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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Christmas Letter

I love reading Christmas Epistles. One of my favorite things of the holidays is opening a Christmas card and finding a folded wreath-designed paper with pictures and accomplishments. I admit that I stop whatever I'm doing to cozy up on the couch and enjoy a read. I even do this when I'm at someone elses home and they have them out – I don't care if I know the people or not.

I'm not sure what the captivation is but it's there and it's strong. This year was a skimpy year for Christmas letters so I savored the few I could get my hands on - I might have to drag out the box I keep in my attic to get my fix by reading previous years letters ... hmm, did I just go too far?

Here's To A Wonderful New Year -- I've got big plans for 2013! (So suck-it Mayans)

Love Those Who Are The Warmest - it's cold outside,
Kate Mathis

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Think Twice Before You Call A Stranger An...

Last night I went to an event to award a local businessman for his contributions to the community. That's the boring part but in the mix I spotted a man. He was in a light brown leather jacket, had rectangular silver framed glasses and ... he reminded me of Adam (for those of you who have read my books you know that Adam is an assassin). I turned to my husband and he said, "that guy looks like an assassin!" At that point I was hooked - I had to find out who he was. There are many problems with this ... the first being his name tag was tiny and second he kept turning each time I tried to run into him.
What was I going to do? Resolved, I decided I would simply introduce myself and tell him he reminded me of a character in my books. To which my husband said, "That sounds like a pick-up line. Hey you look like a guy in my book."(You have to do the cheesy, cheap porn star sound effects.)
Whatever. At the end of the event I was going to forget the whole thing ... but then I'd be a chicken and I hate missing opportunities.
So, I walked up to him and said "Hi, I'm Kate Mathis. I write and you remind me of one of my characters." Before I'd even finished my sentence I knew I was in trouble - the way his face changed – It WAS a pick-up line! I babbled on a few more seconds and he asked, (seriously) "Pray tell who is this person?"
I laughed, nervously - pushed his shoulder (which I immediately realized was another inappropriate gesture) and told him - an assassin.
I was in deep doo-doo! I gave a hasty goodbye and jetted like a rocket out of the auditorium. I figured Brent would find me, or he wouldn't, but I was not going back into that room.
I woke up a few times during the night to have a laugh. At least I proved that I am not a chicken!

Poor guy. I did get his name and after a bit of contortion he'll appear in a book - somewhere.

Anyway, I have learned a lesson and have passed my education on to you. Can't promise I'll remember that lesson next time I run into a dumb idea but...

Love All,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No Vacancy

Every year my mom says that she's going to make Christmas shopping easier for herself - she's going to give money and each year she spends hours, walks miles and stresses over everyone's gift. I'm on my fourth Melanie Ward novel and after each one I think "okay, now I've got this!" But here we are three months into CHASE and I'm stressing. It isn't writers block or finger cramps - but it's the hours and miles of plot that I go through to get the story down, to make it make sense. I have a jumbled personality and unfortunately it comes out on the page and that's why I have to edit and reedit.

Yesterday I started reading Living Lies – You wouldn't think this was a difficult task but my heart races, my fingers shake and I get nervous reading my own work. It's been years since I've opened up the book - I changed, rewrote and tore those first chapters nearly to death (After each rejection notice). Bad memories of trying to please everyone. Reading Living Lies again (with fresh eyes) I see my issues, which I will kindly address as my 'style'. And though I'm tempted to go back and update (fix) some of my 'style' dilemmas, I question if that's a good idea. Maybe, when I'm finished with CHASE ... we'll see.

The goal is to get better with each book. To write clearer, to tell an interesting story with real people and entertain for the 300+ pages. I take it seriously and hope readers think about Melanie, Adam, Trish after The End of each book – and if the next one is available have to pick it up and read more. I just wish I could do all this faster because the stories are piling up inside my head. The other day I tried to learn something and discovered I have no more room - I need the equivalent to an external hard drive for my brain.

Therefore the 'No Vacancy' sign will sway behind my eyeballs until I can come up with a solution. Anyone got one?

Love All,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Discovery

I'd forgotten how much fun it was to blaze through blank pages. To uncover the next situation, the next emotion as it's happening. I feel really lucky to be able to tell the story. I've had 'real' jobs (lots of them) and I sort of miss the companionship of other humans, the routine, the daily question of lunch - the paycheck. But there is benefit to this life, too. Though, to be truthful some consider me jobless because I don't have an office or a desk - I do have a desk, I just prefer to write at the kitchen counter or at a fast food restaurant.

My point is that there is give and take in each of our choices - consequences don't always have to be bad. But we do have to live with them. The consequence for me is that I'm alone most of the day (the conversations inside my head only count as partial interaction) and there is a part of me that wants to set up cubicles in my living room, pop popcorn in the microwave and hire a couple of people just to get on my nerves. Even in that scenario I'm missing the predictable paycheck. Well, my dream to have it all is still a work in progress.

I know that these post are supposed to be very narrowed down - with an exact purpose, but I'm so not that organized that I guess it is what it is. How do I know that my posts are off topic? Because I read it on the Internet! Or, no, I saw it on one of those puffy morning shows that are supposed to be about hard news ... and cooking or terrible fashion ... I get confused.

Hope all is well.
Love All,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Ranking System on Amazon - 202!

The other day I got an email from Amazon - they are now ranking authors and I was ranked 202 in Romantic Suspense! Woo-hoo, right? 202. That's so funny. What does it even mean? No clue but I liked it!

I live with a dysfunctional dog family. Seriously, I love them but right now I've got three snoring on my couch and one up on my bed with his head on the pillow. They bark at each other, gobble down anything that resembles an edible treat and they poop 17 piles a day. I've read where people say that their dog has changed their life - that is true. I'm a servant, a slave and if I stick my cold hands on their warm underbellies ... they bite. That is not unconditional love! To further illustrate, if I ever left the front door open, they'd be gone in a flash. Where are they going to find a better place? Doesn't exist - except at my mom's house. Maybe it's because they don't have thumbs and can't unlock the front door and they think I'm holding them captive. But truly it is for their own good.
They don't know that I'm the big 202 (that is ranking and NOT age or weight).

Enough of the ridiculous.

If this isn't an example of procrastination - don't know what is.

Remember to be kind.

Love All,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Awkward and Clumsy - Social Media

So, I'm not the best social media worker. I'm quiet. And though I know there are some that would disagree but I could consider myself shy. That is funny. But I'm less comfortable in a crowd and that's how I feel on Facebook. Like I'm thrown into a party where everyone knows each other and I'm standing on the sidelines watching with a drink in my hand. It's fun and all but I'm awkward. That being confessed - I just signed up with Pintrest (ikatemathis) - this looks like fun. I get to find images that remind me of Melanie, Adam or Trish and pin them on this site. Maybe it will give others a sense of who I think these characters are - is this a good thing? Books are so individual, so personal because it involves the readers unique imagination. My Adam is not the same for everyone. That's why when Twilight was first cast I wondered how they were going to find Edward. Because other than his copper hair the only description was that he was beautiful. What do you think?

Well, along with my screenwriting class, book 4 and the Moon Over Monsters series, I now want to embark in a social media education course. I've taken some of these webinars and I think I need to become more specific with my goal. Strategize, build a following, piggybacking, use others fame to comment on their blog, retweet, associate with them, do guest blogs - see I've got the terms. But I want to interact with readers - have discussions, talk to real people instead of typing on a blank screen. I love to procrastinate with answering emails or finding images online, doesn't everyone?

Heat Wave - out for almost a week and is doing well! What a relief because you just never know. Thanks to all. And I've got the basic outline for book 4 complete! I hate to say it's going better than Heat Wave because I'm highly superstitious and believe that the Gods of Karma don't need any incentive to zap me but ...

Love All,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paying For Reviews

So, I had the 4th hour of the Today Show yesterday and one of their topics actually stopped me - with laundry in my arms - to listen. They named an author who had set up fake accounts on Amazon and was giving himself raving 5 star reviews about his 'modern day masterpiece'. I didn't have time to evaluate what I thought about that when they went on to say that he'd also left horrible 1 star reviews for his competitors. I didn't need any time to know my feelings. What an @$$hole!

How rotten is that?

I did already know that this was going on a smaller scale ... because I have a couple of 1 stars reviews that make no sense. I'm not saying that someone can't like my books but their comments were inaccurate regarding my story.

Researching it yesterday I found that there were companies set up - so you could buy good and bad reviews. Apparently, after successful freebie promotions there are nasty people who either pay companies or use fake email accounts to leave bad reviews. Amazon customers have no idea this is going on and the star ratings matter. What a lousy thing to do to someone - all I can say is that in return they're getting fake 1 star reviews.  The author noted on the Today Show - was rj ellory and in their piece they said he admitted to it - said it was a wide-spread  occurrence among authors.

I'm here to tell you that I would never do that! EVER. It's mean and hurtful to read a nasty review - forget about hurting sales. And it's not like I pose a threat to anyone. Seriously if Fifty Shades Of Grey can make over a million a week - there's enough readers out there for everyone!!

Well, if these authors don't have enough confidence in their own abilities they should choose another profession.

All you Amazon customers - read the reviews with skepticism! But in return the percentage of readers that leave a review is very small - so, my request to you is if you like a book at least 3 star worthy - leave a comment. If you don't like the book, don't finish it and say nothing.
It's a shame people can be such dicks!

Mean People Suck

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Art of Procrastination

It's been a long time since I've been here - summer vacation is over and the kids are at school. I admit, it makes me very sad. We had a great summer and they're off learning with friends and having a good time and me ... well, I'm sitting here rearranging furniture and pretty much doing everything except what I'm supposed to do. I've got the final edit going on Book 3 and I think that I have absolutely perfected the art of procrastination! Seriously, I am GOOD!

I'm also here to announce that Book 3 has an e-book release date! September 21st! The last day of summer - is this a technical date? yes and no. It's my birthday and I don't care what any scientist, religious or calendarist say ... 9/21 is always the last day of summer! And Pluto will always be a planet! I gladly challenge anyone to any of these arguments!

I've got a title and a cover but I think I want to announce those together and probably on the website in the next couple of days!

Hope all is well in your world and that you're remembering to Love All.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day

The rain finally broke over the desert and if I can pause for a moment to say how amazing wet creosote smells. The sky is gorgeous, cloudy and dark, and on the wind travels the scent of life and hope. Monsoon season is my favorite time of year. The drilling heat is worth the price and today we were granted the reward!

Independence is a wonderful thing. Not to have to ask someone for something; to use the car, for a couple of bucks for dinner or to go someplace. It's freedom and it's the best. Let's say I go to my mom's and she's grumpy, starts bugging me ... guess what I can do. Drive. Drive. Drive. She's great and don't get me wrong - She's the best, kind, generous, and would do anything for me. I love her. Love Her. But there are times when I am also in love with my keys! In Love With Car Keys. That's freedom on a personal note. That we live in a time where homeless carry cell phones and I don't have to eat pig intestines, that is even more to be grateful for - I am grateful. Everyday.

What are you grateful for?

Happy 4th of July!

Love All,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Automated E-mail Alert! And Here I Am.

It's bad when you get an automated email saying it's time to blog from some unknown, snooty server. What do they think, a computer knows my inefficiency better than I do? No. I realize I've been lax - but I've been writing! Ha! My kids are out of school and I've been going to the gym. Hey, I'm busy.

I've been thinking about books and how/why they skyrocket to fame. I need a niche market. Some untapped area that people want to read about. I missed the erotica by a year or so, missed the girl with an arrow by a few years, lovable vampires by a few more than that and wizards by over a decade. What will be next? Is there a trend?

Here's the thing -  the devil himself has lit a fire to every molecule of air outside my door. Hell has sucked the desert into its womb. Translation: It's hot. Can't expect too much when you've got a head full of boiling brains.

But it's summer and I love summer. The cicadas have invaded every branch of every tree within earshot and are buzzing me crazy. But the monsoons are on their way and so many delicious fruits are in season and God created popcorn and movies.

Let me know if you come up with a trend - or maybe I'll just watch you promote it on the news. Good Luck.

Am I all over the place, not making sense - Hello, it's hot!

Remember even through extreme heat you have to Love All.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Young Adult Book That Really Is For Kids!

Tomorrow a promotional newsletter to teachers is going out with a Moon Over Monsters review! It feels odd to have this book out on Kindle. It's the first time we've done that ... ebook out before the actual book has been printed. I feel as if I'm letting Christina down. But this is also the first time we've had such success with ebooks.

Moon Over Monsters is a story about a girl, Christina, who lives in LA. She's super smart and at 16 has just graduated from High School and is getting ready for UCLA in the fall. When her dreams start they're treats and a break from reality but when they start becoming more like visions Christina starts to  worry. She witnesses a boy battling a dragon and her scream crosses the continuum as the boy turns to look at her,  the dragon lunges.
Christina has a destiny that is stronger than her fight. And when her family is sent to Germany to cover a dragon sighting she slips into another realm. It's like nothing she ever thought existed. Elves, witches, trolls, dwarves and fairies populate a kingdom that has been bread to hate and fear humans. With the shield that protects their secret fading it is destiny that has her way.

I've spent years researching the YA genre and I really wanted a story that I could hand to my kids and not worry. It's a summer read for kids of all ages. The book edition will be out within the month. If you have kids ... check what their reading!

Are we sick of political ads, yet?  I am not going to let them ruin my summer! Because summer has started in this household. My girls are finished with their finals today and will spend the next week at school creating puppets. Puppets. Nothing like the sixth grade that I remember, in either the level of learning or the crazy last week. It's a great school and I cannot complain, nor do I want to.

Be safe.

Love All,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Brothers & Sisters - Is A Mother's Love Equal?

Today is my mom's birthday. She's way old and I've spent 7.5 of the last 8 hours with her. Enough said.
I had to get that off my chest. And am I feeling better? Not really. But I've got a passport and I'm only mildly afraid to use it!

To real issues.
It's been almost two weeks since we had our FREEEE promotion and it was an overwhelming success! Now, because I am willing to play the game of life, we are lowing the price of both books to $.99 (Hey, who stole my cent button?) for three days! Starting May 11th! I know that authors can experience overwhelming sales by lowering the cost but ... I think those authors have a long line of books for readers to purchase and I have only three. We'll see and so will you! We've tried a few different advertisers and haven't seen much return on investment on those.  Next week we are going to be in a newsletter for kids promoting Moon Over Monsters. It's a great summer read - a book that you can feel comfortable letting your child read.

There is so much in the news lately and I have to tell you I always watch and don't always believe - however, the English double agent has captured my attention. Don't forget to check your backyard for oil, double check the drugs you're on, a prince of weather, another billion dollars wasted - you can't make this stuff up. Except for the cheating, lying politician story - that's old news even if it comes with a new face.

Well, I've got to get to my mommy's birthday party.

Be safe.

And remember to Love All,

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fake Can Be A Great Alternative

I think the Tylenol, ibuprofen, the Benadryl and the caffeine from the Diet Coke are finally kicking in! And even though what I'm feeling is totally fake - it's better than how I woke up this morning. Fake isn't always better but I have to admit my fingers are flying over this keyboard, when an hour ago I was slumped in the sunshine. I wonder if a tanning bed would have served the same effect as the dose of chemicals. But maybe (here is my artificial light - lightbulb - moment) it is the fake things that are most addictive! New thoughts for my procrastinating ponder.
Speaking of fake ...
I'm going to have to open my mind to the possibility that some of my strong feelings about nothing could be wrong. I used to dislike seedless watermelon. How unnatural to de-seed such a beautiful fruit! What, are we smarter than God? But then (against my will) I tried the devil food – and it was not only delicious but totally convenient. Spitting isn't attractive. Now, to justify my turn of opinion ... It would be more of a sin not to take advantage of the tools we were given!
No one gets addicted to seedless watermelon! Go Team Seedless Watermelon!

I think humans are smart enough to fix anything in the world - if only we weren't so consumed with nonsense. If we could pick up our pants, put less sugar in ice cream, mute mean gossip, end selfishness, have kids that like to clean their room and receive a dollar for every lame political television ad we are subjected to ... life would be better! Someday I might miss those seeds, nostalgia that, I'm sure, will dissipate with the coming of summer melon season.

Hey, did you see the Tucson Lifestyle Author page? So nice.

I can't write how super cool it is to open email or FB and read a note from a reader. It makes me happy on the inside and motivates my work. Thanks to everyone - it's better than fake!!

Remember to be kind.

Love All,

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nearly 13K Free Downloads In 48 Hours

In two days almost thirteen thousand people (world wide) downloaded Living Lies and I have to wonder ... What does that mean? It's crazy and scary. The thing is, is that it really is just a game of pricing, strategy and luck. 

My next concern, because there always has to be at least one, is that people like the book. I realize it isn't possible to please everyone but I do cross my fingers and hope it's a high percentage. There's expectations with such a catchy cover and though I was in categories with mostly men authors with war  covers I think Melanie can hold her own.

For the next couple of weeks I'm going to keep my eye on Second Chance. Not everyone emails or leaves 5 stars that they enjoyed the story but if they like Living Lies ... they'll want to read the sequel. (FYI *** 5 star comments are always, always appreciated as well as recommendations! - momentary pause for blatant plea for positive accolades.) 

And Moon Over Monsters was released on Kindle - book form will be out in May. I actually thought it would get some notice because of Living Lies free days. But sadly no. 

Remember to be kind.

Love All,

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Small Sound Can Change The Whole Meaning

We all have busy days.
You know what I'm sick of? Dieting. Hearing about dieting. Counting calories. Brown rice over white rice. All of it bores me to death. What a waste of time and energy. If I'm a little fat, who cares? Be a little more active each day, say no after the twentieth french fry and enjoy over worry.

I cannot express enough how much has put me to sleep lately. I'm so tired of the same old thing. I'm tired of television, radio and I'm tired of my own thoughts. I crowd my day with useless pondering, I think it is a honed procrastination technique. It ranges from ...
Have you ever wondered why self-deprecating is so similar to self-defecating? It's because when you put yourself down it is just like pooping all over yourself. Gross. I know. But it is something to think about.
To ....
I will never purchase a tree that doesn't work for me. I planted a couple of citrus trees over the weekend and was overjoyed with the idea that I will never want for a lemon – ever again. Marvelous. I'm thinking pecan tree next!

And either I'm suffering from heat exhaustion or struggling with thoughts that race out of my mind faster than my fingers can keep up. Why am I missing every third word I write? Is it misunderstood talent?

Three book related news events!

First I'm being interviewed for a magazine article on Monday. I get a little nervous with this kind of stuff.
Second, Living Lies is going to be FREE on Kindle Thursday and Friday or Friday and Saturday!
Third Moon Over Monsters will be out this on next week on Kindle!

Remember to be kind and don't self-defecate!

Love All,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Strangers Have Feelings Too!

In the world where you are judged by strangers is a strange place to be. I realize that it's easy to write comments and complaints from a keyboard on your computer and I understand that everyone has an opinion and I also understand that not everyone has the same tastes. With that incredibly long sentence said I have to add a small reminder – it's perfectly legit to express you unhappiness or dislike for a ... novel, let's say ... however remember there is a human on the other end of your complaint. I think that constructive feedback is necessary and can often make for a better future product but personal attacks are never the answer.

Here is my gentle suggestion - being kind will never hurt.

Make Love Not War,

On Sale 3 Days Only - $2.99 Living Lies and $2.99 Second Chance on the Kindle!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Champagne and Pills - Bad Combination

Lately, I've been so crazed with trying to complete 2 books that I haven't had any time to think about interesting things to write about here. Sure, I've been impassioned by nonsense. But has any of it been any fun? Not really. Has any been insightful? Nope.
And to top things off, both my mom and my husband have become funnier! Neither are funny and that leads me down a scary path ... am I losing my sense of humor?

On a book writing note:
I am now going through round two of book three! Hip, hip! It is so much easier the second time around. The trouble I had starting this book is legendary! That may be an over representation of my troubles but I did run into difficulties during the first stages of this book. I'm not singing the hallelujah chorus just yet but the tune is in the background.

And I do have to say ... I'm liking it! I am going to pre-apologize for the ending - I just can't help it. I never really know when I reach the end until I'm there. It decides for me and even if I wanted to push it a little farther, it won't go. It fizzles.

I've even started pondering book titles, cover colors and images! This is near the stage that I start to feel it being wrapped up! But before I break out the champagne I have to look up and see the Moon Over Monsters manuscript sitting on the table. And that two inch pile of paper reminds me that – Yikes, this is a never ending process!
Well, I think it's about time for my pill.

Happy celebration of you religious freedom,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Soaking Up The Rays In 70% Deficient Arizona

I believe in Kharma. I have to say that if there is one thing I'm a little afraid of ... it's being bitten in the ass by my own energy. I know I've written about "My Strong Feelings About Nothing". Well, I'm here to confess that I've been attacked by MSFAN!

For over a year I've been on the What The Heck!? kick regarding Vitamin D. Because all of a sudden, out of nowhere Vitamin D was all over the news. Couldn't get away from it and I had to question ... who's making money on this?

In December I went to the doctor to have blood work done - the doctor (my first visit - referred by a friend) asked me if I wanted to include the Vitamin D test. HA! I said NO! (Not Hell No but still a forceful rejection). He proceeded to tell me that 70% of Arizonans were D deficient. So, I had to say that if that were true and it was so important then ... the poor people in Wisconsin must be falling over dead. I was going to further express my feelings but I said to myself - "Kate, stop. You aren't ever coming back to this guy," there were other reasons and this was obvious from the get go. "Kate, let it go. Just say no and be on your way." It doesn't always happen, but this time I followed my own savvy advice.

When I got my results back guess what was there! BINGO - Vitamin D results! And further guess what - my insurance doesn't cover his curiosity! $250 - Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars! US Dollars!

Took months to get him on the phone and then when I did ... he said he couldn't do anything. I said he could do the right thing and pay for it! That didn't go over well. He was appalled that I should suggest an 'irrational' idea.
More than one of his staff had told me that he gives this test to everyone. So, I told him that and he admitted that he gives that test to everyone! Everyone? Why? Research study? I don't know. It sounds like an ethics problem to me.

Kharma has hit me with a brick of sunshine.

Let me tell you Stephen Vig I am not done with this crusade! Not until everyone knows the truth and we rise against unwarranted, unnecessary tests! It's what's wrong with the medical field. Bad doctors!

So, readers beware - beware and make certain your insurance covers the flighting fancy of your doctor!

Let us take off our hoodies and raise our faces to the sun!

Best wishes,

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Movies, New Books - An Awesome Combination

Paying tribute to the Hunger Games. 

It seems as if Hollywood is finding it profitable to turn my favorite books into blockbusters! And so, I'm sitting here by my phone waiting for the call regarding Living Lies! I'm waiting patiently, staring lovingly at the rectangular,  mustard yellow, long, curly corded phone attached to my kitchen wall. 

Oh, I have to say I've been working at finishing up book 3 and ... la,la,la ... some great things are in store for Melanie! Sometimes I get stuck in a rewind rut. I keep imagining the same scene over and over - it's annoying like a broken record. Yes, I still listen to my music on vinyl that are loaded with scratches. But anyway, last night my mind was freed and I moved along at a rocket pace.

Enough about me ... back to Suzanne Collins. I have to say that I really enjoyed her Gregor the Overlander series. We spent an entire summer one year reading over Gregor's adventures. Love that authors are getting credit for their work and major movies are not changing the screenplay but holding true to the story. Who will be next? Hmm.

Well, have a great spring - grab a new book and pay homage to the groovy sun! 

See you on the flip side,

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Do You Want For Lunch?

I want to know why the most difficult decision is ... Where are we going for lunch? Why?

All morning we work with this question looming in the foggy recesses of our brains - we feel it on the back of our necks knowing that each ticking moment is leading us closer to a deadline. We even share our concern by asking our co-workers ... where do you want to go?
How much easier would life be if there was a simple answer? I'm not saying that we take away choices or involve the government. I'm not even suggesting that a prestigious university be paid millions of taxpayer dollars to investigate the problem – though I'm sure money has been spent in more foolish ways.

But I for one want all my hours back! Everyday! Lunch. Diner. I know this sounds extreme but I'm about ready to FAST! That's right. You heard me. I'm going to walk away from the time consuming act of deciding where/what to eat by ... not eating!

All right, I'm ready for my next issue (right after I have a quick snack - all that aggression has made me hungry).

Love all,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mastering The Power of Zen

This weekend I was part of a panel that discussed indie vs. traditional approach to publishing your book. Since I have no personal experience with traditional I think this was the wrong spot for me. I think that there is still a stigma regarding self-publishing, though lessening daily. During this panel the idea that indie published books weren't held to a 'standard' was brought up. Meaning they lacked the quality of a traditionally published book. First the term 'standard' is so broad and has no actual value - it isn't a pound or an exact measurement - and to bulk an entire group I felt was a bit unfair. It is possible that I misunderstood him because so many great, fresh stories are being told by indie authors. 

But no matter which way you decide to go - you have to put out a solid product that you're proud of - one that people will want to buy and promote to their friends. Standard is such a unmeasurable word - he didn't hand out business cards to a room filled with potential clients - that might not reach to the standards to some but it met his. 

I think we have to be careful when we criticize. And ask ourselves why are we putting someone else down? What is it about me that I feel the need to interject my negative opinion? At the moment I am feeling very Zen and open to the powers of the universe. I am ready to curtail my critical thoughts and realize that that's just another person over there - trying to do the right thing - even if their right is my wrong. 

I lost a bet with my 12 year olds - I thought a song title was Stereo Love, it's Stereo Heart. Still think my title works but now I have to make their beds for a week. Bummer. Well - still love Stereo Heart but will continue to call it Stereo Love!

Love all even when you lose a bet.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Finding The Qualities To Love - From A Prince To A Killer

Ever wonder what makes a person likable?

I've been thinking about personalities and character traits - it's research in human development and also very helpful in writing.

I've come up with two very different examples of people that are likable - at least in my opinion.

First I'll go tame. Prince Harry. Dancing in Jamaica with his blue suede shoes. He seems to know how to have a good time. Not shy or timid but putting himself out there and having fun doing it - like someone you'd want to hang out with. Likable. Just when you think he hasn't a care in the world they cut to him giving a speech in a tux and then in one of his military uniforms ... now, I'm not saying I have a crush on Harry but he does seem to represent my idea of multi faceted man. I like that he drinks, dances  - wouldn't any one of us hand over a problem or two to live like that kind of prince?

Second is a bit darker and that's why he's fascinating. Dexter Morgan. Okay, so he's not a real person but  between the writers and the actors they do a fantastic job manipulating me into rooting for a guy that does bad things. He's a killer and by the end of each episode I'm out of my seat, pacing and biting my nails dying to know and not know what will happen. I love the show and the love is genuine. Dexter isn't having fun or carefree, he isn't faultless but there's something noble in his plight. Whatever it is, I'm hooked.

How did the writers of Dexter do that? What an amazingly powerful gift - to manipulate people into accepting the unreasonable. Something to think about and learn from.

Love it, love it, love it. If you like to write try watching people and figuring out what makes them annoying or funny ... what is it about people that we gravitate toward? Or away from? It's fun to do.

Is that sad to get your jollies by watching people? I think there's a entire industry built on that concept. Oh, well, for now all the people I watch usually keep their clothes on. Maybe someday (with different books) that'll change.

For anyone in Tucson this weekend March 10th & 11th -- I will be at the Festival of Books. I'll be at Mostly Books booth on Sat. 4:30 with JA Jance
2:30 on Sunday in the Integrated Learning Center
4:30 on Sunday speaking at the Alumni Author's tent on the mall.

Hope all is well in your world,

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blogs That Matter And Change The Whole World

A couple of things.

First I've been wanting to do a better job at writing these posts. So, today I spent 1.5 hours of my life listening to an online blog-guy ... only to learn that I will never be a successful blogger :(

Apparently, there are 9 steps to success and I could only find two that looked like fun. The first was to find a topic that I loved and B. I like the idea of Branding. But blogging 30 times a day sounds unreasonable and ... do I even think 30 worthwhile thoughts in a day? Another bummer was that I have to leave the personal stuff out. This isn't my 'diary' - Anne Frank wrote a diary.

The part that lost me was that I'm supposed to write stuff that matters and changes the world. While dozing ... I mean listening I thought to myself ... do I have to change The Whole World or just a small piece? Maybe just the parts that are broken. What about the parts that are underwater, how do I reach those?

I don't mean to make fun, I just can't help myself. Why is it all so serious, where's the laughter? Where's the love?

Another thing that started to bug me about 27 minutes in was ... I hate it when people start name dropping, number dropping and motivating by saying "it's not too late for you to start".

I don't want to be a professional blogger, anyway. It's supposed to draw people to my books - to quote the movie "BIG" ... I don't get it.
But I don't get a lot of things. Such as, why does the media keep saying Lindsay Lohan is talented. Every time I hear that, I search my memory for something other than Freaky Friday and Parent Trap. What else did she do?

On a violation note - I'll go personal.

My problem is that I am a terrible salesperson. I hate to ask people to LIKE my page or to write a review - even after they've left me an awesome email. I know I should but ... I can't. Others do and I realize it makes me a loser but I'd rather be a loser than a beggar. People get sick of both and I figure if they like the book ... maybe they'll think of it themselves and LIKE me on their own terms. It must mean more. I've earned every single one of my 24 LIKEs.

I'm going keep writing and keep thanking those emailers - and maybe one day I'll grow a set and ask someone to help out with a 5-star review or a click on the LIKE button.

Hope all is well in your part of the world.

Love all,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh, What A Pain!

Is there anything more distracting than pain?

I have a toothache. Four years ago I was at the beach and a grain of sand got caught between teeth and I couldn't get it out. When I got home I went to the dentist and he said I needed a filling. Hmm. Because every tooth I have already has at least three. My first love was candy and let's just say all kinds of love hurts.

Anyway, since he filled the spot my tooth has bothered me – It's that enamel looking color stuff, unlike my sparkly sliver ones – not painful bother just weird. I thought I was just being a baby ... sad and not 100% positive that I needed a filling. But the hygienist, dentist they're all nice there, friendly and I figured they hadn't screwed up on a cleaning - so we stayed with him twice a year.

But when one of my girls needed a filling about a year ago and she had the same complaint. My belief solidified. I'm not a baby, he isn't any good. Later, her tooth hurt her so much we took her in - it was a baby tooth and close enough to falling out he pulled the thing.

So, when I went in for a cleaning (the tooth sometimes hurts) he said it had a fracture and wanted to make me a queen by giving me a crown.

Now I have a toothache and in need of a dentist. But who is to say this one will be any better? How do you chose a dentist or a doctor? Don't get me started about the odd doctor my friend recommended. He was right out of a Stephen King novel. Carried a picture of an OBGYN that the thought was pretty in his coat pocket. I do have to admit, she was attractive.

Monday I have to tract down someone who knows what they are doing - in the meantime I'm practicing pain deferment.

Hope your weekend is better and you're out chowing down on all things tasty and not soft and not counting the hours until you can have another pill. On a good note - my face hasn't swelled.

Gumming through my weekend,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

From Bladders to Underwear - Who Is Funny Now? Bam!

Are kids more mature these days? My 6th graders are learning about the urinary system in their biology class. They had a test today and I helped with their studying. They were talking about bladders and urine without a hint of humor.
All I can say is that when I was 12, I'd have been giggling behind my hand every time the teacher talked about ureter tubes. I asked the girls if anyone in their class thought it was funny and they looked at me like I was nuts.
Today they were doing ratio tables in algebra and I scolded one because she wasn't supposed to be playing tic-tac-toe. They didn't get the joke.

Now I'm happy that they're learning so much ... but what's the use of being smart if you don't understand good humor? I'm funny, sort of. Does it count that I make myself laugh? How many people have to agree that you're funny to qualify for that label? I tell my mom all the time that funny and amusing aren't the same thing. It's amusing that she thinks she's funny. And here's a secret - if you want her to love you ... laugh at one of her bad jokes.

On a gorgeous note - David Beckham is in town! Tiger Woods is too, but he's a cheater and that lowers his attractive points while increasing his ugly ones. He can play golf but David Beckham rules in a pair of Armani underwear (I'm not in love with H&M). I might have to make it out to the soccer field and find myself a muse for my next athlete.

It's a tough job. But how else can I develop character descriptions? I sacrifice daily for my craft. We all should.

Love all,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Three Simple Solutions to the Decline of Civilization

You know those days at work where you feel as if you've actually accomplished more than you set out to do? Happened to me today.

I usually don't write at home. Too much laundry, dishes ... stuff I have to do that never ends. Plus I've got the neediest dogs on the planet. They knock my elbows around so I can't type then crawl under them and into my armpit ... it's fishing for a hug. And I sort of like it. But back to my point - I write at locations where they don't kick me out after two hours of hogging one of their tables. (you know where I'm talking about) Anyway, everything has a price and I have to say there is a price and I don't mean the dollar soft drink.

Daily I get a visual of someone's butt crack. It's upsetting. I can't help butt see. Not my fault. I even turn my computer around so it covers the crevasse. They know it's happening because eventually they reach back and pull up their jeans. So, in the past year I've sort of been doing a study. In my half second observation - nearly 365 times - I've noticed that there are various rises to these cracks and I've come to the hypothesis that it is dependent on how tight the jeans are. Tight pants cause the crack to start near the small of their back while looser pants are less offensive.

I'm not looking for government intervention here ... but fashion, modesty or my plain human rights ought to be enough for some kind of revolt. Longer shirts, old lady underwear, mom jeans ... come on people butt cheeks pulled in tight and peeking out the top of your pants is not attractive.  

I would just like to say to all of you who made it this far in reading my rant Thank You and I'm Sorry. But my feelings aside, I really am trying to make this world a better place for all of us.

Love One Another,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Real Info RE: Promoting Your E-Book - Amazon's KDP Select

I realize I add observations and other non-pertinent life stuff here on this blog. I think it's all important for a writer - it's not a 9-5 job where you can clock out or get weekends off. Instead it's like motherhood. Constant. So, all aspects of life play a part in your story and I think that to be aware of that builds stronger characters. Understanding personalities is essential to realistic relationships.

With that - credit going to neighbor Seth – Brent got an email about an author's blog who told his story. It goes something like this ... his sales in December were low (20-ish) on Amazon for his fiction novel. He signed up for Kindle Select and gave the e-book away for the first two days. Which accounted for 25,000 downloads! He shot to #1 in free Kindle e-book ranks. I checked his stats yesterday (not free) and he was #1,683. Still awesome.

Being in the same position as this guy ... we looked into it and didn't have the outstanding results as he did but we still had 8,000 downloads in three days. The second day was Valentine's and though I thought it would boost downloads (I do have a pink book) I was completely wrong. Downloads slowed. I guess there was a lot of love going on and not enough reading!

The other author said that he was featured on big Amazon blog sites - I looked into this but still don't know how you advertise to them about the free days. If you know ... please, pass along the info! I did get to # 61 on free Kindle e-books, #43 in fiction, #6 in mystery #3 in women sleuths, #2 in action and adventure and all day Living Lies was #1 in Spy Stories and Tales of Intrigue! Also, I sold 16 of Second Chance. Today Living Lies (not free) sold 22 and still going.

I obviously don't know what it means in long-term sales but it has gotten Living Lies into 8,000 new hands. Reader hands. We have two more 'free' days sometime in the next 86 days and I'm going to spend the time figuring out how to promote. I'm going for top ten in this next run. When I learn more, I'll give up my tips here on this blog.

It's exciting because I'm in the middle of receiving Moon Over Monsters rejection letters. My query letters stink. I'm wordy - ask my mom - how can I explain a complicated concept like man's natural need to be top of the food chain in one paragraph? Failure builds character? That sucks!

Oh, check out the Tucson Festival of Books website. I'm there both days ... but mostly Sunday.

Well, remember to love one another - no wonder I didn't get more downloads ... my own dang fault. Do people still say 'dang'?


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Arizona Celebrates 100 Years Of Statehood!

This past school year I've been catching up on US history - my girls get notes daily and we walk around the neighborhood studying for their Friday tests. It's been an eye opening experience. It's incredible how much I've forgotten - this is just one class - imagine over the years how much knowledge has gone in and out of my brain! Why - I could've been a Genius! But I guess I've just got to settle for ... forgetful.

Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh, yeah, AZ Statehood. I just got back from a visit of downtown Tucson where there is a big celebration going on. Truthfully, this is a huge month for us in the So. Arizona. We've got the Gem and Mineral Show, the Accenture Golf Tournament and the awesome La Fiesta de los Vaqueros - the Tucson Rodeo. 

Today, we went to the Fox Theater (one of those old places your parents say they used to get in for a dime). It took forever getting through traffic, finding parking and finally making our way through the promotional booths and roping a pvc bull. Then we stopped at the Rodeo Museum display of old wagons – that are still used annually in the rodeo parade and spoke with a man who knew about my great grandfather. My great grandfather, Adolfo Vasquez, was a blacksmith who built wagons. 

Once inside the Fox we sat down right as the program was starting. We were supposed to be late. And the first thing the man portraying an important Tucsonan back in 1912 says is that he was an apprentice and influenced by Adolfo Vasquez!

It was like we were meant to be there. 

So, there Willow Smith! Have your big, fancy, famous, rich, gorgeous parents and open for Justin Bieber because I've got Adolfo Vasquez!

Happy 100 Years!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Am A Victim Of Tiny Towers - Someone call a psychotherapist, quick!

If I'm too old for zits – how did I fall for the most boring app ever? My oldest 12 year-old started this a couple of weeks ago. And truthfully it is as boring to play as it is to watch. But my youngest 12 year-old asked if she could download it on my ipad. Why not? It's free.

She and I were going to 'share' the tower. I didn't want it - I don't have time for video games, apps, wii - Now I have 20 floors. I write on my laptop and use the ipad for research so I don't have to toggle .. yesterday I wrote with Tiny Towers by my side ???? Really?

Please don't tell Brent! Not that he's Shrek but ... I would have to explain what the heck I'm doing and I just can't. I still have a Moon Over Monsters dust jacket to write, a query letter to revise and a 90K Melanie book to write.

That's it! I have seen the light ... or wait ... no, it's just "a time to restock" box.

But there is good news - if you're going to be in Tucson March 10 and 11 - Saturday, I will be on a panel at the Book Festival. Sunday I'm speaking in the Alumni Author's Tent and selling books at the Mostly Book table.

I'll let you know more when I get more info - but this is way cool!

My advice today is stay away, far away from free apps - they are not free!

Be safe,

Friday, February 3, 2012


I went to the funeral of my cousin's daughter yesterday. She was placed beside her mom.

It's been a difficult week. And I'm tired to trying to make sense of the whole thing. The best I've come up with is that I have no idea how anything works. People speak of fairness and injustice. I don't know but if there was ever a case for unfairness in life ... this feels like it.

What do you think about fate vs. free will? Does it matter how you live or do we all just have an expiration date stamped on our soul? Everyone dies. Athletes, young kids, drug addicts, the elderly, those who don't look both ways – the only ones who seem immune are celebrities. Crazy.

I am so sorry for the loss of Jennifer. She was sweet and smiling and I'm very sorry for the gap this has left in people's lives. For some the gap is great and their grief is unimaginable.

Was it last week when I suggested Love All? Well, feels like ages ago but it still sounds like a good idea.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love All - Should that include the jerk that cuts in front?

Janet Evanovich's One For The Money is released in theaters tomorrow. Though, I wasn't sold on the actress who plays Stephanie Plum (can't spell her name - so I won't) I'm kind of getting used to the idea.

I have to admit - I've thought of Living Lies on the big screen and I've kept my eye out for someone who reminds me of Melanie. A long time ago I was watching Lost and thought Evangaline Lily (All my names might be misspelled - sorry) might work, she's sporty but she might be too tall. There was a girl in Rookie Blue - she seemed like she could grow with the character. I guess if I'm going to imagine I could imagine BIG. Is there a big star out there that fits? They all seem either too old or too girly. Who am I missing?

Adam is tough. I don't even want to try.

Danny. I sort of like the guy who was in Easy A - Todd.

Trish? Tall, gorgeous and raw - should be easy to find in Hollywood.

Javier - there used to be a dancer on Dancing With The Stars - I think his name is Alec.

It's fun to do until I hit that point where it sort of makes me sad to think about. I'm there now. I think it would make a really great movie - I can see every scene but what I think doesn't seem to matter. I really need to make more money. I read a book once (ha-that's funny 'cuz I've read at least two) that the girl was in deep debt and it didn't occur to her to spend less - her first thought was to make more. I am the exact opposite. I go right to spend less and completely forget about the other option. My point with this is that I have to dream bigger. Do you? Are you limited by your own imagination of yourself? What point of view do you need to change? Because why not? Those big stars I was writing about ... are they really so great? How did they get there and where's my path?

How to sell more books? Which isn't the only goal - I want people to fall in love. Fall in Love - so that their hearts speed up with a single kiss. Fall in Love with a handsome, capable chef. Love is good. We should all love more. And I'm not talking about the fool in the car beside you - the one who has forgotten how to drive. I'm talking those you eat dinner with and those souls around the world that you don't even know. I suppose that could be the fool in the car because truthfully ... they're the ones that need the most Love.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Year Of The Dragon!

Just a quick note before I begin my Moon Over Monsters update.

I went to lunch today with my mom, niece and husband - it was a quick-fast-food place and it's always terrifying to be up at the counter, ordering with my mom. She's a maniac! She asks, "What do you want?" and then proceeds to order whatever she thinks you should have. Brent and I usually split a meal - they give too much for a single person and it works. We don't have left overs, we don't waste and we're not over stuffed. My mom disagrees.
So, today we're at the counter and I'm hanging back because we usually get into a squabble right in front of person - and we do. (Though I hate to admit it ... It was sort of my fault. I'm okay with that so long as my mom never finds out.)
We confused the man and in the end the four of us snacked/lunched for $8.36. He got the order mostly wrong and we just accepted whatever came on the tray. I'm not sure what this says about any of us ... and don't think that you've solved my problem by having me wait for the next person to take my order. My mom scolds and waves me over until I relent. She means well. She usually buys. I love my mom.

Moon Over Monsters - spent all day Saturday reading it to the girls. We're a third of the way through and it's going well - they're asking good questions, giving ideas and we're catching a couple of typing, wording errors.

I've forgotten how long this process takes. Poor, poor Melanie is waiting in the wings. I've been playing her relationship with Adam over and over in my head. I'm just not sure which way she's leaning. I love Adam and I know there's feelings there for Melanie, too ... but are they strong enough?

I guess I'm going to have to listen and see what she has to say.

Happy Year Of The Dragon!

Best Wishes,

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Do They Know?

Starting tomorrow I am giving up sugar. Not all sugar just simple kinds - like Pixie Sticks. I've been doing family research - speaking with my aunts and uncles and one thing I've learned is that there is a history of kidney failure and my great-grandmother's sister was blind. Sounds like diabetes to me. I don't do well with too much sugar - I think I'm going to try limiting my intake.

This history report started out with a fact finding mission - talk to my 80-something-year-old relatives - learn about Tucson in the past 7 decades. Learn about my grandparents and answer questions that I've wondered about all my life.

If you have aging relatives - I'd suggest you sit down with them and take a video account of their stories. You might find out more than you ever knew existed. Like maybe it'd be wise to decrease your sugar. History is a funny thing. Everyone has their own account of what happened, why, when and getting different perspectives of the same even is a great way to whittle down the truth.

The farther back you can reach - the closer you are to history. The uncle that I'm seeing tomorrow was in WWII. I cannot wait to learn about the things he's witnessed. First hand. There is a name for this ... getting knowledge from the source but for the life of me I can't remember. Fortunately my uncle has a better memory than I do.

Take care,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Story of Jack and Libby .... and Luxa ... and Tori

My oldest dog is 8. She's got really bad allergies and to be honest I think she was from a puppy farm. Her name is Libby and the choice was between her and her much quieter sister. We bought her when she was about 5 months old and paid way too much. But I couldn't leave her and I couldn't chose which puppy to take - I waited in the car and let Brent pick one. Terrible.

But I have to say Libby (her sister, too) was beautiful. We'd just lost two of our three Springer Spaniels and the one left was very sad - so we got him a puppy. He loved her for about three hours and then did his best to be a carmudgeon. He was 91 people years old and looking back I guess he had right to scold her but it was how he did it that made him a grumpy old man.

When he passed, two years later, Libby was sad - are we seeing a pattern? Anyway, that's when we decided she needed company ... so we got Jack. Not from a puppy mill but a nice family. Jack is better than handsome – he's the David Beckham of dogs. And since they're both so beautiful I had the brilliant idea that they should propagate. Not to make money but because beauty like theirs shouldn't be ended.

Libby grew enormous and at the end we had ten puppies that didn't make it, three that survived and a vet bill that was twice as enormous as Libby. On a good note - one of my twins decided puppy birth was really gross and changed her mind on becoming a veterinarian saving us a bundle on tuition. Well, I couldn't release the three brave survivors to just anyone ... so, my brother adopted one, we called her Juliet and they named her Casper.

And that is how one family of four has a exact canine replica living in their house with them. It hasn't really been too bad but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it either.

I don't really know why I wrote about them ... other than they're laying around me, baking in the winter sun.

Take care,