Thursday, May 28, 2015

Seven Tips for Hosting a Cover Reveal Contest

Karmas a Killer (4)

Hi all!  Today's my blogging day at Ink Spot, the blog for the authors of Midnight Ink.  I'm dedicating this month's article to helping my fellow authors learn how to host a successful cover reveal contest.  Check it out!  Talk to you next week!

And what do you think of my newest cover for Karma's a Killer?

Tracy Weber

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cross Country Charm

I'm back!  You probably didn't know I was gone, since I didn't announce it, but I recently returned from a delightful cross-country trip where we celebrated a wonderful birthday with my m-i-l, saw other family members including the grandkids, then drove back on a route that allowed me to see Mt. Rushmore for the first time as well as Yellowstone National Park and a bunch of other national parks and places of amazing interest. 

I was with my husband and younger son, and they took care of the driving, which allowed me to stay in the backseat and actually accomplish some editing. You won't be surprised to learn that I got some inspirations and ideas for other books as well as the ones I'm under deadline for. 

I also participated, while traveling, in a blog tour for my first Barkery & Biscuits Mystery BITE THE BISCUIT, which is now available.  The second Barkery & Biscuits Mystery's manuscript is due next week and I need to return to it, so I need to keep this brief.  Suffice it to say that the trip was fun, the company wonderful, and the time it took worth it--despite all that I need to accomplish now in an even shorter time than otherwise! 

So how about you--any travel plans coming up or accomplished?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


For Memorial Day:

                      Casualty Call

The doorbell rang while she was baking bread.
She glimpsed them through the window by her door,
And slid down weeping to the foyer floor;
Until she let them in he was not dead.
Her husband came to answer it instead.
"Are you okay?" He knew. He'd been to war.
"Mother, are you okay?" he asked once more.
"I'll never be okay again," she said.

Their son was buried two weeks to the day.
The rifles fired, a bugle sounded taps.
She was clear-eyed, her husband wept. Perhaps
He knew the price that they had yet to pay.
They grieved their son for years, then cancer came,
And as he died, he called the dead boy's name.

                                               - Robert A. Hall

There is a sweet sorrow to this kind of poetry.  If it moves you to tears, they’re  not the shameful or unhappy kind.  In fact, I think they’re a good kind and should happen to us all from time to time..

I’ve been going through the photographs Becky took on our trip to London.  It turns out I’m not a real photographer; that is, when I see something interesting, I more often than not fail to take a picture of it.  For example, I noted that those British soldiers in their red coats and enormous bearskin hats carry very modern weapons, but did I take his picture?  No, but Becky did..  She took lots of pictures, many of them with talent.  This man at the top of the page was photographed at the Tower of London, guarding the entrance to the building that housed the Crown Jewels.  (You are not, by the way, permitted to take pictures of the wonderful things inside.)

And here’s a really excellent photograph Becky took of the Beefeater at the Tower of London.

Intelligent and witty, he told some interesting stories about the various buildings in the Tower.  He also recited a rather silly rhyme that is an old British schoolboy mnemonic for the Kings and Queens of England from William the Conqueror to Victoria – and it’s one I memorized myself long years ago that helped me learn English history:
Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee,
Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three,
One, two three Neds, Richard Two,
Harries Four, Five, Six, then who?
Edwards four, five, Dick the Bad,
Harries twain, Ned the Lad,
Mary, Bessie, James the Vain,
Charlie, Charlie, James again,
Bill and Mary, Anna Gloria,
Four Georges, William, then Victoria.

Thank you very much, I’m here all week.  Try the veal

Friday, May 22, 2015

Evening at the Santa Clarita Library

Last week I talked about the upcoming Friends of the Santa Clarita dinner and mystery panel.
Now to talk about how it went. The library is beautiful and I was lucky enough to be on a panel with Sue Ann Jaffarian, Connie Archer (her real name is Connie Di Marco), and Diane Vallere. Anthony Breznican, a writer for Entertainment Weekly, and author of a young adult novel was our moderator. The evening was put together by Robin Hoklotubbe.

First the five of us had dinner together and got to know each other. Sue Ann talked about being a part time vegan, Connie told us stories about her acting career including playing a heart surgeon on ER. Diane admitted to not reading books like she writes because she was concerned she might inadvertently put something from whatever she was reading into one of her own books. I feel the same. We talked about book reviews and how they were one person’s opinion. And then it was time for our panel.

One of the interesting things about being on a panel is hearing other writer’s answers to the questions. One topic was writing habits. Sue Ann Jaffarian works full time as a paralegal and she gets up at 5 a.m. to write before work and writes during her lunch hour. She said she was lucky to be able to write fast. She must really write fast because she writes four series.

Diane Vallere keeps her numerous series going by writing a certain amount of words a day. Connie Archer goes by time and I think she said she writes for three hours each day.

Someone said they finished their book several months before it was due so they could give it to some beta readers for comments and then tweak it.

I wish I was that structured. I write until I run out of time or mental energy. I like to stop in the middle of something because it makes starting up again easier. Also when I get close to deadlines it amazing how much I can get done.

Sometimes I surprise myself about things I say. I don’t remember the exact question, but it had to do with how long we’d be writing. I have always done something, but it never occurred to me to talk about it before. All of a sudden I found myself explaining this habit I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I have always told myself stories. When I was around ten, I’d go for a walk on the sandy road near the cottage we had in Indiana, I’d imagine fairies living in the loaf shaped rural mailbox and picture them getting water in walnut shell pails from the tiny water fall in the irrigation ditch. On the other side of the road, there was a field of purple flowers that smelled like peanut butter.

I would tell myself bed time stories and sometimes I liked them so much, I couldn’t wait to go to bed to start telling myself the next chapter. No more fairies in these stories, I was the usually the main character having an exciting adventure. Between my college classes, I’d walk down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago and tell myself more stories. Mostly there were the fun kind, but once as I was sewing a dress I told myself a story that was out of the twilight zone and was so scary, I had to make myself stop thinking about it.

When I got to the end of my little spiel, I was surprised when none of my fellow panelist were nodding in agreement. And for the first time, I realized it might not be common practice.

We had a wonderful audience including the mayor of Santa Clarita. It was great to see my friend Hillary who along with her sister Bobbin have been fans of both my series. When we were done talking, we all signed a lot of books. All in all it was a great evening