Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spilt Milk

Don't cry over spilt milk. Everyone's heard that.

In fact, I have actually spilled milk. Depending on where it gets spilled, if you're not careful, it can leave a pretty sour smell, especially in weird corners of a car's carpet. Anyway, the best thing to do is clean it up and forget about it as soon as possible.

That applies to writing as well. I've received my share of manuscript rejections, as many authors have. That doesn't stop me. If the rejection contains constructive criticism, I follow the advise gladly and clean up my manuscript so it's ready to go out somewhere else.

What about you? Do rejections paralyze you, or do consider them challenges to progress as a writer? Please share.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spoiled Milk

If you missed my interview of mystery writer, Rob Walker, on Blog Talk Radio yesterday, it's the first program in the player in the left column here.

Last week, as I swallowed a swig of milk at lunch, I realized it was sour. Since I was almost through eating anyway, I didn't request an exchange. I did go to the cashier, whom I know from eating at that cafeteria quite often, and I did get a refund. Still, the experience left me unsettled and wondering if I'd get sick.

To make an analogy, it's kind of like picking up a book written by a favorite author, starting to read it, then discovering it's not what you expected. In fact, it's so bad, you don't want to finish reading it. That kind of experience can make you swear off of an author for good.

Maybe you've learned more about writing since you began liking that author's work. Maybe that author is careless, riding the tide and pumping out books just for the bucks, not for the craft. There are lots of reasons for being disappointed in books.

What about you? Have you ever been disappointed with favorite authors? Or, maybe just a book that looked good, but turned out crummy? Please share.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rob Walker is the Guest Today at Blog Talk Radio Books and Blogs

Today, I'm happy to host Robert W. Walker on my Blog Talk Radio Show. Rob's a great mystery writer, with many published books to his credit, and is also a great guy all around. He's also the Friday guy at my group blog, Acme Authors Link, at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com

We'll be talking about his books, including his new one, with the great cover designed by someone very near to him. He also has some news about his wife, Miranda's, author career.

So, listen in today from 4-4:15pm Central Daylight Savings Time (Illinois) at

Rob's website is http://robwalkerbooks.com

Are any of you mystery readers? Have you tried one of Rob's books? If not, which mystery authors do you like? Please share with us. Or,if you get a chance to listen to the show, please also comment.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Does Your Dog Tell You to Go To Bed?

If I'm up too late typing on my computer, Rascal starts whining and nudging my elbow. She's telling me it's time to go to bed. She won't go to bed until I do. She follows me to the hallway, then sits there and watches me climb the stairs up to the bedroom. She's not allowed to go up there herself, but she has her own little space complete with comforters, in back of the easy chair in what we call our TV room. If

Right now she's pestering me to go upstairs. What about your dog? What does it tell you to do? Or maybe you have a cat or other pet. Please share.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Recycling Blogposts

In this age of going green and saving things, it makes sense to do the same with blogs. After all, we spend a lot of time thinking of what to say and how to say it. Then the post comes out. If you're a daily blogger, it only lasts twenty-four hours before it's replaced.

Those hours on that particular day may coincide with a major news event, a weather happening, like a snowstorm or even a beautiful Spring or Summer day. Maybe life intrusions keep regular readers away from their computers. Whatever the case, the result is the same - an overlooked blog.

The cure for such a condition is recycling. Consider posting your favorite blogposts on Facebook, Myspace, Ning, or maybe one of your group blogs, if you belong to one. First, be sure to update them. You wouldn't want to refer to a past event as if it were still coming up. If you think of better words or phrases, there's no law that says you can't include them this time.

When you're done editing and your post is up, you might be pleasantly surprised by the response it receives. You'll be glad it finally got the attention your hard work deserved.

Have any of you thought about or recycled blogposts? Will you try now? Please share.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest, Children's Book Author, Donna Dumas

Donna Dumas was Born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Ripley, Tennessee as well. She spent her early years excitingly writing short stories and poetry as she vividly remembers telling them to her smaller cousins and close friends. Donna is a Maintenance Administrator for AT&T and the vice-president of their non-profit organization, the AT&T Pioneers. Her dream is to open a day care while she continues to write children books. Donna credits the love and joy of her son and her nieces and nephews adding to her ambition of living out those dreams. She now resides in the suburban area of Macomb County Michigan with her family and her dog Onyx.

Donna's Book - Hard Head Fred:

Seven year old Fred will stop at nothing! Almost anything can happen, and will, when he refuses to listen to his Mom. Modest Mom is spinning in circles as she attempts to deal with his stubborn behavior. She warns him not to do things that he somehow ends up doing anyway.

Sound familiar? What does Fred do when Mom says don’t? Will Fred's hard, hard, head cause him to have little accidents or even lose his cat Ned, or will he finally have a change of heart and listen to Mom and stop having such a hard, hard, head?

“Here kitty, kitty,” said Fred.

Truly Unforgettable by Linda31
Reader Rating: Barnes and Noble
See Detailed Ratings, March 11, 2009: "I recently purchased this book for my three year old son whose name is Fred. He giggled every time I read his name!"

Website http://www.authordumas.com/

Buy Link at Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Head-Fred-Donna-Dumas/dp/0982256043/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238035822&sr=8-1

Buy Link at Barnes and Noble at: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Hard-Head-Fred/Donna-Dumas/e/9780982256046/?itm=1

Catch Donna's new blogspot http://authordumas.blogspot.com.

Please leave a comment for Donna about her delightful book.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Young and Old

Now that I'm up in years, 60 of them, actually, I wonder if maybe I should be reading books about people in my age group. If I do that, though, I'd be identifying with the characters and admitting to myself I'm not as young as I used to be. Is that a good or bad thing?

Sometimes I wonder. On the one hand it's fun to pretend I'm young again, yet on the other hand, it's also fun to read books featuring characters I can relate to.

What about you? Which do you prefer? If you're young, do you care if the main characters are older, or vice versa? Can you name some books you particularly enjoyed that are about older characters? Or about characters younger than you? Or, maybe you've written one?
Please share.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Critters are everywhere. Some I can easily spot. Others are not as noticeable.

A few years ago, on the way to the commuter station, I saw a possum walking by the side of a house. About a week ago, I was about to let Rascal out when I smelled the distinctive odor of a skunk wafting from the area of the patio. Fortunately, all was clear by morning.

Last Thursday, when I was walking Rascal, I stopped to talk with a neighbor who was walking her collie. That's when I learned she'd met up with a coyote not far from my house. It followed her and her dog a few blocks, but didn't get real close. Now, everytime I go out, even for a few minutes, I make sure the latch is down on the backyard gate. Though I believe Rascal would be a good match for it, I wouldn't want one to take the chance of one of those critters making its way into our yard.

Of course, we also get our fair share of squirrels, which are so common I don't pay as much attention to them. Then there are the birdies of various types and sizes. Lately the variety of bird songs in the morning are increasing, a sure sign of Spring.

I'm thinking it would be a good idea to incorporate a few of these critters into my books to flesh out area descriptions.

What about you? What critters are around your neck of the woods? Do you include any of them in your books, or maybe you remember reading a book with a critter or two in it? Please share.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest, Author Kimberly Elliott

About the Book:

A wonderful read for all parents, teachers, counselors .... we need to open our eyes to child sexual assault and help put a stop to this silent epidemic. The sexual abuse of a child creates a devastating family crisis. Parents want to know what to do and say to help their child but they also want to know how to respond to and heal their own emotional turmoil. As a parent, you need to know it's okay and natural to act with disbelief and denial.

This is my story, a mother's story, about the abuse of my daughter and my struggles to over come. I thought I could trust my family members. I thought I knew and could trust the legal system. I was wrong. As a parent, I couldn't find help for ME...what to expect on this journey with my daughter and her recovery. I didn't know how much pain I would suffer as well. This is my story and my struggle toward recovery. Some how, some way, I hope it gives you hope for your journey as well.
About the Author:

As a National Sales Leader in the Pharmaceutical Industry with 18 years experience, author, entrepreneur, professional speaker & Nationally Certified R.A.D. (Rape/Aggression/Defense) trainer, Kimberly brings a unique depth of knowledge and sensitivity to her specialties of: Advocacy for Change in the Medical Industry and Personal Self-Defense and Anti-victimization Education.

She gives readers & audiences powerful insights into the Pharmaceutical Industry. She has been featured in the British Medical Journal and has been a guest on numerous National Radio Programs.

As a victim of crime herself, she is also dedicated to providing workplace, personal, and field staff safety training classes to senior executives, management, and employees of a vast array of private businesses and corporations, professional organizations and associations. As a R.A.D. trainer, she also trains teachers, parents and children in school districts nationwide in personal protection and awareness. This is done by teaching simple mental and physical techniques and strategies individuals can use to avoid victimization in their daily lives. Her safety programs have yielded positive, immediate and long lasting outcomes.

Her behavior based anti-victimization presentations will shape & change the attitudes of your employees. This in turn will help you change portions of your safety culture and liability! Her combination of warmth and sensitivity along with her expertise, substance and inspiration, invigorates and energizes people to take action in their personal lives.

Kimberly focuses on the needs of each client, customizing her message to each group she addresses. She speaks around the country to Corporations, Associations and Consumers about personal safety and the need for health care changes in the U.S.

Kimberly’s diverse clientele include: YMCA, Bryan-Cave Law, Anheuser-Busch, New Frontier Bank, Bonneville Radio Group, Catholic Health Association, SCI Engineering, Jefferson Smurfit, Ronnoco Coffee, Coldwell Banker Realtors, Maritz, MO Nurses Association, US Bank, Prudential and a host of other household names, educational institutions, churches and non-profit groups.

Kimberly lives happily in Missouri with her amazing husband, two spirited children and a “zoo” of animals including a Newfoundland , three cats and a rabbit. She enjoys traveling, swimming and reading.

Here's what she has to say today:
18 months ago, with the disclosure of the sexual abuse of my young daughter, I came as close to “living hell” as I’d ever care to embark.

We have been to the bottom, risen up and been pushed back down again as we’ve cycled our way through recovery. Yes, each step along this journey has made me stronger; it’s definitely given me thicker skin and a new view on life and people in general. None of it has been easy and I’ve lost many meaningful relationships along the way.

Has it been worth it; this fight, this journey?

Most definitely. My children are the ultimate gifts that God has entrusted into my care.

So as a parent, a secondary victim to child sexual assault (CSA), how do we survive, let go, move forward and begin to thrive again?

That has been my greatest challenge.

It seems as though the moment I have it “all figured out” and life begins to move in a positive direction, I step on a new land mine and I’m back at square one yet again.

I realize, desire or not, I have been called to take this journey and I have to trust the future isn’t limited by what I see right now. That there is so much more waiting out there for me.

I understand that the joy in life isn’t guaranteed. I realize there will be typical ups and downs and these events are what makes the journey exciting and worth experiencing. I definitely, from the first wail from my daughter’s determined lungs, knew child rearing wouldn’t be easy. Yet, never in my wildest dreams or nightmares, was I able to prepare for the deep grief that CSA brought into my family’s or my life. No one can coach us on how to deal with a pain that shatters a heart so deeply. Those who casually say “Aren’t you over that yet?” don’t understand.

This much I will tell you about grief from CSA: If there was ever a second, or a moment, when you suspected or knew you had been betrayed at the deepest level by someone you adored and a splintering pain began to shred your heart, turn your world grimly unbearable to a point where you would consciously choose denial and ignorance about the betrayal rather than feel this way…that is one-millionth of what it feels like at the moment of disclosure.

On May 1st, at my daughter’s disclosure, I felt a searing pain in my heart. It was physical – I swear it was. If you are called to enter this world of CSA, there is no turning back. We are not allowed to refuse that call. It is like nothing else, with the possible exception of the pounding waves of the ocean. To the untrained casual eye, each wave looks the same. It is not. No two are the same.

As I examine, the up and down, emotional, inner-turmoil I’ve been struggling with recently, I’m reminded of the tug-of-war game I play with our new puppy. She has a long, blue, rope doll she loves. She brings it to me with her tail wagging.

I pull.

She pulls.

I pull it out of her mouth. She grabs hold again and shakes and shakes and says grrrrrr. The harder I tug, the harder the puppy pulls. Finally, I just let go. Then she comes right back again, for more.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is I have never successfully treated or solved one problem in my life by obsessing or controlling. I’ve yet to accomplish anything by worrying. And manipulation has not wrought one successful outcome. The best possible outcomes seem to happen when I let go. That doesn’t always mean I get my way. But things work out and, ultimately, the lesson becomes clear.

As a parent dealing with the aftermath of child sexual assault, I forget there are so very many things that are outside of my realm of control. I want to continue to cling to the past and the way it used to be – because it’s comforting and comfortable. I want to believe in the legal system the way I believe it should be and should function.

Unfortunately, there are certain events that we may never be able to accept fully. What can be accepted, though, is that we are required to live with this pain, hurt and loss and find a way to move on. There are many days that I have to remind myself to stop asking “Why?” but rather ask “what” the lesson is.

I guess this is all a part of being a “work in progress”.

Through disclosure, life as I had known it disappeared. I don’t know why I’ve received some of the blessing I’ve been given; I don’t know why some of the sorrow has come my way. All I can do is trust that whatever comes my way, there’s a lesson at hand. I didn’t bargain for this but my spiritual journey has begun. I’ve surrendered to the experience and I do believe something as broken and scraggly as I am right now can be brought back to life again.

The first step to acceptance, healing and recovery is the hardest. Sometimes it’s the second step that gets you. Getting information, support, and encouragement is helpful. Necessary too. But life is meant to be lived.

What I can honestly say to you is: “It’s going to be difficult, harder than you can imagine. It’ll take time. But you can do it! You’ll come through.” No matter what path you’re on, others have walked it before you, and some will follow you there. Each step you take is uniquely yours, but you are never, never alone! That is the message that I truly hope I can leave with everyone who chooses to read “Shattered Reality”.

- Kimberly Cheryl ; Author, Shattered Reality


Please leave a comment to welcome Kimberly.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pet Expo at Arlington Park Pics

The DH and I wore out our legs walking around at the Pet Expo at Arlington Park on Saturday. All kinds of critters there, but mostly dogs. Very heartbreaking to see so many dogs available at rescue organizations, lots of them purebreads. The economy is really hurting these poor dears. We would have loved to take some of them home, but Rascal is enough for us to handle. Anyway, enjoy the pics. Do you have a dog or cat or an exotic pet? Please share

Reminder: Tonight at 9pm Central Daylight Savings Time I'll be interviewing L. Diane Wolfe, Author of Overcoming Obstacles With Spunk. Tune in to Blog Talk Radio. For more info, go to http://blogtalkradio.com/booksandblogs.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

1000 Followers at Twitter!

Hi Gang,
When I got home from walking Rascal into town Friday evening and turned on my computer, I had the pleasure of seeing my Twitter followers hit the 1,000 mark! Thanks to everyone who's been following me over there.

Twitter is an easy and effective way to get the word out about blogs and special events. Best of all, no commercials to wade through.

All you need to do is go to http://twitter.com/ and sign up, then please follow me. Just because I hit 1,000 doesn't mean there isn't room for more. Come on over and join the fun.

Here's my address, if you want to follow me: http://twitter.com/morganmandel

Have I convinced you? If not, why not? Do you already belong to Twitter? If so, please comment with your twitter address so we can all go over and follow you and vice versa.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Country Music Rocks!

One thing led to another when I blogged Put A Girl in It at Make Mine Mystery about including romance in mysteries.

From that, a lively discussion started on pumpupyourblog listserv about whether or not Reba sang in Put A Girl In It with Brooks & Dunn. So, as proof I dug up a link from Youtube where she did sing with them at an awards show. If you click Put A Girl In It above, and go to the second song, there she is!

Anyway, one thing led to another and we started sharing country music likes and dislikes. I've taken the discussion public here, so everyone can share.

Anyone who's read my blogs before knows I'm obsessed with country music. At home I wake up and go to sleep to US 99.5 FM, America's Country Station. On vacation, it's WJJQ from Tomahawk, Wisconsin. In fact the Tomahawk station is what really got me hooked on country. One summer the hit was Passionate Kisses and the DH and I would laugh everytime it came on and we sang loudly along. Way before that, I enjoyed Glen Campbell and some of the other country singers, but wasn't quite as much into the country scene.

GAC is a great TV station for background music when I write, despite the fact I sometimes have to leap up to watch a favorite video.

Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw (when he's not singing depressing songs), Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, and so many more are my favorites.

What about you? Do you like country? If so, what got you started? Do you have favorites? Please share.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hop On Over Please

Hi Gang,
I've got a great guest over at my group blog today. Please hop on over and welcome mystery author and faithful blogger, F.M. (Marilyn) Meredith, at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com

If you're so inclined, please comment that you're going over.

Morgan Mandel

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Chicago Tonight at WTTW Channel 11 on Monday night held a special about the boat crew dyeing the Chicago River Green. As bystanders cheered, the crew zoomed across the water, distributing 40 pounds of green vegetable dye in the process.

Parades, four leaf clovers, shamrocks, Irish jigs, singing Danny Boy - People have all sorts of ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. It seems everyone wants to be Irish even if they're not.

We've got some corned beef in the refrigerator. The DH, who's Polish and German, is wearing his green shirt and vest today. I've got on a part green blouse. I'm Irish on my Dad's side and Italian on my Mom's.

St. Patrick's Day and days like it are a great diversion from the everyday rut.

What about you? Are you Irish? Even if you're not, do you wear green on St. Patrick's Day? How do you celebrate? Or don't you? Please share

Monday, March 16, 2009


Seems like when I manage to get one thing done, other things suffer. I thought I had my income tax figured out in time, but then I discovered I needed to count up all the medical expenses because they might also be deductible.

And - being Sunday was the nicest day we've had in our neck of the USA in a long time, we took Rascal for a very long walk and a visit to Bentley's Corner Barkery, that's after two shorter walks earlier in the day.

So, here I am calling Sears for a copy of the eyeglasses receipt, then going to Osco Monday night to ask for a printout of prescriptions. Also, looking for a missing credit card statement.

I did manage to do the Blog Talk Radio Show Sunday. If you haven't heard it, you'll find it in the left column player. It came out okay, even though my cell phone cut out for a few minutes. Fortunately, Barry Eva, my guest, was a trooper and kept the ball rolling until I made it back on the air.

Anyay, I did manage to file away a few papers on my desk that were getting in the way. I also put up my own blog here for Sunday, and concocted one at Make Mine Mystery, since Dana's away on vacation.

So, I did get this blog finished very late at night and this morning on the way to work I'll figure out one for my regular turn at Make Mine Mystery.

I'm always behind. What about you? Are you ahead or behind most of the time? Please share.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blog Talk Radio Show Today

Today, I'm featuring Barry Eva a/k/a Storyheart on my Blog Talk Radio Show, from 4pm-4:15pm Central Daylight Savings Time (Illinois time). For more information, you can check my show page at http://blogtalkradio.com/booksandblogs.

If you'd like to call in, the number is 347-308-8605. Use your cell phone, since it's a New York call.

Barry is the author of a Young Adult Romance called Across the Pond. We'll learn more about him and his book during the show.

What do you think of Blog Talk Radio? Do you like listening to broadcasts? Or do you prefer written blogs, or maybe both?

Would you like to be a guest on my show? If so, let me know below.

If you have your own show, let us know where to find you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Waiting to Eat

First, a Commercial ----- Another Blog Talk Radio Show this Sunday, March 15, 4pm Central Daylight Savings Time - My Guest is Barry Eva, author of Across the Pond - Call in #347-308-8605 - For More Info, Check Out: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/booksandblogs

Friday night we went to a fish fry. It wasn't very well organized. The DH and I sat and waited for about half an hour to get served. He hates to wait to get fed. I'm a little more patient, but only for so long.

When we did get our helping, it was one piece of fish, a small dish of cole slaw and some hard fries. Two of the people at our table had to wait at least half an hour longer to get their food.

Ours came a bit earlier because I got impatient and asked one of the servers, who was a very young girl like most of them working there were, when we'd get fed.

It was supposed to be all you can eat, but the trick of that was people's patience wore so thin, I don't believe many of them asked for too much more. Someone did come around with a plate of seconds and I had one and the DH had two more pieces, but it took a long time for that to happen.

So, we've decided not to go back there next week. I have a feeling the event was the victim of its own success. I don't believe the people holding it expected such a response. I won't name the organization or place because I do feel sorry for them because they were so unprepared.

What about you? Have you ever been to a function that was poorly run? What about when you go to a restaurant, will you wait twenty minutes, thirty or even more to get fed? Please share.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Personal Best

Well, Tuesday night I scored my personal best. How was that?

I fell asleep on the couch during the Jay Leno show. The next thing I knew, it was after 4am, the longest amount of time I've ever dozed off while watching TV.

The funny thing was the DH had to leave for work early on Wednesday and his alarm went off a minute after I woke up. Good timing, though I really didn't plan it that way.

Anyway, I stumbled to bed and kind of fell asleep, I think. Sometimes it's hard to tell, but since the time went by pretty fast, I must have slept, at least a little.

What about you? What's your personal best?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest, Sheri Kaye Hoff

Sheri Kaye Hoff resides in Parker, CO with her husband and three children. She is a Life Coach and owner of the Sheri K Hoff International Coaching Company. She teaches college classes as an adjunct faculty member and has earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Management.

Her new book, Keys to Living Joyfully, offers a way of living a meaningful, successful and joy filled life. Ms. Hoff is a personal and executive life coach. Spirituality is a vital part of her life's work. Prayer and meditation are integral pieces of her daily ritual, which enables her to pursue her life's passions and live a truly joyful life.

Her words on faith are derived from her own Christian walk and spiritual self-discoveries. Her action steps mix faith and years of leadership training, mentoring, and management.

Sheri Kaye Hoff suffered the tragic death of her younger brother when she was a teenager and struggled for years to rediscover the capacity to feel joy and to enjoy her successes. She has a heart felt desire to pass on her knowledge and discoveries that have led to a truly transformational life.

Ms. Hoff publishes a free weekly inspiration newsletter, Coach Sheri's Weekly Inspiration Tips. The Sheri K Hoff International Coaching Company also offers: * Teleclasses. * Webinars * In person small and large group Coaching * Corporate Training * Keynote speaking * Seminars * Individual Career and Life Coaching (For a limited time- receive a free introductory one hour life coaching session)
You can visit her website at http://www.lifeisjoyful.org/.

Keys to Living Joyfully is an inspirational book on experiencing joy, peace, passion, and energy in daily life. It is designed to demonstrate the powerful roles of thoughts, action, and faith. The book is a merging of Sheri Kaye Hoff's spiritual life and lifelong interests in leadership and motivation. The ideas presented in the book are techniques and processes that have worked for the author and clients. Foreword is written by Michele Caron, creator of MyLIfeCoach.com

The book, Keys to Living Joyfully, was born out of a heartfelt desire to share the keys that lead to living a transformational life. Ms. Hoff is a personal and executive coach working with individuals, small businesses, and corporations. Her words on faith are derived from her own Christian walk and spiritual self-discoveries. Her action steps are a mix of faith. love, leadership skills, and management experience. Chapters include topics such as: Is your heart thinking right? And how to tap into intrinsic motivation. This book, Keys to Living Joyfully, offers the techniques and insights that move people towards more peace, joy, energy, and passion in everyday life.


The Key is to Dream and Take Action
by Inspirational Author, Sheri Kaye Hoffy

“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however. Richard Bach”

This is a beautiful quote and so true. I interpret this quote as telling me that my dreams are important. If I am dreaming something, I have or can acquire the tools, skills, and resources to make the dream a reality.

The second part of the quote indicates that there needs to be action. Many people dream and do nothing. The key is to dream and take action. I had a dream ever since I was a young woman that I would be a published author one day. I just knew it would happen. I gave several attempts to writing books. I thought I would write a novel. I never really got going, though. I would write a few chapters and stall. I began to see that my first book did not need to be a novel. I should write what I was born to write and motivated to write.

A lifelong interest for me is personal leadership. I have read hundreds of leadership books. My graduate studies have focused on leadership and my doctoral studies have also focused on leadership. I am and have been fascinated by the fact that people with similar skills and backgrounds achieve on drastically different levels. I also live a spiritual life and devote time to prayer and meditation. I began to see my spiritual life merge with personal leadership skills, and I also experienced recovery from a tragedy in my life. I realized that my book would really be my story. I would describe my quest of recovery and seeking joy and success in life. I had the book inside of me.

When I began to write seriously, it took me five and half weeks to complete my inspirational book, Keys to Living Joyfully. Five and half months from day one of working on the book- I published. I had a huge learning curve regarding publishing, but I had the power to make it happen.

Did it take work? Yes, it most definitely did. However, it was truly joyful work, and it all started with a dream.

Sheri Kaye Hoff

Compliments of Pump Up Your Book Promotion
“We take books to the virtual level!”

Please welcome Sheri with your comments below.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DePaul Pulls Off Miracle Win

My husband and I met at DePaul in sophomore year and got married a year after we graduated. For a while, we were both rabid DePaul basketball fans. Those were the days of Coach Ray Meyer, Mark Aguirre, Terry Cummings, and other basketball greats. We agonized each year about whether or not DePaul would make it to the NCAA, then we turned into basket cases the times they did get in.

Well, the DH is still a loyal fan. He's stuck with the team through the years, which have turned very lean, this year being one of the worst. They lost every game in their conference. Some say they're outclassed in the Big East Conference.

I don't watch or go to as many games as I used to. I'd rather write or read a book. In fact, my mystery Two Wrongs, features a main character who's a pro basketball player.

Still, when my husband called me at work on Tuesday to say DePaul beat Cincinnati in the conference tournament, I did feel a rush of joy, reminiscent of how I felt way back when. They play again at 11:00 a.m. today, so we'll see how they do. Even if they lose, we'll still be happy they had their one shining moment this year.

What about you? Are you a sports fan? If so, what kind of sport do you like? If not, that's okay, too. You can join my club of fair weather fans. Please share.

P.S. DePaul lost by 9 points today, but at least they had one brief shining moment of happiness. Kind of like life, I guess.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Scare

My dog, Rascal, gave me a scare over the weekend. Sunday morning, right before I took her out, she made a little yelp like she was in pain. She wouldn't eat the rest of the day and was shivering off and on. Still, when I walked her, she had no trouble maneuvering, so I didn't think she'd twisted anything.

She has been known to get the shakes before and the vet said some dogs are like that, especially after they've been sleeping. Still, this was happening more often and I could tell she wasn't feeling right. She didn't eat her treats, which is very rare. She didn't want to sleep on her comforter, which she absolutely loves, but slept on the floor instead.

Also, she didn't demand my attention like she usually does when I'm at the keyboard. I didn't know how much I missed her nudges until she stopped doing that.

Since she's my baby, I was worried about her all day at work, and wondering when we should make an appointment at the vet. Maybe a piece of her rawhide bone got stuck in her stomach. Maybe she had samonella. All kinds of horrible thoughts raced through my mind.

Fortunately, she appears to have come around. The DH reported before I went to my Chicago-North RWA meeting that Rascal had eaten a few dog treats. Later he gave her some dog food which she ate, then she also ate more treats and dog food when I got home. Apparently it was an upset stomach. We may never know the exact cause.

The close scare reminded me of how important she is in our lives. What about you? Do you have a pet that means a lot to you, or maybe you once did? Please share.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Blog Talk Radio Show Up

Hi Gang,
For those who didn't get a chance to listen on Sunday, I've posted my Blog Talk Radio show player for you to listen in the left column.

L. Diane Wolfe and Barry Eva called in to say hi. They'll both be guests for interviews at a later date.

Also mentioned in the program were Marvin Wilson and Jean Henry Mead, who will also be featured in upcoming shows.

I'll be setting exact dates soon. I plan to keep the show on Sundays, 4pm or later, especially later when the weather gets better. Yes, Spring and Summer will happen. They always do each year.

Anyone else want to be on the show? Or do plan to host your own show? Or maybe it's not your thing. Please share your thoughts.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tax Man is Coming

Please tune in to my Blog Talk Radio show today at 4pm Illinois (Daylight Savings Time) at http://blogtalkradio.com/booksandblogs

I've put off balancing my checkbooks and doing other mundane matters to keep my finances straight. It's finally caught up with me. I spent all day and evening entering numbers into the computer, so I can get one of my checkbooks to balance. I'm finally done. I've got another to do tomorrow.

Then, I need to get all my writing expenses organized. All this needs to be done by next Saturday for the accountant so she can work on it on time for the filing deadlines for Federal and State taxes.

What about you? Are you so organized you don't have to go through this kind of hell?
Please share.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Losing Track of Time - Daylight Savings Time

Please tune in to my Blog Talk Radio Show this Sunday at 4pm Daylight Savings Time - Illinois time - http://blogtalkradio.com/booksandblogs

Friday night I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up at almost 10:30, I thought the next day was Friday. Then, I got my bearings and remembered it would actually be Saturday in the morning. That was a wonderful surprise to my foggy mind.

On Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m., we'll spring ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time. I suspect many of us won't wait until 2 to set our clocks, but will set them before we go to bed, or maybe forget about it until we get reminded by someone the next day.

Speaking of losing track of time, this can happen in the book realm. It's a wonderful feeling to get so lost in a book you lose track of time. On the other hand, it's not so wonderful if you're reading a book and you can't keep track of when the events take place.

Authors need to be aware of this and insert small hints about the passage of time, so the readers have some idea if it's been a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a month, or more that have passed. You can do this by describing seasons, or even mentioning the sun going down, and in other ways.

What about you? Have you ever fallen asleep and lost track of time? Have you ever lost track of time because you were so engrossed in a book? Authors, do you have any other hints to portray the passage of time in a novel? Please share.

Friday, March 06, 2009

House Swapping and Identity Swapping

Just saw on WGN TV a segment about house swapping, an innovative way to buy a home. You list your home online and swap it with someone who has a house you like. This outside-the-box concept seems to be catching on. I'd say you'd have to be careful if you tried this, but if done correctly, it could be a great opportunity.

What about people swapping? I've read a number of books where for some reason the main character swaps identities with another person and all sorts of mayhem results. Later comes the confrontation and confession. All seems lost, but then by some miracle the day is saved.

One famous swap identities book is The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain.

The original Parent Trap movie with Hayley Mills is a favorite of mine.

Do you know of any other books or movies where a person swap takes place? Or, maybe you've written one yourself. Please share.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Iphones - Kindle, Stanza

Okay, you may know by now that I love my Iphone. I have mentioned that fact here before. Now Apple and Amazon have given me another reason for loving my Iphone.

A few weeks ago, I uploaded the Stanza app to get ebooks on my Iphone.

Today, I was actually able to upload the Kindle app from Itunes, so now I can get Kindle formatted books from Amazon also. Very convenient and tempting.

Who knows what else lies in the future for my handy Iphone.

What about you - do you read ebooks sometimes, never, often? Would you read one if it were convenient? Please share.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Making Mistakes

We walk a fine line when describing our characters' thoughts and actions. We don't want them to be too intimidating, or the reader may not identify with them. One way to achieve this is to let our characters make mistakes. That way they show their human sides.

The problem with letting our characters make mistakes is we don't want them to seem too stupid or no one will like them. I'm sure you've read those kind of books or seen those type of movies where the hero or heroine is too stupid to live, running straight into danger instead of doing the sensible thing to avoid it.

Some authors allow their character to make mistakes in judgment by trusting the wrong people or being overconfident in situations where danger is involved.

Have you noticed characters make mistakes? What type? Have you let one or more of your characters make a mistake? Please share.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Pilot Blog Talk Radio Program From 3/1/09,10pm

I was in a wild and crazy mood Sunday night, so I decided to host my own Blog Talk Radio program. Here's the telecast on the left. Just click to listen. It lasts 15 minutes, so listen to whatever you wish. I will be interviewing guests on future programs and talking about their books as well as my own.

To listen to a live show or archived show is free, but calling in is a phone charge to New York for the host and the callers. To get around that, I plan to host my programs on either evenings after 9pm or Saturdays and Sundays using my Iphone. I was surprised it came in so well using the speaker feature. Saved a sore neck.

Anyone who would like to be featured on a future show, let me know below and be sure to include your e-mail address. Also welcome will be phone callers at the time of the show. I'm still investigating more of the ins and outs and will keep you advised of anything I discover. Another fun thing to learn and share.

Hint - If you get tired of listening to my Blog Talk Radio program here, you can always head over to Blood-Red Pencil for my Tuesday post, Carve Your Niche.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I'm Doing It Again

Hate to lead you on more goose chases, but lately I've been blogging at other spots. I don't want to keep you here too long and waste all my efforts, so here you go:

Trust me on this one - or maybe not - Please check out
Trust and Mistrust - Part 2 of my feature at http://mysteriouspeople.blogspot.com/

As luck would have it, Monday's also my semi-monthly day to blog at Make Mine Mystery -
Please check out - Dialogue or Description - What's your forte'? at http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/

As always, I'd love a hi comment here to let me and others know you stopped by.
Thanks, Gang

Sunday, March 01, 2009

My Interview Is Up at Mysterious People

Hi Gang,
Feel like going on a short trip? Please hop on over to http://mysteriouspeople.blogspot.com/ and check out my interview by Jean Henry Mead and let me know what you think.

Before you go, please let me know you're going over, since I'd hate to have no comments here today.

Thanks a bunch,

Morgan Mandel