And the Winner is…

FB Fan Donna U. 
Congratulations!!! You’ve won a $25 gift certificate to your favorite online book retailer. 
Please email me to let me know which retailer you prefer.

Join me…

at Margie Lawson’s Alumni Blog today where she’ll be dissecting samples of Deep Cover using her deep editing methods and talking about (I hope!) how I empowered my character’s emotions using the methods she teaches.

Jessica Nelson also has a profile of the book up on her blog called Booking It. Thanks Jessica!

And Susan Sleeman of Suspense Zone wrote a review. Yee! This is a cool site for lovers of Suspense.

And…I missed announcing an interview of my HERO this past Sunday. I’m so ashamed. Poor Rick. You’ll find it here: 


For the past week, my editor and I have been mulling over title ideas for the third book in my undercover cops series. 

Killer Bunnies
We all know that titles are meant to hook readers into picking up the book. Some titles shock, others offer an intriguing play on words, some tug at our heart strings. What many readers don’t realize is that oftentimes, an author’s suggested or preferred title is not what goes on their book.

A lot of factors play into this. The publisher may have already published a book with that title—a common issue with Love Inspired since they publish so many books. Or there may be another title slotted for the same month with a word in the title common to the second author’s choice. Or perhaps, too many recent releases have already shared the word in common.

Her Only Protector
In addition to those factors, my publisher wants the title to convey what the story is about. So for example, my original title for Deep Cover was Shades of Gray. I liked this on a couple of levels, because the hero’s last name was Gray and he’s an undercover cop living different lives (shades of his life). He also must tell half truths and lies of omission to do his job—more shades of gray. And ultimately, he learns that while he may have to lie to do his job, there is no room for shades of gray in his heart. 

The problem with the title is that it didn’t convey what the story was about. 

Since no requests for new title suggestions were made for my third book at the time of contracting, I thought yay! I get to keep this title, too. The book is about an undercover cop who poses as an IT consultant in a hospital to determine if a string of mysterious deaths were murders, as an outspoken nurse insists–a nurse who soon finds herself a target.

I called it Dose of Deception, thinking that “dose” hints at the medical setting, and that “deception” hints at the role of the undercover cop and the villain. But alas…last week, I was asked to suggest alternatives.

With suspense on my mind, I proposed titles that included words like: killer, murder, lethal, mystery etc. To my surprise, I learned that books with those words in the titles don’t sell as well for Love Inspired Suspense. It made sense, once I thought about it. Readers are looking for “romantic” suspense.

Lone Defender
I, too, tend to gravitate to the titles that have words like protector or guardian or hero in them. The problem is the line has already used almost every possible combination of great hero descriptors like that. So I’m stumped…

Your turn: What key words in a “romantic suspense” title grab your attention?

Fun Friday – Getting into Character?

Let me start by assuring you that I DID NOT duct tape my daughter to the chair. Honest! 

And isn’t Bella a true hero–um, heroine–to try to free her? 

Before I tell you what’s going on at the whacky author’s house, I want to give all of you a chance to guess. Let’s have some creative fun. 

Your turn: What do you think is going on? 

Then…join me tomorrow at Jaunty Quills where the answer will be revealed, and one lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of Deep Cover. 

Also until Sunday, at Margaret Daley’s blog, tell me what undercover cop assignment you would find most intriguing to read about for another chance to win a copy.

Join me…

at author Lyn Cote’s blog today where I’m talking about the strongest woman I know, friend and author of Finding Glory in the Thorns, Lisa Jamieson.

Join me…

at The Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired Romance today for a fun look at where my character ideas come from. Not from where you might expect!

Faith, Hope and Love

Thank you to all who shared their ideas for my book signing on Friday, and to those who prayed me through it. (For those who don’t follow my FB updates, a dear writing friend had died the night before.)
I’m happy to report that the event was wonderfully attended. My local writing friends came out in full support in Kate’s stead, and I didn’t cry once. I had so much fun meeting new readers who’d read about the event in the newspaper.
Since Mondays are dedicated to character discussions related to Deep Cover, today, I’d like to talk about the dove pictured on the front cover. Fifteen-plus months before the story began, Rick gave Ginny a dove ornament as a reminder that God watches over her. 
It’s a recurring symbol throughout the book. I love how it’s depicted on the cover. How the dove appears in the shaft of light beaming through a break in the stormy clouds. It’s a wonderful picture of how God promises to lead us through the darkness.
In her last days, my friend wore a treasured cross, handed down to her from her mother and her grandmother before that. It was a wonderful symbol of her trusting in God for her eternity.
Because she had no children, she gave the cross to me a few days before she died and asked me to pass it down to my daughter. We were so incredibly touched and honored that she entrusted this precious symbol to our care.
It seems apropos that a post I wrote weeks ago about my friend should be scheduled for today at Hope to Life. It’s a short post about daring to dream, and dedications. I hope you’ll stop by to read it.
Your turn: Do you have a symbol or verse or song or keepsake that reminds you of God’s love when He feels far away?

Fun Friday – First Booksigning Today…what was I thinking?!

Unless this is your first visit to my blog, you’ve probably already figured out that I got a little exuberant when planning a blog tour to promote my debut release. Forty-five plus stops in total…but who’s counting?

Well, probably you if you’ve already seen me pop up on several of your regular blog destinations!

Today, alone, I’m on four. And if I was smart, I’d be posting something exceptionally witty to entice all the visitors popping over from them to return–hey, I can dream!

But alas, I have my first-ever book signing tonight.

A three hour long book signing!

What was I thinking?

I’ve seen the odd book signing at a store, the authors sitting there looking a tad forlorn as shoppers give them a wide berth.

For THREE hours. Ugh!

I knew there was a reason I shouldn’t have given my relatives free copies. At least I could’ve counted on them showing up, arms a little red from being twisted.

I’m thinking that my pretty face, holding up a copy of the book isn’t going to cut it. And my husband’s no help. I begged him to drive me, which he will. But then he said, what am I supposed to do for three hours?! I can only drink so much coffee. The signing is in Chapters with an adjacent Starbucks. Thank you, Lord!

So I sought encouragement from a few seasoned authors. And here are the top 5 suggestions: 

1) Have chocolate on the table, lots of it.   …Check
2) Don’t do book signings.   …Next
3) Offer a door prize     …Check
4) Cajole a really good-looking guy to sit at the table with you.     …Hmm, hubby will be in Starbucks…no, better not
5) Chocolate     …Okay, so they weren’t all that encouraging!

Then I started thinking, what if people do come? How should I sign the books?  

I was once asked by an author whose book I won how I’d like her to sign it. I immediately said, “To my best friend, Sandra, …” And she did! It’s still my favorite signed copy.

But from the practice run I had at my neighbor’s birthday party (because she’s super-sweet and gave a copy of Deep Cover to each guest as a party favor!!), only one out of ten people had a suggestion. To the rest I wrote, “Hope you enjoy the book.”

You’d think a writer could do better than that!

Your Turn: I’m appealing to you, my dear blog readers, to give me some ideas. How would you like an author to sign a copy of her book for you?

BTW: I’m at Kav’s joint-blog today Inkspirational Messages
Also on The Love Inspired Authors Blog talking about Miller’s Bay, the setting for Deep Cover
And at the ACFW blog (for writers) talking about the value of writing contests.
And at My Book Therapy because I’m a crazy woman who can’t say no!

Join me…

Today I’m being interviewed by award-winning Love Inspired Suspense author, and dear friend, Sandra Robbins, at her joint-author blog called The Borrowed Book.

Now, I know, I know, I know…another interview?!

If you’ve read any of them…which is probably how you found this blog in the first place, you probably know more about me than you ever wanted to know.

But… it’s a cool blog.

And a big wave hello to those who have popped over from The Borrowed Book. My regular posting days are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Join me…

Today I’m being interviewed at the Barn Door Book Loft, and a copy of Deep Cover will be given away. 

And…over at Go Teen Writers, I’ve posted a brief step-by-step outline of how I write, and I’m offering a 3-page critique to one of the commenters. 

Don’t forget, I have a special guest coming in tomorrow!!