Pulling the Plug on Social Media

It’s official. I’m out of Facebook and Twitter for good.

Why?

When I landed book deals with a couple of publishers several years ago, they recommended I join some social media sites to a) get my name out there, b) interact with readers/fans, and c) promote my work. There were no real instructions as to how to accomplish those three tasks once my accounts were set up, and for me, vague recommendations just don’t cut it.

I’ll admit, I did enjoy the cat videos, Forrest Gump memes, and the occasional Chuck Norris jokes (Before going to bed, the Boogie Man checks the closet for Chuck Norris…). Photos of friend’s gardens, their grandchildren, and pets sleeping in crazy positions made me smile. But the bombardment of political opinions and re-posts of un-researched and un-true news, quotes, and quasi “facts” more than tipped the scale in the opposite direction.

Most of all, for ME, social media was a vortex that sucked large quantities of time and gave little in return. If I was writing and the muse just wasn’t tickling my creative side, I’d pop over to FB to…to…to…I dunno. Certainly not to find inspiration. It had become an addiction, plain and simple. A go-to place to relieve boredom and veg out.

I judge no one. If you’re happy with social media, wonderful. I’m glad you enjoy it. Really.

I’ll still be here. Hanging out at the house. Writing. You know… Living large. (LOL)

Until next time…

Irene

Full ugly cry.

When I read a book, I judge the author’s writing strength by very simple criteria.

I’m not terribly concerned about a few typos or a couple of boo-boos with punctuation. Minor formatting errors mean nothing to me. The criteria I’m looking for is this: Can the author make me laugh, cry, get angry, smile, feel nervous, or afraid? Will the story evoke primal emotions in such a way that I feel fully immersed in the lives of the characters? That’s the kind of writer I strive to be.

Recently, I was blessed by a reader who wrote a blog about Justice for Hattie Mayfair, the first book I’d written outside my normal romance genre. I hadn’t strayed far, but this story had added elements of suspense. In her blog post, the reader gave me the best compliment I’ve ever received as a writer. Her comment let me know I had hit the mark. That she felt things. Deeply. Here’s a snippet of what she said…

“I can tell you I was on my toes most of time. I sat on the edge of my seat, laughed, and shed a few tears. Especially at the end… full ugly cry!”

Full ugly cry. I love it.

Something to do during quarantine.

Hello again!

Everybody doing okay? Hanging in there with all this “social distancing” and everything else that’s going on? It’s a stressful time for some folks. Understandably so. I hope you and your loved ones have been physically untouched by COVID-19 even if the world is turned a bit upside down.

To help during this time, my dear author friends, Beatrice Fishback, Dana K. Ray, and Linda Robinson, and I, have decided to run a 99¢ sale on a few of our books. All are available in Kindle Unlimited as well. We hope you enjoy them.

So, here we go…

99¢ for a limited time (April 21-27)

Check it out!

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Here’s one for young adults.

Faith and Family Series, book 1

Set in 1987 on a Southern plantation in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Natalie’s Choices depicts teen angst, family relationships, and the consequences of both right and wrong choices. Can Natalie and Tori’s friendship endure the endless trials life throws at them?

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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No matter how hard you try…

There’s No Reasoning with Love

In their teens and deeply in love, India Jackson and Vince Mancini are torn apart by a lie concocted by their fathers that separates and takes them down two diverse paths.

But then LIFE happens and their journeys are set on a collision course. Love is complicated. Sometimes, no reasoning to it at all.

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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How do you love someone who’s totally absorbed in themself?

Shelley Auburn, executive for Universal Station, a competitive website designed to take over every major worldwide web, will stop at nothing to become the primary shareholder. The best course of action is marrying the heir apparent, Patrick Malloy. Will Shelley marry Patrick for his wealth and finally have everything she has labored for, or will unexpected circumstances open her eyes to a world of unimaginable love that plunge her headlong into its embrace?

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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Loyalty to the family is all that matters.

Brothers, Antony and Sonny Luciano grew up knowing exactly what their lives would hold.

Antony, driven by power and money, is prepared to take over the streets his father runs. Sonny reluctantly surrenders to a similar fate until their mother’s fresh talk about her faith births in him a hope of a better future.

One bullet changed their destinies forever.

~***~

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

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A small-town romance with all the big-time feels.

Rachel Valentino’s life is turned upside down…by a tornado.

Things only get worse when her sister dumps her pre-teen daughter on Rachel then disappears for months on end.

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

The Preacher and the Shopkeeper

It’s here! Get your Kindle copy for 99¢ for a limited time.

Here’s the back-cover synopsis:

Industrial City, Ava Starling’s hometown, is struggling to survive with businesses and industries closing and jobs at a minimum. She’s desperately trying to help assist the needy through the thrift store she owns and operates, but homelessness is on the rise. Ava doubts the recent assignment of the young and handsome Brandon Sparks as senior pastor of the defunct Union Street Church can breathe hope into empty hearts. 

When Ava and Brandon meet, sparks fly but misunderstandings and trust issues ensue. Only Ava’s mother knows the true reason behind her daughter’s resistance to the new pastor, but it’s only a matter of time before Brandon discovers why Ava holds animosity toward him. Will she learn to accept his offers of help or continue to resist his hand of friendship? Working together to meet the needs of the community might forever change both their lives more than either can ever anticipate.


What’s Next?

That’s the question I ask myself once I’ve finished writing and publishing my latest book. Awake into the wee hours, my mind is a whirlwind of activity. Will I dive into writing a trilogy? Dabble with a stand-alone novel? Maybe come up with a couple of short stories for giveaways?

Decisions, Decisions.

A lot of my stories start with a series of “what-ifs.” The possibilities are endless.

And so, the idea for my next novel, The Preacher and the Shopkeeper, began to take shape:

What if my heroine lived in a declining city where homelessness is on the rise? And, what if she owns a thrift shop and uses the proceeds to benefit those in need?

What if a young preacher accepted a pastorate at a church only to find an empty building with no congregants except for a slightly eccentric live-in custodian?

Excellent! We now have a heroine and a hero.

And, fleshing it out, we have a back-cover synopsis for our story:

Industrial City, Ava Starling’s hometown, is struggling to survive with businesses and industries closing and jobs at a minimum. She’s desperately trying to help assist the needy through the thrift store she owns and operates, but homelessness is on the rise. Ava doubts the recent assignment of the young and handsome Brandon Sparks as senior pastor of the defunct Union Street Church can breathe hope into empty hearts.

When Ava and Brandon meet, sparks fly but misunderstandings and trust issues ensue. Only Ava’s mother knows the true reason behind her daughter’s resistance to the new pastor, but it’s only a matter of time before Brandon discovers why Ava holds animosity toward him. Will she learn to accept his offers of help or continue to resist his hand of friendship? Working together to meet the needs of the community might forever change both their lives more than either can ever anticipate.

Coming Soon!

THE PREACHER AND THE SHOPKEEPER

Motivation VS Discipline

coffee-156144__340I’m just sitting here waiting for my second cup of coffee to magically move from the kitchen counter, where I left it, to my office, where I’m too lazy to get up and go get it. Maybe if I see hubby going that way…

mission-3568221__340Here’s a thought. Totally random. I remember when a friend and I went to a writer’s conference where we listened to two motivational speakers. One was very interesting, the other, meh. Anyway, we all left the room pumped up after the one particular guy’s presentation. Yeah, we’re gonna do this! Wow, wasn’t he good? Man, am I amped up. Woo-hoo!

image.pngBut what it all amounted to, come to think of it, was getting our psychological balloons inflated with hot air. Then, when the rah-rah-rah wore off, we were in the same boat as before. We all wanted success, and it was nice to hear about his series of lucky breaks, how pieces fell into place, and the stars lined up to create stair-steps to the pinnacle of literary fame.

So why’d I bring this up, anyway? I dunno. The coffee’s still in the kitchen. I want it. Bad. I know how good it’ll feel to have it. To wrap my hands around my favorite mug, feel the warmth penetrating the ceramic shell, making my skin feel wonderful. The anticipation and want-to is there.

I’m motivated!

But I’m not disciplined.

Where are all “Disciplinal” speakers? Do they exist? Or, maybe they’re just too busy “doing” to put down their hoes, wrenches, and battle gear to get on stage and give a talk to us lazy, undisciplined, deflated slugs?

Man, I really, really want that coffee.

Rant over. As you were.divider-36856_960_720

Click HERE to visit me and my books on Amazon.

Book collage

 

Old Memories

Happy Valentines Day!

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My good friend, author Linda Robinson, has been married for over 60 years.  I love her fictional characters, Nellie and Herman, who so apty paint laugh-out-loud pictures that illustrate what it’s like to be in a long-term marital relationships. Here’s one of Linda’s tales…

Enjoy!

Old Memories

A satire on aging by Linda Robinson

“Here it is.” Herman flipped his turn signal and steered the car left onto a washboard dirt road.

Nellie gasped and white-knuckled the armrest. “Geez, slow down to turn next time!”

“Who’s driving? You or me?”

“Well, with you almost deaf and won’t wear your hearing aids, plus your bad eyesight, it takes two of us.”

“Pfft.”

“Uh…I don’t think this is the right road, Herm. Don’t remember that old run-down shanty swallowed in kudzu,” Nellie leaned forward and rotated her snow-capped head ninety degrees, “or that stagnant old fish pond covered in lily pads.”

“That, dear Nellie, is not a pond. It’s Lake Jessup.”

“Pond, lake, lagoon or mud hole…what’s the difference? I don’t remember it.”

“Well, I may be nearly deaf and half blind, but at least I’ve still got a good sense of direction and some memory left. Yours went south!”

“What a crappy thing to say, Herm!”

“Speaking of crappy, I sure hope we catch a mess of ’em.”

“Quit changing the subject. Apologize.”

“Do you think making fun of my hearing and eyesight was a compliment?”

“I was just stating facts.”

“Pfft! So was I.” He slapped the steering wheel with his palm. “Remind me what it is I’m s’posed to be sorry for.”

“Herm, this was a terrible idea you had for us to celebrate our seventieth anniversary by going fishing.”

“Anniversary? When…I didn’t…who suggested…?”

“Oh Lord, Herman! Turn around right now. You talk about my memory going south, but at least I do remember…eventually. We live in Alabama now. Lake Jessup is way out in the sticks in Florida, where we went fishing over fifty years ago. Remember the baby gators we saw in the deep ditch?”

“Yeah, how could I forget you freakin’ out on me?”

“No, I freaked out a week later when I read a long article in the Orlando Sentinel about Lake Jessup. Locals nicknamed it Alligator Lake, and that’s why nobody was fishing there except us. Only people to ever go there were gator poachers who went at night.”

Whatever. Now, Nellie, don’t you go telling our young’uns ’bout this. They’ll have another pow-wow and try to take my car again.”

“Tell them about what, Herman? I declare. Sometimes your crazy notions flabbergast me. Watch out for that pothole! How much longer before we get to Lake Jessup?”

The End!

Copyright © 2016 Linda Robinson, all rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission from Truth & Southern-Fried Fiction

Click on the images below to learn more about each of Linda’s fantastic books.

 

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The Art of the Kiss

 

The art of the kiss 

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Every romance novel you’ve ever read, with few exceptions, starts out with several things in common. The couple meets. There is an undeniable attraction. Eventually, there’s a first kiss; an important kiss that sets the tone for the rest of the hero and heroine’s relationship.


It is the author’s job to get this initial smooch just right. And, with the help of a popular Internet star, I hope to show you what goes through the author’s mind before their fictional hero and heroine lock lips for the very first time.

The Internet star I’m speaking of is April, a fifteen-year-old giraffe who is expecting a calf any day at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY. This will be the fifth calf for April, and the first for Oliver, her five-year-old mate. (Uh-oh. Does this make April a cougar?) A live-feed camera lets visitors view the April’s every move, and several of my Facebook friends seem enthralled with monitoring the long-necked expectant mother.

So, without further ado, here are some things an inspirational romance author like me considers when formulating that first kiss…

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Here, whether initiated by the hero or heroine, the invitation for the kiss is waaay too forward. Eyes closed, neck extended, the tongue… Whoa, Nellie. Nix that idea.

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Next we have the lips-only kiss. If anyone is going to “practice” this one, it’s going be the heroine. We’ll call her April. April figures tonight’s the night the hero will finally kiss her. So, a little rehearsal is in order.

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But what if the hero is a bit more passionate. Or, maybe he’s the aggressive type. What kind of kiss then? April steps up her game and gets a little feistier with her “practice” kiss.

 

 

Any way you look at it, the author has to describe that first kiss in a way that will make the reader feel that she is there, feeling the winter wind, the summer breeze, or the grass underneath her toes as the hero delivers what can henceforth never be a “first” again.

Therein lies the daunting task of a romance writer.

Dying to Eat at the Pub

Presenting…

Dying to Eat at the Pub

A Jim and Dotty Weathervane Cozy Mystery

by Beatrice Fishback

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Dying to Eat at the Pub, is set in a small English village adjacent to a U.S. military base. It’s the perfect place for Americans Jim and Dotty Weathervane’s leisurely life after Jim’s retirement from the U.S. armed forces. This backdrop of mixed cultures is ripe for misunderstandings and perhaps even murder.

Join the gregarious Dotty and her husband Jim, along with a slew of locals who try their hand at solving two deaths: one an American ex-serviceman and the other a beautiful woman named Amy.

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ON SALE NOW! Click HERE for more information on purchasing.

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