PRINT OUT


 
Courtesy Dana Rothstein Dreamstime Stock Photos
     I recycle glass, metal and plastics, newspapers, advertisements, and circulars, and use USDA certified biobased products but—when it comes to writing I print out page after page of my stories and articles. Reading what I’ve written on the computer works for my first few drafts but after that I need to look at the print on the page even when the piece is meant for an e-book or an on-line site.
     Mistakes I hadn’t noticed when I read the words on the screen jump out and accuse me of carelessness. I cringe when I notice a dull sentence—so dull I know a more active word must be found, and often I discover I’ve repeated words or a descriptive phrase more times than I thought humanly possible.
     Characters scold—telling me they would never use certain expressions or behave in a manner so completely removed from their reality. Sometimes my protagonist encourages me to change the direction of the plot or forces me to alter the antagonist’s motivation.  
  

Courtesy Terry McAllister Dreamstime Stock Photos     
     I may find I haven’t clued my future reader into something they need to know—that would be a disaster and sometimes I’ve said too much—why would someone bother reading to the last page if they’re way ahead of me? Times and dates urge me to double and triple check and make sure the actions and events I’ve planned could have possibly happened within the period written about. Was that dish served or that special gown worn in that particular country, in that particular century?

     I print out chapter pages or an entire article, make sure I have a pen and take it with me to work on in another place. Perhaps a ride on a bus, a park bench, or a coffee house; then it’s back to the computer to make changes and begin again—begin at the beginning.

Courtesy Dreamstime Stock Photos

Source: Not Your Usual Suspects

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A Smorgasbord of Suspense

Smorgasbord originally meant a Swedish buffet, but now the term refers to a wide range of options, a variety of styles. That variety is one of the things I love about the current offerings in multi-author boxed sets. The sets are a way to discover and “try out” new-to-me authors at a price that seem too good to be true. How can you beat $.99-$2.99 for groups of novels from your favorite authors? I’ve discovered really good books by picking up a friend’s box set—and discovering new favorites.
DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS just released and is heating up more than the bestseller list! With a variety of heat levels, there’s a story to tempt everyone.
Get your heartbeat racing with 13 romantic-suspense novels from USA Today, bestselling, and award-winning authors. Nerve-wracking thrills and dangers, heart-melting romance and love–enjoy them all in this outstanding collection of DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS….
Fallen Idol – USA Today Bestselling author Nikki Lynn Barrett
Sparks ignite between a single father and a singer making her musical comeback, but danger lurks in the distance, only getting closer as time goes on. For two people who want different things out of life, it’s possible to find healing together…

Cross Examination – Bestselling Author Denise Moncrief
Tamara Slay moves to Louisiana to start a new life with her daughter, but her dreams of a peaceful existence are shattered when Lt. Martin Beck suspects her ex-husband is a serial killer.

Carnival Tricks – Award-Winning, Bestselling Author Jade Kerrion
A dying scientist propels a waitress into the shady world of corporate espionage. The unwilling carrier of the recipe for a lethal chemical weapon, can Sofia save the world when she can’t even save herself?

Height of Danger – Nancy & Nolan Radke
How do you keep a woman safe who distrusts you, and won’t stay where you hide her? CIA operative Owen Putman has to protect his employer’s daughter while trying to find out who is killing construction workers at a Central American dam site.

Six Days of Memories – International Bestselling Author Stacy Eaton
Detective Natasha Foster comes across the crime scene of her career, and she will put everything on the line to find out the truth, including her heart. Jay’s need to know if he’s the victim or criminal pushes him to remember who he is and with the pull of a trigger, Jay’s memory will suddenly return and with it, the terrible truth.

Broken Lies – Sharon Coady
Bodyguard Niall Kerrigan lets his guard down and falls for Abby Bailey, a beautiful woman with a secret past. When Abby goes missing Niall must face his ruthless father to fight for the woman he loves and choose between a life with her or keeping her safe without him.

Don’t Know Jack – Amy Manemann
Undercover FBI agent Jack Hamlin meets his match in small town bakery owner, Kate Monroe, when they’re swept into a dangerous game of lies, intrigue and desire.

Cypher – Award-Winning Bestselling Author Cathy Perkins
When a hit man kills the wrong person, a SC detective confronts hidden agendas and conflicting motives in a powerful local family, while trying to control his attraction to the intended victim–a woman who’s hell-bent on saving the remnants of her family.
Murderous Lies – Bestselling Author Chantel Rhondeau
Max is exonerated for murder after eight years, returning to his home town and the fiancée he left there. Rose isn’t so happy to see him…and then the murders start again.
Tidal Falls – Jacquie Biggar
When Nick fails to notice an IED and loses most of his teammates, he shuts down. It takes meeting and falling in love with a woman in danger to make him realize life’s worth living.
Suspended Animation – Sylvie Grayson
Suspense, spicy romance and attempted murder erupt when hockey player Brett hires Katy to run the office of his ailing father’s near-bankrupt trucking company. Can he protect her from her lethal friends and the chaos surrounding them?
Knowing Vera – Award-Winning, Bestselling Author Rachelle Ayala
Suspenseful romance, an unsolved murder, and love on the beach. A young woman seeks to prove her father innocent of murdering her boyfriend’s mother.
Special Agent Francesca – New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Mimi Barbour
Violence, suspense and sizzling romance explode during Special Agent Francesca’s humorous journey fighting off the mob! Dr. Sean Collins wants to tame her! Yeah-like that’s gonna happen. Only one thing keeps Francesca motivated. Proving to her mother, the FBI “Snow Queen,” that working undercover is where she belongs.
I hope you’ll take a moment to check out this amazing deal and if you give the stories a try, I hope you come back and share your experience with us.
Don’t forget, reviews are an author’s best friend 🙂
Nook: Pending
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1R4py8H

Source: Not Your Usual Suspects

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Exciting News!

NRCA Icon NovRomElemI’m absolutely thrilled to announce:

CYPHER has been chosen as a finalist for both the NATIONAL READER’S CHOICE

 

 

 

 

 

holt-finalistand  the HOLT MEDALLION awards for a Novel with Romantic Elements.

It’s hugely gratifying when readers connect with the stories and characters we love to bring to life. Thank you to all the reader judges and coordinators who volunteered their time to make the contest happen.

Here’s the full list of the finalists:

National Readers Choice

Holt Medallion

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Weekend Sale!

Cypher-frontcover-Glass-Final-72dpiCYPHER is part of a multi-author sale this weekend.

Check out The Authors’ Billboard for all the sale books!

Here’s the info on my book 🙂

CYPHER by Cathy Perkins (romantic suspense; romantic thriller): When a hitman kills the wrong person… Cara won’t sit by and let her family be destroyed. ‪#‎thriller‬
~ Mystery, intriguing subplots, family dynamics, and a cast of highly memorable characters combine to weave a tapestry of page turning drama in this contemporary suspense. ~
Check out all the books on sale at The Author’s Billboard website!
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/cypher-1
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MMLX1ZQ
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cypher/id931297655
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cypher-cathy-per…/1120110911

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Mid-Life Crisis

Have you ever wondered where all the mid-life crises come from? I figure it has to be a recent phenomena. I mean, how often did you hear about a turn-of-the-century farmer shaving the family mule into something rakish and ambling off into the sunset to find himself?

According to Wikipedia, the term was first used in 1965 (the 60s—why am I not surprised?) as a time “where adults come to realize their own mortality and how much time is left in their life.” Some attribute the concept to Carl Jung, while others say it all goes back to Freud.

Most often, a mid-life crisis includes making significant changes—career, work-life balance, marriage, romantic relationship, large expenditures or physical appearance. Reassessing your goals and priorities from a more mature perspective sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? So why does “a mid-life crisis” smack of selfishness and immaturity?

red-corvette-convertibleMuch as we enjoy laughing at the old dude in the hot red sports car chasing a long-faded youth, research shows about 10% of 40 – 60 years-olds have a true psychological crisis. The rest? Well, maybe it’s best described as overwhelmed by one too many of life’s daily stressors.

It seems the Western culture of youth may play a role in the situation and that it hits men longer and harder than women. I can’t help but wonder if part of that statistic is due to the age of the study—the  80s, when fewer women were far enough along in their careers to have big regrets…but I digress.

In my newest novel, So About The Money, Holly Price’s dad followed the all too typical pattern—dumped his spouse, walked away from career and responsibility, and basically did whatever he wanted, without thinking about the impact on the people affected by his decisions.

Ouch. That was harsh.

How about: Holly’s dad questioned the choices he made and the validity of decisions he made years before.

Either way, Holly took a sabbatical from her career and came home to run the family business, staging it to sell. The last thing she expected was to face her own career choices and have to deal with her own emotional baggage—a six-foot hunk of testosterone, AKA her former fiance.

Watch this website for more information about the release!

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Choosing Memories

Cleaning up after Christmas and the accompanying flurry of departing guests seems as much a January ritual as making New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know about you, but every year I vow to get organized. To clear away the clutter on the kitchen counter. To organize the storage area.

So how’s that working for you?

moving CollageThis year, I have an added incentive. We’re moving to a smaller house in the mountains, which means this house has to go on the market, and did you catch the part about a smaller house? On January 1, I tackled the kitchen junk drawer and then breezed through discarding old magazines, expired coupons and random notices for events. Every day there was a new task. Clothes? No problem. Haven’t worn it, out if goes. My husband watched in delighted disbelief as bag after bag went to recycle, charity and the trash.

My pace slowed when I tackled the storeroom. Stashes of old financial records? Into the shredder – I created enough confetti for a New Year’s Day parade. Then I hit the brick wall. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?

school projectFamily pictures. The kids’ school records and awards. How could I part with those? How should I chose which memories to keep—and which to discard? I can blame part of the reluctance to let go on being far away from the rest of my family, or on my husband being the last member of his, but I think I’m simply sentimental—or a big softie—when it comes to families.

In my latest release, Caroline (Cara) Wainwright is desperately trying to save not just family mementos, but her actual family. An assassin is picking off family members one by one. Cara and Detective David Morris are is a desperate race to stop him before the entire family is eliminated.

What’s the one memento from your family that you absolutely wouldn’t give up? Hopefully there isn’t a hitman targeting you while you make that choice!

 

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Resolving a Plan?

new-year-It’s resolution time!

How about instead of posting lofty goals, let’s look back at 2014 and assess the success of our business? Most of us [on this blog] have been writing long enough we’re used to thinking of our writing as a business, but have you set up a balance sheet? Assessed your inventory?

Sidebar – my tag line is “mystery with a financial twist.” The interviewer for an online magazine’s (I’ll add the URL later) first question began: Finance is boring. Why would anyone read a financial mystery? Ouch! I hope I finessed that question.

So back to our assessment.

sheet-clipart-balance sheetStep 1: Create your balance sheet. List your titles – your primary asset – plus any other writing you have to offer, including WIPs and blog posts – your inventory.

I’m leaving your income statement alone. J

Step 2: Your 2014 goals (can you actually find them?) Did you accomplish your goals from 2014? (And how did you do versus 2013?)

Most likely your first goal was “write/publish X books.”

If you wanted to write, sell, or publish four books this year but you only managed two – why did that happen?

Setting lofty goals is simple and wow, but do we know the best-laid plans can go sideways. What happened that kept you from writing X books? Did your son or daughter make that traveling gymnastics team and carpooling/chaperoning bounced your writing time? Were you responsible for an elderly parent? Or like my friend Julie, did your daughter expected you to be the babysitter for her child? Family usually takes precedence over our plans. (Hmm…huge topic for another day.) Did your day job change (like mine) and all of a sudden you’re a road warrior with a huge project dumped in your lap? Or did you simply run out of steam—why?

Step 3: List the things that prevented you from accomplishing your goals.

Maybe 2014 was amazing! You wrote and sold more than your goal; you hit Amazon category, USA, or NYT lists! Yay!

Step 4: List what went right in 2014.bestseller

Beyond the “no one really knows” why a particular book will hit is a lot of hard work. Did you commit to X words a day and set a time to write? Did you work harder to release those books? Harder how? Even if you aren’t certain why 2014 went better, list what might have been a factor. Did your blog receive more traffic? Did you prepare and turn in guest posts? (All those posts and guest posts should be on your inventory list, by the way.) Did you spend more time tweeting? Employ certain ads/promotional campaigns? Did your publisher help promote? How? Take a wild guess if you aren’t sure.

Congratulations. You’ve just created your business plan for 2015!

You know what you have or don’t have in terms of inventory to offer. You know why you did or did not succeed in reaching your goals in 2014. You know the personal-life elements you have to consider, even if it’s how to work around obstacles. You know what your obstacles are.

Now you can make your 2015 resolutions, except you’re setting business goals.

As you list each goal, add what it will take to achieve them.

Your business plan will be the driving force behind your dreams and aspirations. Stick to your plan unless there’s a major alteration—and adjust the plan to accommodate a new obstacle.

Don’t just make this words on a piece of paper. As the cliché say, Just Do It.

If you commit to 300 words a day, write them. If you miss a day, a week, instead of wasting energy beating yourself up – jump back in. Try to catch up, even if you add only 25 extra words per day.

Keep your goals reasonable. We’d all like to sell two million books this year. Is it realistic?

Break the goals down into manageable pieces. If you sold fifteen books a day in 2014, it’s reasonable to set a goal for 25 or 30 in 2015. Releasing your next book might mean you’ll start selling 50 a day. The writing business can change in the time it takes Amazon to launch a new program or Smash to ink a new partnership. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals or your plans for how to reach those goals.

Print your goals and put them somewhere you’ll see them on a daily basis. Above your computer monitor—or taped to the bathroom sink. Stay focused.

Remember, you are the CEO of your business no matter how big or small it is. Act successful, keep your chin up, and maintain a positive attitude. Success will come.

A limited version of this post appeared earlier in January on our group blog, Not Your Usual Suspects.

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A New Kind of Mile High Club with Cathy Perkins

This post originally appeared on the Kiss and Thrill blog – one of my favorite places – in an interview with Rachel Grant, who reviewed CYPHER ~ and gave it the coveted 5 airplanes!

Take off with Rachel :

Today I am excited to welcome Cathy Perkins back to Kiss and Thrill! Cathy and I first met when we finaled in the Golden Heart® together in 2008, and our friendship has grown over the years as she’s one of the Northwest Pixie Chicks – a group of amazing authors I go on a writing retreat with every year. The annual Pixie retreat is one of my favorite weekends of the year and Cathy is a big part of what makes the weekend so special.

Cypher-Cover-Woman-Final1-72dpiCathy has just released a new romantic suspense, CYPHER and I was among the lucky few who got to read an advance copy. I fired up my eReader as my plane took off in Anchorage, and when the plane neared Seattle I didn’t want to land. It’s that good.

I enjoyed it so much I’m giving it 5 airplanes and adding it to my list of favorite mile-high reads.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   fiveplanes  fiveplanes  fiveplanes  fiveplanes  fiveplanes  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

RG: Welcome back, Cathy!

CP: Thanks for having me!

RG: What published author (any genre) turns you into a total fangirl?  Is there a particular book or is this based on their entire body of work?

CP: How much time do you have? So many favorite authors… Whew, narrowing it down to just one (or two 😉 )

bconBouchercon (a huge reader conference for mystery and suspense people) was a constant fangirl moment for me. Every time I turned around, there was another favorite author! Two that especially stand out are Sophie Littlefield and Suzanne Brockmann. I’d just finished A Bad Day for Sorry and loved that Sophie’s heroine was middle aged and divorced—such a departure from the usual. Sophie was incredibly sweet. Her more recent books are women’s fiction, but she’s still on my auto-buy list.

Does anyone write romantic suspense better than Suzanne Brockmann? Well, obviously everyone here at Kiss and Thrill is fabulous, but I love the Troubleshooters!

Do you remember that Suzanne was the emcee at our 2008 Golden Heart ceremony, Rachel? Cowboy boots with her evening dress.  That seems to sum up her independent streak.

RG: Thanks, from all of us at K&T! And I forgot Suzanne was the emcee—I think I was too petrified to notice.

Have you ever written fan fiction, and if so, what work was it based on?  If you haven’t, is there any book or series you’d be tempted to write fan fiction about?

CP: I understand the concept of fan fiction – readers love the characters and continue with their own adventures for the characters – and can see the appeal. I have so many characters of my own I want to write about, so I don’t see writing fan fiction any time soon.

RG: Facebook or Twitter?

CP: I’m active on both. Twitter is fun for quick updates or call-outs, a chat with someone, and I still find it amusing that Alaska Air follows me.

RG: LOL! I was flying on Alaska when I read your book. Coincidence or kismet? Now that you have a 5 Airplane review, maybe other airlines will join your feed? 😉

CP: Facebook gives me more time and space to interact with friends. My personal “lists” (groups such as authors writing for one of my publishers, our Golden Heart group, South Carolina friends) make it so much easier to stay in touch. The constantly changing algorithms mean I have to work a little harder to reach people, but it’s still the best way I’ve found to share.

RG: Wait, our GH group has a FB list? Next retreat I need remedial Facebook lessons…

What is the strangest weapon you’ve used to kill off a character, either on or off-scene?

sisters in crimeCP: We had a discussion about this on the Sisters in Crime loop, and I admit, I felt like a newbie reading ways they’d managed to kill off characters! My contribution to the strangest weapon category must be a punji stick chewed to a lethal point by a beaver.

RG: Love it! Okay, tell us about CYPHER.

CP: CYPHER just released and a fabulous romantic suspense author tagged it, a twisty mystery, a compelling romance. That sums up the story nicely.

RG: [blushing] Thanks! Ahem. I mean… what an apt description!

CP: Without giving away the plot and all the twists, CYPHER started with the premise, What if a hitman killed the wrong person? The “whys” lined up from there—why was the killer sent to murder the heroine? Why wasn’t she home? Why was her friend there and mistaken for her? The characters grew and became three-dimensional as I thought through the implications and how that character would react to events unfolding around him or her.

Cypher is the name of the Wainwright family business, a company Cara’s father built and devoted his life to nurturing. Cara at times refers to it as “the la-la land of Secret Military Stuff.” The company is at the center of the mystery, but its connections and secrets are as hidden as the buildings are from the public. The company provides a tangible symbol of the family relationships and dynamics, which are key components in the story.

Originally I hadn’t planned to have Cara Wainwright and Detective David Morris romantically involved, but I quickly saw the potential for conflict and knew I had to explore that relationship. Each of them had to overcome inherent suspicion and questions about the other’s motive while dealing with this enormous crisis surrounding Cypher and Cara’s family.

RG: Thank you so much for joining us today, Cathy! I’m already counting the days until our next retreat…

CP: Me too! Before I go today, I have a question for your Kiss and Thrill readers – Facebook or Twitter? I’m giving away a signed print copy of FOR LOVE OR MONEY to one commenter.

Okay readers, it’s your turn – tell us which you prefer: Facebook or Twitter! One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of FOR LOVE OR MONEY – another fabulous financial romantic suspense by Cathy! Winner will be announced in next week’s blog.

Winner has been announced ~ contest is closed

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I Didn’t Get A Tractor For Christmas

Merry Post Christmas!

Another Christmas over: Church services, presents, family visits. Done. But before you head out to the mall to begin the Great Exchange, go ahead and admit it. There’s something you wanted for Christmas – and you didn’t get it.

Lean in close and whisper your secret desire.

I’ll go first. I wanted a tractor. Not a toy, the real deal. The kind that until this past year I figured existed only in Kenny Chesney songs (She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy) and square states in the middle of the country.

Maybe I should explain – we bought land in the mountains this spring. All around us, guys grow hay to feed their horses or for export to Japan. The former owner of our land’s failure to take care of his property… well, let’s just say it was a sore point in the valley.

FG machineSummer rolled around and the grass started growing, as grass does, but the weeds were getting there faster. So I fired up the Forrest Gump machine. Y’all have seen Forrest Gump one of the nine million times it’s been on TV, right? In case you missed it, this is the mower Forrest used:

It took hours to cut that field.

And I’m sure you noticed there’s no padding on that seat.

Fast forward a few weeks and the grass – and weeds – have done their thing. I looked at Forrest Gump, sighed and fired it up. I’d made about two laps when my neighbor drove into the field on his enormous John Deere. “Cathy, let me teach you how to drive a tractor.”

Tractor Driving WomanThat sucker had lots of bells and whistles, buttons, knobs and levers, but it also had a huge mowing deck and the field looked pristine in no time flat.

And so it went all summer. I’d fire up Forrest Gump, clear the edges and cut around the irrigation heads and my neighbor would show up with his tractor.  

Granted this wasn’t like borrowing a cup of sugar and I lived in fear of somehow breaking it, but I loved that tractor.

When the holiday season rolled around, I asked Santa for a tractor.

Left homemade cookies and everything.

Our family celebrated Christmas at the new cabin (yeah, yeah, another story) and when all the packages were open, there wasn’t one with a set of keys. I checked the barn, the garage, the shed.

No tractor.

Kinda like the pony when I was a kid.

Hmmm … I wonder if the dealer puts tractors on sale after Christmas?

So what did you wish for – either this year or when you were a kid – that Santa didn’t tuck under your tree?

 

I origianally posted this on our group website – Didn’t Get A Tractor For Christmas

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