Between a Wolf and Hard Place $1.99!! And How Does $1,000,000,000 Stack Up?


Alpha werewolf Brett Silver has an ulterior motive when he donates a prized family heirloom to the Silver Town hotel. Ellie MacTire owns the place with her sisters, and he’s out to get her attention.
Ellie is even more special than Brett knows. She’s a wolf shifter with a unique ability to commune with the dead. Ellie has been ostracized, so she protects herself and those she loves by revealing nothing—not even when strange and dangerous things begin to happen in Silver Town. And especially not to the devastatingly handsome and generous wolf who’s determined to win her over…

So I was trying to figure out how big a stack of $1,000,000 would be in $100 bills. Hey, it’s doable. You can put it in a briefcase, no problem! You can stick $10,000 worth of $100 bills in your pocket, easy. That bundle is 1/2″ thick if it’s all new dollars. If it’s old bills, it can be up to 1″ thick. You can do it!

Research is fun, but time-consuming. I end up reading all kinds of things that I don’t need for the story. Sometimes, I discover something else that might really add to the story. Sometimes, I learn I can’t do what I envisioned because it wouldn’t be feasibly possible. Now, if I wrote strictly fantasy, then I could stretch the bounds of reality, yet I still would need some constraints to make the fantasy world seem real. Even though my world isn’t exactly straight up real, I mean, if werewolves didn’t really exist, I need to keep the world as real as possible.

I learn all kinds of amazing things when I do research for a book. Who would have ever thought you could keep $10,000 in your pocket without any problem???

Have a super fun day!!

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
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Short Story Dispensers Are Coming To America

I love this, and just had to share it!  Thanks for the article, Matt Grant! 

In Francis Ford Coppola’s Café Zoetrope in San Francisco, an odd machine stands in the middle of one of the dining rooms. It’s a tall black-and-orange cone with a lighted monolith sticking out of its top. The kiosk, built by the French publishing company Short Edition, is called a Short Story Dispenser. It’s the first of its kind in the United States. With just the push of a button, the dispenser prints a one, three, or five minute story, completely free of charge. The stories come out on long rolls of paper like a receipt.

Lydia Valledor, Café Zoetrope’s General Manager, says the dispenser has been a huge hit since it was installed a year and a half ago. “I love the idea, especially for us,” she says. “We are all about Art; we have a lot of art on our walls. We also have Mr. Coppola‘s magazine Zoetrope: All-Story, which is a short story magazine. So the dispensers are very related to our place.” Valledor add that the dispenser comes in handy since the café tries to encourage patrons to stay off their phones and digital devices. “When people ask if we have Wi-Fi for the kids, we point to the machines and say, ‘No, but you have a story you can read.’”

The dispensers first started popping up in Short Edition’s hometown, the French city of Grenoble, in October 2016. “We always believed in the power of short literature, and the fact that it is particularly adapted to the modern world, as a way to bring (or bring back) people to reading,” says Loic Giraut, and international business developer for the company. According to Giraut, The dispensers were born after a seemingly routine have it ended in a flash of inspiration. “One day, while they were in front of the coffee vending machine, the four cofounders of Short Edition thought: ‘Why couldn’t we do the same thing, but with culture stories instead of coffee? Literature should be available everywhere!’” The company build a prototype and showed it to Grenoble’s mayor Eric Piolle, who commissioned eight machines to be erected around the city.

The dispensers are extremely simple to operate. “When plugged in, the machine connects to the GSM network, which allows us to manage and adapt the content,” says Giraut. For example, during December, the dispensers only put out Christmas or holiday-themed stories. Writers are discovered through Short Edition’s expansive online community of 100,000 short stories by 9000 authors. An even larger community of readers – some 200,000 – vote on their favorite stories.

“We always work with the community… to identify the best texts,” says Giraut. “Anybody can create an account on, take part in a writing competition that we organize, and publish his or her text.” Submitted stories are eligible for one of two prices. The public winner receives the most votes. The Short Edition editorial board and a jury of readers select the winner. “All the texts that have sufficient quality are then included in the dispenser worldwide,” Giraut says.

Reaction to the dispensers has been overwhelmingly positive so far. “We are receiving tons of messages both by email and social media, of people just saying thank you, or telling us that the story they read has made their day,” Giraut says. “We often hear people saying they had the feeling that story they picked up randomly was made for them, that it was really related to their actual life. It makes us really proud, because this was our goal when we invented the dispenser: to create emotion.”

Today, there are more than 150 short story dispensaries worldwide, most of which are in France. But there are 20 machines in North America, and that number is about to grow. “Our objective is to pursue our development in North America by installing more and more dispensers and starting to gather content from North American authors by launching writing contest in the U.S.,” Giraut says. “We have a lot going on in the beginning of 2018, and new machines should very soon appear on both west and east coasts.”

Sure enough, on March 22, at the 2018 Public Library Association‘s conference, Short Edition announced that they are installing four more machines on U.S. soil. This time, they will benefit public libraries: the Akron-Summit County (Ohio) Public Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Richland Library in Columbia South Carolina, and the Wichita Public Library in Kansas. Each dispenser will be specifically branded to the library. And that’s not all Short Edition has planned. They hope to eventually include translations, allowing author is to be read internationally as well. “At some point, our objective is also to have a worldwide community of writers and readers, and have some Asian authors read in Europe or America, American authors read in Africa or South America, etc.,” says Giraut.

For now, Valledor says the one dispenser in San Francisco has become so popular that people come in off the street just to print out a story. While in most establishments it might be considered rude to do such a thing without being a paying customer, Valledor encourages it. She says it helps the café find new customers, all through the power of literature. “It’s like I always say, they’re coming today for a story – people who have never been here before – they open the door, see the space, they love it, they come back.”

Until next month,

You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be In Your Writing Career

I found this wonderfully inspiring article courtesy of Mark Henson that I wanted to share with you today.  For the full article, go to:

I’m going to get a little zen, woo woo and existential on you. Ready?

Wherever you are in life is exactly where you need to be right now.

Even if you’re not where you want to be right now.

Even if you’re not fulfilled where you are right now.

Even if you’re in a really bad place right now.

I know it doesn’t always FEEL like you’re exactly where you need to be, but trust me, you are.
We think that when things are going well, when we’re achieving our goals, when we land our dream job, only THEN we are exactly where we need to be. But let me ask you this: how did you get there?
Didn’t you get to those great moments in life by spending a fair amount of time in places you didn’t want to be? Didn’t you have stretches of life when you weren’t fulfilled? Didn’t you fight and claw your way through some pretty bad times physically, mentally, and spiritually?

Didn’t those tough times teach you valuable lessons about desire, motivation, resilience, perseverance, patience, tolerance, and more?

As a little green Jedi once said, search your feelings, you know it to be true.

If you climb a mountain, some parts of the trail are easy and beautiful, some are treacherous and scary, and some cause you to stumble and skin your knees. And you spend a lot more time on the trail than you do at the peak.

Yes, you ARE exactly where you need to be right now.

I’m not telling you to seek out the silver lining (although it is usually there if you look hard enough). I’m also not telling you to look for valuable lessons about desire, motivation, resilience, perseverance, patience, tolerance, etc. during the tough times (although they are definitely there if you are open to them). And I’m absolutely not telling you to “enjoy the journey” (because sometimes you just won’t).

What I AM telling you is that I believe there is a reason why you are where you are right now. I also believe you don’t have to know what that reason is. In fact, you might drive yourself nuts if you try to figure it out in the moment (or ever, really). One of the hardest things to let go of is the desire to know the why behind everythingHear me on this, the desire to understand the why is almost always a want, not a need. It doesn’t change the fact that you are where you are.

Sometimes you just need to be where you are, be as okay as you can be with it, and know that it is just temporary. Actually, know that these times are ALWAYS temporary (even if they last longer than we’d like).

Oh, and one more thing: just because you are exactly where you need to be right now doesn’t mean you should stay there — especially if it’s a place you don’t want to be. Keep moving forward — one tiny step at a time if that’s all you can do. You can climb an entire mountain one tiny step at a time. That’s how I published a book— one step, one page at a time. And it only took a year and a half of not being where I wanted to be, but being exactly where I needed to be, until I got there.

And that concludes today’s moment of zen, woo woo, and existentialism.

Until next month,


Five Extraordinary Castles in or Near Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a wonderful old city filled with history and medieval buildings, tourist attractions and great restaurants. It's a good home-base for a research trip or vacation and you won't need a rental car… if you're willing to walk and take the bus or train. (Parking in Edinburgh is a nightmare anyway.) I've explored several amazing castles in and around Edinburgh. Some are opulent royal residences, while others are crumbling, atmospheric ruins.

Edinburgh Castle
The most iconic castle in Edinburgh is, of course, Edinburgh Castle. It sits high atop Castle Rock, a volcanic plug, and looks out over the city. Archeological evidence suggests this rock has been inhabited since the second century AD. One building at Edinburgh Castle, St. Margaret's Chapel, is considered the oldest building in Edinburgh, built in the early 1100s by King David I and named in honor of his mother. The great hall was built in the early 1500s. The castle was a royal residence until 1633. After that, it was used as a military barracks. Research has established that the castle was besieged 26 times in 1100 years making it "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world." And now it is Scotland's most visited paid tourist attraction.

Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace is also known as the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is the British monarchy's official residence in Scotland, and the Queen stays there for one week per year at the beginning of summer. This palace sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile, while Edinburgh Castle sits at the top. Attached to one side of the ruins of Holyrood Abbey, the palace was the main residence for the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 1500s. When the royal family isn't in residence, the castle is open for tours. One of the main features is the apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, which date from the 1500s.

The 16th century north-west tower was built by King James V. The main part of the palace as it appears today was built between 1671 and 1678 in the Baroque style for Charles II when he was restored to the monarchy. What a contrast this elegant palace is to the next three castles on my list.

Craigmillar Castle
Craigmillar Castle, mostly a ruin, is about three miles outside the Edinburgh city center. We took the bus, then walked about a mile through parkland fields and over a hill. It was my birthday, so I considered this a wonderful present to myself. There's nothing I enjoy more than exploring castle ruins.

Craigmillar is what many call a hidden gem. Prior to some episodes of Outlander being filmed there, it was not considered a major tourist attraction. Not like the previous two castles, anyway. I have to say this was one of my favorite castles because it was a great surprise. I liked it better than I thought I would. It's filled with all sorts of nooks and crannies to investigate. There are several floors and rooms that changed purposes over the years. Mary Queen of Scots stayed here at times and had a room or apartment.

The views from the battlements over the Scottish countryside are amazing. The buildings on this site were started in the 14th century by the Preston family who were barons. The building and improvements continued over the centuries. Sir John Gilmour, Lord President of the Court of Session, bought Craigmillar and made improvements in 1660. The Gilmours left in the 1700s and the castle fell into ruin.

Dirleton Castle
Dirleton Castle is less than 25 miles from Edinburgh, and accessible by either car or bus. The walk from the front gate through the beautiful walled garden was a wonderful experience. It was September and many flowers were still blooming. Dirleton is another amazing ruin. Different parts of the castle were built during different stages over the centuries. Some of the towers date from the 1200s and are among the oldest surviving architecture in Scotland. The oldest section was built by John de Vaux.

In 1298, during the Wars of Independence, Dirleton Castle was attacked and captured by Edward I of England. In 1356, the next Lord of Dirleton was John Haliburton who renovated the damaged castle and made new additions. In 1510, the Ruthvens acquired Dirleton and made further improvements. Oliver Cromwell attacked the castle in 1650, as he did so many Scottish castles, turning it into a tragic but romantic ruin. In the 1660s, the Nisbets bought the estate and built a new mansion and developed the gardens around the castle. The castle contains a lot of historical information and is fantastic for research.

Tantallon Castle
Although Tantallon Castle isn't in Edinburgh, it is a short train ride away, close to North Berwick on the east coast. We visited it one day and were back to Edinburgh by that evening. The trip out on the train was so smooth, quiet and relaxing. Very few passengers. I had no idea a train ride could be so peaceful. Once we got off in North Berwick, we located the correct bus and rode 3 miles further to the castle, which is out in farm country on the shore of the North Sea. In the photo, that's a huge field of leeks in front of the castle. I'm sure they eat a lot of leeks in Scotland in their famous cock-a-leekie soup, made of chicken and leeks.

I had wanted to visit Tantallon for many years and it was everything I'd imagined and more. The castle is huge with lots of floors, wings, stairwells, rooms, battlements, etc. to explore. The Bass Rock sits just off the rocky cliffs of the shoreline.

Tantallon was started in 1358 by William, the 1st Earl of Douglas. In the 1380s it passed to the Earl of Angus and the Red Douglas dynasty. They owned the castle for 300 years and had many conflicts with the monarchy. Tantallon is considered the last great castle built in Scotland. In 1651 Cromwell attacked Tantallon causing such destruction that it fell into ruin.

Thank you for taking these wee virtual visits with me to five wonderful Scottish castles!

Highlander Entangled

Lady Kristina MacQueen suffered devastating injuries at the hands of a ruthless Highland chief, Blackburn MacCromar. Two years later, he kidnaps her for a journey across the chilly, windblown Scottish Highlands to flush out her sister, Anna—the woman Blackburn forced to wed him. Red Holme, Blackburn's second-in-command, is equally brutal and determined to possess Kristina.

A Highland warrior and future chief, Colin Cameron has no intention of becoming entangled in the whims of another highborn lady. However, upon witnessing Lady Kristina being held hostage by the enemy, a knife to her throat, he resolves to rescue her and bring her to safety. When Red Holme sees Colin Cameron, he recognizes his enemy from a decade earlier and craves revenge even more than he lusts for the lady. But he is determined to have both.

Colin is the most charismatic and heroic man Kristina has ever met, and he awakens her woman's instincts. He might be her only chance to experience a brief moment of passion. Even so, she holds no illusions about marriage, for no worthy man will find her blindness and scars appealing, or see them as beneficial traits in a wife. But she can't see how he looks at her. Though Colin has sworn to never fall in love again, he cannot defend his heart against the strong, spirited and lovely lass who is like none other he has ever met.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

In my Silver Town Wolf series, some of the Silver brothers/cousins, have married two of the triplet Irish sisters who run the Silver Town Hotel. I'll be writing the third's ones story for release next year.

Several of my ancestors were born and raised in Ireland. So my hat's off to you on St. Patrick's Day!
Corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage are on the menu!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
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The Many Frustrations Of Being A Writer

I have to admit that the recent news of the closing of the Crimson Romance line of Simon & Schuster brought up unhappy memories for me. I’ve been traditionally published by four publishers, three of which have now gone out of business: LooseId, Samhain and Ellora’s Cave.

It’s not easy being a writer.

Where once only major publishing houses were the gatekeepers to whether your story was bought or not, the advent of smaller publishers gave more of us struggling writers a chance at realizing our dreams of becoming published authors. And indie publishing has been a boon for many writers.

When I get depressed about the current state of publishing, I only have to look at the great writers of history to cheer me up.

Many of these famous authors were in the same boat at one point in their careers:

Pearl S. Buck – The Good Earth – 14 times

Norman Mailer – The Naked and the Dead – 12 times

Patrick Dennis- Auntie Mame – 15 times

George Orwell – Animal Farm

Richard Bach – Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 20 times

Joseph Heller - Catch-22 – 22 times (!)

Mary Higgins Clark – first short story – 40 times

Alex Haley – before Roots – 200 rejections

Robert Persig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – 121 times

John Grisham – A Time to Kill – 15 publishers and 30 agents (he ended up publishing it himself)

Chicken Soup for the Soul – 33 times

Louis L’Amour – 200 rejections

Jack London – 600 rejections before selling his first story

John Creasy – 774 rejections before selling his first story.  He went on to write 564 books, using fourteen names.

Stephen King’s first four novels were rejected. This guy from Maine sent in this novel over the transom, said Bill Thompson, his former editor at Doubleday. Mr. Thompson, sensing something there, asked to see subsequent novels, but still rejected the next three. However, King withstood the rejection, and Mr. Thompson finally bought the fifth novel, despite his colleague’s lack of enthusiasm, for $2,500. It was called Carrie.

During his entire lifetime, Herman Melville’s timeless classic, Moby Dick, sold only 3,715 copies.
Edgar Allen Poe was offered only $14 as an advance for "Eureka" toward the end of his life, with the provision that if the book didn't earn that much, he would have to make up the difference to the publisher.

So… take heart! We have good company in the ‘struggling writer’ profession.

Until next month,

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A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing: A many of many secrets and only one truth… Book 9 SEAL in Wolf's Clothing by Terry Spear Book 1 in Terry Spear's SEAL Wolf Series — A USA Today Bestseller! Her instincts tell her he's dangerous...

SEAL in Wolf's Clothing by Terry Spear

Book 1 in Terry Spear's SEAL Wolf Series — A USA Today Bestseller!

Her instincts tell her he's dangerous...
His powers of persuasion are impossible to resist...

While her overprotective brother's away, Meara Greymere's planning to play—and it wouldn't hurt to find herself a mate in the process. The last thing she needs is one of his SEAL buddies spoiling her fun, even if the guy is the hottest one she's ever seen.

Finn Emerson is a battle-hardened Navy SEAL and alpha wolf. He's a little overqualified for baby-sitting, but feisty Meara is attracting trouble like a magnet.

As the only responsible alpha male in the vicinity, Finn is going to have to protect this intriguing woman from a horde of questionable men, and definitely from himself.

SEAL Wolf Series:
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A SEAL Wolf Christmas (Book 2)
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Experience the sensual, action-packed, critically acclaimed world of Terry Spear, author of a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year:
"High-powered romance that satisfies on every level." —Long and Short Reviews
"An entertaining read filled with passion and desire. You'll be spellbound." —Thoughts in Progress
"Fast paced, and completely and utterly fascinating. The chemistry was brilliant." —Royal Reviews
"This novel has it all...Hot doesn't even begin to describe it." —Love Romance Passion

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Have a super day!

 “Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
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