Sunday, July 22, 2012

Welcome Summer Splash Blog Hoppers!

Welcome to your first stop on the Summer Splash Blog Hop blog tour.  I hope you'll all take the time to visit each author's page--there are many, many prizes to be won.  But since you're here, let's get to mine ;)

I am offering several prizes.  So make sure you read through the entire post.  Enter one or enter them all--the choice is up to YOU!


I will sign and send a copy of one of my books in my Sloane Monroe mystery/thriller series to five winners.  






If you haven't tried cookies from Cheryl's, you've been missing out!  The beautiful blue wrapping on the boxes reminds me of the clear blue skies in Park City, the setting for the first novel in my Sloane Monroe Series, Black Diamond Death.  I want to give one lucky winner the chance to win the Summertime Gift Tower which includes 28 cookies and brownies. $40 value.


Purchase a copy of Black Diamond Death by clicking HERE, and answer this question:

In chapter 27, first paragraph, what was happening when Sloane woke up?

Send me your answer HERE.


In Sinnerman, book #2 in my Sloane Monroe series, serial killer Sam Reids is as sinful as they come, quite like these sinfully sweet chocolates from See's Candies, a store that originated in California.

I grew in California and know a good piece of chocolate, or in this case, two pounds of chocolate.  If you enjoy chocolate, you'll love these.  $40 value


Purchase a copy of Sinnerman HERE and answer the following question:

In chapter 34, first page, how far was it to the gas station?

Send me your answer HERE.


PI Sloane Monroe is all ready to soak up the sun in I Have a Secret (Sloane Monroe Series #3).  She's brought along her kindle, but needs some good books to read.  This is where you get to decide.  The winner of this prize will receive a $50 gift card to Amazon. 

Purchase a copy of I Have a Secret HERE and answer the following question:

In chapter 31, first page, what is the name of the person Sloane searches on the internet?

Send me your answer HERE.


Shedding Tears for Aurora

I’m not a very emotional person. Compassionate? Always. Teary-eyed? Not really. Those who know me well can probably count on one hand the times they’ve seen me cry. I don’t know why, I’ve just always been that way. It’s almost like I stockpile it inside myself until something so devastating happens, the flood gates open and years of repressed tears spill out like a fire hose on full blast.

On Friday at about eight in the morning I turned on the television. It was one of those moments where everything was so surreal, I felt like I was experiencing some kind of horrid nightmare. Heaven knows, I’ve had enough of them. What I was seeing wasn’t real, right? It couldn’t be.

But it was.

A female reporter announced a man had waltzed into a movie theater, armed, and with a single goal in mind: kill as many people as possible. At first I was stunned like everyone else. But as the day unfolded and they released more information about the victims, it became harder for me to listen. I didn’t want to hear it anymore. Sure, I could have turned the TV off, but I couldn’t undo what had already been done.

A photo was released of one of the victims and I thought: that could have been my sister. And then it hit me; she was someone’s sister, daughter, mother, wife, and friend.

And the flood gates opened.

Because I write thriller novels, I do a lot of research into the mind of different types of killers, knowing in the end, what I put on the page is nothing more than a work of fiction. I like it that way. Clean, not messy. But that’s not always real life, is it?

I’ve thought about what compelled “he who shall not be named” to commit such a heinous crime, but it doesn’t matter. Because he did, and I find myself devoid of compassion for him right now while I witness the aftermath of what he’s done. Part of me wishes he could be transported to another era where criminals suffered severely before their heads rolled off the chopping block Henry VIII style. Is it wrong to want that? The answer is yes. It is for me. Why? Because it feeds into the negative energy of what’s already happened and puts my focus on him, and not where it should be: with the victims and their families. I want to stretch my arms out so far they’ll wrap around every family member, every friend who lost someone they loved.

Over the past few days, a song has played in my head over and over again, “One Love” by Bob Marley. Maybe it’s because all I want is for everyone to feel alright, even though those closest to the victims probably won’t feel that way for a very long time. Ever since I was little I’ve always felt the need to help others. I remember a bee landing in my swimming pool. I wanted to save it before it drowned so I scooped it up in my tiny hand, and you all know what followed. It bit me, thus ending its own life.

I’ve learned a lot about people over the years, and one thing I know for certain is that it’s okay to be there for someone in their time of need, to listen, comfort, whatever is needed to help them through the hard times. But then we have to take a step back and allow them to process what’s happening in their own way, and in their own time, and that’s different for all of us.

This horrible tragedy has reminded me to hold my loved ones a little tighter and not to take anything for granted. How about you?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Chapter One Submissions: July


What is it?

A contest for authors.

Each month I will be looking for the BEST first chapter of a novel. The winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card AND will be interviewed on both my reader and writer blogs which have had over 30,000 page views in the past year. In addition, I will tweet about your book to my 13,000 followers and do a write up about why I chose your novel as my "chapter one" pick of the month.

For the first month, I will be accepting 50 entries. I might change this later...I need time to write after all ;) but I will do what I can to maintain this number.  Once I receive 50, I will announce at the top of this post that submissions are closed for the month, so if you don't see that above, there's still an opening.  Last month it was only open for two days, so don't wait around ;)


Comment on this blog post below. If you are one of the first fifty to comment, send the first chapter of your novel to my EMAIL ADDRESS.

In the subject line of your email put: CHAPTER ONE
And then please paste your chapter in the body of the email, and NOT as an attachment.

The winner will be emailed by the last week of the month, and look for their interview (and hopefully YOUR interview) the first week of the following month. If you were not chosen, you may submit the first chapter of a different novel the next month. Short stories are also eligible.

Why am I doing this? Those who know me already know, but if you don't, one of my favorite things to do is promote up-and-coming authors. I received a lot of help in the early days of my journey from some amazing authors, and it's important to me to give back.

Best of luck to everyone!

June Chapter One Winner: William Simon

If you are a writer and would like to sign up for the Chapter One contest in July, click HERE.

Of the fifty entries received, I was pleasantly surprised at how many were really good.  I narrowed the list down to twelve, and then went back and forth from there until I made my final decision.  I'm a picky reader so I thought it would be easy to choose one winner--it wasn't.  

For June the winner is: Spider's Dance by William Simon (writing as Will Graham). 

These other submissions were also excellent:

And now back to our winner.  Here's a bit of the first chapter of Spider's Dance:

Rinnce Fada
Initial moves, the dance begins

Anglo Exploration Corporate HQ

Houston, Texas

December, 2004

Until the screaming started, it was just another Monday morning….

I’d come in early to review the weekend network traffic logs. I did that, sometimes, when the place was quiet and before the workweek began. I hung up my suit jacket, closed the door, and settled in with the stack of printouts. As I read the first page, I took out my cufflinks and put them in a trouser pocket, rolling up my sleeves until the air conditioner kicked in. In a silent protest against ‘business casual’, I kept my tie knotted, but unbuttoned my vest.

Besides, I wanted to see how long it would take someone to notice the abstract-looking pattern on my tie was really Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner.

An hour later, people came into the offices at Anglo Exploration, “AngEx” for short, one of those huge energy conglomerates that keeps the world moving.

Those of us who were there that early ran down the hallway toward the shrieks, wondering what in the world had happened. The intern in charge of delivering the morning mail was leaning against the wall next to a small private office, trembling.

I stopped.

“Nicholas,” a voice near me whispered. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

I turned my head just enough to see Natalie Wong had come up behind me. “I don’t know,” I said softly back. 

“Something bad, I’d guess.”

She craned her head forward, trying to peer in. The people behind pushed us forward. Natalie saw him first, gave a little cry like a tiny kitten, and hurried down the hallway, both hands clamped over her mouth.

I could see just enough of his face to recognize it was Roland Carlyle. Blood and brains were on the desk. The eye turned upward bulged with terror or agony. Both hands were stretched out, as if trying to pull himself across the desk and out of range of whatever hurt him.

It didn’t look like it worked.

To purchase Spider's Dance click HERE.


I loved the opening of this novel.  It thrusts the reader into the center of the action.  Death occurs right away, raising several questions as to what happened and why.  This is a great way to pull the reader in and pique their interest. 

The writer's usage of power verbs adds strength to the structure of his sentences, as does the usage of a simile when describing Natalie's reaction when she glances at the deceased.  The first chapter is easy to follow and understand and held my interest all the way through. 


Want to know more about William Simon?  Read his Q&A:

Tell me about yourself: Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I’ve been living in Houston, Texas, for going on 30 years now.  I’ve been writing since I was a child; I taught myself to type at a very young age, and could make the words do what  wanted them to!

Tell me about the novel—what inspired it?

SPIDER’S DANCE was originally conceived of back in 2001, at a writers’ conference.  The idea kind of simmered in the back of my mind for a while, and came together finally!

What genre do you write in and why?

Mainly mystery and thrillers, because that’s what I like to read!

What’s the next project for you?  Tell the readers about it.

I’m currently working on a novel set in 1959 Las Vegas, just before the big explosion in the city in terms of tourism, entertainers, etc.  I grew up there, and consider Vegas home, but it was a little later on in the 1960’s.  This particular era is fascinating.

Let’s put the novel aside and talk about YOU for a minute—what are your hobbies and what can’t you live without that’s non-book related?  What do you do when you are not writing?  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

I have a slight obsession with drive-in/’grindhouse’ type movies, and old TV series from Britain in the 1960’s:  THE SAINT, THE PERSUADERS, DEPARTMENT S, etc.  I’ve got most of the old favorites on DVD and watch them far more than regular television.

If a reader asked you to recommend the three BEST books to read, aside from your own, what would they be?

Wow, tough question!  I’ll go with authors instead.  Anything by Ian Fleming.  Anything by William Shakespeare.  Anything by Agatha Christie.  The Fleming and Christie are kind of an obvious choice for me, but for the poetry of English, how beautiful it can really be, I have to go with Shakespeare.

If you could have dinner with one author, who would it be and why?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Anyone who knows me can answer that one….:)

Post where you can be found—website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc.

Website is:

Blog is: although I’ve not updated it in a while.

Facebook is:  wmsimon

Twitter is: wmsimon

Not very original, but easy to find me!  Thank you, Cheryl, for hosting me today!