Just in Time for the Holidays

My newest book, Christmas at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, is live on Amazon!

Book four in the Happy Valley series finds Paula Arnett feeling a little humbug-ish as the Yuletide holiday rolls around. Her heart is in for a few surprises as the season unfolds. And not all of them come tied up in red ribbons and bows.

The books are best read in order, with Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort the first offering in the series. I hope you’ll consider joining the Happy Valley family. We’re a fun bunch.

Look for the books on Amazon!

Leaving Las Vegas

I had a crazy, wonderful week at the 20Books conference in Vegas. The conference featured some of the best indie authors in the business, from all over the world. I’m still a little star struck.

Craig Martelle? He was there. Elena Johnson? Sure thing. Michael Anderle? Yep. Britt Andrews? Oui! Kevin J. Anderson? Holy cow! Kevin McLaughlin? Yes, indeed. And these writers are just the tip of the iceberg.

When I wasn’t engaged in geeking out over meeting some of my writing heroes, I was busy learning stuff. Important stuff. And meeting TONS of people. My voice is practically gone.

I have wonderful ideas for incorporating all the knowledge I gained, but the main thing on my agenda now is getting home to Studly Doright and Gracie the cat. My flight leaves early in the morning, so I’m heading to bed soon. Hoping I can sleep even as my mind churns with possibilities.

Thank you for hanging with me!

Peace, people!

Vegas, Here I Come

I’m packed. Kind of. If there were a global list of travelers listed in order from most capable to least, I’d rank in the lower 10 percent. Right above those who’ve never left their homes and below those who once took a trip to their Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob’s place one town over.

No, scratch that, they’re all likely more capable than I am, and at one time in my life I flew weekly to visit schools all over the country. Back then, I was a lean, mean packing machine. I could cram all my training materials and a week’s worth of clothing into one suitcase in less than an hour.

And now? Now it takes me all day and I still end up leaving something at home or packing the wrong clothes or forgetting that my tennis shoes don’t necessarily go with everything.

Still, I’m packed. Kind of.

In spite of my failings, I’m super excited. I’ll be at Bally’s (aka The Horseshoe) in Las Vegas for a writing conference where I hope to learn from some of the best in the business. I wonder if any of them teach a class on packing? If so, sign me up!

Peace, people.

Cosplay Blues

Next week at the writers’ conference in Vegas one day is designated Cosplay Day. I had to ask what that meant, ‘cos I’m not that with it these days.

So, basically, it’s a day one can dress in costume as one might on Halloween. Back when we lived in Illinois I dressed in costume to give out candy to trick or treaters. Usually my costumes were out of touch enough that kids had to ask me what I was.

My favorite was a red and white striped costume I pieced together, then called myself Not Waldo. Another year I wore one of Studly Doright’s shirts and inserted a doll’s head through the neck opening to create a two-headed monster. The head kept slipping inside my shirt, so I just had it peek out between button holes. In short, my costumes sucked.

So, when I learned about this cosplay thing I knew I had to up my game, but I couldn’t come up with even a hint of an idea. Then, a couple of nights ago I was rewatching Return of the Jedi (perhaps for the millionth time) and realized I should dress up as Mon Mothma—mostly because she has short hair and I wouldn’t need a wig.

I abandoned the movie and began searching the internet for Mon Mothma costumes. They were available, but wouldn’t arrive until after I’d left home for the conference. But the costume is fairly simple and I figured I could scrounge around for a long white dress and sleeveless vest. Add some braiding on the bodice and voilà!

It’s fall. Closing in on winter. The only long white dresses I could locate were on Amazon, and now shipping is delayed due to a little hurricane sitting off the coast of Florida. Okay, I’ll be Mon Mothma another year.

A black and white dress that I haven’t worn in quite a while caught my eye from the back of the closet. I could be Cruella Deville! All I need is a black and white wig. Surely Party City has one. Nope. And Amazon can’t deliver one until after I’ve departed for my trip.

But that’s okay. I’ve decided to go as an undercover spy. All I need to do is be myself and play it cool while leaving cryptic notes for others to decipher.

Acepe Oeplpe! (Peace People)

Fictional Crushes

I saw this question on Facebook, then stole it for my author page:

Do you have a literary crush? A fictional guy or gal who makes your heart beat just a little faster?

For me, it’s Jamie from Outlander. Oh, and Roark from J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series. And if I’m being honest, I have a huge crush on Mark Fields, aka Dr. Hunky, from my own Happy Valley series. Of course, I get to tell him what to say and how to act, so it’s no wonder I love him. Too bad that doesn’t work in real life with Studly Doright.

Studly: “Hey, I’m going for a burger. Want one?“

Me: “Studly, maybe you should ask like this: ‘Hey sweetheart, I love you and can’t bear to be away from you for very long, so would you please come along with me to get dinner? We’ll go anywhere you choose. You’re just so beautiful and sweet and smart, and…’ Studly? Studly?”

Anyway, who’s your fictional crush?

Peace, people.

Buckle Up!

Lots of stuff happening in the next few weeks.

I already voted, so now it’s just a matter of nail biting. So sick of political ads, especially the negative ones. Wouldn’t it be nice if the ads stopped once you’d cast your votes? That being said, please vote.

On the 12th of November, I’m heading to Las Vegas for a huge writing conference at Bally’s (or the Horseshoe, Bally’s is getting a name change). I’m hoping to learn how to up my marketing game, which right now consists of me saying, “I’ve written books. Several books. You should buy them,” to everyone I meet. My friends are ready to throw me off a cliff, and I wouldn’t blame them.

I’m so excited to meet other indie authors and engage in geeky author stuff. I’m old, so I won’t overindulge. Maybe…

Then there’s Thanksgiving—my favorite holiday. Just good food, football, and fellowship. There’s no rush to buy gifts or push to over decorate. And the mimosas I make to aid in the cooking process are the best. Okay, they’re just orange juice and champagne, but they do the trick.

Our daughter and her kiddos are flying into Orlando in early December. Studly Doright and I are going to meet them at the airport and spend time with them before they leave on a cruise. I still hope one of the grandkids will let me hide in their suitcase. It could happen.

The build up to Christmas is in full swing, of course. Our son and his family are coming to celebrate with us at Doright Manor. So excited! I’m already buying gifts, and that’s something I normally put off until almost the last minute.

Oh, and somewhere in the mix, my newest book, Christmas at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort will publish. Hopefully around Thanksgiving. 😳 Have I mentioned yet that I’m a writer? That I’ve published several books? Wait, that’s a cliff, please, I’m begging you. I won’t mention it again….

Whew! That was close. I think I’ll have another glass of wine.

Peace, people!

True Confession

True Confession: I am an idiot.

Once upon a time I created a Facebook ad for my first novel (Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort) with the assistance of the lovely and talented Lori Roberts Herbst (author of the Callie Cassidy Mysteries). You’ve likely seen my ad and maybe been annoyed by it because, well, it hasn’t been updated in FOREVER.

That’s because I can’t remember how to generate a new ad. Yes, I’m an idiot. The current (OLDER THAN DIRT) ad shows Mayhem with 239 reviews, when in fact, it now has 849 reviews. Mostly four and five star, I might add.

One of these days I’m going to tackle this issue. Just not this day. So, thanks for your patience and your love and support. I have THE BEST readers.

(By the way, there are currently two additional books in the series, and another sequel to be published in the near future—I’m just not savvy enough to create ads for them.)

Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, along with all my other books, is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Also available through Kindle Unlimited.

Unapologetic Late Bloomer

Every now and then I remember I have several books available on Amazon and I do a little happy dance.

Y’all, I’d dreamed of writing a book since I was a gangly little second grader in Mrs. Gregory’s classroom. Mrs. Gregory didn’t much care for me. I talked too much and once punched a fellow student in the nose resulting in copious amounts of blood on the classroom floor (it was an accident, sort of—he and I still laugh about it—sort of). Yet she was the teacher who made me first think of becoming a writer.

She’d given us a writing prompt: Four sequential pictures featuring a little girl standing on her front porch with a saucer of milk, and a growing number of thirsty kittens arriving to partake.

In response to the prompt, I wrote a rather lengthy tome. Not only that, but my tale was gripping. Hard to put down. Real Pulitzer material. Okay, I made that stuff up, but for a seven-year-old, it was darned good. So good, in fact, that Mrs. Gregory called my mom and told her I had real possibilities in the field of writing.

To my mom, who was an avid reader, that call was a big deal. One would’ve thought the teacher believed I might be a young Alberta Einstein or something. That was hardly the case, but my mom was pleased. She told everyone. And then everyone expected me to become a famous author.

Fast forward several decades in which I was NOT a famous author. In my 64th year of life, I finished a hefty manuscript titled Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. Then wondered, What to do? What to do?

Do I begin searching for an agent? Sending it directly to publishing houses? Do I take the chance that my book might never gain an audience? I couldn’t take that chance. So, for the first time in my life I made a really bold decision. I found a good editor and self-published Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort through Kindle Direct Publishing. Now, nearly two years later, there are three books in the series and a stand alone romance. Not bad for a late bloomer.

My only regrets are that my mom and dad never got to see my book in print and that I once punched a good friend in the nose. Sorry about that J.W.G.

Peace, people!

Sidewalk Marketing

Every Wednesday a group of about six male coffee drinkers meets at a table outside the coffee shop I frequent for my writing. I’ve exchanged pleasantries with the men on occasion, but never stopped to talk.

This morning as I was leaving, having reached my daily writing goal, one of the men said, “Leaving early today?”

“Yessir. I reached my word count so now I can go spend my husband’s money on frivolous stuff like food and gasoline.”

They all laughed, so I figured my work on earth was done.

“You’re a writer then?” Another man asked.

Now, the smart a** side of me wanted to say something witty, but the regular side of me couldn’t come up with anything, so I just admitted to being a writer.

And then I went into marketing mode. Sold six books. Yay me.

http://Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort (The Happy Valley Series) https://a.co/d/0U05QVo

Write This Down

Today I was engaged in working on book number four in the Happy Valley series while sipping on a latte at one of my favorite coffee shops, when a sharp rap on the window beside my table took me completely out of the groove.

I rededicated myself to the task of figuring out what the hell my characters were going to do and say next, when a rather nice looking gentleman of about my age brought a coffee around to my table, pulled out a chair, and took a seat.

“How have you been?” He asked.

Now I struggle with recalling names and faces, but I was fairly certain I didn’t know this guy.

“I’m sorry. Do we know each other?”

“Sure. From the neighborhood. You know…”

“Which neighborhood would that be?”

He told me the name of the rather upscale Tallahassee neighborhood, and I said, “Sir, I live in Havana. So I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”

His eyes narrowed and for a minute I thought he was going to challenge me—that he thought I might be messing with him.

After a moment he said, “Well, you have a doppelgänger, then.”

I said it wasn’t the first time I’d been mistaken for someone else in the area. Out of curiosity I asked who it was he’d thought I was. “Oh, it’s ________ __________. You look exactly like her.”

When I didn’t recognize the name he explained that the woman’s a lobbyist for some organization and asked if I, too, was a lobbyist. Now, that was the darndest question, wasn’t it?

“No sir,” I said. “I’m a writer.”

“Oh, then I suppose you aren’t who I thought you were.”

He went on his way and I thought, I should write this down. So I did.

I still don’t know what my characters are going to do or say next, though.

Peace, people.

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