Thursday, January 28, 2016

What does our smartphone have to do with our writing life?

First off, smartphones are a huge part of every facet of our lives, and so is writing, so that's an easy one to answer. I know I could never make it through a day without my phone. I use it for so many things, it's a little scary. I feel about that the same as I did when ATMs took over the world. What would we do without them?

Now, I am the first to admit that as a society we are far too dependant on electronic gadgetry.

We really are. In one week, 81% of us browsed the Internet, 71% of us used a search engine, and 48% of us watched a video. Yeah, don't let me digress off into THAT territory. Anyway, 63% of us visited our friends on a social media site from our many actually saw those people in person, or used the PHONE part of the smartphone to talk to the friend like it was created to do?

It's easy to see how this gadget has permeated our life. Still not convinced?

39% of us use the phone while using the restroom
33% of us used it while consuming other media
22% used it while reading the newspaper (what???? you mean people still do???)

So, it's easy to see how most of us are phone-addicted. Some people would give up their favorite things to have a smartphone, others would give up stuff just to be able to KEEP theirs.

Now, what does all this have to do with our writing life?

Glad you asked!

Smartphones being the invasive insect that it is is where we are all doing our shopping. Yes, for books too. 79% of us use a smartphone to help with our shopping. 70% of us actually use our phone WHILE we are shopping to help us get the best deals and discounts. 54% use it to find retailers, 49% to compare prices, etc. etc. etc.

So if we are using it all the time -- for everything from restaurants to prices on hammers -- don't you think it is crucial to make a user want to visit and STAY on your website?

You gotta get an updated, mobile friendly site folks. You just gotta. Imagine a reader searching for your site. Imagine them landing on a non-mobile friendly landing page. What do they do? Go elsewhere. So, how do you expect to get them interested in you as an author if you have not managed to keep them on your site?

Something to think about as you traverse the waters which are now infested with smartphone sharks.


Kim Smith is the author of The Dread Room, a Warped Mind Collection, Love Inn, An Unexpected Performance, and the soon to arrive Shannon Wallace Mystery series. You can find more about Kim at

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Seadog: a love story

Hi, folks.

Thought I'd share my new release today. This is book three in the Paines Creek Beach love story series, but each book can be read as a standalone. I hope you enjoy it, it was one of my favorite books to write and Jack Remington has risen to the top of my list of favorite characters to date. ;o) See what you think?

Here's a bit about it: Seadog: a love story

A mysterious man with no past, a troubled young woman running from hers…and a powerful love that may heal them both.

Scout Vanderhorn has lost her mother, her home, and all hope of security. In a desperate bid to escape her abusive stepfather, she travels to a seaside mansion on Cape Cod in search of the real father she never knew—and finds a secret sister who welcomes her into the family, troubles and all. But it’s not long before trouble comes looking for Scout.

Unaware of his past, or even his own name, Jack Remington is lost. He spends his days scavenging for survival and compulsively searching the seas in his battered old kayak. At night, alone in his beach cave, he’s haunted by nightmares. But from the moment he glimpses Scout, a powerful connection is forged that begins to bring him back from the brink.

Neither expects to fall for the other, but Scout and Jack can’t deny their explosive mutual attraction. Can this love remake a broken man and save a woman with nothing to lose…before the past drowns them in the oncoming storm? Set on beautiful Cape Cod, The Seadog is a story of trauma and redemption, of mysteries and revelations -- and above all, the incredible power of love.


Amazon Buy Link

Aaron Paul Lazar is obsessed with writing. He's completed twenty-five books to date, and has earned nineteen literary book awards. He writes mysteries, suspense, love stories, and more. You'll usually find him writing his heart out in the early hours of the day - preferably in the dark, quiet hours when no one else is awake in his bustling household.

11. VOODOO SUMMER (coming 2016)

1. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF BILLY MOORE (formerly Healey’s Cave)

3. DEVIL’S SPRING (coming in 2016)

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cover Reveal for Caper Mystery

Aloha, Murderers...I'm baaaack. It's 2016 and it's freezing down here in the sunny south. I hope your winter is not iced over. You know what they say, hot items are best served cold. Well, here is a hot item for you.

In the world of mystery, there are many sub-genres to write in.

I have chosen caper mysteries. They are a lot of bumbling, fumbling, fun. And if you are not familiar with my Shannon Wallace series, well, you will be soon. The first book in the series, re-titled, Disk of Death, will be out in February. But before then, I am going to have a cover reveal. I would love it (if you are so minded) if you would volunteer to host me on your blog. You will get the opportunity to view the cover art and blurb before anyone else!

Cool, right?

I checked out some blog tour companies but they all want that green stuff called money to send the cover image to ten blogs. What? I mean come on ... everyone has a blog...I have three! So I cannot in good conscience see the value in paying to have my cover hosted.

And if anyone out there is interested in getting a free copy for an honest review, I can handle that as well.

Well, that's it for me murderers...happy January! Check out the podcast if you want to listen to some good authors talk shop, and check out my website if you want more info on the books. I just created a new book table so there are convenient links to click on there. You can drop me a line here about the cover reveal or from the contact form on either of my sites.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Owl Lady Comes to MB4

Aaron Lazar and Dora Machado

We are delighted to welcome Viv Drewa to MB4. At Aaron’s kind invitation, Aaron, Viv and I are sitting around his fireplace, sharing a stout blend of Earl Gray, talking about all things writing. And yes, there’s an owl on the mantle, because there’s always an owl when Viv comes for a visit, a very wise one whose wisdom she’s always happy to share with her fellow writers.

For those of you who don’t know Viv, she’s the accomplished pen behind The Owl Lady Blog and the indie author of several novels, including The Owl of the Sipan Lord and The Owl and the Angler. She’s also a legendary figure in our writing community, known for her kindness and generosity in supporting, promoting and mentoring her fellow writers.

Aaron: Viv, you spend so much time promoting your fellow authors, we’re astounded. Where did you get your most generous spirit? Were your parents like you? Do you have siblings, and did they also inherit that amazing gift?

Viv: Awww, shucks, you’re making me blush!!!

My father was the one I learned generosity from. He was always there to help someone, friend, family or neighbor. My ‘baby brother’, who passed in 2014, was the same. If a friend or family member called him to help with their car or wiring or plumbing problems, he’d drop everything and go help.

Aaron: That is so cool, Viv. I had a feeling you might have come from a very giving family! And I’m sorry to hear about your brother passing. That must have been very difficult. Were you close siblings?

Viv: When we were grown yes we were very close. We didn’t live close and would spend Sundays on the phone laughing at anything and everything.

Aaron: We are fascinated by the owl theme that permeates your books and beautiful book covers. Why owls and how did you come to love owls?

Viv: I was three when I fell in love with owls. We had an owl clock in the living room that sat on top of our TV console. It was 6” tall and was an electric alarm clock. I wanted it so bad! I didn’t get to put it in my bedroom until I was 13 and used it until I was in high school. It stopped working and I wanted to take the insides out and put flowers in it as a decoration and put it on the shelf with the many owls I had already collected. Unfortunately my grandfather threw it out and I never saw it again.

I chose to add them, as a guide to the solution of the story, because of my love of them. They’re mysterious, curious and just downright adorable!

My granddaughter, Annabelle Furlong, designed the cover for “The Owl of the Sipan Lord” which won first place in the 2015 AuthorsDB cover contest, and also “Midnight Owl” A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1. She’ll be doing all my covers.

Aaron: Ah, another family connection! Someone in your family must’ve loved owls, too. ;o) And your covers are great – kudos to your granddaughter! Tell us, Viv, what genre books did you read as a child/young adult? Did they influence the type of books you write today?

Viv: I was always attracted to books with pretty pictures of animals when I was very young. Later I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries.

Aaron: I read the Hardy Boys mysteries, too! And also as many “animal” mysteries as I could get my hands on. ;o) Do you have a favorite book in your own stable? What it is?

Yes, and I was able to purchase it from a library that had closed and it’s the exact book jacket from the one I read in 1963! It is “The Whistling Sword” by J.R. Green. It was the first book I read after the mysteries I mentioned in #3 and it was the book that made me want to be an author.

Dora: Tell us a little more about that. When did you decide to become a writer and how did you go about it?

Viv: That was in 1963, I was nine so becoming a writer was just a dream at this point. I excelled in writing and won two competitions, then came in 2nd and 3rd in two more. I have the story I wrote in 1963 where my teacher wrote: “Someday you’ll write books and they will be published!” I’m thinking of having it framed. Unfortunately she passed away 40 years ago but I know she’s watching from heaven and is pleased her prophecy came true.

Dora: Aw. What a wonderful story. How do you go about writing your books? Do you have daily, monthly and yearly goals? And as active as you are in promoting other writers, how do you find the time to write and be at the heart and soul of the writing community?

Viv: First I follow something I learned at a screenwriting seminar: It’s a story about ______ that ______ and sometimes add: What if _____?
         Second: I decide how many main characters I need, and secondary, too. Then I interview them to get to really know them.
          Third: Give them physical descriptions and names.
          Fourth: Start writing.

As for goals I set yearly ones. 2016 I’m planning on writing two books, maybe three. Plus four short stories for Ashtrays to Jawbreakers Anthology.

(You guys just love to make me blush! I never thought I was at the heart and soul of the writing community. Just one of the group.)

I have to give Aaron credit for helping me find time to write. I read an interview where he said you find the time even if it means getting up a little earlier every day. So I’m up at 5 a.m. and write or do research until 8 a.m. Then get on with promoting my fellow authors.

Aaron: What’s your favorite character in your books? Why do you love him/her and how did this character become "real" to you?

Viv: My favorite character is Det. Joe Leverette. I created him over 30 years ago when I was dabbling with screenplays. I had always planned on using him in a book after that.

Leverette is a stoic personality, always studying his surroundings and at the age of 56 seems to attract a barrage of 25+ year old women. (Which he hates) If you remember the late Edward Mulhare in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” TV program, that’s how I visualize him.

Dora: Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Viv. We loved having you here.

Aaron: Yes, Viv, thank you for coming. You give of yourself so freely all the time, we’d like to tell our readers more about you and your books. So here we go!

Thank you both for inviting me to your wonderful blog! I had a good time!

All About Viv’s books:

The Angler and the Owl

Before retiring France Hunter decides to go to the place where she found her first new species of owl: The Amazon. Her group follows a well know angler, John Sinclair, and his team, along with a reporter who wants to do a story on Hunter.

Once arriving at the site, Sinclair leaves to go further up the river. He has a show to record and is hoping to catch an even larger fish this time.

Hunter, and the group with her, run into a gruesome nightmare with the satellite phone
destroyed and one man fighting for life. Sinclair is not due to pick them up for another week.

Will they survive?

From the Pages of Grandfather’s Life

The true story of a young man forced to leave his family to escape the Russian czar in 1913 Poland, or be drafted into the Russian army and fight against his own people. (I’m planning on making this into a novella)

The Owl of the Sipan Lord

Martin and Clare Montgomery worked as an archaeological team until Martin's accidental death at a dig they were working on in Peru. Clare swore she'd never go back, but after having a dream about the dig that didn't add up to the finds of the area, and the help of the Peruvian Pygmy Owl and a blue-eyed spirit, she did.

Midnight Owl A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1

Detectives Joe Leverette and Philip Marsden are assigned to investigate the murder of a woman who was found dismembered in Port Huron, Michigan. After investigations, it is discovered the
murderer is going after the individuals who found each of the body parts.

Leverette becomes interested in Carole Sage, one of the women involved, who is a sensitive but is unable to pursue her due to her involvement in the case. His colleagues in the police
force notice the infatuation he has for the woman, but she does not.

The witnesses dream about the murderer removing the particular body part they would eventually find, are startled awake and then they hear an owl hoot several times. Fearing skepticism, they don't reveal their dreams to law enforcement.

Carole Sage actually sees the original murder plus the murder of the individual witnesses. Police Chief Billingsley understands the gift she possesses and arranges a sting operation in order to catch the murderer which fails. Two witnesses are dead and they don't want any more to die.

This books is for 18+ due to the violence.

I also write short stories for the anthology “Ashtrays to Jawbeakers: A June Project” which is on it’s 10th edition and each issue is always available for free on Smashwords.


More About Viv Drewa

I am a Michigan native who has enjoyed reading and writing since 1963. Though I studied medicinal chemistry at the University of Michigan my passion has always been writing.
I had been awarded third place for her nonfiction short story about my grandfather’s escape from Poland. Later, rewrote this story and was published in the “Polish American Journal” as “”From the Pages of Grandfather’s Life” and has republished it on as a short story.

I took creative and journalism courses to help transition to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer. I worked as an intern for Port Huron’s ‘The Times Herald”, and also wrote, edited and did the layout or the Blue Water Multiple Sclerosis newsletter “Thumb Prints.”
I also write two blogs promoting my fellow authors: