How to Add a Link to Sell Your Book on

I love searching the internet to find a solution to a problem. That’s how I fixed the dishwasher and got dog pee out of a wool rug. But sometimes Google is like a hot but unreliable man. In other words, disappointing and frustrating.

I was trying to figure out how I could provide a way to buy my new book Goddess from this blog, but all I could find was useless and confusing information about plugins and stripping out Amazon html code. (I’m good with the stripping part; HTML I’m not so talented with.) Part of the confusion was between and We’re much more limited on the .com site, but hey, it’s free.

I finally found the solution myself. It was simple, but it took some digging through menus. I offer it to other new authors who want to sell their book from their blog.

  1. First go to the WP Admin site.
  2. Select Appearance, then Customize, then Widgets, then Sidebar.
  3. Select Add a Widget.
  4. In the menu of options, find Image.
  5. I added an image of my book cover.
  6. You can embed a link in the image. I chose the page for my book.
  7. For the title, I wrote “Buy My Book Here:”
  8. Underneath, for the caption, I wrote “Available on Amazon” I suppose I could have included the price too.
  9. I then reordered the sidebar so my buy link was at the top right.

It was so simple, my 10-year-old could have done it.

I hope that’s helpful to some of you. Now damnit, go buy my book!

Best Wishes


In Praise of Mommy Porn

Have you ever encountered a phrase as dismissive and condescending as “mommy porn?” On the surface, it’s a ridiculously amusing dichotomy. Porn is about drooling guys hunkered in front of their computer screens. Mommies are about pushing adorable ragamuffins in strollers, trading tips at the playground on nap time and breast feeding, and pinning recipes for crumb cake on Pinterest.

Why would mommies even need porn? They have their hands full of dirty diapers and creamed corn. Sex is a 15-minute quicky on a Saturday night after putting the kids to bed. Do mommies even have sex? The kids find it hard to believe.

But guess what? Women don’t become sexless blobs after they get knocked up and pop out a kid or two. Mommies are sensual beings, even when they have spit-up on their machine washable blouses. They crave passion, eroticism, and release.

The erotic romance novel might not be at the pinnacle of literary greatness. It might not fit into the academic confines of proper feminist literature. But when a mommy picks up her Kindle and downloads the latest release from Sylvia Day or Nora Roberts, she empowers herself to take charge of her own sexuality. 51w0ciLf-XL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_crossfire-4book-box-digital

She satisfies her needs and desires, even if that only means curling up on the sofa for a fifteen minute break with a steamy novel. Perhaps the sex she reads about isn’t even something she desires in real life. It’s just a fantasy, no less valid than the ones men find on the internet.

There are a lot of women out there who are proud to read erotic romance. We need more. We need it see it embraced and nurtured. We need to see a debate between Hilary Clinton and Carly Florina about who writes the hottest BDSM scene. Now that’s a presidential campaign I can get excited about.50-shades

Mommy porn is a marvelous, beautiful thing. Mommies of the world, enjoy yourselves. You deserve it.

Best Wishes,


Goddess Revealed: My First Novel Will be Available November 1

Wife, mother, PTA president… Sex Goddess?

For Julia Nelson, it was only a faded tattoo, almost forgotten, like the sex-charged dreams that inspired it some 20 years ago.

For renowned, rugged-sexy archeologist Dr. Ashland Stewart, it was his greatest discovery, the sacred emblem of an ancient goddess culture.

Two symbols, eons apart, yet exact duplicates. It must be a coincidence. But when Julia and Ashland meet, their connection is instantaneous, powerful, erotic.

Julia’s suburban life is safe and comfortable. She has everything to lose.

Ashland’s world is remote archeological digs and flings with younger women. He’s sexually free but emotionally guarded.

Ashland awakens Julia’s long buried inner goddess with breathtaking passion and insatiable desire.

But their sexual adventure becomes increasingly perilous as their emotional barriers crumble. Will Julia risk falling in love and soaring to new heights, or will she return to her earthbound responsibility to her family?

Goddess, my first erotic romance novel and part 1 of a trilogy, will soon be available for download on Amazon. Color me excited and nervous.

A big shoutout goes to The Killion Group for their wonderful cover design and interior formatting. I originally had a very different concept for the cover, but I told Kim to channel her own creative goddess, and she did. I’m very pleased with the results.

i would love to hear from anyone who would like to read the book in advance and post a review on their blog.

Stay tuned…

Best wishes,


Writing to a Rhythm

At the moment, I’m halfway through reading a new fantasy/romance novel. I won’t mention the title or author because I want to reserve judgement until I’m finished, but the book has made me think a great deal about rhythm in writing.

The main character in the book is complex and engaging and the descriptions are rich and imaginative. Nevertheless, I’ve had a difficult time becoming fully engaged in the story because its rhythm feels off. It doesn’t have the compelling beat that I love in a good novel–the kind of book that I can’t put down.

To me, rhythm in a novel is like rhythm in music–it picks me up and carries me along. It makes me feel compelled to reach the next chapter, the next page, the next sentence. Reading a book without the proper rhythm is like listening to a band where the drummer can’t keep a beat.

Rhythm can be hard charging, like in a thriller, or it can be slow and steady, like in a thoughtful character study. Often, it can be difficult to define exactly what makes for good rhythm. There’s no time signature like in music, and there are so many elements that come together to take us on a satisfying literary journey. It’s definitely not just the plot that carries the rhythm. Character, dialogue, setting, and sentence structure all come together to make a book successful.

One of my favorite contemporary novels is Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! The book follows the three Bigtree chidren after their mother dies and their parents’ Florida tourist attraction fails. Kiwi, the older brother, leaves to get a job at the World of Darkness amusement park. When the middle sibling Osceola disappears into the swamp, Ava, the youngest daughter, goes in search of her with the help of the mysterious, seemingly magical Bird Man.Swamplandia

The rhythm of Kiwi and Ava’s adventures are completely different. Kiwi’s struggles to be successful at World of Darkness are mostly light and funny. There’s a breezy, fast-paced rhythm to them. Ava’s journey is slower, like a dream walk. There’s a sense of danger and foreboding that draws us in very differently than Kiwi’s chapters.

The distinct rhythms of their narratives are reflected in their first person (Ava) vs. third person (Kiwi) viewpoints, the language they use, the settings, and the turns in the plot. They almost feel like two different books. Swamplandia! never gets monotonous or boring because the rhythm is so varied. But at the same time, the different character strands blend together so well that we’re left with a deep and complex story that few other recent novels I’ve read have acheived.

Developing good rhythm takes years of practice. It’s like learning to play the drums. But I do have a few tips to share that may help you consider your own rhythm in your writing.

  1. Watch Hollywood movies. The more rigid structure of Hollywood films, especially the three acts in a typical movie, can give you a good sense of how rhythm works. Watch a movie strictly for the structure. Where do the key plot turns occur?How do the scenes vary in length and tone? Do fast paced scenes alternate with slower paced counterpoints?
  2. Get honest, outside opinions of how your book is flowing. I read too many self-published books with scenes that seem to go on forever, or with unnecessary characters or dialogue. It’s very difficult for a writer to see objectively how the flow of his/her book is working. Find a fearless reader or three to give you the honest truth.
  3. Watch out for changing POV. In romances, character POV often switches between the hero and heroine. Don’t overdue it. Switching POVs can take the reader out of the story and lead to redundancy if you present the same information from two points of view.
  4. Write short stories. Because their flow is so foreshortened, they can help you practice developing rhythm.

I hope these tips at least help you think more about rhythm as you’re reading and writing. Good luck!

Best Wishes,


How to Gain Free Exposure for Your Blog: Reblogging

I think this is a wonderful idea. Feel free to pay it forward.

Maxpower's Blog

Today as is my usual routine on Meet and Greet weekends, I will be reblogging posts. Please leave the link to your post in the comments and I will review for family-friendly content and then reblog. If you leave a link please reblog this post as a “thank you” to Dream Big. It is appreciated! […]

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Don’t Get It Right, Get It Written: 10 Tips for Breaking Through Procrastination

It’s back to school time, which means we parents no longer have to contend with trips to the beach, summer camps that end way too early, and a constant chorus of “I’m bored!” It also means we can finally get back to some serious writing.

Or not.

I’m known as someone who is focused and disciplined, but that’s not how I see myself. I’m a procrastinator, especially when it comes to writing. Too many times I would choose vacuuming return vents or ironing sheets (Something which I’ve never actually done.) over sitting down with my half-finished manuscript. Why do I love to write so much yet sometimes hate doing it at the same time? Perhaps because most activites that are extremely satisfying are also very challenging. (Would I put sex in that category? That’s for another post.)

I rarely get enough writing done in a day to satisfy myself, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Over the years, I’ve developed or learned a few tricks to get past my creative inertia. None of them work all the time. They’re like a bag full of golf clubs that I pull out one by one, hoping to make it to the green. Many of these seem obvious to me, but that’s because I’ve been doing them for so long. I offer them up to you in print to remind myself that there’s more than one way to skin a first draft.

  1. Find your sweet spot during the day. I’m a morning person. Give me a cup of coffee and a quiet space in the morning and I’m happy. But by two o’clock, I’m pretty much worthless creatively. I’ve come to accept that. I try to get a jump on the writing and get as much done in the morning as I can. It’s much more pleasant to tackle the laundry in the afternoon if I have some good pages under my belt.
  2. The internet is Satan’s handmaiden. If I’m stuck on a scene, character, or even one word, I head immediately to the internet, not to find an answer, but to avoid the problem. What are my friends doing on Facebook? What’s the latest political news? I really could use a new sweater. Next thing I know, hours have passed and I’ve accomplished nothing. I try to turn off the internet if I can, though it’s hard to maintain that discipline. I don’t carry a smartphone because I often get my best writing down on the train commuting to work. No temptations = productivity. (Though it is annoying when the guy sitting next to me is craning to read the hot sex scene I’m writing.)
  3. Set goals, but make them realistic. At the beginning of the week, I write down what I want to accomplish each day. I try to make these goals as specific as possible. “Finish a first draft of chapter 12” works much better than “work on chapter 12.” I try to gauge how much I can actually accomplish. I don’t want to end up short or with too much time on my hands. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
  4. Change your venue. Write in a different room, or just a different chair. Write outside. Go to a cafe. I even used to sit in a nearby hospital’s lobby.
  5. Dress for success. I was watching American Ninja the other day. (One of my guilty pleasures.) A woman contestant said she wore a superhero pajama top to bed so that every morning, when she looked in the mirror, she felt inspired to do great things that day. I haven’t tried that one yet, but it’s definitely on my list for the future.
  6. Find a writers’ group. Nothing helps spark creativity like the knowledge that it’s your turn to get critiqued at your writers’ group. If you can’t find one that’s right for you, start one. If you don’t have time to meet in person, join one on the web.
  7. Take a Break, but don’t make it too long. Take a day off to catch up on chores or go to a museum. Go on vacation. Lie on the beach. It’s good to get away from the page, but too many writers I’ve known turn breaks into long hiatuses that last months or even years. If you don’t have an agent or editor, nobody’s going to be calling to ask when you’re going to finish the book. You have to be your own taskmaster.
  8. Don’t be fooled by creative distractions. I know writers who seem to spend the majority of their time working on their web presence, or writing a press release for the PTA, or creating a one-woman show based on the unpublished novel they wrote 10 years ago. It makes you feel creative when you do these things, but are you really distracting yourself from your more important goal, to be a novelist?
  9. Write more than one book at a time. This can be dangerous because if you have too many projects going, you might not finish any of them. But sometimes I’ve found it helpful to work on more than one book at a time. If I’m stuck on one, I can turn to the other and keep the creative juices flowing.
  10. Don’t give up! Almost every writer procrastinates. It doesn’t make you a bad person. If you find yourself avoiding your writing, forgive yourself, make another pot of coffee, and get back to it. You’re a writer, dammit! You can do it.

Best wishes,


Silver Linings Playbook: One Screwed-Up Romance

Last weekend I was watching Silver Linings Playbook on DVD. (Yes, I am aware of streaming. I’m just old fashioned in some ways.) It struck me what a great example this wonderful Oscar-winning movie is for romance writers. (Sad to say I haven’t yet read the novel it’s based on, which is probably even a better example.)

The problem with most Hollywood romantic comedies is that they give us characters with one issue they need to overcome before they get together. Perhaps the woman is afraid of commitment (Runaway Bride), or the hero is keeping secrets from the girl (You’ve Got Mail), or is pretending to be someone she’s not (Maid in Manhattan). These situations make for a light, entertaining ride, like a big bucket of popcorn soaked in fake butter. But you would never meet these characters in the real world.

Playbook is refreshingly different. Pat and Tiffany have ISSUES. They’re both crazy in a literal and figurative sense. Pat imagines that he can will himself out of his bi-polar illness and win back his wife. Tiffany was fired for sleeping with everyone in her office as she coped with her depression. Yes, the way they act sometimes seems over-the-top. But if you know someone with bi-polar illness or depression, you can see a great deal of reality in the way they interact.

These two people are f***ked up. Winning a dance contest and falling in love isn’t going to make their problems go away. They’re always going to have issues. Even if they get together in the end, you know they’re probably not going to live happily ever after. I wonder if they’ll last three months.

One of my favorite scenes in Playbook nicely illustrates how this movie veers from traditional romantic comedy. It’s a montage where Pat and Tiffany practice for the dance contest. It’s not a sensual or sexy scene (Except for the lingering stare Bradley Cooper gives Jennifer Lawrence’s naked back.), but we know these two messed up people are falling in love.

We see that Pat is changing, but he can’t admit his feelings. After staring at Tiffany, he runs home and throws himself on the bed. He’s so stunned and confused that he doesn’t notice he’s knocked to the floor all the novels he’s been reading to convince his wife to take him back.

But it’s the music over the scene that gives it an even deeper complexity you won’t find in other romantic comedies. Most directors would have chosen some pop confection that blatantly tells us what these characters are feeling. But director David O. Russell chooses a very different song — Bob Dylan’s 50-year- country/folk song, Girl From the North Country.

The song has nothing to do with the music they’re dancing to, or their situation, but it says so much about who they are. It’s far from a traditional love song. The song’s narrator is asking someone to check on the woman he loves, to make sure “she’s wearing a coat so warm, to keep her from the howling wind.” It’s likely he’ll never see his love again. It’s a plaintive cry of longing and loss.

I wish more romances (at least in the film and literary world) were like this. I like boy and girl to get together in the end, but I also want to know that life is deep, complex, and more than happily-ever-afters.

Best Wishes,