Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Interview on The Author's Show and Book Release for "Makeup Your Mind"

So many great things have been happening in the past few weeks I hardly know where to begin!

Let’s start at the shortest update about the longest string of words I’ve put together in a long, long time. NaNoWriMo. I won!

At 50,169 words I validated my “novel” on November 22, 2017. It felt great getting this win for multiple reasons.

First, I found the beginnings of the next Shaw McLeary Mystery, Missing Miles.

Second, I had a CRAZY BUSY month and still managed to pull out a win (more on that in a minute…).

And, finally, this is the first time I’ve won in seven years. Holy crap that’s far too long! I’ve taken part in the challenge 4 times over those 7 years (2012, ’14, ’15, ’16) but this is my first real win since 2010.

Which leads me into other intertwined updates of course…

One of the main things I did over the past couple months, aside from NaNo, was some marketing and promotion for my recently released book 30 Chapters in 30 Days: Write a 50,000 word novel without feeling blocked.

First, I shared some of my personal and professional advice with the readers of the NaNo blog in my article: NaNo Prep: How to Write Believable Characters (and Push Your Word Count!).

With that article looming out there, plus a book telling people how to make it through the challenge of NaNoWriMo I kinda figured I should get through it this year as well. I mean, practice what you preach, right?


In the spirit of that, I also took part in another internet radio interview. As mentioned in the title, my interview giving even more detail and info on 30 Chapters went live on The Author’s Show TODAY!

I’m going to do my best to create a link to the interview so you all can come back and listen anytime you like but the first broadcast of the show is a brief 24 hours and then, poof, it’s gone off their website.

Listen to my Author’s Show interview here until November 30, 2017, just click on my name in the gray box.

What a crazy experience that interview turned out to be behind the scenes. And you know I’m all about the brutal honesty over here, especially about myself, so here’s the tea.

I nearly fucked up this entire thing.

Okay, that could be a bit over-dramatic but not much. The day I was supposed to talk there were timing issues (in AZ we don’t do DST but at the time of scheduling neither of us realized the clocks would flip). All of that was my fault for lack of preparation. Ugh. What I will blame on myself, but still hold a grudge against technology for, were my issues with Skype.

When I thought I was calling Don, my interviewer, I tried about ten times and Skype kept kicking me off/out and forcing me to log back in. I rebooted multiple times but my laptop is a dinosaur and takes FORever to do anything.

I was already 30 minutes “late” and panicked because I had a chiropractor appointment right after our interview. One more reboot and Skype seemed to finally want to work. But it was already too late. I had to jam.

I called from my cell and left Don a rambling, probably incoherent message about how sorry I was. As I pulled up to my chiro, I picked up the message he left while I was driving.

The one that said I was a full hour EARLY. Like I said, DST.

After all the confusion we managed to reschedule (bless him!), and on that day I tested Skype minutes before the interview (Matt is my hero!).

Don called, we chatted, I was prepared AF and feel like it was one of the better interviews I’ve ever done. Talking about that book while in the throes of NaNo reminded me I needed to open her up and take my own advice for how to get through the challenge.

It worked!

I have so many chapters that will be cut when I edit but it helped me better see the characters and where they were going. It also helped me step away from caring if my novel was perfect. And, not gonna lie, it felt great to rack up another NaNo win!

So, of course, because I didn’t have enough going on already, in the midst of NaNo I also listed my latest, book 3, in the California Dreamin’ Series, Makeup Your Mind for preorder on Amazon.

Click the title in that last paragraph, or right here to pick up your copy today!

My nail art at the beginning of this post is my nod to the book cover:

And I’m soooooo excited to get this one out there. Cherry Davis might be my favorite character I’ve written since Perth. She’s spunky, sexy, and self-sufficient. She’s a young retail whore living and working in the mid-nineties in coastal Cali.

I’m in love with her. Seriously. I might need to see a therapist.

But, regardless, her story officially hits the digital shelves tomorrow November 30, 2017 and I couldn’t be more excited!

It has been a fun, frustrating, but overall totally satisfying career month.

I’d love (LOVE!!!!!) you forever if you’ve already read either 30 Chapters or Makeup Your Mind if you’d be so kind as to review them on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews don’t really count for an author until there are at least 25 so please tell your friends, share the book love, share your opinion (even if you hated them both, I literally don’t care just review!).


And now, look out December, I’m coming in hot for a vacation. After the month I’ve worked, it feels like I’ve earned a week off.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Is it Cheating if I Paste this Entire Post into my NaNo Draft?

I still love you even though I've moved on to Shaw.
Yeah, I know. I’m not supposed to be blogging. I’m supposed to be typing like a rabid squirrel in my silly manuscript document right now. I’m not supposed to be doing anything other than crafting my new book.

The one just shy of halfway to a NaNo win. The one everyone is already sick of hearing about.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Because we’re right here in the midst of week 2 and I swear, I got nothin’. At least, not today. All I got is a lot of complaining over a bad day at work. You’re welcome. Everyone has them, you know. This job is a motherfucker most of the time.

Writers are already very solitary creatures most of the time. When we’re working on projects most other stuff falls by the wayside. But force us to do our jobs? Force us to stay trapped indoors until our fingers pound out the designated, daily word count? Eventually we will grow to resent you.

Don’t tell me how to live, NaNo!

The “you” we resent in this case, in case it wasn’t clear, is NaNo in general. But, honestly, I know I have to keep reminding myself what’s on the line, the beginnings of a new book, even though I’m sick of hearing myself talk about this stupid challenge.

I feel like one of those vegans who can’t help tell literally everybody they’re vegan. You know the type. You’re together at the mall in the Hallmark store or somewhere equally free of food, fur, etc. with your loved one who happens to be vegan.

Approaching the cashier, who asks how we’re doing, your companion answers, “I’m vegan, thanks, and you?”

To which the cashier responds with a look of confusion mixed with uncertainty if she should ring up the order or quit to go work on a farm somewhere.

I’m literally the militant vegan of writers right now.

“Hi, I’m doing NaNo so if you want to talk to me I’ll need to record our conversation to later transcribe into my manuscript. Thanks so much.”

Ugh. We get it, you’re a writer. Just shut up about stupid NaNo, will ya?

Gladly. In about 30,000 more words.

The problem is, while I’ve allowed this challenge to consume my every thought, there’s still Makeup Your Mind. My poor, all but forgotten novella! I finished her and my excitement level soared. Cherry Davis was about to become a living character in the real world outside my laptop. Yes!

The pre-order link for Makeup Your Mind is live and everything!

And…enter NaNoWriMo.

Promptly forget all about your favorite character and her sexy little mid-twenties coming of age story. Forget that Cherry Davis has all kinds of dreams. Forget that you should, I don’t know, tell people about this book that drops in a mere 21 days.

Create an ad. Some press releases. Blog posts. Something?


I have no idea what I was thinking, taking on this challenge this year. But then I think, when the heck else would Missing Miles get a start if it wasn’t during NaNo?

Because, the funny thing about my Shaw McLeary Mysteries, every single one of them were born during a NaNo. A couple were during summer camp when the NaNo folks toast up some s’mores (wait, no, some ooey gooey s’mores, more words) and one during the traditional November challenge.

So obviously I’m feeling the pull to work this one out during a NaNo challenge. Because Shaw deserves my irritation and ridicule now so I don’t have to subject her to my scornful ways when I actually start writing her book.

Did you think I’d get a real manuscript out of NaNo? Sorry to disappoint but I generally use this month as the challenge to find the story they want to tell by writing them into situations they sometimes can’t even get out of. That’s so the real book reads without plot holes or other major issues.

(Hand to forehead, Major Issues)

And, in the spirit of issues, I’ve procrastinated entirely enough already today. If I expect to get to 50,000 by the end of the month, I can’t fall back on the three day pad I’ve built.

I need to put on my big girl pants and get typing in my other document.

Because, despite my title question, I refuse to cheat. None of these 750 words count.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Is Anyone Still Falling for this Scam?

Okay, I get it. The world is smaller, population larger, and employment pool shallow. So, if we want to survive in this world, we better be able to fend for ourselves. Get creative and learn how to make money in non-traditional ways.

But, is this idiot serious?

Wait. Let me back up for a second. This part of the backstory is important.

I got my first email address in 1997. It was an exciting time for me. Mostly, because I worked for a company that created and implemented healthcare software. I think. Honestly, I was the greenest person where IT was concerned.

No joke. Ten years or so prior to getting that job I sat in an office only a mile up the road as my mom worked an on-call shift and I uttered the words, “nobody in the world will ever use those stupid computer things. Who wants that in their house?”


In my defense, computers in the late eighties weren’t exactly the graphic wonders of ease they are today. They were big and clunky and so expensive my mom would have needed five jobs just to afford one of the things.

Fast forward to 1997.

Computers, for better or worse, were a thing everyone wanted in their house.


Tired of a life of being a retail whore, I decided to get an entry level job in an office. Your friendly Receptionist, Jenn, at your service.

I started as a temp. It was the easiest work I ever did. And I don’t mean to demean Receptionists by saying that, there is a lot of work to do, it’s just, that work isn’t exactly solving the world’s problems. Or coding software.

Learn the phone system, everyone’s name, and password to the computer and literally anyone who can say “Thank you for calling MMS, how can I direct your call?” can do my first corporate job.

Monkey work. I was fucking great at that job. Zero real responsibility. Twice the pay I made at the mall. Every weekend off. Button pusher. Big fake smiler for visitors and employees. If I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do with my life right now, I swear I would go back and get a job as a Receptionist. One with zero ambition of advancement.

But that’s another story. This one is about why all that time in corporate America has me questioning the motivations of people in these modern times.

As a gal working with a bunch of techie types in most every corporate job I ever held, I guess I was at an advantage over the average Joe. I got my education on the job.

As little as I knew about the online world when I started that first job, nowadays, I’m pretty well seasoned to the internet-at-large. 1997 was the same year I heard the term ‘urban legend’ for the first time.

I distinctly remember when and why one of my co-workers shared those two glorious words. An email. Of course it was a freaking email. There was no other way to internet scam people back in those days other than through email.

We didn’t have social media. We had chat rooms. Nobody even used their real name, we certainly weren’t asking for each other’s bank account information. We talked about stuff like football and movie stars.

The email in question, however, scared me. Some poor person had their kidney removed and woke up in a bathtub full of ice!

I mean, can you even imagine?

I was a club girl. For years my nights from Thursday through Sunday were spent in dark, smoke-filled, loud-as-fuck nightclubs. Most of the time I was broke. And I loved (correction: still love) to dance. I also despise falling over. So 90% of the time I went dancing, I was stone sober.

Club guys didn’t like that. They wanted me drunk and pliable. Sucks to be them. Thanks for asking, you can get me a bottled water and I’ll let you grind up on me on the dance floor. But you probably won’t be taking me home. This is about dancing mofo.

So, when I opened that email I started thinking of the other 10% of the time. The times I went out and actually had a couple bucks to spend as well as a desire to get plastered. How easy would it be to wake up in a hotel room after being drugged? How easy would it be for someone to surgically remove my kidney and leave me to die in a tub?

I clicked forward and sent that warning to most of the people I knew.

Moments later, I learned the term urban legend, as provided by one of the techs at the company. He was, of course, nice enough about it but made sure to let me know it was in fact a scam.

From then on I learned to filter the internet through my cynicism before forwarding anything.

But, just to be safe, I pretty much stopped drinking when I went dancing.

That urban legend email was the day my curiosity with the interwebs came to a screeching halt. Wait, what? People try to steal your money online? And nobody has lost a kidney in a hotel bathroom?

My mind flashed back to the office with my mom. I suddenly wished I’d stuck to my guns. Computers were nothing more than a big waste of time. Right?

I got all the scams, but was lucky enough to know they were false. So, I guess I assume that twenty years later everyone with an email address has seen and dismissed just about every email scam that’s ever been tried. That old scams were forever a thing of the past.

That is, until I opened my email this morning and read this:

Dear: Friend.Assalammu'Alaikum I am Mr Hamza Mohammed, I need your assistance to transfer an abandoned sum of(US$20.5million us Dollars) into your Bank account 50/percent will be your share,50% for me and 10% for any income expenses that will come during the transfer,I need your assistance only keep the business secretly. No risk involved but keeps it as secret. Contact me for more details. Please reply me through my alternative email id only for confidential reasons,( ) I am waiting for your urgent respond to enable us proceed further for the transfer. Yours faithfully,Mr Hamza Mohammed.


I mean, if this former tech neophyte could learn what not to do online then I figured everyone with an email already knows to filter shit like this to spam.

Who is still falling for this con that someone is still selling this con as legit?

Does anyone think they might hear about millions of dollars in abandoned money (earmarked for them) in a freaking email? No, I mean, like I said, I was once very green too but come on. Even back then I never would have fallen for something like that. Who just gives a stranger their bank account information?

Who reads this and thinks, “Oh good, my ship finally came in!”

The email alone tells us everything.

Things wrong:

1. The email sender: I know some people still use AOL but, really? Again, welcome back to 1997. I’m pretty sure if I get an email that someone wanted to give me up to 10 million dollars it would come from

2. Math. Look, I’m a writer and numbers aren’t exactly my forte if you will, but even I know the clichĂ© of “I gave it 150%” can’t be real. 100% is the actual maximum available. Especially when we’re talking about a finite number. For example, “US$20.5million us Dollars.” So if we take “50/percent,” and add that to “50% for me,” then again add 10%, I’m simply left scratching my head. Where exactly does Hamza expect to find “10% for any income expenses” lying around? Which one of us must sacrifice our $2mil to these foreseen expenses?

3. That grammar. I literally can’t even. That sentence is about as fragmented as it gets and it still makes more sense than any single sentence in Hamza’s email.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the 1997 throwback (especially with a book set in the mid-nineties about to drop [Makeup Your Mind] I’m pretty much all about the decade right now), but the guy might as well have told me someone was going to steal half my liver and stitch me up with yarn.

I know better. That 10% of the time I spent drinking took care of my liver.

Try again Scammy McScammerson.

Photo courtesy quick meme

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.