Thursday, February 28, 2013

Need a Laugh?

As a kid every Sunday my dad would sit with his newspaper and start laughing. Naturally I had to know what was so funny. This led to him sharing several great comic strips with me over the years. Even now when I find something funny I have to share it with others.

Being a writer and trying to break into publishing is definitely comic strip worthy. There are plenty of insane things we do, think, and say. So, today I thought I would share with you one of my favorite writers on the web, Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

If you do not follow her, you should. I think I follow her at all of the follow sites. lol 

I'll leave you with one of her funny comics.
Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Contest Winner!!!




Monday, February 18, 2013

What Keeps Me Writing

I recently began teaching a Creative Writing class. The class is an elective and most of the twenty students are Seniors. When the opportunity to teach the class came up, I was ecstatic. I dreamed of students who, done with the core requirements of their majors, were open to the prospect of having a little fun with words. From the beginning I attempted to establish an environment where, at least on the blank page, there were no rules. And I encouraged each of them to throw out the rigid thinking that comes with formal education. I encouraged them to ask themselves the question What If?

Well, other than a few standouts who show up bright-eyed and willing to take a chance on the page, the rest of my students have proven to can I say this kindly...duds. They sit with their backbones pinned to their chairs, legs thrust out, with a thick glaze of boredom pasted to their faces. Part of me wants to scream, "Why the heck did you take this class?" I'm sure some would respond that they needed the credits or the class seemed like an easy A. But I suspect that some of them actually signed up for the class wanting to write. But if the lackluster prose they are turning in is any indication of their level of committment to the craft, I sincerely wonder if they know what they want.

This has me thinking? We all know the people who say they want to write? But what is the difference between the person who says it and the person who does it? Now, I'm not standing here professing myself to be perfect. There are days and sometimes a week or two when I don't actually write anything. Usually though I am reading or journaling or pondering about my character. Yes, it has taken me years to get to this point and so writing has become a habit. A habit that a young person with so many other distractions in their life might not have had the chance to cultivate. But what about those people who have made excuses for ten, twenty or evern thirty years? The ones that continue to profess that writing is their passion, but don't actually do anything about it.

Perhaps, I'm being harsh or cranky. Life happens to people and sometimes it knocks them down like a two ton semi without ever giving them a chance to get out of the way. I can forgive that, but let me ask you something. Can you forgive yourself?

Do you know what keeps me cracking away at this? I wish I could say it's the huge royalty checks that I receive every quarter, but I have more respect for you than to lie so blatantly. No, what keeps me writing is my own mortality. Yes, that's correct. Death keeps me writing. I've hit middle age and well, the end is a lot closer than it used to be. I've had friends who died in their thirties, forties and fifties and so death doesn't feel as remote to me as it did when I was a teenager. So when I think about the end of my life, I think about the feeling I want to hold in my heart about the life I lived. And what I want most is to not be disappointed. With myself. This could be rooted in the guilt that those nuns from St. Anselms fed me all those years ago, but wherever it comes from, the idea that I didn't give my writing life its best shot feels way too overwhelming. So that's why I continue.

If you're reading this and just don't get what I'm trying to say, well all I can say is, lucky you! I actually envy the fact that you don't feel the deep down physical need that I equate with writing. But if writing really does mean something to you, I implore you. Don't kick back. Don't waste the chance. Don't allow your eyes to glaze over. No! Seize the moment. Open your eyes and be mindful and write like you're going to die tomorrow.

And as Cher says in Moonstruck...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What's Love Got To Do With It? Blog Hop

It’s a Valentine’s Day Hop! What better way to celebrate then with a little Mr. Darcy accompanied by the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis:

I’m honored to celebrate the day of love with some of my fellow Crescent Moon Press authors. And when there are more authors involved, that means BIG PRIZES!
In this case, ONE big prize!  $250 eGiftcard from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (Winner’s Choice).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And if you want some more steamy romance, check out THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Devil's Triangle Releases and Contest Winner!

                                    Congratulation to...

                                   RICHA PARANDE!!!

Thanks to everyone for entering. If you want to get your own copy of The Devil's Triangle, here's the Amazon link:

                                        Happy reading!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Devil's Triangle Contest! Blake's Song.

THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE will be released tomorrow (February 15)! To celebrate, each day this week, I'm introducing you to one of the characters from the book, along with a song and video that gives you a little hint at their personalities.

Plus, if you make a comment and add your email, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of my book! I'll even autograph it for you. Not bad, right?

So here's our fourth song. This one belongs to Blake.

Blake's a fake. He's pretending to be best buds with Cooper, while he's really just one of Lucifer's minions. Blake is scamming Cooper, pretending to be his best bud, but keeping his eye on Grace for the big guy. If anyone's locked out of heaven, it's Blake for all the terrible things he's done to poor Cooper and Grace. 


Toni's Links:

Devil's Triangle Goodreads page:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Devil's Triangle Contest! Lucy's Song

THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE will be released in three days (February 15)! To celebrate, each day this week, I'm introducing you to one of the characters from the book, along with a song and video that gives you a little hint at their personalities.

Plus, if you make a comment and add your email, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of my book! I'll even autograph it for you. Not bad, right?

So here's our  third song. This one belongs to Lucy.

Lucy, the Devil's sister, is nasty and spice and not so nice, especially when it comes to Cooper. She's made him a bet, she wants him to regret, but all he wants is Grace.

 Toni's Links:

Devil's Triangle Goodreads page:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Devil's Triangle Contest! Grace's song

THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE will be released in four days (February 15)! To celebrate, each day this week, I'm introducing you to one of the characters from the book, along with a song and video that gives you a little hint at their personalities.

Plus, if you make a comment and add your email, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of my book! I'll even autograph it for you. Not bad, right?

So here's our second song. This one belongs to Grace.

Grace has a heart so big, she'd go up against the Devil for the boy she loves.


Toni's Links:

Devil's Triangle Goodreads page:

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Devil's Triangle Contest! Cooper's Song

THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE will be released in five days (February 15)! To celebrate, each day this week, I'm introducing you to one of the characters from the book, along with a song and video that gives you a little hint at their personalities. 

Plus, if you make a comment and add your email, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of my book! I'll even autograph it for you. Not bad, right?

So here's our first song...

Thanks to the Devil, Cooper's life has taken a little detour, but he's hell bent on making it back to Grace, the love of his life. Make that heaven-bent. Cooper's song is Drive by by Train.

Toni's Links: 

Devil's Triangle Goodreads page:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Four Month Countdown to the Release of Triangles!

TRIANGLES will be released in about four months! To continue the countdown, I'm introducing another character today, and one each month, until the release on June 18! I'm also including a contest with each character. The details follow the introduction. Today, Marcus McKenna is up!

Hey there. I’m Marcus McKenna, and I love life. And money. And beautiful girls. One day, I plan on owning the bank I work at, and nothing will stand in my way of reaching that goal. And what better way to show everyone my success than with a pretty girl by my side? Lucky for me, I was born with the looks and the charm I need to land a great girl and the job of my dreams—without any effort on my part. 

I like living each day to the fullest and really don’t care much about consequences. Besides, what could possibly happen? Someone gets upset with the way I do things?  Big deal. I live for fun, and that’s what’s important. 

When I met Autumn Taylor, I knew she’d look great on my arm. She doesn’t stand a chance against falling for me. What more could she want in a guy than all I have to offer? 

She’ll see how much fun life can be when she hangs out with me. I know just how to show a girl a good time, and Autumn is about to find out just how talented I am—in more ways than one.

"Four Month Countdown to Triangles Contest"
Four months to go!

1. Comment on THIS blog post answering this question: Have you ever been through the Bermuda Triangle? Did anything strange happen?

2. Tweet about this contest using the hashtag #MysteriousBermudaTriangle. The link to that tweet must be included in your comment. If you don't have Twitter, you can do a status update on Facebook. Include that link. Doing both would be even better!

3. If you’d like, add Triangles to your Goodreads to-read list here:
Like the Triangles page on Facebook here:
That's it!

Now for the prize:
Your choice of a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card!

Some more contest details:
Contest starts February 7, 2013 and ends February 20, 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced February 21, 2013 on this blog.
Contest is International.
Each month, I will introduce another major character and have other prizes!
You must be 13 years old to enter.
Winner will be chosen using

Monday, February 4, 2013

People Watching

I was on a date the other night. We were having dinner at a cozy Sri Lankan restaurant and I was trying to be date-like –attentive, encouraging and charming. Despite my sincere efforts to focus on the lovely man in front of me I couldn’t help overhear the conversation at the table next to ours.

Woman: Do you think it is time?

Man: I’ve been waiting for this.
Woman: (smiles) Yeah, and…?

Man: I think…garble, garble….
A chair screeched.

I lost the rest of his words. I angled my head to observe the woman’s expressions. Thoughtful, patient, understanding. I sensed disappointment. She was doing an ace job of concealing it.
I looked down at her finger. There was an engagement ring.

I returned to my plate and date in time to catch the final words of his sentence. It had something to do with his childhood tastes for food. Being able to take 2+2 and make 5 (I have always been good at creative math) I made the appropriate comments on the food we were eating. My mind though had been appropriated by the woman at the next table.
What was it time for? Marriage? Maybe it was proving to be too long an engagement.

She seemed like a strong woman with plenty of self-control and perfect manners. Her posture was flawless, her skin alabaster gorgeous, her hair glinting in the evening light. Her eyes were guarded.

What was it time for? Time to tell his kids? Maybe he hadn’t told his daughter from a previous marriage that Daddy was getting married. No, that didn’t seem to fit correctly.

Time to buy a house? It seemed the right market conditions to buy. But how could it be so boring a reason.  
Or maybe it was time to return home to Taiwan? Maybe she wanted to raise their family back home.

What was stopping them for talking more openly? She was cautious. He studiedly careless watching his food a bit too attentively. Both were tip toeing around an issue that seemed bigger than house buying and event management.
What if they were spies, I asked myself? What if they were taking an evening off? (Did spies do that?) What if the engagement ring was a dud? What if it was a listening device? What if it was time to complete the assignment? What was the assignment?

And just like that I was taking notes in my head. Scenarios were flying. I was sketching the color of the man’s tie. The shape of the woman’s engagement ring. My fingers itched to take open up the Notes App on my iPhone and start tapping away but…but I had some sense of etiquette. Plus, I liked my date.

So, with some reluctance, I tuned out the other table’s conversation and returned to my date.
This is a huge occupational hazard of being a writer. You are generally a bad dinner companion, you don’t have any manners as you intrude into other people’s lives –privacy doesn’t feature in your vocabulary– and you have no scruples assigning an innocent couple Cold War sensibilities and assassin-like skills.

We make up stories. That’s what writers do. We get our ideas from the people around us. By eavesdropping. By staring. By peeking. By forgetting our manners.  
My date and I called it an early night. This happens now and then. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened if I had not paid more attention to the guy at the next table than the guy at my table.

I returned home. Pulled out a Lindt chocolate. Booted up my laptop. As I unwrapped the crisp, red wrapping I got over my what ifs. What if I hadn’t stared so much at the couple? What if I hadn’t thought of those stories? What if I didn’t people watch? I opened up Word and typed up an outline for a future WIP. Would my date and I had gone for dessert afterward?
I saved my document and got ready for bed.

I told myself it’s what makes me me. I’m a writer. I people watch. I make up stories. I am not trying to be rude or curious or even judgemental. I like looking at world from a different perspective and discovering a human element, something that would be lost on us otherwise and then being able to share that in the form of a story.
At the end of the evening I watched the couple exit the restaurant –both of them stiff as iron boards. They turned to face each other on the side walk. There was a moment of hesitance. Then, they shook hands. She turned and walked toward the lights. He into the darkness. They weren’t engaged to each other, I realized. Theirs was a story more complicated than spy tales and modern romances. It was an old fashioned love story.

Around me, the restaurant was in the dim light buzzing with activity. My date was paying our bill. I already knew that we’d say good-bye in a similar way to my hero and heroine. No one had noticed. No one had noticed that a heart had been broken. No one had noticed that two people had just said good-bye, most likely, never to see each other again.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Speak of the Devil Cover Reveal!

Shawna Romkey's Speak of the Devil
What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?
After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.
Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?