Thursday, May 10, 2012

Win a Nook

In case you haven't found my new blog, you're missing a chance to win a NOOK. Head over and see how to enter.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I've Moved!

It's official. Terry's Place has a new address. Please bookmark the new site. To celebrate, I'm going to have a new contest with a Really Big Prize. Details will be announced over there in the very near future. Posts on this blog will stay here, but I hope you'll visit my new site and subscribe to posts over there.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Terry's Place is moving

First, thanks to Bailey for yesterday's post. I remember Maypole dancing when I was in grade school.

After over four years here, Terry's Place is moving. Although I'd been thinking about it for some time, the recent lack of support and customer service from Blogger has lit a fire under the move. I hope you'll bookmark my new site, and continue to follow.  Because I'm moving sooner than I'd planned, the new site is still in transition, and as I learn more about the features, I'll add them. Feel free to make suggestions.

Some things I'm looking forward for: threaded comments, so we can carry out some discussions in the comments. Also, leaving a comment will require that you give an email address. I PROMISE that these will NEVER be shared. But what it will mean is that I'll have an easier way to let you know when you've won a contest. (For those of you who have left comments on yesterdays posts, I'll be posting Bailey's winner on Saturday at the new site. Her post is echoed over there as well.) Remember, you have until Friday to comment to enter.

Also, if anyone here is conversant in WordPress and wants to suggest widgets or plugins (I've learned some new terminology), feel free to give a shout out! I know Google Friend Connect isn't available for non-Blogger sites, but I hope you'll add the new site to however you follow blogs.

And, my new site will continue to do everything I've done here. That means that because it's Wednesday, there's a recipe, thanks to frequent contributor here, Karen C. To celebrate the first official blog, it's strawberry shortcake cookies!

Head over there now, and say hello. Here's the link: And this site will remain available, so you won't lose any links or posts you've bookmarked.

Happy Beltane!

Bailey Cates writes the Magical Bakery Mysteries. The first in the series, Brownies and Broomsticks, releases today in mass market paperback and ebook formats from NAL/Penguin. She also writes the Home Crafting Mystery Series as Cricket McRae. The sixth in that series, Deadly Row to Hoe, will release in November from Midnight Ink/Llewellyn. There's a giveaway, so be sure to leave a comment. And check back this weekend to see if you won.

Thanks for inviting me to guest here at Terry’s Place! I’m delighted to stop by, especially as today is Beltane, or May Day, which I’ve decided is a rather auspicious release date for my first paranormal cozy mystery.

When I was a little girl we made up little paper “vases” and filled them with spring flowers early in the morning on the first of May. Then I went around the neighborhood and hung them on all the doorknobs. I loved this annual event, but had no idea what May Day was supposed to be about beyond surreptitious flower deliveries. Since writing about a hedge witch – or green witch – I’ve learned a lot more about this holiday.

May 1st, or May Day, falls halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Like Samhain (Halloween), it’s supposed to be a time when the veils of the two worlds are at their thinnest. Fairies come back into the warming world, led by their queen on a white horse and bring with them plenty of magic and mischief. Rowan branches on the windowsill are a traditional protection against their antics.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 3 - Series

What I'm Reading: Breaking the Rules, by Suzanne Brockmann; From the Ashes, by Jeremy Burns (Nook)

Okay, so the picture doesn't exactly evoke "series", although Robert Crais writes series, and so do I. Which hardly puts us in the same league. But he was on the series panel, and I was in the audience, so the picture sort of fits. Kind of. If you stretch the imagination. But he's easy on the eyes, so what the heck. It IS my blog, after all.

I'm trying to mix up the workshop topics so there's something for everyone. I'll still have more on publishing, and that 1875 forensics post, so keep coming back. And I'll mention again that Blogger is still not publishing my posts on schedule, so until they fix it (or I take the blog elsewhere), please bear with me if things show up later than usual. Much as I love you guys, getting up at 5 AM to hit "publish" isn't appealing.

I was especially interested in the panel on writing series. The authors on the panel were Carrie Vaughn, Jeffery Deaver, Joe Lansdale and Robert Crais.

These authors didn't set out to write series when they started. Like so many of us, they just wanted to get a book published. Crais confessed that in his outline (cringe!), he had planned to kill off Joe Pike, but when it came time to write the scene, he couldn't do it. And he's very glad he couldn't.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Where's Waldo?

While I was busy with workshops at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Hubster went hiking in nearby Waldo Canyon. And I though when he'd said he wanted to come to the conference with me to do "Springs Things", I though he was talking about Costco or other places to stock up on things we can't find in Divide. But he did get pictures. Probably more than one Friday's worth.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2 - Fingerprinting

What I'm reading: Free Fire, by C.J. Box; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (book club)

Continuing with workshop recaps from the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.

There were two workshops on forensics, both given by retired forensics expert, Tom Adair. (And, he's going to be my guest on May 8th). Both were "hands on" which made a great change from sitting and taking notes.

The first was about fingerprinting. (And although the workshop was hands on, he did begin with some facts.)

Fingerprints are unique and permanent (with very few exceptions, such as burns. They're established in the second trimester, pre-birth. In addition to fingerprints, all dermal ridge prints are unique to the individual (feet, toes, palms, etc.)

Contrary to what we might believe from television, prints are NOT everywhere. And, not finding someone's prints on an object doesn't mean the person didn't touch it. Finger marks are more common, but they're not usable for identification. Probably fewer than 10% of fingerprints found at a crime scene are identifiable to someone. It's not likely you'll get prints from bullet casings.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Cucumber Radish Salad

Before this week's recipe, I thought I'd mention that ROOTED IN DANGER is available for pre-order. I'm also giving away a copy through Goodreads (link is the same as above). Note: If you pre-order the book through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, the actual 'release' date is an approximation. They'll be filling orders, but might not have the book in stock on that exact date. They'll send you an email telling you it's delayed and they'll also give you the option of cancelling your order. Please don't. It'll get to you. And if you have a library card, you can ask your library to order the book. That gives you a free read and keeps the publisher happy. If you need to provide it, the ISBN is 978-1-4328-2585-0

And, onto the recipe!

I was looking for something to do with the extra bunch of radishes I bought for Passover, and found this recipe. Yummy. And quick.

Cucumber Radish Salad

1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 T sugar
2 Cucumbers, thinly sliced (I used 1 big one, peeled)
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1/3 c golden raisins (I used regular, since I didn't have golden)

In a small bowl, mix lime juice and sugar.
In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers and radishes. (I sliced everything in the food processor) Pour dressing over. Mix gently. Sprinkle raisins on top. (I just mixed them all in together). Let the mixture stand for a while for flavors to combine. Recipe said to serve at room temperature, but leftovers are fine chilled.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Magic and Science, Wizards and Physics

Today my guest at Terry's Place is Karen McCullough. Karen is the author of ten mystery, paranormal, fantasy, and romance novels. Her hardcover mystery, A Gift for Murder, will be released in mass market paperback in June from Harlequin's Worldwide Mystery imprint; several of her novels are now available in Kindle, Nook and other formats from Smashwords.

According to science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I’ve always been fascinated by that suggestion. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why that’s true, and we’ve seen it in action often enough when more technologically developed cultures first come into contact with more primitive ones.

The truth is that for most of us a lot of the technology we use today seems almost impossible. As a former computer programmer and IT person, I’ve taken apart and put back together my share of computers, but in fact my iPhone still seems a big magical to me.

A riff on that idea formed the basis of my book, Magic, Murder and Microcircuits.

If an advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, why couldn’t what we call magic now actually be a technology that we don’t really understand?

Which led me to wonder, what kind of technology might that be?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 1. Publishing

What I'm reading: contest entry #4 of 4

I'm writing this shortly after walking in the door from the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. It, like all conferences, was exhausting, but in a good way. I'll be recapping the highlights. And, apologies in advance, but Blogger has had an issue with posts going up when they're scheduled in advance. Much as I love you all, I'm not getting up in the wee hours to keep to my normal posting schedule. If this hasn't posted when I get up, I'll do it manually, but bear with me for any deviations from my normal posting time. Not only that, but they've changed their interface, so there's yet another learning curve for me. I'm thinking I'll be over at WordPress before too long.)

First, for anyone interested, dinner with Robert Crais was FANTASTIC. I have no clue what I ate, but the conversation was a delight (as was the wine). I know I'm a writer, and consider myself a 'regular' person, but even so, there's something "larger than life" that kicks in when meeting a REAL writer. But he's a 'regular' person, too. At his keynote address, he shared emails from readers who took him to task on everything from grammar to accusing him of padding his books by having blank pages between chapters.

Over the course of the conference, I attended 3 workshops on the publishing industry, and it was also a frequent topic of discussion over meals, and from keynote speakers. I'm going to hit the highlights rather than recap each individual workshop.

Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, spoke not only about his publishing company, but also about publishing in general.

Until recently, you weren't considered a "real" author unless a big-name publisher bought your book. With e-publishing, it's possible to succeed on your own, and perhaps make more money. But don't count on it. If that's why you're writing, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

The most important part of success in publishing is: WRITE A GOOD BOOK. (And this includes making sure it's well-edited.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Flowers

Up here in the mountains, we don't have much in the way of pretty 'flower shop' flowers. But my mom sent some of her favorite flower shots to share. Enjoy! Spring is here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Trends in Publishing?

What I'm reading: Alibi in High Heels, by Gemma Halliday (Nook); Killing Kate, by Julie Kramer

First - for those with Kindles, SAVING SCOTT is now available at the Kindle Store, and at Smashwords. Other e-tailers coming soon. 

I'm headed out to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference this afternoon. I'll admit that I'm looking forward to a fan-girl moment at dinner tonight, where I'll be seated at a table with author Robert Crais. I shall try not to blather. Or drool. I love his Elvis Cole/Joe Pike books, and years ago, when he spoke at SleuthFest, he was very nice about answering this not-yet-published author's questions, and offered encouragement.

I'll try to take notes during the workshops and have recaps next week.

I've been judging a contest for published romantic suspense books. I was given four books to judge, and I noticed something different about this years' entries. All four of mine were from small presses, most of which I'd never heard of. Yet they're all legitimate, royalty-paying publishing houses.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Crockpot Quiche

As I'm sitting here watching the snow fall, I figured this recipe, contributed by frequent visitor to Terry's Place, Karen C, might make a tasty dinner. (Although, as I'm typing this, it's Sunday afternoon, and we usually go out to our local pub for dinner. But if Karen says it's good, I'm sure it is.) Thanks, Karen!

Karen says: Feel free to improvise with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Try asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, onions or a mixture. You will need about 3 cups of cooked vegetables.

Unsalted Butter
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
3 cups chopped well-drained cooked broccoli or other vegetables
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or basil
1 cup grated Gruyere, Emmentaler, Gouda or cheddar cheese (or a mixture)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Generously butter a large slow cooker. (I used a cooking spray.)

2. Beat eggs together with flour, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Whisk in half-and-half and milk. Stir in broccoli, herbs, Gruyere and ½ cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

3. Pour mixture into slow cooker. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano over top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 ½ hours or until quiche is just set in the center. Run a knife around edge of quiche, cut into wedges and serve hot.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Power of Point of View

I’d like to welcome Vonnie Davis to my blog today. Vonnie is a romance author of contemporary, historical and romantic suspense. She’s also held workshops on Savvy Authors. Today, she's offering her insights on one of my favorite topics, Point of View. And while she's here, I'm doing my monthly post at The Blood-Red Pencil.

Thank you for having me, Terry.

I’d like to share some thoughts about the bane of my existence when I first began writing full time—point of view.

You see, I’d majored in English and retired as a technical writer. So I knew how to craft a sentence. What I didn’t know was the craft of writing. Character arc? Conflict resolution? Dialog tags and beats? GMC? Isn’t that a truck? Point of view? After all the classical literature I’d studied, I certainly knew about that. I was good to go.

Yes, folks, I was blissfully ignorant.

My soon-to-be agent phoned to tell me I had some real point of view issues. When I told her I was using third person omniscient, I’m sure I heard her fall out of her chair laughing.

My learning curve just shot upward at a forty-five degree angle.

Gee, and I thought I knew so much.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Etiquette Tips for Author Events - And a Nook First Recap

What I'm reading: Contest entry 3 of 4; In Plain Sight, by C.J. Box

First – a quick Nook First recap. My 30 day commitment is almost over (and thanks to those who—I hope—have been patiently waiting for SAVING SCOTT to be available for all the other e-reading devices out there). Sales are, as expected, dropping off, but are still far more than what I'd seen at Barnes & Noble prior to the Nook First campaign

Before Nook First, I was very pleased with my Amazon sales. I still am, but I thought a quick comparison might be in order. Remember, this is "regular" Amazon, not their Select program. I've never done free giveaways there.

Amazon sales, all my titles, between March 19th and April 14th: 2,329.
Barnes & Noble sales, all my titles, same date range: 13,824.
Adjusted Barnes & Noble Sales, excluding SAVING SCOTT, which isn't available at Amazon: 9,270.

On Saturday, I participated in a library program, Mountain of Authors, at one of the Pikes Peak library branches. There were panels on thrillers and on e-publishing, as well as a keynote speech by author Connie Willis. In addition, between the panel discussions, local authors (myself included)  were "showcased" and allowed to introduce themselves, their work, and sell books to help raise money for their Friends of the Library.

(And there were a few perks. Hubster came along to "see what you really do" but I think he came because, as my guest, he got a free lunch.

There were 32 authors present. We tend to get wrapped up in our own genres, and forget that there are publishing genres for just about everyone. There were children's books, non-fiction books, niche market books, as well as the usual genre fiction.

I was interested in the panel on e-publishing. The takeaway there is that if you've got books published, the more formats you can offer them in, the better. But there IS a difference between books published in e-format by recognized publishers and indie, or self-publishing a book. As I'm sure I've said before, e-publishing should never be a shortcut. Make sure you've got a quality product, which requires investing time and usually money in good editing. Having your mother tell you your book is great is not a good reason to self-publish. But if you've got a good book, perhaps in a narrow niche market, where no publisher will take it because your target audience is too small, e-publishing offers you the opportunity to get it out there.

As for the 'showcase' side of the program.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Sedona

First, I hope nobody suffers from triskaidekaphobia. If so, hope your day is a safe one.

Today's field trip comes courtesy of Karen C, a regular here at Terry's Place. We're going to Sedona. Thanks so much!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tips for a Radio Interview

What I'm reading: In Plain Sight, by C.J. Box; Alibi in High Heels, by Gemma Halliday (Nook)

Tonight I'm headed into new territory. I had a request for a web radio interview, and I accepted. My first reaction when I got the confirmation was panic. Had I really agreed to do this? The show is scheduled for three hours. THREE? Now, talking doesn't usually bother me, but I do tend to ramble blather, and I don't think my verbal meanderings would interest listeners for that long.

Fortunately, follow up emails revealed that there are a whole bunch of authors who will share that time block, with each given a featured half hour. That seems more reasonable.

Since I've never done a phone-in interview before, I thought it might be wise to plan ahead. Stammering and hemming and hawing probably won't make a good impression.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Kale Salad with Asian Dressing

What I'm reading: Contest Entry 2 of 4

First, I was hit with a bunch of interview questions for Candice Coghill's blog. Hop over and see if you learn anything new. (And leave a comment if you have a moment.)

On to the recipe of the week: My mom made a yummy kale salad while we visited her in Los Angeles prior to the LA Marathon. I replicated it, more or less, when I got home, and added shrimp to make it a main dish. It's one of those "anything goes" recipes.

Kale Salad with Shrimp and Asian Dressing

No rules here; use as much as you like, add other favorites or delete things you don't like. For most of the ingredients, I'd ballpark about 8 ounces. Depends on how many people you're feeding, and what you like.

1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped. (Would work with any greens.)
Frozen shelled edamame (soy beans), cooked per package directions & cooled.
Dried cherries (or craisins, blueberries, cranberries)
Slivered almonds
Cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 T toasted sesame seeds
Frozen salad-sized shrimp, thawed and drained well. (for a side-dish salad, you can leave this out)

Asian Dressing (this will make more than you need; save the rest for other salads.)

1/4 c soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. sesame oil
1 T honey
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t dried ginger (or 1 t fresh, grated)
1/4 c salad oil.
Salt, pepper to taste.

Mix everything together.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Writing as Therapy

Today I welcome Karla Brandenburg to Terry's Place. Karla is the author of contemporary romance, with a hint of the paranormal.

It has been my experience that many writers begin the process as catharsis. Something traumatic happens in their lives and writing is a way to deal with what they’ve been through. For myself, I started writing as an angst-ridden teen. Back up. Amend that. I actually wrote my first story when I was VERY young (when I was first old enough to put a sentence together – yes, that young). I actually sent it to Random House! Writing was a way to express myself, but I didn’t make another serious attempt until my teen years. Even I realized, by the time I’d outgrown all the angst, that the stories I’d written weren’t very good, but as a quiet, introverted kind of person, it helped me to deal with things that I had trouble expressing.

As I got older and more vocal/outspoken, I didn’t need the outlet quite so much, but expressing myself “on paper” was still easier. I also had a vivid imagination – always. The stories continued to come and I still put them down, just to empty my head. They were less personal, more observational by that time. My imagination conjured up all sorts of stories about the people around me, people I’d never met and didn’t know. You might think of this as people watching at the mall, in greater detail.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Nook First - Week 2, and Writing Series

What I'm reading: Stay Close, by Harlan Coben; Dutch Me Deadly, by Maddy Hunter (bike); Contest entry 1 of 4.

First, a brief summary of my second week at Barnes & Noble. The program puts your book on the home pages for two weeks of the 30 days you've committed to the exclusive, so the first two weeks are where I expected to see the greatest sales. I wasn't disappointed. (If you haven't read my summary of Week 1, click here.)

(clicking should enlarge the image)

For Week 2, I had two books on the Top 100 in the Nook Store. All my books moved well up in the rankings, four of them under 500. (Note: my best-selling Amazon titles are in the 3000 – 5000 range, and I've always been happy with that.) I sold over 5000 books that week.

Week 3 is almost over as I write this, and, as expected, my sales have dropped. However, let's put things in perspective. Prior to Nook First, I was thrilled to sell 10 or 20 books a day at Barnes & Noble. In Week 3, my sales are still in the hundreds. So, just because it's not as spectacular as it was, I'm still seeing more sales per day at B&N than I am at Amazon. Who'd have thought I'd ever say, "Oh, darn. I only sold 300 books today." Or, "Oh, darn. I need a tax accountant."

As for writing, I'm gearing up for my next Mapleton Mystery. This is the first time I've committed to an actual "series". Yes, I have my Pine Hills Police "series" and my Blackthorne, Inc. "series." But in reality most of those are spin-offs and connected books. HIDDEN FIRE is a true sequel to FINDING SARAH, but although the rest do feature a recurring cast of characters, they're merely set in the same general universe.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Guffey, Colorado

While I was in Los Angeles last month, Hubster went out exploring. He's sharing some pictures from the town of Guffey, which is "just up the road a piece" from where we live.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Left Coast Crime - Highlights

What I'm reading: Out of Range, by C.J. Box; Undercover in High Heels, by Gemma Halliday (Nook); Come and Find Me, by Hallie Ephron (bike)

Last weekend, I attended my second Left Coast Crime conference, held in Sacramento, California. Although some might have grumbled about the rainy weather, when I go to a conference, I expect to be attending sessions during the scheduled event, not sightseeing, so it didn't bother me at all. (Not enough time to extend the trip, so it was conference-only for me)

The first workshop I attended was on e-publishing. It was a two-session presentation, but I could only stay for the first part. Sadly, the presenter had a lot to learn about creating Power Point slides that people behind the first row could see. Also, she publishes exclusively at Amazon, so her data were skewed and didn't really give a decent overview of so many more options available to those who want to go indie. However, I don't know what she covered in the second hour, so perhaps she did expand the horizons.

The second hour, I was lured to a panel on "Breaking the Rules" because Dr. Doug Lyle is always good for a laugh. The topics touched upon characters who do things their own way, and what the author can do to make them credible. Those in licensed professions have rules and standards they must follow. Dr. Lyle mentioned that he wanted his character outside of the medical profession, so he never finished medical school. This freed him from having to follow the rules.

Friday highlights included a panel on the pros and cons of using real places in stories. If you use a real setting, get it right, because readers will tell you that Main Street doesn't intersect with Maple Avenue. And, common sense also dictates that if you're going to set a scene in a restaurant, it's probably not smart to give your characters food poisoning.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - White Chili

Since it snowed all day yesterday, a hearty crock pot recipe seemed appropriate. I originally shared this back in 2010, before I'd started my What's Cooking Wednesday series. Hope nobody minds. (And if you do, send me one of your favorite recipes!)

White Chili

1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t ground cumin
2 whole large chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, and cut into 1 inch chunks (If you prefer vegetarian, just leave this out)
1 can (15-19 oz) white kidney beans (cannellini), drained
1 can (15 1/2 -19 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 can (12 oz) white corn, drained
2  cans (4 oz) chopped green chiles
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken broth (Vegetable broth if you're going the veggie route)

Stick everything in the pot.
When chicken is tender, it's done. Adjust liquid to taste.
To serve, stir in some hot pepper sauce, to taste, if desired.
Add 1 c. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese; garnish with parsley.

And, for those celebrating Passover, Janet Rudolph has a flourless chocolate cake receipe on her blog. Check it out.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

What's Behind the Big Ears?

Today, as proof that my blog guests aren't restricted to writing about writing,  I welcome Georgiana Hall to Terry's Place, with a post that fits right in with Easter. Georgiana (G.G. Hall) is the author of “Hershey-A Tale of a Curious House Rabbit,” which is based on the antics of her own rabbits, especially one named Hershey. Georgiana is a volunteer and educator for the House Rabbit Society, an international organization dedicated to education about rabbit ownership and to rescue efforts. She and her husband Oren Maxwell are both physicists at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. They share their home with four birds and six rescued rabbits.

The other day, a good friend of mine passed away. She was brown and furry, had lopped ears, and weighed about 2 pounds. She was a rabbit named Muffin and was adopted from a shelter 6 years ago. Muffin lived quite the good life, dining on organic greens and herbs, high quality rabbit pellets, and Nebraska hay. She shared a large exercise pen in our family room with her rabbit companion, Peanut, and even had daily supervised runs in the living room. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Yes, she truly lived “the life of Riley,” as the saying goes. But, unfortunately, her life was the exception to that which many a pet rabbit is subjected to.

Every year, people buy rabbits as presents for young children, very often at Easter. These soft, furry creatures, with their large ears and round, curious eyes, melt many hearts. What could be more pleasurable than petting the warm, silky fur of a little rabbit? After all, they are cuddly, eat carrots, and don’t make a lot of noise, right? Well, sort of. But the problem with the adorable little rabbit as a pet is that it is often quickly forgotten about. It lives out a brief life in a little cage or in an outdoor hutch, chewing on strange smelling pellets and probably too many carrots.

Many of these pet rabbits die within six months as a result of a poor diet and unhealthy conditions. Others suffer injuries from being handled incorrectly, often by a small child, who unknowingly squeezes them too tightly. Or, they may be injured by someone picking them up by their long, sensitive ears. If its back is not supported while picking it up, “Fluffy” may kick out his hind legs and injure his spine. He may also grow to a large size and no longer have the cute appeal that he once had. When he finally matures to an adult and his hormones rage, that sweet little rabbit may turn into a “furry Godzilla” by biting his owners or spraying and pooping wherever he pleases to establish territory.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Nook First - Week 1

I thought I'd report on my first week's experiences with the Nook First program. Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled that I was able to participate.

A brief recap:

The Nook First program includes a variety of marketing promotions on the part of Barnes & Noble. (Note: this is the current program; things might change down the line.) Your book is on the home page, on a special "Nook First" page, and there are email blasts to Nook owners and to everyone who's bought one of your books through Barnes & Noble. Needless to say, you can't get this kind of attention on your own. Not without major effort and expense.

Your book is not free. The minimum price is $2.99. Your book appears with 3 others on the Nook First home page for two weeks, and shows up in "new releases" in whatever genre(s) you've selected when you uploaded the book. So, there's good visibility all over the Barnes & Noble website. And, if your book climbs in the rankings, it'll be in even more places.

The conditions: the book must be a first time digital release, and you have to keep it exclusive to the Nook store for 30 days. After that, you're free to publish it elsewhere. My reasoning in applying for this program was that my Pine Hills Police series wasn't selling particularly well anywhere, so publishing SAVING SCOTT, the new book in the series as a Nook First, might draw attention to the rest of the series. Also, my other promo and marketing efforts seem to target the same general audience.

Did it work?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Farmers Market, LA California

The day after Nicole ran the LA Marathon, we went to a favorite childhood haunt of mine, the Farmers Market. A lot has changed (when I was a kid, it was truly a "farmers market",) but it still evokes great memories. Here are some snapshots from our stroll.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sex and the Badge

Reminder: Last chance to sign up for my newsletter. I'm mailing it as soon as I get back from Left Coast Crime.

Since I'm on the road and more or less off the grid until Tuesday, I thought I'd repeat a popular post from the annals of Homicide Hussey. Once again, I'm part of the "sex" panel at Left Coast Crime. This post appeared last year while I was at Left Coast Crime, so it seemed fitting to repeat it here.

I grew up in a relatively conservative community in West Orange County, Florida, outside of Orlando. It was an area that prior to 1971, when the Walt Disney Company invaded the area, was a quiet, southern, almost backwards place. When I was in high school, sex consisted of maybe some light petting, through the clothing, and a lot of fantasizing. So when I went out into the world and became a cop, I was again shocked when I encountered some of the ways people amuse and abuse themselves -- get off, as it were.

I promised the guys when I started this book that I wouldn't go into too much detail about the sexual exploits of the boys in blue. Suffice it to say that there were always girls around, literally hanging around the police station, drooling at a chance to hook up with a Lakeland cop. Also suffice to say that the "ladies" were never disappointed, no matter what they looked like. There was always someone willing, if not when sober, then after a couple of beers, to satisfy a cop groupie.

Most of those situations, however, were "relatively" normal. Cops are known to be kinky but not perverted.

The difference, an old cop once told me is this: "Kinky" involves the use of a feather during a sexual encounter. A "pervert" uses the whole chicken. I met a lot of chicken users over the years.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

Ashely Eagan, the heroine of SAVING SCOTT is trying to open her new bakery. One of the major plot threads is a brownie bakeoff. Since Ashley spends a lot of time cooking in the book, I included a number of recipes of things she baked. And I recruited a lot of help with these recipes. The recipe for the grand prize winner of Ashley's bakeoff was provided by fellow author, blogger, and chocolate diva, Janet Rudolph, who gave me permission to share it here.

Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

1/2 cup sweet butter, room temperature
4 ounces high quality dark chocolate (60-75% cacao, fair-trade), coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup dark high quality dark chocolate (65-75% cacao, fair-trade), chopped into smallish chunks (or chocolate chips)

Cream Cheese Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
1 large egg

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding Ireland

Today I welcome Susannah Sharp to Terry's Place. Susannah is trying hard to get motivated to finish the revisions on her first novel, “I Am of Ireland: Saving Loarlis,” a contemporary romance set in Ireland and the first of a series that will alternate between contemporary and historical novels in the same setting. She is a medical transcriptionist by profession and lives in Utah with her husband and the youngest of their three children.

How do you take a city, or even worse, a country and distill all of its history, its culture, its beauty, down to just a few powerful images and then try to share it in words with other people?

This is a question I have been struggling with ever since I started working on my series of novels, and believe me when I say that has been a long time and is still an ongoing effort.

I am getting close to publishing the first novel in an entire series set in County Cavan in Ireland. I absolutely adore Ireland and have been blessed in my life to be able to get there three times (so far!) from my home in Utah. But I’m not Irish and my combined total of a few weeks staying there hardly qualifies me as an expert. Still, though, I want to give as authentic feeling as possible when I write my books. I want people who read my books to believe they’re there. I want them to be transported. I want them to breathe deeply and smell the countryside, even if they’re sitting in an apartment in Ohio.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Conference Tips

What I'm reading: Trophy Hunt, by C.J. Box; Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts; Victims, by Jonathan Kellerman.

First -- I'm overwhelmed at the success of SAVING SCOTT at the Nook Store. I never dreamed of making the top 100 bestsellers, much less hitting #15. Hard to believe Scott was only a few books behind the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey series. I'm humbled. The Nook First program and Barnes & Noble has been excellent, and I'll be reporting on my experiences.

Next: my Spring Newsletter is about ready to go. Make sure you're signed up at my website so you don't miss a chance for special offers.

I'm also busy ... last week was the trip to LA, and on Thursday, I'm leaving for Sacramento and the Left Coast Crime Conference. I'm rerunning the post I did last year about going to conferences. I think it's still timely.

Conferences are great ways to refuel. Writing is a solitary occupation, and sometimes we need to get out and among people who understand what it's like to have voices in your head. It's also a great opportunity to see how other people handle all the aspects of the craft. No two people do things the same way, and what works for one doesn't work for all. However, there's always a tidbit to be gleaned, and usually a way to adapt it for one's own writing process. Kind of like 3 days of blog-crawling, but with live people.

On that note, I'll share a few things I've learned from attending conferences, in no particular order of importance.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

And the Winner is...

Donnell Bell has selected a winner of a copy of THE PAST CAME HUNTING.

Congratulations to Janet Kerr

Email Donnell at bellson (at)comcast (dot) net to claim your prize.

Happy Reading.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Field Trip - LA Marathon

Most of you should know that my daughter and I went to Los Angeles last weekend, and Nicole ran the LA Marathon. I thought I'd share a few pictures of the event. Nicole had a ride to the start (Dodger Stadium), so I didn't have to get up in the pre-dawn hours. My mom and I left the house early enough to make sure we could find a place to park along the route, and get there before Nicole estimated she'd pass that point. We were delighted that the rain had stopped the night before, giving both runners and spectators good weather.

Although the marathon organizers had all sorts of entertainment along the route, we figured we'd be better off at a spot where nothing was going on, and we were surprised to find plenty of street parking within a block or two of the route, so we were early. We ended up, according to the police officer at that point, at mile 16.75. Based on Nicole's estimated running pace, we figured we had over an hour to wait for her. When we arrived, the runners were passing in small groups.

While waiting, it's important to ring cowbells to encourage the runners.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stop Dancing and Write the Next Book

What I'm reading: Spying in High Heels, by Gemma Halliday

Don't forget, you can still enter the drawing for Donnell Bell's book. Scroll down to Tuesday's post and leave a comment.

First, some odds and ends. I'm going to be sending out my newsletter in the very near future. In addition to updates and other writing news, I hold contests that can only be accessed through the newsletter. If you're not already a subscriber, why don't you take a moment to sign up at my website.

Speaking of my website, it's moving forward … slowly, because I've got a lot of travel this month. But it's getting there.

Sometimes, everything seems to hit at once. And even when it's good, it can be overwhelming. Where do you focus? How do you prioritize? If you add coming back from being virtually off the grid for five days, it can make your head spin.

What I came back to:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - San Francisco Seafood Quiche

Don't forget to leave a comment on Tuesday's post for a chance to win Donnell Bell's best-selling book, THE PAST CAME HUNTING.

The past week has been a busy one, and I haven't been cooking. I dug through my files for a recipe I haven't made in ages, but has always been a crowd-pleaser. It's a nice "California" recipe, even though I was in Los Angeles, not San Francisco.

San Francisco Seafood Quiche

1 pkg of 2 frozen 9" pie crusts (or use the refrigerated kind, or make your own, but I've never been good at it, so I've used the frozen ones.)
6 oz crab meat (or surimi if you're on a budget)
1 1/2/c c. cooked chopped shrimp
8 oz Swiss cheese, chopped
1/2 c finely chopped celery
1/2 c finely chopped scallions
1 c mayonnaise
2 T flour
1 c dry white wine
4 eggs, beaten

Separate pie shells. Combine crab meat, shrimp, cheese, celery,
scallions. Divide evenly in pie shells.

Combine mayo, flour, wine & eggs. Divide, pour over seafood.

Bake 35-40 minutes at 350.

Can do ahead and refrigerate. Bake at 300 for 15 minutes to reheat.
To make ahead and freeze: Don't bake. Freeze solid, wrap.
To prepare: unwrap, bake frozen 50 minutes at 350.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Remodeling, First Drafts and Opportunity

Today I welcome Donnell Bell to Terry's Place. I first met Donnell on a trip to Colorado when I was out visiting my newborn grandson. I'm thrilled to have her as my guest, and to celebrate the success of her debut novel, The Past Came Hunting. She's got a giveaway, so be sure to read the post for details. Winner announced over the weekend.

Today is a two-fer. While Donnell is here, it's my day over at the Blood Red Pencil. Their theme this month is small press-indie publishing. I'm sharing my thoughts.

Good morning, all. Terry, thanks for the invitation to blog with you. Congratulations, also, on your starred review in Publisher’s Weekly for ROOTED IN DANGER. (See why I love her!)

My longtime critique partner hasn't written in a couple of years, thanks to the economy. Her husband literally had to leave town to work in Durango, and times were a little desperate for this family of five, with three kids, two of whom were/are in college. Robin pulled herself up by her bootstraps, however, and said, this is it, I’m going back to work. She did. Got into a business she’d long been interested in, which was real estate.

Turns out this has been a godsend for the Searle family and a smart move for Robin professionally because, while a lot of Realtors got out of the business because of the dismal market, Robin got into it out of necessity and is now starting to thrive.

What has this got to do with writing?

Many things. I can always use Robin & Peter’s perseverance and determination as great character traits. Also, she said something to me the other day, which gave me the idea for this blog. She said, I love what I’m doing, but I miss writing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saving Scott's Official Debut

As I write this, I'm getting ready to leave town for the LA Marathon. However, due to the miracles of the Internet, the race will be over and I'll be heading home when you're reading this.

Today (Monday, that is—not Thursday when I'm writing it!) marks the official debut of Saving Scott as a Nook First special. This link is to the Nook First page, and I can only hope that Scott will be there for all to see.

I put the book up for sale last week—it went live late Wednesday. As I mentioned, it's exclusive to Barnes & Noble for 30 days. After that time, I'll be offering at the other e-book stores. But for now, you can get it here. And if you don't have a Nook, you can download the Nook apps here.

And, if you'd like to read an excerpt, you can find one here.

In an earlier post, I mentioned formatting, and gave some tips. However, there's a caveat. The software that the various sites use can still create glitches. So when you read an e-book, remember that the author might not have been "lazy" or "sloppy" in the formatting. Sometimes it's out of our hands. The folks at Barnes & Noble were very helpful when I reported things that didn't look right, despite my having everything formatted per their instructions. It was a special perk of the Nook First program, since they want the book to look its best, too.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Winners All Around

Thanks for your patience, everyone. John Sharpe's winners are Karen C. and Janet Kerr. Contact John at sharpewrites (at) gmail (dot) com to make arrangements to claim your books.

And a HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS to Nicole who finished the LA Marathon with a personal record of 4:09:12

Way to go, all.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Around the Block

As you read this, I'm on my way to Los Angeles. I won't have much Internet access until I'm home again on Tuesday.

Last Saturday, Hubster walked around our block. I asked him (very nicely, of course) if he'd mind taking pictures, as I was busy with getting everything done for my upcoming trip and book release. Here's what he saw. (Note: Sunday morning, it snowed --Welcome to Springtime in the Rockies!, and everything looked totally different.)

Remember to leave a comment on John Sharpe's Tuesday post for a chance to win his book.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's in a Website?

What I'm reading: Winterkill, by C.J. Box

Don't forget: leave a comment on Tuesday's post for a chance to win a copy of NO MORE BULL.

First - the big news. SAVING SCOTT is now live at Barnes & Noble!

I'm on my way to Los Angeles for a family visit and to cheer my daughter on in the LA Marathon. I've been busy trying to migrate my website, although it's still very much a work in progress and following links will take you to my old site for some things, my new site for some others.

What's important to me in a web site?

First, it needs to be a place where people go for information, not entertainment. So, no animated graphics, no bouncing text, and no music. (I'll say that again. NO Music.) People browsing the web might be doing so late at night with others asleep, or they might be listening to their own music. If, for some reason, you do want music on a website, at least have it default to off and let the reader decide to turn it on.

Readability. For me, that means a dark text on a light background, and uncluttered pages. I simply can't read those white-on-black sites, and unless it's of vital importance that I do so, I simply navigate away.

Ease of navigation. If someone is looking for something, it should be clear where they have to look.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Tandoori Chicken

Don't forget to leave a comment on John Sharpe's post (Tuesday's) to be entered in his giveaway.

Tandoori Chicken

Serves 6

3/4 c. Greek yogurt
1/4 c. water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Indian tandoori spice mix
1 T dried fenugreek leaves**
1/2 t salt
2 T lemon juice
1 T vegetable oil
6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs

Lemons wedges and sliced onions for garnish

Combine everything but the chicken in a large bowl, and mix well. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400. Let most of the marinade drip off, and place chicken on a lightly greased roasting pan. (I used the non-stick aluminum foil). Bake for 20-30 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and broil 5 minutes, turning and basting halfway through.

**Note: I didn't have fenugreek leaves. I didn't even have powdered fenugreek, but it smells like cumin, so I added about 1/2 tsp cumin instead.

Serve with rice, and garnish with the lemon and onions.

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