Big, Big Giveaway Event Today on All the Henery Press Authors’ FB Pages

Remember the fun giveaway Henery Press put on around Christmas time? Where all of us authors posted prizes on our FB Author pages and readers could hop from FB page to FB page to try to win the prizes given by each author?

Well, we’re all at it again. Love Boat Image

The fun starts on the Henery Press Facebook Page, and after you go to that page, find the pinned post at the top of the page that starts the blog hop. Read the instructions, sign up to enter the contest there, then click the link given to go to the next author on the Valentine’s Day contest journey. And do the same for each succeeding stop along the way.

Yes, I’ll be giving away prizes at  My Facebook Author Page, so be sure and follow the links until you can enter for my giveaways, too. I promise, it’s easy to enter. Wishing y’all luck for this very special Valentine’s Day giveaway. Lots of authors–and lots and lots of prizes!

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Been Blogging and Previewing this Week

SneakPeakCounterfeitConspiraciesIt was release week for my Bodies of Art Mysteries, so me and my books have been blogging all over the place. My publisher, Henery Press posted a terrific Sneak Peak on their Club Hen House blog last Friday.

On the February 2nd release day, there was a release blitz for the series, and on Feb 3rd, I Heart Reading posted the lovely blog tour coming up for the series (yeah, I’m still writing blogs and finishing interviews for the dates near the end of the tour–LOL!).

Even more fun on the February 2nd release day, my fun post on how I research the Bodies of Art Books was also on Club Hen House, and I not only get to talk about my methods (and madness–LOL!) but I also get to use my pictures taken as we travel. Hint: the pics at the top of the post, showing the cloudy London panorama, were taken from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral after hubby and daughter and I climbed every one of the 528 steps to the top. We stopped at the Whispering Gallery (a mere 257 steps) to take a look around and check out the eavesdropping possibilities. Then moved to the Stone Gallery (376 steps up), and finally on to the Golden Gallery (those afore mentioned 528 steps from the ground). Most of the climb was via spiral staircase as the dome narrowed near the top–never want to see another spiral staircase as long as I live. But the view was worth it!

And today, Arched Doorway posted my short guest post about creating my characters, Jack & Laurel. Fun stuff for me–hope it’s equally fun for readers. Check it out if you have a minute. FP&OF meme

So, what’s on your schedule this weekend? :)

 

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Tuesday Travel Tips–February Edition

TTT memeI’m already planning a trip to Left Coast Crime at the end of this month, and I can’t wait. I’m channeling my inner Laurel Beacham to remember all the tips to make going from point A to point B more memorable.

First up, I booked my late-February flight in August, and not only got a great price, but the flight is nonstop, too. I would have paid more for nonstop alone, but instead I got exactly what I needed at a discount. Beyond that, here are a few more ways you can save money–and maybe time, too–for your next trip.

  1. Subscribe to airline newsletters, so when they’re running a lightning sale you get immediate notice via email or on your phone. I try to fly Southwest every chance I can to build up miles (though I always check other carriers for better deals), and getting the Southwest e-newsletters helps me grab extra savings, too. Other airlines that offer cost saving newsletters are Virgin, JetBlue, Hawaiian and Alaska Air. There are likely more, but that’s my short list.
  2. Tuesdays are the best day to catch a great fair on a domestic flight because that’s still the day the airlines price match one another.
  3. Always clear your cookies from your browser after checking out an airline. That innocent looking trail of cookies tells airlines you’ve been by their site before–and how many times. So if you search multiple times you risk getting your price bumped up because they know you are really interested.
  4. Are you traveling as a big group or family? Consider renting a house or condo for your stay instead of booking a hotel. This is often cheaper than hotel rooms for everyone, and you’ll have a kitchen and places for everyone to gather and relax together.
  5. Take a collapsible water bottle with you to fill after you leave airport security. I recently traveled without one and got pretty tired of paying $5 for a regular-sized bottle of water every time I was stuck in an airport for a layover.
  6. I was going to stop at five tips, but here’s one I’ve used a lot, and it’s really paid off. If you are a student–or you’ve recently been a student and still have your student ID–don’t forget to take it with you. I’ve received event and museum discounts all over with a student ID I was required to have for a three hour class I took several years ago. My student ID doesn’t have a date on it, and I’ve never been questioned because my picture is right under the university logo. Same goes for AAA memberships and AARP memberships. Flash those cards people and save some green.

Okay, those are my short tips of the day. Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?

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Always Look Forward to Small Rewards too

MMM memeMy husband starts cutting firewood in late summer/early fall and continues through the winter splitting heavy oak logs and cleaning out brush that’s accumulated in the warm months. He doesn’t just do this because he sells more firewood in the winter and we use it to heat our home. The colder months are also better for cleanup and cutting because snakes are hibernating this time of year and mostly remain in a hole somewhere, so hubby runs a much lower risk of stumbling into a nest and getting bitten.

My husband is a lot like Indiana Jones–he hates snakes.

But while all of this work produces terrific results around our home, I noticed over the years that hubby tends to just take this as something he must do. He’s good at this kind of work, truly enjoys it. And while he can tell you to the penny how much money he makes each year selling firewood, how much he’s spent on equipment/maintenance, gas for the chainsaw, and ads run in the local paper–what he can’t seem to get is the reward for the aesthetic improvement he makes around the place. When he cleans out a new section, I always tell him how great it looks, and he shrugs it off saying “It had to be done.” He’s too hard a worker for his own ego.

So, since he loves Lindt truffles, I keep a stash around the house that he doesn’t know about, and always pocket couple when going out to see what new area he’s cleaned up. After I ooh and ahh over it (mostly because he does the majority of the work himself and doesn’t make me help him–gotta love the guy), I hand him a couple of Lindt truffles and say they’re for a job well done. He grins and takes the truffles, making a joke about it all.

I believe in small rewards to keep motivation high. It doesn’t have to be candy–it can be looking forward to reading a new book as soon as a project is completed, or a new lipstick just because I like the color.

Small rewards can make us remember big accomplishments every time the rewards come to mind or another comes up in our lives. For instance, my husband isn’t even surprised anymore when I pull truffles from my pocket, but he is pleased.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

When I gained my USA Today bestselling title, I treated myself to a handbag I’d fallen in love with the previous spring. Now, every time I look at that purse, I remember my excitement at seeing my name and book title on the USA Today web page.

What about you? Do you reward yourself in any way when you complete tasks?

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This is So Cool–and it’s Free!

tumblr_inline_o1mdsxa1zz1rs13co_500Doing a little U.K. research this morning, and I ran across a terrific freebie that is practically unrelated to my research (well, it is England-related) but it is fun. It is also Free– a lovely coloring book filled with art images from the Middle Ages to bring out the artist in everyone. Click This Link–2016-Bodleian-Library-Colouring-Book to get your own PDF copy of the coloring book to download from the Bodleian Library. Don’t bother clicking the lovely GIF at the right–it’s just showing off to get your attention. Love this–especially because it’s free. So, grab your colored (or should that be coloured?) pencils, fun inks, or crayons. Download and print your own copy to spend the weekend coloring up the Middle Ages. Have fun, everyone!

 

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What’s New and Free Wednesday?

Am just making a brief stop today as I am knee-deep in marketing tasks and edits on a summer short story and the content edits for Abstract Aliases, book three in the Bodies of Art series. But I have a free short story to report on at the moment. Tonya Kappes is getting everyone ready for Valentine’s Day by offering Color Me Love (an Olivia Davis paranormal mini-mystery) right now. Don’t know for sure how long this mini-mystery is free, so grab a copy while you can :)

Color Me Love

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Stuff Builds Characters

What Stuff SaysI revamped out my office this weekend, exchanging one desk for another. My dog loves it because she can take over every inch of the middle of my office floor (and is doing so right now. And snoring). But this changeover got me thinking about a kind of quiz I do each time I start brainstorming characters for my series. Since I’m a week away from the Henery Press release of Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters, I thought I’d spend a few minutes today talking about how “stuff” builds Laurel Beacham’s character.

  1. Laurel Beacham is likely to keep…things that fit in her huge purse and help her get into and out of trouble on a daily basis as she attempts to keep art masterpieces from disappearing into the “ether.” In her public persona, she’s more likely to use her cell phone to connect with someone who can provide the “open sesame” she needs to get into exclusive events. In her private persona as a reclamation angel, she uses the slick little gizmos and lock picks she’s bought and received from Nico and others to give her the edge needed to “reclaim” stolen art. She’s also prone to stashing costume jewelry, travel guidebooks, business cards, and alarms that warn when someone might be trying to sneak up behind her (yes, this happens a lot).
  2. Travel luggageSpring may be right around the corner but before Laurel can switch out her wardrobe she needs to…Well, usually she needs to find it. Her luggage may be tagged with her contact information, but more and more often she finds her bags disappearing and she’s left washing outfits in the bathroom sink each night or sending them down for hotel laundering. While that may not sound organized, losing her luggage is never her fault. And since she’s “out of the office” and somewhere in Europe about 200 days each year, she’s learned to be pretty self-sufficient when her belongings go AWOL and her credit cards are maxed out.
  3. Going to the grocery store is…pretty much an unknown for Laurel. Even if her mother hadn’t died when she was four, whenever she found her way into the kitchen of her grandparent’s mansion the cook usually just patted her on the head and handed her a cookie or piece of cake. By the time Laurel’s father inherited everything, then gambled it all away, her means of managing a meal was firmly established in deciphering a French menu rather than actually cooking a meal using a French cookbook. So grocery stores are still a mystery and a marvel to her, and she usually leaves with half her needs because she has no idea what ingredients are necessary for favorite meals. However, she does know where to find all the ingredients for a killer martini.
  4. poker tableIf Laurel ever forgets keys or a combination to a safe…it doesn’t fluster her. Thanks to training by some not-so-conventional friends, she can pick a lock or crack most safes. Because of this “training to stay calm under pressure” she is also an excellent poker player–a skill that comes in handy far beyond the gaming table.
  5.  art masterpiecesBecause Laurel’s life was pretty much an exercise in perpetual “loss” from her teens to early twenties, and she’s still saddled with debt incurred due to her father’s squandering practices before his demise, she’s a pro at pulling herself up and charging on–despite all new challenges or losses. The only time she won’t tolerate something going missing is when public art is involved. In those cases, she will do everything in her power to locate and gain back the missing masterpieces, and put the perpetrator behind bars if possible.

So what does your stuff say about you? :)

Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters can be pre-ordered now and will be released Feb. 2nd. You can find all the bookseller links for both books at Where to Buy My Books

 

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