Saturday, January 12, 2019

It Takes a Village to Raise... Suspicion

As the old saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." So, too, a successful novel, like my latest installment in the Diversion series: Suspicion. While I have millions of ideas I pour into my books, the first draft is a far cry from what the reader sees. A. Far. Cry.

Even the third or fourth draft is a jumbled mass of thoughts, not necessarily coherent, or understandable to anyone save the author.

Enter my crit partners. The partners who've been with me for a long time and whose words and opinions I've come to heed, are as follows:

Feliz Faber - Not only is she invested in the Diversion series, she helps me insure I write with international readers in mind. Let's face it folks, not all my Southernisms are understandable to someone living outside the Southern US.

T.D. O'Malley - She makes sure my characters are likable and relatable and that my situations and plots are believable.

Z. Allora - She wants the feels and the love story, and only accepts happy endings. If my story turns too dark, she'll let me know in a flat minute.

D.H. Starr- Doug asks, "Why is this here? What purpose does this scene have?" He's also one of the most romantic writers I know. Holding hands on the Brooklyn bridge at sunset? Yeah, that's him. I wind up cutting a lot of unnecessary words after he's seen my manuscript, and amping up the romance factor.

P.D. Singer - She also will question if something doesn't seem plausible. She's the technical genius who formats Rocky Ridge Books' work, and understands what will and what won't hold up to formatting. Truth be told, I owe her my writing career, for it's she who first suggested I write a book in the first place, and has been with me on every single step of this journey. She also has an incredible knack for stringing together words in such lovely ways. If you need proof, read her latest, Concierge Service.

Here I am, twenty novels after she challenged me to write...

Not only are they the folks I count on to make my writing the best it can be, they're also dear friends. We met online, bonding over our love of the genre. Two years ago today, three of them were part of my wedding, two flying here to share my special day.

All of them will call me out on autonomous body parts, telling instead of showing, and overused words. Without them, Suspicion wouldn't be half the book it is.

And I do the same for them....

Those who don't participate in the actual writing process play a role in make a book a success also. The folks who've written, asking me to please continue Bo and Lucky's story, or telling me how much a book meant to them. Yes, writers need encouragement.

I've even received requests, such as, "I wanna see Victor again!" Someone has even suggested writing a story for Loretta Johnson.

Then there's those who read the book, like it, and talk it up to their friends, in conversation, on their blogs, or on social media. Word of mouth is still the most effective advertising.

There's the faithful readers who keep coming back for each installment, wanting to continue the journey of Bo and Lucky's relationship.

So, a heartfelt thankful thanks to all of you who've supported the Diversion series and other of my works.

I couldn't do it without you.

Monday, January 7, 2019

New Release - Suspicion (Diversion 7)

At long last Suspicion is now available at your favorite e-tailers.

Lucky “Simon Harrison” Lucklighter left behind his criminal past to become one of the best agents in the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. He’s found a committed partner in fellow agent Bo Schollenberger and built a life. 

Now, enemies within the SNB and a friend’s betrayal leave him nowhere to turn—not even to his mentor. 

His boss’s life, the future of the SNB, and Lucky’s career depend on him. With the help of his lover, an old enemy turned ally, and a man Lucky thought he’d seen the last of, he must stand and fight for what he believes in. 

Even if he has to step outside the law. 


What others are saying:

Find Suspicion at Amazon

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Looking Back on Ten Years of Writing....

Once upon a time I loved books. Don't get me wrong, I still do. Very much. Books are an essential part of my life. But I was someone who loved books and spent a lot of time, consciously or not, making up stories and "what ifs" in my head.

"Where does that road go?" or "Those two people holding hands. How'd they meet?" I even researched, finding topics that interested me and striving to learn all I could to the point of a friend calling these information gathering jaunts my "latest obsession." Yes, I heard those words in Dr. Frank-N-Furter's voice.

Anyway, while surrounding myself with books, I thought of writing my own. The people in my life at the time, who should have been supportive, laughed and told me I couldn't write because I wasn't smart enough, didn't hold a college degree, ecetera, ecetera. Trusting soul that I was, I believed them.

I made up stories for my children, some that are soon to see the light of day as kids' books, but otherwise I kept the stories in my head to myself.


The road to my writing destiny led me to a fanfiction site, and when I praised the work of a few of the authors, one asked why I didn't write. I explained that I was a reader, not a writer.


I started writing, dabbling on the site a bit. Due to my desire to help others, the administrators asked if I'd like to help moderate the site. I also became a beta reader and crit partner to the masses.

One of those administrators became the best friend I could ever hope to have. She told me the story of the lodgepole pine. The cones are sealed with resin. The only way to release the seeds is to apply heat. I mean serious heat. As in forest fires. Now, forest fires are deadly and destructive, but without them, there would be no new lodgepole pines. The newly released seeds quickly take root and repopulate burned areas. She even gave me a sprig of lodgepole pine dipped in silver, that became a symbol of some trying times.

You see, my life burned to the ground, leaving me shaking and crying, wondering what happened,  how I'd ever move forward--or if I even could. I've lived a lot of years and those were the darkest days of my life.

This same friend urged me to write, to get all those negative feelings out. I didn't so much write The Telling as cut myself open and bleed on the pages. Every self-doubt, every fear, every insecurity is in that book for all to see. I poured all my flaws into the characters, and each character but one is my attempt to evaluate where I've been and how to move forward.

A strange thing happened. As I wrote these imperfect characters, they began to show strengths, and I came to realize that, like the flaws, those were mine too. I learned to live again through the writing of that book.

Folks said to me of that time, "You always land on your feet." They couldn't be farther from the truth. But I've discovered that, no matter how far or fast you fall, if you get up quick enough only you'll know the true extent.

The Telling was too personal to sell. I published it chapter by chapter on different websites, and when I finally put it on Amazon, I tried to mark it free but for some reason they never did. Right now it makes .99 cents per copy, and I give the proceeds to PFLAG.

Anyway, I said all those characters were me but one: Jay. He was the steadfast person I wanted to be, who always knew what to do or say in any situation, the rock other people could always depend upon, and confident in himself. I was surprised when a reviewer called him "too perfect." However, they were right. I'd set unattainable goals for myself.

Still, like young pine trees, I thrived. One book turned into two, then three and four...

My work has won Rainbow Awards, and was a finalist in the 2012 Lambda Awards. Most importantly, I met people through The Telling, wonderful people, people who are fast friends to this day. I've chatted online with folks who said the story touched them, gave them hope...

I can't ask for a more important calling in life than to give other people hope.

It's been ten years since I wrote about that young soldier returning home, wounded and keeping secrets, and on January 5 I'll release my 20th novel, Suspicion (Diversion Book 7).  I'm no longer surrounded by negative people and I'm content. I've even had the great privilege of helping others obtain their writing dreams.

So to all of you out there who've been told you can't do or be what you want to, simply say, "Watch me."

Monday, December 31, 2018

End of the Year Review

Another year is coming to a close, a time when I like to look back over the past twelve months and evaluate where I am. Sometimes I don't like what I see, but every step I've taken in life was necessary to put me where I am now.

Where am I now? Content. More content than I've ever been. I have a home, friends and family who love me, and good job with people I'm proud to work with. I make mistakes, sometimes I stumble and fall, but the year is ending on a happy note.

That said, there have been sad times too. I started 2018 with people in my life who won't be here in 2019, though the opposite is also true. I mourn the loss of those no longer with us, and welcome those new to my life, whether they are here for a reason, a season, or to stay.

Eden Winters didn't publish any novels in 2018, though Edie Winters launched Saying Yes, an MFM menage, friends-to-lovers story featuring a woman and her twin neighbors. Don't worry though, I'm starting the year off with a bang, releasing the seventh installment of the Diversion series. Two more to go to wrap up the story line.

I'm also hard at work on an Eden Winters sci-fi, which I hope to release by next summer, then dive back in for the final stretch of Diversion.

I stuck my toe into the audiobook pool this past year, working with the super-talented Darcy Stark to bring Highway Man, Diversion, and Collusion to life. In last January or early February, look for Corruption on Audible as well. I really love how he gives voice to my characters.

I attended GRL in October, hung out with old friends and met new ones, and left my home subdivision neighborhood and 20 minute commute for farm life and 1.5 hours one way to work. I've put the time to good use, plowing through audiobooks like nobody's business. If only I could dictate books while driving.

I'm working on that with Dragon.

Anyway, good and bad, it's been a pretty good year. I know they'll be bumps along the way, but the one thing I can count on to make life run smoother is a positive attitude and lots of support from those around me.

With all my heart I wish you and yours the happiest of new years.

Happy New Year, my friends!


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Happy Holidays!

As the year draws to a close and once again we embrace old traditions and build new ones, I look back over the many Christmases of my life. Some carry nothing but happy memories, others not so much. I miss those who are no longer here to celebrate the holidays with me, while greeting the new folks who are just now entering my life.

All are precious to me. This year has had its ups and down, but is ending on a bittersweet note. I'm fortunate that my life is going well, I'm relatively healthy, I have a good job, I'm surrounded by family and friends who love me, and my writing frees my soul. However, there are those I know who aren't so lucky.

It's at this time of year that I miss my sister the most. Some of my fondest holiday memories are of the two of us singing Christmas songs, her sweet soprano blending with my alto while she played the piano. My favorite is Silent Night.

Sometimes even now, when I sing this song, I can almost hear her voice. This is the version I love the most, by Lindsey Stirling:

So Happy Holidays, y'all!

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The SNB Memorial Page

If you're a fan of the Diversion series, you'll know that Lucky spends some time agonizing over the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau's Memorial Page on the Internet while he contemplates his (or Bo's) mortality. Sadly, this isn't merely a construct of my imagination.

The DEA has such a memorial page. I've had my heart broken by each and every loss. They've lost folks to helicopter crashes, shootings in the line of duty, heart attacks, and even car wrecks. As Lucky states, someone left home that morning and didn't return. I've read every story on the page, held my own personal moment of silence for each life cut short.

Although I write about a fictional organization, the trials narcotics agents face are very real, and I have the deepest respect for anyone who puts their life on the line for the greater good, and the families and friends they leave behind.

Without brave souls like these, where would we be?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Yay! At Long Last, Suspicion (Diversion Book 7) is on Pre-order at Amazon!

Been waiting for your Bo and Lucky fix? Well, the latest installment of their story is now available for pre-order at Amazon. 

Lucky “Simon Harrison” Lucklighter left behind his criminal past to become one of the best agents in the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. He’s found a committed partner in fellow agent Bo Schollenberger and built a life.

Now, enemies within the SNB and a friend’s betrayal leave him nowhere to turn—not even to his mentor.

His boss’s life, the future of the SNB, and Lucky’s career depend on him. With the help of his lover, an old enemy turned ally, and a man Lucky thought he’d seen the last of, he must stand and fight for what he believes in.

Even if he has to step outside the law.