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Special February book recommendation, freebies, and discounts for my lovely subscribers!

Thank you, Rebecca Bryn, for featuring Injury and Earthbound, my free books.

Rebecca Bryn

First, a recommendation. If you love science fiction/techno thriller, Spectral State by Senan Gil Senan is for you. It was my favourite book of 2019, and I read some really good books.

Grab it while it’s only 99c.

This was my 5-star review: Wow, just WoW! One of the best books I’ve read for a long while.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I can’t wait for the sequel to come along. The subject is handled with an authority that makes the scenario totally believable and assures your trust in the author. I love sci-fi, but this amazing tale goes beyond normal science fiction into altered realities, dreams, and remote viewing that leaves you questioning your own existence. Are we all figments of someone’s weird dream, or have we been conjured by a machine with artificial intelligence and its own game plan?

Hano is a…

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List of Books Read in 2019

In 2019 I decided to keep track of the books I read, and, as it turns out, I set a lively reading pace. By the end of December 2019, I’d read a total of sixty-three books, most of them fiction. Only those books I finished made the list. If I set them aside or am still working on reading them, I left them off the list. Titles in bold are books I’ve read before and reread in 2019. Two are my books (more on that another time).

I’m trying to get a handle on what it is about the books I read quickly that captivate me so much that I can’t put them down, or if I must put them down, I can’t get them out of my head and must pick them up again as soon as possible. I think the writing style has the most to do with it and genre the least. This also goes for authors that grab me so much with their stories that I have to read everything they write. As you can see from the list, Sue Grafton has me hooked, and I started reading her books in March 2019 with A is for Alibi.

I used to read more non-fiction, but lately, I prefer the escape of fiction, though literary fiction isn’t the same type of escape as genre fiction. Most literary fiction rubs your nose in reality rather than allows you to escape it.

A number of indie books made my reading list. I’m an indie author and I read other indie authors. I often get them in e-book format, which takes me much longer to read. When I find a compelling story, though, the format doesn’t prevent me from getting addicted to it; however, it might prevent me from picking it up as frequently as I do paperback stories I’m addicted to.

Here is my complete reading list for 2019:

Month Title Author
January The Host Stephenie Meyer
January The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion Fannie Flagg
January Leaving Time Jodi Picoult
January Whiskey Sour J. A. Konrath
January The Haunting of Hill House Shirley Jackson
January Saving Grace Hannah Howe
January Watership Down Richard Adams
February Dune Frank Herbert
February Leverage in Death J. D. Robb
February The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman
February Save the Cat! Writes a Novel Jessica Brody
February The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman
March The Lake House Kate Morton
March A is for Alibi Sue Grafton
March Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Douglas Adams
March Stones from the River Ursula Hegi
April Of Blood and Bone Nora Roberts
April Final Year MJ Moores
April Sam’s Song Hannah Howe
April Twe12lve Ceri Bladen
April The Lucky One Nicholas Sparks
May B is for Burglar Sue Grafton
May C is for Corpse Sue Grafton
May Half-Blood Blues Esi Edugyan
May Blood and Circuses Aliya Smyth
May The Birth House Ami McKay
May The Great Alone Kristin Hannah
June Blithe Images Nora Roberts
June Strands of Starlight Gael Baudino
June Death of an Expert Witness P. D. James
July Bloody Mary J. A. Konrath
July A Fatal Inversion Barbara Vine
July Soothed by Magic: Hidden Coven Series Book 2 Kim McDougal
August Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
August Blank Space Jennifer Young
August The Wonder Emma Donoghue
August Dark Sacred Night Michael Connelly
August The Midnight Line Lee Child
August Past Tense Lee Child
August Connections in Death Nora Roberts
September The Accidental Tourist Anne Tyler
September After Eden Jennifer Young
September An Irish Country Girl Patrick Taylor
September Born a Crime Trevor Noah
September Persuader Lee Child
September One Shot Lee Child
September Lo’ Mae John Erwin
October Assassin’s Apprentice Robin Hobb
October Inborn Magic: Hidden Coven Series Book 1 Kim McDougal
October The Godfather Mario Puzzo
October The Hunted Val Tobin
November Innocence Roald Dahl
November Trigger Magic: Hidden Coven Series Book 3 Kim McDougal
November Odd Thomas Dean Koontz
December Practical Magic Alice Hoffman
December Body in the Harbour Nanci M. Pattenden
December Two Solitudes Hugh MacLennan
December Could it be Forever? My Story David Cassidy
December E is for Evidence Sue Grafton
December F is for Fugitive Sue Grafton
December Storm Child Jennifer Young
December G is for Gumshoe Sue Grafton
December Earthbound Val Tobin


Cold and heartless actions in Ottawa by the NCC. Destroying the precious few things these homeless people had left. Disgusting.

Overdose Prevention Ottawa

OTTAWA – On December 10th, International Human Rights day, residents of Tent City and their supporters stood by as their tents and belongings were bulldozed by employees of the National Capital Commission under the supervision of the Ottawa Police Service.

On Monday, some residents of Tent City were provided with temporary accommodations – a motel room – in Vanier so they could shower and sleep somewhere warm. Residents accepted this offer with the understanding they had 48-hours to come back to the site near Bayview Station to collect their belongings, which included items the community generously donated to support their survival. Unfortunately, residents woke up 7am Tuesday morning to news that the NCC and the Ottawa Police were already at the site, dismantling their tents.

“This is what the criminalization of poverty looks like,” says Leila Attar, advocate and member of Overdose Prevention Ottawa. “[The city has] no…

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The Hunted Free for a Limited Time

The Hunted: A Storm Lake Novel

The Hunted: A Storm Lake Novel

Only for a limited time, only on Amazon: The Hunted is available for download as a #FREE e-book.

A monster hunter revisits her terrifying past while helping a reporter uncover the origins of Storm Lake’s creatures.
Get it while you can. The price goes back up to $3.99 after the promo.

Say My (Pen) Name

Readers, are you a fan of genres or a fan of authors?

It’s an important distinction and one that I contemplate more often since I published my books. What is my brand? Is it the genre in which I write or is it my writing style? What if I write in multiple genres? Can I keep my identity?

This morning I read the following in an article called “Marketing: Your Author Central Page” by Randy Ingermanson in his newsletter, The Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine:

Many authors write all their books under a single name. That makes a lot of sense if all your books are related to each other in some way.

But if you write very different types of books, it might be better to write each type under a different name (or a different variation of your name). The reason is to avoid “brand confusion” in your marketing. When you have widely different target audiences, you don’t want to market all your books to all your target audiences. You want to market each book only to its particular target audience.

I’m sure that makes all kinds of business sense, but as a reader, I’ve always wondered why authors feel the need to go undercover like that. Eventually, they’re discovered and then their loyal fans flock to the newly discovered books. Why not skip the cloak-and-dagger stuff and admit you wrote the books?

Now I know it’s usually at the behest of the publisher, so I won’t blame the authors for this, but if, as Ingermanson says, you should market the book to the particular target audience, can’t you do that even if you keep your name?

Stephen King wrote novels under the name Richard Bachman. As soon as he was outed, the Bachman books sported the line “Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman.” His fans then bought the Bachman books in droves. Same deal with Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. As soon as her fans discovered she authored the “In Death” books, they flocked to read them and now all the In Death books sport the line “Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb.” Ditto Anne Rice/A. N. Roquelaure.

As a reader, I find that annoying. If I love reading an author, I don’t give a rat’s ass what they write. If Nora Roberts wants to explore futuristic murder mysteries, as she did with the In Death books, I’ll read them. For God’s sake, I’ve read her Silhouette Romance books because she wrote them, and I don’t typically read Silhouette romances.

In my own experience with selling my novels, I’ve found there are two types of readers. One type will read anything I write, and they’re readers just like me. They follow the author, not the genre. The other type of reader will stick to the genre they prefer. They’ll read every single one of my romantic suspense novels, but they won’t read the SF thrillers or the urban fantasy (even if they have romance in them). The other readers in this category will read all my SF thrillers and horror stories but stay the hell away from the romantic suspense.

When I talk to potential readers at book signings and events, I’ll ask them what genre they enjoy reading. This helps me determine which of my books to introduce them to. All my books are under my name. I am my brand, and yes, I understand what Ingermanson says about brand confusion, but I trust my readers to eyeball my books and decide if the one they’re looking at is for them.

What I don’t want is to hide books from readers who will read a wide variety of genres and follow me, the author.

I recall thinking once that Stephen King could write about anything, even someone taking a shit (and he has), and make it interesting. I’ve since revised that opinion–Lisey’s Story and some of his later books had parts I considered boring–but the point is that I want to explore everything he writes regardless of genre. I’d prefer it if I didn’t have to wait for someone to out his pen name to learn he wrote another book. As a reader, this type of subterfuge annoys me.

Fellow scribes, how do you feel about this? Is it an issue for you? Readers, do you prefer authors who use multiple pen names for books they write in different genres?

Procrastinating with Innocence

I should be writing–not on my blog, but on my current WIP, which is a novel I’m plowing through for NaNoWriMo. I’m in the home stretch as far as achieving my goal for NaNo goes. I’ve hit 40,020 words and need only 9,980 more words to reach the NaNo finish line. That won’t get me a completed first draft–my novels typically hit at least 60,000 words. My longest, A Ring of Truth, reached over 90,000 words.

This is my long-winded way of saying I’m procrastinating, but it’s for a good reason. Okay, maybe not a good reason, but for a good excuse.

I recently finished reading Roald Dahl’s autobiographical book Innocence and find it lingering in my psyche. Dahl had an interesting life, though Innocence focused on his childhood years. I’m always fascinated by writers and their lives and how they became published authors. Dahl’s road to authordom was much easier than it is for most authors. The first thing he wrote was published and his career took off from there. Nice. I’m not jealous at all. Wink.

But that’s not where I want to focus. I’d like to share this quote about writing from the book. I find it if not inspirational then comforting, and any other writers out there might do the same, so I want to share before it slips off my to-do list (See? Good excuse, right?):

I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours and a fixed salary and very little original thinking to do. The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If he is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.

I can relate to needing a stiff drink after a writing session. I’ve often wanted a shot when I’ve finished writing for the day. Sometimes I’ve wondered what it would be like to, as has been attributed to Hemingway, “Write drunk; edit sober.”

I don’t do it, of course. The pull might be there, and it feels like an enticing crutch, but the desire isn’t enough to make me grab that drink. I can’t imagine writing under the influence, and after I’m done for the day, I have so many other obligations to catch up on that I can’t sit down and drink. The point is, Dahl has put into words precisely the feelings I have some days when I’m faced with that blank page at the start of a writing session and the weariness that comes after completing it.

To again quote Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

It’s these revelations from famous authors that help me realize I’m not the only writer who gets creatively constipated.

I’m in the home stretch on my NaNo project. I need to get back to it. But this digression has helped brace me for the sprint ahead better than a shot of whisky could.

For those of you working on a NaNo project (or just plugging away at your personal writing goals), how do you find encouragement when your spirits sag? Did you find any reassurance in that Roald Dahl quote?

Too Good to be True? Scams on Social Media by T E Hodden

Informative article on social media scams in Mom’s Favorite Reads July magazine.

Mom's Favorite Reads

If you spend any length of time on social media, it’s growing increasingly likely that sooner or later you are going to see a friend, or a friend of a friend, sharing the kind of competition or deal that seems too good to be true. You know the sort of thing: Holidays given away for liking a page, vouchers for everybody who shares a link, or some free gift for filling out a survey.

A lot of the time, they come from sites that look like they belong to the real company, and even the most wary of us could be forgiven for thinking it might be worth taking a punt.

After all, they aren’t asking for money, so what’s the worst that can happen?

Read the full article in our magazine


Please note. For your reading pleasure we would like to embed the magazine here. However, Issuu and…

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