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Remember the Inspiration that is Nancy Drew

Remember the Inspiration that is Nancy Drew

Inspiration: Today

Inspiration started with a book, which led to a love of mystery. But I wanted more than just to read the words, I wanted to write them.

After spending seven years in the mire that is marketing, writing, editing and parenting, I found myself stuck in the same place and it hit me, that something needed to change. Finding inspiration, I started over, with a new website, book series name, Facebook page name and Twitter handle.

Phew…And now I’m finally ready to release book two, with fear and awe.

While I reflect on the early days, back to a time when I had no idea what would become of my books or where the journey would take me, I find that inspiration and I share with you bits and pieces of that early blog. It sounds almost the same.

Inspiration: October 2010

I was a reader; everything from Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, and Little Women. It inspired me to write my first book at seven years old. At nine, I read Beverly Clearly and Judy Blume, hiding “Forever” under my pillow at night. I graduated to Stephen King and slept with a nightlight; words had that effect. I felt something for these characters, I was engrossed in a good story. I loved to tap into the imagination. Inspiration; I wanted to be a writer.

Though life sidetracked me with a job credit card services, my time as an interior decorator. I had kids and I forgot what I wanted to be when I grew up. Until Harry Potter reminded me.

It’s really not the end of the journey, now that The Day of First Sun eBook is published. I think I’m now just beginning. Book two Black Market is well on its way, and I’m looking forward to all the possibilities. Thanks to everyone for their messages, for their support and questions and if you purchased the book, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Gracie Madison – I Think I Can Fly

Gracie Madison – I Think I Can Fly

graciemadisonfeelstheworld3DCold air, chills me, I reach for my blanket but I’m not on my bed.

Where am I?

I know where I am.

Cautious and careful, I take a step across the rough stone floor, my bare feet scrape against the uneven stones. I clip and cut my big toe on a sliver of rock.

“Damn it!” Sticky and wet, I leave a trail of blood behind me as I take another step in the darkness, darkness that envelopes me. It’s not wonderful in this nothingness. I’m afraid of the unknown.

A breeze through my hair, a creak, a groan. I hear each and every sound, feel the fluctuation of the air as it moves. I jump.

Footsteps, distant off in the never where, click against the stone, slow and deliberate. They follow me, the owner of those footsteps observes me, even as I hide in the shadows. I quicken my pace, my toe stings, I stumble against the stone wall.

Curiosity steels through me. I glance in the darkness behind me, the urge is too strong to not know who’s chasing me. My eyes play tricks on me because I think I see a figure floating between the dark spaces.

What is that?

Whatever it is it observes me without hiding from me. His gaze bores through me leaving me empty.
My fingers find the wall and graze the uneven, chipped stones. It’s how I see in the penetrating darkness when my eyes fail me. I feel the edge of the wall and turn right like I’ve done before. I know this hallway.

I feel for the door, for the cool steel against my fingers. It’s closer than it was before. I found the door.

“Gracie, you’re an empath,” Alden sneers.

A white mist drifts up covering me, smothering me. “You’re special, Gracie. Your mom will be so proud. Jake and Shay will have to respect you…” the voice hisses in my ear.

The fog undulates and dances, twirling around me. He knows about Jake and Shay. He knows when mom gets home. I drown in his mist and my head spins as it wraps and squeezes me. I need to get away from him, before he hurts me.

“Gracie help me!” The girl’s scream pierces the darkness; I feel her fear, her stress and her pain. The mist constricts me; I can’t breathe. “Gracie, please help me!” Her small scared voice sears my brain, but I have to get away from him.

“NO!” I scream and wiggle from the mist, before it swallows me. I run! I run as though I’m running forever, before I jump into nothingness. But I don’t fall. I’m not sucked into oblivion. I fly.

Excerpt from Gracie Madison Feels the World by Sheryl Steines, coming Summer, 2016

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Go Get ‘Em Girl – Lorelei Gilmore

Go Get ‘Em Girl – Lorelei Gilmore

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Art imitates life. As I work towards obtaining my goal of writing for a living, publishing and selling my books, I found myself flocking to television shows that reflected my current journey.

I’ve been obsessed with shows before. It started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I probably watched the entire show from pilot to finale three times, before I could no longer watch anymore. Leaving me to watch only the episodes that I truly love. I did it with Charmed and Supernatural too.

So as I searched for my newest obsession, I rediscovered Gilmore Girls. I’d already seen the entire series, but this time, there was something else. Lorelei Gilmore was opening her dream, The Dragonfly Inn.

I know this is only a television show. I know she’s not real and The Dragonfly Inn is a fake set in California, but I relate to the sentiment.

I’ve said it here many times. I knew at the age of 7, I wanted to be a writer. I started crafting my own stories, modeled after the Nancy Drew book series. I created characters, dropped them into adventures and most importantly turned my day dreams into living, breathing stories.

And then life comes in and drags you down several paths, some your choice, others outside forces pull you somewhere else. After many years, I finally got a chance to go back to my dream, much like Lorelei. We both stepped off that cliff, took a chance. She opened her own inn, I published a book. I re-watch the episodes with a new point of view. I get emotional, it inspires me, I dream big. I can do this too. Yes I can.

My brain never shuts down. Stories and characters scream in my head, begging to be let out. I can’t write fast enough to get all the ideas out on paper. I get anxious the closer I move toward publishing my book, to selling at Comic Con, to finding a publisher. And watching this amazing, strong, ambitious, character in Lorelei, achieve her dream, makes me laugh and cry, sometimes in that ugly cry sorta way.

Go get ’em Lorelei Gilmore, because if there’s a dream, there’s a way.

To order my dream, The Day of First Sun check out Amazon.com.

The Day of First Sun - Copy to Use

 

Thank You Joy… I named it After You

Thank You Joy… I named it After You

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Twenty-five years ago, I submitted hundreds, of hundreds of hundreds of resumes (I’m not kidding) to companies hiring writers, copywriters, editors, and proofreaders. I didn’t have hundreds of interviews.

I ended up getting a job as a customer service rep, probably the worse job in the world. Plan B was to work as a technical/business writer until I wrote THAT book.

As always, life got away from me and twenty years of struggle to work as a writer, I found myself at my 20th class reunion not where I expected to be.

It’s where I sat at Joy’s table with her and her friends. Not really friends but we knew each other and it was fun to catch up. Until…

Until I learned that Joy was a published author. I was jealous. Green with envy, so much so it hurt. So much so it made me rethink that goal I had at seven years old, I wanted to be a published author.

And this is where Gracie Madison comes into play. I retold that story to Joy through Facebook several years ago. She joked that I should name a character after her.

Challenge accepted.

I could have done the easiest thing and named my main character Joy. I could have, but I didn’t. I thought about the type of book I wanted to write and Gracie Madison was born. I know I didn’t name her after Joy but I did…hehe…

Gracie Madison Feels the World, a story about a teenager with exceptional powers, the powers of empathy, specifically, she’s the Empath of Joy.

So thank you Joy Meredith for living out your dreams and making me so jealous, I had no choice but to work on mine.

Gracie Madison out, Summer 2016.

Thanks for the gorgeous cover art by: Mallory Rock. Malloryrock.com

 

 

 

Introvert to Sales Goddess

Introvert to Sales Goddess

introverttosalesgoddessI had everything intention of taking Introvert to Sales Goddess off of Amazon. It hadn’t sold and frankly, with things in my life, there wasn’t time to properly market the book.

Not that I’m not proud of the story, it was deeply personal, there were other things that I needed to accomplish.

On the day I planned to take the book down, I received an email from a reviewer, advising me she just put a review on Amazon, and hoped she wasn’t too early. With a weird twist of fate she received a request sent last August.

It was a nice review, much appreciated, and it made me think maybe I was too hasty to remove it. My goal with the book, share my experiences as an introvert and how difficult it can be to work outside your comfort zone.

All I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer and yet it’s been difficult to find my voice. Introvert to Sales Goddess is a small step as I discover what I’m capable of doing and the voice that’s been buried for years. If it helps anyone find themselves it’s worth the effort.

Sometimes we have to put faith in ourselves and trust that our instincts are good. Good things will come when we do.

 

 

 

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy

Check out this excerpt from #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy’s first book in the Callaway family series…Then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!

Her father stared back at her, his eyes dark and unreadable. “Why are you here, Sara?” “I wanted to be here for your birthday. It’s been a long time since we’ve shared more than an email. We should talk, catch up with each other.” “Why on earth would you want to talk to me?” The confusion in his eyes made her realize just how far apart they’d drifted. “Because you’re my father. You’re my family. We’re the only ones left.” “Do you need money?” “This isn’t about money. Mom would not have wanted us to end up like strangers. We need to improve our relationship.” He stared back at her for a long moment, then said, “There’s nothing left for you here, Sara. I wish you well, but we both need to move on. If you stay, it won’t go well. We’ll only disappoint each other.” Her chest tightened, the finality of his words bringing pain as well as anger. Her father was like a brick wall. She kept throwing herself at him, trying to break through his resistance, but all she ever achieved was a new batch of emotional bruises. “You’re a grown woman now,” he added. “You don’t need a father.” “Not that I ever really had one,” she countered, surprising herself a little with the words. She was used to holding her tongue when it came to her dad, because talking usually made things worse. “I did my best.” “Did you?” A tickle caught at her throat and her eyes blurred with unwanted tears. She had not come here to cry. She sniffed, wondering why the air felt so thick. It took a minute to register that it was not her emotions that were making her eyes water, but smoke. The same awareness flashed in her father’s eyes. “Damn,” he swore. “The kitchen—I was cooking—” He ran out of the room, and she followed him down the stairs, shocked by how thick the smoke was in the entry. She was on her dad’s heels when he entered the kitchen. The scene was unbelievable. Flames shot two feet in the air off a sizzling pot on the stove. The fire had found more fuel in a stack of newspapers on the counter that had been left too close to the burner, those sparks leaping to the nearby curtains. Her father grabbed a towel and tried to beat out some of the flames, but his efforts only seemed to make things worse. Embers flew everywhere, finding new places to burn, the heat growing more and more intense. Moving to the sink, she turned on the faucet and filled up a pitcher, but it was taking too long to get enough water. She threw some of it at the fire, but it made no difference. “Move aside,” her dad shouted, grabbing two hot pads. “What are you doing?” she asked in confusion. He tried to grab the pot and move it to the sink, but she was in the way, and he stumbled, dropping the pot in the garbage. She jumped back from an explosion of new fire. “We have to call 911,” she said frantically. But there was no phone in the kitchen, and her cell phone was in her bag by the entry. “Let’s get out of here.” Her father was still trying to put out the fire, but he was getting nowhere. “Dad, please.” “Get out, Sara,” he said forcefully, then ran into the adjacent laundry room. “Wait! Where are you going?” “I have to get something important,” he yelled back at her. “Dad. We need to get out of the house.” She coughed out the words, but she might as well have remained silent because her dad had vanished through the laundry room and down the back stairs to the basement. She couldn’t imagine what he had to get. There was nothing but gardening tools and cleaning supplies down there. She started to follow him, then jumped back as the fire caught the wallpaper next to her head, sizzling and leaping towards her clothing. “Dad,” she screamed. “We need to get out of the house.” A crash echoed through the house. Then all she could hear was the crackling of the fire. Sara ran through the flames and down the stairs into the basement. A single light bulb dangled from a wire over the stairs, showing her father in a crumpled heap on the cement floor. She dropped to her knees next to his still body. He was unconscious, blood under his head, and his right leg was twisted in an odd position. She put a hand on his chest. His heart was still beating. “Dad,” she said. “Wake up.” He blinked groggily. “Sara?” he asked in confusion. “What are you doing here?” “The kitchen is on fire. We need to get out of the house.” A glance back over her shoulder revealed smoke pouring through the open door at the top of the stairs. There was no way out of the basement without going through the kitchen. Her father tried to sit up, but quickly fell back, groaning with pain. “My leg is broken. You go.” “I can’t leave you here. That’s not an option.” “You can’t carry me. Go. Get help.” “I’ll be right back,” she promised. She ran up the stairs, shocked and terrified when she saw how much worse the fire had gotten in literally minutes. The heat was intense. She could barely breathe, and there was a wall of flames between her and the only way out. She couldn’t afford to be scared. Grabbing a towel off the top of the nearby washing machine, she covered her nose and mouth, and prepared to make a dash for it. Before she could move, a figure appeared on the other side of the flames—a man. A wave of relief swept through her. Help had arrived. He barreled through the fire and smoke, batting away the flames as if they were troublesome bees. When he stopped in front of her, her heart jumped again. “Aiden?” She lowered the towel from her face. He was the last Callaway she wanted to see.

About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!

This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That’s right; we’re celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes. All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win! To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)

About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo. About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.

Meet the Callaways – Barbara Freethy

Meet the Callaways – Barbara Freethy

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About On A Night Like This, Book #1 of the Callaway Series

From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.

The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember. The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind.

Aiden seeks help from an unlikely ally …

Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level. Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth.

The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.

As teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they ready now?

ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS is the first book in an eight book connected contemporary romance series featuring the intriguing Callaway family. Love, mystery, adventure — the Callaways have it all!

About the Author

71LxXqLeiZL._UX250_Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 40 novels. Traditionally published for many years, in 2011 Barbara began self-publishing her backlist and has sold over 5 million ebooks and as of today she is the bestselling KDP Author of ALL TIME! Nineteen of her titles have appeared on the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Her book SUMMER SECRETS hit #1 on the New York Times and remained on the list for seven weeks.

Barbara writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is known for writing emotional and compelling stories about love and family, sometimes with a little suspense, sometimes with a little magic.

Oops I Did It Again…a Rewrite That Is

Oops I Did It Again…a Rewrite That Is

The Day of First Sun - Copy to Use I was 7 years old when I read my first Nancy Drew book. There was something in that smart girl that resonated me and I wanted to read every adventure. But I didn’t just want to read the stories, I wanted to write them, create my own world, characters and adventures.

Life, it sometimes gets in the way. Infertility, a difficult pregnancy, the death of a child, threw me off of my course, the path I set for myself when I graduated college.

It took a wake up call, meeting a high school classmate, a published author to fuel my jealously, to snap the dream back to me. I finally wrote that book.

It took all of 6 weeks from start to finish, all 170 pages of it. It took at least 15 drafts two of which were self published. I hired marketing help.

I wasn’t ready. I didn’t understand how to edit, forget about using Twitter and Facebook effectively. Without holding up my end of the bargain, marketing, well it left me back to square one.

A horrible book release for book 2, left me constantly 5 minutes away from quitting. Paralyzed to move forward, which is where I’ve been for over 2 years as I try to figure out y life as a non writer. But I still come back to the desire to make it right, to finally live that dream.

I’ve been lucky because had I not gone down that road, I wouldn’t have met a collective group of great, smart women who have taught me some of what they know about marketing, writing and editing. And I would have learned nothing.

After careful thought, I re-wrote my first book again. I re-thought the entire series. Rather than selling books with flaws, I chose to improve the product. The premise was good but… I hope I fixed the but.

That is why I chose this major rewrite. I took a long look at the book and the series and pinpointed where I fell short. I took out chunks of the book, changed relationships and rewrote what turned out to be a majority of the book. Though the story is the same, it gets there in a different manner. One that I hope answers questions, feels complete, with characters that are worth reading about.

I often wonder why no one has said to me, you’re an awful writer you should quit. I’ve mostly experienced encouragement, just enough to ignore the bad reviews. Just enough to try again. Maybe this time I’m nearly 10 minutes away from quitting, and at least in the end I know I’ve tried.

I’m very proud of version 20 of The Day of First Sun and I look forward to it’s release. I can’t wait to share.

It’s been an emotional few years picking myself up and dusting myself off, but I did it. Sometimes it’s all we know what to do.

Pre-order The Day of First Sun, check out Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shatter Point by Jeff Altabef is on sale from 12/8-12/12 for only $0.99!

Shatter Point by Jeff Altabef is on sale from 12/8-12/12 for only $0.99!

Shatter Point

Shatter Point is an exciting novel of suspense, action, drama and even a little bit of horror…. It’s definitely one of the best novels out there right now.” Next Page Reviews

When I reached the last 100 pages no one was going to be able to stop me reading until I knew the ending!” – Olivia’s Catastrophe

“A thriller that grabs readers and doesn’t let go, skillfully twisting, turning, and manipulating its plot for maximum impact.” – Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Pick up a copy of this spellbinding thriller.

You can also enter the giveaway at the end of this post with no more than a click of the mouse for a chance to win a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card!  Extra entry points will be available for anyone who posts a before 1/23/2015!

 

 

When her 19-year-old son Jack miraculously recovers from a serious head trauma, Maggie is sure her luck has changed. But when she’s abducted by a shadow from her past – a phantom with dangerous sapphire eyes – it’s up to Jack and his younger brother Tom to unravel the mystery and save their mom from a deadly psychological battle.

 The brothers seek help from their colorful great aunt, who exposes them to a world of nefarious family secrets, explosive government conspiracies, and a series of horrific murders. Together they must navigate a dark underworld full of political subterfuge and class warfare.

Yet as they search for their mother, Jack changes—raked by skull splitting headaches and weird visions. How exactly did he recover from his coma, and how does this tie into the psychopath who’s abducted their mother?

 Will Jack and Tom save Maggie before her abductor reaches his shatter point? Does Jack have enough time left?

Shatter Point on Amazon.com

Giveaway – Enter to Win!

I Said Yes Because Why?

I Said Yes Because Why?

introverttosalesgoddess

 

Excerpt from Introvert to Sales Goddess

I’m an introvert, and I’m shy. People can exhaust me just as much as they cause me anxiety. But I don’t hate being around them. It just depends on the situation. I can’t change that reality; I can only learn to live within that character trait—good, bad or otherwise. Because I am one of those often misunderstood people, I spend a lot of time observing and thinking. That’s why I’m an avid reader, and that’s why I love writing.

In a way I’m selling myself short, because I’m not an emotional wreck in social situations. In the right setting, I can be chatty and engaging, especially when the conversation is about me. It’s not because I’m self-centered. It’s because I know myself and can speak confidently about who I am and what I can do. And that’s pretty much what a job interview is, isn’t it?

I agreed to the second interview, even as I questioned the job and my ability to successfully do what would be asked of me. I didn’t want to start the job hunt all over again, and this particular office was only five minutes from my house; both valid reasons for pursuing something well out of my comfort zone. Overwhelmed by the nature of the job, I nodded quite a bit during the second meeting; still unsure of the position, I tried to be honest about my phone skills, or in this case, my lack thereof.

I politely shook hands as I met everyone in the office while trying to make sense of what I was agreeing to. But at the same time, I was able to separate that small piece of the job from the rest of the experience as I would be working for a small company in a field that I didn’t know much about, other than that it held some very exciting possibilities. And I knew some things about it. After all, I wear makeup. I dye the gray right out of my hair. I’m a girly girl. It could be fun.

I did realize early on that I had agreed to a sales position of sorts and within that framework, I would be required to talk on the phone to CEOs and company presidents as I tried to sell them on the idea of a sponsorship program. This wasn’t a completely foreign concept for me. I’ve asked for money before. I walked the Avon Three Day Breast Cancer Walk. I wrote letters asking for donations, helped my daughter with her Muscular Dystrophy backyard carnival. It was easy asking family and friends through a heartfelt and honest letter explaining what motivated me to do so. But asking money in the confines of a job, was a different experience, convincing companies that they needed this program to help grow their business was a completely different circumstance.

Truth be told, I do have confidence, though not all the time and not about everything. But when it comes to working at a job, I do believe that I can accomplish pretty much anything. But this job is like a roller coaster with peaks and valleys. Some aspects I’m very comfortable with while others, I seriously questioned my decision to even interview for it.

Within the last decade I’ve learned a lesson about worrying only when you absolutely have to. For me that means, I don’t stay up at night dwelling on a new job unless I have a valid reason to stress. As with every experience that’s ever made me uncomfortable in the days leading up to it, I discovered early that I was usually fine once I get there, once I’d immersed myself in the project or experience. Like a cat that falls from great heights, I usually land on my paws, no worse for wear.

It happens every time I travel to the city. I worry so much about timing and parking that I work myself into a tizzy before I go, then I’m oftentimes embarrassed once I get down there. It all seems like a silly thing to worry about, and I realize that I’m really okay, and that I can do it.

And with all this in mind I accepted the job at the rate I asked for. I had one week.

Are you an introvert? Are you an extrovert and want to understand the other side? Check out my new book Introvert to Sales Goddess now on sale at Amazon.com.

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