Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Vicki Batman's Temporarily Out of Luck

Funny sweet, and quirky, Vicki Batman’s stories are full of her hallmark humor, romance, and will delight all readers. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.

2021 Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Harriette: (Hattie) Lee Cooks. Harriette is my grandmother’s name and rather old-fashioned; so, I like Hattie. Hattie says sassy and fun.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Harriette: In Sommerville. It’s located between two metroplexes. Lots of small-town amenities with access to the nearby big cities.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Harriette: Present time

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Harriette: I had the best job evah right out of college working for Tucker’s Department Store. I started managing different departments in their stores, then moved to opening new stores, and finally landed my dream job up the corporate ladder as an assistant buyer in men’s sportswear. After a couple of years paying those dues, I thought I was being promoted to handbag buyer (Did I say how much I adore handbags???!!!) when I was laid off due to corporate cut-backs in an economic downturn. Out of a job, lots of bills to pay, especially the one for my cool ride, a brand-spanking-new white Jeep Wrangler. Buying jobs weren’t coming my way. I had to find work doing anything or risk moving back with the parents—er, NO! as in no-no-no, not ever in a bazillion years no. At a girlfriend’s suggestion, I took various temporary jobs.

As for why write a story about me— It seems at every temporary job, something goes wrong—embezzling, murder, more murders, big mistakes— I dunno why. Some of them are funny. Some are unbelievably horrific. Maybe writing about my escapades will help others avoid doing what I did.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Harriette: Find a job I love in my career of choice and get my life back on track. I finally land a great one—a retail job, my area of expertise--working with Miss Anastasia Fernholly at Wedding Wonderland. I can’t say enough how happy I am!

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Harriette: Oh boy. Learning the wedding business. Scrambling to find the murder of my sister’s detestable ex before the police charge her with the crime and ruin her wedding (my mother’s worst nightmare). And then there’s good ol’ Detective Allan Wellborn who makes my temperature rise—fanning face--in many different ways.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Harriette: Take baby steps. They add up. Work hard. Get my sister exonerated so she can marry. And very likely, kiss Allan.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Harriette: Life has its ups and downs. How we handle that is how we develop character.

Blurb for Temporarily out of Luck:

Great job. What man? And murder.

Newly employed at Wedding Wonderland, Hattie Cooks is learning the industry from a woman she greatly admires. When her former brother-in-law is found dead in his luxury SUV, all fingers point to Hattie’s sister who is planning her own I dos.

Detective Allan Wellborn is caught between a rock and a hard place—Hattie’s family and investigating the murder of a well-connected Sommerville resident, the same loser who was once married to Hattie’s sister. Determining who’s the bad guy—or gal—isn’t going to be easy and sure to piss off someone.

Can Hattie beat the clock to find out who murdered Tracey’s ex before she is charged with the crime and her wedding is ruined?

Excerpt from Temporarily out of Luck:

Sometimes, I felt like a small white mouse housed in a cage with lots of small white mice, whose playground activities involved eating, sleeping, and continually revolving on the exercise wheel. Just like one rodent friend—who I named Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky, having a field day back-flipping from the top of the spinning wheel—something happened. Unexpectedly, I found myself airborne.

Not hurt, a sense of disappointment overcame me, plus a bit of confusion, and a whole lot of colorful adjectives too numerous to list. I, mostly known as Hattie Cooks, shook off the pine shavings and joined the rat race. Sometimes, life sucked.

But wallowing? Not a good solution.

Being positive? A better one.

In most cases, a pitstop was a good idea, and I found comfort in my chocolate stockpile. And in most cases, I found empty shelves, for I had little dough to supply my habit due to the loss of my adored job as an assistant buyer at Sommerville’s top-class department store, Tucker’s, and the subsequent low-paying temporary ones I reluctantly took in the interim. Due to the expenses of rent, food, utilities, budgeting became my new compadré. However, for my recent birthday, Mom suggested friends and family provide me with treats. They were generous—gifting lots and lots of my favorite M&Ms in vast colors and flavors.

Mom’s idea totally rocked as the best birthday gift ever.

From outside my door, I heard Allan Wellborn smack the doorframe.

“You know how to find me.”

I roused from my ruminations and banged my forehead against the wall.

                                                                                                                                                   Buy Links for Temporarily out of Luck:                                                                                                   Barnes & Noble:



Social Media Links






Author Central:  





Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 Crutch Words

Writers often use crutch words in their writing. Words they think add to the story or words that have becomes a habit. Or maybe they’re filler words to increase the total word count in their novel. In writing sometimes, they can be words or phrases the writer has used for a particular reason or for a particular novel. Then they end up overusing them. Crutch words can actually make your writing weaker, not strengthen it.

To tighten a story and keep a better flow, writers need to edit out those crutch words. You can use the edit on Word. Programs like Grammarly and Autocrit can help you catch these words when you edit.

Not all crutch words need to be eliminated. Search your writing, find the crutch word. Then see how many times you use it. Look at the sentence. Is it needed? If it’s in dialogue it might be appropriate. People do use crutch words in their dialogue.                                                Does it improve the sentence? If it’s eliminated does it read better or worse? If it doesn’t add anything or there’s a purpose to using it, then delete it. Probably delete most of that word. Then move on to the next crutch word.

Here are some of the more common crutch words. Often, they end in “ly”.  Actually Honestly, Obviously, Like, Basically, Literally, S, Well, Look, Awesome, Totally, Essentially. Really, Seriously, Very, Just, Right, Fantastic, Great, Super. My two crutch words from this are So and Just.

I’m aware of them and when I edit. I check everyone. Once in a while "just" fits. It feels right. “So” I leave it. And there is my “So”. Should I leave it or delete it?

Do you know your crutch words? What do you do about them?

Friday, February 19, 2021

Writers and Where They Get Their Ideas

It’s time for a monthly group blog. Thanks, Rhobin for pulling this together every month. This one looks like a fun one. Where do you get your ideas for stories? It’s also a little difficult. I write romantic suspense and ideas come from all over. I may hear about a mystery or crime. Or a character comes to me with a history.

For example, cloning was big at one time and there was a lot of discussion on allowing it pro and against. That got me thinking about possibilities and I did some research and By Design became a book.

I attended a conference in Reno, and we visited the Sheriff’s department. One of the female officers worked the Cyber Crimes Against Children Unit in internet chat rooms. She tracked down and caught pedophiles trying to lure young people into sexual situations. Don’t Go became a book.

I was at another conference. This one was held in the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. There’s a balcony overlooking the grand lobby and registration area. I was looking down on it and I imagined a cowboy, with spurs, striding across the marble floor in the lobby. A total contrast. He became the hero, and I wrote the book Hunted. It was the first in the series and the next books build on it.

After visiting New Orleans, and seeing a ghost (but that's another story), I decided It was a perfect spot for a murder and a mystery with a touch of voodoo and paranormal. So I wrote Death Southern Style. 

I believe women are equal to me (if not superior). I feel women should be valued and not exposed to physical, mental, or emotional abuse or treated as second class citizens. I think I read about a woman being put to death, maybe in Saudi Arabia for adultery. The man went free. I wanted to write about women who were saved by other women. I developed a team of trained, funded, women who could save other women. That book is The Foundation, Sara's Story, The Fourth Victim. It’s the first in a series.

So. where do I get my ideas? They can develop from so many different ways. I think you have to stay open to what you see, hear and feel and take that kernel of an idea and write it from your perspective and with the help of your muse. In my case, I also add a romance and a Happy Ever After ending.


I’m looking forward to seeing where all these other authors get their ideas.

Skye Taylo

Anne Stenhouse

Connie Vines

Diane Bator

Dr. Bob Rich

Fiona McGier

Helena Fairfax

Marci Baun

Victoria Chatham

Judith Cope

Rhobin L Courtright


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Brenda Whiteside and her New Release

Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. She and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. For now they’ve settled in Central Arizona, but won’t discount the possibility of another move in their future. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes.

2020 Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Magpie: Magpie Muse MacKenzie

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Magpie: I was born and raised in Joshua, Arizona, a mining town of the late 1880s and early 1900s. When mining died, Joshua turned into a ghost town then a hippie haven, and now a tourist town hanging on the side of Spirit Mountain.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Magpie: The story takes place in modern day Joshua, but there is a 1960s story within the story that helps to solve the mystery.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Magpie: My parents came to Joshua with the first wave of hippie and artist settlers. My mother was well-known for her mystic talents. She died when I was twelve. My father mourned deeply, wallowing in alcohol. When I was fifteen, his relationship with a woman ended with her murder. My seventeen-year-old boyfriend disappeared the same day. No one was ever charged. A doppelganger for my missing boyfriend walks into my mercantile the same day skeleton remains are found in the ruins. The universe sent me a message…solve the decades old mystery or become the next victim.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Magpie: My father is suspected of the murder of his girlfriend and complicit in the disappearance of my boyfriend decades earlier. I have to clear him.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Magpie: Is it possible my father is guilty? I’ve become attached to Zac, the look-alike for my missing boyfriend. He’s younger than I am, and, well, he looks like Mark. The vibrations and déjà vu moments he’s experiencing are leading us down a dangerous path to discover the truth.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Magpie: Zac and I have come up with a sting operation to draw out the murderer. Hopefully, we can have each other’s backs and not fall victims.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Magpie: I have an older brother and a younger sister who want their stories told. Although I didn’t inherit my mother’s gift, both of my siblings are mystics to some degree. Harlan and I have not gotten along since our mother died. He’s the older sibling, but I was left with the responsibility of keeping our family together. Elidor hasn’t lived in Joshua for many years, but she’s coming home.

Blurb for Secrets of the Ravine:

When a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are found at the edge of town, Magpie MacKenzie can’t ignore what the universe is telling her…solve the mystery, or become the next victim.

Lawyer Zack Peartree’s life is orderly and entanglement-free until he visits purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, and meets free-wheeling shopkeeper Magpie. Despite experiencing troubling visions and odd moments of déjà vu, Zack’s instantly drawn to Magpie and to the unsolved murder which troubles her so.

Using clues from her father’s past and Zack’s déjà vu moments, Magpie and Zack race to solve the mystery, avoid a murderous fate, and to discover their future…together.

Excerpt from Secrets of the Ravine:

Zac picked up the sack with the music box. “Are you the owner of this great store?”

“I am.” She returned his smile. “Magpie MacKenzie. And you are?”

“Zac Peartree. Is that your real name?”

Accustomed to his reaction, she gave her standard reply. “It’s a long story.”

“One I’m sure I’d enjoy hearing. Will you be working at your mercantile all weekend?”

She swallowed down the recurring flutter. “Mostly.”

“You all should have a drink at the Apparition Room tonight, the bar below the Copper Mountain Hotel down the block.” Phaedra finished stuffing paper around the sculpture for protection and then handed the box to the man with the redhead. “Our very own Magpie MacKenzie will be singing.”

Magpie scuffed a boot against her friend’s foot to quiet her.

“She’s on at eight.”

The blonde clapped her hands. “Great. Sounds fun.”

“I guess that means we’ll see you later, Magpie.” Zac followed his friends but peered over his shoulder with an unreadable expression before he disappeared out the door and into the chilly wind.

Slightly lightheaded, Magpie braced herself on the counter. “Honestly, Phaedra, I could—”

“Now, Mags, you haven’t been this tongue-tied over a guy in years.” She retrieved her purse from behind the counter where she’d set it when she came in. “I need to get going, and you need to enjoy the quivers that guy is giving you. I’d guess he’s only thirty or close to it, but what the hell, he’s hot. Every man should fill his jeans like that, not to mention his shoulders.” She stopped by the door. “You two looked at each other as if—”

“As if we know each other?”

“Know each other? I agree he bore a resemblance to Mark, but that’s all.”

“Really? Sacrebleu, Phaedra. When I stared into that face, I saw Mark…a soul…from twenty-eight years ago.” The soul of someone she’d loved.

Who might have been a murderer…or worse, murdered by my father.

Buy Links for Secrets of the Ravine:

Social Media Links




Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Marketing or Writing

I had two guest bloggers scheduled this week. Unfortunately, they both bailed on me.

So… I thought I’d talk about Marketing. Marketing is not my strong point. And not only that, if I blog and post to loops, I find it interferes with my writing.

My marketing includes my blog and my website, and I send out a newsletter four times a year. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Triberr, Pinterest and Instagram. I haven’t figured out how to use Instagram so I don’t use it. I retweet other authors. I do guest blogs, and group blogs, on other blog sites. I join NN Light and other writing promos and contests. They all take time.

I do Amazon ads but I should be spending more time looking for categories. I also put my last book in Kindle Select. I try to write reviews when I read a book, but I find that also takes time away from my writing.

I’m not sure any of it makes a significant difference. It takes a fair amount of time and that time comes from my writing. It takes me longer to write a book. After working on marketing when I switch to writing my muse says sorry, not today. I may write one hundred words or so, but it doesn’t flow. If I skip marketing and just write I do much better.

And even with Covid I have a bit of a life, walking my dog at least twice a day, grocery shopping, cooking meals, exercising, an occasional Zoom Board meeting and talking to family. More time away from writing. Sigh…

How do you cope with it all and do marketing? And how much marketing do you do?

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Meet Shari Elder and her New Futuristic Release

Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid to class, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.

At night, the other Shari emerges.  With a glass of wine by side, I curl up on the couch with my computer nestled in my lap and let my imagination play until stories take shape.  I also periodically check on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom. Once I’ve reassured myself she’s not plotting world domination, I pull out my alter ego, who definitely is.  As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.

In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can't resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one.


Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name? 

Marisol: My name Marisol Martinez.

Beverley: Where did you grow up? 

Marisol: I grew up on the planet Nordika, one of the first planets colonized by Terrans after the great environmental devastation that destroyed most of Earth. Nordika follows an elliptical orbit so its winters are particularly long and cold. We have a tundra-like terrain with clusters of mountains that are impassable during that season. Nordika’s economy relies on mining crystal dust which powers the grid.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place? 

Marisol: We are over three hundred years in the future.  It’s the Terran year 2357.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Marisol: I am hacker by trade, a master of the intergalactic grid—the so-called internet on your earth today.  The grid connects all the planets in the Terran-Magaran Coalition. Once, I was engaged to the most wonderful man. Aren, my fiancée, led a mining team but at heart, he was an artist, a truely creative and gentle soul.  Twelve years ago, the mining shaft collapsed, killing him and so many others. Although never proved, sabotage was suspected. We have a small population, so the loss devastated the planet. Two weeks after his death, I learned I was pregnant with his child, which became my lifeline. From that moment on, I centered my life on revenging his death. I joined a clandestine rebel faction who believed the coalition government and the corporations that funded it were corrupt and were behind the mining accident as well as many other accidents on many other planets. We didn’t know why, but that was one of the things we were working to find out.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Marisol: When the story begins, my only goal is revenge and justice for Aren and the other Nordikans who lost their lives. When Aren arrives on Nordika as a cyborg soldier twelve years later with no memories of his past life, my goal switches to finding a way to restore his memory.

Blurb for The Scent of Memory

Twelve years ago, Marisol lost Aren. Now he’s back – pointing a gun at her head and treating her like a stranger.

Rebel hacker, Marisol Martinez, never thought volunteering to keep the hospital safe from cyborgs would lead her back to the man sabotage ripped from her arms. The man she swore to avenge by any means possible.

For over a decade, Cap protected the cyborgs under his command from every danger. Until he meets an insurgent, whose scent wreaks havoc on his control. She calls him Aren and insists she knows him. But she’s wrong. He has no past, no present, no future – only orders he’s programmed to complete.

Forced together, Marisol and Cap can’t resist the passion that keeps building between them.  With time running out, Marisol must use her computer skills to restore Aren’s memories or Cap will kill all subversives on the planet – starting with her.

Excerpt from The Scent of Memory

“I’ll take you there,” Marisol volunteered. “Follow me.” She rushed out of the room. He was by her side in seconds.

“Explain your interest in me.” He turned off his scent sensors to prevent himself from being sucked into the pungent turbulence of emotions spilling out in her aroma.

“We were to be married.” The gentle emotion vibrating in her voice stroked his remaining flesh like a caress. He shook it off. It was dangerous.

“Was it arranged?”

“No, we chose each other. We were living together when you were killed—abducted—after a mining accident.”

“We were intimate?” Heat roared through him. He shut it down reluctantly. He was starting to like the way he felt around her.

“You have no memories of me? Of us?” She blinked rapidly as though to force back tears threatening to spill.

He shook his head. “Cybercorp wipes our long-term memories. Periodically, a memory fragment may surface, but our systems are programmed to shut down if that occurs. If a cyborg suffers from too many of these recalls, he is decommissioned.”

“That’s brutal.”

“We’re brutal. You’d be wise to remember that.”

BUY LINKS for The Scent of Memory

Evernight The Scent of Memory by Shari Elder - Evernight Publishing

Amazon The Scent of Memory (Green Rising Book 2) - Kindle edition by Elder, Shari. Romance Kindle eBooks @

Barnes and Noble The Scent of Memory by Shari Elder | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (

Kobo The Scent of Memory eBook by Shari Elder - 9780369502759 | Rakuten Kobo United States

Social Media Links




Goodreads: Shari Elder  (Author of Race to Redemption) | Goodreads

Twitter: @ShariElderBooks  or