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Yes, folks, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. We're all getting out outlines, plot bunnies and other assorted necessaries in line before the big day.

I'm writing a romantic suspense set in the Montana forests with ecotage! And pagans! And Native Americans!  (no elves, tho....that's another series.)

So stay can check my progress at the site under my nickname babs1e....wish me luck!

It's almost time for Context 25! This is a wonderful science fiction and fantasy con in Columbus, Ohio where in additional to panels on a variety of subjects, gaming sessions and filk concerts, attendees can (for a minimal fee) take writing workshops provided by a number of multi-published writers and professors from great writing schools like Seton Hill.

This year. I'll be teaching a workshop on Saturday morning about writing diverse characters:

(Saturday, September 29th, 10am-noon)
The world is full of different ethnicities and cultural groups; unfortunately, most writers tend to only write about people like themselves. Others who want to include
This workshop will use exercises like those in Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward's Writing the Other and other sources to expand your thinking about using characters of other race/class/ethnicity in your stories. We’ll look at the power of first impression—what you glean from your first sight of someone—which may or may not truly give you their essence. Participants should bring pen and paper to work through some simple but eye-opening "What If?" questions that will show you how to expand your story's diversity. Finally, we’ll conduct an exercise designed to teach you how to convey the diverse uniqueness of your characters in subtle ways—i.e., without having Fred say, “Hi, John, this is my black friend Mike.”
The two-hour workshop costs only $20 and leaves you plenty of time the rest of the day for classes with Maria Snyder, Tim Esaias and Linnea Sinclair, as well as a multitude of panels.
The workshops are filling up, so get on over to the site and sign up!
You'll also be able to be one of the first to get a print edition hot off the press of my new book LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME from Hydra Publications, which will be released at the con!
For those who are reluctant to attend conferences because you feel overwhelmed, I thoroughly recommend this one. The people are nice, the workshops intimate, and there's a very welcoming vibe. Definitely something for everyone here--you could attend the con to get your fill of gaming play and talk, or just take writing workshops the whole time, at an extremely reasonable cost. Tim Esaias of Seton Hill recently pointed out that his workshops are essential the same module he teaches at the University--but much less expensive. Don't miss it!

I've got to say, a lot of times I feel like I'm all alone on my writer's path.

Okay, most writers feel like they labor in a solitary profession, and to some extent that's true. But this is more than that.

I belong to a couple wonderful critique groups through Pennwriters, but because of where I am on my particular path, I have so many issues/problems/questions that they can't help me with, most of them having yet to be published. Other writers in Pennwriters, of course, are published and might have some advice, but they're traditionally published, so they tend to look down on the way I've chosen--indie publishers.

I'm a little fortunate, in that I'm not one of the "self-published." (see today's post from Kristen Lamb on this always-controversial subject.) I have contracts and royalty agreements for every one of my novels, with varying levels of support from the different small press publishers. And I have six novels coming out THIS YEAR. Six. It's crazy. I'm trying to write and promote all at the same time. I just finished a trip across the country for research and booksignings in person during the same period I'm running a 38-stop online blog tour. I've just turned in one contracted book for next year, I'm writing another, I have edits waiting on my book coming out in September and I have another set of edits due by November 1.

Oh, and there's the day job. And the family. And the bills, etc. Like everyone else.

Granted, I wanted to be a published writer. Now I am. I have no grounds to complain, and this isn't really a complaint at all, but just a cry of despair in mid-journey, feeling overwhelmed.

Thanks to Red Tash for this blog today, which really made me feel a little better. I am alone, but there are people out there who understand what I'm going through. You came along at just the right time, friend. :)

This is an article that appeared in our local paper--something very similar appeared in the Peru Tribune a month or so ago. But because neither made their stories available on the Web, I wanted to share them with you here. I was pretty tickled!

Most authors are excited to publish one novel, or maybe two in a lifetime. Writer Barbara Mountjoy will see six novels published this year, two of them this month.  

Mountjoy, a family law attorney in Meadville, Pennsylvania and mother of seven, is pleased to be a working novelist at last.

“This is definitely my life’s dream come true,” she said. “I’ve written legal briefs, I’ve written articles and reviews, but seeing my novels come to reality makes all the work worthwhile.”

 Because she still practices law, she uses pseudonyms for her fiction work, Lyndi Alexander for her fantasy and science fiction stories, and Alana Lorens for her romances and women’s fiction.

 “If I were writing legal thrillers, like John Grisham, I might use my professional name, but when I’m writing about elves, space battles and other fantastic stories, it felt right to create another identity.”

She wrote her first novel at the age of fourteen, but didn’t receive a contract for one to be published until 2010. Plenty of rejections in the intervening years discouraged her from time to time, but she persevered, knowing there was a market out there for her work, and readers who would be delighted by her words. The five-star reviews she’s received for the novels already out show her determination has paid off.

 June brings the romantic suspense novel CONVICTION OF THE HEART from the Wild Rose Press, the first in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series, a book that draws heavily on her twenty-five years’ experience as a family law attorney to set up the story about a lawyer who takes on a case involving domestic violence and politics, nearly losing her client’s life and her own in the process.

 Then in July, SECOND CHANCES, a women’s fiction novel about a lawyer who gets laid off during the economy downturn, and recovers her life with the help of a young Iraq war veteran with cancer. The two help each other cope with the tragedies impacting their lives, in this second volume in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series, released by Zumaya Publications.

 “Lawyers often are exciting heroines for novels, and these two are no different. They hold a position in society that hangs between a seat of power and a genuine vulnerability,” Mountjoy said. “Both stories involve a real sense of danger, generated from the cases the lawyer takes on. In the family law arena, the stakes for your clients are so high that emotions and trigger points are quite volatile.”

Mountjoy has been a published writer for more than thirty-five years, publishing her first paid piece in the Peru Tribune in 1975. She completed a novel as her senior honors thesis at Kent State University in 1977, and went on to work as an editor and reporter at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida for several years before law school at the University of Miami. Since then, she’s practiced law in Florida and Pennsylvania, but her first love has always been writing.

Her urban fantasy books, the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, are set in the forests just north of Missoula, Montana, and her first science fiction novel, TRIAD, was released in February of this year.

 There’s no indication that the prolific writer will slow down any time soon. “Now that I’ve finally hit my stride, I don’t intend to let up. Not as long as stories are still coming to my fingertips!”

 Still coming this year are LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME, a horror story with vampires coming in August, and contemporary romance THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE in September.

Scheduled for 2013 are the first two books in a post-apocalyptic young adult series, THE COLOR OF FEAR—PLAGUE, and THE COLOR OF FEAR—SURVIVORS, and also the fourth book in the Clan Elves series, THE ELF GUARDIAN.  She has also just signed a contract for a contemporary romance with Desert Breeze Publications, BY ANY OTHER NAME, that will be released in March 2013 as well.

 For more information and updates, see Mountjoy’s writer’s websites at, and

I just got the word that my class is coming up from Pennwriters-- if you're a beginning/indie author looking for tips and tricks on self-promoting, with lots of links to more reading, check this out!

Promotional Basics
with Babs Mountjoy
August 3 – August 30, 2012

Pennwriter members' cost $79; non-members $89

 Limited class size. Early bird prices end soon.

Course Description
Congratulations! Your work has just been published. Now comes the hard part.
Getting your audience to find your work, buy it, and share it.
Most publishers now want to know your “platform.” What website, blog, or other publicity do you use to sell and promote you work? Such tools are part of the package you are often expected to present as a showcase for your laboriously forged words.
Online and social media are now your best means of broadcasting your efforts and reaching your target audience. Pennwriters upcoming online course, Promotional Basics, will teach you the arts of publicity and marketing, showing you standard techniques and modern tricks to make your release a success.
Learn the four most important things to include in your website. Discover how to get your work noticed on and offline. Tour successful blogs, learn to make your own, and understand why they are a great way to spread your name. Find out what freebies and giveaways attract your readers and followers. Plan ahead for compelling personal appearances and book signings that feature more than just a chair behind a table.
Plus, as a free bonus, receive a list of 50 sites where you can submit you books for review.
Boost your sales and traffic by learning proven promotional methods!
About the Instructor
Barbara “Babs” Mountjoy has written since she was a little girl, unable to restrain the stories that percolated through her fingers onto her keyboard – or, back then, onto the old Royal typewriter. Babs has been a published author for more than thirty-five years, with a number of publications under her belt.

Her non-fiction book, 101 LITTLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SURVIVING YOUR DIVORCE, was published by Impact Publishers in 1999. Her first novel, THE ELF QUEEN, was released under the pen name Lyndi Alexander in 2010. THE ELF QUEEN launched her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, under which the second and third titles, THE ELF CHILD and THE ELF MAGE, released in 2011 and 2012.

Wild Rose Press released her romantic suspense novels, SECRETS IN THE SAND, in 2011, and, CONVICTION OF THE HEART, in June 2012. Will Rose Press will also release Babs’ THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE in September 2012. Zumaya Publications published her women’s fiction title, SECOND CHANCES, in July 2012.

Also in September 2012, Hydra Publications will publish LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME, Babs’ upcoming vampire story.

Babs is a contributor to two CUP OF COMFORT anthologies. She blogs about autism, writing and life at, and spent seven years of her career as a news reporter and editor in South Florida. Her romances/womens fiction books are published under the pen name Alana Lorens, and her fantasy/sci-fi under the pen name Lyndi Alexander. For more information on Babs Mountjoy or this course, email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

It's been a couple of years now that I've been a contracted, published novelist, and I've been writing pretty steadily on works that some editor or other wants for that whole period. At the moment, I've got two novel manuscripts due by the end of July---at the same time I have two other books being released, one in June and one in July, the beginnings of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, and I've got a massive blog tour/publicity campaign going on to promote them.

This is all in addition to the day job, and family and, well, life.

Sometimes it feels like I spend every breath thinking about writing. Which is, of course, what I always thought would be AWESOME back in the day. But every once in awhile, I  can't help feeling a little burnt out about it.

Moderation in all things...I don't know who said it originally, but my father used to quote it a lot. Yesterday, I found that it worked.

In addition to writing my 1,600 words, talking to a reporter from an Indiana paper, mailing out books for a signing I've got scheduled next month in Montana, writing two posts for the blog tour, and spending the evening with my writing critique group, I also sewed together a coverlet I'd had laying on the table staring at me for three weeks, and painted some decorative pieces for our newly-revamped bedroom.

Funny how those other creative tasks really seemed to recharge my mind for more words. If I wasn't worried how it might look, I might almost admit my parent was....right.


Does that mean I'm finally growing up?

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Today's guest is author Kelly Moran, award-winning author of romance and children's books, who's really taken kind of a turn to the dark side as she revisits a murder case that I remember well from my younger days. What a fascinating study of a real-life mystery!! Thanks for being with us, Kelly. 

Thanks so much for having me today, Barbara! I'll give away one eBook copy of YOU NEVER HAVE TO REMEMBER THE TRUTH to a commenter.

It was one of the most sensational murder cases in U.S. history. Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek, a former Playboy waitress and ex-Milwaukee police officer, was arguably railroaded and convicted of murder. When all hope of proving her innocence seemed lost, she planned a daring escape from prison with her boyfriend, and together the lovers slipped into Canada under assumed names.

Now, nearly twenty years after the escape, Dominic Gugliatto wants to set the record straight.  The man who laid it all on the line tells a different tale — one of deception and betrayal. For the first time, Gugliatto speaks out about the lies and secrets long buried. That Bembenek knew more about the murder than she professed, and that the prison escape involved co-conspirators, including a retired Milwaukee police officer.  The truth is coming, told by the only man who knows it all.

 Follow us on Facebook at

To tell you a little about me and the book, here's my Dear Reader page from the book. After reading, I'd love to answer any questions you have!

 Dear Reader,

            Awhile back I got a call from an old friend and colleague asking me some publishing questions. As I've always wanted to be a writer, and I spent the better part of ten years researching the industry, this wasn't unusual. Imagine my surprise when she tells me it's about writing a book for Dominic Gugliatto!

            I was four years old at the time of Christine Schultz's murder, five when Lawrencia Bembenek was found guilty, and thirteen when Dominic helped Lawrencia escape prison. Though I was young, I remember Wisconsin's outcry and the media blitz, and the eventual world-wide pandemonium this case created. Ergo, I was interested in talking about a book with Dominic.

            In saying that, I'm also a romance and children's book writer. I deal with fiction and happily ever afters, not dates and facts and figures. So I was reluctant, as I didn't know if I could give Dominic the book he deserved. I was also concerned about the possible emotional toll that writing a book like this might have on my family. So over dinner one night with my husband and then three-year-old twin boys, I discussed the project. Well, the twins discussed Toy Story, my husband, Darren and I discussed the book. Halfway through my spiel, my husband lifts his hand to stop me and says, "Do it." My response was somewhere along the lines of, "Huh?" He said, "Do it. It's a great opportunity and it can help your career."

            Now that really got my brain churning. It could help my writing career, open doors, and challenge me. After getting back on the phone with Dominic however, I knew this book and my agreement to write it would never solely be about my career. There were many reasons for me to do and not to do this, and one why I should-- It was the right thing to do. It's about telling his story, the one no one's ever truly heard, and giving him some closure. For weeks we met in person and over the phone. I watched this guy sitting on my couch, torn and upset even after all these years, and I saw what was inside the man behind the media craze. He's loyal, compassionate, forgiving, and strong beyond any means I can literate.

            I stayed objective, pouring over information to make sure we got this right the first time. Dominic and his family kept nearly every document, letter, and article ever written about this case. And he kept it in an old luggage case I now refer to as "The Suitcase From Hell." It took me weeks to go through all of it. Once I had the facts, I added Dominic's story. And what a story it is.

            I'm glad we became friends through this process, Dominic and I. And I honestly can say I'm a better person for having known and met him. I can only wish the same for those reading this book, but then again, I feel that's pretty much a given.


Kelly Moran

Learn more about Kelly and her books here:

Hydra Publications, which is publishing my book LOVE ME, TOUCH ME, KILL ME this fall is having a whiz banger of a sale this week!  Stop by and check out these titles!

Publisher Frank Hall says the following: As a special treat to all book lovers out there we are releasing all of our ebooks for free today. There is something for everyone in what we offer and we hope you enjoy your free books.

 For book descriptions, see the Hydra website here.

The Universal Mirror:



The Heart Denied:

Heart of the Hunter:





Although my books with Zumaya Publications aren't yet available, I'm excited to report that Zumaya has scheduled a Kindle Sale on titles with Thriller elements.
The sale starts this SUNDAY 2/5/12 and runs through March 3. The first week they're featuring the science fiction thrillers, second week general thrillers, third week fantasy thrillers, and the last week a mixed batch! So many books, so little time! Catch all the details at Zumaya Tales - 
Come see which book will suit your last-six-weeks-of-winter reading list!

At Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday  you have the chance to read snippets from works in progress, contracted works, as well as published novella and novels from a variety of authors... Check it out each Saturday!

This week I've included a snippet from the soon-to-be-released novel TRIAD, which tells the story of three women commanders who are in a battle over a certain sector of space just before all of them are attacked by an outside force of space pirates. The attack makes them take a new look at their relationships--some may become closer, and others might be pushed to the edge of assassination...

 Here's my piece for this week:

Stefan, dressed in gaudy teal jacket and slacks, piloted the vessel while Julian took the second seat, wearing a simple gray suit as befitted a male servant. Catava waited in the cabin behind them, dressed in the filmy peach-toned slave’s garb Stefan had chosen. A short fitted piece trimmed in gold barely covered her breasts, trailing a gold chain to a short skirt she kept tugging under her. She also wore thin-corded gold sandals and gold ribbons in her hair, wrapped into a psyche knot.
      Hardly abashed, he coached her briefly on the comportment of female slaves, how they didn’t speak until they were asked to, and how they were no better than animals with natural urges. “You’re expected to be hot,” he said. “A slave covets the touch of men. So in situations where you don’t know what to do, a seductive look is as good as anything.”
      She studied him a long moment. “Do you often sell women into slavery?"
      He twitched as her words hit him like an open hand.

 For more information on this and other books by Lyndi Alexander, see her website , or the Dragonfly Publishing site:

I'm sharing the new cover of my first science fiction book, TRIAD, coming out this spring from Dragonfly Publishing:

What do you think???  For an excerpt, check out the DFP page--