Monday, July 15, 2024

Black OOps: A Fun Summer Mystery Series

If you're looking for a fun mystery series to enjoy at the beach, perhaps Tracy Black and her partner Adam Slade of Black Ops Detective Agency can entertain you in Cad to Cadaver and Growler to Grave

In the first Black OOps Detective Mystery, life is in the pits for ex-cop Tracy Black, the floundering founder of Black Ops Detective Agency. Tracy is black, like her name, and trying to establish herself as a private investigator in her hometown of Cincinnati after leaving behind a bad relationship and a stressful career as an FBI agent in Atlanta. 


Though not romantically interested in womanizing cad Dr. Terrance Jackson, Tracy reluctantly accepts his invitation to attend a medical reception. On high alert from her Terrorism Task Force days, Tracy wrongly accuses a random guest of being a terrorist. Oops! This leads to an embarrassing encounter with handsome white guy Adam Slade, security consultant and ex-navy SEAL. He thinks she’s hot, but Tracy dismisses him as a bumbling gorilla.


Eventually, Tracy comes to see Adam as less of a primate and more of man. And when she assists him on a lucrative out-of-state gig involving the Bosnian Mafia, Tracy realizes they make a great team–professionally and romantically!


Yet things take a drastic turn when Tracy is accused of Terrance Jackson’s murder. What will it take to get her off the hook? The dauntless duo  encounter one misadventure after another as they put their lives on the line  to clear Tracy’s name and find the killer who turned Dr. Jackson from cad to cadaver!  

Ex-FBI agent Tracy Black and ex-Navy SEAL Adam Slade are back in Growler to Grave, the second in the Black OOps Detective series!  This stand-alone sequel to Cad to Cadaver finds partners Tracy and Adam embroiled in another zany rom/com mystery. Adam, a man of few words, and Tracy, a woman of many, are arguably a match made in Heaven.


Catching brewmeister Blake Geist’s cheating spouse isn’t the most desirable job for these audacious private detectives, but money’s tight. Tracy is no nature girl, but that doesn’t stop this daring duo from following trophy wife Denise Geist and her bodybuilding lover Johann Becker deep into the woods in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Tracy’s scrabble up the crook of an ash tree provides the proof of infidelity. Yay!  Tracy’s fall from the tree onto Adam lands him with a concussion. Oops!


After the private eyes are swindled out of payment by cheapskate Blake, the brewmeister’s subsequent murder arouses police suspicion of the Black Ops duo. As bodies pile up, evidence mounts against Adam, whose mysterious disappearances and lack of an alibi trigger Tracy’s trust issues. Would a head injury lead him to commit murder? Tracy must find the killer to prove Adam’s innocence. Will she be able to crack the case? Will Tracy and Adam's relationship survive? Or is their partnership doomed to a "grave" demise?

Do you enjoy mysteries? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, July 8, 2024

Writing Tips to Make Writing Easier

Love to write? Are you just starting out? Maybe you've written several books. No matter where you are in your writing journey, you never stop learning. And Grammarly is a wonderful place to find lots of helpful information. 

Today I've posted a brief snippet of an article by Karen Hertzberg entitled "30 Writing Tips to Make Writing Easier."

Take a look at first seven and click here for the entire article. Happy Writing!

 Set writing goals.

Maybe you want to write a certain number of words per day or upgrade your vocabulary. You can’t reach a goal unless you have one, so write that goal down and work toward it.

Write in the morning.

For many people, writing comes easier right after a good night’s sleep. Grammarly’s research also shows early birds make fewer writing mistakes. (No matter when you write, Grammarly has your back. Try Grammarly to get more writing tips to help keep you on track.)

Write daily.

Getting started on a big writing project can feel intimidating if you’re not used to the act of writing. Practice this skill daily—whether a short sentence or full paragraph—to get accustomed to the mental and physical concept of writing.

Get inspired by research.

Before you begin writing, do some reconnaissance reading. Take notes as you read up on your subject material. Ideas will form as you research.

Always carry a notebook and pen.

Inspiration can hit you at any time. Don’t leave a gripping pitch for a client, poetic sentence, or catchy project name to your memory. Write it down in a dedicated notebook, or create a note file on your smartphone. 

Experiment with writing prompts.

One of the best writing tips for aspiring writers is using a prompt. You can find endless writing prompts online that are suited for all types of genres. Pick one that stimulates your imagination and encourages you to get creative.


If you often find yourself rambling on without a clear structure, start with an outline. Follow this simple, no-fail outlining process to organize yourself from the start.

Find all 30 tips here.

Do you use Grammarly? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Happy Fourth of July!

Way back in the dark ages, 1972, to be exact, when the United States was getting ready celebrate its Bicentennial Anniversary in 1976, a movie was released celebrating our country's independence. That movie was the musical1776, and I LOVED it!

Never heard of it? Wikipedia says: 1776 is a 1972 American historical musical comedy drama film directed by Peter H. Hunt and written by Peter Stone, based on his book for the 1969 Broadway musical of the same name, with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards. Set in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776, it is a fictionalized account of the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The film stars William DanielsHoward da SilvaDonald MaddenJohn CullumKen Howard and Blythe Danner.

Portions of dialogue and some lyrics were taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants of the Second Continental Congress. 

For a synopsis, click here.

I was in fifth grade when my mom took me to see it. It was educational as well as entertaining! I loved it so much, my dad took me to see it again. That was in the days before VCRs, so when it was gone from the theaters, it was gone. But I did buy the album! That was the closest thing to seeing the movie again and again. I never saw it on TV, but I never forgot about the exciting experience of seeing this part of our history brought to life on the screen!

Well, silly me. When my kids were in junior high and middle school, I found DVD of 1776 at the library. So cool! I thought they'd enjoy watching it.  After all, I was in middle school when I saw it, but I also loved history; my kids not so much. Needless to say, they fell asleep. My husband was so-so about it since he's not a fan of musicals, but I loved it just as much as I did when I was a little kid! 

If you enjoy musicals and love history, I highly recommend watching 1776! It'll be a great way to spend some of your July 4th weekend!

By the way, Happy Fourth of July! Have you seen 1776? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Band of Angels

I happened to read about this movie while doing a little research and thought it sounded interesting. I love historical interracial love stories, and this one is based on a novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren. This is TMC's synopsis of Band of Angels, produced in 1957 and starring Clak Gable, Yvonne De Carlo and Sidney Poitier.

In antebellum Kentucky, the beautiful Amantha "Manty" Starr arrives home from finishing school in Cincinnati just after the death of her father, kindly plantation owner Aaron Starr. During the funeral, it is revealed that Manty's mother, who had died years before, was one of Starr's slaves and that Manty, now considered chattel of the estate, is to be sold by a slave trader to whom Starr had been deeply in debt.

At a slave auction in New Orleans, a wealthy gentleman named Hamish Bond pays a huge sum for Manty, intending to treat her as a lady in his household. Because she assumes she is to be a kept woman, however, she rebuffs his offer of friendship. Michele, the head housekeeper, who is herself in love with Hamish, secretly gives Manty a ticket to Cincinnati, but Rau-Ru, an educated slave who helps Hamish manage his business affairs, prevents Manty from boarding the boat. 

Later Hamish confesses that he is tormented by his past, and Manty, who now sees another side of Hamish, kisses him. The next morning,
Hamish takes Manty to his largest plantation and offers to free her. She hesitates but decides to remain with Hamish. Soon afterward, Hamish learns that war has been declared. While he visits another of his plantations, Manty accepts the attentions of his wealthy white neighbor, Charles de Marigny, which leads Rau-Ru to accuse her of betraying her people by attempting to live as a white woman. When de Marigny attacks Manty, however, Rau-Ru strikes him, and subsequently is forced to run away to the North. There he becomes a Union soldier under the command of Seth Parton, a self-righteous minister who had courted Manty when she was at finishing school. 

Hamish returns to the plantation and, in defiance of Union general Benjamin Butler's order, sets his own crops ablaze in order to keep them out of Yankee hands. As his fields burn, Hamish confesses to Manty that in his younger days, he had been a ruthless slave trader. With some reluctance, Manty leaves Hamish to begin a new life in New Orleans, and there she encounters Parton, who threatens to tell her new sweetheart, Ethan Sears, that she is black unless she makes love to him. Horrified, Manty returns to Hamish's New Orleans home, where she learns that he is on the run for burning his crops. 

Rau-Ru, who despises Hamish for having treated him with kindness, which he calls, "the worst kind of bondage," discovers where his old master is hiding and holds him at gunpoint. When Hamish tells Rau-Ru that he rescued him from a slave trader's bullet when he was an infant, however, Rau-Ru decides to let Hamish go. At that moment, Union troops arrive and Rau-Ru, while loudly proclaiming that he has captured Hamish, quietly slips his former owner the handcuff keys. Hamish escapes from the Union soldiers as Rau-Ru leads Manty to the cove where Hamish plans to rendezvous with an old seafaring friend. Bidding farewell to Rau-Ru, Hamish and Manty embrace and then board the boat that will take them to safety.

Ever seen it? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

20 Writing Tips From Fiction Authors


For all the writers out there--published, aspiring and everything in between--here's a great article from iUniverse that I thought would be worth sharing!

Writing success boils down to hard work, imagination and passion—and then some more hard work. iUniverse Publishing fires up your creative spirit with 20 writing tips from 12 bestselling fiction authors.

Use these tips as an inspirational guide—or better yet, print a copy to put on your desk, home office, refrigerator door, or somewhere else noticeable so you can be constantly reminded not to let your story ideas wither away by putting off your writing.

Tip1: "My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt." — Michael Moorcock

Tip 2: "Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you." — Zadie Smith

Tip 3: "Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution." — Michael Moorcock

Tip 4: "In the planning stage of a book, don't plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it." — Rose Tremain

Tip 5: "Always carry a note-book. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever." — Will Self

Tip 6: "It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction." — Jonathan Franzen
"Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet." — Zadie Smith

Tip 7: "Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 8: "Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear)." — Diana Athill

Tip 9: "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

Tip 10: "Listen to the criticisms and preferences of your trusted 'first readers.'" — Rose Tremain

Tip 11: "Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 12: "Don't panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends' embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there's prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too." — Sarah Waters

Tip 13: "The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can't deal with this you needn't apply." — Will Self

Tip 14: "Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!" — Joyce Carol Oates

Tip 15: "The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 16: "Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful." —Elmore Leonard

Tip 17: "Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." — Neil Gaiman

Tip 18: "You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished." — Will Self

Tip 19: "The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." — Neil Gaiman

Tip 20: "The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’" — Helen Simpson

Even famous authors sometimes have a tough time with writing; they also go through periods of self-doubt. Despite this, they always manage to come up with the goods. So take a lesson from them and stop putting off your writing plans and get started on your publishing journey today.

There has never been a better time than now to realize your dream of becoming a published author. Let your voice be heard and let your story be told. Never let your passion for writing wane. 

I think all of these tips are wonderful, but 4, 5 and 9 are my favorites. Which of these do you like best? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!