Monday, March 26, 2018

Bonnie McCune & Why I Write

Please welcome Bonnie McCune to the blog today. Bonnie is one of my crit buddies and she's a terrific author as well!
After decades of scribbling away, first on paper, then on typewriter, finally on keyboard, I began to wonder why I put up with the tedium of writing and rewriting? Riches and fame both elude me, creative expression would be more easily and quickly achieved through community theatre or water colors.

I recently returned to my current manuscript, a novel set in a blizzard and involving illegal energy development, neither of which do I know much about, except as a victim. I hopped on the Internet, entered some terms, and was ushered into a colorful world crammed with words, photos, images, quotes, links to a multitude of additional sites. A tremor of excitement ran up my spine, and I flexed my fingers in anticipation.
Then the truth struck me. I write because I love learning. Writing gives me the excuse to spend hours researching.
Take my newest novel, Never Retreat. The flash flood that threatens the protagonists didn’t materialize from a void. I haunted the records of the Colorado History Center, enthralled by reading transcripts from survivors of the Big Thompson Flood and sobbing at the thought of the victims’ woes. YouTube enabled me to see details of actual floods, the power of waters to eat through banks and crush cars. An amalgam of information somehow organized itself into scenes in my book.

Even apparently unrelated material can become the impetus behind a spurt of research. Childhood memory of playing cowboys appears from a void, and I decide to inject it into the manuscript. This gives me an excuse for several days of exploration into how to create a lariat and rope an animal or, in the case of my book, a fence post. 

Since two of the book’s characters are Latinas, of course I have to include Spanish words and phrases. I learn their use in various geographic locations and among diverse groups of immigrants. I check and double-check spelling and grammar. I practice shouting the words out loud.
Never Retreat presented me with ample opportunities to cram loads of data into my brain:
a recipe for vegetarian burritos, the types of plants found in the Rocky Mountains, crowd-funding, even a nostalgic reminiscence about the one time I tried karaoke. As long as I’m presenting myself as a writer, there’s no limit to the time I can spend reading, talking to people, opening myself to experiences and travel, trying on ideas, debating and questioning others.

If I weren’t a writer, could I get away with the long hours I devote to research? No. I have to have the rationale of my work to justify my obsession. Otherwise my husband might wonder when I’m going to unpack the dozens of kids’ clothes I dragged with us on our last move, which my children outgrew eons ago. My friends could issue invitations to lunch or movies or worthwhile political demonstrations and expect responses. Perhaps I’d exercise more and lose those pesky 15 pounds that have weighed me down for years.

In my case, writing seems to have less to do with skills and creativity than with curiosity and snoopiness. Fine with me. It provides me with a veneer of respectability while enabling me to feed my cravings for miscellaneous knowledge of any and all sorts.


BLURB: A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.
Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.

WRITING: This is the new fiction for you: unafraid to debate contemporary concerns. . . pulls no punches. . .provides a fresh look at age-old issues. This is your kind of writing if you think. . .People are smarter than any phone. . .Feminism is just starting to come alive. . .You’ll always take a human over the most advanced app. . . .You can laugh at yourself. . . Women use four-letter words, including l-o-v-e.

AUTHOR BIO: Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver's beautification program. 

Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers' and arts' groups, and children's literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Bake Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress.

Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world. Visit her at,,,,

PUBLICATION INFO: PUBLISHING MARCH 15, 2018, 978-1-77223-350-6 Kindle ebook, 978-1-77223-351-3 Trade paperback, 240 pages., or. Imajin Books, Ebook and paperback. 

ADVANCE PRAISE: “A breathtaking page-turner that will leave you exhausted but wanting more!” —Corinne Joy Brown, award-winning author of Hidden Star; “Likable, relatable characters…a real treat!” —Cindi Myers, author of The View from Here; “Intriguing…engaging…A great vacation read for sure!” —Meg Benjamin, author of the Brewing Love Trilogy; “A compelling story about a hard-working single mom who faces adversity head-on, learns from her mistakes, and perseveres.” —Kim McMahill, author of Marked in Mexico; “Few novels operate on such different levels, moving their characters to challenge not just each other, but their own not just each other, but their own perceptions. . .McCune provides just the right blend of comic relief, interpersonal encounters, and outside environment changes to make her story a powerful blend.” --Midwest Book Review
Thanks, Bonnie!
I love doing research for my stories as well! I've learned so many fun things - from freeze-branding cattle to how to hide a tracker on a Harley to corporate espionage.

How about you? Do you like doing research? What's something fun you've learned?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

JL Campbell & The Thick of Things

The lovely JL Campbell has a new book coming out!!!


The Thick of Things by JL Campbell

Three reasons readers will love the hero

Douglas Blythe is a confident, mature man who catches Khalila Skyers’s eyes and fires up her imagination. His role in the story is that of a well-adjusted male, who knows what he wants and does what is necessary to acquire it. His personality makes the story an interesting journey. 
Here’s my take on why readers will love Douglas:
  • He treats Khalila like a queen. Douglas is the kind of guy women dream about. He shows Khalila that he wants more than the physical attraction that burns between them, makes her feel cherished, and spends generously when he takes her out and about. 
  • He says exactly what he means. Women appreciate honesty. In his conversations with Khalila, he’s direct and communicates without any frills, even if his words end up shocking her at times.
  • He’s disciplined to a fault. While Khalila craves for another taste of their initial physical encounter, Douglas insists on keeping things chaste between them. His restraint makes their eventual coming together more intense and meaningful.
     Douglas is kind and sensitive and knows how to treat a lady. He impresses on Khalila that he knows who he is and what he wants. What more can a woman ask for?


The Thick of Things
By JL Campbell


GENRE: women's fiction with romantic elements, contemporary romance

BLURB: Life has a way of going awry when you least expect it, and Khalila Skyers learns this lesson the hard way. In one devastating blow after another, she loses her cosy existence. Then Douglas Blythe overtakes her life like a flood, and she’s not equipped to deal with an attraction that seems forbidden and overwhelming. But her body and heart want what they want, and leave her wondering if she ever knew herself at all.  

Douglas is determined to help Khalila move beyond her obsession with the past and reach for love a second time. No matter how long it takes. No matter the distance. He’s going to prove he’s worth the risk. 

Buy Links

Amazon         B & N         iBooks           Kobo
Amazon Canada.         Amazon UK 

Can't wait to read my copy!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Until Release & Tick Tock

Today I'm posting my very first post on the Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime blog!

I'm thrilled that my story will be included in the Dancing Lemur Press anthology that will be released in May. I hope you'll pop on over to the blog and learn a little bit more about my story and one of the characters!

If you'd like to add the anthology to your To Read or To Buy list, here are the links:

Amazon B&N Kobo ITunes

You'll have to read Until Release to see if the question above gets an answer! See you at Tick Tock!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG & Celebrations

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

March 7 question - How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

This might be a bit of a weird answer... (I can tell you're not shocked!)

I don't.

Celebrating causes me all kinds of stress. Imposter syndrome hits me HARD when I celebrate - no matter how small the celebration.

I might indulge in an ice cream cone or take an evening off to read a book I've been salivating over. And then, BOOM.

My silly brain seems to snort in disbelief. You think you did good? You think that was worthwhile? You're celebrating that? Are you kidding me?

And then I can't put words to keyboard at all.

I do think these celebrations are important and I'd really like to indulge (especially if it involves some Rolo ice cream!!) but for now, I'm just going to keep those fingers moving and ignore the celebrations.

How about you? Does your brain let you celebrate? Anyone else get overwhelmed with Imposter Syndrome? Anyone now want some ice cream?

Monday, March 5, 2018

We Do The Drills

We do the drills
to keep kids safe
in case the unthinkable

We do the drills
to give them
a tiny sense
of control

We do the drills
to combat
the helplessness

We do the drills
in hopes
the drills will save them

We do the drills
knowing they're
never going to save us all

We do the drills


On a lighter note, I'd love it if you popped on over to C. Lee McKenzie's blog where I'm a featured author today introducing my story Until Release that will be published in the upcoming anthology Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime!