Get Underwater FREE – for a limited time!

“How did it get so late so soon?”

– Dr. Seuss

It’s time to start your holiday shopping, and if you’re like me, you have some Readers on your List.

But if you’re (also) like me, first, you insist on reading/prefer to read like to read any book that you give as a gift.

However, you don’t want to buy yourself a gift  spend money on yourself ahead of time simultaneously, so…

Voici la solution:

From Monday, November 11 through Friday, November 15, you can download UNDERWATER on your Kindle absolutely FREE!


So, next week, go to Amazon and download UNDERWATER on your Kindle. (You need a good book to read next week anyway, before the holidays kick into full gear.) It’s a page-turner, so you’ll finish it in a couple of days.

Then, order the Paperback and wrap it up – or Gift a Kindle version!

Buy a copy for all the Readers on your List!

Then, voilà! You’ll have a head start on the holidays! And it won’t be as late you think it is, as soon as you think!


Keeping a secret – sort of

At the book launch party for my latest novel, UNDERWATER, I read a short scene, then answered guests’ questions.


I was prepared for a Q & A, though (for some reason) not exactly expecting it. I enjoyed answering questions about my inspiration for the book and talking about my writing life, and, perhaps for that reason, my glossophobia (fear of public speaking) temporarily disappeared. But to one question, I gave a cryptic, sort of secretive response.

That question was, “What are you working on right now?”

I had already told my writers’ group and several other friends, but that night, I hesitated to answer. I wanted to tell them, yet I didn’t. My next book will be quite different from the either of the first two, and I didn’t want to talk about why. I didn’t want to detract from excitement about UNDERWATER and any other questions about it. And to date, I’ve only written about 14,000 words of the draft for “Book 3.”

I wanted to keep the details a (semi-)secret.

So I responded by identifying the genre (creative non-fiction), stating that it’s a true story, and saying, “And that’s all I’m going to say.”

Here’s the cliché that I should have added: “Because truth really is stranger than fiction.”

I hoped that, by not giving a direct answer, I would evoke some curiosity about Book 3 – but no more questions about it, at this early stage in my writing. That may be because I feel so connected to it right now, so involved in it and so hopeful about it. It’s kind of like a new baby that’s on the way. But I’m sure that later, once it’s finished, or at least getting close, you won’t be able to keep me from talking about it.

But I reflected later that some guests at the party – who have known me for some time – might have wondered what kind of a “true story” I would be telling. Something dark, resembling (fictional) events in my Suspense novel UNDERWATER? Something “strange” that I’ve never told anyone about, that I now feel compelled to reveal? Or something that would surprise my friends and even make them doubt its veracity?

So – here are a few hints, for those of you who don’t know:*

It’s not about something dark, strange or surprising. It is about something uncommon – very uncommon. The events themselves are unusual, but because they are also so important and so inspiring, I hope to tell the story in a way that engages you, makes you feel it, and even makes you live it.

And that’s what I’m working on.

(More to come…)

*And if you do know, please keep my secret, for now.

Becoming a GREAT villain


Jill Edmondson, author of the Sasha Jackson Mysteries, invited me to write a guest post again on her BLOG  of today, August 28, 2013! Thanks, Jill! 

“The best villains are the ones who aren’t 100% bad.”

Read this post to find out about how the VILLAIN in my new novel UNDERWATER became GREAT!


Cover Reveal: UNDERWATER

 Look for UNDERWATER in just a few more days!
“…a woman haunted by a wrong turn in her past…believes she’s fulfilled a promise she made decades ago.

..the tension rises to a boiling point…rough seas threaten their young family…and her own demons rise to the surface. 

Dive into a page-turning suspense novel that asks questions about generosity, greed, shame, and sorrow as a family struggles and sinks deep underwater…”



French leave, and a nouveau livre

I’m not sure if “French leave” is de rigueur en France, but if so, it would make sense – because the French seem to do so many things better.

Perhaps because I’m an introvert, leaving a party without bidding farewell to the host seems easier, less awkward, and more gracious – and even unselfish, in a way. You don’t have interrupt a conversation to announce your departure and your gratitude for having been invited. Since it’s socially acceptable, at times French leave is la solution parfaite, especially if you’re aren’t fond of goodbyes.

Jenny Miles, the protagonist in my novel MAKE THAT DEUX, is not particularly fond of them, but she’s not opposed to them, either. For Jenny, leaving someone she loves – or some place she loves – without saying goodbye is impossible. So, if her story had been titled FRENCH LEAVE – well, that would have just been wrong.

On the other hand, that title could have fit the story well. Pourquoi? Well, like me, Jenny’s an introvert. She also goes to parties. And she has some experience with being awkward…

My new book will be out shortly, and deciding its title was an easier process this time. I knew it needed to be in English (despite at least one scene in France), and I wanted it to be two words, at most. I wanted to simplify. I ended up with a title that has fewer words than MAKE THAT DEUX, but more syllables.

It was harder to decide on this one’s cover image,*  however. I’ll reveal it in a future post, but first I wanted to show you a few snippets of the ones I reluctantly rejected. They’re displayed below, not in order of preference:

photo copy 11

photo copy 6


photo copy 10

photo copy 12

You may notice some things that these images have in common. Without revealing my new book’s title (yet), all I will say is that the cover image I chose is different from all the above in at least one important way – no, make that deux ways…

And it’s as fitting and apropos as French leave.

* My talented cover artist is Michael Faron; visit him at

Make that a Page-turner! (and cut it out)

While writing my upcoming Suspense novel, this is what I kept in mind: Make the reader want to turn that page. Make them want to know what happens next. Keep them wondering, and guessing.

You’d think that, in action scenes at least, that would mean get to the point, and move it along. Cut to the chase.

Well…yes and no.

Sometimes it does mean that – but not just in action scenes. In dialogue scenes and descriptions, my primary and continual goal was to move the plot forward, and to leave out anything that didn’t. Sometimes things moved quickly. But in some places, the idea was to move things along steadily – or somewhere between steadily and quickly.

Advance readers told me that – Yay! – this novel* IS a page-turner! But in working with my editor, I realized that one of the many things I needed to accomplish in revisions was to cut out unnecessary content.


Basically, to cut to the chase. So, I (painfully) cut some things: if it wasn’t intriguing and/or necessary, it  had to go.

[On the other hand, I had to (also painfully) add some scenes, tweak others and make several changes, which I did. But it was only painful at first; once I decided to get going, I dove in and kept on swimming.**]

Having spent time last week with lots of people who seem to encourage cutting to the chase when telling stories, it seemed appropriate that that was one of the things I was doing during my final revision to the book, whenever I had the time to work on it.

A different kind of “cut to the chase”:


What to do with what I had so carefully written, that now had to be removed? When I talked to my editor, she suggested that I save them and use them in upcoming blogposts, to show what might have been, kind of like “deleted scenes” in movies.

Perhaps. If it makes you wonder, and guess.

* The (one-word) title of which will be revealed in an upcoming post
** This (necessary) paragraph provides two clues to the aforesaid title; your guesses are welcome

Make that TROIS (THREE)! My 3rd Guest Post…Merci!

Jill Edmondson, author of the Sasha Jackson Mysteries, invited me to write a guest post on her BLOG of today, April 17, 2013! Thanks, Jill!

Le sujet?

Dialogue! (and those pesky pronoms relatifs!) Let’s TALK about it!

photo copy 6

Pre-book club dinner set-up: books + accoutrements. What do you recognize? 

Une interview de 5 questions avec Rona. Merci, Madame!

My friend Rona Simmons has posted her recent interview with me about my novel MAKE THAT DEUX!

You can find mes reponses to her questions on the Review and Interviews page on her blog Write, Write, Write! Here’s part of Rona’s intro:

“As a member of the Atlanta Writers Club — purportedly the largest writer’s organization in the United States — I have had the opportunity to come to know a number of emerging and established writers and to read their works covering  every genre, voice, and style and providing a wealth of innovative, insightful, and interesting reading.
A few weeks ago, I read a novel by fellow member Julia McDermott.  A fun romp, the story follows the college age protagonist as she confronts a number of trials and tribulations during her Junior Year Abroad.  Having learned that Julia herself spent time abroad, I was interested in exploring how much Julia drew from her own circumstances.  I learned this and even more….”

Merci beaucoup, Madame! Voici les questions (cliquez sur son blog pour mes responses, s’il vous plaît): 

1. Describe your book and why you chose to write it

2. What is your favorite passage and why?

3. Can you share the evolution of a few sentences of your writing … one that you labored over, revised and revised, and revised until it was just right and one that flew off the keyboard in final form, why did you make the changes you made to the first one and why did you particularly like the latter as it was?

Image 2

4. How did you edit your manuscript, assuming you did at least some editing yourself?  Did you read it aloud?  What do you think, if you did, reading aloud does that reviewing on screen or in hard copy does not?

 5.   Would you share a favorite passage from one of your favorite authors? What makes this passage special to you?


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