Wednesday, 20 April 2016


It's is my pleasure to have, Tierney James, as a guest on my blog.  I met Tierney on our publisher, Black Opal Books, Yahoo Chat Group.

 After deciding to give up teaching World Geography for a nearby college, I plunged into pursuing a writing career. My first novel, An Unlikely Hero was written because I moved to Northern California where people kept mistaking me for someone named Melanie. I even got questioned by the DMV about who I really was. This resulted in a number of interesting encounters. After seeing a sign on a man’s fence several miles from me that read in giant letters, REMEMBER THE USS LIBERTY, I decided to find a new story.  This led me to the only surviving Marine of a government cover-up. With the creation of Winds of Deception, I’m now working toward obtaining the Medal of Honor for him. He was my resource and warned me to be careful. You would think that was all pretty innocent until I caught a black sedan taking pictures of my house then speeding off. So when my phone clicks, or no one is on the other end, I just smile and know I’ve hit a nerve. (  on Amazon.) Rooftop Angels is the third in that series and due out in about six weeks. I’m also working with Mission K9 Rescue to create a children’s book about four-footed soldiers that save lives.
Besides serving as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and attending Space Camp for Educators, I’ve traveled across the world. From the Great Wall of China to floating the Okavango Delta of Botswana, Africa, I tie unique experiences into other writing projects such as my first paranormal romance/thriller, Dance of the Devil’s Trill, to be released this summer. With living on a Native American reservation and in a mining town for many years, I have an abundance of characters that keep me awake at night.

 Tierney's Response to my question on what are the benefits of being a hybrid author?     

I am a hybrid author meaning that I do both traditional and indie publishing. There are advantages to both for sure. The cost is the biggest one I see. With a traditional publisher they take care of everything; cover art, editing, formatting, etc. They open doors for you both in bookstores and conferences. My publisher got me in with Thriller Writers of America. Not too shabby. I will continue to seek out traditional from time to time.
Going indie or indie assist you have to have help and that comes with a price. Having said that I love the control I have with indie and I make more money. I don’t have to wait as long to get my novel into print so I start making money faster. You do need to find a good editor. That is the magic word! Don’t count on your buddies, relatives or even writing group to do what needs to be done. It’s impossible. There will be times you get your work back and it looks like the editor opened a vein over your wonderful words. Remember they are making it better. I didn’t do that at first and I’ve paid dearly for those mistakes. It’s worth it to find the editor with a Vlad the Impaler complex.

An Unlikely Hero (Vol. I of the Enigma Series)
If you can imagine Romancing the Stone meets True Lies then you have a good idea how Tessa Scott feels when her world is turned upside down after a Libyan terrorist decides to pay her a visit. Thanks to Captain Hunter she is rescued but dragged into a conspiracy to change the world as we know it. How does a soccer mom get into so much trouble? Enigma is trying to find that out even as we speak.
Twitter: @TierneyJames1

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


Writing and sharing a book review is a benefit for the writing and reading community.  

·         By writing a book review and posting it online, you help like-minded readers discover a great book, and you help the author by providing valuable feedback.

·         Over 85% of all Amazon Kindle readers rely heavily on book reviews before making an online order to have the copy of the book.

·         More reviews get authors exposure to other book review sites, blogging communities, and book clubs.
·         Bottom line: More reviews equal more sales for authors and more informed readers.

Friday, 1 April 2016



Author, Kelley Armstrong
 On March 30th, three of our Killer Authors’ group, Gloria Ferris, D L. Houghton, and myself, attended a two-hour no-holds-barred discussion by New York Times #1 bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong, entitled, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know about the Novel-Writing Biz at the Kitchener Central Library.  Kelley is this year’s Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence. See the Library’s web site: for details on her upcoming workshops.

Armstrong is a Canadian author of several immensely popular series, including Women of the Otherworld, The Darkest Power, the Cainsville series, The Blackwell Pages trilogy, and more, as well as several stand-alone novels. She writes both fantasy and crime novels, and writes for adults, middle-grade, and young adult readers. Her newest book, City of the Lost, is now available. 

This is the second  workshop for writers that I’ve attended of Kelley’s, and I recommend anyone flirting with the idea of writing as a career or those currently in the business to register for future workshops.  

Kelley’s informative and entertaining discussion touched on many aspects of traditional publishing:
·         Getting started
·         Writing credentials
·         Editing
·         Research
·         Trunk novels
·         Literary Agents
·         Names of the five big publishing houses
·         How to get published
·         Royalty payments
·         Best seller author rankings
·         Money management
·         Book cover art
·         Television and movie book contract options.
So, if you’re sitting on the fence about exploring the business of being a published author – roll the dice.  It might be a gamble worth taking.
Mystery Novelist, Donna Warner

Thursday, 11 February 2016


Bottom of Form
Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Describing these tells of character emotions can be a challenge.  Especially, since they occur so often in dialogue tags. My research on this amusing subject is outlined below.

Oh, Those Smiles
A Natural Smile
Produces wrinkles around the eyes.  Insincere people smile only with their mouth.  A false smile may appear stronger on one side of the face than the other.
A Tight-Lipped Smile
The lips are stretched tight across the face to form a straight line, and the teeth are concealed. It suggests that the smiler has a secret or a withheld opinion. 
A Sly Smile
This type of smile shows opposite emotions on each side of the face and often depicts sarcasm.
A Drop-Jaw Smile
This is a practiced smile where the lower jaw is simply dropped down to give the impression that the person is playful.
A Coy Smile
With the head turned down and away while looking up with a Tight-Lipped Smile. Portrays the smiler as playful, secretive, and sometimes, sexy.

Laugh Styles

A Belly Laugh
Someone not embarrassed to show feelings.
A Scaling Laugh
Hits several chords. 
A Wheeze Laugh
The vocal chords compress so instead of a chuckle or loud outburst, the sound emerges as a quiet wheeze. This suppression of mirth could be shown by a character bending down and doubling up to control their outburst.
A Boisterous Laugh
A disruptively loud noise that’s contagious to others. The laugh seems to start with a catch in the back of the throat before emerging as a rip-roaring guffaw. This expression depicts down-to-earth qualities. See #10 below.
A Snort Laugh
A push of air through the nose to express amusement.
A Mirthless Laugh
Appears rehearsed rather than genuine.  May be utilized as an expression of politeness when someone else’s attempt at humour bombs.
A Series of Staccato Laughing Gulps
A partly nervous kind of laughter with mouth pulled down at the edges before the laugh emerges in gulps that mimic the cries of an irate baby.
An Explosive Laugh
This kind of laughter starts out quietly then explodes into a boisterous laugh sometimes to mask one’s embarrassment.

Smiles & Laughter Definitions from an English Dictionary (Kuhn, 1994, as adapted by Berk, 2001)

  1. Smirk: Slight, often fleeting upturning  of the corners of  the mouth, completely voluntary and controllable;
  2. Smile: Silent, voluntary and controllable, more perceptible than a smirk; begins to release endorphins;
  3. Grin: Silent, controllable, but uses more facial muscles (e.g.,  eyes begin to narrow);
  4. Snicker: First emergence of  sound with facial muscles, but still controllable (if  you hold in a snicker, it builds up gas);
  5. Giggle: Has a 50 percent chance of  reversal to avoid a full laugh; sound of giggling is amusing; efforts to suppress it tend to increase its strength;
  6. Chuckle: Involves chest muscles with deeper pitch;
  7. Chortle: originates even deeper in the chest and involves muscles of torso; usually provokes laughter in others;
  8. Laugh: Involves facial and thoracic muscles as well as abdomen and extremities; sound of  barking or  snorting;
  9. Cackle: First involuntary stage; pitch is higher and body begins to rock, spine extends and flexes, with an upturning  of  head;
  10. Guffaw: Full body response; feet stomp, arms wave, thighs slapped, torso rocks, sound is deep and loud; may result in free flowing of  tears, increased heart rate, and breathlessness; strongest solitary laughter experience;
  11. Howl: Volume and pitch rise higher and higher and body becomes more animated;
  12. Shriek: Greater intensity than howl; sense of  helplessness and vulnerability;
  13. Roar: Lose individuality; i.e., the audience roars!
  14. Convulse: Body is completely out of  control in a fit of laughter resembling a seizure; extremities flail aimlessly, balance is lost, gasp for breath, collapse or  fall off chair;
  15. Die laughing: Instant of total helplessness; a brief, physically intense, transcendent experience; having died, we thereafter report a refreshing moment of  breathlessness and exhaustion with colors more vivid and everything sparkling; everything is renewed.