Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lip Smacking Fun at MFRW Summer Camp

As an author, I am constantly looking for information on how to write a better book to better ways to promote my books.

With so many social sites, there is a lot of information to know. Even if you can get a page up and going. You need to know how to make the most of the site.

Where can you learn this information? Study the database on each site or pay to take class.

This is the reason, I love the Marketing for Romance Writer Group. Not only can you ask questions and find places to promote, but this is a supportive group who wants you to succeed.

Now they are offering a Summer Camp. I'm excited by all the talented authors giving classes and can't wait for the fun to start.

For the month of May, June and the start of July, a number of authors are sharing their favorite recipe for a lip smacking treats to enjoy during the summer camp.

Here is mine,

Fast, easy and delicious....

Easy Fudge
1 (8 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate bits
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand milk
Dash of salt
1/2 to 1 c. nuts
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Melt bits in milk over low heat, remove from heat and add nuts and vanilla. Spread in lightly buttered 9 inch pan; chill until firm, cut.
Remove from pan. Store at room temperature.

I invite everyone to share their favorite recipe. Just post it in the comment section below.

Also, tune it tonight at 6:30 est. to MFRW blog talk radio show.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Inspiration to Follow Your Dreams

You can't realize your dreams unless you have one to begin with. - Thomas A. Edison

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true."

Woodrow Wilson
28th US President

The secret of making dreams come true can be summarized in four C's.
They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy;
and the greatest of these is Confidence.
- Walt Disney

Friday, May 24, 2013

Writer's Tip - What Set Your Heart on Fire?

The best way to write a novel is to keep it simple.

Simplicity last. If you can tell a good story, the rest should take care of it's self.

from The Writer's Little Helper
James V. Smith, Jr.

Some people also say write what you know. I can't say that I necessarily agree with them.

I believe your imagination can take you anywhere.

A better thing to say is write what set your heart on fire.

I write things in my head every night. Funny maybe, but it's how I put myself to sleep.

There are stories that I love but they never make it to paper. They don't have all the necessary elements of a good novel.

Is that to say I didn't enjoy them?


When I sit down to write a book, I think about how much time I'm going to invest in the story. I either need to love it or I'll soon be sitting it aside to write something else.

Why waste the time, write what works and a story that you love.

Have a great weekend,

visit to read the 1st chapter of any of my books.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Cracked Slipper

The Cracked Slipper
by Stephanie Alexander



When Eleanor Brice unexpectedly wins the heart of Gregory Desmarais, Crown Prince of Cartheigh, she's sure she's found her happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, Prince Charming has a loose grip on his temper, a looser grip on his marriage vows, and a tight grip on the bottle.

Eight years of mistreatment, isolation and clandestine book learning hardly prepare Eleanor for life at Eclatant Palace, where women are seen, not heard. According to Eleanor's eavesdropping parrot, no one at court appreciates her unladylike tendency to voice her opinion. To make matter worse, her royal fiancé spends his last night of bachelorhood on a drunken whoring spree. Before the ink dries on her marriage proclamation Eleanor realizes that she loves her husband's best friend, former soldier Dorian Finley.

Eleanor can't resist Dorian's honesty, or his unusual admiration for her intelligence, and soon both are caught in a dangerous obsession. She drowns her confusion in charitable endeavors, but the people's love can't protect her from her feelings. When a magical crime endangers the bond between unicorns, dragons, and the royal family, a falsely accused Eleanor must clear her own name to save her life. The road toward vindication will force a choice between hard-won security and an impossible love.

The Cracked Slipper is a book club friendly fairytale retelling in the vein of Gregory Maguire, with a dash of romance. Set in a pseudo-renaissance, corset-and-petticoats enchanted kingdom, The Cracked Slipper brings a magical twist to women's fiction.



"Their host, Sir Robert Smithwick, rose and gave a toast to the health of his nephew. Other speeches followed, each more suggestive than the next. She laughed out loud when Dorian subtly mocked Brian’s inability to hold his liquor. Gregory spoke last, and gave a surprisingly thoughtful salute to his cousin. She patted his arm when he sat, and he gave her a tentative smile.

As everyone returned to their venison and cliff shrimp Eleanor's stepmother tapped her goblet. Mother Imogene rose and lifted the cup. “I must ask you to pause for just one more moment,” she said. “I have another announcement.”

“My darling,” she said to Sylvia. “We’ve all so enjoyed your hospitality this summer. But now my daughter must remember herself, and rest, for with the winter will arrive a future duke! Our dear Sylvia is expecting!”

The guests applauded, congratulating Imogene and Sylvia. Sylvia gazed demurely in her lap, as if embarrassed by the association with procreation. As for the expectant father, he was nowhere to be seen. His wife’s entertaining had proved too much for him, and the duke returned to Harveston for some peace.

Eleanor glanced down the table. Anne Iris retched into her cup, but it was Dorian’s calm face that inspired her. She stood and the room quieted. “My dear sister,” she said. “Let me extend my good wishes.”

Sylvia’s simpering went rigid.

“I will say, Sylvia always had a flair for the dramatic when we were children. Who knew you would entertain so many with your widely varied talents? While I have recently been ill, I’ve heard you neglect no one, from the loftiest lord to the most common stable hand. We are so fortunate there is one among us who gives so generously of herself to others. It’s no wonder His Grace, your husband, took his leave. It must be difficult to share you with so many.”

Imogene’s eyes bulged and her nostrils flared, while Sylvia gave an uncertain twitter. Eleanor looked at Dorian again. He winked.

“So I salute you, Your Grace,” she said.“May your child look just like you. Just as lovely.”

The guests applauded, all the while hiding their smirks and chuckles in their goblets and napkins. Eleanor sat down. This time Gregory touched her arm. “Well played,” he said."


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Stephanie Alexander grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, the oldest of three children. Drawing, writing stories, and harassing her parents for a pony consumed much of her childhood. After graduating from high school in 1995 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. She returned to Washington, DC, where she followed a long-time fascination with sociopolitical structures and women’s issues to a Master of Arts in Sociology from the American University. She spent several years as a Policy Associate at the International Center for Research on Women, a think-tank focused on women’s health and economic advancement.

Stephanie embraced full-time motherhood after the birth of the first of her three children in 2003. After six wonderful years buried in diapers and picture books she returned to her childhood passion and wrote her own fairytale. Her family put down permanent southern roots in Charleston in 2011. Stephanie is an adjunct professor of Sociology at the College of Charleston.

twitter: @crackedslipper


Stephanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Best of luck with your new book,


Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Morning Inspiration

stock image

"The ugly truth is always better than the best-dressed lie." --Ann Landers

'There is another word for failure. It's preparation.
A failure is just preparing you for the next opportunity."
Tavis Smiley


A love affair with knowledge
will never end in heartbreak.

~~Michael Garrett Marino

We all need inspiration at times.

Find it where ever you can and keep moving forward.

Have a great week,


Friday, May 17, 2013

Romantic Tip for the Weekend

Music is a must to have a wonderful evening.

It helps set the mood.

Make sure to plan ahead.

Credit: Free images from

One way to add romance to your life is to add it to your calendar.

Plan a day out, a picnic, a night out, a walk in the park.

Like everything else in our lives we need to schedule time for the things we love. Why not for our love ones?

Put it on your calendar and enjoy some time with the one you love.

No points system.

Just because you do something nice for your lover --doesn't mean you will "score some points."

It's not good for a foot rub, or a night out.

Do things for the ones you love because you want to and you'll both be happier.

Have a romantic weekend in your own back yard. Steaks on the grill, a little sunshine, a bottle of wine, life is good.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Time Treat

Ooey Gooey Karo Krispers

1 cup light or dark Karo corn surup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup crunchy or creamy peanut butter
1 cup oatmeal
2 cups corn flakes (or other favorite cereal)
2 cups crisp rise cereal (or other favorite cereal)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Pour corn syrup, sugar, and salt into a large saucepan. Stir over medium high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Stir in peanut butter. Remove from heat and stir in oatmeal, corn flakes, and crisp rice cereal. Pour into greased 8-inch square pan and set aside.

Melt chocolate chips in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over bars. cut into squares and serve.

Optional - melt peanut butter chips and use small spoon to dot onto bars in any design you prefer.

Hope you enjoy,


Monday, May 13, 2013

Can You Say Your Done?

I have been working on the next book in my Executives Wives Club series

Breath - CEO Affair is about another of the wives, who lost their husband in a fatal car wreck.

The first question I ask myself when I finish the first draft is...

What else do I need to add?

Did I put everything I want in the book in the draft?

Usually, the answer is no. Why?

Because as I'm speeding through getting all the plot ideas down on paper, I may not be thinking about everything that is involved in the background for each character.

The first draft is just that a draft. Now, it's time to add more to the mix.

So during my rewrite process, I make sure to add things I may have missed.

More setting,
deepening scenes.

Once I go through the manuscript and add these things, I then ask if about the word count. Is it too high or too low for the genre I'm looking at.  Usually, I like to have somewhere between 85,000 and 100,000 words.

Next I start in on the grammar, spelling and tightening the proses.

This can take weeks to reread the manuscript and check for errors.

One of the things I like to do is have the Dragon software package read the story to me. It helps me hear where problems in the wording might occur.

Right now, this is where I am in my book -- Breath - CEO Affair.

Working consistently I hope to finished this phase of the rewrite process up and then get on to chose the perfect cover.

Am I done?  No...but I'm moving toward that moment where I send it off to my editor.

How about you? When do you say your done?


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blood Bound

Blood Bound
by Melanie Atkins


Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer -- a calculating predator who binds books with human skin. Dani Barrington, the newest member of NOPD's Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another frightening attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster's known victims. Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani's strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive nature makes her the killer's next target. He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.



"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned." NOPD Detective Sam Walker's low rasp echoed inside the tiny confessional within the deep recesses of St. Mary's Church. He pressed his damp palms to his thighs. "It's been nine months since my last confession."
"My sins are... indescribable..." He let the word trail off. Sweat pooled at the base of his spine. "I don't know if I can--"
"You must voice your transgressions, son, to get them off your chest. It's the only way to gain absolution."
"I don't deserve God's forgiveness."
"Sam, tell me the truth." Father O'Malley cleared his throat. "Is this about Kristen?"
"She died a horrible death," Sam whispered, his heart breaking all over again for his fiancée and the family he would never have with her.
The priest paused.
"It's been a long time."
"Eight fucking -- sorry, Father." Sam broke off and swallowed, doing his best to regain his composure. "Eight long months. I thought I was coping, but I can't get past it. Especially since I'm the reason she's dead."
"How did you come to that conclusion?"
Sam pressed his lips together. Every time he thought about his fiancée's brutal murder, his gut clenched. He should have taken her to dinner that night like he'd promised, instead of letting the job get in the way. The Glock riding his hip was a constant reminder he'd been a detective first, and her intended husband second.
God should damn me straight to hell.
Father O'Malley shifted inside the tiny booth, and the ornate screen between them shuddered. The too-sweet odor of funeral lilies wafted over Sam.
"You didn't murder her, my son. Some sick, depraved individual did it."
"I was supposed to protect her."
"You were doing your job."
"When I should have been with her. Keeping her safe." Agony pierced his soul. He dropped his elbows to his knees and hung his head. His voice broke. "I let her die."
"You didn't let her die, Sam. A terrible thing happened. It wasn't your fault. God doesn't hold you responsible." "Well, He should. I'm guilty."
"He... he skinned her, Father. I don't know why, but he did." Tears burned his eyes.
Clearly shaken, Father O'Malley murmured more words of condolence. "I'll say another prayer for her soul."
"It's my fault she's gone. I can never do enough penance to make up for it." Sam shuddered. "Not in this lifetime."
"I want you to say one Our Father and one Hail Mary."
Sam barked a harsh laugh.
"That doesn't even scratch the surface. I can't even--"
"Wait. I'm not finished." Father O'Malley regained his poise, and his strong, even tone reverberated in Sam's ears. "I also want you to pray for the person responsible for Kristen's death."
"Hell, no!" Sam blurted, the idea of absolution jolting his brittle psyche. "I can't pray for that sick son of a bitch. He's killed four women, including Kristen, after brutalizing them, and we have no idea who he is. We're working day and night--"
"That's your penance, son." Father O'Malley said, gravely. "In addition, you must perform the Act of Contrition and say the Rosary. Don't let that individual's cruel soul steal yours."


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Melanie Atkins a multi-published author of romantic suspense, an editor for an online publishing company, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her—it’s a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.

Melanie is an active member of Romance Writers of America®, the Magnolia State Romance Writers (MSRW), the Published Author Network (PAN), the Electronic and Small Press Authors' Network (ESPAN), the Electronically Published Internet Connection (EPIC), Sisters in Crime (SinC), the Red Dog Writers, the Gulf Coast Writers Association, the Southern Writers, the Mississippi Authors Guild and the Byram Writers’ Group. She currently serves as Past President of MSRW.

Melanie will be awarding the winner's choice of a backlist eBook to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
 Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The tour dates can be found here:

Thanks Melanie for stopping by and best of luck with your book,


Put the Time Monster in the Corner

This is about setting limits for yourself. We can’t do it all. No matter how much we might want too. We have to let some things go, say no and move on.

I think this is the perfect time to say that this is the end of my time management blog series.

Many things ripple across the sands of time. The next wave has washed up a beautiful shell that has unbelievable possibilities.

I need to get busy writing.

Best of luck with all that you do,


Monday, May 6, 2013

Sometimes We Need to be Stubborn

At certain times, the need to drive through a difficult situation shows us that it takes a stubborn attitude to succeed.

For me, this hits whenever I get to the last part of the book I'm writting. I know how I want it to end. I see the finish line ahead, but my energy to complete the task wanes. I want to start something new, I need to work on the synopsis, there's a book I want to read, etc. A million and one other things suddenly sound so much more enticing than writing that final chapter.

This is where a stubborn desire to get the job done, pulls me through. Makes me sit in the chair, type the words and finish the book.

Once I'm done, then that persistant little donkey in my head lets me rest. I'm free to work on all those other tasks and get on with life.

So as much as you might dislike your stubborn streak, be glad you have it. Because when you really need it, your little donkey is what helps you get the job done.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Avoiding the Second Punch of the Time Monster

Peat and Repeat were seating on a wall.
Peat fell off.
Who’s left?

How many times did it take you to get tire of this joke?

Well, life feeds us the same type of comedy.

We repeat many of the same task over and over until we are ready to scream for it to stop.

So if you haven’t guess by now, my next tip for saving time is -- don’t repeat the same job task.
(Some things are worth repeating. Hey, I’m a romance writer. Couldn’t help but throw in that line.)
Now back to business.
  • Create program macros – that automate your work.
My favorite macro is F10 on my keyboard. It does spell check for me so I don’t have to go through all the keystrokes to check my document.
  • Reuse information – don’t rewrite a letter over and over.
All writer use this went we send out query letters. Write once send to seven or eight different editors.
  • Create document templates.
I do this when I create worksheets. I have one that I use when I do my rewrites that identifies all the items I want in a scene.
  • Learn shortcuts
Forgot to set something out for dinner, hey make reservations or drop by the deli in your local grocery store. Either way it’s one least thing to worry about.
  • If people are asking you the same questions over and over. Create a frequently asked question document.
Don’t do this yet, but once I get my website up I will probably add it to my site.
As always look for ways to let the wind fill your sails and carry you forward, don’t keep trying to row that boat.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Killing the Minions of the Time Monster

All of us know people who slow us down. Either they don’t plan ahead, or they get behind and hand you their stuff at the last minute.

This can kill a well laid out schedule if you are depending on someone to get something done.

Some things that might help:

  1. Reorganize – Review the way things need to be done so that you’re not held up by them.
  2. Set deadlines - If they don’t meet your schedule let them know you won’t be done on time. (This is important even if you’re at the bottom of the food chain. They have to know others are depending on you too.)
  3. Keep moving - Either by working on something else until you get the information you need or by getting enough key information from them that you can keep working without waiting for them to finish.
  4. Learn other’s method of working - Some people are always in crisis mode, find out who these people are and give them an earlier deadline, that way you might get the information by the time you need it. Or if a person gets things right away, you might put off giving them the work so that when they get it back to you, you’ll be able to finish it right away.
As we keep learning again and again, planning is the key to winnin the battle against the time monster.