3 Paranormal Awards!

I’m thrilled to announce that I won three awards in the 2017 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Contest, thanks to everyone who read, reviewed and voted for me.

First Place

highlandghost_cvr_lrg-1A Highland Ghost for Christmas, in Paranormal Romance /  Holiday

54 – 5 star reviews on Amazon







First Place

Gambling Ghost stories (you can read them separately or as in an anthology called CheatingDeath_FullCVR_MEDCheating Death) in Paranormal Romance / Holiday Series








Second Place

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click for Amazon link

Midnight Magic, in a long category ending in ghosts and psychics.









Congratulations to all the winners and heartfelt thanks to the ladies at Paranormal Romance Guild for their support.

Here’s the link if you would like to see the titles.

Feeling lucky? My rafflecopter for a $10.00 Amazon card is still up:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



My First Trophy! ECWC 2013

Oct18.13 005photo by Jacqui Nelson

First Place in the ECO

My novel, Fighting Fear, which I think I’ll start calling The Lost Vermeer, came first in the Romantic Suspense category in the ECO competition, Emerald City Opener, the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America contest. It’s all about the first seven pages.

They gave me the royal treatment. I sat at a table of editors and agents and had two requests for my work by the end of dinner (without pitching) and an additional request the following day with a pitch. The Chapter gave me a trophy, a framed certificate and a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble.

It was an amazing, never to be forgotten, experience. First, they announced the third place finalist (…and it wasn’t me). My hands started to sweat.

Then they announced the second place winner (…and it’s wasn’t me).  OMG. My heart jumped into my mouth. I know that sounds ridiculous, but you all know that feeling. I couldn’t breathe. My heart raced. And I silently screamed with joy.

Every one at my table looked at me…because duh… they figured it out. Time stopped for a wonderful breathtaking moment. Then, they announced me as the first place winner and it burst into a million wonderful pieces. So sweet.

And as if that wasn’t enough excitement…  J.C. McKenzie, my daughter, came first in her category, Paranormal, for Shift Happens, a Carus Chronicle book.

So, I’m going home with two trophies, many goodies and new “connections” in the business.

I am soooo grateful to the Seattle RWA chapter for hosting this contest, and giving me the opportunity to further my career. They rock!.

The conference is great too!!! (more on that  later)

So What is the book about?

Here is the one-page I prepared to pitch at the conference:

Fighting Fear


Jo-Ann Carson

                                      An Ancient curse…

                                                            A lost Vermeer…

                                                                        A ruthless murderer…

Desperate to prove she can work with her brothers in the fight against international art crime, Kat follows the trail of a lost Vermeer, only to discover her former lover is trying to steal it. Entangled in a web of intrigue, she discovers the painting is cursed and a ruthless murderer is closing in.

The Milkmaid Fighting Fear

Nederlander Series Book 2

Fighting art crime in exotic places can be dangerous in more ways than one.


Monday Musings 13-09-23

Bogart as Phillip Marlowe
Bogart as Phillip Marlowe

My quote for the week:

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

Reflections on my writing:

  • I’ve always thought the cliche, “…want it so bad I could taste it,” sounded odd. I mean really – taste it? What does success taste like? And yet, I find myself wanting to get my writing to the next stage so badly the phrase almost makes sense. What fits my mood these days is, I want it so badly: “my skin crawls with the wanting, my gut churns with a potent mixture of self-doubt and  anticipation and my head plain aches.” I’m not easy to live, and not proud of the fact.
  • Within a few weeks I’ll hear how I placed in two competitions I’ve finaled in, and will get feedback from their judges.
  • I’m letting the cozy novella I wrote steep, sharing a chapter at a time with my critique partner.
  • And I’m working hard on the second book in my Romantic mystery/thriller series about Maggy Malone. My working title is Ain’t Misbehavin’ and the first act is coming on strong. It started with the image of the first murder. It popped into my mind and I couldn’t shake it, so I’m running with it. I like Maggy’s people. Keeping company with them as I write the first draft for the next few months will be fun.
  • I’m working hard on the Scrivener course, meandering through its intricacies and holding fast to the pieces I like best. I’ll update you on my progress on Wednesday.

What I’m Reading

cleoI’m working through the Cleo Coyle mysteries, cozies set in a New York city coffeehouse (On What Grounds is the one I’m reading right now). Tight writing, fun plot lines and aPhilipMarlowe_S1 comfortable place to hang out. The last one I picked up on audiobooks and listen to it at night, when my eyes are too tired to read. On TV, PJ and I have been watching Phillip Marlowe tapes (from the library). Love the ambiance of “film noir,” and Raymond Chandler’s lines cut deep. Boy could he write.

I’ll leave you with a quote from his story, The Long Goodbye:

“To say goodbye is to die a little.”

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Inspiring Blogger Award

In the blogosphere we bloggers pass awards to one another. It’s more than a game of tag, more like  a professional nod, that goes down like a sparkly glass of champagne, curls the toes and makes you feel like you’re doing something right. A rare and treasured moment.

I am honored to be passed the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” by Anna Markland a truly inspiring  writer of Medieval Historical Romance who lives a fascinating life in Panama and sometimes Canada, and is one of the most prolific writers I know. Thank you Anna.

With this award comes two expectations: (1)  to share 7 things about myself. Sheesh. Seven!  and then (2) to pass it on. Yippee!

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

My Seven

1. I hate talking about myself, and it’s not that I don’t think I’m important, but rather that I know everyone else is more interesting. Still, this exercise is an opportunity even it it is difficult, so I’m adding quotes to spice it up.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

2.  I love to swim, always have. Put me in water and I smile. I go to a local 50 meter pool and swim laps three times a week. Feeling the cool water slide down the sides of my body  reconnects me with myself. Lately I’ve been swimming 1500 meters. Here’s my swimming quote:

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

Warren Buffett

3. I miss my dog, Chester. A rusty red Chesepeake Bay retriever, he was the best dog a person could ever have. When I looked into his molten brown eyes I felt like the universe understood me. Don’t want to say more.My Muse

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

4. My tastes in reading are eclectic, but lately I’ve been favoring genre fiction. When I read the new literary stuff  I keep waiting for something to happen.

“Good writing is good writing. In many ways, it’s the audience and their expectations that define a genre. A reader of literary fiction expects the writing to illuminate the human condition, some aspect of our world and our role in it. A reader of genre fiction likes that, too, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the story.”
― Rosemary Clement-Moore

5. I love my home on the west coast of Canada. It’s a privilege to live on the edge of the Pacific with snow capped mountains looming in the distance like gargoyles watching over my soul, long sandy beaches that slide into the horizon and the high pitched call of eagles. Salty air frees my mind.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

6. My list of the finer things in life would include: a good cup of cappuccino,  chocolate, dry red wine, spotted prawns fresh from the ocean boiled for 4 seconds and drenched in butter, food made in Florence, Dutch apple pie, vanilla gelato drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar, my mother’s rice pudding…

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

7. But the finest of all the fine things in my life –  is my family.

 “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust.

I Pass the Award to:

Marsha West. “Romance, Suspense and Second Chances. Experience Required”

Soon to publish her first Romantic Suspense, Marsha has her own brand of Texan warmth that  brings stories to life.

Lisa McManus. “Life and writing – with a touch of sass”

Multi-published in Chicken Soup anthologies (and elsewhere) Lisa’s  posts in her Sassy Scribbler capture a slice of life. Funny and uplifting.

And my final note:

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

To all the Cannucks out there: “Happy Canada Day.” I’m off to go sailing with good friends.