Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Writing Friends and Family

Muse It Up Publishing
I just read a fantastic post on Gail Branan's blog, Flowers on the Fence.  She begins one  post with

Flowers on the Fence Country is big. It expands to include anyplace wherein resides one of my special flowers. It encompasses Malta, New Jersey, California, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, England.

This talented writer is telling us how her world has expanded by meeting so many writers through her journey of writing and publishing.

This is exactly how I feel. My world is so much bigger after I turned to writing full time. I have met people from all over the world on writer's blogs, forums and chats. What marvelous technology brings these folks together. Amazing close relationships, sharing and caring occur between strangers who have never physically met, and yet their hearts join across the miles. Without even hearing them speak...only through their words online, they become important to us.

The clever, caring, intelligent authors and staff at Muse It Up Publishing are members of a very special sorority/fraternity who are helpful and generous. I am amazed at each of their talents, not only with the gift of painting word pictures and meaningful thoughts, but with their sense of humor and unselfish support of each other. I am proud to be associated with them and thrilled to call them my friends. 

The Writers Chatroom

Every Wednesday and Sunday evening I have the opportunity to connect with writers at the Writers Chatroom. Audrey Shaffer is dedicated to offering this platform for writers to learn about the publishing, marketing, ins and outs of this complicated industry. (Watch out though, she gets out the whip to keep this rowdy bunch in line.) We laugh and commiserate through fast-paced remarks and thoughtful comments. The page rolls fast when we are on a Wednesday night topic 8 pm- 10 pm Eastern. Audrey showcases a published author every Sunday evening 7 pm-9 pm Eastern. Joining in here is like being part of a family...yeah, including those bratty big brothers and wild and crazy sisters. You're invited to join in on the fun and learn a LOT about the writing business.

My life has been enriched by the folks I have met through these opportunities. What a delight to be a writer!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Picture Tour of Traverse City, MI Area

Last weekend, we camped in the Traverse City, Michigan area. What a perfect chamber of commerce day for the State of Michigan. The trees are not colored up yet, even though this area is two hours north of us. I guess I just get so anxious to see the fall colors. Michigan's colors are fabulous usually. I heard on the news, the foliage would be late turning this year to the dry weather in August. I really will have to practice patience.

Hope you enjoy this picture tour of the Leelanau Peninsula and the Leland Fishtown Festival. So many cars at the car show. I had never experienced a boat show similar to this one with the boats moored for inspection. Beautiful!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Heather Haven Guests Today--Win a Copy of Her Book

Hello Readers,

Please welcome my very special guest, mystery author, Heather Haven. Heather writes a series of books about the delightfully entertaining Alvarez family. Heather pens a variety of personalities in her intriguing mysteries keeping the reader glued to the pages wondering what's next. You'll enjoy reading about her series in her post today with a focus on her "middle child," A Wedding to Die For.

Her first book in the series is Murder is a Family Business, the second or middle child of the series is A Wedding to Die For, and soon to be released third book, Death Runs in the Family from Muse It Up Publishing. Today, Heather is feeling a bit guilty about neglecting her second book. Read on to discover why, then leave a comment to WIN a copy of A Wedding to Die For.........

When the first book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series came out last January, I almost threw a ticker-tape parade. The main protagonist of this humorous series is Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitch’ Stephanie Plum. This 34-year old divorcee works as a private investigator in the family business, Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of computer software. Since the death of Lee’s father, her beautiful ice-princess mother, Lila, has taken over as CEO and head of the business. Lee’s younger brother, Richard, is the head of Research and Information Technology. Her Uncle Tío is a retired head chef of a well-known Mexican restaurant. Even the new foundling kitten, Tugger, becomes head of the household in Lee’s small, two-bedroom apartment over the family garage. Lee isn’t head of squat, thank you. But she’s got the heart of a lion, eyes the color of twilight, and the instincts of a first-rate PI, which is good, because she’s always getting herself into trouble.
Ever since the first book came out, I’ve been blogging, promoting, bragging about, interviewing for, and in general being pretty obnoxious about Murder is a Family Business, the fore-runner of the series. At the same time, I was in the process of writing the 3rd book of the series, Death Runs in the Family. Every writer knows there is nothing as all-consuming as the current project.
But somewhere along the line, the 2nd book of the series, A Wedding to Die For, has fallen by the wayside. It quietly got published April 22nd and came in, not as a lion, but as a mewing lamb. You could say, this is my middle child. I’ve read lots of articles proclaiming the middle child is often the one apt to be overlooked, even by the most caring of mothers. Well, just smack me silly. How could I do that to my little darling?
I mean, this is such a fun story! It starts out with troubled upcoming nuptials, due to the groom being arrested for murder. Even the most Bridezilla of us can’t pull off a wedding without a groom; nobody’s that good. Enter an ancient, missing statue of a blue dog, a crushed diamond stud earring, and our gal, Lee Alvarez, is off to the high mountains of Mexico, amid spectacular views and 16th century cities, in search of pilfered Mesoamerican artifacts. Throw in a mysterious, gorgeous guy who keeps popping up in the oddest places, add a couple of dead bodies, toss in a kidnapping or two, sprinkle it with laughs, and top the whole thing off with the best tasting tamales ever. That’s the recipe for A Wedding to die For, sitting on the countertop of life waiting for someone to gobble it up.
I have to face it. I’ve been a neglectful, lacking mother. I’ve failed my middle child, who never asked to be born in the first place. All it wants is a little love and attention. Here goes: Who loves ya, baby? Who loves her widdle A Wedding to Die For, sweetie-pie, like nobody’s business? Who just wants to hug the words right off your pages? Me, your mumsie, that’s who.
Whoops! Still not enough?
Okay, I have to try to make it up to the little tyke. Below is an excerpt from the 2nd book, A Wedding to Die For.

Via a random drawing, one person who leaves a comment on this site will get a 
FREE pdf copy.
              I did the same for Murder is a Family Business, and as we all know, what you do for one kid, you gotta do for the other!do for one kid, you gotta do for the other!


Chapter One
I Love to Cry At Weddings

Dragging out a dog-eared, worn sheet of legal- size yellow paper, I read it carefully. “Wow! I don’t think there’s much more.” I giggled with relief. “I signed the contract with the two bands yesterday. One is an eleven-piece mariachi band that our very own Richard plays guitar with now and then. He’s agreed to play a set with them. I thought that was a nice touch. The alternating band is a three-piece jazz combo. Something for everyone.”
“Indeed,” Mom responded.
“Allied Arts is renting us the restaurant for the reception, including the outside patios, from five-thirty to eleven-thirty p.m. Do you think ten cases of champagne, plus five cases each of Chardonnay and a Napa cab are enough?”
“That sounds more than sufficient. What else?”
I started counting off items on my fingers. “Bridal shower, next week. Richard is in charge of the bachelor party. The tuxes are ordered. The gowns arrive this afternoon, and I have two seamstresses set up for the fittings. I haven’t seen a picture or rendering of the designs yet, but I’ll bet they’re incredible. Mr. McFadden designed them himself, something he hasn’t done for years. He said he chose a ‘theme,’ which reminds me, I’ll have to get samples of the fabric to the florist. Don’t you own one or two of Warren McFadden’s dresses?”
“No. I find him a little avant-garde, Liana,” Mom said.
“I think they call it cutting-edge now, Mom,” I corrected.
“If you say so.” She smiled and changed the subject. “Did you find a photographer?”
“Yes, finally. I thought I was going to have to buy a camera and take pictures, myself.”
“Who is it?”
“Did you know the reason the wedding got canceled that was supposed to take place at Mem Chu was because the bride came out of the closet and is now living in San Francisco with her lover, Charlene?”
“Get to the point, dear.”
“I thought you might be interested in hearing the lead-in.”
“Oh. Well, anyway, this guy was supposed to be their photographer, so he was available. I’ve seen his portfolio. He’s good.”
“That sounds fine,” Lila said, somewhat mollified. “What about the rehearsal dinner? Didn’t John offer to take care of that part of the festivities?”
“Originally, but he had to bow out due to a heavy work schedule.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Yes,” I said and nothing more. My latest love had been pulling back big-time on a lot of things, but I didn’t want to admit it or deal with it yet. “However, Carlos took over and got us a private room at the new Japanese steakhouse for after we go through our paces.” I looked at the tattered list again with all the checkmarks indicating completion and would have done cartwheels around the room if I hadn’t been so tired.
“Mom, I think I’ve done it. After I order the flowers and take care of the fittings, I’m done,” I said with pride. “This wedding is completely done and Good-to-Go.”
            Five hours later, I stood in front of a mirror, enveloped in what felt like eighty yards of a chartreuse moiré taffeta laughingly called “Whipped Lime.” Between the starched crinoline underskirt, ruffled hem of the overskirt, and tufted bodice, all in a hideous yellow-green, I looked like a New Year’s Eve float depicting baby poo.
I ripped open the other boxes to find matching gowns in different odious colors sporting the names of “Pineapple Fizz,” “Mango Madness,” “Orange Frappe,” and “Passion Fruit Frazzle.” Mr. McFadden had created a theme, all right. Jamba Juice Rejects. And in moiré taffeta. When Mom called his work avant-garde, she was being kind.
The phone rang, but I was afraid to move. On top of how I looked, any movement sounded like leaves trapped in a wind tunnel. No wonder no one wore taffeta anymore, I thought. Noise pollution. One of the seamstresses answered the phone and slapped it into my frozen hand.
“Hello?” I said.
“Lee, it’s me. We need your help,” Mira said. Her voice sounded frantic and as if she’d been crying.
“Mira? Are you all right?”
“No, I’m not,” she sobbed. “Carlos is being arrested for murder.”
“What?” I said, sinking straight to the floor, buried in a mound of taffeta. “Carlos is being arrested for murder?”
“Yes, they say he murdered the thief who broke into our apartment last night. They’re taking him away,” she wailed.
“Wait a minute. What thief? What murder? Mira, what’s going on?” She tried to tell me, but between the hysteria, coughing, and wheezing, I couldn’t understand her.
“Never mind,” I interrupted. “Hold tight. I’ll be right there.” I struggled to my feet and thought, with the groom arrested for murder maybe this Good-to-Go wedding just Got Up and Went.


You can find the first chapter of book two, A Wedding to Die For, in its entirety and book one, Murder is a Family Business, on Heather's website:

For some other internet things,

Follow Heather's blog at:

Follow her character Lee Alvarez's daily Twitters at: http://twitter. com/PILeeAlvarez

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Free Writers Online Conference Oct. 3 - 9

Go now to the Muse Online Writers Conference site and REGISTER  FREE for one of the best writer- learning experiences you will ever have. There is absolutely no cost for this event. You may make a donation if you feel you wish to do so. Let me tell you the information, the networking, the knowledge you receive in that week is PRICELESS!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Patriot Day--Moving On from 9/11

Patriot Day is to remember and honor those who lost their lives on this day, 9/11. Then from the tragedy, we can re-build and re-new our efforts to heal deep wounds and to find peace for our world.

This song helps to say it the best.

I Have a Dream by Donnelly/Strid

I have a dream for all the people in the world
That peace, hope, and freedom will ring.
Yes I have a dream.

For the entire song lyrics, click the link to I Have a Dream

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blog Hop Thursday--

Every Thursday the Sassy Brit invites authors to answer a question provided by an affiliate author. It's fun to "hop" around cyberspace to discover each author's post on this question. Join us today as we answer Faith Luna's question.

What do you dream of accomplishing with your writing?  Question provided by affiliate authorFaith Luna

In a perfect world, readers pick up my books and jump for joy that there is another fantastic opportunity to be entertained with beautiful word phrases, clear word pictures, unique characters, and clever twists. 

While bringing joy and escape to my reader's life, I also embed some of my rants on social and environmental issues. In Sunshine Boulevard, I have subtle comments on humankind encroaching on nature, upsetting the ecological environment, over-medication of senior citizens, and the disrespect for older citizens. Let me assure you, I do not beat the reader over the head with my beliefs, but if you re-read the story, you will discover these issues.

Writing is a way to get my voice heard and to release my frustration about issues. Hopefully the reader will pick up on that.

Thank you for stopping by. Now click back to the Blog Hop page to read more blogs on this subject.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Family Camp on Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan shore
Hi Readers,

I haven't posted for awhile because we camped along the shore of Lake Michigan at our church family camp. There is no Internet access. At first I missed not hopping on to check email, Facebook, and favorite blogs. But then I discovered it was rather freeing not to have to do it. By the end of the week, however, I was getting antsy to get back online to "gab" with everyone again.

We had a lot of fun. I'll share a few pictures with you. I wish I had more, but I was enjoying the skies and waters and all the events instead of thinking of toting the camera with me.

Our four grandsons spent four days with us. Love the campfire.
Corbin busted the pinata on Friday morning.
Not all play...Our group split and stacked about 3 cords of wood.
Try climbing these steps up the dune then down to the campground.  The green kayaks were a lot of fun for the kids.
Beautiful woods. It looks very peaceful, serene, eh? Not with four boys...LOL.