Monday, March 25, 2013

You got a minute? Three Minute Fiction & the Monday Fortune Cookie


SNARKY RESPONSE: Then who were those glowering, black tee-shirted dudes at the backstage doors who wouldn't let me see Michael Buble after his concert? I mean, they were seriously not believing my story about knowing him through my second cousin's half-sister's son's girlfriend. Hey, I was only trying to take advantage of an opportunity!


from Pixabay
Speaking of opportunities, last month, National Public Radio (NPR) ran their Three-Minute Fiction contest. Every year, they provide a writing prompt for writers to create a piece of flash fiction. The piece must be short enough to be read in three minutes, approximately 600 words. This year the prompt was for the story to be in the form of a voice mail message.

My monthly critique group, Writers Endeavor, agreed to give it a whirl and submit our efforts.   Writing short is hard and flash fiction is even harder. While I did not make it out of the slush pile, I wanted to go ahead and share it with you.


Hello? Maria? Maria, I know you don't want to talk to me right now. I can't blame you, but I wanted to ask for one last chance. I'm sitting here in the airport, and all I see is you, sitting on the other side of that booth last night, your smile fading to tears then rising to anger. Your beautiful face is so expressive.

I know it was a shock, but I couldn't tell you the truth about my job when we met, so I hedged by lying about the crazy assignments and how I didn't know how long I'd be in town. And I warned you, warned me, that, in my line of work, I've never been able to maintain a relationship. I never wanted to until now, and then I wanted to think this was doable. That somehow we'd bridge the gap, beat the odds, something. I wanted this to work with you, with us, but then they sent me this assignment.

So, last night, sitting across from you with your smile so trusting as you leaned forward to hear me over that damned football game, I knew I had to say it. I knew I had to tell you, but it was hard. You don't know how hard it was. Okay, yeah, not as hard as it was for you to hear it, but I had to tell you because if I didn't tell you, we definitely wouldn't have a chance. And I want us to have a chance. Even if it's only a snowball's chance in hell, and believe me I understand hell, I want this to work. With you. I still do. I know I lied about my job, my life, but when we got serious, when I got serious, I should have told you the rest, the harsh reality, the truth. From the beginning. Not at the end. Not like last night. Not with another airline ticket to another destination for another contract breathing down my neck.

Maria, I wanted to tell you lots of times about the other stuff, but I enjoyed just being with you. It was a miracle, just being, just living like a regular couple with regular jobs. I love how you'll hunt and destroy every bit of green pepper on a slice of everything pizza. I could watch you rumble your way through that chocolate dessert at the CanCan every night. Smelling your hair on my pillow on lazy Sunday mornings with nowhere to go, no one to deal with but each other. God, I love waking up next to you and that's why I'm calling.

To ask one last time if you can accept who I was, and give me a chance to be who I can be with you. But first, I've got to finish this last job, this last contract and then I'm out. I'm done. No more.

So, call me back. My flight doesn't leave for about another hour and then I'll be out of reach for a while. If I don't hear from you, I'll know you can't move past what I told you. What I do. And I'll have to understand. But I hope you'll call me. Call me.”

<BEEP – Message Received Two Days Ago. No return number. Number disconnected.>

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

A few weeks ago, I was invited by KyAnn Waters ( participate in this fun blog hop. When I saw the questions being posed, I was more than happy to play. I hope that you'll enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

What is the title of your book?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I've been devouring a lot of paranormals lately and wanted to try my hand at writing one. I've always written fantasy, so paranormal isn't that far of a stretch. When deciding what kind of paranormal, I chose shapeshifters, but not werewolves since they've been done a lot, and very well. I'm a cat person, so a feline shapeshifter made sense. When I imagined my world with shapeshifters living openly among the populace, I knew there would be folks opposed to/frightened by/violently against shapeshifters having a place in society. That lead to the thought of hunters which led to the Collectors and the concept that they saw shapeshifters as the "ultimate big game." And from there we had "lift off!"

What genre does your book come under?

Definitely paranormal romance with a slant toward suspense and just enough heat to make it spicy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

What a fun question! Hmm.

Eliza Dushku (Dollhousewould be KT Marant . Eliza has not only the look, but also the attitude I wanted for KT.

Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight, Hawaii 50would be Peyton Allers. Alex has the ability to look tough, but remain sympathetic.

Jon Hamm (Mad Menwould be Douglas Torne. For some reason, he can look like he's Teflon coated and ego-driven.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When a headstrong female shapeshifter enlists a cynical Alpha take on the Collectors, can they bring the illegal hunt club down or will she become a Collector's Item?

Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

My publisher is The Wild Rose Press, an epublisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft of Collector's Item took about seven months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I'm hopeful that my story would fall in the same category as Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series and Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Reading about Kitty and Mercy motivated me to expand my writing. And the idea that the transition period after the Big Reveal would be fraught with issues.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Oh my, that's a loaded question. I guess I'd have to say that I've put a little spin on the shapeshifter trope by giving the animal side of my shapeshifters their own personality and voice in the story. How this deeper relationship influences the behavior and reactions of my shapeshifters is something I hoped to convey.

Well, that's all folks! Thanks again, KyAnn for the invite.

Please mark your calendar for March 27th to check out the author I invited to participate with The Next Big Thing Blog Hop: Alexa Day

Alexa is not just a friend, but an awesome writer whose debut novel, ILLICIT IMPULSE is now available from Ellora's Cave. Please drop in next Wednesday to visit Alexa Day at her blog -

Monday, March 18, 2013



SNARKY RESPONSE: I just hope my coffeemaker is set on autoperk! Otherwise, wake me when it's over.

A New Dawn Is Just Hours Away!

Actually, I'm all "atwitter" about tomorrow.


Thank You for asking!

COLLECTOR'S ITEM will be FREE on Kindle Beginning Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19th until Saturday, March 23rd!

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 Allers 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?

Available Now on Kindle at

If you have a Kindle, please consider downloading and reading COLLECTOR'S ITEM.

And if you don't have a Kindle, you can read it with the free Kindle Reading Apps.

Free Kindle Reading Apps Link:

Monday, March 11, 2013


Don't dish it out if you can't eat it.

SNARKY RESPONSE:  But if you sit down to my table, you'll jolly well eat what I put on the plate.

Don't dish it out if you can't eat it.

Also don't ask me why, but today seemed like a good day to do a couple of long overdue reviews,  and I'm sharing them here. I enjoy Goodreads, but frankly, I read so many books and so fast, that I forget to go back and update. So today, I spent some time doing my Goodreads duty and here's what I "dished out."

By Fiona Lowe

I downloaded BOOMERANG BRIDE expecting a fun, fluffy bit of reading. An intriguing hook - Matilda Geoffrey leaves Australia to marry the man of her dreams only to discover that he doesn't exist. Or at least, not the man she thought he was. I'm thinking something like Runaway Bride in reverse. However, BOOMERANG BRIDE proved to be so much more. Yes, Matilda's crash course in broken dreams is there. Yes, discovered romance with Marc Olsen is there. However, there is much much more to discover about both Matilda and Marc, their families, and the community of Hobin, Wisconsin. Multiple plots weave seamlessly, realistic characters inhabit the page, and all the tropes you want in a romance are presented with a refreshing voice. I don't believe in spoilers, but I do believe in recommendations, and I recommend BOOMERANG BRIDE!

by LynDee Walker*

FRONT PAGE FATALITY introduces a determined crime reporter, Nichelle Clarke, who is pursuing her dream to become an investigative reporter by paying her dues at the Richmond Telegraph in Richmond, VA. Smart, dedicated, and competitive, Nichelle works hard to build her byline and keep her stories on the front page. You just have to admire a character who can do all this while wearing designer stilettos. FRONT PAGE FATALITY is a well-crafted mystery filled with fun quirks, unexpected turns, and a cast of characters in all meanings of the term. I encourage you to read FRONT PAGE FATALITY.

*LynDee Walker is a local author and a delightful person. The buy link is to a wonderful local bookstore, Fountain Bookstore, who, I'm told, also has autographed copies.

I hope you'll consider these two books, and if you do (or have), please let me know what you thought.

Currently, I'm in the throes (sometimes quite literally) of reading ILLICIT IMPULSE by another local author and besty, Alexa Day. I plan to share a review of this steamy read in the very near future.

And finally, a personal note. Authors live and die by sales and those sales are often driven by reviews. If you've read my latest release, COLLECTOR'S ITEM, I'd appreciate it if you'd share a review on Goodreads or

If you haven't downloaded it yet, here's the link:

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Fable for Read An E-Book Week, March 3 - 9, 2013

A fable...(or at least my attempt at one)

Once upon a time, a different form of publishing was launched upon an unsuspecting world and the Traditionalists in the publishing industry said, "it'll never catch on." Readers came to the Traditionalists for their daily reads and authors sought validation of their worth in the form of the rare jewel, The Contract. However, the authors who saw opportunities in this brave new world of Epublishing weathered scornful looks and hurtful words as they took their shot and staked their claims on this new vista. And the readers took notice.

The mighty publishers in their castles, high above their authors and readers, looked down on the constantly shifting sands of this newly discovered land and pronounced it "unstable and destined to failure." And yet, the pioneer Epublishers and authors held firm to their beliefs, discovering and discarding until they began to establish a headland, a foundation on which to build. And build they did, story by story, book by book, success by success until they not only carved out a place for themselves, but began to encroach upon the less carefully tended perimeters of the Traditionalists lands, where the disenfranchised lived in daily supplication to the great and mighty Traditionalists. And the readers read.

These neglected edges, these hopeful authors who could not gain the ear of the mighty, found acceptance among the brave pioneers and the world of Epublishing broadened daily. At long last, the Traditionalists, hearing the mighty roar of change, realized they would have to discover a way to reclaim their lost footholds on the public and began their own Epublishing houses. The Epublishers and authors watched the Traditionalists adapting to their new formats and knew their faith had been vindicated.

And the readers rejoiced.

Celebrate Epublishing and Read An E-Book this week!

Thank you to my epublisher, The Wild Rose Press for giving my novellas, Collector's Item and The Festival of the Flowers: The Courtesan and the Scholar a home!

I hope YOU'LL consider giving them a home on your ereader as well!

Monday, March 4, 2013



SNARKY REMARK: What?! Now, Fortune Cookie Guru, you're Jimmy Choo? Well, when life gives you a kicker, put on your steel-toed shoes and kick it right back!

The journey through life requires many shoes.

I've never been a big fan of shoes. I buy them. I wear them. I take them off as soon as I come in the door. That is NOT the result of my heritage, but the result of my feet's general unhappiness with being enclosed. But I think I get where the Fortune Cookie Guru is going with this.

We have to cover a lot of ground in this life and the terrain can be quite different from point to point.

Today's Fortune Cookie reminds me of the "wearing many hats" analogy, but perhaps a head covering is less indicative of effort expended, obstacles overcome, and preparedness completed than a properly chosen shoe. Ah! Spoken like a true fashionista (which I obviously am not), but I'm assured it's all about the accessories.


Muddy shoes or boots might be required when dealing with periods of stormy weather or hard work.

Polished shoes or high heels come out when you have a chance to strut your stuff, dress to impress, or party down.

The sandals slide on when life is moving easy and expectations are for casual comfort.

Roomy bedroom slippers snuggle around your feet for periods of a more private, indulgent, reclusive nature.

Tennis or aerobic shoes helped you when life required that you stay moving, keep on your toes, or get there fast!

Poet J.S. Lee - powerful poems and heels

Maybe the Fortune Cookie Guru is trying to remind us that we'll have to understand and accept that sometimes the shoes we wore yesterday won't be appropriate for today.

 That the life we lived before this moment is no more than a precursor for the life we will live tomorrow.

Yeah, that sounds preachy, but it's something I'm constantly working to accept. The only constant in life is change and the only option is to be accepting of that fact. As the Borg would say, "resistance is futile" and for this, they'd be right. 

We may not get to choose much in this life, but one thing we are assured of being able to choose is HOW we deal with what life throws at us.

For this period of life, I'd say I'm in the low-heeled slingback mode. A little elevation to give me a clearer field of view. Easy on and off for those moments when you absolutely MUST go barefoot.

What kind of shoes are you wearing at this stage of your life?