Thursday, December 31, 2009

Breaking News - Killer Career Just Got a Brand New Review

I'm interrupting my regular blogs to bring you this Breaking News -

Killer Career just received another review, about which I'm very happy.

April Pohren from Cafe of Dreams writes:
"Killer Career is filled with delightful twists, turns and satisfying suspense. Readers will have a hard time putting this down, once they have begun the first page."

For the full review, come on over to

Morgan Mandel


One of my recent bargains was a half-price webcam with a built-in micrphone. $20 seemed an inexpensive way to try something different, like Skype.

Have you had any luck with it? Is it hard to do? What do you use Skype for?

If you haven't used it, are you thinking of trying it?

Let me know.

Morgan Mandel

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

See Acme about Starting Over

Hi Gang,
I'm over at on Wednesday. Topic is Starting Over. Come on over and share your thoughts about starting over in the New Year.


Monday, December 28, 2009


I own a 2003 Dodge Neon, which doesn't get much use since I commute most of the time on the train. It's cute, but not anywhere near as classy or expensive as the car on the left,owned by Exotic Car Share, in which I was fortunate enough to ride in the 2007 Arlington Heights Frontier Days Parade.

Cars have a way of reflecting their owners. Not many rich people drive around in beaters, at least not that I know of, unless they're trying to go incognito.

You can use cars to describe your characters when you write. I used cars as symbolism in my mystery, Two Wrongs. One of the cars was an Infiniti, which Cathy, the love interest for the protagonist, Danny, drove. I won't tell you what happened to her. You can get a hint by the model of the car, or better yet, read the book to find out for sure.

What about you? What do certain cars say about their owners? What kind of car do your drive, or would you like to drive, if you could? Or, if you're a writer, have you ever used cars to help describe characters?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Giving and Receiving

Giving makes me feel good. Sharing love with my family, a smile with a child, a writing tip with an author, walks with my dog - there are so many ways I can give to others and feel good about it.

Receiving also makes me feel good, but for some reason it's harder for me to accept from others than to give to them.

Why I'm writing about this today is because it's the end of the year. The DH and I didn't make as much money in 2009 as in prior years. Still, there are many less fortunate than us. Also, there are tons of worthy causes in need of support, especially with our sagging economy.

For the next day or so, I'll be making out checks to my favorite charities. This is a practice I perform every year after Christmas. It's a way to give back a portion of what I've received during the year. Some of my favorite charities are: Little City, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, National Federation of the Blind, American Lung Association, Alzheimer's Disease Research, Catholic Relief, American Red Cross. There are more, but I don't want to bore you with my entire list.

I'll get a tax break in return for sharing, but much more than that will be the feeling that I've helped in some way to make this world a better place.

What about you? Do you enjoy giving to charities?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Words, Numbers or Both? Which Do You Like?

Today, I really am going to work on my State of Illinois Sales Tax form. The due date is coming up very soon. Besides, it's not that great outside, so I don't feel like going anywhere. I have a  borrowed kindle from the library that's due, but other than that I'll stay indoors. (Really tempted to get one. Not sure if I'll wait for the Apple version. I head it might be twice as much)

I hate working with figures. Good thing I'm not rich. Arithmetic is a pain. I've heard that people who have an aptitude for words are not always happy working with numbers, and are not always as successful at it.

What about you? Do you like one better than the other? Or, are you lucky enough to like both?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

This pic was taken about four years ago, when I could actually put up a large tree and decorate it. I'm doing the small fiber optic one this year and making sure it's way out of reach.

Maybe next year I can trust Rascal enough to do the works again. We'll see. (g)

Be safe and happy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Come on Over

I'm over at a few other blogs today. If you get a chance, come on over to see the Christmas Decorations at

At  the topic is Spoiled Milk. Ever sit down to read a good book and been disappointed?

If you haven't yet, check out the post below about the Paper War.

Morgan Mandel

Monday, December 21, 2009

Paper War

I've been waging a war on paper the last few days. So far, paper is winning. The more I clean up, the more of it I find. The problem is, for much of it, I feel an obligation to do a thorough examination and decide whether or not it's worth keeping.

The mailperson is my enemy. He, sometimes she, keeps leaving more paper in my mail box. I'm not talking about my Christmas cards, which I cherish, but all the other stuff dropped off for me to sort out. At times it's torture to come home and see the new pile the DH has set on the kitchen table.

I've discovered tons of magazines over a year old. They were trying to hide in a magazine holder on the side of the couch, but not doing a good job of it, since they were spilling over. Of course, I decided to check the headings on the covers to see if some of the information inside might prove valuable. Wouldn't you know it, I was right. Many articles seemed to good to give up.

I've already mentioned here before about how I also have a compulsion to print out emails that seem important to me. The result is I have lots of important pieces of paper. When there's an abundance, which is the most important? And, where's the one I really need? It is a quandary.

What about you? Is paper your enemy? Are you also waging a war against it? Who is winning?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Card Blues Is Up at Un:Bound Today

Hi Gang,
 I've written a short Christmas story which is being featured at Un:Bound today.
You may be able to relate to some of it.

I'd appreciate your going over to look and leave a comment.

Rascal's Turn to Post

Today, I'm going to tackle my State of Illinois sales tax form, which is due by the end of the month. It's a necessary evil for making book sales outside of stores.

So, I let Rascal do a post instead. You can read it at

If you understand her frustration, you can share it with her here or there.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Enjoying My End Cap

Wow! I've got an end cap going at Waldenbooks! It doesn't happen often, but I'm enjoying the sight while it lasts. It's one of those rare thrills in my life as an author. I treasure every one of them.

The reason for the end cap is I'm doing a KILLER CAREER Book Signing at Waldenbooks, 500 W. Madison (Ogilvie Transportation Center) in Chicago on Friday, from 12 - 2, or longer, if supply lasts.

Hope to see a few of you there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What do you wear at home?

I have separate clothes for work or going out than I do for at home. Even though we're allowed to wear jeans at work, still when I get home I usually change into more comfortable clothes as soon as I can. I like to wear my old cotton blend stretchy kind of pants and one or another of my not so great looking, yet comfy tops, along with my slippers. I hardly ever go barefoot. For one thing, with my crummy flat feet, the foot doctor says that's one of the worst things I could do. I also have some fleece vests and fleece jackets for the really cold, windy days when I'm sitting at the keyboard at home and it gets drafty inside.

What about you? Do you have separate clothes for in public and at home, or do you dress the same?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rascal Visits Bentley's Corner Barkery

Rascal gets so much joy from visiting Bentley's Corner Barkery we take her there at least once or twice a week. On the way there, as we were walking down the street, a guy said, "That's a good looking dog."

Afterwards, the DH and I had to laugh. As usual, Rascal's more popular than either of us. Since I've got some new friends here now, you've probably not seen a video of our dog child, so here's one from one of her visits to Bentley's.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are you ready?

I am so not ready for Christmas. I just realized I don't have much time either. One good thing is the DH is off Friday and possibly all next week, so I can give him a few chores to do, which may help some. I'm counting on him to put stamps and labels on the Christmas cards, and do a few things around the house to straighten it out some. Unfortunately, I'm the organizer in the family, so I can't expect too much on the getting-the- house ready front. That's pathetic, since I'm not very organized. (g)

Anyway, I hope to get the house into decent shape before Christmas, when I do my annual meal for the family. There's also that Christmas list to get together. Time is ticking away.

What about you? Are you ready for Christmas? Or do you celebrate another Holiday? If so, are you ready?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Please Welcome Mary Cunningham, Cynthia's Attic Author

Discovering Family in Cynthia's Attic

One of the main reasons for writing "Cynthia's Attic" came from my failure - failure to appreciate my ancestors. Our family stories are probably no more or less interesting than most, and I went out of my way to avoid remembering most of them or asking questions about my grandparents lives.

For instance. Did I bother to ask my grandfather what it was like playing in the first night football game in America?

Or did I try to find out just which relative "supposedly" sold a city block on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles for $20,000? Guaranteed, I would not be sitting here writing a blog had that particular relative held on to the property.

Then there's the story, "Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou," of my great-great grandfather, Augustus Boilliat who disappeared in 1860 while taking a load of produce down the Mississippi River to New Orleans? Oh, sure I've read different accounts about what happened to him, but lost forever are the stories his grandson (my grandfather) could've told me about facts he'd heard from my great-great grandmother, Marie Julia, about her husband's disappearance.

I remember a few accounts told by my dad about his adventures as a teenage cave guide at one of the largest caves in the Southern Indiana area, Wyandotte, but I only have to guess at some of the adventures he must've had.

That's why I'm writing adventures I wanted my ancestors to have; adventures I can enjoy with them through the eyes and voice of my character, Gus.

The idea for Cynthia's Attic: The Magician's Castle came from detailed genealogy research done by my cousin, Betty. Long before the Internet, she traveled to Switzerland to search for documents that would tie our great-grandmother, Harriet Kistler, to Peter Kistler the First, President of the Republic of Bern, 1470-1480. I've tried to honor the Kistler family in the fourth adventure in Cynthia's Attic.

Thanks, Morgan, for having me as a guest!

          Mary Cunningham

Mary Cunningham is the author of the award-winning 'Tween fantasy/mystery series, Cynthia’s Attic. She is proud to announce the release of book four, "The Magician's Castle," Dec 1, 2009. Her children's mystery series was inspired by a recurring dream about a mysterious attic. After realizing that the dream took place in the home of her childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began.

She is also co-writer of the humor-filled, women's lifestyle book, "Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF)," along with published stories, "Ghost Light" and "Christmas Daisy," A Cynthia's Attic short story.

To celebrate the release of "The Magician's Castle," (Quake/Echelon Press, DEC 1, 2009), a winner will be chosen on each blog stop to receive a copy of the "Cynthia's Attic" short story, "Christmas With Daisy!" So, be sure to make a comment!

Mary Cunningham Books

Cynthia's Attic Blog




Quake/Echelon Press

Please leave a comment to welcome Mary.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Check out the Mystery of the Missing Checks

Monday, I'm over at my group blog,, where I'm blogging about the mystery of the missing checks. Come on over and find out what it's all about.

Morgan Mandel

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Can We Talk?

I'm firming up some dates for speaking engagements in 2010. One's tentatively set for March 28, at 1:30 at the Niles Public Library, another probably in mid May at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

Also, coming up is a radio interview at WJJQ again on May 7, at 9:35 a.m. before my booksigning May 8 at Cover to Cover Books in Tomahawk, WI.

I've heard that some people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying. Surprisingly, I find it easier each time I do it. As long as I have my cheat sheet with me to glance down at once in a while for security and I like what I'm talking about, I'm okay.

What about you? Do you like to talk or would you rather not?

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Over the Holiday weekend I took a good look at my house and that familiar helples feeling washed over me again. It seemed like an insurmountable task to get the place in order. It still does.

I spend so much time writing and promoting after I do my day job, what little time I have left is precious. Still, sometimes I just have to buckle down and ignore my compulsion to write and make myself clean house instead. I tackled the spare bedroom, which had clothes and all kinds of other articles strewn over the bed, on the floor, and anywhere you can think of, compliments of myself and the DH, who were equally guilty.  I did make some headway, which made me feel good, but if I had more time I know I could do better. Also, there are so many other projects left to do if I were to get the house really into shape. I'm wondering how much I'll get done before Christmas, when I have my family over.

Maybe over the weekend I can get more done, that is, after I do the Illinois sales tax form first, which is due by the end of the month. I've got almost all of my check statements, except one, which I think I can find online, so maybe I can get that done. You may have guessed I'm not the most organized person in the world.

Anyway, let's see how far I can get cleaning up. I've got this kindle on loan from the library, with about 9 days left on it, and lots of good books on it beckoning to me. I've got some great ideas for stories I want to start and others I want to continue. I've got some blog buddies I haven't visited for a while. I wonder what will win out. (g)

What about you? What do you do about housework? Does it get in the way sometimes?

PS The not so surprising results are up on the left for my EZ poll. I'll have to do a harder one some time.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New Killer Career Excerpt at Acme Authors Link

Hi Gang,
Today, I've got a new Killer Career excerpt up at . This one continues from the first excerpt I posted on Monday at

If you're curious about my recently released romantic suspense, come on over to one or both blogs to check it out.


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.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hallopalooza #19 Stop

Morgan Mandel - Stop #19  Good luck everyone!
This stop is offering a Killer Career cap or tee shirt, your choice. Make sure you leave your email address when you comment here at to be eligible.

The Scavenger Hunt begins 8 am ET, Friday, October 30. It ends 5 pm ET, Sunday, Nov 1.

Winners will be announced at noon ET on Monday, November 2 at the Stiletto Gang blog site, at

The Stiletto Gang is writing a mini-mystery, with a different clue to solve the mystery found on the home page of each of the participating blogs. The mystery begins and ends at The Stiletto Gang, but in order to solve the mystery, the reader will have to visit every one of the 24 participating blogs.

Each blog will provide a clue which will be posted. The reader will move from blog to blog, collecting the clues which will help solve the mystery.

In addition to the mystery clue, each blog will post the name of the next blog the reader should visit in order to find the next clue.

The grand prize is a $50 gift certificate that the winner can use for books from any online or bricks and mortar bookstore (winner’s choice of bookstore). If multiple readers solve the mystery, we will have a drawing to select the grand prize winner. Runners Up will receive a book from one of the authors of The Stiletto Gang. If there are more than 10 Runners Up, then there will be a drawing among the Runners Up for the books – maximum number of books to be awarded by The Stiletto Gang is ten (10).

Here's the mystery: (Clue #19)

"So you admit you were providing more than make-up at G. Winston Howard's Halloween Ball?" Milla was feeling a little better. She'd cleaned up in the women's locker room (it paid to have connections) and changed into her power suit and red stilettos. Unfortunately she could have used some of Liza Barrymore's legal wares to cover up the bruises and scratches on her legs and wrists.

"I told you before; I don't know what you're talking about. I don't do drugs. I don't sell drugs. Drugs give you wrinkles."

"I think that's smoking," Milla responded. "Moving beyond beauty care, I found traces of cocaine in the powder room where you pitched your costume make-up tent in. How do you explain that?"

"You might be right about the smoking thing. But are you sure it was cocaine you found? I use a finishing powder that gives an airbrushed effect on your pores. You should let me try some on you. You could use a makeover. I gave one to Buffy St. James, really covered up her wrinkles."

No, she really wasn't sure it was cocaine. The tests were inconclusive, too much contamination and too small a sample. Plus there might have been upwards of three dozen people passing through that restroom during the event.

"I do manicures, too. Your nails are in rough shape."

The banal chatter from Liza was giving her a headache. Milla wondered if she'd have better luck with Sonya Reyes. Maybe. After all, the woman had certainly wanted to talk to her last night.

"Did you know you have some blue petals stuck to the back of your jacket?"

Great. The greenhouse was following her everywhere. Maybe the killer was wearing petals too? No, she wasn't that lucky. Still …she glanced down at her broken nails and scratched hands. She considered their similarity to Carla's hands. The greenhouse had left its mark on both of them.

Maybe it did the same to whoever dug up that file! She needed to be looking at hands.

Next Clue Location -
BEFORE YOU RUN OFF TO GATHER THE CLUE, remember to leave a comment here with your email address to be eligible for the drawing here to win either the Killer Career cap or tee shirt. Comments can be about Halloween costumes you've worn or someone else wore that you liked, one a dog or cat wore, or maybe about the participants in Hallopalooza, or whatever else you want to say.-----Thanks, Morgan Mandel

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Digital-Bookshop.Com Now Carries Killer Career

I'm very happy to announce that another and very handy place, namely Tony Burton's The Digital-Bookshop,  now carries Killer Career  not only in trade paperback edition, but also in a variety of e-book formats, excluding the kindle and mobipocket which remain with Amazon and Mobipocket.Com.

This will make it lots handier for people to order Killer Career. Also, if you like signed author copies, you're in luck. Print editions ordered through Tony's store will carry my signature.

I've put Tony's logo up, along with an easy buy link in the left column here, as well as at my website,

By the way, Tony's got a great lineup at The Digital Bookshop, starting with  The Gift of Murder, a Christmas anthology, with proceeds going to the Toys for Tots Foundation. Also available are some great books by Robert W. Walker, among other fine authors.

Stop by and look over his selection if you get a chance. There will be more coming.

Please Welcome Marilyn Meredith to Acme Authors LInk

Please hop on over to where Marilyn Meredith, mystery author, is my guest.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Should Rascal Be For Halloween?

I know there are many burning issues, such as the struggling economy, wars, violence, approaching winter, but right now what's on my mind is What Should Rascal Be For Halloween?

I'm not great at sewing and my mind's a blank on how to dress Rascal for the Halloween party at Bentley's Corner Barkery in Arlington Heights on Thusday. We don't want her to be the only dog wearing a birthday suit.

I'm getting desperate. Anyone have an idea for a costume? It has to be very easy for me to make. I can't think of anything.

Even if she doesn't win a prize, Rascal and I would very much appreciate your suggestion.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Guest Recording from A Book and a Chat

For those with busy schedules and couldn't listen this morning, here's the LINK for the recording from my guest appearance on Barry Eva's blog talk radio show, A Book and a Chat. Barry experienced unexpected Internet difficulties at the beginning, which kept my connection from going through for about the first 10 minutes, but he managed to fill in marvelously. Fortunately, it's a half hour show, so I had lots of time to trade remarks with him.

I got this cute pic from Barry as well to put up here and on my blog. Barry has lots of great guests on his show and also does some great blog posts. At present, he's got over 100 reviews for his YA book, which you can read more about at his blogspot at

Friday, October 23, 2009

Please Tune In to Blog Talk Radio Across-the-Pond Saturday, 11am EST - I'm the Guest

I'm excited to be a guest on Saturday, Oct 24, at "A Book and a Chat" with Barry Eva, a fellow author from across the pond.

If you care to listen in, it's a half hour show starting at 11:00 a.m. EST, which is 10:00 Central time (my Illinois time).

You can find the show at

A call in question or even a hello would be appreciated at 347-237-5398.

Morgan Mandel

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Who's paying for the new book rates?

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but when I went over to my sales page for Killer Career at Amazon, the price had gone up $2.00.  The book came out in August, so maybe the special deal time is over.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I can't help wondering if the small presses are now funding the big presses' recent drop in prices. How else can they sell those bestsellers so cheap?

What's your thoughts? What about your books' prices? Did they suddenly go up?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Liz Zelvin is my Wednesday Guest at Acme Authors Link

Hi Gang,
Please welcome my guest, Mystery Author, Liz Zelvin, over at Acme Authors Link,


Show us your Signature

My e-mail signature looks too bulky, so I'm changing it. I'll include my website, daily blogspot, publisher url and a very brief snippet from my review from The Midwest Book Review. Should I include more, such as where to order Killer Career, or is that overkill? What do you do?

To help me and others decide, please comment by posting your signature.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amazon and WalMart Book Price War

Yesterday I saw a e-mail report on Publisher's Lunch from Publisher's Marketplace saying a price war is going on between Amazon and Wal-Mart. They're offering hardcover books by well known authors for $9.00. The book price war even made the news on TV.

This move has me worried. Where does this move  leave the midlist authors published by the big houses? If these authors have hardcover books out, they'll most likely be left in the dust by readers grabbing the lesser priced books by popular authors.

Small publishers will have an even more difficult time. How can they possibly pay expenses and still compete in such a market?

What are your thoughts on this? Does it seem a good or bad thing?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Updated Website

Thursday I fiddled around and changed my website a bit, trying to make it more current to reflect my latest release, Killer Career. You're welcome to check it out at


People Are Crazy

I heard on the radio this morning that some lady went into Burlington Coat Factory, told people she'd won the lottery and each person could pick $500 worth of merchandise and she'd pay for it. Shoppers called friends and the place was mobbed.

The lady said she was going to the bank and left in her limo. She came back and told everyone she hadn't won the lottery after all. She couldn't even pay the limo driver the $900 she owed him. People got so mad they started trashing the store.

Who was more crazy, the lady who lied, or the people who trashed the store? I'd hesitate about putting a scene like that in a book since it would be unbelievable, unless it were maybe a comedy.

Have you heard of any stories about people doing crazy things? Have you included a scene in a book where a person or persons does something crazy?

By the way, here's the link on Youtube for Billy Currington's song, People Are Crazy. It's one of my favorites.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hallopalooza coming at the end of this month

I'll be participating in a fun scavenger hunt at the end of the month. You'll get a chance to win some great prizes at the various blog stops.

The Scavenger Hunt will begin 8 am ET, Friday, October 30.

It will end 5 pm ET, Sunday, November 1.
Winners will be announced at noon ET on Monday, November 2 at the Stiletto Gang blog site, at

The Stiletto Gang is writing a mini-mystery, with a different clue to solve the mystery found on the home page of each of the participating blogs. The mystery will begin and end at The Stiletto Gang, but in order to solve the mystery, the reader will have to visit every one of the 24 participating blogs.

Each blog will provide a clue which will be  posted. The reader will move from blog to blog, collecting the clues which will help solve the mystery.

In addition to the mystery clue, each blog will post the name of the next blog the reader should visit in order to find the next clue.

The grand prize is a $50 gift certificate that the winner can use for books from any online or bricks and mortar bookstore (winner’s choice of bookstore). If multiple readers solve the mystery, we will have a drawing to select the grand prize winner. Runners Up will receive a book from one of the authors of The Stiletto Gang. If there are more than 10 Runners Up, then there will be a drawing among the Runners Up for the books – maximum number of books to be awarded by The Stiletto Gang is ten (10).

More later about this fun event.
Stay tuned to learn how you can win some great prizes at stops along the way.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Midwest Book Review awards 5 stars to Killer Career!

I'm excited to report a 5 star review from Midwest Book Review for Killer Career at!
Here's the permalink for the review:

The review also appears at the main site for Midwest Book Review on the Small Press Bookwatch page in the Mystery/Suspense category, where Killer Career is "highly recommended" -

I just found the review when I was on the train Monday evening after coming back to work after vacation. It certainly brightened my day!

Morgan Mandel

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vacation Report

Well, we closed down the cottage today, loaded up the van and dragged our stuff back home again until Spring. It was a cold week, but the colors got better and better as the days progressed.

The good thing was I enjoyed shopping, going to dinner, going to the casino, and doing book signings. The bad thing was my cold dogged me most of the week. I did lots of sleeping in between doing things. I noticed lots of other people seemed to have colds also. Even tonight, the weatherman has one. It has to be a new strain, I guess, because they say once you have a cold you can't catch the same one again. Or is that a myth?

Anyway, I finally got the better of the germ by Friday when we went to visit WJJQ again in Tomahawk, WI. I'll be doing another interview there again in the Spring and a book signing at their local bookstore, Cover to Cover. Such is the life of an author - always looking for ways to get my books noticed. I'll be posting some pics later this week after I get kind of organized.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Acme Authors Link about my Eagle River Book Signing & New Blogger Features

Wednesday's my Acme Authors Link day.
Topic is my book signing at Eagle River on Oct 3, plus new Blogger features.
Come on over if you can to

Morgan Mandel

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Lakeland Times reviews Killer Career

Thank you, Joyce Laabs of The Lakeland Times, for writing such a nice review of Killer Career!

She says: "It is a real thriller - a page turner that is hard to put down. However, unfortunately images don't go away as you turn out the light for a night's sleep. Perhaps it is best read during the day."

If you want to read more, click the link above.


Friday, October 02, 2009


We got up early at 4:15 to leave for vacation. I usually get up at
5:45 to get ready for work.

If I could sleep, I wouldn't sleep later than 7 or 7:30 anyway.

What about you? If you could sleep as late as you wanted, how late
would that be?

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Look What I Found

I got a chance to Google the other day and my efforts were rewarded! I found a review for Killer Career at Internet Review of Books. I'm not sure how long it was there, but I'm very happy I discovered it.
If you'd care to look, it's at
 http://internetrevi ewofbooks. com/sep09/ brief_reviews. html?dsq= 17850973
The fun thing about this is the reviewer has the exact same name as my main character, Julie McGuire.
Moral of the story - Remember to Google - kind of reminds me of Remember to Floss, which I always forget until right before the next dental appointment. (g)
If you feel the urge - here are some buy links: 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wednesday at Acme Authors Link

My Wednesday topic for Acme Authors Link is Do You Read or Write On Vacation?
Please stop by Wednesday and let us know at


Monday, September 28, 2009

Samples - Kindle - BSP

When I went grocery shopping, I used to see lots more free food samples to try out. Now, I don't see very many people offering me to sample their products. Maybe it's a sign of the slow economy and food companies can't afford samples.

Speaking of samples, Kindle offers free samples of books. If you own a kindle, along with all the bestselling novels, I invite you to try out a free sample of Killer Career. If you want more, it's at a very attractive price for a brand new book - $5.77. (g)  Hope you like it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Everybody, Blurb Your Book

Killer Career by Morgan Mandel is about a lawyer whose career change could be a killer when her mentor, a NY Times bestselling author, does more than write about murder.

Using one or two sentences, tell us about your book.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ouch - My Aching Back

I'm not spending too much time at the computer tonight because my back is hurting. It started late last night. I got up from the couch, stiffly as usual, since I'd been fooling around with my website at, trying out different fun stuff for the main page and had been at it for a while.

My desktop computer was still on. I reached over to turn it off and all of a sudden my low back really hurt, not just was stiff. It was hard making it up the stairs to the bedroom. I did go to work today, but left early so I could make my train. When I walk slow, it doesn't hurt too much. When I sit still, it feels stiff, but doesn't hurt a lot. But, if I try to walk normal, bend over or try to carry anything with any kind of weight, my back protests.

I'm turning on the heating pad, then gulping some generic Motrin, and hoping that will help.
The pharmacist said that would be okay with my other pills. She also mentioned a pain patch might help. I asked my boss who has had his share of back problems if bedrest was the answer. He said the going advice was to keep active instead.

What about you? Have you ever had a backache? What did you do for it?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To Pay or Not to Pay For a Blog Book Tour

Would you pay good money for a blog book tour?

If you don't mind spending time to research popular blogs to make sure they get enough hits and are the right ones to promote your book, you don't mind contacting their owners and asking if they'll host you, you don't mind doing all the advertising yourself, have a very tight budget, then maybe a do-it-yourself blog tour is for you.

Then again, if you don't have the time or the patience to do the research, don't like making direct contact with hosts, don't believe your own advertising is enough, have enough money saved up for such a promotion, then maybe you'd prefer to leave it in the hands of a professional.

Either way you choose, you'll have lots of work ahead of you getting topics and blogs ready beforehand. During the tour, to make the most of your opportunity, you should be commenting on your hosts' blogs to establish your presence, plus tweeting and sending emails to Facebook and your egroups, and other spots.

With my recently completed Killer Career Blog Book Tour, I practiced a hands-on approach, but I had a great advantage. I not only belonged to the blogbooktour egroup run by Dani Greer, but also the pumpupyourblog egroup, run by Dorothy Thompson - The first being an immensely informative hands-on, do-it-yourself group, the other a group comprised mainly of hosts and guests of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours. I've made wonderful friends in each group, love them both, and respect their methods. Although I didn't pay for my own tour and arranged it all myself, many times I've served as a host for Dorothy's tours and enjoy doing so.

What about you? Do you prefer to pay for a blog book tour and leave the driving to people like Dorothy at Or are you a do-it-yourselfer?

What are your reasons? Please share with us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest at Make Mine Mystery Today

Hi Gang,
I've got a terrific guest over at Make Mine Mystery today. Bill Walker is a graphic designer who specializes in book and dust cover design.

He's also got a new romantic suspense called A Note From an Old Acquaintance, which sounds very intriguing. Please hop over to to check him out.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

R & R and Restructuring

Today, I caught some R & R after being out in the Great Outdoors all day yesterday at the Flea Market and Craft Fair.

Although a steady stream of potential customers went by, not many seemed interested in free bookmarks much less books. We did sell a few books, but not as many as we would have liked. I noticed not many people walked around with multiple bags. Apparently pinching pennies is still the norm for a while, with customers trying to decide what they can afford to purchase and what to do without.

I spoke to the vendors on each side of us and they were disappointed in their sales as well. One lady said she'd sold three times as much the year before. I know this year at the Arlington Heights Frontier Days Marketplace sales were down from the year before, but they were better than at yesterday's event. Also, rain dogged us the first day at Marketplace, plus Killer Career was not out yet. Many customers recognized me and mentioned they already had my backlist books from the year before.

Since we never had a booth at this one before, we have no basis of comparison., but the consensus was it may not be the correct venue for selling our books. We'll skip it next year and try another method.

Today, I'm spending time experimenting with ideas for spiffing up my website's main page at It's a fun kind of project.

What about you? Do you have lots of bookselling success at flea markets and craft fairs?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flea Market Saturday - Come Join Us

Breaking News - Besides being out in print at many venues, including Barnes & Noble and, Killer Career is now on Kindle. click this Link to Order Kindle.

I'll be autographing Killer Career at the St. John United Church of Christ Flea Market this Saturday from 9am - 4pm, along with Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams. Even if you already have one or all of them, stop by to say hi, if you're in the area.

Joining me are romantic suspense author, Margot Justes, and contemporary romance author, Debra St. John.

Hope to see some of you there.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dog Trainer, Alex Brooks, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Breaking News - Killer Career is now on Kindle. click this Link to Order.

Morgan Mandel & Alex Brooks------------------------Twister

Tuesday night the DH and I had a great time at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, where professional dog trainer, Alex Brooks, dispensed welcome advice to his eager audience.

Judging from the number of hands that went up in the question and answer period, it was obvious Alex's expertise was much needed.

Aggression over food, barkers, separation anxiety, and which collars to use were only a portion of the topics addressed.

I asked him what to do about Rascal's aggressive tendencies toward bikers, joggers, and skateboarders. I also mentioned part of the problem was she was deaf and couldn't hear them coming up from behind her. He suggested acquainting her with skateboards by going to a skateboard park. That way she'd come to consider them as routine. Now, I see a skateboard park in our future. (g)

His dog, Twister, shown above, is an American bulldog. She's white like our Rascal, but Rascal is a pit bull Dalmatian mix. Twister is taller and has a brown patch, instead of Rascal's black patch. Twister, like Rascal, is deaf. Alex used hand signals to train her.

Rascal pictured here.

It looked like Alex did a great job with Twister. After the presentation, anyone who wanted to could come up to the stage and pet her. The dog was super friendly, dispensing kisses and wagging her tail vigorously.

We hope to take in another Alex Brooks presentation soon. It was great fun and very informative. Here's the link to the Alex Brooks Canine Center, if you'd like more information about him and his work. Check out the cute dog on the main page while you're at it. Another thing to learn - how to do animation on my blog and website.

Are You Predictable?

When I go into the bathroom to change clothes in the morning, our dog, Rascal, has me figured out. She knows I'm almost ready to leave for work, so she goes to the doorway of her room and waits for the DH to give her a treat before she goes to bed.

As a writer, being predictable can be a good thing or a bad thing. Lots of marketers say to stick with one genre or area of expertise. That way you'll attract a particular audience that will know what to expect and follow you for it. Over time, the audience will grow. You are reliable. That's a good thing.

Then again, it can be a bad thing for writers like me who get bored easily. I would feel stifled if I only wrote mysteries, no matter how much I enjoy doing them. That's because I also love writing romances. I also enjoy writing about my dog, Rascal. Not only that, I have a great time writing how-to articles on marketing, self-publishing, and a number of other topics. Then there's also my blog. I love sharing my writing and life experiences on the Internet.

What about you? Are you predictable, or do you enjoy a wide variety of writing?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Check Out the Mystery in My Backyard

Wednesday is my day at Acme Authors Link. I'm writing about my very own mystery in my backyard. Come on over at to find out about what happened and let me know if you've every experienced anything as strange.

Comments here or there or both are always welcome.


Killer Career now available at Barnes & Noble, Ingram,
Amazon, bn,, - and
almost on kindle - hopefully later this week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Please Welcome Nancy J. Parra and Her Mr. Charming

Hi, I would like to start with a quick thank you to Morgan for hosting me today and you all for reading. This book had a lot of firsts for me.

It is my first contemporary. My first romantic suspense and this is my first blog tour. Because it was my first blog tour, I did a mini- five blogs in six weeks. Morgan is my last and I found the tour to be wonderful. My hosts were all warm and welcoming. Their readers were gracious and Mr. Charming spent four weeks on the Wild Rose Press Bestseller list.

Morgan is the author who encouraged me to try blog touring and blog following and other social media. Her advice was solid and boosted not only my sales, but hits to my website and blog. So thank you again, Morgan. I hope you all enjoy the excerpt.

Cheers! Nancy.

Mr. Charming, a romantic suspense
A single mom with a secret past finds herself embroiled in a playboy’s murder. Available for purchase now at:
ISBN: 1-60154-524-X

Suggested Retail Price:$6 adobe pdf, $11.99 print
Visit visit Nancy J. Parra at:


After a painful public divorce, advice maven Jennifer Sumner vows to stay out of the glare of the limelight, but then she makes the mistake of saying yes to her brother’s request for assistance.

Kane McCormick loves his playboy lifestyle, using his fame and fortune as a barrier around his heart until the day the world assumes he’s dead. Then Kane learns that he had it all wrong.

As Kane discovers that Jennifer and her young son are the family he’s been looking for, his would-be killer discovers his whereabouts and threatens to kill them both. Can Kane convince Jennifer to step into his public life and escape the clear and present danger? Or will she stubbornly keep to her vow and take his heart to her grave?


“(Parra writes)…wonderful books with strong, stubborn heroes and plucky heroines who aren't afraid to go toe-to-toe with them. Shelley Mosley

Excerpt from Mr. Charming:

“Why do you keep touching me?” The words were soft and breathless. Jennifer wanted to take them back the moment they were out.
“I’m a tactile guy,” Kane said simply. “I like to caress what I find beautiful.”
Surprise filled her, scattered across her face. She was thirty five with a kid. Definitely not the type of person he usually dated.
“Yeah,” he said, breaking her stunned silence. “I find you beautiful.” He stepped as close as he could without touching her. He took the mug away from her trembling hand and planted it beside them on the counter. Then he held her face in his hands and smiled down at her. “I’m the kind of man who appreciates beauty in its purest from.”
“I told you, I know what kind of man you are,” she whispered. “Don’t you see? For my own good, I have to reject you.”
“Then I’m afraid we’re at odds, sweetheart, because I have to have you.”
She had promised herself just moments before to do her best to stick to the truth. “I’m not playing games with you.” Her whole body shivered in traitorous anticipation. He drew her to him, surrounding her with male heat and strength.
“Me neither,” he replied.
She put her hand out to keep him away. Her palm hit silky warm skin spattered with just the right amount of hair to make it intriguing. She swallowed a gasp and kept her hand firmly planted on his bare chest. The last thing she wanted was for him to know how electrified she was by the feel of him. “Just keep your distance. I know you’re bored and I’m simply a distraction. It isn’t fair.”
He took her palm and raised it to his lips. His dark gaze captured hers and sent shock waves through her body.

“Haven’t you heard, sweetheart? All’s fair in love and war.”

Author Bio:
The Lovin’ Kind by Nancy J. Parra, June 2006, was named one of the top ten romances of 2006 by Booklist Magazine.
The Bettin’ Kind, October 2005, received a starred review from Booklist Magazine. says “… a wonderful story that thoroughly sucks you in and doesn’t let go until the last page is read.”

The Marryin’ Kind was heralded as “…another winner,” by Booklist Magazine, while Wyoming Wedding won a Reviewer’s Choice award from Labeled a rising star of 2002 by Booklist Magazine, Ms. Parra is proud that A Wanted Man received a starred review in the October 2002 edition of Booklist Magazine and Saving Samantha was featured on the chapter-a-day website.

Nancy’s Morgan Family series started with The Marryin’ Kind, released in Feb. 2005 followed by The Bettin’ Kind, Oct. 2005 and The Lovin’ Kind, June 2006. Her Morgan Brothers series, which includes Saving Samantha, A Wanted Man, Loving Lana and Wyoming Wedding, is available from Avalon books.

Nancy holds degrees in Journalism and Electronics Engineering. She has worked as a newspaper columnist, a publications coordinator, a communications manager, a technical writer, a corporate trainer, a satellite repair technician, and an electronics technician, but through it all, her fiction writing is her number one priority.

A member of Romance Writer’s of America for twelve years, Ms. Parra has been active in various chapters including Mid-America Romance Authors, The Golden Network, Midwest Romance Writers, Windy City and Chicago-North RWA.

Ms. Parra has also been a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest, and the MARA Fiction from the Heartland contest as well as receiving an honorable mention in the NY Love and Laughter contest.

Ms. Parra has published columns and articles in the Daily Chronicle; Topeka Capital Journal; The University of Kansas yearbook; and in corporate training manuals and hospital guidebooks throughout the United States. She has written numerous articles on writing for local chapters of RWA and has given workshops on writing techniques to various library and writers groups.

Visit her website at

Please welcome Nancy by leaving a comment for her.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Romance Author, Nancy J. Parra, Coming on Monday to Double M

Monday, my special guest will be Nancy J. Parra.
Nancy is a fellow Chicago-North RWA member. She has a
brand new release called Mr. Charming, available now from
The While Rose Press.
Nancy is a diligent blogger at her two blogspots:
You can also visit her at
Monday, come back to learn more about Nancy.