Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'm Going on Tour!

Okay, so basically the words, "I'm going on tour" make me feel important. Like I'm one of those superstar authors who have a book tour in my contract. 

But I am part of an awesome book tour. And this is even better because we get to pick the locations! Our first stops are in Kentucky...starting this weekend!

I'm so honored to be touring with these women. First up is Debbie Dadey, the author of (brace yourself) more than 160 books. Yes, you read that right! Generations of kids have grown up reading Debbie Dadey books, including this series:

And now this one:

Gail Nall is a young adult and middle grade author with books published by Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins. Here are some of her books:

I don't know about other authors, but my favorite thing about multi-author events is that you get to hang out with great people!

My next Piper Morgan book, Piper Morgan Makes a Splash, comes out April 4, 2017. Sign up if you'd like to help out by posting on your blog about it!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Introducing Still Me by Karen Helene Walker

If you haven't seen the book I'm featuring today, you likely will in the days to come. Karen Helene Walker has gathered some of the best writers in the blogosphere for this anthology:

Today, Karen is joining us to tell us all about the process of putting an anthology together. Scroll down after the guest post to read all about the book and enter a giveaway to win two copies of Still Me!

by Karen Helene Walker

I’m about to turn 68 next month, so I guess technically, I am a senior citizen. You'll have to read the anthology to hear how I and others feel about that. But I really didn’t feel the issues I dealt with in writing and compiling the anthology were age-related.

The first challenge was getting enough submissions to make the project worthwhile taking to publication. I was absolutely sure that certain folks would jump on this opportunity - but they didn’t. What I heard was: Nothing is coming to mind to write about, or I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around this topic, or the topic is so vast, I can’t seem to narrow it down. I think aging is a difficult topic and one most people don’t even want to think about. Or there’s denial about it, which I can totally relate to. So I was concerned from the get-go about whether this would come to fruition or not.

Then I faced the challenge of which pieces out of the submissions I did receive could I include. Was it a universal theme? Was it well-thought out and well-written? Did someone else cover the same topic? Actually, that was one of my main concerns, but it did not happen. 24 authors wrote about a different aspect of aging. It was awesome.

Some of the submissions were accepted with very minor editing needs. Others needed some work. That was the next challenge. I did the first pass on editing. Once I was comfortable with those changes, the essay was passed on to a professional editor.  One author declined to work on edits at all. Another author felt she wanted to work directly with the editor and actually agreed to pay him herself to get her story where it needed to be (otherwise I paid all expenses for editing and publishing). I had to decline a story, even after several revisions went back and forth, because it still needed work and that writer just didn’t have the time to deal with it. I was bummed, because it was a good story.

That was the hardest thing, telling those authors I couldn’t include their essays. The last thing I want to do as a writer is hurt another writer’s feelings. But I had to consider that the quality of the writing would reflect on all the participating writers, so I couldn’t sacrifice any integrity on my part  in choosing what to include.I was lucky. These 23 writers were a delight to work with. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. 

The final challenge is marketing and promotion, always a challenge for a writer. Even with my 33+ years of marketing, it’s so difficult to promote myself. The anthology is a bit easier, because I’m not promoting me. I’m promoting 23 other writers as well. Hiring MC Book Tours was the smartest decision I made, besides hiring Mark David Gerson as editor and Kathleen Messmer as photographer for the cover. 

Would I ever do another anthology? I’ve learned to never say never, but more than likely, I will never do another anthology. Mostly because of the humongous amount of time it takes. I am not sorry about this one, thought. I’m proud of it and so happy it’s done!


Poignant...Humorous...Brutally Honest!

A collection of personal reflections guaranteed to keep you inspired and entertained on that journey we all travel together: The Journey of Aging.
With a blend of grace, dignity, warmth and humor, women and men from 60 to 90 and from all walks of life candidly share the blessings and pitfalls of aging – from keeping dreams alive and keeping sex lives active to dealing with retirement, loss of independence and a growing sense of mortality.


Add it on GoodReads.

Buy Links:

About the Authors:

Rev. Clara Alexander is an ordained New Thought minister who creates and performs sacred ceremonies, including unique weddings, funerals, memorial services, baby blessings and house blessings. She is also a popular speaker, inspiring groups with her talks on how we cling to our grudges, how we overuse the phrase “I’m sorry” and how we can live the life we love. 
Wendy Brown recently retired from a career in wildlife biology, where she studied sandhill cranes and whooping cranes as they migrated from Idaho to New Mexico. Wendy eventually found a permanent home in Albuquerque, where she and her husband enjoy the sounds of sandhill cranes from their deck.
Valerie Capps has bypassed the porch rocking chair to pursue her life-long passion for writing, thereby proving that in today’s world, life can begin again at 65! Valerie lives in Nashville with her husband and their spoiled-rotten Welsh Corgi. 
Mary W. Clark retired from her law practice in 2007 and transferred her observation and composition skills to travel writing. She is currently working on a book about her father’s World War II experience flying “the Hump” from India to China over the Himalayas. Mary lives in Paris, Texas.
Fran Fischer: “I was born at a very young age and that happened 82 years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I’ve crammed as much living into my life as possible, and I’m not through yet. I’ve traveled extensively and I even flew in the same zero-gravity plane that the astronauts trained in. I live in California with my first (and only) husband, and we celebrated our 62nd anniversary this year.” 
Pat Garcia (Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack) is an American expatriate living in Europe. An accomplished musician as well as a writer, she has been writing (and reading) since childhood. 
Mark David Gerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction and compelling memoirs. Known as “The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients as coach and consultant, helping them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease.
Holly Deuel Gilster plays “make believe” for a living. In other words, she is a professional actress and musician. Holly also loves painting with words as an accomplished poet, an award-winning short-story writer and a book-reviewer for The Or Echo
Aaron Gordon is a retired social sciences community college professor. He and his wife, Ellie, have been married for 65 years and have three children and grandchildren. 
Ellie Gordon is a retired public school teacher who spent the best 20 years of her life in the classroom. A Chicago native, she now lives in New Mexico. 
Karla “Rosie” Harper recently retired from teaching elementary school, freeing her to return to her early love of dancing. Today, when not helping out with her grandchildren, Rosie is taking dance lessons, spinning on a dance floor or performing in senior centers and retirement communities with Albuquerque’s Sugartime, as singer as well as dancer. 
Linda Hoye is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, available through major online retailers. A native of Saskatchewan, Linda currently lives in British Columbia (by way of Washington State) with her husband and doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier.
E.V. Legters hasn’t so much retired as she has exchanged one life for another — from rewarding years with career and children (while pursuing the arts on the fly) to a life with the arts at its center. She is the author of Vanishing Point and Connected Underneath and is currently hard at work on her third novel. 
LD Masterson lived on both coasts before becoming landlocked in Ohio. After twenty years managing computers for the American Red Cross, she now divides her time between writing, volunteer work and enjoying her grandchildren. Her short stories have been published in several magazines and anthologies, and she is currently working on a new novel. 
Kathleen Messmer not only runs a film production company with offices in the UK and the US, she is an avid photographer and wildlife advocate. In the unlikely event that she ever retires, Kathleen plans to live on a ranch with draft horses and pygmy goats and vineyards and fruit orchards, somewhere near the water. Oh, and a cowboy...maybe. 
Karen Norstad has worked as cashier/gift wrapper, secretary, boutique seamstress, administrative assistant, manager of employee stock options, executive assistant and budget analyst. Now retired, Karen’s life revolves around lounging about, wearing PJs until four in the afternoon, obsessing over the news, reading, fusing and slumping glass, practicing piano, keeping a small balcony garden and cooking.
Matt Nyman’s nonlinear career path has included working in the geological sciences, teaching high school, stay-at-home parenting and, currently, training tomorrow’s teachers. Poetry equently resides near the surface of his existence, occasionally erupting onto paper. 
Jill Plaman was born and began aging in Milwaukee, but she has lived and worked in Albuquerque since 1977. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MSW from the University of Minnesota. Her special interests are travel, international folk dancing, reading, hiking and spending time with family and friends. 
Maureen Polikoff is a clinical social worker/ therapist who has always pursued many other creative endeavors, including painting, playing music and, now, writing. A Connecticut native, she lives in New Mexico with her husband, Michael. 
MaryFrank Sanborn left Boston 33 years ago, to apprentice with photographer Walter Chappell in Santa Fe. Still in love with the beauty of the Southwest, MaryFrank photographs, writes, hikes, travels, teaches yoga and meditation, makes soups on Sundays, and dreams of the ocean and whales.
Patricia Stoltey is the author of four mystery novels. The most recent is Wishing Caswell Dead. She lives in Northern Colorado with Sassy Dog, Katie Cat and her husband, Bill. 
Susan Swiderski grew up in Dundalk, Maryland, where everybody calls everybody hon and eating steamed crabs is a sacrament. Although she’s happy in her adopted Georgia, part of her heart still lingers on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, explaining the setting for her novel, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. Susan is currently working on a trilogy, proof that this old gal is still a pathological optimist. 
Jan Castle Walker is a retired teacher and an active artist. She lives in Davis, California with her husband, Mack. 
Karen Helene Walker is a novelist, memoirist and essayist and the author of The Wishing Steps and Following the Whispers. When not writing, Karen is tap dancing, folk dancing or performing with the musical group Sugartime at retirement communities. Karen is currently working on her second memoir. 

You can follow Karen and the other authors along on their tour by checking out the schedule HERE.

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My next Piper Morgan book, Piper Morgan Makes a Splash, comes out April 4, 2017. Sign up if you'd like to help out by posting on your blog about it!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Mystery Monday: Lindsay Buziak

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

Real estate can be a dangerous job. Agents are often asked to meet strangers in empty houses. There have been a few cases of real estate agents who have been murdered, including Beverly Carter in Arkansas. But today's mystery includes a young Canadian realtor who many Americans may not yet have heard about.

In late January 2008, Lindsay Buziak received a call from two extremely promising new clients. The couple was in a hurry to buy and wanted a house in the one-million-dollar range.

However, Lindsay had an unsettling feeling about the callers. They spoke with an accent, but it seemed fake. Everyone advised her not to go to the viewing alone. Her boyfriend, Jason Zailo, agreed to go with her. They had lunch beforehand and separated. He had to make a couple of stops first and she needed to go home and change.

Jason (left) and Lindsay (center)

Jason sent Lindsay a text saying he was on his way. Lindsay replied that the couple had arrived and she was going in. They entered this house at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Jason sent one final text, saying he was just a few minutes away. That text was never opened.

At 5:41, Lindsay's phone made a short call out. Police believe that was when the attack happened, pushing buttons on her phone.

At 5:45, Jason and a friend pulled up in front of the house. According to police, he told Dateline he saw two people through the glass. (Police say he saw them actually leave the house.) He pulled a little farther up the street and texted her, "Are you okay?" When she didn't respond, he started to get worried.

Image credit:

At 6:05 pm, he made his way toward the house. Through the window, he saw her shoes in the foyer (standard procedure for agents showing houses). He tried the door and found it locked.

Jason lifted his friend over the backyard fence. His friend came in through the unlocked back door and ran through the house, letting Jason in through the front door. Jason went straight up the stairs and found Lindsay's dead body in one of the upstairs bedrooms.

Lindsay's shoes. Image credit: Saanich Police Department

A neighbor reported that she saw Lindsay and a couple standing outside the house just before the murder. This is a recreation of what she reported:

The phone number for the killers was traced to a cell phone purchased at a convenience store only weeks before the murder. It was activated less than 48 hours prior to the murder. There was no way to trace the number.

Many people do think it was a murder-for hire, but they have never been able to close in on a suspect. She had told friends that she planned to break up with him as soon as a few more real estate deals closed, but she was trying to make it work when the murder happened.

There are many details the police have never released to the public...and, of course, true crime fans have come up with their own stories to fill in the blanks. A detective with the case says that most of the information they've seen out there is false. NBC News consultants looked through the case files and gave their thoughts to Dateline NBC.

They say they don't believe Jason did it. The police also have cleared him. They believe the murder was carefully planned, but they don't know who would have had something personal against her.

Do you think her boyfriend had something to do with the murder?

My next Piper Morgan book, Piper Morgan Makes a Splash, comes out April 4, 2017. Sign up if you'd like to help out by posting on your blog about it!

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