The Sun Sets on Another Year: 2015

Reading posts on this year in review and resolutions for next year, I’ve decided I should at least make some attempt at summarizing 2015. I’m no good at resolutions. The rebel in me causes me to rebuke my own.

I decided to do this by months, as it’s the only way I am apt to recall what has actually gone on this year, it’s been such a whirlwind. Really, it has gone by like a fast moving hurricane, cutting like a circular saw through the center of Florida. We ended 2014 with a wonderful, memorable trip to St. Augustine while it was all decorated for Christmas and had a lovely time.

JANUARY– We were stressed by a “would be” boat scammer who took off with our 36 foot cabin cruiser without paying. That took a couple of months to resolve. In the end we received our money, after many painful hours of dealing with authorities and detectives and banks.

FEBRUARY-The movie “Selma” came out and I missed a really good opportunity to ride the coattails of that one in promoting my book, Red Clay and Roses. Things were too hectic around here to do much in the way of marketing.

MARCH-I finally convinced my doctor to cut my bipolar meds in half after many years of begging him to allow me to give it a try. I dabbled with beginning a book about a couple of characters who started the orphanage I lived in a few years in the seventies. With my creative juices flowing, my finished and fully beta-read crime novel Naked Alliances was shelved and I got started on the next novel in The Naked Eye Series and was making fast progress until April rolled in.

I wacked off my long blonde hair that took way too much time to manage with my lifestyle, and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Yes, it’s short, yes it’s gray. I’m embracing the me I have become in 55 years. No regrets.

APRIL-Nearly crushed me with the loss of my dad. I had so hoped once he sold his business and finally retired he would make a trip down here to visit, but that wasn’t in God’s plan. He was a quick-witted man and one of a kind. He is sorely missed.

MAY-Brought the sudden birth of our third grandchild. I say sudden because I don’t believe my daughter was in labor more than a few hours, and the baby decided not to wait for the mid-wife. Kira was born into her daddy’s hands, while grandmother was trying to get the other two kids into the car for a trip to her house. The midwife did get there in time for daddy to cut the cord. One life ends and another begins.

Before the baby was born, I committed to detoxing my body and quit smoking tobacco, started vaping. I’m doing really good with that and have cut down the nicotine. I also stopped the 6-8 diet cokes I was drinking daily, along with the 6-8 cups of coffee. It’s slowed me down a bit, but I feel 100% better.

JUNE-With the new baby and dealing with all that ensued in the wake of my dad’s death, this month pulled me off the computer while trying to assist my dad’s widow and a half-sister with running his insurance business. They both leaned on me and it was a difficult position to be in trying to advise from 500 miles away. Making matters worse, two estranged sisters who had not had anything much to do with Daddy in thirty years came up with a law suit against his wife and the estate. Needless to say, that was no fun. That discord lasted for months.

I started a new book, The Conduit, in the hope that throwing myself into some creative work might ease some of my mental load. It worked off and on, but about a third of the way through the book, I had to back off on that, also. I re-blogged a lot and tried to stay in touch with my online friends offering what little support I could.

Getting diagnosed with diabetes sent me online for some heavy research and I unveiled so much new research that contradicts what I was taught in nursing school about the disease, it’s complications and management, that it is just now starting to sink in that it may not have ill-fated prognosis it once had. It can be totally reversed, and I’m on a personal mission to do that. This mission resulted in a nutritional consult and major lifestyle changes that pull me off the computer daily, but have my blood sugars within normal range and my Hgb A1C down from 7.5 to 5.6.

JULY-I set out to find a developmental editor for The Conduit about the middle of the year and got connected to a English gentleman in Ireland who took on the challenge of giving Naked Alliances a few passes as that manuscript was finished, I thought. He was quite impressed with the progress me and my beta readers had made, but certainly has helped polish that novel into something I’m really proud of. I had shelved that book, not knowing if I would ever publish it, but encouragement and support from some very dear blogging friends motivated me to go forward. Thank you all…you know who you are.

It’s a far cry from Red Clay in Roses in both style and content, but it’s been a really fun project. I’m still working through the second edits and it will need a final proof. I’ve thought about pitching it at the 2016 Sleuth Fest in Deerfield Beach in February…still uncertain if I want to go that route. It just might add pressure I don’t need at this point. I enjoy writing for fun and would not want to get myself into a position that might jeopardize the joy I find in writing.

I had to have surgery this month and that set me back both with my lifestyle changes and writing as I could not sit at the computer for more than just a few minutes at a time. But all is well.

AUGUST-Things started settling down a bit. I got into Kombucha brewing, and I’m on my ninth or tenth 2 ½ gallon brew now. The lifestyle changes really started making a difference and I began to shed some pounds. Managed a small promo that sold a few books and revived my firstborn a bit. Got heavy into my writing and got two more book outlines accomplished for the Naked Eye Series.

SEPTEMBER-More of the same. More time for writing and editing, but less time for marketing and blogging. Tradeoffs. I’ve missed you.

OCTOBER-Sent Naked Alliances off to an editor.  I was so deep in the zone, I was barely able to manage three re-blogs this month, but I did manage to get by familiar blogs for some awesome reading and a few comments.

NOVEMBER-Back in May, the 13th to be exact, when I smoked my last cigarette, I had connected with a large group of vapers that support each other in every way imaginable through a forum and Google Hang Outs and we’re planning a big shin-dig in Florida for April. I took on the role of treasurer and organizer for that group, so about twenty of us, from all over the U.S. will be meeting up in Bradenton Beach in April. These people literally saved my life. We’ve rented a huge house and have plans to eat good food, talk for hours, get some boating and fishing in. This adventure gave me and the RS the delightful task of a reconnaissance mission over to the area and we had a lovely vacation of sorts with the RS and his brother and girlfriend for a week on Anna Maria Island with the Bay out the front door and the beach out the back. It served well to let us leisurely scope out the area and rejuvenate my soul.

I managed to get one guest post done this year on the dear and amusing Barb Taub’s blog. I’m looking forward to setting up more guest posts and interviews over the next few months, so if you hear anything about anyone on the lookout, let me know. I’ll have more time on the computer as the year turns.

DECEMBER– Well, I managed to lose forty pounds this year. I only have forty-five to go. Hopefully, by this time next year I will have met my goal. I have a photographer friend who is doing a photo shoot in the near future, so you might see my 8 year old profile pics change everywhere in the next few months.

Naked Alliances is almost ready for its final proof. Yay! It’s been nearly two years since that first draft was penned and I am most grateful for the dozen people who gave me feedback as beta readers. It really did turn into a team project with me at the helm. With your help, I narrowed down to two choices for a cover image via 99Designs, and I’m giving one more cover artist a shot at it.

This really grew into a much longer post than I anticipated. I’m truly grateful to be alive and to have so many wonderful people in my life. I am looking forward to healthy and happy NEW YEAR and hope the same for you. As the sun sets on the old year, I leave you with a meditation video I made on Anna Maria Island. The silence between the surf as significant as the sounds of the sea.

‘Legends of Windemere: The Mercenary Prince’ has Arrived! #fantasy

The latest book in the Legends of Windemere series is ready!

Legends of Windemere

Now on Amazon for $2.99!
LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE:
THE MERCENARY PRINCE

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Delvin Cunningham has left the champions.

Lost to his tribe in the Yagervan Plains, fear and shame have kept the former Mercenary Prince away from his homeland. With his confidence crumbling, he has decided to return and bring closure to his past. Reuniting with his old friends, Delvin’s timing could not be worse as a deadly campaign is brewing within Yagervan’s borders. Dawn Fangs are on the march and these powerful vampires are determined to turn the entire region into a graveyard.

To protect his family, friends, and two homelands, Delvin will have to push his doubt away and become the cunning Mercenary Prince once again.

Art by Jason Pedersen Art by Jason Pedersen

Please feel free to put this on your ‘To Read’ list on Goodreads by clicking below:

The Mercenary Prince on Goodreads!

Excerpt from The Mercenary…

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The Release of Full Circle!

A new book by a great author. A crime writer with a karma story.

blindoggbooks

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am pleased to announce the arrival of my eighth novel – Full Circle.

Full Circle front cover

Yes, the book which began some 27 years ago (read about that here) has finally become a reality.

You know what they say…

What goes around – Comes around.

goes around

This book is the proof – by virtue of its arrival and also in its theme.

Full Circle is about Karma – plain and simple.

In the first chapter we meet Joe Moretti Jr. and learn of his selfish, greedy and narcissistic ways…traits learned from his dead father. Joe treats Flagler Beach, Florida (home of all my stories) like his personal Monopoly board, and has no compunction eliminating anybody who gets in his way.

go to jail

After he receives a piece of news that threatens to unravel his empire, Joe goes into survival mode and hatches a plan to…

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Vote for Winning Book Cover: Narrowed Down to Two

“Naked Alliances” is softcore crime NOT hardcore crime. I recently went through the process of narrowing down covers.

When I first sent out the brief requesting cover designers, I gave the Title of the contest:

Florida Regional Crime Fiction With Humorous Undertones

I was immediately slammed with hardcore, gritty covers. Dozens of them. And designers had a hard time wrapping their heads around “crime with subtle humor”. It was the hint of humor they all missed the point on.

After the first elimination round, I finally got designers focused on humor, but most went overboard into what appeared more like cartoonish children’s books. It is strictly an adult themed book, with violence and nudity. The subtle humor, even some of the silliness, is aimed at adults.

Background:

Before you choose a cover between the first poll winner and the runner up, I will tell a little about the story so you have some context. One of the protagonists is an exotic dancer who used to be an E.O.D. Specialist in the Army (explosive ordinance disposal). The story involves the other protagonist, the private investigator becoming foster dad to a young girl on the run, recruiting the exotic dancer as babysitter and hiding them in a nudist resort.

Now that you have a little background, pick a cover that you feel best offers hints at subtle humor and will catch your eye in a thumbnail on Amazon or draw you to read the blurb.

I need your vote! Make sure to star both covers, so your vote counts as like and disliked.

These are the winner and the runner up of the fist poll.

Thank you all for your participation!

Please vote again, even if you already voted in the larger poll.

Here’s the LInk!  https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/vote-bmffnd

Something Really Cool!

Wild giveaway for crime lovers.

Entertaining Stories

My dear friend Sue Coletta put together a Rafflecopter event that you can take part in. She organized 30 of her favorite authors in one huge giveaway.

These are mostly crime authors, and if you know Sue that makes sense. She saw fit to include a couple of paranormal tales, one of which is my own Will O’ the Wisp.

Logic dictates: 30 of her favorite authors, I am one of those authors = I have a fan. (No takebacks)

There are some pretty heavy hitters on this promotion, and I’m honored to stand among them.

Some of you will be inclined to go right to the entry, and so here is the link: Rafflecopter

Others will want to see what’s up for grabs. I’m going to let Sue tell you about it herself. Take it away, Sue.

 ***

In keeping with the holiday spirit I have the best surprise…

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Christmas…Ike Style

Great, short Christmas story from Tim Baker with his iconic character Ike. Not the typical feel good story you might expect. What do you want from a crime writer?

blindoggbooks

‘Tis the season…right?

I guess that depends on who you ask.

As you know – Ike is not the sappy, emotional type, so how do you think he handles the onslaught of forced sentimentality every December?

It probably won’t surprise you…but let’s find out.

Don’t Call Me Carol

“So, tell me, why don’t you like Christmas?” Tiki asked as he handed Ike a bottle of Budweiser.

“No offense, Tiki,” Ike said, “but you’re a bartender at The Golden Lion…not a shrink.”

Tiki held his hands up, palms out. “Sorry. Just making conversation.”

“I don’t come here to chat.”

Tiki decided to try his conversational skills on the bikini-clad blonde at the end of the bar. Ike turned his attention to his beer.

He closed his eyes and saw Dodger. The ten-year-old memory hadn’t faded at all.

Dodger sat against the cave wall and dug into his MRE. Ike stood at…

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Cover Design Poll Thoughts

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I can’t recall if I mentioned on this blog that I am working with a company called 99 Designs to create the book cover for this Florida crime fiction comedy caper series, The Naked Eye Series. The first book in the series, Naked Alliances, isn’t as much a caper as it is an adventure, but it does have situational comedy, sparring, and some really funny scenes like you see in true capers. It’s a finite niche genre for certain.

For 99 Designs, you start a contest, designers submit cover images and you ask for changes or eliminate those that don’t work. Working with designers until you have a final concept.

Crime and humor is a challenging blend, but a lot of fun to write.

Good comedy caper series develop over time as the ancillary characters become more central to the stories. I’ve seen it happen with characters like Serge and Coleman, Skink, Ike, and Bert the Shirt. Memorable characters in the series that weren’t in the foreground of initial books, but became iconic characters for the author. Sometimes accidentally.

The best authors never put their characters images on their covers, but leave it to readers to develop a mental image of them.

Tough and serious crimes are portrayed by humorous images, often from something pulled out of the story. It could be something as simple as a sign, a bleeding orange, or a car tag…but it has to scream Florida.

With 99 Designs, I asked for a cover for Florida Crime fiction with humorous undertones. I was swamped with hard core crime covers…and many just couldn’t let go of the gritty, hard core photographic images…no matter how much I pleaded for more comedic and less photographic images. I gave tons of suggestions. And finally, picked the six most hopeful designers to go into the final round with a submission, again, asking them to punch up the humor, giving them links to author pages in the genre niche, and told them the books would be competing for clicks with these authors. It had to be colorful, and eye-catching. I’m sure blending crime and humor was as challenging for them as designers as for me as a writer.

My husband–and this is his favorite genre–helped me pick the designs that might work, and we eliminated those that definitely would not work.

I have two weeks to choose a designer. My husband has picked his favorite. I love his pick, and I like the unique ideas the designer is contemplating for the series.

Do we go with his design, or poll to see what potential buyers might like?

I don’t want to poll just those who have read the story. I want to see what people may click on who are browsing for Florida crime caper. Or see what catches the eye of people scrolling on a page for reads. Or might draw the eyes of someone when it pops up in the “customers also bought” row.

Would you go with your gut (or you husband’s gut) and just select the one that most works for you, or would you poll?

I think if one cover took a landslide win from the cover we like, we might have to consider it.

I’d also like to award a runner up.

To poll, or not to poll, that is the question.

I’ve also had so much participation from you guys, I would hate to cut you out of the cover selection process. That’s half the fun of writing a book…picking out a cover. I want you included on the fun.