A Knife in the Gut

Catchy title, eh? My knife in the gut today, is discussing book reviews. Okay, all of you non-writing people whose eyes glazed over due to boredom, and plan to click off and move on to Facebook’s newest profound proverb,


If you’re an avid reader, you should know this: Authors need reviews. There, I said it. Yes, we NEED reviews. Not to stroke our fragile egos, not even to sell more books, although it can help, but reviews seem the only way to get up and coming authors the required promotion on sites which carry our work.


Since the evolution and ease of self-publishing, the competition is fierce, and not always fair. This is true for newbies and many pre-indie pub old timers, who back in the day, say four years ago, the big boys of traditional publishing houses had a lot of pull on how well a book advanced. Today, almost EVERYONE in the publishing world is scrambling to get their books noticed.


Authors beg anyone who reads their work for a review. Manuscripts or arc’s are sent to professional review sights. Some writers pay big bucks just to have their book covers on a website, so perhaps a reader will request a copy, which they will get free, and maybe they’ll leave a review. This is not a cheap venture. We’re talking $500 to $600 for a limited time, with the high risk of not earning a return.

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Authors are doing handstands while they juggle flaming knives with their feet to find an audience. It’s not an easy task, my friends. It’s daunting and overwhelming, particularly when we’d rather be working on our next greatest novel.

I know what you’re thinking because I’ve thought it myself many times; it’s a pain in the ass to log on or worse sign up and become a member to one of these sights, then you have to answer a ton of inane questions just to swipe over a few stars and write, “Great read.”


But it helps. Even if we can’t tell you in person, your time, and efforts are appreciated.

Okay, a dilemma. What happens if you don’t like the book. Sigh. Then strike everything I said above. Don’t leave a review. I’m aware, there are tons of unedited books out there, full of misspellings, formatted incorrectly or plain crappy storytelling. It makes me want to scream, especially when I see a number of five star reviews. I want to scrawl across the page, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

But you know what? It’s not worth it. I’m not trying to squelch your first amendment rights, but…2016-10-16-5

Imagine you’ve worked on a project five years. Once it’s completed, you send it out into the world where everyone can view it. A piece of your soul is in that work. Someone you’ve never met to rips it apart because that’s how they get their jollies and it isn’t cool. I’m here to tell you, even if you know they’re a troll, it doesn’t take away the sting.

If you feel the need to comment on a poorly written book, then please, find something positive to say–the blue on the cover is a nice shade, but this story isn’t my cup of tea. And give them three stars.

So, dear friends, one more comment, and I’m off my soap box. Whatever your currently reading, if you’re drawn into another world where you’re a spy or a hit man or you’ve met the man of your dreams, let the author know.

Leave them a review. Promise, it won’t hurt a bit.2016-10-16-6

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Hey Hey, what? They’re still around?

Guilty pleasure confession. I love The Monkees. Roll your eyes if you want, but 2016 celebrates their 50 years together. Still going after a half century shouts that I’m not alone, and many feel the same as me.


I can’t remember the first time I watched the show or heard the Monkees sing, but here’s a little history. In 1965, over 400 people responded to an ad seeking young men for a new television show about a rock group called The Monkees. The Monkees, starring Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork premiered on September 12, 1966.

The premise was the life of four clean-cut aspiring young musicians. The series ran two seasons from 1966 to 1968. The idea for the fictional group came from the 1965 Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night. The show ended its initial run when the group and the network could not agree on a format for the third season. The band wanted to update and become a variety show, while the network wanted keep the program the same.

I remember friends and my disappointment when the show no longer aired.MTE1ODA0OTcxMjE5NjUwMDYx

But we fans were granted a reprieve. Saturday morning began airing reruns in the mid to late 70’s. Resurrected again in 1986, I parked in front of my television with my year old son to watch MTV’s Monkees marathon, and one more time in the mid-nineties, my son and daughter gathered to view the series in syndication on Nick At Nite. Shows became available on VHS, DVD and recently over-the-air digital subchannel Antenna TV. Full episodes are also on YouTube for viewing.

Numerous reunion tours evolved to celebrate benchmark anniversaries with various members and occasionally all four participating. Their record company, Rhino Records re-released their recordings, including unreleased bonus tracks or alternate takes. First additions came with trading cards.


Their eleventh album Justus was issued in 1996 to coincide with their 30th anniversary. It was the first since 1968. All four original members performed; they played every instruments and sang all vocals; songs were written by one of the four Monkees, which was the inspiration for the album title and spelling. Justus = Just Us.

Plans for celebrating year 50 are extensive. A tour, of course; the first Blu-ray distributed of the full TV series, and the first new album in nearly 20 years, Good Times! (Released May 27, 2016) This is the first album since the death of Davy Jones, but his voice is heard, thanks to the discovery of lost tracks by record company. These were recorded in ’67, ’68 and intended to be releases, songs written by Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, Jeff Barry, Carole King, but then the show went off the air. The production company dissolved, and this music has sat in a vault for 50 years. A creative twist was added by bringing the album full circle with the insertion of younger rock collaborators, turning the music into a wonderful ‘what’s old is new theme.’

Monkees Tidbits you may or may not know.

Prior to the show Mike and Peter were in bands. Micky was a child actor on a show called Circus Boy under the name Mickey Braddock. Davy won a Tony Award for his role as the Artful Dodger in the original Broadway cast of Oliver.

The group did not play their own instruments on their first two albums – music was played by session musicians. The Monkees vocals were recorded over the tracks.

Although manufactured bands were common during that period, they suffered backlash for not playing instruments on their recordings. In 1967, the men insisted on performing their material, and received producer credits.

The Monkees, as a band was confusing. They were not a band. They were a television show about a band, and actors playing a part as musicians trying to make a living as a band.


 Headquarters was the only Monkees album recorded with all four in the studio at the same time. On other albums each member recorded their part separately and was mixed by engineers.

Critics dubbed the Monkees the “Pre-Fab four”, a made-for-TV knockoff of the Beatles; the Beatles, however, thought they were great and hosted a party for them on an England visit.


Gene Roddenberry was inspired to introduce the character of Chekov in his Star Trek TV series in response to the popularity of Davy Jones, complete with hairstyle and appearance mimicking Jones.

One of the first groups to simultaneously have number one songs in the US and UK.

Peter Tork taught Algebra and coached baseball at a private school in the late 1970s. He also worked as a singing waiter at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax California in the mid ’70s. An accomplished musician, he plays 12 different instruments.

Monkees MTV marathon produced their best ratings to date.

Many of their songs have been covered by a different variety of singers and bands. In 1988, Run – D.M.C. recorded “Mary, Mary” on their album Tougher Than Leather

 Their 45th reunion tour was the final tour for Davy Jones, who died of a heart attack on February 29, 2012 at the age of 66.

The surviving three members did not attend Davy Jones funeral in Indiantown, FL, so not to draw attention. They were present at a New York City memorial, and they also organized their own private memorial with the Jones family in California.


Okay, fess up! Who was your favorite Monkee, and what was your favorite Monkee song?

Mine- Monkee, Micky and Song, I’m a Believer.

Micky Dolenz



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Ladies and Laptops

                                   the write road after 40

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Out of my comfort zone

I’m definitely an introvert. I’m comfortable alone, but not so much in a room full of people. Putting myself in any form of limelight terrifies me. I prefer not to speak in front of crowds. If I attend a party, and I don’t know but one or two people, I’ll be the one who searches for kids to hang with, or I’ll sit in the corner and pet the dog. Kids and dogs love me.


But Deb, you ask. You’re a writer. Don’t you have to put yourself in the public eye if you want readers to find your books? Good question. And the answer is yes. Social media has made things a lot simpler. I have no problem being the party girl when I’m hiding behind a laptop. But even that can be scary. Whatever I post is available for anyone in the world to view and in many instances, comment. Some get their jollies trolling others posts and starting trouble . I try to be careful, so I don’t set myself up for a major fail.


I also believe that the best way to connect with readers-or people for that matter, is in person.While it’s difficult to get up in front of others,  I’m learning. A few of my practices are;

I don’t sweat the small stuff.

I maintain my sense of humor-at all times.

When speaking , I keep my messages short, sweet and hopefully the audience guessing.

I try to keep an open mind, especially when I’m nervous or dreading an event.

What about you? Are you an introvert, like me?


Speaking of fear and audiences: be sure to watch and subscribe to our Ladies & Laptops – On the Write Road After 40. YouTube Series. Segment 3 is below

Ladies and Laptops Segment III






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Segment 2 Ladies and Laptops

Three forty+ authors document and share aspects of their writing journeys. They have fun and inform.









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New Stuff



I began to write stories at age twelve. I had no clue I aspired to be a writer, nor do I remember wanting to. Nope, I intended dance. I loved dancing. Growing up, I took ballet, tap, and jazz classes. I enjoyed jazz the most. Jazz had a showmanship appeal. We group of girls rehearsing or on stage, performing the same movements or sequences gave me the impression of what the real deal felt like, and I desired to dance on Broadway.

Unfortunately, the dream never formulated into a reality. I’ll never know if I was good enough to go further than the small dance studio in Waco, Texas because I didn’t voice my dreams to anyone. Therefore, I didn’t try. I was too scared.

And I stayed afraid for a long time. Well past adulthood.

My fright didn’t stem from a longing to write romance novels or anything else. No, my fear was stifling. My apprehension grew from sense of futility. I didn’t believe I was good at anything. Lack of confidence fueled my uncertainties.

When I discovered my love for penning words, my entire world changed. It didn’t happen overnight, but doubts and negativity were replaced with poise, determination, and most importantly faith. I finally believed in me.

Regrettably, this newfound courage occurred when I reached middle-age, but hey, if there’s anything positive to be said about aging–we mid-lifers are no longer afraid to shed the skin of uncertainty and seek out our dreams. Even failure is better than not giving it a shot.

My new-found bravery has stimulated me to try other things I secretly yearned to do. I love photography, and enjoy taking photographs. Nowadays, when the urge hits me, I grab my camera and go shoot pictures. Anyone sees a crazy lady parked on the roadside taking pictures of a cow. Yep, that’s me. You can laugh. I do.

Forever, I wished I could paint on canvas. I’m currently making my first attempt. A reveal may come at a later time, if it’s any good! Or not, oh well. I’m having a blast creating my latest masterpiece. I’ve already picked the spot for display—my bathroom wall. The room has the best lighting.

Do I still dance? (Giggles) Not too much. I take a yoga class, and movements are done to music. Feels great, but dancing? I don’t think so. For my day job, I work in an elementary school with special needs children. I accompany one of my students to PE. On Fridays, the coaches play the Wee with music and aerobic type videos for the kids to follow. I get to show off my polished steps to the sounds of Disney. That’s about it.

Although I will admit when I watch dancers perform kick-ass moves, the hunger to join in still remains. At least mentally. If only the body could keep up.

732_737519642938953_2077745357_nAs an adult, I danced vicariously through my daughter. This is a photo taken at her wedding. These five lovely ladies danced together for ten years.








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Creme dé la Cover contest

My current romance/suspense Toxic has been nominated for the Creme dé la Cover contest in InD’tale magazine. A vote from you would be awesome! http://indtale.com/polls/creme-de-la-cover-contestperf5.000x8.000.inddhttp://indtale.com/polls/creme-de-la-cover-contest

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If you’re a writer looking to be published, then here’s a workshop for you!

Perfecting the Pitch. What Do Editors Really Want To Know About Your Book?

Online Workshop: Trish Owens.

Sharing is welcome and appreciated.

Workshop Title: Perfecting the Pitch: What Do Editors Really Want To Know About Your Book?

Workshop Dates: January 11th – January 22nd 2016

Presenter Name: Trish Owens, Editor, The Wild Rose Press

Workshop description: Have you ever wondered what an editor looks for in your pitch or query letter? This in-depth class will teach you how to craft a compelling pitch and query letter. You’ll learn how to create a catchy tagline and blurb as well as discuss the ins and outs of creating a short synopsis. Participants will receive feedback on the pitch materials they craft. Ms. Owens will accept pitches at the end of the workshop.

Presenter Bio: Trish Owens has worked with the Wild Rose Press since 2007 as an editor and enjoys reading all sorts of genres. What’s better than a job that allows her sexy cowboys, historical hunks or alluring space aliens, all in one sitting? She loves conflict and character-driven stories with a strong romance element. When she’s not reading or editing, she’s a domestic goddess with chariot duties.

Cost: $25.00

Please make your payment using the PayPal button on the HOTRWA website online workshop page—hotrwa.tripod.com/ It is very important that you follow these directions.

*** In the section for notes, put the NAME you’ll be using during the workshop and the EMAIL where you want your invitation to be sent.

Pay $25.00 to the Heart of Texas RWA for online class—Perfecting the Pitch: What do Editors Really Want to Know About Your Book.

Cost for the Workshop is $25.00 paid via PayPal.com

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