Today I am part of a blog tour for the recently released Women’s Fiction anthology Frozen. I’m a little bias because one of the stories is mine. The anthology gave me an opportunity to write about Drew’s proposal to Kate from my Waiting for Dusk series. I had fun writing it.

It also gives me the chance to introduce you to some of my author friends and other authors I’m getting to know. I wanted to put a face to the names of my co-authors so you could get to know them better.  Tara Fox Hall and I have met in person. See us below! We were at the Finger Lakes in New York, known for its wineries as you can see by the glasses in hand.

Finger Lakes Vacation (27)

My other author friend lives a little farther away so it’d make quite the trip! Charmaine Pauls resides in Chile with her husband and two children.

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Someone I’m getting to know better is Val Clarizio. She’s great at promotion and a hard working author.


Rhoda Brutt  Rhoda  and Elena Kane are Facebook friends. I’ve meet so many interesting people in this profession!

Nicole Angeleen   Nicole, Marilyn Gardiner  marilyn, Bess Kingsley Bess, Christina Kirby, and April Marcom  April make up the rest of the cast.

When the winter winds hit, curl up with a good book. You might enjoy a quick read from Frozen on a cold night. Pick a story, make some hot chocolate or grab a glass of wine. Our stories range from sweet romance to spicy so there’s a little something for everyone.

You can check it out here:


Barnes and Noble




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I remember standing in my paternal grandmother’s living room being asked that question. Her neighbor came over to visit, took one look at my older sister and saw the family resemblance. She gazed over at me, studied me up and down and asked the question, “Who do you look like?”

I was quite young at the time, maybe five or six, and refused to answer. My mother always referred to that reaction as being a stubborn Swede. Stubborn Swede or not, I didn’t like the question. What did she care who I looked like? My sister was my sister and so what if we didn’t look alike? If I had the nerve I do now, I might have answered, “the mailman.”

Maybe that’s why, to this day, I have such trouble describing people in my novels. I’m always stumped when it comes to descriptions. I’m aware people want to know the color of the romantic lead’s eyes or the hero’s hair color. Is the character tall or short? Lean or has muscles? Then it’s on to the lead female character. Full lips? Flowing hair or cropped short? I could go on and on.

Descriptions are important in a novel so I started a folder of character traits. Whenever I come across one I like, I add it to the list. I found a website that describes eye color, not just the green, blue, brown but all the shades in between. Definitely a keeper!

All authors have their own personal stumbling blocks. Mine happens to be descriptions. It carries over to scenery and clothes, too. To help the process, I study pictures, close my eyes to envision my character, and write and keep rewriting until it flows. It’s a type of writer’s block and can halt the whole writing process.

I guess you’re wondering if I ever gave that neighbor an answer. I’m sure my dad wasn’t too happy with my silence and prodded me to speak. I remember that day as clear as if it was yesterday. I finally did answer the question, “Who do you look like?” I looked her straight in the eye and uttered just one word, “Me.”

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I just finished reading a young adult book that will remain nameless. It was released by one of the big publishers, has lots of reviews and is very popular. I wanted to read it because that’s what authors do. Read their genre. Get familiar with the competition.

Let’s just say, it was an okay book. The writing was surprisingly basic. Descriptions were sparse. No real suspenseful moments. I went to Goodreads to log the novel into my “Books I Have Read”. While there, I couldn’t resist reading some reviews.

According to the ratings (stars), the book had good reviews, but also quite a few low scores. There were thousands upon thousands of them… something I can only dream of. I scrolled down the first review page and was surprised how many one and two stars write-ups appeared. I started to skim through and had to stop and read a few. They summed up exactly how I felt about the book. The reviewers’ comments were well thought out and factual. After reading the book, I agreed with them.

As an author I could never give a one star review. I think I wouldn’t write one at all. Just leave it be. You know the old saying–If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. I know how hard it is to write and complete a book, let alone get it published. I also know how it feels when you get your first one star review. It’s a little like a knife through the heart. I know reviewers would say to toughen up and take the hit. It’s their right to review. I totally agree.

As I stated before, I’d give anything for all those reviews, good and bad. People are arguing over the character, plot and descriptions. They are talking about the book. They are reading the book…regardless, to see if everyone’s right. That author should be thrilled. I hope she is.

One thing for sure, she doesn’t have to worry about a one star review from me. I’ll leave that to the tougher critics. As a reader, I am on their side. As a writer, I’d say walk a mile in my shoes.




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What’s up with squirrels in the fall? What’s going on in their little minds? I swear they have a death wish. They dart out in front of a car at a moment’s notice.

I could write a story about them. It couldn’t be a  cute little children’s book because there might be a lot of blood and gore like a horror story. Spy novel? Mystery story? Possession? There are endless possibilities. These squirrels aren’t for the fainthearted.  They are little daredevils.

My husband thinks the squirrels are doing performance moves, like in the Olympics. They get scored on how well they did. He’s positive there’s a row of judging squirrels set up along the side of the road holding up scorecards.

The strange thing is that squirrels only do this in the fall. They also sit in the middle of the road and when they see a car coming, they don’t budge. They’re like deer in the headlights. Then, suddenly they dart to the edge of the street as if they figured it out. But wait, they turn on a dime and are right back in front of you. Some enjoy the “go, left, no go right, oh, I mean left again” routine. I feel they’re taunting you to hit them. Sometimes they sprint out from the side of the road at the last minute. That move I call the death wish.

In reality, there is an explanation. I just read an article in the paper about this phenomenon. Squirrels travel farther from home in autumn, looking for acorns and water supplies. They are not familiar with their surroundings. When they reach pavement or asphalt they become disoriented. So there’s the truth.

Still, I’d like to think there’s something more going on. When fall arrives, a brain cell ignites, giving the squirrel the ability to harass the humans of the world. They play with your mind, teasing you to hit them and feel guilty for the rest of your life. Maybe they’re hoping for a squirrel sanctuary to be built in their honor. Who knows what goes on in their little minds?

Whatever you think of the squirrel phenomenon, please keep your eye out for the little critters. And maybe next time you see a squirrel in the road,  you’ll want to create your own story, your own explanation of Why the Squirrel Crossed the Road.

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In a few weeks a new anthology will be released by my publisher. She put out a call for short story romances taking place in the season of winter. The book will be called Frozen.

Ten authors, beside myself, have written sweet to sensual love stories for this book. We now are putting our collaborative heads together to work on promo. What does that include? We’ve come up with a Facebook party, blog tour, press release and a giveaway.

Authors have to learn the art of promotion. It’s hard, to say the least, but has to be done. Some author friends have become experts, while others still are sifting through the challenges of Facebook and Twitter. I am learning and still have a long way to go.

Even though writing is a solitary business, promoting your book isn’t. Constant work is needed. The authors I know are a sharing bunch and willing to help. We have worked hard on the promotion. I will be featuring our book at a later date. But I didn’t want you to miss out on the giveaway.

I wanted to include you in the fun part of promotion. Winning! Readers love to win free things. Our rafflecopter giveaway has great prizes. $65 gift cards and copies of the book, Frozen. Just click on the link.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading.

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No Wifi
Talk to each other!
Call your mom!
Pretend it’s 1993!

What a great sentiment. Much has changed in such a short time. I like that this coffee shop wanted to remind people that it wasn’t so long ago, this is how we lived.

I have one minor adjustment to the sign. I would add “Read a book” to the list.

And if the sign was true, picture walking by that coffee shop and looking in the window. In a small booth, a solitary figure has a book in one hand, coffee mug in the other. He’s immersed in the story, stylish glasses sliding slightly down his nose.

A group of four young women are at the table across from him. They are chatting, heads close together. A sound of laughter erupts from the circle and they reach for their cups, pausing from the easy camaraderie to take a sip. Once in awhile one of the girls glances over her shoulder at the man holding the book, checking him out. No one stops to look down at a phone or send a message.

At another table, two businessmen are having their morning coffee as they jot down notes for a meeting. They make eye contact, converse and nod, smiling as they are distracted by light sound of giggling as it travels across the room.

The place is alive with energy, not filled with silent pods of people—together or alone. No one is distracted by a text or call. They don’t have to stop midsentence in their story or ask someone to hang on for just one minute. The business meeting flows smoothly with no interruptions. The young man marks his place in his book as he slams it shut, ready to head for class. He gives a slow nod and an appreciative smile to the girls as he slides from the booth. The girls pretend not to notice, but the giggles begins anew.

You are still an observer, watching from the window. Suddenly you’re overwhelmed with a feeling. You just have to go in there, buy a cup of coffee and live like it’s 1993.



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Amazon has gotten into the phone business. They have created something called the Fire Phone. The greatest thing about it? You can shop from your phone!

I hope you saw the sarcasm in that answer. When I read the article about another new phone and what it has to offer, I cringed a little. How about some new advancements in technology?  Not another way to spend money. Plus you can already shop from your phone. But…wait! You can do it in less steps. Scan an item and you’re whisked away to guess where? Amazon!

Basically, to my understanding, this is how it works. A feature on the phone (called Firefly) uses your phone’s camera to recognize things like books, food, video games and household products. Then the screen takes you to Amazon with barely any time for buyer’s remorse.

I view this phone as another way to isolate ourselves. We can be in our own little world all the more. We won’t have to interact with salespeople. Oh, wait. If this keeps up, their jobs will be gone.

In the article I read, I found out the phone has been called “the magic wand for shopaholics.” Instant gratification has been taken to a new level.  I know you can already buy on-line and make purchases that maybe you shouldn’t or can’t afford, but this will make it even easier. And guess who profits? Amazon!

The days of “mom and pop” stores have slowly faded away. Maybe if they changed their name to Amazon, it might help their business. It’s sad how shopping habits have changed. Are we just too busy to get in a car and make our way to a store?

Also, how boring for writers! I see my next book with the main character glued to her phone. “Wait! I’ll check directions on my phone.” “I can Google that.” “Need a new pair of jeans? Let my app scan the ones you like.” “We don’t have to go out. We can watch it on my phone.” “Travel? Forget about it. It’s all here in living color.”

Thank goodness, books can be purchased on Amazon. But let’s make sure it’s not the only way to escape reality. Get off the couch and go out. There’s a whole big world out there…if you just look past that screen on your phone.


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So many new vocabulary words in our language! The one I’ve seen spelled many different ways is Wi Fi. I’ve also seen Wifi, Wi-Fi, and wifi. Which is it? Spell check on Word tells me Wi-Fi (it’s on spell check already?)  Or maybe it doesn’t matter. My head is spinning!

As an author you always want to spell correctly. Readers notice misspellings and other grammatical errors which can interfere with their reading. Editors are always on the lookout, but some spellings can even slip by them.

With all these new words, it’s sometimes hard to find the correct way to spell them. One of them is apps. Should the word be capitalized? Google is always capital, right? So if I use it in a story, I have to say–He Googled it?

Tweeting and trending, hash tag and instagram are already part of our everyday vocabulary. They even made their way into the nightly news.

Who would have thought just a few years ago these words would be part of our daily lives. I try to keep up. I really do. I may even use some of them in my stories. But please, make up your mind on the spellings!

It seems to be the way of the future. New words, multiple spellings. Maybe spelling won’t matter anymore. I hope not. I’m still old school that way.

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Free. We tend to see that word more and more these days in the book world. Self-published authors offer up their books for free in order to capture attention. I subscribe to Book Bub and they send me a daily list of free to low cost books. The books can be from top selling authors to self-published.

How does an author make a living on their books? I don’t think they can anymore with all the choices out there. Maybe the top 1% can, but not the rest of us. But the reason we write is not to make money. The story just has to get out there. The ideas are swirling in our heads. The characters are pounding on the door begging to get out.

Today I have the privilege of releasing a free short story. I love my publisher. She had the confidence in my series to create a cover, format the story and get it out there for free.

I never thought I’d be so excited about giving something away for free. But here is the link for “Taking Chances”, a short story from the Waiting for Dusk series. You didn’t have to  read the series to enjoy the story. The POV is from my male main character, Andrew. The reader will follow his day, the day he met the love of his life, Kate. Enjoy!

Find it here!

Taking Chances

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Today I would like to welcome Sue Gesing, aka Read Around Sue. Authors depend on reviews and are grateful to those people who love to read so much they create a blog! After having a summer of author tips, I thought readers would appreciate a look at books from the other side. Read on for my Q&A with Read Around Sue.

  1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a retired kindergarten teacher who has loved to read her entire life.  I have two grown children and a husband who support me in all my endeavors.  My latest is a cupcake company.

  1. How many books can you read in a week?

It depends.  Sometimes if I am swamped I can read four or five.  I don’t like to do that though as I like to read as carefully as I can.  I’ve always been a speedy reader!

  1. Why a review blog?

I knew a lot of independent and small publisher authors need all the support they can get so I decided to go for it and lend them a hand.

  1. Favorite book genre?

I concentrate mostly on YA and NA but I’ll read anything if it captures my interest.

  1. Will you review every book sent to you? If not, what won’t you read?

 No, I won’t read every book that is sent my way.  I never do horror or erotica, they are just not for me.

  1. Did you always like to read? Favorite book as a child. As an adult.

You bet I have always loved to read!  My favorite as a kid was the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Series by Betty MacDonald.  I don’t have a favorite book as an adult because I enjoy too many of them.  If I was forced to pick, I couldn’t do it!

  1. Do you prefer print books or eReader?

Both are fine by me.

  1. When you review a book, do typographical errors bother you? Would it affect your review?

Oh, you just caught my pet peeve.  I hate typos and misused language like their for there.  I don’t let it affect my review unless I know the author was the editor and no one else. Then I feel I have to speak up.  Some books I’ve read have been spoiled by too many errors.

  1. I like the fact you will only give three stars or above to books you review. Sometimes you just can’t do that. How do you let an author know you won’t be reading their book after accepting it?

Well, that’s not an easy question.  I am sensitive to the fact that an author works hard and loves their book with a passion.  I usually just say, I’m sorry your book is not for me.  That’s about the kindest way I can think of to do it.

  1. Do you take genre into consideration? Let’s say, it wasn’t for you, but was a good book.

I don’t really take genre into consideration unless it is in horror or erotica which I don’t read. If a book wasn’t for me but was well written I would give it the review I felt it deserved and try to put my personal feelings aside.

  1. Can authors directly contact you or do they have to use a blog tour?

Authors can contact me on their own if they wish.  Just go to the submission page and follow the instructions.  Here is the blog site link again  http://readaroundsue.blogspot.com/

  1. What services do you provide authors?

We can work out just about anything.  I have done giveaways, interviews, character interviews and guest blogs. 

  1. And finally, did you ever write a book or want to be an author?

Yes, I wrote a book. It is not for publication but I learned a lot doing it.  My dreams of being an author are over and I’m happy to be a reviewer.


Thanks, Nancy for having me today.  I enjoyed answering your questions.  I am open for submissions at http://readaroundsue.blogspot.com/ if any of your readers are interested.  Again, thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.


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