Monday, November 30, 2009

Time Out for Kindle Reading

Our local library has 8 kindles available for its patrons. The DH and I both got on the waiting list, mainly so I could use one. His number was reached and we picked up the kindle on Sunday afternoon. Now I've got a kindle to read for 2 weeks! So far I'm really loving it, especially the current book I'm reading, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

What about you? Do you own a kindle? Or, have you tried someone else's? Would you like to?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who's Doing Cyber Monday?

I'm very carefully going to check out the Cyber Monday deals. I have a few items in mind that I plan to buy, but it would be very nice if they'd go on sale and save me some money. I won't be spending much. Can't afford to do so this year.

What about you?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Did You Shop on Black Friday?

There's still time to take the poll to the left about what you ate at Thanksgiving.
About Black Friday -
The DH despises mob scenes, but my brother and I do love the adventure of shopping on Black Friday. We weren't courageous enough to get up at the crack of dawn, though, so we did miss out on a few goodies, like the snuglee blankets and pots and pans sets at Menards, and some other items. I did manage to get some work gloves at almost 50 cents each pair, and a boot/shoe dryer which sounded interesting and was less than $9.00. The biggest extravagance there was this turntable with MP3 encoding/AM FM radio combination thing, but that was only $49.00, which isn't too bad. I didn't go for any of the high ticket items.

I didn't do too bad, but do have some Staples rebates to send in. They're pretty easy to do online, so I don't mind doing them. I bought some USB flash drives, batteries, and CD rewrites there.

I also bought a reversible light grey, almost white bubble coat and some grey boots at Walmart, both items $7.00 each, which I plan to use walking Rascal.

What about you? Did you shop on Black Friday? If so, what kind of deals did you get?

So, this year I was pretty practical, but it was still fun and I did get a few things I hadn't expected to find.

What about you? Did you shop on Black Friday? If so, what kind of finds did you get?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Did you eat any of these foods at Thanksgiving dinner?

Since it's a busy time and an eating time, here's an easy poll to take in the left column. It's okay to pick multiple answers as long as they don't conflict. You can also leave a comment about a particularly favorite dish, if you wish.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Still Time Plus Giving Thanks

Still time to let us know  below when you read.
Today, at I'm giving thanks for the gift of writing. What about you?

Monday, November 23, 2009

When Do You Read?

When I stopped to catch my breath after publishing Killer Career, it dawned on me I'd neglected the enjoyment of reading for too long. During my ten minute breakfast, I'd read the newspaper or a writing magazine, but couldn't get into fiction because I'd have to tear myself away too soon to leave for work.

I'd spent most of my commuting time on the train either writing or promoting my books, and at lunch the same. 

On vacation, I'd had time to read and wanted to spend more time on the other side of the book, so to speak.
To remedy the situation, I tuck a paperback into my tote bag each morning. I read it sometimes on the commuter train, most of the time during lunch or my breaks.

At home in the evening, I very rarely read. There's too much noise and too many interruptions from the TV, the dog and the DH. Right now for example, Rascal is whining for no reason except to get my attention, while a commercial is playing in the living room.

Anyway, I'm glad to have found a way to fit reading back into my schedule and look forward to my time  away from the real world each day, even though it's for a short while.

What about you? When do you read?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Harlequin at War with RWA and MWA

Saturday, Nov. 21 - Morgan Mandel and Margot Justes will be autographing books at the 29th Annual Home Decor, Crafts and More Show at Our Lady of the Wayside, Park Street and Ridge, Arlington Heights, IL from 9-4pm. Stop by and say Hi.

With the announcement of the new Horizons line by Harlequin, the battle has begun. RWA's denounced Harlequin for opening this vanity line, going so far as to take away recommended publisher status and free attendance privileges at the RWA National Conference. MWA has issued a warning and is awaiting Harlequin's response.

On the surface, it seems that Harlequin is trying to take advantage of writers who, unable to get traditional publishing contracts, will gladly pay to get their books published. It doesn't appear they'll make much of a profit by doing so.

Although Harlequin says that the HH line, as it will be dubbed, will be kept separate from the traditional Harlequin books as far as distribution and advertising goes, many traditional Harlequin authors are still uneasy, wondering if Harlequin's strength and reputation could be diluted by this latest move.

As with other industries, the book industry is struggling to keep afloat in these troubling financial times. Maybe this is just one more way for Harlequin to ensure a cash flow by offering an avenue for authors who may have fallen through the cracks or who would just like a book published as a keepsake. Whether or not the books are up to par in quality may or may not be relevant to such individuals seeking such a service. The trickle down effect still has serious authors worried.

What's your take on Harlequin's move? Is Harlequin cheapening its brand, or hedging its bets to cover all bases in a competitive market? Will this be good or bad for Harlequin, and/or for authors in general?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest, Julie Lomoe, Mystery author

Say hello to my guest, mystery author, Julie Lomoe. 

A little bit about Julie -

Julie Lomoe has been named 2009 Author of the Year by the Friends of the Albany Public Library. She was honored at a luncheon on November 14th, and she’s scheduled her first Blog Book Tour to help celebrate and spread the word about this achievement.

And she's a dog lover, too. Her dog has lots more hair than mine. (g)

Julie self-published her two mystery novels, Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders (2006) and Eldercide (2008). She tried the traditional route to publication for both books, but after a limited number of rejections, she found the process inordinately depressing and turned to print-on-demand technology instead, using the Texas publishing company Virtual Bookworm. She loves the control and involvement she’s had over the published product, including the fact that she was able to use her own cover illustrations for both books. Although she still hopes to land a traditional agent and publisher, she intends to do so on her own terms when the time and the match feel right.

The library’s selection committee for the Author of the Year award chose Julie especially for her novel Eldercide, because of its relevance to current issues surrounding health care reform and our nation’s treatment of the elderly and of end-of-life issues. The award has been given for decades, but this is the first time the committee has chosen a self-published rather than a traditionally published book.

In May, 2009, Julie joined the online Blog Book Tours group. Since then, much to her own amazement, her blog, Julie Lomoe’s Musings Mysterioso ( has generated over 14,000 visits. She thanks Dani Greer and the other writers at the BBT CafĂ© for encouraging her in this new challenge.
For more about Julie and her background, go to, where she is also featured today.

Both of Julie's books are available online from Virtual Bookworm, Amazon.Com, plus Barnes and Noble

And Now Let's Hear from Julie


True confession time: I’m a self-published author, I’m out and I’m proud! There’s still a certain stigma associated with self-publishing, but the publishing industry is undergoing seismic changes, and I believe those of us who’ve bypassed the traditional system are taking back our power and gaining greater credibility with every passing day.

When I began blogging seriously back in May, I posted about my bipolar diagnosis, saying I’m out and I’m proud. At that time I wrote that self-publishing with a print-on-demand publisher rather a traditional publisher had even more stigma attached than revealing that I’m bipolar. But in the six months since then, I’ve changed my mind. Here are some reasons why.

On Saturday, November 14th, I was honored as 2009 Author of the Year by the Friends of the Albany Public Library for my suspense novel Eldercide. They had a wonderful luncheon in my honor, and when their President Gene Damm introduced me, he pointed out that although they’ve been giving the award for decades, this is the first time they’ve ever chosen a self-published author. The fact that I was self-published didn’t weigh into their decision either positively or negatively; they simply thought my book was the best of the many they considered, and they liked the way I dealt with important social issues regarding aging and death.

In October, I moderated two panels for the Poisoned Pen Web Con, sponsored by Poisoned Pen Press and billed as the first-ever virtual worldwide mystery conference. When I volunteered to serve as moderator, the organizers didn’t ask who had published my books. Rather, they gave me free rein in organizing my panels on social issues and point-of-view. Most of the authors on the panels, which I put together by e-mailing back and forth, had far more impressive publishing track records than mine, but it didn’t matter. (By the way, you can visit the Web Con at the link above to read my panels and access the rest of the conference proceedings free of charge.)

Putting together those two panels made me even more grateful that I took the self-publishing route. Especially in the social issues panel, authors related stories of agents and editors who dictated what they should and shouldn’t write. Child abuse was taboo, for example. Appealing to the broadest possible audience without offending anyone seemed to be the dominant concern, and for the most part, the authors acceded to the restrictions. Those of us who self-publish have no such limitations – we’re free to write about whatever we want, however we want, and to build our own readership without having to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I tried the traditional route to publication for both my mystery novels. While attempting unsuccessfully to find an agent for Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders, which deals with mysterious deaths at a social club for the mentally ill on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, I wrote Eldercide. Perhaps mental illness was too specialized a topic, I thought, and I hoped for more success with the novel that drew on my experience running a home health care agency. No such luck: the rejections continued. Approximately 15 rejections for each book – not many at all, but enough to throw me into a profound clinical depression. I nearly gave up, until some writer friends convinced me to try print-on-demand publishing. I did due-diligence online research on POD companies and settled on Virtual Bookworm, a company in Texas that received consistently good reviews. Within two months of my decision, I had a published book in my hands. I had a major say in the design and layout, and I did my own cover illustration. Lo and behold, my depression lifted, and it hasn’t come back since.

Do I still want a big-time agent and publisher? Yes, that would be great, but my life no longer depends on it. And I plan to acquire them on my terms, when and if I choose. In the meantime, the people buying my books don’t care who the publisher is. Bookstores and libraries carry them when I do the necessary outreach, and they’re available worldwide through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. At my high school reunion last June in Milwaukee, I learned the school had purchased both books for their collection of alumni writers. And a fellow alumna from Norway, an exchange student back in the day, had bought them online as well.

Do I recommend POD self-publishing to other aspiring authors? Absolutely, and even more so since I’ve met Morgan and so many other successfully self-published writers on line. I firmly believe we’re just beginning to come into our power. I’ve written more on this topic at my own blog, Julie Lomoe’s Musings Mysterioso. Just check the directory, where topics are archived by subject. Hope to see you there. And thanks, Morgan, for inviting me here today!

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
For more about Julie, come on over to today, but first -
Please welcome Julie by leaving a comment here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Boots and what they say

It's Fall. So far in Illinois the weather's a bit cooler, but not too bad for around here. As I trudge to work in Downtown Chicago and watch others on a similar mission to get to their jobs, I can't help but notice their feet, or more accurately, what's on them.

I'm still wearing gym shoes and will as long as I can. I guess I'm slow on the uptrend, or just not with it. When did boots become so popular that women wear them when they don't really have to yet? In the past 3-4 weeks, I've seen a parade of all sorts of boots, from the leather, or fake leather, to the suede, vinyl, rubber, and synthetics. The leather ones are usually brown or black, with an occasional gray or cordovan. They're with either pointy tall heels or sensible flat heels, low to the ground or with tire tread like soles and heels. The suedes are usually tan or beige, with not much of a sole or heel, and look almost look tall slippers.

Then there are those waterproof boots that seem to have caught on even before the seasonal boot craze. Most of them are outrageous in color and design, and don't always match much of anything,  but apparently afford good protection from the dreaded wet sock syndrome.

I don't know about you, but I hate the thought of something confining my legs. I don't wear boots until I have to, like when it's really cold or when there's ice or snow on the ground. Then, I reluctantly throw on my boots, which are a sturdy variety with sensible heels, since I don't care to lose my balance.

And what about the guys, what kind of boots do they wear? I don't see them wearing boots just yet, at least not Downtown. In the neighborhoods, I might see them wearing cowboy boots with jeans. Personally, I found those cowboy boots very sexy. When the weather gets messier, Downtown I'm sure I'll see them wearing the kind that slip on over dress shoes, or maybe even galoshes if it's really messy out.

You just might ask what boots have to do with writing. As in almost everything in everyday life, there's a connection.

A description of what kind of boots a woman wears hints at her personality, such as:

High heels - risk taker.

Sturdy heels - sensible person.

Designer boots - wealthy or someone who overspends to make a good impression. The over-spender could be insecure, or another risk taker.

Suede boots - very popular these days - Someone who likes creature comforts, or just likes following the trend.

And the guys -

Cowboy boots - Alpha kind of guy, sure of himself, or maybe just someone looking for something comfortable with jeans

Galoshes - Practical, not worried about appearances

Slipons - Executive type, fashion conscious.

Now what about you? When do you put your boots on? What kind do you wear? What do your boots say about you?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Slides, Anyone?

I added a few slides of my books to my blogspot. I'm not sure yet if they should stay on or not.

Do you have more trouble loading my blogspot with the slides up? Do you like them or are they too distracting?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Christmas Tree Already

On the way home from work yesterday, I passed a house that already had a lighted and decorated Christmas tree up and showing by the window.

Is it not too soon for that? In my mind, the day after Thanksgiving is when the Christmas Season starts. That's when it's fair game to put up a tree and decorations and start shopping. The way things are going this year, I'll be lucky if I get organized enough to decorate a few days before Christmas.

With our dog, Rascal, who lives up to her name, we'll probably go with a fiber optic small tree on top of an end table. One of these days I may pull put the larger tree from the box in the basement and set it up, but not until our doggy is a little more sedate. I don't feel like chasing her to get ornaments out of her mouth. I will be putting up knick knacks, lights inside and decorations on the walls, so it will still look Christmasy. No lights outside because for some reason we have no outlets outside.

While we're on the subject of Christmas trees and such, be sure to add holidays in your books. You can mention decorations and lights  or Easter eggs and baskets, or even mattress sales in your descriptions to ground the reader as to the season.
Now, back to that tree I saw. What about you? When do you decorate for Christmas? What do you put up?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Winners and Losers at the CMAs and Life

I love country music and almost every country performer. While watching the CMAs, I enjoyed seeing the winners accept their awards. On the other hand, it was hard for me to see the losers do their best to appear gracious and for the most part succeeding.

For every winner, there's a loser. In life and in books, it's the same way. How people react to their good and bad fortune shows what their characters are made of.  You don't have to tell a reader who the good guy or  bad guy is. Let their actions speak for themselves. The readers are smart enough to figure it out.

PS Can't finish this blog without saying - You Rock, Taylor Swift! You are one smart, talented teenager! Congrats on all your awards, especially, Entertainer of the Year!!!

CMA Awards Tonight and Twitter

One of my favorite shows is on tonight - the CMA Awards. If you're a country music fan, you're probably like me and will be glued to the TV 8pm EST, or in my case 7pm, in the flatlands of Illinois.

Almost all my favorite performers will be there, except I hear that Rascal Flatts can't make it.

I'll be on Twitter during the show also. That's part of the fun of it - discussing and dissecting outfits, performers, songs and even commercials, kind of like I'm at a giant party with people who all go for the same thing and want to share.

What about you? What kind of music do you like? Do you tweet during a favorite show or event?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Things People Say and Do at Book Signings

Saturday was a Killer Career book signing at Barnes and Noble in Schaumburg. I just love the way they do their posters, by the way. Very professional looking.

It was 70 degrees outside, which is an unusual temperature for November. Needless to say, not everyone wanted to waste such a beautiful day by pending it inside a book shop.

The usual assortment of customers did come by, some asking me questions about how long it took to write my book, how I got started, and how many books I'd written.
Some said they'd never heard of me. I've heard that one before. (g) 

What was surprising is that three children, not at the same time or with the same party, asked for my autograph - two on the back of bookmarks, one on a slip of paper. That usually doesn't happen. Maybe it's the economy. I don't know if their parents put them up to it, or if they thought of it themselves.

One person asked about my book and then said she doesn't buy from Barnes and Noble, but online instead. Since she was in the store, I can only assume she was scouting there for books first. I don't know.

Oh, yes, a variation on the restroom question was, "Where are the dictionaries?"

Another took the time to show me some missing pages in one of the magazines.

What about you? What questions have people asked you at book signings? Anything that stood out at a book signing you'd like to share?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Do You Feed Your Blog?

Booksigning Sat, 11/7, Killer Career by Morgan Mandel at Barnes & Noble, 590 E. Golf Rd, Schaumburg - Stop in and say Hi

About Blog Feeding -

Whenever I see an RSS feed available, I use it by filling in my blog name and the url. The result is Double M is carried on many ning networks where I"m a member. Some include ,, and many more.

What about you? Do you feed your blog? Where? How?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What's On Acme Authors Link and Still Time to Share Snippets

Over at, you'll find out how a conference is like a garage sale. Also, if you haven't done so, you're still welcome to share one review snippet. Read how to do it and share below.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Share Your Review Snippets, Everyone


Rules are:
Use the comment section.
Only one per person.
Snippet must only be one sentence or it will be deleted.
You must include the reviewer and/or url of the review site, depending on your reviewer's instructions.
It must have been approved for sharing by the reviewer. I take no responsibility for any unapproved quotes.
You may include the name of only one book and only one buy link.
You may include your name and either one website or one blogspot.
No pictures.


"Killer Career is a walk on the wild side as Morgan Mandel pours forth a compelling story of deception and intrigue." - George Thompson -
Killer Career -
Morgan Mandel -


Sunday, November 01, 2009

#19 Hallopalooza Results & Check Out Make Mine Mystery Monday

The results are in at Hallopalooza Stop #19 - Jonnie Hartling's comment won the prize for this stop - a cap or tee shirt. I've already been in contact with her.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Monday, at, I'm hosting Rolf Hitzer, author of Hoodoo Sea. Come on over to check him and his book out.