Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Think Happy Thoughts

It's been a rough few days with emotions running high. Nothing huge. Nothing major. Just a few of those days run together. They haven't been all my days, either. But you know how it is when someone you love is having one of those days. It kind of becomes your day, too.

I had planned to blog today about something I encountered online yesterday that bugged me, but as my youngest daughter was hanging up from an early morning phone call, during which we had been discussing her no good, horrible, very bad day (before the day even really got started) she issued a challenge to me to blog about something happy.

Well, clearly, venting about my new pet peeve didn't qualify, but having had a few of those days in a row, I wasn't sure where to find something happy.

And then a favorite quote from The Tao of Pooh ran through my head, and I set out on a search to find it to make sure I got it right (because clicking around on the Internet is infinitely easier than searching through all of my bookshelves to find my copy of that tiny book.)

Of course, any time I delve into the mind of A.A. Milne, I'm fascinated and charmed and I very quickly find myself smiling. Even though it took forever to find my favorite quote (it doesn't happen to be everyone's favorite, I guess) I found some other charming quotes along the way.

This one, for example. Because if you can get past the personal frustration of being disorganized, which can frequently lead you to think you're not only having a very bad day, but you're destined to always have bad days because you just can't get it together, you might just realize that being disorganized can lead to having surprising discoveries ...

Like that purse you completely forgot you owned, or a favorite shirt found at the bottom of a pile of dirty laundry, or change you left in the pocket of a pair of jeans. Really, the discoveries never end.

Okay, some of the discoveries aren't all that great, but some are. That's the important thing.

Or this one, which is my second favorite quote from A.A. Milne because it's one I so desperately need to remember. A life spent as a single mother working all the time and always feeling as if I was sprinting from one forgotten thing to another (or one thing I couldn't quite get myself to on time because of my day job), there were times when I really needed to just take a deep breath and remember that rivers are incredibly wise.

There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

There's some real wisdom in this quote. Because, seriously, in this day and age, when it seems that everybody is busy talking at each other and very few people are actually talking to each other, it helps to remember that the other guy probably has a small piece of fluff in his ear.

In reality, that piece of fluff is probably a life just as disorganized as yours, and he's probably just as worried about what he's late for or who he's disappointing as you are.

It won't hurt to (again) take a breath and work up a little patience. I think most people would happily remove the fluff from their ears if we stopped getting irritated with them for having fluff in the first place.

I wish I had a nickle for every time in my life I've been caught up in worrying that a tree might fall down when I was underneath. I would be a rich woman, indeed.

It has taken a lot of time and energy and mental focus to occasionally suppose as Pooh does. Supposing it didn't!

It's good to anticipate problems to some degree, but it's not good to get stuck in an endless loop of problem anticipating. Yeah, today's tough, but supposing it gets better? And even if it doesn't supposing tomorrow is a great day? What then?

I think, like Piglet, I'm comforted by this.

And finally, my favorite quote:

Aren't you glad you stuck with me? Is that great, or what? The thing I've realized over the years is that, if I walk out the door feeling pretty sure than an Adventure is going to happen, one usually does.

Maybe it will be a happy Adventure, and maybe it won't, but Adventures almost always happen to those who are Ready for Anything.

So brush the honey off your nose and spruce yourself up as best you can. I hope your Adventure is wonderful and fluff-free!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fred's Back -- No Place for Tears

I'm really excited to announce that No Place for Tears is now available for your Kindle. It's also free to read on Kindle Unlimited. 

This is Fred Vickery's fourth adventure in murder and mayhem, and one of my favorites. They always say that writers should write what they know -- and in this case, I certainly did. 

Eddie Leishman is a local musician and, in Fred's mind, a local loser. Eddie has taken up with Sharon Bolinger, daughter of Fred's old friend, Doc Huggins. Trouble is, Eddie already has a wife. Everybody knows that Doc hates Eddie, and most folks believe he has good reason to feel the way he does. But when Eddie turns up dead after receiving treatment at Doc's hands, the tide of public opinion begins to turn against the old goat.

Doc might be a constant pain in Fred's neck, but soon Doc's back is against the wall and Fred can't ignore his old friend's troubles. 

One of the fun things about being an author is being able to get justice with the stroke of a pen or the pressing of a few keys on the computer. I wrote No Place for Tears when my own dad was still alive. Dad always knew that he and Fred shared a few personality traits but he never did see himself in Doc's character in this book. Even so, it did us both good to give the fictional Eddie an untimely end since real "Eddie" (not his real name) was very much on the loose and busy ruining the lives of women with reckless abandon. 

I hope you enjoy Fred's most recent adventure! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book of the Week - 11/16/15

Two pieces of news this week. We have a new Book of the Week and No Place for Tears, the 4th book in the Fred Vickery mystery series is coming to your Kindle. More about Fred tomorrow. Today, it's 

Book of the Week 

Let's start with this week's featured book from my back list. The Children's Cop is part of the Women in Blue series published by Harlequin Superromance in 2004. The series tells the stories of six female police officers who became friends while in the police academy and features books by some of the romance world's favorite authors: Kay David, Roz Denny Fox, K.N. Casper, Linda Style and Anna Adams. The Chidren's Cop is second in the series.  

The lovely thing is that thanks to digital publishing, the whole series is available in e-book format. You can find them all here: 

The Partner by Kay David 
The Children's Cop by Sherry Lewis
The Witness by Linda Style
Her Little Secret by Anna Adams
She Walks the Line by Roz Denny Fox
A Mother's Vow by KN Casper 

You can read an excerpt from The Children's Cop by clicking here

I had a great time writing this book and working with five other talented and accomplished authors to come up with a cohesive plot line that would allow each book to work with the other books in the series, but also to stand on its own. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sharing a Couple of Things Today

The week has definitely gotten away from me, so today's blog post is going to be a quick one. 

First, I want to share the news that, due to popular demand, we're revving up the publication schedule for my back list and all the Dancing on Coals workshops, We'll be doing one workshop and one work of fiction every month until all the workshops and the books on my back list I can re-release are available. 

To that end, one of my most popular workshops is now available on Kindle. 

Why, Why, Why? Mastering Character Motivation is a writing craft workshop focused on helping you create strong, realistic motivation for the characters in your novels.

Motivation is one of the key elements of any novel. Strong, believable motivation can drive your story from page one to the final scene, while weak or unrealistic motivation can be the kiss of death. In this workshop, we discuss how to avoid clich├ęd and contrived motivations and how to build on your basic characterization to create characters that actively push your story forward. We also tackle that dreaded nemesis of so many writers—author intrusion. 

This is a great follow-up to Creating Characters with Character, our workshop on characterization, but can also stand alone, especially if you've already some preliminary work with your characters. This workshop has been presented in part at various writer’s conferences, including Romance Writers of America annual conference in Washington, D.C. (2009) and an excerpt from it was published as an article in RWA’s trade journal, Romance Writers Report.

I haven't decided which workshop will come next. I'm trying to decide between Plotting the Organic Way, Avoiding Author Intrusion, and Dodging the Dreaded Saggy Middle.  I'm going to be conducting a poll on the Dancing on Coals Facebook page on Friday, so please stop by and offer your opinion. 

Also, for those new here, I'm featuring one book every week from my back list of books still available for purchase. This week's Book of the Week is: 

Picture Perfect 
(originally published as Call Me Mom)  

You can read an excerpt here and also find buying information if you'd like to pick up a copy. 

I think that's it for today. Hope everyone has a fabulous week! 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Fred's a Boxed Set!

It's live a whole day early, so let's celebrate! The first three books in the Fred Vickery Mystery Series are now a boxed set!

BOOK 1: No Place for Secrets
BOOK 2: No Place like Home
BOOK 3: No Place for Death

Save more than 30% when you buy all three books together in the set.

No Place for Tears is scheduled for release in just two weeks, so this is your chance to catch up on all three of the books that come beore it in the series. Just click the link below!

The Fred Vickery Mystery Series: Books 1-3

Sunday, November 01, 2015

About Mr. Congenlaity

This week's Book of the Week is Mr. Congeniality. I'll be posting the links and excerpt tomorrow, but today I thought I'd share with you the letter I wrote to readers when the book was published in 2002. People often ask writers where we get our ideas. In fact, next to how much money we make, it's probably the most-asked question we encounter. So here's a little about the idea for Mr. Congeniality.

July 2002
Dear Reader,

One of the questions that authors are frequently asked is where we get ideas for the stories we write. As a reader myself, I’m always fascinated to hear about those snippets of conversation, moments glimpsed from the train or the car, stories on the evening news, and songs on the radio that spark other imaginations and turn into the seeds from which stories grow.

Mr. Congeniality got its start about three years ago. I was half-heartedly watching a cooking show on television, trying to take my mind off the fact that I had to pay bills. I don’t remember what was on the menu or even which show it was. But I do remember glancing up once to see a chef (who was quite obviously from the city) standing along the bank of a stream in the mountains of the American West.

As I watched, the chef began pulling tin containers, linen napkins, and assorted trinkets from a saddle bag--things she’d hauled up the mountainside by horseback so she could create an artistic arrangement of hors d’oeuvres along the trail. By the time she cheerfully assured her viewing audience that presentation is vitally important even in the mountains, my bills were forgotten, Annie Holladay had come to life, and Dean Sheffield had crept into the shadows of my mind.
Photo from Unsplash
I’ve been visiting Annie and Dean off-and-on ever since that day. They weren’t always the easiest couple to work with. In fact, they were frustratingly uncooperative at times, and I officially gave up writing their story several months ago, making a solemn vow never to look at it or think of it again. The very next morning I was standing in line at the bank when Dean perched on my shoulder and began whispering the secrets I’d been searching so hard to find on my own.

Mr. Congeniality is a story about forgiving and healing, about loving and laughing, about letting go and hanging on. It’s about life with teenagers and all the joy—and occasional pain—that comes with the territory. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.


I dedicated this book to my male cousins because I'm lucky enough to have the best cousins around. So once again, this is for you, 

Gary, Ted, Bart
Tony, Ray
Carter (Jeff), Chris, Jay, Todd
Blaine, Brad, Garth
Clay, Clint, Blake
Mike, Steve and Sam
Thanks for a lifetime of laughter and memories!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Let it Snow, a trial post

I'm playing around with a Facebook function I've never tried before. Apparently, I can embed posts from Facebook on my blog and/or web page. I just want to see if it actually works.

TBT -- One of my favorite books. While driving outside Gunnison, Colorado, I saw Rick in my imagination, standing on the...
Posted by Author Sherry Lewis on Thursday, October 29, 2015

 And look at that! It works. Hmmm...