Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween!

In celebration of tomorrow’s holiday, I’m spotlighting one of my books, which features a Halloween party given by a costume designer and prop department. Have you read it yet?

The last thing Valerie needs after escaping an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and rebuilding her life, is a broody, secretive, standoffish man. But that’s exactly what she gets when she becomes a makeup artist on the set of a hit sitcom and draws the attention of the series’ star. 

John Samuels hides a terrible past—a life of abuse and neglect. A successful acting career and the affection and support of cast, crew and friends, does nothing to convince him that he is anything other than an unlovable monster.

Will he learn that the life he’s been living has been built on a lie or will he be doomed to repeat the sins of his father?

Here’s an excerpt: As they pulled up in front of Michelle’s apartment, Valerie gasped. The prop department had transformed the entire exterior of her building from a 1960’s era apartment complex to a gothic haunted house. Broken tombstones littered the front yard, webs draped themselves across windows and ghostly faces peered out of windows. Mannequins dressed like Victorian skeletons rested under trees and against the entranceway.
John and Valerie entered the apartment as strains of ghoulish music played in the background. Although she’d been inside this apartment many times, tonight she didn’t recognize the place. The prop people had converted Michelle’s living room into an old library, her dining room into a ballroom and the kitchen into an old laboratory. On the floor of the library lay a fake blood-soaked carpet with the outline of a body. The walls resembled old oak paneling and antique-looking books sat stacked on small tables. Wall sconces provided dim lighting and created creepy shadows. Pleather-covered chairs provided ample seating for those monsters and goblins who wished to chat.
Moving into the ballroom, cobwebbed-covered chandeliers hung in corners and a long buffet table filled with food sat against one wall. As they walked over to it, Valerie laughed at the food — spider sandwiches (crackers and caviar), eyeballs (peeled grapes), witches brew (soup) nestled side by side with more traditional fare. In the laboratory, Michelle had set up the bar, along with axes, butcher knives, smoking test tubes and green goo. Sweaty monsters, whimsical animals and brightly colored devils danced, laughed and mingled through the rooms. 
Valerie weaved back and forth among the guests in the ballroom on her way to greet Michelle, while John headed to the bar in the laboratory. The music thrummed through her veins. Her heart beat in time with the bass drum, her breath flowed to the underlying harmony. A Frankenstein staggered into her, leered at her cleavage and rubbed against her in an erotic dance. His arms tightened around her waist and his whisky breath suffocated her as it puffed against her face. She pulled away from him as he laughed, shoved a Bloody Mary into her hand and careened off toward the other end of the room. Valerie looked at the red liquid and her stomach convulsed. She shuddered as the glass slipped through her fingers. It thumped onto the rug, the tomato juice a bright red stain on the beige carpet. The whiskey smell still moored in her nostrils, the icy chill of the glass still impressed in her fingertips, she swayed, no longer in time to the music.
A familiar curly wig caught her eye and she watched as John moved between the masses. He placed a hand against her back and tipped his head down to her.
“Are you alright?”
Valerie massaged her stomach to relieve her clenched muscles as she let him lead her out of the dancing crowd to the side of the room. With a deep breath, she nodded. John led her into the middle of the room to dance. His large form buffered her from the guests. As the B-52s began to play, Valerie relaxed and let herself get caught up in the music.

Monday, October 23, 2017


The problem with writing a weekly blog is I have to write it weekly. That’s how I maintain and hopefully build my followers. But what happens when I have nothing to say?

Now, if you know me, you know I ALWAYS have something to say. Whether or not I say it is another story. As a writer, I spend a lot of time staring at a blank page. Eventually I find something to say and I fill the page with words. But readers don’t see those words until I’ve rewritten and edited the heck out of them, not to mention run them past critique partners and editors. I can’t do that with my blog.

For the past couple of weeks, my blogs have been political. There’s a time and a place for that and I try not to get political too often. I could probably get political every day, but my blog is supposed to provide entertainment and an escape from the world’s craziness.

I was going to write today’s blog post about what I’m doing as a writer, except I’m deep in edits for my upcoming book and really, I can’t imagine anyone being interested in those (if you are, I apparently use too many pronouns and I’m trying to figure out how to fix that—there, now you’re up to date).

No one in my family is doing anything particularly funny—College Girl is fine and has finally discovered the perks of having an English major for a mother; Banana Girl wore minions-riding-unicorns-pajamas for Spirit Week’s Pajama Day today (I’m pretty sure she won Spirit Week for that); and the husband is no longer singing in the morning.

So consider today a placeholder. I’ll try to be funnier and more interesting next week. In the meantime, only eight more days until I have to share my chocolate with random strangers knocking at my door.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Me Too

There’s a social media campaign going on right now, where women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted post “Me too.” My feed is filled with them—the number of times they pop up makes me nauseated, because it shouldn’t happen. Ever.

Each time I see someone else post, I think about whether or not I should. I suspect there are just as many of us not posting, even though we could. Just because we don’t post “Me too” doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to us. We have lots of reasons for not posting, including not wanting to post just because everyone else is.

I get the point—to show how prevalent the issue is. Point made. Except, my Facebook feed doesn’t represent a slice of general society, enabling me to teach something new to someone who needs it. It represents a very filtered slice of my own friends. Just think about how many people you’ve muted, unfollowed or unfriended because of their politics or opinions or posts. We’ve whitewashed our newsfeed to mostly show people who think and feel like us. And we are the ones who are aware of how frequent sexual harassment and assault occurs. So I’d kind of be preaching to the choir.

This is a serious topic, and it’s taken on a bit of a "game" status. Sexual harassment or assault isn’t a game. It’s serious. While it needs to be brought out into the open, it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t lessen what’s been done. It needs to create a dialogue about why this is so prevalent and what can be done to stop it.

I don’t think this campaign does that, at least not yet. My first thought when I see these posts is, “I wonder what happened.” And frankly, what happened to someone else isn’t my business. Just like mine isn’t yours, unless I choose to tell you.

Sometimes I do choose to share, whether it’s in person or with a black-humored Facebook post or blog post that is meant as much to serve as a warning to people as it is to allow me to vent and feel better. But how I choose to share is personal, and shouldn’t be lumped in with how others choose to share their stories.

And that leads to another thing. The “Me Too” campaign combines harassment and assault. Harassment is a wide scale with many shades of grey. Assault is not. While I take seriously what I’ve experienced, in no way would I want to even suggest that my experience compares in any way to someone who has been assaulted or who has experienced something worse than I have. Does combining those two things lessen or trivialize the experience of someone who has been assaulted? I don’t know, but I’m loathe to post anything that might cause someone extra pain.

So to those of you who are posting, you have my deepest sympathy for what you’ve experienced, and my unending support. This topic needs to be addressed, and I truly hope that the “Me Too” campaign helps to do that. But to those of you—us—who don’t post, know that I see you too.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Have You Harassed A Romance Writer Lately?

There are a number of reasons I don’t talk about my books in every-day life. The biggest reason is I’m shy and hate talking about myself. But there are other reasons, including never being sure what kinds of reactions I’m going to get from people, even from friends. So I tend to keep quiet. However, there comes a point where I have to get over it, and I make an effort to talk about what I do, especially with people who show genuine interest.

And then there’s the marketing side. Most authors hate this part of it, but our books won’t market themselves, but we get out there anyway and try to get people to buy our books.

That’s what I did this weekend at a book fair near Philadelphia. It was a gorgeous day. The entire main street of town was closed to cars and more than 300 authors had tents set up with their books.

I was one of the few romance authors. I don’t know if it was because there weren’t very many others. Maybe it was my location. Or maybe it was my “lucky day.” But men came up to my tent and harassed me three different times during the day. One who tried to make a connection between my books and sex addiction groups, one who thought I should give away condoms and one who tried to pick me up. And another guy harassed the girl he was with for liking to read romance.

Now, I’m shy but friendly. I’ll smile at anyone who comes over to my tent, even if I don’t think you’re my target audience. And I’ll talk to anyone, including the people who come up to me and say they don’t read books—yes, that happens more times than I can count and makes me wonder each time why the heck they’re at a book festival, but I digress. One of the men, and I use that term loosely, tried to begin a conversation with my by asking me why I was smiling. Did he think I’d sell more books by frowning? Maybe he didn’t like my smile? Maybe that was his pickup line—he was the one who was trying to pick me up.

I follow a lot of authors on Facebook and I’m part of different writer loops and the one thing we all have in common, even highly successful romance writers whose names are known by everyone, is how we get harassed by people for what we write. Teasing is fine. I have a decent sense of humor, I can see why people might find certain aspects funny and I’m happy to join in. But there’s a line, and for some reason, men seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to ignore that line when it comes to romance authors (I don’t mean to pick on men—although in this case it was the men who were harassing me. Women do it too, but they are much snootier about it, attacking romance as not real literature, even though it is the highest selling genre—look it up.). And when crossing the line creates situations where I or other authors feel physically uncomfortable and unsafe, there is a problem.

So here’s what I want you to do. I don’t want your sympathy. I want you to actually do something. The next time you hear a man make a lewd comment, say something. Let him know it’s not okay and tell him it makes him look like an ass. The next time you see someone reading a romance, don’t judge her for “reading smut.” They’re reading. They’re escaping from reality—take a look around you, we all need an escape. You all congratulate each other for watching the latest reality TV show, so why are you judging someone who reads about two people falling in love? The next time you’re tempted to ask that question of a romance author—you know the question I mean—swallow it. Ask about their writing process or how long they’ve been writing or what made them want to write romance in the first place.

In other words, treat them like a human being. Show them the respect you’d like to receive. Or say nothing at all.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Welcome Kim McDermott

Please welcome fellow The Wild Rose Press writer Kim McDermott, who writes as Katherine McDermott.

How Can You Write about Places You’ve Never Visited?

Take a cyber vacation. While I had been to Paris before I wrote Hiding, I had never been to Monte Carlos or Breil sur Roya. How could I make these locations authentic in my book? The answer is research, fun research. I used travel brochures, tour websites, lots of photographs to read, visualize and learn about the places that my characters would be traveling.
In the process, I got to “visit” exotic places. I learned, for example, that Jacques Cousteau’s Marine Museum and Center are in Monte Carlos. I learned how Grace Kelly was killed on the winding treacherous road to the city. I learned that one of the popular gambling casinos was built to resemble the Paris Opera House. It was a mini-vacation for me and for my readers when it was worked into the book. In conclusion, authors, take your mini-vacation via cyber space and recreate it for your fans.


Teresa Worthington escape her abusive boyfriend, Alex, and flees to Paris to pursue a dream career in art. Alone and wary
of men, she gradually makes friends and explores her new home. She is distraught to learn that Alex is still stalking her but is 
determined to create the life she has always wanted.

Handsome, compassionate, and brave, Serge Gervais, a young Frenchman, slowly wins her trust. He shows her the sights of France and promises 
to protect her from Alex. Teresa finds herself falling in love for the first time until the unspeakable happens. Alex tracks her down and forces her into the catacombs beneath the city. Will Serge find her in time to prevent Alex's vengeance?Bio


Alex illuminated the crypt with his light, and Teresa tried to interpret what she saw: uneven walls, a doorway surrounded by orbs, a floor
littered with dried reeds. No, they weren't reeds; they were bones. And the orbs were skulls? The catacombs! Her heart pounded in her chest like a jack hammer. Alex had withdrawn his knife. The blade glittered in the dim light of the torch which cast luminous shadows on the walls. What better place to
kill someone? What was another set of bones among the many? Lord, as you helped the Christians long ago who secretly met in catacombs, help me.

Buy link for Hiding (suspense romance)


Kim McDermott was born and raised in Charleston, SC where she graduated
valedictorian of Middleton High School and cum laudi from the College of Charleston with a B.A. in English.  She received a Masters Degree in Counseling from the Citadel
and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in S.C. She has nine years of experience in
guidance.  She is also a Nationally Certified High School English and Language Arts
teacher who worked for Charleston Country School District for 28 years as both an
English teacher and a guidance counselor.  She is retired and currently teaches part-time
as an Adjunct English Professor at Trident Technical College.
She has free lanced for numerous regional and national publications including:
The State, Charleston Magazine, Standard, Blue Ridge Country, Reader’s Digest, Christian Single, Home Life, Straight, Evangel, Smokey Mountain Magazine, and others. 
She won the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s award in l987.  Her first book, All Work, All
Play published by Marco. She has two children’s books, a chapter book aimed at
elementary age children entitled The Underwear Tree and a picture book, Les Petits
Gardes. With Margie Clary, she co-authored South Carolina Lighthouses
published by Arcadia Publishing. 
She has published two romance novels with The Wild Rose Press: Hiding, a suspense thriller that won the Daphne Du Maurier Kiss of Death Contest from NRA and Abbey’s Tale, historical romance set in New England.