Friday, July 31, 2015

Some of My Favorite...Authors!

Okay...who do I like to read?

I actually have a little black hard cover pocket notebook in which I keep a page for each of my favorite authors with a list of their books that I own. I also keep track of their upcoming new books, publication dates and whether or not I've pre-ordered them because it I don't keep notes I tend to buy them two or three times! I'm either very forgetful, or very enthusiastic about the authors I follow and love!

Here's the short list-

Darynda Jones  (if you aren't familiar with Charley, Reyes and Cookie SHAME ON YOU!)
Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mysteries)
Amanda Stevens  (Graveyard series)
Jonathan L. Howard  (Johannes Cabal, the Goon Squad serial, etc.)
Alan Bradley  (Flavia de Luce series)
Linda Castillo
Christina Trent
Kylie Logan
Andrew Martin  (railway books)
Sarah Graves
Carol McLeary
Jennie Bentley
Stefanie Pintoff
Clause Izner
Casey Daniels
C.S. Harris (Sebastian St. Cyr)
Kevin Hearne  (Iron Druid series)
Judy Clemens  (Grim Reaper series)
Tessa Harris
Charles Palliser
Charlotte MacLeod
Charles Dickens
Victor Hugo
Anne Perry
and probably a whole lot Nook is dead as a doornail at the moment. Half my library resides there.  The other half is scattered all over the house in various piles.

Who has influenced me the most as a writer? 

I really can't answer that. I honestly don't know.

My Magical Life

I have started a major overhaul of My Magical Life to eradicate comma issues- commas being the current bane of my existence. I know they're useful. I know they're necessary. But I can't be bothered with inserting them where they belong when I'm writing, therefore, I must drag the ball and chain of good basic punctuation usage around one last time on this one. Tweaking the text a bit too to make it flow more smoothly in places. 86 pages into the 256 page project.

The reward at the end of this long row I'm hoeing is Love Me Knots which is in development. I love my little romance stories, and so do a lot of my circle of friends who read them. Therefore, it's time to start putting together a few volumes of these stories.

Kelly seems to be enjoying her Portugal vacation. Had a picture of her in my text messages, holding a humongous pine cone!

This is the last weekend of the National Button Society show/convention in Manchester, NH.  Wish I could have gone, but it's difficult for me to walk on hills, and stand on my feet for hours and hours. RA has sucked the fun out of my life at the moment. Hurts to walk and stand a lot but I'm not so bad that I need an assistive device or wheelchair, so it's limiting and frustrating. I still keep working, hauling heavy charts around...I'm not going down easily, that's for sure!

Anyway...going to go back to My Magical Life in a more post to follow- a brief one!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Another Book in Development Stage

Well, last night before bed, while all keyed up with Kelly flying out of Boston to Portugal for a two-week vacation, with her best friend Bethany and Bethany's Mom, at 10:15PM, I sat in the kitchen and looked through my notebook of story titles and genres and decided to put together a volume of romance stories. Time to steer away from the supernatural, although Kelly wants me to self publish Talon: An Intimate Familiarity still.  I will, maybe before the end of the year. The three Christmas story volumes need to be the focus of my attention next, after Love Me Knots, which is the title of the next book I'll be self-publishing in the near future, after a major proofreading and editing marathon.

In this new book will be 4 novelettes and 1 novella- Stage Stop, Sweetheart Lake, Making the Right Choice, Flintlock & Scalpel and Not Always Black and White. The characters of Rex Royce and Lucie Palmer from the previously self-published novel The Subtlety of Black and White reappear in Not Always Black and White.  In this novelette I explored what might have happened if Rex and Lucie had broken up due to all the stress they had been under at the gallery.  Lucie has moved on and become a photojournalist, living at Sweetheart Lake, while Rex remains at his gallery, Perspectives, at Whisper Lake. Royce suddenly appears on her doorstep one afternoon to offer her a chance to exhibit her photography at his gallery. He has been following her new career, and as Lucie considers his offer, which she at first declines, she realizes that her feelings for him have not changed, and his for her have not either. It's a somewhat rocky road back into a relationship that ended because of Lucie's youthfulness and misunderstandings on both their parts. Ultimately, they find their renewed relationship is exactly what they both want and need.

My family and friends tell me that I write sweet romance stories that make them feel good. I hope that's true!

Had texts and photos from Bethany (she has the international cellphone plan on her phone) from Logan Airport last night and a taxi in Lisbon, Portugal this morning. Just had another text that they are at Bethany's grandmother's home and have eaten lunch. I can relax now that they are safely at their destination as they begin their two week vacation in what we have heard is a beautiful country. I can't wait to see all the pictures Kelly will bring home on her new camera!

Off to make some book deliveries to my sister and brother this afternoon, then a road trip with my friend Darlene this evening. John has a birthday coming up next week. Hope to find him something interesting tonight in New Haven, CT at IKEA. He loves to cook!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Portugal & Resolution

Today Kelly is leaving for a two-week vacation in Portugal with her former college roommate and Bethany's mother. They'll be flying out of Logan tonight for the overnight flight to Lisbon. She's nervous and so am I- this is her first international flight, the first time she's off to a foreign country. I know she'll be fine staying with Bethany's grandmother, seeing all the beautiful sights- it's just hard to let her go, and that's rather selfish of me. Will be dealing with all this today.

Finally finished the final proofreading and edit of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume II last night. Uploaded the new and improved file this morning. Tonight I should be able to okay it and get it on the market. I changed the cover color from yellow-orange to pumpkin. I really do not like the color gold, although that's the background color for Halloween Story and it works for that.

Kelly is taking a full set of seven books to Bethany today. Bethany is also a writer and has a novel we downloaded and will be helping her edit and proofread after Kelly's vacation.

I talked to my sister last night about a variety of things. She has a very enthusiastic friend who will help promote my books. I need to add Halloween Story to the flyer Kelly started.  Will need to add the info that books are available on and can also be purchased directly from me using PayPal, or by sending me a check in the mail- will have to work all that out as far as adding shipping and handling to the cost of the book. If books are purchased directly through me I may be able to give a discount.

Well- have to go say goodbye and safe journey to my daughter, then go to work.  At least I feel as though I've accomplished something during the chaos here getting her ready to travel!!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tiniest Spider & Changing Leaves

I was sitting in my chair going through yet another proofreading when I see this little bright thing fall onto the top of the left lens of my glasses. The cat is on the back of the chair behind my head and neck, kind of catnapping, so I knew it was nothing of his doing. There is definitely something on the lens so I take off my glasses and look, not know what to expect.  What do I find? An almost microscopic size very pale golden spider- the teeniest, tiniest spider I have ever seen. I am not a fan of spiders but I managed to refrain from freaking out about even this miniscule spider. I stood up, carried my glasses into the kitchen and shook it off into the sink. Not sure where it went, but at least it wasn't on me or anything connected to me any longer!!

My minutes spent out in nature today resulted in this observation- it is July 25th and I can see a number of trees that have leaves changing color already! Isn't this a little early? Two look as if it's October already! Kind of disconcerting.

Was up late last night doing further organization of the holiday stories and realized I have 25 stories that will fill four volumes of about 240-250 pages apiece.  Then again, this is 16 years of writing Christmas stories...this is going to take an incredible amount of work to prepare, so, I'd better work through this one last proofreading and edit of The Archetypes-First Generation and be done with it because, quite frankly, I am more than ready to wrap this one up after seven readings and numerous edits and rewrites of various sections to smooth it all out more.  Because self-published authors don't get advances from big publishers this is basically all a labor of love that may reap very little if any reward other than the fact that I got off my ass and just did it because it was what I wanted to do- there's some satisfaction in working hard and getting a finished product you are happy with, even if it only makes you happy. (My husband is not supportive in the least, but Kelly is very supportive because she also writes and knows how much a writer invests in anything they produce, so that's a good thing. My closest friends are also supportive and that helps make a difference at the end of a long discouraging day.)

The fox woke me this morning, barking in the driveway at 4:15AM. I could not get back to sleep so this has been a long day, almost seventeen hours awake. Starting to drag...but never an early night around here for me.

Back to the FINAL proofreading of Archetypes- 46 pages to go.

Was a perfect beach day- hope some of you who live close to the ocean, a lake, a pond, a swimming hole- whatever- managed to have some fun in the sun today!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sun Dog

Went to WalMart with Kelly tonight to get some index cards so I can start getting the three volumes of Christmas Stories organized.  As we were driving down the aisle to park we looked up at the always interesting sky and there was a round spot that was a perfect rainbow sphere. Pretty amazing, the show nature puts on for us when we're scurrying around not paying attention to anything but our immediate needs.  So- tonight, I just want to say grab a chair, haul it out into your back yard, your front yard, side yard, the middle of the street you live on-whatever- but just go outdoors tomorrow for fifteen minutes and look at nature. Do NOT take your cellphone or any other source of distraction. Just sit outdoors and look at the sky, the grass, the ants in the anthill, the butterfly fluttering about, the dragonflies stitching the air on gossamer wings- and enjoy the simplicity and beauty that surrounds us every day that we take for granted. Fifteen minutes alone with nature- let me know what you experienced, what you saw, hear, felt, smelled or maybe even tasted if you choose to chew on a blade of grass. Tonight I shared a sun dog.

 Yesterday I could have written about the young mourning dove taking a breather on the back deck railing. It really didn't seem too concerned about me and the cats. It was about 1/2 the size of a regular adult mourning dove, and its feather were all ruffled up, standing out every which way giving it a sort of punk appearance. It groomed itself, watched us in the kitchen door for awhile then turned its back on us and gazed out across the yard. It was there for half an hour or more, then flew off as Kelly cam around the house from the drive way when she got home from work.

Often, when running errands after dinner, Kelly and I see something and say,
"Oh, damn! We forgot the camera again!" We especially like to chase thunderstorms, capturing the ominous black clouds, the rainbows that often appear after one passes through, the bright sunlight outlining dark clouds.  I've always been a cloud watcher, seeing things in the clouds. Now she does the same thing. We've captured awesome dragons, a witch astride a broom, a black-faced sheep, fingerprints in the blue sky, whales, angels, and a sheepdog! You just have to look, and employ a little imagination. But I have seen cloud pictures other cloud watchers have posted on facebook and the internet, and I do see what they see in them!

Gail wants a book about a spider for her niece who is afraid of spiders. Have been kicking around some ideas that I need to develop to deliver the story.  I wrote stories all the time for Kelly when she was little. I haven't written a children's story in quite awhile since my child is now 24-years old, and I always wrote above her level. I surrounded her with books and stories when she was growing up. She has read things I've written that I didn't even know she'd read- like my 240,000+ word epic novel I wrote for my friend Darlene one year- but never gave it to her! I had no idea Kelly had read it! So, I am a little nervous about writing a children's story- we'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I need to get back to editing the third novella in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume II now that Kelly has done a read through and fixed some of its woes. I have been reading The Archetypes-First Generation again and grinding my teeth at the number of things I have to go back in and fix after three edits already! It can't just be me, it has to be part of the file transfer. I would have caught crazy crap like I am finding in the first half dozen read throughs! Well, I'll tackle the text one more time and we'll see what happens. I really don't plan on promoting my books until I'm happy with them...if I'm ever happy with them!!

Remember- enjoy a few minutes with beautiful Mother Nature tomorrow and if you want to drop me a comment about what you experience I'd be happy to hear from you!

Launch Week

This has been a stressful week as I've put a number of titles out there in the marketplace. Just when you think everything is as perfect as it can be, you go back and read the book one more time, and find additional errors. I don't know if this is me or the process of converting the is rather frustrating to think I've read these books a five or six times and thought I had fixed all the typos and such...I am beginning to think there is no such thing as perfect!

I will be pulling The Archetypes soon to make revisions. It shouldn't take long to remedy the errors I'm finding. The big issue was one awkward transition near the end that could cause some confusion, just before someone shoots Amanda. Have to clarify that it is a different day after she reveals the contents of the letter to Beans.

Kelly has been proofreading the stories I've chosen to be included in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume III. These stories have been sitting on the dining room table for a month and a half because they were meant for volume II but the three novellas ended up in that book. I am picking and choosing, trying to put together the best of them.

I was also up late one night trying to work out the best arrangement for the three volumes of Christmas stories I want to do. I  made a list and was surprised that I have 24 holiday stories that I've written since 1999 when I started writing an annual Christmas story for family and friends. I missed a year or two after my mother died in 2000. But some years I've written more than one. I need to balance the books- some stories are poignant, some amusing, some inspirational. So I have too lists going- type of story and word count because they range from short story to novelette to novella. I'll figure it out and work on it while Kelly is in Portugal for two weeks on vacation with her friend Bethany and Bethany's mother Isabel.  It will be strange for me not to have my assistant home to help and offer her advice, but it's going to take a lot of time to work out the best arrangement for the stories in each volume.  She'd most likely get bored with the process. I think I will write the title and word count on index cards and then use the cards to list the contents of each book. I can maneuver the cards around easily.

Today is my best friend Darlene's birthday. I made her pink cupcakes with pale spring green frosting. I found this decorating gel at the store last night that is clear with colored dots in it. Kelly put a bling dot on top of each cupcake in the center- look like jewels! I made a few flowers on others with the dewdrop center, pink petals and yellow inside the petals. Happy Birthday, Darlene Gogal!!

Weekend coming! Enjoy! Weather here in western MA is gorgeous right now!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Night July 23rd

Just finished the final edits of Halloween Story, a young reader (fourth grade?) and submitted the file for review. Hopefully, tomorrow morning I will be able to approve it and this 48-page book will be ready for retail sale.  Kelly has always like this story. I have a friend who has a nine-year old niece. Grace has read some of my stories for children in the past- Monsters No More (published in a children's anthology when Kelly was maybe 4-years old) and Prince Hubert, the Chicken (a story I made up for Kelly when she was very sick with bronchitis when she was little- we were lying in bed together with the humidifier chuffing steam like a dragon. She wanted a story so I made one up about a little prince who is afraid of everything. The royal wizard struggles to find a magic potion to make him brave. The little prince drinks it down, then charges off to fight a dragon. He and the dragon battle long and hard then become friends. Turns out the only thing the wizard came up with was grape soda!) and liked them. She's excited to be a beta reader of this book, and I'll get a better idea of the age level it should be marketed to.

I have mouse-scrolling finger tonight from all the proofreading and editing I've been doing- sort of like carpal tunnel syndrome in my right index finger! Ouch! Time to give it a rest!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Work Day

I now have Wednesdays off from my regular job as a medical secretary as part of a job-sharing venture.  I can now dedicate an entire day to writing undisturbed as John and Kelly are both at work and the house is quiet. 

Monday was book launch day for four titles- The Subtlety of Light and Shadow, My Magical Life, The Archetypes-First Generation, and Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I.  Still seems unreal when I go to and type my name in and there they are.  It's a little unnerving too because there is a sense of vulnerability involved in this whole process of writing and sharing ones work. Some people will like it and some will not. You really need to have a bit of heart and soul armor as an author because when you write you literally invest your heart and soul into your work and it is going to hurt if someone says something bad about it. Am I tough enough to take it? Probably- I tried going the regular route, submitting stories and novels and received nothing but rejections and I didn't go jumping off a bridge into the murky waters of the Connecticut or anything- just felt a profound sense of disappointment, though not in myself and my work...just in general with the world of publishing.

Anyway, I wanted to write a little bit about how I write. My older sister, Lynnmarie May, writes children's stories and poetry.  She and I have totally different styles and manners of writing. When I talk to her about writing she quite literally baffles me with talk about outlines and plots and character development and so on and so forth.  She has pages of notes and outlines or the progression of her stories and such. It seems like a long, agonizing drawn-out process. She tells me a lot of authors and writers write like this.

I tell her, well, I can't write like that. I just sit down at the computer and start writing. It's more or less like taking dictation from a voice in my head that is telling me the story, and I am just the avenue through which this voice works.  I call it my muse. My muse creates, I just type. Kelly can vouch for this.  I sometimes have to ask her what a certain characters name was back in chapter four and she'll remind me, because she reads everything I write almost as fast as I type it. When I first started writing I never jotted down a reminder or a note about a character name, a town they lived in, something they did that needed to be resolved later on. I just wrote like the wind and the whole story, the whole novel was right there direct from brain to printed page at the press of a button. I have actually written while listening to music and not even known what I was writing about until it was finished and I read it- and said, Wow, where did that come from? 

I think my sister is one kind of writer and I am another. She works hard and slaves over her craft. I can probably say I work hard, as sitting there typing is a chore in and of itself, but I rarely struggle and agonize over anything. It all more or less just flows smoothly from point A (the area in my brain where my muse resides) to point B (the computer, in this case my little Dell netbook that I have used now for four or five years- so much so that the letters are worn off half the keys!!) 

I have moderate rheumatoid arthritis and suffer huge flare-ups that I can do little about due to allergies to the usual medications used to treat this.  I was on Enbrel for a couple of years and landed at the pulmonologist with asthma-like symptoms- a lot of wheezing, chest tightness. He did some tests but my pulmonary function was fine- even though he could hear the wheezing. Finally, I did some research on my own and discovered that Enbrel can cause this, so I stopped injecting myself with that (much to the annoyance of my rheumatologist) and the pulmonary issues resolved. So, now I am just on the maximum dose of methotrexate, a drug that scares me, but it does a little bit to help. I am allergic to NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve and can't take Celebrex because of a sulfa drug allergy. I can only take Tylenol Extra Strength and Arthritis Strength, and generic Robaxin for the muscle cramps and spasms that plague me at night when I'm trying to sleep. Some days it's a struggle to type.  Some days it's difficult to even think. The other weapon in my limited pain relief arsenal is meditation. Luckily for me I was taught how to meditate in the state police academy during a sergeant's basic training course of all places. We were taught this as a means of stress relief, but I've found that I can meditate and find relief from chronic pain as well. So, if it looks like I'm just sitting there doing nothing, staring off into space, daydreaming or whatever, I am most likely just meditating, so kindly leave me alone and I will be back shortly!

The point of the above is that as my health issues progress, I'm finding it a little harder to stay focused on writing. On good days, I can sit at the kitchen table and write the whole day and into night. On bad days, well, it's like trying to break through a cement wall with a blade of grass. I just can't do it. Since this virus struck me back on Kelly's birthday, June 26th, it has totally messed me up. I had to stop the methotrexate, which wipes out ones immune system, so I could fight the virus better. I had to take antibiotics for fourteen days because I have chronic sinusitis due to medications I take and a chronic underlying sinus infection that flared up and had to be treated. And the stress of all that has caused a big flare-up of the arthritis with joint and tendon pain and stiffness. It's been nearly a month since I got sick and while the virus is gone, the aftermath has not been a picnic in the park, to say the least. I am not writing right now because every joint in my hands ache and they're stiff. It hurts to hold or pick up anything.  I just want this flare-up to subside so I can feel like myself again!!

So, right now, I have launched the four books noted above and am working on the volume of three novellas, nearly finished with the final edit of the first story. I also started going through Halloween Story, Kelly's project for me and am making a few changes. The cover she chose shows a girl dressed as a witch and a little boy dressed as a pirate. In the story, the little boy is dressed as a spaceman, so I'm changing that to Patrick being dressed as a pirate so it coordinates with the cover image.

Today I will be continuing editing and proofreading the novellas, and making the changes to Halloween Story- and enjoying the fresh air coming through the open windows now that the heat and humidity we've been enduring has passed! Oh, happy day!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday's Doings

Had a productive day working with Kelly to create a booklet featuring all my books that will be available this week on Also, she shared her template for a business card so that I could create a business card for myself in preparation for doing fairs and such.

Today I revised the interiors of all three novels and both story collections and submitted the revised files. The last step will be approving them all tomorrow-  then the books will be available for sale!!

Kelly suggested that I use my pseudonym, Victoria Bell, for my young reader and young adult novels, and my real name for my adult fiction. I agreed with that since Medea is actually a young adult novel. I wrote it for her originally (the shorter version) when she was in middle school. Last October she asked me to write a longer version as my NaNo novel, so that's how the novel version came about.

I taught her how to use CreateSpace last night. She spent the day preparing a young reader story, Halloween Story, for publication, so I put her in the driver's seat last night to create a book. The problem was was having issues last night, so we scraped that plan and tackled it this morning. She uploaded the file and reviewed it, created the cover and went through the entire process. She writes her own stories so one day she may be self-publishing her work, so a little training now won't hurt.

The final cover for Ghost Chasers:The Fairlawn Investigation arrived in today's email. I am so excited about it! Ben did a great job creating this cover for me using a photograph of the house that inspired the haunted house in the novel- a house I have loved since I was a little girl that would make me catch my breath every time we drove past it.  In the novel this house is set in northern Vermont.

Now, I need to find a house to represent the Victoria Wayfarer Inn on the coast of Maine where book two in the Ghost Chasers series is set.

The release of The Fairlawn Investigation is planned for later this year, maybe in the fall? I need to teach myself  how to upload images from my files instead of using stock images. As with everything the past month and a half, it is a learning experience, but I am enjoying every minute of it so far!

Finally, I need to sing the praises of my amazing daughter once again- she is a computer and technical whiz kid. I would be utterly lost without her talent and energy.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Publishing Author

Our computer crashed about a month ago, just as I was about to launch three books on  While waiting for my husband to order all the components necessary to build our new computer I did a lot of proofreading and editing so that the files would be ready when the new computer was finally up and running.

The new computer had some issues- the power supply wasn't big enough, the new mother board was defective. My frustration mounted as my projects were delayed, then delayed again.

Finally, the day arrived that the new computer was built, and functional!  But, alas, I was hit by a particularly nasty virulent virus that put me out of commission for nearly two weeks.

When I was finally feeling well enough, I jumped back into CreateSpace and worked on not three, but now five books, since during the computer downtime I had prepared another novel and a second story collection.  I was highly motivated and accomplished quite a lot.  I got all five books ready and ordered the proof copies.  They looked good in the online proof review phase, but as they suggest, it's always best to have a hard copy in hand to review before placing your books out there in the marketplace.

The proof copies arrived Thursday evening.  I can't describe how thrilling and amazing it is to actually hold a book you have written, designed and created in your hand.  The joy was five-fold.

However, because a self-publishing author does EVERYTHING from write the book to proofreading it, editing it, designing the interior layout, designing the cover, writing the back cover copy text, the about author page, the online description of the work, and about author suddenly seems like a monumental mountain to climb. I had five books, novels and stories I have read again and again...and now must read one more time, very closely, because I really can't stand it when books have errors in them. I have always read books with a pen in hand making corrections. It drives me crazy to find mistakes, misspelled words, grammar errors, misplaced commas...I am OCD like that, which is what prevented me from getting started in self-publishing in the first place. I was never completely satisfied with anything I wrote.

Anyway- today I have begun tackling the books, one book at a time, one page at a time, scrutinizing the cover, the back cover, the interior pages, the stories page by page- giving it all one last final thorough going over. I am finding mistakes and not liking it, but am happy that I have restrained my impulsive nature and am taking the time to tediously review each page before putting the books up on for sale.  It's just very slow and exacting work.  I am truly appreciative of professional proofreaders and editors (although lately I find a lot of mistakes in mass market books that should have been caught, so I guess no one is perfect and I shouldn't be so OCD about stuff since the professionals are letting things like that slip past their critical, discerning eyes...why aren't the authors catching these mistakes if they're getting proof copies? ) Okay, jumping down off my soapbox...

My goal is to have all five books available by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, I am awaiting the final cover design from my graphic artist for the first in a series of novels featuring the Amberton Paranormal Investigative Society, or Ghost Chasers. I enjoyed meeting Ben Tozloski at Barnes & Noble in Hadley, discussing what I wanted on the cover, then walking through the store looking at book covers, picking elements of design I liked and what I didn't like. I sent him a bunch of pictures I had saved on the computer of Second Empire mansions, but I didn't have a picture of the house in Northampton, MA that was the inspiration for the house in the first novel. I had loved that house since I was a little girl. I was always excited when we drove past it. There is a second house in Hatfield, MA that I also love, however, it was the house in Northampton that had inspired me. Because I was sick, I did a Google Earth search, found the address of the house and forwarded the info to Ben who then went, found the house and got a picture of it. He's been working on that for several weeks now, perfecting it with my input. I can hardly wait to see the finished project! I loved the prototype he sent. I love that house!! Also, it makes me happy that my work is all being kept at the local level- everything western MA- author, graphic artist and house that inspired the story!

Thunder in the distance has reminded me that I am supposed to be working my way through the stories in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I. This was one of the original three books I had ready before the computer crashed. I changed the cover by adding the red color instead of having it all in black and white, then technology failed me, but that was a good thing, since it forced me to slow down and be more careful about my work, made me realize that I wear every hat in the world of self-publishing so I'd better present the best possible product in the end- so bear with me as I tweak and tinker. I want to give my readers the best possible adventure when they open the cover of one of my books.

Upcoming Books

Since self-publishing Medea as Victoria Bell on June 4, 2015 I have prepared 3 novels and 2 story collections for self-publication using  These five books should be available on as early as next week.  I'm just waiting for the proof copies to arrive in the mail, as I have learned the value of actually having a hard copy in hand before okaying a book being made available- that was lesson one from Medea.

These are the three novels that will be available later this month:

The Subtlety of Light and Shadow- a sort of romance/suspense novel about a young woman who lands her dream job as a public relations/promotions officer at a prestigious Adirondacks art gallery owned by a dark, divided, damaged man named Rex Royce.  There are three other in-house artists with studios at Perspectives. Lucie Palmer is warned to keep her distance from Royce, to not talk to him, but from her very first day on the job their paths keep crossing. Lucie can't seem to do anything right and is somewhat overwhelmed by everything involved with new job. Another of the artists is a predator who sets his sights on Lucie. Tensions rise and simmer, then explode, placing Lucie's life in jeopardy. Royce is on the verge of losing the young lady who has become his muse and the love of his life. Lucie is the only one who knows his secrets. Can they both find happiness together, or will the tension and violence surrounding them shatter their developing relationship?

My Magical Life- Evangeline Teale is a witch who has lived many lives.  In each life that she has lived her evil warlock father has killed her lover before her eyes in every cruel and cold-blooded manner possible. Yet the lovers always manage to find one another in their next lifetime. Now, Evangeline has managed to eliminate her father.  She lives in Maplewood and works at an insurance agency. Then one evening a bat gets stuck in the wreath on her backdoor. She opens the door and frees it and it flies off into her house. She can't find the bat but she does find a dark, handsome man in her kitchen and soon recognizes him as her lover, returned to her in this lifetime, only this time he's a vampire, and not happy about it. He embroils her in a plot to murder her wicked witch mother, help him find an old grimoire that just might contain the spell to turn him back into a living human being again, only the book still seems to be in the possession of the cold, cruel vampire who changed Ardis into a vampire centuries ago. With the help of friends and Evangeline's cat that Ardis has resurrected from the 13th century, a cat who now can talk and is loaded with attitude, they set out to eliminate the threat posed by Evangeline's mother and her cohorts, locate the book, and find their happily ever after.

The Archetypes-First Generation- Amanda Pennington has just buried her renowned geneticist/biomedical engineer, M.D. father.  With her is her longtime best friend Benjamin "Beans" Carter. When they go to her father's mountainside laboratory to start going through his various projects they make some startling discoveries, including the fact that she and Beans are what her father called archetypes- beings he created using various techniques he devised in his lab. As they struggle to unravel the web of lies, deceit and manipulation Leonard Pennington left behind they make additional disturbing finds- they were not his only archetype creations. There were others. Now, someone is out to kill them. Who can they trust? Who can''t they trust? Will they survive long enough to find the answers they seek?

Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I- six tales of the supernatural or of suspense. Shifting Sands is set at an inn on the wild coast of Maine. Lorraine "Ginger" Talbot is at a crossroads in her life when a mysterious man in black and his feline companion check into the inn. Who is he and why is he there? The answer is both a shock and a surprise. In All Soul's Night a mute young woman who is abused by her older sisters and father is pleasantly surprised when an author she likes checks into the inn close to Halloween. During Rowan Hearne's stay a dashing pirate attends the Ghostly Gathering Halloween party at the Hawthorne Inn. The very next morning young Lissa finds her two sisters dead in their beds, their throats horribly slashed. Old secrets surface, shaking Lissa's already shattered world. Drakes Fall Manor is where young Tessie lives.  The walls within her home are full of secret passages and narrow staircases. She longs to explore what lies within the walls. The overseer of this secret domain is a strange little man she calls Mr. Needy. As she reaches adolescence a crisis arises as her mother seeks to have her committed to an asylum. What will happen to Tessie? In  Blackstone's Menagerie (second place winner in the 2014 annual Halloween story contest on November 1, 2014, written under the pseudonym Victoria Bell) Rex Blackstone is weighted down by ennui and depression. His once fabulous menagerie is diminished and is disturbing condition- well past its prime. Blackstone discovers a terrifying truth about himself that drives him deeper into despair. Halloween at the Victoria Wayfarer Inn finds a young woman encountering a number of ghosts at a Halloween party. One of those ghosts wants her dead, because Annabel Payton is more than she appears to be- and she is only just now discovering who and what she really is! Black Rose is about an unpopular girl at school who is asked to host the senior Halloween party at her parent's second empire mansion home because it is the creepiest house in town- plus her father is an undertaker and her mother is the county coroner which only make it all the more scary. Rose meets a mischievous young man at school and develops a crush on him. She invites Kieran Crowe to the party even though all the popular kids in school don't like him. He shows up as a dark, sexy pirate, embarrasses her in front of everyone else. In the garden he apologizes and they discover they are more or less meant to be together, only her father is more than just an undertaker. He is the grim reaper. And Kieran is more than just a high school senior, he is the youngest son of Lucifer himself. Will Rose and Kieran find a way to see one another once he is banned from the house?

Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume II- this volume contains three novellas. The Magic of Cross and Crowe is about a pair of popular Vegas magicians. They have a longstanding show on the strip and are very popular. Simon Crowe is looking for yet another new assistant for the solo parts of his act within the whole production. He chooses small town New England girl Tessie "Pepper" Rumford. Crowe has fully embraced the culture of Sin City. He lives dangerously, recklessly. Sebastian Cross is his complete opposite, living quietly, not making headlines, not making waves, not blowing up showgirls in his hotel room, or hurling knives on a whim while blindfolded. Will Crowe end up destroying his new assistant or will Pepper be the one who finally tames the wild magician? The Girl with the Ivy Tattoo finds young tattoo artists and body piercing expert Eveleen Glenrowan working at the well-respected funeral home The Cedars after she is thrown out of her father's apartment and breaks up with her bad boy biker boyfriend. Adrian Frey-Dayne is confident that he's made the correct choice by hiring Eveleen but James and Madeline Mitchell are less enthusiastic about Eveleen's presence at The Cedars. Then Eveleen's tattoo artists/biker father is killed in a terrible hit and run accident. The Cedars will handle Jack Glenrowan's funeral, but Eveleen's former boyfriend still thinks of her as his. Meanwhile. Adrian has developed feelings for the pretty redhead with the ivy tattoo, only Adrian has a secret that prevents him from becoming too attached to anyone. Jack Glenrowan tattooed Adrian when the young man was fresh out of college- giving him a grim reaper tattoo on his right shoulder and upper arm. Hidden in the folds of the reaper's robe is a small red-haired waif with an ivy tattoo! Is Eveleen the girl Adrian has been looking for? Did her father know when he gave him the tattoo? Thunderheads is the disturbing tory of the cruel, abusive, utterly evil Pemberton family. High school senior Jessamyn Pemberton is not like the rest of her family. To escape them, she prowls through the secret passageways and staircases hidden within the walls of the sprawling Pemberton mansion. One rainy day she discovers a strange young man living in one of the attic rooms! This young man has a secret agenda of his own- to destroy the Pembertons. Will he eliminate Jessamyn as well? Or will she be spared the fate set in motion for her family by this young man who has taken on this task on behalf of an entire town and many surrounding communities where so many have suffered at the hands of the Pembertons for generations?

There is a sequel to The Archetypes and a third Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales in the works.

I am also working with a graphic artist who is designing a cover for the first book in another series I've written. The cover will feature the house that inspired the novel. I have been in love with this particular house since I was a little kid. I was born in Northampton, Massachusetts and grew up in Easthampton, Massachusetts. My graphic artist went to the house to get a photograph and is developing a cover using that photo. I am so excited to keep my projects local to western MA. This area has a rich history in literature. It's nice to be a writer/author working and living here my entire life.

I'd like to just insert a thank you to my big sister, Lynnmarie May, who is also a writer and who has always been supportive of my wanting to write.

I'd also like to thank my daughter, Kelly, who also writes. I've written for her since she was a little girl- children's stories, adolescent stories and now adult stories. She is my biggest fan and my hugest supporter. I just want to say that I am so very proud of her for her own literary accomplishments. She is a magnificent and unique writer in her own right. You rock, Kelly Buffum!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Am Who I Am

After some deep soul-searching I have decided to self-publish under my own name.  I am who I am, after all.

I am using to self-publish a number of novels and story collections.  The books I create will be available on  I started working on CreateSace on May 31st, without having a clue what I was doing.  It has been an adventure and one heck of a learning experience over the past month and a half, but I am having fun with the process while learning exactly how easy it is for me to write, but how difficult it is to buckle down and be my own editor and proofreader, plus book designer, book layout designer, back cover blurb and book blurb writer, plus...good grief! Coughing up an About the Author mini bio- something I agonized over for days because I am a rather private person and so totally not egotistical in the least I had no clue what to say about myself other than- I write.

It is now July 16th and I have Medea available on under the pseudonym I was going to write under, Victoria Bell.  I took it down once to fix some interior issues- namely fix  couple of typos both Kelly and I missed, fix the title page so the cover and interior font matched better, added author name and an about author page, etc.  All the stuff I didn't think about because I was basically just throwing it together to get my two free copies as a NaNoWriMo winner last November. Medea was my November 2014 NaNo novel- written in 18 days.  The story is a lot older than that because the core of it was written as a Halloween story for Kelly back when she was in middle school.  She asked for a longer, more grown-up version, so that's what I set out to accomplish last November.

I ordered a bunch of copies and handed them out for free to co-workers, friends and family members...then discovered I could change things like the colors on the cover, etc.  The version that is available right now is version 2.  I really need to yank it off there and give it anther good overhauling, but I've been working on other projects in the meantime that I want to mover forward with, so Medea will have to wait for a lull. It's still a decent quick little beach read as it is...but it can be better, and will be better, one day.