Thursday, January 25, 2018

DEADLY KISS by Bob Bickford--one kiss, so many shattered lives.

My agent Donna Eastman asked me to write a blurb for a manuscript she'd asked me to read last year, titled DEADLY KISS. The novel has been published with Black Opal Books.

I asked the author Bob Bickford for another copy, since I read so many books--I have a hard time remembering what's in my own books!--I needed to read it again. It started coming back to me, bit by bit, as I read each scene...then I remembered how much I enjoyed it. But this time around, it went beyond was an emotionally gut wrenching experience. I picked up on things I didn't seem to have noticed the first time around. That's why I always recommend re-reading a favorite book, as soon as a year later, or as much as decades later. We get so much more out of it because of what we bring to it. I'd like to share the blurb and the tagline I wrote:

A dying father and his son attempt to reconcile as the ghosts of a long-ago tragedy haunt the living, then reunite in peace in the afterlife.

Mike Latta has a difficult, distant relationship with his father Sam. On a rare visit to Mikes island cabin in Canada, Sam uncharacteristically opens up and begins to tell his son about a tragedy of sixty-plus years ago that haunts and scars him to this day. Before he can finish sharing his story, looking out at the water, he dies. Mike goes back home to Georgia to seek the truth behind this long-ago tragedy with only his late fathers sketchy details-a horrific murder of a little black boy for something he didn't even do--kiss that started a string of revenge killings as ghosts linger...spanning the decades between post-WW2 Georgia and present-day Canada, DEADLY KISS takes us on the journeys of people who took grudges to their graves, as Mike makes peace with his father and puts his troubled soul to rest.

I read this book twice, and seemed to have gotten a lot more out of it this time. It goes really deep and is very thought-provoking. A great read, and worthy of much success.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Character Descriptions: How Much of Their Appearance Do You Want to See?

I saw a reader poll on the "Romance Writers" Facebook group I belong to, which asks how much detail is enough for you to picture fictional characters while reading: every facial feature and hairstyle, hand gestures, body language, voice, clothes, race/ethnicity, or very little, to leave it up to your imagination?

Here's the poll:

How important is it to know exactly what the characters you're reading about look like?

a) I want to feel that I know the character, but only distinctive features, voice/scars/height/race.
b) Very important. I want to be able to have a fixed picture in my mind.
c) I want to know what they wear, down to their shoes and make-up, otherwise I'll keep flicking back looking for a description.
d) Just a mention of race/height/hair/eye color once in the story is enough.

I write historical novels about real people, but if there are no existing portraits of them, I try to find a real person I can imagine that character as--for instance, in my biographical novel Sharing Hamilton, his mistress Maria's husband James has no existing portraits. He was Scottish, and I pictured him as the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly. It made it SO much easier to write about him; he came alive for me.

Billy Connolly (James Reynolds in my book SHARING HAMILTON) 

Any All My Children fans still out there? Anyone remember actor Michael Nouri, who played "Mountain Man" Caleb, whose house Erica Kane's plane crashed into? (she walked away without breaking a nail, of course!)

In my biographical novel Eliza Jumel Burr, Vice Queen of the United States, I pictured her first husband Stephen Jumel as Michael. After that, he also came alive!

Michael Nouri (Stephen Jumel in my book ELIZA JUMEL BURR, VICE QUEEN OF THE UNITED STATES)

Also from All My Children, I pictured the actor Vincent Irizarry as my hero Fausto in my vampire romance A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE.

So, picturing the characters is most important to me. Also, good dialogue is important; every character should have a distinctive voice. But don't go overboard on the dialect--I once read a book with a Scottish hero, and his dialect was so distracting, I had to translate as I went along.

Comments anyone?

Friday, January 12, 2018


I'm happy to announce my biographical novel about Oney Judge was released today. 
It's available for Kindle, and will be in paperback shortly.
Thank you, readers, for your support in pre-orders! 

Purchase ONEY on Amazon

Thursday, January 4, 2018