Wednesday, July 01, 2015

July President's Message

Greetings OCC!

What a fantastic meeting we had last month. Our guest speaker was Jess Michaels and for the morning session she spoke on “The Great Agent Search” and in the afternoon she spoke on “Finding and Rediscovering the Joy of Writing.” It was such a great meeting. It was also exciting to give out over 20 flowers for contracts and pins! This month we will have Dee J Adams in the Morning session with “Itching to Pitch.” The afternoon session will consist of chapter networking.

This year’s October Birthday Bash! The theme will be Once Upon a Time. We’re hoping everyone will join us in costume with his or her favorite fairytale character. More information will be shared later.

OCC needs volunteers! We can’t function without you, so please…please volunteer. It is rewarding, believe you me. The job as president and programs is a volunteer position and I have loved every bit of it. There are plenty more positions that need to be filled and can be made into committees so that one person isn’t doing it alone.

Mary Kozlowski has decided to step down as coordinator of the online classes. Please if you’d like to takeover get in touch with Mary and let her know.

Decorating Committee (Programs), Ways and Means (Programs), Welcoming Committee (Secretary and Membership), and online class moderators contact Mary Kozlowski @

Bash info:

If you’d like to help Marie Loggia-Kee (Louisa Bacio) with the pajama parties please contact her. Also Tari Porter Jewett is head of the decorating for the Bash if you can help her with decorating I’m sure she’d love it.

We’re also looking for fresh new articles on craft and the business of writing for the blog and the newsletter. In addition, we’d like to celebrate special days with you such as your birthday or anniversaries. If you’d care to submit those items please send them to Annette Macias. You can contact Annette Macias ( ) for articles for the newsletter and Marianne Donley ( ). If interested please get hold of anyone on the board and we will steer you in the right direction.

Once again, my fellow authors thank you for all that you do and your commitment to OCC RWA where our motto is: “One hand reaching forward, one hand reaching back, in a continuing chain.”


Nichelle Scott-Williams

Aka Nikki Prince

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In My Day...

I was looking for a pair of normal jeans and not having much luck.  So I went into the giant Levi shop (All Levis All The Time) filled with hope!  Surely Levi would be able to deliver a pair of regular jeans.

Think again.

Fabric dark, cheap feeling, and like ever other jean product available on the market "stylishly" torn, big holes at knees or strange white blobs of wear on the legs in places that would never, naturally, get worn.

Or multiple peculiar holes all over, as if they'd been left hanging in some automatic weapons firing range and had been peppered good. Or both...

I look at the young clerk and confessed: "You know, I just feel it is my job to wear out my own jeans.  It doesn't seem right to have it contracted out to some machine or child laborer."

He nodded sympathetically. (The customer is always right).

Yes, in my day we had active lives.  We did stuff.  We wore holes in our jeans without any outside help. Yep, not even from our disinterested non-helicopter parents.

Our jeans were authentic.  Artisanal.  Indeed the work was just about as local as you could get.

When you look at the language being used now to market and enhance our present possessions, foods and lifestyle, beneath the words, you can hear this wild, inchoate cry against the virtualness of much of our present existence: instant, effortless, convenient.  But somehow insubstantial, unsatisfying.


Isabel Swift

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cinderella at the Ball: My Kindle Scout Experience Part 2 by Jina Bacarr

Hi, everyone,

I’m finally settling in to my Cinderella experience with my Kindle Scout book selection, LOVE ME FOREVER, though the fairy dust makes me sneeze and my feet hurt from the glass slippers.

I wouldn't change it for the world, but I admit I wear my fuzzy, worn-out pink slippers when no one's looking.

So here we are and I wanted to give you an update on my Kindle Scout experience since Love Me Forever was selected at the end of April. If you missed last month’s post CLICK HERE. 

1.  I took the full 30 days allotted after my campaign was over on April 27th (my book was selected 2 days later) to go over my book before handing it in for copy edits. I found minor errors—punctuation, missing words, etc. I had to re-do some paragraphs, fix transposed sentences, develop a few things, and worked on my timeline and events from 1862-63 for 100% accuracy.

The m/s is 142,000 words, so you can see why it took me a month.

2. Soon after I received a phone call from the KS editorial staff. The editor said my m/s was “very clean and the team loves LOVE ME FOREVER, it’s solidly written, filled with intrigue, both romantic and non-romantic, and we love the story of two heroes and two heroines interconnected.”

3. She also said they have a Civil War buff on staff who couldn’t believe the layering and historical information being so spot on. He loves my book. Needless to say, I’m thrilled.

4. I get my book back from the copy editor around June 29th with any suggestions the staff has (style changes, anything I missed, etc.). I then have one week to accept the changes (using Track Changes)
5. My book goes on pre-order on Monday, July 13, 2015. Everyone who nominated my book should get a link at that time where you can download your free advance copy.  

6 .LOVE ME FOREVER goes live on: July 28, 2015. Tuesday. 

Unbelievable how quickly things move. Three months after the campaign ended, LOVE ME FOREVER will be on sale! 

7. I received the $1,500 advance—digitally wired to my bank account. It takes a while to fill out the payee forms since you have to do one for each country, but otherwise, it’s a very smooth process. 

8. The Kindle Press editor also indicated my book would be eligible for Amazon promotions a month or so after its release. Wow, now that is cool. I’ll be busting my butt with promo to make my book look good.

What’s next? I’m writing a sequel to LOVE ME FOREVER. To be honest with you, I couldn’t let this family go…I have to know what happens afterward down the line, so why not follow a family through the decades who just happens to time travel? A new heroine…a sexy new hero…and a whole new time travel adventure in a different era.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say: “Time’s the family business.” 

Before I go, I want to say the Kindle Scout program has been an amazing Cinderella experience for me. If you're an author and you're wondering if you should try it, I hope my posts will help you make your decision. The KS team is awesome...the other authors are like old friends. If you're a reader, please nominate the books you'd love to see published. You'll receive a free advance copy if it's selected.

So I'll say au revoir...auf wiedersehen...arrivederci...till next month when I’ll have a new update for you.

And in case you’re wondering about the graphic in today’s post, the hunky guy and the luxury castle aren’t part of the deal, but hey, that’s the stuff dreams are made of…


She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

LOVE ME FOREVER is a Kindle Scout selection and will be published soon!! You can read the first 5,000 words HERE. You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.”
This is a book of the heart…any questions? Please ask!!

I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:

And on Vimeo you'll find my videos--all 71 of them covering my books, poems, etc.:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Time to Write

Summer is fast approaching and many writers will have more distractions at home now that their children will be home from school. So now the task of setting writing goals, and finding quiet time to write becomes even more important.

The daily distractions of housework, errands, facebook, twitter, and other social media and more, are  just some of the things vying for your attention. Add cooking, family get-togethers, and summer sunshine, and a writer has to have a will of steel. It's no wonder writers insist on having goals, a routine, and good writing habits. Not everyone thinks a job as a romance writer is a real job. If we don't take it seriously then no one else will. Especially if you're always available for everything and everyone but you're not making time to write.

So how do we do it? I like having a weekly word count goal. It offers daily flexibility but still gives me an average daily goal to reach for. I schedule my writing time in the evenings when dinner is over and everyone is settling down, the house is quiet and the distractions are few. So having weekly and monthly goals is a good way to get started and keep writing. (Even if sending my babies out into the publishing world is frightening enough to give me hives). Everyone has to find the writing time that works best for them.

But what other goals or accomplishments would you like to achieve? In a month, a year? Make a list  and post them where you can see them daily. Making small goals to get started and increasing them as you reach each goal will keep you from stressing and you'll feel pride every time you hit a goal.

What else can you do to keep writing? Do you need moral support? You're not alone. Join a group of writer friends online and encourage each other by doing sprints, posting your word count, asking for help, or just supporting each other. There's a world of writer's out in virtual space and they're anxious to meet you.

Writing Tips:
  • Writer's learn by doing. So do it, WRITE! The more you write, the better your writing gets.
  • Never assume your writing is the best it can be. Take classes, read books, attend workshops, ask for critiques. Everything helps make you a better story teller.
  • Have faith, write what you love, and it will come through in your stories.
  • Surround yourself with like minded people. They understand what your life is like and will support you.  
  • And last but not least, write from the heart. The stories in your head can only be written by you.

Elizabeth Scott 
V.P. Programs    

w/a Elise Scott 
One Weekend, in"Romancing the Pages" OCC Anthology, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble eBook retailers.

Sunday, June 07, 2015


Tracy Reed

I have been on a blog tour for the past few weeks, which has been great. It’s given me a chance to chat with readers from all over. I can say that because, I know one of the blog stops was based in the United Kingdom and another was based in Australia. I’ve officially gone international. YEAH!

There are a lot of things I like about blog tours…I’ll expound more once it’s over. One of the things I like is it forced me to really get to know my book. I know that sounds strange seeing I wrote the story, but there were a lot of things I had forgotten about their back story and personality. We talk a lot about building or developing characters at RWA and this was very helpful.

I am the first to admit, I am a novice when it come to writer lingo or jargon…protagonist, story arch, subplot, syntax, deep point of view, conflict. antagonist, alliteration. And don’t get me started on length…short story, novelette , novella, full length, jumbo or super length. I may not explain it in correct author terms, but I get by. However, there’s one thing I know for sure, I read what I like and write what I like.

So when I decided to do the blog tour, I was asked to do a character interview. What the crap. I had no clue what that was. I’m not a stupid woman. I graduated college with honors. I had my own sports segment on my college television station for a year, which also aired on local cable. I interned in the Sports Department at the local NBC Station in Tulsa for a year. I worked in Public Relations and the music industry. Plus I run my own business, but this stumped me. When the blog tour promoter answered my simple question, another, “What the crap!” popped into my head. How was I going to interview these two people without giving the story away. Oh yeah, and I had to provide the questions.

I thought long and hard about this and once I started writing, it just flowed. This was my favorite type of interview to do during the tour. I’m already kicking around possible questions for characters from my next books. A good thing about this type of interview/post, is it makes the characters seem real, which helps tell the story.

Here’s my post from a couple of days ago that first appeared on Writer In Progress Blog [].
Meet GENERATIONAL CURSE’s Kyla James and Sean Prescott
GENERATIONAL CURSE is set in New York. However, there are a few things about Sean and Kyla you might find interesting. So let’s ask them.

Where do you live?
KYLA: Upper East Side
SEAN: Tribeca

Tell us about your family? Any sisters and/or brothers?
KYLA: I grew up in a traditional home. My father’s a doctor and my mother is his support. I have a younger sister, who’s also married to a doctor. All of them live in the suburbs.
SEAN: I grew up in a traditional situation. My dad is in construction and my mother worked in his office until a few years ago. They live in the suburbs. My older brother is married and is heart surgeon. He and his family live in California.

What do you do for a living?KYLA: I’m an Interior Designer
SEAN: I’m a Furniture Designer

Where do you work?
KYLA: All over Manhattan, the Hamptons and a few projects in Florida and Chicago
SEAN: My showroom is in Tribeca. However, I do custom work for clients all over the world.

How did you meet?
KYLA: I was leaving an appointment and walked passed his showroom and a chair in the window caught my eye.
SEAN: That’s not how we met. I was doing a showing in Charlotte and she came in.
KYLA: I don’t remember that.
SEAN: She walked in and started stroking all of the sofas and taking pictures. Then she asked if I shipped to New York. I said yes and gave her my card.
KYLA: Oh yeah. Now I remember. Because when he turned around and I saw his behind, I forgot about everything that happened beforehand.
SEAN: Really?
KYLA: Shut up. Next question.

Is that how you started working together?
KYLA: No. I think it was at least what, a year later?
SEAN: About six months. That’s when she walked into my showroom.
KYLA: That’s right, now I remember. It was the chair. I knew it looked familiar. I went inside and I was surprised to see him. We started talking and…

What about the chair?
KYLA: I ordered it for my client.
SEAN: Then she came back the following month for another client and we’ve been working on projects ever since.

So when did you start going out?
KYLA: Who said we were going out?
SEAN: We’re just friends.

Really, you seem very comfortable with each other.? [They’re both smiling]
KYLA: Uhm…I’m in a relationship right now. Besides, I don’t like to mix pleasure with business.
SEAN: So am I pleasure or business?
KYLA: Next question

Have you ever been in love? Engaged? Married?
KYLA: No. No. No.
SEAN: Yes. Yes. No.

What happened Sean?
SEAN: Next question

Tell us something the other doesn’t know about you:
KYLA: Sean’s my best friend.
SEAN: I’m in love with her.

Have you ever considered being more than friends?
KYLA: Uhm…I thought we covered this?
SEAN: Yes.
KYLA: Really?
SEAN: Yes.

Okay, here’s the lightening round.
Print or ebook?

KYLA: Both
SEAN: Both
CD, vinyl or iPod??
KYLA: Yes, no, yes
SEAN: All three

Movies: Chick flick, action, suspense, documentaries?
KYLA: All four
SEAN: All four
KYLA: Really, you like chick flicks
SEAN: Next questions

Jazz, Hip Hop or old school R&B?
KYLA: Jazz and old school
SEAN: All three

Favorite comfort food?
KYLA: Fried chicken
SEAN: Mac and Cheese

Favorite pizza topping?
KYLA: Mushrooms, sausage and extra cheese
SEAN: Pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese is a must

How do you take your coffee?
KYLA: Black
SEAN: Black

Favorite desset?
KYLA: Sugar cookies
SEAN: Gelato

Dog person or cat person?

City or Suburbs:
KYLA: City
SEAN: City

Taxi or Subway:
KYLA: Taxi and foot
SEAN: Taxi or foot, sometimes the subway or I drive

Will you ever get married?
KYLA: Next question

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

Available at 
Amazon.comBarnes and NobleiTunesAll Romance eBooks

Saturday, June 06, 2015

More About Multiple Genres

My regular blog here at A Slice of Orange on the 6th of last month was about loving multiple genres. I'm going to focus on that once again now.

Why? Well, when you read this, I will most likely be at the California Crime Writers Conference in the Culver City area of L.A. Unsurprisingly, it's primarily for people who write mysteries, suspense novels, and related subject.

The following weekend will be all about romance writing for me, since I'll be attending the OCC meeting on Saturday, and the Los Angeles Romance Writers will meet on that Sunday since the following one, its regularly scheduled third Sunday of the month, will be Fathers Day.

So is it any surprise to you that the subject of my upcoming online class hosted by OCC will be... yes, about writing in both of those genres? In fact, I had a special blog posted about it on Tuesday, May 26, here at A Slice of Orange.

The class is called Kiss Me or Kill Me: Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers. Those who are interested in adding suspense or mystery to their romances without necessarily changing genres should find it interesting, too, as should mystery or suspense writers who'd like to add some romance to their work.

And me? I've said for a while that all romances I write contain some element of mystery or suspense, and all mysteries I write generally contain a romantic interest. Aren't both some of the most fun aspects of life--or at least reading?

Linda O! Johnston 

BITE THE BISCUIT, A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery
May 2015

LOST UNDER A LADDER, a Superstition Mystery
LOYAL WOLF, an Alpha Force Harlequin Nocturne

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Get to Know Kat Martin!

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin was happy to answer a few questions for our Slice of Orange readers.

Barb: Which of your characters would you like to meet in person? Why?

Kat: One I would definitely want to meet is Rafe Brodie, the hero of my new book, AGAINST THE TIDE. Rafe is smart, rugged, and savvy. Plus he is gorgeous! Another of my favorite characters is Chance McLain from The Secret, a hunky Montana cowboy. I think you can guess the reason I’d like to meet him (grin). I like my heroine Olivia Chandler, also in TIDE. She's one of the smartest women I've written. Liv really has her stuff together.

Jann: What is the one thing about you that people would be most surprised to know?

Kat: I'm a hermit. Unless we are traveling I pretty much stay home and write.

Barb: What is your favorite gadget?

Kat: I love my iPad mini. I'm a total dinosaur except for that. I'm pretty good on the mini and I love all the info I can get. Plus I can do my email when I'm traveling.

Jann: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?

Kat: I hate writing description. Which is why I don't put a lot in. I'm not crazy about back-story. I don't care what my hero/heroine did in high school unless it pertains to what is happening in his or her life now. Sex scenes are difficult to write because I want them to be fresh and match the tone of the story line at that time. I love writing dialog.

Barb: Do you have any plans in the future to write another Historical?

Kat: No more Historicals for me. Actually I haven't written one in years. I've written about 22 Romantic Suspense novels (plus the ones yet to be published). I feel as though I've found my calling. I love writing the hunky guys in my Against books.

Jann: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Kat: Getting published, staying published, writing stories people seem to want to read. Staying 4 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list with Against the Sky!

Barb: If you could pick one of your books to be made into a movie for TV or the big screen, which one would you pick and who would you want to play your characters?

Kat: I've given that a lot of thought. I would love to see a film made of The Secret, my near-death murder mystery set on a ranch in Montana. Finding the right guy to play Chance McLain, the cowboy part??? I'm open to suggestion. Caitlin, the heroine is a little redhead. Maybe someone out there has an idea for her as well. I think Against the Wind, another cowboy story, would also make a good film.

Secrets and Danger Threaten in the Land of the Midnight Sun…

Liv Chandler is running for her life. She can’t trust anyone, not even the one man who makes her feel safe—rugged charter boat captain, Rafe Brodie.

Rafe is determined to uncover Liv's secrets, but the beautiful cafĂ© owner has a past more dangerous than Rafe can guess. Something terrible is coming…and even in remote Valdez, Alaska, Rafe can’t protect her forever.

Kat will give away a copy of Against the Tide to one lucky commenter!!!

Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels. Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains. Her last nine books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. Both AGAINST THE WILD and AGAINST THE SKY, her latest release, took top ten spots. AGAINST THE TIDE the 3rd book in the Brodies of Alaska series will hit shelves in a couple weeks!

Visit Kat's website at

Or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.