Shameless Self-Promotion: #Romance for #ValentinesDay

My good friend Staci Troilo has trotted out a list of her romance and romantic suspense releases for Valentine’s Day. Every single one of these books will make your heart pitter-patter with love and high-octane suspense. Take it from someone who’s read them. 🙂

Staci also included a list of several recommended authors in the genres. I was delighted to find myself included. Check it out!

Staci Troilo

Ciao, friends. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to throw my hat in the proverbial romance ring (I’ve heard somewhere that love is a battlefield) and remind everyone about my selection of titles fit for this time of year.

Romance Novels

Here are brief descriptions of my work:

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Offering our Thanks and Asking a Favor

It’s only my second day online after returning from vacation, but I had to share this wonderful news. Thanks to Mr. John Howell, the Story Empire blog has been nominated as favorite writing blog at the Positive Writer. It’s so simple to vote, and we would love any support you may be inclined to give. You can read all about it here. Many thanks in advance and a huge thank you to John!

Story Empire

Hi, SEers. Hope you’re all having a great day. We sure are.

Best Writing BlogWe’re writing on a Thursday to express our gratitude to Mr. John Howell for nominating our humble little site as a favorite writing blog over at Positive Writer.

The award for Best Writing Blog will be announced by Positive Writer in January. Until then, it’s a matter of votes.

If you like our blog, please visit the Positive Writer post and leave our name (Story Empire) and URL ( in the comments along with a brief statement of why you like our site. You don’t have to fill out any forms or click on a series of links. There’s no poll or checklist, and you definitely don’t need to subscribe to anything. Voting is as easy as putting our name, address, and a short sentence or two in the comments. (And if you want to…

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Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

Recently, it dawned on me that many of the bloggers I followed five years ago have faded into the woodwork. I was a newbie back then, and there was a core group of writers I developed a rapport with, many starting out themselves. Most of us bonded through Six Sentence Sunday, a weekly blog share. Over the years many have stopped posting, a few embraced Facebook as their platform of choice, and—sadly—one passed away.

Every now and then I might hear from an old friend and that contact instills a sense of whimsy for the early days. When publishing was new and scary, and terms like blog tour, media kit, and and mobi were Greek. If I’ve lost contact, some of that is my own fault.

After two books that were romantic in nature, I made a switch to mysteries and romantic suspense. As an author I’m happy where I’m at, straddling a line that crosses genres and has moved the emphasis away from the bedroom. But it makes me wonder—where have all the bloggers gone?

a stack of old letters tied together with string beside a fountain pen

Even within the last few years, new friends have come and gone, surfacing on the grid while working on their novel, only to disappear after the release. My Twitter stream is filled with authors who launched a profile only to have crickets replace their feed months later. What is it about this industry—yes, it is an industry to those who stick with it—that devours staying power?

Is it the fact that we have to juggle multiple tasks—writing, editing, book promotion, social media exposure, reading, betas, ARCs—in addition to our family life and day careers? Being an author is not for the faint of heart, and I will be the first to admit there have been  times when the pressure made me want to toss in the towel. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that I would have to start over, rebuilding all that I had worked to obtain. For even as I thought about quitting there was no doubt that I would be back. Writing is not something I can walk away from. It’s been a constant in my life from the time I was a child, and I have no doubt it will remain so until I leave this Earth for good.

That said, my blog has languished recently due to the constraints of daily life. I’m going to try to rectify that and hope to return to a more regular posting routine. For those of you who don’t already know, I vanish offline each week from Friday evening to Sunday evening, the intervening hours set aside for family and my regular writing routine. I try to catch up with the blog posts I have missed by Monday, but due to the sheer volume of blogs I follow, it’s not always possible. If I miss you on the weekend, I will catch you during the week. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who vanishes into the woodwork. I have made many good friends over the last few years. New friends I don’t want to lose.

Where have all the bloggers gone? Right where we’ve always been—supporting and helping each other. For the record, you guys rock.

Do You Believe in Curses by Mae Clair

Do you believe in curses? I’m over at Staci Troilo’s blog today discussing how an ancient curse is tied to the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and the urban legend of the Mothman. It’s all part of the background incorporated into my latest release, A Desolate Hour.

Staci is a wonderful blogger, fantastic author, and is always ready to support others. She’s also an exceptional critique partner to yours truly 🙂
If you haven’t already clicked the “follow” button on her blog, I highly recommend a click!

Staci Troilo

I’m thrilled to welcome friend and fellow writer Mae Clair back to my little slice of the blogosphere today. She just released book three of her Point Pleasant series, A Desolate Hour, which I reviewed not long ago.

Today she wants to discuss curses, and I can’t think of a better person to dive into the supernatural with us. Here she is; let’s give her a warm welcome.

Do You Believe in Curses?

From literature to the Bible, to famous objects and haunted places, curses abound. There are cursed objects (the Hope Diamond), cursed places (King Tut’s Tomb), cursed movies (Poltergeist), and even cursed performances (multiple instances of the play MacBeth). But what about a town? Is it possible for an entire town to be cursed and to carry that misfortune through centuries?

Point Pleasant, WVPoint Pleasant, WV—not the collapsed bridge (obviously)

My Point Pleasant series has been…

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Just for Fun #MusicGroups

I had so much fun last week getting to learn everyone’s favorite Beatle songs, I thought I’d trot out another “just for fun” post. I love music, although I never had the passion to pursue it. I took music lessons and played bass guitar for about two years in high school, but the drive just wasn’t there like it was with writing. My grandfather played guitar, banjo, flute, clarinet and several brass instruments. My brother has been a drummer since he was a teen. He plays by ear and has been in local groups all of his life. He’s also done studio and session work as a backing drummer for other musicians. He inherited my grandfather’s talent for music. I inherited my father’s talent for words.

When I was finishing high school, disco became trendy. I have never been a fan—in fact, I couldn’t stand disco in its heyday—but I love to dance. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate some songs strictly for their beat. I would never count them among favorites, but a few have achieved “feel good” moments on the dance floor.

There’s a song by Dawes called “All Your Favorite Bands.” This is the chorus:

I hope that life without a chaperone is what you thought it’d be
I hope your brother’s El Camino runs forever
I hope the world sees the same person that you’ve always been to me
And may all your favorite bands stay together.

Wouldn’t it be great if our favorite bands were still together today? In the spirit of Just for Fun, which groups would you pick? What are your four favorite? Maybe they are still together. My top three picks were easy, but I waffled on the fourth:

  1. The Beatles
  2. REO Speedwagon
  3. Styx
  4. The Monkees

Yes, I’m dating myself. I also considered Journey, CCR, and Klaatu (Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft anyone?), but I still love so many songs by the Monkees, I had to go with them. They were another band (like the Beatles) that I didn’t discover until long after they’d broken up.

Today is all about breaking out the beat. Do you love music? Do you play an instrument and/or do you like to dance? Finally, what are your four favorite groups?

If you’d like to catch “All Your Favorite Bands” by Dawes, here’s the vid:

The Outcast’s Bloghouse Welcomes… Mae Clair

Check this out…’s official! I’m now a member of the Outcast’s Bloghouse. It you don’t know about the Outcasts, then you seriously need to connect with Jess Bakkers at her blog and learn why I’ve been dubbed the Bride of the Mothman!

Jessica Bakkers

This week’s member inducted into The Oucast’s Bloghouse is the mistress of mystery (and fellow INFJ) – Mae Clair.


Whilst I attempt to be professional and cool in my Bloghouse write-ups, I have to admit I’m going to fangirl over Mae Clair. She is not only the author of many books in multiple genres (one of which is fast becoming my favourite read – I’m 67% through), she is also the sweetest person and one of the most supportive folks I’ve come across on WP.

Okay, gushing aside, here’s the skinny on Miss Mae, and straight from her own fingertips;

“I wrote my first childish “masterpiece” at six and was immediately bitten by the writing bug. Since then, I’ve been composing nonstop, and have dabbled in multiple genres over the years, writing everything from fantasy, westerns, and horror to inspirational fiction, romance, and sci-fi. It took me a while to find…

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Did Someone Say Friday?

Silly goose looking directly at cameraThe end of the week is a great opportunity to look back over the past several days and take measure our accomplishments. Unfortunately, mine were close to nil. :(  I did manage to eke out a single scene on my WIP, but considering the goal was a chapter, the results are pathetic.

In my defense, the week has been unusually chaotic. I’ve had a work crew at my home since Monday, installing new zoned heat and a/c units. The job is supposed to be finished today—hooray!—but the weekend I wanted to spend writing will probably be spent cleaning. You can’t have a work crew without dust. Lots of dust. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow?

I’m not the only one running low on patience. Raven has been forced to spend eight hours each day in the basement while servicemen tramp in and out of the house (I won’t risk her sneaking outside if someone accidentally leaves a door open). We’ve tried to make her confinement as inviting as possible, arranging a “snuggle area” with one of her beds and a blanket. I elevated them on chairs so she’s not on the floor. She has water and food, and I even added a few toys and her red “cube” for lounging.

black cat in pink cube with cat toy

Raven in her pink cube. Besides this and the red cube, she also has a blue one. Can we say spoiled?

Bribes aside, she is NOT a happy camper. She can’t watch birds from the basement, sprawl in the sunlight, or stretch out in the bow window. A rough week in catdom.

The only benefit she’s enjoyed is the daily fussing we do to make up for her morning and afternoon exile. You can see why this Friday is more welcome than usual—I want my house back! So does Raven!

In the meantime, I’m at Story Empire today sharing the weekly Curated Writing Content gathered by the SE authors. While you’re celebrating Friday in the blogosphere, drop in and see what we’ve collected. And in case you missed SE’s earlier posts, Staci Troilo took a fabulous look at Fictional Fathers, and I trotted out My Problematic Word.

Happy Friday!

Valuable Treasures

This is an EXCELLENT introduction to a fantastic contemporary series that combines elements of the supernatural, romance and history. Step back in time with this short novella by Staci Troilo to glimpse the foundation of her Medici Protectorate series.

And while you’re there, I’d really love to know your thoughts about westerns. 🙂

Staci Troilo

Valuable TreasuresWhen I was young, my father and both my grandfathers loved to watch westerns, particularly on the weekends. I was subjected to the genre more than I care to remember.

Now I think back to those days fondly, but I still have no real love for the genre. Which is why I swore I’d never write westerns.

Funny that I’ve written four western shorts now, two of which have been published. You can find my short story, “Warrior of Blanca Peak” in the Unshod anthology. It’s a contemporary western romance, but that’s not what I want to discuss today.

Book three of the Medici Protectorate series, Body Armor, is set to release in August. To ramp up interest in the series, my publisher has released this short western prequel, Valuable Treasures, before the novel’s release.

I never thought I’d write one western, let alone four, but I…

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Harvesting the Crop of your Writing

Happy Monday. I’ve been trying to catch up since my vacation the end of April, and I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. *Happy Dance*

I couldn’t let today pass without pointing you toward Harmony Kent’s excellent post on “Harvesting the Crop of Your Writing.” You can find it on Story Empire today. Enjoy!

Story Empire

Hello SEers! Welcome to another Monday Blog. Today, I thought I’d write about how to harvest the crop of your writing, and to that end, I am re-using the fertile soil of an old article I wrote for an online writing mag that has now, sadly, closed its doors. I make no apologies for my … ahem … artwork 🙂

To write a book is to become intimate with change. And, if we do it right, we’ll have something to harvest at the end of the process. As with any process, while each individual step is important, timing is everything. We need to know when to interfere, and when to leave well alone. Whether the problem be over-watering, or under, the end result will be the same: The seed of imagination will never make it to a full grown, published and successful book.

So, how do we best harvest the…

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Author Media Kits, Part 2—The News Release

Today at Story Empire, Staci Troilo shares an information-packed post on how to put together a professional news release. Part two of her excellent series on Author Media Kits, it’s loaded with tips and great advice!

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. As promised, I’m continuing my exploration of the author media kit. (If you missed that post or want a refresher before continuing, click here.)

Today, we’re going to talk about the news release. (Press Release is an outdated term referring to the press that prints newspapers. That technology has modernized and we submit our release to more than just newspapers these days, so the name has been changed to News Release to reflect those changes.)

Authors can certainly submit their own news releases to the media, but I’ve found some elitist organizations still don’t accept indie authors as credible and talented artists, and therefore disregard announcements from them. Because of this bias, if at all possible, have your publisher or a professional organization submit the release on your behalf. However, if you have a kick-butt release and media kit, or if you find progressive organizations…

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