Monday, April 27, 2009

What's in your purse?

Things have been kind of quiet here lately, so I thought I'd post something. I cleaned out my purse yesterday. How could such an accumulation of stuff fill up such a small purse? I try to keep a small purse otherwise I would put everything in it. I can barely stuff my Kindle in it. As I was cleaning, I found myself amazed at what was in my purse. Besides Target and grocery receipts, I have two checkbooks--one business and one personal, two bills that need paying and are still unpaid, a small pouch for my credit cards and other useless cards that stores think I need to get discounts on regular purchases, a coin purse that is open at the top and all the coins are at the bottom of my purse, two lips balms (in case I lose one), two pairs of reading glasses (in case I lose one), a dozen pens (in case the first one doesn't work), two small notebooks (I don't know why I have two), an alligator clip, two cell phones (one business and one personal), ten packs of Splenda, an empty business card case because the business cards are in a pocket that's easier to find than the case, and a second alligator clip (I don't know why I have this one either), a cloth to clean both pairs of reading glasses, a second set of keys (in case I lose the first set) and lint.

When I laid everything out on the table I couldn't believe I had all that in my purse. No wonder it was so heavy and my shoulders were starting to hurt. So I ask you, what's in your purse?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


After I posted my last blog post, I got to thinking about inspiration, mainly story inspiration. I've always wondered what inpsires other authors. I know how I get my story ideas. They come from newspaper articles, news stories, my own dreams, my friends, music or sometimes just a specific submission request.

When Kymberlyn e-mailed me about getting a story for the first White Boyz anthology, I got inspired by the subject matter. What do white men want? I thought they would want what anyone else would want: love. If Parker is goign to do What White Boyz Eat, I've already have story ideas for that one.

So here's my question for authors. What inspires you? Do you listen to song lyrics and get inspired? Do you watch a TV show or movie, and think you can create a better version of it?

Stay sexy,

Monday, April 20, 2009

A contest!

Parker Publishing has a lot of places you can find us on the net. To celebrate the our new spots I figured I'd have a little contest. Between today and this Friday at 5:00 PM if you friend request us on Myspace, follow us on Twitter, or join our chat group you're entered for a chance to win YOUR choice of one of my ebooks. If you do all three of the above, you're entered three times! Please makes sure you tell me you're from the contest. On myspace you can put it in a message with the request, on the yahoo group in the message to join and on Twitter just reply to one of our posts that you're from the contest. I'll draw a name on Friday! Good luck! Have fun! Spread the word! And check out the post below. It's a good one!

Yahoo group

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Introduction: Meet Cybil Lewis

As a relatively new member of Parker Publishing, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Nicole Givens Kurtz, and I write science fiction/mysteries, also known as hybrids. Wait! Hold up! I know, I know. I mention science fiction and many of you are already to click on to some other interesting blog post.

My novel, SILENCED, centers on a private detective, Cybil Lewis. She’s a tough, African descent, kick butt heroine and she’s not like anyone you’ve met before. This isn’t your Star Trek cookie cutter communications officer.

Oh no.

Below is a short except from SILENCED: A CYBIL LEWIS novel. It’s the first in the Cybil Lewis series and I hope you find her just as attractive and fun as I do writing her.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some of the reviewers have said about Cybil and SILENCED.

“Nicole Givens Kurtz is a gifted sci-fi writer with a wonderful imagination. Her vivid descriptions of a future civilization instantly transport the reader into that time period. And with the extra benefit of a strong African-American woman as the main character, this adventure captures the essence of the future.”—4 Star review//Affaire de Coeur Magazine

“A missing-persons case takes us into an action-packed story. Cybil is no shrinking violet, and the tale is vivid enough to keep the reader looking forward to the next chapter in this new series. This is a fast-paced, enjoyable ride.”—4 Star Review—Romantic Times

“Congrats to Nicole Givens Kurtz for another well written novel…Be on the lookout for this one and hopefully more in the series. If you are not familiar with Kurtz’ works, seek them out, you will not be disappointed.”—Baryon Review

"Silenced" has all the hard-boiled elements of sex, violence, crooked politicians and dishonest cops and a story told by an engaging but difficult heroine. It is an excellent start to what promises to be a very interesting series.”—The Denver Post


Mayor Christensen did not sit in my only visitor’s chair.

With that well-bred posture, she remained standing as she scanned the walls of my private office taking it in. I knew what she was seeing, and I didn’t really care. Everything in the office came secondhand or was here when I leased the space twelve years ago. The walls were adorned with newspaper and electronic clippings of various cases I had either been involved with or solved. The yellowing on some of the actual paper ones had chipped and split along the edges. New jpegs had been enlarged and added with updated electronic articles about recent cases.

"Mayor, why are you here?" I asked tightly, my voice edgy and impatient. With amazing effort, I tried to hang on to some professionalism. It slipped out of my hands, like sands through an hourglass. "I do have work to do."

I had a good idea of what the mayor wanted. Still I wanted her to say it, to speak it out and to ask. There was something naughty in the smile I gave her. The edges curled up in a dark satisfaction of knowing that I’d refuse her request anyway.

She brought her eyes back to mine and pressed her lips together before talking as if trying to keep her mouth from saying things she might regret later. With three more attempts, she finally spoke.

"Miss Lewis, I am from tough southern people who aren't bothered by mosquitoes, wauto wrecks, or mouthy inspectors."

Her voice lost its sweetness and turned hard, like wet sugar left out in the cold. In place of the soft, worried mother, was now the voice of a hard politician who thought I would cower and obey her every whim.

Obviously, she did not know me very well…

"The Memphis regulators are idiots,” she was saying, her hands folded neatly in front of her. “They have bungled my daughter's missing person’s case and I want the bastard that took Mandy found," she finished, her voice demanding, her eyes seething with anger and raw emotion.

Will the real Mayor Christensen please stand up? There is something knowing, hell creepy, about someone who could flip the coin of her personality like that. It made me want to lock my satchel in the safe, and nail down the valuables.

She stood there in her immaculate gray suit that cost more than my monthly food budget allowed. The layers of make-up didn't hide the bluish circles under her eyes, or the new crop of wrinkles along her forehead the photos and media coverage seemed to have missed or airbrushed.

"In case you haven't noticed, this is a long way from Memphis," I said, my temper escaping into thin strips of exasperation. "And I don't respond well to threats and name calling."

The mayor's eyes held mine.

"I apologize," she said forcefully, as if she didn’t really mean it. "You're the best in this business, or so I'm told." She crossed her arms over her chest. "You solved that case that sent Governor Price packing to Alamogordo Cradle a few years back."

"Yeah, I did. But the answer is still no," I said back, inserting my own steeliness into my voice.

The Change met with certain death and several key political figures were apprehended, killed, or promoted depending on what side of the case they landed on. It garnished me some publicity and the client list swelled after that, like a monsoon rain, drowning me in payments, vile human actions, and action.

It had since dried up.

I came around to stand close to her, to face her so that she knew she wasn't intimidating me. I was taller by about three inches and weighed more than her for sure, which somehow didn’t make me feel all that great.

Just then the doors to my private office opened and Jane came in, cautiously. She stood inside the entranceway. She opened her mouth to say something and quickly closed it.

Smart girl.

Mayor Christensen ran her hand through her light brown Afro, ruining its puffiness.

"Miss Lewis, I have come all this way. The regulators are no closer to solving this than they were four weeks ago! Time is ticking away, and my, my baby is out there somewhere. These are dangerous times, as you well know. Help me find her, please."

Suddenly, she was the sweet, southern girl from Memphis, twang and all—the distressed parent, not the bullying politician.

This one was quite the actress.

I shrugged. "As a rule, I don't investigate cases where the regulators have already been called in."

My friend Daniel Tom, a regulator and the only one competent one on the D.C. staff would kill me for meddling in his case without his permission. I’m sure the Memphis regs felt the same way.

She stared me, aghast. "As a rule? This is my daughter, Miss Lewis, surely…"

"Yeah, a rule. You should know about those. They're kind of like regulations…laws. When you are self-employed you can make up rules for your business. That's one of mine."

I did not dance to the beat of anyone's drummer, but my own, especially not that of some big shot politician. She could bring all the muscle she wanted, but I wasn't budging unless I wanted to.

End excerpt
Want more? Read the first chapter of SILENCED online at Nicole’s website,

Nicole Givens Kurtz

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sorry...I Got Nothin'

I've been trying to come up with a blog topic all week, and I've been consistently drawing a blank. For writers, of course, one of our nightmares is not having any material to mine from the creative side of our brains. Writer's Block is like a death knell, and the simple thought of it is frightening.

Thankfully, I'm lucky not to be experiencing that particular phenomenon when it comes to my novels at the moment. In fact, all I've been able to think about is the story I'm currently working on and the one I'll be working on immediately after. And that's why when it comes to blogging this month, all I can say is: Sorry, but I got nothin'.

Lisa G.

Photos: Random so I could start my day with a smile. Yaay, spring!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Happy Monday

Hopefully everyone who reads this had a wonderful weekend. I am going to begin my monthly blog on the Parker Publishing site by telling you that this entry is being written by Dyanne, Frances and F.D. Davis. I don't know which one will start first though I think it's Dyanne. Basically what you will read will be nothing more than a writer's complaint, so if you're of a mind to, you can stop reading.

When I began writing as a career (JOB) there were many things that I gave up. The UPS man went first. I was addicted to QVC and so to the brown truck. That had to go. Extras that I may have wanted went. Lay-a-way became a new option. Also loaning huge chucks of money to love ones went. Hold up. Did I say loan? Scratch that, giving money to love ones went. We were down to one check and since I was and still am the person who either writes the checks for the bills or lie and say the check is in the mail I'm the one who knows what we can and can't purchase.

You would think as long as I wasn't asking anyone to pay my bills that that would be no one's business except Bill's and mine right? Wrong? Everyone had an opinion (the ones who were no longer receiving money from me) about my lack or willingness to indulge in overpriced ventures.

You need a job!!

What the Frak!!! (I love that word)

You know of course this tirade didn't just pop into my head so I'll tell you what brought it on and I'll do what's intended by doing so, give you a peek into a writer's life (mine)

My sister said those words to me yesterday as we were having a conversation about her recent shopping spree and my reasons for not making a purchase I badly want until I have the money in hand. (not plastic) She comes out with, "You need a job." And I answered, "I have a job."

And so I do. No, my job does not come with a regular paycheck and I can't make plans for purchases depending on advances or royalties. The pay I receive for my work has come in random spurts throughout my career. It is not something that I can promise anyone that I can do something on an exact date because I will have a paycheck. It is not like nursing where I received not only a weekly check but overtime and bonuses. But make no doubt about it, writing is a job. Most writers are not able to make a living at this job, but to say it's not a job is not only wrong, it demeans what we as writers do.

I've been asked in many interviews how many hours I devote to my writing. It's so hard to give an exact number of hours because even when I'm not sitting at the keyboard I'm running scenes in my mind. I write in my intimate moments, when I'm cooking, sleeping, bathing. It doesn't matter I'm always working. I have a job.

But having a job as a writer I've learned is one that most people who aren't writers don't respect and some that are writers don't as well. Family and friends do not value the time of writers. A call comes in. "What are you doing?" Answer. I'm working." The caller continues as though you've said nothing at all. Why? They don't think I have a job.

Now let's take the Internet. Three to four times a week someone sends me a sample of their work to critique. Never mind that they don't ask, don't know me and even go so far as to tell me they've never read my work. AHH there's that word again, Work. I work. I have a job. Then there are the ones that wants to give me ideas, tell me what to write about. And we can't leave out the ones who contact me to write their books for them.

Yeah, this is a long post I know. If you're still reading but wish I'd end this, sorry, I don't see an end in sight. Let me briefly hit you with the basics. First I write a rough draft of a book, then edit it and edit it again. Then it goes to my editor and comes back to me and I edit it three times before sending it back to her. Then there comes the galley and the proofing. This is just the tip of a writer's life. As a writer, heck as a human, you should give back and I try to do just that. I read contest entries for various contests, I attempt to blog occasionally. Take this blog for example. It was created for a way for Parker authors to connect with the readers. If readers are reading they are leaving no evidence. We're doing it for the readers but it's the writers who read it, if anyone reads it at all. So I work for little reward, but I fraking work.

The long and short of it is this: I'm not alone in this. I believe most writers walk a tight rope between taking care of families, trying to keep our friendships intact and not wanting to be seen as anything but nice. I think we sometimes go too far in doing that. If we don't respect what we do then what the heck of course no one else is going to do it. In my RWA chapter I have several NYT bestselling authors. I'd love to get a quote from any of them for any of my books. But guess what? I know they work, they're writers. They don't have time to read my work (YES WORK) and give me a quote. I'm sensible to know that if I'm busy here on the bottom rung of the ladder that they're even more busy. It took me three years and a lot of trepidations to get one of my favorite authors to give me a quote for my upcoming vampire book. She works, she's crazy busy. I respect that. I didn't want to intrude on her time. I didn't want OT be one of the people like the ones I'm writing about. After three years I caved and asked reluctantly. She was most gracious and gave me a wonderful quote which I knew she would. But, she's a writer, she has a job, she's busy. Writers work at least twice as many hours per week as any other profession

So, since I know this is being read mainly by writers I'm going to give some unasked for advice. Guard your work and your time. You have a job to do the same as every other working American. Turn off the phone on the long talkers who won't accept that you're working, send back the requests to read tons of unasked for material. You're working.

I do plan to take my own advice. I've been overworked (there's that word again) and stressed out for the past month. Why? Because I've been doing so much busy work that I haven't devoted any time to my job. I'm making up excuses to get out of going to dinners and parties. I'm drained, weary and just plain bone tired. And the one thing I want to do most is this "JOB" that people think I don't have. I may be wholly underpaid for the number of hours that I put in, but it brings me contentment. And it is a job whether I love it or not. It is a job.

I'm a fraking writer!! I have a fraking job! Now leave me the frak alone so I can do my fraking work.

F.D. Davis

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love is the 3rd degree

Thinking about love in all the wrong places this last few weeks. When I returned to my cruise, my son asked me if I'd found a man. Being a widow, I have to admit, I looked, but it's too recent for me. The idea of finding a man started me thinking about younger men. After all, I'm only 60, soon to be 61, but looking at the men on my cruise, they were all (besides married) pot-bellied, bald (so was my late husband especially after chemo) hunched over and already shuffling around the deck like they were 20 or 30 years older. So I decided I want a younger man. Not too much younger, maybe 45-50 (yes, and with an income). After all this is the day of the cougar woman looking at men and not being intimidated by her age or theirs. Which got me to thinking about the actress Ruth Gordon who married Garson Kanin 15 years younger than she was in 1942. That was 67 years ago long before cougars were more visually on the prowl. What a love story that must have been. To have thumbed her nose at convention during a time when women were not allowed to even have careers outside the home without suffering censure.

Today, Mary Tyler Moore is also thumbing her nose at convention with a husband many years younger than she is. If she can do it, if Ruth Gordon can do it, then so can I. Which did bring me back to writing. Though somewhat haphazardly. I started thinking about women in writing. For years, women had to write under a man's name because women were not readily accepted in what was once considered a male dominated career. Yet some of the best literature was written by women; the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, George Elliot, Mary Shelley, Pearl S. Buck, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou (I added her here because I consider her a bridge from the past to the future), Willa Cather and Dorothy Parker. These women changed the face of literature and did so with grace and intelligence.

March was National Women's History month and I'll admit, I completely forgot. So I'm celebrating now. To all those women who changed the face of history from Josephine Baker to Beyonce, from Toni Morrison to Nora Roberts, from Harper Lee to Benazir Bhutto. I salute you.

To all women everywhere - YOU ROCK!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Hero!

I had been looking for that man everywhere – on the Metro, at the grocery store, in the bookstore and on the street. A couple of times I thought I’d found him, but on closer inspection – well, you know…

So I turned to the internet. Oh, there ought to be a law! But it’s living proof of what my good girlfriend always says: “there is somebody for everybody!”

And then on the day when I least expected it, I found him! We were both at an event that lasted several days. I had ample opportunity to check him out. He was tall. He had a nice smile, which was good. He seemed to be a gentleman, which was very good. And then I made my move, even though he was with another woman. Here’s how it went:

“Uh, excuse me. I’m writing another book and you’re exactly as I pictured the hero. Can I take your picture?”

He realized immediately that I wasn’t trying to hit on him, especially since I had a just given the entire group the scoop on “From Dusk to Dawn.” He graciously agreed, and I lived to tell the tale, although I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. Blame it on moonlight over the Caribbean, but next time I’ll stick to a magazine.

Writers, how do you find the perfect image for your hero? Readers, have you seen a man on the street who made you say “that’s him!” (Not out loud, of course) (LOL)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finding That Special Someone Begins With You.

This month I fiqured I would do an article on love. It seems as if we women and men are looking for that perfect mate to make our lives-perfect. Well maybe one day science will allow us to build our mate from the inside out, but until my article. Thanks.

Some people would say that finding the perfect man or woman is like searching for a needle in a haystack right? Wrong. It isn't the perfect mate we are so critical in finding, but the idea of perfection that we are trully seeking. Well unfortunatedly we're not living in a perfect world and life is not perfect, and neither are the people we love or hope to love in our future. We all have our faults and no matter how hard we try, we will never reach that scale of perfection. God made only one perfect man, his son Jesus. So we have to work with what we have here on earth. God has given us free will to choose what's right and wrong and it is up to us as individuals to determined what road we will take. We all are guilty of imperfection, so how can we expect our mate to be perfect when we ourselves are not? If we constantly expect something outside the scope of reality, then our dreams will certainly turned into nightmares. To expect perfection from one another is like expecting it never to rain again.

On the other hand, should we just give up and accept being hurt, cheated on, lied to and used? Of course not. We must take responsibility for our own actions in our pursuit of happiness and stop depending solely on others to make us happy. We must look within ourselves and strive to be the individual that we are seeking. If we want truth in our relationship, then we should be truthful. If we want trust in our relationship, then we should be trustworthy. If we expect honesty and integrity in our relationship, then we should have honesty and integrity in us. Therefore when we encounter that special someone, the qualities we desire and so desperately seek is brought to the table. In doing so, not making us perfect but instead, giving us the opportunity to pursue the level of happiness we want in our lives. Being happy and fulfilled begins on the inside of us. You heard the phrase charity begins at home. Well it is true. So if you are seeking that special someone, fill your soul with what you are looking for in that person, and in doing so you will find that man or woman of your dreams.

Janie De Coster
author of Broken Commandments

Friday, April 3, 2009

Those HOT romance HUNKS

I've been feeling a little down lately so I thought I'd talk about something we all love, men! LOL. I'm talking those sexy heroes in the romance novels we all devour. When I'm reading a book, the hero is instrumental in whether I love a story or not. I have to relate to the heroine in some way and I have to like her but I have to love the hero. Not sure if all readers are that way (or maybe I'm the only one who is man crazy) but it's true. All of my favorite books, those books that are on my keeper shelf, are books with a hero that I fell head over heels for. He stole my heart right along with the heroines. It's hard to say what my "type" is because a lot of the heroes I love so much don't fit the same mold. Some are easy going, some are tortured, some have big bucks while others are those sexy working men with callused fingers and faded blue jeans (*sigh*). Somehow or another he has to make my heart go pitter-patter. He has to make me fall in love with him.

I'm the same way when it comes to the heroes I write. I try to write a man that women can fall in love with. I have fun writing the heroes in my books. Trying to figure out how they would think, how a man would think and then half the time make them do the complete opposite. LOL. That's what's so endearing, IMO. When the hero is lost with the heroine. When he doesn't know whether he's coming or going and he almost always screws up.

A couple of the heroes I've written always stand out in my mind. One of them is Nico, from my novel, Unexpected Mr. Right. I love him because he's so confident, and sure of himself. He's a ladies man through and through yet Tabby gets him upside down. Even though Nico is in unfamiliar water, he never runs. He may not know what the hell he's doing, but Nico knows women and he sure is going to figure out what it is she stirs inside him. Plus he's fun, he's jokester and he brings that to Tabby's life.

Another is Ryan from my novella, Enjoying the Ride, in the What White Boyz Ride anthology. *sigh* I just love Ryan. He's a man, he's rugged, sexy. He has money but you'd never know it. He's a worn pair of blue jeans, cold beer kind of man. He's laid back, easy going, and loves to smile. He made me smile while I was writing him.

Do you read more for the hero or heroine? What kind of heroes do you like to read about? Who are some of your favorite heroes you've written if you're a writer, or read if you're a reader?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools on me...

The first of every month is my usual post day. For some reason, I couldn't get the dates straight so I'm a little late in the game. There's a lot of catching up to do but I am excited to announce that not long ago we received wonderful news that Publisher's Weekly would like to review our books! This is phenomenal news and proves that the industry is finally taking notice of our amazing authors! I'm thrilled and now need to get something written for one of our lines! :)

In another exciting news, The Romance Studio gave ART OF SENSUALITY a 4 1/25 out of 5 Hearts review!

This leads me to authors, we spend way too much time anticipating whether they're going to love us or loathe us. There's sites like Mrs. Giggles, Smart Bitches, and so on...that love to bash authors...not to say that they don't also rave when they like a particular book, but being at the receiving end of a bad's tough to take sometimes. I spent plenty of time not trying to pay attention to reviews, except for the ones that count (in my book) like the Romantic Times BookReviews or Publisher's Weekly. But what I've learned from all this is that whether a negative or a positive review is issued, I feel like it's free promotion. Even if it's a scathing review, chances are, a reader will pick up your work just to see if the critic has been too harsh. I know I view the reviews like movie reviews, there are often critically praised movies that totally disappointed me so I give those poorly reviewed movies a fighting chance.

Over the years, I've learned to grow a thick skin because in the journey of writers, not every book we write is our best work. It may be the best that we could write at that moment, but we have to keep in mind that even literary greats have been panned. We just need to remember that although most reviewers aren't writers, they don't know how difficult it is to finish a book, to tell a story the way we do, or to understand the workings of our mind as we write. When I see a poor review, I have the urge to tell the critic to try to write a book....let's see how quickly they'll understand all that goes into finishing one. Again, it's just opinion and the next time a review comes in, I am just grateful I have a book to submit to be read by someone.

So, how do you cope when you receive a review? What ticks you off, what makes you feel bubbly inside? I wanna know how you deal with reviews...