Valentine Blog Hop, Feb 1-14

I'm joining in the fun of the Valentine Blog Hop! You should too!

What's the Valentine Blog Hop? It's a series of contests, hosted by Book Lovin' Babes, that spans 25 author blogs. You become the 'blog hopper' and enter as many of the contests as you wish. Each of the 25 authors will offer prizes for you to win. Each winner will earn a chance to win the Grand Prize and the Second Place Prize.

What's the Grand Prize? An Amazon gift card worth $75.

What's the Second Prize? A beautiful Sterling Silver Black and White Diamond Heart Pendant.

What's the prize being offered by me here at Author Donna Fasano In All Directions? Well, I'm offering two prizes, and one lucky reader will win both:

An Amazon Gift Card Worth $10
These Cute Sterling Silver Frog Earrings 
(what better prize for a 'hop'?) 

How do you enter, you ask? There are three ways to enter:

1. Send your e-mail address to me at donnafaz @ comcast (dot) net with Valentine Blog Hop in the subject header.
2. Follow this blog. If you already follow, you're already entered.
3. 'Like' my Facebook page: Donna Fasano, Author. If you've already 'liked' the page, you're already entered.

Just to be clear, you can enter this contest three times.  If you send me your address, your name is entered once. If you send me your address AND follow this blog, your name is entered twice. If you send me your address AND follow this blog AND 'like' my Facebook page, your name is entered three times. (Go for three! Go for three!)

So enter my contest and then hop along to the Book Lovin Babes blog to find a list of all the other authors who are participating. Good luck, and happy hoppin'!

A Kinky Adventure in Anglophilia

Today, I welcome fellow Indie Chick, Anne Allen, who shares her inspiring story from Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Personal Stories. Take it away, Anne!


By Anne R. Allen

When I started writing funny women’s fiction fifteen years ago, if anybody had given me a realistic idea of my chances for publication, I’d have chosen a less stressful hobby, like do-it-yourself brain surgery, professional frog herding, or maybe staging an all-Ayatollah drag revue in downtown Tehran.

As a California actress with years of experience of cattle-drive auditions, greenroom cat-fights and vitriolic reviewers, I thought I had built up enough soul-calluses to go the distance. But nothing had prepared me for the glacial waiting periods; the bogus, indifferent and/or suddenly-out-of-business agents; and the heartbreaking, close-but-no-cigar reads from big-time editors—all the rejection horrors that make the American publishing industry the impenetrable fortress it has become.

But some of us are too writing-crazed to stop ourselves. I was then, as now, sick in love with the English language.

I had three novels completed. A fourth had run as a serial in a California entertainment weekly. One of my stories had been short-listed for an international prize, and a play had been produced to good reviews. I was bringing in a few bucks—mostly with short pieces for local magazines and freelance editing.

But meantime, my savings had evaporated along with my abandoned acting career; my boyfriend had ridden his Harley into the Big Sur sunset; my agent was hammering me to write formula romance; and I was contemplating a move to one of the less fashionable neighborhoods of the rust belt.

Even acceptances turned into rejections: a UK zine that had accepted one of my stories folded. But when the editor sent the bad news, he mentioned he’d taken a job with a small UK book publisher—and did I have any novels?

I sent him one my agent had rejected as “too over the top.” Within weeks, I was offered a contract by my new editor—a former BBC comedy writer—for FOOD OF LOVE. Included was an invitation to come over the pond to do some promotion.

So I rented out my beach house, packed my bags and bought a ticket to Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, where my new publishers had recently moved into a 19th century former textile mill on the banks of the river Trent—the river George Eliot fictionalized as “the Floss.”

George Eliot. I was going to be working and living only a few hundred yards from the ruins of the house where she wrote her classic novel about the 19th century folk who lived and died by the power of
Lincolnshire’s great tidal river. Maybe some of that greatness would rub off on me.

At the age of… well, I’m not telling…I was about to have the adventure of my life.

I knew the company published mostly erotica, but was branching into mainstream and literary fiction. They had already published the first novel of a distinguished poet, and a famous Chicago newspaper columnist was in residence, awaiting the launch of his new book.

But when I arrived, I found the great Chicagoan had left in a mysterious fit of pique, the “erotica” was seriously hard core kink, and the old building on the Trent was more of the William Blake Dark Satanic variety than George Elliot’s bucolic “Mill on the Floss.”

Some of my fears subsided when I was greeted by a friendly group of unwashed, fiercely intellectual young men who presented me with generous quantities of warm beer, cold meat pies and galleys to proof. After a beer or two, I found myself almost comprehending their northern accents.

I held it together until I saw my new digs: a grimy futon and an old metal desk, hidden behind stacks of book pallets in the corner of an unheated warehouse, about a half a block from the nearest loo. My only modern convenience was an ancient radio abandoned by a long-ago factory girl.

I have to admit to admit to some tears of despair.

Until, from the radio, Big Ben chimed six o’clock.

six pm, GMT.

Greenwich Mean Time. The words hit me with all the sonorous power of Big Ben itself. I had arrived at the mean, the middle, the center that still holds—no matter what rough beasts might slouch through the cultural deserts of the former empire. This was where my language, my instrument, was born.

I clutched my galley-proof to my heart. I might still be a rejected nobody in the land of my birth—but I’d landed on the home planet:
England. And there, I was a published novelist. Just like George Eliot.

Three years later, I returned to California, older, fatter (the English may not have the best food, but their BEER is another story) and a lot wiser. That Chicagoan’s fit of pique turned out to be more than justified. The company was swamped in debt. They never managed to get me US distribution. Shortly before my second book THE BEST REVENGE was to launch, the managing partner withdrew his capital, sailed away and mysteriously disappeared off his yacht—his body never found. The company sputtered and died.

And I was back in the slush pile again.

But I had a great plot for my next novel.

Unfortunately, nobody wanted it. I was now tainted with the “published-to-low-sales-numbers label and my chances were even worse than before.

So I wrote two more novels. Nobody wanted them either.

Then I started a blog. I figured I could at least let other writers benefit from my mistakes. My blog followers grew. And grew. The blog won some awards. My Alexa and Klout ratings got better and better. Finally, publishers started approaching ME. (There’s a moral for writers here—social networking works.)

And finally, six years later, another publisher, Popcorn Press, fell in love with FOOD OF LOVE and sent me a contract. Soon after, they contracted to publish THE BEST REVENGE, too.

And this September, a brand new indie ebook publisher called Mark Williams International Digital Publishing asked if I had anything else ready to publish.

Just happen to have a few unpubbed titles handy, said I.

He liked them.

So in October and November of 2011, those three new comic mysteries will appear as ebooks: THE GATSBY GAME, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, and SHERWOOD, LTD (that’s the novel inspired by my English adventures.) Popcorn Press will publish paper versions in 2012. THE BEST REVENGE debuted as an ebook in December, with the paper book to follow in February.

A fifteen-year journey finally seems to be paying off.

Did I make some mistakes? Oh yeah—a full set of them. But would I wish away my English adventures?

Not a chance.
Twitter @annerallen
Authorpages:  At , at , on Facebook 

(Romantic comedy/mystery: MWiDP) A penniless socialite becomes a 21st century Maid Marian, but is “Robin” planning to kill her?  Buy at ,, or Barnes and Noble

(Romantic comedy/mystery: Popcorn Press) A suddenly-broke 1980s celebutante runs off to California with nothing but her Delorean and her designer furs, looking for her long-lost gay best friend—and finds herself accused of murder. Buy at or and in paper at Popcorn Press or in paper at .

Love To Read?

I have been an avid reader all my life, and I have professed in many author interviews that my love of reading is what led me to become a writer. I know there are many readers who are HUNGRY for books, so here are some suggestions for you to devour. (I have linked all of these books to Amazon's Kindle Store, although I know some of them can also be found for Nook, Kobo, Sony, and other ereading devices.)

Mel Comley writes crime thrillers and romance. Look for Cruel Justice (this book has nine 5-star reviews) and A Time to Heal (also highly rated).

I would recommend A Hint of Murder, an anthology, from Lia Fairchild. And also her romantic drama, In Search of Lucy.

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland by Barbara Silkstone kept me turning the pages.

I'm excited about Catrina Taylor's new release, Xarrok, a scifi romance.

The cover of Bet You Can't...FIND ME so intrigued me that I just had to download a copy of this suspense novel by Linda Prather. 

I'd say there's something here for everyone: mystery and suspense, scifi and paranormal, chick lit and romance. Yum! Happy Reading.

Turning Medieval

Today I welcome fellow Indie Chick Sarah Woodbury to my blog. She's sharing her inspiring story from Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Personal Stories. Take it away, Sarah!

Turning Medieval
by Sarah Woodbury

   Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint those moments in your life where everything is suddenly changed.  When you look across the room and say to yourself, I’m going to marry him.  Or stare down at those two pink lines on the pregnancy test, when you’re only twenty-two and been married for a month and a half and are living on only $800 a month because you’re both still in school and my God how is this going to work?
   And sometimes it’s a bit harder to remember. 

   Until I was eleven, my parents tell me they thought I was going to be a ‘hippy’.  I wandered through the trees, swamp, and fields of our 2 ½ acre lot, making up poetry and songs and singing them to myself.  I’m not sure what happened by the time I’d turned twelve, whether family pressures or the realities of school changed me, but it was like I put all that creativity and whimsicalness into a box on a high shelf in my mind.  By the time I was in my late-teens, I routinely told people: ‘I haven’t a creative bone in my body.’  It makes me sad to think of all those years where I thought the creative side of me didn’t exist. 
   When I was in my twenties and a full-time mother of two, my husband and I took our family to a picnic with his graduate school department.  I was pleased at how friendly and accepting everyone seemed.
   And then one of the other graduate students turned to me out of the blue and said, ‘do you really think you can jump back into a job after staying home with your kids for five or ten years?’
   I remember staring at him, not knowing what to say.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about it, but that it didn’t matter—it couldn’t matter—because I had this job to do and the consequences of staying home with my kids were something I’d just have to face when the time came.
   Fast forward ten years and it was clear that this friend had been right in his incredulity.  I was earning $15/hr. as a contract anthropologist, trying to supplement our income while at the same time holding down the fort at home.  I remember the day it became clear that this wasn’t working.  I was simultaneously folding laundry, cooking dinner, and slogging through a report I didn’t want to write, trying to get it all in before the baby (number four, by now) woke up.  I put my head down, right there on the dryer, and cried.
   It was time to seek another path.  Time to follow my heart and do what I’d wanted to do for a long time, but hadn’t had the courage, or the belief in myself to make it happen.
   At the age of thirty-seven, I started my first novel, just to see if I could.  I wrote it in six weeks and it was bad in a way that all first books are bad.  It was about elves and magic stones and will never see the light of day.  But it taught me, I can do this!
   My husband told me, ‘give it five years,’ and in the five years that followed, I experienced rejection along my newfound path.  A lot of it.  Over seventy agents, and then dozens and dozens of editors (once I found an agent), read my books and passed them over.  Again and again.
   Meanwhile, I just wrote.  A whole series.  Then more books, for a total of eight, seven of which I published in 2011.
   And I’m happy to report that, even though I still think of myself as staid, my extended family apparently has already decided that those years where I showed little creativity were just a phase.  The other day, my husband told me of several conversations he had, either with them or overheard, in which it became clear they thought I was so alternative and creative—so far off the map—that I didn’t even remember there was a map. 
   I’m almost more pleased about that than anything else.  Almost.  Through writing, I’ve found a community of other writers, support and friendship from people I hadn’t known existed a few years ago, and best of all, thousands of readers have found my books in the last year.  Here’s to thousands more in the years to come . . .

Links to my books:  Amazon and Amazon UK
Smashwords  BarnesandNoble  Apple

Two Reviews to Share

Readers who share their kind thoughts about my books in reviews really make me happy. Here are two such reviews that were recently posted on Amazon for His Wife for a While:

Krazy Kindle Lady said, "I read this book in one sitting!! It brought tears to my eyes. Thought it was a great book!! It was an easy read!! I will definitely be downloading her other books to read!!"

LeenBee said, "I loved this book. What a sweet, touching romance that made me deeply invested in the characters. She kept the conflict going right to the end. I love the way Chelsea found true love for her desperately empty soul and how Ben was willing to risk so much to show how much he loved her. Very well written and a perfect read!"

I want to thank Krazy Kindle Lady and LeenBee for taking the time to tell others that they enjoyed my book. I am deeply grateful!

You can find His Wife for a While at Amazon's US Kindle Store and also the UK Kindle Store.
Woo-hoo! I love to see my books on the Kindle Movers & Shakers List.


That's how many FREE copies of His Wife for a While were downloaded during yesterday's FREE Kindle Book promotion. I am overwhelmed by that number. It makes me happy to think that all of those people will be reading my book! *smile*

Check back here often for more free promotions! Better yet, type your e-mail address in the box to the right marked 'follow this blog by email' so you don't miss anything!

His Wife for a While FREE Jan. 19th

Amazon will be offering the Kindle version of His Wife for a While FREE for 24 hrs this Thursday, January 19, 2012. Mark your calendars so you don't miss this giveaway!

Let's say it together, people...FREE!

In the US: 

In the UK:


Today I welcome fellow Indie Chick Suzanne Tyrpak to my website. Take it away, Suzanne! 

Sometimes life changes in a day. I work for an airline, and this past summer a gigantic jet-stair ran over my toes. That got my attention. I’d been asking for a break, and boy did I get one! My story has a happy ending: the accident gave me time to finish my recently released novel, Hetaera—Suspense in Ancient Athens. It also gave me time to connect with the Indie Chicks; what a fantastic group of women! We wrote an anthology together and all the proceeds go to fighting breast cancer—the disease that took my mother. I hope you enjoy, Holes, my contribution to the Indie Chicks Anthology. Sometimes discovering our holes, our weakness, allows us to become more compassionate and ultimately more whole.


I used to think I had to be perfect. Of course, I fell short of perfection on a regular basis so I frequently felt like a failure.

The only way to prevent failure is to hide. If we don’t put ourselves out there, we can’t fail.

To prevent myself from failing, I hid in a fantasy world. As a young child, I longed to be a ballerina. I loved to dance, but more than that, I wanted to escape into the fantasy world of the ballet. I wanted to live inside a fairytale, and in my mind, I did. I invented worlds I could escape to, perfect worlds that seemed more real to me than life. Meanwhile, I ate, and ate, and ate. Not ideal, if you want to be a ballerina. My reality never matched my inner world.

I created this pattern, this external and internal disparity, throughout my life. I brought it into my marriage, convincing myself that my marriage was perfect, while in reality it was a mess. Instead of leaving, I found escape in writing. I lost myself other times: ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient Rome—worlds as far away from my reality as possible. In my writing, I disappeared for hours, days, years. I got a job working at an airline so I could travel and do research. I got an agent. I felt sure I would be published.

Then my world fell apart. After nineteen years of marriage, my husband wanted a divorce. I fought it. Divorce didn’t fit my idea of perfection, my fairytale. I viewed this loss as a disaster, but in truth it was an opening, a hole leading me to greater understanding and compassion for myself and others.

I was broke, trying to live on what I made at the airline. I was lonely. I had no time to write. Worst of all, I had to admit my life wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t perfect. Forced to accept myself with all my imperfections, I discovered that the more I could accept myself, the more I could accept others. Even my ex-husband. To this day, we remain friends.

Because I no longer had time to sit down and write for hours, the kind of time it takes to write a novel, I wrote short stories. I wrote about my experience, about my struggles as a woman of fifty going through divorce and entering the dating world. Initially, I wrote the stories for myself as therapy. Then I began to share the stories with my writing group. They encouraged me to submit the stories to magazines, and several were published. I read a couple of stories at our local library and people laughed. Then my good friend, Blake Crouch, convinced me to publish the stories on Kindle. A frightening prospect. What if my stories weren’t good enough? What if they weren’t perfect?

At first I resisted. I’d had two literary agents, and a longtime dream of being traditionally published. Self-publishing didn’t fit my idea of perfection. But, in reality, I no longer had an agent, and I hadn’t worked on a novel for several years. What did I have to lose? Nothing. So I published Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction).

My world changed, not because I was finally published, but because I changed. I finally found the confidence to pursue my dream despite my imperfections. I found the courage to stop hiding and put myself out into the world. This freed me.

I rewrote my novel, Vestal Virgin—suspense in ancient Rome. Originally, my characters were a bit flat. Why? Because they were too perfect! I hadn’t looked at the manuscript for two years, and a lot had changed for me in that time. I rewrote the book with a cold eye: cutting, digging deeper. My characters became multifaceted, real people with flaws.

I became busier and busier, caught in a whirlwind, trying to hold down a full-time job, write, promote my books and have a life. Trying, once again, to be perfect.

And then the universe stepped in.

I had an accident at work. While moving a jet stair (which weighed over 1,000 pounds) away from the aircraft, my right foot got crushed. I fell, screaming, onto the tarmac while passengers onboard the plane watched. A coworker rushed me to the hospital for the first of three emergency surgeries. I suffered intense pain due to nerve damage, broken and dislocated toes and, ultimately, amputation of a toe. As I write this, I’m still recovering.

I spent five weeks at a nursing home, a good place for me (even though most of the patients were over eighty years old), because it would have been close to impossible for me to take care of myself at home. While there, I had a chance to meet a lot of the patients and residents. All of us had obvious holes.

I learned a lot from the other patients. And I was forced to face my own mortality. Aging offers us the gift of acceptance. In order to age gracefully, we must the release the idea of perfection. We learn there are some things we can change, and some things we must accept. And, when we accept what is, we may find the good in even the most difficult situations. We learn to accept the holes in ourselves and others. We even welcome imperfection.

Since the accident, I’ve been thinking about holes a lot. I've been thinking about being whole, in relation to loss. How can loss make a person whole? I’ve learned that loss can make a person strong, more self-reliant. Loss can make us more compassionate to ourselves and others.

Where I had a toe, there’s now a hole, and that hole reminds me that I’m not perfect. But, despite my imperfection, I am whole. I am me. It would be ridiculous to think that I am any less of a person, because I’m missing a toe, because I have a hole. Just as it’s ridiculous for any of us to think we must be perfect.

Physical wounds can’t be hidden as easily as emotional and psychological wounds. And that’s a gift. Physical wounds make us confront our mortality, our humanity. Physical wounds can’t be denied. They are tangible and force us to accept ourselves, with all our imperfections.

It's impossible to get through life without being wounded. Some wounds are obvious. Others are internal, even spiritual: the loss of the ability to trust, to connect deeply, to hold a friend and know that you are loved.

We run away from wounds. Try not to look at them. We think they're signs of weakness, but our wounds—the holes in us—provide a doorway, a soft spot in our armor. We walk around armored, protecting ourselves with platitudes and false smiles, never touching our own vulnerabilities, afraid to share our tender rawness with another or even with ourselves.

If we can touch the tender spots, allow ourselves to feel fear, sorrow, loss, we become closer to wholeness. The more we accept our holes, the more compassion we can have for others. When we feel compassion we are able to connect. We are able to expose our soft underbelly to another human being and share the salt of our tears, the sweetness of our joy. That’s what I want to write about, that’s what I want to share, because salt makes all the difference between a bland, protected life, and a true life: pulsing, bloody, messy, passionate and truly whole.

Flaws, or holes, are what make a character seem real—in life and in fiction. Perfection is impermanent, an illusion. A person who seems too perfect is repulsive. We don’t trust him. We know that person can’t be real. Holes speak of truth. Holes allow us to connect, to ourselves and to each other. Our holes make us human, make us beautiful. Holes allow the light to shine through.

If someone had asked me last spring, “Would you give up a toe in order to learn, in order to have time to write your next novel?” I might have said, “Yes.”

Funny, how life works.
~ ~ ~
Suzanne's blog: Who's Imagining All This?
Twitter: @SuzanneTyrpak
Vestal Virgin—Suspense in Ancient Rome
Currently available on Amazon Amazon UK
Hetaera—Suspense in Ancient Athens
Currently available on Amazon Amazon UK


Thriller Author M.P. McDonald

I'd like to introduce my friends to M.P. McDonald, author of No Good Deed and March Into Hell. I read No Good Deed and loved the book! It currently has 72 five-star reviews on Amazon, and 26 four-star reviews. That's amazing! People love this book. And the sequel, March Into Hell is wonderful too. I highly recommend M.P. McDonald's Mark Taylor series and I am eagerly awaiting book 3. Visit M.P. McDonald's blog by clicking here.

Named Best Romance Novel on Kindle

Okay, so maybe An Accident Family isn't THE best, but it has been named one of 5 of the Best Romance Novels on Kindle by romance reader Cashmere. I am so fortunate that there are readers out there willing to blog about the books they love.

I have told readers many times that word of mouth is the best advertising an author could ever hope for. Have you read a good book lately? Tell your friends about it! An author will thank you.

Thank you, Cashmere!

5-star Review from Amy's Book World

I happened to search His Wife for a While on Google today and discovered a review of my book on a blog called Amy's Book World. She had written the review on Dec. 29, 2011 (my youngest son's birthday) and she had some very nice things to say:

"I love the author's writing. It flows very well and you are able to easily keep up with the story.  I loved reading this story. I couldn't put it down. I truly loved this book. It is a great love story that shows even if you have a terrible past, it doesn't have to define you. You can grow and move forward from it. I have no negative things to say about this book. Well written and a joy to read. Great book"

Amy and her review made me very happy. So...thanks, Amy!

Mrs. So-Got-It-Wrong Agent

Today, I welcome fellow Indie Chick Prue Batten to my blog. This is her story from Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Personal Stories.

Mrs. So-Got-It-Wrong Agent
by Prue Batten

After writing forever, I decided to finally go down the independent road in 2008. At that time, it was called self-publishing and the track I decided to take was POD. Part of my reason for the move was that my books had been declared commercially viable by the UK literary consultancy that assessed them, but in every instance they were declined by the Big Six.
The only time I had any sort of meaningful comment prior to POD publication was from a highly regarded English agent who said she loved the novels and knew she would kick herself for declining but felt I lived too far away to engage with. I know I reside in the southern hemisphere, in a place called Australia, but this is a new world in which we exist. Amazingly there is a thing called email, something else called Skype and even video-conferencing, so I was rather gobsmacked at her antiquated approach. This, I felt, was the time to take my destiny in my own hands!
You see, I was getting older and with age comes a degree of intransigence and that was when I took up the POD offer… basically in a fit of disgust at the ‘old ways’.
I did everything right: good covers, great PR, super website and then a blog with which to engage with the reading public, even radio and print media interviews… you name it, I did it. Book Two came out and I continued to sell to a niche market online and in stores. At one point, my first novel took the prime display position in bricks and mortar stores, selling more than any other unknown first release for that chain.
Then, whilst working on A Thousand Glass Flowers, I had the misguided idea that it would be nice to secure an agent who could handle all this PR and marketing stuff and maybe help me push the barrow further. With the success of the first two novels under my belt, with stats of web and blog hits as well, I contacted the first Australian agent on my list.
Imagine my surprise when two days later, on a Friday afternoon, she rang me to talk business.
Her first comment after a loud monologue on her credentials was ‘Why in the hell did you POD your first two books?’ Ironic snicker followed this acid question.
‘Because I was tired of submitting the old way and getting nowhere in a very long time.
‘But you’ve signed your own death warrant.’
‘Then why are you talking to me?’
‘I am intrigued that you managed to get the web hits and the book-sales you have.’ Her tone was sarcasm incarnate. Something about good books and hard work was on the tip of my tongue.
I was so flummoxed at this point that I allowed her to ram-raid me and roast me. Heaven help me, I agreed to send her mss of the first two novels (even though they had been published!) Perhaps I am a masochist. Who knows?
She read them and sent them back slashed to pieces. These were fantasy novels about love, loss, grief and revenge, novels that have secured 5 star reviews. She had deleted every conceivable piece of emotion from the manuscripts so that they expressed nothing. If she read them right through, I’d have been surprised as she asked elementary questions about the plot resolution… questions that were answered in the denouement of each of the novels. Her editing was unbelievable, her spelling appalling and she got my name and address wrong for the return of the mss. Now remember… this is supposedly one of the top agents in my country, top obviously not equating with manners and sensibility.
When I rang her to say politely, thanks but no thanks, she lambasted me and said, ‘You are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Small-time.’
My reply was that if she had taken me on, what a good talking point she would have had about her exciting new author. As it was, I continued, I was declining any further involvement with her as my books were out there and selling.
‘You have committed professional suicide.’
In the last three years, this agent is the only negative in my writing career and far from depressing me, it proved to be the biggest shot of tenacity in the arm! Reverse psychology at its very best!
So guess what, Mrs. So Got it Wrong Agent, I’m having a ball. The books are now in e-form and selling well. My third novel consistently took a place in the Top 100 of Kindle novels in its category not long after publication. I’ve sold across the globe, I have a niche following, I’ve made the friends of a lifetime and I am master of my own destiny. There are two further books to be published in The Chronicles of Eirie and in a step sideways, my first ever historical fiction will be published in February.
And at this point in my life, I don’t regret not having an agent one bit!
Addendum: Whilst writing this piece for the anthology, I nursed my little muse, the dog who would jump up behind me on my chair and sit whilst I typed. He had terminal cancer and in the intervening time between publication of the anthology and the posting of my piece on these blogs, he has gone quietly to his rest… a brave, funny companion who was my inspiration. I dedicate the above tale to him… to Milo.

Facebook: Prue Batten
Twitter: Prue Batten
Books may be purchased at:
And at

Kindle Movers & Shakers List #1!

I had to take a screen shot of this as it may never happen again and I wanted proof that my book, Return of the Runaway Bride, actually made it to #1. *beaming smile*

Return of the Runaway Bride FREE

Amazon is offering FREE Kindle versions of my book, Return of the Runaway Bride. The sale is continuing until midnight, Jan 4th. Get your copy now while the getting is good!

Amazon US Kindle Store

Amazon UK Kindle Store

Check back soon for other great giveaways. Better yet, follow my blog by inputting your e-mail address in the box located in the right hand column, or send your e-mail to me at DonnaFaz (at) Comcast (dot) net and I'll keep you alerted to any new freebies. Happy reading!

I Burned My Bra For This? One Woman's Fantasy

Today, I welcome fellow Indie Chick Cheryl Shireman to my blog. Take it away, Cheryl!

~  ~  ~

I Burned My Bra For This? One Woman's Fantasy
 By Cheryl Shireman

I’m a Baby Boomer. Which means that I remember bell-bottoms, Happy Days, and having only three channels on the television. I played Donny Osmond albums on a record player. My parents watched Gunsmoke, and on Sunday nights we all watched The Wonderful World of Disney. In the living room. Together. On the only television we owned. Imagine that! I remember the first time I saw Bonanza in color. I remember the first time I heard about remote controls for televisions. The whole idea seemed ridiculous. With three channels, really, how often would it be needed? I remember the Watergate hearings playing on the television when I came home from school. 
I also remember watching feminists (does anyone use that word anymore?) burn their bras and march for equal rights. I grew up believing that a woman deserves equal pay for equal work and that a woman is not defined by the man she marries or by the children she gives birth to. In fact, we were told that both men and children were optional. The idea seemed revolutionary at the time. It still does. Women were mad as hell and they weren’t taking it anymore. We called it Women’s Liberation, and though it was never said, it was certainly implied (and believed in most circles) that a woman who did not work was a bit inferior to a career woman. That was when such women were called housewives and not “stay at home” moms. Women were divided into two groups – those who worked and those who didn’t. Back then, no one thought that staying home and taking care of a family and home was work. The women of my generation wanted more, demanded more, and believed we were entitled to just that – more. We sometimes looked at our own mothers, most of whom did not have real jobs, as women who simply did not understand that there was more to life than being a mother. If truth be told, we thought they were a bit simple-minded and we secretly vowed to do more with our lives.
And yet…as this Baby Boomer looks at her life, I realize nothing I have ever done, or will ever do, is as important as being a mother. Not career, volunteer work, graduate school, or any creative pursuit. Nothing else even comes close to being a mother. Period.
One of my children lives half an hour away, another is one state away, and the third is on the other side of the world in Denmark. Yesterday, my husband and I spent the entire day with our two-year-old granddaughter. She then spent the night. As I write this, I hear her gentle breathing in the baby monitor positioned atop the table close to where I sit.
To say that my children, and now my granddaughter, have filled my life with love and joy is an understatement. As children, they expanded my heart in ways I could never have imagined. For the first time in my life, I not only understood, but received unconditional love. As adults, they are three people that I know I can always count on. They will always be there for me. Just as I will always be there for them. Can you say the same about your career?
There used to be a television show called Fantasy Island. People visited the island and lived out their fantasies – no matter how wild (okay, not that wild – this was primetime family tv in the seventies). Not too long ago, my husband and I had a discussion about that old tv show and asked each other – What would your fantasy be? Mine was easy. If I could have a Fantasy Island day, I would relive one day with my children. My son would be 10, which would make my daughters 4 and 2. We would spend the day doing whatever they wanted. Going to the park, going to the movies, playing games, baking cookies, or just sitting on the floor playing with Legos and Barbies. I would hug them a lot. And kiss the tops of their heads. And take tons of pictures. I wouldn’t cook. I wouldn’t clean. And I wouldn’t worry about my career.
I would watch my son show his younger sisters how to do things, like he always did in his older brother sort of way. I would watch my 2 year-old daughter follow her older 4 year-old sister around the room, shadowing her every move. Just as she did, even through their college years when they shared an apartment near Indiana University. I would watch the older sister taking care of her younger sister, as if she were her baby. Which is what she called her when she was born – my baby.
Bedtime would be later than usual on that fantasy night. I would tuck them into their beds, fresh from baths and smelling of shampoo. The girls smelling like baby lotion. My son would hug me goodnight with his long skinny arms and tell me he loves me. And I would feel the truth in that. I would tuck in my girls and tell them it is time to go to sleep. I would take extra care in covering the older girl’s feet, because she always kicked her blankets off during the night. I would kiss the baby and hold her a little longer, because I would know that, as I type this she is in Denmark which makes visiting tough.
And, as I walk down the hall and turn out the lights, I would call out to all of them, as I always did… “Goodnight. Love you. Sweet dreams. See you in the morning.”
And that would be my fantasy day. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with my career as a writer. Even though being a writer has always been my dream. My first novel, Life is But a Dream: On the Lake, was published earlier this year. The main character, Grace Adams, is a woman facing an empty nest and the possible demise of her marriage. Grace withdraws to a secluded lake cabin to redefine her life and try to find a reason to continue living. While at the lake, Grace not only finds renewed purpose and hope, but when things take a turn for the worse at the lake, she finds a strength she never knew she possessed. The novel is thought-provoking, sometimes frightening, and often funny (just like life). It is also, very definitely, fiction.
I'm not Grace. Even though my “nest” is empty, I am enjoying this time and this new focus on my career. I am not suicidal or lacking in purpose. My husband and I both work from home (he designs websites), we live on a lake, and our schedule is our own. It is truly a wonderful time in our lives. Sometimes I have popcorn for dinner. Enough said.
But, would my current life be as wonderful if I had not pursued career and graduate school and developed the skills I am using now? Probably not. I managed to combine work and school and motherhood. I believed I could have it all, and do it all, but to be honest – the kids always came first. And being a mother is the strongest and best part of my identity. It is the thing I am most proud of. My greatest achievement. And, once in a while, I miss those days when toys where scattered across the floor, the washer was always running, and we bought eight gallons of milk a week.
If you have children at home, cherish those simple every-day moments with them. They really will be gone in the blink of an eye – sooner than you can possibly imagine. Put this book down. Now. Go sit on the floor and play a game. Pop some popcorn, put on one of their favorite movies, and cuddle up on the couch. Live that “fantasy” right now. You will never be able to recapture these moments. Enjoy them now. There is no greater gift than the love of your children. Spend the rest of your day letting it pour over you. And pour your love right back over them. You can come back to this book tonight, after they are asleep.
As I type this, I can hear my granddaughter waking up. I am shutting my computer off. Right now, I am going to go upstairs and scoop her up from her crib. She will probably wrap her little arms around my neck and ask, “Play blocks, Bomb Bomb?”
And we will play blocks.

This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today. All proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels! My novel, Life Is But a Dream: On The Lake, is one of the novel excerpts featured. It is available at most online retailers in trade paperback as well as e-book formats.