Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have a Happy, Prosperous, And Productive New Year!

The DH and I would always go to New Year's Eve parties before, then after, we were first married. Gradually, that habit changed to going out to dinner early with friends and making it home before the drunks got on the road. 

It's so much cozier to relax at home and watch the countdown on TV, so again that's what we'll do. The only catch is staying awake until midnight!

Whatever your plans are for New Year's Eve, here's hoping all of you have a happy, prosperous, and productive New Year!


Morgan Mandel
Amazon Author Page:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas To All! by DL Larson

Just stopping by to say "Merry Christmas Everyone!!" I hope you spent the day as you wanted or hoped to do. I spent the day with my family, last night and today ~ wonderful, crazy and chaotic as always!

This is Sarah, she just turned one this fall!! She still has a 'cheese' for the camera even when she's moments away from night-night.

Colton and Van are too busy to stop for pictures. But as you can imagine we were quite safe during the holidays with two fire fighters on duty!

This picture is a true Christmas Miracle!!! No one is crying, no one is distracted. One of my favorite presents!  A picture of all my grandkids. Hope your holiday time was as picture perfect!

I wish you all a very blessed Christmas season! I'll get back to writer stuff next week ~ until then ~ enjoy this special time of year!

DL Larson

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday and Christmas Reading

Many people like to read "books for the season" - books related to the holidays.

I've intended to do that... and finally did.

This week I just finished an oldie but goodie, Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber. Fun, light read. Cute story. Fast read that I finished it in two days.

Now I hope to see if there are any other short Christmas stories to read. I will likely give fellow blogger Morgan Mandel's short novella, Christmas Carol a spin. (And you can get it free through Dec. 24! See

Next is to actually begin working on next year's goals. I do have several projects that are near completion and need to be finished. Finally. I'll discuss that in another post. 

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

So what do you read for Christmas or the holidays?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Stockings Were Hung...

We don't have a fireplace, but our stockings are hung from the window top.

The halls have been decked for weeks.

The exterior illumination is shining brightly.

The shopping is done.

The presents are wrapped and under the tree.

The cookies are baked.

The annual Christmas party with friends was last night.

Oh, and most importantly, it's the beginning of two weeks off.

Yep, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

If only there was a bit of snow on the ground. Nothing too major that would make getting around a nightmare. Just enough for a White Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays by Margot Justes

I don't often post here, because I don't have that many delicious pearls of wisdom on publishing and advertising. In fact if you have any to spare, I'd love to hear from you.

I was given sound advice to continue writing, and the rest will come. The more I have out there, the more readers will find me. I didn't think I was that hard to find, but understand the sentiment. I hope that is true, because for the most part that is all I've been doing-well that-and trying to find a permanent place to live.

In the new year I hope to have A Hotel in Venice out in the Spring, and a novella set for Halloween. I also want to advertise in places that are reasonably priced and effective. Yes, I probably am dreaming, but what is life without dreams. I have to do some research on that point, but with Christmas almost around the corner, it's time to spend with family.

I wish you much joy and peace in the coming year.


Margot  Justes

Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks

Friday, December 19, 2014

A "Serious" Writer Defined?

So, how do you define a serious writer?

Well, if the definition is being made by an entity such as the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) then it really comes down to whether or not you are actively engaged in a business with your writing – you know, actually writing and publishing and promoting – or if your writing is just a hobby that you dabble in from time to time.  Answering this question is not a simple process but it is a very important question to answer.

The importance of this is not only for the individual writer/author but also for the organizations to which they belong.

A recent communiqué to members of the Romance Writers of American (RWA) spelled this out quite clearly and germane to both RWA and the members of this organization is whether or not the members are actively in pursuit of publishing their written work.  This is important for a number of reasons to include the tax-exempt status of RWA which can affect the types of services provided to its members.

If you are a member or RWA you really should pay attention to all communications from RWA on this subject matter because changes are predicted for how members are classified and this classification looks to be centered on if you’ve published and how often you continue to publish.

So, just a “heads-up” to all writers to take a moment to assess whether or not they are just dabbling in writing or are genuinely pursuing writing as a business/career.  From there the fun begins on making sure that the writer complies with all the tax rules that distinguish a business from a hobby each year until the writer decide to “retire” or die.

You know the saying about the only two things that are certain are death and taxes?  Well, in MHO even death doesn’t let you escape taxes.  Just ask someone who has dealt with an estate.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Are Readers Reading? by DL Larson

In the December issue of Romance Writers Report, a list of the top ten romance tropes for readers was listed. This survey was culminated by the 2014 Nielsen Romance Buyer for RWA.
Here's the list:
1. Friends to lovers
2. Soul mate/fate
3. Second chance at love
4. Secret romance
5. First love
6. Strong hero/heroine
7. Reunited lovers
8. Love triangle
9. Sexy billionaire/millionaire
10. Sassy heroine

I was a bit surprised at the rankings. I would not have suspected #1 to be friends to lovers. Nor would I have thought sassy heroines would come in last.

After studying this list, I dug a little deeper, searching for best sellers in 2014. Here's December's top 5 on the New York Best Sellers List for combined e-book and print: (their synopsis of each book, not mine!)

1. Gray Mountain, John Grisham
       (A lawyer joins a legal clinic in a small Virginia town, and becomes involved in litigation against the coal mining industry.)
2. The Escape, David Balacci
       (John Puller, a special agent with the Army, hunts for his brother, who was convicted of treason and has escaped from prison.)
3. Tom Clancy: Full Force and Effect, Mark Greaney
     (A discovery of mineral deposits has changed North Korea's fortunes and made the country even more of a threat for President Jack Ryan.)
4. Hope to Die, James Patterson
     (Detective Alex Cross's family is kidnapped by a madman who wants to turn Cross into a perfect killer.)
5. The Burning Room, Michael Connelly
     (The Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch and his new partner investigate two long-unsolved cases.)

The lists continued with several other categories, none of which was ROMANCE. If I searched for Romance on, I was given several options: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Literature and Fiction, Contemporary Women Fiction, Historical, Religious Romance, Family Saga, and Christian Romance. Not so with the New York Times.

The NYT Best Sellers Lists did include mass-market paperbacks. The top 5 for December are listed below:
1. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
   (A woman disappears from her Missouri home on her 5th anniversary; is her bitter, oddly evasive husband a killer?)
2. Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline
   (A historical novel about orphans swept off the streets of NYC and sent to the Midwest in the 1920s.)
3. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
     (In this fable, a Spanish shepherd boy ventures to Egypt in search of treasure and his destiny.)
4. The Martian, Andy Weir
     (After a dust storm forces his crew to abandon him, an astronaut embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive on Mars.)
5. Captivated by You, Sylvia Day
    (Eva and Gideon's vows have opened old wounds exposed insecurities and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows; a Crossfire novel.)

I wonder how accurate the NYT Best Seller list is. As a librarian, I know the top five listed in the NYT list are circulated frequently, but so are many romance writers books.

Seems if a book is not a spy/crime/intrigue/murder mystery it doesn't find a prestigious place on the NYT Best Seller Lists. Or is it just my imagination?

Right now I'm reading two books: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (YA) by Laini Taylor; and The Scottish Prisoner, by Diana Gabaldon (one of my favorite authors!)

Are you reading one of the top 5?  If not, share with us ~ what are you reading?

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Visit my Amazon site:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mark Your Calendars - My New Book, CHRISTMAS CAROL, Is FREE Dec 20 thru Dec 24

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Just in time for the Holidays, my new short and sweet Christmas book, called CHRISTMAS CAROL, will be FREE from SAT, DEC 20 thru WED, DEC 24!

What's it about? 

A stranded big time author learns the meaning of life and love from a small town waitress named Christmas Carol.

Blake Dugan's car gets smashed in a snowstorm and he's stranded in a small town. At first, he's annoyed by the tone-deaf singing of a local waitress. That's before he learns the terrible secret compelling her to try and forget the unforgettable.

Can he help her forget? When his car’s ready, should he go, or should he stay?

Find all of Morgan Mandel's romances, 
thrillers and mysteries at her Amazon Author Page:

Excerpts from all books at
Connect on Facebook:

Twitter: @MorganMandel

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Holiday Read

As you all probably know by now, I'm a big advocate of rereading books I love. I completely subscribe to the theory that some books are far too good to be read only once.

One of the biggest compliments I ever got was a reviewer saying my Christmas story was one she'd read again.

So for those who like to reread, or if you haven't read it yet, here's A Christmas to Remember.

Newly single, Heather Morgan gathers her courage and decides to take a Christmas ski vacation on her own. However, the festive holiday atmosphere reminds her how dispirited and alone she feels. When she meets a mysterious stranger, her lonely vacation takes an unexpected turn.

Sam is at the resort at the urging of his brother, who thinks he needs to get out and have a little fun. Having no desire to get involved with anyone, Sam needs a way to get his brother off his back. The intriguing Heather seems like the perfect solution to his dilemma, so he makes her an offer she can't refuse.

Sam restores the joy of the season to Heather. Their time together is magical, something she'll never forget. Soon her feelings for him deepen beyond their romantic holiday fling. But Sam has a secret, one that could prevent the fantasy from ever becoming real.

Available through The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Friday, December 12, 2014

A Writer's Social Media Footprint

It’s difficult to go for very long these without somebody inventing a new app or social media tool/site.  For writers (especially Indies) this can be a deer-in-the-headlights moment because of the ever present drum beating to have a social media presence to sell your books and raise your discoverability quotient.

So, which one(s) do you choose?

Well, I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately but really haven’t had time to sit down and truly figure it out.  It’s difficult enough to find time to write let alone all do all the “business” work associated with any small business including writing.  I work a full-time, very demanding job and teach part-time which leaves me hungry for finding time to “veg” let alone write.  I slapped a few things up on the “traditional” sites such as Facebook some time ago but haven’t kept them as up-to-date as I would like and I know I have to change that.  So, the idea of adding yet more social media time vampires to my life are not that appealing.

However, I do get excited when I read an article about a site I’ve not heard of before such as the PW article referencing what BookShout is doing at SXSW 2015.  Here’s the link:

This actually looks promising for writers and the process itself signals just how much the writing/publishing/promoting landscape has changed, not only for Indie authors but for all authors, and even publishers as evidenced in yet another PW article about Hachette trying to sell books via Twitter:

The article references engaging directly with readers and I think that this just might be the yard stick  to measure in which social media sites writers/authors choose to invest their precious time and even their branding strategy if they have one.  I don’t think this is an easy task but it’s an important one and properly assessing which social media sites an author's potential readers will visit can be difficult at best as well as very time consuming.

BTW – if you think you know all the social media/networking sites that exist and what type of impact they have just take a look at the following Wikipedia links:

The next link provides a list of those with more than 100 million active users:

And then there are the social bookmarking sites:

I also liked the breakdown from an article at the SocialMediaToday website even if the article is from 2012:

Lots to ponder and lots of work to do but in the end writing is still the number one priority so you have a written product to sell or promote.  Ah well, who needs to sleep!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Refreshing Rejection Letter! by DL Larson

I keep track of my queries. I'm old school and use paper and pen, writing down the date I sent my query, to who at what agency, plus what I sent specifically. I have a column for their answer and the date I received it. All my submissions in the last several years have been by email. Many agencies either 1) don't bother to respond;  2) send a quick thank you in their rejection notice, or 3) have an underling send a form letter with my name and book title inserted in blank fields.

Last July I sent a query and waited the several weeks to hear a response. After three months, I crossed off the agency's name as a - no response. It wasn't the first time I've done this. I moved on with my queries, not thinking much about the lack of response.

Yesterday I received a nice note from that agency: (I've withheld the real names and agency name)

Dear DL Larson,

This is Sarah' assistant, Eliza. First let me apologize on Sarah's behalf for the delay in following up on this submission. Somehow it was ensnared in our Outlook spam filter and languished there until now.

Alas, this type of sci fi romance doesn't quite fit Sarah's list, but I hope you have (or had already had!) good luck with this submission. Thanks again for thinking of our agency.

With warmest wishes,

Eliza ----

I smiled when I read her note. Yes, it was a rejection, nothing new there. And yes, it was from an assistant, not surprising or unsettling, but her explanation of a little mishap and her personal touch of sincerity was greatly appreciated. I felt she saw me as a real person, not just another rejection she had to send. Plus the fact she sent anything after all this time, reveals professionalism and kindness.

Of course, I'm disappointed my work did not fit their expectations. But I believe whoever does provide a manuscript they can use, will have found a good home for their work.

The small things do matter. Eliza's small note renewed my enthusiasm to keep searching for a home for my book.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Visit to purchase a book by DL Larson

Sunday, December 7, 2014

One Great Cover!

I've been working with a cover artist over at TWRP, and we've finalized the cover for One Great Night!

It's super fabulous, and fits the book to a T. I couldn't be happier!!

She's ready, he's not; it's a battle of the sexes with a twist.

At twenty-seven, Chloe Harris has never had a night of really great sex. Before she turns thirty she wants to check that particular item off of her bucket list. She's known Jason her whole life. More importantly, she trusts him. Who better to help her with her plan?

Call him a bit old-fashioned, but Jason Williams has never had a one-night stand. And he's not about to start with his best friend's baby sister. To save Chloe from herself, he'll pretend to go along with her crazy scheme. But what happens when the charade becomes all too real? For his libido and his heart.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Friday, December 5, 2014

In the News

Lots of interesting news and stories out there this past week to include:

-  E-book retailer Kobo teaming up with screen manufacturer E Ink Holdings to make the Kobo e-book catalog more widely available:

- J.K. Rowling to publish a new book based on a speech she presented at Harvard.  It must be nice to be at a point in your life as a writer/author that your speeches can be made into a book.

- An allegedly lost novel by Ayn Rand will be published in July 2015.  I guess death isn’t as certain for writers/authors as it is for others.

- The passing of P.D. James whose publishing career spanned 52 years.  WOW!

- Okay, this is for fun as much as food for thought – TNT has a new action-adventure series The Librarians and if you liked the films the series promises to be worth your attention.

- This is from August 2014 but still worth a look, especially for Indie authors:

So, lots of interesting stuff to ponder.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Getting Your Facts Straight! by DL Larson

I admit it, I'm a stickler for details. I want my work to be as authentic as possible. Guess that's why the movie my husband and I recently went to see irritated me with their lack of authenticity. I'm talking about the movie 'Interstellar', with Matthew McConaughey. The movie took place on a farm, with the harvest in the background. The problem, nothing was correct. A simple Google search would have told the director corn is harvested when the stalk is mature (dried out and yellowed with age) not green and just tasseled. There is nothing to harvest at this stage of the crop. Even if they were trying to harvest sweet corn, which it wasn't in the movie, that is not the time to pick. Another mistake was the equipment. A combine can only hold a few rounds of harvested crop. It needs to unload its treasure into something - a wagon, a truck. A combine is not made to hold a whole field. But nary a truck, wagon or bin were on sight. Again, a little Google search would have explained that. As the movie progressed, I wondered what other tidbits about the science of space were out of wack as well.

These are small infractions, yet they threw me out of the movie.

I remember when my father read my first book, Memories Trail. It was still in draft form. The book takes place in the early 1800's. I had a segment where my character hunts pheasant for food. I thought nothing of it until my dad informed me pheasants did not exist in the United States at that time. Heh? I was dumbfounded. But sure enough, a little research told me the pheasant did not arrive until the 1880's. And for those trivia buffs, the ring-necked pheasant came from Asia. The fix proved simple enough, but I had not done my homework. Thank goodness my dad is a pretty smart fella!

Recently I attended the play, Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale. It's at Water Tower Place and I believe will be there through Christmas. This play is family oriented and full of good laughs and sing-along holiday songs. The plot is ... the leader of the heavy metal band thinks he makes a deal with Satan to become famous. And the band does find success, but not as they wanted. Every time they begin to play, Christmas carols come out, not the heavy metal noise they like to create. What they finally realize is that their contract with the devil was actually a letter to Santa! Santa gives them an early Christmas present - success through their holiday songs! The band leader, we find out, is a terrible speller. He thought he wrote SATAN on the contract, when he actually wrote SANTA. It's a delightful spoof on lack of details.

So be prepared to go the distance when it comes to researching your material. I usually have more than I could ever use, but I also know I have dug deep into the era I'm writing in. I've learned about the topic I need to become an expert in. And my work is better because of it.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

PS: Memories Trail is available in e-book format. Go to:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Battling Paper

Today, I first, spent over 1 1/2 hours shredding old papers which contained personal information.

Then, while I was on a roll, I decided to clean out my small file cabinet, with the object of removing it into the basement. I thought that project might take about an hour, but the project took much longer.

Battling paper is no fun. However, I did make a lot of progress. From two drawers, I now have two file envelopes left, one for me and one for the DH, along with a small container of business cards.

I don't know why I save so much paper. It sure takes up a lot of room!

That reminds me of all the books I donated to the library last year because they also took up a lot of room. I still have many left, which I couldn't bear parting with, especially the autographed ones from authors I know.

There is something to be said for the digital age, with all its faults. Computers and programs don't always work the way I want them to, but at least they don't take up much room!

By the way, for more punishment, I decided to get the Christmas cards ready today. I use postcards, because the DH and I send out so many, and the postage is less that way. Also, I use labels, which cuts down some of the time, but we both like to write little messages on some of them, and, yes, they are made of paper. I draw the line on sending e-cards, at least for now, unless they become terribly popular.

You never know. Once upon a time, not too long ago, e-books weren't popular.

Morgan Mandel at a March 28, 2010 book signing
for the print version of Killer Career.

Find all of Morgan's mysteries & romances for kindle at
Excerpts at
Twitter: @MorganMandel

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Welcome to Chrys Fey!

Today Debra welcomes fellow TWRP author Chrys Fey to Book Beat Babes. Congratulations on your new release, Chrys. 30 Seconds sounds like an exciting read!

Hello, Book Beat Babes! This is my first visit to this lovely blog, so I wanted to do a special post inspired by Book Beat Babes.

Dani Hart, the heroine in my newest romantic-suspense, 30 Seconds, is a babe in many ways. Allow me to demonstrate:

Rock Babe: Dani’s parents were true rockers in the 70’s. Her mom continued to rock out even when she was pregnant, which is how Dani was born at a Kiss concert. She has a vast collection of rock albums including John Lennon and Bob Marley. She also has a rock-inspired tattoo on her back; string notes to Led Zeppelin’s song "Stairway to Heaven."

Horror Babe: Dani is a huge fan of horror movies, especially the classics like The Birds, The Shining, and Halloween. Even after working at the ER where she sees gore daily, and being threatened by the Mob, she still can enjoy a good horror film.

Intellectual Babe: Dani speaks fluent Spanish. She’s also a doctor. She pulls all-nighters at the ER, fights to keep gunshot victims alive, and performs emergency surgery. Although most of 30 Seconds takes place outside the hospital, there is an exciting hospital scene where we get to see her in full doctor mode.

Book Babe: Lastly, Dani is a book babe. When she goes into protective custody to hide from the Mob, what does she grab? A pile of books, of course! And she reads all of them, too.
What kind of babe do you like your heroines to be?

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

Book Links:
The Wild Rose Press:
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.
30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

Author Links:

Chrys, thanks again for joining us today and sharing Dani's babeness with us...I can relate to being a rock babe and a book babe, but not so much the horror babe!