My first royalties from my books were deposited into my account today. A whopping $21.73 from Amazon. I’m excited!

I published Sunshine Hunter on May 10. Big Apple Hunter was published on May 26. My royalties today are from May only.

Ten copies of Sunshine Hunter sold in 21 days, and three of Big Apple Hunter in six days. Five of the sales weren’t in the U.S., so the royalties were less. None of my early sales were from family or friends, and I didn’t have my blog then, so I’m tickled pink I had any sales at all.

It’s a start! 🙂

Six Sentence Sunday


My six are, once again, from Sin City Hunter, the third book in the Susan Hunter Mystery series.

Susan plays a game of racquetball with a man she believes is behind a murder. Showing no mercy, she wins the game 15-0. My six are from the final few minutes of the game:

I set for the serve and blasted the ball hard down the left side. Carl lunged for the ball, missed, and fell onto the court. I heard a cheer go up from the other side of the glass, but it was quickly quelled by someone, probably Mr. Diamond.

Carl scrambled to his feet, and with his back to the glass so no one would see what he was saying, he hissed, “You’re going to be sorry you did this in front of all of these people.”

Rather than to cower and be frightened, he had snapped my last nerve, and I had more anger than fear. I stood close to him so no one would see what I was saying, and I hissed back at him, “I know what you did.”


Anyone can join in. To participate and/or check out some other great sets of six, check out the site:

Twitter – #sixsunday

Blogging Freaks Me Out (Part Two)

I used to attend book sales at public libraries. It was my main inventory source for selling used children’s books. When I first started going, even though I was friendly and outgoing, the other book dealers wouldn’t talk to me and only tolerated my existence. I was a mom with a child in tow, and I didn’t fit in with their highbrow, snotty circle of knowledge of expensive books and ephemera. It took almost TWO YEARS of being at the same sales with all of them before a bookseller finally asked what I was doing. He was surprised at the success I was enjoying.

To make a long story short, most of the other dealers did eventually become friendly, and over the course of ten years, we had some good times waiting in line and chatting. I never forgot how the snubbing felt though, and I always made sure I talked with anyone who was near me in the book line – no matter why they were there. I met a lot of interesting people by not discriminating.

At first, I was wary here at WordPress. My feelings of the book snubbing surfaced again – especially since I had just written three books in three months and published them myself. I hadn’t paid my dues in the writer’s world.

I was afraid to comment on anyone’s blog for fear they wouldn’t answer because I didn’t fit in with their circle of friends. I was afraid to follow – especially another author – for fear they would chastise me for what I had done.

None of that has happened. I’ve met some wonderful people, I’m learning a lot, and most of the time, blogging is fun.

But I was freaked out again a couple of days ago. I was looking around Freshly Pressed and read the blog post about making your likes mean something. Yikes! What if other bloggers think my likes aren’t heartfelt? What if other bloggers think I’m only liking their posts to induce them to come to my blog? What if I’m intruding on someone’s blog who intended it for a select circle of family and friends?

I’ve had fun rolling around WordPress and finding blogs to read, follow, and like. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I always read a post before I push like. Why wouldn’t you?

I was following a lot of blogs and dropping a lot of likes out there, but I wasn’t trolling for likes or followers in return. I don’t have enough to say to bring people here. In my panic of feeling I wasn’t blogging correctly, I unfollowed a load of people, and hoped I would no longer be intruding.

The fact that other bloggers show up to read my blog still kind of freaks me out. Now I’m paranoid, too.

Seven Things about Me, a.k.a. I Received the Sunshine Award

Since I started blogging almost two months ago, I’ve been nominated for two awards, and I’d like to humbly accept one of them today.

I was nominated by Tessa Sheppard for the Sunshine Award. Thank you so much, Tessa!


The rules for receiving this award are:

1.  List 7 things about yourself
2.  Nominate bloggers worthy of this award.
3.  Thank the person who nominated you
4.  Put the image in your entry.

7 Things About Me:

1. I love dogs. All dogs.

2. I enjoy my husband. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and he makes me laugh every day. (However, dogs #1, husband #2.)

3. I buy a lottery ticket every day. I read somewhere that writers should also play the lottery, because their chances of making money with both are the same. I doubled my chances when I became a writer.

4. I used to be fearless. (Embarrassing examples withheld.)

5. I wish I could turn back the clock. Even after two blown disks in my back and nerve damage to my shoulder, I wish I could go back and play racquetball one more time. I loved it like no other sport. I could play a mean game of h-o-r-s-e with a basketball. I won bowling trophies. I could even make the throw from third to first base for the out. But there was nothing like smokin’ the competition on the racquetball court. Maybe I should have titled number 5: I’m very competitive.

6. I keep slipping things that I did, or things that happened to me, in my Susan Hunter books. My family keeps trying to figure out the fact from the fiction. My mother is sometimes mortified.

7. In case you haven’t read much of my blog, I sat down one evening in February of this year and decided to write a book. Three books are finished and self-published. A fourth is in the editing stage, and I have notes compiled for a fifth. … I’ve already pleaded ignorance. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do it like this.

Nominate Bloggers for the Sunshine Award

My awards are in keeping with the theme of Sunshine. These bloggers are witty and bring a ray of sunshine into my day when they blog:

Neither Dempsey Nor Darcy – I love this blog! Humorous and great writing, too. “Our basic formula: go on date, come home from date, give men a rating of up to 5 Dempseys (for attractiveness and hair perfection) and up to 5 Darcys (for being a perfect gentleman) and then tell everyone why these ratings were warranted. – Be sure to look at their Meet the Gang page; it’s a fun surprise.

2. Christopher De Voss on Life, Humor, and Zombies – Funny stuff! He’s “One of the founding members of the now defunked Left Of Center Comedy Group.” I always look forward to his posts, and in our house, the Fiverr site will forever be known as the “fivver” site, because I was mispronouncing it.

3. Dumb Fear of the Day – A new blogger/writer who has elicited more than a few smiles from me. Even his blog titles are funny: “Bad Grammar Haunts My Nightmares. Seriously, I Wake Up Screaming “Oh Shit, I Wrote Your instead or You’re.” I’m looking forward to reading more from him.

Thank the person who nominated you:

Thank you, Tessa for nominating me. I haven’t been blogging long enough to feel worthy of any type of award, but appreciate your kindness.  I enjoy your blog posts and your willingness to share so much of what you learn on your writing journey. It’s been helpful!

Hubby Helps Brainstorm My Next Book


Saturday, July 14, 2012. A true story  …

Me, sitting at kitchen table with notebook and pen: “Help me with my ideas for my next book. Susan’s going to Chicago to enter a cooking contest.”

Hubby, rummaging in kitchen cupboards for a chips and salsa snack: “Ok.”

Me: “Well, I have an idea for a sub-plot in the condo where they’ll be staying, but I need a doorman. What kind of doorman should I have?”

Hubby, setting bowls and snacks on the table: “It’s just a doorman.”

Me: “Ooh, maybe a female doorman, and she’ll get all snappy on Darby’s fine ass.”

Hubby: -blank stare in my direction-

Me: “Ok. Maybe not. I’ll think about that later. I don’t think they should do a lot of sightseeing, do you? They’ll only be there for a weekend, so there won’t be much time for sightseeing.”

Hubby: “When I’m out of town at trade shows, the last thing I want to do is sightsee before the show. They should have their thoughts on the cooking contest.”

Me, slightly whining: “But it will be a few weeks before Christmas, and Susan has to go shopping in Chicago. Ooh, I have to work a Santa into the story. And they have to go out to eat, and they should go to the top of the Hancock Building.”

Hubby: -blank stare in my direction-

Me: “I think I know how this can go. The Santa will be a detective in disguise watching and following my criminal. I need the criminal’s crime. What’s he into?

Hubby: “He’s a pedophile.”

Me, shocked: “Absolutely not. I’m not going there.”

Hubby: “Well, if you’re going to have a detective following him, it needs to be a felony.”

Me: “Yes, but it doesn’t have to be so serious. My books are fluffy. I need something easier.”

Hubby: “There are no fluffy felonies. He runs illegal weapons.”

Me: <sigh> “No, that’s not it.”

Hubby: “He sells body parts on the black market.”

Me, disgusted: “Oh my gosh! What is wrong with you?”

Hubby, gathering up snack to take to the den: “Have you got a better idea?”

Me, smiling: “He’s an art thief. Thank you so much for your help. I think I have the whole story now.”

Silly Pinterest


I know how I wrote three books in such a short amount of time. I was able to do it because I wasn’t writing blog posts, reading blogs, commenting on blogs, and then,, playing with Pinterest.

I thought Pinterest was silly. What was the point? Bulletin boards with pictures stuck on them – big whoop. I’ve already admitted I’m a dolt when it comes to social media. One like on my Facebook page, and I’ve made one tweet on Twitter. I’m not ready to spend time on either yet, so that’s not really a complaint.

I recently read a social media post about Pinterest, and thought I should give it another look. One author is pinning indie books on her boards (with permission and usually by request), and they all link to Amazon. I think she’s an Amazon affiliate and will make money if people click through from her boards to buy. Very smart.

I did a lot of searching online while I was writing my books. It might be fun to do a board for each book with images of clothing, items, and locations that inspired some of my thoughts for my writing. I don’t have time for that right now, but I figured I could at least pin my books to one board.

I spent sooo much time this past weekend pinning on just two boards. I couldn’t stop. Of course I had to look at other boards as well – and follow people! And when I would go searching for something to pin, I would bounce from one idea to another until I had so many tabs open, even my computer was confused.

When I finally slowed down and looked at the finished (not really) result, I liked it. There’s something to be said for looking at things that are pleasing to you and make you happy.

I think I can use this to my advantage in the future, but for now, someone needs to take Pinterest away from me so I can edit my book.

Which Genre?

Why can’t choosing the right genre for your books be easier? I wouldn’t have any trouble with this if there was a Blonde-Run-Amuck genre.

Mystery is a genre of fiction in which a detective, either an amateur or a professional, solves a crime or a series of crimes.” – Susan doesn’t solve crimes. She simply ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, or she does something resulting in unexpected consequences. There is usually some element of mystery in the story, so I call them mysteries, but the books don’t fully fit the description.

“An adventure is an event or series of events that happens outside the course of the protagonist’s ordinary life, usually accompanied by danger, often by physical action.” – Susan definitely has adventure, but it’s usually the adventure of trying to stay alive because her own actions put her life in danger. This is probably closest to the description, but the books would look silly sitting on a shelf next to A Game of Thrones or a book by Clive Cussler.

The definition for chick-lit seems to be changing. Chick-lit started out being about women typically who were single, in their twenties, often living the big city life and dealing with issues related to dating and careers.” –or- “Chick-lit is fluffy, light-hearted, brain candy.” – Susan has a career, and she dates, but that’s not the main focus of the books. They are a lighter, breezy read, but there is danger and adventure as well. I wouldn’t mind if the books were categorized as chick-lit, but I’m not really sure this is where they belong either.

Romance – There is romance in the books, but it’s definitely secondary. There are no sex scenes, and the books are pretty squeaky clean. There are happily-ever-after endings, but I’m positive they shouldn’t be categorized as romance.

Humor – There is a humorous element, but there aren’t any jokes, and they’re not that funny.

My books are literally a mix of all five genres. And they’re pink. And I’m blonde. I give up.

Why can’t there simply be a pink genre?

Six Sentence Sunday


I recently saw a blog post for Six Sentence Sunday. You simply pick any six sentences from your work, whether a work-in-progress or a published work, and post them to your blog on Sunday.

The six I’ve chosen for my Six Sentence Sunday debut are from Sin City Hunter, the third book in the Susan Hunter Mystery series.

After an incident at O’Hare Airport, star hockey player, Dell Grady, was highlighted on an evening sportscast hosted by Bob and Steve. Here are my six from the newscast . . .

He quite proudly proclaimed, “Oh, that was just Susan. I was giving her a lift to the gate, and let me tell you, it was great fun, and I’d like to do ‘er again.” He nodded to the camera and walked away from the reporter.

Jessie Manchip turned back to the camera and said with a big grin, “Well, guys, you heard it, too. It was just Susan, and Dell wants to do her again.”

Bob and Steve were laughing so hard neither of them could speak.

Anyone can join in. To participate and/or check out some other great sets of six, check out the site:

Twitter – #sixsunday

Big Easy Hunter – C’est Fini

It’s shortly after midnight, and I finished my fourth book a few hours ago. I sat in my chair and smiled like an idiot for at least five minutes.

I love the opening of the movie Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner. She writes the last scene of her romance novel and sits there with a smile and a few tears as she pulls the last piece of paper from her typewriter. That’s the kind of satisfaction I felt when I finished today. I’ve had to grab a tissue more than a few times as I write. I never realized there would be such an emotional connection to the characters.

I was able to write almost 5,000 words the past two days. The book ended just as I hoped it would, and I was surprised by a twist just seven pages before the ending. I know that sounds silly, but I still marvel at how things pop into your head that weren’t planned.

The happiness of finishing the book came on the heels of a telephone call from my mother. She wanted to let me know that she had talked with her sister earlier in the day, and my aunt said, “My girls sure are loving Maddie’s books.” I didn’t know, but between my two cousins and one of their daughters, they account for five of my sales this month. I’m so excited about this.

Yes, it was more relatives, but one of my cousins read all three books, one right after the other, and said she loved them and can’t wait for the next one.

All I ever wanted to do was put something out there that would be entertaining, and I think that’s what I’m doing. Sunshine Hunter has some silly elements, and Big Apple Hunter tends to be a little more serious. By the time everyone winds up in Vegas in Sin City Hunter, there is a good mix of everything, and I think the humor works well. The upcoming book, Big Easy Hunter, definitely puts a smile on my face. I love this book. Bringing more characters – and dogs – into the story made for even more fun.

Plus, I haven’t left the reader hanging regarding the romance aspect. Susan doesn’t waffle from one book to the next as to whether she wants the guy or not. I’ve kept the relationship moving forward naturally.

For now – at least today – I’m over my angst about becoming a writer. Finishing the book and being so happy with the story was a morale booster.

It’s time to start making notes for the next adventure – Windy City Hunter.

Chasing the Shiny Things

We were online pretty early. One of my husband’s friends was a programmer with his head buried in DOS all day. His work sparked an interest in my husband, and it didn’t take long before we had a new Packard Bell 60 MHz Pentium computer. It had a 50 MB hard drive, and 8 MBs of memory. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my little Nook Tablet has almost 14 gigabytes of storage.

I remember being amazed that I could go to the Louvre in Paris and look at works of art – and then download and print beautiful pictures. I wasted a lot of ink and paper back then because I couldn’t seem to stop myself from printing every colorful, shiny, pretty thing I found. There was something new to find every day.

The internet still fascinates me. I love doing research for my books. I stop right in the middle of whatever I’m writing, and scurry about the internet looking for answers. Even when I want to describe the clothes my characters are wearing, I stop and start surfing popular clothing stores.

I’m easily distracted. I was searching for a sundress for Susan in Sunshine Hunter, and when I found the perfect dress, it had been photographed on location in Tuscany. I spent the next hour looking at house rentals in Tuscany! But I always manage to get back to writing with the information I was seeking and am usually a little happier for the dash around the internet.

For Sin City Hunter, I learned to play craps. I spent a couple of days learning the rules, watching tutorials via YouTube, and practicing online via a simple flash-player. Oh, I could win at this game! I hurried over to the den and told my husband we really, really needed to go to a casino. He just shook his head and laughed at this most recent harebrained idea and turned back to the hockey game on television.

I also researched the most popular slot machines in Vegas. Bally’s has a new Betty Boop machine. I watched the machine played on YouTube, and then I found out that iTunes had an app of the machine. Ooh, hubby has an iPhone. I was back in the den telling him to at least spend $2.99 for my research because I needed an app.

I had his phone for two days while I played Betty Boop’s Love Meter. I had paper and pencil, and I would tell myself, “Ok, this is Mom’s turn on the machine.” I would then write down every spin and what happened. Susan’s mother won a lot of money. Then I would decide it was Susan’s turn. I actually stayed true to the winnings from my notes to my book. It was pretty obvious to me that the app pays out way more money than the real machine would, but it made for more fun in the book.

I like the research part of writing. There are still so many colorful, shiny, pretty things to be found.

I Wanted to Write a Foodie Mystery

I love to cook. I started out as a baker. Out of five children, I was the one who baked the cookies, made the brownies, and baked the cakes from scratch.

My dad was a great baker. He made a buttercream coffeecake that was out of this world. Every weekend in winter, he would be in the kitchen baking bread. When I was old enough, he taught me. I still remember the first time I baked it by myself. We took a loaf down the street to Grandma, and she proclaimed it to be as good as Dad’s. I was overjoyed.

Sometimes he would surprise me, and after we had made the bread, we’d make cinnamon rolls, or on rare occasions, homemade raised donuts.

I don’t remember when I crossed over from baker to cook, but I do remember my very first cookbook was Trader Vic’s Book of Mexican Cooking. My family acted as some pretty great guinea pigs while I worked through that book. I still use many of the recipes today.

At one time, I had over 100 cookbooks in my collection, and I didn’t just collect them, I cooked from them. I’ve thrown a few large parties and cooked all of the food myself. I think I’m a good candidate to write a foodie mystery.

But I have nothing. I think on it and dream on it, and there’s nothing there. There is poisoned food in my thoughts, and I’ve chopped people up with butcher knives. Blech! I’m not going there.

So, I did the next best thing. In my books, Susan and her neighbor across the hall, Darby, do a lot of cooking together. They make a lot of the same things I make with the same results – stunning failures or fantastic successes. They put their best recipes in a recipe box and call it the Keeper Box.

I put the Keeper Box on my Breezy Books web page. Clicking on it takes you to a page of some of the recipes that were cooked in the books. When the fourth book is done, I’ll have two more recipes to add – Summer Chicken and Rhubarb Pie with a Never-Fail Pie Crust.

I guess in my own way, I’m writing foodie mysteries after all.

Whacky Formatting and A Sales Report

When I published my books, I checked crucial formats that came out of Smashwords’ meatgrinder. Everything looked good in html, pdf, and epub. It wasn’t until I later downloaded Kindle for PC that I saw the first book (Sunshine Hunter) in the the mobi format for Kindle was pretty whack. There were quite a few pages in italics and several sections in bold. Even as I go back and look at my formatting, I can’t find these gremlins. The only solution would be to go nuclear by removing all formatting with Notepad and redo the formatting.

Then I would have to REPUBLISH!! I am not sending that book up again. Especially since it’s fine everywhere but the mobi file, and most people would buy that format directly from Amazon anyway.

I didn’t use Smashwords for distribution on Amazon, so the books I uploaded there don’t have any of those irritations. At least one has some crazy big chapter headings, and a few other minor issues, but nothing to warrant republishing.

When I’m finished with my fourth book, I’m going to strip out all the formatting and get rid of any gremlins. I probably won’t need to do it as I think I’m getting better at using Word, but I do NOT want to go running and screaming down that republishing road again. I’d rather take the extra time and make sure everything is right.

On a separate note, we are day three into our ten-day vacation at home … and we are already exhausted. 🙂 We love having our house guest and other visitors, but aren’t used to activity all day long. I’ve tried to sneak a little time away at the computer, but haven’t been very successful. One of our visitors works at a Starbucks in Texas, and I slipped some business cards to her with my first book and my website advertised on them. She said she will make sure to tell her co-workers and friends about the books. Every little bit helps.

It will be a while before I find out if any books have sold at Barnes & Noble. I don’t have any way to know until they report to Smashwords. To my knowledge, since the first book was published on Smashwords and Amazon on May 12, my sales through June have been 38 books. This pleases me because I read where one successful self-publisher had only made about seven dollars in their first six months of self-publishing, and they had more books than I do. Things took off later for them.

I don’t know if my books will ever “take off,” but I like when I see that a purchase is made on the first book, and then a day or two later, purchases show up simultaneously on the second and third. I like to think someone liked the first book and has come back to grab the next two. Hopefully, they will grab the fourth as well.