Monday, December 30, 2013


The holiday season is fast ending but I have had a fantastic time enjoying the most wonderful time of the year.

My I Pod has had +Christmas Town music in it since December 1st. My +Christmas Forest and village has been bringing delight to many people who passed through my home and my Christmas cheer has been unstoppable.

Atlas, the season is drawing to a close but I hope you made great memories. I made some great memories with some new friends from the +DMV Weekenders, to a new wife of a special friend to spending some great quality time with my grandchildren and my children.

It doesn't matter what gifts were under the tree; what mattered is that the family was together and together we watched Christmas classics like; +Charlie Brown Christmas and +The Grinch and +National Lampoons Christmas and my new favorite +ELF

All of the laughter and the jokes and the gifts and the decorations will forever be captured in my memory and will live on through photos and videos.

Take this time to make sure that you tell the ones you love how wonderful this time of year was for you and make sure that you make the new year a memorable one.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I hadn't planned on lying; really I didn't. It sort of just happened.

Early one morning this week, I was up and getting ready for my day. It was a normal day just like all of the other days of this week. Except for one thing.

I nearly lost my eye! I'm not kidding! I nearly blinded myself with a speck of toothpaste!

Yes, you read it right; toothpaste was the nemesis. It literally, jumped off of the toothbrush and went directly into my left eye.

It had me fumbling around the bathroom, screaming like someone that saw a snake and knocking everything off of the counter.

Towels, cups, jewelry case, mirror, comb, brush...all went tumbling to the floor like dominoes.

I tried to compose myself and rinse out the offensive speck but wouldn't you had bits of "minty crystals for all day protection" in it and got down into my eye so far that I swear it is now in my brain.

I tried to keep my eye closed (not impossible since it closed tighter than a bank vault) but then the unthinkable happened.

You see, the body's natural reaction to something getting into your eye is for your eye to water; to wash the offensive matter out.

Yes that is what happened and I tell you the expletives that flew out of my mouth would put any sailor to shame!

Driving to work became a chore because I wanted to keep my eye closed but kept veering into the other lane; setting off my 'safety feature' that jolted me, causing me to open the offended eye and then a whoosh of air came flooding in, causing as much pain as when the toothpaste flew into my eye thirty minutes prior.

Dear Lord! I am going to be blind or at the very least have pink eye to start the holidays! Not allowed!

So as I walk into the building and head to the bathroom to get a paper towel to put on my eye; which by the way, doesn't help, people now begin to ask me if I am OK.

Do I look OK? I want to yell but I smile and say yes, and then the unthinkable happens. I say that I poked myself in the eye while putting on my makeup.

Gasp! I just LIED! I lied because no one would believe that I got toothpaste in my eye, right?

And as I tell the "makeup" story to one more person, she says..."I thought you didn't wear eye makeup"

Gulp! I'm busted what do I do...what do I say....I say the one thing that could make it better...."Oh, did I say makeup I meant to say I got toothpaste in my eye."

She looks at me and says..." are so foolish....toothpaste in your eye." and laughs so hard I wanted to put the toothpaste in HER eye.

Moral of the story: Watch out for your might just put your eye out! or at the very least have you looking like you have a horrible case of pink eye!

Monday, December 16, 2013


I talked myself into a book tour. Yes, that's right; I am going on tour with two lovely ladies and we are #BDOT or #BookDivasOnTour.

This brain child came about as yours truly attended one of the divas book launch in September, +KR Raye is a local author who just released "The Colors Trilogy" and while talking about our respective journeys I blurted out. 'We should go on tour. Diva's on Tour could be a hit!" and she co-signed it.

Oops, did I just say that! Did I just commit myself to being on a book tour with so much stuff already going on. Yep! I damn right I did.

If I don't promote myself, who will? Besides I knew it wouldn't be hard because all I have to do is buy some killer shoes, get some books in a suitcase and pack. How hard could that be, right?

Well, when you factor in the commitment's I already have, it is going to be hard but fun! Imagine three women, oh, did I forget to mention that +Dee Lawrence would also be on tour with us. This diva is another hard working sister and with the three of us; this is going to be a great time.

So, you need to get ready. #BookDivasOnTour is hitting local cities in 2014 and we are looking to have some fun with you. Are you ready?

Contact my publicist, Sandra Bowman at: to book us in your area.

We hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I know you started singing that Christmas tune as soon as you read the title. Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the time of the year when all good little boys and girls are making their list and checking it twice. It is also the time of the year that retailers are hoping that people will come and spend their hard earned money at their store.

Did you know that it is also the time of the year that small businesses hope to make up profits to keep their stores open for another year?

On the Saturday after thanksgiving, it is 'small business' shopping day. That means that all of us should support the small business. That also means small publishing companies. How many of you would take the chance and shop a small business or small publisher for some great gift ideas?

I did and I found some GREAT bargains! Most small publishers offer their newest releases around this time of year. Think of the authors that you will support by buying from a small publisher. Penguin, Random House, Kensington; they all don't have to worry as much about profits because they will have the loyal fan based. Smaller presses rely on us to support their authors and hope that in the process, you find a new author and become a fan.

If you have small business that you support, why not share their name here. If you are an owner of small publishing company, why not leave a comment so all of my loyal followers can find you and possibly find a new author to support.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


That adage that I heard growing up; Time is money...boy do I know it!

I don't ever seem to have enough of it. Time or Money. Take for instance this month. Every weekend of this month, I have had time and money issues.

The first weekend was spent in Texas; the next weekend was spent in Vegas and then the following weekend was spent in Philly. During the week before the weekend trips; well that was spent at work. Twelve hours a day on some days and then packing for another trip.

My life began to look like a game show, I'll call it, "What's the Weather Like Where You Are?"  (Hint: pay attention to the $ at the end of each paragraph)

I'll guess...what is 50 degrees for $200. Wrong! Texas was in the low 60's so that cute little spring dress that I had was replaced by a very cute brown pantsuit that I had to BUY once there. Then the time came to unpack, and pack again for Vegas. $$

Oh I'll guess What is 70 degrees for $200. Wrong! Damn it! Vegas was a very balmy 80 degrees.  So those long sleeve shirts that I packed had to be replaced. Off to the store I go to buy short sleeved t-shirts that would be cool enough during the day but keep me warm enough at night. Additional (jacket) purchase $$$

Now for the trip to Philly. I KNOW I will get this right. I will guess What is 60 degrees for $200. Wrong!

OK, so the expletives that came out of my mouth was far to much for this blog.

So there I am, in Philly with a long sleeve shirt and a fleece hoodie.  And that was it! I didn't wear jeans because I thought, hey; these black leggings will keep me warm enough. Wrong. I didn't wear a tank top under my shirt because this long sleeve shirt and hoodie will be enough. Wrong Again! and I didn't wear a top coat because; well let's face it; I was trying to be CUTE and you can't be cute with your outfit that you spent all of that TIME picking out; being covered up with some dumb coat. Lesson... $$$$

So here I am, sitting at my desk looking at all of my receipts of things that had to be bought because of all of the TIME I got the dumb weather wrong.

This weekend will be even busier because I have a formal gala to attend and we won't even talk about the amount of money that is being spent to prepare for this momentous event!

Oh, but let's not forget one thing. I bought back a COLD from Vegas so not only have I spent more money on clothing I am now spending money on cold medications. $$$$$$

Oh yes....Time is money and in my is looking like the lost 'episode' of "Where did it go?"

Monday, November 11, 2013


Today while many of us have Veteran's Day off, I am spending my long weekend in Las Vegas. I couldn't let this moment pass without blogging. Oh, don't worry, these adventures will be a blog post later this month, with pictures. I wanted to talk a little bit about what is going on this month.

November is National Novel Writing Month, better known as Nanowrimo. If you don’t know what this is, it is the month of November dedicated to writers all over the hemisphere.

It challenges them to write a novel in 30 days.  Their website, gives you plenty of encouragement, tools, forums, blogs and contacts. They even have a place to find other Nano’ers near you to keep you motivated.

I have never participated because I have three books in progress but I do track my progress because I use this month to push me to finish up projects. Most of my projects end in November because I use the same concept.

For thirty days, I plop myself in my small office (pictured to right) and have my glass of wine beside me, my Ipod playing and I type until my hands get tired. Thirty days to finish up my novel is a great incentive. Now, this concept isn't for everyone but isn't the purpose of Nano Wrimo to encourage the author in us to get moving to finish our works in progress.

If you don’t finish your novel by November 30th,  don’t fret. Go over what you have done. You never know you may be  closer to finish than you think.

There is one rule that all authors should practice:  don’t edit your writing while you are writing.

That is the biggest reason we authors never finish. You need to write and write and write until your words don’t come. Then you begin the process of editing and rewriting. This is when you will find those things that don’t need to be in there but you will also find things that need to be added.

Use this National Novel Writing Month as your tool to finish up your novel.

Are you participating in Nanowrimo? Or are you using this as a tool to move you along in your writing?

Monday, October 28, 2013


Zombie Stomper
Now, you all know that my blog has everything to do with books, shoes and writing. But who would have thought that today, well actually last week, I would find these shoes. If you look very carefully you will see a +zombie face on the side of this shoe. The most shocking thing is...its called the "Zombie Stomper" Stiletto and it can be found at +ShoeDazzle

Yes, Shoe Dazzle has managed to find the one shoe that I would not wear. Not that it isn't cute as all get out, but I'm to damn scared of zombies. I don't want them to close to my feet.  I don't want them to be tempted to eat my toes and than I'd be fair game if I were to topple over and then they could have their way with my brains and do all matters of things to my face and their breath, my god it has to smell horrible!

Sure +Christine Verstraete is an expert in all things zombies but I am not. Her novel; Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie is all the rage this Halloween! It follows Becca as she tried to adjust to her life...well you get the book and read it for yourself.  Now back to the story.  When I happened upon this truck, I sent her the picture because I couldn't believe my eyes. First the truck, now shoes! I think something is happening and they are not letting me in on the secret.

Zombie Response Team Vehicle
See they want to lure me into believing that you can be stylish all while trying to cover your head to prevent the zombies from getting at your brain. Then they tell you to run away, which they wouldn't have to worry about that, and not to worry because zombies only move from side to side which makes it hard for them to keep up. They say move to higher ground because zombies can't climb stairs...Whatever! In the +TheWalkingDeadSeries they seem to do JUST FINE IN FINDING THE HEALTHY PEOPLE.  Ok, sorry for yelling but this is an emergency! These people, or zombies or whomever they are,  want us fashionable women to be lured into a false sense of security by purchasing these +Stilettos Stompers so that we can kill them with our shoes. ARE YOU CRAZY!

Lady Killer Fugg
First, any fashionable woman wouldn't kill zombies in our good shoes. Besides that green stuff will squirt out, yeah; I don't want that on my shoes! I barely want to walk in the rain with my nice shoes on. So instead I recommend these beauties on the right. See they are low enough so that you can keep your balance. Comfortable enough that your feet will stay warm and they even come with a flower to give the illusion that you want the zombies not fear you and then WHAM! 

You get them in the head and watch that green stuff fly, which won't matter in these beauties because these shoes are machine washable. Stomp away in these Lady Killer Fugg from +ShoeDazzle and your home will be safe from zombies. Than you can call the +ZombieResponseTeam to come and clean up the rest of that mess. 
Happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 21, 2013


I am still fascinated by Mr. Luke Murphy so I sat down and had a little chat with him.

BSW: Playing hockey is a very grueling sport; when did you know that it was time to hang up your skates?
LM: I grew up loving hockey and that never changed. But my years of “chasing the dream” took their toll. I’ve never been very big, so injuries played a big part in my decision. I had a series of injuries throughout my pro career, everything from broken bones to scratched corneas to herniated discs. I was nearing my 30th birthday so I knew that my chances of ever making it back to the NHL were slim. Plus my girlfriend wanted to start her own career and a family, so I knew it was time to settle down and get a stable job.

BSW: You did what few authors do. You actually studied how to become a better writer, why? And what did you learn from that?
LM: No matter what I did: I always want to be the best. I’ve always set high goals for myself, and expect nothing but the best from myself. I constantly read; from novels in my favorite genres to books, written by experts in the writing field. My first two purchases were “Stein on Writing”, by successful editor Sol Stein, and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King.  My major breakthrough from Stein’s book was to “Show don’t Tell”. I wrote that phrase on a sticky note and put it on my computer monitor. The Self-Editing book helped me learn how to cut the FAT off; eliminating unnecessary details.

BSW: You sent out a lot of query’s to agents. What made you stop and pull back and rework your manuscript?
LM: I was just fed up. After months of rejections, I determined my manuscript just wasn’t good enough. I was persistent, and I knew I had it in me. I just had to stick with it. There were many people along the way, professionals in the industry, who helped me realize at the time that my novel needed work. These people wanted me to succeed, and took the time to not just send a rejection letter, but also tell me what needed to be done.

BSW: Your protagonist is a black man…you are not. Why did you decide to write a black character and not just make him a white male?
LM: I read a lot, especially in the crime-thriller genres, and I decided that there were not a lot of African-American protagonists in novels. When I first started reading adult novels, I was heavy into James Patterson. “Kiss the Girls” was the first adult crime-book I ever read, and I fell in love with the genres. I also loved Patterson’s Alex Cross character, an African-American detective who was widely popular with readers.

BSW: . Have you attended conferences and what is the best advice you can give to someone who has never been to a conference?
LM: In 2007 I attended the “Bloody Words” writing conference in Ottawa, Canada, rubbing elbows with other writers, editors, agents and publishers. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful. My advice, be outgoing and friendly, and never turn down an opportunity to speak with someone or let someone read your work.

BSW:  My blog is about books, shoes and writing. What book are you reading or working on right now? What shoes can’t you live without and give one piece of writing advice.
LM: I’m currently reading Bood Memory by Greg Iles. I’m currently working on my second novel, another crime-thriller, following the career of rookie, female LAPD detective Charlene Taylor. I would love to write another book. Right now, I have a full time job (teaching), a part-time tutoring job, and three small children (all girls, YIKES!!).

I don`t have much time to write, but when I get a chance, I do all I can. It could take some time, but eventually I would love to write a series of novels featuring Calvin Watters. But I will not limit my novels to Calvin Watters, as I would like to write a variety of novels, all in the crime-thriller genres.
As for fashion, I admit I don’t have much (LOL). I leave my clothes up to my wife and I wear what she tells me to wear. As for shoes, since I enjoy working out, I would say my running shoes I couldn't live without. I know, pretty boring.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Have you ever received flowers, for no reason at all? 

Have you ever been sent an email that says, just wanted to make you smile?

Have you ever been told, let's go out to dinner/lunch/breakfast because I want to give you a break?

If you have than you know that those little things mean a lot to women AND men. Let me be clear. Men like to get those little things also.

My "just because"
Have you sent your man flowers just because you thought about the way he looked at your last week? If you haven't why not? Men like to receive small tokens of affection from their ladies just as much as we like to receive them.

Think about the time you gave your guy or significant other a massage as he sat down to read the paper or watch television. I can almost guarantee that he was shocked but he enjoyed it also.

Rubbing his feet, giving him a pedicure, giving him a massage or doing something as small as bringing him a glass of water after he has mowed the lawn is almost as good as receiving that huge bouquet of roses on your desk on +valentinesday valentines 

To prove my point, I sent a co-worker a nice gift basket of sausages w/cheeses because he had mentioned that he enjoyed them but only got them as gifts around the holidays. I sent him one with a card that read, "Because you shouldn't have to wait until the holidays" and I didn't sign my name, but he knew it was me because we had shared that conversation only a few days before.

See things like that for a man as well as a woman, means a lot. 

Now, how many of you are going to do something special for that person in your life, just because? My challenge to you do something for someone, something small. 

Remember, it doesn't have to be for your wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, or significant other. It could be for the friend who listens to you when they could be doing something else. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


Today I welcome Luke Murphy, retired hockey player turned published author. I wanted to know what the difference was between hockey and writing and his answer was a bit surprising.

As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel, I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.

With the death of my mother in 1992, losing a battle to cancer, I sensed it was time to get serious about reaching my dreams, and moved away to pursue hockey.

From 1992-1995 I noticed a shift in the game of hockey and realized that the odds of making it to the NHL were unfavorable for a kid who stood 5’9’’ and weighed 160 pounds. So, my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.  From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books.

One day, with an idea in mind, I sat down in front of a computer and began writing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.

I didn't write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to “hobby” write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision – I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published. 

I've never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences and made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions and learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible novel.

I sent out hundreds of query letters to agents. After months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by Ms. Jennifer Lyons of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of work with Jennifer, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.

So, exactly how smooth was my transition from playing hockey to writing books?

Many people might not see a connection between writing and hockey, but there are many similarities in not only your preparation, but “musts” once you’re there.

In both hockey and writing, you need three things: patience, persistence and thick skin.

For both, it takes hard work and practice. There are many critics, and you need to be able to take criticism with a grain of salt. In order to find success, in both you need to be persistent and confident. It’s all about taking a chance, putting yourself out there to be evaluated by your peers. That’s the scariest part. 

My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you’ll get a lot of “no’s” along the way and people trying to bring you down. But remember, it only takes one “yes”. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today I am going to talk about an author that I have known for a little over three years. Mr. +Austin Camacho

We met by accident at the now closed Borders Book Store in Waldorf, Maryland. I was the debut author coming out with my very first novel and he was coming out with his seventh. Yes, at that time he was on number seven but now he is on number nine.

He whizzed in with his cart full of books, a tray of assorted cookies, bookmarks and postcards. And there I stood, with a table full of books and that was it.

Since I have a competitive nature, I couldn't let him show me up. I told my assistant to find a store and buy me some candy. I didn't care what kind, just get me something. I then walked back to see just what this 'guy' was doing.

He was rushing around in a flurry, setting up his table, his books, his postcards and oh yes..those damn tray of cookies. The nerve of him! I wanted to talk but instead I became intimidated by him and didn't want to seem so amateurish, which I was but I didn't want HIM to know that. He asked me how I was doing, I told him I was a new author, he asked me what my book was about and I told him and then he told me about his. I had to buy it because I couldn't let on that I was really on spying on him. I bought, Russian Roulette and promised to read it.

Well, I didn't read it because my youngest son read it first and wouldn't give it back. When I tried to retrieve it he said, "Mom, go get another one, this book is really good." What just happened. I HAD bought a book, the one he had and yet I was being told to buy another one. So I went back to Borders and bought Damaged Goods

My goodness, I was hooked. I had just found another author that I could start a series that was foreign to me. I had never read any mystery novel before and this gave me a great first timers look inside what a great story a mystery could be. I loved it and read it four times. (guess I really DID like the book, huh?) I finally got up the nerve to email him about how I like the book and then proceeded to ask him for advice; (you knew that was coming didn't you. I mean c'mon, he was on number seven, I was on number one)which he said he would give, as long as I didn't ask to many questions.

I'm so lucky that Austin S. Camacho was in that book store on that day promoting that book. I learned so much from him, namely, never show up without something that will bring people to your table. Always smile and never sit down. Oh, and I've had some kind of treat at my table!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


In the past couple of weeks, I have attended a conference, attended a book launch at the Jamaican Embassy and given a class on marketing at the Harford Public Library.

Bethany Hacker was the organizer of this great event and let me tell you; her staff was on the ball!
From the time I walked in I was greeted like someone special. I checked in a little past 8 am only because I went to the wrong place. Instead of me ending up at the library I was sitting at the ‘administrative office building” for ten minutes before I decided to pull up my email and check the address against what I had plugged into my GPS.  Wouldn't you know, I was 11 miles PAST where I should have gotten off at so I had to go back.  See, even WITH a GPS I still get lost.

So I arrived and was greeted by a very friendly young woman who gave me my name tag, my notebook and my assignment for the day. I said a quick hello to Bethany and just like that another staff member, asked me if I needed help. I said yes and he first showed me the all-important breakfast table with the coffee, teas and assorted bagels for my eating pleasure. He then took me to the room where I would present my Marketing class.

He then showed me to the ‘presenters’ room where I got myself mentally prepared for my panel. I was on time to the room, since he had already given me directions to it and I was greeted by another very eager young lady who was going to introduce me. Wait…this is big time…I actually had an introduction and once she was finished applause (so I really didn’t need to include the applause on my PowerPoint)

I wowed the crowd…all 27 of them…yes I counted them because I was shocked! Utterly shocked that they wanted to hear what I had to say. I worried that I wouldn't have enough material to fill an hour but boy was I wrong. Not only did I fill the hour, the class went longer because they had some great questions.

Afterwards, they thanked me with even more applause. Lookahere people! I love applause and unsolicited applause it the BEST I tell ya! They followed me back and talked to me, they have started following me on Facebook and Twitter and I made some great connection.

The first ever Just Write Conference was Just Right! 

Thanks Bethany for putting on such a classy event. Can’t wait for next year! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Have you ever been so excited about something that you just bought and couldn’t wait to start using it.
Well for me it’s all about shoes and pens. Yes, that’s right, PENS. As in writing utensils. It all started about a year ago at Linganore Winery in Frederick Maryland. I came across this woman named Sandra and she was selling pens. But they weren’t your run of the mill, average BIC pen. They were custom pens. Not like a feather and quill but with beads, spacers and charms. I fell in LOVE. She made me my first pen, the gold/silver number. Ever since then that pen ONLY goes with me to my book events. Well this past week, I saw her again. She was at Creatures, Crimes and Creativity and she had her pens. I was like a kid at Christmas! She saw me and remembered me since we share something in common and she said,

“How is your pen holding up”
I told her that I only use it for signing books at my events and she said
I said, “Because I don’t want anyone else to take my pen” besides, I really don’t want to leave it at work.”
She said, “well you need another pen”. 
which one would you choose?
Ahhhhhh! (cue the heavenly music)
Yes, I do! I need another pen.
So she asked me my favorite football and team and I said, Dallas and then she pointed out this blue/white/silver number and again (cue heavenly music)
I was in LOVE all over again. My hands were sweaty, my mouth went dry and my heart raced. Oh god! I must be having a heart attack. But no, I was having a ‘moment’.
For there in the small cradle, with a glowing light over top of it, was MY pen. My glorious pen! The pen I have been waiting for all of my life. The pen of my dreams….screech!
Ok, I know you must think I’m crazy or neurotic but I’m not. I’m just a sucker for a great pen!
I picked it up and fell in love all over again. Now my baby rests in the cute little pen holder on my brand new desk at work and everyone so jealous. I get to pick it up every day; hold it, feel it’s weight in my hands and watch as the ink flows perfectly from the point. When I finish with it, I wipe it down and set it down gently. (Ok, THAT could sound a little crazy)
But I’m in PEN HEAVEN!
Does this make me write better? I think so. At first I just scrawled out my name, now I take precious moments to make sure that the B and the  S and the W are perfectly created and that when I’m done, I twist the barrel and let the point slide back into its protective shell.
Yes, the right writing utensil makes for perfecting writing.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Have you ever been to a conference and felt like a fish out of water?  I have and it is a very lonely feeling. I'm happy to say that it hardly ever happens to me anymore but sometimes it does. This weekend, I attended the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity in Baltimore Maryland and I can say that friendships were formed and solidified.
Dee, B. SWANGIN, Monica and KR
You see, there I met up with dear friends, Author Dee Lawrence and new author +KR Raye and +Monica Mathis-Stowe . I have known these two beautiful women for about two years and our friendship started as authors supporting one and another and has grown to become a friendship of support, encouragement and downright fun times being had when we are in the same room. We can routinely be heard asking, "Can you take our picture? Wait, Can you take it again?"

This weekend we welcomed into our author sorority, Monica Mathias Stowe. She attended the conference based on a recommendation from Dee. She used the time to write some chapters into her new novel and then on the second night, she got involved with our playtime at the bar. Although there was more picture taking than drinking going on.

Can't you tell?

We all dressed up in our finest and turned heads of everyone in the room. We laughed, joked and gave tips on things such as writing,
conferences and how to walk in five inch heels.
I hope that she will come back and hang out with us because we like hanging out with her.
If you think that author conferences are just full of writing and learning, you are sadly mistaken. Writers conferences are the playground of authors! We have fun all while learning something important. Most importantly, it is about making new friends!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I've been conned and I can't be more happier.

This week I am getting ready for the +mdc3conference in +HuntValleyInn near Baltimore.

I will get to moderate some panels; something I haven't done before and I am as excited at the +RedskinsZap fans were to see +RGIII in the game last night. (PSA: I'm a +DallasCowboys Chic)

I got my assignment and promptly sent an email to the people that I get to 'chat' with. You see, I got 'conned' about two years ago and I refuse to go back! I attending the +BTO conference on the +EASTERNSHORELIFE in 2010 and was hooked. Meeting other authors and getting to talk 'shop' was priceless to me.

I have become a Con Junkie. (Hello: My name is B. Swangin Webster and I'm addicted to writers conferences. Don't judge me!)

Not to mention that +BrianKeene is now coming to the conference, I'm like a girl in a new store holding it's grand opening and all of the +Stilettos Heels are on sale.

So, I've been "conned" and I am not mad about it, I'm actually happy. This is the only way that I can promote myself, and my writing and have fun doing it.

Have you been 'conned' and if you haven't you need to make plans right now to attend at least one next year. You will be glad that you did.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


So, I left off at the part of getting 13 people in three cars to get to +Virginia Beach. The drive would be about an hour from +Williamsburg  and we had three willing drivers.

corralling 13 people for a picture is not easy
Now, the hard part began. The 2 month old didn't like being in his +CarSeatSite but he had no choice. So the plan was devised that he would ride with Nina (that would be me, since I am way to sexy to be a grandma) Don't laugh, there was a t-shirt that said just that!

However, the one year old, who rode down with me, didn't want to give up her +diva throne to the new little prince, was not happy. Not happy at all. Well until she figured out she could ride in the big girl car seat that would make her sit up higher and have the window to herself. Well, I think daddy being in the car also helped.

Then it was loading 11 other people in cars and heading off.

But wait...who knew the way to Virginia beach. The lead car thought they knew but after 45 minutes, we pulled over to find out what the +iPhone Apps had to say and low and behold, we were only about fifteen minutes away.

Now a break in the action for this PSA. I hate tunnels! I don't like them and as we traveled through it, I kept looking for the escape door, you know like the one in the "+Independence Day Movie" with Will Smith...where the dog Boomer ran just in the nick of time before the tunnel blew up....yes, I figure, if it can save Boomer it has to be able to save me. Well I only saw one door and it was open but it was like a little guard booth. Talk about holding my breath the entire time while we were in there. Well I was nearly ready to pass out from depriving myself of oxygen the entire 3 minutes it took for us to come out of there but just as I felt a little faint, I saw the light. No, not that light...but the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I see why that is such a great motivational sentence." (not really relevant, but I wanted to share)
we are all looking in the same direction
I think.
So we arrived at the beach and instead of driving around endlessly we found an all day parking lot, that was taken over by some college students and charging $15, which is a great money maker.

After paying for our parking, walking two blocks and finding prime real estate on the beach. We laid in the sun all day, swam in the warm waters and enjoyed being mindless and carefree for the day.

Atlas, it is labor day and the last hurrah of summer is upon us, but the memories that we made in Williamsburg

and Virginia Beach will remain with us forever.

Yes, it was the best family vacation EVER!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


 This past weekend, my family and I took a trip to +James Pierce (ok, I know there is a name there, but Powhatan Resorts is where we went and hopefully James works there)

Anyway, we took a trip there with +Austin Camacho and Denise and their family and my two children along with their children and also a couple of friends, and also a cat (which will be a different blog on a different day)

We arrived on Friday night and we were all to tired to do anything but this was a family vacation and after all of the sleeping arrangements had been made, re-made and floor space claimed, we settled in for a peaceful night.

Then came Saturday and the madness began. Have you ever cooked breakfast for 13 hungry people, 7 men, (2 of which play semi-pro football) and 6 females and one finicky 1 year old and a 2 month old baby. Well the task of what to feed them was easily solved with a bag (Costco is your friend on family outings) of pancake mix, a gallon of syrup, 3 dozen eggs, four pounds of bacon and enough coffee to wake up an entire teaching staff of college professors.  See that looks like a lot of food and after cooking for what seemed like an hour we were ready to call everyone in for breakfast except...

Half of them were still asleep, one decided they needed to take a leisurely bubble bath and the men, well they were about to gnaw off an arm if they weren't fed immediately.

We (that would be Denise and I) sat down the platter of pancakes and two bowls of bacon and by the time 6 of them ate...we needed more food.

Wait, initial statement of "wow; do you think we will need all of that bacon" was met with the very light laugh and yes" from Denise)

Turns out we needed all four pounds of bacon, half of a bag (5 pounds) of pancake mix and 1 dozen of eggs. We ushered in shifts of food, took turns at the table that sat 6 and made quick time using two different coffee pots. Whew, breakfast was over and the dishes, well; the dishwashing hands of Denise and myself had all of the dishes, pots, pans and glasses and mugs out away in a little over an hour but you know what,

the memories that were made just over breakfast will stay embedded in my mind forever and off to the beach we went. But getting everyone corralled into three cars...

to be continued.......

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Yes, today I am talking about two shows that I thought were completely opposite of each other.

One is a based out of Bedrock, USA and the other is based out of New York, USA. The one has a colorful cast of characters who threatens some sort of bodily harm to each other and the other stops cars with their feet.

I was talking about this with a really special guy friend and he told me, "Well you know that The Flintstone's are based on +The Honeymooner's."

Yes, that moment of silence that you just heard was me when he said it, and then I said the most intelligent thing I could,

'No way!" (see I told you it was intelligent)

But there was no way that could be true. after all, Fred never told Wilma he was going to send her to the moon, like Ralph Cramdon told his wife Alice.

However my friend told me, "well, he never told her that, but he talked to Wilma just like Ralph talked to Alice. Hey, if you don't believe me, +Google  it and I came back with..."well ok, I will." (yes another great comeback, wouldn't you say)

So I Google'd it and guess what I found on Wikipedia. It says, "The show imitated and spoofed The Honeymooners.[8] William Hanna admitted that "At that time, The Honeymooners was the most popular show on the air, and for my bill, it was the funniest show on the air. The characters, I thought, were terrific. Now, that influenced greatly what we did with The Flintstones ... The Honeymooners was there, and we used that as a kind of basis for the concept."[citation needed] However, Joseph Barbera disavowed these claims in a separate interview, stating that, "I don't remember mentioning The Honeymooners when I sold the show. But if people want to compare The Flintstones to The Honeymooners, then great. "

Get the flip out of here!. Who knew...or did you know...because I didn't know that.

Now it makes me wonder what other shows are being done in cartoon form.

I guess that is why I loved The Honeymooner's so much and why I still watch The Flintstones today.

Fly me to the moon and stop my car with my feet!. Tell me what 'throwback' shows you like.

Monday, August 19, 2013


People say you can't teach an old dog new tricks and I don't believe it.

Well, I wouldn't say it about dogs because I had dogs and I would teach them new tricks almost every day. I would tell them to go fetch and after showing them a few times what I wanted them to do, they would...oh wait...they didn't go fetch, it was just me bringing back the branch or paper or the occasional stray dog.

My point is, you can't teach this old girl new tricks. I had to buy a new laptop....well I didn't have to buy a new one, I could have continued to use the one that would need to be angled on it's side in such a way to keep the plug firmly in place to charge it or risk losing all of my important data at the three hour mark. Instead I have a new Windows 8 laptop by +HP

Now, the huge screen, 17.5 inches; I fell in love with. The raised keyboard is another plus but the whole Windows8 application.....lets just say I have been close to tears, close to hysterics and now, close to a mental breakdown.

This moving screen is not good for someone like me, who is like a cat with shiny objects. Every time a new image appears, I fall into a trance like state; that is until another window comes 'alive'.

Then its the whole 'charms' that appear randomly on the side of the screen. They are suppose to help me find my way but all it succeeded in doing was confusing me.

Let's not even talk about how it took me over an hour to 'find' the desktop and then the 'find' my way back to all of the 'live' windows.

Who out there knew that computers no longer come with an owner's manual, well I sure as hell didn't and that was another two hour ordeal to figure out how to OPEN the manual online. Yes. I love my new laptop but can someone, anyone please show me how to navigate between the 'start' screen and the desktop without it taking me over an hour to do to so.

What's that...ohhhh, pretty pictures....ah, there's a new one scrolling right now....wait..there's another one.

See, I'll be here all day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Q and A with author C.A. Verstraete:

Today I welcome to my blog, a new author hitting the scene with a great YA zombie novel. I read it and it is amazing! I wanted to sit down with her and find out some of things she has learned and some of the things she is doing for her first novel. Make sure you leave her a comment.

Thank you for joining me today and I am going to jump right into it...

 Hi, B...thanks for hosting me as part of my Book Launch Blog Tour for Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, which just released!

What piece of advice would you give to new authors trying to get their novels published?

Verstraete: Be patient. (What is that?) Be persistent. And don't start sending it out too early. (Yes, I did. See reverse of first answer. ha!)

What is the thing the one thing that you have learned about publishing that you didn't know?

Verstraete: That there really, truly, is such a thing as a marketing/publicity person other than myself, though I've heard they're near as rare as unicorns. J

What made you write about Zombies? And do you think that Zombies are the new 'fad'?

Verstraete: I actually got into zombies with a short story I wrote a year ago (The Killer Valentine Ball) that I called "zombie light." I've always been a Night of the Living Dead fan, but The Walking Dead really hooked me.

Monsters seem to be the bearers of society's ills, and with all that's going on in our society, I think it's a theme that'll continue to be around for a while. People need a "boogeyman" and for now, zombies seem to be it.

Tell us what you like about being an author?

Verstraete: It's a good way to get the words out of my head or I'd be talking to myself. (Not a good thing. ha!) I just enjoy writing - at least when it's going well.

Why did you decide to go with Intrigue Publishing?

Verstraete: I liked the idea of a royalty-paying publisher and I liked Austin Camacho's long experience in publishing.

Your characters are Hispanic? Do you think it is harder to find a market for an ethnic novel than a novel with the characters being African American or White?

Verstraete: I actually don't think of my character, Becca, being any different than anyone else. She is part-Spanish, but that is only part of who she is. I think readers will find that Becca is multi-dimensional, with being a part-zombie and coping with "full" zombies more noticeable than her ethnicity. After all, not everyone has a "twirly" eye and a female, "Wolfman" gait...

This blog is about writing, shoes and books. What are your favorite shoes, your least favorite book, and why?

Verstraete:  Shoes? Well, who doesn't like shoes! I love platforms and wedges, and as someone barely reaching 5-feet-tall, I'm soo glad they're still in fashion. But I may still wear them anyway even if they weren't! And I absolutely adore miniature shoes (and purses!) They're dollhouse-sized, but look like the real thing. (For fun, check these out and tell me you're not in love!)

Books: One immediately comes to mind: Moby Dick. I hated reading (or trying to read) that book in school. Bo-ring! That doesn't mean I didn't like other classics, which I did. To this day, I still like to re-read Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Tell us about what is next for you.

Verstraete:  Next? More zombies, of course. I'm not done. Be sure to enter here to win a great prize

Blog: GirlZombieAuthors,

Amazon:  *Canada - China - France - Germany - India - Italy - Japan -Spain - US - UK

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Has there every been a time that you wanted something so bad, that you couldn't really do anything else but think about it.

Well I know that feeling and it can be good or bad. It's good because you get to feel the excitement of going after something that you really want. It's bad because if you don't get it; the let down is horrible.

In my life I have wanted things and gone after them and most of the time I have been very pleased with the outcome.

Until recently, I was very happy with the direction my life had taken and was very pleased with the way that I 'went after what I wanted."

Recently when I realized that I would not be able to have the one thing that I wanted, that is when  I knew what it felt like to be dejected and feel lost.

Had I lived in a fantasy world my entire life or had this one thing become more important to me than anything else?

I'm not sure what the answer to that question is because right now; I'm still feeling very overwhelmed by the sheer thought of not getting what I want.

The only solice that I have is that there will always be another day and I get a do-over. That and I can always make myself feel better with new shoes.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


In the news in the past month there has been star after star being arrested for doing something illegal.

The Ohio State football player was suspended for teh entire upcoming season because he was under investigation for assaulting a young lady. (at the time of this writing; those allegations have proven to be false)

The NE Patriots player accused of one murder and possibly of two more.

Makes me wonder..what the heck are these people doing and thinking? Do they not understand that they have such a great opportunity that many people aren't given and because they want to or just think they can get away with anything; they throw it all away. My son is a semi-pro football player and I am constantly telling him about 'friends' or wanna-be friends and knowing the difference. My words to him are, "Son, don't find yourself in a situation where your friends are doing wrong and question your loyalty. You better know that your friends will forgive and forget...your momma won't".

As adults we need to realize that what we do in our private lives can affect our public lives. What we think we will get away with will always catch up to us.

So for those children that you see screaming at their parents in the store or running around refusing to listen; know that it didn't start a year ago. It started when they were two years old and their parent told them to do something and they said, "NO" and the parent didn't correct that behavior. What are they thinking?

Well, my children didn't have the option of saying no. Sure they said it but I corrected that behavior by reminding them that it wasn't a choice I was giving them, I was merely being polite.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Writing and Parenting Parallels: How Writing and Parenting Overlap

Today's post is done by Rochelle Campbell who is an author and mother (who by the way is about to give birth to a little girl) I asked her to explain how parenting and writing go hand in hand.
The writing of a book can be likened to the birthing of a baby.  However, there are distinct differences.  With a book, you can stop and come back to it at various points in time.  Once you’re in labor, there is no stopping!  You must proceed to the end result – the birth of the baby!
However, the overall writing process I follow parallels parenting nicely.
The brainstorming a new story is akin to the conversations both parents have about starting a family.  However with a book, it is you and your muse having the conversation.  The odd thing about this convo is it tends to be lopsided.  Your muse tells you WHAT you should write and your brain/ego tell the muse all of the reasons why you should write this other thing that’s currently VERY HOT right now in publishing.  (Oops, did I write that out loud??)
The outlining your story is similar to when your child is little you have all of these grandiose plans…like how you will behave when your child reaches this milestone and that pinnacle.  These high points are akin to the plot points in your story.  What (most) parents don’t do is to fill in the gaps in between these high points.  How will you get from elementary school to middle school?  What does that look like?  What are the minutiae that go along with these years?  But that’s like taking the fun out of life (and writing!).  The fun is in enjoying the journey as you travel it.  Otherwise we’ll be like that Adam Sandler movie Fast Forward.  We’ll miss out on all the little joyous moments.
The ending of the story also parallels well.  We think we know what the ‘end’ of parenting is – when a child graduates college (or maybe high school, depending upon what generation you’re in!).  But is it really?  Is that ending satisfying enough?  Will the reader (or your child) find enough in what you’ve given?  Or, will they want another tome/lesson?  Or, will your child have all of the lessons truly necessary for their lives to run with them?  Will they need more from us after graduation?  We have to see as we go, don’t we?  Same thing with writing!
The editing process is exactly like raising a child; one is not quite sure of the right way to do things.  Why?  Because there is no ONE right way to do anything!  It is all about what is best for your child/your book at that moment.  In time, you can revisit past decisions and revise what you’ve said/written and hopefully have an awesome result!
For all of these reasons, writers make great parents (albeit nerdy ones!) because many of the same steps we take to bring a story into the world are very similar to the ones utilized to rear a child.  The same amount of thought, creativity, compassion, and wisdom required in great writing is necessary for great parenting.
Twitter: @NoteBkBlogairy

Monday, July 29, 2013


Yes, I'm being courted and my dad would be so happy. It's not that I'm a spinster or anything like that but being courted is something that every man wants for his daughter, right?

Well, my dad might be a litle disappointed to know that I am being courted by two women and a man. Actually, I guess you can say that want me to be a part of their group.

Now before you jump up and down and get yourself into a frenzy. I'm not talking about THAT kind of group; get your minds out of the gutter people. (not that's there's anything wrong with that)

I'm talking about being courted by a literary agency. That's right! Me, little ol me is being courted by one of the biggest agency's for literature and I am all aglow. (that's a word, right)

I was treated to a fancy dinner on Saturday then I got to go to a party where the First Lady was there and took note of my dress! Yes, my dress was a hit with the first lady. And let me just say this, she is really tall. I'm not short by any means, but even with my 6 inch heels on; she still had me by about 2 inches.

And, I got a car...I mean, not like Oprah, but they had a car and that is how we got to the party and I felt like Oprah or at the very least some rich spoiled kid. They laid out all that they 'could do for me' because they say I am "very marketable".

And do you want to know why this happened? It happened because of Thrillerfest! I owe all of this goodness to being at Thrillerfest and standing up and 'buzzing' my book!

I'm sure you are looking up Creatures,Crimes and Creativity right now because there will be agents there. There is still time to sign up!

So I guess you are wondering what my decision is: well I haven't made it yet. I know you are probably shouting, WHY NOT. The simple answer is: I have a lot of things to take into consideration and I don't want to jump into something that will impact the rest of my life. Just like buying a home, you have to KNOW that you want it. Oh trust me, I want it alright but they gave me two weeks to think it over...and that is exactly what I am going to do.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Today is July 25, 2013 and I have a brace on my left arm. You will see why that date is so important. Well, technically it is on my wrist.

You may be thinking...oh she must have carpal tunnel or maybe tendonitis, right? Wrong!

On Monday, July 20 I closed my door of my car and noticed a sharp pain in my wrist but didn't want to stop what I was doing long enough because in the words of Sugar Brown, "aint nobody got time for that". So I bared the pain and kept it moving.

That was until July 23, when I was headed to dance class. Yes, I am dancing like a fool every Tuesday night and having a blast. That's a different blog. Back to the story. So on Tuesday, I got out of the car and put my hand down on the seat as I got out and let me just tell ya; the pain that shot through my arm all but sent me sprawling onto the pavement. I wanted to cry like a 6 week old baby wanting her bottle but I tried to pull myself together. It didn't work. The pain got worse and worse; kinda like a contraction when you go into labor and just like a contraction, it went away.

Now on July 24th, I was sitting in my sitting room doing a little writing and sat my laptop down beside me and went to get up. Placed my hand down, to help myself up and when I opened my eyes; I was looking at the ceiling! What! What! Goodness I passed out from the pain and that is when I decided that maybe, just maybe, I needed to see a doctor.

So at noon on July 24th I went to the doctors and at 4pm I walked out with this on my arm. Courtesy of two cracks in the bone in my wrist. 

So for four days, I walked around with a fractured wrist; thinking that the pain would go away if I didn't touch anything!

Moral of this story: If you hear a crack, or pull something or are in pain. Go to the doctors.

Because I didn't make time, I have to wear this thing for at least two weeks; making my life much harder. (note: I probably would have still had to wear it but the pain was something that could have been handled with the right pain meds)