Author of Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Welcome! You've stumbled upon the home of my writing blog. Here's where you'll find info on my writing, the writing process, links to fun/cool/awesome stuff, what's on my mp3 player, my blogroll and how to reach me. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a blessed and merry Christmas!  Have been working lately so not as much time for blogging & writing, but I'm still at it . . . albeit in spurts. 

Here's a little song to put a smile on your face....ok, so it's not the normal pair of fangs I mention, but still worth a listen ;)

Merry Christmas, ya'll!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Interview

I was interviewed by Molly Hacker on Lisette Brodey's blog! Go check it out at !

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm not dead!

Thought I would share this with you today since I've been a naughty blogger and have been far too quiet as of late.  Blame getting ready for school to start back up ;)  Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!
(for Blood Thief)
Too many people want vampire Celeste St. Ange dead. After discovering the keeper of her bloodline’s reliquary murdered, she takes the vessel from its hiding place, playing right into the hands of the killer. Now that she's brought the reliquary out into the open, Celeste is responsible when it is stolen and faces the ultimate penalty for its loss: second death. Permanent death. When help arrives in the unlikely form of a charming human thief, Celeste must choose who to trust and fast before a murderer destroys her and those she loves.

Joss Larsen was a child when his mother was killed by a vampire.  No one believed Joss then and now, after a string of foster homes and turning to a life of crime, he has begun to think perhaps he imagined that aspect of his mother’s death. That is, until he meets Celeste.  Wanting access to her world in order to avenge his mother, Joss inserts himself into Celeste’s life.  But what begins as desire for revenge turns into to desire of an altogether different variety.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


The following flash fiction is for the 7 Virtues Blog Challenge hosted by the lovely Lady Antimony at: (sign up is toward the bottom of that page).  Once again, as with the 7 Deadly Sins blog challenge, my entries are based in the world of my novel BLOOD THIEF, but are not canon for it.  Enjoy and please be kind and leave feedback :D

(Updated 8/8/11 - I've posted the remaining virtues today rather than doing them daily this week as I'm not sure if I'll be in everyday or not this week)

The mirror showed a strong jaw with just a trace of beard, dark hair, and hazel eyes that were more green than brown.  He relied on his looks when seeking female prey.  He smiled, sensuous lips parting to reveal straight white teeth and sharp fangs.  Women were a joy to drink, sweeter tasting than their counterparts.  Often they were willing, offering blood and body.  Memories of his long-dead love kept him from accepting the latter.  He would break the skin of their soft supple throats, but his fangs were the only part of him to gain penetration during the feast.

Temperance (self-control)

He was sprawled in my bed, sleeping soundly.  One arm rested above his head, the other dangled over the mattress’s edge.  His pulse visibly throbbed in his bare wrist and I caught myself licking my teeth.  It would be easy to exploit his vulnerable state, easy to drink from that unwittingly proffered arm.  He would wake as I drank, of course, but it would be to the flood of pleasurable sensation only a vampire’s bite can give. I shook my head, I promised I wouldn’t.  Marshalling all my will-power I slipped out of the room, closing the door behind me.

Faint weeping could be heard over the patter of rain.  With the rain cloaking my approach from my prey, I found the sound’s source up under the supports of the bridge crossing Jackson Street.  A woman clutched a sobbing child to her side.  Both were shabbily dressed and shivering. A rattling cough shook the woman’s thin frame.  As I approached, the woman quickly pushed the child behind her. Wordlessly, I reached in my pocket and handed her a couple of hundreds.  Gratitude shone in the woman’s eyes.  I turned and walked away.  I would find sanguine sustenance elsewhere this night.

My shoulder throbbed where it had been ripped open by the revenant’s teeth, but I switched the knife to my left hand and headed further into the caverns.  I needed no torch, my pupils had fully dilated at the first hint of danger, one of the many advantages of being a vampire.  I had sent four of the damned creatures to their second death already, including the one that bit me. I would make certain none remained.  Revenants were an anathema, the result of vampirism gone wrong, failed turnings.  It was my duty to eliminate them.  Every last one.

I wanted him, craved him.  Absolutely nothing was going to keep me from having him.  I wanted to enjoy every inch, every ounce.  His scent, the warmth of him, and the thudding cadence of his heart bid me to come closer, to have just a taste. 

I watched as he kissed her goodnight and as she went in.  He stared after her a bit then stepped blithely down the stairs, unaware of me watching him from the shadows.  I would wait.  The whimsical relationships of youth did not last long among humans.  When this was over, he would be mine.

He placed the envelope on the table as if daring me to look inside.  I didn’t.  I knew what the medical reports held.  I could smell the cancer in him, hear disease in his lungs, see the light fleeing his rheumy eyes.  Vampires have long been called the walking dead, but this elderly man deserved the designation more than I.

“It would be a kindness,” he wheezed.

“A mercy killing?”

He nodded, baring his throat.

Gently holding him, I pressed my fangs through his fragile skin, drinking deeply.  He sighed with pleasure, sagging into my arms and slipping into oblivion.

Flakes of old leather broke away from the cover as my fingertips touched the book.  Gently opening the slim volume, I found the print still legible.  The words it held were my guidance once. I read the prayer aloud, sinking to my knees as I beseeched my creator’s forgiveness for the grievous sins I’d committed.  Granted a measure of immortality, pride was surely the chief sin of the vampire.  The curse of the vampire however is two-fold: out-living those you cherish and the terrible memories one never out-lives. Blood tears coursed down my cheeks as I humbled myself before God.

If you enjoyed this, please visit the other participants in this blog challenge:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vanishing Point

Those of you familiar with art will know that a vanishing point is a point in a perspective drawing to which parallel lines not parallel to the image plane appear to converge.  It is often used to represent a road that leads to the horizon and, because of distance, disappears from our view.

Those of you familiar with L.A. Banks' VAMPIRE HUNTRESS novels know the vanishing point which she so wonderfully described . . . a place in time and space that is transcendent. 

Recently you may have heard that Ms. Banks was battling cancer.  Her medical bills skyrocketed and people began pitching in to help out.  She lost that battle this morning.  So with a great deal of sadness, we watch the lovely and talented Leslie Esdaile Banks reach her own vanishing point and leave our collective view, leaving this world for the next. 

There are still bills to be paid though and in tribute to her the Liar's Club of Philadelphia is holding an event to help alleviate the financial burden on Ms. Banks' family.  Go here for more info:​1958

Last, but not least, I found this tidbit on the dedication page of THE FORSAKEN by L.A. Banks: "Through this life, so far, I've found that the greatest battle one faces is the one within, the greatest challenge to one's humanity being the ability to be humane while being flawed and human." Oh how true.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Watch this space!  Coming up on August 7th will be the first of the entries for the #7VIRTUES Blog challenge.  If you'd like to enter the challenge yourself, please visit:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Seven Deadly Sins Blog Challenge

I signed up for the Seven Deadly Sins blog challenge at Antimony's blog:  The challenge in a nutshell is seven days, seven deadly sins, seven flash fictions of 100 words or less.

Since my week is going to be a little crazy I'm going to go ahead and post my entries here in one big post.  You can read them all now or read them one a day - - up to you ;D

These are inspired by the Blood Thief world, but not from Blood Thief directly. Enjoy!


“I’m going to hell anyway, it would be a favor,” he argued with the vampire as his eyes roamed over her, drinking in her preternatural beauty.

“What have you done to imperil your soul?” she licked her lips.

“What haven’t I done?” he asked, self-loathing in his voice.

“An example,” she demanded, examining her perfectly manicured-nails.

“Lust is one of the 7 deadlies, right?”

“Yes.”  A knowing smile curled her lips, revealing white teeth and wicked fangs.  His heartbeat had already stated his desire, but it was still nice to hear. 

Unrepentant prey marched towards its predator. “I’m already damned.”


It wasn’t fair.  She watched the bitch walk away with what should have been hers.  Nobody should be that damned self-confident, that smug.  Social custom was that a vampire visiting the territory of another should come bearing gifts.  That bitch had the nerve to bring that tantalizing human male with her, offer nothing, and leave with him in tow.   So what if she didn’t know local custom?  It just wasn’t fair.  The male had smelled so good, looked so tasty.  Her teeth positively itched for him now.  She’d have him before they left the island.  He should’ve been hers already.


The weeds in his yard were a foot high.  Dishes were piled up in the kitchen sink.  Judging by the smell his trash should’ve been taken out days ago. He’d already called in sick.  It was sort of true.  He was in bed and sick to his soul. Why?  Why did she have to be a vampire?  She was the most intriguing woman he’d met in years, if ever.  Dammit.  A blasted vampire.   He sunk further down into the pillows.  He didn’t ever want to leave his bed again.  Better to sleep his life away than face what lay ahead.


She rubbed the brass rail with a soft cloth, a smile lingering on her lips.  Glass bottles full of various spirits sat waiting for thirsty customer on the shelves behind her.  The polished wood of the bar reflected the myriad neon signs hung on the walls.  This was all hers.  She wished that her no-good ex would dare to show up here.  Wished he could see how much she didn’t need him.  Wished he’d have a run in with the vampire that had become her benefactor.  She sauntered toward the front, flicking on the open sign and unlocking the door.


He dropped the motionless body, its heart silent, and wiped at his bloodied lips. Normally he drank from two a night at most, never draining them.  Tonight he’d had seven and killed them all.  He wasn’t even bothering to dispose of the bodies. Worthless pieces of trash, that’s what they were. He’d read their minds, seen the disgusting thoughts there.
Thinking about his dead lover, he decided his gut felt nearly as heavy as his heart. He slid into the shadows moving toward his next mapped out target, thoughtfully provided to him by the sex offenders database he’d found online.


His new bloodline was going to be magnificent.  He put the vessel containing countless vampiric essences into the safe with the others he’d accumulated, closed the door and spun the dial.  He had enough now, combined with his rare blood, that the bloodline he’d create would be unparalleled.  He would be a god among vampires.  Legendary.  Unrivaled.  There was only one more vial to steal and he would be ready. Pleasure washed over him at the thought.  The anticipation of drinking the blood of ages made the fine pale hairs on his arms stand as his goosebumps dotted his flesh.


Bloody bastard.  That low-down, conniving, murderous, conceited jackass.  I slid forward a couple of inches on the gritty concrete, groaning at the pain flaring from the gunshot-shattered bone in my hip.  I’d kill him if it was the last thing I did.  The mouth-watering smell of blood pervaded the air, but the aching trumped the hunger and it only served to anger me further.  He’d set this up knowing I’d have to turn on my unconscious human companion in order to gain the strength to free myself before dawn.  He wanted me to sink to his level.  He was twice-dead.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Birthday Blowout First Page Contest with Victoria Marini

Here is my entry for the Birthday Blowout First Page Contest with Victoria Marini.  Happy Birthday, Shelley.  Thank you for giving us all a gift for your birthday :D

Email address:
Follow both blog and on Twitter

Title: Blood Thief
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 65K

First page (250 words):
(With re-write)

"It's Celeste, anybody home?" I called out cheerily, but received no answer as I headed to Catherine’s brightly-lit kitchen. I've seen enough death. I should have recognized what I was seeing, but I stood there frozen looking at Catherine. She was sprawled on the floor, her head severed. A dark pool of blood was spreading out beneath her, the red a stark contrast against the cool white tile. I stared a bit before my brain made sense of what I was viewing.

Sinking to my knees, I sobbed. Losing those you love is part of being a vampire, but it always hurts. Wiping red tears, I got to my feet. My friend was gone.  She’d given all to protect the reliquary vital to my bloodline.  I would see it safe. I sped silently through her darkened living room, fearing the worst. Holding my breath, I ripped open the bottom panel of the Grandfather clock. A relieved exhalation escaped me as my hand found the heart-shaped enameled glass vessel that held the comingled essences of my bloodline. This was the safety and source of our vampiric abilities.

Stepping outside into the dark pre-dawn hours, I opened my phone to check the time, squinting at the bright screen. Snapping it shut, I realized my mistake as faint footsteps followed me. I'd taken the reliquary from its hiding place and whoever had killed Catherine was now somewhere behind me, waiting on the chance to take it. I had played right into their hands.

(Before re-write)
"It's Celeste, anybody home?" I called out, but received no answer as I headed to Catherine’s brightly-lit kitchen. I've seen enough death that I should have recognized what I was seeing, but I stood there frozen as I looked at Catherine. She was sprawled on the floor, her head severed. A dark pool of blood was spreading out beneath her, the red a stark contrast against the cool white tile. I stared for a bit before my brain registered what I was viewing. When it did, I knew what I must do.

Catherine was the Keeper. She guarded the reliquary vital to our bloodline. Now, temporarily, that task would fall to me as few members knew where it was secreted away. I moved silently through her darkened living room. Barely daring to breathe, I opened the panel at the bottom of the Grandfather clock. A relieved exhalation escaped me as I lifted the reliquary from its hiding spot. My fingers caressed the heart-shaped enameled glass vessel that held the comingled essences of my bloodline. This was the safety and source of our vampiric abilities.

Stepping outside into the dark pre-dawn hours, I opened my phone to check the time, squinting at the bright screen. Snapping my phone shut, I realized my mistake as faint footsteps followed me. I'd taken the reliquary from its hiding place and whoever had killed the Keeper was now somewhere behind me, waiting on the chance to take it. I had played right into their hands.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What makes a vampire?

A pair of fangs does not a vampire make.  Neither does pale skin or an aversion to garlic or any other myriad physical traits that vampires have been ascribed with over the years.  I’ve read far too many vampire tales where the bloodsucker in question relied on the physical to convey “otherness.”  I mean really, how much are you going to stand out if you flipping sparkle in daylight or burst into flame at the touch of the sun’s rays?  While having distinguishing physical characteristics that make your vampires different from their human counterparts is all well and good, there has to be more.

Do my vampires have fangs?  You bet.  And they’re self-conscious about them around humans.  Do they have pale skin.  Yep.  They’re creatures of the night.  Is that what makes them vampires?  Not a chance.  It is their life experience and their actions that define them.  Otherwise they are no different from the humans that visit nightclubs decked out in dental-grade fangs and bad hair dye jobs.

Imagine what it would be like to live 300+ years.  Think of the history you’d have to have seen in that time, the people you would have known, loved and lost.  That sense of timelessness makes a vampire.  Having to live with humans as your source of sustenance, preying on someone that is what you once were, that makes a vampire.  Dealing with the secrets, guilt (or lack thereof) and, yes, hunger are what make vampires  interesting, appealing and even terrifying.  Not the fangs - though they do make for a wicked smile.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Reggie Ridgway nominated me for Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Thanks, Reggie!

The rules are simple:
1) Thank and link to the person that nominated you.
2) Share 7 random facts about yourself.
3) Pass the award to 3 of your blogging buddies.
4) Notify the recipients

Here are my 7 random facts:

1. I am a writer, but also a mom, a runner and a pretty decent cook.
2. I love to fish.
3. I am married.
4. I adore sushi, coffee and Pernod (just not all together!)
5. I am an amateur nail artist.
6. I have a large collection of high heels.
7. I like shiny things.

I am nominating the following three blogs for the award.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thanks for all the wonderful input and kind words! Here's the slimmed down (exactly 250 words!) entry for those of you following along:

Title: Blood Thief
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 65K (but prone to increase as I continue to tinker with the finished product)

     "It's Celeste, anybody home?" I called out, but received no answer as I headed to Catherine’s brightly-lit kitchen. I've seen enough death that I should have recognized what I was seeing, but I stood there frozen as I looked at Catherine. She was sprawled on the floor, her head severed. A dark pool of blood was spreading out beneath her, the red a stark contrast against the cool white tile. I stared for a bit before my brain registered what I was viewing. When it did, I knew what I must do.

     Catherine was the Keeper. She guarded the reliquary vital to our bloodline. Now, temporarily, that task would fall to me as few members knew where it was secreted away. I moved silently through her darkened living room. Barely daring to breathe, I opened the panel at the bottom of the Grandfather clock. A relieved exhalation escaped me as I lifted the reliquary from its hiding spot. My fingers caressed the heart-shaped enameled glass vessel that held the comingled essences of my bloodline. This was the safety and source of our vampiric abilities.

     Stepping outside into the dark pre-dawn hours, I opened my phone to check the time, squinting at the bright screen. Snapping my phone shut, I realized my mistake as faint footsteps followed me. I'd taken the reliquary from its hiding place and whoever had killed the Keeper was now somewhere behind me, waiting on the chance to take it. I had played right into their hands.


As most of you may already know, Shelley Watters is holding a contest on her blog "Is It Hot In Here Or Is It This Book?"  The rules say that today, May 28, we should post the first 250 words of our mss for critique, so here are the first 250 words of Blood Thief. Ok, so it's more...but the first 250 are in BOLD.  The reason I posted more is because I don't feel that the first 250 adequately gives you a sense of what is going on.  Perhaps the hook could be set earlier and I may edit for the contest's sake before the 31st.  We'll see.  Please leave feedback if you are so inclined, but most of all ENJOY :D

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blood Concept perfumes

Received my compatibility test yesterday!  Am liking Type O the best (and am a Type O myself).  If you haven't heard of Blood Concept yet, the Italian company has designed four separate scents based on the ABABO blood groupings.  Each scent is distinctly different and has a metallic base note (they don't smell like blood as some places are reporting erroneously -- they smell really good!). The scents are unisex, though I think O is more feminine.  A reminds me of Italian food a bit with its hints of basil, tomato and anise.  AB and B are both a little more masculine. Check 'em out at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It Gets In Your Blood

I have heard a lot of authors referring to their own works as their children.  Mine is more surreptitious.  It has worked its way into my consciousness with the cunning of a kleptoparasite (go on, Google kleptoparasitism, I’ll wait).

Menial tasks that should have zero to do with my book bring the characters to mind.  I find myself thinking things like, “Oh, Celeste would like that.”  Places I’ve never given much consideration before suddenly look like really good hiding spots for a vampire hunting a meal.  So I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that when an old Triumph motorcycle with a rider dressed all in black whipped past me on the interstate the other day that my first thought was, “Hey look, it’s Joss!” 

Writing is like that for me, it flavors everything I do with the spice of the particular piece I’m working on.  My experience in the theatre was similar.  Every role, every play worked its way into the mundane moments of my life.  I guess you could call me a method writer? 

I’ve found that submersing myself into the topic helps me.  It brings points up that I would not have otherwise considered.  I am almost glad I waited until this point in my life to push forward with this book because without the internet a great deal of the vampire culture would have slipped my grasp.  As it is I have my news, Vampaper, bringing me all the daily scoop on the subject of vampires, several vampiphilic (my word, don’t bother looking it up) groups I take part in and plenty of wonderful vampire related links to peruse.  Granted, I’m not young enough to fit in with the crowd in person (not a word), but online it really doesn’t matter.  I’ve discovered several musical artist/groups that I’d never have found without an interest in the subject too.

Recently a Twitter pal teased me about being a vampire.  While I’m quite grounded in reality, I found it rather complimentary.  The topic of my book has gotten into my blood enough, if you’ll pardon the pun, that it is a part of me.  And that’s pretty cool.

Bonus stuff:  Two massively cool things I’ve found recently: – a new perfume I can’t wait to try despite my love of D&G’s The One and StumbleUpon ( a very intuitive way to discover awesome new sites based on what you like.  In fact, if you liked this post, please take a moment to click the SU button over on the right side of this page!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Twitter pitch for Blood Thief

Title: Blood Thief

Genre: Paranormal/urban fantasy

In a deadly race for a stolen reliquary, vampire Celeste must choose to trust her own kind or the human thief trying to steal her heart.

In a deadly race for her bloodline’s stolen reliquary, vampire Celeste St. Ange must choose her mate or the human thief stealing her heart.

Check out the Epic Follower Blogfest contest (which this pitch is for)  at:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Microfiction - Succinctly Yours

Closing his eyes, he let his mind create a picture of comfort; his way of getting through these catered affairs and his too snug shoes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Probably Not Normal

While I'm still coughing sporadically, I think yesterday's adventure points out a lot more than "smoke inhalation is bad for you."

Yesterday our neighbors decided that they wanted to get rid of some pampas grass (big bushy grass like stuff with tall feathery stalks growing out of it).  Another neighbor told them the best way to do this was to burn it.  Going on this bad advice, the neighbor squirted a little lighter fluid near the base and tossed a match at it.  Pampas grass grows very dense and soon the fire was inside the bush and despite his best attempts with the hose, it wasn't going out.

I spotted smoke from my kitchen window about this time and went to find out what was up. He was battling it with a hose, but couldn't turn the water off it long enough to try anything else.  Seeing the dilemma he'd created, I ran back to the house and grabbed the hubs.  My initial thought was to snatch up a shovel to expose the center of the bush, but Chris had loaned it out to his brother.  Next best thing, I went for a sword.  I picked my old Javanese mandau rather than the katana simply because it was easier to reach (katana was under lock and key).  Chris grabbed a machete and a Kuhkuri (Gurka).  We went over and hacked away the parts of the bush not burning, allowing the neighbor (who had neither a shovel or any type of item to do the work, save a handheld pair of clippers) to douse the fire. 

Once it was over and done with, I had to reflect on what the neighbor must have thought about seeing us come running with such a selection of edged weapons.  I'm still laughing.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Microfiction Monday

Dropping the communion wafer into the shoe, the fairy naively attempted to save its sole.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Microfiction Monday

Microfiction Monday

At the corner, the clock kept its quiet rhythm despite the cacophonic traffic whirring past and the silent heartbreak of the girl in flat 2B.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Microfiction Monday

"Look! Lifebouy Soap! It's the answer to our prayers.  No more fish odor on our clothes, Gorton!" 

Gorton bent double laughing with relief.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday 13: 13 Books Writers (Really, Really) Shouldn't Be Without

13 Books Writers (Really, Really) Shouldn’t Be Without

1. Word Menu ISBN-13: 978-0679400301

2. Webster’s Dictionary ISBN-13: 978-0877798095

3. Roget’s Thesaurus ISBN-13: 978-0060094799

4. What Not to Say, Linda J Beam ISBN-13: 978-1581733600

5. A writer’s guide (The Everyday Writer, Strunk & White, Kate Turabian, MLA Guide, &/or all of the above)

6. The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition by Christopher E. Vogler ISBN-13: 978-1932907360

7. Save the Cat! Blake Snyder ISBN-13: 978-1932907001

8. Pocket Muse, Monica Wood ISBN-13: 978-1582973227

9. Pocket Muse 2, Monica Wood  ISBN-13: 978-1582975993

10. Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents ISBN-13: 978-1582979533

11. At least one version of the Bible, preferrably KJV and a modern language translation

12. New York Public Library Desk Reference ISBN-13: 978-0786868469

13. The Timetables of History ISBN-13: 978-0743270038

Honorable Mentions

I didn’t include these in the absolutely necessary group, but they sure are helpful!

• Audobon Society Field Guides (Mammals, Rocks and Minerals, Birds, etc)

• Every writer should also have books relating to his or her genre (A ___ Writer’s Guide) and the books of his or her contemporaries. Know who you are going to be compared to and know who will be on the library shelf beside of you.

• Foreign language dictionaries

• Baby Names book

Monday, January 24, 2011

What I’ve Learned About Twitter

What I’ve Learned About Twitter

When I began my book, the advice I got most frequently was "start a blog," and "get on Twitter."  Being a good little writer, I did both.  Since Twitter can be awkward when you first get started, I thought I'd take the time to share what I've learned.  Hopefully this information will be useful to beginning tweeps as well as seasoned tweeters.

Why Twitter?

Twitter is a unique social platform. You have 140 characters to say what you want to say. So why use a platform where you’re limited like that? Because anyone can blather on for miles. It takes thought to pare it down. Twitter users, or tweeps, are thinkers. There is a huge diversity of people on Twitter and the majority of them are bright, witty people. Creativity breeds creativity. Unlike Facebook, where you generally only connect with people you already know, on Twitter you can connect with people in your field, people who share your interests , and people who are interested in what you have to offer.

Someone recently said, and I believe them to be correct in general, that people on Twitter say what they are thinking about, people on Facebook say what they have done, people on Linked In say what they do well and people on Quora ask why they’re doing things.

I do use other social media, but for interacting publically, I use Twitter. For me, Facebook is for close friends and family only.

Who sees my tweets?

Tweets that begin with someone’s twitter handle (@name) are not visible to your followers unless they follow that person too. (Ex/ I’m friends with Person One @personone and Person Two @persontwo. I tweet “@personone Did you hear that awesome new song?” Person Two isn’t going to see my tweet unless they also follow Person One.) The exception to this is comes when Person Two is mentioned in the tweet. (Ex/ I tweet “@personone did you read that blog post by @persontwo?”) Now both Person One and Person Two will see my tweet. You can make sure all your followers see a tweet by starting the tweet with ANYTHING other than @name. (EX/ I tweet, “Hey @personone did you see that?”) All of my followers will see that tweet.

Manners Matter

Twitter is a lot of fun, but it is also a great tool for brand building (a.k.a. publicity). Keep an eye on your mentions, new followers and your tweets retweeted. The first two are pretty easy. The third is easy to forget, but it is very important. People who are too reserved to speak directly to you may well be helping get your name out by retweeting things you’ve said. Make an effort to thank those who follow you, mention you and retweet you. Not only does this make them want to continue, it’s just good manners. Chances are you are going to make new friends on Twitter. Treat your new friends well and you’ll make LOTS of new friends on Twitter because you’ll be recommended as a tweep people want to follow.

Follow Friday

Follow Friday was never meant to be weekly tweets solely consisting of people’s handles. Have something to say about those you are mentioning. That is more likely to get them new followers than a tweet that is only handle-vomit. Also if you look at Follow Friday rankings (did you know such a thing existed? It does!) you’ll see that the #ff’s that are counted are ONLY from people who list less than 50 people in their #FF tweets! You can visit the rankings page here:

How effectively am I using Twitter?

Ok, if you liked the follow Friday rankings site, you’ll want to try this site too, in order to get your Twitter Grade. Check your grade at I haven’t managed to figure out their formula yet, but I do know that the ratio of followers to followed plays an important part.

The Following Limit

Speaking of the followers to followed ratio, someone told me this week that there is a limit! I was surprised to hear that you can only follow so many people based on how many followers you have. The limit of people you can follow is 2000 UNLESS you have 2000 followers yourself. If you manage to get 2000 followers, then you are allowed to follow 2200 people. (Past 2000 it is following-followers=200). If you are nearing the limit of following 2000, the best thing you can do is find out who doesn’t follow you back and (unless it is someone whose tweets you really enjoy or whose tweets are related to your industry) unfollow them. You can see who has unfollowed you and check who isn’t following you back at

Hashtags (Those little number sign things)

When you see a hashtag, (the little waffle-like number sign) it can mean one of two things. First, hashtags were originally intended as a way to follow a specific topic, like #breakingnews or #music. There are quite a few hashtags out there that have a website and group dedicated to them, #amwriting for example has which is a group of writers that uses the hashtag as a designation for an ongoing chat about writing. You don’t have to be a member of a group to use a hashtag though, anyone can use them.

Second, hashtags have become a way to comically express yourself. If I were to tweet, “I ate the whole pot of chili!” I might use a “#fulltobursting” hashtag for comic emphasis. Hashtags only work if the words are all together, as opposed to the trend of using periods to separate words for effect in a tweet (ex/ “Went to the park. Best. Day. Ever.”)

Tweeps and bots

Soon after you begin tweeting you’re going to discover that not all tweeps are real people! Some are bots who collect keywords from what you tweet and tweet spam to you to entice you into visiting websites where an attempt to sell you something occurs. The best way to handle this is when you are mentioned and sent a spammy tweet is to report the spam to twitter. When you report spam, Twitter automatically blocks that @name from sending you more tweets. Alternately you can just block them yourself without reporting them, but it is better to let Twitter know so they can be stopped. Spam bots usually have the newbie egg as their avatar or a picture of a pretty girl. Look at their tweets. Is it all spammy or is there real stuff there? If you’re still not sure if it is a bot, check their follower to following ratio. Chances are their number of followers will be very low in comparison to the amount they follow. (Most real people have somewhere between a 1:3 to a 1:2 ratio of followers: following. The exceptions to this rule are celebrities. Celebrities almost always have a check mark on their profile that says “verified.”)

Proofread (You are what you tweet)

Read over what you have written once more before you hit the tweet button. This gives you a chance to catch any errors you may have made and it also allows you to see how it will sound to others. If there is a chance that it will be construed as offensive or doesn’t come out sounding the way you intended it to, you can repair it before you tweet it. A piece of advice I heard a great deal during childhood is important here: You only get once chance to make a first impression. Once you’ve tweeted it, it’s out there to be read and retweeted. People you have never met before will have the opportunity to see your words. Make sure they represent you well.

Things put on the internet are out there forever.

Most people have used Google to search for their own name. Try using Google to look for your Twitter handle. You’ll be surprised at the results. Not only will you very likely find things you’ve said, but you’ll see your lists if you haven’t made them private and you’ll also find the lists you’re on. Chances are you’ll find comments you made that you’ve totally forgotten about as well.


Twitter allows you to make lists. This is very useful if you’re using TweetDeck or other applications that allow you to put different lists of people into different columns and thereby organize your twitter stream. There’s a nifty useful tool for creating lists and maintaining them at People generally like to be listed, especially if it is a list of their peers. I have a list called “Writerly-Tweeps-5” that I created with Formulist. I simply told it to select from my followers those that have author or writer in their bio. Create at list at

Your Bio

As someone well-versed in Twitter promotion once told me, your bio should tell people WHAT you do, WHY you are on Twitter, and WHO you are. You should include a photo in your bio to replace the little egg avatar that Twitter gives newbies. A real picture that shows your face will garner you more followers than a cartoon, your cat or a generic bird avatar. People want to connect to other people. And for goodness sake, smile! No one likes a grumpy Gus.

There are people who can help you with getting the perfect bio. Some charge for this. Some have free advice. Tweet me if you need a name.

Who to follow

Twitter makes suggestions on tweeps you should follow. Usually these suck. Sorry to be blunt, but it’s true. You are better off searching for a topic that interests you and selecting a few people to follow from the results. When you find someone that you enjoy following or someone who is important in your field, check and see who they follow. You can then choose from the people whose tweets they read and follow accordingly.

When you follow someone it isn’t necessary to say hello, but no one will fault you for introducing yourself. If they didn’t want to interact with people, they wouldn’t have joined Twitter to begin with! Don’t annoy people with excessive tweets directed to them, though, this will get you blocked. A little common sense goes a long way!

“But I don’t have anything interesting to say!”

Sure you do. Do you have favorite things? A favorite song, book, tv show, movie? Talk about what you like if you’re stuck for something to tweet. You might be surprised who else likes the same things you do. You can also always check out what is Trending. Trending topics (TT’s) are words, names or phrases that Twitter selects as most frequently tweeted and posts as what is trending. Comment on a trending topic, add the appropriate hashtag, and you’ll be part of the conversation in a jiffy.


If you’re promoting something (a blog, a book, a product, music, a website) tweet about it, but don’t over-do it. No one likes spammers. Spammers get blocked. Being blocked is just the opposite of what you want. When you tweet a link to something, be sure to let readers know what it is you are linking to and use words that fit the subject. Don’t say, “my blog (link),” rather say, “Please visit my blog about recipes and candies at (link). Thanks! #recipes #candy” Not only will you get more visitors this way, but it will help your tweet make it higher up in the search engines.

There are sites that will automate tweeting for you. You put in what you want to tweet, how often and when to tweet and it does it for you. This can work for you as long as you don’t set it to tweet too often. Over-tweeting will get you blocked and unfollowed. Personally, this isn’t something I recommend doing, but if you do, please use it carefully.

Direct Messages (DMs)

Direct messages are seen only by you and the person you are messaging with, sort of like mini-emails addressed only to you. What people will say “privately” is often very different than what they will say “publically.” A DM is a way to send a message via Twitter that won’t get lost in the twitter stream.

I always get amused when I follow someone and they send me a direct message without following me back first because this means I can’t answer them via direct message. I usually just send them a tweet that says, “Hey @name, sorry I couldn’t answer your DM, you’ll need to follow me before I can.” Twitter designed their direct message system so that only people you follow can send you direct messages. While it may not seem logical at first, give it a little consideration and you’ll see that, yes, it is a good policy.

A Few Last Things

Common sense. Courtesy. Thank people. Don’t be afraid to say hi. Proofread. Manners. Pretty soon you’ll have the “Best. Tweets. Ever. “

Drop by and shoot me a tweet! Also feel free to connect with the tweeps I follow. Most are involved with books in some way, but there are some entertainment folks too, as befits my past in theatre.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Worldbuilding and the city of Sarum

I’ve read a lot about world-building for writers. There are a lot of good sites out there with suggestions and questions to ask yourself as you design the location your characters will abide in. Ultimately for my work in progress, Blood Thief, I ended up with the city of Sarum. When you enter the world of the book, hopefully, I will have created a place that is new and familiar at the same time. You may recognize places that I’ve been to in the past or cities I’ve lived in in part, but Sarum isn’t a carbon copy of any one place.

When you visit Hardington’s Auction House or maybe Everson’s Funeral Home you might see traces of Greensboro or High Point. Strolling down the tree lined streets you may feel the old ghosts of New Orleans nearby or even recognize the grand old houses of Salisbury’s historic district.

Shopping? Try Mondomart or Homebase. You’re sure to find what you need. Just be sure to avoid the warehouse district near the interstate after dark. Sarum can be a dangerous place, you know. Oh and if you happen to leave your alarm off or a window unlocked, don’t be surprised if you get a visit from the Blood Thief.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Always Read The Fine Print!

A friend on Twitter pointed something out yesterday that floored me. I usually consider writing contests and sometimes even remember the deadline and enter them. There is one out there that I am GLAD I missed out on though. First One Digital Publishing ran a writing contest open to works of prose 65K words and under. That’s no so unusual. What was pointed out to me that left me so happy to have not entered was in the rules, all the way down in clause 13. I’d be willing to bet that most people don’t make it down that far as they read.

Sitting there, looking innocuous, are the words, “All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation.” If that weren’t horrifying enough a little further down in the legal information is a line stating that, “in the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded.” So now not only do they own YOUR entry completely, they don’t even have to give out the prizes!

What were the prizes you ask? The Grand Prize was a publishing contract with them, $5k, marketing and publicity tour and 20 books from their library. They state that the “Grand-Prize Winner must sign the publishing contract, which contains additional terms and conditions in order to be published.” Any bets that they will own that poor sucker for life? Sheesh! Be wary, folks. Please make sure that you read and understand the rules for any contest or contract BEFORE you enter or sign.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Here's hoping for a prosperous year!

I'm currently still writing/editing.  I'm beginning to think that I may be a perfectionist when it comes to this book.  I just want it to be "right."  All this double checking has paid off some though as I've managed to tie up a few loose threads and replace some scenes with which I was less than happy. 

Happy writing and reading to all of you!