I liked you better when….

When a person begins a sentence with this line, you know what comes next won’t be pretty. And when it’s from your sister, it’s gonna be downright ugly.

In this case, my sister, the vaunt-of-all-that-is-blunt in my life, tells me this: “I liked you better when you were a blogger, not an author.”

To get this statement in all its humor, the context must be explained. When I was toying around with fiction, I was blogging daily. Sometimes 2-3 times a day. Like many would-be authors, I hid my fear of failure behind the illusion that blogging would make me a better author, dutifully scoffing at all authors, agents and publishers who said this statement as fact. (I later wrote an entire chapter about what stops prospective authors). During this time, my sister, and a whole lotta strangers, had a peek into my life, my personality, warts and all. She loved it and public adored it based on the number of visitors.

Reality, (and change) hit when I saw I’d written over 600 blogs but not completed a single work of fiction. I changed overnight, and my sis (and blog readers) were none too happy about it. The books kept coming, the blog became obsolete, and even my periodic spurts back into blogging are weak. This last year, my final blog was in May, but I completed three additional books. That is what concentration and focus does for an author.

“But you were more fun when you blogged!” she wailed to me just this morning. “People don’t see movies because the movie is that great. It’s because they like the person.” (in a flash, Jet Li came to mind, and I thought–yeah, I like him, his movies are hit and miss, but something about that guy just makes me want to see him).

I do a visual backflip and try to pay attention to what she’s saying. “You’re suggesting people will read my books because they like me?” I ask, but she ignores me.

“Instead of giving away a signed book,” she answers, talking over my last words. “Give away a Valentine’s gift like a mug you use to drink your hot chocolate, filled with the recipe and the ingredients. That’s sooo much more interesting.” Hmm. That might give me the excuse to make more hot chocolate. I’m on board. She then proceeds to give me points on how to improve my just-released newsletter (it’s not even 24 hours old). “Giveaway a print book, sure,” (she barely hides her bored sigh), “but then every month, surprise the newsletter group with something about yourself.” She proceeds to list off a marketing-professionals oft-recited list of monthly holidays…Mother’s Day, Easter, Cinco de Mayo (does that count?), Memorial Day, 4th of July….before you know it, she’s planned out my entire give away schedule…

I relent. She’s probably right. Rabid readers know my publishing schedule better than I do (and I heard about this on Instagram). So sure, I can come up with interesting things that are a part of my life, as she says. Fresh eggs (oooo, sexy), motorcycle gear (hmmm, guys would like that)…French perfume (okay, that’s better)…

“And another thing…” here it comes. “Publish a schedule of what they can expect when.” Now that does resonate. If you’ve read this far, you are dedicated, and yes, are one of those who knows my schedule, and should mentally thank my sister for her suggestions.

Here’s what newsletter recipients can expect:

  • No more than two emails from me a month (unless you are a lucky winner of something)
  • One email is the monthly newsletter, announcing the book giveaway for that month, and any other invites (such as advance copies of a forthcoming book)
  • Second email (mid-month) announces the winner and also a special something (I’ve already forgotten the marketing word she used. rest assured it will be something unique and must pass “the sister test,” first). God love sisters.

After all the advice, she came back around to the topic of why she liked me better, ending on a positive note.

“You know the best part of your newsletter? It wasn’t the new books, blah blah, it was the last section on self-reliance and preparing the home! It was like you were your old-blogger self. That was great! You’re a Dave Ramsey-light. That’s what I mean by your former blogger self. Put that stuff in the front and not the end.”

I made no such promise to her, but I did commit to a) attempting to find some balance in my blogging life and b) if I can’t do that with any consistency, then at least inject myself into my outward communications a bit more (aren’t my snaps of moose and dance songs enough??).

You, and she, will tell me if I’m succeeding.

To subscribe to my newsletter, you will find the link at the bottom of my home page.

Month of romance/ free books & videos

Cover art inspired as I was sitting by the water on Lake Zurich. The Alps in the background, crazy exotic cars everywhere. it was great inspiration.

In February, the month of all things heart-shaped. Because everyone I know can use more love in their life, (I mean, how often do you hear someone say “I’m full-up on love. Don’t need anymore?) I’m going all in with a four-week give-away of my four women’s fiction books, aka, contemporary romance.

What does that mean?

  • A free book a week, no download limit (as in, you can download on any device)
  • You can share the link with your friends (same as above)
  • You can read and review….and review (did I mention review?)

Lichtenstein Castle that plays a role in the book with Danielle’s man of romance (the first one:)

I’m starting off with a fan favorite, Made for Me. Why? It’s exotic (set in Switzerland), it’s fast-paced and it’s a sequel. So the next book will be Destined for You.

Tap on the title or this link and you are on your way. The full description is below.

Oh! If that isn’t enough, you can read along with me. I’ve started a Made for Me playlist on my YouTube channel. subscribe and you will get notified of new chapters as they are posted.

Another view of the castle. What’s interesting is that the family still lives on the property and we saw the young Prince and his gang smoke cigs and lounging by their small BMWs watching us. It was surreal, funny, sad and a bit weird all at once. Not quite as romantic as I imagined, but I moved on.

So grab your best drink, sit back, read, watch or listen, and enjoy February with me!

Instagram, Facebook & the conundrum of social media

The wide world of all things electronic is distracting, wonderful, irritating, fun, stressful and pays dividends. I guess that means it’s like most things in my life, family and hobbies included. My experience over the last ten years with the various incantations of apps has been largely disappointing, because I want results. In other words, if I want to talk to you (and you me) the phone is the best way to go. Deals don’t happen by text. Negotiations are done real-time, email employed when confirming what’s been agreed upon is necessary.

My data points are similar to other individuals who are continually trying to figure it out when to use what, and why:


Personally, I have an account, but probably wouldn’t unless it weren’t required for my business account. Again, I like talking more than sharing. Opinions, with the associated volatility of emotions seriously stressed me out. I can’t write fiction when I’m in that state of mind, and I certainly don’t have time to be surfing when I’m doing business.

Business…I do have an author account, but it’s largely ignored. That said, I found it was FB was very beneficial in doing one thing: driving traffic to my blog. What I did:

  1. wrote the blog
  2. linked the header and wrote a short note in the FB posting, along with an image
  3. the viewership/hit rates and time spent on my website skyrockets when I do that…and so I started employing this strategy around book launches, events, competitions, give-away’s and other business-related activities.

The only downside is when I fell off writing my blog (because I was actually writing or working on the business side) then the traffic to my FB page dropped dramatically.

Net: FB (for authors/businesses) can be very helpful if employed the right way.


Let me count the ways I used to love this app before it was purchased by FB. The primary reason I loved it (I’ll list the reason’s I still like it in a moment).

  1. I could control the timing of my content. what I posted was done at that moment
  2. the culture of IG is nicer, more interested in the images than opinions
  3. the focus is global, vs FB which tends by its nature to be more demographically US

Unfortunately, FB has ruined a few features…now they are offering up random postings at random times (which is beyond annoying). As a biz person and author, the last thing I want to do is annoy my followers with too many posts. Well, thanks FB. Now they annoy my followers for me…their algorithms just offer up whatever, whenever. It’s horrid.

That said, until something better comes along, I’ll keep using it. Here’s why.

  1. my book sales have a direct connection to certain posts. Seriously. It’s been about 2 yrs, and I post, on average, once a day, but at times, I’ve gone for 2 weeks without a post. In that time, I have been able to determine what images/text a) increase traffic to my site, b) increase ebook reading, c) invigorate print book purchases and more
  2. my holistic approach to how I market “my business,” which is multi-faceted, is completed by my website, Instagram and facebook
  3. Instagram seems to reach a completely different audience than FB. I could go into detail on this (and may do at another time) but suffice it to say that whereas I can track direct postings and sales from IG, I have no clue on FB. Even when I advertised on FB, I saw very little (as in, negligible) sales connections.
  4. Video on Instagram essentially increased my followers (and hence, book sales, event attendance) 30%. Seriously. I just recently started doing videos (I was scared. yes. I get scared), and it’s been dramatic.
  5. The ability to connect with people on an individual basis is really great. It’s nearly impossible to do with other apps of a similar nature, and I truly love seeing and hearing from ppl of all walks of life, all cultures and countries–and we are bound by common interests from inception.

Twitter…sigh. I abhor what I see on Twitter, and for that reason, only joined it about 2 weeks ago. I posted a bunch in a few days, realized it just wasn’t for me, and stopped. I’m not a politico, comedian, or other major personality that has the acumen or desire to engage in that world. Further, the demographic of the people on twitter doesn’t seem to connect with the folks I’m trying to reach.

If I had to make one observation about Twitter is that the people who responded to my (few) tweets were mostly international, which wasn’t surprising. My captions were of places I visited and used in my recent novels.

So this is a snapshot of what I’ve experienced. I’ll continue to explore and track other apps as the come about, but for now, I’m still a big fan of Instagram.



Deleting comments on WordPress

This is for all the people like me who don’t blog for a living (as in, we don’t make money off it). I have yet to receive a comment indicating that a person has purchased a book or made a decision to hire me for a board position (or other) based upon a blog. As such, I rarely expect comments on my blogs…and in return, I rarely get them.

Good comments that is. What I DO get are thousands…and i’m talking thousands of “comments” an hour, but aren’t comments at all. They are robo-generated fishing, marketing or sales bots, comprised mostly of bad English, lots of key words and a few crude and/or otherwise unsuitable word choices.

This has been a growing wart that I’ve been able to ignore for months now, right up until this last week, when my former web site service company informed me that a photographer out of Las Vegas has been requesting I delete my backward links from my site to his. Huh?

Research was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to get in the tub and hand this over to my husband, the techie in the family.

“They are threatening to sue,” I said. Slight exaggeration. Clearly, someone in the marketing group at this photo studio got irritated (which I might say, must be very successful to have someone complaining about a backward link which ostensibly drives business). I then turn and leave and take my bath.

A half hour later, I get a tap on the door. Rog peers in. “It’s done.”

I was mystified, as I am with all things WordPress. I had looked for hours (ok, twenty minutes) to identify how to block and/or delete bulk comments. I have a short attention span. Apple has trained me well. If I can’t do it in 3 steps, I can’t be bothered. (It’s like what happens in the bedroom. Clothes off. In bed….you get the picture. 3 steps or i’m out).

In any case, I ask him what he did that I didn’t do. “I installed a plug-in.”

Ah. It goes under tools. it’s actually called “Easy removal of comments.” Then end.

Now I have 3 steps to removing all comments (once said plug-in was installed)

  1. go to Tools
  2. Click Remove
  3. Select all comments (and those pending)
  4. Click yes (ok. I was wrong. 4 steps).

Sadly, this means actual real, meaningful comments are also getting napalmed, and for that I’m sorry. If I had more time (or rather, more time from my IT support staff) I’d find a plug-in that allowed for a high-filter or qualified commentary (one that requires an actual account or something). Alas. I’m not there yet. I’ll get that when I actually do this for a living.

Tools graphic

Step 1: Select the Delete All Comments

Click both boxes- pending and posted

Step 2: (above) select posted and pending comments as a bulk action

final picture

The final result. It’s all gone! yeah to the spammers, tears to the legitimate commentators. I guess that’s what Instagram is for- immediate, unfiltered, actual responses (except for those randomly generated bots that is!).

Changes a comin

Somewhere between meeting Elvis and another Les Paul guitar slinging entertainer in the boarding line, it occurs to me that I should give readers a heads up that it’s time… Changes r a’comin.
It’s not like I’m having a sex change operation or going back to brown hair (the latter which would upset my mother more FYI), it’s about the blog, my websites and generally speaking all that is electronic in my life that drags me away from being sassy and writing to my hearts desire.
Bowing to the Gods in Los Angeles and my agent in New York I’m taking the leap to amalgamate three sites, two blogs and an Ecommerce site- into one coherent place of interest.
Know what I realized? My Ecommerce site is boring (even to me) and I don’t really like charging for things that I myself would attempt to get for free first (think agreements, contracts, marketing tools, sales analysis stuff) so I did what any middle age altruistic wanna be person does and I shut the site down and will be attempting to post tons of stuff for free. Isn’t that swell?
Next thing I did was completely blow up, for all time and eternity, my two other blogs. One for my business life (full of tips and things that I’m sure are repeated elsewhere but in not so sassy a fashion)- and my fiction book blog. Let’s face it. How much can be written around a single book? I wrote. I finished. The end.
Then I really got crazy and thought- heck.  Since I’m cleaning house I’ll just rid myself of the ball and chain called my personal Facebook page which is probably the reason my stinking cancer cysts came back- I mean, am I the only one that looks (when I try not to) at the boasting, the whining and the rampant plagiarism of other peoples witticisms only to sign off feeling morally superior (that I didn’t boast, whine or commit an unethical act) but still empty like a conch shell that has had my internals sucked out like a vacuseal in my anus?
So here’s the good and bad news. Let’s start with the bad, shall we? And pop that zit while we can. The bad is that the sassality will redirect u to a website and in fact, you might have to click Blog. Sorry for the inconvenience. Really. I hate  change (ok lie alert. I love change, ESP a new place to live, a new job, and back in the days or yore, a new boyfriend, ham instead of turkey on thanksgiving, but I digress)- I love change in just about every way but the beloved blogs I choose to read. When it comes to that, watch out sister, I’m a cat in a sack placed in water. Death is coming.
So what’s a reader to do? Well, watch with fear and trepidation and read- when the time comes. At least I’ve grown smarter- proving a modicum of intelligence. (Those of u who have been with me from the beginning know I idiotically transferred off blogger to WordPress then back and lost over 400 blogs and pictures- never have lived that down).
Oh, the good news- almost forgot. Because I’ve killed so many sites I have more time…to blog! Yeah baby. That’s what I’m talkin’ bout.