTH that I said yes to, these are the days I'm  here.

The WEP was here on Oct 21, and my contribution is HERE

The IWSG will be here on Nov. 4. I'll be late in my comments, but I'll be around.

Stephen Tremp will be here managing things on November 9. Hat's Off to Stephen!

A Little Dab of Horror in Honor of Halloween

If all goes well, I'll be back December 7. Sooooo if you are launching a new book or want to do a special giveaway in December, email me and I'll put you in the Hat's Off Corner.


My Quote for the Week: "The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves." Barbara Corcoran, Real Estate Mogul

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WEP Again! Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears

Hi Everyone! I do hope you've joined in the Halloween fun and signed up for this month's WEP. I'll try to get around to say hi to you if you have, but I may be late because I'm off on some family business, and then another trip. If I'm late, just remember that old saying about "better late than. . ." 

Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey

I'm a "if it goes bump in the night, I'm out of here" kind of person, but because I'm also something of a paradox at times, I adore Halloween. It has always been my favorite holiday. Maybe I'm a Druid at heart? Just a scaredy cat kind of Druid.

So here's my contribution for this WEP Halloween Challenge.

C. Lee McKenzie

Since childhood, her greatest fear has been this! She's guarded against it every year. Every year until this one. Well, there was the book to write, the new job. Lots of changes. No time. 

Now huddled in the room, she waits, heart slamming against her chest. And then. . .

thud, thud, thud of knuckles against the wood summons her, and when she grasps the knob, when she twists it and the latch clicks free, the cautioning voice in her head hisses, “Don’t open that door.” 

Still she knows she must ignore the warning, and she must deal with the consequences. As the door swings in and the fingers of the October night chill her skin, they're out there. Eyes big and set on her, their demands unwavering. 

There are three this time, but more hovering just out of that cone of yellow light that thwarts the insects, but fails to protect her against these spirits. 

What does she have in her storehouse that might appease them and send them away? 

“Nothing.” That inner voice is talking to her again. 

If she moves fast, slams the door, locks it and turns off all the lights, will they vanish? Will she be able to climb between her sheets, knowing she’s escaped their vengeance? 

“Not on your life.” Damn! That voice won’t shut up.

Then from out of the darkness. . . “Trick or treat,” the first ghost sing-songs. 

Happy Halloween All!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Thanks SA Larsen & Why Flash Fiction?

Sequel to Alligators Overhead

I'm a GUEST along with Pete and Weasel from The Great Timelock Disaster! Yes, I've successfully cloned myself, and I'm here and HERE today. Thanks, SA Larsen for letting me invade your super site.


And now. . . Why Flash Fiction?

It’s short. That’s one reason. 

After writing a novel, it’s a great way to get a piece of writing done in jiffy. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can afford to be sloppy. In fact, the shorter the fiction, the more attention to detail it takes. Each word, the sounds that repeat, those that add to the tone and the meaning of the piece need to be carefully chosen.

So the second answer to my question, “Why Flash Fiction?” is because it makes you focus and be very selective about what you put down on the page. When you only have a couple hundred words to tell a story, it makes you think differently about your writing, and, for me, that’s a great brain exercise. And it seems to freshen the way I think about my craft.

Photo Credit

A while ago, the Flash Fiction Forum at Works Gallery in San José, CA asked me to sub something. I did, and they invited me read my piece for their audience. I did that Oct. 14 and had a great time. Here's some of what happened.

The Authors Who Read their Stuff

Me being Italian

Tania Martin (seated right) and Lita Kurth (standing) , Flash Fiction Founders

Ruth Littmann-Ashkenazi, reading "Session 3"

Me Laughing at Myself


Quote of the Week: "People who love reading are often called bookworms--but that's the wrong way around. It's not you that worms into a book; it's books that worm into you." Amanda Craig, Novelist

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Life Lessons for the Teenage Girl and Kelly Tonelli

The tragic issue of cutting is what started me on the path to writing for young adults. In my debut novel, Sliding on the Edge, my main character was a cutter. Writing this book was my attempt to understand why young, bright kids were self-abusing. My research led me to a lot experts, but the book I'm featuring today wasn't out yet, or I would have dug into it for more background information about the issues of teen girls and advice for dealing with those issues.

When I found Kelly Tonelli's book on Book Blogs I asked her to share her expertise as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist on this topic. I'm so glad she agreed.

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Kelly Tonelli

Available at

Cutting is when a person injures themselves by making cuts or scratches on their body with any sharp object – often deep enough to break the skin and make it bleed. These injuries can be placed on any spot on the body including arms, legs, stomachs, and wrists. 

Why kids cut:
  • Some kids cut as their way of coping with strong emotions, intense pressure or relationship problems. They may believe that experiencing physical pain will allow the release of emotional pain. 
  • Kids may be angry or ashamed about something they have done and are cutting in order to punish themselves for the “bad act”.
  • Cutting may be used as a distraction from painful thoughts and feelings.
  • The child may be trying to feel “something” – kids may feel emotionally numb and prefer pain to feeling nothing.
  • Cutting can be a “cry for help”. Kids may cut in order to let others in their lives see how distressed they are in hopes someone will be able to help.

Cutting warning signs:
  • Pattern of unexplained injuries, cuts and/or scratches. 
  • Insistence of wearing clothes that are counter to the weather (i.e., long sleeves or long pants on hot days) may be an effort to hide injuries.
  • Finding sharp objects where they wouldn’t be expected (i.e., razors, unbent paper clips, box cutters).
  • Blood stains on towels, tissues, clothes, sheets and blankets.
  • Locking self away from others – being secretive about activities while alone.
  • Series of “accidents” in otherwise not clumsy child.

What to do if you suspect cutting:
  • Talk with your child about your concerns. Do your best to avoid shaming the child, but focus on wanting to understand and help.
  • Problem solve alternative behaviors your child can utilize if the temptation to cut recurs. These can include: talking to you, physical exercise, writing about feelings, and distraction techniques (reading, TV, music, friends).
  • Know when to ask for help. A mental health professional is a great resource for you and your child. Make sure your child knows the therapist is a resource to help the family, not to “fix” them or because they are “bad”.
  • If your child shares future cutting incidents, do your best to come from a position of love and support, not anger and shame. Our goal is to increase communication about the behavior, not hide it away.
Thank you for such clear and helpful information, Kelly. I appreciate it and I'm sure my readers do, too. This practice isn't going away from what I've read, so it's good to have the word out. I hope none of you have  to deal with cutting in your lives, but if you do, I know Kelly's information is sound and helpful. I enjoyed reading her book, and I've posted a review of Teenage Girl. HERE it is!


Quote of the Week: "Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood." Marie Curie

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG in October


Fall is officially here and nights grow longer. Spookiness wraps its arms around you and you shudder in the chill of October. It's the perfect time of year to look under the bed before climbing in to sleep. And guess what you'll find there--besides those dust bunnies and the last page of your manuscript you lost in April. . .


Yep, there they are huddled together, waiting, hoping to keep you tossing in those sheets and sleepless with them nagging at you.

Well, heck no, INSECURITIES. Take that! 

But just in case you don't have a good left hook, SIGN UP for the IWSG and get the help you'll need to see you through the dark and stormy nights ahead.

And if you have a good story to share. Enter it to be included in the IWSG Anthology!

Oh and speaking of Insecurities: There's nothing like a contest to give you the jitters. The Great Time Lock Disaster has been entered in the Cover Wars Contest over at Masquerade Crew this month. If you like the cover, it would be great to have your VOTE


Monday, October 5, 2015

Thoughts About Writing and Hats Off Corner Welcomes Susan McCarthy

Some Thoughts About Writing

  • I hate not knowing who the main characters are and where they're headed, early in a story. If I read more than a third of a book and still don't have the players firmly in mind, I'm more than annoyed. I may even close my eyes and pretend the book's not there. 

  • I love adverbs, just not in novels. Oh, once in a while, but when I'm overwhelmed with the "he looked at her longingly/adoringly/angrily" I go a little mad. Write me something steamy instead. "He looked at her and longed to rip off that cashmere." Now that's more like it. 


Hats Off Corner Welcomes Susan McCarthy

I loved reading Circling the Sun and The Aviator's Wife, so when BantamDell asked me to host this author with such a high recommendation from those other authors, I said, "Yes."

Hope you'll enter to win a copy of this book. I am!

If you loved Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, then I have a treat for you! Susan McCarthy, author of the award-winning Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands, is back with a new historical novel, A PLACE WE KNEW WELL, set against the backdrop of Cold War panic. 

For the Avery family, the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis mark a turning point in their lives which will shape and forever change them. McCarthy captures pitch-perfectly the panic, tension, insanity and innocence of the time. The Avery family forms the emotional center of the novel, as their world starts to unravel during the heart-stopping buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis.


The Great Time Lock Disaster has been entered in the Cover Wars Contest over at Masquerade Crew this month. If you like the cover, it would be great to have your VOTE. There are others there as well that are very exciting. 


Quote of the Week: "The reader is the writer's only unrelenting, genuine enemy. He has everything on his side; all he has to do, after all, is shut his eyes, and any work of fiction becomes meaningless." Shirley Jackson, novelist