Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No One Will Push You


Welcome to my blog. First, I want to thank all who, this past week, purchased a copy of IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL, my new romantic suspense. It is up on Kindle and Nook books now.

Second, it's time to reveal my contest winners. Each will receive an e-copy of IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL. Some of you were totally amazing, entering the contest in every way possible and sending me personal notes on how much you enjoyed the excerpts. Okay, you waited long enough. My winners are; Cindy Bennett, Kelly B and Christina.

Woohoo. Congrats, ladies. I'll be contacting you shortly for your download. I hope you enjoy and will consider posting a review for me on Amazon, B&N and Goodreads.

Now, to today's thought.

This morning, while at the gym, I met a gentleman who I had observed lifting an enormous amount of weight on Monday. Now a big deal, right? This man is sixty-nine years old and the weight he was lifting was 580 lbs. Yes. Now you see my awe.

While he was loading up a machine next to me with more weight, I commented on his ability. I'm new to the gym. My second week. Lifting my own body weight (no, I will reveal that) is an impossibility for me right now. We started a conversation. His story was amazing. He started lifting and working out after he retired three years ago after feeling the aches and pains of retiring. He went on to offer me advice which was totally inspiring.

Simply put. Don't worry about eveeryone else and what they're doing. Don't think I can't do this. Think I can do this and more. Set your goal, push yourself, because no one else will.

Great advice for outside of the gym too, don't you think?

Next week, I'll be at the RWA national conference in NY. I'm shy. Really, I am. I'm going to take this man's advice and apply it. I'm goal to set my goals for attending the conference in my mind and I'm going to push myself from the wall and to take steps to make those goals.

So, what do you think of his advice?

**** NOTICE for Kelly B. I need your email addie. Thanks.****

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


June 15-21, 2011 Release Day Contest!

You know the excitement of a new release hasn’t dulled. Not one bit. Woohoo. I’m doing the happy dance. ‘IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL’ officially releases from The Wild Rose Press, today!

Don’t you love the cover?

I love the cover. Love, love, love it. Rae Monet did a fabulous job pulling all the elements I asked for together.

Now, in celebration of the release of ‘IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL’, I’m going to give away three e-copies* of the story to three different lucky readers.

All names will go into my cute little basket. No, the wine will be removed and not included in the contest. Sorry.

Here is how to win.

1. Leave a nice comment here and your name is entered once. (I'll need your name and a way of contacting you in the comment or you'll have to check the blog next Wednesday to see if you're a winner)

2. Hop over to TWRP, copy the paragraph that begins, 'She grabbed.." and email mail it to me at, with ITPOE contest in the subject line and your name will be entered two times.

3. Or go to Amazon, click the cover to look inside the first pages, and email me the answers to these three questions at , with ITPOE contest in the subject line.

1. Ivan’s kitten’s eyes are what color?
2. What is the name of Gina’s boss?
3. Where does Gina work?

All entries must be received by June 21, 2011 noon EST. The winners will be announced here next Wednesday afternoon, June 22.

*(The e-copies will be forwarded as soon as available from either the TWRP or Amazon-which is my preference)

Here’s an excerpt. I hope you enjoy! And don't forget to jump over to my website and join my newsletter for more chances to win prizes

The fire in his eyes was meant to make her back off, but she held her position.
Cole stood and stretched his arms out and above his head.

Gina couldn’t help but stare at his magnificent male form. As her gaze trailed up over him, their eyes locked, and Gina quickly looked down at the papers in front of her. She didn’t want to be attracted to Cole, but there was no denying she was very attracted to him.

Her heart fluttered in her chest. The air in the office grew warmer each second, and Cole’s scent was a clear distraction. She had to insist he get out of her sight before he confused her more.

She stood. “Be reasonable. No one is going to come here with guns blazing and try to take me out.”

“You haven’t changed.”

She dropped her pen. “What do you mean by that?”

“You’re as stubborn as a mule.”

She splayed her hand on her chest. “Me, stubborn?”

“Yes. You always were.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I know so.” He chuckled. “We’ll continue this conversation tonight when Rusty is with us.”

“We will not.”

“Are you afraid your boyfriend will find out who you really are?”

“Leo knows who I am.”

“Does he?”

Somehow they both had moved to the middle of the room where they stood face to face.

The dancing sparkle in his dark eyes warmed her insides like hot cocoa on a blistery night. Her gaze dropped to his full lips, and she wondered if he still tasted like a sweet plum.

“You haven’t changed inside, Gina,” he said in a hoarse whisper as he stepped closer. “Neither have I.”

His hand slipped around her waist.


He drew her to him. Their bodies aligned as they always had, fitting perfectly against one another. Her skin tingled under his touch as he caressed her collarbone and then slid his hand under her hair around the nape of her neck.

Only for a moment did he search her soul before his lips feathered across hers with the promise of love.

This was wrong and she knew it, but at this very moment she didn’t care.


Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Sizzling Reads Chat

JOIN me June 16, 2011 for an all day chat! I'm going to talk more about my new release, IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL

Prepare to Sizzle!

Over $5,000 prizes up for grabs!

Total of 8 pairs of tickets to RomCon 2011 to be won!!!
(each pair worth $490)

Sizzling Summer Reads (Romance)

From June 1 to 28, 2011


Play the games. Explore new books.

Chat with authors. Rack up your points!


Visit everyday to increase your chances to win awesome prizes!


ANNOUCEMENT! Only Hours Left!

Enter to win a copy of IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL at

WINNER announced here Wednesday June 15, 2011 at 9 AM to kick off my release day party!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcome Author Lilly Gayle

I'm so excited to welcome back my good friend and awesome author Lilly Gayle and she has a scary story to tell. So read on.

Autumn, thanks for having me on your blog today. The timing couldn’t be better since my first historical, Slightly Tarnished, was released last week. It’s now available in both print and e-book format from the publisher at and Amazon at .

And let me tell you, this book was a long time in the making. It was originally entitled American Beauty. I wrote it in 1999 and quickly found an agent. She requested ten hard copies via snail mail. That’s a lot of paper and ink. But I printed out all ten copies of the 350 page manuscript, packed it in the box a case of printer paper came in, and sent it to Colorado. I never heard from her again. All calls went straight to voice mail. Emails and certified letters went unanswered. To this day, I don’t know if she died, if aliens abducted her, or if she changed the title of the book and published it herself.

So, I sent the manuscript to publishers and other agents. And the rejections started rolling in. Then some time in 2001 or 2002, I got a call from an agent who wanted to take me on as a client. She then recommended an in-house editing service. It wasn’t cheap. But she said if I paid for her editing services, she could almost guarantee a publishing contract when the edits were done to her satisfaction. Color me na├»ve.

I wasn’t a member of any writing groups at the time, and I knew nothing about legit agents. But I did look her up online, and she had a professional looking website and a long client list. She had to be legit. Right?

Wrong! But I fell for it, hook, line, and credit card debt. Yep, I put that $2,500 editing fee on my credit card and anxiously awaited the edits. She mailed the manuscript back about a month later, and there were just a few red marks throughout.

At first, I thought it was because I was such a good writer. But as I looked over her edits, I started to wonder if she was a good editor. She marked spelling and punctuation errors any critique partner could have found—if I’d had one at the time. And she made a few suggestions about cutting a line here and there. She mentioned nothing about the plot or clarifying character motivation. Nothing about pacing. Or conflict. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Then, after I made the changes and sent the manuscript back, she sent me a contract for a marketing plan.

WTH? A marketing plan? Wasn’t that what an agent was supposed to do for her 15%? Market the damn book? Apparently not at her agency. And her cheapest marketing plan was $2,500!

That’s when I said, “Screw you and the horse you road in on.”

Okay, maybe I didn’t use those exact words. But I did call to say she ran a scam agency designed to defraud clients and take advantage of desperate wannabe writers. And I filed a complaint with the credit card company. But it was too late to get my money back. I’d paid for a service, and she provided it—crappy though it may have been. So, I filed a complaint with the company. Like that did any good! The agent actually said, “You’ll regret not signing with us. In this current literary climate, it’s impossible to find agents and publishers willing to work with new authors, and no agent or editor will provide the one on one service we provide here at The ****** Agency.”

Later, I went online and did my homework. That’s when I discovered Preditors and Editors. (Yes, predators is spelled that way.) The website had issued this warning for Agent X: Strongly not recommended. A literary agent with The ****** Agency. And more recently on 7/25/06: Agent X has a judgment against her in "Washington Superior Court (King County) for $8,320 for breach of contract, fraudulent business practice and consumer protection violations."

While surfing the net, I also found Romance Writers of America and a local writers’ group less than forty miles from my home. After joining RWA and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, I learned legit agents don’t charge reading or editing fees or recommend in-house editing. A legit agent will charge 10-15% of sales and postage. Nothing more. If your agent charges fees, check them out before signing a contract.

I also found my critique partners through HCRW. And, I got a third agent—a legitimate agent this time. Unfortunately, that relationship didn’t work out, but that’s another story.

Then in 2005, I completed a paranormal romance and submitted it to Silhouette. The editor loved it and sent a revision letter. But after nearly two years, three revision letters, an editor change, and a line change, it was ultimately rejected. According to the second editor, the story wasn’t dark enough for the new line. Sometimes, luck and timing are everything. That’s when my longest standing critique partner, Amy Corwin, suggested I submit to The Wild Rose Press. So, I changed the name of the book to Out of the Darkness and submitted it. They published it last year.

The owners, editors, and marketing staff at TWRP are the best. They respond in a timely fashion and the books go to print faster than some publishers acknowledge receipt of an author’s manuscript. I was so impressed with TWRP, I revised American Beauty. Again. And changed the name to Slightly Tarnished. I submitted it a year ago. And Slightly Tarnished was released last week.

The Wild Rose Press is listed on Preditors and Editors. In 2008, the site had this to say: P&E is hearing good things about this publisher. And I 2009 and 2010, Preditors and Editors Poll results named TWRP as the number one e-publisher.

So, if you’ve never read a book by a TWRP author, now’s as good a time as any.

To learn more about Lilly Gayle, author of paranormal and historical romance: Where love is an adventure no matter the century. go to... &


Hurry! Time is running out. To enter to win a copy of my new release, IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL, pop over to my website and read the details. And, don't forget next Wednesday is my release day party, right here. Join me for a good time. AJ

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time In A Bottle


Time. We all wished we had more stashed away somewhere so on those occasions when we really do need to be cloned three times over we could open the proverbial bottle and dump time over our heads. But atlas, the concept of time and how to capture it remains a mystery.

So what is our alternative? How about organization?

We all know how to organize? Well, maybe 99% of us do. Mankind has been organizing things since day one. They kept their food in one area of the cave and their fossil fuels in another and slept in another. They organized hunting parties to gather or capture their food, and we know herbalist have been around since, well, day one. I’m sure they kept their ginkgo separate from their dandelion. (To learn more about herbs and their uses visit ) But how do we organize to save/make time?

First, thing that comes to my mind is to get rid of clutter. Over the last year, I’ve been tossing, recycling, and giving things away that I do not use any longer, and I still have a truck load that needs to go. I watched a newscast a few months ago on the new minimalist movement. One man had less than one-hundred items, excluding food, underwear and socks in that count, but every other article of clothing, cooking and eating utensils and everything else he owned was included. The show really made me think about what I actually need in my life and how much having a ton of stuff can blog you down.

Second, I think of lists. The days I make a list are the days I get so much more done. I know some of you have heard the old story about the woman who goes out to get her newspaper and sees her flowers need water so she goes to get the hose and notices her car windows are open. She drops the hose and goes inside to get her keys and picks up her husband’s socks off the floor and carries them to the hamper only to realize it’s full and she needs to start the laundry. Etc, etc, etc. Until the end of the story she is exhausted and never gets anything done. (I’m raising my hand here.) That is so me on some days-days that I don’t make a list, prioritize the items and stay focus on accomplishing the tasks. The world is filled with many attractions bidding for our attention. Without super human powers, we can’t do it all.

One more. (This blog is getting too long. I hate long blogs. I don’t have time to read everything. I’m sure you don’t either) Choice what is important to you and do it first. If gardening is your love, make it your priority and the first thing you do in the morning, or on your off time. If exercise is your game, do it. If it’s writing, sit down and knock out a page or two. Do what you truly love first and your step will be lighter doing the rest of the items on your I’ve-got-to-get-done list.

We’ll continue this discussion again soon. But Friday, I have a guest dropping by. Author Lilly Gayle. Please pop in and say hi. And, remember, next week, I’m hosting a release day party for IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL. If you haven’t popped over to my website and entered the contest to win an autographed copy, please do. The winner will be announced here, June 15, 2011 at 9 AM EST.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summer Sizzling Reads

Prepare to Sizzle!

Over $5,000 prizes up for grabs!

Total of 8 pairs of tickets to RomCon 2011 to be won!!!
(each pair worth $490)

Sizzling Summer Reads (Romance)

From June 1 to 28, 2011


Play the games. Explore new books.

Chat with authors. Rack up your points!


Visit everyday to increase your chances to win awesome prizes!

JOIN me June 16, 2011 for an all day chat!


ANNOUCEMENT! Only Hours Left!

Enter to win a copy of IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL at

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Are You Kidding? Paint My Toenails

Today, our goverment is releasing a new food chart. Yup, the old triangle one is gone. History. To read why, here is the url for the news release. Chart

It's all about staying healthy

This blog is for my women readers.(Yes. Men can read too.) Let’s talk about something we often don’t do for ourselves but really need to do for our mental health—pamper ourselves.

I don’t know about you but the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning until sometime in the evening I’m on the go, working, taking care of my family needs, preparing meals, doing laundry… The list is endless. And don’t forget the pets. They need attention too. Some days, I feel as if my feet will drop off at the ankles if I stop and propped them up. Let’s face it, women are caregivers and being a caregiver is stressful. Add extra duties (ie; taking care of aging parents or a love one, moving to a new house, remodeling) and you’re adding stress.

Recently, I read an article at Women’s Health ( ) which stated that some women need to be busy in order to feel alive, and I wondered if I wasn’t one of them. I mean I always need to be doing something. Even now, as I write this article, I’m multi-tasking.

Stress can lead to mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart beats, menstrual problems, and acne and other skin problems. So what can we do to relieve stress?

It’s all about attitude

There are some things you do not have control over. Don’t worry about them.
• You don’t always have to be right. Pick your fights. It’s not worth the stress to argue. Give in once in awhile or meet people halfway.
• Get organized. Write a to-do list. Figure out what’s most important to do and do those things first.
• Set limits. We only have so many hours in the day. Set limits for yourself and don’t be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy.

Relaxation doesn’t take a lot of time

• Take deep breaths. Taking a few deep breaths makes you breathe slower and helps your muscles relax.
• Stretching can also help relax your muscles and make you feel less tense.
• Having someone massage the muscles in the back of your neck and upper back can help you feel less tense.
• Take time to do something you want to do. We all have lots of things that we have to do. But often we don't take the time to do the things that we really want to do. You know that priority list above, but your want on that list too.

You have one body. Take care of it.

• Get enough sleep. Doing so helps you recover from the stresses of the day and helps you think better so that you can handle problems as they come up.
• Eat right. Try to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Caffeine or high-sugar snack jolts, wear off quickly. That is why they’re called jolts. You’ll wind up feeling more tired than you did before.
• Drink Lots of water. At least eight glasses a day.

• Get moving. Physical activity will not only help relax your tense muscles but improve your mood.
• Don’t deal with stress in unhealthy ways, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or overeating.

There is nothing better than a friend.

• Share your stress. Talking with friends or family members can help you feel better. They could help you see your problems in a new way and suggest solutions that you hadn't thought of.
• Get help from a professional if you need it.
• Help others. Volunteering in your community can help you feel better.

Long list, right? Don’t stress. Pick one, do it, get good at it and then add another. Deep breaths.

In two weeks, In The Presence Of Evil releases, and in four weeks I head to the RWA National conference in NY where I'll be speaking. I'm also nearing the end of my next book, and I'm in the process of starting a new project. You'll have to join my newsletter to see what that is. (Go to to join.) There's no stress in my life. LOL.

So, I'm getting organized, drinking more water, making sure I eat more vegetables and fruits, and eating smaller portions. I'm stretching and walking and I've called a good friend more than once and laughed. GRIN I think laughter should be on the list. Don't you?

Now tell me. What do you do when you're feeling the world on your shoulders?