Saturday, May 2, 2015

Romance Spotlight: Desiging Samantha's Love

There's a hot new steamy romance writer on the block, PJ Fiala. Designing Samantha's Love is a sexy and romantic read. Two people escaping bad marriages could find real love if only they'd let the past go. Easier said than done.

About Designing Samantha's Love

Nothing terrifies Samantha Powell more than starting over, but after devoting three decades to a troubled man and an unhappy marriage, Sam finds the courage to seek her own happiness. She imagines a nice quiet life filled with friends, family, and a career that leaves no room for relationship drama. Unfortunately, no one told the alluring Grayson Kinkaide.

After escaping a bad marriage of his own, Grayson realizes his soul mate is still out there and his heart is set on Sam. Their instant attraction begins a steamy affair, but the women of Grayson’s past aren’t ready to let him go. Can Grayson convince Sam that she is the only one for him? 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes (coming soon)

Welcome to the world Royal Baby Girl

Big congratulations to the Royal Family on their new addition!

It's a girl! Prince William and Kate Middleton welcome a little princess #RoyalBaby #RoyalBabyGirl
Posted by Sarka-Jonae Miller on Saturday, May 2, 2015

She is 8lbs 3oz of royalty :) The Duke and Duchess took her home this morning. Reports says Kate was only at the hospital for 2.5 hours I hope Prince George is ready to share the attention.

The favorites for names of the new #RoyalBaby are Alice and Charlotte. I'm hoping for Princess Alice Charlotte...
Posted by Sarka-Jonae Miller on Saturday, May 2, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Grey's Anatomy: Why Meredith is the Worst Person on the Show

I have nothing but love for the talented actress Ellen Pompeo and I respect the hell out of Shonda Rimes' ability to create incredible shows, but let's be honest Derek's death was botched and Meredith was the most selfish, thoughtless, and callous version of herself we've ever seen. I haven't been this annoyed since the HIMYM finale. I posted my thoughts  on my Facebook page and hundreds of people have commented, most of them either agreeing that Meredith pulling the plug on Derek without so much as a phone call to Amelia was horrid behavior or saying that Meredith is an incredibly selfish person and always has been, so they're not surprised.

Here are some of the comments that best sum up the feelings of fans:


Then there are quite a few awesome points regarding major plot holes:

What do you think? Please comment below.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Author Panel Offers Best Tips for Writers

The 10 lovely authors at Romancing San Diego 2.0
On April 11, I and nine successful authors belonging to different areas of publishing -- from the first-time self-published author to the traditionally published author with multiple series under her belt -- came together to answer questions at a Barnes & Noble in San Diego. For nearly an hour and a half we answered questions from the audience. Many of these questions were ones I'd been asked at previous events. This got me thinking, I need to pass on some of this invaluable advice for authors.  

Pantser or Plotter

After explaining to the crowd that a "pantser" was not someone who walked around pantsing people like grade school bullies but instead an author who writes by the seat of her pants, we authors gave a clear, inarguable answer to which type of author is better: the outliner or the writer who makes it up as she goes along. The answer is: it depends!

Yes, yes, that's something of a cop out but let me explain. One thing we all agreed upon was that if you have no outline at all, no idea where you're going, you're screwed. Our advice, make up an outline and then look at it as a suggestion instead of written in stone. Also, don't actually write it in stone. I know that's cool and dramatic, but really you don't have time.

Our target audience. Get it?
Now, once  you have an outline start writing and see what happens. If you can follow the outline and produce something awesome without wanting to shoot yourself from boredom, then congratulations you are a plotter! If your characters start wanting to go off script or new, better ideas pop into your head, go with the flow. You are a pantser and no amount of outlining will change  your nature. Know thyself. But still start with an outline and check back in every now and then because you may have forgotten your best ideas while enjoying some high-quality pantsing.

How Do You Write Well-developed, 3-D Characters?

Deborah Pratt is laughing with me, not at me.
It seems a contradiction in terms to write a three-dimensional character since the mediums onto which you can write won't produce 3-D objects. But that's just me be overly literal. This question in some form or another comes up a lot. Writing flat, two-dimensional characters is rather easy. Oddly, people don't seem to like them very much. When I first sent out Between Boyfriends to agents I got some good new/bad news feedback. The good news was my protagonist had height, width, and length: three dimensions, yay! My secondary characters were apparently boring width-less stereotypes who lived in Flat Land. Damn! What to do?

A technique that worked for me, and seemed to be a crowd pleaser, was drawing upon my journalism background to "interview" my secondary characters as if they were real people. I asked where they were born, if they had siblings, where they saw themselves in five years, what their turn-ons were.... yes, really. Attraction is a big part of a romantic comedy. If the interview idea doesn't work for you, then write out a full backstory for all of your characters and check that by the end of the book each one has remained true to their past but wouldn't handle the situations you placed them in when you began the book in the same way. They must show growth, and no I'm not back to talking about height. Or width.

How Can I Tell if a Publisher is Legit or a Scam?

The changing face of publishing has opened up wonderful opportunities for everyone to
Thank you, thank you.
publish their work, whether by self-publishing, getting an independent publisher, or going with a traditional publisher. Unfortunately, this has given the Neal Caffreys of the world opportunities to screw authors out of small fortunes. I know authors who've lost thousands to a fake publisher. Here's a simple test: Real publishers NEVER ask authors for money. Vanity publishers will charge you for editing, printing, etc. As long as you understand that you're hiring them for editorial, printing and possibly marketing services but that they are not your publisher, they're your employee, no worries. But many scammers are not so easily detected.

So here's specifics. Many small publishing houses and even some mid-size houses cannot afford to pay author advances. This does not make them fakes. Asking you to send them money is a sign of a fake. Publishers might charge marketing and publishing expenses against your royalties depending upon the way their business model operates, but they never send you a bill. They also should be sharing in the risks and costs.  E-book only publishers aren't fakes either. Imprints of big publishing houses are using this model. Sometimes they even cave and make print versions after all.

I'll have to stop here for now. More to come soon. Please feel free to leave questions in the comments. Please share with your friends :) And enemies really. The more the merrier :D

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Airwolf's Deborah Pratt and Author Sarka-Jonae Miller Thank Fans After Event (video)

For around 25 years I've been a fan of the show Airwolf and the people who made it, including stars Jan-Michael Vincent, Ernest Borgnine, Jean Bruce Scott, Alex Cord, and last but not least Deborah Pratt. Today, I got to do an event with the fabulous actress/director/producer/writer Deborah Pratt, who not only acted on Airwolf, but also wrote for the show and was the woman behind the award-winning science fiction series Quantum Leap

Deborah is the author of the science fiction series The Vision Quest and a paranormal
romance series comprising Age of Eve and The Tempting. She signed copies of the latter while I signed paperbacks of my Between Boyfriends series. We were joined by eight very talented San Diego authors, including Jan Moran, Juliette Sobanet, Georgie Lee, S.J. Harper, Sherrie Miranda, and more. (Autographed copies of the books are still available at the store.)

All the women were great and we had an amazing audience, but for me the chance to sit next to one of the people who I've wanted to meet since childhood was a dream come true. Because I'm the sweetheart that I am, I didn't keep the fun all to myself. Deborah and I recorded this short "thank you" video for the Airwolf fan community who have supported us both and helped promote the event, and were there in spirit.

I also learned something rather hilarious that I need to share
with fans. After Airwolf went off the air, companies offered to buy the Bell 222A used in the show. Not too surprising. What's funny though is a group of Colombians didn't quite get that the although Airwolf was portrayed as a Mach 1+ attack helicopter on the show, many of its impossible features -- such as reaching Mach 1, flying into the statosphere, and carrying enough weapons to take over a small island -- were thanks to Hollywood magic. They actually thought they could buy a real Airwolf. OMG, I'm still laughing. Thanks for sharing, Deborah.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Pretty Little Liars Theory After the Big A Reveal

Keegan Allen (Toby) said that A has been around since season 1 and Marlene King said that the A reveal on the finale was not a misdirection or half-truth, like the idea that Ezra was A. Therefore, we should be able to assume that Charles is A and that Charles has been there from the pilot episode, but how could that be? 

That makes me wonder if Jason is A and those blackouts or memory gaps he had the summer Ali was killed (or so we thought) was really his alter ego Charles taking over. It wouldn't be the first time on TV that a twin manifested their dead twin's personality, though I don't believe that's actually possible outside of TV Land. Perhaps Charles was his twin brother and Ali killed him. That might explain why she was the #1 target and sort of explain her freaky story about the twin girl who murdered her sister. She has twin killing on the brain. Of course, that might have been her subconscious thinking of the newly discovered Bethany Young.

Anyone else think that Sara Harvey really was in that grave and Bethany Young is still alive, and on the A team? Just because Avery thought he saw Sara riding her bike the day after Ali/Bethany was buried doesn't mean he did. It could have been Ali/Bethany/CeCe or some other unknown blonde. A switched the dental records of Ali and Bethany, so s/he/they could have switched them again with Sara's, and even purposely arranged for Bethany as Sara to be seen the day after Ali/Bethany was buried to throw people off. 

Marlene had texted a clue that there was a B in the box before the police said the body was really Bethany, but that could have been in reference to the mistake that it was Bethany, or it could have referred to Sara as being a Queen Bee as she was described by her friends, just like Ali.

If Charles is alive and is Jason's twin then what Keegan Allen said was not true. If Charles is not the person who kidnapped the Liars, then Marlene said about this reveal not being a trick would also be untrue.

The only thing that doesn't fit is Andrew. He definitely looks like he could be related to Jason and Ali, but isn't he Ali's age? He's in the Liars' grade, right? Jason graduated years ago, so how could Andrew be his long-lost twin, as people have speculated. Charles from the home video was definitely older than baby Ali. But you do have to wonder what Marlene meant about Drew being a better Jason for where they wanted the show to go than the original actor from season 1. The old Jason looked nothing like Andrew and Ali.

Or maybe A is really Meredith and Charles is her accomplise. Who knows?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Guest Post - "Researching My Book" by Marshanne Mishoe

Guest post by Marshanne Mishoe
I learned a lot from writing my first book, The Mind of a Child. It is a dual story line that focuses on two women, one in the 1940’s and the other living present day. They both have to deal with children with Down Syndrome and the story compairs and contrasts the differences in how these children are treated, both in history and today. While it was a story based on my Grandmother’s life, and portions of mine, there was a lot I didn’t know about my subject matter. I wanted the story to be fictional, because I didn’t know enough about my Grandmother’s life as a young woman to make it factual. I also liked the idea of making composite characters from people I knew and using my imagination to come up with the things that happened to them. But there were definitely areas where I had to know the facts.

For instance, I had worked with children with Down Syndrome for three years. So I felt I had a pretty good grasp of the disability and how it effects the children who have it. But I went to the web to learn even more and found a few surprises. I didn’t know that Downs kids can have flecks of gold and white in the iris of their eyes. I didn’t know that their large toes are usually separate from the rest of the toes or that boys with Downs are typically infertile. It’s this type of detail that helps characters be more believable to the reader.

I also had to learn a lot about the time in history I was writing about. I knew that the United States was just coming out of the Depression and was joining World War II. But I had never really known much about Eugenics, the social movement claiming to improve the genetic features of human populations through selective breeding and sterilization. The Nazis were experimenting with Eugenics and I was able to work in a brief mention of this movement in a scene in my book, again adding texture and believability.

I had a lot to learn about the South Carolina State School for the Feebleminded. This is where one of the characters of my book ended up and I knew very little about it. I was able to get a great amount of knowledge of the institution and what it was like in the 1940’s by reading A History of Whitten Village by Benjamin Otis Whitten. The book, although technical in many ways, gave me what I needed to take my reader right to the institution, called Whispering Pines in my book.

I also did some research into what a brand new baby is like, both with the Downs impairment and without. For this I leaned heavily on Your Baby and Child from Birth to Age Five, by Penelope Leach. I learned a lot about the typical newborn and used these facts to give the doctors in the story reason to believe something was wrong with the baby.

Research can be fun and enlightening as you write your own book. But most of all, it is an essential part of good story telling and should be given at least as much attention as you give the actual writing process.

About the Author
The Mind of a Child is Marshanne Mishoe’s first novel. She started her writing career back in the mid 1980’s as a television news reporter and anchor. She worked at WIS-TV in Columbia, South Carolina for the better part of a decade, and before that she had a two-year stint as a writer and producer for SC-ETV’s satellite branch in Beaufort, SC.

Marshanne now makes her home just north of Atlanta. She lives with her husband, Steve, and their three kids, Jake, Spencer and Marishay. Their dog Millie would be highly incensed if she were left out, so she lives there too.

Visit Marshanne online at

Connect with Marshanne

About The Mind of a Child

Two eras, two women, one story of strength and love.

1940: When Jessa gives birth to her youngest son, instinct tells her all’s not well. Her husband and doctor are keeping something from her, but what?

2007: Willa adjusts to her new job serving as an assistant teacher in a special needs classroom. At first she balks at the work she has to do - often involving bathroom issues and tantruming children. As she grows into the job, she comes to truly love her students, even as she learns that things aren’t all that they seem within her own family.

The Mind of a Child paints a vivid picture of contrasting times, disparate perceptions, and the women who shaped them. As they rely on their wits, family, and growing faith in God, their stories intertwine, teaching them that love can overcome any challenge.

Available on in Kindle and paperback versions.
Available on in Nook and paperback versions.