Wednesday, December 16, 2015

PEACE - Donovan Legacy book 4 - RELEASED

For those of you who have read and enjoyed the first books of the Donovan Legacy series, heads up! The final book in this series has released! It can be purchased in paperback or Kindle e-book (will be on Nook e-book as soon as Barnes & Noble finally catches up).

To celebrate the release of this final book in the series, the first book - TRUTH - is available for only .99 on Kindle on December 16th and 17th. If you haven't read it, snatch it up while you can!

When tempers collide, everyone loses.

Deputy Dax Donovan has struggled to find peace, in any measure, since a tragic accident in his teens. Weighted by guilt and the certainty that God failed him, he walks in a constant state of anger. He just wants everyone to leave him alone, but between his family and a nosy paramedic with too much compassion for her own good, he can't find a moment's peace.

Though fighting to control anger issues of her own, paramedic Holly Randall won't take Dax's bad attitude lying down. She's drawn to him even as his bouts of hostility frighten her. Didn't her mother's mistakes teach her anything? After a particularly nasty, and unwarranted, explosion, she determines to avoid him. Then tragedy strikes.

Will they finally embrace the peace God offers in abundance?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pack of Trouble is OUT!

The latest story in the ongoing saga of the Campbell Wildlife Preserve werewolf pack is now available in paperback and in e-book for Kindle.

These books aren't a true series, but they follow a timeline. Thus, the events in this book follow the events that occur in Wolf, Alpha, and Lethal Attraction, as well as most of the events in the Baby Makes Three short story collection. See the Urban Fantasy page for more on those.

Two Hard Heads. Two Vulnerable Hearts.
Ian Campbell has already lost two women he loved and isn't prepared to put his heart at risk again. Besides, his life is complicated enough without adding a mate to the mix. As the alpha of a werewolf pack, his first responsibility is to those he leads and protects, a job he takes very seriously.
Executive Chef Sophia Ferguson came seeking answers to questions left in the wake of an attack she barely survived four years ago. She didn't expect sparks to fly with the local alpha. Over the use of a kitchen, no less. The last thing she wants is a domineering, territorial male telling her what to do. She'll get the information she needs and leave. End of problem.
Then an unexpected arrival throws a wrench into an already stressful situation, bringing a threat neither of them anticipated.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Blind Date - A Contemporary Romance short story

This short-short story (under 1,000 words) came about as a result of a challenge from one of my writing mentors. (Harvey's a bad influence sometimes, and I've told him so. *G*) Those of you who are familiar with my contemporary romances have met "Tammy".  She's the older sister to my heroine from In God's Time. She got married in IGT, but nothing has been written about how she met her beloved, Jerry. Until now. It shows a different side of Tammy than revealed in Tara's point-of-view in IGT, as well as giving a hint into a side of their brother Greg that Tara didn't really show. Enjoy!

The Blind Date
By Dawn M. Turner
June 25, 2015

June 21, 2002

Tucson, AZ

I can’t believe I let Greg talk me into this. Standing on the sidewalk in the summer heat, Tammy Whitman stared at the entrance to the restaurant then glanced at her watch. Ten minutes early. Maybe he was already there. Greg had said the man was perpetually early for everything, so.... Good chance to at least get a look at the guy. Then again, it could be futile.

     Two possibilities existed. One, the whole thing was a joke on Greg’s part, and he’d sent her there to meet nobody. Two, it was a joke he’d gotten one of his buddies in on. If one of his friends had agreed to such a prank, she’d have both of their heads. Cop or not, Greg wasn’t bullet-proof. No court in the land would convict her. At least, I’m pretty sure about that.

     Then again, it could be totally legit. If so, Greg wouldn’t set one of his little sisters up with a psycho or jerk, so.... He’d given her only a first name—Jerry. Nothing more, except, “He’s not a cop, but I know him through work.” He’d known that would intrigue her. Setting aside the criminals he knew through work and fellow officers, who was left?

     The door swung toward her, ejecting a family of four. The man held the door for her with a questioning smile.

     I guess that’s my cue. She smiled weakly. “Thanks.” Icy air blasted her in the face when she stepped inside.

     “Welcome!” The seating hostess smiled. “How many?”

     “I’m supposed to meet someone. He might already be here.”

     The young woman’s eyes narrowed in thought, and she shook her head. “No one’s arrived alone in the last little while.”

     “Oh.” Great. She’d arrived before him.

     “Would you like me to seat you? I can let him know you’re here when he arrives and show him to your table.”

     “No. I... uh... think I’ll just wait here.” While I decide whether or not to run for it. Why did I let Greg talk me into this?

     “No problem.” The greeting-smile returned, and she shifted her attention to a group coming in the door. “Welcome.”

     Tammy scooted out of the way and sat on the edge of the padded bench running along the front windows. Her right leg bounced. Should she stay?

     Why am I even entertaining this nonsense?

     She hopped to her feet, shoved the strap of her purse higher on her shoulder, and headed for the door. Only to barrel into one of the people standing there. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

     “It’s okay.” A breath-taking smile etched laugh lines at the corners of eyes so blue they could’ve been artificial. Should’ve been, if there was any justice in the world. He reached for the door behind him as if to push it open. “Are you leaving?”

     “I haven’t decided yet.”

     His brows rose. The man managed to look confused and amused at the same time.

     “Never mind the insane person.” She waved a hand dismissively and rolled her eyes.

     A warm chuckle rumbled in his broad chest. “You know, insane people don’t know they’re insane.”

     Tammy grinned. “Now, see, that’s a common mistake. Some of us are actually quite aware it’s happening. We’re just helpless to stop it.”

     His laugh did funny things to her insides, making her want to hear it again.

     “Are you ready to be seated?” The hostess had returned. Her gaze shifted from Tammy to the man beside her and back again.

     “Oh, we’re not together.” Unfortunately.

     “I’m meeting someone,” he said with a tinge of regret.

     Her ego bolstered a smidge, she smiled. “I hope you have a wonderful meal with your wife.” No ring on his finger. “Or girlfriend.”

     “Actually, I have neither of those.” His smile grew, brightening the color of his eyes even more. Good Lord above, how could eyes be that blue?

     “Oh, I should’ve realized....” Tammy shook her head at her own obtuseness. “You’re not... um....”

     “What?” He frowned slightly then his eyes widened. “Oh, no. I’m not. I definitely like people of the female persuasion.”

     That was a relief. Otherwise, horrible loss for some female of the species.

     Then she realized the hostess was quietly observing their conversation. Humor lit her eyes, though her smile remained casual. Was the woman silently laughing at them?

     “I think I’ll just go sit down and be quiet now. Let you get to dinner with your friend or whoever.”

     “Actually, I’m here on a blind date.” Again, that bit of regret in his tone.

     Her heart stopped. Just for a second. She was sure of it. Tammy groaned. “Oh, no....”

     “What is it?”

     “Are you Jerry?”

     A warm smile pushed away the momentary gloom. “Tammy?”

     “Yeah, that would be me.”

     “Well, then I’m especially pleased to meet you.” He nodded to the hostess, who bit her lip, picked up menus, and turned to lead them to a table. Jerry motioned for Tammy to go ahead of him. “After you.”

     “Are you sure you want to have dinner with a crazy person?”

     “Absolutely.” His hand touched the small of her back. “At least I won’t be bored.”

     She needed to thank Greg profusely for his matchmaking genius. How did I ever doubt you, brother dear?

Okay, anyone want to take a guess what Jerry's job is? (Incidentally, it's NOT noted in IGT. he he) Just for fun, comment below, and I'll pick a name at random (no worries if your answer is right or wrong) on Wednesday, July 8th (2015, of course) for an autographed paperback copy of ANY currently published book of mine of your choice, regardless of genre.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Research - Do It Before or During the Writing?

Photo by author

I've proven to be a rebel in many areas of writing. At least, according to those who hold to all the "rules" and outright myths that permeate the publishing industry. One area that has become apparent is with regards to the research I do for stories. According to many, I do things backwards. I do very little to no research before I start writing a book and almost all of it while I'm writing.

Since I don't outline (*cringe*) my stories before writing, I have no idea what information I'll need until I need it about 99% of the time. I've tried it "their" way, and the mess was astronomical and the time wasted and lost highly discouraging. I forced myself to dig into research before I ever started writing. I ended up needing to research as I went and didn't use anything I had spent WEEKS researching beforehand. I won't make that mistake again. Consider that lesson well-learned.
A few months ago, I needed to flesh out the idea for Alpha: 1945 First Love. World War II Germany. It was suggested that I "read everything you can get your hands on about World War II." My eyes glazed over just thinking about trudging through all that dull material, and that's aside from one stark reality - do you have ANY idea how long it would take to read ALL the material I could get my hands on about WWII? Ugh, ugh, ugh. Also, do you have any idea how little of that material would actually end up being useful? A LOT of time wasted on research when I could've been writing.

That advice was based on the philosophy of starting "general" research first, then working your way to the specifics. I pretty much see that as taking a 12-gauge shotgun with bird shot to a fly that's 10-feet away for which you just need a well-aimed hit close-up with a fly-swat.

No. Just. No. Unequivocally no!

That's like suggesting someone read everything they can find on:
  1. DOGS, when what they really want is information specifically about German shepherds used for herding in modern-day Germany.
  2. The US, when what they really want is information specific to a particular three block area of Tucson, AZ in summer.
Think about it. Those examples are NOT an exaggeration when you consider the tremendous scope of WWII versus the information I actually needed for a short story set in Germany with specific circumstances.

Part of the reason I can research so quickly, on the fly while writing, and lose very little time (rather than spending weeks, months, or even YEARS like some writers) is that I go in reverse with my research. I start with the very specific and work my way outward, thereby only researching information that is relevant to MY STORY. I don't spend countless hours researching things I'll never use.

For my WWII research, how that looked was:
  1. Information about US spies and saboteurs operating in Germany. (Not Japan or other places US troops were during that war, and not British or German spies and saboteurs.)
  2. Instances of major German cities bombed by Allied forces toward the end of the war. (That ruled out 1941-1944 and narrowed it down to 1945.)
I ended up finding both very quickly with well-placed keywords in a search engine. Using those, I found my dates and setting. Then, I expanded research outward to include specific landmarks in Dresden, Germany and activities surrounding the bombing in February 1945. As I wrote the story, I looked at rationing in Germany during that time (rationing looked very different in 1945 than it did earlier in the war, so information about how rationing was in 1941-42 was NOT useful for 1945) and other such things pertinent to the daily life of those living in Dresden during that specific time frame. I found some great reference material, including photographs and first-person eyewitness accounts (WOOHOO!).

I got exactly what I needed for my short story without spending a LOT more time and energy researching information I'd never use.

I repeated that process to research for setting and such for the other historical short stories in the Alpha series. I'll take the same approach when I start work on the Enforcer series. I've long taken that approach when researching topics for my contemporary novels.

What this experience has taught me over the years is that, once again, the "experts" are only experts on what works for them. Just like outlining and doing character questionnaires and interviews, research before writing is a matter of individual style and creative process. Don't let anyone tell you the "right" way to do such things. Try different approaches. Keep what works. Discard what doesn't.

If you want to research as you write, do so!

If you'd rather just write your story than spend weeks or months outlining beforehand, do it!

If you find character questionnaires as mind-numbing and worthless as I do, blow them off!

Give yourself permission to let the story flow unimpeded by all those logic-based procedures.

If you're one of those who research topics to death before you ever pick up the pen or touch the keyboard, and outline every single scene and chapter of your book in the minutest detail before you write, and fill out one character questionnaire after another, knock yourself out. If that works for you, go for it. If any or all of that is NOT working for you, discard it, no matter what some "expert" says.

Enjoy the process. Don't let "experts" bog you down. They aren't you. They don't know you. They don't know how your creative process works, how your creative mind works. If you hang around writers long enough, you'll find that God has created us so incredibly unique and diverse. No technique or method works for all of us. Rather than shoving each other into one tight little box, embrace those differences.

Set yourself free to JUST WRITE! Have fun! In the process, give others permission to love their way, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Confessions of a Deranged Writer - Part Deux

Photo courtesy of "taliesin" of
Any of you who have followed my blog for a while probably caught my first posting by that title - Confessions of a Deranged Writer. If not, check it out before proceeding. Today's post is an extension/update on what I shared before. Go ahead. I'll wait.


All caught up? Good. Now, first to address my previous confessions:

#1 - I'm still a total, unapologetic pantser, and I don't care who doesn't like it. I no longer apologize for my disdain for plotting/outlining (the root canal principle still applies). I just do what I do and go with what works best for me and no longer worry about what other authors feel about it. I don't give a rat's patootie what someone calls it - pantsing, organic, intuitive, whatever. Changing the name doesn't change what I do.

#2 -  Still no clue where a story is going most of the time. That really weirds out some people, but they'll either get over it or get under it, as my mother says. Totally up to them which, and not my problem. I say "most of the time" because... well... see Confession #8 (yes, that one is new).

#3 - I still research on the fly. I tried it the other way because that's what we're "supposed" to do as writers, right? I spent DAYS doing research blind, not having a clue what I'd actually need. It bombed completely. I ended up having to research on the fly anyway, and those hours spent before the project ended up being wasted time. I didn't use any of that information because none of it fit the story.

#4 - Nothing's changed here. I still get to know characters as I write. Amazing what they reveal to me as we go. Letting my subconscious have control of the story truly is magnificent!

#5 - These days, I rarely argue with my characters. I've learned to trust that they know what they're doing. That's truly not as weird as it sounds. It's all about trusting my subconscious to know intuitively, instinctively where things are going and just going with the flow. If that's a new concept for you, check out Writing Into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith.

#6 - I'm STILL losing sleep over the lives of fictional characters. I've pretty much accepted this is to be my life as long as I'm a writer. And, honestly? I'm okay with that.

#7 - I STILL LOVE NANOWRIMO! Camp NaNo, too! No matter what naysayers and poo-pooers say, I unabashedly love it. Why people find it necessary to denigrate and devalue something simply because it doesn't work for them, I'll never know. If it doesn't work for them, move on to something that does and leave the rest of us alone. "The world isn't all about you," is what I want to tell them. If you haven't checked out NaNo (which takes place every November) or Camp NaNo (two sessions each summer - this year April and July), check them out. See if they're a good fit for you. If not, that's okay, too. Find something that IS.

(I no longer belong to ACFW. I track numbers on my own though, just as I've done for years.)

Below are NEW confessions, things I've learned over the past couple of years.

CONFESSION #8 - That "most of the time" I mentioned in #2 pretty solidly applies, but.... You knew there was a "but" coming. I know you did. I've found I occasionally break out of chronological writing (start at prologue or chapter 1 and write to "the end") and fall into what is referred to as Puzzling. On occasion, scenes come to me that fit later in the book. I used to fight it and try to force myself to stay on task, which slowed me down. Now, I write them and then go back to where I was and keep working forward. I've got two projects currently on my WIP docket that are partially done and written that way. Both have completed scenes scattered throughout the book. I just have to bridge the gaps between them. Sometimes it slows me down; sometimes it doesn't. Depends on my creative flow. I just go with it and don't stress over it.

CONFESSION #9 - I'm pretty much a rebel. Not the criminal variety, though you might get some disagreement out of those authors who are legalistic about "rules". *G* I got tired of having "rules" shoved down my throat that actually hurt my writing, I finally rebelled. I even wrote a book about it to encourage others not to get DISCOURAGED when the same thing happens to them and leaves them feeling squashed and worthless. The "rules" of writing are really nothing more than guidelines that can be used or discarded at will when storytelling, as needed to produce the strongest story you can. My goal? Tell strong stories that reach a reader's heart. Being legalistic about "rules" hinders that instead of helping it.

CONFESSION #10 - I've thrown off the chains others have put on me, let go of the "rules" and myths that used to keep me beaten down. I follow a writing process that works great for me, regardless of what others say about it. I write what I want to write, regardless of whether it might be controversial or not, or whether some publisher thinks it'll sell or not. I indie-publish without apology and LOVE it! I have fun when I write. I love getting new books into the hands of readers and hearing their feedback about my characters, stories, and how it touches their lives.

CONFESSION #11 - I'm a sprint writer, not a marathoner. That means, I tend to write large amounts in shorter periods of time with breaks throughout. Sometimes that can mean writing 11K in one day and little or nothing the next (been there, done that), or it can mean that I do 2-5K each day for several days in a row before taking a break. I don't write 1-2K every single day all year round like some authors I know, and that's perfectly okay. I'm not a creature of consistency. I still get the job done. When I've FORCED myself to be a marathon writer, my creativity and productivity have both suffered. I'm no longer trying to fit this round peg (ME) into a triangular hole.

So there you have it. I'm a pantsing sprint-writer who researches on the fly and rebels against "rules" when they damage my writing or squash my voice. I no longer allow the opinions of others, or what works for THEM, to put me in chains. Letting go of what others think and the myths and "rules" I found so stifling, following my own creative flow and where God leads me, has opened doors that I never believed possible. Since late October of 2014, I've added short stories to my writing roster. Those have been fun (well, mostly - the Alpha series had its less than pleasant moments because a couple of those stories are truly tragic). I've loved the fact that I've now branched out from Contemporary Romance, Romantic-Suspense, and Women's Fiction fully into Medieval Fantasy AND Urban Fantasy. I never planned on that last one. It just happened. (So much for the one-genre-only "rule" we writers are supposed to follow, but that's a whole other confession....)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Long Time, No Post

I came to the site to update one of the book pages (I'd noticed a mistake and wanted to fix it before I forgot about it), and it hit me how long it's been since I did a blog post. Two months to the day, in fact. Yikes!

Anyway, February was very productive. I started two new stories - one urban fantasy with werewolf main characters (those are SO much fun!) and a novella that's part of the Mysterious Ways series. I also added a good chunk to From the Heavens, also part of the MW series. February also brought the publication of my latest short story series, Alpha - which is continuing to publish, one story per week, through part of this month. The Complete Collection is available in paperback already, done in February.

March ended up being way less productive as I battled the tail end of the winter blahs. I did manage to get the second book in the Otherworlder series (Visions) ready for publication and the third book (Specters) off to my first reader. For April, I've turned my attention to finishing the final book in that series (Destiny). I did the cover in March, but I'm not yet happy with it. When I am, I'll upload it to the medieval fantasy page of this site. Formatting for publication is a "limited brain function" exercise for me, so at least I was able to use the March "creative dead zone" constructively to some degree. *G*

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, so March and September and I tend not to get along too well. March is definitely the worst. It feels "darkest before the dawn", and my energy, creative flow, and oomph go on vacation for that month without me. Thankfully, I've dealt with that long enough (all of my life) that I know better than to fight the flow. So aside from the writing-related tasks I mentioned above, I vegged in front of the TV and read books I knew I'd enjoy (which means, I re-read books I've already read that are my favorites). Plus, I got a mountain of crocheting done. Two shawls, about 30 dishcloths, 2 large doilies, and the start of a small doll. ... Yeah, I think that covers it. Not bad for about 3 weeks, eh?

Writing for me is like any other art form for many other "artists". It ebbs and flows. Sometimes the creative flow is strong and moves so fast I'm not sure I can keep up. Other times, it moves at an easy-to-follow but rapid pace. Still others, it stops altogether and my mind rests. Until I started tracking my daily writing, I had no idea how consistently this happened. I used to fight it, but I learned that only made things worse.

I'm not one of those writers who can FORCE myself to "write every day" without serious repercussions. When I do that, it makes writing hard, steals the fun from my work, and stifles creativity. If I hadn't been tracking my numbers so closely, I wouldn't have realized how badly doing that crushed my writing spirit. Once I realized what was happening, I stopped.

Now? I go with the flow. I have unproductive days and even weeks, but when it flows, it really goes. I hope to write 500,000 words this year. Totally doable, I've done it before. I'm already at about 110,000 at this point. Behind overall, I know, but I also know I can catch up very quickly when stories flow well.

All writers have hurdles that cut into writing time. Health issues, family, jobs, life's other distractions and demands. Life gets in the way in a variety of ways. We can either learn to work with them or make ourselves crazy trying to fight against them.

What kind of hurdles do you face? Have you learned to work with them, or are you fighting against them?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Memes and More Memes - Part 8

Doh! I thought I had already published this last month. Here it is for those who didn't see these memes on Facebook.

This week is memes I created for my book coming out this coming winter - Healer, book 3 of the Donovan Legacy series.

Photo by "deegolden" of

Baby pic by "bluekdesign" of
Bride pic by "phaewilk" of

Photo by "jade" of

Photo by "duluthdanai" of

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Back at 2014

What a year it was, too. I not only published my first fantasy novel, I wrote and published my first short story series, in a new genre no less (urban fantasy). That in addition to continuing work on my contemporary novels. It was a year of growth, learning, and stretching, some of which shoved me right out of my comfort zone. Thankfully, I've adapted and work goes on.

Early in 2014, I posted my goals for the year. So, how did I do on meeting them?

Writing goal for 2014 - 300,000 words - met and surpassed.

435,107 words of fiction
  47,662 words of non-fiction
482,769 total words written in 2014

Incomplete Projects completion goal - finish 3 long novels that had been started before January 1, 2014 but not completed in 2013 - BUST!

I only finished one incomplete novel. I was initially annoyed with myself over this one, but then I realized I had written a non-fiction project, a contemporary short novel, 2 short story collections (13 stories and 3 stories respectively), and 1 novelette from start-to-finish during 2014. That in addition to completing the previously unfinished novel and making additions to others. Not shabby at all!

Publishing goal for 2014 - 3 novels (2 contemporary, 1 fantasy) - met and surpassed.

Published: 1 non-fiction book, 2 contemporary long novels, 1 fantasy long novel, & 1 collection of urban fantasy short stories (individually AND as a collection)

I had also decided I was going to surpass my previous daily word count accomplishment of 9,081 words written on 12/22/2013. I aimed for 10K in one day. I hit it and shot right past it to reach 11,158 words written on July 28, 2014, then I beat THAT one with 11,492 reached on August 17, 2014. I’m not sure I’ll be able to top that in 2015, but I’d sure like to try.

I also created 22 book covers (front, back, & spine on each), 12 separate e-book covers, and 88 memes for my various projects.

Busy year.


2014 is now behind us, and 2015 looms ahead. That means time to set goals for 2015.

Writing - 500,000 words of fiction (not to include whatever I write on a non-fiction book I need to finish)

Incomplete Projects - finish 3 long novels that are currently incomplete

Publishing - 7 books - 2 contemporary long novels, 2 fantasy novels (1 long, 1 short), & 2 collections of short stories minimum. The spare can be any genre or length (as long as it's a collection and not a single short story).