Wait! Before you read, want to enter the contest? If you can’t see it in your email, be sure to visit the post on my website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And how about a free book this week? It’s only free through Monday, so grab it while it’s hot:

Free for a very limited time!Marriage before Death

EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Google Play  Smashwords

PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble

AudiobookAmazon US  Amazon UK  Audible  iTunes

What the reader sees is how their relationship survives the horrors of war making their love for one another all the stronger. Through their eyes we see the terrible sights, sounds and smells of war, something no one ever forgets… This is Uvi Poznansky at her masterful best.”
–  Jess Steven Hughes, Author


Welcome to this four-part installment of the Story Behind the Story of my Ava novels: Bombshell, Stunner, and Knockout. Not long to wait now until the release of Stunner on May 15 and Knockout on June 12.

First, though . . .

Catch up on your What Doesn’t Kill You reading before Stunner HERE and Knockout drop HERE!

Read a sneak peek of Stunner HERE and Knockout HERE.

Pre-order Stunner HERE and Knockout HERE.

Plus you can read all four Story Behind the Story installments right where you’re at, my blog.

  1. What Gives Me the Right? Yep, I’m going there. We’re going to talk about cultural appropriation, and whether little ole white American me has the right to create and deliver a black, native West Indian protagonist.

Up next:

  1. What’s in a Name: Bombshell, Stunner, Knockout . . . all terms with multiple meanings, one about feminine allure, and one about violence.
  2. I’m Your Venus: Goddess power and Ava’s attachment to “pagan” Roman gods.
  3. She’s Bringing Sexy Back: Great sex, and my humble viewpoint on when and how to include it in a book.

The Cultural Appropriation Debate in Literature

Lately there’s been a lot of great dialogue in the writing community about the concept of cultural appropriation. Wikipedia, while not the world’s greatest source, defines it fairly well:

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. Often, the original meaning of these cultural elements is lost or distorted, and such displays are often viewed as disrespectful by members of the originating culture, or even as a form of desecration.

I would add “often viewed as exploitation” to this definition.

This begs some questions: In a world of diverse individuals whose cultural differences (or similarities) are not often apparent at first glance, who has a right to enjoy what? And more to the point in fiction, who has the right to write what? And does anyone have the right to censor ideas?

The best, most-balanced post I’ve seen on these issues is THIS ONE on WriterUnboxed. It appears to me that some believe that it is impossible to authentically write in the shoes of someone immutably different from oneself while others acknowledge that with proper respect, research, and skill development it is possible. Some argue that to do so inherently steals opportunity from those within the culture, while others argue that unique voices with unique characters writing unique stories will be more likely to find their readers, and I’d add especially in these days of indie publishing, where there is no gatekeeper preventing anyone from publishing a story. Opinions vary, but even those arguing against writing outside one’s immutable characteristics recognize that not every character in a story will be identical to the author’s background. Certainly almost every book ever written has both male and female characters, for example. And many are written in multiple, diverse points of view.

A writer, in fact, must be able to do this well to create an authentic novel filled with conflict and tension. The ultimate judge and jury will be the readers. If they find a novel to be disrespectful, inauthentic, and/or exploitative, they don’t have to read it and can review it online as such (and do).

I’ve written before about authenticity in characterization, which you can catch up on HERE if you’d like, before we dive in. Or not.

I’ve also disclosed that I have worked in the field of diversity, respect, and inclusion for most of my professional life, which you can read about HERE. We’ll grab a coffee while we wait on you. It’s not a problem. Really.

And that brings us to Ava and Bombshell, Stunner, and Knockout.

Ava is immutably diverse from me. She arose as a supporting character so beloved to readers and to me that I decided to write from her POV. Ultimately, the readers of Bombshell will be the only ones in a position to judge whether I had the right to write her, and whether in doing so I desecrated, disrespected, or exploited West Indian culture.

Let me tell you her—and my—story.

I first began writing about the Caribbean culture during the nearly ten years I spent living on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I wrote about it from the POV first of myself (a “freshwater West Indian,” aka non-local or continental) in narrative nonfiction, which quickly morphed into the POV of Katie, a Texas-transplant to the Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands characters I created were based on people (or amalgamations of people) I knew well in real life. Did I mention I am married to a native West Indian (West Indian = a native or inhabitant of any of the islands of the West Indies)? He’s my in-house expert. But it was from loving the islands and the people I met there that the desire to write a novel (novels, as it turned out) in the Caribbean arose. I often call the Katie novels my “love letter to the Virgin Islands.” It’s unflinchingly honest from Katie’s perspective, but it is full of love and the utmost of respect, and I could not be prouder of anything than the praise these novels have received from native West Indians and freshwater West Indians alike about their authenticity and the respect, honesty, and love they see in them, for the place, the culture, and the people.

Phew. I worried about that. A lot.

Now I’m worrying again. And it is this worry that has kept me from writing Ava as a protagonist until now. Ava is a black, native West Indian. She is immutably different from me. That, and she’s sexier than I normally write, but I’ll talk about that in a later part of this Story Behind the Story series. Yet it wasn’t fear that I’d be accused of cultural appropriation that held me back, mind you, at least not years ago when I finished writing the Katie books.

I was afraid (and still am) of not writing Ava authentically. Which is somewhat humorous since she a) doesn’t exist except in my imagination and b) is based lock, stock, and smoking hot barrel on my best friend Natalie. {Assume all her best traits are Natalie’s and her worst are fictitious!} I long for you, the reader, to revel in Ava and find her authentic. But the one person in the world I care most about viewing her as authentic is Natalie. If I have Natalie on my side, well, then I’ll know I got it right.

In today’s climate, I do worry, though, that people who don’t read my novels will libel me as misappropriating culture, without looking past the color of my skin and that of the protagonist. And, honestly, I think that’s doing diversity wrong, as I believe we should always seek first to understand, and anyone who can’t get past a white woman writing from the POV of a black woman should seek to understand before condemning (then they might be appalled to know I’ve already written from the POV of a Latina woman): does this woman deliver this character authentically and with respect? I pray that I do, and I believe with my whole heart that it would be racist of me to omit the most interesting and provocative character I’ve ever written from this series because SHE IS BLACK AND I AM WHITE.

I hope I will be judged not on whether or not I had the right to write my own longstanding character, but on whether I wrote her well.

So tell us what you really think, Pamela.

Let’s be honest. Writers write what they know, and if they don’t already know it, they have to go out and learn it so they’ll know it and can write about it. [Good writers anyway. And you can tell immediately the ones that don’t “know” a subject, character, setting, or culture.] It can get hard in the current discourse to figure out when it’s right to write diversity for story authenticity, and when we are going to be called on the carpet for it. It gets even more confusing when you consider how many books are written in multiple points of view, several of which are immutably different from the author, and how few of the POV match exactly that author’s background. I mean, that’s okay, right? And it can’t be that writers aren’t allowed to write about things which they have not personally experienced (this is fiction, after all), because, if not, HELLO, Star Wars, anyone?

Here’s where I come out on this debate: a writer must write the story of his heart, the best he possibly can. And by he I mean he or she. Or whatever pronoun a character would authentically use 😉 “Best” better include research and hardcore, unflinchingly constructive feedback. Hopefully the result is respectful, non-exploitative authenticity. The writer shouldn’t let anyone censor him without his consent, and he should trust that the readers are pretty dang smart and see through our bullshit. If the book sucks, or it is hateful, or it is damaging, it’s going to die on the vine. Unless it’s Fifty Shades of Grey, and then it’s going to make the author very, very rich, but I digress, and besides, that’s not an issue of potential cultural appropriation (or is it? hmmmm…).

Keep it real, people. Keep it real.

Or, as Ava would say, “One Love!”

Ordinary, extraordinary women: could we solve the mysteries in my series? I like to think so 🙂

 

Wait! Before you read, want to enter the contest? If you can’t see it in your email, be sure to visit the post on my website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


While I was living on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix—an island that at the time housed the 2nd largest oil refinery in the Western Hemisphere—a local oral surgeon disappeared when he flew his private plane to Puerto Rico. Speculation about his disappearance was rampant. In the same year, a man died from a gunshot wound while in a vehicle on the road that led to my future driveway (I moved into Annaly a year later). Again, speculation was rampant. Both stuck in my mind until I was later able to weave them into a plot on my fictional St. Marcos. (p.s. the oral surgeon’s crashed plane was later found off Vieques; the death of the man in the car was ruled a suicide)

Meanwhile, I was accidentally writing mysteries with an amateur sleuth, because when I started them I hadn’t realized they were mysteries **this is not uncommon for writers in their first few books, even though I know it makes it sound like we’re idiots**, thus obviating the need for a cop/coroner/soldier/investigator/or-somesuch protagonist. I just wrote what I felt was authentic: a woman bombarded by life’s issues, forced to be self sufficient and solve her own problems. I mean, isn’t that how it is for you? That’s what it’s like for me. We live a crazy modern life of conflicting responsibilities and desires, with technology never allowing us to escape them. In retrospect, I positioned my amateur sleuth to have special knowledge of the law, I wrote her as a karate champion, and I gave her a love interest who could teach her about private investigations. Go, me. 😉

I think of fiction as “life re-imagined.” When you day dream, do you re-imagine your life completely, or just try to spice up what you’ve got? Probably some of both. But for me, it’s just little “what ifs,” little twists of fate that speed things up and turn up the tension. Did the guy in the plane run away with a girlfriend? Was the man in the car shot by drug dealers who staged it as a suicide? Things like that. So my protagonists, for better or for worse, are ordinary, extraordinary women forced out of their daily c0mfort zones into roles they are capable of (solving “problems” aka murder mysteries) even thought they never planned for them. But the rest of the story beyond the mysteries is just as important, so problems with their love lives, offspring, parents, day jobs, etc. are just outside center stage, ramping up the pressure and giving depth to the characters. Which makes the mysteries character-driven, just short of women’s fiction.

This topic reminds me of a story about my husband Eric. When he was 40, he took his youngest daughter Liz to audition for some commercials and print ads. She wasn’t cast. He didn’t audition, but they had his contact information from her, and he got a call—much to Liz’s chagrin—and a few weeks later, he was the husband in an ad for a medication for female incontinence. The ad featured a woman with her husband and two children, running on the beach. She was a little older, a little heavier, and a little less attractive than my gorgeous husband, but not much. Just enough that if she was re-imagining her life, her husband would have looked like him, and they would have been on a beach in St. John, with smiles on both of their perfect kids’ faces. Possible, but not probable 😉

And so it is with Bombshell, Stunner, and Knockout. We could live on a tropical island, be sexy, single, and talented, and date incredible men. We don’t want or need to go back to school and become a forensic pathologist (ew, yuck, smelly, gross, long hours, blech), but we can imagine using our wits to a higher purpose JUST AS WE ARE, and starring in the What Doesn’t Kill You mystery series.

And so I write about you, dear readers, ordinary, extraordinary women, capable of great things in a life just slightly reimagined. Close your eyes for a moment. Can’t you just picture yourself there?

Welcome to this four-part installment of the Story Behind the Story of my Ava novels: Bombshell, Stunner, and Knockout. Not long to wait now until the release of Stunner on May 15 and Knockout on June 12.

Catch up on your What Doesn’t Kill You reading before Stunner HERE and Knockout drop HERE!

Read a sneak peek of Stunner HERE and Knockout HERE.

Pre-order Stunner HERE and Knockout HERE.

Read the four Story Behind the Story installments right where you’re at, my blog, over the next few weeks.

  1. What Gives Me the Right? Yep, I’m going there. We’re going to talk about cultural appropriation, and whether little ole white American me has the right to create and deliver a black, native West Indian protagonist.
  2. What’s in a Name: Bombshell, Stunner, Knockout . . . all terms with multiple meanings, one about feminine allure, and one about violence.
  3. I’m Your Venus: Goddess power and Ava’s attachment to “pagan” Roman gods.
  4. She’s Bringing Sexy Back: Great sex, and my humble viewpoint on when and how to include it in a book.

phutchins signature

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Living the Virgin Islands life

Before we dive into this “story behind the story,” I thought you might enjoy a peek into this very recent collaborative piece by my longtime business partner and me. http://www.epspros.com/news-resources/whitepapers/2018/twenty-year-sexual-harassment-retrospective.html

(Pay special attention to Footnote #10 if you want to get a look into what was on my mind seventeen years ago…)


When I sat down to write novels in my thirties, I had no idea what kind of writer I wanted to be or what sort of stories I would tell. I was just the woman who sent overly long emails filled with slice of life stories to my friends and family. I’d gone through fits and starts, flirting with every conceivable genre and incarnation of the written word. No matter how I tried to write “fresh”—unrelated to me—my stories came from what I knew. Being a wife. A mother. A daughter. A lawyer. A stepmom. A fresh water West Indian. A lover of animals. An investigator. A singer of songs. A Texan.

Now I realize this is what all writers do (mine their own life for material). Back then I thought creativity meant I had to write outside my world.

But it wasn’t until I unleashed my fascination with the impact of place and religion on culture, past and present, that my stories gelled, which brought me to the novel that became my first What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery, Saving Grace, and led to all that follow, including the Ava novels.

My original drafts of Saving Grace were a fictionalized account of my experiences with my house in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Period. I introduced readers to a jumbie (ghost or spirit, in voodoo and Santeria) named Annalise, but she was just in the protagonist’s (Katie’s) head. We never saw the jumbie. I downplayed her, scared of revealing what she really was to me: real.

I had lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for nearly ten years. I married a Virgin Islander. My best friend besides him is a Virgin islander. I was immersed in this odd space between Christianity and “legacy” voodoo and Santeria. Between slavery and freed people. Between my life of privilege and minority. Between beauty and violence. Between the four senses and what lays beyond them. The people native to the island—including my husband and best friend—take for granted that jumbies co-exist amongst us. Some are good, some are bad. Most are a little of both. Their jumbie stories are current and frequent, and occurring, according to them, even in my own home.

At the eleventh hour on Saving Grace, I realized that the heart of my writing is that odd space. It’s whatever makes the setting my protagonist lives within unique: religiously, mythologically, culturally, historically, and contemporarily. Annalise the jumbie sprang to life beside Katie, and her story paralleled Katie’s. We saw Annalise, we got to know a little about her, and we wanted more.

And the simple act of making her visible—of accepting that there are things beyond my upbringing and five senses, of validating what is real to the people I’d grown to love in the islands—burst through in my writing from that moment and forever more. Katie’s differences from her world and her new friends in the islands became more important and yet more nebulous. The colors became brighter, the stories bigger. The book became a love letter/poison pen to the Caribbean. The path forward from Saving Grace to the next two Katie What Doesn’t Kill You mysteries (Leaving Annalise #2, Finding Harmony #3) became clear.

And to the odd space for the What Doesn’t Kill You mysteries beyond Katie, too. So if you think you see in my fast-paced romantic mysteries a fascination for cultural and religious history and exploring their extremes without sacrificing pace or tension, you are correct. I don’t do cozy. I don’t do police procedural. I don’t do pure romance or pure women’s or literary fiction. I do “cross genre,” uncontainable, not coloring within the lines of what agents or publishers expect will sell. (My readers around the world proved them wrong).

This is the thing that makes my What Doesn’t Kill You mysteries mine, and I love sharing it with readers.

Welcome to this four-part installment of the Story Behind the Story of my Ava novels: Bombshell, Stunner, and Knockout. Not long to wait now until the release of Stunner on May 15 and Knockout on June 12.

First, though . . .

Catch up on your What Doesn’t Kill You reading before Stunner HERE and Knockout drop HERE!

Read a sneak peek of Stunner HERE and Knockout HERE.

Pre-order Stunner HERE and Knockout HERE.

Read all four Ava Story Behind the Story installments right where you’re at, my blog, coming soon.

  1. What Gives Me the Right? Yep, I’m going there. We’re going to talk about cultural appropriation, and whether little
    ole white American me has the right to create and deliver a black, native West Indian protagonist.
  2. What’s in a Name: Bombshell, Stunner, Knockout . . . all terms with multiple meanings, one about feminine allure, and one about violence.
  3. I’m Your Venus: Goddess power and Ava’s attachment to “pagan” Roman gods.
  4. She’s Bringing Sexy Back: Great sex, and my humble viewpoint on when and how to include it in a book.

phutchins signature

 

Hey, y’all!

So excited to announce I was invited to be part of a November release: 20 mystery/thriller/suspense authors teaming up for a box set of romantic stories with a cause. It’s called Love Under Fire.
50% of the proceeds are going to Pets for Vets, too! Be still my heart.

In the meantime, you can enter for a chance to win books by each of these wonderful novelists, through April 8, here: http://gvwy.io/psr1s9x

Get to know them all! I am–I entered 🙂

I’ve decided to write my first Maggie story for the box set, and I’ve been sourcing ideas with my Facebook support group, Knights of Pamelot, and you can join in the fun, HERE.

— All ideas posted get free audio codes to whichever of my books Bobbye Marrs has in her stash (email her Bobbye at SkipJackPublishing dot com with a permalink to your comment and copy and paste in this sentence so she’ll know what you’re talking about).

— If I use your idea, you’ll be brilliantly written up in the acknowledgements, and I will co-dedicate the book to you—and to Eric. I will never write a novel *not* dedicated to Eric .

So, enter the giveaways, y’all, and get ready for some Fi-YUH this fall!

 

Ok, friends. I have a free Nowheresville weekend, April 13-15. It’s a gorgeous time of year here, very peaceful, wildflowers, baby goats, not too hot. I’m doing a personal writing retreat to jump start a novella called Old Flames—for a romantic mystery/thriller/suspense box set from 20 authors! my first time to write…Maggie!—writing six to eight hours a day, then doing my usual things to recharge (play with animals, ride horses, look for bluebonnets and paintbrushes, walk, get in hot and cool tubs in the swim spa, cook dinner).

Eric and I are opening up space to other writers for the weekend, to retreat with me. We have 4 rooms available. Depending on room type and whether you choose single or double occupancy, it will be between $350 and $500 to attend, Friday noon through Sunday afternoon. 

This will be a no frills, no workshops, no facilitation retreat. Eric will serve us simple meals, and we will have valuable, meaningful writing/publishing conversations during meal and down times. You enjoy our gorgeous place and activities, in a writing environment, with indoor and outdoor writing spaces, and enforced SILENT hours (nobody better mess with me on that ) in the house: four hours on Friday, eight hours on Saturday, and four hours on Sunday.

This is very different from my facilitated retreats where I critique, coach, workshop, and teach. The only one like that I currently have scheduled this year is August 5-11 in Wyoming. (You can learn more about it here: http://pamelafaganhutchins.com/writing-retreats/)

This one in April in Nowheresville is “spontaneous.” and it ain’t on the website. Write to me — pamela at pamelafaganhutchins dot com — if you’re interested.

Pamela

Hey, authors out there!

I’m looking for people who want to do “newsletter swaps.” I have 14,000 subscribers to my newsletter and about 1,000 to my blog. I write romantic mystery. I have a few new releases coming out this summer. Two of my upcoming releases are R rated, one is PG 13.

What I’m looking for:
* books with at least 25 reviews and a 3.8-star rating or higher on Amazon
* that appeal to a core audience of female readers 45-75 suspense, thriller, mystery, women’s fiction; nothing erotic, no horror,

What I’m offering:
A write up under a “recommended reads” section of my monthly newsletter and/or weekly blog with the image of your choice (cover, marketing graphics, whatever), sales link, and any special deal, i.e. subscribe to this author’s newsletter for exclusive content at (link). I may profile more than one book for newsletter.

What I’m asking for:
Something similar in return, and I’m offering up one of the new releases or other novels in the two different trilogies with the upcoming releases.

I can give more info to anyone who is interested. If this sounds good to you let me know, click HERE to submit. I’m hoping for swaps between now through October.

… Because my readers are looking for good book recommendations <3!

After a few years of chronic burning issues somewhere per-son-al, I almost can’t type that title without cringing, but this is a DIFFERENT KIND of burning: burning questions, as in poll questions! There are three questions; you must answer both to be eligible to enter the drawing for SWAG. Email bobbye at skipjackpublishing dot com to enter! We announce winners in my newsletter, so be sure you subscribe my newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/PFHSuperstars

I’m off to working on things that don’t overtax my limited capability to think. Right now we’re flirting with me doing the audio narration for the Ava novels, since my muse Natalie has had to withdraw at the 11th hour. It’s kind of fun in a “don’t look at me while I’m doing accents” sort of way. So, what do you think? Would you like to hear me read my books to you?

All’a my best . . .

Well, folks, some of you may realize I haven’t been posting “content” per se, and some of you may have rejoiced at less email in your inbox from me. Either way, I thought I’d give you a little update on the life and times and writing plans of Pamela.

Searching for Dime Box was coming along fairly well. I was one week into it. Eric left for a week in Dallas on a Monday. I’d been feeling bad, but, honestly, I’d felt bad for so long, I thought it was more of the same. For years I’ve battled chronic infections and cystitis in my urinary tract, back pain, and, for the last year, stomach issues. In retrospect, it had gotten far worse, my face was swollen—I told Eric I thought I was bloated from water retention, but I worried I was giving myself an out for having gotten fat—and I was feeling depressed. But I just carried on as normal and tried to put mind over matter.

Until about 10 pm on Monday night. The “UTI” that was making me plan to go to the doctor the next morning was horrible. Unbelievably horrible. And then all of a sudden, it felt like something was blowing up inside me on my left side. The pain was unreal. I called my dad—a doctor—who said get to the emergency room. I live 30 minutes away. I was alone. I called Eric to call a friend nearby, and I grabbed my keys and left. Fifteen minutes later, that friend drove me to the ER in Brenham by 11:30. Four hours later, I was awaking from anesthesia post-surgery. In between those times is hard to describe. I’ve experienced natural childbirth. This was worse. And it didn’t make things any better when the doctor told me I had a life threatening issue: my kidney was in danger of rupturing because it was corked by a large kidney stone that had no way of passing. The life threatening element was that I had a severe bladder and kidney infection, and a rupture could cause sepsis and death.

Eric rushed home and made it back by mid-morning, where he has taken wonderful care of me every since.

So they put in a stent, stuck me in the hospital for a few days, then sent me home for a few weeks with a plan to deal with the stone and stent within a month. Apparently, my stone itself was chronically infected. I needed to heal the kidney that had the stretching of its life and take (six types, at last count) antibiotics because they couldn’t take me to Procedure 2 without both those hurdles crossed. I figured I’d lost a week of work time, and I’d get back to it while I waited for Procedures 2 and 3 of the ordeal.

Georgia had surgery for ear hematomas. We comforted each other.

 

Katniss was a loyal sentinel at my bedroom window, bringing the herd to me since I wasn’t coming to the herd.

 

I got flowers, cards, visits from the kids, calls, texts, and FB posts galore. And I got a lot of nondairy ice cream from my sweet husband.

 

I even got a ukulele from readers IRL/friends online Karen and Tara which I am excited to teach myself soon!

Only that didn’t happen. Between nausea, unbelievable pain, and the impact of painkillers, I was nonfunctional for nearly four weeks. It was sort of like a coma, except that I was awake. Four weeks not of the planned vacation from writing I’d allotted myself in May, but four weeks of writhing and sleeping, hurting and feeling awful. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t focus/think/concentrate. My creativity was nil. The meds made me depressed, too, and gave me nightmares and daymares, where I’d lie awake with my eyes closed and see horrible images of violence and death. I lost four critical weeks of my production schedule for the big novel releases that I need to go off well because it’s really, really hard to make money as an author, and I’ve invested and sacrificed a lot into my plans for the summer of 2018.

Meanwhile, people told me their stories of losing friends and family–young, healthy people–to sepsis, and I feel unbelievably blessed, even if I also feel stupid at the symptoms I’d displayed for years without putting two and two together (although my succession of doctors hadn’t either, this wasn’t my first stone). I was so thankful that our town has a hospital and a good urologist, and that the ER and OR staffs were wonderful. I’ve promised the nurses to name a character in Dime Box Cindy Shannon and make her act like Dene 😉 to honor three of them who helped me around both Procedures 1 and 2. Because there was a Procedure 2: they pulverized the heck out of that big stone, and it came out like sand. Which got me a lot of texts from our kids asking if it was like going to the beach, you know, when you get sand in your britches ;-).

The stent came out today, a week after Procedure 2. No more painkillers (hallelujah), no more pain, no more being unable to sit up straight. I am restored! If I don’t pull off a miracle and finish Dime Box in time for its planned August release, I’ll regroup. Push it back. Push the 2019 novels back. Celebrate the joy, blessing, and luxury of good health with my husband, family, and animals.

But we’ll just have to see.

I’ll tell you this, though: I might not have pulled off Dime Box without this emergency. The climactic events in the novel take place while Michele is in the Brenham hospital, dealing with a health issue that requires emergency surgery, the symptoms of which she had been ignoring, and fighting off the bad guy post anesthesia. I’d never been in that hospital, and couldn’t figure out what condition to give her. I think I’ve got those problems solved now 🙂

Now, you’re all caught up.

Meanwhile, for those of you who like to enter contests for free books, I have two for you!

 

I’ve teamed up with 35 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of romantic women’s novels to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! You’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering?

You can win my novel Going for Kona, plus books from authors like K.M. Jackson and Amy E. Reichert.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/romanticwomen-mar2018


PLUS, I’ve teamed up with 35+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of women sleuth mysteries to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! You’ll also get the free ebooks just for entering as well.

You can win my novel Heaven to Betsy, plus books from authors like Laura Joh Rowland and Nancy McGovern.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/womensleuths-mar2018

That’s all I have for now. Wishing you health,

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 30+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of mysteries with humor to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering? ;D

You can win my novel SAVING GRACE, plus books from authors like Angie Fox, Marcy McKay, and Nina Cordoba.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/humormysteries-feb2018

Good luck and enjoy!

Hello, my friends. Enter For a Chance to Win 45+ Romantic Comedy & Chick Lit Novels PLUS a Brand New eReader!

Book Giveaway: Enter to Win 45+ Romantic Comedy & Chick Lit Novels!

 

In other news, I had a bit of a set back on the Searching for Dime Box rewrites.

On the plus side, I got some good doggie bonding time, especially with Georgia who also had surgery.

Eric has been able to work form home and take good care of me, and I should be right as rain by mid-March. Hopefully the Dime Box deadline won’t slide too much!

Take care, all.

Here’s this month’s poll. There are two questions; you must answer both to be eligible to enter he drawing for SWAG. Email bobbye at skipjackpublishing dot com to enter! We announce winners in my newsletter, so be sure you subscribe (https://www.subscribepage.com/PFHSuperstars).

Results will be announced at the end of February.

Come see me in Houston March 9 (and meet Robert Dugoni, too!) when I present for the Houston Writers House:

Knockout is with my content consultant. I’m toiling away at Searching for Dime Box revisions. We are on target for the most fabulous 2018 of releases! But in the meantime, I work, work, work, so I won’t blog much 🙂

May Stunner

June Knockout

July Ava Box Set

August Searching for Dime Box

October Michele Box Set

November Katie & Ava Box Set

December Femme Fatale (Ava Short Story)

See you guys in March!

The Kitty Katniss gives me a reason to get outside and give my creativity and spirit time to rebound.

So January is my month—my ONE month—to take the lump of coal draft of Knockout and try to polish it into the diamond I want so badly for it to become. My timeline is super tight, so the pressure is on. I took off January 1 to celebrate our anniversary with Eric. That reduced my timeline from 31 days to 30. Then on January 2nd I decided to work everything else off my to do list. To clear the decks, so to speak, so that nothing can mess with my concentration. Then on January 3rd I succumbed to the lure of a snowmobile ride up to our summertime favorite campsite, Woodchuck Pass, in the Bighorn Mountains. Lord help me, I’d just lost 10% of my revision time!!!

Then I have to turn around and do the same thing with the hot frickin mess that is the first draft of Searching for Dime Box, in February and March.

Trust me when I say I need all the time I can get to polish Knockout and Searching for Dime Box

My nerves are jangly, my gut is taut (and not from ab work), and I could really use some positive mojo. For that reason, I’ll be scarce on the blog until I finish Knockout and Searching for Dime Box and can hand them over to my content editor and beta readers.

Parting is such sweet sorrow…I’ll pop up from time to time (like with a February poll)…until I have to repeat this process for the Maggie novels…I’m longing for summer like you cannot believe, when some of this pressure lets up.

But before we part, here’s the January survey results (thank you!!):

Where did you find my books?

  1. BookBub
  2. Booksweeps
  3. Retailer recommendations
  4. Facebook
  5. Goodreads
  6. Blogs and reviews
  7. PFH networking
  8. Personal recommendations

Where do you get my books?

  1. Amazon
  2. Freebie (multiple sources)
  3. Apple
  4. Audio
  5. BarnesandNoble.com (Nook); Kobo
  6. Google Play, gift, chain, indie store, direct buy from me, secondhand

Be well, my friends.

325,000 children are at risk of sexual exploitation in the US today.

12 is the average age of entry into the sex trade.

My Story

In 2014, I started researching human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children in the US for my mystery Heaven to Betsy. Once I lifted the lid on this issue, I couldn’t get it back on. It has truly haunted me. I took the Hands that Heal Certification Course and experienced equine therapy with Hope Rising, a faith-based provider of specialized care in foster family homes and outpatient experiential therapy located in Washington County, TX, half an hour from our Nowheresville home and just outside Houston, which is one of the largest centers of sexual exploitation of children in the US. Now my husband and I donate weeks at our homes each year to raise money for Hope Rising, and we volunteer and work to raise awareness.

If you’d like to read more about the human trafficking and sexual exploitation storylines in my novels, click HERE.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.

Prostitution versus Slavery

The distinctions existing between sex slavery and prostitution are false. The idea that women are prostituted by choice ignores that it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a victim of slavery and a victim of prostitution, and at what age the woman was exploited and forced into a life she can’t escape from.

The Cause of Sex Slavery

In societies where women and girls are undervalued or not valued, women are at greater risk for being abused, trafficked, and coerced into sex slavery.

How Are Women Lured Into Trafficking?

Some are lured with offers of legitimate and legal work, marriage, educational opportunities, a modeling career or a better life, while others are kidnapped and sold.

Get Involved With Groups That Help

Hope Rising is committed to the long term care and recovery for minor girls who have been rescued from human sex trafficking and exploitation. Their mission, to put it simply, is to give hope and a future to these girls and to foster wholeness and healing to at-risk families and children.

Hope Rising provides specialized care in foster family homes and outpatient experiential therapy through equine assisted psychotherapy and learning and trauma-informed art therapy.

You can help by becoming a partner: fostering girls, sponsoring a horse, donating items or money, volunteering, and raising awareness. Follow Hope Rising on Facebook.

It takes all of us.

Snowheresville. Our house and barn roofs are just visible below/behind us.

It’s time for your monthly poll! This one may not seem exciting to you, but it’s super important information for me, and I can’t thank you enough for participating. In the upcoming months, I’ll start asking you for ideas for characters and plots and all kinds of fun stuff, if you’ll just hang with me for this one first. There are two questions this time. Use the arrow in the upper right hand side to go to the second. It may tell you it is question #3. That’s okay, there are only two, no matter what the poll-plugin calls them. Email bobbye at skipjackpublishing dot com after you answer them both and let her know, and she’ll enter you into our monthly drawing for Swag. Email subscribers, you may need to visit this post online to see the photos, videos, and survey, depending on your email service.

I’m in my post-Christmas fluffy stage, needing to rewrite the hell out of Knockout, and having a hard time staying awake to do it. But I shall persevere! How were your holidays? Here’s a glimpse at ours:

Looking for Legendary Events? We’ve got them at Wild Deadwood Reads 2018!

Deadwood Vacation

You are officially invited and welcomed to attend Wild Deadwood Reads Book Signing and Legendary Events in Deadwood, South Dakota. You’ll find so many things to do, including fun and adventurous outings planned just for us that weekend. Register right away so you won’t miss out on any of the excitement! Everything starts Thursday evening, June 7, with a Meet-and-Greet Cocktail Hour on the patio overlooking Deadwood. Check out the view!

View from the Patio

View of Deadwood from the Deadwood Mountain Grand.

Wild Deadwood Reads has grown since year one. In June, we had just under 50 authors, and since we’ve already registered more than 80 authors for 2018, we’re projecting we’ll double our author roster to around 100 for next June! To accommodate this bigger and more Legendary event, we’re taking over the entire, amenity-packed Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel, and we’ve negotiated a fabulous rate for guest rooms for you from Wednesday through Sunday night, so you can come in early, stay an extra day, or do both!

Deadwood Mountain Grand

Our Hotel – the new and upscale Deadwood Mountain Grand

Get ready to jump onto a luxury motorcoach with 54 of your new friends-to-be on Friday morning for an all-inclusive sightseeing tour including three amazing destinations around the Black Hills.

Big Thunder Gold Mine

Big Thunder Gold Mine

Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Monument

Prairie Berry Winery

Prairie Berry Winery

Saturday morning you’ll enjoy a hot, delicious Breakfast With the Authors right in our hotel, in the Deadwood Mountain Grand’s Event Center on the second floor above the Non-Smoking casino. At one end of the Event Center we’ll relax over a scrumptious hot buffet breakfast, and at the other end are the ready-to-rock tables for the Author Book Signing!

Deadwood Mountain Grand Wild Deadwood Reads Book Signing

The book signing begins Saturday morning at 10:00 am in the Event Center which is accessible by escalator, elevator, and stairs, and there’s lots of room for us at this lovely venue! We’ll even have vendor tables where local small businesses will tempt you with everything from hair pretties to chocolate!

Book Signing

Aaron Bunce and his #1 Helper

During the Book Signing, you’ll have the chance to win something fabulous at the Basket Raffle, which will support a local non-profit organization. Authors, cover models, sponsors, and vendors are all very busy dreaming up the perfect goodies to place into a basket to catch your attention! Check out the basket examples on our website!

Saturday afternoon, we have The Rodeo! Right in town, it’s a gasp-provoking Professional Bull Riders Rodeo with the rankest bulls in the territory. We’re lucky to have an exclusive VIP Package, Behind the Chutes, where we’ll watch PBR Bullriders and stock contractors show us how they load the bulls into the chutes, and how the cowboys get themselves settled onto the bulls – for at least 8 seconds! We’ll enjoy VIP reserved seating for the rodeo, bus transportation both to and from the rodeo grounds, a special dinner after the rodeo at the No. 10 Saloon’s upstairs restaurant (in close walking distance of our hotel) featuring an entertaining show created just for us by our Rodeo hosts! Afterward, head downstairs for a live band at the official after-hours hangout for the Bullriders and all the rodeo staff. Get your cameras ready – they love to show off their belt buckles!

PBR Rodeo

2017 PBR Deadwood Rodeo

If you’re not in a Rodeo mood, we have the perfect event for you! Hosted at a downtown hot spot, Wild Bill Bar in walking distance of our hotel, join authors and readers for Wild Book Readings at Wild Bill Bar – with DESSERT! This sweet event takes us on a trip back in time as we head to their private, upstairs room which has been lovingly refurbished to look like a Victorian theater with bistro seating. A cash bar, an author-sponsored dessert bar of delicacies, and authors reading you their favorite scenes from their own books. Mix, mingle, and indulge! This event will be Legendary.

There’s so much to do and see in Deadwood and all around the area, you’ll have a must-see list that’ll keep you busy all weekend. And we give you plenty of time to explore on your own! Walking the streets of historic downtown Deadwood, you can easily imagine Wild Bill Hickok tipping his hat as he passes you on the sidewalk. Or Calamity Jane causing a ruckus at a noisy saloon. Or Seth Bullock facing down a gunslinger and sending him on his way to Mount Moriah Cemetery, just up the hill from town. And, well, you don’t have to imagine any of this. Deadwood stages free shootouts right on Main Street!

Wild Deadwood Reads Reader Registration is only $10 which includes a handy neck wallet and two more wonderful gifts which are listed for you on the website. Besides being the perfect spot for your phone and other essentials, the neck wallet holds your name tag which allows you to sign up for all the great weekend events listed above, some of which are FREE! Check out our website http://wilddeadwoodreads.com/ and our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wilddeadwoodreads/ to see everything that you can experience! I am thrilled to be going to Deadwood next June, and I want to make sure you don’t let this awesome opportunity slip your mind or slide off your calendar. Register today and you’ll be all set to have one of the best, Wildest, and most Legendary times you’ll ever experience!

Wow, is it Christmas already? Another year has flown by. We’ve had our ups and downs at S/Nowheresville and in our family, but Eric and I are in it to win it, mud-huts-on-the-beach if necessary, baby, and so life is good. First, our most important family members: the animals. (ha!) Petey the one-eyed Boston terrier may have to have surgery on his good eye in January. His vision is faltering, and he is only five. Keep him in your prayers. #TeamPetey

Louise the dumpster-diving obsessive-compulsive hound-Dobie has graduated to sleeping indoors and is my official in-room guard dog when Eric is away. Congratulations, Louise! 😉

Georgia the gun-shy, soft-mouthed, emotionally-fragile Belgian Malinois has started tolerating my gun. Barely. She is so complex it is hard to know from one minute to the next!

KATNISS, my plus sized princess, needs to lose 100 pounds, but she is fantastic, and she only threw me once this year. I did break my ass-bone, but, hey, it healed, and it only hurts when I breathe. We started her on Mare Magic supplement after she bucked, rolled, and leaped her way through a couple more heat cycles. I’ve become a much better rider. And I get her, I really do get her.

FEATHERS, the surprise relationship that Eric never dreamed he would have, is a big beautiful brat who anyone can ride. He’s a crowd pleaser for sure, and dang can he climb mountains! He taught Eric that “throwing a shoe” is really a thing last summer in the mountains, and by the time we had him down, his hoof was a crumbled mess. Luckily, it didn’t hurt him, and he is close to healed now, five months later.

The donkeys: Fitz, Annabelle, and Kathryn enjoyed a summer of spoiling while our cousins Jeff and Rockey housesat. They are pretty dang cute.

The goats: We’re down to a very pregnant Blossom, very pregnant Katie, and proud papa Badger. No goats lost to mountain lions this year!

On to the offspring (who actually ARE more important than the animals, but don’t tell them I told you that)!

Thomas: is engaged to the woman of his (and our) dreams, and is juggling job offers in Houston. Kitty shares the roost with him and Brenda.

Marie: working on her Computer Science Ph.D. at Vanderbilt, kicking ass and taking names. Her longtime dog Brando is her partner in crime, along now with a little bit of fluff called Bubbles.

Liz: is working a new job in St. Louis and planning her June wedding to her longtime amor and super awesome fiance Jerry. Daisy and Albert are hers and Jerry’s rabbits/children.

Clark Kent: U of Houston pursuing a degree in History, where he is on the debate team. He hangs with his longtime love Allie (who we’ve decided is our favorite child, no offense to our actual offspring intended) and their dog Pippin and cat Costello.

Susanne: Finishing up at Blinn and hoping to transfer back to A&M soon, and enjoying life in college a little too much with her cat Loki. She’s considering an Ag Leadership degree.

And then there are the houses!

Nowheresville: We had a setback here with a stalker/home invader last spring. He is leaving me alone now, and besides I pack a lot of canine muscle and I’m never without my gun. Our sunflowers here were off the hook in the spring. We lost a good number of big old trees in Hurricane Harvey, but no complaints because so many had it far, far worse. We enjoy our friends and family the half of the year we are here. We’ve started sharing Nowheresville through AirBnB, and that is going really well.

Snowheresville: Well…our little Snowheresville cabin is now rented out (sadly, we now just call it “Banner” but we still love it, and it will probably go on the market next spring), and we bought a replacement Snoweresville, which is a big former B&B on the eastern face of the Bighorn Mountains close to Big Horn, WY. It’s a magical place, and we’re sharing it through AirBnB too since we can only be there half the year. We’re also doing writers retreats there. We have a lot of work to do on it, but it’s truly spectacular and came with 40-acres bordered on 2-sides by BLM (federal) land. And with five-bedrooms, we can have lots of family there!

 And also there are jobs!

Eric is still with Solomon Associates. He’s traveling too much and working too hard right now, but it tends to be cyclical, so it’s my hope he gets some recovering time as his health has really suffered from it. He enjoys it though. He’s a big data geek at heart <3 I am writing my little fingers to the bone. It is not as lucrative as it used to be, but I can still keep the lights on and employees paid, and I’m hoping now that my focus is back on the business side of it, I can see a return on my efforts. Luckily, my company EPS is thriving, and I am still Chair of the Board so I remain as involved as I want to be.

And there was the downtime. Ah, precious downtime.

The highlight of our year was a month camping and trail riding in the Bighorn Mountains, by far. We enjoyed visits from our kids in TX and WY and went to see those that didn’t come to us. My big moment was winning the Silver Falchion for Best Adult Fiction, and having Eric there with me when it was announced. Eric’s validation has been that he’s been pursued for job after job after job this year. We were blessed to have Eric’s mother with us for six weeks this year, and we spent a lot of time with my parents in WY and over Thanksgiving. We had great visits from friends in WY and TX.

Has it really been twelve Christmases together? Time flies when you’re with the one you love. I wish you health, joy, and security, my friends. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

(Subscribers, if you don’t see video and images in this email, click the blog title to go out to the post on my website)

I bake. And I be bossy. (Damn, my husband is KEWT)

I wrangle donkeys. Unsuccessfully.

I go to cool concerts.

I hug mini-cows.

But I am thinking about Michele and friends and Searching for Dime Box, all the time. Or at least some of the time.

🙂

Hey, here are the results of the survey last month. Hundreds of you responded; cool, I didn’t even know there were hundreds of you out there (j.k.). Thank you!

Here’s the percentage of all the books of mine you have read held by each individual book:

Saving Grace: 12.8%

Heaven to Betsy: 12.4%

Leaving Annalise: 9.5%

Finding Harmony: 9.5%

Earth to Emily: 8.7%

Going for Kona: 8.3%

Hell to Pay: 7.4%

Fighting for Anna: 7.0%

Bombshell: 6.2%

Act One: 5.8%

Nonfiction comprise the remainder. New poll coming soon!

Oh, man, I have a lot of good stuff for you guys this week!

  • Here’s a lot of bang for your gift-buying buck:

The Emily Trilogy Box Set—all 3 full-length Emily romantic mystery novels from the What Doesn’t Kill You world—will be on sale for $0.99 for the entire month of December. Yes, 3 e-books for less than a dollar. Bestselling, awardwinning ebooks. And it’s as easy as buying an e-book for yourself to buy an e-book gift card for someone else, on any of your favorite retailers. So share what you love about the What Doesn’t Kill You world, without breaking your piggy bank. Paperback, hardback, and audio of the individual novels in the set (Heaven to Betsy, Earth to Emily, and Hell to Pay) are available at regular prices. Click HERE to see your retailer options for the Emily Trilogy Box Set.

  • How about a sneak peek at chapter one of the 2nd Ava mystery, Stunner??? Click HERE.

 

  • Want to see the cover of the 3rd Ava mystery, Knockout? Click HERE.

 

  • Pre-order the 3rd Michele mystery, Searching for Dime Box by clicking HERE.

 

Meanwhile, back at the Nowheresville “ranch,” I am hard at work on the first draft of Searching for Dime Box. Wish me luck! My motivation is mushy after writing the first draft of Knockout last month. Brain deflated 🙂

p.s. It hasn’t been all work . . .

Taking my NM Lobo husband to the Texas A&M stadium for a mismatch. I think he loves me for my piggy snort.

Eric’s Christmas present: Cardinals v Texans, in Houston, where he found several other wacko Cardinals fans.

Tailgating with old friends before the game in his Cardinals serape, priceless!

Our youngest and her best friend making it to the game before the 4th quarter . .

Thanksgiving in North Texas with my super adorable parents (and all of our dogs and ponies).

Eric’s company Christmas party, where we got to hang out with friends we don’t see nearly often enough.

Hey, y’all!

I’m going to be asking you a series of questions over the next few weeks that will help me get to know you better as readers. By knowing you better, I can post what you are most interested in, so I really appreciate your responses. I won’t know who has replied unless you tell me, so be sure to shoot me an email or comment below if you’d like me to know you are participating.

Hint: I have some ideas about cool things to do for those of you that are most enthusiastic about my books and want to be involved in early reads, exclusive discounts, and spreading the word about the What Doesn’t Kill You world.

Your first question is below my signature, and it’s a poll (easy!). If you’re reading this in your email, you may have to pop out to the website to participate by clicking on the title of this post, above. I’m not sure 🙂 because I’ve never included a poll before, but we’ll know after this first time, won’t we?

This week, please consider the Katie & Emily Box Set ebook gift certificates from Apple or Kobo as holiday gifts. Apps to read from either store are free (and people who have Apple products automatically have the apps for Apple iBooks). This mega box set of all six full-length romantic mysteries is also the easiest and most piggy-bank friendly way for you to binge read the novels and catch up.

And in the meantime, won’t you please join the Thunderclap joint social media promotion for the box set? Since 50% of readers choose books based on recommendations, and 30% find their recommendations on social media, you’ll be helping other people find my books. You can join it by clicking below.

Thanks for being awesome and subscribing, you guys!

We’re doing a flash release of a Katie & Emily Box Set. With one download, readers get all six-full-length novels:

Saving Grace

Leaving Annalise

Finding Harmony

Heaven to Betsy

Earth to Emily

Hell to Pay

It’s a great way for binge readers to get their fix all at once, and for you guys to introduce new people to books you enjoy, at the best possible price.

I need your help! Over 80% of people find their books through word-of-mouth, virtual or in real life. Won’t you help me get the word out online by joining my Thunderclap (coordinated social media announcement), here, puh-leeze?

Thank you for considering it, thank you even more if you do it!

If you’re wanting to snag the set for yourself or another book lover, you can get it exclusively on Kobo and Apple iTunes, and the links are HERE.

If you join the Thunderclap, let me know via email or in the comments so I can enter you in the drawing for the signed novel of your choice by moi.

Thank you tons, y’all!

p.s. I’m halfway through November, and halfway through with the first draft of Knockout!

Pamela's Latest Blog

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    Wait! Before you read, want to enter the contest? If you can’t see it in your email, be sure to visit the post on my website. a Rafflecopter giveaway And how about a free book this week? It’s only free through Monday, so grab it while it’s hot: Free for a very limited time!Marriage before [... […]

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