Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Year, New You

January 26th is the Lunar New Year, the Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival. Okay so all three are names for the same celebration. It is also my daughter's birthday...and my birthday. (Yeah, same day. Hard to forget. Happy Birthday, baby!)

In honor of that I'm listing some fun facts.

Chinese New Year is based on a lunar and solar calendar. It appears on the first new moon of the year. This year is the year of the earth ox. Coincidentally both my daughter and I were born in the year of the Ox- which appears every 12 years.

Here is what the horoscope says for people born as an earth ox: "As an earth ox you can be counted on in any situation. Of course you can-because you are so very down to earth! Others look up to you because you are sensible, reliable, and honest. Because you possess a lot of common sense, your judgment is solid. You exhibit a keen sense of how the world works, particularly in financial matters. What ever you attempt you are almost guaranteed to have success. Even if you have to work extra hard and it takes a long time, eventually you will get there. You will continue to work long past the point where many others might have given up and you will step over any and all obstacles to your success. In your relationships, you tend to be there for the long haul. Affectionate and faithful, you are much loved by those close to you for the emotional security you offer them. You are exceptionally loyal to friends. There is nothing a person can do to lose your friendship once you've given it. this trait can definitely make you a popular person!"

If you are wondering-nope, I'm not an earth ox- I'm a metal ox and that is a whole other thing. :)

According to the Chicago Tribune, some Chinese New Year traditions:
1) clean your house the day before-to start the new year right.
2) don't yell at your children-give them money instead. (Sorry kids all I have is chocolate coin.)
3) respect your elders. (Got that kids?)
4) open your windows at midnight and let the new year in. (Yee-ouch it's going to be below zero here.)
5) if you were born in the year of the ox... wear red underwear on New Year's day to protect you through out the year.

Also interesting to note: There will be a full solar eclipse on the 26th in the Indian Ocean.

As for me, the celebration starts today with the triple chocolate cheesecake I baked last night, followed by a spa day tomorrow and ending with dinner at a Chinese restaurant. This year is going to be the best year yet! Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fun Stuff

This week I was honored with my first blog award and my first Meme. (A blog award is a form of Meme.*)

Thank you to Jane Kennedy Sutton- who gifted me with the Butterfly Award. Please check out Jane's blog-Jane's Ride for great views from another author.

This is a “meme” award-see below- so it gets passed on. The rules for passing it on are: 1. Put the logo on your blog. 2. Add a link to the person who awarded you. 3. Award up to ten other blogs. 4. Add links to those blogs on yours. 5. Leave a message for your awardees on their blogs.

Now as you can tell- my link button does not work for me-so I have to write out the links instead of coolly embedding them in the name as others do. Sigh. But I am still honored and will list three really cool blogs that I think deserve a butterfly. Please check them out.

Ann Victor- (Love her and her blog)
Marilyn Brant - (Great new author)
L. Diane Wolfe - (Spunk on a Stick)

The next bit of fun came from Morgan Mandel ( whose explanation of "what a meme is" is shown with the asterisk below. Morgan tagged me with the following meme:

Provide a list of six things that make me happy:

1)Doing something anything with my grown kids-they are witty and fun to be around.
2)Writing out the stories in my head-especially those scenes that make you stand up and jump around with excitement.
3)Playing and cuddling with my dogs George and Gracie.
4)Flowers- "Daisies are such a happy flower, don't you think?" (from the movie You've Got Mail.)
5)A good movie makes me happy even if I'm crying.
6)Reading great blogs on the Internet.

Now- I'm supposed to tag this to other bloggers to this meme-so I tag Pamala Knight -

I'm enjoying my discovery of new blogs and learning so much following them. As most of you know I blog here every Sunday. I also keep a daily blog on my website ( called A Room with a View-come check that out as well.

*What is a meme? Wikepedia describes it as "a neologism used to describe a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet, much like an inside joke." A meme usually involves using a blog to acknowledge and link back to the person who named you, plus pass along the meme to a specified number of bloggers by naming and linking to their blogs. (For more info go to )

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Revving up the Marketing Machine

Six months out from my next book release date and I have marketing on my mind. Over eight years of publishing, I have learned that each publisher has different expectations and needs for marketing. Each author, also, has different expectations for marketing their work. Some jump in with guns blazing, others stick a toe in and shiver. I hope to be somewhere in between.

Why? Because I have to put enough effort into marketing to get my name out there and let my readers know I've got a new story in a different venue. But I don't want to use up all my writing time on marketing matters- something that is really easy to do.

So, a fine line must be drawn while I build momentum to Mr. Charming's release date- July 31st.

To accomplish this I am setting aside time this month to build a marketing strategy and calendar. In the last few months I have spent time every day building my social networking skills. I have been reading some good blogs and along the way I have increased daily readers at my website by 400%. (I know, I didn't think that would happen. but I just checked my stats this morning and yes, 4 times as many people visit my site on a daily basis.) Also, my google hits have gone up. All this took was a little time on my part-daily- as in 15 minutes a day to say hello-nice to meet you. Will the numbers translate to sales? I'll find out I suppose.

So, what else am I planning? My friend Morgan Mandel's daily blog, has been educating her readers on blog tours, blog following and creating buzz in the blogosphere. So, I'm taking the time to follow her advice and visit a new blog a day-to comment and follow- to say hello!

Add to this strategy planning and executing a blog tour, writing articles for RWA chapter newsletters, and perhaps writing an article for the RWR magazine.

I hope to include the addition of a newsletter to my website, a fan page on Facebook and perhaps a speaking engagement or two. All while continuing to write my next book.

Ugh- you say, throwing your hands up. Who has the time? I don't know if I'll have to time, but five minutes a day, ten minutes a day adds up over the space of six months. In the mean time I get to meet new people and hear new voices which makes my office a cheery place and gives me a smile.

What about you? What, if anything, has worked for you? Any tips for me to think about while I create my marketing plan? This blogger would love to know.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gorgeous New Cover!

Woot!! What a way to start the new year- last night I received the cover art for my second romantic suspense, Dream Man. The art was done by the fabulous Nicola Martinez, at The Wild Rose Press.

Below is the back blurb:

A NO NONSENSE WOMAN…Dr. Eva Stanford wants only to help her patient sleep through the night. Little does she know that the old woman holds the secret to a thirty-year-old mystery that threatened the political life of a presidential candidate and Eva’s own family.
A MAN WITH A DREAM…FBI Agent Nate Cancaid has a reoccurring dream of a woman with dark hair and blue eyes whose murder he is unable to prevent. When the blue eyed doctor enters his office, he feels the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.
A MYSTERY THAT TRANSCENDS TIME…It’s bad enough when Eva’s patient claims that Eva and Nate are her married assistants, but coincidences grow too complicated for her scientific mind when some of the clues come straight out of Nate’s dreams. Can Eva keep from losing her heart to a man of intuition or has fate already dealt her a losing hand?

I think this is my best cover to date. What do you think?