Category: Contests

Poetry Winners, Awards, New Book

Happy Monday! Happy May!

I’m a little remiss on my poetry but today I want to present the winning poems of April’s Poetry Contest. Congratulations to them again and I hope you enjoy reading these as much as we judges enjoyed reading them

1st Place 

Inspiration does come
And it also does go
What inspires me to write
I really don’t know

Sometimes it is
The whisper of a word
Other times it is a thought
That’s really quite absurd

I dream of oceans
Being kissed by the moon
I envision creepy specters
That would make you swoon

I paint visions in my mind
Using words as my art
Some are dark and spooky
While others are from my heart

Just little random words
I write as they come to me
A joyous culmination
Of inspiration and insanity

2nd Place
Words Expressed by David Jacks

I don’t always find my words
too easily expressed.
So if I were to speak them,
sometimes they are suppressed.

But if pen touches paper,
such worlds I can create.
It then frees me from my own,
as if lifting a weight.

Cut the strings that hold me down.
Please tie me up no more.
Let loose feelings once secret
and open wide the door.

I can’t do this on my own.
Writing helps me to find,
all the things that were once sealed
somewhere deep in my mind.

For all the thoughts left behind,
I must pour out my soul.
Forever searching for them,
just to make myself whole.

3rd Place
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS by James Matthews Byers

The subtle sound of soothing calm-
A bumblebee in flight;
Anointed treasure in my palm-
Considerate delight;
Amazement on a newborn’s face-
Transitions, foot to mouth;
Impressions of a living space-
The springtime in the South;
Combustion of a beating heart-
Removed from single life;
Conditioning a humble start-
A husband and a wife;
Perplexing rhythm of a song-
Commanding vocal cord;
The distance, short or ever long-
The pen, a mighty sword;
Forever in a lover’s eyes-
The sigh of falling fast;
Chameleons in their disguise-
The colors floating past;
Commencement of a wild parade-
An alter full of hope;
The jester and his vast charade-
The hangman and his rope;
Surrender to the burning fire-
Intrinsic is the fuse;
And so these many things inspire-
Combined, they are my Muse …


Thank you to everyone who participated but a huge Congratulations to the winners! And a big thank you to the judges as well to the authors who contributed their work for prizes!

Speaking of poetry and awards, my poetry book, THE BOOK OF NOW, just won it’s second award! First I won a Silver Award for Poetry in the 2017 eLit Book Awards and now I’m the winner of —- drum roll —————-

2017 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite, Book Cover Non-Fiction


I must say I had an idea for my book cover and I knew how I wanted it to look. BUT I am NOT a designer and I am pleased that Marisa-rose Shor of Cover Me Darling created the most fabulous book cover for me. She translated my wishes perfectly and designed a beautiful custom cover (from scratch, no stock pictures photographs). Thank you, Marisa! I share this award with you.


NOW– NEW BOOK COVER REVEAL!! I’m so excited! My newest book is about to be released. Now I can share the book cover with you (also designed by Marisa-rose Shor) and with model Haleyy Loan. I’m delighted to present the new book, THE GYPSY THORN.

Isn’t it awesome?? Stay tuned because the release will be this month. And you will want to get your copy. This is a prequel novel that sets up the Evening Bower series. The first book is projected for October 2017. That’s right. THIS YEAR.

So, read my Midnight Assassin – A Tale of Lust and Revenge and follow that one up with The Gypsy Thorn. Then you will be ready for the first in the new series.


Thank you everyone for your continued support of my books and for checking in here. Please feel free to leave comments (I moderate them but they go up the same day in most cases). And also continue to send me questions via my contact sheet or on my Facebook Author Page. I love hearing from you and I will answer your questions on my next live chat, this month.

Yours Between the Lines,

Birthdays, Poetry, and Freebies

Most people I know disdain discussions about their age once they reach the more “exalted” years. Oh, I hear that “50 is the new 40” and such gobbledygook, but I don’t really buy it, do you? Really? I think we are what we are. For me, I am the age I’ve lived. I’m every moment, minute, month, and year. I’m every wrinkle, every bruise, every crack in every bone. I’m every white or grey hair (and in my case every purple and blue one, too). I’m every flake of dry skin, busted capillary, expansion joint and skin tag. I am who I have become. I do not pretend it makes me younger or older (though perhaps I am a wee bit wiser).

My physical age is but a number, yes, but it says “look I’ve been around the block.” The good news (or bad, depending on your perspective) is that I’ve probably lived more than many, given I’ve been blessed with a multitude of adventures and opportunities, loves and divorces, the love of wonderful parents, and the joy of a corresponding childhood, plus finding a great love, despite the odds. (This might be a good time to mention you can read all about it in my book, Breaking The Glass Slipper, a fictional memoir.)

I often joke that I am only 12 (mentally). Perhaps that’s because I encourage my inner child to come out to play. I delight in her exuberance. I exercise my imagination daily; and above all, I delight in laughing. I live for joy. I look for good things. I think this keeps perspective and helps you stay young. Sometimes, you just have to LET GO.

I wasn’t always this way. I’ve mellowed with time. This Aries is a true leader of her zodiac, but once the fiery, short-tempered, grudge-bearing, stubborn, self-centered alpha, slowly became a wiser, more forgiving, more moderately tempered, nurturing, dragon lady who knew of and practiced compromise. Still an alpha, I have a temper but the fuse is longer. I have no time for grudges. The soap-box cheering dragon lady raises her ugly head now and again, but one more tolerant, informed, and careful. I like to think smarter. But I am a nurturer. I am a giver. I have a need to do for others. This is where I get my joy.

And that brings me to now. My birthday was last week on March 29. I rarely ask for anything these days. I have so much and want for nothing. I am truly blessed. I give back whenever I can, as often as I can.  I desire only the love and joy of friends and family. I want to be remembered, yes. I want others to celebrate the joy of life with me, yes. To know they take joy in me (or I hope they do) is what birthdays are about, for me.

I do not know if I have succeeded in this wish. This birthday passed without the fanfare so many others feel is needed. After all, I have achieved that realm of my “great and exalted age.” But I’ve not time to exalt! I’m busy. Every day there are things to exalt in and this is the message. Living every day fully, laughing, playing, and finding joy. In this way, every day is a personal gift that you can keep or choose to share. Isn’t that the real joy we want when we reach “exalted” years?

Like writing a book whether you publish or not. Like smiles or giggles. For those who know me, I think you know whether I prefer to keep or to share. Sharing is where I find exaltation.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a babe was born and delivered in a hospital by her mother.  Gas was 22 cents. Saturday matinee movie was 49 cents. Polio vaccinations began. Father Knows Best was popular on TV.  It was 1954. (It would be another five years before Barbie would be born and one week later, Swanson’s would produce its first TV dinner). I was born into a good year.

Hello 63!  And MY story continues. (say, do you let your characters have birthdays?)

— AND NOW, In keeping with National Poetry Month, I offer you my imaginary obit! 

Sherry – author, poet, woman, child –
lived a life passionate and wild,
tasted everything, regretted some,
loved many, in love with only one.
Believed in magic, danced and dreamed,
died complete, more than she seemed.
She played Led Zeppelin and drank champagne!
She said, “live boldly ’til we meet again!”


Speaking of National Poetry Month (how did you like that transition?), last week I announced I’m sponsoring a POETRY CONTEST!  You can enter HERE.  Win some books and/or an Amazon gift card.

PLUS – winners will see their poems published here, on Facebook, on other blogs and I will read them LIVE on Facebook. I might even read them on You Tube.

Welcome Poetry Month by trying your hand at a poem. The theme is WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Well? Go on….I dare you! You might surprise yourself and already be a fabulous poet!


AND THERE’S MORE! In keeping with National Poetry Month, I’m GIVING AWAY FREE COPIES OF THE BOOK OF NOW! That’s right. FREE.  From April 14 through April 17, you can go to Amazon and get a free ebook of my last book of poetry (already free on KU).  Mark your calendar!  FREE!


Before I go, I want to thank everyone for their wonderful feedback on last week’s blog post about Commenter Etiquette. Your support and your thoughts are important to me and I am grateful for your interest.

Keep an eye out for more FACEBOOK LIVE events! Keep reading! Keep writing.

Until next time, I remain,
Yours Between the Lines,

Writers Need SenSEnces

At a recent Writers’ Group meeting, we went around the table and introduced our work-in-progress, genre, and what we hoped to achieve in the group. There we were chatting about our “stuff” and I overheard one writer make a comment, “I realized my character went through the entire book and never changed clothes.” We all had a good belly laugh at this but then – you know me – I turned that into a discussion about what characters have to have or do to be relatable, for the story to actually live and breathe.

And yes, your character needs to change clothes. More, your characters should do what you do, eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, shower, drive, be ill, burn food, shovel snow, etc. There should be food and dining — sleeping, relaxing, sex (do not have to have scenes but couples do mention it), accidents, arguments — well, the list goes on forever.

The reason for these “life events” is twofold. First, these real events give truth to your characters (even ones on odd, new worlds). Second, they can be the catalysts for moving your story forward.

I am particularly aware of my “scenes” when I write. How do you show and not tell when your character is listening to others? Maybe it is in the food. Does it remind your character of something unpleasant? Maybe the smell of Lysol from the kitchen brings back a hospital stay, so your character cannot eat because the smell drives him/her from the room. Remember you don’t have to outline every nuance for your readers; hopefully the subtle meaning will be enough.

Everyone is good at sights and sounds. What about the way a person speaks? Are characters’ voices clearly understood? Maybe a drawl gives a false perception to your character that causes them to jump to conclusions or say something untoward to the other person. Let those things happen and suddenly you have a much richer moment and your character has character (good or bad). Church bells, car alarms, screaming, laughter — all are important aspects to character but can also move action forward with purpose, too.

Do you use touch in your moments? Perhaps the silk of a flower against a cheek or the rough skein or a woolen scarf in winter reminds a little boy of being wet and cold and scolded by his mother. Or a single finger tracing over a woman’s knuckle by a reticent lover enlarges her pupils. Often these activities tell more than any dialogue could. Use them to advantage and let the action explain the character (he was a romantic man is better understood through the touch of a rose to her lips).

Back to that character who never changed clothes during the entire book. Of course, the writer is going back to fix this, but when the fixing is happening, so much more will result because of the change! Nakedness can have an important voice (mind out of gutter now) for babies, surely, but for adults the bare necessity holds a myriad of possibilities. A dress chosen instead of a pantsuit by a pants-wearing character. A pair of jeans and a Henley instead of Mr. Wall Street’s usual Armani suit. Hmm, casual Friday, weekend getaway or…something more nefarious afoot? Maybe an allergy to silk can lead to murder or laughter. How you need to develop the tale can depend on how your clothes feel to your character. Maybe she changed her hose because it wasn’t her skin color or there was a hole in the sock.

Sometimes, the senses can let your character down, and you should allow it to happen. What about the guard dog that failed to pick up a critical scent, the speeding driver who didn’t hear the fire truck for the loud music in the car with the screaming pregnant woman in the back seat, the little child who holds a first dandelion (stares at it and promptly eats it), the plastic surgery gone awry and the moment a patient gets that first look? The failures can be critical too. Use them but use the sensory part of it to tell your tale. Don’t simply tell us about it. That’s so boring and not nearly as fun.

So, you ask, why didn’t the character change clothes? Did the writer lack the talent to do this? No, the writer spent more time on the surroundings instead of the intimacies of the character. The writer made a lush, active sci-fi world but forgot to let the character live fully within it.

That’s why you need to let your character use all the senses and become a real person. Change the clothes; maybe do the laundry. Notice the stinky socks. Your story will thank you for it and we, the readers, will be begging you for more stories that we can’t forget or stop reading.


Coming in April, I’m going to do a series on understanding poetry. So be sure to tune in for a perspective that I promise you have not seen!


I’M RUNNING A BAR/CLUB NAMING CONTEST!  Are you clever? I’m running a contest to find a very cool, not cliché, name of a vampire bar/club in New Orleans. This establishment belongs to my redheaded vampire Drahomira from my urban fantasy novella, Midnight Assassin – A Tale of Lust and Revenge.  There will be permanent name recognition to the winner and signed books too. Contest ends on March 19.  So ENTER HERE!  And Good Luck!  Winners will be announced on March 21.



As always, thanks for dropping by. Leave a comment and say hello.

Yours Between the Lines,