New Book Cover, Signings, and More!

I’m excited to reveal the cover of my new book, Time and Blood! The ebook is available for pre-order now, and both ebook and print version will be available on Oct 31!  My treat for you. The cover was designed by the very talented Marisa-rose Robyn of Cover Me Darling and you will be delighted when you see the interior designed by Cassy Roop of Pink Ink Designs.

The story is a paranormal romance between a phoenix and a vampire. Here is the book’s blurb:

Historians in Atlantis inscribed a prophecy in The Great Book of Forgetting about a pair of phoenix whose union would change the future of all magical creatures. When the sea swallowed Atlantis and all her inhabitants, time forgot the people and this prophecy.

But one creature survived.

Rhea is a scarlet phoenix and the last of her kind. She escaped Atlantis with The Great Book and for over ten thousand years roamed the earth, grieved for her lost immortal beloved, and endured nightmares from her past lives. Today, she hears a familiar voice on the wind luring her to a new place. Rhea follows and hopes for the impossible.

     She crossed millennia to find him. 

Jean-Louis is a 250-year-old vampire in New Orleans. For fifty years, nightmares plagued him, and a violent wind haunted him whispering in a foreign tongue. In his dreams, Jean-Louis sees the face of a woman he knows and aches for but has never met. He feels her approach; however, the vampire senses a connecting malevolence waits in the shadows.

     He risks his immortality to keep her.

An accident will bring Rhea into Jean-Louis’ arms. The shock will give new life to the ancient prophecy. But others whisper of the legendary phoenix and are hunting for Rhea. They must steal The Great Book and prevent any chance of the prophecy’s fulfillment. If they fail, the phoenix must die.

     Together they battle destiny for the future.

Rhea will risk everything for love, even death.

     When time and blood converge, blood must win.



To celebrate the book’s release, YOU are invited to join me on Facebook for my Release Party. Several authors will be sharing the event with me, doing games and giveaways! These authors are: Robbie Cox, JC Layne, ND Jackson, Kim McDougal, Alyne Hart, HL Girton, MM Koenig, Ashlynne Laynne, and T.A. Mooreman. It’s going to be FUN! I hope to see you there and maybe you’ll get a free copy of the new book!___________________________________________________________________

Have you been following me on Instagram? NO?? Well you should. I don’t post enough to annoy you. And every Monday I post a picture of my pen for the week. It’s #pinyourpen day every Monday. You should join me with pictures of whatever pen you are using that week. Everyone has favorites and I am blessed to have many. So hook up with me on Instagram and let’s see yours. Here is last week’s offering. It is wood hand carved from New Zealand. I love it.


Come out to Instagram or my Facebook page to see what pen I’ve posted today!


AUTHOR EVENT!  I’m preparing to attend an author signing in Columbia, SC called Authors Invade Columbia. It is the inaugural event and there will be about 100 authors, plus models, designers and bloggers in attendance. If you are anywhere near Columbia, SC, join us on Nov 11 from 10-3pm. Not to be missed. And I will have a monster basket of goodies to raffle off.  Here’s the link for info.  I hope you’ll join us.


Finally, I love to connect with YOU. That’s why I have a monthly live chat on Facebook called Fireside with the Phoenix. The chats are only 15 minutes and I cover announcements, writing tips, questions from readers and anything else that is relevant to the month. Look for my time and date on my Facebook page. This month’s will be on Oct 28 (my 28th wedding anniversary!) but time isn’t set yet (usually around 11 a.m.). 

Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to seeing you on Facebook, Instagram or other places. I’m on Twitter and Goodreads too. Or you can always contact me via my Contact page on this website.

I remain Yours Between the Lines,

(Next week, let’s discuss National Novel Writing Month!)

Author Photo - Cheese or Cheesy?

Author Photographs

By now you know how crazy I am about helping Indie Authors produce books that are at least as professional looking as traditionally published neighbors. What that means is making sure every Indie book doesn’t look homemade or amateurish by comparison. I’ve written about getting professional book covers and professionally formatted interiors as well as investing in a knowledgeable editor.

Yet one item continues to drag down Indie books and I’m here to help you ensure your book does not fall into that trap — the Cheesy Author Photograph.

When someone picks up your book, they examine your cover, read your blurb and then check out your author photo when they read who you are. Assuming your cover design is first rate and your book blurb is sharp and concise, what remains for that first impression is the author picture. And there you are in a grainy, cell phone close up, acting goofy. Your book is a mysterious bit of fantasy and you look like a comic. Epic fail.

You’ve destroyed your image and probably your brand unless you write comedy. So let me give you some tips to be sure your author photo is as professional as the rest of your book.

First, be sure you go professional. Ditch the idea that a quick snapshot taken as a selfie or by your best friend’s roommate will do the trick. You invested good money in a cover, an interior, an editor and so you must now do the same for a photographer. A good author photo will last you for a few years and is the professional image that does a couple things:

  • It says you are a professional. You are a business and not a hobby. You want to be taken seriously for your hard work and you have an image/brand that is important.
  • A professional photo highlights your good side, showcases your personality and you let your readers see that part of you which they will look for in the books to come.

Next, your author photo highlights your genre, albeit subtly. If your genre is romance, then perhaps you want a photo that is soft and wistful. You could take it outdoors and dress in pastels or even fancy dress if you write historical fiction. If you write mystery, you can sit and stare away as if you see something we cannot. Be serious but not too serious. If you write crime drama, maybe your photo will be black and white and you lean against a lamp post or are catching a taxi. You probably aren’t smiling in this one. Fantasy, be fanciful and maybe in the woods or on the lake, or at a tea party. Whatever you choose, make it fit your genre.

Make it fit your age. If you are older, don’t try to look like you’re 18 again. A good black and white photo can highlight (and disguise) a great deal. Ask your photographer what he/she recommends. Whatever you do, make sure you are act and look natural. Readers want to see people in their authors and not more characters.

Stay away from gimmick shots. I know you love the sex aspect – -and yes, sex sells books. But not for your author photo! Unless, of course, you write erotica and porn, then maybe you want your author photo to show you in your nightgown. Or not. Let’s go with not. Anyway, don’t get your picture in the bed or in the bath or hanging upside down in the garage. If you write sports or fitness, by all means go to the gym or get a shot in your sport. But don’t do it just for shock and awe or “because you want to be different.” That kind of different doesn’t look professional and silly is a hard brand to lose once it is applied.

So get a photographer that is experienced in author head shots. HEAD SHOTS. Yes, sure you can have your picture taken in the cemetery on a tombstone if you write urban fantasy about vampires or beasts. Heck it worked for Rob Thurman. But you aren’t her. Sure you can take your photos with your dogs and horses. It worked for Carolyn Haines. She’s best-selling. But again, you aren’t her and maybe you should worry about something more established until you have her success.

Your photographer can tell you what he/she recommends for you. Because of your age or your coloring. I will warn you against dressing in black and white. Unless you plan to shoot in black and white and then check with your photographer. I was told that gray works better.

Here’s a good shot and it’s me!

Spend money for a good photograph. And no, it won’t cost you like your cover, formatting, and editor will. I got a great deal for less than $100. And I got 10 various shots in color and black and white. Standard prices run from the low end like mine to around $200. Check references and go look at photos taken in the past. Find a photographer who “gets” you. 

And here’s a fun BAD shot, a selfie of me screwing around

Don’t be afraid to show some personality but remember, saying “cheese” doesn’t mean you have to be cheesy about it. Skip the urge to selfie. Remember, one day this picture could be the shot heard – or seen – around the world. Imagine — the magazine shows a photograph of you, the serious, best-selling, professional author. Think on that and smile for the camera.


My new book is scheduled for release on Oct 31. Get ready! Read The Gypsy Thorn while you wait and please leave me a review. I thank you!

Thanks for stopping by,
I remain, Yours Between the Lines,

WOE is a Necessary Evil

W.O.E. Is a Necessary Evil and Why you must endure it

Back in 1998/1999 I knew an aspiring writer who made and sold CDs of her books. I thought what  an original idea this was — to record your book onto a CD and sell it. Never heard of such a thing. This writer included pictures and music too, since the CD was designed for use with your desktop computer. Selling price $5-$10. Amazing! I never bought one thinking this was too expensive and was probably a personal fad.

We see now that this author was way ahead of the times (Hello Audible!) but her CDs didn’t catch on with any mainstream group. They did illustrate something I’ve never forgotten:

Listening to the words and reading the words are NOT the same. The mood, tone, nuances, emotions and even characters are different when heard instead of read. Little did I know then that this lesson would be more important to me almost 14 years later.

This brings me to W.O.E. – Writer’s Oral Edit – and why it is a necessary evil and why you MUST endure it. 

Writers today are repeatedly admonished to complete their edits by reading every word aloud. I hear the advice from every recognized authority on publishing from established authors to writing coaches, to established editors and agents. They will harp on this issue and bloggers keep posting about it. Why? Because it is probably the MOST NEGLECTED of the self-edits. And it is the easiest!

When I ask writers if they are reading their works aloud, invariably I get a shy but resounding “no.” I hear, “I want to. I know I should. I should have. I feel embarrassed. I don’t read well out loud. I didn’t have time.”  Excuses and not even good ones.

Their answers do not surprise me because I can tell from their work that hey didn’t have a WOE. I’ll explain how I knew in a moment.

  • First, why is reading aloud so dang important?  Because the human speech has a modulating rhythm that has natural highs and lows like undulating water. Sometimes we are calm and other times excited, angry, scared, giddy and this rocks the smooth waters. This is how a written story moves, too, with the emotional impact of your words. But the undulation continues to flow smoothly despite the switch from calm waters. Therefore, writers must achieve a natural rhythm to the story when they write but these shifts in rhythms cannot be verified unless you hear them.
  • Second, reading aloud allows the writer to hear the character voices. Not in the head where imagination can fill in the gaps, but out loud where the voice cannot hide. If the tone is wrong coming up off the page, the writer will hear it and feel it. The feeling is a critical fix. Also, each character must have a clear personality which can disappear when reading silently. But when a character is heard, it is easy to sense when elements are missing. The same goes for POV (Point of View).
  • Third, reading aloud showcases overused and over extended words. Typically mine are: so, just, as, but, and, very, and perhaps (just to name a few of my worst mistakes). When a writer reads aloud escaping the frequency of the words is impossible. The words will pop up and make you hear how annoying they are when overused and how it drags the story down.
  • Fourth, reading aloud lets a writer sense when transitions aren’t working. The story feels wrong because the smooth shift didn’t happen. You didn’t hear it so the reader won’t find it either.
  • Finally, reading aloud tests the emotional impact of your words. If you don’t feel anything when you hear it then guess what? You have failed your readers! (and Green Arrow will put you down). Sure, we writers love our words but hearing them lays them bare and the feelings are bared too. We need to feel the whole of it and we can do that only when we hear it. 

These five reasons for reading aloud I lovingly called the Writer’s Oral Edit, my WOE, because woe to the writer who thinks there isn’t any time, that it is a silly tool, who fears the outcome will create more work (isn’t that the point?), or who claims not to read well aloud.

Okay, you have issues. So how do you fix your woe over WOE? Practice. Every day read what you write when you journal or when you do your writing exercises (because I know you are writing every single day!) Read your WIP (work in progress) aloud at the end of your writing session. LISTEN to yourself. Record yourself and play it back. Let the computer read to you. Have a friend (who reads out loud well) read to you and hear what you are writing.  Most of all — LEARN TO READ YOUR WORDS OUT LOUD. 

No matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. The WOE is critical to a writer’s success.

As I indicated earlier, many times I can tell when a writer skipped the WOE because the characters all sound alike, the book is clipped, or the sentences ramble on forever. All of those mistakes, and more, are easily heard and fixed by just one WOE.

I do at least three oral checks. One as I write. Two after the content edits and the third when all the other edits are complete and the book is considered finished. You’d be surprised at the nuances you hear when you think your work is done. Also, I read to a friend, a beta reader or my Personal Author Assistant (PAA). It is very important to have someone else give you feedback.

And here’s a tidbit — WOE is important for me because I have 12 different characters who speak in my upcoming novel. I have 12 points of view and each character must have a unique voice. You only hear the difference well when you read them aloud and then tweek them! It’s like a house full of people who need a voice that stands out from the crowd, 12 times. I need the WOE!

Embrace your WOE. Let this be a lesson for you here and now. When you practice this and embrace the WOE you’ll enjoy a better quality novel and so will your readers (who are also reading aloud whether you realize it or not).

One last thought about reading aloud in general. If you hope to be published (or are published), you must engage in live author events like book signings or panels. You will be asked to read aloud from your novel. Unless you are a hermit, you cannot skip this moment. You don’t have time to be shy, feel silly or awkward. You must step up and become the voice of your book and do so comfortably. What you give the readers in that moment stays with them forever. You are the book’s voice — so practice until you read aloud well and with confidence.

Now, go write. I’ll be listening.

Thank you for coming by.
I remain, Yours Between the Lines,