Sunday, October 26, 2014

OCCRWA's November Online Class: The Amazon Bookseller's Toolbox, with Erica Barton

OCCRWA's November Online Class starts November 10th and features full-time writer and blogger, Erica Barton. Here's Erica on her upcoming class:

Do you have a book on Amazon with sluggish sales? Or is your book about to be published on Amazon and you want to promote it? Are you a traditionally published author wondering what you could do to spike your rankings, or a self-published author who is really hoping to see your book hit one of Amazon’s lists?
Well, guess what! It’s easier than you think. Amazon has created dozens of tools to help any author at any stage of their career promote their books.
In this workshop, you are going to find out:
  • What tools Amazon has to sell books on auto-pilot.
  • How to change your Book Pages on Amazon, even if you aren’t the publisher.
  • How to see who is coming to your Book Page and where they are coming from.
  • What to put IN your book so you can make even more sales.
  • Amazon’s cross-promotional tools.
  • A marketing plan from BEFORE your book is published to long after you’ve forgotten how the story goes.
And much more--here's one example of additional content:

3 Easy Ways to Deal with Negative Reviews on Amazon

Every author gets them, no matter how good the author is.  For example, “Beautiful Creatures” (a book that was made into a movie) has 90 1-star reviews from the Haters, but that’s only 90 bad reviews out of 3,551 reviews total.  And while it may seem like a negative thing, it can actually be good for two reasons.  

1)      Haters often raise the ire of the Lovers who will come to your book’s defense for you. And,

2)      They give an honest perspective to the book which lets potential readers know that there are real people reading the book versus an author bribing people to go in and leave good reviews. 

The facts are these.  You will probably get bad reviews when you run a KDP promotion because people who don’t read your genre are going to pick up your book for free.  Not only that, but there are authors without scruples who will go in and try to tank your book sales by leaving a bad review so that authors will go check out their book instead.  Finally, there are the people who will just hate your book no matter what because they just don’t like your voice or your plot, or whatever. 

In regards to those people, I say don’t let them get you down.  Bad press is still press, and every review kicks up that little number of total reviews.  Get enough reviews and those bad ones get washed out by the good ones. 

But, let’s not dwell on bad reviews.  Instead, let’s talk about how to deal with them. 

It's Alina again. To check out Erica's class or sign up, visit

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Debut at Lady Jane's Salon OC

This month I made my debut at Lady Jane's Salon OC, reading from my historical romance, Rogue's Hostage. I attended for the first time last month and enjoyed it so much, I agreed to read in October. I'm just glad the microphone was working Monday night.

Alina K. Field started us off with an excerpt from her latest Regency romance, Bella's Band, which featured a visit to a brother by an innocent, gently bred young lady. Fortunately, the hero is there to rescue her from the unwanted attentions of a very drunk customer.

Debra Holland read a sweetly emotional first kiss scene from her upcoming Western romance, Glorious Montana Sky. Stealing a kiss is a daring move for an upright widowed minister.

And Sylvie Fox entertained us with a risque excerpt from her new release, Don't Judge Me, about a young woman who designs porn websites who meets a sexy comedian who does a mean strip tease. Are you interested yet?

I went last with a dramatic scene from the first chapter of my historical romance, Rogue's Hostage, set during the French & Indian War, and inspired by the Daniel Day Lewis movie version of The Last of the Mohicans.

Lady Jane's Salon started in New York City where the first salon was founded in February 2009 by romance authors Hope Tarr, Leanna Renee Hieber, Maya Rodale, and book blogger, Ron Hogan. There are now eight satellite salons: Denver, CO; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Naperville, IL (Chicago area), Grenville, SC, Phoenix, AZ, Silver Spring, MD, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA and Orange County, CA. Every Lady Jane’s Salon® charges an admission fee of $5 OR one gently used romance novel, which is donated to a local charity..

A big thanks is owed to Beth Yarnell for founding our local salon, and also to Sylvie Fox who produces the monthly podcasts. You can listen to the podcasts at the website or by downloading them at iTunes. I've downloaded the past podcasts and am enjoying listening to them.

Lady Jane's OC meets the second Monday of every month from 7-9PM at the

Gypsy Den Alt Cafe, 211 W Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, CA 92805.
Phone: (714) 956-4400

The atmosphere is eclectic and the food is delicious. I tried the bread pudding this month. Yum.

Next month's meeting, Nov. 10, features Elizabeth Boyle, Deborah Mullins, Beth Yarnell and Felice Fox. Come join us. I can guarantee it will be a fun evening. And if you're thinking of signing up to read, don't be afraid. The crowd is friendly and supportive.

I've been busy at my blog with my Paranormal Blogfest. Check it out to read the posts and enter the Rafflecopter for a Halloween gift basket. Our own Kitty Bucholtz will be there tomorrow talking about her love for superheroes, and Susan Squires joins me on Oct. 29 for a post about her new release, Night Magic.

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont
Reading Room Blog:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Java ain't just for waking up your Jina Bacarr

 I have a Gold Starbucks card -- you get free refills -- but there's more to life than refills.

Java ain't just for waking up your can improve your love life! Here's a short poem I wrote about kickstarting more than your day with a cup of Joe.


Coffee Pillow Talk

Java is a girl’s best friend

When you don’t want that special night to end

“Stick around for a cup of Joe,” you say

After a night in bed that blew you away

Then watch his eyes glow with desire

When you put on the coffee and light his fire

Wearing a sexy black teddy, tight and see-through

You ask, “Eggs or cinnamon buns with your brew?”

“I’ll have the buns,” he says, eyeing yours with a smile

You shiver with glee. The coffee can wait for awhile

It’s back to bed with your man for round two

And to coffee you say, a big “Thank you!”

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Make Your Writing Pop!

OCCRWA's October Online Class features multi-published author, Debra Mullins' class "Self-Editing: Ten Tips to Make Your Writing Pop."

Here's Deb to tell you all about the class:

Hi, everyone. I’ve been asked to blog about my workshop, “Self Editing: 10 Tips to Make Your Writing Pop! I’ve done this workshop a couple of times over the years. In fact, it was the very first workshop I conceived after years of being published and judging contests. These are tips I’ve been following since my very first manuscript, things that got me a nomination for both the Golden Heart and RITA, among others. 

While we will go over some basic craft such as dialogue tags and active versus passive verbs, some of these tips go beyond the nuts and bolts of editing. They’re subtle things I learned early in my career from a great mentor: teacher, freelance editor, and writer Anne Frazier Walradt. 

I remember going with Anne years ago to an event we were both attending as board members of NJRW. I had entered the Golden Heart the year before and not made the finals. I was planning on entering again, and Anne had offered her insight. Unfortunately, time at the event had not allowed us to go over things privately, so I read her my pages in the car on the way home. She critiqued as she drove, and I frantically scribbled her comments on my hard copy. I implemented the changes and made the Golden Heart finals the following year. 

It’s support like this that encourages me to share what I have learned with other writers. 

In the online class, we’ll be exploring artistic touches to make parts of your sentences or paragraphs stand out from the others. A lot of what we do is subtle, but it affects your reader on a subliminal level. We discuss where to place certain points in a paragraph so your reader doesn’t gloss over them and miss important details that affect the story later. We’ll talk about poetic devices such as onomatopoeia and alliteration as a way to bring your scenes alive in vivid color, and we’ll touch on the concept of scene and sequel to keep your pacing even. It’s one thing to listen to a lecture; it’s another to apply the concepts to your own work in an active, working setting such as this one and watch the transformation. 
It's Alina back again. Thank you, Deb sharing more details of your class.
And if you're interested in signing up, the class runs October 13-November 9, 2014. For more information, or to sign up, please go to the OCCRWA website:

See you there!


Monday, October 06, 2014

OCC Birthday Bash

The next OCC meeting will be the Birthday Bash, on October 18.  I'll be there.  Will you? 

I believe it'll be an anniversary of sorts for me.  I'm fairly sure that I joined OCC 20 years ago!  That's a long time. 

It's also close to the amount of time I've been published in novel-length work.  I had short stories published before that, but my first novel, a time-travel romance called A GLIMPSE OF FOREVER, was published in 1995.   

I've always felt that I owe a lot to RWA and OCC for helping me learn what I needed to get, and stay, published.  Consequently, I'm delighted to be able to help celebrate OCC's birthday. 

I'm sure I'll have a delightful time.  I'll even be signing some books there--a few of my most recent releases. 

Hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Wonders of Hair Clips

Well, I can't offer you 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover or perhaps more appropriately the many (25 or more!) uses for Duct Tape (which, I was amazed to learn, actually started its life being called Duck Tape, as Johnson and Johnson used cotton canvas duck cloth to create it).

But I can share my own enthusiasm for plastic hair clips.  Yep, you heard it right.

Plastic Hair Clips, various sizes
They come in different sizes and shapes, but are available at most drug stores in the "Hair Accessories" section.

First, they do hold hair.  I can vouch for that.  But they hold a lot of other things too, easily, conveniently and fairly cost effectively. 

Like tidying up irritating strands of wires, they open in an instant, can be removed, reused or re-done, unlike a lot of other cord controlling options.

They hold things up, get and keep cords off the floor and out of the way.  They can conveniently grasp things that you might like having handy, like your charger-which-keeps-sliding-off-the-table.  Like holding other hair accessories nearby and accessible:

But one of my favorite uses is to keep my earphones in a tidy and (relatively) untangled ball (one that I can attach to things, perhaps an inside purse zipper pull) if I need those earphones handy.  The other is holding yarn ends and beginnings so they not only don't unravel as I carry them around or store them, but I can also find the #%@&*! end (or beginning) when I need to.  They also work holding ribbon.


Many things have more than one purpose.  Look at an object's (or a person's) skill sets and see what other purposes they might fulfill.

You might give your lover another chance--or you might duct tape the door shut!  You have options...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Law Is a Ass: Women's History and the Law @LyndiLamont

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”

The quote above is generally attributed to Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, published serially 1837-39, per Bartleby though Dickens may have copied it from a 17th century play, Revenge for Honour by George Chapman. (See Whatever the origin of the phrase, it makes a fair point. (The word ass, of course, refers to a donkey.)

Nineteenth-century women were likely to agree with Mr. Bumble, when one considers the treatment of women under the laws of the period. I covered a bit of this during my recent talk on Herstory at Orange County RWA in August, though women weren't the only people treated badly by the law. The nineteenth century saw a number of reform movements, from abolitionism to the fight for women's suffrage. The latter was kicked off in July 19–20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y. The first two resolutions passed at the convention concern legal matters:

Resolved, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true and substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and of no validity; for this is "superior in obligation to any other.

Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority.

It wasn't just that women weren't allowed to vote, though that was a primary focus for reform. For several centuries, a legal practice called coverture was in place in England and the U.S. whereby a woman gave up all rights when she married. Her husband controlled any money or property she brought to the union. Single women, including widows, could own property and enter into contracts without male approval. Thanks to suffragist activism, laws were passed abolishing this practice in the late 19th century.

Current law is confusing enough, but when you're writing historical romance, the law can be a veritable minefield of potential blunders. Research your time period and location if legal matters play a part in your plot. What kind of legal system was in place at the time? English common law, the Napoleonic Code, church canonical law? In the U.S., laws vary from state to state, but that isn't always the case in other countries.

British laws were enforced throughout England and Wales, but didn't necessarily apply to Scotland. For instance, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the age of consent for marriage was substantially lower in Scotland than the one-and-twenty years required in England, encouraging couples without parental approval to elope across the border. The Gretna Green marriage is common plot device in Regency romances. The 1753 Marriage Act was also the first law to require a formal ceremony. It also required weddings to take place in the morning, hence the wedding breakfast to follow.

Getting out of a marriage was even more difficult. Prior to the mid-19th century when judicial divorce was authorized, it was extremely difficult if not impossible to get a divorce in Britain. In Regency times, one had to petition Parliament for a divorce. Can you imagine having to ask Congress to agree to let someone divorce? Yikes! Even then it was more like a legal separation than a true divorce. Annulments weren’t necessarily easy to obtain either. A law permitting judicial divorce, the Matrimonial Causes Act, finally passed in 1857.

More information on marriage and divorce laws can be found at these sites:

A Brief History of Marriage: Marriage Laws and Women's Financial Independence by
Karen Offen

Kelly Hager, “Chipping Away at Coverture: The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857"

Linda McLaughlin