Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough

Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Empathy for others is what changes the world and I believe in the power of both positive thought and prayer.  These are important concepts to a civilization that is trying it’s best to grow and change into something better.  What is disturbing me is the trend in my society that thoughts and prayers being offered up is a solution in and of itself.  There are people on social media who post their thoughts and prayers and think they’re done.  No further action is needed.

Americans in Puerto Rico are dying.  A couple of days ago, nine million children in America lost their health insurance because congress couldn’t be bothered.  Now, fifty-eight folks at a concert in Las Vegas are dead and tons more are injured because of a mentally ill man with a bunch of guns.

Your thoughts and prayers are all very well, but people need actual help.  Offering nothing more than a moment of your mental time is selfish and lazy.  By all means, pray for these people, but then do something.  Call your representatives and ask what is being done about the children who have lost their healthcare. Give ’em hell!  Make a donation to help those devastated by the natural disasters of this hurricane season.  Make a donation to those people struggling with loss and medical care costs in Las Vegas.  Even if all you can afford is five bucks, it adds up.  If every adult in America donated only five buck each, it would raise over a billion dollars.

Now, I’m not trying to shame anyone.  There are folks who can’t even afford five dollars.  I’ve been there.  You work on staying afloat and let the rest of us handle this. I’m talking to the people who can help, but don’t get around to it, or post their thoughts and prayers and think they’ve done their part.  Your thoughts and prayers were great, now stand up and do something.

To donate to Puerto Rico or relief for victims of Irma, Harvey, or Maria:

Direct Relief is a vetted group working to get medicine and health care to those in need.  They need cash donations to do this.  You can find them here:



United For Puerto Rico is another way to get money directly to those in need.



To help the victims in the Las Vegas shooting:

Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission, has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the victims.


If you are in the Las Vegas area, please consider donating blood.  That will help as well.


To find your representatives and ask what’s going on with CHIP, the program that gave health care to 9 million children, visit this website:



I’m a struggling writer without a day job.  I’ve donated, have you?

Posted in Helping disaster victims, writing | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

To Write or not to Write the Word Fuck

Fuck is my favorite curse word. I like it because it’s fairly nondenominational. It does not insult anyone’s religion, race, or creed. It’s a word that can be used for everything but doesn’t actually mean much of anything. I say it a lot. If you’ve read my blog before, I used it in my writing at times as well, but not as often as I would like. My writing style is very conversational but there are times when I have to limit it. I don’t like limiting the way I speak or the way I write. It’s a necessity rather than a desire. Curtailing my use of the word fuck makes me feel a little less myself, a little less honest. So, why do I do it?

Because people don’t like it.


View from the bridge at McCloud Nature Park.  Fucking beautiful day!

I live in America, land of the free as long as you don’t say the word fuck too much. Americans don’t like the fucking word. An American can take the names of various deities in vain and get a slap on the wrist from society but say the word fuck at the wrong time or in the wrong place and you risk outright censure. For the reasons I stated above, it’s a shame. In American society, a curse word that implies something sexual is considered far worse than those which denote violence or negativity towards people’s religious beliefs.

I have a friend from Australia. She says the word fuck quite a lot. It’s her favorite curse word too. One of the hardest things she’s had to learn while being in America is to not say it in front of children. She refuses to curtail her use of it in front of adults, regardless of location or situation. My friend finds it ridiculous that people are offended by such a nonsense word. She does indeed try not to say fuck in front of children, though that is difficult for her because in Australia nobody cares. Around grown-ups, she doesn’t bother. In her opinion, if people judge her harshly for it, they can fuck right off.


This is the huge fucking rainbow that recently made an appearance over my house.

Picture this: you’re in Chuck E Cheese amidst an entire herd of happily playing children. You hear people say damn, you hear people right and left saying thet’re going to kill someone, and no one bats an eye. Say the word fuck too loudly and you’ll likely be asked to leave the establishment. Because in America, it’s quite alright if you threaten to kill children, but heaven forbid you say the word fuck. That will apparently scar them for life.

I try not to say the word fuck in front of children. I try not cuss in front of them at all. Sometimes I fail. When I do, the conversation goes rather like this:

“Sorry about that,” I say, chagrined.
“Don’t worry about it,” says the child. “It’s not like I haven’t heard that word before.”
“I know, but I’m allowed to say it and you aren’t, so I don’t think it’s fair of me to say it around you.”


Here is one of the wee children I try not to say “fuck” around.

That’s what I always say because that’s what I believe. I don’t think any word in the English language is going to traumatize a child. Where children are concerned, the only rule I agree with is not saying curse words around children too young to know better than to say it themselves. That will get the child in trouble if it runs around cursing and doesn’t understand why it shouldn’t. I don’t want to get children in trouble. With older kids, I’m more concerned with the unfairness of it. And when I give children that explanation, it makes sense to them, and they accept my apology for using the words they are not yet old enough to get away with. That’s what it’s about really. I don’t think you’ll find a child psychologist in the world who thinks an accidental curse word will ruin a child’s life. Far worse, in my opinion, is the casual way we treat words that denote physical threats. It makes it seem like threatening someone with physical violence is no big deal, but saying a word that sounds sexual is a horrible sin.

As a writer, I wanted to be true to my own voice and my books had the word fuck in them. My romance novel, Descending, still has a few instances of that word. I think if a character is being threatened by a grizzly bear, they have the right to say the word fuck. However, I de-fuckified the rest of my books. While in my heart I wish I could remain true to my love of the word fuck, the truth is that I am an American writer writing for an audience which is comprised mostly of American readers. While I believe very strongly that the word fuck is not the bugaboo that many people think, I decided that I did not want readers to miss out on any of my books because of one tiny word.


What I said when I saw this in a parking lot, “It’s the fucking Weinermobile!

My work still has cuss words and it, I’m not that dishonest. I write adult fiction for adults. There’s adult situations, occasional violence, and strong language involved. But not the word fuck, that is, unless you read Descending. I never did de-fuckify that one. Perhaps I will when I get the time.

It mystifies me though. We have teen fiction that has graphic violence, sex, and drug use, yet a writer of adult fiction has to make this big decision about whether they’re going to use the word fuck. It seems to me our priorities are bit fucking backward.

If you write fiction for adults, you will have to make this decision too. It is absolutely your right to use any language and any words you wish, but know that your choices will have a real effect on who reads your books and who chooses not to. I dream of an America where people are more concerned with their children hearing about violence and seen it in movies and on the TV then they are worried about their child hearing the word fuck. I think we have a long way to go to get there.


Don’t forget to nominate Ghost in the College at Kindle Scout!  Everyone who nominates it will get a free copy.

Posted in Habits in writing, Kindle, Kindle Scout, writing, Writing Advice | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Get my book, Ghost at the College, for free

Ghost at the College’s Kindle Scout Campaign!

In the second book of the Unruly Ghost Mysteries, Bryce and Chase are back again and this time they have to find out who is stealing Louisville’s children and why.

Ghost 2 is in a Kindle Scout campaign.  This is the first time I’ve put a sequel through the process and it’s very different from my other campaigns.  So far, stats have been pretty  good, but not quite up to my other campaigns.  I’ll have to push a bit to get the nominations I need for a good launch.

In case you haven’t checked it out before, Kindle Scout is a great way to get free books.  You check out the books in the program, nominate any that seem interesting, and if those books get selected to be published by Kindle Press, you get a free advance copy.

With Ghost at the College, you’ll get a free copy either way.  If selected, you get a free copy from Kindle Press, if not selected, I will have a few free download days at launch.

Nominate Ghost at the College and get your free copy!


Free short story with newsletter sign up

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, now is a great time to do so.  Sign up be following the link below and get a free short story from the world of The Unruly Ghost Mysteries.

Each newsletter features writing news and a free short story or sneak peek.  Subscribers also get alerted to giveaways, new book releases, and sales.

Click here to get your free story- Haunting Bryce!


The ghost of an old woman haunts Bryce night after night, begging him to do something about her cruel great-grandson.  Mrs. Chipwithe is certain her great-grandson will end up killing someone unless he is stopped.  There’s only one problem.

Bryce is eight years old.

What can he do about a boy who is older and much bigger than he is?  He can’t go to the adults, they won’t believe him.  Bryce has already learned he has to hide the fact that he can hear the dead. Now, the old woman won’t let him alone and he has no idea what to do about it.

Writing News:

I still haven’t quite finished my next book, Crucible Station.  I’ve had a little too much life in my life, which has made it difficult to buckle down and get the last couple chapters done.  Things are begining to quiet down, so I will hopefully get that book finished soon.  After that, it’s on to Ghost on the Downs.


Posted in Ebooks, Fiction, Free Books, Kindle, Kindle Scout, reading, writing, Writing News- Plots and Plans | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Using Real Locations in Fiction

Using Real Locations in Fiction

If a writer is creating a space opera on the edges of the Coaxilian Nebula in a galaxy next door, then it is up to the writer to create all the locations out of whole cloth.  If one is writing a story about a dude running from zombies in Louisville, Kentucky, that’s a completely different situation.  Do you use real locations in the story or make them all up?

The answer is, it depends.  If you are talking about a giant corporation like Disney, it might be wise to make up a similar amusement park that isn’t named Disneyland, or even Smisneyland.  Disney is super concerned with how their brand is portrayed and not above using all the lawyers in the land to tell you firmly to stop it.


I would love to write Ghost at Disneyland, but I don’t think I’m going to get permission for that.

What about smaller corporations?  It is perfectly legal to use actual corporations in one’s fiction, if there is no hint of slander or libel. What exactly does that mean?  Do you have a favorite shoe repair shop that you want to use when your heroine breaks a heel?  If she’s going to walk in and have a positive experience and get a nicely repaired heel, then go for it.  If you plan to have a surly worker, a bad repair, or murder someone browsing the wares, then you will want to make up the name of that repair shop.

Basically, if you are using a business and anything negative is going to happen there, make up the name and other specifics.  That is the only safe way to go about it unless one wants to contact the business in question and get permission in writing before you publish that story, Murder at Burger King.

That brings up another issue.  While it may be fine to have that happy customer eating a non-poisonous lunch at a real restaurant, it is not okay to have the title of your book be “Happy Lunch at Burger King.” Restaurant names are often trademarked, which means you can’t have it in the title of your book without written permission.


If I ever want to write Ghost at the Oasis Diner, I’ll have to get written permission beforehand.  As it’s a small, non-chain restaurant, they might even give it.

The disclaimer found in all fiction, the one that says “people and events in this book are fictitious or used fictitiously,” ought to be enough, legally speaking, to protect you, but in practice, it isn’t.  A writer could create a more extensive disclaimer, but even that is not a complete protection from lawsuits.

Now, if we are talking about public places, it is different.  I imagine there are exactly one bazillion stories published that use Central Park for something nefarious.  A public place is not a business entity in its own right, and the city of New York is not likely to sue you for The Rabid Wombat Murders of Central Park.”


Those rabid wombats are always lurking.

As a general rule, public places and things like city and state names are fine to use in fiction.

I lived in Louisville, Kentucky for about twenty years.  Most of my books are set there. I love to sprinkle them with real places and have characters eat at my favorite restaurants.  It makes me feel a little less homesick.  I almost made a mistake in my first novel.  I had an employee of an actual business doing something that put a customer in danger.  An alert beta reader caught the issue, and I was able to change the business to a fake name.

Use real places in your work, but use caution when doing so.  When in doubt, consult a lawyer, get written permission, or change it to a fake place.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.  If one needs legal advice on how one uses actual locations in a work of fiction, one should contact a lawyer.  The above are simply a few general guidelines.


Posted in Fiction, writing, Writing Advice | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Ghost in the Park’s Free Launch

Get Ghost in the Park for Free:

My paranormal mystery, Ghost in the Park, was not selected for publication by Kindle Press, but that means you don’t have to wait to get a copy.  The Kindle eBook is free to download from now until August 25th.  Feel free to spread the word to friends and family and on social media.  The more free books I give away, the happier I’ll be! If you don’t have Kindle, there’s a free app you can download for phones and tablets.

Ghost is doing well so far.  It’s #1 in it’s category for free Kindle books, and overall near the top 500, which is the highest ranking I’ve ever gotten.  I’m so excited about it!

A killer, a ghost, and a cat named Billy

Bryce’s favorite student has fallen prey to a vicious killer. He’s a mild-mannered college professor, but Bryce feels compelled to use his psychic insight and ability to talk to the dead to bring this murderer to justice. Enter Elizabeth. This ghost is distracting, pushy, and eighteen years old. While she needles Bryce to change his hermit ways, she also shows abilities that will aid him in his search for the serial killer. In the end, he’ll discover why Elizabeth is not your average ghost.

If you enjoy reading Ghost in the Park, or even if you don’t, please consider leaving a review.


Click the pic for Ghost in the Park’s Amazon Page.

Other Writing News:

The second of my Unruly Ghost Mysteries, Ghost in the College, is finished and at the editor.  I’m expecting it back soon, and then it will be next up for a Kindle Scout campaign.  This time, I won’t be worried about them selecting it.  I can’t imagine them choosing a 2nd series book when they didn’t pick the 1st.  It’s a great way for me to get a few eyes on my books, though.  I’ve been writing forever, but self publishing is new to me.  Everything that helps me spread the word is a good thing.

My YA dystopian book, Crucible Station, is almost finished.  I think I have around three chapters to go.  I was hoping to have it finished by now, but getting Ghost published has slowed me down a tad.

Check out my Facebook Page:

I just finished a giveaway on my Facebook page, and I’ll be having more as we go along.  Stop by and like my author page if you want to stay up to date on giveaways and such.  It’s also a great place to leave me a message.

Working on some new covers:

I’m getting to the place where I have to make a cover before I write the book, which is odd.  If I want to put the cover of the third Unruly Ghost Mysteries as a “coming soon” in the back matter of book two, then I need it now!  I’ve already got book three titled and plotted, so here it is, book three’s cover.

Ghost on the Downs front kindleyellow

It isn’t as good as getting it professionally done, but I love it.

That’s all the writing news that is the writing news for today.  I’ll leave you with a pic of Scooter, who is growing like a weed and trying to make friends with one of our grumpy old ladies.


Posted in Book release, Ebooks, Fiction, Free Books, Ghost in the Park news, Kindle, reading, writing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Are Speech to Text Programs Useful to Writers?

Are Speech to Text Programs Useful to Writers?

I belong to a writers group called 20booksto50k. The ideology behind it, is that by the time one has published twenty books, one can be making 50k a year. It’s not quite as simplistic as that. Common advice in the group includes writing to market, having quick releases, etc.

One of the members who has had success with Indie publishing posted a list of things they suggested authors do to reach their writing goals. The point that interested me the most was the one about speech to text programs.

I’ve heard of programs like Dragon Speak before. I know a woman who has a medical reason for using speech to text and I know there are writers who use it as well. I’d been curious, but until recently was unsure if such a program would work for me.

I’m a terribly slow typist who uses 2-4 fingers to type. This has certainly slowed my production down, but could I get used to dictating out loud?


And can the kitties get used to me talking all the time?

Looking into the matter, I saw that Amazon had Dragon Naturally Speaking on sale for a very reasonable price. That cinched it for me. It was time to give the program a try.

The program is extraordinarily easy to use. A short tutorial, and I was ready to roll. While I’m still learning some of the commands and still teaching my Dragon to cuss, it’s been easy as pie to use the program.

As for my fear that I would not be able to make the switch from composing on the computer to composing while dictating, I took to it like a duck to water. My last test will be to see if the beta readers can tell at which point in my book I stopped typing and started speaking, but I don’t believe they will be able to tell. My writing style seems intact when I dictate.

The proof is in the pudding. For me, an average day of typing on my work in progress was 1k to 3k words. If I had an all day marathon that lasted well into the night, I might manage 6k words.

Yesterday I had a lot to do. I had to go to the grocery, it was trash night, there was some housework that needed to be done, etc. I had three shortish writing sessions during all of this where I took advantage of my voice to text program.

I wrote over 6k words.


So much faster than this.

It’s true. The amount of work it used to take me all day to complete now can be done in a fraction of the time. I love my new Dragon. For the first time, I think I can become one of those writers who completes a book a month instead of a writer who takes a least 2-3 months to complete a project.

Voice to speech might not work for everyone. Some folks may never find any level of comfort in dictation. However, I have to say it is well worth getting such a program and giving it a try. At worst, you’ve spent a little money to find out if this will work for you. At best, you will greatly increase your production level.


Don’t forget to nominate Ghost in the Park!

My supernatural mystery, Ghost in the Park, is in heading towards the end of its Kindle Scout campaign. I’m giving out free copies of the eBook whether Kindle Press selects it or not. Last campaign, I gave away 1200 copies. I’d love to give away even more this time around.

All it takes to nominate is 60 seconds and an Amazon account. Amazon runs Kindle Scout, and they will ask you to sign into your account to nominate. It’s a great way to get some free reads.

Ghost in the Park‘s Kindle Scout Page

Ghost in the Park is the first book of my first series, and I’m about to finish book two.

A killer, a ghost, and a cat named Billy.
Bryce’s favorite student has fallen prey to a vicious killer. He’s a mild-mannered college professor, but Bryce feels compelled to use his psychic insight and ability to talk to the dead to bring this murderer to justice. Enter Elizabeth. This ghost is distracting, pushy, and eighteen years old. While she needles Bryce to change his hermit ways, she also shows abilities that will aid him in his search for the serial killer. In the end, he’ll discover why Elizabeth is not your average ghost.

Posted in Ebooks, Fiction, Ghost in the Park news, Kindle, Kindle Scout, writing, Writing Advice | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Get my newest book, Ghost in the Park, for free!

Get my newest book, Ghost in the Park, for free!

It’s Kindle Scout time again, and I’m really excited about this one. Ghost in the Park starts its thirty-day campaign today.

I was very pleased with my last book’s launch, so I’m doing the same thing this time. Everyone who nominates Ghost will get a free copy of the eBook, regardless of whether Kindle Press selects it for publication. If not selected, I’ll announce the free dates here and on my Facebook author page. Be sure to nominate though; if it is selected by Kindle Press, nomination is the only way to receive a free copy.

All it takes to nominate is an Amazon account, and Scout will require that you sign in. Amazon owns Scout, so it is not a third party site, it’s part of the Amazon machine.

You can nominate Ghost in the Park here.


About Ghost in the Park:

After years of polishing my writing skills on fanfiction, Ghost was the first novel I ever wrote. I wrote it in two short months. This book practically wrote itself. I have left it until now because I wanted to work out the kinks in the Scout process before I put my prettiest baby into the program.

Ghost got a moderate re-write. In the years since I wrote Ghost, I’ve learned a few things. Then it was packed off to the editor and returned in its present sparkling state. This is the fifth novel I’m publishing and it’s my personal favorite.

Ghost in the Park is also the first book in my first series. I’ve got the first three books in the series plotted, and Ghost 2 is about half-way written. I am not sure how many books there will be in total, but I could easily see me writing this series for a long time. It’s that much fun.

There’s a touch more gore in this book than in my usual, but it’s limited to a couple of scenes. The Unruly Ghost Mysteries are all paranormal mysteries, and I wanted to start the story out with a bang. Ghost in the Park has a serial killer for a bad guy, and he is a baddy.

Ghost 2 is less violent and has a completely different sort of criminal. That’s one of the things that makes this series so much fun to write.


Elizabeth is the oddest ghost he’s ever met.

Bryce’s favorite student has fallen prey to a vicious killer. He’s a mild-mannered college professor, but Bryce feels compelled to use his psychic insight and ability to talk to the dead to bring this murderer to justice. Enter Elizabeth. This ghost is distracting, pushy, and eighteen years old. While she needles Bryce to change his hermit ways, she also shows abilities that will aid him in his search for the serial killer. In the end, he’ll discover why Elizabeth is not your average ghost.


A killer, a ghost, and a cat named Billy.  Ghost in the Park

Posted in E-books, Ebooks, Fiction, Kindle, Kindle Scout, reading, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Why Review?

Why Review?

You see it at the end of a lot of Indie author’s books and even at the end of some of the major player’s books. It goes a little something like this:

If you enjoyed this book, please consider leaving a review.

Why does it matter? Why are authors so desperate for reviews?


Every time you review a book, a cute tiny kitten gets a home!  (This is Scooter.  We rescued the sick little baby when we found it in the backyard.)

Because it does matter, especially to Indie authors. Most Indie author sales are eBook sales. EBooks are sold through places like Amazon. In this digital age, the consumer is king. Buy any product on Amazon and you have a chance to leave a review. Those reviews end up as ratings and ratings have a real effect on how many folks buy the product. This subject is on my mind because I recently released Nick of Time with several free days and I’m hoping to get some reviews myself.

Most Indie writers don’t have big bucks to spend on marketing. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly successful and established Indie authors that have quite the marketing budget, but those are the superstars, not your average player. Reviews and ratings might be the difference in whether a writer decides to write another book, or which sort of book they want to write next. They may help the writer decide if that one book with series potential is going to be a series or a stand alone.


Keep in mind that last year at this time we rescued Scamper, also a sick kitten we found in the back yard.

So, what does this mean to you, the reader?

Did you like that book? Did you like it enough that you would like to see more books by the author? Did you notice that one book that had series potential and wished the writer would write more of those?

If so, then review the book and say so. I wrote Wyrd House with series potential in mind. At least one sequel entitled Glass House. I scrapped the idea because I was worried the genre is too fluid. It’s a paranormal mystery with romance, but I feared it wasn’t romancy enough for the romance genre. Then I got some reviews and messages from readers telling me how they would like to read more. Now, I’m considering writing Glass House after all.

If you are reading a book from an Indie author who has just started publishing, those ratings and reviews might be what makes them decide to keep at it, or they might be what depresses them and makes them want to throw in the towel. The consumer has the power when it comes to selling anything, even art. If you enjoy an artist’s work, then a review is a good way to encourage more of it.


Now, Butters, he showed up during a tornado.  Now I know how people go from having a couple cats to becoming pet hoarders.

What if I don’t know what to say?

I tell you, whether it is a long and thoughtful review or a short and sweet one, your review is awesome. One of my favorite reviews for Nick of Time is of the short and sweet variety. You don’t have to be a writer to say if you liked a book or not, just be honest in your own words. My own reviews for the books of others tend to be short and sweet. Yes, I’m a writer, but I’m not especially expert at reviewing. As I wrote on a message board today, I feel like my reviews are all “I like book. Book good. Make me have feels.” I write them anyway!

What if I hated the book?

This depends on the reader. It is perfectly legit to leave that one or two star review if you feel the product wasn’t good enough, or wasn’t as described. These reviews help keep future possible consumers from wasting their money on an inferior product, whether that’s a new brand of toilet cleaner or a novel. If you feel there are major issues with the writing or the plot, then say so. Try not to give away spoilers for those who might still want to read it. If however, the reason you didn’t like it was because it was about dragons, and it was clearly described as a dragon book, maybe you don’t review it. Think it through, decide what you want to do, and do it.


But how could I say no?  Look at that widdle face!  Support my cat habit, review a book!

What if the writer doesn’t like what I wrote?

Well then, it sucks to be them. If they are going to sell a product, they need to get used to criticism. Not only that, the writer may need to hear what you have to say. My first book, Descending, had some major typo issues, despite all the work I did and other readers who helped me tidy it up. A review that mentioned this helped me get the book edited and polished further. My other books have the odd issue, sure. I’m not perfect. I have an awesome editor, but not an entire flock of them. My books are very clean now, but not spotless.

Now, if a writer responds to your review and argues a point with you, then the writer is not acting correctly. Most likely they are a bit of a newbie and they have not learned to learn from their readers and not accost them. It’s a rare thing, but it does happen. My best advice is to ignore it.

What if I’m also a writer?

I’m a writer. I read books and I review them. I do not seek to trade reviews, as this is against Amazon’s TOS. Personally, if I can’t give a book a four or five star review, I don’t review it. Even if I feel it’s honest, I don’t want to be that writer who puts down other people’s work. Back before I was published, I might have given a couple lower star reviews, but I was just another reader then. If you are a writer, you will have to make up your own mind about whether you are comfortable writing low star reviews.

In closing, I hope that you consider reviewing the books you read. Keep in mind that all reviews are useful, the long and the short, the ones praising and the ones with criticism. The time you take to review a book is time well spent.


Scooter says: “if you enjoyed this book, please consider leaving a review.”

Posted in Ebooks, Kindle, reading, writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Nick of Time is Free for the Fourth!

My paranormal thriller, Nick of Time, is free on Kindle today.  The 4th of July is it’s last free day, so grab a copy while you can.

Nick has to save people. Every. Damn. Day.
Nick Callaghan’s life has become an exhausting series of strange coincidences. Wherever he goes, Nick finds himself in a position to help others when they need it most. From foiling an armed stalker to grabbing a child in a broken roller-coaster car, Nick’s life is constant chaos. He has no idea what sort of force could have turned him into the world’s guardian angel, but he wants it to stop. There’s only one person who knows what Irish legend he’s fallen afoul of, but Grandmother isn’t talking.


Click on the cover to go to Nick of Time‘s Amazon page.

Nick got a great review today that I’d love to share with you.

Blue Dolphin Wrote:
“A delightful fantasy mixing reality in contemporary Indiana with the ancient legendary world of the Fae on a green Irish hillside. Nick is your average good guy. For unknown reasons, he has had to rescue people (and animals) in dire need since the age of eighteen. He has trained himself for this unwanted part-time job by taking First-Aid, CPR and self-defence courses, since breaking up fights is also in his unofficial job description. Being an everyday unsung hero is all very well, but the stress and physical effort is making Nick exhausted and depressed. According to his grandmother, the solution to his problems lies in a sleepy town in Ireland, the land of his ancestors, where more amazing rescues and adventures await him.

The charm of this story is in the character of Nick himself. He’s solidly dependable, but comically reticent. Saving lives is so much a part of his life that his extended family now take it for granted. After he rescues his pretty neighbour from a crazed admirer who is stalking her, Nick gains a formidable ally and a new love interest.

The story is narrated in the first person and present tense, which gives it compelling immediacy. We are right there with Nick every moment of his crazy existence, and get to experience the curious time slowing that heralds each new crisis. The pace is steady but sustained as Nick moves from one rescue to the next; there are so many exciting situations, but my favourite is the airplane intervention, which I found highly dramatic. Once the action moves to Ireland, the gentle supernatural elements seep in, and I loved the depiction of the Fair Folk in all their harsh capriciousness. Strong world-building, good character depictions, and terrific dialogue. An original and intriguing tale, beautifully written and suitable for the widest audience.

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Writing Novels While Female

Writing Novels While Female

It can be a problem. Many, many female authors have taken up male pen names or publishing under their initials due to a pronounced gender gap in the literary world. J K Rowling is a perfect example, but certainly not the only one.

Author Catherine Nichols found she got eight times the manuscript requests from agents when she queried under a male name. Literature reviews and awards are notorious for under-representing female authors. Men win more literary awards and books about men get more attention. Some genres remain boys clubs, despite having award-winning women authors writing in that genre.


Brian and Billy- the cutest boy’s club ever.

All of this happens despite the fact that 78% of people working in publishing are women and 75% of books are purchased by women. So why are female authors still being under-represented?

A while back, Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, wrote “…while women are heavy readers, we know they are heavy readers of the kind of fiction that is not likely to be reviewed in the pages of the TLS.”

Excuse me?

That seems to be the main issue whenever I research this phenomenon. I always find a bunch of men going on about how female authors can’t help but make their books all girly, and female readers only read romance anyway. Then there’s the male readers who won’t read a book written by anyone with a vagina, unless that vagina owner has cleverly hidden the fact behind a male pseudonym. It’s not a rare thing. I know some of these people.

The men that do this are the bad apples in the group. I certainly am not trying to imply all men are that way, far from it. However, the ones that do are loud and proud about it.


My sweetie, for example, never chooses books based on the gender of the writer.  That wouldn’t even occur to him, and he’s shocked that a friend of his does it.

I have many thoughts on this subject. To start, I would like to say it’s about time to stop treating the romance genre like literature’s red-haired stepchild. Romance sales are a much bigger piece of the book sales pie than any other genre. It’s a billion dollar industry, so maybe we could stop making fun of it or suggesting it’s not the sort of genre that should receive awards. All the top ten lists for romance have Dr. Zhivago and it won a Nobel Prize. Those lists also have Gone with the Wind, which won a Pulitzer. There are all sorts of romance novels. Some are just for reading fun and others are literary giants. Perhaps we could stop referring to romances as if they aren’t “real” books.

While we are at it, perhaps we could also stop assuming books are girly or romantic simply because they’ve been written by a woman. Koontz has a romantic couple featured in most of his work, but no one makes a big deal about it.


While I am myself quite girly, writing girly books is not my style.

The reason I’m thinking about this subject is that I got a review yesterday. It was a quite wonderful review and it really made my day. There was one statement that gave me pause. The reader thought it odd that I was a female writer and my book was written in first person narrative with a male main character.

It never occurred to me that my gender would be an issue in regards to my selected point of view. I can’t help wondering if it’s because I’m a woman writing a male. Somehow I doubt that Arthur Golden got too much flack for writing Memoirs of a Geisha while being a man. It certainly didn’t hurt his book if he did.

We are writers. We write worlds that have never existed. We get into the heads of our characters whether they are male or female. Why shouldn’t I write male first person? Quite frankly, it’s my favorite POV to write. Teatime of the Living Dead, Nick of Time, and Ghost in the Park are all male first person. They also happen to be my strongest books–I’m good at getting into my guys’ heads.

1 mebri4

Having a relationship that’s over a quarter century old might have helped.  However, writers do write the entire world, not only the little pieces they have experienced themselves.

I imagine I could have avoided all of this if I had decided to write under the name J. Q. Johnson. I considered it, but I decided against it. While I absolutely understand why women authors write under names that are not discernibly female, it was not my choice. I expect that to have a negative effect on my writing career, but so be it. I feel very strongly that if women authors continue to mask themselves behind male or gender neutral names, then nothing will change in the literary world. I think our best hope for change is if more women authors come out of the closet, so to speak.

Not everyone’s ready to do that, and that’s okay. It’s a very difficult decision to make, and it should never be taken lightly.


A reminder about my novel, Nick of Time:

Nick’s in the middle of a Kindle Scout campaign. If Kindle Press selects it for publication, everyone who nominates it gets a free copy of the eBook. If it’s not selected, I will give everyone who nominates it a free copy of the eBook. Either way, free book! All it takes to nominate Nick is an Amazon account and a minute of your time. Kindle Scout is an Amazon program, so it will ask you to sign into your account.

Nominate Nick in Time here!

Posted in Change, Free Books, Kindle, Kindle Scout, Narrative Point of View, Nick of Time, sexism, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment