Chapters 21& 22 are up

I posted new chapters for The Familiars on my webpage.  I have little patience, so I’m going to start posting more often.  It’s the first time I’ve ever tried to post an entire book, but it’s taking FOREVER!  So I’m speeding things up.  Enjoy!

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Writerly Ramblings

Last week, I shared an article about what makes a bestseller.  The authors did research and believe that no matter the genre, tapping into the human condition–dealing with two themes we struggle with–(more gets to be too much)–helps readers relate to our stories. They also thought that showing characters react with each other, maybe sitting over a cup of coffee and talking, makes them more real.

A friend of mine came for lunch on Thursday, and we yakked even more writing.  We talked about some of our favorite books before we started to write.  It surprised us how much writing styles have changed from then to now.  We both were drawn to books with lots of details and description.  Sometimes, we read the first chapter and still had no idea where the story was going.  A lot of those books were told by a narrator or an omniscient author, putting distance between the writer and the reader.  Today, people like faster paced stories that are more immediate.  We like internal dialogue.  We want to live inside our protagonist’s skin, to feel what she feels.

When I first tried to write mysteries, I patterned them after my favorites, written by Agatha Christie. I got many a rejection letter that said, “Love your writing, but not what we’re looking for.”  Cozies were out of style.  But now that I think back, there was more to it than that.  I was using a writer’s style that wasn’t current.  How well did we know Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot?  They were both clever and fun to follow, and I loved trying to solve the elaborate puzzles Christie laid out, but her characters’ lives remained vague.   It wasn’t until I read Nancy Pickard and Carolyn Hart that it occurred to me that the detective’s life should be as interesing and demanding as whatever mystery she was trying to solve.  The authors gave their characters jobs they cared about, romances that hit highs and lows.  They made their characters have bad hair days.  Made them feel real.

One of my favorite series to write, and the series I got the most feedback on–was my Babet and Prosper urban fantasy novellas.  Babet felt real.  So did Prosper and his partner Hatchet.  So did their supernatural friends.    Eventually, I want to try my hand at another mystery, but this time, I want my characters to feel as real as Babet and Prosper.  I want their personal stories to matter just as much as whatever crime they have to solve.  I’m not holding my breath that I’ll end up with a bestseller, but I think it will make my story stronger.  I can’t wait to give it a try.

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A snippet

I added a snippet from my third Mill Pond romance on my webpage.  LOVE ON TAP is available for pre-order now, and it comes out November 22nd.  I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at Paula, a chef, who’s a widowed single mom.  Hope you like her!


On Amazon:


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Hobby? Career? Or are you aiming for best seller?

My writer/friend, Ann, came to visit me on Thursday, and she brought me a Writer’s Digest she’d finished reading and the book section of the September 2nd Wall Street Journal that listed new releases coming soon by prominent writers.  Prominent, in this case, referred to what I’d consider literary fiction and nonfiction.  I’m more of a genre reader myself, but I enjoy reading about any author and his writing process, and it’s fun to read outside of my usual interests once in a while.  So Ann gifted me with a few hours of entertainment with a little bit of insight tossed in.

I especially enjoyed a sidebar on page D5, an article–How to Write a Bestseller–by Tobias Grey. Matthew L. Jockers and Jodie Archer have a new book coming out September 20th, THE BESTSELLER CODE.  They’ve identified certain things that make books sell.  They listed which verbs sell better than others.  What really caught my attention, though, was that, according to their theory, “Subject, not genre, has a much greater impact on driving a best seller.”  They claim authors “who choose two topics which feed off each other” do better than books which try to cram too many topics in.  And readers want topics grounded in reality, even if you’re writing mystery or an urban fantasy, so that they can relate to the human experience, like marriage, love, or crime, etc.  To read the entire article, here’s a link:

Now, I’d love to write a bestseller.  I think most of us would, but let’s face it, bestsellers don’t happen that often.  So most of us settle for different stages of success.  Writing, for most of us, is a step by step process.  When I wrote my first novel, my only goal was to come up with 65,000 words that all hung together and told a story.  And I failed at that on my first attempt.  I faithfully sent out each manuscript when  I finished it, because that’s what my writer friends said I should do, but  I never expected one to sell.  It wasn’t until editors wrote encouraging notes on my rejection slips that I thought I might be able to get a book published.  That’s when I started looking for an agent, and the agent search became step two on my  list of goals.  That was a learning experience, in itself.  When my first agent accepted me, I thought I was on my way.  Not so.  Just because I found an agent didn’t mean I could sell a book.   That didn’t happen until I found Lauren Abramo, at Dystel & Goderich.  In the meanwhile, I sold short stories, and while that helped my self-esteem, believe me when I tell you, the writer who can earn a living with short stories is few and far between.


Most of us write and are happy when we can cross modest goals off our lists of achievements.  Some people are happy to write in a journal.  It’s a personal way to express themselves.  Some write family events to share with their kids and future grandkids.  Some people write novels to express themselves and are happy to throw the manuscripts in a drawer.  Others self-publish, but don’t promote themselves.  And then some people search for the perfect combination to write and sell, whether its online where they promote and market themselves, or finding a small publisher, an agent, or an editor.  But those writers want to connect with readers.  They want to sell books–the more, the better.

Whatever your goals, whatever in writing makes you happy, I hope you achieve it.  And if you want to be a bestseller . . . well, choose your topics and verbs carefully and good luck!

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Chapters 17 & 18 are up!

Ester and Ezekial’s church is gearing up, and the town of Prosperity is taking sides, but Zoey and Hannah get a surprise visitor.  Prosperity actually could lift its curse and start fresh…if it wants to.–18.html


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New chapters

I put up chapters 15 and 16 on my webpage.  You can find them in the left column:)

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Charlotte’s Web


Books can stick with you.  A long time ago, when I taught fourth grade, I read a chapter from a book to the kids every day after the last recess.  One of their favorites was Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I chose that particular one because it would appeal to the boys in the class as much as the girls, and it showed what life and one-room school houses were like in an earlier time period.  When I finished reading that book to them, my mom sewed a sunbonnet for every girl in the class, and my dad made each boy a wooden slingshot for paperwads–outdoors.

Their other favorite book was Charlotte’s Web.  They got so into that story that when I reached the chapter where Charlotte dies, I had to take them outside for one more recess, because so many of them were crying, including the boys.  (At ten, they can still shed a tear or two without teasing.)

Charlotte’s Web affected me, too.  Maybe five or so years ago, we had a bigger, reddish spider build a web near the roof of our side porch.  It was big enough that if it fell on me, or I walked through its web, I’d scream and panic.  But I can’t make myself kill it.  Ever since I read about Charlotte, I can’t kill a spider when it’s outside, where a spider belongs.  In the house, it’s another matter.  I can’t make myself live with arachnids.  But outside?  I get a broom with a LONG handle, dip it into the web close enough to get the spider, too, and relocate it to the back of the garage where there’s TALL grass that’s almost as high as the garage roof.  A good place for a spider to build a new home.

I do this every fall, and the next year, another red spider returns to our porch.  They like the porch because the porch lights attact bugs, which is sort of like ordering in supper.  And every year, I relocate them.  This year, for the first time, the red spider got smart.  He built his web a little away from the hummingbird feeder that hangs close to our kitchen windows.  The nectar attracts bugs, too, but I don’t have to worry about anyone walking through the spider’s web, so I’m leaving it alone.  The only drawback is that, occasionally, while I’m eating lunch, I watch him trapping his lunch, too.  Slightly unappetizing, but those who know me well, know that it’s hard to make me turn away from good food.

Other books have added to my life since then in different ways.  Sometimes, they simply make me look at the world in a new light.  I hope you’ve read some book/s that stay with you, too.  Feel free to share them.  And happy reading and happy writing!


My webpage:

My author’s Facebook page:

On twitter:  @judypost

On Kensington Books:

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You can enter to win

Kensington is offering a Goodreads Giveaway for my third romance, LOVE ON TAP, in print form.  If you want to meet Chase and Paula, here’s your chance to enter:


And just in case you haven’t tried my first romance, COOKING UP TROUBLE, it’s on sale now for 99 cents!  Tessa and Ian were the couple who started it all when she found him on the side of the road when his car had a flat tire.



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I’m up to chapter 12 on my webpage!

Zoey’s plugging into her destiny.


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Just a little teaser

Book 3 in the Mill Pond romances is up for pre-sale.  It doesn’t come out until November 22, so don’t hold your breath, but it features Paula and Chase.  You’ve met them both already, so I thought it would be fun to show you a snippet way ahead of time:)  Jason delivers food supplies to Ian’s resort, and when he learns that Ian’s hired another chef–sexy Tyne Newsome, he knows Paula will have a few nights off each week and makes a move on her:


Jason tucked the clipboard under his arm.  “I’m going to be at Chase’s bar on Friday with my friends.  If you drop in, I’ll make time to dance with you.  Maybe we can teach each other some new moves.”

A sizzle burned through Paula’s veins.  Jason had never paid attention to her, even though, somehow, he gave off the vibe that he was very aware of her presence.  Was that his magic?  That he held eye contact a second longer than usual and then pretended not to notice her?  She raised her eyebrows, intrigued, but shook her head.  “I have to work this Friday.  Tyne’s regular hours don’t start until the weekend.”

“No problem, doll.  Just thought I’d ask.”  Jason shrugged.  “I thought you and I might fit together pretty well on the dance floor.”

Oh, Lord, have mercy!  He’d called her doll, was actually flirting with her.  She could feel her cheeks burn.  She imagined his arms around her.  Her head came to his chest—a good place for it to rest during a slow dance.  It had been a long time since a man held her.  Too long.  “Maybe the next Friday?”

“I’ll be there.  I play pool every Friday with my pals.”  Alex had loved playing pool and spending time with his buddies.  Jason stroked his goatee, as if considering the possibilities, gave her a wink, then tilted his dolly onto its back wheels and headed for the door.

Paula put her hand on her throat, almost breathless.  Jason had promised her a dance.

When the door closed, Tyne scowled at her.  “Really?  The guy didn’t put any effort into that, and you’re going to fall all over yourself?”

“Hey, I have the hots for him, okay?  It’s the first time he’s offered me a crumb.”

“What is he…fifteen?  He’ll make your day by hanging out with you?  He probably won’t even buy you a drink.”  Tyne watched the box truck pull away.  “He’s a douche.  He wanted to let me know he had you in the palm of his hand.  Sort of pathetic, if you ask me.”
“I’m not.”

“You’re worth more than that.  Guys would line up to dance with you.”

Paula motioned to her black chef’s coat and drawstring pants.  Everything she owned bagged on her.  “I don’t think so.”

“Not like that,” Tyne said.  “But if you put on something that showed you have tits and a shape, they would.”

“I need to lose weight.”

“Bullshit.  Every woman in America thinks she’s too fat.  You’re cute, and if you don’t know it, you should.”

That word again.  Cute.  But it could be worse.  She’d take it.

Tyne pointed a finger in her direction.  “Demand a little more.”

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