Sunday, January 10, 2016

Favorite types of reading material

    I just recently released my novel The Dark Lady into an audio version. There were more immediate sales than I had expected. I am averaging about 10 audio sales a day, more than either my eBook or my paperback did in the beginning. This got me thinking about the way things have changed for readers in respects to the way people buy and "read" books.
      My favorite way to read is to curl up with a good paperback, a warm blanket and a good cup of coffee. I do like hardbacks, but to me they look better on the shelf than they feel in my hands. They are more cumbersome and harder to read for me, though I do have some that I buy in hardbound. Stephen King I usually buy in Hardbound anymore, but that is because I don't want to wait for the paperback version to be released. I love the feel and sound of a book as you flip through the pages, and although some people think me odd I love the smell of books, old or new. Although the new on demand printing doesn't have the same good smell as the large printing presses. The thing I think I was looking forward to more than anything else when I published my book was to smell it when it arrived. 
      Even though I prefer to sit and hold books, I do seem to be listening to them more and more. I think it is the busier lifestyle that many people have anymore that makes it such a popular choice. I always feel like I am not getting anything done and I feel guilty if I am sitting down to read. If I put on the headphones and listen I can garden, clean, bake, can, work on my kids book illustrations, crotchet blankets or scarves...well you get the idea. Life anymore seems to have gotten to where it is harder for people to just sit down and read without feeling as they should be up doing something else. Now don't get me wrong I do take the time to sit down and read, but it isn't as often as I like.
      My least favorite way to read, although I do when I am out and around, is through eBook. I have the kindle app on my phone and my tablet. My tablet is a 10" and my phone is the Note 3 (a large screen for a phone) but even with the larger screen I still don't enjoy the experience of reading as much on the screen. It takes me longer to get into a book than it usually does.
      I am curious to know why the audible is selling so much quicker than the other versions of the book that are available. Is it just because people are busy or is it because of the way is set up, a monthly membership with a credit each month. I know when I buy them, using credits, I don't really think about it. I just hit purchase, but if I were to buy the book with actual money (and yes I realize it is actual money, but it comes out automatically and it is already designated for a book, I did all my debating before I started my membership), but with that being said, if I were to buy one with "actual" money I always seem to put more thought into it. Am I the only one who thinks this way or is that strange?
      So when you are deciding on a book which do you prefer, audio, eBook, paperback or hardbound? Why do you prefer one above the other?
      Stop by and check out The Dark Lady, in audio, eBook and paperback, sorry no hardbound yet, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Plotter or Pantser? How does your Muse speak to you?


   There are basically two types of writers. The Plotter and the Pantser. Now while there are those who run wild through the middle and take the best from both worlds, we will focus today on the two different writing styles themselves. Neither group is better off than the other, it is all a matter of which style works best with you. Hopefully every writer will find their stride and find the style, or combination thereof that makes their Muse sit up and take notice.
   For me, I am a Pantser, always have been, Though, with the new series I am currently working on, I am trying to be more of a plotter (its not pretty). So, since I am striving to do more plotting and planning we will start with that group of writers, The Plotters.
      A Plotter knows the story, or at least a basic premise of where that story will lead. They understand the way the story will develop and they can plan out major scenes as well as the ending all before they sit at that blank sheet of paper (literal or on the computer screen) and even write one word.
A Plotter comes in a variety of degrees.
      The soft Plotter, who writes out an outline and begins to write with a fair amount of room to allow the story to change and grow as they go along. Someone who understands who the main characters are and where they need to go, but doesn't always plan for how they will get there.
      The other end of the scale is the fastidious plotter. This writer, one who I could never be, plots out step by step how the book will progress. They write story boards, draw maps and only begin writing when they are confident they will have it the way it will be in the finished product. These writers leave only a small margin for change as they go along.
     There are many different ways to be a Plotter, from the mild to the extreme and everywhere in between. No matter how you do it, from the plots in the head to the plots on paper, if you plan out where your book will go you will fall into the category of Plotter.
      My London series is going to be a long running series the involves many of the same characters, I am trying to plan my next books at least to a small degree so any characters who will be featured in the next books, will get the right kind of notice in the current works. This has proven to be a challenge for me and this is why...I am a Pantser.
    dreamstimefree_106245.jpg A Pantser is much different from a Plotter. I do not plot anything. It is one of my favorite things about being a writer. I get the excitement of watching my characters stories unfold before me as I write and while sometimes I want the story to go one way, I always let it go in the direction it wants to go. It always makes for a better story in the end.
      My writing style works this way. An image or a line, a scene or just a face comes to me (and I never know at this point if it is the beginning, middle or end of the story that I am seeing). It says hey, here I am and you need to tell my story. Then I sit down at the computer, or take my notebook and pencils to a nice secluded lake or mountain top, and look at the blank page. With that start in mind, I wait patiently, and if I am lucky, I do not have to wait long,  for that first line to emerge. Then I just let the story take me away. Usually once that first line is out, the rest seems to flow fairly smooth.
      The way I see it, a Pantser's story belongs not to them, but to the characters. It does not always unfold for me the way I think it will and what I want to happen sometimes does not, but such is the way of life. It is not for me to dictate what will happen when, but just to tell the story as it comes to me.
      A lot of people think I am odd when I say I do not control my stories, but  it makes a better story if I don't, not just for my readers but for me as well. So I willing give control of my stories to my characters and try my best to stay out of the way.
      Pantsers, like Plotters, come in a wide range of degrees as well. On one end of the spectrum is the pantser who does not plot anything. They work only off the words that spill out of them and let the story come as it may.
      The other end of the rainbow is the pantser who after the story has begun begins to see parts of the story that will unfold later. This usually happens when an event in chapter three has to have an effect or solution later. So this pantser will make notes of those things that will happen later to adjust the story as needed to make it work the way is should.
     For both Pantsers and Plotters they work the way that works best for them. There is no right way or wrong way to get the words on paper. Just get them onto the paper. Then the real work begins.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Alan Brenham--New Release--Rampage

                      A big hello from Southern Idaho to all my wonderful readers today. I would like to introduce you to a crime writing attorney. His second book in his crime fiction series has just released and is a book I am looking forward to reading.  Please give a warm welcome to Alan Brenham and his newest Jason Scarsdale novel, Rampage. 

      It is great to have you with me today.  First tell us a little about yourself.  Your likes and dislikes, your favorite foods, your special pets? What makes you…you?
                                          Alan:  Thank you Dawn.
              I’m an attorney with police experience who loves writing crime fiction. Aside from writing, my likes include dating my wife, travel and watching football.
              My foremost dislikes are rude people and politicians, although it’s probably hard to tell the difference between the two sometimes.
              My favorite foods range from steaks to seafood to Italian and German cuisine.
              I’ve had two pets in my lifetime that I’d rate as special. The first was a German shepherd I brought back from Germany; the second was a snow-white cat who allowed me to live under the same roof with him.

     What is the title of your current work and what is it about?
Alan:  My current novel is Rampage.
      The book is second in a series that follows Austin Detective Jason Scarsdale. The stakes soar both professionally and personally for Scarsdale as he finds himself in a race against time to hunt down a vicious gang hell-bent on murder. Realizing that his new partner, the attractive divorcee Tatum Harper, could be trouble in more ways than one, he tries to run her out of Homicide. Will their partnership destroy his romantic relationship with long-time girlfriend Dani Mueller? Will he and Harper both survive the harrowing face-off with the increasingly unhinged gang leader?

Buy Links:
       How long did have you been writing and when did you know that writing was what you wanted to do? What kind of writer are you, a plotter or a pantser?
Alan:  Writing fiction began about ten years ago more as a passing interest. Once Black Opal Books published my first novel, I was hooked. As for what kind of writer I am, the best answer is that I’m both a plotter and a pantser. Plotter first - pantser second.

      Share your social profiles with us. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…where do you spend your cyber-time?
Alan:  My cyber time is spent on Facebook with Twitter running a close second.

      What draws you to the genre or genres in which you write?
Alan:  With experience in criminal law and police service, writing crime fiction seemed like the obvious and most logical genre to spend my time with.

      Who is your favorite author and why? Which book speaks to you the most?
Alan:  It’s a dead heat between Michael McGarrity and James Hayman. Both men author crime fiction/police procedurals.  McGarrity is a former deputy sheriff in New Mexico so we have the police service in common. His Kevin Kerney novels paint a vivid picture of the New Mexico setting where the stories take place. Hayman and I share a common birthplace - New York - both of us love Scotch and are married to beautiful brunettes.
              Hayman’s Darkness First is probably the one book I’ve had the hardest time putting down.

   What do you like to listen to when you write? Music, TV, silence?
Alan:  It’s a toss-up between silence and music. It depends on how creative I feel at the time.
  When do you find the time to write? Are you an early morning person or a late at night writer?
Alan:  Actually I start about mid-morning and go through the creative process until my wife steps between me and the computer screen and tells me that’s it for the day.

        Tell me about any promotions or contests you are running? Where can we go to sign up and what are the rules?
Alan:  The only promotions I’ve been involved with are those with the few book tours I’ve participated in.

      Thank you for being with me today.  I enjoyed learning about your book and look forward to reading it.

Other Alan Brenham books available: 

            Pride of Justice  (Book one of the Jason Scarsdale books)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Aunt Phil's Trunk--A trip into Alaska's wild past

       Welcome everyone, I am glad you could join me. I want to introduce you to a great author and a wonderful set of books.

      Laurel Downing Bill is my guest today and I am extremely happy to have her. Aunt Phil's Trunk is a wonderful collection of stories about Alaska's colorful history written by both Laurel and her aunt Phyllis.      
      These books are dedicated to Laurel's aunt. Phyllis Downing Carlson was one of Alaska's most respected historians and the inspiration behind Aunt Phil's Trunk. She moved to Alaska as a small child in 1914 and grew up amongst railroad men and miners before becoming a teacher and historian.
      Laurel Downing Bill was born in 1951, just four short years before Alaska became a state. She grew up between the gold rush town of Fairbanks and Juneau. Growing up with a passion for writing she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2003 and has since written award-winning articles while working hard to give us these wonderful stories.
      These women were immersed in the rich history that fills these volumes.


         Aunt Phil's trunk, both volume one and two, are filled with the adventures of Russian fur traders, Eskimos, gunslingers, dog sledders, and the first lawyers. Filled with thrilling tales and wonderful photographs it is easy to lose yourself in the past of one of our wildest states.

      I am glad to have had the opportunity to read the first two volumes and am looking forward to the volumes to come.
       Excerpt from Volume One: 

Woody Island’s Icy Past
      A little “two-by-four” island a couple of miles off the city of Kodiak has a number of Alaska’s firsts. The first horses in Alaska were brought here, the first road was constructed,
the first iron rails were put in and the first field of oats was sown. And they were all put in place to support one thing: a sawmill, so the residents could start what many people called “Alaska’s Wackiest Industry,“selling ice.
      The sawmill established on Woody Island was perhaps unique in commercial enterprises because its main product was sawdust, which was needed to preserve ice – something abundant in Alaska that
California wanted.
      In 1851, Californians were in the midst of a gold boom and could afford such luxuries as ice to chill their drinks and keep their food from spoiling. But ice sent from Boston via Cape Horn was very expensive and not enough could be supplied to meet the demand. Alaska was closer. The first shipment of ice was sent from Sitka in February 1852, and it sold for about $75 a ton in San Francisco.
      Some authorities contend that the secret and principal object of the American Russian Commercial Company, or the “Ice Company” as it was generally called, was not to deal in ice. They say it was to supply Alaska with provisions during the Crimean War when it was feared
that Alaska might fall into British hands. But it’s beside the point WOODY ISLAND’S ICY PAST 59
whether the “ice business” was just a blind. It proved profitable, after an uncertain start, and provided work and profits for many years.
      Little Woody Island profited, too, for ice from Sitka proved unpredictable due to that city’s mild climate. Once – in the winter of 1853-54 – a California ice ship had to chip ice from Baird Glacier
because Sitka had no ice that winter.
      The first mention of the ice establishment on Woody Island comes in 1855 in a letter from Lt. Doroshin to Gen. Helmerson, according to Seal and Salmon Fisheries and General Resources of Alaska IV.
      “On Wood Island, Kodiak Harbor, during a number of years past, horses have been kept to perform certain labor in connection with a mysterious ice company and for the use of these horses a field of 12 acres of oats is regularly sown.”
      The ice company encountered some financial trouble in 1859, and a Capt. Furuhelm was sent to put matters on a better footing; a new contract was arranged and the depot of the American Russian
Commercial Company was fixed on Woody Island.

As a thank you for joining us please take this time to enter into the giveaway for a chance to win a PDF copy of one of these great books. Enter here :

For more information on these or other of Aunt Phil's books, please visit
Please connect with Laurel Downing Bill and get to know more about her and Alaska's history.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Eve's Amulet by Carole Avila--Release today

Welcome everyone. I would like to introduce Carole Avila. He novel Eve's Amulet is releasing today. Make sure to get your copy. 
      Dawn: It is great to have you with me today.  First tell us a little about yourself.  Your likes and dislikes, your favorite foods, your special pets? What makes you…you?
      Carole:  I have so many likes that they’re too hard to name. If the food tastes great and is healthy, I’ll eat it. If the music makes me “feel,” I listen to it. If the art attracts my eye, I take it in. I love being with my three daughters and thankfully, we’re all very close. My dogs, Kayla and Bostrum, are both like furry kids. What makes me me is that I am very spiritual and intuitive. As a life coach, generally attracting people who have endured childhood sexual abuse, I help others move forward beyond fear toward their personal goals. As an abuse survivor, I have to constantly remind myself to take care of my needs, too. Writing is a great part of my life, the easiest form of expression for me. 
      Dawn: What is the title of your current work and what is it about?
      Carole:  Eve’s Amulet, Book 1 is a fun, time-travel western adventure. It’s partly romance and historical fiction. Mandy Ruhe is swept back in time to Texas 1845, into the body of ranch owner, Carmena Luebber. Mandy must assume Carmena’s role until she finds a way back to her own time. She is caught in the lives of her new employees, and ends up torn between two men in love with the real Carmena. Mandy's amulet is stolen by a historical figure and she needs it to get back home before she destroys lives in the past as well as the future, but the only way to get it back is to participate in a criminal act that may be doomed to failure.

Buy Links:

     Captain Charles Sanders rose above insanely gorgeous. He could turn the head of a mannequin. He was the classic image of a steroid muscle man on the front cover of a paperback romance, an easy six-feet-four—maybe five—inches tall. And the captain was much closer to my age than Carlos.
      No wonder I, or rather, Carmena, was attracted to him. I wanted to gobble the officer up like milk chocolate, and in testimony, my mouth remained opened a bit too long. The captain’s smile grew wider and Carlos cleared his throat rather loudly.
      I swallowed. “Captain. It’s absolutely wonderful to see you.” And it was.
      Carlos, out of the captain’s line of sight, rolled his eyes heavenward. I stumbled past the chairs behind my desk.
       “Thank you, Carmena.” The captain’s masculine voice wrapped invisible arms around me. “And may I say that it’s always wonderful to see you?”
      He glided across the room with the heat of a professional tango dancer. He took my hands and placed a long, slow kiss on the back of each one. Goosebumps rose on my arms, shivers did the whole up and down thing along my spine, and I wanted nothing more than to be alone with the man.
      “I’m so glad you have recovered from that unfortunate circumstance.” No matter what he said, his words oozed masculine sensuality.
      “Carlos,” I kept my toothy grin on the officer, “I’ve changed my mind about our last discussion. Perhaps you can attend to that other matter we were just dealing with.”
      “And what matter would that be, Carmena?” Carlos asked. He enunciated every syllable in the name and stood like a permanent fixture with his arms crossed.
      I waved my hand. “Whatever. Just take care of it.”
      The captain’s blue eyes glittered like the crown jewels under a spotlight and his smile caressed me like a cashmere blanket.
      “I don’t understand, Carmena,” Carlos said. “We were just discussing your poor condition after the lieutenant’s attack.”
      “Is it true?” the captain asked, deep concern evident in his tone, and he held my hands tighter. “Are you unwell, Carmena?”
      “Oh, no. I’m feeling much better now.”
      “Why don’t we sit down?” Charles said. He took my arm, and I felt a girlish flutter in my solar plexus. We sat down on the leather settee, and Carlos seated himself on the matching chair directly across from us.
      “How are you, Captain?”
      “I’m very fine, especially now that I’m here, knowing you’re well.” His voice, smooth as French butter, made me want to melt into it.
      We continued to hold hands and my eyes held fast to his. “Carlos, is there something else you need?”
      "Yes, actually. We need to finish the conversation we were having moments before the captain arrived in which you told me how fatigued you still felt since the attack.”
        Alarm washed across the captain’s handsome face. “Please, Carmena. You mustn’t try to be brave for me.” The captain unwittingly joined the enemy’s side in the verbal tussle I was having with Carlos and he abruptly stood. “Perhaps I can return another day.”
       I practically jumped on top of him and dragged him back down. “But I’m much better today!” I turned to Carlos and gave him a ferocious stink eye. “Aren’t I looking much better, Carlos?”
      “Well…” He rubbed his chin. “Now that you mention it, you do look a little pale.”
      The captain squeezed my hands and I wished he would kiss them again. “I’m ashamed that I didn’t consider your physical health more thoroughly before riding out.” I made to protest, but he quickly added, “I’m also flattered that you don’t want to send me off, Carmena, but we really do need to put your frail condition before all else. I shall call on you next week.” He glanced at Carlos. “I’m sure you’ll be feeling better by then.”
      Warm lips brushed the back of my hands yet again and the captain smiled. “Good evening, Carmena.” He started for the library doors.
       I trailed the captain like a love-struck teen, hoping he’d change his mind about staying. “It’s much too late for anyone to be riding at this time of night.”
      “Surely you don’t doubt the ability of a captain in the Texas Cavalry to take care of himself?” Carlos said.
      “I don’t mean to insult you, Captain, but I fear for your safety,” I lied. “There are so many highway men and all manner of vicious beasts out at night. We’ve plenty of guest rooms to see to your comfort.”
      “Ay, Diós!” Carlos muttered.
      Charles took my hands in his. His smile couldn’t get any wider, and my heart tried to jump out and rest in his dimples. “Don’t worry about me, Carmena. Several of my men are waiting at the gate. Now, I insist that you get your rest so that we may enjoy a proper visit upon my return.”
      “But I’m really feeling fine!”
       “Thank you, Captain, for seeing to Carmena’s needs before your own,” Carlos said.
       The Adonis made a gracious bow to Carlos. To me the captain said, “I will call on you next week when you’re feeling much better, if I may?”
      I pouted despite the offer of another visit. “Of course.”
      He kissed my hands for the umpteenth time, and I wanted him to stay all the more. Like a needy little puppy I followed the captain to the door, but he said, “I will see myself out, Carmena. I’d prefer it if you sat down and rested.”
      “Of course. Anything you want, Captain.” And I meant it.
      He kept his smile in check, and Carlos huffed behind me.
      The captain’s long pointer finger stroked my cheek to my chin, and he whispered, “Perhaps we’ll have time later to share a few private moments together.”
      I sighed and brazenly admitted, “I’d really like that.”
      Carlos grunted. The captain grinned as he closed the library doors behind him.
      I whirled around to face Carlos who openly smirked. I jabbed my fists on my hips and glared, but my dirty look had no impact.
      Carlos took his seat at the desk and pointed to my own. “Now, let me think.” He tapped the side of his cheek. “Where were we before you said how you wanted me to stay in the library with you during the captain’s visit, no matter how awkward?”
      “Diós,” I griped and stomped across the room. I plopped down hard into my chair and crossed my arms.
      Carlos laughed.
      “Get on with it,” I said. “What were you going to say?”
      “I was about to tell you everything I know of the real Carmena Luebber.” 

       Dawn: How long did have you been writing and when did you know that writing was what you wanted to do? What kind of writer are you, a plotter or a pantser?
        Carole:   When I was 3 years old I knew, after reading Go, dog. Go! that I would be a writer. I didn’t learn how to properly write until I was in the first grade and my first story was cut to shreds by a substitute teacher. I got a big red F on the paper, like a flag telling all the other kids what a terrible story I had written. Although I was only six years-old, the paper was marked off for poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and there wasn’t one mention on the content of my story. I crumbled it up and vowed never to write again. Of course, I did write but I kept my poetry, fiction, and non-fiction to myself until my best friend, Laura, told me on her death bed that I was called to be a writer. As soon as I recovered from her passing, I wrote my first novel, a romance based on a dream that I had seven nights in a row.
      I am a pantser writer. I dream most of my stories (in full color with surround sound) or with fingers on the keyboard, I am inspired and just take off. 
      Dawn: Share your social profiles with us. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…where do you spend your cyber-time?
      Carole:  I am still learning how to discipline myself as a writer with regards to anything outside of the actual writing process. I am (slowly) learning how to improve my website,, and I answer all e-mails there and at I am at Facebook and Pinterest under Carole Avila. I try to use my writing pen name at all my social media sites. I’m also at writeme1 at Twitter. My blog can be reached from my website or by going to 

      Dawn: If you could travel to any-where or any-when…when and where would that be? What would you do when you got there?
      Carole:  I think I would like to remain in America at the turn of the last century, when so many great industrial discoveries were being made, like the telephone and automobile. It seems to me that at that time our technology united people, whereas today, computer technology puts a “safe” distance between us. Honestly, I’m a very private person so I get hung up in that, too. I feel better sending texts and e-mails rather than calling or sending a snail-mail card to someone.  

      Dawn: What draws you to the genre or genres in which you write?
      Carole:  I think that if I had to claim a genre, it would be romance, but that’s normally not the main focus of my stories. I love to develop my characters and give them something meaningful to do, or have them search for meaning. (The Eve’s Amulet series is about women connecting to their inner resources and using their natural talents wisely.) My writing is inspired–the thoughts flow in, and I grab hold of them, which explains why I write romance, adventure, young adult horror, non-fiction, mystery, poetry, contemporary literary works, and other genres.

      Dawn: Who is your favorite author and why? Which book speaks to you the most?
      Carole:  That’s like asking “What is your favorite food or music?” There are just too many fabulous authors out there! I met Ray Bradbury several years ago and had the most amazing 2-hour conversation with him on the craft of writing. I met Nicholas Sparks after The Notebook first came out and liked that he wanted to write romance, not common for most men. Well written books speak to me the most, regardless of the genre. It wasn’t until recently that I started reading sci-fi. Once I read Divergent, The Hunger Games, and The City of Bones, I was hooked. 

     Dawn: What do you like to listen to when you write? Music, TV, silence?
     Carole:  I can’t listen to anything! Music and movies grab my attention, especially if it’s something I like. I write in silence but my mind is filled with words, action, and the characters who live there! 

      Dawn: When do you find the time to write? Are you an early morning person or a late at night writer?
      Carole:  Honestly, Dawn, it depends on how much caffeine I’ve had! If I have one cup of black tea or coffee after 9 a.m., it’s enough to keep me up past 1 a.m. If I drink a cup at night, I usually see the sunrise! I love chai tea with cream and hazelnut coffee. It’s sooooo hard to refuse a cup! My usual internal clock would probably put me more in the night owl category, although I write during the day as well. Like most dedicated writers, I write for hours and lose track of time. 

      Dawn: Tell me about any promotions or contests you are running? Where can we go to sign up and what are the rules?
       Carole:  Aarggh 
! I’m still working on it. I am still too new to the marketing world, but I see that I have more to do!
                                Thank you, Carole for being with me today.  I enjoyed learning about your book and look forward to reading it.

      Carole:  Thank you, Dawn, for generously having me at your site. I really appreciate your time and energy!