Monthly Archives: April 2013

Start Your Downloads

Let’s fill the Mother’s Day Kindles with a multitude of wonderful books. The IRI Book Blowout is about to begin.  I’ve put both My Killer My Love and Teach Me To Forget into the mix, and they are among 150 books available for the amazing price of .99 from May 1-3. That’s right over one hundred and fifty books in multiple genres.  Check it out: Bouquet of Books Sale. Not only a massive collection of wonderful books but also CONTESTS WITH PRIZES.  Very Very Cool Prizes. As in First Prize is a $100 gift certificate.

Lots of wonderful new books to download and read, wonderful contest prizes, and a chance to fill someone’s reader with new authors.  Looks like a win-win-win situation.

Teach Me To Forget May 2012

Teach Me To Forget
May 2012

Black Opal Books has helped me have  Teach Me To Forget and My Killer My Love front-cover-my-killer-my-love-first-try[1]available for this event. If you don’t have a copy, now is the time to grab one.  Enjoy, and happy reading


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Off to the Prom…o

Have you ever noticed how plans you made months ago seem to float along blithely then turn around and LEAP on you? As a writer for a boutique press, I’m aware the bulk of promotional work falls on me (often shared with my wonderful fellow Black Opal Books Authors) And I’m good with that especially since there is a multitude of opportunities available for anyone willing to take the time to learn.


That Suit

So when my local RWA Chapter Land of Enchantment Romance Authors decided to participate in the upcoming  it only took me a few breaths to agree to be a “featured author” and sign books, even though LERA is populated with a wealth of multi published award winning writers. We all start somewhere right?  Then Sarah Storme upped the ante with an opportunity to promote our books on Good Day New Mexico. That one took more than a few breaths.  Sure, I’ve lost weight, but not enough. And my days of makeup, killer shoes, and fancy clothes are long past.  Though I could dredge up my suit, give it a brush off since the last dog show… it’s dark, and makes me feel professional.  And doggonit how often does this sort of chance show up?  Right, pretty  much never.

The taping was yesterday, and airs May 8, just before the Fiesta (great timing!!) And except for the shock of the close up (who’s that old woman with wrinkles on her face?  Ooops, that’s me??) quickly forgotten, I think it went well.  We’ll know soon enough.

But for now, I’m participating in the IRI Book Blowout from May 1-3.  For those three days, both My Killer My Love and Teach Me To Forget  will be reduced to .99 on Amazon.  Here’s your opportunity to grab a copy of each, maybe gift some to friends. I’ll have all the links up tomorrow to make it even easier for you to access. And I’ll be Tweeting up a storm, helping to promote the others participants, who will also be helping me. Truly, we are not alone.


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Heinlein’s Rules

I have a lot of years invested in reading and writing.  And I’ve done a lot of reading about writing, not to mention polished a lot of chairs with my posterior attending seminars and workshops.  I learned, one must when the caliber of instructors is as high as those I’ve been privileged to hear. Over this period of time I’ve been able to condense what I’ve learned into a few guidelines, foremost being seat in chair, fingers on keyboard. Simple. Elegant.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned just recently the master of all things Science Fiction, who created complex worlds and wrote out rules of conduct for a happy life, also presented in an essay, “On The Writing of Speculative Fiction” 1947,  the five rules of writing.

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

If you search Heinlein’s rules you’ll find numerous analyses of each one, with writers agreeing or disagreeing. So be it. We all have the right to our own opinions, and a lot of those have valid points. Let’s take these rules in the spirit they’re written: Writers write.

On the same day, two writers I admire tremendously addressed this same issue. Dean Wesley Smith titled his Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing, where he analysed and debunked writing pretensions and explained how any of us with the desire (and a modicum of talent, I’d think, but that desire really matters) can produce a book a year.  You might want to put down your coffee or tea first since DWS teaches through humor.

Then along comes  Greta van der Rol‘s blog, with the eloquent title of Five Writing Myths and Why They’re Crap Like so many of her take charge heroines, Greta pulls no punches, debunking some of the modern excuses for writing, or not writing as the case may be.

No doubt most of you have heard of Heinlein’s rules long before now. I’ve gotten used to playing catch up and as long as I reach my destination I don’t mind a few detours. In the meantime I coined my own phrase rather than a rule and when I follow it I’m happy with my day’s output.

Write. Rewrite. Edit. Submit.

So let’s share. What rules do you write by, or ignore when you write?

And for the sharing, a recipe I just tried out and I gotta say there’s not much I’d want to change:

Low Carb Peanut Butter Fudge

It’s cream cheese and butter and peanut butter and vanilla (remember make your own!) and one of the sweeteners…I 018used Truvia this time, and reduced the amount since most of the sweeteners come up just too sweet for me. Here’s what mine looks like, no I didn’t eat all that. I cut out about half to take to friends so I don’t eat all of it! The picture with the recipe is MUCH prettier.  I started with frozen butter instead of room temperature, and melted it too fast which I think had an effect on the appearance but it’s still yummy bliss on the tongue


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Musing on blog spam, and a recipe without SPAM

I have a spam filter on this blog which seems to be extremely effective. At least I’ve never seen any offers for knock off knockout performance enhancing drugs show up in any blog comments. Once in a while I visit the spam files and delete everything that looks wrong which lately has been everything in the folder.

Sometimes I’ll read a few as I’m mass deleting, and wonder what is in my blog that would ever give a spam program the idea I’d be tempted in even a minor fashion to want any of these products. Knock off designer purses? I tend to carry one purse until it falls apart, and usually buy that purse at a marked down store. Fake Oakley sunglasses? My glasses have that self tinting addition.  More money and worth every penny. I am truly stymied by the messages offering great deals on makeup. My skin routine consists of washing my face at night (when I remember) and covering it with avocado oil.  Works great for life in the high desert, I use it on my  hair also.

So what gives on the spam choices? Who knows.  Since most bloggers have the same spam controls I have to admire the tenacity of those burrowing digital beasties. I guess there must be an occasional success or the hackers would stop trying. Apologies to my brilliant friends who understand the digital world, for me the Internet is mostly magic anyway. I see the hackers as this era’s version of door to door sales people who want you to buy their fabulous photo albums or take a lifetime encyclopedia subscription.

kinkee covers

No, she’s not spoiled. Photo by her doting person, Linda P

But wait! There’s more! I promised recipes yesterday.  The first one comes from Linda in Colorado who is owner and protector and companion and slave to one of the puppies from our last litter.  How Dragon Queen (aka Kinkee) came to live with Linda is a story for another time. I’d been making training treats for the dogs by dehydrating various kinds of liver, but wanted something not quite as special for everyday cookies. I’d been handing out animal crackers but wanted a bit more control of what the ‘lukis ate.  This is from what Linda suggested.


From Linda: I really don’t measure anything and I make it up as I go along. The only constant things are about 2 cups of oats that are ground up to a flour in food processor (cheaper than buying oat flour) and two eggs with the shell. Comment from Mona: Oops, I ground up the oats then measured.  Helps to read the recipe more closely.

Then I added
1 can of salmon (everything in the can) whirl everything in the food processor until it’s smooth. If it seems thick, add water. {Mona: The first time I made these I added the eggs separately from the salmon…not a good idea!}

Spread out on a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or olive oil to avoid sticking. Bake around 350 for about thirty  minutes (Linda is definitely my kind of cook!!) When the batter is semi hard, use a pizza cutter to cut into the desired size, and bake some more until they’re crisp enough for your needs. I let mine sit in the oven as it cools, and they get nice and crunchy.

Second batch, I added some ground Parmesan cheese, a particular favorite of mine.  You can experiment with the additions, depending on your dog’s tastes: shredded carrots or other veggies, bananas, spices, vanilla, wheat germ. Most of the time they love these nuggets. Every now and then Gwyn (Kinkee’s mom) practices how far she can spit them out. But that’s Gwyn…and here’s Kinkee when she was just a few hours old…she’s the black one with the white collar



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Mona’s Wondering Does anyone really like SPAM??

Royce William’s SPAM Can Collection

I’m not talking about the state meat of Hawaii, though I know some people can be really intense about this canned culinary treat. Research shows SPAM came onto the market in 1937, and has been enjoyed by a multitude of happy eaters ever since. I do remember SPAM sliced and fried, eaten in a white bread sandwich when I was running around in the woods pretending that big cardboard box was a fort, or pirate ship, or castle.

Hmm, haven’t had any SPAM in a long time, and doubt I will again. But that’s a personal choice, one I make when I walk past the canned meat section of the grocery store.  My husband loved corned beef hash but he wanted his meat to come out of a can (all of which were produced in Argentina according to the labels) instead of me starting with a slab of beef brisket and producing something home made.  Again a personal choice, which I was happy to fulfill, as long as he would occasionally try (gasp) herbs in the roasted chicken.

Which brings me to the point of this post, and many I’ve recently read.  In Rock Your Writing Cathy references several excellent articles on how writers can torpedo their careers by excessive promotional enthusiasm.  Wow, that was pretty PC, wasn’t it? When actually I want to say: writers obnoxiously shoving their books in my face every time I open my e-mail. To the point I’ve automatically deleted their posts then had to dig into my trash file when I discover they actually had an important message to share.

Naturally this trend isn’t exclusive to writers. While enjoying a Facebook group dedicated to a specific area of interest, or related to my breed of dog, one of the group members will post an announcement about their wonderful skin products. Once is okay.  Twice is irritating. Three times, sweet cheeks, is spam in my world and you have severed that

Beamer in the wildflowers

Beamer in the wildflowers

last nerve. Ditto when I’m looking at pictures of someone’s litter, checking the link to the pedigree, maybe commenting on something I really enjoy, such as a specific color I like, or markings that remind me of one of my old dogs. Along comes someone with pictures of THEIR puppies with markings they KNOW I’m going to love. Since I’ve already seen these pictures five times today, given that they’ve been showing these puppies on every possible Facebook page, they’ve essentially sucked the pleasure out of the minuscule amount of time I allot to Facebook these days.

And I can hear the whining now.  How can we possibly promote our wonderful book? Writers from small presses don’t have the advantages of writers with the big guys.  Yeah, I know.  I’m with a small press myself. And I’m also in groups such as Marketing For Romance Writers that work hard to help us learn how to effectively present our books.  None of us are born great writers, and the most effective marketers learned their skills from the experience of others.  Do your homework, let others help you learn, and spend that time you’ve been marketing on your next book.

That’s what I’ve been doing, and the sequel to My Killer My Love is coming along so well, I forgot to share recipes.  Tomorrow, I promise.  And this one’s really for the dogs.


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Blogs to Help Writers, and a Chance to Help a Writer’s Son

I intended to start out this week sharing those blogs I visit regularly, which are a great help to me.  Kristen Lamb of course. Also Jenny Hansen’s blog, generally loaded with amazing information and tips.  And I’ve gone many times to David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants for inspiration to keep my posterior on the stool and fingers on the keyboard.

So I’d been planning to make this post about writing resources.  Except something happened last week, and instead I’m going to help spread the word about something that happened last week. to David Farland’s son Ben.  A bunch of wonderful writers are getting together to hold a Book Bombing and…I’ll let them tell you in their words:

Help Someone in Need: A Book Bomb for Ben Wolverton

Ben Wolverton, age 16, was in a tragic long-boarding accident on Wednesday the 4th, 2013. He suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drums, road rash, pneumonia, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.

Ben is the son of author David Farland, whose books have won multiple awards, and who is widely known as a mentor to many prominent authors, such as Brandon Sanderson, Stephenie Meyer, and Brandon Mull. Costs for Ben’s treatment are expected to rise above $1,000,0000. To help raise money for Ben, we are having a book bomb (focused on Nightingale and Million Dollar Outlines) on behalf of Ben.

You can learn more about Ben’s condition, or simply donate to the Wolverton family here:

What is a Book Bomb?

For those who don’t know, a Book Bomb is an event where participants purchase a book on a specific day to support the author, or, in this case, a young person in serious need: Ben Wolverton.

NightingaleDavid Farland’s young adult fantasy thriller Nightingale has won seven awards, including the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival—beating out ALL books in ALL categories. It has been praised by authors such as James Dashner (The Maze Runner), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn), and Paul Genesse (Iron Dragon series), and has received four and a half starts on Amazon. You can read reviews here:

(Book Synopsis)

Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness. Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was—what her people call a “nightingale.”

But Bron isn’t ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know. Bron’s secret may be the most dangerous of all.

Nightingale is available as a hardcover, ebook, audio book, and enhanced novel for the iPad.

You can purchase it on Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

on the Nightingale website:

or, you can get the enhanced version, complete with illustrations, interviews, animations, and its own soundtrack through iTunes:

If you are a writer, you may want to consider purchasing David Farland’sMillion Dollar Outlines instead. Both books are Million Dollar Outlinespart of the book bomb. Million Dollar Outlines has been a bestseller on Amazon for over a month and is only $6.99.

As a bestselling author David Farland has taught dozens of writers who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).

In Million Dollar Outlines, Dave teaches how to analyze an audience and outline a novel so that it can appeal to a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller. The secrets found in his unconventional approach will help you understand why so many of his authors go on to prominence.

Get it on Amazon:

Or on Barnes and Noble:  Read one of the 26 reviews here:

Would you like to just donate money? You can do that here: 

If you can’t spare any money, but would still like to help, you can do so by telling others about Ben’s donation page, and/or this Book Bomb. Share it on facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog—anywhere you can. We have an event page set up on facebook here:

Thank you!
Ben and his family greatly appreciate your support, and so do all who love and care about them.

* * *

As they said, any help is greatly appreciated. When a broken pelvis is considered a “minor” injury you know the accident was horrific.  Thank you

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Sharing Kristen Lamb’s Three Phases of Becoming a Master Author

Yep, back to Kristen Lamb’s wonderful blog.  This time it’s about growing as a writer, dealing with the levels necessary for success.  And most importantly it’s about not losing your love for writing along the way: Three Phases of Becoming a Master Author.

mastery blockMastery is when we return to that childlike beginning. How many times have we enjoyed drawings from very young artists, bursting off the page with energy and delight? These potential future masters might go on to study art, and some of them will indeed fulfill that early promise.  While some will allow day to day pressures overcome their original joy of creation. We can’t do much for others who have given up but we can bolster ourselves with the belief that we are as good as we once thought we were.  Let’s call it the once and future love of who we are and what we write.

Can this love of writing, once lost through the process of attempting to learn to write better, return at the same level?  Absolutely.  The same as  energetic but uncoordinated moves on the dance floor can become ballroom dancing. Or any other form of physical self expression, performed instinctively, then refined to mastery.

Now I’m going to share a deep dark secret.  It doesn’t happen overnight. Your first book might not be master status. Nor your second. And at some point you might become discouraged and think about giving it all up for Paracheesi or flower arranging or baking cookies for fund raisers.  All very admirable outlets for creative energy but are they a real substitute for sharing stories of great characters and intricate plots?

I’m sharing the work of an artist friend. Lorraine Trenholm has never lost her childlike love for all things artistic. Throughout any adversities she has continued to create lovely artwork.  This is a Saluki collage but her link will take lorraine's 057you to a wonderland of artistic delight.  Since I know so many fabulous artists, I’m going to introduce as many as I can over the next few months.  Enjoy.

But, write first.

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