#WIP Wednesay


Breaking the Rules is currently on preorder only on iBooks at the moment. I haven’t set it up elsewhere but that’s on my to-do list for this week. It most likely won’t be on preorder on Amazon but I’ll decide when it’s closer to release date which is in June.

Musings Over Afternoon Coffee: Reviews and Orange Tags

This weekend, Falling for Jordan went on sale for 99 pennies. And for the first time in a long time, I was actually (a bit more) organized when it came to the promotions. I had a few lined up from months earlier and sent out my newsletter on Saturday and another one on Sunday.

It was a good distraction from my obsession the past two weeks over dipping sales and obsession over ROI, ad copy, and ad budgets instead of planting my ass in the chair and finishing my next book. It even earned the orange flag for a few hours:


And this morning, I discovered three new reviews for Everything She Ever Wanted that brought a smile to my heart—and a reminder to myself that I can write that next novel without outlining it until there’s no soul left.

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The last review also confirmed to me the source of that huge spike in sales that I got last month. I mean, it was so huge (by my standards) it spoiled me and made the dip in sales this month quite a shock. I’d been wondering the entire time if someone had featured me in their newsletter—someone meaning a fellow author—but nope, it was Amazon who featured me. So thank you, Amazon. Can you do it again?




Share Your World – Week 11


It’s time for Share Your World hosted by Cee’s Photography, and these are the questions for Week 11. Can you believe how the weeks are just flying by?

If a distant uncle dies and you were always his favorite and leaves you $50,000 (any currency) in his will, what would you do?

I’d pay all my debts and put all but 10% into some kind of savings account—or at the rate the world is going maybe hide it under my mattress, who knows. And then it’s business as usual with that 10%. Maybe a bit of travel which would probably use up the 10% pretty quickly with the family in tow.

What sound or sounds do you love?

I like the sound of a babbling brook or the wind rustling the leaves. When I went to Sun Valley, Idaho one summer, I couldn’t believe that one didn’t need a sound machine to hear that babbling brook sound because where I stayed, they were kinda everywhere. Same with Nevada City, California where little streams that fed into the Yuba River snaked through this one property where I stayed for about two weeks. Add the sound of the wind ruffling the leaves and it was bliss.

What’s your middle name?  Why?

My mom named me after her favorite actress, Elizabeth Taylor and the character Liz played in National Velvet. So I have both her names. But for years, my mom told me that she had actually named me after the horse and it wasn’t until I saw the movie when I was about 22 when I learned that the horse’s name was Pie.


What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I always marvel at my son’s ability to entertain himself after school, just before we head to the car. Sometimes he plays with other kids and sometimes he just plays by himself while I talk to his behavioral aide about how his day went. On Friday, they had a treasure hunt for St. Patty’s Day. Apparently, leprechauns left glitter around the campus along with glittery green and gold shamrocks. So now we have them all over the house as well…

Falling for Jordan is on Sale!

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So my post went out early this morning before I was ready to publish it. I remember seeing the notice while I was still in bed and thinking, but I didn’t finish writing that post.

Oh well, too late for that. Apparently, I scheduled it to post but didn’t finish writing it.

So here it is again and while it’s the same thing, a promo is a promo and I do love the graphic I made for it. And since it’s St. Paddy’s Day weekend, what better way to celebrate it than to have my book featuring an Irish-American hero go on sale for 99 cents?

Share Your World: Week 10


Here we go for the tenth week of Share Your World hosted by Cee Photography! Here are this week’s questions:

What did you or did not like about the first place you lived without your parents?

I liked being independent. Not having to worry about coming home late and getting punished for missing curfew. I was the only one with a curfew as my older and younger brother could stay out all night and no one blinked. But one thing I hated about the apartment where we lived (my two brothers moved out with me) were the rats that were bigger than cats. We lived in one of my grandmother’s apartments right next to the sewer and dang, we had rats and no cats in sight to catch them because if there were any cats, they probably bailed at the sight of the rats. So needless to say, there was lots of screaming in that apartment.

What is your most favorite smell/scent?

Probably jasmine although you can’t beat baby smell or baked chocolate chip cookies!

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why?

As long as I don’t have to shovel the driveway or have to get in my car to drive anywhere, I’m fine with snowy winters.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

My little prince and I went to the Automobile Driving Museum for a birthday party and he had a blast sitting behind the wheel of many old cars. His first choice, of course, was this:

There’s a kid behind the wheel!


I can’t believe my little guy is growing up so fast! He loved sitting behind the wheel and “driving” me places. I’m no longer sure if it was okay for us to get into some of the cars but it was fun.

My favorite piece was the phone and it became the perfect tool to get my son to recite my phone number back to me so he could see how I’d have to dial it. He could never remember it and I’ve been working on getting him to know my number by heart in case of an emergency. Yesterday they had a “lockdown drill” at school which was basically an active shooter drill. What a scary world we truly live in now…

Another thing that made me smile this week was my walk with a friend around the lagoon. She brought duck feed with her and it was hilarious seeing the coots, ducks and one goose race toward her the moment she took out that bag of feed. I’m totally buying feed next time! And the flowers are also starting to bloom.


Musings on a Friday Night: Fast Car

I’m on Chapter 5 of Sawyer’s story and I have to admit, it’s an accomplishment that I never thought I’d see only because I’ve now just realized that writing about a character who suffers from PTSD is difficult and scary. It’s why I needed to consult a pro when it came to helping me with an outline because I didn’t want to deviate from the straight line I’d set out to make for myself this time.

After all, I never outline; I simply write. It’s easier that way because it’s the only process I’ve ever known. But when your characters allow you a glimpse into their darkness, it also becomes a scary process that has you wondering if that darkness is your character’s (the one you made up) or yours (the one you never talk about) and if you’re strong enough to stick to the “script.”

And so I’m pushing on and pushing on because this is no longer just a story that has a publishing deadline. It’s a story I want to tell whether anyone wants to read it or not, and whether it sells or not. There’s nothing like a slump in sales to remind you to stop obsessing about the numbers and focus on the story because sometimes your soul needs a medium through which it can breathe and live and continue on.

Chapter 5 also has “Fast Car” as its lead song to inspire the scenes within it. Hard to believe that this came out in 1988. That’s 29 years ago and it’s such an amazing and timeless song and every time I hear it, it takes me away for a spell.

Hope it does the same thing for you, too.


Cover Reveal In 3… 2… 1

Actually, not yet.

So yesterday morning, my designer guy sent me four versions of the cover for my next book and it was really exciting… and overwhelming. Which one to choose?! They all were the same pose but laid out differently and one was awesome but didn’t go well with the series when put together and the other was perfect for the series but I wasn’t so sure about resolution when it came to the paperback which requires the best resolution once that ebook photo is blown up.

So I chose to go with the full body version because, well, any flaws in my graphic design skills could be overlooked (my cover guy does the layout since he did the branding lock for the series) that way. My friends were excited.

Oh, look, one said, he’s got a barrel clip for his nipple piercing! 

Oh, he does? I thought, peering at my screen. Oh right! He does. That’s going to be distracting, isn’t it?

But I love it, she said. I’m distracted by it.

Exactly, I thought.

Then hubby came home and took one look at the two finalists and said, the one that’s more close up is the perfect match for your series. It’s powerful and his face just shows the agony–

But honey, I said, you don’t even know what the story’s about. (Heck, at this point, I don’t even know what the story’s about.)

I don’t care, he said, I like the close-up version. The other one is too distracting. 

You mean, the nipple clip thingy?

What nipple clip thingy? I didn’t even notice it, he said. No, I mean, his body is distracting from the expression on his face. You MUST use the close-up version. It fits your series more since they’re all faces. FACES.

Oh, okay. If you insist. But now people are gonna miss out on the abs and the nipple clip thingy… and the tattoo that I photoshopped right on his bicep.

That’s what I meant, hubby said. It’s all so distracting. Face, Liz. Focus on the face.

Oh, I said. Okay…

Wow, I never realized people could get so worked up over covers but… okay. But I suspect he’s really more concerned about all the man bods and man bits he sees on my monitors (all for research, I tell you!).

But then I get an email from my cover designer guy. Well, yeah, close up means it’s a third of the resolution so for the paperback, it will be 30% resolution so maybe the torso version you decided on is the best. 


Full torso it is then, barrel nipple clip and tattoo and all…

So yes, it’s comin’

Guess I should have titled this Behind the Scenes of a Cover Reveal...


Book Review: Redeployment by Phil Klay


I mentioned Redeployment in my previous post but it deserves a full book review so here it is.

According to Amazon, I bought this book in December 2014 after it won the National Book Award (because I love buying those books with every intention of reading them) but apparently, I forgot I did. It wasn’t until I got the audiobook a few weeks ago that I realized I did have the ebook. I just couldn’t remember which platform since I alternate my reading between Kindle, iBooks, Audible, and Scribd. But I finally found both versions and started reading a few weeks ago.

Redeployment by Phil Kay is a collection of short stories about the Iraq War.  it’s unflinchingly raw, unforgiving, and powerful. It’s listed under fiction but as a layperson with no army experience whatsoever (I probably did formation once or twice as part of ROTC during my senior year in high school before they sent me to the office afterward to do flyers), I could swear every word I read felt so real. And that’s probably because Klay is a former Marine and he wrote the stories as a way to process what happened.

There are twelve stories in this collection and the first one, Redeployment, got to me right away. It’s about a Marine who had to shoot dogs in Iraq because they were eating corpses. When he gets back, he wrestles with what to do with his faithful dog who’s grown too old.

The second story, Frago, recounts one Army Sergeant’s mission that lands them inside a house with two tortured Iraqis and a video that ran out of film just before they got there.

Real quiet he says, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. But we all know what this is. Lance Corporal McKeown looks at the camera and says, Al-Qaeda makes the worst pornos ever.

All the stories are powerful and a few that stood out the most to me were Bodies, narrated by a Mortuary Affairs Marine.

There are two ways to tell the story. Funny or sad. Guys like it funny, with lots of gore and a grin on your face when you get to the end. Girls like it sad, with a thousand-yard stare out to the distance as you gaze upon the horrors of war they can’t quite see. Either way, it’s the same story.

Psychological Operations is probably the second longest short story in the book and I almost gave up on it. It’s one of the reasons I like listening to the narration sometimes because it puts me right back into the story, although the opposite works as well. When I find myself drifting while listening to the narration, I go back to reading the text so I’m right back in. Anyway, Psychological Operations took a long time to get to its point but when it did, I was horrified in a way a story gets to its conclusion and you say, wow.

“Propaganda is sophisticated,” I said. “It’s not just pamphlets and posters. As a PsyOps specialist, as anything in the Army, you’re part of a weapons system. Language is a technology. They trained me to use it to increase my unit’s lethality. After all, the Army’s an organization built around killing people. But you’re not like an infantryman. You can’t think about the enemy as nothing but an enemy. A hajji. A gook. A bad guy needing a bullet. You’ve got to get inside their heads.”

And then there’s Ten Kliks South, the last story in the collection as told through the eyes of a 19-year-old artilleryman who wonders who cleans up the mess after he and the rest of his nine-man team are done with their job.

So there’s no indication here of what happened, though I know ten kliks south of us is a cratered area riddled with shrapnel and ruined buildings, burned-out vehicles and twisted corpses. The bodies. Sergeant Deetz had seen them on his first deployment, during the initial invasion. None of the rest of us have.

Bottom line, I loved the collection. I needed a break from all the romance books I started but never finished and so I needed something that got me back into my reading groove, one that I’d actually finish because it hooked me and wouldn’t let me go. I also have to accept that the stuff I write is so far from the stuff I like to read. And this is one of them.