Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The First Review for Diamonds is in! Woot!

I try not to pimp my novel too much because I know how it feels when other authors go overboard on me. (not that I mind, but I know some people do.)

So, I try to save my pimping on my firsts. And today is a first. My first review on DIAMONDS. I began to wonder if the book just sucked so bad because not a single soul had reviewed it. I did see people purchasing it, but just not talking about it...(I guess no talk it better than negative talk?)

Okay, enough about that. A kind reviewer named, Cheryl with Manic Readers Reviews posted this about DIAMONDS. (the review site is
Diamonds is part of the Stiletto Millionaire Club series. This is the first time I have read anything by author, Dawn Chartier. This book was a quick read. Not just because it is a short novel but because the characters and story were so good. Holly and Drake steamed up the pages of this book. If I wore eye glasses, then they would have been fogged up. The banter they had with each other was also good. I plan to check out more books in this series and by this author.

p.s. I got a 4.5 stars out of 5! Not bad if she plans to check out more books in this series, right?

Crap, I better hurry up and finish the next book.

The next in the series is Moe's story...the beginning of the story is a big heart breaker, but Moe wins in the end...I promise...

(Cheryl, if you read this, Thank you for your kind review!)

That's all the pimping for this week...(sorry, but I had to share my first review.)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

8 Tips for Planning a Writers Conference (Big or Small)

First, I'd like to say that I'm no expert, but after co-chairing a writer's conference in New Orleans this year, there were several lessons I learned along the way. And I hope to save you the trouble of finding it out the hard way. (Items listed below are in no specific order.)

Here we go.

Tip #1 - Give yourself at least 1 year to plan. (if you are thinking, oh crap, I only have 6 months, then get out while you can. Seriously.) You "really" need at least a year.

Tip #2 - Plan around the budget you have right now. (No guessing on future funds. No guessing that you'll have approx 200 people sign up or 100 people sign up, and then you are shit up the creek when only 50 or 75.) It could happen. Plan with what funds you have now.

Tip #3 - Conference Venue: This is so important. Make sure the location is perfect for the conference. If it's your first conference, don't start out too big. Find a nice place where there won't be 5 other big events going on in the same hotel. Make sure you visit the location prior to signing a contract. Is it conference friendly? Do they have a coffee shop? Or other things included with the conference rooms? (example: food, coffee, A/V computer connections, parking, podiums, screens, set ups, people to set up, etc.) If not in the contract, you will be shocked! (you might even pass out) These extras can cost thousands. Oh, before you sign, make sure you have someone who knows how to read/understand hotel/conference venue contracts. Very, very important. And get prices from at least 5 hotels in the area.

Tip #4 - Volunteers - Grab your volunteers as soon as you can. You'll need Pre-Conference volunteers and On-site Conference volunteers. (Make sure those who volunteer for on-site can travel to the conference, make sure they can afford to travel, that they have a babysitter for kiddo's, that they have a good car to get them there, etc.) Once you have all your key volunteers set up, make sure you have a "back up" person who can handle things in case your other volunteers don't show, get sick or God knows what. (extra volunteers for just in case is a good idea)And give your volunteers time to enjoy the conference too. Don't over use them.

Tip #5 - Set up a yahoo group or something similar (forums) so attendees who sign up can chat with each other, and make friends. This is where you can set up volunteer sign up, places to visit in the area, seek roommates, meet up hot spots, etc. Plus you can make important updates/announcements in one place. :-)(when a person registers, have this yahoo group address on the registration sheet/receipt, etc. and stress that they sign up)

Tip #6 - Promote: Make sure you get a street team of promoters. If you can get at least 6-10 people to promote on Twitter/FB/etc, then do so quickly. Have a blog/website where you can update your VIP's and presenters as often as necessary. There are some free places to promote conferences as well. I think one is called ??

Tip #7 - Get with the hotel event coordinator the day before the conference and go over room layouts, etc., and match your list with theirs to make sure they have the latest update. This can drive you insane if all the rooms are wrong. (do this hours or a day in advance)

Tip #8 - Have your presenters/VIP's/Keynote lined up at least 8 months in advance. (some agents/editors book a year in advance) Make sure you get all their workshop info at least 6 months in advance so you can start promoting the class. Also, make sure you have a contract with them because if they back out it could cost you big time. (and if you already paid for the flight, etc., you'll be out hundreds of dollars.) Contracts should be executed.

These are just a few things that might make your conference easier on you. Things can change at the drop of the hat, just roll with it and take one night (or maybe a couple of hours after conference) to relax/unwind just for yourself! You will need it. Good luck and have fun!

Feel free to email me if you want more tips...

Dawn Chartier
DIAMONDS, Siren BookStrand

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Scariest Paranormal I Ever Read ~ By Ann Montclair

Happy Hump Day everyone! Please welcome my special guest, Ann Montclair!

Since Dawn’s site is dedicated to the paranormal, and I write romance, I decided to blog about the best horror novel I ever read. I know, I know, paranormal isn’t necessarily horror, but the book I loved was paranormal—and also damned frightening!

Have you ever read Clive Barker? His book The Damnation Game was the scariest book I ever read.

I was a full grown woman, living in a house full of people, but I still had to sleep with all the lights on after starting Barker’s book. The lights stayed on for weeks after putting the novel down, too!

The novel features a lead character so well-drawn, so vividly developed, a reader truly empathizes with his plight. Even though he is an ex-convict and not a very good guy, in comparison to his nemesis, the lead is an angel.

The antagonist is a centuries old bad guy who is so evil, and graphically so, he’ll haunt your dreams for days.

One thing Barker won’t shy away from is description. His riveting plot is made more engrossing by grossing out the reader. If you can’t stand seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling a story, don’t even bother trying The Damnation Game.

You won’t find a more psychologically complex or compelling read; but when you read it, be prepared to be scared, to be queasy, to look over your shoulder and suspect the dark. Boo!

What’s the scariest story you’ve ever read? I’d love to hear. I’ll check back to this blog throughout the day and respond to your comments or questions.

Also, please feel free to visit me anytime:

FYI—I just published my first contemporary romance, The Billionaire’s Bauble, and it’s available at Soul Mate Publishing:


And Barnes and Noble:

Thanks for hosting me, Dawn! It was fun.

Thanks for stopping by, Ann... I'm going to have to check out The Billionaires Bauble. I think it fits right in with my Stiletto Millionaire's Club Series.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How I Keep My Motor Running ~ Robin Helm

Please welcome my guest blogger today, Robin Helm...

I started writing in earnest only about a year ago. Before last March, I dabbled a bit, but I was too busy teaching high school, working in music at my church, and traveling with my daughters’ sports teams and ensemble groups to have the necessary time to reflect and think enough to write a book. Empty nest syndrome combined with leaving my full-time teaching position provided me with the needed free hours, and encouragement from friends and family boosted my courage.

Writing my first book was fairly easy, though it morphed into a trilogy before I could tell the complete story. Guardian, my first book, had so many of my own life experiences woven into the narrative that it was mainly a matter of putting the words on paper and polishing the writing. My second book, SoulFire, was more difficult, because nearly all of it came from my imagination. I am now more than half finished with the third and final book in the series, Legacy, and I am learning how to keep myself motivated.

It is fortunate that I did not depend on making money to keep me writing in the early stages, because, though I published Guardian in August, I did not see any royalties until October, and those were very small amounts. When I published SoulFire in December, sales of Guardian shot up, and the royalties are now fairly significant for both books. Knowing that Legacy will further boost sales helps me to stay focused on writing, and I already have two more books planned in my mind to begin as soon as I finish.
However, money has never been a main motivator for anything I have done in my life. The approbation of friends, relatives, and other readers means more to me – particularly e-mails and messages from people whom I have never met. Particularly inspiring are the people who write me and say that my books have encouraged them and helped them in their everyday lives.

The actual act of writing itself requires a different type of motivation and inspiration. Oddly enough, typing the chapter heading on a blank document gives me a sense of accomplishment. I feel that I have begun when I see the name of the chapter and save it into my book file. After that, I usually look at my outline, decide what must be in the chapter to move my story toward the desired end, and begin to visualize the scene in my mind.

I write the scene as it unfolds in my head, not worrying too much about details or dialogue as I rapidly put the words on the screen. After an hour or two, I go take a shower or do a simple household task that does not require much of my attention, and I think about what is happening in that chapter. Within an hour, I am back at my computer, and I write for another three or four hours. Though I know where the chapter will go ultimately, the way that I get to that destination unfolds in my head as I write.

Mornings are the most productive times for me, so I usually begin to write as soon as I get out of bed three or four days a week. I am a disciplined person, and I write a chapter per week. Making myself stay on target keeps me from feeling anxious or pressured about accomplishing my goals: to publish Legacy by the end of April and to write and publish at least one more book this year.

I also reward myself. After I finish a chapter and send it to my editors, I allow myself a day or two before I begin to write again, and I do other things that I enjoy, such as reading or watching a movie. Thinking of that down time as within reach keeps me racing toward it. I know that if I allow writing to become a drudgery, I will eventually stop, and I have too many stories to tell to allow that to happen.

About the Author:

Robin Helm has published the first two volumes of a trilogy (The Guardian Trilogy), Guardian and SoulFire, and is presently writing Legacy, the third and final volume, posting as a work in progress on four different forums. She has also published three Regency short stories.

She and her husband have two daughters, the elder a Navy nurse stationed in Guam, and the younger a university senior. They live in South Carolina with their Yorkie-Poo, Tobey.

Ms. Helm graduated with a BA from Piedmont International University. She is a member of the Delta Epsilon Chi honor society, the American Legion Auxiliary, and the scholarship faculty of the United States Achievement Academy.

To find Robin's books click here:

Thank you for stopping by, Robin!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First Magazine Interview...

Just wanted to share my very first magazine interview from a Baton Rouge magazine called, Town Favorites. The article was written by Josephine Templeton. (Thanks, Josephine!) I was told they couldn't use the sexy vampire on the front cover, but it appears he won them over. lol

Click on link to read all about it.