Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Wishes for the New Year

As another year comes to a close I hope that all of you have been able to accomplish your writing and/or reading goals, or at least are on the road to doing so. The years seem to fly by so much faster as we get older and I often feel a sense of urgency in whatever I'm doing. I'm not big into making new year's resolutions, but I do plan to be more aware of when I feel rushed, and take a moment to stop, relax, and let what is to be happen. I hope your new year will be a time of new beginnings. If you are writing anything, or about to be published, please let me know and I'll be glad to promote it.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Blog Has Been Hacked by BuddyHost

Bloggers, are you having the same problem I am? When I'm on my blog, and try to post by clicking on the "post" at the top right of my screen, or I try to click on a "comment" to one of my blogs, instead I get a box that pops up asking me to monetize my blog. At the bottom of the box is an OK or Cancel. If I click on either one, it takes me out of the blog and onto a BuddyHost screen, which is a scam. When I exit the BuddyHost screen, I'm taken completely out of my blog and have to start over. I'm only able to do this blog because I had to go off my site. I've written twice to Blogger administrators to please clean this up but nothing's happened yet. Others are having the same problem because if you note on the BuddyHost screen, at the bottom, it says Blogger, and if you click on it you will see comments from others trying to rid themselves of this annoyance. Any help would be more than appreciated.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Accept or Reject - Who Decides?

Serious writers know that collecting rejection letters is part of the process. If good writers have never been rejected, they simply haven’t sent anything out yet to test the waters. Unfortunately the rejections we receive are polite, generic, and rarely give insight into why our submissions didn’t make it. We’re left to guess – was it weak writing, too wordy, too boring, too…..? Take your pick. In 1983 I was more na├»ve about submissions being accepted. If what I wrote was good, of course it would be accepted. That was my mindset when I submitted a short story to a magazine in New York. When a form rejection letter came a few weeks later, I was not only disappointed, but puzzled. I re-read my story and couldn’t figure out a way to change it to make it better, assuming it wasn’t liked by whoever read it. Nothing in the rejection letter was helpful. I put the story aside for several weeks, then read it again. I still liked it just the way it was. The old saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, ran through my mind. It also occurred to me that a large magazine would have more than one reader. Perhaps if I submitted my story again, it would be received by a different reader, and this “beholder” might have a different opinion. It worked! This time I received a nice acceptance letter, plus a contract to sign and return, which included the amount I’d be paid. I was quite happy as this was my first paid writing, not counting the column inches I was paid for in high school when I wrote for my local newspaper. A copy of the magazine was sent to me when the story was printed, and hardly a word was changed. I still have it. Did I ever do this again when I received a rejection letter? No. I’m not sure why. Maybe I didn’t want to press my luck. If there’s a moral to this story, it might be that rejections, as well as acceptances, are subjective for the most part. Try to learn from the rejections and don’t be too “in the clouds” for an acceptance. Just as sure as someone loves your work, someone else won’t. We all can name highly successful books that were rejected many times before they were finally published. Just keep working at your craft, submitting when ready, and see what happens. Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review

Up CountryUp Country by Nelson DeMille
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nelson DeMille never met a detail he didn't like, which explains why UP COUNTRY is over 800 pages, when the story could have been told in less than 400. However, he's a great writer, and this story of a retired military man returning to Viet Nam to investigate a war time murder is so engrossing, you don't mind that you have to wade through every detail of the trip. Aside from an intricate plot, with a beautiful woman to go along with it, I felt as though I had visited Vietnam myself. DeMille has done his research, including visiting the area in which he writes about. Thus you will experience feelings that will make you wish this war had never been. As Paul Brenner, accompanied by Susan Weber (a helper, or is she?), trek all over South and North Vietnam by whatever means available, they encounter bad luck at every turn. You won't know until the last page if it all turns out and you won't be able to stop reading until then.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Females in Law Enforcement

Hello Everyone - As you know by now, I'm a retired probation officer. As a female in a field of mostly males, I had my share of challenges. I'd like to create a forum where females in law enforcement can discuss their experiences, especially if they are writing about them in some form. So, if you currently are in, or retired from, the police, FBI, or probation, I'd like to hear from you. If you have a book you've written, I'll be glad to promote it. Wherever you've worked, we all share certain things in common. One thing for certain, we all share a particular mindset that led us into law enforcement in the first place. I'm anxious to hear what you have to say.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

California Residents Take Note

For those of us who live in California, we have a wonderful opportunity to improve our writing craft and network with other authors through the California Writers Club - www.Calwriters.org   There are 19 branches throughout the state.  I've been a member of the Orange branch for several years and have benefitted greatly by the association with other members.  If you're a writer, or aspire to be one, look for a branch near you and attend a meeting as a guest.  There are interesting speakers each month who cover various topics such as plotting, publishing, and marketing your finished product.  Regardless of your writing accomplishments, you will be comfortable at one of these meetings.  If any of you are already a member of one of the California branches, I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review- "I, Michael Bennett" by James Patterson

This review didn't post.  You can read it by going to Goodreads.com

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Review

Echo Burning (Jack Reacher, #5)Echo Burning by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just spent a few days in Texas, traveling the barren countryside, sweating in the scorching heat,and tasting the dust, and I didn't have to leave my comfortable sofa. I was transported there by Lee Child's amazingly descriptive narrative. "Echo Burning", another Jack Reacher novel, and one of the earlier ones, was a page turner in every sense of the word. Child's fans know that Reacher is an unencumbered traveler, managing to find trouble wherever he ends up. By the time he leaves, people are hurt or dead, and problems are solved. In "Echo Burning" Reacher is picked up while hitchhiking by Carmen Greer, a pretty Hispanic woman with a strange proposal. She's looking for someone to kill her husband Sloop, a wife beater currently in prison. She and their daughter live with his mother and brother in the town of Echo, Texas and are treated like the hired help. Sloop is scheduled to be released in a few days and Carmen is desperately looking for the right person to do the job. Although 6'5" Reacher looks like he could be the one, he quickly refuses, but is intrigued by her story and realizes she needs help from the abusive home she is in. Carmen arranges to have Reacher sign on as a hired hand on their large ranch so he can be a bodyguard as she awaits her husband's release. When he learns Carmen has purchased a gun to defend herself, he reluctantly shows her how to shoot it. Sloop is released and Reacher is soon driven out of Echo by the local sheriff at the family's request, only to hear that Sloop has been shot and is dead. Carmen is arrested and thus follows a very twisted tale that will have the reader believing one thing, then the opposite. There are other killings that seem random but are related to the Greer family connections. Reacher and an attorney named Alice are determined to get to the truth, and it's quite a journey to get there. One of the final scenes was much too long and detailed, and some of Reacher's deductions could only be made by someone who is clairvoyant. It does wrap up in the end, and Reacher is seen leaving town on foot, ready for his next adventure.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Five Star Reviews

I was re-reading my recent book reviews and noted that I was generous with 5-star reviews. I don't give these out lightly, although it might seem that way. Apparently my most recent reads were of the 5-star variety, although I've read some other books lately that wouldn't merit that rating. For me to rate a book highly it has to have a plot that keeps me turning pages, and must be well written. The story must be unusual in the sense that the topic hasn't been written about in this way by someone else. I like details if they advance the story, but when they're overly done I want to "fast forward". So I'm wondering, what does a 5-star review look like to you when you read a novel? If you've read any of the books I've rated, and disagree with my rating, I'd like to know that too. As readers, we all come from different perspectives. Let me know yours!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Fifth Witness (Mickey Haller, #4)The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read many of Connelly's books and this is one of the best court room dramas he's written. Mickey Haller, the "Lincoln lawyer", has not had many criminal cases and he's turned to representing people who are experiencing home foreclosures and need someone to help them in what they believe are fraudulent dealings. One of his most annoying clients, Lisa Trammel, is involved in such a foreclosure and she's taken to picketing the bank where her loan was held and writing negative Facebook messages about Michael Bondurant, the banker handling her loan. When Bondurant is killed in the bank's parking garage, and Lisa is seen in the area, she is arrested on suspicion of murder. Mickey now must represent her in a murder case in which the evidence is strongly against her. Against Mickey's advice, she aligns herself with Herb Dahl, a sleazy, wanna-be, movie producer, who convinces her that her story will sell. Mickey must mount a defense under difficult odds, go to battle with a prosecuting attorney bent on a conviction, all the while trying to reconcile with his ex-wife. Lisa insists she is innocent and it is a set-up. Mickey pulls out all the stops to prove that it is. To say more would give the story away. Readers who enjoy court procedures won't be able to stop reading as the book goes through each day in court, and the behind the scenes twists and turns. The ending is astounding! Fans of Connelly will find a new reason to like him after reading "The Fifth Witness".

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Friday, February 8, 2013

"No Good Deed" Author Interview

I was recently interviewed by Christina Hamlett for her blog "You Read it Here First".  Please check it out at:  http://fromtheauthors.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/no-good-deed

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an amazing book that will keep you reading late into the night. "Gone Girl" follows a "he said/she said" format which begins on the fifth anniversary of Nick and Amy Dunne's marriage and continues until the astounding and unexpected ending. You will follow one path, only to suddenly veer to another, then another. The writing is outstanding, the characters perfectly drawn, and the cleverly woven plot will make you think you understand it all, until you don't. To say more would spoil it. This is a book you won't forget once you're finished. I'd give it more than five stars if I could.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book while on a cruise ship, late at night. Maybe it was the setting, or the beautiful red and black book binding, but it was a very enchanting book in my opinion. The circus opens only at night. Everything about it is mysterious, including the use of only black and white colors, and the various performers who appear to do things that humans aren't supposed to be able to do. There is a fierce competition between two aging magicians and their young proteges. When these proteges fall in love, their future appears doomed, until an interesting intervention takes place. There are many colorful characters who are well described by the author. The midnight dinners, held in a lovely mansion, are written about in such a way that you feel you're there. The author was able to make an unbelievable story very believable. I highly recommend it.

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