Saturday, December 13, 2014

PROTECTION Finaled for 2015 EPIC eBook Award

Look what happened--PROTECTION finaled for the 2015 EPIC eBook Awards in Romantic Suspense.

I'm am so excited and pleased. I'm in very good company there. We'll see what happens in March.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Women and Reinvention

My newest women's fiction novel, LADIES IN WAITING, came out a few days ago. Authors will be familiar with this process, but for others let me explain what happens before a book goes to publication. First there's the editing process which can take several back and forths between the author and the editor. Then the book goes to a copyeditor. The last stage involves the galleys being sent to the author for one last look. That's when you search, line by line, word by word, for any small errors that may have been missed in the earlier editing processes. Books don't just happen. They go through rigorous scrutiny.

In working with the galleys for LADIES IN WAITING, I discovered something. Well, not discovered so much as was reminded. I love writing women's fiction. I very much enjoy writing romance and suspense, but I LOVE writing women's fiction. Perhaps it's the dormant psychotherapist in me that enjoys digging into the psyche and the emotions of the character(s) and seeing what makes them tick. Then partnering with the character to not only tell their story, but walk with them to a resolution of conflicts. See, that's what really moves us through. Conflict. It's an essential element when writing a story to create conflict and keep it going to hold the reader through to the end. I think the same is true of life.

LADIES IN WAITING is a book about internal conflicts. Liv, Cee Cee, Julia, Andi and Markie are strangers to one another who all land in Cape May, New Jersey for a women's retreat titled Embracing the New You: Reinventing Yourself After Fifty. But each woman has a very different reason for being there and each one is as much running from something as she is moving toward something. When the retreat director, Bree, is called away on a family emergency, the five women decide to stay anyway and have their own sort of retreat.

As I worked through the galleys for this book, I found myself drawn into the story as if I'd not written it and had never before read it. I found myself reflecting upon my own reinvention. I've wrestled with that word, questioning if we really do reinvent ourselves or if we reclaim those parts of ourselves that we've put aside or shed for the sake of someone or something else. But reinvention seems to be a more widely understood and accepted term for what we women face as we move into our second and then third acts of life. A significant part of my own reinvention was to embrace my desire to write. LADIES IN WAITING is my 20th published novel! Some reinvention, huh?

My reinvention had a lot to do with embracing truths and letting go of fantasy thinking about life. Reinvention can be a painful process, but it's also one that offers a new freedom--freedom to be honest with ourselves, to make new and sometimes better choices, to dare to give free rein to our dreams and step onto formerly untried paths. It might sound overwhelming and little scary. And it can be. But it's also a hell of a lot of fun.

Liv's life blew up in her face and she had to face the truths of what she had compromised or given away of herself to make a life that was less than satisfying for her. Cee Cee (only thirty-two, but taking her mother's place at the retreat because she needs time away from her husband and kids) is questioning her marriage. Julia arrives at the retreat wound so tightly, she fears if she relaxes, she might fall apart. And falling apart is not acceptable on any level for Julia. Andi is still trying to find her way through early widowhood and into a future of happiness. Markie, in whom the hippie era meets new age, doesn't see an option for reinvention so much as a need to find some inner peace to make a decision she feels is imperative and final.

By the time I'd finished the work on the galleys and sent them back to my editor, I was feeling a loss. What I imagine post-partum depression could be like. I wanted to sit on the beach with these five women and draw my energy from them as they grappled with lies and truths and changes to find the next step, the true path that fit for each of them.

Whether we engage in this process of reinvention in big ways or in small, it seems to me it's not something we choose. It's an invitation that life lays before us. We women have so much wisdom and experience to offer one another. We are each architects of our own reinvention, but I dare say it would be a lonely, possibly impossible, task without our girlfriends to hold our hands and to sometimes give us that much needed shove from behind.

Two of my favorite authors have written non-fiction books about this process of reinvention. Barbara Sher wrote It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now in 1999 and her words still ring true today. Claire Cook (one of my all time favorite authors of women's fiction) wrote Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) in 2014.

If you find yourself  thrust into your own reinvention, I recommend both of these books. And if you want some companions for the journey, I recommend LADIES IN WAITING. The girls will be happy to pour you a glass of wine and sit with you while you figure it all out.

Here's to your journey!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Your Next Book Should Be Your Best Book

Your next book should always be your best book. Writing is a learning process. At least that’s true for me. If we’re serious about the craft of writing and open to the process that goes into creating a book, we are always learning more about our writing and stretching our boundaries and limits.

Some writers embrace the editing process while others see it as a chore. I’m in the former group. I love the editing process. I love getting a fresh perspective on what I’ve written and having the opportunity to tighten up my writing and add color to my scenes and my characters from another point of view. That doesn’t mean I always agree with an editor’s suggestions, but I certainly consider them and try them out to see how they fit. In the end, I’m the one who best knows my story and my characters. But I owe it to myself and to my editors to give consideration to their suggestions.

Writers benefit from listening to feedback from their readers as well. I know some writers hold to the notion that you should never read reviews. I say, “Why not?” Sure there are reviewers out there who do a lousy job of reviewing, either telling the entire story in their review or slamming a book without obviously having read it. And there are good, honest reviews that reflect the reader’s thoughts and considerations about the story. Some reviews give a higher rating than others. I appreciate honest reviews and I try to take something away from them that informs me in writing the next book. I don’t let negative reviews get me down. I do let positive reviews buoy me up and nudge me forward. Everyone has a right to their opinion.

I take writing seriously, but not so seriously that it ceases to be fun. When it stops being fun, I’ll be finished. I owe it to myself and to my readers to work at this business of writing to make the next book the best I’ve ever written. Most writers, if they will be honest with themselves and go back to read their earliest work, can see the changes and improvements in their writing. If they can’t, well, they might want to re-evaluate their career choice.

As for me, my goal is to make the next book the best I’ve written so far. LADIES IN WAITING will be out in a few weeks. I’ll let you all be the judge.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Meet the Ladies In Waiting -- Coming in December

Liv, Markie, Julia, Andi and Cee Cee each came to the retreat—Embracing  the New You: Reinventing Yourself After Fifty—with a specific purpose and each brought her own secret. When the owner of Síocháin (which translates to peace) is called away for a family emergency, the five women who have never before met decide to stay at the Cape May, New Jersey retreat house and find their own way to the ‘New You.’ Each woman has a reason for being there and not somewhere else. They could give the term ‘retreat’ a whole new meaning. Except that, for these women, the retreat is just a backing up to get a running start forward.

Liv hardly recognizes herself in the mirror any more. She's changed everything she can about her appearance in an effort to hide her shame. Markie, a product of the sixties and a child of the universe, has a more pressing issue with which she must find peace. Julia, an Assistant District Attorney, is used to being in charge, but recently life has spun out of her control. Andi is second-guessing her second chance at love two years after the sudden death of husband. She's also avoiding a secret that haunts her from the past. Cee Cee, the baby of the group at thirty-two, is in crisis and, with her mother disappearing into the darkness that is Alzheimer's, desperately needs womanly advice.

Lies are told, secrets are revealed, tears are shed and laughter abounds as they make their way past the differences that divide and into the familiar territory of sisterhood that holds them together. In other words, they have one another’s backs—eventually—as each woman sheds whatever is holding her back and weighing her down. The journey is not without conflict and challenge. In December, you’re invited to join Liv, Markie, Julia, Andi and Cee Cee to sit down, put up your feet, throw back a glass of wine and embrace the new you!

* Coming in December from Turquoise Morning Press.

I had such a great time writing this book, getting to know these women. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Guest Blogger - Tracy Broemmer

Author Tracy Broemmer writes stories from the heart with characters that draw us into their lives. Her stories are insightful, captivating and ring true. So I invited Tracy to be my guest and to share an experience to which most of us, especially women, can relate.

~ * ~

My mom is the third youngest of eleven children.  I am the fourth youngest of fifty-five grandchildren on Mom’s side of the family.  Being one of the younger ones, I’ve watched many cousins suffer the loss of their parents.  In the stretch between April of 2007 and October of 2009, seven family members (one cousin and six aunts/uncles) passed away.  Of course, I grieved.  You might assume that with a family so big, we aren’t close and maybe, at first glance, it would look that way to the casual observer.  Obviously, we don’t all see each other every day.  In fact, there are long periods of time when I don’t even get to see the four cousins I am closest to, whom I’ve always felt are brothers and sisters, rather than cousins.  However, we’re tight-knit, and when there’s a wedding or a reunion, we try to be there, and we love to celebrate together.  And when there’s a death, we grieve together, and we remember the good old days, and we rally around the family who’s lost someone.

My mom is 74, and two years ago, you could often find her in my backyard, either squatting to catch for my son, who pitches-my then twelve-year-old son who throws a wicked fastball.  I can’t catch my son; I can’t squat because of a knee injury from my days on the mound many years ago.  If Mom wasn’t catching him, you’d likely find her with a bat, standing in so my son could envision the strike zone.  (Mom’s been nailed by a few pitches in her day, starting with me when I was younger and had to throw a hundred pitches a night) and yes, my son has drilled her a couple of times.

A year or two ago, Mom could have gone to my son’s baseball practices and played circles around most of the boys on the team.  She’s got an arm.  She can catch anything.  Five years ago, if you’d have asked her if she wanted to play slow-pitch again in the women’s league at the K of C or the local park district team, she’d have said yes, and you’d have seen her on the field.  And I’m betting she’d have still had it, or most of it, anyway.

Mom’s watched seven of her siblings deal with illnesses.  She sat with her sisters when they passed away.  I visited one uncle with her, when he was on his deathbed.  One uncle died in a bizarre accident.  I’m not sure what was worse, watching the long, drawn-out illnesses or the shock of the bizarre accident.  I do know that each of these losses has taken a little slice of her heart.  Right now she’s spending her time worrying about two of her sisters, one who has reached the stage where she remembers so little of current days and everything of their younger years and the other who had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery last July.

And while I worry about those aunts, I’ve suddenly realized that my mom has aged.  She’s dealing with some health issues of her own, though I don’t believe anything is life-threatening at this point.  (She will be undergoing some tests later this morning, and I’m praying for good results.)  There are days when I look at Mom (I’m an only child, so we’ve always been very close) and I see her.  I see the strong, vibrant woman I’ve always known her to be.  And there are days when I look at her, and I see that she’s aged so very much in this past year and seeing her becoming a bit frail, forgetful, and so often not feeling well breaks my heart. 

I never wanted to be here.  As an only child, my parents’ care will be on my shoulders.  I understand that, and I will be there for them.  My family and I will do whatever my parents need, because we love them.  But, I’m scared.  It scares me to look at my parents and realize they’ve gotten older.  I don’t want to say that my mom is elderly.  I want to walk out on my deck and find Mom with the baseball glove on, squatting behind home plate, catching my son.  At the very least, I want to see my dad catching my son and working with him on his off-speed pitches, while my mom stands in with a bat.

I’m not ready to be a caregiver for my parents, only because I’m not ready to admit that we’ve reached the stage where our roles are reversed.  I guess it’s denial.  I want to look at my parents and see them as they were when they were my age, middle-aged, I guess.  I don’t need to rewind time and be younger.  I’m actually pretty happy with who I am these days.  But I sure wish I could take Mom and Dad back in time and make them whole and healthy and young again, just so I’d know I’d have them around for another thirty or forty years.

To read more about Tracy and her other books, visit her website at:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Publishers Weekly Likes PROTECTION

Rettstatt offers a unique twist on romantic suspense, as both the hero and heroine have secrets that endanger them and their relationship. In rural Washington State, Shannon Chase miscalculates a hairpin turn and drives into a tree. Jake Garbar leaves his nearby cabin and helps Shannon and her infant to safety, letting them stay in his home until Shannon can get back on her feet again. While the attraction between them is unmistakable, Shannon is reluctant to get involved with another man, since she’s fleeing a disastrous relationship. And Jake has been a paranoid recluse ever since he experienced a drastic life-changing event. As Jake and Shannon’s pasts are slowly and creatively revealed, they must learn to trust each other. Rettstatt provides the complete package: romance, suspense, and magnetic characters. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
       Publishers Weekly

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Writing Has Gone to the Dogs (and Cats) - RESCUED

NOW AVAILABLE! and at B& in eBook and Trade Paperback. Every sale benefits the Tunica Humane Society. Get yours today.

                                 ~ ~ ~ ~

It's official--my writing has gone to the dogs...and cats). In just a month, my next book, RESCUED, will be available. It's a sweet contemporary romance and proceeds from sales will benefit the Tunica Humane Society, a no-kill animal shelter in my area in Mississippi.

I'm so pleased to have found a way I can help support their efforts, and I hope you will join me by purchasing your copy of RESCUED today. 

Enjoy this blurb about RESCUED and a short excerpt:

Alexandra Ramsey has been rescuing strays since she was abandoned by her mother at the age of seven. Now Alex’s passion is poured into Harley’s Haven, the no-kill animal shelter she built from scratch in Cade's Point, Mississippi.
Evan Whiting rode the crest of the wave of success as a top chef in Manhattan until 26 people were sickened by bad crab meat. He lost his restaurant, his savings, his reputation and his wife. Evan retreats to the home he inherited in rural Mississippi to start over.
Both Alex and Evan are about to be RESCUED. Then there’s Walter….
Alex shielded her eyes against the bright July sun and called to her sister, “You see him?”
“He ran down toward that stand of trees.”
Waiting and watching, she saw the tall grass wave from a flurry of movement. “Gotcha.” She took off, motioning for Kellie to circle around in hopes of setting a trap. As she raced into a clearing, her right foot sank ankle deep in muck and she stumbled. “Crap.” She pulled her foot loose, then dug into the muddy mess to retrieve her sneaker.
Kellie waved to get her attention and pointed.
Alex nodded and slogged through the rain-soaked field. Sweat poured down her face and stung her eyes. When she stopped about five feet from Walter, he stood and stared at her, panting.
Realizing he was outdone, he lay on his back and rolled over, exposing his belly.
Alex dropped onto the ground beside him. “Walter, what is wrong with you? I know you miss Amy. We all do. But you’ve got to stop running off like this.”
The seventy-pound shepherd-collie mix looked up at her, his tongue lolling to one side.
She rubbed his tummy and attached a leash to his collar. “You look like a pig that’s been rollin’ in the barnyard. And we have people coming to meet you in an hour.”
Kellie caught up with her and bent over, winded from the chase. “That dog’s gonna be the death of us both. How are we gonna get him back to the shelter?”
Alex stood and tugged on the leash, urging Walter to his feet. “How do you think?”
“Alex, not again. I just got the upholstery cleaned from the last time.”
“I told you to bring a blanket.” Before Alex could start back across the field, Walter bolted, pulling her along behind. She dug in her heels and held the leash with both hands. “Stop!”
The dog stilled and looked back at her as if to say, “What? You said we have people to meet.”
When they reached Harley’s Haven, the no-kill animal shelter Alex operated, Kellie surveyed the condition of the rear leather seats of her Solara convertible and groaned. “I should get plastic seat covers. Next time we’re bringing your car.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll clean it up. But I have to get Walter hosed down first.”

Her sister gave her an appraising look. “You might want to hose yourself down while you’re at it.”
* * *
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Join me in supporting the efforts of the Tunica Humane Society and get a fun read at the same time. To view more of my books, stop by my website at