Spring, Snowdrops and Courage

We’re a week into March and white still covers neighborhood yards, yet my cat and I are outside, searching for green—the early snowdrops, first of the spring flowers.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I love that they blossom in the cold when the weather could very well freeze or bury them. I like to think they’re brave. Just as I like to believe I am as I start a new novel or try teaching a lesson I’ve never taught before.

My snowdrops haven’t come up yet, but to encourage them, myself and my readers, I’ve decided to post quotes on courage and risk-taking in general.

“To turn back is one kind of death; to go forward is another.”
― Elizabeth LesserBroken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

“When thinking about what to do next with your life, don’t ask yourself what you would succeed at, but what you would most enjoy failing at.”
― Clifford Cohen

“Love is not something you protect. It’s something you risk.”
― Gayle FormanJust One Year

“There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value.”
― Jeanette WintersonWritten on the Body

“If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul.”
― Drew Barrymore

“Happiness is a risk. If you’re not a little scared, then you’re not doing it right.”
― Sarah Addison AllenThe Peach Keeper

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”
― Chuck PalahniukInvisible Monsters

“There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.”
― William S. Burroughs

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
― William Faulkner

“To turn back is one kind of death; to go forward is another.”
― Elizabeth LesserBroken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

“You’re never perfectly safe. No human being on Earth ever is or ever was. To live is to risk your life, your heart, everything.”
― Rick YanceyThe Last Star

“To live, to TRULY live, we must be willing to RISK. To be nothing in order to find everything. To leap before we look.”
― Mandy HaleThe Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

“To save all we must risk all.”
― Friedrich SchillerFiesco; or, the Genoese Conspiracy

“The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.”
― Bell HooksAll About Love: New Visions


Are you beginning something new this season? Taking a chance? I’d love to hear about it.




Thirteen Tips That Just Might Help You Write a Page-Turner

As an author I dream of writing page-turner fiction and as a reader, I hope each and every book in my to-read pile is an adventure I’ll lose myself in. If you’re like me, you might be seeking that kind of uber-exciting fiction, too.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rupp

Recently, Heather Luby, an instructor with University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Continuing Studies Writing Program, who is also a writer and developmental editor, gave a workshop, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Achieving intimacy through Voice and Deep POV, at a Wisconsin Romance Writer meeting, that just might help to authors create compelling fiction.

She introduced a technique called Deep Point of View, which is a method of telling a story that puts the reader directly into the head of the main character. Here are thirteen of the tips she dropped that help writers and readers alike drop into the character’s skin.

First, cut filter words like: thought, wondered, saw, decided, looked and felt.
For example: He saw the woman pull the 9mm from the waistband of her tight jeans and point it at him. (becomes) The woman pulled the 9mm from the waistband of her tight jeans and pointed it him.

Including filter words creates a situation that has the reader watching the character perceive things and distances the reader.

Next, avoid naming emotions. Describe them instead. For example: A vein pulsed in Rachel’s forehead. She narrowed her eyes and spat, “You’ll get yours.” is more interesting than saying, Rachel was angry.

Characters come alive in details, so have them notice the unique things about their situations. Heather gave the example of having a character repair the hem of her dress with scotch tape. The detail adds interest and says a lot about the character.

Limit your character’s knowledge. Not only is this limit more realistic, none of us know everything, but mystery and intensity hook readers.

In other words, only reveal things that your character would actually know.

The point of view character will be blind to certain story elements and this will string readers along.

Write in the main character’s voice. Pretend you’re a method actor, that you really are the main character. The Deep POV technique strips away the author’s voice.

Ditch dialogue tags. Use action tags instead. For example: change “I’ve got to go,” James said, hurriedly to “I’ve got to go.” James scooped up his bookbag and bounded out of the classroom.

On a similar note, avoid modifiers like angrily, and sadly. You shouldn’t have to tell the reader that a character is angry or sad. Instead, show that emotion.

Be careful when you identify character’s relationships. Although it’s quick to write James, my brother, is sitting at the lunch counter, it isn’t a thought that a character would have. Since the character knows who his brother is, he wouldn’t have to use the identifier (my brother) in his thoughts.

Heather suggested an author make the character’s relationships clear through dialogue, a memory or through actions. For instance, a character should address James and say, “Mom always liked you best.”

Although you might not use Deep POV for an entire novel, Heather believes you should consider it during pivotal moments or decisions, highly emotional scenes.

Obviously, Deep POV isn’t something you can learn with a mere thirteen tips, but Heather Luby’s advice just might start you on the way to writing those stories readers can’t put down.

Joe Ledger: Unstoppable-A Goodreads Review

Joe Ledger: UnstoppableJoe Ledger: Unstoppable by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be fair I confess I’m crazy about the Joe Ledger series and I love, love, love Ray Porter as a narrator, so you can probably guess I enjoyed most of the short stories in the Ledger universe—true. All the stories gave me insights into the personalities I look forward to following most and I was happy to see that all the characters remained spot on to their Maberry-written-originals. Dr. Hu didn’t suddenly volunteer at the local soup kitchen and Church didn’t reveal a secret past as a stand-up comedian.

One minor disappointment was Joe didn’t get to meet Agent Franks. I’d love to see a Ledger-Franks smackdown.

My favorite story was Red Dirt. Although the story didn’t have any fighting, it had a lot of heart. I connected with Katherine, the down-home-girl who became a doctor to help her community. Next, I loved that Ruddy Sanchez got the chance to play team leader. Usually, he’s the guy who stays at the base camp waiting to put mental band-aids on the trauma victims or counseling the returning warriors after mission. This time he, Circe, Top and Bunny investigate a mysterious disease that mimics Adult Onset Galactosemia, a disease I didn’t know anything about before this tale.
Other highlights for me were Black Water, a sad, sort-of ghost story which involves Joe as a teenager and Banshee had a super suit which would give Antman’s a run for its money.

If you like Acts of Valor meets X-File tales, you’ll enjoy these stories.

View all my reviews

Dangerously Dark-A Goodreads Review

Dangerously Dark (The Dreamcaster Series #3)Dangerously Dark by C.J. Burright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Zaire is the Prince of Purgatory, a V’alkara, a creature of nightmare and shadow. He’s sexy and terrifying. a lost hero, who despite a horrid childhood, is capable of loyalty, kindness and great love. He protects those he cares about and will do anything to keep them safe…and being safe means being far away from him.

He knows he trouble, which is why he doesn’t want to get involved with Quinn. Luckily, she’s fabulously stubborn. When they were both children lost in the dark, he kept nightmares from consuming her. She remembers and still glimpses the goodness he hides from all, even himself, so when a blizzard traps her in her family’s mountain cabin and a wounded Zaire stumbles across her porch, she opens the door to him and the terror on his heels.

What happens next is a suspenseful blending of two flawed hearts with sorcery and dreamscapes. My only problem with this tale was that it kept me from sleep as I had to read on to find out what would happen next.

If you like strong heroines who won’t stop until they’ve saved their hot but tortured heroes, you’ll love this magical romance.

View all my reviews

Announcing Missing My Heart-A New Release

Title: Missing My Heart
Author: Tina Susedik         
Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery
Time: 1975. Place: Bourbonville
After the death of the grandmother Ellie Farrell had lived with since she was sixteen, she is tasked with the job of cleaning out the over-packed house. When Ellie begins to find love notes and money from a Burt to Randi spanning over four decades, she sets out to find out who these people are and what they have to do with her. An unexpected check for $100,000 dollars delivered to her house, ramps up the mystery – especially when death threats begin to arrive.
Patton Trullinger, an investigative reporter, comes to Chandler County to research bootleggers for a book he’s contracted for. As a Vietnam veteran, he’s dealing with PTSD. When he meets Ellie, he finds her mystery too good to pass up.
Who are Burt and Randi? Who is sending death threats? Will Ellie and Patton’s love bloom as the mystery deepens?
As a child, Tina Susedik always had stories floating around in her head, but had no idea those stories could be put down in book form as writing stories wasn’t taught in her classes. One day her brother (yes, her brother) introduced her to Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Tina was hooked and a love of reading, and eventually writing romance, began. Besides her romances, she is also a non-fiction writer with seven history books in print. She also has written and published two children’s books. She also writes under a pen name.
Tina has been married for forty-four years and lives in Northwestern Wisconsin. She has two children and five grandchildren. After careers in accounting and teaching (not necessarily at the same time), she found her career in writing is what fulfills her the most. When not writing, she loves camping, hiking, photography, reading, and playing with her five grandchildren.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime
Author Links:
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Announcing a New Release: Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire just came out and it sounds like a wonderful read. Here’s its blurb—
Humans created the Ultras, a genetically enhanced race, to defend mankind. Instead, Ultras became their greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of the immortal warriors.

Exiled to an alien world with no tech, no tools, and no resources, their leader, Pietas, must protect his people, find food and shelter and unite them. But before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.

Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some wounds heal instantly and a few take time, but battered and broken trust? Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

Genre: Science Fiction with romantic elements
Rating: PG13 for violence, no profanity or explicit content

Cover artist Brumae

And here’s its excerpt–
In this excerpt, Pietas and the search party sent to find him have become lost and have walked for hours. When he realizes they’re near a summit that will allow him to see the valley they searched for, he heads for it. Joss, the telepath and warrior he loves tries to keep him from going, insisting she has a better vantage point. Pietas suspects a trick.

“Joss. The truth this time. What are you hiding?”
While she studied him, he remained motionless. The gentle prod of her mind against his shields reminded him she’d seen his thoughts despite his best efforts. Or perhaps she’d allowed him to be aware. In the past, he’d noticed such intrusion during training but never outside it.
“Pietas, if you want to see the caldera from this point, I can’t stop you, but once you see what’s out there, you can never unsee it. I’d like to spare you the devastation until you’ve had a chance to see the good side. If I take you in through the pass you can appreciate the true beauty of this place first. Maybe think of a way we can make it work here. Survive.”
According to Joss, half a million of his people lay in helpless cryosleep within lifepods on the other side of that hill. Over three thousand pods had been damaged beyond saving. The frozen immortals within them had shattered like spun glass.
A short hike above, the summit waited. In two short minutes he could see for himself. “How long would your route take us?”
“Less than a half hour.”
Once more, the short distance to the actual summit drew his attention. How many steps?
“Pi?” Six nudged him. “Is that even a blink in the life of an immortal?”
“No, ghost, it’s not.” How grateful he was for this man. “Besides, I’m patient.”
His sister scoffed. “You?” Turning to the twins, she pointed at Pietas. “That is not my brother.”
No, he was not. He was far better. His sister could see the change. Why would she not accept it? Resisting the urge to respond with cynicism, Pietas shut his mouth.
He gestured toward the route Joss wanted to take. “Let’s go your way.”
“Thank you for listening to me.” Joss took Pietas by the hand, reached up, and dragged a fingertip down the cleft in his chin. “This place is stunning. I hate that so much of it will be spoiled by our being here.”
“Why? Has Mother released environmental impact studies?”
“No, she–” More than anything, the look Joss sent his way resembled pity. “You’ll see. Not far now.”
“You’ve been saying ‘not far’ for hours. Did I not teach you to mark trails?”
“I’m sorry, Pietas. It won’t happen again.”
Oh, but it would. She wouldn’t meant to, but it would. He’d tried for centuries to teach her how to find her way, to no avail. He kissed her cheek and drew her into his arms, savoring her warmth against his body.
“Joss.” He placed his mouth near her ear. “You couldn’t find your way out of a round room with one door.”
She jerked up her head and looked at him, her eyes wide.
He drew a fingertip down her cheek and out across her full lower lip. “And I adore you for it.”

I was fortunate enough to get to talk with Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire’s author, Kayelle Allen. Here’s what she had to say.

How would you describe Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire in only three words?
Immortal, Angst, Heartbroken

Do you listen to music while you write? What are some tunes on your playlist?
I do. While writing this book I listened to numerous songs by the group Really Slow Motion. You’d be amazed how many major films they have done movie trailer music for. As an example, they did Beauty and the Beast, Justice League, Jurassic World, The Mountain Between Us, and Blade Runner 2045. Visit their website or YouTube channel to hear them. Website YouTube Their epic music inspired most of the passages in Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire.

What scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire was the most fun to write?
Any time I wrote Pietas and his not-quite-human friend, Six. These guys banter with one another constantly. But my favorite scene is where Pietas’s mother misinterprets their friendship and tries to play matchmaker. Awkward! I laughed out loud writing that.

How did the book come to be? What was your inspiration to write the book?
Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire is the sequel to Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. The first book brought the immortal Pietas and Six together, first as enemies, then as grudging companions, and finally as friends. In this book, Pietas reunites with a former lover, the beautiful warrior and master telepath, Joss. Pietas has been in numerous other books, and I always wanted to know what made him tick. I’ve been finding out as I write this series.

What do you hope readers take away from your work?
Pietas has a blind spot when it comes to certain people. His trust in them is absolute. While the book reveals that trust is necessary, it also shows how violating it can break a heart and destroy a life. Anyone who’s ever had a broken heart will relate to this book.

What are you reading right now?
I usually read writing craft books and novels, picking up one or the other as I have time or need information / relaxation. I’m about to start a new Michael Connelly book. He’s a wonderful storyteller. I’m halfway through Creating Character Arcs by KM Weiland.

What writing advice would you give a fellow author?
Don’t give up. No one can take away your dream but you. Keep going and keep working. Learn the craft.

How long did it take you to write this book?
On one hand, years. I have thought about this character since I was 18. On the other hand, about 6 months once I sat down and wrote the words: chapter one.

Quick Draw:
Jeans or sweats? Sweats all the way
Coffee or Tea? Coffee hot, tea cold
Chocolate or Chips? Chocolate, darker the better
Boxers, briefs or commando? You mean on guys? Commando, baby. LOL
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

Celebrating Dangerously Dark


One of the most awesome story-tellers I know is celebrating her new release Dangerously Dark. It is a too-die-for paranormal romance that I, for one, loved. Read the excerpt and I’m betting you’ll agree.

Quinn tossed the note on the coffee table and wrapped one hand around the warm ceramic mug, absently petting Wolfgang with the other. Dusk took over beyond the wall of windows, made darker by the blizzard. Falling snow hid the skirting tree line. Wind howled at the house corners and turned treetops into jerking puppets. The perfect meltdown location. No phones, no people, no problem.

The lamp flickered and died, leaving her with only the dancing firelight, not that she minded. The power had lasted longer than she expected. Stoked fire, hot cider, and now she had a great excuse to procrastinate reading unhelpful flyers. She sipped her drink and wriggled back on the couch.

Wolfgang launched off her lap, kicking papers everywhere and sloshing her drink.

“Bad cat!”

He scurried into the kitchen, out of sight. A distinct thud followed, which meant Wolfgang was up to no good.

“I should’ve sent you off to the Nameless One.” Quinn shoved the remaining flyers aside and nabbed the flashlight from the end table. “You’d make an amazing hat, and there’d be enough fur left to make a stole, the perfect ensemble to compliment her plastic face.”

She flicked on the flashlight and shuffled into the kitchen, ignoring how the light made all the shadows twist and scuttle on the walls and ceiling. Broken bones might bother her, but the dark never had.

Wolfgang expectantly stood at the back door. He meowed, high and plaintive. Nothing looked out of place. Whatever had made the thud wasn’t in the kitchen. Maybe the wind had blown a loose branch against the house.

“What, you’re a snow leopard now? There’s no fancy feline feast waiting out there for you.”

Wolfgang rubbed his cheek against the doorframe, circled, and meowed again.

Thud. The entire door shook.

Quinn jumped. That was no branch. All the horror movies she loved to watch and ridicule flashed to mind, a lot less funny now. Alone in the woods. Killer storm. No electricity. No connection to the outside world.

Wolfgang’s purr rumbled, and he slid his face over the jamb again. The noise hadn’t spooked him even a little, and animals always sensed evil. Wolfgang had had no problem detecting it in Molly.

She squared her shoulders. No one would be roaming around in a blizzard. An animal had probably knocked the trashcan into the door, and a quick look would ease any worry. At the first glimpse of fur or fang—or red, glowing eyes—she’d go for the door slam.
Pushing Wolfgang back with one foot, she cracked open the door. Wind exploded in, ripping the doorknob from her grip and firing snow and ice into her eyes. The door banged into the wall, and the storm’s full force rushed inside. Quinn scrambled for the knob and stopped, frozen by more than the sudden blast of cold.

A man filled the entryway from threshold to frame, dark as the nightfall behind him. Steam drifted from his bare head. Frost coated his short, sable hair, and even in the flashlight beam, his complexion held an unhealthy blue-gray hue. One hand was anchored to the doorpost in a white-knuckled grip. The other brandished a wicked as sin knife.

She shone the light on his face, and her stomach roller-coastered. Her demon. The one who’d haunted her nightmares years ago and then abruptly bailed, never to return. No matter what face he wore, his death-black, abysmal eyes were unforgettable.
Or were her delusions returning with a vengeance?

“Get out of my way.” His chest heaved, and he lurched forward, the knife pointed at her. His guttural words erased any suspicion that he might be another hallucination. He was too present, too solid to be anything but real.

Merde. He was real.

Want to know what plot is like? Here’s the blurb.

Some call him Purgatory’s Missing Prince. Demon Master. Overlord of Shadows. Only one woman may call him hers.

A master of dreams, a failure at life…

After another botched career attempt, Quinn Carmichael escapes to a remote lodge for a weekend recharge, needing respite…especially from the nightmares that haunt even her days. When a wounded, sexy-as-sin stranger faceplants unconscious on her kitchen floor, there’s something disturbingly familiar about him—as in he’s the boy from her childhood dreams. Mr. Dark, Dangerous, and Diabolical may be the key to unlocking the mysteries of her past and future, and Quinn isn’t about to let the opportunity—or him—escape without a fight.

His time is running out…

Known as Purgatory’s Missing Prince, Zaire’s existence has been one of endless pain, torture, and loss. Resigned to his fate, his final goal is simple—rescue his nephew before succumbing to the deadly darkness inside him. But when a fateful misstep brings him face-to-face with the one woman who could have saved him once upon a dream—the one woman he treasures above all else—he battles to keep his distance before he destroys her, too. But he would gladly sell his soul for just one taste.

Love draws them together, destiny will tear them apart

With ruthless enemies closing in, Quinn and Zaire must fight to save each other and those they care for before it’s too late—even if it means they’re doomed to live apart forever.

Buy Links:

Amazon * Apple * Barnes & Noble * Google Play * Kobo * Add to Goodreads

I was so impressed with her writing I had to get some insights in how she writes. She graciously answered some questions.

1. How would you describe Dangerously Dark in only three words?
Well, that’s no easy task! Dreamy, sensual, exciting.

2. What scene from Dangerously Dark was the most fun to write?
I really, really enjoyed the first time Zaire and Quinn meet in her dream as adults. He’s used to controlling the dream, expects her to be a damsel in distress, and she’s not having it. At all.

3. How do you balance moving forward with your current work in progress and developing new ideas?
It’s tough! Through trial and error, I’ve figured out that I’m not one of those people who can write multiple projects at a time, so I have to force myself to hunker down and finish what I’m working on before jumping into the next new and exciting idea. But whenever an idea hits, I write it down right away so I don’t forget.

4. Where do you get your ideas or inspiration?
Everywhere and nowhere.  Sometimes I’m inspired by people and events in my world, and sometimes those ideas just show up unexpectedly, such as in dreams or random thoughts. I don’t question it!

5. How did come to be? What was your inspiration to write the book?
The inspiration to write Dangerously Dark stemmed from the first in the series, Wonderfully Wicked (which originated from a dream I had). Zaire showed up while I was writing Beautifully Burned, and I knew I’d be writing his story. I always love the anti-hero and *whispers* Zaire’s my favorite V’alkara so far. Shhhh.

6. What do you hope readers take away from your work?
Overall, the theme of my books are that no matter how broken you are or the mistakes you’ve made along the way, you’re valuable and worthy of love and acceptance.

7. What are you reading right now?
I’m reading the second book in Katherine Harbour’s Night and Nothing novels, Briar Queen. These books are YA Gothic romance deliciousness with tons of Celtic and fairy lore. Lots of adventure, hot and scary fairies, and YA love. I’ve totally fallen for this series.

8. What writing advice would you give a fellow author?
Persistence is everything. Keep writing, keep improving, and never compare yourself to other writers. Your journey is your own.

9. How long did it take you to write this book?
I’m a snail writer! While some writers somehow (by some dark magic, I think) pump out several books a year, I’m lucky if I finish one and draft one in that time. I do work full-time, too, so that’s my excuse. I like to believe it’s more about good writing than the volume of writing.

Quick Draw:
Jeans or sweats? Do yoga pants count as sweats?
Coffee or Tea? Sugar free iced mocha with almond milk. That counts as coffee, right?
Chocolate or Chips? Silly question. Chocolate. 
Boxers, briefs or commando? Boxers all the way!
Chocolate or vanilla? Ditto to silly question.
Anything else you’d like to share with us? I’ll stick with the quote…”The less you reveal, the more people wonder”. Or maybe some things are better left unknown. 

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Hell House- A Goodreads Review

Hell HouseHell House by Richard Matheson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hell House is a classic horror story. A dying billionaire offers a group of damaged people oodles to prove there’s life-after-death. To do so, the group visits the infamous Belasco House, which has corrupted and destroyed its previous guests. It starts working on its visitors immediately—playing on their deepest needs and insecurities.

Dr. Lionel Barrett is the group’s leader and biggest skeptic. He’s determined not to believe any of the phenomena he witnesses. He’s a crippled physicist who has an interest in parapsychology, a bunch of cool-science gadgets and a clingy wife named Edith. Edith is shy, repressed, sexually frustrated and pretty much afraid of everything. Two mediums accompany the couple. Florence Tanner, who is a former starlet turned-spiritualist and minister. She’s convinced that she can rid the house of its evil. Benjamin Franklin Fischer is the sole survivor from the previous Belasco house party. He was a teenager at the time and it pretty much wrecked his life. Now a forty-something ne’er-do-well, he’s determined not to get suckered into caring about the other guests or letting the house get to him again. He remains aloof and disinterested, but soon the brutal mystery behind the ghostly manifestations draws him in along with everyone else.

Within hours of entering the house, the malevolent spirit of Emeric Belasco and perhaps a legion of his ghostly victims terrorize his new guests. They should leave, but they don’t. Then, they can’t, and you can probably guess what happens next— more creepy encounters, and some blood-chilling scenes. Hauntings reveal the house’s history and people die horribly. What kept me from rating this book as an awesome five was that I didn’t like any of the characters and they didn’t seem to like themselves. Still, the final confrontation was a satisfying surprise.

I like how the terror inflicted on the guests synced up with their personalities and fears and how well planned the entire haunted-house experience was. If you like psychological horror and carefully-plotted mysteries, this is a tale for you.

View all my reviews

Celebrating a Book Fair

My author friends and I had a wonderful time at the Renaissance Theater’s book fair. Here are some of special moments.

David Thome, Jennifer Trethewey, Tricia Quinnies, Barbara Britton, Nicolette Pierce, Bobbi Groover Molly Maka, Anne Kenny, Mary Hughes

Waiting for theater goers

Anne Kenny, Mary Hughes
Mia Jo Celeste, Barbara Britton

Jennifer Trethewey and her awesome WisRWA cookies

Simple Facebook Party Games

So… you’re having a Facebook Party and you’re looking for games to play. In my experience, simpler games work the best.
Here are some suggestions that are easy to do.

1. Name games- Research sites that will change names to vampires, DJs, mobsters, etc. Direct guest to one that fits a theme in your novel and have them post their “new” moniker to the rest of the party-goers. Here are some of my favorite game names.

2. Picture Comparing -Show images of something from your novel and have people vote on these—sexy male, cutest dog, scariest place or dude that looks most like my novel’s hero, or even pet that is most likely to be adopted by my heroine. You can find some great pictures at these sites:

3. Plan a simple quiz about a subject from your novel. I’ve done historical trivia, zombie names, zombie types and monsters from horror films.

4. Picture Posting- You can ask players to post images of their pets, of their favorite heroes or their most romantic place. (Generally, I find people prefer that I find the pictures and they comment on them, but you could try this.)

5. Questions about your book like: who would play the hero/ heroine if the novel were a movie?

6. Or invite questions about your next book.

7. Picture Questions- Find pictures that relate to your book at sites like and ask questions like is this how you picture my hero’s apartment, brother-in-law or office or car? Why? Why not?

Remember when you plan your games to decide if you’re going to have a winner, how you’ll determine who wins and how you’ll award prizes. Will it be first responder? Funniest responder? Random selection? Everyone? Announce the rules to the players. Since my prizes are small tokens most players don’t care how I award the prizes, but I don’t want anyone to leave unhappy and you don’t either.
Have fun with your party. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but with a little you can enjoy hosting as much as your guests enjoy attending.