Marisa Makes Memories

Images of a sweltering summer romance:

hammock-on-the-beachA hammock slung between two shade trees.

A secluded sandy island beach.

A tiny parasol floating in a fruity alcoholic drink.

A pair of rhinestone flip-flops in the sand.

A string bikini flung onto a bedroom chair.

Make you want to have a summer fling, or at least read about one? Or better yet, write your own story after get insider tips on crafting a steamy summer synopsis at a writer’s retreat?

“A retreat sounds great,” you say. But how can you possibly pull off an idyllic getaway set smack dab in the middle of your crazy life? Maybe you’ll have to settle for reading this summer instead.

But no, it can be done! So says the coordinators of Camp NaNoWriMo, the same organization that created National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing that takes place every November, with participants striving to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 daysCNW_Participant_Twitter
According to the coordinators, Camp NaNoWriMo is a “light” version of the November event, but instead of asking campers to pledge to write a 50,000 tome, participants can set their own count. Last year more than 57,000 writers signed up for the camp.

Sounds good so far? No long airline security waits, no overpriced hotel rooms, no lost luggage. And even though you won’t be sitting around the camp fire together, participants have the option of inviting specific Wrimos into their cabin to bunk up, join a cabin with participants of the same age, activity level, word count goal, or genre, with up to 11 other writers.  Joining a random cabin or being a hermit are options too. Once registered, campers are directed to set up a camper profile and can even purchase camp-y t-shirts. Anyone for a rendition of “Kumbaya”?camp_13_shirt_main

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo, organizers say, this program is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel. Although, the lure is to nurture any writing project, whether you’re tending to a second draft, planting the seed of a new story, or branching out with a script or poem.

For those interested in signing up, Camp NaNoWriMo starts on Friday, July 1. For many, that will be a long weekend with the 4th of July on Monday. What writer wouldn’t be inspired on America’s favorite pyrotechnic day by creating fireworks between their own fictional characters?

For me, after participating for the first time in last year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m enthusiastic about attending this year’s writer’s summer camp without the threat of contracting poison ivy.  And although I didn’t write, 50,000 words in November because of a demanding day job,  I did produce over 8000, more than a I do in a typical thirty-day period.  Plus, the collaborative global effort gave me a sense of community, held me to a level of accountability, and infused my daily writing activities with a dose of excitement.

So if this you avoided summer camp, that pubescent rite of passage full of social awkwardness, this is your time as a writer to reclaim the nostalgic possibilities through the safety net of a virtual experience.

We’re on the cusp of Summer. Are you ready for Camp? I’ve got the c amp


Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 2 Comments

Take a Bath. Read a Romance

My bath this morning included Epson Salts as my legs are super wimpy and I’m determined to do some kayaking soon! For me, paddling around bodies of water is a balm for my heart and mind. The NEWS is currently a constant horror story on steroids but fortunately my social networks seem devoted to promoting joy. Love grows and spreads like the angels and helpers that appear following tragic events.

I’m into romantic comedies and in recent months have expanded my collection of movies to watch with a cup of tea or glass of wine, every night. I may be immobile in Oregon instead of donating blood in Orlando but I got a reader letter in October that has validated my devotion to creating fun family-saga romance novels.

Here’s the email I got from a reader, a chance encounter at a campground and I gave her my book to read:

Just finished reading your book in my cozy cabin bedroom.  What fun!  I thank you for giving me some fun that I really needed.  Didn’t get into it when I met you, but I’m going through some heavy stuff.  Dad has cancer.  Mom’s in a nursing home with dementia.  My son is in a nasty divorce from a daughter-in -law that I love very much.  Even though she’s acting like she’s lost her mind.  And I mean that literally!  My grandson of 5 years is seeing a psychologist because he’s showing no regard for his personal safety.  He was just fine before the divorce and Mom got a new boyfriend.  Who is a fundamentalist religious nut who took up with a married woman.

I have a tendency to read heavy books. Thrillers, mysteries, or something I might learn from.  That I rarely am able to finish because I lose concentration.  My anxiety level is through the roof.  So your book was a breath of fresh air. I had forgotten that sometimes you just need to read something fun.  It carried me away and made me forget all of my problems. I had a hard time putting it down.  Read it in 3 nights.  Which is really fast for me.

It was also really a lot of fun reading something written by someone I have actually met.  So thank you so much of the gift of reminding me to “lighten up.”  To do something fun for self and not feel guilty about it.  Also, bringing me back to the spiritual side of things. I have a tendency to put my spirituality on the back shelf and get negative when I’m stressed. Did you know you and that little book were a gift to me from the universe?  Funny how that happens when you really need it huh?  So, yes my dear, write more books!

I want to know.  Does Melanie marry Adam and have twin girls and are they spiritually connected to Adams friend that was killed?

Well, I’m off to make a dinosaur costume for my grandson.

Love and Light surround you!  Vicki

Turn off the news, take a bath. Read a romance. The uplift from reading a happy ending, no matter your preferred genre of romance, is the energy we need to bring forth.

Posted in Contemporary Romance, Readers, Soul Mate Publishing, Terri Tells All! | 2 Comments

Beat the Block.

6358971511882426241960009235_Writer's block

Yeah, yeah, this has been done a million times before.

But not by me!😛

Today I’m talking about Writer’s Block, this enigmatic phenomena of when your creative brain hits a wall in a juicy explosion of frustrating glory.

And you have to somehow piece your gray matter back together again.

And mop up all of that juice.

And make the slop coherent enough to put words back on the page.

Of all the writer’s block articles and blogs I’ve read, there’s this constant debate as to whether this marvel of marvels actually exists or if writers use it as an excuse to…you know…not write.

I think it’s a little of both.

Sure, we all get stuck. We sit there and stare at that panic-inducing blank page, a slow fury brewing inside us at that blinking cursor of DOOM, and you’re not going to make your word count—Christ, you haven’t even written a single word yet—and you’re angry at your verbal impotence and you just want to throw your freaking computer/notebook/whatever out the window and say, “Take that, you mother[CENSOR] piece of [CENSOR!] [CENSOR!!!]” and then you flop back down in your seat and cry because you just destroyed a very expensive piece of machinery.

Not to mention you just lost the 27K words you actually managed to write.

I’m sure this has happened to everyone, yes? No? YES.

So when we get into this situation, our behavior becomes a little, shall we say, avoidant. Naturally. Flight is much easier than fight. “I’m blocked,” we say, unable to face our sad lack of performance with a lowered head and hunched shoulders.


Here’s what I’ve decided is going on when this happens to me (of course, everyone is different, and it’s important to recognize your own cues):

  • Either the scene is just not working, or the story has taken a turn that I subconsciously don’t like.
  • The scene is, well, boooooriiiiing.
  • The scene is terrifying to write and I fear my execution on said scary scene.

Here’s what I do to resolve it:

  • Skip it and move on to the next one. After all, you can’t edit a blank page, AMIRITE?
  • Throw in a giant monkey wrench, something outrageous, something that has to make it exciting at least a teeny tiny bit.
  • Put my fingers on the keys and just plow through it, word by agonizing word.

Some of us can’t afford to be blocked, especially when we’re under a tight deadline. Or when you work an obscene amount of hours during your day job, or when you have a house full of OUT OF CONTROL children, or when fate just slaps you in the face with health problems, family issues, generalized anarchy. Your time is scarce and precious—everyone’s time is. You don’t want to stare at that blank [CENSOR] page and that stupid [CENSOR!] cursor and your muse is being a freaking [CENSOR!!!]. You can’t afford this waste of precious seconds, minutes, hours, maybe even days.

So what do we do?

We whine about it. Woe is me, I have writer’s block.


Please. PLEASE.

Stop whining.

Shift to something else. Pick up another story you’ve been working on, write a new short, something to chip the rust off those creaky gears. Flash fiction. Try it, why not?

Go for a walk, run, hike, a nationwide expedition. Scuba dive, bungee jump, sky dive (nothing like jumping out of a plane to give you some perspective!). Sit at the end of a bar and listen to those crazy drunken stories. People-watch like a creepy mother[CENSORED]. Listen to music, and I mean really listen. What are they singing about? Why? Watch movies or TV shows, but actively watch them—listen to the dialogue, study the plotline, why does it work, what’s so cool or damn stupid about it? Read books! Poetry! Use the same analysis. Fill that creative well with all of that brain juice, and when you’re ready, pour it onto your keyboard with a delightful cackle.

In sum, walk away from it for a while (but not for too long) and do something different. Come back to it with fresh eyes and a heel-clicking song in your heart. Maybe you just need to change the POV. Maybe one of your characters needs to die (maybe they ALL NEED TO DIE). Maybe you need to just add some zombies, man.

And if it’s still not working?

Scrap it. Kill your darlings. However many words, the whole file, whatever—slush pile it. Start over.

Because you can’t edit a blank page. And when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of it, you can’t make progress on something that doesn’t work for you.

So find something that works. And write it. No excuses!


Have any suggestions on how to beat the block? I’d love to hear them! Maybe you can help cure someone’s verbal impotence.😉

* * *

When she’s not verbally impotent, L.D. Rose writes about love and monsters. She also happens to be a doctor by day, which also involves love and monsters. Her debut dark PNR, RELEASING THE DEMONS, has some really badass monsters…and okay, maybe some love too. To learn more about her work, visit

Posted in Author, Creativity, Inspiration, Life-Snippets from L.D., Motivation, Soul Mate Publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Love is in the Details by Author Susan Hanniford Crowley


Writing romance sometimes is like handling a snake. In this case, I  am the long haired woman with the tail end of a python. Love blooms when the following criteria are met:

  1. Both characters experience a trust in each other. (I actually have had previously training in how to handle and be respectful of snakes, so I found this event in Gatorland of Florida a lot of fun.)
  2. Both characters are surprised by qualities in the other they didn’t expect. (The first time I touched a snake, I was surprised to find it silky smooth. This snake started to curl his tail around my arm and then relaxed apparently sensing he was secure with me.)
  3. Love is walking into the unexpected together.
  4. When something goes wrong in the relationship, one or both characters may try to hide before they have to work it out or lose each other. (If they are a snake, they have the camouflage to hide well.)
  5. Love is warm and relaxing and perfect for cuddling. (Snakes feel that way too. They love the sun.)

I am currently working on the second book in the Arnhem Knights of New York series. My heroine and hero have to learn to trust in each other and themselves. As they experience a version of all the the above, I pay attention to the senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Especially touch.  It’s so much fun writing the details.

What details in romance do you love?

Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!

Vampire King of New York, Arnhem Knights of New York, Book 1 available in Kindle and Print and  Nook and Print

VampyreKingOfNewYork_higres (1)










Posted in Author, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Soul Mate Publishing, Susan's Snippets!, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Romance Writers Gone Wild – A Recap by Rebecca Heflin


It all started with insomnia. Usually my insomnia-induced middle of the night ideas are as crazy as my dreams, but even in the light of day this seemed like a good idea: a Facebook event called “Romance Writers Gone Wild.” Any romance authors could participate, regardless of subgenre. It would be an event where authors could post teasers, snippets, cover photos, etc. and giveaway stuff. All I asked in return was for participating authors to promote the heck out of the event. A true cross-promotion event.

What began as a one-day – or even one-weekend – event, turned into five whole days of romance, romance, romance.

Organizing the event turned out to be a bigger logistical challenge than I’d initially thought, but the participating authors were fabulous! To facilitate communications, I created a closed Facebook Group and began inviting authors, who in turn invited more authors. I eventually created a Google Form for authors to sign up for the event. We ended up with over 80 people, and taking into account the multiple pen names, almost 100 authors.

Once we had our line-up, I made the group secret (we were getting random people asking to join). Next order of business was to settle on dates for the event.

Next, dates were selected, and that’s when the rubber met the road. We divided into five subgenres, one for each day of the event. Contemporary romance had twice the number of authors than any of the other subgenres, so we set aside two days for them.

One author designed our beautiful banner, and I created the event on my Facebook page, began inviting my friends, and we were off and running. It was really going to happen!

Another author participant started an invite competition to encourage us introverted authors to invite our friends. The author who invited the most people to the event won Amazon gift cards.

During the event, each author was encouraged to run his or her own giveaways, but the event also offered a chance to win some really cool grand prizes. Each author contributed $5. The money was used primarily for prizes, and they were great prizes, including 2 Kindle Fires, multiple $10 and $25 Amazon gift cards, and a Paperwhite!

Prize collage

Some money was also used to promote the event through Facebook.

I created a contest entry form using Google Forms (love Google Forms – just sayin’), disclosing to entrants the contest rules and that their email addresses would be shared with all participating authors to be added to their newsletter lists.

The participating authors agreed upon rules for the event. Five posts per author, per subgenre day. So, if someone wrote both contemporary and historical romance, he or she could post five times for each day. We kept the posts to a PG rating. A week before the event, each other was encouraged to introduce him or herself on the event page, so as not to waste one of the five posts during the event. Also, author and grand prize giveaways had to comply with Facebook guidelines on contests.

The event went smoothly, with no major hiccups, and in the end we had 774 guests and participants! My Amazon rankings were positively impacted by the event, I increased my Facebook page likes by 145, and I know I’ve reached readers I never would have otherwise, and I’m hearing the same from other authors who participated.

I created a post-event survey using – you guessed it – Google Forms for authors to provide feedback on the event – what worked, what didn’t, etc. I’ve received lots of positive feedback, with some really good suggestions for some changes and ways to enhance the event.

The group would like to run the event twice a year, although we haven’t settled on the next date yet. So, if you’re interested in going wild, give me a shout.

Posted in According to Rebecca, Marketing, Social Media, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Writing the Blurb for your Book

I don’t know about you, but I find writing the Facebook hook and the blurb one of the most difficult tasks of all. It’s far more difficult than writing the story. I believe this is probably because it is so important. It’s either going to make people want to buy your book or pass it over.

My first word of advice is start early—as soon as your manuscript is accepted—and don’t be afraid to tweak it often, or change it totally, but do have it ready by the time your publisher asks for it.

Over time, I’ve done a lot of research. I even bought and read several books on copywriting. The following is what I’ve come up with:

Facebook Hook: (Why won’t readers be able to put your book down?)

WHO is the protagonist of your story. WHAT goal are the striving for? WHAT obstacle is in their path?  That’s it. Simple, right?

I just signed a contract with SMP for my next novel, Scorpio’s Sting. It’s either romantic suspense or suspense with romantic elements. I’m never quite sure.

Here’s my first attempt at a FB hook:

Neelie Nelson and Drew McBain share a common goal to take down the most terrifying drug kingpin in Mexico. But how can they match his power?

Now here’s how to create your blurb:

Before you start, ask yourself who is my audience? What matters to my audience? What is the purpose of my writing? How do I want my audience to feel? What do I want them to take away? Next, answer these questions:

  1. Setting and Situation: Where does the story start? In a city? In the country? Who is there? What are the circumstances? Asking a question is one way of starting it. It makes your readers think about your topic.
  1. What is the problem that changes everything? You may want to start it with “But . . .” or “Until …”
  1. Hope.What happens that gives your characters a chance at overcoming the problem?
  1. Add mood and drama. Use strong verbs and descriptive words to create the mood you want—is it romantic, scary, happy, sad? Don’t be afraid to use a Thesaurus.
  1. Make it short, about 100 – 150 words.
  1. Never give away what happens. Leave it a mystery.

Now here’s what I learned from the copywriting books. Whenever you read a great blurb or even a good review, copy and paste it onto a Word document and keep it in a cheat sheet. You don’t have to plagiarize it or use it in its entirety. All you may need is a word or a phrase. Copywriters use buzzwords and catch phrases over and over all the time. Why? Because they work.

Below are two blurbs I came up with for Scorpio’s Sting—the first before I read up about copywriting and the second using some buzzwords. I would love your comments. I’ll probably tweak whichever one I choose a few times before it’s completed.

Scorpio’s Sting — BLURB #1

Drew McBain and Neelie Nelson have a habit of meeting in strange circumstances, and whenever they do, sparks fly.

When tragedy strikes, Drew becomes hell bent on revenge, and they find they have a common goal. The problem is, how to take down the most powerful drug kingpin in Mexico.

Romance touches their lives, and their fiery relationship comes to a head when Drew asks Neelie for something she has in her possession that is essential for him to have any hope of carrying out his plan for revenge successfully.

The situation becomes urgent, and desperation sends them to the drug lord’s lair with little to no hope of coming out alive.

Scorpio’s Sting – BLURB #2

Scorpio is the symbol of sex, and Scorpios are passionate lovers. Drawn together by strange circumstances, Drew McBain and Neelie Nelson’s hypnotic personalities and magnetic intensity make for an exciting and profound relationship.

They find themselves with a common goal when the la Vibora de Coral Cartel causes unforgivable harm to their loved ones. Ferocious anger and a brooding and passionate desire for revenge draws them together, but how can one man and one woman take down the most powerful and malicious cartel in Mexico?

Will the discovery of a secret vigilante group tip the odds in their favor?

Threats, and fears that others will suffer hinder them, but a lost boy and a loved one in mortal danger make their quest urgent and imperative.

 Let me know if this post is a help to you. I hope it is.

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, Trish J's Mid-Week Jam! | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments


I’m fascinated with the concept of synchronicity, a term coined by Karl Jung. He postulated that seemingly random coincidences are, in reality, part of the collective unconscious–essentially communication with other realms of being. Albert Einstein was one of his acquaintances, and though they were at opposite ends of the scientific spectrum, Einstein purportedly once commented that coincidence was God’s way of remaining anonymous.

Some, like me, believe this can take the form of communication with or messages from our deceased relatives and friends. This is the well tapped by psychics and mediums, who have better developed their brains to be able to not only see but interact with the slivers of energy that holds the experiences of those who are no longer living in an alternate reality. It doesn’t have to be an organized religion. Rather being an organized religion, the collective unconscious could be Heaven or Hell or Purgatory or just souls trying to reconnect with the living.

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m a paranormal writer studying psychic phenomena and the closely associated arts of divination using stones, crystals, the Tarot and astrology. My urban fantasy stories are heavily based on these practices. After about ten years of exploration, I have finally developed the sense that there is something around me, whether it’s the collective unconscious or some other entity that often reaches out and connects, but I haven’t been able to develop my brain to the extent that one of my coaches believes I can.

Ten years ago, I was compelled by something–or someone– to begin creative writing. It was like a lightning strike, and the huge body of work I produced during that time is just now being published. Five years ago, I traveled to New Mexico for Taos Toolbox, a two week immersive workshop for writers of science fiction and fantasy. Surrounded by the natural beauty and spiritual heritage of Taos, and amongst twelve gifted writers and mentors Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress, my writing was transformed and informed in a way I had never imagined.

Just one week ago, I was once again on my way to New Mexico to present my research at the annual convention of the American College of Nurse Midwives. I’m going to skip over some of the other odd synchronicities, like finding myself in the middle of a Donald Trump rally turned riot (read more if you care or dare here). Inside the Albuquerque Convention Center where thousand of midwives were desperately tying to pretend it was just a bad dream, I focused instead on reliving that very magical Taos Toolbox experience, and having the opportunity to revisit some of the same places–and to share it with my family.

By not so strange coincidence, my coach and noted psychic, Mary O’Gara, lives in Albuquerque. We got to spend a very special evening together eating local Tex Mex and chatting it up like we’d been friends forever. And when my family arrived, we took advantage of the native healers who had been invited to the ACNM convention for una limpia (aural cleansing). This was, after all, a large gathering of mostly women who are quite attuned to the spiritual realm encountered during a truly natural, family centered childbirth.


On our way to and from Taos, we made stops at pilgrimage sites such as Chimayo (the Lourdes of the Americas), artist colonies in Arroyo Seco, Native American pueblos, and the awe inspiring cliff dwellings and petroglyphs at Bandolier National Monument.

My midwifery career is entering its twilight. My creative writing career is still in its infancy, though the experiences I’ve had as a midwife opened my mind, my heart and my left brain to the possibilities. The synchronicities of my dual careers appear to be random coincidences but the places I’ve visited and people I have met along the way have enriched my life and practice, provided information, experiences and insights that have enhanced and informed my writing.

Here are excerpts from the Unfinished Business series:

From Breakwater Beach: Book One

Headlights illuminated the road. A Subaru pulled into the driveway. Mike exhaled.

Two women got out, hauling several bags. Michelle swung a cylinder in a sling over her shoulder. Mike and Kevin went out onto the porch to help them carry the equipment.

“Liz is upstairs in the bathtub.” Mike helped them off with their coats.

“I’m Cindy, the nurse.” A too young woman shook their hands and carried some bags upstairs.

“What’s that?” Mike pointed at the cylinder that looked like a torpedo with a scuba regulator attached.

“Oxygen. Just in case, Mike,” Michelle answered. “Don’t worry. I don’t anticipate any problems, but we’re ready.”

“Ya let me know when I have to start boilin’ the water,” said Kevin.

Michelle laughed as she handed Mike the oxygen tank, grabbed the rest of the bags, and started up. “We only need boiling water for tea these days. Our equipment is all sterilized. I’ll let you know when we need a round.”

Kevin looked at him. “Well, like I told ya, the women, they got it all under control. Now get up there.”


From The Widow’s Walk: Book Two


“Sit down. “Sandra collected the cards and crystals from a table and moved them to a side counter. “Would you like some tea?”

Mike hesitated. If the guys ever saw him here . . . “Sure.” He sat on the plush chair and watched her fill a silver tea ball with loose leaves.

Sandra put the kettle on a hot plate and joined him, smoothing the black and gold tablecloth as she sat down. “You’re troubled by something. I can see it in your eyes.”

Mike squirmed. Damn, why didn’t I just go to Davey Jones’ Bar? A few shots would stop the cough, and I could spill all to Davey about my wife having a mid-life crisis. If the guys ever found out about a psychic reading, they’d laugh me off the barstool.

She took his hands into hers and turned them palm up. Even the gentle touch prickled his skin.

“Sad events in your past. And you need some of this.” She tossed a tube of hand lotion onto the table and got up to attend to the whistling kettle.

He picked it up like it had teeth.

Sandra laughed. “Shea butter. And plain black tea.” She dropped the tea ball into the pot and carried it over on a tray with two cups and a jar of honey. “Tell me what’s going on.”

He rubbed the greasy lotion in and dared look her in the eye. “Where do I begin? 
She poured, adding two teaspoons of honey before handing him a floral cup balanced on a pink saucer. “At the beginning, of course. Though I suspect it has to do with the ghosts.”

He almost dropped the tea in his lap. I could use that shot of whiskey right about now. Davey just says he understands and serves it up. No questions. No mindreading.


From Storm Watch: Book Three (my work in progress)

Mike liked Gerry, even though they’d never met. That ghost was subtle and generally helpful. Katherine too, when she channeled through Mae. The two seemed so much alike except for the British accent it was hard to tell them apart. Kevin, well, he just decided to cope with the possession by ignoring it, but then again he was also just the same regular guy who did what he had to do and kept his head out of the line of fire until the shots were coming right at him.

Now, Sandra, that was a complicated lady. Being a witch, this whole ghostly thing was part of her religion, for lack of a better term. How she kept all those bands of spectral energy separate was an amazing mystery, but a psychic’s brain obviously worked differently.


Author bio

Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Books One and Two in the Unfinished Business series, Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal romance novels, Breakwater Beach and The Widow’s Walk, were published by Soulmate. Book Three, Storm Watch, is expected in 2017.

Urban fantasies set in the world of Carole’s novels have been featured in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires.



Posted in Calling On Carole!, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments