Link of the Week – Dead Man’s Kiss RONE Finalist

May 24, 2016

Dead Man's KissThis week’s Link of the Week I’m asking for a favor. If you feel so inclined, I would love to have your vote in the 2016 InD’tale RONE awards. DEAD MAN’S KISS was reviewed by InD’tale last fall and given 4.5 stars (whoop!). Because of the high rating, the book was entered in the RONE contest. It would be great to have your support. You do have to register to vote. But it’s super easy to do and you won’t get spammed.

I am in the Historical Post Medieval category. It is a large category and competition is tough, but you can vote for two of your favorite books. VOTING ENDS SUNDAY!

Thanks in advance should you decide to vote. *sloppy smooches*

Musetracks Recommends… Two Books to Help Increase Writing Productivity

August 12, 2013

On my Kindle: WRITE EVERY DAY: How to Write Faster, and Write More and 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron

Musetracks recommends… how-to books for the keepers shelf!

You probably don’t know this but I am a book-on-writing addict. I have at least a hundred of them, read all of them and keep reading more. Last week, I was glad to stumble on two very good short Kindle books that gave me great tips to help me write faster.

The first one 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron is a pretty short book and what I believe a follow-up on a blog post that you can also read here.

Ms. Aaron tells us that you need three things to really boost your productivity, one being excitement about everything you write. It sounds obvious and while I thought I was excited about all my scenes, it turns out that I didn’t always know why I cared about writing some parts of the story. I decided to give her advice a try and wrote a one line “FF (Fun Factor – my words)” at the top of each of my scene (like: FF: it shows the hero is really really super sexy”) to remind myself of what I truly enjoyed in that scene.

It works. As I first read that before starting my edits, I get really exited about the scene and can’t wait to show my reader how fun this part is. I stall a lot less with dread and fear in front of my page.

Speaking of fear, the second book, which goes much more in depth about why we sometimes avoid writing, is by multi-published author Cathy Yardley, and titled WRITE EVERY DAY: How to Write Faster, and Write More.

Ms. Yardley knows what it’s like to be busy with a kid, a day job and trying to write on top of it all. She tackles all our “problems” in layers. Solve the issue of time first, then go to the next issue of energy. Then figure out your fears before tackling your process. I truly got a lot out of this and experienced little light bulb moments from reading various passages such as….

“… if you have to wait until you’re making enough money or getting enough recognition to justify the time to write… you’re never going to have the time to write.”

I discovered why some of my fears were actually trying to protect me, such as how the fear of my family’s criticism is actually a protecting me from having the writing taken away from me. I was glad to have discovered this book through the Amazon Kindle recommendations, especially to see that Ms Yardley has also a great blog of smart writing advice called Rock Your Writing which you can find here is you are interested. I promptly added it to my blog feed reader.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Disclaimer: I do not know those two authors personally, found both books via Amazon Kindle Recommendations and purchased the books myself.


This is why I do what I do.

April 18, 2013

No writer has ever said it enough, or will ever say it enough!

Thank you to the multitude of peeps out there who take the time to review our work.


It still amazes me, and I hope it always will, when I get a review. If it ever gets old, I truly think that’s when I’ll stop writing. Good or bad, I’m up for the challenge. Every single person has different opinions, and I’m willing to hear them all.

Does a negative review hurt? SURE!


No more than an honest critique though. And I have some awesome crit partners who aren’t afraid of telling me when I’m not doing my job!


But good or bad, there is something incredibly inspiring, energizing and rewarding by being in a position to receive critiques. As writers, we work our butts off to create something we hope everyone will love. Having it out in the world is both intimidating and gratifying at once. Having someone weigh in…priceless.

A good review though, can make any hard stuff go away.

So thanks!

Thanks for good reviews, bad reviews, and everything in between. Thanks for being a reader. Without you, where would we (as writers) be?

This is my youngest… Had to share. Reading is what every single person should be doing!


Happy reading or writing! And I’ll see you all on Saturday for Editor Shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Um… Can I get a minute to write…??? PLEASE?

April 6, 2013

Oh. My. God.

Someone come and shovel me out of the month-long avalanche I had hit me in March! PLEASE!


This was my life for March. Seriously! I was hit with work issues at the EDJ, Scout issues, a final edit for STAY, a pre-print edit for PRIMITIVE NIGHTS, and a fast round of edits for a new novel due before I was ready… 🙂

BUT I made it out safely. And with my sanity, I think…


Thank goodness Jenn posted something about Goodreads being bought by Amazon or I would, literally, still be in the dark. Thanks Jenn!

So, now that I got that out of the way, here’s my dish for the week!

  • One – Got a super awesome review for Primitive Nights at Amazon. 🙂

  • Two – Did you see who’s coming to Agent/Editor Shop this month?

Debbie Gilbert with Soul Mate Publishing!!!!

Make sure you check out what they’re looking for and get that pitch ready. Pitch day is April 20th!

  • Three – I learned this month, that you can do what you set out to do. You may have to set aside other things, shift schedules, work in a timeline you weren’t expecting… But it CAN be done!
  • Four – I hit 20K on my new novel this month amidst all the craziness. Who knew?


Happy writing and reading, and life!



Link of the Week – InD’Tale

March 19, 2013

Getty rf penThis week’s awesome link is to InD’Tale Magazine. The online magazine is dedicated to self-published and small press authors. Within the pages and all throughout the website, there are honest book reviews, educational articles and columns, contests, polls, interviews, and industry information.  It’s a great place for both writers and readers.

While you are there, check out the nice review I received earlier this year for A KISS IN THE WIND.

Let the dialog speak.

December 12, 2011

I LOVE dialog. No really, really, love it.

I think most readers feel the same. It says so much, so easily, about who your character is, what they believe, what they feel and what their faults are. Dialog is moving and touching and scary and brilliant. Let it speak for your characters, after all, it IS their voice you’re going for right?

This is one of my all time favs. If you haven’t seen Tombstone, I suggest you do so. (Warning – It’s addictive.)

Wyatt Earp is fighting, none too successfully, an attraction to a woman who lives outside what was considered decent for women of that time.

Josephine: I’m a woman, I like men. If that means I’m not “lady-like”, then I guess I’m just not a lady! At least I’m honest.
Wyatt Earp: You’re different. No arguin’ that. But you’re a lady alright. I’d take my oath on it. 

TWO lines. That’s it. TWO lines and I know so much about these people it’s almost ridiculous.

Here’s another, and I hope Stephanie Perkins doesn’t mind me using her novel Anna and the French Kiss as an example. It’s a brilliant read with one of the best character voices I’ve heard in a long time.

St. Clair: “Definitely not.” He laughs. “Second lesson, the words on the chalkboard. Listen carefully and repeat after me. Granola.” I narrow my eyes as he widens his in mock innocence. “Means ‘granola’, you see. And this one? Yaourt?”

Anna: “Gee, I dunno. Yogurt?”

See! So much can be gleaned about a character from simple sentences of dialog. I  know they both have a sarcastic, witty personality. I know she’s somewhat outspoken and that he’s a flirt. This one gets SO much better. It’s a must read, btw. I read it in an evening.

Okay, I won’t beat this one to death, but it’s pretty important. I know we’ve all seen it. What could have been said with dialog, instead is written out for us. Can you see it? He’s being sarcastic, of course, so I search for a witty response. As if I can’t figure out the simple translation…

We tend to over-explain, whether by author intrusion or internal thoughts. When in doubt, let your characters speak it out. It’ll keep the pace humming and let your readers get to know so much about them and connect on a personal level.

🙂 Candi

Putting yourself out there by Candi Wall

September 26, 2011



OH! Super cool update! Laura Bradford confirmed she’ll be here for our November Agent Shop since

gremlins messed with our last run of e-mails and this Agent Shop was cancelled. She’s a stellar lady peeps!

“This is wonderful. I could feel everything your character was experiencing!”

“You’ve got a strong voice and the writing was sublime…”

Oh, yeah. You all know what I’m talking about. The big grin, the heart thumping that goes along with opening your e-mail, contest scores, comment section, twitter, or whatever venue you use to put your writing out there, and reading something like that!

It’s like CRACK!

More, more! Gimme more!

‘Course, the negative comments can be just as intense .

“You really should pick an author you like and try to emulate them.”

“Your characters felt cardboard to me, and your villain was nothing more than a clichĂ© device to throw in some failed tension.”

Kill me now!


Okay, so it’s not that bad. As with everything, we have to take any and all comments with a grain or bucket of salt.

As writers, we’re going to come across every personality, like, dislike, good day, bad day, that our readers have. We’re going to be held high by a reader that just adored everything we put into words, and we’re going to be knocked so low, getting back up will be a Herculean task.

Color me a glutton…

But I’ll probably keep putting my work out there, through contests, groups, sharing sites and of course my Beta readers and Crit partners.

Wanna know why?

Simple. Feedback, friendship and the chance at winning!

And believe it or not, that’s the order of importance I take when I enter any contest. Feedback is gold.

As most of us do, I started this journey alone. Through contests, writing groups, and networking, I’ve found the most amazing people and am lucky to have them. I don’t believe for a moment that without them, I would be as far as I am today. And that in itself is enough reason for me to feel justified in encouraging any writer, at any stage of their craft, to get out there, take a chance, let others see what you write and learn what you can from what you get for feedback.

Soak it up like a sponge, retain what you need, and let the rest evaporate.

I took my first tentative steps into networking waters by joining Charlotte Dillon’s Romance Writers Community. Best choice I ever made. That’s where I met Jenn, Marie-Claude and John. I took a chance, they took a chance, and we found a solid foundation of friends to share our journey with. That friendship and professional connection remains today!

Marie-Claude stepped WAY out of her comfort zone and entered Dorchester’s American Title V contest and WON! But if you ask her, she met and remains friends with numerous other writers to this day, and that’s something even winning can’t compare with.

My first public contest was Dorchester’s Next Best Celler contest. It was hell. Pure and simple. Vote tarting sucks, that’s all there is to it. There was some back biting, some down voting, oh – it was tough, but again, out of the great, not-so-great, and sometimes questionable comments, I gained a group of ladies as my friends, all of whom will give it to me straight when I’m doing well, or writing crap.

‘Kinda makes you feel all mushy inside, don’t it?

Yeah, me too.

So I’m on to my next contest.

The Mills & Boon New Voices contest

I’ve met one stellar writer already, and I know she’ll be a friend way past this contest. I’ve read some great entries, left what I hope are seen as constructive comments and gained some as well. I’ve been down voted too, and it’s still early in the competition. but I’m looking forward to it just the same, because regardless of the outcome, I’m coming out of it a winner. Either with feedback, friends or (fingers crossed) a win.

New Voices is open to any writer who hasn’t been published. the deadline is Oct. 10th, so swing in and enter!

So, have any contest experiences you can share, good or bad? I’d love to hear about them.


Unicorns, Profanity, and Sexist Pirates – The Bright Side of a Bad Review

September 21, 2011

Song of the Day: Cold by Crossfade

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It was only a matter of time.

Last week, I found that I had been pirated. I’m wondering if this means I’ve made the big time now that bootlegs of Blood And Treasure are  available? So, I Googled my name. That’s when I saw it.

My first unfavorable review. ACK!

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I’d have to face the inevitable. I’m not so disillusioned to think someone wouldn’t come along and burst my shiny bubble floating around my castle in the sky and scare off my herd of magical unicorns. Even the greats like King, Roberts, and Patterson get dissed. The nerve. Fact is, as this novel made its round in the contest circuit, judges either loved it or hated it. Rarely was there an in-between. It goes without saying the same would likely hold true with reviewers.

The voices in my head warned me not to click the link. But did I listen? Hell no. I had to know how Blood And Treasure fared, especially since this was a pretty well-known review site and I hadn’t sought out their service in the first place. (The review site will remain anonymous to protect the innocent.)

So what did the critic say?

The reviewer chose not to finish reading the book. Ouch! Someone call a medic. I’ve just been hit.

Okay, okay. So, it just wasn’t her cup of rum. Got it.

She went on to say that sexist comments caused her jaw to drop and left her

Stacey & I wondering WTF. You didn't know we look like celebrities, did you?

thinking WTF. I was having my own WTF moment reading this. Then she pulled an excerpt from the book to prove her point. It’s an internal thought by the pirate hero, Captain Zane Fox.

“Possessive, helpless, maniacal, devious, selfish, any one of these words could describe a woman. They could be tender in your embrace or calculating in your bed. And never to be trusted. […] And yet, Lianna was different.”

It dawned on me, albeit slowly, that she just did something for me. She quoted my book. Cool! Still, I was bummed. Maybe I’d take up drinking heavily. Oh wait…

Moving on. Upon closer inspection of her review, I realized it wasn’t so bad. She didn’t say the story sucked wind or that a second-grader has better grammar. In fact, it seemed she had nothing else to say about the book at all. Just that I’m sexist.

Jack Sparrow - Is he politically incorrect? Do you care if he is?

I do take exception to the name calling. Or rather, Captain Fox does. I did mention he is a pirate, right? A pirate! WTF? Whoever heard of a politically correct pirate? Aside from that, let’s not forget the time period. Newsflash. Unjust as it was, women were historically viewed as either manipulative creatures looking to trap a man in her snare, a vessel to brood children, or tarts to shag. Gasp! Did I just say that? Perceptions of women didn’t fully change until recent decades. (Here, give me a hand down from this soap box, will ya.)

All in all, I don’t think my first bad review was all that bad. She is certainly entitled to her opinion, and I completely respect her appraisal. I raise another cup of rum to her and thank her for the exposure.

Do you have a bad review you’d like to share? How about a WTF contest comment? I’d love to hear from you.