Tag Archives: South Jersey

Telling tales – Burlington County Times: Medford

There is a really nice write-up in the Burlington County Times today on a charity event I will be speaking at this coming Saturday.

There’s even a few very unflattering photos. [Hits head on desk] Note to self: Next time think twice about agreeing to have your picture taken after a long day at work.

This is promoting Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey.

Tickets are still on sale if you’d like to come out and support a great cause.

I’ll be hanging with Dawn Byrne, Joanne Costantino and Maria Gilbert March first, speaking to the Medford branch of the AAUW, the American Association of University Women, at Medford Leas on Route 70 at 11:30 a.m. Tickets for the champagne brunch are $30 with proceeds going to a scholarship fund for women returning to college. Contact Mary Ann Brookes at Mbrookes@comcast.net or 609-953-4035. Visit http://medford-nj.aauw.net

Here’s the article if you’d like to take a look.

Telling tales – Burlington County Times: Medford.


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My First Speaking Appearance as an author!

Yeah, I’m quaking in my boots.

I’m also excited and hope to have a great time.  If anyone is in the Southern New Jersey area, I’d love it if you stopped by to say hi!

(I’ll take great vibes, too from those of you too far to travel) 🙂

Saturday, February 16th, 1:00

Millville Public Library

“Love in the Afternoon”

Do I read what I write? Umm… Huh? Do I have to answer that?

Are ya looking for Romancing Your E-Reader?  25 Ebooks Up for grabs!  Click Here to Enter!


Yep, I’m still hopping around in cyber-mayhem promoting “For the Love of Christmas” and

  “Make Believe”.  Today I am guest-posting on Jenny Keller Ford’s site, so please hop on over so I don’t get lonely.  I’m talking about breaking the rules a little.  Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone.

Come on over!

I love to see familiar faces!


Make BelieveFor The Love Of Christmas CoverWhy all the hullabaloo? Well, it’s to promote my two new releases “Make Believe” and “For the Love of Christmas”

That’s why!

And don’t forget to click on “Enter to Win” for a chance to win your choice of the two titles! Yay!

Oh, I almost forgot… A few random commentors along the tour path will win their choice of anthologies, too. So be sure to hop on over and say “Hi”


Hop on over and send me some love!

Jenny Keller Ford‘s blog- Why I don’t read what I write.


Visit my Anthology buddies!  They are celebrating too!

Jenny Keller Ford

J.A. Belfield

Kelly Said

Lynda R. Young

Terri Rochenski


Okay, I know it’s gross, but it’s just what we do at Christmas! And we’ve got givaways today!

Guess What?  Tonight at 6:30 PM Eastern Time I’ll be signing copies of “Tall Tales and Short Stories From South Jersey” at Audubon Library, 239 Oakland Avenue, Audubon, NJ. Stop on by if you are in the area!


Wow!  Today I’m just full of surprises! I’m actually posting here today, with some great memories of my own family Christmases growing up…. as well as other wonderful places you can visit! — And a book signing!

Yes, I’ve taken up my marketing manager’s offer to clone me! (Mgr for Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey)   The process was a little scary, but yes! For the next twenty-four hours there are two of me!

(Yes, some of you can run.  I’d be scared, too.)


First of all,  Kaiden’s Seduction is reviewing “Make Believe” today.  I hope they liked it!  (Let me know in the comments below.  I’m still afraid to read reviews without someone filtering them for me)


Also… you can find me at two great places on-line today!  If you want to learn about training your dog to do amazing feats of bravery, check out my guest post about me and my pepped up poodle, Chloe on Brinda Berry’s blog.


And… Tis the season for holiday fun!  This is part of the Still Moments Publishing Christmas Blog hop!

https://i0.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/-yPIjlUkkOBQ/ULendHhtymI/AAAAAAAAEqk/W6SX-ChNsy8/s320/ChristmasBlogHop.jpgWe’ve got great giveaways!  By commenting below, you are automatically entered to win some great jewelry pieces. (Hello… awesome present ideas!)

Hop on over to the Still Moments Publishing website for a list of contributing blogs for more chances to win!

Oh!  Don’t forget to click on “Enter to Win” for a chance to win my Christmas Anthology “For the Love of Christmas”

Whew!  That’s a lot of promo-stuff… And I gotta post too!  Oh!  The pressure!


Sooooo… Christmas. I have so many Christmas Memories, and I treasure all of them fondly. One of my favorites is making a gingerbread house.

This was a Dad activity.  I’m not sure why Mom didn’t get involved, but my dad was TOTALLY into it.

One year, we decided to make REAL gingerbread.  It didn’t work out too well.  We baked it in the oven and everything… but the walls cracked.  Our house was not buildable… so Dad glued it together with epoxy.  (So funny)

This tradition actually carried on. (I’m not sure which came first) But Dad would always “build” the house for us out of graham crackers.  Yep… just pop them out of a box.  And yes, he glued it together with epoxy (which is like crazy glue).  We all KNEW not to eat the house part.

Then, of course, came the frosting glue, and more candy than any house could possibly hold.  Our tradition was to try and make the house more hideous than it was the year before… but it still had to look like a house.

Yeah… that’s where I got my strange sense of humor from.  People would look at our “masterpiece” and pretend it was beautiful.  It wasn’t.  That’s the point.

Today, when I build our gingerbread house with my kids, I don’t mind when the snowman falls over, or when Kid #2 leaves a trail of candy “poop” behind the reindeer.  It’s all good fun.

Oh, yeah, and that big gob of brown icing?  It’s a dirt pile.  Me and my boys will swear to it.  (With incredibly large smiles on our faces) — Don’t tell their daddy what it really is.

What odd but incredibly fun Christmas memory do you have?


Make BelieveFor The Love Of Christmas CoverWhy all the hullabaloo?  Well, it’s to promote my two new releases “Make Believe” and “For the Love of Christmas”

That’s why!

And don’t forget to click on “Enter to Win” for a chance to win your choice of the two titles!  Yay!

Oh, I almost forgot… A few random commentors along the tour path will win their choice of anthologies, too.  So be sure to hop on over and say “Hi”


Hop on over and send me some love!

Brinda Berry’s blog – Writing a novel is like training your dog.

 Still Moments Publishing – Christmas Blog Hop

 Kaiden’s Seduction  Review of Make Believe!


Scoping out locations for your novel #3: Road Trip! (Contes Farm)

In scoping out locations in South Jersey for my new Novel, I needed a farm that was between point A and an airport.  Last week, we visited the airport, and it was perfect.  Would the farm be that good?

I clicked on the GPS and started driving.  First problem:  It’s too far away.  I need it far away, but not this far.  There is another farm option, but that one is actually too close to its local airport.

Erghhh!  The woes of real-life locations.

As I’m driving though, I figure out a way to make it work.  I just need to tweak something just a little bit.  Yeah, I decided, it will work, and it will be much easier than trying to make the one that’s too close to the airport “fit” into the story.

We headed out into farm country, and I kept repeating:  “Please be surrounded by woods… please be surrounded by woods.”

We turned onto a road, and pulled up to the small farm-stand building. Conte’s Farm.  Hmmm… not as grand as I had expected, but the building is not important.  I dragged all the kids out of the car, and announced we were going out into the fields to pick our own fruit.  Boy, did their faces light up!

It’s funny, with all the things they were guessing as we were driving, I was afraid they would be disappointed.  Wow, were they excited.

We went to the back and got our baskets.  “So, how does this work?” I asked.

“He’ll be there in a minute to bring you out,” she said.

Much to my joy, and my kid’s excitement, a tractor pulled up with a big trailer attached with seats on it.

Perfect, since I’d already written this scene, and there was a tractor in it.  We loaded up and he pulled us out into the fields which were HUGE.  Much bigger than I had written, but that’s fine.  An easy fix.

I shielded my eyes, and scanned the far reaches of the fields.  They were surrounded on three sides with a very thick forest.  Wahooo!  And the woods were even on the correct side, heading toward the airport.

Happiness abounding, we set out to pick our strawberries and had a blast.  “Nice tractor guy” picked us up a while later and dropped us off at the blueberry fields.  The weather was perfect, and we had tons of fun picking fruit.

Note of caution-if everyone in your group has their own buckets, you may be coming home with five pounds of blueberries… Just say’n.

Anyway… next hurdle…

As we checked out, I asked if they have anything fruiting in August (That’s when my novel takes place, and I really didn’t want to change that.)

“Yes, that’s peach season.”

YES!  I’d already written about peaches… and I was worried, because they didn’t mention peaches on their web-site.

Two locations down… the farm and the airport.

Point A would be a little more of a trip… for another day.

My next challenge is to find a hotel within a reasonable distance to this farm.

That, unfortunately, may be the hardest part of all of this.  I might have to make one up.

What do you think of “making up” a location, where all other locations are “real”?  I may be able to fudge it, by being hazy on the address of the hotel.  Whaddya think?

Do you know something about the military? Calling all Beta readers or “Wanna-be” Beta readers

I am searching for a few good men, or women, or teenagers who have knowledge of the military and how it works, and/ or live on or grew up on a military base in the USA.

I am going to openly admit that I’m writing fiction that has a lot of military activity in it, and I am taking a lot of wild guesses since my father never talked about the service AT ALL.

I’m looking for a few people who know more than I do who can take a look at my novel and say “Yeah, that’s possible” or “No, you are completely off your rocker… that would never happen in a zillion years.”

In a nutshell, I don’t want to ruin what I think is a pretty good story because of my lack of military knowledge.

The novel is Fire in the Woods — a sci-fi based in New Jersey on the East Coast of the USA.  It starts off at McGuire Air Force Base, and then runs through several South Jersey locations.  The target audience is YA (teen) girls, although there is a strong male character at her side that I think will appeal to everyone.

I have visited each location and mapped out the story.  Now I just need to know if I have to change any character’s military ranks/titles/positions, or embellish/change things to make it at least somewhat plausible.

If you’ve never done a beta read before, and know about the military, that’s fine.  I have people who can smack me around for writerly-mistakes.  I just need a few “military content editors”.

When completed, I expect it to be 50,000 words (200 pages).  I would need it read and critiqued within 30 days of starting it. (That’s about seven pages a day.  Easy breezy)

I will most likely send it in 50 page sections (One week per section) so I can work on your comments for one section while you are reading the second.

Please let me know if you are interested.

Scoping out locations for your novel #2: Road Trip! (The Airport)

While I was researching sites in Southern New Jersey, I needed a farm that was close enough to point A and also within 20 miles of an airport.  I found many farms in South Jersey, but one was perfect.  It was right smack dab between the two other locations, and it was surrounded by woods (which I also needed.)

I was alone with the kids that weekend, so I figured we’d make a day-trip out of it.  I didn’t tell them where we were going.  What we did is drive the route that my characters from “Fire in the Woods” would be running. We went in reverse order and visited the airport first.  My oldest son and I jumped out of the car.  At that point, I told him that I was scoping locations for my book.

Yes, the Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer was totally into it.  The two younger ones were already “over it.”

I was a little nervous, because I had already written a lot of my story just from Google Earth and other sky maps.  Would the location be as good in real life?

The first thing that struck me was the chain link fences surrounding the runways.  I guess I should have thought of that.

“No problem,” I whispered.  “The tanks with just run right over those.”

“Tanks?”  my son asked, a big smile on his face.  “What are you gonna do, Mom?”

I just smiled.

He laughed.  “You’re gonna blow it up, aren’t you?”

Yeah, my son knows me pretty well.

I couldn’t get out to the runways, although I probably could have gone inside and asked for a better look, but I didn’t have my business cards or anything.  I could see all I needed, though.  Long runways, surrounded by a thick forest on one side, and a lot of trees on the other… out in the middle of no-where.  It was perfect.

There was something else fun, too.  A big re-fueling tank.  Ah, the joys of hundreds of gallons of gasoline, just sitting there, waiting for me to…

Yeah.  This location was perfect.

We were only there for a few minutes, snapped a few pictures, and then it was off to the farm.  Excited now, I was hoping the farm would be as good.

Have you ever visited a location for your novel?  How did it go?

Scoping out locations for your novel #1

First of all, if you’ve noticed that I haven’t responded to comments since Thursday, it’s because I am on a writer’s retreat.  Yay!  Another one?  Yeah, I am giving it a go.

I have higher hopes for this one, and I am not up against a super-steep deadline, so I’m not in a panic about time constraints. I’ll be back on Monday.

Okay… back to today’s topic…

In general, I am a Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer.  The settings of my stories are different planets, or fantasy worlds.  For my new novel, though, I decided to try something different.  Yes, it is Sci-Fi, but instead of taking my readers to the alien’s planet, I decided to bring the aliens here.

Has this been done before?  Yes, of course.  I’m just putting a little different spin on it that I think will be fun.

So, I need a setting.  Since we are on Earth this time, I can’t make everything up, so I am trying to force the story into buildings and locals that actually exist.

I have to admit… it’s a lot easier to write about another planet.  If I need something for the story, I just create it.  I’m grinding my teeth looking at maps and judging distances.  It’s so much easier to build a world from scratch exactly how you want it.

Where’s my setting?  I chose Southern New Jersey on the East Coast of the USA for two reasons.  #1:  I’ve been there a lot, so I can relay the “feel” of it.  #2:  I need four separate “places” for the story to develop.  South Jersey has all four.  Easy breezy, right?  Well, not entirely.

As I’ve done in the past, I’m going to split this post up into a couple of weeks, because otherwise this post will definitely get too long.  We’ll start next week with the road trip I took with my kids … driving the route my characters would be walking.

What about you guys?  Have you ever tried to develop a story from REAL places?  How’d you do?