Monday, January 16, 2017

Ad Words or whatever they're called!

Welcome to the garden! It's been a little warm for winter 30 degrees instead of 5 degrees, for which I'm grateful. It is still too cold to sit outside, but I have the rose house reserved for our chat. Fill your plates with goodies, pour a warm beverage and find a seat Ready? Lets begin.

It is that time of year again, the time where I'm determined to figure out this concept everyone calls promotion. I do my social media, I have not one, but two blogs, a Facebook and Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest--I must admit I love this, Google plus, YouTube, LinkedIn and a few others I should keep up with but I don't. But yet I am still not getting my name out there or my books. My sales are the same no matter what I do.

So HELP me please. I keep hearing about people who have a thousand viewers on their YouTube videos, or 100's of like's on their Facebook page. Their Tweets (is that what they're called?) reach thousands on Twitter and I could go on and on. How do they do this? What is the trick?

Do they write full time?

Many people are like myself, they need to have that Day Job to pay the bills and write on the side. I struggle with all of it, it's overwhelming. I work 40 hours a week and sometimes more, I ride public transit to and from work, which is another almost two hours each day. Then there is dinner and by then it's 7 pm and time to make my lunch for the next day. It's not that you just need to write, but you need to edit, you need to blog, and do your social media.

Then let's bring in family. I have eleven grandchildren that all seem to participate in something, basketball, football, baseball, motocross (my girls), dance, soccer, and guitar... My husband sort of likes to spend time with me. And on top of that I have friends and book club.

As I said I go through this every year and I ponder on what to do. I come up with a plan, implement it. Seems to work for a bit and then I'm so busy it falls by the way side. I cannot afford an assistant, what do others in my position do? I have been hearing that AdWords are good ,that I should use them on my Web site, my YouTube, and other things. What exactly does that mean and what should I do?

Wait! I just Googled AdWords. It's some kind of advertisement. Not what I was talking about. Maybe
Tagwords? See I haven't a clue! Might I add that my promotion budget is a THIN shoestring...

If anyone has any insight on what or how to do this, please let me know!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Charmaine Gordon on Book Series

Welcome to the Garden everyone. We're in single digits here, I hope you're dressed warm, even though we're in the Rose Room. Please have some treats, and they are healthy this week. And hot beverages all around. Today I have Charmaine Gordon, she's going to tell us about writing her series.

I’m so pleased to be your guest today, Mary. Here is my story. You see I write in my dreams, like a dream walker.

After raising a bunch of kids, some while my pilot husband was flying for the Strategic Air Command during the Korean Conflict, eventually we moved to New York. When the youngest and only daughter turned sixteen, an actress friend suggested I go to the big city and seek a career. Horrified at the thought at first, I turned myself around and spread my wings to become a small fish in the big talent pond. Daytime dramas were my specialty in shows such as One Life to Live, All My Children, Another World and then I branched out into movies like Working Girl-fun with Harrison Ford during lunch break when we shared a hotdog and sang, a month with the fine Anthony-call me Tony-Hopkins in an awful movie upstate New York, When Harry Met Sally where I met Carrie Fisher, so gentle and pleasant that week. And plays, several Off-Broadway plays until, alas, my voice let me down.

“It’s gone, you can’t be an actor any more, my dear,” said the kind voice doctor. “You have Spasmodic Dysphonia.”

Here’s my good news. A friend called to say “write a book.”
“Good idea but I don’t know how.”
“You’ve read scripts for years, worked with Mike Nichols, Billy Crystal, lots of good people. Just do it.”

And she was right. An idea floated into my head at night in a dream, I saw the action, the characters. The next morning I began a new career. After a dozen query letters went out to no avail, Vanilla Heart Publishing called. They wanted to talk business. To Be Continued is the title of that book optioned for a television movie. Another book She Didn’t Say No is optioned for a movie. No one knows what will happen, folks. I just keep writing and so should you. Take the time for yourself to express what’s in your mind.

Now for series: I didn’t plan to write Reconstructing Charlie as the beginning of a series but stuff happens. Again I dreamed of a fifteen year old girl in a small town in Minnesota. I’ve never been there. The eldest of four, she protected mom from drunken Dad on Friday-payday. Oh my I thought when I woke up the next day. I already raised all the kids, what in the world would I do with this one. But write I did; loved her I did as she went to Chicago to live with the best aunt and uncle ever and smart girl, she developed into a woman who decided she wouldn’t sleep with a guy until he was on bended knee with a ring. If wedding bells didn’t happen, she had enough on her plate. When I typed The End, I thought what about her room-mate at Northwestern U and so I wrote Sin of Omission followed by The Catch because what happened to handsome football player in RC followed by Together, Again where the youngest twin sisters come to Chicago at last and they are a kick. You will love them.

It’s a wrap, I thought yet every day I write and love it. Stories pour from my heart with romance/suspense, humor and pets-Therapy Dog true stories in At Your Service eformat. They gave me courage to walk again after a terrible fall 2016.
Twitter @CharJGordon
Wordpress: of good blogs here on life-show biz stories
Facebook :authorCharmaineGordon

Reconstructing Charlie
Series: Women Who Survive and Thrive by Charmaine Gordon,
Charlie’s Family Secrets, Book 1
Charlie Costigan has a secret. Home life gone from bad to the worst when she protects her mother from another vicious attack by her drunken father. Midnight. Clothes thrown into an old suitcase, she races for the bus wit
h a letter to an unknown aunt and uncle. “This is my daughter. Embrace her as if she were your own.” Determined, Charlie begins again. Alone with her secret. Charmaine-Gordon/dp/0615909175 Charmaine-Gordon-ebook/dp/B004KKZ6WS

Sin of Omission
Series: Women Who Survive and Thrive by Charmaine Gordon,
Charlie’s Family Secrets, Book 2
A twist of fate intervenes when Shelley keeps a secret that threatens to break apart the Costigans and her future. A mysterious client, Deanna Rose, enters Haven, victim of a savage beating under strange circumstances. Shelley investigates and finds Ms. Rose has an unsavory past. With the reputation and safety of Haven at stake, Shelley is at risk to lose everything and everyone she cares about.

The Catch
Series: Women Who Survive and Thrive by Charmaine Gordon,
Charlie’s Family Secrets, Book 3
Tom Donnelly, once known as The Catch – every woman’s dream guy, has fallen down every rung of the ladder he once worked so hard to climb. On New Year’s Day, he realizes just how far he’s fallen, and makes a list of resolutions to change his life. He vows to regain the trust lost from his family, his law firm, and his friends – and maybe even find the right woman this time.

Thank you, Charmaine, for sharing your story. Very interesting and inspiring.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Resolutions, goals, new resolve

Welcome to Mary's Garden in the new year. I've brought all my left over candy for you--I need to get rid of it all. Anyway, fill up your plates with goodies, and yes, I did provide healthy choices. Pour yourself your favorite beverage and settle in and let's chat.

No matter what you call it, it's that time of year when you start anew. The first day of the year, this year 2017. So am I setting resolutions? Goals? A new resolve? People say "I'm not setting resolutions, I'm going to set some goals." Well I looked up the definitions of all three. And believe it or not, the three are pretty much all the same things.

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Goal: the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
Resolve: firm determination to do something.

I have a resolution to lose 30 lbs and my goal is to do it by June. And I resolve that I am going to support others while I do it by posting healthy recipes on my The After Work Cook Blog.

Now for writing, my resolution is to write more. My goal is to write at lunches as many days as possible. and I resolve not to let my work get in the way of my writing lunches.

Now for my work/home life, my resolution is to complain less about work when I'm at home. My goal is to find a fulfilling career that I will only have good comments, and I resolve to do my research and apply to only positions that I know are the best fit for my skills.

Now if only I could have all my books hit the best selling list so I could just stay home and write all day and actually make a living at what I love. Obviously, I have other resolutions, goals, and resolves but those are my main ones. I would love to hear from you and what yours are.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Marie Higgins our Garden guest today.

Welcome everyone to the Garden. Happy holidays! Marie Higgins is our guest today she'll be telling us about her Worthington Series. So find a plate and fill it with goodies and pour some Christmas cheer.

Wonderful World of Series Writing
When I started writing my Sons of Worthington series, I hadn’t originally planned on a series. “The Sweetest Kiss” started this fascination. The first step was to come up with a Regency plot, funny scenes, and tortured characters. My hero, Trey Worthington, 3rd son of the duke, had created lots of scandals during his lifetime. He had two older brothers, Trevor (who is actually the duke in the series since their father is deceased), and Tristan. Both brothers—and a mutual friend, Dominique Lawrence, Marquis of Hawthorne—have tried to keep Trey in line, but of course, it doesn’t work.

Once I finished this story, I realized the oldest Worthington brother, Trevor, had a story to tell now that he was duke—“The Sweetest Touch”. Then I realized I could also write about Tristan’s life, and his story is “The Sweetest Love”. Their mutual friend, Dominic (Nic) Lawrence, popped up in all of the stories, because he’s such a fun-loving friend who keeps the brothers smiling with his antics. Nic begged me for a story (even though I really didn’t want to write one), but eventually I gave in, and I’m glad I did. I loved writing his story, “The Sweetest Secret”. These stories have been out since 2011. Many of my readers begged me for more Worthington brothers, and of course, I couldn’t say no. Although my new stories won’t be about the brothers themselves, each story will have a brother and his wife (or maybe two) make an appearance.

My newest release is “The Sweetest Challenge.”
Melinda Stewart was far from being a debutante, but she must disguise what she really did during the day to keep food on the table. When a wealthy businessman enters her life and wants to buy her land, she’s torn between giving up her deceased father’s dream—and wanting to give her heart to this stranger.

Morgan Drake doesn’t take no for an answer, but ever since meeting the very lovely Miss Stewart, all of his business ethics have been pushed aside. Now, the lonely man who never had time for a wife, wants to change, and he wants Miss Stewart to be the woman beside him. If only he can convince her that he’s not the terrible person she believes him to be.
Buy link

My next release is about Lord Hollingsworth’s niece, and Lady Diana Worthington’s brother. It’s titled, “Sweet Memories”. Victoria Owens is determined to collect her deceased uncle’s inheritance and return home to pay her debtors. But when she meets the solicitor, he tells her about the clause in Lord Hollingworth’s will. She must work as Major Cole Baldwin’s housekeeper for one year before she can get a shilling. Her sister’s life is at stake and Victoria needs the money fast. Before she can meet the major, she’s involved in an accident and loses her memory.

When Cole returns home wounded from the military, only to discover he must settle a debt that his father had made with Lord Hollingsworth—even though both men are deceased. Cole must allow the deceitful man’s niece to come to the estate and work as his housekeeper. Cole has also invited his dead wife’s daughter whom he’s never met, Victoria Hampton, to assist him with Hollingworth’s niece. But an accident happens at the docks, and the woman he thinks is his wife’s daughter has lost her memory. Perhaps this is a good thing since there are secrets in his own life that he’s not willing to share.

Other stories in this series that are in the works with 2017 release dates:
“The Sweetest Charm” (the wives of the brothers & Nic will be in this story)
“The Sweetest Surrender” (some of the characters from “The Sweetest Charm” will be in this story)
“Sweet Pride and Passion”
Visit this link to see the awesome book covers 

To win one of these published stories, leave a comment, and your name and email, and I’ll add you to the drawing.

About the author
Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of Christian and sweet romance novels; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. She’s been with a Christian publisher since 2010. Between those and her others, she’s published 30 heartwarming, on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories and broadened her readership by writing mystery/suspense, humor, time-travel, paranormal, along with her love for historical romances. Her readers have dubbed her "Queen of Tease", because of all her twists and turns and unexpected endings.
Visit her website / blog to discover more about her –
Find her on Facebook 
And Twitter - @MarieHigginsXOX

Thank you, Marie, for joining us. As I've read some of these, I can say... Go pick up your copies now, you won't be sorry.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sandy Loyd on writing series

Welcome to the Garden everyone! It's very cold today, pretty, but freezing. So, find something hot to eat, pour your favorite hot beverage and find a seat. Today we have Sandy Loyd visiting.

I’m excited to be here today on Mary’s blog, discussing series. Thanks so much for having me.

Bio: As a former sales rep for a major manufacturer, Sandy has traveled extensively throughout the US, and which has given her a million stored memories to draw from for her stories. She spent her single years in San Francisco and considers that city one of America’s treasures, comparable to no other city in the world. The books in her California Series, starting with Winter Interlude, are all set in the Bay Area.

Sandy is now an empty nester who has written almost two dozen novels in several genres. She strives to come up with fun characters—people you would love to call friends. Whether writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense, historical, or time travel, she always focuses on weaving a warm love story into her work, while providing enough twists and turns to entertain any reader. Check out her website at and sign up for her newsletter and receive a free e-copy of her latest Christmas romance, A Lowcountry Christmas Miracle, set in another great city, Charleston, SC.

I’ve written and published several series. My first, the California Series came about from memories of when I was single in one of the best cities in the world, San Francisco, CA. I wrote what I knew. Of course, single millennials have different mindsets, but I still believe most are still looking for that someone special to share their lives with.

Promises, Promises, the second story in the California Series was my first attempt at writing. The first story, Winter Interlude, followed. I loved the characters and because I like twists, I created a back story for the best friend in Promises, Promises.

As an avid reader, I never consider writing a book. But after tossing a very dissatisfying book aside, I thought “I could do better.” Of course, it’s much harder than I ever imaged. Still, after ten years of continuing the writing journey with more stories, learning the craft with extensive training, a ton of revising with two wonderful critique partners, and final rounds with an editor, I sent Winter Interlude and the first three stories in the California Series out into the world. Now, four years later, it’s still selling and getting good reviews. I’m proud to say, there are five books in the series with more on the way.

Right now Winter Interlude is free on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook. Consider it an early Christmas gift. The California Series, Books 2-4 is available at a special price for a limited time. All of the books are stand-alones, but there are recurring scenes with all the characters at different times.

Winter Interlude:
Do you remember your mother telling you when you were little that you’d never meet Mr. Right if you were spending all your time and energy with Mr. Wrong? And what about the book out a few years ago that created such a hoopla with the single crowd – He’s Just Not That Into You? The two main characters in Winter Interlude either didn’t heed their mother’s advice or haven’t read the book. Now, add into the plot that the two in question are enemies who regularly run into each other, given their current relationships. Paul Morrison, a hunky, blond, financial planner, has been putting time and energy into winning the heart of Kate Winter’s best friend for almost as long as Kate, a strong willed antiques dealer, has been dating James Morrison, Paul’s brother. The sparks start to fly when the two get stuck together for a three-hour drive to the mountains and years of misconceptions about each other are slowly being wiped out. It is in the confines of the BMW that the two begin their journey, taking them from being mortal enemies to lovers.

Winter Interlude tells the story of their adventure – of how they finally find love. Kate and Paul’s story is the first one in a series of four friends caught in a time warp. They can’t move on because they are stuck on their idea of their perfect dreams. But sometimes life works in mysterious ways and they are all forced by circumstances to change.

California Series (Books 2-4): Promises, Promises, James, and; A Quickstep to Romance
Three couples find their way to love and happiness in these heartwarming stories, (book 2 - 4) all set in the San Francisco Bay area. Experience a flirty, sexy & fun romance on a San Franciscan night in PROMISES, PROMISES, where one man finishes what was started ten years ago, yet can't walk away like he wants to..Read about JAMES, a man women love with one flaw - he can't commit, and the one woman who makes him wish he was different. And finally, A Quickstep to Romance is more than just Dirty Dancing when two dancing partners find they have more in common than they think.

Winter Interlude – Book 1 and California Series – Books 2, 3, and 4

Winter Interlude – Book 1 and California Series – Books 2, 3, and 4

Winter Interlude – Book 1 and California Series – Books 2, 3, and 4

Winter Interlude – Book 1 and California Series – Books 2, 3, and 4

Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The California Series – Books 2-4.

Thank you, Sandy for joining us! The series sounds awesome!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Vicki Batman on writing a series

Welcome to the garden, everyone. We're still chatting about book series. Please welcome Vicki Batman with us. Please fill up your plate with goodies and pour your favorite beverage.

Hi everyone,
The Wild Rose Press just published the second in my Temporarily series. First is Temporarily Employed. Second is Temporarily Insane.

A friend knew I was interested in writing a book and on a girlfriend trip, challenged us to write the opening paragraph of a book using the word window. I had nothing. But two days later, I sat down and began to write. I had scribed eight chapters. I showed my friend who said to continue. So I did. While working on TE, ideas for TI popped in my head. I scribbled them in a doc and saved. When TWRP pubbed TE, I thought maybe I could do something with the scribblings. Eventually, a book shaped and TWRP agreed to publish it too. Now, I'm working on Temporarily Out of Luck.

My character loses the job she loves and is forced to take temporary jobs to make ends meet. Each new job is a unique challenge, but not the one she really wants. The detective is a childhood friend who morphed from a trombone playing math geek. He's adored her all his life. Together, they solve crimes and have a little romance.

Temporarily Employed. New Job. New Love. And Murder. Hattie Cook's dream job is down the
toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced.

When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, Detective Allan Charles Wellborn steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.

Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?

Find Temporarily Employed at:

Amazon ebook: Amazon paperback: The Wild Rose Press ebook: The Wild Rose Press paperback: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
The Wild Rose Press, Inc. - GIFT CERTIFICATES Books In Series FREE READS! Paperback Books COMING SOON Audio Books Boxed Editions/Anthologies Browse by Theme Romance Browse by Length Fiction Promotional Items romance, fiction, digital, ebooks, print books, authors, fantasy, western, paranormal, contemporary, erotic, shop, online shopping

Temporarily Insane. Bad job. Wrong love. And Murder. Hattie Cooks is still searching for her dream job and one might be the Big Apple, far from friends, family, and Allan Wellborn, the man who still makes her heart race. In the meantime, she finds temporary employment at an accounting firm where mishaps and murder are definitely fishy. Detective Allan Wellborn dropped Hattie for Blonde Bimbo who, coincidentally, is employed at NLB where fishy things are taking place. When Allan interviews Hattie, he must determine why all signs point to her as a suspect.

Can Hattie discover why Allan dumped her and who is murdering auditors before death strikes again?

Find Temporarily Insane at:
Amazon ebook: Amazon paperback: The Wild Rose Press ebook: The Wild Rose Press paperback:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you, Vicki, for visiting Mary's Garden today. your series sounds great.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Judy Baker writing as Anna Sugg tells us about her Santa series.

Welcome to the garden everyone! As you can see, it's full on winter, no more fall. I have warm goodies. I have hot chocolate and coffee, and of course, peppermint schnapps for the cocoa and Irish crème for the coffee. Grab yourself a plate and find a place to sit. Today we have Judy Backer writing as Anna Sugg telling us about her Santa Series.

Judy Baker writes historical western romances/suspense, and her alternative-ego, Anna Sugg writes contemporary/suspense romance and paranormal novels. She has written The Santa Series, Yellow Creek Novels series, Silver Sage Creek series. Her favorite holiday is Christmas and her Santa Series has appeared on the top one hundred Amazon list. She’s been involved in many writing groups including RWA, URWA, and the Music City Romance writers of America in Nashville, Tennessee. She also taught a beginners class during the Florida RWA Conference, and taught classes for adult writers with the West Jordan Community Education District.

Baker grew up in the Tennessee, but has lived much of her life in the west. Moving to Nevada to teach school, she was compelled to write the stories that filled her head. She now lives in Utah with her husband and two furry kids, a Lakeland terrier named Stanley and, Bruce, an eighteen pound cat. When not writing, she enjoys RVing with her family, stargazing through one of her many telescopes, digging in her wildflower garden, and golfing, or just swinging on the patio while plotting her next story. She’s also an avid fan of coffee, tea and the ocean. You can contact Judy through her website:

I’m excited to be a guest on Mary’s blog and tell you about a series that I wrote, especially for the Christmas holidays. Christmas is my favorite holiday, so it was a natural thing for me to write a Christmas story.

When I first wrote Santa’s Pretty Lady, I wasn’t thinking about a series, but as many of you know, secondary characters can often whispering in your ear. A homeless character in my story, Santa’s Pretty Lady, bugged me to a point that I finally put my fingers to the computer, even though it was the first of August and summer sunshine begged me to be outdoors. I played Christmas music and listened to my muse, letting the story unfold. (My husband just smiled and shook his head.)

In no time, I had completed the next book, Santa’s Secret Gift. And, of course, wouldn’t you know it. The little girl in book two was such a sweet, loveable character that I knew I had to write her story in book three, Mainland Santa. As an adult, she continued to be the character that I loved in Santa’s Secret Gift.

All three books are filled with fun, emotional, suspenseful drama, all with a Santa hero. You’ll meet loveable, courageous, even insufferable characters that flow from one book to the next as they meet life’s unexpected challenges. These Christmas stories are sweet and wholesome with happily-ever-after endings, and can be read as a stand-alone story. The Santa Series will keep you in the spirit of the holiday season, even after the holidays.

I’m thrilled to announce the book cover of Santa’s Pretty Lady’s won first place in the Still Moments Magazine Winter Holiday Cover Contest. Thank you to all of you that voted for my cover, which was created by Sheri McGathy,

Santa’s Pretty Lady
How could she possibly fall in love with a homeless Santa? Lena Belle tries to reject the love of a man whose only job for the moment is playing Santa for the department store. Yet, he stirs an emotion within her that she has not felt for many years. How could she fall in love with a homeless Santa? Would he be willing to work for their relationship? Supporting a man once in a lifetime is enough. She will not be the sole provider and risk another divorce.
Buy Amazon

Santa’s Secret Gift
A gift from a secret Santa gives her hope and a chance to take her daughter and run. When Madison Sanford is abandoned on a mountaintop in the middle of Nevada's desolate state, where a body could die and not be found, if ever, she never dreamed that one day a secret Santa would give her hope for happiness. Peter Jackson's destiny had once again crossed paths with Madison. Loving her scares the hell out of him and the only thing he knows to do is to run again, pushing her back in the arms of the man that could destroy her.
Buy Amazon

Mainland Santa
All men have only two things on their mind: sex and secrets Dr. Brianna Sanford will miss the salty
smell of the ocean air, the winter nights with their perfect conditions for stargazing, and the island's constant eighty-two degree temperature. As her job at the prestigious hotel in Hawaii nears an end, Brianna meets Cagney Malloy. Since breaking off an engagement, she had decided all men have only two things on their mind: sex and secrets. Cagney Malloy is no different. He has a secret. She wouldn't care, except her feelings for the man has become more than she expected.
Buy Amazon

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and success in all you want to accomplish in the New Year. Judy.

Thank you for joining us today, Judy! I can tell everyone first hand, this is a GREAT Series. Enjoy!