Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Photo Friday:

Have you heard of It creates a visual of any piece of text you put in. The size of the words depend on their frequency. Surprise, surprise, Jason is number one!

Wordle of Whirlwind

While this is a very cool app and makes a neat picture, it also is a tool. My eye goes straight to the word just. It’s WAY too big…and so I’ll be working on getting rid of my just habit in book 2. One habit I have been working on is my that obsession. I’m very glad to see that isn’t here! (…at least I haven’t found it yet.)

Have you wordle’d anything? What did you think? Helpful, fun, or meh?

I also wordle’d Concessions, my short story in the Summer Lovin’ Anthology:Heat Wave. You can see the result on the Concessions Fan Page on Facebook.

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Filed under Tips and Tricks, Writing Craft

Tomorrow is the Day!

I can’t believe Release Day is tomorrow!  There were many times in the past few years that I was sure this day was never coming…but now it’s only a few hours away.  Suffice to say that I’ll be a jumpy mess today!

How about one last excerpt from Whirlwind to pass the time? This is a long one, I hope you enjoy it!

My stomach lurched when the wrinkled suit of the eighties guy I’d bumped into outside stalked toward me. Not surprised or angry—thank goodness—he had a confident, almost predatory walk. His smile didn’t convey excitement or happiness but voracious greed, his lips rising to fully expose his canines in a wolf-like grin. He was, in a word, creepy.

That’s it. Gotta go. I reached for my purse, but the strap caught on something. I’d just untangled it when I felt a heavy hand on the back of my chair.

“Hi. Would you like to dance?” he asked in an oily voice.

“No, thank you. I don’t dance.” Still.

“How about I join you then?” he asked and promptly sat in the chair closest to me. “I was rude when we ran into each other earlier. I’m Ron.”

Was that supposed to be an apology or a pick-up?

“What’s your name?” he asked, ignoring the fact he hadn’t let me answer his previous question.

Showing him the same level of courtesy, I scanned the crowd, searching for a lifeline. Chase and Linda were busy talking to his parents several tables away. Beth and Todd were dancing; Mitch and Ann were across the room, laughing; and neither Tricia nor Jason had reappeared. Welcome to wedding reception hell.

I picked up my water glass and considered dumping it in Ron-the-creep’s lap, but that would mean getting closer to him and his smelly suit. Instead, I took a long drink and inspected the five-tiered wedding cake in the far corner, avoiding his eerie stare. Would he get the hint if I refused to acknowledge his existence?

“So, are you a friend of the bride or the groom?” he asked, unfazed.

“Groom,” I nearly shouted, hoping this guy was as intimidated by Mitch as the Trojans were. “Close friends.” None too subtly I clutched my purse, thankful I’d remembered to slip my pepper spray in the tiny bag. “I should probably go congratulate him.” I tried to inch my chair away, but Ron held it fast.

“He’s busy with the other guests.” His head turned slightly, toward the newlyweds I assumed. “I’m a friend of a friend of the bride. She’s quite beautiful, isn’t she?” The covetous smile reappeared.

“Yes, she is,” I said. Coldness enveloped me when I realized all the tables around us were empty.

Options…I need options. The door closest to me was marked WOMEN—that’d do nicely. I tensed, planning to make a dash for the bathroom should Ron’s hold on my chair loosen even for a second.

He scrutinized me with hungry eyes. “Hey, let’s get out of here and take a walk in the garden. There’s a trail that goes down to the beach. I doubt a little hike would wear you out.” A cold finger grazed my back. Was he touching the ends of my hair?

I jerked forward, away from his hand, still unable to budge my chair. Ron was exceptionally bold, quickly moving from creepy to frightening. My thoughts turned from flight to fight.

“No thanks. I wouldn’t want to miss the action here.” I repositioned my purse in my lap so I could reach the zipper. As I did, the table moved—and another path appeared: tip the table and make a scene. Could I ruin Mitch’s celebration? What if I was misinterpreting Ron’s eagerness?

“Aw, come on, this stuff is boring anyway. It doesn’t look like anyone will miss us,” he pressed. “It’ll be a treat.”

A treat? I had to get away from this guy! Like a song stuck on repeat, the possibilities raced around my brain, along with an adrenaline-enhanced list of Ron’s weaknesses. Run, scream, fight, spray. Ribs, eyes, knees, groin.

Summoning all my courage, I gripped the edge of the table. Thankfully, Chase materialized beside me before I tipped it over.

“Hi. I’ve been looking for you.” He carefully avoided using my name, somehow sensing the fear surging through me. “We’re dancing as a group over in the corner. Come join us.”

I didn’t hesitate. “Okay.” Without a second glance at Ron, I pushed myself away from the table, catching my captor off guard.

In a flash, Ron wrapped his clammy hand around mine and squeezed it hard—too hard. I flinched, still trapped in my chair.

“She doesn’t dance,” he said, his nostrils flaring. I tried to free myself, but his fingers became a vise, tightening as I struggled against them.

“Get your hands off her!” someone snarled. Ron’s head whipped around, looking for the new speaker.

I took advantage of the distraction and ripped my hand out of his, jumping up so fast I slammed into Chase. He caught me, automatically wrapping a protective arm around my shoulders.

Ron rose to face him, his hands bunched into fists. My new savior intervened, equally incensed: Jason McAlister.

In less than 12 hours you can read the rest! Omnific Publishing even has a sale going for the holidays:

Holiday Ebook Coupon

Check out Meet an Author Monday for More Book Suggestions

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop


Authors! Have a book out? Are you under contract for publication? Make sure you join in the hop. This is a great way to network your blog and let readers know who you are!

And We Have a Winner

Congratulations to Britney in Texas – she won the autographed copy of Whirlwind on! More giveaways are coming, so stay tuned.

Quick Gift Ideas

Looking for something quick and easy to give?  Here’s a couple quick gift ideas:

  • Restaurant gift cards – great for the person who has everything!  Many are on sale now…pick some up for your favorite restaurant, too?
  • Movie tickets – kids especially love these. I’ve found that Costco has great deals on movie tickets; I always have a couple passes in my wallet.
  • LED Keychain light – a great stocking stuffer, but SO useful.
  • Movies at home kit – Great for people who can’t get out (like parents of young kids). Include a pack of microwave popcorn, some Raisinets and Hot Tamales, and either a DVD or movie rental gift card. Put them in an inexpensive bowl or popcorn containers (available at places like Target).

Have a great day, and see you TOMORROW!


Filed under excerpt, Great News, Publishing, Tips and Tricks

More Tips and Tricks: Give Yourself a Break #1

My first Black Tulip

Flowers are nature's smiles

Give yourself a break #1: Buy yourself flowers.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big believer in flower power.  Flowers are simple and beautiful, and make the receiver feel special. So why not treat yourself?  In the midst of all the red and green, a bouquet of purple tulips or yellow roses or white daisies can be just the thing to put a smile back on your face when one child has Scotch-taped the other to the dog.

Click here to go to goodreads.comAre you on goodreads?  Did you know you can now put Whirlwind on your to-read list?  Check back Monday to see the cover and find out how you can win an autographed copy!

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Filed under Great News, Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks to De-Stress December

The luggage of pilgrims.

My friend didn't have quite this many bags, but...

Can you believe November is over already?  My life is crazy right now…it’s quite appropriate that my book’s title is Whirlwind, considering how things are flying around me!  And with the holidays just getting started, I may have to change the name to Tornado!

There’s lots of blogs and lists that have great ideas for making life a little less stressful this time of year, but I thought I’d pass on a few tips over the next couple of weeks that I find most useful.  Things like cooking tips, easy gift ideas, and ways to keep the family, especially Mom, sane this time of year. So, to keep this short and simple, here’s my first tip:

Keep return address labels in your wallet or purse.

You know the ones you get as freebies to donate money or from your insurance agent?  They come in handy in the weirdest places, especially during the holiday season.  The place I would have wanted them was at the airport.  After dropping off my friend and her very large family, she started checking the luggage – and filling out those paper ID tags.  I know that even if I plan ahead, there always seems to be a bag or two that is missing an ID tag.  Yes, it’s a little trivial – filling out one tag isn’t that big a deal. But if you have three or four, those little address stickers make the process a LOT faster.

Going to a potluck?  Tag your serving spoon and dish with the sticker to guarantee you’ll get it back.  Find yourself sharing a bathroom with Aunt Bessie at Grandma’s house? Stick your name on your hairspray and toothpaste just in case.  Have more than one kid? No, don’t tag your favorite with a sticker…but if they’re like mine, they bring a boat-load of books and games when they travel.  Mark them quickly with a sticker before their SuperMario WhackAMole gets mixed up with Cousin Mikey’s.

Bonus tip: ALWAYS have a sharpie in your purse.

That’s the real way to mark your kids. 😉

What’s your favorite travel tip?  Comment and I’ll repost the best ones.


Filed under Tips and Tricks, Travel