Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Thank you, Alexa Day, for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blog Award. She and I are happy dancing these days with shiny new books coming out. Alexa's Illicit Impulse will be released by Ellora's Cave on March 1st.

So, in keeping with the rules of the award, here are seven things about me.

1.    Seven is actually my lucky number. It appears in so many ways in my life that it's positively spooky.
2.    I firmly believe that my home is not a home without a cat. I believe this was actually something I said when I was a teenager and we were catless. The wonderful thing was that not long thereafter, my mom surprised us with a kitten.
3.    If I could visit any historical person in history, my first choice would be Elizabeth I. She was an amazing (and probably terrifying) woman making her mark in a man's world. Such a mixture of majesty and tragedy.
4.    I have "a need for speed." Just ask any of my coworkers. We went go-karting and I tore UP that track. It amazed folks how competitive and focused I was behind that wheel. I dream of being able to take a powerful car (no specific model, just FAST) out on the salt flats and floor it!
5.    It's impossible for me not to sing along with the radio. Sorry.
6.    I'm terrified of heights. I do okay if I'm enclosed, but open air and, heaven forbid, without a railing, I'm a shivering wreck.
7.    If I were given a free trip to anywhere in the world, I'd choose the British Isles.

So, here are my nominees for this prestigious award. Please give them a read.

Monday, January 28, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE: Well, by all means, let's have dessert! Hear hear!

Sorry, appetizers, you may get a nod, but the Fortune Cookie Guru is standing strong for his brethren.

As an unknown wise man once said, "Life's uncertain. Eat dessert first!" 

Good to begin well, better to end well.

This reminds me of a piece of writing advice I received from my dear friend and author, Robert E. Bailey - the best comes last. I know we writers bewail and belabor that crucial first line, but after that piece of deathless prose has been nailed, what follows had better follow through on that promise.

The last word in a sentence, the last sentence in a paragraph, the last line in a chapter, the ending of the book - all need to have a punch to keep the reader hooked or, in the case of the ending, provide them with that "ah" moment.

Ending a sentence strong will keep the reader reading. The words you select for ending your sentence must be active, strong, and lead the reader to the next sentence. Writers can make the mistake of putting the focus of their sentences at the beginning, like boxing's "leading with your chin." You leave yourself open (ended) and the sentences fades. If you bury the focus of the paragraph in the middle, your reader will lose sight of it. If your chapter doesn't include that little hook to send the reader to the next page, they might close the book and not come back.

For example:

First draft: By moving the focus of the sentence to the end, you land that punch.
Better:  You land that punch by moving the focus of the sentence to the end.

Re-read your writing and think about how your sentences are arranged. What is the point of the sentence and is it positioned to properly deliver a strong finish?

Now, does the pie come with ice cream?

Friday, January 25, 2013



I knew it was going to happen this month.

I knew that my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, was putting my book on the Kindle KDP program for early release this month.

I KNEW it.

But knowing is not the same as SEEING!

And today--It's There! COLLECTOR'S ITEM is available for the Kindle on

You know, sometimes reality IS better than imagination.

Monday, January 21, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE: I wish someone had told Mr. Porter that back in high school. He was King of Historical Trivia and we lived in fear of forgetting to detail every little tidbit that tripped off  his tongue.

A good memory is one trained to forget the trivial.

In life, I feel that this is actually pretty good advice. We can sometimes become so caught up on the little things that we miss the big things.

But in writing, as they say, the Devil's in the details.

Nothing will yank a reader out of your story any faster than for you to make a mistake with a character's name. Or have your character leave the room and then never come back even while they carry on a conversation with another character in said room. Or have their Uncle Frank sudden undergo a unmentioned sex change to become their Aunt Frankie (unless it's part of the story).

To be fair, when writing a novel, it can become a little hard to hold all that stuff in your head. One device for this (actually borrowed I believe from screenwriters) is a Writer's Bible. I admit I've never actually used one, but I'm beginning to see the benefit.

As I understand it, the Writer's Bible is where I would shove all those details that can be lost as I follow my characters down the rabbit hole. Character sheets to keep track of little things like hair color, accent, relationships, favorite ice cream flavor. Location descriptions to keep track of how run down the bar is, does the seafood restaurant look like a schooner or a pineapple. Genealogies so I remember there actually IS an Uncle Frank who likes to cross dress. Maps so when my characters walk two blocks to the bar in Chapter 1 it's not suddenly in the next county in Chapter 10. Chronologies or timelines to help keep track of events outside of my main storyline. Plot points to keep me on track.

What other things would you keep in your Writer's Bible?

Monday, January 14, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE: Now you're just trying to be cute, Fortune Cookie Guru. And as they tell most writers, if you think you're funny, you probably aren't. Don't quit your day job. No! Wait! This is your day job, isn't it? Doh!

It's a good thing that life is not as serious as it seems to the waiter.

Well, I don't know about that waiter, but things here at Golinowski's Gambol are about to get REAL SERIOUS. How serious, you might ask? We're talkin' real BITCHOK* here.

My local chapter of the Romance Writers of America, Virginia Romance Writers, has challenged us all to a FastDraft challenge. Author Candace Havens came to our chapter a few months ago and shared her technique to pound out a full manuscript in two weeks. The way to do it is to write 20 pages a day. You'll end up with a 70,000 word manuscript which is publishable length. Now, it'll be a rough draft, but this is about production, not quality.

About 25 of us have pledged ourselves to the effort. I'm on a "crew" with many of the other authors over at Words, Women, Wisdom. We'll be keeping each other honest and accountable, checking in every day when we reach our allotted pages.

I'll share updates along the way - written AFTER I've completed my day's pages, so stay tuned!


I'm thrilled to announce that Collector's Item, my paranormal romance, will be released by The Wild Rose Press on May 17, 2013.

Here's the "back cover blurb" for your personal edification:

Alpha were-jaguar, Katarina "KT" Marant is trained to protect the pride so when her aunt disappears, KT naturally takes up the hunt. Her suspicion settles on the Collectors, humans who view shapeshifters as the ultimate big game.

Peyton Massey can't believe he's got to blow his cover to rescue a shapeshifter "princess." Even harder to believe is that she wants to stage her own kidnapping in order to catch the leader of the Collectors and find her aunt.

Everything goes sideways when KT is kidnapped for real and by someone she never suspected. Will Peyton find her before time runs out? Or will she become a true Collector's Item?

On May 17th, you'll be able to find out!

* Butt In Chair, Hands On Keys

Monday, January 7, 2013


You're a practical person with your feet on the ground.

SNARKY RESPONSE: Talk about damning with faint praise. I'm a fantasy writer, dang it. We're supposed to walk around with our heads in the clouds. And as for "practical," well, that's just mean.

You're a practical person with your feet on the ground.

Actually, as a writer, you absolutely MUST be practical. Only the lucky few get rich doing this, so it's a matter of juggling priorities and desires. Scheduling writing time in the midst of family, work, and friends. Learning your craft with books, classes, or workshops. Tracking your hours, receipts, characters, and plots. Organization is as much a key to one's success as that fickle creature, your muse.

In my constant search for a better mousetrap, I've acquired Scrivener and am trying to work on my current WIP, Aces Down. It's loaded with ideas and ways to organize your first draft and works for a variety of project types, from novels to screenplays to non-fiction.

I imagine that many of my forthcoming blog posts will be about my efforts at flattening my learning curve. Consider yourself warned.

In the meantime, why not share with me and "the rest of the class" your favorite writing program or method for organizing your writing. As I said, I'm always on the hunt for the better mousetrap.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Let's Review, Shall We?

Happy New Year!

2013 has dawned and it's time to begin anew.

It's all about time!
Writer's Wall Clock from

No, I'm not talking "New Year's Resolutions," but it's almost impossible not to get bit by the NYR Bug. It's everywhere. Commercials are bombarding us with diet plans, exercise plans, fitness club memberships, videos, and such. And your friends are probably asking about your NYRs as subtle, or not so subtle, segues into listing their own ambitious goals.

But here, at the dawning of a New Year, possibly seen through the fog of the old year's hangover, let's take a moment to pause, take a breath, and celebrate the year just past. We've completed twelve months of ups and downs and we should give ourselves credit where credit is due instead of just brushing it aside and rushing off.

Since this is my blog, I'll start. 2012 highlights included the sale of my novella, Collector's Item, my son, Carl's marriage to the lovely Erin, the passing of my furry companion, Lovejoy, corroboration with a wonderful group of women writers on a group blog, "Words, Women, Wisdom," VRW's For the Love of Writing Conference, JRW's Writers Conference, a successful NaNoWriMo, first trip to the Porches with the Porches Divas, good health, friendship and love—yeah!

That's enough about me.

Now it's your turn!