They’re Not Me

This week the challenge asks a question every writer will have to field sooner or later. “How much of you are in your writing?”

In some ways, every author leaves a little of themselves on the page. It might be an unconscious leakage of a childhood memory appearing in the hero’s past or places we’ve been that became settings in our books. 

Another interpretation of the prompt relates to me as my characters. Am I my characters? Nope! I haven’t traveled in outer space or hunted treasures like Indiana Jones. Only in my imagination did I ride the desert with the Rat Patrol, fly missions with the bombers of the 918th on 12 O’Clock High or join the black sheep of VMF-214 in their Corsairs in the Pacific Theater (Baa Baa Black Sheep.)

Then there was the me that helped Illya Kuryakin and Napoleon Solo save the world. I won’t admit which of the hunky Men From U.N.C.L.E. was my favorite. Now you can see why adventure and action must be in my stories. There are areas where I admit to writing myself into my books–and that is an attitude. All my heroes and heroines have a strong belief in duty and honor. To quote Detective Vincent Hardy in Striking Distance, “Loyalty above all else… except honor.”

Conflicts between loyalties appears in Windmaster Legacy when Lord Dal must decide between saving his mother, his wife, or to honor his role as archmage and save magic for all future generations.

Some authors create characters that are mirror images of themselves. Either as they are in real life or who they want to be. Except for Lady Ellspeth, captain of Sea Falcon, and myself both having silver hair, my characters and I don’t share any physical characteristics. While Ellspeth loves the crustaceans found in her native seas of Nerelan, and I love Gulf shrimp, I firmly state — I’m not my characters.

For more on the Windmaster Novels, click on the covers. The home page for the 2018 #MFRWauthor 52-week are at

~till next time, Helen


Contests and Crickets

When I saw the topic list for 2018, I knew from the start that I wouldn’t complete all 52 posts. There were just some that were either too personal or not relevant. At first I thought this week would be one. The temptation to rant would be too much. However, I decided to write a few words. If you’ve followed my blogs, especially the challenge posts, you’ll note that I tend towards darker thoughts.

First, I’d like to say I’m not a contest person. Maybe it’s my Scotch blood but I never had an interest in gambling. Spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on contest entries to me was just throwing money away. Now you could say that you are paying for exposure, or the possibility of having an award sticker on your website. That idea never held much water for me, just as I wouldn’t give away novel after novel for the privilege of exposure.

I admit that I experimented with contests as a method of promotion. It didn’t matter if it was a cover war, a reader’s contest, consideration for a publication contract, or for actual money. The result was the same.

It didn’t matter if I was with a publisher where the authors swore to assist each or the entry was as an independent author struggling against the tide. 

It didn’t matter how hard I promoted or begged for votes. The results were the same — the sound of crickets. 

Now I choose to believe that the non-existent votes were not the result of poor design or poor writing. More than one author has expressed the feeling that many contests are popularity contests. A point to note, never in my life was I the popular girl. Never the lead cheerleader standing in front of the crowds, I was the one who did the grunt work to make the event happen.

Will I ever enter another contest? Maybe. Will I ever expect to win? That answer is for me to know and you to guess. If you want to join the 2018 MFRWauthor 52-week challenge, the other topics are at

~till next time, Helen

The Worst Gift – Piracy

Often on social media sites you will see a post or a tweet from an author offering a free copy of their book in exchange for a review. Or you may see a graphic of a box decorated with a bow and the caption, “The greatest gift a reader can give — a review.” Or  the variant, “Support A Local Author – Leave a Review.”

review a book 2160539_1920

Pixabay Image, used under Creative Commons License

What you don’t hear about as often is the worst gift you can give an author, “Piracy.” Print books are being offered on pirate torrent sites in multiple digital formats. Sometimes without the author even selling a single copy.

Imagine your anger/resentment/despair when you’ve found out that for every book you sell, 10,000 are downloaded for free — stolen from you. Adding insult to injury is when someone asks you for a copy of book 2,3 or 4 in a series. “I enjoyed book 1 so much but don’t want to pay for the rest. Won’t you send them to me for free? Not to review, just to read and then pass on. I have a site I upload books to.”

A digital ebook is NOT for passing on like a hard copies. It needs to be treated like software and like that other digital product is subject to copyright protection and infringement enforcement.

Now nothing is going to stop the pirates when they play the shell game with their names. Those who can make a difference are those who repeatedly upload a copy  of a book as soon as a copyright violation request takes one down. People who download a book for free from known, or obvious pirate sites, aren’t stealing from big corporations who can afford it. Then could literally be taking away the food an author needs to live on.

As to what started this rant, an article by a reviewer about reviewers selling advanced reader copies. I hope you’ll read, Reviewers selling ARC’s.

The next time rather than downloading a “free ebook pdf,” I hope you’ll consider borrowing the paperback from the library,  or for digital versions, get it from Overdrive via your local library or one of the legitimate lending libraries.

An even better option would be to consider buying the book. An author will thank you.

~till next time, Helen

I can’t write anymore

It’s Friday. Time for the next post in the challenge. Many of the prompts in the 52 posts in 52 weeks challenge dare the participating authors to reveal something personal about themselves. This week I am supposed to reveal what I would do if I couldn’t be a writer. That topic has been on my mind a lot recently. Several authors I know quite writing last year or at the start of this one. Among the reasons they give are the ways sales sites discriminate, the gaming of their systems, constant algorithm changes that reduce your opportunities, and the top two reasons given are the small return on ebooks and pirates stealing more than we make.

So what would be the follow-on career of choice. At first I pulled out a couple of old dreams — starship officer, interstellar explorer, or time traveler. Even with today’s technology, none of those are feasible. So I’ll go in another direction.
Read the rest of the post here. Thanks for stopping by. ~till next time Helen

Tuesday Title, Rescuing Prince Charming

Rescuing HoorneartShe’s no heroine. He’s no Prince Charming

Title:  Rescuing Prince Charming

Author:  Edward Hoornaert

Date of Release:  December 4, 2017
Genre:  Science Fiction Romance

Buy Links:  Amazon    Apple iTunes


Dusty Johnson, a self-styled ordinary, everyday woman, responds with extraordinary heroism when saboteurs try to bomb the prototype of Earth’s first starship. She wants to return to anonymity, but that burst of courage propels her ever deeper into dangers that tear the scabs off her dark past — and thrust her into the arms of the unattainable man of her dreams.

Reese Eaglesbrood, an alien prince, yearns to restore his tattered reputation by guiding the starship project to completion, but his fascination with the unassuming heroine threatens to undermine his fragile authority. Shunning Dusty is necessary, yet unthinkable — and when the saboteurs strike again, she may be his only ally against Earth’s most elusive enemies. 

Author Bio:

What kind of guy writes romance? A guy who married his high school sweetheart a week after graduation and still lives the HEA decades later. A guy who’s a certifiable Harlequin hero—he inspired Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Rita Award finalist Mr. Valentine, which is dedicated to him.

Ed started out writing contemporary romances for Silhouette Books, but these days he concentrates on science fiction romance. He’s been a teacher, principal, technical writer, salesman, janitor, and symphonic oboist. He and wife Judi live in Tucson , Arizona . They have three sons, a daughter, a mutt, and the galaxy’s most adorable grandsons.

Visit him at

Goodbye to 2017


Welcome to the final week of the 2017 challenge. And it has been a challenge. We’ve revealed something about ourselves, both personal and professional. Some posts were easy (and had a number of us thinking on the same lines) others… let’s just say they required quite a bit of introspection before putting fingers to keyboard.

Recently I saw award-winning Jacqueline Seewald’s blog post on New Year’s Resolution. The title was perfect, “Let’s Start the New Year Right.”

But how to do that?

Read the rest of the post at Goodbye to 2017

~till next time, Happy New Year. In the upcoming days,

May your troubles be less,
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness come through your door.





Advice to a New Author

It’s week 51. Only one more week to go in this year’s challenge. Thanks for hanging in there with us. This week’s topic is “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

First off, while I practice “pass it along” and try to help the next generation of writers as I was helped, I don’t like to give “advice” as such. Writing is just too individual an activity and our readers are just as varied.

There are books filled with advice of how to write the best seller. Sometimes the information is valuable, other times its just common sense. It could make you rich or fill the coffers of the one who wrote the book. However, after filtering through all the advice I’ve given, or received, over the years, I’ll just give one.

Read the rest of the post at Then be sure to visit the advice given by the other authors.