Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Release & Cast of Characters

I'm thrilled to announce my new contemporary romance, SLEEPING WITH ELVIS, releases on August 10! My novel is a romance (of course!) and also has strong suspenseful scenes as well as plenty of comedy. I'm a genre straddler, what can I say?

Check out my cover reveal:

The cover captures the wonder my main character, Pepper, feels as she enjoys her first taste of an exciting beach vacation--a far cry from her shabby trailer in Arkansas. But she had better enjoy the serenity now because, well, you’ll just have to read it and find out!

An enticing novel plot isn’t anything without a diverse cast of characters to keep readers turning the  pages. It takes a while for characters to develop fully (maybe ten edits will do it!) After much work and a gazillion tweaks, I am in LOVE with my characters! Well, not Derek. He’s a jerk but we have to have a villain to cause mayhem, right? Plus, they're fun to create.

I’ve fallen for my main character, Ty, the Elvis impersonator, but also have a sweet spot for the elderly veteran, George. Ty makes me swoon and George makes me cry. And the cursing parrot? Come on. Now, I want to get one! Meet them:

Pepper – She lives with her crappy boyfriend in as shabby trailer in Nowhere, Arkansas. They saved all year for a fabulous vacation to Key Lime Island but she just lost her job as a daycare worker. She’s going anyway. Money problems, fears of flying, and boating be damned.

Derek – Pepper’s nasty, cheating, controlling boyfriend. Little does he know she plans to break up with him the second the vacation is over. But he doesn’t go away easily–Not. At. All.

Ty Townsend – A drop-dead gorgeous Elvis impersonator who has unplugged on Key Lime Island to escape social media trolls after he messed up the King’s lyrics (twice!) He rethinks his unique profession and enjoys downtime, until he discovers a woman lost in more ways than one.

Saylor – Ty’s cursing African Grey parrot who is entertaining, albeit with a serious potty mouth (thus, her name!)

Captain Dan – The leathered, tough-talking, big-bellied captain of their charter, Reel Time.

Mia – The captain’s efficient, lovely first mate for the excursion to Key Lime island.

Frank – Ty’s gold-chain-wearing, no-nonsense manager who wants his entertainer back on the stage.

George – A retired psychiatrist and Air Force Veteran who has sadness of his own but becomes Pepper’s hero.

Stephanie Silk – A porn star who creates havoc.

Of course, there are many more secondary characters who play interesting roles but the characters listed above are my main cast. When I write, I envision an actual play or movie in an effort to bring my characters to life.

Please follow my Amazon author page so you’ll know when SLEEPING WITH ELVIS goes live!

For now, I’m deep into final edits. Stay tuned for a launch party in mid-August! Back to the hamster cage… Elvis has left the blog.:)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Where to Begin?

This is downright embarrassing. I haven't updated my blog since last fall. FALL. I'm surprised I remember how. What in the world have I been doing? A LOT.

Since I can't possibly write about every single item that has occurred, let me give you a quick rundown:

  • My daughter and son-in-law had their first child--a boy--right before Thanksgiving. Joy!! This, of course, entailed many trips to L.A. beforehand and my throwing a baby shower. Maybe that's why I was so busy.
  • My novelette, SANTA BABY, appeared in an eight-author Christmas anthology, SIZZLE IN THE SNOW.
  • I went to Florida and had three book signings in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Sanibel. Great fun. I love Floridians. They're so welcoming and THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS is a great fit for the Sunshine State.
  • I penned my newest novel, SLEEPING WITH ELVIS over the past several months. More about that in another post. I am a HUGE Elvis fan. I had an epiphany about a plot including an Elvis impersonator and my novel was born. I was busy all winter and spring writing this novel and will share details soon. I promise!
  • I received "Best Debut Author" from BTS Books in April at TNEE (The Novel Experience Event) in Atlanta. I was bowled over. This was after six months receiving a 2015 RONE AWARD at the InD'Scribe Conference in Palm Springs. Sigh. Pinch me! Seriously, I could not be more humbled or happy to see my work recognized.
  • I've been writing like crazy on my Coconuts sequel. I know. I know. I should have had it out by now. The good news is I have enough ideas for at least two more books! Yippee. More of Hope, Suzy, and Alex--as well as several new characters.
  • We had a big family vacation the first week of June. There were 21 of us. Try getting a table for that size group every night for dinner! It's a challenge.
  • Now, I'm FINALLY updating my website. I'm only three books behind. Good grief.
I'm sure there's more to add, but I have to get back to updating my site. I wish the summer would slow down but I"m looking at edits the entire month of July for SLEEPING WITH ELVIS before it releases on August 10! Stay tuned for details about a launch party, the cover, blurb, excerpts, swag, and more.

I hope you've had a wonderful time since we last chatted in October. I'll do better with my blogging. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Holiday Newsletter from Sizzle In The Snow Authors

I'm way behind on posting the Sizzle In The Snow newsletter due to my recent travels to California (twice). All eight authors are submitting wonderful holiday songs, recipes, memories, DIY projects, and more. Since the posts are lengthy and I'm attempting to catch up, I'll just share a portion of the last two newsletters. Enjoy the excerpts, Christmas songs, recipes, and memories. Follow us on Twitter at #sizzleinthesnow and watch for our eight-author Facebook Launch party in November!

Eight Authors. Eight Christmas Romances.

This Christmas season, Soul Mate Publishing and editor, Char Chaffin, presents Sizzle in The Snow: A Soul Mate Christmas Collection, an anthology available November 25th on Amazon and Soul Mate Publishing. The featured authors and their stories include:

A Christmas Song for You from the King himself!

Title: Blue Christmas

Song Link:

A sneak peek of one of the eight stories . . .
By author Crystal Firsdon in her novelette 'Twas The Crazy Night Before Christmas!

Clara lay flat on her back, dead silent. A rock dug into her shoulder and she fought the urge to wiggle out of the way. The dirt beneath her was dry and chilly while a small pool of sweat puddled between her breasts. The stranger she’d met only a half hour earlier lay directly on top of her, propped up on his elbows on either side of her head, covering her body head to toe in a protective shield. Her hands were pinned between their chests and, no matter how hard she tried to still them, trembled.

He kept as much of his weight off her as he could, but their bodies still clung to one another. He lowered his head an inch and whispered, “Relax.”

Clara nodded. “What did you say your name was?” she whispered back. He’d never told her his name, just grabbed her from the store and ran like hell.

“Shhh.” His breath in her ear sent shivers down the side of her neck, and if they weren’t being chased by a couple of thugs with guns, she’d take time to enjoy the feeling.

She took a slow, deep breath but it forced their bodies tighter together, and dear God, she enjoyed it.

Which made her an idiot.

Maybe she should slide out from under him if the adrenaline rush affected her thoughts like that.

A Yummy Recipe by Author Cheryl Yeko

5th Rum or Burbon Balls
Rum or Bourbon Balls – Great For Christmas!

1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup White Sugar

3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup

1/2 Cup Rum OR Bourbon

2 ½ Cups Crushed Vanilla Wafers

1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)

1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar

Place chocolate chips into a microwave-safe medium bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute, stir and then continue to heat at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Stir in sugar and corn syrup. Blend in rum. Add crushed vanilla wafers and chopped nuts. Mix until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate until firm.

Roll the chilled chocolate mixture into bite-size balls. Roll balls in a mixture of ground nuts and confectioner’s sugar, or just plain confectioner’s sugar. Store in a covered container for a week before serving to blend the flavors.


A sweet holiday memory by author Kim Hotzon 

6th Memory PicThere is one special Christmas memory that I’ll never forget.  As a teenager, I woke on Christmas morning to an announcement from my younger brother, who was only 3 at the time. “Santa built a house!” His wide-eyed exuberance brought me running to the front window. I wiped my bleary eyes as he pointed at the driveway. “See? Santa built you a house!” He jumped up and down in his excitement.  Gazing at the driveway, I was too stunned to speak.

What I learned later that morning, as my dad handed me a set of keys duct-taped twenty layers deep, was that he had re-commissioned an old car donated by the church, turning it into a shiny, fabulous set of wheels for his teen-aged daughter. He’d spent months, along with a family friend, detailing and overhauling the car, getting it ready in time for Christmas. I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams receiving a car on Christmas morning. Naturally, I squealed, standing in my housecoat on the driveway, as I ripped off the cardboard from a hundred boxes covering the car. The entire ‘box’ was wrapped up in a giant, red bow. To my brother’s eyes, it certainly looked like a house, though I had to explain to him that it was in fact a car. I was humbled, surprised, and delighted by the realization that others would go to such lengths to make that car into something special for me. My dad provided a lesson in giving from the heart that resonated deeply. The only condition given to me? I had to save up for car insurance!

How about a mocktail to kick off the holidays? This version is by author Ryan Jo Summers.

Pear Tree Mocktail

1 C ice
1/3 c pear juice
2 Tablespoons simple syrup *
2 Tablespoons lemon & lime juice  **
4 fresh mint leaves and 1 mint sprig for garnish

*Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves. Yield will be the same amount of water used.
** lemon and lime juice is equal parts freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice to add acidity. 

Preparation: Put pear juice, simple syrup, lemon and lime juice, and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and shake until well blended, about ten seconds. Pour with ice into sniffer or tumbler. Garnish with sprig of mint. Superfine sugar is a nice garnish for the rim of the glass and dissolves easily.

Stay tuned for more over the coming days.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I'm thrilled to be among eight authors whose novelettes (10,000 words each) will be featured in the upcoming Christmas anthology, SIZZLE IN THE SNOW, by Soul Mate Publishing. My story is entitled "Santa Baby," and I had such fun writing it.

Last spring when I saw the Call for Submission for this anthology, I immediately thought of five storylines. I happily started on one and was half finished with a sweet, heartwarming story when the editor, Char Chaffin, asked for a steamy novelette. Huh? Screech the breaks er, keyboard. My story was not steamy whatsoever.

So, what's an author to do except save the current document (as yet untitled) and start over with a blank page. I scratched my head trying to think of a steamy Christmas story that would still have a heartwarming happily ever after. I thought and thought and finally did it! I'm really happy with the result and hope you will be as well. It's unique as far as holiday stories go. :)

All of the SIZZLE IN THE SNOW authors are sharing recipes, DIY holiday tips, favorite songs, excerpts, Christmas memories, and more. I'm running hard to catch up since I've had an insanely busy fall. Look for those fun posts over the next couple of days while I catch up. Meanwhile follow us on Twitter at #sizzleinthesnow and stay tuned for our Facebook launch party in November!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I WON the RONE!! And a Recap of InD'Scribe 2015

I'm still walking on air after winning the RONE for THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS at the recent InD'Scribe Author & Reader Con held in Palm Springs, California. My debut novel won in the "Women's Fiction/Chick-Lit category." I couldn't be more excited or honored.

First, thank you to the readers, reviewers, and judges. This was a three-tier judging system based on reviews, popular vote, and finally, judging by industry professionals. What a thrill.

Anne Perry
To top it off, the conference featured Anne Perry as the first keynote speaker. Anne Perry!!! She had me at accent. I just love her British accent. Anne talked comfortably and openly about writing and her journey. It was riveting.

The second day our keynote speaker was Catherine Bybee who is not only a NYT and USA Today Bestselling author but also a cool chick! Her personal story had me in tears and motivated everyone. Her Weekday Brides Series is extremely popular and she gave everyone a copy.

L. to R.: Founder of InD'Tale Mag: TJ MacKay,
me, and author Catherine Bybee

We also attended a variety of workshops on everything from writing about sex to indie publishing. I learned a great deal from the author panels and made many friends from around the globe. Authors descended upon Palm Springs from many states, Canada, England, and other countries. It was thrilling to meet them and hear about their journeys.

There were also book signings, author luncheons, and dancing every night! To top it off, there were male cover models!! Female models, too, but the guys?! Come on.

I was also fortunate to meet several fellow authors from Soul Mate Publishing--Alina Field, Janna Shay, Darcy Flynn, and Sue Berger. What fun to meet them, as well as many of my author friends from Facebook in person!!

Proof there was a book signing!
There really was a book signing and workshops all day long for three days, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing the lighter side of the conference. InD'Tale Magazine  did a stupendous job with their first-ever conference. I can't wait until next year.

Cover model Michael Foster & me!
Hubby fake choking said model
Canadian author and fellow WF writer
Ev Bishop and me as Marilyn
The women who made it happen.
Tonya & TJ!!

Masquerade fun with Darcy Flynn
L. to R.: Me (as Marilyn) with fellow
Soulies Darcy Flynn & Alina Field

Saturday, September 5, 2015

First Annual InD'Scribe Con

Palm Springs or bust!

Nearly 100 authors and hopefully triple that amount of readers will descend upon beautiful Palm Springs, California, from September 17-20, 2015. I'll be one of the signing authors.

There will be parties (yes, parties and male models!) Thursday night is a "Dress Like your Favorite Movie Star" party. I'm going as Marilyn Monroe. I have the white halter dress from a sixties-themed party I held for my husband years ago. I just need to add red lipstick, bling, heels, and maybe a mole. :)

Friday during the day will be book signings and workshops. Friday night is a fun blog hop with everything from Arabian Nights to Hoedowns.

Saturday will include more book signings (did I mention loads of SWAG?!), workshops, and the coveted red-carpet RONE awards dinner and ceremony. I'm beyond humbled to be a finalist in the Women's Fiction/Chick Lit category and am honored that reviewers and fans voted for my debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. Thank you very much!!!

I believe there's a breakfast on Sunday and then we'll probably all collapse in one happy heap. Come and see us if you're in or near Palm Springs, California!

A Laborious Summer

Since it's Labor Day weekend, (and since I haven't posted in way too long), I thought I'd tell you about my laborious summer. Actually, it has been a lovely, albeit extremely busy summer. Let me explain the play on words for "labor."

A few months ago, I wrote a novelette (10,000-word story) entitled "Santa Baby" for possible inclusion in the Soul Mate Publishing Christmas anthology. And I was thrilled to learn my story was one of seven that was selected. Funny thing is, I wrote about a woman in labor on December 23. She's all alone. No boyfriend. No father. Until... Well, you'll find out soon enough. Look forward to many blogs, prizes, and parties from all of the authors this November!

Interestingly, the month after I wrote "Santa Baby," my daughter told me she's going to have her first baby! Pretty amazing timing, right? We're very excited and are in full tilt mode for the upcoming baby shower, planning, and the precious bundle.

I also started a new novel a few months ago, currently titled STRANDED IN PARADISE. The title will most likely change. I have a really good one in mind if my publisher will let me use it!! I really love the hero, Ty, who has a very cool profession! I can't wait to tell you about it. And the villain, Derek, is a total jerk. I love creating nasty people, it seems. The heroine is Pepper who is an unemployed, unlucky-in-love daycare worker.  I'm about 85 percent finished with the first draft, then I'll tackle edits and the dreaded synopsis. My novel is set on a beautiful, serene island in Florida that I want to visit and hope you will as well.

We went on a two-week vacation with three sets of family members in Arizona and California and saw the famed "Standin' On the Corner" in Winslow, Arizona (by the Eagles), the Lowell Observatory, the infamous Meteor Crater, and of course, Hollywood! At the observatory, we were able to view Venus during the day and learned a maintenance guy who loved astronomy took tons of photos and was the one who discovered Pluto. A young girl from England entered a contest and named Pluto. Fun facts.

In honor of my one-year novel anniversary, I held an online Reader Appreciation Event for fans of THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. We had a fun, three-hour party and I gave away tons of swag. Readers are why authors write and I love giving back to them.

Finally, I'll be attending the InD'Scribe Reader & Author Con in Palm Springs, California Sept. 17-20. I'll be signing books with about 100 authors, meeting readers, and attending the RONE awards gala. I'd love to see you there! And for those of you who voted for THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, I'm beyond humbled. Thank you.

It has been a frenzy of a spring and summer. I think I'll take a nap.