Showing posts from February, 2012

Join Me at Flixy Mom


You might have noticed the pink badge over to the right and wondered "What the heck is that?"

I have joined authors Karen Cantwell and JC Phelps, along with actor/writer Aimee Hix and stay-at-home/homeschooling mom Beth Balberchak, at a brand-new movie review site, Flixy Mom.

Here's a little bit about it.

"We are here to help parents find movies that are enjoyable and appropriate for their children's viewing experience.

Truly, we all have our individual philosophies and limits regarding allowable content in a movie. Some parents are comfortable with mild language while others are not at all. Some want no violence or no sexual content, while others may allow some of one or both, depending on the age of their child and/or other factors. Some children are very affected by certain scary or evil characters, while other children are not bothered by these things at all.

It is our hope at Flixy Mom, that we will provide movie reviews that give…

Wow! What a Weekend!


My journalism career taught me never to use exclamation points, particularly in headlines. They should be reserved only for the most mind-boggling of news. Well, dear readers, this is one of those times.

These past three days have been quite amazing. A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One)hit #25 on the Amazon Women's Fiction best seller list,  #51 on the contemporary fiction best seller list, and #6 on the domestic life best seller list. At one point, it was right above Room, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, which sent the butterflies in my stomach flittering a bit.

Many thanks to all who purchased the book, as well as to Greg over at Ereader News Today, the Holy Grail of advertising. 
BigAl over at BigAl's Books and Pals, the mega-famous book reviewer, ran an interview with me on Saturday, which also clearly helped to keep Whisper on the charts. 
With this lucky confluence of happenings, the book was up there for the entire weeken…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Wrapping Up Romance Month


Romance Month comes to a close today on Flash Fiction Fridays with a piece by, well, me. We will return to open prompt for the next several months until our usual spotlight on horror in October.

There are some wonderful stories on tap for March. I cannot wait to share them with you. The deadline for April submissions is 3/23. Remember, 1,000 words or less. Any topic, any theme. Send them to, and please put Flash Fiction Fridays in the subject line. As always, I look forward to reading your work.

When a Young Girl’s Fancy
By Karen Wojcik Berner

He wore those kind of glasses popular back in the 1950s, black and thick-rimmed, the ones like that comedian on TV and countless guys in their early twenties sported trying to be retro. On him, however, they just were dorky. He was an ordinary-looking man. Medium height. Thin build. No butt. Irmalene never paid him any attention when he came into the dry cleaners, always with seven white shirts …

Cantwell Launches Third Barbara Marr Book


Good news, readers! Friend of the blog, Karen Cantwell, has released the third in her Barbara Marr Murder Mysteries series. Remember her Take the Monkeys and Run and Citizen Insane? Great, fun books.

Her new one, Silenced by the Yams, looks to be just as hilarious and intriguing. Here's a synopsis.

Soccer mom, Barbara Marr attracts trouble the way the North Pole attracts short men with odd wardrobe choices. So it’s no surprise when she finds herself in deep doo-doo while attempting to prove the innocence of friend and ex-Mafia goon, Frankie Romano, after he’s arrested for the murder of a famous action movie director.

This third book in the popular Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series brings Barb out of the suburbs and into the slimy, urban world of bright lights, nightly news, and drive-by shootings. Luckily, she never loses her sense of humor or her ability to befriend some decidedly quirky characters.

And now, I am proud to present an excerpt from Sil…

Contemporary Fiction: Snapshots of an Era


Do you think contemporary fiction can be used as a reliable source for chronicling a certain time period? Here is a post that I wrote for a wonderful blog, Lori's Reading Corner, during my WOW! Women on Writing Book Tour. 

Want to read the best history book ever? Try a piece of contemporary fiction.

Think about it. Can you fathom anything that better portrays the Jazz Age than F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby?

Contemporary fiction serves as a window to the time period within which it is written, chronicling society and events as they occur. From this, we learn manners and customs. Family stories illustrate people’s everyday lives.

For example, how do the characters speak? Language patterns and slang terminology provide major clues to an era. What do they wear? What kind of music do they listen to? What art or architectural style is popular? What do they eat?

All of these things help piece together an historical record of life in that time period.

Flash Fiction Fridays: Crazy and Sweet


Romance month continues with a great piece from Mary Langer Thompson. Enjoy.

The Stick Up
By Mary Langer Thompson

This new Paleo or Caveman Diet gets old fast. That Friday night at the Applebee’s near our Sunset City home, we ate cheeseburgers topped with extra bacon without the bun. We were full, yet that nagging desire for something sweet to top off our meal lingered.

“I’d love a red velvet whoopee pie,” I said to my husband, Ed.

“You’d blow our whole diet,” he said, “You’ve lost five pounds.We just need a little something.  Like Bazooka or Double Bubble Bubble Gum.”

“Let’s go to the 7-Eleven and get some,” I suggested.

“I don’t have any cash. I can’t charge that little bit of an amount.”

“I’m tired. Forget it.”

“No.  We’ll stop at our ATM.  I need money for tomorrow anyway.”

As we left the restaurant, Ed nearly tripped over the newspaper stand. “Ed, you need to be more observant,” I said. “You could have killed yourself.”

Ed left me sitting in the idli…

Editing for Grammarphobes: A Wednesday Quickie


Here is something I came across while working on my WIP.

Do you know the proper way to refer to an engaged woman or man?

Fiancé is for a man who is engaged.

Fiancée is the correct spelling for an engaged woman.

Karen's Favorite Things


Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day in the States, I thought today I would share some things I have experienced recently that I absolutely love. Unfortunately for you, I am not Oprah, and, therefore, cannot afford to surprise you with any of these (or a car, for that matter), but I hope you will enjoy this blog nonetheless.

My family and I saw Green Day's American Idiot musical on Saturday. Gritty, powerful and real, it provides an intense window to the post-9/11 world through the amazing music and lyrics of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool. Absolutely loved it. If it comes to your town, do not miss it!

I read The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson in the fall, but never had the chance to tell you how wonderful it is here, probably because of my WOW! blog tour, the holidays and various other things that deride the best of intentions on a daily basis.

This is literature with a capital "L." A wonderful, old-school Gothic novel, this b…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Experimentation


Romance month continues today with a lovely piece by Simon Kearns.

Fugue No.2
By Simon Kearns


The breeze caressed the trees. The nightingales sang loudly.


- The breeze, a southerly, and somewhat damp from the sea, made the trees whisper among themselves as if a stranger were in town. Moonless night in early June, and the nightingales sang loudly. By the window, the curve of you, a silhouette against the stars.

- The breeze caressed the trees, wavering every leaf, simply passing through, not bending in haste. Moonless sky of stars, silently flickered by bats, with constellations defined and bold. The curve of the plough matching that of your shoulder, as if it were a decoration. And the nightingales sang loudly.


The breeze caressed you, and the trees approved, dampened by the sea, and starry sky, the curve in the window with the curve in the sky and the night in the night wavered and flickered and the great bear at your sh…

Celebrating a Literary Master


“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.” A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of English literature superstar Charles Dickens' birth. One such as myself cannot let something like that pass without commemoration, so today on Bibliophilic Blather, we will discuss Dickens and his work.

I’m sure you remember studying at least one of his novels in school or college. A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and Bleak House come to mind immediately. Being an English major, one could never earn that degree without at least one piece of Dickens being analyzed and appreciated. Recently, Masterpiece Classic has done wonderful adaptations of Oliver Twi…

Monday Morning Quarterbacking


Great Super Bowl yesterday, don't you think? I was very glad the NY Giants won, as I have a personal prejudice against Tom Brady for leaving his pregnant girlfriend for a Brazilian supermodel and toward Bill Belichick for his cheating coaching ways.

I was also happy to see Eli Manning come into his own and establish himself as a two-time Super Bowl champion.

And what about the Giants' receivers? Mario Manningham's supreme catch had me delirious with joy. It was nothing short of awesome. And Cruz and Nicks! Great hands, spectacular plays.

What did you think about the half-time show? My kids ask year after year why it is that only "old" people get to perform, like the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and now Madonna. I do understand their point, because despite trying to infuse the performance with some life by adding Cee Lo Green, LMFAO and the two women who I am not familiar with, it still fell a little flat for me.

Commercials? Wh…

Flash Fiction Fridays: It's Romance Month!


To get us in the mood for Valentine's Day, this month is all about romance. First up is Kayla Bashe. Enjoy.

New Growth
By Kayla Bashe

Nasrin Malus strode into the forest clearing with a warrior’s grace. Glaring at its treebeing occupants, she sat on a fallen trunk.

The treeperson next to her, a tall oak male with braided twig-hair, edged away. Across the clearing, a pale-barked Aspen female sitting on a tree stump pointed at Nasrin. Wide-eyed, she whispered something to her neighbor, a Willow with execrable posture. The two laughed, their hair-leaves rustling with mirth.

Let them pity and mock her; Nasrin knew how she looked.

She didn’t care.

Two rings ago, Nasrin became extremely ill. Fire blight scorched her leaves, turning them shriveled and black. Orange, dark-ringed spots appeared on the few areas of foliage left untouched, and weeping sores opened on her skin.

She’d survived, but at a cost.

“Repulsive,” her mate, Arvid, had murmured upon their r…

In a Quandary


For the last two days, I was one with my sofa, unable to do any work due to a monster cold that made it impossible to read a computer screen without my eyes burning and tearing. Throbbing headache. General malaise. You know the kind.

These unplanned days off gave me time to think. However, since it was a Benadryl-induced haze, I come out of it today unsure whether my thoughts are valid or just rubbish.

So I decided to ask you, dear readers.

The working title of The Bibliophiles: Book Two is How Long 'Til My Soul Gets It Right?

Here is a synopsis.

Catherine Elbert has never been good at making decisions, whether it was choosing ice cream as a small child or figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. The only thing Catherine was certain of was leaving her family’s farm in Burkesville, Wisconsin, as soon as possible after high school graduation. Join Catherine as she bounces across the United States, from the rocky Atlantic shore to the glimmer…